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One Step at a Time (RGRE) (Big Mac/Femanon)

By Uh-hmmm
Created: 1st May 2021 03:08:10 PM
4th December 2021 05:24:21 AM

  1. "And then she never talked to me again."
  2. >Twilight stares at you, nonplussed.
  3. >"Why do all of your stories from earth end that way?"
  4. >You shrug.
  5. "I've always been an awkward girl, even before I got this new body."
  6. >She sighs.
  7. >"And you never tried to talk to her again?"
  8. >Your gut twists in guilt and anxiety.
  9. "I don't know, I'd nod to her in the hall or something, and she'd pass right on by. Am I a bad friend for not trying harder or are they a bad friend for not trying at all?"
  10. >Twilight opens her mouth, pauses, then shrinks back in her chair.
  11. >"Sorry, I just realized I was being a hypocrite. To answer your question, I don't like to think that bad friends exist, just friends who can do better, one step at a time. We've all got our lessons to learn, after all. Do you mind if we end it here? I want to write a letter before I make any excuses."
  12. >You roll off the couch and get to your hooves.
  13. "Yeah, that's okay. I have some grocery shopping to do, so I'll see you later."
  14. >Twilight smiles apologetically at you.
  15. >"Femanon, thanks for putting up with my questions, I'm learning a lot."
  16. >You shrug awkwardly and back towards the door.
  17. "You're welcome, I guess. It is kinda nice to talk about home."
  18. >As you leave, you hear Twilight say, "Spike, take a letter. Dear Moondancer, I-"
  19. >You close the door and sigh.
  20. >You wish you could write a letter back home, but that's just not possible right now.
  21. >It's been a year since you woke up in the body of what was Nightmare Moon and Twilight still hasn't made any significant progress on how to get you home.
  22. >It's not all bad, though.
  23. >Luna may have gotten all the cool dream powers, but you got the illusion skills.
  24. >It's so much easier than drawing or sculpting, and fairly intuitive for you to adjust.
  25. >It's also how you make a living, implanting illusions in crystals so ponies can decorate their homes with what are essentially holograms.
  26. >You get in line for Bain Marie's custard stall.
  27. >Something sweet and creamy would really hit the spot right now.
  28. >You shuffle along, rehearsing your order.
  29. >Two Bovarian creams, no survivors.
  30. >No!
  31. >Two Bovarian creams, you think dark chocolate is your ally?
  32. >You groan.
  33. >You're just going to embarrass yourself, you know it.
  34. >You make it to the counter and take a deep breath.
  35. "Two Bovarian creams, if you feel in charge."
  36. >Bain gives you an odd look and you want to die.
  37. >"Sorry, I am out of Bovarian creams, would you like something else?"
  38. >You blink.
  39. "Uh..."
  40. >You frantically look over the trays of pastries.
  41. >You always get Bovarian cream donuts, it was the only familiar thing.
  42. >The selection has too many prices and values!
  43. >Bain frowns at you.
  44. >"You gonna pick something? There's a big line behind you."
  45. >Your fried brain reacts instinctively.
  46. "For you!"
  47. >Then you promptly turn into mist and escape with what few scraps of your dignity you have left.
  48. >You condense behind the Apple stall, keeping your head down.
  49. >Big Mac nods politely at you.
  50. >"Morning."
  51. >You hoof him a bit.
  52. "Good morning."
  53. >He accepts it and you grab an apple to chow down on.
  54. >It's healthier than a pastry, but you are still disappointed in yourself.
  55. >You can't believe you misted yourself again!
  56. >Well, you can believe it, but you had hoped you were getting better...
  57. >For the moment, you just breathe, taking in the calming aroma of apples and an earthy musk that kind of makes you restless.
  58. >Okay, you aren't exactly relaxing, but you are getting less embarrassed.
  59. >Finally, you get up with a sigh.
  60. "Thanks for letting me hide out here."
  61. >Big Mac smiles and nods.
  62. >"Anytime, Femanon."
  63. >You smile at him, then trot off towards home.
  64. >You have work to do.
  65. --
  66. >In truth, there isn't much to do; the piece is pretty much done.
  67. >Strawberry Sunrise poses dramatically on a crate, wings spread wide, tuft fluffed with 10% more volume as ordered.
  68. >You can't figure out if the strawberries should be in neat cartons or spilling out of overturned cartons like a classical painting.
  69. >You switch between the two, illusion wavering and flickering with each adjustment.
  70. >You hear a knock at the door and take that as a sign.
  71. >Spilling out it is.
  72. >You embed the illusion into the spinel gem and slip that into your saddle bags.
  73. >You answer the door to find Pinkie Pie grinning excitedly.
  74. >"Ready, Femanon on the Rubicon?"
  75. >You nod.
  76. "Let's go."
  77.  
  78. >Chatting with Pinkie Pie along the way eases your nerves.
  79. >You think it's really cool how she’s friends with pretty much everyone in town.
  80. >Always reaching out to you, not worried about sounding dumb or strange.
  81. >"Oh, I worry about that too! But more often than not, ponies don't really mind as long as you are trying to be a good friend!"
  82. >You blink.
  83. "Did I say that out loud?"
  84. >Pinkie giggles.
  85. >"No, you just had a funny look on your face and my ears went twist and twitch! I get that all the time, from pretty much all my friends."
  86. >You nod.
  87. "I guess that makes sense."
  88. >She winks.
  89. >"Sure does. Pinkie sense. Get it? Get it?"
  90. >You laugh in spite of yourself.
  91. "Haha, yeah I get it."
  92. >Pinkie grins.
  93. >"Good. 'cuz now we're here! Well, technically we’re always here, but this here is special because it's Strawberry Sunrise's party!"
  94. >As you walk into the distinctly strawberry-scented house you are once again struck by how much taller you are than everyone.
  95. >It makes you feel more self-conscious, sticking out above the milling crowd of half-familiar ponies.
  96. >Pinkie leads you over to a side table in front of the curtained window.
  97. >You set the crystal down in a little bowl and give it a tap.
  98. >The illusion billows out and the crowd breaks out in applause.
  99. >Your face heats up at all the attention, giving them an awkward nod.
  100. >Thankfully most of the ponies turn back to their conversations or admire the illusion.
  101. >Strawberry Sunrise makes her way over to you and gives you a firm hoofshake.
  102. >"Well done, looks just like me! My folks are going to love it."
  103. >You smile.
  104. "I'm glad you like it."
  105. >She nods, looking over the illusion of herself.
  106. >"Why'd you spill the berries though? Nice detail on them, by the way."
  107. >Your heart sinks.
  108. "Well, I, uh, thought it would look more like those classical paintings."
  109. >Strawberry Sunrise leans back and tilts her head.
  110. >"Huh."
  111. >Oh no, that was a mistake, you should have gone with the basket vers-
  112. >"That's a nice touch. Dad always wanted something a little fancy, and I think he'll really like that. Thank you, Femanon. It's perfect."
  113. >You breathe a sigh of relief.
  114. "You're welcome."
  115. >She smiles at you, gives your withers a firm pat, then wanders off.
  116. >You sag, exhausted after a mere few minutes into the party.
  117. >You exchange a few smiles with the ponies on the way to the snack table.
  118. >After getting a cup of punch and a plate of chips and dip, you retreat to a corner of the room.
  119. >You get a few glances, but ponies seem glad to keep to their conversations.
  120. >Objectively, you know you should try to join them, make some new friends.
  121. >Realistically...
  122. >You are distracted by a familiar face walking in the door.
  123. >Big Mac sets a green apple on the gift table and looks around.
  124. >He makes eye contact with you and nods.
  125. >You nod back, feeling a little better about this whole thing.
  126. >Then Strawberry Sunrise swaggers up and greets him, her tuft prominently displayed.
  127. >You frown, a funny feeling in your chest.
  128. >Big Mac says something, then makes a beeline for the snack table.
  129. >Strawberry follows for a few steps, shrugs, then wanders off.
  130. >You keep him in the corner of your eye as he loads up on refreshments, not wanting to stare.
  131. >Not that it makes a difference, as soon as he gets his punch, he heads straight for you.
  132. >And for the first time, you wonder if you are to him what he is to you.
  133. >An asylum, a safe harbor, a companionable silence.
  134. >For his part, Big Mac gives you a small smile and sits next to you.
  135. >You take a sip of punch to wet your suddenly parched throat.
  136. "Some party, eh?"
  137. >He nods.
  138. >"You made a good centerpiece."
  139. >You blush at the compliment and struggle to think of something to say.
  140. >Big Mac starts to pick at the carrots on his plate, seemingly content to wait.
  141. >He probably is; he's always been a stallion of few words.
  142. >You relax and follow his example, floating a chip to your mouth.
  143. >What have you done lately to talk about?
  144. >Talked to Twilight this morning and Pinkie Pie not long ago...
  145. >...
  146. >And here you are, not doing anything to get closer even though you want to.
  147. >You take another sip of punch and wish it was spiked.
  148. >You muster your courage and turn to Big Mac.
  149. "I like you, want to go out with me?"
  150. >He blinks, are his cheeks reddening?
  151. >It's hard to tell with his coat color.
  152. >He gives you a rare full smile.
  153. >"Eyup."
  154. >Then he promptly stands up and walks towards the door.
  155. >You scramble to follow him, doing your best to ignore the murmurs in your wake.
  156. >Thankfully, he waits for you outside.
  157. >You swallow nervously.
  158. "I meant, I mean, I'm happy to be out of the party, but I was trying to say, would you like to go on a date with me?"
  159. >He chuckles.
  160. >"Ah know. Ah just didn't want half the town to know the details and following after."
  161. >That may have been the most you've heard him say.
  162. >He adds, "So, what, where, and when?"
  163. >Your mind goes blank.
  164. >What do ponies even do for dates?
  165. >You could go to Sugar Cube Corner, but that would be too public.
  166. >Food but far from other ponies...
  167. "A picnic, uh..."
  168. >Big Mac smiles.
  169. >"Maybe out in the fields near Fluttershy's cottage?"
  170. >You nod eagerly.
  171. "Yes, that would be good. As for when, I'll pick you up at 11 am, this Saturday?"
  172. >He nods.
  173. >"Ah'd like that. See you then, Femanon."
  174. >You grin.
  175. "Likewise, Big Mac."
  176. >You watch him trot away for a few moments, trying to convince yourself that that really happened.
  177. >Your heart hammers in your chest and you can't stop grinning.
  178. >He likes you!
  179. >You have a date!
  180. >Oh Celestia, you have a date!
  181. >You prance all the way home, head held high, laughter on your lips.
  182. --
  183. >Of course, that didn't mean you didn't worry.
  184. >In retrospect, you should have paid more attention to what was on his plate, it'd give you some idea of what to get for the picnic.
  185. >Carrots, definitely, maybe a selection of vegetable sticks...?
  186. >And then there is the thing that had you worrying the most.
  187. >You want to make an apple pie, you are certain he likes apples.
  188. >So you checked out recipe books from Twilight's library, put together an ingredient list, and faced the music.
  189. >You stand in front of the Apple stall for once.
  190. >Applejack gives you a steady look, revealing nothing.
  191. >You clear your throat and glance down at the recipe you copied.
  192. "Fifteen golden delicious apples, please."
  193. >She nods towards the recipe.
  194. >"May I see that?"
  195. >You swallow and hoof it over.
  196. >Applejack takes a pencil out from behind her ear and makes a few corrections
  197. >She hoofs it back.
  198. >"This is for Big Mac, right? You'll want honeycrisp, ease up on the cinnamon, more nutmeg, and more brown sugar than white. Colt has a sweet tooth."
  199. >Your eyes go wide as you glance over her alterations.
  200. "Thank you!"
  201. >Applejack gives you an approving smile.
  202. >"It's good to dip your hooves in the family business, gives you an idea of what we do. Since you're buying enough for three tries, bring the first two to me and Ah'll give what pointers Ah can."
  203. >You breathe a sigh of relief.
  204. "That would really help. Thank you again."
  205. >She laughs.
  206. >"It ain't all for your sake, Ah gotta make sure you don't give my brother baked bads."
  207. >You laugh a little sheepishly.
  208. "Fair enough."
  209. --
  210. >"Make the crust first, then the filling. The longer you let it sit, the more the filling will get watery."
  211. --
  212. >"Better, but put a baking pan in the oven first, let it heat up, then put the pie on top of that. That'll keep the crust from getting too soggy."
  213. --
  214. >Saturday comes all to quickly and not quick enough.
  215. >You set your basket and blanket by the door and knock.
  216. >"Whazat? Who's there?"
  217. >Please, anyone but her.
  218. >Nevertheless, you call out to Granny.
  219. "I'm Femanon, here to pick up Big Mac for a date."
  220. >Agonizingly slow steps scrape over the wooden floor.
  221. >Finally, the door opens and Granny squints at you.
  222. >"Bigun', aren't ya? Well come on in, Ah ain't getting any younger."
  223. >You step past her into the living room, looking around for a place to sit.
  224. >There are three cushions on the floor, red, orange, and yellow, and two oak rocking chairs.
  225. >Granny clambers into one and grins at you.
  226. >"Applejack's in the orchard, go ahead and use her cushion. So, yer after my grandson, are ya?"
  227. >You settle on the cushion and give her a polite smile.
  228. "Yes ma'am."
  229. >The old pone nods and looks you over some more.
  230. >"You some kinda princess then? What do you do?"
  231. "Not really a princess, I craft illusion pieces for commission."
  232. >Granny chews on that for a bit.
  233. >"Whatever that is, does it pay well?"
  234. >You nod.
  235. "And then some. It's like getting a painting done, but I don't have to worry about buying paint."
  236. >She rocks in silence for a few moments.
  237. >"...Applejack tells me you've been baking pies."
  238. >You swallow.
  239. "Yes ma'am."
  240. >"Do you think yer good at it?"
  241. >You shake your head.
  242. "Not yet, I still have a lot to learn."
  243. >Granny smiles at that.
  244. >"Good that you know where you are with apples. Won't be getting any foalish ideas about knowing better than us how things should go."
  245. >Is she giving you some sort of warning?
  246. >Giving permission for friendship but nothing else?
  247. >Something of your confusion must have shown, because Granny chuckles.
  248. >"Don't go reading into it anymore than is there. Ah meant only what Ah said, too many city-slickers roll in and think they can use fancy words to get the runnin' of the stall and cider business."
  249. >You blink.
  250. "Oh. Well, that's not me, I'm neither city nor slick, yeah."
  251. >Granny hums contemplatively.
  252. >"We'll see, soon enough. You a virgin?"
  253. >It takes a moment for the question to register.
  254. >Then your face grows hot with embarrassment.
  255. "I-what kind of- who even asks that of strangers?!"
  256. >Granny cackles like the witch she is.
  257. >"Well ya sure aren't some silver-tongued dandy, tempting away the stallionfolk. Alright, you can come out, Mac, Ah've had my fun."
  258. >Big Mac walks out of the kitchen with a basket, a blanket, and an apologetic smile.
  259. >"Let's go out."
  260. >You just want to die of embarrassment, please.
  261. >Just turn into mist and never come back.
  262. >Nevertheless, you head out the door, holding it open for him.
  263. >Big Mac nods his thanks and you snag your basket and blanket on the way out.
  264. "Your Granny,"
  265. >You say with feeling,
  266. "is a menace."
  267. >He chuckles ruefully.
  268. >"For what it's worth, she likes you."
  269. >You grumble indistinctly, then let out a sigh.
  270. >You glance at him, and something feels different.
  271. >Is he...thinner somehow?
  272. >Did he always have this much neck?
  273. >Oh.
  274. "Nice bow tie, it looks good on you."
  275. >Admittedly, it's just a plain black bow tie where Big Mac's collar harness thing was.
  276. >Now you feel kinda underdressed.
  277. >Big Mac blushes faintly.
  278. >You think.
  279. >"Thank you, it was my pa's."
  280. >...and what can you even say to that?
  281. "That's uh, good. Yeah."
  282. >He glances at you a few times.
  283. >"Nice tuft."
  284. >Then his eyes widen and he quickly looks away, and yes!
  285. >That's a blush, for sure!
  286. >No clue why he's so embarrassed or whatever, you never really got the significance of tufts.
  287. "Thanks, I got it from the wheel of Samsara."
  288. >He looks at you in confusion as the two of you make your way down the road.
  289. >"The wheel of what? That a shampoo?"
  290. >You regret trying to be witty.
  291. "No, it's... So like, I died or something, I can't remember, and then I got reincarnated in this body. Didn't Applejack tell you about it?"
  292. >Big Mac shrugs.
  293. >"Might've. She and her friends run into a lot of strange stuff, it all blurs together."
  294. >He licks lips, his tone tentative.
  295. >"Are you hoofling it alright?"
  296. >You shrug back.
  297. "Some days are easier than others, but I'm fine."
  298. >He eyes you for a moment then nods.
  299. >The two of you continue on in silence until you reach some arbitrary point and Big Mac turns off from the road into the open field.
  300. >He pulls the basket from his back and whips his head startlingly.
  301. >His red and green plaid blanket flares out and floats down onto the grass.
  302. >You shake your head in admiration.
  303. "That's really impressive!"
  304. >Big Mac smiles sheepishly.
  305. >"It ain't nothing, just a trick Ah picked up from making my bed all the time."
  306. >You step onto the soft blanket and set yours to the side.
  307. "I wasn't sure if I was supposed to make it all, so, uh, we might have a lot of leftovers. Um. I'll show you mine if you show me yours?"
  308. >He just smiles and nods.
  309. >You chuckle nervously as you levitate the contents of your basket out.
  310. >A jar of peanut butter, another of blackberry jam, a loaf of bread, carrots, celery, and your pie.
  311. >It's pretty dark around the edges, but you're sure it's not burnt!
  312. >For his part, Big Mac pulls out a perfectly golden apple pie, and...
  313. >Even more, smaller pies?
  314. "That pie gave birth to a litter."
  315. >Big Mac chuckles.
  316. >"More like a flock. Shepherd's pies. Mind if we start with apple?"
  317. >You rub your foreleg nervously.
  318. "Uh, sure. Not sure how good mine will be, though."
  319. >He nods seriously.
  320. >"Never know until you try."
  321. >He grabs a knife and cuts out a slice of your pie.
  322. >You scramble to do the same with his, levitating a pair of paper plates over.
  323. >Which proves unnecessary, he just grabs the slice with his hoof somehow and takes a bite.
  324. >You chew on your lip, watching his face.
  325. >He nods solemnly.
  326. >"Not bad for a beginner. Good thickness for the apple slices, crust could be better. It's a good pie."
  327. >You let out the breath you didn't realize you were holding.
  328. "Thanks, though a lot of the credit should go to Applejack, she helped a lot."
  329. >He smiles fondly.
  330. >"Ah can tell. Still, it was you who made it, and that's what counts."
  331. >You get a warm feeling in your chest and cheeks.
  332. "Thanks, I'm glad you liked it."
  333. >Big Mac nods again and glances significantly at the slice of his pie on your plate.
  334. >You get the hint and levitate it to your mouth.
  335. >Your eyes go wide as the rich, creamy filling hits your tongue, hints of nutmeg nicely offsetting it alongside the tender apple chunks.
  336. >The crust is nice and buttery, with enough salt to complement the sweet pie filling.
  337. >You savor it for a long moment, looking at Big Mac with shining eyes.
  338. "This is delicious!"
  339. >He blushes again.
  340. >"Glad you liked it. Saw you liked Bovarian creams, so I figured you'd like this."
  341. >You lick your lips.
  342. "I really do. No exaggeration, this is the best dessert I've ever had!"
  343. >He straightens up proudly.
  344. >"Good. Though, maybe we should eat something else, don't want to get a tummy ache."
  345. >You nod with some reluctance.
  346. "Good point."
  347. >The rest of the food paled in comparison, but it was savory and filling.
  348. >In between bites, the two of you shared stories from childhood.
  349. >The afternoon sun was warm, but not overbearing, and soon both of you are laying on your sides, basking and chatting.
  350. >And then you ask what you thought was an innocent question.
  351. "How'd you get your cutie mark, if you don't mind me asking?"
  352. >He rolls onto his back and stares at the sky.
  353. >The silence drags on until you think he isn’t going to answer, but then he speaks.
  354. >"Just as Ah was getting my growth, my ma and pa died in a cart accident."
  355. >Your heart drops like a stone.
  356. "I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to-"
  357. >He waves a hoof dismissively.
  358. >"Ah don't mind, the story's mine for the telling. Anyways, Ah was the only stallion in the house, but the trees still needed bucking. Granny left her bucking days long behind her, so it was up to me and Applejack to bring in the harvest. Mostly me, at first."
  359. >He stares off into the past.
  360. >"Those were long, hard days. Granny did what she could, but she was only ever good at making desserts and snacks. Ah spent nights going over Pa's cookbooks, trying to find something simple but filling for all of us."
  361. >You raise your eyebrows.
  362. "Shepherd's pies?"
  363. >He nods.
  364. >"Ah was wearing myself to the bone, trying to fill Ma and Pa's horseshoes. But Ah saw Granny making pie dough, and Ah had plenty of carrots and potatoes. Ah didn't know the recipe, but Ah knew it was something Ah could do to keep the family well fed. Ah got Granny to help and made enough to last us for the whole week."
  365. >You cough.
  366. "That's a lot of pies!"
  367. >Big Mac chuckles ruefully.
  368. >"It was, and we grew right sick of them soon enough, but it showed me Ah didn't have to be Ma or Pa to keep the Apple way. Ah just had to get help and do what Ah could, and that would be enough."
  369. >You shake your head in admiration.
  370. "I didn't realize you put so much thought and feeling into our picnic."
  371. >He chuckles.
  372. >"Well, it's still my go-to when Ah can't think of what else to make."
  373. >You giggle, relieved that you don't have to match deep personal meaning with sandwiches and finger food.
  374. >A lazy breeze ripples across the field, making eddies in your smoky mane.
  375. >Big Mac glances at you, a pensive look in his eyes.
  376. >"Do you get some kinda feeling about your cutie mark? Ah know it wasn't yours originally, but..."
  377. >You lift your head and consider your flank.
  378. "...I don't get any special feeling about it, but I think I know why I’m so good at illusions."
  379. >You roll onto your back and stare at a lone cloud, high and thin.
  380. "I had a bad habit of retreating into books and stories when I couldn't deal with the real world. It was easier than putting myself out there and risking getting hurt. I was always waiting for someone else to make the first move, and even then I would run away. I still do, actually."
  381. >Big Mac hums thoughtfully.
  382. >"But you did ask me out."
  383. >You turn and give him a faint smile.
  384. "That's true. I'm glad I did."
  385. >He smiles back.
  386. >"Me too."
  387. >You gaze into his eyes and shuffle closer.
  388. >He blushes handsomely, craning his neck towards you, his eyes drifting closed.
  389. >Then a fly lands on his nose and he lets out the loudest sneeze you’ve ever heard.
  390. >You jolt back.
  391. >Big Mac takes one look at your face and starts laughing.
  392. >Just like that, the romantic mood is gone, but you can't help but laugh along with him.
  393. >Finally, he sighs and gets to his hooves.
  394. >"Ah'd best get back and start on dinner."
  395. >You reluctantly rise.
  396. "I'll walk you home, then."
  397. >You start putting things back in the baskets.
  398. >Big Mac nudges his pie towards you.
  399. >"Let's swap pies."
  400. >You raise your eyebrows.
  401. "Are you sure? I'd definitely be getting the better end of the deal there."
  402. >He nods.
  403. >"Eyup. I made it for you, and you made it for me. It's only right."
  404. "Fair point."
  405. >You make the swap and move off the blanket.
  406. >A few thoughts has your magic folding it up and levitating it into his back.
  407. >It's his turn to be impressed.
  408. >"That'd be right useful, come next time we wash the bed linens."
  409. >You shrug.
  410. "Let me know when and I'll be by to help out."
  411. >He nods slowly.
  412. >"Ah may very well take you up on that."
  413. >Once everything is packed, the two of you amble back towards Sweet Apple Acres.
  414. >There's a tension in the air that leaves both of you tongue-tied.
  415. >You keep thinking about his lips, the way his eyes slid closed in anticipation.
  416. >Before you know it, you are walking across his yard, the Apple house rising up like an iceberg.
  417. >You turn to Big Mac and smile.
  418. "I really enjoyed our date, Big Mac."
  419. >He swallows.
  420. >"Me too."
  421. >You lick your lips.
  422. "Want to go on another one next Saturday?"
  423. >He smiles shyly.
  424. >"Eyup."
  425. >You have pretty much run out of things to say, so you lean forward.
  426. >Big Mac lifts his head, closing his eyes once more.
  427. >"Are they kissing yet?"
  428. >Big Mac scowls at the one of the windows of the house while you hear Applejack shush her sister.
  429. >You laugh helplessly.
  430. "Well, I-"
  431. >Big Mac grabs your neck with a foreleg and pulls you into a quick but deep kiss, his tongue darting in for a taste of your mouth.
  432. >Before you can recover, he breaks the kiss and gallops into the house.
  433. >You blink and lick your lips again.
  434. >A goofy grin stretches across your face as you turn towards home.
  435. --
  436. "And that's what happened."
  437. >Twilight stares at you in disbelief.
  438. >"That's... wow. Congratulations, that's much better than what I thought you meant by making progress."
  439. >You beam at her.
  440. "I know! It almost doesn't seem real. Oh, and how did it go with your friend?"
  441. >The unicorn frowns.
  442. >"I don't know, I haven't heard back from her yet."
  443. "Oh. Well, maybe she just needs time?"
  444. >Twilight shrugs.
  445. >"Probably, she could be busy, or not know what to say, or... so many things. I'll have to wait and see what she says, if anything."
  446. >You smile weakly.
  447. "At least you tried, right?"
  448. >She sighs and nods.
  449. >"That's true. Was there anything else you wanted to talk about?"
  450. >You get to your hooves.
  451. "Nope, that was about it. I just want to thank you for talking with me about these things, it helps me get out of my head."
  452. >Twilight smiles warmly at you.
  453. >"You are very welcome. After all, what are friends for?"
  454.  
  455. >As you exit the treebrary, you try to remember what you have to do.
  456. >You don't have any deadlines coming up soon, pantry is stocked, kitchen is... soaking.
  457. >You meander on autopilot.
  458. >You do have those two failed pies to deal with, you don't want to throw them out, but-
  459. >"You gonna pick something? There's a big line behind you."
  460. >You blink and see Bain Marie giving you a nonplussed look.
  461. >You feel a thrill of panic run through your body.
  462. >You didn't even mean to get a custard, it was just habit!
  463. >And yet...
  464. >And yet a small part of you doesn't want to turn into mist.
  465. >Like a pebble falling into a still pond, but in reverse, you calm down and look at the selection to buy time.
  466. >Bovarian creams are sold out again, but...
  467. "I'll have a carrot cake roll, please."
  468. >"Five bits."
  469. >You hoof her the money, and she dutifully levitates the pastry to you.
  470. >You hold your head up high as you accept it and move on, even though you still feel like turning into mist and leaving the embarrassment behind.
  471. >Nevertheless, you can feel it.
  472. >You're getting better, one step at a time.

More's the Pity [rgre] (spooky)

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