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Midnight [Part 5]

By Autopony
Created: 24th April 2022 11:55:30 AM
23rd June 2022 01:46:23 PM

  1. >"C'mon, you miserable son of a bitch..."
  2. "Now surely I don't hear you over there hurling insults at a stubborn but inanimate bolt, do I? I seem to recall being ridiculed for doing that."
  3. >"Pound sand."
  4. >You can't help but snicker a bit as you set down the tool in your hand and head over to the car lift.
  5. >Midnight's focus is above her, working on a bolt tucked away in the undercarriage of the Chrysler.
  6. >She doesn't stray her eyes away from her work, but the twitch of her right ear to pick up the sounds of your movement assures you she is aware of your impending presence.
  7. "Something I can help with?"
  8. >"I don't think so. Trying to get this leaf spring bolt out to replace the bushing - and it just wants to be a pain in the ass all the way," she explains, tapping the end of a wrench against the head of the target bolt.
  9. "They usually are miserable to get out - even worse when they haven't ever been out in damn near seventy years," you chime in, grabbing the leaf spring close to the eyelet where the bushing rests and rocking it up and down.
  10. >The bolt moves ever so slightly in the hole back and forth.
  11. >You use your other hand to steady the end of it while pushing up on the leaf to relieve tension.
  12. "Try it now."
  13. >Midnight does as instructed, having a much easier time extracting the bolt with the ratchet.
  14. >"I should have known better than that," Midnight scolds herself with a slight shake of her head as the bolt comes free.
  15. >You ease off of the spring, allowing it to straighten out slowly.
  16. "How do you think I learned that, Midnight? It's easy to get tunnel vision," you console her, leaning down and smooching the top of her head.
  17. >Despite the toiling outside in the sun and the heat, you still get a whiff of lilacs from her shampoo underneath that working mare scent.
  18. >"Yeah, yeah. I know," she laments. "You did buy all the suspension bushings like you said you would, right?"
  19. "Yep, they're... in the trunk."
  20. >"Fuck."
  21. "It's not that big of a deal - at least they're with the car, rather than scattered around the shop."
  22. >Midnight sidesteps out from underneath the car, allowing you to lower the lift with the remote until you can reach the trunk and pop it open.
  23. >Despite the odds and ends stuffed in the cavernous space, it's easy to spot the unmarked cardboard box.
  24. "Come to think of it, you're being pretty damn smart going about replacing this stuff," you comment while grabbing the parcel and maneuvering it out from everything else around it.
  25. >"Because I'm doing it one at a time, rather than unbolting everything at once?"
  26. >Huh, so she's aware of that.
  27. >Evidently you make some sort of face as you plant the box down on the concrete, rising back up to close the trunklid.
  28. >"I listen from time to time - you mentioning focusing on one particular item and getting that done is better than total disassembly at once."
  29. >Now you're feeling lost.
  30. "When did I say that?"
  31. >"Hello? Pulling the engine out and leaving the transmission in place?" she chides, staring at you as if it were painfully obvious.
  32. "Hey, not all of us are part supercomputer."
  33. >"As if a few electronic gizmos make all the difference," she huffs in a jesting manner, turning her nose up at you. "I'm just glad I'm not part dumbass."
  34. "You live with someone part dumbass, and dumbassery is infectious."
  35. >"Hm. Maybe that's why I couldn't think of the best way to tackle that stubborn bolt. Thanks for the excuse."
  36. "Happy to help," you reply with a dorky grin and accompanying shrug.
  37. >"How goes your little art project?" Midnight inquires, glancing beyond you and to your impromptu workstation set up around the engine stand.
  38. >There is a hint of amusement in her voice if the wry grin wasn't enough to tip you off.
  39. >You fold your arms in response.
  40. "Now what's that supposed to mean?"
  41. >"Nothing of course," she sasses. "I just think it's cute with those paint pans set up around you and the cute little wheeled workbench you've got set up there."
  42. "I'll have you know it's a professionally unprofessional setup I have going, Middie."
  43. >"Of course. Thanks for the little visual asspat to make me feel better about myself, fruitcake," she teases further.
  44. >Asspat, huh?
  45. >While she begins to wander over to see what you really are doing with the engine, you uncross your arms and get a decent windup before slapping her on the aforementioned ass, making sure to grab a nice handful of cushion.
  46. >Midnight lets out a surprised squeal the instant you make contact.
  47. "No problem, Middie."
  48. >"You rat bastard!"
  49. >She whirls around quickly, rearing up on her hind legs to bring her forelegs down roughly upon your shoulders.
  50. >Her nostrils flare as she gets right in your face, glaring at you in anger.
  51. >Well, trying to glare in anger.
  52. >It doesn't work well when you can spot the hint of a grin forming on her lips.
  53. "What? I thought I missed something when you thanked me for an asspat," you innocently explain, trying your damnedest not to smirk.
  54. >"That wasn't a pat."
  55. "Sorry, retarded."
  56. >"I'll let you off with a warning this time."
  57. >She puckers up and plants a kiss on your lips - quick and fleeting, just to be a tease.
  58. "So, should I do that again and see what discipline I get?"
  59. >"I don't think you need to push your luck," she muses, slipping back down to the floor.
  60. "Come on, what do you really have going on over here?"
  61. >Putting your dirty thoughts aside and resisting the urge to have her lead the way, you head back over to the Chrysler's engine, in the midst of disassembly.
  62. >One head is almost completely disassembled now and close to being removed from the block.
  63. "Well, my little art station is set up to keep things organized and in the proper orientation and position," you say, pointing to one of the pans.
  64. >Midnight glances down at the murky liquid within it, the engine components resting at the bottom just barely visible.
  65. >"What are you doing with the pushrods?"
  66. >As she asks, one of the aforementioned parts lifts out of the depths, giving you a look at the progress the kerosene soak has done in cleaning them.
  67. >The shitty brown coloring is beginning to fade, bringing back the original metal finish to peek through what's left.
  68. "All those years of sitting in oil and then... well, just sitting - they get all gunked up with what ends up being like varnish. So I'm letting them soak and soften up that crap before properly cleaning them. Make sure to put that where you found it."
  69. >"Reusing them? I assume there's an order?"
  70. "I've always heard that when it comes to engine parts - put em back in the same place you found em if you're gonna replace them. Different wear patterns and such. Whether that's true or not... well, I'd rather not find out the hard way. Hence why I got magnets holding em down in the bottom, and why the pans are marked."
  71. >You point to the chicken scratch on the shiny aluminum end panels and sides, scrawled with a black marker.
  72. >"Beautiful handwriting as always."
  73. "I know, looks like I had a seizure while trying to color in the lines."
  74. >"What lines?"
  75. "Exactly."
  76. >Midnight shakes her head while looking over the other parts of the valvetrain.
  77. >"You know, that doesn't look as complicated out of the head assembly as it does within it. Or in diagrams," she comments, poking at one of the rocker arms.
  78. "Look can be deceiving - it's the same amount of rocker arms and pushrods as any other American V8 built back in the day before overhead camshafts - just an extra shaft splitting up the exhaust and intake rods. Just needs a different geometry between the two valves because of the hemi head shape."
  79. >"Yeah, I guess the different angles everything is at just makes it look cluttered and complex," she muses. "Have you found a crankshaft for it yet?"
  80. "Maybe," you answer cautiously.
  81. >"I'm pretty sure that's a yes or no question," Midnight shoots back with a bit of an edge in her voice.
  82. "Alright - yes, I know where I can get one. But we're in a hold pattern for now - I'm not buying one until I know for sure this block is sound."
  83. >"Wait, I thought you said it looked fine," she quickly protests.
  84. "*Looked* fine is not the same as actually being structurally sound - I'm going to take it to a machine shop to get inspected thoroughly. I'd rather not drop big money on a crank to find out I have nothing to put it in."
  85. >Your explanation only gets a pouting expression from Midnight, who is none too keen to hear of such hurdles.
  86. "Hold on, didn't you tell me not long ago that this motor not being any good wasn't the end of the world?"
  87. >"...no?"
  88. >She knows she's caught, but plays stupid nonetheless.
  89. >However, Midnight is up against the champ.
  90. "Oh, must have had that discussion with Starla, then," you reply, before picking up your wrench and resuming work.
  91. >"Shut up, you don't even talk to her."
  92. "Not that you know of."
  93. >"She would have told me, we talk about you two idiots we live with."
  94. >Now this is interesting...
  95. "Oh? And what do you two talk about?"
  96. >"Stuff."
  97. "Uh-huh. Does she... know about us?"
  98. >"No - I mean, it's sort of a private thing, you know?"
  99. >...
  100. "You know I'm talking about the standard relationship thing, right?"
  101. >"Of course, what else would I-"
  102. >Midnight's eyes go wide as she follows your train of thought.
  103. >"Why the hell would I talk about that?!"
  104. "I don't know, why would I have thought the dating thing would be so touchy to discuss?" you ask, shrugging your shoulders as you try to make sense of where this conversation has derailed.
  105. >"Are we actually... dating?" she asks, almost tiptoeing the question to you.
  106. "Kinda. I don't know what makes it official, but - we do a lot of stuff together, yeah? Like little fires at night out back?"
  107. >Midnight nods - albeit slowly, as if still uncertain.
  108. "You're thinking more like a night out on the town, huh?"
  109. >"I don't really know. I guess I hadn't really considered the idea," she admits, sounding shocked by her own thoughts as they're put into words.
  110. >It really sounds like a nice idea, assuming you could sit down in a decent restaurant together.
  111. "Maybe we will do that sometime, Midnight," you propose. "If you're up for it, of course."
  112. >She mulls the proposition with a fair amount of amusement, judging by the goofy little grin she's trying to hide.
  113. >"I might have to take you up on that," she finally announces.
  114. >That settles it then.
  115. >You're gonna make an official date night.
  116. >But for now...
  117. "So what kind of 'stuff' do you and Starla talk about?" you tease.
  118. >"You know... stuff," she rather gruffly stonewalls.
  119. "Is there some... girly stuff?"
  120. >You cup your hand over your mouth, pretending to giggle like some schoolgirl.
  121. >A blanket of black down smacks you in the face as Midnight's wing flares outward.
  122. >"Oh my god, you're a fucking moron," she bemoans, betraying just a hint of embarrassment in her voice. "I'm going back to my shit now."
  123. "You're no fun," you whine as she turns tail and heads back to the Chrysler.
  124. >"And you're too much fun - it evens out," she sasses back.
  125.  
  126.  
  127.  
  128.  
  129.  
  130. >A dark blue appendage slowly obscures your view of the laptop screen.
  131. >You ignore it and the owner as best you can, craning your neck to look over the obstacle.
  132. >Unfortunately, it flexes and wiggles around, taking up as much space as possible.
  133. "What?"
  134. >"Hoof rub."
  135. >You pull your eyes off of your work to glance at Midnight, who lies beside you.
  136. >On her back, her legs folded close to her body, aside from the one that is bothering you right now.
  137. >Her head is cocked to her left, to avoid sticking you in the hip with her horn.
  138. >Or avoid you just sitting on it.
  139. "You look retarded when you lay like that."
  140. >"Like attracts like, I guess."
  141. "It doesn't even look comfortable."
  142. >"I know - hence the hoof rub I've duly requested."
  143. >That-
  144. >That makes no sense.
  145. >Midnight picks up on your hesitation.
  146. >Or maybe the face you're making of pure skepticism.
  147. >"Stop thinking about it. You'll overtax your head."
  148. "How about a compromise?"
  149. >"Hm... I don't think so."
  150. >Despite the answer, you reach over with your right hand and stroke her chest.
  151. >The fine fur almost tickles the palm of your hand while absorbing the warmth she exudes.
  152. >"That...that's not... my hoof," she manages to blubber out as she basks in the attention.
  153. "Yeah, I don't know my anatomy, so that's the best I can do."
  154. >As your eyes go back to the laptop, you keep up your loving strokes upon Midnight's chest almost absentmindedly at this point.
  155. >Before long, you feel the couch underneath your ass and the mare underneath your hand shifting in unison.
  156. >You don't have to turn your head to find out what's going on - Midnight pushes her way onto your lap headfirst, forcing the laptop to be supported by your knees
  157. >You look down at her, while she looks back up at you without a care in the world, giving you an eager grin.
  158. "You are not a laptop."
  159. >"Wow, so you can tell the difference?" she chides.
  160. "You're needy."
  161. >"No, you've just convinced me that you have more uses. Now, continue, my slave."
  162. >You have to cock your head at that last comment and purse your lips.
  163. >"Don't look at me in that tone of voice."
  164. >You grab the laptop and gently place it over Midnight's snout, obscuring her whole head from your view.
  165. "That's my line, you can't use it," you lament.
  166. >"That's my laptop I'm letting you use," she responds in a nasally voice due to the device laid upon her.
  167. >Cutting her a break after a few moments of her purposely snuffled breaths, you remove the laptop from her head and place it back onto your knees.
  168. >"I knew you would see things my way," she gushes, looking quite pleased with herself.
  169. >Okay, this has been decidedly uncharacteristic of Midnight tonight.
  170. >It isn't bad.
  171. >But you gotta know.
  172. "You're acting awfully fucking weird tonight. What's up?" you inquire, continuing to massage her underside.
  173. >Midnight tries to shrug - it isn't obvious to the eye, but you feel her shoulders and back shift in such a way.
  174. >"You get to act like a buffoon all the time - I'm kinda bored, so I figured why not take a stab at it?" she suggests. "The massage is an added bonus - though I really would have preferred you focused on my hooves. I had to work my ass off to make up for you."
  175. >She isn't wrong there.
  176. >Almost half your day was spent underneath a Grand Prix pulling several stubborn suspension parts out of it.
  177. "Yeah, but we are a team, Middie. There is no 'I' in 'team'."
  178. >"There is a 'me' if you jumble up the letters," she counters with a devious grin, poking at your nose with one of her hooves.
  179. "Shaddup. You said you were trying to be stupid," you reply, booping her snoot.
  180. >"That really didn't take much thought to figure out, stupid."
  181. "But you did have to think about it."
  182. >"Well, I can't *not* think," she scoffs.
  183. "You're getting there."
  184. >"Come again?" she retorts, her brow raised with intrigue at your comment.
  185. "You always told me you couldn't relax and shut your mind up. You're doing a hell of a job of it right now."
  186. >"Shit changes, I guess. But I'm still sharp as a tack," she replies rather defensively as her gaze hardens.
  187. "Just making note of it."
  188. >"What about you actually giving a damn about work tonight, Anon? Explain that one to me," she demands, poking at your chest playfully.
  189. "I'm not working on anything."
  190. >"Looking at porn, then? 'Thirteen Man Slamathon'? 'Tranny Grannies in Crotchless Panties'?"
  191. "Ooh, that last one sounds like it might have a good storyline to it."
  192. >Midnight exhales through her nose, hitting you with a rush of warm air as her eyes do their best to dart to the white screen of the laptop, shifting back to you after a moment in silence.
  193. "What?"
  194. >"You're currently browsing the junkyard spreadsheet - specifically the section covering the full-size Pontiacs," she drolls monotonously.
  195. "You got that from a quick glance," you say aloud, not quite believing her.
  196. >But she is right.
  197. >"Bitch, please. I created the damn thing, I know my impeccable work."
  198. "At least you're modest about it."
  199. >Midnight sticks her tongue out, accompanying the gesture with a fitting "Nya!"
  200. >You quickly move your hand that had been stroking her chest to seize the tip of her tongue between your thumb and index finger.
  201. >Midnight's eyes widen at the surprise, but she doesn't otherwise react.
  202. >"Leh go oth ny hongue, athhoe," she manages to work out.
  203. "Is that supposed to be English?" you tease her.
  204. >"Yow ah thaggot."
  205. "Now say 'I rode in on a ship full of apples'."
  206. >Midnight finally starts to do something about these shenanigans, pulling her purplish-pink tongue and your digits toward her open mouth.
  207. >You let go just before she snaps her jaw shut, a look of accomplishment on her face shortly before disgust washes over her.
  208. >"Aw, ew, I got fucking hair in my mouth," she bitterly crows, gagging and sticking her tongue out as she tries to rid herself of it.
  209. "It's yours, so stop whining."
  210. >After a few moments of exaggerated retching, Midnight calms down, turning her head to look at the computer screen once again.
  211. >"What are you doing with that, anyway?"
  212. "Jotting down what's been taken off the car. I don't know why you nor I have thought of doing that, but it should save time in the long run."
  213. >"You know, I'm kind of ashamed that never occurred to me," she muses.
  214. "No one is perfect," you reply, reassuringly patting her chest.
  215. >"Yeah, but I'm pretty close," she adds with a haughty tone and complementary smirk.
  216. >You try to think of something witty to say as you look down at her.
  217. >But seeing her laying on your lap, her hair splayed out to show off the deep blue and violet strands of hair that frame her face...
  218. >That smile that lets just the slightest hint of her canines poke out from her lips...
  219. >Those otherworldly, lively blue eyes...
  220. >You have nothing to say.
  221. >Almost nothing to say.
  222. "You're pretty damn close, yeah."
  223. >Her brow furrows just a bit, taken aback by the comment.
  224. >"I'm... that was a joke, Anon. I'm not quite that self-centered," she admits quietly.
  225. "I know."
  226. >"But..."
  227. "You're so damned cute when you're all confused and flustered," you say, reaching up to her face and lightly pinching a cheek.
  228. >"I still don't do cute," she laments, pouting just a bit.
  229. "You're going it right now," you argue, pointing at her face.
  230. >"Cute is just a word that's too... blech."
  231. >You can't help but laugh as she makes a face of utter disgust once again as if the hair in her mouth from earlier has manifested once more.
  232. "Fine. Adorable."
  233. >"Yeck."
  234. "Beautiful."
  235. >"That works well enough. Or maybe 'ravishing," she suggests, her eyes lighting up upon utterance of that seemingly magic word.
  236. >You shake your head.
  237. >"What?"
  238. "Too long."
  239. >"It's the same amount of letters and syllables, shitstick."
  240. "Yeesh, alright. Nerd."
  241. >"Having some semblance of intelligence does not make me a nerd," she rebuts, brooding over the accusation.
  242. "But you're a cute nerd."
  243. >"I don't like you anymore."
  244. "Well shit. Guess no more chest rubs."
  245. >As you pull your hand away from Midnight's underside, her forehooves seize upon your arm, clamping down and dragging your hand back to her chest.
  246. >"No. Mine," she mutters like a spoiled child.
  247. "What, are you part cat now? I'm supposed to keep petting you until you suddenly decide to start biting the shit out of me?"
  248. >Midnight shifts just a bit in your lap, cocking her head and eyeing you inquisitively.
  249. >"...Mrow?"
  250. "...you are way too goddamn big to be a house cat. You might even outrank the panther category."
  251. >"Or maybe I'm just someone that demands to be lavished with attention. Heed my command, peasant."
  252. "Trying to take after the villain you're based upon now?"
  253. >"Hah!" Midnight belts out, her eyes going wide and maniacal as they begin to glow. "Nightmare Moon doesn't have shit on me. Look at everything I have! This kingdom and its riches! Someone to tend to my needs and pamper me! Completely unopposed! I should beat you for such a mindless comparison," she threatens in a playful growling voice.
  254. "I swear you've cheated and been drinking to act this stupid tonight," you comment while stroking her.
  255. >"I swear you went downstairs to take a leak about thirty minutes ago and left me unattended with a nearly empty bottle of rum in the fridge."
  256. >Well that certainly isn't specific at all...
  257. >She gives you a toothed grin when you eye her with a healthy amount of suspicion.
  258. >"It's not cheating if you never anticipated playing the game beforehand."
  259. "That was all you had?"
  260. >"Yeah...?"
  261. >You chuckle while you lean down and kiss the perplexed mare.
  262. "You poor fucking lightweight."
  263.  
  264.  
  265.  
  266.  
  267.  
  268. "Are you going to make us stand out here all evening?"
  269. >"Shut up!" Midnight barks from within the shop. "Just a few seconds!"
  270. >It has legitimately been almost five minutes since Teddy and Starla arrived at your place, and all you can do is turn and shrug while the pair stand there, mildly amused by the exchange.
  271. >At least they find it entertaining.
  272. >It had been far too long since you all had gotten together - texts and video chats can only do so much.
  273. >But, this was merely a casual evening spent with friends around a firepit.
  274. >Other than Midnight's obsessive excitement with making a show of the Chrysler for your guests.
  275. >... you didn't have the heart to tell her you had already mentioned the car to Teddy.
  276. >Hell, you had assumed Midnight had already given the rundown to Starla.
  277. >Apparently not.
  278. >Not that you needed to forewarn him, but you idly passed along the notion of acting surprised when she showed off the new project.
  279. >"Aww, you gotta let Midnight have her moment, Anon," Teddy dismisses, waving away any tension with his hand. "It's funny seeing her so excited like this."
  280. >"I second that thought," Starla chimes in.
  281. >While you've only caught glimpses of her in video chat since the day you were introduced, this is the first time you've really seen her without braids - her strawberry blonde-esque hair tied back into a neat ponytail for the outdoor occasion.
  282. >It would have been cute seeing the two sporting matching hairstyles today, but Midnight merely let hers hang free aside from tidying it up with a brush.
  283. >Her focus was getting the Chrysler looking its best.
  284. >But not cleaning it.
  285. >Since the 'barn find' look had to be kept for this showing.
  286. >... you didn't ask, you just let Midnight be Midnight.
  287. >"Alright, you can come in," Midnight calls out, her voice echoing within as she likely stands near the lift the car is still situated upon.
  288. >Or probably still is.
  289. "I thought you were going to make it a grand show by having the bay door open?" you holler back.
  290. >"Fuuuck," Midnight grumbles after a moment's hesitation. "Well, that added suspense is ruined if they know about it."
  291. >You open the man door just enough to poke your head through.
  292. >Midnight stands in front of the Chrysler's nose, flanked by the engine that's been wheeled over on its stand.
  293. >She tenses up upon seeing you but relaxes upon realizing you aren't entering with your guests.
  294. >"What?" she asks with an air of innocence.
  295. "Did you know that a garage door can go up and down?"
  296. >"Uh, yeah. What kind of a question is that?"
  297. "One that should make you reconsider how opening up the door adds to the show - or knowing about it somehow detracts from it. They aren't retarded, Middie."
  298. >You don't get a worded reply - just a disapproving scowl.
  299. >And muted laughter behind you.
  300. >Without another word exchanged, Midnight pads closer to the entrance, pausing long enough to hit the button mounted on the wall to open the bay door.
  301. >As it noisily ascends at a leisurely pace, Midnight gallops back to the 300, frantically moving the engine over just a bit and standing in between the car and its heart.
  302. >You slip back outside and close the man door, turning to see both of your guests stepping over to the opening garage bay.
  303. "Remember, act surprised," you whisper.
  304. >"I don't even know what it is," Starla concedes. "So this really is something new for me."
  305. >"I can't say I've seen one in... ever."
  306. "Well, today's the day," you hawk while stepping onto the concrete floor once the door rises above your head.
  307. >Midnight poses with her chest thrust out in pride as everyone gathers around.
  308. >"Oh wow, I didn't expect to see something of this vintage," Teddy comments.
  309. >"How old is it? What is it?" Starla asks, her eyes darting from the car to everyone else, hoping for answers.
  310. "1957 Chrysler 300."
  311. >"C. 300C, Anon," Midnight corrects.
  312. "Yes, a 300C," you agree as you step next to Midnight, patting her on the head. "Thank you, A-hole."
  313. >"I'd hit you, but we have guests," Midnight replies, sticking her nose up to add to the snootiness in her voice.
  314. >"Hey, I'm not gonna tell anyone," Teddy chimes in with a laugh.
  315. "Gee, thanks for having my back," you jokingly bite back at him.
  316. >"For something so old, it looks - I think it's in better-looking condition than your car was, Teddy," Starla comments, straying away from his side to get a better look at the flanks of the car.
  317. >"Yeah, I didn't do so hot with my choice of purchase," he admits sheepishly.
  318. "That bad starting out, huh?"
  319. >Teddy shrugs.
  320. >"Heart got in the way of my head - already set my mind on buying the car before I realized how much was missing or needed work," he explains, albeit with a genuine smile at the end as his gaze falls to Starla. "But I suppose that makes getting it to how it looks today all the sweeter."
  321. >"I didn't mean for it to sound disapproving, dear," Starla speaks up as she rejoins his side.
  322. >"I know ya didn't, Star," he reassures her, petting her neck before shifting his attention to you. "But yeah, this looks like it's in really good shape. Where the hell did you find it?"
  323. >"He was running his cocksucker while driving and got us lost," Midnight interjects before you can utter any sort of response.
  324. >As you leer at her, she flashes a full-fanged smile in delight - particularly with the accompanying laughter of Teddy and Starla.
  325. "I'll add that we weren't lost - but someone was being quite the distraction, and I missed our turn," you slowly explain, sticking your tongue out at Midnight.
  326. >"I'd say that was a positive, considering we wouldn't have stumbled upon the car otherwise," Midnight affirms. "It was out front of an old house in the middle of nowhere - the old guy had a ton of stuff lying around."
  327. >"No shit?"
  328. "Yeah, the old man bought the car new - been sitting once something happened with the internals of the motor and never got to it. Family took priority."
  329. >"Well, you can't blame him for that," Starla proposes.
  330. "No, I'm in agreement with you there. He just never got around to looking into the matter - and he just realized now in his old age, he wasn't going to get around to it. That and it's been so long, everything has to be gone through..."
  331. >You can't help but trail off as you glance over at the car, taking a harder look at the fenders.
  332. >The weather-faded paint looks... dustier than it was.
  333. >To be fair, you really haven't taken the time to wash it down, but working on it, there should be handprints...
  334. >It looks unnatural in places.
  335. "Midnight."
  336. >"Hm?"
  337. "Did you seriously go and slather dust and dirt on the car?"
  338. >"Of course not!" she shouts, balking at the accusation.
  339. "I call bullshit because somehow, this doesn't look at all like either of us has pushed it around, leaned on the fenders to work on it... and it looks like there's sand literally piled up on top of the driver's side fender," you point out.
  340. >"It adds to the barn find look," she mutters her muzzle scrunching up as she does her best to hide embarrassment.
  341. "You're weird."
  342. >"Hey, shut up!"
  343. "Fine. But you're still weird."
  344. >"If it means anything, I think you... did a good job?"
  345. >All eyes fall to Starla - more out of amusement in her attempts to compliment Midnight's work than anything.
  346. >"Thank you," Midnight gushes, relieved to hear some support as she steps over toward Starla. "I'm glad *someone* here gets the artistic flair."
  347. "Artistic or autistic?"
  348. >Midnight's head snaps around to leer at you with narrowed eyes and a grumpy scowl.
  349. "Don't look at me in that tone of voice, young lady."
  350. >"Alright children, let's all play nice now," Teddy jokes, wandering over to take a better look at the partially disassembled engine. "Found anything wrong with the engine?"
  351. "Crankshaft is toast, I dunno about the block yet. Looks like something got in and scarred up one of the crank journals."
  352. >"Oof. Sort of sorry I asked," he replies, a sympathetic tone in his voice.
  353. >You have to just shrug and grin.
  354. "For under two grand, I can't complain. We'll get it going one way or another."
  355. >The comment instantly draws Teddy's focus upon you, his eyes wide with wonder.
  356. >"You're shitting me. Aren't these things rare as hell?"
  357. "That was all he wanted - didn't have any use for the money. Just wanted to see the car go to someone that would fix it up. And Midnight was absolutely smitten with this thing at first sight."
  358. >Satisfied with that answer and the clue as to who jumped at the chance for this car, Teddy spins around to look at Midnight.
  359. >The mention of her name attached to how the car has come into your possession makes her face light up even before the attention is lavished upon her.
  360. >"I didn't take you for a '50s rod kind of gal. Figure you'd want something imposing and fast," he quips with a laugh.
  361. >"Number one - what *isn't* imposing about this?" she answers calmly, fanning out a wing and motioning to the beltline of the car, tracing it in the air as she wanders toward the back fins.
  362. >"True, true," Teddy nods.
  363. >"And running sixteen seconds through the quarter-mile on skinny-ass bias-ply tires while hefting two tons of steel is pretty damned impressive."
  364. >You have to do a double-take with that mass of information.
  365. "Alright, nerd."
  366. >"Knowing the facts doesn't make me a nerd," she replies curtly, stomping a hoof.
  367. "I'm kidding. Relax," you ease up.
  368. >"Regardless of how it all came about, consider me impressed," Teddy interjects, giving the Chrysler another glance.
  369. >"I think you got Teddy a little jealous," Starla teases as she bumps into his side.
  370. >"Me? Nah," he says dismissively. "Maybe with them having a better piece to start with, but you know I love the Cutlass."
  371. >"I know you do. That's why you always lovingly swore at it when things weren't going right, huh?"
  372. >"I would never do such a thing," he gasps, staring at her in mock horror.
  373. >"Of course not," Starla gushes, pecking him on the cheek.
  374. >You look over to Midnight, who has wandered back to join the rest of your little group.
  375. >You pucker up your lips, leaning toward her teasingly.
  376. >The look of disgust and exaggerated dry heave says it all.
  377. >She'd rather keep up the facade tonight.
  378. >Probably no other revelations tonight for your friends.
  379. >No, it's not something that needs to be shared.
  380. >Certainly not the details.
  381. >But...
  382. >How is she going to actually go on a date in the public when she can't even be open with her confidant?
  383. >Old habits die hard, it seems.
  384. >Sucks there won't be any cuddles by the fire, though.
  385. >Speaking of which...
  386. "Well, who else is getting hungry? Probably ought to get the fire going if we're gonna do a cookout."
  387. >"Cookout, or a char-out?" Midnight comments.
  388. >Glancing back at her, you're greeted by a face dripping with smugness.
  389. "I'm making sure your food is extra charred tonight."
  390.  
  391.  
  392.  
  393.  
  394. >"So all in all, you two are doing pretty good for yourselves now, huh?"
  395. "Honestly, probably the best financial spot since I've owned the junkyard."
  396. >You expect Midnight to chime in with something witty, but as you glance over to her on your left side, she's still finishing off her plate on the other side of the vinyl bench seat you two share.
  397. >Opposite you and over the crackling flames of the fire pit, Starla and Teddy have taken up a set of folding canvas chairs he had brought along.
  398. >After the pomp and circumstance Midnight set up, things had become more casual and mellow - though dinner was still quite an eye-opener.
  399. >It was a simple meal, making it easy to get around and carry out to the firepit.
  400. >Brats and potato chips - as well as a tossed salad, for Starla of course.
  401. >You felt stupid when Starla went for a bratwurst to go along with some greens.
  402. >Everyone got a laugh at your dumbfounded expression.
  403. >Teddy explained that the biological ponies that came from where he worked were created as omnivores, making it 'easier' to share a home with them, if it ever came to be acceptable to produce them.
  404. >But how hard would it be to just send em out to graze or have greens in the fridge...?
  405. >Ah well.
  406. >"So what are your plans for the old car you two purchased?"
  407. >You wait a moment before replying to Starla's question, giving Midnight the opportunity to answer it.
  408. >But she motions for you to answer it - having just finished off her steak in a final chomp.
  409. "Nothing too crazy, as much as someone here would like to make a strip terror out of it," you say, nodding off to your left.
  410. >Starla's face goes blank.
  411. >"A 'strip terror'?"
  412. "Sorry. Basically, a face car meant to go fast in a straight line."
  413. >"Ah, I understand now. So you're going to try keeping it close to how it came from the factory."
  414. "Yeah. We'll change a few things if need be."
  415. >"Like headers."
  416. >Of course Midnight would finish eating just to speak up for performance parts.
  417. >Starla's eyes shift over to Midnight, offering the same inquisitive expression you faced just a moment ago.
  418. >"Basically an improved exhaust system on the engine, using equal-length tubing for each combustion chamber to equalize pressure when they all dump into the exhaust pipe."
  419. "*cough* nerd *cough*"
  420. >For your efforts, you get a stern jab of a hoof to your ribs, making you jump just a bit at the intrusion.
  421. >"Wow, there really is a lot to think about when working on cars and stuff," Starla muses, pondering the explanation Midnight fed to her. "When do you think you'll have your project done?"
  422. >"That might be a better question for him," Midnight answers, poking you in the ribs again.
  423. "You do that again, and I'm taking that hoof away from you," you threaten in an exaggerated, stern voice.
  424. >"You amuse me with your silly threats," Midnight taunts in a drawn-out, silky tone.
  425. >"Aw, dinner and a show," Starla comments with a giggle, leaning over the arm of her chair to rest her head upon Teddy's shoulder.
  426. "Anyway... I don't really know how long it's going to take," you say, returning back to the initial conversation. "We have to go through everything as far as electrical and mechanical since the car sat for so long. On the plus side, I don't think we have to worry about anything structural or body-wise, aside from paint."
  427. >"And you still have to figure out the engine situation - whether the block is good, and where to find a crankshaft," Midnight reminds you.
  428. "I already know where to get a crank, just got to get the engine apart and to a shop."
  429. >"You never mentioned that to me," Midnight protests, sounding just a bit irritated with you.
  430. >You grin while reaching over and patting her on the head.
  431. "I like keeping surprises from you."
  432. >"I hate surprises," she grumbles back, ducking in a half-hearted attempt to avoid your affection.
  433. "Hence why I like keeping surprises."
  434. >You hear Starla giggling again as you finally make contact with Midnight's hair when she stops fidgeting around.
  435. >"I knew that rough and tumble mare had a softer side deep within," she comments.
  436. >"Only because killing him with witnesses would be a bad idea," Midnight retorts.
  437. >"Mhmm, sure."
  438. "Oh trust me, she's still got an edge when push comes to shove. Saved my ass from a coyote not long ago," you mention, wanting to give Midnight a little bit of credit.
  439. >"I'm - really?" Starla stumbles, blindsided by your words and serious tone.
  440. >"Wasn't the first coyote I killed. Probably won't be the last," Midnight adds.
  441. >"Damn. So you really got the bite to go with the looks," Teddy speaks up, though he doesn't seem quite as surprised.
  442. >"When it's the difference between life and death, you do what needs to be done," Midnight gloats.
  443. "But she does have a soft side, you are correct on that account, Starla," you add, instantly deflating Midnight's ego.
  444. >"You're a dick," she mutters. "You're sleeping alone on the couch tonight."
  445. >Midnight doesn't seem to grasp what she just said.
  446. >But Starla does, her eyes twinkling with that little nugget.
  447. >Oh dear.
  448. >"So you two normally sleep together on the couch?" she asks innocently.
  449. >"No, we sleep in - wait, what?!"
  450. >Midnight's head snaps around, horrified as all eyes are squarely upon her.
  451. >"Bed?" Starla sweetly asks, batting her eyes.
  452. >"Anon, you-"
  453. "You said it. Don't blame this on me," you protest as Midnight's whole body seems tense up, looking ready to pounce on you.
  454. >And not for snuggles.
  455. >But as your eyes dart to see Starla leaping out of her chair with a gleeful expression, Midnight's ears swivel in her direction, followed by her head.
  456. >"Midnight, no one here thinks any less of you. You know that, right?" Starla asks as she approaches.
  457. >"...fine. Yes, I'm - we - he and I are... yes, I share the bed with him," Midnight manages to piece together, utterly embarrassed as she hangs her head just a bit.
  458. >Teddy has been stoically quiet this whole time, his arms folded as he sits back and watches the exchange - though he has failed to hide the amused smile that has overtaken his face.
  459. >He glances at you, just long enough to give you a sage nod of approval.
  460. "There, was that so hard, Middie?"
  461. >"Shut up."
  462. >"Alright, calm down. I'll stop teasing you," Starla interjects, reaching up and patting Midnight on the shoulder. "I just have to do it because of how much you feel like you have to prove yourself, particularly to me. It's just funny, like some sort of sibling rivalry thing. The little sister I never had."
  463. >"You do strike me as an annoying, overly cheerful type like Celestia," Midnight sasses, unable to keep a straight face to make it seem serious.
  464. >The comment causes Starla to cock her head, amused with this snippet as well.
  465. >"Oh, you've watched the little girls' show we originated from?"
  466. >"He made me," Midnight quickly answers as her smirk vanishes, pointing a hoof at you.
  467. "Bullshit I did," you protest. "You suggested it."
  468. >"But *you* were the one to actually look it up on the computer, hook it up to the TV and play it."
  469. "Oh, and then I restrained you on the couch and made you watch it against your will, too?"
  470. >"At least you admit it."
  471. "C'mere, you broody pain in the ass."
  472. >You quickly lean over and throw an arm around Midnight's barrel, pulling her up next to you even as she squirms and struggles against you.
  473. >Weakly.
  474. >"I really don't like you," she huffs, averting her eyes as Starla has a giggle fit.
  475. >"Nevertheless, I'm glad you took some of my advice. Now it makes more sense why you've seemed so much more relaxed the last few times we've talked."
  476. >Advice?
  477. >She already knew?
  478. "Wait, so you already told Starla about us being a thing?" you blurt out to Midnight.
  479. >She cringes, before collecting herself and offering an uneasy grin.
  480. >"It might have been a short discussion at one point."
  481. "So why the hell are you so up in arms about mentioning sleeping in the same bed?"
  482. >"...well, that's a step further than I had mentioned to Starla," Midnight mumbles.
  483. "Midnight, you are something else, you know that?"
  484. >"What's that supposed to mean?"
  485. "It means you're something... special. That rhymes with 'suit'," you answer, grinning from ear to ear as her face hardens.
  486. >"Don't say it."
  487. >"Cute?"
  488. >You nod gleefully as all eyes dart to the riddle-solver, Starla.
  489. >As Midnight's eyes narrow to direct her ire at Starla, the mare trots back over to her chair and flops down, leaning into Teddy as he strokes her hair.
  490. >With a smile that exudes more than just content.
  491. >"You're trying to be trouble tonight, aren't you?" Teddy asks her, pausing his affections momentarily.
  492. >"Me? Never," she gasps in an exaggerated fashion.
  493. >"Uh-huh."
  494. >" Meh, it's Anon's fault, anyway," Midnight interrupts.
  495. >You look over at Midnight once again, whose face has lightened up into a wry smile.
  496. >"You heard me," she says.
  497. "It's my fault you've become relatively well-adjusted and can enjoy a nice evening around a firepit with friends?"
  498. >"I suppose I can't really argue with that."
  499. >"I suppose I should shoulder some of that blame, too," Starla adds, making her voice low and forlorn despite her bright expression.
  500. >"Yeah, sort of your fault, too. And Teddy's."
  501. >"Me?" Teddy asks, acting as if he's offended.
  502. >"You were the first besides Anon that I interacted with - and despite the rather... rough initial meeting, you gave me another chance," Midnight explains, before her hoof taps the crescent moon pendant around her neck. "And a bit more freedom."
  503. >"You've come a ways from what I've seen, Midnight. I've seen others I try to help keep latched onto their past and refuse to accept help or move on. I'm glad you found a way out, in more ways than one."
  504. >"Me too," Midnight replies, smirking as she leans on your shoulder. "Me too."
  505.  
  506.  
  507.  
  508.  
  509.  
  510. >"C'mon, pick up your end, pussy."
  511. "I am. Not all of us have magic that lets us lift in any position or height."
  512. >"Well neither do I."
  513. >The smug look that Midnight sports really makes you want to drop your end of the couch and poke her in the nose.
  514. >But that wouldn't be very productive, and being at the bottom of the stairs means you could have furniture sliding your way.
  515. >That wouldn't be fun.
  516. "You have electromagnet shit. That's close enough."
  517. >"Geez, you have very low standards."
  518. "Yeah, I know - I live with you."
  519. >"Okay, you have low standards for everything else."
  520. >With the abrupt announcement of a broken spring trying to find a new home a couple of nights ago, today found you and Midnight evicting the old couch and bringing in a new one that was fortunately clearance priced.
  521. > It's a nice one at that - a lot wider from back to front with reclining features on either end and finished in dark grey leather.
  522. >...okay, so there were cheaper options, but dammit, it was still a great deal.
  523. >And the only one that wasn't fuck ugly in one way or another.
  524. >Seriously - flower print is still a thing?
  525. >Of course, the fun part is now beginning - carrying the new furniture upstairs and jamming it through the door.
  526. >It will be close, but it should fit.
  527. >Probably.
  528. "Lead the way, oh great one."
  529. >"That's more like it."
  530. "It was sarcasm."
  531. >Midnight just shakes her head with a grin as she starts heading up the stairs with the couch in tow with you bringing up the rear.
  532. >"What are we going to do if the couch won't fit through the door, anyway?" Midnight floats back to you.
  533. "You watched me measure it, dipstick."
  534. >"That didn't answer the question I asked," she sings back.
  535. "You're having too much fun being a pain in the ass, Middie," you lament.
  536. >"It's about time someone gave you a run for your money, Anon."
  537. "Well, you're getting there."
  538. >"Aww, thanks for the compliment."
  539. >Midnight is able to keep her head straight forward with her electromagnetic abilities seizing upon the internal frames and mechanisms of the recliner bits.
  540. >You would have had no problem allowing her to carry this upstairs - but even she has her limits.
  541. >Not by weight, but size.
  542. >You could tell admitting this was too unwieldy for her to balance had been difficult.
  543. >Considering she can pick up whole fucking engines - there really isn't anything to be ashamed of in your mind.
  544. >Nevertheless, you're at least glad you don't have to walk backward up the steps.
  545. >Things go rather smoothly once you find the first creaking wooden stair with a blind guess.
  546. >Almost to the top - then the real fun begins.
  547. "We're gonna take our time and not get frustrated figuring out how to fit this through the doorway, right?"
  548. >"Yeah, what would the alternative be?"
  549. "You throwing a hissy fit and putting it through the wall."
  550. >That explanation gets Midnight to turn her head and eye you.
  551. >"I don't think I would even be capable of that. And I haven't been that short-tempered in some time."
  552. "You're right - but maybe you're overdue," you suggest with a smarmy grin.
  553. >"One thing I *could* do is let go of this end and watch the couch bowl you over like a pin," she replies calmly, casting a sinister grin back at you, complete with fangs.
  554. "Well, that wouldn't be very fun. Probably be painful."
  555. >"Ah, but a sacrifice I may be willing to make."
  556. >The banter quickly dies as Midnight's hooves reach the top of the stairs and the threshold to your living space.
  557. >She scoots to the side of the door, her attention shifting between couch and entryway.
  558. >You're left to just hold up your end, waiting rather uncomfortably on the steps as your palms sweat from the plastic covering.
  559. >"Maybe clockwise about forty degrees?" she suggests after a moment of contemplation.
  560. >You blink at the rather explicit instructions.
  561. >"Failed geometry in school, huh?"
  562. "No, fuck you. Just surprised - your clockwise, or mine?"
  563. >It's Midnight's turn to just stare at you for a second.
  564. "You know, this way for me, that's clockwise," you explain while twisting your end in said direction. "That would be counterclockwise for you, right? Looking toward me?"
  565. >"Oh - duh," she blurts out as the reasoning dawns upon her. "My clockwise - tip the back to your left."
  566. >You do as instructed in time with the motion on the other end.
  567. >"Awight, weady to be patient and twy?" she asks in a mocking, childlike voice.
  568. "If it gets you to never do that again, yes."
  569. >The only reply is a snicker before Midnight eases her end forward toward the door.
  570. >You take another step up toward the landing...
  571. >*Thump*
  572. >"...twist it a little more," Midnight instructs, looking over what part of the couch is hitting.
  573. >You don't have a decent view from your angle, so all you can do is start spinning the couch.
  574. >"Right there."
  575. >Stopping, you wait for Midnight to nod before proceeding forward.
  576. >You can hear the plastic covering ruffle as it drags ever so slightly upon the door frame, but there's very little resistance to cause you concern.
  577. >You get up onto the landing and step beside Midnight and see her strained face before the realization hits you.
  578. >She's having to really exert herself in order for her magnetic abilities to go through the wall and reach this far, let alone carry the weight of the other end.
  579. "You forgot to go inside first, didn't you?"
  580. >"Shut up, I'm testing myself," she lies.
  581. "Seriously, you want to back out and try again?" you ask, concerned for her.
  582. >"I got it. We're almost there. Go."
  583. >Rather than question further, you pick up the pace and sneak in through the door, Midnight quickly making her way through behind you.
  584. >You hear her exhale as if she had been holding her breath before she leaps up onto the kitchen island counter and back down into the living room proper with a grace and agility more suited to a feline.
  585. "You're cleaning the counter before we eat this evening," you joke.
  586. >"I wasn't aware we served food directly onto the counter. Do away with the dishes sometime between this morning and now?" she retorts.
  587. "That's where the silverware sets, though."
  588. >"Cry about it."
  589. >The space between the island and the opposing wall is wider than the doorway, making it a breeze to get through.
  590. >While the job wasn't near as difficult as it could have been, you finally set the couch down in its spot with a satisfied grunt.
  591. >Standing back up straight with the edge of the plastic covering in your hands, a deft tug snaps it away from the leather and into a heap at your feet.
  592. >The smell of new furniture quickly permeates the air, an oddly relaxing scent.
  593. >You look down at the sumptuous cushions, before eyeing Midnight.
  594. >Judging by the glint in her eyes she has the same thought.
  595. "Mine!" you shout first, kicking off your shoes in the process.
  596. >"Fuck no, mine!"
  597. >Yet despite her protests, Midnight waits just long enough for you to begin your leap onto the couch to mirror your actions.
  598. >You both meet in the middle, barely avoiding a collision.
  599. >"Scoot over, dumbass," she mutters, giving you a light shove with her shoulder.
  600. "You scoot over, dumbass," you respond, accompanied by your own shove upon her barrel.
  601. >Midnight flares out a wing, hitting you in the face with the dark purple plumage and causing you to recoil a bit out of sheer reflex.
  602. >Of course, she all too eagerly seizes the real estate you've given up, scooting up to your side again.
  603. >You aren't giving up that easy.
  604. >Leaning over on her, you awkwardly bend and situate your body to a point you are eye to eye with her.
  605. >And start peppering her snout with kisses.
  606. >"Dammit, stop being a faggot! That's cheating!" she whines loudly, trying to back away from you.
  607. "Tough luck, loser," you sputter between assaults.
  608. >At some point during the squirming around on the new couch, you end up on your side nestled into the back of the couch.
  609. >Midnight lays on her stomach just in front of you, sprawled out with her head turned to face you.
  610. "There, was that so hard?"
  611. >"Yes, yes it was."
  612. >That's all the words exchanged between the two of you while allowing your pulses to settle down a bit.
  613. "Does this new couch mean I get my bed back?" you suggest.
  614. >A short trill of laughter greets the inquiry almost instantly.
  615. >"Hardly. You've opened a door that can never be closed, Anon."
  616. "Dammit."
  617. >You reach up with your hand and begin fiddling with her mane affectionately, garnering a hum of approval that you feel as she leans her body into you.
  618. >"Funny you should mention this being a good spot to sleep again..." Midnight muses, allowing the comment to drift off in a cryptic manner.
  619. "You want to invite some of your old coyote buddies to live with us."
  620. >"Real fucking comedian, aren't you?"
  621. "First thing that came to mind."
  622. >"Sure. Anyway, Starla happened to mention Teddy was going out of town for a couple of days, meet up with a couple of contacts from his old occupation. Really hush-hush shit, changes and rents a car between here and there before meeting up, pays cash for everything, takes an odd route to and from and anything else to keep his and Starla's whereabouts unknown."
  623. "Damn. I guess I can't blame him, but odd he would want to even meet up with people in the business," you comment, trying to fathom the spy-esque precautions.
  624. >"I guess most of the time, it's old friends that are kinda like Teddy, not keen on the whole situation. But he doesn't really like leaving Starla in the house alone, even though she can easily manage for up to a week or so, and has done just that previously."
  625. "So..."
  626. >You know where Midnight is leading, but you're going to force it out of her.
  627. >"So."
  628. >Midnight stops, merely staring at you in silence.
  629. "You've proven time and time again I can't beat you in a staring contest, Middie."
  630. >"Why do you have to be an asshole?"
  631. "I am merely laying here. What is it you want from me?" you ask, playing innocent.
  632. >"Can Starla stay with us a few days, to do Teddy a bit of a favor and so we can have a sleepover?"
  633. >A sleepover.
  634. >It sounds so childish when putting it that way.
  635. >Yet by all accounts - or at least what can be remembered - it doesn't sound like either of them really got to just be kids.
  636. >Starla isn't going to be as self-sufficient as Midnight, though - but you don't see that being too much of an issue.
  637. >But what do you do when it comes to work?
  638. >You suppose skipping a day or two of pulling parts won't kill you, but playing catchup afterward is going to suck.
  639. >However, the lack of an instantaneous answer gets Midnight to unleash her secret weapon.
  640. >Her lower lip curls outward as she pouts, giving you those sad eyes.
  641. "Cut that shit out," you demand, closing your eyes.
  642. >"I can just keep doing this. Sooner or later, you'll have to get up and open your eyes."
  643. "I hope your face gets stuck like that. You're evil."
  644. >Midnight lets out a sinister cackle at the accusation.
  645. >That was a little too good.
  646. >"In all reality - what's keeping you from saying yes?"
  647. "Dealing with another one of you."
  648. >"I'm asking a serious question here, jackhole."
  649. >You reluctantly open your eyes, finding Midnight has at least wiped the pout off of her face.
  650. "What's she gonna do when we're working? We still have a junkyard to run, you know."
  651. >Midnight's eyes narrow as her expression turns queer.
  652. >"She can walk, you know."
  653. "And you don't think spending all day watching us work will bore her?"
  654. >"No, I really don't think it will be an issue. But I can ask her - send a message yet today on the computer, how about that?"
  655. "That sounds like we're at a 'maybe' in the meantime."
  656. >Midnight squees at the proclamation, bouncing up and down in place as she starts unleashing her own battery of kisses upon your face.
  657. "Stop, you're such a faggot," you mockingly whine.
  658. >"It doesn't really work when you do it."
  659. "This is bullshit."
  660.  
  661.  
  662.  
  663.  
  664.  
  665. >With a triumphant toss of the last bolt into a nearby can and removing the last cap, you finally have the junk crankshaft of the Chrysler's Hemi ready to come out.
  666. >Midnight tinkers with her own project merely a few feet away, lost in her own little world as you pull the part out of the engine block.
  667. "Here, catch!"
  668. >You give the hunk of useless iron in your hands a good heave toward Midnight after hesitating just long enough for her to process your words.
  669. >She turns her head sluggishly with passive interest when you speak - but her eyes widen upon seeing the dart heading for her direction.
  670. >"Anon, you fucking-"
  671. >The crankshaft halts in mid-air, still about a foot from reaching her.
  672. >"What is wrong with you?" she spouts in irritated disbelief, her brow creased with disapproval.
  673. "Just making sure you're paying attention," you reply with a shrug.
  674. >"I've always got an eye and an ear out, especially around you," Midnight retorts, shaking her head as the crankshaft resumes its journey toward her - albeit slowly and under her unseen control. "What would you have done if this had hit me, smartass?"
  675. "Made sure you were all right before laughing."
  676. >Midnight's face remains rather gruff - though there is a slight crack in that dour expression for a moment.
  677. >"How thoughtful of you."
  678. "Oh, you know I wouldn't dare hurt that pretty little face, Middie," you concede, reaching out toward her with your hands.
  679. >"Don't touch me, your hands are filthy," Midnight barks, the crankshaft twirling in the air until she has it readied like a club.
  680. >You look down at your hands, which are indeed covered with oil and grease.
  681. >"What if I hadn't even caught this? Then what?" Midnight asks as you turn back to you bench to grab a rag.
  682. "It's junk anyway - don't tell me you forgot," you scoff, wiping off your hands as best you can.
  683. >"I understand that - but you really want to mar up the concrete?" she answers, tapping a hoof upon the floor.
  684. >You shrug, nothing a dab of grease still clinging onto the pad of your right thumb.
  685. "It would just be another mark in the floor that tells a story," you suggest, turning toward her again as you flash her a smile.
  686. >Whether it be your movements or expression, Midnight is instantly suspicious of you as she backs up a step.
  687. >"What?"
  688. >You raise your hand and hold your thumb out toward her, grinning madly.
  689. "Simba," you croak in a thick accent.
  690. >"Stay away from me with that."
  691. "That's not what you said a couple of nights ago."
  692. >"That - oh, shut up!" she shouts in disgust, picking up on your pun before she can respond with something else.
  693. "Come here..." you coo, moving toward her, your greasy thumb held out toward her forehead at the ready.
  694. >"Nope, nope, fuck you. Don't make me hit you," she threatens, swinging the crankshaft in a careful, controlled arc as she backs up another step.
  695. >An electronic beep emanating from the counter across the shop draws both your attention as well as Midnight's.
  696. >"Oh, I wonder if that's finally Starla," Midnight comments, trying her hardest to contain her excitement and anticipation.
  697. >Since discussing the possibility of hosting a sleepover with Starla and reaching out to her via email, Midnight has ensured the laptop is never far from earshot after enabling audible notifications.
  698. >It goes without saying, a couple of spam messages have triggered false alarms in the day and a half since.
  699. >That has somewhat tempered the expectations she has hearing the device chime in now.
  700. >Midnight sets the crankshaft down on the table and trots to the other side of the shop, her hooves upon the solid floor echoing loudly.
  701. >You take the opportunity to follow her, trying to match her steps.
  702. >"Anon, I swear I will beat you senseless," she muses loudly, making it known that your efforts are in vain without even turning to face you.
  703. "What's the safe word, mistress?"
  704. >That comment gets her to turn and look at you, her muzzle scrunched up as she strains to keep a serious face.
  705. >"You are just awful today," she finally comments after a moment to compose herself.
  706. >Even so, the last couple of words are tainted by a hint of laughter.
  707. "Something in the water, I guess."
  708. >"But we drink the same water."
  709. "Then I don't know what to tell you."
  710. >Midnight lifts up the laptop screen as she circles around the counter, shaking her head at you.
  711. >But her eyes are focused, and giddiness soon takes hold as keystrokes and clicks bring up the email account.
  712. >"Finally!"
  713. "What's up?"
  714. >"Dunno yet."
  715. >...
  716. "Um, you gonna read the message at some point...?"
  717. >Midnight glances at you sideways, her lips pursed in mild irritation.
  718. >The laptop rotates slightly to obscure the screen from you, while the screen tilts forward, with no accompanying explanation from Middie.
  719. >But after a few more clicks from the mousepad, Midnight's expression lightens up significantly.
  720. >"Hi Star!" she cheers, her eyes fixated on the screen.
  721. >"Well that didn't take long to get an answer, did it?" comes Starla's voice from the speakers.
  722. >You start to creep around the counter to get a view before you're gripped by a death stare emanating from Midnight.
  723. "I didn't realize I was a secret you were keeping from Starla," you comment loudly, in the hope of the microphone picking up your voice.
  724. >"Hi Anon, how are you? It's not often I get to catch you in the video chats," Starla's voice answers back sweetly.
  725. "I'm being held hostage. Send help."
  726. >"Shut up, you dumbass," Midnight grumbles, picking a snapped bolt off of the counter and tossing it at you lightly.
  727. >You sidestep the halfhearted attempt to drive you away.
  728. "Now she's throwing things and being abusive."
  729. >You only hear a giggle fit from the other end while Midnight rolls her eyes and relents, the laptop turning so you can see.
  730. >Starla waves an off-color hoof upon seeing you, catching hold of her giggles for the time being.
  731. "Hi Starla. You've had Midnight all tied into knots the last day or two."
  732. >"Oh, that was never my intention - sorry, Midnight," Starla responds, her attention shifting to Middie.
  733. >"It wasn't *that* bad," Midnight replies, brushing aside the concern. "Anon likes to hype things up just to be embarrassing."
  734. "So jumping up every time the laptop made a noise was nothing. Interesting."
  735. >"Hush."
  736. >"I got your message the day you sent it - it's just that Teddy and I have been busy, and we've both been thinking it over. I know he worries about leaving me alone, even though I prove I'm more than capable time and time again. But I don't want to get in the way either, especially while you two are working..."
  737. >"It's not really anything intensive or time-sensitive, Starla. I only asked because it's... well, we still have to work. So it might be boring to just watch u-"
  738. >"Is that it?" Starla interrupts. " I think it would be interesting to see what you two do on a daily basis. And working around cars means a lot to you - I'd like to see for myself, if I could."
  739. >"Really? So that's a yes?" Midnight asks, trying hard to temper her excitement as her voice raises a bit.
  740. >"As long as it's fine with Anon..." Starla trails off, those magenta eyes falling upon you.
  741. "Man, I really got to think on that."
  742. >"You really want me to hit you, don't you?" Midnight blurts.
  743. "You have a touch that sends shivers down my spine when you beat me, Middie," you croon wistfully.
  744. >On the other side of the screen, Starla bursts into another fit of giggles, while Midnight's nostrils flare as she tries hard to look mad at you.
  745. "Sounds like we got plans for a sleepover, Starla. When is Teddy heading out on the road?"
  746. >"Oh, another week yet, I believe. So it's not really a rush - I don't need fancy accommodations or anything, anyway."
  747. "Still, I gotta get more food. Fido here eats basically nothing but meat."
  748. >"You know I'm sitting right here listening, right?"
  749. "Of course, Fido."
  750. >You feel Midnight's hoof roughly poke you in the ribs.
  751. >Meanwhile, Starla claps her hooves together excitedly.
  752. >"Midnight, I'm going to make a little list and email it to you later of suggestions to get at the grocery store. At least one of those days, I'd really like to cook for you two!" she quickly spouts.
  753. >"Alright..." Midnight replies, taken aback by the outburst.
  754. >Personally you find it endearing.
  755. >"By the way, why didn't you just email me a response back in the first place?"
  756. >"Well, I just wanted to tell you... face to face. I figured you would be happy about it."
  757. >"For sure! I'm glad we're having you over for a sleepover," Midnight lightens up. "Anon just likes being a dumbass. Sorry about him."
  758. >"I think he's entertaining!"
  759. "Thank you."
  760. >"Don't encourage him, Star. Please."
  761. >Starla stifles a bit of laughter at Midnight's plea.
  762. >"I'll let you two get back to your work. Judging by the grease and grime on Anon's shirt, you're in the thick of something."
  763. >"Yeah, more work on the Chrysler," Midnight pipes in. "Thanks Starla, talk to you soon."
  764. >"Buh bye Midnight, Anon," Starla replies with a nod and a smile toward each of you.
  765. "Take care of yourself and Ted."
  766. >Another nod from Starla, and the video chat closes down.
  767. >You look down at yourself, noting the filth you've managed to accumulate and wiping a dab of grease away with your thumb.
  768. >Meanwhile, Midnight lets out a content sigh.
  769. >"This is going to be fun," she says with a giant grin on her face as you look up.
  770. "Yeah, I'm looking forward to it. And embarrassing you."
  771. >That grin fades just a bit with the last comment - even before you raise your hand up...
  772. >And dab a bit of black grease onto her forehead.
  773. "Simbaaa."
  774. >"Are you fucking serious?!"
  775. >You quickly turn and start hustling away from the counter, in time to watch a white and rust-speckled object go whizzing by your right arm and skip across the concrete.
  776. "Hey, spark plugs hurt a lot more than little bolts!"
  777. >"Good! I'll make sure I don't miss with the next one!"

Midnight [Part 5]

by Autopony

Darkness [Midnightverse]

by Autopony

Midnight [Part 4]

by Autopony

Shadow [Midnightverse]

by Autopony

Midnight [Part 3]

by Autopony