Cutting Ties

by fic Write Off


Secret Agent Cake

"You know, some mares in your situation would have an affair."

A stream of hot, brown liquid shot from Mrs. Cake's mouth onto Pearl's face and hat. It was a new hat, too, one she'd just been speaking of at length not ten minutes ago. Mrs. Cake coughed, wiping at her lips, while her companion levitated a hoofkerchief and dabbed at her sopping countenance.

"Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry, Pearl!"

"Oh, it's no problem, dearie!" Pearl laughed and squeezed her hoofkerchief into an empty teacup.

Mrs. Cake proffered up her own napkin, which Pearl accepted. "But how could you even suggest something like that? I love my husband!"

"Oh, well, gosh, I wasn't insinuating anything, if that's what ya mean, Cup." Pearl finished mopping the tea from her nose and proceeded to wring out her hat into the same teacup. "All I'm sayin' is, if you're unhappy with your life right now, there's nothing quite like a changeup to add some spice, don'tcha know?"

Mrs. Cake nodded. "Well, I suppose... But I'm certainly not doing... that."

Pearl nodded, the conversation shifted to other, more palatable, topics, and another hour passed before either of them took any notice.

"Oh, look at the time! I should be gettin' back before it gets dark, Pearl." Mrs. Cake stifled a yawn.

"I had a wonderful time, Cup!"

"Oh, me too, dear!"

The mares embraced, and Pearl walked her guest to the door. "We definitely hafta do this again soon."

"Oh, absolutely!"

"Bye now!"

"Bye-bye!"

The sun was sinking below the horizon, the light chill in the twilight air putting a bit of pep into her trot as Mrs. Cake made her way across Ponyville. She whistled a tune to keep her thoughts still, but the implications of what Pearl had said nevertheless roiled in her mind. But by the time she had gotten home, greeted Pinkie Pie, greeted Carrot, put the foals to bed, cleaned the kitchen, gotten Pinkie's head unstuck from the freezer (again) and climbed into bed, she was left with nothing else to think about.

"Unhappy with your life" was what Pearl had said. Am I, really? Cup glanced to her left, to her soundly snoring husband, then turned her eyes back to the ceiling.

All things considered, her life might be enviable. She had a loving spouse, two adorable children, so many wonderful friends, and a successful business. The problem seemed to be that that was all she had. Aside from the business, most married mothers in Equestria could say the same for themselves. Maybe she did need something more; not an affair, but something.

Right now, what she needed most was sleep. Of course, thinking about needing to sleep made it harder to get to sleep, and so she lay there, thinking of nothing and staring at the ceiling. Just as she finally started to drift off, one foal and then the other began crying from the nursery.

Carrot groaned and stirred, mumbling, "You get it tonight, puff pastry."

She sighed and slid out of bed. Was there anything more to life?


Morning came late. Though Cup appreciated Carrot letting her sleep in, she was miffed that he would let her miss out on her early morning baking. But, she always said that a good attitude made for a good day, and focusing on the kindness of his gesture did indeed help her day get off to a smiling start.

Trotting downstairs, the first thing she noticed was the front door ajar. In front of it, Carrot was speaking with a strange pony, clad all in black and wearing sunglasses. Odd attire, for a warm summer day. Just as she reached the bottom of the stairs, a sharp word was said by one of them and the door closed.

"Who was it, Carrot?"

"Oh, nothing, honeybuns." He trotted over and gave her a kiss on the forehead. "Enjoy your sleep-in?"

"I did." She smiled, then fixed him with a stern glare. "But you've kept me from my precious morning baking, Mr. Cake!"

Carrot shook his head, smirking mischievously. "Not to worry, sugarplum! Morning baking's done, the foals are fed, changed and playing with Pinkie in the back room, and breakfast is on the table in the dining nook!"

Cup tried to speak, but the words caught in her throat. The turmoil stemming from last night's conversation with Pearl flooded back, and she felt the heat of shame rising in her cheeks. However could she have entertained such a notion for even a moment?

"Oh, Carrot." She leaned up, kissing him slowly. "You're so good to me."

Carrot's eyebrows raised. "Well, thanks, honeybunch! I do try." He smiled warmly. "Now go eat, your food's getting cold."

Enough with being unhappy, Cup Cake. This is where you belong!

She seated herself at the table underneath the stairs. An orange, a glass of milk, eggs just the way she liked them, and half a loaf of fresh bread, butter nearby, waited for her. As she inhaled the heavenly aroma, she relaxed from tension she hadn't realized she'd been holding onto. A light breeze wafted in from the open window, carrying with it the sound of somepony talking aloud.

"The rooster is not, I repeat, not crowing at dawn. Operation Chicken and Hens to commence upon arrival of Agent One-Oh-Five."

Cup shook her head. "What a strange sort of conversation to have with oneself. Oh, but then I'm talking to myself as well!" With a laugh, she sliced the bread and buttered it, savoring the soft, rich texture that came only from getting bread straight out of the oven.

The pony who had been speaking to himself moved past the window, glancing at it before furtively scooting past. It was, she realized, the same pony who had been at the door when she came downstairs. She took another bite of her bread and soon the strange behavior was forgotten, leaving only the enjoyment of her morning meal.

Breakfast finished, she gathered the dishes and headed for the kitchen, eager to get the day's orders taken care of. Organization did make everything so much more pleasant, after all.


"...And so then Applejack and Rainbow Dash drop the net, and the Headless Horse is all, 'Oh neigh you di-in't!'"

"Pinkie, language!"

"Sorry, Mr. Cake."

As Pinkie rambled on about her latest adventure with her friends, Mr. and Mrs. Cake loaded the ovens with cookies: six dozen of Pinkie's own licorice ginger snap recipe, to be exact. The taste testing had gone surprisingly well.

"And then we used the Elements of Harmony and it was all like whoosh, boom, rainbow! And so the Headless Horse found his long-lost head! I'm telling you, it was the best adventure ever, you should have been there!"

"Thanks, but no thanks, Pinkie Pie," Mr. Cake said solemnly. "My life with Mrs. Cake is all the adventure I need. I'll leave the dangerous stuff to you younger ponies."

Cup couldn't help blushing. "Oh, Mr. Cake, whatever has gotten into you today? You're making me feel like a schoolfilly all over again!" She giggled uncontrollably, which only served to reinforce the feeling.

Mr. Cake leaned forward and swept her up into an embrace. "Do I need a reason to romance you, my sugarcheeks, light of my life?"

Mrs. Cake continued giggling, hiding her face coquettishly. "Oh, Carrot!"

"Aww, that's so sweet, I love you guys so much!" Pinkie burst up in between them, hugging them both before, then bouncing up and down. "Gummy and I promised Rarity that we'd help her find gems today, so I'm gonna go get him packed, and then after the cookies are done - I wanna double taste test and make sure they're extra-super-duper delicious, of course! - we're gonna head out, so you two can have all the time together today that you need!" With that, she zipped out of the kitchen and up the stairs.

Mrs. Cake couldn't help but laugh. Mr. Cake shook his head, sharing in her mirth.

"She's really crazy sometimes, but I can never get mad at her."

"She means so well, the dear, not to mention her cookie recipes have all been top sellers lately!"

The oven timer dinged, and Carrot opened the door so she could remove the trays. A quick check showed that the cookies had crisped just perfectly around the edges, and that the bottoms were even browner than before: exactly right.

"Speaking of crazy, Carrot," Mrs. Cake continued with a soft laugh, "do you remember that strange pony you were talking to this morning? Well, I heard him talking to himself outside the window while I was eating breakfast. It was the funniest thing, though I feel sorry for him. The poor dear must be soft in the head."

"Talking?" Carrot's tone took on a sudden nervousness. "Did you happen to catch anything he said, err... sweetbun?"

"Hmm? Well, no, not really. Just something about a rooster not crowing. Oh, and a number. One hundred and five, I think that's what he said. But who cares, it was just some silly pony rambling about nothing, right? Maybe he's a farmpony, though I've never seen a farmpony who dresses-"

"One hundred and five...?" Carrot's eyes grew wide and he rushed out of the kitchen. "No, One-Oh-Five!"

"Carrot, what are you...?"

There was a loud thump and she peered out to see Carrot and Pinkie, both sitting on the stairs and rubbing their foreheads.

"Pinkie, I'm afraid you'll have to cancel your plans," Carrot said hastily.

Pinkie looked stricken. "Cancel? But..."

Carrot grabbed her by the shoulders. "It's an emergency! We need to activate Operation Wheels of Steel immediately!"

The stillness that overtook Pinkie's entire body shocked Cup. She had never seen the pink pony stop moving for any reason, and certainly not while having such a steady and serious expression. Pinkie saluted, then vanished upstairs, and Carrot hurried over, nudging Mrs. Cake with his head.

"Sweetie, we need to pack quickly and leave. We can go to your mother's house for a few days-"

She planted her hooves and he began scraping her out the kitchen door. "My mother? But you've never liked-"

"Don't argue, dear, I'm serious. I'll close the shop, you get whatever you need-"

"Carrot, you can't just expect me to pack up and leave in the middle of baking! I mean, the cookies aren't even-"

"Cup, just trust me!"

He'd never raised his voice at her before, and the suddenness of it stunned her to silence. Lines of worry marred his face, sweat beaded on his brow, and the weight of his concern washed over her, quelling her protestations.

"I'll explain on the way, Cup, I promise," he murmured. "Just get. Packing!"

She nodded, turning toward the stairs, when the door burst inward.

"The only one who'll be packing is you, Oh-Seven-Four!"

Cup turned to see a tall, wide stallion, wearing a form-fitting leather suit. A black mask covered his face and he carried a pair of bulging saddlebags. His sudden entrance left them both stunned, and in the confusion, he surged forward, grabbing her around the waist.

"What? Unhoof me, you! Carrot, what in Equestria is going on?"

"Just stay calm, sweetie, I'll protect you."

Her assailant laughed. "I don't think so." He hoisted her up over his shoulder and made for the door, which was when she decided she'd had enough. Flailing with all four hooves, she screamed at the top of her lungs.

"Let me down this instant, do you hear?" A lucky blow caught the intruder square under the jaw and he staggered back, dropping her. Immediately, she drew back with a gasp. She'd never struck another pony in her life, and in that moment her concern for this poor wounded stranger overrode everything that had happened up to that moment.

"Oh my goodness! I'm so sorry, are you badly hurt?"

Reaching up to check on him, she was suddenly reminded of her predicament as he growled and slapped her hoof away. At that moment, a half dozen cookies sailed in from the direction of the kitchen, catching him on the back of the head and sending him ducking for cover.

"Come on, honey pie, upstairs, now!"

She needed no more encouragement. Carrot tossed three more cookies and followed her, not pausing on the staircase until they had reached the top. Below, the stranger was producing a line of hoof-held baked goods. Some strange feeling told Mrs. Cake that this did not mean pleasant things.

"Pinkie Pie!"

Pinkie popped out of the nursery, laden with a diaper bag that must have held every single one of the twins' toys, given its girth.

"They're going to Twilight's," she said, keeping her voice low. "We'll take the roof, they won't see us at all."

"Too risky," Carrot countered, shaking his head, "they'll have the obvious exits covered. Use the window in your room, and the balloon if you have to. We'll figure something out."

Pinkie saluted as a pair of cupcakes flew up the stairs, missing them but punctuating the direness of the situation. Pinkie ducked back into the nursery and reappeared moments later, dashing for her room in the loft, Pound and Pumpkin in tow.

The sight of her children, blithely being lugged about by Pinkie Pie, was what finally cracked Mrs. Cake. She hiccupped once and tears blurred her vision. More cupcakes impacted the wall behind them, leaving large dents, and Carrot grabbed her, dragging her towards their own room while she fought back against the tears.

"My babies..."

"They'll be fine, dear! We've got to get you out now!" he said breathlessly.

They ducked into their bedroom, and Carrot wasted no time in shoving the dresser in front of the door, jamming something into the crack between them before grabbing the lamp off the nightstand and smashing it. Hundreds of questions swirled through her mind, but the only one she could think to voice was, "How?"

As she alternated between staring out the second-story window and glancing fearfully at the closed bedroom door, Carrot was busy ripping bedsheets and tying them together. Wires from her poor lamp - it hadn't been her favorite, but it hadn't been cheap, either - twisted around the doorknob and ran behind the dresser to where she couldn't see. So much was happening so quickly, she didn't have time to sort anything out. But now wasn't the time for questions; he wanted her to trust him, so that's what she was going to do. Besides, the pounding on the door was keeping far more of her attention at the moment.

Carrot dragged the rope of sheets over to the window. A deft toss of his head sent the loop at the end up onto the roof, where it snagged on something. He checked it for stability, then climbed halfway out the window, holding a hoof out to her.

"Grab hold of me, powdered donut, and whatever you do, don't look down!"

As if she needed more incentive to follow him, the door began to splinter around the dresser, frosting spattering through the cracks. She stepped onto the windowsill, taking Carrot's hoof, and immediately looked down.

Goodness, it was high.

"Here we go, sugar dumpling, hold on!"

She held tight and squeezed her eyes shut as he kicked off from the window, and she heard the door smash inward behind them, followed by a loud explosion and some nasty swearing.

"What was that?" she shouted against the wind.

"Even Pinkie's cookies can be rigged to explode if you know how!" Carrot replied, explaining absolutely nothing.

They swung out around the side of their home, the black-clad pony watching them from the ground.

"The rooster has left the henhouse," he called into his device. "The fox has been spotted, One-Oh-Five respond!"

Cup Cake realized at that moment that whatever was going on, it was probably the most exciting thing that had ever happened in her life. Yes, it was scary, even deadly frightening when she thought about Pumpkin and Pound, but somehow, she knew that with Carrot at her side, she had less reason to fear.

"Tuck and roll, sweetheart!"

"What?"

The arc of their swing ended and Carrot let go of the rope. Screaming, she fell with him onto the flat roof of their neighbor's house. She bounced on impact more than anything, and, staggered, nearly fell over the side. Carrot's hoof shot out, catching her at the last second, her rear hoof hanging over empty space.

"Cup, are you all right?"

"I... I think so." She shook her head, and her vision straightened. Carrot tugged her to the opposite side of the roof. Behind him, she caught sight of a dark figure skulking about atop Sugarcube Corner. She was suddenly glad that Pinkie's balloon was nowhere in sight. "This is just too much!"

"I know, sweetiebuns, but we're going to have to make a jump to that roof." He indicated the next house, which, while only a few feet away due to the swept-up architecture, nevertheless extended downwards for a few dozen feet that she could no longer take her eyes away from.

"Carrot, I can't..."

"You have to! We have to keep moving!" The worry came back into his voice, and she felt guilty in her hesitance.

She turned to look at him, fearful, remembering the thin, gangly colt that no filly had ever given a second glance. His nasal voice and bland manners had kept him from standing out among the crowd. It had been his kindness, his easygoing manner and his sense of humor that had caught her eye. She'd been such a wild filly back then, running amok with Pearl and the mare who would eventually become Mayor, but Carrot Bread, as he was named at the time, had been the stable rock that she'd needed to calm down, find what was truly important to her, and start living the life she had been meant to.

"I'm sorry," he said quietly, and she wondered what for. "I'll be right behind you, now go."

Cup gazed at her husband, standing on the roof, silhouetted against the sun, his little paper hat lost and his orange mane blowing in the breeze, and felt a lump in her throat and tears in her eyes. She nodded, mustering her courage, turned, and with a running start, leaped for the second roof.

It was a close call. All things considered, she should have fallen. Her nerve failed her halfway across the gap and she landed poorly for it. Something in her right hind leg tore as she scrambled onto the other roof and she cried out in pain.

"Cup! Hold on, sugarlump, I'm coming!"

That feeling stirred inside of her once again. Hearing the anguish in her husband's voice caused by her own physical pain, seeing him running toward her, she somehow knew that everything would be all right.

"Party's over, Oh-Seven-Four," said a muffled voice behind Carrot. He skidded to a stop, still on the first roof, and turned to face off once again with their masked attacker.

"Stay behind me, sweetpea, I'll get us through this."

"No need for the heroics." The masked pony shook his head. "Now that our plan's fallen through, it's just you and me, Oh-Seven-Four. Your mare ain't my target no more."

Mrs. Cake thought for a moment she recognized the muffled voice, a notion that Mr. Cake quickly confirmed.

"All right then, Joe."

The larger stallion doffed his mask, revealing a horn, strong tan chin and hard green eyes. "So you do remember!"

She gasped. "Donut Joe?"

Joe smirked. "That's Agent One-Oh-Five to you."

Carrot shook his head. "Never thought I'd see you like this again. It doesn't have to end this way, Joe."

"Sorry, Carrot," Joe huffed, "nothin' personal, but unlike some ponies, I actually follow orders. You might wanna tell your wife to cover her eyes; this could get messy." A donut, bursting with cream filling, flew out of his saddlebag and leveled at Carrot.

"Wait!" Mrs. Cake wailed. "Stop! What's going on? Why are you fighting?"

Joe spared a glance in her direction. "Ohhh, I get it! You never told her, huh, Carrot?"

Worry creased her face. "Carrot...?"

Carrot averted his gaze from her pleading look.

"I'm sorry, biscuit dough. I never thought my past would catch up with me this way. I thought, after we settled down, that life for you and I would be normal, and you'd never need to know about all this." He turned back to her, and his eyes blazed with shame. "I used to be a secret agent, Cup."

Cup shook her head in disbelief. She was on the verge of laughter. "A secret agent...?"

"Heh! Not just any secret agent," Joe said, still holding his donut forth. "Carrot here was Agent Oh-Seven-Four, the best of the best, aside from yours truly, of course."

"I..." Carrot swallowed. "I did a lot of very bad things when I was younger, Cup. That's why I kept it a secret. I've been lying to you all these, and for what it's worth, I'm sorry."

"Enough with the talkin' already!" Joe tossed the donut, which Carrot narrowly dodged. It exploded everywhere, cream burning holes into the roof as Carrot dashed forward and drove his head into Joe's chest, knocking the larger pony off balance.

Joe recovered and threw a right hook that Carrot blocked, countering with an uppercut. The two began a flurry of exchanged blows, seeming evenly matched, though Mrs. Cake had to admit she was hardly an expert judge of fighting prowess.

Fighting? She'd never seen her husband so much as utter an unkind word to a rude customer before. He'd always been the gentlest, meekest pony she knew, but now here he was, tussling with an angry stallion twice his size and holding his own. In fact, it seemed he might be winning. A hard left sent Carrot skidding backwards and Joe charged, only to be met with a full-body toss, landing on his back. Carrot pounced on him, pinning him down with an arm across his throat.

"Stop, both of you!" Mrs. Cake tried to stand, but the pain in her rear leg kept her in place. "I don't know about any of this secret agent nonsense, but think about what you're doing! Joe, you've always been our friend in the baking business! Why are you trying to kill my husband?"

Joe shifted his weight, but Carrot stayed on top of him, not falling for the deception. "Nnngh... Like I said, it's nothin' personal, Cup. Carrot here's got a head fulla state secrets, and the top brass decided it's time to remove the security risk, one way or another!"

Carrot shook his head. "You deserve to know the whole story, dear. When I was young, I was aimless: short, scrawny, not great at school, a blank flank until late in life. When I graduated, I tried out for the royal guard since I had nothing better to do, and got the results I'd expected. But somepony on the side noticed me, saw something in me, and that's when I was invited to try out for the Elite Guard."

"Elite Guard chooses its own," Joe added. "Everypony's got somethin' to contribute."

"Equestria has many friends in this world, and many enemies, too. Sometimes diplomacy fails, and so the Princesses call on the Elite Guard, for espionage, infiltration... assassinations." Carrot paused. "They're trained to be the best weapons-grade bakers, fighters and spies in all of Equestria. Like I said, I did a lot of bad things, things that at the time I thought were for the good of Equestria, but that I later came to regret.

"The final straw, my last mission..." He sucked breath in through his teeth, not looking at Joe or anything in particular. "Intel I had gathered resulted in the custard-bombing of a griffin village. Just a few words, and a whole town was leveled."

"Hah! That intel was faulty!" Joe chuckled and Carrot growled at him.

"I was set up!" Carrot's voice grew quiet. "There were griffin hens and chicks in that village; it wasn't a military target at all. They wanted it gone because it was on the border, so they made sure there was a reason to get rid of it."

He turned to her. "That's when I quit. I was ashamed by what I'd contributed to and disgusted with the ponies who'd made me do it. I realized that all I wanted from life at that point was to be a baker, a real baker making goods that ponies could eat." He snorted. "Joe's right. I know all kinds of secrets, things I wish I didn't know."

He was interrupted as a voice crackled near Joe's head.

"One-Oh-Five, what's your status?"

Joe grunted. "Little busy at the moment!"

Carrot leaned down towards Joe's ear. "Who is this? Is this Twenty-Six?"

"Oh-Seven-Four, you're alive? One-Oh-Five, what are you doing?"

"Not terminating him at the moment, sir! Maybe you should shut up and let me-"

"Hen and chicks..." Carrot shook his head, quivering with rage. "You were after Pumpkin, Pound and Cup! You were going to use them to get to me!"

Joe nodded.

"Twenty-Six, you listen to me!" Carrot shouted. "If you, and I mean any of you, ever come after my family again, I will hunt you down and make you wish you'd left me alone! Do you understand? You take that back to your top brass and tell them Oh-Seven-Four is through with this whole thing, and that's final!"

There was a lengthy pause from the radio. "Mission is compromised! The Elements of Harmony have gotten involved. I'm ordering a full retreat! All agents, stand down!"

Mrs. Cake caught the sound of metal shifting around them. From other rooftops, from the ground, from trees out to a hundred feet, ponies lifted their weapons, sheathing them, and stole away into shadows.

Carrot stepped back, letting Joe up to cough and catch his breath. The unicorn went cross-eyed as Carrot shoved a hoof in his face.

"I've kept these secrets for years, and I plan on keeping them until I forget them! I suggest you do the same, and forget about me. I'll say it again: I'm through with the Elite Guard! I have been for a long time."

Giving Joe one last long glance, he turned and limped over to where Cup lay, hopping the gap between roofs despite his injury. The outward manifestation of his pain caused her to forget hers and she stood, going to him.

"Oh, Carrot!"

"Cup, are you hurt, my darling?" He put an arm around her and held her tightly.

"Forget about me! Your leg!"

He laughed. "It's just a sprain, nothing serious. I'm more concerned about you."

"You big lug," she said, sniffing, and kissed him hard. "You're so good to me."

"Hey Carrot."

They turned to see Joe, hauling himself onto shaky legs and stretching, making pained faces as he assessed his own injuries. "This ain't gonna be the end, y'know."

"Joe, just leave. I'm not going to be a threat to anyone, so long as I can live in peace." After a moment's thought, Carrot added, "You know, I bet if you checked the 'top brass', you'd find out the order that started this mission didn't come from the Princesses."

Joe nodded. "Eh, I'll just tell 'em Agent Oh-Seven-Four is no longer an issue. Maybe they'll buy it."

Carrot nodded back, and Joe turned. With a hop, he disappeared over the side, to reappear moments later, a small jetpack taking him north towards Canterlot.

Mr. Cake gave a tremendous sigh of relief, and Mrs. Cake felt him slump against her.

"Carrot!"

"Can you ever forgive me?" His voice quavered on the verge of tears. "For lying to you?"

"Oh Carrot!" Her heart felt ready to burst. "Of course I can forgive you! You didn't tell me everything about your past, but... you're still the stallion I fell in love with all those years ago." Smiling, she nuzzled him tenderly. "Although... how did Pinkie know?"

"Yes, well..." He swallowed. "She doesn't know everything. I knew that in an emergency I could count on her to protect the foals, letting me focus on protecting you. I never thought it would really happen, but I guess my paranoia paid off for once..." His eyes trailed downward. "I really feel terrible about deceiving you for so long, Cup..."

She nodded. "I still forgive you. You were so brave, Carrot." She kissed him again and he flushed.

"Come on, honeybuns," he said, some of his usual mirth returning to his voice, "let's get you home. There's a lot of cleaning up to be done."


Once they had gotten their foals back from Pinkie Pie and Twilight Sparkle, there had been a lot of cleaning up to do: fixing doors, cleaning incendiary frosting off of walls, taking out the ruined dresser and lamp. It was more than a day's job. Berry Punch had initially refused their offer to help repair her roof, but eventually agreed to let them pay for it. She promised them first dibs on her next batch of brandy in return. Meanwhile, Cup found herself looking at her husband in a very different light than before.

Her husband, the former secret agent! Rubbing elbows with griffonic royalty, fighting dragons, sneaking about in disguise, narrowly escaping death time and again... All in the name of Princess and country. Thinking about it was more than she could stand, really, but there were two things she knew she could take away from this whole fiasco:

First, that her husband was by no means scrawny, bland, meek or uninteresting.

Second, that she was quite happy leaving the adventuring to the younger ponies.

She found herself smiling at the idea that Carrot had said goodbye to his past, that now this would be their life for the rest of time. Bake all day, take care of the foals, watch them grow up, support her spouse in his times of need and be supported by him in return. Having tasted danger and thrills, she could safely say that once was enough.

She lay on the bed, watching Carrot tidy himself up before sleep. Lidding her eyes, she put on her sultriest voice and called, "Oh Carrot! Come to bed, darling!"

Her husband's eyes widened as she beckoned enticingly to him, and he seemed all too eager to comply.

"Well, Mrs. Cake," he said softly, climbing into bed atop her, "what's the occasion?"

"Why, no occasion, Mr. Cake," she said, leaning up to kiss him gently. "We do need to keep our lives exciting, do we not? Add some spice every now and then?"

"Why yes," he said, a slow smile spreading over his face, "yes, we do."

He leaned down and kissed her, eliciting giggles as he intentionally prodded a ticklish spot. They froze at the sound of a creak, the door opening halfway as Pinkie Pie stuck her head through. A blush formed on her cheeks.

"Uh, oh, uh, I, uh, I just wanted to let you know that the foals are in bed and I was going to tell you about something else but Ithinkthatcanwaittilltomorrowhavefunbye!"

She vanished, the door closing softly behind her, and they shared a laugh.

"She's all the excitement we'll ever need in our lives, right, honey bunches?"

"How right you are, cookie crumbs!" She reached up and drew him close. "Now, where were we?"

"Hmm, I think I remember..." He grinned at her, looking deep into her eyes. She searched his face, finding herself suffused with a sense of love, peace and happiness as she gazed at him.

"Are you ready, Carrot?" she whispered.

"I'm ready, Cup," he breathed.

And they both fell asleep.