DISCLAIMER: This is a non-profit work of fan fiction. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic © Hasbro.
Big Macintosh carried Conrad into the barn a dropped him onto a pile of soft hay. He nudged the human's face with his muzzle, and sat down, watching him tremble and mumble incoherent nonsense.
Conrad's brain was over-clocked, essentially trying to reboot and proccess all that had happened that day. He'd survived a colorful nuclear explosion, witnessed a murder/animal cruelty, and narrowly escaped a stampede more vicious and deadly than a herd of Beliebers. Everything after that was a blur.
Fragments began to piece themselves together like chunks of a jigsaw puzzle now, and the last moments came back to him. A red stallion, one that he swore he'd seen somewhere before, had picked him up and carried him away through the dark.
Oh, no! It's him!
He jumped up and scrambled back against a ladder that he began to climb up it backwards, keeping his eyes on the red earth pony that had rescued/abducted him.
"K-k-keep away from me! I mean it!" Conrad held his hand in front of himself defensively.
Mac stared up at the creature that was nimbly climbing up the ladder in a way nopony else had ever done, to his knowledge. His face bore a look of innocent confusion. Poor thing. Probably all scared after that stampede. But I'm the one who was protecting him. He shouldn't be scared of me, should he?
"Please," Conrad begged, "please let don't hurt me!"
Mac tilted his head. "OK."
Conrad blinked. "W-wait... really?"
"Conrad! Thank Celestia, you're here!"
Conrad and Big Mac both looked at the barn door and found Time Turner standing there.
"I don't have much time. You have to listen to me!" Turner said.
"I'm listening," Conrad said meekly.
"This is absolutely essential to your survival," Turner said sternly.
Conrad gulped. "I'm listening intently..."
"Good," said Turner, and he cleared his throat, "Now Conrad, you need to understand that whatever I tell you to do, you must do it. It's for your own good. That being said, there is somepony you definitely need to avoid."
Conrad glanced down at Big Macintosh, who was still watching Turner.
"Her name is Lyra," Turner continued, "Lyra Heartstrings. She knows about humans, and has been secretly obsessed with them for some time, it seems. She was also in the stampede, but it wasn't Twilight's want-it-need-it spell that made her chase you."
"Want what spell?" Conrad asked.
Turner shook his head. "Never mind that. But on that note, avoid Twilight for the time being too. Understand?"
Conrad stared blankly.
The human jumped and shook his head in surprise. "Uh, yeah! Yeah, I got it."
"Good," Turner said, "Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go. I'll be arriving soon, and I can't be seen by myself. Safe travels, my friends." With that, Turner clopped his hoof and disappeared in a silent blink.
Conrad gasped. "W-where's he go?!"
Big Mac looked up at him and shrugged.
A moment later, Time Turner galloped in and skidded to a halt. He dropped his head and panted in ragged breaths. "C-Conrad... thank... Celestia..." He trotted towards the others and looked up into the loft. "What in Equestria are you doing up there?"
"Um, n-nothing..." Conrad inched back into the shadows.
Turner looked at Mac. "Has he been shy with you, too?"
"Conrad," Turner stepped forward and put a hoof on the ladder, "We need to talk. I know you're frightened, and this is all new to you. But I want to help you. I just need you to trust me."
Conrad clung to the rafter and refused to make eye contact with either pony.
Turner sighed. "Will you at least talk to us?"
Conrad whimpered and shook his head. "Mm-mm."
"Ugh!" Turner groaned, "I don't get it! This isn't just about you being lost. That doesn't explain you running away! What else are you so afraid of?"
Conrad flinched and shut his eyes tight. He mumbled something inaudible.
Big Mac and Turner leaned in closer. "Come again?"
"I'm... scared of ponies."
After an awkward pause, Big Macintosh started to chuckle. "Who's scared ah ponies?"
"Shut up!" Conrad shouted, and immediately shrank back when he realized he just yelled at two 'dangerous animals'.
"Big Mac," Turner held his leg in front of the red stallion and nudged him back, "I don't think he's joking." He looked up at the human. "Why are you scared of ponies? We're a peaceful race."
"Bull shit!" Conrad shouted, "You expect me to believe that after what I saw!"
Now Turner laughed. "Oh, no, that stampede was definitely not normal. That was a mishap with Twilight's magic that--"
"It's not just that!" Conrad whined, "I saw one pony destroy a building on her own, another one kill a bear, and then that crazy purple one, Twilight, is a pedophile! Now I've been abducted by him," he pointed at Mac, "and stalked all over town by you and Twilight!"
The ponies stared incredulously at the human. Turner's mouth hung open.
"I-i-is that... when did you see all this?"
"But that doesn't explain yesterday. Your disposition hasn't changed much since you got here. Something else must have happened."
Conrad frowned and tried to fight back the tears that threatened to burst out of his eyes. He closed them and sighed, knowing he'd have to explain this sooner or later.
"When I was little, I visited a ranch my uncle worked at where, uh, some ponies lived." Probably shouldn't mention humans keep horses as pets. "Well, my uncle offered to let me ride one, and..." He cringed. "I don't know why, but the pony got scared and bucked me off. He... he started panicking and... nearly trampled me. I haven't been able to go near anything with hooves since then.
"But it didn't stop there. All my life, I've been teased by others I went to school with for being scared of ponies. It just got harder for me, and I've been avoiding them all my life."
He expected them to either laugh or be angry, but Turner and Mac bore expressions of understanding and concern. Turner climbed the ladder, slowing his approach when Conrad shied away from him. He put his hoof on the humans shoulder and gently rubbed him.
"Conrad, I can assure you, nopony wants to trample you here. You're our friend now, and we want to help you. Now why don't you come down from here before you slip off this edge or something."
Conrad hesitated, and then cautiously followed Turner down the ladder.
"Good," Turner said with a warm smile, "Now then, let's get you back to my place so you can get some rest."
"Nope." Big Macintosh stood in their path to block the exit.
Turner raised an eyebrow. "Mac, what's wrong?"
"He stays here," Mac said firmly, clopping his hoof on the dirt for emphasis.
Conrad started to feel more afraid and scooted behind Time Turner to hide from Big Macintosh.
"Big Macintosh, what has gotten into you?" Turner asked.
"I'm adopting him."
Conrad and Turner were speechlessly baffled at this. Conrad gulped and inched further behind Turner, then moved more when he noticed he was standing in the bucking zone.
This would definitely not be a good time to mention the horse that nearly killed me looks exactly like Big Macintosh...