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[RGRE] Art Imitates Life

Feb 17th, 2018
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  1. >BLEEP BLEEP BLEE-click
  2. >You turn off your alarm clock almost as soon as it comes on, feeling wide awake despite only just waking up.
  3. >Because you are Anon, and you are about to pull off one of your favourite little rituals of all time: buying cheap post-holiday candy the day after the holiday was celebrated.
  4. >[spoiler]Although, it feels like it's been more than a single day since Hearts and Hooves. Maybe... three days? Your internal clock sure is weird.[/spoiler]
  5. >It was this dumb thing you did with your dad when you were a kid back on Earth.
  6. >You'd both get up extra-early, get into the car, and make your rounds to a couple different stores in the area.
  7. >You'd spend twenty or thirty bucks on candy that was 75% off, and then throw all that shit in the freezer so that you could enjoy something sweet every once in a while.
  8. >It wasn't even about the chocolate or the money you saved; it was about doing something fun with your dad, something you both enjoyed.
  9. >...well, your dad mostly enjoyed it because he was a cheap old bastard with a sweet tooth a mile wide, but you still had a lot of fun together.
  10. >And now that you're in Equestria, you've decided to keep the tradition alive.
  11. >Even if your dad can't enjoy it with you.
  12. >Today is horse-February 15, and it is 7 AM on the day after Hearts and Hooves day.
  13. >One quick breakfast and shower later, you're out the door and into the crisp early morning.
  14. >You take a deep breath through your nose as you cross the threshold of your front door.
  15. >The air is cold and smells like flowers, just like it always has.
  16.  
  17. >It doesn't take you very long to reach the town proper; you don't live that far away from the city center.
  18. >There's a distinct transition from flora-smothered cottages to neat little picket-fenced houses, and finally to slightly gruff and well-loved apartment buildings as you walk closer and closer to the heart of Ponyville.
  19. >Speaking of picket-fenced houses, you walk by one on your way to the store that belongs to your friend, Caramel.
  20. >To your surprise, the pony in question is standing just outside on his little horse-porch.
  21. >He's not normally up this early; maybe that's why he's got the worst case of bedhead you've ever seen.
  22. >Why in the world is Caramel outside looking like that? Normally, he wouldn't be caught dead outside without fussing with his mane for an hour or two.
  23. >"Hey, Anon!" chirps Caramel, waving to you cheerfully, "What're you doing up this early in the morning?"
  24. >A familiar purple ruffled-maned mare wanders out the still-open door behind, yawning and holding two mugs of steaming coffee in her magical grasp.
  25. >...oh.
  26. >Happy Valentine's day to you too, Caramel.
  27. >The purple pony, Amethyst Star, places one of the mugs on the little wooden table in front of Caramel and greets him with a sleepy, slightly sloppy nuzzle.
  28. "Oh, not much," you reply, "Just out to the store buy some Hearts and Hooves chocolates for cheap before they're all gone."
  29. >You give a wave to Amethyst, who finally acknowledges you with a small smile of her own.
  30. "Morning, Amethyst," you say simply, getting a nod in return.
  31. >You and the purple mare know each other, but you aren't exactly friends; not like you and Caramel.
  32. >That guy might be kinda annoying and up until just now when you saw him with a mare, ambiguously gay, but he makes the BEST seven-layer bean dip in town.
  33. >"Leftover candy, huh?" giggles Amethyst, plopping herself down onto her haunches and holding the mug of coffee in both forehooves, "I swear, Anonymous; stallions and their love of chocolate."
  34. >She smiles and shakes her head wryly, but squeaks when Caramel tweaks her nose with a gentle hoof.
  35. >"What?" asks Amethyst incredulously, shaking off the nose-boop, "With all the heart-shaped chocolate you gobbled downed last night, I'd be surprised that there are any stores in town that have any lef-MMPH"
  36. >The stallion laughs nervously as he shoves his hoof into Amethyst's mouth.
  37. >"Don't pay any attention to her, Anon," he says, his giggling taking a slightly hysterical edge, "Amethyst is just a silly, silly mare who doesn't know what she's talking about."
  38. >Caramel shoots his marefriend a distinctly unimpressed look, lowering his voice into a quiet whisper.
  39. >"...And for whom I won't do that thing with my mouth for a month, if she isn't careful."
  40. >...Gross.
  41. >You get the feeling you weren't supposed to hear that.
  42. >He removes his hoof from Amethyst's mouth, and the poor mare gives you a brief, panicked look before snapping her jaw shut.
  43. >Caramel sips his coffee and peers at his marefriend over the rim.
  44. >"And don't pretend you didn't eat just as many as I did, sweetie."
  45. >"W-Well," she begins, clearly considering her words carefully, "Not that there's anything wrong with stallions being in possession of Hearts and Hooves day chocolates. Heck, I'll bet your marefriend bought you plenty!"
  46. >One look at Caramel almost makes you hiss; you're getting sympathy pains in your nips for all the teat-twisting Amethyst is going to get.
  47. >He shoots you an apologetic look and gestures to the open door to his house.
  48. >"Hey, Amethyst here is real sorry about that, Anon. Why don't you sit down and join us for some coffee?"
  49. >Caramel's marefriend enthusiastically nods, hoping to climb her way out of the pit she unintentionally dug for herself.
  50. >After a moment, a confused grimace works its way onto Amethyst's face, and she frowns uncertainly at her mug of java.
  51. >"Do you... you DO drink coffee, right?"
  52. "Yup," you say, nodding your head, "I wouldn't have made it through university without it."
  53. >Amethyst looks utterly baffled for a moment, but recovers quickly.
  54. >"Oh! Oh, of-of course you do," she sputters, her voice lowering to a rather nonplussed muttering, "Of course you do."
  55. >This makes you frown just a little bit.
  56. >These ponies and their tiny horse sexism.
  57. >Her stallion is drinking coffee three feet away from her.
  58. >Why in the world is she so damn baffled that you like coffee?
  59. >The silence grows uncomfortable, and so you do what you always do when socially awkward moments occur: you make up an excuse and run away.
  60. "I'd love to stay," you say, pulling your sleeve back and checking your non-existent watch, "But I have the saddest chocolate purchase of the year to make, and the good stuff'll be all gone if I don't hurry up."
  61.  
  62. --------------
  63.  
  64. >Ah, the candy store.
  65. >Sweet little candy mares and their grumpy green harp-butted marefriends won't stop you from buying a bag of gummy worms whenever you get a craving for something sweet.
  66. >And they certainly won't keep you from stripping their Hearts and Hooves section bare of all their leftover treats.
  67. >You'll keep this tradition alive if it kills you.
  68. >[spoiler]Everyone in town keeps telling you that Bon Bon is a big ol' grumpy butt and that Lyra is the air-headed one, but you just don't see it.[/spoiler]
  69. >You walk past the aisles, eyes scanning the shelves for anything good - or at least half-decent - left over from Hearts and Hooves day.
  70. >You find a few red, heart-shaped boxes with a fancy, immediately recognizable font scrawled across the front, and your eyebrows raise in surprise.
  71. >It's all by itself, standing on the almost-bare shelf and sticking out so much that you're almost convinced that a trap will be sprung and a net will fall down on you as soon as you pick it up.
  72. >You pick it up, slowly nodding your head in appreciation of the small treasure you've come across.
  73. >You had expected to see a few mid-value brands of holiday chocolates on sale the day after Hearts and Hooves, but none as high quality as this.
  74. >Seriously, these tiny horses love their Russel Stirrup; God knows you've seen enough of the little bastards exchanging this exact same heart-shaped box yesterday to know for sure.
  75. >You mean, it's no Loriner Secord or Lindherd, but it's right up there in the top three.
  76. >...at least in your spending bracket, anyway.
  77. >You admire the box for just a moment longer before flipping the thing over in your hands and checking the ingredients.
  78. >These things had better not have any hay in them...
  79. >The last time you ate hay, you were in the hospital for a week.
  80. >Thanks for nothing, Twilight.
  81. >A little bell ringing behind you - the same one that announced your arrival in the store - breaks you out of your little reverie.
  82. >Oh, right; you got here early to beat the rush.
  83. >The rush which, as a quick glance over your shoulder confirms, has just arrived.
  84. >You secure the entirely-too-large box of chocolate under your arm and scan the shelves again, working a little bit faster than before.
  85. >You're going to be SO a tiny bit upset if you miss out on something because you were obsessing over the nutritional information of little balls of butter and chocolate.
  86. >If you lose your chance for the chocolates, you'll have to buy those shitty chalky candy hearts.
  87. >Or maybe, god forbid, those awful cinnamon hearts.
  88. >Anyone who eats those is DEAD to you.
  89. >DEAD TO YOU.
  90. >You spot a few more boxes: all of which either have obnoxious and over-the-top designs, or are so plain that it almost seems as though the company had given up half-way through the creative production.
  91. >A quick glance down at the price tags - unusually low, even with the post-H&H sale prices - confirms your suspicions: it's all no-name brand crap.
  92. >You glance down sadly at your sole box of chocolates and sigh, feeling disappointed.
  93. >You guess the place had been picked clean of all the good stuff before you even got here.
  94. >Either that, or this particular store was very careful about how much candy it ordered so that it didn't waste any money by having too much stock left over.
  95. >Maybe you can do one more round and check out the other aisles before you pay and leave.
  96. >Your eyes are glued on the half-empty shelves as you turn the corner, and you don't see the tiny crotch-height pony until you bump into her.
  97. >With your crotch.
  98. >"Oof!"
  99. >Your groin takes the blow like a champ, and the pony you ran into falls backwards onto her rump.
  100. >The sound of cardboard heralds the spill of a good half-dozen red and pink boxes of chocolates, right off of the little pony's back.
  101. >You recognize the mare almost immediately - it's your friend, Cheerilee!
  102. >She's the pony who helped you learn all about Equestrian culture.
  103. >She's also the pony who you learned could drink you under the table so hard that you'd wake up in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in horse-China.
  104. >You furrow your brow as you give a discrete sniff; no smell of wine or alcohol.
  105. >Isn't that what couples do on horse-Valentine's Day? Drink booze and eat chocolate?
  106. >Or is that just you, minus the crying all alone in your bedroom?
  107. "Oh! Hello, Cheerilee. You're up awfully early on a Saturday."
  108. >The school teacher accepts your offered hand and hauls herself up to her hooves.
  109. >She stares forward directly at your crotch, blinks a few times in confusion, and then cranes her neck to peer up at you.
  110. >"Oh, whoops. Hey there yourself, Anonymous."
  111. >Like many ponies who are significantly shorter than you are, Cheerilee ends up getting a good look at your package before looking up at you.
  112. >And like the polite man you are, you kneel down so that the two of you are at about eye-level with each other.
  113. >You reach out and give the bubblegum-pink mare a good scratch behind the ears, as is your customary greeting for ponies.
  114. >Cheerilee, like many ponies before her, coos and leans into your hand.
  115. >You know these little cuties are sapient and intelligent and all that stuff, but it doesn't mean you can't still pet them.
  116. >And judging by the way Cheerilee's back leg is kicking, ponies love this stuff just as much as you do.
  117. >Cheerilee tries to follow your hand with her head as you finally pull it away, looking disappointed.
  118. >You just chuckle and point to the small pile of chocolates piled on the ground beside her.
  119. "Geez, Cheer, how many boxes of candy do you have over there?"
  120. >Cheerilee glances behind her at the enormous haul, and then snaps her gaze back to your own.
  121. >You do not relent. You're going to tease this little horse for her purchasing habits if it's the last thing you do.
  122. "Don't your students usually pile up chocolates on your desk every holiday?"
  123. >Smiling nervously, she tries to inch her way in front of the messy pile to block your view, finally plopping down on her rump in front of her haul.
  124. >The little sweetheart must think you won't notice how much chocolate she's buying is she sits in front of the boxes.
  125. >You lean forward and poke her widdle belly, making her squeak and bat your hand away with a forehoof.
  126. >Fuck, that's cute.
  127. >WHY IS EVERYTHING HERE SO ADORABLE
  128. >[spoiler]And why do you keep getting in trouble with the law when you hug your neighbors?[/spoiler]
  129. >[spoiler]Ponice Chief Cuddle Wings is such a hardass.[/spoiler]
  130. >"W-Well, you know," she stammers, "I like to buy treats for the fillies and colts when they go on sale, right?"
  131. >That's bullshit, and you don't believe it.
  132. "Uh-huh," you say, your tone flat and unbelieving.
  133. >You've seen that mare put away chocolate faster than a fat, lonely middle-aged woman.
  134. >[spoiler]So, faster than Rarity.[/spoiler]
  135. >[spoiler]Bah-dum-chss![/spoiler]
  136. >[spoiler]...[/spoiler]
  137. >[spoiler]You're friends with her; you're allowed to be an asshole.[/spoiler]
  138.  
  139. >"I'm not sure what you're trying to imply, Anon. I earn a teacher's salary, you know, so one must be economical if one wants treats."
  140. >You don't say a single word; you just stare her down.
  141. >Cheerilee's eye begins to twitch.
  142. >"I'm not buying these for myself because I'm single or anything. I mean, it's not like I'm too busy raising other ponies' foals to have any of my own. A-Are you trying to imply that I can practically feel my biological clock tick-tick-ticking awa-"
  143. >You put a finger to her lips (and watch with delight as her eyes cross to follow it), silencing her.
  144. "Easy there, Cheerilee," you say, pulling out your own box of chocolates, "I'm doing the same thing as you are. I'm a sucker for a deal."
  145. >Strangely enough, Cheerilee looks confused.
  146. >She pushes your hand away from her face and peers up at you.
  147. >"Didn't you... don't you already have chocolates?"
  148. >You scoff.
  149. "Nah, they're way too expensive to buy them normally. That's why I waited."
  150. >You eye the aisle that Cheerilee came from, spotting a few treasures yet to be claimed.
  151. "I'm gonna grab a few more of these things and then freeze'em for later."
  152. >This just seems to confuse Cheerilee further.
  153. >"No, I mean didn't your mare-"
  154. >Her eyes light up for just a moment, and then her ears flop sadly.
  155. >"Oh."
  156. >What, "oh"?
  157. >...
  158. >Oh.
  159. >Yeah, you're single (despite being ready to mingle).
  160. >It seems that you haven't found the right mare yet despite your efforts.
  161. >You're not hideously ugly, a social retard, or just plain HATED by these tiny adorable ponies or anything like that.
  162. >In fact, most ponies in town treat you quite well; much better than your neighbors back on Earth treated you.
  163. >It's just that they seem to get a little bit... uncomfortable when you bring up the prospect of romance.
  164. >An awkward silence rolls over you like a heavy fog, and you decide that it would be best if you change the subject.
  165. "How're the kids, Cheer?"
  166. >Cheerilee shoots you a grateful look, and then rolls her eyes and laughs.
  167. >"They aren't goats, Anonymous."
  168. >You think back to your poor, half-eaten lawn and scowl.
  169. "They might as well be, for all the damage they do to my front yard."
  170. >Cheerilee just shakes her head.
  171. >"Typical stallion," she laughs, voice purposefully (and playfully) condescending, "Are you still angry that the Terror Trio devoured your rose garden?"
  172. "First of al-"
  173. >"Again?"
  174. >Those fucking Crusaders.
  175. >That shit-eating grin on Cheerilee's face isn't doing her any favors right now.
  176. >You give your friend the best frowny face you've got, and she sticks her tongue out at you in return.
  177. "FIRST of all," you repeat with mock-anger, "They weren't roses; they were herbs and spices that I wanted to use for when I cook. SECOND of all, they-"
  178. >Cheerilee bursts out into a giggle fit, interrupting your spiel.
  179. >She smothers her mouth with both forehooves, but the look in her eyes screams "interest".
  180. >"You, cook?" she asks, snorting one last giggle out through her nose, "I thought you hated stalliony stuff like that."
  181. >You sputter for a moment, trying to think up some kind of intelligent comeback.
  182. "Shut up."
  183. >Nailed it.
  184. >She hits you on the shoulder playfully, and you reel back exaggeratedly as though seriously wounded, which earns you a laugh.
  185. >Cheerilee rolls her eyes (they must be getting tired by now, surely) and gives you a look that you know means "cut out the whimsy".
  186. >"What's next; are you going to dig out a pint of ice cream and cry because your shipment of designer testicle bras got delayed?"
  187. >Now it's YOUR turn to laugh.
  188. "Testicle bras, Cheers? Come on, you're making that up. I know there's a bunch of weird crap in Equestria, but that's not real."
  189. >thelaughterstops.png
  190. >Cheerilee stares at you, her eyes slowly widening in wonder.
  191. >"You... you mean you aren't wearing one?"
  192. >...you feel like you're missing something here.
  193. "What do you mean, I'm not wearing one? Of course I'm not."
  194. >How can you wear something that doesn't exist?
  195. >You're skeptical about these "testicle bras".
  196. >The last time somepony tried to convince something to you about the sorts of clothing ponies wore, you got tricked by Rainbow Dash into going around town bottomless for a whole day.
  197. >But, going by your friend's reaction here, testicle bras might actually be a thing.
  198. >Cheerilee somehow manages to make a blush visible through her wine-coloured fur, and you can see her struggle to keep her eyes above the waistline.
  199. >...
  200. >What could she even gain by looking?
  201. >You're wearing jeans, for Christ's sake; the outline of your sack isn't visible by any means right now.
  202. >You and Cheerilee are friends, so like any good friend you ignore the way she keeps darting her gaze down to your crotch.
  203. >It's seven in the morning and you've already reached your tolerance for horsey bullshit.
  204. >Testicle bras.
  205. >Pffft.
  206. >Whatever.
  207.  
  208. >You bring your hands up and cover your face; you did NOT need to have this sort of discussion in a fucking candy shop.
  209. >Bon Bon's probably listening in and everything.
  210. "Jesus," you groan into your hands, "Is that why I'm still single, Cheers? Do ponies think I'm a slut or something, all because I don't wear a testicle bra?"
  211. >You separate your fingers a bit so that you can peek out at your friend without revealing your face (and thus, your shame).
  212. "How the fuck can I be a slut if I haven't even had sex with a pony yet? Surely the whole 'perpetually single since day one' thing would have tipped everyone off to my horse-virgin status."
  213. >"Y-You're a virgin?" asks Cheerilee, stumbling over her words.
  214. "Yeah, yeah," you groan, covering up your eyes once more, "Laugh it up, Chuckles."
  215. >With your fingers over your eyes, you don't see Cheerilee glance down at her pile of chocolates contemplatively.
  216.  
  217. >"Well, it's just that..."
  218. >You feel a pair of warm hooves tugging on your arms.
  219. >"Move your hoof-spiders, please. I need you to look at me and pay attention."
  220. >Grumpily, you rest your cheek on your fist and do your absolute best not to pout.
  221. >According to a few mares in town (and more than a few drunk stallions), you've got an absolutely adorable pout.
  222. >Cheerilee gestures with her hooves, trying to express a concept that she cannot articulate.
  223. >You, like the good friend you are, nod encouragingly at her.
  224. "Use your big-mare words, Cheers."
  225. >This earns you raspberry being blown right at you.
  226. >[spoiler]You do your best to ignore all that pony-spit that Cheerilee just sprayed you with.[/spoiler]
  227. >"Don't be a butt, Anonymous."
  228. >Cheerilee blinks, and her annoyed expression melts away.
  229. >"Oh, no. I'm starting to speak like my students."
  230. >She shakes her head to clear it of the cobwebs.
  231. >"Anyway. The thing is, Anonymous... there's no easy way to say this."
  232. >She trots over to you and places a forehoof onto your shoulder.
  233. >"You look a bit like a foal, Anon."
  234. >...
  235. >You fucking what?
  236. "I... I don't understand. I'm pretty sure I don't look like a baby pony, Cheerilee."
  237. >"No, no, no," she says, waving her free hoof in front of your eyes, "Not like that. I mean... your eyes are so small and beady, Anonymous."
  238. >She boops you gently on the nose; you've lived long enough in Equestria to recognize that as a sympathetic gesture.
  239. >"Small and beady, just like a foal's eyes are. You're absolutely adorable, Anon.
  240. >No.
  241. >NO.
  242. "Oh, my god."
  243. >You're a reverse anime girl.
  244. >"And it's not just that," continues Cheerilee, ignoring your early midlife crisis, "But you've got really fine fur all over your body."
  245. >She starts to talk with a bit more confidence, and her words are louder and clearer; she's gone into teacher mode.
  246. >"When a foal is born, they're covered in a thin layer of down-like fur. It's so thin that you can practically see the skin underneath, but that goes away after a few weeks."
  247. >Cheerilee pokes your arm, gently running a hoof up and down its length.
  248. >After a moment, the rubbing becomes slower.
  249. >More comforting.
  250. >More...
  251. >...mesmerized.
  252. >Cheerilee's explanation trails off as she stares down at your arm and continues to rub your skin up and down.
  253. >It's like she's fascinated with it.
  254. >You aren't sure how to describe it; there's just something about this moment that screams "intimate" in your head.
  255. >Come to think of it, you don't think Cheerilee has really ever touched you like this before.
  256. >Pokes, sure; but never a gentle caress.
  257. >"A-And as you can see here, your skin is plainly visible under the sparse, thin fur you've got."
  258. >Cheerilee sighs and continues to rub your arm comfortingly.
  259. >"I hate to be the one to ruin a colt's day this early in the morning, but you've got just enough features of a young colt that it probably makes mares uncomfortable when you try to get together with them."
  260. >She looks at you very solemnly.
  261. >"Nopony wants to be thought of as a foal-toucher, Anon."
  262. >Fuck.
  263. "Well, shit."
  264. >Cheerilee pats you on the cheek.
  265. >"Sorry, sweetheart."
  266. >[spoiler]...wait. So when Amethyst wasn't sure if you drank coffee...?[/spoiler]
  267.  
  268. >Well, fuck.
  269. >Time to go get drunk.
  270. >It's five o'clock somewhere, right?
  271. >Or does that really work when day and night are dictated by the whims of an all-powerful sun-goddess?
  272. >Look, whatever; the point is, you've got some day-drinking to do.
  273. "Well, Cheers," you say, preparing to stand back up and groan like an old man, "It's been fun, but I'm gonna get going. I've got a busy day of eating chocolates and drinking away the fact that I'm apparently just like my Japanese animes to you ponies."
  274. >Cheerilee remains silent.
  275. >Curiosity overtakes you, and you turn to look over at her.
  276. >She's still sitting there next to her stacked boxes of chocolates.
  277. >"...Hey, Anonymous?"
  278. >Cheerilee looks down at her stash contemplatively, and then slowly grabs the box from the top and presents it to you.
  279. >She's got a small, hopeful smile on her face.
  280. >"I'm single, you're single... so why spend the day all by ourselves when we can be alone together?"
  281. >You stare down at the cellophaned box of chocolates - the GOOD type - and really think hard.
  282. >[spoiler]For fucks's sake; THAT'S where all the good chocolate went.[/spoiler]
  283. >You're apparently an adorable little anime schoolgirl to these ponies, so your chances of romance are just about nil unless you feel like moving to a foreign land.
  284. >Cheerilee doesn't seem to be bothered by your foal-like appearance. Probably numb to the cuteness by now
  285. >...you're pretty good friends with her and, you mean... if you had to give your first horse-kiss to one of these silly little ponies, Cheerilee would a pretty good choice.
  286. >You smile back just as apprehensively and take the box of chocolates.
  287. >Cheerilee's smile widens into a grin, and you feel your face mirror hers.
  288. >With a chuckle, you reach over and scritch the bubblegum schoolteacher behind the ears.
  289. "Are you doing anything for lunch?"
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