Blessing In Disguise

Apr 15th, 2017
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  1. >Dust particles remain suspended in the stagnant air, illuminated by faint rays of sunlight creeping through the half closed blinds into the otherwise dark room.
  2. >Click.
  3. >You remain expressionless as the barrel of the handgun in your hand rests lazily on your bottom row of teeth.
  4. >You taste a hint of metal as your tongue brushes against the cold, unforgiving steel that's about to blow your brains out.
  5. >A heavy sigh escapes your lips.
  6. >It'd be quick, it wouldn't hurt. Don't worry about it.
  7. >You angle it upwards, the roof of your mouth tingling at the sensation of the barrel pressing up against the wall of flesh and bone that separates the thing that keeps you alive from the thing that's about to do the opposite of just that.
  8. >Your index finger trembles, cradling the trigger of your handgun.
  9. >Christ, why are you hesitating now of all times? Fucking useless.
  10. >You were fine last night when you waved goodbye to the drunken patrons of your local pub and walked back home alone, an alcohol-induced buzz between your ears.
  11. >You were fine when you got back home, unlocked the door and stumbled into the bathroom in a disoriented daze. You looked at your reflection in the toilet. You remember looking like garbage. Eyes weren’t supposed to be that red, were they?
  12. >You were fine when you fished out your gun from the closet and placed it gingerly on the dresser next to your bed.
  13. >You were fine as you loaded a single round into its chamber before going to sleep. You figured one was all you needed.
  14. >You were fine this morning when you fixed yourself one last breakfast and wrote that note to what remains of your family and friends to apologize for what you've been planning on doing for a while.
  15. >You were fine 5 minutes ago when you settled down on the floor, leaning up against the bed, a lit cigarette in one hand and your gun in the other.
  16. >You were fine, damn it.
  17. >You came to terms with this some time ago. Or at least, you thought you did.
  18. >Evidently, you hadn't come to terms with what you've been preparing to do 100% just yet.
  19. >Shit, your whole hand is trembling now.
  20. >You were fine.
  22. >You shut your eyes and wince when you hear that voice.
  23. >"Fucking – you piece of shit, you fucking piece of shit. You got this far, just to fucking give up now?"
  24. "Shut up."
  25. >"What the fuck was the point of us risking our fucking asses to haul you back to safety back in Manehattan? Fucking James got fucked because he didn't want to leave you out th-"
  26. "SHUT UP!"
  27. >You pull the gun from your mouth and hurl it in the direction where that fucking voice was coming from.
  28. >CRASH.
  29. >You whip your head around to see where that voice came from, stormy eyes promising a slow death to whoever the fuck interrupted—"
  30. >Oh, right. You live alone.
  31. >Your eyes soften as you see shards of glass scattered across the carpeted flooring and the picture frame on the wall ruined by webs of cracks spreading from the point of impact with the miniature ballistic that now lay harmlessly on the ground.
  32. >God damn it. God damn it all.
  33. >You get up from the floor with a groan, dropping the faintly glowing cigarette you held in your hand on the floor.
  34. >You half-heartedly step on the thing, stamping out the silky smoke it was emitting into the room.
  35. >Shuffling over to the gun on the floor, you take notice of the state of the room you called yours.
  36. >The blankets of your bed were tossed haphazardly into a corner of the room.
  37. >Outdated magazines and newspapers littered the floor.
  38. >Dirty laundry piled up in the middle of the room, not really making the stench of stale pizza and sweat your room was enveloped in any more pleasant.
  39. >You carelessly brush aside the empty bottle of anti-depressants next to your gun and pick the latter up, examining it.
  40. >A little dent on its side, otherwise it's still fine.
  41. >You stare at it a moment longer, before shaking your head.
  42. >You'll try again another time. Maybe next week.
  43. >…
  44. >You need to take a piss.
  46. >"And as you can see behind us, Chicago remains in a state of frenzy, the wounded are desperately trying to –"
  47. >You grab the remote and mute the audio, before grabbing the can of beer in front of you.
  48. >Crack.
  49. >Hiss.
  50. >Ah, that hits the spot.
  51. >Bored eyes scan the scenes of chaos and disarray unfold behind a flustered looking newscaster trying his best to maintain a modicum of professionalism.
  52. >You scoff at the poor sap being heckled by a passer-by.
  53. >Seemed the guy was asking the newscaster for some help with something.
  54. >He looked pretty awful, all things considered.
  55. >Tears streaking his face, ash and soot coating his skin, flecks of saliva at the corner of his lips as he begged for help…
  56. >That kind of awful.
  57. >To say that the war wasn't going too great would've been an understatement. Criminally so.
  58. >Immense casualties were lost on both sides.
  59. >Those horses sure didn't take too kindly to being fucked with, definitely.
  60. >But then again, you don't remember the humans being the ones to start this war.
  61. >Who were the aggressors? Fuck if you knew.
  62. >All you did know was that the war was reaching some sick stalemate.
  63. >Every time your kind got an advantage over the horses, next thing you know you got your backs pushed against the wall.
  64. >Every time the horses seemed to have an upper hand, they met the same fate your kind previously faced.
  65. >Like some twisted game of tug-o-war. Going back and forth, with no end in sight.
  66. >You take another sip of your beer.
  67. >Your mind drifts to memories. Old memories. Bad memories.
  68. >Of times when you thought serving your species was an honor.
  69. >Of times you were proud to march into those swirling portals into an alien land to protect your own kin.
  70. >Of times you first realized that this wasn't what you were expecting at all.
  71. >You thought this'd be a chance for you and your buddies to become legends.
  72. >To become like those action heroes you all dreamed of being in those power trip fantasies in high school.
  73. >Finally get the girl.
  74. >Be the protagonist of the story everyone wants to be.
  75. >That dream died when James died.
  76. >That dream's dead corpse was kicked mercilessly in its grave when Eddie died.
  77. >That dream's dead, beaten corpse was pissed on when Ethan died.
  78. >But you couldn't resent those horses that killed your friends. You wanted to. You really did.
  79. >But they were just as big of monsters as your lot was.
  80. >Their villages razing in the fires of a thousand suns.
  81. >Orphaned children screaming and sobbing over charred corpses of their parents.
  82. >Elderly horses spitting and cursing at you and your troops as you marched through their town squares.
  83. >"Filthy apes! You mindless monsters! You killed them! YOU KILLED THEM!"
  84. >You learnt to drown those accusatory glares and hisses, along with your remaining troops.
  85. >You learnt to pass on the blame to someone else. It was never your faults.
  86. >"We were just following orders."
  87. >Only made sense that those things fought back with as much vicious ferocity as your kind did.
  88. >Beams of light and neon-colored explosions shaking and toppling skyscrapers in your cities...
  89. >Indistinct figures flying in the sky, diving down and letting all hell let loose below...
  90. >You were done.
  91. >You did your service, and you didn't want part of it anymore.
  92. >You couldn't do it alone.
  93. >Not without your friends.
  94. >That's why you were here.
  95. >Sitting alone in a pitch-black apartment far from the warring cities.
  96. >Far from the frontlines of the war.
  97. >You wanted out, and you had it.
  99. >Ding dong.
  100. >You opt to ignore it.
  101. >Fucking girl scouts trying to peddle their bullshit to fund 'the greater good' tried your patience to its breaking point every single time they paid you a visit.
  102. >Ding dong.
  103. >You close your eyes.
  104. >Just wait and they'll leave. They'll figure nobody's home, then you can get back to being a depressed, sack of –
  105. >Ding dong, ding dong, ding dong –
  106. "Sweet Jesus, I'M COMING, I'M COMING!"
  107. >Persistent little buggers are going to fucking have hell to pay for, you swear on your life (as if that had much value to you anyway).
  108. >You swing your front door open, eyes narrowed into dangerous slits.
  109. >Then you blink.
  110. >For girl scouts, these folks looked distinctly adult.
  111. >One of them at least. Guy was huge.
  112. >The other one wasn't even human.
  113. >"Anon? Is that really you?"
  114. >Your lips go dry.
  115. "D-david. You're alive?"
  116. >"ANON!"
  117. >The fucker crushes you in his hug. He doesn't even realize he possibly fractured 7 of your ribs in that bear hug of his.
  118. "D-dave, c-can't breathe, buddy."
  119. >David lets you go, his fat face plastered with a shit-eating grin.
  120. >You can't help return the smile, even if you were wheezing like crazy. Dave was always a hugger.
  121. >"I didn't see you around for the longest time, I thought you were in deep shit. You should see what the slavers do to the captured men…"
  122. >His dumb, happy demeanor turns sour and dark.
  123. >Slavery was a pretty big problem on both sides.
  124. >Government couldn't keep track of all the POWs, and a handful of sick shits from Earth and Equestria decided to profit from this shitshow.
  125. >War really does bring the worst out of people. Guess that applied to horses, too.
  126. >"Man, you look like shit. You holding up alright? I heard that you guys got caught in an air raid in Manehattan and I never heard about you assholes again. Would it've killed to fucking call once in a while, you pricks?"
  127. >Shit. He doesn't know yet.
  128. "…Dave, man. They're gone."
  129. >David freezes, smile disappears. It comes back almost as quickly as it disappeared.
  130. >"Fuck you, man. Not funny. Listen, I've got the weekend off before I gotta get back to Chicago, get the others together and let's fucking relax. We haven't had a Friday game night since forever. You're gonna get your ass handed to you, you're probably rusty as shit at Street Fighter you faggo– "
  131. "No, man. They're gone."
  132. >David freezes a second time.
  133. >"What?"
  134. >You feel your heart sink. Fucking hell, he doesn't deserve this.
  135. "They didn't make it. I'm all that's left."
  136. >David doesn't move for what seems like an eternity.
  137. >Your eyes sting with salty tears, as you watch his short-lived smile slowly fade into a horrified contortion of misery and confusion.
  138. >He doesn't deserve this.
  139. >"F-fuck, what? H-how – what, fucking what happened?"
  140. >You spare him the grisly bits.
  141. >Of James being reduced to ashes, the sickening smell of burnt skin and…
  142. >You stop yourself. You keep things short and to the point. You gotta be strong. For James and the others. For Dave.
  143. >David stands there, stunned. Then, he falls to the ground in an uncaring heap.
  144. >"Hahah. T-they're really gone, huh? F-fuck. Fuck. FUUCK. FUCK FUCK FUCK–"
  145. >Now it's your turn to hug him.
  146. >He breaks down into a mess of shaking remorse and obscene cursing.
  147. >You take some time to calm him down, you might've stood there for hours, you lost track of time.
  148. >He's stopped crying, which was good. Broke your heart to see the guy like this, shit.
  149. >"I-I'm good. I'm good."
  150. >He composes himself with a shaky breath.
  151. >"I'll be good. Just give me some time alone. I'll be good."
  152. >He'd better be.
  153. >He didn’t deserve this.
  154. >The gentle fatass wouldn't hurt a fly.
  155. >He was up there on the frontlines as a medic.
  156. >He had enough on his plate, being responsible for umpteen soldiers that were sent to him scared for their lives.
  157. >"I don't want to die! Mom, I don't want to, I don't want to die!"
  158. >He tried saving them all, but that was impossible for anyone. Each death took his toll on him. Now he gets hit with this?
  159. >He didn't deserve this.
  160. >Your attention is drawn by David lifting a finger up to point at the gray-furred horse next to him.
  161. >"L-look. Chicago's in a mess. This one tower that billionaire owns? Turned out he kept a whole lot of slave ponies to fuck over in it. He's dead now, though. So're most of his slaves, actually. The tower's a pile of rubble, and this pony right here is all that's left of it."
  162. >"I need you to take care of it for me."
  163. "What."
  164. >David shoots you a glare and you flinch.
  165. >Fucking hell, the guy can be scary if he wants to.
  166. >"You heard me, Anon. The poor thing's been through a ton and I haven't got the heart to send it off to a POW camp. It's had enough shit already."
  167. >You've got nothing against the horses. Not like most of every human else.
  168. >But to keep a living, breathing, intelligent being under my care? When I'm fucked up as it is? You just can't do that right now.
  169. "Look, I'm going through some tough times right now. Can't you find somebody else?"
  170. >You eye the pony next to David.
  171. >Looks like a female, from the looks of it.
  172. >Her gray coat was stained with all kinds of disgusting shit you didn't think was possible.
  173. >Scars and burn marks are present on random parts of her body, marring what might've been silky and smooth fur at one point in time.
  174. >Her blonde mane and tail was equally sordid as her fur, tufts of hair sticking out, looking like they haven't been groomed in years.
  175. >Her wings were folded, hiding the occasional frazzled feather here and there. What struck you most were her eyes, though.
  176. >Her eyes were the saddest things you've seen.
  177. >Literally, and figuratively.
  178. >Downcast pale, amber eyes were glued stubbornly to the ground, as if she couldn't bring herself to face anyone else ever again.
  179. >Peculiarly enough, her pupils were staring at different parts of the ground. Must've been some kind of eye defect. How that happened, you couldn't tell.
  180. >"There's nobody else I'd trust, Anon. Please, do it for me. I can't do it, I've gotta get back to Chicago in a couple days. Please."
  181. >You can't bring yourself to say no to David. It'd be fucking cruel of you to. To both Dave and to the horse. You're in pretty deep shit with your own problems, but fuck if you'll burden anybody else with 'em.
  182. "…fine, I'll take her."
  183. >Dave's eyes brighten.
  184. >Not by much, though.
  185. >He still looks like it's the end of his world.
  186. >Guilt eats away at your conscience.
  187. >It should've been you to die out there.
  188. >They were good fucking people.
  189. >They sacrificed themselves to save you, and there you were with a gun in your mouth.
  190. >Pathetic.
  191. >"Thanks, man. Really."
  192. >He turns around to the horse, and beckons her forward. She flinches as he raises his hand towards her. Seeing this, Dave quickly backs off.
  193. >"Hey, hey, hey… Don't be scared, it's gonna be alright. It's gonna be alright, because this guy right here? He's the greatest guy I know. He'll take great care of you, I know it."
  194. >You feel a sharp pain in your chest. If only he knew what you were planning to do this morning.
  195. >The horse remains where she stood, now shaking terribly in fear. Dave grimaces and his shoulders sag.
  196. >"Just go on in whenever you're ready, okay? Trust Anon here, he's – he's a great guy."
  197. >Dave turns to you now.
  198. >His eyes are nothing like the happy-go-lucky eyes they used to be when he just got here.
  199. >Now they're just broken ghosts of the past. That was on you, by the way.
  200. >He forces a smile on his face, but we both know that his feeble attempt to appear like he was okay betrayed the internal hell he was going through.
  201. >"I'm trusting you, Anon. Heh, I-I don't even need to say that, you know I trust you. She should get a new start, and I think you'll be the right guy for that."
  202. >He pauses.
  203. >"You ought to get a new start, too. This whole thing can't have been easy on you either."
  204. >He pauses again, and fixes you with a knowing look.
  205. >" I know what you're thinking, Anon. Don't you fucking blame yourself for what happened. It's not your fault, what happened out there. You do something stupid because you think it was on you, and I'll never forgive you, you hear me?"
  206. >His voice audibly quivers near the end.
  207. >Guilt is killing you on the inside, and it probably shows on your face.
  208. >"I need to go. I'll be fine, don't worry about me. You take care, though. Of yourself, and her."
  209. >Before you can respond, he smiles one last time, turns around and trudges down the corridor and into the elevator at the very end of said corridor.
  210. >Before the elevator doors shut completely, you catch a glimpse of David covering his face with his hands, breaking down in a fit of hysterics once more.
  211. >This time, he'll be alone, though. The stupid idiot waited till he thought I couldn't see him before he dropped his poorly maintained façade.
  212. >Damn it, Dave. You're gonna be pretty disappointed when you find out that this was a bad idea from the start, what were you thinking trusting me with–
  213. >The gray horse in front of you hasn't stopped shivering.
  214. >Ah. Right.
  215. "Come inside, it'll be warmer there."
  216. >You could've sounded more welcoming to the thing, but it's kinda hard to do when your voice is hoarse like this. Ha. "Hoarse." I crack myself up.
  217. "Let's start with your name, yeah?"
  219. >The thing just stands there, still avoiding eye contact.
  220. >Well, you're not quite sure if she could keep eye contact if she tried, honestly.
  221. >Maybe it just hasn't heard you.
  222. >Your voice isn't at what you'd call its best right now, all things considered.
  223. >You decide to try again, except a little louder this time.
  224. "What's your name?"
  225. >Startled, her eyes shoot up from the ground and at your face, like a deer in the headlights.
  226. >You're not quite sure if you've done something to scare it. Or maybe it's just jumpy by nature?
  227. >"...w-what do you mean?"
  228. >What do I mean? A frown pulls at your lips.
  229. "What do others call you? Fuck did you think I meant?"
  230. >She shrunk when you cursed, as if you'd hit her with a rolled up magazine or something.
  231. >"I-I'm sorry, please don't get upset, I j-just–"
  232. >She begins hyperventilating, eyes nervously darting left to right.
  233. >Her nose scrunches up and her lower lip trembles.
  234. >You let out a frustrated sigh and relent.
  235. "Know what, forget it. You can tell me that another time or something, just get in here already. You're letting the cold air in."
  236. >She scurries into your living room in a hurried clatter of hooves, accidentally knocking over the bin that contained some old umbrellas, scattering the stupid things all over the floor.
  237. >She stops in her tracks, looks at the umbrellas and backs at you.
  238. >She blanches.
  239. >"I-I didn't mean t-to do that, w-wait I can fix it, please don't get mad, please don't hurt me, p-please..."
  240. >She hurries over in a poor attempt to pick up the few umbrellas on the ground.
  241. >She appeared to find the task of picking the things up somewhat difficult, what with her incessant trembling and all.
  242. >In fact, she seemed to be making a bigger mess than before.
  243. "Don't worry about it, just stop whatever it is you're doing, okay? Just... Just sit still over there."
  244. >You vaguely point into the direction of the living room.
  245. "I'll be there in a minute, just go."
  246. >With her ears flattened on her head, she makes a beeline for the living room while murmuring all manners of shaky apologies.
  247. >You have second thoughts about accepting her in your home. It's gonna be a huge hassle for sure.
  248. >You don't know the first thing about taking care of someone, much less an alien creature.
  249. >And even if you did, you're not quite sure if you trusted yourself to get that done.
  250. >Putting another living, breathing person's life into your hands?
  251. >Dave must've been mental.
  252. >You silently pick up the umbrellas and toss them into the bin in their rightful place.
  253. >Now that that's settled...
  254. >You make your way over to the living room, not bothering to step over the carelessly cast aside rubbish that your floors seemed to be comprised of.
  255. >Now that somebody else is here, you entertain the thought that maybe it's due time to clean up.
  256. >Shaking your head, you look over to the terrified horse, sitting in the corner of the room.
  257. >Made for a pretty sad sight.
  258. >And you thought things couldn't get any more depressing, too.
  259. >You eyed her, your gaze sweeping over her disheveled, dirty appearance.
  260. "You're filthy."
  261. >She flinches again. She opens her mouth, presumably to let loose even more apologies.
  262. >You raise a finger in the air to stop her before she even starts.
  263. "Nope, not another word. Just get your ass to the bathroom."
  264. >Her mouth stays open for a moment longer, probably not expecting to be interrupted like that. She's quick to snap out of it, though. She shoots straight up and scampers away down the hall, making a sharp right turn at the very end of the dark corridor.
  265. "It's the second door on your left."
  266. >She screeches to a halt, turns around and changes course, knocking over a vase containing some wilting flowers in the process and spilling its contents on the floor.
  267. >Idiot.
  268. >Whatever, you never liked that vase anyway.
  269. >You shrug and reach for your can of beer, a pool of condensation collecting underneath the can.
  270. >You take a sip, only to find yourself disappointed by the fact that it isn't as cold as it was when you had some earlier this morning.
  271. >You focus your eyes back on the television screen, only to find that the news report was long over.
  272. >An overly enthusiastic middle-aged woman advertising some sort of car insurance replaced the burning remnants of Chicago from earlier.
  273. >You blow a raspberry and close your eyes shut. You rest your head backwards on the worn out recliner you were sprawled on and sigh again. You've been doing that lately, you note absentmindedly. An empty silence fills the house.
  274. >...
  275. >You don't hear any running water.
  276. >What's she doing in the bathroom?
  277. >Maybe she doesn't know how to work a tap?
  278. >No, forget that. She'll figure it out, just give her a bit.
  279. >...
  280. >...
  281. >...
  282. >Still nothing.
  283. "Fuuuuck. Meeee."
  284. >You groan as you get off your recliner and walk agonizingly slowly towards your bathroom door, all the while massaging your temple with your fingers.
  286. "You alright in there?"
  287. >You tentatively knock on the door. You hear an 'eep!' behind said door.
  288. "Want me to come in there?"
  289. >You were greeted with more silence. Yeah, you'll take that as a yes. Not like you needed permission, anyway. You could do anything you want in here. After all, this IS your house.
  290. "I'm coming in."
  291. >You open the door, expecting the worst.
  292. >Nobody could blame you for your cynicism with this horse.
  293. >In your past 15 minutes of experience with her, you came to the conclusion that she wasn't quite careful. Like, at all. You wouldn't be surprised if she'd gotten her mane stuck in the ventilation fan or something.
  294. >Your eyes adjust to the bright lights in the bathroom, and you turn your attention to the mortified looking horse sitting in the middle of your bathtub with the bathtub faucet in her mouth.
  295. >Even in your currently jaded state of mind, you had to admit that was cute. She didn't seem to think the same.
  296. >"I-I tried to turn it on, b-but it just–"
  297. >You force the laughter that was threatening to escape your lips down your throat and affix the faucet to where it belongs.
  298. >You'd wager that laughing right now was probably not the best idea to calm her nerves. Wordlessly, you lift the horse up from the bathtub, choosing to ignore her obvious discomfort at human contact, and place her on the bathroom floor.
  299. >Water starts flowing into the bathtub, and you position a hand in the stream of flowing water to feel for its temperature. Seconds pass, and the horse you've decided to keep out of your mind begins fidgeting behind you, waiting for you to do something.
  300. "Wanna tell me that name of yours, yet?"
  301. >She glances up at you for a split second before tearing her eyes back to the water.
  302. >"Slaves don't get the privilege of keeping their names, s-sir."
  303. >You raise an eyebrow at the forlorn equine behind you. Who the hell came up with that dumb idea?
  304. "Well, you can't expect me to call you 'Horse' for the rest of our lives. What did they use to call you before, uh..."
  305. >You catch the crestfallen expression on her face get even sadder, and your voice trails off.
  306. >Remind her that she's enslaved by the same folks who are currently laying waste to her home because that's an excellent idea, right? You clear your throat.
  307. "What were you called back home?"
  308. >"...Ditzy Doo. The other ponies preferred calling me D-Derpy, though."
  309. >Ouch. Well, her name certainly explains her uh, clumsy tendencies.
  310. >But 'Derpy'? Maybe that had to do with her lopsided eyes?
  311. >You clear your thoughts.
  312. >Conveniently, the water's gotten to a nice, warm temperature and you can finally leave Ditzy to herself.
  313. >You didn't care how cute she could be, you had better things to do.
  314. >Like going back to wasting away slowly in your recliner in front of your television screen.
  315. "Anon."
  316. >"W-what?"
  317. "Name's Anon."
  318. >"O-oh."
  319. >Aaand introductions were out of the way. Excellent. You gently pick up Ditzy and put her back in the tub, before walking over to where you kept your shampoo and soaps.
  320. >You carelessly toss a tube of shampoo and a bar of soap at Ditzy, the latter bouncing off her head and into the water that was gradually filling up the tub with a small splash.
  321. "Get yourself cleaned up, and come back out whenever you're ready. We've probably got stuff to talk about."
  322. >Ditzy rubbed the spot where the bar of soap hit her, and looked at the bar of soap which had sunk to the bottom of the tub.
  323. >She brought her eyes back to you. You were halfway out the door when she opened her mouth again.
  324. >"Y-you trust me to clean myself up in here?"
  325. >You stop.
  326. >...
  327. "Pass me that sponge over there."
  329. >Imagine giving a dog a bath.
  330. >Now imagine giving an intelligent dog blessed with sentience and human speech a bath.
  331. >A dog who seemed so opposed your touch that its muscles were so tense and stiff you had to check every 10 seconds you were washing a live body and not a corpse going through rigor mortis.
  332. >Suffice to say, giving Ditzy a bath was perhaps the most awkward thing you've had to do in a long time.
  333. >She never stopped squirming in the tub throughout the bath.
  334. >And every time you stopped to ask if she was under any pain, she'd gasp, shake her head furiously and keep still for a few seconds before proceeding to squirm in discomfort again.
  335. >You decided that you wanted to get this over with as quickly as possible, maybe spare the both of you some grief.
  336. >But that didn't mean you were gonna half-ass your job, you got the feeling that she'd never get clean if you left bathing to get done herself.
  337. "You're tensing up again, Ditzy."
  338. >"Ah! I-I'm sorry."
  339. >You cleared your throat, and continued to try and get rid of the stubborn knots of tangled hair in her mane as gently as possible.
  340. "Hey."
  341. >"Yes, master?"
  342. "First of all, don't call me that. Secondly, you really need to relax a little. You're making this a lot more difficult for the both of us."
  343. >"I'm sorry, mas – A-Anon."
  344. "And quit apologizing, it's getting depressing."
  345. >This time, she doesn't say anything but hangs her head in shame.
  346. >Great going there, Anon. Nice to see that your sensitive side is really giving her that warm welcome you're famous for.
  347. "...what's your deal, anyway? Why so jumpy?"
  348. >Ditzy doesn't answer. She looks unhappy. Well, more so than before.
  349. >Now that you're done with her mane, you move on down to scrubbing the grease and dirt out of her gray fur.
  350. >You were still waiting for an answer and didn't quite pay careful attention to what you were doing with your hands.
  351. >Your heart skips a beat when Ditzy suddenly yelps and recoils from your touch, splashing water all over you and your bathroom floor.
  352. >Eyes shooting back to where your hands are positioned, you realize you just disturbed an angry, red welt on her side.
  353. >You fucking idiot, of course that's why she's so scared of you.
  354. >How'd you miss that? David even mentioned that her previous owner was a piece of shit. Must've slipped your mind, after having to break the news to Dave about your dead fr...
  355. >Nope. You're not gonna even think about that.
  356. >Back to Ditzy.
  357. "These marks, did your old master do this?"
  358. >She shivers despite being covered in warm bathwater.
  359. >"Y...yes."
  360. >Her whisper was barely audible. This is probably not the best time to bring up her past.
  361. >She'll open up eventually, if she feels like it.
  362. >Besides, it's none of your business.
  363. >Why do you care?
  364. >You don't care.
  365. >You don't.
  366. "I'll... Just be more careful, sorry about that."
  367. >You continue with the bath, except now she's a lot more quiet and still.
  368. >Which you weren't complaining about.
  369. >Ditzy's bath finishes after a couple more minutes of thorough scrubbing.
  370. >Discounting the scars and burns that still pockmark her skin, she looks a lot better than before.
  371. >You should probably dress some of those burns.
  372. >You wouldn't put it past Dave to go far and beyond the call of duty in looking after Ditzy's wounds, but you get the feeling he wouldn't be pleased when he finds out you've ignored her ailments as if they weren't even there.
  373. >You get up on your feet and have a little stretch, before admiring your work.
  374. >Not bad for a first time.
  375. >Hopefully this doesn't become a regular thing, she must be capable of giving herself baths.
  376. >How'd she survive before coming to Earth?
  377. >Ditzy just sits there in the tub, unmoving. You start to feel a tad awkward again.
  378. "Ahem."
  379. >She slowly turns towards you and you toss a dry towel at her.
  380. >The towel settles snugly on her, covering her entire head.
  381. >It outlines the contours of her face, you can even make out her little snout twitching underneath the towel.
  382. >Cute.
  383. "Get yourself dried up and I'll meet you outside in the living room. Is that clear?"
  384. >Ditzy nods her head from under the towel, with a muffled "Yes, master. I-I mean, Anon."
  385. >You stifle a laugh and leave the bathroom. You walk towards your living room, shaking your head at your horse's antics.
  386. >You stop for a moment.
  387. >...
  388. >Did you just say, 'yours'?
  389. >It just dawns on you that you are currently a proud (no, not really) owner of a sentient, sapient living thing.
  390. >You described Ditzy as 'yours'. Like some inane object that was under your possession.
  391. >That's fucked.
  392. >No, really. That's really fucked up.
  393. >Didn't you learn anything from your tour in Equestria?
  394. >Did all those horses die for nothing? They must have, if you somehow considered them to be any less than human beings like this.
  395. >You start to feel uneasy.
  396. >You sick fuck.
  397. >...
  398. >Okay, no. Pull yourself together.
  399. >You'll tackle things one problem at a time.
  400. >First, you need to fix Ditzy some breakfast.
  401. >Horses were herbivorous on Earth, so against your best judgment you assume that the same holds true for alien horses.
  402. >That rules out bacon for breakfast.
  403. >Shame.
  404. >Couldn't hurt to feed her some salad and pancakes though, right? You'll even prepare some apples for her.
  405. >You crack your knuckles. You haven't made anything in the kitchen in ages and you're not even sure if you've got the ingredients to make what you had in plan, but fuck it.
  406. >You've got a hungry mouth to feed.
  408. >Fortunately for the both of you, you still had plenty of ingredients to work with in the fridge.
  409. >That's probably because you lived off of cereals, instant noodles and hard alcohol for the last few chapters of your life. It's a mystery how you're not malnourished after that diet, honestly.
  410. >Your body did a terrific job at wrestling nutrients out of the garbage you were feeding it.
  411. >Not that you're complaining.
  412. >Point is, the rich aroma of pancakes is definitely a nice change of pace.
  413. >You remember loving to experiment with foods back in the day.
  414. >It was always a crapshoot when it came to you and cooking. You remembered subjecting your friends to your less than successful attempts at cookery.
  415. >There was that one time you thought that green tea and Pepsi might've gone well with fried eggs and Ethan had to call to call the fire brigade.
  416. >Oh, oh, and that one time you first used a microwave! You figured reading manuals were for pussies and went straight to fiddling with the buttons on the stupid thing to heat up some leftover pizza. You set the timer to 15 minutes. The black smoke seeping through the microwave told you that reading manuals was severely underrated.
  417. >The fire brigade was getting accustomed to greeting you and your friends in your blazing kitchen.
  418. >Or that one time you tried caramelizing condensed milk in a pot. You forgot all about the thing, went to your bedroom for a nap for 6 hours and came back to the kitchen to find the ceiling newly renovated with a circular hole and your pot embedded an inch deep into the stove.
  419. >According to a thoroughly disgruntled Ethan, the super-heated milk ruptured with so much force it propelled itself into the ceiling before gravity gave it a stern scolding and it came crashing down into the hapless pot waiting for its demise on the stove.
  420. >That's not to say you were hopeless with cooking. You learned a lot from Ethan. Fucker was a tough teacher, but with his patience, he got through to you in the end.
  421. >Well, him and his spatula. That thing fucking hurt, man.
  422. >At the very least, now you can cook without having to invite the local firemen into your home for the umpteenth time.
  423. >You smile at fond memories of your friends choking on your shit whenever you invited them over for dinner and the occasional meals where you all legitimately enjoyed some delicious food.
  424. >Said smile fading as you realize that won't be happening anymore.
  425. >The sizzling pancake in the frying pan right in front of you doesn't look so appealing anymore.
  426. >...
  427. >Know what?
  428. >You're not hungry.
  429. >You're going to bed.
  430. >Expressionless, you turn away from the pancake.
  431. >Only to find Ditzy cautiously walking into view with a towel wrapped around her mane.
  432. >...
  433. "...come on, there's a plate of salad waiting for you on the table."
  434. >For an instant, you swore you saw some saliva drooling from the side of her mouth. Probably nothing.
  435. >"Wait. That food's... For me?"
  436. >You shrug.
  437. "Yeah. Get your ass in here and eat. Pancakes are nearly done."
  438. >This time you know your eyes weren't playing tricks on you.
  439. >For the first time, you see a genuine smile on her face.
  440. >Her bright smile, complemented by her adorable eyes that were exuding child-like wonder and excitement, got you to stop thinking about Ethan for a second.
  441. >She looks so much better when she's smiling.
  442. >You ought to make her smile more.
  443. >...
  444. >You should learn to enjoy cooking again.
  445. >You flip the pancake onto a plate with a flourish, stick a square of butter on it and pour a generous helping of maple syrup to top it all off.
  446. >You turn to Ditzy, who is failing to hide her excitement behind her hooves. You smile at her and place the plate of pancakes and a glass of orange juice in front of her.
  447. "Enjoy, Ditzy."
  449. >She eagerly picks up the knife and fork set on the table. How she managed it with hooves, you'll never guess.
  450. >And you don't even want to.
  451. >This is far from the weirdest thing you've seen from where these horses come from.
  452. >Who knew unicorns and magic were real?
  453. >And that horses came in those colors?
  454. >And that those seemingly harmless and innocent creatures could rival humankind's superior technology and weaponry?
  455. >Whatever.
  456. >You can't be arsed to make another batch of pancakes for yourself, and you don't have the heart to take anything from Ditzy's plate.
  457. >Doesn't matter, you weren't hungry. You spot a stray granola bar left on the kitchen counter. That'll have to do for now.
  458. >You tear the wrapper open and take a bite out of the bar.
  459. >You chew slowly.
  460. >...
  461. >You hate this stuff, why'd you even buy it?
  462. >Munching absentmindedly on your granola bar, you watch Ditzy eat her pancakes with gusto.
  463. >At least one of you is enjoying breakfast.
  464. "Hey, slow down there. You'll choke on that stuff if you keep going like that."
  465. >Ditzy stops shoveling food into her mouth.
  466. >At least she's got the tact to appear somewhat embarrassed.
  467. >"Mmmph – shworry 'bout dat."
  468. >...but apparently not enough of it to swallow before speaking.
  469. >She swallows, then continues.
  470. >"It's just been so long since I had some real food!"
  471. >Right. She had it tough back with her old master. Fucker probably didn't feed her right.
  472. >You were about to ask her about it, but you remembered how she reacted the last time you asked about her past.
  473. >She just let her guard down for the first time after she came here, you don't want to go back to square one with her.
  474. "Pfft, yeah? Well, 'm glad you like it."
  475. >You scratch the back of your head.
  476. "You know, it's been a while since I made anything in the kitchen."
  477. >She blinks.
  478. >"Could've fooled me, mas – Anon."
  479. >She awkwardly clears her throat with her eyes shut, pretending to ignore her mistake.
  480. >"I mean, this stuff is amazing! You must work as a chef or something!"
  481. >You haven't had a stable job in ages.
  482. "Y-yeah."
  483. >She beams.
  484. >"I knew it!"
  485. >The sheer amount of happiness and cuteness she's exuding is enough to give you type-2 diabetes.
  486. >You recall keeping insulin shots in your bedroom's medicine cabinet.
  487. >Deep breaths, Anon.
  488. >...
  489. >Phew, okay.
  490. >But seriously, you've got to calm her dow–
  491. >...is her chair bouncing up and down?
  492. "Hey, quit that. Don't expect things to be like this everyday."
  493. >As much as you'd love to keep her this happy (and consequentially shorten your lifespan by a good 30 years by increased risk of heart attacks), you just can't afford feeding her food like this.
  494. >There's only so much disposable income you've got left.
  495. >And with the war affecting the cities now, prices of all kinds of stuff has been skyrocketing recently.
  496. >Besides, you can't bring yourself to find work right now.
  497. >You're not ready to leave the safety of your home just yet.
  498. >You're broken out of your thoughts by Derpy's soft voice.
  499. >"O-oh... I knew this was too good to be true..."
  500. >Oh, come on.
  501. >She's taking it this hard? It's only pancakes. It's not like she'd die without it.
  502. >"S-so, what's going to happen to me now?"
  503. "Huh?"
  504. >She gulps nervously.
  505. >"My old master never trusted me to do chores around his house. S-said a retard like me couldn't really do anything useful."
  506. >A sad smile settles on her face.
  507. >"Maybe he was right."
  508. >First thing that came to your mind was to comfort Ditzy. Tell her she's wrong, tell her that her master was an asshole and she shouldn't even begin to consider what he told her.
  509. >But at the same time, this is as good a chance as any to find out more about her and her past.
  510. >You hesitate before opening your mouth.
  511. "Then... What did you do when you were with that man?"
  512. >The expression on her face wavers and is replaced by one of faint horror.
  513. >You grimace, but this was something you needed to get out of the way.
  514. "Tell me, Ditzy."
  515. >She seems on the verge of breaking down into tears, but she's doing a great job at reining her emotions in.
  516. >You're not sure if you should feel terrible for her, or if you should respect her self-restraint.
  517. >"...he liked hearing my screams most."
  518. "W...what?"
  519. >"He kept me around just so he could beat me, cut me, burn me... H-he said it was all I was good for. Being his plaything."
  520. >Your fists clench and unclench, an unfamiliar wave of cold fury washing over you.
  521. >"Every time he was done... H-he'd patch me up just so he could do it again the next day."
  522. >That sadistic FUCK.
  523. >"Things stayed that way for... I don't even remember how long it's been. It can't have been too long, though."
  524. "Why?"
  525. >"I was one of the luckier ones. S-some of the others couldn't even think straight after how long they were with h-him. He'd just got done with me when the war got to where he lived. Ceiling collapsed and crushed him before he could heal my wounds for the night."
  526. >That's probably when Dave found her.
  527. >"S-so... What are you going to do to me? The pancakes were nice, but they weren't for free, were they?"
  528. >"Please, just don't hurt me too much. I-I'll be good, I promise, just–"
  529. >You interrupt her before she can finish.
  530. >Even you're surprised that you've got your arms tightly wrapped around her small frame.
  531. "Shut up. Nothing's gonna happen to you here."
  532. >Ditzy doesn't seem to responding to the hug. She sits there dumbfounded.
  533. >"But... You told me not to expect getting treated like this–"
  534. "Fucking.... That's not what I meant! I meant that I won't be able to feed you like this all the time! Me and the rest of humanity's in a tough spot right now, so forgive me if I can't scrape enough cash for decent food for you to eat!"
  535. >"I-I..."
  536. "Just stop, okay? As far as I'm concerned, you're gonna be fine here with me. You've got fucking nothing to be afraid of."
  537. >She falls silent.
  538. "I promise I'll protect you, you don't need to be scared anymore. You don't need to be scared anymore, Ditzy."
  539. >She still sits there, frozen in place.
  540. >Then she raises two trembling hooves around your waist.
  541. >And starts crying.
  542. >And crying.
  543. >And crying.
  544. >She's sobbing, she's wailing, she's covering the front of your shirt in tears and snot.
  545. >She's hanging onto you for dear life.
  546. >All you can do is stroke her mane and hug her back.
  547. "It'll be okay.
  548. "It's all going to be okay, Ditzy.
  549. "It'll be okay."
  551. >You sit there with Ditzy for a good long while.
  552. >In fact, you're not even sure if it's still morning anymore.
  553. >But that doesn't matter right now.
  554. >What does matter is that you stay with her and make sure she's gonna be alright.
  555. >No matter how long it takes.
  556. >...
  557. >You notice that her trembling's died down quite a bit.
  558. "...you feeling better over there?"
  559. >She shakes her head in your chest and hugs you tighter.
  560. >A chuckle unwittingly escapes your lips.
  561. "C'mon, I ain't going anywhere. Let's get you up."
  562. >You coax her into letting you go with more headpats.
  563. >She sniffles and wipes her snout with a hoof.
  564. >"...Anon?"
  565. >You tilt your head to one side.
  566. "Sup?"
  567. >She slowly brings her face up, locking her shining amber eyes with yours.
  568. >"I... I'm really sorry."
  569. "Pfft, what for?"
  570. >"I'm really just a burden to everyone, aren't I?"
  571. "Hey, who's saying that?"
  572. >Her eyes harden.
  573. >"I am!"
  574. >She continues.
  575. >"Ever since you took me in, I did nothing but mess your place up, waste your time cleaning and feeding me, and–"
  576. >You roll your eyes, and wordlessly bring a hand up to her face.
  577. >You take your index finger and flick her on her forehead.
  578. >"Ow!"
  579. >You unceremoniously interrupt her little tirade. You kinda feel sorry for it, she seemed so into it. Stupid, cute horse.
  580. "You done?"
  581. >She gingerly rubs her forehead with both hooves, looking at you with a stunned expression on her face.
  582. "Look, moping about like this ain't gonna do anything for any of us. 'specially not for yourself."
  583. >"You speaking from experience, bud?"
  584. >You ignore the unimpressed voice at the back of your mind.
  585. "You haven't done anything wrong, so don't go telling yourself stupid things like that. Instead of hating yourself for shit you aren't at fault for, why not do something productive with yourself?"
  586. >"You're a fucking hypocrite. Forget what you were about to do this morning? I sure haven't."
  587. >You inwardly wince.
  588. >You take a quick survey of your apartment, desperately looking for something to distract from your own thoughts.
  589. >Your eyes catch a broom collecting dust in the corner of your kitchen.
  590. >You reach over and toss the thing to Ditzy.
  591. >She yelps and fumbles for it.
  592. "I-I know, what about this? I'll trust you to handle the mess in the living room and I'll take care of the kitchen."
  593. >You force a wink and a smile onto your face.
  594. "Think you can do that, private?"
  595. >She looks at the broom in her hooves and then at your face.
  596. >You gulp. Think she bought your bluff?
  597. >A smile grows on her lips and she brings up a hoof, saluting you.
  598. >"A-aye aye, cap!"
  599. >She giggles and turns to head for the living room.
  600. >You sigh, dropping the smile on your face.
  601. >She stops after a few steps.
  602. >Then turns her head a little, enough for you to see her face.
  603. >You swear you catch a glimpse of an embarrassed, shy smile gracing her lips.
  604. >"Thanks, Anon."
  605. >She whips her head back around and scurries to the living room in a clatter of hooves.
  606. >You stand there, lost for words.
  607. >Christ, did your heart stop for a second there?
  608. >You think it did.
  609. >Fucking horses.
  611. >After taking a couple seconds to pull yourself together, you realize what you've just done.
  612. >Ditzy's great and all that, but trusting her to clean up your house already?
  613. >You and your big fucking mouth.
  614. >You rack your brain, trying to recall if there was anything fragile and of value to you in the living room.
  615. >Whatever. It could've been worse.
  616. >You could've left the kitchen for her to clean.
  617. >And the last thing you're doing is giving her easy access to the kitchen knives and the gas stove.
  618. >A trip to the ER is not how you vision the rest of your day going.
  619. >Hey, at least letting her do some of the chores might give her the confidence boost she needs right now–
  620. >CRASH.
  621. >"T-that wasn't anything! Don't worry about me, I've got everything under contr–"
  622. >CRASH.
  623. >...at the expense of some of your belongings.
  624. >Small price to pay for getting Ditzy out of her rut.
  625. >You shrug and get on with cleaning the kitchen.
  626. >You knew your place was a dump but this was ridiculous.
  627. >A colony of ants found refuge in a bottle of beer wedged between the kitchen sink and the gas stove.
  628. >A festering banana peel you swear you saw moving on its own sat all sinister-like by its lonesome by the kitchen counter.
  629. >A pile of paper bags and cardboard containers with half-eaten burgers and fries from the local McDonald's clogging up the sink.
  630. >And don't even mention the mountains of tin cans that spread all over the floor.
  631. >What've you been doing for the last few weeks?
  632. >...
  633. >You can't even remember.
  634. >And that thought kinda scares you.
  635. >Forcing yourself into action, you heft the rapidly-filling garbage bag over your shoulder and move over to pick up some more rubbish at the other side of the room.
  636. >"Anon?"
  637. >You turn your attention to the dust and grime covered horse peeking into the kitchen.
  638. "Oh, hey. What d'you need?"
  639. >"I'm done!"
  640. >What.
  641. "What."
  642. >She looks uncertain now.
  643. >"I said, uh, I'm done. Y'know. Cleaning the living room? Like you asked me to..?"
  644. "No, I meant, you're done ALREADY?"
  645. >She scrunches up her nose.
  646. >"Is that a... bad thing?"
  647. >You've got to see this for yourself.
  648. >You drop the garbage bag and hurry over to the living room. Hopefully it's still intact.
  649. >Then, next thing that drops is your jaw.
  650. >Because hoooly shit.
  651. >"Umm. Anon..?"
  653. >Discounting the vase and lamp that mysteriously vanished from next to the television set, everything was fucking spotless.
  654. >Not a single empty can of beer in sight.
  655. >The fine layer of dust that previously covered every piece of furniture in the living room was replaced by a shiny sheen of cleanliness.
  656. >The curtains were drawn and the windows were open, ventilating the stuffy, oppressive air that suffocated.
  657. >The bright afternoon sun shone into the living room, really highlighting how clean everything looked.
  658. "Ditzy. What the fuck."
  659. >She flinches.
  660. >"I'll try harder next time, I'm–"
  661. >You double over laughing, slapping her back.
  662. "How!? The place was a fucking mess like an hour ago!"
  663. >She looks bewildered beyond she's ever been.
  664. "And here I was worrying about how you'd do. Christ, Ditzy!"
  665. >You wipe a stray tear from your eye.
  666. >The grin stays, though.
  667. "Nice one, you ditz."
  668. >"You're not mad?"
  669. "Pssh, of? You did a great job."
  670. >She heaves a sigh of relief.
  671. "Hey, Ditzy?"
  672. >"Eheh, yeah Anon?"
  673. "What happened to all the garbage though?"
  674. >"Ahahah, that? It's all in that cupboard over there!"
  675. "Haha, but no really. Where'd you put it?">
  676. >"In the cupboard!"
  677. >You stop laughing.
  678. >The grin stays, though.
  679. >'cept now it's a lot more strained.
  680. "What?"
  681. >Ditzy doesn't get the clue.
  682. >"Eheh, yeah! Like, you didn't give me any garbage bags, so I made do with what I had!"
  683. >...
  684. >You slowly walk towards the cupboard.
  685. >On closer inspection, you notice the hinges straining to keep the cupboard closed.
  686. >The doors themselves seem to be bulging out slightly.
  687. >...are those splinters?
  688. >You turn around to look at Ditzy.
  689. >She was still smiling.
  690. >You turn back towards the cupboard.
  691. >You feel an overwhelming sense of foreboding emanating from it.
  692. >You bring a shaking finger towards the cupboard, and give it an experimental poke.
  693. >BOOM.
  694. >A tsunami of tin cans, dust bunnies and the shattered remains of the vase and lamp crash onto you.
  695. >Then, the stench of stale alcohol hits you.
  696. >Then, you go into a fit of uncontrollable sneezing from the inches-thick coat of dust that envelops your body.
  697. >"Anon! Are you okay, Anon!?"
  698. >Your head pops out from the avalanche of debris that buries your figure.
  699. >Your deadpan expression stops Ditzy in her tracks, prompting an 'eep!' from your miniature equine pal.
  700. >You both look at each other in silence.
  701. >Said silence is shattered by another one of your sneezes.
  702. >...
  703. >Stupid horses.
  705. >"I'm so sorry I didn't know I wasn't supposed to do that oh sweet Celestia I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry–"
  706. >You sent Ditzy to the newly christened time-out corner, much to her chagrin.
  707. >She sat there apologizing profusely for the last hour while you took it upon yourself to clean up the filth that threatened to consume your whole living room.
  708. >You didn't want her making things worse for now.
  709. >And for what it was worth, it didn't take too long.
  710. >You dust your hands with grim satisfaction after the last garbage bag is rid from your home.
  711. >Christ, you're tired.
  712. >...
  713. >How'd she stuff that much stuff into your cupboard?
  714. >The stupid horse is full of surprises, it seems.
  715. >Just one after another.
  716. >You're not certain how much longer you can handle her surprises.
  717. >Speaking of Ditzy...
  718. >You turn your gaze to the gloomy-looking horse sitting by the corner of the room.
  719. >She perks up now that you're paying her some notice.
  720. >"Anon! Listen, I'm really really sorry about–"
  721. >You raise an eyebrow and fold your arms, clearly unimpressed.
  722. >"And then I figured I could fix things by–"
  723. >Ditzy continues firing off words faster than you can even understand them.
  724. "Ditzy."
  725. >"Because I really wanted to make up for this morning! So I–"
  726. "Ditzy!"
  727. >"But then I realized there was nowhere to put all the garbage! Then–"
  728. "DITZY!"
  729. >She stops, her mouth still open mid-sentence.
  730. >You close your eyes and pinch the bridge of your nose.
  731. "Finally."
  732. >You sigh and open your eyes, looking at Ditzy nervously fidgeting in her corner.
  733. >Okay, where do you even start?
  734. "There's no harm done, so don't worry about it."
  735. >She bites her lip.
  736. >"Well, yeah, but I still messed up again."
  737. "Mistakes are fine and dandy, as long as you don't repeat 'em. Just... Just refrain from stuffing shit into the cupboard in the future, yeah?"
  738. >You look at the cupboard.
  739. >Poor thing. Looks like you've got to replace it, what with the hinges being busted beyond repair now.
  740. >"...yeah."
  741. >The both of you fall into an awkward silence.
  742. >Shit. Now what?
  743. >"Anon..?"
  744. "Yeah?"
  745. >"I think we both need baths now."
  746. >You size up Ditzy. She's filthy.
  747. >You look into the mirror by your side.
  748. >You're filthy too.
  749. "I think so too, Ditz."
  750. >"...Ditz?"
  751. >You turn away from the mirror to face Ditzy.
  752. >"Um. Yeah. Y'know, it's uh, shorter and easier to say."
  753. >She giggles.
  754. >You feel your face redden a little.
  755. "Shut up."
  756. >"Eheh, I think it's cute, Anon."
  757. "Oh my God shut up."
  758. >She shuts up, but keeps the shit-eating grin on her muzzle.
  759. >Cheeky little shit.
  760. "Stupid horse."
  762. >The both of you walk towards the bathroom for the second time today.
  763. >"And what do you mean, 'stupid horse'?"
  764. "I meant what I meant, Ditzy."
  765. >"I'm a pony, Anon. And so are all the others back at home. Not 'horses'"
  766. >You groan.
  767. >You're not gonna argue semantics with a tiny horse with proportionally tiny wings stuck to its sides.
  768. >Those things can't possibly support these things in flight.
  769. >"What, these?"
  770. >She stretches her wings and wiggles them around.
  771. "Huh?"
  772. >She hides a smirk behind a hoof.
  773. >"You know, you think out loud a lot, Anon."
  774. >You groan again.
  775. >She smiles at you and folds her wings back.
  776. >"Of course I can fly with these, silly. This isn't the first time you've seen a pegasus, right?"
  777. >Looking at her smile and tease you, you can't help but feel happy for her.
  778. >Not a couple hours ago, she seemed like she was a broken shell of her former self.
  779. >Now, she's a far cry from the skittish, terrified horse she was this morning.
  780. >"A-and it's all thanks to you, Anon."
  781. >You facepalm.
  782. "I said that out loud too?"
  783. >"Sure did, Anon."
  784. >You need to watch that habit.
  785. >...what if you say something that'll bother her?
  786. >You don't want to bring her into your problems.
  787. >They were yours and yours alone to bear.
  788. >...
  789. >Enough of that, now.
  790. >You ruffle her mane much to her dismay.
  791. >"Anooooon."
  792. "Keep up the sass and you're gonna get a lot worse than just a messy hairdo, Ditz."
  793. >She blows a raspberry.
  794. >"Fine, fine."
  795. >She sticks out a tongue at you, and shuts the bathroom door.
  796. "Don't fuck with the plumbing in there again!"
  797. >"Y-yep!"
  798. >Seconds later, you hear her cry out in apparent alarm and you watch some water seep through from underneath the bathroom door into the hallway.
  799. >You're not even surprised anymore.
  800. "...I'll get the toolbox."
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