Disclaimer: I do not own My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. It belongs to The Hub, Hasbro, Studio B, and Lauren Faust. I do not own any of these characters in any way or how, nor do I claim ownership to the pony franchise. These characters are simply my toys.
"If I could... would I say I love you?”
Chapter 3: The Wonderbolts
It wasn't the first time Braeburn thought about how in the buck he had gotten on this train, full of all these ponies staring at him. No, it was around the seventh billionth and a half time he had pondered this question, but his mind always came up short with an answer. His green eyes stared back at him through the reflection in the window as his cheek rested on his hoof. He chewed on his inner cheek and rolled his tongue across his teeth. The hills quickly rolled by. He was glad for the scenery, he wasn't sure how well he would hold up if he tried to talk to Soarin, who practically drug him onto the train. The yellow pony didn't want to blush again. He couldn't decide on an answer, yet again. Everything that happened a few hours ago was still sort of a blur in his memories.
So many things... so many things didn't make sense today. The dream had to be a warning, it just had to be.
His head turned back to the rest of the cart, his eyes passing over the light blue pegasus seemingly bouncing up and down next to him. It had unicorn, pegasi, and earth ponies alike. It was strange to see such a mixture of ponies in the same place. He heard from Applejack that Ponyville was very much alike, being dead smack in the center of Appleloosa, Canterlot, and Cloudsdale. Many of them were staring at the pegasus next to him, as if he was famous or something... maybe he was... Braeburn wasn't sure what to think anymore... At least they were kind, and didn't try and bother the pegasus or anything. But Braeburn felt completely out of the loop and borderline stupid for not being able to know where he had seen or heard of the pegasus before.
"Dude, Brae, this'll be so cool, it's your first time going to a flight show, huh?" Soarin asked, a goofy grin on his face as he grabbed the others upper leg, staring straight into his eyes. Braeburn felt his cheeks tint in color. "Aw, man, first time in a show and you'll get to see the entire thing from the best seat in the house!"
"T-The best seat, ya mean it?" Braeburn asked, suddenly missing the moving hills as he was either forced to look at a random pony creepily, or straight at the pale blue, maybe-famous, pegasus and risk blushing. He just blinked several times and focused on the others mane, admiring the odd shape it held.
"Yeah, dude, since you're my buddy you'll be backstage and everything, some ponies would kill for that, and you aren't even freaking out!" This was in fact true, if anything, Soarin was causing more of a scene than he was. “I can’t believe it, buddy, you really haven’t heard of us, have you?”
Buddy? Braeburn wasn't able to determine how he felt on this after several moments of tossing and turning in his mind. It felt nice to have a friend in the middle of this mix up he supposed... but not that kind of friend for Celestia's sake!
"Totally think you'll have a blast, the food is usually great, especially their apples!" Soarin said quickly, his face lighting up as he giggled, which Braeburn cursed himself for finding the tiniest bit adorable, even through the raspy voice. "Not as good as Appleloosa apples though, I just love your places apples, almost as good as that filly's at the gal-" A hoof was slammed over his mouth as Braeburn felt his brow twitch.
"Please... for the sake of Luna, just please shut your pie hole about apples..." Braeburn said, his head spinning a bit as his mind flashed too all of those mares his parents had forcibly set him up with him before he had been thrown out. Their fast talking he had been forced to endure still gave him nightmares at times.
"A-Alright dude." Soarin said, his cheeks lighting slightly. He stared right at the earth pony with wide, questioning eyes, as if he were studying him closely before looking away and shrugging. Braeburn felt like everypony was watching him now thanks to Soarin’s loud mouth. He didn’t like that feeling, he hated it if he were singled out.
Braeburn glanced up briefly at the other’s cheeks. If they were still at the bar, he would take pride in the fact he got the annoying pegasus to become embarrassed, but right now it was just amusing to see him blush so adorab-... bright... No, the pegasus wasn't cute at times, nor could he be attractive or handsome in Braeburn's eyes. He just...
His thoughts stopped there, and an empty silence filled the two, the only sounds were small talk among other ponies around them as well as the clickity clacking of the train as it rolled through the towns. Once again, Braeburn pondered how he got into this situation. All he remembered really was being dragged pretty much against his own free will.
"Aw, Man, look! Isn’t that totally sick?" Soarin hissed out, pointing with his hoof out of the window. Braeburn's own gaze followed as he saw a fairly large city, certainly larger than what he would consider comfortable. The most noticeable attraction, however, was the fact that there was a stadium, with lights blazing up as the last glimpses of twilight were on the edge of the sky.
This time yesterday he had wanted nothing more than a drink.
"So um... do you think you can run?" Soarin suddenly asked. "Really fast, I mean."
Braeburn was taken aback by this question as he whipped his head around, his fillyish mane following him "E'cuse me?" Well that came out of nowhere.
"Well... I... nothing." Soarin said, looking away and neatly folding his hooves over his lap as his eyes rolled up, looking away as much as possible, chuckling nervously.
"I-I guess... but why?" Braeburn asked, shrinking back slightly as he thought about it more and more.
"Um... because I don't know if I can carry you over the fangir..." The pegasus stopped there before suddenly chucking "N-Never mind!" He quickly said, holding up both to show it was nothing to worry about, however his chuckling seemed guilty, and Braeburn felt himself gulp rather loudly. "J-Just try to be light on your hooves... Alright buddy?”
Braeburn found his coat stand on end as his eyes widened and his body trembled in fear. A celebrity was hitting on him... and he seemed to be pretty big... and there were going to be fans of his... female fans... He quickly grabbed his hat and pulled it over his heart with watery eyes as he apologized to the two princess for everything he had done in a lifetimes worth to cause anypony else trouble... if they were big enough to make the news to Appleloosa... and got a picture in the paper with Soarin hitting on him once more... he didn't want to know what would happen.
He was going to regret this night... wasn’t he?
Braeburn shifted uncomfortably as he brought up a hoof to dust off his tattered and worn vest. the crowd hadn't been as bad as he anticipated, just fairly large and easy to get lost in, considering at least he had expected to lose his virginity or something in the crowd. No, they had been given a personal route just for them since Soarin was so popular and he had a non-pegasus guest.
The yellow earth pony's ears changed from being pressed down to going back up, then repeating again and again as he tried to adjust to then noise level. He didn't enjoy places shouting, or loud, or just plain uncomfortable to the ears in any way. Maybe that was why he never had a burning desire to leave home...
Braeburn blushed as he couldn't help but feel like everypony was looking at him as his eyes shifted right to left. He had taken to staring at one spot for long enough to find the meaning of life in it so he could avoid looking at all of the higher class ponies who had likely paid a fortune just to get back here. The women were in stylish dresses and saddlebags while the men wore bow-ties and tuxedos. He stuck out like a sore thumb. The only non-high class ponies seemed to stick to the pegasus in the squad individually, likely family members.. but they were still in at least non-noticeable clothes, not like Braeburn's work duds. It also looked very proper, high class with expensive foods drifting to his nose, tables with lacy and frou-frou patterns, and the kind of food that was barely more than a mouthful. He never did understand that part.
"Hurry up and change..." Braeburn whimpered gently as he shifted once more. Everypony was watching him... seeing how different he looked.
The small pass hung around his neck, grabbing it with his hoof and holding it up to his eyesight to see something other than the tiles on the floor. He glanced at it once more. Wonderbolts is what it said, in bright yellow letters with lightning bolts. It took a moment to realize that Soarin was on it, while being a mouth-drawn picture, it was still clearly him, cutie mark on that strange uniform and all...
Didn't... didn't one of his cousins friends talk non-stop about the Wonderbolts? He thought for a moment, and for a brief second a rainbow flashed past his thoughts before a hoof landed on his shoulder. He whipped around to see a female mare in a Wonderbolt costume. She was the same golden yellow as he was, and her mane was giant, and even more wind-blown than Soarin's own. She smiled warmly at him before her mouth opened. "Never seen you before, how'd you manage to snag a pass back here?"
"I...I err..." Braeburn said, searching through his mind to put it gently he was drug here against his own will and could likely expect a date rape in the near future if he wasn't careful in a place like this. Or at least that was what he feared.
After studying his clothes and look for a moment, face suddenly lit up "Oh, cool, you're that earth pony Soarin was talking about!" She said "I'm Spitfire, the leader of the mares on our squad, Soarin leads the stallions, he couldn't shut up about you, and I’ll tell you that!" She said.
"S-Soarin... was talkin'... 'bout me?" Braeburn said, turning his head away in an attempt to hide his face from Spitfire, but he thought that would simply be too rude and forced himself to turn back, avoiding her eyes at all costs. She chuckled lightly. His mouth went dry. He looked deep into her eyes for about five seconds. He didn't feel anything... not even the fluttery feeling like when Soarin laughed or teased him gently.
"Yeah, looks like he wasn't lying when he called you a real cutie." The yellow pegasus said, laughing out loud. It wasn't in any way mocking him, it was just joking around. Braeburn blushed deeply, but only because he now knew that Soarin's entire squad had heard him be called a "cutie". "Snagged yourself a real hot one there did ya?" She asked, cocking up a brow.
"I... ya just don't under... I didn't... I'm not a coltcu-" Braeburn couldn't find the right words as his tongue tripped over itself again and again before he lowered his head and hopped the other wouldn't be able to see his watering eyes. He felt embarrassed... yet was still trying to figure out why this pegasus wasn't calling his names, spitting on him, or even trying to hurt him... Maybe Soarin was right and pegasi really didn't care all that much. He hated that he was about to cry, he truly did... he sometimes found himself doing it alone in his apartment, and alone in the alley the night his parents...
"Miss me, man?" A sudden voice came as Braeburn felt weight increase on his back and a muzzle pressed into the back of his neck, breathing in the apply scent before the muzzle backed away and the yellow pony heard a moan of delight "Man that smells good."
"G-Get off ya idiot!" Braeburn grumbled as he squirmed a bit, and Soarin got off his back, fully dressed in the Wonderbolt costume up to his head, which still had the hood around his neck. Spitfire rolled her eyes.
"Guess I better not interrupt you two." She said before flapping her wings and gliding away toward the other teammates.
Braeburn glanced to Soarin, who was staring at him with thoughtful eyes. Did the pegasus... did Soarin see he was about to cry from being under pressure? He had seriously become such a sissy since all of these rumors started. Maybe it was just unlikely thinking on the yellow pony's part for imagining Soarin somehow noticing his distress and coming to the rescue like a night in shining armor...
Soarin soon went back to his usual goofy smile as soon as he realized Braeburn had calmed his tears down. Braeburn missed his thoughtful glance much more. He seemed a lot smarter and kinder with it... he had a big heart, at least Braeburn hoped he did.
"Ok, dude, you gotta sit up front and cheer me on, me and Spitfire made a bet saying that if my team lands first I get all the pie I want and she pays!" Soarin said, jumping forward with his own face a little more than an inch from Braeburn's, who in return blushed and began to stammer once more.
"H-How does c-cheering help, t-there are thousands of fans out there." He grumbled, taking a few steps back. "You won't be able to hear me out der anyways..." He turned his head, rosy cheeks tinting.
"Don't spoil the fuuun." Soarin whined before grabbing his hoof and pulling him forward against his will once more. He was still smiling. Somehow... even with his own teammates knowing he was an open coltcuddler... he still found reason to smile. Braeburn was still lost on how they didn't hate him... they didn't find it... unnatural? He felt himself be dragged through random undressed Wonderbolts and fancy looking ponies.
"You'll sit right up there, best seat in the house I swear!" Soarin said, snapping the yellow pony out of his own thoughts. A hoof was directing his vision toward a seat right dead smack in the middle of several other proper ponies. Braeburn looked down at the leg wrapped around his. He didn't blush, just let the warmth of the other through his costume sink in. He liked it... he decided on that rather quickly.
"Something wrong, eh buddy?" Soarin asked, cocking up a brow, his spiky hair blowing softly in the wind.
"'Tis just..." Braeburn said "I feel all... outta place... like I don't belong with all these here fancy schmancy ponies." He mumbled, taking off his hat "Their all... proper and all... I'm just a regular ol' earth pony, ain't nothing fancy or special 'bout me."
Soarin rolled his eyes "Lame." He teased lightly before he pointed out his hoof once more and circled it around the rest of the stadium "The rest of our fans aren't in here, or like this." He said "Pegasi, Earth Ponies, and Unicorn's are our fans, high and low class, out in that stadium I bet there are a thousand ponies like you just flooding in here as we speak. Truth be told, I hate all these upper class ponies who think their better than anypony else, mostly the kind that are stupid and only living off their families riches!"
Braeburn chuckled gently, and it wasn't forced in the slightest. Soarin smirked "Gotta lighten up more, you look a lot cuter when you aren't depressed like yesterday or earlier, try and stay like that!" He encouraged, only bringing forth a lighter shade of red to the tips of Braeburn's ears. The pegasus chuckled and flapped his wings as he pulled up the hood to his costume, placing the goggles over his eyes. "Gotta split, we're starting in half an hour!"
The yellow pony opened his mouth "Ain't it hard to move 'round in that?" He asked, pointing to the costume with his muzzle.
Soarin put a hoof to his chin before smirking and dashing down, cupping his hooves over the yellow pony's ear. "Only when I got a hard on, don't cheer too hard t'night alright?" He asked, becoming overfilled with evil delight as the earth pony found himself turning bright red. The pegasus burst out laughing before patting his friend's back and flying off before the earth pony could respond.
Braeburn's mouth was still open before he manually shut it. Tonight... was going to be a long night.
The takeoff was one of the most amazing things he had ever seen.
Braeburn was shocked, let alone astounded on just how quiet the stadium had gotten when all of the lights went off, not a peep was heard aside from his own breathing. His green eyes glistened in the moonlight before a single light had managed to click on. And before he knew it, something... two things in fact, emerged upward. Two pegasi flying side by side as at least five more on each side followed. Braeburn held his mouth open as the stadium suddenly grew booming with thunderous cheers that hurt the stallions own ears, but he didn't dare look away or try to protect his eardrums.
The two shot into the air in perfect unison and began to spin around one another. They split apart with sparks following them as the entire stadium lit up for a brief moment before they all formed together into one, causing a bright explosion to occur. Braeburn's eyes watered from the light, but he couldn't stop looking.
The cheering got louder, and something grew in Braeburn's chest. How the hell had he not heard of these... amazing pegasi until now? He had never seen anypony fly like these people did... so perfectly.
"C'mon, Soar, fly faster!" Braeburn found himself shouting, taking off his hat and letting the breeze from the pegasi almost rip it out of his hooves as they flew by. He swore he saw a smirk directed his way... but it could have been his imagination. He jumped from his own seat "Woo, ride 'em high by the horns!" He shouted.
Braeburn glanced behind him to see annoyed faces from several higher class ponies looking annoyed at him. They wanted to call him an idiot... he just knew it. He sat down quickly and squeezed his hat over his eyes, chuckling nervously as his cheeks flushed. He suddenly thanked the darkness on the fans themselves.
He lifted his hat, keeping an eye on the squad. He didn't want to miss another moment.
"Can't believe ya did that!" Braeburn shouted "Was amazing I tell ya, nopony in Appleloosa would'a believed a pegasus could fly like you lot!" He said, trying to talk over all of the ponies in the bar. It was a specially restricted bar, no camaraponies nor reporters, just a place for V.I.P ponies and the Wonderbolts themselves.
Soarin smirked happily "Didn't think you would like it this much!" He said happily, sticking out his tongue playfully. He blushed slightly as his belly rumbled rather loudly "C'mon... I'm starving..." He grumbled, bouncing his legs impatiently as he shifted on his rump at the table they were at.
"But seriously, you're such a show off with all of those explosions!" Braeburn said. His cheeks were pink. He was likely getting a tad tipsy from the amount he was drinking. It was the first time in months he felt like he truly had fun for once, and let all of his worries about coltcuddling or anything stupid like that go. He was just having a good time, nopony was holding him down!
"So I guess you liked it, huh?" Soarin asked. "Hay, I'm still shocked you never even heard of us!"
Braeburn chuckled lightly, taking another large swig as the alcohol entered his blood stream further. He found himself drinking not for sorrow, but for joy and fun. When was the last time he had a friend to drink with in general? Even before all of these rumors he didn't have any... "I don't buckin' know." He said, distracting himself from unpleasant thoughts "I live in a backwater town in the middle a nowhere, I don't know how we know that unicorns exist way out there!" He grumbled. It was a mixture of the drink plus his true feelings speaking at the moment, no longer his shy self.
"Your... pie good sir." A unicorn suddenly said, appearing from seemingly nowhere with a pie surrounded in a teal glow as it was set down, he scurried off to the next table quickly. Soarin, not waiting a single moment, all but slamming his face into the pie, only about half landing in his belly as bits and pieces hit Braeburn. The yellow pony backed up a bit he reached a hoof forward to dab at a piece and bring it to his mouth.
"Shoot, I could'a cooked this in my here sleep, you outta try a real pie sometime 'round here!" Braeburn said, rolling his eyes.
Soarin let the pie pan drop from his mouth as he stared at the yellow pony with mouth agape "You... you can cook?" He asked.
Braeburn nodded "Shoot, dad nearly killed me when I wanted to though..." He mumbled, looking down at his hooves on the table "Ma was 'gainst teachin' me too, but I was able to brin' them 'round." he grumbled out, running a hoof down his coat on his arm. "Never were supportive about nothin' I wanted to try..." He blinked several times. He closed his eyes a moment.
Soarin blinked slowly. "Dude... you gotta cook for me!" He whined as he stumbled around the table and found himself falling right on Braeburn's chest, an apply-covered face landing on his chest as the yellow pony jumped and caught him on instinct. "Promise me?"
"S-Soar, how drunk are ya?" He asked as the pegasus nuzzled his face into the chest before slowly licking the apple covered spot, causing a blush to hit him roughly as he tried to suppress a giggle. He could tell other ponies were watching, so he chose to ignore them and simply stare straight at the pegasus.
He would have dropped him... if it were last night in the bar. He would have dropped him and walked away. But now... with his face bright red from all of the alcohol entered in his body, and the gentle nuzzling mixed with slightly ticklish licks to his chest... he couldn't bring himself to drop him... maybe he was growing a little softer. "I'll bake ya a pie tomorrow, just calm your horseshoes." Braeburn said, blushing slightly as he lightly bounced the pegasi up further and gently rubbed his feathery back with a hoof.
"Aw, man." Braeburn grumbled, realizing Soarin was wasted and he also had the train tickets back home... He glanced down at the dizzy pegasus as his eyes blinked slowly. He rested his head in his spiky mane. Five more minutes... he would set him down in only five minutes. He felt like he was doing something wrong, doing something that his parents would beat him for if he even thought about it, but the light, gentle snores coming from the pegasus told him one thing. He tried to remind himself that he liked mares and mares only, but his eyes watered under the furry lids when Soarin was able to break that train with only a single mumble of delicious apple pie. The thoughts and feelings he thought he had shook off for a while had returned, and were hurting him deep in his chest.
"I like mares gosh darn." He grumbled, looking down into the pegasi's mane. He was correct on the first night they meant... he was soft. He suddenly let his thoughts go for a single moment. He couldn't help but blush, and he had to admit it... just once.
Soarin looked cute... and right now, it seemed that was all that mattered to the yellow earth pony.