59w, 2dAdventures - Alternate Universe
Under a Wing
"You... you... bitch!"
"Now what did I do to deserve that?"
"What DIDN'T you do?! You made him cry!"
"Whatever. He's an abomination. See if I give a damn."
"You're just like everyone else. Cerberus has been tormented his entire life by people like you."
"Uh, HELLO? He BREATHES FIRE. It's just not right!"
"No. You're wrong!"
The weights of emotional torture eventually proved too heavy for Cerberus. He stopped flying and grounded himself, and soon found shelter in a small cave. The light of the crescent moon shined bright for him, but he was still blinded by tears and unable to see it. He just wanted to cry himself to sleep and hope his day in Ponyville was all a dream. Unfortunately, it wasn't. On top of Cerberus's nocturnal habits keeping him from staying asleep, he kept having flashbacks to all the nice things they had said to him, despite how much of a freak he was.
Twilight and Zecora healed me...
Pinkie gave me cupcakes and cornbread...
Rainbow Dash thought my wings were impressive...
Rarity made me a cloak...
Fluttershy... liked me...
No. It doesn't change anything. I'm a freak. That's the way it is and will always be. I'm sorry, mother. I thought it might work, but I'm still a freak.
Cerberus slowly opened his eyes and saw a familiar yellow pegasus. She was smiling at him, though he could see she was starting to tear up.
"Fluttershy... don't bother. Just go."
"I'm not going anywhere. I'm won't abandon you like the rest." Fluttershy lay down next to Cerberus. Nopony said a word for several minutes. Cerberus knew Fluttershy told the truth. "Applejack is a bit... a meanie." she said.
"Tell me about it."
"You probably will never forgive her for what she said, but believe me; she's always been a little stubborn and prejudiced, especially to certain strangers.”
“I can assume she doesn’t like zebras either? I know they’re not widely accepted.”
“It took her sister walking straight into Zecora’s hut to convince her otherwise. But, to be fair, we all thought Zecora had cursed us…” Fluttershy certainly was talkative. She probably spent the whole flight over here coming up with ways to cheer Cerberus up. It was almost working.
“Does she have any other prejudices?”
“A little bit towards homosexuals. She wouldn't talk to Rainbow Dash for a month after the rave."
"Vinyl Scratch hosts a rave every month. Lots of grape juice and loud music. Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash drank too much and... Applejack... caught them in the bathroom.”
"Yikes." Cerberus managed to chuckle at that story.
“And that’s how Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie started dating. Applejack came around eventually, though. Maybe she'll do the same for you."
"Maybe. Maybe not. You like me, and Applejack is just one pony." Cerberus couldn't believe he was smiling. "If she doesn't like me, then that's her problem."
“That’s the spirit, Cerberus.”
Cerberus had a full smile on his face, and it was amazing. “Let’s go back, then.” He was going to stand up, but a question arose. Something else Applejack had said itched at the back of his mind. “Applejack mentioned you couldn’t stop looking at me. Do you really..?”
“Yes. I think you’re…”
Cerberus and Fluttershy made eye contact. Fluttershy then did something... interesting. She touched Cerberus's mane with her nose. She pulled her head back almost immediately. Cerberus was confused.
"I wasn't complaining." Cerberus decided to change the subject. "How did you find me?"
"It was easy, really. I had some help..."
"CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS SEARCH AND RESCUE SQUAD YAY!!!"
Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo were an energetic bunch, and the more unique fillies Cerberus had ever met.
"I've always had a way with little ones. Adults are quick to judge but sometimes I meet a kid that finds my appearance more fascinating than frightening."
"Are you kidding, Cerb?" said Scootaloo, who was flying circles around him and Fluttershy. "You're probably one of the coolest ponies I've ever seen! Next to Rainbow Dash, of course."
"You should really stop flying before you get a cramp," said Fluttershy.
"Don't be such a ninny. I can finally fly, and I'm gonna exercise my wings until I can beat Rainbow Dash!"
Sweetie Bell and Apple Bloom groaned in unison. The former said, "She's been like this for months. I haven't seen her touch the ground since she grew out those stupid wings."
The former said, "She seems to be more obsessed with winning a race with Rainbow Dash than getting her Cutie Mark."
"Hey! I know I'll get my Mark! Just as soon as Rainbow Dash eats my dust!"
“What is it with you girls and Cutie Marks?” asked Cerberus.
Apple Bloom stepped into Cerberus’s path, causing him to stop, and she spoke. “We’re called the Cutie Mark Crusaders for a reason, Cerb!” She tilted her hind quarters to show a blank flank.
“Ah, I see. You want to find what makes you special.”
“Darn tootin’, and our mission is one third complete! Show yer stuff, Belle!” Sweetie Belle leaped to Apple Bloom’s side.
Sweetie Belle flaunted her flank, and lo and behold, she had a Cutie Mark. “I got this about a month ago when I jumped on stage and sang at a Vinyl Scratch concert.” Fittingly enough, the Cutie Mark was a microphone placed diagonally in front of a G clef. “I write music, too!”
Cerberus patted her on the head. “Don’t let your talents go to waste, little one.”
“Never, Cerb!” Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle cleared the way for Cerberus and Fluttershy to keep walking. “So, um, where’s your Cutie Mark?”
Another downfall of Cerberus’s dragon heritage. Dragons don’t get Cutie Marks. “I never got one. Probably never will.”
Scootaloo dropped altitude and flew alongside Cerberus. “Aw, that blows! You should get a Cutie Mark shaped like a bloody fang.”
Sweetie Belle was disturbed by that idea. “His talent would involve eating ponies?”
“Well, obviously not! He’s not Nightmare Moon!”
Cerberus decided he couldn’t take that one sitting down. This was the big one. If his wings, tail, eyes, or mannerisms didn’t bring out the worst in everypony, it was this:
“What exactly does my mother have to do with this?”
“That just ain’t right.”
“Finally, someone who believes me!”
“I meant you yelling at the boy like that.”
“What- j- Oh come on, Mac! You too?”
It had been like this all night. Applejack’s friends kept mentioning the freak and after she said she told it off, on came the verbal castration. She was especially surprised at Big Macintosh’s tolerance of the freak. Applejack was so angry at him she could tear the barn they were in all the way down.
“Just get over it, Applejack. If he walked like a pony and talked like a pony, he’s a pony. No denying it.”
“But- but- the-”
“I tell you what, I’d actually like to see those wings.”
“It's not about the wings! It breaths fire! Don’t that make you feel anythin’?”
Applejack was officially done with this guy. “Fine. I’ll talk to ya later.” she walked away with her head and brow incredibly low. Then Mac said,
“If I were you, I’d apologize to the boy.”
She turned her head. “Would you stop callin’ it ‘The boy’? Besides, there’s no way in hell I’m apologizin’ for tellin’ the honest truth.”
She officially broke Big Macintosh’s calm demeanor. He galloped in front of Applejack and stared her down. “You apologize to the boy or so help me, I just might shove my hoof up your stubborn ass, and I’m not talking about the donkey!”
Applejack was a brave one, but the way Big Macintosh was staring had her scared stupid. She didn’t wait to respond and galloped out the barn door. She was on the trail back into town before she slowed her pace and thought relatively rationally.
“Fer the luva dirt! Why doesn’t anyone listen to me?” She passed by one of the wanted posters, stapled to a single tree that stood between a split in the path. “Celestia forbid my opinion matters. Not that she would’ve had anything to say about it if she died.” She got a closer look at the four figures in the poster. “What’s the point of putting a hooded figure on a wanted poster? More important, why am I talkin’ out loud? Nopony is around to hear me!”
“I disagree in a most formal matter.” Applejack leaped when she saw a small child below her. Seriously, this guy was tiny. He rivaled Apple Bloom in size. “You vertically ascended equal to or greater than two thirds of a meter. Did my introduction surprise you?”
“Um... yes?” Applejack barely understood a word this little guy said. He had a green coat and grey mane and wore glasses that looked like they were cut in half.
“My fellow equestrian, it would be of much appreciation on my part if you were to direct me toward the nearest location of publicity and give it’s moniker.” His voice was the only thing about him that wasn’t young.
Facehoof. “I see I have to resort to the terms of the one called Layman. Where is the nearest town?”
“Oh! Yeah, yeah.” Applejack stuck her hoof to the right fork in the road. “Ponyville is that way.”
“My deepest gratitude to you, aquaintance- I mean, thanks.” The green one moved his stubby legs down the path into town.
Applejack waited until the small one was out of earshot to say, “Fer Pete’s sake, why isn’t anythin’ making sense?! First Celestia, then the Dragon Freak, no one takin’ my word seriously, then a dwarf shows up and starts speakin’ fancy to me...” then, a gust of wind came from behind her, lasting barely a second. Applejack’s already unkempt mane got messed up from the gust. She turned around to see what the heck that was and saw that the wanted poster had disappeared from the tree it was posted on. “What. The. Buck.”
Fluttershy’s house was one of the most brilliant Cerberus had ever seen, decorated with every kind of flower imaginable, surrounded by the peaceful forest and animals of every shape and size, though most of them were tiny. Cerberus stepped cautiously to avoid stepping on the sleeping animals, at least until they got inside.
“Okay girls,” said Fluttershy to the Cutie Mark Crusaders, “Thank you so much for helping me find Cerberus, but it’s way past your bedtime. Get home, all of you.”
All three of them raised their hooves in salute. “Yes, Ma’am!” Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle galloped down the trail, but Scootaloo lingered to say, “Hey, Cerb. If you see Princess Luna anytime soon, tell her we said hi.” She flew off, overtaking the other two almost instantly.
“They seemed rather calm about Luna being my mother. Is it true that she isn’t seen as a devil anymore?”
“She never mentioned that in her letters. Perhaps she is more modest then I recall.”
The interior of Fluttershy’s was a welcome sight for Cerberus, after the cave, with its wood interior, elegant nature themed decorations and lots of comfortable furniture. After walking such a distance he was ready to rest his hooves.
“Should I take the couch?”
“Um, it’s not very comfy. You can sleep in my bed upstairs.”
“Your definition of comfy is vastly different from mine. I slept in a cave.”
“You deserve luxury after all you’ve been through.”
“It’s your house. You should sleep in your bed.”
“Are you sure?”
“Okay. Sorry for insisting.”
“It’s no trouble at all. I thought I said to stop apologizing so much.”
“Sor- I mean...”
Cerberus placed his hoof on Fluttershy’s shoulder, and smiled at her. “Good night, Fluttershy.”
Fluttershy returned the smile with a blush. “Good night, Cerberus.” She fluttered up the stairs to her bedroom as Cerberus relaxed on the couch by the open window. “I’m glad that you’re here...” she said.
The cool midnight air and crescent moon made this sleep the most pleasant Cerberus had in ages. His nocturnal habits left him in peace. After many hours of dreamless sleep, he opened his eyes expecting a pleasant view of Fluttershy’s humble abode, and instead got a view of... Fluttershy. Apparently, she saw fit to come back downstairs and snuggle up next to Cerberus. Not that he minded, or that he could do anything about it, as her wing was wrapped around him. He also did not want to disturb her sleep.
Huh. I wonder what she sees in me. She could do so much better than a half wing like me.
So Fluttershy had feelings for him beyond just being friends. Cerberus had his suspicions about that when she nuzzled him in the cave, but he thought it was just in the spur of the moment. Cerberus managed to turn his head and see that the sun was rising, and he knew that if Fluttershy had animals to tend to...
Fluttershy opened her eyes to the sound of a rooster calling out to the rising sun. She noticed that Cerberus was awake.
“Um, hey...” she said quietly, even more so than usual, and took her wing off of Cerberus. She got off the couch, trying to not look at Cerberus. She was already embarrassed to the point of bursting into flames, her face was so red. “I was, um... cold. Sorry about that.”
Cerberus turned over and tried to get back to sleep. Before he drifted off, he thought, Perhaps she doesn’t want better...