You continue to open and shut your silver pendant, the metallic click clacking noise it makes bringing you a small amount of comfort as the rhythmic noise starts to lull you into a sort of trance. Your head starting to fill with nothing but that repeated noise, pushing everything else into the darkness, your fine with that. You believe that if you let your mind wander even for a moment it’ll slip back into the depression that had been plaguing you off and on for the past few hours.
You sigh heavily, shutting your pendant one last time and placing it securely around your neck yet again, the familiar weight of the silver neckpiece bringing you a small sliver of comfort. You reach out with a hoof to secure the glass of Hardened Horseshoe Whiskey you’d ordered moments ago, opting to drink your pain away instead. You pound back the drink, grimacing as the liquid pours down your throat and settles in your stomach. Hardened Horseshoe Whiskey tastes like leather and makes your throat feel like you’d just swallowed a box of lit matches, it’s certainly not a drink for everypony, but if you’re looking to get yourself really drunk really fast you’d be hard pressed to find a better way.
After clearing away the tears from your eyes (a byproduct of your drink), you take a solemn look around the bar you’d become rather familiar with over the past couple months. It was a rather busy little establishment, though still significantly less so than the cramped Manehattan bars you were used to. The lighting was low and the music rather tame, creating a dark and moody atmosphere that matched the mood you were in almost a little too well. Though the cheerful chattering between the patrons around you was constant it was muffled and quieter in the back where you sat, having made this section of the bar your own little pity corner.
All in all it was a nice little place, you appreciated the calm atmosphere. But really you didn’t know all that much about it, you couldn’t even recall its name. All you could really be certain of concerning the establishment was that it had strong drinks, a quiet tone, and was owned, at least in part, by the Apple family. Something you were known to take advantage of whenever you went out with Big Macintosh, he wouldn’t let you drink for free but he was kind enough to let you open up a tab.
You take another swig of your drink, feeling your head start to buzz ever so slightly as the alcohol begins to take effect. However, even the comforts of the strongest whiskey in Ponyville isn’t enough to keep your mind from drifting back to the events from earlier today. You had been so happy only a few short hours ago, despite everything that had happened, despite everything that had gone wrong, you still had that one little thing you were looking forward to…that one little light in the darkness keeping you from getting swallowed up in the shadows. But that light was snuffed out…all thanks to four little words.
“We need to talk.” You hear Lily’s voice ring in your head, the thought of the mare causing you to frown and take another mouthful of your drink, emptying the cup. You didn’t feel like dwelling on the details of your separation, she didn’t like you and didn’t want to be with you and that’s all you really needed to hear, all you could really handle hearing.
You wave the waitress over for another drink as you rack your brain over why your life has taken such a downward spiral. Did you do something wrong? Had you lived such a horrible and vicious life that you deserved to be slapped down whenever things started looking up? Having trouble with mares was one thing, but the way things had been happening to you was just cruel. It was like you had invoked the wrath of Celestia herself, or some other unknown god. You drag a hoof across your face, as if attempting to wipe away your foul mood. Whining about your problems certainly wasn’t going to do you any good, of course that still wasn’t going to stop you from using them as an excuse to get drunk off your flank either.
Speaking of getting drunk, when on Equestria was that waitress going to get back with your drink?
“Here’s your drink partner.” You look up, the thick southern accent drawing your attention. You expect to see the wiry mare from before, your slightly clouded mind failing to register the strictly masculine tone of voice, but instead you see the giant red stallion known as Big Mac. Really you shouldn’t have been surprised; there was only one pony in Equestria that spoke like Mac did, kind of slow, but deep and powerful at the same time.
You smile up at your friend, his presence cheering you up somewhat, though admittedly not by much. Big Mac had been one of the first ponies you became acquainted with when you first moved to Ponyville, he’d noticed you were new in town, decided to hang out with you for a while and your friendship had been growing ever since.
“Hi Big Mac.” You greet him with a fake smile and a forced tone of cheeriness. “How’s the farm doing?”
“s’fine.” He answers simply, before swishing around the wheat stalk in his mouth. You wonder where he keeps getting those, you’re fairly certain there aren’t even any wheat fields around Ponyville, let alone close enough for him to always have one on hoof. “Ah’m more worried ‘bout you right now.” His voice is monotone, but you can tell there’s genuine concern behind these words.
Your façade falters somewhat, a sliver of a frown cracking your carefully crafted mask of false joy, but you manage to keep your true emotions hidden. You didn’t really need to bug Big Mac with your stupid relationship problems right now.
“Oh there’s nothing wrong with me Mac.” You motion to take the drink from the red stallion’s hooves, only for him to pull it away. You give him an annoyed expression, which he returns with a disarming stare. After a moment you give a long exasperated sigh in defeat, leaning back in your chair and pinching the bridge of your snout with a hoof. “Lily broke up with me…” You can’t help but feel like that sounds stupid when you say it. Here you are, a full grown stallion, moping over getting dumped like some school colt that had just gotten shot down by his first crush…but dammit, was it too much to ask for a little companionship in your life? You look up and meet Mac’s eyes with your own, his expression warm and understanding.
He slides the glass back over to you. “But that’s not all that’s wrong. Is it?” The stallion questions, pulling up a chair and sitting next to you,
You down a third of your glass before answering back. “Well it’s just…with all that’s happened, I can’t help but feel like I don’t deserve it you know? I mean what have I done that’s called for getting put in a full body cast, getting thrown in a dungeon, and getting my house burned down?” Big Mac doesn’t respond, but he gives you a nod of his head to show he’s listening. But you stop yourself from going any further, you don’t want to take up the little amount of free time your friend has with pointless complaining. “But you know whatever I guess. You must have better stuff to do than listen to me whine.”
Big Mac’s deadpan expression doesn’t change. “I got time.”
“No seriously it’s okay, I’ll just have a couple more drinks and head to Caramel’s for the night.”
Big Mac doesn’t say anything in response, still staring off into the distance, focusing in on nothing in particular.
“You’re not going to go away until I talk about it. Are you?”
Big Mac’s still silent, the only movement being the constant chewing on the wheat stalk in his mouth.
You sigh. “Just remember you asked for this.” You finish off your drink, your head now growing incredibly light.
Big Mac’s still silent, but the faintest of smiles cracks his lips.
“….I mean I just don’t get it I do everything right I’m sure of it!” You heatedly explain to Big Mac. “I try to be the greatest gentlecolt they’ve ever seen, I get them gifts, I hold open doors, I actually listen to what they have to say! Which is a lot harder than you might think by the way, and all they do is throw it in my face! I tell you Big Mac I’m done! Finished! I’m never asking another mare out again! ” You more or less inhale your next drink, downing the stinging liquid in three big gulps before slamming the now empty cup on the wooden table with a thump.
You’d been fuming to Big Mac for how long now? An hour? Maybe two? You weren’t really sure considering how topsy turvey everything was at the moment. All you were really certain of was that getting all this stuff off your chest was really lightening you up…or maybe that was just the booze. Either way as the hours had increased so had the number of drinks you’d had. You were working on your fifth glass now, and you didn’t really plan on stopping anytime soon.
Big Mac had more or less been sitting next to you in stone silence, the only noise he’d make was a token ‘eyup’ every once and a while to show that he was still listening. You were glad he was there though, it was nice having somepony to talk to. Even if talking to Big Mac was pretty much the equivalent of speaking with a brick wall, it had been a long time since you’d just let everything out. You’d even cried for a few minutes, but you had managed to pull yourself together fast enough to avoid any extreme embarrassment. But for the first time in what seemed like ages you finally felt a little better.
Or again, that could just be the almost unhealthy amounts of alcohol you’ve ingested. Either way, you don’t care. You look down, surprised to see your cup empty yet again. You don’t even remember drinking this one…short term memory loss is usually a good sign to start slowing down on the booze but…you still had one last glass to spare. You think over the decision a bit, or well, think over it as much as your cloudy mind will allow. You were pretty drunk already… but one more wouldn’t kill you right? With a shaky hoof you reach out for the cup, dragging it across the wooden table rather than picking it up. What’s the worst that could happen?
Pain…that’s it….pain, that’s the only thing that registers with you at the moment. It feels like nothing but sheer agony is vibrating throughout your poor abused body. Your tongue feels like cardboard and tastes like dirt, your brain feels like it’s been worked on with a five iron, and your face feels like it’s been beat on with a rusty shovel. What on Equestria happened to you last night? This series of sensations, however unpleasant they may be, wasn’t exactly unfamiliar to you, and even though your mind feels like it wants nothing more than to shut itself down right now you're able to deduce that you got really, really, drunk last night.
You can’t fight a loud groan of discomfort as you force your body to roll over on its side, the bed beneath you squeaking loudly as you shift your weight, feeling slightly more comfortable you give your mind a few moments to attempt and piece together what happened last night.
Okay, so I went to the bar aaaand, got really drunk. Well, that much is obvious. But I remember talking to somepony…BIG MAC! That’s who it was, Big Mac was there. We talked…or correction, I talked, about what though? Oh yeah, he wouldn’t go away until I told him why I was feeling so down…but what did I say? Something about how I was angry with the way things were going for me, and I remember somepony crying…was that me? Oh Celestia I cried!? You make a sound that’s something between a growl and a groan, feeling the shame of letting your masculinity be compromised finally catch up with you. You move to drag a hoof across your face, only to stop and hiss in pain as soon as your appendage comes in contact with your right eye, a couple more gentle prods and you can tell its swollen nearly shut. And I have a black eye. Just fantastic…that’s what I needed right now, now I’m jobless, homeless, mareless, and ugly to boot. You sigh wistfully and continue to search the depths of your own foggy mind for any more details; unfortunately you can’t seem to dig up anything important. With a groan you eventually give up trying to recall the prior night’s events. Maybe I’ll be able to think better if I can clear up this headache? You think hopefully, recalling that Caramel had put a pack or two of pain pills in your nightstand, he’d said with the way you drink you’d probably need them…turns out he was right.
You reach out with your hoof, feeling around and trying to find the small table by your bedside. When you feel nothing but air however you frown, you could have sworn the nightstand was on this side of the bed. You don’t want to open your eyes, because you're confident the moment you do you’ll regret it. With hangovers this strong it’s better to just stay in the dark, move as little as possible, and try to sleep them off. So, moving by memory and with a great deal of effort you manage to flop over to the other end of the spacious bed beneath you. Now come to think of it…this bed’s a lot more comfortable than the small guest bed you’d been occupying the last couple nights, and the covers…oh Celestia these covers felt really good. Like your entire body had been wrapped in some kind of fine velvety silk. You're half tempted to just curl up and fade back to sleep, but you know you’ll feel worlds better if you can choke down a couple of Caramel’s pain pills.
You wave your hoof out over the edge of the bed, yet once again fail to come into contact with anything remotely resembling a nightstand. With a sigh of resignation you crack open your one good eye, grimacing in discomfort as your bloodshot and aggravated retina screams in protest of this action. Needless to say, the sight you’re greeted with isn’t what you expected.
This is definitely not the guest room you had been occupying at Caramel’s home. The room around you is lavishly decorated, elaborate paintings hang from the walls and the scent of fresh flowers floats buoyantly throughout the room, the window directly in front of you is covered by a pair of dark red curtains, allowing no more than a sliver of the sun’s rays to filter into the room.
You’re slightly taken aback by the sudden change in scenery, though you’re far from panicked or concerned. You’d be lying if you said this was the first time you had gotten extremely drunk and woken up in an unfamiliar environment, though admittedly you’d feel a lot more comfortable knowing where exactly you were. You scan around with blurry vision, your swollen eye doing you no good and your other still agitated. But after a few moments you're able to make out what appears to be a glass of orange juice and a piece of paper lying idle on the dresser across the room.
You can see the distinct markings of ink on the paper across the way, and you’re curious to see what they read. But you feel so cozy here in the blankets, and your body is practically begging for more rest, that you're half tempted to just say buck it and go back to sleep. But in the end your curiosity wins out and you slowly fumble out of the neatly placed covers laying over you, leaving them in a slight heap on the bed. You hope whoever your mysterious host is won’t mind, but if they do you suppose you can fix it later.
The moment your hooves touch the soft pink carpet beneath you your head starts to sway, threatening to propel you face first into the floor. You catch yourself just in time, placing a stabilizing hoof to your head in order to keep the world from spinning; this is when you notice something worrying. When you take a closer look at your hoof you notice a few layers of thick cotton bandages have been wrapped tightly around your hoof, flecks of red staining the white material.
How did this happen? You think idly, less concerned than you probably should have been. A bruise or black eye after a night on the town was one thing, but waking up wrapped in blood and bandages? That was a tad concerning, you can’t help but find it strange you hadn’t noticed this earlier. A true testament to how out of it you feel at the moment. Wanting to take no chances you perform a quick pat down to see if you find any more not so pleasant surprises, but luckily discover nothing you should be overly concerned about.
You take one more moment to study your bandaged hoof, hesitantly placing it on the floor below you and testing your weight on it. It stings a little, but this pain is minimal compared to the sheer agony pulsating throughout your skull right now. Whatever happened last night got you hurt, and judging from the blood it got you hurt pretty bad. However the cause of your injuries isn’t what you’re immediately concerned about. Oh no what you want to know most of all is who fixed you up, your unknown host perhaps? You make a mental note to thank whoever they may be when you get the chance. After you ask them what happened last night of course.
Slowly you saunter over towards the orange juice sitting on the dresser, picking up the glass and gulping down its contents with a thirst like no other. The liquid had long since grown thick and warm but that doesn’t matter to you. Compared to the filthy taste in your mouth this was like nectar from the heavens.
With a satisfied sigh and an ungenlecoltly belch you place the now empty cup back on the dresser. You look down, your eye landing on the piece of paper from before. You reach down and retrieve the parchment to bring it closer to your face. The combination of your injured vision and the fancy script the writer had used making the words difficult to understand at first. But after only a few moments of forcing your pounding head to piece it together you begin to read.
My dear sweet gentlecolt, if you are reading this than it means I am not there to greet you upon your awakening personally. And for that I am truly sorry, after what you did I can assure you I am still sincerely in your debt and wish to repay you in full. I also wish to inform you that my lack of appearance is not due to ungratefulness, but rather the tight constraints of a very busy schedule.
While I write this the current time is half past eleven and I should no doubt be back within the hour. I have prepared brunch downstairs; do feel free to help yourself for it is the least I can offer you after you endured such suffering on my part.
You frown upon hitting the end of the note; the name of the author smudged just enough to keep you from making it out. Maybe if you had the full use of your blackened eye, and your head didn’t feel like nails were being pounded into it you would be able to make out the crude grey smudge and form a name. But alas it doesn’t seem like your luck has made any significant improvements over the night and you fail to piece together the signature.
You look around the room, searching for a way to figure out what time it is. Fortunately there appears to be an old grandfather clock placed in the corner, the dark varnished wood a stark contrast to the light rosy color of the walls. Thankfully the numbers are large enough for you to read, even from this distance across the room, the time is eleven fifty. Assuming that the letter left for you was telling the truth whoever lived here should be returning shortly, if they hadn’t already that is.
You remember how the letter had mentioned food waiting for you downstairs, and your stomach seems like it would be pleased with that course of action. While your aching cranium on the other hoof would prefer it if you went back to sleep, you take a moment to debate it in your head. Come to think of it you hadn’t eaten at all yesterday, and your stomach is loudly commanding you to fill it with sustenance. That and you kind of want to take a look around the home you spent the night in. In the end the combination between your starvation and burning curiosity win out over the desire to sleep off your hangover.
You hobble your way over to the door leading out of the bedroom, pushing it open with a creak and stepping out. You look around; apparently you’re on the second floor. A large stairway to your right breaks off from the balcony you’re standing on and leads downstairs. To your left is a hallway leading to two different rooms, both of which are hidden behind shut doors. The balcony overlooks the entrance of the surprisingly spacious building; you're surprised to see the walls gently begin to curve upwards, giving the entire building a dome like shape. Two large pools of light shine through the beautifully ordained window panes above you, lighting up the residence in a very effective manner, it really was quite a beautiful place, and it must have cost quite a few bits, no doubt the pony who lived here was far from short on money.
Looking at it now you can’t help but notice a slight feeling of déjà vu creeping up on you. This feeling no doubt stems from the fact you had been brought here the night before, but any specific details you might have been able to recall are muddled and difficult to make out.
“Hello, is anypony here?” Your scratchy voice echoes throughout the house, receiving no answer.
Well, apparently whoever left you the note hadn’t come back yet. You consider going back to the bedroom and waiting, as you think it somewhat rude to wander around somepony’s home when they aren’t there, but the promise of food still hangs heavy on your mind. And you had been instructed to help yourself to whatever was prepared in the kitchen. Seeing no reason to not take advantage of such generous hospitality you wobble your way over to the staircase.
You begin to walk over to the stairs, stopping at the top to brace yourself for the descent. Your aforementioned damaged vision and throbbing head making the staircase look much steeper and much more dangerous than it actually is. This was something you always hated about hangovers, how simple tasks that normally nopony would even think twice about accomplishing were made ten times as difficult thanks to a throbbing skull. You had learned the hard way a few years ago not to take going down the stairs so lightly after a late night bar crawl, as you had ended up taking a very ungraceful tumble the day afterwards.
Back when you lived in Manehattan you had gone out with a couple of friends to visit the hot new club that opened up in town the previous night, Club DJ Pon-3 if you remember correctly, it was fun…or at least you think it was. In truth the only thing you can really recall is how you and your friends had nearly been arrested by the local police after being caught performing some…questionable acts with the statue of Celestia in Manetral Park. You aren’t aware of any specifics…thankfully, but you do remember chipping your tooth on the tip of Her Majesty’s horn. You aren’t really sure if you and your friends managed to get away thanks to being faster than the police…or if they had just been too shocked with what they saw to take action. Either way you were glad nopony was informed, explaining such a deed to your battle axe of a father would not have made the next morning any easier, that’s for sure.
But apparently you were still in need of punishment, because the following day you had fallen down the stairs thanks to your hungover state and had fractured your ribs in six different places. Needless to say you were far from eager to repeat such an event.
You breathe in deeply, and then take your first step. You steady yourself, and prepare to take another, your head already spinning and threatening to keel you over. After a few brief moments of collecting yourself you begin to proceed at a decent, if extremely cautious, pace. As a matter of fact, you’re so enraptured in ensuring you don’t misstep that you fail to notice the faint sound of hoofsteps against the floorboards behind you.
“HI MISTER!” The shrill feminine voice from behind causes you to practically leap out of your skin, the startle causing you to miss the next step, which sends you careening forward, fear crushes you in an overwhelming embrace as you realize it’s much too late to stop your body’s sickening movement forward. Unable to do much else you open your mouth to scream as you begin to tumble down the stairs.
The yelp dies in your throat once your chest and stomach comes into full on frontal contact with the wooden stair beneath you, rushing the air out of your throat and turning your scream of terror into an agonized wheeze as pain rockets throughout your body. You clench your eyes shut and pray to Celestia that you’ll come out of this without any major injuries, or you try anyway. It feels as if all your thoughts are flung out the window when your head collides with the railing of the stairwell. You only fall for about five seconds, but it feels like five years, one shock of pain after another stings your body as you slam against the hard polished wood of the stairs.
When you finally hit the carpeted ground of the bottom floor you feel strangely relieved, taking solace in the fact that your torment has finally come to an end.
This sense of relief doesn’t last long however, for as soon as the adrenaline begins to wear off all those previous sensations of agony get renewed tenfold. You clench your eyes shut and grind your teeth as the pain threatens to swallow you up. It feels like every muscle, every bone, and every tendon in your entire body has been damaged in one way or another. Your bandaged hoof feels like it’s on fire and the cotton wrapped around it is getting noticeably redder with every passing moment.
You teeter on the edge of consciousness for a while, threatening to black out any moment when you hear the sound of the door opening.
“Oh no!” A voice that was sweet and familiar rang in your ears. “Sweetie Belle what happened!?”
“I just said hello honest then he-he fell!” The shrill voice from before answers back with a slight quiver of fear,
You hear the hastened clopping of hooves as somepony rushes to your side; a gentle tingle running through your face as you feel a pair of tender hooves cradle your neck and aching skull. Those same hooves turn your head just slightly, encouraging you to roll over to face the pony before you.
“Oh please be okay…please be okay.” The angelic voice pleads in a breathy whisper. “Can you hear me?” You can’t suppress a groan of discomfort as you force open your one good eye.
“Ra-Rarity?” You ask with a scratchy voice after a moment of hesitation, your mind taking a moment to focus in on the distinct features of the mare holding you in her hooves.
Pure relief washes over the white unicorn’s previously frightened expression, she sighs heavily when you speak. Her fears of you being mortally injured now finally put at ease. Before you can even react Rarity pulls you into a tight hug, mashing your bodies together in an intimate show of concern. You blush slightly and feel your heart rate quicken, unsure how exactly to return the gesture.
“Thank Celestia.” Rarity says with her voice barely above a whisper as she pulls you a little tighter. Allowing her emotions to bleed through the stoic ladylike persona she typically upheld. Slowly you return the embrace, savoring the touch between your bodies. All of your aches and pains seem to die away, replaced by a series of newer, sweeter, sensations. Rarity's soft white coat feels fantastic rubbing against yours, and you’re reminded of the smooth silk like sheets you had been occupying only moments ago, Rarity’s warm breath against your neck sends tingles coursing up and down your spine, and her sweetly scented cherry blossom perfume seems to give you a slight euphoric high as you inhale it.
You’re not really sure what you’re feeling right now. There’s butterflies in your stomach and a strange warmth in your chest...you don’t know what to do or say, so you settle for reveling in these alien like sensation.
Rarity pulls away, and you immediately feel yourself saddened at the loss of her presence. But you don’t let it show, not like you had to put much effort into that. The bruises spotting your face no doubt covered up any hint of your emotions.
“I-I apologize.” Rarity starts, her voice wavering slightly yet slowly sliding back into that professional lady tone that was her norm. “I was just so concerned and is that…is that blood?” Rarity’s face grows pale as her eyes lock on to your bandaged hoof, stealing a glance downward you notice that the entire bandage is slowly turning a dark shade of crimson. You must have opened the wound back up when you fell.
“I hit it when I fell Miss Rarity.” You explain, trying to lift your hoof to get a better look at it, but you stop when your injured limb screams in protest.
“Oh my, come on let’s get you back upstairs!” Rarity gently begins to pull you to your hooves. Your body protests but your mouth does not, as you find Rarity’s concern…oddly touching. Maybe you had hit your head harder during your fall than you thought …“Okay, just lean here. That’s it, now you just use me for support and I’ll lead the way.”
“Sure thing Miss Rarity.” You mumble, your mind hazy and unfocused. For a moment you feel a twinge of trepidation when Rarity begins to drag you closer to the stairs, but that feeling is immediately buried when you realize that you and Rarity are touching again.
It doesn’t take Rarity long to get you back into the bedroom you have just left. Before you can even get out a noise she practically forces you back into the bed, magically fluffing out your pillows and placing those wonderful covers back over your freshly beaten body. You’re brought back to your days as a colt when your mom used to take care of you when you got sick. The only thing that was missing was a hot bowl of soup and a nice reading from your favorite story book, but you think twice about asking Rarity for something like that…odds are it wouldn’t be received very well.
You watch curiously as Rarity mumbles to herself and rummages through the dressers and cabinets of the quiet bedroom.
“Um, sorry mister…” Your ear gives a faint twitch at the sound of a voice to your right. Looking over you see a white unicorn filly with a pink and purple mane, her eyes glued to the floor and her expression dejected.
This must have been the filly that freaked you out and made you fall down the stairs. You figure that she must be related to Rarity in some way, considering their physical similarities.
“Aw it wasn’t your fault dear.” You say kindly, smiling at the little filly. She seems to perk up slightly at your show of kindness. “I’m just clumsy is all.”
“Still, I’m really sorry. It’s just my sister was talking about you all night last night and-“
“Sweetie Belle!” Rarity’s terse tone snaps both of you into attention, her voice coming out with a hint of nervousness, something which you notice but don’t think much of at the time. “Why don’t you go out and play with the other crusaders?” Rarity’s words come out as more of an order than a suggestion. Something Sweetie Belle doesn’t quite seem to take note of, as she opens her mouth to protest. “As a matter of fact you should do that right now.” This time Rarity’s intentions aren’t left open for interpretation, and her younger sibling quickly trots out the door.
Rarity breaths a sigh of relief when Sweetie finally leaves you two alone, before her gaze turns on you, her magnificent blue eyes sparkling and her smile filling you with warmth.
“Sisters,” She says simply with a dismissive wave of her hoof and roll of her eyes.
“Sisters,” You agree with a light chuckle. You yourself had a younger sister back in Manehattan, and you were fully aware of how much trouble they could be.
Rarity begins to approach you. Her horn glowing faintly as she levitates a series of small objects around her, a pair of scissors, a needle, a spool of thread, and a set of fresh bandages.
“Can you hold out your hoof for me dear?” Rarity asks, her use of the term ‘dear’ making your face grow hot, but you quickly try to ignore it, holding out your injured hoof for her to do with as she pleased.
You feel a soft tingling sensation as Rarity envelops your hoof with her magic, it felt like when you laid on your hoof for too long and it fell asleep, not wholly unpleasant but still somewhat disconcerting.
“Now I hope you don’t mind if I do this with my magic dear, no offense but I’d rather not get…dirty.” Rarity shudders visibly as she utters the word, her compulsive neatness letting itself show. Slowly she begins cutting the bandages enveloping your hoof with the pair of scissors, and then thread her needle.
“It’s no concern Miss Rarity.” You tell her with a warm smile, or as much of a smile as your beaten face will allow you to have. “Thank you for all this by the way. I don’t mean to be such a hooful, I must have been quite some trouble last night…I was…very drunk.” You mumble out the last part of your sentence, your shame visibly showing.
Rarity looks up at you with a surprised expression. “Trouble my dear gentlecolt? Surely you’re joking. Why if it wasn’t for you I might very well not have made it back home last night at all.”
You look at Rarity questioningly, your face asking all your questions for you.
“Ah, you can’t remember. I figured you might not be able to, you see I was out late last night with my friends. We have these little get togethers every few weeks and its not uncommon for them to last until the late hours of the night. Well on my way home I was beset upon by a rather rude stallion, whose name I fail to remember. He was very pushy, and kept making very bold suggestions about how I should be spending the rest of my evening, he was so persistent in fact that I was beginning to wonder if he would ever take no for an answer.” You frown, a stallion was never meant to force himself on a mare…ever. Maybe you didn’t have the charm to win over all the ladies, but you still had enough dignity and self-respect to avoid resorting to such…pathetic methods. Just the thought of what he might have done to Rarity made your blood boil.
Rarity’s eyes fall on yours, her gaze twinkling with appreciation. “But then you came, my knight in shining armor. You tried telling him to leave peacefully, but he didn’t seem interested in that…things got violent and he bucked you into a window.” Rarity motions towards your bloodied hoof. “That’s how this happened.”
You frown, it didn’t sound like you were much of the ‘knight in shining armor’ in this little story. Maybe the knight in rusty armor that got his flank kicked was more appropriate.
“I see, I guess I’m not much of a fighter Miss Rarity.” You being the kind of stallion you were had been in a scrap or two over the years, and from the way those ended you aren’t exactly surprised to hear that this one went down basically the same way. With you flat on your back in front of a pretty mare.
Rarity chuckles, a reaction that makes you raise an eyebrow. “That’s just Rarity darling, but you didn’t let me finish my little tale.”
You blink a couple times. “So the window didn’t put me down for the count?”
Rarity’s eyes grow wide; like she’s surprised you would even assume such a thing. “Why I don’t even think you felt it! Of course, that could have been because of how drunk you were, but best not to look a gift horse in the mouth. If you’ll pardon the term, why as a matter of fact you got right back up and bucked that uncouth ruffian right back.”
Rarity nods, smiling fondly at you. “And you even escorted me back to my boutique after such a traumatic experience.” Rarity blushes for a moment. Recalling some of the rather flattering things you said on the walk back, before quickly regaining her composure. “But I still felt awful that you had gotten hurt for my sake, so I allowed you to stay here.”
You grin, it was good to finally have those gaps in your memory filled, and you were pleasantly surprised to find that these memories were actually flattering ones. “Thanks Miss Rarity, I appreciate you letting me stay here, and for looking after me.”
Rarity smiles at your comment. “Didn’t I say to just call me Rarity?” She asks playfully. “And there’s no need to thank me, I’d say since you rescued me from a rather undesirable fate a day or two of rest at my expense is the least I can do. This might sting a bit dear.”
Your face twitches slightly as you feel Rarity’s needle bite into your skin, but you don’t show any other signs of discomfort as she slowly stitches your wound closed, her needle diving in and out of your flesh with the finesse and accuracy of a master. The pain doesn’t last long and quickly begins to fade away as a series of fresh bandages are magically wrapped around your hoof. You admire your freshly bandaged appendage as Rarity disposes of the now dirty needle.
“Well, with medical treatment like this I should be back on my hooves in no time.”
Rarity raises her hoof to her face in a very pious way to hide her soft giggle. “Oh please, you flatter me.”
“No really, you stitched me up fabulously.”
“Oh please, you're making me blush my dear gentlecolt.” You feel…oddly proud when she utters that statement. “You’re just lucky that you have a cut rather than a cold. As I’ve found stitching a wound isn’t too much different from sewing up a seam in a dress.”
“I suppose it isn’t. So is that what you do Miss Rarity? Make dresses?” You ask the mare, genuinely curious. You had heard ponies around town mention her profession once or twice, but you were eager to keep conversing with the fashionista.
Rarity looks at you proudly. “Why of course it is! I’ve worked all my life as a fashion designer, practically everypony in town has at least one piece of clothing fashioned by moi, whether it’s for cutie mark sinearas or fancy dinner parties Rarity’s Carousel Boutique is the only true option.” Rarity now gives you a somewhat curious expression. “But enough about me my dear gentlecolt, why don’t you tell me about yourself?”
You're slightly taken aback by this, rarely were mares ever interested in your life, typically you were the one forced to listen as they dribbled on about their brand new horseshoes or how their boss, was, like, totally not cool. Still, though you’re glad that somepony is interested…you don’t really have anything incredibly intriguing to talk about. Or, well, nothing you’d like to mention in Rarity’s presence anyhow.
You shift uncomfortably beneath the covers. “I’m afraid that there’s not all that much to tell Miss Rarity.”
Rarity looks at you encouragingly. “Oh come now, I’m not here for fairy tales, I’d just like to get to know you a little better is all.”
You blush faintly as you feel Rarity’s eyes on you, finding yourself unable to refuse her request. “Well, my father is a wealthy banker in Manehattan. I lived there all my life up until about a few months ago, never really had a cause to go anywhere else.”
“Manehattan, why I had no idea you used to live there, I’ve never been myself but I hear it is a very high class and magnificent city.” Rarity chimes in, her eyes shining as she imagines the illustrious skyscrapers and fancy dinner parties that typically encompassed everyday Manehattan life.
You smile fondly as memories from your home town resurface. “Yeah, it’s a pretty amazing city. I’d love to take you there sometime.” You nearly slam your hoof into your mouth when those words spill out. Maybe old habits die hard but you’ve technically only known Rarity for two days and you’re already suggesting a vacation together. Why if there was a way you could somehow split yourself in two and slap yourself in the face you probably would have right then and there.
Much to your relief however Rarity seems to pay your comment no more attention than a faint giggle and a smile. “So you seem rather fond of your hometown. Why did you come here? I imagine Ponyville is quite the drastic change from what you’re used to.”
You mull over how to answer this, there were several reasons you’d left your home in search of a new start. Some peace and quiet, hope for romance, a chance to branch off from the family a little bit. But the real reason? Well let’s just say it wasn’t something you really liked to talk about.
“I guess I just wanted a change in scenery.” You answer simply, not lying yet not telling all of the truth. “Besides, I wanted to see if I could make my own way in the world. I can’t rightly piggyback off my father’s wealth for the rest of my life.”
“Oh, I see. Why that’s a very noble cause you have there.” Rarity compliments. “So what exactly is it you do for work?” Rarity asks, her eyes sparkling with curiosity. You gulp and shift your eyes nervously, attempting to find a way to dodge the question, or at the very least find a way to bend the truth a little. Rarity however seems to pick up on your trepidation. “If it’s something you’re not exactly proud of that’s okay. I’ll understand.”
After a few tense moments of failing to find a way around this terribly awkward situation you relent. “It’s not that Miss Rarity.” Your voice suddenly grows softer as you look away in shame. “I…was fired recently.”
Rarity’s face is filled with sympathy. “Oh I see, well I won’t press any farther. I’m sure moving to a new town can make it difficult to keep a steady job.”
“I suppose so Miss Rarity…” You mumble, you didn’t have pride enough to admit this was actually the third job you’d lost since moving to Ponyville.
“Speaking of moving, I can’t help but wonder where it is you live. Last night you seemed a tad, shall we say…lost?” Rarity asks, you can tell she’s kindly trying to change the subject while still satisfying her own curiosity, and you appreciate the attempt. But unfortunately she’s unaware that she’s stepping into even more painful territory.
You don’t spend any time beating around the bush this time, opting to just come out with the truth and be done with it. “You remember that little two story home just on the outskirts of town?”
Rarity’s eyes light up with recognition. “Oh yes, that charming little place, I remember hearing something about it the other day, but I can’t quite seem to put my hoof on it.” Rarity draws up a hoof and begins to gently tap her chin in thought.
“Yeah, well…it kind of…burnt down.”
Rarity looks at you in shock. “Surely you’re jesting?”
You somberly shake your head no. “I lost everything in that fire. All my furniture, my clothes, my valuables, the only thing I still have is this.” You lovingly wrap your hoof around the silver pendant that never seemed to leave your neck. “None of it was ensured, so there’s no way of getting any of it back.”
“Oh you poor thing,” Rarity coos, her voice soft and motherly. “Where on Equestria have you been staying?”
“My friend Caramel is letting me use a guest room.” You explain, a touch of a smile forming as you remember his generous offer, but you immediately feel it fade. “But…I can’t help but feel like I’m imposing. He just moved in with his filly friend you see, and, well…I can’t imagine she was all that happy to find me tagging along with him.”
Rarity doesn’t answer immediately, and you can feel an almost oppressive cloud of silence form in the room. It’s so terribly quiet, that you actually start in fear when Rarity suddenly unleashes a loud and excited gasp from where she stood at the side of your bed.
Looking over you can see a look of pure revelation has formed on her face, her eyes wide and shining, her mouth open in a wide smile, and her right hoof extended high into the air.
“Ideaaa!” The ecstatic mare quips in a singsong voice before her eyes fall onto yours. “My dear gentlecolt I think I may have found a way to solve both of our problems!”
You blink, your expression of cluelessness asking all the questions.
Rarity seems to calm down a little when she realizes just how confused you are, the faintest hint of a blush stinging her cheek as she daintily places a hoof to her mouth and clears her throat. Her bashfulness almost involuntarily makes you chuckle, finding the embarrassed display oddly cute.
“Perhaps a bit of explaining is in order.” She says with a nervous chuckle, before flattening out her voice. “You see, my career is a very time consuming one. It can take hours, days, sometimes even weeks to get all of my orders filled by their respective due dates. That coupled with my need to constantly come up with new ideas in order to keep myself afloat in the fashion industry means I rarely have time to keep up with the little things.”
“The little things?” You ask with a curious tilt of your head.
“Why yes. Things like stocking up on necessary supplies, keeping my boutique tidy, running errands, you know, the little things. That’s where you come in my dear sweet gentlecolt.” You fail to fight down a smirk as Rarity calls you sweet again, and when her soft honeyed tone makes its way to your ears you can feel all those strange sensations from before make an unexpected, if not entirely unwanted, return.
You can feel your mouth go dry as Rarity’s brilliant blue eyes flash onto you, your mind blanks, and you find yourself at a loss for words as you lose yourself in the inescapable labyrinth of her gaze. You can’t help but notice how beautiful she is, and you feel a strange lightness in your chest. What on Equestria was this feeling? And why wouldn’t it just go away?
“M-me?” You manage to force out after a few moments of fighting your way through your mouth’s uncooperative mannerisms.
Rarity presses on with the smile. “Indeed you, like I said, I’m a very busy mare and I could use a little aid when it comes to getting things that don’t involve making dresses done. I could use somepony willing to do these things for me, an assistant if you will.”
Understanding dawns on you as you finally see the point of what Rarity’s been getting at. “Wow, I’m flattered Miss Rarity.” You answer truthfully, you were excited at the prospect of finally getting another job, even if it wasn’t the most conventional of things, but if it allowed you to spend a little more time with Rarity then you couldn’t really see any downsides to accepting. Yet, one doubt still clogs your mind, and you can’t help but voice it. “But surely you know somepony more suited to the task than me.”
Rarity looks away and ‘hmms’ for a moment. “Well, I have been known to borrow my friend Twilight’s assistant from time to time, and I would be lying if I said he wasn’t magnificent at what he does.” You lay your ears back in disappointment; you should have just kept your fat mouth shut and accepted the opportunity when it presented itself. But nooo with another mind blowing show of stupidity you managed to mess this whole chance up to. “But,” Rarity’s voice snaps you back into attention, immediately perking back up you listen intently to what she has to say. “I wouldn’t exactly be a very good friend if I kept stealing her assistant away whenever I’m in need of performing some kind of trivial task now would I? And since you're unemployed, and I’m in need of a worker, it would work marvelously!”
“Oh, well in that case Miss Rarity I would love to work for you.” You say with a relatively calm tone, though on the inside you’re practically beaming.
“Marvelous darling, simply marvelous, however I do feel like I should make a couple of things clear before we make this official.” Rarity’s sudden shift to a more serious tone catches your attention, and though you would never admit it you really hope she isn’t about to lay some kind of, no dating the employee, stipulation upon you. “I’m afraid I can’t pay you, not in a traditional sense anyway. You see, this time of the year I don’t make many bits, the holidays having passed on by and the new summer fashions not quite getting into swing until a few more weeks down the line. So pretty much all of my leftover bits are spent making sure all of my latest designs are in tip top shape for the big summer boom.”
You continue listening, giving Rarity a brief nod of your head to show that you're paying attention.
“Well in any case, I still think we can work a deal out of this. You mentioned how your house was destroyed earlier correct?” another nod. “Okay then, well rather than pay you annually I would prefer to compensate your hard work by allowing you to stay here, with me, at my illustrious Carousel Boutique.”
You're slightly taken aback by this, if it was anypony else, and if you were any more financially sound, you might consider turning them down. But the fact that you were hurting on bits, not to mention currently homeless, made this seem like a pretty good offer, you wouldn’t be invading your friend’s privacy, and you’d be pulling your own weight for once. And the fact that accepting such terms meant you got to spend even more time with Rarity? Well, now that was just a bonus.
“Miss Rarity,” The mare gives a playful roll of her eyes when you continue to formally pronounce her name, despite her insistence you not. “How could I say anything other than yes?”
Rarity’s smile grows even wider when she hears your agreement. “Fabulous darling, just fabulous, we’ll work out the rest of your schedule tomorrow, but for right now you should get some rest.”
“Oh that’s not necessary Miss Rarity.” You quickly move to get out of the bed. Having no desire to take over Rarity’s bedroom for the night, that wasn’t exactly a very gentlecolt like thing to do. “I’ll sleep somewhere el-“ Your voice cuts short as you feel Rarity place a gentle hoof against your rising chest, you blush intensely at the touch, her soft hoof against your fur sending tingles coursing throughout your body in tiny ripples.
“Shh…” She whispers quietly, her horn lighting up with a brief blue glow, the light from the lamp above you suddenly extinguishing itself, casting the entire room into darkness
It feels like all power is drained from your body as Rarity gently begins to guide you downwards, laying you flat on your back as she magically drapes the blanket over you, in the darkness you can only make out the general shape of Rarity’s body, but it seems as if she’s…closer now. You don’t move, you don’t make a sound, you don’t even breathe, afraid that if you make even the slightest show of discomfort Rarity will stop…whatever it is she’s doing.
You give an involuntary twitch of your ear as you feel the fashionista’s hot breath cascade across it in light puffy wisps.
For a moment all is quiet, you can still feel Rarity’s hoof on your chest and sense her face so close to yours. You don’t know what this is and you don’t care, all you know is that whatever is happening right now is fantastic and you’re scared yet fascinated with what could possibly happen next.
You’re not sure how much time passes while you lay there, seconds? Minutes? It feels as if you’ve been spirited away to some alternate dimension where time has no meaning. Yet you do start to become painfully aware of how fatigued you feel, and despite how much you wish to fight it, only for a few more precious minutes with Rarity, your eyelids slowly begin to drift downwards. And your mind slips into the comforting blackness of sleep.
Rarity waits for a moment, basking in the closeness of your bodies as her eyes trace over your peaceful sleeping frame. Something she had wanted for oh so long but had been unable to attain until now, she wanted to crawl into bed alongside you, to finally keep you all to herself, to tell you how much she wanted…no…needed this. But she couldn’t make her feelings for you known just yet. No, she had something very special planned for that. For now she would have to be content with little things like this. Slowly and reluctantly she pulls away, frowning sadly at the loss of your contact.
Somberly she makes her way to the door, opening it up just enough for her to step out of the room. A large shaft of light filtering in and illuminating your features just enough for the fashionista’s keen blue eyes to see, the faintest of smiles still present on your lips as you sleep.
“Goodnight la mia amata."
A/N So sorry this took so long everyone, and I'm sorry if there are any errors here, plot based or otherwise. I'm very sick right now and proofreading is a lot harder when it feels like your head is being smashed. Please let me know if there is anything amiss within this. I'll be sure to fix it as soon as I feel up to it.