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[ Starstruck ]
I like being busy.
--Odd Thomas, pg 40
“Braeburn's braeburn apples again?” Soarin' asks.
“Yer up!” Braeburn lets the apple drop to speak with his excitement.
“Of course I'm up. I can't sleep with somepony sadistically eating a delicious apple when I'm famished,” There's sarcasm in his voice.
“Famished? You just had pie!” Soarin' just shrugs then winces, leading Braeburn to ask, “You alright?”
“Just a crick. How'd I get here?,” Soarin' reaches a hoof up to prod at his neck lightly, then, as if an afterthought, adds, “ And yes, I am hungry,” Braeburn fights a concerned frown and returns to the ice box to grab another apple.
“Doctor Mendheart says you have a concussion. You passed out in the middle of the street,” He grabs the apple by its stem and deposits it next to Soarin's head. Soarin' takes the apple and munches on it while Braeburn explains that he helped cart him up to the room, then woke him on the doctor's orders.
“Thanks,” is muttered between crunches.
“No problem,” is floated in the air.
Soarin' busies himself eating the apple, and demands another so Braeburn busies himself fetching apples and smiling at the pegasus's eating manners. He finds the trips to and from the cold box relaxing to his nerves. Keeping his hooves busy waiting on Soarin' also assuages the guilt for letting him pass out. He grabs another apple and tosses it on the bed. There's mumbling from the room next to them and Soarin' gives Braeburn an inquiring look.
“Yer teammates are talkin' to Doctor Mendheart. She's gettin' a medical history, er somethin'. She might want ta know yer up, actually. Ah'll jus' go tell her,” He says and backs a step away before turning and walking to the door connecting the two rooms. He knocks on the door and the conversation behind it halts so he nudges it open and peeks his head around.
Mendheart looks displeased at everything in general and Cash Box looks confused. He kind of wishes he'd just let the mares find out Soarin' is awake by themselves.
“Uh, Soarin's awake,” There's silence still, until Mendheart trots to the door nearly pushing him out of her way to look at Soarin'. Braeburn waits until the other mares enter Soarin's room before he shuts the door. When he finds a place near the bed he sees that Soarin' has already finished his apple.
Doctor Mendheart looks over him, sends a contemptuous glare at Cash Box, before speaking, “I don't believe your concussion is anything truly bad but I want you to take it easy for a few days. A week at least. That means no stunt flying—in fact, you might want to take a break from flying all together—and no more running into houses,”
“What do you mean, no flying?” Soarin' sits up in bed abnormally fast and winces, “I'm a pegasus, flying is in the blood,” He wiggles his wings.
“You should have thought of that before you ran into a house,” Mendheart shrugs, “I suggest resting. Lots of sleep and rest. And eating,” She stresses the word. Soarin's ears perk as she steps forward and prods a hoof at his ribs. “You're way too skinny! I don't care who--” more glaring at Cash Box, “--told you ta take a diet, you don't need it,”
Braeburn feels the conversation has taken a turn and maybe that he should excuse himself. But Mendheart keeps talking and he doesn't want to interrupt to draw attention to himself. She's not showing it now, but there's still a chance that she'll be upset with him for not bringing Soarin' directly to the clinic knowing that the pegasus had hit his head.
“Let me tell you how this sports thing works,” Mendheart says in response to a half-willed protest from Cash Box, “Athletes work out all the time. They exercise all the time. Exercising makes a diet a moot point. Athletes need the calories or else they'll burn out and their body will start eating their muscle for energy instead of their fat. So, no more diet. Lots more food,” She puts her hoof down as if to say end of conversation, and picks up her bag of doctor things. She gestures to Braeburn as she leaves the room.
Braeburn slips out of the tense room hesitantly. This is it, he thinks. She's going to berate him for being a stupid pony. His ears are drooping when he reaches her side, expecting the worst. She glances at him and stops in the hallway a few doors down from Soarin's room, dropping the bag. Braeburn stares at it and tentatively asks, “Why didn't'cha get yer saddle bags?”
“You said it was an emergency, I didn't want ta waste time fiddlin' with straps,”
He nods, sheepishly then, “Ah'm sorry,”
“Uh,” Was she going to make him say it? To absolutely embarrass himself? “Fer not bringin' him to ya sooner...”
“Silly pony,” She says and he braces himself, “Don't beat yourself up about it,” What? “Usually a bump on the head isn't anything to worry about, just happened ta be something this time,” She shrugs the comment off. “'Sides, I've got a favor to ask you,”
Braeburn perks up and smiles at her, “What can Ah do fer you?”
“Well, I don't trust that Cash Box pony ta not mess with Soarin's recovery. She has good intentions at heart, maybe, but she's really one minded,”
“What'd'ya want me ta do about it?” He asks, thinking maybe he can stop by every now and then to check up on them when the doctor can't.
“What?” If they had been walking he would have stopped in his tracks. Mendheart chuckles lightly.
“I mean, I want you to be Soarin's personal attendant. Take the trip down here make sure he's feeling alright, that he's getting rest and that he eats, spend time with him if he wants, then you can leave,”
“What about the orchard? Ah can't just leave that sittin',”
“Of course not, get Toffee ta help. She's a hard workin' pony and you don't need ta harvest apples today,”
Braeburn thinks it over, but it's true. The orchard is doing fine and just needs somepony to look after it. He doubts that taking care of Soarin' will be all that time consuming so he can go back and take care of all the manual stuff. He finally nods.
“But Ah'm not wearing that nurse outfit you have hidden in yer closet,” Mendheart laughs and shakes her head.
Braeburn finds Toffee quickly, and explains to her his situation. He doesn't tell her that the patient in question is a Wonderbolt, the fact that Soarin' is a famous flier has actually escaped his mind, but Toffee is quick to comply and he finds himself running over a list of things to do with the caramel colored pony. Toffee learns quick enough and, after a quick tour and re-brief the next day, he feels a little better about leaving his orchard behind.
The streets of Appleoosa—and when he's feeling good like this he finds it hard not to let the enthusiasm show in a rampant pose—are bustling already and he smiles friendly-like at his fellow Appleoosans. His hooves quickly bring him to the Inn he'd left the Wonderbolts at and he enters it with a sort of anticipation. He nods to the innkeeper and clops up the wooden stairs to make his way to Soarin's room before knocking politely. He hears a muffled noise that he can't quite make out but assumes it is an invitation so he presses open the door slightly.
He peeks into the room to see the blue pony flopped on the bed with his wings splayed out. “Hey, Soarin'?”
He looks up with tired, frowning eyes. “What's up, Brae?” He pushes himself up into a sitting position, his wings still drooping but looking a bite less depressed.
Braeburn walks into the room and shuts the door before answering with a vague, “Just wanted ta see how yer fairin',”
“Well. Usually I'd be flying around right now, practicing our routine for the next show,” He says and flops his wings, “But I'm under orders to stay put,”
Braeburn snorts and trots up to the pegasus, “Yer under orders not ta do anythin' stressful. You don't need ta stay put,” He smiles widely when Soarin' perks up at the sentence.
“What did'ya have in mind?” Soarin' folds his wings against himself and pulls himself off the bed almost prancing in his place.
“Uh well,” In truth, Braeburn hasn't thought this far. But he's creative, or something, because he comes up with, “Have you eatin' yet?”
“No, but I'm starving!” He's already skipping to the door and Braeburn can feel the anticipation running off of him.
“What're'ya in the mood fer? The Salt Block's a cozy little saloon that serves some o' the best Hay Chips and sandwiches around. Then we have a few market stands that have anythin' from apples n' carrots ta cupcakes,”
“Not many options, huh?”
Braeburn shrugs and starts his way downstairs, keeping a keen eye on his friend, “Appleoosa is barely a year old. Most of us make our own food, grow our own crops in the backyard and sell 'em fer profit. The Salt Block is makin' some on tourism but we ain't had 'nuff o' that ta make buildin' restaurants worth it. Muh orchard is the only thing that's available ta anypony,”
“You don't sell your apples?” Soarin' looks surprised but makes in down the steps perfectly fine.
“'Course not. Everypony needs the apples ta live on. We're not 'xactly the richest town in Equestria. We're a community of salt miners and such. Ah mean, 'course Ah sell them in the market fer tourists and ta the Salt Block and sometimes Ah cover fer AJ when she can't get a shipment of apples somewhere but the orchard is Appleoosa's foundation. 'T'wouldn't be fair ta take that away fer profit,”
“You're a good pony, Braeburn,”
“Nah, Ah'm just doin' what's right,”
Soarin' let's the conversation go without an argument mostly because they've reached the Salt Block, which is where Braeburn's hooves took them. He finds this odd as usually he goes to the market and then just bakes at his home. The Salt Block is reserved for when he has time to be away from the orchard.
He bustles into the watering hole, immediately drawn into the atmosphere the Salt Block permeates. A piano pony plays a wistful tune in the a corner near a tiny stage and the burning oil lamps cast a flickering, home-y light across the wooden floors. There are a hoofful of tables and even less ponies sitting at them, eating or playing cards or a combination. He leads Soarin' to the bar.
The barhoof—Salt Shaker, founder of the Salt Block—stands imposingly behind the counter polishing a glass. The pony isn't as bad or stuffy as he looks, Braeburn has found out that the buck's slender build and incredible height is the root of his stand-offish demeanor. Once a pony gets to know him, he's alright, really.
After setting down his hat, Braeburn orders haychips and carrots because he really isn't that hungry and looks over to Soarin' for his order. The pegasus is looking at the racks behind Salt Shaker, filled with a fine selection of salts, various fermented juices and a small selection of donuts both plain and sprinkled. Catching his look, Soarin' shrugs and mumbles something under his breath that Braeburn can't quite hear. Then louder:
“What do you recommend?”
Braeburn takes a moment to think; he knows Soarin' is almost constantly hungry so maybe he'll appreciate something larger. He mentally runs through the menu—he's memorized it, not such a hard feat considering it takes up maybe a page at most—running through such possibilities as salads, chips, muffins, bread, carrots haychips like his, or even alfalfa, but he doesn't know if Soarin' even likes alfalfa. But he does know that he likes apples.
“Apple salad with uh... carrot fries?” He offers, a flutter in his stomach he realizes is nervousness. He shuts it down, being nervous is silly, there's nothing to be nervous about, and he grasps for the confidence that is second nature to him. He realizes, when he finds that confidence hiding in a corner, that he hasn't really been acting like himself at all and that's unusual. For the moment he'll attribute it to Soarin' being paramount to a superstar (even though he's hardly heard of the Wonderbolts, and never heard of Soarin' before).
“Sure,” Soarin' gives a nonchalant shrug—does he not like the choice?--before getting a quirk in his lips, “What kind of apple salad?” He asks.
“Granny Smith and Pink Lady,” He says, automatically, because he knows where his apples are at any given point in time as long as they stay in Appleoosa or on their delivery routes. He's not one to gush over his favorite tree—though Bloomburg is taking his translocation quite splendidly—but he does like to keep track of and make sure his apples are healthy and safe.
Soarin' smirks, self-satisfied, and Braeburn wonders if he had just walked straight into something that he can't quite see or deduce. Feeling like he's lost a battle he waves Salt Shaker over and orders a salt cube partly out of habit and partly because he doesn't like feeling out of his element and the salt may help, and nods towards Soarin'. For a moment it looks like Soarin' will refuse but then goes for donuts with extra sprinkles and jam filling. The salt dish and a plate of two donuts arrive before their meals and both refrain from them in favor of waiting for their food.
“So. Donuts,” Braeburn observes, not quite asking but inquiring none the less as he studies the confectioneries near the pegasus. Soarin' shrugs, defensive.
“Yeah. They're not any worse than salt,”
“What's wrong with salt?” Now it's Braeburn who is defensive.
“Nothing wrong with it, just what I said,” Soarin' teases, confident now that his preferred vice is defended, “Its just, you couldn't be more stereotypical if you tried,”
Braeburn frowns, raises an eyebrow, “What'd'ya mean by that?”
“I mean,” Soarin' gestures, “That every buck in Frontier towns are always nibblin' on their salts. At least, that's the stereotype where I come from,”
“Well, I don't usually have—” salt. Or any hard intoxicants. Being drunk and trying to buck apples and not injure yourself is more difficult then you'd imagine, but Soarin' interrupts before he can say any of that.
“And look!” Soarin' points to the counter and Braeburn does look, “You have a hat, too! Just like in the movies!”
Braeburn touches his hat in reflex, as if to shield it from scrutiny, “Hey, this is muh da's hat,”
Soarin' grins and raises his hooves in surrender before saying, “It's not as if it doesn't look good on you. I actually like cowpony hats. They're of the more sensible fashion statements you see around,”
Before Braeburn can say that his hat isn't a fashion statement, it's got sentimental value and it's functional to boot, Salt Shaker has set down their food, effectively ending the discussion. Braeburn turns his attention to the warm food in front of them, feeling his stomach clench in new found hunger.
His hay chips look crispy, and after months of eating here he knows that they have a satisfying crunch as well. He glances to Soarin's plate. The salad is an appetizing array of green and pale pinkish yellow slices of apples mixed with garden variety lettuce and draped with some kind of caramel sauce. The carrot fries might have been appealing before they disappeared into Soarin's black hole of a stomach, but he has his own carrots.
Speaking of, he takes a carrot and starts chewing. He doesn't hate carrots. He doesn't like them as much apples or even oranges, but he doesn't hate them. He'd ordered them because he hadn't been feeling hungry and carrots were as about filling as water, though slightly sweet tasting water. When he does eat carrots, he prefers them best at the Salt Block because, for some reason, they seem thicker and more satisfying then anywhere else. He attributes it to the atmosphere.
“These are... nice,” Soarin sayas, licking his lips clean of the bits of fries-flakes that settled there, and starts in on the salad, taking a crunching bite from an apple slice.
“Good nice? Or bad nice? Braeburn asks, finished with his carrots as well and stating on the crisps.
“Good nice. They taste different from the, uh, usual stuff I eat, but they're nice,”
Braeburn nods, accepting the answer. And takes another bite of his chips. He watches out of the corner of his eye as Soarin' eats the salad, and finds himself puzzled when the pegasus doesn't completely devour the apples. Instead he seems to be taking it slow, eyes closing after a bite, soft inhalation before he starts chewing, tongue swiping out occasionally to catch escaped juice, or lettuce or caramel drop.
He jerks his attention to his plate, a warm flush bleeding into his cheeks. He licks at his salt to give it a reason (an acceptable, explainable reason) for being there.
“Ah, these apples are from your orchard, right?” Soarin' startles him, but he feels he conceals it well enough.
“Appleoosa's orchard, but yeah,” He corrects automatically. He takes care of the apples, yes, but the orchard belongs to all of Appleoosa.
“I just knew that,” Soarin' smiles, “All of your apples have this certain... niceness. A good niceness,”
Braeburn feels that flush again, and again he takes a lick of his salt to explain it (or keep up with it) and thanks Soarin' before adding, “But really, all Ah do is help the trees grow. They do all the real hard work themselves,”
Soarin's reply is to take a bite of his donut. Braeburn watches as green eyes light up and he catches sight of a quirk of lips. He seems delightfully happy, for whatever reason, with the donut.
“Ah, Princesses, I haven't had a proper donut in ages,” Soarin's smile widens as he catches a sprinkle on his lips and licks it into his mouth.
“Why not?” Braeburn asks, to keep himself from thinking too hard about how a pony could possibly be jealous of a donut.
“Donuts aren't in Cash Box's diet plan and sprinkled donuts even less so,” Soarin' explains, taking another bite of the pastry, prompting Braeburn to take a healthy lick of his salt because the pegasus moans at the donut's taste this time and he's not sure he can stop his embarrassed flush without some crystalline courage dehydrating him.
Soarin' alternates between the donut and his salad haphazardly—Braeburn notices that Soarin' has gotten over eating delicately and is now taking bigger bites, faster, and it relieves the bubble of anxiety he didn't know he had—and Braeburn follows his example, licking his salt and chewing on his crisps. He finds the silence that lapses over them as they finish their meals to be companionable and friendly.
Soarin' takes it upon himself to order the pair of them a shared serving of hay fries, (”These are good, Brae,” Soarin' says after leaving his salad to taste them) to accompany them as they start on their respective salt and donuts in earnest. It's not too long before Braeburn is feeling a pleasant, body-warming buzz and he thinks that Soarin' has to be pretty tipsy, too because he laughs and then Soarin' laughs and then they start talking again.
“I've never been in a saloon before!” Soarin' starts.
“'S not 'xactly a saloon,” Braeburn points out, even though hes pretty sure that the Salt Block, is, in fact, a saloon.
Soarin' shrugs, “Close enough!” and takes another bite of his donut. A thought must strike him because he laughs out loud.
“What's so funny?” Braeburn thinks (worries) that it might be himself, but even on the chance that it's not he wants to know the joke.
“Well, I just remembered,” Soarin' chuckles, “It's kind of stupid,”
Braeburn shrugs, a silent invitation to continue without making commitments.
“Okay, well, when I just arrived in Appleoosa--” And here he is interrupted by Braeburn because the earth pony is getting drunk and happy and excited.
“Appleooosa!” And it's accompanied with front hooves pawing the air and a nicker. Soarin' smirks, indulges him and repeats himself.
“When I arrived in Appleooosa--” He does a pale imitation of Braeburn's excited movements, “--I was looking around at the wagons and all the wood and buildings and I thought This looks like a movie set,” And his eyes were sparkling like they must have when he thought that, Braeburn observes, as his friend looks around the Salt Block like he's in a memory and finding it wonderful.
“That's not stupid,” Braeburn defends, because he imagines that would be his reaction going to any big city, “But you're like, a movie star or somethin', shouldn't you be used ta movie sets?”
“Nah, I'm a Wonderbolt.” Soarin' says with obvious pride, shoulders straightening back, “I do stunts, that's all,” And Soarin' laughs again and Braeburn is glad the pegasus isn't mad at him for forgetting the obvious distinctions between a movie star and a athletic one.
“You've got the looks for it,” Braeburn offers.
“No, no! I mean, you'd look better on-screen then me,” He gestures vaguely at Braeburn's head, “You've even got a movie star-tier mane!”
Braeburn shakes his head, then stops when he feels his mane rustle around his shoulders, and fights the urge to put his hat on and cover the mess from sight. He doesn't want to talk about his mane, movie star-tier or (as he suspects) not, so he tries diverting the conversation with another round which Soarin' accepts as a defeat.
He will regret this later, probably the next morning, but for the moment he doesn't care because his head is deliciously light and he feels like he can float better then a pegasus. Braeburn doesn't remember the last time he got drunk on salt, but he does remember the morning after, and suffering through Promonotory's train team's extreme pleasure with the fact that he had been late instead of them despite them being just as knackered as he'd been.
It does cross his mind that getting a sugar high probably isn't the best possible thing for Soarin's head injury, but he supposes it can't be horrible for him as long as Soarin' doesn't get a hold of his salt or anything stronger. Right now, it's really hard for him to be concerned with Soarin's state of health because the pegasus is badgering him about his hat in a topic completely unrelated to stardom but completely related to farm-work and why the hat is necessary.
Braeburn slurs something he hopes sounds like “It keeps the sun outta muh eyes,” but even he can hear his accent muddy the words. Soarin' either understands it because of his extremely hyper senses or ignores it completely as he doesn't ask for a repeat, instead nabbing the hat from Braeburn's hooves to look at it close up.
“This is so cool!” The pegasus says through a smile, turning the hat around and around before getting a wicked grin on his face and slapping the five gallon on his head. “How do I look?”
Braeburn readies a genial reply, Like a pegasus playing cowpony, or some such but when his eyes actually pause and focus in his inebriated state the semi-witty phrase he'd prepared fluttered away. Soarin' doesn't look any different, physically. He's still a pony with a coat just lighter then the blue sky at the hottest point of day or, conversely, just bluer then an overcast morning. He still has a stormy blue mane with a striking sky-blue sheen. Apple green eyes. Wings. The difference is that he's wearing a cow pony hat.
Braeburn's cowpony hat.
Well. Of course he is, Braeburn saw him put it on. That doesn't change the fact that his throat feels dry and his face is too hot and Soarin' is wearing his hat that his pa gave him when he was still a colt and he didn't look too bad in it.
Soarin's eyebrow raises in what might be amusement of concern, he can't really tell, the world is kind of funny right now. Like. There shouldn't be two of Soarin', right? Because two of Soarin', somehow both in his pa's hat and looking back at his was too much and not fair.
“Since I don't think my face is that horrible looking, you've had too much salt,”
He groans in agreement and lets his head fall against the bar which, quite suddenly seems like the proper place to put his face. Besides cooling down his cheek, it has the added benefit of hiding his flush from Soarin'.
“Come on, uh, hey, Bar Pony—right, right, Mister Salt, sorry—can we get some water? Yeah, uh, please?” Braeburn has a vague thought that he should be able to focus on Salt Shaker's part of the conversation, but that would take too much effort so he resigns himself to only Soarin's part. Not that he thinks that's particularly horrible, Soarin's voice is very soothing.
“Brae took a bit too much salt, I guess,” How is it, he thinks, listening as Salt Shaker moves to get a glass of water, that Soarin's voice is fine. He Sugar-High shouldn't he be talking fast or something? A glass is set down beside him and he abandons his train of thought to slurp it down, feeling his head clear just a bit.
“We should get you back to your place. You're gonna need to sleep that off,” Braeburn gives a grunt of agreement before letting his head fall back down this time landing in something wet and smelling of apples and caramel. He jerks back up coughing and starts trying to wipe caramel and lettuce off his face. Out of the corner of his eye he catches Soarin' as he bursts into peals of laughter.
“Why? This is so gross!” Soarin' continues laughing at his misfortune, almost giggling, and practically falling off his seat—that he recovered from the dangerous tip leaves Braeburn feeling slighted, karma should've dictated that Soarin' fell on his flank for all that laughter—the laughter having to be fueled by the coma-inducing amounts of sugar he ingested because it takes forever for it to finally taper into quiet chuckles.
“You fell in my salad!” This sets off another bout of giggles that last until Braeburn pulls some bits out of his vest and sets them on the counter—not bothering with the exact amount, knowing Salt Shaker will reimburse him the next time he comes in—and hops off the seat to head out.
“Hey, wait up!” Braeburn does, because he remembers that Soarin's the one with the concussion, not him, and then promptly forgets that he's irked at the pegasus for the salad incident and the laughing uncontrollably once he catches sight of his hat on Soarin's head. Still.
The clear, hot air fights to clear his head but only serves to make him thirstier. He turns towards the Inn Soarin' is staying at and the pegasus walks next to him. Their shoulders almost brush, Braeburn's swagger sending him closer to Soarin' then strictly necessary, but salt does that to a pony.
There's an amiable silence in which Braeburn ponders his friend, concentrates on not tripping over his hooves, watches Soarin' nearly shiver with the pent up energy of sugar, and focuses on keeping in a semi-straight line.
In a lucid moment, about a block away from the inn he feels like he is hyper aware of everything, or at least of Soarin'. He can feel the heat of Soarin's body and the thrumming tenses of his muscles. When he turns his head he believes that he sees every feather on Soarin's wings vibrating with the need to move.
He blames Soarin' for tripping.
It couldn't be him, he doesn't even remember the transition from standing to lying on the dirt road with Soarin's face staring down at him.
“You alright?” He grins sheepishly (drunkenly) at Soarin's concern.
“Yeah, Ah'm fine,”
“I should probably make sure you get home alright,”
“But Ah'm s'posed ta make sure you get back fine,”
“A little role reversal should be good for you, then,”
Something about that sentence strikes Braeburn dumb (he's still wearing his hat), so he agrees with Soarin' and lets himself get pulled up and pushed in a direction away from the inn. He stays dumbstruck for a minute or two, but regains enough mental capability in time for Soarin's question.
“How exactly do we get you to your house again?”
It takes both of them to navigate to Braeburn's house (“I don't remember this being here.” “It's my house, I should know whether there's a shortcut or not,” “Didn't we pass this tree already?” “No, this one's Macerana, the other one was Macbeth,”) and they both stood at the base of the rocky cliff leading to Braeburn's house with more than a bit of trepidation.
“How are we getting up there?” Soarin' asks him.
“Ah have no clue,” Braeburn admits.
It, again, takes both of them to navigate up the cliff. Braeburn is, naturally, in front, picking the path mostly from muscle memory, and Soarin' is behind him, playing catcher. Braeburn doesn't slip, even half-drunk he's amazed by this. Soarin' does slip, but he catches Braeburn's tail between his teeth and flaps his wings instinctively there by keeping them both from tumbling down.
Braeburn has a head ache by the time they get to his house though Soarin's hasn't come down from his high just yet. He trudges through the front door and manages to get to an old sofa before he collapses. He blinks, sees Soarin' trot through the door, before he falls asleep.
He wakes up almost immediately, he thinks, and his head throbs. He lets out a groan and shuts his eyes again wishing the head ache away. The blood pounds so hard in his skull he nearly overlooks the clip-clopping of hooves in his kitchen but he's not stupid even suffering from a hang over. Blinking his eyes open, feeling his body tense in preparation for whatever came through the doorway from his kitchen, he feels blessedly lucid until the pony making the hoofsteps is visible.
“Yer still wearin' muh hat,”
“What? Oh, yeah. I guess I am,” Soarin' flushes, beneath Braeburn's hat, the blush a neat purple on his coat. “I can take it off, I mean, if you don't want me wearing it,”
“No! Ah mean. You can wear it. It's fine. Looks good on you, anyways,” Braeburn has no idea why he likes Soarin' wearing his hat, but he does and his headache has returned with a vengeance so he doesn't dwell on that too much.
“Oh, cool!” Soarin' resumes his trot and Braeburn notices that he's balancing a cup of water and an apple on his outstretched wings. When he's close enough, Soarin' kneels and offers the cup and apple to him.
“Thanks,” He manages the cup with his hooves and gulps down the water, the head ache receding a bit more, and also takes the offered apple. When he sets the glass aside and takes a bite of his apple he notices that Soarin' looks a bit strung out. He's surprised that the sugar lasted this long, Soarin' hadn't had an enormous amount of donuts. He moves over on the sofa and offers the empty end to Soarin' who flops into it neatly.
Braeburn crunches on his apple, his headache slipping into submission, and watches Soarin' who is watching him while awaiting his inevitable crash. Braeburn's almost finished with the apple when Soarin' groans and slumps in the couch. Braeburn resists laughing at the sullen face Soarin' makes.
“You should probably stay here until you even out,”
He takes Soarin's grunt as acceptance.
He intends to get up and maybe fix Soarin' some water for when he feels up to it, but Soarin's hoof stops his movement quite easily. He looks over at the pegasus, who has managed to wriggle over to his side of the couch.
“Stop movin' Brae,” He does so (Soarin' saying Brae in that gruff, annoyed and sleepy voice has got to be against the law or something) and Soarin' manages to use Braeburn's side as a pillow before Braeburn even realizes he'd stopped moving. He looks over at Soarin's head, finding that he can only see his hat and suddenly wishing he'd asked Soarin' to give it back.
He counts in his head to a reasonable number and asks, after realizing Soarin' apparently has no intentions of moving, “Are you tryin' ta fall asleep on me?”
“Yes,” Comes the reply.
A few seconds pass before Soarin' deigns to reply to him.
“'Cause you smell like apples,” A snort, “It's a conspiracy,”
And then Soarin' goes to sleep.