Rick awoke to the sound of birds chirping outside his window, at least he hoped it was birds. The last time he awoke to chirps it turned out to be an angry chipmunk who was already pissed off at something and didn't take kindly to anything venturing into his territory. Luckily this time it was birds and Rick didn't have to leave by the window and face an angry rodent this morning.
He made himself two cups of coffee and blearily wandered out the door and into the sunlight which normally would have been considered odd as he lived in a basement apartment and natural light wasn't common underground. But then this was no normal door he passed through and when he placed the cup of coffee in front of his girlfriend she wasn't exactly what could pass for normal either at least not from where he was from. She smiled sweetly at him, kissed him good morning, finished writing a few things down then putting the quill back on the desk, picked up the coffee with her magic and trotted over to the table where they sat and had breakfast.
Maybe it's better to start at the beginning.
June 1st, 2012 had been like just about any other day before it. The sun went up, hung around in the sky for a bit then went down only to repeat the process the next day. Rick, that being the same person at the beginning of the story, woke up as he normally did and as was his habit made a cup of coffee. He had moved here a couple months ago, fresh out of college and already had a position as a junior developer for a large software company. He had rented a basement apartment from a nice older couple because it was cheap and also because... well actually that was the only reason. Usually his days were spent in front of the PC for long hours on end, but the best thing was he was able to work from home most days just grinding away and coding. But with this job came some long hours so his PC as well as coffee machine was in his bedroom. It just saved time so he could take a nap when needed or if he woke up in the middle of the night with some inspiration it was only a short stumble to the PC. The only thing he lacked was friends, not that he couldn't make them but he was just too busy with everything else.
Meanwhile, in a completely different universe, there was much excitement going on in the Ponyville library.
Twilight Sparkle, the librarian, for many months had been researching a spell to create a magical doorway between her library and the main library in Canterlot castle. Why she wanted to do this was up to interpretation. Some ponies said it was because she was an overachieving little bookworm. Others said it was because she was crazy. Others said it was because she was obsessing over having lost a book and yet another said she hoped Twilight would find what she was looking for.
It had taken her months but finally today, when all the stars were in alignment and she had carefully gone through every part of the spell cast it at a blank wall in the library. Slowly, a haze appeared there, every so often there appeared to be a flicker coming from the haze but it passed too quickly for anypony to see. The flickering became more and more apparent then started to slow down. But while before there was nothing there, now there was a plain looking door where once was a blank wall.
"There it is Spike!" she said, visibly tired from the effort but there was no mistaking that right in front of them was a plain, white door that had not been there a moment ago. "The doorway to the library in Canterlot."
"I don't know Twilight, " Spike said with a little concern in his voice. "It's pretty plain for a library door. Looks kinda cheap. I would have thought that the door was fancier, and heavier."
"Oh nonsense Spike. It's a magical doorway, it doesn't have to look like the real door. Ooooh! Won't Princess Celestia be surprised when I show up!" Twilight was all aflutter with excitement. Had she a little more sense and wasn't so impressed with what she had just accomplished maybe she would have noticed that there were some muffled sounds coming from behind the door.
Back on Earth Rick woke up, had a coffee and logged onto his PC to check his e-mail before getting ready for the day. Nothing exciting caught his eye so he wandered out his door heading towards the bathroom to take a shower and shedding his clothes along the way. However the hallway seemed a lot brighter than it normally did not to mention it was a lot more crowded then he remembered.
Crowded is of course a relative term. 3 people is a crowd according to the old saying and I guess 3 beings could also count as a crowd as he found himself facing a lavender unicorn and a small purple dragon. Everybody froze in place having seen something that they never expected to see. Rick glanced behind himself at the open doorway leading to his bedroom, then forward into what appeared to be a library of sorts with the aforementioned lavender unicorn and dragon.
He stared at them, they stared back. He slapped himself on the face, it stung so he thought this wasn't a dream. It still didn't mean he wasn't insane and this wasn't a hallucination.
Eventually, after much staring and looking back and forth Rick managed to find his voice which surprised the unicorn and dragon. But what was more surprising was when they responded to him. In English. North American English.
"Where the hell am I?" Rick asked looking at nobody in particular.
"You speak Equestrian?" Twilight Sparkle asked.
Rick froze, as it's not every day that a miniature lavender pony actually talks to you and you can understand what it's saying. "Hold on, you're speaking English. You're a tiny little pastel unicorn that's talking to me in English."
"No, you're speaking Equestrian. And very well too." Twilight looked back through the doorway and was shocked to see a rather ordinary looking room with some rather unordinary looking furniture and... things she couldn't figure out what they might be.
"Twilight?" Spike finally said once he got over the shock. "I don't think he's from Canterlot".
"Can either one of you please tell me what is going on and what am I doing here?" Rick asked with a hint of panic in his voice. This was not the way the morning was supposed to work and it was making him a little upset.
"Sorry, I think we need to start at the beginning, " Twilight Sparkle said. "My name is Twilight Sparkle and this is Spike, " she said indicating the dragon standing next to her.
"Hi!" Spike said.
"Hi yourself. My name's Rick and I still don't know where I am or what I'm doing here."
"You're in Ponyville in the land of Equestria".
"Of course I am. Where else would talking ponies come from?" Rick asked rhetorically with only a touch of his normal sarcasm.
"Oh they come from all over. The big cities of Manehatten and Fillydelphia. The far off countries of Prance and Germaney..." Twilight started before Rick waved his hands in an attempt to get her to stop.
"Sorry, that was rhetorical. Maybe you can tell me how I got here?"
"Oh of course. I tried to make a magic doorway to the library at Canterlot and instead I seem to have connected it to your world instead."
"Wait right here, I'll be right back, " Rick said as he walked back into his room. Twilight's gaze followed him, wonder in her eyes as she watched him look out the window before opening it up and hauling himself out.
"Spike! Do you realise what this means?" Twilight Sparkle asked her friend excitedly.
"Yeah, we're going to have to board up that door so he can't come back in."
"No! He's from a different world! A completely different world and we're the only ones that know about him. Think of all the things we could learn!" Twilight was so excited at being the first to discover something new that she was trembling with excitement which made her hooves sound like tiny castanets on the floor. "I need to get a quill and write all this down!" he rummaged all around trying to find what she needed.
Meanwhile Rick had retrieved his spare key from its hiding place and entered through the front door of his apartment. Everything looked okay, nothing out of the ordinary. He got to the hallway that led to his bedroom and could see the open door as well as the room beyond it. Standing at the doorway he carefully looked through before kicking one of his slippers through to the other side. It passed through with no problem. Tentatively he then passed one hand across the doorway and there was no tingle, no barrier, no shock, nothing. Taking a deep breath for some reason he then stepped through and found himself exactly where he wanted to be which was his bedroom. However when he turned back, he saw the library behind him. Shaking his head in disbelief, he walked back through the doorway into the library where the unicorn was quickly running about trying to find something.
"Okay. Majorly weird stuff happening. The only connection seems to be the doorway, but it's only on one side of the door. Namely my bedroom and your library. I was able to get back to my apartment by going out through the window then in the front door. Then I walked into my bedroom, there was nothing stopping me and when I turned around I saw the library. Is there any chance of you... unhooking our two sides of reality?" Rick finished while making unhooking gestures with his hands.
"I'm not sure. I'll have to see if I can find a way but in the meantime do you mind if we talk? I'd be interested to hear about where you come from." Rick's stomach growled at that point and Twilight struck on an idea. "Tell you what Rick, why don't we have breakfast and we'll talk over that?"
"Sure, I guess. Uhmmm, what do ponies eat for breakfast?"
"Oh the usual things, grass, hay, flowers, fruits, muffins..."
"Fruits and muffins? We could definitely do those. I'm not really equipped for the grass, hay or flowers."
"Oh, well that's okay. Just give me a minute?" Twilight asked. She motioned to Spike to get breakfast ready for them while she would try to pump this creature for more info.
"So, Rick was it?"
Rick nodded and Twilight continued. "Okay, can you tell me more about yourself and where you come from?"
Rick went on at length about his planet, nationality, physical makeup and general stuff about Earth and it's culture that he could remember. Twilight found he had an easy going cadence in his voice and seemed to use it to his advantage which made listening to him a lot easier.
After breakfast was done, and Twilight had gone through 4 quills just writing it all down she took him up on his offer to show her his room.
"Welcome to my world or at least my bedroom" Rick said with a grand gesture as he led Twilight Sparkle into his room. She walked in a little warily as there were strange sounds and strange smells coming from it. Nothing really unpleasant, just... strange.
Just about everything in this room was built for a giant, or at the very least not a pony. She was able to make out a bed, an odd looking chair, a bookshelf, a closet and... a strange glowing thing on what looked like a desk. It had the look of a picture frame but there was light coming out of it. Next to it was a large, black box that made a humming noise which is part of where the strange sounds were coming from. It was fascinating and she couldn't help but stare.
"I see you've noticed my PC."
"Pee See? What is it?"
"It's a computer. It does all sorts of things, calculations, plays games, music, watch videos and connect to the internet which is possibly the greatest collection of information and some of the stupidest stuff you can imagine at the very same time. I guess you could call it a kind of 'magic window'. Here. let me show you where you currently are." Rick threw himself into the chair and wheeled it over to the desk. A couple mouse clicks later and he had brought up Google Earth. Twilight Sparkle was amazed, her jaw hung open seeing an entire globe turning slowly in front of her. He clicked a few times and the picture blurred as he zoomed in eventually reaching where he lived. "We're right there" he said pointing to the screen.
"So this is happening now? If you were to go outside could I see you there and here as well?" she asked excitedly.
"Nah, this is a static image. It was taken maybe 2 years ago before I even moved here and it'll stay until they decide to map this area again. Okay, lemme show you something else, " he smiled at her and she liked the fact he had the same passion for learning and teaching like she had.
They spent the next two hours hopping from site to site, Rick taking her on a tour of the internet before his cell phone went off surprising them both. Glancing at his watch he noticed that he was now late for work. <<"Aw hell! Gimme a sec, " he grabbed his phone, cleared his throat a few times then answered.
"Yes?" he asked in a voice that sounded like he was at death's door. "Oh sorry, I must have passed out. Yeah, I'm a little under the weather today so I won't be in and I don't want to infect anybody. Yeah, I can look them over. Just shoot me an e-mail and I'll see if I can get to it later this afternoon. Thanks. Yeah bye." he hung up the phone. Twilight looked at him strangely and also a little oddly at the thing he was talking into.
"This is a cell phone. I can talk to people on this. That was my boss wondering where I was because I should have been at work an hour ago. Looks like I got a little carried away in showing you around. If you're not too busy I can show you more but I will need to do some work today."
Twilight didn't mind, she was feeling a little overwhelmed at what he had been showing her but fascinated at the same time. Also she marveled at how dexterous his fingers were in manipulating the keyboard and mouse and how expressive they could be when he tried to explain something to her. When he did this, he would often gesture wildly with his hands to emphasise what it was he was saying. It was odd, but at the same time fit him perfectly with in those slightly manic moments when he seemed to be almost overflowing with information.
"If you don't mind my saying so, my head is spinning with all of this. Earlier today I never would have imagined that a being such as you existed and now you've shown me a whole new world. Thank you!" Twilight cried and threw her hooves around him in a hug.
Rick froze, unsure of what to do next. Was this a pony custom? Did he hug her back? Was she coming on to him? Oh crap, what if she was coming on to him? But his fears were allayed when she pulled back a little embarrassed. "Sorry, I didn't know your kind didn't like to be touched. That was just a pony thing that we do, " she smiled at him in what she hoped was a non-threatening way.
"That's okay, you just kinda surprised me. I didn't mind although I usually like to wait a while before somebody... or somepony in this case tries to hug me."
"Okay, so I got what I needed from you. Is there anything you want to know before I close the portal?"
"Well yeah there is actually. Do you actually need to close the portal? I mean can you keep it open?" Rick asked.
"Sure I can but why do you ask?"
"Why?" Rick asked as if he couldn't believe somebody just asked him that question. He got up and pointed at the doorway saying, "there is a portal here to another world. Like oh my gawd! Somehow, you've been able to link my world or my universe to yours. I mean that is so cool! I walk out my door and BAM I'm in a place inhabited by ponies. I mean wow, this is the kind of thing that only happens on TV or in movies."
"I'm sorry, what are those?"
"TV and movies. You know, popular entertainment?"
"Oh like in books and plays?"
"Kinda like that yeah."
Twilight had to admit she was intrigued and she wanted to learn more about this human and his world so they decided on a course of action. She would introduce him to aspects of Equestrian life as well as her friends while he would try to do the same to her. But for the time being they would keep this quiet. The last thing Rick needed as the government treating her like ET or having some crazed hunter try to shoot her for sport.
"Well, I need to get some work done... soo do you want the door left open at the moment or would you prefer it to be closed?" Rick asked.
"I think it would be for the best if you were to close it. If some pony comes through here the last thing we need is for them to stumble into your room."
"Yeah, good thinking, " Rick said. "Okay, tell you what. I guess I'll talk to you later then?"
"Okay. Have a nice day, " Twilight said making her way out of the room and closing the door behind her. She trotted happily over to her desk and Spike came up to her looking for an update.
"He seems okay Spike, he's not dangerous or anything and seems genuine when talking to me."
"I'm just worried about... well you know... the reason why you had to make the portal?" Spike said leaving the meaning intentionally vague.
"It's okay Spike. I've come to terms with that but now I've got a whole new world to examine and the best part about it is Rick's not a pony! Nothing can actually happen between us, " she said with a big smile. Spike thought about it for a moment and agreed with her. He might not know much about this Rick guy, but Twilight had a point.
Rick sat in his chair, placed the headphones over his ears, logged into his work account on his PC and set the stereo to random play. Soon his head was bobbing to the beat as his hands flew across the keyboard coding for all he was worth. This went on for a while until he found himself yawning which meant it was time for another cup of coffee. Turning his head to the left he noticed a strange sight. There, sitting on the floor behind him was a bubblegum pink pony with hair that looked like cotton candy. He jumped slightly in his chair, surprised to see her there.
"Hi there! My name is Pinkie Pie! You sure are a funny looking pony. So what are you doing over there? Oh wow, what's matter with your hooves? Why are you wearing clothes..." she nattered on about whatever it was that came into her head.
Rick eased his way around the manic pony as she continued to talk almost non-stop and decided to follow him as he went.
"Twilight?!?" he called out as he escaped into the library, the pink pony hot on his heels.
"What's the matter?" Twilight called as she heard the panic in Rick's voice only to see the source was probably Pinkie Pie which raised certain questions. "Pinkie Pie? Where did you come from?"
Still looking at Rick as if he were the most fascinating thing in Equestria, Pinkie Pie said, "oh over there, " she motioned vaguely towards the doorway with one hoof. "I saw you studying so I didn't want to bother you then I saw this weird door and it took forever to open it because you had to turn the doorknob and who ever heard of having to turn a doorknob? Some ponies just want to make life difficult for others. So then I turn the doorknob and it still won't open and I'm pulling and pulling and pulling and it won't open. Then I found out I had to push. So I finally open the door and see this weird guy sitting there nodding over and over again while looking at a funny screen doing stuff with those things on the end of his hooves but they're not really hooves are they I mean they're like claws or something but not sharp like Spike's. What were we talking about again?"
"Pinkie Pie, this is Rick. He's from... somewhere else... and he's visiting us for a while but it's important that nopony knows about him being here just yet, " Twilight said.
"It's just that if ponies met him and didn't know what he was they might be afraid of him and try to hurt him or something and that's not the way we should be treating guests in Ponyville."
Pinkie Pie nodded then went through an elaborate pantomime where she started to show she zipped her lip and locked the key but it soon devolved into something that Rick couldn't quite follow. He looked at Twilight for confirmation and she just nodded and held up a hoof for a moment until Pinkie Pie had finished.
"When everypony knows about you then we can have a party to welcome you properly!" Pinkie Pie jumped up and down excitedly in front of Rick reminding him strangely of Pepe le Pew from the old Looney Tunes cartoons. "Ooooh! It'll be so much fun! I need to go plan this right away!" and with those words she shot off out of the library and towards Sugarcube corner.
Rick, still feeling a little shell shocked looked at Twilight and asked, "is she normally like that?"
"That's just Pinkie Pie. She loves making people laugh and throwing parties so she can get a little scatterbrained sometimes."
"So she's not crazy or dangerous is what you're saying?"
"No, just enthusiastic."
"Okay, but just in case do you think there should be a sign on the door saying something like, 'keep out, employees only, beware of the leopard...?"
Twilight just stared at him until his face broke out in a grin then she realised he had been joking about the leopard bit.
"I need to get back, " Rick said as he turned away only to turn back when he remembered something. "Hey Twilight?"
"Yes?" she said turning back to face him.
"Since you were so kind as to spring for breakfast this morning, how I return the favour tomorrow? It's a weekend so I don't need to work and if you think of anything else you wanna ask me I'll be more than happy to do so. I can bring something across about the same time?"
"Thank you, that would be very nice, " Twilight said with a smile. They then each turned and went back to their respective areas.
The next morning, as promised Rick walked into the library carrying a serving tray full of goodies which he laid out on the table. They talked, ate, Rick made a couple stupid jokes which Twilight laughed at out of politeness only because she didn't understand the references he was making.
"Twilight, you don't have to humour me if you don't grok what I'm saying. And don't worry about it, people back home don't always get my references either. I'm a pop culture junkie and an information sponge so my mind is a little warped by watching too many cartoons as a kid and too many Britcoms when I was a teen. " Rick said in a self-deprecating way.
"No, it's not that it's just it's fascinating. The more I hear about your world the more I want to learn about it."
"Well, as I said this is a weekend and if you're interested in something then ask away, " Rick said popping a grape into his mouth.
Twilight picked his brain for another hour, asking questions and wondering about minutiae that he himself didn't know but promised he'd google the answer for her if she wanted.
It was about the time that they were cleaning up the breakfast dishes that there was the sound of a small commotion going on outside. Looking out the window Twilight saw that Rainbow Dash was trying to get into the library while Pinkie Pie was doing her best to act like an anchor by holding onto her tail with her teeth and keeping the pegasus from entering.
"LET... ME... GO!!!" Rainbow Dash cried as she strained to reach the library door.
"MMMMMMPH!" Pinkie Pie said, her mouth full of Rainbow Dash's tail.
"I think you better hide, " Twilight said to Rick as he quickly went over to his room and closed the door.
Eventually Rainbow Dash did win and she was able to open the door and drag the protesting Pinkie Pie inside.
"Twilight! What's going on?" Rainbow Dash asked.
"Going on? What do you mean what's going on? There's nothing going on here, " Twilight said a little evasively.
"Oh c'mon Twilight, you are such a bad liar. I met Pinkie Pie this morning on my way to say hi to you and she said that nopony was allowed in the library but wouldn’t tell me why. Then you look all nervous, and I see two settings for breakfast..., " her face broke into a big smile. "Somepony spent the night with little miss bookworm and you didn't want anypony finding out about it. So where are they?" Rainbow Dash looked around trying to find the mysterious stranger.
"There's no other pony here Rainbow Dash and I spent the night alone, " Twilight said and it was the absolute truth even if it was a little misleading.
"Sorry, you're still lying about something. I can tell, " she looked around but couldn't find any evidence of said pony but there was still something wrong. A moment later it dawned on her, "where did this door come from?"
"That's nothing Rainbow Dash, it's a... magic trick I'm working on, " Twilight finished lamely. Inside his room, Rick face palmed when he heard this. Seriously, somebody needed to teach this pony how to lie properly.
"Sure Twilight. So what is it really?"
"There's nothing in there Rainbow Dash. Really! Twilight is all alone here in the library so why don't we just leave?" Pinkie Pie said trying to cover for Twilight.
"No way! What's behind the door? Is it supposed to be a surprise! Oh my gosh! I love surprises! Lemme see! Lemme see!" And with those words she threw the door open as hard as she could only to be confronted by a slightly concussed Rick who she happened to nail in the head when the door opened on his face.
"What in the name of Celestia is that?!" Rainbow Dash cried when she saw the human staggering about and grasping at his head.
"His name is Rick, he's a human, he's my friend and it looks like you might have just given him brain damage, " Twilight said as she brought an ice pack for Rick who was currently sitting down waiting for the room to stop spinning and the conga drums in his head to stop beating. He winced slightly and hissed in pain when Twilight pressed the ice pack to his head but then relaxed into it as the ice helped to numb some of the hurt.
"Thanks Twilight, " he mumbled.
"He can talk!?!" Rainbow Dash shouted in alarm which caused the pain in Rick's head to intensify.
"Of course I can talk you blue feathered freak, " Rick said with a little more venom in his voice than was necessary.
"Who the hell you calling a freak? If there anything freaky in Ponyville it's you!"
"Yeah, this coming from a pony with obvious boundary issues. Pinkie Pie tries to keep you from coming in, but you force the issue and then when told there's nothing going on you insist on continuing and coming in anyway."
"That's only because they were both acting weird. And don't go trying to change the subject freak."
"I thought we already established that you're the freak here, " Rick was starting to grin at the verbal sparring he and Dash were having and he could see that she was getting into it too.
"We've done nothing of the sort. You're the one with the freaky skin condition. I mean look at you, I can see your skin though your fur."
"It's called body hair genius, and I'd rather not be completely covered in hair thank you very much."
"Like whatever ya damn hairless monkey. Wanna banana?"
"Ha ha, you want a punch in the mouth?"
"Oh you couldn't hit me, I'm too fast for ya."
"I don't have to be fast, I just have to outthink you and that shouldn't be so hard to do..., "
"STOP IT! BOTH OF YOU JUST STOP!" Pinkie Pie yelled at the top of her lungs.
"Oh c'mon Pinkie, we were just having fun, " Rainbow Dash said.
"Yeah, it's not often I get to cut loose on somebo.. I mean somepony and have them come back at me just as strong.
"You mean you were both playing?" Pinkie asked.
"Maybe not at the start, but I was starting to have fun with it, " Rick said and Rainbow Dash nodded in agreement.
"Yeah Pinkie, this guy is alright even if he isn't a pony, " Rainbow Dash stuck out a hoof towards Rick and he wasn't sure what to do with it. "Don't leave me hanging. Bump it."
Rick gave her hoof a solid bump and she smiled as if he had passed some kind of test.
"What a relief! I was afraid that you would leave and then we couldn't have a party for you and I would hate for you to miss a party, " she thought for a moment and said, "and that's exactly what we're going to do!" Pinkie Pie turned to Twilight and said, "we're going to have a welcome party here for Rick tonight and we'll keep it small so that not a lot of ponies know about him and we'll have...," she nattered on before Twilight stopped her.
"Pinkie Pie, we can't just announce his presence here. Ponies don't know about him and he might get in trouble."
"But Twilight... it's a party..., " Pinkie Pie said with big sad eyes, her mane straightening out.
"Oh alright Pinkie Pie, " Twilight said while Pinkie's mane suddenly poofed out again. "But we'll just invite the fillies okay? So just us, Applejack, Rarity and Fluttershy. Nopony else."
"Okay! Those parties are nice because you can really get to know people!" Pinkie Pie bounced out of the library to plan tonight's activities and invite the rest of the guests.
"I guess I should be going as well, see you later!" Rainbow Dash said as she turned to fly out the door.
Twilight turned to Rick and said, "I am so sorry about all this."
"Don't be. If we're going to be friends, I might as well get to know your friends as well and maybe a dinner party is a good way to do so. It's formal but if it's small can be rather casual at the same time. Any specific way I should dress, or do you want me to bring anything?" Rick asked.
"I don't think you understand there Rick. This isn't a formal party, it's just a party with cake and ice cream and music and stuff. Pinkie Pie uses any excuse to throw one."
Twilight just nodded.
"Okay. Well that works for casual I guess. So if we're done here for the moment I need to head back. I usually do all my shopping and cleaning stuff on Saturday." Rick didn't know it yet, but Twilight was looking for a reason to keep him around but couldn't quite figure out how to do it so in the end let him go knowing that he'd be back this evening when the party was on.
Rick closed the door, collapsed on his chair and took a deep breath. "Too much drama for a Saturday morning, " he mumbled to himself. He glanced at his watch, sighed and set about getting things ready for the day.
That evening, he showed up in the library looking a little different than before. While he bathed every day & used deodorant he only bothered to shave every couple of days which gave him a bit of a scruffy, unkempt appearance and when working from home or when just relaxing about the place he just wore whichever t-shirt was at the top of the pile and a pair of beat up shorts. But for this party he decided to shave and at least make an effort to look good which meant a collared shirt and a nice pair of jeans. Well, nice is a relative term but they were new, clean and looked good so he didn't complain.
Twilight smiled when she saw him and commented on his look. "Hey everypony! This is him!" Rick walked out to face the friends of Twilight and wasn't completely prepared for what he saw.
He expected ponies, that went without saying but he just wasn't prepared for how different they all were. There was an orange one with a cowboy hat that was giving him the stink eye and didn't look like she wanted to be here. A pale yellow one with a pink mane who was currently hiding behind the orange pony. He recognised Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie but his eye was drawn towards a white unicorn with an elaborately styled mane. She looked really high class which was pretty strange given the company here. But she just drew his eye for another reason, he had to admit she looked pretty. It was hard to describe, he wasn't attracted to her sexually but she had this quality of beauty about her.
Twilight didn't notice any of this and just started introducing the ponies to him. "Everypony, this is Rick my friend from Earth. Rick, you already know Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie. But these are Rarity, Applejack and that's Fluttershy hiding in the back there."
"Hi every.. pony, I still need to get used to that. Thank you to Pinkie Pie for such a great party and I hope we can all be friends."
"Oh you big silly!" Pinkie Pie said as she jumped up and hugged him.
He stood there, with the pink party pony hanging around his neck and her mane which smelled strangely like cotton candy thrust in his face. After a moment or two she dropped back to the floor and said, "let's get this party going!" She then pulled out a cannon of all things and an explosion of colour burst forth. Suddenly the room was filled with balloons, confetti, streamers and every pony was even wearing a party hat. With a deft flick of her hoof, she started the record player and the music started. "Woo Hoo! Let's Party!" she shouted.
Rick had to admit, that while the party itself was rather childish with cake and ice cream and party games he was having a good time. There was just something infectious about Pinkie Pie and the joy she brought to everyday things and this spread to everypony there.
"C'mon you, let's dance!" Rainbow Dash said as she dragged Rick off his seat. It was an up-tempo number which had a good beat so he could really feel the rhythm. They danced, some ponies looked on strangely never having seen a human dance before and others like Pinkie Pie loved it so much she joined in. Soon most of the fillies had joined them on the dance floor with the exception of Applejack and Fluttershy. When Rick motioned to them to join, Applejack just glared at him and Fluttershy looked shyly away.
The record ended and a new one fell into place, this one a slow song. Rainbow Dash tried to come in close but Rarity jumped in front saying, "you started the last one, let another filly have her chance." She reared up on her hind legs and placed her front hooves on Rick's shoulders.
"I'm so terribly sorry to be so forward, 'Rick', " she seemed to have trouble saying his first name. "It's just that your name sounds so... common. A stallion of your stature and obvious breeding should have a name that is more dignified."
Rick chuckled a bit at that before responding. "Well, that's just the name I go by, it's a diminutive of my legal name 'Richard' which I'm not overly fond of because it's my Grandfather's name and it makes me feel old."
"Richard?" she said her lips moving slowly as if savouring the name. "Oh my yes, that suits you much better. I'm surprised that you go for the other one. But no matter, if you don't mind I'd much rather call you Richard, " she said looking a little coquettishly.
"That's okay Rarity. I don't mind, " Rick said with a disarming smile. He was a bit of a notorious flirt back home and sometimes habits are a little hard to break.
Their actions were not met with approval by several other ponies there. Rainbow Dash looked a little miffed at having been cast aside. Applejack kept a close eye on the stranger to make sure that he didn't do anything to her friend and Twilight looked a little unsure of what was going on. Only Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy seemed unaffected by this mainly because they were also dancing and had their eyes closed although for different reasons. Pinkie Pie had hers closed because she wanted to see how dancing blind felt and Fluttershy had hers closed because she was shy.
The song ended, the two separated and with a flirtatious flip of her mane Rarity thanked him for sharing such a wonderful dance. She immediately went and got herself a glass of punch and sat there fanning herself slightly with a contented glow about her.
As the evening progressed there were party games, more music and more sugary treats. But as all parties go, they eventually had to wind this one down and slowly they left until it was just Twilight and Rick.
"What time is it?" Twilight asked.
"Uhmm, looks like a little after 9:00 according to my watch."
"It's that late! Oh no! I'm going to miss it!" Twilight said as she frantically ran around trying to gather certain things together.
"What's going on?"
"Tonight there's a meteor shower starting in about 30 minutes. There's a big field right behind the library where the viewing conditions are perfect and I wanted to catch it but I won't get everything done in time!" she said starting to panic.
"What do you need? Can I help?"
"How are you at making hot cocoa?"
"I can make that in my sleep. I trained as a chef before going into IT."
"Good, can you make me some of that and meet me out in the field? I need to align my telescope, " she said running upstairs to grab everything.
"Is it okay that I go outside and ponies can see me?"
"Most of them are asleep now and if you leave by the back door, nopony will see you!" she called from upstairs.
"Okay, " he shrugged and went back home. 20 minutes later he came back with a large thermos, a flashlight, his own telescope, a blanket to lie down on and another one in case it got too chilly.
He located Twilight as she worked frantically to get her telescope set up. He lay the blanket down on the ground, set up his own telescope next to her and simply waited for the show to start.
"I'm guessing you've done this before?" Twilight said once she was set up and noticed that Rick had set up his own things as well.
"Yes, I've been fascinated by the night sky since I was a kid and now this also gives me an excuse to see a completely new sky."
"But what kind of telescope is that?" she said pointing to his telescope. It was unlike her own which was of the classical design.
"This here, " he said pointing to his, "is a reflecting telescope. It's open at the top, there's a curved mirror in the bottom and it reflects the image to a focal point inside the telescope which is then seen through this eyepiece. It's not perfect and they can also suffer from image distortion but can give a better image due to the larger opening at the end."
Twilight was intrigued and asked if she could look through it, he agreed and what she saw surprised her. She had focused on one area of the sky and adjusted his so it was focused on the same area but the image quality from his was so much better. It allowed for greater magnification and she was able to see stars and other stellar objects that her old telescope couldn't quite handle. In fact she was so caught up in this that she missed the beginning of the meteor shower until Rick nudged her and told her to look up.
From one point, in the sky there would come a streak of light as a meteor burned its way through the atmosphere. They just sat back and enjoyed the show, occasionally gasping as a particularly spectacular one whizzed by.
Rick pulled out the thermos and offered a cup to Twilight who accepted it eagerly. It smelled unlike any hot cocoa she had ever had before and while it tasted different it was also the most delicious she had ever had. Savouring the taste, she gratefully swallowed before turning to Rick and asking what it was.
"It's hot cocoa, but my own special recipe."
"What's in it?"
"Milk, vanilla sugar, cocoa, some nutmeg, a shot of coffee, and some brandy. Warms you up and tastes great on a winter's night when you're cuddling up in front of a fire although then I suggest adding a little whipped cream to top it off."
"Well it's delicious. Thank you."
"You're welcome, " he said and they went back to looking at the show.
After an hour or so, the show was over but they didn't want to go back yet. It had gotten a little chilly so instead of looking through the scopes they were currently lying down, covered by the other blanket as Twilight described the night sky and the constellations to him.
"And that one right there, " Twilight said pointing with one of her hooves, "is the Great Pony. Those four stars make out his body, those stars are his legs and those stars are his head. The ancient ponies used to say that he circled the sky and made it move. And over there, that one bright red star is the eye of Stormwind the Dragon. If you look closely a little over to the right of that you can see the smoke coming from his mouth. And then over there you can see the twins Canter and Bollux, sons of the Great Pony. They were both great sportsmen and adventurers that helped out the pony heroes of old and some even say led the first ponies to Equestria. Then if you see over there right behind the Great Pony, there's a triangle with that bright star at one tip, the red star on the other side and that binary star at the bottom. That's Kick'em High the Trickster. He was an Earth Pony that went about tricking the gods and teaching ponykind about all sorts of things. As a punishment, he was tied to the Great Pony's tail and was forced to walk behind him for all eternity...."
Rick listened to her go on and on about the constellations and the stories behind them as his eyes slowly closed. He fell asleep, not noticing that she had stopped talking and had fallen asleep beside him as well.
Twilight awoke to an unfamiliar sensation. Well, familiar in a way in that there was a warm body next to her and she was snuggled up against it although she hadn't slept with anypony for several months since... the incident. But it was unfamiliar in that the body didn't feel like a pony and she seemed to be sleeping outside? Opening her eyes, she saw that dawn was slowly breaking and the grey light of the morning was being replaced with the reddish orange of the rising sun. Looking over, she noticed it was Rick who was sleeping next to her and who's arm was currently around her. She blushed a bit at the thought of this, but that was just wishful thinking on her part. He was asleep and wasn't aware what he was doing so there was nothing to imply in that gesture. They must have simply gotten close together last night due to the chill in the air.
She moved slightly to get out from under his arm when his eyes opened slowly and commented, "Twi? Did we fall asleep here?" before seeing where his arm was and he quickly disengaged much to Twilight's chagrin although she didn't show it.
"Looks that way. Let’s get this cleaned up and back inside before anypony sees you."
"Good call, " he said standing up and stretching before collecting his things and following her back to the library.
A quick setup later and they were sitting down to breakfast.
"So, " Twilight started, " you and Rarity seemed to hit it off last night. What do you think of her, " she said trying to act as casual as possible.
"She's nice, all your friends are nice except Applejack seems a little standoffish towards me and Fluttershy was way too shy to actually look my way last night. But yeah, she's nice and pretty and all but she's too high maintenance for me."
Twilight couldn't help but smile a bit when he said this. "How do you mean?"
"Well, if she was human she'd be the type that always needed to look her very best at every single opportunity. Her mane would need to be perfect, her makeup had to be just right, she'd spend an hour just deciding on what to wear then spend another hour trying on the right shoes to go with her ensemble then ditch it all because none of them go with her purse. That's just too much drama for me. I'd want a woman who was more down to earth and had her feet on the ground and didn't mind getting dirty every once in a while or worrying about how her mane looked. I mean look at you, " he said gesturing at Twilight. "Your mane is all frazzled on one side due to us sleeping outside last night, you haven't combed it and it doesn't bother you. You're obviously comfortable enough with me to let that side of you show. Rarity would never allow that no matter how long you knew her. Had that been Rarity out there, she'd have freaked the moment her mane was out of order and would have spent the next 20 minutes in front of the mirror fixing it. Don't get me wrong, she's nice but she would need a man who would cater to her every whim and that's just not me."
Twilight was speechless hearing him speak that way because it mirrored what she herself thought although now that he mentioned it she had to fight the urge to check on her frazzled mane.
"We've got to do this again, " Rick said with a wink.
"Sorry what?" Twilight said, not quite knowing which part he was talking about.
"The stargazing. Next time how about we do it on Earth. I can take you somewhere where it's nice and dark, we can stare at the stars and I can tell you the stories as far as I know them."
"Oh right, that. Sure. When do you want to do it?"
"Dunno actually. It'll probably have to be a Friday or Saturday night since we'll have to stay up late and I'll want to sleep in the next day. So it won't be for at least a couple of days. I'll have to check the weather to make sure it's not too cloudy or it doesn't rain."
"Why don't you call the weather team? Oh that's right, no weather team, " Twilight said. "Sorry, maybe I need a little more sleep."
"Yeah, sleep sounds good about now, " Rick yawned broadly covering his mouth as he did. "Okay, I guess that about wraps it up. My turn for breakfast tomorrow?"
Twilight nodded and headed upstairs to her bedroom, she lay down just as she heard the door to Rick's room shut. As she lay there in her bed, it felt strangely empty and she wished there was somepony there to share it with her. Sighing, she turned over, closed her eyes and in moments was dreaming of looking up at an alien sky with a pony telling her about all the constellations.
Rick dumped his things unceremoniously on the floor and crawled into bed. His mind kept thinking back to waking up next to Twilight this morning and how nice it felt. Shaking his head he mumbled to himself, "dammit, I need to find a girlfriend. When ponies start looking good, you know you're in trouble, " before drifting off to sleep himself. It's a good thing nobody was listening because he didn't exactly sound all that sure of himself.
When he woke up, the rest of the day was spent doing typical Sunday things like laundry, catching up with friends and generally just hanging out. Once or twice he glanced at the door and had to refrain himself from heading over to Equestria. "Twilight is probably really busy and doesn't want me bugging her. I'll stay here."
Meanwhile in Equestria, Twilight was also thinking that maybe she ought to go see Rick but since his door was closed she figured he wanted his privacy and maybe was working hard on something. "We'll see each other tomorrow morning and contented herself with this.
That evening, after Rick had picked up a few things for tomorrow morning figured he'd make a trip over anyway. There was a bottle of wine he wanted to open, but doing so would mean the bottle might go to waste. However, if he shared it with Twilight it meant they could spend some time together and there was no chance that it would go bad. Deep down he knew it was an excuse but provided it sounded plausible he didn't feel there was a problem.
He entered the library and called out, "Twilight? You home?"
There was a clatter upstairs and the sound of hooves scampering down the stairs before Twilight poked her head around the corner and with a smile plastered on her face said, "oh, what a surprise Rick I wasn't expecting you."
"Look, I wanted to open a bottle of wine but since it's only me there's a chance it might go off before I have another glass. I was wondering if maybe... you know... you wanted to join me in a glass or two and we could kill the bottle in the process with no waste?"
"That sounds nice."
"Okay, give me a few minutes and I'll be right back. If you could get us some cups or glasses that would be great, " Rick said. He made his way back to his apartment, out the window so he could get to the main room where everything was. Already he had set up a platter of raw veggies, cheeses, olives and bread as well as the wine in anticipation of this. He walked back to his room and then backed up into Equestria where he found Twilight in the small seating area off the main room of the library. She had lit a few candles, giving the room a nice gentle glow and some pillows had been placed on the floor to allow them to sit and two cups placed between them.
"You just said wine, I wasn't expecting something like this?" Twilight said with some surprise as she hungrily looked over the expertly set tray.
"If it's a problem I can always take it back, " Rick deadpanned.
"Nonono, it's fine. I'll deal with it this time but just remember not to do it again, " Twilight said with a smile.
"Nice, you're learning, " he said appreciatively as he opened the bottle and filled the cups. "What shall we drink to?" he asked.
Twilight looked about the library, then smiled and said, "how about knowledge?"
"Works for me." They clinked their cups and tried the wine.
"Oh, this is nice. What is it?" Twilight asked.
"Argentinian Malbec. I made it myself. Actually I went to a wine making place and had them make it for me but it was cheap, it's actually a really good wine for the price and I got to bottle on premise which explains the lack of a label."
They nibbled on the food, drank the wine and chatted about various things. By the second cup, Twilight piped up and said, "why do I feel so comfortable with you?"
"What seriously?" Rick started to laugh at that. When he saw her face fall slightly he quickly waved his hands and continued, "it's nothing bad, I was just laughing because I felt the same way. Twi it's weird, it's really weird but you and I just click. I can't explain it but I just 'get' you. You open your mouth and say something and I know how you're feeling and what you're talking about." He took another swallow of his wine and hoped that the flush he was starting to feel in his cheeks and the one rising on her cheeks was due to the alcohol in the wine.
"That's exactly how I feel!" She said happily then sighed. "It's usually so difficult to talk to the other fillies, I'm always afraid they won't understand what I'm talking about but with you, unless it's a cultural thing I know you're going to get it."
They continued to drink, talk and eat and before long the food had disappeared and the bottle had been drained completely. Rick didn't want the night to end so he suggested he get another bottle and get rid of the tray in the meantime. Twilight agreed, also not wanting to be left alone so early. Rick, feeling rather happy, picked up the empty bottle and tray and disappeared back home only to come back minutes later with another bottle and some dark chocolate truffles.
"Rick, you're spoiling me!" Twilight complained without much conviction when she saw the candies.
"They go good with the wine, I already had a box of these and you really need to share these things. So where were we?" Rick asked as he opened this bottle.
"We were talking about stuff, then you went to get another bottle of wine."
"Right. Do you remember what we were talking about?" he asked as he poured her some more.
Twilight took a sip, chewed on a truffle and said, "no."
"That's okay, I don't think it really matters."
They sat there for a few minutes not saying anything before Twilight said, "this is nice."
"What? The wine? The chocolates?"
"No, this, " she gestured between Rick and herself. "We've sat here, we've talked and then we stopped talking. There wasn't any kind of awkward silence and we just feel good about it."
"I think it's the wine, " Rick said with a giggle.
"I'm serious Rick. I think we have something good here, " she took another sip of her wine and raised her cup. "To friendship!" They clinked and drank.
"To wine!" Rick raised his cup and they clinked again and drank once more.
"To looking at stars!" Another clink and more drinking.
"To librarians, without them we'd all be lost in a sea of information, " Rick said raising his cup but Twilight didn't raise hers.
Instead Twilight looked at him a little blearily and said simply, "that's beautiful. Thank you, " she then leaned forward to give him a hug but accidentally spilled a little wine on his shorts.
"Oh my gosh! I'm so sorry! Here, let me help you with that!" Twilight said as she tried to dab the wine away with a napkin and only succeeded in dabbing at his crotch which made him strangely aroused.
Pushing her hoof away he said, "I'm okay babe, don't worry about these old things, I just wear them around the house so it doesn't matter how they look, " he put his cup down and drew her in for a hug which she returned while still mumbling how sorry she was.
"It's not the first time I got stuff spilled on me by a pretty girl. At times I think I'm a magnet for these things. The worst one was guacamole and I'm not just talking a little bit, I'm talking a whole bowl of this stuff."
"Seriously?" Twilight asked with a bit of an unsure smile on her face.
"Yeah. I'll tell you this story, but then you need to tell me one as well. Agreed?"
Twilight nodded in agreement.
"Okay check it, I'm with my buddies and we're out one night just the boyz and we wind up at a sports bar. No biggie, we just wanted to sit down, have some cold beer and some food that wasn't good for us. So we order wings and nachos and jalapeno poppers and all sorts of other food that is really bad for you but tastes really good."
Twilight was smiling now due to Rick's story telling. She thought in the back of her mind that he could make an ordinary story interesting simply by how he spoke.
"Well, our waitress wasn't all that good. She forgot items, she was really flustered and she forgot the guacamole to go with the nachos. I mean we're joking with her but I think she took it a little too seriously then when she comes back, I don't know what happened if it slipped off her tray or she tripped but the bowl literally flew through the air and landed face down on my crotch. So what could I do but pick up a nacho and dip it in before turning to my buddies and inviting them to have some as well, " Rick was giggling at this point and Twilight was laughing due to the image and the way he was telling it.
"No seriously, there I was covered from the waist down in guacamole while the waitress is desperately trying to clean me up without actually touching my junk. I'm trying not to laugh, my buddies are busting a gut at all this. In the end the bill was free, we got an offer for free food the next time we showed up and I got the waitresses phone number in the process. Nothing happened as she was a bit of a ditz but it was a great story. Okay, your turn, " Rick said to Twilight after taking another drink.
She giggled before taking a drink from her cup and started with, "well, it was in my last year at the magic academy. I've always been a bookworm but there was this really cute stallion that went there and I'll admit I wanted him to notice me. Well, I heard that he liked mares with... a little extra in the rear so I crafted a spell that would... fill me out a little more back there. It didn't go as planned. I didn't know what to look for so I just... went for bigger. And the worst part was he noticed me, but not in a good way. For the rest of the semester he called me 'balloon butt'. Although in a sense it did help my studies. I wasn't about to go anywhere with my rump looking like that so I spent all my time reading and studying and it paid off."
Rick giggled drunkenly at her story. He took another swallow of his drink, thought for a moment and said "Oh I got a good one. Years ago, I was taking a course and I was taking the final exam. Well, the professor ends it by telling us to put our pens down and to bring the exams to the front. So everybody does so except for me. I had to finish this thought, my essay depended on it. So after a moment of frantic writing I bring my paper up and he gets all self-important at me and says, 'sorry, but the time is up and you didn't put your pen down when asked. I won't accept your test.' Now you need to understand that this was a large class and the professor didn't know everybody's name and really didn't care to learn them. So I ask him in a rather self-important way, 'do you have any idea who I am' as if to say, 'I'm really important so you need to cut me some slack'. He shakes his head and says in a condescending way, 'no idea'. And before he had a chance to do anything, I grab the exams, shove mine into the middle, throw them back on the desk and walked out. I got an A."
They spent the rest of the evening just talking, laughing and generally enjoying each other's company. Throughout it all Rick kept thinking to himself how bad it was that she wasn't human or that he wasn't a pony because he would totally tap that ass if either one of those were true. Also as they talked and laughed they wound up sitting closer and closer together until Twilight was leaning into Rick and his arm was around her shoulders. It was simply a pony thing and Rick went with it, he was too drunk to care and he had never stopped a cute girl from touching him even if she wasn't human.
By the end of the night, both were yawning heavily and stood up to make their way back to their respective beds.
"I'm not looking forward to tomorrow morning, " Rick mumbled.
"Why's that? Something wrong with your breakfast plans?"
"What?" Rick said confusedly before he understood what she was referring to. "Nonono, at least not completely. I meant the hangover I'm going to get from all the wine. I'm going to be in pain and less than cheerful tomorrow morning."
"Oh that?" Twilight scoffed. "I can fix that easily. Wait here, " Twilight said before she made her way unsteadily to the bathroom. Rick heard the water running and she came back levitating a glass of water and two pills.
"Take these, drink all the water and I'll see you bright and early tomorrow morning with no side effects."
"What seriously? Awesome." Rick took the pills and chased them down with the water. "Thanks babe, " he kneeled down, hugged her and gave her a chaste kiss on the cheek before wishing her a good night and saying he'd see her tomorrow.
Twilight just stood there, confused about what just happened. She was sure he liked her and the moment was just right although maybe it was the wine talking. When he went in for the hug, she had closed her eyes and readied herself for a kiss on the lips but it never came. "Of course it didn't come dummy, " she chided herself. "You're not a human and he's not a pony. It could never work." She headed upstairs, wiping away the tears and telling herself that it was simply not meant to be and maybe she'd feel better tomorrow.
Rick walked back into his room and lay his head against the door. He shouldn't be feeling this way. Not only had they practically just met and he falling for her like some lovesick schoolboy but she wasn't even human! "Rick, you're drunk and you're not thinking clearly. You'll feel better tomorrow."
The next day Rick woke up clear headed which was a great relief. "Twilight Sparkle, you are awesome, " he said to nobody in particular. A quick shower and he was ready for breakfast.
Brining the food into the library he was pleased to see Twilight already ready and she also didn't look any worse for wear. Last night was a bit of a blur, while the pills helped the hangover it didn't do anything to change the other effects of the alcohol.
"Morning you!" he called to her. "How'd you sleep?"
"Like a foal. I don't really remember what happened last night after the second bottle of wine, but I hope we had fun, " she said with a smile.
"Yeah, same here. Okay, I've got today's breakfast items special from a small country known as France."
"And what is all this?" Twilight asked pointing to the items on the table.
"That is a croissant. That is a 'pain au chocolat' which is practically the same thing but with chocolate in the centre. That is a baguette. There is of course butter, strawberry, raspberry and blueberry jams and marmalade if you happen to like that stuff. And a bit of a fruit salad made with fresh berries, melon, pineapple and whatever else I was able to scrounge up. Please, help yourself. And if I'm not mistaken, " Rick added by sniffing the air dramatically, "my coffee is ready."
"Could... you get me one too?" Twilight asked a little shyly.
"Sure, but I don't have a cup unless you have one here I can use?" Twilight directed him to the little kitchen and he grabbed one of the available pony cups she had. A moment later he returned with her coffee. "Would you like some milk and sugar?"
"No, this will be fine, " she took a sip and smiled back at him. "Perfect".
"Funny, most people don't drink coffee black from the start. It took me years to get to this point. I always had to doctor it with milk and sugar, then just the milk and finally I found a blend that tasted good black so I've been using that ever since. Twilight Sparkle, you are a marvel, " he said with a wink.
"Why thank you kind sir. It's always nice to be appreciated."
They chatted pleasantly and Twilight talked excitedly about her plans for today which included of all things, examining the migratory habits of the minor Equestrian tree frog.
"That actually sounds a lot more fun than my day. I've got a meeting right off the bat at 9am, followed by another meeting right after, then a strategy session after lunch followed up by some deskwork which will probably take me all the way to 6pm tonight. I'm gonna be a tired Rick when I get home."
"How is it Rainbow Dash would put it? Sucks to be you?" Twilight said with a smile.
Rick raised his napkin like a white flag and waved it back and forth a few times. "That does it, I surrender, " Rick said with mock severity. "But on that note I need to leave, I'll probably be really busy later when I get home so I might not have a chance to drop by so in that case I will wish you a good day and see you tomorrow morning. He gave her a quick hug and was on his way to work.
Twilight smiled and sighed a bit as he left. True, she would miss seeing him tonight but she'd make up for it later. Now it was time to go check on those frogs.
The rest of the week passed uneventfully with casual breakfasts and pleasant conversation being the norm. Occasionally, when working from home, Rick would find himself going over to Equestria for no real reason other than to see Twilight. He'd always make up an excuse for it but most of the time it wasn't anything that really mattered. It was good that Twilight didn't mind that he did this and in fact would visit him for exactly the same reason.
Friday morning, Rick met Twilight as they usually did and he had news that he hoped she would like to hear.
"Oooh, blueberry pancakes! Did you make these yourself?" Rick asked as he put the coffees down on the table and sat at his appointed seat.
"Yes I did, although Spike did help out and supervised. I'm still learning how to cook."
"Well, my compliments to the chef, these are actually pretty good, " Rick said without a hint of irony. Honestly they weren't that bad, a little dry but that's why there was maple syrup to go along with them. Twilight smiled happily at the compliment and watching her friend eat food she had prepared made her feel good inside.
When they were done, Rick popped the question that he hoped she would say yes to. "So, any plans for tonight?"
Twilight smiled a little shyly and said, "no. Why do you ask?" Honestly she did have plans to reorganise some of her bookshelves but she could always do that some other time.
"I want to take you on a trip through time, " Rick said enigmatically. When she looked at him a little strangely he said, "the skies are clear tonight and I know the perfect spot to stargaze. You in?"
"Good. I suggest you take a nap this afternoon if you can and I'll come get you around 9 o'clock tonight. Okay, I gotta go make some money so I'll talk to you later, " they hugged, just a moment longer than friends normally do and Rick placed a kiss on her head which made her giggle. "See you later, " he said with a smile.
"Bye, " she replied also with a smile.
The rest of the day was spent doing the usual coding but he finished early enough because he wanted to get a few things done before tonight like tidy the place up a bit. At around 5pm he was done but as it was going to be a long night Rick decided to take a nap.
At 5:30, the door to his room opened which alone was enough to wake him up rather quickly. He was a heavy enough sleeper that small noises rarely bothered him but that was only because he got used to them. If a noise is not supposed to be there, much like his bedroom door opening when he's the only person in the apartment, it would wake him up immediately.
Twilight pulled back a bit in surprise at the suddenness of his movement, but when she heard him call out, "Twi? Is that you?" she relaxed and answered in the affirmative.
"Sorry, I was just taking a nap. Wassup babe?" he asked.
"I was hoping you'd be busy so I could take a nap myself, I accidentally spilled something on my bed upstairs and since your room is really dark..., " she left the rest unspoken.
"Uhmm, yeah, sure. There's room for two, just close the door and crawl in, " Rick said as he scooted over to one side of the bed.
She did just that and got in on the other side. She wiggled around a bit to get comfortable then sighed and said, "this is nice, still warm."
"Mmmhmmm, " Rick agreed as he slowly fell back asleep.
Twilight leaned over, gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and whispered, "thank you" before settling down herself.
Two hours later, Rick woke up in a rather embarrassing state. He was spooned up against Twilight with his arm casually draped over her. That wasn't the embarrassing part. He was currently in an aroused state and a certain part of his anatomy was practically poking Twilight in a very intimate place. Good thing for him his shorts were still on even if they were strained outwards and she was still sleeping. Pulling back carefully so as not to wake her, he made his way to the coffee machine and proceeded to make a new cup.
Rick had every intention of drinking it in Equestria so as not to wake Twilight up but he heard her call out in a sleepy voice, "can you make me one too?".
"Sure thing. Mind if I turn on the light?"
"Go right ahead, " she mumbled as she pulled herself out of bed.
Squinting slightly and her mane all messed up, she trotted over to Rick and leaned against him while she waited for her coffee to finish. He absent mindedly rubbed her mane which sent little shivers of joy through her but as quick as it started, it was over and he handed her her cup.
The two of them walked out into the library where they drank their coffee in silence. Like Rick, Twilight wasn't much of a morning person and it usually took a few minutes before she woke up and was anywhere near talkative.
"I had the weirdest dream, " Twilight said.
"Oh yeah? What happened?"
"That's just it, I don't remember except somepony kept poking me in the rear with a banana." Rick upon hearing that nearly choked on his coffee.
"Are you okay?" Twilight asked with some concern.
"Fine, " Rick said coughing a bit. "Some just went down the wrong way."
Rick glanced at his watch, "two hours to kill, " he mumbled to himself. "Have you had dinner yet?" he asked Twilight.
"I nibbled on a little something earlier, but no. Why?"
"I was going to order a pizza, if you're up for it you can join me and we'll just head out from there at 9 instead of my coming to get you. Sound good?"
"That works for me. Give me a few minutes to get my stuff?" she asked.
"Take whatever time you need. I'll go order it, it shouldn't take more than 30 minutes. Is there anything you don't like on it?"
"No meat obviously, but other than that I'm good."
Rick stepped back into his room to order the pizza. It was what he called Rick special which was loaded down with lots of toppings and was a weekend tradition for as long as he lived here. That was of course before this whole Equestria thing started.
"Okay, I'm ready, " Twilight trotted in loaded down with notebooks, quills, ink, telescope, blanket and what appeared to be a kind of sleeping bag.
"What's all this for?" Rick asked.
"Well, the notebooks are for me to take notes and to sketch the positions of the stars, so I need some quills and some ink to write with. Obviously I need the telescope and the blanket and sleeping bag are in case it gets chilly."
"Makes sense but I can provide you with a ball point pen that doesn't require a separate ink bottle and a printout of the stars and their positions if you want it."
"Are you sure? It won't be too much trouble?" she asked uncertainly.
"Babe, it'll take me a couple minutes at most. But you can bring the notebook in case you want to take notes and, " Rick rummaged around his desk until he found it, "here's the pen I promised you."
Twilight looked at it unsure if would actually work, "you mean this thing honestly writes?"
"Yeah, give it a try. You need to push that little button at the top, " he said while indicating the button she needed to push. The tip of the pen snapped out and she made a test mark in her notebook.
"Ohhh! That's... different, " she said as she ran the pen across the page. "It's... smoother and easier to move across the page."
"Yeah, but from what I understand a lot of people in moving to a ballpoint pen have some time to get used to it. But it's more convenient. So anyway, let's go."
Rick took her stuff and placed it outside the window before carefully helping Twilight out. He tried to keep his hands off her rump, but it was unavoidable. It was a good thing that he missed the blush on her cheeks or else he might have made an embarrassing comment about it all.
Making sure the coast was clear, he opened the door and motioned for Twilight to make a dash for it. Down the stairs they went and Rick officially welcomed her to his place. She was amazed at the things he had, not just the tech and things she didn't understand but the bookshelves that were crammed top to bottom with books.
"I see you're admiring my library. It's not very impressive, but I just can't bear to get rid of books. It's weird, I'll buy something and then simply hold onto it because once I get rid of it I'm going to want to read it again at some point. So the books just pile up. I tell you it's a pain to have to pack these things every time I move."
"And what are these?"
"Oh, those are my DVDs, " he popped open a case and showed her. "There's movies on here, I've got currently over 1000 DVDs of movies, TV shows and the like..." Rick was cut off when there was a knock at the door. He motioned for Twilight to stay out of sight as he head upstairs to check. There was a murmured conversation and a few moments later Rick came back downstairs with a flat rectangular box.
"Okay, here we go." He put the pizza down on the table and got out two place settings along with plates. "Sorry Twi, you want wine, beer, juice?"
"Wine sounds good, " she said taking her place at the table.
Bringing out two glasses and the wine he quickly uncorked it, opened the box and invited Twilight to help herself, making sure to keep the side with the pepperoni on his end of the table. Pouring two glasses of wine he handed one to Twilight they clinked glasses and had a drink.
"Please start, " he invited her.
She picked up a piece using her magic and placed it carefully on the plate. It was different than pizza back home, but it was good. Twilight chewed happily and swallowed with a smile. "I have to give it to you, you know good food."
Rick just shrugged and said, "life is too short to eat crap. Enjoy what you can now."
They ate, talked and carried on like old friends which was odd as they had only known each other for two weeks. It did help that neither one knew all the other's jokes yet so there was that. When her glass was empty, Rick filled it again but refrained from refilling his own.
"Are you trying to get me drunk?" she smiled playfully.
"That all depends, is it working?" he responded in kind.
"I'll let you know after this glass, but the only reason I asked is that I noticed you didn't refill your own."
"Yeah, I'll just nurse the rest of this slowly. I'll be driving to get there so I can't be drunk or even the least bit tipsy. But that doesn't mean you need to follow my lead if you don't want to or if you don't want to finish that glass don't feel you have to."
"Two drinks is usually my limit if I still want to keep my head. I should be okay with this, " Twilight said.
"Not a problem, " Rick said shoving the cork back in the bottle. "We can always finish it later tonight when we get back provided we're not too tired.
They talked and laughed a little while longer until finally it was time to go. Rick packed up the car, then when the coast was clear Twilight teleported to the back seat and hid partially under the blanket there while Rick started the car up.
"It's about an hour or so out of town, nothing around it but farmer's fields and long grass. We'll be well hidden so there's chance of anybody finding us. You all set?"
"Let's do this thing!" Twilight said more excited than she had been in a long time. Here she was on a completely different world, being driven in a 'car' and going to look at an alien sky for the first time in her life. In fact, she was a pioneer! She was the first pony ever to come here and see this. Oh, she had to write this down. Pulling the notebook from the saddlebags, she started to write by the light of her horn.
"You comfortable back there?" Rick asked while they cruised along the highway.
"Yeah, sure, " Twilight replied a little distantly.
Rick turned on the radio and fiddled with the dial until he found a song he liked. Twilight perked her head up, having never heard such music in her life. "What is that?" she asked?
"It's the radio. You tune into the station you want and pick up on the song they're currently playing."
"Is that what this music is? It's called 'Radio'?"
Rick chuckled a bit. "No, the device to listen to it is called a radio. The music is of a style, I guess you could call it 80's New Wave, and the song is 'Take on Me' by a band called 'A-Ha'. It's an oldie but a goodie."
Twilight was mesmerised by this, her notes suddenly forgotten as the simple melody washed over her. They spent the rest of the trip flipping through the dial to expose her to music she had never heard and had never imagined existed.
They pulled up to an old, abandoned farmhouse and parked the car.
"C'mon, grab your things, " Rick said to Twilight as he hauled his stuff out of the car.
"Is it okay that we're here?"
"Oh yeah, the owners died a few years ago so there's nothing really stopping us from looking around. Besides, my folks still technically own the place, " Rick said casually. When Twilight looked a little unsure of herself he added, "this used to belong to my grandparents. But they died and since my folks didn't want to move up here it's just been left to die. One of these days, when I have enough money I want to make it liveable again and restore it to its old glory."
Twilight listened to the nostalgia in his voice and how much he loved this place as well as his grandparents. She rubbed her head against him in a comforting way. He reached down and stroked her mane in response.
They made their way through the fields, walking through the tall grass until they reached a point far enough that the light or noise from a passing car wouldn't bother them. Spreading the blanket down on the ground they set up their telescopes and Rick pointed out certain interesting sights and areas in the sky.
"Right there, " he said motioning to Twilight to look through the viewfinder, "is the planet Jupiter. Biggest planet in the solar system. And you should be able to see two of its moons, actually just their shadows right now."
Twilight was amazed. Never before had she seen an extraterrestrial planet in such detail. The bands of colour, the swirling vortex of the Great Red Spot and the Galilean moons were all there in front of her eyes. Rick would occasionally move the telescope and find another stellar object for her to see and admire.
Finally, when she felt head was swimming they decided to lie down on the blanket as Rick named the constellations and gave stories to them when he knew them. The night was getting a little chilly, not cold but it warranted something. Rick broke out the coffee and pulled out his blanket and wrapped it around himself while Twilight went to get her sleeping bag. Problem was, in all the excitement she had forgotten it at Rick's.
"That is so unlike Little Miss Organisation. C'mon, " he said sitting up and opening up his blanket. She hesitantly sat down, her back to his chest, his legs stretching around her as he pulled the blanket closed in front of him. It was warm in his embrace even if the gesture was intended as being completely platonic. After a while, she lost herself in the feeling of having him hold her. She loved the feeling of his strong chest against her back, his warm breath and the slight rumble she could feel when he spoke and how his arms just held her.
"This is what it's like to be content, " she thought to herself and smiled.
"Hey Twi, you awake?" Rick asked.
She shook herself from her reverie and said, "yes, sorry, I was just... somewhere else at the moment."
"Somewhere good?" he asked.
"Yeah. Somewhere really good, " she said. But deep down inside her she thought the only thing that would make it any better was if he would only kiss her. But since he wouldn't, she'd take what she could get from him. And right now, this was really nice.
Rick meanwhile was thinking that this cuddling under the blanket was a mistake. He wanted nothing more than to kiss this pony but that was just wrong. She wasn't even human, she was an animal. Actually that wasn't fair because she had a mind and they talked and communicated with each other in an intelligent way. But what kind of future could they have with each other? And the worst part was, while he knew he needed to let her go, in his heart of hearts he knew that letting her go was too hard. Speaking of which, this closeness and carnal thoughts about this pony were starting a reaction in his pants and based on how they were sitting, it wouldn't be long before she felt it.
"Whew, is it hot in here or is it just me?" he mentioned opening the blanket up and stepping out.
Twilight was caught by surprise at this but didn't say a word. She had however caught the lump in Rick's pants that he was trying to hide and she smiled inwardly. "Maybe I have a chance after all, " she thought to herself.
Yawning slightly she looked at Rick and asked what time it was.
"It's a quarter to one. Wanna pack up and go back?"
She nodded her head and helped to pack things up. She noticed a small wet patch on the blanket where she had been sitting and thinking all those naughty thoughts about Rick. She "accidentally" kicked over the thermos so that it spilled the remainder of their coffee onto that spot to hide it.
"Oh, Rick I'm sorry. I'll get it cleaned for you, " she said with fake concern.
"Don't worry about it, it's an old blanket. C'mon, let’s go."
They made their way back to the car and once inside, they were on their way.
The drive back took a little less time due to there being less traffic on the road but it felt longer because of what each one wanted to do to the other one. They finally pulled into the driveway, it was around 1:30 in the morning and nobody was awake so there was no reason for Twilight to hide or teleport inside. They gathered their things and went back into Rick's apartment.
Both were feeling a little tired but at the same time didn't want to go to sleep. There was simply something in the air between them and it needed to be cleared. Rick motioned her to come to the couch, he picked up some clean glasses from the kitchen and the half-finished bottle of wine and poured them a glass.
They drank a little nervously, neither one wanting to be the first to say it in case they were wrong.
Finally Rick broke the silence. He put his glass down on the table, and asked Twilight to do the same. He took a deep breath and said quite simply, "there's something I need to do and I've been wanting to do this for the longest time...," he was unable to finish as Twilight just leaped forward and kissed him full on the lips. It wasn't like the short kisses on the cheek or forehead they had shared before. Again, the ponies in Equestria did this often and it was simply a gesture of friendship. This time it was different. This was an exploratory kiss on the mouth, her lips moving slightly over his and trying to see how he'd react.
For a moment he didn't react as he was quite surprised at being pre-empted for this, but then he responded in kind. His lips moved over hers and after a moment his tongue entered her mouth and she followed suit. This was so unlike kissing a woman he thought and her thoughts were similar although in her mind she did replace "woman" with "pony".
They kissed passionately for a while, all that pent up desire just bursting forth, neither one wanting it to stop but eventually they had to come up for breath. Both parties were breathing heavily, both of them were rather turned on but due to the nature of both of them didn't know how to continue. They were totally in uncharted territory here. Had Twilight been human, Rick would have known what to do or at least had a general idea how to continue. The same went for Twilight, although admittedly she was a little inexperienced not to mention usually a lot more shy.
"Do you want to continue?" he asked her as he gently ran his fingers through her mane. Twilight Sparkle shivered a bit in pleasure as he did so and nodded shyly.
"Would you want to move into the bedroom or would you feel more comfortable here?" She thought for a moment, felt emboldened then without saying a word hopped to the floor and taking his fingers in her mouth led him to the bedroom. They made sure the door was closed, after all they didn't want anybody else coming in to bother them.
That night they learned about each other in a way that neither one could have anticipated just two weeks before. Man and pony came together as one and as they drifted off to sleep felt truly happy.