GREEN   87   0
   7017   37.98 KB   746

/bootleg/ Jacky Part Twelve

By BlondieAnon
Created: 28th May 2022 08:55:15 AM
23rd July 2022 08:49:54 PM

  1. "Duh... duh duh, duh duh duh... no, that's the wrong tune..."
  2. "Duhhh, dun duh duh, duh duh? Dun duh duh duh duh duuuuhh..."
  3. >That's the way that sounds
  4. >Ever since she started singing you to sleep, you haven't been able to get it out of your head
  5. >Between that and... other things, the latest harmony quest has fallen a little to the wayside
  6. >And by "a little", you mean almost two months
  7. >All it took was one lazy Saturday
  8. >Lazier than Saturdays usually are, actually
  9. >Rather than wake up, you decided to just lay there and sleep
  10. >You recall Jack trying to wake you up
  11. >And failing
  12. >And then Shine trying to wake you up
  13. >And failing
  14. >And somewhere in between all of that you ate a few biscuits
  15. >They were good
  16. >But not good enough to keep you awake for long
  17. "Gah... that's not right either is it..."
  18. >"Talking to yourself in the dark again, I see. Do the voices speak back?"
  19. >Of course, it is the only other nocturnal beast in the apartment
  20. >Not counting Prism
  21. >You aren't sure when exactly her sleeping hours are
  22. "Yeah, they tell me red pony hide would look bad ass as a set of chaps."
  23. >"You want me wrapped around your waist that badly, huh."
  24. >Her tongue is as sharp as ever
  25. "Maybe. I could go further about a stretching joke but I think we're both too tired for that."
  26. >"Speak for yourself."
  27. "Ok. I could go further about a stretching joke but I am too tired for that."
  28. >"Better."
  29. "Thanks."
  30. >The room is pitch dark
  31. >It hasn't been this dark in a long time, due to one of the computers being on at almost all times
  32. >Movie nights have made a comeback, but you've avoided them because they're all chick flicks
  33. >And you love Jacqueline enough to sit through exactly two of those
  34. >And boy howdy, were those two long evenings
  35. >Shine's horn starts to glow
  36. >Just enough to make it out in the zombie-infested abyss
  37. >She sits on a pillow and faces you
  38. >"Does the light help?"
  39. "Tiny bit."
  40. >Do you look like the sort of guy who needs a pony night light?
  41. >...
  42. >Better to not want an answer to that
  43. >"How you doing?"
  44. "Ehh..."
  45. >"Articulate, aren't we."
  46. "Hey, lay off. It's almost three AM. I should be sleeping by now."
  47. >"And I should be doing suspect things while you're sleeping."
  48. >Ever since those girls' movie nights, she's been getting notably more...
  49. >Herself?
  50. >You try to look for an excuse but the fact of the matter is that she's been getting increasingly personal with her banter
  51. >It has led to Jack getting some good comebacks in so you suppose you don't care all that deeply
  52. "Guess that explains the magical residue, huh..."
  53. >You lean your back against the wall
  54. >You can't see it but you've actually cleaned your room up a good deal
  55. >You keep thinking of getting outfits for them to wear but the topic never comes up
  56. >And they never press it
  57. >And you don't even know where to find pony-sized outfits
  58. >At least the room is clean
  59. >Ish
  60. "I'm... I'm kinda stuck."
  61. >"Do I want to sarcastically ask if you're actually sitting on sticky sheets or is this a real thing?"
  62.  
  63. "First off? Ew. You know I wash these sheets religiously, and they're new."
  64. >"They're not new anymore."
  65. "Yeah, because you spilled a bag of popcorn less than three days after they were put on."
  66. >"...ok. No comment."
  67. "So n'yeah."
  68. >You think Shine has a sixth sense for sniffing out your bullshit
  69. >She could before, but it seems like she hones in on it now
  70. >Jack does too but you tend to goof around with her so much that those issues tend to be forgotten
  71. >That is not a bad thing
  72. >Prism will ask if you're doing fine but she doesn't press it
  73. >Which is fine, you've come to meet some mutual agreement about keeping things at arm's length
  74. >Even if a drunk night did lead to you hugging her
  75. >Worse, she hugged back
  76. >It makes for good joke material to the other two but you know that was just...
  77. >Not a slip up
  78. >Maybe a temporary gate opening?
  79. >"Hey, no going silent on me. Speak up already."
  80. "About what?"
  81. >"I know you are constantly distraught by the heaven that is living with three ponies and that you mentally flog yourself over how much love and attention we give you. But you gotta have something else going on upstairs this time."
  82. "You're half-right. I just think about flogging said ponies and applying ginger for more lively reactions and added flavor."
  83. >Shine's horn flickers bright for almost long enough to be a split-second
  84. >"...you're a cruel man, Anon."
  85. "Thank you."
  86. >They aren't the only one learning anatomy lessons
  87. >You let out a sigh that's too heavy given how comfy your daily life is
  88. "I still feel guilty about the harmony quest pausing. And ever since we spoke about jobs and all that, I..."
  89. >You shrug and throw up your hands
  90. >Not that anyone can see your gestures
  91. "It's a lot to take in."
  92. >"At least you didn't forget my unboxing day this year."
  93. "Hey, I didn't forget. You said you wanted a pony, I got us Prism."
  94. >"I said I wanted you to act like a pony, not to get her."
  95. "Neigh."
  96. >She doesn't like to call it her "birthday"
  97. >You can get that
  98. >Neither of you say anything for a while
  99. >If it wasn't for the dim glow of red, you could believe that she just wandered off
  100. >Or maybe slept
  101. >...nah
  102. >She wouldn't do that
  103. >You can almost feel her eyes on you
  104. >The focus
  105. >The intent
  106. "I didn't want to say anything but I think I might swap to something I can bring you girls on."
  107. >"For work?"
  108. "Yeah. I mean, if you want to."
  109. >You hate even contemplating this topic
  110. >Are they freeloaders?
  111. >Technically, yes
  112. >Can they work?
  113. >Technically, yes
  114. >Do you want them to?
  115. >Not really
  116. "I... I don't want to talk about that."
  117. >"Mr. Motormouth still doesn't want to talk about it? You really are all choked up over it, aren't you."
  118. "No."
  119. >You squint at her glow
  120. "Yes."
  121. >You say both words with the same level of defensive aggression
  122. >"Alright. But can I sidestep the police line and at least ask why?"
  123. "Because I don't want you, or Jack, or Prizza to worry about it."
  124. >"...Prizza?"
  125. "Yeah."
  126. >"How does that even fit?"
  127. "Because the "R" is silent."
  128.  
  129. >"...huh. I guess that fits. You really aren't doing so hot if even your nicknaming is getting rusty."
  130. >Another sigh
  131. >You like that she doesn't give you much wiggle room
  132. "I guess. The other thing about the harmony quest stuff... I'm just worried, ok?"
  133. >"Anon, look at me."
  134. >You look around the darkness of the room and give the glow a hard squint
  135. "Do you know where we are?"
  136. >"Shut up, you know where I am."
  137. "Alright. Fine. I'm looking just below the red."
  138. >"Good boy."
  139. >Her dismissive yet amused tone has become more of a comfort than you'd like to admit
  140. >If Jack is who you can get all romantic and cuddly with, Shine is who you can fling shit the hardest at with no concern of the stench
  141. >"Now we had some rough times. I can admit that. But look around."
  142. "Dude, seriously?"
  143. >"Shut up, metaphorically speaking look at how we are."
  144. >She has a point
  145. >Much like before, it seems like you're the only one honestly concerned about someone crossing a line and things getting rocky
  146. >Or worse, breaking down
  147. >You can't help but feel like you've always had that concern around people
  148. >Your friends of back then
  149. >Your family
  150. >You huff hard to push those topics out of your head
  151. >"Yeah, exactly. This isn't like... other things. Prism gets mad but she doesn't say things like she used to. And trust me, she used to be very vocal. She's willing to get over herself and at least try to help, once she cools off. It's her way of burying the hatchet."
  152. >You haven't even seen her get that mad
  153. >Not lately, anyway
  154. >"And Jacky... good grief, I'm telling you I'm rolling my eyes hard because-ha ha dark room-because she is just so... freaking fairy tale princess sometimes."
  155. >That makes you smile
  156. >You can't avoid letting out a "heh"
  157. >"See? And I bet you embrace that silly crap too. But... well, it works. She has her one or three topics that she is kinda weird on but that's usually it."
  158. "Wait, which ones?"
  159. >"...you telling me there are more than three topics."
  160. "N-no."
  161. >You and Jack talk about so many things, both good and bad, to the extent that you can't think of only three things that she gets weird with
  162. >"...I'm just gonna pre-emptively go "ew" and move on from that."
  163. "Not all of them are gross!"
  164. >"Yeah, no. You sound guilty as all so again. Ew."
  165. >Whatever
  166. >It isn't like she's above going into "ew" territory
  167. >"I mean it though. I can feel like I'm going to blow a hole in the ground and she can still get me to smile. I don't know how she does it. It's like she has no shame."
  168. >You find yourself nodding
  169. >Yeah
  170. >She really is quite open with things, isn't she
  171. >"And then there's me and... well, I'm me. So of course I keep everyone together with my awesome personality, wit, creativity and understanding."
  172. "HA!"
  173. >Not even a second goes by and your gut instinct is to laugh
  174. "You play video games whenever you can, where is this "creativity" you speak of?"
  175. >"It's going to flood the inside of your head with wit. Besides, do you know how hard it is to find new ways to use magic?"
  176.  
  177. "...uh... no? I don't."
  178. >You hear a stifled Shiner noise
  179. >Like she had a comeback prepared but she lost it
  180. >"...ok well, neither do I. It kinda just... happens. I don't even understand how I had issues anymore."
  181. >This time she sighs
  182. >"But that doesn't matter for this, the fact is that we're all tougher than we used to be. And let's face it, whatever issues we have really aren't so massive. Thankfully none of us really wish we were back in the stink of living like sewer rats. You keep that sort of thing in mind and it acts like a good bullshit-detecting compass."
  183. "So in this case does the compass point toward or away from the sewer rat lifestyle?"
  184. >"Whichever makes for the more clever analogy."
  185. "Gotcha."
  186. >You bring up a hand to cover your mouth while you yawn
  187. >Which is silly because it's not like you care for manners around your mares
  188. >Least of all Shiner Sixtyniner
  189. "You know I think this is at least the third night you've talked to me about that."
  190. >"I know. You still think it is an issue worth worrying over too. So I have to spend my precious time around you and remind you that you're just being nutty."
  191. "You're welcome, by the way. I'm a very interesting guy."
  192. >"Oh yeah, clearly."
  193. >It is almost comical just how thick she'll lay on the sarcasm
  194. >It is a good sign
  195. >It means that she isn't taking it all that seriously
  196. >You really shouldn't either
  197. >But
  198. >You will
  199. >You're ok with that being a flaw
  200. >That relief washes over you from left to right until you feel like forty pounds of Chill landed on your head and didn't even bother to bring Netflix
  201. "Jack is still talking about the quest at least."
  202. >"Yeah, and she has like a dozen ideas now. See what happens when you don't keep her on a tight leash?"
  203. "Consider yourself lucky I never trained her with commands."
  204. >"I'm... not going to joke about that."
  205. "Smart move."
  206. >You emit a loud yawn
  207. >Short but forceful enough to hurt your sternum
  208. >You hear a yawn, mimicked in force
  209. >"For your information, I'm only sounding tired because you're tired."
  210. "Yeah, then be prepared to act like you're sleeping soon."
  211. >You bring up a pair of pillows and set them on your lap
  212. >It has been so lukewarm to cool that you haven't felt the need to bundle up
  213. >The horn glow begins to fade
  214. >"Hey Anon."
  215. "Hey J-er-Shine."
  216. >"Wow, ok."
  217. "Sorry, I'm blaming fatigue."
  218. >"Whatever."
  219. >You feel a pillow get thrown at your side
  220. >Then you can hear movement
  221. >Feel weight at your side, near the pillow
  222. >Or on top of it
  223. >"Don't zone out so much. Ok? None of us worry but sometimes it's a little obvious that you aren't paying attention to things."
  224. "Is it that bad?"
  225. >"Bad enough that you don't even have witty remarks half the time? Yes. Jacky thinks you're in a crisis if I don't make fun of her."
  226. "Don't make fun of the poor girl."
  227. >"Until you get out of your funk? You literally don't even know when I'm doing it."
  228. "That's."
  229. >Another yawn
  230. >You even felt the side of your jaw pop
  231. "Mean."
  232. >"It's ok, I make her pancakes so I'm allowed to be mean."
  233. "Good point."
  234.  
  235. >You close your eyes
  236. >Knowing that you aren't alone in the abyss helps
  237. >You certainly aren't afraid of the dark
  238. >But
  239. >Sometimes, you wonder
  240. >You would rather not look too deeply, because of what might be looking back
  241. >"Your breathing is off. Calm your butt and just relax already. Save the panic attack for the daylight."
  242. >She sounds wiped, doesn't she
  243. "Wouldn't most people consider that weird?"
  244. >"I don't care if I incinerate a thousand people."
  245. "Now you just sound worse."
  246. >"You're welcome. Go to bed."
  247. >A soft scoff
  248. >It makes you feel better, knowing that you actually have someone watching out for you like that
  249. >It feels good to know you have someone that has your back
  250. >You let the unorthodox warm feeling melt into your core, like a dollop of butter melting on toast
  251. "Thanks, Spar."
  252. >Her only answer is a nuzzle against your leg
  253. >Your ability to form thoughts fad, like a bubble bath going down a drain
  254. >One straggler of a concern refuses to sink like the rest
  255. >Or maybe it is just idle musing
  256. >Where would you even be without these girls?
  257.  
  258. >Movie night
  259. >The first in...
  260. >How long?
  261. >Far too long
  262. >Just you and Jack
  263. >It isn't any of the classics
  264. >Neither the theatrical classics or personal favorites
  265. >But something new
  266. >Something...
  267. >Bad
  268. >"So how do the six fingers make them advanced aliens again?"
  269. "No, no, it's not that. It's that they all have dreadlocks."
  270. >"What about their fancy guns?"
  271. "Nope. It's all the locks."
  272. >You've gotten barely more than a half hour in
  273. >With her draped over your lap and using your forearm as a head rest, she has no option but to look at the monitor
  274. >"...is it just me or is everything slanted a little to the side?"
  275. "That's because the way you're laying, dear."
  276. >"...you sure?"
  277. "No. It's also on that way on purpose."
  278. >"..."
  279. "..."
  280. >There is a little bit of tension
  281. >Not a lot
  282. >But enough for your animal instincts to pick up on, like the faint smell of smoke on the wind
  283. >"This movie sucks."
  284. >Jacqueline's words come out as a dull surprise
  285. "Y... yeah, it does. When it came out, everyone hated it but supposedly it was a big deal because Travolta was a big name back then."
  286. >"The thespian?"
  287. "Yup."
  288. >"When you were still learning to PET MY MANE!"
  289. >Her outburst leads to her spearing a hoof up into the air
  290. >"I... was being trained... to conquer GALAXIES!"
  291. >You snort at her apt flamboyancy and go to stroke her mane with your free arm
  292. >Jacky sighs
  293. >"I'm glad you didn't show me this for my first movies. What made you wanna show me westerns, anyway?"
  294. >You get the feeling that this isn't going to focus on just movies
  295. "You know? I don't know. I haven't watched any in a long while. I think we moved away from movies."
  296. >"I guess so. I'm... kinda really not feeling this one. So I'm gonna keep talking."
  297. "I wouldn't stop you."
  298. >Jackovich kicks her hind legs out, inhaling before letting out a relaxed sigh
  299. >You've still never seen someone get so completely relaxed
  300. >Not around yourself, anyway
  301. >"...do you remember when we used to watch movies every night, Anon?"
  302. "Yeah. Of course I do."
  303. >You go from stroking her mane to petting her from shoulder to flank
  304. "Two and a half years, and yet it feels like last week that Angel Eyes spooked you."
  305. >Her body tenses up
  306. >"...hey, you telling me that wouldn't scare me? I had no clue what humans were like. And then I see one shoot another in the face-twice-with a pillow over his head!"
  307. >Your petting leads to her side relaxing
  308. >"And all the while, I got someone who gave me food, a home, found my friends and..."
  309. >This seems like it is going somewhere
  310. >Maybe this is why she hasn't been speaking to you all that much lately
  311. >Depending on where she's going
  312. >"...I miss those days."
  313. "Being alone all day until I come home?"
  314. >"W... well. No. Not that."
  315. >She brings her front legs up and begins to knead against your leg
  316. >You've found that it's her method of petting you
  317. >"But I miss having you to myself. Things were simpler. A lot simpler."
  318. >The tone in her voice
  319. >She doesn't sound sad
  320. >You don't remember what a sad Jack sounds like
  321.  
  322. >"There were..."
  323. >The way she trails off
  324. >You know there is more to her thoughts than that
  325. >Specific examples?
  326. >Personal aspects that she isn't fond of?
  327. >"...just less to think about."
  328. "The good news is that you don't have to think more."
  329. >"But I gotta. When it came to you losing family. Us starting the quests. Our campaign. Our movie marathons. Trying out a ton of food..."
  330. "Do you wish you had less choice or memories?"
  331. >"...I don't know."
  332. >She stops the kneading and twists until she's laying on her back
  333. >Her eyes focus on you rather than the monitor
  334. >Her gaze is focused
  335. >More focused than you could see Shine give
  336. >The unicorn is one for scheming and looking for opportunity
  337. >But your Jack?
  338. >Her purpose is clear
  339. >>"Is that weird?"
  340. "Kinda. But I get you. I miss my earlier days too."
  341. >Whether this was her target or not, you shrug at the notion of sidestepping the conversation
  342. "I really miss them. They were a lot simpler back then. I had to worry about so little."
  343. >"That's how I feel."
  344. "What would you want to pull the clock on, then?"
  345. >"...I think Dashie and Sparky being here."
  346. >That's big
  347. >That's very big
  348. >"I should feel bad for saying that, but I don't. You know? Because it would mean that we would still find them, once again. And we had an easy time so we could just get them whenever we felt like it."
  349. "I don't know if that's how that works, Jay."
  350. >"I know... but I just wish we could do it all again."
  351. "Like a speed runner?"
  352. >Jack thinks it over...
  353. >And nods
  354. >"Kinda."
  355.  
  356. >"Get lost, we're having together time."
  357. >"Get lost, I have a superboss to kill."
  358. >"Get lost, I'm going to do unspeakable things."
  359. >"Get lost, I'm going to kill unspeakable things."
  360. >Five minutes of a constant back and forth
  361. >Five
  362. >Minutes
  363. >The gamer mare eventually won out, leading to you and Jacky taking a walk in the garage
  364. >At least it has turned into a win/win, because you still get to spend time with her
  365. >Things are not awkward
  366. >But they are...
  367. >Odd?
  368. >You get the feeling that something is off
  369. >The way she has been sticking to you like glue has helped both when it comes to your concerns and also when it comes to feeling relaxed
  370. >That gaze of hers, too
  371. >It almost feels like a light flipped in her head
  372. >It isn't just how she looks at you, of course
  373. >She speaks with more authority
  374. >She acts with pride
  375. >Of course, she was never shy but you can tell she isn't who she was
  376. >But she's still Jack-in-a-Pan
  377. >"I know it's been a bit but have you been thinking about the harmony quests?"
  378. "Of course. Sorry I was... unable to keep up with that."
  379. >"Nah, it's alright. Every one of us kinda wanted to take a break from it too. Being all serious and trying to play up being heroes and stuff like that... it's kinda silly, you know?"
  380. "Sorta. But it's still important to you, isn't it?"
  381. >"Sure is. That's why I'm ready the minute you are."
  382. "Antsy as all getout, eh?"
  383. >"You know it! I've already thought of everything. With my brains and your leadership, we can beat the tar outta any quest!"
  384. >You aren't sure which is more silly sounding, her brains or your...
  385. "Leadership?"
  386. >After walking a third circuit, you hold out your car beeper to unlock the doors
  387. >"Yeah. I don't know if you've noticed but... you kinda control the flow of things around the house. When you're kinda just doing things or not feeling so hot and social, we just do our own stuff. And it's nice."
  388. "It really is."
  389. >"And when you're more active and want to do stuff, we all kinda snap to attention and we do it."
  390. "Well-oiled machine, huh?"
  391. >"I guess so. I think it's funny. We never really used to fit that sort of thing."
  392. "Yeah, I recall. Could you imagine knocking over an entire city and making off with untold riches with me at the helm?"
  393. >You open the passenger door for your right hoof mare
  394. >With a short stretch of one of her hind legs, she leaps onto the seat
  395. >If you knew all of them back then
  396. >Knew her
  397. >...How much would have changed?
  398. >Would you be meeting her as you are now, or who you were before?
  399. >You certainly couldn't have made a difference if you met her before you did
  400. >And that's ok
  401. >It's a part of growth
  402. >Supposedly
  403. >You open the driver door and plop inside
  404. >Jack chomps onto a rag you tied to the door
  405. >With a quick yank, it is closed and secure
  406. >Deciding some privacy is better than none, you close your door as well
  407. >"Imagine us... robbing bakeries, delis, whatever farm we came across."
  408.  
  409. "Heh. Eating as many fancy things as we liked. But I don't think I would want to be known as a continental crook."
  410. >"No?"
  411. "Nah. Too much notoriety means copycats sullying our good, bad names."
  412. >Her cheeky grin is exactly the sort of expression a master cannoli burglar would have
  413. >"Oh yeah, no doubt we had a ton of humans lurching around. Just throngs of Anons hitting on poor, innocent ponies."
  414. "Innocent? Psh. Lady, you were a stone cold killer. Don't lie."
  415. >"I'm not! You have no evidence anyway."
  416. "Oh yeah?"
  417. >You take out your phone
  418. >You hardly mess with it these days
  419. >Snap
  420. >Yup
  421. >That one is definitely going into your mare compilation
  422. >Perfect that it captures a modestly surprised face
  423. >"What was that for?"
  424. "For keeping."
  425. >You take another picture of her
  426. >Seeing that you have no intention of stopping, she slinks up against the seat and smiles
  427. >It's less than sultry
  428. >It is attractive
  429. >But it's not overt
  430. >It's more than cute
  431. "A picture's worth a thousand words, you know..."
  432. >You take another
  433. >One of her face zoomed in more
  434. >She giggles at your nod of approval
  435. >"Want a new wallpaper or something to show off?"
  436. "Kinda. I think I just want something to help with memories."
  437. >"Memories?"
  438. >Her ears perk up at what had to be an odd choice for words
  439. "Yeah. You know how once upon a time she took a picture of us?"
  440. >"Who, Spark?"
  441. "Yeah. Check this out."
  442. >You lean together, shoulder to shoulder, so you can show her that picture from...
  443. >How long ago was it?
  444. >Your hair was a little different
  445. >Kinda
  446. >Jacky's smile is big and goofy
  447. >Shiner's smirk is downright wholesome
  448. >"Wow... look at us."
  449. "Yeah. It feels like it just happened."
  450. >"You're right. I didn't think about that."
  451. >You chuckle and double tap the screen
  452. >You look like a freaking dork
  453. >You weren't at all expecting that to happen
  454. >Maybe that's why it stands out so much
  455. "What do you think?"
  456. >Rather than reply, she watches the picture
  457. >Is there something specific she's wanting to find?
  458. >"I kinda wish I could talk to my past self. Just to send her a little message."
  459. "Time travel, huh. What would you say to past you?"
  460. >Jack smiles
  461. >For a split second, you understand just how mature she looks
  462. >"That it'll be ok."
  463. >A lot of people would benefit from being told that by their future selves
  464. >You could have used that bit of advice
  465. "That would probably help. Were you worried?"
  466. >Jacqueline shakes her head
  467. >The way she exhales, she's comfortable
  468. >"I wasn't. But every little bit helps too, you know?"
  469. "Yeah... I get you."
  470. >This wasn't the sort of time together you were expecting but you really can't complain
  471. >You could never complain about the time you get to spend with your lame, awesome dork
  472. >"Hey, Anon. Turn the phone back on yourself. Let's take a few pictures of you."
  473. "Of me?"
  474. >"Yup. Non-negotiable."
  475. >You don't argue
  476. >Though it takes a little coordination, you tilt the camera the right way and make a variety of faces that are pleasing to her
  477. >These are for her
  478. >Just as the ones you took are for yourself
  479.  
  480. "And now..."
  481. >"Together."
  482. >A picture is taken, of you and her
  483. >Shoulder to shoulder
  484. "Come 'ere."
  485. >You pull back and she hops onto your lap
  486. >Compared to how she used to be, she's picked up a fine amount of finesse
  487. >Rather, she has just refined her technique to the point you don't fear for stray hoof stomps
  488. >More pictures are taken
  489. >Each one with a different set of faces
  490. >A pair of crooks
  491. >Derp-eyed twins
  492. >Soylent consumers pointing at something from behind
  493. >A duo, both strong and confident
  494. >By the time picture time is taken, both you and her are giggly about the results
  495. "Ahhh... that's a great one. Shiner's gonna get a giggle out of that."
  496. >"Nah, no."
  497. "No?"
  498. >"No."
  499. "Ha. Just for us then?"
  500. >"Yeah."
  501. >Jackernaut inhales and puffs out her chest
  502. >"Warm like this car, I feel your heart beat so hard."
  503. >The ease at which she slips into her singing voice brings a chill up your spine
  504. >You can tell she knows what she's doing
  505. >"And it belongs to me. Only me."
  506. >Her words are so smooth they could be scalpels
  507. >"Only me."
  508. >She crooks her head back, an inch away from your face
  509. >"Not even you."
  510. >She starts the kiss
  511. >Boy, does she start it
  512. >But you will help her finish it
  513.  
  514.  
  515. >Hours
  516. >Days
  517. >Entire weeks
  518. >That's all it took to set things into motion
  519. >It was so simple, all you had to do wa-
  520. >Clonk
  521. >Jacky's coconut of a head donks against yours
  522. >Whatever you were thinking, it was gone
  523. >Not the first time that happened
  524. >Both of you have been listening to the same song on repeat for the last few hours
  525. >The rhythm of it has led from everything to melodic head bobbing, to synchronized "doo"s and "da"s
  526. >For this last hour it has descended into wordless vocalizations
  527. >The lyrics have lost all meaning
  528. >You're sure you heard Prismantic calling for Jack earlier
  529. >Neither of you responded but you were prepared to call out that she was busy because you were Jacking it
  530. >Which was neither correct nor wrong at the moment
  531. >You hear some knocking on the door
  532. >Going from the ferocity of it, it has to be a unicorn
  533. >"Hey, it's pony protective services. It's dinner time and you've been blasting music all day."
  534. "Did you hear something?"
  535. >Jackenstein's answer is a vocalization that extends and escalates into a frenzied yawp of a yawn
  536. "Thought not."
  537. >"Ok, this is just-"
  538. >The entire bedroom door glows bright red, illuminating the dark room
  539. >You expect it to be torn off of the frame but it calmly opens
  540. >The magical mare huffs and stares at you laying flat on the bed with Jacky laying with the top of her head rubbing against yours
  541. >You'd like to see her laying on her back, but you're on your back too
  542. >Therefor
  543. >You can not see
  544. >"...is this a bad sign? Do we need an intervention?"
  545. "Nah, it's fine."
  546. >"Is it dinner time?"
  547. "Yeah, is it dinner time yet?"
  548. >It's an aural feast to hear how lax and lazy your mare is, compared to the barely contained irritation of the gamer mare
  549. >The gamemare, even
  550. >Your wit has sharpened this day
  551. >"One, yes. Two, what is going on? You two have been attached at the hip-"
  552. >"And the skull."
  553. >"And the sk-what? Ew."
  554. >She really seems wound up
  555. >"What is going on? Why have you been home all week and locked in your room?"
  556. "I quit."
  557. >You say what you've been hiding with such a casual tone you are almost as shocked as Shine
  558. >"...what?"
  559. "Yup. I did."
  560. >"He did."
  561. >Jack mirrors your aloof energy
  562. >Or lack thereof
  563. >Your eyes stay focused on the ceiling
  564. "I was talking to Jack about it and... well, it's for the best."
  565. >"The be-"
  566. >Shine interrupts herself with a sputtering that makes you wish you could see her
  567. >"The best?! How is that the best? What are you going to do now? What caused this?!"
  568. >You and Jack share a sigh
  569. >She takes the shared sigh as a sign
  570. >"Don't you... Jacky, what the hell did you do?!"
  571. >You're surprised she isn't reacting stronger
  572. >Maybe she's just in shock
  573. >You were a little in shock when you did it too
  574. >The last week and a half, specifically, the weight of your decision really stuck with you
  575. >Thankfully she's been with you for every minute
  576. >You needed it
  577.  
  578. "She didn't do anything. We were talking about stuff and decided-"
  579. >"Decided that you're going to just quit working?! I don't even care about the money thing but you decided to make this decision without telling me? What the hell am I to you? You didn't even tell Prism, Jacky?"
  580. >"Nope. I decided that we should tell you two together."
  581. >That makes you smile
  582. >It's such a simple thing
  583. >It's that sort of simple thing that has kept you from freaking out more at the worst
  584. "Guess we should tell them now?"
  585. >"Might as well, we got three days left."
  586. >"What happens in three days, Jacky?"
  587. >With another shared sigh, your hand finds it's way to the closest keyboard's space bar
  588. >With the brain worm of a song paused, you finally feel like you're back in reality
  589. >You sit up and look at the plain white wall
  590. >You really gotta go through with spilling the beans
  591. >You've slept so much this last week, it has been impossible to keep track of time
  592. "Alright, I'm up."
  593. >You awkwardly stand up and step off of the mattress
  594. >You've only had it for a few years but it's already beaten up
  595. >It almost always has at least one pony on it, and a human
  596. >Maybe one day you should get a new one
  597. >You step past Shiner, listening to her follow you close
  598. >With a "hup", Jackula wiggles to her front and rushes to keep up
  599. >With shots poured for every pone and human, the group assembles officially
  600. >"Going off of the shouting, I'm guessing we will need the alcohol. So, Jacky talked you into quitting your work?"
  601. "Nope."
  602. >With a bitter grimace and a dark stare, Sparkler downs her shot in record time
  603. >"So you quit without her words."
  604. "Nope."
  605. >With a shallow swallow, you take your shot
  606. "So after talking for a bit, we decided that..."
  607. >It normally isn't so difficult to talk about these topics
  608. >Maybe it's because it doesn't effect just you
  609. >"We got new jobs! And by "we" I mean Anon, me, and you two too!"
  610. "...well, if you want, I mean."
  611. >You don't think you've ever seen Faint "D-bash" Prism make that sort of face
  612. >It's the sort of face that says "oh shit" on the level of the soul
  613. >Shine, in comparison, just looks like she needs another drink
  614. >"...oh."
  615. >"...crap."
  616. >This is part of what you wanted to avoid
  617. "I should probably explain."
  618. >"I should think so too! What compelled you to make this sort of decision without discussing it with us?"
  619. >Despite her broken composure, she is making a genuine effort to sound stalwart
  620. >The slightest tint of panic doesn't convince you of her will
  621. "Well, Jack and I went out a few times and we kept talking about how..."
  622. >You shrug
  623. "Nice. It is. To just hang out and stuff. And I mean not just here but out there. It's a lot more comfortable and I think enough of the neighbors are used to it that it no longer makes me feel weird."
  624. >"Helps that I told them to get over it."
  625. "That you did..."
  626. >You sigh with a stare that goes only straight ahead
  627. "With colorful language, you did..."
  628. >"It worked, right?"
  629. >Just remember, Anon, they won't always be your neighbors
  630.  
  631. "Too well, I'm afraid. Anyway, you wanna explain the rest of it for me?"
  632. >Jack smiles
  633. >This is a new level of joy
  634. >"Anon's gonna be a library mechanic!"
  635. >You're lucky you resisted the urge to drink your shot while she was speaking
  636. "N...no, it's a technician."
  637. >"Aren't they the same thing?"
  638. "In this case? No."
  639. >"Oh."
  640. >You down your drink before you have the time to taste it
  641. "Keep going Jakatoa."
  642. >"Oh y-ok. Anon's gonna be a library technician! And weeeeeeeeeee're gonna help him! We're techs too!"
  643. >Bursting with joy, she hops up to her hind legs and poses in sheer triumph
  644. >Neither pegagus nor unicorn share her enthusiasm
  645. "Technically, the three of you are gonna act as receptionists and help desk. And sorta unofficial field trip wranglers."
  646. >Since the bottle is nearby, you pour another shot and down it
  647. >"Wrangling! Helping! Receptive to the core!"
  648. >Between the visible and audible shaking, Jacky is a pound of tannerite short of exploding into the lower atmosphere
  649. "The good news is that..."
  650. >You pour and down another shot
  651. >Nothing stirs confidence in others like needing alcohol before speaking
  652. "...that while I'm full time, you guys are all part time. Which means you can work as little as twenty hours a week, up to forty."
  653. >"And it pays a whole ton!"
  654. "Well, if all of us were to work full time hours for a month, it would eclipse my usual savings rate by... a factor of five almost?"
  655. >You fill-and take-another shot
  656. "And, of course, it doesn't need to be that way. I'm thinking if you can at least toss over a quarter-"
  657. >"Half!"
  658. "No, a quarter i-"
  659. >"HALF."
  660. >Bottle, reveal more of your secrets to Anonymous
  661. >This is so painfully awkward you don't know what to do
  662. "...Jack wants to give half of her pay to what we've been tossing around as a sort of... family coffers type situation. Something that is the usual of taking care of the monthly bills and all that."
  663. >Jack finally settles down enough
  664. >Enough to at least chug her shot without somehow swallowing the glass itself
  665. "And that by itself would help a whole ton. Say if it's only ten hours per pay period, that's still sixty a month."
  666. >"So you finally decided on it..."
  667. >Shine speaks up
  668. >Now that the mare is out of the bag, she seems less bothered by the situation
  669. >"Well... I guess I don't mind. I mean, we've all talked about wanting to help out before. Right?"
  670. >The one shot seemed to have enough of an effect on her
  671. >Only Prism is resisting the temptation of smooth brown fire water
  672. >"I guess I just wish that I could have been told sooner so I could prepare..."
  673. >She gives you a side glance
  674. >"Can I play games there?"
  675. "At the volume you do? No, not inside."
  676. >"Ugh..."
  677. >Prism clears her throat
  678. >More than enough to make it apparent she wants to be the talking one now
  679. >"You mentioned a thi..."
  680. >She trails off when met with a quick death squint from Jack
  681. >"...half... of our pay would go to help out with things. I trust that is food and other things. What... exactly are we supposed to do with the other half? Our own money...?"
  682. "Ahh..."
  683. >You scratch the back of your head
  684. "Whatever you want, I guess. You wanna order food, go for it. Wanna buy something nice for yourself? Make sure it's sent here or we know where to go. Save it up for a rainy day? It's yours."
  685. >Emboldened by the volume and strength of drink you've drank, you're comfortable in your own skin despite not yet being drunk
  686. "As Jack and I talked about it... you guys aren't pets or anything like that. You really aren't. And I've... maybe not treated you like animals, but I've kept things pretty dull and locked up. And that wasn't right of me."
  687. >"It wasn't right of you to protect us from a harsh, alien world?"
  688. >Her tone isn't aggressive, but it is argumentative
  689. "I don't know, man. I'm trying to figure this shit out as I'm going along."
  690. >Jacqueline clears her throat
  691. >Apparently that is the way of the day to make oneself heard
  692.  
  693. >"Think about it this way. We all know how much Anon has spent to keep us fed and warm and strong and other things, right?"
  694. >The "other things" leads to a slightly bitter glare from Shine
  695. >Jacky flashes her a quick shit-eating grin and continues
  696. >"And whether or not I want to live in movies or Sparky wants to live in her video games and as fun as it really is... we kinda gotta help out, you know? I remember when Anon would come home from work and just... lay there. And I know it wasn't all just work that piled up on him but it certainly added weight! And then he went and bled his savings dry for all of us to be together and to even have easier cooking stuff and even more than that!"
  697. "You really don't need to keep bringing that up."
  698. >"But I want to! And it's true! We ain't gonna go away anytime soon. I ain't, least of all. An' with that being the case, we gotta buckle down and learn some real world skills! Pronto!"
  699. >Oh boy, she's channeling the power of Ma
  700. >And to think that you once wanted any other type of pony
  701. >"My own money means I can buy a VR headset..."
  702. "Bruh, I'll split the money with you and we'll get the hardware to handle it on the highest settings."
  703. >"Deal. See, Jacky? Problem solved."
  704. >"No, not problem solved. Not yet."
  705. >The Winged One is the only resistance to this
  706. >"So... how do we know for sure our money is ours...?"
  707. >Her deliberate wording wounds but makes sense
  708. "Well, I already thought of that. Checks can be direct deposited, right? I just set up three new accounts, and then we split the pay whichever way we will and then. Bam, proof and tracking. I won't touch anything that isn't the pooled account unless you ask me to."
  709. >"Two accounts."
  710. "Eh?"
  711. >"I told you, I just want my check to go into the main account."
  712. "But what about your half?"
  713. >"I'll make you work for it if you really want to spend it."
  714. >The sly grin she gives is downright villainous
  715. >She ripped out that entire chapter from Shiner's playbook
  716. >But
  717. >Why does it work so much better when done by a goodie two-hooves?
  718. "You're going to make me drink a whole lot more, you know that."
  719. >The room finally descends to something resembling a calm
  720. >You are glad that none of them asked you about your now-last job
  721. >To be fair, you personally won't be losing or gaining all that much more
  722. >Which is not a proud point you wish to make
  723. >"So... what does a tech do, exactly? Will we be able to see you or ask you for help if we need it? Are we going to be safe there?"
  724. "Me? I'm just gonna be a paper pusher, basically. Helping out higher ups. You guys are more going to act as welcomers. Putting away books, helping people find books. Movies too, mostly DVDs."
  725. >You know that there are going to be some pitfalls
  726. >...
  727. >Because of their lack of social and professional skills
  728. >You hate to even think it, but those two sides are lacking severely
  729. >Thankfully you were able to bullshit your way into them all getting hired at almost minimum wage
  730. >Of course, it isn't that low
  731. >With even the three of them combined, it leads up to a pretty penny's worth
  732. >You may have also stretched the truth on their singing and reading aloud skills, to make them more of an entertainment package
  733. "I... I kinda still feel bad about it, don't get me wrong. But between her and I, it just seems like that maybe... two years is long enough to get acclimated. And maybe it'll all help us out. It'll help make sure that the world doesn't seem so scary and full of... less than nice animals."
  734. >Are pets allowed at libraries?
  735. >The sudden passing image of Shine igniting an annoying kid or Prism bucking a service dog does not sit well in your gullet
  736. >"Don't worry, it'll be fine! It's part time, and Anon is the only one paying for benefits so we get all of our checks!"
  737. >Another thing you don't want to admit
  738. >They're getting paid under the table
  739. >No taxes
  740. >No benefits
  741. >Just straight pay
  742. >As long as that doesn't lead to issues, everything should be fine
  743. >Should be
  744. >Hopefully
  745. >You take a hard swig from the bottle directly
  746. >God help you if this doesn't work

/marital/ What's Bugging Anon E. Mouse?

by BlondieAnon

/jacky/ IF Scenario D: Dragon Mare Z

by BlondieAnon

/bootleg/ Twilit Starsky 2: Farmer's Boogaloo

by BlondieAnon

/bootleg/ Jacky Part Twelve

by BlondieAnon

/bootleg/ Princess

by BlondieAnon