TEXT   368    48617   273.28 KB

Soarin's Silver Lining pt.1

By blossomanon
Created: 14th November 2020 01:36:00 AM

  1. **** BOOK 1 ****
  2. **** CHAPTER 1 ****
  3.  
  4. >Your name is Soarin and you are in deep shit.
  5. >You don't remember whose house you are in.
  6. >You don't remember the name or the face of the girl you slept with, nor her hot friend.
  7. >You don't remember how much you had to drink last night, but apparently it was enough.
  8. >What you do remember is that you'd only brought one condom with you and it's still in the wrapper, tossed on the floor next to your pants.
  9. "Shit."
  10. >Slowly, you crawl out of the bed and start getting dressed.
  11. >This could be bad.
  12. >It's not your first time fucking a girl or anything; you get plenty. Not as much as Flash Fucking Sentry, but you manage to do it without being a total prick.
  13. >Unlike his conquests, yours usually come back for more.
  14. >You seem to have trouble finding your shirt. It doesn't appear to be here, so after pulling on the rest of your clothes, you stumble out into the hallway, coming face to face with a mostly dressed Spitfire.
  15. >"In my parent's room?" she groans. "Seriously?"
  16. "Well, at least now I know where I am."
  17. >She shakes her head and steps out of your way.
  18. >"Still, nice work with the twins."
  19. "Twins?"
  20. >"I assume so," your classmate groans. "I don't really remember, but they left you a note."
  21. "Oh?"
  22. >"Yeah."
  23. >She thumps your bare chest with her fist.
  24. >"Go find a fucking mirror. And then find a shirt. Then get the fuck out. I have a hangover."
  25. >She smacks you again, harder this time.
  26. >"And next time, don't use my parents bed. That's just fucking creepy."
  27. "Yeah, I'll... uh... try."
  28. >Too late.
  29. >She's already turned her back on you and is stumbling away.
  30. >You walk down the hall to the bathroom and try to blink the bleariness from your eyes with moderate to little success.
  31. >It's enough for you to tell that yep, you look like hell.
  32. >Your hair is a mess, your eyes are puffy, and there's... one hell of a bruise on your chest.
  33. >Huh, you didn't think the sex had been that rough.
  34. >You blink again and rub your eyes.
  35. >Wait, those are letters.
  36. >Backwards, but they're letters, written in dark grey lipstick.
  37. "Why the fuck would they write it backwards?"
  38. >You tilt your head, realizing seconds too late that it won't help decipher the message scrawled across your chest.
  39. >Another look at the mirror doesn't help either.
  40. >They're still backwards.
  41. >Oh.
  42. >Right.
  43. >Fuck.
  44. >Mirror.
  45. >No wonder it's flipped.
  46. >You stare at it for several long minutes, partially trying to figure out what it says, but mostly just trying to wake up enough to drive yourself home.
  47. >Eventually, your brain starts working again.
  48. >Little flourishes on the writing threw you off, but it's not that hard to read.
  49. >"We'll see you soon, lover!"
  50. >Huh.
  51. >Looks like you made some fans last night.
  52. >Fuck yeah.
  53. >You turn away from the mirror and begin your epic quest to hunt down your shirt.
  54. >After a few minutes hunt, you find a shirt.
  55. >It's not your shirt, nor is it your size or even a men's shirt.
  56. >At least it's not Spitfire's.
  57. >You can't imagine her wearing anything this... neon pink.
  58. >You put it on anyway.
  59. >Despite being fundamentally wrong, it's a shirt and it covers up the writing that no amount frantic scrubbing can clean off.
  60. >Luckily, none of the lipstick is down as far as your belly button, because that's about where the shirt stops.
  61. >Looking like some kind of horrible stereotype, you shuffle outside and damn near stumble over another classmate.
  62. >Mumbling half-hearted apologies to mostly naked whoeverthefuck passed out on the porch, you make your way to your car and... oh, good, your keys are still in your pocket.
  63. >Even better, your car is still parked at the curb.
  64. >Fuck yeah, you're awesome.
  65. >Time to go home and crash.
  66. >You'll worry about your new fangirls later.
  67.  
  68. >You are Diamond Tiara and you think you've waited long enough.
  69. >It's been three days since the party.
  70. >Three very long days.
  71. >Delayed gratification is something of an unknown - and unwelcome - concept to you.
  72. >When you want something, you want it NOW, and you want to watch him squirm so very, VERY much.
  73. >It's taken all of your willpower to wait this long.
  74. >With a sly smile, you fall onto your bed and snatch your phone from your desk.
  75. >With a swipe of your hand, you start flipping through the pictures you took, searching for just the right one.
  76. >You've done this a dozen times since that night, hunting for the perfect picture.
  77. >It's a waste of time; you already know which one you're going to send him.
  78. >Silver Spoon's face has to be visible, as does his.
  79. >There.
  80. >Still the same picture.
  81. >Every time you flip through the photos, you always come to the same picture.
  82. >You remember the moment clearly.
  83. >She'd just pulled Soarin's pants off and was straddling him when he reached for her skirt.
  84. >Your friend had asked him to leave it alone - and he had.
  85. >She was shy.
  86. >It was her first time.
  87. >You had teased her mercilessly about that, but she was embarrassed and shy.
  88. >He'd agreed without question.
  89. >Always the perfect gentleman.
  90. >He'll be sooooo easy to play.
  91. >It had come off soon enough anyway, followed by the rest of her clothes as making out turned to other things.
  92. >This is the perfect picture.
  93. >Well, not perfect, but as close as you got.
  94. >After all, it hadn't been too long before you had become too distracted to actually take pictures, and the few that you did get are... not optimal.
  95. >Your fingers twitch.
  96. >It's hard to tell what has you more excited, the memory of that night or what you're about to do.
  97. >You wish you could be there to see his reaction. Keeping a straight face every time you pass him in the halls has been torture.
  98. >Oh, but you could see...
  99. >He should still be at practice.
  100.  
  101. >You are Soarin again, and you are fucking exhausted.
  102. >Nothing like a good practice game to get your mind off of things, and Spitfire just gave you a hell of a game.
  103. >You stumble over to the cooler and grab some water as a few of your other teammates start packing things up and gathering their gear.
  104. >A few fans in the bleachers call out your name and you wave back.
  105. >It's nice to be appreciated, but they kind of weird you out.
  106. >If they enjoy soccer that much, why don't they just join the team?
  107. >Sure, a few of them look a little out of shape or young, but... hey... nothing some training and time can't fix.
  108. >You toss the crushed remains of the paper cup into the trash and grab your bag.
  109. >"You headed out?" Spitfire asks, coming up alongside and smacking your back playfully.
  110. "Yeah."
  111. >"I can see why," she responds with a nod. "I mean, if MY ass had been kicked that hard, I'd be too embarrassed to -"
  112. "It's not that."
  113. >You brush her hand off and swing your bag over your shoulder.
  114. "Besides, weren't you keeping score out there?"
  115. >"Yeah."
  116. >Shit.
  117. >You weren't.
  118. >It was just a practice game.
  119. >You hide behind your poker face.
  120. >"Well, fine, be that way."
  121. >Spitfire shrugs and steps away to grab her own bag.
  122. >"So, you heard from those twins yet?" she teases as you start to walk away.
  123. "Nope."
  124. >"But didn't they say -"
  125. "Yep."
  126. >"Ah, good," she laughs, following after you. "You DID read that."
  127. "Mhm."
  128. >"Well, I hope you -"
  129. >BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
  130. >You and Spitfire exchange looks.
  131. >BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
  132. >"Well?"
  133. "Well, what?"
  134. >"Aren't you going to answer it?"
  135. "It's just a text. I'll -"
  136. >"Answer it!"
  137. "Fine."
  138. >You swing your bag around and start digging through it for your phone.
  139. >"Oooooh, a text from 'LoverGirls?'" Spitfire laughs, leaning over to read the screen. "I thought you hadn't heard from them?"
  140. "They must have gotten my phone and added themselves as a contact before they left."
  141. >"Uh-huh. Likely story."
  142. >You try to put the phone back, but she makes a grab for it.
  143. "What the hell!?"
  144. >"Aren't you going to read it?"
  145. "Not with you staring over my shoulder!"
  146. >Your teammate looks around, then takes three long steps back.
  147. >"There," she says with a smile. "I'll give you a sporting chance."
  148. "There's no way you're going to leave me alone until I read this, are you?"
  149. >"Nope."
  150. "Will you leave me alone after I read it?"
  151. >"Maybe."
  152. >Honestly, those are the best odds you're going to get.
  153. >With one eye on Spitfire, you unlock your phone.
  154. "Huh, it's a pic -"
  155. >"Let me see!"
  156. >Fuck.
  157. "No."
  158. >You blank the screen.
  159. >"What, she send you a pic of her tits? If so, let me see!"
  160. "No."
  161. >"Come on!"
  162. >She makes another grab for your phone, but you twist aside.
  163. "NO!"
  164. >You recognize that girl.
  165. "She's fully dressed, okay!?"
  166. >She's also a freshman.
  167. >Fuck.
  168. >FUCK!
  169. >"Oh," Spitfire grunts, her interest lost. "In that case, anyone I know?"
  170. "I sincerely hope not."
  171. >"And why the hell not?"
  172. >She moves closer, driving her elbow into your ribs playfully.
  173. >"Worried I'll steal her away from you?"
  174. "No, just... reasons."
  175. >"Just give me the damn phone."
  176. >Spitfire is too fast for you this time, snatching your phone out of your hand while you're busy trying to figure out exactly how fucked you may or may not be.
  177. >The answer is now very fucked.
  178. >"Dammit, how the hell do you work this fucking -"
  179. >Or maybe not.
  180. >" - ah, there it goes."
  181. >Nevermind.
  182. >You're fucked.
  183. >"Wow, uh... just wow," the bitch grunts. "You... um... don't have to worry about me stealing her away."
  184. >She hands your phone back to you and sighs.
  185. "Too... young...?"
  186. >"Too flat, but that too."
  187. >Groaning, she rolls her eyes at you before shouldering her bag.
  188. >"Do you know who that is?"
  189. >You shake your head.
  190. "A freshman, but I don't know her name."
  191. >"That's Silver Spoon," Spitfire tells you, frowning slightly. "And I'm pretty sure she's 14."
  192. >Slowly, you close your eyes, trying to block out just how fucked you are.
  193. "Fuck."
  194. >It didn't work.
  195. >"Yeah. You're 19, soooooo..."
  196. "I know how old I am, twat."
  197. >"Just be careful," your teammate sighs. "That's all I'm sayin'. Don't let anyone else find out or you're fucked."
  198. >She takes two steps before pivoting in place and glaring furiously.
  199. >"But fucking seriously!?"
  200. >You jump back, some small measure of self-preservation still surviving in you.
  201. "I was drunk!"
  202. >"Yeah, but in my parents' bed!? That's like..."
  203. >A shudder runs through her body.
  204. >"That's just double squick now."
  205. >You look around worriedly, afraid someone might have overheard, but everyone else seems to be busy or gone.
  206. >Relief is short-lived.
  207. "Sorry."
  208. >"You should be."
  209. "You're not going to tell anyone?"
  210. >"Not unless you give me a reason to."
  211. >She pauses and smirks evilly.
  212. >Fucking vile bitch.
  213. >"Speaking of, I would just be so terribly disappointed if I had to buy my own drink..."
  214. >She puts the back of her hand to her forehead in a rather convincing impersonation of that drama-whore Rarity.
  215. >"It would just absolutely be the worst -"
  216. "Fine, I'll buy you a drink."
  217. >You sigh and give her a shove, but playfully.
  218. >So far, staying out of jail for statutory is looking to be pretty cheap.
  219. >Set against one of the athletics buildings are a few vending machines.
  220. >Spitfire makes a beeline straight towards them and starts pondering her choices like it's the most serious thing in the world.
  221. >Annoying as it is, it really *isn't*. You've gotten used to this from her.
  222. >If it weren't for the picture, she'd find some other reason to get you to fork out the cash for whatever sports drink she decides to try today.
  223. >In truth, the routine is comforting.
  224. >Nothing's changed between you and your friend. It's almost enough to make you believe this is no big deal.
  225.  
  226. >You are Diamond Tiara and you are furious.
  227. >Soarin is acting like nothing is wrong!
  228. >EVERYTHING is wrong!
  229. >He even let that other girl look at the picture like it's no big deal!
  230. >You rapidly scroll through the pictures you took.
  231. >It's time to up the ante.
  232. >You smile viciously as you hit send.
  233.  
  234. >You are once again Soarin and your phone is buzzing.
  235. "Well?"
  236. >Spitfire raises an eyebrow, but never looks away from the machines.
  237. "Aren't you going to try to steal my phone from me?"
  238. >"Nah," she grunts. "Like I said, she's not my type."
  239. >She crouches down, closely examining her options, before making her choice and smacking a button with the ball of her hand.
  240. >"This one."
  241. "You tried that last week. Said it tasted like balls."
  242. >"How would I know what balls taste like?" she smirks. "Clearly I had no idea what I was saying. Let's try it again."
  243. >You sigh, but pull your wallet out and hand her the cash.
  244. >Such a waste, but at least it makes her happy.
  245. >Your phone buzzes again - and again.
  246. >"Sounds like she's getting a little annoyed," Spitfire chuckles as she twists the top off of her ballsoda. "Is this how you treat all the girls?"
  247. "Just the underage ones."
  248. >Hey, see? Things are normal! You can joke about it!
  249. >"Please tell me there haven't been any others," Spitfire groans. "I mean... this could be bad."
  250. >She looks around cautiously.
  251. "Well, yeah, but -"
  252. >"I'm worried about the team, Soarin."
  253. "Gee, thanks. Good to know you don't actually care about me."
  254. >"Don't be an idiot," she growls, punching you in the upper arm. "Of course I care about you, but I've also got to care about everyone else. Just don't do anything stupid."
  255. >She tips back the bottle and takes a sip.
  256. >"Shit, it does taste like balls."
  257. "Told you."
  258. >She scowls and takes another sip.
  259. >At least she drinks the whole thing when she ends up with one she hates.
  260. >A sip turns into a gulp as she dries to down the whole thing as fast as possible.
  261. >She's still scowling - and only halfway through - when she pulls the bottle away.
  262. >"Personally, I don't think it's a big deal."
  263. "The flavor?"
  264. >"The girl," she snaps back with a roll of her eyes. "If you were only six months younger, or she were six months older..."
  265. >She shrugs.
  266. >"What happens between two consenting ad- uhhh... two consenting people isn't my problem. Sure, technically, it's statutory rape, but hey - you were blind drunk -"
  267. "I wasn't that drunk."
  268. >"You were that drunk."
  269. >Another punch to the arm.
  270. >You're going to have a bruise tomorrow.
  271. >"Anyway, you were drunk -"
  272. "That doesn't excuse it."
  273. >"No, but it does mean they raped you," she argues. "Not that any jury in the world would believe it, but if YOU were a girl they sure as hell would."
  274. >She shrugs again.
  275. >"I know you aren't a rapemonster. I mean, you've never raped me."
  276. "As if I would want to, dyke."
  277. >"As if you could!" she snarls back playfully. "You're welcome to try!"
  278. >She blinks then tilts her head to one side.
  279. >"Shit, does that count as consent? Whatever, offer stands, because there's no way a pussy like you could pin me down."
  280. "I'll pass."
  281. >"Pussy."
  282. >It's your turn to punch her and she takes it like a champ.
  283. >Not even a flinch.
  284. "Nah, you have a point. I don't want anything leading back to the team."
  285. >"It won't," she smirks. "Take your best shot."
  286. "Yeah, you say that now, but when you're suddenly on the ground and I'm balls-deep in you, that's story's going to -"
  287. >"Okay, point taken!"
  288. >The throws her hands into the air in surrender, accidentally - or intentionally - spilling most of her drink.
  289. >"We don't want it known the Wonderbolts harbored a *serial* rapist!"
  290. "Don't worry. You aren't my type."
  291. >"Oh, and what's that?"
  292. "Legal."
  293. >See? Everything is normal. If you can joke about it like this, then everything is normal.
  294. >"Well, good to know my virtue is safe around you," Spitfire laughs before finishing the remnants of her drink. "See you tomorrow."
  295. >Brofist.
  296. >Walk away.
  297. >Don't look back at the explosion.
  298. >You almost look back just to make sure Spitfire didn't spontaneously explode, but meh.
  299. >Might as well check and see what your fangirls had to say.
  300. >After all, if you wowed them enough, maybe you can hit them up in six months. Or whenever she does turn legal.
  301. >Hell, maybe the other one already is.
  302. >You certainly hope she isn't any younger.
  303. >You pull out your phone.
  304. >Heh.
  305. >Fuck yeah, you wowed 'em alright.
  306. >Four messages.
  307. >Damn, you are GOOD.
  308. >Your steps slow as you realize just what the next message is.
  309. >Fuck.
  310. >Okay, that can't get out.
  311. >You delete the picture immediately.
  312. >As nice as it was, you aren't an idiot.
  313. >You don't need pics of a topless Silver Spoon on your phone.
  314. >Deleting the message automatically pulls up the next.
  315. >Delete.
  316. >You saw enough to know that one shouldn't be there either.
  317. >The next picture comes up and you hesitate.
  318. >Smudges of pink and white fill the screen.
  319. "What the hell...?"
  320. >The pic is too blurry for you to make out, not until you remember the unused condom.
  321. >Delete.
  322. >Fuck.
  323. >You almost delete the next, but it's just text. Just a message.
  324. >"Meet me under the bleachers. Now."
  325. >Under the bleachers? What kind of crap has she been watching to think that's even a thing anymore, if it ever had been.
  326. >Light beeps accompany your typing.
  327. >"Why?" you send back.
  328. >You only have to wait seconds before getting her reply.
  329. >"Because if you don't, I'm sending those pictures to everyone."
  330. >In a panic, you look over your shoulder.
  331. >Spitfire is gone.
  332. "Shit."
  333. >Advice - even from her - would be welcome right now.
  334. >Shit.
  335. >What would Spitfire do?
  336. >Nevermind.
  337. >Beating a girl into the ground and smashing her phone doesn't seem like a good idea.
  338. >She might have backed up those pics already.
  339. >You take a deep breath and try to calm down.
  340. >She might be bluffing, but you don't know that for sure.
  341. >Spitfire was right about the team, though. With all the wackiness that's been going on, this is the last thing they need.
  342. >You can't cause a scandal and drag everyone else down with you.
  343. >Maybe she'll see reason.
  344. >"Fine," you type back.
  345.  
  346. >You are Diamond Tiara and you are smiling.
  347. >Silver Spoon just arrived and is looking around in fear and worry.
  348. "Soooooo sorry to pull you away from the library."
  349. >"It's... fine..." she says a little too much hesitation.
  350. >You'll have to punish her for that.
  351. >Oh, who are you kidding? You were going to do that anyway.
  352. >"Anything for my bestie."
  353. >More like only.
  354. >"So... what's going on...?"
  355. >She does her best to smile and look eager.
  356. >Hell, maybe she even is.
  357. "Well, I just assumed that no one else bothered to show up for your book club meeting, so..."
  358. >You pause, silently demanding a response.
  359. >"No," the other girl admits after a few seconds, shaking her head and making her braid bounce.
  360. "I mean, you didn't, like, EXPECT them to, did you?"
  361. >"Not -"
  362. "It's not like they signed up because they enjoy reading or anything, or did you think they actually wanted to be your friends?"
  363. >Silver Spoon eyes drop and she shakes her head again.
  364. >"N-no... I just... why would they join if they never intended to attend meetings?"
  365. "For their resumes."
  366. >She flinches at your snarled accusation.
  367. "They never wanted to be your friends."
  368. >Not after you had a little talk with them.
  369. "I'm your only friend."
  370. >And you're going to make sure it stays that way.
  371. >"I - I know," Silver sighs, her chest heaving with the herculean strain of merely existing. "I know."
  372. "Yeah, so..."
  373. >You smile. After a second, she smiles back.
  374. "... I just, you know, figured I'd rescue you from that boring little room. Do something exciting, you know?"
  375. >Over her shoulder, you can see Soarin approaching.
  376. "I mean, you had fun last time, right?"
  377. >"Last time...?"
  378. >Her eyes open wide.
  379. >You stifle a laugh.
  380. >She looks so eager.
  381.  
  382. >You are Soarin and you are approaching the bleachers.
  383. >Silver Spoon is there, her back to you, as is another girl.
  384. >The *twin* you assume.
  385. >You hope she's more innocent than Silver Spoon.
  386. >Maybe she can be reasoned with.
  387. >She sees you.
  388. >She smiles and waves.
  389. >Timidly, you wave back just as Silver Spoon turns around in surprise.
  390. >She looks so scared.
  391. "So..."
  392. >Silver Spoon bites her lip and takes a step back, only to be shoved forward by her friend.
  393. >"Get on your knees."
  394. >You raise an eyebrow.
  395. >"Not you, idiot," the other girl snarls. "Silver, get on your knees."
  396. >"Why...?"
  397. >"Just do it."
  398. "Wait."
  399. >You stop well away from both of the girls.
  400. "Why don't you tell me what's going. What do you want?"
  401. >Silver Spoon doesn't answer, instead looking away quickly like she's trying to pretend you aren't here.
  402. >To your surprise, it's the other girl that answers.
  403. >"What I - WE want?" she laughs. "We want you to do as you're told."
  404. "What."
  405. >"I SAID I want you to do as you're told," the girl hisses. "And if you don't..."
  406. >She pulls her phone out and waves it back and forth.
  407. >"Well, everyone will just have to find out just what kind of pervert you are."
  408. >That's... blunt.
  409. >You expected something, but her forwardness catches you flatfooted.
  410. >"Don't you realize how serious this is?" she sneers. "You'll go to jail."
  411. >As if that hadn't occurred to you.
  412. >"Diamond..."
  413. >"Quiet. This is for your own good."
  414. "Look -"
  415. >"No, YOU look," Diamond Tiara barks, stepping forward and driving a finger into your chest. "You're going to do as you're told, or I'll make sure you go to jail for breaking my friend's heart!"
  416. >You could snap her like a twig.
  417. >It's tempting.
  418. >Very tempting, but impossibly stupid.
  419. "And what do you want me to do?"
  420. >"You're my friend's boyfriend now," the girl hisses. "You're supposed to do what couples do."
  421. “What do you mean?”
  422. >Please be dinner and a movie.
  423. >Please be dinner and a movie.
  424. >Please be –
  425. >With a surprised squeak, Silver Spoon is roughly shoved to her knees by the other girl.
  426. >”You should hurry up,” she leers, looking around theatrically. “Doesn’t the football team get the practice field after you guys?”
  427. “Y-yeah.”
  428. >”Well, it doesn’t look like you have much time left.”
  429. >She doesn’t look behind her to see what’s happening out on the field, instead standing over her friend with a hand on each shoulder.
  430. >Holding her down, you suppose, though the smaller girl hasn’t even tried to stand once.
  431. >”Time is running out,” she teases, “unless you’d prefer everyone see what you are in person.”
  432. “I –“
  433. >No.
  434. “I’m not doing this.”
  435. >”You hear that, Silver Spoon?” the girl says mockingly, bending down to stage whisper into her friend’s ear. “He doesn’t want to be your friend either. No one does. Just me.”
  436. >The girl’s head droops slowly until her chin is resting against her clavicle.
  437. “I… didn’t say that…”
  438. >”I guess you gave up your first time for nothing,” Diamond Tiara hisses, ignoring you. “You thought you could make someone love you by giving up your virginity, but you just weren’t good enough, were you?”
  439. >"No," the other girl moans softly.
  440. >Enough.
  441. "Look, bitch -"
  442. >If looks could kill, you and all your ancestors back seven generations would instantly keel over.
  443. >The ones that are still alive, anyway.
  444. >"It's okay," Diamond Tiara whispers into her friend's ear, never breaking eye contact with you. "You can forget all about this. We'll make him go away, and you can pretend it never happened."
  445. "Nah, I don't think so."
  446. >Somehow, you muster up the courage to shake your head and take a step towards the pair.
  447. "I was *drunk*. Who do you think -"
  448. >" - everyone will believe? Probably the girl whose heart and body you savaged, you monster."
  449. >With the practiced ease of a teenage girl, Diamond swipes open her phone and begins scrolling.
  450. >"Who should we tell first?" she asks quietly. "We don't want it getting out to everyone, of course, I mean..."
  451. >She grins like the vile little demon she is.
  452. >"... you'd never make any friends if everyone knew what kind of slut you were, Silver."
  453. >The kneeling girl shudders.
  454. >She might even be crying.
  455. "She's not a slut, you cunt."
  456. >"Well, she slept with someone who isn't her boyfriend," the bitch sighs theatrically. "I mean, you don't even WANT to date her, so...?"
  457. >She shrugs.
  458. >"I guess Principal Celestia? Or should we go straight to the police?"
  459. "You wouldn't dare."
  460. >She wouldn't, right?
  461. >Right!?
  462. >Silver raises her hands to cover her face, but that can't hide her crying from you.
  463. >"Well, Silver?" Diamond pushes. "Who do you think we should tell first?"
  464. >Slowly, yet frantically, the kneeling girl shakes
  465. her head.
  466. "Look, you just keep this to yourselves, I'll keep it to myself, no one ever -"
  467. >"No," Diamond spits. "You hurt my friend, so I am going to hurt you."
  468. >With a gentle touch you had thought impossible of her, the girl pulls Silver's hands away from her face.
  469. >Diamond's fingers brush across her friend's cheek, lingering just a moment too long.
  470. >"Don't worry," she whispers lovingly. "I'll protect you from him."
  471. >"T-thank you."
  472. >Silver grips her friend's hand, their fingers intertwining.
  473. >"Y-you told me that no boy would ever love me, but I didn't listen. I should have listened."
  474. >"It's okay," Diamond whisper back. "I forgive you."
  475. >Whatever is going on between those two, it is NOT a normal, healthy friendship.
  476. >Long gone are whatever hopes you had they would be reasonable.
  477. >It’s clear what she wanted you to do and that’s not happening.
  478. >Neither is you getting out of this.
  479. >While Diamond whispers softly to her friend, you fire off a text to Spitfire and another to your coach.
  480. >There.
  481. >Done.
  482. >You quit the team.
  483. >Ignoring the frantic buzzing of your phone, you put it away and cross your arms.
  484. “Okay. Fine. Do it.”
  485. >”What?”
  486. >The bitch looks up from her friend abruptly, her eyes wide with surprise.
  487. “Do it. Let’s just get it over with.”
  488. >”Don’t think I won’t,” she growls back, pulling out her phone again. “You’re going to go to jail! Put on the sex offender registry! You’ll never get a decent job, even if you DO get out someday!”
  489. “Going to jail is better than having to stand here and watch you treat your friend the way you are.”
  490. >”You’ll -!”
  491. “Don’t bother.”
  492. >The look of outrage on her face makes you want to laugh.
  493. >You have to turn away to hide your smile.
  494. “And if the police want to know where I am, you can tell them I’m at home.”
  495. >Walk away.
  496. >Don’t look back to watch the –
  497. >”Will… will my parents find out…?”
  498. >Silver’s plaintive moan stops you more effectively than any of Diamond’s threats ever could.
  499. >”Well, yeah, of course they will.”
  500. >”They can’t!”
  501. >With a sigh, you turn back towards the girls.
  502. >Not with your full body, just at the waist, just enough so you can hold out a beckoning hand to the girl on her knees.
  503. “Then don’t tell anyone. Just come with me, Silver. Let’s… let’s go get dinner or something.”
  504. >Silver gasps.
  505. >Such a tiny, delicate noise, you almost can't imagine it.
  506. >Warily, as if afraid to believe what she had just heard, she raises her head until she's looking up at her friend with puppy dog eyes.
  507. >"Can we...?"
  508. "No, just you and me, Silver. What do you say?"
  509. >Diamond is absolutely fuming, but she tries to hide it from the kneeling girl.
  510. >"I REALLY don't think that would be a good idea," she snarls. "I mean, just look at yourself."
  511. >Silver looks down and bites her lip.
  512. >"It's... it's just a little mud..."
  513. >"Your skirt is absolutely FILTHY! You can't be seen in public like this!"
  514. >Diamond lets out an exaggerated groan and rolls her eyes.
  515. >"What if word got out?" she continues. "And how would you explain THIS ruffian?"
  516. >She dismissively waves a hand your direction.
  517. >"I know..." Silver moans. "I just..."
  518. "If anyone so much as look at her funny, I'll just tell them I rescued her from a bully that shoved her into the mud."
  519. >It's the absolute truth, after all.
  520. >Diamond Tiara doesn't miss your unsubtle dig, but her friend is too excited to notice it - or her.
  521. >"Please!?" she begs, trying to stand for the first time. "It... it might even be a good thing! I mean, if my parents think he rescued me from a bully, they might actually approve of me spending time with him and -"
  522. "You don't need her permission, Silver. Just come with me."
  523. >"I... but... I can't just..."
  524. >The girl shakes her head adamantly and let out a weak whine.
  525. >"What she means is, it wouldn't be proper," Diamond translates with a smirk. "Letting her be alone with a boy she doesn't even know? It just be so scandalous."
  526. "But you're okay with me dating her?"
  527. >"Not openly, but neither would the police."
  528. >Her vicious grin falls flat when you simply shrug.
  529. >"Please...?" Silver Spoon begs again. "Can we?"
  530. >You step forward and grab her wrist to pull her up, but she jerks away from you.
  531. >"I can't! Not without Diamond!" she protests, hastily scrambling to her feet and backing away. "I... I wouldn't know what to do!"
  532. >Diamond wraps her arms protectively - or possessively - around her friend's shoulders.
  533. >"That's right, Soarin," she says, her blue eyes cold and hard. "She needs me. I'm her friend. And I don't. want. to. go."
  534. >Silver Spoon's head drops again as the light flees from her eyes.
  535. >Slowly, she brings her hands up to Diamond's arms.
  536. >For a moment - for the briefest of moments - you think she's going to tear her friend's arms away and come with you.
  537. >She doesn't.
  538. >Her hands curl around Diamond's arms, clutching to them like she's hanging from a cliff, as if that thin ledge is all that's between life and an impossibly long fall.
  539. "Then what do you want?"
  540. >"I want you to suffer," Diamond answers flatly. "You raped my friend and abandoned her like she was trash."
  541. "Then call the police. But remember, if you do, your little game will be over."
  542. >"What does THAT mean?"
  543. "It means you called me over here for a reason."
  544. >You hesitate to say she blackmailed you.
  545. >Diamond Tiara did, you know she did, but Silver Spoon is nothing like what you expected.
  546. >She might not understand.
  547. >She might take it wrong.
  548. >She might think it was the only way anyone would ever be willing to spend time with her.
  549. >"Because -!"
  550. "You could have just called the cops. You want something out of this."
  551. >"I just want what's best for my friend," the girl hisses. "And you -"
  552. "If you really want what's best for her, you should let her do what she wants."
  553. >You lunge forward and snag Silver's wrist again, tight enough she can't break free.
  554. "Feel free to tag along."
  555. >If it's the only way you can get Silver Spoon out of this place, if she won't go without her "friend", then you'll just have to take them both.
  556. >Baby steps, you say silently to yourself. As much as you would love to punt the cunt, that won't solve anything.
  557. >Not until Silver is free of her.
  558. >And until you are free.
  559. >For all your bluster, you can’t forget that the consequences of that night could be serious.
  560. >For her, for you, for everyone.
  561. >Thinking of Silver is the only way to move forward.
  562. >To think of yourself would send you screaming into the distance, but her?
  563. >You can’t leave her alone with this bitch.
  564. >Diamond Tiara could ruin your life, but she already is ruining her friend’s.
  565. >”Stop…” Silver whines as you pull her out of Diamond’s arms, the other girl too stunned to hold on. “Stop, please.”
  566. “Believe me, this is for your own good.”
  567. >”Stop!”
  568. “No.”
  569. >”You’re hurting me!”
  570. “What?”
  571. >No, that’s not what’s supposed to happen!
  572. >In surprise – in shock and fear – you make a mistake.
  573. >You let go.
  574. >Silver jerks away, gripping the wrist you had held just moments earlier, and falls into her friend’s open arms.
  575. >”Huh, I didn’t expect that,” Diamond laughs, catching Silver. “I would have thought you’d be used to hearing that from girls.”
  576. >She cradles her friend, grinning darkly.
  577. >”And ignoring it,” she adds, still smiling.
  578. >What a cruel girl; she seems to actually be pleased you hurt her friend.
  579. >”But that’s fine. We’ll go to dinner with you.”
  580. >Silver whines softly.
  581. >”Quiet,” Diamond hisses in her ear. “This is what you want, isn’t it?”
  582. >The girl freezes, standing ridged as a goalpost.
  583. >”I’m just helping you do what you want.”
  584. “Don’t –“
  585. >“This is all for you, Silver.”
  586. >Diamond nuzzles the other girl’s neck sweetly.
  587. >Creepily.
  588. >In another situation, it might have been boner material, but not now.
  589. >Not with these two.
  590. >”I mean, I don’t WANT to go,” Diamond laughs, covering her mouth to hide her smile. “I’m just doing this for you, because I’m your friend.”
  591.  
  592. >You are Diamond Tiara and you – while not totally satisfied with how things are going – can honestly say this is even better than what you had planned.
  593. >He’s not going to do what you say to save himself.
  594. >He’s going to do it to save Silver Spoon.
  595. >To SAVE her!
  596. >As if she needed saving from you!
  597. >You practically have to drag your friend out of his car and into the shitty little diner he drove you to.
  598. “I thought you wanted Soarin to take you to dinner?”
  599. >”I… I did, but –“
  600. “But now you’re regretting it?”
  601. >”No, just –“
  602. >You don’t bother to listen to whatever she’s going to say.
  603. >This isn’t about her.
  604. >It’s about what you can make him do to her.
  605. >And he CARES.
  606. >This is going to be so much fun.
  607. >You’re almost – but not entirely – happy he didn’t force himself on her under the bleachers.
  608. >It will be so much better when she trusts him.
  609. >Still… delayed gratification is an unfamiliar and unwelcome idea to you.
  610. “This better be worth it.”
  611. >”What?” Silver asks as you push her through the door Soarin is holding open.
  612. >You hadn’t realized you had spoken out loud.
  613. “Nevermind.”
  614. >Silver fidgets nervously.
  615. >If you weren’t holding her arm, she might bolt and run.
  616. >She wouldn’t, though. Not without you.
  617. >”Where is the maître d'…?” she whispers, wide eyes looking around in fear.
  618. >”What? Oh, yeah,” Soarin chuckles, coming in behind you. “There’s no hostess or anything here. Just seat yourself.”
  619. >”Where?”
  620. “Over there.”
  621. >You point towards the back of the diner. It’s not quite the dark and obscure corner you had hoped to find, but it will serve.
  622. >This shithole seems remarkably well lit and open, probably because actual DÉCOR would have cost money.
  623. >”Sure,” Soarin answers with a smile, walking on ahead of you. “That’s where Spitfire and I usually sit anyway.”
  624. “You’ve brought OTHER girls here?”
  625. >He freezes, slowly turning his head to stare at you over his shoulder with one eyebrow raised.
  626. >”Well, technically, yes? I guess so?” he says, shrugging. “By definition, she has to be female to be a raging dyke.”
  627. >He rolls his eyes and waves you forward.
  628. >A pudgy woman in an apron waves to him as he nears the booth.
  629. >”Hey, Short Stack!” he calls out, waving back. “How’re things going?”
  630. >”Fine, I guess.”
  631. >She shrugs, looking at you and Silver with a suspicious eye.
  632. >”I see you’re doing… well…” she mumbles. “Where’s Spitfire?”
  633. >”Oh, um… yeah. She’s… busy.”
  634. >”Hope you two didn’t break up,” the woman sighs, grabbing some menus and heading in your direction. “Made such a cute couple.”
  635. >”We weren’t dating.”
  636. >Soarin goes to sit, but you grab his sleeve and pull him up.
  637. “Ladies sit first.”
  638. >”Right, right, fine,” he grumbles, waving for the pair of you to take your places. “Go ahead.”
  639. >Pushing Silver out of your way, you take your seat, positioning yourself on the very edge of the poorly-upholstered bench.
  640. >Your friend looks at you for a second, expectantly – and patiently – waiting for you to scoot over.
  641. >You don’t.
  642. “Well? Aren’t you going to sit?”
  643. >”Yes, but…”
  644. >Her eyes flicker towards the other side of the table, then back to you.
  645. “This is a date, isn’t it?”
  646. >You smile.
  647. >It has little to do with convincing her and more to do with being unable to stop yourself.
  648. “You two should sit side-by-side.”
  649. >”Oh.”
  650. >Cautiously, she seats herself, scooting over after you nod.
  651. >”Thank you,” she whispers softly. “I never would have known if you hadn’t told me.”
  652. “Of course you wouldn’t. I have to help you with everything.”
  653. >Soarin glares angrily at you, but you don’t budge.
  654. >When he sits, Silver tries to slide away, but she’s already pressed against the wall.
  655. >There’s nowhere for her to go, leaving her trapped and helpless.
  656. >He tries to sit as far from her as he can, but the booth is too small for that to count for much.
  657. >”Sorry,” he murmurs softly.
  658. >Silver opens her mouth to respond, but snaps it shut as the waitress begins handing out menus.
  659. >”Did I hear right?” she leers. “Is this a date?”
  660. >”None of your business, Shorty.”
  661. >”Well, it MIGHT be,” she teases Soarin. “What should I tell Spitfire if she –“
  662. >”How many times do I have to tell you? We aren’t –“
  663. >”Besides, aren’t these girls a little young for you?”
  664. >”It’s... yes… but…”
  665. >The waitress grins lewdly at him.
  666. >”Well, just don’t do anything here and I won’t have to tell your girlfriend that you’re cheating on her. I can’t tell her what I can’t see. Deal?”
  667. >”Deal,” Soarin answers glumly, pretending to study his menu.
  668. >Oh, this is just BEAUTIFUL.
  669. >If Silver could disappear right now, you’re sure she would do it.
  670. >Soarin hurt her, he’s cheating on her… you couldn’t ask for anything more.
  671. >She’s so scared – scared of him, of this situation, of everything.
  672. >Her eyes keep glancing in your direction.
  673. >She’s waiting for you to tell her what to do.
  674. >Without your guidance, she doesn’t have a clue.
  675. >Your fingers twitch and you drop your menu to the table.
  676. >This is so perfect, it hurts.
  677. “I’ll… I’ll be right back.”
  678. >You can’t do it here; you aren’t a filthy exhibitionist like HER.
  679. >Leaving them alone is a bad idea. You know this, but you can’t help yourself.
  680. >”Where are you going?” Silver whines, practically panicking.
  681. “I have to go to the little girl’s room.”
  682. >”Oh, um, I do –“
  683. “Stay.”
  684. >Silver’s mouth snaps shut with a whine.
  685. >Good.
  686. >You need to be alone.
  687. >Delayed gratification is for other people.
  688. >Not you.
  689. >”What should we order for you?” Soarin asks as you stand and walk away.
  690. “Don’t care.”
  691. >Everything here probably tastes the same anyway.
  692. >Like a mixture of grease, disappointment, and minimum wage.
  693. >Restrooms are in the corner; you head straight for them, barely deviating just enough to avoid the scattered tables and chairs.
  694. >It’s empty.
  695. >Good.
  696. >Two stalls.
  697. >You go into the closest.
  698. >The toilet is filthy.
  699. >It looks clean, but you know it isn’t.
  700. >That would be impossible, in a place like this.
  701. >You remain standing, one hand bracing you against the door to keep you upright.
  702. >The other snakes under your skirt, under the waistband of your panties.
  703. >They pull away from your skin reluctantly.
  704. >Wetly.
  705. >The first finger slips between your lips by pure happy accident.
  706. >The second is intentional.
  707. >The third takes effort, but feels so good.
  708.  
  709. >You are Silver Spoon and you don’t know what to do.
  710. >Diamond Tiara isn’t here to tell you.
  711. >The waitress is on her way back.
  712. >You don’t know what to do.
  713. >”So, are y’all ready to order?” she asks, pulling out a pad and pencil.
  714. >Soarin orders… something…
  715. >You don’t know what. Your nerves are too frayed to pay attention.
  716. >It takes all your willpower just to keep yourself sitting with a faint smile on your face.
  717. >All you want to do is scream and run and cry yourself to sleep.
  718. >”Silver…?”
  719. >You gasp.
  720. >Soarin’s hand is close. Too close.
  721. >You hadn’t noticed.
  722. >He doesn’t touch you, but almost.
  723. >Your wrist aches.
  724. >”Are you ready to order?”
  725. >The waitress is staring at you expectantly.
  726. >”You know, I can come back later if you aren’t ready.”
  727. >It doesn’t matter if she gives you another minute or another hour.
  728. >You still won’t know.
  729. >Diamond didn’t tell you what to get.
  730. >You look up at Soarin, your eyes wide with panic.
  731. “I… I…”
  732. >He nods.
  733. >Once.
  734. >And you relax.
  735. >Slightly.
  736. >He’ll take care of you.
  737. >”Hey, Shorty, who’s in the kitchen tonight?” he asks. “Is it your brother?”
  738. >”Nah, Tall has the night off. Probably busy watching porn and jerking his –“
  739. >How can she talk so casually about THAT?
  740. >Soarin notices you fidgeting and frowns.
  741. >Is he angry at you?
  742. >You can’t let him be angry -
  743. >”Shorty, could you TRY to be a little less crude than usual,” he sighs, gathering up the menus and holding them out to the waitress. “She isn’t Spitfire.”
  744. >”Well, I… uh… sorry,” she responds, blushing faintly. “Greasy Spoon is working tonight.”
  745. >”Oh,” he grunts. “Well, okay then. That rules out burgers.”
  746. >He pauses for a second.
  747. >”How do you feel about breakfast?” he asks you. “Anything else, and… well…”
  748. >You don’t know.
  749. “I’ve heard it said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
  750. >You try to smile for him, try to make it look like you’re joking.
  751. >You don’t know what else to do.
  752. >”Okay then, that settles it. Short Stack, we’ll take three pancake specials.”
  753. >”And what do you want for –“
  754. >The two exchange words for some time that make no sense to you.
  755. >Words that probably would, if only you could hear them, but all you catch are fragments.
  756. >Those you do hear clearly lack all meaning.
  757. >They’re simply noise, a background symphony to your silent panic attack.
  758. >You begged her to come along, but she left you!
  759. >She left!
  760. >You nearly scream when you feel a hand on your arm.
  761. >Nearly.
  762. >You can’t keep it all inside, though, and a tiny squeak escapes your lips.
  763. >Soarin pulls his hand back immediately, his eyes nearly as wide as yours are, you suspect.
  764. >”Sorry! I didn’t mean –“
  765. >He sighs and slumps over.
  766. >”I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
  767. “You… you didn’t.”
  768. >”Earlier, I mean. I wasn’t trying to –“
  769. “It’s okay.”
  770. >He shakes his head.
  771. >”No, it’s not,” he groans. “I was trying to help you.”
  772. “Thank you.”
  773. >”For hurting you?”
  774. >Another squeak.
  775. >You don’t know what to say.
  776. >”I didn’t… I didn’t hurt you that night… did I?”
  777. >Yes.
  778. “N-no.”
  779. >You had expected it to hurt.
  780. >Diamond had told you it would.
  781. >”That’s good,” he sighs, giving you a faint grin.
  782. >Excellent, you gave him the correct answer.
  783. >You return his smile.
  784. >”Why didn’t you order?”
  785. >Your smile drops.
  786. “I didn’t know what to get.”
  787. >”You didn’t see anything you liked on the menu?”
  788. >You shake your head.
  789. >That’s not it.
  790. “I didn’t know what to get.”
  791. >”Because it’s a date?”
  792. >You shake your head again.
  793. “I just didn’t know.”
  794. >”But…”
  795. >He shrugs, totally lost.
  796. >You stare blankly at him, unsure what to say.
  797. >Soarin sighs, letting it out in a long, drawn out gust.
  798. >He looks away for a second, gazing out over the diner.
  799. >When his head turns back to face you, his eyes are hard.
  800. >Not cold, but hard. Firm. Resolved.
  801. >”Want me to change those orders to go?” he asks. “Get the hell out of here?”
  802. “But Diamond –“
  803. >”Fuck her,” he growls. “We’ll leave her here. Don’t you want to get away from that bitch?”
  804. >You shake your head frantically, though you don’t know what good it will do.
  805. >From his eyes, he won’t give you a choice.
  806. >The pain in your wrist flares as you imagine him dragging out of the diner and throwing you into his car.
  807. >He’d drive away, taking you from your only friend, taking you to who knows where, to do who knows what with you.
  808. >He reaches out and you try to escape, but the wall solidly resists your every attempt to pass through it.
  809. >With his fingers inches from your body, you whine.
  810. >You shouldn’t.
  811. >It’s unbecoming.
  812. >You can’t stop yourself.
  813. >Fear rules your body.
  814. >He stops.
  815. >He pulls back.
  816. >He looks down.
  817. >And then he slides off of the seat and moves around to the other side.
  818. >”There, is that better?” he asks, seating himself opposite you.
  819. >You nod.
  820. >It is.
  821. >”What happened to make you like this?”
  822. >He looks away, embarrassed by his own question.
  823. “Nothing.”
  824. >He asked. You must answer.
  825. >”What did she do to you?”
  826. “Nothing.”
  827. >”But can’t you see that everything she does is WRONG for you?”
  828. >You shake your head again, adamantly denying his words.
  829. >”I don’t know –“
  830. “You don’t.”
  831. >”Can’t you even try to see what life is like without her?” he pleads, but the thought terrifies you.
  832. “No – I – No!”
  833. >”But –“
  834. “Don’t you understand?”
  835. >You tear up slightly.
  836. >Why can’t he understand?
  837. “Everything I have ever needed has been provided for me. Food, clothing, shelter –“
  838. >”Well, yeah, you’re… you’re a child. That’s your parents’ responsibility.”
  839. >You shake your head.
  840. >He doesn’t understand.
  841. “- my hobbies.”
  842. >He raises an eyebrow in confusion.
  843. “My beliefs.”
  844. >”But –“
  845. “My friend.”
  846. >”Most people have more than one, you know,” he sighs.
  847. “Most people are… are likable.”
  848. >”You’re plenty likable.”
  849. >No, you’re not.
  850. >He’s just saying what you want to hear.
  851. >”She’s not your friend, not the way she treats you.”
  852. >And now he’s trying a new tactic.
  853. >You clamp your eyes shut to keep yourself from crying.
  854. >You’re not entire sure it works.
  855. “She is.”
  856. >”No, she –“
  857. “I wouldn’t know what to do if Diamond Tiara wasn’t here for me.”
  858.  
  859. >You are Soarin and you believe you may have heard the first real opinion to ever come out of Silver Spoon’s mouth.
  860. >Too bad it had to be that particular opinion.
  861. “If you haven’t noticed, she ISN’T here for you.”
  862. >The girl shakes her head, denying reality with all the strength her little girl heart can muster.
  863. >”She’ll be back.”
  864. “That’s what I’m worried about.”
  865. >”You shouldn’t be,” Silver mumbles, her head drooping. “She’ll tell me how to be a proper girlfriend for you.”
  866. “I’d rather you be yourself.”
  867. >”I can be better than Spitfire,” she insists with unexpected resolve. “I can. I know it. Just give me a chance.”
  868. >But… why do people keep thinking that?
  869. “Spitfire and I –“
  870. >”I know she’s the captain of the Wonderbolts, but I – I’m the president of the book club…”
  871. >She whines wordlessly, peeking at you over the rim of her glasses.
  872. >”Isn’t that good enough for you…?”
  873. >You shake your head, immediately regretting the gesture as she begins to panic.
  874. “No, I mean… your title doesn’t matter to me.”
  875. >”It’s not good enough,” she whines, clasping her hands over her face. “I’m not good enough.”
  876. >She shakes her head and moans.
  877. >”Is that why you hurt me?”
  878. “No! That was an accident!”
  879. >”This is why I need Diamond,” the girl sobs. “I can’t do anything on my own.”
  880. “That’s not true.”
  881. >It might be, but you aren’t going to tell her that she’s right.
  882. >If she doesn’t believe in herself, she will never be free – and neither will you.
  883. >”I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” she continues, ignoring your words. “I never should have picked you. I should have chosen someone less –“
  884. “Wait, what?”
  885. >She whines and squirms nervously, risking a look up.
  886. >Searching for her friend, you assume.
  887. “YOU chose me?”
  888. >Silver nods, trying to hide behind her hands again.
  889. “Why? Why me!?”
  890. >”You… you seemed… nice… even though you were almost too drunk to stand, you were…”
  891. >She pauses, peering over her hands at you cautiously.
  892. >”You were gentle… and kind.”
  893. >That’s… good.
  894. >”You were so nice,” Silver continues, looking down abruptly. “You kept asking if I was sure, if I was ready, if…”
  895. >You don't remember a thing from that night.
  896. “If?”
  897. >“I’m sorry,” she chokes. “I shouldn’t have done this to you.”
  898. “It’s… it’s okay…”
  899. >“I should have let *her* choose. I shouldn’t have tried to make a decision on my own.”
  900. "No, it's..."
  901. >You think back to that night.
  902. >Who else was there?
  903. >Your teammates, but a lot of them had left by the time your memory gets fuzzy.
  904. >Decent bros, but... yeah. Decent bros.
  905. >Flash Fucking Sentry was doing the rounds, of course. Spitfire hadn't invited him, but fucker showed up anyway.
  906. >He was probably on his third or fourth girl by then.
  907. >A few others, some familiar, some not.
  908. "... it's okay. I'm glad you chose me."
  909. >Silver balls up her hands in front of her mouth, looking for all the world like an excited little squirrel.
  910. >She doesn't understand.
  911. >You're glad she chose you, because you wouldn't trust the rest of them with her.
  912. >It would had been better if she hadn't chosen anyone at all.
  913. >Diamond probably didn't give her a choice, though.
  914. >Silver's eyes are shimmering wetly, but excitedly.
  915. "Yeah. I'm glad you chose me."
  916. >There is no way you're going to explain your reason to her.
  917. >No way you're going to tell her what the others would have done to her... or would be doing to her right now.
  918. >They're your bros, but... none of them would treat her right.
  919. >When Silver looks away suddenly, her cheeks glowing crimson, you realize you had been staring.
  920. "Sorry."
  921. >The girl mumbles something behind her hands - you don't catch what, exactly.
  922. >It probably doesn't matter.
  923. >You look over towards the restrooms, but the bitch isn't coming back.
  924. >Silver is starting to come out of her shell - even if only slightly.
  925. >Reminds you a bit of one of Sunset's friends, but you don't really know her well enough to say.
  926. >You should fix that.
  927. "So, you said you're president of the book club?"
  928.  
  929. >You are Diamond Tiara and you are a mess.
  930. >The floor was the first thing you attended to - the most obvious, but the least of your problems.
  931. >With that dealt with, you wadded up another handful of toilet paper and began rubbing down your inner thighs and other places.
  932. >They aren't clean, but they're clean enough.
  933. >And now... now you're staring at your panties, letting them dangle from one finger.
  934. >You aren't putting them back on, you know that much, but should you throw them away or...?
  935. >They're one of your favorites. Cute, comfortable... soaked.
  936. >You'll buy another pair.
  937. >Carefully, you roll them in more toilet paper to disguise what they are, you shove them into the sanitary bin on the wall of the stall.
  938. >There.
  939. >You unlock the door and step out, examining yourself in the mirror for a minute.
  940. >Good enough.
  941. >That brute won't notice.
  942. >Silver might, but you've trained her well.
  943. >She won't say a thing.
  944. >She won't speak without permission, to afraid of making a social faux pa.
  945. >Undoubtedly, the two of them have been sitting in awkward silence ever since you left.
  946. >You don't know what you were worried about.
  947. >Another spin for the mirror satisfies you - your appearance is, as always, immaculate.
  948. >You wash your hands in the sink - after waiting a second to make sure the water isn't brown, of course - and head out without a care in the world.
  949. >With a flip of your hair, you stride out of the restroom with a smile on your face and filthy thoughts on your mind.
  950. >It's going to be so much -
  951. >She's laughing.
  952. >Silver Spoon is laughing.
  953. >Your smile drops away instantly.
  954. >"Yeah, and then..." Soarin breaks off in a deep chuckle, shaking his head "... I swear, you won't believe what she did!"
  955. >"What?"
  956. >With calm fury building, you stalk across the room.
  957. >Your stride is too long for the short skirt you're wearing, but that's the last thought on your mind right now.
  958. >She's laughing.
  959. >She's laughing at something HE said.
  960. >She's only supposed to laugh at YOUR jokes!
  961. >THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!
  962. >In your blissful afterglow, you had considered letting Silver have her precious little date, letting her end things with a kiss.
  963. >Now she’s going to have to pay.
  964. >Things are going to end a little differently.
  965. >Your heavy stomping catches Soarin’s attention.
  966. >His head comes up and his eyes widen as he sees you approach.
  967. >He SHOULD be scared.
  968. >Asshole.
  969. >He changed sides.
  970. >He wasn’t supposed to do that.
  971. >Silver follows his gaze curiously, jumping when she sees you.
  972. >She knows you’re angry.
  973. >He doesn’t have a clue, but she knows.
  974. >”Hey…” Soarin greets you, waving sarcastically. “Have fun?”
  975. “In the restroom?”
  976. >He shrugs.
  977. “Are you stupid?”
  978. >”I’ve been told that I am.”
  979. >Asshole.
  980. >Fine.
  981. >You’ll make him suffer, too.
  982. >It’ll be easy.
  983. >You throw yourself into the booth beside Silver, trapping her.
  984. >She smiles shyly at you, hoping –
  985. >Oh, who cares what she’s hoping.
  986. “So, how’s the date going?”
  987. >You smile back, scooting over and bumping your hip into hers.
  988. >”It’s…”
  989. >Silver’s eyes dart between you and Soarin.
  990. >”It’s fine,” he answers harshly. “Just fine.”
  991. “Oh?”
  992. >”Y-yeah…” Silver responds, looking down to avoid your eyes.
  993. “What were you talking about?”
  994. >You try your best to sound as cheerful as possible.
  995. >It doesn’t convince either of them, but that’s not the point.
  996. >Appearance is what matters.
  997. >”Just telling Silver some funny stories about Spitfire.”
  998. “O-oh.”
  999. >Wait.
  1000. “Oh.”
  1001. >You can work with this.
  1002. “Talking about your last girlfriend, Soarin?”
  1003. >He scowls as you smirk.
  1004. “Sounds like you two had a lot of fun together.”
  1005. >”Yeah, but we weren’t dating.”
  1006. “Well, yeah, feel free to tell yourself that, but EVERYONE knows…”
  1007. >You shrug.
  1008. “Whatever, that’s not important now, is it?”
  1009. >You can feel Silver shivering beside you.
  1010. >She’s afraid.
  1011. >”No. It isn’t important.”
  1012. “Yeah, you should put that all behind you.”
  1013. >You turn to smile at Silver.
  1014. “It’s time to think of your future.”
  1015.  
  1016. >You are Soarin and you were staring to enjoy this.
  1017. >Silver Spoon seems to be a bright girl. Nice, gentle, easy to get along with.
  1018. >But still just a girl, you have to remind yourself.
  1019. >It was easy to forget, though.
  1020. >Too easy, until that bitch came back.
  1021. >Just when things were getting good, too.
  1022. >She had opened up, but now?
  1023.  
  1024. >You are Silver Spoon and you keep your mouth shut.
  1025. >Diamond is angry. At you.
  1026. >You shouldn't have tried to talk to him. You shouldn't have laughed at his jokes.
  1027. >It was a mistake, but you didn't know what to do.
  1028. >You thought...
  1029. >That was a mistake. You shouldn't have thought.
  1030. >Politely laughing at his jokes seemed like the right thing to do. The obvious thing to do.
  1031. >This is why you need Diamond.
  1032. >You can't do anything right.
  1033. >Not even talk to a boy.
  1034. >Silently, you pray she can fix whatever it is you messed up.
  1035. >You... you think you genuinely like Soarin.
  1036. >He can be a bit pushy, but... that's okay.
  1037. >It's okay.
  1038. >He thinks he's doing it for your own good.
  1039. >It's not his fault he doesn't understand how worthless you are.
  1040. >In fact, you're glad he doesn't.
  1041. >He probably wouldn't like you if he did.
  1042. >You wish he would stop talking about Spitfire, though. Those stories... you could never live up to what they had together.
  1043. >It doesn't make you jealous - there's no point in that.
  1044. >But it does make you sad.
  1045. >Sooner or later, he'll realize just how worthless you are.
  1046. >You risk looking up when Diamond mentions the future.
  1047. >She's smiling - at you. She's talking about you.
  1048. >"Spitfire never could be a decent girlfriend for you anyway," Diamond laughs, turning back to face Soarin. "Rumor has it she -"
  1049. >" - is a dyke? Yeah. I know."
  1050. >Diamond's mouth twitches into a scowl for a fraction of a second, too quick for anyone else to notice.
  1051. >You only do because you're used to seeing it - that tiny moment where surprise lets her true feelings show through her mask.
  1052. >Her smile is back almost immediately and she leans forward.
  1053. >"Exactly," she giggles softly, almost confidentially. "I bet there are things she wouldn't do for you no matter how much you asked!"
  1054. >Your friend sits back with a victorious smile.
  1055. >"I never asked," Soarin sighs, "because we were never dating."
  1056. >"Oh?"
  1057. >Diamond acts surprised, as if this was the first she'd heard of it.
  1058. >He's said it... you've lost track of how many times he's said it.
  1059. >Doesn't matter if they were dating, or... or whatever they were. Are.
  1060. >You don't know.
  1061. >What you DO know is that... that you'll...
  1062. >"Look, girl," Soarin growls, "Spitfire is my friend and captain and..."
  1063. >He pauses and looks down at something.
  1064. >"She's a friend," he corrects with a sigh. "Just a friend."
  1065. >You wish you could be his friend.
  1066. >"But it certainly sounds like you two have lots of fun together," Diamond probes, shrugging slightly. "I mean, you two drink together all the time, play soccer together..."
  1067. >You... you're too young to drink. So are they, but... you can't.
  1068. >And sports?
  1069. >That's not... not proper for a young girl of your position.
  1070. >You'd rather curl up with a good book anyway.
  1071. >"Yeah," Soarin growls back. "She's my friend. We have fun together. That's what friends are supposed to be for."
  1072. >You can't... there's... there's just no way you can replace her.
  1073. >Even if she is just a friend.
  1074. >There has to be some way - some THING - you can offer him that she can't.
  1075. >Something.
  1076. >ANYTHING.
  1077. >You've never met anyone this caring, this... loyal.
  1078. >He doesn't want to be here, you know that much. He doesn't want to be around Diamond Tiara.
  1079. >But he is. He's doing this for you.
  1080. >You can't let him slip through your fingers.
  1081. >You can't let him realize how boring and pathetic you are.
  1082. >You can't -
  1083. >- you can't...
  1084. >... you can't...
  1085. >There has to be something you can do.
  1086. >Something to make him as loyal to you, not Spitfire.
  1087. >Why does Diamond keep bringer her up?
  1088. >Didn't she say... oh... it doesn't matter. You obviously misunderstood.
  1089. >You're so stupid.
  1090. >There's nothing special about you.
  1091. >Nothing to make him love you.
  1092. >"I told you!" he snarls angrily, the rage cutting through the fog of your thoughts. "We never slept together!"
  1093. >"Yeah, but -"
  1094. >"I never fucked Spitfire!"
  1095. >Oh.
  1096. >There is something you can offer Soarin.
  1097. >Something that would make you special to him.
  1098. >You.
  1099. >Your love.
  1100. >Your body.
  1101. >But...
  1102. >... should you...?
  1103. >Timidly, you look askance at Diamond, trying to judge what she would say.
  1104. >Your friend is smiling, a sharp contrast to Soarin's furious expression.
  1105. >She... she might approve...
  1106. >She's the one that urged you to... to... be with him that night.
  1107. >No, it's a horrible idea.
  1108. >There's no way it could turn out well.
  1109. >It's your idea, after all.
  1110. >He may not remember, but he's already had you once.
  1111. >Would he want you again?
  1112. >Would your despoiled body appeal to him at all?
  1113. >Would your devotion mean a thing to him?
  1114. >You… you THINK so.
  1115. >Or maybe you simply hope so.
  1116.  
  1117. >You are Diamond Tiara and you think she's finally starting to get it.
  1118. >If Silver bit her lip any harder, she'd draw blood.
  1119. >Her eyes keep flickering between you and him, her hands are curled into tight fists, clutching at the filthy cloth of her skirt.
  1120. >Heh.
  1121. >It'll be even worse by the time the night ends.
  1122. >You'll make sure of that.
  1123. >She moans softly - not sensually, but in mental anguish.
  1124. >Perfect.
  1125. >You turn your eyes back to Soarin.
  1126. >The boy is still rambling about his innocence or something.
  1127. "Fine."
  1128. >You shrug, the simple gesture cutting him short like none of your words had.
  1129. >Of course, you hadn't been trying to get him to stop.
  1130. >"What do you mean by that?" he growls, his brow furrowed in confusion. "Is that -"
  1131. "It means exactly what it sounds like."
  1132. >You sigh dramatically, reaching out and putting an arm around Silver's shoulders.
  1133. >She doesn't resist as you pull her close.
  1134. "I just wish you were that protective of Silver Spoon, that's all."
  1135. >He blinks.
  1136. >The change in his eyes from one moment to the next is beautiful, hard and angry turning to trembling and furious.
  1137. "It's not like Spitfire's reputation will be hurt any, but my friend's..."
  1138. >You smile devilishly, unable to stop yourself from taunting Soarin further.
  1139. "If it gets out what you've done to her..."
  1140. >"No one has to know. Just -"
  1141. >He breaks off as you stroke your hand down Silver's arm.
  1142. >He can't tell you to leave.
  1143. >He wants to, but he can't, because Silver would go with you, and he can't let that happen.
  1144. >The idiot wants so hard to save her.
  1145. >Your smile widens.
  1146. >Soarin glares at you in awkward silence.
  1147. >Well, awkward for him. Maybe Silver, too.
  1148. >Not for you.
  1149. >You know exactly what's running through his head.
  1150. >It took you longer than you thought, but eventually you figured him out.
  1151. >He's trapped.
  1152.  
  1153. >You are Soarin and you are trapped.
  1154. >Talking to Silver was a mistake, because you found out she was a nice, kind girl.
  1155. >If you hadn't, maybe you'd be able to convince yourself to walk away.
  1156. >Maybe you could tell yourself that the police won't do anything, even if Diamond carries through on her earlier threat.
  1157. >You want to.
  1158. >The way she kept badgering you about Spitfire still has your blood up.
  1159. >You want to walk out and leave the two here.
  1160. >No, you want to walk out and leave Diamond here.
  1161. >You can't leave Silver.
  1162. >Talking to her, getting to know her a bit - just a bit - was a mistake.
  1163. >Possibly the biggest one of your life.
  1164. >Might even be the biggest one of her life, because now you can't leave her here with this bitch.
  1165. >She's too innocent. Too trusting. Too shy to say no.
  1166. >And far too eager to please.
  1167. >You suspect she would kill herself at the right word from Diamond Tiara.
  1168. >And you also suspect that bitch would give that word, just to punish you.
  1169. >You won't let her.
  1170. >Silver looks so scared, almost terrified.
  1171. >Not of her, though.
  1172. >Of you.
  1173. >Her eyes keep flickering your way, darting aside every time you notice.
  1174. >You wish you could walk away.
  1175. >It would be the smart thing to do, to force the consequences before the situation gets any worse.
  1176. >You sit quietly, trying desperately to think of a way out, but it always comes back to the same thing.
  1177. >If you leave, you get punished... and Silver gets punished.
  1178. >But if you stay... maybe you can mitigate the damage.
  1179. >You sigh, looking away, out across the diner.
  1180. >Looking for a distraction, not an escape.
  1181. >There isn't one.
  1182. >You sigh again and look back at the girls.
  1183. >Silver is still trembling, too scared to speak.
  1184. >Diamond is still smiling, waiting for your surrender.
  1185. >You can't give it to her, but you can't remain silent.
  1186. >It makes Silver's timidity practically audible.
  1187. "Hope you like pancakes."
  1188. >Diamond shrugs.
  1189. "Our food is almost done."
  1190. >"How can you tell?" she asks, her smile slipping for a brief moment as her patience begins to run out.
  1191. "Come here often enough and you can tell."
  1192. >This booth isn't in a place where you can see into the kitchen, but it's close enough to hear.
  1193. >There's not any one particular sound that tips you off, just experience.
  1194. >At least it will provide something else to focus on.
  1195. >"Well, just how often DO you come here?"
  1196. "Usually three or four times a week, with Spitfi-"
  1197. >Diamond smiles.
  1198. >Silver flinches.
  1199. >You regret ever opening your mouth.
  1200. >"Why don't you go wash up before the food arrives?" Diamond suggests to her friend, sliding out of the booth for Silver to exit. "You're a total mess."
  1201. >The girl nods slowly and scoots out, still trembling.
  1202. >You watch silently as she makes her way across the room, leaving you and Diamond alone.
  1203. >You almost reach across the table and strangle her as she slides back into the booth.
  1204. >Almost.
  1205. >It's so very tempting.
  1206. >Just her shit-eating grin is justification enough.
  1207. >"So... Soarin..."
  1208. >She smirks even wider, leaning forward and resting her elbows on the table.
  1209. >"Let me tell you how things are going to be from now on."
  1210. >Years of dealing with Spitfire's bullshit have given you the willpower to resist slapping her face off.
  1211. >You almost give in anyway.
  1212. >Would, if you didn't know it would just make everything worse.
  1213. "I won't blindly do whatever you say. I hope you realize that."
  1214. >"Good!" she laughs back. "I don't want you to! I want you to do what SHE says."
  1215. "That's basically the same thing."
  1216. >"Yes," she gloats. "It is."
  1217. “Then why should I?”
  1218. >”Because she’ll want you to,” the girl laughs. “Every single thing she asks you to do is something she truly wants.”
  1219. “Because you told her that’s what she wanted.”
  1220. >Diamond shakes her head slowly.
  1221. >”No, I won’t even have to say a word. Besides… it’ll be what she thinks you want.”
  1222. “Then I’ll just tell her –“
  1223. >”Tell her what? No? You’ll tell her no? Can you imagine how that will make her feel?”
  1224. >Yes.
  1225. >You can.
  1226. >It’s all too easy to imagination Silver curled up in a ball, crying because she took it the wrong way, because she thinks saying no means saying no to HER.
  1227. >”You’re her boyfriend now,” Diamond says resolutely. “Your only job is to do whatever it takes to make her happy.”
  1228. “Except I can’t tell anyone.”
  1229. >”Right,” she agrees with a vicious grin. “Not only is Silver underage, but she won’t want anyone to know, because it might get back to her parents.”
  1230. >You stare at her in silence eliciting a sarcastic shrug from the girl.
  1231. >”Maybe if you were the *captain* of the Wonderbolts – and if she were a few years older – but…”
  1232.  
  1233. >You are Silver Spoon and you are a mess.
  1234. >Mud on your skirt.
  1235. >Tear-streaked face.
  1236. >Wrist starting to bruise.
  1237. >There’s little you can do right now about the first and nothing about the last, but you can at least wash your face.
  1238. >With your glasses resting on the counter, you cup your hands under the faucet.
  1239. >You can distinctly make out where his thumb dug into your wrist.
  1240. >A bracelet will hide that nicely.
  1241. >Something wide.
  1242. >You have just the perfect piece at home, something gaudy your aunt gave you last year.
  1243. >Not too ostentatious, though, which is ideal.
  1244. >Something overly flashy would draw just as much attention as the injury.
  1245. >The water is running over, splashing down the back of your hand to drip into the sink.
  1246.  
  1247. >You are Soarin and the more this bitch makes sense, the more you hate her.
  1248. >”Even if you don’t go to jail –“
  1249. “I won’t.”
  1250. >”- they’ll still take you away from her. And me.”
  1251. “Sounds like the best thing, then. What’s their number? I’ll call them right now.”
  1252. >”You really want them to pull Silver out of Canterlot High and send her to Crystal Prep?”
  1253. “Yes.”
  1254. >If it gets her away from Diamond, it’s worth it.
  1255. >”She would never get to see any of us again. Do you want to take away her only friend?”
  1256. “You aren’t her friend.”
  1257. >”I am.”
  1258. “No.”
  1259. >”I AM,” Diamond insists. “Without me – and you, now, I guess – she has *nothing*. She would *be* nothing.”
  1260. >The girl leans back.
  1261. >”I – we – are the only thing that gives her life meaning and it’s *always* been that way.”
  1262.  
  1263. >You are Silver Spoon and you shouldn’t have let the mud sit this long.
  1264. >It’s set – no amount of dabbing at it with a damp paper towel can clean it off now. Not completely.
  1265. >You… you think you know why she pushed you to the ground.
  1266. >Once you had the ball of paper in your hand, it came to you.
  1267. >You should have trusted her. She came to the same conclusion as you.
  1268. >There’s only one thing you have to offer Soarin.
  1269. >You just wish you had realized it earlier, like Diamond had.
  1270. >A shudder runs through your body as you drop the paper towels into the wastebin.
  1271. >You don’t know if…
  1272.  
  1273. >You are Soarin and you don’t know if you are ready to accept this.
  1274. >It’s true.
  1275. >You know it’s true, but accepting it is a different thing.
  1276. >Diamond isn’t saying a word, just waiting victoriously as the thoughts filter through your brain.
  1277. >You barely react as Short Stack drops the first three plates on the table.
  1278. >”Be right back with the rest.”
  1279. “Okay.”
  1280. >You think there’s a moment of silence before Diamond Tiara snarls angrily at you.
  1281. >”Seriously? You seriously got pancakes?”
  1282. “Yeah.”
  1283. >”Why!?”
  1284. “It’s what Spitfire and I –“
  1285. >”You need to forget that girl!”
  1286. >You glance up angrily before movement catches your eye.
  1287. “Y-yeah.”
  1288. >You sigh, trying to smile for Silver Spoon.
  1289. “I do.”
  1290. >The girl smiles back shyly as she approaches, her right hand clasped over her left wrist.
  1291. >You know she’s hiding the developing bruise, but the pose just makes her look more demure than ever.
  1292. >”*Finally*,” Diamond huffs, sliding out of the booth for Silver to sit. “The food’s almost cold!”
  1293. >”Sorry.”
  1294. >She doesn’t sit, though, edging towards you instead.
  1295. >Not much, just an inch or two, just enough for your frazzled mind to get it.
  1296. >She doesn’t want to sit next to Diamond.
  1297. >You don’t know why, only that you approve.
  1298. >You quickly stand, making room for Silver to scoot past you.
  1299. >If she doesn’t want to sit next to her friend, you’ll do it.
  1300. >For her.
  1301. >Because it’s for the best.
  1302. >You take a step around the table, but a hand grabs your wrist, pulling you back.
  1303. >It’s gone before you can even look back in surprise.
  1304. >”You can sit here,” Silver mumbles softly. “I don’t mind.”
  1305. >She can't even meet your eyes, intently staring at the wall.
  1306. >You glance in Diamond's direction - her face is running through a range of emotions, from surprise and outrage to devilish satisfaction.
  1307. >She hadn't said a word to Silver Spoon.
  1308. >It isn't her idea; it comes purely from Silver's thoughts and desires.
  1309. >She touched you - even if only for a fraction of a second - she touched you of her own free will, not because of anything Diamond suggested or forced her to do.
  1310. >This is it.
  1311. >This is your last chance to walk away.
  1312. >You're already standing.
  1313. >Should be easy.
  1314. >Just... walk away.
  1315. >Throw a twenty on the table to cover the meal and walk away.
  1316. >Get in your car.
  1317. >Drive home.
  1318. >Convince yourself that you'll be okay. That won't be hard. That won't be hard at all.
  1319. >Then you'll have to convince yourself that Silver will be okay.
  1320. >Try not to think about her, about what Diamond will say to her - or what she'll say to herself.
  1321. >It shouldn't be this hard.
  1322. >You should be able to walk away, before things get any worse.
  1323. >You HAVE to walk away, before things get any worse.
  1324. >Despite having her hand on you for the briefest of moments, alighting and fluttering away like a butterfly, despite having touched you barely hard enough for you feel...
  1325. >Despite that, Silver Spoon drags you down beside her, like you were wrapped in unbreakable chains.
  1326. >She barely looks up as you sit down, just enough for you to see her giddy smile.
  1327.  
  1328. >You are Silver Spoon and nothing exists except you and your pounding heart.
  1329. >It drums, thunderous and impossibly fast, rocking your body with every pulse.
  1330. >It worked.
  1331. >He sat beside you.
  1332. >Panic and excitement war in your breast.
  1333. >"Calm down."
  1334. >You don't know where the words come from, or the gentle touch on your back.
  1335. "I can't."
  1336. >You don't know who you're talking to.
  1337. >Maybe yourself.
  1338. >"Take a deep breath, Silver."
  1339. >You follow the voice's instructions, breathing in until your lungs feel like they're ready to burst.
  1340. >"Now let it out. Slowly."
  1341. >The touch on your back disappears as you exhale.
  1342. >You miss it.
  1343. >"The pancakes here are pretty awesome, but nothing to get this worked up about."
  1344. >Pancakes...?
  1345. >That's... absurd...?
  1346. >What?
  1347. >What do pancakes have to do with anything?
  1348. >You shake your head slightly, trying to brush off the questions.
  1349. >Instead, it clears the fog from your eyes.
  1350. >Soarin is smiling at you, the expression as gentle as his touch.
  1351. "P-pancakes...?"
  1352. >"Yeah," he grins. "Pancakes."
  1353. "But..."
  1354. >"Pancakes."
  1355. >He grabs one of the plates and drags it over to you.
  1356. >"Pancakes," he says again, with such resolve you can't help but take him seriously. "Here. Take a bite."
  1357. >He pushes a fork into your hand.
  1358. >"I still don't get why you ordered PANCAKES," Diamond whines, though it sounds like she's a thousand miles distant. "It's not proper food for a date!"
  1359. >You giggle.
  1360. >He messed up, too.
  1361. >At least that means you aren't the only one with no clue what you're doing.
  1362. >"I mean, SERIOUSLY, what were you thinking!?"
  1363. >"I was thinking I like the pancakes here."
  1364. >"Then why did you order them for US!?"
  1365. >"Because I thought Silver might like them, too."
  1366. >Maybe he didn't mess up.
  1367. >You do like them.
  1368. >Soarin chose them for you.
  1369. >Of course you like them.
  1370. >You like him, too.
  1371. >”Oh, whatever,” Diamond grumbles faux-playfully. You can hear her forcing a smile back on her face. “I guess what matters is that you two are happy.”
  1372. >”Yep.”
  1373. >The fork cuts easily through the fluffy texture, barely disturbing the syrup pooled on top.
  1374. >It’s red.
  1375. >Strawberry?
  1376. >Yes, strawberry.
  1377. >The real thing, not mass-produced artificial flavoring.
  1378. >The smell is intoxicating.
  1379. >The syrup has soaked through the pancakes, but has not turned them to an inedible mush yet.
  1380. >You would have eaten it anyway, but the small sliver stays intact the entire trip from the plate to your mouth.
  1381. >A small drop of red falls, dotting your skirt.
  1382. >The loss of anything that produces such a beautiful scent bothers you more than the stain it will leave.
  1383. >This skirt is ruined anyway, but more importantly, *he* didn’t give it to you.
  1384. >It’s just a skirt.
  1385. >”Well?”
  1386. “Oh.”
  1387. >You’ve been holding the sliver under your nose, breathing in the wondrous scent without tasting it.
  1388. >How ungrateful of you.
  1389. >He’s been waiting. You shouldn’t leave him waiting. It’s not ladylike.
  1390. >Your tongue flickers out, sampling the syrup.
  1391. >It’s almost as amazing as he is.
  1392. >The sliver slides off your fork easily, your tongue drawing it into your mouth.
  1393. >The pancake… it has flavor.
  1394. >Not just the syrup, but a flavor all of its own, buttery and rich.
  1395. >This can’t be healthy.
  1396. >”Good, isn’t it?”
  1397. >It’s better than that.
  1398. >You nod.
  1399. >”Next time we come here…”
  1400. >There will be a next time.
  1401. “Pancakes. I will order the pancakes.”
  1402. >He grins as you cut yourself another tiny slice without prompting.
  1403. >You hide your own smile by dabbing at your lips with your napkin.
  1404. >It comes away pink.
  1405. >”Well, I guess I’ll give it a try,” Diamond huffs, sounding rather pessimistic.
  1406. >Your closest friend is still annoyed he did something wrong – she wanted this to be perfect for you.
  1407. >Though you appreciate her passion, you couldn’t hope for anything better.
  1408. >Soarin made a mistake ordering breakfast food for your first date, but you don’t mind at all.
  1409. >This is still perfect.
  1410. >He did it for you.
  1411. >You have to… you’ll have to make it up to him.
  1412. >Make tonight as perfect for him as he has for you.
  1413. >More syrup falls across your skirt and blouse as your hand trembles violently at the thought.
  1414. >Is it excitement or fear? Even you’re not sure.
  1415. >Both, undoubtedly.
  1416.  
  1417. >You are Soarin and you are relieved.
  1418. >She likes it.
  1419. >At least something is going right.
  1420. “Pancakes?”
  1421. >She looks up in surprise, fork still in her mouth.
  1422. >It takes a second before she understands, a smile blossoming as she pulls the fork free and swallows.
  1423. >”Pancakes,” she replies firmly – as firmly as a timid thing like her can.
  1424. “Pancakes.”
  1425. >”Pancakes?”
  1426. >”Hash browns,” Short Stack interrupts with a grin, setting down three more plates.
  1427. >She’s seen this little ritual before, between you and Spitfire.
  1428. >“Also bacon. And eggs.”
  1429. “Thanks, Shorty.”
  1430. >You nod in appreciation as she retreats to deal with other customers.
  1431. “I… um… I didn’t know how you’d like your eggs, so…”
  1432. >You wave a hand at the three new additions.
  1433. >Diamond has already claimed the scrambled egg plate, shoveling it into her mouth like there’s no tomorrow.
  1434. >You stifle a laugh. Bitch can talk all the shit she wants, but even she can’t resist.
  1435. “Well, Silver? Poached or over-easy?”
  1436. >She tilts her head, the very tip of her fork resting against her lips.
  1437. >A drop of syrup slides down the tines before her tongue slips out and laps it up greedily.
  1438. >”Pancakes,” she giggles.
  1439.  
  1440. >You are Silver Spoon and you don’t know.
  1441. >”Yeah,” he laughs back. “They’re not as good as the pancakes. Greasy Spoon’s eggs are usually a little heavy on the butter for me, but…”
  1442. >He shrugs.
  1443. “Which do you want?”
  1444. >Soarin gives it a moment’s thought before shrugging again, moving just his shoulders.
  1445. >He’s already reaching for a plate.
  1446. >”I had over-easy last –“
  1447. >He cuts off mid-sentence, looking at you cautiously.
  1448. >It’s… it’s okay.
  1449. >You know he’s come here before.
  1450. >Shared this meal with others before.
  1451. >There’s nothing you can do about that, so you have to be okay with it.
  1452. >You HAVE to be.
  1453. >”I guess I’ll have the poached eggs,” he sighs. “You can have the over-easy. Sound good?”
  1454. >It’s his idea.
  1455. >It sounds great.
  1456. >You bob your head agreeably and he slides a plate over.
  1457. >Though reluctant, you cut away a small section of… oh… it’s runny.
  1458. >”Want the others instead?” Soarin asks, noticing your hesitation.
  1459. >No.
  1460. >He had these last time.
  1461. >Tonight has to be perfect for him.
  1462. >You owe it to him not to balk away from things you would normally avoid.
  1463. >That’s what this is all about, isn’t it?
  1464.  
  1465. >You are Soarin and you’re enjoying yourself again.
  1466. >Silver is, too.
  1467. >Diamond… fuck that bitch, but she’s tearing through her food like Spitfire through the other team’s defense.
  1468. >Of course, it’s easy to relax when you have a belly full of warm food. That doesn’t mean you should.
  1469. >You keep glancing Silver’s direction, trying to judge her mind and mood.
  1470. >She’s savoring every bite, every morsel, to the fullest before moving on to the next.
  1471. >As you watch, she lifts another tiny slice of pancake to her mouth, delicately drawing it in with her tongue before licking the excess syrup from the fork.
  1472. >Next, the eggs, again cleaning the tines completely before returning to the pancake.
  1473. >Always, back to the pancakes.
  1474. >Pancakes, eggs, pancakes, bacon, pancakes, hash browns, pancakes… and so on.
  1475. >Eating slowly, relishing every second, every bite, every flavor.
  1476. >She’s not even halfway through by the time you finish up your plates, feeling completely stuffed.
  1477. >With a sudden flash of insight, you realize why she always returns to the pancake before sampling anything else.
  1478. >Silver is not going to finish.
  1479. >Compared to you, the girl is tiny.
  1480. >There’s no way she can fit the entire thing in her.
  1481. >That’s why she’s focusing on the pancakes, so as to not let a single scrap escape her.
  1482. >Diamond Tiara, on the other hand…
  1483. >You look across the table, and the bored, annoyed girl.
  1484. >She finished before you did.
  1485. >”Silver…” she hisses darkly. “Should you really be eating that much?”
  1486. >The girl beside you hesitates, her mouth open to receive the dripping sliver of pancake impaled on her fork.
  1487. >”N-no,” she sighs suddenly, returning it to her plate. “I guess not.”
  1488.  
  1489. >You are Diamond Tiara and you are bored.
  1490. >The food was adequate, but you’ve finished with that.
  1491. >Now it’s time to get on with the main event: making Soarin suffer.
  1492. >”I guess you don’t want dessert, then?”
  1493. >Eh.
  1494. >Suffering can wait.
  1495.  
  1496. >You are Silver Spoon and you are relieved.
  1497. >And then worried.
  1498. >Finishing what he’s already given you is impossible. Anything more would –
  1499. >Did Soarin just wink at you?
  1500. >Why?
  1501. >He turns away from you, waving a hand until the waitress returns.
  1502. >”Hey, Shorty, could she get a menu?” he asks jerking a thumb at Diamond.
  1503. >”Dessert?”
  1504. >”Yeah.”
  1505. >”You already know what you want? I can put it in while –“
  1506. >”Nah,” he answers with a shake of his head. “I don’t need anything.”
  1507. >”M’kay, then.”
  1508. >She leaves, returning shortly with a menu.
  1509. >”Desserts are on the back, darlin’.”
  1510. >Diamond’s frustrated fidgeting ceases as she looks over her options and you quickly resume devouring your pancakes without the pretense of enjoying the other parts of the meal.
  1511. >Not that they were bad, but… you like *this*.
  1512. >A whisper in your ear stops you short.
  1513. >”Take your time. I’ll keep her busy.”
  1514. >You look up, blinking in surprise.
  1515. >”Take your time,” Soarin repeats, his green eyes dangerously close to yours. “Enjoy it.”
  1516. >You want to kiss him.
  1517. >Your lips part.
  1518. >Your courage fails you.
  1519. “Thank you.”
  1520. >He smiles down at you.
  1521. >Until this very moment, you had not realized just how much taller he is than you.
  1522. >Clinically, you had known, but it never really connected for you. Not until now.
  1523. >When you were on your knees under the bleacher, he had loomed over you, dark and foreboding and promising, but you were on your knees and he was standing.
  1524. >It was easy to ascribe the feeling to that.
  1525. >When you… when you… *shared* a bed, he was drunk and staggering and could barely stand.
  1526. >He wasn’t… it wasn’t the same. It just wasn’t the same.
  1527. >It was easy to forget the height difference when he on his back and you were… on top…
  1528. >There were other things on your mind then.
  1529. >But here? Now? Sitting beside you?
  1530. >Leaning over you?
  1531. >He’s more than a head taller than you.
  1532. >Standing, you don’t know if you would even come up to his collarbone.
  1533. >He almost feels larger than life.
  1534. >Heat rises in your cheeks.
  1535.  
  1536. >You are Soarin and you quickly look away.
  1537. >That was bad.
  1538. >You almost kissed her.
  1539. >She wanted you to, you think.
  1540. >It certainly felt like the right thing to do.
  1541. >She’s fourteen.
  1542. >You can’t.
  1543. >But when the color of her cheeks matches the syrup staining her lips…
  1544. >It’s not the sweet taste of strawberries that tempts you.
  1545. >You quickly look away.
  1546. >If she doesn’t say anything, if she doesn’t start anything, you can pretend it never happened.
  1547. >Plausable deniability.
  1548. >You can’t reject her if she doesn’t ask for it.
  1549. >She didn’t say anything.
  1550. >She didn’t try to kiss you.
  1551. >She only… only looked so inviting.
  1552. >So very inviting.
  1553. “Have you decided, Diamond?”
  1554. >You hear the sound of Silver’s fork scraping against her plate as she cuts another piece of pancake.
  1555. >Good.
  1556. >”Yeah,” the other girl grins, turning the menu so you can see it. “I’ll have this.”
  1557. >Because OF COURSE she will pick out the most expensive item.
  1558. >You risk a glance in Silver’s direction – luckily, she isn’t looking your way.
  1559. >She still has a quarter of her pancakes left and shows no sign of stopping.
  1560. “Fine.”
  1561. >You wave down Shorty.
  1562. “One of your Miracle Sundaes for her, please.”
  1563. >The waitress raises an eyebrow.
  1564. “Yes, I’m sure.”
  1565. >”Okay, then,” she grunts skeptically.
  1566. >You feel about the same way, but you told Silver to take her time.
  1567. >She’s going to finish this meal without feeling rushed or pressured in any way.
  1568. >You aren’t going to start things with a lie.
  1569. >Spitfire is just going to have to buy her own damn drinks from now on.
  1570. >Hell, she can buy YOU drinks after pr-
  1571. >Oh.
  1572. >Right.
  1573. >There won’t be any more practices after today. Not for you.
  1574. >You quit.
  1575. >And… you’re not sure if you regret it.
  1576. >For different reasons than you had intended, but you don’t.
  1577. >This isn’t just to protect the team and your friends.
  1578. >It’s to protect her.
  1579. >You look at Silver again, so happily eating her pancakes one tiny bite at a time.
  1580. >Her cheeks are still bright red.
  1581. >It’s worth it.
  1582. >You are Diamond Tiara and you are making him squirm.
  1583. >Already, he’s going out of his way to protect her.
  1584. >It was a surprise to find something that expensive in this run down shithole, and you aren’t really hungry anymore, but you’re happy you did.
  1585. >You can see him counting his money in his head, trying to see how little he has left.
  1586. >Filthy peasants.
  1587. >Your laugh, and he – he looks at Silver Spoon.
  1588. >Not you.
  1589. >It’s like he doesn’t even notice your mocking.
  1590. >Well, fine then!
  1591. >Whatever.
  1592. >You cross your arms and wait patiently for your ice cream.
  1593.  
  1594. >You are Soarin and you don’t give a shit about that bitch.
  1595. >If this is what it takes to keep her quiet, you’ll do it.
  1596. >All that matters is Silver Spoon.
  1597. >This night needs to be as perfect for her as you can make it.
  1598. >You need to tear her away from that cunt of a friend, show her there are other people who can care about her.
  1599. >You have to care about her.
  1600. >She doesn’t look up at you again, remaining focused on her meal.
  1601. >Occasionally, her eyes flicker your direction, but stop short as her hand trembles.
  1602. >She’s still scared of you.
  1603. >You should have thought before trying to pull her away.
  1604. >That was a stupid Spitfire thing to do, and Silver ended up hurt.
  1605. >You never meant to do that.
  1606. >You don’t even want to hurt Diamond Tiara.
  1607. >Well, you do, but… it’s different.
  1608. >It’s different when you do it intentionally.
  1609. >When Spitfire points out someone you need to foul, you have no problem doing it.
  1610. >Sure, you may end up sitting out the game, but if someone’s messing with your team, you’re going to do what you have to do to protect your team.
  1611. >Except… they aren’t your team anymore.
  1612. >Silver is.
  1613. >You glance over at Diamond before returning your gaze to your… your new girlfriend.
  1614. >That’s the term you need to be using now.
  1615. >Yeah, you’ll do what you have to. Anything to protect your team.
  1616. >If that means doing something you shouldn’t do… well… you’ll just have to hope no one notices.
  1617. >And if they do, you’ll just have to deal with the consequences.
  1618. >You continue to watch as she slowly eats her food.
  1619. >It barely registers when Shorty returns with the ice cream; you’re too focused watching Silver enjoy herself to the fullest.
  1620. >In the end, she doesn’t resort to licking the plate, but she wants to.
  1621. >You can tell.
  1622. >She wants to lick it clean just as much as she wanted you to kiss her earlier.
  1623. >What’s stopping her?
  1624. >It’s not her friend – SHE is too busy eating far too much ice cream to even think of anyone else.
  1625. >It’s not you. When she shyly looks your way, you nod, but she shakes her head.
  1626. >She won’t do it.
  1627. >You think – you suspect – it’s her dignity.
  1628. >She knows it wouldn’t be appropriate.
  1629. >Never stopped you or Spitfire, but… Silver is different.
  1630. >She knows when things are appropriate and when they aren’t – and unlike you, she actually cares.
  1631. >Maybe it’s because of her parents, maybe it’s because of her friend, or maybe it’s because it’s all she really has.
  1632. >Everything else about her has come from others – her hobbies, her beliefs, everything.
  1633. >Everything but this.
  1634. >It’s all she has.
  1635. >Her dignity – and you.
  1636.  
  1637. >You are Silver Spoon and you are stuffed.
  1638. >As much as you want to lick the plate clean, you can’t.
  1639. >The night isn’t over.
  1640. >It’s been so wonderful and you have to make it up to him.
  1641. >You’re a nervous wreck, just thinking about it – and you can’t think of anything else.
  1642. >It’s been impossible to think of anything else ever since you realized what you had to do.
  1643. >Even now, you shudder in excitement – or fear.
  1644. >You don’t know. You don’t care.
  1645. >It’s the same thing, in the end.
  1646. >He’s been watching you.
  1647. >Ever since the pancakes arrived, Soarin has been watching you.
  1648. >He wants you to do this as much as you do.
  1649. >But not here, not right now.
  1650. >Soon, but not right now.
  1651. >Your body is tense, coiled like a spring, ready for action.
  1652. >A part of you just wants to get it over with.
  1653. >Another part just wants it NOW.
  1654. >You want to make him happy now. Now and forever.
  1655. >Make him as happy as he made you.
  1656. >Make him yours.
  1657. >Make you his.
  1658. >But not now. Not right now.
  1659. >You force yourself to sit quietly as Diamond finishes her ice cream, shaking your head when Soarin asks if you want some.
  1660. >There’s only one thing you have room for, and it’s not ice cream.
  1661.  
  1662. >You are Soarin and you are almost free for the night.
  1663. >Shorty has cleared away the plates and you’re stuffing your wallet back into your pocket – all that’s left is to drive them home.
  1664. >And then you’re free – as free as you *can* be. As free as your mind will let you be.
  1665. >You won’t stop worrying about Silver until she’s finally out of that bitch’s talons.
  1666. “Ready?”
  1667. >Silver Spoon nods softly at your whisper.
  1668. >Diamond just rolls her eyes.
  1669. “Okay then. Let’s get you two home.”
  1670. >Silver inhales sharply – but nods after a second.
  1671.  
  1672. >You are Silver Spoon and you can’t go home!
  1673. >Not yet!
  1674. >You thought he’d take you to his place, that… you don’t know.
  1675. >But you can’t go home.
  1676. >Your parents are there.
  1677.  
  1678. >You are Soarin and you – gently – grab Silver’s hand.
  1679. “Let’s go, Silver.”
  1680. >She nods again, scooting out of the booth and following you.
  1681. >With a grunt, Diamond lurches behind.
  1682. >You wave to Shorty and the others before heading outside.
  1683. >It’s dark in the parking lot. Most of it, anyway.
  1684. >Well lit in the front of the diner, but around the edges the lights taper off.
  1685. >There’s enough to see, but just barely.
  1686. >You and Spitfire sometimes hang out here after the diner closes and they kick you out.
  1687. >Not on schoolnights, of course. Not usually.
  1688. >But it’s as good a place as any to hang out and be stupid together.
  1689. >No one around, really. No one to notice two high school kids just sitting around shooting the shit.
  1690. >It’ll be fine once your eyes adjust, but coming right out of the diner, they can’t.
  1691. >By habit, you had parked around back, where there’s only one flickering bulb hanging over the backdoor.
  1692. >Spitfire swears that it’s always been the same bulb, but you don’t think so.
  1693. >It couldn’t be, not for four years.
  1694. >There’s a slight tug on your hand and you immediately freeze.
  1695. >Silver stopped and – and you’re worried about hurting her again.
  1696. >You look back to see what’s wrong, but she starts forward again before you can ask.
  1697. >Maybe it was just the darkness.
  1698. >You guess it’s hard on people who don’t know the parking lot like you do.
  1699. “Watch your step.”
  1700. >Silver nods – and at that very moment, stumbles.
  1701. >She doesn’t fall, but she does sigh quietly.
  1702. “Ready to get home and go to sleep?”
  1703. >You laugh weakly.
  1704. “We’ve all had a long day.”
  1705. >She stops again, in the darkness between lights.
  1706. >”No,” she whispers. “Not yet.”
  1707. >She spins around to stand in front of you, her skirt flaring out.
  1708. >”I don’t want tonight to end.”
  1709. “Y-yeah…”
  1710. >Light glints off her glasses as she cranes her head to look up at you.
  1711. “… well…”
  1712. >She grabs your other hand with hers.
  1713. “… I know, it was fun and all, but…”
  1714. >You can’t kiss her.
  1715. >That’s how a date is supposed to end, but you can’t.
  1716. >Silver moves slowly, stepping closer to the diner, further into the darkness.
  1717. >With every step, she gracefully turns until you feel your back pressed against the wall.
  1718. >”Thank you for tonight,” she murmurs, resting her head against your chest.
  1719. “N-no problem…”
  1720. >What are you supposed to say to that? To *this*?
  1721. >You’re too shocked to do anything when her head comes up, too stunned to react when she raises herself up on the tips of her toes and kisses you on the lips.
  1722. >Too enamored by the sweet taste to pull away.
  1723. >It’s not the strawberries you are tasting.
  1724. >Eventually, she breaks the kiss on her own, slowly lowering herself – and then lowering herself further.
  1725. “Wait, what…”
  1726. >Lowering herself down to her knees, using your hands to support herself.
  1727. “… Silver… what are you doing…?”
  1728. >”Trying to make tonight as perfect for you as you did for me.”
  1729. >She speaks confidently, but there’s no mistaking the tremor in her voice, the faint trembling of her hands.
  1730. >She’s scared.
  1731. >Of you.
  1732. “I had fun tonight. You don’t need –“
  1733. >”You’ve had fun with a lot of girls, haven’t you?” Diamond laughs, stepping up behind her friend. “Well, how many?”
  1734. “That’s not important.”
  1735. >”You’re saying my friend isn’t important!?”
  1736. >Silver’s hands spasm, clutching at you tightly.
  1737. >Not enough to hurt, but hard enough you look down immediately.
  1738. >”Please,” she begs, “let me be special.”
  1739. “You… you are…”
  1740. >”I need to do this,” she whimpers. “I have to. I have to make tonight perfect.”
  1741. “… it was…”
  1742. >It was nice.
  1743. >”I need…”
  1744. “You need to get home.”
  1745. >”No.”
  1746. >Distant spots of light shine in her glasses as she shakes her head.
  1747. >”Once I’m home, it’s too late. I can’t… it has to be here.”
  1748. “No!”
  1749. >Your shout is loud even in your own ears.
  1750. >Fearfully, you look around; if anyone had heard –
  1751. >”Please,” Silver pleads, “let me be your special someone.”
  1752. “I… I can’t. I mean, you are. We’ve already… I mean…”
  1753. >Lights shine off more than her glasses now.
  1754. >She’s crying.
  1755. “We’ve… we’ve slept together, Silver.”
  1756. >”But you don’t remember it,” she whispers back. “And… and I know I wasn’t your first.”
  1757. “I *can’t*.”
  1758. >With a cruel laugh, Diamond sinks down behind the other girl.
  1759. >”*She* wants this, Soarin.”
  1760. “No.”
  1761. >You shake your head.
  1762. “No, she doesn’t –“
  1763. >Diamond tugs on Silver’s skirt, pulling it down slightly, just enough to see the buttons holding it tight around her waist.
  1764. >”She does,” the girl insists, slowly undoing the buttons with fumbling fingers. “I didn’t say a thing to her. This is what Silver wants.”
  1765. >She slides a hand under the loosened waistband.
  1766. >She slides her hand down – and inside.
  1767. >Silver moans softly, trembling and weak, but doesn’t pull away.
  1768. “Stop.”
  1769. >”No, she wants this.”
  1770. >Diamond pulls her hand out, showing you her fingers.
  1771. >Even in the weak light, there’s a distinct wet glimmer to them.
  1772. >”See?” the girl laughs. “She wants this.”
  1773. “She wants you to finger her? Here? In public?”
  1774. >This is lunacy.
  1775. >This is –
  1776. >Silver is shaking her head.
  1777. “See? She doesn’t –“
  1778. >”You,” the girl murmurs seductively. “I want you.”
  1779. “I’m not going to fucking fingerbang you in the goddamn parking lot of a fucking diner.”
  1780. >Silver smiles, the expression visible only by the new path her tears take.
  1781. >”No, I don’t want you to do that,” she giggles. “You brought me here, you took care of me, you –“
  1782. “I was just –“
  1783. >She squeezes your hands.
  1784. >” – you bought me dinner, Soarin. You gave me the best… the two best nights of my life. Please, let me do something for you now.”
  1785. >She leans closer, but suddenly recoils.
  1786. “See, you don’t want to do this.”
  1787. >You try to lift her up, but your efforts draw a sharp hiss of pain from the girl.
  1788. >”No… I… I do.”
  1789. “At least… I need to shower. I know I stink. Should have showered after practice, but I thought I was going straight home.”
  1790.  
  1791. >You are Silver Spoon and you to be Soarin’s special someone.
  1792. “I like the smell.”
  1793. >It smells like him, unique and musky and spicy.
  1794. >A hand reaches past your head – at first you want to scream, to bite, to drive away this intruder, but it’s only Diamond.
  1795. >She’s trying to help.
  1796. >Slowly, she pulls down his soccer shorts, exposing Soarin for you.
  1797. >You… you owe her.
  1798. >Not just for this, but for tonight.
  1799. >You owe her as much as you owe Soarin.
  1800. >You lean forward.
  1801. >Not far – he’s erect, he wants this as much as you do – just far enough to lick him.
  1802. >Just far enough to taste him.
  1803. >It’s salty with dried sweat.
  1804. >”I… I really should shower first…”
  1805. >He tries to pull away, but can’t.
  1806. >You know you aren’t strong enough to stop him.
  1807. >This can only happen because he wants this, too.
  1808. >He wants you to make this night perfect, for you to be special and unique and something worthy of his love and protection.
  1809. >”Maybe we could… could go to my house –“
  1810. >”No,” Diamond insisters. “Here.”
  1811.  
  1812. >You are Soarin and you don’t know what to do.
  1813. >She’s trying to hold you in place, to anchor you to this spot.
  1814. >You could easily break free, but you don’t want to hurt her again.
  1815. >Emotionally OR physically.
  1816. >You don’t want her to do this, but you don’t want to hurt her.
  1817. >Apparently, your body don’t care what you want, stiffening under her gentle touch.
  1818. >You’ve only known her for a few hours.
  1819. >Hell, do you even really know her at all?
  1820. >You aren’t Flash Fucking Sentry.
  1821. >You don’t do this kind of thing.
  1822. “Silver, don’t.”
  1823. >She pauses, looking up at you in confusion.
  1824. “I don’t even know your favorite color.”
  1825. >”Blue,” she answers immediately. “It’s blue.”
  1826.  
  1827. >You are Silver Spoon and you are smiling.
  1828. >Blue, same as his uniform.
  1829. >You lick Soarin again, enjoy the pungent saltiness of him as much as you had the sweetness of the pancakes.
  1830. >The two flavors contrast well.
  1831. >Does it… does it all taste like that?
  1832. >Does it all have the same musky smell?
  1833. >”Please,” he begs.
  1834. >Oh.
  1835. “Sorry.”
  1836. >He’s been waiting.
  1837. >You shouldn’t leave him waiting.
  1838. >It’s not ladylike.
  1839. >Slowly, you work your way down his shaft, applying little licks and kisses as you go, sampling him. Tasting him.
  1840. >”…Silver…”
  1841. >You return to the head – kissing it gently, licking it gently – as if trying to remind yourself of your first taste of him.
  1842. >”… I…”
  1843. >”You shouldn’t tease him,” Diamond whispers in your ear. “That’s just mean.”
  1844. “Sorry…”
  1845. >You don’t know what you would do without her.
  1846. >Once more, your tongue flickers out, guiding him into your mouth even as you feel Diamond’s hand slip under your skirt again.
  1847.  
  1848. >You are Diamond Tiara and you don’t know how that fits in her mouth.
  1849. >The first time, you hadn’t been paying attention to him, not really, but you can’t help it now.
  1850. >Not with your head on Silver’s shoulder.
  1851. >She shivers as your fingers brush across the delicate peach-fuzz covering her mound.
  1852. >You wonder if you should tell her to shave it.
  1853. >You wonder if you should shave your own.
  1854. >That’s what you’re supposed to do, isn’t it?
  1855. >You continue on, rubbing one finger across her slit and drawing a soft moan from her.
  1856. >It’s immediately answered by a moan from Soarin.
  1857. >You slap her, your fingers swatting her lips. Just once. Just enough to remind her that she’s yours.
  1858. >Not his.
  1859. >She jerks forward in surprise, immediately taking another inch of him in, an inch more than she had expected.
  1860. >Silver jerks back suddenly, gagging.
  1861. “You can do better than that.”
  1862. >Silver nods, leaning forward again.
  1863. >She begins bobbing her head, then rocking her whole body, taking two… three inches of his shaft at most before retreating.
  1864. “You have to do better.”
  1865. >Let her choke on him again.
  1866. >You hope she does, but she bobs forward again, going further than before.
  1867. >Fine.
  1868. >You begin rubbing her again, applying just enough pressure to part her lips.
  1869. >If this is how she wants it to be, then this is how it’ll be.
  1870. >She begins to breathe faster, to rock further and further.
  1871. >Your whole hand is wet, her mound, her fuzz – your rapid movements spreading Silver’s juices everywhere.
  1872. >This is nothing new; she’s used to your touch.
  1873. >It’s time to go further.
  1874. >You position your other hand against the back of her neck; you don’t know if she notices.
  1875. >She will, though.
  1876. >She’s managed to force herself down slightly more than half Soarin’s length, but that’s all.
  1877. >On her next bob forward, you *push*, forcing her down to his hilt, forcing your fingers inside of her.
  1878. >Silver shudders in your grip as you hold her in place, shoving your fingers into her again and again until you feel a familiar spasm.
  1879. >There.
  1880. >You did this to her. Not him.
  1881. >You pull your hand away from her neck.
  1882. >You brought her to orgasm, not –
  1883. >She doesn’t retreat with your hand, she doesn’t come up for air, remaining impaled on Soarin.
  1884. >When she begins moving again, it’s small, tiny movements.
  1885. >Just a quarter inch, half at most.
  1886. >No!
  1887. >She wasn’t supposed to –
  1888. >With a gasp, she pulls herself free, her chest heaving with her heavy breathing.
  1889. >”Silver, are you –“
  1890. >She kisses his head before answering.
  1891. >”I’m fine.”
  1892. >And then her lips are wrapped around him again.
  1893. >”Wait, I –“
  1894. >She drives herself down to the hilt again, but comes back up almost immediately.
  1895. >Your friend – your only friend – does this again. Two… three… four… times.
  1896. >She pulls herself free and licks the tip of Soarin’s shaft.
  1897. >”Silver –“
  1898. >She lunges forward, taking half of him inside of her before he *twitches*.
  1899. >She jerks back immediately, almost falling over. She would have, if you hadn’t been there to support her.
  1900. >Soarin’s shaft twitches again as Silver takes it into her mouth again.
  1901. >She doesn’t try to go the whole length, content with the first few inches as he twitches again.
  1902. >She holds that position for a few moments before slowly – and reluctantly – dragging herself free.
  1903.  
  1904. >You are Soarin and you… don’t know how to react to what just happened.
  1905. >”So, how was it?” Diamond asks harshly, pulling her hand out from between Silver’s legs. “Did you have fun?”
  1906. >Their relationship… it’s… it’s not healthy.
  1907. >You look at Silver, to see her reaction, to see… something other than the panting smiling girl that’s on her knees before you.
  1908. >She slowly raises her head, looking up at you hopefully.
  1909. >Behind her, Diamond is licking Silver’s juices off of her fingers.
  1910. “It was…”
  1911. >… disturbing.
  1912. >… embarrassing.
  1913. >… exhilarating.
  1914. >… great.
  1915. “… good.”
  1916. >Silver’s smile widens, her satisfied blush visible even in the gloom.
  1917. >”Really?” the other girl asks. “It was her first time giving –“
  1918. “I know. It was good.”
  1919. >You die a little inside as Silver squirms happily.
  1920. >You shouldn’t have let her do that.
  1921. >You should have walked away.
  1922. >You want her to do it again.
  1923.  
  1924. >You are Diamond Tiara and you are directing Soarin to your house.
  1925. >At your side, Silver Spoon is squirming nervously.
  1926. >She thinks she should be sitting in the passenger seat, not the back.
  1927. >Maybe, if this was a real date, if he was really her boyfriend, if he wasn’t just some filthy rapist.
  1928. >If it wasn’t so exciting, you’d turn him in.
  1929. >But you won’t, because she’s your friend.
  1930. “Here. Turn here.”
  1931. >”Left or –“
  1932. “Left, idiot.”
  1933. >He slows as he pulls up to your house.
  1934. >It’s the only one around.
  1935. >Not as large as Silver’s family’s place, but still without a doubt bigger than anything else he’s ever been in.
  1936. >He pulls the car around the fountain, slowing to a stop in front of the door.
  1937. >If this was Silver’s place, maybe there’d be some butler or footman to open the door and welcome you home.
  1938. >Daddy says it’s a waste of money.
  1939. >He also was probably tired of your mother fucking all the male staff.
  1940. >You hate her for that.
  1941. >Dallying with the staff is no different from buying a prostitute.
  1942. >They’re paid for their loyalty, after all.
  1943. >You open the door yourself and jump out, making it three steps before realizing Silver isn’t following.
  1944. “Well!?”
  1945. >She flinches under your gaze.
  1946. >”I thought…”
  1947. “What? That you would go home?”
  1948. >”Well… yes…”
  1949. “And how would you explain your clothes?”
  1950. >”Just like Soarin said,” she mumbles. “He saved me from –“
  1951. “Rapists?”
  1952. >”What?”
  1953. >She really is helpless without you, isn’t she?
  1954. >You skip gleefully back to the car, leaning in to point at the stains speckling her blouse.
  1955. “You’re quite a mess, you know?”
  1956. >Her eyes tremble as she raises a hand, her fingers dragging across the slope of her bust.
  1957. >”It’s just syrup,” Silver says thoughtlessly, brushing at a sticky spot near her collar.
  1958. >You laugh as she raises her fingers to her lips, her tongue darting out to taste the sweet, strawberry flavor.
  1959. “No, it’s not.”
  1960. >Her eyes widen at the unexpected taste.
  1961. >”Diamond, stop it,” Soarin hisses, firmly keeping his head and eyes locked straight again.
  1962. >His hands are clenched around the steering wheel so tight that his knuckles are white.
  1963. “Well, she *can’t* go home like this.”
  1964. >”It’s…”
  1965. >Silver looks down at herself, biting her lip in fear when she sees the half-dried semen smeared across her top.
  1966. >”It’s my fault,” Soarin insists. “I’ll take responsibility.”
  1967. >You roll your eyes at the boy’s idiocy.
  1968. “She’s not pregnant, dumbass.”
  1969. >”No, but –“
  1970. “What, you’ll take her to your place?”
  1971. >”Yes.”
  1972. “Uh… yeah, that’s not creepy at all.”
  1973. >You grab Silver’s hand and begin pulling her out of the car.
  1974. >She’s yours.
  1975. >As exciting as it was, she’s *yours*.
  1976. >Unlike staff, her loyalty is freely given.
  1977. >And unlike love, it is unchanging.
  1978. “She’s staying here tonight.”
  1979. >”I… really… REALLY don’t think that’s a good idea,” Soarin hisses, though he’s still avoiding looking at you two.
  1980. >”No, it’s okay,” Silver whispers, coming along willingly. “She’s right. She’s always right.”
  1981. “Of course I am! Now get out.”
  1982. >”I am,” your friend whines, obviously missing everything.
  1983. “Not you. Soarin.”
  1984. >”Why?”
  1985. “Should you walk her to the door?”
  1986. >”No.”
  1987. >His head twitches.
  1988. >”I really shouldn’t.”
  1989. >Silver moans softly in disappointment and he makes a mistake.
  1990. >He looks.
  1991. >”… fine…”
  1992. >He doesn’t act like he’s very fine with it, stiffly exiting the car and walking around to Silver’s side.
  1993. >Looks just like a marionette dancing on its strings.
  1994. >Which he is!
  1995. >You cover your mouth with your hand, but that does nothing to silence your laugh.
  1996. >”What?” Soarin growls, locking arms with Silver like a proper gentleman.
  1997. >At least the brute can do SOME things right.
  1998. “Oh, nothing. Nothing important.”
  1999. >”Then why don’t you go on ahead and make sure no one sees us?”
  2000. “Don’t worry about that.”
  2001. >You roll your eyes at the man, but skip ahead a few steps anyway, turning to gloat as you walk backwards.
  2002. “There won’t be anyone home.”
  2003. >Daddy’s still busy at work.
  2004. >Mom is… you don’t know. Probably busy fucking one of the neighbors or their sons or servants.
  2005. >She might even be home!
  2006. >It doesn’t really matter.
  2007. >After you defied her in elementary, she seemed to have lost all interest in everything you do.
  2008. >You feel about the same way towards her.
  2009. “It’ll just be me and Silver, Soarin.”
  2010. >His eyes twitch angrily.
  2011. “No one around to bother us.”
  2012. >“G-good.”
  2013. “No one to see what you did to her.”
  2014. >He has no comeback for that, just looking ashamed and embarrassed and afraid.
  2015. >With a smile as genuine as Silver’ devotion, you spin around and pull your keys out of your purse.
  2016. “Well, this is where we part ways.”
  2017. >The door swings open quietly and you skip inside.
  2018. "Time for you to go, Soarin."
  2019. >You smile as innocently as you can at the boy.
  2020. >He scowls, but Silver nods and slowly extracts herself.
  2021. >"I'll see you tomorrow then?" he asks as her hand runs along his arm, her delicate fingers lightly winding their way down to his his hand.
  2022. >"M-maybe."
  2023. >She slips her hand into his palm and squeezes once.
  2024. >"I don't know."
  2025. >Good girl.
  2026. >Of course she doesn't know; you haven't told her yet.
  2027. >Silver's foot crosses the threshold, but she's still holding on to his hand, reluctant to let go.
  2028. >"Goodnight, So-"
  2029. >The girl squeaks in surprise as he pulls her back, spinning her around to face him.
  2030. >Or is it pain? Is that her injured wrist he just yanked on?
  2031. >You try not to giggle.
  2032. >Maybe you succeed, maybe not.
  2033. >Either way, they don't notice, gazing into each others eyes like that.
  2034. >"I had fun tonight," Soarin whispers, louder than he thinks.
  2035. >He probably didn't want you to hear that.
  2036. >Whatever.
  2037. >Silver would have told you later anyway.
  2038. >"Me-"
  2039. >Silver cuts off, looking away abruptly.
  2040. >"Me too."
  2041. >"Hey..."
  2042. >The boy cups her chin in his hand and pulls her head back up.
  2043. >"Goodnight, Silver."
  2044. >"Goodnight, Soar-"
  2045. >He kisses her.
  2046. >Perfect.
  2047. >Soarin does it right, not just a simple peck on the lips or cheek, taking long enough for you to get your phone out and snap a few pictures.
  2048. >You'll crop the fountain and other stuff out later.
  2049. >Blackmail had less effect than you thought, but it never hurts to have a little extra.
  2050. >Besides, you forgot to take any earlier tonight.
  2051. >You let them have their moment.
  2052. >Never let it be said you aren't kind to your friends.
  2053. >Long seconds drag on as the pair embrace.
  2054. >Soarin has at least a head and a half on poor Silver.
  2055. >He doesn't make her stretch, though, instead bending down, almost over her.
  2056. >She's so much shorter than him, the difference making the two look absurd together.
  2057. "Okay, that's enough."
  2058. >You're tired of laughing at them.
  2059. "Silver, we need to get you into the shower."
  2060. >"I know," she sighs, pulling away from Soarin reluctantly.
  2061. >She steps backwards, into the house, her hands holding on to his until the very last second, until her feet pull the pair apart.
  2062. >"I'll talk to you tomorrow," Soarin calls out as you kick the door shut in his face.
  2063. >No, he won't.
  2064. >Never call the day after.
  2065. >That's the rule, isn't it?
  2066. >Soarin doesn't have her number, just yours.
  2067. >Everything has to go through you first.
  2068. >You'll make sure he doesn't talk to her until you're ready.
  2069. >Though... it is a weeknight. And they *do* go to the same school...
  2070. >Simple solution.
  2071. >She just won't go tomorrow.
  2072. >You grab your friend's hand and drag her away from the door.
  2073. >She's still staring for some stupid reason.
  2074. "Shower."
  2075. >She flinches at your growl.
  2076. >"Yes," the girl murmurs. "I know."
  2077. >She reaches up with her other hand, her fingers brushing across her lips for a fraction of a second before turning to obediently follow you.
  2078. >Good.
  2079. >She might love him, or think she loves him, but she's devoted to you.
  2080. >Love is weak. Fallible. Changing.
  2081. >Your father once loved your mother, and she him.
  2082. >They both used to love you.
  2083. >You used to love both of them.
  2084. >Love is fleeting.
  2085. >Devotion and loyalty are eternal.
  2086. >You drag Silver into your bathroom and watch as she strips off her filthy clothes, helping when her fingers fumble awkwardly at buttons.
  2087. >She's too out of it to even undress herself.
  2088. >No wonder she needs you so much.
  2089. >If it weren't for you, Silver Spoon would be nothing.
  2090. >Her loyalty is *earned*, and in your own way, you return it.
  2091. >Who else would let her dally with some stupid boy like this? Who would tell her what to do and how to win him?
  2092. >Who would give her the encouragement to do so?
  2093. >No one.
  2094. >You're a generous soul, aren't you?
  2095. >The last of Silver Spoon's clothes hit the floor.
  2096. >She frowns as you wad them up and shove them into the trash.
  2097. >The expression lasts only a second, but it still drives you mad.
  2098. "What?"
  2099. >"Nothing."
  2100. "You're not the only one with a reputation on the line, you know."
  2101. >"I know," the girl mumbles, staring at the trash can.
  2102. "I doubt it. I mean, if you did, you'd think about others for just a second."
  2103. >"But..."
  2104. "What if my parents saw your shirt?"
  2105. >Silver looks down, carefully folding and unfolding her glasses.
  2106. >"They wouldn't tell my parents, would they...?"
  2107. "I don't know. Maybe."
  2108. >The girl shivers at your snarled answer.
  2109. "Maybe they'd think it was *mine*."
  2110. >"You don't have anything like that," Silver objects halfheartedly.
  2111. "Do you think they know that? Or care?"
  2112. >You sigh loudly.
  2113. "You're lucky you have me to look after you. Our parents don't care about us at all."
  2114. >"I know."
  2115. >Hesitantly, she reaches out and sets her glasses on the counter.
  2116. >"Thank you, Diamond."
  2117. >You sneer at the girl and push her towards the shower.
  2118. "Get in. We need to get you clean."
  2119. >She doesn't argue, just steps in.
  2120. >A slight squeal escapes her mouth when you turn on the water, the cold rain striking her naked body.
  2121. >She doesn't try to avoid it, though, or ask you to turn it up.
  2122. >This is for the best and she knows it.
  2123. >She doesn't know why, but she trusts you.
  2124. >And it *is* for the best.
  2125. >It's what makes *you* feel best.
  2126. >She scrubs her body quickly, almost furiously, trying to scrub every speck of him from her body.
  2127. >It's not enough.
  2128. "Your hair is a disgrace."
  2129. >"I'm sorry..."
  2130. >You roll your eyes and sigh.
  2131. "Just sit down. I'll take care of it for you."
  2132. >You crank up the heat to a decent temperature and strip.
  2133. >No sense getting your clothes soaked.
  2134. >Carefully, you step into the tub and sit on the edge.
  2135. "Hand me that brush."
  2136. >She knows which one you mean and passes it to you.
  2137. >This isn't the first time you've brushed her hair like this.
  2138. >Delicately and with care, you unravel Silver's braid, separating and straightening the strands with your fingers.
  2139. >She winces as you pull her hair painfully, but it's not your fault.
  2140. "Looks like you got some here, too."
  2141. >"Some wh-"
  2142. >She doesn't have to finish the question.
  2143. "Wow, you really are a mess."
  2144. >"I'm sorry."
  2145. >She dips her head, almost yanking her half-untangled braid of your hands.
  2146. >The urge to grab it and yank back is fleeting, but it's there.
  2147. >You wouldn't do that to her, though.
  2148. "Don't worry, Silver. I'll take care of everything."
  2149. >You always do.
  2150. "Pass me the shampoo."
  2151. >You've got to get this out.
  2152. >The bottle she hands you isn't your brand - this happens often enough that you keep hers in the bath alongside yours.
  2153. >You set the bottle on the edge of the tub beside you and continue straightening out her hair, before squeezing a dollop of her shampoo into your hand.
  2154. >It's colorless and vaguely sweet smelling.
  2155. >Has about as much personality as her.
  2156. >Silver whines softly as you work it into her hair, running the brush through over and over to make sure every last speck of him is cleansed from your friend.
  2157. >You try to be as gentle as possible, but the brush catches on new knots and tangles - and other things - on every pass.
  2158. >By the time you're satisfied, the water is starting to run cold.
  2159. "All done, Silver. Time to rinse off."
  2160. >She nods and rises to her feet as you swing your legs over the tub and climb out.
  2161. >You watch as she rinses her hair and body for the last time in the chilly water.
  2162. >Perfect.
  2163. >She really is.
  2164. >Silver takes the towel you hand her without a word, reaching for the knob with the other hand.
  2165. "No, wait."
  2166. >You need a shower, too.
  2167. >She nods timidly and swaps places with you.
  2168. >The cold water is almost painful on your skin, but that isn't the reason you rush.
  2169. >Silver is waiting expectantly for you, hovering just outside of the tub with your towel.
  2170. >Still, standards must be maintained.
  2171. >Your shampoo is obnoxiously overly scented, smelling of bubblegum and coconuts.
  2172. >It's yours, though. Something that makes you unique and special.
  2173. >Silver waits patiently as you run your fingers through your hair, lathering the shampoo up even as the freezing downpour dimples your skin with goosebumps.
  2174. >You don't use the brush; that would take more time and care than you have.
  2175. >If anyone were to look, they'd notice only stray silver strands caught in the bristles. None of yours.
  2176. >With a gasp, you dip your head into the stream, rinsing the odious goop from your hair - and keep trying to wash it away until you can finally stand the lingering stench of it upon you.
  2177. >You slam the knob, cutting off the water.
  2178. >Exposed to the air, you feel even colder.
  2179. >"Careful," Silver warns as you step out of the tub. "There's water -"
  2180. "I know."
  2181. >Of course there's water all over the floor - at no point was the shower curtain pulled shut to keep the spray contained.
  2182. >It never is, when you're together.
  2183. >You yank the towel from her hands and quickly dry yourself.
  2184. >To be more accurate, you towel off the worst of it and almost sprint for your dresser, still dripping as you go.
  2185. >You're too cold for this.
  2186. >Silver follows, though with less mess.
  2187. >She took the time to completely dry herself while you were showering.
  2188. >The striped pink pajamas you pull on do nothing to warm you up.
  2189. >You don't pull out any for your friend.
  2190. "I'm just cold, that's all."
  2191. >She nods at your explanation.
  2192. "Normally, I wouldn't bother to wear anything..."
  2193. >"I know."
  2194. >Grown up women don't bother with that sort of stuff.
  2195. >You told her that last year.
  2196. >She stands obediently by your bed, head down and hands clasped over her belly.
  2197. >There was never any question of where she would be sleeping.
  2198. >It was always going to be with you. As always.
  2199. >Forever.
  2200. "Well?"
  2201. >You pull back the pale grey comforter and even paler sheets and wait impatiently for her to climb in.
  2202. >It's cold out here.
  2203. >"Want me to get the light...?" Silver asks, hesitating.
  2204. "No, I got it."
  2205. >Just get in and warm the bed, you add silently.
  2206. >It's too cold out here for this.
  2207. >You walk across the room and hit the switch as she climbs into your bed.
  2208. >The sound of silk sliding across her skin make your steps quicken.
  2209. >In the dark, with the lights off and curtains pulled shut, her happy little sigh is your beacon.
  2210. >The sound guides you unerringly back to your bed.
  2211. >Gently, so as not to disturb her, you crawl into your own bed and pull the covers over both of you.
  2212. >"Goodnight, Diamond," your friend sighs as you snuggle up to her warm body. "I... I had fun tonight. Thank you."
  2213. >She scoots back instinctively as you put your arm around her, pressing up against you before you can pull her closer.
  2214. >She warms you more than any pajamas or blankets ever could.
  2215. >You aren't as tall as that boy, but Silver sinks down as she presses up against you, almost sliding off the pillow the two of you share.
  2216. >She finally stops when her head is right under yours, when her damp hair is right below your nose.
  2217. >"Goodnight, Silver."
  2218. >You love the smell of it.
  2219.  
  2220.  
  2221. **** CHAPTER 2 ****
  2222.  
  2223. >You are Soarin and you like to think you're a decent person.
  2224. >After tonight, you're not entirely sure that belief is accurate.
  2225. >You could have stopped her.
  2226. >Should have.
  2227. >Silver Spoon didn't know what she was doing.
  2228. >That's not what makes you reassess how you see yourself, though.
  2229. >No, It's that you hope you see her tomorrow.
  2230. >You want to see her.
  2231. >To save her from Diamond Tiara, you tell yourself as you pull into your driveway.
  2232. >The excuse rings hollow even in your own mind.
  2233. >It's true, just not the whole truth.
  2234. >The whole truth is... something you can't deal with right now.
  2235. >You kill the engine and get out.
  2236. >There aren't any other cars in the driveway.
  2237. >Not particularly surprising.
  2238. >You would have expected the police more than your parents - and Spitfire more than them.
  2239. >With a sigh, you slam the door shut and shuffle up to the house.
  2240. >You're fumbling for the house key in the dark when it hits you.
  2241. >Or she.
  2242. >"DAMMIT, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!?" Spitfire screams, leaping out of the shadows of the porch to punch you in the arm.
  2243. >She pulls back her fist for another swing, but you brush it aside with your hand.
  2244. "Out, okay?"
  2245. >"I was worried!"
  2246. >Even in the dim light, you can see her eyes are bloodshot.
  2247. >She hasn't been crying - Spitfire doesn't cry - but she's been worrying about you.
  2248. "Sorry."
  2249. >The girl takes a step back at your dull tone.
  2250. >Her brow furrows and she raises her hand again.
  2251. >"Don't -"
  2252. "Seriously, I am."
  2253. >You sigh and rub your arm where she'd punched you.
  2254. "I'm just... I've had enough for today, okay?"
  2255. >Except of *her*.
  2256. >"What happened?" Spitfire asks, her voice softening. Not by much, but enough.
  2257. >She sounds sad. And worried.
  2258. >There's a faint tremble in her question that reminds you of Silver, of a girl too scared to ask.
  2259. "You're better off not knowing."
  2260. >"You saw *them*, didn't you?"
  2261. "Don't tell me you're jealous."
  2262. >You try to laugh, but it falls flat.
  2263. >"No," Spitfire says, shaking her head, "but I *am* worried."
  2264. "I know."
  2265. >You fumble with your keyring, hunting for the right one to let you in.
  2266. >"I *am*."
  2267. "I know."
  2268. >There it is.
  2269. "You're my friend."
  2270. >You smile at the girl.
  2271. >It takes effort.
  2272. "Thanks for caring."
  2273. >"I'm also your captain," she insists, trying to make her voice hard and failing.
  2274. "Not anymore. I quit."
  2275. >"Doesn't matter. I'm still your captain and I still expect you to show up for practice tomorrow."
  2276. "But I quit."
  2277. >"Y-yeah, but that doesn't mean anything!"
  2278. "It means everything, Spitfire."
  2279. >You sigh and unlock the door.
  2280. "Why are you here?"
  2281. >"Dude, are you deaf? I just said -"
  2282. >She pauses as you jab a finger at her.
  2283. "Why are you *still* here? In your practice clothes? Have you been waiting outside my house all fucking day for me?"
  2284. >You wave towards the driveway - and the *one* vehicle occupying it.
  2285. "Where's your car? Did you park it somewhere out of sight so you could surprise me? Why -"
  2286. >"I walked to school today, dumbass," she sighs, shaking her head in disbelief.
  2287. "Wait. So you walked all the way to my house?"
  2288. >"Yeah."
  2289. "Why?"
  2290. >"Because we're friends," she laughs. "Come on, if you're feeling so down, let's go talk about it."
  2291. >She jerks her head towards your car.
  2292. >"Pancakes? My treat."
  2293. >You almost throw up, then and there.
  2294. >"Come on," the girl insists. "If we're going to talk it out, we might as well get some food to eat."
  2295. "No."
  2296. >"I haven't eaten all day," she pushes. "Been waiting for your sorry ass to show up and I'm *starved*."
  2297. >She reaches for your arm, to bodily drag you to your car, but you jerk away.
  2298. >You can't go back there right now.
  2299. >The thought of pancakes...
  2300. >She was so cute.
  2301. >... it fills you with shame.
  2302. >"Why not...?" Spitfire asks, reaching out for you again.
  2303. >Again, you pull away.
  2304. "Because you were right."
  2305. >"About!?
  2306. "I shouldn't drag everyone else down with me."
  2307. >"Wait. What."
  2308. "Don't worry about it."
  2309. >You shove the door open and step inside.
  2310. "It's better if you don't know."
  2311. >"What..."
  2312. >She tries to follow you inside, but you shove her back. Not hard, but it catches her by surprise, sending her stumbling.
  2313. "I'm tired, Spitfire. Goodnight."
  2314. >"What did you do?"
  2315. "It's not what I did."
  2316. >You've got to keep telling yourself that.
  2317. "It's what I let happen."
  2318. >Spitfire steps forward again, but too late to stop you from shutting the door in her face.
  2319. >"Dammit, Soarin!" she yells through the closed door. "What did you do!?"
  2320. "Nothing!"
  2321. >"If you don't fucking tell me -"
  2322. >There's a heavy thump on the door.
  2323. >"- I'll fucking -"
  2324. "Later, okay!? I just -"
  2325. >You need to say no to someone.
  2326. >It's not the right person. You know this.
  2327. >It's not the right time. You know this, too.
  2328. >You should have said no to *that* little bitch hours ago.
  2329. >"Soarin..."
  2330. "No."
  2331. >But you have to say it to someone. Now.
  2332. >Some little thing to make you think you're in control of your life again.
  2333. >It's not real, you know it's not real, but it helps.
  2334. >Reminds you that you *can* say the word, just... just not when it matters.
  2335. "Later, Spitfire. I need time to think."
  2336. >There's a moment of silence where you think it's over.
  2337. >It's not, of course.
  2338. >She's too stubborn to let it go.
  2339. >You've seen bulldogs with less dogged determination than -
  2340. >"Okay."
  2341. >There's a heavy, breathless sigh from the girl, followed by the sound of her scraping against the door.
  2342. >"Fine. Tomorrow, then."
  2343. "Maybe."
  2344. >"Dude."
  2345. "Maybe."
  2346. >"Oh, come on," Spitfire grumbles. "It's the least you can do. I mean, it's late, I'm hungry, and now I've got to walk home now, all because I was worried about your sorry ass."
  2347. "Do you..."
  2348. >You don't know what you're offering, just that she'll finish your question for you.
  2349. >"If you open that door, I'm kicking your ass. See you tomorrow."
  2350.  
  2351. >You are Silver Spoon and you are conflicted.
  2352. >It's comfortable and relaxing, laying still in Diamond Tiara's bed, wrapped in her arms.
  2353. >It's warm. Blissful, even.
  2354. >Best of all, you know it's *your* place, where you belong, a space no one else could ever fill.
  2355. >A space she doesn't want anyone else to fill.
  2356. >But... you wish it was *him* holding you in place.
  2357. >You wish it was *his* body pressed up against yours, *his* steady breathing tempting you back to sleep.
  2358. >*His* hand cupping your bare breast.
  2359. >You wish you were his, and that makes you feel ashamed.
  2360. >Not for wanting him, or for wanting to be his, but because it feels... disloyal.
  2361. >Somehow.
  2362. >Wasn't sneaking into that party Diamond's idea?
  2363. >You remember arguing against it.
  2364. >Not long, not passionately.
  2365. >She knows best, after all.
  2366. >And it was her idea that you... *bed*... one of the boys.
  2367. >Everything that happened last night... everything... it only happened because of her.
  2368. >Because your best friend knew what was best for you.
  2369. >She cares about you.
  2370. >In these early mornings like this, there used to be just you and her, just Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon and the warm, seductive bed.
  2371. >No worries about school. No thoughts about the impending alarm clock. Not even one moment of whimsy spared for a book.
  2372. >It was just you and her, but now your thoughts keep drifting towards another.
  2373. >This isn't the place.
  2374. >This isn't the time.
  2375. >You feel ashamed, but you can't stop wishing it was him here with you.
  2376. >Instead of her.
  2377. >You're a horrible friend.
  2378.  
  2379. >You are Soarin, and it's a brand new day.
  2380. >The sun is high.
  2381. >All the birds are singing.
  2382. >It sounds... nice.
  2383. >With a sigh, you turn off your alarm before it can go off.
  2384. >You didn't sleep at all last night.
  2385. >Silver was in your mind the entire time.
  2386. >What happened last night was wrong.
  2387. >Not because of her age - that too, but that's not what's bothering you.
  2388. >It's why she did it.
  2389. >Diamond didn't have to say a word, it only happened because of her, not because Silver actually wanted to.
  2390. >She may have, but... it wasn't her... not really...
  2391. >You're a decent guy. You want to be a decent guy. You want to save Silver Spoon.
  2392. >And... you think you've worked up the courage to do what you should have done last night.
  2393. >When you see her today, you'll tell her.
  2394.  
  2395. >You are Diamond Tiara and you are sick.
  2396. >Not really, but it's what you told Silver.
  2397. >She can't go to school today, so you told her you were sick.
  2398. >Without any parents around to care for you, she has to do it.
  2399. >Her father - or yours - will call the school later and smooth things out.
  2400. >After all, it just wouldn't be proper for her to leave you all alone when you're ill.
  2401. >And so she did not go to school today.
  2402. >Your phone has been ringing constantly - or would be, if you hadn't silenced it.
  2403. >Snuck a few peeks at the texts, but mostly ignored it.
  2404. >If Silver wasn't here, you would be giggling at Soarin's panic.
  2405. >As amusing as tormenting him is, it's hard to remember him at all.
  2406. >It's hard to think of anything at all except your friend.
  2407. >Your clothes hang loose on Silver, but it's all she has to wear; the clothes she had worn last night are in the trash.
  2408. >The colors don't suit her at all, but she pulls it off.
  2409. >Next to her usual prim look - fitted clothes, matching tones - it looks... casual.
  2410. >Relaxed.
  2411. >Normally, she's constantly fidgeting and fussing with the outfit when she has to wear your clothes, ruining the effect.
  2412. >Her mind is on other things, today.
  2413. >On you. On caring for you.
  2414. "Think you could make that tea any slower?"
  2415. >"Sorry..."
  2416.  
  2417. >You are Soarin and you have not seen Silver Spoon at school.
  2418. >At first, you weren't too concerned.
  2419. >She's a freshman and you're a senior, so it's not like you share any classes.
  2420. >You called anyway.
  2421. >The number saved in your contacts isn't hers, there's no way it is, but it was the only one you had.
  2422. >Diamond Tiara hasn't responded, not even to mock you.
  2423. >Now you are on lunch and trying again.
  2424. >You didn't bother to pick up anything to eat - you're too nervous to stomach the thought of food, just went straight for a table over in the corner and pulled out your phone.
  2425. >Still no responses.
  2426. >And that's how Spitfire corners you - with your head down, hunched over your phone, furiously typing.
  2427. >"Hey," she grunts, dropping her tray on the table with a clatter. "It's later. We gonna talk now?"
  2428. >You look up in surprise at the sudden noise and frown.
  2429. "We don't share a lunch period."
  2430. >"Meh."
  2431. >She sits down opposite you and crosses her arms over her rather flat chest.
  2432. "Are you skipping class?"
  2433. >"Some things are worth skipping for," she answers seriously. "Besides, it's club-related, so..."
  2434. >The girl shrugs with a tilt of her head.
  2435. >You look at your phone again.
  2436. >Predictably, still no response.
  2437. >You sigh and look up at your friend.
  2438. "I quit, so it's not really club related."
  2439. >"Then consider this a recruitment drive or something."
  2440. "Leave me alone, Spitfire."
  2441. >"But -"
  2442. "I thought you wanted me to distance myself from the team?"
  2443. >She raises an eyebrow.
  2444. >"Yeah, but... only because..."
  2445. >Her eyes widen as she connects the dots.
  2446. >"No. Seriously. You didn't."
  2447. "It's what's best for everyone, Spitfire."
  2448. >"I didn't seriously think..."
  2449. "You shouldn't be seen with me."
  2450. >She stares at you in bewilderment, her expression confused but unflinching.
  2451. "Do you finally get it?"
  2452. >"No," the girl answers, shaking her head. "No, I really don't."
  2453. >An exasperated sigh escapes your leaps and you lean forward.
  2454. "Look, how fucking stupid are you? We talked about this yesterday, and -"
  2455. >"No," she sighs, rolling her eyes at you. "I get *that*, just not... not from *you*."
  2456. >She idly waves a hand in your direction before bringing it up to massage her temple.
  2457. >"Fuck. Seriously? Is this a regular thing now?"
  2458. "It's..."
  2459. >It's complicated.
  2460. >"At least tell me you aren't pressuring her into anything," Spitfire groans, dipping her head.
  2461. >She can't stand to look at you anymore.
  2462. "N-no."
  2463. >"Shit. Is this what you're in to now? Because if it is, why'd you have to pick *her*?"
  2464. "I... I didn't..."
  2465. >Spitfire shakes her head again, not hearing your objection.
  2466. >"Why couldn't it have been Applebloom?" she groans. "She's basically begging for the cock."
  2467. >Your friend laughs weakly and raises her head to look at you through her fiery fringe.
  2468. >"I mean, she's an Apple," she adds with a vicious grin. "I hear they get disowned if they don't get knocked up at least once before they graduate."
  2469. >It's hard to do a spit take without a drink, but your body tries.
  2470. "Spitfire!"
  2471. >"What?" she grins, chuckling. "It's true. Or, well, it's true it's a rumor..."
  2472. >She shrugs as she straightens up, only to slump back down immediately with a heavy sigh.
  2473. >"But... yeah... shit."
  2474. >Your friend looks away, cupping her chin in her hand and leaning on the table with another sigh.
  2475. >"At least tell me you had fun."
  2476. "Would that really make things any better?"
  2477. >"Well, no, but... maybe?" she mumbles. "At least I could be happy for you as a friend then. So, did you?"
  2478. "I..."
  2479. >You did, at times.
  2480. >At the wrong times.
  2481. >At the right times, too.
  2482. >Chatting with her alone, teasing her about the pancakes...
  2483. >But...
  2484. "I don't know, Spitfire. I really don't know."
  2485. >You'd been awake all night trying to figure that out.
  2486. >"I'm guessing I don't get details?" Spitfire asks, finally picking up her fork and poking at her meal. "Not that I want them, but..."
  2487. "No."
  2488. >"Good, I guess."
  2489. >The fork isn't even halfway to her mouth before she lets it drop.
  2490. >"This is shit."
  2491. "Yeah."
  2492. >"No, I mean the food," she grumbles, shoving the tray away from herself. "Let's ditch this place and go get pancakes."
  2493. "We can't -"
  2494. >"I think you have more important things to worry about right now than attending class."
  2495. >She has a point.
  2496. >You should go see Silver.
  2497. >Where does she live...?
  2498. >"Because..." Spitfire continues with a sigh, "you look like your girlfriend just died, not like you just got a new one."
  2499. >She shrugs and heaves herself up out of her seat.
  2500. >"Come on, let's cheer you the fuck up!"
  2501. "You really shouldn't."
  2502. >"No, I should. Team morale is my problem, you know."
  2503. "I'm not on the team anymore."
  2504. >"Bullshit," Spitfire growls, shouldering her backpack. "Even if you *do* quit the Wonderbolts, you're still on *my* team."
  2505. "What the hell does that mean?"
  2506. >"Well, um..."
  2507. >She grins devilishly.
  2508. >"I mean, we both like pussy. Just I like it a little older than you, I guess."
  2509. >Despite yourself, you chuckle.
  2510. >Not because her joke was particularly funny, but because she *was* joking - and that means everything is okay.
  2511. >... right...?
  2512. >So why doesn't it feel like everything is okay?
  2513. >Spitfire laughs along with you, though without understanding.
  2514. >She made a joke. You laughed. Therefore it must be okay for her to laugh.
  2515. >Everything must be okay.
  2516. >It doesn't convince her and it doesn't convince you, but the moment of shared awkwardness helps.
  2517. >"Come on then," Spitfire says, smiling. "Let's ditch this place."
  2518. >You look around the cafeteria hopelessly.
  2519. >As expected, Silver Spoon doesn't magically appear.
  2520. "Fine."
  2521. >You rise, grabbing your own backpack from the seat beside you.
  2522. "Why the hell not?"
  2523. >You haven't exactly been paying attention to your classes today, so it's not as if you're learning anything. Not from the teachers, anyway.
  2524. >"I'm feeling like burgers. You feeling like burgers? Because I'm feeling like burgers."
  2525. "Yeah, sure."
  2526. >You force a smile onto your face for her benefit.
  2527. >It's easier than you thought it would be
  2528. >Spitfire smirks as you throw your backpack over your shoulder and the two of you walk silently out the door, past an improbably busty upperclassman.
  2529. >You can't help but notice how Spitfire's head turns all on its own, without thought or intent.
  2530. >It moves purely on instinct - and desire.
  2531. >Respectfully, you keep your mouth shut until you're out in the hall.
  2532. >Then... well, old habits are hard to break, and as long as the two of you are joking around, things seem more normal.
  2533. "Seriously, Spitfire?"
  2534. >"What?"
  2535. "You saw here eyes, right?"
  2536. >"Nope," she answers with a shrug, not even slowing. "I wasn't looking that high."
  2537. >Not even the least bit ashamed.
  2538. >You laugh.
  2539. >Truly laugh, not a fake chuckle or awkward giggle.
  2540. "And that's why it couldn't be that Applejack's sister."
  2541. >*That* makes Spitfire's steps pause.
  2542. >"What?"
  2543. "You know... me...uh... well, you'd probably try to steal her from me."
  2544. >"What? No! Gross!"
  2545. >She shoves you playfully, almost throwing you into the lockers lining the hall.
  2546. >"But... yeah, probably."
  2547.  
  2548. >You are still Soarin and today has improved your outlook on life.
  2549. >It's good hanging out with a friend.
  2550. >Skipping classes, going out for some burgers, spending some time kicking each others' asses at the arcade... and then... somehow... ending... up... here...
  2551. "Why are we here again?"
  2552. >And why did you decide to leave your car at school and ride with her all day long?
  2553. >"To get you some appropriately aged pussy," Spitfire answers, throwing the car into park and killing the engine. "Me too, preferably, but I'm willing to let you take first crack at the ladies."
  2554. >She pauses before turning to look at you, her mouth a thin line, her eyes practically glowing with promise of future pain.
  2555. "Wha -"
  2556. >"Except Fluttershy," she growls. "Don't you dare go after her."
  2557. "Why w-"
  2558. >"Don't fucking argue. We're already in the woods and I'm sure someone has a shovel."
  2559. "Are y-"
  2560. >"I will fucking *bury* your dead ass in the forest and no one will ever find your corpse. Got it?"
  2561. "Stay away from Fluttershy. Got it."
  2562. >Shouldn't be hard to do.
  2563. >That girl is a bit too... uh...
  2564. "You know she fucks trees, right?"
  2565. >"Hey, if that's the kind of wood she prefers, then who am I to argue? I mean, better that than cock."
  2566. >She slides out of the car - and you follow.
  2567. >It's either sit in the car, walk home, or try to have a good time and... so far... she's been making the right calls today.
  2568. >You feel optimistic.
  2569. >Yeah. Try to have a good time.
  2570. >No, *have* a good time.
  2571. >It's a party.
  2572. >One of Flash Fucking Sentry's parties, but still a party.
  2573. >He'll be busy fucking sluts anyway, so you probably won't even see him.
  2574. >You almost check your phone as you walk towards the lights and sounds of merriment, but you haven't done that in hours.
  2575. >Eventually, even you figured out that bitch wasn't going to respond.
  2576. >Nah, it's just you and Spitfire and... uh...
  2577. "Hey, Spitfire?"
  2578. >You look around.
  2579. >Nothing.
  2580. "Spitfire, where'd you go!?"
  2581. >"Back here," she answers from behind. You look back in surprise; she's still standing by the car.
  2582. "Something wrong?"
  2583. >"We shouldn't show up together," Spitfire answers with a shrug.
  2584. >You smile - or wince. You're not entire sure.
  2585. >Took her all day, but she's finally starting to understand.
  2586. "Yeah."
  2587. >You wave and trudge off into the darkness.
  2588. "See you later, Spitfire."
  2589. >Hopefully not.
  2590. >"Not like *that*, jackass!"
  2591. >Hurried footsteps pound after you - her arm is around your shoulders before you can turn.
  2592. >"Stop being so damn mopey," your friend grumbles. "I just thought you'd have a better chance of getting some if people didn't think we were together."
  2593. >Your steps fall into pace with hers - and hers with yours.
  2594. "Don't be stupid."
  2595. >A timid smile creases your face.
  2596. "You aren't that big of a chick magnet that you'll steal all the girls."
  2597. >"Okay, one - you're wrong, and two - way too many people think we're dating."
  2598. >She releases you - only to land a punch on your arm.
  2599. "Yeah, maybe if we were in grade school."
  2600. >You rub your arm and glare, but the effect is lost in the darkness.
  2601. "Most high schoolers are beyond the stage where they punch their crushes."
  2602. >Shouldn't have said that - it earns you another smack.
  2603. "One of these days..."
  2604. >"Straight to the moon?" Spitfire laughs. "Yeah, you're welcome to try. Until then, let's go get you cheered the fuck up!"
  2605. >She gives you a playful shove towards the lights and easily dodges your halfhearted swing at her head.
  2606. >"Go on," she encourages. "I'll be right behind you."
  2607. >You hesitate a second, but the sounds of cheering crowds draws you in.
  2608. >Soon, you find yourself walking between the food booths.
  2609. >This... isn't a party.
  2610. >It's more like a carnival.
  2611. >There's a band over on one side, games on the other, people *everywhere*.
  2612. >Looks like half the senior class is here, plus a few underclassmen.
  2613. >You shake your head sadly as you watch Rarity's little sister trying to dance with Anon.
  2614. >Someone should be paying attention to who the hell they let in.
  2615. >With all other shit Flash Fucking Sentry managed to throw together, how did he forget security?
  2616. >This really isn't the place for kids.
  2617. >"Yeah, I know," a feminine voice says from behind you. "Disgraceful, isn't it?"
  2618. "W-what?"
  2619. >You turn, looking over your shoulder at the speaker.
  2620. "Oh. H-hey, Blossomforth."
  2621. >"Hey," she returns, smiling, though the look of amusement and disgust she had earlier returns as she looks back at the impromptu dancefloor. "I seriously can't believe it."
  2622. "Yeah."
  2623. >You force a smile onto your face.
  2624. >Well, force isn't exactly the right word, since a smile comes naturally every time you see the gymnast.
  2625. >It's always a pleasure when the gymnastics team practices outside, on that you and Spitfire agree.
  2626. >Oh those rare - but happy - days.
  2627. >How they brightened up practice.
  2628. >You'll miss that.
  2629. >"Someone should do something," the girl sighs, frowning. "It's just not right."
  2630. "Yeah, she really shouldn't be here."
  2631. >"Well, yeah," Blossomforth murmurs, as if conceding a non-issue. "She's too young."
  2632. "Definitely."
  2633. >Your smile becomes a little less genuine.
  2634. "I mean, I someone spiking the punch a second ago. She really is too young to be at a party like this."
  2635. >The girl laughs harshly and shakes her head.
  2636. >"I meant too young for him."
  2637. "Oh."
  2638. >She looks away from the crowd and smiles.
  2639. >"Besides, weren't Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon were at Spitfire's party last week?"
  2640. "I... uh... I heard something about that."
  2641. >Blossomforth smiles and shrugs.
  2642. >"I'm not surprised you didn't notice them."
  2643. "Oh?"
  2644. >"They're too young for you."
  2645. "Y-yeah..."
  2646. >"You prefer girls your own age, don't you?"
  2647. "Of course."
  2648. >Her smile widens.
  2649. >"I've seen you staring," the girl states bluntly, stepping closer to you.
  2650. "Oh."
  2651. >You hadn't exactly tried to hide it, but the accusation still makes your cheeks sting with shame.
  2652. "Sorry."
  2653. >"I didn't say I minded, Soarin."
  2654. "Yeah, well..."
  2655. >You shrug helplessly.
  2656. "... still..."
  2657. >"Too bad you have a girlfriend," she sighs dramatically, followed by a girlish giggle. "Or, at least, that's what everyone says, but..."
  2658. >She steps forward again, looping an arm around yours.
  2659. "But?"
  2660. >"Everyone knows Spitfire isn't in to guys," she finishes with a sly grin. "And if you two *are* dating, then... well, she still like girls..."
  2661. "And... and if I said I did have a girlfriend and it wasn't her?"
  2662. >She raises an eyebrow.
  2663. >"Then I'd ask why you've been looking at other girls if you already had a girlfriend."
  2664. >That's a very good question.
  2665. >"Oh, come on," she whines playfully when you hesitate. "I'm not trying to start anything. Just..."
  2666. >She pauses, searching for the right words.
  2667. "Well..."
  2668. >"We run in different circles," she blurts out quickly, before you can say anything more, "but we're both here, and I've seen you looking and I kinda think you're cute, so..."
  2669. >Blossomforth takes a deep breath.
  2670. >"I mean, this is the first time I've seen you around without Spitfire," she says, smiling slightly. "You're always hanging out with her, but since you're alone, why don't we get to know each other?"
  2671. >She looks up at you hopefully, eyes wide and sparkling - just like Silver had, only without her naivety... or fear.
  2672. "I..."
  2673. >"Yes...?"
  2674. >She twists slightly - an innocent movement that nonetheless brushes your breasts across your arm.
  2675. >Or... perhaps a not so innocent movement, from the way she's biting her lip.
  2676. >In Silver Spoon, that showed fear, but in this girl...?
  2677. >"Well, Soarin?" she pushes, rubbing up against you again. "What do you say?"
  2678. >In Blossomforth, it means something else entirely.
  2679. "I... uh..."
  2680. >She's making it hard to think.
  2681. >You know you can't.
  2682. >If Silver found out - or worse, if her bitch of a friend found out...
  2683. >No.
  2684. >You shake your head slightly, just a faint tremble, really.
  2685. >No, it would be worse if Silver knew.
  2686. >Diamond could ruin your life, but you could live with that.
  2687. >You can't live with ruining Silver's.
  2688. "Sorry."
  2689. >You try to pull free of the girl, but your body doesn't seem to want to.
  2690. "Sorry, but this is... this is just too sudden."
  2691. >Silently, you're cursing yourself even as you try to make your excuses.
  2692. >You've had your eyes on Blossomforth for a long time, but she was right - the two of you do move in different circles.
  2693. >If only she had said something a week ago, none of this would have happened.
  2694. >You wouldn't be trapped by a pair of children, you wouldn't have this dilemma to deal with, your life wouldn't be on the edge of ruin, you wouldn't be... you wouldn't be able to help Silver Spoon.
  2695. >You wouldn't know about her.
  2696. >There wouldn't be anyone to save her.
  2697. >A part of you - a dark and selfish part of you - has to know.
  2698. "Why now?"
  2699. >You hadn't meant to ask her. You *weren't*. You were asking fate, or yourself, or... or anyone.
  2700. >"Because," Blossomforth answers, as good a response as any. "Because this is one of Flash's parties."
  2701. >She looks down, and your eyes naturally follow, staring down into the modest cleavage revealed by her low-cut shirt.
  2702. >"I mean, if you aren't here to hook up with someone, why *are* you here?"
  2703. "Because..."
  2704. >Dammit, Spitfire.
  2705. >You can *hear* her laughing at you.
  2706. "I'm just here because a friend thought I needed cheering up."
  2707. >"Then let me cheer you up, Soarin."
  2708. >You look down at the girl, at her eager smile and the welcoming valley revealed by her deep neckline.
  2709. >Her cheeks are flushed - the bright red glow shining through her pale skin - but she's not embarrassed.
  2710. >You've dealt with embarrassed and this isn't it.
  2711. >Blossomforth tips her head to the side and gives you a lopsided grin.
  2712. >"Let's just have fun, okay? Nothing else has to happen, and if it does, well, I mean, if I have to, I can wait until the second date. I know you're a decent guy n' all, but that's one of the reasons you're so cute."
  2713. "I can't."
  2714. >"What?"
  2715. >She can't hear your whisper over the crowd and the band.
  2716. "I said I can't, Blossomforth."
  2717. >Gently, you pry her arm off of you.
  2718. "I want to, believe me."
  2719. >You do. To your shame, you *really* do.
  2720. >"But..."
  2721. "But you're right. I'm a decent guy."
  2722. >At least, you want to be.
  2723. "I *can't*."
  2724. >"Why not?" she whines, her fingers tightening around yours - the last bit of you she's holding on to.
  2725. "Because you're drunk."
  2726. >True as that is, it's just a convenient excuse and you know it.
  2727. "Let me drive you home. Let me find Spitfire and grab her keys -"
  2728. >"Nevermind," the girl practically spits back, tearing her hand away. "I'll just go find someone else."
  2729. "Look, I..."
  2730. >You reach for her, stopping just shy of actually touching her shoulder.
  2731. "Tomorrow. We can talk tomorrow. Tell me what you said tonight, when you're sober, and..."
  2732. >... and then what?
  2733. >You know your answer won't change between now and then; the only difference is you'll have to find a new excuse.
  2734. >"I'll just find someone else," Blossomforth snarls. "And maybe you should, too. I saw how you were watching Sweetie Belle. Or was it Anon?"
  2735. >She rounds on you, painfully jabbing a finger into your chest.
  2736. >"Whatever. You're sick."
  2737. "But..."
  2738. >She's right.
  2739. >"Just leave me alone," the girl growls, turning away and stumbling away from the party. "I'm gonna go find Thunderlane."
  2740. "Wait."
  2741. >"Fuck you!"
  2742. >With unexpected speed and grace, she heads towards the treeline, hand - and one solitary finger - raised high.
  2743. >You hesitate, but not for long.
  2744. >She's right.
  2745. >You are a decent person.
  2746. >If you weren't, you wouldn't be rushing after Blossomforth.
  2747. >Someone has to look after her.
  2748. >You call out to her, but she only goes deeper and deeper into the woods.
  2749. >Empty cans and abandoned plastic cups litter the ground - and couples occupy the shadows.
  2750. >In their own little world, they're sure of their privacy even when the next pair is only a few feet distant.
  2751. >You hate Flash Fucking Sentry's parties.
  2752. "Blossomforth! Stop!"
  2753. >"Fuck off!"
  2754. "Do you even know where you're going!?"
  2755. >"Fuck you!" she answers eloquently.
  2756. >You're almost close enough to grab her when your foot slides out from underneath you.
  2757. >With a surprised yelp, you fall to the ground.
  2758. >Fucking beer cans.
  2759. >Fucking mud.
  2760. >Fucking Blossomforth.
  2761. >When pick yourself up and look around, she's gone.
  2762. >The can that tripped you up is still there, though.
  2763. >Without anything else to vent your anger on. You kick it into the darkness between trees.
  2764. "Fuck this."
  2765. >As the can rattles away, skittering across ground, you try to figure out where you are.
  2766. >Blossomforth had charged headlong into the woods, moving at random. Probably just trying to get away from you, now that you think about it.
  2767. >Following after her just did more harm than good.
  2768. "Fuck all this."
  2769. >The sounds of the party seem to come from everywhere. Besides the couples, flickering lights and loud voices are all around you. Small groups have broken off from the party, little cliques separating to talk among themselves.
  2770. >If you look, you could probably find most of the Wonderbolts gathered together.
  2771. >You just want to find the way *out*.
  2772. >What would you even have to say to your ex-teammates?
  2773. >With one last glance in the direction you *think* Blossomforth ran off in, you turn and -
  2774. > - hesitate.
  2775. >Everything looks the same.
  2776. >After a moment, you pick a random direction and start walking.
  2777. >Slowly, the voices drift away and the lights fade.
  2778. >You're about to turn back when you hear a new voice.
  2779. >"What's going on here, Sweetie?"
  2780. >Instinctively, you freeze, trying to pinpoint where the sound is coming from.
  2781. >It's the closest thing you have to a heading.
  2782. >A heartbeat later, the rest of your brain catches up. Once the actual words hit you, there's a new purpose in following the voice.
  2783. >Rarity's little sister shouldn't be out here.
  2784. >Not at the party, but certainly not out *here*.
  2785. >There are two reasons to wander off into the woods, and she's too young for either of them.
  2786. >Once you get close enough to hear her slurred speech, you realize it's too late - for one of them, anyway.
  2787. >She's been drinking.
  2788. >Dammit, who was she with?
  2789. >Anon?
  2790. >Fucking bastard got her drunk.
  2791. >Blossomforth was right about him.
  2792. >Your pace quickens.
  2793. >You don't know what you're going to do - there's no plan, no thought, just a general sense of unease deep in your gut.
  2794. >They're out of sight, but close. You can clearly hear what they're saying now - a back and forth about the young girl's sister.
  2795. >So that's how he's dragging her in, through jealousy and envy and forbidden love.
  2796. >There.
  2797. >You can see the pair, their backs turned to you. Anon and Sweetie Belle, like you thought.
  2798. >She's still dressed. It's not too late.
  2799. >You can still stop her from making a mistake.
  2800. >And... him. You can stop him from making the same mistake you did, but then you hear something you don't expect.
  2801. >"Sweetie, let's head back to the main area."
  2802. >Anon stands, but she stumbles - almost falls.
  2803. >Only his intervention keeps her up and steady.
  2804. >"Sweetie, is something wrong?" he asks, sounding genuinely concerned.
  2805. >He... didn't know?
  2806. >"Anon, something doesn't feel too good."
  2807. >He grabs the cup from her - only the dregs remain - and takes a sip.
  2808. >You can't tell what color it is in the washed out moonlight, but you suspect it was the same punch you had seen spiked earlier - and did nothing about.
  2809. >"Anon, it's hard to stand."
  2810. >"It's alright, buddy. Just take my hand."
  2811. >He reaches out, his hand completely enveloping hers.
  2812. >Gingerly, he leads her away, taking every care to support the girl.
  2813. >You could follow; they're heading back to the party, and from there, you could find your way home.
  2814. >But you can't.
  2815. >You remember that sick feeling, the gut reaction you had when you thought...
  2816. >... when you thought something else.
  2817. >Is that what people would think of you if they knew?
  2818. >You like to think you're a decent person, but Anon is a better man than you.
  2819. >He didn't take advantage of her.
  2820. >You stumble forward, not quite following, not quite... not... until you're leaning against the oak they had been resting against.
  2821. >The pair keep walking, oblivious to your presence. You watch until they're hidden by the trees, waiting - hoping - for something.
  2822. >You're not sure what.
  2823. >For him to do something? To prove to you that he's as big a monster as you?
  2824. >Or are you watching to make sure he *doesn't*?
  2825. >You don't know.
  2826. >Anon looks like he really cares for the girl, and that makes it harder.
  2827. >At least... at least you're only doing what you're doing to save Silver.
  2828. >That's all.
  2829. >Not because you actually...
  2830. >You don't *want* to be a monster.
  2831. >You want to be a decent person, like... *him*. Like you hope *he* is.
  2832. >With an exhausted groan, you slump against the tree. Your legs buckle, slowly lowering you down to the ground.
  2833. >When you got up this morning, you though you knew what you had to do. But now?
  2834. >Now you don't have a clue.
  2835. >Perhaps you never really did.
  2836. >Perhaps...
  2837. >You look around.
  2838. >Everything still looks the same.
  2839. >Every path leads down an equally dark trail.
  2840. >You're lost - in the woods and in your mind.
  2841. >Perhaps...
  2842. >You hear a deep chuckle - with surprise, you realize it's your own.
  2843. >Even more surprising, you find you agree with its mocking tone.
  2844. >Perhaps it would be better if you never found a way back.
  2845. >You sit there for unmeasured moments, your knees drawn up against your chest, your arms crossed on top.
  2846. >It wouldn't be hard to just stay here forever.
  2847. >All you have to do is not get up.
  2848. >That would mean leaving Silver alone with Diamond Tiara, but... you're not sure that's any worse than what you did to her.
  2849. >You're a monst-
  2850. >There's screaming.
  2851. >Someone is screaming.
  2852. >*She* is screaming.
  2853. >Your head is up in a heartbeat, your body raising to its feet on the next.
  2854. >The sound echoes through the trees, indistinct, but all too clear.
  2855. >A second follows, scraps of words lost in the sheer panic of it.
  2856. >You are a monster. You *know* you are a monster, but you start running - not away from the screams, but towards them.
  2857. >There's an ache in your leg - the one that slipped earlier - but you hardly feel it. The tightness of the muscles bothers you more than the pain.
  2858. >It slows you down. Just a hair, but enough to be annoying.
  2859. >You're a monster, and... and you can accept that. People know to fear monsters.
  2860. >But there is something they should fear more, and that is the indifference of good men.
  2861. >You aren't... you *aren't* a good man, but you want to be.
  2862. >The ground flies by under your feet as you charge forward, guided by the pleas and screams.
  2863. >You stood by and did nothing when the punch was spiked.
  2864. >You didn't intervene when you saw Anon with Sweetie.
  2865. >You can't do that again. You can't stand by and let him... you can't let him be like you.
  2866. >Another scream pierces the air, loud and sharp, followed by the sound of tearing cloth.
  2867. >She's close.
  2868. >"LET GO OF ME, YOU FUCKING IDIOTS!"
  2869. >The voice... it's not hers... not Sweetie's.
  2870. >It wasn't shrill from youth, but from fear.
  2871. >You don't stop running.
  2872. >Someone needs help.
  2873. >An instant later, you realize that it can't make up for what you've done. Whatever you do here, it can't make up for what you've done.
  2874. >You've already dismissed that thought by the time your foot hits the ground.
  2875. >Someone needs help.
  2876. >You're a monster, but you can't idly stand by.
  2877. >She screams again as you burst into the small clearing.
  2878. >"STOP IT!" Blossomforth screeches, trying - and failing - to break free from the girls pinning her down.
  2879. >Blossomforth is the only one wearing a stitch of clothing, and even then...
  2880. >Her shirt has been torn open - and she wasn't wearing a bra underneath.
  2881. >Even as she struggles and screams and fights with all she has, one of her captors yanks Blossomforth's jeans down to her knees. A second cuts her panties free with a knife.
  2882. >Treehugger.
  2883. >She's the one with the knife.
  2884. >You'd recognize those red dreadlocks anywhere.
  2885. >Unsurprisingly, she has to saw at the elastic strap - the knife looks like shit. The kind of shit a stoner would by at the mall because it looks ceremonial or...
  2886. >She's a stoner - that's reason enough.
  2887. >And there is Fluttershy - holding... something... you don't know what.
  2888. >Half a second isn't enough time to recognize what it is - or any of the other girls.
  2889. >That's how long it takes for Treehugger to saw through Blossomforth's panties and tear them free, leaving the girl completely exposed.
  2890. >She looks up as you elbow naked girls aside and charge the ones holding Blossomforth down.
  2891. >You want to be a good man.
  2892. >Supposedly, good men don't hit women.
  2893. >You've played co-ed soccer too long to believe that lie.
  2894. >You punt that bitch.
  2895. >The shot is lined up aaaaaaaaand - goal.
  2896. >Right between the legs.
  2897. >Treehugger doesn't exactly go flying, but she does catch air.
  2898. >Doesn't exactly make up for years of bruises and testicular trauma Rainbow Dash and others have inflicted on the male players, but it is... satisfying.
  2899. >Yes, satisfying, being on the other end for once.
  2900. >You should feel ashamed for kicking her, and even more for the joy you feel doing so, but you don't.
  2901. >It's okay. You're a monster.
  2902. >You know this.
  2903. >You're smiling as Treehugger slams into... is that Roseluck?
  2904. >Yep, you recognize that surprised squeal of hers.
  2905. >She's knocked off of Blossomforth's leg and both girls go sprawling, falling into another of the girl's hold their victim down.
  2906. >The others jump back in surprise - some even huddling behind trees or - of all people - *Fluttershy.*
  2907. >She in turn is trying to hid behind the sapling she's holding.
  2908. "Blossomforth, get up."
  2909. >"Don't... don't look..."
  2910. "I'm not."
  2911. >You stand protectively between her and the two you suspect to be the cult ringleaders.
  2912. >There's no point asking what the fuck is going on - from the way they're... oh, fuck it, you don't need any evidence.
  2913. >It doesn't take a genius to realize they're all high as a kite.
  2914. >Blossomforth's shoes scrape noisily on the dirt as she slowly stands.
  2915. >You try not to pay any attention to her grip on your arm as she pulls herself up, or the rustling of cloth that follows. You try.
  2916. >The soft whine that follows is harder to ignore.
  2917. "Are you okay?"
  2918. >"No... I don't know..."
  2919. >Blossomforth leans heavily against your back, one hand clutching desperately at your shirt.
  2920. >"Let's go," she whimpers. "Let's just go."
  2921. >"No!" Treehugger yells, trying - and failing - to find her feet. "Someone stop them! Mother Nature must follow the cycle!"
  2922. >Fluttershy timidly peers out from behind the sapling in her hands, but doesn't move forward.
  2923. >You don't think she realizes it barely hides her face - *barely* - and only that.
  2924. >A part of you now understands Spitfire's obsession with the lunatic.
  2925. >Another part just wants to laugh as she tries to hide again.
  2926. >A few of the other girls *try* to stop you, but stumble over their own feet.
  2927. "Yeah, let's go. Stick close to me, Blossomforth."
  2928. >She does, not letting go of you for even a moment.
  2929. >Aside from a few moans and outstretched hands, the girls don't try to stop you.
  2930. >They're doing their best, just... they're doing their best.
  2931. >You move slowly for Blossomforth's sake - the hand clutching your shirt isn't just holding her up, it's the only way she's moving forward at all.
  2932. >Even moving as slowly as you are, you're practically dragging her forward.
  2933. >At some point, one of them is going to -
  2934. >Fluttershy steps out from behind her sapling and into your way - the sapling follows a second later, on account of still being in her hands.
  2935. >"Wait..." she mutters, her eyes staring vaguely in your direction. "... the tree..."
  2936. >You're a monster.
  2937. >That makes slapping the sapling out of her hands easy.
  2938. >The hurt expression on her face - several heartbeats later, once she realizes what happened - doesn't phase you at all.
  2939. "Move."
  2940. >You're a monster.
  2941. >It doesn't bother you that she looks terrified.
  2942. >Monsters are supposed to be scary.
  2943. >Slowly, she steps aside, kneeling by the sapling.
  2944. >One by one, the others fall to their knees, staring at the fallen plant.
  2945. >"... the horror... the horror..." one of them whispers softly.
  2946. >You don't particularly care who it is.
  2947. >Treehugger and her "friends" disgust you, drug addicts one and all.
  2948. >You can't respect anyone who can't control themselves like...
  2949. >... like you...
  2950. "Stay close, Blossomforth."
  2951. >She doesn't say a thing, but you can feel her nod.
  2952. >Good enough.
  2953. >You lead her out of the clearing, keeping an eye on the other girls, just in case. Nothing happens. Not then, not when you're away from the circle.
  2954. >They don't chase after you.
  2955. >You weren't sure they wouldn't, eventually, but soon enough the lights and sounds disappear into the distance.
  2956. >Escape now takes second place to a need for direction.
  2957. >You still have no idea where you are.
  2958. >The trees all look the same. The darkness is uniform.
  2959. >You slow your pace, then stop.
  2960. >Blossomforth drags on your shirt as she slumps against you.
  2961. >Direction takes second place to concern.
  2962. "Blossomforth?"
  2963. >She doesn't answer.
  2964. "Are... are you okay?"
  2965. >"N-no..."
  2966. >Her hand slowly uncurls, releasing you as she falls to her knees.
  2967. >"I... I..."
  2968. >Hesitantly, you turn to look at the girl - she's clutching the torn edges of her shirt together with one hand, the other clasped over her mouth.
  2969. >She's not crying.
  2970. >You don't know if that's better or not.
  2971. "Did... they... they didn't give you anything, did they? Or..."
  2972. >That punch might not have been the only drink spiked. Probably not.
  2973. >They might not all have been spiked with alcohol.
  2974. >The girl shakes her head, but you don't think she's responding to you.
  2975. >She can't believe what just happened and is trying to convince herself it didn't happen.
  2976. >You know this, because you did...
  2977. >No, what happened to her is different.
  2978. "Blossomforth?"
  2979. >You hold out a hand to help her up.
  2980. >She slowly raises her head, her gaze lingering on your fingertips. There's confusion in her expression, like she can't figure out what they are - or why they're there.
  2981. >Her eyes run up your arm, to your shoulder, to your face, until -
  2982. >Recognition.
  2983. >Blossomforth gasps.
  2984. >Until this moment, she hadn't known the identity of her rescuer.
  2985. >Her body heaves as she struggles for breath, the rise and fall of her chest barely hidden by the scraps of cloth she's desperately trying to hold together.
  2986. "It's okay, I won't hurt you."
  2987. >"Don't... don't look at me!"
  2988. >She tries harder to cover herself, holding the torn shirt together with both hands.
  2989. >"Don't look at me," she repeats, her head dropping. "Don't... just... don't..."
  2990. >Blossomforth frantically tries to cover the cleavage she had so early displayed earlier, but the shredded fabric offers her little modesty.
  2991. "I... I won't."
  2992. >You turn away quickly.
  2993. "Let me take you home. We just have to go back to the party so I can find -"
  2994. >"I can't," she sobs, finally beginning to cry. "I can't let anyone see me like this."
  2995. >The sheer shock of everything had been keeping her on her feet. Now that it has hit her...
  2996. "I can... I mean, if you stay here, I can -"
  2997. >"Don't leave me," she begs through her tears. "Please, don't..."
  2998. "Then we have to go back, just long enough for me to get Spitfire's keys from her. After that, I'll drive you straight home. I swear."
  2999. >"I can't! My... my shirt... and..."
  3000. >You don't hesitate. You pull yours off over your head and hold it out to her, all while pointedly keeping your eyes firmly locked on a distant tree.
  3001. "Here, put this on."
  3002. >She hesitates, but soon tugs the shirt out of your loose grip.
  3003. >You continue to stare off into the distance as she changes. You may be a monster, but... not like that.
  3004. >You're so focused on *not* looking at anything, that it catches you completely off guard when Blossomforth puts her arm around yours.
  3005. >"Okay," she mumbles quietly, leaning heavily on you for support. "Let's... let's go."
  3006. >Her hand is freezing. The night air feels cold against your bare chest; you can't imagine what it must have been like for her.
  3007. >The girl flinches when you look in her direction.
  3008. >Your shirt hangs loosely on her slender frame, hers is clutched in her hand.
  3009. "Why don't you -"
  3010. >She drops it and you instinctively try to grab it.
  3011. "If you're cold -"
  3012. >"No," Blossomforth says firmly. "Leave it."
  3013. "But -"
  3014. >"Leave it. I don't want it."
  3015.  
  3016. >Eventually, you find your way back to the main party. It was easy, once you found the first beer cans. From there, you followed the trail of trash and lovers back to the open field.
  3017. >Things are still in full swing, though a new band has taken to the stage.
  3018. >You pause near the food stalls, near where Blossomforth had run from you.
  3019. "Just have to find Spitfire and then we can go. Do you want to wait here for me or -"
  3020. >"No," she mumbles numbly,
  3021. >Luckily, you don't make as big a scene as you expected.
  3022. >You should have known better. Things like this aren't unusual at Flash Fucking Sentry's parties.
  3023. >There's a reason you usually avoid them like the plague. You aren't a...
  3024. >You aren't like them. You're worse.
  3025. >This still isn't your scene.
  3026. >You can't wait to get out of here.
  3027. >There's a tug on your arm.
  3028. >"Is that her?" Blossomforth whimpers, pointing at a small cluster of people.
  3029. >Spitfire's bright hair stands out among the others.
  3030. "Yeah."
  3031. >She catches sight of you as you approach and breaks off from the others with a wave.
  3032. >"Hey killer, looks like you owe me!"
  3033. "No, just need your keys. Gotta take Blossomforth home."
  3034. >"Oh? So it's like -"
  3035. >The smile falls from Spitfire's face as she looks at the girl hanging from your arm.
  3036. >"Yeah. Okay."
  3037. >Your team captain nods and digs into her pocket.
  3038. >"Take care of her, Soarin," she says, tossing the keys to you. "I'll get a ride home with someone later."
  3039. "Thanks. "
  3040. >"No problem. And… uh… check the backseat. Should have a jacket back there that’ll fit you."
  3041. “Thanks again… captain.”
  3042. >Spitfire flashes you a relieved smile before turning back to her other friends.
  3043.  
  3044. >Blossomforth clings tightly to your arm as you lead her away from the party.
  3045. >Though Spitfire had parked in a relatively empty area, more and more people continued to arrive. Luckily it’s not blocked in, but there are more people around than you had hoped.
  3046. >A few wave to you – a few to the girl at your side. Someone – someone you don’t recognize – even calls out the thing you’ve been dreading ever since you returned to the party.
  3047. >You try to tune it out – unsuccessfully.
  3048. >Once one drunk idiot picks up on it, the rest do too.
  3049. >You hope Blossomforth is ignoring their catcalls and crude innuendo better than you.
  3050. >Her eyes are vacant and unfocused and she clings even tighter to you.
  3051. >She hears them; she’s hearing every word.
  3052. >You can feel her flinch with every cheer, with ever fucking asshole asking you how tight her pussy is, what positions she likes, how many…
  3053. >”Let’s go, Soarin,” Blossomforth whispers. “I just want to go home.”
  3054. >You hadn’t even realized you had stopped walking until she tugs on your arm.
  3055. “Yeah. Sure.”
  3056. >You hate Flash Fucking Sentry’s parties.
  3057. >Spitfire’s car is just ahead, towards the end of the field. The drunks lose interest by the time you reach it.
  3058. >Out of sight, out of mind, you assume. From the sounds, they found something else to focus on instead.
  3059. >Blossomforth’s hands reluctantly leave your arm as slides into the passenger seat.
  3060. >You check the backseat before getting behind the wheel – just as Spitfire said, there was a jacket back there. A hoodie, actually, but close enough.
  3061. >It barely fits you.
  3062. >The girl jumps when you sit down beside her, looking at you in panic for a heartbeat before looking away just as quickly.
  3063. “Sorry, did I –“
  3064. >”Yes.”
  3065. >She wraps her arms around herself.
  3066. >”Sorry.”
  3067. “No… no. I should have –“
  3068. >”About your shirt. I’ll give it back when…”
  3069. >You shake your head. Though she is looking away from you, you can see your reflection on the window – and hers. She’s biting her lip, on the verge of… of… you’re not entirely sure.
  3070. >She probably isn’t, either.
  3071. >Maybe to keep herself from screaming.
  3072. “It’s fine. Keep it as long as you need.”
  3073. >You want to reach out, to put a hand on her shoulder, to comfort her in some small way.
  3074. >Speech fail you.
  3075. >What do you have to say to her? What could you possibly say?
  3076. >What words does a rapist have to comfort a victim?
  3077. >If anyone ever needed a hug, it is...
  3078. >”Stop looking at me.”
  3079. “S-sorry.”
  3080. >”Can I go home now?”
  3081. “Yeah.”
  3082.  
  3083. >The drive back into town is quiet.
  3084. >Neither of you have any desire to talk to the other.
  3085. >Only when you hit the outskirts does she speak, directing you towards her house in one or two word bursts.
  3086. >”Left.”
  3087. >”Right.”
  3088. >”Go straight.”
  3089. >Things like that.
  3090. >Her house is easy to find and not too far from yours.
  3091. >You recognize these streets, unlike the ones you traveled last night.
  3092. >”Here,” Blossomforth mumbles, barely looking up from the floorboards. “The red one.”
  3093. “On the –“
  3094. >”On the right.”
  3095. >You pull up to the house – and up into the driveway after a second’s hesitation.
  3096. >It’s empty and… and you shouldn’t just drop her off at the curb and drive away like some one night stand or something.
  3097. >She sits in the passenger’s seat, staring vacantly at the garage door like she doesn’t recognize it.
  3098. >Oh.
  3099. “Sorry, wrong house?”
  3100. >You reach for the gearshift.
  3101. >”No,” Blossomforth mumbles as your hand closes around it, “this is it.”
  3102. “Oh, good.”
  3103. >You throw it into park instead of reverse.
  3104. >She doesn’t get out.
  3105. >Her eyes look just like her home – dead and empty and dark.
  3106. >”No one’s home,” the girl whispers.
  3107. >She sounds so confused.
  3108. “Was someone supposed to be?”
  3109. >”No,” Blossomforth answers with a gentle shake of her head, sending her bright hair waving. “Why was I so happy about that earlier?”
  3110. >She looks over at you like you somehow have the answer.
  3111. >”I was only able to sneak out tonight because they’re all out of town. Why did…why…”
  3112. >There’s a desperation in her voice that makes you want to - *need* to – answer her, to tell her why, to help her make sense of everything.
  3113. >You can’t even figure out your own life.
  3114. “Because…”
  3115. >What can you tell her?
  3116. “… because…”
  3117. >”Why?”
  3118. “… because we… we all make mistakes. And sometimes... sometimes bad things happen.”
  3119. >She bits her lip again, so hard a bead of blood wells up.
  3120. “It’s not your fault.”
  3121. >”I shouldn’t have gone out. They told me not to go out.”
  3122. “It’s not… it’s not your fault.”
  3123. >She shakes her head weakly; you don’t know if she believes you or not, or even if she’s hearing you.
  3124. “It’s not.”
  3125. >”No,” she answers, shaking her head again, “it is. It never… it never would have happened if…”
  3126. >She hiccups, interrupting herself.
  3127. >”I… I basically…”
  3128. >Again.
  3129. >”I let it – I let it –“
  3130. >Another.
  3131. >”If you hadn’t –“
  3132. >Her eyes are red-rimmed, though that might be the eyeliner she’s wearing.
  3133. >”… you…”
  3134. >Blossomforth’s whole body shudders with the fourth.
  3135. “Let’s get you inside.”
  3136. >She nods, the fifth leaving her voiceless, but doesn’t so much as reach for the door handle.
  3137. >Blossomforth doubles over on the sixth; when she looks up, red streaks her face, her tears making her eyeliner run.
  3138. >”… I…”
  3139. “I’ll help.”
  3140. >She nods and you get out of the car.
  3141. >Blossomforth clings to you even tighter than before as you help her out, her hands gripping on to your arm as if for life itself.
  3142. >They tighten with every hiccup, every step, every breath, until she has to let go to unlock the door.
  3143. >She steps through – she tries to – but her other hand is still on you, and you… didn’t.
  3144. “I… uh…”
  3145. >The house is empty and dead, her pale face and red eyes surrounded by darkness within.
  3146. “… will you…”
  3147. >You don’t want to leave her alone.
  3148. >Neither do you wish to intrude.
  3149. “… do you… I mean… I can…”
  3150. >You gesture over your back with your thumb.
  3151. “I can go, if you –“
  3152. >She looks back over her own shoulder, into the black, lifeless interior and shudders.
  3153. >”Please…” she begs. Just that one word and nothing else.
  3154. >She doesn’t need to say any more.
  3155. >You follow her inside.
  3156. >She doesn’t turn on any lights as she walks, one arm holding on to you, the other wrapped protectively around her torso.
  3157. “I…”
  3158. >You don’t know where she’s going, what she has in mind.
  3159. >”I don’t… please, just…”
  3160. >Her hand slips from you.
  3161. >”…I need…”
  3162. >She looks at you uncertainly, the weak light of the moon through a nearby window barely illuminating her face.
  3163. >”This is… it’s… my room…”
  3164. >She turns suddenly, pushing through a door and slamming it shut behind her.
  3165. >You can hear the lock being turned.
  3166. “I’ll… uh… just go then…”
  3167. >”Don’t. Please, don’t…”
  3168. >There’s a scraping noise, the sound of someone sliding down a wall, unable to hold herself up any longer.
  3169. >”Please,” Blossomforth begs through the wall. “Stay. I don’t… I can’t… I need someone… please…”
  3170. “I…”
  3171. >It’s what a decent person would do.
  3172. “Sure thing, Blossomforth, I’ll –“
  3173. >”Just… just call me Blossom.”
  3174. “I’ll stay, Blossom. I’ll stay and keep you safe.”
  3175. >”Thank you.”
  3176. >With a weary sigh, you seat yourself on the floor, your back pressed against her door.
  3177.  
  3178. >You spend the night like that, drifting in and out of sleep as you sit vigil over Blossomforth.
  3179. >She doesn’t leave her spot and neither do you – she scrapes against the wall every time she moves, calls out to you uncertainly every few minutes, just to make sure you’re still there.
  3180. >You think she gets even less sleep than you.
  3181. >After several hours, she finally falls quiet.
  3182. >She could only stave off sleep for so long before it finally took her.
  3183. >You follow soon after.
  3184.  
  3185. >When you wake again, it’s not to Blossom’s panicked cries, but a gentle hand on your shoulder.
  3186. >Your first thought is of Silver, the second is of Blossom, that it’s obviously her.
  3187. >The third is that her door is still closed.
  3188. >The fourth – which occurs to you just as your eyes begin to open – is that you didn’t lock the front door behind you.
  3189. >"Hey," Spitfire whispers, practically nose to nose with you, "time to go."
  3190. "I can't."
  3191. >It's the first thing that pops into your head. Not to ask why she's here or why you have to leave, just that you can't.
  3192. "I told her I'd keep her safe, Spitfire."
  3193. >"Yeah, I'm sure you did," she responds with a grin, "but your job's over. Time to go."
  3194. "But -"
  3195. >"Her parents are about five minutes behind me. Unless you want to explain why you're here..."
  3196. >She leaves the question dangling.
  3197. "Yeah, I think I would."
  3198. >Better that than break your word.
  3199. >Spitfire snorts and rolls her eyes - and plops herself down beside you.
  3200. >"I should have figured," she says after a moment, grinning. "But anyway, her parents will be here soon to take care of her."
  3201. "Why? Weren't they away... and... how do you know?"
  3202. >"What do you think?" she asks, shrugging. "After you left, I called coach. Woke her up - she wasn't too happy about that - but she called Blossom's and asked her to get in touch with her parents."
  3203. >She smiles - though there's something you can't identify behind the expression.
  3204. "Why?"
  3205. >"I gotta look after my team, Soarin."
  3206. "Blossom isn't on your team."
  3207. >"No, but you are."
  3208. >You shake your head and sigh.
  3209. "No, I quit. Remember?"
  3210. >"Nah, you're still on my team and you know it. Besides, you're my friend and I look after them, too."
  3211. "By dragging me to one of Flash Fucking Sentry's parties?"
  3212. >"Yeah."
  3213. >She shrugs innocently.
  3214. >"I thought it would get your mind off your problems."
  3215. "No, you thought I'd get laid, not..."
  3216. >You tilt your head towards Blossom's door.
  3217. >"True, but... you have to admit, taking care of her kept you from thinking about your own problems."
  3218. "Not really. Kind of. Maybe."
  3219. >"Damn," Spitfire grunts, right before punching your arm. "Still thinking about her?"
  3220. "Yeah, about -"
  3221. >"I don't need to know."
  3222. >There's a brief pause where you can visibly see her thinking things through.
  3223. >"... but... if you need to tell me, you can," she adds slowly. "I mean, if you need to talk to someone, it might as well be me."
  3224. "Thanks."
  3225. >"No problem, now..."
  3226. >She holds up a finger - a second later you hear the front door open.
  3227. >"Blossom!?"
  3228. >"They're here," Spitfire says, grinning. "What are you going to tell them?"
  3229. "I... don't have a fucking clue."
  3230.  
  3231. >The conversation was not as awkward as you expected.
  3232. >Blossomforth wasn't the only girl to experience... "trouble", as the officer with her parents described it.
  3233. >While you had been watching over her, several others had disappeared. You almost laughed when they listed Fluttershy among the missing.
  3234. >Everyone had been found, however, and a few words from Blossomforth were all that it took to convince everyone that you were a good person.
  3235. >Neither you nor she went into the details.
  3236.  
  3237. >You are Silver Spoon and you are listless.
  3238. >Word has gotten around of the... troubles... last night.
  3239. >A part of you wanted to run out and help search for the missing girls. It would have been the right thing to do. People needed help; you should have helped.
  3240. >A part of you wanted to run home, to hide in your room, every door and window locked tight. It would have been the smart thing to do. You had no illusions about yourself; you would only have gotten in everyone's way - *if* you hadn't become lost yourself.
  3241. >A part of you wanted to run to Soarin and have him hold you tight. In your heart, it was what you wanted more than anything. You were scared and being with him felt... it felt safe. You didn't know where to find him; you didn't have the courage to go.
  3242. >You stayed with Di.
  3243. >It was... it was the best thing to do.
  3244. "Anything yet?"
  3245. >"What?" Diamond grunts, looking up from her phone quizzically. "Oh, them? Yeah, they've been found.
  3246. "Oh, good."
  3247. >You turn your attention back to your book, wishing for a second that you had the courage to go out last night.
  3248. >Not just to help look for the girls.
  3249. >There was a party last night – one of that *foul* boy’s parties.
  3250. >Never in your life would you have thought you would want to attend one, but…
  3251. >Soarin might have been there… or he… he might have wanted to go. He would have protected you.
  3252. >You reread the same line for the fourth time in a row.
  3253. >With a sigh, you snap the book shut.
  3254. >No point trying to read when your attention keeps drifting like this. Besides, you’ve read it before.
  3255. >Di only has so many books, and you’ve gone through every single one.
  3256. >Twice.
  3257. >”Oh, this is just beautiful,” Diamond giggles, glancing up for a moment, still playing with her phone. “You won’t believe what else happened last night!”
  3258. “What happened…?”
  3259. >She laughs again, rolling over in her bed until her side is pressed against yours.
  3260. >”Here,” she snorts, holding her phone up so you can both see it. “Someone just uploaded something you should watch.”
  3261. >The still frame dominating the screen looks… uninteresting. The usual kind of thing Di finds so appealing. Probably a drunk making a fool of himself – or herself.
  3262. >Still, you tap the screen like she expects.
  3263. >Loud sounds assail your ears – discordant music warped by poor recording and playback quality, the noise and laughter of the crowd adding further to the disharmony of the melody.
  3264. >Di must have turned up the volume, because you would have noticed *this*, no matter how distracting your thoughts.
  3265. >The video shakes back and forth, staying in one place for little more than a second before darting to another angle.
  3266. >It’s a party – from what Di had said, presumably the one last night – and people are dancing to the music.
  3267. >You’re suddenly very glad you did not go.
  3268. “What am I supposed to be seeing here, Diamond?”
  3269. >”Just wait for it…”
  3270. >Your eyes dart away from the screen – she’s grinning viciously.
  3271. >”Waaaaaaaait for it…”
  3272. >All you can see are people dancing, with varying degrees of success.
  3273. >There’s one older classman who is… he’s trying his best.
  3274. >The camera stops moving around and focuses on him – and the girl he’s dancing with.
  3275. >You may not know the boy, but you recognize *her*.
  3276. >”Waaaaaaaaaaaaaait for it…”
  3277. >Di is grinning from ear to ear; you don’t really know why.
  3278. >You’ve never seen the humor in this.
  3279. >Another thing you just don’t understand, another failing on your part.
  3280. >You try to smile. For her.
  3281. >After several more seconds, your truly are smiling. For her.
  3282. >Not Di. Sweetie Belle.
  3283. >She looks like she’s having so much fun.
  3284. >He does too.
  3285. >You want to know how they found the courage to stand together; you want to feel that way.
  3286. >He’s so much older than she is, but neither seems to mind.
  3287. >Maybe you’re misinterpreting things. Maybe they aren’t -
  3288. >”Watch, watch! Here it comes!”
  3289. >Diamond laughs as the pair fall.
  3290. >You watch them laugh as they picks themselves up.
  3291. >”Can you believe it!?” Di giggles, the phone shaking in her hand. “I mean, *can* you?”
  3292. “No, not really.”
  3293. >… but you want to.
  3294. >You want to be like them.
  3295. >The screen wobbles, twisting away from the crowd.
  3296. >”I know!” your friend laughs, her hand – and phone – dropping, “I mean, *seriously*, if you can’t dance, then don’t –“
  3297. “Wait.”
  3298. >”What?”
  3299. “Could you… turn it back?”
  3300. >Di chuckles and raises the phone again.
  3301. >”Need another laugh? Sure, I –“
  3302. “No, not that far… just…”
  3303. >There.
  3304. >At the moment the camera twists away.
  3305. >You tap the screen, pausing the video, but no matter how long you stare at it, the picture doesn’t change.
  3306. >That’s Soarin in the background.
  3307. >It always will be.
  3308. >”What are you –“
  3309. “Nothing.”
  3310. >You don’t know who the girl he’s talking to.
  3311. >It could be nothing.
  3312. >Maybe.
  3313. >You can’t quite make yourself believe that, though. Not the way she’s holding on to him.
  3314. >That boy’s parties have a… a reputation.
  3315. >”Well, if it’s –“
  3316. >You tap the screen before she can pull it away.
  3317. “I just…”
  3318. >She runs away.
  3319. “… I want to see how it ends.”
  3320. >He chases her.
  3321. >That’s not what you wanted to see.
  3322.  
  3323. >You are Diamond Tiara and you are confused.
  3324. >You don't like being confused; it means you aren't in control.
  3325. "What?"
  3326. >"It's nothing."
  3327. >Well, despite it being *nothing*, Silver pulls your phone out of your hands and skips back to watch *nothing* over again.
  3328. "Silver?"
  3329. >She doesn't answer.
  3330. "What are you -"
  3331. >"It's *nothing*," your friend barks, before repeating herself in a barely audible whisper. "It's nothing."
  3332. >Almost sounds like she's trying to convince herself or something.
  3333. >She closes her eyes tightly and drops the phone on her chest.
  3334. >"It's nothing. It has to be. It *has* to be."
  3335. >Curious - and still confused - you pick up your phone and watch the video again. Just the last thirty seconds.
  3336. >You have to watch it twice before you understand.
  3337. "You're jealous of them, aren't you?"
  3338. >"No. Yes. Yes, but..."
  3339. >You watch it again.
  3340. >Ah.
  3341. "Oh, you mean Soarin?"
  3342. >"It's nothing."
  3343. "Well, yeah, probably."
  3344. >Silver breathes out a sigh of relief, visibly relaxing at your words.
  3345. "I mean, he *is* a jock, so..."
  3346. >"What...?"
  3347. "Well, that's what they do."
  3348. >The girl at your side stiffens.
  3349. "What? You didn't expect him to -"
  3350. >"Yes. I did."
  3351. "That was stupid."
  3352. >The words are out of your mouth before you realize what you're saying.
  3353. >Guilt hits a second later, when Silver responds.
  3354. >"I know."
  3355. >The feeling is fleeting. After all, it's the truth. She *should* have known better.
  3356. >"I just thought... I thought..."
  3357. "What, that a blowjob in a parking lot would make him love you forever?"
  3358. >"Yes," she gasps.
  3359. "I swear, you're so stupid. It's a good thing you have me."
  3360. >Silver rolls over to face you, snuggling firmly up against your body.
  3361. >"I know, Di," your only friend sobs, holding onto you tightly. "I know. I don't know what I would do without you."
  3362. "Yeah, probably -"
  3363. >"I want... I want to see him again. I want to hear it from him, Di. Can I? I know you said I had to wait, but... I need... I need to know.
  3364. >"Please, Di."
  3365. "I don't -"
  3366. >"Maybe I did something wrong! I know I did something wrong! I can do better, I promise!"
  3367. >Silly girl is crying, her tears soaking through your light shirt.
  3368. >"... please... please... I'm sure I can..."
  3369. "Ugh, FINE!"
  3370. >Whatever it takes to get that kicked puppy expression off of Silver’s face.
  3371.  
  3372. >You are Soarin and you are sitting in your favorite diner.
  3373. >Not in your usual booth, though. They're too busy for that.
  3374. >The diner is far busier than when you and Spitfire normally eat here. Probably the busiest you’ve ever seen it.
  3375. >You don't usually eat breakfast here, though.
  3376. >Well, you do, but not at breakfast time.
  3377. >The experience is… unique.
  3378. >You don’t think you’ll try repeating it again anytime soon.
  3379. >Too busy, too crowded.
  3380. >”So,” Spitfire grunts, dropping her menu and leaning back in the booth, “are you going to tell me what happened last night?”
  3381. >You shake your head. Blossom had been evasive every time her parents or the officer asked, so you had followed her lead.
  3382. >If she didn’t want anyone to know, it wasn’t your place to tell them.
  3383. “That’s up to Blossom. Shit happened. I rescued her, and...”
  3384. >”And you tried to stay up all night just so she would feel safe?”
  3385. “Yeah.”
  3386. >”Yeah, I figured as much.”
  3387. >She sighs loudly and looks around, trying to find Tall Stack.
  3388. >Unsuccessfully.
  3389. >”Never again,” she groans in defeat, slumping down in the booth.
  3390. “Never again.”
  3391. >Trying to eat breakfast when you’re supposed to eat breakfast sucks.
  3392. >”At least it gives us plenty of time to talk.”
  3393. “About?”
  3394. >”That depends,” she answers, crossing her arms over her chest. “What do you need to talk about?”
  3395. “I don’t –“
  3396. >”Don’t lie to me, Soarin. It’s eating you up – I can see it.”
  3397. “You don’t want to know.”
  3398. >Your captain nods, conceding the point.
  3399. >”No, probably not, but I think you need to talk about it.”
  3400. “I…”
  3401. >”Look,” Spitfire sighs, leaning forward and resting her elbows on the table, “you don’t know if you’re… having fun… with those other girls, but you sure as hell aren’t acting like it. Honestly, last two days I’ve had a hard time telling if you’re just depressed or straight up suicidal.”
  3402. “I’m not –“
  3403. >Maybe you should –
  3404. >”Quiet, I’m talking. So we go out, you have a good time, forget about your problems, almost seem back to your old self? But then you get a prime piece of pussy like Blossomforth throwing herself at you – yes, I was watching, shut up – and you basically tell her to fuck off.”
  3405. >Dammit, you knew you heard her laughing.
  3406. >”But then you chase after her. Why?”
  3407. “Someone had to look after her.”
  3408. >”Why couldn’t she look after herself?”
  3409. “Because she was drunk!”
  3410. >Spitfire frowns – and waits.
  3411. “I couldn’t just let her run off alone!”
  3412. >She glares at you, the expression softening after several tense seconds.
  3413. >”No, you couldn’t have, and from how things turned out, it’s probably a good thing you did.”
  3414. “Yeah, so thanks for caring and everything, but can you just back off?”
  3415. >”I don’t think I can,” Spitfire answers slowly. “After all, you couldn’t, and…”
  3416. >She shrugs.
  3417. >”If you were any better after last night, sure, I would, but you *aren’t*. What’s wrong?”
  3418. “Do you *really* think hounding me about this is going to help?”
  3419. >”No, but I can’t help you until I know what’s going on.”
  3420. >Spitfire is not going to give up.
  3421. >She *never* gives up.
  3422. “Fine.”
  3423. >She smiles slightly – only slightly, but enough that it infuriates you.
  3424. >You don’t deserve help.
  3425. >Spitfire’s smile fades as yours grows.
  3426. “I’m a monster.”
  3427. >You tell her.
  3428. >You tell her *everything*.
  3429. >From the first text Diamond sent you to how you had Silver Spoon on her knees just a few feet from where you’re currently sitting.
  3430. >What you let Diamond Tiara do to her.
  3431. >What *you* did to her.
  3432. >The frantic calls the next day, the unanswered texts.
  3433. >You tell Spitfire everything she never wanted to hear.
  3434. >She must hate you; you hate yourself.
  3435. >But that’s okay, because a monster like you *should* be hated.
  3436. >And when you’re done, when you’re finished describing that night for her, you tell her why you turned Blossom down.
  3437. >She was drunk – that would have been reason enough, but it wasn’t why.
  3438. >You refused Blossom’s advances because of Silver Spoon.
  3439. >Because you want to see her again. Because…
  3440. >You don’t talk about what happened to Blossom – that’s not your secret to tell – but why you turned the girl down?
  3441. >You tell your captain.
  3442. >And when you’re done, Spitfire can’t meet your eyes. She can barely speak.
  3443. >She only asks one question – and not one of the ones you were expecting. She doesn’t ask how you can live with yourself, or what is wrong with you. She doesn’t ask why you did or why you haven’t turned yourself in.
  3444. >Any of those questions would have hurt, but she asks something you hadn’t anticipated – hadn’t even thought of.
  3445. >Something you *should* have thought of.
  3446. >The fact that you didn’t hurts most of all.
  3447. >”Soarin…”
  3448. >She can’t meet your eyes.
  3449. >”… do you love her?”
  3450.  
  3451.  
  3452. **** CHAPTER 3 ****
  3453.  
  3454. >You are Soarin and you are stunned.
  3455. >"Well, do you?" Spitfire repeats. "Do you love Silver Spoon?"
  3456. "I..."
  3457. >You should have asked yourself that.
  3458. "... I..."
  3459. >At some point, you should have asked yourself.
  3460. >You search your heart and find... nothing.
  3461. >Not love nor hate.
  3462. >No wellspring of adoration, no seed of tenderness that only needs time to blossom.
  3463. >It's all too new.
  3464. >Your thoughts are constantly on the girl, but... conflicted and confused.
  3465. "... I barely know her."
  3466. >"That's not what I asked," Spitfire sighs, shaking her head. "I asked if you -"
  3467. "But I want to protect her."
  3468. >"Like you did Blossomforth?"
  3469. "No... not... not like that."
  3470. >Blossom was safe with you.
  3471. >"At the very least, you care about her, right?"
  3472. >You nod.
  3473. >"Good, at least -"
  3474. >"Hey, sorry about the wait!" Tall Stack interrupts, kneeling down beside your table and pulling out his note pad. "Guess you can see we're kind of slammed out here. So, Spitfire, I guess you want your usual?"
  3475. >"Yeah, sounds good."
  3476. >"Cool, cool," he responds, jotting it down on his pad. "What about you, Soarin? Pancakes?"
  3477. "No."
  3478. >He looks up in surprise, the word already half-written.
  3479. >"Um... okay... huh. Gonna try something new?"
  3480. "Yeah, I..."
  3481. >Your phone rings.
  3482. >It's her.
  3483. "... just surprise me, Tall."
  3484.  
  3485. >You are Silver Spoon and you are listening attentively to your friend.
  3486. >"Yes," Di snaps. "Tonight."
  3487. >She's angry; he is arguing with her.
  3488. >Did he have a date set up with someone else already?
  3489. >You should have... you should have thought ahead.
  3490. >Doing something on such short notice is bound to interfere with his plans.
  3491. >Your heart sinks.
  3492. >This was supposed to be your chance to make up for your mistakes, not to compound them.
  3493. >"No, that's stupid. I swear, how can you be so stupid?"
  3494. >He doesn't want to go out with you tonight.
  3495. >Maybe he doesn't want to see you ever again.
  3496. >You should have done better.
  3497. >"No, not there," Di groans. "Someplace better."
  3498. >Wait... what...?
  3499. >"Fine, I *guess* that will work. But you better do things right this time!"
  3500. >Di sighs dramatically and hangs up.
  3501. >You dare not hope, but you can't help yourself.
  3502. "Did he...?"
  3503. >"Yeah, you've got your date."
  3504.  
  3505. >You are Soarin and you are doing your best to remain calm.
  3506. >The phone falls from your hand to clatter loudly on the table.
  3507. >Spitfire doesn't say anything, just waits expectantly as you slowly raise your head to glare at her.
  3508. >Her silence is deafening, her patience infuriating.
  3509. >She smiles sadly at you when your eyes meet hers.
  3510. >"Soarin..."
  3511. "What did you order for me?"
  3512. >"What?"
  3513. "You said something to Tall Stack. What did you order for me?"
  3514. >"Is that really the most important thing right now?"
  3515. "No, but I can't think about *that* right now."
  3516. >Spitfire nods in acceptance after a moment's pause.
  3517. "Yeah."
  3518. >You go to wave down Tall Stack for the bill, but Spitfire pulls your arm down.
  3519. >"Already took care of it. Let's go."
  3520. >Silently, you follow her out to her car, past the point where Silver... where you...
  3521. >You focus on the girl ahead of you, on Spitfire.
  3522. >It's impossible, but you try anyway.
  3523. >You try not to think about what happened that night or what might happen later today.
  3524. >It's a hopeless task.
  3525. >Your heart beats quickly as adrenaline floods your body. Seeing her again, knowing that she's safe... you can't help but look forward to it.
  3526. >"Soarin?"
  3527. >A punch to the arm brings you back to the moment, if only for now.
  3528. >Spitfire rolls her eyes as you rub your arm.
  3529. >"Get in the car."
  3530.  
  3531. >She's been driving for a while now; you don't know where she's going.
  3532. >"So..." she finally opens. "Tonight?"
  3533. "Yeah."
  3534. >"A date?"
  3535. "Yeah."
  3536. >"At the Entertainment Industrial Complex?" she asks suspiciously.
  3537. "It's the only place I could think of - that she didn't turn down."
  3538. >"Huh," Spitfire grunts, taking a left down a new road. "I thought that Italian restaurant wasn't a bad idea, but I guess Silver Spoon doesn't like -"
  3539. "It wasn't her."
  3540. >"Wait, what?"
  3541. "Diamond Tiara is the one that called. She's the one *arranging* everything."
  3542. >"Ah."
  3543. "She told me... she told me I had to do it right this time."
  3544. >"And if you don't?"
  3545. "Then I suspect she'll ruin my life. And Silver's. And..."
  3546. >You look at your friend, studying her face.
  3547. "And now that you know about this, maybe you, too."
  3548. >Her only reaction is a shrug and wordless grunt.
  3549. "That doesn't worry you?"
  3550. >"We're teammates, Soarin. Taking risks for each other is part of that."
  3551. >She spins the wheel to the right.
  3552. >"Well, at least now I know where to go. What's Silver's favorite color?"
  3553. "Blue."
  3554. >The one thing you know about her, the thing she told you while on her knees.
  3555. "It's blue."
  3556. >Spitfire nods.
  3557. "Where are we going?"
  3558. >"You're going to need flowers."
  3559.  
  3560. >She doesn't speak until your food arrives and neither do you.
  3561. >You ask her to pass you the pepper.
  3562. >That's the extent of your communication - a request for seasoning for your fries.
  3563. >The burger that comes with them is fine - probably - but you barely taste it.
  3564. >She's right - there are more important things to think about and everything, every *single* idea that comes into your head is too much.
  3565. >It comes as a surprise when your plate is suddenly empty; you hadn't realized you had eaten that much.
  3566. >You hadn't realized that Spitfire had finished long ago - Tall has already cleared away her dishes.
  3567. >"Good to go?" your captain ask, "because we should probably get started. If you're ready."
  3568. >Flowers.
  3569. >The word lingers in your head.
  3570. >You roll it around, examine it, *taste* it.
  3571. >It's not entirely unappealing, but still wrong.
  3572. "No, skip the flowers."
  3573. >"What? No!" Spitfire protests, sparing you an angry - or is it questioning? - glare. "You said you have to do this right!"
  3574. "And part of that means not letting anyone know. If it gets back to her parents..."
  3575. >"What? Afraid they'll have you thrown in jail?"
  3576. "It'll ruin her, Spitfire. I can't be the cause of that. I'm trying to *save* her."
  3577. >Spitfire glares again, before jerking the wheel sharply to the left and pulling into an empty parking lot. She throws the car into park and twists to stare at you.
  3578. >"And how are flowers going to do that?"
  3579. "It would be too obvious."
  3580. >You think back to the party, to all the people watching Rarity's little sister.
  3581. "I mean, you saw how people were with Anon and Sweetie Belle, didn't you?"
  3582. >"Who? When?"
  3583. "Rarity's little sister and her... her boyfriend. At the party last night! Didn't you see them?"
  3584. >"No."
  3585. >"Didn't you see everyone staring? Didn't you hear what they were saying?"
  3586. >"No, I didn't. I don't think people were paying as much attention to them as you think they were."
  3587. "Well, they'd talk if I showed up with Silver Spoon and gave her flowers!"
  3588. >She frowns and look out the windshield.
  3589. >"Fine," the girl sighs, shifting the car back into drive. "Not like I know a damn thing about traditional dating anyway."
  3590. "Sorry, but not everything can end in lesbian orgies."
  3591. >"Yeah," she sighs, guiding the car back onto the road. "Fucking shame."
  3592. >She had a point, though. You should get something for Silver.
  3593. >"Alright, so... what then? I take you home, let you get some sleep and a shower, and just hope for the best? Do you even have clothes to wear?"
  3594. "It's... not my first date. You know this, right?"
  3595. >"Yeah," Spitfire grumbles. "I'm just trying to help, or... I guess, trying to figure out *how* to help."
  3596. "I know how. Turn right up here."
  3597.  
  3598. >You are Silver Spoon and you are nervously playing with the hem of your shirt.
  3599. >Or, more accurately, Di's shirt. You just happen to be the one wearing it.
  3600. >It hangs too short on you - the hem *barely* grazes the top of the skirt you are wearing. Every movement you make reveals skin.
  3601. >You wanted to change. Still do. You also wish you were at home with your own clothes and could wear things that actually fit you.
  3602. >You want to look *right* for him.
  3603. >Not like this, and certainly not like you had two nights ago.
  3604. >Properly dressed, not some silly child that can't dress herself.
  3605. >Not covered in mud and filthy.
  3606. >This needs to be right. If it's not right, you might not get another chance.
  3607. >You have to convince Soarin you are good enough for him.
  3608. >This has to be perfect.
  3609. >He’s already seeing other girls.
  3610. >Just one day after, he went to a party with someone else, because you weren’t good enough.
  3611. >You have to be good enough.
  3612. >You have to make this per-
  3613. >"Stop it," Di hisses, slapping at your hand. "All you're doing is drawing attention to it."
  3614. >You drop the cloth immediately.
  3615. >You *can’t* be perfect, but you don’t… you don’t have to be, do you?
  3616. >All you have to do is convince him that you are.
  3617. >Still…
  3618. "Are you sure we didn't have time to -"
  3619. >"Yes, I'm sure,” your friend snaps. “Besides, who would drive us over to your place?"
  3620. "I could..."
  3621. >You think. You think hard. It's difficult when your clothes feel so *wrong.*
  3622. "… I could call home? See if one of the servants could pick us up?"
  3623. >"And then drive us back to your place, then back here?"
  3624. >Di snorts derisively and pushes you out the open door.
  3625. "N-no... I suppose there's not enough time."
  3626. >That was stupid.
  3627. >You're stupid.
  3628. >"I said stop it!"
  3629. >You hadn't realized you were tugging on the hem again until she smacks your hand.
  3630. "Sorry..."
  3631. >”He’ll be here any minute. You need to *try* to look presentable.”
  3632. “Sorry…”
  3633. >You cringe – your apology sounds whiny and pathetic even to your own ears.
  3634. >It’s not hard, just straighten up, smile, and try to remain –
  3635. >”SILVER!”
  3636. >She slaps your hand again. Hard.
  3637. >”If you’re so sorry, then. Stop. It.”
  3638. “I’m just…”
  3639. >You whine wordlessly, twisting away. Your borrowed skirt swirls around your legs, the pink and white floral pattern dancing like cherry blossoms on the wind.
  3640. >”You’re nervous,” Di sighs angrily.
  3641. “… yes…”
  3642. >She has every right to be furious; you’ve had this conversation already. This time will be the fourth.
  3643. >Once in the shower, as she brushed conditioner through your hair.
  3644. >Again as you picked out clothes for tonight, leaving half the contents of her closet strewn on the floor.
  3645. >The third was just moments ago, when you had tried to slip a book into your purse.
  3646. >”Oh, calm down,” your friend grunts. “Everything will be fine.”
  3647. “Fine isn’t good enough, Di. *I’m* not good enough. How am I supposed to calm down?”
  3648. >Diamond sighs and rolls her eyes.
  3649. >”I don’t know! I don’t have the answer for *everything*.”
  3650. >She turns away and pulls the door shut, locking it securely.
  3651. >Probably to stop you from running back inside.
  3652. >She knows you want to.
  3653. >Di sighs again, glancing at you with narrowed eyes, before stepping away from the door and making her way across the drive to sit at the bench next to the fountain.
  3654. >”Just sit down, Silver,” she groans.
  3655. “Can’t I…”
  3656. >You cast your eyes at the locked door and moan quietly.
  3657. “… I just need something to distract myself with. Can’t I just go grab a book? I’ll be right back, I promise!”
  3658. >”Sit down.”
  3659. >You whine, but obey.
  3660. >She knows best, but even you know that taking a book on a date is… well, you can see how others might think it odd. Or insulting.
  3661. >You want one anyway, even one you’ve read a dozen times before.
  3662. >*Anything* to keep your mind off of what you’re going to have to do tonight.
  3663. >Even your phone would be… *acceptable*… but the battery is dead.
  3664. >It died hours ago, before you could finish… looking… *things*… up.
  3665. >”It shouldn’t be much longer,” Di huffs, checking the time on her phone. “*Better* not be. Ugh, he’s almost late!“
  3666. >Soarin wouldn’t be late.
  3667. >No, he just won’t come at all.
  3668. >At least… at least you’ll know, if he doesn’t show up. You’ll know you never had a chance and you never will.
  3669. >”He has ONE minute to get his ass here, before I –“
  3670. >A part of you hopes he doesn’t.
  3671. >It would be easy, then.
  3672. >You could stop trying so hard… or… at all.
  3673. >It would be easy. So easy.
  3674. >Not like this. No research, no forcing yourself to do things you don’t want to do, no desperate hope, just certainty that you will never be loved.
  3675. >It would be so very easy to do what you had to do.
  3676. >Just run a bath and -
  3677. >”Good, he’s on time,” Di grunts, pushing you to your feet. “Barely.”
  3678. >Seconds later, Soarin’s car comes around the bend.
  3679. >Your heart leaps, your earlier thoughts forgotten at the sight of him.
  3680. >No, not quite forgotten, but locked away.
  3681. >You can still hear them, though, their dark whispers.
  3682. >He might not stop – he might drive right past –
  3683. >No, that’s… no!
  3684. >”Smile, idiot,” Di snarls into your ear.
  3685. >Somehow, you do, ignoring the malicious lies you’re trying to tell yourself.
  3686. >You know they’re lies. You know he’ll stop.
  3687. >*He* isn’t the one that’s flawed; it’s you. Your doubts are proof enough of that.
  3688. >Soarin is a better person than you.
  3689. >You knows with all your heart.
  3690. >His car slows.
  3691. >He’s stopping.
  3692. >He wouldn’t drive away.
  3693. >You were so stupid to think that, even if you never believed it for a second.
  3694. >The car comes to a stop in front of you.
  3695. >He turns. He sees you.
  3696. >He’s going to –
  3697. >He smiles.
  3698. >He opens his door.
  3699. >He gets out.
  3700. >He –
  3701. >Oh.
  3702. >He’s hugging you.
  3703. >”Hey.”
  3704. >He smiles.
  3705. “H-hi.”
  3706. >You look up at him, up into his green eyes. They bore into you with an intensity you’ve never seen before.
  3707. >There’s a hesitation there, his mouth half open, like there’s something more he wants to say but can’t quite vocalize the words.
  3708. >He feels guilty.
  3709. >Guilty for leading you on, even though it was all your fault.
  3710. >He’s going to apologize. He’s going to say he’s sorry and get back in his car and –
  3711. “It’s… it’s…"
  3712. >You want to tell him it’s okay, that you understand, that you’d do the same thing in his place.
  3713. >He deserves better than you.
  3714. >For some reason, the words don’t come out. You try to force them, to say *anything*.
  3715. >Your lips part.
  3716. >They tremble.
  3717. >You’re almost there. You can do it.
  3718. >You want to beg him to stay and pretend.
  3719. >You want him to leave and give up the lie and end it all.
  3720. “It’s –“
  3721. >You can do this. You can speak.
  3722. “Soarin, I –“
  3723. >He kisses you.
  3724. >He pulls your body flush against his, holding you tight. So tight you can barely breathe… or is it the kiss that’s taking your breath away, not his arms?
  3725. >Spots dance in your eyes.
  3726. >You need air.
  3727. >He’s holding you so tight.
  3728. >You can’t escape, but more importantly… you don’t want to.
  3729. >He wants you.
  3730. >He might even love you.
  3731. >Dying in his arms right now… you think you would be happy.
  3732. >No uncertainty, no fear, just slipping away knowing that he –
  3733. >His lips part with yours.
  3734. >”Are you ready?” he asks breathlessly.
  3735. >You want to giggle; it wasn’t just you.
  3736. >All you can manage is a nod.
  3737. >You’re ready for anything he wants to do to you.
  3738. >”I’m glad,” he smiles, bending down to add in a hushed whisper. “Hop in the passenger seat. There’s a present for you in the glovebox.”
  3739. >Though your breath is back, you’re too stunned to speak, too surprised to object.
  3740. >You nod.
  3741. >You’re still nodding when you remember Di said you should sit in the back with her.
  3742. >Too late.
  3743. >Your body is already moving.
  3744. >He wants you to sit in the front with him.
  3745. >And he… he got you something.
  3746. >You open the passenger’s side door and – tucking your skirt – slide into the seat.
  3747. >It’s in the glovebox.
  3748. >No one has ever gotten you a present before, not like this.
  3749. >Whatever it is, you’ll treasure it.
  3750. >It’s from him.
  3751. >Your hand trembles as you reach for the latch, the excitement too much for your body to handle.
  3752. >It’s not like you haven’t received gifts before; you have birthdays, same as anyone else. Your parents have been generous – holidays and trips and celebrations all warranting their own presents.
  3753. >But behind them all was a sense of obligation on their part. On yours, expectancy.
  3754. >This… this is a surprise.
  3755. >Di didn’t tell you to expect anything.
  3756. >Soarin didn’t have to do this.
  3757. >He barely knows you.
  3758. >Your fingers fumble at the latch.
  3759. >Outside, you can hear Soarin and Di talking.
  3760. >You should probably be listening. They sound angry.
  3761.  
  3762. >You are Soarin and you hope Silver Spoon isn’t listening.
  3763. >The argument dragged on longer than you like; you take some measure of pride in holding out so long.
  3764. >Trying to stand up for yourself – and Silver – makes you feel like you still have some dignity.
  3765. >Still, she shouldn’t hear you cave like this.
  3766. “Fine. You can come.”
  3767. >”As if you ever had any choice in the matter,” Diamond snarls, pushing past you to get to the car. “Stop wasting our time and get in the car! You’re *ruining* this for everyone.”
  3768. >You take a deep breath to calm yourself, and another, when that proves unsuccessful.
  3769. >Behind you, a door slams shut.
  3770. >One more.
  3771. >She’s right, though.
  3772. >You wanted to see Silver’s face when she opened the glove box.
  3773. >This argument… you didn’t expect it to take so much time.
  3774. >You didn’t expect to hold your own for so long.
  3775. >It… doesn’t matter.
  3776. >She probably doesn’t like it anyway.
  3777. >You know and grand total of two things about the girl, about what she likes and her interests.
  3778. >Thinking you could pick out something nice for her was… well… you had hope, but that’s all.
  3779. >In the end, you had grabbed the closest one that was blue.
  3780. >There is no way it is anything she would want.
  3781. >Her family makes more in one day than yours does in… you don’t know if numbers that large exist.
  3782. >Silver Spoon wants for nothing.
  3783. >There is absolutely nothing you can offer her that she can’t get on her own.
  3784. >Still, you had to try.
  3785. >You pull open your door and slump into your seat with a sigh, not even glancing over at your… it’s hard to think of her like this, but you have to… your girlfriend.
  3786. >You don’t want to see how disappointed she is.
  3787. “Are you ready, Silver?”
  3788. >Silence.
  3789. >You squeeze your eyes shut and sigh.
  3790. “Way to go, Soarin.”
  3791. >You fucked up.
  3792. >She’s so angry, she can’t even talk to you.
  3793. >Fine.
  3794. “Let’s just get this over with.”
  3795. >You turn the key, the roar of the engine starting up followed by a sharp breath from your side.
  3796. >”What?” Silver gasps. “Oh, sorry.”
  3797. >You look over at her, despite your misgivings – and you smile.
  3798. >”Sorry,” your girlfriend repeats, blushing. “I… um…”
  3799. >She slips her present into her purse.
  3800. >”I didn’t notice you get in. I was a little distracted…”
  3801. “Enjoying it?”
  3802. >Maybe… maybe you didn’t fuck up.
  3803. >”Mhm.”
  3804. >Silver’s blush deepens and she giggles nervously.
  3805. >”I was.”
  3806. >She leans over, stretches across the gap… and kisses your cheek.
  3807. >”Thank you for the book, Soarin. I love it.”
  3808.  
  3809. >You are Silver Spoon and you love his gift.
  3810. >It’s not the kind of thing you normally read – fantasy novels are just too… fantastical.
  3811. >Also, it’s the second book in a series. You have no idea what is happening or why, who these characters are or their motivations, what this hammer is that they are talking about or why they are arguing.
  3812. >Mysterious warnings of missing constellations mean nothing.
  3813. >You find yourself wanting to know more.
  3814. >Soarin is concentrating on the road, listening intently to his phone’s GPS. He doesn’t know this part of town well.
  3815. >Diamond is too busy… you wouldn’t say pouting, perhaps she is trying to give Soarin and you privacy? Either way, she isn’t offering him any help.
  3816. >You don’t know what to do.
  3817. >Their silence is disquieting.
  3818. >Your nervousness begins to return, but you don’t give in. You pull his gift from your purse and continue reading.
  3819. >It’s a wonderful distraction, but just as importantly, you want to see what happens.
  3820. >You’ll have to order the other books when you get home tonight.
  3821. >If…
  3822. >You glance over at Soarin.
  3823. >… *if* you get home tonight.
  3824. >You wouldn’t mind waiting a day – or two – to order them.
  3825. >”In 20 meters, turn right,” his phone blurts out.
  3826. >Reactively, he turns his head slightly.
  3827. >Probably just checking to see if he could change lanes, but his eyes catch yours. He sees you looking at him and smiles.
  3828. >“I hope you have fun tonight.”
  3829. >You already are, just… nervous.
  3830. >He turns his attention back to the road, and you, after a moment, resume devouring your new book.
  3831. >By the time he reaches the Entertainment Industrial Complex, you’re a quarter of the way through the novel.
  3832. >”Now, we can go straight in, or…”
  3833. >Soarin slows, coasting through the parking lot.
  3834. >”… or we can stop over at one of these places,” he continues, gesturing towards the nearby restaurants, “and grab some food. Your choice, Silver.”
  3835. >You’re too nervous to eat.
  3836. >”They have food inside,” Di huffs. “Isn’t that good enough?”
  3837. >”Not really. I thought we might want a real meal.”
  3838. >”Yeah, well –“
  3839. >”I can drop you off now, if you want,” Soarin snaps back eagerly. “Silver and I can join you later.”
  3840. >”What? No! Everyone would laugh if I went in alone to –“
  3841. “… I’m not hungry…”
  3842. >Soarin looks at you, one eyebrow raised.
  3843. >He’s doubtful, but it’s true.
  3844. “Really, Soarin.”
  3845. >Hesitantly, you reach out and put your hand on his arm.
  3846. “I’m not.”
  3847. >Just the thought of food makes your stomach churn.
  3848. >”Okay,” he concedes with a frown.
  3849. >The nausea rises.
  3850. >You messed up.
  3851. >You close your eyes and focus on your breathing, try to keep yourself from –
  3852. >”Silver, are you okay?”
  3853. “I’ll be fine.”
  3854. >You hope that’s true.
  3855. >You’ve already disappointed Soarin once; you can’t compound that by lying to him.
  3856. >”Silver…”
  3857. “I’ll be fine.”
  3858. >You can barely hear your own voice, it’s so soft – and strained.
  3859. >”Okay,” Soarin responds after a second. “Okay, but… if you’re not up to this…”
  3860. “No, please…”
  3861. >You don’t know if the plea makes it out of your mouth, let alone to his ears.
  3862. “… I’m fine.”
  3863. >You have to do this.
  3864. >For him.
  3865. >He puts his hand on yours.
  3866. >”Okay, Silver, but if you change your mind – about this *or* getting dinner – just say the word.”
  3867. >You nod.
  3868. >You don’t trust your voice to answer – or know what will happen if you open your mouth right now.
  3869. >Soarin pulls his hand away and the engine growls as the car lurches forward, presumably searching for a parking space.
  3870. >The sudden acceleration –
  3871. >No, you’re okay.
  3872. >Almost, but you kept it down.
  3873. >You try to –
  3874. >A hand touches your shoulder, a comforting presence that gives you something to focus on.
  3875. >Di doesn’t say anything, just gently rubs, working her thumb along the base of your neck.
  3876. >You’re glad she’s here.
  3877. >Without her –
  3878. >The car comes to a stop.
  3879. >Your stomach doesn’t rebel at the suddenness of it.
  3880. >”Okay, girls,” Soarin says, the enthusiasm in his voice clearly faked, “ready for some fun?”
  3881. “Almost.”
  3882. >”Give us a minute,” Di snaps at him – and you don’t find that you mind.
  3883. >You don’t want him to see you like this.
  3884.  
  3885. >You are Soarin and you have no idea what just happened.
  3886. >She was happy and eager just a minute ago.
  3887. “Yeah… sure…”
  3888. >”*Outside*.”
  3889. “Oh.”
  3890. >You unbuckle yourself and get out of the car – and after a glance back at the two girls, sigh.
  3891. “I’ll… uh… I’ll be waiting up by the entrance.”
  3892. >”Fine. Go.”
  3893. >You close the door and walk away.
  3894. >What else can you do?
  3895. >You could – no, you’re done overthinking this.
  3896. >Silver and Diamond join you shortly.
  3897. >One is smiling, the other…
  3898. >Dammit.
  3899. >You need to make this the best night of her life. You *have* to.
  3900. >It’s the only way.
  3901. >You reach out and take her hand in yours.
  3902. “Better now?”
  3903. >Silver nods.
  3904. “Then let’s make this a night to remember.”
  3905.  
  3906. >You are Diamond Tiara and you don't want to be here.
  3907. >You don't want Silver to be here, either. You are tired of sharing your friend.
  3908. >It was supposed to be exciting... and... it *was*.
  3909. >Watching the two of them...
  3910. >The memory of it sends a tingle up your spine.
  3911. >Not like the feeling you get as Soarin takes Silver's hand and squeezes gently.
  3912. >It wasn't supposed to be like this.
  3913. >Not at all.
  3914.  
  3915. >You are Soarin and you are going to do your best.
  3916. "Silver -"
  3917. >"Wow, the two of you are finally starting to look like a real couple."
  3918. >You look away from your... *girlfriend*, to the other girl.
  3919. >Diamond smiles coldly.
  3920. >"Still," she continues, "I told you to do this right. You should have brought flowers. I mean, sure, people can guess you're a couple -"
  3921.  
  3922. >You are Silver Spoon and you don't mind.
  3923. >Word might get back to your parents, but -
  3924. >Soarin's head snaps back around to face you.
  3925. >He looks at you, then down at your hand, cupped in his.
  3926. >There's a moment, a single heartbeat's space where you know what he's going to do.
  3927. >You desperately pray that he won't.
  3928. >His grip on you loosens.
  3929. >He is.
  3930. >No... you silently plead for him to -
  3931. >Soarin's hand tightens around yours.
  3932. >He raises his head - his smile is strained.
  3933. >"Let's go, Silver."
  3934. >He pulls you along, but you’re too stunned to follow.
  3935. >He didn’t let go.
  3936. >He didn’t drop your hand.
  3937. >He –
  3938. >A sharp pain runs through your left wrist.
  3939. >He expected you to come along.
  3940. >You shouldn’t have hesitated.
  3941. >You try not to cry out, you try to catch up before he –
  3942. “Ow!”
  3943. >You tried not to; it’s not his fault.
  3944. >You shouldn’t bother him.
  3945. >You should have followed.
  3946. >You shouldn’t have hesitated.
  3947. >”Silver?” he asks, spinning around to face you, his voice full of concern. “Silver, what’s –“
  3948. “Sorry, I –“
  3949. >”You idiot,” Di snarls, stepping up an jabbing a finger into Soarin’s chest. “Don’t you remember what you did to her?”
  3950. >His eyes widen.
  3951. >They tremble.
  3952. >He looks back down at your hand.
  3953. >He… lets go.
  3954. “No!”
  3955. >You reach for him, your fingers entertaining with his before his arm can fall limply to his side.
  3956. “I – I don’t mind!”
  3957. >It’s okay if he hurts you.
  3958. >He – gently – pulls his hand from yours.
  3959. “… no…”
  3960.  
  3961. >You are Soarin and you are an idiot.
  3962. >A wide bracelet coves Silver’s wrist; it doesn’t suit her at all.
  3963. >It’s a clunky piece, so unfitting for her delicate limbs.
  3964. >”… no…” Silver begs as you pull your hand from hers.
  3965. >There’s a reason she’s wearing something so gaudy.
  3966. >You grab hold of the bracelet, searching for the clasp.
  3967. “This is yours, isn’t it, Diamond?”
  3968. >”Yeah, so what?”
  3969. “I thought so.”
  3970. >There it is.
  3971. >You know what she’s hiding, but you need to see it with your own eyes.
  3972. >You need to know exactly what you’ve done to her.
  3973.  
  3974. >You are Silver Spoon and you jerk away from Soarin.
  3975. >It’s okay if he hurts you.
  3976. >It’s not okay if he finds out.
  3977. “Let’s go inside. I mean… we’re here to…”
  3978. >”Silver…”
  3979. >You smile for him and take a tentative step towards the door.
  3980. “Can we… can we just… please…”
  3981. >You don’t know what to say.
  3982. >You just want to go inside. Play games. Have fun. Be with him.
  3983. >Make him love you.
  3984. “… please…”
  3985.  
  3986. >You are Diamond Tiara and you don’t want Silver to cry.
  3987. >She’s going to cry. Or vomit.
  3988. >It’s so annoying.
  3989. >With a sigh, you shove Soarin towards the doors.
  3990. ”You know what you did, idiot. You *owe* her, so you better do what she wants!”
  3991. >This will be over fast.
  3992. >You just have to go in, play some games, then you can go home with Silver Spoon and spend another night holding her.
  3993. >”Don’t you mean what *you* want,” he snaps back.
  3994. “It’s the same thing. I only want what’s best for Silver.”
  3995. >She’ll learn soon enough.
  3996. >You know she will.
  3997.  
  3998. >You are Soarin and you don’t know what to do.
  3999. >You hurt her.
  4000. >You *know* you hurt her, and then you did it again.
  4001. >But here Silver is, reaching out to you again.
  4002. >”Please…” she begs again, “… please, give me a second chance… I can… I can do better…”
  4003. “Only if you give me one, too.”
  4004. >You ignore her outstretched hand and put your arm around her shoulders.
  4005. >She smiles as you walk her inside, into a riot of sound and lights.
  4006.  
  4007. >You are Silver Spoon and your heart aches.
  4008. >*Soarin* asked *you* for a second chance.
  4009. >He’s done nothing to wrong you, except… unless…
  4010. >He *did* have sex with that girl. You knew it.
  4011. >That’s the only reason he would ask for another chance.
  4012. >But…
  4013. >You’re dimly aware of the spectacle that surrounds you.
  4014. >”Where too first?” Soarin asks.
  4015. >You don’t care.
  4016. >Whatever makes him happy.
  4017. “I –“
  4018. >”How about we get something to drink?” Di interrupts. “And by that, I mean they won’t card us, because –“
  4019.  
  4020. >You are Soarin and you don’t know why Silver lets out a tiny moan.
  4021. >Her eyes dart around behind her glasses.
  4022. >She bits down on her lip and, after a moment of hesitation, slips free of your arm.
  4023. >”- because they *know* us,” Diamond continues, smiling savagely. “And if they don’t, the *will*.”
  4024. >Whatever she’s talking about is the furthest thing in your mind right now.
  4025. “Silver, what’s wrong?”
  4026. >The girl wraps her arms around herself and bows her head.
  4027. “Silver?”
  4028. >Her eyes flicker up at you for a fraction of a second.
  4029. “Silver.”
  4030. >”Someone might see us.”
  4031. >You take a deep breath.
  4032. >Her point is undeniable – you’ve been worrying about it all day, and the decision you’d finally come to is… you’ll deal with it when it happens.
  4033. >If someone sees you, if someone says something, you’ll address the issue then.
  4034. >You reach for Silver again, but she brushes aside your hand.
  4035. >”If… if someone sees us, like *that*, I might never be able to you again.”
  4036. >Her teeth dig into her lower lip.
  4037. >"This was a mistake," Silver says absently to herself. "I shouldn't have asked for this."
  4038. >Behind her, Diamond smiles.
  4039. >That bitch.
  4040. >She knew this would happen, that Silver would panic.
  4041. >That's why you're here, isn't it?
  4042. >You may have suggested this location, but she's the one that picked it, because she *knew*.
  4043. >"Di..." Silver moans, turning to face her friend. "Di... what do I do...? He's going to..."
  4044.  
  4045. >You are Silver Spoon and you are lost.
  4046. "... he's going to hate me..."
  4047. >Di is smiling.
  4048. >She looks confident.
  4049. >You need her help.
  4050. >She needs to tell you what to do.
  4051. >You don't know what to do.
  4052. >She needs to tell you.
  4053. "Di..."
  4054. >"I don't hate you," a voice whispers into your ear. *His* voice.
  4055. >You don't know how you forgot Soarin is here.
  4056. >"Don't ever think that, Silver."
  4057. >A pair of hands settle on your shoulders - his hands - gently pushing you forward.
  4058. >"We just need to find some place a little more private, and then..."
  4059. >And then?
  4060. >He doesn't finish the sentence, leaving it up to your imagination.
  4061. >In the space of a foot, your mind has travel the length and breadth of those possibilities.
  4062. >He could sit you down at an arcade game and promise to teach you how to play.
  4063. >He could put his hands around yours and tell you how to win, his hands controlling your every movement.
  4064. >He could pull you up onto the karaoke stage to sing a romantic duet.
  4065. >He could drop to one knee and propose.
  4066. >He could bend you over a pinball machine and make you his all over again.
  4067. >He could tell you how much he pities you.
  4068. >He could explain that he could never hate someone as pathetic as you.
  4069. >He could try to spare you the embarrassment of a public rejection.
  4070. >He could grow tired of your mistakes, storming out and leaving you - and Di - here all alone.
  4071. >He could tell you that you're too young for him. Or too stupid. Or too naive.
  4072. >He could tell you to leave him alone.
  4073. >He could...
  4074. "N-no!"
  4075. >You can't let him.
  4076. "Soarin, I - I promise -"
  4077. >You can do better.
  4078. >He just has to give you a chance.
  4079. "- I made a mistake, but -"
  4080. >It's just one mistake.
  4081. >Asking for this date was only one mistake, but out of how many?
  4082. "Soarin, I -"
  4083. >"Hush," he murmurs into your ear. "People are staring."
  4084. >You look around in a panic.
  4085. >He's right.
  4086. >Everyone is watching your - or listening.
  4087. >The woman over there by the counter, the employee helping her.
  4088. >The family on your right.
  4089. >Heads turn away from the karaoke stage to glare in your direction.
  4090. >The singer stares angrily - you're interrupting her performance.
  4091. "No... oh, no..."
  4092. >You recognize her.
  4093. >She recognizes you.
  4094. >Sweetie Belle knows who you are, she knows of your family.
  4095. >She could ruin you, take Soarin away from you.
  4096. >And you're giving her a reason to.
  4097. >You're ruining everything.
  4098. >Everyone is here to have a good time, and you're ruining it for them.
  4099. "Okay."
  4100. >Your voice is a bare whisper.
  4101. "I'll..."
  4102. >You stop resisting.
  4103. >You give in.
  4104.  
  4105. >You are Diamond Tiara and you almost lose your professional cool when Silver panics.
  4106. >It’s one thing for them to think people are watching them, entirely another if she draws their attention.
  4107. >People walk towards you – and them – and for a minute you worry they’re going to recognize you. Maybe that someone will step in and say something.
  4108. >Silver doesn’t want to go with Soarin, and while that’s exactly what you had in mind, you don’t want someone else rescuing her.
  4109. >That’s your role.
  4110. >But the people keep moving, heading into the karaoke parlor.
  4111. >Someone’s singing, not as well as you could, of course, but they aren’t bad.
  4112. >It’s still karaoke, though, so you don’t understand why not a damn one of them even turns their head!
  4113. >No one cares that Soarin is dragging your friend away against her will!
  4114. >They’re all too caught up in… is that Sweetie Belle?
  4115. >Why would they pay attention to HER?
  4116. >Your pride stings, it burns, it aches to be set free.
  4117. >To scream and rant and show that girl her position.
  4118. >You’re NO ONE’S second fiddle.
  4119. >But here and now… you swallow it.
  4120. >Pretend you’re just a sideshow, a minor act.
  4121. >Let the idiotic masses have their little song.
  4122. >You’re here for *her*, to remind her of her proper place in life.
  4123. >You chase after Soarin and Silver, leaving the spectacle behind.
  4124. “Hey –“
  4125. >”You come here pretty often, right?” Soarin interrupts. “Where’s the quietest place?”
  4126. “Usually the karaoke parlor.”
  4127. >You snarl in surprise.
  4128. >He caught you off guard; you hadn’t meant to answer.
  4129. >Soarin looks back, glaring – not at you, surprisingly, but the crowded parlor.
  4130. >”And the next?”
  4131. “Why?”
  4132. >”Because –“
  4133. >”Skating rink,” Silver answers quietly. “There are some… some tables at the far end. No one ever sits at them.”
  4134. >”Then that’s where we’re going.”
  4135.  
  4136. >You are Silver Spoon and you are numb.
  4137. >It’s the only way to keep yourself sane.
  4138. >Somehow, you find yourself seated near the skating rink, at your usual place – your usual escape.
  4139. >Di has dragged you here so often…
  4140. >You’re glad – happy for a reason to get out, to have fun, to be with your friend.
  4141. >But after a while, it grates on you.
  4142. >The crowds, the attention, the noise… Di relishes in the spotlight and you… *appreciate* being pulled in, but she can last for hours.
  4143. >Not you.
  4144. >It’s easy to slip away to your quiet place.
  4145. >Eventually, she stops paying attention to you.
  4146. >No one ever bothers you here, not even Di. It’s too far from the main attractions, nor does it have a good view of the rink – it’s blocked by a sign.
  4147. >When it’s time to leave, Di just texts you.
  4148. >You like to think she’s giving you your privacy – and you appreciate it.
  4149. >She’s never found this spot.
  4150. >So you’re not sure how you wound up here, Di sitting opposite you, Soarin looming overhead.
  4151. >He’s holding your purse.
  4152. >You don’t know why he’s holding your purse.
  4153. >He opens it up -
  4154. >Why?
  4155. > - and pulls out the book he gave you.
  4156. >Why?
  4157. >Is he… is he taking it back.
  4158. >No, he can’t.
  4159. >He can’t leave you.
  4160. “Please…”
  4161. >You reach for him.
  4162. >He holds out the book.
  4163. >No, that’s not what you wanted.
  4164. >You want *him*.
  4165. >You want him to hold you, to tell you everything will be okay, that he won’t ever leave you, no matter what your parents say.
  4166. >You want him to stay by your side.
  4167. >Soarin pushes the book into your hand.
  4168. >”Just wait here, Silver,” he says. “I’ll be right back.”
  4169. “But…”
  4170. >He leans down and… his eyes dart from side to side… and kisses your forehead.
  4171. >”I promise. I’ll be right back. Just going to get us something to eat.”
  4172. >Hesitantly, you take the book.
  4173. >Soarin promised.
  4174. >He wouldn’t lie to you.
  4175. >You hope he did.
  4176. >If he doesn’t come back…
  4177. >Life was always so easy. Di told you what to do and you did it.
  4178. >Now you don’t know what to do.
  4179. >”Silver…”
  4180. >Soarin cups your jaw with his hand, gently raising your head until you are face-to-face with him.
  4181. >”I promise.”
  4182. >He tilts his head to the left – you don’t know what he’s doing.
  4183. >Your body does, though, and your head tilts to the right.
  4184. >You don’t know what you want, but you know you want this, body and mind, heart and soul.
  4185. >When his lips part with yours, you know you wish they hadn’t.
  4186. >”Well, *that* was –“
  4187. >”Diamond,” Soarin barks, “come with me.”
  4188. >”Why? Can’t you –“
  4189. >”Just do it.”
  4190.  
  4191. >You are Soarin and you are not leaving Silver alone with that girl.
  4192. “Like you said, they won’t card me if you’re with me.”
  4193. >It’s not just an excuse – a little something to calm your nerves would be welcome.
  4194. >Diamond sneers at you, but stands.
  4195. >”Fine,” she hisses, her mouth twisting into a dark grin.
  4196.  
  4197. >The man behind the counter frowns when he sees you approaching.
  4198. >No, not you – his eyes focus about two feet to your left, right on Diamond Tiara.
  4199. >”You again,” he sighs to your surprise.
  4200. >”Yes, *me* again.”
  4201. >”Your father still doesn’t sign my paychecks.”
  4202. >”No, but he can still get you fired.”
  4203. >Diamond smiles innocently at the man, who simply sighs again.
  4204. >His eyes shift to you.
  4205. >They’re blank and dead, yet burn with anger.
  4206. >”What do you want?”
  4207. “Um… I’ll take a beer and –“
  4208. >”No, I mean what did she promise you?”
  4209. “She didn’t promise me anything.”
  4210. >He pauses. Glares.
  4211. >”What kind of beer?”
  4212. “Whatever is cheapest.”
  4213. >”And I’m guessing I don’t need to see an ID.”
  4214. >”No, but… well, I mean, if you *want* to…”
  4215. >”You mean if I want to get fired, don’t you.”
  4216. >”Duh.”
  4217. >He sighs again and pulls a bottle from the cooler behind him.
  4218. >”And you want…?”
  4219. >”Oh, I can’t drink,” Di giggles. “I’m underage! But I think *he* also wants…”
  4220.  
  4221. >You are Silver Spoon and you are alone with your book.
  4222. >*His* book.
  4223. >You’re still lost, but right now… you think that’s a good thing.
  4224. >Trying to figure out what’s going on keeps your mind occupied.
  4225. >It keeps you sane.
  4226. >It keeps you focused.
  4227. >It keeps you from noticing the others approach until Soarin sets a milkshake down in front of you.
  4228. >You notice it first, then his hand, then his worried smile.
  4229. >”Here. I though you needed something.”
  4230. >You smile – and then you see the beer in his other hand.
  4231. >No, it wasn’t supposed to be like this.
  4232. >You want him to remember everything about tonight.
  4233. >He has to.
  4234. >It’s the only way he’ll realize what he means to you.
  4235. >You must have made a face, because he looks at the bottle and chuckles nervously.
  4236. >”Yeah, I needed something too.”
  4237. “Oh.”
  4238. >”But just the one,” Soarin adds, sitting down beside you. “Just a little something to… you know…”
  4239. >He laughs again and gestures towards your milkshake.
  4240. >”I… um… I didn’t get you anything alcoholic, though. I just…”
  4241. >You wish he had.
  4242. >Something to help you forget tonight, to forget what a fool you’ve made of yourself.
  4243. >”… it just didn’t feel right.”
  4244. >He shrugs helplessly.
  4245. >”I mean, you’re…”
  4246. >He can’t find the words, but you know what he means.
  4247. >You are too young.
  4248. >Too young to drink – and too young for him.
  4249. >”Didn’t stop you from getting me something,” Di giggles, flouncing up on your other side with a large glass.
  4250. >Despite what it looks like, you know it’s not a slushy.
  4251. >”That’s different,” Soarin fires back, “but…”
  4252. >He tries to smile.
  4253. >Doesn’t quite succeed, but he tries and that means something.
  4254. >”… I can get you something, I guess, if you want it, Silver. If it would…”
  4255. >He hesitates.
  4256. >You want him to get you something.
  4257. >Just one drink. Two at the most.
  4258. >It won’t take much.
  4259. >Three would have you unable to walk.
  4260. >”Should I?”
  4261. >He can’t.
  4262. >You shake your head.
  4263. >”Are you sure?”
  4264. “I… am.”
  4265. >You can’t.
  4266. >He has to know that what you do tonight, you do because you love him. *Not* because you were drunk.
  4267. >Still…
  4268. >Soarin looks down at the beer in his hand and chuckles.
  4269. >”I guess we have our own ways of coping.”
  4270. >He inclines the bottle, tilting it towards the book.
  4271. >Oh.
  4272. >You’re still holding it.
  4273. >That’s rude.
  4274. “Sorry…”
  4275. >You open your purse to put it away, but he grabs your hand.
  4276. >”No, it’s okay. You can read it.”
  4277. >You can’t. You know you can’t – not on a date – but you glance over towards Di, hoping…
  4278. >Hoping she would tell you what to do, not that she would be too busy with her drink to so much as look your direction.
  4279. >”Really,” Soarin insists. “I don’t mind.”
  4280. >You want to read.
  4281. >You want to drink.
  4282. >And you know that you can’t do either one.
  4283. >You shake your head.
  4284. “Tonight is about being with you. Let me… let me be with you.”
  4285. >Soarin stares into his bottle.
  4286. >You've heard a saying before, about alcoholics searching the bottom of their bottle for their answers.
  4287. >Academically, you understood what the saying meant, but you never really *got* it.
  4288. >You lacked a proper frame of reference.
  4289. >Not until you see the way Soarin is staring at his bottle.
  4290. >He's no alcoholic - you assume... and hope - but something about it clicks with you.
  4291. >It is a crutch for him, just as much as your book is for you.
  4292. >A thought strikes you out of the blue.
  4293. >It's time for put aside your crutches and try to walk on your own.
  4294. >You may fall, you might make mistakes, but... maybe you need to. Soarin isn't perfect either.
  4295. >He ordered breakfast for your last date and you liked it.
  4296. >You are both flawed.
  4297. >Soarin is still holding on to your hand, so you take your book with the other and put it away.
  4298. >He looks up, his eyes meeting yours. His lips twitch, then curve into a gentle smile.
  4299. >"Yeah. That sounds nice."
  4300. >He takes another look at the bottle - a glance free of desire or longing - and sets it aside.
  4301. >"Here, Diamond."
  4302. >Your eyes flicker towards your friend, nervously searching for her approval.
  4303. >Di is smiling.
  4304. >You must be doing something right.
  4305.  
  4306. >You are Diamond Tiara and you are glad things are finally starting to go RIGHT.
  4307. >The book had you worried - that's always Silver's little refuge. When things get to be too much for her, she grabs something to read and hides.
  4308. >You were starting to worry she'd get through tonight without turning it into a disaster. A failure, sure, that's a given, but you need a *disaster*.
  4309. >Silver needs to remember that she can't do anything without you.
  4310. >So. Yeah. You were worried, but she just put the book away.
  4311. >You didn't have to tell her. You didn't *want* to, because you want this to be All. Her. Fault.
  4312. >She made a decision without you and it's going to come back to bite her in the ass.
  4313. >Plus...
  4314. >You look at the beer Soarin pushes your direction.
  4315. >... free beer.
  4316. >Of course, all your drinks are free when someone else pays for them.
  4317. "Eww. Beer."
  4318. >You stick out your tongue and gag.
  4319. >Soarin doesn't react. Fucker.
  4320. >Whatever.
  4321. >You'll drink it later.
  4322. >After a couple daiquiris, beer doesn't taste so bad.
  4323. >You don't bother listening to them as they chat.
  4324. >In fact, it'd probably be better if you had as little involvement as possible.
  4325. >Silver asked for this date; you'll let her fuck it up all on her own.
  4326. >By the end of tonight, she'll be crawling back to you on her hands and knees, begging you to hold and comfort her.
  4327. >You'll wash away her tears and runny makeup, brush her hair... hold her tight and make everything all right again.
  4328. >You can be forgiving, particularly for her.
  4329. >Soarin, though...
  4330. >Once Silver is over this little infatuation of hers, you'll fucking BREAK him!
  4331. >You giggle, drawing odd looks from the other two.
  4332. >"Was it really that funny?" Silver asks hopefully.
  4333. >You don't know, you weren't paying attention, but Soarin nods.
  4334. "I guess."
  4335. >You take another sip from your... FUCK. It's empty!
  4336. "I'm going to go get another daiquiri. Soarin -"
  4337. >"Here," he grunts pulling a few bills out of his wallet and shoving them your direction. "Just get it yourself."
  4338. "I can't. I don't drink, remember?"
  4339. >You giggle at your own cleverness.
  4340. "So -"
  4341. >"Just tell him it's for me, then."
  4342. "Oh."
  4343. >You hadn't thought of that.
  4344. "That works. I *guess.*"
  4345. >You snatch the bills out of Soarin's hand.
  4346. "I'll be right... um..."
  4347. >They aren't paying attention to you.
  4348. "Well fuck you, too."
  4349. >Silver flinches.
  4350. >Soarin answers with one raised finger.
  4351. >Whatever. They'll learn soon enough.
  4352. >Silver isn't going to spend tonight naked in *his* arms.
  4353. >You take the money and leave.
  4354. >You'll take his pride later.
  4355.  
  4356. >The man behind the counter greets you with a scowl.
  4357. >That's not very nice.
  4358. >Maybe you should get him fired after all.
  4359. >"Let me guess," he sighs, "you want another?"
  4360. "It's not for me."
  4361. >"Yeah, uh-huh."
  4362. >He starts preparing your second daiquiri with an insulting lack of enthusiasm. He should be honored to serve you!
  4363. >"So," he mutters as he mixes the... uh... stuff, "what did he do to piss you off?"
  4364. "Huh?"
  4365. >You giggle, thinking happy thoughts of revenge.
  4366. "What makes you think *that*?"
  4367. >"It's what you bring people here: to break them."
  4368. "As if I would *ever*!"
  4369. >You giggle again.
  4370. >He's right.
  4371. >You should have daddy get him fired.
  4372. >"Every time you come in, it's with a group of friends... but they aren't really your friends, are they?"
  4373. "Of course they are."
  4374. >They aren't. You only need Silver.
  4375. >"Yeah, no. They aren't. I've seen you do it to all of them. The only one you haven't singled out for humiliation is the girl that's with you tonight."
  4376. >He sighs again - ugh, what is with him and his sorry attitude!?
  4377. >"Every time you're here, it's with a group. Every time you leave, one leaves alone and crying.
  4378. >"This is the smallest group I've seen you in here with, and since it can't be *her*, it's obviously him."
  4379. >That's it.
  4380. >You're getting him fired.
  4381. >He's got his back to you so you can't see his name badge, but he'll HAVE to turn around to give you your drink.
  4382. >If you just tell daddy it was the sad fuck guy, he'd have to get half the employees here dismissed.
  4383. >Huh.
  4384. >That's not a bad idea.
  4385. >They're all assholes.
  4386. >"So," he grunts, "what did he do?"
  4387. "Just give me my drink."
  4388. >"Don't you mean *his* drink?"
  4389. "Well, DUH. Just give me his drink!"
  4390. >"Nah."
  4391. >He leaves the daiquiri on the ledge behind him and turns to face you.
  4392. >Ha! You can see his name badge!
  4393. >It says... um...
  4394. >Caramel?
  4395. >Did he write that himself?
  4396. >His handwriting sucks.
  4397. "If you don't give me -"
  4398. >"I'm just curious."
  4399. >The man shrugs and leans on the counter, his arms crossed.
  4400. "I'll -"
  4401. >"What? You think my life can get any worse?"
  4402. >He laughs and it PISSES YOU OFF.
  4403. >"Tell you what, indulge me and I'll help you."
  4404. "He's already paying for my drinks, you asshole."
  4405. >You slap Soarin's money onto the counter.
  4406. "See!?"
  4407. >"Not what I meant, girl. I said I'd *help* you."
  4408. >Oooooh.
  4409. >As if you NEED help!
  4410. "Why?"
  4411. >He shrugs.
  4412. >"It's just a whim. Not like I have anything to live for."
  4413. >He shrugs again.
  4414. >"Or maybe I just lost another girlfriend and I'm feeling spiteful. Take your pick. Both, probably. So, do you want your drink or not?"
  4415.  
  4416. >You are Soarin and you are enjoying yourself.
  4417. >Free of Diamond, Silver opens up again, slowly but surely. Just like she had back at the diner.
  4418. >You're still holding her hand, your beer sits untouched to the side.
  4419. >You could have asked Diamond to bring you something else, but you doubt she would have.
  4420. >Instead, Silver is sharing her milkshake with you. As soon as your eyes drifted over to the bottle, she had pushed her drink towards you.
  4421. >"Want some?" she asked with a faint blush. "I'm sorry, there's only one straw, but..."
  4422. "I'm the one that only brought one."
  4423. >She had giggled, you had laughed, and you begun passing the milkshake back and forth.
  4424. >It's nearly empty now.
  4425. >You push it back towards Silver.
  4426. "Here, have the last bit."
  4427. >She shakes her head.
  4428. >"No, you can have it."
  4429. "I can always get us another."
  4430. >Silver smiles, a faint blush spreading on her cheeks.
  4431. "And this time I won't forget the extra straw."
  4432. >"One sufficed."
  4433. >A heartbeat later, the crimson glow brightens and she looks away.
  4434. >Blindly, Silver reaches for the milkshake - you nudge it into her hand without even a single chuckle.
  4435. >You're proud of yourself for not laughing. It would have hurt her feelings, but she just looked so adorable.
  4436. >Maybe you do love her.
  4437. >Or, at least maybe you could.
  4438. >She's not a bad girl, just easily influenced.
  4439. "Want me to get another?"
  4440. >Silver nods - then hesitates, freezing in mid-gesture with her head staring at the floor.
  4441. >"Yes," she murmurs, pulling the straw from her mouth, "but not yet."
  4442. >She smiles as you squeeze her hand.
  4443. "Was there something else you wanted?"
  4444. >"No."
  4445. >Her smile widens.
  4446. >"I'm happy just like this."
  4447. "So am I."
  4448. >There's no one else around, no one to judge you - or her.
  4449. >Just the pair of you, sharing your happiness.
  4450. >Long moments pass in blissful silence, broken only by the overhead speakers.
  4451. >You don't hear what the announcer says; it isn't important and doesn't last long.
  4452. >The music that starts up a few seconds later lasts longer, but it fits the mood. Slow and romantic.
  4453. >You can accept this.
  4454. >The voices that come later, though...
  4455. >They start small and weak, but don't go away, growing in volume until you turn to see the cause.
  4456. >Silver can't see the crowd flooding in through the entrance - the sign that blocks these tables from the rink is also between her and them - but she can feel you tense up.
  4457. >"What?" Silver hisses in a hushed whisper. "What is it?"
  4458. "People."
  4459. >Silver's eyes open wide.
  4460.  
  4461. >You are Silver Spoon and you are afraid.
  4462. >The sounds of others grow loud and wild, almost drowning out the music.
  4463. >What was once a calm melody is now just the backdrop to the roar of the crowd.
  4464. >Why?
  4465. >Why are they here?
  4466. >Why isn't Di here to tell you what to do?
  4467. >With every shout, every distinct word, every joyous cry, you want to tear your hand from Soarin's.
  4468. >If you're found like this...
  4469. >You don't know what will happen to him, but you know - you know with all your heart - that you will never see him again.
  4470.  
  4471. >You are Soarin and you are looking around, trying to find some clue as to what the hell is going on.
  4472. >Silver has shut her eyes. Her breathing is too regular - deliberately slow and rhythmic.
  4473. >She's on the verge of panicking again.
  4474. >There's an unexpected thump on your table and Silver lets out a short scream.
  4475. >It was definitely her and not you.
  4476. >"Hey, guys," Diamond slurs, slumping down in her chair. "Lucky, huh?"
  4477. "What is?"
  4478. >She's smiling too much.
  4479. >Whatever this is, she's behind it... or she's just that kind of drunk.
  4480. >The girl's face is flushed, almost beat red.
  4481. >"Oh, you know," Diamond giggles, waving an empty hand in the air. "This. The skating contest."
  4482. "What skating... oh. That."
  4483. >You can't make out exactly what is being said, but someone is announcing something.
  4484. >"Yeah," the girl giggles. "*That*. You better hurry if you want - if you want to get skates!"
  4485. >She leans forward, resting heavily on the table.
  4486. >"I think they might run out!"
  4487. "Um..."
  4488. >"I mean... like... who would have thought there were so many couples here tonight?"
  4489. >Silver shudders.
  4490. >"It's not Friday," she whispers. "It's not Friday. Why is this happening today?"
  4491. >"I don't know," Diamond snaps back with an exaggerated shrug. "But lucky, isn't it? Don't you want to go skating together and prove how much better you are than everyone else?"
  4492. >Silver starts to shake her head, but stops.
  4493. >One eye opens a hair's breadth, staring at you questioningly.
  4494.  
  4495. >You are Silver Spoon and you don't know.
  4496. >No, you know, but...
  4497. >You don't know what *he* wants to do.
  4498. >If he thinks it would be okay, then... well... Di does.
  4499. >You don't want to, but you don't want to disappoint them.
  4500. >Not both of them.
  4501. >If Soarin says he -
  4502. >He shakes his head and you let out a breath you didn't know you had been holding.
  4503. >"Want to try some of the arcade games, Silver?" Soarin asks, squeezing your hand once more before... no... please...
  4504. >He lets go of your hand and pushes back his chair.
  4505. >"Yeah, let's check out some of the games. It's been a while, so you'll probably kick my ass."
  4506. >Soarin stands up - you follow quickly, nearly tipping over your own chair.
  4507. >You can't let him leave you behind.
  4508.  
  4509. >You are Diamond Tiara and you are a bitch.
  4510. >You're okay with that.
  4511. >After all, they *deserve* it.
  4512. >You smile as they stand and leave - there was never any chance they would actually join in on the skating.
  4513. >It there *was*, you never would have let this happen.
  4514. >You don't want to lose Silver, just -
  4515. >Shit.
  4516. >You jump up to follow the two - and - FUCK - nearly leave the fourth daiquiri of the night behind.
  4517. >Normally, you can only handle three... two?... three of these in a night.
  4518. >You get two steps before remembering Soarin's beer.
  4519. >Meh, you could just... well... drink it?
  4520. >Oh.
  4521. >You giggle.
  4522. >No, it still tastes like piss.
  4523. >Whatever.
  4524. >You'll drink it later.
  4525. >You still have your daiquiri to finish - and they're getting away!
  4526. >Soar n' Sil are all the way over THERE.
  4527. >Beer in one hand, daiquiri in the other, you follow as quickly as you can.
  4528.  
  4529. >You are Soarin and you hesitate.
  4530. >There are people everywhere.
  4531. >You had thought - hoped - that most people would be at the rink now.
  4532. >No such luck.
  4533. >The karaoke parlor is slowly emptying, but one glance at Silver rules that out.
  4534. >You can't ask her to go up on stage.
  4535. >No, that's not an option, but the arcade -
  4536. >Silver's hand brushes against yours. Not reaching, not grabbing, just the barest touch.
  4537. >"This way," she murmurs, walking past you. "I know a place."
  4538.  
  4539. >You are Diamond Tiara and you are pleased.
  4540. >Sil is taking him right where you thought she would.
  4541. >Past the popular video games, past the skeeball and wack-a-mole and all that shit.
  4542. >"I know it's..." Silver mumbles, just loud enough you can hear her. "It's..."
  4543. >She hesitates, looking back at Soarin with a worried expression.
  4544. >"What?"
  4545. >"It's... *older*... but..."
  4546.  
  4547. >You are Soarin and you are older, too.
  4548. "That... that doesn't mean anything."
  4549. >The way Silver smiles back almost convinces you that it's true.
  4550.  
  4551. >You are Silver Spoon and you hate yourself for what you just said.
  4552. >Older... you *knew* you shouldn't have said it, but the word came out on its own. He doesn't seem to have taken it the wrong way, but you still regret it.
  4553. >You don't want him thinking you only like things because... because... because they're *older*.
  4554. >You don't want him to think you only like *him* because he's older. You don't, not for *that* reason.
  4555. >"Being new doesn't make a game better," Soarin continues, smiling back. "I mean..."
  4556. >He shrugs.
  4557. >You shrug.
  4558. >He chuckles.
  4559. >You giggle.
  4560. "Okay."
  4561. >He knows just how to make you feel better.
  4562. "It's right over here."
  4563. >That's why you love him.
  4564.  
  4565. >You are Diamond Tiara and you are pissed.
  4566. >Well, maybe not pissed, but definitely annoyed.
  4567. >They aren't here.
  4568. >There's no one playing... um... whatever. That game. Honestly, you don't even know the name of it.
  4569. >Shit, maybe that's why.
  4570. >Caramel said he'd point some people this way, but OF COURSE he's too stupid to know what game you were talking about.
  4571. >It's some idiotic fighting game. Not even a new one. That's what you told him, so he SHOULD have known which one you were talking about.
  4572. >"So... um..." Silver mumbles, walking up to the machine. "It's this one."
  4573. >Ugh.
  4574. >"Oh, cool. I remember this one," Soarin responds as he fumbles around in his pocket for his peasant change or whatever. "Pretty good at it?"
  4575. >No.
  4576. >You don't answer, though, just take a seat at a nearby table and wait.
  4577. >Even if that asshole doesn't come through, Sil'll fuck this up somehow.
  4578. >She sucks at this game.
  4579. >Maybe if you *felt* like playing this shit, you would show her how it's done, but it's not your thing.
  4580. >Too old.
  4581. >"I'm... uh... no, not really."
  4582. >"Oh."
  4583. >You giggle.
  4584. >She's doing it already.
  4585. >"I mean, against the AI I'm okay, but if it's another player..."
  4586. >She shrugs helplessly, because she *is* helpless without you.
  4587.  
  4588. >You are Soarin and you have seen this before.
  4589. "It's okay, Silver. I bet you're better than you think."
  4590. >"No, really," she insists. "When it comes to other people..."
  4591. >You chuckle and pop in some quarters.
  4592. "Let's give it a shot, okay? But go easy on me."
  4593. >"I... I think that's my line," Silver giggles, reaching for her joystick.
  4594. "We'll see, but I'm pretty rusty at this kind of thing."
  4595. >You aren't even halfway through the first match before your suspicions are confirmed.
  4596. >Silver spends almost as much time looking at you as she does the screen. She could have defeated you several times, only to back off unexpectedly.
  4597. >"See?" she asks after another aborted combo. "I'm not that good."
  4598. "No, you're doing fine."
  4599. >You're struggling to keep up, really.
  4600. >She does it again - looking over at you and backing off immediately.
  4601. "Stop that, Silver."
  4602. >"S-sorry," she whines. "I'm just..."
  4603. "You could beat me and you know it. You don't have to go *this* easy on me."
  4604. >"I'm not."
  4605. "No, you're just too worried about me to play properly, but it's not just *me*, is it?"
  4606. >You've seen the exact same thing in new Wonderbolt recruits - they get too distracted by the crowds to actually pay attention to the game.
  4607. >Silver misses another obvious opening as a few people walk past.
  4608. >"I'm... I'm *not* good," Silver insists.
  4609.  
  4610. >You are Silver Spoon and you are on edge.
  4611. >Di is always telling you that you shouldn't waste time on a game like this.
  4612. >Despite that, you play from time to time, when no one else is on the machine. You don't want to take up a game when someone else - someone who could actually get good at it - could have it.
  4613. >"Just relax, Silver. Try not to let yourself be distracted."
  4614. >You wish he wouldn't be so patronizing.
  4615. >He's hanging back, trying to let you think you're doing okay.
  4616. >It's... nice... that he would do something like this for you, but he shouldn't.
  4617. >You know you're no good at this game.
  4618. >He knows it too.
  4619. >Why can't he just be honest with you?
  4620. >Another group of people walk past - and Soarin's character jumps away from yours.
  4621. >He could easily have won right then.
  4622. >Just do it.
  4623. >He should just do it.
  4624. >"Yeah, and I -"
  4625. >You look away from the screen, but it's just some boy talking on his phone as he walks by.
  4626. >When you look back, Soarin's character is at the far edge of the screen from yours.
  4627. >He should just do it. Get it over with.
  4628. >"Silver," Soarin sighs - and you flinch. He's getting annoyed and it's your fault. "Look, you're actually better at this game than I am."
  4629. "I'm *not*."
  4630. >"You *are*."
  4631. >He's better than you. He should just do it.
  4632. >You purposefully leave an opening that he purposefully doesn't take.
  4633. >"Silver..."
  4634. >If he's not going to do it, you will.
  4635. >"... please..."
  4636. >You jerk the joystick to the right, letting your character fall to her death.
  4637. >There.
  4638. >It's done.
  4639.  
  4640. >You are Soarin and you don't know what just happened.
  4641. "That wasn't intentional, was it?"
  4642. >Silver abruptly lets go of her joystick and steps back.
  4643. >"S-sorry," she stammers. "You're so much better than me. I just go confused I guess and - and..."
  4644.  
  4645. >You are Diamond Tiara and you aren't even trying to stop yourself from laughing.
  4646. >Sil fucked up, just like you thought she would.
  4647. >She really fucking sucks at this game.
  4648. >Soarin is *pissed* and everything is -
  4649. >"Here, let's try it again," Soarin sighs, waving Sil closer. "Maybe you'll get me this round."
  4650. >She shakes her head, edging towards you. She knows her place is by you.
  4651. >"Really, I'm no good at it."
  4652.  
  4653. >You are Silver Spoon and you should have known better.
  4654. >There is only one thing you can offer Soarin.
  4655. >He's not having any fun; he's just humoring you. Just being nice.
  4656. >Just like he was when you were talking.
  4657. >Soarin looks back at the machine as the match resets.
  4658. >"Silver..."
  4659. >You can't.
  4660. >You can't ask him to do that.
  4661. >He thinks he's being nice, but he'll grow to resent you.
  4662. >You can't let him.
  4663. >You can't let this relationship be so one-sided. It can't always be him giving and you taking. It can't.
  4664. >"Silver," Soarin sighs as he lets go of his joystick, "do you want to just sit down and talk?"
  4665. >You don't know.
  4666. >He seemed to enjoy that, but maybe he was just being nice then, too.
  4667. >Maybe that's all this is to him.
  4668. >Maybe it's all *you* are to him.
  4669. >"Silver?"
  4670. >"Hey, are you guys done with that game?"
  4671. >"Huh? Oh, yeah, bro. Go ahead."
  4672. >"Finally. I thought you were gonna take all night trying to teach that girl how to play."
  4673. >You don't even know who is talking.
  4674. >You don't care.
  4675. >You can't deal with that right now.
  4676. >"Silver..."
  4677. >A hand comes down on your shoulder - you flinch away, brushing it off like you would a spider.
  4678. >"Hey -"
  4679. >"So... what? Are you like her game tutor or something?"
  4680. >"Nah, bro, just... uh..."
  4681. >"Oh, babysitting?" a new voice asks. "Isn't she a bit old for that?"
  4682. >Too young. You're too young, not too old.
  4683. >"No, well, yeah, but -"
  4684. >"I mean, two don't look alike, so she ain't your sister."
  4685. >They know.
  4686. >"Look bro, you gonna play the game or just fuck around asking me questions?"
  4687. >"Was just curious."
  4688. >"Dude, calm down."
  4689. >Too many voices. Too many people. A hand touches you again - you don't know whose it is, only that you have to get away.
  4690. >"Not like we think you're a pedo or something. She's not *that* young."
  4691. >Too many.
  4692. >Too young.
  4693. "Di..."
  4694.  
  4695. >You are Diamond Tiara and you are pleased.
  4696. >This is good.
  4697. >This is what you were expecting.
  4698. >Yes, this is perfect.
  4699. >Sil reaches out to you.
  4700. >Not really. She's not trying hard enough.
  4701. >You giggle as her hand opens and closes.
  4702. >"Di..."
  4703. >You have a sudden urge to put the beer in her hand. You don't know why.
  4704. >It's also a bit of a mystery why the bottle is empty, but, well, it's empty, so you don't.
  4705. >What would the point be?
  4706. >The bottle escapes from your hand before you can set it down.
  4707. >Dammit, fucking thing is slippery or something!
  4708. >"Di... what... what do I do...?"
  4709. >You try to grab the bottle as it rolls across the table, but each lunge sends it skittering further and further.
  4710. >"... Di..."
  4711. >There! No! Wait!
  4712. "FUCK!"
  4713. >Your fingertips graze the glass as it rolls over the edge.
  4714. >"D-Di...?"
  4715. >You lunge for it, one last desperate attempt to grab the bottle – that succeeds only in knocking over your daiquiri too.
  4716. >Red slush spills across the table, pouring into your lap.
  4717. >”… Di…?”
  4718. “DAMMIT, WHAT SIL? WHAT?”
  4719. >You don’t have any napkins!
  4720. >She should get you some napkins, but NO, she’s too fucking helpless!
  4721. >”Di…”
  4722. “JUST GET ME SOMETHING TO CLEAN THIS UP WITH!”
  4723. >”… Di…”
  4724. >She’s worthless.
  4725. >”… Di…”
  4726. “I WISH YOU WOULD!”
  4727. >”… please…”
  4728. “JUST GO DIE ALREADY! CAN’T YOU SEE I’M FUCKING BUSY!?”
  4729. >”… I…”
  4730. >You grab the empty glass and throw it in her direction.
  4731.  
  4732. >You are Silver Spoon and the you…
  4733. >… you…
  4734. >You know you’re panicking.
  4735. >You can feel the tears rolling down your face.
  4736. >Soarin hates you.
  4737. >Worse, Di… *Diamond* hates you.
  4738. >Everyone hates you, even yourself.
  4739. >You’re too young.
  4740. >Too stupid.
  4741. >Too helpless.
  4742. >Too worthless.
  4743. >Broken glass crunches under your shoes.
  4744. >She’s right.
  4745. >She always is.
  4746. >You deserve to be hated.
  4747.  
  4748. >You are Diamond Tiara and you don’t know why Sil just ran away.
  4749. >She better come back with some fucking napkins.
  4750. >”I’m going to fucking kill her.”
  4751. >Ugh, as much as you hate Soarin, you can understand where he’s coming from.
  4752. >”Dude, no –“
  4753. >”Back off, bro. I swear –“
  4754. >”No, man, she didn’t hurt her or anything, so just –“
  4755. >Dammit.
  4756. >You’ll have to drink the beer until Sil comes back with another daiquiri.
  4757. >Fuck!
  4758. >It’s gone!
  4759. >You push your chair back and...
  4760.  
  4761. >You are Soarin and you are going to wreck that bitch.
  4762. >”Dude, no! Don’t you know who she is!?”
  4763. “Yeah, I fucking know, bro.”
  4764. >”She’s always like that!”
  4765. >They’re holding you back. Literally fucking hold you back.
  4766. >”She’s drunk, man!” the one on your left yells.
  4767. >”Dude, you’ll get arrested!”
  4768. “She fucking -!”
  4769. >”She’s fucking rich, you idiot! If you fucking touch her, you’re going to jail!”
  4770. “I don’t care!”
  4771. >There’s four of the now, four cowardly shitstains that –
  4772. >”Look man, look! Just look at her!”
  4773. >All you see is hate.
  4774. >”She can’t even stand up, dude.”
  4775. >She…
  4776. >She’s leaning on the table, both hands pressing against it in an effort to stay upright.
  4777. >Her chair is on its back; she couldn’t even stand without knocking it over.
  4778. >”Soar,” she grunts, trying to sneer at you and failing, “Soar – go gemme a dagree.”
  4779. >”See, dude? She’s drunk!”
  4780. “So fucking what! She still –“
  4781. >”Dude, no,” one of them growls, getting right in your face. “Don’t. Don’t even. You’re on the soccer team, right? You even touch her, and you’re getting kicked off.”
  4782. “I already quit!”
  4783. >”What…?”
  4784. >His grip slackens and you try to take advantage, try to pull free, but the others are holding you tight.
  4785. >Should have put in more time in the gym, done some more sets with Bulk.
  4786. >Then they wouldn’t be able to stop you and you could punch her fucking face in.
  4787. ”I quit! There’s nothing she can do to me!”
  4788. >”She’ll have you arrested, man.”
  4789. “I don’t care! Someone has to protect Silver from her!”
  4790. >”The girl you were playing with? Is that why you were with her? Dude… dude! She’s *always* like this towards her!”
  4791. “That’s why –“
  4792. >”If you go to jail, who’s gonna look after her?”
  4793. “I – I don’t –“
  4794. >You wish you didn’t care.
  4795. >You wish you could convince yourself that it didn’t matter if you spent the rest of your life in jail.
  4796. >”Dude, don’t. If you’re smart, you’ll find your girl and… wait, I didn’t mean –“
  4797. “I know what you meant.”
  4798. >”Dude, I wasn’t –“
  4799. “I know.”
  4800. >”Seriously… I… look, a lot of us have wanted to stand up to her, but…”
  4801. >”SOAR!” Diamond screams. “WHERE’S MY DAGREE?”
  4802. >”Dude, her dad… I mean…”
  4803. “Someone should have done something.”
  4804. >”She’s hurt a lot of people, man, but what can we do?”
  4805. >You stop struggling.
  4806. >You stare.
  4807. “You should have done something, bro. Someone should have done something.”
  4808.  
  4809. >You are Diamond Tiara and you are wondering where everything went wrong.
  4810. >The *nasty* taste of vomit lingers in your mouth, your stomach is sore, your head pounds, and nothing is going right.
  4811. >Sil went… somewhere.
  4812. >She’s supposed to be *here*!
  4813. >You sigh, massaging your aching temple.
  4814. >At least you didn’t get anything on your clothes.
  4815. >You twist and turn again, checking yourself in the bathroom mirror.
  4816. >Nothing is obvious, but…
  4817. >You’re having problems enough staying on your feet to be positive about anyfuckingthing right now.
  4818. >You need Sil.
  4819. >She should be here to double check. Not that you doubt yourself or anything, but…
  4820. >Your head spins and you grab for the countertop.
  4821. >Whatever. Good enough.
  4822. >If you don’t see anything, no one else will either.
  4823. >You straighten as the bathroom door opens.
  4824.  
  4825. >You are Silver Spoon and you… you hope you’re doing the right thing.
  4826. >”There you are,” Di snarls at you, lurching drunkenly in your direction. “Do you know how long I’ve been waiting!?”
  4827. “I’m… I’m sorry…”
  4828. >She shouldn’t have had to wait.
  4829. >You should have done what you had to do.
  4830. “I’m sorry, Di. I didn’t mean…”
  4831. >”You *never* think about anyone else, do you?”
  4832. “N-no.”
  4833. >Not the way she means.
  4834. “I…”
  4835. >Her hands come down on your shoulders, gripping you tightly.
  4836. “I know you put a lot into this. I should have tried harder.”
  4837. >”Huh?”
  4838. “I… I hope…”
  4839. >”What?”
  4840. “I found him, Di. I’ll do…”
  4841. >As the moment approaches, you find yourself hesitating.
  4842. >You push down the uneasy feeling.
  4843. “… I’ll do what I have to, Di.”
  4844. >”What…?”
  4845.  
  4846. >You are Soarin and you are a monster.
  4847. >For a few pleasant hours you had forgotten that.
  4848. >If only they had lasted longer. For example, the rest of your life. That would have worked out well.
  4849. >Until Silver’s birthday would have been acceptable.
  4850. >Neither happened, the memory hitting you as Silver slips into the women’s restroom.
  4851. >You’re a monster.
  4852. >It’s obvious what she has in mind.
  4853. >A decent percent wouldn’t do this.
  4854. >Not here, not now, and certainly not to her.
  4855. >You shouldn’t.
  4856. >But you want to.
  4857. >You want Silver to stare up at you adoringly again.
  4858. >You want to do more than save her, to rescue her from Diamond Tiara’s bullying or her own lack of self-esteem.
  4859. >The way Silver looks at you – when she isn’t acting terrified – resonates with your very soul.
  4860. >You want to hold her, to feel her body pressed against yours, to make her feel safe and wanted and loved.
  4861. >She wants to do this… and you want her to.
  4862. >You are a monster.
  4863. >This shouldn’t be happening, but it is.
  4864. >You want to be her hero.
  4865. >You *will* be.
  4866.  
  4867. >You are Diamond Tiara and you don’t understand.
  4868. >”I… I know I nearly ruined everything,” Silver explains quietly. “I nearly drove Soarin away, but…”
  4869. >Nearly?
  4870. >She bites her lip, uncertain and scared.
  4871. >”Should I…?” she asks unexpectedly? “I… I want to. I *should*, but… “
  4872. >Silver’s eyes tremble, shining wetly.
  4873. >”I’d do anything to make him happy, and… and it’s all I have left.”
  4874. >Your head tilts to the right.
  4875. >She’s not making any sense.
  4876. >”I have to do something, Di,” Silver insists. “I know I have to do this, but…”
  4877. >She whines wordlessly, looking back at the door.
  4878. >”… every other decision I’ve made has gone wrong tonight. I need you, Di. Please, I can’t do this on my own. Tell me what to do. Should I… should I have sex with him…?”
  4879. “WHAT?”
  4880. >She still likes him?
  4881. >After everything he put her through tonight!?
  4882. >Just when you thought Silver was remembering her place, she pulls shit like this!
  4883. >”Oh.”
  4884. >Her head drops.
  4885. >”I should have known. Thank you, Di, I totally would –“
  4886. “No, sure.”
  4887. >This… this could be great.
  4888. “You’re right. It’s the only way he’ll like you.”
  4889. >That much is true, at least.
  4890. >What else is there to like about Silver?
  4891. “But…”
  4892. >Silver looks up at you hopefully.
  4893. >You try not to laugh.
  4894. >She brought this on herself, spending time with *him* when she should be with *you*.
  4895. “It’s not like he hasn’t fucked girls before.”
  4896. >”I… I know…”
  4897. “You’re gonna have to make it special or you’ll just be another fuck for him.”
  4898. >”I know, Di.”
  4899. “You’re gonna have to let him put it in your butt.”
  4900. >It was the first thing that came to mind.
  4901. >It’ll hurt.
  4902. >If it hurts, she’ll hate him.
  4903.  
  4904. >You are Silver Spoon and you know what you have to do.
  4905. >You want him to love you.
  4906. >You want to be special.
  4907. >You want to make him happy.
  4908. >He said he would do anything, but that wasn’t his line to say.
  4909. >You are the one that will give him anything and everything.
  4910. >You wish… you *wish* you could be with him in your own bed and let things be normal and gentle and loving.
  4911. >Spend a night in each others arms.
  4912. >Repeat your first night together.
  4913. >You can’t.
  4914. >That’s how… that’s how he is with all the girls.
  4915.  
  4916. >You are Soarin and you are making a mistake.
  4917. >Silver waves you in again.
  4918. >You… shouldn’t.
  4919. ”Silver, I don’t…”
  4920. >She bites her lip, so hard you wince in sympathetic pain.
  4921. >She… wants this.
  4922. >You aren’t forcing anything on her – it was her idea. She invited you in. Everything that is happening is happening because Silver wants it.
  4923. >This isn’t… it isn’t right.
  4924. >You know this, but you step in anyway.
  4925. >It isn’t right, but she wants it. She wants *you* and you want *her*.
  4926. “Are you…”
  4927. >”I’m sure,” your… *girlfriend* says firmly, grabbing your hand and pulling you towards the stall at the end.
  4928.  
  4929. >You are Silver Spoon and you can’t give yourself a chance to rethink this.
  4930. >”But *here*? Wouldn’t you rather –“
  4931. “Here. Now.”
  4932. >You can’t give yourself a chance – or him.
  4933. “Please, Soarin. Please, let me…”
  4934. >You squeeze his hand, afraid that he’ll pull away at any moment.
  4935. “… let me prove how much I love you.”
  4936. >He hesitates, but for only a moment.
  4937. >Long enough for you to worry, not long enough for you to think of anything else to day.
  4938. >”Okay,” Soarin sighs, squeezing back.
  4939. >His grip is strong.
  4940. >It hurts.
  4941. >The pain is fleeting, but his hand remains in yours.
  4942. >You pull him into the stall behind you.
  4943. >Soarin fumbles behind himself for the door – you reach past him to shut and latch it, leaving the two of you facing each other in the tiny stall.
  4944. >”Silver… I… I mean, this is what you want, right?”
  4945. “More than anything.”
  4946. >You want him more than life itself.
  4947. >What good is a life without love?
  4948. >Soarin nods after a moment.
  4949. >He kisses you.
  4950. >He fumbles for your shirt.
  4951. >He lifts it up – just an inch, then another, revealing your navel.
  4952. >He kisses you again, his rough hands encircling your bare midsection.
  4953. >He freezes.
  4954. >”Silver, I…”
  4955. “Please.”
  4956. >”… but…”
  4957. “Don’t stop.”
  4958.  
  4959. >You are Soarin and you weren’t thinking.
  4960. “I… I didn’t bring a condom, Silver.”
  4961. >No, you *were* thinking – just not of this.
  4962. >You didn’t think this would happen.
  4963. >Certainly not that you would go along with it.
  4964. >You shouldn’t.
  4965. >There’s a reason you didn’t bring a condom.
  4966. >You shouldn’t do this.
  4967. >Silver gently puts her hand on your cheek.
  4968. >”That’s not a problem.”
  4969.  
  4970. >You are Silver Spoon and you want to be loved.
  4971. >More than anything, you want Soarin to love you.
  4972. >“But what if you…”
  4973. >You kiss him.
  4974. >You have to stretch on your tiptoes to reach, but it silences his objections.
  4975. >“Birth control isn’t always –“
  4976. >You do it again.
  4977. >“… and… pulling out…”
  4978. >Again.
  4979. “Please.”
  4980. >Again, longer this time.
  4981. “Don’t pull out.”
  4982. >The kiss left you breathless, your voice husky.
  4983. >”But…”
  4984. “There are… *other*… options…”
  4985. >You grab his wrist and guide his hand down from the small of your back to…
  4986. >His dumbfounded expression says it all.
  4987. >He understands.
  4988. >He wasn’t expecting this.
  4989. >It will be special.
  4990. >*You* will be special.
  4991. >You kiss him again before he can respond.
  4992. >This time, he kisses back.
  4993. >He wants this.
  4994. >He wants *you*.
  4995. >”Are you serious?” Soarin asks when his lips finally – reluctantly – part with yours.
  4996. “Yes. I… I…”
  4997.  
  4998. >You are Soarin and you are staring into Silver’s eyes.
  4999. >”I…” she stammers on, “I want you to...”
  5000. >Silver hesitates.
  5001. >She’s unsure.
  5002. >You shouldn’t do this, not if she’s uncertain.
  5003. >No, you shouldn’t do it anyway, but… you’re a monster.
  5004. >You do bad things.
  5005. >With a sigh, your grip slackens.
  5006. “Silver, we don’t have to –“
  5007. >”I want you to bump bump my sugar-lump rump!”
  5008. >What?
  5009. >What!
  5010. >Wat.
  5011. >Silver cheeks flare bright red.
  5012. “What?”
  5013. >”I… I want you to…”
  5014. >Her eyes dark away, unable to meet yours any longer.
  5015. >”… to bump bump my… um… my sugar-lump rump…”
  5016. “That’s… *forward*.”
  5017. >Silver’s head bobs.
  5018. “Did Diamond tell you to say that?”
  5019. >”Y-yes,” the girl admits, before adding a quiet aside. “That was embarrassing to say.”
  5020. “And to hear.”
  5021. >”Sor-“
  5022. >You kiss her. Just a quick peck, just something to show you didn’t mind at all.”
  5023. “And it was kind of cute.”
  5024. >”Oh?”
  5025. >Her eyes flicker up to meet yours again.
  5026. >”Really?”
  5027. “Yeah, but *please* never say it again.”
  5028. >”I think I can manage that,” Silver answers with an embarrassed giggle as you raise your hand up to stroke the side of her face.
  5029. >Such beautiful purple eyes…
  5030. “She didn’t tell you to do this, did she?”
  5031. >They tremble.
  5032. >Is it excitement?
  5033. >Is it fear?
  5034. >Which is it that is making your heart pound?
  5035. >”No, she didn’t.”
  5036. “This is… this is something *you* want, right?”
  5037. >”Yes.”
  5038. “Diamond –“
  5039. >”Di didn’t suggest this, Soarin,” Silver whispers. “This is all my idea. I want this, I truly want it.”
  5040. >That doesn’t actually reassure you at all.
  5041. >But… it’s good enough.
  5042. >She wants this.
  5043. >You want her.
  5044.  
  5045. >You are Diamond Tiara and you were wrong.
  5046. >Hard to believe, but you were.
  5047. >Everything is going *perfectly*!
  5048. >From the stall beside theirs, you can hear every single thing they say.
  5049. >You didn’t have to say a word.
  5050. >You *had*, but Silver had nodded as if she expected that.
  5051. >She had already known.
  5052. >There’s a gap where the partition meets the wall, but you can’t see anything – not until Silver leans over the toilet, her hands pressed against the wall.
  5053. >It’s not much.
  5054. >It’s not *enough*.
  5055.  
  5056. >You are Silver Spoon and you want this.
  5057. >You’re leaning over the toilet, bracing yourself against the wall with your hands.
  5058. >Your legs are spread.
  5059. >Soarin’s hand reaches up under your shirt, his fingers tracing your spine until he reaches the strap of your bra.
  5060. >Is he going to – no, his hand follows it around to – oh!
  5061. >His hand gently squeezes your breast.
  5062. >”Silver…”
  5063. >He wants to ask if you’re sure, if he should stop.
  5064. >Just like he did that night.
  5065. >So caring, so kind; you’re lucky you chose Soarin.
  5066. >You answer with a happy moan.
  5067. >It’s enough for him.
  5068. >His fingers curl around the edge of the cup.
  5069. >Your shiver with excitement as his fingers touch your flesh.
  5070. >He pulls it down.
  5071. >A faint part of your mind recognizes how uncomfortably your bra digs into you. The rest of you is thrilled as his hand touches you again. No clothing in between, no barriers, just his hand on your bare skin.
  5072. >He gives it another squeeze.
  5073. >”Silver…”
  5074. >There’s no conscious effort on your part, no intent to answer, no wordless confusion, just a plaintive, begging moan that escapes unbidden from your throat.
  5075. >You want this. You want him.
  5076. >Your body agrees.
  5077.  
  5078. >You are a monster and you should stop.
  5079. >For some reason, you can’t.
  5080. >You don’t want to.
  5081. >”Soarin…” Silver groans. “Please…”
  5082. >She whines as your hand leaves her chest, running along her sternum, down her abdomen…
  5083. >”I… I promise,” she begs. “I want this.”
  5084. “I know.”
  5085. >You should stop. She wants this, but you should stop, yet you find your hands resting on her hips.
  5086. “I know, Silver.”
  5087. >You reach down, gathering the pink fabric of her skirt and lifting it up slowly.
  5088. >You shouldn’t be doing this.
  5089. >She deserves better.
  5090. >You shouldn’t –
  5091. >She’s wearing red panties.
  5092. >Lacy.
  5093. >Tiny.
  5094. >You shouldn’t know this.
  5095. >They slide down easily.
  5096. >You only pull them partway down her thighs. It’s more than enough.
  5097. >She wants this.
  5098. >Holding her skirt balled up in one hand, you fumble for your pants with the other.
  5099.  
  5100. >You are Silver Spoon and you feel something rubbing between your legs.
  5101. >No!
  5102. >That’s not good enough!
  5103. “Soarin…”
  5104. >You don’t want him to stop.
  5105. >”I know,” he answers. “Just…”
  5106. >Oh, *fuck*, you don’t want him to stop.
  5107. >He has to.
  5108. >It won’t be good enough.
  5109. >This has to be special for him.
  5110. >You pull one hand from the wall and nearly collapse as another wave of pleasure hits you.
  5111. >You don’t want him to stop, but he has to.
  5112. >Another thrust, teases you terribly.
  5113. >He has to stop.
  5114. >You reach between your legs, softly gripping him.
  5115. >Your hand slides of his slick rod.
  5116. >”I… um… didn’t bring any lube either…”
  5117. >He sounds so embarrassed, you giggle.
  5118. >Then you gasp.
  5119. >Then you groan.
  5120. >Soarin slips easily from your hand, from between your thighs.
  5121. >”Are you ready?”
  5122. “Yes.”
  5123. >There’s no false eagerness, no bravado.
  5124. >You want this.
  5125. >You want it now.
  5126. >A gentle pressure pushes against you, soft, yet insistent.
  5127. >You gasp as it enters you.
  5128. >Not much, not at all, really. Your mind knows the head isn’t even in fully.
  5129. >It feels much larger to your body.
  5130. >You moan as it retreats, not out of pleasure, but from loss.
  5131. >You want it inside of you.
  5132. >Moments later, it presses into you again.
  5133. >This time, it’s pleasure – pure pleasure – that issues from your lips.
  5134. >It… hurts… but only slightly. It’ll pass.
  5135. >That’s what your research said.
  5136. >Your body will stretch to fit him.
  5137. >Just before the pain threatens to overwhelm the sheer joy of the moment, Soarin pulls back again.
  5138. >It hurts.
  5139. >”Silver…”
  5140. >His hand is on your breast again.
  5141. >It feels so good.
  5142. >He pushes into you again.
  5143. >It hurts.
  5144. >You shudder.
  5145. >”Silver?”
  5146. >You moan for him. Happily.
  5147. >You want this.
  5148. >He hesitates. He pulls back. His hand leaves your breast.
  5149. >No!
  5150. “Please… don’t…”
  5151. >Fingers run between your legs.
  5152. “… don’t stop.”
  5153. >When his hand cups your chest again, it is slick.
  5154. >He slides in more easily on his next thrust.
  5155. >It hurts.
  5156. >You groan.
  5157. “Don’t stop.”
  5158. >He pushes into you again. Further. Harder.
  5159. >It hurts.
  5160. >He stops as you gasp.
  5161. >He pulls out.
  5162. >It hurts.
  5163.  
  5164. >You are Diamond Tiara and you are jealous.
  5165. >Or furious.
  5166. >Or… you don’t know.
  5167. >Sil’s happy little squeaks and moans leave you conflicted.
  5168. >Things are going right.
  5169. >Any second now, it’ll start to hurt. At least, that’s what you assume.
  5170. >And you’re always right, so…
  5171. >This is all according to plan.
  5172. >She is going to HATE him.
  5173. >But…
  5174. >… it should be *you* doing that to her, causing Sil to make those happy noises.
  5175. >It should be your hands running across her body, not his.
  5176. >It should be *you* making her feel so good.
  5177. >Not the pain, though.
  5178. >Well, maybe.
  5179. >She *did* cross you…
  5180.  
  5181. >You are Silver Spoon.
  5182. >You are biting your lip, trying to stifle any noise that might slip out.
  5183. >The pain of your teeth digging into your own flesh gives you something to focus on.
  5184. >It isn’t enough.
  5185. >Your braid is dangling down, swaying to-and-fro in the corner of your eye. Every movement catches your attention.
  5186. >It isn’t enough.
  5187. >Soarin’s hand plays with your breast.
  5188. >It isn’t enough.
  5189. >He pushes again.
  5190. >It hurts.
  5191. >Your whole body shudders – you can’t stop yourself.
  5192. >”Silver?”
  5193. “Don’t… don’t stop…”
  5194. >You don’t want him to stop.
  5195. >”Am I hurting you?”
  5196. “No.”
  5197. >You don’t want him to hate you.
  5198. >It hurts.
  5199. >You whine as he pulls out.
  5200. >No… he can’t… not after everything…
  5201. >This can’t have been for nothing.
  5202. >It hurts.
  5203. >”Are you sure?”
  5204. “Yes.”
  5205. >You keep your answers short.
  5206. >You keep your mouth shut.
  5207. >You keep quiet. As quiet as you can.
  5208. >He pushes in again.
  5209. >It hurts.
  5210. >You taste copper.
  5211. >Your lip – it’s bleeding.
  5212. >It hurts, but you barely notice the pain.
  5213. >Soarin pulls out.
  5214. >It hurts.
  5215. >More than your lip.
  5216. >He’s barely in.
  5217. >You know this.
  5218. >Every movement feels like you’re going to be torn apart, but he hasn’t even fit half his length in you.
  5219. >It hurts.
  5220. >It feels like it’s been hours.
  5221. >He pushes back in.
  5222. >It hurts.
  5223. >A gasp slips out.
  5224. >It was almost a scream.
  5225. >“Is this… does it… does it feel good?”
  5226. “Yes.”
  5227. >You should say more. You should tell him how much you love him.
  5228. >You don’t trust yourself to say more without sobbing or screaming or –
  5229. >It hurts.
  5230. >You blink away tears before they can fall.
  5231. >It hurts.
  5232. >You’re lucky he can’t see your face.
  5233. >You aren’t crying. You can’t cry. But…
  5234. >It hurts.
  5235. “Please…”
  5236. >You want it over with.
  5237. “… don’t…”
  5238. >You want to stop hurting.
  5239. >You want him to hold you tight. Tight enough…
  5240. >It hurts.
  5241. “… don’t stop…”
  5242. >You want to be his little Spoon. You want it so much…
  5243. >It hurts.
  5244. >You want the pain to go away.
  5245. >It hurts.
  5246. “Please…”
  5247. >… make it stop.
  5248. >It hurts.
  5249. >You want it to end.
  5250. >You want him to hold you.
  5251. >He thrusts into you again, driving a moan from your lungs.
  5252. >It hurts.
  5253.  
  5254. >You are a monster and you shouldn’t be enjoying this.
  5255. >Every squeal and moan, every shudder and grunt…
  5256. >She wants this.
  5257. >She literally begged for it.
  5258. >You shouldn’t feel bad.
  5259. >She’s enjoying it.
  5260. “About halfway…”
  5261. >Silver moans through closed lips as you pull out slowly.
  5262. >She’s a smart girl and this is a public place. She’s trying to be quiet.
  5263.  
  5264. >You…
  5265. >It hurts.
  5266. >… are…
  5267. >It hurts.
  5268. >… Silver…
  5269. >It hurts.
  5270. >It *hurts*.
  5271. >It HURTS.
  5272. >You don’t know how much longer –
  5273. >IT HURTS.
  5274. > - you can take this.
  5275. >IT HURTS.
  5276. >He pushes into you again.
  5277. >”About halfway…”
  5278. >IT HURTS.
  5279. >You can’t…
  5280. >IT HURTS.
  5281. >He’ll hate you.
  5282. >IT HURTS.
  5283. >You can’t –
  5284. >IT HURTS.
  5285. >He pulls out.
  5286. >IT HURTS.
  5287. >Your split lip stings.
  5288. >IT HURTS.
  5289. >You can’t… this…
  5290. >IT HURTS.
  5291. >It has to end, before…
  5292. >IT HURTS.
  5293. >Soarin pauses.
  5294. >IT HURTS.
  5295. >His arm is around your waist now, holding you in place.
  5296. >IT HURTS.
  5297. >You should just get it over with.
  5298. >IT HURTS.
  5299. >He pushes into you again.
  5300. >You push back with all your strength.
  5301. >IT -
  5302.  
  5303. >You are Soarin and –
  5304. >Silver’s knees buckle.
  5305. >She nearly falls; you’re the only thing holding her up.
  5306. >There’s a terrifying moment of silence. Just one second, maybe less.
  5307. >You can hear your heart beat, before Silver lets out a long, drawn out groan.
  5308. >She twitches, shakes, spasms uncontrollably.
  5309. >She clamps down on you.
  5310. >it drives you over the edge.
  5311. >You join her.
  5312.  
  5313. >IT HURTS.
  5314. >You are trying not to cry.
  5315. >You are trying not to scream.
  5316. >You are Silver Spoon and you have dignity.
  5317. >You try to remember that.
  5318. >You try to focus on it.
  5319. >You try not to scream.
  5320. >IT HURTS.
  5321. >”Silver –“
  5322. >You try not to scream.
  5323. >You moan. You tried not to.
  5324. >IT HURTS.
  5325. >”Are you –“
  5326. >Your legs spasm, nearly giving out again as you try – TRY – to straighten them.
  5327. >IT HURTS.
  5328. >A second arm wraps around your torso.
  5329. >You… you wanted him to hold you.
  5330. >He’s holding you.
  5331. >It hurts, but he’s holding you.
  5332. >You’re dying – it feels like you’re dying – you *wish* you were dying, it hurts that much.
  5333. >You’re okay with this.
  5334. >He’s holding you.
  5335. >It hurts, but he’s holding you.
  5336. >It worked.
  5337. >He holds you as your body rebels against the pain.
  5338. >It hurts.
  5339. >Everything hurts.
  5340. >It was worth it.
  5341. >”Silver, I… I…”
  5342. >It hurts.
  5343. >You struggle to stay alive, to hear his voice.
  5344. >You can’t.
  5345. >It hurts too much.
  5346. >You don’t know how long he holds you like that.
  5347. >All you know is it hurts.
  5348. >Slowly, he pulls himself out of you.
  5349. >You don’t try to stop him.
  5350. >You can’t take anymore.
  5351. >You can’t take the pain of him withdrawing from your body.
  5352. >You can’t cry.
  5353. >You want to, but you can’t.
  5354. >He has to think…
  5355. >It hurts.
  5356. >You can’t let him know…
  5357. >It hurts.
  5358. >He continues to hold you, even after he’s free of you.
  5359. >You don’t know if you can stand on your own.
  5360. >You want to curl up in a ball and die.
  5361. >He loves you.
  5362. >You did something right.
  5363. >You can die happy now.
  5364. >But he doesn’t let you.
  5365. >It hurts.
  5366. >He pulls you upright, holding you tight against his body.
  5367. >He whispers words into your ear.
  5368. >You don’t hear them.
  5369. >He whispers again.
  5370. >You can’t hear anything.
  5371. >You’re aware of his voice, but everything else is lost.
  5372. >He kisses the side of your neck.
  5373.  
  5374. >You are Soarin and you are holding your girlfriend.
  5375. >You wish you were at home, you wish the two of you could lay on your bed and just stay this way forever.
  5376. “Silver, I…”
  5377. >You haven’t told her this yet, have you?
  5378. >Why not?
  5379. >You should have.
  5380. >You do love her.
  5381. >You thought about it and you do.
  5382. >Its why you came in here, why you did this.
  5383. >You’re a monster, but you love her.
  5384. >You should have told her.
  5385. “… I…”
  5386. >”Could I have a… a moment…” Silver interrupts, panting breathlessly.
  5387. “Did I –“
  5388. >”I need to…”
  5389. >She pauses as another spasm wracks her body.
  5390. >”I… I need to clean myself up…”
  5391. “Oh.”
  5392.  
  5393. >You are Silver Spoon and you listen as Soarin pulls his pants up.
  5394. >”I’ll just… I’ll be outside, I guess…”
  5395. >You don’t answer, but you do lock the stall door behind him.
  5396. >It’s as much as you can do before you slump weakly against the partition.
  5397. >As true as it was, as much as you can’t ignore the feeling of him dripping down the inside of your thighs, it was just an excuse.
  5398. >You shouldn’t lie to him like that.
  5399. >You shouldn’t lie to him at all, but he can’t see you like this.
  5400. >He has to think you enjoyed it.
  5401. >He’s too good of a person. If he knew he had hurt you…
  5402. >The bathroom door slams shut.
  5403. >You can’t hold it in any longer.
  5404. >You fall to your knees and cry.
  5405.  
  5406.  
  5407. **** Epilogue ****
  5408.  
  5409. >You are Diamond Tiara and you are satisfied.
  5410. >He hurt her.
  5411. >That's the only reason Silver would be crying like this. She's not even trying to hide it.
  5412. >Good.
  5413. >She deserved it for wanting to be with him instead of you.
  5414. >You grin as you open your stall door and slip out.
  5415. >You couldn't see anything, but...
  5416. >Silver has to hate him. There's no way she could not.
  5417. >Now to comfort her, to reassert yourself on your friend.
  5418. >To be everything *he* isn't: caring, gentle, and loving.
  5419. >Time for Silver to remember her place.
  5420. >And yet - your hand never touches the stall door.
  5421. >You reach for it with every intention of knocking, but the sounds coming from behind it… her crying... something about it...
  5422. >You hesitate.
  5423. >You don't know how long you stand there, hand raised, but eventually the crying stops.
  5424. >You still don't knock.
  5425. >You drop your arm, but you don't knock.
  5426. >Sil will come out on her own.
  5427. >Eventually.
  5428. >You wait.
  5429. >You wait so long that the click of the lock catches you by surprise.
  5430. >Finally, Silver emerges.
  5431. >You aren't ready for it.
  5432. >Tears still run from her eyes.
  5433. >A rivulet of blood dribbles down her chin from her mouth.
  5434. >She's clutching her left wrist like it hurts - of course it does. Soarin...
  5435. >You can see the bruise around the edges of her bracelet.
  5436. >She was putting her weight on it, bracing herself against the wall. Of course it hurts.
  5437. >There’s blood on the floor behind her, mingled with other fluids. More than would have come from the gouge in her lip.
  5438. >Now that you know what to look for, the stains blend in well with the pattern on her borrowed skirt.
  5439. >And worst... worst of all...
  5440. >She's smiling.
  5441. >"I did it, Di," she says, her eyes gleaming. "I did it. He'll love me now."
  5442. "No... no..."
  5443. >He hurt her.
  5444. >He didn't just cause her pain.
  5445. >He *hurt* her.
  5446. >She’s bleeding.
  5447. >This wasn’t supposed to happen like this.
  5448. “No, he… Silver…”
  5449. >You reach for her, to hold and comfort her, to reassure yourself that she’s still whole – and she stumbles awkwardly into your arms.
  5450. >”Thank you, Di,” Silver murmurs through bloody  teeth as she returns your hug.
  5451. >He *hurt* her.
  5452. >”I never could have done it without you.”
  5453. >You… *you* did this.
  5454. >You let him do this.
  5455. >You shouldn’t have let this happen.
  5456. >She’s *yours* - yours to love, yours to protect.
  5457. >You should never have let that man touch her.
  5458. “Silver… I…”
  5459. >You should call the police.
  5460. >Turn him in.
  5461. >He won’t be able to hurt her if he’s in jail.
  5462. >You’re going to do it.
  5463. >He *hurt* her!
  5464. “I’m going to…”
  5465. >Turn him in and she’ll be safe.
  5466. >”Thank you.”
  5467. “No… I –“
  5468. >Why is she smiling!?
  5469. >She shouldn’t be smiling!
  5470. >He HURT her!
  5471. >”I made him love me, Di,” Silver whispers. “I’m so happy.”
Soarin Silver Spoon Diamond Tiara underage coercion Equestria Girls

Soarin's Silver Lining pt.4

by blossomanon

Soarin's Silver Lining pt.3

by blossomanon

Soarin's Silver Lining pt.2

by blossomanon

Soarin's Silver Lining pt.1

by blossomanon