Written and drawn by Ceehoff
Sweetie Belle crashed through the doors of her older sister's boutique, panting heavily as if she just ran a marathon. Her small lungs puffed, causing her little white chest to expand like a small balloon.
"Rarityyy! I'm ho--!"
"SHHHHHHH! Sweetie Belle!" the older white unicorn hissed. "Watch your volume! You'll wake Connor! The poor thing needs his rest because of his sickness."
"Sorry..." the filly whispered sheepishly. "Where is he?"
"He's in his bed behind those curtains in that showcase stand. Don't get too close to him, darling. You don't want to catch what he caught," Rarity shuddered. "I simply cannot stand the thought of those filthy, pesky germs digging and scratching their way into your body like that. Yyyeeeeewwww!"
Her little sister nodded obediently and resumed her way quietly to the podium, where Connor was sleeping. Before she parted the curtains, she placed her ear on the curtain. She could not hear anything except for some slight snoring.
She quietly parted the curtains. It nearly broke her heart to see the condition her crush was in. His nose was a bright red and his snoring sounded more like rhythmic wheezing because of his nasal congestion. His mane was haggard and messy, his eyes were baggy, and the sheets on his bed were covering his body up to his neck. Tissues were scattered on top of the sheets like a piñata had been broken open.
Quiet as a mouse, she trotted closer to the bed to get a closer look at the colt. So all she had to do was to commit acts of kindness. Well, this was the perfect moment to put them to the test. Once Connor gets over his sickness, Sweetie Belle would be the kindest pony in Equestria, Connor would finally notice it, and he would dump Fluttershy in the process. Thus, she will finally be Connor's little pony. Perfect! Today was the day to bring back her iron shield.
She ran out of the podium and into the kitchen. She swung open the cupboards to find some canned soup.
What the hay?? No soup?? Aw, come on!
Sweetie Belle called for her sister. "RAAARRRI--!"
"SHHHHHHH!! Sweetie Belle! Honestly!" the fashion queen whispered hysterically.
"Oh... sorry. Anyhoo, Rarity, where's all the soup? Don't we have any soup at all?"
"Oh, no, Sweetie Belle, we don't. I've run all out of soup, which is quite a surprise, really. I was pretty sure I had some more. Well, apparently I don't."
"Well, how am I supposed to feed Connor some soup without soup??"
"That won't be necessary, little sister. Fluttershy is coming by to take care of him, since I have orders to fill. So, you don't need to trouble yourself with that."
WHAT?? Fluttershy was coming over? Oh, perfect! Now things were going much smoothly for her. With Connor's fillyfriend (soon-to-be former fillyfriend, she hoped) around, she would get in the way of Sweetie Belle's kind deeds. Crap! Now what??
No! Sweetie Belle shook her head violently. She would not back down from this battle. This was a battle she could not afford to lose today. If she was successful in this particular battle, the more of a chance she would have in winning the war for Connor's approval. However, she still knew that she had a lot more battles to win if that were to be possible.
Knock, knock, knock! the door echoed.
"Show time..." Sweetie Belle glared. Trotting up to the door, she fixed her mane, smoothed out her coat, and lifted her chin. She opened the door, revealing a graceful, adorable, yellow pegasus holding a picnic basket with her mouth.
"Oh... Hello, Fluttershy," the filly tossed her head as she greeted the pegasus.
Fluttershy placed the basket down on the ground before she spoke. "Hello, Sweetie Belle! How are you doing?" she smiled, looking as pretty as a daisy.
"Oh, I'm doing fine... How are you?" she feigned courtesy.
"Oh, just awful, especially after hearing that Connor is sick. Rarity asked for me to come by to take care of him since she is busy with the her orders."
"Oh, yes. I heard," the filly faked concern. Well, not today, you colt-stealing, animal-loving...
"Also, she picked me because she said I was really good at hospitalizing those in need. I really appreciate her thinking that, but it's just, um, a little thing I do. It's nothing, really."
"Well, it is sooo nice of you to come, but I'm afraid you have came for naught."
"W-what do you mean?"
"I mean that Connor just recovered from his sickness, and he's as fresh as grass. I guess that means you can go home now. Sorry for having to drag you all of this--." The fibbing filly was shoved aside by her older sister.
"Fluttershy, darling! Thank you so much for coming," Rarity exclaimed, giving her favorite pegasus a pony hug.
The pegasus turned to leave. "Oh, yes! You-you're welcome, but I guess I should leave now because Sweetie Belle--."
"Oh, no, Fluttershy, you didn't come for nothing. Connor's still sick in bed, the poor thing," the unicorn stopped her.
The pegasus turned back around. "O-oh! Well then why did she...?"
"Oh, don't mind her. She was just trying to get a cutie mark in doctoring, and she did not realize that he is still..." she glared at Sweetie Belle. "... sick with a cold."
Thanks a lot, Rarity... her little sister glared.
Turning back to the pegasus, Rarity saw the basket.
"What did you bring, darling?" she asked.
"Oh! I brought my homemade tomato soup, his favorite. With this, he will be better in no time... that is, I mean, I don't mean to brag..." Fluttershy said.
"Splendid! I knew I could count on you. Is there anything I could do in return to thank you?" Rarity fluttered her eyelashes, eager for an answer.
"Oh, no, Rarity, you don't have--."
"The spa! We'll go to the spa, then! Hooficures will be all on me."
"Oh! Okay... Thank you," the pegasus smiled. Then, she picked up the basket with her mouth. "Sho, where ish my shick, handshome, colt?"
"He's just behind the curtains on the podium," the unicorn replied, pointing her hoof at the podium.
Fluttershy gently floated in, basket between teeth. Rarity closed the door, smiling at her friend. Then, she whipped around to her little sister, glaring at her.
"What was that??" she asked, making sure Fluttershy did not hear her.
The filly's only response was an angry pout.
"Look, Sweetie Belle, I know that you crushing on Connor and want to be with him for a long time, but Fluttershy has already gotten this under control. I'm sorry, Sweetie Belle."
"But, can I at least help her?"
Rarity squinted at her little sister's request. She lowered her head to Sweetie Belle's level and mumbled to her.
"You can help, BUT..." she paused. "...if you ever so much as cause a small conflict between Connor and Fluttershy's relationship, I swear upon Celestia, I will excuse him from walking you to school every morning. Understand?"
Sweetie Belle glared at her, which was not the kind of response Rarity was expecting. No, she was expecting begging, desperate wagers, and fear. Instead, she got reluctance and a cold stare. The little filly turned around to follow Fluttershy.
"Whatever," she replied with her back turned.
Now, Rarity was starting to get worried. What was with her lately?? Sure, Sweetie Belle was a pain in the haunches, but she was still her dear, little sister. Ever since the Sisterhooves Social, their bond had just started to rekindle. However, ever since Connor came into her life and swept her off her hooves, she felt that their bond would be ousted again. All the same, Rarity was starting to grow jealous of the colt. All the attention she was getting from her little sister was all focusing on him now. If only Connor were not so brotherly to her, she would still be her little sister's superior. She never wanted any of that to happen, from growing jealous to losing her little sister. Hopefully, all of it would turn around.
Fluttershy gently parted the curtains of the podium. Seeing the condition he was in, she tilted her head and cooed in sympathy. Her poor colt. She placed the basket down near the mattress and floated gently into the air, landing softly next to him. She leaned her head towards the colt's face.
"Wake up, sleepyhead," she sang softly.
The colt moaned softly in his throat as his eyelids shifted and slowly opened. His eyes were glazed with fatigue, but they were enthralled to see his favorite pegasus sitting directly next to him.
"Hey," he said, his voice clogged with fatigue. "You'd better not get too close to me. I don't want you to catch it, too."
"It's all right," she said, planting a warm and gentle kiss on his hot forehead. "I'll be fine. Anyhow, I brought you something. Something special."
"Oh? What is it?"
She lifted a china bowl out of the basket and held it up for the colt to see it... and smell it.
"Heyyy!" he chuckled. "Your tomato soup!"
"Your favorite," she smiled. "I made sure it is nice and hot for you. Well, not too hot so that you will burn yourself like last time."
"It's all right," the colt winked. "I'll be fine."
Sweetie Belle's stomach tensed at the sight of the two lovebirds. It was not going to be easy separating them. However, that did not stop her. This was a battle she had to win, no matter the obstacles. She raced into the kitchen to find a spoon, while Fluttershy was still searching the basket for hers. Finally finding the spoon, the pegasus dipped the spoon into the blood-red soup and lifted it up to the sick colt's lips.
"Say, 'ah'," she sang.
A spoonful of soup suddenly shoved itself into Connor's mouth, furiously startling him. He only choked only for a few seconds before swallowing it. He saw another spoon directly next to Fluttershy's, which was still full of soup. Behind the empty, silver spoon was Sweetie Belle, smiling innocently.
"You're welcome, Connor! Mmmmmm! Yum, yum, yum!" she smiled.
"Uhhh, thank you, Sweetie Belle... I think?" he slowly responded.
"Oh, Sweetie Belle! Do you want to help, too?" Fluttershy asked the little filly.
"Oh, yes! I would love to help!" the white filly smiled, feigning competitive impulses.
"Oh, no, Sweetie Belle," the sick colt waved a hoof, "You don't have to--GLOOMP!" The filly shoved another spoonful of soup into his mouth.
"Mmmmm! Yummy, hmm?"
"(Gulp!) Ahem, yes, but--GLOOMP!"
"Yum, yum, yum!" she smiled.
"Eat up, sicky!"
"(Gulp!) Ow! Hot! Would it hurt to blow at it before you--GLOOMP!"
"Here comes the hot-air balloon... and there it goes!"
Fluttershy could only sit and awkwardly stare at the filly, who was rapidly shoving hot spoonfuls of soup into her coltfriend's mouth. She looked at her spoon. She did not even get a chance to feed him one spoonful yet.
"Here comes the Friendship Expr--!"
"SWEETIE BELLE!" the colt shouted, which made Sweetie Belle stiffen like a statue. "Stop! Just stop! You're going way too--!" Why was his crotch burning?
He looked down and saw an huge glob of soup splattered onto his blanket around his crotch area. What the hell? Since when--? He saw Sweetie Belle's hoof near the bowl of soup, which had a trail of spilled soup escaping over the lip of the bowl. So Sweetie Belle's big flinch caused her to lose control of her hoof, kick the bowl (not over, thank Celestia), and spill hot, seething tomato soup on him.
Now, where was he again?
"AHHHHHHHHH!!" he hollered, feeling the burn on his crotch. "AH! Hothothothothothothothothothot! Ahahahahahahahhhhh!" His hooves shook, trying his best not to get his hooves on the scalding stain.
"Oh! Ohmigoodness!" Fluttershy panicked. She grabbed the edge of the blanket and yanked it off, releasing Connor from the pain of having his crotch burnt off.
Sweetie Belle was more in panic than Fluttershy was. Crap! What now?? Oh! She knew! She remembered when Connor kissed her sprained ankle because he said the pain would mostly go away. She knew what she had to do.
"Oh! I'm sowwy!" she said in a sympathetic baby voice. "I didn't mean to hurt you. Awwwww!"
Connor hissed through his teeth. "S'okay, Sweetie Belle."
"I'm so sowwy. Hewe, let me kiss it," she said as she puckered up, about to kiss his--.
"NOOOOO, GOD!!!" the colt pushed her away, almost violently.
"What? I was just gonna--."
"You were--?! NO! That's--that's a no-no! A huge no-no!"
Oh, horseapples... Was she actually going to...? Had she lost her mind? Her mind was so clouded in panic, that she did not even think twice about kissing his... wound. Her mind just did that automatically because she was desperate to make up for her little accident. She shrank to the floor, huddled and shrinking like a raisin in embarrassment.
"I-I'm sorry, Connor... It's just I wanted--."
"I think you... you shhhhooshould jussst guhhh..." he slurred as his head spun around like a dancing cobra. Then, he collapsed on his back, out like a lightbulb.
The filly's eyes shrunk and began to water. "Did-did I kill him?? Is he dead??"
Fluttershy brought her face close to the colt's and listened for breathing. "Oh, no, he's not dead. He's just blacked out. The poor thing has used up so much energy that he just collapsed. He's going to be fine. He's only sleeping."
"Oh..." she said sadly.
"And, um, I don't mean to be rude, but, um, I think you should really just go..."
"Please, Sweetie Belle... Please," Fluttershy begged her.
The little white filly could not speak another word with her throat filled with guilt. She could only hang her head and sadly walk away from Connor's bed.
Great... Not only did she mess up, but she actually got the colt slightly frustrated with her. Now, he was knocked out because he riled him up too much. He would be feeling even worse than before... just as much she felt now.
Just before she was about to sulk out of the room, she turned her head towards Fluttershy. The pegasus had the sleeping colt's hoof in both of her hooves. She was stroking his hoof with one of hers. Then, she leaned forward and gave the colt's burning forehead a gentle kiss. Sweetie Belle felt her stomach tense up at the sight. She glared at the pink-maned pegasus. Just who the hay did she think she was?? Connor's fillyfriend?
Yes... that was who she was...
She left the room and sadly trotted into the kitchen. She sat herself in one of the chairs of the dinner table and slumped her cheeks into the hallows of her hooves, stewing over how badly she screwed all of this up. She pulled the list out of her backpack, which was sitting on the tabletop. Grabbing a red pencil, she drew a crude line over the word, "Kindness".
Well, that was off the list. She failed miserably at that. What she wrote below the word she crossed out made her sneer in disbelief.
Really? She really had to add that to the list? Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but now, she thought it was absolutely ludicrous. It was a no-win game, even if she took a potion that could turn her into a fully grown mare.
Actually, that idea was not so bad, after all.
The little filly tiptoed slowly up the sick colt's bed. Fluttershy had left hours ago. Beams of moonlight crawled over the floor, giving it a brighter, blue-grayish color. A warm, yellow glow coming from a candlestick engulfed the little, white unicorn filly. She was holding it up with her magic, which was only strong and experienced enough to lift small objects. She did not have the ability to summon light yet. She could hear Rarity snoring from upstairs. (Yes, she was that loud. Pretty ironic for such an etiquette and dignified mare like her.) Because of the volume of her snoring, Sweetie Belle did not have to worry about making too much noise, because it would get instantly drowned out. However, she still remained quiet as possible.
She quietly parted the curtains to look at her sick stud muffin. She frowned. Why was Rarity sleeping all the way up in her bedroom when she should be keeping her sick housemate company? Pretty selfish, if you asked her. Element of Generosity... Seemed legit.
She lifted the candle higher and shone its warm light onto the colt's squirming face. His heavy eyelids opened to look at a huggable little filly looking down at him, looking sad and empathetic.
"Mmmph, Sweetie Belle..?" Connor mumbled sleepily. "What are--?"
"I want to talk to you about something..." Sweetie Belle said as she placed the candle down right next to the bed.
"Shouldn't you be home by now? Your parents are going to worry about you," he grunted as he sat up.
"No, they're gonna be fine. I told them I was going to sleep over here tonight."
"Ohm... M'kay," the colt grunted as he rubbed his baggy eyes.
The filly nodded before looking down at the ground again in shame. "Connor?"
"I... I'm... really sorry for what I had done earlier today..."
"You know... the, erm... soup incident..." she sadly pouted as her shoulders rose up on her back.
"Oh, yeahhhh, that," he chortled. "Don't worry about it. It's all fine. But, if you don't mind my asking, why were you so coerced into helping me? I mean, Fluttershy has already gotten it under control."
"Well... well..." she stammered.
She desperately wanted to tell the truth, but even though she really liked him, she could not even trust him. Why? Who knows if would let his gums flap about it and the dark secret would spread wider than a grape juice stain on a white dress. Eventually, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo would find out and would kick her out. Without their help, she would never get her cutie mark. She did not want to give that up. However, deep down, she did not feel like giving Connor up either. He was like a big brother she never had. What could she say??
"W-well, what's wrong with it?? I mean, is it so wrong to help those in need because you feel sympathetic for them? Tell me. Is it??" her little voice loudened.
The colt lifted his hooves. "N-no! Of course not. I'm sorry if I offended you. I just assumed that you were, erm... havinnnnnnng a crush on me or something. Sorry."
Sweetie Belle's little chest tickled in nervousness when he mentioned that last part. That was exactly the reason why she was so coerced to care for him. However, Connor, oblivious as he was, did not even realize that? He passed it by like it was just a random guess, even though it was clearly the fact. What a thickhead...
"Me? Crushing on you? Of course not!" she waved her hoof. "Oh, but don't take that the wrong way. I mean, you are a pretty handsome colt. Who wouldn't crush on you? It's just that... well, never mind. It's okay."
The colt smiled at her. Sweetie Belle's heart felt like it was melting because of that smile. So this was what it would feel like once he was her coltfriend. She would look upon that smile every day. Every time she would look at it, all of her problems would vanish.
"Do you like me, Connor?" she finally asked, just to be sure.
"Why wouldn't I?" he replied, reacting like she asked a really stupid question. He did not act cynical, though. "You're amusing, you're funny, and you're cute. Why wouldn't I like you? It's not like I would immediately hate you after all of that. Everypony makes mistakes."
She felt like launching herself onto the colt and giving him a little bear hug, but she did not want to catch his cold. She only squealed inside. "I like you, too, Connor. You're a really cool guy."
"Thanks!" he smiled again.
The white filly casually looked around her surroundings. everywhere she looked was pitch black, except for the squares of shining moonlight and the yellow veil of candlelight.
"Say," she lifted herself up. "Do you mind if I sleep with you tonight?"
"Sleep with me? But, I don't want you to catch my cold."
"Oh, no, I'm just going to sleep outside your bed. Right there," she pointed at the space directly next to the base of the podium.
"Oh, okay. Why, may I ask?"
"Well, you just seem so lonely down here... Sick, helpless, alone... I just thought that if I slept here, I would keep you company. It can get pretty sketchy down here, believe me..."
Connor wanted to give the little foal a hug, but he did not want her to catch his cold, so all he could do was smile.
"Thanks, Sweetie Belle," he said. "You're really sweet."
Boy, did she blush.
"Well, I'm just gonna set my sleeping bag here," she spoke.
"Do what you wanna do," Connor said.
She happily trotted over to her sleeping bag and dragged it over directly next to his bed. She pinched the buckle with her teeth, which caused the sleeping bag involuntarily roll out like a tight bundle of laundry with its string broken off. She crawled into the opening of her sleeping bag. Connor could see a filly-sized lump slither about in circles before it reached the lip of the sleeping bag again. Her tail and haunches peeked out.
"Oops... Wrong end!" her muffled voice squeaked from underneath the cover.
The sick colt laughed before he coughed from his weary lungs.
Sweetie Belle's head peeked out from the lip of the sleeping bag. Her shoulders wiggled back and forth as she attempted to snuggle into the warmth of her temporary bed. Her back arched as she felt the wrenching, satisfying sensation of comfort crawl up her spine. Oh, yeah... She was comfortable now.
"Good night, Connor," she spoke.
"Night, Sweetie Belle," the colt replied.
The unicorn blew out her candle, stripping the room from its only source of light. She cuddled into her sleeping bag, trying to find sleep.
She could not.
Something was missing. She was pretty sure that she had said everything to him, from the "Sorry", to the "Do you still like me?", to the "Good night!". Still...
She did not want to believe it, but she actually wanted to confess her feelings. Damn it! Why?? How was she supposed to know whether the colt was going to keep it a secret or not? Well, maybe if she forced him to promise never to tell anypony else and it was a only a secret the two of them (Well, Rarity, too, so that made it three.) could share with each other, then the secrecy would still be intact. Nopony would ever know except for her, Rarity, and Connor.
Well, it was worth a shot...
"Um... Connor?" she asked softly.
"Hmm?" he replied.
"If you really want to know the truth why I wanted to help in spoon-feeding you... well... it's because... because... I... I love you. No, I mean I love you, not in a 'I like you' way, but I really, really love you. I love-love you. Yeah, I know... You're shocked. This coming out of me, a filly, but I can't help myself! You have been just so great to me. You played with me, you helped me with school, you helped me with my problems with Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon... Those things that Rarity would hardly have the time for. She could've helped if only she were less selfish and more manageable with her time. You, on the other hand, have always been there for me. You were always at my side. You're like the big brother I have never had, but I don't want you just as a big brother. I want you more than that. I want to be your little filly. Your fillyfriend! But, of course, you're already taken... by her... Fluttershy. I could be all of that, too, if you just give me a chance! Hay, I can be even better! I can be better than her! Just please give me a chance! I'll show you!"
She paused, waiting for a response. She could only hear his breathing.
"I just want you let you know how hard it was for me to say all of that to you. It was my secret for days. I just did not want anypony to know. Who knows whether they were going to judge me for falling in love with a colt who's a lot older than me? Plus, I didn't want Apple Bloom and Scootaloo to know of it, because before I fell for you, I wrote this silly rule that a Cutie Mark Crusader must not date a colt until she gets her cutie mark. Otherwise, punishment will suffice. I forgot what the punishment was, but I don't want to take any chances with that. If they found out, who knows what they are going to do? So please, Connor, please! Don't tell anypony. I don't want to lose my friends or anymore chances of getting my cutie mark, but I certainly don't want to lose you. You make me feel so happy. You're like my iron shield, always there to deflect all sorts of bad things away from me. So, please, Connor? Please??"
The filly's eyes were instantly filled with heart-broken tears. "Wh-what??" she squeaked, on the verge of crying.
"N-no thankssss... Uh'mm stuffed... No more cupcakes for meee... A baboon stole muh wallllet... Zzzzzzzz..."
The filly wiped her tears away, confused. "Wh-what?"
"Spaghetti and kangaroos..."
Oh, thank Celestia! He was only sleep-talking. Wait, so the entire time she was confessing her feelings, Connor was sleeping? She did not know whether to feel hurt or relieved. So, her secret was still safe. She pulled the covers over her collarbones. She found a lot more comfort than just a few minutes ago. She had let it all out, even though the sick colt did not hear one word of it. Her green eyes slowly shut.
She began to dream of her life with her iron shield.
I love you...
To be continued...