You know that feeling when the newborn sunlight trickles down your coat, warming you up inside even though it may still be a cold spring morning? When the dawn envelops your body, giving hope and invigoration for the day? When the birds and critters have only begun their daily quest for maintaining the food chain? When most ponies are still asleep and you have quite some time to think over your life, especially when you've been around for over 9000 years? Okay, maybe 900. So you know the feeling, right?
That was just one of those mornings when I got the rarest of opportunities to experience it. Everything was perfect. Though I had only recently moved to Ponyville at that time, I was quite popular with ponies, for my good looks. And possibly my time-travelling skills. Especially among mares. And stallions, for that matter... Anyway, being in demand, I had little time to spend with myself. Not in the sense you've just thought, mind it! The morning was perfect. Everything was perfect.
I had just reached the main square and placed myself near the fountain. Yeah, the one that would later spread changelings all over Equestria. You... knew that, didn't you? All right, forget it. So, I placed myself near the fountain and delved deep into the nooks of my mind. Quite a pleasant experience, if I may add. The only thing I needed to make it complete was...
"Hello, Mister Doctor!"
No, no that. A glass of fine wi-
Just avoid it. Nothing is happening. It is an illusion. A loud, white, purple-maned, pony-shaped illusion. Now, where were we? Oh, yes. A glass of-
No. That was definitely not an illusion.
I turned towards the source of the sound and immediately saw it to be one of those three ponies that got kicks from wreaking havoc and devastation about the place. I can't say I don't like those... They are just foals. If I tried to remember what kind of thing I was some 800 years ago... Better not think about it.
But they could easily make anypony lose serenity. Forever.
"Why, hello... Um... Sweetie Belle?" I greeted the filly, trying hard to recall her name.
Seeing the filly nod showed that my guess was right and made me stand firmer on the good old hooves of mine.
"Mister Doctor-" she began.
"Just Doctor, okay?" I interrupted her with an indulgent smile. By the way, foals, interrupting other ponies is bad. Never do it. It is bad and ponies who do it are bad. You heard me.
"Doctor, can I ask you something?" the little pony continued, looking into my eyes with those wide, always-slightly-teary, begging-for-a-candy eyes of hers.
Seriously, how do they do it? One way or another, I couldn't resist the secret weapon of all schoolfillies so I ceased any thoughts about gifting the morning to myself and turned my attention towards the curious pony.
"Ask ahead! I've been around for some time, you know? Hope I'll be able to satisfy your curiosity," I replied not without a hint of pride in my voice. Well, in my defence I can say that I had damn sure earned it!
What could she possibly ask, anyway? Why was the sky blue? Why were the Sun and the Moon rising and setting? What were the two last digits of pi? 56, obviously. How come pegasi can fly and other ponies can't? Which of-
"What are wingboners?"
Okay. Now that was sudden.
And completely unexpected.
"What are... what?" I asked, hoping that either she had mispronounced 'wind roamers' or I'd just misheard.
"Wingboners," she repeated, looking into my eyes innocently.
Okay, she certainly doesn't know what those actually are connected to... I wonder whom in Equestria would she hear it from?
"Um... Sweetie Belle, do you mind if I ask-"
"Not at all!" she exclaimed cheerfully.
Remember what I told you about interrupting, foals? Well, at least she was being polite... I think.
"-if I ask..." I carried on. "...Where did you hear about... mm... that word?"
The white filly didn't seem to have been confused by my question - not in the slightest.
"Scootaloo told me!" she answered in the cheerful manner that only foals can maintain at 5 am. Oh, I still haven't told you it was five in the morning? My bad. Now the picture is a little bit clearer to you, isn't it?
"And where did she hear it, I wonder?"
"She heard Rainbow Dash say..." the little unicorn cleared her throat to make her best Rainbow Dash expression. "Oh, I had the weirdest wingboner after watching her giving him head! By the way, what does 'give head' mean?"
My eye twitched. Then it twitched again. Then the other one. And again. And once more. It was as if my eyelids were practicing dancing to some weird mix of jazz and dubstep.
"Giving head... is..." I mumbled, trying to collect my thoughts. "Well... it basically is... giving your brainpower to the interlocutor... Sharing your wits... Helping them think something out, you know?"
Now, my little ponies, aren't I just. Bucking. Smart?
Sweetie Belle rubbed her chin in a rather cute and childish manner.
"Oh! So, it's like... You're giving me head now, by explaining what 'giving head' is?"
Speak of Inception's name...
"Um... yes. Just... don't use it. Ever. It's... too old-fashioned, you know? From the days of my youth, you know?" I said, inspecting the surroundings to see whether anypony could hear us. Fortunately, nopony was around. I don't want to be known as the Time-Lord-Twice-Hero-Of-Equestria, a.k.a. "Little Foals Molester".
"Oh... so... Rainbow Dash is... old-fashioned? Not... radical?" the filly snickered.
"Um... yes, and she also sometimes dresses in style. Just keep that mouth of yours closed about that, okay?"
Sweetie Belle nodded, immediately killing my fears.
"So... what's a wingboner, Doctor?"
Not for long, though.
"Well, it's like..." I began when I suddenly remembered something. "Wait! Why did you turn to me in the first place?" I wondered, growing suspicious.
"I turned to Twilight in the first place but she told me to ask you!" the unicorn exclaimed.
"Oh, Twilight... That troll..." I mumbled under my breath.
"Pardon?" Sweetie Belle asked.
"Oh, nothing! Nothing! Just... I don't know much about those so-called 'wingboners' myself, being a mere earth pony and all..."
"You're an immortal Time Lord who travels through Time and Space and saves the Universe on a daily basis."
Ouch. Such a touche from Sweetie Belle really hurt.
"Um... still, I've no idea. Maybe..." I smiled slyly. "Maybe we'll go and ask Twilight together?" I suggested.
"But... Doctor? She said she didn't know and-"
Sweetie Belle looked around and sighed.
"So he's already run off. And they say I'm a foal..."
The white unicorn trotted towards the library, following the enigmatic Doctor.
At the first sight, the library seemed quiet and peaceful, silently bathing in the humility of morning sunlight. Though, coming closer, I heard heartbreaking cries from the inside.
Oh, I know that one. Everypony in Ponyville knows. Especially in the middle of the night. Especially when somepony can't find her damn book called Quantum Physics for Dummies or Hitchpony's Guide to Galaxy.
And that's another familiar one.
"Look at the mess you've done!"
Okay, that was definitely Twilight. The angry sort of Twilight. The worst one. I stopped dead in my tracks, making the white filly behind me bump into my rump. Not that I minded it; yet, the horn was pretty sharp for such a little unicorn. Way sharper than a mere needle, if you know what I mean.
I shushed the filly and leaned closer to the door, curious as to what those two were discussing.
"Eavesdropping is bad," Sweetie Belle whispered.
"It's not eavesdropping, it's investigating," I replied. Now that was smart, wasn't it? Hegelian dialectics, you know?
"Sorry, Twilight," an apologetic voice came from the inside.
"You'd better be sorry! You've ruined everything! EVERYTHING!! Years of my precious work!!"
Before you ask: no, she wasn't overreacting. If you think that is overreacting, you've never met Twilight Sparkle before.
"I-I think w-we need to help Spike..." Sweetie said quietly, opening the door with unexpected resolution.
Puppy love, what can I say? Either that or she didn't want Spike to die in pain and torture.
One way or another, I followed her inside. The library looked rather tidy, the books being sorted out and all. Yet, Twilight was holding a book in her magical grip and I knew very well it wasn't a good time for us to enter: Twilight's mane was messy and her eyes resembled those of an ancient chimaera that is said to have the power to burn ponies to ashes instantly, so that could mean only one thing: she was angry. Very, very angry.
The only way to deal with it was to face it, easy as that. Not wasting a second of our precious time, I ran past Sweetie Belle, and appeared before Twilight, taking her by surprise - not only by surprise but totally unarmed! Literally: she gasped and lost hold of the book. As it fell on the ground, I saw Spike escape through the back door. A clever dragon, really, that Spike.
"So... what are you doing 'round here, Twilight?" I asked, trying to collect all my nonchalance.
And failing miserably, may I say.
"What are you doing here, that's the question!" the lavender unicorn replied, mercilessly closing the distance between us. I swear I could see smoke erupting from her nostrils. Black, dragon-like smoke. Like Crackle's, the guardian of all dragons.
Anyway, drastic measures had to be immediately taken. And so I did.
"Spare me my life! Eat the foal! They're tender and oh so tasty!" I yelled, grabbing Sweetie Belle, who still seemed to be perplexed, and using her as a live shield. Well, yes, she's just a foal. But I am a Time Lord! I'm far more important for the sake of the Universe!
"What the..." Twilight grunted, raising a brow.
"What the..." Sweetie Belle whispered, still utterly embarrassed.
"Oh you..." the librarian swore under her breath, taking a hesitant step back and exhaling.
Smoke wasn't coming out of her nostrils anymore, and that sure as hay was a good sign. She wasn't mad anymore; she could be talked to. And possibly trolled. Though, I decided not to gamble with my fate yet.
"Be quick, you puny Time Lord. What do you want?" the lavender unicorn asked in a manner that clearly showed that I was not welcome.
I decided to play the game.
"Oh, nothing at all, Twilight. Just that lovely filly over there-" I pointed at Sweetie Belle, who was gradually coming to her senses, trying to understand what had just happened in the past few minutes. "-asked me what a 'wingboner' was. Unfortunately, it's clearly the first time I've ever encountered such a term. Mind telling us?" I asked with an invisible hint of mockery in my voice. Now that mare got the wonderful opportunity to taste her own medicine, so to speak. Never mess with the Doctor!
"Stop playing dumb, Doctor!" Twilight hissed into my ear, blushing and casting a glance at Sweetie Belle.
"Oh, I thought playing dumb was your specialization, Twilight," I replied in the same tone.
It was obvious that she wanted to say something - something unpleasant, rather - yet, Sweetie Belle completely came round just in time.
"So will you keep on flirting with each other or finally tell me about wingboners?"
Just what I needed.
"Yes, Twilight, would you mind enlightening us on the subject?" I wondered innocently.
She huffed and turned up her nose.
"Told you: I don't know myself!" she replied, trying to maintain a decent level of honesty in her words to conceal her guilty lie. Yes, as a matter of fact, when I misled Sweetie Belle, it was a mere reservation; when Twilight did so, it was a guilty lie.
"Told you..." the white filly sighed.
"Oh, really?" I asked, moving closer to Twilight, trying to look into her eyes. "Something tells me you-"
"Why don't you just ask a pegasus, okay?!" the mare hissed, taking a defensive stance.
I resolved to go easy on her for the day so I turned to Sweetie Belle instead.
"All right, seems that even the knowledgeable and sagacious Twilight Sparkle can't help us..." I began, only to be interrupted by Twilight's hissing.
"Oh, sagacious... Are you by any chance a dictionary, Doctor?"
"No, Applebloom is," a whisper came from Sweetie Belle's mouth.
We both stared at the filly for some time, making her blush in embarrassment.
"...As I was saying, you need to ask a pegasus. But since Rainbow Dash is in Cloudsdale..." Twilight was the first one to come round.
"Oh, we'll just call on Fluttershy, then. Bye, Twilight!" I said and, without wasting time, rushed off to see the yellow mare. After all, Rainbow Dash wasn't the only pegasus around. And I still didn't want to be the one to provide such explanations to young fillies. I'm not that kind of doctor, foals.
"Bye, Twilight!" Sweetie Belle yelped as I yanked her by the hoof so that she wouldn't slow us down. You know them foals.
As the two visitors became mere dots upon the horizon, Twilight closed the door and sighed deeply.
"Celestia confound that Doctor..." she mumbled, moving upstairs.
She cast one last glance through the window.
"...and protect him as well".
From the perspective of where I stand now I can clearly see we by no means should have visited Fluttershy. Unfortunately, I couldn't predict it back then. Yes, I am a Time Lord and stuff but I'm not omnipotent, okay?
As we reached Fluttershy's cottage, the Sun had already set itself rather high above the ground, sharing its warmth with the yellow pegasus' critters that were moving to and fro in front of her cosy house.
I stood before the wooden door, Sweetie Belle placed behind me. Just in case. Yes, I know, we're talking about Fluttershy here... But that bunny...
Anyway, I thought nothing would suit the moment better than a good old knock so that was exactly what I did, gently, yet with a bit of youthful vigour. Okay, maybe not so youthful; the vigorous part still stays, though.
After an obligatory yelp from behind the door, a yellow head showed from the small chink. However, as the owner of that cute head saw the ponies on her doormat to be not intruders or burglars or aliens, but just an immortal Time Lord accompanied by a little filly (I would really like to clarify whether she accompanied me or vice versa), she smiled and opened the door wide.
"Hello, Doctor. Hello, Sweetie Belle," she greeted us in her usual calm manner.
As I bowed my head slightly, Sweetie Belle quickly sneaked into the only room of the house, instantly blurting out:
"Fluttershy, you're a pegasus, right? So you can tell us what a wingboner is!" the filly exclaimed in a sing-song voice.
A thick, enduring silence from both Fluttershy and me served as an expected answer to the question (or was it a statement?).
I coughed nervously, trying to wordlessly show Sweetie Belle that that was not a polite behaviour. My attempts, as usual, were in vain.
The yellow mare, coming round from the shock, smiled indulgently.
"Why don't you come inside?" she asked invitingly, showing us to the table with conveniently prepared tea cups.
After we had consumed a few cups of Fluttershy's magnificent herbal tea in complete silence, the hostess finally smiled meekly and began her speech.
"You see, Sweetie Belle, there is a time in every pegasus' life..."
The white unicorn put her cup on the table, paying great attention to what the yellow mare was saying.
"Your body loses its usual proportions, your wings become bigger, stronger..."
I nodded. Fluttershy certainly knew how to put things nicely.
"You begin paying attention to colts... and sometimes other fillies..."
I raised my brow. She was straying from the righteous path here a bit, wasn't she?
"Then you find your special somepony... or two special someponies..."
I looked at Sweetie Belle in panic. She looked at me, shrugging, certainly failing to understand such a basic concept as polygamy. Well, that was certainly for the better. Still, it was my duty to protect the younger generation from peril!
"Sometimes, three special someponies can be just the right thing... if you arrange them correctly..."
Without further hesitation, I grabbed Sweetie Belle and ran out of the cottage. Fluttershy seemed to have not noticed us at all. As I ran away from her lagoon of peril and inappropriate knowledge, holding the confused filly by the hoof, Fluttershy's sweet voice still could be heard:
"Of course, they don't always need to be ponies... Experimentation is the key to success! For example-"
"Why couldn't we just stay at Fluttershy's? She was telling so many interesting things!" Sweetie Belle whined, still being held firmly by my old good brown hoof.
I shook my head disapprovingly and raised a hoof, thus setting the little pony free.
"Fluttershy's ill. She's... having a fever. That's why she was talking and behaving so strangely," I said with irrefutable confidence.
Sweetie Belle sighed and lowered her head. We kept on walking along the stone-paved road in silence.
"Can I... at least get a cupcake?" she asked, looking at me with those puppy eyes.
I shivered a bit. Don't get me wrong... But seriously? Cupcakes? The disadvantages of being familiar with the human culture...
"Let's make it an ice-cream, okay?" I suggested.
"Yay!" the filly yelled, making my head nearly explode. (Once. It can explode only once, for your information. The more you know!) "The last pony to reach Sugarcube Corner pays!"
With that, she rushed off to the sweets shop, making me sigh again. I was too tired to race against her. Or just too lazy. Either that or this. And you know what? They don't pay much to Time Lords. If only we had some sort of trade union or something...
When I made it to Sugarcube Corner, Sweetie Belle was already sitting at a small table by the window, waiting for me with a huge grin plastered upon her face.
"I'll take a chocolate one, a vanilla one, a strawberry one, a lemon one and an apple one!" she exclaimed in a demanding tone.
"Wasn't it one ice-cream some five minutes ago?" I enquired obscurely.
"It is one if you put it all in one bowl, dummy!" a voice came right from behind my back.
"Celestia, please..." I mentally prayed, but to no avail: a certain pink pony appeared before us with a bowl of ice-cream.
"How did you know what we were going to-" I began but immediately cut myself short. It was Pinkie Pie, after all.
"That'll be twenty-five bits!" the pink mare exclaimed cheerfully, making me groan.
As I occupied my rightful place at the table and handed out the shiny golden coins (oh how I miss them!), Pinkie wondered:
"What brings you here today? Apart from the ice-cream, of course! I know that most ponies come here to eat some delicious sweets - and they are delicious because I make them - but sometimes the real thing they want is to talk to Auntie Pinkie about their problems - well, I'm not technically an auntie but-"
"We were just discussing wingboners!" Sweetie Belle yelled, interrupting Pinkie.
...Now I know there is at least one thing that makes the pink party pony shut up.
Pinkie stopped her speech, looking at me suspiciously.
"And why would you do that, Doctor? I mean, being such a big and strong stallion, you know much about boners - and, by the way, I wouldn't mind discussing the subject with you in private - but you're not a pegasus- Wait! Are you by any means a foal mole-"
"No, Pinkie, I am not!" I exclaimed, beginning to lose my temper. With that pink mare, it was as easy as saving Pluto from The Great Nuclear Explosion in... Well, let's just say it was very easy. We Time Lords have our own standards, you know?
"I was just going to tell Sweetie that, since neither I nor Twilight... nor Fluttershy... know about those 'wingboners', she'll just have to ask Cherilee!" I explained. Blame everything on the teachers. It's their job to explain everything. They get paid for this after all! And yes, the sex ed subject wasn't to be introduced for at least five years from that time but... Well, sometimes you can mess with Time and Space...
Ahem, anyway! Pinkie Pie's face immediately radiated a happy grin, and that was a bad omen indeed. Only a miracle could save us from hearing Pinkie's honest, and probably detailed explanation. Only a...
"Howdy, Pinkie! Howdy, Sweetie Belle, Doctor! What y'all doin' here?"
...Marvel. Not that kind of marvel. None of us have noticed Applejack enter Sweetcube corner and reach our table.
"And now a horse walks into a bar..." I mumbled, bumping my head onto the table. The day was ruined. I didn't even pay attention when Sweetie Belle asked Applejack about wingboners. Now the honest mare would give her the answer, and I would be embarrassed by the end of my days. Or I could change my name to Diego and move to New Marexico. Always works, that gambit.
"Ah don' know what ya're talking 'bout, Sweetie Belle. Not a pegasus mahself. Dunno much 'bout them wings."
I slowly raised my head and looked into Applejack's eyes. Not a single light of dishonesty could be seen. She really didn't know.
I exhaled in relief.
"Now how 'bout a couple o' donuts ta mahself and Big Mac?" she addressed Pinkie, instantly forgetting about Sweetie Belle and yours faithfully.
Now I just had to act quickly: take Sweetie Belle to school, find Cherilee - and bam! - the responsibility would fall from my shoulders like those autumn leaves!
You know what happened next, right? If it was that easy, I wouldn't be telling you all of this, right?
"Darling, there you are! I've been searching high and low for you!"
And here I was, thinking that it couldn't get any worse. It always does, foals. It always does.
"Rarity!" the white filly shouted, embracing her elder sister, who had just entered the sweets shop.
"Now, now," the fashionista said, gently stroking Sweetie Belle's mane. "You couldn't miss me that much, could you? It's been a mere four hours!"
(Four hours?! Those four hours seemed like eternity to me! - Your Faithful Time Lord, ruining the narration since the beginning of time)
Sweetie Belle giggled, making Rarity let out a chuckle of her own.
"Oh, by the way, Rarity..." Sweetie Belle began.
I groaned in mental pain.
"...What is a 'wingboner'?"
Rarity didn't look surprised or embarrassed at all.
"Looks like the author wants to end the story as soon as possible," Pinkie Pie suddenly said.
Everypony (including me) looked at her in silence and deep lack of understanding.
"What?" the pink earth pony shrugged.
"As far as your question goes, Sweetie Belle, a 'wingboner' is basically like an erection, only for pegasi. It is a wing erection, which is part of both male and female pegasus physiology," she explained, gesticulating with a hoof.
Silence endured in the room.
"Okay, sis, I get it! Thanks!" Sweetie Belle said, nodding. "Too bad the Doctor doesn't have a sister who could tell him about sexual education and stuff," she added with honest sympathy in her voice.
After a few moments of shock and hesitation, I silently rose from the table and slowly walked out of the shop, followed by the ponies' glances.
As I walked down the road that was leading to the Everfree Forest, I gradually began to realise what sort of moron I was. A big, foolish moron. Sweetie Belle already knew where foals came from and other thrilling topics of sex education, thanks to Rarity.
All I needed now was to sob to myself in a dark corner of the forest, over the time - and nerves - that I had lost in the whole affair.
No suck luck.
"Hello, Fluttershy..." I said, turning round.
The yellow pegasus instantly blushed upon seeing me.
"I am sorry I made you two leave so suddenly, I think I just lost my train of thought..." she began apologising.
"Oh, that's nothing, Fluttershy. You see, it's not your fault. We'd have loved to stay and listen to your... um... detailed explanations... if we hadn't had a... well... very urgent matter on our hooves," I replied politely. Politeness is what we Time Lords are known for. And time travelling. Politeness and time travelling. But mostly politeness.
"By the way, Doctor..." the mare began.
"Yes, Fluttershy?" I said with a smile.
She looked into my eyes.
"...What exactly is a wingboner?"