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/bootleg/ Jacky Part Ten

By BlondieAnon
Created: 22nd September 2021 12:04:41 AM
28th September 2021 11:54:38 AM

  1. >"HEY, DROP IT! DROP IT RIGHT NO-GET BACK HERE!"
  2. >The butler screams at me.
  3. >Sorry to whoever was supposedly to get the baguette but it's mine now!
  4. >I gallop as hard as I can for at least four blocks and cut around to alley to below the district bridge.
  5. >By the time I stop to catch my breath, I've nearly chomped the baguette in half.
  6. >Dashie is sleeping under a thick scarf we found.
  7. >I lean down and chomp down harder, leaving the two halves perfectly even.
  8. >...maybe one side is longer than the other.
  9. >She should take the longer portion.
  10. "Hey, hey Dashie! Dashie! I got bread, it's fresh too!"
  11. >She is sluggish but she manages to lift her head at the smell of it.
  12. >Her wings have always been really big but she looks like she's almost nothing but wing.
  13. >She told me not to wander off or cause trouble but this isn't trouble.
  14. >It's food!
  15. >She inhales and tries her best to smile.
  16. >"It must be from that cafe... Jacky... did you take this from someone?"
  17. >My face scrunches up.
  18. >She said not to cause trouble.
  19. "N... no? I mean, it was gonna fall and I caught it. And because I caught it..."
  20. >My eyes wander.
  21. >Dashie keeps teaching me how to lie but I don't get it.
  22. >It is how we get a lot of things.
  23. "...finders keepers?"
  24. >I smile as wide as I can.
  25. >She shakes her head.
  26. >"I don't believe you. You need to remember to keep it realistic. Ok? No one will believe you if you don't believe it."
  27. >She reaches out with her neck and takes the smaller portion of bread.
  28. "H-hey, not that one! That one is mine! You take the other one, here."
  29. >I nudge the larger portion of bread toward her.
  30. >She shakes her head.
  31. >"Nope, I don't want it. It has all of your slobber all over it. So you take it."
  32. "W-wha?! It does not!"
  33. >Dashie smiles and continues to eat.
  34. >"The bread is warm... thank you, Jacky. But you better eat up too. I may eat your half and leave just crumbs."
  35. "You can't do that! Watch, I'm gonna finish up first and then eat YOUR bread too!"
  36. >I take a step back just to pounce onto the feast.
  37. >Its gone in seconds.
  38. >By the time I finish, I feel too full to even move.
  39. >Dashie is still eating.
  40. >But she looks at me like I'm doing something funny.
  41. >"Still want mine?"
  42. >I wave one of my hooves at her
  43. >It isn't a lot but there is a little creek under the bridge for water.
  44. >It doesn't taste the best but it does smell clean.
  45. >Mostly clean.
  46. >Cleaner than where we were before.
  47. "Think we'll get to stay here for a while? Winter's gettin' close ain't it?"
  48. >"Jacky, don't roll around on the ground like that. It takes a lot to find shampoo to clean that lion mane of yours."
  49. >I go from laying on my back to sitting up.
  50. >I still feel energetic but Dashie doesn't want me dirty.
  51. >She said that we look like "dirty homeless fillies" when we get too dirty.
  52. >But it doesn't make sense to me, a lot of ponies look dirty when they're doing jobs or stuck out in the rain.
  53. >Or a tornado.
  54. >Tornados while it's raining even!
  55. >"Did you listen to me?"
  56.  
  57. >My head stops bobbing from side to side.
  58. >If there was a snowstorm tornado with a side of rain I could look normal no matter how dirty I was.
  59. "Yeah..."
  60. >"Then do it next time you go out. Ok? It's for your safety."
  61. "Yeah, I know. We ain't ever get hurt before, why do you really want to worry about it everywhere we go?"
  62. >"Because not everywhere we go is safe for us, Jacky."
  63. "Yeah yeah..."
  64. >You don't believe her.
  65. >Some places weren't so friendly.
  66. >But they would never be so bad that it would be dangerous.
  67. >"And Jacky?"
  68. "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!"
  69. >I roll my head around my neck, rolling my eyes too until it feels like the world is spinning.
  70. >"Don't forget bread for Anon. When was the last time you got him something?"
  71. "Wait, what?"
  72. >In a sudden jolt I...
  73. >Where am I again?
  74. >"Jacky, I said Anon was grabbing bread from the store! WAKE UP ALREADY AND TELL ME WHAT ELSE YOU WANT!"
  75. >That angry voice...
  76. >It's Sparky
  77. >Anon likes to call her Shine or Shiner or Shiny Heiny
  78. >But she'll always be Sparky to me
  79. "NnnnnnnnnnnnnnnAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHH!"
  80. >I slowly erupt with my own roar as a response
  81. >...
  82. >...
  83. >...
  84. "WAIT NO I CHANGED MY MIND."
  85. >I scamper out of our bed and do some sort of crawl-run that can only happen when your right legs are asleep
  86. "ORANGE SHERBET, ORANGE JUICE, ORANGE CHICKEN!"
  87. >By the time I reach the living room, I'm out of breath and tingling all over
  88. >One more attempt to move and the billion pins and needles shooting down to my hooves keep me from saying anything else
  89. >"...didja get all of that?"
  90. >"Yup. Y'alright Jackerat?"
  91. >It's Anon's voice from the laptop he keeps out in the living room
  92. >It takes a little bit of effort for me to regain my tingly wits
  93. "Ye-I... ah... legs fell asleep. Are you gonna go to the store now?"
  94. >"Well I just left and I'm walking to the car so yeah. Tack on maybe an extra twenty minutes to my ETA?"
  95. >I move to salute the internet call Anon
  96. >Only for my eyes to roll up in my head and for my entire arm to burst into needles again
  97. >Wrong leg
  98. >"...yeah, Jacky just made a really interesting gesture with her face. You better make that an extra ten or you're gonna be missing out on something she's planning."
  99. >I hear him bark out a laugh
  100. >"Alright, I'm gonna double time it. Whatever you do, don't let her stop making that face. Later."
  101. >Just as I manage to get the overwhelming sensation out of the way... he already disconnected from the call
  102. "Ah... dang it... you had to go and tell him that?"
  103. >"Don't you want him to think of your face more?"
  104. >I push out my lips and squint at her
  105. "...is this a trick question?"
  106. >Sparky rolls her eyes
  107. >"No you idiot."
  108. >She shakes her head and stands up to stretch
  109. >Who knows how long she spent today in front of that thing
  110. >"You've been sleeping a lot lately, even when he's home. Are you feeling sick or something?"
  111. "Sick? No, I..."
  112. >I've been dreaming a lot lately
  113. >Like little clips out of movies
  114. >...clips I probably shouldn't tell her about at least
  115.  
  116. "...just like sleeping. It's finally getting colder now so it ain't so hot in here. Doesn't that want to make you nap too?"
  117. >Sparks groans
  118. >"I've been sleeping too much WITH that heat, you know. It's nice out... I want to be awake to feel it."
  119. >I shake my head and yawn something melodic
  120. >Something from one of the songs I've been listening to lately
  121. >"You are just a complete prize, you know that?"
  122. >I smile at her dull-toned compliment
  123. >Joke or not, I take it as a compliment
  124. "Well I'm sure glad you know it. Where's feathered filly free from... uh..."
  125. >"Trying to do that wordplay thing Anon does?"
  126. "Yeah."
  127. >She gives me some sort of condescending smile
  128. >"Practice more. She's in the bathroom."
  129. "Oh... dang..."
  130. >I want to talk to her
  131. >"Are you having dreams about... you know. How things were before?"
  132. >My ears fold down
  133. >How did she guess that?
  134. "...don't tell Anon?"
  135. >She looks at me
  136. >And sighs
  137. >"Alright... but it's really not a bad thing to open up about stuff like that."
  138. "Like coyotes?"
  139. >It feels like my wit is starting to wake up too
  140. >She glares at me
  141. >"...don't start with that. Not today."
  142. >I chuckle and nod
  143. >Maybe it is a bit too soon to talk about that
  144. >It has been a bit of a while since that happened
  145. >Anon tried bringing it up once or twice but not even I spoke up about it
  146. >I still don't know why I flinched that badly
  147. >I've been in fights a ton of times!
  148. >Maybe not that many real, dangerous fights
  149. >Maybe not with... animals
  150. >Maybe not with RABID animals on top of that...
  151. >But I've taken care of myself before
  152. >I didn't need Anon to scoop me up and run off with me like I was some sort of doll
  153. >But it felt nice
  154. >I felt safe
  155. >...and after, I felt embarrassed
  156. >"Are we having orange chicken tonight? Is it really with oranges or is it just because of the name..."
  157. >Dashie's mature, cool voice floats in the air as she walks past me
  158. "Dashie! I gotta talk to you later, can we?"
  159. >She doesn't answer until she returns to her throne of pillows
  160. >Maybe it's some sort of... nesting pegasus thing
  161. >She didn't really use to do that back then
  162. >"You don't remember? We're having a movie tonight. It's some sort of..."
  163. >"Slasher movie Anon found."
  164. >"Yes, that's the one."
  165. >Sparks seems focused on the laptop
  166. >It's spooky how well she can use it now
  167. "...oh yeah."
  168. >I frown
  169. >It feels like I'm just... forgetting things lately
  170. >Or maybe it's more like I'm just focusing on different stuff too much
  171. "Well... is after that ok? It's important. It's about back then."
  172. >Sparks smirks
  173. >I squint at her
  174. "Hey, you shush. It ain't from when you were around... it was before."
  175. >Dashie looks serene in her nest
  176. >"How far back?"
  177. >I shrug
  178. "I really don't know... that's the problem. I remember... like bringing bread to you. Washing myself in a river..."
  179.  
  180. >Now that bread basically comes from the magical bread isle at the grocery store, water comes out forever through a faucet and both of those things aren't actually infinite but is so openly plentiful...
  181. >I really was a little piece of something bad, wasn't I
  182. >"I haven't had any dreams like that. It has been... months now?"
  183. >Dashie frowns as well and ruffles her wings all around
  184. >"What do you think is the reason?"
  185. "I don't know. It feels like it's forever ago but... it also feels like it just happened. You know?"
  186. >I get the feeling that I know what both of them will say
  187. "I can't tell Anon about that sort of stuff. Not yet."
  188. >Sparks rolls her eyes and Dashie giggles
  189. >"Jacky... darling, you've been an item with that man for how long and you're still saying something like that?"
  190. >"And besides, how much does he already know about how shit we were?"
  191. >The combined giggling makes me get up and stomp in between them
  192. >It's more a show of just how mad they're making me
  193. >It doesn't work to stop them
  194. "I mean it! This sort of thing is different, ok... I feel like it's something important I gotta remember. Like maybe it matters to something..."
  195. >Maybe it's a secret like how I'm some long, lost princess
  196. >Or that Ma lost me and I'm set to inherent an entire massive orchard
  197. >Anon would like that
  198. >I hope it's something important in that way
  199. >I really want it to be important
  200.  
  201. "Hey is that..."
  202. >I see a red filly huffing around.
  203. >She looks really familiar.
  204. "It is...! Sparks! Sparky!"
  205. >I gallop to her, ducking under a cart being pulled by some buff stallion.
  206. >She sees me and tries to act like I don't exist.
  207. >Of course it doesn't matter because I do!
  208. "Sparky!"
  209. >I leap onto her for a hug.
  210. >She tries to act like I'm just bothering her but I really am happy to see her.
  211. "I thought I wouldn't see you again! What are you doing all the way out here?"
  212. >The last time I saw her, it was at least a month ago.
  213. >We were having fun and ended up getting a... few too many ponies angry.
  214. >"...just luck I guess. Will you get off of me already?"
  215. >I finally let go of her.
  216. >She's as scrawny as always, but even now more than before her belly looks concave.
  217. >"Is your... uh. Who is she again?"
  218. "Dashie! She's at home sleeping. She spent a lot of last night looking for food and she came back with some fruit stand's stuff. Want a banana?"
  219. >Sparks grimaces at the sound of Dashie's name... but she scrunches her face at the mention of having something to eat.
  220. >"...Yeah. You probably have more than just that I can have, right?"
  221. >I giggle and pet her shoulder with my hoof.
  222. "Of course! We're friends, right? I don't know why Dashie couldn't wait for you but we kept looking for you!"
  223. >I look around, trying to sound more convincing.
  224. >Dashie told me to not talk to Sparks anymore.
  225. "I mean... well, you know. I did most of the looking."
  226. >"Guess you found me before it was too late now."
  227. >She sounds tired.
  228. >She's always been irritable when tired but right now she doesn't even seem to care that you've been touching her.
  229. "Yeah, well... let's go! We have a river and stuff too. It tastes good, really."
  230. >She doesn't walk so fast but I keep a slow pace so we don't lose sight of each other.
  231. >When we reach home, only around half of the collected fruit was left.
  232. >...there are signs that birds came and went.
  233. "Ah... crap..."
  234. >Without asking, Sparks takes some of the largest bananas and apples and devours them, peel and all!
  235. "Whoa... do those actually taste good? They were getting kinda brown."
  236. >She doesn't answer me.
  237. >When she finishes, she reaches to grab even more fruit!
  238. >Even an orange!
  239. "H-hey, not that one!"
  240. >I shield the orange with my hoof, knocking away hers at the last second.
  241. >She glares at me... harder than usual.
  242. >"I need the orange Jacky."
  243. "No, that one is mine for later!"
  244. >"It's going to rot if I don't eat it now."
  245. "I won't let it rot, it's good for at least this evening!"
  246. >Sparky starts to sound more angry.
  247. >It's hard to talk to her when she gets like this.
  248. >Out of nowhere, a hind leg kicks into her!
  249. >The kick leads to her landing in the mud near the river.
  250. >"You aren't supposed to be here. Find another spot to stay, this is ours. And that food was ours."
  251. "D-dashie! No, it's ok, I gave that food to her!"
  252. >"It wasn't yours to give, Jacky."
  253. >Sparks screams and struggles to get back to her hooves.
  254. >She's covered in mud now...
  255.  
  256. >Her horn sparks up, enough for it to actually light up.
  257. >That doesn't happen a lot.
  258. >"You... LOSERS! You wouldn't have gotten anywhere without me! You think we're gonna be a gang and get things done right if you two keep running away whenever someone starts snitching?! I'm the brains, I'm the one who got us the most!"
  259. >Her voice echoes under the bridge.
  260. >"We aren't a 'gang', you leech. If you keep talking to Jacky I'm going to get you sent to a mine."
  261. >"Yeah?! I bet you could do that, you sure are friendly with enough guards!"
  262. >This is too much.
  263. >They aren't supposed to fight like this.
  264. >They're friends.
  265. >We're all friends.
  266. >...
  267. >That dream still bothers me
  268. >It feels like it happened yesterday
  269. >But yesterday was a different dream too
  270. >I watch Dashie and Sparky bickering over something
  271. >They've been going at it for a long while now
  272. >They try to cook everything and it seems like they're trying out some sort of new thing
  273. >"Orange rinds, Sparking? You're disgusting."
  274. >"It adds flavor, smell, and looks fancy!"
  275. >"What would you know about fancy?"
  276. >"More than you, you dumb bird-horse."
  277. >Are they really so heated about something so minor?
  278. "...why not try half with, and half without?"
  279. >They look back at me
  280. >And then at each other
  281. "Jacky..."
  282. >They both say at the same time
  283. >"This is about quality and presentation."
  284. >"This is about making something edible."
  285. >They also speak their logic at the same time
  286. >It makes me shake my head
  287. "I... don't get it. What is this for, anyway?"
  288. >"Orange chicken."
  289. >They speak simultaneously again
  290. >The stuff Anon got at the store?
  291. "...why don't we just buy more? It's ok if we don't know how to make it, right?"
  292. >"Number one... I know how to make it. Number two, we save money if we cook it on our own. And that means making use of everything we have to make it even better."
  293. >"And that includes putting rotting rinds in our food and stomaching it because it's what you think is 'fancy'?"
  294. >"You know what? I'm done with this. I'm gonna go bug Anon. He knows I'm right. Then we're going to laugh at you until you pluck your chicken wings bare out of sheer jealousy. Stay mad."
  295. >Sparks stands up, flicks her mane at Dashie, and wanders off
  296. >It's just me and her now
  297. >Today has been going by so slowly that it has been difficult to stay focused
  298. "Hey Dash... is this really worth threatening each other over?"
  299. >Dashie grins with a chuckle
  300. >"She may have the magic and better skill to cook, but we're not going to let her ruin everything for her ego."
  301. "I guess... whatever happened to helping me learn how to cook too?"
  302. >"Well..."
  303. >She shrugs at the question
  304. >"I mean, you already do a lot. And it's just important for me that our food turns out good. Shine may have better skills due to her magic but we still need more than just magic for good food."
  305. >I don't believe her
  306. "Yeah, sure... you aren't still mad at her, are you?"
  307. >"For orange rinds? Not more than usual, dear."
  308.  
  309. >I sigh
  310. "Come on... when you present this stuff to Anon and we all eat and all that, you guys are gonna get the praise."
  311. >Some... sense of jealousy feels like it's starting to bubble up
  312. >It feels like something familiar
  313. "I want to do stuff too. I want to help out and create questionably delicious food and be able to be counted on."
  314. >Dashie smiles and brings me in for a hug
  315. >I don't resist
  316. >"Oh Jacky, y..."
  317. >She pulls away
  318. >"...questionably delicious?"
  319. "...orange peels."
  320. >"...right."
  321. >She hugs again
  322. >"You already help us out. You're by and far the most well-adjusted, which means that you know how to bring us all together. You know how to make Anon happy which is good for all of us and you are usually the one to introduce us to new media. You're our frontiersmare when it comes to looking at..."
  323. >She hesitates
  324. >"...weird things on the internet."
  325. "They're called memes."
  326. >"...yeah... those."
  327. >She releases the hug
  328. >"We all have our own skills to let us shine. Even... well, Shine. But don't you worry, I'll teach you the right way to cook things. Especially since we can't rely on Shine and emulate her using magic."
  329. >That sounds acceptable
  330. >I focus on her words
  331. >That sense of jealousy isn't going away
  332. "...what do you mean keeping Anon happy is good for all of us?"
  333. >I leer at her
  334. "I don't... that's not what that is. That's never what that was."
  335. >The mere thought of...
  336. >How would I ever do that?
  337. >How could I?
  338. >Dashie looks at me like nothing's wrong
  339. >"I know... but benefits are benefits, aren't they?"
  340. >That's not what you have with him
  341. >That's not the intent or even a benefit
  342. >None of any of that has anything to do with l...
  343. >L...
  344. >I still can't even think the word
  345. "I'm... gonna go."
  346. >You want to tell her that you feel disgusted by that
  347. >You don't want to hurt her feelings
  348. >"Alright, Jacky. Look forward to dinner!"
  349. "Yeah..."
  350. >You go around the closest corner you can to get out of her sight
  351. >You could go for some Anon right about now
  352. >He's always open to talk about anything and everything
  353. >But these dreams?
  354. >He wouldn't get it
  355. >He had his own share of stuff but it was never had it like you
  356. >Not that you've had it so much worse than him either
  357. >Probably?
  358. "I just really need..."
  359. >Something to help clear your mind
  360. >When you get to Anon's room you see him sitting with his legs crossed
  361. >With Sparks sitting on his lap
  362. >Both of them are watching a game he's playing
  363. >"If you don't get your guy out of range he's going to die next turn."
  364. >"It's fine, he's meant to be a decoy."
  365. >"But he's your last infantry."
  366. >"I can make more."
  367. >"Man... you're a harsh guy, you know that?"
  368. >"War is hell, Shiner. And better they be gunned down than my neotanks get blasted to scrap."
  369. >They're always so close knit
  370. >And together
  371. >That jealousy feeling feels like it's only flaring up
  372. >Without saying anything I get onto our bed
  373. >And lean against Anon's side
  374.  
  375. >"Hey there Jackula."
  376. >Even without turning his head away he can tell it's me
  377. >He smiles when he speaks
  378. >"You've just caught me leading Orange Star to supreme victory over the foreign hordes of Black Hole."
  379. >Sparks snickers at the last two words
  380. >...I do too
  381. >...Anon does too
  382. >"Ah... God damn it."
  383. "Are they really orange? They look kinda red to me."
  384. >"You think so too, huh?"
  385. >"Well they're orange when compared to me."
  386. >"Your face is orange when compared to you."
  387. >"That makes as much sense as why you put your bomber over there..."
  388. >"It's for next turn, Spit-Shine. Guy's gonna probably push forward and I'm out of range of his missiles unless he moves those too. And if he does, they'll be what I bomb, or an enemy that's close enough that I won't be at risk."
  389. >"...oh."
  390. >He makes so much sense my eyes glaze over
  391. >It's yet another game I haven't seen before
  392. >I've been here for so long now but there's always something completely new that I haven't seen before
  393. >I don't want to interrupt him...
  394. >But I want Sparky's spot
  395. "Hey, uh... Dash's taking out the trash. And she put those orange rinds in the trash bag too."
  396. >The red lapmare sighs and rolls her eyes
  397. >"Whatever... let her do it I guess. Next time I'm going to show he."
  398. >She isn't moving
  399. >I thought that would work
  400. "Ah..."
  401. >What do I say now?
  402. "Hm..."
  403. >"Something on your mind?"
  404. "...my spot."
  405. >Anon looks at me
  406. >"What's your spot?"
  407. "...I want in my spot."
  408. >"What's your spot?"
  409. >Sparks looks at me
  410. >She's smiling
  411. "...that's my spot."
  412. >"I don't see your n-"
  413. >Anon cuts her off by picking her up like how people pick up long cats
  414. >And puts her at his other side
  415. >She has the most disappointed look on her face
  416. >"There... good lap pony."
  417. >He pats her head
  418. >Her flat face gently curls to a smile
  419. >He opens his legs enough and pats his thigh
  420. >"Alright, in your spot Jackinomics."
  421. "Eheh, awesome."
  422. >I climb onto his lap and curl up
  423. >Rather than sit in it, I focus on laying back
  424. >This is a whole lot better
  425. "After this level, lemme play too."
  426. >"You got it. This even has multiplayer too...up to three players."
  427. >He leers down at me
  428. >A familiar squint that gunslingers make in the high noon sun
  429. >My smile hardens to a stern squinting
  430. >We glare at each other
  431. >"...see? You could have used that so-called 'decoy' to at least kill that unit there."
  432. >He turns his glare to her
  433. >As do I
  434. >She doesn't catch onto what's going on
  435. >"...what?"
  436. "It's on."
  437. >"Like Donkey Kong."
  438. >This confuses her even more
  439. >"...what? Who's Donkey Kong?"
  440. >"Me, because I'm gonna beat your butts like a set of bongo drums."
  441. >The way he says it is particularly threatening
  442. "So what's a bongo drum then?"
  443. >I know the timing is off but the face he makes is priceless
  444. >"I'm gonna start with you, Jack. Make your peace."
  445. >Oh no
  446. "...it's not gonna be in front of everyone is it?"
  447. >He raises an eyebrow like it hasn't even thought of it
  448. >"You know, that's a good question."
  449. >He clears his throat
  450. >"Hey Priss-mass, you wanna see me beat some Jacky butt like a bongo drum?"

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