" ... what, so you just walked out?"
Rainbow chuckled, waving a forehoof. "No, no, I stormed out, big difference. Remember, Lightning almost killed my friends, and Spitfire just looked the other way, so I was pretty bucking pissed." Torn between amusement and frustration, she let out a snort. "Still am."
"I'd be worried if you weren't. Honestly, I'm surprised you didn't just resign then and there."
"And give up my chance to become a Wonderbolt?" Rainbow shot her a smug, if sardonic, grin. "They aren't good ponies, but they’re amazing flyers, and being part of the team ... it's, well ... it proves that you're one of the best."
Her thoughts reached a standstill, and her eyes turned down to the floor. "I act like I'm hot shit, and have an ego the size of the Canterhorn, but that's because I can back it up, you know? Objectively speaking, I'm probably the fastest pegasus in history, and I'm damn proud of it. Maybe I just wanna win some cosmic teat measuring contest or something, but I want my name to be out there, for everypony to know just how good I am, to ... to be an inspiration, and encourage ponies to aim for something higher. Joining the Wonderbolts is, in my mind, the best way to do that."
"You're very modest, too."
She slapped Summer with a wing. "Heh, trust me, I know how obnoxious I am, but nonpony ever got anywhere by being humble. If you're good at something, don't just sit there and expect a handout—you gotta sell yourself."
Rainbow leaned back and ran a hoof through her mane. "Buck, and now I'm getting all philosophical and shit."
"You say that like it's a bad thing."
"Yeah ... I, um ... " She looked to the side, but her ears perked at the sound of hoofsteps. "I guess that's them."
Celestia trotted back into the throne room with a satisfied air, her face the picture of serenity, while Anon followed behind with his hands in his pockets, practically exuding relief.
"I guess it is. Have a fun time with the Princess, Nonny?"
Celestia looked back at him, and he nodded. This was, apparently, the correct response, as she began to giggle and hop about, gushing about her "new human friend." Staring Summer in the eyes, Anon circled his finger around his ear, and her eyes widened in understanding.
"Well, is she gonna help us?"
He scratched the back of his head. "I think so. She promised that we won't have any trouble, but gave no real particulars. Seeing how happy she is, though, I think it's safe to say that she's in our corner."
The princess was, at this time, rolling around on the floor, kicking her hooves and whinnying.
"Better than nothing, I suppose."
She was shaken from her revelry, and twisted her neck to look back at Anon. "Oh! Um ... yes, my little human?"
"It was great meeting you, but we have a train to catch. You have our address, right?"
Celestia nodded, her ears pressed flat.
"Feel free to come over any time. Heh, we still have to finish season 1, after all."
She wanted him to stay, but tried to cover up her obvious disappointment with an empty smile. "Ah, well ... I wish you safe travels, Anonymous."
This whole display, though rather embarrassing for Celestia, couldn't help but illicit pity, and Anon leaned down to scratch her ears. "Hey, hey, it's all good. We're friends, right?"
Her head pressed into his hand. "Mm-hmm."
"Then I promise that you're always welcome in our home, and that I'll visit you soon. Does that sound good?"
She sniffled. "Yeah ... do ... do you really promise?"
Celestia wrapped him in her forehooves, nuzzling his neck. "Good."
" ... right."
She began to give him a tongue bath.
Her eyes widened, and Celestia pulled away, wiping the lingering tears with a wing. "Remember to keep in touch, okay?"
Anon forced himself to suppress the memory. "Sure."
Anon looked down at Summer, who was practically melting into his side.
She tightened her grip around his waist.
"What do you think of the Princess?"
He stared out the window for a few moments, drinking in the passing greenery. "I feel sorry for her."
She raised an eyebrow. "Really?"
"Yeah. I mean, how couldn't I?" He ran his fingers through her mane. "She's an immortal politician. Her station makes it hard for people to approach her, and she'll outlive the few she actually connects with. It's no wonder she buries herself in things like My Little Human, I would too if my life was that soulless."
"Hmm ... did she ... " Summer waved a forehoof. "Did she try to, you know ... "
"Not at all, no, she treated me more like a new puppy. Remember, I'm a living embodiment of what is probably her favorite thing—her behavior wasn't that distasteful, just weird and clingy, and fairly understandable given the circumstances."
She rubbed her nose against his chest. "You have the patience of a saint. Goddess, I don't think I'd have lasted ten minutes with her."
Anon chuckled. "Well, when dealing with ponies, one needs a pretty high tolerance to nonsense."
Summer stuck her tongue out.
Leaning back into the seat, she studied his face. Behind the smiles and crowsfeet, deep in his eyes, sat this great melancholy, an unfortunate mixture of nostalgia and loneliness. It was the feeling he got when thinking of home, when talking about his family, when he was minutes away from sleep, and it underlined his every word and action.
"Are you happy?"
He shifted in his seat a bit, pulling Summer closer. "I'd say so."
"You don't have to spare my feelings, I can tell there's something wrong just by looking at you."
Sighing, Anon rested his head on top of hers. "I'm not skipping around picking daisies or anything, but I'm happy. Good job, nice neighbors, amazing wife—honestly, I'm in a pretty good place right now, and I don't have that much to complain about."
It seemed, to Summer, that he was trying to convince himself of this. "Nonny, I ... " Looking away for a moment, her brow furrowed as she tried to find her words. "I grew up in a pretty big family, three moms and four siblings. And while, yes, things got rocky sometimes, we were happier together than we were apart. I know that humans are monogamous, and I don't wanna pressure you into anything, but I think we should start herding, and maybe try for foals."
"Summer ... "
She raised a hoof. "You're lonely. Don't deny it, you're lonely. I'm the only pony you really love, and that just isn't healthy, and certainly won't leave you fufilled in the long term. Now, I'm not saying that we should run around like horny teenagers, but we should stay on the lookout, and take opportunities when we see them."
"I really don't think that ... "
She silenced him with a kiss. "I love you, but there’s always room for more. I know that you miss your family, and I just don't think that I'm enough to fill that hole in you. What you need is a new family, and I think that this is a good first step."
"I'll ... I'll think about it, alright?"
"That's all I can ask."