Soarin' to new heights
I pounded my head on the desk, sending applications for adoption scattering everywhere. I looked up at the clock: 11:30. I had been looking at forms for almost twelve hours and managed to set up fifty interviews for tomorrow alone. Rapidfire sat across from me, head down in the papers, a little drool dripping from his mouth; he had volunteered to help me sort through the applications. He had fallen asleep about an hour ago, but I didn't feel like waking him… besides, we would be staying up long enough tomorrow anyway.
Little Wings was also sleeping but on the floor, I wrapped him up in a blanket a few hours ago when he started to show signs of wanting to sleep. For once he was sleeping peacefully, and not waking up in the middle of the night screaming his head off. I put an application in the rejected pile, and then grabbed another page. I had seen enough of these papers that day to know what I should reject right away, such as if they have six kids already or if their income is below the acceptable level to provide care for my son.
I also had to make sure that they didn't want to just adopt Little Wings to extort money from me. Sometimes it was obvious, like the application I was looking at the time. It was acceptable up to the point of where it asked 'How do you feel about visits?' I wasn't planning on visiting Little Wings very much, but it was good for weeding out the ponies who would use my foal to get money, like my manager would have. These particular ponies had put 'visits are to be called in advance and we are to have a sum of money paid to our account.' I would have rather them put that they would not accept visits from me; at least then I'd know they weren't thinking of extorting a nine month old foal.
I put another page in the constantly growing pile of failed applications; soon I would be able to heat my house with them. My stomach rumbled. I knew I shouldn't eat in the middle of the night, but I was so hungry and still had almost two hundred applications left. I pushed out from the desk, stepped carefully Little Wings, whose wings were fluttering from some sort of dream, and walked out into the corridor.
The internal light of the fridge flickered on as I gazed into the cool box. The midnight munchies got me as I took out a jar of pickles. I twisted the jar open and pulled out a nice juicy pickle, and with a satisfying crunch I bit into it. After finishing the whole jar, I went back to the room to look at more applications.
To my displeasure I saw that I had made too much noise and woken up Little Wings. He hadn't rolled out of his blanket yet, so I picked him up, blanket and all, and took a seat.
"Hey, kiddo, it's late… you shouldn't be awake." I said. I could have said the same thing to myself. He held out his little legs for me to hold him a bit closer. I stared for a moment, then reluctantly held him closer to my chest. Boy, this chair was comfortable, and Little Wings felt so warm, and I was so tired... I almost dozed off, but he gave a yawn, and even I had to admit it was adorable.
"How do these ponies sound? Mr. and Mrs. Nimbus, supervisors at the cloud factory, very involved with the community, unable to have children of their own..." I put the application in the accepted pile. My son dug his head deeper into my chest, and then I was pretty sure he fell asleep. I looked through more applications, most of them going in the refuse pile.
When the clock hit one o'clock I finished my pile: and Rapidfire's pile, I was too tired to get up, and also the weight of my son on my chest made me feel so comfortable. I leaned back in the chair and was out like a light.
"Soarin', hey, Soarin'. Wake up." Rapidfire shook me from my slumber. I was surprised; for once Little Wings hadn't woken me up. My boy was still curled up in my lap, sleeping.
"Ugh... I'm up." I grunted. The papers were all gone… Rapidfire must've filled them away. "When's the first interview?"
"In about ten minutes. Mr. And Mrs. Rumble." He looked at the sheet. I set Little Wings on the table for just a moment and stood up. I placed him onto my back and balanced him so he didn't fall off.
We moved to where the interviews would be taking place, the living room. I had a fold out table set up with bottles of water to hydrate for the very long day that would be ahead of us. Little Wings started to stir from his slumber, and I knew he would be hungry, so I had a bowl of applesauce nearby to keep him fed, toys were placed in a neat pile nearby for when my son would get bored, and special security was waiting outside the door to make sure any... 'overzealous' ponies didn't get in.
The front door opened slowly, letting in a couple of ponies, a stallion and a mare. The stallion had a sleek black coat and a yellow mane and tail. He was a tiny bit taller than me. The mare had the opposite coloring: a yellow coat with black mane and tail. They both wore very genuine smiles and looked very close.
"Please take a seat..." Rapidfire instructed, and they did as told. "Thank you."
"So Mr. Rumble, you work at the rainbow factory, right? Does the stress of that job ever get to you?" I asked.
"Well, what job doesn't?" He laughed at his own joke and so did his wife. "But, jokes aside, very rarely does my job become very stressful… I mean, I make bright streams of happy colors."
"And Mrs. Rumble, you're a stay at home mom?" Rapidfire questioned.
"Oh yes, but I do foalsit for some of the neighbors, and I just love the little ones. They are so sweet and we really want our own foal." She beamed. They seemed like a happy, stable couple, but first impressions can often be wrong.
"Why don't you have one of your own?" I asked, curious, because they hadn't put that they were unable to have children on the application.
"Well, we thought about it, but I'm not sure I want to go through the pain of childbirth so we thought we could just adopt." Mrs. Rumble explained.
"Hmmm..." I was deep in thought. This was only the first round of the adoption process I set up, so mostly I was looking for stability at this stage, then I would move on to character, then for the final round compatibility. I slid the application into the round two piles. "Well, you seem like a very stable household, we will contact you when we would like to see you again."
"Thank you." They responded, and left. Another couple of ponies entered, two males. I looked down at their sheet: Mr. Flash and Mr. Rocket. A gay couple: I had nothing against homosexuals, so having them try their luck at becoming Little Wings father... fathers was fine by me.
"Please take a seat." I said, giving their paper one last look over.
"So, you own… a haberdashery in intercity Cloudsdale." Rapidfire read word for word what was written on the application.
"Yes." Mr. Rocket responded. So they weren't the most talkative of ponies, but that was fine with me.
"So, how would you describe your relationship with each other?" I questioned.
"Well, we've been together for almost a year now, and we thought it was about time to raise a little one together." One of the stallions replied.
Interview after interview, hour after hour, I placed more sheets in the rejected pile and far fewer went into the accepted pile. So many parents, all in varying degrees of desperation to get the job of taking care of my son. Pegasi filed in, and then out. So many that their faces started to blend together. Little Wings was, to my surprise, behaving himself quite nicely: he would entertain himself when bored and when the wanting parents wanted to see him he would be playful, but at that moment he was sleeping rather peacefully.
The door closed behind another pair of rejected applicants. I ran my hooves through my mane in frustration as Rapidfire pounded his head into the table.
"You're being too harsh, that was the sixth applicant in a row that you rejected." He groaned.
"I just want to make sure he'll be in a good home, alright?" I shot back. "Hey, look… why don't you take a break? I can handle the next few myself."
"Thanks." He pushed himself away from the table, and trotted down the hall to where my media room was. I looked at the next applicant, a Miss Cloud. I looked up expectantly when the door opened slowly again. I expected to see a 'cheerful young mare' as her description implied, but I was surprised...no, shocked would be a better word, to see Spitfire standing before me.
"Spitfire? You're Miss Cloud?" I stuttered.
"Of course not." Spitfire said… there was something strange about the way she said it. "I want to become your son's mother."
"Uhhhh... Alright. Why didn't you say anything before?" I was very confused at this new development. The whole application process was pretty much pointless, because I already knew about her stable household, personality, and compatibility with Little Wings.
"I just decided today." She walked up to the table and leaned across it. "So I was thinking, I could just take him today, and you could just skip all this."
"I have a lot more interviews set up, 'Fire." It was the truth: I had at least thirty more interviews.
"How about I do something for you, and you just give him to me?" She suggested. I cocked an eyebrow. She dove across the table, tackling me to the floor and engaging me in a fiery kiss. "Close your eyes."
I had a feeling that I knew where this was going. Admittedly, I didn't really have an eye on Spitfire, I guess I had more respect for her than all of the mares I had been with, and we seemed to have a silent agreement to stay away from each other's relationships. I still felt something was strange about the whole thing, but at the same time I wasn't going to turn her down, so I closed my eyes.
I wasn't sure why she would go to all this trouble… I mean, if she really wanted the kid, she was a pretty good match for Little Wings. Little Wings! He was sitting right next to us; it would be weird, immoral, and just downright gross to let him see this. I opened my eyes quickly to see Spitfire fang's flaring...wait... Fangs? Then her eyes turned green: not just the irises, the whole eye was green with a tiny black pupil.
I watched in horror as the skin seemed to melt off her to reveal a black skinned, pony-like creature: changeling. I was momentarily disgusted; I had been about to...mate with it. It had me pinned: I could have fought it off, but its eyes had me paralyzed with fear. The changling bared its shape fangs in preparation for a bite. Sharp pain shot through my nerves as it bit into my flesh. The changeling's body convulsed, and a moment later I was looking into a mirror image of myself, minus the bite mark.
"Security!" I finally managed to choke out. The door swung open and the two bulky security guards stepped inside. I should have looked more into that security company because they melted into the black devils. They shouted at each other in their own changeling language.
Little Wings was just waking up when they grabbed him. The changeling that stood on top of me took another deep bite; I saw crimson liquid dripping from its lips as it pulled away. The two other changelings put a cloth over my son's mouth to keep his cries from being heard. I tried to cry out, but my doppelgänger put a hoof... or whatever those things have over my mouth. The muscles around its neck coiled as it prepared to make the kill.
"Aaaaaahhhh!" I heard a yell. The changeling was thrown off me, and its disguise melted away. Rapidfire was on top of the monster, pounding it with his hooves. I rolled to my hooves: I was bleeding, I had lost enough blood to make me lightheaded, and that was not good for what I was about to do.
"They took Little Wings!" I shouted. Rapidfire looked like he had the situation handled, so I galloped out into the broad daylight, looking frantically for where they had taken my son. The only way I knew they could have gone was down. My wings unfurled instinctively as I dove from the clouds.
It took mere seconds to spot the black spots in the sky, their insect wings bringing them on a slow decent. My training from advanced flight school kicked in. Even though Equestria was an incredibly peaceful country, we still had learned how to maneuver in dogfights. I did a corkscrew spin down to the changeling's level. The changeling that wasn't holding Little Wings decreased in speed and fell back to where I was.
I was still bleeding from my wounds when the Changeling hit me. Sweet Celestia, those things are ugly. My wings angled downward and I shot into a 90 degree climb, followed by the monster. I snapped my wings to my sides and started to fall: as I expected, the changeling didn't see this coming, and I smacked it right in the face. A surge of satisfaction hit me when I sent the thing into a spiraling crash.
In the time it took me to do that, the changeling holding Little Wings had made it almost out of sight. I had to push myself to my limits to catch up.
"Give him back!" I yelled, I don't think it understood, it just went into a dive into the forest below. I followed suit. Adrenaline pumped through my veins as we zipped past trees, tore through the brush, and weaved though branches. I grasped at Little Wings in an attempt to take him back from his foalnapper; the little foal went back and forth between me and the changeling. We were nearing a clearing, and that was where I'd have an advantage.
As soon as we hit the clearing, I closed my wings and pulled us three down close to the ground, maybe twenty feet above the field. I punched the monster and we crashed into the ground, I rolled and Little Wings landed between me and the changling. I glared at it and I think it glared back, and then it changed in to an exact copy of me.
My son looked at the changeling and then back at me.
"Come here." I said gently, and Little Wings started to crawl my way.
"Come to daddy." The changeling copied my voice exactly: in response my son turned to crawl towards my copy. I had to think fast, or this could go on forever, but the changeling had the same idea. It acted first: it dove towards my son to take him up in its appendages. I thought it was over… I couldn't keep up the chase for much longer and soon the changling would have friends… I knew how it worked, first a few come, and then the swarm arrives.
I sat down on my haunches, defeated. Then the changeling screeched Little Wings bit into the monster's leg. With lightning speed, I tackled the changeling, snatched up a rock, and smashed it into the changeling's head. I grabbed Little Wings and laid down on the ground to rest for a moment in the aftermath."
"You know what? I think I might keep you."
Thank you for reading and thanks for the comments and favs I really appreciate them.