The Bug In The Basement

by Skijarama

Chapter 25: Interviews

Several Days Later.

    Beebee sat at the back end of the hall with Buddha curled up next to him, both of them watching the front door intently. Fluttershy sat next to them with her knees up to her chest, keeping the two of them company. She offered Beebee a small, reassuring smile when he looked at her questioningly. “It’s alright, Beebee. He won’t be too much longer, I don’t think,” she offered in a gentle voice before turning her face back to the door.

Beebee nodded and frowned as he thought back on the day so far. Eventide had suddenly become really excited after a phone call he had gotten the previous day, saying he had gotten an ‘interview.’ He had then gone on to explain that it would help him with his hunt for a new job. This morning had seen him in a frantic rush. He combed his hair far more than usual, he shaved his face, put on some nicer clothes, then left in a hurry. What made Beebee concerned was the combination of colors that Eventide left in his wake.

    Pale Yellow and dark purple. He was excited, but he was also scared at the same time. Beebee hadn’t thought that such a state was possible, but there it was. Eventide hadn’t stayed long enough to answer Beebee’s questions, either, saying that he was going to be late if he didn’t go ‘right now.’ That had been about almost an hour ago, and Beebee’s own anxiety was growing with every passing minute.

    Luckily, Eventide had had the foresight to ask Fluttershy to babysit for him that day, and as both of them had the day off from their respective obligations, she had been more than happy to comply. She had arrived a few minutes after Eventide had left, keeping Beebee and Buddha company and out of trouble. Her presence and assurances had done wonders to quell Beebee’s anxiety, but still...

    “So… where did Dada go?” Beebee finally asked, drawing Fluttershy’s attention. “He said he was going to an ‘interview.’ I don’t know what that is. Where is an interview? Is it down the street or something?”

    Fluttershy couldn’t help but giggle in amusement at Beebee’s childish ignorance before shaking her head. “Oh, no, an interview isn’t a place. An interview is a meeting where someone asks someone else a series of questions. Eventide went to be questioned by someone to see if he’s got what it takes to do the job he wants.”

    “Oh,” Beebee replied, lowering his eyes and thinking it over. “Uh… what kind of questions?”

    “I don’t know. A wide range of things, probably. Why he thinks he’d be the right man for the job, what previous work experience he has, what obligations he has, among other things,” Fluttershy answered, listing each item off on one of her fingers. “Pretty much anything that the boss can use to assess him.”

    “Who’s the boss?”

    Fluttershy shrugged absently. “I don’t know.”

    “Oh… well, do you know where Dada went for the interview? Or when he’ll come home?”

    Fluttershy sighed and shook her head in apology. “I’m sorry, but no. He didn’t tell me. He didn’t have enough time.”

    “Oh… I see...”

    Fluttershy smiled and reached over to give Beebee a few scratches behind the ears, earning a pleased chitter from him and helping him relax somewhat. He leaned into her ministrations and closed his eyes. After a few moments, Fluttershy withdrew her hand and lowered her head to be closer to Beebee’s eye level. “You know, with all of the questions you just asked me, I think that kinda counts as an interview.”

    Beebee’s eyes widened in alarm. “Wha… But… I’m not the boss of anything… I can’t hire you!” he protested in a slightly panicky voice. Fluttershy could only openly laughed at that. Beebee’s mind blanked when he heard that noise, the gears turning. After a few moments, he shook his head and pouted at her in indignation. “Hey, stop laughing at me!” he whined while lightly pawing Fluttershy’s ankle with his hoof.

    “Oh my, I’m sorry,” Fluttershy apologized, managing to get her giggles under control. She put a hand on top of his head and gave him a few pats. “You’re just too adorable, though. I can’t help it!”

    Beebee tilted his head. “I’m adorable…?” he muttered. Then, with a playful look in his eyes, he sat back onto his haunches and clasped his hooves together over his chest. He stuck out his lower lip and made his eyes as big as he could, mirroring what his father had called the ‘big puppy-dog eyes’ look that the orange cat had used in that one movie they had watched last night, called Puss in Boots.

    The effect was immediate. A rush of bright blue and vibrant pink came out of Fluttershy while her hands flew up to her chest to cover her heart. Her face lit up with a huge smile, and she let out a long, drawn-out ‘aww.’ Beebee maintained his adorable look as long as he could, hoping to keep the flow of pink coming. Sadly, as it turned out, he could only hold it for a few seconds before the smell of the love in the air overpowered him. He lowered his forehooves back to the floor, opened his mouth and began to suck in all of the pink.

It glided smoothly over his tongue, tickling his taste buds and making them explode with the most delicious flavor he could imagine. The love then swam down his throat and warmed him up as it pooled in his belly. After a moment, he clamped his jaw shut and smiled up at Fluttershy, who was now looking back at him suspiciously. “Did you just act cute to get a snack?” she asked flatly.

    Beebee sat back on his haunches, straightened his back and spread his forelegs wide. “Yup!” he declared before crouching and pouncing up at Fluttershy with the intention of hugging her. She let out a surprised squeak, lowering her knees so she could catch him with her arms and hold him against her chest. Once he was safely situated in her grip, he smiled up at her and nuzzled into her chin. “Thank you for the food, Aunt Fluttershy.”

    Fluttershy just rolled her eyes and returned the nuzzle to the best of her abilities. It wasn’t the most natural form of affection for her to show, to be sure, but Beebee was adamant about it and seemed to appreciate the gesture nonetheless. After a moment, Beebee turned around and settled down on Fluttershy’s lap, his chin resting on her knee while his eyes bored into the front door. Fluttershy just put a hand on his back and ran her thumb back and forth between his wings. The two went utterly quiet at that point, content to just sit together and wait.

    Luckily, they didn’t have to wait for a whole lot longer. After maybe ten minutes of silence, the doorknob began to rattle and jingle, indicating that Eventide had slid the key into the lock. Fluttershy realized only too late what was about to happen, and didn’t have time to brace herself for the inevitable launch sequence. Beebee suddenly kicked off of her, his hind hooves driving themselves into her belly to add to his momentum, while Buddha sprang up and launched into a full sprint for the door, keeping pace with Beebee.

    Fluttershy just fell forward to the floor, gasping with her hands on her stomach. That… had hurt.

    The door opened, and sure enough, there was Eventide. He had barely gotten through the frame when he was summarily assaulted by a tackle from Beebee and Buddha, who had joined forces. He let out a grunt from the joint impact and did his best to pet the both of them as he waddled a few more steps into the house. “Oof! Hey, you two! Have you been good?” he asked in a strained tone, nudging the door shut with his foot.



    Fluttershy wheezed.

    That sound caught Eventide’s attention, and he wiggled around until he could get a good look. He saw her in the back of the hall, and his face twisted with concern. “Hey, guys, off me for a sec,” he commanded, brushing Beebee and Buddha back with his hands. It was at about that point that the two excitable quadrupeds noticed Fluttershy’s discomfort, the flying one cringing and withering with guilt.

    Fluttershy coughed once, then lifted a finger into the air. “I’m okay!” she called breathlessly while sluggishly trying to stand back up. “Guh. I just wasn’t expecting Beebee to jump like that… ouch...”

    Eventide blinked, then looked at Beebee with a hard stare. “Beebee…” he asked in a tone that demanded answers.

    The bug shrank back, chuckling sheepishly. “Eheh… sorry… I was just excited to see you, Dada,” he explained before swallowing heavily. “You were gone for so long, and you didn’t say anything when you left. I was worried… Please don’t be mad…”

    Eventide let out an exasperated sigh and shook his head. “I’m not mad, but please don’t use us as launch pads in the future, eh? You’re getting bigger you know, and those hooves of yours are hard,” he said before heading for Fluttershy.

    “Okay, Dada. I’ll try,” Beebee answered dutifully while flying a few feets behind Eventide. He then shifted his attention from his father to look at Fluttershy. She’d made it to her hands and knees, now.

Eventide reached down and grasped her hand, hauling her back to her feet. “There you go. So, how have they been?” he asked curiously once she was stable and had caught her breath.

    Fluttershy took a breath, then smiled. “Oh, they’ve been wonderful. Buddha’s been quiet and patient, and Beebee’s been just the sweetest little thing. Especially ten minutes ago.”

    “I did the thing that Puss in Boots does where he makes his eyes all big and looks cute!” Beebee declared excitedly, fluttering over and settling down on Eventide’s shoulder. “Fluttershy liked it.”

    “I loved it,” Fluttershy admitted while reaching out to poke Beebee’s nose again.

    “Stop that!” he protested weakly.

    Fluttershy just smirked at him and looked back at Eventide. “He apparently did it just so I’d find it cute and he could get a snack.”

    Eventide raised his eyebrows at that. “Oh dear, he’s learned how to weaponize cuteness,’ he stated in mock despair, a playful smirk on his face. “Whatever shall we do against this menace?”

    Beebee grinned widely. “You’ll think I’m cute and I’ll get to eat!” he announced before nuzzling into the side of Eventide’s head. Eventide’s expression went dry for a moment from the motion. He then reached up a hand to lightly nudge Beebee off his shoulder. Pouting, the bug dropped back to the floor and scuttled over to Buddha, who went to lay down in the middle of the living and held Beebee between her front legs once he got to her.

    With those two thusly occupied, Eventide chuckled and turned his attention fully to Fluttershy, who now had a curious look on her face. “So, how did your interview go?” she asked casually as the two stepped out of the hall and for the kitchen counter. “You were gone for an awfully long while.”

    “Oh, it went well,” Eventide replied before sitting down at the dining table. “It took as long as it did because I had to go out of town for the interview, though. The Everfree National Park Office Building isn’t exactly close.”

    Fluttershy’s eyes widened as she sat down across the table from him. “Everfree National Park? You’re right, that’s pretty far out…”

“Yeah. I’m not going to say I’m definitely hired, but the prospects are looking good.”

    “What position did you apply for, if you don’t mind?” Fluttershy questioned, leaning forward in her seat.

    “I applied for trail maintenance,” Eventide explained before leaning back with a small smile on his face. “Not quite as many hours at the Ginger Mart, but it pays a lot better. If I get hired, and all goes well, I imagine I could start looking for the new house before long.”

    “Trail maintenance, huh?” Fluttershy parroted, a fascinated look on her face. She paused and tilted her head. “But it’s so far away… how are you going to get there and back?”

    Eventide gave a slow nod, his brow furrowing and his lips pulling into a thin line. “If I get hired, I’ll need to take the bus to get there, unless I learn how to drive,” he affirmed in a disheartened tone with a shake of his head. “Never bothered to learn before. Biting me in the backside, now…”

    “Why not?” Fluttershy inquired curiously.

    Eventide snorted derisively, more at himself than anything else. “Same reason I stuck with my crummy job at Ginger Mart since before I graduated high school. I was happy enough not knowing how to drive and I had no need to learn. That and, well, I just had no drive to do anything else. I had a system that worked, and I didn’t exactly feel like branching out or taking any risks...” his face fell, his eyes showing some regret. “Didn’t want to let people down, you know?”

    “I know,” Fluttershy noted slowly.

Eventide sat up a little straighter, his eyes falling on Beebee. “But, well… then I became a dad, and retail just isn’t cutting it anymore. More than anyone or anything, I can not afford to let him down.”

    “I see…” Fluttershy nodded slowly before offering a timid, reassuring smile. “Well, I’m sure you’ll get the job!” she told him confidently.

    “Heh. Here’s to hoping,” Eventide replied while raising a hand as if for a toast. He then let it slump down to his side, his eyes once again settling on Beebee, who was currently ignoring the grown-ups to cuddle with Buddha. “...And to hoping we can move sooner rather than later.”

    Fluttershy’s expression dimmed with concern. “Oh… that’s right. You’re planning on moving once you have enough money, right?” she asked, her tone somewhat despondent.

    “Yeah. We’re too close to CHS, which seems to be ground zero for magical stuff happening way too often. I mean, the school’s exploded twice in… what, six months? And that’s not even mentioning the flood of students coming and going all the time. Like I said before, it’s a miracle Beebee’s gone unnoticed for so long…” his eyes never once left his son, who had convinced Buddha to roll over onto her back so he could give her belly rubs. He got a wistful smile on his face. “The one and only time he’s been outside in his life… I’ve only seen him so happy one or two other times… he can’t stay inside his whole life, but as long as we’re here, I can’t afford to let him leave the house.

“I’m thinking we’ll move out of town,” he continued, his expression going distant and thoughtful. “Somewhere close to the park, with luck. Isolated, remote… an out of the way spot, surrounded by nature, so he can go and explore the outside world… Run free, use those wings of his...”

    Fluttershy looked over at Beebee as well, who was now standing victoriously atop the belly of a disgruntled and defeated Buddha. Her expression softened considerably as she imagined it. Beebee running over grassy hills, flying between trees and dipping the tips of his hooves into a river… it was a beautiful image. “I think, Eventide…” she started softly, then looked back at him, her smile growing immensely. “That is the best thing you can do for him. I’m with you all the way.”

    Eventide smiled in return, finally looking back at her. “Thank you, Fluttershy. I said it before, I’ll say it again… I really don’t know what I would do without you.”

    Fluttershy shook her head in dismissal. “You’d do all you could… your best…” she leaned forward a few inches, her eyes boring into his. “And your best would be wonderful. I know it would be. Beebee couldn’t have asked for a better father.”

    Eventide blinked, then gave a weak laugh and a shake of his head. His eyes drifted past Fluttershy once again to watch Beebee, who was now laying down on Buddha’s belly and using her as a bed, much to the dog’s chagrin.

    “Well… if you say so."