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Father of the Night 28: Orange Handed.

Mandroid Aug 14th, 2013 170 Never
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  1. =Father of the Night 28=
  2.  
  3. >"Chop chop chip watchin' carrot bits drop."
  4. >That was the mantra you sung to yourself as you chopped said carrot bits.
  5. >It was lunchtime in the house and that meant that you needed to feed the boy.
  6. >Lord knows he wouldn't do it himself when he was like this.
  7. >You look to the pantry door that leads down to his little Cave and grimace.
  8. >Normal boys would spend their Saturdays out playing ball or fishing or other things you saw on daytime tv, not in a makeshift crime-lab.
  9. >But, then again, you didn't have a normal boy.
  10. >You collect the veggies in a bowl and open the pantry, heading down the carved steps.
  11. "Bruce? Lunch is on."
  12. >"Down here, Anonymous." you hear as you walk into the Cave proper.
  13. >You make your way down and hear a bit of Bruce talking. "I have company coming, we can talk more about this shrunken city of yours later."
  14. >What?
  15. >As you enter the cave, you're greeted by the quadruple heads of a hydra.
  16. "GAH!"
  17. >You stumble back and practically drop the bowl.
  18. >"It's animatronic." Bruce says.
  19. >On cue, the mechanical hydra shifts it's heads and releases a metallic hiss.
  20.  
  21. >You grip your chest. [spoiler][/spoiler] "where the FU-HELL did you get that?"
  22. >Bruce continues to work at his little crime lab in the corner. "Luna and I...procured it after the break-in at the national history museum in Canterlot last week."
  23. >You cock an eyebrow.
  24. "You -stole- it?"
  25. >"Liberated, sir. It was stolen and was to be put up for scrap anyway."
  26. >You join him at the table.
  27. "Liberated."
  28. >"I could say "trophy" if it makes you feel better." he says, working.
  29. >In Bruce's hooves rests a tiny shard of wood.
  30. "What's that?" you ask setting down his lunch.
  31. >"A shard of wood from the latest encounter with the Mare Do Well. I'm hoping to glean a clue from it."
  32. >You look over Bruce's various microscopes and magnifiers, identifiers and inspectors, all strewn across the table as he went over the wood.
  33. >...
  34. >You lean down and sniff it.
  35. "It's wood."
  36. >You sniff again.
  37. "Slightly cider flavored wood."
  38. >Bruce's face contorts to one of annoyance. "Yes, thank you sir, for both the deductive insight and the food, would it be too much to ask for some privacy now?"
  39. >Tch. Rich kids.
  40. >You frown.
  41. "Party pooper, no cake for you."
  42.  
  43. >He wants to be that way? Fine. You don't need him.
  44. >You walk back upstairs with hands in pockets and scowl on face and sit down on your couch.
  45. "...Hmm."
  46. >...Well now what?
  47. >Your social life was already on life support before getting a ward dealt the death blow. These days you mostly stuck around the house, looked after Bruce, cleaned, or talked with AJ or Twi about life.
  48. >These days your secret keepers were the only ones you could really talk to.
  49. >You remember that a Princess is now included in those numbers.
  50. >That's kind of awesome.
  51. >And a good start.
  52. >You head to the kitchen and dial AJ, she might be free.
  53. >The dial tone rings...
  54. >And rings...
  55. >And...rings...
  56. >...And you're reminded that Equestria may have phones, but no answering machines.
  57. "Shit."
  58. >You hang up and go fall face first on the couch.
  59. >So bored.
  60. >Can't focus.
  61. >Need life.
  62. >But the only other pony you could really talk to these days was in the hospital an-
  63. >...Wellll...
  64. >Visiting hours -were- later on weekends...
  65.  
  66. >Turns out going to the hospital was a great idea, you were having a fun time with Twilight.
  67. "Hmm...Starswirl the Bearded."
  68. >"Was actually a HUMUNGOUS jerk, he would delegate everything to the magi under him and just slack off all day." Twilight says.
  69. "Whaaaaat? But all the stories make him out to be awesome!"
  70. >Twilight winks. "And all the stories get little colts and fillies to want to study magic."
  71. "Oh that's clever."
  72. >"Scarily so."
  73. >The two of you share a laugh by the water's edge.
  74. >You had found Twilight wigging out in her room when you arrived, she had finished her physical therapy today and was waiting on Spike to deliver another shipment of books to read.
  75. >That in mind, you took pity on her and wheeled her out to the nearby lake for some fresh air.
  76. >Or at least to get her in a position where she can tell scandalous stories about ancient ponies.
  77. >But it was good to see her smiling again...
  78. "Hah. You're good at that, Twi. A Shame Bruce will need another historian now..."
  79. >Twilight cocks an eyebrow. "Why's that, Anonymous?"
  80.  
  81. >You rub the back of your head.
  82. "Well- I mean- You got...crippled helping hi-...us, Twi. We can't ask you to come back into that life after that..."
  83. >Twilight adjusts herself in her wheelchair. "Well then it's a good thing you don't have to ask."
  84. >Whoa.
  85. >Wait.
  86. "What?"
  87. >Twilight looks over the lake and smiles a wry smile. "I may not be all I was before...but I'm much more than just my body or my spine, I've still got the most available knowledge on Equestrian history and that's apparently what you and Bruce need sometimes."
  88. >She looks at you and smiles. "And he -does- help, you saw what he did in Fillydelphia."
  89. >You nod slowly, still sore over losing Twi in the first place.
  90. >"So I'm going to help any way I can, even if it's from this chair..."
  91. >You smile and follow her gaze over the lake. You spot a mother duck leading her ducklings across the water.
  92. "Hey Twi..."
  93. >"Hmm?"
  94. "Tell me a story about Clover the Clever."
  95. >You can practically HEAR Twilight roll her eyes. "Where do I even START?"
  96.  
  97. >You drop Twi off once Spike shows up. Which means Twi makes you wheel her back to her room and ditches you the minute Spike shows up with the books.
  98. >That's fine, you can't say no to crippled girls.
  99. >Not content to just wait around at home some more, you walk about.
  100. >The sun has set long ago by the time you find yourself near Sweet Apple Acres.
  101. >Hmm...been a while since you saw Mac.
  102. >You amble past the gate and head towards the barn house. You can see the giant mass of red and muscles locking up as you get closer.
  103. "Hey Macintosh."
  104. >He pokes his head up and smiles. "Hey there, Anonymous."
  105. >The two of you shake hand and hoof as is your custom.
  106. "So were you guys out all day? I called but didn't get an answer."
  107. >Mac cocks an eyebrow. "We've been here all day. In fact, Applejack's done been inside the house since early this mornin'.
  108. >That's unlike her.
  109. "What? Why?"
  110. >Mac shrugs. "She came home from somewhere when I was just gettin' up to work. She went inside and fell into her bed and I aint rightly seen her since."
  111. >Tch.
  112. >Apple farmers.
  113. "Can I go find her?"
  114. >Mac nods and turns back to his work.
  115. >You make your way to the front door, stepping lightly as to avoid waking Applebloom up and look in the window.
  116. >By some stroke of luck, you catch sight of a blonde tail vanishing upstairs.
  117. "What are you up to...?"
  118.  
  119. >You creep past the door and tiptoe through the Apple Clan's home.
  120. >You'd spent a lot of time here when you had first arrived in Equestria and you KNOW how creaky these floorboards are.
  121. >Inch by inch you move towards the stairs, stepping on the rug to muffle your footsteps.
  122. >As you sneak up the stairs, you can hear someone moving fabric around coming from where you know is AJ's room.
  123. >What?
  124. >Did Rarity make an outfit or something?
  125. >You reach the top of the steps and turn the doorknob.
  126. >You can see AJ inside, half in and half out of her closet as she moves things around inside.
  127. >You need to see more.
  128. >The door creaks ever so silently as you lean further in, but AJ can't hear over the sound of her own racket.
  129. >You poke your head in and peer into the closet, squinting to see what you can.
  130. >In the back of the closet rests a costume you know. The dark purple color, the wide brimmed hat, the mask, the cape.
  131. >You'd seen it on wanted posters both around town and in Bruce's cave.
  132. >And it brings to mind only one thing.
  133. "What. The. FUCK?"
  134.  
  135. >AJ jumps a foot and a half and wheels around. "Anonymous! What in the hay are you doing sneaking around into a girls room like that!?"" she shouts.
  136. "AJ! What in the HELL are you doing with THAT! YOU'RE the Mare-Do-Well!?" you shout as you step inside.
  137. >Applejack may as well be watching a tennis match with the back and forth she does. "I-it's nothin'! And don't shout! You'll wake Applebloom!"
  138. >Oh AJ, shittiest liar in the world.
  139. >You close the door behind you.
  140. "AJ what the hell?"
  141. >"Now hold on."
  142. "What is this?"
  143. >"Wait a minute-"
  144. "Does your family know?"
  145. >"Now would ya-"
  146. "Oh my god, does GRANNY know?"
  147. >She'd kill her.'
  148. >Applejack just glares at you. "Can I talk now?"
  149. "Can you tell me why you're risking your life like this?"
  150. >"Can you tell me why -Bruce- does it?"
  151. >You just stare right back at her. Of course you could.
  152. "Uh, because he's WEIRD?"
  153. >Well meaning, just weird as hell.
  154. >AJ furrows her brow a bit.
  155. "Not to mention that he SOMEHOW knows what he's doing, I trust that he can come back home every night."
  156. >"That don't make it right, Anon."
  157. "No, but it makes it tolerable."
  158. >Barely.
  159.  
  160. >Applejack stomps her hoof. "He's nine years old! No older n' Applebloom! He shouldn't -have- to do this kinda stuff!"
  161. >She hangs her head a bit. "I saw him...when he got hurt by that Will guy, and I saw him hurt before that too!"
  162. >Applejack shakes her head. "Aint nothin' on this earth that's worth a foal gettin' hurt...not when us grown-ups are there to protect 'em."
  163. >The two of you stand there for a bit and you see AJ's big sister shine through like the sun.
  164. "Yeah, well...you getting hurt isn't an alternative either."
  165. >Her eyes meet yours.
  166. "You matter to too many people, not just us but your family too. And Bruce takes those risks so NO ONE else has to, foal or adult."
  167. >"But he still needs HELP, Anonymous."
  168. >You shake your head.
  169. "Bruce has help, he's got alicorns and genius unicorn scholars to help him, and the guard captain in his wing. What he -needs- is people who can help take care of him, teach him how to be normal so he has some -balance- in his life."
  170. >AJ looks down at the floor, her eyes darting back and forth.
  171. "That's what you're good at, AJ. Stability. Applebloom's probably the nicest kid I know and she's got you to thank for that."
  172. >AJ looks back at her costume hanging in the closet, a twinge of regret in her eyes.
  173. >Her eyes with...big circles underneath them...
  174. >You sigh.
  175.  
  176. "Look AJ, you're tired...why don't you get some rest?"
  177. >The fire returns to her eyes. "I can take it."
  178. >Oh no.
  179. >Dad mode on.
  180. >You look down your nose.
  181. "Applejack."
  182. >"Ah'm fine!"
  183. "AJ."
  184. >"I don't need to sleep yet!"
  185. >You're both quiet for a minute before you point at the bed.
  186. "Climb."
  187. >Applejack just looks at you before she kicks her closet door shut and hangs up her hat, climbing into bed.
  188. >You sit back against the wall.
  189. "Not leaving until you're dead asleep."
  190. >Applejack looks at you and then her bed. "I'm never gonna hear the end of it if you stand there all night...climb in."
  191. >Uhh...
  192. >You find your feet moving on their own and you sit on top of the blankets next to AJ.
  193. "You don't...need a bedtime story, do you?"
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