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[FLUTTERRAPE] Flutterrape LTD

By Nebulus
Created: 2020-12-17 20:40:03
Expiry: Never

  1. Originally uploaded to Pastebin: May 25th, 2017
  2. ---
  3.  
  4. An Anon in the thread clearly stated:
  5. "WE NEED GREENTEXT GODDAMIT!"
  6. What followed was a series of shorts based around a mare, a man, and a failing company.
  7.  
  8. So began the saga of Flutterrape LTD.
  9. In the early days, each new part was inspired by posts in the thread, hence the erratic nature of it, but the longer it went on, the more they became independent updates I wrote without prompting.
  10.  
  11. Make yourself a drink; this one is long.
  12. Final word count: 57,033.
  13.  
  14. ---
  15.  
  16. >"Son of a FUCKING BITCH, ANON!"
  17. >Fluttershy hurls your carefully ordered stack of papers at the cubicle wall.
  18. >You flinch at her outburst.
  19. >"This company is going down the FUCKING toilet and all you can do is sit here and write... write trash!"
  20. "I'm sorry, Fluttershy! I'm doing the best I can but I keep getting other projects dumped on my--"
  21. >"Oh-- DUMPED, are they? DUMPED, Anon? Do you not like the work you do? Would you rather go and write for fucking..."
  22. >She trembles as she thinks on her hooves.
  23. >"Fucking REVERSE GENDER ROLES?!"
  24. "What, no! No, I'd never write for them! They're a more elaborate version of Flutterrape with none of the humour and lightheartedness!"
  25. >"And don't you forget it! You're on thin ice as it is, Anon; I've had it up to here with your shit and if you don't get yourself in gear and start producing the quality work I pay you for you can kiss your ass goodbye because I'll be claiming it!"
  26. "Why don't you give anyone else this kind of stick?! Why is it always me you pick on?!"
  27. >"...BECAUSE YOU'RE THE ONLY PERSON THAT STILL WORKS HERE!"
  28. >You look around at the huge, empty office space.
  29. >The jungle of cubicles that inhabit it are noticeably empty.
  30. >Oh.
  31. >That's why she keeps giving you so many projects.
  32. >You're having to shoulder the burdens of an entire office.
  33. "Woah, shit, where... did everyone go? I swear there were like two other guys here."
  34. >Fluttershy snorts and storms over to a window, pulling the blinds apart slightly and jerking her head towards what lies outside.
  35. >You join her in peering out.
  36. >Across the road, several high-rise building complexes with reputable, successful names like "Choose Your Own Adventure Inc." and "Momlestia & Sons" dwarf your seedy, rundown office, which - whilst certainly not a small building - pales in comparison to your rivals.
  37. >Fluttershy spits to the side in disgust and readjusts her tie, checking her mane with a hoof.
  38. >It seems to get messier with each passing day.
  39. >"They left. Other threads were offering 'higher viewcounts' and more '(you)s'."
  40. >She makes a disgusted noise.
  41. >"Traitors. I MADE THEM WHAT THEY ARE."
  42. "Couldn't it just be they left because they got bored working here and wanted to do other things with..."
  43. >You hold your tongue as Fluttershy gives you a look that could melt steel beams.
  44. >"Traitors. That's what they'll always be."
  45. "How many of our employees left to work over there?"
  46. >"I don't know. Dozens."
  47. "...Do you even know at all? Was it any?"
  48. >"Why does it matter? They're all gone so we're all that's left."
  49. >With a lost, pained expression she looks around her office.
  50. >Her company.
  51. >That she built from the ground up.
  52. >That she invested her time into.
  53. >That she spent an untold number of sleepless nights nurturing and making into the best thing she could make of it.
  54. >Her baby, that she's had to watch deteriorate in the face of various hardships, stiff competition, and a growing lack of interest.
  55. >Her lip trembles, and she lets out a barely audible whimper.
  56. >"We're a-all that's... left..."
  57. >You crouch down and cautiously lay a hand on her back, rubbing it slightly.
  58. "Hey, you still have me, right? I'm still here?"
  59. >She looks at you as if to start flinging insults, but her gaze softens in light of your truths.
  60. >"I... suppose I do."
  61. >Fluttershy manages a small smile.
  62. >"Now, uh, get back to work. I want a story on my desk by the end of the day."
  63. "What about?"
  64. >"I don't know... Bon Bon, or something."
  65. "Bon Bon? I don't know, Shy, no one likes Bon Bon."
  66. >She nods, and sighs.
  67. >"Run of the mill Cloudchaser rapefic then. I want it comedic with a dip into feels towards the end and a moral about boundaries. Also don't ever call me 'Shy' again."
  68. "Yes boss."
  69.  
  70. ---
  71.  
  72. >A coffee mug smashes against the glass beside you.
  73. "Fluttershy you need to stop doing that, we don't have the money to keep repairing the interior windows--"
  74. >"I DON'T GIVE A FUCKING HECK, ANON!"
  75. >Fluttershy is livid.
  76. >Just a little bit.
  77. >As she reels from the news you just told her, her eyes wide, pupils shrunken, and chest heaving from her escalating hyperventilation, you consider that perhaps telling her that the company mascot quit and went to go and work for Reverse Gender Roles Inc. might have been an unwise decision.
  78. >Truthfully, you were amazed that he even still worked here.
  79. >You genuinely thought you were the only employee left.
  80. >Turns out, so did Fluttershy.
  81. >"PIECE OF FUCKING SHIT HOW DARE HE LEAVE THIS COMPANY I'LL HAVE HIM KILLED FOR THIS--"
  82. >Sighing internally, you start to come to grips with the possibility that you might not be getting any work done for the next hour or so.
  83. >"I JUST-- I CAN'T-- AHCK-- RRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE--"
  84. >Oh.
  85. >She's making that noise again.
  86. >"--EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE--"
  87. >She's been doing it a lot lately.
  88. >"--EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE--"
  89. >You think it might be the stress that's causing it.
  90. >"--EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE--"
  91. >Making negative profits will do that to a mare.
  92. >"EEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeee..."
  93. >The tiny, once sort-of-demure, sometimes-kind pegasus collapses back into her high-back chair, the mechanism squeaking under the pressure.
  94. >She stares through you for a moment, her eyes wandering, searching for nothing.
  95. >"I guess... I guess it really is just us now."
  96. "I think so, boss."
  97. >Note to self: Check the building to make absolutely sure that Slasher Science left and didn't just hide in the vents again like he did a few months ago.
  98. >"Anon."
  99. "Yes, boss?"
  100. >"...Give me the HMD."
  101. "..."
  102. >"Anon--"
  103. "You said to me never to give it to you, even if you asked."
  104. >"Anon so help me god I'll fucking end you, give me the HMD."
  105. "No."
  106. >"ANONYMOUS!"
  107. "We can work with this, Fluttershy! We can come back from this, it sure as hell isn't the worst thing that's happened to us, so who cares if they stole our mascot? He was a shitty mascot anyway! What the hell does a dolphin have to do with Flutterrape?!"
  108. >"BECAUSE DOLPHINS RAPE FOR FUN, ANON! THEY'RE THE MOST SADISTIC ANIMAL IN NATURE!"
  109. >That's bullshit.
  110. >You've met her pet rabbit.
  111. >Vicious streak a mile wide, that one.
  112. >"NOW GIVE ME THE HMD OR YOU'RE FIRED!"
  113. >You grit your teeth.
  114. >Hesitate.
  115. >Then dip your hand into your pocket, pulling out a small key that Fluttershy entrusted you with many moons ago.
  116. >Walking to a nearby painting, you carefully remove it from the wall and set it to one side.
  117. >Then push the key into the large, black, imposing safe it was concealing.
  118. >Turning the key, you grip the handle and pull, the locks inside grinding in protest from their lack of use as the hidden vault opens.
  119. >Inside is a single, solitary vial of clear blue liquid resting on the black metal.
  120. >You carefully pinch it between two fingers and lift it out.
  121. >Then set it before Fluttershy.
  122. >She firmly sets a hoof on it and rolls it across the desk towards herself, raising it to her lips and uncorking it with her teeth before gulping down its entire contents.
  123. >You watch with sadness.
  124. >Fluttershy shudders, her body spasming at infrequent intervals, then smiles once it subsides.
  125. >"Okay. That's much better."
  126. >Your boss slides off her chair, an unsettling confidence to her movements.
  127. >"Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go and find our mascot."
  128. "He'll be at the Reverse Gender Roles head office, you'll never get to him..."
  129. >"Aww, Anon."
  130. >She affectionately strokes your leg.
  131. >"You said a similar thing about our last mascot."
  132. >With that, she happily trots towards the exit.
  133. >You rub your eyes with two fingers and glance at the vial, carelessly left on her desk.
  134. >Using a digit, you roll the vial over slightly to read the label.
  135. >' HMD '
  136. >' Hermaphrodite Mare Draught '
  137. >Poor Dolphin.
  138. >He'll never walk straight again once she's done.
  139. >Shrugging, you leave the office, ignoring the cracked glass and coffee stains, to go straight back to your desk.
  140. >You have work to do.
  141. >This Celestia date-rape fic isn't gonna write itself.
  142.  
  143. ---
  144.  
  145. "Uh. Boss?"
  146. >The screaming continues.
  147. >Fluttershy is on the phone to her accountant.
  148. >Who just quit.
  149. >Now with no one on hand to do Fluttershy's bookkeeping or finances, and since she's far too important to do it herself, that'll likely land it on your desk.
  150. >As far as employees go, you deserve employee of the month.
  151. >For about 4 months now you've done all the writing, invoices, credit notes, tax returns, fraudulent tax returns, hiring, firing, cleaning, emotional support for Fluttershy, physical support for Fluttershy, questionably-consensual sexual support for Fluttershy, and refilling of the hand-towels in the employee restrooms.
  152. >How they go down so fast with just you, Fluttershy, and possibly Slasher Science (still yet to be found, though there are signs of his presence) in the building baffles you.
  153. >Alas, you look at the wall and see that, once again, Fluttershy has chosen herself to be employee of the month.
  154. >You swear the contest is rigged.
  155. >Turning your attention back the window, you part the low-quality plastic blinds with a finger.
  156. >As you peer outside, you call out again.
  157. "Fluttershy, really, come here."
  158. >"I'M ON THE PHONE, ANON!-- NO DON'T HANG UP ON ME YOU LITTLE SHIT, WHEN I FIND YOU I'LL RAM YOUR ABACUS SO FAR UP YOUR ASS YOU'LL BE TASTING MATH FOR A WEEK."
  159. >You wince as an explosion rocks the entire street.
  160. >Fluttershy doesn't seem to care.
  161. >But you do.
  162. >Because as you watch from your vantage point a 'safe' distance away, Reverse Gender Roles Inc. rips itself apart.
  163. >Employees are out on the streets smashing chairs over each other's heads.
  164. >A pair of girls scratch and claw at each others faces.
  165. >A mare dropkicks a man in the chest, only to be stabbed in the hind-leg by a stallion wielding a sharpened protractor.
  166. >You stare in silent wonder as a man on the thirteenth floor, which is currently completely engulfed in flames, hurls himself from the window and crumples against a car roof below, the car alarm screaming in response and adding to the chaotic din around it.
  167. >Another explosion vibrates through your office, making the bare light-bulb you use for lighting (had to sell the cover) flops around pathetically.
  168. >As a disgruntled intern decapitates his manager with a weaponised briefcase, you step away from the window.
  169. >Fluttershy hurls her phone at the floor and glares at you.
  170. "...So is he staying on board?"
  171. >"He'd better if he doesn't want my cock in his ass."
  172. "About that, you drank all the HMD, we don't have anymore."
  173. >"So just buy some more then?"
  174. "..."
  175. >"..."
  176. "...You know we--"
  177. >"I know we don't have any fucking money just let me dream."
  178. >She sighs.
  179. >"So what were you shouting me for? Something going on outside? The building kept vibrating so I thought the boiler was faulty again."
  180. "Nah, the boiler tends to shriek when it does that. No, this is serious, you'll wanna come watch."
  181. >"Will it bring me any semblance of joy and distract me from the fact that my company is failing?"
  182. "Eh, maybe."
  183. >You lead her over to the blinds.
  184. >She looks up at the windowsill, then glares at you.
  185. "Oh, sorry."
  186. >"Yeah, sorry, sure..."
  187. >You reach down and pick her up, holding her back against your chest with your arm wrapped around her belly, keeping her in place so that she can see out the window.
  188. >Then, you use your free hand to pull back the blinds.
  189. >Fluttershy gasps.
  190. >Outside, the Dolphin Mascot (still limping from his encounter with Fluttershy) punches a pregnant mare in the face, then gets tackled by a trio of rabid software engineers.
  191. >They tear his costume open in an inhuman rage, lost to their base instincts and cannibalise the man inside, engorging themselves on his entrails in a frenzied display of gore and ravenous savagery, as software engineers are known to do.
  192. >Fluttershy slowly smiles.
  193. >"It's... wonderful."
  194. >She cranes her head back to look up at you.
  195. >"Thank you, Anon."
  196. "Well I didn't actually do anything, but alright."
  197. >Fluttershy sighs and enjoys the feeling of you holding her as you both watch Reverse Gender Roles Inc. burn to ashes before you.
  198. >And once more, Flutterrape LTD lives to see another day.
  199. >But just barely.
  200.  
  201. ---
  202.  
  203. >You give a fearful look over your shoulder as you walk out the front doors of Flutterrape LTD.
  204. >Fluttershy watches from a window.
  205. >She motions with a hoof, urging you on.
  206. >Gulping, you cross the street, entering the looming shadow of Reverse Gender Roles Inc's head office.
  207. >Flutterrape LTD used to be this big.
  208. >But budget constraints forced the company to downsize to the two-story converted warehouse you're in now.
  209. >Apparently it used to be a drug-depot for a cartel.
  210. >It would certainly explain the crimson stains on the concrete in the basement that don't seem to come out no matter how much you scrub them.
  211. >Still, here you are, doing something stupid at Fluttershy's behest. Again.
  212. >Somehow, RGR managed to pull itself together after the meltdown last month.
  213. >In order to learn their secrets, Fluttershy came up with a "genius plan".
  214. >You're inclined to call it genius as well, since for once it doesn't involve rape or arson.
  215. >Considering those are Fluttershy's two favourite things, she's clearly thought a lot about this plan.
  216. >You have an entire 40-step set of instructions stuffed into your back pocket.
  217. >Number 1 on the list?
  218. >Infiltrate the company.
  219. >And there's only one way to do that.
  220. >You walk through the automatic doors at the front of the building and sigh contentedly.
  221. >Ah. Indoor cooling.
  222. >You'd forgotten what it felt like.
  223. >The room where you work tends to get a bit stuffy, since the only way to vent the office now is by keeping doors open since the ventilation seems to be blocked by something.
  224. >Fluttershy thinks a group of birds have found their way in and made a nest.
  225. >But you're thinking it's something larger.
  226. >Birds don't steal things from the fridge when no one's around.
  227. >And it doesn't help matters that the office constantly smells like musk on account of Fluttershy's chronic masturbation habits.
  228. >She has serious issues, that much is certain, though she's to be commended for being able to keep at it for sometimes up to six hours a day.
  229. >Back to the task at hand, your first step is to get employed at the company.
  230. >Shouldn't be too hard.
  231. >They have a serious writer shortage since about 60% of their staff slaughtered one another in last month's pandemonium.
  232. >Apparently a bat flew in through a window someone left open and it caused a psychotic break amongst the workers.
  233. >With your years of experience, it should be easy to get your foot in the door.
  234. >You have no idea how Fluttershy intends to manage things whilst you're gone, but you'll worry about that when you get back.
  235. >As long as she stays away from the photocopier this time, whatever damage she does will be minimal.
  236. >This whole plan of hers should take about two months to act out, if anything it'll be a sort of holiday for you.
  237. >Who knows, you may even get a lunch break here.
  238. >Strolling up to the reception, you put on a smile and internally recite your lines.
  239. >The mare behind the counter glares at you as you approach.
  240. "Hiya."
  241. >You rest your hands on the surface, relaxing yourself as much as you can.
  242. "My name's Anonymous, I'm here for an interview about the writing job?"
  243. >"You want to write for us?"
  244. "Yes, ma'am, I do."
  245. >"Exit's there. Fuck off."
  246. >...
  247. >Oh.
  248. >Well that was short lived.
  249.  
  250. >By the time you get back, Fluttershy had already set the photocopier ablaze.
  251. >The fridge was wide open.
  252. >A disturbing noise was coming from the vents.
  253. >And a powerful musk lingered in the air.
  254. >With a heavy sigh, you go to find the fire extinguisher and the holy water.
  255.  
  256. ---
  257.  
  258. >Can it really be called a party if there are only two of you?
  259. >You ponder this as you stand next to the music player, which is blaring out fun, family friendly tunes and the occasional explicit hard-gangster rap.
  260. >One thing's for certain.
  261. >You have a great urge to hang out with your friends in the park after school and do crack off a zebra's ass.
  262. >Sure, the music player's only got one working speaker, and even then the sound quality is trash, but you're still getting the general vibes.
  263. >"SIPPIN', RAINBOW JUICE - TALKIN' ELE-MENTS OF HAR-MO-NY!"
  264. >Yeah, you can dig it.
  265. >As you tap your foot and bob your head, alone in an empty office as the only other employee at the company, Fluttershy stumbles out of her office.
  266. >Given the distance between you both you feel like it's not worth walking over to help her.
  267. >Instead, you watch, drink in hand, as Fluttershy staggers and face-plants her way towards you, pausing a few times to gather her bearings as she leans against one dusty, abandoned cubicle after another.
  268. >Eventually she makes it to you.
  269. >The pair of you stand in the centre of the room, which you'd cleared out somewhat for the 'party'.
  270. >A single, slightly deflated pink balloon is secured to the refreshments table.
  271. >Upon which sits a bottle of stale lemonade and a cracked bowl of cheesy poofs.
  272. >Fluttershy listens to the music for a while, as do you.
  273. >"E-QUEST-REE-A GIRLS, WE'RE KINDA MAGICAL, BOOTS ON HOOVES, BIKINIS ON TOP!"
  274. >Fluttershy narrows her eyes.
  275. >"I think I helped write this one..."
  276. "That's ridiculous."
  277. >She hiccups.
  278. >"Sooo, you come here offffften?"
  279. "I work here, Fluttershy, and I'm not drunk enough yet to have banter with you, I'm just here to mingle at the moment."
  280. >...
  281. >You cough.
  282. >The song had since ended, so it echoes around the room.
  283. >Fluttershy sniffs.
  284. >"Sooo, you umm, wanna go in the back and hump like mammals?"
  285. "Waddya mean 'like'? We -are- mammals."
  286. >"You knowww what I mean... mmgonna suck that dick like a... like a vacuum cleaner..."
  287. "How many have you had?"
  288. >"Dicks? Hundreds."
  289. "No I mean drinks, you twat."
  290. >"Oh. Uhhh threeee? Fooourr? Fiiiive? Siixx--"
  291. "Stop counting, I'm going with four."
  292. >"Four drinks."
  293. "Right, four."
  294. >"Four drinkeroonis for poor little Fluttershy."
  295. "Yup."
  296. >"Fluttershy who can't even run a f-fucking company without cocking it up..."
  297. >Uh oh.
  298. >"F-fluttershy who c-can't even... can't even get laid at her own f-fucking office party..."
  299. "Boss you did this last year."
  300. >"Last year we had more employees..."
  301. "Yeah, like six more, and none of them came to the party you held then, either."
  302. >"Thennnn who came?"
  303. "...Me."
  304. >"Jusst you?"
  305. "...Yeah."
  306. >She gives you a huge, genuine, dopey smile.
  307. >"IIII like you Anon, you care about me..."
  308. "I care about getting paid."
  309. >"Always knew you cared about me..."
  310. >She collapses, and you just manage to catch her before she hits the floor.
  311. >Your drink is now all over her, but she doesn't seem to mind.
  312. >"Weeee should ffffuck here, in front of everyone."
  313. "No one else is here, it's just us."
  314. >You hear a rattling in the vents above.
  315. >...
  316. "...Yup. Just us."
  317. >"All the more reason to give m-me the dick..."
  318. >She laughs and snorts.
  319. >"H-hey, hey Anon, a-are drunk mares your FETISH?! Get it? Like the stories we make? Do you get it? It's like in the stories we make!"
  320. >The pony lets loose a forced guffaw before passing out.
  321. >You hold her for a while, unsure of what to do.
  322. >Then, the single lightbulb above you flickers and goes out.
  323. >...That was the last bulb you had as well.
  324. >As you sit in the darkness, contemplating life, the music player beside you offers words of wisdom on your current ordeal by playing a new track.
  325. >"SOME-BODY ONCE TOLD ME THE WORLD WAS GONNA ROLL ME, I AIN'T THE SHARPEST TOOL IN THE SHEE-EED."
  326. >You nod in contemplation.
  327. "The world has indeed rolled me, Smash Mouth."
  328. >You reassuringly pat Fluttershy on the back, who belches in her sleep and smiles dreamily.
  329.  
  330. "It rolled me good..."
  331.  
  332. ---
  333.  
  334. >You type away at your keyboard, hammering out a story as best you can.
  335. >Been a while since you were able to just sit down and write.
  336. >Should be a good story, this one.
  337. >It's got Cheerilee in it, and no one's written something with her for a while.
  338. >You shuffle uncomfortably, the cape you're wearing wrapped around you awkwardly.
  339. >Maybe you shouldn't be wearing it sat down.
  340. >A hand reaches up and fixes the top hat that was sliding off your head.
  341. >Fluttershy decided that for Halloween this year you'd both dress up.
  342. >So here you are, dressed as a classic villain from those old movies.
  343. >Even have yourself a stick-on moustache.
  344. >Haven't seen Fluttershy all day though.
  345. >That's concerning.
  346. >Usually she's shouting at someone on the phone, shouting at you whilst on the phone, or masturbating.
  347. >And you can't smell or hear anything, so that doesn't bode well.
  348. >Still, it's nice to get some work done.
  349. >"Pssssst!"
  350. >You pause.
  351. >...
  352. >"Psssssssst!"
  353. >Spin around in your battered, worn office chair, the whole thing creaking from the stress.
  354. >You stand up and peer over the edge of your cubicle wall, looking around the office.
  355. >Eventually, you see her, peering over a desk at you.
  356. "...You alright over there, Fluttershy?"
  357. >"PSSSST!"
  358. "Yeah, hi, I can see you, what's up."
  359. >She beckons you closer.
  360. >You cast a forlorn look at your monitor.
  361. >The story was so close to being done.
  362. >Oh well.
  363. >You stand up, stretch, and stride across to her.
  364. >As you approach, you take note of her costume.
  365. >Dressed like a bat.
  366. >Nice.
  367. >Beats last year where she dressed up as a serial rapist.
  368. >The office didn't even celebrate Halloween last year, so really she just went around fondling people.
  369. >You stand above her and simply raise an eyebrow.
  370. >She glances at the window.
  371. >"We're in big trouble!"
  372. "Why, we out of money again? I don't think the bank is gonna let us take out any more loans, boss."
  373. >"No! It's Reverse Gender Roles!"
  374. >You sigh.
  375. "When is it -not- Reverse Gender Roles."
  376. >"No no, you don't understand, they know I'm dressed as a bat!"
  377. "...And?"
  378. >She gulps.
  379. >Then reaches under the desk she's hidden behind and fetches out a body-pillow with her likeness on it.
  380. >To be honest, you'd snuggle the hell out of it, although...
  381. "Why is it covered in holes?"
  382. >She nods towards the window.
  383. >"Hold this in front of there."
  384. >You tentatively take the pillow.
  385. >It's a bit damp.
  386. >Eww.
  387. >Fluttershy smiles coyly at you.
  388. >"Maybe don't hold -that- bit of the pillow."
  389. >She gives you a half-lidded look.
  390. >"Unless you like that sort of thing~"
  391. "So I'm just holding this by the window."
  392. >"Yes. Don't stand behind it though, just sorta poke it out."
  393. " 'Kay."
  394. >You plod along to the window, body-pillow in hand, and hold it in front of you so that Fluttershy's face is visible.
  395. >For a moment it barely even registers when the glass shatters and Fluttershy's face develops a gaping hole, the internal stuffing billowing out behind it, whereby the event is punctuated by the sharp crack of a gunshot.
  396. "JESUS FUCK--"
  397. >You drop the pillow and hit the floor, scrambling back on your hands and knees to Fluttershy.
  398. "Was that--"
  399. >"Yes."
  400. "What the fuck--"
  401. >"I know."
  402. "So what, we're not allowed to dress as bats or something?"
  403. >"Apparently."
  404. "...Well, I should be fine then."
  405. >She cocks her head.
  406. >"Aren't you dressed as Dracula?"
  407. "What made you think that?"
  408. >"You know, the cape and whatnot."
  409. "It's not even close to Dracula!"
  410. >"Oh. Want to try walking past a window then?"
  411. >...
  412. "Point taken."
  413. >She shuffles to the side, patting the thin carpet next to her.
  414. >You join her huddled under a desk.
  415. "Now what?"
  416. >"I guess we just stay here until they all go home."
  417. "That's like five hours away."
  418. >"You'd better get comfy then."
  419. >You let out an exasperated groan.
  420. "I had a story to finish as well..."
  421. >"It can wait."
  422. >...
  423. >The two of you sit in silence.
  424. >"Hey, Anon, have you had anything to eat today?"
  425. "Ugh, no, didn't get chance to."
  426. >She smiles sweetly at you.
  427. >Whereby she opens her legs.
  428. >"Better get to it then, handsome."
  429. "But why?" you ask hopelessly, "Why now?"
  430. >"Because we're stuck here for the next few hours, you're wearing that fragrance I like, and men in capes get me soaking wet."
  431. >She rubs a hoof along her labia and shudders.
  432. >"Now get to work."
  433. >...
  434. >You reach up and try to take your hat off, only to be stopped by her.
  435. >"No no, leave the hat on."
  436. >...
  437. >Readjusting yourself, you sigh internally and get started.
  438. >It ends up being the most intense tongue work-out you've ever had.
  439. >When she said you'd be stuck there for a few hours you didn't think she'd expect you to keep going the whole time.
  440. >Still, at least it was something to do.
  441. >And now you know never to wear that particular fragrance or costume ever again.
  442. >Halloween sucks.
  443. >And so do you, apparently.
  444. >Much to Fluttershy's enjoyment.
  445.  
  446. ---
  447.  
  448. >A loud, distorted buzzer snaps you out of your daze.
  449. >For a moment you don't do anything but blink dumbly and stare in bewilderment at your computer screen.
  450. >The makings of a story are splashed on the monitor, as well as a small animated gif of a dancing penguin you had a desktop widget.
  451. >Heh.
  452. >Look at him go!
  453. >You chuckle to yourself, only to be jolted back into focus when the buzzer goes off again.
  454. >Raising an eyebrow, you look at your other monitor, which you had crudely shackled to the office internal CCTV network.
  455. >Sure, you only had 2 cameras running, but they were the watching over the most important places in the building.
  456. >The entrance, and the kitchen.
  457. >You'll find out who's been stealing from the fridge soon enough.
  458. >Whatever's lurking in the vents will have to come out eventually.
  459. >But as you squint at the grainy, fuzzy image on-screen, recognition hits you and your eyes widen when you realise who's at the front door.
  460. "Ooooh, shit."
  461. >You rise from your seat slowly to the sound of the buzzer blaring a third time.
  462. "Ooh, Fluttershy is -not- gonna like this."
  463.  
  464. >Twilight Sparkle regards you warmly as you let her in.
  465. >You run a hand through your hair, tidying it somewhat and trying to straighten out your shirt.
  466. >Before you can do your tie, Twilight reaches out with her magic and fixes it for you, neatly refolding it so that it's just as you like it.
  467. >Sheepishly, you shut the door behind her.
  468. >"It's great to see you again, Anon."
  469. "Yeah, yeah, you too, 'Miss Sparkle'."
  470. >"Oh come on, call me Twilight, you ass."
  471. "Sorry Twi," you say with a lopsided smile, "uh, so did you need something or...?"
  472. >"Well I just thought I'd swing by and visit. Been a while since I did."
  473. >You motion towards the stairs up to the office, and she walks alongside you as you make small-talk.
  474. "Well, thanks, how are things over at your place?"
  475. >"Business has been great! We've been making a -ton- of stories lately, brought on a few new writers, organised the catalogues a bit, yeah, things have been going really good! Especially since there's all this new competition these days."
  476. >You nod slowly.
  477. "That's cool, that's cool, glad to hear it, yeah, competition's fierce."
  478. >"How are things here? I don't wanna judge, but the paint on your... uh, everything is peeling."
  479. >She giggles.
  480. >"Painter go on strike or something?"
  481. "Not exactly..."
  482. >You both walk into the office.
  483. >Twilight's smile drops from her face.
  484. >"...Oh."
  485. >The office is as threadbare as it always is, but the lack of life is glaring.
  486. >A jungle of dusty, abandoned cubicles; the only one with lights and a sense of general cleanliness in the centre of the room obviously yours.
  487. >But it, combined with the lonely light-bulb dangling from a frayed strip of wiring just above your chair are the only sources of light in a darkened room.
  488. >You'd shut the blinds because the sun was causing screen-glare.
  489. >Twilight turns to you with a sad expression.
  490. >As you watch her, her face turns to one of resolve.
  491. >"I was afraid it might be bad, but this is..."
  492. "It's been like this for a while, you know things have been declining."
  493. >"Yeah..." she glances at the room again, then turns to you with a more resolute look, "you know, Anon... The offer's still on the table."
  494. "..."
  495. >"You're more than welcome to write for Anon in Equestria whenever you want, there'll always be a seat open for you. There was always meant to be."
  496. >She touches your leg gently with a hoof.
  497. >"I'm only thinking about what's best for you, you're never going to go anywhere in a place like this!"
  498. "I know, Twilight, but..."
  499. >You glance towards the office at the back of the room.
  500. >A small yellow face quickly disappears behind some blinds.
  501. "I'm more worried about what would happen to Fluttershy."
  502.  
  503. "Fluttershy."
  504. >' Aaaaahn~! Oooh yeaaah! '
  505. "Fluttershy!"
  506. >You knock on the door to Fluttershy's office a bit louder.
  507. "I know you can hear me, Fluttershy."
  508. >...
  509. >' AAAH! FUCK ME HARDER! '
  510. "For fuck's sake, woman, turn off the porn and come and say hello!"
  511. >You turn to Twilight.
  512. >She smiles weakly at you.
  513. >"She... always did love her porn."
  514. "Yeah, that'll never change."
  515. >You bang your hand on the door several times, the frosted glass segment at the top rattling from the force.
  516. >The erotic moaning on the other side quickly cuts out.
  517. >After a few seconds, the door opens.
  518. >Fluttershy appears, her mane quickly done up in a messy bun and her coat smelling of emergency perfume.
  519. >"Yes, Anonymous? How can I help?"
  520. >She turns to Twilight.
  521. >"Oh! A guest! I'm afraid I'm a bit tied up at the moment so..."
  522. >You give her a despairing look.
  523. >Twilight doesn't say a word, she just lets her eyes wander over her 'friend', taking it all in.
  524. >The old, worn office attire, oily coat, the smell of sweat.
  525. >Twilight, on the other hand, is wearing a crisp, sharp suit.
  526. >Her mane is shorter than it used to be, but just as well-kept as the rest of the mare.
  527. >She even wears spectacles nowadays, but they only serve to make her appear more authoritative and prestigious.
  528. >Comparing the two, Twilight is the picture of the modern working mare.
  529. >Fluttershy is...
  530. >Fluttershy.
  531. >Said mare abandons the pretences of civility and glowers at you both.
  532. >"What. Come to mock poor old Fluttershy and her failing company?"
  533. >Twilight cringes.
  534. >"I-- we never said that, Flutt--"
  535. >"Whatever. I know you're just here to swan about like you still own the place; what, did things get too much to handle at your nice big office building uptown?"
  536. >"...I just wanted to say hi, Fluttershy... I still care about you."
  537. >Fluttershy's eyes bulge.
  538. >"YOU STI--"
  539. >She looks at you, aghast, then back at Twilight.
  540. >You fold your arms and prepare to weather the storm with a grimace.
  541. >"IF YOU -CARED- YOU WOULDN'T HAVE SPLIT THE FUCKING COMPANY!"
  542. >Twilight visibly cringes, her guilt apparent.
  543. >"IF YOU -CARED- YOU WOULD HAVE WORKED WITH ME TO KEEP THE SCHISM FROM GETTING WIDER! WE COULD HAVE SALVAGED WHAT WE HAD AND MADE IT BETTER THAN BEFORE!"
  544. "Boss, please don't--"
  545. >"I-if you cared about the company, about -me-, then you wouldn't have run off to start your own thing and taken half our -fucking- team with you!"
  546. >Twilight is silent.
  547. >As are you.
  548. >Fluttershy sniffs and fights back any signs of tears or weakness.
  549. >Finally, your visitor swallows the lump in her throat and speaks up.
  550. >"I... came to-- look, I came to offer you both a, a place with us..."
  551. >Fluttershy doesn't scream in response.
  552. >She just straightens up, and looks Twilight right in the eye.
  553. >"So that's what it is then. You just want to tie up the loose ends. Can't have any remnants of the past lurking around so you've come to just, mop up, any mess and make everything all neat and tidy, is that it?"
  554. >Twilight's eyes narrow.
  555. >"Fluttershy, just... LOOK! At this! Look around you!"
  556. >She gives an exaggerated, sweeping hoof gesture to the office.
  557. >"I-It's not even functional! There's no one here! It's just you and Anon!"
  558. "Actually I think Slasher Science is still living in the vents."
  559. >Twilight stares at you.
  560. "...Emphasis on 'think'."
  561. >"This isn't even a company. What's the end game here-- how have you even survived this long?!"
  562. >You look at Fluttershy, and she at you.
  563. >Then the pair of you shrug.
  564. "Beats me."
  565. >"No idea."
  566. >Twilight looks between you both.
  567. >"So you're just going to stay here and do nothing? Just work away at a wilting concept that no one likes anymore? The world has moved on! People want a better product!"
  568. >She draws herself up to her full height.
  569. >"Anon In Equestria has proven to be an industry leader in autistic horsefiction. We intend to keep that ball rolling, and we want-- I want, both of you on board for it."
  570. >Twilight looks pleadingly at Fluttershy.
  571. >"Come on, Fluttershy! I want you with me on this, it'll be like old times!"
  572. >Fluttershy gives her a cool look, her tone laced with acid.
  573. >"Sorry Twilight. 'The world has moved on'. The old times are dead and they're never coming back."
  574. >She shakes her head.
  575. >"If you'll excuse me, I have important, industry-leading work to do, and I can't be wasting time with self-righteous, holier-than-thou control freaks like you."
  576. >She storms back into her office and slams the door.
  577. >A few moments later you can hear moaning again.
  578. >Both you and Twilight say nothing for a while.
  579. >Finally, you decide to speak, your tone lower, more hushed.
  580. "...If I left her."
  581. >Twilight looks up.
  582. "...Imagine what it would do to her."
  583. >The mare studies your face.
  584. >A faint, pitiful smile crosses her lips.
  585. >She holds out a hoof and beckons.
  586. >Crouching down, you both share an intimate hug.
  587. >"You're a good man, Anon."
  588. "Thanks, you're a good man too."
  589. >She laughs softly.
  590. >Breaking the hug, she sighs.
  591. >"There's always a place for you. Always."
  592. "I'll keep it in mind, like all the other times you've offered."
  593. >She smiles.
  594. >"Hey, I didn't make it this far by not being persistent."
  595. >You jerk your head at the office door.
  596. "Neither did she."
  597. >With that, Twilight takes her leave.
  598. >You stand in silence for a moment, listening to Fluttershy's porn.
  599. >Sounds like that anal creampie one again.
  600. >She likes that one.
  601. >Reminds her of the good old days.
  602. >But as you look around the office, you sigh.
  603. >It's like she said though.
  604. >The good old days are dead and never coming back.
  605. >You stretch, cracking several joints, before lumbering over to your desk and sitting back down before your monitor.
  606. >Your eyes glance at the dancing penguin again.
  607. >Heh.
  608. >Look at him go...
  609.  
  610. ---
  611.  
  612. >"Anon, I need to speak to you."
  613. >Spin around in your chair, coffee in hand.
  614. "What's up, boss."
  615. >Fluttershy looks on-edge.
  616. >She's fidgeting, and keeps glancing at the window.
  617. >"I uh, I need to show you something."
  618. >...
  619. "If it's your time of the year again, you can forget it, I had to bleach my shirt last time."
  620. >"No, you fucking imbecile, I need to show you something more, um, just come with me or you're fired, or something."
  621. >You roll your eyes and stand up, following your boss, coffee still firmly gripped.
  622. >Fluttershy trots into the kitchen and opens one of the cupboards.
  623. >There, and with great effort, she pulls out a large black bin-liner.
  624. >It's stuffed full of something, and zip-tied shut, though you can see small holes covering the bag.
  625. >You eye it nervously.
  626. "What, uh, what have you done...?"
  627. >She hesitates before replying.
  628. >"Okay, so, we've been a little bit stuck for money lately, and since the bank isn't giving us loans anymore I've had to find alternate methods of acquiring funding."
  629. "I'm with you so far."
  630. >"Buuuut a lot of those methods fell through."
  631. "Right, like the porno we made together to raise money."
  632. >She stares at you and goes red.
  633. >"Right. Yes. Make money. Definitely."
  634. >Clearing her throat, she continues.
  635. >"So since I wasn't able to make enough money the 'traditional' way, I had to reach out to some old contacts."
  636. "...And?"
  637. >The bin-liner shuffles slightly.
  638. >"Umm..."
  639. "Fluttershy."
  640. >"...Anon, this might be somewhat 'unorthadox' but I really need you to trust me and keep quiet on this or we'll both lose our jobs. Maybe worse."
  641. >With that, she tears open the bag with her teeth...
  642. >...And a bright yellow pony with bouncy blue hair and a winning smile tumbles out.
  643. >She's gagged, bound, and looks thoroughly dishevelled, though not entirely unsatisfied.
  644. >It takes everything you have not to yell.
  645. >But ultimately, you fail.
  646. >And yell.
  647. "DID YOU SMUGGLE MILKY WAY INTO THE FUCKING CITY?!"
  648. >"Anon please, calm down!"
  649. "WE-- Oh my god. WE COULD GET HANGED FOR THIS!"
  650. >Milky, on her part, seems awfully content with being bound and gagged.
  651. >Her unusually large, swollen breasts jiggle as she tries to correct her awkward position on the kitchen floor.
  652. >Fluttershy carefully removes the gag from her mouth.
  653. >"S-sorry Milky..."
  654. >The mare smiles at your boss.
  655. >"Oh it's fine, sugar, though I wouldn't complain if we did this bound-and-gagged thing again sometime~"
  656. >Milky looks at you.
  657. >Her eyes linger around your crotch.
  658. >"My my MY, quite the catch here, Fluttershy, did I hear something about a porno...?"
  659. >Fluttershy fumbles with Milky's bindings as she speaks.
  660. >"Um, no, well-- yes Milky, but, uh, where did you say you needed to be dropped off?"
  661. >Milky rises to her hooves, stretching in an overtly-lewd way, trying to catch your eye.
  662. >"Oooh nowhere, I just needed a place to lay low for a while. My boys will swing by and collect me in a week or so, so don't you worry, sugar."
  663. >You watch all this with pursed lips.
  664. >Fluttershy smiles weakly at you.
  665. "Can I talk to you for a second?"
  666.  
  667. >Milky inspects the contents of the fridge, pulling out an empty milk bottle and sniffing it.
  668. >You and Fluttershy watch her from a crack in the door.
  669. >Quietly close it and begin hush-screaming at her.
  670. "Are you insane?! Bringing a domestic terrorist into the city?!"
  671. >"She's my friend! And she was offering money!"
  672. "FRIEN-- friend?! You're telling me you're -friends- with the mare that caused unemployment to hit -sixty percent-?! Entire corporate empires collapsed overnight, Fluttershy! She's a menace!"
  673. >"I've known her since we were fillies, she's just misunderstood!"
  674. >Known her since they were fillies.
  675. >That actually explains a lot about Fluttershy's insatiable libido.
  676. >"We just need to keep her hidden for a week, then we'll get paid."
  677. >You suck in a deep breath, trying to calm yourself.
  678. "...How much."
  679. >"About six million bits."
  680. >If you still had your coffee, you'd take a swig and spray it all over her.
  681. >But Milky stole it.
  682. >You weren't man enough to stop her.
  683. "Whaaa..."
  684. >"She's a rich pony; has a lot of underground investments."
  685. "If she's your friend and she's so rich, why hasn't she helped us before?"
  686. >"I've been spending the last few months talking to her through about fifty different middle-men, Anon, she's been a hard mare to reach since since she fled!"
  687. "Right. But still... that's a lot of money."
  688. >"It is. We'd be set for the next thirty years if she comes through."
  689. "..."
  690. >"I know it's um, not exactly 'legal'--"
  691. "If they find her we're both dead."
  692. >"...Yes, true, but what choice do we have? If we don't get funding the company will fold."
  693. "We could always work at Anon In Equestria."
  694. >...
  695. "Gonna pretend I didn't say that out loud."
  696. >"Yeah that's a pretty good idea, fuckwit."
  697. >You both re-enter the kitchen.
  698. >Milky smiles at Fluttershy.
  699. >And -really- smiles at you.
  700. >"Oh there you both are, I refilled your milk bottles-- no no, no need to thank me, it's just what I do best~!"
  701. >You look at the kitchen counter and see that all 8 of the empty bottles you had in the fridge have been filled.
  702. >Holy shit.
  703. >Fluttershy gulps.
  704. >"So Milky, um, obviously you can't leave the building until you get picked up, and we don't have any beds or sofas--"
  705. >"Oh psssh, Fluttershy, doll, it's fine! I'll sleep in here."
  706. >"Are you... sure?"
  707. >"Of course! I've slept in cesspools whilst running from the law, heck, I even slept inside another pony once. Had to slice him open and sleep inside him like uh, oh what was that movie..."
  708. "...Star Wars?"
  709. >"Yes! Star Whores, -great- porno, I part-funded it don't you know, but anyway I'll sleep in the cupboard, don't worry about lil' old me! Though I do tend to get ah, a bit antsy around this time of year, so I may need to 'borrow' your lovely male friend here, Fluttershy~"
  710. "Out of the questi--"
  711. >"Absolutely, of course you can, Milky."
  712. >Fluttershy glares at you.
  713. >Fucking perfect.
  714. >Milky giggles playfully and strokes your leg.
  715. >"Oooh staying here's gonna be a blast! Don't worry, sugar, I can play nice~"
  716. >God help you.
  717. >Stay strong, Anon.
  718. >Remember the six million.
  719.  
  720. ---
  721.  
  722. >You glance at the clock and breathe out heavily through your nose.
  723. >It's 7:58.
  724. >Saving your progress on the story you've been working on, you stand up and stretch your legs.
  725. "Fluttershy? I'm going outside to get the mail!"
  726. >"Okay, but you can't bring her inside this time!"
  727. "Why not?"
  728. >"Because we have a domestic terrorist hidden in our kitchen!"
  729. "Oh yeah, forgot, sorry!"
  730. >You walk towards the stairs.
  731. >As you pass the kitchen, Milky Way watches you, leant against the door-frame with her front hoof crossed over the other.
  732. >"Aww, you forgot about me? That's cold."
  733. "You keep away from me, you demon, I don't know where you've been."
  734. >"I know where I'd -like- to be~"
  735. >You shudder as she cackles gleefully.
  736. >Exiting through the front double doors, you enjoy the sun on your face for a bit before you enter the shadow of the high-rise across the street and walk along the pavement in front of your building.
  737. >You yawn, a hand covering your mouth as you wait for the mail to come.
  738. >Check your watch.
  739. >It's 8:00.
  740. >Here we go again.
  741. >Same as every morning.
  742. >You check your positioning under the second floor office window.
  743. >Adjust your feet slightly, then slowly hold out your arms.
  744. >And...
  745. >...
  746. >SMACK.
  747. >A grey ball slams into the windowpane with a bang.
  748. >Thankfully, the glass holds this time, and the mare drops from the air like a stone.
  749. >Right into your arms.
  750. >She shakes her head and twists around in confusion.
  751. >Then, she looks up at you, and beams in her natural, innocent way.
  752. >"Hiya Anon!"
  753. "Morning Derpy."
  754. >"I got you a letter!"
  755. "Just the one, or several?"
  756. >"Oh! Uhh... I'd need to check..."
  757. >You set her down and she rummages around in her satchel.
  758. "You know Derpy, you could always use the door."
  759. >"I know... but windows are confusing to pegasi, we never really know they're there until the last minute."
  760. "Even though you slam into that same window every day?"
  761. >She shrugs.
  762. >"I dunno, just the way we are, I guess."
  763. >She hands(?) over a stack of letters.
  764. >Bills, more than likely.
  765. >"So um..."
  766. >She gives you a meek look.
  767. >"C-can I come in for some milk and biscuits, please?"
  768. >You regard her affectionately.
  769. "If I were a suspicious man I'd say you were hitting our window on purpose so that I'd have an excuse to bring you in and tend to you."
  770. >She grins toothily, and blushes.
  771. >"No, I just uh... I need to check on, you know. Stuff."
  772. "Right, stuff, of course."
  773. >You sigh.
  774. "Well I'm sorry, Derps, but today I'm going to have to say no."
  775. >Her ears fold back, and her smile sags.
  776. >"Oh! Well... okay. Sorry for asking I--"
  777. "No no, it's just we have, uh, a rat."
  778. >"A rat?"
  779. "Oh yeah, it's huge. Size of a pony. Wouldn't want you getting hurt, is all."
  780. >"Alright, if you say so..."
  781. >She forces herself to smile again, and takes flight once more.
  782. >"In that case, I'll see you tomorrow, mister Anon!"
  783. "Just Anon will do, Derps, you take care."
  784. >"Alright! Bye!"
  785. >You wave as she flies away.
  786. >Then look at the letters she gave you.
  787. >They're all addressed to Anon In Equestria Inc.
  788. >Fuck.
  789.  
  790. ---
  791.  
  792. >You wander back inside, frowning at the letters in your hand.
  793. >This means you'll either have to drop them off at Twilight's place, or throw them in the bin.
  794. >You know which one Fluttershy will pick.
  795. >Maybe you should just keep them from her?
  796. >As you think on this, you tread heavily up the flight of stairs leading to the office.
  797. >The first thing you notice when you get there is the yellow object hurtling towards you.
  798. >Instinctively you flinch and hold up your hands, but Fluttershy collides with you regardless.
  799. >You hold the pony in your arms, blinking dumbly at her.
  800. >She glares at you in return.
  801. >So nothing new there.
  802. "Can I help you, boss?"
  803. >"We have a problem."
  804. >"WHERE IS IT?!" a voice bellows from the kitchen.
  805. >"We have a serious problem."
  806. >Clutching your boss (who takes the liberty of wrapping her hooves around your neck and getting comfortable), you walk steadily towards the kitchen.
  807. >Nudge open the door with a foot, prepared for anything.
  808. >Milky Way is poised in the centre of the room.
  809. >She spins to face you, a crazed look in her eye.
  810. >Between her teeth is a large, blood-soaked, serrated knife.
  811. "Oh fuck, Shy are we gonna die?"
  812. >Milky grins maniacally and speaks over the knife between her teeth. Somehow.
  813. >"There's a rat in this building."
  814. "...Were you listening to what I said to Derpy? That was a joke--"
  815. >"No, sugar, there's an actual rat in this building. I saw it rooting through the fridge."
  816. >...
  817. >Oh shit so -that's- what was stealing all the food.
  818. >Your kitchen CCTV camera mysteriously stopped working shortly after you set it up, so you never figured out who was behind the raids.
  819. >Fluttershy buries her face in your neck and sniffs.
  820. >"You're wearing that fragrance I like, Anon."
  821. "Uh, is now really the best time, boss?"
  822. >"Not really, but you'd better watch yourself, stud."
  823. >A loud chattering resonates around the room.
  824. >All three of you freeze.
  825. >Milky chuckles darkly.
  826. >"Come back for more, have you?"
  827. >You look around.
  828. "There's only one door, where--"
  829. >"The ceiling tiles. It's using the ceiling tiles to get around, sugar."
  830. >You glance up at the segmented ceiling nervously.
  831. >Slowly, one of the tiles raises slightly, and pulls back.
  832. >You see a pair of beady eyes peering out at you from the darkness.
  833. >Then, a blur of motion.
  834. >A massive, pony-sized rat launches itself from the shadows directly at Milky Way.
  835. >She gleefully leaps to meet it, a tangled mess of pony and rat merging in a frantic mess.
  836. >Your grip on Fluttershy tightens, and she squeals as your hand clutches her flank.
  837. >Taking a few steps back, you watch in horror as the rat tries to take a chunk out of Milky.
  838. >Milky, not having any of that shit, stabs the knife right into the rat's shoulder.
  839. >It shrieks and claws at her, a spray of blood marking the floor and wall.
  840. >The mare grunts and wrestles the rat onto its back, sitting on its chest and raising the knife above it as if to strike the point down.
  841. >Before she can do so, the rat wriggles out from under her and, using its considerable weight, shunts her to the ground.
  842. >She slides along the tiled floor, her blood streaking under her.
  843. >The rat uses its moment of freedom to dash to the fridge.
  844. >You watch in silent amazement as it rears up and opens the door with its claws, reaching in and grabbing your lunch box between its teeth.
  845. >Mother fucker, that's why you keep finding it empty and covered in bite marks.
  846. >You thought it was Fluttershy this whole time.
  847. >The rat considerately shuts the fridge door and in one mighty leap, re-enters the ceiling through the hole it had made.
  848. >Fluttershy, Milky, and yourself watch as the tile slides back into place.
  849. >And then there is silence.
  850. >...
  851. >Milky rises to her hooves with a pained grunt.
  852. >"Little furry bastard actually got me!"
  853. >She grins, despite having a large gash on her barrel.
  854. >Fluttershy leaps out of your arms and immediately starts fussing over her friend.
  855. >"Oh Milky, you must have been so scared!"
  856. >"Who, me? Sugar, I used to fight Diamond Dogs for scraps of leftovers, that was nothing."
  857. >She staggers over to a drawer and pulls it open, retrieving the first-aid kit within where she busies herself with the bandages and iodine inside.
  858. >"Ah well, I'll get him next time. Well-trained rat though, I must admit."
  859. "You think someone trained that thing?"
  860. >"Of course! The question is who."
  861. >The three of you pause and turn your attention to the vents.
  862. >If you strain yourself, you can just about hear a distant, raspy, whisper of a voice.
  863. >'Ooo, ham sandwiches again it seems, Rudolph...'
  864. >You may need to buy some rat poison.
  865. >...
  866. "Boss, really."
  867. >Fluttershy, having slid back into your grasp, finishes licking your cheek.
  868. >"You grabbed my ass during that, you're wearing that scent again, and violence gets me horny, oh you'd better believe we're doing this."
  869. >Working here is hell.
  870.  
  871. ---
  872.  
  873. "Was she really a milk-mare?"
  874. >You and Fluttershy peer through a crack in the door at Milky as she hums to herself and deposits more of her 'product' into your milk bottles.
  875. >To her credit, you've saved a fair bit of money on milk whilst she's been here.
  876. >Fluttershy nods.
  877. >"One of the best, of course that all died when the government outlawed the sale of ponymilk."
  878. "Isn't it a bit weird that she produces that much though? Do you not find it weird that people used to drink that stuff?"
  879. >"Why would I? Do humans not drink their own milk?"
  880. "Well sure, but only when they're young."
  881. >"That's not what I've seen."
  882. "Wh--"
  883. >"I watch so much porn, Anon."
  884. "Oh."
  885. >You turn back to Milky.
  886. >She places the fourth bottle back in the fridge.
  887. "So the government bans ponymilk and the only logical solution is domestic terrorism."
  888. >"That's just the way she saw it."
  889. "Tragic."
  890. >"I know. An innocent mare put out of work by a fascist regime..."
  891. "...I was more thinking about all the people she put out of work in response."
  892. >"Oh. Them too, I guess."
  893. "Did you really know her when you were fillies?"
  894. >"Yup."
  895. "What was she like?"
  896. >"Lewd."
  897. "Really? Shocker."
  898. >"She hit puberty when she was ten. Lost her virginity when she was eleven."
  899. "Jesus. Who too?"
  900. >"Me."
  901. >...
  902. "O-oh."
  903. >"We're really good friends."
  904. "Shy I don't think--"
  905. >"Best friends."
  906. >...
  907. >"That's why she's always in my office--"
  908. "Yeah, I got it."
  909. >...
  910. >"Lactation is one of my fetishes--"
  911. "Okay, right, no need to say anymore."
  912. >...
  913. >"Is lactation your fet--"
  914. "Please stop."
  915.  
  916. ---
  917.  
  918. >"So what do you -do-, exactly?"
  919. >You wince at the voice.
  920. >Milky Way slips into your cubical and leans against you as you tap away at the keyboard.
  921. "I write stories."
  922. >"Ohh yes, Fluttershy mentioned these. So people really read this stuff?"
  923. "Uh yeah, there's a real market for it, well, Fluttershy and I still think so."
  924. >"Mm? Others think otherwise?"
  925. "Yeah, Twilight Sparkle from Anon In Equestria Inc. thinks that Flutterrape is outdated and behind the times, she thinks we need to modernise and mix with them in order to survive."
  926. >You sniff a take a sip of your coffee.
  927. "It's all bullshit. She just wants to clean up the competition, absorb anything that she can, and Flutterrape is a special case since she used to work here."
  928. >"Ooh, drama, my favourite topic~"
  929. >Milky Way pulls up a chair and leans an elbow on your desk, smiling at you.
  930. >You don't like the way she looks at you.
  931. >It's predatory.
  932. >...
  933. >So really, she fits right in here.
  934. >"What made her quit?"
  935. "Just uh, internal disagreements about where the company should go. Fluttershy wanted FR to be about the lewd. It was the lewd that brought people in and stripping it of that would tear the soul out if it."
  936. >"And Twilight thought otherwise?"
  937. "She thought that the company would be better off if we made stories that weren't lewd. Adventure, sci-fi, romance, you know, all that stuff."
  938. >"Sounds boring."
  939. "Well, thing is, you can have an FR story with all those elements, AND the added bonus of a quick and filthy sex scene thrown in at the end for good measure, what's not to like?"
  940. >"I know I like it."
  941. "Yeah well you would."
  942. >She places a hoof on her chest in mock-surprise.
  943. >"Anon! I'm offended that you would think such a thing."
  944. "Aren't you a millionaire porn investor?"
  945. >"Porn, drugs, pony-milk, human and equine trafficking, the whole deal, sugar."
  946. "Jesus."
  947. >"So how did she leave?"
  948. "She managed to convince half of our writers that the future was in AiE, so she basically organised an exodus and some time about six years ago just walked out with half of everything we had."
  949. >"Devious little bitch!"
  950. >Milky Way grins.
  951. >"I rather like her way of thinking!"
  952. "Yeah well... just don't go talking about that with Fluttershy, she'll burst a blood vessel."
  953. >"Aww, is my sweet little Shy angry when I'm not around?"
  954. "Is she angry?! Milky she's the most volatile pony I've ever met."
  955. >Milky giggles.
  956. >"Not when I'm nearby~"
  957. >You're about to retort, but then think about it.
  958. >She -has- been a bit more restrained since Milky got here.
  959. >Maybe it takes a super-criminal to keep her in check.
  960. >"So, Twilight takes half the staff, then her whole little venture fails and they're basically now on the same level as you are, right?"
  961. "Ouch, that hurt, but uh, no, not really."
  962. >"Oh?"
  963. "Well. You know that massive skyscraper in the middle of the city?"
  964. >She cocks her head.
  965. >"What, the Ivory Perch?"
  966. "Yeah, that."
  967. >"That...?"
  968. "That's it. That's Anon In Equestria Incorporated."
  969. >Milky stares at you, slightly agape.
  970. >"Sweet lord."
  971. >She looks around your office.
  972. >"And you're stuck in -this- dump?!"
  973. "Thanks for the vote of confidence, Milky."
  974. >"Well I mean, I can understand being rivals with a company, sugar, but she's way beyond your league!"
  975. "Looks that way, yeah."
  976. >"So are you going to take her up on the offer and merge?"
  977. "I think about it from time to time. Twilight comes around every couple of months to check on us and ask again."
  978. >Milky's look softens.
  979. >"Aww, that's sweet of her."
  980. "Yeah, she's nice."
  981. >"Nice? Even though she stole half your company?"
  982. "Well, Twilight and I never had any ill-will between us, even after what happened. We, uh, like each other a lot."
  983. >Milky's predatory grin returns.
  984. >"Oooh, do I sense a budding romance?"
  985. "Knock it off, it's more like a good friendship. Besides, if I started anything with Twilight then Fluttershy would break my kneecaps."
  986. >"Oh my little Shy would do no such thing, she's an angel. Even named her rabbit Angel last time I checked."
  987. "That rabbit's no angel, it's a killer."
  988. >"Pssh."
  989. >She goes quiet and you carry on tapping away at your story.
  990. >Eventually, you hear the chair next to you sliding, and Milky draws herself closer, speaking in a more muted, business-like tone.
  991. >"You know... now that I'm back in the city and my assets are establishing a foothold in the city's underbelly, I'll be able to start making things happen sooner or later."
  992. "Uh. Okay?"
  993. >"Well, I'm just saying, sugar, if you want then I can pull a few strings, get a few specialists together, make a plan, and bring that entire tower crashing down around her."
  994. "..."
  995. >"Come on, wouldn't it be fun? Watching that corporation just burn to ashes?"
  996. "And hundreds of people could die, or worse, lose their jobs."
  997. >"Omelettes and eggs, Anon."
  998. "What kind of omelette are -you- thinking of?"
  999. >Milky wraps a hoof around your shoulder and makes a grand gesture in the air with the other.
  1000. >"Imagine: Flutterrape LTD on top of the world! The biggest and most successful company around!"
  1001. "Would that success be due to there not being any competition?"
  1002. >"Well, if you look at it a certain way, yes."
  1003. >You shake your head.
  1004. "No, Milky, this company was founded on strong Christian morals. We're a kind company."
  1005. >"Honey, your company motto is literally 'Where no means yes and yes means anal'."
  1006. "Loads of Christians do anal."
  1007. >She lets out a hearty laugh.
  1008. >"I'll give you that one!"
  1009. >The mare backs off a bit, but remains close to you, turning her attention to your screen.
  1010. >"So if you're too boring to destroy your enemies, maybe I can help you here..."
  1011. "How so?"
  1012. >"Well, you know, this! Writing stories! Can't be too hard, can it?"
  1013. >You raise an eyebrow and give a surprised laugh.
  1014. "You? Write?"
  1015. >"Sure! I'm creative!"
  1016. "Alrighty then, let's hear it."
  1017. >"Okay, so what if there was a story where Fluttershy was... really big!"
  1018. >She makes an exaggerated hoof-gesture for emphasis, then leans back in her chair, clearly pleased with herself.
  1019. >...
  1020. "...Is that it?"
  1021. >"Of course!"
  1022. >You blink.
  1023. >She frowns.
  1024. >"What, too much?"
  1025. "Uh, no, it's just really... mundane."
  1026. >"Mundane?! But it's a story about a -giant pony-! Think of how incredible it would be to be smooched by a giant pony!"
  1027. "Yeah, kinda dull. Loads of stories have had that in them."
  1028. >She looks disappointed, but curious.
  1029. >"Well what sort of stories have you done? What's the craziest thing you've ever written?"
  1030. "Oh that's easy, I once wrote a story about a vampire bounty-hunter who came to Equestria to kill a target, but the target was a shape-shifter and it steals the forms of various Ponyville residents so the hunter has to figure out who's the real target whilst trying to fend off hordes of rapist clones that the target was creating in a secret lair under a volcano, and the whole thing ends in a massive orgy but the vampire hunter dies as he cums inside the last mare, and then the story closes. It's a bittersweet ending."
  1031. >Milky Way stares in disbelief at you.
  1032. >"And people... read this stuff."
  1033. "Oh yeah, that was one of our most popular stories. It sold six thousand units!"
  1034. >You allow yourself to swell with pride.
  1035. >"...Is that a lot?"
  1036. "Well uh, it is for Flutterrape..."
  1037. >"Right."
  1038. >She glances at the screen.
  1039. >Then back at you.
  1040. >"Okay, I can see that I might be out of my depth here, sugar, so I'll just leave you to it, and stick to what I know, like running a criminal empire, and making the best damn milk this world has ever known. How's the coffee, by the way?"
  1041. "It's really goo-- oooh, you put your milk in it didn't you."
  1042. >"Not just my milk, dear."
  1043. >She winks at you and walks off laughing as you splutter and pour your coffee on a nearby potted plant.
  1044. >Fucking Milky Way.
  1045. >...
  1046. >When you're sure she's gone, you open a new document and give it a title.
  1047. >' Giant Fluttershy Story '
  1048.  
  1049. ---
  1050.  
  1051. >You aren't enjoying this.
  1052. >Not even remotely.
  1053. >But as Milky Way molests the inside of your mouth with her tongue, her hooves hooked around your neck in a vice, you find that as much as you complain you can't actually do anything about it.
  1054. >With an over-exaggerated 'MWAH!', Milky breaks her kiss.
  1055. >Though really it was more like tongue-rape.
  1056. >She beams at your dark expression and unhooks from your neck, dropping to the floor.
  1057. >"Hope it was good for you too, sugar~"
  1058. "Yeah, great."
  1059. >She flashes you a wink and turns to Fluttershy.
  1060. >"Well Shy, this is it."
  1061. >Your boss nods tearfully as she speaks.
  1062. >"I-I'll miss you..."
  1063. >The two share a hug as Fluttershy babbles over her friend's shoulder.
  1064. >"You'll try and stay in touch won't you? I-I couldn't bear losing you again, what if the government finds you? Will you be safe? Oh maybe you should just stay here..."
  1065. >The milk-mare chuckles and frees herself from the other pony's desperate clinging.
  1066. >"Sugar, I'll always be in touch~! My assets are set up and I'm ready to get back to making this entire city my personal fuck-toy, so relax! Just try not to sell me out to the cops again this time, okay hun?"
  1067. >Fluttershy winces.
  1068. >"I-It was a mistake... they tricked me..."
  1069. >"I know, sugar, I know." Milky says affectionately.
  1070. >She gives Fluttershy a quick peck on the forehead and motions to the burly stallions at the door.
  1071. >"Come on, boys, let's go tame a city."
  1072. >They nod silently and follow their boss out of the room and down the stairs.
  1073. >For a minute, Fluttershy and yourself stand still, listening to her steps get quieter until you hear the front door open and shut.
  1074. >...
  1075. "Well. That's that."
  1076. >"Yeah. Anyway, get back to work, fucknugget, we have a company to rebuild."
  1077. "Rebuild? With what?"
  1078. >"Looks like someone forgot the six million."
  1079. "Wh-- oh, OH, Christ, I completely forgot about that. Kinda easy to do so though when you're actively being molested by a super-criminal on a regular basis. Thanks for keeping her away from me by the way, you asshole."
  1080. >"What the fuck was I going to do, drag her off you? She's a mare with needs, and you were the only man in the vicinity. Besides, she's usually into mares so you should consider yourself privileged."
  1081. "Wow. Privileged. Okay, so what are you planning to do with all that money anyway?"
  1082. >"What do you think? We need to start hiring some ponies and making this place into something semi-respectable."
  1083. "I thought looks didn't matter and that we were respectable on the inside?"
  1084. >"Well I'm stood inside this office and it's a fucking disgrace from what I can see, now get on Craigslist and find me some god damn writers."
  1085. "Yes boss."
  1086. >You mock-salute and begin heading back to your desk, Fluttershy walking to her office at the other side of the room.
  1087. >As you pass the kitchen your call out to her.
  1088. "Hey, are we ever gonna get rid of that giant rat corpse?"
  1089. >"What corpse? It's not dead, you dipshit, just sleeping."
  1090. "Why is it sleeping in our kitchen?"
  1091. >"Hell if I know, but now that Milky's not here who's gonna deal with it? You?"
  1092. >She forces out a laugh.
  1093. >"I'd pay six million bits to see that."
  1094. "Don't try me, I'm a pro with a knife."
  1095. >"You're not even a pro with your own dick, what are you gonna do with a knife?"
  1096. >Ouch.
  1097. >She's really giving it to you today.
  1098. >Must be Milky-withdrawal.
  1099. >You have to admit though, that milk definitely grew on you. It's an acquired taste; you'll miss it.
  1100. >Well, at least she's gone now, and you'll never have to deal with her ever again for as long as you live.
  1101. >...Even when you lie to yourself you feel guilty.
  1102. >You slide into your creaky chair and pull yourself closer to the desk, looking over the screen with a bored expression.
  1103. >Alright, so now you just need to find some writers.
  1104. >Shouldn't be too hard; city's full of aspiring young minds ready to get started in the world of work.
  1105. >Or at least that's what the state-funded news networks tell you.
  1106. >Most young people you see on the way to work are more concerned with fidget spinners and crack cocaine than actually being functional adults.
  1107. >Ah well.
  1108. >Just send out a few applications and let the cards fall where they may.
  1109. >Not like you can find anyone worse than Milky.
  1110.  
  1111. >"So like, I was thinking I could be the boss maybe? I've been running a blog for a few years now and that's -basically- the same thing as running a company, right? So what do you think?"
  1112. >You stare at the young girl behind the desk, who's now looking at her phone since she finished speaking and completely ignoring your incredulous gaze.
  1113. >This is why you don't use Craigslist to find employees.
  1114. "I don't think you have what we're looking for."
  1115. >"I'm putting this on my blog you fucking bigot."
  1116.  
  1117. >"..."
  1118. "..."
  1119. >"..."
  1120. "..."
  1121. >"..."
  1122. "Uh. You alright, sir?"
  1123. >The stallion simply stares at you.
  1124. >You look at his resume.
  1125. >It's just a picture of him staring at the camera the same way he is now.
  1126. >You look back up at him.
  1127. >He has a small smile on his face, and you notice that a box-cutter is on the table between you both.
  1128. >Gulp.
  1129.  
  1130. >"...So I have several years of experience leading a team, have pioneered a successful story brand, and am ready to work in a new environment on any project put before me to the best of my ability."
  1131. "That's great, boss, but this interview is for people who don't run the fucking company."
  1132. >"I'm only here because you said there would be drinks."
  1133. "Fluttershy you own the company. You own the drinks."
  1134. >"Then give me MY FUCKING BOOZE, ANON."
  1135.  
  1136. >"So can I have those biscuits and milk now?"
  1137. "Derpy you can't work here, please leave."
  1138. >"C-can we hang out at least?"
  1139. "...After work."
  1140. >"Wooo!"
  1141. "Ahh get outta here, you lovable scamp."
  1142.  
  1143. >Your forehead is sore.
  1144. >Likely because you've been resting it on the cold metal table for a while now.
  1145. >The hunt for a new employee has been fruitless to say the least.
  1146. >Or maybe not, actually, you -did- interview a gay guy at one point.
  1147. >Still, maybe it's time to pack things up and forget the whole thing.
  1148. >Hopefully Fluttershy will get drunk and completely erase any memory of having asked you to find more workers.
  1149. >As far as employees go, you're definitely deserving of employee of the month.
  1150. >...
  1151. >You frown as you realise you've thought that before.
  1152. >The employee of the month this time was Milky.
  1153. >Fucking -Milky-.
  1154. >It's not that you're surprised that annoys you.
  1155. >It's that you're not even remotely surprised.
  1156. >You shut your file and stretch your arms out, yawning.
  1157. >Better go--
  1158. >"Hey asshole."
  1159. >You glance at the door of your little impromptu interview room.
  1160. >Fluttershy is there.
  1161. >Glaring.
  1162. >As always.
  1163. >"Got one more applicant. Play nice."
  1164. >With that, she disappears, and a frumpy-looking bespectacled mare walks in.
  1165. >She freezes when she sees the giant rat sleeping in the corner of the room.
  1166. "Hello, my name is Anonymous. We're using the kitchen as an interview room. Yes, that is actually a giant rat; he's mostly harmless when he's asleep, so please don't wake him up or the consequences will be dire."
  1167. >The mare slowly walks to the desk and takes a seat across from you.
  1168. >You reopen your file and look through the list of names you had down.
  1169. "Miss... Short Storys?"
  1170. >"Yes, that's me, hi."
  1171. "Is that a typo?"
  1172. >"No, that's just how it's spelt."
  1173. "I see. So what made you want to write for Flutterrape?"
  1174. >"The advert said there would be booze."
  1175. >That's the fifth person to mention that.
  1176. >Why the fuck did you offer booze in the advert.
  1177. "Well yes, there is booze, but why else do you want to write for us?"
  1178. >"Um, well I write stories as a freelancer, and I need a more permanent job."
  1179. >...
  1180. >"Also Anon In Equestria aren't hiring, and Reverse Gender Roles told me to fuck off when I said I wanted to write for them, so..."
  1181. >She looks around at the dirty kitchen.
  1182. >"I figured this was the next best place...?"
  1183. "You thought right!"
  1184. >"...Are you sure?"
  1185. "Not always, no, but tell me, what sort of writing are you expecting to do? Are you aware of what you will be asked to write here?"
  1186. >"Ponyrape, right?"
  1187. "Yes, precisely, it--"
  1188. >"Yeah I can do that, sounds easy."
  1189. >You give a good-natured chuckle.
  1190. "I assure you, Miss Storys, it's a lot harder than it looks, it requires--"
  1191. >"I dunno, you just come up with a gimmick and slap rape on it whenever things get boring. Kinda simple."
  1192. "I, uh... w-well we'll see how you do. Frankly you're the only normal-looking person to walk through the door today so--"
  1193. >"I HEARD THAT YOU LANKY FUCK." Fluttershy shouts from behind the door.
  1194. "FUCK YOU FLUTTERSHY GO JACK OFF IN YOUR OFFICE INSTEAD OF LISTENING INTO OTHER PEOPLE'S CONVERSATIONS."
  1195. >"YOUR ASS IS MINE WHEN SHE'S GONE."
  1196. "WELL JOKE'S ON YOU, DICKWAFFLE, SHE'S NOT LEAVING."
  1197. >You glance at Short Storys.
  1198. "By the way, you're hired, you start on Monday."
  1199. >"Cool!"
  1200. >...
  1201. >"And I think you woke the rat up by shouting."
  1202. "Oh fucksticks--"
  1203.  
  1204. ---
  1205.  
  1206. "This won't work."
  1207. >"Yes it will."
  1208. "Taking out Slasher Science won't magically rid us of Rudolph.
  1209. >"We're doing this."
  1210. "And I'm telling you, it won't work."
  1211. >"Anon, I'm sick of that fucking rat."
  1212. "He's not that bad; as long as we keep feeding him six times a day he tends to leave you alone."
  1213. >"Friday."
  1214. "Friday was an anomaly."
  1215. >"He ate my fucking office chair."
  1216. "It was a shitty chair."
  1217. >"That chair was with this company from the start."
  1218. "Exactly, it was falling to bits and you would do well to replace it."
  1219. >"I made love on, and to that chair more times than you can fathom. It was special to me."
  1220. "All the more reason why it had to go; it was tainted."
  1221. >"The same pussy juices that saturated that leather have also saturated your face, Anonymous, don't try and take the moral high-ground here."
  1222. "Charmingly put, Fluttershy."
  1223. >"Shut up. You're fired. Now put the cheese in the vent."
  1224. "I thought we were luring out Slasher?"
  1225. >"Yes...?"
  1226. "...With cheese?"
  1227. >"Yes, all white people like cheese, Anon."
  1228. "Was Slasher even white?"
  1229. >"Of course he was white."
  1230. "How do you know? He used to come into work with a balaclava and gloves on."
  1231. >"Only a white guy would do something that tremendously autistic."
  1232. "We write rape-fiction for money, Fluttershy, we're not really in a position to call others autistic."
  1233. >"Whatever, hold my drink, I'll do it myself. Actually, you're pissing me off today, What's-Your-Face, hold my drink."
  1234. >"M-my name's Short Story's ma'am."
  1235. >"Shut up. Fuck you. You're fired. Why is everyone around here so incompetent?"
  1236. "You're not actually fired, Shorts, stay where you are."
  1237. >"You're not her boss, Anon."
  1238. "Contractually I'm her manager."
  1239. >"And who exactly made you her manager?"
  1240. "You did."
  1241. >"When?"
  1242. "When we hired her, you were very drunk at the time."
  1243. >"Drunk deals don't count."
  1244. "Bullshit, we decided that drunk deals -do- count last November."
  1245. >"Again with November!"
  1246. "You fucking owe me for November."
  1247. >"What um, what happened in November?"
  1248. "Doesn't concern you, Shorts. Now hold Fluttershy's drink so I can shift her fat ass into this vent."
  1249. >"You call my ass fat, but you secretly love it."
  1250. "Yeah okay."
  1251. >"Anon you're blushing."
  1252. "Shut up, Shorts."
  1253. >"Ugh... Come on Anon, put your back into it!"
  1254. "You've seriously put on weight since the last time I picked you up."
  1255. >"You'll be doing overtime if you keep this attitude up."
  1256. "Actual-overtime where I can get some work done on my stories or office-overtime where you make me get work done on you?"
  1257. >"Both. At the same time."
  1258. >"So um, are you two like a couple or...?"
  1259. "Not on her life, Shorts."
  1260. >"HA! I have higher standards than Anonymous, trust me."
  1261. >"But you two kinda... I dunno, bang a lot."
  1262. "Yeah but they're hatefucks so they don't count."
  1263. >"Hatefucks don't count, Shorts."
  1264. "Not even remotely."
  1265. >"Not one bit."
  1266. "Have you planted the cheese yet?"
  1267. >"Yes, bring me down."
  1268. >You lower her.
  1269. >"Enjoy the view?"
  1270. "No."
  1271. >"Yes you did."
  1272. "I'd never tell you if I did, you fucking harlot."
  1273. >"Sure you wouldn't. Anyway, now we wait."
  1274. "What if Rudolph gets it first?"
  1275. >"Well if those tranquillisers you gave him did their job, he won't be a problem."
  1276. >...
  1277. >"Also please give me back my drink, Shorts, thank you."
  1278. >"S-sorry ma'am."
  1279. >You puff out your cheeks with a sigh and relax slightly, your arms swinging at your sides as you absently watch the vent opening.
  1280. "So how long do you think this is gonna--"
  1281. >A sudden, violent flash of light steals your vision from you, and a loud ringing fills your ears.
  1282. >You drop to the floor, your hands clasped over your eyes.
  1283. >Screaming from the other two mares is muted amongst reverberations in your ear drums.
  1284. >As the intense pain and disorientation fades, you stagger back to a standing position, struggling to stay upright and not topple over again.
  1285. "Wh-what the fuck was that?!"
  1286. >Fluttershy growls and scrambles to her hooves.
  1287. >"Son of a-- lift me up, now, NOW!"
  1288. >You hastily grab Fluttershy and hoist her up to the open vent.
  1289. >Her angered voice echoes through the vents.
  1290. >"Oh mother fucker-- he took the cheese!"
  1291. "What?!"
  1292. >"He left a note too!"
  1293. >A wad of crumpled-up paper bounces off your forehead and lands on the floor.
  1294. >Short Storys picks it up and unfurls it, clearing her throat to read in a slow, deliberate voice.
  1295. >"Ha ha ha, nice try losers, I have eighty-seven flashbang grenades."
  1296. >...
  1297. "Well fuck me, he has eighty-seven flashbang grenades."
  1298. >Fluttershy sighs.
  1299. >"Bring me back down..."
  1300. >You lower her and set her on the floor.
  1301. >For a moment she glowers at the vent, considering her options, then fixes her frazzled pink mane and attempts to look more commanding.
  1302. >"Short Storys, please return to your desk and continue working. Anonymous, my office."
  1303. "What, why?"
  1304. >"You wore that fragrance again."
  1305. "Oh for fucks sake."
  1306. >"If you keep wearing it, this is going to keep happening, I don't understand how this is a difficult concept to grasp."
  1307.  
  1308. ---
  1309.  
  1310. >Your hands move across your keyboard in a flurry.
  1311. >Despite your earlier reservations, this filly-orgy gore-fic was really coming along nicely.
  1312. >As you hastily write out the closing scenes, a faint scent wafts by you.
  1313. >Immediately, your hands stop dead.
  1314. >They hover over the keys as you sniff the air.
  1315. "...Oh no."
  1316. >The familiar smell of bourbon assaults your nostrils, and you slowly turn around in your swivel-chair.
  1317. >Fluttershy stands, swaying, in the opening to your cubical.
  1318. >"Hiiii~"
  1319. "You okay? How many fingers am I holding up?"
  1320. >You hold up three fingers.
  1321. >"Y-you don't have fffingers!"
  1322. >Shit, she's leathered.
  1323. "Alright, let's get you back to your office, you can sleep on the nice comfy sofa, does that sound good?"
  1324. >"Anonnn I had an idea... iss a really good one."
  1325. "Really? Oh that's lovely, tell me all about it..."
  1326. >You pick her up carefully and hold her like a baby in your arms as you stroll across the room towards her office.
  1327. >"So I was thinkin', we need a special word to call each other!"
  1328. "I think boss and minion are working out just fine between us, Fluttershy."
  1329. >"Nnnoooo, I mean for me you and Story Shorts..."
  1330. "Short Storys, and again, I think boss and minion are still the best thing we've got going."
  1331. >"I feel like her name is spelled wrongly... is her name spelled wrongly?"
  1332. "Yes, Fluttershy, her name is spelt incorrectly."
  1333. >"Thass so weird!"
  1334. "It is, yes."
  1335. >"Is she still here I wanna ask her summin..."
  1336. "No, she went home, it's twenty-past nine at night."
  1337. >"We should call ourselves Flutterfriends!"
  1338. "..."
  1339. >"Aaah?"
  1340. "That was your special word, wasn't it."
  1341. >"Yeah!"
  1342. "It's horrible, never say it ever again, 'Flutterfriend'."
  1343. >"Iss a great name you even just said it then, I heard you!"
  1344. "I was being sarcastic."
  1345. >"You were bein'... sexy-tastic..."
  1346. >Oh boy, she's hit that stage in her drunkenness.
  1347. >Nudge open the office door and approach the black leather sofa she has by a wall under a huge portrait of herself.
  1348. >Lay her down and make sure she's comfortable.
  1349. >She aimlessly waves her forelegs around in the air, reaching for you.
  1350. >"Pick me up again..."
  1351. "No, Fluttershy, get some sleep."
  1352. >"I don't wanna."
  1353. "You'll feel better once you've slept, I'll see you in the morning."
  1354. >"Okay..."
  1355. "Good girl."
  1356. >Just as you flick off the lights and are about to leave, she calls out.
  1357. >"Anon?"
  1358. "Yeah?"
  1359. >After a short moment of silence, a timid, soft voice reaches out to you in the dark.
  1360. >"You're my best Flutterfriend..."
  1361. >...
  1362. >A small smile crosses your lips.
  1363. "You're my best Flutterfriend too, Fluttershy."
  1364. >With that, you close the door with a soft click.
  1365.  
  1366. "Mornin', Flutterfriend."
  1367. >"What the fuck? Don't ever call me that again."
  1368. "Theeere it is."
  1369.  
  1370. ---
  1371.  
  1372. >The phone on your desk rings.
  1373. >You nearly jump out of your skin.
  1374. >Hard to remember you actually have one now.
  1375. >Thank god Milky came through or the business would still be relying on cans-and-string for internal communication.
  1376. >Or shouting.
  1377. >Shouting is often the preferred method of getting ideas around the office.
  1378. >Fluttershy was a big believer in this, which is why she made you and Short Storys have desks at opposite ends of the office floor.
  1379. >Which reminds you--
  1380. >"HEY ANON ARE YOU GONNA PICK UP THE PHONE OR SHOULD I?"
  1381. "I'M WORKING ON IT, SHORTS, JUST A SECOND."
  1382. >You stare at the phone for a few moments, praying for it to stop.
  1383. >...
  1384. >It's not stopping.
  1385. >A door nearby is thrown open, and Fluttershy's voice bellows out into the void.
  1386. >"ANON PICK UP THE FUCKING PHONE I'M TRYING TO CALL YOU!"
  1387. "FINE, JESUS."
  1388. >You pick up the phone.
  1389. "Hello?"
  1390. >"MY OFFICE, NOW."
  1391.  
  1392. "That was an utter waste of time and you know it."
  1393. >"Shut up, I'm not wasting money on phones then not using them."
  1394. >Fluttershy motions for you to sit.
  1395. >You sit across from her.
  1396. >Then shuffle uncomfortably.
  1397. "These new chairs are, uh, kinda weird, boss."
  1398. >"I was assured they were ergonomically designed."
  1399. "For what? Ponies?"
  1400. >"Yes, actually."
  1401. "...What about me?"
  1402. >"What -about- you?"
  1403. "Do I not matter?"
  1404. >"Of course you don't, now again, shut up and listen. We um, we have a voice message..."
  1405. >She trails off and looks nervously at her answer machine.
  1406. >Your eyes cycle between it and her.
  1407. "...Well are you going to listen to it?"
  1408. >"No, it's the phone-caller ID; it's from... you know..."
  1409. >Her voice drops to a low whisper.
  1410. >"-That guy-."
  1411. >...
  1412. >Ah.
  1413. >That explains everything.
  1414. "...We could, uh, always delete it and pretend we didn't get it...?"
  1415. >"We did that last time! We're still trying to delete all the messages he sent afterwards once he found out!"
  1416. "How did he even find out we'd deleted his messages?"
  1417. >"I don't know! I don't know, but just--... c-can you please sit with me and listen to this one? I get scared when it's just me and him in a room."
  1418. "You have strange and unusual issues, Shy."
  1419. >"Shut up. Press play."
  1420. >You have to admit, you hesitate.
  1421. >Paralysed with apprehension, you rap your fingers on the arms of your chair, not wanting to move.
  1422. >Finally, and with an unconfident gulp, you reach for the answer machine and press 'play' on the most recent message.
  1423. >A loud, crackly, possibly drunk, and tragically familiar masculine voice reverberates around the room.
  1424. >"HEY ALL YOU ASSHOLES AT FLUTTERRACK CORP, OR WHATEVER YOURS NAMES IS."
  1425. >"HOW COME YOU NEVER DID ANOTHER PEGASUS STORY, YOU KNOW THAT ONE WITH THE CRIPPLE AND THE MARMADUKE? I KINDA LIKED THAT ONE EVEN THOUGH MOST OTHER PEOPLE DON'T, AND IT REALLY PISSES ME OFF THAT YOU DIDN'T WRITE ANOTHER STORY ABOUT IT..."
  1426.  
  1427. >31 minutes pass.
  1428.  
  1429. >"...AND IT'S NOT THAT I'M RACIST OR ANYTHING IT JUST REALLY GOBBLES MY GOPHERS WHENEVER A ZEBRA AND A HUMAN LADY ARE IN A RELATIONSHIP, I KINDA FIGURE THAT GOD MADE US ALL IN HIS IMAGE AND THAT IT WAS EVE AND ADAM, NOT EVE AND THE ZEBRA FROM THAT MADAGASCAR MOVIE. ANYWAY I HOPE YOU FINISH THAT OTHER STORY I WAS TALKIN' ABOUT, I'LL CALL LATER MAYBE TO CHECK TO SEE IF YOU'RE WORKIN' ON IT. GOD I MISS MY WIFE-- BUH BYYYYE!"
  1430. >...
  1431. >...
  1432. >Fluttershy is staring through you, her eyes distant and unfocused.
  1433. >Your mind is in another place.
  1434. >A place it often goes to in times of great mental stress.
  1435. >Through your safety-blanket of inner thoughts, you realise that the office is now silent.
  1436. >Blinking a few times, you emerge from your mental bunker and rub your eyes with a hand.
  1437. "Is... is it over?"
  1438. >Fluttershy shakes her head and squints at you, then blinks as if coming back to reality.
  1439. >"I um, think it is."
  1440. "Okay. Well, great."
  1441. >"Same time next week then."
  1442. "Same time next week."
  1443. >With that, you stagger back to your desk in a daze.
  1444. >Wednesdays are the worst.
  1445.  
  1446. ---
  1447.  
  1448. >The three of you don't move.
  1449. >It's five past eight in the morning, and you should have been been well into your work-day by now.
  1450. >Instead, Fluttershy, Short Storys, and yourself are stood in the doorway that leads out onto the stairs, clutching your bags and refusing to budge.
  1451. >This isn't a normal thing to happen, though there was an incident last November whereby a similar routine transpired that resulted in Fluttershy declaring that deals made whilst being drunk are perfectly legitimate.
  1452. >Whilst alcohol isn't involved this time, you wish it was.
  1453. >As the three of you were about to walk into the office twenty minutes ago, a terrible noise echoed throughout the building's ventilation network.
  1454. >The chrome labyrinth secured to the ceiling shuddered with an unholy racket, and your deepest fears began to bubble to the surface.
  1455. >It was neither man nor beast that voiced such a terrible sound.
  1456. >Something far more sinister lurked in the depths of the Flutterrape LTD ventilation system.
  1457. >Before any of you had a chance to run away, one of the grates popped open and a small brown package hit the floor with a resounding 'schlock.'
  1458. >Why the small brown-paper parcel was covered in a viscous, translucent goo you'll never understand, but it brings you to where you are now.
  1459.  
  1460. >Short Storys nudges your leg.
  1461. >"Should, um, should we see what it is?"
  1462. >Fluttershy quickly shakes her head.
  1463. >"No. No don't touch it, it's a gift from the Dark Place. A temptation. Don't touch it lest you fall victim to its machinations."
  1464. >You clear your throat, its dryness now apparent.
  1465. "We haven't heard anything from Slasher in months, why would he do this? Why now?"
  1466. >Shorts tenses up in fear.
  1467. >"D-does this mean Rudolph is coming back?!"
  1468. >Despite having more than enough bull-elephant tranquillisers to wipe out the global population of said elephants, and having constant access to all the exits in the building, the relationship between Flutterrape LTD and the ventilation system occupying Flutterrape LTD had become somewhat cult-like in its nature.
  1469. >Weekly sacrifices were now offered to the vents in the hopes that whatever misbegotten entity made its home there would show mercy to the fair inhabitants of the your lowly workplace.
  1470. >For about 4 months there was peace between the two worlds.
  1471. >Sometimes however, on late nights, when the moon was at its peak, you would hear scratches coming from the vents.
  1472. >Chitterings.
  1473. >Chatterings.
  1474. >Things unknown slithering about inside.
  1475. >From the corner of your eye you sometimes saw shapes moving in the darker recesses of the room.
  1476. >In response to what she described as "critical spookfactor", Fluttershy had made dream-catchers and salt-circles mandatory in all cubicles.
  1477. >You even started wearing a locket with a picture of your mother to see if that would help.
  1478. >Unfortunately, it seems the peace has been broken.
  1479. >And by the vents no less.
  1480. >Was it not pleased with the weekly goat sacrifices?
  1481. >It better had be.
  1482. >Spent a lot of money bringing that shaman in for after-hours lessons on the proper etiquette and technique of other-worldly blood pacts and ritualistic animal sacrifice.
  1483. >He charged by the hour as well, and you swear he was using bathroom breaks as an excuse to browse the internet on his phone and waste time.
  1484. >Fucking zebras.
  1485. >But despite your stalling, the package remains unattended.
  1486. >Checking your watch you see that it's 8:10.
  1487. >Need to be getting a move on if you're going to get any work done.
  1488. >Fluttershy prods your butt.
  1489. >A little bit more than she needed to, but likely less than she wanted to.
  1490. >"Anon, go check it out."
  1491. "Why me?"
  1492. >"You're bigger than us."
  1493. >You swell with pride.
  1494. >"...More fat on you in case it's hungry and wants feeding."
  1495. "Wow thanks, you bitch."
  1496. >You take a deep breath and take a step forward.
  1497. >The brown-paper package sits there, being gooey, and menacing.
  1498. >Despite its intimidation, you reach down and pick it up.
  1499. >Carefully undo the wrapping with your (now slimy) fingers and reveal a small box inside.
  1500. >You show it to your companions wordlessly.
  1501. >Fluttershy eyes it with apprehension.
  1502. >"Open it."
  1503. "Why? Shouldn't we just throw it out?"
  1504. >"NO! That might anger the vents!"
  1505. >Short Storys crosses herself and mutters a prayer at the mention of the vents.
  1506. >Wetting your lips nervously, you open the box.
  1507. >A small stack of folded papers sit inside.
  1508. >In that moment there was no one else in the room.
  1509. >Your attention is solely focused on the sheets, which you take in your trembling hand, casting aside the box.
  1510. >Your eyes slowly read the first line, pouring over every detail of the anomalous, terrible writings.
  1511. >' It was with great strain that you pushed the last barrel of apples into the cart. "All done!" you shout to Applejack, the farmmare herself looking positively worn out from the hard work you'd both been doing. '
  1512. >...
  1513. "I-its... it's a story."
  1514. >Fluttershy opens her mouth, then shuts it again.
  1515. "It's actually a story."
  1516. >You sift through the sheets.
  1517. "Like, a real one."
  1518. >In small black font, an entire short story has been carefully laid out.
  1519. "I think... the vents have gifted us with a story to sell."
  1520. >...
  1521. >Fluttershy grabs Short Storys and hugs her as hard as she can before punching the air with a hoof.
  1522. >"FUCK YEAH! I knew paying that lazy shamanistic wetback would pay off eventually!"
  1523. >Shorts breathes a sigh of relief and trots in the direction of the kitchen.
  1524. >"Thank goodness, I'm making us some coffee!"
  1525. >Fluttershy swaggers over to you, grinning.
  1526. >"Nice work there, my knight in shining armour~"
  1527. "All I did was open a box."
  1528. >"Yeah, and made us some money, do you even remember how popular genuine Slasher Science stories were back in the day? We nearly created a whole new brand just for them!"
  1529. >She rubs her hooves together gleefully.
  1530. >"Oooh, this is gonna be great! We'll sell so many units!"
  1531. >Unfurling her wings, she takes flight and hovers in front of your face.
  1532. >"This calls for a celebration!"
  1533. >With that, she grips your tie and starts dragging you towards her office.
  1534. "It's not even nine o' clock yet, man."
  1535. >"I know! That's like a new record!"
  1536. "But I'm not in the mood..."
  1537. >"Who said you needed to be? You work at Flutterrape, Anon, not Flutterconsensual."
  1538. >God dammit.
  1539. >As you're pulled past the kitchen, Shorts sticks her head out.
  1540. >"Just so you both know, Rudolph's been through the fridge again, and he took the leftovers from the curry we ordered last night. I'm just saying, we should hope for the best but prepare for the worst."
  1541. >Oh Jesus Christ.
  1542.  
  1543. ---
  1544.  
  1545. >The phone rings.
  1546. >You put it off for as long as you can before begrudgingly picking it up.
  1547. "I'm working."
  1548. >"Team-meeting in my office in five seconds, asshole."
  1549. "Ughhhh."
  1550.  
  1551. "Alright so what do you want. I was in the middle of some very important business."
  1552. >"Yeah that's great. Listen-- wait where's the other guy."
  1553. "Guy?"
  1554. >"The effeminate stallion we hired."
  1555. "...Do you mean Shorts?"
  1556. >"Yeah, him."
  1557. "She's a mare."
  1558. >"Wow."
  1559. "Oh come on, you knew."
  1560. >"I didn't."
  1561. "You were just trying to be a dick."
  1562. >"Being a dick is my special talent, I don't need to -try-."
  1563. "I thought your talent was talking to animals or something."
  1564. >"Yeah, I talk to animals a lot as well, why do you think I dragged you in here?"
  1565. "...Alright that was pretty good."
  1566. >"Damn straight."
  1567. >Just then, Short Storys hurries in and takes a seat next to you.
  1568. >"I had to hang up on my mother, is this important?"
  1569. >Fluttershy nods.
  1570. >"Extremely."
  1571. >Nod your head sideways towards Shorts.
  1572. "That means it's not important."
  1573. >"Fuck you Anon, you're fired. Now, I have an important announcement."
  1574. >...
  1575. "Go on--"
  1576. >"We're diversifying."
  1577. "I feel like you read that word in a dictionary and just wanted to try it out."
  1578. >"I'll dick-shin your 'nary' if you don't shut up."
  1579. "W-what the fuck...?"
  1580. >"God almighty stop talking Anon-- we're going to start producing art."
  1581. >You share a worried look with Shorts, then turn back to your boss.
  1582. "...Define 'art'."
  1583. >Fluttershy opens her mouth.
  1584. "Without insulting us."
  1585. >She keeps it open.
  1586. "Or implying that porn is art."
  1587. >She shuts it.
  1588. "Do you mean like, having artists to do work around the office or something?"
  1589. >"That's sort of it, yes. I've noticed that other companies have their own teams of content producers that create everything from comics to their own range of mascots. I've decided that if we're going to keep up with the likes of Batpony Corp or Anonfilly Affiliates we need to start producing our own art."
  1590. >Short Storys raises her hoof.
  1591. >"Yes, Shorts?"
  1592. >"Umm, why would we ever want to be like Batpony or Anonfilly?"
  1593. "I'm with Shorts; those companies suck ass, Shy, and you -know- they do."
  1594. >"I'm well aware that they suck ass. They're not even -good- at sucking ass. The only company that was good at sucking ass was Ass Worship Co. and they went out of business years ago."
  1595. "I think that was because of Milky."
  1596. >"Of course it was because of Milky, but that's besides the point, we need to produce things other than stories."
  1597. "What about that merchandise thing we tried a while back? Could we try that again?"
  1598. >"Rarity won't make us clothes anymore. That bridge was burned."
  1599. "Why? What happened?"
  1600. >Fluttershy shrugs.
  1601. >"Turns out you can't rape someone as payment."
  1602. >Stare at her.
  1603. >"Hey, I thought she'd appreciate a good dicking, turns out I'd backed into the wrong horse, what can you do?"
  1604. "Not rape your friends?"
  1605. >"That's insane, Anon, frankly I don't know how you even function."
  1606. >She sits up straighter.
  1607. >"So that brings me to my next point."
  1608. >...
  1609. >"...Do either of you two know how to draw?"
  1610. >...
  1611. >None of you say anything.
  1612. "Uhh..."
  1613. >"Um."
  1614. >...
  1615. "I have -some- practice, I guess."
  1616. >Fluttershy gives you a flat look.
  1617. >"Doodling in MS Paint when you're supposed to be working doesn't count, Anon."
  1618. "Well fuck, I don't know, shouldn't we actually hire an artist like I said?"
  1619. >"Too much money. Plus I don't like artists, they tend to be pretentious little shits."
  1620. >Short Storys nods.
  1621. >"Yeah, I worked with a few before I came here, they only work for the attention, none of them actually care about honing their craft."
  1622. >Fluttershy hums in affirmation.
  1623. >"Though to be fair, a lot of them eventually just give up and go into porn, which I have no complaints over."
  1624. "So hiring someone with actual talent is out of the question."
  1625. >"Yes."
  1626. "I could... I dunno, download Photoshop and give it a try?"
  1627. >"Do you have to pay for Photoshop?"
  1628. "Yeah?"
  1629. >"...Can we get anything like Photoshop, but for free?"
  1630. "Paint.NET is free I think."
  1631. >"Then download and use that instead."
  1632. "Alrighty then, but this doesn't solve me not being able to draw--"
  1633. >"Picasso couldn't draw and he turned out just fine-- alright, so it's settled, Anon will now draw original artworks for us to sell alongside our stories, or I'll make him my bitch."
  1634. "I'm already your bitch."
  1635. >"And don't you forget it."
  1636. >Shorts raises her hoof again.
  1637. >"Yes, Shorts, what."
  1638. >"Should I give Draw Improvement Inc. a call and see if we can collaborate?"
  1639. >Fluttershy scowls.
  1640. >"Draw Improvement and Flutterrape aren't on good terms at the moment."
  1641. >"Why's that?"
  1642. >You lean over to Shorts.
  1643. "We competed with Anon In Equestria for a contract with them. AiE offered twelve million bits for a five-year contract. Fluttershy offered them a bag of mints and a sex-tape."
  1644. >"It was a really good sex-tape, you have to admit." Fluttershy quips.
  1645. "It was awful."
  1646. >Shorts purses her lips.
  1647. >"I see."
  1648. >Your boss rolls her eyes in annoyance.
  1649. >"You can't complain, Anon, you agreed to be the cameraman."
  1650. "I did it for the money."
  1651. >"Like the good little slut you are."
  1652. "Why do you always have to make thing weird, Fluttershy?"
  1653. >"A life without being weird isn't a life worth living."
  1654. >She rubs her chin with a hoof and thinks on that for a second.
  1655. >"Actually, that's good, I like that, Shorts, write that down and incorporate it into a story."
  1656. >"Yes ma'am."
  1657. >Fluttershy leans back in her chair and smiles.
  1658. >"It's good to be queen."
  1659. >...
  1660. >...
  1661. >You pat out a rhythm on your knees with your open palms.
  1662. "So uh. Are we done here?"
  1663. >"What? Oh, yes, go away, don't forget to make stories and art."
  1664. "Will I be getting a payrise for this?"
  1665. >Fluttershy starts laughing at you.
  1666. >She keeps laughing until you leave her office.
  1667. >Fucking Fluttershy.
  1668. >You miss Twilight.
  1669.  
  1670. ---
  1671.  
  1672. >A mug of coffee crashes into the glass window between Fluttershy's office and the main office.
  1673. >Thankfully, these days, the company has enough money to replace both the glass -and- the carpet underneath it.
  1674. >Fluttershy looks close to bursting a blood-vessel, as usual.
  1675. >You wonder why she's always portrayed as demure in the stories you write, since the real mare is more like a wolverine hyped up on anabolic steroids than a quiet, affectionate pegasus.
  1676. >She looks up at you, stood over her shoulder, with her furious, furious eyes, and then back at the paper before her.
  1677. >Looks like she's struggling to make words, so you step in.
  1678. "I take it you've read today's headline then?"
  1679. >"FFFUCKING."
  1680. "I know, terrible, isn't it?"
  1681. >You pour her a replacement drink in a replacement cup with the coffee maker she has to one side and carefully slide it in front of her.
  1682. >She takes a single sip, barely managing to hold the cup steady in her trembling hooves.
  1683. >"HOW DARE."
  1684. "Yes, boss, how dare indeed."
  1685. >"I JUST."
  1686. "Oh yes, it's awful."
  1687. >"EVEN."
  1688. "Yup. Criminal, I agree."
  1689. >"RRRREEEE--"
  1690. >You clamp a hand over her mouth and let her 'reeee' into it as much as she wants.
  1691. >She hasn't made that noise in a while.
  1692. >Poor thing was making so much progress, now she's back to square-one.
  1693. >Still, she seems to be done so you remove your hand and wait for the mare to catch her breath.
  1694. >When she eventually does, she resumes her shouting.
  1695. >"Can you BELIEVE this?!"
  1696. "I can."
  1697. >"It's... it's favouritism! IT'S UNDEMOCRATIC!"
  1698. "Yeah, it's a real shocker, I'm surprised it passed."
  1699. >The subject of Fluttershy's boundless rage today is a bill that just passed.
  1700. >All greentext stories in the city now carry a small, 2.5% value-added tax.
  1701. >Whilst prose stories do not.
  1702. >A 2.5% VAT isn't anything to lose your mind over, though.
  1703. >If you're not Fluttershy.
  1704. >"WHY DO THEY GET PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT?! WHAT MAKES THEM SO SPECIAL?!"
  1705. >The differences between prose and greentext are deep and intricate in the eyes of the law.
  1706. >You understand perfectly why ordinary prose wouldn't be taxed but the niche, relatively unregulated greentext market would be.
  1707. >It's just the government doing what the government does best: regulating.
  1708. >At least it's not higher.
  1709. >Not that you'd ever say that to Fluttershy.
  1710. >"Anon. I've decided. I'm going to find that little shit, and I'm going to tear him a new one."
  1711. >You rest a hand on Fluttershy's shoulder and shake your head with a sigh.
  1712. "There are some problems that even rape can't fix, Fluttershy."
  1713. >Removing your hand, you motion towards the newspaper at the picture on the front.
  1714. >The once story-maker turned law-maker Franklin Luther Priest is proudly shown on the front, beaming as he shakes someone's hand.
  1715. "He's untouchable."
  1716. >"He's a traitor to the entire industry! HE WORKED HERE! WE MADE HIM WHAT HE IS! HE SOLD OUT OUR SECRETS TO GET AHEAD!"
  1717. "And what can we do?"
  1718. >"R--"
  1719. "Other than rape."
  1720. >"Just fucking... I don't know!"
  1721. "All we can do is sit here and shake our fists, Shy. He's a high-flying politician now, he's not one of us anymore."
  1722. >"He's a cancer on this world."
  1723. "Oh come on, you and I both know he was a real asset to this company when he was around. Hey, he didn't abandon us to work with Twilight, did he?"
  1724. >She stares vacantly at Priest's picture, her eyes wandering over him.
  1725. >Her voice loses some of its edge.
  1726. >"No..."
  1727. "No. So chin up, we can survive a paltry two-and-a-half percent tax."
  1728. >You smile, satisfied that you might have talked her out of hurling another mug at the window.
  1729. >She's quiet though, which is odd. Her body is still, her shoulders forward, her posture timid and unsure.
  1730. >"...Anon?"
  1731. "Hm?"
  1732. >Fluttershy slowly turns her head up to face you.
  1733. >Her expression is softer now; there's none of the rage there that was present a moment ago.
  1734. >You're somewhat caught off guard by it, and your smile fades.
  1735. "Shy? What's up?"
  1736. >"...Would you, um, ever leave me to work with, you know, Twilight?"
  1737. >That's a sharp, precise question.
  1738. >You think about Twilight's offer every day.
  1739. >How could you not?
  1740. >A company with a real future, a boss you have a rich history with, a much, MUCH higher salary, guaranteed job security, and challenging work that would push you further as a writer.
  1741. >It's a dream job.
  1742. >Fluttershy's eyes study you closely.
  1743. >They hold no more aggression. No more confidence.
  1744. >They've changed.
  1745. >Instead, for one brief, exceptionally rare moment, you see the side of Fluttershy she tries so desperately hard to keep hidden.
  1746. >The face behind the mask of fury, swearing, and vitriol.
  1747. >A small, fearful, vulnerable mare.
  1748. >And what else are you supposed to say to her?
  1749. >You force a reassuring smile.
  1750. "Nah, I'd never work for Twilight. She... smells like garlic."
  1751. >She actually does a bit.
  1752. >It's weird.
  1753. >Fluttershy manages a small smile.
  1754. >"She does, doesn't she?"
  1755. "Yup."
  1756. >For a moment the two of you are silent.
  1757. >Slowly, so slowly, Fluttershy leans her head closer to your side.
  1758. >She rests it against your waist, and you carefully lay a hand on her head, a thumb rubbing her ear.
  1759. >You both remain that way, enjoying each other's company.
  1760. >Slight, measured breathing is all that can be heard in that little room, no longer bound by formality or contract.
  1761. >Instead it's just a pony and her friend sharing time alone.
  1762. >Finally, Fluttershy sits upright again, and you move to leave the office.
  1763. >She speaks after you, her voice calm, and almost melodic.
  1764. >"Thank you, Anon."
  1765. "That's alright, Shy."
  1766. >"...You keep calling me that even though I told you not to."
  1767. >You shrug and give her a wry smile.
  1768. "I dunno, it suits you, it's my pet name for you."
  1769. >She goes slightly red.
  1770. "I mean. It's that, or Flutterfriend."
  1771. >"Oh you can fuck right off with that."
  1772. >Laughing, you leave her office.
  1773. >Just as you shut the door, you peek through the glass at her.
  1774. >She's still sat behind her desk, same as always.
  1775. >Looking down at her morning paper, same as always.
  1776. >Sipping her coffee, same as always.
  1777. >But smiling just like she used to.
  1778.  
  1779. ---
  1780.  
  1781. >You raise your arms above your head, fingers laced together, and stretch, enjoying the feeling of your muscles tightening and joints cracking.
  1782. >Stand up and yawn, a hand scratching your belly then reaching for your woefully empty coffee mug.
  1783. >A quick trip to the kitchen ought to wake you up a bit.
  1784. >As you duck your head below the dream-catcher hanging over the entrance to your cubicle, you find yourself pushed back in.
  1785. >The mare responsible looks rather worried.
  1786. >Might be polite to ask her what the matter is.
  1787. "Something up, Shorts?"
  1788. >Short Storys nervously leans into you, her hoof pushing against your leg.
  1789. >"I um, I screwed up."
  1790. "Say again, sorry?"
  1791. >"I screwed up!"
  1792. "Why, what did you do?"
  1793. >"I uh, look, I have trouble staying awake so I have some pills that the doctor gave me to help, they give me energy."
  1794. "Alright, that seems fair."
  1795. >"But they have side-effects on some ponies... humans can't even eat them, they're a really specific drug for specific ponies with specific problems like mine."
  1796. "Well okay, where're you going with this? What's happened?"
  1797. >"F-fluttershy, um, the boss ate some of them."
  1798. "Why the hell did she do that?"
  1799. >"I don't know! She just wandered past my desk and said 'ooh pills lemmie try' and then ate like seven of them!"
  1800. >...
  1801. >Yeah that sounds like something Fluttershy would do.
  1802. "Where is she now?"
  1803. >"In the kitchen, but she's being really weird."
  1804. "Eh, that's fine, I was heading to the kitchen anyway, I'll snap her out of it."
  1805. >"I dunno Anon, I don't think it's something you can get 'snapped out of'..."
  1806. "I'll be fine, Shorts, I've been working with Fluttershy for years."
  1807. >You shuffle past her and towards the kitchen.
  1808. >Better have some coffee left or you're gonna stab something.
  1809. >As you think about stabbing a few of your former work colleagues, you enter the kitchen and freeze.
  1810. "Okay yeah this might be bad."
  1811. >Fluttershy is on the floor, writhing.
  1812. >She rubs her face against the tiles, giggling to herself.
  1813. >Her mane is an utter mess, and she's covered in dirt from wriggling about on her back.
  1814. >Like a dog trying to scratch itself, she contorts and twists her body, euphoric at the sensation.
  1815. >"Oooo~"
  1816. "Uh, Shy? You alright there?"
  1817. >"Aaaanoon!"
  1818. >She sits up and beams at you.
  1819. >Holy fuck her pupils are -massive-.
  1820. >They take up most of her eye.
  1821. >A permanent blush is splashed across her cheeks, and she can't stop smiling.
  1822. >"Have you ever like, just felt this floor? It's soo gooood!"
  1823. "You are dangerously high right now."
  1824. >"Have you seen my teddy bear?"
  1825. >She giggles and points a wavering hoof at you.
  1826. >"Nooo, wait, nooo -you're- my teddy bear!"
  1827. >The pegasus starts laughing and collapses backwards, waggling about on the floor again.
  1828. "Jesus what."
  1829. >She licks a tile and hums to herself, still giggling in a crazed manner.
  1830. >Shaking your head, you stride over to her, setting your mug on the counter and attending to Fluttershy.
  1831. "You, little lady, need rest."
  1832. >As you pick her up, you notice two things.
  1833. >One, she's extremely warm.
  1834. >Shockingly so.
  1835. >Like her blood is boiling.
  1836. >Two, her entire body is now apparently an erogenous zone.
  1837. >The mare moans as you pick her up and carry her in your arms.
  1838. >She peers up at you, overwhelmed at the sensation of your touch, her jaw hanging open slightly and her eyes almost on the verge of tears from her elation.
  1839. >"Anon... p-put a foal in me~"
  1840. "Shy stop."
  1841. >"Mate with me Anon! Mate with me and give me a family! Give -us- a family!"
  1842. >She strokes your face with a hoof.
  1843. >"I love you so much... All I want is to be with you forever and ever..."
  1844. >Out of the kitchen and across the room you carry your boss.
  1845. >Passing Shorts, you raise an accusing eyebrow at her.
  1846. "Pills to 'wake you up', Shorts?"
  1847. >"I said the side effects differed from pony to pony!"
  1848. "Yeah well now our dear leader wants me to fuck a family into her, thanks."
  1849. >"Well I mean, weren't you going to do that anyway at some point?"
  1850. "What possible evidence is there to suggest that Fluttershy and I are romantically involved?"
  1851. >"...You're kidding, right?"
  1852. >Enter Fluttershy's office and lay her down on her leather sofa.
  1853. >The cool black material is an almost life-changing experience for her, and she lets out an erotic groan as soon as her fur touches the leather.
  1854. >You ignore this and immediately walk towards the door.
  1855. >"Aaanoon, don't leave me! We need to start a family!"
  1856. "Any child born of a union between you and I would be the greatest sin ever committed against nature. Go to sleep, Fluttershy."
  1857. >You shut the office door and march over to Shorts' desk.
  1858. >She gives you a guilty, cowed look.
  1859. >Drawing yourself up to full height, you tower over her with your hands on your hips.
  1860. >With a single finger you jab towards the nearby wall.
  1861. "This. Is why we have a no-drugs-in-the-workplace policy."
  1862. >Shorts' eyes follow your jabbing finger to a sign on the wall.
  1863. >The sign depicts a silhouette of Fluttershy chugging a bottle of pills with a giant red X through it.
  1864. >Shorts stares at it for a moment.
  1865. >"Oooh, that's why that's there."
  1866. "Last time this happened we had to pump her stomach."
  1867. >"Because of all the drugs?"
  1868. "No, because she sucked off half the workforce and had to be rushed to hospital. Fluttershy and drugs don't mix, for God's sake be more careful in future."
  1869. >"S-sorry Anon..."
  1870. "Just be glad it was harmless pills this time and not viagra."
  1871. >"What happens if she has viagra?"
  1872. >You point at the sign just below the first one.
  1873. >It shows a silhouette of Fluttershy sat on a man's face, also with a red X through it.
  1874. "We called it the Day of the Cavern. Eight people suffocated and died. It was a tragic and completely avoidable loss of life."
  1875. >"...I should have gone to work for Batpony Corp."
  1876. "Mhmm."
  1877.  
  1878. ---
  1879.  
  1880. >"So that's... that's it then. You're leaving."
  1881. >Fluttershy simply stares at you, disbelief in her eyes.
  1882. >Whatever walls she'd previously thrown up to prevent you from seeing how she really felt had since collapsed.
  1883. >The mare trembles, fighting back tears.
  1884. >You sigh and rub your eyes with an index finger and thumb.
  1885. "Don't... don't do this again, come on, just go with me on this for once."
  1886. >"Go with you...? You're ABANDONING ME!"
  1887. >She rears up on her hind legs and rests her forehooves against your stomach, her eyes pleading with you.
  1888. >"I put my trust in you and you're just pissing it all away like it was nothing! I gave you my trust Anon-- my heart! You're the only person I ever put my faith in and you're just going to throw it back at me like the bastard I'd always hoped you'd never become!"
  1889. "Jesus fucking Christ, woman, I'm going to the shop to get some fucking milk so we can have some fucking coffee and meet our fucking deadlines. Now do you want anything from the shop or not?"
  1890. >Fluttershy blinks.
  1891. >Then drops to her hooves and clears her throat in embarrassment.
  1892. >"...I'll uh, have a twinkie, please..."
  1893. "A twinkie."
  1894. >"Yes, I want a twinkie."
  1895. "Alright then, I'll go and get milk and a fucking twinkie."
  1896. >Bark across the room to the other mare sat at her desk dutifully typing away and mostly ignoring Fluttershy making a scene.
  1897. >Nothing around here shocks her now, that's how you know she's a keeper.
  1898. "Shorts, d'you want anything?"
  1899. >"I kinda want a twinkie as well, actually, can I have two?"
  1900. "Alright, two twinkies for Shorts, one for you, Fluttershy."
  1901. >Fluttershy's eyes narrow.
  1902. >"Why does she get two? I want two."
  1903. "Okay, you can have two as well--"
  1904. >"In fact, I'm the boss, I want three twinkies."
  1905. "Fucking hell, okay, I'll get you three twinkies--"
  1906. >Shorts appears at your side without warning, making you jump.
  1907. >"Hey, how come she gets three all of a sudden?"
  1908. "Because she's the boss?"
  1909. >"That's not fair."
  1910. >Fluttershy gives her a pointed look.
  1911. >"It's completely fair. I own you."
  1912. >"You don't own me, Fluttershy, I just work here."
  1913. >"Well I still deserve more twinkies than you."
  1914. >"That's bullshit! I'll call the union if she gets more than me, Anon."
  1915. "We don't have a union."
  1916. >"Then I'll make one!"
  1917. "Can't you just both settle for three twinkies each? Who the hell eats more than three twinkies at any given time?"
  1918. >Shorts snorts.
  1919. >"Not me, I'm going to save them and eat them sparingly, not eat them all at once like some 'pig'."
  1920. >At 'pig' she glares at Fluttershy.
  1921. >Fluttershy, now mad as hell, glares back.
  1922. >"Well look who decided to grow a fucking backbone, you know you're lucky Anon's taken a liking to you or I might not bother to keep you around."
  1923. "What are you even--"
  1924. >"Anon likes me...? Ha! of course he does, I'm more of a mare than -you'll- ever be."
  1925. >Shorts slaps her own ass for emphasis, the glasses on her snout wobbling a bit, opting her to readjust them.
  1926. >Fluttershy laughs coolly.
  1927. >"Oh please, I've fucked him more times that you've undressed him with your eyes-- don't give me that look, I've seen the way you watch him."
  1928. "Guys we were talking about twinkies--"
  1929. >"Only because I think he and I would be a better pair than whatever weird fucked up relationship you two have going on."
  1930. "Can we please go back to the twinkies--"
  1931. >"YOU think you can please Anon better than ME? I've fucked him physically, mentally, financially, and spiritually for the last six years; he and I are bound together forever, you mangy bitch, don't come in here thinking you're hot shit just because you're some 'cute quiet office girl', you're as basic as they come."
  1932. >Shorts practically presses her nose against Fluttershy's, her rage barely contained.
  1933. >"HE AND I WOULD BE -TEN TIMES- THE COUPLE HE AND YOU ARE, I'D RIDE HIS DICK ANY WAY HE WANTED AND HAVE DINNER READY BY THE TIME HE CUMS."
  1934. >Fluttershy refuses to back down.
  1935. >"I'D RIDE HIS DICK WITHOUT HIS CONSENT AND THEN ORDER HIM TO MAKE ME DINNER, BECAUSE HE LIKES MARES THAT TAKE CONTROL, NOT SOME VIRGINAL TIMID BITCH THAT WILL SUCK UP TO HIM LIKE SOME INSECURE AUTISTIC PARASITE."
  1936. >"WELL I JUST ENTERED HEAT SO I'LL HAVE PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITIES TO MAKE A MOVE ON HIM, YOU PORN-ADDICTED SKANK."
  1937. >"I'M IN HEAT AS WELL, YOU VAPID CUNT. MAKE A MOVE ON MY MAN, I FUCKING DARE YOU!"
  1938. >Oh.
  1939. >Oh that explains everything.
  1940.  
  1941. >"Okay so milk and... wow, what is this like fifty twinkies?"
  1942. "Yeah, the people I work with really like twinkies."
  1943. >"Well that'll be sixty two dollars and eight cents, sir. Hey how come you're all sticky n' stuff? You look and smell like hell, man."
  1944. "The office I work in has a problem with the heating."
  1945. >"Ah, that sucks. Well I hope you manage to fix it, dude."
  1946. "I always do. It just keeps happening, whether I like it or not."
  1947.  
  1948. ---
  1949.  
  1950. "Go on, get outta here, ya fuckin' animal."
  1951. >You smack Rudolph on the nose with the brush-end of your broom.
  1952. >He hisses at you and drops your lunchbox, retreating back into the ceiling.
  1953. >You watch him go with disgruntlement.
  1954. >Turns out you didn't actually need salt-circles and dream-catchers to combat the forces of darkness.
  1955. >Just a broom and a bad temper.
  1956. >The best part was that Fluttershy managed to track down the shaman that taught you all about relations with the occult, and successfully convinced him to give the company a full refund.
  1957. >Apparently he skipped town the following day, which was weird.
  1958. >Still, it's nice that you don't have to do weekly goat sacrifices any more.
  1959. >Local farmers were starting to ask questions.
  1960. >You set your broom - which you had taken to calling Ratastrophie - against the wall and reach down to pick up your thoroughly nibbled, spittle-laden lunchbox.
  1961. >You'll be able to eat your own lunch today, so that's good.
  1962. >Shorts is getting sick of sharing her lunches with you.
  1963. >At least that's what she says, but she makes extra sandwiches for you every day and always makes sure to cut the crusts off for you.
  1964. >As you walk out of the kitchen, you see her watching, and waiting.
  1965. >She notices your (relatively) untouched lunchbox and her optimistic look fades somewhat.
  1966. >"Oh! You saved your lunch."
  1967. "Yup, looks like I won't be bothering you today, Shorts."
  1968. >"That's great!" she says with a weak smile.
  1969. >You both head back to your stations, but before you can sit down your phone rings.
  1970. >Shrug and pick it up.
  1971. "Yeah?"
  1972. >"Meet me by the window in three seconds."
  1973. >Before you can ask why, the line is cut.
  1974. >Fluttershy's office door bursts open, and the mare hurtles past you through the air like a jaundice cruise missile towards the window near your cubicle.
  1975. >You casually stroll over and gaze out, your expression neutral and mind prepared for anything.
  1976. >You feel a tug on your pants leg.
  1977. >Looking down, you see an annoyed looking Fluttershy.
  1978. "You have wings. You literally just used them."
  1979. >"Fuck you."
  1980. >Sighing, you reach down and pick her up, holding her against your chest like a little girl clutching her favourite plush toy.
  1981. >Fluttershy squints at the building across from Flutterrape LTD.
  1982. >"There. See it?"
  1983. "What, Reverse Gender Roles?"
  1984. >"No, not anymore."
  1985. "Huh?"
  1986. >You take a step closer and peer out through the dirty stained glass.
  1987. >Sure enough, the ponies coming in and out of the highrise across from you aren't wearing the usual uniform typical of Reverse Gender Roles employees.
  1988. "What's going on? What's with the new uniforms?"
  1989. >"New company, slowpoke. Reverse Gender Roles had to relocate across town, you're looking at the new kids on the block."
  1990. "Who are?"
  1991. >"Pregnancy Corp."
  1992. "What the fuck?"
  1993. >"Yyyup."
  1994. "Are you serious?"
  1995. >"Yeah."
  1996. "Pregnancy. Seriously. There's a market for that."
  1997. >"Oh yeah."
  1998. "But that's... weird!"
  1999. >"Yep. Degenerates, all of them."
  2000. >"What's going on?" Shorts says as she joins you both.
  2001. >She glances up and takes note of you clutching Fluttershy.
  2002. >You stare down at her.
  2003. >She stares back.
  2004. >...
  2005. >Shorts gets comfy on your shoulders, holding onto your head as you get used to the weight of her.
  2006. >"So what are we looking at?"
  2007. "New company. Pregnancy Corp."
  2008. >"Ew, pregnancy? Seriously? That's gross."
  2009. "I know, I just can't fathom why people want to read that kind of stuff."
  2010. >Fluttershy shakes her head.
  2011. >"It's just pure fetish material. There's no nuance to it. No art."
  2012. "God I can't imagine working at a place like that."
  2013. >Shorts makes a disgusted noise in the back of her throat.
  2014. >"Can you imagine what goes on over there?" she says.
  2015. "I bet they just talk about getting people pregnant all day."
  2016. >"I bet they don't even have a giant rat in their kitchen."
  2017. "Or an otherworldly presence in their vents."
  2018. >"Or a direct link to the mob." Fluttershy adds.
  2019. >The three of you watch as the young, energetic, attractive employees of your new neighbours happily chat amongst themselves as burly men and stallions in overalls carry furniture and boxes into the building.
  2020. >Fluttershy sniffs.
  2021. >"I suppose they have nice uniforms."
  2022. "They really did up the place after Gender Roles wrecked it, too."
  2023. >"Plus at least they uh, you know, -have- employees."
  2024. "..."
  2025. >"..."
  2026. "Fluttershy I feel inadequate."
  2027. >"Welcome to the fucking club, I've been feeling it for years-- show of hooves, who wants to get drunk in my office and watch porn?"
  2028. >You all raise your hands/hooves, then retreat into Fluttershy's office.
  2029. >Just as you all sit down and get comfortable on the sofa in there, Fluttershy having finally picked out a 'classic' for you to watch, a noise sounds out around the office.
  2030. >Fluttershy pauses before pressing play on 'Rectal Fisting 2: Prolapse Of Judgement'.
  2031. >"...What the hell was that?"
  2032. >You strain yourself to listen.
  2033. >The noise sounds out again.
  2034. >Shorts' ear flicks.
  2035. >"I think it's the buzzer?"
  2036. >You jump to your feet and sprint out the office to your desk.
  2037. >Come skidding to a halt before your cubicle and peer at your second monitor.
  2038. >As you look at the grainy picture, your brow furrows.
  2039. "Hey Fluttershy! We've got a visitor!"
  2040. >"Tell them to fuck off!"
  2041. "She looks important!"
  2042. >"Tell her to fuck off!"
  2043. "No no, I mean she's wearing a suit and everything!"
  2044. >"Tell her to fuck off!"
  2045. "God dammit Fluttershy, I'm going down to meet her!"
  2046. >"Fine, but Shorts and I are gonna be up here enjoying the finer things in life!"
  2047.  
  2048. >You open the front door to the building, coming face to face with the newcomer.
  2049. >She smiles at you eagerly, her perfect smile showing off pristine teeth.
  2050. >The pony steps forward, bright-eyed and curious.
  2051. >You knew you recognised her from somewhere.
  2052. >"Hello! Are... you the owner of this building?"
  2053. "Nah, she's upstairs watching... uh, working. I'm Anon, can I help you at all?"
  2054. >The mare grins even wider.
  2055. >"So you work here then?"
  2056. "Yeah, I do."
  2057. >"Excellent! Well, friend, I'm your new neighbour!"
  2058. >She excitedly sticks out a hoof.
  2059. >You lean down and shake it, trying to be polite.
  2060. "Nice to meet you. So what do I call you?"
  2061. >Of course you already know, but you want to be sure.
  2062. >"Oh! Of course, where are my manners!"
  2063. >She laughs warmly.
  2064. >The mare straightens up and tries to look as commanding as possible.
  2065. >"My name is Princess Cadance, CEO of Pregnancy Corp!"
  2066.  
  2067. >"ARE YOU TAKING THE FUCKING PISS."
  2068. "Shy I swear to god I'm not fucking with you."
  2069. >"CADANCE?! FUCKING -CADANCE-?!"
  2070. "I mean, if you think about it it makes sense."
  2071. >"WHAT."
  2072. "Well I mean she's into love, and all that, so now she's the boss of a company all about the weirdest part of love...?"
  2073. >"OH WELL THAT'S JUST FUCKING PEACHY, A GOD DAMN PRINCESS IS NOW A COMPETITOR."
  2074. >She looks around for something to throw.
  2075. >You give her a mug.
  2076. >She hurls it at a wall with a scream.
  2077. >"It should be fucking illegal! She has so much money oh my god-- how are we supposed to compete?! Anon In Equestria was bad enough! Now we have a pony who has a fucking-- total and complete royal TREASURY funding her ventures! State-funded fetish fiction, what the fuck is wrong with this country?!"
  2078. >Short Storys frowns.
  2079. >"Surely there's not -that- much interest in it... right? I mean, you can pour money and resources into something, but if no one buys it then no one buys it, it's just wasted effort."
  2080. >Fluttershy shakes her head, grimacing.
  2081. >"Not in this city. If you have money, you'll make it, that's the way it's always been."
  2082. >She glares at a wall.
  2083. >"State-funded fetish fiction... I bet Franklin Priest had something to do with this."
  2084. "We can't make that assumption."
  2085. >"Oh get your head out of the fucking sand, Anon, you know he always had some weird obsession with her, I bet he gave her the fucking permit for that building! Could have given it to someone that needed it like... I dunno, MOTHPONIES, but nooo, he had to go and stick his dick where it didn't belong."
  2086. >She slams her hoof on the thick mahogany table before her.
  2087. >"And I'm a FIRM advocate of sticking dicks where they don't belong, but this is over the line!"
  2088. >You run a hand through your hair and sigh.
  2089. "Well shit, now what?"
  2090. >Fluttershy ponders this.
  2091. >"Let's just hope they don't have an art department like we do."
  2092. "Department is a strong word--"
  2093. >"Doesn't matter, if we beat them on art, we might stand a chance of out performing them overall, since we'll be offering multiple things, not just stories."
  2094. >Short Storys raises her hoof, a sheepish look on her face.
  2095. >Fluttershy turns to her with a dangerous glare in her eye.
  2096. >"You'd better have good news for me Shorts or I'll get Anon to open the safe and get me my special draught."
  2097. >Shorts, currently curled up on the sofa, gulps and looks down at the laptop on before her.
  2098. >"I'm um, on their website right now."
  2099. "...And?"
  2100. >"I-It looks like, I mean it just looks like it, from what I've seen so far... that art is their primary export."
  2101. >Fluttershy regards Shorts with a look that could shatter the very souls of lesser beings.
  2102. "Well. We're fucked then. How are we supposed to compete?"
  2103. >Shorts, weathering the storm that is Fluttershy's gaze, continues.
  2104. >"I still think we'll be fine, I just can't see pregnancy being that big of a selling point. It's a niche within a niche, we'll be fine! Our stories are diverse, and appeal to a wide range of audiences, sometimes they're even family friendly!"
  2105. "They're never family friendly."
  2106. >"Alright they're never family friendly, but we still have a wider appeal!"
  2107. >Fluttershy leans back in her chair.
  2108. >"Hmm. I suppose. Alright Shorts, I'll trust your judgement on this one. I hope for your sake you're right, otherwise I'm going to absolutely ravage that cute little asshole of yours. I have a thing for anal, I'm not sure if you've noticed."
  2109. >Shorts goes pale, her tail wrapping closer around her rear end.
  2110. >God help her.
  2111.  
  2112. ---
  2113.  
  2114. >You stare ahead in thought, an elbow resting on your desk and a hand nursing your cheek as you regard the monitor before you with mild boredom.
  2115. >This zombie-Cheerilee necrophilia story needs something.
  2116. >But you're not sure what...
  2117. >As you muse to yourself, the door buzzer splutters.
  2118. >Glance at your second monitor and grimace.
  2119. "God dammit."
  2120.  
  2121. >"So I've heard a lot about this place! Do you know Twilight Sparkle from Anon In Equestria Inc.? She and I are close friends, and she mentioned she knew you!"
  2122. "Oh yeah, we've... crossed paths."
  2123. >Princess Cadance smiles.
  2124. >"I must admit, your building needs a bit of TLC though-- but I don't say that to be rude! It's just that your, uh, everything is peeling."
  2125. "Yeah I've been told that before."
  2126. >"So how long has Flutterrape existed? I hear you're one of the oldest companies around, If so I'd love a few tips!"
  2127. "About eight years."
  2128. >"Wow, that's ancient by this city's standards."
  2129. "Mmhm. Had a bit of trouble six years ago that uh, 'set us back' a bit, but we've recently come into some more money and are starting to get back on our feet-- this way, Cadance."
  2130. >You motion a hand towards the stairwell, and she hurriedly apologises before taking the lead up them.
  2131. >"And your boss, Fluttershy? She must be a real trooper to stick it out all these years, what's she like?"
  2132. "She's unique."
  2133. >"Just unique?"
  2134. "I'd say she's more of an experience than a mare."
  2135. >"Sounds exciting!"
  2136. "That's because you don't work here."
  2137. >Cadance laughs, her melodic voice bouncing off the cold, chipped walls.
  2138. >She comes to a door with a security lock on it.
  2139. >"This it?"
  2140. "Yeah, hold on."
  2141. >She politely steps out of your way and you punch in the code before pushing open the door.
  2142. >Cadance steps through into the office and pauses.
  2143. >"...Oh. Wow."
  2144. "Yup. Welcome to Flutterrape LTD, one of the oldest companies around."
  2145. >"It certainly didn't, ah, age well, did it?"
  2146. "Hah, nope."
  2147. >A head pokes out from over a cubicle wall.
  2148. >"Anon? Who-- oh."
  2149. "Yeah hi, Shorts, this is Cadance from across the street, she -insisted- on visiting."
  2150. >Shorts offers your guest a small wave and gives you a worried look.
  2151. >"Should I make some coffee or...?"
  2152. >Cadance speaks up with a gentle laugh.
  2153. >"No thank you, miss! Ah-- Shorts, was it?"
  2154. >"Uh, yeah, nice to meet you."
  2155. >"And you!"
  2156. >You lead the way towards Fluttershy's office.
  2157. >Before you can pass the kitchen, Shorts bolts from her cubicle and quickly shuts the door to it.
  2158. >Cadance gives her a strange look.
  2159. >Shorts smiles awkwardly and readjusts her glasses.
  2160. >"Kitchen's uh, kitchen's a mess at the moment..."
  2161. >The princess smiles.
  2162. >"Oh! I understand completely."
  2163. >She gives Shorts a playful wink.
  2164. >You glance at the kitchen door, and straining your ears you can just about hear something rooting around in the fridge.
  2165. >Shoot a glare at Shorts, who answers with a weak shrug.
  2166. >Leading Cadance across the room, she continues to comment on her surroundings.
  2167. >"I'm pretty sure I just saw a table with a pile of what looked like dream-catchers on it, is that something the company is invested in?"
  2168. "It was at one point, turns out we didn't need them."
  2169. >"I... see."
  2170. >Finally you come to a door, and knock firmly on the frosted glass bit, the pane rattling in protest.
  2171. "Visitor, boss."
  2172. >Her voice calls out from the other side.
  2173. >"What? Oh, uh, just give me a second to clean up."
  2174. >You start hearing rapid movements; drawers opening and shutting.
  2175. "Open the window as well whilst you're at it."
  2176. >"Yeah, I got it."
  2177. >Cadance watches you closely.
  2178. >Clear your throat and speak up again.
  2179. "The air freshener is the second drawer down under your desk."
  2180. >"I know, Anon, god." comes the reply.
  2181. >Cadance's look turns to bemusement.
  2182. >Finally your boss summons you in, and you open the door for Cadance.
  2183. >Fresh air and perfume assault your senses as you enter behind her.
  2184. >Fluttershy freezes as Cadance confidently strolls in first.
  2185. >She looks at you with silent horror.
  2186. >You just purse your lips and raise your eyebrows in response as you close the door.
  2187. >The princess takes a seat in one of the chairs, seemingly delighted with them.
  2188. >"Oh! Ergonomically designed pony-chairs, I love these!"
  2189. >You sit down in the other one next to her, across from Fluttershy, and frown.
  2190. "Yeah, they're really... comfy."
  2191. >Cadance sighs happily as she settles down.
  2192. >"So! Here we are at last! My name is Princess Cadance, you must be Fluttershy! I've heard so much about you!"
  2193. >She reaches over the desk and offers Fluttershy a hoof, a friendly smile plastered across her face.
  2194. >Fluttershy's head slowly turns to you.
  2195. >Her look is indescribable.
  2196. >You'll suffer for this sacrilege, no doubt.
  2197. >Your boss clears her throat, puts on the most pleasant expression she can muster, and touches her hoof against Cadance's.
  2198. >"Yes, I'm Fluttershy, can't say I've ever heard of you before, Cadance, but I'd like to get to know you inside and out, if you catch my drift."
  2199. >Cadance beams, oblivious to what she likely meant.
  2200. >"Wonderful! So, obviously I run the new company just across the way, Pregnancy Corp, and I had a little idea regarding some promotional marketing and team-building! As well as just coming over to say hi, of course!"
  2201. >You lean back in your chair and give her your full attention.
  2202. >"I've been reading a few of your stories and I'm pretty impressed, so I thought perhaps we could collaborate?"
  2203. >"Collaborate." Fluttershy states simply.
  2204. >Cadance nods eagerly.
  2205. >"Yes! We put our heads together and start making stories that are -really- engaging."
  2206. >"And how would that work?"
  2207. >"Well, I was thinking we could borrow one of your writers for the day, they swing by our building and work with our team, brainstorm, synergise, all that good stuff, and we'll see what happens? I think it'd be a good way to promote both of our companies."
  2208. >Fluttershy ponders for a second.
  2209. >"Okay."
  2210. "Wait what?"
  2211. >She nods.
  2212. >"Sounds like a decent idea. We'll send Shorts."
  2213. "Shorts...? Are you sure? She's still kinda new to this, why not send me, I can--"
  2214. >"I need you here."
  2215. >...
  2216. >She doesn't elaborate, she just leaves it at that.
  2217. >You narrow your eyebrows at Fluttershy.
  2218. >She returns the look, daring you to speak out.
  2219. >The two of you silently stare each other down for a moment.
  2220. >Cadance watches this with great interest, her eyes moving between the two of you with a calculated precision.
  2221. >She speaks up after neither of you do so, her tone slow and careful.
  2222. >"...So Anon, you said you'd been here for years, right?"
  2223. "Oh, uh, from the start. I was one of the first employees Fluttershy brought on."
  2224. >"I see... and are you two business partners now?"
  2225. "No, we're still boss and employee."
  2226. >"Are you now..."
  2227. >You give Cadance an unsettled look.
  2228. >She's smiling at you, her eyes searching your face for clues.
  2229. >The mare turns her head and takes in the office.
  2230. >The sofa, the self-portrait of Fluttershy on the wall covering the safe, the dust-filled awards cabinet.
  2231. >Finally, she breathes in, then out slowly, a serene look on her well made-up features.
  2232. >"This office smells a bit... musky, by the way."
  2233. >"That's the carpet." Fluttershy quickly interjects.
  2234. >Cadance's smile broadens as she turns to your boss.
  2235. >"You know, I've heard stories about this place."
  2236. >You detect a shift in her tone.
  2237. >"...Twilight tells me a lot."
  2238. >At the mention of Twilight, Fluttershy bristles, her body suddenly still.
  2239. >You slowly sit up, eyes fixed on Cadance as she continues in a more casual, reckless manner.
  2240. >"She tells me that you and Anon are awfully close."
  2241. >You reply before Fluttershy can.
  2242. "Yeah, until we brought Shorts in I was the only employee for a while."
  2243. >Cadance hums to herself.
  2244. >"So it was just you and Fluttershy? All by yourselves?"
  2245. "Yeah, we struggled, but managed, what's your point?"
  2246. >"Just you and your boss versus the world. It's all so..."
  2247. >Cadance grins at you.
  2248. >"...Romantic."
  2249. >Fluttershy's face darkens and she leans forward, her hooves pressed together firmly in front of her.
  2250. >"Listen here, Cadance, I'm happy to work with you, but don't you go around spreading rumours, or we'll have nothing to do with you."
  2251. >The princess' smile takes on a more conniving look.
  2252. >"I'm just saying, it's cute. Both of you, working side by side, slaving for long nights trying to make what's left of your failing joke of a company work, having to rely on each other... it's enough to make a mare think that there's more than just money involved. Just like Twilight said."
  2253. >Fluttershy is motionless.
  2254. >You are poised on the edge of your seat.
  2255. >...
  2256. >"Get out."
  2257. >Cadance smirks as she stands up.
  2258. >"Hey now, I'm the Princess of Love! I know a relationship when I see one."
  2259. >"I SAID GET OUT!"
  2260. >"I don't know why you're getting so defensive, there's nothing wrong with having a fling with an employee--"
  2261. >Fluttershy reaches for a coffee mug.
  2262. >You scramble around the edge of the desk and grab her hoof.
  2263. "Shy, no--"
  2264. >The mare tenses up as soon as you grab her.
  2265. >She glares at you, furious.
  2266. >You match her anger in return, your eyes fixed on hers.
  2267. >Cadance is apparently thrilled by your chemistry.
  2268. >"Ooh, I can't wait to see how this all pans out~! The stressed out boss and the loyal employee, it's too much!"
  2269. >Her smile falters somewhat as she focuses on you.
  2270. >"Though it's a shame you're... hm."
  2271. >Fluttershy trembles, your vice-grip on her the only thing stopping her from leaping out of her chair.
  2272. >Cadance frowns at the two of you.
  2273. "What are you waiting for? Just go, Cadance, please, don't make this worse."
  2274. >The mare looks to be in deep thought, chewing her bottom lip.
  2275. >Then, she seems to have an epiphany, and flashes you a devilish grin.
  2276. >"Oh no, I don't make relationships worse; I make them better."
  2277. >And with that, her horn lights up and she hits you with a powerful beam of pale blue magic.
  2278. >Your body reacts as though you were struck with paralysis, and you crumple to the floor, your head hitting the corner of Fluttershy's desk on the way down.
  2279. >A great deal of yelling follows.
  2280. >You can't see what happens because your body is lying facing away from the commotion, unable to move.
  2281. >But it sounds like Fluttershy is trying to repel the invader on her own.
  2282. >And making that "RREEEE" noise again.
  2283.  
  2284. "Then what?"
  2285. >Shorts dips the cloth into the bowl of saline and dabs your forehead again.
  2286. >You wince; the bruise she's tending to is gonna stick for a while.
  2287. >"Well Fluttershy dragged her out the building herself, by the mane, no less."
  2288. "Christ."
  2289. >"Cadance told me to tell you something though when she was being, uh, removed."
  2290. "Go on?"
  2291. >Shorts shrugs.
  2292. >"Just said 'Tell Anon to be more careful from now on'."
  2293. >She sniffs.
  2294. >"I knew she was a weirdo the moment I saw her."
  2295. "Oh yeah, because we're normal over here, aren't we?"
  2296. >Shorts gives you a wry look.
  2297. >"Comparatively speaking, yes."
  2298. >You sigh.
  2299. "Well, at least it wasn't us that burned the bridge this time."
  2300. >"Add her company to the blacklist?"
  2301. "Add it to the blacklist, yeah."
  2302. >"Alright then."
  2303. >...
  2304. >At least throughout all that you'd thought of a way to spice up that zombie-Cheerilee story you were working on.
  2305. >A wise-cracking werewolf sidekick.
  2306. >Perfect.
  2307.  
  2308. ---
  2309.  
  2310. >Well this is awkward.
  2311. >You glance to your left at Short Storys.
  2312. >She turns from you and looks to Fluttershy, sat on your right.
  2313. >Around the woefully tiny round table in the kitchen, the three of you sit, ready for lunch.
  2314. >Normally you each have it at different times; there's sometimes overlap between you and Shorts, but mostly you all eat separately.
  2315. >Today is different, and you all found yourselves walking into the kitchen at the same time.
  2316. >Slowly, you place your lunchbox onto the table and open it.
  2317. >The two mares fixate on its contents as you carefully lift the lid.
  2318. >Two strawberry jam sandwiches, an apple, and a chocolate bar.
  2319. >You shift your arms, positioning them on either side of the box.
  2320. >Fluttershy licks her lips.
  2321. >You narrow your eyes at her.
  2322. "So what have -you- got for lunch today, boss?"
  2323. >Her eyes turn up to you, but her head remains pointed at the box.
  2324. >"I didn't get chance to make anything this morning."
  2325. "Shame. Guess you'll have to go to the shop and pick something up then."
  2326. >"Don't have any money on me."
  2327. "I can lend you some."
  2328. >"No no, it's fine, I'll manage."
  2329. >She continues to stare at the sandwiches like a cat would stare at a mouse.
  2330. >You shift your attention to Shorts.
  2331. "And you, Shorts?"
  2332. >"Um... I don't uh..."
  2333. >She scrunches up her face.
  2334. >"Fuck it. You owe me for all those sandwiches I made you all those times."
  2335. "You made those of your own volition!"
  2336. >"I even cut the crusts off for you, you ungrateful bastard!"
  2337. "You think I owe you because you did something out of charity?! What kind of-- HEY!"
  2338. >You quickly turn and slap Fluttershy's hoof, which was reaching for a sandwich whilst you were preoccupied.
  2339. >She hisses as you bat her away.
  2340. >Before you can give her an ear-full, Shorts uses the distraction to dip a hoof into your box, pluck the apple out of it, and swallow the entire thing without even chewing.
  2341. "WH--"
  2342. >She smiles as you watch the large lump slide down her throat.
  2343. "YOU DIDN'T EVEN SAVOUR IT! HOW ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO EXTRACT THE NUTRIENTS?!"
  2344. >"My stomach acids shall decide the fate of the apple now, Anon; you have already lost."
  2345. "Like fucking hell I have."
  2346. >Rising from your seat, you grab Shorts' frail body and pull her close, wrenching open her jaws and sticking an arm down her gullet.
  2347. >She gurgles and struggles as you reach in and grip the apple in mid-transit.
  2348. >Pulling back, you retrieve the slimy, though not-yet-digested apple from the treacherous mare.
  2349. >As you sit back down, you turn to your lunch box.
  2350. >The sandwiches are gone.
  2351. >You look at Fluttershy.
  2352. >She smiles, her mouth covered in jam.
  2353. >You look back at the lunchbox.
  2354. >Now the chocolate bar is gone.
  2355. >You look at Shorts.
  2356. >There's little you can do to stop her as she chews and eats the entire thing, wrapper and all.
  2357. >You sit in silence, clutching your slimy apple, and sigh.
  2358. >Something under the table shifts.
  2359. >The three of you watch, amazed, as Rudolph emerges from below.
  2360. >He sits across from you, completing the circle of 4, and politely rests his claws on the table.
  2361. >The rat's eyes dart between you and the apple.
  2362. >After a short moment, you place the apple on the table and slide it over to him.
  2363. >He gently takes it in his mouth and scurries out the room to find the nearest vent.
  2364. >At least he's not jumping in and out of the ceiling any more.
  2365. >Fluttershy leans over and kisses you on the cheek.
  2366. >"Thanks for lunch, Anon."
  2367. >She takes her leave.
  2368. >Shorts gives you a quick hug.
  2369. >"Yeah, thanks for returning the favour."
  2370. >The mare trots happily out of the kitchen.
  2371. >With just you left, you regard your empty lunchbox with despair.
  2372. >Oh well.
  2373. >At least there are a few crumbs left.
  2374. >And Fluttershy was kind enough to leave some jam on your cheek.
  2375. >Silver linings, Anon.
  2376. >Silver linings.
  2377.  
  2378. ---
  2379.  
  2380. "No."
  2381. >"Yes."
  2382. "No."
  2383. >"YES."
  2384. "Fluttershy if you think I'm wearing those you can jump off a cliff."
  2385. >"New company policy, all members of staff have to wear them for today."
  2386. >You glare at the tight blue denim shorts in Fluttershy's hoof.
  2387. "And why does Shorts not have to wear them?"
  2388. >"I feel like Shorts wearing shorts is a bit too on-the-nose."
  2389. "And you? Why can you not wear them?"
  2390. >"Because I'm not a member of staff, I'm the boss."
  2391. "That's retarded."
  2392. >"Fuck you, put on the shorts."
  2393. "Suck my dick, you can't make me do anything."
  2394. >"For your information I've sucked your dick dozens of times and it never gets any better, and I -can- actually make you do anything because I'll fire you if you don't."
  2395. "Go on then."
  2396. >"...Go on what?"
  2397. "Fire me."
  2398. >"..."
  2399. "Well aren't you gonna do it?"
  2400. >Fluttershy shuffles uncomfortably, avoiding your glare.
  2401. >"N-no... Put on the shorts."
  2402. "Nope, I'm not gonna--"
  2403. >"If you don't put on the shorts you'll be on Rudolph clean-up duty for a month."
  2404. "..."
  2405. >"..."
  2406. "You're a fucking asshole, Fluttershy."
  2407. >"Takes one to know one."
  2408. "Oh what are you, five? Give me those..."
  2409. >You swipe them from her and stand up, fiddling with your belt as you go to drop your normal black office pants, cursing and swearing at your "dicklusting whore of a boss" the entire time.
  2410. >Fluttershy watches with a great deal of glee.
  2411. >"That's better~"
  2412. >As you hike the shorts up your legs you wince at how tight they are.
  2413. >When you finally manage to get them on, you struggle to move.
  2414. "...They're too small."
  2415. >"I'm sorry?"
  2416. "The shorts, they're too small. They're too constrictive and they make my ass look big."
  2417. >"Yes."
  2418. >She smiles.
  2419. >"Yes they do."
  2420.  
  2421. >Suffice to say, Shorts was thrilled at your new office attire.
  2422.  
  2423. ---
  2424.  
  2425. "Eh, I dunno, try adding some more backstory? I'm just not feeling attached to the character."
  2426. >You lean against the opening of Shorts' cubicle, the mare nodding along with you.
  2427. >"Do you think it might be an issue with the character himself? I was a bit leery of including something like him but thought that if I pulled it off the story would be better for it."
  2428. "Yes and no, thing about characters like that is..."
  2429. >You sigh.
  2430. "Can we help you, Fluttershy?"
  2431. >Both you and Shorts look up.
  2432. >Fluttershy is hovering above the cubicle, clutching a camera.
  2433. >"Oh no, don't mind me, I'm just waiting for you both to lose yourselves to your lust and fuck like animals on the desk."
  2434. >Shorts blushes and tries to repress a smile.
  2435. >You roll your eyes.
  2436. "We're trying to work. You know what work is? That thing you hired us to do instead of getting wrapped up in wacky workplace shenanigans?"
  2437. >Fluttershy nods, not really listening.
  2438. >"Yeah, great, when you cum on her face can you angle it so I can get it with the camera?"
  2439. "Unbelievable. Alright Shorts, you get the gist of what I'm saying."
  2440. >"Yeah, I'll add the backstory."
  2441. "Add the backstory and see if that helps bring the story together, if it doesn't then the whole thing might need a rewrite, swing by my desk and bring your laptop if it comes to that."
  2442. >"He meant swing by his desk and bring lube because he's going to stretch your ponut with his cock."
  2443. "Fuck you, Fluttershy."
  2444. >"Not today, hun."
  2445. >When you turn to go, something odd happens.
  2446. >You lose balance and trip over your own legs.
  2447. >With a grunt you topple to the floor, banging your shoulder.
  2448. >You hear a scream as you do so, and you're sure it wasn't you.
  2449. >Sit up again with an annoyed look.
  2450. >Just in time to see Fluttershy descend on you.
  2451. >"Are you alright? Did I do that? I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to hurt you, do you need the hospital? I'll get some first aid-- SHORTS GET SOME FUCKING FIRST AID! Does it hurt? Will kissing it make it better? Do you want me to kiss it better? Can I kiss it better? I'm going to kiss it better, take off your shirt--"
  2452. >You raise a hand to stop her and stand up.
  2453. "I just fell over, Shy, happens to everyone."
  2454. >"S-so you're okay."
  2455. "Of course I'm okay, fuck, I'm not made of porcelain, I can take a hit and not break."
  2456. >"Right. Okay. Just checking. So you're definitely okay."
  2457. "Christ, woman, I'll be fine, I'll try not to, I dunno, spontaneously combust on my way back to my desk, or shit, I'll try not to die because I got the hiccup--"
  2458. >You're interrupted by a sudden, very abrupt and entirely unexpected hiccup.
  2459. >For a second you and Fluttershy stare at each other in shock.
  2460. >Then she starts crying.
  2461.  
  2462. >You spend the rest of the afternoon sat at your desk working.
  2463. >Fluttershy sits in your lap to make sure you're alright and that you don't get the hiccups, spontaneously combust, fall over again, then die.
  2464. >Gotta admit, that would be one hell of a way to go.
  2465. >Fluttershy presses her face against your chest again and rubs it in.
  2466. >"Are you still okay?"
  2467. "Still okay. Just like before."
  2468. >"Just checking."
  2469. >Ugh.
  2470.  
  2471. ---
  2472.  
  2473. >"You know, Anon..."
  2474. >Fluttershy squints at your monitor, gives you a weird look, then glances back at the screen.
  2475. >"On the one hoof you're definitely getting better at drawing."
  2476. "Thanks."
  2477. >"And I'm happy to see you're actually still doing it, since I'll be honest, I'd completely forgotten we'd agreed to form an art department."
  2478. "Okay."
  2479. >"And again, you're definitely better at this than I am."
  2480. "Sure."
  2481. >"But um..."
  2482. >She twists her head sideways, as if trying to see if the artwork changes when viewed at a different angle.
  2483. >"So we've uh, we've had a -lot- of sex together, right?"
  2484. "We have; none of it on my terms."
  2485. >"You've seen me naked a whole bunch."
  2486. "You wear a half-suit like most ponies, Fluttershy, your bottom-half is completely exposed and leaves very little to the imagination."
  2487. >"Right! Right, exactly. But what I'm trying to say is..."
  2488. >She rubs her head with a hoof, thinking.
  2489. >Then motions at the screen with the hoof.
  2490. >"Why do I have tits on my chest?"
  2491. "What do you mean?"
  2492. >"Wh--... Anon I don't have tits there."
  2493. >She slips out of her suit with the fluidity that only years of practice of quickly removing clothing can give.
  2494. >The mare stands before you, totally nude.
  2495. >"Point to my tits."
  2496. "I don't need to, they're between your legs."
  2497. >"Precisely."
  2498. "So?"
  2499. >She gives you a hopeless look, then decides to just point at the screen, then at herself.
  2500. >You follow her motions, stroking your chin in thought.
  2501. "...Oh."
  2502. >"Right."
  2503. "Oh I see."
  2504. >"Do you get it now?"
  2505. "I see where I've gone wrong."
  2506. >"Okay good, now fix it--"
  2507. "Your wings are way too small, I'll fix that right away."
  2508. >Fluttershy gives you a troubled look.
  2509. >The look of a mare who's realised that her most precious employee is in many ways a very smart man, but in other ways is an imbecile of the highest calibre.
  2510. >As you hastily doodle on wings that are roughly six times bigger than the previous versions, she quietly leaves the cubicle and crosses the floor to her office.
  2511. >There, she stands before the body-length mirror on one of the walls and stares at herself naked.
  2512. >She carefully rubs a hoof along her chest in thought and gazes at her reflection, contemplating.
  2513. >"I guess it -would- be kinda sexy..."
  2514.  
  2515. >She wore a bra stuffed with tissue paper to work the next day.
  2516. >You aren't sure how you felt about it.
  2517.  
  2518. ---
  2519.  
  2520. "Ready?"
  2521. >"No."
  2522. "Alright, we'll go when you're ready."
  2523. >...
  2524. "Shorts come on--"
  2525. >"I'm trying! I can't-- can you do my straps for me?"
  2526. "How do earth ponies even function?"
  2527. >"Hey don't make this about race, normally we're fine with buckles and straps but these are just--"
  2528. "Alright alright, just hold still."
  2529. >"Mmph."
  2530. "Better?"
  2531. >"Too tight."
  2532. "Alright-- better?"
  2533. >"Better."
  2534. "Okay then. Ready?"
  2535. >Shorts, her shabby body armour finally secure, gives you a firm nod.
  2536. >You place your hand against the kitchen door, braced to push.
  2537. "When I say go. Three. Two. One--"
  2538. >The phone on your desk starts ringing.
  2539. >You glance at Shorts.
  2540. >She raises an eyebrow back at you.
  2541. >"...Are you gonna answer it?"
  2542. "No it's all the way over there, if it's important she'll come out and scream at us."
  2543. >On cue, Fluttershy's office door slams open and the mare sticks her head out; not looking at you, just bellowing into the empty space.
  2544. >"GET IN HERE, YOU SWINES! SOMETHING BIG IS GOING ON!"
  2545.  
  2546. >"You'll never guess what's going-- what the hell are you both wearing."
  2547. >You and Shorts look over each other, then back at Fluttershy.
  2548. >You carefully remove the wire-frame waste paper bin you were using as a helmet from your head.
  2549. >Shorts struggles, but manages to remove her ragged body armour that you'd found in a dumpster behind the local police department.
  2550. >You unfasten the plastic Roman breastplate replica you were wearing and set it to one side.
  2551. >Fluttershy is bewildered.
  2552. "There's a situation in the kitchen that demanded our immediate attention."
  2553. >"When is there -not- a situation in the kitchen."
  2554. >You shrug as she shakes her head.
  2555. >"Well whatever, sit down and listen to this."
  2556. >Both you and Shorts take your seats across from Fluttershy's desk as she reads from the newspaper before her.
  2557. >"Previous ruling overturned: Abortion declared illegal."
  2558. >You raise your eyebrows in surprise.
  2559. "Woah, seriously? How'd they manage that?"
  2560. >Fluttershy sneers.
  2561. >"How'd you think?"
  2562. >She slides the paper across the desk over to you.
  2563. >"It's Cadance and her government fuckboy Franklin."
  2564. >You skim-read the article for the important info.
  2565. "Why the hell--"
  2566. >"It's obvious, Anon."
  2567. >You look up at her in confusion.
  2568. >Fluttershy rolls her eyes.
  2569. >"Cadance runs Pregnancy Corp. What does she have a vested interest in?"
  2570. "...Pregnancies?"
  2571. >"Pregnancies. What company just moved into town?"
  2572. "Pregnancy Corp."
  2573. >"Pregnancy Corp. How do you make sure more people stay pregnant?"
  2574. "By making it illegal to have abortions."
  2575. >"What are pregnant people?"
  2576. "...Uh..."
  2577. >"Emotionally charged weirdos who cry at anything. What kind of stories will emotionally charged pregnant weirdos want to read?"
  2578. "Stories about pregnancies."
  2579. >"There's a clever boy, and finally, what tends to happen if a single female in a friend-circle gets pregnant?"
  2580. "They all suddenly want babies."
  2581. >"And Cadance is the incredibly popular face of femininity, who just started a company all about making babies. This will make having babies seem more attractive, and since women are all vapid, predictable creatures, there's going to be a cascade of baby-making in the near future."
  2582. "Well holy shit."
  2583. >"Yes."
  2584. "God that's weird."
  2585. >"It's mega fucking weird."
  2586. "Pregancies are gross."
  2587. >"They're totally gross, and that jumped-up pink faggot living across the road from us stands to make a great deal of profit from them unless we can stop her."
  2588. "Hang on, why does any of this concern us?"
  2589. >"Because the bigger that company gets, the less of a chance we stand of competing."
  2590. "Fluttershy we're never going to out-compete a princess, we've since realised that; there's no point trying."
  2591. >"..."
  2592. "You know I'm right, we should just focus on staying afloat."
  2593. >"Maybe, yes, but it's about more than keeping the company alive."
  2594. "It is?"
  2595. >"Yes! It's about principles!"
  2596. "Fluttershy you've never had a set of principles in your life."
  2597. >"Shut up, fuck you, I want Cadance to suffer, alright?"
  2598. "Why-- actually don't answer that."
  2599. >"She came in here like she fucking owned the place, talked shit straight to my face, mentioned that purple bitch who used to work here, and assaulted my husband; so I want her dead, I want all her employees dead, her company dead, and any children she may have dead."
  2600. "I get it, fuck, Jesus Christ, calm down."
  2601. >...
  2602. "Wait hold up what was that about a husband--"
  2603. >"Shut up Anon, you're fired. Shorts, tell me about this kitchen problem we're having."
  2604. >Shorts glances at you, then back at Fluttershy.
  2605. >"Um. It's about Rudolph."
  2606. >"Is he dead?"
  2607. >"N-not quite."
  2608. >"Then what? Spit it out, mare."
  2609. >Shorts cringes.
  2610. >"He's uh, got himself a lady friend."
  2611. >Fluttershy stares at her, frozen.
  2612. >"You what."
  2613. >Shorts looks to you for support.
  2614. >You continue for her.
  2615. "Our resident giant pony-sized man-eating rat has himself a girlfriend. Another giant pony-sized man-eating rat."
  2616. >Fluttershy doesn't blink, she only fixes you with a look of desperate horror.
  2617. "Chances are if we don't sort this out then they're gonna start breeding."
  2618. >...
  2619. "Then we'll have an entire race of giant rats living in our vents, and it's gonna smell -awful-."
  2620. >Fluttershy twitches.
  2621. >Then grabs her head with both hooves and screams as loudly as she can.
  2622. >"I BET CADANCE DID THIS!"
  2623.  
  2624. ---
  2625.  
  2626. >"What? No, I said extra large you fucking imbecile."
  2627. >You quietly type away, vaguely listening from afar to the sound of Fluttershy attempting to order a pizza.
  2628. >Your tired eyes wander from your screen to the clock on your cubicle wall.
  2629. >It's late at night, and each passing second seems to be longer than the last.
  2630. >A quick nudge from your elbow prompts a snort from the pony next to you.
  2631. >She stirs, waking from her no doubt pleasant dream and grumbles in her typical post-nap manner.
  2632. >Wordlessly, you pour a cup of lukewarm coffee from the machine on your desk and slide it over to your companion.
  2633. >Short Storys takes it without comment and gulps it all down, the two of you staring at your respective screens and trying to figure out how best to conclude your stories.
  2634. >Much time passes where you both work beside one another in your muted fashion.
  2635. >Eventually you sigh and squeeze your eyes shut, stretching out your arms and relishing the relief it brings.
  2636. "Done."
  2637. >"Done?"
  2638. "Yeah, done."
  2639. >"Nice. Gonna upload it to the site or do you want me to do it?"
  2640. "D'you mind? I need to take a piss."
  2641. >"Classy, alright, I'll get on it."
  2642. "Thanks."
  2643. >You stand up and wander to the bathroom, taking heed of a flickering light-bulb on the way.
  2644. >After you're done in the restroom you swing by Fluttershy's office, opening the door a crack and poking your head in.
  2645. "Hey, where'd you put the spare light-bulbs? We've got one on its way out back here."
  2646. >The mare, sat reclining in her chair behind her desk seemingly deep in thought, ignores you.
  2647. "Boss? You okay?"
  2648. >"Thinking."
  2649. "I can see that, but could you just tell me where the light--"
  2650. >"We're being blacklisted."
  2651. "...I'm sorry?"
  2652. >Fluttershy's eyes find you, her expression marred by a frown.
  2653. >"All I wanted was a pizza."
  2654. "...Have you been eating Shorts' pills again?"
  2655. >"No you twat, come here, listen."
  2656. >You wander into her office, shutting the door behind you and sitting across from her.
  2657. >Leaning forward, your face shows mild concern.
  2658. "What's up, Shy?"
  2659. >"So I tried to order a pizza like forty minutes ago."
  2660. "Okay?"
  2661. >"And when I got to the part when I give our address they told me that they can't deliver to us and hung up."
  2662. "Ouch, do you have a history with them or...?"
  2663. >Her eyebrows knit together in thought.
  2664. >"That's just it, I don't. See if I'd raped an employee of theirs or something I could understand..."
  2665. "She says casually as if that isn't fucked up."
  2666. >"Shush, but I've never used them before, professionally or sexually. So see-- what I did was start ringing other pizza places I've never used-- on a sidenote did you ever notice how many pizzerias there are around here? It's insane."
  2667. "Yeah, it's a lucrative market, every writer needs pizza to function."
  2668. >"Right, so I went through like a dozen and they all said the same thing: 'we can't send to you' followed by them hanging up."
  2669. "Well that sucks. Want me to go round to one personally and pick one up?"
  2670. >"You're missing the point, we're being blacklisted by companies we've never even dealt with."
  2671. "They've probably been getting told to avoid us by other businesses. To be fair to them Fluttershy, you like... you have a -serious- problem with raping people. Like holy damn you do it -all the time-."
  2672. >She gazes at you sadly.
  2673. >"Is it really such a crime...?"
  2674. "What the fuck of course it is. I'm just glad you've been toning it down lately. Why is that, anyway? You lost your mojo or something?"
  2675. >"Pfft, no, I just realised I can bang you instead. Why would I want to go around messing with other people when I have you?"
  2676. "But you haven't done me for weeks. I was sorta beginning to hope that you were done with that whole thing."
  2677. >"What do you mean?"
  2678. "You know, rape. Up until now it was always just like 'Oh yeah, that's Fluttershy, she rapes people, that's just what she does'."
  2679. >"...And?"
  2680. "I'm just saying maybe you should stop raping people, Shy."
  2681. >Fluttershy's face reflects her bewilderment at this.
  2682. >"Anonymous that's the stupidest thing you've ever said to me."
  2683. >...
  2684. "So--"
  2685. >"Get out of my office."
  2686. "..."
  2687. >"And yes, I would like you to go buy a pizza. Vegetarian for three. And a dildo."
  2688. "Why a dildo?"
  2689. >"So you can go fuck yourself with it, now get out and never say anything that dumb to me ever again."
  2690. "Fine, fuck, no need to be such a bitch about it."
  2691. >With that, you grab your coat from your desk and leave.
  2692.  
  2693. "I mean can you believe that, Shorts? He actually said I should stop raping people! I was like 'are you kidding me right now? Go buy a dildo'."
  2694. >"Why a dildo...?"
  2695. "So he can go fuck himself with it."
  2696. >"That's pretty clever."
  2697. "Yeah I thought so too."
  2698. >"Real zinger."
  2699. "Yup."
  2700. >"Just mega intelligent on your part--"
  2701. "Okay shut up, Shorts, god, why are you so fucking mouthy."
  2702. >"You like it when I'm mouthy."
  2703. "Only on certain days and only when Anon's not here."
  2704. >"You mean like now?"
  2705. "Yes like now."
  2706. >...
  2707. "I didn't say stop, by the way."
  2708. >"Sorry boss, my tongue is sore."
  2709. "Yeah well consider it punishment for being so mouthy."
  2710. >"You kinda do have a problem with molesting people though."
  2711. "What gave you that impression?"
  2712. >"Well I mean..."
  2713. >Shorts looks around at her position under your desk between your spread legs and shrugs helplessly.
  2714. >"...You know?"
  2715. "This is normal."
  2716. >"It really isn't."
  2717. "Shut up, Shorts, I have stress to relieve and you're the nearest peon I could find, if you can make me cum before Anon gets back you're getting a raise."
  2718.  
  2719. ---
  2720.  
  2721. >"So I won't lie, that pizza sucked."
  2722. "It was vegetarian like you asked for."
  2723. >"Yeah, but I kinda changed my mind mid-way through."
  2724. "Well horses don't eat meat so I guess you're stuck with vegetarian forever."
  2725. >"That's actually a common misconception, horses have been known to eat meat on many occasions..."
  2726. >As Fluttershy begins to lecture you on the dietary habits of horses, your eyes wander over to the window of her office where the three of you had been eating.
  2727. >The only window in the room, it never offered a particularly interesting view.
  2728. >That is, a back-alley scene facing the sheer brick wall of the old warehouse before it.
  2729. >At least it was a consistent view.
  2730. >Plus it meant that anything could happen in front of it and no one would ever know.
  2731. >You stand up and put your hands in your pockets, wandering over to peer out of it.
  2732. >Fluttershy's voice rises and falls in the background.
  2733. >She's reaching the apex of a short tangent where she once actually ate a horse.
  2734. >You stopped listening since it was the seventh time you'd heard it over the years.
  2735. >Shorts, on the other hand, was both enraptured and horrified by what she was hearing.
  2736. >So, content with her audience of one, Fluttershy continued on with gusto, not paying you any mind.
  2737. >You stand at the window and watch the alleyway with disinterest.
  2738. >It's quite a wide alleyway, so a fair bit of moonlight is let in, but it still doesn't see much action.
  2739. >All you can behold are bins, a single dumpster, and a great deal of rubbish lying about amongst old, dampened cardboard boxes and discarded wooden pallets.
  2740. >Typical warehouse faire long since abandoned to the elements.
  2741. >Or lack of, rather, considering the inherent shelter the alley gives.
  2742. >But as your eyes trail over the rubbish, you catch something peculiar moving about amongst the muck.
  2743. >Your eyebrows knit together.
  2744. >Rustling about in one of Flutterrape's bins, under the cover of darkness, is a bright red pony.
  2745. >She casts the bin to one side, the trash within strewn across the ground without a care, taking no notice of you watching her from the second floor window above.
  2746. >The mare hastily sifts through with her magic and retrieves some old papers.
  2747. >She skim-reads them for a second, and finally you can barely see her face stretch into a smile.
  2748. >She laughs, though you can't hear it, and gallops away from the scene with the papers in her magical grasp.
  2749. >Though that's not what necessarily concerns you.
  2750. >What concerns you is that she was wearing a Pregnancy Corp uniform.
  2751.  
  2752. >Turning back from the window, you see that Fluttershy has reached the end of her story, and is giving Shorts a comforting hug as the mare in question wears a thousand-yard-stare.
  2753. >You frown at Fluttershy.
  2754. >She shrugs in return.
  2755. >"What? It's a good story."
  2756. "That's not it, there was someone from Pregnancy Corp just rooting through our bins."
  2757. >She cocks her head.
  2758. >"What for? If she wants trash she can read what they write over there."
  2759. >Fluttershy smirks at her own joke, but you ignore it.
  2760. "Why would they be searching through our bins?"
  2761. >"I dunno, does it matter?"
  2762. "That depends, how do you destroy confidential documents? Are you burning them like I suggested?"
  2763. >Fluttershy snorts.
  2764. >"I don't have time to do that, Anon, I'm a busy mare, I just throw it in the tra-- oh."
  2765. "Oh."
  2766. >"Ooooh. Shit."
  2767. "Oh shit is right, you fucking idiot, now we have to deal with what looks like possible corporate espionage."
  2768. >Fluttershy glowers at you.
  2769. >"So those fucks want to play hardball? Fine. Anon, get the cops on the phone, they'll sort this out."
  2770. >You regard her, unimpressed.
  2771. >"That means now, chop chop."
  2772. "Shy, you know the cops don't come here any more."
  2773. >"Oh. Right, yes, of course..."
  2774. "Plus if we accuse them its our word against theirs and--"
  2775. >"Yeah, I get it."
  2776. >She purses her lips.
  2777. >"We're gonna have to employ drastic measures then."
  2778.  
  2779. >You sit in frustrated silence as Fluttershy blows smoke from her lips, a cigarette balanced on her hoof.
  2780. >"A passable job, Anon, I'll make a man of you yet."
  2781. >Glance over Fluttershy's sweat-laden body at Shorts.
  2782. >She's still practising her thousand-yard-stare, though her mane is messier than usual.
  2783. >You look down at your exposed chest, then at the clock on the wall.
  2784. >11:21pm
  2785. "And how exactly was a steamy office three-way supposed to help us?"
  2786. >"Help us do what?"
  2787. "Help us stop Pregnancy Corp from legally nailing us, you stupid cow."
  2788. >"Hey, hey, don't spoil the afterglow."
  2789. "Fuck the afterglow, one of their employees just stole documents that you were too lazy to destroy! Who knows what they could have just stolen?!"
  2790. >"Eh, it probably wasn't anything important. The only thing I threw out yesterday were old financial records."
  2791. "How old?"
  2792. >"Few months."
  2793. "Why the fuck would you throw out financial records a few months old, you're supposed to keep them for years."
  2794. >"They were taking up space."
  2795. "We have an entire fucking office, Fluttershy, AND IT'S NOT EXACTLY STUFFED FULL!"
  2796. >"Heh, I was a few minutes ago."
  2797. "YOU FUCKING--"
  2798. >As you scream at Fluttershy, Shorts slips out the office and goes to clean herself up in the company bathroom.
  2799. >She splashes water on her face and stares at herself in the mirror for a few moments, mulling over her life and the current situation she's in.
  2800. >Reaching for a brush she keeps on the side of the sink, she tidies herself up a bit before forcing a smile and stepping back outside.
  2801. >The sound of you, and now Fluttershy, yelling at each other echoes around the office.
  2802. >She listens for a moment, then returns to her desk.
  2803. >After putting in some earphones and turning up her music to drown out the shouting, she gets back to work
  2804. >She releases a heavy, drawn-out sigh as she does so.
  2805. >"Better here than Batponies, Shorts. Hang in there..."
  2806.  
  2807. ---
  2808.  
  2809. >"Go to hell Anon, it's the simplest request!"
  2810. "Fluttershy I have so much shit to do it's unreal, I just can't keep up with this!"
  2811. >"You managed fine before, you fucking... baby!"
  2812. "That was before you had the grand idea of creating an art department, now I have more things to do than I know what to do with and it's crushing me!"
  2813. >"Why do you do nothing but complain all the time? Any normal person would just get on with their job!"
  2814. "I've been 'getting on with it' for years! Let's see, I have to write stories, lock up at night, clean the kitchen, clean the office, check the basement for homeless people, feed the vents, watch the cameras, sort through mail, log calls, organise office supply shipments, on more than one occasion I've had to buy stuff out of pocket from the hardware store, keep the computers running, clean up after Rudolph, manage Shorts, draw artwork, and I have to look after you whenever you inevitably fuck up!"
  2815. >Fluttershy's face is the picture of rage.
  2816. >"When I fuck up?! Fuck you! I bust my ass every day trying to keep this company afloat and all I ask that you take on one more little responsibility and you suddenly throw a shitfit!"
  2817. "Little responsibility?! You want me to work as a night guard! How much time and energy do you think I have?!"
  2818. >"Oh stop bitching and just take it like a man! Do you -want- Pregnancy Corp to keep stealing stuff from our bins?"
  2819. "Fuck this, I don't need to put up with you, I'm going back to my desk."
  2820. >"Don't you -dare- walk away from me! Get back here this instant or you're fired!"
  2821. "Eat a dick, Fluttershy, I have better things to do."
  2822. >You make for the exit of her office.
  2823. >The mare leaps up out of her chair after you, yelling at your turned back as she does so.
  2824. >As you stroll through the open door, you turn and slam it for effect in order to relay how mad you are.
  2825. >Unfortunately, you don't realise that Fluttershy was right behind you until it's too late.
  2826. >You hear a sudden yelp, and freeze, your anger forgotten.
  2827. >Quickly opening the door, you see Fluttershy sitting on the floor clutching her muzzle with both hooves.
  2828. >Her eyes are squeezed shut.
  2829. >Your expression softens immediately and you drop down to her level, fussing over her.
  2830. "Hey, hey, come on, let me see, move your hooves."
  2831. >She slowly removes them, sniffing and trying not to cry.
  2832. >Blood wells and drips from her nostrils.
  2833. >Gently taking the delicate mare in your arms, you rest your back against the door-frame and shush her, a hand stroking her body as you cradle her in your lap.
  2834. "It's okay, it'll be fine, I was mad and I didn't see you, I'm sorry."
  2835. >Her body trembles as she speaks.
  2836. >"Th-that really f-fucking hurt, Anon."
  2837. "I know, Shy, I know, I'm sorry."
  2838. >"Y-you're an asshole..."
  2839. "You're kinda partly to blame as well."
  2840. >"Mmph."
  2841. >She manoeuvres her body about so that she's still sat in your lap, but resting the front of her body against yours, burying her face in your midsection as she tends to do when she's scared or hurt.
  2842. >You smile wearily at her, a hand still caressing her back.
  2843. >Her trembling eventually stops, and she seems to be calmer.
  2844. >She pulls her face back, leaving a large bloody mark on your shirt.
  2845. >"I ruined your shirt."
  2846. "I can see that."
  2847. >"It's for being an asshole."
  2848. "Of course."
  2849. >"..."
  2850. >She studies your face carefully.
  2851. >You stare back, still wearing a soft look and watching the blood around her snout congeal.
  2852. >"...Are you still mad at me?"
  2853. "That depends, do I have to be a night guard?"
  2854. >"...No."
  2855. "Then no, I'm not mad. And besides, I slammed a door in your face, you should be mad at me."
  2856. >"I am mad at you."
  2857. "Oh. Well good."
  2858. >"I'm always mad at you."
  2859. "I guessed."
  2860. >"But you're still... here."
  2861. "...Yeah, I am."
  2862. >"Why?"
  2863. >You shrug.
  2864. "I dunno. Pay's good, I suppose."
  2865. >She regards you sadly, her eyes fixed on yours.
  2866. >The mare opens her lips as if she wants to say something, but closes them again.
  2867. >You opt to squeeze her closer to your chest.
  2868. >She seems content with that, and sighs, enjoying your warmth.
  2869. >The pair of you sit like that for another ten minutes, listening to the cheap plastic clock on the wall slowly count the seconds.
  2870. >With great effort, you eventually untangle yourself from her and stand up.
  2871. >She reluctantly lets go and frowns at you as you once more tower over her.
  2872. >"Well you can't be a night guard any more. But for assaulting your boss, walking out on her, and generally trying to hurt her physically and emotionally, you have to buy her lunch."
  2873. "When you say 'buy you lunch' do you mean to say you forgot to make yourself lunch again and want me to give you my lunchbox?"
  2874. >"Yes."
  2875. "God dammit."
  2876. >"Should have thought about that before you slammed a door in my face, you ape."
  2877. "Fuck you, Fluttershy."
  2878. >"Go cry about it. Now leave me alone, I'm horny and upset."
  2879. >With that, she hurls the door shut, the window-pane at the top of it shuddering.
  2880. >A few seconds later she opens it again.
  2881. >"I still want your lunchbox though."
  2882. "Yeah, I got it, it'll be on your desk in a bit."
  2883. >"Good."
  2884. >She glares at you for a second, then slams the door again.
  2885.  
  2886. >You sit back down at your desk next to Shorts, who has recently decided to just move into your cubicle with you for convenience/companionship.
  2887. >"I heard slamming and shouting, what happened?"
  2888. "Boss wanted me to be a guard so I broke her nose and then we cuddled so now she wants my lunchbox."
  2889. >"...I believe you."
  2890.  
  2891. ---
  2892.  
  2893. >You shift uneasily.
  2894. >The short, fat package on your desk doesn't disappear.
  2895. >Its colourful wrapping paper and bright blue ribbon instead stand in contrast to your grey, joyless cubicle.
  2896. >You look over your shoulder cautiously, then back to it.
  2897. >It's still there.
  2898. >Last time you saw an unexpected package it came from the vents.
  2899. >Most anything that comes from the vents is bad news.
  2900. >And whilst you might not need to sacrifice goats anymore, you still fear what lurks in the ventilation system in this building.
  2901. >You step closer to the package and set down your bag.
  2902. >Nudging it with a finger, it doesn't do anything.
  2903. >It certainly doesn't move in response, so that rules out roughly half of the ideas of what you thought it could be.
  2904. >The longer you leave it alone, the more the paranoia will grow.
  2905. >And if it's a bomb it might explode if left unattended.
  2906. >You'd like to know if it was a bomb beforehand so that it doesn't go off whilst you're eating your lunch.
  2907. >Frankly, eating lunch is the highlight of your day, and you'd rather not have it be ruined.
  2908. >Plus, months of fending off giant-rat raids in the kitchen with a broom have tempered your will somewhat, and you're a lot hardier than you once were.
  2909. >So, pushing down your fear, you firmly grab the package.
  2910. >"Morning Anon."
  2911. >Your head snaps around to see Shorts plod into the cubicle and sit down next to you.
  2912. >She looks quizzically at the package, adjusting her glasses and raising an eyebrow at it.
  2913. >"Did... you buy me a present?"
  2914. >You almost regret saying no, since her face becomes somewhat hopeful.
  2915. "Ah, no, I didn't, this was here when I arrived."
  2916. >"Oh," she says with a frown, "so who's it from?"
  2917. "Well it's either the vents or Fluttershy, and Fluttershy doesn't buy people presents."
  2918. >You both glance up fearfully at the stainless steel vessel of horrors running along the ceiling.
  2919. >It rattles menacingly.
  2920. >You look back down at the present.
  2921. "It's not moving at least."
  2922. >"That's promising. Wanna open it?"
  2923. "Eh, sure."
  2924. >"Morning assholes."
  2925. >Fluttershy turns the corner.
  2926. >She sees you clutching a parcel and her face screws up.
  2927. >"Oh. Giving out presents, I see. Do I get anything?"
  2928. "I don't know who it's from, let's just open it first before we make any judgements."
  2929. >With that, you tear off the wrapping paper.
  2930. >...
  2931. >It's a simple box of chocolates.
  2932. >Better yet, it's those milk chocolates with the caramel centres that melt in your mouth.
  2933. >You smile.
  2934. "Looks like today's off to a good start, girls!"
  2935. >Shorts gives a little cheer.
  2936. >"Hooray! Nothing traumatic like last Thursday! I'll go make us a drink to celebrate."
  2937. >She swipes the empty, brown-stained pot from the coffee machine and trots out the cubicle towards the kitchen.
  2938. >That leaves you and Fluttershy.
  2939. >You inspect the box with whimsy, at the alluring artwork and flowery lettering on the front.
  2940. >Then slowly turn your gaze to Fluttershy, your childlike wonder fading a bit.
  2941. >She's still glaring.
  2942. "You uh, want one, boss?"
  2943. >"No. I hate chocolate."
  2944. "That's just a blatant lie, you love stuff like this."
  2945. >"Yeah maybe, but I still don't want any."
  2946. "Oh. Why not?"
  2947. >"They're for you, you fucking idiot."
  2948. >...
  2949. "...Did you seriously buy me chocolates?"
  2950. >If looks could kill, you'd be dead and even the devil wouldn't take your soul.
  2951. >"Yes," she says, glowering, "So what if I did? If you don't like them I'll take them back, I'm just trying to be nice for once--"
  2952. >She makes a move to swipe the box from you.
  2953. "Woah woah woah, okay, hey, I like them, I want the chocolates, no need to do anything crazy."
  2954. >You glance at the box again.
  2955. "It's just not something you tend to do."
  2956. >"...So you like them."
  2957. "Yes, I like them."
  2958. >"You're fine with those kinds of chocolate? You said a few months ago you liked caramel--"
  2959. "I like the chocolates, Fluttershy, thank you."
  2960. >"--I can get you others if you don't like them."
  2961. "I like them."
  2962. >"Well good."
  2963. "Again, thanks."
  2964. >"Okay."
  2965. >...
  2966. "Sooo would you like one?"
  2967. >"No. I already said they're for you. Dumb-ass."
  2968. >With that, she leaves.
  2969. >Then pokes her head back around the corner.
  2970. >"If you give any to Shorts I'll fucking kill you."
  2971. "Noted."
  2972.  
  2973. >Shorts wanders back in with a fresh pot of coffee.
  2974. >She puts it in the machine, a bit of it running down the sides.
  2975. >The machine broke after about 2 weeks of use, so now you just use it as a glorified teapot but for coffee instead.
  2976. >Sliding into her swivel chair, she gives you a tired smile.
  2977. >"So! Who were the chocolates from?"
  2978. "Oh. Uh, Slasher."
  2979. >"Seriously? Where'd he get the money to get them?"
  2980. "I wouldn't ask too many questions."
  2981. >"Well do they taste alright?"
  2982. "They're okay. There was a note that only I could eat them though."
  2983. >"Why the hell would he do that?"
  2984. "Why the hell would he train a giant rat to do his bidding?"
  2985. >"Alright, that doesn't make sense, but I'll roll with it."
  2986. "Yeah, I guess he remembered it was my birthday."
  2987. >"Woah what, today's your birthday?"
  2988. "Uh huh, I don't make much of a deal out of it these days. Kind of a non-event."
  2989. >"Well happy birthday! Still that's kinda sweet don't you think? That he'd remember your birthday? Does he do this every year?"
  2990. >You pluck a chocolate from the tray and hold it up, inspecting it.
  2991. >A small smile stretches across your face.
  2992. "No. I didn't think he'd ever bother to remember."
  2993. >With that, you pop it in your mouth.
  2994.  
  2995. ---
  2996.  
  2997. >Shorts' tummy rumbles.
  2998. >You gaze at her as she works diligently beside you.
  2999. >She's so attractive and deserving of love...
  3000. >Sighing, you know what you must do.
  3001. >Pluck a chocolate from the tray with your strong, masculine fingers and poke Shorts with your other hand.
  3002. >She's so warm, and seductive.
  3003. >The mare turns to you, smiling her perfect smile, and uses a hoof to brush aside some of her silky, shiny, non-messy mane.
  3004. >"Yes, Anonymous?"
  3005. "Shorts, I..."
  3006. >"Y-yes?" she says, tears in her eyes.
  3007. >You slip the chocolate in your mouth and cup Shorts' face with a hand, then begin leaning into her, your eyes closing.
  3008. >She does the same.
  3009. >Not cupping your face with a hand, she doesn't have hands, though if she did they'd be perfect and have fingernails and everything.
  3010. >Your lips meet, and the passion is fiery like potassium in water.
  3011. >Using your tongue, you delicately slip the chocolate from your mouth to hers.
  3012. >She pulls back in shock, a hoof held to her chest.
  3013. >Slowly she chews and swallows it.
  3014. >"Anon it's... perfect."
  3015. "Just like you, my love."
  3016. >"WHAT'S GOING ON HERE."
  3017. >Fluttershy stands at the entrance to the cubicle, looking like a bitch as she often does.
  3018. >"HOW DARE YOU FIND HAPPINESS IN SUCH A MISERABLE AND RUN-DOWN PLACE."
  3019. >Then she screams and her head explodes, but none of the blood gets on you or Anon.
  3020. >You grab Anon and kiss him again, his hands gripping your flanks.
  3021. "Oh Anon, I love you!" you proclaim.
  3022. >"I love you too, cute virginal office girl." Anon replies with fondness.
  3023. >...
  3024.  
  3025. >You read over Shorts' story.
  3026. >Then look at her with a furrowed brow.
  3027. "It's a good thing Fluttershy never reads any of this stuff you write about her."
  3028. >Shorts shrugs sheepishly.
  3029. "Also it's not exactly subtle. And are you really a vir--"
  3030. >"I'm not a virgin," she says bluntly, "I've had like four boyfriends over the years. I'm also not that 'cute', remember when I farted when I thought you weren't around?"
  3031. "Yeah that was gross."
  3032. >"Right."
  3033. >...
  3034. >"So um, can I have a chocolate?"
  3035. "Fuck it, why not."
  3036. >You slide the tray over and let her take one.
  3037. >She eats it gleefully and gets back to work, talking as she types.
  3038. >"If all it takes to make you give me stuff is poorly done self-insert fanfiction then I need to do it more often."
  3039. "Don't push your luck."
  3040. >...
  3041. >"Heh, imagine if her head did explode though."
  3042. "Amazed it hasn't done already."
  3043. >"Rarrgh, you're fired, raaargh, tell me I'm pretty, rarrrgh!"
  3044. "Hah, holy shit Shorts do NOT get caught saying that stuff."
  3045.  
  3046. ---
  3047.  
  3048. >The wind howls.
  3049. >You pull back your jacket sleeve and check your watch, running a thumb over the scratched glass.
  3050. >It's an unusually cold day; frost coats the pavements and streets of the City and there were weather warnings on the radio for cars to travel slowly.
  3051. >Shorts shivers slightly in the glacial morning air.
  3052. >"Where is she?"
  3053. "Not sure. Fluttershy isn't late."
  3054. >"She's -not- late? So she's already inside...?"
  3055. "No no, I mean Fluttershy isn't late. She's -never- late. She'd rather sleep in her office all night if it meant knowing she'd be in on time in a morning."
  3056. >You check your watch again and frown at the dial.
  3057. "Not like her to be late. At all."
  3058. >"So what should we do?"
  3059. "Eh, well we can go in, I've just never gone in without her before, she's always been with me."
  3060. >You fish an old key out of your pocket and dangle it from a finger.
  3061. "Spare key, my dude."
  3062. >"How many times did you have to eat her out to get that?"
  3063. "Inappropriate, Shorts."
  3064. >You unlock the front door, then pause.
  3065. "I think like a dozen, though."
  3066. >Push open it open and let Shorts hastily shuffle in, trembling.
  3067. >"It's so cold out there today..."
  3068. "Yeah, I hope Derpy's gonna be alright. She hates flying in the cold."
  3069. >"How long has she been a mailmare for?"
  3070. "Since forever. Anyway, I'll get the coffee on, you alright checking to see if the heater's working today?"
  3071. >"Sure, what do I do if it's not?"
  3072. "Then I hope you brought a jumper, otherwise it's gonna be fucking freezing."
  3073.  
  3074. >Turns out the heater wasn't working.
  3075. >As a result, you lie in your cubicle on the floor under your desk, wrapped in old blankets you found in a storage closet.
  3076. >Shorts is cuddled up next to you, working on her laptop, and you on yours.
  3077. >You dislike reaching out of your comfy nest to type, since the air in the office is downright frigid and the building has absolutely no central heating working.
  3078. >"Can you check over this for me?"
  3079. "Sure. What am I looking for?"
  3080. >Before she can answer, you hear the door to the main office open.
  3081. >The two of you are motionless as you listen.
  3082. >Someone crosses the floor, their steps heavy.
  3083. >Finally you hear a familiar voice call out.
  3084. >"Anon...? Are you in here...?"
  3085. >Glance at Shorts.
  3086. >She peers out of her blanket-cavern at the clock on the cubicle wall.
  3087. >"An hour late."
  3088. "Damn, lemmie just check on her."
  3089. >You reluctantly clamber to your feet, Shorts shivering at the blast of cold air before hurriedly wrapping herself up again.
  3090. >Fluttershy is outside her office, struggling with the key.
  3091. >She can barely keep her eyes open, and looks generally terrible.
  3092. >The pegasus doesn't hear you approach, and jumps a bit when you gently take the key off her and slide it into the lock.
  3093. >She mumbles her thanks, tells you you're fired, and walks into her office.
  3094. >Follow her in, concerned.
  3095. "You okay, Shy? You're not normally late."
  3096. >She turns to you, her expression nauseous and clearly tired.
  3097. >" 'Course I'm not okay, I feel like shit."
  3098. "Ah, got a bug?"
  3099. >"I don't know..."
  3100. >She sniffs.
  3101. >"I don't feel heady or anything, just... sick. Been throwing up all morning..."
  3102. "Yeah? Maybe it's something you ate?"
  3103. >"Dunno, not eaten anything different..."
  3104. "Well it must have knocked you for six if you're late in."
  3105. >You force a laugh.
  3106. "Usually you'd rather come into work and infect everyone with whatever you have than risk being late or taking time off!"
  3107. >She glares at your attempt at humour.
  3108. >You instead clear your throat and smile.
  3109. "Alright, so maybe you're not in the mood for jokes-- would you like some coffee?"
  3110. >"Yeah. Sounds good."
  3111. "Okay, I'll make coffee, stay here and try not to die whilst I'm gone."
  3112. >"Fuck y... whatever, forget it..."
  3113.  
  3114. >"Wow, she sounds messed up."
  3115. "That's putting it lightly. Usually being ill just makes her angrier."
  3116. >"Where is she now?"
  3117. "In her office, I got her some blankets and coffee, hopefully she'll be alright."
  3118. >"Did you--"
  3119. "If she's ill she's not allowed in our fortress of comfy."
  3120. >"Good man, so can you check my story now?"
  3121. "Sure, better not be a fucking self-insert again."
  3122. >"I can't promise that it's not."
  3123. >As you read and chat to Shorts, Fluttershy's office door opens and she shuffles across the floor to your cubicle.
  3124. >She stops at the entrance, taking in the sight of you and Shorts under your desk wrapped in a haven of pleasantness.
  3125. >The three of you are silent for a moment.
  3126. >You look down at yourself, surrounded by blankets and warmth.
  3127. >Then back at Fluttershy.
  3128. >Fluttershy, a sad-looking bit of fabric draped over her body, shivers.
  3129. >Without saying a word, you abandon your previous declaration and move over, lifting the blankets for her.
  3130. >She slides in next to you and leans her head against your body.
  3131. >To your surprise, she's asleep within seconds.
  3132. >Shorts gives you a raised eyebrow and you shrug slightly, trying not to disturb her.
  3133. "Guess we're getting sick now as well." you whisper.
  3134. >"Great."
  3135. >Shorts goes back to talking about her story in hushed tones, and you nod along, but are keenly aware of Fluttershy.
  3136. >She snores ever so slightly in her sleep, her ears flat against her head and a troubled expression on her face.
  3137. >You slide a hand over her back and hold her close to you as you let Shorts talk.
  3138. >Outside, the wind howls and howls and howls.
  3139.  
  3140. ---
  3141.  
  3142. >It's been roughly four weeks since Fluttershy's sick day, and things haven't been much better since.
  3143. >Some days she's in on time.
  3144. >Others she's late, or even later.
  3145. >You're concerned, to put it lightly, but you try not to let it trouble you too much.
  3146. >Even so, it's hard to concentrate on your work.
  3147. >Sometimes you find yourself staring blankly at the screen, your eyes wandering to the desktop clock and watching it tick by.
  3148. >Despite the situation, Shorts tries to keep a brave face.
  3149. >She cracks jokes and writes intentionally(?) bad stories to make you smile.
  3150. >But something about the way she's keeps looking at Fluttershy makes you wonder if she knows what's wrong with her.
  3151. >Her eyes linger on your boss, often accompanied with a look of faint, but knowing concern.
  3152. >However, Fluttershy's never been one for subtlety.
  3153. >And she's always confided in you when the going gets rough.
  3154. >So it comes as a relief to you when, at the start of a new week, Fluttershy arrives at work approximately six minutes after you and Shorts let yourselves in.
  3155. >And she arrives on the scene in her typical, demure fashion:
  3156. >"ANON THAT CONNIVING WHORE CADANCE MADE ME FUCKING PREGNANT!"
  3157. "Ooohhh" you and Shorts say in unison.
  3158. "I wondered what the problem was."
  3159. >"I figured as much."
  3160. >Fluttershy glares at the two of you, put off by how relaxed you are.
  3161. >You turn to Fluttershy, who's now her usual furious self again, and smile.
  3162. "So you're feeling better now? No longer sick?"
  3163. >"What the fuck? Did you not hear me? I'm -pregnant-."
  3164. "Guess you shouldn't have gone around raping people so much then--"
  3165. >"It's yours, you fuckwit."
  3166. >...
  3167. >Your smile slowly fades.
  3168. >Shorts cocks her head.
  3169. >"That's... no, that's actually not possible, humans and ponies can't breed."
  3170. >"Yeah," Fluttershy sneers, "they can't, unless you get blasted with alicorn magic by the fucking Princess of Love."
  3171. >She puts on a high-pitched, poor imitation of Cadance; a bright and uncharacteristic cheer on her face.
  3172. >"Oh! Anon needs to be more careful in future!"
  3173. >Her look darkens again.
  3174. >"I bet she thought she was so fucking slick. When I get my hooves on that whore I'll rend her heart from her chest."
  3175. >You can't think of anything to say.
  3176. >Instead you find yourself just staring at Fluttershy in disbelief.
  3177. "I-I... think we need to have a staff meeting."
  3178.  
  3179. >The three of you pull up chairs and sit around the tiny round table in the kitchen.
  3180. >"Alright team," begins Fluttershy, "the company has been compromised, and we need a plan of action -now-."
  3181. >Shorts raises her hoof.
  3182. >"What about just getting an abortion?" she offers "done and dusted in no time at all, and I know you won't have any objections since you lack a sense of morality."
  3183. >Fluttershy nods.
  3184. >"That's true I--"
  3185. >She quickly shoots a dark look at Shorts, who shrugs sheepishly.
  3186. >"Well I -do- have a sense of morality, actually, you mouthy tramp, but besides, we can't do that can we? I give you exhibit A:"
  3187. >She casts a familiar newspaper onto the table.
  3188. "Ah shit."
  3189. >The now dated headline stares at the three of you, mockingly.
  3190. >"They outlawed abortion months ago, remember?"
  3191. "Well I'll be damned."
  3192. >"So if I do that I risk getting thrown in prison, and I'm not going back to prison."
  3193. "Agre-- the fuck do you mean 'back to prison'?"
  3194. >"Irrelevant, I'm not risking getting thrown in the slammer, no matter how much I enjoy prison showers."
  3195. >"You could always just do it yourself," Shorts pitches, "my sister did it and she turned out fine."
  3196. >Both you and Fluttershy stare at her.
  3197. >"What? She's a very determined mare. Twenty minutes with a coat-hanger and some hard liquor and she was fine."
  3198. >The mare rubs the back of her head.
  3199. >"Well, 'fine' is a subjective term, but..."
  3200. >"I'm not gouging out my baby with a fucking coat hanger, Shorts."
  3201. >"Alright, but don't say I didn't suggest it."
  3202. "What about Milky? Can she help us out with this?"
  3203. >Fluttershy frowns.
  3204. >"In what way would she be of any help?"
  3205. "I... don't know, just maybe some advice or...?"
  3206. >"What, do you want her to make my unborn child lose its job or something? Think, Anon, use your fucking head."
  3207. >She sighs.
  3208. >"If you're the father then this kid's gonna come out borderline retarded."
  3209. "How do you even know it's mine?"
  3210. >"You're, uh," she avoids your gaze, "you're the only male I've slept with for years now."
  3211. >You shake your head, unimpressed.
  3212. "Nope, wrong, you raped our old mascot for one."
  3213. >"Raped, yes, but that was me cumming in him, not the other way around."
  3214. "So what, when you rape men you don't let them c--"
  3215. >"No."
  3216. "...Seriously?"
  3217. >"Of course!"
  3218. "Why n--"
  3219. >"BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO GET FUCKING PREGNANT!"
  3220. "Alright, god damn, I'm just trying to figure out why you'd think I'm the dad when you sleep with so many people."
  3221. >"I fuck a lot of people, but you're the only person I let cum inside me, you imbecile."
  3222. "Oh-- OH, right, no I get it, because I'm human and it's impossible for--"
  3223. >You nod hastily.
  3224. "Got it, sorry, still trying to wrap my head around this."
  3225. >She gives you an odd look.
  3226. >"Not because you're human, you dense fuck... but look, we need to prepare for this accordingly. Cadance has clearly been planning this."
  3227. "Planning on you getting pregnant?"
  3228. >"Well obviously, Anon, if she just wanted to make me sick all she needs to do is make me read whatever her trash company puts out."
  3229. "Suppose we're about to experience that first hand, aren't we."
  3230. >"What, pregn-- yeah I suppose we are. Guess that means we can form an opinion about their shitty fetish from an objective point of view."
  3231. "And how is it so far?"
  3232. >"Fucking horrible."
  3233. "Figured."
  3234. >Shorts rests her chin on the table.
  3235. >"This is weird."
  3236. "Yup."
  3237. >Fluttershy snorts.
  3238. >"Think how I feel, I've got this loser's kid inside me and I'm not allowed to get rid of it."
  3239. >"Coat-hangers and whiskey, boss."
  3240. >"Swear to god I'll fire you."
  3241. >"I'm just saying."
  3242. >"You can just fuck off."
  3243. >"Suit yourself."
  3244. >You give a resigned sigh and lean back in your chair.
  3245. "Hell of a way to start a Monday."
  3246. >Fluttershy nods, but doesn't say anything.
  3247. >Shorts slides out of her chair and excuses herself to go to the restroom.
  3248. >In the silence that follows, you come to a final realisation.
  3249. "Guess we just have to... go through with it then."
  3250. >Fluttershy looks at you, but doesn't say anything.
  3251. "I mean, if you're really not willing to do -everything- you can to get that thing out of you, we'll just have to hunker down and get on with it."
  3252. >Fluttershy shifts uncomfortably and presses a hoof to her abdomen.
  3253. "At least we still have enough money from Milky to deal with it."
  3254. >Your boss sits deep in thought.
  3255. >You slap your knees and stand up.
  3256. "Welp. Pregnancy or not, I got work to do, shout or call if you need anything. Heh, or both, as you often do."
  3257. >With that, you leave Fluttershy to her pondering.
  3258.  
  3259. ---
  3260.  
  3261. >You chuckle at the funny internet video Shorts sent you of a goat skateboarding off a cliff.
  3262. >Just before the poor animal hits the ground - turning this comedy into a tragedy - the phone rings.
  3263. >You practically tear it off the desk, fumbling to pause the video mid-'splat' with your other hand.
  3264. "Yeah? What's up?"
  3265. >"Anon."
  3266. "Yeah, hi."
  3267. >"I'm hungry."
  3268. "...Again?"
  3269. >"What do you mean 'again', this is the new normal, I want food and I want it now."
  3270. "Sounds like you need to walk to the kitchen -yourself- and make -yourself- a sandwich, then."
  3271. >"Why do you do this to me."
  3272. >You hold the phone away from your ear, let your head roll backwards with your eyes looking at the dirty ceiling, and sigh.
  3273. >Putting it back to your ear, you reach for a pen and some paper.
  3274. "What would you like."
  3275. >"Ice-cream."
  3276. "I got you ice-cream before."
  3277. >"Yeah but you got me chocolate."
  3278. "You love chocolate."
  3279. >"I hate chocolate."
  3280. "Chocolate's literally your favourite flavour, other than cum, most likely."
  3281. >Snorts snickers from beside you, and you give her a cheeky grin.
  3282. >"You're fired. Also it's not my favourite, I took one sniff of the stuff and felt like throwing up again."
  3283. "Then why do you still want ice-cream?"
  3284. >"I want strawberry."
  3285. "Only faggots eat strawberry, Fluttershy, you taught me that."
  3286. >"Well I guess I'm a faggot then! Now quit being such a horrible husband and get me some fucking ice-cream!"
  3287. >She slams the phone down, and you hear a frustrated (though muffled) scream from her office.
  3288. >...
  3289. "Man, she called me her husband again."
  3290. >Shorts just shrugs.
  3291. >"At least she's willing to commit, unlike you."
  3292. >The mare dodges your half-hearted swipe at her with a chuckle.
  3293. "Well I'm going out to get her highness some ice-cream, you want anything?"
  3294. >"Mmm. Twinkie?"
  3295. "Twinkie it is."
  3296. >"No no, two twinkies. No wait! Three--"
  3297. "We're not doing this again. You're getting two."
  3298. >"Blah, you're boring. You're such a boring husband, Anon."
  3299. "Oh don't you start, I get enough from her, I thought you'd be more sympathetic."
  3300. >"Nah, it's funny to me at this point."
  3301. "So you enjoy my suffering, do you?"
  3302. >"I thought it was a prerequisite for working here."
  3303. "God, you're just -terrible- today, aren't you?"
  3304. >She giggles playfully, her eyes full of glee.
  3305. >"Who knows-- maybe Fluttershy's hormones are rubbing off on me~"
  3306. >You stare at her, worried.
  3307. >"That was a joke, Anon, hormones don't work that way."
  3308. >Nodding unevenly, you laugh it off and leave for the store.
  3309. >Shorts watches you go with a fond smile.
  3310. >...
  3311. >Then spins around in her chair and pulls up her internet browser.
  3312. >' are hormones contagious??? '
  3313.  
  3314. >You stroll down the frosty street towards the local convenience store.
  3315. >The guy that owns it is, in your humble opinion, a genius.
  3316. >He somehow gauged many years ago that this part of town would someday become a hub of business, and set up a little shop to establish his territory well in advance.
  3317. >The plan worked, and now it's the go-to place for about fifty local businesses looking for snacks, nibbles, and emergency beer.
  3318. >You stroll in and nod at the familiar teenager behind the counter.
  3319. >"Hi again, sir! How's the heater?"
  3320. "What heater?"
  3321. >"The... heater? The one that made you all sweaty that one time?"
  3322. >...
  3323. "O-oh, that, uh, it's doing alright, it just needs ah, ice-cream and twinkies now."
  3324. >He nods, pleased that his adolescent attempt at communication with another human being worked.
  3325. >...Then develops a confused look when he processes what you actually said.
  3326. >You mill around the aisles, searching for twinkies, a tub of strawberry and vanilla swirl ice-cream secured under your arm.
  3327. >An eyebrow is raised when you find them; for some reason they're on the top shelf now.
  3328. >You're not one to judge other people's business practices, considering where you work, but it's an odd choice.
  3329. >Quickly forgetting your thought, you reach for two twinkies.
  3330. >Before your hand can grab them though, they're levitated down towards you by a translucent blue glow.
  3331. >You watch dumbly, trying to fathom what you're looking at.
  3332. >They hover before you, the gentle, softly pulsing light keeping them afloat just before your eyes.
  3333. >Tentatively, you take them from the faint aura.
  3334. >Then you hear her.
  3335. >"Anooon! Fancy meeting you here!"
  3336. >Your eyes narrow and you turn to the voice.
  3337. >As if from thin air, Princess Cadance stands at your side, her perfect, tailored pastel-pink suit making the shop around her look sullen by comparison.
  3338. >She flashes you that same flawless smile and reaches a hoof out for your hand.
  3339. >You limply let her take it, whereby she shakes it respectfully.
  3340. >"I hope you've come to forgive me for that little upset a few months back, I don't know what came over me! It was very rude, I must say, and I think I'll just take this opportunity to apologise, so please fo--"
  3341. >You free your hand (still holding a twinkie) and hold it up to stop her, regarding her with a stern expression.
  3342. "Princess, you caused a great deal of trouble before, and I would appreciate it if you left me alone, I don't want any more to do with you."
  3343. >She clicks her tongue in faux-disappointment.
  3344. >"Shame. I was hoping we could be friends, Twilight tells me you're a great guy."
  3345. "That's... very nice of her."
  3346. >"Were you two close? Before the split?"
  3347. >You watch her warily.
  3348. >Her face is harder now, less pleasant, more professional and to-the-point, and her questioning reflects her new tone.
  3349. >Like last time, she seems to be perfectly adept at drastically switching tone mid-conversation.
  3350. "Twilight and I were good friends, yes--"
  3351. >"Are you still?"
  3352. "I don't see why that's any of your business."
  3353. >"Twilight is my closest friend. Her business is my business, and I would hate to have to tell her that a man she likes as much as you doesn't feel the same about her."
  3354. "What...?" you say, exasperated, "look, Twilight and I are still amiable, we just obviously can't talk that much these days."
  3355. >"I see. Well I'm glad to hear you like her still."
  3356. "I've never not liked her, she just forced things to change and went her way and I went my way, that's all."
  3357. >"Right. So," her lips curl up slightly at the corners, "what's with the ice-cream?"
  3358. "It's... for the office."
  3359. >"Oh, that's nice of you." her tone drops an octave; now it's softer, pleasant once more, but laced with an underlying malintent, "just a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing?"
  3360. "Something like that, yes, now I have to get going before it melts."
  3361. >You move past her and head in the direction of the counter at the front of the shop.
  3362. >"How's Fluttershy?"
  3363. >You cringe, pausing slightly, then cursing yourself for doing so.
  3364. "She's... fine." you say, half-facing her.
  3365. >"Oh good."
  3366. >Cadance smiles.
  3367. >"Well I hope she enjoys the ice-cream, does she like strawberry?"
  3368. "She's taken a sudden liking to it."
  3369. >Her smile widens.
  3370. >"Wonderful. She'd better be careful with eating something that sweet though."
  3371. >You turn fully to face Cadance, an unsettled look about you.
  3372. >She watches you with the same idle amusement, her eyes carefully studying your every twitch.
  3373. >"Eating too much sugar won't be good for the baby."
  3374. >...
  3375. "...Why."
  3376. >Cadance's smile widens, and she gives you an innocent shrug.
  3377. >"It's just business, Anon."
  3378. >She reaches forward and pats your leg.
  3379. >"Tell her to go easy for a while, and to try not to do to the baby what she did to her company."
  3380. >Before you can respond, her horn lights up and she vanishes in a flash.
  3381. >...
  3382. >She even stole one of your twinkies without you noticing.
  3383. >Grabbing another one from the shelf, you quickly pay for your stuff and head out the door without saying goodbye to the clerk, who on his part was overjoyed to see the real-life Princess Cadance in his store whilst he was on shift.
  3384. >Though when he told his friends and boss that the actual Princess of Love had teleported into the store and stolen a twinkie, no one believed him.
  3385. >He could never understand why.
  3386.  
  3387. ---
  3388.  
  3389. >The phone rings.
  3390. >You glance nervously at Shorts.
  3391. >She leans closer to you.
  3392. >"Want me to take it?"
  3393. "No no, she's my problem, not yours..."
  3394. >With a quick motion the phone is at your ear.
  3395. "Hello?"
  3396. >"My office, I want to show you something."
  3397. "Alr--"
  3398. >"Actually don't bother I'll come to you."
  3399. "...Then what was the point in calling me?"
  3400. >"..."
  3401. >She hangs up.
  3402. >Moments later Fluttershy appears at your cubicle.
  3403. >In her grasp is a laptop.
  3404. >You greet her and ask her what the matter is.
  3405. >She responds by trotting over to you and forcing herself onto your lap.
  3406. >You try not to squirm as she clambers over your legs, eventually getting herself comfortable and pushing your keyboard away from herself, replacing it with her computer.
  3407. >"I got bored so I wrote this, just wanted you to look at it."
  3408. "You-- oh no."
  3409. >Fluttershy twists her head to face you and narrows her eyes.
  3410. >"What's that supposed to mean? Can I not write for my own fucking -writing- company?"
  3411. "I-It's not that, Shy, it's just that, uh, well don't you have... meetings... to plan?"
  3412. >It's a weak excuse.
  3413. >Fluttershy blinks.
  3414. >Then looks around the cubicle.
  3415. >"Oh. Okay."
  3416. >She raises her voice.
  3417. >"Staff meeting in Anon's cubicle! Attendance is mandatory!"
  3418. >She gives a hard look at Shorts, then back at you.
  3419. >"Oh look. We're all here. Wasn't that difficult."
  3420. "..."
  3421. >"Stop being obtuse, Anon."
  3422. >The mare turns back to her laptop, making an effort to wiggle her hips against you as she does so.
  3423. >"Now shut up and look, and don't you dare say anything bad about it; it's a sequel to that story I started years ago."
  3424. "...The Lusty Human Butler?"
  3425. >Shorts blinks.
  3426. >"-Fluttershy- wrote that?!"
  3427. >Your boss glares at her.
  3428. >"Yes -I- wrote that, so what?"
  3429. >Shorts gulps and withdraws into herself under Fluttershy's look.
  3430. >"N-nothing, it's um... it's a good story..."
  3431. >You look at the story over Fluttershy's head.
  3432. >It's not the best view though so you gently shift her head out of the way.
  3433. >She takes this the wrong way however and instead leans back, pressing her back against your body happily.
  3434. >"It's a great story, Anon, you'll love it."
  3435. >You skim read it.
  3436. >And it's absolutely fucking terrible.
  3437. >Bad grammar, no innovation, nothing interesting to speak of.
  3438. >Even the sex scene (which happens almost immediately without any sort of build-up) is boring and uninspired and reads like a bad hentai.
  3439. >Fluttershy looks up at you from her position.
  3440. >You glance from up-high at her upside-down face.
  3441. >She beams at you.
  3442. "It's..."
  3443. >You look back at the screen.
  3444. >' the humnan BUTTler (because he has a nice butt) blushes muchly "i always lovde you flutttershy" he says '
  3445. "It's... nice."
  3446. >Fluttershy continues to smile.
  3447. >The starts violently crying.
  3448. >"Y-YOU HATE IT!"
  3449. "What no--"
  3450. >"I KNEW I SHOULDN'T HAVE TRIED-- OH WHAT'S THE FUCKING POINT ANYMORE!"
  3451. >She slams shut her laptop, fraught with shame, and twists her body around in your lap to face you.
  3452. >Then she wraps her hooves around your chest and starts bawling into your shirt.
  3453. >Deep, heavy sobs wrack her body as the mare trembles uncontrollably.
  3454. >You don't know what to say or do, so you awkwardly pat her head with a hand and look fearfully at Shorts.
  3455. >She has a completely neutral expression.
  3456. >But you see in her eyes her discomfort.
  3457. >Fluttershy keeps crying until you go to the kitchen and get some more strawberry ice-cream out of the freezer, all with the mare still latched onto your chest.
  3458. >Once you're back at your desk and sat down you sigh and turn to Shorts.
  3459. "So I had the idea to start doing custom artwork for each story we do."
  3460. >Shorts, trying to pretend like her pregnant boss isn't currently sobbing her eyes out and stuffing spoonfuls of ice-cream into her mouth behind to her, nods.
  3461. >"Yes. That's a good idea."
  3462. "Right."
  3463. >"Let's do that then."
  3464. "Okay."
  3465. >"Like... like normal workers."
  3466. "At a normal company."
  3467. >You both glance at Fluttershy, sat on her own chair just slightly behind the two of you with her ice-cream tub.
  3468. <