And when the darkness comes around

by Cackling Moron

Blood in heaven

Eric spent the rest of what daylight remained sitting around at home thinking to himself. Eric was not very good at thinking to himself, as he was very out of practise with it. Eric, therefore, did not really get anywhere near as far with this as anyone else might have done.

Not that it mattered, really. He felt, more than thought, what he had to do. It sat in his gut as something he couldn’t put into words but which he knew would seize and move him when the moment came. Or so he hoped. He was fairly certain that was what was going to happen.

Fingers crossed.

Lamia’s sleeping patterns had shifted somewhat over her time in Eric’s house, with her now waking up far earlier than she had before. Worse things had happened, and the upshot here being that she came down the stairs much sooner than Eric had been expecting - indeed, he’d started napping on the sofa, awaking to Lamia’s face basically in his, her grinning at him.

“Ah! Lamia!” He yelped, falling off the sofa in surprise.

“Are you alright?” Lamia asked, worried, peering down at Eric as he lay face-first on the floor. He rose, groaning.

“I’m fine, you just rather caught me off-guard. Heh, quite a nice way to wake up, actually. To your face, I mean. The falling down was less nice. Ah, hmm.”

Odd thing to say, in retrospect, but in Eric’s defence he had literally just woken up. Grunting, he heaved up and got back onto the sofa again, sitting down. He patted the spot next to him. Now he had his wits about him again - such as they were, him being Eric - he figured that now was as good a time as any to get the ball rolling. No time like the present and all that.

“A word in your shell-like, Lamia,” he said. She was puzzled.


Looking at them, he supposed that pony ears - batpony ears especially - did not look like shells. He could see why that line might not travel well. Clearing his throat he patted the sofa again and tried:

“Uh, can we talk?”

This worked, and Lamia hopped up, though she looked the tiniest bit worried.

“What are we talking about?” She asked. She’d initially settled on the spot where Eric had patted but had then moved closer to him just on general principle, and was now basically touching him.

Eric wondered how best to kick things off. This was not his area of expertise.

“You and I have known each other a little while now, yeah?” He tried.

“Um, little while,” she said with a small smile.

“And we’re friends, aren’t we? Best friends, right?”

The smile went away.

“Yeah…” Lamia said, not sounding as happy about it as one might have hoped. Expected, at this point. Eric had kind of seen it coming. Which said a lot, given this was Eric.

“Do you - do you think we…” He wasn’t sure how to finish that. He made some hand gestures but still the words did not come. Sighing, he decided to start over.

“I’m very fond of you, you know,” he said. Lamia nodded dolefully, having a feeling that this was not going to go the way she might have hoped it would.

“You said.”

“Yes, I did. I don’t think I really explained how fond, though.”

And Eric then decided to make some sort of bold, crossing-the-Rubicon-esque move and so reached out and took hold of one of her hooves. That got her attention. He took it in both hands and, since Lamia had been so close, held it then in his lap. Lamia immediately went very pink.

“I’m not very good at this, heh,” Eric said, quietly, before attempting to look as though he was taking things more seriously. “Ahem. Lamia. You and me, we’re friends. I’m friends with everyone, really. But you, uh, you…”

He really, really wasn’t very good at this.

But he was trying, and Lamia could see this. And what’s more he was trying - or was pretty obviously - trying to get to where Lamia rather wanted to go as well. She found her heart beating rather more forcefully than it had done at the start of the conversation, and it also now seemed to be in her throat.

“You are, uh, special. You’re very special to me, Lamia. I - I think about you rather a lot. And it’s - it’s not like it is usually. I - oh dear, I’m making a hash of this, aren’t I?”

“It’s okay,” she croaked, hardly believing what she was hearing anyway.

“Suppose I was - heh, still am, really - worried about...souring our friendship. I didn’t want that. Once I started thinking that maybe I...had...other feelings...I worried. You know? Then I spoke to Twilight and said that you, well, you know...shared the...feeling…”

Eric coughed, also now blushing, mostly through the sheer burning force of his embarrassment. He couldn’t help but feel he was digging himself into a hole.  

“This isn’t really my strong point. And now I’m babbling. I just worried. I may not look it but I’m a worrier!”

Not true, he wasn’t. Or at least he wasn’t usually.

“You don’t have to worry about this,” Lamia said.

“Ah, but I’m also rather worried that this is sort of, well, unfair, you know? What with me looking after you. An uneven state of affairs? Felt like it might be...taking know?”

This as an issue had popped up in his head only recently, and had been a source of fairly significant anguish for Eric. At least as far as Eric experienced anguish. He would have been mortified to be seen as someone taking advantage.

Lamia gave him a lopsided look, which did become something approaching a smile.

“I got by before I met you, you know…” She said.

Despite how obvious this was it hadn’t actually occurred to Eric, who blinked.

“True, true. Can’t really deny that,” he said, scratching his chin.

“So don’t worry. It’s not that. I mean, I like you looking after me…” She really did. “But you don’t have to. It’s enough you care. And that you’re there.”

“Well, I’m still going to look after you anyway…” Eric mumbled. He liked doing it almost as much as she liked receiving it. Lucky, really.

On another spur-of-the-moment decision Eric removed his hands from her hoof and picked Lamia up, plopping her onto his lap. This was unexpected, so she squeaked. This was adorable. Once she was in place he moved his hands down and let them come to rest just on her sides. Having them there did nothing to help Lamia’s shade of pink.

“Hey,” he said, quietly. “Look at me a second.”

She did so, although with difficulty. Eric raised one hand to brush her mane out the way. It was often in the way, he found, though often in a way he found rather fetching. Not that he’d ever thought about it that was before. Now though...

“You have very lovely eyes. Have I told you that?” He asked.

Lamia shook her head, unable to actually say anything in response to this. She had to look away as well. Eric did as well.

“...probably kind of a weird thing to say, sorry. Just something I noticed before…kind of thought about again...”

“Thank you…”

Awkwardness climbed rapidly, Eric feeling that he’d royally put his foot in it while Lamia squirmed inwardly, inches away from just melting into a puddle of butterflies - so to speak.

This time it was Lamia who seized the initiative, wriggling off of Eric’s lap and back onto the sofa. Before he could pipe up to ask why she’d done this - and what he’d done to make her do this - she cut across him:

“Wait. Wait here. I’ll be back,” she said, giddy, pressing down on his leg with both hooves to emphasise where it was she wanted him to wait before jumping off the sofa and half-dashing half-flapping upstairs to her room.

Eric, at a loss, did as he’d been told.

He sat on the sofa and waited. First he waited in stunned silence, not moving a muscle. Then, as time passed, he relaxed a little and let out a breath, unable to really believe what was happening. More time passed and he started to get a little curious about what Lamia might actually be doing. He drummed on his legs and looked at the ceiling.

“Should I go check?” He wondered aloud, only to shake his head. “No, no. She said to wait, I’ll wait.”

More waiting followed.

Some minutes later, the slightly muffled sound of hooves on the stairs, and then she was back in the room.

And there was Lamia in her socks.

“Oh, oh my,” Eric said. Words failed him then.

It truly was the single cutest thing he had ever seen in his life, bar none.

And perhaps a little more than that. Maybe. Possibly. He couldn’t say yet.

He swallowed and with effort said:

“Those, ah, those really suit you.”

Lamia smiled. It wasn’t just that he’d said it, though it was nice to hear, it was the way he’d said it.

“Thank you.”

She gave a turn on the spot. Overkill at this point.

There was definitely something beyond cuteness that Eric was experience, though he was having difficulty putting his finger on it. That might have had something to do with him having difficulty ordering his thoughts in a more general sense.

Trotting over Lamia jumped back onto his lap, standing up and resting her hooves on his shoulders. This put their face very close together, as they had been more than a few times recently. Little different this time though, somehow. And now neither of them had any desire to look away.

“You took a while,” Eric said.

“Socks are really hard to put on,” Lamia said with the merest hint of a pout.

To be fair, she didn’t have fingers. Eric had no idea how ponies managed most of the time.

Their faces really were very, very close together.

“Are we supposed to kiss now?” Lamia asked.

She’d read about it, briefly, during her idle hours around Eric’s house. There had been magazines lying around. Eric honestly had no idea how he’d even acquired those magazines.

Having read about it - and also having just been caught up in the moment and find herself quite, ah, heated, perhaps - she found the idea very appealing.

Eric, for his part, had no idea if they were supposed to or not. Certainly it sounded like the sort of thing they were supposed to do. Probably without the asking first, but nobody’s perfect. And besides, no-one was watching.

He also found the idea rather appealing. He licked his lips and said in as steady a voice as he could muster:

“If you want to?”

They stared at one another.

“...might be fun to try,” Lamia said.

And try they did, at some length.

Fumbling and inelegant at first, quickly breaking down into giggles, they tried it out. Once some of the early issues - teething problems, a wag might call them - were overcome the enthusiasm mounted. They quickly forgot that this just meant to be about trying.

It seemed that a barrier of sorts had been breached on Eric seeing her in those socks, and now a lot of what both of them had been suppressing without fully realising now just came pouring on out, uncontrollably.

Also sloppily and noisily. Things were very involved.

In fact, so involved were they that neither of them noticed the knocking at Eric’s door.

Eric’s perpetually-unlocked door.

“Hello?” Asked Twilight, nudging it open and popping in her head, figuring it would be fine - why wouldn’t it be? “Eric? I’m here to see that portrait, like we said? Is now a good time? Eric? Hel-”

In defiance of reason it took Twilight this long to see why no-one was answering.

“Oh! Oh Celestia I’m sorry! Sun, stars and - just - just forget I was here! I’ll come back tomorrow!”