Zephyr Part 22
- Eventually waiting in a miserable ball on the floor wasn't enough for Autumn, though she's certainly not going to disobey Master herself and go up there. You spend the next couple of hours watching Autumn pace around the house, sometimes with an agitated quickstep, sometimes drifting between rooms in a hopeless depression. As much as you'd like to help her feel better, it's entirely out of your hooves as long as Sunflower is up there getting poked and prodded and hopefully "fixed" by your Master.
- Those cries, though. "Daddy hurts! He yells and hits!"... It still sends shivers down your spine to think about. At some point before being the heinous thing you'd lived in fear of, there must have been a little boy in a very, very bad situation. You suppose monsters have to be made, not born... Another series of involuntary shudders run down your spine you when you wonder if what he planned on doing to you was anything like what happened to him. Disgust overtakes you and it takes everything you have to stuff it back down and try to keep your composure. Opal said that Charlie "had demons", but you're willing to bet good money she didn't know the full extent of it or surely she would have told you.
- Still, the horrors that Sunflower was remembering, the problem Master is trying to fix... That's Charlie. Making sure the sweet little thing can live in peace with an owner and two adoptive parents, none of whom would ever hurt her, "Fixing" the problem literally entails making sure no portion of Charlie's memories survive. It's death, in a much more perverse form that you're not comfortable with at all. I mean, sure, everyone who ends up in Master's basement gets a new body and a new life, that's a given, but you know about who you were, even if your name is long gone. Your childhood, education, botched romances, they're all still there. Hell, you can even remember your social security number despite having no idea what the name above it on the card actually read.
- Wiping out Charlie so utterly, using him up so completely that the finished pony doesn't remember a thing is just... just wrong. Not that there's anything you can do about it now, even if defying Master were an option at all, but it's unsettling to the extreme. Honestly, you'd be much more comfortable with everything if your Master had actually killed him, and that's really saying something.
- All these conflicting thoughts and feelings and difficult ethical problems are so not what you signed up for when you agreed to be a good little pet. Your own domestication was difficult enough to rationalize, and then getting poor Opal through hers, but this really takes the cake. Still, after Sunflower is dealt with and sent off you can't imagine there will be a more difficult situation to think through when the time comes for more people to end up downstairs, aside from maybe law enforcement paying your happy home a visit. Still, the knowledge that with just a bit more patience you'll really have nothing to worry about besides bedding your Master as often as you're sure you'll want to is exciting, to say the least. And if all you have to put up with in the meantime is the occasional violent, screaming episode from an otherwise pleasant, adorable filly you suppose you can get by just fine.
- The sound of approaching hoofsteps pulls you back out of your thoughts, and just the look on Autumn's face is enough for you to scoot over and embrace her with a whole lot of nuzzling when she climbs up. She looks exhausted, and you can feel the tension in her muscles when you do your best to offer simple contact and comfort to your friend. Master may love you, but no one will ever need you the way Autumn needs you and that's even more reassuring.
- Not that your warm, caring friendship stops her from bolting off the couch so fast you tumble off of it yourself when footsteps can be heard on the staircase. By the time you've pulled your face off the floor and rolled onto your hooves he's reached the bottom, cradling a very still Sunflower in his arms. For a moment her lack of motion is alarming, to the point that your breath catches in your throat, but once Master kneels down and sets the little brown-and-blonde bundle down with Autumn you can see she's just sleeping. Autumn doesn't bother moving Sunflower for the sake of her own comfort and at once curls herself up around the sleeping little filly, looking every bit the relieved mother as she does. No one speaks, lest you wake her, but the look of gratitude in her eyes seems to be enough for him before he pantomimes "eating" with his hands and mouth and heads for the kitchen. You're hardly able to contain your curiosity about what went on up there, giving Autumn a quick smile before following him so you can get some answers.
- The snort of a chuckle when you turn up in the kitchen as he raids the fridge is a little unexpected until you realize he's just laughing at your curiosity.
- "You want to hear about what is up with Sunflower, right? If I'd known you would be so interested in how I work I might have considered hiring you rather than turning you."
- "Eugh!" You lead in, helpless to contain your displeasure at the notion, "If I were just some dude you paid for help you wouldn't wanna cuddle me at all!"
- "If you were just some guy I paid for help you probably wouldn't want me to cuddle you, honey."
- It's a simple, obvious statement, and completely factual, but no idea has ever seemed so profoundly strange to you as not wanting him to hold you or stroke your mane or rub your back. You know you went through your whole life before him without it, but... man, what kind of miserable life was that? It's just hellish to imagine...
- Your face must have said it all when he'd finally got everything he needs to make dinner, because pauses with a soft "D'aww" noise before kneeling to take you in a hug. You're only too happy to be in his embrace, but the jokes he was making nag at you something fierce.
- "It really doesn't bother you at all that I used to be a guy, does it?"
- "Not really. You're not a guy now, I made sure of that, and you certainly don't act like one."
- Besides sometimes admiring yourself in a mirror and craving his attentions... carnal and otherwise, that doesn't seem right at all.
- "I think I act pretty much like I used to... don't I?"
- His brows furrow for a moment while he mulls it over, clearly trying to think of the right words.
- "It's not a personality thing, there's just a point where every pony 'clicks' with it. You act like frightened people trying to work a body you don't know for a while, and at some point or another you cross a threshold. There's a point where you started moving differently, eating differently, sitting differently, and that's when I knew you'd accepted it. Maybe not intellectually or emotionally, but you adapted. Unicorns learn to account for their horn when they move their head, pegasi learn not to crush their wings. You stop making a mess every time you eat and drink. Mares who used to be guys stop awkwardly tromping around and learn to use the hips they've been given and move naturally. You, by the way, have the best hip sway I've ever seen. I'm sure you don't mean to, but I swear it's like you're trying to sashay down a catwalk or something. Very graceful from the side... very enticing from behind."
- He finishes with an unexpected, firm grope of your rear, at first getting only a sharp inhale out of you until his fingers, digging greedily, just barely brush at your sensitive areas draw a soft moan out of you. He lets go after that, apparently still content to fire you up without actually going all that much further, but such aggressive, assertive behavior is the absolute best! You already know he thinks you're sexy, of course, but getting complimented like this is still a wonderful rush of happy warmth. He makes a sincere effort to put you down and get back to cooking, but that's simply not going to do after a moment like that, and you spring back up to cuddle more before he has time to rise back onto his feet. You were perhaps a bit more forceful than you needed to be, but apparently causing him to fall back onto his butt is a forgivable offense if it's because you're nuzzling his chest and giggling like a stoned little idiot. You're able to parley your inherent pony cuteness into several long minutes of petting before his stomach growling finally forces him to cut you off and get back to preparing dinner. In all the pleasant rubbing and mane-stroking you'd forgotten about the original discussion topic entirely until he brought it back up.
- "So before you ask, I don't fully get what is going on in Sunflower's head."
- "Y-you don't?"
- "Not really, no. I took what little data I could, but all that told me is that there's nothing physically wrong with her or her brain."
- "So what have you been doing up there for all this time?"
- "I tried triggering another episode after she woke up from being sedated the first time, but no mention of parents or fathers did anything, and neither did a bunch of names and places I got from Charlie's laptop. We're going to have to pay close attention to her, but if they aren't repeatable then I'm hoping we'll be able to just let her get them out of her system before sending her off."
- "So, that's it? We just let her scream her little head off every couple of days until there's nothing left to scream about?"
- "It's all I've got, Zephyr. We'll have to tell Ann and her ponies what to do if she has another episode after they take her, but I'm hoping we can take care of it here."
- You've still got a host of concerns about what is being done here, but there's nothing to be done for them now, so you're content to accept his non-answer uncritically and take a pat on the head with it before settling down and waiting for dinner. The happy voices coming from the other room seem to indicate that Sunflower is awake at last, but for now you're quite alright sitting in the corner of the kitchen and admiring your Master's muscled back and shoulders with no small amount of excitement for what they'll be able to do when you're rolling around the bed with him. Your physical impulses around him started as a selfish thing... he could make you feel good, and you wanted him to. That lusty, carnal desire is still there, of course, you've been doped up on extreme sensitivity in your pretty little pony body and that's never ever going away. Now, though... and for a while now... he looks good. You find yourself is admiring him every now and again, or comparing things you like about his face and body to the guys in movies and tv...
- Sure, his body is an elaborate cheat, a thing he did to himself with machines, but then again you got yours the same way and you admire it just fine. You had a small moment of crisis when you looked at Eli and thought he was less attractive than your Master... and realized that you do, in fact, find your Master attractive the same way you enjoy catching a peek at Autumn's shapely rump. Considering how long you've been here and how much debauchery you've managed to get up to in that time it was sort of a given... but you guess it never occurred to you? You love him, of course, but loving him and thinking he looks pretty fuckin' fine are different things. His crotch smelled spectacular the first time you ever pleased him... was becoming a bisexual something he did to you? Or is it something you did yourself?
- Difficult to make sense of, not terribly logical... eh, you've had enough of those things lately. Thinking the big guy who feeds you and loves you is handsome is just icing on the cake that is your life these days, nothing to worry about! You guess there's still a guy somewhere in your head after all, worrying about such silly things. You're Zephyr, and Zephyr loves Master, so Zephyr had best just deal with whatever that implies.
- Your reverie ends abruptly when you spot a small brown blur approaching at high speed in the corner of your vision. By the time you've realized it's a tiny little bundle of joy named Sunflower she's already latched her forehooves around the trunk of your neck in a hug, which you try to return as convincingly as possible. It's not that you don't like her, because she's just heart-tormentingly sweet, but you're still not entirely comfortable with what's happening in her head. Autumn enters the kitchen looking as relieved as she could be about the day's unpleasantness as Sunflower greets Master with a hug around one of his shins. Your wonderful makeshift family settles down for dinner amid Sunflower's happy babbling, and once again you're at peace with everything. For these peaceful moments you couldn't care less about Charlie's desperately struggling psyche trying to survive, Sunflower brightens the room up to the point that you're prepared to let the scary rape dude go.
- That's how things stay for a little over a week. Sure, Sunflower has the occasional episode, but by now you've all developed a response to them. When the screaming and crying starts up Autumn latches on to the little thing with a fierce hug, repeatedly trying to shush a mad-pony and seemingly trying to love the crazy out. Still, it serves a purpose in buying Master time to respond from wherever he happens to be to rush her off for more testing. Beyond this admittedly stressful cycle life is actually pretty great. The three of you take tremendous pleasure in introducing Sunflower to everything she "forgot", to the point that Master, with a twinkle in his eyes, left the three of you alone in the house long enough for him to drive to town and return with not just the usual groceries, but also a tremendous selection of sweets and a take-out pizza. It was lukewarm at best by the time he got home with it, but it was totally new to Sunflower and you've been removed from that delicious oily, cheesy goodness for long enough that you would have eaten it cold at the time. Even better, while Sunflower and Autumn assaulted a small plate of candies Master gives you something even better: An old e-reader! Well, not all that old, per say, but this one uses buttons instead of a touchscreen, making it far more hoof-friendly. There are rules that come with it of course, like sharing it equally with Autumn and asking his permission before buying any new stuff on it, but neither of those should be a problem. Autumn reads maybe twice a week at most and "having to ask" for new books is just another little submission game he'll want to play. You'll sit or roll over or stand up on your hind legs or whatever he wants even without the promise of new reading material- You're his to command, after all.
- Your walks are far longer with the filly in tow, though since she couldn't be outdoors without a leash lest an episode send her darting off into the woods all three of you end up leashed for fairness' sake. It honestly grates a bit, having to pace yourself constantly after getting used to running around as you saw fit. Still, there's something to be said for making him keep up with all three of you darting around, occasionally tangling leashes and making him put up with it. You occasionally catch yourself wishing that the world were ready for the likes of you, if only so passerby in the park could envy him for his lovely pets.
- Master does let you get some flight-time in at night after Sunflower and Autumn have gone to sleep in the cage you got kept in at first, Sunflower as a matter of necessity and Autumn to keep her company. Night-flying might be the best kind, especially when you've got Master's undivided attention as you swoop around the yard. Having alone time with him is a joy all it's own, though Autumn has become so attached to giving you a special first time with Master that she made you promise not to rut him in the yard and stick to "the plan". You're able to keep your word, but only because cuddling up to him and staring at the stars is downright magical, though he seems to enjoy you lying on top of him more than the spectacle of the heavens.
- Days follow days as pleasantly as they ever could, and it's hardly a big deal when Autumn asks you to look after Sunflower yourself while she goes to "ask Master about something", though considering the look in her eyes and how much time she's been spending looking after Sunflower to the exclusion of all else you'd say she's pining for some affection, chaste or otherwise. It's no problem at all when the little thing sets herself down beside you and settles in for a small nap while you continue to read. She's asleep in no time, and sleeps pretty soundly while you put another couple of chapters under your (figurative) belt.
- Then the noises start.
- Tiny, pained moans grab your attention, and as your head snaps around to see what's the matter with your little friend she begins to twitch and squirm. If this is an episode, there's not much to do but help her through it.
- "Sunflower, are you alright?"
- Her eyes open with a pained expression, but one that seems to be regaining focus. The low croak of her voice sounds downright unnatural after all the happy near-chirping the little thing has been doing all week.
- "That's... I'm not..."
- That's evidence enough for you to wrap her in your forelegs and hold her close to you, pinning her between your chest and the couch cushions without crushing her. At first you just fold your ears down and shut your eyes tight in anticipation of screaming and kicking to follow, but when none comes you open your eyes in curious surprise to find her staring right back. The look on her face is one of a wounded, desperate animal, and it's heartbreaking to see on such a little thing... but her eyes betray her. This isn't Sunflower.
- "Please... please make it stop." she squeaks out, pleading with her eyes.
- "You know I can't." Is all you can muster in reply, at once feeling guilty for having ignored your fears about this.
- "Y-you don't know what it's like... I wake up and know what she's been doing... but I'm losing things..."
- "Losing things?"
- "More and more, every time! Where I lived! A-a-and how I met Dave! I can't remember my mother's face! The sound of her voice! Please, just help me..."
- There's nothing you can do, even if you wanted to... but the horror of it all is turning your stomach. Thinking of what Master would do is all that helps you keep your composure.
- "I'm sorry. I really am. There's nothing anyone can do, though. I know you're scared, but if you just relax, let it happen, it can all be over. A fresh start is waiting for her, but you can't be part of it."
- Something that sounds like "Please" escapes her lips before she breaks down into hysterical sobbing. There's nothing to be done now except to make "Charlie" comfortable on his way out... As terrible as you feel for thinking it. You hug her a bit more firmly to counteract increased struggling, and try your best to shush a coo her into silence. Her tears don't stop though, not that you would blame someone so thoroughly doomed for crying, and as your brain desperately tries to think of something to do to offer some small comfort a voice rises out of your throat that you've never really heard before.
- "Hush now, quiet now
- It's time to lay your sleepy head..."
- An hour later the sun has set and your tears have finally dried when Master and Autumn emerge from upstairs. You are the last person on earth who should ever have wept for Charlie, but empathy got the better of you. The fear that you were losing your mind was once the most paramount and terrifying concern you had in this very house... but getting washed away like that must have been so much worse. Looking down at the now sleeping filly there's no sign of anguish or terror, just a sleeping little angel, so you suppose singing must have been the right move. All the same, you don't think you want to spend much more time bonding with Sunflower...
- Master knows something is wrong as soon as you make eye contact, though even he seems to grasp at straws in trying to console you. He does resolve to have you sing something for him when there isn't a sleeping filly at your side... though maybe not that song. Not that song ever.
- Good going, Charlie, your final act was to make Fluttershy's lullaby hair-raisingly creepy, balls-to-the-wall disturbing. You've never been happier to let Autumn take over doting on Sunflower while Master scoops you up and starts petting. Emotional exhaustion is far more compelling than you could give it credit, and as your eyes droop you mumble out one more thought.
- "No more fillies, please. They're fuckin' creepy."
- "... Agreed."
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