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This Heart That Fears (OC, /nmp/, WiP)

EphemeralPastebin Feb 28th, 2018 (edited) 733 Never
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  1. >Be Gentle Monsoon, volunteer guard and love agency scout, and be heading to meet your match for the first time.
  2.  
  3. >Breathe in… breathe out…
  4. >The thoughts echoed in your mind over and over like a metronome.
  5. >If it was helping, you couldn’t tell.
  6. >It felt like you were vibrating with stress right now.
  7. >In and out…
  8.  
  9. >As you walked down the hall, each step felt shaky, like your hooves would give out at any moment, or that you’d faint before you got there, and all the while your heart felt like it was trying to beat out of your chest.
  10. >But you had kept moving.
  11. >He was waiting for you.
  12.  
  13. >You reached the oaken double doors at the end of the hall and gulped.
  14. >He was on the other side.
  15. >How do you even talk to a man and not look like a total idiot?
  16. >You groaned.
  17. >Celestia, you felt like you were gonna puke.
  18. >How the heck do mares handle this kind of pressure?!
  19. >No… focus, Monsoon. You need to breath.
  20. >You repeated your mantra, breathing deep then letting the air out through your nostrils.
  21.  
  22. >It wasn’t helping.
  23.  
  24. >Agh, screw it! He was your husbando, wasn’t he?
  25. >He’d like you, right?
  26. >... right?
  27. >But...
  28. >You were just… you.
  29.  
  30. >A cold chill ran through you.
  31. >He hadn’t even received a photo. This would be the first time he saw you.
  32. >What would he think?
  33. >You weren’t much to look at and he could probably have any mare he wanted.
  34. >You’d failed to hand one in since you haven't found any where you DIDN’T look like horseapples.
  35. >What if he was disappointed? He came all this way, leaving everything behind for a mare he’s never even seen before, and you weren’t cute or strong or funny.
  36. >You were just awkward little Monsoon.
  37.  
  38. >Maybe you should have used makeup, or gotten your mane styled? It was as nice as you could get it on your own but you still had plenty of messy wings.
  39. >Oh, and your hooves are probably super rough. Who wants to hold hooves if you feel like sandpaper? And your coat was damp and you probably needed another shower.
  40. >AND TARTARUS, YOU JUST REMEMBERED.
  41. >You also left up My Big Human Posters in your room and the full sized daki—
  42.  
  43. >The doors opened.
  44. >He stood there, hand on the nob, looking out with a questioning look on his face.
  45. >Anonymous...
  46. >His brilliant green eyes slid down to you and he gave a start.
  47. >You froze like a deer in the headlights.
  48. >Oh no...
  49. >He…
  50. >HE WAS EVEN CUTER IN PERSON.
  51.  
  52. >He blinked once, puzzling for a moment as he looked you over.
  53. >You felt your stomach drop out and a litany of apologies ran through your head.
  54. >Celestia he’s gotta be so disappointed in you...
  55.  
  56. >”Oh... sorry. I didn’t see you there,” he said, interrupting your thoughts. “Am I in the right place? I was supposed to meet a mare here. She’s supposed to be my match,” he says, a small smile coming to his face, like he’d thought of something funny. “My waifu.”
  57.  
  58. >The butterflies in your stomach had turned into birds at this point.
  59. >Say something!
  60. >Everything gets caught in your throat except a small whimper.
  61. >SHIT! HE’S GONNA THINK YOU’RE WEIRD AND HOMELY NOW!
  62. >Come on, filly, you’ve waited forever for this.
  63. >He’s your husbando and he’s right there in front of you.
  64. >Don’t mess up don’t mess up don’t mess up or he’ll HATE you and you only get one chance.
  65.  
  66. >“Are…”
  67. >He bends down and looks closer at you.
  68. >”Are you the mare I’m supposed to meet?”
  69.  
  70. >AAHHHHHH.
  71. >You begin screaming internally as your face lights up beat red.
  72. >Your chest is tight as you try to think of something, anything to save this situation.
  73. >You closed your eyes, shrinking away from him.
  74.  
  75. >This… this is too much.
  76.  
  77. “N…”
  78. >The first syllable slips out and he gives you a questioning look.
  79. >Don’t do it. Don’t chicken out.
  80. “N-No.”
  81. >The words drop like a lead weight, heavy and final.
  82. >But it feels like a burden has lifted off your shoulders and you exhale.
  83. >Seconds later your mind catches up and slimey guilt settles into the pit of your stomach.
  84. >Your eyes widen a fraction.
  85. >What did you just do?
  86.  
  87. >He looks disappointed for just a second, then stands up again.
  88. >”Oh… alright then.”
  89. >He looks down and sees your name tag which reads ‘Husbando Bureau Agent.’
  90. >His eyes light up.
  91. >“Oh, you work here. When do I meet her? I was told she’d be here some time ago.”
  92.  
  93. >Tell him the truth, you scream internally, but.. but then he’d know you lied to him.
  94. >He’d know you saw him, then said it wasn’t you, like you were disappointed with HIM.
  95. >That wasn’t right. If anything he should be disappointed with you!
  96. >You… you couldn’t hurt him like that.
  97. >Not him.
  98. >Not your husbando.
  99.  
  100. “Th-There’s been a problem,” you say. Even you aren’t sure where you’re going with this yet, but it begins to pour out of you.
  101. “We… We need more time to find her. I’m, uh, going to be with you for the time being. I’m… your…”
  102. >Your what?
  103. >You’re his waifu!
  104. >Say it, please!
  105. >”Your h-handler.”
  106. >Like a nail that’s been set, you hammer the lie in then hold your breath.
  107.  
  108. >An array of emotions plays on his face, confusion, sadness then acceptance, and he finally nods.
  109. >”I see. I thought that… Well alright, I can wait. If this is really a perfect match, then she’s worth some patience.”
  110.  
  111. >You want to cry.
  112.  
  113. “Th-Thank you,” is all you can say.
  114.  
  115. --
  116.  
  117. >A few days earlier...
  118.  
  119. >Be Gentle Monsoon
  120. >Light rain tickled your coat as you looked out over the city, its lights blurred in the night.
  121. >Your coat lay heavy, soaked through at this point despite the little yellow raincoat you’d been given.
  122. >It didn’t matter.
  123. >The rain never bothered you.
  124. >Besides, it was worth it.
  125.  
  126. >The center view of your night vision goggles lit up with a bright white silhouette as a human stepped onto their balcony.
  127. >He eased himself down into a chipped, rusty lawn chair, keeping under an awning so as to avoid the rain.
  128. >He raised a beer to his lips.
  129. >Today you had watched him work an opening shift after another closing shift the night before, along with some overtime in between.
  130. >He’d been yelled at by bosses and customers alike through the day and may have gotten fired.
  131. >You think anyways. You missed half the audio when you had to reposition but suffice it to say, it wasn’t a pleasant conversation before he headed home.
  132.  
  133. >He lived alone, no family to really call on, or at least according to your documents, no healthy relationship with them anyways.
  134.  
  135. >This human was typical in your line of work, as it turned out.
  136. >Their world was… not dark exactly.
  137. >But it was dim.
  138.  
  139. >Granted, the books of their namesake wasn’t exactly sunshine and rainbows.
  140. >Admittedly that’s why ponies kinda liked it. They struggled so hard for things you took for granted—good friends, family, food, a place in life.
  141. >But that gave them an opportunity to show teamwork, patience, and triumph.
  142. >Humans had to work hard for their happy end, and everyone liked that and cheered for the characters.
  143. >But in their world, the one outside the books and comics, victories only came once in a while.
  144. >Most lived crammed together in one to two person apartments, making ends meet with jobs that didn’t value them at all.
  145. >They all went through life, living side by side and nobody cared about each other.
  146. >Humans lived together, in cities with amazing towers that scraped the sky, and an ‘internet’ that let them talk to whoever they wanted, but they went through life alone.
  147.  
  148. >There were so many wonderful husbandos here… it hurt to watch them, seeing their loneliness every day, but you reminded yourself you were helping to fix this.
  149. >It just took some patience, and it started one at a time.
  150.  
  151. >The human perked up and your heart skipped.
  152. >Did he see it?
  153. >He bent down next to his seat and picked up a form, sealed in a plastic ziplock bag to protect from the rain, and tilted his head.
  154. >It was the waifu brochure, a form telling him about the life he could have in Equestria, where a mare was waiting for him.
  155. >You’d left it there before he got back.
  156. >This would be the third one you’d handed to him.
  157. >You didn’t have any more left.
  158. >Three, that was the number of forms each agent got before you had to give up and move on.
  159. >The bureau only had so much horsepower and resources to go around at this point.
  160. >That’s why it was important to give it to them at the right times and to watch them carefully.
  161. >Some humans thought it was a prank and stopped reading them.
  162. >You had to hope they believed in you. Only then could you save them and bring them to a lonely mare who needed them.
  163. >You can’t take them away until they sign.
  164. >Even if they made the choice to be miserable, it was up to them, and the human had thrown away the first two.
  165.  
  166. >This was his last chance.
  167.  
  168. >Your wings twitched under your raincoat, breath steaming in the cold, rainy night as he read it again.
  169. >”Come on, big guy, she’s waiting for you,” you say to yourself. “Sign it, please. She’s going to be so happy to see you… she’s been waiting all this time just to hear your voice.”
  170. >He couldn’t hear you, of course.
  171. >It was like a prayer sent out on the wind.
  172. >”Please…” you said. “You’ll be so happy together.”
  173.  
  174. >The human sighed, then scribbled something on the brochure.
  175. >Your heart beat faster.
  176. >Is he?
  177. >Then, you felt it.
  178. >The portal gem in your coat sparked to life, buzzing with power.
  179. >You took a deep breath and puffed out your chest, beaming at the sky above.
  180. >He signed!
  181. >A small laugh bubbled up from within you and you couldn’t help but jump up and splash around in the puddles.
  182. >Yes yes yes.
  183. >You can’t wait to see the look on his face when you come into his room tonight.
  184. >Oh, he’s going to be so happy.
  185. >Maybe he’ll cry. Maybe his mare will cry.
  186. >Heck, sometimes YOU cry.
  187. >Gosh you love this part of the job.
  188.  
  189. >You sat back down, a smile on your muzzle as you watched him walk back inside, then place the form into his dresser.
  190. >The human world wasn’t like the books.
  191. >Victories only came once in a while.
  192.  
  193. >But they did happen.
  194.  
  195. --
  196.  
  197. >The Crystal Empire’s square was always bustling with the usual array of wide-eyed humans, heads on a swivel, along with a few eager but nervous mares.
  198. >Your new human, Matthew, was no exception to the rule, and seemed to be trying to take everything in all at once as if he could blink and miss it.
  199. >Though, to be fair, he’d only been in Equestria for a few minutes now.
  200. >Even so, you don’t blame him.
  201.  
  202. >There was a kind of excitement in the air, like the feeling of a hearth's warming morning.
  203. >Normally you’d stay by your new humans side and let them explore for a while, but you both had someplace to be today.
  204.  
  205. >Your destination was the Crystal Castle, a monolithic structure overlooking the square, and the place where his special mare was waiting for him.
  206. >The castle had become the impromptu headquarters for the husbando bureau and had been converted to a hostel of sorts, offering relationship preparation, shelter, food, and other acclimation services to humans and mares alike.
  207. >Most couples weren’t able to take advantage of it because of Equestrias size but his waifu, Winter Breeze, had opted to make the trip and meet her husbando as soon as he crossed over.
  208.  
  209. >Though he probably wouldn’t have minded waiting for her here.
  210. >Several of the local stores would give a few free samples to the new humans, half to encourage repeat business during their stay and half to welcome them, and generally ponies tried to be friendly and welcoming.
  211. >Most of them knew the kinds of lives humans had in their world, and everypony wanted to do their part to make them feel better.
  212. >There was a lot of pain to be undone.
  213. >Nearly a lifetime in fact.
  214.  
  215. >As you neared the Castle a white coated mare with a light blue mane bounded out of the front gates, a happy smile on her face.
  216.  
  217. >Greetings were unique among first time couples. Some hugged or simply exchanged a few pleasantries, like a business arrangement that happened to involve living together.
  218. >Others were awkward, as if both parties were trying to read each other through the looks and small giggles.
  219.  
  220. >Winter Breeze was a leaper.
  221.  
  222. >”Oh my gosh, you’re finally here!” she yelled, jumping into his chest and knocking him into a snowbank.
  223. >Matthew lay on his back, staring up at the mare on his chest with a childlike wonder.
  224. >He reached a hand out and touched her coat.
  225. >>”Hi, Winter Breeze. I… this is really happening.”
  226.  
  227. >Winter Breeze beamed and nodded.
  228. >”I’m officially your waifu, and you’re my big handsome husbando. So now…” she said, a sly smile spreading across her face. “Watcha wanna do with me?”
  229.  
  230. >You are quick to recognize lewdness, but you stay quiet.
  231. >This is between the two of them.
  232.  
  233. >The human smirks back.
  234. >>”Oh, I can think of one thing I’ve wanted to do since I saw your photo.”
  235. >He reached out a hand and Winter Breeze stiffened.
  236. >She let out a small squeak as his pointer finger booped her on the muzzle.
  237. >>”Boop.”
  238.  
  239. >Winter Breeze scrunched for a moment then gave him a playful smile.
  240. >”Oh, you’re gonna get it buster,” she said and began to tickle him on his stomach with her wings.
  241.  
  242. >A part of you wanted to warn Winter Breeze that her human wasn’t as resistant to the snow and cold but they seemed to be having fun.
  243. >Oh well.
  244. >That was all that mattered.
  245. >But if she gave her husbando a cold with her lollygagging then she was gonna get a stern talking to.
  246. >Husbandos were precious and mares needed to take good care of them.
  247. >You’d have definitely gotten him inside with a warm blanket by now.
  248.  
  249. >You gave a wry smile.
  250. >Ah, you did it again...
  251. >Despite seeing this a million times you can’t help but imagine yourself in her place.
  252.  
  253. >The human held his mare close, nuzzling into her while laughing and flirting in the snow.
  254. >That must feel nice, you mused.
  255. >Cold days like this were snuggling weather.
  256. >It’d be nice to take a human home on a day like this.
  257. >You could snuggle up by your fireplace, maybe read together or just talk.
  258. >And as the night wore on he would hold you close, breathing in your scent as you pressed into him.
  259. >He’d whisper sweet nothings as you drifted off, saying things like you were his waifu and he wouldn’t ever let you go.
  260. >Yeah… that’d be really nice...
  261.  
  262. >Be Cadence.
  263. >You watched through your balcony windows, high above the square as the latest couple met for the first time.
  264. >Nowadays it was hard to find time to catch these moments.
  265. >So many new couples to approve and match, communions with the Crystal Heart, political work and integration…
  266. >It was an endless, tedious process to keep everything running.
  267. >But moments like these felt like taking a deep breath.
  268.  
  269. >You could feel their affection, gentle and budding as they rolled in the snow.
  270. >A gentle, pure love, unlike any other.
  271. >These were the kinds of matches you’d always hoped to make when you discovered your talent but you couldn’t do something like this alone. Not at this magnitude.
  272. >It was all possible with help from the heart and Twilight.
  273.  
  274. >You sighed, basking in the feelings between the two.
  275. >You’d do everything you could to protect that love.
  276. >That was what the bureau stood for and what, incidentally made so much work for you.
  277. >But as you felt their feelings blossoming for one another, you were reminded it was worth it.
  278.  
  279. >You were also reminded of the many forms for human housing you had to go through.
  280. >With a sigh, you turned toward your desk and got back to work.
  281. >Or you would have if a small prick of something cold hadn’t caught your attention.
  282.  
  283. >You turned back to the window and closed your eyes, extending your senses.
  284. >Was something wrong? Did they have a misunderstanding? That was rare but it did happen.
  285. >Surely they had an agent there to help if anything were to…
  286. >Your thoughts stopped as you realized what it was.
  287. >It was their agent, Monsoon.
  288.  
  289. >The heart, far below flared to life and pulled at you.
  290. >You could sense the pressure on your head, the pulling in your chest.
  291.  
  292. >’Not yet’ it seemed to say.
  293.  
  294. >This mare had been waiting for her human for a while now, even asked a few times if there was anything she could do to prepare or help her get matched.
  295. >Though you recall she hadn’t sent in a request in a while now.
  296. >Had she given up?
  297. >You bit your lip as you felt that icy loneliness, clear as day.
  298. >She certainly still wanted a husbando.
  299.  
  300. >It’s not like you hadn’t tried to arrange her match.
  301. >It just wasn’t that simple.
  302. >She wasn’t ready—you could feel that.
  303. >And more importantly, you have no clue how to deal with her partner at the moment.
  304.  
  305. >Her match was Anonymous.
  306. >THE Anonymous.
  307. >Most mares would recognize that name from a famous book series, My Big Human: Teamwork is Power.
  308. >As it turned out, he existed on earth though nobody knew yet.
  309. >At first glance it seemed like a fairytale come true. Thousands of mares could meet their favorite character, but all it did was complicate things.
  310. >MBH had popularized the idea of human husbandos in the first place and he was a fan favorite hearthrob for a lot of mares.
  311. >You could say he was the original husbando.
  312. >But only Monsoon had been matched to him.
  313. >There were too many problems on every side.
  314. >But…
  315.  
  316. >From this distance you could just barely make out her expression.
  317. >She had a sad smile as she watched the new couple romp through the snow and hug close.
  318. >You’ve felt lonely mares.
  319. >Tartarus, you had hundreds on your mind all the time.
  320. >But seeing it, and from a mare who always gave so much of herself to bring love to others?
  321. >It made your chest ache.
  322.  
  323. >You continued to watch and eventually the initial sparks died down a bit.
  324. >The couple had started to wrap up their meeting and were saying their goodbyes and thank you’s to Monsoon.
  325. >She gave them her card and a few communications scrolls for emergencies, then after a few final words, the new couple left together, eyes filled with wonder and excitement for the future.
  326. >Monsoon stayed behind, sitting in the snow alone, and watched them walk away.
  327. >She’d put on a brave smile, wanting so badly to be happy for them, but you could see the longing in her eyes.
  328. >You could feel the ache, deep in her, ingrained like roots twisted around her heart.
  329. >She sat there for some time, thinking to herself for a while, you guessed, before getting up with a sigh and heading home.
  330. >The heart blazed in the back of your mind.
  331. ‘Not yet’ it seemed to say.
  332.  
  333. >You frowned.
  334. ”Can’t I do anything to help her? What’s the problem? I can’t help if you don’t give me anything!” you said, as if you could reason with the artifact. It didn’t react. All you could feel was the constant, wordless humming in the back of your mind that told you that someone needed healing.
  335.  
  336. ”I know it’s complicated but can’t I just… what if...?”
  337. >The gears in your head began to turn as you went back to your desk.
  338. >Maybe there was a way.
  339. >You had a few ideas you could try at least.
  340. >But first you had to grab his interest, and you couldn’t send any of your agents.
  341. >If it got out who she was matched to, this could fail before it started.
  342. >That meant you had to go it alone.
  343.  
  344. >You cast a spell and a portal ripped open in your study.
  345. >It howled, a storm raging among a galaxy of stars, beckoning you to a world beyond.
  346. >A world whose magic had been choked out long ago, where a million souls cried out in pain every night, calling to be loved without believing they deserved it.
  347. >There was a good reason you never went there anymore. At some point it started to keep you up at night and Shining would have to console you.
  348. >But this was for Monsoon.
  349. >That mare deserved a chance to be happy, no matter what.
  350. >And this was the only thing you could think of.
  351. >If you waited any longer she might lose that spark, that hope and belief in love.
  352. >You wouldn’t let that happen.
  353. >You’d do anything to protect that love.
  354.  
  355. >So, you took a deep breath, steadying yourself, and walked through.
  356.  
  357. --
  358.  
  359. >Be Anon.
  360. >You laid back into your couch and stared at the ceiling of your tiny, one man apartment.
  361. >There was an odd silence in the air as you sat there, watching the fan spin lazily above you.
  362. >About a year or two back, you and your friends would use weekends like this to hang out, maybe settle a few grudge matches in Halo or Smash.
  363. >Instead here you were, having a quiet night with nothing but the internet and a few dozen, cheap cans of beer.
  364. >You thought when you were buying them that you’d call up some of your old pals and see if they could hang out tonight, just like the old days.
  365. >But they couldn’t, or at least not on short notice. They all had fiances, businesses, or other commitments nowadays.
  366. >Unlike you.
  367.  
  368. >Now you sat alone in your apartment, wondering what to do with yourself.
  369. >For the future? You hadn’t a clue.
  370. >For tonight?
  371. >You eyed the array of beer before you.
  372. “Yeah, screw it,” you said, cracking a can open and tipping it back, drinking half in one go.
  373.  
  374. >You really wish you hadn’t drifted away from them.
  375. >Now they were out and starting their lives.
  376. >You?
  377. >You’re finally moved out at least, but it really does feel that part of life passed you by.
  378. >Didn't even get to go to college.
  379.  
  380. >There wasn't much to look forward to nowadays.
  381. >You had a shit job at a warehouse, a run down apartment in the worst part of town, and hardly a dime in your bank account by the end of the month.
  382. >But more than anything, there was nobody to share even the few good times with.
  383.  
  384. >What you’d give to just go back and redo it all—live your own life the second time.
  385. >You miss those days when you were young and dumb and girls just wanted someone to think they were pretty.
  386. >It was hard to meet people as you got older, and women your age expected guys to impress.
  387. >The reality was, the best part of your life passed you by.
  388. >And there was no getting it back.
  389.  
  390. >The weight of that thought settled as you idly played with the next can’s tab.
  391. ”Damn… ”
  392.  
  393. >The doorbell rang, giving you a start.
  394. >Who could that be?
  395. >You furrowed your brow then jumped up and headed to the door, all the while mind racing, trying to think if you ordered anything online lately.
  396. >As you opened the door, you were greeted with the sight of a neatly wrapped, flat package with a pink bow on top.
  397. >On it was a tag that said, For Anon
  398. >Huh… it’s for you so it can’t be a mistake.
  399. >You picked the package up and brought it in, unwrapping it as you walked.
  400. >Inside was a pamphlet, about a few pages in length, telling you about—
  401. >You squinted at the title.
  402. >Yeah, it was for ‘pony waifus' and the front cover had a little mare looking up at you and blushing.
  403. >What the fuck?
  404. >Yeah okay. Funny.
  405. >Looks like someone in the building wanted to play a joke.
  406. >Ass.
  407.  
  408. >The first few pages had pictures of happy couples—Decent looking guys and adorable smiling mares, sitting in their humans laps or walking at their sides.
  409. >Aw...
  410. >To be fair, it was pretty cute. Maybe you can take a few pictures and show it to /mlp/ or something.
  411. >They were particularly good. Nearly photographic levels of detail.
  412. >Whoever made this really went all in…
  413.  
  414. >You flopped back down on your couch and continued leafing through the pamphlet, mostly looking at the pictures next to the text.
  415. >At least until an article caught your eye.
  416. >There was a small section on the cultures of Equestria and how they had more mares than stallions by a ratio of 5:1. Mares were hardworking, kind, and eager to just have a chance with a nice male like you.
  417. >Mares didn’t expect you to pamper them, buy them gifts, or favor them in the relationship.
  418. >They just wanted to be held close and to know someone loved them.
  419. >Mares are the most gentle and loving creatures you’ll ever meet.
  420.  
  421. >You smiled wryly and shook your head.
  422. >Sounds pretty great honestly.
  423. >If this was real, you’d consider it honestly.
  424. “I’d be nice if ponies really did want to grab up a human...”
  425. >You flipped ahead.
  426.  
  427. >’We often hear that it sounds too good to be true, but just think about the mare who needs you. What would she think if she heard you wouldn’t give her a chance?’
  428.  
  429. >...
  430. >Huh. That was oddly well timed.
  431. >You decided to skip this article as a few careless skims told you it was mostly fluff about how great mares are.
  432. “Too long. Didn’t read…”
  433.  
  434. >You turned the page and came to a section filled with bullet points titled, ‘why you want a mare girlfriend’.
  435. >Huh… well that’s short and sweet I guess.
  436. >Fluffy tuft
  437. >Gentle and loving
  438. >Cute little ears and stuff!
  439. >You can comb their tails
  440. >They love belly rubs
  441. >Hoovsies that need holding
  442.  
  443. >You chuckled.
  444. ”I could just get a dog and have that, minus the hoovsies.”
  445.  
  446.  
  447. >Dogs can’t talk and all they want is food—unlike adorable little mares, was the next bullet point.
  448.  
  449. >Heh...
  450. >Wait, what?
  451. >You reread the line again, wondering if your mind had played a trick on you, but no, there it was, as if in direct answer.
  452. >Something fucky is going on here.
  453. >But how?
  454. >Couldn’t be…
  455. >Maybe you can test it.
  456.  
  457. >”Well,” you say, drawing the word out. “I’d only consider this if they liked anal.”
  458. >You flipped the page.
  459. >Alright, let’s see you put THAT on the next page.
  460.  
  461. >’S-Some mares even like b-buttstuff.’
  462. >...
  463. >There’s a stutter literally written out on the page—Also pictures of plump horse butts.
  464. >Admittedly these mares had great behinds, but that was beside the point.
  465.  
  466. “How are you doing that?”
  467.  
  468. >You flip the page.
  469. >Generic cute mare pictures with hearts.
  470. >’Mares only want your affection. Please give them a chance.’
  471.  
  472. “If you don’t answer me, I’m going to toss this out and any more that come.”
  473. >Fingers crossed they buy that...
  474.  
  475. >Another page turned.
  476. >’... don’t do that please. This was really short notice and I only enchanted one.’
  477.  
  478. >Your eyes widened and you nearly dropped the pamphlet.
  479. >No fucking way…
  480. >Despite expecting it, being addressed still felt blindsiding.
  481. >You smiled, a spark of excitement rising in you.
  482. >It was magic then, it had to be.
  483. >This was real.
  484. >And that meant ponies were real, right?
  485. >Oh my God, Ponies were real.
  486.  
  487. “A-Are you a pony?”
  488. >You turned the page.
  489.  
  490. >’I’m not supposed to say. I’m actually breaking a lot of rules right now, but I can answer whatever you want to know about our matching. If… you’re actually interested. I saw you laugh at the book so I was trying to make it look as good as I could. Did it look that silly?’
  491.  
  492. >You opened your mouth then paused for a moment.
  493. “It… was a bit hard to believe, if I’m honest.”
  494. >Another page turn.
  495.  
  496. >’But it’s really real! We have a ton of mares that really deserve to be happy. You deserve to be happy too. I’m just trying to help.’
  497.  
  498. >For some reason, you could almost feel the genuineness behind those words.
  499. >Whoever you were talking to, human or pony, they really did believe that.
  500.  
  501. “So how do I get matched?”
  502.  
  503. >’You’re already matched, silly. She doesn’t know who you are yet but she’s already picked out, just for you, based on the Crysta… I mean, based on our methods.’
  504.  
  505. “Who is she? What’s she like?”
  506.  
  507. >’I can’t tell you until you decide to do this for real.’
  508.  
  509. >You furrowed your brow.
  510. “What? Why not? How am I supposed to agree to be with someone if I know nothing about them?”
  511.  
  512. >’Because, Anon, we need you to trust us instead of judging if you think the pony is interesting or pretty enough.
  513. >’There’s so much to a relationship beyond first impressions.’
  514. >’She really is your perfect match, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first for some.’
  515. >’I can’t tell you how we know, but she’s the best mare for you.’
  516. >’Some relationships are rockier than others at first, but they all work out if you try.’
  517.  
  518. >So just like any relationship really, you thought.
  519. >And yeah, prejudgement probably stopped a lot of good relationships on earth.
  520. >Everyone thought they knew what they wanted, but were they right?
  521. >Maybe not.
  522. >Do you even know what your match would look like?
  523. >A few ideas flashed through your mind.
  524. >God, you’re really considering this aren’t you?
  525.  
  526. “Alright well, I’m skeptical, but what happens if I am interested? What’s the catch?”
  527.  
  528. >’Wait… you’re really interested? You believe me? Ohmygosh this is great. It doesn’t cost you anything, but well...’
  529.  
  530. “Well?”
  531.  
  532. >’You do have to do something important. This is a big decision and you shouldn’t take it lightly.’
  533.  
  534. >You nodded to yourself.
  535. “What do I have to do?”
  536.  
  537. ‘You have to give up the life you know.’
  538.  
  539. >You narrowed your eyes at the text.
  540. “Are you going to turn me into a pony?”
  541.  
  542. >’What? No! Why would we need to do that? We’re not some sort of—transmutation bureau. Humans are amazing as they are.’
  543.  
  544. “Then… what’s the issue?”
  545.  
  546. ‘You just… You can’t go back, Anon.’
  547.  
  548. >Your eyes traced over those words several times.
  549. >You can’t go back?
  550. “What do you mean…?”
  551.  
  552. >’I mean you can’t return to Earth after you go to Equestria.
  553. >’It’s a one way trip.’
  554. >’Ponies can travel back and forth for short periods but humans interact with magic in strange ways.’
  555. >’Once you go to Equestria, our magic becomes a part of you.’
  556. >’If you try to come back… well we learned that can have dire consequences for your body.’
  557. >’We haven’t figured out a way to let humans return with us.’
  558.  
  559. >You lay back and let out a long breath.
  560. >It was all or nothing, huh?
  561. “So,” you said, closing your eyes and rubbing your forehead. “I’ll be giving up everything. Forever. Everyone I’ve known and loved just… gone from my life? And I’ll be gone from theirs too.”
  562.  
  563. >‘...yes.’
  564.  
  565. “Anything else I give up?”
  566.  
  567. >‘Well, we’re in talks about some basic automobiles but Equestria isn’t ready for a lot of stuff humans use.’
  568. >’There’s some basic TV, but no internet, smartphones or mp3 players.’
  569. >’You’ll have to leave all your devices behind or donate them to our research teams.’
  570.  
  571. “And I’d never have kids...”
  572.  
  573. >‘I don’t know about that…’
  574.  
  575. >You sit up.
  576. “Wait for real? Humans can mate with ponies?”
  577.  
  578. >‘Well, we’re working on it.’
  579. >’And we’re making headway, but we don’t know yet.’
  580. >’It may not be possible in the end.’
  581. >’You have to be prepared for that too.’
  582.  
  583. >You leaned back and let out a long breath.
  584. >This was a lot to take in.
  585. >Your life on earth wasn’t bad.
  586. >You weren’t that close with your family anymore, but you still had one, and you cared about them.
  587. >And you wouldn’t get to see your friends again either.
  588. >Was it really worth it to give up everything you know for a mare you’ve never met?
  589.  
  590. “Why?” you say aloud and pick the pamphlet up again.
  591.  
  592. ‘Why what?’
  593.  
  594. “Others have done this, right? Why do people do it? Why would they leave everything they know behind just for a chance? It doesn’t make sense to me.”
  595.  
  596. >You turned the page, but it was blank.
  597. >Maybe it isn’t a simple answer, you thought, and waited a while.
  598. >Sure enough, a few minutes later, there was a response for you.
  599.  
  600. ‘Because true love is worth a lifetime.’
  601.  
  602. >You lay the booklet down on your table.
  603. >True love, huh?
  604. >If you had the chance to find the perfect girl on earth, what would you give up to be with her?
  605. >If it meant being happy, everything, right?
  606. >At the end of the day, that’s all anyone wants.
  607. >Everything anyone strives for is in the name of being happy.
  608.  
  609. >And you were, admittedly, tired of being alone.
  610. >You’re tired of nights like this, nights of hollow excuses to drink and reminisce about days gone by.
  611. >It was time to take a step forward again.
  612. >Time to do something for yourself, and try to find your own happiness.
  613. >Even if you fail, or this doesn’t work out, you couldn’t hate yourself for trying.
  614. >And hey, this isn’t even just about you.
  615. >There’s a special mare on the other side who’s hoping to be happy too.
  616. >She deserves the chance.
  617. >Everyone does.
  618.  
  619. >You reached for the pamphlet again.
  620. “I… I think my mind’s made up. Or at least as made up as it could be. Hey, if you’re listening,” you said and paused.
  621. >No going back after this.
  622. >Truth be told it still worried you.
  623. >Would you even like Equestria?
  624. >There were a lot of things on earth you’d miss.
  625. >But nothing worth doing was risk free.
  626. >Sometimes you just have to take the plunge.
  627.  
  628.  “I’ll do it.”
  629. >You turned the page and held your breath.
  630.  
  631. >’I’ll pick you up at sunrise.’
  632.  
  633. >...
  634. >Well that was anticlimactic.
  635. >You were expecting a burst of light or something.
  636.  
  637. “Uh… is that it?”
  638.  
  639. >’Yep. See you then.’
  640.  
  641. “Okay then…”
  642.  
  643. >’You wanted to see something cool, didn’t you?’
  644.  
  645. “N-No.”
  646.  
  647. >’Ha, don’t worry. You’ll see plenty of cool stuff when I open the portal. Just sign on the back and we’ll be set to go.’
  648. >’Oh, and Anon.'
  649.  
  650. “Yes?”
  651.  
  652. >’Thank you. For trusting me and taking the chance, I mean. She’s going to be really happy.’
  653.  
  654. --
  655.  
  656. >Be Monsoon.
  657. >A sliver of morning light crept across your sheets and reached up and over your face, rousing you.
  658. >You groaned, blinking your eyes clear to glare at the light then wiggled under the covers.
  659. >Something clunked into your head and you winced.
  660. “Ow…” you whined and sat up.
  661. >You grabbed the hard object and brought it into view, trying to clear your eyes enough to see what it was.
  662. >The cover read ‘My Big Human: Teamwork is Power volume 10’
  663. >Oh right…
  664. >Memories of last night slowly flooded back to you.
  665. >You came home after dropping your husbando off with his mare, had some cup noodles, and read some MBH in bed because you were feeling a little down.
  666. >The series never failed to put a smile on your face, even if you did stay up way too late reading it sometimes.
  667.  
  668. >My Big Human bounced around between a lot of different eras and regions. One of your favorite characters was Walt Disney, and you loved Samurai with their code of honor.
  669. >This volume had returned to the original group again, six best friends who’d become inseparable in highschool, going through all kinds of challenges together and learning to try and make an name for themselves.
  670. >As of this volume, they were venturing out into the adult world after their college days.
  671. >It was the most popular set of characters and it featured your personal favorite, Anonymous.
  672. >He was just so earnest.
  673. >Every character had their flaws of course, and most of the group had ambitions to become a rockstar or own a big business or make video games.
  674. >Things weren’t looking good for Anon’s parent’s health in this volume and you really hope things are okay.
  675. >Anon wasn’t really prepared for something that serious. All he wanted was to live in the moment and enjoy life.
  676. >Some mares said he was simple minded but those were just Incog fags.
  677. >Nonny fags a best.
  678.  
  679. >You pursed your lips and paused.
  680. >What would a character like Anon be like as a father?
  681. >He’d probably be an amazing husbando; fanon said he was a cuddler.
  682. >A heavy feeling settled in your chest and you sighed.
  683. >You still had a bit of a crush on him since the first volume.
  684. >It wasn’t healthy.
  685. >But still… you couldn’t help it. He was just so… cute.
  686. >Maybe your husbando would be like him?
  687. >That’d be nice.
  688.  
  689. >A yawn stretched your jaw and you lay back, putting a bookmark about where you probably left off, if the small drool spot was any indication.
  690. >A husbando like Anon? That’d be amazing, you thought. Celestia what you’d give for someone like that.
  691. >Ha, that’d be the day… but you could dream.
  692.  
  693. >You stretched, putting the book on your dresser.
  694. >Maybe one day you’ll have a real husbando and this little filly character crush would go away.
  695. >Your eyes drifted over to the empty space beside you.
  696. “It must be nice waking up next to a human.”
  697.  
  698. >A small flicker of desire lit between your legs as you imagined waking up next to him, and you pondered taking care of it.
  699. >It was your day off after all. What’s the harm?
  700. >You reached into your drawer and grabbed your Anon: Wild for Mare book.
  701. >You’d gotten it at a convention years prior to joining the love scouts, and the pages had started to curl at the edges and there were small tears here and there.
  702. >... and maybe some pages were stuck together.
  703. >... for reasons.
  704.  
  705. >You were probably due to get a new book or two but this was a classic to you.
  706. >So many full pages of Anon in underwear or other sexy outfits…
  707. >But more than that, it was such a lovey, passionate book.
  708. >So many liked to make it out as super lewd and slutty but this one had a lot of cuddly scenes and tender moments.
  709. >Those were your favorite.
  710. >But it also had some of the hottest blowjob scenes of any fanbook, so, you know.
  711. >It was just great schlicking material.
  712.  
  713. >As you opened the book and reached down between your legs, something tapped against your bedroom window, making you flinch.
  714.  
  715. >You slammed the book closed and flung it into your closet.
  716. “D-Don’t come in, Mom, I’m changing!”
  717. >...
  718. >The room was quiet.
  719. >You slapped your face into your pillow, your face heating up.
  720. >It was probably just some silly bird, you idiot.
  721. >You’ll just ask him nicely to go away so you can take care of things.
  722.  
  723. >You wiggled out from under the sheets and opened the window, and as soon as you did, a pink flame whipped inside.
  724. >Before you could utter a word, it flashed and changed into a scroll, then dropped onto your face with a soft ‘pap’.
  725. “... Oh. Well, that’s not a bird,” you said as you picked up the scroll.
  726. >The front was bound in Princess Cadence's official seal.
  727.  
  728. >Your eyes widened and your ears went back.
  729. >What could the Princess want with you?
  730. >Wait… you’re not in trouble are you?
  731. >A flicker of panic ran through you and your eyes darted to the magazine.
  732. >It featured humans.
  733. >You worked with humans.
  734. >Oh no…
  735. >You broke the seal and began reading.
  736.  
  737. Dear, Gentle Monsoon.
  738.  
  739. It is with great pleasure that I inform you—
  740.  
  741. >In a burst of pink light, Cadence teleported into your room.
  742. >”MONSOON, I DID IT!” she yelled, eyes bloodshot and wide.
  743.  
  744. >You screamed.
  745. >She screamed back as she picked you up, swinging you around with a smile.
  746.  
  747. “I’m sorry please don’t put me in the dungeon. I won’t touch myself to them anymore,” you said, tears forming at the sides of your eyes.
  748.  
  749. >”That’s right. You won’t ever have to because— wait what?” Cadence looked you over, noting your pumping chest and wide eyes.
  750. >”Monsoon, what’s wrong? You look like a mess right now.”
  751.  
  752. >You steadied your breathing and did your best to calm down, but the irony of her statement wasn’t lost on you.
  753. >Cadence’s mane looked frazzled and damp, like she’d been left outside in a wild weather zone, and her coat was stiff with grime and smelled like exhaust.
  754. >Her eyes remained bloodshot and wide, and she had those little jittery movements like she’d drank one of those human energy drinks that they warned you to stay away from in training.
  755. >Nonetheless, you answered, your mind catching up just enough to let you speak clearly.
  756.  
  757. “You’re not gonna put me in the dungeon?”
  758.  
  759. >”What? Didn’t you read my letter?”
  760.  
  761. >Your response came in a flood.
  762. “I started to but I’m really sleepy still and then you came in and there was yelling and I’m sorry for doing that lewd thing,” you sobbed.
  763.  
  764. >She huffed but gave you and understanding smile.
  765. >”I’m not here to punish you, Monsoon. Every mare masturbates and it’s nothing to be ashamed of, especially with me. I know what’s going on the moment a every mare gets that little tingle.”
  766.  
  767. “Oh, I thought I was going to get—Wait what?”
  768.  
  769. >”Oh, there it is,” she said, magicing up the letter and handing it to you.
  770. >You gave it a look, then glanced at the Princess.
  771. >”Well go on,” she said, making a shooing motion and giving you a look like a parent waiting for their child to open a present.
  772.  
  773. Dear, Gentle Monsoon.
  774.  
  775. It is with great pleasure that I, Princess Mi Amore Cadenza , am able to inform you that we are working on your match as of last night.
  776.  
  777. >You blinked and reread that line.
  778. >No, you had read it right.
  779. “...W-What?” you said, giving Cadence a questioning look.
  780.  
  781. >She made a motion for you to keep reading.
  782.  
  783. I have personally taken to finding and convincing your match to come to Equestria, and I will not rest till this is accomplished.
  784. You’ve waited far too long, but once more I must ask for your patience.
  785. I will keep you updated on this venture, and as soon as I have more news, I will inform you with due haste.
  786.  
  787. >You let the letter drift to the ground and you turned to Cadence.
  788.  
  789. >”Monsoon, I have good news,” she said, beaming at you. “He signed last night. You have a husbando.”
  790.  
  791. >You blinked.
  792. >“W-What?” you said barely above a whisper.
  793.  
  794. >“You,” Cadence said, nuzzling your snout with her own. “Have a match. Congratulations, Monsoon. He’s coming to see you today and I wanted to tell you the good news myself. I just didn’t think it would be this quick, but well, the human world kinda makes me go a bit kooky with all those feelings of despair so I took a few shortcuts. Also an energy drink because I was up all night. It’s fine though because I FEEL GREAT.”
  795.  
  796. >Those words hung in the air.
  797. >You have a match.
  798. >A light tingling feeling bloomed in your center.
  799. >You mind went blank and your mouth dropped.
  800. ”I... have a match? Really?”
  801. >This was really happening.
  802. >Oh Celestia, this was the best news ever.
  803. >Your heart felt like it was beating a million miles a minute.
  804.  
  805. >”Mmhm. Aaannnd, you’ll love who it is.”
  806.  
  807. “OH, thank you Princess Cadence.” You said, rushing over and wrapping her in a hug. She just laughed and hugged you back, not caring for decorum. Both of you were too happy to care.
  808. “What’s his name? Please, I want to know what to call him the moment I see him.”
  809.  
  810. >”Anonymous.”
  811.  
  812. >The smile melted off your face.
  813. “What? He’s not… but he’s a character. Is there someone else with that exact name?”
  814.  
  815. >”Nope,” Cadence said with a chipper smile. “It’s THE Anon, and he’s as real as you or me. It sorta blew my mind too when I found out but yeah, he’s a real person AND he’s your husbando. How crazy is that?”
  816. >She took a few glances around your room, noting all the MBH posters, figurines and shelves lined with books and fan works.
  817. >”Huh. It all makes a bit more sense now.”
  818.  
  819. “So… Anonymous, as in THE Anon from My Big Human, is not only real, but he’s also m-my…”
  820.  
  821. >”Your husbando yes. And he’s already at the Castle waiting for you.”
  822.  
  823. >Ah… h-how incredible.
  824. >Why do your legs feel so wobbly all of a sudden?
  825. >And why is your head spinning?
  826.  
  827. >”Monsoon, you okay?”
  828.  
  829. >The last thing you heard was your body hitting the floorboards.
  830.  
  831. --
  832.  
  833. >Be Anon.
  834. >The landscape glid by outside the train window, giving you a constant, changing panorama of Equestria’s wilderness to occupy yourself with.
  835. >The sun was setting and Equestria was breathtaking under it’s orange glow.
  836. >It rained a little earlier, lending a deeper hue to the rolling hills and pine forests the train cut through, and just over the tops of the trees you could see the dim outlines of mountains in the distance.
  837. >It would be some time since you reached the coast still.
  838. >The constant, clacking and jostle of the train had started to fade into the back of your mind by now, barely keeping you awake even if your head nodded once in a while.
  839.  
  840. >As someone who spent most of their life in one place, traveling was exciting and you always wondered why people had that bleary eyed, haggard look to them at airports.
  841. >You assumed it was jet lag.
  842. >But now, after sitting on your train seat with only the landscape to keep your attention, you felt a mixture of fatigue and a tingly anxiety that made you want to get up and do something.
  843. >You also didn’t get much sleep last night so it could just be that.
  844.  
  845. >Cadence did not actually come at sunrise.
  846. >Instead she snuck into your room and whispered ‘heeey’ loudly next to your bed, poking you with a hoof.
  847. >She’d gotten fidgety and needed a distraction from all the heartache on earth, it seemed.
  848. >You knew from the show that Cadence was a born matchmaker, and a cheery one at that.
  849. >It was hard to imagine exactly what she felt, stuck in a seedy part of your city for hours.
  850. >You frowned.
  851. >Poor girl, you thought.
  852. >And so, you had a restless princess in need of some company and a distraction.
  853.  
  854. >As it turned out, you really didn’t need to do much.
  855. >Cadence was chatty and loved to hear about the human world from you, but things always circled back to you and your mare.
  856. >She’d ask you a lot about what you thought your partner might be like, and when you gave a half hearted guess she’d giggle and squirm like a filly with a secret.
  857.  
  858. >”My gosh, you two will be so cute together! I love it. OH! What do you think about picking her up and putting her in the front of your hoodie?”
  859.  
  860. “Well…” you furrowed your brow, giving her a look. She’d settled herself at the foot of your bed and lounged on her back, looking up at you with a goofy smile. “Is that okay? I mean it’d be warm and really comfortable probably. But isn’t that a little humiliating?”
  861.  
  862. >She squealed squirmed against the sheets. “Ooh it can be, but in the fun way. It’s just that you guys are bigger and some mares like to feel snug.”
  863.  
  864. “Is that how mine likes it?”
  865.  
  866.  
  867. >“Ah ah!” she said, sticking her tongue out. “No hints.”
  868.  
  869. >You wondered if this is what girl sleepovers were like.
  870.  
  871. >Either way. It was amazing just to spend time with a pony, and a princess of all things.
  872. >Kinda felt like a dream, but as the night wore on, it started to feel normal.
  873. >That stunned, starstruck feeling wore off as you started to get a feel for Cadence, and how she moved, what her fur felt like, what sorts of things she liked.
  874. >It started to feel right.
  875. >Ponies and humans could be together, you thought.
  876. >And before you knew it the sun rose.
  877.  
  878. --
  879.  
  880. >Cadence took you to the Crystal Castle first thing.
  881. >And yes, the portal spell she used was in fact super cool, just as she promised.
  882. >She brought you into what looked like the kind of rooms you see in political photo shoots.
  883. >The ones with short coffee tables and a few comfy looking chairs. There were paintings and busts along the walls, as well as windows that let in plenty of light flow into the crystaline interior. >But the room was large enough still so the pony press could cram in and take photos.
  884. >The idea of anxious anchors interviewing Cadence made you smile.
  885. >She probably didn’t act like she had with you but the idea still popped into your head.
  886.  
  887. >It was here that you met Manilla Folder, a… well… Manilla colored mare with square reading classes, who was in charge of your paperwork.
  888. >She had her mane in a ponytail and reminded you of a studious girl you knew back in highschool.
  889.  
  890. >You’ll never forget the way Manilla looked at you.
  891. >It was a kind of strange awestruck wonder she had, mixed with a spark of recognition that made you wonder if somehow, someway, you’d met before.
  892.  
  893. >“You’re… Anon,” she’d said, looking you up and down, mouth slightly ajar.
  894. >Cadence gave her a look you couldn’t quite parse and the mare straightened.
  895. >”Right! Um, I have all your paperwork in order, sir. Is there anything you’d like? Maybe a cupcake or a room to rest in?”
  896.  
  897. >You chuckled.
  898. >With how much was going on right now you’re not sure you could sleep.
  899. >Every fiber in your being was buzzing with a nervous excitement.
  900.  
  901. “I think I’ll pass for now. When do I meet my match?”
  902.  
  903. >Manilla turned to Cadence, who then looked like she just remembered something.
  904. >>”Right! Manilla did you send my letter?” she said, beaming.
  905. >Manilla opened her mouth to answer but was cut off.
  906. >>”Ooh, you know what? Nevermind, I want to tell her myself. Be right back, Anon!”
  907. >In a flash of pink, Cadence was gone, leaving you and Manilla standing awkwardly together.
  908.  
  909. >Though Manilla seemed to be carrying the bulk of that awkwardness.
  910. >”S-So,” she said, drawing circles in the carpet with a hoof. “You’re Anonymous. I’ve read—er—heard a lot about you.”
  911.  
  912. >You quirked an eyebrow at that.
  913. “What have you heard?”
  914.  
  915. >She tensed and cleared her throat.
  916. >”This and that...”
  917. >Manilla stared at you stiff as a board, as if blinking or moving might set you off in some way.
  918.  
  919. >Before you could say any more, a maid wandered in with a feather duster.
  920. >She cleaned quickly, flitting from table to table while humming a small tune to herself, but as her eyes swept across the room and landed on you, the melody died in her throat.
  921. >The duster dropped from her hoof and clattered on the floor.
  922. >>”A-Anon…?” she said, somewhat breathlessly, like you'd been presumed long dead.
  923.  
  924. >Manilla, who had been studying the carpet snapped her gaze up.
  925. >”Featherfall? What are you doing here?”
  926. >It was more an accusation than a question.
  927. >”You had orders to avoid this wing. Didn’t you get my note?”
  928. >Featherfall didn’t say anything at first. Her eyes were locked on you.
  929. >”Featherfall!” Manilla yelled.
  930.  
  931. >>”Wah! Yes! I mean no! I mean, h-how...?”
  932.  
  933. >Manilla cut her off.
  934. >”Anon, could you please excuse us,” she said, then dashed over to the maid, grabbed her by the ear despite the maid’s protests, and pulled her outside, closing the door behind her.
  935.  
  936. >How odd…
  937. >Something was going on here.
  938. >You stepped carefully across the carpet and kneeled next to the wooden door, pressing your ear against it.
  939. >Manilla was talking in a harsh whisper.
  940.  
  941. >“I don’t care if that’s their shift. Feather, you are going to do two things. First you’re going to head over to the east wing where you were supposed to be this whole afternoon. Second, you are not going to speak a word of this to ANYONE. If this gets out we could have a giant mess on our hooves. Do you understand?”
  942. >>”Okay but does he like cuddling like in— Ow ow ow, that’s my ear, Manilla! Okay I’m going!”
  943.  
  944. >Hooves approached the door and you ducked back.
  945. >Manilla opened it to see you sitting innocently on a sofa, staring around the room and playing with your thumbs.
  946. >Neither of you said anything for a while and you wondered idly if she knew.
  947. >Not that you’d learned anything anyways.
  948. >The only thing you’d learned was that they weren’t telling you everything.
  949. >You still trusted Cadence, and you trusted in this whole matching thing—You’d decided that much before you left.
  950. >But there was something extra they weren’t telling you…
  951. >Ponies were skittish, like you were the first human in Equestria.
  952. >But you were told humans had been coming to Equestria for years now.
  953. >Things weren’t adding up...
  954.  
  955. >“S-So, uh,” Manilla said, breaking the silence as she ran a hoof through her hair. “Do you want a room to rest in. Or a cupcake?”
  956. >She forced a smile that looked pained.
  957.  
  958. >You sighed internally.
  959. >There’d be time to sort things out when Cadence got back.
  960. “A cupcake sounds nice, Manilla.”
  961.  
  962. --
  963.  
  964. >Pony cupcakes were better than human cupcakes.
  965. >There was definitely a difference.
  966. >On earth, cupcakes generally came in only a few types because mixes were pretty industrialized.
  967. >Didn’t matter what name was on the label.
  968. >You knew what the cake was like by looking at the shape and outward texture.
  969. >But here they were light, soft, and not nearly as oversweet as they normally were.
  970. >Manilla smiled when she saw how much you enjoyed yours.
  971.  
  972. >”You like it?”
  973.  
  974. “Mmhm. Strawberry is a weakness of mine.”
  975.  
  976. >”Yeah… how about that...” she said, nibbling on her own chocolate cupcake.
  977.  
  978. >After you finished your snack, Manilla seemed to settle down, apparently having just needed a sugar boost.
  979. >The rest of the afternoon, she walked you through some simple paperwork, asking you to sign in places and carefully explaining what you were agreeing to.
  980. >Simple stuff like obeying the law and signing away electronics if you came with any.
  981. >Manilla let you keep your watch at least, though it took a bit of pleading.
  982.  
  983. >”Okay, so now that that’s handled, there’s something important we have to go over,” she said, picking up the stack of papers and tapping the bottoms against the table.
  984. >”Normally we have a husbando stay with us for a few days before he even meets his match, just to keep an eye on him and make sure he’s alright. Then he goes to live with his mare so long as we verify she has everything she needs, and that she’s ready to house and properly care for her husbando.”
  985.  
  986. >You nodded.
  987. >Seems reasonable.
  988.  
  989. >“You are a special case. You won’t be moving in with your waifu, at least in the home she has here. We’ve… determined, that the best course of action is to relocate the both of you somewhere more isolated.”
  990.  
  991. >You quirked an eyebrow at her.
  992. “Why’s that?”
  993.  
  994. >She looked uncomfortable for a moment then straightened in her chair.
  995. >“There would be some distractions. We’re hoping to make it easier on the two of you by just… putting you somewhere nice and quiet, without those distractions.”
  996.  
  997. >Huh…
  998. >Alright.
  999. >So like a honey moon away from the city.
  1000. “So, where are we headed?” you asked.
  1001.  
  1002. >She opened a folder on table and handed you a map.
  1003. >On it you could see a large continent labelled Equestria, as well as the Griffon Kingdom to the North, and the yaks to the south.
  1004. >Manilla pointed a hoof to an island circled in red.
  1005.  
  1006. >”Ku’ulay. Population, 43.”
  1007.  
  1008. --
  1009.  
  1010. >>”Miss, would you like a blanket to cover your husbando?”
  1011. >”Oh, h-he’s not my husbando,” the mare next to you said.
  1012.  
  1013. >You stirred and blinked your eyes clear.
  1014. >The clacking of the train came back into focus as you sat up and looked around.
  1015. >The train car was empty, same as it had been during the day.
  1016. >The windows had been curtained, leaving the train dark save for a few green lights on either side of the aisle.
  1017. >The full moons glow filtered in from your window, giving you a clear image of the Pony sitting next to you and a hostess in a little bowtie, looking at her expectantly.
  1018.  
  1019. >The hostess’ eyes met yours and your seatmate turned around, looking worried.
  1020. >The mare was your guard, Gentle Monsoon.
  1021.  
  1022. >”Anon, I’m so sorry,” Monsoon said, frowning. “I woke you up. I can move to a different seat if you want to stretch out. I don’t mind.”
  1023. >She fidgeted and looked to the side.
  1024.  
  1025. >You sighed.
  1026. >This mare…
  1027.  
  1028. >Monsoon was not your match. She was your guardian while your match was being found.
  1029. >She was cute though… really cute.
  1030. >Monsoon had a dark, grey-blue coat, combined with a mane in a lighter shade of blue.
  1031. >A hot pink highlight flowed along her mane, just off center, and ran from the tips of her bangs to her tail.
  1032. >Her highlight was the same color as her eyes, which caught the light of the moon and seemed to practically glow when she looked up at you from under the hood of her jacket.
  1033. >She was lithe, rather than chubby, and it gave her a kind of agile, athletic look.
  1034. >In a word, you thought she was breathtaking.
  1035. >Even now, with dark circles forming under her eyes and her mane looking like it could use a good brushing, you couldn’t help but notice how beautiful she was.
  1036.  
  1037. >She was a particularly adorable pony, and not just in looks either.
  1038. >In your short time time here, you found yourself getting quite a few strange looks and demure glances.
  1039. >But Monsoon was a whole other level.
  1040. >When you first met her, she was a shaking, stuttering mess of a mare.
  1041. >Thankfully that first meeting was the worst of it, and she settled down after explaining the situation.
  1042. >Poor girl must have been terrified of telling you the bad news.
  1043. >But since you took it in stride, she settled down… kinda.
  1044.  
  1045. >Monsoon would turn to you now and then, open her mouth to say something then meet your eyes and lose her nerve.
  1046. >You could tell she wanted to talk to you.
  1047. >Once or twice now you’d even caught her rehearsing what she was going to say under her breath, and you kept catching her staring every so often.
  1048. >Monsoon seemed to want to be your friend but she had no clue how.
  1049. >Instead she second guessed everything.
  1050.  
  1051. >When you first arrived in the strangely isolated car, Monsoon had scooted to the edge of the seat when you both sat down, leaving a sensible gap between you despite plenty of room.
  1052. >She had fidgeted and had given several furtive glances throughout the ride, always avoiding meeting your eyes, but you could see her in the reflection in the glass out of the corner of your eye and you realized she was staring at you.
  1053. >It happened several times during the ride. She’d just start studying your face with a kind of breathless wonder.
  1054.  
  1055. >Still, despite her awkwardness she was such a sweet pony.
  1056. >When you’d gone to get some catering at the castle, she kept worrying about your meal and eventually went to the kitchen to make sure there were no flowers or hay near your food, and she asked several times if they served meat for humans.
  1057. >They did.
  1058. >Not that you minded one way or the other, you knew what you were getting into when you signed up to go to Equestria, but she came back with an excited smile and a steak just for you.
  1059. >Turns out they had a small supply on hand, and she’d been able to get some.
  1060. >It made you feel a little strange to have her watch you for half the meal but you were starting to get used to her watching you at this point.
  1061.  
  1062. “Monsoon, don’t worry about it,” you said, checking your watch.
  1063. >3am.
  1064. “Have you been awake this whole time?”
  1065.  
  1066. >”N-No. I slept some.”
  1067. >Monsoon straightened and smiled at you.
  1068. >She was lying.
  1069.  
  1070. >You sighed again.
  1071. >She’d have to be coerced into getting rest.
  1072. >Silly mare would work herself sick if she kept this up.
  1073. >You turned to the hostpony.
  1074. “You were offering blankets, right? Could we get two.”
  1075.  
  1076. >>”Oh, I’m terribly sorry,” the hostess said. “We don’t normally run late and have blankets on hand. The Bureau provided two pillows but only one blanket.”
  1077. >The pony turned, the blanket already on her back.
  1078. >It had a design with hearts woven into it.
  1079.  
  1080. “Oh,” you said. “That’s a bit awkward. Monsoon is my guardian. There’s a bit of a mix up with the bureau and my waifu and, well, I don’t have one yet.”
  1081. >You turned to Monsoon who looked uncomfortable having to talk about it, but nodded.
  1082.  
  1083. >The hostess’ smile melted into a frown.
  1084. >>”You don’t have your waifu yet? But I thought…”
  1085. >She looked between the two of you.
  1086.  
  1087. >Monsoon looked like she wanted to crawl into a hole.
  1088. >”Yeah—someone—messed up real bad.”
  1089.  
  1090. “Look, don’t worry about it. The large is fine. We can share,” you said, hoping to diffuse things a bit.
  1091.  
  1092. >The hostess pursed her lips and seemed like she wanted to say something but sighed and offered you the blanket.
  1093. >>“Well, I hope you find your waifu soon, Mr. Anonymous. I’m sure the bureau is working hard to remedy this.”
  1094.  
  1095. “It’s fine. I’m sure she’s worth the wait”
  1096.  
  1097. >The hostess giggled.
  1098. >>“Oh, she’ll be a lucky mare. Maybe it’ll turn out to be me?”
  1099.  
  1100. >Monsoon fluffed up and seemed to gain a bit more courage again.
  1101. >”Please refrain from flirting with him. His match wouldn’t appreciate that.”
  1102.  
  1103. >>“Okay, okay,” the host said, with a placating gesture. “I’ll be awake near the front of the car. Please call if either of you need anything at all,” she said, then turned and walked away, but not before giving you a wink.
  1104.  
  1105. >Huh… flirty but not your type.
  1106.  
  1107. >You stood, unfolded the blanket with a quick whipping motion, then settled it over the both of you.
  1108. >Monsoon, who had been staring daggers at the backside of the hostess, suddenly realized what you were doing and squirmed out of the seat.
  1109. >”Oh! I’ll move if I’m in the way. Sorry sorry…” and said and climbed halfway onto the seat across the isle.
  1110.  
  1111. “Monsoon, where are you going? It’s getting cold and we only have one blanket.”
  1112.  
  1113. >Before you could think about it you bent down and picked her up by her midsection.
  1114. >Her breathing hitched and she let out a whine as you moved her over and placed her back next to you.
  1115. >You paused.
  1116. >Wait… was that okay to do? Just pick her up like a cat?
  1117. >You carefully moved your hands away, wondering if she’d yell at you for manhandling her.
  1118. >But she didn’t yell.
  1119. >Instead, Monsoon leaned closer.
  1120. >It was scarcely more than an inch or two, like she’d lost balance but you saw it.
  1121. >She was breathing heavily and staring up at you with those beautiful pink eyes.
  1122.  
  1123. “Monsoon, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to just pick you up like that.”
  1124.  
  1125. >”S’okay,” she said under her breath. “I just thought you wouldn’t want to sleep with me.”
  1126. >She hesitated and gave the seat across from you a glance.
  1127. >You were starting to learn to read her now.
  1128. >She looked up at you, pressing her lips together, ears back, tail swaying back and forth.
  1129. >It reminded you of a dog watching you eat.
  1130.  
  1131. >The tingle of her fur, where it touched your fingers around her hoodie, still lingered in your mind.
  1132. >There was a slight dampness, probably from walking in the snow earlier and the long day of work, but her coat was silky and delicate.
  1133. >You wonder maybe if things had gone more to plan, you’d be here with your waifu, petting her and learning what she liked.
  1134. >A sharp pang of loneliness surged in your chest.
  1135.  
  1136. “Hey, Monsoon?”
  1137.  
  1138.  
  1139. >”Yeah?”
  1140.  
  1141. “Do ponies like being petted?”
  1142.  
  1143. >She blinked.
  1144. >“Huh?”
  1145.  
  1146. “Well I mean. I was just thinking about my mare, wherever she is. On the night I signed up, Cadence and I spent all night talking. She got all giggly when we talked about cuddling and petting, and I guess it’s been on my mind since then. Do you think she’d like being pet?”
  1147.  
  1148. >”She probably does. Most mares love the feeling of hands,” Monsoon said, adopting a far off look. “They talk about them a lot. I always wanted to know what it felt like myself.”
  1149.  
  1150. >A moment of silence passed before you spoke again.
  1151. “Monsoon, do you want to try it?”
  1152.  
  1153. >Her shot wide and you could see a blush forming on her muzzle.
  1154. >”M-Me? What? Why? I’m just—”
  1155.  
  1156. “I know, you’re my guardian, but maybe just as a love agent? We could think of it as practice. I heard it feels good and I want to know what ponies like.”
  1157.  
  1158. >Monsoon studied your face.
  1159. >There was disbelief lingering in her eyes but all she’d see in you was an honest question.
  1160. >”Really? You’d do that with… me?”
  1161.  
  1162. “If you don’t mind, yeah.”
  1163.  
  1164. >She shifted her weight back and forth and looked down.
  1165. >Monsoon scooted closer to you.
  1166. >”Okay, if that’s what you want. Please be gentle,” she said softly.
  1167.  
  1168. >Your heart skipped a beat and you smiled.
  1169. “I will. I promise.”
  1170. >You carefully reached out towards her.
  1171. >She sat still, eyes watching your hand as it moved toward her head and gently pushed her hood down.
  1172. >You moved your hand below her chin and traced your palm up her cheek.
  1173. >Her eyes glazed over and she drew sharp a breath as you began to pet the side of her face and chin.
  1174. >Monsoon’s eyes drifted closed and she leaned into it, almost looking pained at the sensation of your hand against her.
  1175.  
  1176.  
  1177. >Be Monsoon.
  1178. >As Anon’s hands gently caressed your fur, your heart lept to your throat.
  1179. >Every tactile sensation felt magnified tenfold. It was overwhelming.
  1180. >You realize, you’ve never had someone you trust touch you like this.
  1181. >You’ve been starved of physical affection—you just never realized it until now—and for the first time you were feeling what you’d been missing out on full force.
  1182. >And it was with Anon—your special somepony.
  1183. >The thought was like a thunderclap and you felt your eyes water so you clenched them shut and leaned into his hand.
  1184. >You shouldn’t be this eager.
  1185. >You could have screamed that in your mind over and over and it wouldn't have stopped you.
  1186. >This was a hunger like a need to breath.
  1187. >And it hurt.
  1188. >All of the years alone without anyone who cared for you.
  1189. >All of those nights without a even so much as a small touch, a simple gesture that you were loved.
  1190. >It came crashing down on you as you pushed into his hand, yearning for more.
  1191.  
  1192. >Anon slid your hoodie off and you moved forward to reconnect the second your head popped free.
  1193. >His hands found their way to your back, across your wings.
  1194. >Normally a pegasis would recoil at being touched in such a sensitive place, but you didn’t care.
  1195. >You’d let him touch you anywhere he wanted.
  1196. >His small digits danced along your feathers, making you shiver.
  1197.  
  1198. >“Monsoon?”
  1199. >You looked up at Anon, your heart aching at the sight of him.
  1200. >Celestia you love him so much.
  1201. >“You okay? Does this feel good?”
  1202.  
  1203. >You didn’t want to answer. You just wanted to kiss him but you could feel your fear flare up at the thought.
  1204. ”Yes,” you said breathlessly. “Please keep going.”
  1205.  
  1206. >He smiled at you.
  1207. >Gods, the feeling of making him smile was intoxicating.
  1208. >“Okay. I’m going to keep trying things. Let me know if you want me to stop.”
  1209.  
  1210. >You wanted to tell him never to stop but you bit the words back.
  1211. >One hand transferred to your chest and stomach, rubbing small circles over your front.
  1212. >Your legs were starting to feel weak and they shivered.
  1213. >Against your better judgement, you leaned toward him, head down.
  1214. >He looked surprised, but didn’t say anything, instead pulling you into him and hugging you to his chest as you pushed your muzzle between his collarbone and chin.
  1215. >You felt his hands travel along your coat, exploring you but in a gentle and loving way.
  1216. >Your mind started to feel hazy.
  1217.  
  1218. >You don’t know how long he attended to you.
  1219. >Time flowed differently as he pet you, your eyes feeling heavy, thoughts swimming with how much you loved him.
  1220. >You felt yourself drifting off and you opened your mouth to warn him but all that came out was an exhale.
  1221. >You don’t know if Anon noticed.
  1222. >Your eyes closed, limbs becoming heavy as he held you.
  1223. >As you lay there with him, pain and hunger and desire all swirling in a maelstrom, you wanted more than anything to tell him you loved him.
  1224. >’I love you’ just those simple words burned on your tongue.
  1225. >But you never said it.
  1226.  
  1227. >The last thing you remember was Anon wrapping the two of you in the blanket as you fell asleep in his arms.
  1228.  
  1229. --
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