Anon and Summer had only been home for a day when they heard a knock at the door.
As the couple's collective allotment of horror had been spent over the course of recent events, they felt nothing more than an overwhelming fatigue, and turned to each other with a shared grimace. While Summer slowly folded her newspaper, Anon placed his cup onto a side table, their minds filled with images of fanfillies and chloroform, and a heavy silence hanging in the air.
" ... There's always something, isn't there?"
Anon leaned back in his seat, a blank stare fixed at the ceiling.
"If, uh ... if we stay quiet, we can probably convince them that we aren't home."
Summer couldn't help but chuckle.
"Good plan. How old are you again?"
"At least six. It's like a bear, you know? Play dead and it'll go away." He ran his fingers through his hair. "Maybe we can get a 'do not disturb' sign."
Her laughter was half-hearted, and rather resembled a defeated sigh. "What a bucking pain in the ass. Make sure to warn me next time they make a cartoon about you."
"Fuck ... " Anon rose from the couch, sluggish pace matching his enthusiasm. "Well, no sense in putting it off."
Summer stayed where she was, craning her neck to watch the front door. "Good luck, don't get foalnapped."
"Lazy little turd ... "
At the threshold was a unicorn mare in a suit, a purple 'H' pinned to her lapel. She eyed him with an appraising gleam, and straightened her tie with a crimson aura.
"Are you Anonymous F. Aggot?"
"Wonderful." She offered him a forehoof. "My name is Binding Agreement, and I'm the general counsel at Haspone. I've come here to discuss your ... unique relationship with our intellectual property."
Anon's raised eyebrow fell flat, and he took on the haunted expression of a Russian peasant who just received a friendly visit from the KGB. Bumping her hoof for the sake of propriety, he forced himself to smile. "Ah. Well, um, come on in."
Shuffling past, she hung her silly little horse fedora on a coat rack, faux-leather briefcase floating alongside her. "Is there somewhere we can sit?"
"The living room's straight ahead."
Plopping down on an armchair, she placed her briefcase on the coffee table. Summer attempted to bore a hole in the lawyer's head through sheer tyranny of will, and Binding turned to Anon when he lumbered back in from the hallway.
"Do you want anything to drink?"
"I would rather get straight to business, if that's alright with you."
With a shrug, he returned to the couch. "Fair enough." Rubbing his eyes, he rested an elbow on the armrest. "So, here to give me a cease and desist for violating copyright or something?"
She took some papers from the briefcase. "Charming. No, the Princess made it very clear that we are not to 'pull anything,' her words, not mine. I don’t know why, but she is very ... vocal in her support of you, and the folks at Haspone would rather stay on her good side. This entire situation is horrible enough, the last thing we need is an angry alicorn on our hooves."
Anon let out an amused snort. "That would be somewhat problematic, yes."
"Hmm." Tapping her forehooves together, Binding took a steadying breathe. "Now, I'm going to be upfront with you, this is a legal nightmare. Our copyright was approved before you even lived on this planet, and we have benefited tremendously from using your image and life story without permission. And while Haspone does not claim ownership of fanmade material, that so much of it exists, and that a worrying amount of it is blatantly pornographic, makes the situation that much more complex. Frankly, I don't think that we should go to court, if only because we both want to settle this within our lifetimes."
"Right. In other words, this is something straight out of Gilbert and Sullivan."
"I don't know what that means, but I can assume it's nothing good. If that's the case, then yes, it is." Binding shuffled the papers, placing one piece on the table and picking up another with her magic. "Given the circumstances, it is my belief that an out of court settlement would be in the best interest of both parties. Ideally, we would retain the right to produce My Little Human content and merchandise, while you would receive royalties and be given a certain measure of creative control."
"Sounds reasonable, I guess." Anon shifted in his seat. "I assume that the creative control thing's there to help with privacy and my ... well, public image."
"Correct. I think it's safe to say that there are things you'd prefer the show not cover, and I won't deny that having you around would probably make the writing process a bit easier."
"Right. Do I need to go anywhere for that, or ... ?"
"No, no, we can mail you the scripts. We do the same thing with the original showrunner, you just write comments and send them back to us."
He tapped his fingers on the armrest. "Yeah, sure, why not. And, uh, as for royalties, how much is that gonna be?"
"We're still trying to figure that out. The industry standard is about three percent of the product's gross profit, but this is hardly a standard case. I would guess that, for you, the number would only be about one percent. While that doesn't sound like much, you have to remember that this franchise makes Haspone about a billion annually, and you'd also be given an according amount of backpay. All in all, I estimate that you'll come out of this with about a hundred million bits."
Anon turned to Summer, who nearly keeled over in shock, and forced himself to breathe. "Jesus Christ."
"You're a bit calmer than expected."
"No, I'm just holding it in. I stand to make a hundred million bits from this mess?"
"We're still trying to crank out the numbers, but that is the minimum, yes. I take it that you're satisfied with this arrangement?"
He sat there for a moment, absorbed in thought, and met her eyes with a resigned sigh. "If I had it my way, the show wouldn't even exist. I don’t like thinking about it, but My Little Human will affect me for the rest of my life, and not in a good way. I ... look, the point is, I'd like to take it all and burn it down, but I can't, and there's nothing I can do about it. That being said, I suppose that an obscene amount of money is pretty good compensation. You have a deal."
He shook her hoof, and Binding was quite relieved he didn't ask for double.