Birds of a Feather

May 15th, 2016
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  1. >It's a dark and stormy night
  2. >Well, dark and cloudy at the very least
  3. >Quite mild actually, for an evening on the East coast
  4. >Especially considering it had only been two weeks since the last snow fall
  5. >Didn't matter to you of course, cozied up in your little apartment
  6. >Sure it was just a single room, but it's not like you had anyone over
  7. >You know...ever
  8. >But at least you had the internet
  9. >It would never leave you at least
  10. >Actually tonight was more interesting than usual
  11. >Cruising around the gayest board on the web (second gayest if Reddit counted) a thread had piqued your interest
  12. >Adjusting the patch covering your missing eye, you begin reading with the one you had left
  13. >OP, the faggot, was offering two options to you
  14. >You could go to Equestria, but you'd be friend-zoned forever despite being perfectly accepted
  15. >Or you could bring your favourite to Earth, scared, lonely, completely dependent on you for everything, slowly falling in love over time...
  16. >You hit that keyboard harder than Ray Rice as you type out your reply before anyone else can
  17. >'Option 2'
  18. >You weren't dickless wonderfag, you had needs man
  19. >As you hit enter and reread the OP, the rest of its catches sink in
  20. >Irrational, terrified, confused, and if anyone ever saw her....
  21. >Even as you feel the weight of your haste pressing down on you, a sharp crack of lightening makes you jump out of your seat
  22. >Slowly, as rain begins to patter down outside, you regain your composure and sit back down
  23. >Refreshing the thread, you notice you're actually the third reply
  24. >And that it had exploded with posts
  25. >They keep piling up, and inside fifteen minutes it's hit 499 replies
  26. >Almost immediately after number 499, a final post was made
  27. >It was that famous picture of the fedora tipper, but for some reason the words set a chill in your core
  28. >It simply read 'Good luck'
  29. >On the next refresh, the bright red text of a furious god of cleanliness appear at the bottom of the thread
  30. >Another peal of thunder sounds, and suddenly the lights go out
  31. >For a moment, everything is still besides the fans winding down in your computer and the pounding of your heart
  32. >A quork sounds from the other room, reminding you of your OTHER responsibility
  33. >You sigh as your pulse slows down and comfort yourself knowing that at least your pet is okay
  34. >Fumbling around in the dark, you manage to find your way over to the fridge and take out a bit of diced beef you had been saving for stew
  35. >Sighing, you take a few of the smaller bits and grab the flashlight from the top of the refrigerator while you're at it
  36. >You flip it on and nearly leap out of your skin as Huginn, your pet raven, flaps to an awkward landing on your shoulder
  37. >You stroke his head and slowly feed him the bits of meat from your hand
  38. >He'd been yours since you were a kid
  39. >Your mother had brought him in after finding him in the backyard with a broken wing
  40. >With the help of a veterinarian that lived across the street, you'd nursed him back to health
  41. >After that, even though you'd tried to release him, he'd always come back
  42. >Eventually, when you had moved out, he simply followed along when you'd driven to the new apartment
  43. >Sure there might have been a “no pets” policy, but what the landlord didn't know wouldn't get you evicted
  44. >Your thoughts turn back to the weird occurrence that had happened with that thread
  45. >So many replies in such a short time
  46. >And then that last one, the near instant deletion, and subsequent power outage
  47. >But it's not like any of it could be real, you think
  48. >After all, despite your highest wishes to the contrary, Equestria was just pure fiction
  49. >You sigh in a mixture of relief and depression, happy that at least you hadn't hurt anyone with your moment of selfishness
  50. >Suddenly, an almighty thud echoes from the balcony and Huginn flaps off your shoulder and jumps to his perch, cawing loudly in alarm
  51. >The scare nearly gives you a heart attack, and your pulse skyrockets again
  52. >Apprehensively, you make your way over to the glass doors to the outside and peer through the darkened glass with your eye
  53. >There's a lump on your patio
  54. >It's not small either, easily the size of a Saint Bernard, but still as the grave
  55. >You open the sliding door and step out, immediately being lashed with heavy rain
  56. >Resisting the urge to cry out for Jason, you place a hand on the lump with a great deal of caution
  57. >You feel the texture of wet fur, but feathers as well, and your breath catches in your throat
  58. >Abandoning your previous fear, you pick the ragged bundle up in your arms and rush it inside
  59. >With a hum, the power comes back at last, and guilt nearly overwhelms you as you look down at what you're carrying
  60. >In your arms, shivering and looking in a great deal of pain, is Gilda
  61. -
  62. >The seconds tick by like hours as you stare down at the gryphon in your arms
  63. >Shock has drained your rational mind entirely and frozen you in place
  64. >Despite the reintroduced electricity, the room seems quieter than a mausoleum
  65. >So it's a surprise to you when your first thought is “That's not a pony”
  66. >The absurdity of such a flicker of thought finally snaps you back to the present and sets your mind racing
  67. >Fortunately instead of having an existential crisis about posts on the internet and how they impact other realities, your better nature takes over
  68. >You set Gilda down on the one couch you have and fetch a thick towel from the bathroom
  69. >When you come back, you give her a more thorough examination before you even think of drying her off
  70. >It's only then you notice her left wing
  71. >At first glance, it looks okay, but when you look closer...
  72. >Near the end the wing turns from a graceful arc into a sharp turn downwards, clearly broken
  73. >What's more, most of the primary feathers are either snapped or plucked clean out
  74. >You swallow and scratch the back of your head, then turn your back on Gilda and sprint to your computer
  75. >Over the next half hour you pore over every reference image of Gilda's wings you can find
  76. >Another half hour sees you comparing them to various other birds, finding the closest match possible to her wing shape, down to the angle of feathers
  77. >And finally, gathering the materials for splinting a bird wing properly
  78. >But more of course, she wasn't exactly normal bird sized
  79. >At last, you're ready
  80. >You move as quietly as possible back to the gryphon sprawled over your couch
  81. >Before anything, you do a gentle, swift examination of her vitals
  82. >Her breathing is steady, if shallow and rattling oddly
  83. >There's no obvious blood, on the surface at least
  84. >But as you move to touch her wing and begin to splint it, a slight noise stops your hands dead
  85. >A strange squeaking emanates from Gilda's limp form
  86. >For all the world it sounds like the whimper of a puppy, but in the same staccato of a bird chirping
  87. >You stay frozen, hands hovering over her
  88. >The guilt of exactly what you've done stills you to your core
  89. >It's hard for you to even breathe
  90. >A moment of selfishness tore someone away from everything they knew and cared for, and thrust them into the unknown and why?
  91. >Because it was just a dumb thread
  92. >Almost unconsciously, you gently start patting the feathers of her wing dry in preparation
  93. >Your thoughts continue along the same path though
  94. >How were you supposed to know that this was going to happen?
  95. >You'd never believed any of those retarded theories about the multiverse or whatever
  96. >So it was totally impossible to blame you for this
  97. >But despite you being blameless, you still have to deal with the consequences
  98. >The universe was unfair like that
  99. >But hey, now you'd get to hang out with Gilda!
  100. >Right as soon as you patch her up of course
  101. >And with that thought, you yank yourself back to the present and prove that the internet isn't complete trash
  102. >Throughout the entire operation Gilda keeps making the whimpering noise
  103. >You suppose crossing space and time is more than mildly traumatic
  104. >It was bad enough to break her wing, who knows what it could have done to her mind
  105. >But you're no psychologist, so you focus on the things you can fix
  106. >Eventually you get the wing positioned as close to all the references as possible and set it with your materials
  107. >Having done the best job you can, you go ahead and start drying off the rest of her
  108. >As you do so, Huginn hops along the back of the couch, croaking curiously at the strange creature occupying it
  109. >You scratch his back feathers as you work the towel along Gilda's back
  110. “She's going to be our guest for a little while Huginn. That means no pecking her, got it?”
  111. >For his part, the raven looks at you and cocks its head sideways, looking as though it's asking why
  112. >That or making a sarcastic comment about speaking to animals
  113. >As you're smiling to yourself about that last thought, you notice Gilda's eyes snap open
  114. >And then, near instantly, you're against the opposite wall and staring at a furious gryphon stalking towards you
  115. -
  116. >Out of nowhere, Huginn swoops down and pecks at Gilda's face, croaking furiously
  117. >She screeches and leaps sideways, slamming her broken wing into the wall
  118. >Another screech of pain and she collapses to the ground, shivering
  119. >Slowly, carefully you approach her prone form
  120. >You hear that same whimpering sound as before, punctuated with quiet sobs
  121. >With a gentle grip, you pick her up and bring her back over to the couch
  122. >Huginn perches on your shoulder when you set her down, clacking his beak in a warning to the gryphon
  123. >You pet the top of the raven's head and reexamine the bandaged wing
  124. >It doesn't look like she shifted it at all, which is good
  125. >But the impact alone would have been excruciating
  126. >Gilda's breath is coming in gasps, and her eyes are wide open and fixed on you
  127. >You sit at the other end of the couch from where you laid her and force yourself to relax
  128. >Huginn hisses and snaps his beak at Gilda, until you take a peanut from a dish on your coffee table and feed it to him
  129. >For her part, Gilda continues to stare at you silently and barely even blinks
  130. >You do your best to ignore her and turn on the television
  131. >You flick to a news channel, just so you can have some background noise then return your gaze to Gilda
  132. >Her feathers puff out and you notice her wings twitch as you do
  133. >It'd be adorable if she hadn't just thrown you across the room
  134. >So you decide to extend a bit of an olive branch to her
  135. “Are you hungry?”
  136. >Her eyes narrow and she looks you up and down before nodding her head silently
  137. >Huginn flaps his wings to balance on your shoulder as you stand and make your way to the fridge
  138. >You take out a few more pieces of the beef, and Huginn nips at your ear as you close your hands around them
  139. >Before going back to Gilda, you walk over to a cage you kept around for the rare occasion that you actually needed to get the raven to fuck off
  140. >In this case you reluctantly decide it's needed, if only to keep Gilda as calm as you can
  141. >With that done, you walk back to the couch, sit at the opposite end, and lay the bits of meat out in front of the gryphon
  142. >She stares at you, slowly moving her head forward towards the beef
  143. >Then in a blink, her head snaps forward and she gulps down a chunk of the food before cringing further back into the cushions, unbroken wing flared out
  144. >It startles you and you jerk backwards, but don't make any movements towards her
  145. >Gilda repeats the motions the same way until there's not meat left and licks her beak
  146. >You scoot a bit closer, and she lashes her tail and shrinks back from you
  147. “Easy, I'm not going to hurt you.”
  148. >Her wings droop slightly at your gentle tone, but she remains cowering into the cushions
  149. >You stop about a foot away from her, trying to keep from crowding her
  150. >Despite everything, Gilda seems to be much calmer than earlier
  151. >Granted the only measures you have of her are passed out and murderous fury
  152. >But now you have scared wariness to add to the scale
  153. >And even if she wouldn't respond, you were going to keep talking to her
  154. >You know she can talk after all
  155. “Listen, I'm going to go look something up. Please don't destroy anything, or attack Huginn, while I'm doing it, alright?”
  156. >She keeps silent, but curls up in the corner of the couch and folds her wing partially over her face
  157. >It's folded down enough for her to keep watching you as you cross the room to your computer
  158. >Now that you think of it, that's a bit creepy
  159. >But as that thought crosses your mind, a bit of guilt starts creeping back with it
  160. >She DID deserve to be suspicious of you
  161. >After all, you were the one who brought her here
  162. >But she didn't know, or didn't need to know, that
  163. >Not yet at least
  164. >You pull up the history on your computer and manage to find the thread fairly quickly
  165. >You punch the post number into the archive and pull it up
  166. >Before you did anything, you needed to know everything about the conditions you were subjecting yourself, and Gilda, to
  167. >At least then you'd have a reason to feel guilty
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