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.
"You're my best friend."
Chapter 7: Apples and Feathers
Strangely enough, for the first time in what seemed like an eternity, Braeburn didn't wake up with any nightmares, or a sense of bitter loneliness with a hole in his chest. In fact, his chest was overly fluttery before his mind had given himself a chance to process why his body was encased in fur and feathers surrounding him. Warm breath tickled his cheek, but he dared not to make any movements to scratch or stop the slight annoyance. He liked the feeling of this being so close to him. Something was rubbing his belly in circles, gently, twirling around the fur as his hooves gently caressed and calmed him down, echoing him back to sleep. His eyes shifted under the curtain of lids, getting ready to open to see who or what was caring for him with such gentle and loving hooves.
The first sudden movement felt on his skin was something mashing against his lips, his eyes fluttered open to catch a glimpse of light blue fur. Memories began to rush to his head, the pegasus holding him was important to him... more important than anything at the current moment.
When the other broke from him, it took Braeburn a moment to realize he was suddenly gasping. He must have run out of breath without even realizing it. The other's face smiled down at him, it was friendly, kind, caring...
"Morning... Brae." Soarin mumbled. Braeburn lightly blushed. It took him at least ten full seconds to realize just how fast his own heart was beating, and another ten to come to terms with the fact that he didn't care at this point. "Sleep good?" He asked.
Braeburn took a long time to come up with words to fit everything. His head snuggled closer to Soarin's upper legs that he had been using as a pillow "That was... hehe, a real new way er sayin' good mornin', Ah'll give ya that." He chuckled lightly.
Soarin chuckled as well "Just be lucky it wasn't another slap on you ass." He joked lightly. This time as the other's cheeks tinted in pink, Soarin just smirked and nuzzled his muzzle against the others, his own cheeks blushing as well. "Morning, buddy." He mumbled.
Braeburn smiled, it was the first time in a lifetime that he had woken up this happy. He winced slightly at his sore sides, but didn't say anything. Soarin cocked up a brow, folding his wings that had encased the other to his sides "Still hurting?" He asked.
Braeburn shrugged. "A little..." He mumbled. He wanted to say so much more, tell the other that his knight in shining armor so to speak had saved his life and managed to glue the pieces to his broken heart together all in a night. The earth pony had given everything to the pegasus, all because of his trust he had given both his heart and body in one night. He still hadn't come to grips with what this meant for the either of them, nor could piece the puzzle together of what would happen next. He smiled softly, and the goofy grin in return forced his heart to leap.
Soarin put both hooves behind his back and gently wiggled his lower half back and forth, as if he were becoming a tad antsy. He likely wanted to fly, but the want to stay and talk with Braeburn overpowered it easily, for his face betrayed no signs. "You don't look real blissful... sleepin' I mean." Soarin mumbled thoughtfully. He spoke with ease as he stared into the others face with no betrayal of emotion. He was just speaking his mind "I like it a lot better when you blush all the time."
"I... I didn't sleep well?" Braeburn mumbled. He cocked up a brow. The last thing he remembered was hugging Soarin, he was so happy back then...
"Yeah... when I got up, looked like you were tossing and turning a lot, kinda like you were uncomfortable... you calmed down real fast after I cuddled you though." Soarin lightly teased lightly, still a touch of concern in his voice "Do you have problems... sleeping I mean?"
This time Braeburn sat there a few moments in silence "I... I dream a lot..." He mumbled "But... around three months ago, I started dreaming about... stuff..." He looked uneasy. Soarin blinked and nodded. He wasn't sure if the other understood the dreams that had been bothering him that he was too scared to talk about, but he hoped for the best.
Soarin blinked, not betraying a single emotion outside of his own character. Braeburn was just happy to see him smile like the goof he was. His heart skipped a beat the longer he stared, and even when he tried to glance away he found himself looking back. "I... I think I should head ta the apple orchard... I'm already late as it 'tis" He mumbled. He truthfully didn't want to go, but everypony had to live and work, at least that was one of the few lessons he still could believe in. Part of him was screaming at him to stay, in case Soarin decided to get the flock out of Appleloosa, and only truly wanted Braeburn for what he had given up the previous night. That fear was a mere seed, but it was still there.
As he was sitting up and turned to grab his hat, a body landed on his back, and a pair of light blue wings draped over his bare body, holding him down as teeth scraped on his ear. "C'mon Braeburn, let's just go back to bed..." He mumbled, shaking the other lightly.
"Soar, I gotta leave..." Braeburn mumbled.
"No you don't." Soarin grumbled out. "You're hurt, I can do it later, just come back and cuddle with me." He begged, voice a tad whiny as he was suddenly yanked back to Soarin's chest and locked in tight upper legs. "I don't want to kill anypony because of you."
"Soarin, I..." Braeburn mumbled, or at least he started to.
"I'm not letting you go out there alone..." He mumbled suddenly. Braeburn paused briefly, the tone of his voice was... nervous if the earth pony had to place it into words. "What if you get hurt worse, what if those colts want to settle things with you because their too big of cowards to find me. Or what if some other mob tries to attack you... no way no how am I letting you go out alone." Soarin said, squeezing the other tighter "I'm not sure how much help I could be, I'm still sore after the show and... everything else..." He mumbled.
Braeburn felt a kiss be planted on the back of his head, along with gentle nuzzling. "Please don't go..." The yellow pony held his breath before lifting a hoof and rubbing the other's upper leg gently. He was trembling slightly, and afraid to breathe as the memory forced it's way to the surface. Arms gently rubbed his belly and chest in light circles.
"That's enough bucking sentiment." Soarin mumbled as he grabbed the other's body. Braeburn jumped as he was hoisted into a lap and slammed onto the bed, Soarin somehow finding a way to his other side in front of him. He smiled happily and nuzzled the other's muzzle and giving it a peck. He wrapped the other in his arms happily, giving his chest a few kisses and licks.
Braeburn still had the battle in the back of his mind telling him the feelings he had were false... but he couldn't bring himself to believe them, not after the previous night.
The only land farm able in all of Appleloosa was where the Apple Orchard was, the ground was soft with patches of grass here and there. It was the only way the two thrived with so much life in such a rough part of the world. However... according to a certain pegasus, the hill covered in grass they had discovered was perfect for nap taking.
It was strange, watching Soarin fly out and collect twenty barrels worth of apples in an hours time. He said he had gotten slow, since he was still sore. Even though he said he flew like a screwball, Braeburn still was in awe at the grace and elegance in each and every arc in flight he flew. It was as if he were the wind, he never fought against it, only moved with it.
The barrels surrounding them would have to wait several hours before being turned in, or else Sheriff Silverstar would grow suspicious. At the current moment, Braeburn was on his back, smiling at Soarin who was next to him, upper legs behind his head as he watched the clouds intently, a smile on his own face. Braeburn couldn't get over just how much his heart thumped in his chest, nor find a way to stop his burning cheeks whenever Soarin shot a smirk in his direction. His belly was filled with butterflies, and the longer he spent on that hill, the more and more the guilt faded.
All they did for the better part of the morning was talk. Talk about favorite colors, childhood stories, opinions on mares, anything that popped into their heads. They spent most of the time lying next to each other pointing out clouds, but occasionally Soarin would link hooves with him, or start cuddling and nibbling on his lips for no reason other than he could. When the conversation led to mares, Braeburn really had no choice other than talking about his childhood or all of the dates his parents set him up on. It was during most of those times that Soarin started cuddling him, and it was the closest of times for Braeburn to lose his smile.
"Ah used to hate it when mares did nothin' but talk 'bout all of this. It made ma head spin a lot." Braeburn mumbled, just getting out of a ten minute conversation about favorite foods he wouldn't remember by the time the next topic heated up. "Guess I'm a bit of a judgmental stallion, aren't I?"
Soarin shrugged, flexing his wings out to stretch them as he gave out a huge yawn "Dunno, but it THAT bad with me, is it?" He asked, cocking up a brow as his cheeks blushed lightly and he gave a big grin.
Braeburn shook his head just as Soarin teasingly hugged him and kissed his cheek "Too bad if I am, Because you ain't getting rid of me that easily!" He snarled playfully, a feathery wing teasingly tickling the others chin as he stole the hat from atop the stallions head with the snag of a wing and placed it upon his own "How's that sound, partner?" He said, in a horrible country accent that made Braeburn laugh and Soarin blush.
"Great." Braeburn chuckled, snuggling tightly into the others chest "Long as ya don't go stealin' my hat!" He snagged the other with a leg and ripped the hat off before nibbling on the others ears. It was a nice change to see Soarin blush instead of him.
The rest of the morning was along these lines. Soarin's teasing didn't hurt him anymore, nor did it cause confused feelings. Some part of him deep down told him the better half of two weeks was not long enough to build a relationship where he should trust somepony this much... but his entire heart had already been lassoed and stolen by the pegasus. Braeburn honestly didn't have that much of a choice now. All that mattered to him in all honesty was whether or not Soarin would decide he liked Braeburn enough to not abandon him after a month.
"I won't abandon you. I promise"
Braeburn intended to make Soarin keep his word.
The trip home in the start of the afternoon was easier than one would have expected. Braeburn didn't notice the incredibly nasty looks, nor the insults, nor did he care to pay attention. The only reason he honestly knew about any of these things was the fact that Soarin kept glaring behind him ever few moments, and even then he returned to goofy and playful in ten seconds flat.
He didn't try to kiss him in public, it helped Braeburn cope in the very least with the town and their standards. He knew they couldn't judge him on facts if they were only walking and talking. Their could at least justify their actions toward him if they saw it with their own eyes.
By the time Braeburn got back to his house, Soarin pretty much tackled him through the door in a hug. The yellow pony now currently sat with a pegasus on top of him and breathing in his mane. Braeburn groaned "Can't ya go ten minutes without cuddlin' me?" He snarled. In all honesty, he didn't mind it, and the snarl was more playful than anything.
"Dunno, but I don't wanna find out." Soarin mumbled, trying to take in the others scent. If the pegasus had to describe it, the two were at the honeymoon stage, the height of their romance. He wanted to live it up while he could in the very least, for both his and Braeburn's sake.
Braeburn still manged to stand up, being an earth pony and several times stronger than the other he did it with ease. He was about to take a step with the other clinging to his back before his hoof stepped on something. He glanced down and saw the crumpled letter at his hooves. Soarin must have spotted this as well, for he slid off the others back and looked at it closely. "What's that?" He asked.
Braeburn opened the letter with his teeth, pulling out a small piece of paper. He realized there was no postage stamp, meaning it had to have been hoof delivered. He blinked several times as he took his eyes from Soarin to the letter as he unfolded it. His eyes scanned the page for several moments. They soon widened.
"Brae... what's up?" Soarin asked. Braeburn re-read the letter again. He felt his own hooves tremble slightly as his coat grew warm with worry as he began to sweat. Soarin suddenly yanked the letter away from the other and read over the words. There were only seven.
"Come home tonight, we need to talk." Soarin mumbled aloud. He looked over the letter. There was no name... but it didn't take a genius to guess who it was from based on Braeburn's trembling. He glanced down at the other, who hadn't budged an inch. "Braeburn, you okay buddy?" He asked, placing a hoof on the other's shoulder and shaking him gently. Braeburn jumped and glanced at Soarin quickly, he opened his mouth, but it was dry. "Why... why do you think your father wants you home?"
Braeburn took in a gasp of air as he attempted to calm down. He was unsuccessful. Soarin placed a hoof on his shoulder again "Hey, Brae, for pony's sake, you don't HAVE to go." He soothed. "You can stay here if you want, your dad ain't gonna drag you home."
"He might..." Braeburn mumbled "I've always been... scared of him... to go 'gainst his wishes." The yellow pony gnawed on his lip for a long time. He brought a hoof up to his chin and quickly glanced around in a nervous panic, as if he expected said pony to attack him at random. Soarin's ears dropped as he gave his friend a sympathetic look.
"Brae... don't go." Soarin said "You don't want too."
"I have too."
"No, you don't, and anypony who say's otherwise has to deal with me." Soarin stated, puffing out his chest. He stopped boasting the moment he saw Braeburn's watering eyes. He had never seen Braeburn scared before... this was it.
"Soar... if I don't... he'll..." Braeburn mumbled, he suddenly had a tear spill over. He lifted a hoof to wipe it away. A wing beat him to it, gently stroking under his eyelid. He glanced at Soarin thoughtfully. The pegasus smiled softly.
"Hey, Buddy, if you need to go, I can't stop you... but I'm going with you." Soarin mumbled, nuzzling the other gently.
Braeburn sniffled loudly before hugging the other tightly in a sudden movement. He was warm, he felt loved... he kept reminding himself of these things, and it was easy for him to calm down, mostly with Soarin rubbing his back.
"Bucking hell." Soarin grumbled before rubbing the other's bandages "I said I didn't want to kill anypony today..."
"I don't know if I can do this." Braeburn mumbled.
"Then don't." Soarin stated simply as he stroked the other's mane "It isn't too late to just turn around and go home." The offer was tempting "Maybe just cuddle up under the blanket and move on with our lives." That second offer was even worse. Braeburn had to bite his lip as the house came into sight. He knew he had to do this... if anything just to settle things.
"Can ya... can ya just wait out here?" Braeburn mumbled. Soarin cocked up a brow, and began to open his mouth "I won't get hurt, and the doors are thin enough for ya ta get in if anything goes wrong." He looked into the other's eyes "I know I promised ya that you could come... but this is somethin'... personal."
"Personal like last night, or personal as in sappy personal?" Soarin said, an attempt at a lame joke that Braeburn only chuckled at because he was nervous enough. "I'm kidding." He finally said before rubbing the other's back. "But... seriously, after I came all the way here?"
"I'm serious." Braeburn stated
Braeburn rolled his eyes and smiled at the other nervously as they approached the door. He lifted a hoof to knock before Soarin grabbed it. Braeburn glanced at him and felt lips peck his forehead "I'll be out here... just hurry up, alright?"
Braeburn nodded. He didn't know why, but those words gave him a little strength. Soarin smirked and spread his wings, gliding back several feet and crouching down in the shadows to hide. Braeburn looked at him for a good ten seconds, receiving a smirk of a smile. He took a deep breath and lifted one of his hooves, and knocked on the door.
"Come in." A scratchy, raspy voice came. Braeburn winced slightly as he all but whimpered as he slowly opened the door, striking one final glance at the pegasus who lifted his ears to hear the sounds from the inside clearer. Braeburn stepped into the house, the old, wooden floor creaking. Memories of the house filled him mind, before he had been kicked out. It wasn't his childhood home... but it was still the place he once called home... and it was a darn good home too, not including the roommates.
"Pa... where's Ma?" Braeburn mumbled as he glanced at his father, giving him a stern and disapproving glance as usual. The last time he had seen the stallion... was the night he slept in the middle of an alleyway with a bleeding and bruised body. The nervous tension in his voice was obvious.
"I hear you left town last week with a... stallion." The colt growled. He gave the word stallion emphasis, and it made Braeburn wince. "And you came here like that? For Celestia's sake boy, where's your vest at least, what's with those bandages?
"So?" The yellow pony mumbled, trying to ignore the other's comments on his appearance and where he went with Soarin. "Why do you care? You threw me out."
"I called you here tonight because..."
"You didn't... answer my question." Braeburn mumbled, more to himself than his father. A deathly glare was shot his way, and he bit his lip shut. He closed his eyes and found himself cowering. He felt weak, he wanted Soarin. "I'm sorry..." He all but whimpered. He felt guilt once more for thinking about Soarin. He couldn't rely on the other forever.
The wooden creaking of the floor caught his ears. He glanced over toward the doorway in the hallway. He saw his mother come out, looking a tad worried. She was followed by somepony. It was a mare... she was dressed nicely, in a saddle. Her coat was light green, with an all white mane and tail that curled. Braeburn felt nothing, but noticed his own father blushed lightly, only to receive a glare from his mother.
"Braeburn..." His mother said gently "This... is Sunny Spark." She said. Braeburn glanced to her back, realizing she was a pegasus. She blushed lightly. He had never seen her in this town, she must either be new or called in just for this occasion. She looked away, and it was at this point Braeburn realized he was glaring. He gave her sympathetic eyes quickly before turning the glare to his mother.
"What is this about?" He mumbled out.
"Son... we are giving ya one final chance not to make a damn fool of yarself and ruin our family." His father growled, pointing with his head toward the pegasus. She blushed and waved her hoof at him. Braeburn felt bad. She was pretty, she really was. She didn't seem like all that bad of a pony, and had only gotten mixed up in this on a whim. "Sunny is 'ere to help you."
"I don't need any more chances," Braeburn mumbled "And I don't need your gosh darn 'elp either."
His father snarled out in anger, Braeburn jumped lightly. He felt fear ripple through his body. What would Soarin do at a time like this. "Is this all ya called me out here for?" He asked, turning to his father "Pa, I think I'm going to leave." He tried to say this boldly. His legs still trembled however, giving away his lies of bravery.
He began to walk away "Don't go out that door, Braeburn." His father snarled out. The yellow pony felt his coat stand on end as his eyes began to water. He screamed at himself in his mind and blinked away the tears, determined not to break down. "My son is not a damn coltcuddler, and tonight he is going to fall in love with a mare, like it should be!"
"I..." Sunny began. She looked away. Braeburn's own mother looked distressed at her son's behavior, she whispered things to her like it was just a phase he was going through. She glanced at him sympathetically
"My little foal was raised as a straight pony, and he will remain that way. He is not going to go against everything that is supposed to happen!" His father almost yelled. Braeburn glanced at Sunny. He began to walk over. She seemed a tad frightened. He felt sorry for her. He ignored his mother and gently placed a hoof on her cheek, fighting off the fear his father was giving him. She blushed lightly. She might have a crush on him.
"I think you look beautiful, and you seem like a good mare... but I'm sorry Sunny," Braeburn mumbled to her "I'm sorry you got tangled in this mess, I'm sure you'll make a colt happy, but not me." He nuzzled her forehead apologetically.
"It's alright." She mumbled. Her voice was soft, cute even. But it didn't send a spark through Braeburn in the slightest. He missed Soarin's raspy voice. Braeburn became glad she was a pegasus, and not an earth pony.
"Turn around and look at me." His father growled. Braeburn gulped, showing fear on his face for a brief moment before Soarin's face popped into his mind. He wanted to prove he could take care of himself. He turned around, but his poker face was strong.
"Listen here, no son of mine is..."
"Pa..." Braeburn interrupted, seeing the anger on his fathers face "I don't care w-what you think." He growled out. He took a step forward, his legs trembling slightly. He could vividly remember being hit again and again, blood coming from his body. It was the first time Soarin made him feel safe because he was crying so much when he told it to the pegasus, but now it seemed to fuel his anger. "Listen, I a-ain't gonna be miserable just 'cause you don't approve of me."
His father gritted his teeth. He always had anger problems, one of the main reasons Braeburn kept his distance when they lived together. However, he kept talking. "I... I..." He paused a moment, looking behind him at his mother before taking a deep breath and turning back, looking his father dead in the eyes. "I like colts!" He shouted. It wasn't like the last time he said it, it didn't just slip out on accident, it had been thought through and actively planned out.
"I don't give a buck what ya think of me, I'm 'appy with who I am, and right now I don't care if ya ever talk to me again." Braeburn growled, becoming more and more confident as he took another step forward "I thank ya kindly for raisin' me the way you did, because if you didn't, I wouldn't 'ave started goin' to the bar, and I would have never met Soarin there."
His father tensed up "Who?" He snarled.
Braeburn bit his lip a moment "Soarin..." He stated "The greatest, kindest, funnest, and... and sexiest stallion in all of Equestria!" His cheeks tinted red as he said this, and his mother gasped. "He makes me feel like sompony cares about me, unlike you or Ma. He has never told me there's something wrong with me, and helped me come to terms with all of dis..." He bit his lip. "I... I love him." He whispered.
"My son... has not fallen in love with another pony."
Braeburn felt his throat close as his eyes watered, his chest hurt from shouting, he almost never shouted. He felt fear at this moment. He looked up "I love him." He growled out, eyes spilling their tears "I love him more than you love me, and I know he loves me too." He said "Last night... last night I..."
"I let him buck me!" Braeburn shouted, this time everypony in the room gasped, including Sunny. Braeburn's eyes stung as he looked up "I loved it... I love how safe he made me feel, and I loved it when he cuddled me all night long." He stated.
His father was now breathing heavily. Braeburn bit his lip "I'm almost glad that... that those three tried to kill me last night... because he saved me... and I asked him to kiss me... I... I..." His eyes spilled their tears faster. "I love him because he is the only pony to care about me so much in years. More than you and Ma ever did."
Braeburn glanced up, a hoof was raised over his head. It started to come down. The earth pony braced for impact and pain. He closed his eyes and shrunk down into a ball on the floor. The feeling was familiar... to familiar for his liking.
He did it... he stood up to his father.
Braeburn however didn't feel pain. He glanced up, seeing his father's face, it looked like it was struggling. It was only then that the yellow pony saw a light blue arm above him as well.
"Soarin..." Braeburn mumbled. Soarin didn't give a cocky smile, or tease him, or look like his usual self in the slightest. His eyes held pure hatred.
"Listen here... bud." The pegasus growled, locking eyes with the struggling earth pony. He didn't even flinch as Braeburn found himself clinging tightly to the other's side as he stood up halfway. "If you ever try to touch or hurt Braeburn again... I'm going to bucking kill you." He sounded serious. "You're the reason he's been having such a hard time his entire life deciding who he was..." He was silent for several moments before grabbing the other's upper leg and throwing him on the ground. Braeburn jumped as the body slammed down hard. "But... I think I'll let you live... even though you don't deserve it after all the crap you put him through... you..."
Braeburn felt himself be hoisted up as a wing wiped under his eyes. "You still brought Brae to me in the long run... I'm glad for that." He said, lightly nuzzling the others cheek. Before Braeburn could say anything, he felt himself be drug out by the other as a hoof wrapped around his leg.
"Ponies like that piss me off." Soarin grumbled. He drug the earth pony, who didn't dare complain, a good hundred feet before stopping. He stopped only for one reason. He turned to Braeburn, who had his head lowered, his chest trembled.
"C'mon Brae, it'll be okay, cheer up..."
The sound to escape Braeburn's throat wasn't one anypony would expect. "Pffffft, Bwahahaha, d-d-did you sehehehe his face?" Braeburn cried out, laughing his head off "He was... he was so scared, and when you flipped him... I think I almost lost it there!"
Soarin smirked, his eyes returning to normal. He started chuckling as well "Yeah, I guess it was pretty funny." He smirked as the other clung to him like glue for support. The pegasus suddenly grabbed the other and slammed his body into the nearest building, mashing lips with him and forcing his tongue in his mouth. It took Braeburn by surprise. Soarin broke away "I love you." He said quickly before mashing his lips back. His hooves began to travel down the other's sides, one slowly drifted to the small of the others back.
Soarin suddenly pulled away as something tapped his shoulder. He turned to see a mint green pegasus, who was blushing violently ask in a tiny voice "Are you... are you um... The Soarin?" She asked "The Wonderbolt's one?"
Soarin nodded, hearing Braeburn let out a moan as the other's belly rubbed against his front.
Sunny smiled before blushing harder, seeing as how the pegasus had his wings out behind him and Braeburn looked to be on cloud nine as hooves rubbed just past his cute mark. "You're a lucky colt... Braeburn." She mumbled.
"And you're a good looking one." Soarin said with a smirk, causing the other to blush.
"Hey..." Braeburn whimpered gently "W-What 'bout me?" He asked.
Soarin watched Sunny fly away, not wanting to see any more of the two's private moment. Soarin turned back "You're not good looking, you're just sexy." He said teasingly.
Lips connected once more.
Braeburn knew for a fact now, that Soarin was in love with him.
Braeburn felt his eyes flutter open. He reached for the spot next to him, but found nothing. He groaned as he sat up, feeling a tad soar in the rear. He glanced around the room a few times, looking for Soarin. He spotted him looking out the window. "Soarin?" Braeburn asked. The other seemed distracted, as if he were thinking about something.
The pegasus turned, looking a tad sad.
Braeburn got out of the bed and started to walk toward the other, worry in his eyes. He didn't know what was wrong, he just wanted to know why Soarin looked so sad. "Soar, what's u-"
"I'm leaving..." Soarin mumbled. "Tonight."