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[WIP] Getting Shy (SPG)

By awf
Created: 16th December 2020 05:49:33 PM
Modified: 23rd February 2021 06:32:14 PM

  1. > Anonymous was a more or less average dude, by his own description. Life was perhaps a tiny bit boring, but he was doing okay, working a call center job and drowning memories of irate customers in alcohol every weekend.
  2. > There wasn't a whole lot of money, but the economy being what it was, he couldn't complain. The paychecks were never late and his boss wasn't too much of an asshole.
  3. > Life was comfortable and didn't require a whole lot of effort, which suited Anon just fine. He'd probably have continued in the same way forever, if something unbelievable hadn't happened.
  4. > Technically it hadn't happened to him, but rather to his neighbor, a certain Mr. John Mason, a big, important businessman who liked to work. As far as Anon could tell, Mr. Mason had absolutely no hobbies, a job which took him twelve hours a day and most weekends, and a butt-load of money.
  5. > Oh, and suddenly Mr. Mason had a pony.
  6. > Anon's bedroom overlooked the neighboring house, a blocky, post-modern eyesore which didn't quite fit with the rest of the buildings on the block.
  7. > He could see some of the inside, often grimacing at what was clearly nonfunctional and uncomfortable furniture, meant only to impress. It wasn't the kind of place someone lived in, it was just a house they showed off.
  8. > Which was just as well, because Mr. Mason spent most of his days at work. It explained his wealth and the fancy car out front, and perhaps it also explained the lack of any family or social life whatsoever.
  9. > Except... Anon wouldn't have believed it if he hadn't seen it with his own eyes. Mr. Mason got one of those pastel wonderhorses which had made news some weeks ago. No one knew exactly where they were coming from, but apparently there was a black market.
  10. > More importantly, the law hadn't yet caught up, so people could own them.
  11. > Talking. Friggin'. Horses. Speaking English, no less!
  12. > The first few times Anon had seen that news he thought it was a hoax or something. It had to be, right?! Even on supposedly professional cameras the creatures looked like cheap special effects. Surely nothing biological could be so vividly colorful?
  13. > Anyway, the hubbub died down, but the pictures and videos multiplied, so after a fashion Anon had been forced to accept the truth of the matter.
  14. > There were talking technicolor ponies, no one knew where they came from, or how, and some people owned them. It was utterly preposterous, of course. This great country had gotten rid of slavery and now it was coming right back.
  15. > True, most of the news articles called it 'pet ownership', but in Anon's opinion, if it could talk, it was a slave.
  16. > For some reason, he wanted to touch one. Only with its consent, of course, but he really wanted to.
  17. > Well, Mr. Mason had one now. A yellow one with wings and pink hair. When he first saw it, being unloaded from a nondescript white van, Anon couldn't help thinking that the hair must've been dyed. No way that was a natural color.
  18. > He wondered if Mr. Mason would have to reapply the dye occasionally, which would mean giving the thing a bath or something. Weird, why did that make him jealous?
  19. > Anyway, when the news spread there were onlookers. Most of the neighborhood came to stand in front of Mr. Mason's house at one point or another. Children squealed and pointed and even adults chattered excitedly among themselves whenever the pony dared glance out the window.
  20. > It was bloody annoying is what it was. All that racket under Anon's room when he was trying to sleep.
  21. > One day it suddenly stopped. The lack of noise when he woke up made Anon go out to the balcony, which was overlooking the cul-de-sac, to make sure. The street was empty.
  22. > Anon lit a cigarette, happy that he had his peace back, but still intrigued about the pony. He leaned over the railing and tried to see, but the creature was nowhere in sight.
  23. > "Mornin'," came the greeting from the porch below him. Anon hadn't even noticed his landlord, Mr. Petrinov.
  24. "Oh, hi. People finally gave up?"
  25. > The dark, hairy, blocky man shook his head and chuckled. "Nope. Mr. Mason threatened them with lawsuits if they kept... what did he call it?"
  26. > It took Mr. Petrinov a moment to remember the English word. "Ah, 'loitering'. That's what he said. Shut them right up!"
  27. > Anon shared the next chuckle before taking a drag on his cigarette. Mr. Petrinov sipped from his glass, which looked like it was full of scotch, or maybe whiskey.
  28. > The man was quite a drinker, although after Anon had heard his story it kinda made sense.
  29. "Anyway, how are you doing, Mr. Petrinov?"
  30. > The man waved a dismissive hand. "I told you this before, Anon. Just 'Anton' to you, okay? You are living in my house long enough, we are almost like family, no?"
  31. > His accent was almost completely gone, but Mr. Petrinov still sometimes betrayed his Eastern European origin. Well, the name didn't help there, either.
  32. > From what Anon had been able to gather, Anton had moved from wherever it was he used to live to America, 'the land of freedom and opportunity' as the foreigner usually called it.
  33. > He came with his wife and spent a number of years in a shit hole apartment downtown, both of them working until they could afford the house. The very house Anon was renting now.
  34. > Unfortunately the missus died. Anton didn't like to talk about it a whole lot, but Anon's working theory was cancer. His dream of having exactly two children thus ended.
  35. > Strange how Anton sounded so certain. Two kids, not one, and certainly not three. Two, to replace him and the missus, thereby neither adding to overpopulation, nor letting the number of humans fall.
  36. > Weird reasoning, but to Anon it sounded as good as any he'd heard.
  37. > He didn't remarry, nor did he return back to his home country, which left Anton with a big house, debts to pay, and alone.
  38. > He tore down the stairs between the ground and the first floor, adapted the upstairs into a livable apartment, built a staircase on the outside and put an ad in the local paper.
  39. > It hadn't even been that much work. There were two bedrooms, originally planned for the kids Mr. Petrinov now might never have, a bathroom, to which he simply added a washing and drying machine, and a living room, where it had been rather trivial to install a kitchen in one corner.
  40. > Anon had been the person to bite and, the place and its owner being to his liking, had taken it. It was his first job and the first time living away from his parents.
  41. "At least it's going to be quiet again. I work nights sometimes, I like to be able to sleep in."
  42. > The landlord nodded, even though he kept his gaze on his drink. "Same for me, Anon."
  43. > Mr. Petrinov worked as a bartender nearby, which also meant some late nights.
  44. > After Mr. Mason's threat at the meeting, there were still children sometimes pressed against Mr. Mason's fence, but at least the adults refrained from these gatherings.
  45. > In time, even that interest faded and things went back to normal. Except for Anon.
  46. > His bedroom window and his living room looked directly into Mr. Mason's house. Anon couldn't help it; whenever he stood up, his eyes strayed to his neighbor's house, seeking out the yellow pony.
  47. > Every time he saw it, he quickly ducked out of sight, as if he'd been doing something weird or wrong. Why did if feel like peeking in on a girl showering?
  48. > At least Anon guessed that was how it felt. He'd never done the thing, so he had no basis for comparison.
  49. > The pony was a maid. Maybe that was the most incredulous thing of the whole situation. An actual alien, shaped like a colorful miniature horse, and Mr. Mason used it as a maid.
  50. > Anon hoped like hell that was the only way Mr. Mason used it. Something in the creature's demeanor just screamed 'female' at Anon and of course he drew conclusions. Unwelcome conclusions, even though it technically wasn't any of his business.
  51. > The matter nagged at him to the point where his attention at the call center had started to slip and his boss, one Mr. Harris, had to invite him into his office and explain to him the requirement to focus.
  52. > It took some doing, but Anon made sure to improve the quality of his work. Losing the job was the last thing he wanted. Unfortunately, that just meant twice the fretting and worry when he was home. His gaming and movie watching suffered and he spent more and more time at the window, just waiting to catch a glimpse of the horse.
  53. > She - Anon had decided it was a girl after all - didn't *look* maltreated. Just resigned, perhaps a touch sorrowful, and infinitely bored. She swept, vacuumed, washed dishes, mopped, brushed and a million other things which ensured the house was kept livable.
  54. > Before the pony Mr. Mason had had a professional maid over twice a week, but it looked like he didn't need one anymore. Annoyingly, that was another reason for Anon's jealousy. House work was a pain in the ass.
  55. > Sometimes, when Anon worked nights at the call center and spent the day at home, he could watch what the pony did when Mr. Mason was out of the house. Sure, most of the time she got on with her work of tidying up, but every now and then Anon saw her lying on the couch, reading a book or watching TV.
  56. > The angle didn't let him see what she was watching, though. Once or twice he thought he saw her smile, or laugh. That put some of Anon's darker worries to rest, at least for a while.
  57. > His obsession was slowly consuming him. Anon knew that, yet he couldn't stop. He could have moved away, or at least switched bedrooms to the other side of the house. Maybe then he'd be less tempted to watch Mr. Mason's house so intently.
  58. > Except he didn't want to. Thinking about that stupid horse became his whole world. Reading about them filled the time while he waited for the creature to make an appearance.
  59. > The strange fascination was exacerbated by sudden feelings of isolation.
  60. > Perhaps he led a lonely life, but dealing with irate customers nearly every day had left Anon soured to human company. He preferred to spend his 'freedom hours' either playing games, watching movies or drinking, the latter only if it was the weekend.
  61. > The few friends he had mostly liked the same things, so Anon saw them more in the multi player games than in real life. Every now and then one or the other would celebrate their birthday and they'd meet in person.
  62. > He didn't feel a particular need for socialization and the occasional chat with Mr. Petrinov was enough to fulfill that urge.
  63. > At least it had been, until this damned horse.
  64. > Eventually Anon mustered up the courage to walk around in Anton's backyard, trying to get a closer look at the pony and perhaps get her to notice him.
  65. > Maybe if he could speak with her it would be better. The articles said they were highly intelligent. Maybe she'd say something to finally put this craze behind him and he could get on with his life.
  66. > Unfortunately, the pony never went outside in that first month. Or, if she did, Anon never saw it. He still had to work eight hours every day and commute for another hour and a half.
  67. > He tried not to think about the pony frolicking in Mr. Mason's backyard while he was stuck in the call center. It just made him fret, which caused him to fumble the calls.
  68. > On one particular Saturday, Anon was on his third beer when he heard a sound at the same time familiar and unusual. Lawnmower.
  69. > It was clearly coming from Mr. Mason's yard.
  70. > That much wasn't unusual because the man employed a gardener to come and keep his lawn and flowerbeds in order, but said gardener hadn't been over since the pony had come and started doing everything else around the house.
  71. > It stood to reason she might also have to deal with the yard. Anon jumped to his feet and rushed to the living room window to see.
  72. > Yes!
  73. > He ran to his fridge where he had a small bottle of strawberry-flavored fizzy juice stashed for just such an occasion. He sometimes saw the pony drink one of those so he got it as an ice-breaker.
  74. > Then Anon hurried out his door and down his stairs, before coming to a stop in the backyard. He had no idea what to do next.
  75. > Yes the pony was out, pushing a lawnmower around, but the thing was loud. No way he could talk with her until she was done.
  76. > It wasn't a very comfortable situation, but some curiosity could be excused, right? Besides, the day was uncomfortably warm, so the icy-cold drink in his hand might even be welcome.
  77. > Maybe he should go back inside, wait until the job was nearly done? Except he ran the risk of missing it, which Anon was unwilling to take.
  78. > Too late he remembered that he hadn't brought a drink for himself, which made rushing out with a beverage for the pony who wasn't even his really weird. Hopefully she wouldn't think him a creep, even though she would be justified to it in Anon's case.
  79. > The noise changed and Anon saw the pony awkwardly turning the mower. That brought her face to face with him and she cast him a curious look.
  80. > It sent his heartbeat into the two hundreds, at least, and Anon's grip on the bottle tightened.
  81. > He gave a little wave, which the pony didn't return. Perhaps that was just because she couldn't, with both her forelegs being employed in guiding the mower. Anon opted to understand it that way.
  82. > The approach gave him a chance to observe the pony from up close, which he gladly took.
  83. > She was yellow, but it was a bit pale in the sunlight. It nicely complemented her pink hair and tail. There was also a pink and blue tattoo on her butt.
  84. > Anon had seen that splotch before, but from this distance he could make out stylized butterflies. Strange. Was it her own idea, or something some human had come up with to make her look more cute for potential buyers?
  85. > Realizing he was staring right at her butt, Anon dragged his eyes away. At first he couldn't believe such a thing as winged horses existed. Surely no mammal had feathers, right? Those were a reptile or bird thing, if he remembered his natural history.
  86. > Nevertheless, there they were. Wings with feathers the exact same shade of yellow as her coat. As she struggled with the heavy lawnmower, walking on her hind legs, they were partially outstretched, jerking this way and that to help her keep her balance.
  87. > Above all, it was incredibly cute.
  88. > Anon wondered if the horse could really, actually fly. The wings did look functional.
  89. > Further up was her hair, quite long. It didn't look like a horse's at all. It was more like human hair, Anon thought. It reached down to her... shoulders?
  90. > He couldn't see any discolored ends or streaks, so it really was pink, or Mr. Mason was doing a superb job keeping it dyed.
  91. > The hair swung out of the way and Anon saw a collar. Well, he'd seen it on her before, but from up close he could see a bulge at the back of her neck.
  92. > Some articles mentioned a GPS collar and there were even rumors of electric shocks. It'd explain how she didn't just run away now that she was outside, especially if she really could fly.
  93. > Anon suddenly realized that the pony had finished the row and was looking at him with undisguised curiosity. When she caught his gaze she quickly looked down, pretending to be focused on her work.
  94. > That moment had been there, though. She was curious, if a little scared of him, but she also had a job to do.
  95. > The last thing Anon wanted was to have the pony scared of him. He wanted to be good with animals, but his efforts usually yielded complete disinterest at best, or fear at worst.
  96. > Maybe, since this one could talk, he could make a better impression than on some crows he'd tried to befriend outside of the office.
  97. > It was something of a surprise when she stopped at the end of the row and reached a hoof to a small lever on the handle. The mower sputtered to silence.
  98. > Apparently Mr. Mason, or someone, had taught her how to work the thing. Anon also noticed that the grip of the mower was much thicker than usual and looked to be made out of some kind of soft foam.
  99. > It was low enough for her to drive either by resting her forelegs on the bar and pushing, or by gripping it with her teeth.
  100. > He lifted up the strawberry drink as a kind of a shield and stepped closer. He thought about smiling, but Anon knew whatever expression he summoned up would probably end up grotesque, rather than reassuring. He waved at the pony and leaned his elbows on the fence, as if idly lounging there for no real reason.
  101. > "Um, h-hello?" she ventured, carefully keeping the mower between them.
  102. "Hi! Uh... I'm Anon! I got you a strawberry drink! Y'know, since it's hot."
  103. > The pony didn't make a move, though her eyes took in the bottle of what Anon had assumed was her favorite drink. She was probably weirded out and his hand with the drink lowered.
  104. > Anon was about to excuse himself and go, but she spoke up. "T-Thanks," she mumbled, pointedly not looking at the bottle anymore, "but I'm not, um, thirsty right now."
  105. "That's okay," Anon said as nonchalantly as he could manage, "uh, want me to leave it for later? It's cold!"
  106. > "I'll... um, I have to finish mowing the lawn..." she said, dodging his question.
  107. > At that moment Anon became aware of Mr. Mason walking over and his blood ran cold. The man had seen him talking to his pony and was undoubtedly angry. There had been that homeowner meeting, after all.
  108. > A part of Anon had been hoping the man was away, but it looked like this was one of those rare Saturdays when Mr. Mason wasn't working.
  109. > He'd also been keeping an eye on his new pet, it seemed. Either that, or he'd heard the mower stop.
  110. > Still, Anon didn't move. He kept his elbows on the fence and steeled himself for being yelled at.
  111. > "Hi. Is there a problem?" Mr. Mason asked. "You don't mind the noise, do you?"
  112. "No, not at all, sir. I was just-"
  113. > Anon hesitated, but luckily the other man jumped in: "Anonymous, right? You're renting the upstairs apartment from Petrinov?"
  114. "That's right."
  115. > Mr. Mason didn't seem to be hostile, so Anon decided to try his luck. Good thing those years in a call center had taught him how to control his voice. He was able to make it completely steady and casual.
  116. "I was just curious when I saw your, um... pony, mowing. I didn't know they could do that."
  117. > This finally made Mr. Mason look away from him and down at the creature. "Yeah, quite versatile. Cleaning, washing, laundry, they can do anything. Gardening, too."
  118. > Anon nodded, as if actually considering getting one for himself, even though both he and Mr. Mason knew it was way out of his price range.
  119. "So, do they have names?"
  120. > The man reached down and patted the pony's hair. Anon had been watching and saw her flinch a little, but she stood her ground and waited, motionless, until it was over.
  121. > "Sure thing," Mr. Mason answered. "This one is called Flutter Shy. Suits her, too. Thing goes to hide in the closet if I watch an action movie. A real scaredy-cat."
  122. > The man laughed at that, not noticing how the pony shrunk in on herself a little. Anon grinned, but he didn't feel like joining in. He lifted up the bottle and said the excuse he'd come up with just in case.
  123. "Anyway, it's hot and I had one of these rolling around the fridge. Bought it by accident; I don't like it myself."
  124. > Before the neighbor could reply, Anon added hastily:
  125. "Thought your pony might like it."
  126. > "Mighty neighborly of you, Anonymous," Mr. Mason said, perhaps warming up just a touch. He nudged Flutter Shy with his shoe. "What do we say?"
  127. > The pony looked at Anon, then at the bottle, before lowering her gaze to the ground and murmuring: "Thank you, Mr. Anonymous."
  128. > She even walked around the mower and took the bottle with both hooves. She balanced it skillfully while she sat down, then dropped it in front of herself.
  129. > Anon was about to ask what she was doing, but Flutter Shy gripped the bottle with her hind legs and used her forehooves to untwist the cap. Quite clever, actually.
  130. > She only took a quick sip, then put the cap back. "Um, I'll- I'll have the rest when I'm d-done with the yard, Mr. Mason," she intoned, casting a slightly guilty look at Anon.
  131. > Once again the man patted her hair. "As you wish, just don't leave it out on the grass, okay?"
  132. > She nodded and began to inspect the mower. She didn't turn it back on, allowing her owner and Anon to talk without shouting.
  133. > Acting purely on some half-remembered movie scene, Anon stuck his hand out.
  134. "Well, nice meeting you, Mr. Mason. I didn't mean to pry, just- um, curious. They were all over the news."
  135. > The man took his hand and shook it in a firm grasp. "Likewise. What do you do for a living, Anonymous?"
  136. "Call center for Verizon."
  137. > "Good good. Well, Flutter needs to get back to work and I have some papers to go over. See you around."
  138. "Yeah. Sure. Um, thanks."
  139. > Anon turned and walked away, even though he was mightily curious to see how she would turn on the mower. The only way he could think of was for her to grab the starter handle in her teeth and yank it with her head.
  140. > The noise of the little engine turning over was a good excuse for Anon to look back and see that he was right. The handle looked like it was made from the same foam as the grip, so as not to hurt the pony's teeth.
  141. > On her second try the mower started and Anon saw how Flutter Shy's ears pinned back from the noise. She reared up, put her forelegs on the bar again and turned the mower around to keep going.
  142. > Anon made sure he walked slowly and nonchalantly, but inside his heart was hammering. Only some of that had been out of fear what Mr. Mason would say when he saw him chatting up his horse. Apparently he didn't mind at all, which was a huge relief. He could come speak with Flutter Shy whenever he saw her out in the yard!
  143. > Most of it was from knowing the pony's name and having heard her voice. It was so timid, and quiet and precious!
  144. > Hopefully she really would tend to the flowerbeds and he could find more moments to speak with her, perhaps without the mower. More importantly, without Mr. Mason.
  145. > For the moment, however, Anon had a beer to finish and a window to sit at, watching Flutter Shy mowing Mr. Mason's lawn and then drinking the treat he'd given her.
  146.  
  147. > ~~~~
  148.  
  149. > The next opportunity came only a week later. Anon had kept up his watch on Mr. Mason's house. His job at the Call center was at night for most of that week, which meant he was able to see Flutter Shy during the time her owner wasn't home.
  150. > The pony went about her tasks methodically, but sometimes in the afternoon she fixed herself a snack on the coffee table in Mr. Mason's living room, which Anon could clearly see.
  151. > He wondered if he should get binoculars, but that felt entirely too 'stalker-y' even for him. Perhaps he should stop watching her so obsessively too, but it was hard to give up. There was just something incredibly fascinating about Flutter.
  152. > The next Saturday was one of those working weekends Mr. Mason liked so much, which left the pony alone. Anon almost couldn't believe his luck when she put on a wide-brimmed hat, found a bucket somewhere, and went out to tend to the flowers.
  153. > It was hard to sit still and wait a couple of minutes, but Anon forced himself. It would look mighty suspicious if he rushed out the instant she emerged from the house.
  154. > Luckily, this time he was better prepared. Anon went to his fridge and grabbed a whole mango he'd bought a day ago. He'd seen Flutter Shy eating one, so she probably liked them.
  155. > After an agonizing fifteen minutes, Anon went out with the fruit and knife in hand. He came down the stairs and pretended to just then notice her presence.
  156. "Oh. Hi there," he greeted warmly.
  157. > The practice at the Call center really was paying off. Flutter Shy looked up from her work and blinked in surprise. "Um. Hi," she replied in that careful, soft voice.
  158. > That was enough invitation for Anon to slowly walk over, making it as nonchalant as he could manage. Just a neighbor being neighborly.
  159. "Weeding, huh?"
  160. > He popped a piece of the fruit in his mouth as he looked over the flowers, feigning both interest and knowledge.
  161. > "Yup," came the simple reply and Flutter Shy just bent down. She was pulling a few weeds and digging at the soil, probably to aerate it or something. Not like Anon knew anything about gardening.
  162. > He watched for a few moments, then held out the mango.
  163. "Want a piece?"
  164. > Flutter Shy looked up at the offering, blinked, then transferred her cyan gaze to Anon's face. It looked like she would refuse, but then, spotting it only because he had been looking, Anon saw her tongue dart out for an instant.
  165. > "Uh, I c-can't," the pony said, holding up her muddy forehooves.
  166. > Anon cut a piece anyway, and just leaned over the fence to hold it head-high for her.
  167. "It's okay."
  168. > Again her gaze roamed from him to the fruit and back up, before Flutter Shy shrugged a little to herself and took a step closer. She took the mango mostly with her lips, careful not to so much as brush against Anon's hand.
  169. > Then she chewed it and swallowed it so quickly that she must have either been starving, or mango was her favourite thing ever. Both eventualities were good.
  170. > Some small talk was called for and Anon realized he didn't have anything in common with the creature. He focused on the one thing he knew.
  171. "So... Flutter. Unusual name. Or- well, it's unusual around here. Maybe not so strange where you come from."
  172. > The pony shook her head. "It's actually 'Fluttershy', she pointed out. "Everypony says it wrong here. It's just one word."
  173. "Oh. Sorry."
  174. > Another thing she'd just said tickled his memory and Anon went on:
  175. "Wait, you said 'every pony'? You mean 'everyone'? I've never heard it put like that. Strange."
  176. > She shrugged a little and moved to the next flowerbed, where she started to dig around with a small spade in her mouth. Anon followed along the fence, but waited quietly until she could answer.
  177. > At long last Fluttershy spat out the tool and picked up the conversation as if there hadn't been a delay.
  178. > "It's normal back home. Everypony - well, nearly everypony - is a pony, so it fits, even if there are non-ponies around. Nothing strange about that."
  179. > Anon gave a little shrug. Whatever place she came from sounded like it wasn't a part of Earth. He thought about asking, but maybe it could wait.
  180. "Want some more of this mango?"
  181. > He realized he hadn't eaten any, so he quickly cut some more and put it in his own mouth first, just to keep up appearances.
  182. > Fluttershy put her head to one side, then nodded and stepped closer. This time her lips did brush Anon's hand and he thought he felt her tongue touch his finger.
  183. > His breath caught and he said the first, stupid thing which came to mind.
  184. "Good pony."
  185. > Fluttershy jerked away and gave him a glare, which was only slightly spoiled by her chewing the fruit. "I'll thank you not to treat me like an animal," she said a little sternly.
  186. "Oh. Sorry. I didn't mean it that way. Um, while we're on the topic, you *are* a pony, right? I mean, you did say 'every pony' just now."
  187. > Luckily she understood Anon's insult had just come out of ignorance, not malice, and her smile returned. "Technically I'm a pegasus," she pointed out, stretching out one of her wings as if for proof.
  188. "Pegasus..." Anon repeated to himself.
  189. > She must have thought he wanted something more and added: "Pegasus mare."
  190. > That made sense, especially since she was a miniature horse. Anon nodded to himself.
  191. "Okay. I like it."
  192. > Fluttershy was taken aback and frowned a little as she tried to make sense of this. "You like that I'm a mare, or you like that I'm a pegasus?"
  193. > The misunderstanding made Anon chuckle and he absentmindedly sliced another piece of the mango and ate it.
  194. "No, I mean I like your name. It... suits you."
  195. > "Oh." She looked away, but not quickly enough that Anon couldn't spot the tiniest of blushes. It made him a little bit giddy with delight to have caused it.
  196. "More mango?" he offered.
  197. > "Yes please."
  198. > He cut off a larger chunk and held it out. This time the mare wasn't at all worried and enveloped his fingers in her mouth, making sure none of the delicious juice was wasted. It took her a longer while to chew, which gave Anon some time to think of his next question.
  199. "So, um, Mr. Mason treating you well?"
  200. > Once Fluttershy had swallowed, she leaned her head to one side in thought again and shrugged. "He's hardly ever home. I guess I don't mind that. And the work is boring, but it's not hard. I guess he isn't too bad."
  201. > Anon almost asked her if the man had ever ordered her to his bed, but thought better of it. That topic could be delicate and he'd have to know the little mare a lot better before he could guess how she'd react to it.
  202. "That's nice. Do you get any free time? Are you allowed to leave the house?"
  203. > Fluttershy took another moment to study him, wondering just how much she could tell him. At length she shrugged again, mostly to herself.
  204. > "I can go in the garden since today. Mr. Mason said he'd trust me to go further once I prove myself. As for free time... if I do all my chores Mr. Mason said I can do what I like the rest of the time."
  205. > It didn't sound too horrible, even though there was still that whole slavery thing. At least Fluttershy wasn't apparently suffering.
  206. > Changing the topic yet again, Anon pointed at her wings.
  207. "Can you actually fly with those?"
  208. > This time the mare smiled and nodded more happily. "Sure can! Well, I'm not as good as some of my friends, but I can get around."
  209. > Her gaze fell on the forgotten flowers and Fluttershy took a deep breath. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have to finish this work or Mr. Mason will be mad."
  210. > It was just as well. Keeping his face calm and his hands still when he was this giddy with excitement was hard. Anon needed a break from the dialogue and then he needed some quiet time to think about it all.
  211. "Sure, no problems. Sorry for keeping you. Um, want the rest of this mango?"
  212. > There was a little more than half left. Fluttershy looked at it and licked her lips. "Don't you want it?" she asked.
  213. "Nah, I'm good. Got another one in the fridge," Anon lied.
  214. > "Um, could you peel it and take out the pit?"
  215. > Anon happily obliged, even if it meant his hands were completely covered with mango juice. Hopefully Fluttershy would lick it off.
  216. > Why did that sound so incredibly hot?!
  217. > It was soon done and he held it out for her. The mare took it, barely touching Anon's hand this time, then sat down to chew it in peace. Amazing how the whole thing could fit in her mouth.
  218. "Nice talking to you."
  219. > "Mhmm!" the mare replied and nodded, her mouth still full.
  220. "I live just up there," Anon pointed. "Let me know if there's anything you need."
  221. > This made Fluttershy freeze for a moment and when she resumed her chewing it was slower. Anon also couldn't help noticing how her ears lowered.
  222. > It had been a stupid thing to say, but luckily the mare swallowed and saved it with a polite little smile. "I'll... um, keep that in mind. Thank you, Mr. Anonymous."
  223. "Oh, it's just Anon."
  224. > "Okay... Anon."
  225. > She bent back down to her flowers and Anon realized it was him who was supposed to leave. He still had the pit from the mango in his hand and his fingers covered with juice.
  226. > He went back to the stairs, wiping as best he could on his T-shirt so he didn't get his doorknob all sticky.
  227. > Pretty soon he was inside, smiling to himself and pacing the length of his apartment. It took him nearly twenty minutes to remember to put the mango pit in the trash.
  228. > That had been a successful conversation, he was sure of it! A couple more and he might be able to call this pony 'friend'.
  229. > He ended up in his living room and looked out the window, to where Fluttershy was still digging at the flowerbeds. Hopefully she wouldn't do them all today and he'd be able to chat with her again the next day.
  230.  
  231. > ~~~~
  232.  
  233. > Somehow that became a regular thing. Weekends were when Fluttershy worked on Mr. Mason's flowerbeds, or mowed his lawn, and every time Anon came out to speak with her.
  234. > For the most part it was just easy stuff, small talk. How the week had been, or the latest book Fluttershy had read, or a movie she had seen.
  235. > It went the other way as well. More than once Anon found himself explaining a funny incident from work, or perhaps an annoyance. The mare was incredibly easy to talk to, always taking interest and offering words of comfort.
  236. > He made sure to bring a mango, or a banana, or one time some ice cream for them to snack on, but to his slight regret Fluttershy always made sure to eat it before working, so he wouldn't have to feed her again with his hands.
  237. > Shame - that had felt nice for some reason.
  238. > Once or twice when Anon was leaning against the fence chatting with Fluttershy, Mr. Mason came out to say hello, but he never seemed bothered by the mare's association with their neighbor.
  239. > Anon made sure to stay respectfully on his side of the barrier.
  240. > Slowly, almost painfully so, Fluttershy seemed to be earning her owner's trust and was allowed more freedom. At first that manifested merely as the mare sunning herself in the backyard, or running in circles around the house for exercise.
  241. > One particular day Anon woke up at noon and looked out his window only to nearly fall from his bed. The mare was sitting on Mr. Mason's flat roof, staring into the distance.
  242. > This was too unusual to pass up and Anon hurriedly dressed and ran outside. He came as near as he could to the fence and called.
  243. "Fluttershy?"
  244. > Her face appeared above on the roof and she grinned. "Hi Anon!"
  245. "What are you doing up there?"
  246. > She just giggled and waved a dismissive hoof. "Mr. Mason said I'm allowed to fly now, so I... um, came up here!"
  247. > It was good news and it answered Anon's question whether she could fly or not. Well, confirmed it, at least. Fluttershy had already answered it once.
  248. "What's it like?" he asked.
  249. > "I can see all those cars!" Fluttershy said, pointing with a wing this time. "There's... like this gray-white line. I dunno, like a road, but above the ground? Reverse bridge?"
  250. > Anon took a guess at what she was describing.
  251. "Highway?"
  252. > Fluttershy grinned and jumped from the roof, her wings spreading with a 'whoomph' of air, and she landed lightly in the grass. It was the first time Anon saw her wings fully outstretched and he was a little surprised at just how many feathers there were.
  253. > The long ones along the edge were obvious, but he'd never expected there to be so many tiny little feathers up near the limb. He stared until the mare folded them up and only then moved his eyes to her face.
  254. "Highway?" he repeated, not knowing what else to say.
  255. > "Oh, is that what it's called? It's certainly... descriptive. There's a *lot* of cars going up and down."
  256. "Yeah, there usually are."
  257. > Fluttershy looked in the direction of the turnpike, but of course she couldn't see it from the ground. "Does it ever stop?"
  258. "It slows down at night, but no. I guess not."
  259. > "Huh."
  260. > The mare watched the horizon for a while longer, as if her gaze could penetrate the nearby houses, then shrugged and focused on Anon once again. She smiled pleasantly. "So, um... Mr. Harris get off your back yet?"
  261. > It took Anon a second or two to remember their previous conversation and he shrugged.
  262. "I don't think that'll ever happen. It's his job to make sure our numbers are up there, y'know?"
  263. > Fluttershy nodded to herself, as if she'd been expecting to hear that exact thing. "Being the boss isn't always easy. Rarity- um, my friend from Equestria, said you can't always be both a friend and a boss. She runs her own business, so she'd know."
  264. > It was another small glimpse into Fluttershy's mysterious world, but Anon knew better than to pry. If she shared a tidbit in the spur of the moment that was usually fine, but if he asked for any details Fluttershy was liable to just clamp up and go inside.
  265. > She didn't like talking about what she'd lost, Anon figured. It made sense, too.
  266. "I guess so. Anyway, it hasn't been the worst week."
  267. > The smile was back and Fluttershy laid down in the grass. "That's nice. Um, I have to start the laundry in five minutes. I just wanted to, uh, stretch my wings a little. I haven't flown in so long..."
  268. > Now that she'd reminded him, Anon couldn't help himself.
  269. "Can I see them? I mean, uh, if it's not weird."
  270. > Fluttershy gave him a slight frown, but then extended the wing she wasn't lying on, turning it this way and that.
  271. "I didn't know horses could have wings," Anon admitted.
  272. > "Hey!" Fluttershy snapped, muzzle scrunching up in indignation. "I'm a pony, remember?!"
  273. "Sorry."
  274. > She took a deep breath and then her smile returned. "It's alright, I forgive you. Just don't do it again!"
  275. "Promise."
  276. > There was a moment of silence and then Anon remembered something.
  277. "I didn't bring anything this time. I was... surprised to see you on the roof when I woke up."
  278. > Fluttershy ignored the lack of a snack, but she looked up at Mr. Petrinov's building. "That's your bedroom window?" she asked and pointed with a hoof.
  279. "Yeah."
  280. > "Okay, I'll remember that," the mare promised.
  281. "Anyway, I got some grapes in the fridge if you'll wait a minute."
  282. > Fluttershy shook her head. "Nah, I'm okay. Thanks for offering. Um, are you done looking now?"
  283. > Anon realized she was still holding her wing outstretched for him to look. Her chastising him for his unintentional slight had thrown him off and he hadn't really looked at it. He did so now, very hurriedly.
  284. "Yeah, thanks. Looks soft."
  285. > The mare pressed the feathers against her muzzle before snapping the appendage shut. "It is. It's very warm, too. Nothing nicer than snuggling up with my wings around me in winter!"
  286. > It sounded incredibly comfortable and Anon couldn't help wanting to know what it felt like.
  287. "Um, can- c-can I touch? Only if it's okay with you!"
  288. > Fluttershy gave this some thought, staring right into Anon's eyes as if tying to decide what his ulterior motive was. She slowly stood up and walked closer to the fence. "Reach over," she said and partially unfurled the wing.
  289. > Anon ran a trembling finger along the edge, marvelling at how the feathers moved under his touch. It was incredibly warm, more than he'd expected.
  290. "This is so cool!" he said with a big grin.
  291. > After a moment Fluttershy smiled too, but she pulled away and folded her wings up again. "It tickles," she said. "Anyway, I have to go now. It was nice talking to you!"
  292. "Uh? Yeah, same!"
  293. > As she walked back to the house, Fluttershy paused to look back and give Anon a slight smile. Then she was gone and Anon went back to his stairs.
  294. > He couldn't help wondering what it would feel like to sit on the couch with Fluttershy, maybe watching one of those silly romantic comedies and have the mare put her wing around him.
  295. > Too bad it was an impossible fantasy, but at least he could dream, right?
  296.  
  297. > ~~~~
  298.  
  299. > On one beautiful late summer afternoon Anon and Fluttershy were able to have a picnic. By now Mr. Mason allowed the mare to leave his yard and go into Anon's, so the two could talk more easily.
  300. > She'd brought a blanket to lay down and Anon had procured cucumber sandwiches, apparently her favorite. There were also some tomato and lettuce ones for variety.
  301. > The pair sat on either side of the basket Fluttershy insisted was necessary for a picnic. The discussion so far had been mostly about Anon's work.
  302. > He flicked through his phone until he found another picture and turned it to show her.
  303. "Here, look. It's Harris' office. He usually leaves the door open. He says we should come to him anytime we have a problem."
  304. > Fluttershy inspected the image with curiosity, smiling to herself. "That doesn't sound too bad."
  305. "You wanna know what I think?" Anon asked, then went right on and answered: "I think it's just because Harris wants to hear if we're slacking off."
  306. > Her smile faded, but Fluttershy gave Anon an earnest look. "Well, he *does* have a business to run..."
  307. "Nah, he's just middle management."
  308. > It took Fluttershy to wrap her head around the unfamiliar concept, but she grasped it amazingly quickly, especially since she'd never been exposed to large bureaucracies before.
  309. > "He still has to make sure you're all doing a good job, right? Or else somepo- some people would get fired."
  310. "I guess..."
  311. > The mare smiled and placed a surprisingly warm hoof on Anon's wrist. "See? There's always more than one side to things."
  312. > Anon waited until she removed her hoof, then took the phone back and flicked through the images some more.
  313. "Oh, here's one. It's Jen's new car! She was so proud."
  314. > Fluttershy examined the phone once Anon showed her and then giggled. "Oh my gosh, it's so green! How does she find it in the grass?!"
  315. > They both laughed at the comment. It really was the most unusual color.
  316. > While Anon looked for another interesting picture, Fluttershy browsed in the basket. "There's one tomato sandwich left, um, if you want it."
  317. "Nah, I'm good. You have it," Anon offered.
  318. > Fluttershy did so, holding the triangular piece of bread with both forehooves. For some reason she reminded Anon of a chipmunk, the way she nibbled at it and he couldn't help smiling at the sight.
  319. "So, what's new with you?"
  320. > Fluttershy took the time to finish chewing her piece before replying. "Oh, nothing much. It's just... so boring! Laundry and dishes and dusting," the little mare complained. "Same thing every day. If I'm lucky, Mr. Mason lets me cook something. Only stuff I don't have to touch with my hooves, of course."
  321. > Her ears splayed out and she lowered her gaze to the ground. "He wouldn't let me have any animal friends."
  322. "Huh? What do you mean?"
  323. > When the mare looked up, her eyes were brimming with tears and Anon froze in sudden fear. Hopefully he hadn't upset her and cut their picnic short.
  324. > "Ba-Back home," Fluttershy sniffled, "I used to care for a lot of animal friends... Oh, Celestia how I miss them!"
  325. > She wasn't running away, just infinitely sad. Anon put his phone down and moved the basket out of the way. That let him shuffle closer and put his hands on her sides.
  326. > Before he knew it, Fluttershy's hooves were reaching around his chest and her muzzle was buried in his shirt. The only thing he could think to do while the mare cried was to pat her back with a hand, careful not to hit the wings.
  327. "There, there," he said.
  328. > Another cliché, but it seemed to work.
  329. "I'm sure if you explain-"
  330. > Fluttershy spoke into his chest, her breath incredibly hot even through the fabric. "I tried! I explained, a-and I begged, b-but Mr. Mason said no!"
  331. > Her whole body shook with her sobs and Anon couldn't keep the question back.
  332. "Why is this so important to you?"
  333. > At this the mare pulled away and glared at him, but at least she didn't shake his hands from her shoulders. Instead, she twisted slightly and patted her butt with a hoof. "This!" she snapped. "This says what my special talent is! My purpose in life! To care for animals and be their friend!"
  334. > Anon frowned at the picture. It was just butterflies.
  335. "Your tattoo?"
  336. > Fluttershy gave a small gasp and jerked away, glaring daggers at Anon. "It's a *cutie mark* and it's important to me! It's not a tattoo!"
  337. > All he could do was lift up his hands, palms out in a conciliatory gesture.
  338. "I'm sorry, I didn't know. I only know things about you which you tell me. I didn't mean to offend you."
  339. > When she relaxed Anon saw that her fur had been standing on end. He wondered if that was a sign of how angry she was. "Well... apology accepted. I guess you couldn't have known."
  340. "Wanna tell me more about it?"
  341. > Fluttershy gave him a long look, but then shook her head. "No. I mean, not now. Another time?"
  342. > He was just happy she wasn't permanently mad with him. A look in her eyes when she snapped had made Anon feel decidedly uncomfortable. It was too intense by half.
  343. "Sure, whenever you're comfortable with it. I'll try and not make any more stupid remarks."
  344. > He put an emphasis on 'try', since there really was no avoiding it. Fluttershy understood and gave him a faint smile. "Good. It's important to try."
  345. > At least she seemed to have moved past her sorrow at not having any animal pets. Anon made a mental note never to bring that subject up again.
  346. > There was another thing she'd said he could perhaps use to spend even more time with her.
  347. "Anyway, if you're bored, get Mr. Mason to buy you a console or something. Then we can play games together when you have time. It's a lot of fun."
  348. > Fluttershy perked up her ears. "Console? What's one of those?"
  349. "Ah, jeez, it's complicated to explain. It'd be easier just to show you mine."
  350. > The mare got a thoughtful look, then put her head to one side and smiled. "What if I ask Mr. Mason if I can visit you tomorrow? A-After my chores, of course. Or maybe before?"
  351. > Anon was stunned, but he recovered quickly.
  352. "That'd be great! I'll clean up the place."
  353. > Fluttershy giggled and leaned closer to put a hoof on Anon's arm. "You don't have to anything special for me, Anon. I'm sure I'll like it even if it's a little messy."
  354. "That's just it. If I spend the whole day tidying up I guess I can bring it down to 'a little messy'."
  355. > The mare positively chortled with laughter at the joke. At length she just lay down on her side across the blanket and heaved a sigh. "Thanks for making me laugh, Anon."
  356. > He tipped an imaginary hat, taking the opportunity to watch Fluttershy's belly. It looked incredibly soft and he wanted to touch, but it would be entirely the wrong thing to do.
  357. > The mare was quite skittish and he had to be careful with things like that.
  358. > However, when she stretched out her legs he noticed a flash of pink flesh low on her belly and Anon's breath caught. His research on the Internet told him that's where the tits were on a horse.
  359. > He sat up straighter and forced his gaze back to her face. Fluttershy had her eyes closed and it looked almost as if she would fall asleep.
  360. > Taking the lead from her, Anon also lay down on his back, close enough that her hooves brushed him when she shifted. He looked up at the clouds, trying to come up with something to say.
  361. > Fluttershy beat him to it. "This is nice. Um, is there any strawberry juice left?"
  362. > He didn't even have to look in the basket to know.
  363. "Yeah, there's one bottle."
  364. > "Could you get it for me?"
  365. > It was the work of moments for Anon to sit up, grab the drink from the basket and uncap it. When she heard the hiss of air the mare opened her eyes and rolled to her belly. That pressed her side against Anon's thigh, but he didn't mind that in the slightest.
  366. > When she sat up, her face was mere inches from his. Anon froze up, wondering if she'd kiss him, but the mare just smiled in faint puzzlement.
  367. > "Well?"
  368. > Suddenly he remembered the bottle in his hand and offered it. Fluttershy expertly grabbed it with her mouth and teeth, and lifted it up to take a long swig.
  369. > When she lowered it once more, Anon grabbed it before she had to look for a place to put it down. It was easier with hands and the mare flashed him a grateful smile.
  370. > "Thanks. Um... so," she looked at the horizon where the sun had mostly set and the clouds glowed orange. "I guess I'll have to go now. Um, I'll let you know what Mr. Mason says about tomorrow, okay?"
  371. > Anon just nodded, both sad that the picnic was over, but grateful that he'd get some time to sort through all these new thoughts and emotions.
  372. > He couldn't decide whether Fluttershy was warming up to him romantically, or just stringing him along and using him for snacks, or if she really was that innocent and didn't realize.
  373. > For that matter, Anon didn't know himself how he felt about the silly little horse. She was incredibly endearing, cute almost to a fault, and smarter and more perceptive than any girl he'd ever met.
  374. > Yet the fact remained that she was a pony. An entirely different species. Sure, he liked her as a friend. Liked her a lot, in fact.
  375. > But could there ever be anything more?
  376. > He both wanted and feared it.
  377. "Sure. My next shift isn't until Monday, so you just come up and knock anytime, okay?"
  378. > Before answering, Fluttershy put her mouth on the bottle again and Anon released it so she could lift it up and empty it. Then she twisted her neck to drop it neatly in the basket.
  379. "Oh, I'll clean up, don't worry," Anon offered.
  380. > The mare just gave him a smile. "It's no trouble. Anyway, the basket is mine and I have to wash the blanket. I might as well pick up the bottles and wrappers."
  381. > It was incredibly sweet of her and Anon easily agreed. He got up and stepped off the blanket so Fluttershy could fold it up and place it in the basket. Then it really was a work of moments for her to gather up the small amount of trash they'd produced.
  382. > After she was done Anon felt like he should have insisted. After all, it was easier for him to pick up trash with his hands than it was for Fluttershy with her mouth.
  383. > It was over, anyway, and she gave him another warm smile. "Thanks for a lovely picnic, Anon!"
  384. "Yeah... same."
  385. > Anon gave her a little wave, then turned and walked back to his house while Fluttershy headed to the street. There was no door in the fence and that was the only way she could get back to Mr. Mason's house.
  386. > Well, she could have flown, but Anon had noticed Fluttershy sometimes didn't remember she had wings and preferred to walk. It wasn't far, anyway, and maybe she wanted to stretch her legs.
  387. > When she was on the sidewalk the mare looked back and gave Anon another wave with her wing, which he returned, before they both entered their respective houses.
  388.  
  389. > ~~~~
  390.  
  391. > Anon was about halfway through his bacon-sandwich-based breakfast when there came a knock at the door. Surely it was far too early?
  392. > He dropped the uneaten half on his plate and hurried to the entrance. A quick look through the peephole revealed nothing.
  393. > Anon opened the door to find a nervously grinning Fluttershy on his doormat. It was the first time she'd visited and the mare was looking curiously around Anon's legs at the dimly lit interior.
  394. "Oh! Hi! Come on in!"
  395. > She didn't need telling twice and stepped inside while Anon shut the door behind her. Fluttershy sat on her haunches and grabbed something she'd been gripping with a wing. "Um, I got you this. Uh, it- it's a gift."
  396. > It was a packet of cloth and when Anon unwrapped it he revealed a piece of-
  397. > "It's marble cake," Fluttershy explained, looking at him nervously to see how he'd take it. "I baked it last n-night."
  398. "Thanks! Looks delicious!"
  399. > He took it to the kitchen, where he still had the bread knife out and could slice it up for both of them to enjoy. Fluttershy followed, but she paused to look in each door until she came to the living room, where she simply stopped in the entrance.
  400. "Here," Anon said, putting two slices on a plate and leaving a third on his counter for later. "You'll have some too, right?"
  401. > There was no reply, so he just took the thing to the table before looking around for his guest. She was still waiting right in the door, inspecting the place with some curiosity.
  402. "Fluttershy?"
  403. > The mare jerked her gaze back to Anon and gave him a nervous grin with her ears sticking out nearly horizontally. "Oh. Sorry. I was just... looking."
  404. > She finally walked to the table and clambered up on the chair opposite Anon. Her gaze landed on his half-eaten sandwich and her nose wiggled. She didn't say anything, but Anon remembered her love for animals and quickly grabbed the offending, meat-filled thing.
  405. "I'll- I'll just put this- I'm done with it anyway."
  406. > He took it to the counter and left it there before hurrying back.
  407. "Sorry about that."
  408. > Fluttershy shook her head, but Anon imagined there was this air of indefinable sadness around her. "It's okay. Many humans eat... uh, m-meat. I'm... okay with it."
  409. > She certainly didn't sound it and Anon suddenly felt very guilty. He didn't know what to say, though. He liked his salami and bacon and an occasional steak. Not that he could cook one himself, but out in the restaurant near the office they served most delectable cuts.
  410. > Anon wrenched his thoughts away from that place and focused on Fluttershy in the present. He nudged the new plate with her marble cake.
  411. "Here, let's have your cake instead. Looks delicious."
  412. > That seemed to work and the mare smiled more widely. She waited for Anon to select a piece, then grabbed the remaining one.
  413. > For a short while they ate in silence, then Anon remembered to praise it a little.
  414. "It's good. You're a fantastic cook, Fluttershy."
  415. > She blushed at the praise and averted her eyes, but she clearly liked the compliment, at least if her flattening ears and fluttering wings could be believed. "Um, thanks, but it's just something I learned from Pinkie. She's an amazing baker!"
  416. > Again a piece of her old life, but Anon knew enough not to follow up with questions. If she was in the mood, Fluttershy would tell him more on her own.
  417. > This time she didn't and instead looked around the place, taking note of the dust on most furniture and the odd piece of clothing lying here and there.
  418. > Anon had meant to start cleaning up right after breakfast, but Fluttershy had surprised him by how early she came over.
  419. "Sorry about the mess. I don't clean as often as I should."
  420. > Rather than looking offended, or grossed out, the mare smiled instead. "Actually, it looks kinda cosy. You know? Um, lived-in. I didn't have all that much time to clean back in my cottage either, not with taking care of all the animals."
  421. > That sadness was back, but Anon didn't know how to dispel it. He tried a distraction instead.
  422. "So, wanna see the rest of the place?" he offered.
  423. > 'Shy was happy with the suggestion and put the remnant of her marble cake piece back on the plate for later. "Sure!"
  424. > It wasn't a long tour, but Fluttershy seemed surprised that Anon had two bedrooms. She looked at the unused bed for some time in silence, then turned that gaze on Anon.
  425. > "You often have guests sleep over?" she asked.
  426. "No, it's not- Um, how do I explain this?"
  427. > She waited patiently while Anon thought about what to say, then just decided on the simple truth.
  428. "You see, Anton - he owns the place - he meant the upstairs for his family. He wanted to have two children, but, um, his wife died. So he turned it into an apartment to rent out, but it still has two bedrooms. I just use the one."
  429. > Her ears wilted and Fluttershy took a step closer to lean her muzzle against Anon's leg. "Aw, that's so sad!" she commented and he realized she absolutely, one hundred percent meant it.
  430. > The horse was really a sweet soul and it was utterly adorable. Anon couldn't help himself, but Fluttershy didn't seem to mind when he put his hand on her head and fiddled with an ear.
  431. > It was soft and warm, very pleasant to touch. Unfortunately scant seconds later she pulled away and blushed a bit. "Sorry. I, uh, get emotional sometimes."
  432. "Nothing to be sorry about. Anyway, there's just the bathroom left, b-but.. um."
  433. > He'd just remembered that he'd undressed there last night for a shower and just left the clothes, including his possibly non-too-clean underwear right in the middle of the floor.
  434. "Actually, will you excuse me for a moment?"
  435. > He hurried into the bathroom, slipping inside and shutting the door quickly so that Fluttershy wouldn't see. The pile was exactly where he feared and he picked it up and stuffed it into the hamper.
  436. > Then he waited a few seconds and flushed, to give the appearance of really having needed to go. A quick wash in the sink and he was done with one potential embarrassment averted.
  437. > Fluttershy was waiting in the corridor, looking up at some paintings Anon had hung up. Anon hardly paid them any mind lately, colorful images of landscapes and animals.
  438. > It was the latter ones the mare paid close attention too and Anon heard her give a forlorn sigh.
  439. > He made a possibly stupid decision, but if it would bring smile to her face it would have been worth it.
  440. "Say, I've been thinking about getting a pet or something, y'know?"
  441. > That much was true, Anon had considered maybe a cat, or a small dog, or perhaps a rabbit. One of his best friends from elementary school had a pet rabbit and from what Anon understood, they were quite low maintenance.
  442. > Fluttershy's eyes lit up. She wasn't allowed pets of her own, but maybe she could live her talent, her cutie mark, through Anon.
  443. > "You'd do that?" she asked, voice trembling just a bit by giddiness.
  444. "Sure! Except I don't know a whole lot about animals, so... maybe if you helped me take care of it?"
  445. > Anon could swear Fluttershy's eyes positively sparkled with delight and her grin threatened to split her face in half. "Of course!!"
  446. > She was about to jump and hug him, but a thought occurred and her expression darkened. "If- if, M-Mr. Mason doesn't m-mind," she stuttered, having found the problem in the plan.
  447. "Well, you ask him. I'd be willing to give you a key so you could come and check when I'm at work. I trust you."
  448. > Not to mention it would give the mare many excuses to come visit, which suited Anon just fine. Fluttershy was very nice company, filling a hole in his solitary life he hadn't even realized was there.
  449. "Come on, let me go show you the console. Remember? We talked about it yesterday."
  450. > Fluttershy didn't answer, but she followed and there was extra spring in her step. She very nearly pranced and her hooves tapped a cute little melody on the hardwood floor. She was also smiling beautifully.
  451. > Anon was happy as well. This was a fantastic development. Thoughts of the mare just casually strolling into his apartment for a beer or a game filled his head.
  452. > True, it'd mean he'd have to keep the place at least reasonably tidy, but on the other hand maybe she'd help with that as well.
  453. > It'd be just like having a roommate. A hot, girl roommate. He paused when he realized he'd just thought about 'Shy being sexy. He'd meant it, but it was an unexpected idea. Was he physically attracted to a member of an entirely different species?
  454. > So what if he was?
  455. > He sat on the couch and patted the cushion next to him, but Fluttershy chose instead to sit a bit further away. That was fine, Anon thought. Her animal-like nature and soft-looking coat made him want to pet 'Shy, but he wasn't quite that familiar with her yet, or she with him. These things took time.
  456. > He could show her some video games in the meantime.
  457. "Well, this is called 'Playstation', okay? Now I'm guessing you won't like shooting, violent games, right?"
  458. > Fluttershy nodded and her ears fell, so Anon scrolled past the various shooters and RPGs, landing on something which might suit the mare perfectly.
  459. "Hm, I don't even know why I got this. Probably on a sale or something, but I'm glad I did. It's called 'Harvest Moon'."
  460. > Fluttershy glanced at the screen and was instantly captured by the colorful graphics. Maybe it was love at first glance, but Anon knew she would simply adore the game.
  461. > It had been boring to him, originally, but Anon had a savegame he could show off. He entered the barn in the game and Fluttershy gave a little gasp.
  462. > "Baby cows? Cute baby cows?!"
  463. "Yep, there sure are. So you like it?"
  464. > Fluttershy looked at him with shiny eyes and nodded emphatically. Except, that presented a new problem. There was no way the mare would be able to use the controller.
  465. "Hmm, this might be a bit tricky. I don't think you can play it with hooves."
  466. > The mare's ears wilted instantly, but then she gasped and clapped her hooves together. "I know! There was this, um... Mr. Mason called them 'commercials'. It was for ponies! Like, they said it was for playing games."
  467. > She looked around the room for inspiration, then saw the controller in Anon's hand. "It looked kinda like that, except bigger."
  468. > Was it possible? It made sense, though. These ponies were expensive, it stood to reason that people who got them would be willing to spend more money on 'accessories'.
  469. "I'll check on the Internet. If it's not too expensive, I'll order you one!"
  470. > This statement made Fluttershy's eyes grow large and extra-sparkly. "You'd *do* that for me?!" she gasped.
  471. "Sure! It shouldn't be too big of a problem."
  472. > No matter how overpriced the thing was Anon would buy it. The mere thought of having this pony sitting on the couch beside him and playing a game together was reward enough.
  473. > Not to mention that Fluttershy scooched closer and nuzzled into his side. "Thanks! It really *does* look like a lot of fun! It's a- a game about animals!"
  474. "Well, not just animals. It's mainly about farming."
  475. > He laid his hand carefully down around the yellow mare, patting her- her withers, if the anatomical diagrams he'd seen on the Internet were to be believed.
  476. > "Heh. Applejack would like this, I think. She is *all about* farming."
  477. > It was probably one of her old friends, but Anon didn't think he'd enjoy this Applejack's company as much as Fluttershy's. He probably wouldn't have anything to talk about.
  478. "Well, there's other kinds of games. Maybe you'd like some of the ones for kids. Like, I think I have Spyro somewhere, but I'd have to download it."
  479. > Fluttershy released him and pushed herself upright once more, a faint blush on her muzzle. Anon took the cue and removed his arm, even though it was a struggle. She was so soft! Her fur was like silk between his fingers.
  480. > "Um, I'm sure I would like it if you think so," Fluttershy said at last. "B-But right now I wanna see more of this!"
  481. > Anon remembered the game on the screen.
  482. "Oh. Yeah, sure. We can play for a while."
  483. > The words reminded Fluttershy and she scrunched up her muzzle in thought. "I should be home in an hour to start my chores."
  484. "Sure. That's plenty of time."
  485.  
  486. > ~~~~
  487.  
  488. > The visits became a regular thing, although each time with some forewarning. Anon had told Fluttershy to come by any time, but the mare insisted on asking him if he had time at least a day in advance.
  489. > His answer was always the same, but she still asked. Despite that, the arrangement suited Anon just fine. This way he never had to see Mr. Mason and be forcibly reminded that the man was Fluttershy's owner.
  490. > He could simply pretend like the mare was a friend who sometimes came to visit.
  491. > For the most part they played games and talked, although there were a few times when one or the other would cook and they'd have a meal together.
  492. > More than once Anon had been about to joke about having 'dates', except he still didn't know how Fluttershy might react to that, so he kept quiet.
  493. > "Uuuurgh," the mare was groaning, sprawled sideways on Anon's couch, her hind hoof resting against his thigh. He'd started up Spyro Reignited, but this time she didn't seem interested in watching it.
  494. > Instead, she'd spent the past few minutes simply complaining. "And *then* I said I guess I didn't use enough washing powder and he told me to wash *all* his shirts again! The others were perfectly fine!"
  495. "Jeez, what a hard ass," Anon commented, commiserating.
  496. > "Yeah! And it wasn't *my* fault he got barbecue sauce all over his sleeve! Maybe if he knew how to eat without making a mess... Gah!"
  497. > In a way, the mare being annoyed with her owner was good. Anon liked it, because she then confided in him more and spent more time in his apartment with his sympathetic ear.
  498. > A few times something Mr. Mason had said nearly brought Fluttershy to tears and she'd welcomed Anon's hugs. Those soft, pony hugs were absolutely amazing, especially when she added her wings into the equation.
  499. > "I needed to get away from there, at least for a while!" Fluttershy concluded her rant. "I'm going stir crazy in that house! It's just *so* boring!"
  500. > Anon got an interesting idea and hit the pause button.
  501. "Hey! How about we go for a walk around the park? It's not too far, I can drive. We still have about four hours of daylight left!"
  502. > Fluttershy stared at the ceiling, then her hind hoof patted Anon's leg as she shifted in excitement. "Well, Mr. Mason is home. I c-could go ask him?" she proposed, both eager to go and frightened.
  503. > Perhaps she was afraid of a refusal, or maybe she was just worried about the unknown. Anon decided it was the latter.
  504. "There probably aren't even that many people around. And some of the trees are starting to go all brown and orange and stuff. Or at least they will, soon."
  505. > This clinched it and Fluttershy rolled off the couch. "I'll be right back!" she promised, rushed to give Anon a quick hug, then ran out. She neglected to close the door in her haste but Anon didn't mind. He had to go change his clothes anyway and he could get the door on the way to his bedroom.
  506. >...
  507. > So that was how Anon ended up with the remote for Fluttershy's GPS shock collar. Mr. Mason had been quite good-natured about letting the two go to the park together.
  508. > He'd said that Fluttershy could use some exercise and to have her back by seven, so she could start on the load of laundry.
  509. > However annoyed the mare had been about that dirty shirt incident, it seemed as if her owner hadn't even given it a second thought. He simply expected perfect obedience.
  510. > In either case, that was in the future and Fluttershy was happy to forget it for a while. She had taken the passenger seat and Anon did his best to buckle her in. Now he was driving and she was staring out the window with curiosity.
  511. "You're not gonna try and run away on me, right?"
  512. > It was only partly a joke question, on some level Anon was a little worried. Luckily Fluttershy gave him a bright smile and reached over to place a hoof on his knee.
  513. > "Of course not!" she said, then her ears pinned back and she sighed. "Where would I run anyway? I can't take this off-" she pawed at the collar, "and they'd just hunt me down and punish me. I don't want that."
  514. > It was a sad reminder of her station in life and Anon felt decidedly uncomfortable with the remote in his pocket. It was true that Fluttershy's collar was tied to it, but it also had a phone card which would let Mr. Mason know exactly where the mare was at all times.
  515. "Sorry. That was insensitive," he apologized.
  516. > Fluttershy just kept staring at the road ahead and her ears didn't move.
  517. "For what it's worth, if I had the money I'd buy you off Mr. Mason..."
  518. > At this the mare turned and stared at him, eyes large and probing. "I d-don't think that's a good idea, Anon."
  519. "Huh? Why not?!"
  520. > It hurt a little for Fluttershy to say that. It would be infinitely better for her to live with him than Mr. Mason.
  521. > The mare took a deep breath. "I'm not sure I can explain it, really. Anon," she began and put a hoof on his knee again, "I like us being friends. Do you think we could still be... friends if you... owned me?"
  522. > Her voice hitched at the word 'owned'.
  523. "Yeah! I wouldn't think about myself like your owner, Shy. It'd just be a- a formality!"
  524. > She flashed him a small smile, then shook her head. "It's no use anyway. I don't think Mr. Mason would sell me..."
  525. > There was that, and it irked like Hell. Now that he had the idea in his mind Anon wanted nothing more than to own Fluttershy. Surely if he had her and showed her just how he'd treat her she wouldn't be so reluctant.
  526. "Well, maybe someday," he muttered. "Anyway, we're nearly there. Let me just park there."
  527. > This made her feel better and she focused her stare out the window, taking in the park with a decidedly excited expression.
  528.  
  529. > ~~~~
  530.  
  531. > Anon was just about ready to leave for work when there came a knock. It was rather unexpected, because Fluttershy knew he had his shift today and no one else really had a reason for a visit.
  532. > He shrugged a little to himself and left the half-eaten banana on his table as he went to look.
  533. > It really was 'Shy, if a somewhat nervous one. "Oh. Um. H-Hi!" she began, rubbing a foreleg with the other hoof. "Um, do- do you have a minute? I p-promise it won't take long."
  534. > Anon quickly looked at his phone. It would be a stretch, but for Fluttershy he didn't mind coming in a bit late.
  535. "Sure thing. Always for you, 'Shy."
  536. > She flashed a smile and turned around. "Come with me, please. Mr. M-Mason would like to talk with you."
  537. > That didn't bode well and Anon was instantly apprehensive. Did the guy finally realize he'd been getting too close with the pegasus and was about to tell him off? Surely if that was going to happen 'Shy would give him a hint or something.
  538. > Furthermore, Anon thought, Mason probably wouldn't send her to fetch him at all. He'd just forbid her to visit and that'd be that. Not like Anon or Fluttershy could do anything about that, realistically.
  539. > He followed her, pausing only to shut his front door before she led him to Mr. Mason's modern front door. She didn't even pause as she slipped inside, but stopped to wait in the hall for Anon.
  540. > He closed that door too and followed his friend deeper into the house. He knew the layout pretty well, at least some of it, and she led him to the living room where Mr. Mason was sitting, relaxed on the couch. He was dressed for work as well.
  541. > This was unusual. Mason, being the workaholic he was, usually left for work before Anon even woke up. He was running quite late.
  542. > "Ah, Anonymous. Thanks for coming on such short notice."
  543. > Surely he wouldn't be giving him an approving nod if he was about to chew him out, right?
  544. "Y-Yeah, sure. No problem..."
  545. > The man inspected Anon for a moment, then looked at Fluttershy, who was industriously studying her own front hooves. Her ears were completely flat and her wings were slightly spread.
  546. > Anon recognized the pose. She was afraid of what would come next. His own heart began to beat even faster than it was and he clasped his hands together to keep them from shaking.
  547. > After a moment Mr. Mason continued: "Well, this is a bit sudden, I know, but I hope you'll be able to assist me with this one thing."
  548. > Was the man asking for some kind of help? Anon couldn't fathom what sort of assistance he could give the man, but it caused a glimmer of hope to spring up. Maybe it wasn't anything bad.
  549. "If I can, yeah." he answered, keeping it simple.
  550. > "Good, good," Mr. Mason said. He heaved a sigh and went on: "Anyway, I have a business conference in Paris the whole next week, so I'll be gone from the country. I'm leaving later today, actually."
  551. > He stared at Fluttershy again, considering, before continuing. "The house should have everything, but this little horse tells me she'd be lonely."
  552. > Anon glanced over just in time to see Fluttershy's mouth tighten at being called a 'horse', but she didn't look up or comment. It was obvious that Mr. Mason was a strict master.
  553. > "So I was hoping you'd be willing to take her in. You know, since you've been spending all this time together. I'll pay for the food, of course."
  554. > It took Anon some time to properly understand the words and then he couldn't quite believe them.
  555. "Y-You want me to take care of 'Shy?!"
  556. > Mr. Mason took it the wrong way and stood up. "She's no trouble, really," he spoke quickly, trying to seal the deal. "I- uh- don't really have anyone else to ask, you see?"
  557. > Before Anon could reply, the man was standing right in front of him, still talking rapidly: "If you can't, then that's that and she'll just have to stick it out, but she gets mopey when she's lonely and... well."
  558. > They both looked at Fluttershy, who was blushing furiously. Anon couldn't tell whether from embarrassment or anger, but Mr. Mason took it as the former and chuckled.
  559. > "See?" he asked. "What do you say? She won't be any trouble and she can clean your place up while she's at it, right Flutter?"
  560. > The finally glanced up and nodded emphatically. "Yes, sir!"
  561. > Anon finally managed to get a word in edgewise.
  562. "Sure! I m-mean, yes! I'll do it. No problem!"
  563. > Mr. Mason's shoulders sagged in relief. "Splendid! You're doing me a big favor, Anonymous. Keep track of how much you spend on food and I'll pay you back double, deal?"
  564. > Anon, staring at Fluttershy who was smiling back at him, just nodded mechanically. The man grabbed his hand to shake it, which reminded Anon he had to say something.
  565. "It's no trouble, really..."
  566. > Then Mr. Mason turned to Fluttershy and pointed a finger. "As for you, I expect you to treat Mr. Anonymous with the same respect you show me while you live in his house, understand?! I won't want to hear about your behavior!"
  567. > Fluttershy was happy enough that she didn't even flinch. "I promise, Mr. Mason!"
  568. > The owner turned back to Anon. "Anyway, I have to run now. She'll pack her things and- are you working today?"
  569. "Uh, yeah. Just leaving, actually."
  570. > Mason grew thoughtful. "In that case, finish cleaning the house, Flutter and pack up your things. Mr. Anonymous will come get you when he's back. Lock the door behind you, got it?"
  571. > Again she nodded happily. "Yes, Mr. Mason!"
  572. > "Good. Thanks again, Anonymous. See you!"
  573. > Anon made some kind of goodbye, but he was still too stunned to really acknowledge the man.
  574. > Fluttershy living with him for the whole week? It was like a dream come true.
  575. > Except he couldn't revel in it right now because was already late for work. He patted the mare on her head.
  576. "I really gotta go, but this is gonna be fun, okay? You can have the other bedroom and everything."
  577. > That last was more of an afterthought and mostly for Mr. Mason's sake. Secretly Anon was hoping the mare would want to cuddle at night. It'd be a totally amazing feeling to wake up with 'Shy!
  578. > Even if they didn't *do* anything! He knew how soft the pegasus was. He'd refrain from *doing* stuff if it meant he could have his hands on her the whole night.
  579. > Almost in a daze he followed Mr. Mason out of the house, then stumbled back home to grab his keys and wallet. It was going to be a fantastic week!
  580. > A sudden thought struck him and Anon wondered if he could get some vacation days on short notice.
  581.  
  582. > ~~~~
  583.  
  584. > The one time Anon wanted to get home fast there was impossible traffic. A less-anxious part of his mind said that the gridlock was no worse than on any other day, but with Fluttershy to get home to, it felt like an eternity.
  585. > To top it all off, the car was low on gas so he had to waste another fifteen minutes on that necessary detour. On the plus side, he managed to snag a little surprise at the gas station.
  586. > Now he grabbed the liquor bottle from the passenger seat, not noticing in his haste that he had knocked his wallet to the floor in the process.
  587. > He hurried to unlock his door and leave the special bottle in the hall, then simply left his flat open as he ran two steps at a time back down. He rushed to Mr. Mason's door and rang the bell.
  588. > The fancy car was gone, probably left at the airport or something. It meant the man wasn't home and the mare was alone, a state of affairs which suited Anon just fine.
  589. > Not long after that the door opened and 'Shy peered out. When she saw who it was she dropped down from the handle and grinned. "I'll just grab my bag and be right out!"
  590. > In his impatient excitement Anon stepped from foot to foot as he waited. He realized he was grinning, but he wouldn't have cared even if there had been people outside.
  591. > As it stood, it was a chilly autumn afternoon and there was no one on the streets.
  592. > Pretty soon 'Shy came back with a shopping bag in her mouth. Anon reached down and took it.
  593. > "Thanks," 'Shy murmured and pointed with a hoof. "Um, there's a key in there. Could you lock the door? It's kinda hard to do with my mouth..."
  594. > Anon happily obliged and made sure to securely lock Mr. Mason's door.
  595. "This is gonna be so much fun!" he burst out, unable to contain himself any longer.
  596. > 'Shy shared a smile and nodded. "Mhm! So..."
  597. "Oh, right! This way."
  598. > Such a polite little mare, Anon couldn't help thinking. She waited for him to take the lead despite knowing exactly where he lived. He escorted her up the stairs to his place already making plans.
  599. "I got us some strawberry Vodka. You'll have a bit, right?"
  600. > He'd tried to get 'Shy tipsy before, wondering if she'd open up to more petting, but she'd always insisted that she needed her wits around Mr. Mason.
  601. > That excuse was gone now, a fact Fluttershy realized, at least judging by her splayed ears. "Um... Maybe just a little," she agreed, even if it was a reluctant yes.
  602. "Don't worry, we're not getting drunk. Just a bit to relax us and loosen the tongue."
  603. > At this the mare stopped, the sound of her hooves ceasing and telling Anon she wasn't following anymore. He glanced back at her worried expression.
  604. "What's wrong?"
  605. > "W-Why do we need to loosen our tongues?"
  606. "It's just-" Anon tried, but couldn't find a good answer. "It's just something people do, y'know? Relax, enjoy the company. Drink helps."
  607. > He remembered something one of his coworkers had once said.
  608. "It's like a social lubricant."
  609. > 'Shy took this on board, but didn't seem entirely convinced. "I t-thought we were pretty relaxed already," she pointed out. "I already enjoy your company."
  610. > Anon put her bag just inside the door and went back to pat her mane.
  611. "Yeah, of course! Look, you don't have to. I'll just have a small glass, nothing more, and you can have some too or not, whatever you like."
  612. > It would be a shame if Fluttershy said no. Anon imagined that getting the mare a bit tipsy would help her open up. Still, not a big loss; 'Shy was right in that she was good company and easy to get along with.
  613. > This clinched it and 'Shy finally finished the walk upstairs. Anon closed the door behind them and let out a sigh.
  614. "Well, my home is your home, okay? Whatever you want, just take it. If I don't have it, tell me and I'll go buy it."
  615. > Fluttershy nodded towards the bag she'd packed. "Mr. Mason gave us the remote for my collar. He said I'm allowed to go places, but only if you're with me."
  616. > This showed just how much the man trusted 'Shy. With him out of the country, she could have taken the remote and ran away.
  617. "Well, make yourself at home anyway," Anon concluded.
  618. > "I'll go make my bed, um, if that's okay," 'Shy proposed.
  619. > When he looked, Anon saw that she had a set of bedclothes with her. It was quite sweet of her; this way he wouldn't even have to do laundry on her account after she was gone.
  620. "Cool, cool. Wanna play some Spyro when you're done? We can talk about dinner after that."
  621. > Now that the mare was in his apartment and staying there Anon almost panicked. He suddenly wasn't sure he had enough fun activities to keep them occupied for that long.
  622. > Hopefully Fluttershy would have some ideas of her own.
  623. > She was already on her way to the empty bedroom with the bag in her mouth, but the mare dropped her burden inside and poked her head back out to the hallway.
  624. > She gave Anon a weak grin. "N-No offense, b-but I thought... maybe... um..."
  625. > Was she about to propose something she considered impolite?! Anon's heart began to race, but he made sure to keep grinning.
  626. "Yes?"
  627. > "I thought, uhm, m-maybe I'd clean up a little first..."
  628. > His face fell a bit and Fluttershy shrank back, thinking she'd offended him. "It's not that it's... not tidy," she hurriedly explained, "I just, um, wanna. As- as a little thank you!"
  629. > Realizing what she must be thinking spurred Anon to hurry forward and put an arm on her withers.
  630. "Hey, of course it's fine. You absolutely don't have to do that. If it's too dirty for you, *I'll* clean it up, deal?"
  631. > Her smile returned and she shook her head with more confidence. "No, no, it's okay! I'm used to it, really. You go ahead and start Spyro and I'll join you as soon as I'm done."
  632. > It was a very tempting offer, though. Anon couldn't remember a time when the place hadn't been a mess. He relented, mostly because of Fluttershy's eager, pleading expression, but also because it would save him a lot of effort.
  633. > 'Shy was right - with her experience at Mr. Mason's, this would be a snap for her.
  634. "Sure. And as thanks I'll give you a hoof massage, deal?"
  635. > She didn't have to know Anon would enjoy that just as much, or more. A chance to feel her up and play with her hooves.
  636. > Fluttershy was blushing heavily and avoiding his gaze, but she made herself take a glance at his face. "Y-You really don't have to-"
  637. "It's no trouble. 'Shy, I'm not your owner. Think of me as a roommate, okay?"
  638. > A roommate was a good place to start.
  639. > That faint smile was back and the mare nodded. "Okay."
  640. > She ducked back into her room to make the bed, but turned around again almost immediately. "Um, do you have a vacuum cleaner? Or a broom?"
  641. "Both. I'll show you, just call when you need them, okay?"
  642. > Another nod and she went to make her bed while Anon continued into the living room. Such a polite pony!
  643. "I'll just go and change out of these pants, 'kay?"
  644. > She called out of her room: "'kay!"
  645. >...
  646. > Anonymous was trying to focus on his game, but he was hyper-aware of Fluttershy's slow progress around the flat with the vacuum cleaner. More than once he thought about getting up and offering to help again, but each time he changed his mind.
  647. > Finally, 'Shy finished with the floor and Anon smiled to himself as she came into the living room. He looked over, wondering if she'd sit a bit closer this time, but the mare went straight to the kitchen and pushed a chair to the sink.
  648. > She started to hum to herself when she opened the water and Anon realized she meant to wash the dishes. This was too much and he paused the game.
  649. "Hey, it's okay. You don't have to do that!"
  650. > 'Shy looked at him with a slight frown, then shrugged and smiled back. "It's okay, I don't mind."
  651. > While it was fantastic to have someone clean for him, the evening wasn't going at all the way Anon had wanted it to. It was time to put his foot down and at the same time earn some of those 'good friend' points.
  652. "Nah, that's my mess. I'll do it, 'kay?"
  653. > The statement made the mare giggle. "Anon, the floor was also technically your mess and I didn't mind."
  654. "Well, this is different. Go. I just got to the Breeze Harbor, you take it from there while I wash up, okay?"
  655. > This was enough to make 'Shy flick her ears around. It was one of her favorite levels, after all.
  656. > She pushed the chair back to the table, then brushed past Anon to give him a quick nuzzle. "You're such a gentlecolt, Anon," she praised.
  657. > Honestly, with that kind of encouragement it wasn't hard to do the dishes at all. Pretty soon Anon heard the game start back up and the clacking of the large, hoof-shaped controls he'd bought for the mare.
  658. > It was just a few plates and a pan in the sink in any case, so he was done rather quickly and could rejoin his guest on the couch.
  659. > All he got was a quick flicker of her eyes before 'Shy focused on the screen once more. "Want it back?" she asked during a lull in the action.
  660. "Nah, you have fun," he told her and leaned back to enjoy the view.
  661. > The view, in this case, being Fluttershy concentrating on her hoofwork. Her ears were perked up to catch all the subtle audio cues, her wings were slightly unfolded to help her keep her balance and her tongue was poking out in concentration.
  662. > Absolut Cute.
  663. > That thought reminded Anon about the drink he'd bought.
  664. "Oh, want a glass of that Vodka? A small one?"
  665. > So intent was 'Shy on her game that she just wordlessly nodded and he hurried to fetch the bottle from where he'd left it by the entrance.
  666. > He filled two glasses about halfway and took them to the couch, making sure not to walk between the mare and the screen. A quick glance at the score told him she was doing quite well and he didn't want to disturb.
  667. > He took a sip of his and held both glasses. It had a strong taste of alcohol, but it also smelled and felt like strawberries. Maybe Fluttershy would like it.
  668. > "Drat!" she mock-swore as Spyro fell into the lava. "I'll never get good at this!"
  669. > Anon chuckled a little and offered the glass.
  670. "Don't worry, it just takes practice. You're doing great."
  671. > He got a grateful smile in return and the mare accepted the drink with both forehooves. She sniffed at it. "Mmm!"
  672. > Despite the apparently nice smell 'Shy only took a small sip. It was a good thing too, because she gasped and panted with her tongue out. "Eeesh!"
  673. > Even her discomfort was adorable, but Anon had enough presence of mind to steady her glass with a hand before she spilled it.
  674. "Just take it slow. You'll get used to it," he told her.
  675. > Fluttershy nodded at him, then gave the drink a determined glare. Her intention not to drink was apparently forgotten in the face of this challenge.
  676. > He let the glass go when she tried another sip. This time she knew what to expect and just scrunched up her muzzle as the alcohol burned its way down.
  677. > "Ugh, how can it smell so nice and taste so... burny?!"
  678. "It's the way it is. Don't drink too much of it, though, it's pretty strong."
  679. > The mare carefully deposited her glass on the armrest and slid off the couch. "I need a glass of water," she murmured and went to pour herself one.
  680. > Anon realized too late that he should have helped. 'Shy had to push the chair back to the sink, pour herself some water, then return it to the table. She hobbled carefully back on three legs, somehow holding the glass in the crook of her ankle.
  681. > It was probably a knack all ponies learned.
  682. > Once back on the couch, Fluttershy sipped some water, then grabbed the other drink once more. "Well, here goes..."
  683. > This time she took a significant gulp, followed rapidly with the water. She leaned her head to one side and smacked her lips. "It's not... quite as bad..."
  684. > Anon just grinned and took his own glass.
  685. "Gonna try the level again, or do you want me to do it?"
  686. > The mare waved at him with a wing since her hooves were full. "Go ahead. I'll have some more of this. I like strawberries."
  687. > Before long Fluttershy had worked through her glass, and now she looked a bit unsteady and quite flushed. The water had helped the alcohol go down smoother, but it looked like she'd had enough.
  688. > Anon felt bad for pouring as much as he did. He was about to ask the mare if she was okay, but she beat him to it: "Um, do you have any beer?"
  689. "Huh?!"
  690. > 'Shy blushed and offered an uncertain grin. "I, um, kinda like the smell. I think."
  691. > Maybe it was the alcohol talking already, but Anon wasn't about to deny her what she wanted. He paused the game and put the controller on the couch beside him.
  692. "I'll get some. Hold on."
  693. > He had a couple of bottles in the fridge and it was the work of moments to fetch and open two of them. 'Shy accepted hers between her forelegs and sniffed at it.
  694. > "Yeah," was all she said and Anon guessed she was talking to herself. He watched as she lifted up the bottle with her mouth to take a swig. When it came back down 'Shy smacked her lips a few times, staring off into the distance.
  695. > "Kinda bitter, but not bad," she commented. "I like the- uuurk!"
  696. > The small burp made her eep in embarrassment and cover her mouth with a hoof. "Sorry! I totally didn't mean to do that!"
  697. > Anon couldn't help chuckling, but he reached over and patted her withers.
  698. "You don't have to apologize. Just relax and be yourself, I don't mind."
  699. > In a way, it was kinda hot to see the pegasus letting loose. She always had such a tight control over herself that it was a refreshing change to see her like this.
  700. > Still blushing, 'Shy lifted up the bottle again, but this time she took a smaller sip. She looked at the screen then shifted her gaze to Anon.
  701. > "So, you gonna play or just, uh, wa- watch me drink?"
  702. > She had a valid point and Anon grabbed his controller again. They both focused on the game. With how far the mare had gotten on her own, it wasn't too much longer until he finished the level.
  703. > All the while she had been taking swigs of beer, seemingly quite enjoying the taste of hops. It would make sense, Anon thought idly. She was a pony and they liked grain, no?
  704. > "Y'know," Fluttershy began slowly, as if still waiting for the thought to crystallize, "when poor, um dragon... Spyro. Yeah, when he got, um, misled in that portal at the beee- beginnin'?"
  705. "Yeah?"
  706. > Fluttershy turned to Anon and gave him a triumphant stare. "Twi- Twiley'd never let that happen to, uh, her. She's... she's like, like totally amazing wiff, um, portals."
  707. > Anon blinked at this unexpected tidbit. Surely Fluttershy couldn't be drunk enough yet to openly talk about her life before Earth, which was usually a rather painful topic?
  708. "If you say so."
  709. > "Huh," the mare went on, apparently not having even heard Anon's remark. "On-t, on the other hoof, that way we woo- wee- w-wouldn't be here to help th' Eskimos, right?"
  710. "Yeah, you're probably right."
  711. > Fluttershy heaved a sigh and shrugged. "Silver lining an' all that, I guess."
  712. > There was nothing really to add and the mare had nothing else to say, judging by how she lifted up the beer bottle once more. She was watching the game so Anon kept playing it, but he couldn't stop himself stealing glances at the pegasus.
  713. > Surely she couldn't be that much of a lightweight, could she?
  714. > Suddenly she sat bolt upright. "Um, got any- any that strawberry stuff left?" she asked.
  715. > Despite his misgivings Anon passed her his own glass, still about a quarter full. The mare took it and emptied it, following it quickly with the beer to wash the sting of alcohol from her mouth.
  716. > "S'kinda, uh, kinda- yeah, kinda sweet when you get used to it..."
  717. "Yeah, but I think that's enough. You're getting tipsy, 'Shy."
  718. > She shrugged a little and pushed the glass away. "So wha'?" she asked a bit more sharply then her usual timid tone. "Dam- damn Mr. Mason has me, um, *maiding* all over for 'im. I deserve to get drunk some-sometimes."
  719. "Yeah, I guess."
  720. > 'Shy drew a shuddering breath. "Not gonna see any of my friends again, b-but I still deserve to be happy..."
  721. > It could be tricky talking about that, but Anon went with his gut instinct and put the game controller down. He turned and shifted closer so he could hug the mare and carefully press her head against his shoulder.
  722. "You totally do. I'm sorry about you being stuck here, but you do deserve to be happy, 'Shy. Everyone deserves to be happy!"
  723. > She nodded against his shirt and returned the hug with her hooves. "I'ma... I'ma bit dizzy," she said, then giggled. "Or, or, or, maybe this..." she gestured with a hoof around her. "Yer room... s'spinning."
  724. "Just ride it out. I can't believe you're drunk already, but you'll be fine. Here, drink some more water, it'll help."
  725. > The mare nodded, but she didn't move her hooves so Anon simply placed the water against her lips and carefully tilted it up.
  726. > Some of the liquid escaped and dribbled down Fluttershy's coat and splashed against Anon's pants. She didn't seem to notice it and swallowed what got into her mouth.
  727. > After he put the empty glass down Anon used his sleeve to dry Fluttershy's muzzle and chest.
  728. "There. I'll get you some more later, okay? Can you sit upright?"
  729. > The mare just shrugged and burrowed her face in Anon's shirt again. "I l-like it here," she mumbled.
  730. "Okay. This is fine," Anon said, more to himself than to the mare.
  731. > The grip around him tightened and 'Shy muttered something else, but it was too mangled for him to understand.
  732. "What was that?"
  733. > "-said I'm lone- lonely wiff, um wiffout my fr'ens."
  734. > It sounded like music to Anon's ears and he patted her back.
  735. "I'll be your friend, 'Shy."
  736. > She nodded against his shirt but didn't speak. The hug was nice, though.
  737. > Suddenly the little mare shuddered in Anon's arms, there was a hot, liquid feeling on his chest, and he pulled her away. It was too late; there was already sick spreading in a warm puddle down his shirt.
  738. "Ugh, 'Shy..."
  739. > The smell was like rotten strawberries and antiseptic, nearly making Anon throw up as well.
  740. > Fluttershy, however, stared at him with wide, frightened eyes and put both hooves on her muzzle.
  741. > "Urk!"
  742. > More spurted out between her legs and down her own chest. Anon couldn't help noticing that her sick consisted of nothing but liquids. Fluttershy followed his gaze, but seeing the mess just made her groan and shut her eyes.
  743. "You didn't eat anything before you came here, did you?"
  744. > He sighed and took his shirt off. It was already done for, but maybe he could use to to protect the couch some. He bundled the cloth against the stain on Fluttershy's chest and managed to somehow catch the next stream.
  745. "Hold this!"
  746. > The mare had just enough presence of mind to grasp the cloth to herself. She still didn't look, so her next heave only partially hit the cloth and some of it spilled, but it caught most of the mess. That freed Anon's hands and he simply picked up the pegasus.
  747. > Even now he couldn't believe how light she was. One of her wings unfolded but 'Shy didn't seem to be aware of it at all. She heaved a few times, but it looked like the performance was over, at least for the moment.
  748. > There was nothing else to do but rush her to the bathroom, where Anon bumped the light switch with his elbow and then deposited the mare in the tub as gently as he could. She'd be easiest to clean up in there.
  749. "Well, that didn't go like I planned," Anon said.
  750. > He thought he should be disappointed, but somehow 'Shy managed 'adorable' even while puking all over herself. In any case, she was far too miserable for Anon to think about himself right then.
  751. > She was still clutching the cloth to her chest and he pried it away from her. The mare finally opened her eyes and looked, but it seemed she was having trouble focusing.
  752. "You should puke it all out, 'Shy. You gotta take a shower in either case, so it doesn't really matter."
  753. > She blinked in confusion and tried to look around to see where she was. The movement of her head was a mistake though and she groaned, grasping her belly with both hooves. "I... gonna..." she managed before bringing out some more mixed beer and vodka.
  754. > Yeah, perhaps Anon should have taken into account her weight before giving her strong alcohol. Not to mention her obvious inexperience with drink. He definitely should have asked if she'd eaten yet. Or, at all that day.
  755. > She was sobbing now and it was a heart-wrenching sight. Anon climbed into the tub with the mare, completely ignoring how his pants were getting smeared, and pulled the poor thing against his chest.
  756. > At first she tried to push him away, but when he patted her withers a few times Fluttershy accepted and pressed her face in Anon's bare belly. "Izz... bluh!" 'Shy tried to say, but something gurgled and whatever the word was it turned into vomit.
  757. > Anon almost couldn't believe how hot the liquid was against bare skin. Hopefully the mare wasn't running a fever.
  758. > "Noooo!" Fluttershy wailed, again trying to free herself, but Anon held her firmly and stroked her mane. He was smearing it with sick, but she'd need a full shower in either case. She tried to speak again. "Don'- look!"
  759. > It was obviously important to her, because she managed to make the sentence work: "Don't look at me!"
  760. > This time when she heaved there was nothing left. 'Shy hiccuped a few times then went back to wordless sobbing.
  761. > Something told Anon it wasn't just because of nausea and sickness. There was something deeper in Fluttershy's crying and the drink had merely brought it out.
  762. > Then again, she had no shortage of things to be sad about. Anon scooped the pegasus up, sat cross-legged, and deposited her in his lap Her wing was still unfolded and shifted every now and then, but 'Shy didn't seem to have any real control over it.
  763. > She managed to clutch Anon around his chest while he patted her mane and ran a hand up and down her withers in what was hopefully a soothing gesture.
  764. "It's okay. Cry it out and then I'll help you wash, okay?"
  765. > Fluttershy didn't seem to understand, or maybe she hadn't heard it, but it was what she was already doing so that was okay.
  766. > It could turn into a long night, with him sitting uncomfortably in a puddle of vomit, but for some reason Anon felt elated.
  767. > This creature clearly needed him and he could give her comfort. She desperately needed something which her owner couldn't give. Perhaps no one on Earth could, except for him.
  768. > Sure, her present misery was sad, but she'd surely trust him after this. She'd open up some more to the only human who listened.
  769. > It really was a uniquely gratifying feeling. He smiled a little and bent his head down to brush Fluttershy's nose with his.
  770. "It's gonna be okay," he repeated.
  771. > Hopefully he'd get used to the smell soon.
  772. > This time the little mare had heard and lifted her head to look at Anon. She gazed at him in near silence, except for her breathing, then let her muzzle fall again. "'m- mess," she fumbled the words. "'m a tot- total... mess!"
  773. > Anon just nodded sagely. Joy souring into guilt as he realized he had been feeling happy about her personal tragedy.
  774. "I guess we both are, 'Shy."
  775. > He distinctly felt her hug tighten for a moment. The mare sniffled, but it didn't seem as if she'd go back to full-on sobbing.
  776. > Anon placed his palm against her muzzle and ran his thumb through the soft fur on her cheek. He felt her hot breath as 'Shy exhaled and a slight chill when she drew a fresh lungful. Her nose wiggled and her eyes popped open. "Ugh, stink," she complained.
  777. "Yeah, we do."
  778. > Luckily they were already in the right place to fix that. Anon was about to reach for the tap, but the mare squirmed and lifted her head. She held her breath for a moment, then made a sound half between a gargle and a choke, and heaved again. Nothing came out, but she was still pretty far out of it, so Anon decided to wait with the shower for a while.
  779. > His reasoning was confirmed when Fluttershy gave a little groan and shifted so his knee wasn't pressing against her stomach.
  780.  
  781. > ~~~~
  782.  
  783. > The first order of business was to wash away the vomit which had pooled in the bath tub. Actually, Anon changed his mind, the first thing was to unlatch Fluttershy's collar and place it safely on the washing machine which was the only surface in reach.
  784. > Then Anon shifted Fluttershy to one side and opened the tap.
  785. > At the sound of the running water her eyes opened and blearily tried to focus on the source, but upon seeing it was only the shower she relaxed again.
  786. > Anon angled the stream to wash away the worst of the stuff and let the water soak his abused shirt. Then he wrung it out and tossed it into the sink where it could wait until later without making a big puddle on the floor.
  787. > Already the smell in the bathroom was much improved, or else he'd just gotten used to it in the past hour or so. He wondered if he should do the same with his pants, but the situation was already quite awkward so he left them on for now.
  788. > Funny how the words 'taking a bath with Fluttershy' had sounded so hot when he thought them, and then the reality was drastically different.
  789. > Anon chuckled a little to himself as he plugged the drain and let the water start building up.
  790. "'Shy? We're gonna take a bath, don't freak out."
  791. > She was barely present enough to manage a small nod, but she still pushed herself into a semblance of a sitting position. Even with her forelegs holding to the sides of the tub the mare swayed alarmingly.
  792. > There was nothing to it but to begin. Anon looked 'Shy up and down, then decided to start with her chest. Or barrel, which was the more anatomically correct term.
  793. > He made sure not to let the stream of water hit her face and instead began soaking her from the neck down. 'Shy sighed and leaned into the stream, apparently enjoying hot water.
  794. > She pushed too far and got her muzzle into the spray, which sent her into a coughing fit when she inhaled some.
  795. "Okay, okay, I have to hold you, I guess."
  796. > An idea occurred and Anon turned the mare around so she was facing away from him. He was wondering what to do about her loose wings, but when he ran his hands down the feathers she pulled them tight against her body, solving the problem.
  797. > It looked like it was an automatic reaction, but it worked for what he had in mind. Anon scooched closer, holding her in place, and pressed her back against his belly. She seemed quite stable between his legs and leaned her head against his collar at his urging.
  798. > That left his hands free to scrub the worst of the sick from her chest fluff, while 'Shy made little grunts and squeaks of comfort at being thus massaged. It brought a smile to his lips.
  799. > When he grabbed her leg she lifted it up, not realizing what he wanted. For some reason the reflex reminded him of how regular horses would present their hoof for inspection to the farrier.
  800. "Just stay still, I've got you."
  801. > In lieu of a reply she reached her head just a bit further up and licked the underside of Anon's chin. The unexpected warmth of her tongue there made him freeze in shock.
  802. > Pushing it out of his mind was hard, but Anon did so and went back to running his fingers down the mare's body. Most of the mess was there and on her forelegs.
  803. > He turned the shower off and reached for his shampoo. A thought made him hesitate. Would the product be okay for a pony?
  804. > It was just hair, right? Anyway, he didn't have anything else so it would just have to do. If 'Shy hated the scent she could take another shower by herself in the morning.
  805. > Anon took a big goop of the stuff and put the bottle back so he'd have both hands free. He brought the shampoo against Fluttershy's chest where the fur was thickest and would make the most amount of foam.
  806. > As he began to lather, the mare shifted and her head slipped forward. Anon caught her and lifted it back up, but it left a smear of white foam on her muzzle.
  807. > She tried to lick it off, but groaned and spit at the taste.
  808. "Don't eat it! Just stay still, I'll be done in a minute," he gently chided.
  809. > Fluttershy murmured something unintelligible, but she didn't lick any more. She went back to quiet groaning as Anon massaged her belly with the soap foam. He spread it to her sides and then went a little lower.
  810. > His hand came to a patch of skin with almost no fur and he froze. He suddenly remembered what was positioned around there on a pony body.
  811. > She probably wasn't dirty in that place and the impromptu assisted shower was already too awkward, but he couldn't quite stop himself. It was just curiosity, Anon told himself. She wouldn't remember it in any case.
  812. > It was just a lather, anyway. You couldn't expect to lather someone up without touching them, right? His hand swept across her teats so quickly that he wasn't sure what he felt, if he felt anything at all. For that matter, he wasn't even sure what he'd been expecting.
  813. > She was just... smooth and so incredibly warm there.
  814. > It was still a very significant place and made his pants feel uncomfortably tight.
  815. > For a few moments Anon just waited in silence, hoping the mare wouldn't give a squeak of protest or struggle out of his grip. She had every right to, he realized as shame washed over him.
  816. > Yeah, he could admit it now: he desired 'Shy and it wasn't just curiosity. Still, copping a feel while she was blind-drunk wasn't the way to go about it.
  817. > It was wrong.
  818. > He almost pushed her away, but 'Shy would just fall and she was in no condition to finish showering on her own. Since he'd started it, he owed her at least to finish cleaning her up.
  819. > Anon did his best to push away his guilt and quickly moved on to her forelegs. This time she didn't try to lift them away as he lathered her up.
  820. > He returned his hands to her chest fluff every now and then to get fresh handfuls of foam, but with how much shampoo he'd used there was no shortage.
  821. > Quite soon she was entirely covered, at least on the front. That just left her back.
  822. > There was about an inch of water in the tub and Anon carefully laid 'Shy into it.
  823. "Breathe through your nose!"
  824. > Maybe she heard and understood, or maybe it was a natural reaction to having her muzzle partially submerged, but Fluttershy obeyed and lay still.
  825. > Anon inspected the job before him.
  826. > The easiest part was opening the tap briefly to get the mare completely wet, so he did that first.
  827. > Then he grabbed another blob of shampoo, smaller this time, and scrubbed it on her lower back.
  828. > She wasn't at all dirty, but it had to be done for the sake of completeness. Anon had absolutely zero idea what to do about her wings, so he made sure to avoid them with the soap. Hopefully just water would be fine.
  829. > As soon as he had some foam going, Anon went for the most problematic part. Her tail.
  830. > It had dragged in the sick when he'd brought 'Shy to the tub, so it needed a good scrub. It was also very near-
  831. > He shook his head to try and dislodge the thought, but the damage was already done. His pants tented significantly and Anon was happy he wasn't still holding 'Shy in his lap. She would surely have felt that, drunk or no.
  832. > When he lathered her tail he was extra careful not to so much as brush her buttocks. A quick swipe down her belly was one thing, but groping her ass was infinitely worse.
  833. > Soon he had done the best he could with no experience and no guidance from Fluttershy, and Anon just let it fall.
  834. > Only one thing left. He glanced at Fluttershy's mane, which was lying to one side and soaking up water. Most of her head was still dry, so it'd have to be the shower first.
  835. "'Shy? Can you sit upright?"
  836. > He lifted her into the approximate sitting position he'd seen her use sometimes, hoping she would get the idea. 'Shy complained about the chill as soon as she was lifted out of the water, but managed to remain mostly upright, if heavily lopsided.
  837. > Her head hung down, but Anon could deal with that. He turned the shower on again, testing the water until it was nice and warm, then shielded her eyes with a hand and began to wet her hair.
  838. > The source of warmth was irresistible and 'Shy smiled as she leaned into both his hand and the spray of water. At least this time she didn't inhale any of it.
  839. > She also kept her eyes closed until Anon had moved the shower down her neck, then she blinked and tried to focus on him.
  840. > "Ye- arr, uh- yer niiiice," she slurred. "Wor- warrrrm, hooman."
  841. > She was rolling her R's and Anon couldn't help smiling.
  842. > He put the shower head down in the water and grabbed the shampoo again. He might be using too much of it, but he didn't mind at all. He could always get more.
  843. > A quick glance up and down helped Anon decide where to start and he put both hands on the back of Fluttershy's head, far away from her eyes and nose.
  844. > It quickly began to foam up and he followed the length of her mane, rubbing it in as thoroughly as he could. She wasn't dirty there at all, but now Anon had gotten into the swing of things and 'Shy was getting a complete shower, whether she liked it or not.
  845. > Once that part was done, Anon brought his hands back up. Fluttershy's head had started to loll again, so he steadied her with a palm under her muzzle while he brushed his fingers around her ears.
  846. > Almost done.
  847. "Stay still now. Close your eyes."
  848. > The mare did so, closing first one eyelid and then the other, all the while giggling uncontrollably. Anon hoped he wasn't tickling her too much, but he wasn't ready to go any rougher.
  849. > He steadied her head between both palms, then used his index finger to soap up her forehead and his thumbs to follow the lines of her muzzle. When he came to her nose 'Shy opened her mouth and Anon quickly moved his fingers out of the way.
  850. > It wasn't that he was worried she'd bite him, but he didn't want to bring any more shampoo into her mouth.
  851. "No! Close!" he chided and the mare obeyed, chuckling under her breath.
  852. > In either case, he was done, or at least as best as he could manage without her actual cooperation. All that was left to do was give her a good rinse.
  853. > Fluttershy slid forward and Anon barely caught her in time. She stayed upright only by virtue of leaning against his chest and hooking her chin on his shoulder.
  854. > It worked, though, and left Anon's hands free for the shower. He turned the water on and began to rinse down her mane and back.
  855. > 'Shy murmured into his ear: "Mmmm... like," she breathed out. "Warrrrrm."
  856. > It brought a smile to his lips and Anon twisted the tap to get the water a tiny bit warmer. It soon changed and the mare practically moaned into his ear.
  857. > Again he thought about what it would be like to-
  858. > No! Down, boy!
  859. > He focused on the water and watched as the white of the lather was being washed away. As Anon moved the jet down her body, he followed with his free hand to make sure her fur was thoroughly rinsed.
  860. > When it came to her wings again, he just let the water play down the feathers and didn't poke, afraid he'd hurt something.
  861. > Her tail he left for later, since it was lying in water anyway. All that was left was the front.
  862. "'Shy? I need you to stay up just a bit longer, okay?"
  863. > She seemed reluctant as he peeled her away, leaving a print of her shape on his chest in white lather. Luckily, 'Shy locked her forelegs in place and remained reasonably upright, only swaying a little.
  864. "It won't take long, don't move."
  865. > He repeated the process, washing away the foam and following with his hand for thoroughness.
  866. > Pretty soon he was finishing around her front fetlocks.
  867. "Okay, keep your eyes closed now," he instructed and reached to turn the shower almost all the way down.
  868. > The trickle was perfect for gently washing her face without forcing any water or lather into her mouth or nose. Anon followed the lines of her muzzle with a finger, marvelling at how their combined effect gave 'Shy that sublime, warm expression.
  869. > Perhaps he took more time than he strictly needed with that, but the face was important, right?
  870. > At last he reached behind himself and unplugged the drain, letting the foamy water drain.
  871. > As it receded, he kept the shower going and quickly rinsed down her belly once more. It was done. Maybe he'd missed some foam here and there, but it'd get toweled off anyway. He was about to stop the shower, but remembered her tail.
  872. "Can you stand?"
  873. > Fluttershy grunted and lifted up her rear, but that made her forelegs fold up and she smacked against Anon's chest. Luckily he'd been ready to catch her in case exactly that happened.
  874. "It's okay, just stay like this," he told her.
  875. > With her tail hanging limply, Anon was able to rinse it. All that was left were the traces of lather she'd picked up from him again.
  876. > However, showering 'Shy from the front just made her sit down clumsily, putting her tail back in the last dregs of the foam in the tub.
  877. > He just couldn't get both, but that was fine. Anon left her leaning against the side of the tub and holding on to the edge as he stood up.
  878. "Wait here, I'll get some towels."
  879. > The problem now was that his pants were soaking wet and he'd end up flooding the bathroom floor with them. There was nothing to do, except...
  880. > Anon looked at 'Shy, but she was leaning her muzzle on a foreleg, which was hooked on the edge of the bathtub. Her eyes were closed and she looked very nearly asleep.
  881. > Sighing, he pulled his pants down, making sure to hold on to the underpants at least. He left the soaked piece of cloth in the tub to rinse and wring later.
  882. > Some water still leaked from his undergarment, but that couldn't be helped. Anon ignored it as he reached for the two biggest towels he owned.
  883. > He balanced one on the edge of the sink, then quickly dried himself a little with the other before spreading it on the floor.
  884. "Here, let's get you out."
  885. > Fluttershy didn't resist as he hooked both arms under her and simply lifted her up. He still couldn't quite believe how light she was and, worryingly, now that she was wet he could see the outlines of her ribs.
  886. > Maybe that was normal on a pony, but Anon couldn't help feeling like she was too thin.
  887. > The mostly-dry towel on the floor quickly began to absorb the runoff water as 'Shy folded up on it. The other one Anon draped over the mare and began to massage her through it.
  888. > It seemed like the vigorous action woke her up somewhat and she turned her head to seek him out. "Wha-?" she asked, "weh- weh am I?"
  889. "It's fine. We had a shower and now we're going to bed. Can you stand?"
  890. > The feeble attempt got Fluttershy's rump up in the air and Anon used the opportunity to wipe down her tail as best he could. If the towel grazed her other parts, that simply couldn't be helped.
  891. > He tossed the soaked towel aside and grabbed another one.
  892. "Okay, now sit. Here, I'll help."
  893. > With his hand on her chest 'Shy managed to sit upright and Anon wasted no time in wrapping the towel around her and rubbing her dry. She soon began wobbling and he knelt in front of her to give her some support.
  894. > 'Shy just leaned forward until her forehead was pressed against Anon's belly, but it looked like she could kinda sit with that support. It also gave him a good angle to give her mane a thorough scrubbing.
  895. > When it was as dry as he could get it, Anon rummaged for another fresh towel and simply wrapped her up. With her size it was like a complete bathrobe.
  896. "Up we go. Let's get you to bed."
  897. > As he carried her, bundled up and limp in his hands, Anon thought for a moment of taking her to his own bed. She'd need watching, after all, in case she threw up again.
  898. > Except that reminded him of his grope in the tub and he decided against it. Ponies slept on their bellies anyway, right?
  899. > He pushed the door with his foot and sat on the edge of Fluttershy's bed. He saw the bedspread had flowers on it and smiled. She was a cute horse, even when she was passed out drunk.
  900. > He pulled the blankets aside and deposited 'Shy on her mattress, still wrapped up in the towel. Then he covered her up.
  901. "Well, I knew it would be interesting to have you stay here, but way to throw a curve ball, 'Shy."
  902. > His hand patted her through the blanket and the mare mumbled something.
  903. "I'll get you some more water. It'll help with the hangover tomorrow," he told her.
  904. > Again he only got some unintelligible half-words. Anon sighed to himself, but he was still smiling. He went to fetch that water, before getting back in the bathroom and cleaning it up.
  905. > The smile faded when he remembered there was still the couch to clean, unless he wanted it to stink of fermented strawberry and beer forever.
  906. > It was a price he was glad to pay to have 'Shy in his house, but if she ever agreed to drink again, he'd make sure she ate before and went more slowly with the strong booze.
  907. > Apparently pony constitutions were really weak. Or maybe it was just her.
  908. >...
  909. > Over the next hour or two Anon went to check on his new house guest several times. He didn't turn on the light in the room, not wishing to wake 'Shy up, but just listened from the hallway until he caught the sound of her soft breathing. At length he convinced himself that she'd be fine.
  910. > At some point she had turned away from the door, but she was still sleeping, apparently not bothered by any noise Anon might have made while cleaning the couch and then taking a shower.
  911. > He was in fresh sweatpants and T-shirt when he took that promised glass of water to her. After he'd opened the door he paused to watch 'Shy sleeping for a moment.
  912. > An ear twitched and focused on him, but she didn't say anything.
  913. "I brought you some more water," he said as softly as he could.
  914. > There was no immediate reply, so Anon walked over and sat on the bed. He leaned over and saw that Fluttershy's eyes were open and she was staring at the far wall.
  915. "Water?" he repeated.
  916. > An eye flickered to him and then she shook her head almost imperceptibly.
  917. "Come on, it'll make your hangover better tomorrow morning."
  918. > Again she shook her head no, but this time she sniffed as well.
  919. "You can tell me what's wrong, 'Shy."
  920. > Her eyes squeezed shut and finally she opened her mouth. "P-Please just go."
  921. "Only if you promise you'll drink some water."
  922. > She didn't respond for some time, but finally 'Shy heaved a sigh and turned to her belly. She pushed herself upright and Anon clearly saw the wince.
  923. > He handed her the glass in silence and the little mare obediently emptied it. "There, y-you can go now," she murmured, flopping back down.
  924. "Look, I'm sorry I gave you that Vodka. It was stupid and I shouldn't have poured so much. This whole thing is my fault."
  925. > Her face was in the pillow, but 'Shy still shook her head.
  926. > Anon put his hand on her back and gently scratched with his fingers. Encouragingly, she didn't shy away.
  927. > "I'm sorry... I s-shouldn't have drunk it. I'm j-just a mess- messed up loser. May- Maybe I wanted to get drunk. At least I could forget for a bit." Her mouth twisted in a grimace and she repeated: "I'm just a loser."
  928. > Her words were muffled by the pillow, but still clearly understandable. Anon kept his hand there, thinking about what to say.
  929. > At long last he reached under 'Shy and pushed her to her side. She didn't resist, limply allowing herself to be moved. Her eyes went to Anon's face and simply... stared.
  930. "Don't say that."
  931. > "It's true."
  932. > Anon shook his head and shifted his hand to her face, brushing the soft fur on her cheek.
  933. "You're not a loser to me, 'Shy. I think you're awesome."
  934. > He was watching closely and saw the faintest of twists to her mouth. "That's what Rainbow Dash would say."
  935. "Well, they're a smart pony, sounds like."
  936. > 'Shy didn't answer that, but her eyes, glistening in the faint light from the hall, never budged from Anon's face, except when she blinked. They waited for long heartbeats, then Anon broke the silence.
  937. "I wanna help."
  938. > At the same time she answered: "She. Rainbow Dash is a she."
  939. > As his words registered Fluttershy looked away. "You can't help."
  940. "I can try."
  941. > She didn't have a counter to that, so she just closed her eyes and pulled away from Anon's hand and shuffled around until she was facing the wall again.
  942. > "I'd like to sleep now."
  943. > Her voice was barely a whisper, but Anon heard it quite clearly.
  944. "Things will look better in the morning, you'll see. We'll talk, okay?"
  945. > There were obviously some demons she was fighting, all by herself. Anon wanted to know all about it and then do what he could to help.
  946. > Someone- some*pony* as precious as Fluttershy shouldn't have to deal with that on her own.
  947. > She shrugged, but at least that wasn't a hard 'no'. Anon stood up and pulled the blanket up to her withers.
  948. "If you wanna talk, or if you feel sick again, or anything, just yell, okay?"
  949. > She didn't reply.
  950. "Fluttershy."
  951. > She groaned and pinned her ears down, but she responded: "I'll yell if I'm sick again. Go 'way."
  952. > Anon couldn't help noticing she'd only promised a part of it, but at this point he didn't mind. He gave her side a pat through the blanket and walked out, leaving the door open just a crack so he would hear if she made any noise.
  953. > He turned off the light in the hallway and went to his own room, where he also left the door open.
  954. > It'd been a dreadful evening, but at the same time it had been enlightening. He was beginning to unravel the mystery that was Fluttershy and despite the obvious issues he still liked her.
  955. > She had been forcibly torn from her old world and friends, perhaps even from her family judging by her young age. The brave façade she put up during the day was just that - a façade. That evening, with her inhibitions lowered by alcohol, Anon felt like he'd seen the true person underneath, and she was suffering.
  956. > He wondered how often she'd cried herself to sleep in Mason's house while that jerk was completely unaware of any problems. Did he expect 'Shy to simply accept that she was now his property?!
  957. > Anon's heart ached for the little pony and he resolved to make her happy - or as happy as was within his power. If nothing else, she'd have a friend. Hopefully, it'd turn out as something more.
  958. > He couldn't keep his thoughts away from the shower and the quick feel he'd gotten. He also had a very good look at her backside when he was washing her tail. The glimpses he'd caught still left much to his imagination, but he really wanted to explore those parts of her in greater detail.
  959. > Much greater detail.
  960. > After she felt better, of course. He might catch a creepy look now and again, but Anon didn't think himself the sort of person who'd take advantage of a girl while she was depressed. Of course, rewards after he'd helped her get better were a different matter...
  961. > Maybe he liked her even more now, because the mare clearly needed a good shoulder to cry on and he could be that. Right at this moment, in the whole world, he was perhaps the only person who could hear her troubles.
  962. > He'd have the whole week to talk it out with her.
  963.  
  964. > ~~~~
  965.  
  966. > One of his first thoughts when Anon woke up was of Fluttershy. Was she okay? Hopefully the water had helped and her hangover wasn't too bad.
  967. > Although, nursing a weak and poorly 'Shy to health in bed had a certain kind of charm...
  968. > Anon dressed quickly, opting to go with the same sweatpants and T-shirt combo from last night, then hurried to check on his house guest. The door was still ajar, just like he'd left it and even in the weak, pre-dawn light, the shape of the mare under the blanket was unmistakable.
  969. > This time her ear didn't react to his presence, telling Anon she was still asleep. That was good, it meant he had time.
  970. > He hurried to the kitchen and dug out the ingredients for his favorite hangover cure. Black coffee with a ton of milk and sugar in it. Just in case, he added a couple of Advil for that extra assurance.
  971. > He froze and wondered if horses are allowed to take Advil. A quick web search left him feeling uneasy about giving it to 'Shy and he sat at the kitchen table to do some more digging while the water for coffee was heating up.
  972. > It didn't take more than a few minutes to find what he needed, but the only pain medication which was safe for both ponies and humans was one he didn't have in the house.
  973. > He still wanted to help, so Anon finished making the coffee and poured a large mug for the mare. He added milk and sugar directly, even though he didn't know how much she usually took.
  974. > When it was thoroughly mixed, Anon took the mug and the sugar bowl to the guest room. 'Shy was still asleep so he put them on the bedside table and carefully sat beside her.
  975. > The movement of the bed didn't wake her, which gave Anon the opportunity to just watch Fluttershy's face. She looked peaceful and perhaps more relaxed than he'd ever seen her, even last night.
  976. > Anon couldn't help himself and put his fingers gently around her ear. It was quite warm and twitched at his touch, but he just began to massage it.
  977. > 'Shy took a deep breath and stretched out, lifting the blanket with her hooves and wings. Then she winced and inhaled sharply through her nose. "Uuurgh," she groaned, but it turned into a whine.
  978. "That bad?"
  979. > 'Shy opened one eye, but shut it quickly in the light. "Ow, my head..."
  980. > Anon winced in sympathy. The kind of drunk 'Shy had been would leave her with a blinding headache, despite the water he had her drink the previous night.
  981. "Sorry. I brought you some coffee, it should help."
  982. > Her nose wiggled, catching the scent and 'Shy murmured: "Thanks. Um... help me up?"
  983. > Anon was only too happy to oblige and slid his arm under her barrel. He used his free hand to pull the pillow up and leaned her against it in a more or less sitting position.
  984. > She opened her eyes again, just a crack, and peered blearily at him. "What... happened?"
  985. "Um... you had a bit too much to drink, 'Shy. Don't you remember?"
  986. > "I- I d-did? I remember feeling... sad."
  987. > Anon couldn't quite face the mare and cleared his throat before correcting.
  988. "I shouldn't have poured so much for you. Sorry."
  989. > "It's fine," 'Shy said in a defeated voice. "What time is it?"
  990. "Early. Here, have some coffee and then rest some more," Anon urged, grabbing the cup.
  991. > She gripped it feebly with both hooves and brought it up to her muzzle to sniff.
  992. "There's more sugar if you want and I can fetch milk if there's not enough."
  993. > 'Shy gave him a short nod and took a careful sip. By now the beverage wasn't scalding anymore, but it was still pleasantly hot. She swallowed, then let out a sigh. "It's perfect."
  994. "So, you drink that. I'll get you some more water, and then you can go back to sleep. I'll head out, but I'll be back soon."
  995. > It looked like Fluttershy was following the stream of instructions, if barely, but that last made her scrunch up her muzzle. "Hm? Why do y-you have to go?"
  996. "I'm hitting a pharmacy for some headache meds you can take. I looked on the Internet."
  997. > She was shaking her head, but Anon put a hand on her leg, careful not to jostle the mug.
  998. "It's my fault you got drunk like that, so this is one way I can help. I won't be gone lo-"
  999. > He fell silent when 'Shy plugged his mouth with a hoof. Or tried to, at least. She missed a little and hit his nose instead. The coffee mug she was holding against her chest wobbled.
  1000. > Her hoof was surprisingly smooth on the inside and smelled a bit of last night's shampoo and somewhat... musky. Not unpleasant. Didn't ponies sweat through their hooves? Or was that dogs or something? Anon really wished he'd done more reading about her kind.
  1001. > "Shut up and let me talk," Fluttershy chided while Anon was momentarily lost in thought. She pulled her limb away and put it back on the mug. That was probably why it had felt so warm.
  1002. > 'Shy took a deep breath and closed her eyes. "Get the key to Mr. Mason's house from my bag. He has some medication for me in the bathroom, above the sink. I think there's... um, something called 'Banamine'. It's in a tube."
  1003. > Anon nodded, repeating the word 'Banamine' to himself to commit it to memory.
  1004. "I'll get it. Finish your coffee, I'll be right back!"
  1005. > Shy began to nod, but froze and winced at the sudden motion of her aching head. "Please, h-hurry," she said in a hoarse whisper. She closed her eyes and eased herself back down on the pillow.
  1006. > It didn't take Anon more than five minutes to fetch the drug. By the time he was back 'Shy still hadn't finished her coffee, even though she was working on it. The cup was almost empty.
  1007. > He sat back on the bed, breathing heavily from the effort of running up and down stairs, and showed the box to 'Shy. She nodded.
  1008. > "Just give me a little, Mr. Mason said it's very strong."
  1009. > Anon unscrewed the cap, then paused and looked at the mare.
  1010. "Um, how- how do you want me to..." he asked, brandishing the tube of Banamine. "I can get a spoon or-"
  1011. > "Just use your finger. It's fine."
  1012. > He was suddenly blushing as he squeezed out a bit of the paste on his index finger. He glanced at 'Shy who nodded that it was enough. Then he held it out for her.
  1013. > She darted out her tongue and wrapped it around both the paste and his digit. Anon suddenly realized just how long it was and had to suppress a naughty thought of her using it on another part of him.
  1014. > The way 'Shy grimaced, Anon guessed the medication didn't taste particularly well. It'd make sense if it was made for animals. She still licked up most of it and swallowed it quickly, all the while making faces.
  1015. > It was followed immediately by more coffee and she relaxed a little. "Ugh, that's gross," she complained.
  1016. > Curious, Anon put the finger in his mouth to try. There were some traces of it and 'Shy was right. It was super bitter and he grimaced as well. The slight taste of coffee Fluttershy's tongue had left behind didn't even begin to cover it.
  1017. "Yuck. You're right."
  1018. > Suddenly he became aware that she was staring at him, blushing fiercely.
  1019. "What? I wanted to see what it tasted like."
  1020. > 'Shy looked studiously down into her mug and murmured: "Anon, I just licked your finger and you-"
  1021. > He also realized it. That was where the taste of coffee had come from.
  1022. "So what?" he said as nonchalantly as he could. "It's not like you're poisonous or something."
  1023. > 'Shy hid her embarrassment by draining the last of her coffee, then she slid the mug to the bedside table and finally looked back at Anon. "So... now what?"
  1024. "Wanna sleep some more until you feel better?"
  1025. > She shook her head and winced again at the headache, but Anon thought she didn't grimace quite as much as before. Her medicine apparently worked quite quickly.
  1026. "Okay, you can lie on the couch and we'll watch a movie, or play a game. How's that sound?"
  1027. > It was beautiful to see how Fluttershy's face lit up and she nodded emphatically, even if it made her feel the headache again.
  1028. > "I'll- I'll just use the toilet real quick first," she announced.
  1029. "Cool. I'll take your pillow and the blankets to the couch. Yell if you need help!"
  1030. > 'Shy had used his toilet on occasion and once even complained that it was too high for her to get on comfortably. Anon didn't know if she could manage it with a hangover and he wouldn't mind helping.
  1031. > He'd go out of the room for her to do her business, of course, but just getting her up on the seat should be fine.
  1032. > "Thanks," 'Shy replied and slid slowly out of the bed. She moved a little stiffly for a few steps, then paused and stretched. She arched her back, fluffed out her wings, then lifted and extended each leg at a time. She finished by turning her head this way and that.
  1033. > When it was done she heaved a sigh and looked back. "I think the medication is working," she announced. "Or maybe the coffee."
  1034. > That reminded Anon of his other promise.
  1035. "I'll get you a glass of water. You need a lot of fluids the morning after drinking."
  1036. > "'kay," she answered and left, this time walking a bit more gracefully. Anon heard her close the bathroom door.
  1037. > He stood up and gathered the bed things to take to the couch. Luckily he'd cleaned it well last night and it should be perfectly dry by now. One of the worst things for a stomach queasy from a hangover was to smell stale vomit.
  1038. > After he'd prepared her temporary bed he'd make 'Shy a big breakfast. He couldn't shake the memory of how light she was and how her ribs outlined her barrel. It was the least he could do to fatten her up a tiny bit while she was living with him.
  1039. > It was a good plan and Anon began thinking up what he'd cook. Eggs, certainly, maybe some toast with jam and butter. He still had a couple of oranges and a slightly overripe banana.
  1040. > Then it would be time to go shopping. Hopefully 'Shy would feel well enough to join him, so she could point out the things she wanted to eat.
  1041. > After living with someone as controlling as Mr. Mason, the little pony deserved to have some choice in her life.
  1042.  
  1043. > ~~~~
  1044.  
  1045. > The breakfast had taken longer than he thought, but Anon didn't mind. The medicine had taken hold and Fluttershy had been able to speak with him, despite her queasy stomach.
  1046. > She even got some plain, buttered toast and some orange juice down, which was a good start. By the time they were completely done it was already verging on noon and she'd confirmed she felt well enough to join him for shopping.
  1047. > A short drive later and Anonymous was pushing the shopping cart down the aisle with Fluttershy plodding beside him. Her collar was back on. Luckily she had remembered even if Anon hadn't. Taking her out without it would cause problems.
  1048. > It was completely unfair how establishing the ponies as sentient, civilized beings who deserved basic human rights took all this time, but basic legislation requiring them to be collared at all times had been passed practically overnight.
  1049. > He led the way to the breakfast cereals and stopped in front of the colorful shelf.
  1050. "Anything you like?"
  1051. > Fluttershy glanced up and down the bounty on offer, then walked over to pick something from a bottom shelf. "Um, this one." She held it up for Anon to take.
  1052. "Oat meal?"
  1053. > It sounded plain and more than a little boring, but 'Shy nodded. "I, um, l-like the taste."
  1054. > He shrugged to himself and dropped it in the cart. He glanced over the colorful array, looking for something for himself, but decided against it.
  1055. > Breakfast wasn't usually his thing. Most days he preferred extra ten minutes of sleep to eating. Lunch break came soon enough, anyway.
  1056. > This week, however, he'd take oatmeal with 'Shy. As bland as it might look, her presence would make the difference.
  1057. "Okay, let's get some drinks next. I don't have any of the strawberry fizz left."
  1058. > 'Shy nodded, but waited for him to start moving. She didn't know the place at all, so she followed Anon's lead. He took her to the drinks section and picked up a twelve pack of her favorite strawberry-juice.
  1059. "You can get some other kinds if you like," he pointed out.
  1060. > She stopped to look at the shelf of apple juice of all things and her ears drooped. "N-No, I'm fine."
  1061. "Really? You can get apple juice if you like, 'Shy. Cost isn't a problem here, and besides, Mr. Mason is paying for it."
  1062. > She cast a longing glance at the apple juice, clearly wanting it, but shook her head again and walked resolutely away.
  1063. "Well, how about I get some for myself and you can share if you feel like?"
  1064. > Fluttershy turned one of her unreadable, inscrutable expressions on him, but didn't comment. Anon went ahead and got a few cartons despite that. She had clearly wanted it, maybe she'd change her mind when they were home.
  1065. "Okay, next up... sweets. You like sweet things? Like gummy stuff, or hard candy?"
  1066. > For a few seconds that stare was back, but then 'Shy blinked and hung her head. "If-If you like," she muttered.
  1067. > It wasn't a reaction Anon had been expecting. The few times he had brought her a piece of chocolate Fluttershy seemed to love it.
  1068. > He picked up some large bars, two plain, one with almonds and one with rice. Even if 'Shy didn't change her mind, he could put those away and eat them himself over time. Chocolate didn't spoil, right?
  1069. > When he glanced over he saw that 'Shy wasn't looking at anything, obviously lost in her own world. Maybe she was still feeling ill from the hangover and thinking of food was exacerbating it, he guessed.
  1070. > With that in mind, he hurried onward and Fluttershy followed with dragging hooves. They were mostly done, anyway. He had some baking supplies, mostly her ideas from the car.
  1071. > It was the strangest thing. Even as they entered the store 'Shy had seemed positively happy. The headache meds had apparently taken effect and she was feeling more free than ever with Mr. Mason.
  1072. > Then, as soon as they came in the bakery aisle 'Shy seemed to shut down. She looked at flour and powdered sugar and, in particular, the ad for some cake frosting, and then she'd simply shrunk in on herself.
  1073. > Anon wondered if it really was her belly, or if it was something else which brought out this change.
  1074. "Well, then just some fruit. If we forgot anything, I can just come back."
  1075. > Maybe fresh fruit and vegetables cheered her up some, because 'Shy looked a bit more perky as they doubled back to the produce aisle. He didn't know why stores liked to put that first, when it was always the last thing he thought about and had to walk the entire length of the store.
  1076. > Maybe that was why. If he had to walk all that way and back before hitting the registers, he might remember something else he'd missed.
  1077. > The results was encouraging, however. 'Shy seemed to enjoy picking out a variety of veggies and several types of fruit to round out their diet.
  1078. > For some reason she avoided apples, but she got more bananas, a couple of big oranges and even a bunch of early grapes.
  1079. > By the time they were done, she looked kinda happy.
  1080. > He put the shopping cart in line for the only working checkout lane. There weren't many people in, especially since it was the middle of the morning on a work day.
  1081. > As they rolled up to the conveyor belt Anon put his hand on his back pocket to get his debit card and froze.
  1082. "Crap!"
  1083. > He patted his other pockets, even the one inside his jacket where he kept his cigarettes and lighter.
  1084. "Crap, crap, crap..."
  1085. > 'Shy looked up, sudden worry filling her face. "Is everything alright, Anon?"
  1086. "I lost my wallet! Dammit," he swore.
  1087. > He pulled the cart out of the line and motioned to the lady standing behind him to go ahead.
  1088. "Shit."
  1089. > Anon tried to think where the wallet might have been. He got out of the pants while 'Shy was making her bed in his apartment yesterday. He was sure it hadn't fallen out when he changed back for the store this morning.
  1090. > He still had it going out of his job, because he used the employee ID card to check out. He distinctly remembered the twenty minutes of overtime he'd earned dealing with a difficult customer.
  1091. > Then all he'd done was fill up the gas tank...
  1092. "Crap, I forgot it in my car!" he announced. "I hope it wasn't stolen!"
  1093. > Fluttershy's ears wilted and she sighed. "Oh, dear."
  1094. "Maybe it's fine. It's not a bad neighborhood. Except..."
  1095. > He was silent, unwilling to swear any more in front of the mare.
  1096. > She leaned her head to one side. "Except what?"
  1097. "I didn't see it when we were driving over here," Anon explained, putting his hands in his hair. "Was the lock damaged? I didn't look."
  1098. > He sighed and steeled his resolve for all the hassle which came from cancelling his cards and ordering new ones. Harris would be livid about the employee ID card. He was uptight about security.
  1099. "I'm gonna go check the car. Can you wait here with the stuff? I'll be right back!"
  1100. > 'Shy just nodded and stepped closer to the shopping cart while Anon rushed out of the store.
  1101. > He'd parked all the way on the far side to give both himself and 'Shy a bit of exercise in the fresh air and now he was regretting it. He was out of breath by the time he ran up to the car.
  1102. > The windows weren't broken, which was a good sign. He couldn't see any damage to the lock on the driver's side and when he went around the car to check the passenger door, that was fine too.
  1103. > Maybe it had just rolled somewhere? Anon unlocked the vehicle and examined the dashboard. He always tossed the wallet there when he went to the gas station.
  1104. > It was empty, but he'd been suspecting that anyway. Next he checked the glove box, although it was a very unlikely place.
  1105. > Aside from a few ancient CDs and a Mars bar which had expired sometime in the early 2000s, it didn't yield anything useful.
  1106. "Fuck sake..."
  1107. > Anon got out of the car and felt under the driver's seat, only to find a paper tissue, fortunately dry, and an empty box for the headlight bulb. He remembered he'd had to change it some years prior.
  1108. > A quick glance at the back seat showed it covered with an old blanket and a discarded pullover. That would be a good next place to search.
  1109. > First, however, he leaned in, the shift-stick poking his belly, and felt under the passenger seat.
  1110. > Success! Anon felt the familiar leather shape and pulled it out. There was also the receipt from the gas station and Anon remembered he'd tossed both the Vodka and his wallet on the passenger seat in his haste to get home.
  1111. > At least it hadn't been stolen, he thought. It must have fallen down while he was rushing to reach his house.
  1112. > Smiling with relief, he locked the car again and headed back to the store to finish his purchase and take Fluttershy home.
  1113. > She'd eaten some of the breakfast he'd made - just simple toast and fruit - maybe she'd be in the mood for something more substantial by the time they got back.
  1114. > Then he'd promised her to talk about whatever seemed to be bothering her. Hopefully she'd open up, even if she hadn't seemed very enthused about the prospect.
  1115. > First, though, they had to finish their shopping.
  1116. > As he came back to the store Anon froze and watched. Several people were standing around Fluttershy, all with phones in their hands. 'Shy had a rather large and dangerous-looking dog on its back and whining softly as she scratched its belly.
  1117. > "Whoo'sa good boy?" she trilled in a tone Anon hadn't heard her use yet. "'hoo'sa good boy! Oooh, you like that, don't you?! You're not mean at all."
  1118. > Shockingly, Anon thought the dog nodded and wagged its tail at that statement. He pushed forward, not wanting to stop the show but wishing to see it closer.
  1119. > When 'Shy spotted him, she gave him a heart-melting grin. She looked happy, possibly for the first time Anon had seen. She really hadn't been joking when she said she missed working with animals.
  1120. > By the looks of it, she could put Cesar Millan out of business!
  1121. > "Come on, Bruce!"
  1122. > A middle-aged lady pulled on the dog's leash and he whined, unwilling to move. Fluttershy smiled and prodded him with a hoof. "Go on, it's alright. I shouldn't keep you..."
  1123. > It almost looked like the dog was grumbling under his breath as he stood up and morosely followed the lady further into the store. The onlookers slowly began putting their phones away.
  1124. > Anon grabbed the cart and got back in line, stealing glances at the smiling Fluttershy beside him.
  1125. "So you really like animals."
  1126. > "Mhm! Yes!" she confirmed twice.
  1127. "It looked like it."
  1128. > Suddenly 'Shy reached up to touch the collar and her face fell. It damn nearly broke Anon's heart. "Except I can't have any," she said in a whisper.
  1129. > He reached down to pat her head.
  1130. "I'll talk with Mr. Mason. Maybe he'll listen to me?"
  1131. > It was very unlikely and 'Shy probably knew that, but she simply had to have this hope. The smile came back and she threw her hooves around Anon's legs. "Thank you!"
  1132. > They were up next, so Anon didn't have time to properly respond as he began to stack items from the cart to the conveyor, but his eye caught the array of colorful sweets by the register.
  1133. "Want a piece of candy, 'Shy?"
  1134. > She looked up at the bounty and thought about it. Then her hoof pointed. "Um, that one!"
  1135. > It was something chocolate-y in a very pink wrapper. Maybe it was because it looked like her mane, Anon guessed as gladly added it to the pile. Anything to see 'Shy smile.
  1136.  
  1137. > ~~~~
  1138.  
  1139. > Pretty soon the groceries were packed away and Anon was sitting on the couch with Fluttershy. He reached for the console to turn it on, but hesitated.
  1140. > Instead, he turned to face the mare.
  1141. "Wanna cup of tea or something? Coffee?"
  1142. > She was bundling up in the blanket they'd simply left there. "No, thanks. I'm fine."
  1143. > Anon still didn't put the game on, remembering the previous night and, to a lesser extent, the store. Maybe it was none of his business to pry, but he liked 'Shy and wanted to do something nice for her.
  1144. > Surely having someone to talk to would help, even if he couldn't do anything actually useful?
  1145. "'Shy?"
  1146. > She wiggled somewhere in the pile of cloth until her head was poking out toward him. "Mm?" she asked. Anon couldn't help but smile at the mental picture of her turning around in circles a few times to get comfortable.
  1147. "I think we should talk."
  1148. > 'Shy scrunched up her muzzle in confusion. "What about?"
  1149. > The decision to discuss this had been kinda sudden and Anon didn't know how to go about it. He took a deep breath and improvised.
  1150. "Um, is there something, well, bothering you?"
  1151. > 'Shy raised one eyebrow. "Hmm? No, why do you ask?"
  1152. "Well, you seemed kinda... sad. At the store? Not to mention last night."
  1153. > Judging by her face it was going wrong, but Anon didn't know what to do to get the conversation back on track. One thing he did suspect, though, was that she really didn't want him asking her these things. He realized Fluttershy wasn't really willing to talk about it, so he prodded some more.
  1154. "Wanna talk about it?"
  1155. > "N-No."
  1156. > Her voice was still as quiet and gentle as always, but now it also had a slight tremor in it. She even withdrew a little unto the blankets which now covered her like a protective shell, or a cave.
  1157. "Fluttershy..."
  1158. > This was probably pushing too far and her muzzle vanished entirely under the blanket. There was no reply.
  1159. > Anon moved closer and placed a hand on top of the pile. He felt 'Shy jerk at the touch, but at least she didn't try to make a run for it.
  1160. "Come on, I just wanna talk," he pleaded.
  1161. > "Why are you bringing this up?" came her quiet voice, now muffled by the cloth. If anything she sounded resentful.
  1162. "I wanna help."
  1163. > Her answer was flat and she'd tried to make it emotionless, but her voice shook and betrayed her fear. "You can't."
  1164. > Anon sighed and dug his fingers in, trying to convey through touch alone that he wasn't going anywhere and that he didn't believe her lies. They were probably good-natured, he thought. It was very like Fluttershy to try and spare him dealing with her troubles.
  1165. "Maybe you'll feel better if you tell someone."
  1166. > There was nothing for a while and then the blanket shifted and a pair of cyan eyes looked out. Even partially obscured, Anon could see they were already filled with tears.
  1167. "Come on," he urged, "you can tell me. I'm a friend, right?"
  1168. > Surely it was a good sign when 'Shy didn't immediately hide again. Anon slid his free hand into her makeshift hidey hole and lightly brushed the fur on her muzzle with his fingers. She still didn't reply, but her eyes closed as she took comfort from the touch.
  1169. > Maybe 'Shy just needed some time. As long as she didn't try to hide again - or run away, Anon thought to himself - he could wait for a bit. He kept his hand on her cheek, stroking very slowly.
  1170. "Nothing is gonna change if you talk to me about it, except you might feel a little better."
  1171. > Her eyes opened and 'Shy pushed the blanket off her head. Her ears were completely flat and she was trembling a little. She nuzzled Anon's palm and he suddenly got an idea. Maybe it was a bad one, but he had to do *something*.
  1172. > Scooching closer, he slid both hands under the pegasus and carefully lifted her. She didn't resist as Anon brought her into his lap together with the blanket still covering her small form. Her head lay against his chest and her hooves automatically went around his midriff in an almost involuntary hug. Once she was there, he put his arms around the whole bundle to keep it in place.
  1173. > Anon rested his chin on Shy's head, figuring another point of contact was a good thing. At the touch she looked up and pressed her nose right against his neck. It was wet and felt a bit cold, but soon her hot breath washed away any discomfort.
  1174. "That's right, I got you. Look, whatever it is, I'll help if I can, okay?" he promised. "And if I can't, at least you'll have someone to listen."
  1175. > It was definitely something Mr. Mason would never offer. That man just expected obedience and 'Shy was supposed to deal with her problems by herself. He might be a blundering fool, but Anon was at least prepared to listen.
  1176. > He felt the young mare nod against the crook of his neck. It was both gratifying and exciting and Anon wondered if she could hear how hard his heart was pounding.
  1177. > If she could, it didn't seem to bother her.
  1178. > "It- it's my friends," 'Shy said finally, in almost too quiet a whisper for him to hear. Even this single statement seemed to unburden her and she slumped a little as she relaxed against him.
  1179. > Anon turned his head to bring his ear closer to her mouth so he wouldn't miss even the quietest words from her.
  1180. "You almost never talk about them."
  1181. > Fluttershy took a shuddering sigh and her hug tightened for a moment. "Because it's too- too..." she sniffed, but made herself finish: "Too painful."
  1182. > At first Anon guessed that maybe they didn't part on the best of terms, but luckily he didn't say it. Fluttershy drew a breath and let out a thin wail. "I'll nev-never see any of them again!" she cried, her hot tears already soaking into Anon's shirt collar.
  1183. "Are, uh," Anon had to clear his throat before continuing. "Are they on Earth?"
  1184. > 'Shy shook her head, but then paused. "I du-dunno. There was an accident. S-Some might be, but that's even worse. I don't want my friends to be slaves like me!"
  1185. > Anon moved his hands under the blanket, letting one rest around Fluttershy's withers and bringing the other up to brush the fine fur on her muzzle. There were already wet trails down her face and he smoothed the fluff and tried to wipe them away as best he could.
  1186. > She gave it a perfunctory lick in a show of thanks, tasting her own tears on his fingers.
  1187. "Wanna tell me what happened?"
  1188. > "We were... um, c-camping just inside the Everfree forest with Ms. Cheerilee's class," 'Shy explained. "And there was an explosion. Um, Rarity was there with Sweetie Belle and Applejack with Apple Bloom and, uh, I think Rainbow Dash was there."
  1189. > Anon waited, eagerly absorbing these new, exotic names. After a moment's though, Fluttershy shook her head and shrugged. "I don't know what happened, really. One minute we were in the Everfree and the next we were on... on a road. There were cars."
  1190. "You were magically transported from your world to ours? How?!"
  1191. > "I don't know! We just were," 'Shy said, shrugging again. "P-Ponies panicked. I think Rainbow Dash was with us on Earth, but I didn't see the others. M-Maybe they got back, or were left behind."
  1192. > They were both silent for a while. The story didn't explain much, but it was a big sign of trust, Anon recognized that much.
  1193. "So, how did you get separated?"
  1194. > At this 'Shy clamped up and squeezed her eyes shut. Anon could feel her whole body shudder and fresh tears welled up, wetting his fingers again. He brushed them away, mostly to let her know he was still there.
  1195. > It wasn't all that hard to make some guesses. She and a lot of other ponies, by the sound of it, had been somehow magically transported to Earth. Then she was separated from her friends.
  1196. > Anon couldn't imagine any scenario where that would be voluntary. It could only mean they had been captured, probably while they were still confused about where they were and what had happened. They did look like animals, after all.
  1197. > Even in civilized nations a herd of what looked like ponies would probably be split up to make them easier to manage.
  1198. > Someday he'd have to get her to talk her way through it all, but Anon decided there had been enough progress for now. Well, at least he called it progress. 'Shy was starting to trust him enough to tell him these things and maybe talking about it would make her feel better.
  1199. > Or at least she might find it easier to put behind her.
  1200. "You don't have to say. It can wait."
  1201. > Again the mare squeezed a bit more strongly with her hooves and lifted up her head to give Anon a brief nuzzle. In return, he gave her a kiss on the side of her muzzle.
  1202. > Even Anon didn't quite know why he'd returned the gesture like that, but it felt appropriate and 'Shy didn't seem to mind.
  1203. "Well, for what it's worth, I think you'll see your friends again, 'Shy."
  1204. > She just shook her head. "How? Mr. Mason won't let me leave the house. Um, ex-except when I visit you."
  1205. > She laughed a mirthless laugh. "Today I've been further from his house than ever since I got here."
  1206. > It felt wrong to trap this beautiful creature, both in a place and in a role of maid. Anon wanted to help, but he had no ideas yet.
  1207. "What if we find a way to get you away from Mr. Mason?"
  1208. > Fluttershy's gaze slid away from Anon's face and she shook her head. "He's not gonna let me. He said he likes having me around."
  1209. "Well, I promise I'll think about it, okay?"
  1210. > That statement elicited no reply from Fluttershy. Anon wrapped both arms around her barrel and hugged her close. He was happy that she tightened her grip on him as well.
  1211. "Thanks for telling me. You can tell me anything, 'Shy."
  1212. > She didn't reply, but Anon felt another nuzzle, this time against his chest.
  1213. "Sorry about your friends. Wanna tell me more about them?"
  1214. > At this 'Shy pulled away and inspected his face. Her eyes were still leaking tears, but maybe she wasn't quite as distraught. After a moment she nodded and her gaze unfocused, as if she was staring into a great distance.
  1215. > "Well..."
  1216. "You mentioned, um, Rarity, I think it was? And Apple-something and Rainbow Dash. Wanna start with them?" Anon prompted.
  1217. > "Applejack," 'Shy said with deep longing in her voice. "Pinkie Pie didn't go with us on the trip, so she's probably back home. Rarity..." she sighed, "maybe she was left back home. I didn't see her on that road. I think I heard Rainbow Dash shouting to calm everypony down. Then there's me and Princess Twilight in, uh, in our group."
  1218. "Princess?"
  1219. > "Yeah. Twilight Sparkle," Fluttershy murmured, a ghost of a smile tugging at her lips before it faded with a low groan of despair. "For the longest time I hoped Twilight would get us out. She's an alicorn princess. If anypony could find us and get us back, it would be her. She wasn't with us, so she should still be in Equestria."
  1220. > There was a pause and Anon used it to ask the obvious question.
  1221. "What's an alicorn princess?"
  1222. > She opened her mouth to give a simple and quick answer, but then thought better of it and shrugged the blanket off so she could spread her wings a little.
  1223. > "You know how I'm a pegasus?" she asked, demonstrating with a little flap.
  1224. "Yeah, obviously."
  1225. > The wings snapped shut and 'Shy went on: "Well, there's also unicorns - um, they have a horn, but no wings. Rarity is a unicorn. And then there's earth ponies like Applejack and Apple Bloom. They have neither."
  1226. "Okay, with you so far, but slow down so I can wrap my dumb human brain around it, 'kay?."
  1227. > It was a stupid joke, but it seemed to work. Maybe it was just what the mare needed at that moment, because she quirked her mouth up in a slight smile.
  1228. > "Well, there's a fourth kind. They're called alicorns and they are very powerful. There used to be just two..."
  1229.  
  1230. > ~~~~
  1231.  
  1232. > "Okay, okay," Fluttershy was saying with a big grin. "So there's like, no way for us to cross, right? And that dragon is literally crying over his mustache, which is making the water go crazy."
  1233. > She was sprawled on her back, with her head hanging off the couch and her hind legs resting vertically on the backrest. She was close enough to Anon, who was sitting normally, for her wing to brush against his leg whenever she shifted.
  1234. > Anon couldn't help it, he chortled with laughter. The mental image of a big river dragon so obsessed with facial hair was simply too incredulous.
  1235. "So, what did you do?"
  1236. > 'Shy grinned at the memory. "You're not going to believe this. *Rarity*, chopped off her own tail and gave it to the dragon as a replacement moustache!"
  1237. "What? No way, *the* Rarity? Don't let me get my hooves dirty Rarity? Also, gave it to him? How does that even work?"
  1238. > At first Fluttershy simply laughed at Anon's incredulity. "Yes, that Rarity," she confirmed, then shrugged a little. She also couldn't answer the other question, but she tried to guess: "Magic? I think?"
  1239. > Anon kept laughing at the lackluster explanation, but a prod from Fluttershy's hind leg against his shoulder made him stop.
  1240. "Sorry. I didn't mean to make fun of your friends. So, that was on the way to... what did you call it?"
  1241. > She lifted her head to give him a slightly disappointed look. Anon didn't remember exactly when she'd turned around, but it was a position which spoke volumes of how comfortable she was with him. Especially considering how this way her belly was totally exposed to Anon's hand.
  1242. > He remembered to scratch again and 'Shy let her head drop once more. "Castle of the Two Sisters in the Everfree forest. That was where Nightmare Moon went."
  1243. "Right, right. It still seems incredible she'd be trapped on the moon for a thousand years."
  1244. > "Well, that's how it happened," Fluttershy insisted. "Twilight saw how it started when she drank that potion from Zecora!"
  1245. > It sounded more like a fairy tale than a thing which had actually happened, but then again Anon was petting a real, live pegasus. A yellow one, who could speak English and had magical powers.
  1246. > That last one was giving him some trouble.
  1247. "By the way, you said you can talk to animals, right?"
  1248. > 'Shy lifted her head to give Anon a smile, doubtless remembering that dog at the store. It was a good thing they allowed pets inside. "Mhm!"
  1249. "It's like your magical talent."
  1250. > "Cutie mark," 'Shy repeated and leaned her body to one side so he could see the picture on her butt.
  1251. "Oh, you mean *this*?!"
  1252. > Before she could react Anon moved his free hand there and tickled both the flank and her belly, making Fluttershy kick her legs against the couch backrest. She squealed with laughter. "Stooop! Anon! Stop!"
  1253. > She rolled away and jumped up, out of Anon's reach. Her wings flapped a few times to move her faster and 'Shy landed on the couch, crouching low to protect her belly and facing Anon.
  1254. > Her soft bits were thus guarded from his inquisitive fingers and there was no chance of a sneak attack.
  1255. > There was a blush on Fluttershy's muzzle and her ears perked up to focus fully on Anon. She was waiting for him to strike again, clearly enjoying this new game.
  1256. > Anon obliged and leaned over to get in range. He stuck his hands under both wings, guessing that she might be ticklish there. The area was usually protected by several layers of feathers when she folded them up, after all.
  1257. > "Noooo!" she whined, backing away and hitting the pile of her blankets with her rump. "That's cheating!"
  1258. > Her wings had snapped closed, but it was too late. Anon already had his grip and now played with her fur under there.
  1259. > The giggling went crazy. "Eeeee- eee hee hee!" The sound was nearly high enough to break glass. She had an impressive pair of lungs on her, but it wasn't enough to make him stop.
  1260. > In desperation Fluttershy flipped herself back against the pile of blankets, but unfortunately that just exposed her front.
  1261. "Aha!"
  1262. > Anon easily changed his assault to the softer fur on her belly. This left 'Shy completely red in the face and gasping for breath. "Sto-hp," she wheezed, "I'm gonna pee myself! Stop! Sto- hee hee!"
  1263. > He relented and let the little pony go, but it took her some time to wind down, alternating between giggling and gasping for breath.
  1264. > It was some time later that she could speak: "That was mean, Anon!" she complained, but with a smile which put a lie to her words. There was a glint in her eye, one Anon found he liked very much. "What if I do it to you?"
  1265. > Anon just spread his arms so he was defenseless.
  1266. "Go right ahead!"
  1267. > 'Shy thought for a few seconds, then pounced. She didn't have enough finesse in her hooves, but she still tried to run them up and down Anon's sides.
  1268. > Her fetlocks actually did tickle a little, but he managed to hold on to his stony face. That is, until 'Shy got a brilliant idea. Her hooves somehow hooked under his loose T-shirt and lifted it.
  1269. > She couldn't undress him, but it exposed plenty of skin. Then she brought her wing feathers into play.
  1270. > The touch was light, almost delicate, but that made it so much worse!
  1271. "Shit, ha ha ha, stop! Wait!"
  1272. > He tried to cover himself with his hands, but 'Shy just moved her feathers to his belly. When he switched his protection there, she flicked back. Her precision with those things was uncanny.
  1273. > At last Anon remembered to grip her hooves and pull them down, covering his exposed skin with the shirt once more.
  1274. > That helped a lot and 'Shy struggled for a few moments to free herself. She came quite close, which was a real eye-opener for Anon. Small as the mare was, she was quite strong.
  1275. > If it were a matter of kicking, he doubted he could have stopped her. It was only because of the angle that Anon had been able to hold on.
  1276. "Okay, okay... truce?" he offered.
  1277. > Fluttershy inspected his face for signs of deceit, then gave a single nod. Her wings snapped back to her sides and Anon let himself relax a little. She also stopped trying to pull free from his grip.
  1278. > After a few seconds she folded her ears down and murmured: "You can let me go now." She was blushing, Anon realized!
  1279. "Oh. Sorry. Right."
  1280. > He let her hooves go, but rather than scurrying away, 'Shy just let them fall and rest on his thighs.
  1281. "You wouldn't really pee yourself just from tickling, would you?"
  1282. > The blush deepened and 'Shy drew back, sitting as small as she could and wrapping her tail around all four hooves. "I... m-might. It really tickled!"
  1283. "Sorry."
  1284. > The apology earned him a small smile. "Don't be. Um, it was fun. I can't remember the last time I laughed like that. I guess it was that time Discord told Twilight and Princess Cadence he was ill and they had to get this special flower."
  1285. "I don't see what so funny about that..."
  1286. > Fluttershy chuckled into her hoof and blushed, unable to meet Anon's gaze. "Don't tell Discord this," she said in a quieter voice, "but it was really funny when he got sick for real from the Tatzlwurm!"
  1287. > Perhaps you had to be there, or know these people better to see the joke, because Anon still didn't find it particularly funny. Fluttershy was giggling, which was the important bit.
  1288. > Suddenly there was a low growl emanating from somewhere in his abdomen.
  1289. "Whoops, I guess that's me. We kinda... forgot lunch."
  1290. > A glance at his phone showed Anon that it was nearly three in the afternoon.
  1291. "Oh, jeez. I better get cooking!"
  1292. > Fluttershy's ears perked up at that. "I can help!" she offered.
  1293. > It sounded like fun, so Anon readily agreed.
  1294. "Okay, what are we having?"
  1295. > The mare gave it some thought, then shrugged. "You pick."
  1296. "How about a pizza?"
  1297. > This seemed to hit the right spot because 'Shy clapped her hooves together in delight. "Oooh," she practically moaned, "it's been ages since I had pizza! Can we make it out of hay-dough?"
  1298. "Wait... hay? Like in dried grass, hay? I can't eat that!"
  1299. > Her ears wilted and Anon was immediately sorry.
  1300. "It's not like I even have any in the house."
  1301. > "I h-have some," 'Shy said, looking down at her hooves.
  1302. > It might not be edible for humans, though Anon was willing to try. He came up with a good compromise.
  1303. "Okay, okay, how about you go fetch it and we make half of the pizza with hay-dough and half with the regular kind?"
  1304. > Fluttershy sprang to her hooves, smiling once more. "I'll be right back!" she promised and flew off. There was a thud as she landed in front of the door, the sound of it opening and closing, and then her hoof steps faded down the stairs.
  1305. > Pizza out of hay. Anon shrugged to himself. He'd try anything once.
  1306.  
  1307. > ~~~~
  1308.  
  1309. > On the plus side, Fluttershy had had a good chuckle at Anon's facial expressions as he tried it. Apparently it was absolutely delicious for a pony. She scarfed her own half down almost before Anon had put the plate on the coffee table.
  1310. > Just as planned. Having felt how light and thin 'Shy was, Anon was happy to see her eat.
  1311. > Not to mention that them cooking together had been an extremely fun experience. Fluttershy had to use a chair next to the counter to stand on, but she certainly did her part. It was amazing just how dexterous she was with nothing more than hooves and mouth.
  1312. > Having finished her hay-dough pizza, 'Shy was sitting back on the couch with the blanket across her lap and with a bottle of strawberry fizz in the depression between her legs. Every now and then she skillfully lifted it up with only her muzzle and took a swig.
  1313. "So... movie?"
  1314. > "Um, as long as it's not too violent," 'Shy pleaded. "I d-don't like people, or animals, getting hurt."
  1315. > That ruled out most of TV, but Anon had a good idea.
  1316. "So, I guess cartoons? Here, lemme check on Netflix."
  1317. > He flicked through a couple of pages on the smart TV until he found a good one. He glanced at 'Shy, who seemed to be engrossed in the colorful images.
  1318. "How to Train Your Dragon?" Anon prompted.
  1319. > She observed the poster and read the short description, then nodded. "It does look interesting. Is it, um, nice?"
  1320. "It's a cartoon. Means it's make-believe, right? There are no dragons- on Earth at least."
  1321. > Fluttershy swallowed and lowered her head. "I'm k-kinda afraid of dragons," she said in a voice so gentle Anon had to strain to hear. "Well, except for Spike. He's nice, but most dragons are scary."
  1322. "This one is not like that. Let's give it a shot and if you don't like it, we'll stop."
  1323. > 'Shy looked at him, then shifted her gaze to the TV. She licked her lips nervously, then gave a single, determined not. "Okay, okay. Hit me!"
  1324. > Anon let it play and went back to his ketchup-laden pizza slice. It was at that perfect temperature where he could hold it in his hand, but the cheese was still melted.
  1325. "Want a slice of mine? So you can, like, compare?"
  1326. > He watched Fluttershy's face carefully and saw her eyes dart to the plate on the coffee table. She chewed on her lip in indecision, then asked: "Can you put a bit more ketchup on it? It's s-sweet."
  1327. "Sure!"
  1328. > Anon dripped a few small blobs from the bottle on the few places which weren't already covered, then looked at 'Shy who nodded her approval. He even lifted the plate to her so she wouldn't have to stand up to get it.
  1329. > "Thank you."
  1330. "Lemme know how it compares to the hay one."
  1331. > She bit into the pizza goodness and gave a few thoughtful chews. She leaned her head to one side in thought and swallowed. "It's good."
  1332. "Good?"
  1333. > "Good. I like it both ways."
  1334. > They went back to watching the movie in silence, each of them slowly munching on pizza. Anon would end up having only about a quarter of it, but it was plenty and he was glad to give the larger portion to his guest.
  1335. >...
  1336. > "That was actually kinda sweet," 'Shy commented as the ending credits rolled.
  1337. "Yeah, these animated movies are usually a bit tearjerkers at the end."
  1338. > He watched as she mouthed the word to herself: 'tear-jerker'. She repeated it again, then shrugged. "What does that mean?"
  1339. "Means they try to play with your emotions."
  1340. > "Ah. Yes, I understand."
  1341. > She was now fully covered with the blankets, leaving only her head outside. Anon wondered if the place really was that chilly, especially since 'Shy had all that fur and feathers to keep her warm.
  1342. > He thought about putting on the sequel, but changed his mind. It was a cozy kind of evening, one where he could simply chat with Fluttershy and maybe get a session of petting in.
  1343. "Want a beer?" he offered.
  1344. > Her ears folded down in concern and she gave Anon a worried look.
  1345. "It's nowhere near as strong as that stuff yesterday, and you won't be mixing it, so it should be fine. How about half of one?"
  1346. > "I... do like the smell," 'Shy finally said, slowly as if in careful retreat.
  1347. > Anon was only too glad to fetch a bottle from the fridge. He figured they could share the first one and then if 'Shy wanted more, he could get another. He sat back down and twisted the cap open. Then he patted the couch right next to him.
  1348. > She shuffled closer, taking the blankets with her. She ended up leaning against him with one foreleg draped across Anon's leg. He offered her the bottle and she took a swig, using her hoof to keep it steady. The beer was heavier than the plastic bottle of strawberry fizz.
  1349. > As soon as she passed it back he drank himself. His free hand he placed around where he judged Fluttershy's withers were. After a moment she relaxed and leaned her head against his chest. He distinctly felt where her ear pressed through his thin T-shirt.
  1350. "So, I was wondering..."
  1351. > "Mm?"
  1352. "You told me that story about Nightmare Luna-"
  1353. > "Moon," 'Shy interrupted, ears flicking in annoyance. "She was Nightmare Moon when she was bad and became Princess Luna when the Elements saved her, remember?"
  1354. "Yeah, sorry. Well, you said Twilight was a unicorn. But earlier, when you were telling me how you got to Earth you told me she was an alicorn."
  1355. > It had been a minor point, but it was bothering Anon. He hoped 'Shy wasn't making it all up. It might turn out she was simply... made, or bred in some high-security bio-research cloning facility or something.
  1356. > That wouldn't matter a whole lot, Anon knew, but he really didn't like the idea of 'Shy just lying like that.
  1357. > "It's kind of a long story," she said. "Yes, Twilight was born a unicorn, but she earned her wings."
  1358. "I didn't know you could do that!"
  1359. > This made 'Shy giggle and Anon realized how he sounded. A few weeks ago was the first time he even heard about ponies, so it wasn't much of a surprise that he didn't know a lot about them.
  1360. > "Actually," Fluttershy said, "most ponies didn't know either. Princess Cadence was born a pegasus and earned her horn and Twilight earned her wings. As far as I know, Flurry Heart was the only natural-born alicorn."
  1361. > Anon mentally went over the names.
  1362. "Okay, so what about Celestia and Luna? They also earned- uh, their wings?"
  1363. > This time Fluttershy shrugged a little. "Uh," she said, looking away and blushing a little in embarrassment. "I don't really know. I guess I didn't pay enough attention in school. Or maybe nopony knows. It was just so long ago!"
  1364. > Anon didn't mind. After all, if she asked him about American presidents there'd be significant gaps in his knowledge and that was only a couple of hundred years.
  1365. "It's okay, don't worry about it."
  1366. > There was silence for a while, then Fluttershy spoke up. "Anon?"
  1367. "Yeah?"
  1368. > "Mind if we, um, if we talk about you for a bit? It's... hard. It's hard remembering."
  1369. > Suddenly Anon realized how stiffly the mare was sitting. He gently turned her head around with his fingers on her muzzle and saw that her eyes were glistening.
  1370. "Oh! I'm sorry, 'Shy. I really didn't mean to-"
  1371. > She shrugged and partially unwrapped the blankets from her. That allowed her to rest directly against him and cover them both with the fabric. She was incredibly warm, maybe from being bundled up or maybe it was her natural body temperature. Either way, it was very pleasant to cuddle with her.
  1372. > When the maneuver was complete, 'Shy sighed. "Let's just talk about something else. Um, do you have any brothers or sisters?"
  1373. "Nope. Only child. Mom said I was such a handful when I was young that she didn't wanna go through all that again."
  1374. > 'Shy managed a small smile. "That sounds cute. Wanna tell me what you got up to?"
  1375. "Okay, okay, lemme think. So, this one time we were on our summer vacation at sea with this little RV."
  1376. > "RV?"
  1377. "It stands for 'recreational vehicle'. It's like a small house on wheels which you can drive around, so you don't need to bother with tents or hotels."
  1378. > "Oh! That sounds nice!" Fluttershy trilled. "I wish I could do that someday. It's been ages since I was at sea!"
  1379. "Well, if we succeed and I can buy you off Mason we can totally go! I'll save up some money and we'll take a vacation with an RV!"
  1380. > Her ears folded down and 'Shy looked away. "Y-Yeah," she said, but her heart suddenly wasn't in it.
  1381. > It irked a little and Anon put a hand on her side under the blanket.
  1382. "Shy, I told you. It'd just be a formal piece of paper. You know I don't see you as a slave!"
  1383. > She sighed, but didn't look back. "I know."
  1384. "In fact! In fact!" Anon said, suddenly excited, "I promised you a hoof massage as thanks for cleaning up my place!"
  1385. > Fluttershy shook her head. "You don't really have to-" she began, but Anon was already pushing her over.
  1386. > She wasn't heavy and allowed him to lay her down on her back, still wrapped up in the blanket. That was important so she could keep her modesty, especially with the angle from which Anon would look.
  1387. "Come on! I'm probably bad at this, but I can learn!"
  1388. > Fluttershy sighed and closed her eyes, but she wiggled a hind leg free from the cloth. Anon carefully grabbed it with both hands.
  1389. > It was surprisingly wiry, he thought. All sinew and muscle and bone, with practically no fat he could feel. Even the fur there seemed stiffer.
  1390. "Okay, tell me how it feels, right?"
  1391. > At first he only ran his fingers up and down the limb, looking for where she had muscles and where there were just tendons. He prodded a few likely places with his thumbs, closely watching Fluttershy's expression. She didn't react to any of it.
  1392. > Next up Anon moved to the hoof, examining it. Strange how even the keratin was almost indistinguishable in color from her fur. That was quite unlike Earth horses.
  1393. "Hmm," he murmured to himself.
  1394. > Fluttershy opened her eyes to see what he was doing.
  1395. > Anon was feeling around the edge, watching with curiosity how the hard part made an U shape. He traced around it then put his finger in the middle.
  1396. > It was quite soft and surprisingly warm. The hoof jerked out of his grasp and he looked up to see 'Shy fighting a grin. "That tickles, Anon," she said. "You have to push harder on the frog."
  1397. "The frog? Oh, yeah, right. Sorry."
  1398. > He took the hoof in his hands again, grabbing it so he could put his thumbs on the fleshy bit. He tried a slightly harder pressure, but he still kept it quite gentle.
  1399. > A quick glance at the mare's face told him that was the jackpot. Her eyes had closed and her lips parted as she exhaled in comfort.
  1400. > It was relatively simple, even with no skill. Anon pressed various points on the frog and ran his fingers across it, each touch and movement making Fluttershy sigh or moan.
  1401. > He gradually felt the tension go out of her leg until he was completely supporting its weight in his hands.
  1402. "So you like this?" he asked, just to make sure.
  1403. > At the sound of his voice 'Shy opened her eyes, but it took her a few moments of blinking before she could focus on his face. Then she smiled. "It's nice, actually. You're good at that!"
  1404. "Sure thing! Next hoof?"
  1405. > She almost looked regretful as she lowered the limb and wiggled her other hind leg free. Anon made sure to cover her up again and keep her warm.
  1406. > He wanted to go straight to the frog again, but since he knew that secret he set about finding some more. He began low and carefully felt along her leg, marvelling at how her knees bent backwards.
  1407. > He prodded along the muscle, then traced the tendons to where they vanished. All this time he watched Fluttershy's face, but she never reacted until he pressed his thumbs in the frog again.
  1408. > This time, as she relaxed, there was a smile on her muzzle.
  1409. > Before he began Anon had been worried that giving a massage would be boring, but it was actually the opposite.
  1410. > The little shudders and moans were strangely exhilarating and he was glad the blanket was covering the massive tent he was pitching. It was also quite fun to see what sort of sounds he could get 'Shy to make.
  1411. > Besides, foot rubs usually led to... other things in books and movies, right? Maybe it was similar for ponies.
  1412. > When he judged he'd given this hoof about the same amount of time as the last one, Anon leaned forward and placed a light kiss right in the middle of the frog.
  1413. > This made 'Shy start up with a gasp and jerk her leg away.
  1414. "Sorry! Sorry! I-"
  1415. > He was about to apologize profusely and already felt the blush rising on his face, but she beat him to it: "That tickles, Anon!"
  1416. > She either didn't recognize the feeling, or was fine with it. Either was preferable to 'Shy being grossed out.
  1417. "Forelegs too?"
  1418. > Fluttershy gave this some thought, but Anon could see the comfort win out in her expression. She smiled and nodded. "Yes, p-please. Um, if- if it's not too much trouble."
  1419. "Can I be honest with you?" he asked.
  1420. > 'Shy lowered her ears and gave a timid, uncertain nod.
  1421. "I really like doing this."
  1422. > Her muzzle split in a smile and she giggled. "Probably not as much as I'm enjoying it!"
  1423. "I'd take that bet. Turn around..."
  1424. > He motioned with a finger and 'Shy shuffled in a circle so her head was in Anon's lap. He guided her down so she missed the problem spot. Maybe she wouldn't recognize a boner, but he wasn't yet prepared to take that risk.
  1425. > 'Shy thought nothing of it and settled down in the place Anon laid her. She was facing away, which gave him easy access and a good angle to deal with her forehooves.
  1426. > Already she had one leg extended, waiting for him to grab it and begin his finger magic.
  1427. > Once again, to his surprise, her foreleg felt completely different from her hind. Sure, there was still some muscle and sinew, but the joints were a lot more free. Anon didn't know a whole lot about equines, but he knew Earth horses and ponies couldn't lift their forelegs above their head.
  1428. > Maybe it was down to evolution and the fact that Fluttershy used her forehooves to pick up and manipulate items, Anon figured. Her back legs would still be used primarily for walking, but there was more dexterity developing in her front.
  1429. > He reminded himself that this wasn't comparative anatomy; it was supposed to be a massage. He felt the limb from where it joined her shoulder up to the knee. He kept going past the second joint and felt around what he remembered from his research as the fetlock.
  1430. > The fluff there was a bit thicker, but still the same pale yellow. Once again Anon inspected the almost seamless transition from fur to hoof. It was the same shape as the hind one, except perhaps a touch smaller.
  1431. > For some reason he found it incredibly cute and spent a fun little minute just tracing his finger around the inside edge. Only when he noticed that 'Shy had her ears completely flat, her eyes closed, and was breathing hard did he stop.
  1432. "Um, does it tickle?"
  1433. > She opened her muzzle but no word came out. She had to work her tongue a bit before she could say, almost in a whimper: "No. P-Please keep doing that!"
  1434. > This time he took the hoof in both hands, held it in place with his palms and placed all his fingers except for thumbs on the inner edge. With 'Shy's head in his lap, her leg naturally pointed away from him, so Anon figured it would be a more comfortable position.
  1435. > With everything in place, he just felt around the inner edge again, moving his digits in tiny circling motions.
  1436. > Fluttershy relaxed and let out a breath he hadn't noticed she was holding. Her wings unfurled a little as seemingly all her muscles loosened.
  1437. > In the spur of the moment, Anon leaned forward and placed a small kiss on Fluttershy's hoof between his thumbs. He looked down, blushing a bit, to see what she'd say to this.
  1438. > Perhaps 'Shy hadn't even noticed, but there was a goofy smile on her muzzle and she was taking deep,luxurious breaths.
  1439. "So I guess you like this?"
  1440. > This time she opened her eyes and the smile was replaced with a small blush. "Um. Yes?" she ventured, uncertain even now. "It feels- uh. I l-like it."
  1441. > The red in her face and the way her gaze darted around, never really settling on his face was strangely familiar. Was the edge of her hoof an erogenous zone for 'Shy?
  1442. > Luckily for Anon she was still lying as he'd laid her down and she hadn't moved, otherwise the mare would certainly have felt the next-level tent which threatened to burst right through the fabric of his pants.
  1443. > Despite that, Anon kept his ministrations up for a while longer, before extending his fingers and rubbing the inner softness of Fluttershy's frog.
  1444. > She suddenly slumped down, making him realize she'd been arching her back. She began to smile again and the blush faded, confirming Anon's suspicions. He filed away this little fact for another day.
  1445. > Anon made sure to keep the pressure so as not to tickle, and spent very intense five minutes getting closely acquainted with the slight contours of Fluttershy's frog. There was a surprising amount of texture and features, something he felt he could spend ages just exploring.
  1446. > With his tongue.
  1447. > The sudden, unexpected thought made him blush and let go, letting her hoof fall down to her side. Fluttershy sighed with infinite sadness and tensed to get up.
  1448. > Before she could, Anon put a hand on her chest.
  1449. "You got one more leg, remember? Uh, if you like to, I mean."
  1450. > Almost before he finished speaking the mare had relaxed, started to smile again, and jutted her foreleg up for him to grab.
  1451. > Anon was only too happy to oblige, except this time he didn't tease her by prodding that sensitive edge. A part of him wanted to, curious what would happen if 'Shy got more aroused, but something told him it might be a mistake.
  1452. > They needed to get to know one another better and 'Shy needed to trust him a lot more.
  1453. > He worked in silence, watching her face for clues to know when he was doing a good job, then repeating the things she apparently liked. Her question came out of nowhere.
  1454. > "Anon? Tell me about the sea."
  1455. "Uh. Okay. Lemme think."
  1456. > She'd said she hadn't been to the seaside in a long while. Anon thought back and realized he hadn't either. Not since elementary school, back when his parents still seemed to enjoy such things.
  1457. "I hope I can remember. Anyway, we had this old, beaten up RV. There was a bed in the back, which my parents took, and a couch around the table in the middle."
  1458. > He smiled as he remembered staring at that thing from underneath. Supposedly there was some way to fold the table away and turn the couch into another bed, but he'd been small enough to just sleep on the seat.
  1459. "Heh. I fell off that thing too many times to count! I didn't mind, though, I used to love the sea."
  1460. > He wondered why they'd stopped going so suddenly. From one year to the next, the family vacation was simply gone.
  1461. "Okay, so I remember this one time, I think it was the first morning in the camp. I woke up at first light, of course. Way before my parents. They said I shouldn't go out until they got up."
  1462. > Fluttershy giggled a little and lifted up her other foreleg. Anon didn't even think, lost in memories like he was, before switching from the hoof he was holding to the offered one.
  1463. > "What did you do?"
  1464. "I tried to wake them up. There was this curtain across the place and I was super scared of seeing my parents naked, so I didn't dare go look. I just sat at the table, clearing my throat as loudly as I could."
  1465. > They both chuckled at the image.
  1466. "God, I was so sore by the time they finally woke up!"
  1467. > This time he mimed his voice being all raspy and croaky.
  1468. "Like this!"
  1469. > Fluttershy giggled almost maniacally at the image in her head. "Oh, goodness! What happened?"
  1470. > Anon shrugged a little, focusing once more on the massage he was giving.
  1471. "Mom yelled and told me to drink something. Dad just laughed and said I can go outside, as long as I stay near the RV."
  1472. > 'Shy smiled at that, eyes sparkling. From this close Anon saw something of that light blue seaside in her cyan eyes.
  1473. "Maybe we can have a vacation like that someday, huh?"
  1474. > For some reason this made the mare sad and her ears splayed, coming to rest against Anon's thigh. He imagined he felt one of those tufted points brush his belly.
  1475. > "Yeah, m-maybe," Fluttershy said, but her heart wasn't in it. She was looking away and jerked her hoof out of Anon's grasp.
  1476. > Having his hands free let him put his fingers around her muzzle, stroking. He gently turned her to face him again.
  1477. "We'll manage it somehow, 'Shy. I promise!"
  1478. > Instead of smiling, she just pressed her lips together before blinking slowly and re-focusing her ears. "Tell me about the sea some more, please?"
  1479. > Anon was all too happy to leave the awkward moment behind them. He mentally put himself back to that camp he knew so well and dug out another anecdote.
  1480. "Okay, so this was a couple of years before that, I think. Dad was teaching me to swim without water wings-"
  1481. > This word made 'Shy open her eyes wider and interrupt: "Wings?"
  1482. > Anon chuckled at the misunderstanding.
  1483. "Not like actual wings. It's like two inflatable, plastic sleeves. You put them around your arms and they help you float. It's mostly meant for kids."
  1484. > "Oh," 'Shy said. "We usually just call them 'floaties'," she explained.
  1485. > Anon just nodded. He'd kept his fingers on Fluttershy's cheeks and now rubbed in small little circles. She wasn't complaining and the fur was so soft he couldn't bring himself to stop.
  1486. "Anyway, Dad was teaching me to swim without those. The water was shallow enough for me to stand if I wanted, but I got so panicked I nearly drowned. In two feet of water!"
  1487. > He chuckled, but this time 'Shy didn't share it. She seemed concerned. "I'm sorry."
  1488. "Nah, I laughed about it after I realized, don't worry. Anyway, I splashed so much I got our towels all the way on the beach all wet. Mom nearly died laughing."
  1489. > The smile was crawling back onto Fluttershy's muzzle and she gave his hand a quick nuzzle. She didn't seem inclined to move out of his lap and Anon was perfectly fine with that. They could stay like that until night, for all he cared.
  1490. "Okay, so let me tell you about the second attempt..."
  1491.  
  1492. > ~~~~
  1493.  
  1494. > Suddenly it was dark outside. At least it felt sudden. After a few more seaside stories, Anon had started up the console and played... something. He hadn't been paying a whole lot attention, not with 'Shy nestled in his lap.
  1495. > She had turned on her side and covered herself with the blanket so only her head and hooves were poking out. Head on Anon's thigh and hooves off the side of the couch.
  1496. > Every now and then he looked down and saw the mare had her eyes closed. It was hard to tell with how quiet 'Shy was, but Anon suspected she napped, at least occasionally. Once or twice he caught her looking at the screen, but her eyes were half-lidded at best.
  1497. > It was probably the best thing for any remnants of her hangover, so he tried to keep as still as possible and had the volume almost on the minimum. The few times he had to move her to use the toilet or get a drink were a matter of deep regret.
  1498. > He'd have to do it again, soon. He was starting to feel decidedly empty in the stomach region and Anon imagined 'Shy was probably the same. After all, their last meal was that half-dough, half-hay pizza in the early afternoon.
  1499. > What made it harder was the fact that 'Shy seemed to be asleep just then. He paused his game so his hands were free to stroke Fluttershy's cheek.
  1500. "Hey. You awake?"
  1501. > An ear flicked in his direction and then 'Shy moved. Her first action was to stretch her legs out even further and take a deep, luxuriating breath. Her wing lifted the blanket a little before settling back down with a feathery rustle. Only then did she open her eyes.
  1502. > She didn't seem in the slightest bit bothered by her 'pillow' this time. Previously when she'd woken up she blushed when she realized what she was lying on.
  1503. > "Mmmm," was all she could say as her eyes sought out Anon's face.
  1504. "Want some dinner?"
  1505. > She opened her mouth, but before she could speak another yawn took her and she drew in a big lungful of air. Her tongue stretched out, slightly curled at the tip.
  1506. > "What're we havin'?" she finally managed to ask, only slurring her words a little.
  1507. "What would you like?"
  1508. > This gave 'Shy pause and her eyes danced around the room as she thought. She still hadn't lifted her head up from the warm thigh she was occupying and it didn't seem she would want to do that anytime soon.
  1509. > At long last 'Shy smacked her lips in some imagined taste and turned on her back. The blanket slid away, exposing her belly and giving Anon a very good view of the pink mounds between her hind legs. His breath hitched for a moment.
  1510. > "Can we make vegetable broth? Mmmm, with a lot of salt?" she proposed. "I'd like a lot of salt."
  1511. > It wasn't something Anon ever cooked for himself, being more of a junk food connoisseur, but he readily agreed.
  1512. "Sure! You know how?"
  1513. > "Mhm," 'Shy nodded and, once again, stretched her legs up in the air. Anon tore his gaze away from her midriff with an effort and looked directly down at her face.
  1514. "Wanna guide me through it? You can help."
  1515. > Fluttershy gave this some thought, then shook her head. There was a slightly mischievous smile tugging at the corners of her mouth and she corrected: "How about I make it and *you* help?"
  1516. > Anon couldn't help chuckling.
  1517. "Deal. Wanna get up?"
  1518. > Again 'Shy gave this some thought, then shook her head. "Not really, but I guess we have to?"
  1519. > Having said it spurred her into action and she lifted herself up to sit on the couch. Once again her private bits were hidden to Anon's simultaneous relief and regret.
  1520. "Good thing we picked out all those vegetables, huh?" he asked.
  1521. > 'Shy leaned over to give his face a nuzzle before jumping down from the couch and heading to the little kitchen. "Actually," she said, pausing a few paces away, "I kinda thought I might want broth one day so, um, I picked out my favorites. Sorry."
  1522. > She looked embarrassed about her perceived selfishness and Anon stood up while 'Shy was still hesitating. He walked past her, giving her head a quick pat with his hand.
  1523. "It's okay. I wouldn't know which veggies to get anyway, so you actually did me a favor. So, where do we start?"
  1524. > 'Shy relaxed and followed him to the stove. "Okay, we're going to need a big pot. Fill it with water and give me the onions. You can start peeling a couple potatoes when you're done. Oh, and put plenty of salt in the water!"
  1525. "Yes, ma'am!"
  1526. > 'Shy just shook her head in amusement and didn't comment on the unnecessary formality. She pulled a drawer open with the edge of her hoof and picked out a wooden cutting board with her mouth. Then she went to fetch a chair so she could reach the counter top.
  1527. > "When you're done peeling, just cut the potatoes into big chunks. I'll slice up the carrots. Oh, where did you put the parsley?"
  1528. "Fridge," Anon said.
  1529. > He was already starting to peel. He was a newbie at this sort of 'serious cooking', so he focused on his work. In complete honesty, broth wouldn't have been his first pick, but it would make 'Shy happy so he could get behind it.
  1530. > He couldn't help but smile as the mare started humming to herself. Already she looked a lot happier with life in general than she ever had with Mr. Mason.
  1531.  
  1532. > ~~~~
  1533.  
  1534. > Despite not being used to food like this, Anon decided he liked it. A bit salty, which 'Shy apparently enjoyed very much, but otherwise quite good and nourishing.
  1535. > If he kept this up for a week or two he might start to miss meat, but for now it was okay. Not to mention that the company far outweighed any junk food cravings which might arise.
  1536. > It was starting to get very late and the two had been quietly talking on the couch as the light dimmed. Anon suddenly realized he could hardly see Fluttershy sitting opposite him. A lull in the conversation seemed like a good place to stop for now.
  1537. "Well, I guess we should hit the hay," he said, trying to be funny.
  1538. > "Oh, goodness! You're right!" 'Shy almost squeaked. "I shouldn't have kept you up this long! It's just so much fun talking... I completely lost track of time!"
  1539. > She was already on the floor, stacking the empty bowls together to take to the kitchen. "I'll wash these real quick, you can go to bed Anon."
  1540. > He wouldn't have any of it and picked the dishes up before 'Shy could take them.
  1541. "Nah, I'll just put them in the sink. They can soak a little and we'll do them tomorrow, 'kay?"
  1542. > 'Shy seemed a bit uncertain, no doubt thanks to her working for Mr. Mason. Yeah, 'working for', that's what it was. Easier to think about than 'slaving', at least.
  1543. > She didn't move.
  1544. "Go on. You can have the bathroom first if you wanna shower or something. Shoo!"
  1545. > It still took her several long seconds before 'Shy turned and walked. She paused at the door and looked back, a lighter shadow in the dark. "T-Thanks, Anon."
  1546. "Think of it as a vacation, alright? You'll have plenty to do once Mr. Mason is back, but you can take a week off," Anon pointed out, conveniently forgetting about her cleaning spree the previous day.
  1547. > Her eyes seemed to glitter in the faint light from outside and Anon could swear she was smiling. He headed to the sink in darkness and put the plates in mostly by memory. There were already some pots and utensils in there from their cooking, but it could all wait until the morning.
  1548. > He went to the hall, where 'Shy had already turned the light on. The bathroom door was closed and he heard the sink going.
  1549. > Could she even reach it? Even if so, it couldn't be too comfortable. Maybe he should take the chair from the kitchen to help 'Shy out.
  1550. > Anon approached the door and knocked quietly.
  1551. "Um, Fluttershy?"
  1552. > "Come in!" came the answer and Anon hesitated. On the one hand she was a pony and never wore clothes, so it shouldn't be too weird unless she was actually on the toilet. On the other hand, it was the bathroom. He had been ready to offer her a chair, but not for an outright invitation.
  1553. > Then again, he had washed her last night when she was too drunk to care. Not to mention that she *had* just invited him in.
  1554. > Anon opened the door, ready to avert his eyes if he should see anything untoward. When he finally looked, he couldn't help but gape in surprise.
  1555. > Fluttershy had turned the empty laundry basket around and was standing on it to comfortably reach the sink. Her bag was beside her and the mare had a toothbrush in her mouth, which she deftly manipulated with both hooves.
  1556. "Oh."
  1557. > She took the brush out and gave Anon a quizzical look. "Um, y-you needed something?"
  1558. "No, no. I just thought maybe you needed a chair or something to reach the sink, but I see you figured it out."
  1559. > 'Shy gave him a brilliant smile. "Actually I do the same in Mr. Mason's house, so I already knew what to do."
  1560. "It's still a clever solution. Good job. Anyway, you gonna shower?"
  1561. > Her eyes glanced at the tub and 'Shy blushed, evidently remembering at least some pieces of the previous night. She shook her head. "M-Maybe tomorrow. I'll be out in a minute!"
  1562. > Anon waved it away.
  1563. "Take your time. There's no rush."
  1564. > He got another idea and began to smile.
  1565. "In fact, one of these days you can have a hot bath if you like," he offered.
  1566. > 'Shy glanced at the tub again, but this time she looked eager. "Oh. Wow, it's been ages- Thanks, Anon!"
  1567. > He guessed Mr. Mason didn't allow baths. Probably worried about his heating bill, if Anon was any judge. People who were rich often tried to pinch pennies on the stupidest stuff.
  1568. "No problem."
  1569. > Anon hesitated a little, taking the opportunity to look. 'Shy was in an unusual pose, leaning on the sink with her elbows and still quite stretched out to reach it. Some... parts were quite nicely on display, even if she wasn't facing him directly.
  1570. > His eyes strayed again and again to the slightly protruding pink patch low on her belly.
  1571. > Suddenly he had to leave quickly or a certain discomfort would become quite obvious.
  1572. "I'll be in my room!"
  1573. > The teasing and the fondling the entire day had left him wanting. Pushing 'Shy too quickly was a bad idea, so Anon decided to simply 'handle' it himself. With all the glimpses of those teats, combined with the memory of how soft, smooth and warm her coat was, he probably didn't need more than a minute or two.
  1574. > Luckily he had a few towels in his bedroom for just such an occasion. He hurried inside and remembered to close the door firmly shut.
  1575. >...
  1576. > There came a surprisingly strong knock at Anon's door. He hadn't expected 'Shy to have such a heavy hoof. "Um, c-can I come in?"
  1577. > Luckily by that time Anon was already finished with his dirty little task and had changed into his pajamas. He kicked the soiled towel under his bed, where it would be concealed in the darkness, and sat down.
  1578. "Sure, come in!"
  1579. > There was a clatter as the mare reared up and pressed the door handle with a hoof and then she walked in the room. Anon just looked at her with an unspoken question.
  1580. > "The bathroom is free," 'Shy announced. "I, uh- well..."
  1581. > She glanced around the room, nose wrinkling, before looking directly at Anon's face and speaking again: "Mr. Mason likes me to tell him when I'm going to bed."
  1582. "Oh, you don't have to do that with me, but thanks anyway! Um, you need anything else?"
  1583. > 'Shy walked further inside, her ears splaying as she approached. She came right up to Anon, smiling vaguely, and extended her neck to give his hand a nuzzle. He replied to her gesture with a pat against her cheek.
  1584. > "I just wanted to say thanks," Fluttershy said, so near that Anon could smell the toothpaste on her breath. "You know, for taking me in. I'd be so bored all alone in that ugly house."
  1585. > This made Anon grin in triumph.
  1586. "It *is* ugly, isn't it?! I always thought so!"
  1587. > 'Shy relaxed and sat on her haunches, her grin soon mirroring Anon's. "Oh, it's absolutely hideous! Mr. Mason calls it 'modern', but I just call it 'bleh'. Well, not to his face, obviously..."
  1588. > She stuck her tongue out at the word 'bleh' and Anon couldn't help grinning. Even that facial expression was cute on her.
  1589. > They both chuckled at that and 'Shy continued on her own: "Back home I just had a wooden cottage and it was lovely!"
  1590. > She heaved a sigh at the memory and nuzzled into Anon's palm again. "I miss it," she said, her voice suddenly full of longing. Already her ears were drooping and her head was bowing.
  1591. "Sorry," Anon replied, not knowing what else he could say.
  1592. > His hand found itself under her chin almost without his conscious control and 'Shy let him support some of the weight in a quiet sign of thanks. She closed her eyes for a few long seconds, then blinked and pulled away.
  1593. > "It's okay," 'Shy murmured. She seemed undecided about something and looked around the room, sniffing the air again. Suddenly her eyes widened, she stood up and took a step backwards. "I should g-go to bed."
  1594. > Anon was a bit confused by her reaction. A moment ago she'd been sad and nostalgic for her home, taking comfort from his touch and now she looked almost afraid of something. Her ears were turned back and one of her hind hooves was a step back, as if she were about to turn and flee.
  1595. "You can stay a bit and talk."
  1596. > Fluttershy gave this proposition some thought, then shook her head. "I think I'll go to bed. I'm kinda sleepy." She walked backwards to the door as she said it, keeping her eyes on him all the while.
  1597. > Whatever might have disturbed her, Anon didn't have any intention of stopping her so he just shrugged.
  1598. "Well, see you in the morning, I guess."
  1599. > 'Shy gave him a nod and replied: "Yes. Um, sweet dreams!"
  1600. > Before he could answer, she had gone and closed his door behind her. Anon sat on the bed, thinking about that last exchange. Had she somehow sensed he'd been jerking off? Did that explain why she wanted to get out so fast?
  1601. > He realized she might be worried he'd want to have his way with her, which was entirely the wrong impression. Anon's muscles jerked as he thought about getting up and going to reassure her, but he realized in time how that would sound and slumped back down.
  1602. > It wasn't a pleasant thought, but despite that little snag Anon still counted the day as a whole as a success. He felt they'd really bonded a lot. Once 'Shy made it to the next morning, unmolested, she'd trust him.
  1603. > In the meantime he had to brush his teeth and use the toilet, so he got up anyway and left his room. As he made his way to the bathroom, he saw her door was already closed.
  1604. > Anon shrugged to himself, deciding to set his watch a little earlier than usual. Maybe he could surprise 'Shy in bed with a breakfast, or at least coffee again.
  1605. >...
  1606. > As he was going back to his bedroom Anon paused in the hallway. He thought he'd heard-
  1607. > There it was again, a sound barely on the edge of hearing, but definitely coming from Fluttershy's room. At first he thought she might be masturbating, his own session still strongly on his mind, but he couldn't imagine the timid mare just going at it like that.
  1608. > Was she in some kind of trouble? A quick vision of 'Shy with the blanket tangled around her throat flashed through Anon's mind, but he quickly dismissed it as ridiculous.
  1609. > He still came closer and listened right at the door, but there was nothing more to be heard. He knocked, quietly so as not to startle the pony.
  1610. "Everything okay?" he asked in as gentle a voice as he could make it.
  1611. > There was a muffled thump and a swish of fabric, but no reply.
  1612. "Fluttershy?"
  1613. > Again that same sound from before, except this time he could identify it. A sniffle.
  1614. > Anon didn't wait for an invitation and simply went inside. The room was dark, but the light from the hall was enough to see a lump on the bed, completely covered with the blanket.
  1615. > It shifted when he came closer and he stopped, but 'Shy didn't ask him to leave so Anon didn't. He sat on the bed, watching the bulge jerk again.
  1616. "Wanna talk?"
  1617. > "I'm fine!" 'Shy answered, but her voice broke and the word ended with almost a growl. She very clearly was not fine. Maybe it was none of his business, but Anon wanted to help. He suddenly felt responsible for this fragile creature in his home.
  1618. > He grabbed the blanket and carefully peeled it away. 'Shy had her muzzle buried in the mattress and her hooves over her head.
  1619. "Was it something I said? Or did?"
  1620. > One ear lifted towards him, but then she shook her head as best she could in that position. Anon put a hand on her back, making the poor pony flinch again.
  1621. "You can tell me, you know. Maybe I can help."
  1622. > Again she shook her head in denial, but there was still no dismissal or plea for him to leave. He took it as a good sign. Probably not worried about untoward advanced, he decided. He had a gut feeling this was more of the same sadness from the previous night.
  1623. > If so, perhaps a similar trick would work again, Anon thought to himself.
  1624. "C'mere."
  1625. > He slid his hands under Fluttershy's belly, marvelling for just an instant how warm it was, then lifted her up. Her legs trailed as if she was thinking about grabbing something, but she didn't otherwise resist.
  1626. > She went in his lap once more and her muzzle sought out the crook of his arm to hide. As an afterthought Anon wrapped her covers around them both.
  1627. > 'Shy let another sniffle escape her, followed by a full sob. Her hind hooves were creeping around his waist just as her forelegs gripped as far as they could reach around his chest.
  1628. "There, there," he said, patting her back and hoping she wouldn't call him out on the cliché.
  1629. > Already he felt warm dampness through his pajamas where her tears were leaking through. In a way it was worrying to see just how much baggage 'Shy seemed to have, but there was also an unexpected glow of satisfaction.
  1630. > It felt nice to be able to be there for her and the fact she was holding on as if for dear life was oddly comforting. It said Anon was probably doing something right.
  1631. "Wanna tell me what's wrong?" he cooed.
  1632. > One hoof slipped away and pushed through the blanket so 'Shy could wave it vaguely at the room. At the same time she pulled away from his shirt and turned her brimming cyan eyes up at him.
  1633. > "All... this," she answered quietly. "Everything."
  1634. > Anon didn't understand, but he didn't want to ask again or make an absolutely stupid guess, so he just waited a little longer.
  1635. > Fluttershy's gaze lowered and her foreleg fell, but she tried explaining it again: "I al-almost feel normal!" she said forcefully, muzzle scrunching up in distaste. "I don't- don't like it!"
  1636. "Why not? What's wrong with feeling normal?"
  1637. > Her ears flattened and 'Shy let out a hot breath. "Because in a few days," she said, voice trembling and clearly on the verge of losing patience, "I will have to go back *there*."
  1638. > She looked up, looking for any sort of understanding in Anon's face. "You don't get it..."
  1639. "I'm trying. I think I do," he offered.
  1640. > "It's just that- Anon, I don't like being a slave! B-But I almost accepted it. Not like I have any real choice, but I kept telling myself it wasn't so bad and I think I was starting to believe myself!"
  1641. "'Shy-"
  1642. > She lightly hit her hoof against his side to get him to shut up. "I almost believed I was fine," she repeated, "I think I accepted it, but now... this." Again she waved at the room. "It's like I'm just staying with a friend."
  1643. "But we are friends."
  1644. > She sighed and shook her head, but after a few seconds tried again. "You're not understanding me! Yes we are friends, Anon, but then I'll go back to Mr. Mason and it'll be just like the first time! I'll be miserable!"
  1645. "I'll try and find a way to get you away from him!" Anon promised.
  1646. > Again Fluttershy shook her head in staunch refusal. "I t-think... maybe that would be worse."
  1647. "What?! Why?"
  1648. > That cyan gaze seemed to pierce him and Anon almost looked away, but as intense as her look was it also seemed to hold him in place.
  1649. > "Anon," 'Shy said sadly, "friends can't own friends. If you owned me, we wouldn't be friends anymore."
  1650. > This time it was Anon's turn to shake his head in denial. He squeezed the mare a little tighter.
  1651. "Absolutely not! 'Shy, I swear nothing would change. You'd just be a friend- a roommate, okay? I don't give a fuck about a little piece of paper that says I own you, understand?"
  1652. > She seemed skeptical and Anon didn't know how to better explain it.
  1653. "It'd just be like this week, okay? Here..."
  1654. > He turned and deposited her on the bed to free his arms and placed his right hand on his heart. Hopefully she'd understand the gesture.
  1655. "I swear if I ever own you and you wanna leave, I will let you go. Okay? You wouldn't be my slave, ever!"
  1656. > This time she didn't have a counter and just watched him, completely motionless. Anon's heart was pounding as he waited for the verdict. It was important 'Shy understood what things would be like if he got her away from Mason.
  1657. > He needed her help to get the man to sell her, and sell her cheap. A beginning of a plan was starting to form in Anon's head. Maybe if she wasn't such a perfect little slave, Mason would be more open to selling.
  1658. > At long last 'Shy heaved a sigh and lowered her gaze. "I hate this," she said, pawing at her neck where the collar usually sat. "All this. I just want thing to be normal again. Why can't things be simple?!"
  1659. > She desperately needed comforting and Anon leaned closer to put his arm around the poor, distraught pegasus. He went to plant a small kiss on her nose.
  1660. > At the last moment Fluttershy looked up. The kiss which was intended for her snout went to her lips instead.
  1661. > They instantly jerked apart, both already beet-red in the face and unsure where to put their eyes or limbs. Anon gripped his pajama bottoms and 'Shy fiddled with her forehooves.
  1662. > He didn't know what to say, but the she didn't look disgusted, so maybe that was a good sign. Maybe he'd just had his icebreaker. If nothing else, his blunder certainly took her mind out of that dark place.
  1663. > "Anon?" she finally asked, almost too quietly to hear. "Do- Do you, um, l-like me?"
  1664. > The question was definitely loaded.
  1665. "Yes. A lot."
  1666. > He glanced at her just in time to see a small quirk of her mouth before it vanished.
  1667. > She was okay with it!! It was all Anon could do to keep his breathing at least under control, if not exactly regular. His hands threatened to shake, so he kept gripping the fabric so tightly he was worried it might tear.
  1668. > The next sentence came out in a kind of breathless whisper: "I l-like you t-too..."
  1669. > Was she expecting something more? That had almost been a kiss, but did 'Shy want a real one? Should he-
  1670. > Anon sternly told himself to stop over-thinking it. If this was a mistake, she'd push him away, he'd apologize and things would go back to normal.
  1671. > Eventually.
  1672. > He leaned in again, moving his hands from his lap to the bed to more easily support himself. Fluttershy looked up at the motion and her eyes widened.
  1673. > "Anon, I don-"
  1674. > She didn't get any further before their faces touched once again. She didn't move away, Anon couldn't help thinking victoriously in that split second before they came together.
  1675. > Even that thought vanished when his lips brushed the silken smoothness of Fluttershy's muzzle. She was completely still, almost stiff, but she wasn't going away.
  1676. > Anon held there, on the verge between pushing forward and pulling back. Gradually, ever so slowly, the mare relaxed. Only then did he withdraw and let them part the merest fraction of an inch.
  1677. > This time there were no roaming gaze, no embarrassment. They stared at each other from up close and Anon couldn't help noting the tiny blue flecks in her irises, almost like someone had sprinkled glitter in her eyes.
  1678. > Her eyes were bigger than his, he noticed, but the realization floated somewhere in the distance. It hardly felt like his thought at all.
  1679. > This time it was 'Shy who moved closer, shifting her whole body so she could reach with her hooves. Anon gladly obliged and put his arms back around the little mare.
  1680. > Again their lips locked and they both closed their eyes. Except this time he felt her mouth open a little, as in invitation. He prodded carefully with his tongue and felt the softest brush of her fur.
  1681. > He pushed further, finally reaching...
  1682. > Her tongue was trembling when he touched it with his, so he didn't try and go any further. For now it was enough to lightly rub his tip against hers.
  1683. > It was enough to get a taste, but the only thing he sensed was her toothpaste. Maybe in a few hours, or in the morning, he could actually taste *her*.
  1684. > After about a minute of simply touching, Anon let go and pulled back. 'Shy was looking at him with large eyes and there was some uncertainty still in there. She didn't release her hug, though.
  1685. > He suddenly noticed she had her wings wrapped around him and he couldn't help smiling. It felt like an incredibly intimate gesture.
  1686. "Uh... I-"
  1687. > "Shush, before I change my mind," 'Shy murmured back, interrupting whatever he was going to say. Then she leaned back and tugged at Anon's shoulders with her wings.
  1688. > He understood what she wanted and climbed fully on the bed. The blanket had slipped aside and now he pulled it back over them before lying down.
  1689. > Hesitating, he looked down so he wouldn't crush her wing, but 'Shy had already folded it back, making a space beside her.
  1690. > Anon was only too happy to lie on his side in the offered spot and a moment later 'Shy turned to face him.
  1691. > His fingers found her side and her hooves scrambled at his chest. They slid closer and again it was 'Shy who sought out Anon's mouth with her own.
  1692. > Once more her tongue met his halfway, but this time she was a bit more curious, prodding and exploring, trying to get a feel for his shape and taste.
  1693. > Anon was happy to stay still and let her do it for as long as she pleased. A wing snaked under the blanket to lie across his side and he reached further with his hand until he was running it up and down Fluttershy's back.
  1694. > He let it slide all the way down, almost to her ass, but as he neared the area she tensed and her tongue vanished, so Anon didn't go further.
  1695. > Small steps with this mare, he thought to himself. He broke the kiss off and offered an apologetic smile.
  1696. "Sorry. Tell me if it's too fast, okay?"
  1697. > 'Shy was biting her lower lip as she thought, then nodded. Her ears perked up and she attacked again, seeking entrance into his mouth with more urgency.
  1698. > Anon just let her, shocked at just how far she could reach. Her tongue was a lot longer than he'd thought! He moaned and pulled away when she struck a sensitive area he didn't even know he had in the back of his throat.
  1699. > "Sorry!" this time it was her turn to apologize.
  1700. "Don't be. Do it again, just a bit slower!"
  1701. > She grinned and then brought her lips to his again. Anon felt her short, shallow breathing on his cheek under her nose, but then realized his was the same. He moved his hand to her face and stroked the sensitive fur there.
  1702. > Once again Fluttershy's tongue invaded, exploring the roof of his mouth before slipping further. Meanwhile Anon tried to return the favor and reached along her length as deep as he could manage.
  1703. > It was hardly comparable, but that far back the taste of toothpaste was almost gone and he sensed her real flavor.
  1704. > A very faint trace of onion from their broth, but under that a heady and salty, somehow soft aroma which was just... her.
  1705. > If someone found a way to bottle that it'd be Anon's favorite drink.
  1706. > He became aware of her hoof running down his chest. Should he take it off?
  1707. > It was a dilemma. He wanted it, despite his yank earlier, but something told him it would be too much, too fast for 'Shy.
  1708. > With a measure of regret Anon made a decision to keep it to kisses only tonight. If 'Shy still felt the same way in the morning, they could take it further.
  1709. > If not...
  1710. > Better never to feel what she was like than spend the rest of his life regretting never getting any more. That made sense, right?
  1711. > He would stay in her bed, though, unless she kicked him out. He was certain of that much. To comfort her. She obviously wasn't doing that well being alone. He opened his eyes and saw she was looking back at him, her pupils dark pools in the faint light.
  1712. > That reminded him and he broke the kiss off. Fluttershy pulled away to get some of her breath back.
  1713. "I left the light in the hall," he pointed out.
  1714. > She just shrugged and her hoof moved to his side as if to hold him down. "Leave it," she said, smiling.
  1715. > It was easy to obey when she came closer once more, this time trailing little kisses down his cheek and neck, stopping to lick at his collarbone. Anon almost gasped at how hot her tongue was on the skin there.
  1716. > He replied by planting a chaste kiss on her mane, then sliding his hand to her ear and starting to fondle it.
  1717. > It felt like it would be quite some time before either of them fell asleep. Maybe they wouldn't get any shuteye at all. That was fine with him. Anon didn't want to miss a single second.
  1718.  
  1719. > ~~~~
  1720.  
  1721. > When Anonymous woke up, the first thing he became aware of was a slight constriction around his chest. He looked down and saw yellow fur.
  1722. > Something tickled his left cheek and he glanced left, right at a mess of pink hair. A pony ear was sticking out and it flicked as he watched it.
  1723. > Last night came rushing back and it was all Anon could do not to bolt upright with a gasp. As it was, his breathing quickened and he concentrated on not moving.
  1724. > 'Shy was still asleep and he wanted to keep it like that for at least another minute. He wanted to think.
  1725. > Had they done anything? Anon slowly slid his right hand along his side, past his belly and to his pajama bottoms. He was still fully dressed, which meant they probably did nothing more than kiss.
  1726. > That was good. Going too quickly could be a bad mistake with how much baggage the mare had inside her.
  1727. > The fact that she was hugging him this tightly spoke volumes. Anon moved his hand higher up and encountered a few soft feathers. Yes, her wing was across his midriff too.
  1728. > The light touch made Fluttershy sniff and her ear twitched again so Anon quickly removed his fingers. Let her sleep a little longer.
  1729. > Hopefully she wouldn't be disgusted when she woke up. Hopefully the last night hadn't just been a big mistake for her.
  1730. > Perhaps, if he woke her up the right way...
  1731. > Anon's left arm was being used as Fluttershy's pillow, so all he had to work with was his right. He sneaked his hand along his belly, under the wing and, finally, under her foreleg until he could bring it near her face.
  1732. > Then he paused and listened to her breathing. It was still steady and unchanged.
  1733. > Good, she was still asleep. Anon brushed the pink strands away as carefully as he could manage until he revealed a yellow muzzle. Her eyes were tightly shut, but the ear focused in on his breathing.
  1734. > He didn't have much longer it looked like, so Anon just ran his fingers from the tip of her nose, on her cheek, and up the side of her head.
  1735. > It was cute how her nose wiggled at his touch. He did it again and this time her eyes opened.
  1736. "Morning, beautiful."
  1737. > The good news was that she didn't yell and jump away. There was a moment of confusion and then shock as memory flooded back.
  1738. > Her leg from atop his chest pulled back to cover her mouth.
  1739. > "D-D-Did we..."
  1740. > She couldn't even say it and already her muzzle was turning pink. Anon took comfort in the fact that they hadn't and that she still wasn't trying to wiggle free.
  1741. "Don't worry, we didn't," he assured her.
  1742. > Perhaps that was relief in her eyes and Anon was glad he'd made the decision to take it slow. Clearly 'Shy wasn't yet ready for more, but perhaps a bit of cuddling and some more kissing wasn't out of the question.
  1743. "It's still early, you can sleep some more."
  1744. > Her hoof was already on his shoulder and tensing, pushing her away. Her wing slid back to her side, but Fluttershy paused. "I shouldn't- I- I should get up."
  1745. "Nothing to do right now. Relax."
  1746. > She was definitely undecided, judging by the way her lips pressed together and her ears folded back. Comfort won out and 'Shy settled back down. "Maybe five more minutes," she murmured.
  1747. > This made Anon smile widely, especially when Fluttershy's foreleg went back on his chest and her head back on his arm. She watched his face with a blank expression for a while, then asked: "What happens now?"
  1748. "What do you want to happen?"
  1749. > It was clear she didn't know and the indecision was making 'Shy pull her hoof back. Anon hurriedly put his hand back against her muzzle.
  1750. "Don't worry. It'll be fine."
  1751. > "I don't wanna," Fluttershy began, but she had to clear her throat. "I don't wanna ruin our friendship," she finished in a whisper.
  1752. "We won't. This just makes it better."
  1753. > Her ears focused and her muzzle scrunched up as if she wasn't sure, so Anon decided some drastic action was called for. He turned to his side and planted a small kiss on the side of her muzzle.
  1754. > She just kept watching him quietly, but Anon didn't give up. He gave her another, closer to her mouth. This time there was a slight response, a turning of her face toward him.
  1755. > As he leaned in for the third time 'Shy closed her eyes and he knew she'd give in. Their lips met, their noses touched. He didn't prod any further, simply enjoying the warmth for now.
  1756. > When he pulled away, Fluttershy's lips were slightly parted and her muzzle was already a bit rosy in color. He slid his hand down to her chest fluff and entwined his fingers with her fur.
  1757. > 'Shy splayed her ears and bit her lower lip. It was clear she wanted more, but at the same time she was afraid. Anon blinked in surprise. Was she a virgin? It would explain why she was so hesitant any at the same time eager.
  1758. > Then again, he wasn't one only thanks to college parties and copious amounts of booze. It wasn't as if he'd ever head anything steady.
  1759. > Most importantly, he didn't want 'Shy afraid, especially of him or what might happen between them. She had to feel that she was in control, which was more or less true anyway. Anon would never force his attentions on her.
  1760. "We go just as far as you're comfortable, okay? I'm just happy to have you around, anything extra is a bonus."
  1761. > Secretly he hoped it would go all the way, but this pony needed very careful handling. If it took him months, then so be it. Something told Anon the wait would be very much worth it.
  1762. > 'Shy was so easy to talk to, so adorable, so... *unique*, he didn't want to blow it. Once he got her away from Mason it would be even better.
  1763. > Finally she gave a slight nod and her ears lifted up. The lip-biting was replaced by a small smile.
  1764. > "I, uh, c-could be comfortable with another kiss," she suggested quietly, her eyes darting around and never settling on any one point for more than a second.
  1765. > She was already lying on Anon's arm, so it was trivial to bring her closer for a proper kiss. This one lasted a bit longer and 'Shy let out a long breath Anon hadn't even been aware she was holding.
  1766. > He reached his tongue closer and encountered hers, questing forward. They played against each other for a few seconds, then split apart.
  1767. > Already both of them were breathing harder, but now a problem occurred. One the movies and stories never mentioned.
  1768. > The pair turned away from each other and took deep, grateful lungfuls of non-morning-breath air. Anon stared at the ceiling, hoping 'Shy couldn't see his embarrassed blush.
  1769. > Kissing was out of the question, at least until they either brushed their teeth or had some breakfast. Fluttershy actually giggled at their predicament as she laid her head back down on Anon's arm.
  1770. > "Maybe we can just cuddle for a few minutes," she proposed.
  1771. "Yeah, good idea. Sorry. I don't know why this happens, it's not like I don't brush each night!"
  1772. > He felt the mare shift and looked over to see her lifting her shoulders in a slow shrug. "It's probably just one of those things..."
  1773. > Despite the unexpected snag, having her warmth next to him was nice. The apartment wasn't cold by any means and there was still some summer left, but the touch of her warm fur was delicious.
  1774. > Anon bent his left arm at the elbow and brought his hand down against Fluttershy's side, hugging her against himself without taking away her makeshift pillow. His fingers ended up somewhere near her belly and he began idly scratching.
  1775. > In response, 'Shy squeezed herself closer, pressing her right pair of legs against him and spreading the left ones across his chest and thigh.
  1776. > It was pure luck she missed his... more personal part. It didn't help when Anon realized this position meant her teats were pressing against his hip. Suddenly he was sorry about the two layers of cloth there.
  1777. > He put his right hand on her hind hoof and squeezed. A moment later her wing snaked back across his belly and 'Shy heaved a comfortable sigh.
  1778. > A few minutes she had said, which was just as well. Anon became aware of a pressure in his bladder and knew he wouldn't be able to lie still for very long.
  1779. > Maybe he could talk her into waiting in bed for him to return, but he doubted it. As soon as he got up the spell would be broken and 'Shy would soon follow.
  1780. > That was okay too. They'd make breakfast together and then make plans for the day.
  1781. > In fact.
  1782. "Got anything you'd like to do today?" he asked.
  1783. > "Mmm," the pegasus murmured, thinking. "Um, is there a luna park near here?"
  1784. "Luna park?!"
  1785. > Anon wondered where that'd come from.
  1786. > 'Shy lifted her head to look in his face, smiling at some memory. "You know! Cotton candy, carnival games, ferris wheel. Things like that? I haven't been in forever!"
  1787. "I'll check the internet. Tell you what, if we can get there and back before night we'll make a day of it."
  1788. > Now that she'd said it, Anon also couldn't remember the last time he'd visited such a place. He must have done, but the last time was with his parents, at least fifteen years ago and probably more.
  1789. > Fluttershy's smile widened and her limbs around Anon pressed down. Her muzzle went to his cheek and he got a friendly lick. "Thank you! That would be amazing!"
  1790. > He remembered the previous day, in the store.
  1791. "If there's none close enough, wanna go check out the Zoo?"
  1792. > 'Shy froze and her ears folded all the way back. "I'm... afraid to."
  1793. "What? Why?"
  1794. > She looked away, her grip on him loosening. "I'm afraid..." she began, but her breath caught. Anon let her hoof go and put his hand against her muzzle for comfort.
  1795. > "I'm worried the animals aren't being kept well and they're sad. It would break my heart!"
  1796. > He could believe it. Now that he came to think about it, his few memories from the nearby Zoo hadn't been all that great. Tiny cages, crap everywhere, miserable looking animals.
  1797. > Seeing something like that would probably depress her, silly little emphatic horse that she was.
  1798. "Okay, I'll see if there are any good zoos near as well. The kind of place where they know how to take care of their animals so they're happy."
  1799. > The ears came up a little bit and 'Shy gave him a hopeful look. "M-Maybe," she tentatively agreed.
  1800. "Don't worry, I won't take you to a bad place," he promised her.
  1801. > A hint of a smile crept back to her muzzle and the yellow tufts focused on him once more. Anon decided to put forward a suggestion of his own.
  1802. "How about a dinner?"
  1803. > "Dinner? Um, it's only morning, Anon."
  1804. > He didn't know how to explain it without sounding like a fool. In the end he just went for it, fool or not. She'd probably laugh it off and that'd be the end of it.
  1805. "I mean tonight. You know, like a d-date."
  1806. > The word made 'Shy shrink back a little and she looked down, between them. The splash of red came back to her muzzle. "Date?" she asked, mostly herself.
  1807. > Anon sat up, letting her legs and wing slide off.
  1808. "You're right, it's silly-"
  1809. > "I'd like that," 'Shy interrupted. "Except..."
  1810. > She sat up, still not looking at him. Her ears drooped lower and lower as she thought about something.
  1811. "Except?" Anon prodded.
  1812. > "Will they accept a pony as a guest?"
  1813. > Now that she mentioned it Anon wasn't sure either. Would any restaurant serve a pony? No matter, the elation that she'd said yes was enough.
  1814. "We'll find one that will. And if not, we'll pack the basket and have a picnic in the park, okay?"
  1815. > That last one seemed more attractive to 'Shy and she perked up. "How about we just do that?"
  1816. "Sure, if you'd like. It's a date!"
  1817. > Having decided, the word made her smile.
  1818. "And now, if you'll excuse me..."
  1819. > Anon pulled the covers off himself and lifted himself over Fluttershy. A few joints popped as he stood up. He remembered his thought form last night.
  1820. "Stay here, I'll make you breakfast in bed!"
  1821. > Already she was shaking her head. "No, no, I couldn't- That would be lazy-"
  1822. "I insist."
  1823. > She bit her lip in thought, then shrugged a little to herself and flopped down on her back. "Okay, if you insist. Can I go to the bathroom at least?"
  1824. "Sure. As long as you come straight back to bed!"
  1825. > Fluttershy put her right hoof on her chest and lifted the left one up. "I promise."
  1826. > Anon couldn't help himself, it was just too cute. He leaned down and left a peck against the side of her muzzle before hurrying out of the room to empty what was full.
  1827.  
  1828. > ~~~~
  1829.  
  1830. > "Um, that was pretty good," Fluttershy said, still sitting in the bed which was now covered with crumbs. The empty plates were stacked on the nightstand beside them and she was just finishing her glass of strawberry fizz.
  1831. "Glad you like it."
  1832. > Her eyes wandered down to the mess they'd made. "It's just... this is why I prefer to eat at a table, Anon," she chided, brushing some breadcrumbs from the cover to the floor.
  1833. "Yeah, but sometimes it's nice to get waited on, isn't it?"
  1834. > She didn't look entirely certain. "Not when I have extra work to clean it up after."
  1835. > Anon put one hand on her withers and took the empty glass with his other.
  1836. "I'll vacuum, deal?"
  1837. > Her muzzle scrunched up and she was about to shake her head in refusal, but Anon tightened his hold.
  1838. "I insist!" he insisted.
  1839. > Fluttershy let out a breath she'd taken to repeat herself and nodded. Perhaps there was a small smile on her muzzle?
  1840. > "Okay," she agreed. "Thanks."
  1841. "Like I said, think of it as a vacation, right? I should've cleaned up the other day, not let you do it."
  1842. > "I didn't mind," 'Shy said quickly. She was carefully folding the bedsheets off her so that the crumbs wouldn't fly all over the place.
  1843. > When Anon saw, he reached out and took the fabric from her. He had to marvel how she was holding the edges in her ankles. She certainly was one clever, cute horse.
  1844. > Pony, he corrected. 'Shy didn't like it if he used the wrong term, even though Anon didn't know why.
  1845. "Hey, are there horses on your world?"
  1846. > Fluttershy blinked in surprise at the sudden and unexpected question. "It's hard to tell," she answered. "The ponies from Saddle Arabia are taller and they look a bit like Earth horses, but we still call them 'ponies'. I guess... maybe?"
  1847. "Huh. Interesting."
  1848. > She slid to the edge of the bed and was about to stand, but Anon kneeled on the floor and intercepted her. She froze, hesitating for a second, then leaned over so they could kiss.
  1849. > This time she tasted of strawberry and egg yolk. It wasn't unpleasant, especially when her hooves slipped around his neck and she got into it.
  1850. > Anon was noticing that 'Shy, true to her name, was reluctant to begin any kind of intimacy, but when it started she really enjoyed it and sometimes even let the sensations carry her away.
  1851. > Even now she pushed her tongue forward, giving him a better taste of her breakfast, and a quiet, low moan escaped through her nose. He looked, but her eyes were closed and she was apparently lost in the moment.
  1852. > His hands moved almost without his conscious control, sliding around the pegasus as he took her completely into his lap. Her hind hooves sought for a moment, but found purchase on his legs.
  1853. > Throughout it all Fluttershy never gave a sign that she wanted to end the kiss, even when she was held in the air only by Anon's arms around her and her hooves on his shoulders.
  1854. > The entire time she wrestled with his tongue, exploring, tasting, retreating when he pushed at her, then regrouping and attacking again.
  1855. > Her sighing moans came with each breath now and Anon felt feathers press against his back. She shifted her head, rubbing her nose past his.
  1856. > It tickled and he involuntarily pulled away. As he opened his eyes, he saw the tip of her tongue vanishing back into her mouth.
  1857. "Sorry. Tickles," he explained.
  1858. > 'Shy looked away and blushed, but Anon kissed the side of her muzzle.
  1859. "I kinda like it."
  1860. > In response she gave him a gentle, ticklish nuzzle. He couldn't help chuckling, but it didn't last long. A moment later her lips sought out his once more and the assault began in earnest once more.
  1861. > 'Shy squeezed him more tightly with both legs and wings and ground her hips against the fabric of his pants. Her hind legs slipped, dropping her down on his leg which she straddled.
  1862. > Even through the cloth he could feel how warm she was. When she pushed herself closer, a moan escaped her and Anon knew this was it.
  1863. > He was already diamond-hard and now she really wanted it. Her tongue moved like lightning, twirling around his for a second, then pushing forward to flick past his teeth, then going back to run over his lips.
  1864. > She moaned again and got his lip between her teeth. She bit a little, surprising him enough to pull away.
  1865. "Ow!"
  1866. > It hadn't really hurt, but he wasn't expecting it and it had come as a shock from the normally reserved and timid mare. His involuntary exclamation broke the spell and 'Shy gasped as she jumped back.
  1867. > "Oh, gosh! I'm so sorry, Anon! I don't know what came over me!"
  1868. > He reached out and tried to pull her back, but Fluttershy moved out of his reach.
  1869. "It's okay, I was just surprised," he pleaded.
  1870. > Unfortunately 'Shy was shaking her head firmly. "N-No, um. I think we should s-stop," she said, muzzle quite red from both desire and embarrassment. She looked like she was about to bolt.
  1871. > It was hard, but Anon closed his eyes and ran a hand through his hair. Too soon. She wasn't ready yet, despite her urgent moaning and grinding. She was still too afraid of it and he'd have to give her more time to get used to her new feelings and desires.
  1872. "Um, 'Shy. Have you ever... well, you know. With a guy? Stallion, I guess?"
  1873. > The blush deepened and the mare shook her head the barest fraction. It explained a lot and he'd been guessing the same.
  1874. > Anon made sure to smile as he reached, but this time only to lay a palm against her cheek, not to grab her. She allowed herself to be touched, but tensed up to move away if he tried to hold her.
  1875. "That's nothing to be ashamed about. I still mean it, you know? We won't do anything you're not comfortable with."
  1876. > It helped and her smile returned. She nuzzled his hand and closed her eyes for a moment. When they opened, she was staring right at him.
  1877. > "In that case, I think that was enough for now. I... I need to think."
  1878. "Sure. Take all the time you need. Wanna watch a movie or play a game?"
  1879. > She jumped at the chance to take her mind off the present topic, but before she gave in her head leaned to one side. "Um,y-you said something about a- a picnic date?"
  1880. "Sure! I'll make us sandwiches and we'll go in the afternoon. In the meantime, I'll see if I can find a luna park or a zoo for us to visit, okay?"
  1881. > Her smile... well, 'blossomed' was the only appropriate word Anon could think of. She stepped closer and threw her hooves around his neck again. She kissed his cheek, careful not to start something she couldn't back out of.
  1882. > "Thank you, Anon! I'll go do the dishes from last night..." she began, but remembered her breakfast and grabbed the two plates from the nightstand. "I might as well do them all while I'm at it. Uh, could you bring the glass?"
  1883. "Sure. Want me to help with the dishes?"
  1884. > She gave it some thought, then shook her head. "No, it'll be faster if I just do them."
  1885. > Her gait out of the room was a bit wobbly, since she was balancing two plates on an upturned hoof. Anon heaved a sigh and adjusted his severely chafing pants.
  1886. > He noticed a cold spot and looked a little closer. There was a tiny damp patch where 'Shy had been sitting.
  1887. > Virgin or no, she wanted it. He couldn't help grinning like an idiot. It *was* going to happen, sooner or later.
  1888. > He glanced around to make sure 'Shy wasn't standing behind him, then rubbed a finger on the damp spot. He brought it to his nose.
  1889. > It had the tangy sharpness of stale pee, which Anon guessed was universal, at least for mammals, but there was also a sweet undertone. Anon wondered what 'Shy tasted like. He inhaled again, but the faint smell was gone and there was just the scent of... well, ladyparts.
  1890. > His pants began to feel constricting once more and he adjusted them again. Hopefully she wouldn't accidentally feel the boner when they cuddled, or if she did, she wouldn't be afraid of it.
  1891. > Maybe he could take a few extra minutes in the bathroom to take care of it, then he should be fine for a few hours.
  1892. > Strange how living with a little pastel horse was both exhilarating and weird. Anon shook his head in wonder and stood up. He remembered to pick up the glass before he left.
  1893.  
  1894. > ~~~~
  1895.  
  1896. > The good news was that there was a small zoo with a very ethical-looking mission statement where Anon could take Fluttershy. The bad news was that the drive was nearly three hours, which meant they'd have to leave early in the morning if they wanted to spend any significant time there.
  1897. > He explained it all to 'Shy on their way to the park and she happily agreed to getting up at six one day. It wasn't Anon's favorite thing, but he wanted to make her 'vacation' as memorable as possible.
  1898. > This put 'Shy in a very fine mood as they parked and grabbed the supplies from the trunk. She tried to insist on carrying the basket, but Anon waved her away.
  1899. > It would have been awkward for her to lug the heavy thing around. Besides, this gesture gave 'Shy the freedom to wander around the path, inspecting flowers, humming to herself and all but prancing with delight, all of which combined to make an adorable sight, well worth the minor effort.
  1900. > Anon couldn't keep a matching grin from his face despite the fact that his arm was going numb. They'd packed too much, he figured, but at least it a long walk. The spot he had in mind was just over a small hill, past a thicket of trees and shrubbery, on a grassy knoll next to a stream.
  1901. > Unfortunately the water wasn't safe to drink, but it was still a nice bit of scenery which 'Shy would undoubtedly appreciate. He glanced up at the sky where the sun was already on its way down.
  1902. > It was still hot for late summer, but having running water nearby somehow made it *feel* cooler.
  1903. > 'Shy remembered the place from their previous walk once he'd described in and went ahead, but she stopped at the top of the hill and waited for Anon to catch up. Even from a distance he could see something was wrong when her ears slowly crept down.
  1904. > His mood soured when he saw there was already another family occupying that exact spot. He tried to guess if they were nearly done, but the two pre-school kids were chasing one another and the parents didn't seem in any hurry.
  1905. > The woman was lying on her back, apparently catching some sun and the man was solving some kid of a crossword puzzle in the newspaper.
  1906. "Shit, I was looking forward to this..."
  1907. > 'Shy, her good mood mostly undeterred, bumped her flank against Anon's, making him shift his stance which, in turn, made the contents of the basket rattle.
  1908. > He nodded to her, a bit miffed that he'd have to carry the thing further, and turned to leave.
  1909. > "Look! It's a pony!" one of the children called out. They were both boys and their shout made their father look around and their mother sit up to see.
  1910. > The woman's face darkened and she hurriedly wrapped a towel around herself. She had been sunning herself and her modesty was only covered by a simple bra.
  1911. > Maybe she was 'armoring up', Anon thought. She wouldn't want to face him and 'Shy in her underwear. That expression didn't look good and 'Shy caught it as well, slinking behind Anon's legs.
  1912. > "Oi," the woman shouted when she thought she was suitably dressed. The father meanwhile waved his kids closer, just in case. "Oi!" the lady repeated. "You put that thing on a leash right now, or I'm calling the cops!"
  1913. > This was something Anon would never have guessed and he did a double take at the incongruous words.
  1914. "What?!"
  1915. > Fluttershy nudged him in the shin. "Let's just go quickly," she offered, but it was already too late. Anon was getting pissed at the idiot woman's tone.
  1916. > She took one step forward and pointed a very accusatory finger. "Yeah, you heard me! Leash that beast if you have to bring it in public!"
  1917. > Anon said the only thing that came to mind.
  1918. "Why?"
  1919. > Her face darkened some more and she took another step forward. "Why?! Because I told you to! Those things are dangerous and there's children here!"
  1920. > Saying that, she reached out to one of her sons, who were now staring at Fluttershy with abject terror and stowed him protectively behind herself. Anon heard 'Shy sigh sadly and nudge him again.
  1921. > Her talking that way about sweet, gentle Fluttershy sent Anon's blood boiling and he took a step forward again.
  1922. "Yeah?! Maybe you should leash your kids then! You know, to keep them safe!"
  1923. > Even at the distance between them Anon could see how her eyes widened and felt a momentary triumph, but then her husband was getting up. "What did you say to us?" he almost growled.
  1924. > "P-Please, let's just leave," 'Shy begged. She sounded like she was on the verge of tears and it snapped Anon out of his mood. He looked down, noting that there was already moisture in her eyes, and sighed.
  1925. "There's no law that ponies have to be on leashes, so push off!" he retorted.
  1926. > The woman saw this as Anon backing down and there was a triumphant gleam in her eye which made Anon bunch up his fist in impotent fury. When she answered: "There ought to be!" it was almost too much for him.
  1927. > Luckily 'Shy took his pants between her teeth and tugged. He desperately wanted to say some more things to the woman and if her husband came after him, so be it.
  1928. > It would be the guy who started it all, so at worst Anon could sue him for assault later. He grit his teeth and imagined the two of them all downcast and contrite in court as the judge ordered them to pay some ridiculous sum of money.
  1929. > Except 'Shy might get hurt and it would definitely ruin their day. It might already be ruined, but a fight would absolutely assure that.
  1930. > Even worse, if the woman called the cops, which Anon had to admit looked like a definite possibility, they were liable to side with her and demand that Fluttershy be leashed.
  1931. "UGH! Forget it," he said, barely biting back a swear. "'Shy, let's go somewhere else!"
  1932. > At first it looked like the idiot woman would say something more, after which a fight would be all but inevitable, but the husband seemed to have some presence of mind and grabbed her arm to forestall his wife.
  1933. > After that Anon wasn't looking anymore and returned to the path. The contents of the basket rattled significantly more than before as he almost stomped away in a mixture of frustration and anger.
  1934. "Fucking idiots!"
  1935. > Fluttershy heaved a sigh of relief as she walked so near Anon that her side sometimes bumped his thigh. "It does-doesn't matter," she said.
  1936. "That was... shit. I'm sorry, 'Shy. Some people are just fucking morons!"
  1937. > He was looking at her and saw her ears flinch at the swear words. He took a deep breath and forced himself to calm down, at least a little.
  1938. "Sorry."
  1939. > "You shouldn't have yelled back," she said, more forcefully than Anon was expecting. "We should have left when I said so!"
  1940. "But they were saying you're vicious or something!"
  1941. > She bumped against his leg again, but this time on purpose. "Maybe so, but they were insulting me, not you. Sometimes it's just not worth it. I certainly didn't want to fight them!"
  1942. > He stopped and put the basket on the hard-packed dirt, freeing his hands to put around Fluttershy's withers. She turned to face him, now that he was nearly at eye-level.
  1943. "You're right. Sorry I didn't listen."
  1944. > She closed her eyes and leaned her head forward to put her forehead against his. "It's okay. Let's just try and have a nice picnic."
  1945. > Being this close made Anon give in to temptation. His hand went up to her chin and tilted her muzzle a little higher. At the same time he pressed his lips to hers.
  1946. > 'Shy gave a muffled squeak of surprise and jerked back. "No!" she whispered fiercely. "Not where somepony can see!" she hissed, then added: "Or some human!"
  1947. > That brought him back and Anon hurriedly looked around, hoping there were no bystanders. The gesture had been quick enough that they probably wouldn't have caught it, but 'Shy was right.
  1948. > Being seen kissing her in public could turn out pretty bad. People would think he's some kind of pervert, obsessed with bestiality or something.
  1949. "Sorry. Come on, let's find a place for a picnic."
  1950. >...
  1951. > Anonymous was still fuming, even after he and Fluttershy had found a quiet place to sit further in the park. It was slightly on an incline, but there were trees on two sides, giving them a sense of privacy.
  1952. > The encounter kept replaying in his mind and Anon thought up wittier or nastier remarks, all useless now. Unfortunately 'Shy picked up on his mood and kept to herself.
  1953. > A few other people walked nearby, often with dogs and one time with a cat on a leash, so the mare had something to watch, but each time she glanced at him her face darkened once more.
  1954. > "Um, Anon?" she finally spoke up, waking him up from yet another replay of the scene in his mind.
  1955. "Huh? What?"
  1956. > She tapped the basket where Anon's hand was still holding the handle in a white-knuckled grip. "Wanna have some dinner?"
  1957. > His gaze followed and he released his hold with an embarrassed grunt.
  1958. "Sorry. Here."
  1959. > He went back to staring at the path, scowl returning to his face, but Fluttershy reached over the basket and laid a hoof on his knee. Anon blinked in surprise and looked at her.
  1960. "What?"
  1961. > "I meant both of us, Anon."
  1962. > She had a smile which was clearly a little forced, but with an earnest urgency in her eyes. It finally broke through and Anon let his breath out.
  1963. "You're right. Screw them. Let's eat."
  1964. > It helped that their meal was a surprise. 'Shy had insisted on preparing everything by herself and hadn't allowed any sneak peeks. She even went to fetch some things from Mr. Mason's house and wouldn't tell him what.
  1965. > All Anon knew was that the basket was heavy and there were glass containers in there.
  1966. > He watched with curiosity as 'She lifted out the blanket. "Get up," she ordered and spread the cloth when he obeyed. She moved the basket to the middle and hid it behind herself before he could get a glimpse of what else was in there.
  1967. > They both sat, but this time 'Shy chose a spot between Anon and the basket. She had to twist awkwardly to reach it, but that didn't stop her as she started to pull out items.
  1968. > First were a couple of sandwiches, wrapped in aluminum foil, followed by two beer bottles. That explained the glass and Anon couldn't help but smile.
  1969. > "Now we only get one each, okay? We're not here to get drunk," Fluttershy commanded.
  1970. "Sure. Thanks."
  1971. > Anon unwrapped the sandwich, but before he could bite into it 'Shy put a hoof on his arm and stopped him. "Wait! It's not ready yet!"
  1972. > He frowned a little as he inspected. Two slices of bread, quite thick, filled with cheese. It was pretty simple, come to think of it. He'd expected something fancier from 'Shy.
  1973. > She rummaged in the basket and took out a plastic container. It took her a bit of fiddling to open it with hooves, but Anon saw neatly sliced tomato.
  1974. "Why didn't you just put it in the sandwich?" he asked.
  1975. > It would certainly have been easier to prepare.
  1976. > 'Shy shook her head firmly. "Nuh-uh! You don't just put tomatoes in a sandwich unless you're going to eat it right away," she explained. "The bread would get all soggy!"
  1977. > Anon shrugged to himself and helpfully pulled the slices of bread apart so she could do it. She blushed a little and held the container out to him. "Um, c-could you? My hooves are dirty from walking, um, and I don't think you want me to pick it up in my mouth..."
  1978. > Her embarrassment was actually kinda adorable and Anon chuckled at the sight.
  1979. "I don't mind. Go ahead."
  1980. > "B-But, Anon-"
  1981. "'Shy, I won't mind a little spit. We kiss-" he began, then hurriedly looked around and lowered his voice. "We kissed, for chrissake. It's okay."
  1982. > The red in her muzzle went darker and her ears flattened, but she lowered her head and took a tomato slice in her mouth. She tried to touch it as little as possible while she brought it over to the sandwich.
  1983. "See? Nothing wrong with it."
  1984. > Her blush didn't go anywhere, but some kind of ice had been broken and she didn't have any more issues layering a few more slices on Anon's sandwich.
  1985. > She gave him a questioning look which he interpreted as a question if that was enough.
  1986. > However cute and boner-inducing it was to watch her deftly handle the tomato with her lips, Anon decided he wanted to be able to hold the sandwich in his hand.
  1987. "That's good. Let me help you with yours!"
  1988. > 'Shy took the other tin-foiled packet and deftly unwrapped it. This time she held it open, apparently not as concerned about her dirty hooves when it was for herself.
  1989. > She'd left the container with tomato slices on the blanket between her hind legs and Anon reached down to pick it up.
  1990. > An idea struck him and he grinned with mischievous deviousness.
  1991. "Let's see if I'm half as good at this as you."
  1992. > Fluttershy blinked in confusion, but when she saw what he was about to do she turned her eyes down and tried to prevent the latest blush.
  1993. > Anon put his face right in the box and picked up a slice with his mouth. That meant he got a noseful of tomato, but it was worth it. Even better, his hair brushed Fluttershy's warm belly.
  1994. > He brought it over to her sandwich and laid it down, using his tongue to slide it in place.
  1995. > In her shock, 'Shy was holding the thing too close to herself and Anon felt his head brush her muzzle. This close he could hear her breath catch.
  1996. > She didn't complain, so he kept at it. The next few slices were easier, but he still made a mess with his nose. His face just wasn't shaped for this kind of thing.
  1997. > "Um, t-that's enough," 'Shy suddenly said, but Anon already had a bit of tomato in his mouth. He brought it close to her, but didn't place it on her sandwich.
  1998. > Instead, he brushed the fruit against her nose. Only then did 'Shy raise her gaze to look. Their eyes met and Anon felt like he could become lost in her large, black pupils.
  1999. > Her breathing was noticeably faster now, but 'Shy didn't pull away. She opened her muzzle and extended her tongue. Clearly she was expecting Anon to drop the tomato for her to eat, but he had other plans.
  2000. > He leaned a bit closer and pushed the piece right into her mouth. He kept a small nibble for himself, but didn't have time to chew. Their tongues met with the cool, sweet taste of tomato between them.
  2001. > Fluttershy's eyes closed and Anon quickly followed suit. Something about plating with the food right in her mouth was so incredibly hot that he had to reach down and shift the fabric of his pants.
  2002. > Her tongue lapped against his, greedily taking every last bit of tomato she could find. Anon felt her swallow and then she came for more. Only one piece was left and he wasn't about to give it up without a fight.
  2003. > 'Shy tried to snatch it right out of his mouth, but he darted his tongue after it to get it back. He wasn't as dexterous as her, but it caught her by surprise and she let out a small moan.
  2004. > She tried again, but Anon pulled back as far as it could go. It proved no match for Fluttershy's long tongue and she fetched it right from the back of his mouth. This time it was gone before he could reach it and he felt the mare swallow again.
  2005. > Only then did they break and the happy little smile playing on Fluttershy's mouth and in her eyes sent butterflies through Anon's stomach.
  2006. "Thief," he whispered, voiceless.
  2007. > Her smile widened and she shrugged a little. Her reply was just as quiet. "You had your chance before you gave me it."
  2008. "Want another one?"
  2009. > 'Shy bit her lower lip, but then she slowly shook her head. Anon nearly reeled from the sudden blow. He'd been so sure she was enjoying it!
  2010. > "Somepony might come by," Fluttershy warned and Anon relaxed. She didn't hate it, she was just being cautious.
  2011. > He suddenly realized he'd been passionately kissing 'Shy right there in the open. There weren't too many people in the park, but there were *some*! He looked around in near panic, but the path looked deserted.
  2012. "You're r-right. Sorry!"
  2013. > In either case, both their meals were ready so they could eat. Anon went back to looking at Fluttershy, noting how she held the sandwich vertically between her hooves and twisted her head to take bites. It was easier than holding it horizontally, he figured.
  2014. > Despite it being a plain cheese and tomato affair, the sandwich was surprisingly tasty. Anon wondered if that was because she'd made them, or because of the kiss.
  2015. > He couldn't help being hyper-aware of every tomato chunk in his mouth and judging by Fluttershy's slight blush she was too.
  2016. > "Um, I brought some bananas for desert, but there's also cookies if you want," the mare pointed out. "We also have juice and- uh, yeah, a tin of cookies."
  2017. > All that would certainly explain the weight.
  2018. "Either is okay."
  2019. > Fluttershy shrugged a little to herself and went back to her sandwich. She ate slowly, chewing for a very long time after each bite, her eyes darting around and observing their surroundings.
  2020. > Anon followed suit and tried taking it all in. It would've been better if they could have their picnic by the stream, but this place wasn't bad either. The grass was pleasantly soft, the trees were lush and green and the sun was well on its way to the sunset.
  2021. > It was pleasantly warm, but not hot, there wasn't a single cloud in the sky and Fluttershy's presence was... easy.
  2022. > Anon thought about why he'd picked that word. It was strange, but despite being slightly nervous about making a wrong move or saying something improper, he felt relaxed around the mare.
  2023. > She was a very easy person to like, he decided. She was just nice!
  2024. >...
  2025. > The beer was gone and had been for a while, but 'Shy had prepared well and had several bottles of the strawberry drink. They were taking turns drinking from the same one.
  2026. > Anon felt a tug at his hand and let go, which allowed her to lift it up and take a swig. When she brought it back down he grabbed the bottle once more and took it to his own lips.
  2027. > He was sitting back, holding himself upright with one hand on the blanket. His arm was starting to go numb, but he wasn't paying it any attention.
  2028. > The more important thing was the way Fluttershy was sitting sideways on his legs and leaning against his chest. The only times she peeled away was when she drank from the bottle, but as soon as that was done she came right back.
  2029. > Her mane tickled his face every now and then, but Anon endured it gladly. The warmth of her fuzzy, pony body was just too nice to give up, whatever the discomfort.
  2030. > 'Shy put her hoof on his arm and pushed it lower so she could grip the bottle with her mouth again. Anon let it go and she lifted it up and drained it until it was empty.
  2031. > She just let it fall on the blanket and sighed.
  2032. > This meant Anon had a hand free, so he switched arms behind him and used the freed one to wrap around her waist. His fingers tingled a little as blood returned, which made them twitch against Fluttershy's belly.
  2033. > The light touch caused her to giggle, but she didn't move or bat his hand away.
  2034. > By this time the sun had gone nearly all the way down and it was getting dark. They'd have to go soon, but Anon didn't want to leave just yet.
  2035. > He tried to remember what they'd just been talking about.
  2036. "Oh. Right, sorry," he continued, "So that was right at the end of fourth grade. Sam left even before school was out."
  2037. > "I'm sorry, Anon."
  2038. "Yeah, his parents were waiting just for him to finish his exams and get his grades, then they all moved. Up to Washington or something, I dunno anymore."
  2039. > He sighed, still a bit miffed at his once best friend's parents for just pulling up their roots and leaving. He understood now it was because his father had gotten a lucrative job, but it still stung.
  2040. "I mean, we did everything together. Practically every day he was at my house or I was at his. We even divided which games each of us would buy, so we could play more of them."
  2041. > Fluttershy didn't answer with words, but she nuzzled against his neck which was just as nice, if not better.
  2042. "Ugh, my arm is killing me. Mind if we lie down for a minute?"
  2043. > Rather than waiting for her answer Anon simply folded back, pulling her on top of him. She gasped at the sudden moment, but didn't resist, except for involuntarily flaring her wings open.
  2044. > She slipped to one side and settled down on her back in the crook of Anon's arm. That way she could look for the first stars.
  2045. > He wasn't as interested in the sky, so Anon shuffled to his side and rested on his elbow. His other hand was free to rub Fluttershy's belly.
  2046. > "Mmmm. This is nice," she said, looking at him for a few seconds then focusing on the sky once more.
  2047. > Her pupils were so large that Anon thought he could see the reflection of distant clouds in them. He brought his hand up and traced the line of her muzzle from the tip of her nose, around her eye and up to her ear.
  2048. > It wasn't very much like a horse's muzzle, he thought. He had done some research on the Internet, mainly so he knew what to call parts of Fluttershy's body, but he'd never really contrasted her against Earth ponies.
  2049. > Her head was a lot larger, for one. That made sense, especially since she could speak. The muzzle was smaller, but that wasn't a surprise either. Humans had done approximately the same thing in their evolution, after all. As they got smarter and started using fire, they didn't need those big teeth and strong jaws anymore.
  2050. > He returned his finger to her nose, but this time he went the other way. Her jaw flowed seamlessly into her neck and he followed it down. The fluff was thicker on her chest even as it became softer.
  2051. > "Anon, you're tickling me," 'Shy warned. She didn't move her gaze from the stars, though.
  2052. "Oh. Sorry."
  2053. > He changed direction and traced his finger to her foreleg. It was folded against her side, but he carefully gripped it around the fetlock and extended it. Fluttershy didn't fight it, but she finally looked at what he was doing.
  2054. > It brought back memories.
  2055. "You don't like it if I massage your muscles there, or there?"
  2056. > He poked the two places he'd tried that time. Fluttershy gave a small shrug. "Not particularly," she answered. "I guess I'm just not as sensitive there."
  2057. "But this feels nice?" Anon asked, brushing his fingers against the frog of her hoof.
  2058. > "Mmm, yeah."
  2059. "And you like belly rubs?"
  2060. > To demonstrate, Anon placed his fingers on the mentioned area. Fluttershy closed her eyes and wiggled a little to press herself against his hand. "Yesssss," she let out a deep breath and folded her leg back to her body now that he was no longer holding it.
  2061. > Anon obliged by methodically scratching every bit of her belly he could reach. He ended up pretty low, on the verge of what was appropriate. When his fingers paused 'Shy let out a disappointed sigh.
  2062. > Perhaps she wouldn't object to some more, he thought and slid his hand slightly lower.
  2063. > "Mmmmm," the mare moaned in a soft, luxuriating voice. Anon took it as encouragement and explored a little further. Her fur became thinner and gave way to warm, soft skin. He carefully scratched, keeping an eye on Fluttershy's face.
  2064. > Her tongue poked out and she kept it held between her lips.
  2065. > He ventured further and suddenly froze. There was a bump under his fingers and it was all he could do not to jerk his hand away.
  2066. > Fluttershy felt him tense up and opened her eyes. They watched one another, then she smiled.
  2067. > "Y-You can touch," she said in a breathless whisper.
  2068. > Anon's grin soon matched hers and he felt around. The nipple he'd found was on a barely perceptible mound, clear of fur and very warm. He took it very gingerly between two fingers and rolled it a little.
  2069. > He felt Fluttershy's tail shift and brush against his leg at the same time as the mare gave a low, soft groan.
  2070. > Anon suddenly cursed that they were outside. This could have been it. 'Shy sounded like she wanted more and his own tool was granite-hard and straining against the elastic of his underpants.
  2071. > He flattened his palm and laid it right across Fluttershy's mounds at the same time as he brought his head down and stole a kiss.
  2072. > She moaned right into his mouth and attacked his tongue with hers almost ferociously as he wiggled his hand against her teats. He let his middle finger stray a bit further, reaching for the next treasure on Fluttershy's body.
  2073. > He suddenly found a hoof pressing his hand down, keeping it in place. He broke the kiss and pulled away.
  2074. > 'Shy was staring at him. "N-No," she whispered.
  2075. "Why not?"
  2076. > Aside from the fact that they were outside, Anon couldn't see a reason not to go on.
  2077. > It took 'Shy a long time to think it over, but then she folded her ears and shook her head again. "I j-just don't think it's a good idea."
  2078. > He took a breath and opened his mouth to argue some more, but she headed him off: "I'm sorry, Anon. I shouldn't have- It's- I'm sorry..."
  2079. > She looked like she was about to cry and Anon quickly pulled his hand free so he could place it against her cheek.
  2080. "Hey, shush, it's fine, it's fine!" he quickly assured the distraught pony.
  2081. > She let out a shuddering breath and closed her eyes, nuzzling into the warmth of his hand.
  2082. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have pushed you. We'll do it when we're both ready, okay?"
  2083. > 'Shy nodded and took a deep breath. "When- when we're ready," she repeated. Her eyes opened and she finished: "I promise."
  2084. > It was a disappointment, but Anon decided it was good enough for him, for now. After all, she'd practically encouraged him to cop a feel, which was a good sign of progress.
  2085. > Sooner or later she'd give in and then they would-
  2086. > He forcefully brought his mind back from that place and suddenly realized he had to strain to see Fluttershy's face.
  2087. "Oh jeez, look how late it is! We gotta get back!"
  2088. > That broke the spell and 'Shy sat up with a surprised gasp. "Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry! I completely forgot about the time!"
  2089. "Yeah, me too! Good thing my phone has a light on it."
  2090. > He helped her gather up their trash and leftover food into the basket, then stepped off the blanket so she could gather it up and fold it.
  2091. > Rather than trying to force it back into the basket, Fluttershy just draped the cloth on her back and shuffled her hooves until it was comfortable. "Come on!"
  2092. > Anon had his phone's flashlight already on and lit the way back to the path.
  2093. > He couldn't help thinking one thought. They could totally have done it right there and then, no people walked around the park at night.
  2094. > He shook his head to clear it and focused on keeping the light steady so 'Shy would see where to go.
  2095. > It wasn't too far to the car and then it was just a twenty minute drive back home.
  2096. "Um, 'Shy?"
  2097. > She paused and looked back, even though her night vision was gone and she couldn't see his face. Maybe that made it easier to ask the next thing.
  2098. "Wanna sleep in my bed tonight? It's a lot softer than the guest bed."
  2099. > They both stood still while she thought it over. Anon was about to promise again there'd be no hanky-panky, but 'Shy answered before he could do so.
  2100. > "I'd like that," she said and suddenly turned to walk. Anon had to scramble to catch up, but he couldn't keep a pleased grin from his face.
  2101.  
  2102. > ~~~~
  2103.  
  2104. > When Anonymous opened his eyes the next morning, two things became apparent. The first one was the strongest case of morning wood of his life and the other was a warm, fuzzy pony body at his side.
  2105. > Memory returned and he couldn't help grinning. Last night had included a lot of kissing.
  2106. > More than that, having 'Shy to cuddle made for incredibly restful sleep once he pushed past the desire and lust. He could definitely get used to that.
  2107. > The main problem was that when he tried to spoon her, his nose pressed against her mane. At first it was quite pleasant, but with how light and fluffy her hair was, it soon began to tickle so he had to sleep with his neck bent at a strange angle.
  2108. > Once that got old and uncomfortable, he turned on his back which seemed to do the trick. It wasn't exactly 'spooning', though.
  2109. > He was determined to work something out anyway. Except that thought got interrupted by the unwelcome realization that 'Shy would go back to Mason in a couple of days, which meant no more sleepovers.
  2110. > This had been the first extended business trip ever, so it was a fair bet these opportunities would be quite rare.
  2111. > All the more important to implement his plan to get 'Shy away from her current owner. He would get a loan if he had to!
  2112. > He sighed and turned to face the mare. The motion hadn't yet woken her up, but her ear twitched and Anon knew it wouldn't be much longer. He brought his hand up to brush a stray lock from her face.
  2113. "Morning, 'Shy."
  2114. > She blinked and focused her gaze. When she opened her mouth to reply, a yawn forced its way out instead and Anon got a very good look at equine teeth.
  2115. > Come to think of it, he hadn't looked up any images on horse or pony mouths, so Fluttershy's was the only he had to go on.
  2116. > "Good morning," she said back as soon as she was able. She didn't seem ready to get up, but her nose wiggled as she glanced around the room. "What time is it?"
  2117. > Anon reached for his phone since he didn't have an alarm clock.
  2118. "Six thirty. Still early."
  2119. > Her eyes closed and 'Shy nuzzled into the pillow. "That's good," she said.
  2120. > Normally Anon would absolutely enjoy sleeping another two hours or so, but not this time. He raised himself up on an elbow and leaned over so he could pepper small kisses around her muzzle.
  2121. "You look adorable when you're sleeping," he whispered to her.
  2122. > He paused and wondered for a moment. He'd read some of those sappy romance novels on a friend's recommendation, but he'd always found them gag-inducing.
  2123. > Weird how it wasn't nearly as awkward and phony when it was about 'Shy. Not to mention how it was making his balls sore. None of the books said anything about that.
  2124. > Anon wondered if that's what 'blue balls' felt like. He'd always thought that was more a mental thing. Still, he'd have to do something, even if it just involved his hands. The constant hard-on was starting to get bothersome.
  2125. > Maybe it was time?
  2126. > He put his hand on Fluttershy's barrel, intending to slowly scratch his way down and see what happened, but feeling the ridges of her ribcage almost made him wince.
  2127. "You're kinda thin, 'Shy. You sure you're eating enough?"
  2128. > Her eyes snapped open and the mare frowned as she glared at him. "Excuse me?!" There was a scrunch in her muzzle which made him feel somewhat uneasy.
  2129. > Anon instantly knew it had been the wrong thing to say, but he still thought he could wiggle out of the predicament somehow. Perhaps is he explained in just the right way.
  2130. "Well, I noticed how your ribs are showing. I just think you should eat a bit more, right? This can't be healthy!"
  2131. > Unfortunately that just dug the hole deeper and Fluttershy's eyebrows lowered as she scrunched harder.
  2132. "Um, sorry..."
  2133. > Her expression didn't relent. "Good. You should be!"
  2134. "I was just saying-"
  2135. > "What?!" she interrupted. "You were saying I'm just a dumb animal who can't take care of herself?! Like I need you to tell me if I should eat more or less?" Her eyes narrowed and she pushed herself away with all four hooves pressing against Anon. "Or *maybe*," she went on, "I don't look exactly how you want me to look and I should change it just for you?!"
  2136. > The mare sat up, still glaring daggers. "So I guess I should fatten up some so you'd be pleased, *Master*?!"
  2137. > That last word almost physically hurt and Anonymous flinched when she said it. It sounded like poison on her lips. For an instant he thought he understood what 'Shy was so worried about if he came to own her. He didn't want her to look at him like that, ever!
  2138. "No, that's not what I- Flutters, I said I'm sorry!"
  2139. > At long last Fluttershy's expression untwisted and she lowered her head. Her hooves came up and she started sobbing.
  2140. > "I- I'm-" she tried to say, but couldn't quite get the words out. "Just-"
  2141. > Maybe it was the wrong move, but Anon got to his knees and put his arms around the whimpering pony.
  2142. "Hey, it's alright," he murmured next to her ear. "I'm sorry I said it. It was insensitive, okay? You're perfect just the way you are!"
  2143. > 'Shy shook her head and Anon was about to repeat himself, but she removed her forehooves and let her forehead rest against his chest.
  2144. > "No, I'm s-sorry," she said, a bit of strain showing in her voice. "I shouldn't have snapped like that."
  2145. "You don't have to apologize."
  2146. > Again the mare shook her head. "It's just wh-when you said I have to eat more..." She couldn't finish the sentence and sniffed again. She was keeping herself from full-on sobbing, but it was a near thing. Anon felt how her whole body shook with the effort.
  2147. > Not knowing what to say meant that Anon just waited, hoping she'd either explain or calm down. Once again he was reminded that 'Shy had some baggage and he didn't know all of it yet.
  2148. > Weird how the realization that she was damaged somehow seemed to just feed his boner. It was an uncomfortable fact about himself which he wasn't quite ready to face, so he pushed it down.
  2149. > He did *not* get off on girls crying!
  2150. > Luckily 'Shy didn't know any of his thoughts. "It's what Mr. Mason said, Anon," she explained. "He told me to eat more or else people would think he was starving me. And I d-didn't! I didn't want to!"
  2151. > Her next breath was ragged and her breath was hot on Anon's chest. "I t-thought it was at least one w-way I could fight back. It was stupid..."
  2152. > She peeled herself away and her eyes focused on Anon's unshaven face. She must have seen some concern there, because she let out her breath and lunged forward to lock them in an unexpectedly passionate kiss.
  2153. > Anon froze for a while at the sudden assault, but he allowed 'Shy entry into his mouth and, after a fashion, played a little with her tongue. Even that was enough to wring an urgent, needful moan from her lips.
  2154. > Just as suddenly as she had begun, 'Shy broke it off and pulled back. "You just reminded me of... what I am," she concluded quietly. The statement made her sigh.
  2155. > He put a hand in her mane and placed a small kiss on the tip of her nose before replying.
  2156. "I told you, you're not a slave to me, okay? We'll get you away from Mr. Mason and then you'll be free!" he repeated.
  2157. > "Except on paper. Legally, you'll own me."
  2158. > It was Anon's turn to heave an exasperated sigh.
  2159. "I said it won't be like that. Fuck 'legally', 'Shy. All that matters is what *we* think!"
  2160. > She studied his expression for a few moments, then lowered her eyes and asked the million-dollar question: "So... if there's a chance I can go home, you'll let me go?"
  2161. > Anon's breath caught and he felt something cold and thorny grip his heart. That was the big one, wasn't it? That was the difference between loving Fluttershy, as he professed, and just lusting after her. The difference between owning her and keeping her safe.
  2162. > After living with him for a while she wouldn't want to go, he told himself. Not really. The question was purely rhetorical and he knew what the right answer was. If she wanted to leave after all- The opportunity might never even come up.
  2163. > Her friends hadn't come for her thus far, Anon told himself.
  2164. "Of course. If a way comes up and you can go home - and you really want to - I'll let you go!"
  2165. > He shouldn't have added the condition in the middle, Anon knew this as soon as he'd said it. Fluttershy's eyes seemed to cloud over and she looked down, but he lifted her muzzle back up with a hand.
  2166. "I promise, okay?"
  2167. > This time she nodded. "Thanks. It doesn't matter anyway, because Mr. Mason will never sell me..."
  2168. > Luckily Anon had been working on a plan to arrange just that. He began to smile. It still wasn't complete, but the basic idea was there.
  2169. "Well, not now, true," he acceded. "If you weren't such a perfect little slave, he might."
  2170. > Fluttershy leaned away and her ears splayed in worry. "What do you m-mean?"
  2171. "It's just an idea, okay? I'm still working on it. Supposing you, um, y'know, didn't do such a good job. Leave some mess. Maybe break some dishes when you do them. Start talking back to him."
  2172. > Fluttershy was shaking her head, but now that he'd started, Anon had to finish the whole story.
  2173. "Look, I'm not saying anything drastic. Just little things, so he's a bit annoyed with you. I'll drop some hints I might be interested in buying you, maybe if he's pissed enough he'll sell you cheap enough so I can afford it!"
  2174. > She still wasn't convinced. "What if he just starts beating me?"
  2175. > It was a snag in the plan and Anon didn't have a counter for it just yet. He sighed and leaned in to kiss her cheek.
  2176. "We'll think it over. There has to be some way. Just- keep your eyes and your mind open, okay? We need to get you away from Mason, then everything will be better!"
  2177. > This time 'Shy nodded, but she didn't reply. Her forehead thudded against Anon's chest and she gripped him around the waist with her hooves.
  2178. > She was agreeing, which was great news. Anon began to have some hope of getting 'Shy into his house on a permanent basis.
  2179. "It's still early. Wanna go back to sleep?" he asked.
  2180. > She shook her head mutely.
  2181. "Wanna lie back down?"
  2182. > This time she shrugged. Unfortunately her mood for anything more intimate was probably shut, Anon thought, but they could get some more cuddles in.
  2183. "Come on, I'll use the toilet real quick and then I can give you a hoof massage."
  2184. > Another shrug. Anon decided to roll with it. He could take care of his 'stiffness' problem in the bathroom, take a quick leak, then come and play with Fluttershy's hooves.
  2185. > He knew that touching the inner edge was a big turn-on for her, maybe it would even lead to other things. Maybe he should reconsider the yank?
  2186. > Nah, the blue balls were killing him. Even if 'Shy agreed to move forward, it'd just mean he'd last longer. Those were all pluses.
  2187. > He lowered 'Shy down on the pillow and made sure she was covered with the blanket before sliding himself to the edge of the bed and standing up.
  2188. "Be right back."
  2189. >...
  2190. > When Anon walked out of the bathroom he nearly tripped over Fluttershy. He stumbled and flailed his arms to regain his balance, while she cringed away.
  2191. > She spoke up before he could demand why she hadn't stayed in bed. "Sorry! Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you!" she almost squeaked. "I have to use the bathroom."
  2192. "Oh. Coming back to bed? It's still early."
  2193. > For a split second 'Shy looked undecided, but then she shook her head. "Um, I- no."
  2194. > The word was so soft Anon almost couldn't hear it. She was avoiding his gaze and fiddling with her hooves on the hallway carpet. He realized Fluttershy was worried about his reaction to this news.
  2195. "That's fine. What do you wanna do for breakfast?" he asked instead.
  2196. > Fluttershy looked up and relaxed. "Ac-Actually, I was hoping we could, um. We could go see that zoo today?"
  2197. > It wasn't something Anon had planned, but it was early enough and it would mean a nice change of pace. It could be a fun day. He wasn't all that interested in animals, but if it made 'Shy happy it'd be worth it.
  2198. "Sure. Lemme change and we can go."
  2199. > She almost bounced up from the carpet to wrap her hooves around his waist and press her nose in his pajamas. "Really?!" 'Shy asked breathlessly. "I'll make us some sandwiches, quick!"
  2200. > Before she could rush off Anon caught her with a hand on her back.
  2201. "No need. We can stop somewhere for breakfast before we get there, and then again on the way back."
  2202. > It meant less time before they could be off and Fluttershy was all for that. She turned in a circle, hooves tapping out a little dance on the carpet. The flip in her mood was hard to believe and Anon guessed she had been expecting him to say no.
  2203. > Proving her wrong was a good, positive step in getting her trust.
  2204. > "Okay! I'll just go real quick and then I'm ready! I can brush my mane in the car!"
  2205. > She zipped past Anon into the bathroom and almost slammed the door shut in her excitement. He couldn't help but chuckle to himself as he went to get dressed.
  2206. > The pants from last night had a few green stains from the park, which Anon didn't even remember getting, but luckily he had a fresh pair in the closet. He just had to thread the belt and move his wallet over.
  2207. > His shirt was fine and he didn't really need much else, since it was still summer. He was in the process of pulling on clean socks when 'Shy came back. She stood in the door, brush in her mouth and tail swishing left and right as she waited.
  2208. > Her ears were perked up attentively, but she blushed and splayed them when he looked at her.
  2209. > Luckily it didn't take long and the two made their way down the stairs.
  2210. > "Morning, Anon."
  2211. "Oh, hi Mr. Petrinov!"
  2212. > The old man, who was standing on his porch, pointed with an empty shot glass. "What's the deal with that, Anon? Am I gonna have to charge you extra rent for pets?"
  2213. > Fluttershy's ears fell at the word and she hid behind Anon's legs as best she could.
  2214. "Not a pet, Mr. Petrinov. Fluttershy is just staying with me while Mr. Mason is on a business trip."
  2215. > The guy poured himself another shot and took a sip while Anon waited if there was any more. Truthfully, he wouldn't mind paying more rent if 'Shy was staying with him permanently.
  2216. > "Well, looks like a small horse," Mr. Petrinov pointed out, making Fluttershy behind Anon give an exasperated sigh around the brush she was still holding in her mouth. "Unusual color, but I guess that's normal for this lot. I saw the news."
  2217. > Anon was starting to get annoyed, but the man was his landlord and he'd always gotten on well with him, so he kept his temper in check.
  2218. "She's a pony, Mr. Petrinov. It's just for a few more days."
  2219. > This time Anton shrugged silently to himself. He seemed more than a little drunk already, which was kinda sad, considering the early hour. Anon figured he must've been working all night and just came home, especially when he took in the crumpled shirt and the stubble on his face.
  2220. > He was about to leave and put Fluttershy in his car, but it seemed the landlord had one final bit of advice.
  2221. > "Anyway, if she pisses on the rug you're paying for the dry cleaning."
  2222. "Okay, Mr. Petrinov."
  2223. > 'Shy was glaring daggers by now and there was a noticeable blush on her muzzle. Anon didn't think she liked the allegation that she'd soil the carpet like some animal. Perhaps it was a good thing that she had her mouth full, or she might say something rude to Anton.
  2224. > He opened the passenger door and patted 'Shy on her head to get her in there. She did so and Anon closed her in as quick as he could to reduce the chance that Anton would say something else stupid, or Fluttershy would shout something back.
  2225. > "Nice color, though," Petrinov went on, as if talking to himself while he poured more drink. "Yellow like the butter. I like."
  2226. > Anon shook his head a little to himself and got in the car. Fluttershy was still red in the muzzle and glaring at the dashboard. She had dropped her brush on the seat between her forelegs.
  2227. "Don't mind him, he's just drunk."
  2228. > 'Shy looked over and sighed. "That's what I was trying to tell you, Anon. People just see me like some animal! I don't like it!"
  2229. "Sorry about that. For what it's worth, he said your color is nice. Like butter."
  2230. > Fluttershy's head whipped around and she stared out the window, where Mr. Petrinov waved to her. She hesitantly lifted a hoof and waved back.
  2231. "Sit still, I have to buckle you in."
  2232. > She was used to it by now and pressed herself against the seat so Anon could reach the belt and fasten it across her chest and belly. It looked comically oversized for her.
  2233. "Anyway, I think it suits you. Heh, 'Buttershy'."
  2234. > 'Shy flipped her head around and gave Anon a shocked stare. "What did you just call me?!"
  2235. > Anon's grin faded away, but he couldn't lie. He swallowed and repeated more quietly, hoping she wouldn't be too mad and that she'd accept his apology:
  2236. "Buttershy."
  2237. > They were perfectly still for a few seconds, but then 'Shy suddenly broke into a smile and giggled. "Actually, I kinda like that. It's new. Nopony has ever called me that."
  2238. > Anon relaxed and grinned back.
  2239. "How about I make that my nickname for you?"
  2240. > The blush was instantly back and 'Shy focused on the dashboard again. "If y-you like," she murmured.
  2241. "Yeah, it's cute. Buttershy. Well, let's go then. We have a zoo to see."
  2242. > This was infinitely better news and 'Shy clapped her forehooves together in excitement. She even gave Mr. Petrinov a big smile and another wave as Anon drove off.
  2243.  
  2244. > ~~~~
  2245.  
  2246. "Okay, okay, my turn. Hmmm..."
  2247. > Anon paused with his slice of pizza halfway to his mouth while Fluttershy skillfully cut up her microwave vegetable lasagna by manipulating her plastic knife deftly with both hooves.
  2248. > She wasn't too enthused by it, but it was the best they could find among a myriad of meat dishes. They'd stopped at one of those small highway rest stops with a tiny bar and outside benches.
  2249. > The pair were the only people there and they'd taken the furthest table, one very nearly in the nearby woods.
  2250. > 'Shy kept glancing at them so much that Anon was afraid at first she'd try and make a run for it, but when a bird landed on one of the nearby tables and the mare smiled brightly he understood.
  2251. > She was hoping to see some woodland creatures. He thought about offering to go for a short walk, but he really didn't want to spend too much time there. Besides, they were going to a zoo anyway.
  2252. > At the moment, though, he was trying to come up with a question which would be at least interesting, if not exciting.
  2253. "Got it! What's your biggest regret?" he asked.
  2254. > He nearly slammed his head against the table a second later. Of course being enslaved would be it, he didn't need to go dredging up painful memories just for her to confirm it.
  2255. > Unfortunately it was out and Anon watched Fluttershy's face with some trepidation as she looked up at the sky and scrunched up her muzzle in concentration. Strange, he thought, how this scrunch was entirely different from an angry scrunch. She really had a very expressive face.
  2256. > Her ears fell about halfway, which nearly made him wince, but then 'Shy shrugged and said: "If I had to pick, it's that I never got up the courage to ask Princess Celestia for that song."
  2257. > Anon, flushed with relief, gave her a questioning look and opened his mouth to ask for more details, but 'Shy understood his glance and headed him off.
  2258. > "It was when Twilight earned her wings. She said that- well, in the place she got taken..."
  2259. > 'Shy shook her head and started again. "Sorry. She vanished right from before our eyes when she cast some spell and she said it took her to this weird place. It was like the night sky, except brighter and she could walk on air. That was where Princess Celestia appeared and made her into an alicorn."
  2260. "Okay, I think I'm with you so far."
  2261. > "Well, anyway, the Princess - Celestia I mean, Twilight wasn't a Princess just yet - she sang this song and Twilight said it was very beautiful. She was blushing when she said it! It was about her, so I kinda understand why she was embarrassed."
  2262. > Fluttershy giggled at the memory and used the pause to switch from her knife to her fork and scoop a piece of the lasagna into her mouth. Anon waited patiently for her to chew and swallow.
  2263. > "So, eventually I got Twilight to tell me the lyrics, but she couldn't sing the melody. It really does sound like a beautiful song and I always wanted to learn it, but I never quite managed to ask Princess Celestia. I guess I thought it'd be inappropriate."
  2264. > Her ears finished their journey all the way down and the mare sighed a sad sigh. "I guess I always thought there'd be another chance, but I don't think it's going to happen now."
  2265. > They were both silent for a while. Anon wondered if he should say something, perhaps tell her he was sorry it happened that way, or reassure her that she'd go back home someday.
  2266. > It was 'Shy who broke the silence. "Anyway, maybe it's silly, but I think that's my biggest regret."
  2267. "Shit. Yeah, um, I'm sorry Flutter- Buttershy. Wanna sing it for me?"
  2268. > The nickname brought out a faint smile and Anon felt pleased with himself, even after realizing that his question had been stupid. Sad Fluttershy was a truly heart wrenching sight. He reached over to cover her foreleg with his hand for a moment and gave her a reassuring squeeze.
  2269. "Never mind, you said you don't know the melody. Why did you want to learn the song that much?"
  2270. > The smile tugged at Fluttershy's lips some more. "I just always liked singing. It's like, um, I guess you could call it a hobby. My- my friends said I had a good singing voice."
  2271. > Anon thought back on the time he'd spent with the mare, trying to remember if he had ever heard her sing, like with actual lyrics instead of just humming.
  2272. "Well, I've only heard you hum so far."
  2273. > Fluttershy shook her head. "I guess I only sing when I'm happy and that hasn't- it's just rare now."
  2274. > This was nearly too much to bear and Anon put his pizza down. He got up and went around the table, ignoring the curious glances from 'Shy. Once there, he stood behind her and leaned down enough so he could put his hands around her barrel.
  2275. > He brushed his nose against her cheek and then gave it a little kiss.
  2276. "Don't worry, it'll get better. Once we get you away from Mason, I promise you'll be happy, 'kay?"
  2277. > 'Shy stiffened and her head jerked as if she was about to shake it, but then she let out the breath she was holding and whispered: "I believe you."
  2278. > It made Anon smile happily.
  2279. "Well, maybe if the zoo is extra nice, you can sing on our way home?" he proposed.
  2280. > She shrugged. "Maybe."
  2281. "Let's finish the food, we still have about two hours in the car."
  2282. > She nodded enthusiastically at the thought of the zoo and picked up the fork again while Anon went back to his seat.
  2283. > It promised to be a nice day. He'd never been one to visit the zoo on his own volition, but with how happy Fluttershy was about the idea he found he was looking forward to it as well. Besides, the sun was nice and hot, the sky was nearly cloudless and he still had three days with 'Shy after today.
  2284. > With some luck, they might even get to do... something 'fun' when they came home, if Fluttershy was pleased with her zoo visit.
  2285. >...
  2286. > Despite her assurances, Anon was deeply uneasy about what 'Shy was doing. His muscles were tense and his hand hovered just above her back, ready to grab and pull her away at the first sign of trouble.
  2287. > Except- there was no trouble. The bear just on the other side of the metal fence was letting her rub its head with a hoof. The most it did was let out an occasional non-threatening growl which sounded more relaxed than threatening.
  2288. > "That's right," Fluttershy was saying, "you're not really mean, are you?"
  2289. > Much to Anon's surprise, the big bear gave a grunt he could have sworn was affirmative.
  2290. "Um, 'Shy? When you said you can understand animals, you meant..."
  2291. > She looked back, smiling, and waited to see if he would finish his question. When she decided Anon wouldn't, she answered: "I meant I can understand animals and they understand me. It's my special talent."
  2292. "Yeah, uh, I can see that."
  2293. > When she had proposed to pet the bear Anon had said no, of course. Only after pleading with a promise of tears in her wide, shiny, sky-blue eyes had he relented.
  2294. > Even so he'd been worried she'd lose a leg or something, but all that happened was that the bear came over to inspect her more closely and she ended petting it on the head.
  2295. > Her giggles snapped him out of near absolute surprise. "You remind me of Harry," 'Shy commented and pulled her leg back.
  2296. "Who's Harry?" Anon asked, but she wasn't really listening to him.
  2297. > "Are they treating you well? I'm sure if I went and told somepony I could-"
  2298. > The bear gave a strange mix of growls, grunts and snorts while Fluttershy listened and nodded to herself. "Well, if you're sure," she answered.
  2299. > There was another exchange which ended with the bear giving a series of what sounded like snores at first. Anon blinked in shock. Was the bear laughing?!
  2300. "What the hell?!"
  2301. > Fluttershy still wasn't paying him any attention. This time her face darkened and she almost glared at the bear. "That doesn't sound very nice! I want you to promise me you won't do that again!"
  2302. > It was just too much for Anon. 'Shy was having an honest-to-god, real-life conversation with a bear. He laid his hand on her back, which finally reminded 'Shy about his presence.
  2303. "Do what again?!"
  2304. > She turned her gaze on Anon, still glaring. "Mr. Bear here says he likes to roar at his keepers when they bring him food! Apparently," she said with a tight voice and looked at the bear, who seemed to slump a little, "it's fun to see them scurry away!"
  2305. > The next growl could have been an apology, judging by the way the creature hunched its shoulders and looked at the ground.
  2306. > "Good. You better," 'Shy snapped. "I'll come back someday and I don't want to hear anything of the sort, okay?"
  2307. > She didn't wait for a reply and began walking onward. They had barely arrived and she obviously wanted to see more. Anon hurried after her, throwing a glance back at the bear who was watching them leave.
  2308. "You were serious."
  2309. > His voice was flat as Anon still struggled with believing the evidence of his eyes.
  2310. "Fuck, 'Shy, that was- I don't even know what that was. Holy crap."
  2311. > "Language!" she warned.
  2312. "Sorry. So you can talk to animals?!"
  2313. > Fluttershy stopped and rolled her eyes, but she was smiling to take the sting out. "I've told you, Anon."
  2314. "That has *got* to be some kind of weird magic or something. Animals on Earth can't think. They don't shrug, or apologize, or, or, play jokes on people!"
  2315. > 'Shy didn't say anything, she just watched Anon with her bemused, slightly mysterious smile.
  2316. "Do they?!"
  2317. > "Maybe if you took the time to listen," she said and shrugged. "Come on, I want to see the reptile house!"
  2318. > There was nothing to do except follow her, hoping whatever other little miracles she pulled out of her tail wouldn't knock him on his ass too hard. More importantly, he hoped she'd use some discretion, because if people saw what she could do they might both end up in trouble. Especially with Mr. Mason.
  2319. > Anonymous doubted very much the man wanted that sort of attention because of 'Shy. On the one hand, it might make him want to sell her, but on the other her value would go up, putting her even further out of Anon's reach.
  2320. > It was still pretty damn amazing, though!
  2321. "You're really something special, Buttershy."
  2322. > Her ears folded down and she blushed in embarrassment at the praise, but didn't reply.
  2323. "Just try to keep it a secret, okay? People would go nuts if they found out you can do this."
  2324. > This time she gave Anon a worried look. "Really?"
  2325. "I think it'd be a whole lot safer if no one saw you."
  2326. > "Okay, I'll be more careful, I promise."
  2327. > Thinking back on their meeting with the bear, Anon was suddenly glad there hadn't been other people close enough to overhear. It had come as a shock and he hadn't been expecting anything like it.
  2328. > It was proving to be a very interesting day. He let his hand rest on Fluttershy's head as they walked and she angled herself to come closer and brush his thigh with her muzzle.
  2329. > "Thanks for bringing me here, Anon."
  2330. "Welcome. We'll do it more often once we get you away from Mason, okay?"
  2331. > She smiled at the suggestion, perhaps for the first time since he started bringing it up. Anon counted it as a win.
  2332.  
  2333. > ~~~~
  2334.  
  2335. > By the time the two finally rested Anon was hurting. He was determined not to show it, but his legs were killing him. He'd done more walking in that single day than in any week before that. In truth, if it weren't for Fluttershy's enthusiasm, Anon would have given up and taken them back home pretty soon.
  2336. > As it was, there was no way he could break the little mare's heart by cutting their zoo visit short.
  2337. > The annoying part was that Fluttershy didn't seem in the slightest bit affected. She was perfectly okay, still prancing from enclosure to enclosure, exhibit to exhibit, pointing out anything she found interesting.
  2338. > That is to say, she pointed out just about everything and Anon had to go check it out, even when all he wanted was to sit down for a minute. He finally got 'Shy to agree to a quick snack and some rest.
  2339. > Unfortunately the stand in the zoo didn't have much of anything. There were hot dogs, pizza slices and French fries. All easy to make quickly, Anon couldn't help noticing.
  2340. > The pizza was no good for the mare, since they only had the kind with pepperoni, so he got her some French fries and took a hot dog for himself. Hopefully she wouldn't be too upset by seeing him eat meat.
  2341. > They found a free bench and sat opposite each other, ignoring the strange looks Fluttershy was getting. She was still uneasy and uncomfortable with all the attention, but the distractions of the zoo overcame any anxiety she might have felt.
  2342. "There we go. Hope French fries are okay, it was the only vegetarian option."
  2343. > "French?" 'Shy asked, leaning her head to one side and turning an ear toward Anon as she watched the people walking past. "Don't you mean Prench?"
  2344. "No. What's 'Prench'? France is a country."
  2345. > She shrugged to herself and waved a dismissive hoof. "I guess we have a place that sounds kinda similar. Never mind."
  2346. "Want any mayo or ketchup on that?" Anon offered the packets in his hand.
  2347. > "Oh, ketchup please!"
  2348. > She bit it open and poured it over her meal. Anon was curious to see how she'd eat, but 'Shy just grabbed fries with a hoof... somehow. He watched for a while, but in the end he decided it was either magic, or some trick of extreme dexterity.
  2349. > It'd make sense either way. 'Shy had explained about magic and unicorns in her world, and from all he'd seen today he was starting to fully believe her. Maybe this was another, subtler type of magic which just helped her pick stuff up. If not that, she was pretty handy with those hooves, there was no doubt about that.
  2350. > The thought made him suddenly chuckle and Fluttershy froze with a French fry on her outstretched tongue for a second before biting down on it. "Huh?"
  2351. "Nothing, just a joke I thought up."
  2352. > She swallowed her morsel almost whole, proving that she was also quite hungry even if she hadn't shown it, then gave Anon a bright smile. "Wanna tell me about it?"
  2353. "I was just thinking you're quite handy with your hooves, that's all."
  2354. > 'Shy waited patiently for the joke, but then blinked and looked down at her forelegs on the table. She seemed to be thinking.
  2355. "Handy, get it?"
  2356. > Anon flexed his fingers, but 'Shy just watched with incomprehension. "No," she said, quietly. "I'm sorry."
  2357. "Don't worry about it. You probably don't have that expression, since you don't have hands, y'know?"
  2358. > They went back to their food for a while in uncomfortable silence. Anon desperately wanted to fill it, so he blurted out the only thing which popped into his mind.
  2359. > He couldn't help noting how the fading sunlight seemed to accentuate the shadows on Fluttershy's barrel from her ribs.
  2360. "Sorry about that whole 'too thin' thing, 'Shy."
  2361. > She blinked in surprise at the unexpected topic, but then shrugged. "It's okay. You couldn't have known."
  2362. > The next bit was extra cliché, but Anon could no more stop himself than he could stop breathing.
  2363. "You look cute just the way you are."
  2364. > This time it got her to blush, which just increased her cute factor. Her ears went partly down, like a puppy who was expecting a head pat. "Um, thanks. I used to be a model for a little while, you know?" Strangely, she didn't seem all that proud of that particular achievement.
  2365. > Anon had just been about to put the last piece of his hot dog in mouth, but stopped and pulled it away in absolute shock. He looked at her with fresh eyes, but she didn't look any different. Maybe if he had seen more ponies he could compare.
  2366. "Wow. Really?"
  2367. > So he was dating - or nearly so - an actual friggin' model?! Even a pony one. Perhaps that was even better.
  2368. > "My friend Rarity said I should do it when Photo Finish said he wanted to sign me up. I didn't really like it, so I quit."
  2369. "Wow. Mare of many talents, I see," Anon joked.
  2370. > Spurred on by his approving grin, 'Shy cleared her throat and went tentatively on: "Um, I was also in a q-quartet. That was... um, fun, but also scary."
  2371. > This time Anon just whistled in appreciation. He hurriedly chewed and swallowed his food and took one of the plastic bottles from the tray. He had gotten a coke for himself and that strawberry fizz for 'Shy.
  2372. "Why scary?"
  2373. > Fluttershy's mouth worked for a moment, then she looked down. "I don't really like attention," she replied in a small voice. "Ponies kept staring at me when I was a model and... I kinda hid when I was in the quartet. Well, until the end, that is."
  2374. "Wait, you hid? You sang on a stage, but you were hidden? How does that work?"
  2375. > She heaved a sigh and shook her head. "It's a long story. I- I think I got over it, but I'd still prefer not to be in the center of attention. Or crowds."
  2376. "Well, would you sing for me sometime? I'm not really a crowd."
  2377. > Fluttershy's blush deepened and she couldn't meet his gaze. Her ears went all the way down and she inclined her head so her pink mane covered part of her face. It was almost like she was hiding behind it.
  2378. "Please?"
  2379. > A slight whimper escaped her lips and 'Shy looked uncomfortable. "I d-don't like singing in, um, public," she repeated almost too quietly for Anon to hear.
  2380. "It won't be in public, 'Shy. Just me. You don't have to if you don't wanna, I'm just offering to listen."
  2381. > She finally looked up and there was a faint, half-smile on her muzzle. "I'll think about it, okay?"
  2382. > Seeing that he was already done with his food, 'Shy hurried up with her fries while Anon opened the bottle for her and placed it where she could reach easily.
  2383. "So, what's next? I think we've seen everything by now, right?" he pointed out.
  2384. > 'Shy nodded, swallowing her mouthful before speaking. "Yes, but I'd like to see the snakes again. Oh, oh, and the penguins! We didn't have them in Ponyville so I only ever read about them in a book!"
  2385. > She was watching him with some unease, obviously worried he'd say no. Of course 'Shy didn't realize Anon could never say no to her face.
  2386. "Sure thing. Let's see those and then whatever's on the way back to the car, okay?"
  2387. > Her smile blossomed and suddenly Anon could hardly feel how sore his legs were. He'd get a chance to rest them on the drive home anyway.
  2388. >...
  2389. > It was late at night when Anon finally parked and shut the car off. He took a moment to just rest and look around, but the neighborhood was dark and there was nothing to see.
  2390. > With all the instrument lights off, the only source of illumination was the street light somewhere behind them. It left a pool of shadow on the passenger seat, but Anon saw a yellow wing poking into the light.
  2391. > He didn't know exactly when 'Shy had fallen asleep, but her responses had been getting slower and slower until he'd stopped talking and just let the mare doze off. When he had glanced over some minutes after that, she was already curled up in a ball, seatbelt somehow looped around her back now.
  2392. > Now that they were home Anon realized how exhausted he was himself. It had been an exciting and busy day for them and a good night's rest would do them good. The only remaining problem to overcome was getting them both inside.
  2393. > Anon suppressed a yawn and got out of the car. He made sure to shut the door as gently as possible, so as not to wake Fluttershy up. Likewise, he opened the passenger side door with exaggerated care.
  2394. > 'Shy was in a surprisingly small ball of fur, her muzzle pressed into the backrest and her rump supported mostly by the seatbelt in a way that didn't appear entirely comfortable. Anon put a hand on her back to lift it up, which made it easier for him to unbuckle her.
  2395. > Then it was just a matter of slipping one hand under Fluttershy's barrel, the other under her hind legs, and picking her up much like he would an infant. Her head came to rest on his shoulder and her hooves curled up against her body.
  2396. > "Mmmmm," 'Shy moaned but didn't wake up during this procedure. Anon pushed the door shut with his foot, then struggled to reach the key fob in his pocket to lock his car.
  2397. "Almost there," he whispered to her as he carried the mare up the stairs.
  2398. > Unlocking his apartment was another exercise in fiddling, but somehow he succeeded with minimal jostling. He didn't bother with the light inside, but rather made his way to the bedroom by memory and feel.
  2399. > The bed was still unmade from that morning, but that was no different than any other day. Anon sat down, careful not to drop Fluttershy in the last minute. She was a lot easier to hold now that he could put her in his lap.
  2400. > A bit of stray light shone in through the window, lighting a patch of yellow fluff. Anon moved a little until the beam shifted to Fluttershy's face.
  2401. > She was still asleep, but she looked like she was smiling in her dream. It really was a magical sight and for a moment Anon considered staying like that until morning.
  2402. > He easily held 'Shy with one hand, which freed his other and he brought it to her muzzle. He carefully brushed her mane away from her eyes, then spent a peaceful few minutes simply stroking the soft fur around her muzzle.
  2403. > After that he moved his hand to trace her hairline, lightly brushed her ear with a finger, and continued down to her jaw. Her muzzle scrunched up at the tickle and he took his finger away.
  2404. > He couldn't resist and tapped the tip of her nose, which made her scrunch harder. He couldn't help chuckling at the sight.
  2405. > Anyway, he was getting sleepy and 'Shy wasn't getting quality rest with him teasing her like that. The bed looked incredibly inviting, especially with her to share it again. Anon carefully leaned over and deposited the sleeping pony down on the mattress. She let out a small whine at the loss of warmth as he let her go.
  2406. > There was no time, nor need for pajamas, he decided. Hoping Fluttershy wouldn't wake up Anon discarded his pants and shirt, then pulled his socks off.
  2407. > He thought about brushing his teeth, but he didn't want to waste any more time. They could both do it in the morning.
  2408. > Wearing just his boxer shorts, Anon climbed in the bed next to 'Shy. It took him a bit of struggling to untangle the blanket, but he got it and pulled it over them both.
  2409. > He was settling down when Fluttershy moved. "M-Anon?" she whispered.
  2410. "Hush, it's okay. We're home, you can sleep now."
  2411. > She sought him out with a hoof, then wiggled closer. Her muzzle found his shoulder and 'Shy nuzzled into it, using his upper arm as a pillow. Her wing slipped around his bare belly and settled there.
  2412. > Anon was suddenly aware of Fluttershy's hot breath against his chest. He leaned down awkwardly to plant a kiss against her cheek, then wrapped his free arm around her and settled comfortably to sleep.
  2413. > He didn't think it'd come soon, but just lying there, cuddled up as they were, was pleasant enough that Anon didn't want to move at all.
  2414. > All in all, despite the effort and the strange looks they'd gotten, it had been a really wonderful day. Exhausting, too!
  2415. > Before he knew it, Anon was asleep.
  2416.  
  2417. > ~~~~
  2418.  
  2419. > Anonymous woke up later than usual, but that was okay because Fluttershy was still out cold. Somehow they'd gotten turned around in the night and she was on his other side.
  2420. > Her head was resting just off the pillow, but she didn't seem to mind at all. She was also hogging the blankets, but it was warm enough that being half-uncovered didn't bother Anon at all.
  2421. > He was about to roll to his side and spoon her for a few more minutes, but there was something extremely important he had to do first.
  2422. > Carefully, gently, hoping she wouldn't wake up, Anon slid out of the bed and stood up. The bathroom beckoned and having slept in made it that much more urgent.
  2423. > Maybe the noise of the flush would wake 'Shy up, but he just had to take that chance. Anon hurried to do the urgent bit of business.
  2424. > When he was back he sat on the bed and thought about bringing her breakfast again. He decided to rather just get back in bed and try to recapture that peaceful moment for a while longer.
  2425. > Fluttershy hadn't moved while he was gone, which meant she was probably still asleep and wouldn't mind some more snuggling. Anon slid back into the warm spot, letting out a luxurious sigh despite it not being cold.
  2426. > He wasn't wearing his pajamas and it was nice to press up against the very warm pony back. His hand went to her side and slid under her folded-up wing.
  2427. > The touch finally elicited a response and 'Shy stretched out her hooves. She was quite near the wall, so all she did was press herself more firmly against Anon.
  2428. > In lieu of saying good morning Anon lifted himself up on his elbow and kissed her cheek. It was exactly when Fluttershy yawned, but it still counted, judging by the tiny smile afterwards. Her eye opened and focused on him.
  2429. > "Ahh," 'Shy yawned once more and turned to her back. Anon's hand slid off, but she gripped it with her foreleg and deposited it on her belly. It was a nonverbal command he couldn't ignore and he started scratching.
  2430. > "Good morning," came the quiet, sing-song voice. "I had the most wonderful dream..."
  2431. "Wanna tell me about it?"
  2432. > Her ears lowered and a blush appeared. "Um, I don't wanna say it out loud. Come closer."
  2433. > Anon did so, leaning down until their noses were almost touching. He waited, curious, to hear what 'Shy had to say, but she just lunged up into a kiss.
  2434. > A hoof caught him around the neck and pulled him down, pressing him more firmly against that soft, fuzzy muzzle. Before Anon could really respond, her equine tongue forced its way past his lips to sneak a taste.
  2435. > It only lasted a few moments before she released him.
  2436. > "It was just that."
  2437. "Just that? Sure it wasn't anything more?"
  2438. > Her blush went from a light rouge to a full-on flush, but 'Shy shook her head. "Just that. Um, there was a lot of it, though?" Her eyes slid away and her ears lowered. The red in her cheeks intensified until he thought he could feel the heat of it.
  2439. > Anon suddenly knew. This was it.
  2440. > Their time.
  2441. > It was going to happen. Before, whenever she'd suspected of things going this way, 'Shy had made her escape. This time, she was blushing, sure, but she wasn't making any move to get away, just watching him expectantly. There was both fear and desire in that look.
  2442. "How about if I do this," he said huskily as his hand travelled lower down her belly.
  2443. > He found her mounds and they seemed to be scorching hot under his fingers. For an instant Anon worried Fluttershy might have a fever, but he realized she'd been wrapped up in the blanket while he'd been out in the relatively cool air.
  2444. > She was hot under his hand and it felt great. He became aware that 'Shy was biting her lower lip. She liked his touch and that sent a lot of his blood flowing down.
  2445. > He kept the pressure against her teats and came in for another kiss. Their lips barely connected before 'Shy went on the assault again.
  2446. > This time he didn't let her have full dominion and pushed her back, working his own tongue into her mouth. Each time he had done that he'd been surprised at how soft and warm she was and this time was no exception.
  2447. > Fluttershy yielded under his attack, merely brushing his tongue with hers and not trying to force him back out. He explored as far as he could reach, noting how her teeth were a lot flatter than his.
  2448. > All this time his fingers danced on her mounds, finding first one nipple, then the other. She only had two, small, but perky. She wasn't 'endowed', not exactly, but that just made it more exotic.
  2449. > The bumps he found were incredibly stiff and it took Anon a few seconds to realize what that meant. She was turned on, hard.
  2450. > He pinched one between his fingers, making the mare gasp and draw breath from him. He kept the pressure on her nipple and the sharp inhalation turned into a low moan.
  2451. > When he tried to pull back, 'Shy wanted to keep the kiss going and caught his tongue between her teeth. This in turn made Anon grunt in pleasant surprise. He pulled away anyway so he could see her expression.
  2452. > The red in her muzzle was still there, but her eyes were half-lidded and she was licking her lips where a bit of spittle had escaped. Her nostrils flared with each short, shallow breath she was taking.
  2453. "D'you," Anon mumbled. "Do you-"
  2454. > Fluttershy froze and looked away. Even now she was uncertain, looking for answers in the room beyond. She bit her lip again and her eyes sought out his.
  2455. "It's gonna be fine, I promise. I won't hurt you."
  2456. > Perhaps there was a touch of begging in his voice, but Anon needed it to happen. It had been too long, teasing, kissing, even sleeping in the same bed. It was time to move forward.
  2457. > Fluttershy closed her eyes and Anon was starting to fear she'd say no again. He remembered his hand on her teats and gave them a hopefully encouraging squeeze, which made her breath catch.
  2458. > It felt like minutes, but was probably more like a few seconds, before 'Shy opened her eyes and looked at his face once more. She brought up a hoof and laid it against his cheek.
  2459. > She mumbled something and looked away, muzzle going an even darker red.
  2460. "What was that?"
  2461. > He almost didn't dare hope she'd said yes. He turned his head to bring his ear nearer her mouth to hear better. "It's my first time," she whispered, barely on the edge of hearing. She seemed embarrassed about the fact.
  2462. > It just made Anon diamonds. He'd get to show this sweet little creature the delight of sex!
  2463. > Her reluctance suddenly made a lot of sense. Anon turned back to give 'Shy a reassuring smile and kissed the tip of her nose.
  2464. "We'll go slow. If you want it to stop, you just have to say, okay?"
  2465. > That did a lot to calm her down and the mare gave a tentative smile.
  2466. > Anon forced himself to forget about his own boner for now, this was Fluttershy's first experience and it was critically important for it to be the best possible one.
  2467. > He took his hand away from her mounds and lifted himself up so he was lying on her. Most of his weight was on his elbows because he didn't want to crush her pony body.
  2468. "Just relax and enjoy yourself."
  2469. > Anon was by no means a master of the art, but he'd spent a lot of time thinking about it, so he had a pretty good idea of what he wanted to do. First, he locked his lips with hers once again, because it was something familiar which she already enjoyed.
  2470. > He let her explore his mouth for a while before pulling back. He thought about doing the same thing she had, but he didn't want to bite her tongue, so he just caught it with his lips. They pulled apart with a wet slurp.
  2471. > The next kiss was on her neck, where Anon did his best to get a good taste of her fur. She hadn't showered the previous day, so it only smelled of her and tasted a tiny bit salty.
  2472. > Fluttershy seemed to love his tongue there, at least judging by the moan she let out. Her hooves, not knowing where to go, ended up on Anon's shoulders and she did her best to keep him in place.
  2473. > Unfortunately he had other plans and pulled away. He lifted himself up so he could look down her entire belly. Her hind legs were splayed and her rump was pressing against his shorts.
  2474. > Anon could also see that her wings were slightly spread and she was using them to arch her back. He put a hand on her belly and gave it a light push.
  2475. "Relax," he commanded.
  2476. > 'Shy slumped down. Her forelegs, having slid from his shoulders, folded down at her sides and she watched him with a curious, if slightly worried expression. There was some fear there because she didn't know exactly what was going to happen. Anon wondered if she'd read about it, or if Equestrian schools had sex ed.
  2477. "Remember, just say stop if you don't like something, deal?"
  2478. > It was important that she felt in control of the situation.
  2479. > Her smile grew in response and she gave a slight nod. That was good enough and Anon slid back down, careful not to pull at her tail. He lowered his head until his face met that soft, furry belly.
  2480. > Her bellybutton was hard to see under the yellow fuzz, but Anon found it by feel. He poked his tongue in as gently as he could, but that made 'Shy squirm and bat at his head with her hooves.
  2481. > "Stop it, that tickles!" she giggled. Rather than pulling away, Anon pressed more firmly, trying to get a good, solid lick. The giggles turned into a gasp and she stopped trying to push him aside. Her forelegs slid down lifelessly.
  2482. > For a short while Anon explored the tiny indent, very aware of how Fluttershy sighed and groaned, and how her hips bucked every now and then. Perhaps it was another erogenous zone, he thought.
  2483. > He raised himself a little so he could see her face, but 'Shy wasn't looking at him. She was staring fixedly at the ceiling, mouth open so she could take quick breaths.
  2484. > Smiling a little to himself, Anon moved once more, sliding even lower until he found himself face to face with her teats. He'd never had a chance to look at them this close, so he took a moment for a quick inspection.
  2485. > Her flesh was pink and the mounds were barely visible shapes, even without the fur. The biggest clues were the two, tiny bumps. Anon brought his mouth closer slowly, almost reverentially.
  2486. > He began by planting a kiss on the boundary between flesh and fur, which made Fluttershy gasp and twitch. She hadn't been expecting that, obviously.
  2487. > Then Anon followed with his tongue, first just the tip, then laying it flat against her flesh. When 'Shy let out her breath it came as a low, throaty moan.
  2488. > She barely had time to take another deep gulp of air before it was driven from her once again as he dragged his tongue up and across the nipple. It felt as hard as a pebble when he caught it between his lips.
  2489. > He flicked his tongue at it a few times, before releasing it and giving it another long lick. It felt as if Fluttershy's whole body was pushing up, mashing her teats more firmly against his face.
  2490. > Anon repeated the same treatment for her other mound and the moan rose an octave. Her hind legs were trying to wrap around his neck and Anon helped by gripping her buttocks with both hands.
  2491. > This close to her private parts he could smell her arousal as a very pleasing mixture of sweet and tangy. It was hard to compare it to anything else because 'Shy smelled completely exotic.
  2492. > It was probably because she was a pony, he thought. That reminded him and, with a last kiss, he sat up and left her sensitive breasts for a moment. Fluttershy gave him a slightly disappointed look, but then she realized he was probably about to move on and her breath caught.
  2493. > Rather than moving further down, Anon took one of her hind hooves with both hands and grinned at the confused mare. Her eyes widened when he brought it to his lips and ran his tongue around the inside edge.
  2494. > "Oh-" she tried to say, but it got torn away from her in a long, drawn out groan. Her head slammed back on the bed and her back arched further as she pushed against the mattress with her wings. His second lick made her gasp and her leg jerked, almost kicking him in the face.
  2495. > Anon didn't mind, happy to be able to give her this much pleasure with something so simple. He flattened his tongue and pressed it against the frog.
  2496. > "Oh, goodness!" she managed to get out this time, but it was quickly covered by another moan as Anon kept going.
  2497. > Maybe it had been the abstinence, but he felt like he was about to burst just from doing this to Fluttershy. The thought spurred him on and he began licking her frog in earnest.
  2498. > He saw how 'Shy was gripping the bed with her forelegs and how her wings were spreading wider with each rise and fall of her chest. He also felt her free hind hoof press against his belly, desperate for something to touch.
  2499. > It was time to switch and he grabbed the errant hoof with his hand, but Fluttershy gave him a pained, pleading look. "P-Please," she whined. "I want it!"
  2500. > Anon did, too, but he knew if he stuck it in her, he'd come in about two seconds flat, which was no good. At the very least he had to get her off before that.
  2501. > He let her hooves go and lowered himself yet again, this time bringing him face to face with her hidden treasure.
  2502. > It was a bit like the pictures he'd seen on the Internet, but smaller and somehow cute. The thought popped up unbidden: her mare's flower. As he watched she winked at him, which made him groan with suppressed desire.
  2503. > A whine from up above reminded him that Fluttershy was waiting and he leaned down, tongue already extended. His aim was a little off, but that worked out perfectly. He touched her outer lips first, before licking up in a slow, luxurious stroke. He made sure to aim just beside where her clit was pushing out with each wink.
  2504. > She would be extra sensitive, especially for her first time and too much stimulation all at once would border on pain, rather than pleasure. At least that's what Anon figured and in any case it wouldn't hurt to take it slow and tease her a little.
  2505. > Even that slight touch was enough to get 'Shy moaning and bucking her hips, desperate for some more contact. Fresh fluids dribbled out, adding to what was already a sizable puddle around her tail and her clit winked out again and again, each appearance punctuated by a grunt or a whimper.
  2506. > Curiosity won out once more and Anon used his thumb to pull the labia away, revealing a very pink inside. The soft, supple flesh was well lubricated and slid out of his grasp when she winked again.
  2507. > "Pleeeease," came another moan, desperate to go on, and Anon leaned in again. He'd been a bit worried about what she might taste like, but it was mostly tasteless, perhaps just a touch tangy.
  2508. > It wasn't delicious, as he'd been led to believe by the Internet, but neither was it bad. His tongue was quickly coated with mare lubricant and he dragged it up, stopping just short of her winking button. The fluids dribbled around his chin, hot against his skin.
  2509. > He repeated the gesture a few more times, each time earning another moan, slightly higher pitched.
  2510. > Suddenly he wondered if, on some deep level, he'd known when he first met Fluttershy driving that lawnmower that he'd one day be nose-deep in her pussy.
  2511. > Maybe that was what attracted him to her? Some kind of weird premonition?
  2512. > Anon pushed the thought away and focused on servicing the mare, who was squirming under his touch, rocking her hips and trying desperately to grind herself against his face.
  2513. > He stiffened his tongue and dug it a little deeper, pleasantly surprised by just how supple and, above all, warm her insides were. More of her juices ran down his chin, but he ignored them and concentrated instead on getting his tongue inside the tight entrance, between her folds of wet flesh.
  2514. > The texture inside her was indescribable and Anon lost himself in the moment. He licked, he lapped, he kissed, all the while massaging Fluttershy's buttocks with his hands. Every now and then one of her hind hooves lightly smacked the side of his head as 'Shy was losing control of her limbs in the midsts of her euphoria.
  2515. > The groans and moans were reaching an apex and 'Shy was bucking wildly now, grinding his nose into her folds and showing him she was very near her limit. There were no longer any restraints or shame, just her burning need and the sensations between her legs.
  2516. > Anon replaced his tongue with a finger, reaching even deeper and massaging her inner walls. At the same time he planted his lips around her button and laid his tongue against it. A moan turned into a squeal and he would have pulled back, but Fluttershy's hoof pressed his head further in.
  2517. > He knew how sensitive it was, so he used a light touch, letting 'Shy get used to it before pressing harder and licking faster.
  2518. > Her next moan went up in pitch and volume and Fluttershy tried to speak. "Yes... yes yes, please... I'm al-" she swallowed and let out another grunt as Anon flicked her clit with his tongue. "I'm almost-" she gasped. "Almost... Please! Yes!"
  2519. > He kept up exactly what he was already doing, except that he pushed his finger even deeper, spreading her open a little wider as he looked for the fabled g-spot.
  2520. > "Mpmhmphm!" she blubbered, unable even to form words anymore. There was urgent, desperate need in her wordless plea and her hind legs squeezed around Anon's head to urge him further. It might have been her first time, but 'Shy knew what felt good and wanted more of it.
  2521. > Suddenly she froze up, her squirming and rocking stilled. Her love button failed to make another appearance too and Anon suddenly worried something was wrong. Had he inadvertently hurt her?
  2522. > He was about to pull away and look, but Fluttershy must have sensed it, because her forehooves came down on his head and she held him there with all her strength. His face was mushed almost painfully into her eager marehood.
  2523. > The stillness lasted only a few seconds, then 'Shy let out a deep-throated cry of relief and pleasure, and at the same time rolled her hips and ground her pussy against his face even while her forelegs held Anon in place.
  2524. > Her hind legs kicked feebly and erratically and Fluttershy came, hard. She squirted more of her fluids against Anon's chin and neck and her clit came out again and again, flicking against his waiting tongue.
  2525. > "Aaaaaaaaah! Aah! Ah." 'Shy squealed as spasm after spasm shook her small frame. Her entrance clenched around Anon's finger and her wings thrashed against the bed.
  2526. > For his part, Anon held still, making sure to keep both finger and tongue in place for Fluttershy to ride out her orgasm fully. Only when she slowed did he move, taking his mouth away and gulping down fresh, sweet lungfuls of air.
  2527. > She'd been mushing him against her pussy so hard that his breathing had been cut off for a while, but he didn't mind. He slowly withdrew his finger, releasing her dammed-up fluids with a quiet, squelching noise. The slight movement caused 'Shy to shudder once more and her slit wink one last time, before she slumped down, suddenly panting hard.
  2528. > Only then did Anon lift his head up so he could look at her face above her belly. She was gulping down short breaths of air, open-mouthed and wide-eyed. Anon grinned at her and put his soaked finger in his mouth to lick it clean where she could see.
  2529. > Just the sight of that made 'Shy jerk her hips again, as if one more orgasmic spasm had been waiting.
  2530. > Seeing her like that, disheveled, sweaty, panting, and with that crazed, disbelieving look in her eyes was probably the single, sexiest moment of Anon's life. He glanced down where the fur on her rear and thighs was completely soaked with her juices. He saw a bead of sweat slide from her belly and down her side.
  2531. > He also felt that red-hot need and he could no longer deny it.
  2532. > Urgently, desperately, he pulled his dick out of his shorts and crawled closer. That display she had given him, her thrashing and moaning, combined with the taste and the squirting of her juices as Fluttershy had come, had nearly been enough on its own.
  2533. > It took him only a couple of strokes before he exploded as well, splashing his thick seed against her teats. He held his pulsing member, pressing the head against her soft flesh until he was spent.
  2534. > Only then did he look up, worried that he might have overstepped some boundary, but 'Shy was looking up at the ceiling, smiling faintly. She was still breathing deeply and sweat continued to bead on her belly and neck.
  2535. > She looked positively radiant in the afterglow of her pleasure, even if her mane was a mess and her fur matted.
  2536. > He crawled further up, until he could bring his mouth to hers for a passionate kiss. His dick twitched as he pressed it against her cum-soaked teats.
  2537. > "That... was," Fluttershy said when he pulled away. "Goodness. Just- wow... I didn't k- I didn't know..."
  2538. "It's not over yet."
  2539. > Her eyes widened in surprise, but then Fluttershy smiled. She shifted a little and Anon felt his sack brush against her wet and warm lower lips. Open and waiting for him.
  2540. > He quickly repositioned himself. It was strange how he didn't even need to aim with his hand. His member seemed to align with her opening all by itself and he felt the first touch of the hot, wet velvet around his glans as his slight pressure forward pried apart her folds.
  2541. "Ready?" It came out as barely a whisper.
  2542. > Rather than answering with words, 'Shy closed her eyes and pressed her mouth against his for another passionate kiss. Anon pushed forward a little, which was rewarded by a spurt of her fluids on his cock and a shudder running through her body.
  2543. > He withdrew to thoroughly lube himself up, then pressed forward once more.
  2544. > Fluttershy gasped and jerked away, pushing down on his shoulder with her hooves. "Ow! Wait-"
  2545. > Her first time, Anon remembered. The thought was enough to make him want to push all the way in, but she was hurting and that'd ruin everything.
  2546. "Okay, okay, sorry," he said, pulling back once more.
  2547. > He waited until Fluttershy relaxed again. "Okay, s-slowly," she whispered and shifted her forehooves from his shoulders to the sides of his chest.
  2548. > It was a hard order to obey, but Anon managed. He inched himself forward, holding back as hard as he could. Each millimeter was sweet, agonizing torture as more and more of his length was enveloped by that incredible heat.
  2549. > He came to a tight part and Fluttershy's breath caught, so he stopped. She was trembling, all four legs tense with the expectation of pain.
  2550. "Okay?"
  2551. > "It's okay," she reassured him, trying to give him a smile but not quite managing. "T-They said it hurts the first time..."
  2552. > Anon pushed slightly and she whimpered. He was about to pull back and try to rethink his approach, but 'Shy wrapped her hind legs around his ass as far as she could reach and tried to draw him in. "K-Keep going!" she said. "Just do it!"
  2553. > Wincing himself, Anon pushed, guided by her legs. Something gave and he slid all the way inside, into the tight, wet heat of her canal. Shy gave a louder squeak and all her muscles stiffened in sudden shock. There were tears in her eyes and Anon's breath caught.
  2554. "I'm sorry!"
  2555. > She shook her head and relaxed, her body slumping back down on the mattress. "I'm okay," she repeated. "It's over now. It's good." She inspected the ceiling as she focused on the new sensation, then shifted her hips slightly. "It feels good. Don't stop."
  2556. > With her reassurance, Anon tried to pull back, exceedingly cautious not to cause her any further pain. When he was nearly all the way out, acutely feeling the cold air on most of his length, he pushed back.
  2557. > It was still incredibly tight, but there was no resistance this time and no squeak of pain. Instead, 'Shy let out a breath she'd been holding. She had tensed up once more, expecting a new wave of pain, and she relaxed when it didn't come.
  2558. "Better?" he asked.
  2559. > She nodded and squeezed her hind legs to get him to keep moving. "It feels..." she whispered, but it was lost in a moan as Anon withdrew once more, pleasure finally making itself known.
  2560. > He didn't wait this time but went on, pumping slowly so as to let himself feel every fold and curve of her delightful passage. It squeezed, though not too tightly, and slid easily, her lubrication refreshing itself with each stroke.
  2561. > Already he could feel that his balls were completely soaked in her warm fluids. That realization made him groan and push further, hilting himself in Fluttershy fully and making her gasp.
  2562. > Her hooves were holding on to his chest with all her strength and she tried to buck her hips to match his pacing. Her inexperience showed and she sometimes missed the timing, making them move in the same direction, but that just made it hotter for Anon, somehow.
  2563. > Even having orgasmed just a few minutes ago, he already felt himself building up to another peak. Meanwhile 'Shy was moaning more and more, but not yet near her second. She loved the new sensations and wasn't shy about voicing her pleasure, her cries only slightly muffled by their irregular kisses.
  2564. > He simply had to make her come again while he was inside her, Anon decided. It was important!
  2565. > Maybe if he...
  2566. > His lips pressed against hers and invaded her mouth with his tongue even as he continued to push. At first her tongue was unresponsive, 'Shy unable to think of so many different things happening to her body at once, but after a while she responded out of sheer habit.
  2567. > She kissed him back, moaning into his mouth and drawing breath urgently through her nose.
  2568. > Anon picked up the pace of his thrusts, making 'Shy squeak with each slap of his groin against hers.
  2569. > He shifted all his weight to one elbow and brought his free hand down between them. He quickly found her clit and gently massaged it with his thumb. The squeaks became squeals and Fluttershy's bucking became more frantic.
  2570. > She broke the kiss to pant for air, forehooves scrabbling uselessly at Anon's sides. Her wings were starting to curl upwards, too.
  2571. > Anon lowered himself down and put his tongue flat on her neck. That made 'Shy wrap her wings around them both. "A-Anon," she moaned. "Anon! I'm about to- oh, *Celestia*!"
  2572. > Her movements were becoming jerky and uncontrolled as she rapidly approached her second climax. Knowing that she was near was also bringing Anon closer and he picked up his pace yet again.
  2573. > The moans and squeaks became a solid groan of pleasure and Fluttershy went stiff again.
  2574. > Anon slowed down just as he'd nearly pulled all the way out, then pushed inside her with all his might.
  2575. > "Aaah!" 'Shy yelped and grabbed him with all her limbs, trying to push him even further inside. Anon took his hand away from between them so they could get that extra little bit closer.
  2576. > Her orgasm made her insides clench, as if milking his cock for all it had.
  2577. > It proved too much for him and Anon came as well, with a low grunt and a desperate push of his hips to get even deeper. His first spurt seemed to flow with excruciating slowness, hindered by Fluttershy squeezing his member, but then it burst out in a veritable explosion.
  2578. > More and more spurts followed the first, each one racking Anon's body and making him jerk slightly.
  2579. > When it was finally over, he slumped down, unable to hold himself upright anymore. He came to rest against her neck, gasping for breath, while 'Shy stroked his sides with her forehooves.
  2580. > Both of them were panting with exertion. Both of them were smiling with the afterglow. Both of them were happy.
  2581. > When he finally felt he could move again, Anon lifted himself and looked into Fluttershy's eyes.
  2582. "Was it good?"
  2583. > She blinked in shock at the question, then grinned. "Um..." she said and looked around the room, thinking of the best way to put it. "Yes."
  2584. > Anon shivered and pushed himself up more. He was still inside her, but his dick was going soft and slowly sliding out. He pulled away and a small spurt of their combined fluids followed.
  2585. > His belly was completely smeared with his first load from Fluttershy's teats and hers looked even worse thanks to her fur.
  2586. "Um, we might need a shower."
  2587. > She followed his gaze and gave a soft giggle. "You think?"
  2588. > He couldn't help chuckling while 'Shy rolled to the edge of the bed and stood, stretching her hind legs carefully.
  2589. "I'll just get the covers off so we don't ruin the mattress, go ahead and start the shower. You can go first."
  2590. > She nodded and walked slowly out of the room, a little bit wobbly on unsteady legs which she compensated for with her wings.
  2591. > Anon was left staring at a very slight trace of red in the stain on his bed. He winced a little as he realized just why exactly it had hurt 'Shy so, but at the same time his dick gave a small twitch.
  2592. > She'd really been a virgin, as if he needed any proof, and now...
  2593. > Now she wasn't anymore. They'd shared this beautiful moment and whatever happened next, they'd always have the memory of it.
  2594. > He hoped there'd be many more like it, though. He'd been right. Now that he'd tasted Fluttershy, both with his mouth and his cock, he didn't want to give her up, ever.
  2595. > With a sigh he got up and started to pull the bedspread off. It was even more important now to get her away from Mason.
  2596. > He heard the shower start and wondered what 'Shy would say if he joined her. The thought made him hurry up and dump the dirty sheets right on the floor so he could go and see.
  2597. > It wasn't like there was any further need for modesty between them anyway.
  2598.  
  2599. > ~~~~
  2600.  
  2601. > Anonymous and Fluttershy ended up doing nothing in particular the whole morning. Even their breakfast had been a quick and easy affair of porridge with milk and sugar.
  2602. > Luckily there were a couple more Disney movies 'Shy had wanted to see and Anon was quite happy to simply lounge and enjoy the feel of her fur on his bare skin.
  2603. > He'd put on some underwear, but didn't bother with a shirt or pants. When she saw him lying on the couch like that, 'Shy had blushed a little, but she draped herself over Anon without hesitation. After a while she even laid her head down on Anon's chest.
  2604. > This position - lying on his back with the mare sprawled across his chest and belly - made it difficult to watch the TV, but Anon didn't really mind. His hand rested lightly on her flank and he played with the fur on her cutie mark. He knew the movies and just listened to the dialogue and music as he reveled in the feel of Fluttershy's coat.
  2605. > His legs were quite sore after their second round in the shower. It turned out the difference in height meant he had to crouch halfway down to align himself and despite Fluttershy's assurances that she could take his weight, Anon didn't want to lean too much on her back.
  2606. > In the end he was forced to admit defeat and change positions. Pony-style just wouldn't work until he built up some leg muscle.
  2607. > Then again, holding Fluttershy's back against the wall worked well with the added bonus of being able to kiss her. It was still pretty strenuous, but at least his legs were straight and 'Shy wasn't very heavy.
  2608. > Now there was a very pleasant kind of soreness in his dick and Anon was happy as could be with life in general, as long as he didn't think about Fluttershy leaving in a couple of days. That would suck, but it was still some time away and there was no point in stressing over it.
  2609. "'Shy?" he asked, then corrected: "Buttershy?"
  2610. > "Mm?"
  2611. > She didn't look away from the TV, apparently just as tired and lazy as he was.
  2612. "You'll visit, right? I mean, until we find a way to get you here permanently. D'you think Mason will let you spend the night sometimes?"
  2613. > She shook her head, lightly bumping her muzzle in his chest. "I don't think he will, Anon," she said in a soft, sad voice. Her ears were already creeping down as she realized the implications.
  2614. > This hadn't been his intention. Anon didn't want to spoil this precious moment.
  2615. "Don't worry, we'll find a way!"
  2616. > He brought his free hand up and pressed his fingers carefully against her cheek. 'Shy gave him a grateful lick in return.
  2617. > "Maybe..." she began, but bit the word off. Her ears flattened and she struggled with an unwelcome thought.
  2618. "Yeah?"
  2619. > She was very uncertain about whatever she was about to suggest and it took her some time to turn head and look at him. For a moment 'Shy just lay there, with her muzzle on Anon's chest and gazing into his eyes. Her ears went lower and she took a deep breath.
  2620. > "Maybe I can... uh, like, sneak away. At night, I mean. Mr. Mason doesn't really check on me after he's gone to bed. I'd just have to make sure I wake up before him in the morning so I can sneak back." The suggestion left a bad taste in her mouth, but 'Shy took a breath to stiffen her resolve. "It's not like I'd be running away, exactly."
  2621. > It sounded like an extremely workable solution, except for the fact that 'Shy wouldn't be getting a whole lot of sleep.
  2622. "No, absolutely not. Are you sure that'd work though? I don't wanna make you get up so early every day."
  2623. > "It's no trouble at all," she reassured him with a happy smile. It seemed as if laying his worries to rest was also giving her more confidence in the plan.
  2624. > Fluttershy's tail whisked this way and that in anticipation of the excitement between them and she stole a quick kiss from Anon's lips. "I can always take naps while Mr. Mason is at work!"
  2625. > Anon began to grin as well.
  2626. > "Besides, who said anything about 'every day'?!" 'Shy asked, giving Anon a piercing gaze.
  2627. > He tried for an apologetic grin and shrugged. She was right, she never said 'every day', it had just been his wistful desire. Anon sought out her ears with both hands and began rubbing by way of apology.
  2628. "Sorry. Sounds good tho! Don't worry, it won't be for very long, okay? We'll figure out some way to get you to me."
  2629. > Fluttershy pushed herself forward with a small grunt of effort until her lips locked tightly with Anon's. She wasn't as passionate as usually, but it was still nice and warm.
  2630. > Anon let his hands slide away so he could focus on the feel of their faces touching.
  2631. > When she pulled away, 'Shy was still smiling. "Now hush," she said firmly, "I want to see what happens next!" She didn't wait for Anon's nod before turning her head to the TV again and laying her cheek down on his chest once more.
  2632. > Anon went back to staring at the ceiling and playing with Fluttershy's fur again. His hand slid down her side until it came to rest next to her hind hoof. He inched his fingers forward until he was holding it cupped and drawing little circles on the hard keratin with his thumb.
  2633. > "Can we go flying in the afternoon?" 'Shy asked suddenly, putting a lie to her own request for quiet.
  2634. "Sure! But I'm making sandwiches this time," Anon offered.
  2635. > Fluttershy shook her head. "Actually, um, can we go get a pizza when we're done. I feel like pizza today. That way neither of us has to cook!"
  2636. > It sounded like a perfect afternoon and Anon patted her cutie mark with his palm.
  2637. > A sudden, silly thought made Anon chuckle, which earned him a confused look from 'Shy. "What?"
  2638. "You said 'neigh-ther'."
  2639. > Her muzzle scrunched up and she said firmly: "No I didn't! I said 'neither of us'. *Neither.*"
  2640. > Despite her careful enunciation, Anon still laughed.
  2641. "Neigh, neigh!"
  2642. > Fluttershy rolled her eyes in exasperation, but ended up smiling anyway. "Careful," she warned, still grinning. "Call me a horse one more time and you aren't getting any tonight!"
  2643. > This shut him up with sudden worry and Anon sought to change the subject.
  2644. "So, pizza today? It's a date!"
  2645. > Fortunately that word still made her blush and she forgot about the whole 'neigh' thing. Anon did as well; her red muzzle was adorable.
  2646. > "Now hush for real, okay?"
  2647. > Anon just chuckled as quietly as he could manage.
  2648.  
  2649. > ~~~~
  2650.  
  2651. > There was something quite enchanting about a pegasus in flight. Anon had been worried he'd be bored sitting in the park and waiting while Fluttershy flew around, but he ended up watching in rapt attention.
  2652. > She was true to her word and always stayed within sight, even if it limited the space she had. 'Shy didn't seem to mind the limitations as she flapped in a big circle above the trees.
  2653. > The sun was already on its descent and it lit the underside of Fluttershy's wings when she banked to the east. Those were the moments which made Anon smile. She was just... beautiful.
  2654. > Strange how a small pony, flying on illogically small wings would evoke such joy just by watching her momentary freedom.
  2655. > Her mane and tail streamed in the air and she held her legs close to her body to reduce the air drag, except when she swooped past Anon and waved to him with a hoof.
  2656. > A few times she rolled to her back, or angled herself almost vertically up until she stalled and fell into a dive. At first Anon had been worried, but he saw her smile and realized she was doing it intentionally for the thrill.
  2657. > It was strange how her shy personality seemed to be buried under exultation while she flew.
  2658. > Eventually she came down, gliding around Anon in a large spiral and finally landing in front of him. He realized the sun had moved quite a bit since they arrived.
  2659. > 'Shy was pretty winded and she held her wings stiffly by her side as she panted.
  2660. > "Wow," she managed after a while. "I guess I'm out of shape."
  2661. > Anon crouched down as she walked closer and reached to pat her withers. He withdrew his hand in surprise.
  2662. "You're completely wet!" he exclaimed in surprise.
  2663. > Now that he looked closer, sweat was dripping from the mare and she was starting to shiver despite the warm day.
  2664. > "It's oh- okay," 'Shy panted, "just proves- proves that I-"
  2665. > She mumbled to silence when Anon grabbed her muzzle for a moment. He let her go so she could suck in air again.
  2666. "Breathe. Come on, sit down."
  2667. > She obeyed and folded her hind legs beneath her as she sat on her flank. Her nostrils flared as she drew in more air, but after a few lungfuls she seemed to be slowing down.
  2668. > "Thanks," she said, finally able to speak again. "It just proves I had a real workout. Rainbow Dash would be proud of me."
  2669. > She was still completely soaked, her mane plastered to her neck and her tail pooled on the ground and starting a puddle. In a flash of inspiration Anon pulled his T-shirt off.
  2670. > 'Shy looked at him strangely. "What are you doing?"
  2671. > Before he could think better of it, Anon draped the garment around Fluttershy's shoulders and began to rub her down. She tried to wiggle free, but he just held her in place.
  2672. > "Anon!" she almost squealed, "your shirt will get wet! Stop!"
  2673. "It's fine. I don't mind."
  2674. > She stopped struggling and Anon did his best to wipe her dry, or as near as he could with the unsuitable fabric. That'd leave him nothing, but even if people stared or commented on his bare chest it wouldn't be the end of the world.
  2675. > He was soon done with her barrel and turned the shirt around until he found a dry bit for her face. 'Shy closed her eyes while he gently wiped the sweat away.
  2676. > By the time he was done the shirt was soaked, but at least the mare wasn't anymore. She was no longer shivering, which was good enough.
  2677. "Wanna lie down in the sun for a bit so you dry out fully?"
  2678. > When she opened her eyes, Fluttershy's muzzle had a light scrunch of displeasure. "I could have done that all along, Anon. Now your shirt is ruined!"
  2679. "Don't worry about it. It'll dry," slightly disappointed that she wasn't more grateful.
  2680. > They were some distance from the main walking path so there should be no onlookers and it was a warm day, so Anon didn't mind going without a shirt. He spread it out on a nearby bush to dry faster and went back to where 'Shy was sitting in the grass.
  2681. > He joined her and couldn't help smiling when he remembered her little display.
  2682. "Fancy flying, by the way."
  2683. > This praise made her blush a little and her eyes went... sad?
  2684. > After a sigh, she confided: "Rainbow Dash taught me some of those tricks. She's *really* good! I was just faking it."
  2685. "Didn't look fake to me. Looked pretty impressive."
  2686. > The red in her cheeks intensified and 'Shy waved a dismissive hoof. "It really wasn't. I'm out of practice."
  2687. "Will you take a damn compliment?!"
  2688. > Fluttershy flinched at his tone and the swear word, which made Anon instantly regret it.
  2689. "Sorry. Just- believe me when I say you're beautiful when you're flying, okay?"
  2690. > The sting was quickly forgotten and 'Shy gave a slight smile. "You really think so?"
  2691. "Yeah."
  2692. > She shuffled a little closer so she could look directly into Anon's face, perhaps trying to see if he was telling the truth. Anon sought for more words to affirm she was a good flier, but 'Shy surprised him by asking quietly: "Can I get a- a kiss?"
  2693. > The question was unexpected enough to make Anon blurt out the first thing that popped up in his mind.
  2694. "Well, you came to the right place."
  2695. > Both of them stared at each other for a moment, then burst out laughing. Anon was the first to recover, but only just.
  2696. "Sorry, I dunno where that came from."
  2697. > 'Shy finished with a giggle and shook her head. "Don't worry. It's cute. Cheesy, but cute."
  2698. > She wasted no more time and leaned in to take that kiss. Her muzzle was still damp from sweat, but no less pleasurable for that. Her fur was silken soft and warmer than usual and her rapid breath felt hot against his face.
  2699. > He put his hands around her neck to bring her closer as she moaned into his mouth. Her hooves came up to touch his skin, anywhere she could reach and 'Shy pressed forward, seeking more with urgent need.
  2700. > A moment later they lost their balance and Anon toppled to his back. 'Shy tried to stay upright by flapping her wings, but the motion made her gasp and pull back. She landed back on all fours, but her legs were shaking with effort and she drew her breath in with a sharp hiss.
  2701. > "Owww," she whined, holding her wings as still as possible. "I might have overdone it! Ow, my flight muscles!"
  2702. > Anon remembered a dim piece of advice from his marathon-running colleague.
  2703. "We should get them in a hot shower then. Oh, and a massage, otherwise you'll be sore tomorrow."
  2704. > "But what about our pizza?"
  2705. > That was true, neither of them had eaten since their half-hearted breakfast that morning. Anon made a quick decision.
  2706. "I'll call it in and we'll just pick it up on the way back. You won't even have to leave the car so you can rest. We can reheat it after the shower, okay?"
  2707. > 'Shy nodded happily at that solution and turned around. "Okay, give me just one moment," she asked and gingerly folded her wings up. The process took longer than usual and she winced a little.
  2708. > "I swear it wasn't that bad when I was actually in the air. I guess I didn't really feel it."
  2709. "Good thing you came down when you did, otherwise you could have hurt yourself."
  2710. > 'Shy gave a nod. "Yeah. I never realized how out of practice I was."
  2711. > It made sense. She'd been with Mr. Mason for a couple of months during which she basically never flew. Add to that however long it took them to capture her and send her through the auctions, or however the ponies were being sold...
  2712. > Come to think of it, Anon still hadn't asked Fluttershy what'd happened to her after her capture. He opened his mouth to bring it up, but thought better of it and kept silent.
  2713. > He went to retrieve his shirt, but it was still quite damp. He slid it on despite that, only shivering a little when the cold cloth touched his bare skin.
  2714. > Strange how the fact that it had Fluttershy's sweat on it wasn't in the least bit disgusting, he thought to himself. It hadn't even occurred to him until he had the shirt completely on.
  2715. > He took the lead and headed back toward the path and the car.
  2716. > Pizza would be nice, but giving 'Shy a hot shower and then massaging her wings sounded even better. Food could wait.
  2717.  
  2718. > ~~~~
  2719.  
  2720. > It was still quite bright out when Anon parked in front of the house but luckily the neighborhood kids were playing elsewhere. That was just as well, he didn't like the thought of people gawking at him and 'Shy.
  2721. "I'll get the door for you."
  2722. > Before she could respond Anon was already out of the car and circling around to her side. He knew from Fluttershy's past attempts just how fiddly the door handle could be for hooves.
  2723. > He leaned inside to unbuckle her as well, catching a quick kiss in passing. Then he went to retrieve the pizza boxes from the back seat while 'Shy clambered out of the car.
  2724. > She stood on the sidewalk and turned her head from side to side as she tried to loosen up her neck. "Just- a moment," she pleaded.
  2725. "No rush."
  2726. > He closed and locked the car, then waited for 'Shy to move. His stomach gave a loud growl at the smell wafting right in his face.
  2727. > "You can have some, Anon. I'll take a shower by myself."
  2728. > It was tempting, but he remembered she was just as hungry and eating first would be rude. It would also deprive him of playing with her wings. Letting the feathers slide through his fingers was a very interesting sensation and Anon didn't want to miss an opportunity.
  2729. "Nah, it's fine. I'll put these in the kitchen," he told her and hurried inside.
  2730. > He left the boxes on the dining table and came back just as 'Shy had stepped through the front door. It was a bit of a relief to close them and cut off any potential peeping toms from the street.
  2731. > As he turned back he couldn't help noticing that 'Shy was still walking a bit stiffly with her wings held an inch or two away from her body. He followed her into the bathroom and shut that door as well.
  2732. > While Fluttershy was climbing into the tub he undressed down to his shorts. He didn't mind if he got those wet and at least they'd conceal any undue 'excitement' on his part.
  2733. > It was supposed to be a massage for her sore muscles, after all. Anon could keep his libido in check. Sometimes.
  2734. "So, how do I-?"
  2735. > 'Shy looked at him in thought, then brightened up. She tapped the edge of the tub. "Sit here."
  2736. > Anon obeyed, which put her face right between his legs, which made his member twitch with sudden desire. It took some mental effort to push past it and focus on 'Shy instead.
  2737. > "A little further," she commented. "Okay, can you sit comfortably like that?"
  2738. > His ass would be numb after about ten minutes, but it wouldn't be a huge discomfort so Anon nodded.
  2739. > 'Shy scooched a little closer, until her muzzle was all but touching Anon's belly, then took a deep breath. She grunted as she lifted her wings up and let them flop down over his knees.
  2740. > The limbs draped over Anon's legs and 'Shy heaved a sigh when she didn't have to hold them up anymore.
  2741. > "Now take the shower head and..." she began, but didn't know how to really finish that sentence so she just vaguely circled a hoof in the air. Luckily Anon didn't need more instruction and he did as commanded.
  2742. > He started with lukewarm and slowly brought the temperature up until it felt comfortable. He angled the stream closer to 'Shy.
  2743. "Too hot?"
  2744. > She reached over with a foreleg to feel the water, then shook her head. "Hotter. Much hotter."
  2745. > Anon obliged until the shower was barely tolerable and looked at 'Shy again. When she tried it this time she nodded. "Perfect."
  2746. > He still began gently, wetting her coat a little at a time and giving her time to get accustomed to the hot water. She sighed as he finally reached her withers and angled the stream so it ran down her whole back.
  2747. > The weight on his knees increased as 'Shy relaxed and her head would have fallen right in his crotch had he not seen her nodding in time and caught her with a hand under her muzzle.
  2748. "Easy. I got you, just relax."
  2749. > 'Shy nodded and closed her eyes as Anon continued running water up and down her back. After a while he changed hands and brought the stream around to her front. That wrung out another mournful sigh from the mare's throat.
  2750. > "It feeeeeeels so niiiice," she moaned into his palm. He could feel her drool a little as she completely relaxed.
  2751. > He kept slowly shifting the shower head around to give her equal treatment on all sides while 'Shy continued to melt into his lap.
  2752. > At one point Anon realized it would be nice to use some shampoo as well and turned the water off. Fluttershy opened her eyes, but when she saw he was reaching for the bottle she closed them again.
  2753. > "Thanks, Anon. You're a real gentlecolt," she murmured.
  2754. "I need both hands for this, 'Shy."
  2755. > She moved her muzzle from his palm and laid it down on his thigh. That freed him up to give her body a good lather. It also meant running his hands all over, which made 'Shy jerk when he passed around her midriff.
  2756. > Slowly he narrowed down where her poor, strained flight muscles were. Good thing he hadn't started rubbing her wings like an idiot. She would probably have laughed. Now that he had a moment to observe it seemed pretty obviously that there would be few muscles in the wings themselves.
  2757. > In time, with more gentle massaging 'Shy didn't seem as sore anymore. She no longer tensed up when Anon slid his hand down her side, nor did her breath catch when he rubbed with his fingers.
  2758. > She was starting to shiver a little, though.
  2759. > Before she could get too cold Anon brought the shower back and earned himself more luxuriating sighing as he washed the foam away. At some point 'Shy wrapped her forelegs around one of his calves and just held him in place, as if worried he might try to escape.
  2760. > There was no fear of that, not with the cute expressions she was making as the heat soaked into her very bones. More than once Anon was sad he didn't have his phone with him.
  2761. > That picture of 'Shy squeezing her eyes shut and her tongue lolling out would have won him some kind of Pulitzer prize or something, Anon was sure.
  2762. > Eventually, though, he was done and shut the water off with a sense of finality. She gave him a pleading look, but it had been more than half an hour since the shampoo and Anon was worried they'd run out of hot water.
  2763. > Not to mention that his butt was getting seriously sore.
  2764. "I think that's enough for now, Buttershy. Wanna go lie down on the couch while the pizza warms up? I could give you a massage if you'd like. Or continue it. Or whatever."
  2765. > The thought of food woke her up and Fluttershy licked her lips. She straightened up and unhooked her wings from Anon's knees. "Mm, pizza does sound good. Um, those other things too."
  2766. > His legs felt cold after all that time and the lack of weight was a strange feeling, but it really was time to go.
  2767. > Anon stood up and nearly fell over before he realized he couldn't feel his ass any more. He tried to put it out of his mind, but couldn't quite control his expression.
  2768. > 'Shy became instantly worried and froze as she was climbing out of the tub. "Um, are you okay?"
  2769. "Sorry. Ass fell asleep from the way I was sitting."
  2770. > She lifted a hoof to her muzzle in dismay. "Oh, it's all my fault. I'm-"
  2771. "Nah, it's fine. Just gotta stretch. Come here, I'll get you a towel."
  2772. > While he waited for the tingling to stop Anon draped a fresh towel over Fluttershy's back. She started drying herself on her own, but he felt better soon enough to lend her some help.
  2773. > With a combination of hands and hooves they were done in no time and could exit the bathroom without leaving puddles everywhere. 'Shy, upon Anon's insistence, went to the couch while he turned the oven on and put the pizzas inside.
  2774. > He made sure to set the timer on it so they wouldn't burn, then headed to the bedroom to change into some fresh clothes. That done, Anon joined 'Shy on the couch so he could deliver on his second promise of a massage.
  2775. > She was already sprawled on her back and looking at him with an expectant smile. Her ears were slightly lowered and there was a barely perceptible tint of red in her cheeks, but she seemed a lot more comfortable about him touching her after the past few days.
  2776. > Her wings were resting against the cushions, her hind hooves were dangling over the edge, and her forelegs were folded at her sides. The position left her midriff pretty exposed so Anon would have easier access.
  2777. "Uh, so, do we use massage oil or something?" he asked, suddenly worried because he had none in the house.
  2778. > 'Shy shook her head quite emphatically and even grimaced a little. "No, that'd just make my coat all gross and sticky."
  2779. > She was right, so Anon began by laying his hands on her belly. She was still slightly damp, but when he dragged his fingers through her fur he found they moved quite freely.
  2780. > Not knowing what to do, he just made little scratching motions as he inched upward. Soon he found the right spot and Fluttershy's breath caught.
  2781. > There were supposed to be knots or something in the muscles, but Anon didn't know how that would feel. 'Shy was just warm and soft. He tried increasing the pressure and that elicited a drawn-out groan from her.
  2782. "Here?"
  2783. > Her eyes were already closed, but 'Shy put a hoof on his hand and pushed it around to her side. She was a bit less soft in that place and when he felt around with his fingers 'Shy let out a tremendous sigh.
  2784. > As he kept poking around, something relaxed in her side and became as soft as the rest of her. Anon tried to remember what it had felt like so he'd be able to find it again.
  2785. > Just as an experiment, he brought his other hand to the opposite side and carefully felt the area. Maybe that was a flight muscle, but it just felt like fur and stiff flesh.
  2786. > Despite that he pressed his fingers in and rubbed in small circles until it felt relaxed again. Then he focused on Fluttershy's face.
  2787. > She had her eyes closed, but her mouth was slightly open. Her ears were sticking out to the sides and facing backwards in what Anon assumed was a sign of total relaxation for a pony.
  2788. > He couldn't help himself and leaned in to place a very light kiss on the tip of her nose. Her open mouth reformed into a smile but she didn't look.
  2789. > "Keep going up- um, back, until the wing joint. Oh, and you can use a little more force."
  2790. > Her request was not unreasonable and Anon switched from pushing with his fingers to kneading with the palms of his hands, like he'd seen in a massage video on YouTube months ago.
  2791. > It took some effort but it was worth it. 'Shy leaned her head all the way back and let out a deep, throaty moan. There was a very primal element in the sound which seemed to reach right into Anon's pants.
  2792. > He sternly told himself that this was about relaxation, not sex, and maybe he even believed it. Meanwhile his fingers reached the place where Fluttershy's wing merged into her back.
  2793. > Anon didn't have the faintest clue what to do there, but it was a good opportunity to indulge his curiosity a little. He focused on Fluttershy's left wing and brought both hands there.
  2794. > The joint was a bit like a shoulder joint, except a lot less limited in the directions it could move. The limb sticking out was somewhat thinner than one of her legs, but didn't look any less strong.
  2795. > It quickly fanned out with feathers, but the leading edge was solid and Anon guessed that was where the bones were. Did pegasi have hollow bones like birds?
  2796. > Still pretending that he was giving her a massage, Anon carefully followed the wing. It had a series of complicated-looking joints where it could fold together and where the longest feathers were anchored.
  2797. > He had just finished tracing his finger down a long primary when he became aware that 'Shy had opened her eyes and was watching him with intense interest.
  2798. > Her muzzle was quite red, her ears were completely flat and her lips were parted. Her eyes were round and big, eager to drink in even the faintest scrap of light.
  2799. "Oh. Sorry. I was curious," he apologized.
  2800. > 'Shy blinked a few times and her pupils shrank to a more normal size. "It's- uh, it's fine," she reassured him, but her voice had a husky undertone. "It's just..."
  2801. > She sought out the correct words, then her eyes slid away from Anon's face. "Wings are kinda... sensitive, Anon. Real sensitive. What you're doing..."
  2802. > She fell silent and her ears flicked.
  2803. "Yes?"
  2804. > The next few words out of her muzzle were an indistinct mumble.
  2805. "Come again?"
  2806. > More mumbles while 'Shy staunchly refused to look him in the eye.
  2807. "Sorry, you're gonna have to speak up."
  2808. > This time 'Shy hid behind her mane and managed to raise her voice enough for him to catch a hint of words: "*mumble mumble* foreplay *mumble*"
  2809. > Oh.
  2810. "Oh!"
  2811. > Anon hurriedly released the limb and let his hands drop down by his sides.
  2812. > One sparkling, cyan eye peeked at him from behind a pink curtain. "I didn't say I didn't like it," 'Shy whispered.
  2813. > Except the very next moment there was a loud grumble as Anon's stomach had finally had enough fasting. The two looked at each other, startled, until Fluttershy started giggling. Her laugh was infectious and they both ended up chuckling until the beeping from the oven alerted them.
  2814. "Perfect timing. Don't move, I'll get it."
  2815. > 'Shy slumped back on the pillows and gave Anon a grateful smile as he went to fetch their reheated dinner.
  2816. > Pizza was best fresh, but this was close enough and still good. It had been cut into slices, but the cooling and heating had caused it to 'heal' a little, so Anon had to separate the pieces again.
  2817. > Then he took two plates to the couch and held one out to 'Shy. She took it with a murmured thank you and placed it in her lap while Anon sat in the spot next to her.
  2818. > Driven by his hunger Anon tried to pick up his slice, but quickly let it drop with a hiss. He stuck his finger in his mouth.
  2819. > Watching his antics was enough for 'Shy to understand that the pizza was too hot to hold, at least for a human. She touched it gingerly with her hoof, but then shrugged and tried to pick it up.
  2820. > Unfortunately the dough was soggy and pressed against her frog, which made her suck down a breath through her teeth and drop it back on the plate. She caught Anon's smirk and glared at the offending pizza.
  2821. > An idea occurred and she nudged the slice until the tip of it was sticking over the edge. That allowed her to simply lift the plate up and nibble at the pizza without worrying that she'd burn her hooves any more.
  2822. "Good idea!"
  2823. > Anon did the same. For some reason, the heat was easier to take with his mouth than his hands. As he chewed he caught Fluttershy's grin and returned one of his own.
  2824. "Next time we're getting it fresh, okay?"
  2825. > "Actually," she replied, pausing to see how he would take another suggestion. "Maybe we could get some, um, fallah- fells?"
  2826. "Huh? what's that?"
  2827. > 'Shy shrugged a little. "I saw it in one of Mr. Mason's magazines. Um, I saw it written down, but I don't know how you say it. It's like, um, minced vegetable balls fried in oil."
  2828. > It rang a bell and Anon realized what she was talking about.
  2829. "Oh, you mean falafels! Yeah, I think there's a Turkish take out or something in the shopping centre. Maybe we do that for lunch tomorrow?"
  2830. > The offer made 'Shy smile widely and she bobbed her head in delight. "I'd love that!"
  2831. > Mentioning the next day reminded Anon and his expression crumbled. Of course 'Shy noticed immediately and froze. "What's wrong?"
  2832. "Tomorrow's Friday," he said.
  2833. > He didn't need to add anything more because she understood. "Mr. Mason comes home on Saturday."
  2834. "Yeah."
  2835. > Two more nights cuddling with 'Shy. Just two. It was nearly enough to break Anon's heart.
  2836. > He felt a hoof laid gently on his knee. "Don't worry, I'll come visit. I'll, um, I'll sneak out sometimes, like I promised."
  2837. > It was better than nothing, but Anon really wanted more. He gave 'Shy his most earnest look.
  2838. "You're gonna think about- what we talked about? You know, not doing such a good job? S-So maybe Mr. Mason will be open to selling you?"
  2839. > Fluttershy's lips tightened and her ears flicked, but she heaved a long sigh and nodded. "I'll think about it. I'm sorry, but that's all I can promise right now."
  2840. > It was more than enough and Anon's spirits lifted. He had two more nights with 'Shy, after all. Better make them count.
  2841. "Okay, eat up. Want me to put on something Disney while I try that massage thing again?"
  2842. > Fluttershy's mouth quirked up in sudden delight. "There's more?!"
  2843. "If you want it. I promise I won't tease your wings anymore."
  2844. > She blushed at the memory and it was absolutely adorable, especially when she looked down and pretended to be engrossed in what was left of her pizza.
  2845. > "You can t-tease," she murmured demurely.
  2846. "After the movie, okay? How are your muscles?"
  2847. > 'Shy leaned her head to one side as if listening intently to her own body, then smiled and nodded. "Better! I think the shower really helped. Thanks!"
  2848. > Her hoof went out again to pat his knee.
  2849. "Well, we'll see what it's like tomorrow. You might still be sore."
  2850. > This was met with an indifferent shrug. "At least I'll know I got some good exercise. It was fun to fly like that again. Just flying, I mean, with nothing to do."
  2851. "If you don't feel too sore we can do it again before Mr. Mason comes back. Actually, I guess we could do it sometimes even when he's home. Do you think he'll mind letting you go for a few hours every once in a while?"
  2852. > 'Shy gave Anon a piercing look. "He might if I'm not doing a good job," she pointed out.
  2853. "Oh... right," Anon replied, not quite able to look her in the eye.
  2854. > "We'll work something out, okay?"
  2855. "Yeah. Thanks, 'Shy. Buttershy."
  2856. > At least the nickname made her smile again. "Now, can you put on a movie?"
  2857. "Which one?"
  2858. > "Um, you pick."
  2859. > Anon gave it some thought.
  2860. "How about Mulan?"
  2861. > Of course 'Shy didn't know it, but she gave him a nod and Anon took up the remote to find it. By this time the pizza was cool enough for her to pick it up in her hooves and mare began to munch on the rest of her dinner.
  2862.  
  2863. > ~~~~
  2864.  
  2865. > Anonymous woke up to an empty bed. Strange how quickly he'd gotten used to having something soft to cuddle. Without 'Shy he felt chilly and lonely.
  2866. > For a terrifying instant he thought it had all been a dream and there was no such thing as a talking colorful pony. Dark, heavy depression threatened to set in. A talking, *sexy*, colorful pony. Had he dreamed the whole thing?
  2867. > Luckily he heard the sound of running water and breathed a sigh of relief. 'Shy was real, she was in his flat, and she would probably come right back to bed once she was done in the bathroom.
  2868. > Anon smiled to himself and turned on his back, already imagining the feel of her soft coat against his belly.
  2869. > Even better, if he teased her with little kisses and fondled her hooves she would quickly get in the mood for more. He was getting rock hard just by imagining it.
  2870. > The water stopped and Anon grinned in anticipation. He briefly debated with himself whether he should pretend to be still asleep, or if he wanted try and give her a sultry look when she walked into the room.
  2871. > Any moment now. He decided to go with a stare and a promising smile.
  2872. > There were hooves on the hallway carpet, but-
  2873. > 'Shy was heading away?
  2874. > She went into the kitchen and Anon lifted himself up on his elbows to hear better. Maybe she was just thirsty?
  2875. > He heard a faint, dull thunk and then a fresh trickle of water.
  2876. > What in the hell was she doing?!
  2877. > Curiosity got the better of him and Anon got up from the bed. He was wearing nothing but boxers, but that was fine. They were past modesty and it was a warm morning.
  2878. > On the plus side, his bare feet made almost no sound on the carpet and he thought he might be able to sneak up on the mare.
  2879. > He paused in the doorway and carefully leaned, trying to see without being spotted.
  2880. > 'Shy had a bucket and a mop and was busying herself around the stove!
  2881. "What in the-"
  2882. > "Morning, Anon," she trilled, not even looking. One of her ears turned to face him, but 'Shy remained focused on her task. She dunked the rag back into the bucket, then expertly wrung it out with her forelegs and bent inside the oven once again.
  2883. "You don't have to do that. Why are you doing that?" Anon asked, completely befuddled as his boner wilted.
  2884. > Finally 'Shy looked around and gave him a faint smile. "I saw it was dirty yesterday so I thought I would clean it. I- um, couldn't sleep."
  2885. > Her ears lowered and her expression slipped into worry. "That's alright, isn't it? I didn't want to wake you up."
  2886. > It was more than alright, even if Anon was miffed he missed out on morning cuddles. He walked over and crouched down beside 'Shy so he could slide his hand down her withers and back.
  2887. "I'm grateful, really, but couldn't it wait? I missed you when I woke up, you know?"
  2888. > Her eyes lowered to the bucket and the mop she was still holding and a tiny little blush appeared on Fluttershy's muzzle. "B-But the oven is dirty," she repeated quietly.
  2889. "When did you even see that?"
  2890. > She looked back up, growing more confident with a less vague question. "I saw when I went to heat up some more pizza yesterday. Remember? You paused the cartoon for me."
  2891. > He hadn't thought much of it at the time and 'Shy hadn't said anything.
  2892. "Well, you should've told me and I'd clean it up. This is your vacation, remember?"
  2893. > "It's no bother," 'Shy reassured him with her smile almost fully restored. "Besides, the knobs really need cleaning."
  2894. > Anon looked at the appliance and furrowed his brow.
  2895. "They don't look that bad."
  2896. > Fluttershy rolled her eyes and put a hoof carefully on Anon's bare knee. "Anon," she said patiently, "I use them with my mouth. Trust me, they need cleaning."
  2897. > He couldn't find a flaw in her logic so Anon went back to pleading.
  2898. "Come back to bed? We can clean it together a bit later."
  2899. > Unfortunately 'Shy had already gone back to dragging the mop around the inside of the oven. "It's no trouble at all," she repeated firmly. "You go back to bed and I'll make us both breakfast."
  2900. "You don't have to-"
  2901. > Her head snapped around and there was a near-frown on her face. "I *want* to!" she said forcefully.
  2902. "Fine. Fine," Anon lifted up his hands in a conciliatory gesture. "Suit yourself."
  2903. > She was about to bend back down to her task, but paused when she saw the full sink. "I'll also do the dishes," she said, but it sounded as if she was speaking mostly to herself.
  2904. > This was getting embarrassing.
  2905. "'Shy, you really don't have to-"
  2906. > "I want to," she interrupted again. "It takes my mind off my flight muscles."
  2907. > He remembered her exertion the previous day.
  2908. "That bad?"
  2909. > 'Shy winced when she looked at him and nodded. "I couldn't sleep. That's why I decided to get up and do something useful."
  2910. "Want another massage?"
  2911. > Translation: I'd like to feel you up again.
  2912. > Fluttershy looked up at the ceiling in deep thought, muzzle splitting in an expectant smile, but then she focused on Anon again and shook her head. "Maybe a bit later?"
  2913. "Sure. Just remind me if I forget."
  2914. > "Okay!"
  2915. > She went back to cleaning and Anon realized he hadn't talked her out of doing the dishes too. The gentlemanly thing would be to get dressed and help her clean up.
  2916. > He looked at the stack in the sink. Some of those plates have been there for days. Whatever was stuck to them would be hard to get off, not to mention smelly.
  2917. > There was no avoiding it, he'd have to clean up sooner or later, but maybe he could let the dishes soak for a bit. It'd make washing them a lot easier.
  2918. > Except he knew Fluttershy wouldn't agree with waiting any longer.
  2919. > Besides, she said she wanted to do it.
  2920. > There was a pang of guilt, but Anon pushed it down and shrugged to himself. 'Shy had offered, after all. He'd just have to do something nice for her.
  2921. > Speaking of.
  2922. "So, anything you'd like to do today?"
  2923. > 'Shy had her head deep in the oven and she didn't stop wiping the mop around as she thought. Anon kept his eyes on her flank which danced around with her little movements. Her tail mostly covered her private parts, but every now and then when she shifted her weight Anon would catch a small glimpse.
  2924. > He should have taken his eyes away, but he couldn't. Something about 'Shy being unaware he was looking made it all the hotter. What would happen if he leaned down, teased her tail aside and stuck his tongue right-
  2925. > "Um," 'Shy said, and the way her voice echoed inside the metal box brought Anon back to the present. "Can we go get some ice cream? Strawberry? And..."
  2926. > She trailed off and Anon waited a few seconds to see if she would continue.
  2927. "And?" he prompted.
  2928. > "Nah, it's silly."
  2929. "Tell me."
  2930. > Fluttershy climbed back out of the oven and gave Anon a blushing, nervous smile as she stuck the mop in the bucket. "Well," she began, avoiding looking directly in his eyes, "I thought maybe I could go running today."
  2931. "Running?"
  2932. > "Mhm! Like, if there's a nice field, maybe some grass and I could- hmm, stretch my legs? I could use the exercise and this way I can rest my wings."
  2933. > There were plenty of places like that in the park, but they'd been there a lot lately. Maybe it was time for a change of scenery. Anon tried to remember the map of the immediate area. Had he seen some green bits strewn around?
  2934. "I'll check the map and see if I can find a nice place. If not, how about the park?"
  2935. > Fluttershy's head bobbed up and down. "The park would be lovely!"
  2936. "I'm still gonna look. You know, change of scenery and all that."
  2937. > "And the ice cream?"
  2938. > He'd almost forgotten. Luckily, that one was easier.
  2939. "I know the perfect place. They make it themselves and it's the best ice cream ever. We can stop by and get a couple of scoops after your run, okay?"
  2940. > This cheered her up and it almost felt like the whole room brightened up with Fluttershy's smile. She leaned in and gave his knee a quick nuzzle. "Thanks! Um, would you like to run with me? It wouldn't hurt!"
  2941. > Anon really wasn't a big fan of physical exercise, but something in her tone made it sound attractive.
  2942. > Who was he kidding, 'Shy could make anything sound attractive. Especially if she went in front and he'd get a nice view of her ass bobbing with each step, tail streaming in the wind.
  2943. > Anon cleared his throat and wrenched his thoughts back to the here and now. He was ready to burst through his shorts and 'Shy undoubtedly knew, but she was avoiding looking at it directly.
  2944. "Yeah, maybe a little. I'm out of shape, but you're right; it couldn't hurt."
  2945. > Luckily there was one type of exertion he wasn't against. He reached out his hand and stroked her back, starting at her neck and sliding his hand down between her wings to finish on her flank.
  2946. > He paused there and dug his fingers in.
  2947. "You sure you don't want that massage?" he offered again.
  2948. > It was working and Fluttershy bit her lip. Her eyes darted to his shorts and her ears splayed out when she saw the bulge there. It was doing something, because her tail flicked, just once, lightly smacking Anon's forearm.
  2949. > "M-Maybe," 'Shy whispered. She looked at the bucket and her resolve stiffened. "When I'm done, okay? I won't be long."
  2950. > Anon thought about getting dressed while he waited, but there wouldn't be much point to it. If the massage went the way he wanted it to go, he wouldn't need his clothes for long.
  2951. > Knowing how sensitive Fluttershy's hooves were, Anon was pretty sure the massage would end up exactly the way he wanted it to.
  2952. > Happy ending for the mare. And himself, eventually. Mainly for 'Shy, though. She deserved a nice reward for doing all that cleaning.
  2953. > Anon gave her rump one last, quick squeeze, then stood up. Fluttershy was wringing out the mop and getting ready to duck back into the oven, but he halted her with a hand on her muzzle.
  2954. > She turned her head to see what he wanted as he leaned down and guided her close so they could share a quick kiss.
  2955. "Thanks, Buttershy."
  2956. > He got a nice smile in return. "It's my pleasure," she replied and bent back down to her work.
  2957.  
  2958. > ~~~~
  2959.  
  2960. > "You're going to have to hold that for me," 'Shy said when she saw the cones Anon was bringing to the table. As soon as he'd seen the brisk trade the shop was doing he had her occupy one of the outside tables for them while he got in line.
  2961. "Oh. I didn't think of that. How do ponies normally eat ice cream?"
  2962. > Fluttershy patted the bench next to her. Anon immediately understood it would be easier to reach and sat down. "We usually get them in, um, like a glass bowl, or sometimes it's made out of cardboard. Or the waffle."
  2963. "So you've never had ice cream in a sugar cone?"
  2964. > "Oh, I've had sugar cones, but they're usually flat on the bottom so you can put them down on a table so it's easier to eat."
  2965. "Huh. Makes sense. Well, ours are usually made to be held in a hand."
  2966. > Rather than replying to that, 'Shy just held up a hoof to show him. She was quite good at gripping items with her wrist, but the cones were just a bit too small and too flimsy for that.
  2967. > It was okay, Anon didn't mind holding her ice cream for 'Shy. He took a lick of his own while simultaneously lowering the hand with hers so she could reach it.
  2968. > "What did you get?" 'Shy asked, inspecting the cold, creamy treasure before her snout and sneaking a few glances at Anon's own cone.
  2969. "Two scoops of strawberry for you, like you said. I got lemon and mango for myself."
  2970. > There was suddenly a look of longing in Fluttershy's eyes and she held his gaze as she took a tentative lick. The force of her tongue pushed against the cone and Anon had to focus on holding it steady for her.
  2971. > Unfortunately that meant his own ice cream was being neglected for a second.
  2972. > "I'll let you taste mine if you let me taste yours," 'Shy offered.
  2973. "Sure!"
  2974. > Anon didn't hesitate in the slightest before changing hands. He took a lick of the strawberry, finding it quite good but a tiny bit too sweet, while 'Shy busied herself with his combination.
  2975. > When he looked down the mare had her tongue wrapped all the way around his ice cream.
  2976. "Hey!" he snapped in mock anger. "I said one lick!"
  2977. > Fluttershy's tongue snaked back into her mouth and left Anon's two scoops much reduced. "I only took one lick," she defended, a mischievous little smile trying to force its way to her lips.
  2978. "Well yeah, but your tongue is like twice as long as mine!"
  2979. > She opened her mouth to reply, but then blushed and looked down. Whatever she was trying to say came out in a faint mumble.
  2980. "What was that?"
  2981. > "I said: you didn't mind my tongue earlier..."
  2982. > It was true and Anon felt his own face flush. Who knew it could be that hot to have a girl lick your entire face while she rode on your-
  2983. > Well.
  2984. "It's okay. You can have both if you like. I can get more, too."
  2985. > "Nah, that's okay," 'Shy generously refused. "Yours is good, but I think I prefer strawberry."
  2986. > Anon switched the ice creams once more and began absentmindedly licking his while she attacked her own with obvious gusto.
  2987. > Their run had probably gotten her both hungry and thirsty and ice cream sort of covered both needs at once.
  2988. > After a few moments 'Shy lifted up her forelegs, balancing on her haunches so she could grasp Anon's wrist to keep his hand steady.
  2989. > She leaned her head this way and that to get her tongue in the optimal position around the cone. More than once she bumped her nose against the cream, but 'Shy just absentmindedly licked herself clean.
  2990. > It was more than a little cute and Anon nearly forgot about his own ice cream until it dripped on his hand. Even then he only took the barest minimum of licks to keep it from running.
  2991. > Pretty soon Fluttershy's two scoops were reduced to little more than the cone with some melted filling and she just took it in her mouth. Anon let it go when her teeth came together with a crunch.
  2992. > He still watched as she chewed, expertly holding the rest of the cone with her lips until she was ready for it.
  2993. > Her eyes wandered around the other tables where most people were doing their best to ignore the unusual sight. Anon took a glance as well, relieved to see that there weren't any angry or offended looks this time.
  2994. > Just curiosity, especially form the children. In some cases even ice cream was forgotten in favor of looking at the yellow pony.
  2995. > When he looked back, Fluttershy's cone was gone and she was licking her lips and muzzle clean with smooth, practiced movements of her tongue.
  2996. > Another cold drip on his fingers reminded him that he'd hardly made any real progress on his own. 'Shy saw that as well and her eyes seemed glued to the melting bounty in his hand.
  2997. "Wanna help me with mine?" he offered.
  2998. > The reaction was really precious. First, her ears twitched and lowered. Her mouth quirked up in a smile, but 'Shy brought it under control almost immediately. She tried to feign indifference, but there was this sparkle in her eyes which put a lie to her calm, distant tone.
  2999. > "I guess," she said, her voice too neutral to be anything but an act. "I mean, if you don't want all of it."
  3000. > Anon chuckled to himself and lowered his hand. Her hooves went around his wrist, holding it in place as if 'Shy was afraid he'd change his mind. She attacked the second ice cream with even more fervor than the first.
  3001. "Uh oh."
  3002. > She froze, tongue extended to take another lick but not yet touching the ice cream. Her eyes sought out his and her ears perked up in interest.
  3003. "Won't this 'bad' ice cream ruin the aftertaste of that delicious strawberry, though?"
  3004. > Fluttershy darted her eyes around as she considered this, but then she shrugged and closed the gap between her tongue and the treat.
  3005. "I guess I'll just have to get you another to wash this awful taste out of your mouth.
  3006. > She brought her tongue back in with a quiet slurp. "You mean that?"
  3007. "It's just ice cream, Buttershy. You can have as much as you like," Anon pointed out.
  3008. > He used his free hand to pat her forehoof, which was still wrapped around his wrist.
  3009. > "That's not the best idea, Anon. If I have too much I'll get a tummy ache and then I'll be miserable tomorrow. Oh, and we should still leave some room for dinner."
  3010. > She spoke sense and Anon shrugged to himself.
  3011. "Yeah, that's true, but one more scoop won't hurt, right?"
  3012. > Her little smile was accompanied by a blush. "One more scoop won't hurt," she agreed and plucked the cone out of Anon's hand. For a moment she just sucked on it, no doubt exploring the inside with her tongue, but then there was a faint crunch and she began to chew.
  3013. "I'll be right back!"
  3014. > The line was much shorter now, so 'Shy wouldn't have to wait nearly as long. Anon took a step, but then paused and turned back.
  3015. "Want them to coat it with chocolate?"
  3016. > Fluttershy froze in shock, the bit of cone sticking out of her mouth. "Fey aan 'oo fhah?"
  3017. > Anon wondered at how he'd ever been able to understand that, but it only lasted a moment.
  3018. "Sure they can do that. It's hot chocolate and they kinda dunk the ice cream in it. I didn't think of it before."
  3019. > 'Shy nodded with great enthusiasm for idea and began chewing on the last of her sugar cone. Anon took his place in the line once more. It was another wait, but the wait would be shorter this time and he could look back at Fluttershy who was herself watching the people at nearby tables.
  3020. > She didn't notice his eyes on her so this was the mare in her 'natural environment', so to speak. If Anon ignored the curious stares she was still getting it felt pretty natural.
  3021. > He could easily envision a whole civilization of ponies, walking around their cities, sitting at cafés and enjoying ice cream. They probably wouldn't have collars, Anon thought, but the image was nearly perfect.
  3022. > Every time 'Shy caught the glance of someone looking at her, she smiled back and her ears lowered for a moment, but they went up instantly when she looked away. Maybe splaying her ears was a form of acknowledgment that she'd seen the person?
  3023. > They certainly were expressive and filled the role of minute facial movements, which were slightly obscured with 'Shy because of her fur. Anon was finding himself more and more used to her body language; the way she moved her ears, or rustled her wings, or swished her tail.
  3024. > Voice was very nearly the least expressive form of communication, especially after the way 'Shy ran her feathers along his cheek as they basked in the afterglow of their love. Those moments didn't need words.
  3025. > Then again...
  3026. > An idea occurred and Anon grinned to himself in sudden delight. 'Shy was going back to Mason in a less than a day, and she'd promised to visit whenever she was allowed or could sneak away, but maybe he could do more. Undoubtedly she would miss him just as much as he missed her.
  3027. > Anon's thoughts were interrupted when he was next and had to order, but he remembered them and had good news for 'Shy when he came back to the table. He held out her cone so she could start on it, but couldn't keep quiet any longer than that.
  3028. "So, I got an idea."
  3029. > "Mmuh?"
  3030. > She hurriedly swallowed and gave him an expectant look: "Yes?"
  3031. "Why don't we get you a phone? That way we can talk more often even when you can't... visit."
  3032. > He'd almost said 'sneak away', but something told him not to phrase it like that. 'Shy was struggling with breaking Mason's rules as it was. Anon wondered briefly if it was just her timid personality, or something they'd taught her when they trained her.
  3033. > "Okay, but how would I use it?" she asked, lifting a hoof up above the table to show him.
  3034. "We'll get one of those phones with buttons and then you can use a pen or something. A small stick."
  3035. > 'Shy thought this over, then shrugged a little to herself. "I guess, but you'll have to show me how to use it."
  3036. "It's real easy, you'll see. It's just so we can stay in touch, you know? You can call me, or I can call you and we can talk for a bit each night. Or, if you're bored during the day, you can ring and I'll take a break from work for a chat."
  3037. > When put like this she was instantly on board with the idea and nodded happily. "That does sound nice."
  3038. > Their chatting and the warm weather was making her ice cream melt and a rivulet ran down Anon's hand. He turned the cone around so she could see and 'Shy sprang into action.
  3039. > Her tongue was hot on his fingers and contrasted nicely with the cool ice cream. She followed the escaping treat up the cone and began licking in earnest to get it back under control.
  3040. > She paused once the danger of melting was less imminent. "You didn't bring one for yourself?" she asked.
  3041. "Nah, one was plenty. I can get you more if you want it."
  3042. > Her eyes went to the diminished cone and then came back to meet Anon's. "Want a lick of mine?"
  3043. "Maybe just one."
  3044. > It was pure luck that no one was watching, or if they did, there was no outrage or sounds of disgust. Anon realized too late what he was doing, but powered through the inevitable blush and returned the ice cream back to 'Shy.
  3045. > By then it was small enough for her to take it into her mouth and she began crunching the cone.
  3046. "So I guess we hit the market to get you that phone and then I'll show you how to use it this afternoon."
  3047. > "Mm-hmm!"
  3048.  
  3049. > ~~~~
  3050.  
  3051. > There it was. Their last morning together. The knowledge hit Anon almost before he fully woke up.
  3052. > Fluttershy was nestled against his belly, a warm, fuzzy small spoon with her head resting comfortably on his arm. She was still asleep and Anon tried very hard not to squeeze her against himself and wake her up.
  3053. > Starting tonight he'd be going to bed alone and waking up in a large, lonely bed by himself. It really wasn't fair. He'd gotten used to her presence in just a few days and now life without 'Shy in his flat seemed bleak and boring.
  3054. > He let out a sad sigh and tried to drink in the soft moment. Her mane was tickling his chin and her slow breath played against his forearm. Somehow her tail had gotten between his legs, a bundle of delicate, silken hair which still felt incredibly solid.
  3055. > Anon's other arm was lying across Fluttershy's barrel and she was holding it in place with her wing, as if worried she might lose its warmth while she slept.
  3056. > An absolutely perfect way to wake up.
  3057. > The mare in his arms twitched and murmured something. She didn't wake up, but her mouth opened in a tiny yawn and she gave the arm she was lying on a lick with her incredibly hot tongue.
  3058. > Scratch that. An absolutely adorable way to wake up.
  3059. > Anon couldn't resist and lifted his head so he could plant a careful kiss on her ear, which was sticking up from the tangle of pink hair. It flicked against his lips at the touch and 'Shy moved again.
  3060. > This time her hind hoof pressed against his leg and her wing squeezed on his arm. She tried to back up, slide further against his warm belly and the movement reminded Anon of their position.
  3061. > She was pressing her rear right into his lap and jerking her tail to free it from between his legs. He released it almost absentmindedly, but the movement brought her closer to waking.
  3062. > Anon leaned further and left his next kiss on the side of her muzzle. From his new angle he could see her eye open and blink a few times, trying to focus on her surroundings.
  3063. > 'Shy drew in a deep, luxurious breath, held it for a moment, then let it go. She was awake now and a small smile tugged at her lips.
  3064. "Morning, beautiful."
  3065. > The smile was joined by a slight blush, but 'Shy didn't look displeased about the greeting. "Hi. What time is it?"
  3066. > Getting the answer meant Anon had to free his arm from under her wing so he could check his phone.
  3067. "Six thirty. Still early," he answered.
  3068. > Her eyes closed again and Fluttershy murmured: "Good. I don't want to get up yet."
  3069. "We don't have to."
  3070. > He put the phone back on the bedside table beside hers and returned his hand to her belly. Her wing immediately pressed down on it with the clear intention of never letting go again.
  3071. > "I'll need to pee in a while," 'Shy proclaimed.
  3072. "You'll come right back this time? Promise, or I won't let you go."
  3073. > The idle threat made her roll her eye in exasperation. "You'll have to let me go."
  3074. "Nuh-uh!"
  3075. > "If you don't let me go, Anon," 'Shy went on to explain with exaggerated patience, "I will pee the bed."
  3076. > She watched for his response, grin already turning triumphant. It faded when Anon didn't budge.
  3077. "Okay."
  3078. > This made her blink and brought a noticeable tint of red to her face. "Okay?!"
  3079. "Okay."
  3080. > 'Shy shuffled around to her back so she could look at Anon with both eyes. "You'd be okay with me... um, wetting the bed?!"
  3081. "Yeah, if it meant you'd stay in it."
  3082. > Her eyebrows drew down and she opened her mouth, but nothing came out. After a second she closed it and shook her head, obviously beyond words.
  3083. > The second attempt went better: "I don't know if I should be flattered or disgusted, Anon."
  3084. "Why not both?"
  3085. > 'Shy grunted in annoyance and covered her face with a hoof. She gave up on the topic and changed it to something more serious.
  3086. > "Mr. Mason will be back before lunch. I really should be there at, um, ten."
  3087. "Wait, you said lunch. Why ten?" Anon almost whined.
  3088. > 'Shy looked just as sad as he felt. "I need to check the house and make sure everything is clean and ready. He'll never let me visit again if he comes home to a messy place. I'll also make lunch, because he'll probably be hungry from his trip."
  3089. "It's not messy! No one has been there for a week! And you're still too nice!"
  3090. > Once more Fluttershy rolled her eyes. "There *is* such a thing as dust, Anon. And you like me because I'm nice!"
  3091. > She was right and that stubborn look in her eye said there was no use trying to convince her otherwise. Anon gave in.
  3092. "Well, I got you until ten. I'll feed you pancakes and massage your hoofsies, deal?"
  3093. > Her eyes closed and her smile came back. "That sounds kinda lovely, actually."
  3094. "But first..."
  3095. > He didn't finish and waited for 'Shy to look. She was bound to wonder what the delay was.
  3096. > When she did, Anon leaned in and stole a kiss. Almost unconsciously his free hand went to her belly and began scratching in circles around her bellybutton.
  3097. > He pulled away to see her expression. 'Shy always made the cutest face when he rubbed her soft spots.
  3098. > This time there was a kind of hunger in her eyes as well. Her forehooves shot out around his neck and pulled him forcefully down, into another kiss.
  3099. > It lasted a lot longer and 'Shy jammed her tongue deep into Anon's mouth. At one point she wrapped it entirely around his, which made him groan with need and grind his hips against her flank.
  3100. > They were both out of breath when they broke apart. Anon would have gone right for another kiss, but a hoof on his chest held him at bay.
  3101. > "I really do need to pee," 'Shy said.
  3102. > It was with some reluctance, but Anon removed his arm and let her go. She slid out of the bed and hurried out of the room, pausing only for a second to glance back and flick her tail before she vanished through the door.
  3103. > It had only been a glimpse, but it was enough to make Anon involuntarily buck his hips. That had been an unspoken promise if ever he'd seen one.
  3104. > He just hoped 'Shy wouldn't get it in her head to go and clean something while he waited for her at full mast. Anon listened to what she was doing just to make sure. Maybe if she did wander off he could head her off and entice her back to bed. So far the sounds coming from the bathroom were encouraging.
  3105. > The dribble of water, which would normally be somewhat unpleasant, but just served to strengthen his boner right now. A bit of quiet during which Anon could almost hear her tear off a square of toilet paper.
  3106. > The flush, which filled him with anticipation. Then the sink, as 'Shy dutifully washed her forehooves.
  3107. > The click of her landing back on the tiles was unmistakable, as was the clop-clop-thud as she exited to the carpeted hallway.
  3108. > This time, Anon was happy to hear, she was coming right back to his room. In another few moments she reappeared in the door and paused.
  3109. > Her ears were splayed out and there was red on her muzzle, but whether it was a flush of anticipation, or of embarrassment, Anon couldn't tell. She held a smile, but it was a conscious choice, not a sign of any particular joy.
  3110. > Anon lifted up the cover in invitation and that jerked 'Shy forward. Her eyes slid down his suddenly exposed body and her blush deepened. She didn't slow down, though.
  3111. > The bed creaked a little as the mare climbed up. She stood there for long seconds, looking down at her hooves.
  3112. > Just as Anon was about to ask if she was alright, 'Shy patted the mattress closer to her. "Come here. Lie on your back."
  3113. > Curious to see where she was going with this, Anon obeyed. He was still holding the blankets open and was starting to feel the early morning chill.
  3114. > Fluttershy stepped over his hips so she was straddling him, then lay down on his chest. Finally Anon could drape the covers back around them and recapture a bit of warmth. He shivered for a few seconds until Fluttershy's fur warmed him up again.
  3115. > They looked at one another, nose to nose. Fluttershy was biting her lower lip and her ears twitched, but then she seemed to decide something and dove in to kiss him.
  3116. > For his part, Anon rested his hands lightly against her sides. It turned out that his palms almost perfectly covered her cutie marks in this position.
  3117. > Fluttershy's forehooves slid up, until they were on Anon's shoulders, but she never broke the kiss in all that time. She started to pull away, but changed her mind at the last instant and attacked yet again.
  3118. > It was incredibly hot. 'Shy was light enough that Anon could easily lift her, but the way she was lying on him implied that she had all the control.
  3119. > He was letting her do whatever she wanted. They had time. For the moment all she wanted was tongue-play, but already her breathing was getting faster and there was an occasional low grunt from her throat.
  3120. > When she stopped for a moment there was a time of stillness and Anon felt her belly move with the short, shallow breaths she was taking.
  3121. > She brought her muzzle closer once more and Anon parted his lips to accept her, but instead of a sensual kiss, 'Shy began to lick along his chin.
  3122. > Her muscles tensed as she pushed herself higher so she could reach, and Anon obliged by turning his head sideways. Her tongue tickled in his ear as she explored and then her teeth bit down, albeit gently.
  3123. > Suddenly he realized she was treating him like a pony. He still couldn't quite believe they really did nibble on one another's ears, but it was super hot and made him dig his fingers into her flank and pull her down, griding their bellies together.
  3124. > There was still the fabric of his underpants in the way, but that just served to tease them both by denying them the feel of each other's flesh. The promise was there and Anon felt sudden, warm damp through the cloth. The feeling drew another groan from his throat.
  3125. > Meanwhile her forehooves clung to his shoulders and her hind squeezed around Anon's waist as 'Shy continued to nibble on his ear.
  3126. > He was just getting into that when the pressure vanished and her muzzle nudged his face the other way. He turned to see what he wanted when her lips found his and the invasion began in earnest once more.
  3127. > Before he closed his eyes to focus on the feeling, Anon saw Fluttershy's nostrils flaring as she sucked down an urgent breath through her nose.
  3128. > She was working herself into a frenzy. Anon slid his hands from her flanks and gripped his underpants to pull them down, but 'Shy just squeezed harder with her hind legs and pulled out of the kiss.
  3129. > "No! Don't!" she gasped.
  3130. > Anon blinked in confusion, but let the cloth go. Surely she wanted it? All the signs said yes.
  3131. > He had his answer in another few seconds when 'Shy shifted her weight and deftly hooked a hind hoof under the elastic. She concentrated and tugged the underpants down, but Anon had to lift his butt to free them. "I wanted- wanted to do it myself," she gasped.
  3132. > They slid most of the way and he worked his legs to kick them off completely. No more clothes between them. Both of them were as naked as it was possible to be.
  3133. > The thought made him grind up against her, which drew a surprised gasp from 'Shy. She was no longer looking at his face, her eyes focused on some distant point only she could see or imagine.
  3134. > Remembering her erogenous zones, Anon sought out her hind hooves with his hands and felt for the edges. It wasn't the best angle for that and it was almost beyond his reach, but the lightest pressure was enough to draw out a deep, throaty moan from 'Shy.
  3135. > This time when she ground against him there was a feeling of heat and wetness against his balls. She was already all but squirting and the thought almost blanked Anon's mind with lust.
  3136. > He redoubled his efforts on her hooves and 'Shy bucked against him, slathering his shaft and belly with her juices.
  3137. > When Anon could focus on her face once more he saw 'Shy had her lower lip firmly between her teeth. He didn't want her to injure herself, so he pushed his head up and tried to draw her out in a kiss instead.
  3138. > It worked and she released her lip to allow him entry into her mouth. Her tongue was quivering and jerking around, not fully under her conscious control. Her hips continued to grind.
  3139. "Want it?" Anon breathed out when they parted.
  3140. > The red in her muzzle flared up, whether from embarrassment or desire was hard to tell. Despite that, she nodded, wordlessly.
  3141. "Say it."
  3142. > Her blush deepened to near terminal levels and she jerked her head forward, expertly whipping her mane around to hide at least part of her face.
  3143. > She kept panting and grinding, but didn't speak, so Anon removed his fingers from the rim of her hind hooves. The lack of stimulation made 'Shy moan in desperation.
  3144. > "Please," she finally gasped, "please. I need it!"
  3145. > Luckily she didn't notice that Anon was barely holding himself back. A few moments longer and he would have lost this little game which 'Shy probably wasn't even aware they were playing.
  3146. > All she knew was that she wanted to be filled up. She ground harder, unaware that it was making it more difficult for Anon to line up.
  3147. > He put his hands back on her flanks and pushed.
  3148. "Let up."
  3149. > She quickly understood and lifted herself. The movement made a drop of her slick essence fall and land right on the tip of Anon's cock as he watched. It made him twitch and jerk upwards.
  3150. > He regained control of his muscles and relaxed. Then he guided 'Shy down with a light pressure on her flanks. She obeyed gladly, eagerly.
  3151. > The first touch was like a bolt of electricity and Anon couldn't stop himself from pushing against her. By some strange luck his tip found exactly the right spot and her folds yielded to his entrance.
  3152. > It was like being enveloped in hot, slick velvet. Anon paused to savor the moment, but now that he was in her, Fluttershy suddenly slammed herself down as she let out a moan of relief.
  3153. > In that single stroke he was embedded inside her as deep as he could go and he could feel her passage twitching and squeezing along his entire length.
  3154. > He opened his mouth to moan, but 'Shy covered it with hers and forced her tongue between his unresisting lips. Already she was lifting herself up, slowly and carefully until he was mostly outside.
  3155. > Then she pushed back down, her breath driven out of her lungs and into Anon's.
  3156. > He didn't know where to put his hands, so he settled on finding her flanks and gripping the fur there. He followed her movement up and then back down again.
  3157. > The feeling was out of this world. Her heat as she enveloped him, the slick wetness of her juices, the soft, yet firm texture of her insides. It all combined in a symphony of carnal pleasure.
  3158. > Their lips parted, allowing them both the breath they urgently needed. "Oh, sweet Celestia!" Fluttershy moaned as soon as her lips were free.
  3159. > She pushed herself upright and braced her forehooves on Anon's chest, which gave her a much better angle and allowed her to impale herself even deeper.
  3160. > Her wings were coming unfurled, but 'Shy didn't seem to care at the moment. Each movement, each push drove another squeaky moan from her lungs. Her pace was picking up and her urgent panting followed.
  3161. > Anon moved his hands from her flanks to her forelegs, gripping around both fetlocks. He could feel the tension as 'Shy pushed herself back, braced herself against him, again and again.
  3162. > She was quickly getting there, leaving him behind in her hurry to orgasm. Anon glanced down between their bellies and saw his shaft connecting them.
  3163. > The view was obscured by the pink of her teats each time she slammed down, but the visual, and the knowledge that he had his dick inside her, was driving him closer to his peak too.
  3164. > He felt more of her effusion leak out and dribble down his balls. They were making a mess of the bed, but he didn't care. If anything, the feel of her fluids pooling around his groin was driving him further.
  3165. > Already he was helping 'Shy by bucking up his hips, trying to time his thrusts with hers. Her teats met his belly with an audible slap each time she cam down and a slick, liquid sound accompanied each dribble of her juices which escaped her pussy.
  3166. > She wanted more. For a moment their eyes met and Anon was startled by the crazed hunger he saw there. 'Shy was going to milk him dry. In response he tried to push harder, faster, bucking against her with slap after wet slap, until his belly was glistening with her escaped fluids.
  3167. > He gripped her forelegs tighter and gasped for more oxygen to fuel his efforts. He could see 'Shy was doing the same.
  3168. > Gradually her moans rose up in pitch and her movements became jerky and uncoordinated. Anon took his hands from her forehooves and put them around her waist to help guide her.
  3169. > With gentle pushes he got her back into a slow rhythm. Not much further now, but that was perfect because he couldn't last any longer himself.
  3170. > Already he felt the swelling deep in his balls as they prepared to unload.
  3171. > "Yes! Yes! Oh! Yes! Please!" 'Shy babbled with every new breath, the words replacing her moans. She threw her head up and opened her mouth wide to gulp down more air.
  3172. > Her muscles went rigid and Anon knew this was it. He dug his fingers into her sides and pulled her down as hard as he could, embedding his cock as deep as it would go. He thought his head brushed something new in there and that touch pushed him over the edge as well.
  3173. > He came an instant before 'Shy, the first rope of his seed spurting out just as she let out a high-pitched cry. She sat rigidly, all muscles clenched as her orgasm rocked her entire body.
  3174. > She swayed, but remained upright, breath driven out of her in a long, luxurious moan. Her passage spasmed and tightened, and Anon could feel her clit winking out against his groin.
  3175. > They remained nearly motionless until the feeling passed, then Fluttershy slumped down on his chest and began to pant for air, eyes closed. As she moved, the dam was broken and their combined fluids began to dribble out, completely soaking Anon's balls.
  3176. > It was a nice feeling. He wrapped his arms around her, enjoying every sensation. The musky scent of her arousal, the brush of fur on his belly and chest, the sound of her rasping breath. Even the sticky feeling where her secretions had smeared into her coat.
  3177. > He placed a kiss on the tip of her nose and concentrated on his own breathing. The sex had been short, but incredibly intense.
  3178. > They were both sweaty and Anon pulled the blanket away to let them cool down.
  3179. > He stroked Fluttershy's back, waiting for her to regain her senses so he could tell her just how good it had been.
  3180. > At length her eyes opened and focused on his face.
  3181. "Hi," he said with a grin.
  3182. > She managed a small smile and lifted herself a little so she could look at him properly.
  3183. "We made a mess."
  3184. > "M-Made?"
  3185. > Anon was about to lift her up higher so she could see just how wet and sticky they were, but 'Shy interrupted him with a kiss. "We're not done making it yet," she said quietly.
  3186. > She ground her hips against his, making entirely new pleasurable sensations run up Anon's spine.
  3187. > He had been growing soft, but the look in her eyes and the fresh stimulation was making him hard again.
  3188. > Could he finish again without any recuperation at all?
  3189. > Even if not, he wanted 'Shy to enjoy herself for as long as he could stay hard. She deserved it.
  3190. "Want me to do some of the work?"
  3191. > She thought this over, then nodded. They rolled until Anon was on top, still embedded in her. He leaned down to kiss her neck, then began to pump.
  3192. > This time it was slower and much more sensual. They were both very sensitive, which added to the pleasure.
  3193. > Anon began to think he really could come again, even this soon after. It'd just take some careful, gentle lovemaking to this beautiful mare. He sought out her mouth for a kiss. It might take a while, but it already felt incredible.
  3194. "God, I love you Buttershy."
  3195. > Incredibly that profession still made her blush and stammer. "I l-love you t-too," she finally managed.
  3196. > He couldn't help it. Anon grinned.
  3197. "You're cute when you say that."
  3198. > Her smile widened, but then Fluttershy's expression grew serious and her ears folded down. She laid a hoof on his lips. "Shut up and rut me," she whispered.
  3199.  
  3200. > ~~~~
  3201.  
  3202. > The day wasn't particularly cool, but both Anonymous and Fluttershy were slick with sweat and other fluids as they lay on the bed and rested after their workout.
  3203. > They hadn't moved much since their exertion and 'Shy was still sprawled over Anon's chest and belly.
  3204. "Whoa," Anon said, yet again.
  3205. > There was no answer because 'Shy was using her tongue to idly lick his slick skin. The patch of warmth only served to contrast the chill elsewhere on his body.
  3206. > He lifted his arms and patted Fluttershy's sides. His hands came away damp. She had really worked herself hard that second time, wringing out every drop of sweat and... other fluids from both of them.
  3207. > Her raspy tongue slid sideways, seeking out a fresh patch of his skin, and the light, ticklish touch made Anon jerk and chuckle. He grabbed her muzzle with a hand and gently pushed her away.
  3208. "Maybe we need to get a shower. If you want salt I can make some toast and I can salt the butter, okay?"
  3209. > 'Shy jerked her head out of his grip and went right back to nuzzle his hand. "In a minute. I'm comfy right now."
  3210. > Their lovemaking had taken a while, but they still had plenty of time so Anon relented. He could endure a bit of chill, especially with Fluttershy feeling so warm and solid on him. He could feel the gentle rocking of her body as she breathed deeply. It was no longer full-on gasping for air, but she was still a little winded.
  3211. > At least her flight muscles hadn't bothered her that much, or if they had 'Shy hadn't complained. She'd used her wings mostly for balance, so maybe that wasn't strenuous enough to bring back the ache.
  3212. > He stared at the ceiling, their encounter playing over in his mind.
  3213. "You really went at it there, Buttershy."
  3214. > She didn't answer, but her face turned red and she looked away in embarrassment. However enthusiastic during sex, 'Shy still wasn't very comfortable talking about it.
  3215. "I thought ho- ponies didn't usually last that long."
  3216. > This got her attention and Anon winced at his near slip up. He opened his mouth to apologize for it, but 'Shy beat him to it.
  3217. > "What do you mean 'ponies don't last that long'?" she asked, narrowing he eyes. "Just how many ponies have you slept with?!"
  3218. "What? None, 'Shy. Where would I even- Look, even if there were a bunch of mares around, you're the only one for me, okay?"
  3219. > While that did mollify her somewhat, the suspicious, questioning look didn't leave her eyes. "So you know how long ponies, um, mate for, how exactly?"
  3220. > Anon shrugged a little and answered quickly, not wanting 'Shy to be upset.
  3221. "Saw it on the Internet."
  3222. > Somehow this was the wrong thing to say and she jerked her head back in shock. The sudden movement shifted her entire body and Anon became aware of the wet, sticky mess between them.
  3223. > "You watch ponies- um *do it* on the Internet?!" Fluttershy demanded. "Why? Is that even a thing? Why is that a thing?!"
  3224. > A few possible lies flashed through Anon's mind and were discarded. 'Shy sometimes had an uncanny ability to tell when he wasn't being honest with her. He didn't want to risk it and have a big fight with her on the day she was leaving.
  3225. "Look, it was when I just met you, okay? Before we- before I even realized I liked you this much. I was curious."
  3226. > Her eyes narrowed and Anon hurried on.
  3227. "Well, after that time you told me what your withers were called I went and looked up the rest. You know, so I wouldn't make a fool out of myself."
  3228. > It still didn't explain everything, but he was getting to the point. Luckily, 'Shy didn't look impatient, only worried.
  3229. "Anyway, I learned about pony body parts and-"
  3230. > Now it was his time to blush and turn away, but he forced himself to continue.
  3231. "I saw what their, well, *behinds* look like and I got curious. S-So I found some..." Anon shrugged helplessly. "You know. Videos. Um, of Earth ponies and horses."
  3232. > Unfortunately her glare was still there. When he'd finished, 'Shy took a breath and said: "Let me get this straight. After you met me you went on the Internet and did some research on how to- how to *make love* to ponies?"
  3233. "Hey, you're making it sound sleazy!"
  3234. > What Anon didn't bring up was his low key desire for 'Shy long before they really became friends. She didn't need to know about that and he wouldn't have acted on it if she hadn't shown any interest anyway. Luckily she had, and he had, and it turned out to be amazing.
  3235. > That thought totally made sense, he told himself.
  3236. > She shook her head and stood up. Anon's gut clenched up in fear that she'd storm away in anger and then refuse to see him again. He reached up with his hand and cupped her cheek.
  3237. "Please, Buttershy. It was just curiosity, I swear."
  3238. > The touch and the nickname worked and she paused. "Well, how would you feel if I watched videos of, uh, humans doing it just after I met you?!"
  3239. > That one was easy and Anon's face split into a grin.
  3240. "Honestly? I'd be kinda turned on. That sounds hot, actually. We can totally do that if you want!"
  3241. > It wasn't the answer she was expecting and it disarmed her somewhat. 'Shy blinked in surprise and her mouth gaped open in shock.
  3242. > "R-Really?" she managed at last.
  3243. "Totally! We can do it, if you want. Then we'll be even."
  3244. > The blush came back and Anon knew he was out of the danger zone. He sat up and put his other hand on her muzzle as well. That allowed him to guide her face closer for a very chaste kiss.
  3245. "What do you say? Next time you come visit, we put on some porn and you can see how humans do it."
  3246. > Her face was nearly the same color as her mane, but Fluttershy's eyes flickered back to meet Anon's gaze before darting away again.
  3247. > "Well... maybe," she said noncommittally. "I'll think about it."
  3248. "So you're not mad at me?" Anon asked, just to be sure.
  3249. > This time her smile was more confident. "I guess I'm not. It's just weird. I wasn't expecting anything like that."
  3250. "Well, we're kinda weird, don't you agree? Us, I mean."
  3251. > She pulled her head out of his hands and looked down, noting how he was absolutely covered by a mixture of her mare juice and his seed from the waist down.
  3252. > "I... g-guess," 'Shy mumbled. "Sorry about the mess. I don't know what came-"
  3253. > Anon silenced her with a kiss and gave both her ears a quick scratch.
  3254. "Are you kidding me? It was totally awesome! You're a beast when you're horny."
  3255. > He caught a glimpse of her horrified expression and quickly corrected himself.
  3256. "A beast in a good way. I really like it."
  3257. > That seemed to make her feel better, but 'Shy still didn't manage to meet his gaze. "I guess we should shower," she proposed.
  3258. "Yeah, sure! I'll help wash you if you like!"
  3259. > Her smile returned and she gave him a nuzzle in gratitude. "Okay, but just a shower, understand? We don't have time for- for- *more*."
  3260. "Don't worry. I don't think I even could right now."
  3261. > Despite his words, Anon felt a twitch in his nethers, making him a liar. If 'Shy stuck her rump at him and wiggled a little, he'd be up for round three, no matter how long it took this time.
  3262. > She was right, however. They barely had time for a shower and a nice, leisurely breakfast before 'Shy had to leave. Then it'd be back to a lonely, empty apartment for him.
  3263. > Maybe it was a piece of luck that he had work the next day, Anon thought. At least it'd take his mind off the fact that his week with Fluttershy was over.
  3264. > Hopefully they could come up with a good plan to get her away from Mason permanently.
  3265. > He pushed the melancholy thoughts away and stood up. With 'Shy sitting on the bed she had a good view of his midriff and Anon caught her sneaking glances.
  3266. > It was making her blush, but she kept looking, so he waited to let her examine him. She hadn't really had a chance to look before, Anon realized.
  3267. > Except- all the scrutiny was starting to excite him and his member began to rise.
  3268. "Sorry! It's what happens when a pretty girl is looking at me!"
  3269. > 'Shy gave a small squeak of surprise and whirled around to stare at the wall. "I wasn't- I didn't look!" she lied.
  3270. > Anon reached over and patted her mane.
  3271. "You don't have to be embarrassed about it. Look as much as you like, I don't mind. It's kinda hot, actually."
  3272. > She didn't turn around and he guessed 'Shy would need some time to get to terms with her sexuality. He could only imagine how confusing the feelings must be for her, especially considering the contrast between her normally demure self and her greedy passion.
  3273. "I'll get the shower going, you can join me or go after me, whichever you like."
  3274. > She turned back, but kept her eyes strictly on his face. "Thanks. I'll join you, um, in a minute."
  3275. > Anon gave her another pat and left the room. He caught her staring at his butt as he turned the corner and smiled to himself. A few more passionate nights and maybe 'Shy won't be embarrassed to ask for what she wanted.
  3276.  
  3277. > ~~~~
  3278.  
  3279. > There it was. Weekend shift, a price Anon had to pay for taking the whole week off. The only consolation was that he wasn't alone. Small comfort, though.
  3280. > Beside him there was Alex, an avid career climber, and Paul, who had been stuck in the same position for almost a decade and seemed to like it.
  3281. > The latter was happily married, or so he claimed and the former had a long-term girlfriend. In a way Anon wanted to talk to them about his experiences, but of course he couldn't mention Fluttershy.
  3282. > Maybe if he pretended she was a human girl?
  3283. > In any case, he wanted to get through the shift and go home as soon as possible, hoping that 'Shy might be allowed to visit, at least for a while. It was unlikely the first time Mason was back home for a whole day, but a man could dream.
  3284. > Anon glanced at the wall clock and grimaced to himself. It was barely two, which meant there were four more hours to trudge through. He took refuge in his memories of that last morning.
  3285. > "Well, someone's in a good mood," Paul commented. His desk was directly opposite Anon's and the older man had been watching him with something akin to curiosity.
  3286. > At the words his other coworker kicked away from the wall so he could look around the shoulder-high wall. "You're right," Alex said. "Probably got laid."
  3287. "What?!"
  3288. > Alex grinned knowingly. "Yep, that's the 'laid' look right there. Anyone we know?"
  3289. > Maybe it wouldn't hurt to gossip just a little. He was quite proud of his budding relationship with 'Shy, after all.
  3290. "Okay, but don't spread this around, got it?"
  3291. > They both looked at one another and shrugged. "Sure, whatever you say," Paul promised and Anon knew he would gossip about it first chance he got.
  3292. > It still didn't stop him, though. All he needed was a name, something which sounded like 'Shy, but was human and easy to remember.
  3293. "Okay, so yeah, I have a girlfriend."
  3294. > For some reason saying that made him grin. 'Shy would have said 'marefriend', which was technically more correct, but would give entirely too much away if he blurted that out.
  3295. > "Good for you," Paul congratulated. He had a bit of a leer on his face as he asked his next question: "What's she like?"
  3296. "Um... blonde."
  3297. > She was, if you considered her coat color, Anon mentally justified, but the lie left a distaste in his mouth.
  3298. "W-with pink highlights," he amended.
  3299. > "Ugh, one of those," Alex grimaced. "Next you'll tell us she's a vegan and really big into animal rights, right?"
  3300. "No, she's not-"
  3301. > Again he paused as he felt his cheeks heat up a little.
  3302. "She's vegetarian."
  3303. > "Knew it," the younger of his coworkers said. "Don't stick it in crazy, but you obviously already have. Was it good, at least?"
  3304. > Paul picked up the line of questioning from there. "Big tits?"
  3305. > Again, Anon felt that a version of the truth was his best bet.
  3306. "Not really. I kinda like them small."
  3307. > "She *is* eighteen, at least?"
  3308. "What?! Guys, I'm not like that! She's twenty-something. I didn't ask, but definitely over twenty one."
  3309. > After all, 'Shy had gotten drunk, so she had to be old enough, right? Anon hadn't asked about the legal drinking age in Equestria.
  3310. > He noted with relief that both guys believed him, but they still looked curios. It occurred to him that he could simply refuse to answer any more questions, but it felt quite inclusive to be talking about 'Shy.
  3311. > As long as he didn't let slip she was a pony.
  3312. > "So?"
  3313. "So what?"
  3314. > "What's she like in bed?" Alex insisted. He had a leer on his face, quite similar to the one on Paul's, which made Anon's ears burn.
  3315. "Good."
  3316. > The guys burst out laughing until there was a bing on his computer and Alex had to take a call. Paul gave Anon a sly wink and said: "Well, if you're okay with crazy, good for you, man."
  3317. "She's not crazy. Just a bit shy."
  3318. > "Well, bring her around sometime for drinks. I'm sure we can cure her of that," Paul concluded and went back to his computer.
  3319. > Anon wished he could, but he didn't want to imagine what his coworkers would say if they found out 'Shy was a pony. Everyone at the office knew about them since they'd all talked at length about the phenomenon when it was on TV, but they probably never imagined meeting one.
  3320. > Not to mention Anon in a relationship with one.
  3321. "Yeah, I'll see about that," he promised, intending to do no such thing.
  3322. > He was starting to think that maybe he shouldn't have mentioned it at all.
  3323. > "Oh, by the way," Alex piped up, having apparently already concluded his call, "what's her name?"
  3324. > Anon reached for the first one that popped into his mind.
  3325. "Uh, Felicity."
  3326. > His coworker chuckled loudly as he rolled his chair back to his computer yet again. "Yep, sounds like the type. You sure she's not vegan?"
  3327. > Anon chose not to respond.
  3328. > Luckily he got a call and had to deal with a customer, which served very well to take his mind off the lies and insinuations. By the time he was done, two more were in his queue. It was going to be a busy day.
  3329. >...
  3330. > The rest of the day and the evening passed somehow and Anon could hardly remember what he'd been doing. Everything felt like a haze as he waited for 'Shy to call him as they'd agreed.
  3331. > He was unable to sit still and kept going back to his kitchen window to peer into Mason's house, but aside from the light being on he never caught any sign of life.
  3332. > At long last his phone rang and Anon nearly dropped it in his haste to answer. It was Fluttershy and he stabbed the green button with a finger that was almost trembling in anticipation.
  3333. "H-Hi!"
  3334. > "Um. Hello," she replied, but her voice was quiet and hard to understand. Anon wondered if her phone was defective and mentally cursed that they hadn't tried actually talking through it before. He'd shown 'Shy how to call him and helped her set it up so the phone wouldn't ring out loud, but that was about it.
  3335. > On the other hand, maybe she was just being quiet out of fear of discovery.
  3336. "Can you speak up a bit? It's kinda hard to hear you."
  3337. > There was a brief pause and then her voice came through a lot clearer. "Oh, sorry. Is it better now? I g-guess I should keep my mouth closer to it."
  3338. > Anon remembered how acute her hearing was and realized she must have heard him quite comfortably even without holding the phone up to her face. He could almost imagine her lying on her belly on the bed, with the phone nestled between her forehooves.
  3339. > She'd be focusing her ears on the device with rapt attention. The mental image made Anon smile.
  3340. "Yeah, that's good. It's nice to hear you."
  3341. > "You too! Um..."
  3342. > More silence as 'Shy looked for something to say, but Anon beat her to it.
  3343. "So, how was your day?"
  3344. > She thought it over for a while, then there was a faint rustle as she readjusted the phone or something. "Honestly," her voice came back, "it's been kinda lonely. Um, Mr. Mason was working the whole day and I didn't really have anything to do."
  3345. > There was a definitive note of longing in her words. "I wanted to go to the park, but I'm not allowed on my own."
  3346. "Aw, I'm sorry to hear that," Anon commiserated. "Can you sneak over so I can cheer you up a little?"
  3347. > No reply came for a while and he was about to ask if they were still connected before Fluttershy spoke up: "I d-don't think that's a good idea. Mr. Mason is working late. He said he has to catch up on his paperwork. He might come check on me."
  3348. "Okay, yeah, I understand. Some other day then."
  3349. > "Some other day," she agreed. Then, more timidly: "I missed you."
  3350. "Yeah, same here. I know it's only been a day, but I really miss having you around, Buttershy."
  3351. > There was some more rustling in the speaker, then a long, forlorn sigh, only slightly clipped by the bad microphone. "M-Maybe someday..."
  3352. "Have you thought about, y'know- not being such a good maid and all that? Like we talked about?"
  3353. > She didn't answer right away, but this time Anon waited with bated breath. He didn't dare risk interrupting her. Finally, 'Shy said: "I d-don't feel comfortable doing that, Anon. I-"
  3354. > Her voice cracked and she cleared her throat before going on. "I think we should come up with a different plan."
  3355. > It was a blow, but a phone call wasn't a good time time try and convince her. Anon realized just how much he'd come to depend on her body language and he wished he could see how she was holding her ears right then. There was an angle of half-splayed which meant she was afraid and wanted nothing to do with the conversation, but there was a slightly different position which meant she wanted to be convinced.
  3356. > The thought of her soft, fuzzy ears made Anon smile and he changed the topic.
  3357. "You know what I miss the most?" he asked. "I miss scratching you behind the ears."
  3358. > There was a sharp intake of breath and he hurried on to take the sting out.
  3359. "It's not like I think of you as a pet or something, you know that! B-But- I mean- you enjoy it, right? And it's not like I do it without asking, s-so-"
  3360. > "Anon," she interrupted with some force behind her words. "You almost never ask before touching me. When- um, when we're sitting together you just put your hand on my head and start scratching."
  3361. > He hadn't even realized he was doing it! Maybe, on some level, he really did see her as a pet? If so, that would make their bedroom activities even weirder.
  3362. "I'm sorry-"
  3363. > Once again she spoke right over him, but her voice was quiet and trembled a little: "I kinda like it. Um, m-most of the time."
  3364. > The admission made Anon relax and start to grin. He was perfectly fine fondling 'Shy if she liked it.
  3365. "Okay, how about this then: If I start scratching your ears and you don't want it, just push me away or say so and I'll stop, deal?"
  3366. > "Deal."
  3367. > He wished he could do that right now, but unfortunately phones only worked for sound. He'd never realized just what a big limitation that was. If only he'd gotten her a phone which could do video calls, maybe that would be a bit better.
  3368. > "Um," 'Shy said into the silence, "so how was your day?"
  3369. "Ugh. You wouldn't believe some of the customers we got!"
  3370. > "Wanna tell me all about it?" she offered.
  3371. > Anon considered it for a moment, then shrugged to himself. Maybe she would get a good chuckle out of some of the cases he'd handled. A few of them were a bit ridiculous, after all.
  3372. "Okay, so there was this lady..."
  3373.  
  3374. > ~~~~
  3375.  
  3376. > The days seemed to blend together in Anon's mind. He hated his dead end job even more than before and could think of little else than going home. Then, once he was on his couch, he stared listlessly at the TV, waiting until it was time to sleep.
  3377. > Every little noise around the apartment made him start, hoping Fluttershy would come visit, but it was usually a false alarm. Each time his phone dinged or vibrated he scrambled to look in case it was 'Shy trying to call him.
  3378. > When he absolutely couldn't stand the emptiness anymore, Anon went out and walked around the back yard, hoping she would have some work outside or would simply come to chat with him for a while.
  3379. > The waiting was unbearable and Anon's hatred of Mr. Mason grew with every day the man kept Fluttershy too busy to see him.
  3380. > Then came the good moments, when he caught her outside and they talked for a few moments, or when she came to visit, sometimes staying for a meal and occasionally bringing something she'd cooked herself.
  3381. > It felt as if all the color which had leached out of Anon's world came back in force during the time they spent together.
  3382. > Yet more precious were those beautiful nights when 'Shy was able to sneak away and come to his bed. Anon wished it could be every night, but she was cautious almost to a fault and stayed put in her own room if Mr. Mason so much as set foot out of his normal routine.
  3383. > When he could think clearly Anon was glad she was calling the shots, because he could never show that much restraint if it were up to him. All the caution was what allowed them to be together undetected.
  3384. > Most of all Anon hoped his neighbor would take more extended business trips so he could spend whole days with 'Shy.
  3385. > Little by little the couple grew closer and Anon could no longer imagine life without her. Seeing that smiling, lightly blushing muzzle peek around the door frame when she came to visit just made his day.
  3386. > Hearing her soft, quiet voice on the phone when she called during the day made it that much easier to deal with irritating customers. It was even starting to affect his job performance and Harris was starting to drop little hints of a possible raise in the future.
  3387. > Anon didn't really care about the job, though. He had become so focused on the times they spent together that he barely noticed the season change. There was more rain, the days were getting shorter and the temperatures colder, but his routine never really altered.
  3388. > It was as if he flipped between two states: missing 'Shy and having 'Shy.
  3389. >...
  3390. > It was another chilly day in late October, a fact Anon only registered because he saw some Halloween decorations around the neighborhood on his way from his job.
  3391. > The evening he'd spent in a daze, trying to play some game or other on his console, but in fact just running down the clock before he had to go sleep and do it all again the next day.
  3392. > 'Shy hadn't been able to visit that entire week and if it continued that way Anon's weekend would be cold and lonely. She'd explained that Mr. Mason was working longer hours and was liable to ask for a cup of tea or a sandwich at any time.
  3393. > She simply had to stay in the house, free to do her things but always attentive. Luckily she had been able to call for a few minutes here and there, but even then Fluttershy's voice was tense with worry that Mason might walk into her room at any moment.
  3394. > It irked Anon no end that he wouldn't afford her even the basic courtesy of knocking first.
  3395. > Even worse, because of the unpredictable nature of his late-night work, 'Shy didn't dare sneak away in the evening. It sucked, but Anon could never blame her.
  3396. > He blamed that jerk of her owner. He could never really understand workaholics. It was as if they had no life.
  3397. > The small mercy of that was that Mason had little time or patience to really interact with Fluttershy, so she was left mostly to herself. She was often bored, which meant she risked calling him more often. She even told him she missed their... 'fun times'.
  3398. > Once she was finally able to come over she would be very pent up and in need of some quality stress relief. That was something to look forward to.
  3399. > Anon put his controller down after realizing he'd been staring at the main menu for over fifteen minutes, trying to make himself get interested in the game. He glanced at the clock, which read half past ten.
  3400. > He checked his phone, but there hadn't been a call from 'Shy he'd somehow missed. It looked like another lonely night. With a mournful sigh, Anon shut the TV off, dragged himself upright, and went to give his teeth the most cursory of cleanings.
  3401. > He'd sleep, then he would wake and go to work. One more day and then it would be a Saturday. He wasn't working that weekend and a slim hope remained 'Shy might be able to talk Mason into letting her visit.
  3402. > Anon didn't have many dealings with his rich neighbor, which suited him just fine, but he still knew a lot about the man's moods and the stress of his job through 'Shy.
  3403. > While Mason didn't seem to care about his maid and his neighbor being friends, neither did he go out of his way to enable them to see each other.
  3404. > Fluttershy was there to serve his needs first and foremost. He'd paid a lot of money for what was essentially twenty-four hour care and cleaning, and any time 'Shy took out of that was a loss on his investment.
  3405. > At least that was the image Anon had built up in his mind. The one redeeming quality Mason had was that he didn't want to take 'Shy to his bed. Anon didn't know what he'd do if that happened, but it made him sick to his stomach to even consider it, so he tried not to think about it.
  3406. > Eventually he made it to his bedroom and slumped down on his pillow. His hand slid around, unconsciously looking for a warm, furry body next to his, but of course there was none.
  3407. > Anon sighed, turned to face the wall, and closed his eyes. Perhaps he'd dream of her once more if he couldn't have the real thing. He inhaled as the all-too-familiar scent of her shampoo tickled his nose.
  3408. > A familiar sound made him sit bolt upright, holding his breath and hardly daring to hope. He turned his head, trying to catch more noises.
  3409. > There it was again! A clop of a hoof on concrete stairs.
  3410. > Anon suddenly began to smile and shifted over to make room in his bed. He always left his front door unlocked while he was at home these days so 'Shy could come in whenever she wanted.
  3411. > He listened expectantly as the mare struggled with the door handle and his heartbeat quickened when she closed up behind herself and made her way to the bedroom.
  3412. > It was dark, so all Anon could see was a shape in the door frame, but that profile was unmistakable.
  3413. > "Um, are you asleep?" she whispered.
  3414. "No. Come in!"
  3415. > She took a few more steps, but stopped in the middle of the room. "Oh, I'll just be a second, my hooves are wet..."
  3416. > It was a slight delay, but Anon didn't mind. He listened as 'Shy walked to the bathroom and imagined he could hear the scrub of fabric against her legs.
  3417. > Not long after there was the noise of the hamper lid opening and closing and 'Shy came back. This time she approached the bed, looming over it, but still didn't climb in.
  3418. "Buttershy?"
  3419. > "Um, I'll just wait a couple of minutes," she explained. "Someone was walking in the street so, uh, I hid in the bushes. I had to wait for them to leave, so I'm a bit cold."
  3420. > Anon didn't understand the hesitation.
  3421. "Well, come in and warm yourself up then," he suggested.
  3422. > There was just enough light for him to see her shake her head. "I will, but my hooves are icy and I don't want to make you cold as well," she explained.
  3423. "It'll be fine. I don't mind, really."
  3424. > He held up the blanket and patted the mattress with his free hand. Even a chilly pegasus was preferable to an empty bed. Besides, Anon thought about how cozy and happy 'Shy would be when he put his arms around her and warmed her up.
  3425. > She was still hesitating, so he patted the bed once more.
  3426. > "Are you sure? My hooves are really cold."
  3427. "It's okay, Buttershy. Let me help get you warm."
  3428. > At long last she lifted a leg and climbed in. She hesitated and Anon was about to repeat his invitation once more, but 'Shy moved before he spoke.
  3429. > She settled down on her back at the far end of the bed and Anon draped the blanket around her. Her fur *was* icy to the touch, but that just made him want to comfort her more.
  3430. "C'mere."
  3431. > "We really should wait until-"
  3432. > Anon ignored her concern and reached around her barrel. 'Shy didn't resist when he turned her to face him, nor when he slid his other arm under her head to serve as her pillow.
  3433. > The momentary chill on his skin was nothing compared to the joy that she'd sleep with him that night.
  3434. > Without really thinking about it Anon pulled her closer, tried to tuck her against his chest. A single touch of her hooves on his flesh made him gasp in shock and jerk away.
  3435. > It felt as if someone had taken four pieces of metal out of liquid hydrogen and pressed them against his bare skin. It was a piece of luck her hooves hadn't stuck to him!
  3436. > Fluttershy pulled away when Anon hissed. "I'm sorry!" she whined. "I tried to tell you!"
  3437. > He wouldn't be defeated. If her hooves felt that chilly, the poor thing must have been freezing. Anon wondered just how long she'd been hiding in those bushes.
  3438. "No, come back. I was just surprised. Come."
  3439. > She didn't resist as he put his arms back where they were supposed to be and pulled her closer once more. This time he was ready and held her against him, despite the unbelievable chill of her four hooves.
  3440. > Anon grit his teeth and tried to keep himself from shivering, but he persisted.
  3441. "Here, slide a little more, there's my warm spot."
  3442. > He pressed himself against the far wall and allowed 'Shy to occupy the bit of the bed he'd warmed up with his body heat before she came. He hugged her close once more, this time barely reacting to her hooves.
  3443. > They already felt a little warmer. He tightened his hold around her barrel and she buried her face against his chest so her head was completely covered by the blanket.
  3444. > Her fur was still chilly to the touch, but after Anon ran his hand down her side a few times 'Shy was starting to warm up. He knew just how good a job he was doing when she began to sigh in luxury.
  3445. > Each deep breath she took made Anon smile wider as it slowly heated the cozy space between them. He wanted to gather the poor, little shivering thing and cradle her against himself until she was nice and toasty.
  3446. > "Gosh," 'Shy finally said, "I guess I didn't even realize how cold it was!"
  3447. > Instead of reply, Anon lifted the blanket so he could place a tender kiss on Fluttershy's forehead. She moved her head up to return the favor and pressed her cold nose against his cheek.
  3448. > They shared a very chaste kiss, then Anon put his fingers on her muzzle and guided her down against his neck, where he carefully pressed her nose against his skin.
  3449. > He knew that the colder it felt to him the warmer it would be for 'Shy. She let out a breath she'd been holding and Anon could swear it turned into a purr at the end there.
  3450. "I love you just so much. I'm really glad you came today."
  3451. > There was a slight shift under the blanket and Anon lifted it a little to look. 'Shy had folded her ears back and her eyes darted to and from his in rapid shifts.
  3452. > "I c-couldn't stand it," she admitted. It was too dark to see, but Anon was sure there was a blush on her face. "I missed you this whole week. I just had to come."
  3453. "That's sweet. I missed you too," Anon said and punctuated his words with another small kiss.
  3454. > "I- I-", 'Shy began, but whatever word came next was lost in a slight whimper. She swallowed and tried again. "Would- would you- um, if it's okay, I mean. You totally don't have to..."
  3455. "Mm?"
  3456. > She was about to ask something she felt was embarrassing, which usually meant sex. Anon waited patiently, having learned it did no good to try and rush the mare.
  3457. > 'Shy swallowed and stole another little kiss to give herself some more time. She squirmed in his grasp, moving all four hooves to new spots on Anon's skin, seeking out more warmth. Her wing extended to rest across his side as she tried to pull herself a little closer.
  3458. > Finally she was ready to take another stab at her question. "What I wanted to ask- Uh, you can say no, okay? It's just- *mumblemumblemumble*."
  3459. > Even that hurried, stuttering, incoherent little sentence was enough for 'Shy to start breathing faster. She took refuge in pressing her face against Anon's chest again as an excuse so she didn't have to meet his eyes.
  3460. "Say again?"
  3461. > She swallowed another lump, but didn't move her head away. It would be easier if she hid her muzzle from sight, Anon knew, so he just put his palm against her cheek and waited.
  3462. > "I was wo-O-ndering," she began, a squeak nearly interrupting the word, "if you'd, um, d-dothatthingwithyourtongue."
  3463. > It all came out in a rush, but this time Anon understood. He was never getting used to this and each time 'Shy suggested something sexual she was so timid about it as if she was a filly in her first time with a guy.
  3464. > Anon tried to encourage her, but the times 'Shy was able to openly talk about it were rare and mostly came either during their lovemaking or just after it. It was cute in a way, so Anon didn't mind at all, especially with how forward and needy she became once she got started.
  3465. "Sure I will!" he assured her. "You know I love doing that to you, Buttershy!"
  3466. > She finally pulled her face away and gave him one of her signature timid smiles, somehow managing to get part of her face obscured by her mane even while lying on her side.
  3467. > "Thanks!" she squeaked. "I couldn't- um couldn't stop thinking about it all week..."
  3468. > Anon slid his hand down to her side, just below her wing, and twirled his fingers into her fur.
  3469. "Just tell me when you're ready."
  3470. > Another thing he'd learned. Sex worked a lot better if he let 'Shy stew of a little before going at it. The anticipation would fill her up and then spill over, making her a completely different - and much sexier - pony.
  3471. > "I'll. um, I'll have to go right after," 'Shy said with a pang of sorrow in her voice.
  3472. "Aw. Why?"
  3473. > She shook her head and let out a sad sigh. "Mr. Mason is acting really strange and sometimes he gets up even earlier than usual. I really don't want him to catch me gone, Anon."
  3474. > It made sense and he was sad to lose a full night of cuddling. In some strange way he enjoyed just sleeping in the same bed as 'Shy even more than the sex.
  3475. "Aw, I'm sorry. Maybe it's just a busy time or something. Companies finish their business year around now, so he probably has a whole lot of work to do."
  3476. > Fluttershy nodded against his chest. "I guess. He's had me helping him with copying some papers. He never let me near his papers before."
  3477. "That's probably it, then."
  3478. > Anon waited for a bit longer, wondering if she would want to talk some more. He'd get to enjoy her snuggles longer that way and delaying the lovemaking would just make it all the sweeter for anticipation.
  3479. > After a few seconds 'Shy asked: "Anon, where is the Isle of Man?"
  3480. "Huh? Where did that come from?!"
  3481. > Her question was totally unexpected and Anon couldn't make sense of it at first. Luckily she explained: "When I was copying those documents there were some things about, um, The Isle of Man. It sounded like a place, but I've never heard of it."
  3482. > Anon thought back to his geography lesson.
  3483. "I think it's some thing over in Europe, isn't it? Technically a country, but I think it's under British rule."
  3484. > "Huh."
  3485. > It didn't sound as if 'Shy had understood anything beyond 'it is a place somewhere'. After some time she asked: "What about Cayman Islands?"
  3486. > Before Anon could dredge up something from his memory 'Shy went on: "I mean, I know they're some islands, but why is Mr. Mason's company doing something with all these islands?"
  3487. > It was a very good question and a dark suspicion began to rise up in Anon's mind. Most of the times he'd heard those two names recently it was on the news and connected with scandals.
  3488. "Buttershy, can you remember what those papers said?"
  3489. > 'Shy scrunched up her muzzle in thought, then shrugged. "I'm sorry, I just saw those names. There were a lot of numbers and then something complicated I didn't really understand. Why?"
  3490. > An inkling of a plan was starting to form and Anon barely dared think about it for fear it would vanish if he examined it too closely.
  3491. "Could you maybe get me a copy of those documents?"
  3492. > This got him a sharp gasp and she shrank back, away from him. "B-But Mr. Mason told me to be really careful with those papers. He said they're really important. It s-said 'Confidential' on them!"
  3493. > It was making more and more sense. Anon didn't understand why Mason would entrust a task like that to his house slave, but what else could it be?
  3494. > His company was dodging taxes by sending money to tax havens and maybe there was a way to use that to blackmail Mason into giving him 'Shy.
  3495. > Anon was starting to get excited as his mind worked on a vague plan.
  3496. "Please? I think it might be very important. It could help me get you away from Mason."
  3497. > In the dim light Anon saw Fluttershy's ears wilt. In all their time together, that was the one point on which she remained elusive and defensive.
  3498. > "Anon, I-"
  3499. > He didn't want another argument, so he put his fingers on her lips to shut her up.
  3500. "Hush, I'm sorry. I won't make you do something you're not comfortable with. I'd just like you to think about it."
  3501. > Besides, he wasn't completely sure he had the right end of the stick, even.
  3502. "Could you take a closer look when he gives you something like that to do next time and tell me what the papers say?"
  3503. > She was obviously battling with her integrity and despite the difficulties it was causing him Anon couldn't help but feel a touch of pride.
  3504. > Enslaved and forced to work, but she still wanted to be honest. Well, as honest as possible, considering that she'd been sneaking over without her owner's permission or knowledge.
  3505. "Please, Buttershy? I promise we won't be doing anything illegal, I just want to know. Maybe Mr. Mason or his company are doing something bad. I need to make sure, okay?"
  3506. > Another angle occurred to him and Anon leaned in to kiss Fluttershy's nose.
  3507. "If he is, I don't want you to get dragged down with him."
  3508. > She still wasn't certain, but 'Shy sighed and gave a slight nod. "Okay, I'll try and remember what it says next time. For you, Anon."
  3509. > He wrapped his arms around her and drew her closer once more, elated that he might soon have leverage on the unlikeable Mr. Mason. With luck, just a hint that he knew something, maybe a detail or two would be enough to get Mason to sell him Fluttershy at a price he could afford.
  3510. > Maybe he didn't even need the actual papers.
  3511. > Anon dug his fingers into Fluttershy's fur and kissed the side of her muzzle. Her hooves pressed against him again and they felt quite warm, very unlike that first moment when she came in.
  3512. > He couldn't wait anymore. He placed another kiss just below, and the next one on her neck.
  3513. > It was somewhat cliché to trail kisses down her belly until he reached her treasure, but 'Shy absolutely loved it when he did that and it got her really hot and bothered if he took his time.
  3514. > She was already breathing deeply as he nuzzled the fur aside and gently kissed her collarbone. She curled her forehooves to her body and already spread her hind legs to give him access.
  3515. > Anon was careful not to put weight on her wings which were coming unfurled as he kept moving lower.
  3516. > It had been too long since the last time they'd made love and he wondered if he could make her come just by playing his tongue against her teats.
  3517. > He'd only managed to do that once so far, but it was an incredible experience and 'Shy had absolutely loved it. She'd said it was a different kind of orgasm.
  3518. > Anon decided to take it as a challenge. She would be going back when they finished, so he might as well make it last as long as possible.
  3519. > He'd get through work the next day somehow. That was why they invented coffee.
  3520. > "Mmmm- oh, Anon," Fluttershy breathed. He sneaked a peek and saw her eyes were already closed and there was a smile on her face.
  3521. > Anon changed his grip, so he was holding Fluttershy's midsection in place as he descended to her bellybutton.
  3522. > She always liked it when he paid attention to it and it was absolutely fascinating to him how it was covered with such soft fluff.
  3523. > He didn't know when she'd be able to visit next, so Anon had to make the most of this night.
  3524. > He had to make her squeal.
  3525.  
  3526. > ~~~~
  3527.  
  3528. > Anonymous was lying in his bed, alone again, but this time a lot happier. True, 'Shy had to leave soon after their lovemaking, but it felt good to know she had missed him as well.
  3529. > The kind mare had even gone to fetch a towel for him before she left so he didn't have to get out of bed. Then she took a very quick shower, came back to his room to share a kiss, and left.
  3530. > There was one unwelcome thought: her entire visit felt very... 'sex-worker-ish'. Anon pushed it away and didn't let it spoil the afterglow.
  3531. > He didn't think of 'Shy that way and he was sure she didn't consider herself like that either.
  3532. > Eventually he fell asleep.
  3533. >...
  3534. > Friday began a little better than most of the days that week. Some of it was simply because it was Friday and Anon didn't work that weekend, but most of it was a kind of lingering afterglow.
  3535. > He kept thinking back on how 'Shy had squirmed, moaned and gasped as he played his tongue on her nipples. It took some effort, but in the end she came from that alone.
  3536. > Her muscles had locked up for a second, then she let out a deep, urgent groan and slumped down. Her hooves had gone to Anon's head, patting and stroking, saying a silent thank you.
  3537. > For his part, Anon had simply rested his head on her belly and enjoyed the sound of her thundering heartbeat and rapid, shallow breathing.
  3538. > She calmed down quickly enough, but then she wanted more. Much more.
  3539. > It had been after midnight when she finally left, promising she would try and visit on the weekend.
  3540. > Anon hoped that Mason wouldn't keep on working the whole time, or if he did, that he wouldn't demand Fluttershy's constant attendance.
  3541. > "Hello? Anonymous?"
  3542. > The sound of his name brought him back from the pleasant memories where his mind had wandered to.
  3543. "Huh? Oh, what do you want Paul?"
  3544. > His older coworker had a slightly worried expression as he watched him across the shoulder-high partition between their desks. "You okay?" he asked when he was certain he had Anon's full attention. "You kinda looked out of it just now, Anon."
  3545. "Oh, sorry. Just thinking."
  3546. > "About this girl of yours?"
  3547. "What?! How did you- no!" Anon began, but quickly realized it was useless to deny it. "How did you know?"
  3548. > Paul gave him a knowing grin. "Just that look. Everyone goes through it. The new-relationship euphoria."
  3549. > There wasn't much he could say to that, so Anon just shrugged and glanced at his screen to see if he'd missed any calls.
  3550. > "Yeah," Paul went on, reminiscing, "it's the best feeling in the world. And then it goes away and you find out whether you really love her."
  3551. "I do!"
  3552. > The sudden reply came out of nowhere and even Anon himself didn't know why he'd blurted it out. It was the simple truth, wasn't it? He loved 'Shy and their desire for each other hadn't faded in all these months.
  3553. > Paul made his way around their two desks and pulled a chair from Anon's other neighbor who had gone home early. After sitting himself comfortably, Paul grinned.
  3554. > "You really got it hard for this chick, don't you?"
  3555. > He didn't wait for Anon's reply and his eyes unfocused. "I remember when I first started going out with Laura. I was exactly like you."
  3556. > Anon didn't believe it and it must have showed on his face because Paul laughed at his expression.
  3557. > "Tell you what, join me and Alex for a pint after work. You hardly ever mention this lady of yours. What was her name again?"
  3558. > He had to scramble to remember, but luckily he managed to keep his face neutral. Paul didn't comment on it, so he must have thought Anon was undecided about going out for drinks with them rather than struggling with the name.
  3559. "Felicity."
  3560. > "Yeah, the crazy vegan one. How's it going?"
  3561. "She's not-"
  3562. > "Relax, relax," Paul raised a hand in apology. "Just messing with ya. So, beer after work?"
  3563. > He wasn't expecting 'Shy that day, especially with her worries about Mason's unpredictable routine. If he went home, he'd just sit on the couch and stare at the TV for a few hours.
  3564. "Okay, fine."
  3565. > Paul gave him a grin and a thumbs up, then stood up and returned the chair to where he'd found it. "Okay, two more hours to go."
  3566. > Before Anon could respond in any way his screen flashed and his ear piece gave a low ding, telling him there was a call coming it.
  3567. > He forcibly pushed 'Shy out of his thoughts so he could focus on his job. He'd need the income if he ever got Mason to sell her.
  3568. >...
  3569. > The bar his coworkers dragged Anon to had a very British thing going on. It was even called 'Someone's Pub'. He'd forgotten the actual name about five seconds after coming in.
  3570. > He glanced down at the drinks menu and read it again, although he wasn't expecting to retain it for very long: Windsor's. Definitely British or, trying very hard to seem like it.
  3571. > There was the Union Jack on one wall and a bunch of photos of soccer players on the other. Most of the bar was some heavy-looking, dark wood and the lights on the walls were shaped like old-fashioned gas lamps, though they had electric bulbs in them.
  3572. > The beer came in big, thick glass mugs and it tasted pretty good, as much as Anon knew about such things. It wasn't too bitter and it was getting him pleasantly dizzy, so it must have been good beer, he reasoned.
  3573. > That said, he only had the one pint, cognizant of the fact that he had to drive home. Paul and Alex were on their second, obviously used to doing this after work.
  3574. > "So, pink hair you said?" Alex chuckled. "Vegan and dyed hair. I'd tell you to stay away from that, but seems you made up your mind."
  3575. "God, it's not like that, Alex! Pink hair kinda suits her."
  3576. > An image of Fluttershy's meek little smile with her mane covering most of her face crept into Anon's mind.
  3577. "Besides, she's vegetarian."
  3578. > Both of his friends laughed some more at that. "Same difference. Lemme guess, she really *loves* animals?"
  3579. > It made her sound like some kind of PETA-crazy chick and Anon's face darkened. He didn't like the guys disparaging 'Shy and he sought for something to make them understand just how great she was.
  3580. > Without letting slip she was a pony, of course.
  3581. "Well, yeah, but you should see her with animals. It's like she can understand them. I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it."
  3582. > "So, how many pets does she have?" Paul asked.
  3583. "None, actually!"
  3584. > Anon was quite pleased about that one. 'Shy wanted pets and she had had a ton of them back in Equestria, but for once Mason's strict house rules were doing him a favor!
  3585. "We went to a zoo in the summer and... it was amazing, actually. I'm telling you, S-Felicity has a talent."
  3586. > "What's she do for a job then?"
  3587. > It was pure luck that Anon had just lifted his mug when Paul asked, so he could use that swig to think about his answer.
  3588. "Maid for hire. Like, people hire her to come clean their houses and stuff."
  3589. > He was half expecting another round of laughter, but then he remembered all three of them worked in a call center. The only thing worse than that would be retail.
  3590. "It's just a temporary thing, though," Anon went on, trying to make 'Shy look better. "Once she has enough money saved up- I dunno. Something else."
  3591. > The two nodded, having had a similar idea once upon a time. A dead end job just to earn some cash and get settled, then on to bigger and better things.
  3592. > Anon and Alex still had a chance for that, but Paul needed a steady paycheck to pay the mortgage on his house. His best chance to get out of customer support was by promotion, if he ever took it.
  3593. > The three sat in silence for a bit, then Paul spoke up in a more serious tone. "Well, she sounds like a nice girl."
  3594. > Alex gave him an odd look, but the older man just went on: "I know we give you a hard time, but it's nice to see you happy for a change, Anon."
  3595. > After a moment his other coworker murmured something affirmative and Anon felt a bit closer to them both.
  3596. > "So," Paul said after another swig of beer. "When are you gonna bring this girl around so we can see her?"
  3597. > This put the grin back on Alex's face and he piped up: "Yeah. Do you at least have a photo?"
  3598. > Anon swore a little to himself for not having thought of this question. He had to improvise, and fast!
  3599. "I dunno. I don't have any photos on me. I'm not really into that whole thing and neither is she."
  3600. > This news made Paul frown a little. "Well, you better get into it, Anon. Five, ten years from now, if you're still together, you'll want some memories of how it all started."
  3601. > He sighed and looked down into his mug. "Trust me. The one regret me and the missus have is that we didn't take more photos."
  3602. > His words rang true and Anon resolved to snap more shots with his phone. He wanted to remember 'Shy, even if somehow it didn't work out. Especially if it didn't.
  3603. > He began to wonder if he could talk her into taking some sexy shots as well.
  3604. "Yeah, that's a good point. I'll think about it," he said, not wanting to promise pictures.
  3605. > If it came to that, he'd try and find a picture of a random girl on Instagram. One with pink hair. It shouldn't be too hard.
  3606. > Hopefully the guys wouldn't notice Anon wasn't in the photo.
  3607. > Even better, the two seemed to have forgotten their request to meet 'Shy personally.
  3608. > In a way it would have been nice to introduce his coworkers to the mare, but it would also be completely awkward. By now Alex and Paul knew he was sleeping with her.
  3609. > Not that it had been difficult to guess. A night with 'Shy always left Anon in good spirits, which spilled over into his work. He was a lot nicer with the idiot customers on those days.
  3610. > Even old Mr. Harris had remarked upon it.
  3611. > In either case, Anon didn't want to risk any more difficult questions or requests, so he drained the last dregs of his beer, then took his wallet out of his back pocket.
  3612. > Alex waved him down. "Nah, man. Today's on us. You can get the next one."
  3613. > He wasn't sure if there would be a next one, but Anon still nodded.
  3614. "Thanks. I guess I'll see you guys Monday."
  3615. > They nodded at him and made their goodbyes, wishing him a good weekend. Anon did the same and left them to their beer.
  3616.  
  3617. > ~~~~
  3618.  
  3619. > The next piece of good news came on Sunday morning. Anonymous was just resigning himself to a long, boring day when he heard the unmistakable clop of hooves in his hallway.
  3620. > He sat upright and looked over the couch's backrest in very welcome surprise. 'Shy was standing there, in the door to his living room with her signature demure smile.
  3621. > "Um, you said I can just come in," she said in reply to the question she perceived in his eyes. "Sorry I didn't call earlier, but I didn't really know if I would be able to come and then I just- well, here I am."
  3622. "Yeah! Yeah, of course!" Anon replied. "It's just that I wasn't expecting you."
  3623. > Her ears wilted and Fluttershy rubbed at an imagined speck of dust on the floor with a hoof. "Oh. Is it a bad time?"
  3624. > Anon practically leapt over the backrest and slid to his knees so he could give her a proper hug.
  3625. "You kidding?! It's always a good time for you."
  3626. > He pressed his face against hers and drank in the sensations. The mellow, herbal scent of her shampoo, the lush, soft feel of her coat, even the tiny sounds as her breath hitched and resumed.
  3627. > There was one overriding desire making itself known by a growing pressure in Anon's pants and he withdrew his face so he could plant a needful, breathless kiss right on Fluttershy's lips.
  3628. "Wanna go to the bedroom?"
  3629. > She pulled away and held him at hoof's length with her foreleg. Her ears lowered even further and she averted her eyes as she let her mane cover most of her expression.
  3630. > "I- Um, Anon," she began, not sure how to say it. "I, uh, I'm- It's just..."
  3631. > He knew what she was trying to say and while he was disappointed, her embarrassed stutter was just too adorable for Anon to feel even slightly upset.
  3632. "Relax, you can say no. I won't be mad."
  3633. > "Then - no," 'Shy finished. "I mean, I'd like to, j-just not right now. M-Maybe later?"
  3634. > Anon wondered why she wasn't in the mood. She'd always been in the mood after a few days apart, but he decided not to dwell on it. 'Shy wasn't in the mood and that was that.
  3635. > Instead, he ran his fingers through the soft fuzz on her cheek, tickled where her sideburns would be if she were human, and found her ear to scratch.
  3636. > She always loved that and today was no exception.
  3637. "It's okay. Don't ever worry about telling me no, Buttershy."
  3638. > Perhaps she heard him and maybe she even understood, but it was doubtful because she had closed her eyes at the touch and was now leaning heavily against Anon's hand.
  3639. > He scratched for a few more moments, then removed his hand, nearly making 'Shy fall over in her effort to follow his movement. She opened her eyes and colored a little more when she realized what had almost happened.
  3640. > "So, you're not mad?"
  3641. > That answered his question whether she heard him, Anon thought to himself. He made sure to smile and wipe any trace of disappointment from his face.
  3642. "Of course not. I'm just happy to spend time with you. Come sit on the couch and I'll pla- massage your ears some more."
  3643. > He almost used the wrong word there. 'Playing with' or 'scratching' Fluttershy's ears reminded her that she was little more than a pet, however much Anon assured her that it wasn't the case. It was best just to avoid those terms.
  3644. > 'Shy had a faraway look as she contemplated the offer and a slight grin appeared on her muzzle in anticipation. "That sounds lovely. Uh, mind if I make us some breakfast first? Did you eat yet? I came as soon as I could."
  3645. > It was quite late in the morning and it was uncharacteristic for 'Shy not to eat anything by now.
  3646. "You okay? Why did you skip breakfast at- at home?"
  3647. > Her ears folded down and her face fell. "Mr. Mason wanted me to make him eggs with bacon," 'Shy explained and shuddered a little at the memory. "It kinda shot my appetite. I feel better now, though. It was just the smell."
  3648. > A bit of her smile came back. "Actually, that's how I convinced him to let me come! I said I was nauseated from the smell and needed to go out anyway."
  3649. "Are you? Do you wanna lie down? Let me bring you a glass of water!"
  3650. > Anon was already standing, but 'Shy stopped him from rushing off by means of a hoof placed against his thigh. "It's okay," she assured him, "the fresh air really helped. Now I'm hungry again."
  3651. "How long do you have?"
  3652. > "I promised Mr. Mason I'd be back before lunch."
  3653. > She walked past Anon, giving his legs a flick of her tail, and made her way to the kitchen. Her muzzle scrunched up when she saw all the dishes piled up in the sink and she gave him a slightly chilly look.
  3654. > "You promised you'd wash up after each meal, Anon."
  3655. > All he could do was spread his hand in a gesture of defeat.
  3656. "Sorry. Got kinda lazy. I really wasn't expecting you, otherwise I'd clean up first.
  3657. > 'Shy shook her head sadly as she started pushing a chair from the table over to the sink. "I didn't ask you to clean up because of me, Anon. I asked you because of yourself."
  3658. > She sounded sad and a bit defeated. Anon hurried over and stopped the chair with a hand.
  3659. "You're right, and I'm sorry. I'll take care of it. Shoo. Make yourself a sandwich or something, you know the fridge."
  3660. > Ever since Fluttershy's visits had become commonplace, Anon had organized his fridge so that all the meat products were in one of the drawers, where she didn't have to see them.
  3661. > He also made sure everything was closed properly so she didn't have to smell them either. The cold helped with that.
  3662. > 'Shy gave the fridge a look, then put her hooves on the chair again. "How about we do it together? I'll wash and you can dry. That way we'll be done in no time."
  3663. "Deal. You're too sweet to me, Buttershy, you know that?"
  3664. > She pretended to grumble and be annoyed, but Anon caught a smile before she could hide it behind her mane. He waited for her to stand down from the chair and moved it to the sink himself.
  3665. > He took the station next to it while 'Shy climbed on and sat comfortably on her haunches.
  3666. "So, how've you been? I'm sorry you had to leave so quickly on Thursday."
  3667. > "Okay," she replied as she opened the faucet and waited for warm water. "How about you? I hope you weren't too tired for work."
  3668. "Nah, it was fine."
  3669. > Anon remembered the discussion with his coworkers the next day in the pub.
  3670. "Actually, I had an idea."
  3671. > "Oh?"
  3672. "I was thinking we should take more pictures with my phone. You know, of us. So we have something to look back on."
  3673. > 'Shy just stared, her expression completely unreadable. Anon was starting to worry that he'd said something wrong, but then she gave a single nod. "Sure, if you like."
  3674. "You don't like the idea?"
  3675. > She thought it over, using the distraction of washing a plate to give herself some more time. "No, it's a good idea. It's just-" she sighed and handed him the rinsed plate. "It'll just be a reminder for me that I'm a slave. Even if I'm not anymore then. You understand?"
  3676. "Actually, I don't. Why would pictures of us together be a reminder of- of what you are?"
  3677. > She stopped and gave him a sideways look, before reaching up and tapping her hoof against her collar.
  3678. > Anon understood. Her collar would be on all those photos.
  3679. "Yeah. But if no one is looking we can take it off for a minute, no? You know you're not a slave when you're with me, 'Shy."
  3680. > He got a sudden bit of inspiration and his grin turned predatory.
  3681. "Except to passion."
  3682. > The effect was instantaneous and 'Shy looked away, ears splaying in embarrassment. She didn't get away unscathed, Anon noticed. Her tail swished around at the memories she undoubtedly got from his little joke.
  3683. > "Ahem," she cleared her throat after a few seconds. "Okay, I haven't thought of it that way. Sure, you can take photos of me, but only if you let me take photos of you as well."
  3684. > It was a no-brainer and Anon slid his hand around the mare to squeeze her against his side for a moment.
  3685. "Deal. Might be tricky to use my phone with your hooves but we'll figure it out."
  3686. > He put his phone on the counter and fiddled with her collar strap to unbuckle it. Luckily it wasn't one of those models which would raise an alarm if it was removed. Apparently Mason thought her being unable to take it off herself was sufficient.
  3687. "C'mere," Anon murmured as he picked the phone back up and started the camera.
  3688. > He nudged 'Shy and she obligingly turned around on the chair, careful not to smear foam from her forehooves on the fabric, or on him. "Anon, my hooves are all foamy!"
  3689. "It's fine. Shows we're doing a good job," he countered.
  3690. > His hand went around her withers and 'Shy leaned her head against his chest, then Anon took a selfie. He checked it out and then showed it to 'Shy.
  3691. > She smiled at the picture, almost perfectly mirroring her expression in it. "You're right, it is kinda cute."
  3692. > The mare on the picture was holding her forelegs stiffly away from Anon, trying not to get foam on his clothes.
  3693. "Okay, now we should really get to it."
  3694. > She gave a nod of agreement and turned back to the dishes. Anon wanted to ask her about the other sort of pictures - the 'naughty' ones - but thought better of it.
  3695. > He had to get her a lot more used to being photographed first. She went back to the dishes and he replaced her collar.
  3696. > With the two of them the work progressed quickly and they were done in barely any time at all. Pretty soon all the dishes were wiped dry and stacked back into their respective cupboards.
  3697. "So, what do you want for breakfast?"
  3698. > Anon hadn't eaten yet either. He hadn't been hungry when he woke up and he had thought he would just roll breakfast and lunch into one, like for most of his off days.
  3699. > 'Shy leaned her head to one side. She didn't get down from the chair yet and she was at perfect height for him to give her a quick kiss on her nose as she thought.
  3700. > She flashed him a quick smile in return, then brightened up as an idea occurred. "Ooh! I wanna make muffins! I haven't baked muffins in forever!"
  3701. > It sounded fun, but Anon wasn't sure if it was feasible.
  3702. "Do we have everything for that?"
  3703. > It didn't take 'Shy more than a few seconds to look around the kitchen and nod. "Yes, I think so. Um, get me flour from the cupboard above the fridge. I'll move the chair to the counter and get sugar. Oh, and grab some milk."
  3704. > He went about his assigned tasks, already looking forward to tasting more of Fluttershy's cooking. She insisted she was nowhere as good as her friend Pinkie Pie, whom 'Shy made out to be this incredible, almost magical, baker.
  3705. > Despite her modesty, Anon couldn't praise her cooking skills enough. They were miles above his own and the things she produced in the kitchen were quite incredible.
  3706. > "Can you get the bag of frozen berries from the freezer? There's some left from... from that week in the summer."
  3707. > To his surprise Anon found she was right. It seemed like 'Shy knew his kitchen and the contents of his fridge better than he himself. It just went to prove how skilled she was with these things.
  3708. > Soon he had a small pile of ingredients on the counter while 'Shy was mixing something in a big, plastic bowl. She held the wooden spoon deftly with her ankle and kept the bowl pressed against her chest with her other leg.
  3709. > She was also starting to hum a little to herself, a sound Anon quite liked to hear.
  3710. "What's that song?" he asked.
  3711. > "Um, I was trying to find the melody for Princess Celestia's song again. I don't know why but I just can't put it out of my mind."
  3712. > It took Anon a few moments to remember.
  3713. "Oh, that's the one when Twilight got her wings, right? She told you the words, but she couldn't even hum the melody?"
  3714. > 'Shy put the bowl down and grabbed the sugar bag. "Well, she tried to hum it, but she was so bad at it that it didn't make any sense. I'm not even sure if I remember it right."
  3715. "Wanna try and sing it for me?"
  3716. > The request made her physically shrink back, but at least her cute blush was back. "I couldn't!" she said, voice barely a breathless whisper. "It's not ready!"
  3717. > Anon reached out and patted her head, hoping it'd give her some comfort.
  3718. "It's okay, you don't have to if you're not ready. I just want you to know you have a lovely singing voice."
  3719. > Anon had only heard it incidentally, most often when 'Shy was happy about something and her mind was otherwise occupied. The mare sang to herself without realizing it.
  3720. > "Thanks."
  3721. > She dropped more ingredients into her mix and pointed a hoof. "Can you grab the muffin tray?"
  3722. > He obeyed, taking it out of the indicated drawer and turning it around in his hands a few times.
  3723. "Huh. I didn't even know I had this."
  3724. > "You didn't," 'Shy said. She stopped what she was doing and was looking at him with a bit of a scrunch in her muzzle. "We bought it in the supermarket, remember? I said I might want to make muffins sometime and you said I should get what I need."
  3725. > It sounded like something he'd say, but the two of them had been in several stores over the months and after a while they'd kind of blended together.
  3726. "Yeah, I guess. Good thing you can think ahead."
  3727. > He handed her the tray and watched as she deftly picked up the mixing bowl with both hooves and began to pour the batter.
  3728. > "Turn the oven on to three hundred fifty."
  3729. "Okay, got it."
  3730. > Her pouring was done and Shy reached for some tablecloth to wipe her hooves clean. She slid down from the chair and stretched, popping a few joints in the process.
  3731. > She smiled up at Anon. "Now we just have to wait for the oven to preheat. Um, I forgot to do it before. I always forget to preheat."
  3732. "Don't worry about it. Just gives us more time to talk. Uh, you have a bit of batter..."
  3733. > Anon pointed to his own face and lightly touched the side of his nose. Hopefully she'd guess where it was. He took the cloth from the counter top so 'Shy wouldn't have to climb the chair again.
  3734. > She didn't take it, just crossed her eyes as she tried to see, then stretched her tongue out and licked her muzzle clean. It reminded Anon of a puppy.
  3735. "Cute."
  3736. > The remark got him a confused look, but Anon didn't explain. He walked over to the couch and patted the cushion next to him. After a moment she followed and jumped up.
  3737. > Just as he wanted, 'Shy nuzzled up against his side and he draped his arm around her small frame.
  3738. "So, how's it going? Mason still working like crazy?"
  3739. > 'Shy grunted, half in annoyance and half in reply. "Ugh. It's like that's all he does these days. Sometimes I think it's nice, because he mostly leaves me alone, but he shouts for tea, or coffee, or lunch, so I have to keep paying attention!"
  3740. "Yeah, it's like you're on call, 24/7."
  3741. > "Mhm. Oh, he had me putting some papers in binders and I managed to get a look at them!"
  3742. > This was better news and Anon's breath caught in excitement. He shifted in his seat so he was looking at 'Shy.
  3743. "Yes?"
  3744. > She shrugged. "It was like, I think they're called departments. How much money each would get next year, or something. It said 'budget planning' and Mr. Mason underlined some and wrote some notes, like 'reduce 20%', or 'check spendings last year'."
  3745. "Sounds boring."
  3746. > He was a little disappointed 'Shy didn't see anything obviously illicit. That photocopy job was probably once-in-a-lifetime.
  3747. "So, he keeps all these papers at home?"
  3748. > "Mhm! He says he wants to have copies of everything at his house, just in case someone tries to do something stupid in the office."
  3749. > It wasn't a lost cause, then, Anon decided. The fact that Mason had 'Shy copy those documents she mentioned the last time, and now this news, meant that incriminating evidence was probably in his house.
  3750. "So, he just keeps a ton of paper in a closet?"
  3751. > This time the mare shook her head. "No, it's a big metal safe. Except it doesn't have a turn-thingy, just a numbers-thingy."
  3752. "Turn thingy?"
  3753. > 'Shy shrugged a little. "You know how the bank safes have this knob you have to turn a certain number each way? Well, this one has buttons with numbers instead."
  3754. > It sounded like something from a cartoon, or an old movie, but Anon realized what she was talking about.
  3755. "Oh, you mean it has a keypad instead of that knob?" he asked.
  3756. > "Yeah! I- um, I saw the number he put in. I guess he isn't worried if I know it," Fluttershy explained. She looked a bit guilty about what she probably felt was spying. "Or maybe he didn't notice I was watching. I'm sure he knows I can read and write."
  3757. "Cool! You think you can get in there and find those Cayman Island papers?"
  3758. > Fluttershy's face darkened immediately and she pulled away from Anon's hug. "I could, but I won't," she said, voice filled with certainty. "I'm not that kind of pony, Anon!"
  3759. "Even if he's keeping you as a slave?"
  3760. > She opened her mouth, but didn't have a good response. "I don't want to talk about it, Anon!"
  3761. "Sorry, sorry. I know it's wrong, but you're miserable with Mason! If you were mine, you'd be much better off."
  3762. > For some reason those words just made 'Shy lower her ears and Anon thought he saw her eyes filling up with tears as she watched him.
  3763. "What?"
  3764. > She shook her head. "You said 'when I'm yours', Anon. I don't want to be your slave."
  3765. > It was that old story again and Anon heaved a sigh.
  3766. "Chrissake, 'Shy, we've been over this. I'm sorry I said it like that, but I didn't mean you'd be my slave. It'd be just like now, okay?"
  3767. > "Except on paper," she pointed out. "I'd be your pet, legally."
  3768. "Well, yeah, but just because the law hasn't caught up yet. I don't think of you as a pet."
  3769. > "Except when you pet me, and scratch my ears, and ruffle my mane."
  3770. > She wasn't angry anymore, just sad, and Anon decided to try and turn it into a joke. He didn't want 'Shy in that mood for the few hours she was with him.
  3771. "If you don't like that stuff just say so and I'll stop, remember?" he said, doing his best to hide his grin.
  3772. > Fluttershy's cheeks turned pink and she lowered her gaze down to her hooves. "I didn't say I don't like it." It came out as a mutter.
  3773. > He watched her face and waited until she looked up, whereupon they both burst out giggling.
  3774. "Look, all I'm asking is that you think about it, right? What Mason is doing to you is not right. You know I don't see you as a slave. It'd be better."
  3775. > He thought of something else.
  3776. "Besides, what he's doing is illegal. I don't think anyone would blame you if you stole some documents to prove it."
  3777. > Her mouth tightened and Anon quickly put a hand on her withers.
  3778. "Just think it over, okay? I won't make you do something you're not comfortable with."
  3779. > She leaned her head in to nuzzle his arm. "Thanks. I'll think about it, I promise."
  3780. > A moment later she slipped out of his grasp again and dropped to the floor. "I'll put the muffins in the oven. Can you set a timer for twenty-five minutes?"
  3781. "Sure thing," Anon said and grabbed his phone to do just that.
  3782. > She hadn't said yes, but it felt like she might if he kept at it. All he really needed was a photo of one of those documents, just enough to make Mason sell 'Shy.
  3783. > He didn't actually care if Mason's company was dodging taxes. Every corporation did it. He just needed some leverage on the man.
  3784. > Unable to sit still, Anon stood and went to the fridge to get a beer.
  3785. "Want one?"
  3786. > Fluttershy glanced over and nodded. "Um, can I get a half? I don't want to be drunk when Mr. Mason sees me, or he'll never let me come over again."
  3787. "Sure thing. We can share this one and I'll get another for myself later. Need any help with the muffins?"
  3788. > She turned around and used a hind hoof to push the oven closed. "I'm done. We just have to wait for them to bake. Can we put on a cartoon?"
  3789. "Of course, Buttershy. I'll even let you pick."
  3790. > They both hurried back to the couch for some quality cuddling.
  3791. > Anon took a swig of his beer on the way and offered the bottle to 'Shy as soon as they were sitting.
  3792. > Sunday had turned out a lot better than he'd expected. He had his cuddle buddy, even if only for a few hours. He'd get some delicious muffins for breakfast, and if all went well, 'Shy would be in the mood for some bedroom fun when that half beer took hold.
  3793.  
  3794. > ~~~~
  3795.  
  3796. > Anonymous couldn't help filling a little silly as he contemplated the array of plush toys on the supermarket shelf. There was a lot of choice, including sharks, which made him do a double take.
  3797. > Surely people weren't buying plushy sharks for their kids?
  3798. > In any case, he knew Fluttershy liked bears, so he was trying to decide between a classical, brown teddy-bear or a black and white panda.
  3799. > Either would make a good Christmas present for 'Shy, he just didn't know which she'd prefer. She'd talked about her bear friend, Harry, from Equestria, which had sounded a little crazy at first but with time became almost normal.
  3800. > Harry sounded like a regular brown bear, or maybe a grizzly, so this could be a nice reminder of an old friend. On the other hand, maybe 'Shy wouldn't like to be reminded of what she'd lost.
  3801. > Sighing, Anon picked up the panda plush and put it in his basket. The important thing was that he had a gift at all, and if it was something soft she could cuddle with when she was feeling lonely that was all the better.
  3802. > She would surely appreciate it.
  3803. > Besides, Anon wanted to get out of the aisle for kids' toys already. He headed for Arts&Crafts next in search of some colorful wrapping paper and maybe a ribbon.
  3804. > With luck they'd have a pink one which would be similar to Fluttershy's mane color. Or any color. At this point Anon was getting fed up with the crowd in the store.
  3805. > Shopping in the weeks leading up to the holiday season was something he'd rather avoid, but he hadn't thought to get a gift for 'Shy until their weekend lunch when she'd asked him about human traditions for this holiday.
  3806. > It turned out they had a different one in Equestria, something called 'Hearts Warming Eve', but by her account it sounded a bit similar, at least where it came to gift giving.
  3807. > That reminded him. He had to swing by the office supplies and pick out a nice fountain pen for Mr. Mason.
  3808. > It wasn't from him, of course, but 'Shy wanted to do something nice for her owner, however illogical that sounded to Anon. He was sure as Hell Mason wouldn't wouldn't do anything of the sort for 'Shy.
  3809. > She had insisted and in the end Anon had caved. At least she'd wrap it herself.
  3810. > His mood was slightly soured by the thought of the kind and beautiful 'Shy carefully wrapping a gift for her jerk of an owner, so Anon grabbed the first wrapping paper he saw. It was red and green, which was close enough for the Christmas spirit.
  3811. > He took a bit longer to look through the ribbons until he found what he was looking for. They had a pink one, but it wasn't quite the right shade. Hopefully it would be close enough, so Anon added it to the basket and headed back through the store to the office supplies aisle.
  3812. > The pen was all he needed and then he could get out of the place. Luckily he'd stocked up on frozen and packaged food so he wouldn't have to enter a supermarket until the holidays were over.
  3813. > Thinking of how happy 'Shy would be with her present was quickly lifting Anon's mood and he caught himself humming along to the awful Christmas store music.
  3814. > Each time he stopped himself and tried to think of any other song. Of course it was impossible, not during this time where the same five or six catchy jingles blared out of every radio and TV.
  3815. > The best thing to do was pay as quickly as he could and escape, hopefully with his sanity intact. He had what he needed, all that was left was to wrap it.
  3816. >...
  3817. > Anon sat down on the kitchen chair and inspected his handiwork. It wasn't exactly good, but the paper was loose enough so that it didn't betray the shape of what was inside.
  3818. > He'd been forced to use entirely too much sticky tape and the wrap might prove difficult to tear apart for Fluttershy's hooves, but he would be on hand to help out.
  3819. > Most importantly, the pink ribbon he'd tied in a bow looked decent enough and with luck it would serve as a distraction to keep 'Shy from inspecting the quality of the wrap.
  3820. > In any case, it was the best he could do so Anon went to the living room and lifted up one of the cushions from the couch. There was some space under there, probably for storing bedclothes or something, but now it would serve him as a hiding place.
  3821. > The thought of him and 'Shy sharing a glass of wine on Christmas Eve, then reaching under there to bring out her present brought a giddy smile to his face. Her eyes would light up, her ears would lower, just like when she got a compliment.
  3822. > Maybe she'd blush a little, or stammer a thank you. Then...
  3823. > Then she might need some help unwrapping it and then she would *really* like it when she saw what was inside.
  3824. > Anon knew for a fact that 'Shy felt lonely at nights when she didn't manage to sneak over, and the plush would help with that, at least a little. Some of her long, murmured phone calls had proved that beyond doubt. Hopefully the plush would remind her of him and ease her loneliness somewhat.
  3825. > Anyway, it would be a nice evening and 'Shy had promised she'd speak with Mason and ask to spend Christmas Eve with Anon. Best of all, it was only a week or so away!
  3826. > No sooner had Anon hidden the gift and sat down when he heard his front door open. He glanced at the clock and realized the wrapping job had taken him far longer than he'd anticipated.
  3827. > He'd barely gotten it done before 'Shy's visit!
  3828. > In a rush to seem casual, Anon grabbed for the TV remote and punched a random button, not really caring what it was as long as the picture showed up in time.
  3829. > Maybe 'Shy wouldn't ask what he'd been doing sitting on the couch with the TV turned off, but he didn't want her snooping around there. It was a completely irrational fear, a part of Anon's brain said, but he couldn't suppress it.
  3830. > "Hi, Anon..."
  3831. > 'Shy had been about to say something more, but her voice trailed off as she stared at the table. Anon nearly slapped himself in exasperation. Of course he'd been so preoccupied with hiding the present and the TV that he'd forgotten about the mess he'd made wrapping it up.
  3832. "Uh, I got you that pen you wanted for Mason," he tried to divert. "It's there on the table."
  3833. > Fluttershy kept looking at the bits of wrapping paper and sticky tape, then turned around. "Thanks! I don't know how I'll repay you, b-but... thanks."
  3834. > He'd known she didn't have any money, but it was fine. One pen and some wrapping paper really weren't that expensive, even if it was a slightly fancier fountain pen.
  3835. "Don't worry about it, it's fine."
  3836. > She still didn't like not being able to pay for herself, but by now 'Shy knew Anon enough to understand he really didn't mind. She lifted herself up and placed her forehooves on the kitchen chair so she could see on the table.
  3837. > "Are you done with your gifts? Can I wrap up mine now?"
  3838. "Yeah, um, sure. Go ahead."
  3839. > It was obvious she knew whom Anon's gift was intended for, but she didn't ask about it, for which he was quite grateful. An absolute gentlemare, Anon decided.
  3840. > She climbed fully into the chair and he got up and walked over to help with wrapping the pen. She would obviously need it.
  3841. > Except 'Shy apparently had it all in hand, or rather, hoof. She had unrolled some of the wrap to measure it out, then folded it and ran her hoof along the paper. To Anon's surprise, it easily tore in a straight line when she pulled the roll away with her mouth.
  3842. "Whoa."
  3843. > 'Shy gave him a questioning look, the roll of red and green wrapping paper still in her mouth.
  3844. "Hold that pose!"
  3845. > He had to rush back to the hallway where he'd left his phone in the jacket pocket, but luckily 'Shy hadn't moved by the time Anon made it back. He lifted up the phone and aimed it at her.
  3846. > The sudden attention made her lower her ears, but it just added to the cuteness factor as he snapped a few photos.
  3847. "Beautiful," he commented.
  3848. > Finally 'Shy was able to spit out the wrapping paper and focus once more on her task. Her hooves moved surely and precisely, evidently from long practice. In no time at all she had the gift neatly wrapped with Anon just staring dumbly.
  3849. > Sure, her present was a simple box whereas his was a complicated and soft bear plushy, but she'd still done a far better job than he could. Maybe it was a pony thing, or maybe it was a girl thing, he couldn't decide which.
  3850. "Good job on that, especially with hooves."
  3851. > "Anon!" she said in a disapproving tone. "Just because I have hooves doesn't mean I'm an invalid!"
  3852. > He was about to start apologizing profusely when he caught her grin and chuckled.
  3853. "Tease."
  3854. > She shrugged and looked around for the sticky tape. "It's still true. Hoof me that roll?"
  3855. > Anon didn't comment on her choice of phrase and held the object out to her, wondering how she'd deal with that. As far as he knew, nails were the only way to find the end of sticky tape.
  3856. > Or, he revised his opinion, teeth also worked apparently. 'Shy pulled out a strip and deftly bit it off, then smoothed the paper on her package and fixed it with the tape.
  3857. > "Just the ribbon now," she said. This one she couldn't bite, but she could still somehow manipulate scissors with both forehooves. In moments the box was wrapped and the bow was tied neatly.
  3858. "Jeez, you did that with your mouth?!"
  3859. > "Mhm!" Fluttershy nodded, allowing herself a smile of pride. "We ponies are good with our mouths. Well, maybe not unicorns, but the rest of us are!"
  3860. > She slipped from the chair, easily picking her present up in her mouth, then started to leave. Anon had known she wouldn't be able to stay long, but he was still disappointed.
  3861. "What, no kiss goodbye?" he asked.
  3862. > Fluttershy stopped and her ears folded down in sudden embarrassment. She placed the gift box down and came back. "Sorry! I didn't mean to forget, I just wanted to get this back before Mr. Mason comes home. I still need to hide it!"
  3863. > Anon didn't comment and just sat still at the table. He didn't have to wait long before she walked back and sat on her haunches. That freed her forelegs to grip his knees and lift herself up until she could reach his face.
  3864. > Fluttershy's kisses were always something special, even when they were rushed and her fur tickled Anon's nose. Her breath smelled faintly of cinnamon and her nose was cold against his cheek.
  3865. > She didn't try to force her tongue forward, but neither did she hold back, catching Anon's and playing with it for a few moments. Long enough to excite him, but not so long as to promise anything.
  3866. > When they broke apart, there was a small, mysterious smile on her muzzle. "I don't know when I'll be able to sneak over, but I'm already looking forward to it," she murmured.
  3867. "Y-Yeah, me too!"
  3868. > She didn't linger, because it would just make the parting harder. Instead, 'Shy grasped Anon's hand between her forehooves and pulled it closer until she could give it a quick nuzzle, then she turned and left. Flicking her tail around as she walked.
  3869. > At first Anon thought she was teasing again, but she didn't slow down or look back so he guessed it was just an unconscious reaction, probably to some thought.
  3870. > On her way to the front door she picked up the present for Mason and before she was out of sight she paused to look back and give Anon a smile around the bow in her mouth. He waved and she let her ears lower a little before leaving. That was a bit like a wave goodbye, Anon remembered.
  3871. > A sigh escaped his lips. That had been the high point of his day. It was just lucky that he'd remembered to buy more beer when he'd been in the store. It'd take the edge off.
  3872. > Maybe he could finish Detroit over the weekend and then look for something more cheerful to play together with 'Shy when she came over for Christmas.
  3873. > He was about to go do that when he noticed two grimy hoofprints on the chair next to him. His mouth tightened and he let his breath out in exasperation.
  3874. > 'Shy knew she had to wipe her hooves when she came in from outside, but she kept forgetting. Anon wondered just how much like a stall her house in Equestria must have looked like.
  3875. > Part of him wanted to leave the dirt until she came back. If she made the mess, it was only right that she clean after herself, no?
  3876. > Except that would mean several days, if not more, and the mud would be thoroughly caked in by then. Grumbling a little to himself, Anon stood up and headed to the bathroom to get the bucket and sponge.
  3877. > He'd just have to tell her again and hope she remembered this time.
  3878.  
  3879. > ~~~~
  3880.  
  3881. > Eventually it was the last day of work for the year and Anon had a full week to himself. It was Alex's turn to cover the holiday shift and on top of that Anon had cashed in some of his vacation time, so he wouldn't have to be back in the office until January.
  3882. > He was hoping to spend as much time with 'Shy as possible, but even without that some time off was a nice thing, especially over the holidays.
  3883. > First up was Christmas Eve. Anon usually didn't put up a tree, but when he saw how enthusiastic 'Shy was about the idea he went to the trouble. It was just one of those fake, plastic trees, but with all the decoration haphazardly piled on top of it the thing looked almost real.
  3884. > He brought out his crudely-wrapped gift and left it under the branches. The whole thing actually looked kinda nice, Anon decided. Maybe 'Shy was on to something.
  3885. > Even if she was, the real magic was having someone special over to enjoy it with. Hopefully she'd be able to make it like she promised. It wasn't like Mr. Mason intended to celebrate Christmas in any way. In that, him and Anon were pretty much alike. Why go through all that trouble putting up decorations only to take them down a week later?
  3886. > The important difference was that Mason didn't want to do it even for 'Shy.
  3887. > One final touch was needed before she arrived. Anon went to his stove and rummaged in the cupboard for a metal pot. He'd bought some eggnog in keeping with the season and he wanted to try it warm this year.
  3888. > He poured the whole carton into the pot and  turned on the heat. Then he added a generous portion of rum for that extra touch of special. Enough to ensure they'd both be relaxed, but not so much to get them drunk.
  3889. > Eggnog was basically milk, Anon remembered, so it might boil over if he didn't keep an eye on it. He gave it a quick stir then positioned himself so he could watch the pot and at the same time look out the window at Mason's house.
  3890. > There was no one in the living room, but it was brightly lit and there was a mug of what looked like coffee on the table. As Anon watched, Mason came and sat down. He was watching something on the TV and he reached for his beverage.
  3891. > Just before he could take a sip he paused and looked in a different direction. Anon thought he spoke and there could be no doubt to whom he was talking. His heart sped up when he realized it was probably 'Shy asking to come over.
  3892. > Hopefully the man would say yes. Anon found himself tensing up as he tried to read Mason's expression, or at least as much as he could see of it from the angle. After listening for a bit the man said something else and gave a curt nod.
  3893. > His breath left him all at once and Anon grinned to himself. 'Shy was coming over to spend Christmas Eve with him! Everything was going to be perfect!
  3894. > In his exuberance he went and gave the eggnog another stir, uncaring that he spilled a bit around the stove. She was coming over!
  3895. > It was useless, he couldn't stay still. 'Shy would be there in a minute, but even that felt like too long to wait. Anon lowered the heat to the minimum, hoping it wouldn't boil over, but not caring even if it did, then went to the hallway.
  3896. > He waited at the door and listened for that telltale clop of hoof on concrete.
  3897. > There it was!
  3898. > His nerves held out for a few more seconds, but then Anon darted forward and pulled the door open with a big smile on his face.
  3899. "Hi! Come right in!" he greeted.
  3900. > Fluttershy drew back from the unexpectedly opened door and a wing shot out to protect her face. When she heard his voice she lowered the feathers a little and watched Anon in shocked surprise.
  3901. > "How have- Um, have you been waiting there for me?" she asked, obviously taken aback.
  3902. "No! Nothing like that! Well, maybe for about ten seconds..."
  3903. > "Then how did you know I was coming over?"
  3904. > A series of lies lined up for Anon to blurt out, each stupider and less believable than the last. He shook his head slightly and settled on the truth, even if it sounded a bit stalker-y.
  3905. "I was actually cooking and happened to look through the window just when you were talking with Mason."
  3906. > This placated 'Shy and she didn't ask the follow-up question Anon had been dreading. "Oh." She began moving again and he stepped aside to let her in. Just before he could close the door Anon spotted a wet hoofprint on the doormat and looked up to see that the sidewalk was wet and covered in dirty slush.
  3907. "Oh, hold on," he told the mare.
  3908. > She had been about to walk forward, but froze with a forehoof in the air. "What is it?"
  3909. > Anon almost told her to go back out and wipe her hooves on the doormat, but he thought better of it. Why not turn it into something nice for her?
  3910. "Stay there, I'll be right back!"
  3911. > He hurried to the bathroom and picked up a towel. It was clean and he'd only used it to dry himself after a shower, so it would do. In moments he was back with 'Shy who was looking at him strangely.
  3912. > "What are you doing?"
  3913. > Anon slid to his knees and carefully wrapped the cloth around the hoof she was still holding up in the air. He wiped as gently as he could and made sure to seek out every nook and cranny.
  3914. > "Oh. Sorry, I didn't even notice."
  3915. "It's okay," Anon reassured her.
  3916. > He was done and unwrapped the towel to inspect his handiwork. In the spur of the moment he leaned forward to plant a quick kiss right on her hoof. He heard the slight hitch of her breath, but only because he'd been listening for it. A quick glance revealed that she also had the beginnings of a red tint to her face.
  3917. > She didn't say anything, however, when he held out his hand to accept her next hoof. The process was pretty much the same as before, ending with a kiss once it was clean. This time her tail flicked in expectation as Anon was bowing his head.
  3918. > Then Anon moved to her side and 'Shy finally spoke up. "Um, y-you don't have to, I can wipe my own hooves-"
  3919. > She fell silent when he gently tugged on her hind fetlock. She couldn't lift it as high as her foreleg, but it was enough for Anon to wrap the towel around and scrub it clean.
  3920. > For some reason doing this to 'Shy was hot in an indescribable, ephemeral way. He realized he liked pampering her, maybe because of how cute her blushes were. Again her tail swished, coming close to brushing his face.
  3921. > Fluttershy always tried to resist, but as soon as Anon's fingers were on her body she usually acquiesced, often with- Anon turned his head to look and saw that she was indeed biting her lower lip.
  3922. > Even that was somehow sexy as all Hell.
  3923. > He finished his scrubbing and 'Shy tried to tug her leg free from his grasp. "That's okay, you don't have to-"
  3924. > Once again he interrupted her with a kiss right on he hoof, even if he had to lean down a lot. His hair brushed her belly and 'Shy shuffled away to give him room.
  3925. > There was just one of her legs left and Fluttershy began turning around to get it within reach, but Anon stopped her with a hand on her rump.
  3926. > Instead he reached under her and carefully grasped around her fetlock. The awkward position meant his arms brushed against her belly and, more importantly, her teats, but that just served to make Anon harder.
  3927. > Each time he touched her skin made Fluttershy's breath catch and her wings were already unfurling, which Anon had come to recognize as a sign of arousal. She tried to get them under control, but that only resulting in slight rustling as her feathers moved against each other.
  3928. > If he felt under her tail she'd probably already be damp, but he resisted the urge and decided to drag it out as much as it could.
  3929. > Fluttershy turned into an absolute crazy mare in bed if she was pent up enough.
  3930. > Soon he had her hoof clean and Anon discarded the soiled towel. He could pick it up later and put it in the laundry, the important thing right then was the kiss.
  3931. > Her hoof jerked in his hand, but he held it firmly enough and 'Shy stopped trying to get away as he gave her that final smooch. On his way up Anon made sure to brush his head along her belly, making her inhale sharply through her nose.
  3932. "There, all clean."
  3933. > He glanced back to see that her tail was already flagging up, but Anon didn't pursue the feeling. Instead he sat on the carpet and slid back until he was by her head.
  3934. > Her lips found his as soon as he was in sight and 'Shy wrapped her forelegs around his neck. Her tongue explored him almost forcefully, with urgent need.
  3935. "Someone's feeling frisky tonight," he said when he could pull away for a moment.
  3936. > Fluttershy blinked and her ears perked up as if she couldn't believe what she was hearing. "You- I- After- What?!" she managed, before catching Anon's grin and falling silent.
  3937. > She closed her eyes and took a deep, calming breath. Her wings settled back with a show of finality. "Like that's a surprise after your, um, 'performance'!" 'Shy said and stomped a hoof in mock annoyance.
  3938. "Speaking of surprises, there's a present for you under the tree!"
  3939. > This completely derailed her train of thought and a smile blossomed on her face. "For me?! You didn't have to!"
  3940. "Maybe, but it's there. Come look."
  3941. > There was an extra bounce in her step and a dance-like shuffle of her hooves and 'Shy hurried forward, unable to hold herself back. She looked a lot younger like this, Anon remarked to himself. A child excited for her Christmas gift.
  3942. > It took him a few seconds to stand up and follow, and when he made it to the living room 'Shy was already examining the roughly-wrapped item.
  3943. > This was an unexpected benefit of his poor wrapping skills, Anon mused, since she couldn't tell what was inside just from the shape. He'd been slightly worried she'd laugh at how crudely it was made, but instead, there was a cute little smile on her muzzle.
  3944. > She'd been trying to find the edge of the paper, but with how much sticky tape Anon had put on it that pursuit was entirely futile. In the end she simply bit at some loose paper and tore it away.
  3945. > In seconds she had the panda plushy free of its wrapping and held it up at hooves' length to inspect it.
  3946. > Since it was a toy for children it had very exaggerated eyes and a smiling mouth sewn into the fabric. Anon realized it reminded him strongly of 'Shy.
  3947. > Perhaps that was what had drawn his eye to it.
  3948. > "I love him!" 'Shy squealed and hugged the plush to her chest. She rocked a little side to side as she stuck her muzzle against the panda's small face and gave it a nuzzle.
  3949. "Well, I remember you said how lonely you feel sometimes at Mason's, and how much you miss your animals. Well, it's not as good, but maybe it'll help a little?"
  3950. > It sounded silly now he got to say it out loud, but apparently 'Shy thought otherwise. She unwrapped her hooves from the plush, but only for long enough to lunge at Anon to hug him instead. The panda was crushed between them but neither of them paid it any mind as they shared a kiss.
  3951. > Once they broke apart 'Shy placed the plush in her lap and inspected it more closely.
  3952. "Why did you say 'him' when you saw it?" Anon asked.
  3953. > This question made her giggle quietly. "Because it's a boy. Don't you see it?"
  3954. > Anon blinked in confusion. It was a cartoon-faced plushy panda, there was no way it could have a gender, was there? He mutely shook his head.
  3955. > 'Shy turned the plush around to show him and pointed with her hoof. "See the shape of the black patches around his yes? And how this patch from his forelegs wraps around *just here*?"
  3956. > Anon blinked in confusion and shook his head.
  3957. "Just looks like any other panda to me."
  3958. > This made her chuckle again and 'Shy shrugged. "Well, I'm the expert on animals here and I say it's a boy panda. That should be good enough for you."
  3959. > It wasn't actually possible that 'Shy could distinguish male and female panda on sight, was it? On the other hand, would that be significantly stranger from her being able to talk to them?
  3960. "Sure, if you say so. So it's a him. Got a name in mind?"
  3961. > She leaned her head to one side in thought, then looked at the plushy. "Um, I'll call him Mr. Rollie."
  3962. > Anon shrugged a little to himself and grinned at 'Shy.
  3963. "Sounds good. Mr. Rollie it is. Anyway, I'm glad you like it."
  3964. > Her gaze remained fixed on her new toy, but Fluttershy's smile became somber. "I love it, Anon. Thanks."
  3965. "What's wrong?"
  3966. > Finally she looked at him and seemed to consider if she even wanted to tell him. "I didn't get you anything."
  3967. "That's fine," he shrugged. "I don't really need a present to know you care about me, Buttershy. I'm just happy you're here."
  3968. > She was shaking her head even before he'd finished talking. "It's not about that, Anon," she said glumly. "I wanted to get you something, but Mr. Mason said no. I guess-"
  3969. > Her ears splayed and she pressed the newly-named Mr. Rollie to herself, "I guess it's just another reminder I'm not my own pony anymore. It wasn't my decision and I absolutely hate that!"
  3970. > Anon was about to point out that this would change as soon as she was his, but something told him 'Shy wouldn't appreciate it right then so he kept his mouth shut.
  3971. > Instead he reached out and laid a careful hand on her withers.
  3972. "Things will get better, just don't lose heart, 'Shy."
  3973. > She gave a slight nod and was about to say something, but there came a splash and a hiss from the stove.
  3974. "Oh jeez, the eggnog!"
  3975. > Anon jumped up and sprinted to the kitchen to halt the unfolding disaster. Hopefully the drink wasn't entirely ruined and would be good once it cooled down.
  3976. > He heard Fluttershy's hoofsteps behind him, but she had to grab a chair, which meant it was up to him to turn the heat off an put the pot aside.
  3977. > By the time 'Shy was able to poke her head up above the stove the damage was already done. The spilled eggnog was cooling on the stove top and the pot looked only about three quarters full now. Anon was wiping the outside of the pot with a wet sponge.
  3978. > "It's best to clean it up right away, otherwise it'll dry out and make a big mess."
  3979. "Yeah, just let it cool down for a bit."
  3980. > Rather than listening, 'Shy held out a hoof for the sponge. "Gimme," she commanded with quiet authority. "I've got hooves, I'm okay with hot."
  3981. > Anon passed it along without further comment and she began soaking up the spilled eggnog. "You can pour the rest of it into a couple of mugs so we have something to drink when I'm done," 'Shy suggested.
  3982. "Good idea. Thanks, Buttershy."
  3983. > She lifted up her muzzle and puckered her lips in a clear invitation and Anon gave her a quick kiss before taking the pot to the counter a few steps away. He already had the mugs ready.
  3984. > "Um, can you put on a Hearts- uh, Christmas movie? I've been seeing the commercials for them since November and I really wanna see one."
  3985. "Sure thing. Want me to open some cookies as well?"
  3986. > "Oh, yes please!"
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