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Slave Thread Greentext (4/8/18)

By PhysicsAnon
Created: 12th November 2020 11:04:56 PM

  1. >You walk quickly through the dark streets, the cold winter air biting you through your jacket.
  2. >It had rained recently, and mud spilled over onto the sidewalk from adjacent lawns and empty lots.
  3. >You shift your bag full of goodies from one arm to other, gripping it by the bottom.
  4. >Getting booze and snacks at night meant a walk through poorly-lit alleys in your neighborhood, but the reward was always worth the paranoid fears of skinwalkers lurking in the shadows.
  5. >…Mostly worth it.
  6. >You glance about warily as you enter the alley leading to your apartment complex.
  7. >Passing the dumpster, you hear movement, and you give it a wide berth.
  8. >Fuckin’ homeless dudes.
  9. >You fumble in your pocket for your keys, but as you mount the stairs, something slams into your back.
  10. >FUCKIN’ HOMELESS DUDES!
  11. >Your bag of supplies falls to the floor as something scrambles over you, and your hands dart out to seize it before you can even think.
  12. >You're instead met with a small, furry body before you feel the bite.
  13. >You curse and reel, jerking your hand back and your tiny assailant with it, flinging the small body out into the street.
  14. >In the dim light at the bottom of the stairs, you get your first real look, and your stomach falls.
  15. >It’s a pony.
  16. >You knew what they were, and knew they were popular as servants or sex slaves or whatever, but you didn’t own one yourself.
  17. >College students can’t afford that shit, and you like to think you’re not a scumbag.
  18. >Pale green eyes leer back at you, glinting with grim determination.
  19. >”Gimme the bag.”
  20. >Pretty ballsy demand coming from something that looks like hammered shit.
  21. >And now that it doesn’t have the element of surprise…
  22. “Don’t think I will, no."
  23. >The little horse snarls, darting back towards you, but you’re ready this time.
  24. >You lash out with a leg, catching it in the chest.
  25. >There’s a grunt of pain, but it just retreats a short distance, pacing.
  26. >Keeping your eyes on it, you slowly gather up your goodies, hoping to whatever gods may be that your snacks survived the fall.
  27. >The equine follows you all the way up the stairs, looking for an opening that never presents itself.
  28. >Your key finds the lock, and you warily place yourself between the door and your assailant in case they get any funny ideas.
  29. >You try to slip in and shut the door behind you, but an orange hoof blocks the door, and a single green eye glares bloody murder at you as you try to force it back out.
  30. >”Celestia curse e’ry last one of ya’ll! Heartless apes! Whaddya want, huh?! I’ll do anything! You wanna fuck, is that it?! Just gimme some food! For the stars’ sake, my sister’s gonna starve!!”
  31. >Her impassioned outburst gives you pause.
  32. >Maybe she’s lying and maybe she isn’t, but seeing how ragged she is in the light, you feel a twinge of sympathy.
  33. >You never go out of your way to be cruel, and leaving her out there with nothing would be fucked up even to your numbed sensibilities.
  34. >You set the bag on the floor and root through it.
  35. >The beer is out of the question, that shit’s yours.
  36. >You look back at the frenzied viridian eye, questioning.
  37. “What do you guys eat?”
  38. >The question dumbfounds her for a moment. She likely didn’t expect you to cave.
  39. >She responds warily.
  40. >”Anything that ain’t meat… Whatcha want for it?”
  41. >You silently weigh your options for donation, before settling on giving her one of the big bags of chips.
  42. >Delicious and kinda-sorta-maybe nutritious.
  43. “Get back to your sister and never attack me again.”
  44. >There’s that dumbfounded look again.
  45. >”…Jus' like that?”
  46. “Did I stutter? Get the fuck outta here. Cops patrol this area pretty frequently, and god knows those dudes would love a free piece of ass.”
  47. >You open the door just enough, and the orange hoof snatches the bag from your grip.
  48. >You hear her bolt down the stairs and you sigh with relief.
  49. >You likely won’t see her again, but you did your good deed for the day, and that’s enough.
  50. >You carry what remains of your loot to your computer desk, firing up your PC.
  51. >Casually, you peer through the blinds into the alley to see if the pony’s gone.
  52. >She’s still down there.
  53. >She’s not looking at your window though…
  54. >Oh god, is she memorizing the name of your complex?
  55. >Dammiiiiiiit!
  56. >Dad was right! Never give homeless people money or else every hobo within 2 miles will know and come ask for some!
  57. >Before you can think to stop her, she dashes off into the night, bag o’ chips held in her teeth.
  58. >You groan in resignation, cracking open a beer to wash away the worries.
  59. >The rest of the night passes like it normally does; a blur of electronic entertainment and reckless consumption.
  60. >You eventually pass out on your bed, dreaming of green-eyed skinwalkers trying to steal your beer.
  61.  
  62. >The next morning seems to come suddenly, and you rise groggily from your bed.
  63. >The downstairs neighbor’s yelling.
  64. >You have a good idea of who it’s directed at.
  65. >The muffled sounds of shouting and crying come up through the floor and you briefly consider knocking on his door and politely asking him to shut the fuck up.
  66. >But that’d be more trouble than it’s worth, so you just do what you always do.
  67. >You jump up and down in the middle of your bedroom floor until the whole building rattles.
  68. >The shouting stops, and the crying subsides.
  69. >Good enough for now.
  70. >You’ll probably find a rude note on your door later, but Keith’s just a little faggot who thinks he’s tough.
  71. >Dude doesn’t even lift.
  72. >One morning trinity later, and you’re ready for breakfast.
  73. >Opening the fridge, you grimace.
  74. >Looks like it’s going to be just eggs again.
  75. >You should have bought some breakfast food while you were out last night…
  76. >Aw well.
  77. >The image of a green, bloodshot eye flashes through your mind, and you grimace even harder.
  78. >There’s another problem.
  79. >She’s probably going to be back, with more strays.
  80. >You briefly consider calling animal control, but discard the thought.
  81. >You know what happens to recaptured slaves.
  82. >And the orange one from last night is almost certainly an escapee.
  83. >As you finish your eggs, you decide to deal with it when it happens.
  84. >Throwing your dishes in the sink to soak, you pack up your books and don your sweatshirt.
  85. >If you weren’t entirely awake before, the crisp morning air makes certain of it as you lock the door behind you.
  86. >Time to go learn.
  87.  
  88. >After a long, hard day of listening to other people talk you’re ready for a beer.
  89. >Sadly, being the borderline alcoholic you are, you drank all the drinks you had last night.
  90. >You stop at a convenience store to pick up a six pack then begin making your way home.
  91. >It’s not dark enough to worry about skinwalkers yet, but it’s always dark enough to worry about orange ponies.
  92. >You peek around the corner into your alley, half-expecting her to be there staring up at your building just like she was last night, but the coast is clear.
  93. >Stepping quickly, you reach the door to your apartment unmolested by small furry creatures.
  94. >Your ears, however, are assaulted with further shouting from the unit below yours.
  95. >Keith again.
  96. >As your key slips into the deadbolt, you hear the door below you being wrenched open, and you hear his voice screaming.
  97. >”You’re not coming back in until you figure out how to be useful, you dumb cunt! What a waste of money!”
  98. >You close your eyes, exhaling deeply.
  99. >The door slams shut, leaving only sniffles and squeaks of pain.
  100. >You’re already halfway down the stairs when she shakily begins climbing them.
  101. >You’ve met a few ponies since they became popular.
  102. >Generally, the ones with shitty owners fall into two categories.
  103. >The ones strong enough to escape, and…
  104. >Ones like this.
  105. >A pair of crooked, golden eyes look up at you tearfully.
  106. >One of them’s been blackened pretty badly.
  107. >She mumbles her gratitude, following you back up the stairs.
  108. >Opening the door, Ditzy trots in, visibly brightening at the sight of your apartment.
  109. >You found her curled up on the landing to your floor for shelter one night.
  110. >Something about the way she didn’t straight up attack you the first time you met left a much better impression, and you were happy to help her when you finally coaxed her into explaining her situation.
  111. >She crashes at your place when Keith’s small penis syndrome gets too much to bear.
  112.  
  113. >You take your shoes off as Ditzy climbs into your plush armchair in the corner.
  114. >Setting your six pack on the counter, you go to the freezer for some ice cubes.
  115. >You stuff them into a plastic bag and bring it over to her.
  116. “Here. For that eye.”
  117. >”T-Thank you sir.”
  118. “Don’t call me sir.”
  119. >”Oh… I’m sorry, Mr. Anonymous.”
  120. >You sigh as you give her ear a quick scratch.
  121. >You’ve been through this rigmarole a few times, and you gave up trying to get her to stop calling you that.
  122. “Don’t sweat it.”
  123. >She coos at your touch.
  124. >She likely doesn’t get much of that.
  125. >You drop off your backpack in your bedroom, thinking about things.
  126. >You’re not much good at conversation and Ditzy’s pretty quiet.
  127. >She likely doesn’t trust you completely, which you understand.
  128. >If your roles were reversed you wouldn’t trust her either.
  129. >Typically, you just let her nap in that chair until she wants to leave.
  130. >But this time you want to make an effort.
  131. >Picking up your beers, you bring them over to your computer desk a short distance away from Ditzy’s nest in your chair.
  132. >You crack one open with the trusty bottle opener on your Swiss army knife, then pause.
  133. “Want a drink, Ditzy?”
  134. >She looks mildly startled, taking a moment to answer.
  135. >”I…I don’t know. I’ve never gotten to try human drinks…”
  136. >You offer her the bottle.
  137. >Slowly, a grey wing unfurls, reaching across to grasp it.
  138. >You note all her feathers are intact.
  139. >A rare thing for slave pegasi.
  140. “You, uh, don’t get in much trouble, huh?”
  141. >”…Er, no…?”
  142. >Goddammit, why can’t you talk good, Anon?
  143. “Your wings. They haven’t been clipped. Troublemakers usually… you know.”
  144. >Her gaze fall to the floor as she pulls the beer close.
  145. >“…Yes. I do my best to obey.”
  146. >Wow, Anon, and you wonder why you don’t have any friends.
  147. “Shit, I meant… I just… Why? You could fly away. To anywhere. There’s any number of places you could run to with a pair of wings. So why don’t you?”
  148. >Her gaze slowly rises, and she studies your face with her non-iced eye as her wing raises the dark glass to her lips.
  149. >She takes a little sip and sputters, scrunching her cheeks and lips.
  150. >”Blech…”
  151. >You chuckle, but she starts panicking when she realizes she just spat a bit of drink on your floor.
  152. >”Oh! Oh no, oh ponyfeathers, I’m-“
  153. “Hush. It’s neither the first nor the last beer stain on this carpet.”
  154. >You gently take the bottle from her, and she fidgets in the chair, still pressing the bag of ice to her eye.
  155. “Will you answer my question?”
  156. >She nods slowly.
  157. >”Um… I’m just scared, Mr. Anonymous. I-I know that as an Equestrian, it’s my duty to resist, but… I don’t like getting hurt. I’m not brave like the Royal Guard or police ponies… I-If I don’t run away they won’t punish me or clip my wings, so I’ll still be able to fly… I guess I’m kind of cowardly...”
  158. >Tears appear in the corner of her eye.
  159. >”E-Even if I’m bad at it… Even if I’m a klutz… I love being able to fly. I love being able to nap on top of clouds and bask in the sunlight up there...”
  160. “It sure sounds nice. Does Keith let you? Fly, I mean?”
  161. >”No, but…”
  162. >She just trails off, sinking into herself.
  163. >Too late, you realize you’re prodding at some mental baggage best left alone.
  164. >You take a swig of booze to steady your spaghetti before speaking again.
  165. “Sorry.”
  166. >She wipes her free eye hastily before responding.
  167. >”No… No. I… It was good to talk about it.”
  168. >She sniffles, and you give her another scratch behind the ear.
  169. “Well… Cool. You like pizza?”
  170. >She sighs as your fingers massage her scalp
  171. >”Ooooooooo… Yes, but I haven’t had it since I…”
  172. >You can guess how that sentence ends.
  173. >You switch targets to the underside of her chin, and you’re pretty sure she forgets her own name for a moment.
  174. “Good. ‘Cause it’s what’s for dinner. ”
  175. >With your free hand, you sort through the random crap on your desk until you find what you’re looking for.
  176. >A flyer for a local pizza joint with a menu on the reverse.
  177. >You already know what you want, so you hold it up for Ditzy to see.
  178. “What looks good?”
  179. >She awakens from her chin-scratch coma to take a look, removing the ice from her eye for a moment.
  180. >”Ah…Hmm…Er, that one.”
  181. “Mediterranean? Good taste.”
  182. >You pull out your phone, dialing in the number while moving your fingers to stroke Ditzy’s golden mane.
  183. >…It’s hella greasy.
  184. >For fuck’s sake, Keith, wash your pony!
  185. >The little grey horse, for her part, pays no heed to the state of her locks, just humming contentedly at the feel of your hand.
  186. >This is the first time you’ve touched her this much.
  187. >That notion is shoved to the back of your mind as a voice speaks from the other side of the line.
  188. >”Thank you for calling Moot Point Pizza, may I take your order?”
  189. >You rattle off the details of your order, a half-n-half medium, before hanging up.
  190. “Alright, it’ll be here in like an hour. Go take a bath.”
  191. >She looks up at you, startled.
  192. >”Er… Right now?”
  193. “Yup.”
  194. >”But… Your water bill?”
  195. “Ditzy, I’m not THAT poor. Go get clean. You’re greasing up my chair and you stink.”
  196. >The pony squeaks in embarrassment, and quickly leaps from the chair, gliding out of the room.
  197.  
  198. >Shortly, the sounds of running water fills your apartment.
  199. >Guess they have bathtubs in Equestria.
  200. >…How do ponies make bathtubs?
  201. >You ponder this and other deep mysteries of the universe as you finish off Ditzy’s beer.
  202. >Your guest calls from the bathroom.
  203. >"Mr. Anonymous?”
  204. “Yeah?”
  205. >”Can I use your soap?”
  206. “You'd better. Use the shampoo and other stuff too. You’ll smell like me, but you’ll be clean.”
  207. >“Oh… Thank you.”
  208. “Sure.”
  209. >You deftly toss the empty bottle across the room, landing in your bin with a clatter.
  210. >You reclaim your armchair, leaning your head back.
  211. >Eventually, the water shuts off, and you hear her climb in.
  212. >…Did she leave the door open?
  213. >You guess she’s technically naked all the time so it doesn’t really matter.
  214. >You won’t complain.
  215. >You pop another bottle and take a drink.
  216. >Studying can wait until after dinner.
  217. >The sound of Ditzy humming reaches your ears, and you smile faintly.
  218. >It’s a pleasant tune, and she sounds happy.
  219. >You take another swig as the buzz starts to kick in.
  220. >You aren’t sure why you waited so long to try and reach out.
  221. >Maybe you were worried about getting too attached.
  222. >You’ve always had a soft spot for cute things, and Ditzy most certainly fits that category.
  223. >Eventually, she emerges from the bathroom, damp mane wrapped in a towel as she shakes out her wings.
  224. >”Thank you again, Mr. Anonymous.”
  225. “Don’t worry about it. Also, just call me Anon.”
  226. >”N-No.”
  227. >Still? Even after all this?
  228. “What? Why?”
  229. >”I-It’s disrespectful. And I don’t want to disrespect you.”
  230. “…Keith teach you that?”
  231. >”No. The… The processing center staff did.”
  232. >You have a talent for poking sore spots, Anon.
  233. >You should run a talk show.
  234. >There’s a knock at the door before before you can say anything else.
  235. >Suppertime.
  236. >Ditzy hurriedly dries her mane as you go to answer.
  237. >You get the delivery boy his dough and a little tip, receiving in exchange your cardboard box full of happiness.
  238. >You set it on the counter, pulling out two plates.
  239. >You claim a couple slices for yourself before placing a slice of the Mediterranean on Ditzy’s plate.
  240. “Here, Ditzy. Lemme know when you want more.”
  241. >She hurriedly glides back out of the bathroom.
  242. >…Did she hang her towel back up?
  243. >Shit, even you don’t do that half the time.
  244. >What’s Keith got to bitch about?
  245. >She stands next to you, looking up expectantly.
  246. >You look right back at her, staring awkwardly for a moment before remembering she has no hands with which to take the plate.
  247. “Uhhh… Are you gonna carry this with your wings or…?”
  248. >”Oh, uh, no. Put it on my back.”
  249. “Ah. Alright.”
  250. >Cheeks slightly flushed, you place the plate on her freshly-washed back.
  251. >She smiles and trots over to the corner of the room, unloading the plate in one smooth movement.
  252. >Neat trick, that.
  253. >You carry your own dinner to your desk, opening your third beer of the night to go with it.
  254. >You eat in silence.
  255. >Well, more like you’re too busy stuffing your face to talk.
  256. >And you’re not alone in your love of circular bread with cheese and things on top.
  257. >Ditzy fucking demolished her piece and sits licking her lips, looking at you as if awaiting a command.
  258. “You can go get more if you want. Half the pizza’s yours.”
  259. >She squeals happily, and for the first time you see her truly fly.
  260. >And as you watch, you suddenly understand what she meant when she called herself a klutz.
  261. >After a triple loop, colliding with two cupboards, and nearly breaking a lighting fixture, she manages to land neatly on the counter.
  262. >Plate still in mouth.
  263. >You’re not sure whether you should be impressed or not.
  264. “Uh… You okay?”
  265. >”Huh? Oh! Yeah, that’s just how I fly. It’s fine!”
  266. >You shake your head in wonder, taking another big swig before walking over to grab some more pieces for yourself.
  267.  
  268. >One depraved show of gluttony later, and both you and your new pony friend are sprawled out on the floor, stuffed to the brim.
  269. >You’re on the last bottle of the six-pack, and feeling just dandy.
  270. >The world is ever-so-slightly out of focus, and your balance has been weakened a bit, but who cares?
  271. >You clumsily climb into your computer chair before remembering that you've got work to do tonight.
  272. >You groan.
  273. >Ditzy lifts her head up off the floor to look at you, asking sweetly.
  274. >”What’s the matter?”
  275. >After recovering from your heart skipping a beat, you respond as best you can through your drunken haze.
  276. “Fuckin’ classwork. Gotta finish it.”
  277. >Ditzy slowly gets to her hooves, concern obvious on her face.
  278. >”I-I don’t think you should do your work after drinking so much, Mr. Anonymous.”
  279. >You pause.
  280. “Heeeeeeyyyy…”
  281. >She recoils as you approach, but you sweep her off her hooves, squeezing her.
  282. “Ya got a point there, Ditzy. Good girl. Let’s game instead. Fuck that class anyhow.”
  283. >She struggles weakly in your grasp, cheeks rose-hued and face showing confusion.
  284. >”E-Er, sir, p-please put me down. G-Game?”
  285. “Shhhhh, don’t worry about it. I’m gonna blow your mind with this shit. Just watch.
  286. >You plop back down into your computer chair, setting Ditzy in your lap as you power up your battle station.
  287.  
  288. >You’re Ditzy Doo.
  289. >You sit perched in your host’s lap, watching the image on the screen as he plays his “games.”
  290. >You were a little frightened when he suddenly grabbed you and started talking about playing games, but...
  291. >This is nice.
  292. >The swaying man laughs and curses in equal measure as he plays, his drunkenness hampering his abilities, and he scratches your ear in between.
  293. >You nod along with whatever he says, sneaking glances up at him.
  294. >His mood changed for the better once he’d had his drinks.
  295. >When you first met him, you were afraid he’d kick you off his porch.
  296. >He’s kind of imposing, and you’ve learned to expect indifference at best from your two-legged overlords.
  297. >But despite his stony expression, he gave you a warm place to sleep, and kept taking you in whenever Keith kicked you out.
  298. >You want to stay here, with this kindly drunkard of a human.
  299. >Even with his habit, he’s still better than your owner.
  300. “Mr. Anonymous?”
  301. >”Wot? Wuzzup?”
  302. “C-Can I stay the night?”
  303. >A smile splits his face from ear to ear.
  304. >”Fuuuuuuuck yeah you can! Wuz gonna make you, anyway. Fuck Keith. Little bastard. Don’t ever go back.”
  305. >O-Oh.
  306. >Well then.
  307. >His hand finds your scalp before you can speak more, and his fingers put you in bliss.
  308. “But… Ooooohh… I mean… You’d be stealing me… Technically…”
  309. >”Ditzy. Ditzy. Ditzy. Look in my eyes and ask me if I give a shit.”
  310. >You struggle to turn around, managing to focus one of your eyes onto his much smaller ones.
  311. >You’ve always wondered how they see anything with such tiny eyes.
  312. “W-What if Keith reports me as a runaway?”
  313. >He falls silent at that.
  314. >”Uhhh… Fuck. Got me there. You want to take the risk?”
  315. >You do.
  316. >You do so badly it hurts.
  317. >But images of clipping shears on feathers flash through your mind, and your resolve falls away.
  318. >You wilt in his lap, eyes falling to the floor.
  319. >You’re pathetic.
  320. >You’re literally sitting in the lap of a better life, and you don’t have the spine to grasp it.
  321. >He seems to know, too.
  322. >He presses a few buttons on his machine, then he picks you up and carries you back to his chair.
  323. >”Well… No pressure. Jus' think about it, okay?”
  324. “…Okay.”
  325. >You manage to squeak out an answer as you curl up, trying to mask your shame.
  326. >You hear him walk away and think he’s left you alone for a moment, but he returns to drape a blanket over you.
  327. >”G’night, Ditzy.”
  328. >You sit up, pulling the blanket tight around you as you watch him stumble back to his bedroom.
  329. “G-Goodnight, Mr. Anonymous. Thank you so much.”
  330. >An idle wave of his hand is your only response before he turns the light off, and you hear him flop onto his bed.
  331. >You stay sitting there for a long time, listening to his breathing.
  332. >After a time he starts snoring, and you know he’s asleep.
  333. >You burrow into the chair and close your eyes.
  334. >Waves of disgust crash over you.
  335. >You still doubted him, even after he fed you and scratched you.
  336. >If he was going to try something, he would have by now.
  337. >Tears well up.
  338. >You liked to think your servitude hadn’t changed you.
  339. >But the Ditzy Doo who lived in Ponyville would never be so suspicious of another’s kindness.
  340. >You bury your face in the armrest and weep.
  341.  
  342. >The alarm on your phone blares, and you drag a hand across your face as the other reaches to shut it off.
  343. >You’re back to being Anon, though you’re not sure how you’d stop in the first place.
  344. >You crawl out of bed and head for the bathroom to go through your typical morning routine.
  345. >It isn’t until you emerge in the other room fully clothed that you remember you have company.
  346. >Crooked, golden eyes peer up at you from beneath the blanket.
  347. >”Good morning, sir.”
  348. “Morning Ditzy. Shower’s open.”
  349. >She hesitates for a moment before hopping out from your chair, murmuring thanks as she trots into your bathroom while you fire up the stove.
  350. >You feel like eggs on toast this morning.
  351. >You whip up a serving for yourself, and are frying a pair of unfertilized chicken ova for your quadruped guest when she comes out of the bathroom.
  352. “Can you stay for breakfast?”
  353. >”Oh! Um… I’d love to. Thank you.”
  354. “Sweet.”
  355. >You dust the eggs with a little salt and pepper, then lay them on a couple slices of toast.
  356. >Put it on a plate and it’s breakfast.
  357. “Here you go. I’m fresh out of any drink that isn’t water, but if you want a glass I’ll get you one.”
  358. >”No, I’m alright.”
  359. >You set the plate on her back before carrying yours over to your chair, sitting down in it.
  360. >It takes a moment for you to notice Ditzy looking at you uncertainly, and you realize you’d robbed her of her spot.
  361. >You quickly switch to your computer chair, patting the cushion you were just sitting on.
  362. “Hop up.”
  363. >She carefully sets her plate on the armrest, then climbs in.
  364. >You both tuck in voraciously, and you mind the clock.
  365. >You were hoping to talk to her before you left for classes, but you’ll need to keep it short.
  366. >You were never a beat-around-the-bush sort of guy, anyway.
  367. “When will you go back?”
  368. >She swallows a mouthful before responding.
  369. >”Mmm. I was thinking I could leave when you do?”
  370. “Sure. So, uh… Is it still pretty bad?"
  371. >She pauses at that, mouth scrunching.
  372. >Circumstances aside, that’s awfully cute.
  373. >Who could strike that?
  374. >A faggot named Keith, apparently.
  375. >”Y-Yes. He’s… Upset with me pretty often.”
  376. >You’re well aware of that.
  377. >He was never very good at hiding his displeasure.
  378. >You reach a hand out to her mane, dragging your fingers through her cleaned hair.
  379. ”I’ll talk to him. Try and get him to lay off."
  380. >Her eyes turn towards the floor, and a bashful smile spreads across her face.
  381. >”You’re very kind, sir. Thank you.”
  382. >You avert your own eyes at that, for fear of blushing.
  383. “Y-You too."
  384. >She finishes her meal, the picks up the plate in her mouth.
  385. >She leaps off your chair, and you’re once more treated to the sight of the most haphazard flying you’ve ever seen.
  386. >Somehow, some way, she makes the landing on your counter again, setting the dish in the sink.
  387. >You put yours in on top of hers and glance at the clock.
  388. >Zero-hour.
  389. >You turn to Ditzy.
  390. “It’s about that time. I’ll… see you soon, okay?”
  391. >She smiles again.
  392. >”Yes, Mr. Anonymous. Have a good day at class.”
  393. “Y-Yeah.”
  394. >You try to look busy picking up all your things, but you’re really just hiding your face.
  395. >After getting your shit together both physically and metaphorically, you open the door for her.
  396. >Instead of heading down, however, she just sits.
  397. >You cock an eyebrow, and she sheepishly responds.
  398. >”E-Er… I need to… prepare. You know. Mentally.”
  399. >You do a poor job of hiding your frown.
  400. “I get it. Hang in there.”
  401. >You scratch her ear one last time, then descend the stairs.
  402. >Glancing over your shoulder, you catch a glimpse of her waving you goodbye.
  403.  
  404. >Your breaths are long and slow, trying to calm yourself as you lower your hoof.
  405. >You are Ditzy Doo once more.
  406. >You curl up on Mr. Anonymous’ door mat, nerving yourself.
  407. >You don’t have to go now.
  408. >You can wait a while, and you’ll need to get your story straight in the meantime.
  409. >Master Keith doesn’t know you’ve been spending time with Mr. Anonymous, and you want it to stay that way.
  410. >It’d just bring trouble on your benefactor if you were found out.
  411. >You think, trying to come up with a believable tale.
  412. >The lies come readily.
  413. >You’d simply flown up into the clouds, built yourself a little shelter, and slept there.
  414. >There was no way for him to disprove it.
  415. >It should work, but nothing was certain with your tempestuous master.
  416. >You weren’t a graceful pony by any means, and he made it clear he didn’t like that about you.
  417. >You’d broken more than a few things.
  418. >Some on accident, some not.
  419. >Your feeble attempts at resistance.
  420. >You manage a dry chuckle.
  421. >Really sticking it to your oppressor by breaking plates.
  422. >You sad little mare.
  423. >Eventually you can’t put it off any longer, and you begin your trip down.
  424. >Back to your “home.”
  425. >You knock on the door, and your owner’s petulant voice responds.
  426. >”What? Who’s there?”
  427. “It’s Ditzy. Sir.”
  428. >You nearly slipped up there.
  429. >It doesn’t naturally come out like it does with Mr. Anonymous.
  430. >”Where’ve you been, you dumb horse? It’s 10 A.M.”
  431. >The door opens, and there he is.
  432. >Shorter than Mr. Anonymous, but stockier.
  433. >Beady little eyes glaring down at you, black hair too short to obscure them.
  434. >He blocks the doorway with his body, clearly not wanting to let you in until he has an answer.
  435. >You could slip by, but…
  436. >Mr Anonymous isn’t here to give you another ice bag.
  437. “I-I slept up in the clouds last night. Didn’t have my alarm to wake me up. Sorry sir.”
  438. >He leers at you, searching for signs of a lie before relenting.
  439. >”Whatever. Get in here and get to work.
  440. >You grimace when he finally looks away.
  441. >You hope Mr. Anonymous can talk to him soon.
  442.  
  443. >Once more, you return to being Anonymous.
  444. >Class is moving slow as molasses today.
  445. >The fact that it’s just a graduate reading his powerpoints to you has something to do with it, certainly, but mostly you’re thinking about Ditzy.
  446. >You’re glad you finally had an actual conversation with her instead of just letting her heal on your chair.
  447. >You twirl your pen idly in your hand as you ponder.
  448. >You said you’d talk to Keith, but saying the two of you are excommunicated is putting it lightly.
  449. >You weren’t friends, so much as you were the only one who’d put up with him.
  450. >But neither of your personalities are conducive to maintaining good relations.
  451. >After arguing one night when you were drunk, he’d taken a swing at you.
  452. >From there, your fragile friendship had deteriorated into apathy on your part, and outright animosity on his.
  453. >You still can’t quite remember what you said to him that night, but it fueled an entire year of hostility and obtuseness from your neighbor.
  454. >You aren’t looking forward to reopening that can of worms, but you’ll do it for Ditzy.
  455. >Why’s that jackass keep her if he doesn’t even like her?
  456. >The frown on your face must have been pretty noticeable, because the instructor calls to you.
  457. >”Is there something wrong, Anonymous?”
  458. >You twitch, shaken from your thoughts.
  459. >A couple of your classmates look at you uncertainly.
  460. “Yeah. I mean no. I’m fine. Just thinking about stuff.”
  461. >”Fair enough. Just try to focus while you’re in my class.”
  462. “Sure. Won’t happen again.”
  463. >Twenty minutes later, the class finally ends, and you beat a hasty retreat from the room.
  464. >You emerge into the dark winter night, the overcast clouds stifling whatever sunlight might have been left.
  465. >It’s well into the evening, and people crowd the sidewalk.
  466. >Some are on their way home, others headed to the local bars and diners.
  467. >You consider joining the latter crowd, but decide against it.
  468. >Better to get home, in case Ditzy needs you again.
  469. >You make a quick stop at your favored convenience store to get drinks.
  470. >Wandering the aisles, you find the non-alcoholic beverages.
  471. >Normally you wouldn’t even spare them a glance, but you might have company tonight.
  472. >Your eyes wander the selection, trying to decide what she’d like.
  473. >Maybe something sweet?
  474. >You settle on a bottle of Snapple, and get a bag of M&M’s to go with.
  475. >You figure you might as well get some snack for yourself too, and soon enough you have an armful of snacks and beer to lug to the counter.
  476. >The bag hangs heavy in your hand as you walk the darkened streets.
  477. >Your thoughts dog you at every step.
  478. >Would she get in trouble for having stayed with you?
  479. >Did Keith know where she went?
  480. >How can you even help her if he doesn’t care what you have to say?
  481. >The journey is a blur of frustration and worry.
  482. >Finally, you turn down your alley.
  483. >A shape sits at the base of your stairs.
  484. >You rush down the gravel driveway, but skid to a stop.
  485. >It’s not Ditzy.
  486. >Green eyes look up at you from the shadows.
  487. >”Howdy there. Came ta visit again.”
  488.  
  489. >You narrow your eyes, saying nothing at first.
  490. >She’s not the least bit discouraged.
  491. >She laughs, even.
  492. >”Heheheheh. C’mon now, don’t be like that. Didn’t run ya down this time, did I?”
  493. “Yeah. I’m jumping for joy. Look, if you came to beg for more food, the answer’s no. This stuff’s reserved.”
  494. >Her eyes flick to bag, looking it over, then focus on you again.
  495. >”Hooch n’ sweets, by the look of it. Sure you ain’t got anything else in that place of yours?”
  496. >Ugh.
  497. “Barely. Just give it up, alright? I’m not about to start paying food expenses for you and your sister. If she even exists.”
  498. >”She’s real, alright. And she liked them chips you gave us. Didn’t ya, Bloom?”
  499. >She calls out to the empty alley, except it’s not empty.
  500. >A tiny shape slinks around the corner of the building, dark red mane reaching down to her hooves.
  501. >Amber eyes look at you with apprehension, but she slowly trots to her sister’s side.
  502. >She looks like she’d bolt if you so much as sneezed.
  503. "Gonna blackmail me, is that it? Trying to see if I want her on my conscience?”
  504. >The elder pony wraps her foreleg around the smaller one as she rebuts you.
  505. >”I’m tryin' to find a way to get food that doesn’t involve drawin’ police attention or…”
  506. >She grimaces.
  507. >”Favors.”
  508. >You gnaw the inside of your lip as she continues.
  509. >”You got a bit of pity in your heart. I know that. Means you ain’t no rotten apple. You helped me once. Even if ya don’t this time, I’ll never forget that.”
  510. “You’re banking on me to save your hide because of that? A single bag of chips?”
  511. >She nods solemnly.
  512. >”I know my apples.”
  513. >What the fuck is that supposed mean?
  514. >This isn’t Ditzy, you can’t trust her in your home.
  515. >She could be lying, scoping out your place to come back and rob later with others.
  516. >But…
  517. >Your gaze drifts down to the little yellow one at her side, who just stares back, never saying a word.
  518. >…you’re a goddamned sap, Anon.
  519. “Fine. I can make you some food, but you stay put where I tell you and don’t touch anything or else. Clear?”
  520. >A smile breaks across the orange bandit’s face.
  521. >”You betcha.”
  522. >The both of them follow you into your apartment, and you hesitate a moment before gesturing to the armchair.
  523. >The two ponies settle into what has become your pony perch while you turn to your fridge.
  524. >The page long grocery list magnetized to the front does not bode well.
  525. >You open the door to find cold air, an empty six-pack, and…
  526. >Eggs.
  527. >Welp.
  528. >You heave a sigh and get to work while your guests watch from their seat.
  529. >You figure you’ll just make egg in a hole, since you still have a couple slices of bread left.
  530. >Might be some jam in the cupboards somewhere, too…
  531. >The orange mini-horse breaks the silence while you grease the pan.
  532. >”What’s yer name?”
  533. “Anonymous. What’s yours?”
  534. >”Applejack. ’N the little one here’s Apple Bloom.”
  535. >Still not a sound from the smaller one, and the staring orange eyes are starting to make you uncomfortable.
  536. >You momentarily wonder what kind of shit you have to see to get eyes like that.
  537. >The next moment, you decide you don’t want to know.
  538. >You use a glass to make the holes in the bread, then throw them on the heat, doing your best to ignore the stare drilling into the side of your head.
  539. >”Whatcha makin’ us?”
  540. >At least someone’s trying to break the awkward silence.
  541. “Egg in a hole.”
  542. >”…at night?”
  543. “Look, if you can find something else to eat, I’ll be happy to cook it.”
  544. >It was just a clumsy retort, but she actually gets up and walks over, opening your refrigerator.
  545. >”…Gee, fella. What’ll ya eat tomorrow?”
  546. “Tomorrow I’ll finally remember to get some actual groceries, maybe. Don’t worry about it.”
  547. >You crack eggs into the holed bread while she talks to you again.
  548. >”Yer an odd one, Anonymous.”
  549. “Don’t remind me.”
  550. >Just a few minutes of heat later, you unload the finished product onto two plates, with the circular pieces of toast beside.
  551. >And just like you thought, there was a bit of jam left in the cupboard.
  552. >Not too bad for short notice.
  553. “Food’s ready.”
  554. >Your guests take their plates and tear into the food with zest.
  555. >In no time at all they’re licking the tableware clean.
  556. “…Did you even taste it?”
  557. >Applejack sighs in satisfaction, offering you the plate.
  558. >”I surely did, Anonymous. And it tasted mighty fine. I thank ya.”
  559. “No problem.”
  560. >You take her plate, and hold out a hand toward Applebloom, waiting for her to do the same.
  561. >The smaller pony, for the first time, averts her eyes from you.
  562. >”Thanks, mister.”
  563. >You barely resist the urge to scratch her ears.
  564. >You don’t think she’d appreciate it.
  565. “You’re welcome, Applebloom.”
  566. >Setting the plates in the sink, you dig out your books and sit down at your desk to do homework.
  567. >No point in getting into the snack food you bought if Ditzy wasn’t here, and drinking didn’t have a good effect on your productivity.
  568. >Silence permeates your little apartment, broken only by the scratching of your pencil and the click-clack of fingers on a keyboard.
  569. “…You aren’t going to sleep here.”
  570. >Applejack huffs.
  571. >”Pshaw! I know that. My granny taught me how ta be a good guest, fella. Just enjoyin’ your chair, here. You know how long it’s been since I sat in an armchair like this?”
  572. >You know very well.
  573. >Ditzy’s words about pizza flash through your memory.
  574. “Fair enough. I’ll let you out before I go to bed.”
  575.  
  576. >The hours flew by.
  577. >Applejack had asked if you had any books to read.
  578. >Upon being provided with "The Eye of the World,” she had begun reading to Applebloom.
  579. >The sight made you feel better about letting them stay a while.
  580. >Eventually you got enough work done to be able to safely procrastinate again and loaded up Steam.
  581. >You were crushing a revenant's skull under Doomguy’s armored boot when you think you vaguely hear the orange Apple calling to you through your headphones.
  582. >You pause and turn around, but she’s still reading to her sister, not even looking at you.
  583. >Then where’s that noise coming from?
  584. >You pull your headphones off and listen.
  585. >You feel a pit in your gut.
  586. >It’s coming from downstairs.
  587. >Shouting.
  588. >You’re up, out of the chair, and across the room before you know it, shoes halfway on.
  589. >What are you even going to do?
  590. >What can you do?
  591. >Your guest interrupts your thoughts.
  592. >”What’s the matter? Where you goin'?”
  593. “Nowhere. Stay here.”
  594. >She says something else, but you’re already out the door.
  595. >You rush down the stairs, the noise coming from Keith’s apartment just like you knew it would be.
  596. >You pound on the door.
  597. >The noise abates, and you hear Keith call.
  598. >”What?!”
  599. “Just a friendly reminder to shut up.”
  600. >”Fuck off, Anon!”
  601. “No, you. And don’t call me that. Open the door.”
  602. >”Yeah, nah. Take my advice and mind your own business!”
  603. “Look, Kweef, you open the door or I call the landlady and report you for animal abuse.”
  604. >”What, you a pony rights activist now?”
  605. “Oh, there’s another group who’d be interested in hearing about this! I hear they’re reeaaaal zealous, those PRA’s. Maybe I should drop by the campus group’s office and tell them about my asshole neighbor, eh?”
  606. >”…You wouldn’t.”
  607. >You’ve got him, the little bitch.
  608. “You fucking bet I would, Keith. We’re not friends, remember? Now open the door.”
  609. >There’s a moment of silence, but just as you’re about to reach for your phone the door opens.
  610. >There’s Keith.
  611. >In boxers and undershirt.
  612. >Face is still as punchable as the last time you saw it.
  613. >Your eyes sweep over the room behind him.
  614. >There’s Ditzy.
  615. >…Bound on the floor.
  616.  
  617. >Your hands fly to the front of Keith’s shirt, seizing him.
  618. “You get into bondage all of a sudden, dirtbag?”
  619. >”What? No, I’m just spanking her. That’s how you make them learn.”
  620. “Says who?! They can fucking speak, dickhead, and I bet money she’s smarter than you are!”
  621. >”Anyone would tell you the same! Check online! You beat them a little, they stay obedient. What’s your problem?"
  622. “You piece of-“
  623. >”Back off-!“
  624. “Like hell I will!”
  625. >You forcefully shove him out of the way.
  626. >You fumble with the belts holding Ditzy’s wings and legs while she stammers.
  627. >Her words are lost on you as Keith makes his disapproval at your trespass known.
  628. >His arm hooks around your neck and hauls you backwards, trapping you in a headlock.
  629. >”Did you finally go full retard, Anon?!”
  630. >You manage only a strangled snarl in response, jabbing an elbow into his guts.
  631. >He grunts, but his hold doesn’t loosen, and things start to look bad for your little intervention attempt.
  632. >You roll and thrash, even managing to get on all fours at one point, but Keith just shouts abuse and keeps choking you.
  633. >Your vision begins to swim.
  634. >Shit, come on, not to this asshole of all people!
  635. >Craning your neck, you clack your teeth trying to bite into his arm.
  636. >No dice.
  637. >Your arms and legs buckle, and you wonder whether he’d fall for a tap out when somebody whistles.
  638. >You and Keith both look up.
  639. >An orange hoof crashes into his skull, just barely missing your own.
  640. >Keith doesn’t even cry out, falling off you limp as a rag doll.
  641. >You pull deep, greedy breaths of air into your burning lungs.
  642. >Did air always taste this good?
  643. >”Y’alright there, Anonymous?”
  644. “I *wheeze* told you to *cough* stay put.”
  645. >She rolls her eyes.
  646. >”Yer welcome. Who’d I just- Celestia’s mane! Ditzy Doo?”
  647. >Leaving you to your breathing, your guest hurries over to the wriggling grey pegasus.
  648. >”A-Applejack? Is it really you?”
  649. >”It’s good to see ya, Ditzy. Lemme get them belts.”
  650. >Someway, somehow, her hooves undo the buckles and Ditzy rises to her hooves.
  651. >She hugs Applejack quickly, then rushes to you.
  652. >”Are you okay?”
  653. >Applejack chuckles as she watches you rise to your feet.
  654. >"He’s fine. ‘Cept for his pride.”
  655. >You shoot her a glower before focusing on Ditzy.
  656. “Are /you/ okay? I heard the shouts, and I came to help.”
  657. >”S-Sir, I appreciate it, I really do, but…”
  658. >She looks warily at Keith’s prone form, speaking quietly.
  659. >”That was a really dumb thing to do.”
  660. >You feel a twinge of hurt in your chest, but you know she’s right.
  661. >You’ll have a hell of a time wriggling your way out of this one, Anon.
  662. >Even if he doesn’t remember exactly what happened, there’ll still be trouble when he awakes.
  663. “I’ll figure it out. Go upstairs with Applejack. I’ll… clean up a bit.”
  664. >Ditzy hesitates, unsure whether she should leave you alone, but Applejack speaks.
  665. >”Head on up, Ditzy. Applebloom’s up there, and she’ll be happy to see ya. I’ll make sure he don’t do nothing stupid."
  666. >You grumble, and Applejack grins cheekily as Ditzy relents.
  667. >”O-Okay…”
  668. >She turns to leave, and now you notice the bruises on her torso.
  669. >Your teeth grind.
  670. >As the door shuts behind her, orange horse turns to you.
  671. >”What exactly’re you gonna do?”
  672. “Well… Not sure. If he remembers anything, I'm fucked.”
  673. >”I got ‘im pretty good. Odds are he won’t.”
  674. “That’s not good enough. Not with this. If he has even the slightest suspicion… Argh.”
  675. >You pace the room, wracking your brains.
  676. >You need Keith to think something else happened tonight.
  677. >He can’t think you or an unknown pony were involved.
  678. >How do you achieve this?
  679. >You absently lean against his refrigerator while inklings of an idea slowly come to you.
  680. >You have his entire apartment to work with.
  681. >You’ll frame him for his own assault.
  682. >You can’t help but chuckle at the thought, and Applejack quirks an eyebrow.
  683. “I think I know what to do. Help me out.”
  684.  
  685. >Applejack cackles when you explain your plan.
  686. >You have to admit, it’s not your best.
  687. >But it’s all you’ve got, and she didn’t have a better one.
  688. >You open Keith’s fridge, and extract the rack of beer you knew would be in there.
  689. >If there was one thing you two had in common, it was a propensity for drinking.
  690. >At least you had the dignity to not drink PBR of all things.
  691. >You crack one open and promptly pour it down the sink.
  692. >”Ain’t that a waste? Why don’t we drink some?”
  693. “Try it and you’ll understand.”
  694. >You open a second and offer it to her.
  695. >She takes the can in her hoof, sniffing it before sipping.
  696. >”Eugh. That’s some cut-rate beer, right there.”
  697. “Told you. It’s cheap, but that’s all that’s good about it.”
  698. >Between the two of you, you empty a dozen cans down the drain.
  699. >Time for phase two.
  700. >You begin chucking them around the room, making sure it looks like someone had a hell of a night.
  701. >You knock some stuff over and make make a mess here and there.
  702. >Purely for the sake of creating the illusion, of course.
  703. >No malicious intent here.
  704. >Now for the cherry on top.
  705. >You heft Keith’s limp body towards his little table, letting him fall down beside it.
  706. >You put one of the empties beneath your shoe, stepping lightly.
  707. >It caves on one side and flattens on the other, sliding along the floor.
  708. >With great care, you place it a measured pace from Keith’s foot.
  709. >You stand back to survey your crime scene.
  710. >Got smashed, slipped on a can, hit the table with his thick skull, and went out like a light.
  711. >No angry neighbors or strange miniature horses involved.
  712. >You’re an artist, Anon.
  713. “Whatcha think, Applejack? I call it ‘I Have no Brain, and I Must Dream.’”
  714. >She just gives you a weird look.
  715. >Fuckin’ pleb.
  716. “Anyways, thanks for the save. How’d you know to come down?”
  717. >She explains as you close the door behind you.
  718. >”Ya weren’t exactly bein’ quiet about your little dustup, Anonymous. Wanted to know what was happenin’. Who is he, anyways? Why’d ya tussle with him?”
  719. “Tell you in a bit. Let me talk to Ditzy.”
  720. >You hurry up the stairs and throw the door open.
  721. >Ditzy and Applebloom are seated in your armchair, but both jump out once you walk into the room.
  722. >Ditzy canters over, looking up at you uncertainly.
  723. >”What were you doing…?”
  724. >You squat down to her level, scratching her ears.
  725. “Making sure Keith sleeps well. More importantly, how are those bruises?”
  726. >She swipes your hand off of her head, holding it.
  727. >”Never mind that! Sir, you’re going to get in trouble! When he wakes up-“
  728. >Applejack butts in.
  729. >”He won’t remember squat, Ditzy. Even half-starved, I can still buck.”
  730. >Ditzy still looks uncertain, and you honestly still aren’t sure if you can set any stock in Applejack.
  731. >Regardless, a change of mood is called for.
  732. “Regardless of how it turns out, I don’t regret what I did. Anyway, I got something for you.”
  733. >You pull the Snapple out of your fridge and the M&M’s from where you had stashed them, proffering them.
  734. >”Got you some snacks for the next time you stayed over. Didn’t think it would be this soon, but… Here.”
  735. >She looks at the treats in your hands, then at your face, then sighs.
  736. >”You’re too kind, sir.”
  737. “And you’re too stiff. Quit calling me sir and eat these.”
  738. >You set the bottle and package on her back, then return to the fridge to get the beer you’d bought for the evening, and dig the snack food out of the bag still sitting on the floor.
  739. >You turn to head towards your computer chair, but find yourself getting a look from Applejack.
  740. >”…So.”
  741. “…So?”
  742. >”Gonna tell me why you’re out buying’ sweets fer Ditzy when ya ain’t even got food to eat yourself? N’ why Bloom and me don’t get none?”
  743. >You give her your best deadpan, but she doesn’t budge.
  744. >Ditzy hurriedly speaks up.
  745. >”H-He’s been helping, me Applejack. And I’ll be happy to share, you know that. Mr. Anonymous will too!”
  746. >…You guess.
  747. >You open everything up, including your first bottle of the night, helping your grey guest explain recent events to her orange acquaintance.
  748.  
  749. >You’re Ditzy Doo, and you’re as happy as a pony can be given the circumstances.
  750. >You finally met a familiar face after all this time!
  751. >Two, even!
  752. >You talked with them long into the night, the snacks slowly disappearing.
  753. >You guzzled the bottle of Snapple Mr. Anonymous had bought for you before you’d even realized.
  754. >I-It was so sugary!
  755. >And the little candies in the bag were delicious too, though you’d managed to control yourself long enough to share those with the Apple sisters.
  756. >”Well, I never! Anonymous, you two-faced timberwolf, you take in Ditzy Doo whenever she comes by but leave me out in the cold with a bag o’ chips?! Ya got some nerve, fella!”
  757. >He just sits at his desk, playing on his computer, although you think you hear him mutter something under his breath.
  758. >”Don’t you ignore me, ya alcoholic!”
  759. >“I’m not an alcoholic. And call it favoritism. I’ve known Ditzy for over half a year, and she didn’t try to mug me when we first met.”
  760. >Applejack glowers and grumbles, but it was the sort of glowering and grumbling she used to reserve for Rainbow Dash and the other Elements.
  761. >She appreciates what he’s done.
  762. >You think.
  763. >Still…
  764. >You watch him pull his third bottle from the pack.
  765. >He opens it and takes a long swig, then returns to his game.
  766. >He drinks like a fish.
  767. “…Mr. Anonymous, sir?”
  768. >His response is calm, but he doesn’t take his eyes off the screen.
  769. >”Don’t call me that. What is it?”
  770. >As gentle as it is, you still flinch at the reprimand.
  771. “Can Applejack and Applebloom use your shower too?”
  772. >Applejack looks at you in surprise, but Mr. Anonymous responds casually.
  773. >”Sure. Just don’t take too long.”
  774. >The sisters voice their gratitude and head into the bathroom, leaving you alone with the taciturn human as you’d hoped.
  775. “Anonymous?”
  776. >”Better. What?”
  777. “Why do you help me and Applejack?”
  778. >He takes so long in responding you think he just ignored you at first.
  779. >”I didn’t really think much about it. I just wanted to.”
  780. “That’s it?”
  781. >”I don’t do it for every pony I see. I’m not a bleeding heart. You just happened to choose my doorstep to sleep on. Then you kept coming back and keeping a lonely dude company. Why would I say no? As for her, well…”
  782. >He jerks his head towards the bathroom, where muffled talk can be heard.
  783. >”It was mostly just to get her to leave me alone. Though there was some pity involved too.”
  784. >You tilt your head, continuing to watch as his fingers tap the keys.
  785. >You don’t think he’s lying.
  786. >You’d been wary of him ever since he’d first taken you in, but the ulterior motives you’d feared had never surfaced.
  787. >Have you stumbled upon a good human after all?
  788. >More likely you’re just getting ahead of yourself.
  789. “So, that’s all you want? Company?”
  790. >He stops his game, slowly turning around in his chair.
  791. >”…You accusing me of something?”
  792. “N-No. I just… I just can’t imagine you don’t want… want… you know.”
  793. >His face stays blank, but you can see something in his eyes.
  794. >It looks like hurt.
  795. >”Ditzy, if you don’t wanna stay here I won’t make you.”
  796. “Where else would I stay? Anonymous, I don’t… I don’t know what to make of you. It's too good to be true. A total stranger taking me in for nothing? I’d see that in Equestria, maybe, but /never/ here. I mean, you just took me in and fed me and let me sleep here just ‘cause you wanted somepony to… to touch? To talk to? I don’t get you!”
  797. >…
  798. >The silence stretches on.
  799. >He hesitantly opens his mouth to respond but sees something behind you, promptly shutting it and glowering.
  800. >You turn to see a dripping Applejack peering around the door jamb.
  801. >”You having fun eavesdropping there?”
  802. >”Well shoot, Ditzy was being so loud, a pony couldn’t help but get concerned. Well, go on. Ah was enjoyin' watchin’ you squirm.”
  803. >The human growls, turning about and resuming his game.
  804. >You sigh, climbing back into the chair while AJ chuckles and returns to her bath.
  805. >You don’t think you’ll be getting any more out of him tonight.
  806.  
  807. >You’ve had a good bit to drink and have had your fill of games for the night, so you’re Anon.
  808. >You are also still a bit unsettled by Ditzy’s sudden outburst.
  809. >You weren’t sure how to respond, and Applejack being a snoop didn’t help.
  810. >So you settled for your usual strategy when it came to dealing with emotional things.
  811. >Grumbling and shutting out the outside world.
  812. >It did confirm your theory, though. She didn’t really trust you.
  813. >You don’t mind. She doesn’t need to trust you to keep you company.
  814. >You power down your machine and turn to look at the ponies hanging out in your living room.
  815. >Ditzy avoids eye contact with you.
  816. >Applejack doesn’t.
  817. >”Gonna kick us out now?”
  818. >That had been your plan, but you pay your debts.
  819. “You saved me from Keith earlier, so… I guess that earns you a warm place to sleep, at least.”
  820. >Applejack looks genuinely startled, and you think you see a hint of a smile on Ditzy’s face
  821. >”Well, Ah never. You keep all this up an’ I might start believin’ you got a heart Anonymous.”
  822. “I do. It’s a bit cold, but it’s there. Give me a sec.”
  823. >You step into your bedroom and dig through the closet for a couple spare blankets, then return.
  824. >”Here. Make yourselves comfortable.”
  825. >You toss one blanket at the sisters and the other at Ditzy.
  826. >Ditzy lets out a surprised squeak at the face full of fabric, but the apple horse catches hers in her mouth, swinging it around to land in a neat heap on her back.
  827. >”Many thanks, fella.”
  828. “Sure. Goodnight.”
  829. >Your guests bid you the same as you saunter back into your room.
  830. >You flop onto your bed, set your alarm, and promptly begin to drift, praying to whatever gods may be that your stuff is still there when you wake up.
  831.  
  832. >The next thing you’re aware of is muffled cursing and the blaring of your morning alarm.
  833. >Neither of those things by themselves are unusual, but the swearing isn’t coming from you.
  834. >Cracking an eye open, you see a frazzle-haired AJ bopping your phone with a hoof.
  835. >”Shut it, shut it, shut it! Stupid damn thing-“
  836. >You think this is the most attuned to another being you’ve felt in months.
  837. >You reach out, gently pushing AJ’s hoof away and turning the alarm off
  838. >”Whoa! Startled me there, Anonymous. Mornin’."
  839. “Morning.”
  840. >Your morning routine goes by in a blur as you slowly gain full consciousness.
  841. >You shuffle into your other room, opening the fridge out of habit.
  842. >It only serves to remind you that you are officially shit out of food.
  843. “Dammit.”
  844. >”Is something wrong, Anonymous?”
  845. >You turn to find Ditzy looking at you from under the blanket you gave her las night.
  846. “Nothing’s wrong. Just got an errand to run today.”
  847. >Closing the door, you grab the grocery list, fold it up, and tuck it into your wallet.
  848. >Looks like it’s water and self-loathing for breakfast.
  849. >You try to strike up conversation while you fill a glass.
  850. “Sleep well?”
  851. >”Yeah, thanks.”
  852. >…
  853. >You’re about to lament yet another failure at socialization when Ditzy picks up the slack.
  854. >”Um… What should I do today? I’m scared to go back to-“
  855. “Stay here.”
  856. >The forcefulness of your answer surprises even you.
  857. >”But-“
  858. “No buts. I don’t care. He wouldn’t find you up here in a million years. You’re safe. And even if he reports you missing or something, so what? He hates you, Ditzy. He’s not going to put a reward up. I don’t think people will care even if you are seen in public. I’ll just hide you from him.”
  859. >She manages to smile weakly at the thought.
  860. >”If… If you say so, Anonymous.”
  861. “I do. So… Yeah. Stay here.”
  862. >…Man, you didn’t expect theft to feel this good.
  863. >The sound of Applejack clearing her throat gets your attention.
  864. >”Welp. Gonna let us out, Anonymous?”
  865. “Oh. Right. Just a minute. I gotta get ready to leave myself.”
  866. >”Well that’s alright. Me n’ Bloom’ll just have a talk with Ditzy while we wait.”
  867. >You get a weird vibe from how she phrased that, but you don’t have time to ponder it.
  868. >The three ponies sit in a huddle and speak in low tones while you gather up your stuff. You don’t catch any of what is said.
  869. >Once you’re all set to go, you undo the locks on your door and call over.
  870. ”I’ll be back in a few hours, Ditzy. C’mon AJ.”
  871. >The orange she-horse follows you out the door with her sister in tow, and you catch a glimpse of your new roommate waving the three of you goodbye before you lock the door behind you.
  872. >The three of you descend the stairs, then part ways.
  873. >”Well, Anonymous, Ah’m in your debt once again. See ya around.”
  874. >”Bye, mister.”
  875. >Your heart warms a bit at Applebloom’s quiet farewell, and you watch the duo disappear around the corner of your alley before you start making your way to the opposite end.
  876. >You silently hope that they stay safe.
  877.  
  878. >You’re currently hiding out in an apartment that doesn’t belong to you, so you’re Ditzy Doo.
  879. >And you can’t believe your luck.
  880. >It’s too good to be true!
  881. >Anonymous just up and told you to stay with him, maybe permanently!
  882. >Either his true colors are starting to show, or this is the change you’ve been hoping for.
  883. >Anonymous is nice. He doesn’t shout, he doesn’t make you do anything, he gives you pizza and scratchies…
  884. >But maybe that’s about to change.
  885. >You hope it isn’t.
  886. >Applejack wasn’t so sure.
  887. >You hear her warning again in your mind as you slowly wander Anonymous’ living space.
  888. >”Listen Ditzy. Ah’ll be quick. If things start goin’ sour around here, if ya start to think ol’ Anonymous ain’t so kind after all, come find me, ya hear? In that little park they got east of here, after dark. Follow the street. It’s a gatherin’ spot for free ponies, n’ we’ll take care of ya. Alright? Be safe, girl. It was good seein’ ya.”
  889. >It felt good to know you’d found another Equestrian to rely on.
  890. >It would be hard to try and live as a stray, but if other ponies could do it, so could you.
  891. >…You’d rather not, though.
  892. >Anonymous has a really comfy chair and a warm apartment.
  893. >It’s small and cozy, like your old cottage in Ponyville.
  894. >If he doesn’t change then maybe you wouldn’t mind living with him.
  895. >Or even…
  896. >Your cheeks burn, and you shake your head quickly.
  897. >No! Not that.
  898. >Even for him, you shouldn’t be willing to debase yourself!
  899. >You try to distract yourself by looking for something to do.
  900. >He keeps his place reasonably tidy.
  901. >His desk is covered with pieces of paper and a few books, but you decide against trying to organize them.
  902. >The little corner kitchen, oddly, seems like the cleanest part of the room.
  903. >You slow to a stop in front of the door leading to the other half of the apartment.
  904. >You’d gone through it before to get to his bathroom, but…
  905. >Just beyond and to the right lay his private space.
  906. >You’d always shied away from that space, not that he’d ever tried to get you onto his bed.
  907. >Still, you have who-knows-how-many hours before he gets home.
  908. >Might as well get familiar with the space. He keeps his other books in there too.
  909. >Taking a deep breath, you rear up and twist the doorknob with both hooves.
  910. >The door swings open suddenly under your bodyweight, and you face plant  onto the carpet.
  911. >Rubbing your sore nose with a hoof, you give silent thanks nobody was here to see that.
  912. >Stepping tentatively, you peer around Anonymous’ bedroom.
  913. >It’s smaller than the living space, dimly lit by sunlight filtering through blinds.
  914. >Wow, his bed is huge!
  915. >The blankets are thrown aside in a tangle. Maybe he’s the type that doesn’t make his bed in the morning.
  916. >You trot over and grab the hems in your mouth before you can even think, then drop them suddenly.
  917. >You don’t have to do this.
  918. >You shouldn’t do this. You’re about as close to free as you could hope for, now.
  919. >You don’t have to make any bed except your own.
  920. >But…
  921. >You can help a housemate, right…?
  922. >A favor in return for being kind for you?
  923. >But would he read into it? Would you be sending signals?
  924. “Ugh!”
  925. >You grunt in exasperation with yourself.
  926. >Just make the damn bed if you’re going to have a cow about it, Ditzy!
  927. >Resolutely, you seize the blankets in your mouth again, yanking the upwards and letting them drift back down onto the bed.
  928. >They don’t quite land right, and in your fervor you shook the blankets out so hard they knocked some things off his bedside table…
  929. >Nothing broke though!
  930. >You’ll get this right!
  931.  
  932. >It’s hours later and you’re hefting a pair of grocery bags full of actual food, so you must be Anonymous on his way home from classes.
  933. >It felt like they dragged on forever today, since you were excited to get home and see Ditzy.
  934. >It’s a strange feeling, knowing that you technically stole her even though she herself said she’d like to stay with you.
  935. >Whatever. The law can suck it.
  936. >You’ve got yourself a housemate who might actually be nice to live with, takes up little space, and helps you ignore the fact that you have no friends and no direction in life.
  937. >You turn down your alley and quickly make your way up the stairs, putting a bag down so you can get your keys out.
  938. >You hear a door open below you, and you quietly curse.
  939. >That had better not be-
  940. >”Uh, hey, Anonymous?”
  941. >Oh, it’s not Keith.
  942. >It’s… the guy next to him. Adam? Alan? Something like that.
  943. >”Keith was looking for you earlier. Have you seen his pony?”
  944. “No. What makes him think I’d know?”
  945. >”Nothing. He’s just asking everyone. She hasn’t come home since last night, and he’s out looking for her.”
  946. “Haven’t seen her. Tell him I said to eat a dick.”
  947. >The dude whose name probably starts with an A rolls his eyes and you finally slip your key into the lock.
  948. >Opening the door and dragging your bags inside, you close and relock it lickety-split, then heave a sigh of relief.
  949. >That’s enough human interaction for today.
  950. >You turn around to start unpacking, getting all the food stored away neatly inside the fridge.
  951. >It’s oddly quiet.
  952. “Ditzy? Where are you?”
  953. >There’s a muffled noise from your bedroom.
  954. >You make your way to the door and look inside.
  955. >…Jesus Christ, what happened in here?!
  956. >The books and things that had formerly rested on your nightstand are scattered across the floor, and your blankets look like they were flung around the room.
  957. >Your mattress is standing up on its side, perfectly balanced, and a wriggling mass of bed sheet is squeaking in dismay.
  958. >”S-Sir! I can explain! I’m so sorry! I- I just- I just don’t know what went wrong!”
  959. >The whole scene is so bizarre you need a moment to register, and when you do, you just start laughing.
  960. >You walk over to where Ditzy lays trapped and start helping her get out.
  961. “Did you do all this? What were you trying to do?”
  962. >As her head pokes free, you can see her cheeks are glowing with embarrassment.
  963. >”I was… I was trying to tidy up…”
  964. “And failed this spectacularly? Ditzy, this is… It’s like you rolled a critical miss in real life.”
  965. >”I know! This always happens! Ugh…”
  966. >She looks pretty bummed out.
  967. >You guess you shouldn’t tease her too much about it.
  968. “Well, I appreciate the thought. I’ll get this fixed up. Just hang out in the living room for a while.”
  969. >She sighs in resignation and leaves you to rebuild.
  970. >Stacking stuff back on your nightstand doesn’t take much time, but it takes a little effort to get your mattress righted and your bed remade.
  971. >Still, a few minutes of work and your room is back to the semi-clean state you left it in.
  972. >You return to the living room.
  973. >Ditzy is sulking on your armchair, so you decide to try and lighten the mood.
  974. “Hey, c’mon. It’s not a big deal.”
  975. >She sighs, then responds.
  976. >”No, I guess not. I just… I have a complex about it. Whenever I want to do a good job on something…”
  977. >She gestures wearily.
  978. >"You saw.”
  979. “You wanted to clean my room? You didn’t have to. Kind of thought you’d be sick of that shit by now.”
  980. >”I- It’s different. I meant it as a thank you for everything. Since I’m just a freeloader here.”
  981. “I appreciate it.”
  982. >You make to sit down at your desk and play some games, but she speaks up again.
  983. >”Um… Can I have something to eat? It’s been a long time.”
  984. >Oh fuck, you left her here without any food in the fridge!
  985. “Shit! Yeah, of course, I’m sorry. Just a second. I got some stuff for you, it’ll only take me a second to get it started.”
  986. >You spring back up from your chair and cross the room, throwing open your newly-restocked fridge.
  987. >Carrots, beets, parsnips, yams, potatoes.
  988. >You grab a couple of each and set them on the counter, then reach back into the fridge for an apple.
  989. >You don’t usually buy this much produce, but things have changed.
  990. “Here, ready? Catch. Have that while I work on the rest.”
  991. >You gently toss the apple across the room, and her grey wing unfurls to catch it, primaries folding like fingers...
  992. >…About a half-foot to the left of its actual trajectory.
  993. >The red missile instead sails by and bounces off her back before landing on the chair.
  994. >She looks at you. You look at her.
  995. >Her cheeks puff.
  996. >You almost bite through your lip trying not to laugh.
  997. “S-Sorry.”
  998. >She huffs, but picks up the apple and takes a bite.
  999. >You set the oven to heat and grab a knife.
  1000. >After a bit of frenzied slicing, you spread the little veggies pieces over a baking sheet, drizzling oil over them.
  1001. >A couple healthy shakes of salt and pepper, and it’s ready for the oven.
  1002. >Haute cuisine it isn’t, but a it’s still a decent way to cook up and eat a lot of root veggies at once.
  1003. >When the oven’s finally hot enough, you slide the pan in and check the time.
  1004. “Gonna be about twenty minutes. Sorry to make you wait, but I’m fixing you a big batch.”
  1005. >Ditzy’s eyebrows rise.
  1006. >”…You cook?”
  1007. “A bit. Enough for a bachelor.”
  1008. >You sit back down at your desk and check your email to kill time.
  1009. >…
  1010. >Wait, no. You can’t waste this.
  1011. >That was a perfect opportunity to converse.
  1012. “I, uh, don’t usually eat too many veggies, but I got a bunch. Since you’ll be here for a while. Maybe.”
  1013. >”Oh. Um, thanks.”
  1014. >…
  1015. >Fucking sterling, Anon.
  1016. >Why are you like this?
  1017. >Despite the brief silence, she surprises you by continuing to speak.
  1018. >”What are you making?”
  1019. “Just baked vegetables. It’s all I could come up with on short notice. And I can only carry so many groceries home by myself. I can get more ingredients next week, if you want something  else.”
  1020. >She quickly shakes her head.
  1021. >”That’s alright. I-I’m not picky. This is already… This is already nice. I mean, it’s already a nice thing. All of this, not just… Thank you.”
  1022. “You’re welcome.”
  1023. >That was an absolute pasta carnival.
  1024. >But as a veritable spaghetti factory yourself, her words make you happy.
  1025. >What remains of the baking time goes by in a more companionable silence as the smell of baked roots began to fill your small apartment.
  1026. >Ditzy sniffs the air, licking her lips.
  1027. >”Oh, wow. That smells great!”
  1028. >You get up and walk over, cracking the oven door to peer inside.
  1029. “Looks done to me.”
  1030. >You grip the sheet with a cloth, setting it on the stovetop to cool.
  1031. >She flaps her wings, looping and wheeling madly about the room before coming to a sharp, stumbling landing on your counter.
  1032. >You put a hand to her chest to stop her from walking onto the stovetop without thinking.
  1033. >Your first thought is that it’s surprisingly fluffy.
  1034. >Your next thought is that you’ve never seen her look this embarrassed.
  1035. “Sorry, I just- yeah. Glad you’re okay.”
  1036. >You hurriedly grab a bowl and spoon veggie bits into it until its full and set it onto her back.
  1037. “Anyways, there you go. Hope you like it. Have as much as you want."
  1038. >”O-Okay. Thank you.”
  1039. >The feeling of her chest fluff lingered on your hand as you threw your own dinner together.
  1040. >By the time you were done, Ditzy had made most of the vegetables disappear.
  1041. >Poor girl was hungry.
  1042. >The rest of the night was quiet. It seemed that both of you liked it that way.
  1043. >She was content to curl up your chair and doze off shortly after clearing her bowl for a second time.
  1044. >And you settled in front of your battle station for some escapism, remaining there until your sore eyes informed you it was time to close them for a while.
  1045. >As you walk into your bedroom, you look again at the golden-haired pegasus wrapped in her blanket.
  1046. >You lightly scratch her head, right between her ears.
  1047. “Goodnight.”
  1048. >She murmurs in response. Whether she’s still asleep or you woke her, you can’t tell.
  1049. >Doesn’t matter anyway.
  1050. >You close the door behind you, stripping down for the night and climbing in bed.
  1051. >Without alcohol's pleasant fog in your mind, you have the coherence to wonder at how much difference having someone else in your apartment makes.
  1052.  
  1053. >It’s been about a week since you switched humans, so you must be Ditzy.
  1054. >Anonymous is away at class, and you’re sprawled out on the carpet, staring at the ceiling.
  1055. >You’re bored out of your mind.
  1056. >You’ve gotten better at cleaning since your first attempt, but there’s not much to clean.
  1057. >You’re scared to go outside in case Master Keith sees you, but you’ve done so much reading to kill time while Anonymous is away that you’ve gotten sick of it.
  1058. >You don’t dare touch his computer, and jumping on his bed lost its charm after you accidentally landed headfirst on the floor.
  1059. >You’d never willingly go back to your old life, but you’re coming down with a serious case of cabin fever.
  1060. >Maybe if you just went outside for a little bit. Just a few minutes.
  1061. >No one would know.
  1062. >You could fly for a while.
  1063. >Not too long. Just enough to stretch your wings, and high up enough where most wouldn’t see you.
  1064. >What would they care, anyway?
  1065. >You’re just one pony. One pony in desperate need of something to do.
  1066. >Anonymous would understand, wouldn’t he? He's nice.
  1067. >You slowly rise, trotting slowly towards his door.
  1068. >You stare up at the handle and lock, heart filled with trepidation.
  1069. >You try to talk yourself through it.
  1070. >A quick flight. Up, away, and back.
  1071. >No one would report you. How would they know? You’re just a normal pegasus. A pegasus with her first chance to fly in a long time.
  1072. >You needed this.
  1073. >But just as you let go of your final doubts, voices outside the door filled your veins with ice.
  1074. >”Is this the one?”
  1075. >”Yeah. The fella that took her in seemed like a gentlecolt, but Ah still worry. Ain’t heard from her in a week. Just open the door so we can see if she’s in.”
  1076. >Oh, it’s Applejack! And the voice of another mare!
  1077. >You rear up to try and undo the locks, but a strange noise comes from outside.
  1078. >It sounds like something clicking?
  1079. >You pause to try and listen, but the door suddenly opens!
  1080. >With a squeak, your fall flat on your back.
  1081. >”Oh! Well there she is! Howdy, Ditzy. Got a little worried.”
  1082. “H-Hi, Applejack.”
  1083. >You rub the back of your head as you rise, finally getting a look at your visitors.
  1084. >Applejack looks a little less exhausted than the last time you saw her.
  1085. >The other is a short, speckled grey earth pony mare with a messy dark mane.
  1086. >Which she is in the middle of fitting a couple bobby pins back into.
  1087. >She cracks a smile as you make eye contact, but Applejack is the one that speaks.
  1088. >”How’re ya doin’? Got a little worried about ya, so Ah came to check. This here’s Sixpence. She’s, uh… Good at gettin’ places.”
  1089. >The smaller mare laughs.
  1090. >”No need to hide it, Applejack. I’m a thief! Well, more precisely, a pickpocket and burglar with services for hire. Good to meet you!”
  1091. >You tentatively shake the proffered hoof.
  1092. >The fact that AJ was worried enough about you to get a thief to break into Anonymous’ apartment is kind of heartwarming, but you’re more worried about what they plan to do now.
  1093. “W-Well, nice to meet you too, Sixpence. I’m fine, as you can see!”
  1094. >”Good! Anonymous been good to ya? Didn’t turn sour after all?”
  1095. “No. He hasn’t changed at all. I just haven’t been able to go outside. Not that he’s stopped me, I just… get afraid of being seen.”
  1096. >AJ nods in understanding.
  1097. >”Ah getcha. Well, we’re here now, so do you wanna walk with us for a bit? Be good for ya. That fella downstairs ain’t around from what we saw.”
  1098. “Oh, thank you! I’d like that.”
  1099. >You step outside, breathing deeply.
  1100. >Even the human city’s air, filled with strange smells, is refreshing after being inside for so long.
  1101. >You turn to close the door behind you, but find Sixpence halfway inside, peering about Anonymous’ apartment.
  1102. “Um, I know you’re a thief, but please don’t go in there.”
  1103. >She turns around and smiles at you again, but this one doesn’t seem as genuine.
  1104. >”What, a girl can’t sightsee? I hear this ape’s a sucker anyway. Sure he won’t take me in too if I just play the helpless damsel bit?”
  1105. >You frown at her.
  1106. >There’s a lot of things you don’t like about that jab, but you don’t want to fight with one of Applejack’s friends.
  1107. >…If they are friends.
  1108. “Just- Just let me close the door.”
  1109. >Sixpence relents, to your relief, and locks the door again after you close it.
  1110. >The three of you trot down the stair and out of the alleyway, onto the cold, cracked sidewalk.
  1111. >You look to Applejack for directions, and she immediately takes the lead.
  1112. >”Well, since we’re out n’ about, might as well go on a tour. You seen much of this town, Ditzy?”
  1113. “Not really… You said there was a park?”
  1114. >”Yep. That’s where we take shelter, most nights. Sometimes bump into homeless humans out there too, but they learned to leave us alone.”
  1115. “Can we go there?”
  1116. >”You betcha. Couple a' places to see on the way, too.”
  1117. >You nod, falling into step with your two visitors.
  1118. >The walk that ensues is long and winding, along human roads made of that strange dark stone.
  1119. >Their cars roar past, and the three of you sometimes have to skirt around a human pedestrian.
  1120. >But aside from those occasional interruptions, the streets are oddly empty.
  1121. >Even Ponyville, sleepy little village that it was, had more hoof traffic than here.
  1122. >Maybe it’s just a quiet neighborhood?
  1123. >AJ points out meeting places and hiding spots here and there, and you see other ponies out and about.
  1124. >Some wave to Applejack or Sixpence. Others try not to make eye contact.
  1125. >You see collars and tags on a lot of the latter.
  1126. >Part of you feels contempt towards these ones, that are so broken that their masters can let them out without fear of them running away.
  1127. >Part of you remembers that you weren’t even strong enough to risk being broken in the first place.
  1128. >You hang your head and trot on.
  1129.  
  1130. I'm gonna continue this. I'm just working on finishing A Month in Jail First.
/spg/ Anonymous Derpy Hooves Ditzy Doo Applejack OC Slave

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