Another Life

by Ironwolves21

Chapter Four

Vinyl awoke as sunlight bled through her thin curtains. She snuggled into the covers, loving the unusual warmth they gave her. She snuggled backwards, feeling the long chest fur of somepony else. The night before rocketed through her brain, and she pulled forward slightly, away from the large pony behind her. Riots body twitched softly as he mumbled something in his sleep. Vinyl rolled over, facing the stallion. She yawned, then bit her lip, trying to decide what to do.

I should probably wake him up, and get him to the hospital......

The mare looked around slowly, and cuddled into him, sighing happily.

Fuck that shit.

Riots facial features were uncharacteristically soft; twitching slightly as he dreamt. “No....Wait...” His back hoof kicked softly.

Easy Tiger, Momma’s here.” She slowly stroked his mane, and down his back, sighing contentedly into his chest.

The buck seemed to calm down slightly; his twitching less erratic and his legs still. The buck wrapped his hooves around Vinyl, hugging her softly. “I love...

Vinyl looked up at his closed eyes, and bit her lip again. She shook her head.

No, Vinyl. Married buck, in your bed. Bad pony!

Riot yawned loudly, stretching out in the bed. He rolled over, hugging the mare tightly. “Mmm...Mornin Aura...”

Vinyl frowned, guilty about what was happening to her. “R-Riot....” She said, weakly, only half-hoping he’d come to his senses.

The buck kept his eyes closed as sun poured in through the curtains. “Mmes?” It was obvious he was still barely conscious. The white DJ sighed sadly, wanting to snuggle into him. She didn’t move, hoping he’d fall back asleep, and not remove his strong hooves. The buck smacked his lips together as he rubbed his legs together. “S’cold...” He hugged the mare into his chest, falling back into deep sleep.

She hugged the large stallion, and stealthily placed a kiss on his sleeping lips. The mare pulled back, hoof on her muzzle.

Why did I do that? Fuck.

Vinyl squeezed her eyes shut, and whimpered pathetically in his hooves. Of course she had to be in bed with the one stallion who wouldn’t try to take advantage of the fact. Said stallion twitched again, murmuring quietly as he nuzzled against the covers and the warm mare in front of him..

A dreamer... Heh.

As much as she never wanted this moment to end, she sighed, and prodded the buck. “’s time to wake up....”

He rolled over, waving a hoof about lazily. “Ffiiive more minutes....”

“I-I’m sorry, Riot. You have to get up.” She squeezed her eyes shut, so she wouldn’t have to see him, trying to stop the cascade of warmth through her body at his touch.

“S’omethin wrong?” He tried to open his eyes, but had to rub them with a hoof to clear out the sleep. He cracked a veiny eye open and looked down at the mare. He sat up a bit, blinking faster. “Vinyl? I-” He stopped seeming to remember the night before. “Ugh, right...” He sat up completely, swinging his legs off the end of the bed. “I didn’t wake you up, did I? I tend to...Move about in my sleep.”

She sighed. “N-no. You didn’t wake me up.....What do you want for breakfast? I think we have....” She tapped her chin with a hoof. “Whiskey?”

“I think I’ll run to sugarcube corner and grab some breakfast stuff, Berry will need as much grease as possible to avoid a killer hangover.” He thought for a moment. “I could go for a muffin...”

“Here, let me pay, we can go together while Berry’s out of it.” She said, swinging her long rear legs off of the bed as well.

Riot nodded, thinking the idea over. “Alright, let’s get movin. I don’t want her jumping straight into the booze when she wakes up.”

“Yeah...” Vinyl said, standing. “....I’m sorry for snuggling up to you like that...”

Riot went to say something, but retracted both his hoof and words. “Yeah, it was nice.”

The mare gulped, and looked down. “I-it was wrong of me.”

“Don’t sweat it, it’s pretty cold out.” He shivered dramatically as he placed a hoof down on the floor.

Vinyl hopped to the floor as well, slipping her sunglasses over her face to stop Riot from seeing the sadness in her eyes. “Yeah, come on, lets go.” She said, back to her usual bubbly self.

A few minutes later the pair were standing inside the bakery, staring into the display case as they tried to figure out what would make a good autumn breakfast.

“Ooh, apple cinnamon muffins? Or maybe raisin bagels and cream cheese?” Vinyl asked, bending far down to look at the bottom shelf.

Riot somehow managed to not look at the mare, instead busying himself with the bagel rack. “I’m thinkin a cheddar bagel with cream cheese.” He waved over a somewhat happier looking Mr. Cake. “I’ll get a cheddar bagel, and a chocolate chip muffin.”

“Good choice, Sir, and you, Miss Scratch?” He asked, looking expectantly to the young mare.

“I’ll..hmmm....I’ll take two apple cinnamon muffins, and two coffees. One milk two sugars, and one with two milks.” She replied.

Riot nodded before a memory hit him. “Oh! Could you make up a greasy breakfast sandwich? Got a friend who drank a bit too much last night.”

“Ummm, sure?” Mr. Cake said, with some uncertainty. “I’ll be right back with everything.”

Riot smiled, then turned to speak to Scratch. A pink blur at the edge of his vision sent his spine on edge. “Pinkie?”

“Hmm?” Vinyl asked, looking behind her, seeing nothing. “Uhh, Riot, are you losing it?”

He looked around, a look of actual worry spreading across his features. “I hope so...” Another pink blur. The damn mare was stalking him. “Pinkie, please just come out. I don’t want a repeat of last time.”

There was a loud sigh of defeat, and the bright pink mare dropped from the ceiling. “Ruin all my fun...” Her smile returned tenfold. “I brought you a ‘Welcome to Ponyville’ cupcake!” She held out the tiny confectionary, which had her exact words embedded on it with icing.

The stallion managed a weak smile, taking the food. “Thanks, though I’ve been here for awhile now.”

The hyperactive mare shrugged. “I’ve been busy with all the new drop ins, and helping the Cakes-”

“Pinkie, please. These two are trying to enjoy their romantic breakfast. Please just go back inside the kitchen, Mrs. Cake could use a few extra hooves.” Mr. Cake waved the pink mare off, much to her chagrin.

Riots eyes went wide as Pinkie sighed heavily. “Fiiiine...” She said before she trudged into the kitchen; while Riot rushed out his words.

“We aren’t-” He waved a hoof between himself and Vinyl. “Together. I’m married, actually.” He smiled weakly at the stallion.

Mr. Cake smiled apologetically. “Oh, I’m sorry, Sir. Vinyl usually takes her buckfriends here for breakfast. Now, enjoy your food.” He said, sliding a bag with their food across the counter.

Riot looked over at his now blushing companion. “Well then.” He grabbed the bag of food after depositing the bits on the counter and pointed at the door. “Shall we?”

“S-sure.” She said, hanging her head slightly as she walked.

The pair arrived back at Vinyls house, just in time to see Berry wake up with the worst hangover she had ever experienced to date. The mare was on the floor, clutching her head and whimpering loudly, and pathetically.

“P-please....J-just kill me.” She groaned, putting her hooves over her head.

Riot chuckled lightly, trotting over and offering the greasy food to the mare. “Here, eat this. It’ll make you feel better.”

“O-okay......You’ve got pretty eyes, you know that?” She asked, taking a bite of the food.

The stallion blinked, then trotted into the kitchen, quickly returning with a bottle of alcohol. “Alright, greasy food and some hair of the dog that bit ya.” He smiled lightly at Berry, who was all but hiding under the couch to avoid the suns painful rays.

Berry whined, moaning as she pulling herself deeper into the recesses of the underside of the couch. “It’s been forever since we dusted down her-ACHOO!”

Riot flinched slightly as Berry sneezed on him, then looked out the window. “I’m gonna scarf down me food, then I better get moving.”

Vinyl smiled weakly at him. “Alright, it was really nice having you over, thanks for paying for breakfast.” She said, giving him a short hug, revelling in his warm body against hers.

“Don’t worry about it, it was my treat.” The buck wrapped a hoof around her shoulder, giving her a quick squeeze. “So Berry, how’s the kidney’s feeling?” A loud groan replied from beneath the couch. Vinyl smiled, blushing slightly.

Damn this white fur, I look like a cherry.

Riot chuckled, patting the lone hoof that poked out of the couch. “It’s alright. You can’t drink that much anymore, but you’ll be able to pee without it burning like hellfire.”

“Whee, pain-free pissing.” Berry said flatly, wiggling the one hoof.

“And! And, you’ll live longer.” He smiled dramatically, then scarfed down the little muffin.

“Yay.” The flat voice sounded back. “Somepony pass me some bleach and a sippie-cup.”

Riot picked up the couch, staring down at the mare. “I will stick that lamp up your ass if you break your liver again.”

“Do you promise?” She asked. He couldn’t see her face, but he knew she was grinning.

“Yup, and it won’t be pretty.” He dropped the couch back down, registering a weak oomf from the mare under it. He turned, shaking his head before devouring the bagel. “Welp, it’s about time that I get out of here.”

Vinyl snickered lightly before speaking. “Oh.....okay. W-well, you c-come over whenever you n-need me.....Us, us, I meant us.” She said, blushing hotly.

The stallion nodded; rolling his eyes on the inside. “I don’t know if I can come in tonight, I’d like to spend some time with my son and Aurora.” He waved, then trotted out the door into the morning sun. There was a nip of cold in the air, and a large bank of storm clouds gathering in the distance, It was obvious that the pegasi had plans for a storm tonight.

Inside, Vinyl was dealing with trying to drag Berry out from under the couch. The other mare had differing plans, and was quickly capitalizing on Vinyls weakness.

“You’ve got a crush on Riiiooot~”

Vinyl hissed loudly, before jabbing a duster under the couch. “Shut your hole you drunkard.”

Riot stood outside Ponyville general, wondering if whatever condition he had was worth going in for. He shook his head, trotting towards the doors. “I promised I would.” He came up to the front desk, where a light purple pegasus with a white and blue mane smiled at him.

“Hello, Sir. What can I do for you today?” The mare said, looking at him brightly.

“I need to talk to a doctor or nurse. One who knows something about head problems.” He gave her a weak smile back.

“Which kind of ‘head problems’, Sir?” She asked. “Psychological, or physical?”

“Not entirely sure ma’am.” Riot shrugged slowly.

“Alright, I’ll get somepony who can diagnose you. Mr......?”

“Iron Venture.”

“Alright, Mr. Venture, if you could take a seat over there, I can have one of the nurses out to see you in a few minutes.”

Riot did as he was told, taking a seat near the corner in one of the very uncomfortable hospital seats. He leaned back, kicking one of his clothed legs over the other. It wasn’t long before a white mare with a vibrant pink mane trotted over to him.

“Hello Mr. Venture. I’m nurse Redheart, and if you could just follow me, I can see what is wrong with you.” She smiled at him confidently, and started trotting off towards the hallway.

“Alright then.” Riot stood up from his seat, and quickly fell in line behind the mare, matching her steps perfectly.

“Mr. Venture, I said to follow-” She turned around, his silence making her think he’d not been following. When she turned and ended up with a faceful of his chest fur, she pulled back, and blushed. “Oh! I`m sorry Mr. Venture, you were so quiet I thought you’d not heard me.”

He chuckled softly as she continued down the hall. “Sorry, all those years in the military makes it kind of subconscious that I match step.”

“Military? Interesting.” She said, opening the door to one of the rooms. “If you would undress, that would make things easier.” She continued, closing the door. Riot raised an eyebrow, but did as he was told. Placing his clothes next to the table then hopped up on it.

She smiled. “Thank you, Mr. Venture. So, why is it you came in here today?” She asked, checking his pulse with a stethoscope, jotting down the results.

Riot sighed heavily. “Well...It’s difficult to explain.”

“Well, we won’t be able to help you if we don’t know what’s wrong.” She said, depressing his tongue, and checking around the inside.

“Alright alright...” He bowed his head slightly after waving off the nurse as she approached with a thermometer. “I’ve been having mental flashes... Of my time in the military.” He looked up at the mare. “They haven’t been pleasant, and they haven’t been without incident.”

“Oh, really?” She asked. “Well, then that’s not really my place.” Nurse Redheart said, continuing her checkup like it was second nature, which by this point, it probably was.

“I don’t know what to do anymore... I’m afraid that I’m going to hurt somepony the next time I have a flashback, somepony I love...” His eyes fell to the ground.

“Alright, Mr. Venture. I’ll get you an appointment with the psychologist, he’s supposed to be free in two days, can you come in then, around three in the afternoon?” She asked. “You may put your clothing back on.” She said, turning, and bending over to place the medical clipboard where it belonged.

She rustled around, moving things inside the small cupboard. “If I may ask, why do you wear clothing? Most ponies around here don’t, unless it’s a uniform.” She said, putting a hoof on her medical garb, which consisted of a white apron-like jacket, and a cap with a red cross, in her mane.

“It’s a force a habit... Military. We have to wear clothing at all times, battle or none. It’s so we can hide easier, not get killed...” He held his grey shirt up, feeling the fabric in his hoof. “I suppose you go with something for so long, you can’t imagine going without it.”

“I guess that would make sense.” Redheart said, standing. “Especially if it were a pony like me. Stark white on the battlefield probably wouldn’t fare too well, hmm?” She asked with an innocent smile.

He nodded. “Yup, we’d have to dirty you up before you even left barracks.”

The mare blushed, smiling slightly. “Oh, would you?”

“Yup, we’d-” His sentence died as he saw the look on the mares face. “Was it something I- Oh Gorram it.” He slapped his face with a hoof, then let out a chuckling laugh.

She giggled. “Not that I’d be very averse to it.....” The mare suddenly looked down. “Oh, that was very inappropriate...”

“Hah, don’t sweat it. I’ve been put through the ringer ever since I got into this crazy town.” He looked up at the mare, a small grin spreading on his features. “I wonder why stallions from all over aren’t flocking here, considering the amount of single mares running about.”

“Yeah.....this place needs some new stallions.” Redheart sighed. “Some of us haven’t been able to find a stallion for.....years, even. I..I think we had more before the war broke out.”

Riot winced, looking out the window. He seemed to contimplate something for a moment before speaking. “Why don’t you come by the Horseshoe? There’s a couple stallions who galavant about there who you might want to meet.” Riot tightened his belt before looking at the nurse. “I’ll let you in.”

“R-really?” She asked, hope rising in her face.

“Yup, free o’ charge, one night only.” Riot made his way towards the door. “You’ll see flyers up all over town, and you can’t miss the noise.” He gave her a small smile before leaving.

“Alright, I’ll see you there, then?” She said, eyes shining brightly.

Riot stopped halfway through the door. “Yup, I might not be working, but I’m sure I can swing by and give you some company.” He smiled, bumping the mare on the shoulder. His hooves carried him out the hospital and towards his home. It was a saturday, Hunter would be home, and Aurora didn’t have work. Riot relished in the idea of having some proper family time.

Riot stopped short of the door, his heart pounding in his chest. He wiped his brow, then unlocked the door. The inside of the house was dark, and quiet. Riot went to drop his duffel bag onto the couch and announce his presence; he heard a giggle coming from his room. Placing the bag down as quietly as he could, Riot stole over to the door, then pressed his ear against it.

“Ch-Cheer!” There was a surprised squeak, and then a quiet moan. “N-naughty mare.....” Aurora’s voice, soft, melodious, sultry.

“Oh, you know you love it.” Cheerilee’s voice; a much sexier undertone, but still as soft as usual.

“Y-yes Miss Cheerilee.” Aurora’s voice again.

Riot grimaced heavily. His fears had been completely confirmed; not only had they been confirmed, but they were being dangled in front of him, like he was an animal. A wave of anger washed over him; the tingling feeling spreading through his chest and head. I should go and grab my rifle; pin that cheating cunt to the bed with my bayonet before I- He shook his head roughly in a vain attempt to dislodge the vulgar thought of taking the pair in the other room apart limb by limb.

There was a quick series of high-pitched squeaks, and a moan. “Mmm, Miss Venture, what is that stain? Clean it up, or I’ll have you in for detention.” There was a slurping noise. “Good girl, now. Like before.....Just give me a moment, I left something special outside...” There was the sound of bedsprings, and the sound of a hoof touching the door.

Riot leaned against the wall, staring at the door as it opened. The purple mare went pure white as she looked up at Riot. “M-Mr. Venture!”

Riot leaned in close, narrowing his eyes at the mare. “Evening Cheerilee. Doing some tutoring with my wife?”

‘I-I-I-I...” The mare seemed totally unable to reply, struck dumb with pure fear. She backpedaled into the room, where Aurora squeaked in terror; pulling a blanket up to her chin. Riot looked over them, hatred flooding his features.

“Where’s Hunter?” He narrowed his eyes at the batpony mare. “Where is he Aurora? Don’t tell me you had the gall to fuck around with your own son in the same house.”

“He’s at Rarity’s...” Cheerilee shrank away immediately after speaking, fearing his ire.

Aurora looked up at him in fear. “Y-you didn’t come home last night...You were sleeping with that whore! It’s only fair!” She looked at Cheerilee for support.

Riots expression twisted violently. “I was in the hospital! I’m trying to get used to being normal again, and you go and do this!?” He snorted hot air; the idea of murder becoming more and more appeasing.

“I-I’m sorry, Ash.....B-but I love Cheerilee. I know that now.” Aurora said, gaining confidence. “I think that we should spend some time apart.” The mare pulled Cheerilee to her side.

He closed his eyes; running a hoof down the length of his face. “How long. How long have you been seeing her behind my back?”

“T-two months....” The mare said. “I s-saw her for the first time a month and a half before you arrived.

“And you never stopped, did you?”

“No.” Aurora said, looking at the floor.

Riot nodded slowly, pushing off the wall. “Fine. Keep Cheerilee.” He glared at the school teacher for a moment. “I’m going to Rarity’s; to try and explain to Hunter why Daddy can’t come home any more, and why Momma’s loving teacher more than she ever did Daddy.” He snarled the words out before turning away, and trotted into the living room.

Aurora ran out after him. “Ash, wait. You can still see Hunter whenever you want! I’ll even give you custody. We just have to agree that Hunter gets both parents in his life. After that, I don’t care what happens, I just want Hunter to live an at least semi-normal life.”

“What about the pregnancy? Aurora? What about the foal you’re cookin up?” Riot looked over his shoulder at Aurora. He hated how Cheerilee just hung around in the background, just watching his marriage implode on itself.

“I......I don’t know.....” She said, with a pathetic whimper.

“Of course you don’t.” He straightened up, grabbing the bag in his magic. Riot jabbed a hoof in her direction. “You never knew what to do! You always relied on me to pul the weight of the is family, and now you’re shitting on everything I’ve ever done for you!” Riot snorted angrily. “I’ll be back in a few hours to get the rest of my things.” At that, he trotted to the door.

“G-goodbye Ash.” Aurora said, tears pouring down her face, ears laid back.

“Stop calling me that. You have no right..” Riot nudged the door open; his ears folded back and his features contorted in pain. The door clicked closed behind him, but he didn’t stop moving. His first and foremost priority was Hunter. He needed to see his son.

The rain clouds were threatening the night from where they laid in the near distance. It was obvious the pegasi were capitalizing on their plans for a heavy shower tonight. Riot trudged forward just as the clouds opened up; Carousel boutique coming into view. Riot trotted up the steps and knocked lightly on the door.

There was a set of hooves on hardwood, and then the door opened. It was Rarity, and she was smiling widely.

“Hello Captain! I thought that little Hunter wasn’t being picked up until tomorrow.” She said, and despite her confusion, she maintained a steady composure, and an alluring charm.

Riot sighed softly as he looked down at the steps. “I know Rarity. I just need to talk to him.”

“Alright, I’ll go get him,is everything alright?” She asked, putting a dainty hoof on his shoulder.

His ears folded back as he shook his head, sending his mane flopping about. “No. Everything isn’t alright... I just hope Hunter can forgive me.”

The mare looked at him apologetically, hints of fear prodding at her features. “What happened, is Aurora alright?”

“I would assume so... She’s with her special somepony.” He ran a hoof through his mane then looked at the mare. “Where’s Hunter? I...I need to seehim.”

“Alright, please, come inside. It’s about to rain.” She trotted off into the house, and up the stairs. After a couple of minutes, Hunter came back down the stairs, a confused look on his face. Riot waved from the small couch Rarity had for waiting clients. Hunter sat down next to his father, and nuzzled his side.

“What is it, Dad? Is everypony okay?” Riot tried to smile at the colt, but he couldn’t hold it as his features became filled with sorrow. He hugged the colt tightly, placing his head over Hunters shoulder so the colt wouldn’t see him cry. “Dad? Is Momma okay? Did something happen to her?” He asked, fear in his eyes.

Riot shook his head while he held Hunter tightly. “Your...Your Momma’s fineHunter...S-she’s with...Cheerilee. She’s fine.” He cringed heavily as his insides twisted up into tight knots.

“Cheerilee?” He asked, face scrunching up. “Why is she with Miss Cheerilee?” The tiny unicorn asked, feeling his father shaking.

The buck sobbed once, his chest heaving heavily as he clutched Hunter tightly. “ She’s her special somepony now Hunter...” He didn’t look up to see the white and purple dress maker standing at the door, holding a hoof to her mouth.

“W-what d-do you mean? I t-thought y-you were m-momma’s special somepony......T-that’s what it is when you get m-married, you become their special s-somepony forever, right? Right?” Hunter asked desperately.

Riot nodded. “It sure is buddy, and don’t you ever think differently...” Riot sniffed heavily before wiping his eyes. Facing the young colt, he couldn’t help but smile and choke out his words. “But no matter what, never forget that I love you more than anything in the world Hunter. You’re my beautiful little moon...”

The little colt began to cry, his tiny eyes brimming with tears. “W-what happened? S-she’s M-momma’s special somepony n-now.......W-what happens to you? And me?” He asked, uncertainty and fear leaking into his voice and features. .

“I’ll still be here for you Hunter. I’ll...I’ll just be living somewhere else.” He hugged the foal to his chest, letting the colt hold onto his fur and cry it out. “We both still love you, so very much. Momma just...Doesn’t love Daddy anymore.”

“B-but w-what do you mean? M-mommy’s l-love daddy’s, and daddy’s lo-love mommy’s.....Th-that’s how things are supposed to w-work....” The foal looked totally devastated.

Riot pulled in a breath, steeling himself so he could take care of his son. “I know Hunter.... Aurora...She changed her mind. I wasn’t...I wasn’t good enough for her. I’m sorry Hunter... I... I ruined everything.”

“N-no, Dad. It-it wasn’t y-your fault...S-she changed her m-mind, you d-did the best you could....” The colt shook with a sob. “T-things are a-all going to be different, now...”

Riot nodded, his anger and sorrow getting stuffed deep inside. “Yeah. Things are gonna be a little different now, but I’ll still be here for you.” He placed a hoof on Hunters chest, right where his heart was. “Even when I’m not around, I’ll still be in here, always.”

The colt finally smiled, wiping some of the tears from his face. “Y-you aren’t g-going to leave ponyville, a-are you?”

He gave the colt a serious look as he placed both of his large hooves on Hunters shoulders. “Never. Not as long as you’re still here. If Aurora want to take you away, she’ll have to do it over my cold, dead carcass. I will never leave you.” Riot had, up till that point, kept most of the malice out of his voice, but at that moment, some of it leaked through.

“G-good.....W-where s-should I go? I-I don’t think I should s-stay here, I-I’ll just make Sweetie sad.....and I don’t really wanna see momma right now.” Hunter said, looking at the floor.

Riot thought for a moment. He had thought about this on the way over, but he hadn’t come to a conclusion. “You should stay here for the night. Your friend Sweetie can help you feel better about all this. I’ve seen her make you smile before.” He tickled the colts side; smiling himself. “Tomorrow...We’ll deal with it when it comes, won’t we soldier?” Riot pulled back, placing a hoof on the colts shoulder.

Hunter nodded, wiping the rest of the tears from his face. “A-alright, Dad....I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?” He asked. “Miss Rarity, can I still stay the night?” The colt looked to the tearing white mare.

“O-of course, little one. You can stay here whenever you want.” She said, taking the colt onto her back. “I-I’m sorry, Riot.” Rarity said, looking at the grey pony.

He looked up at her, his eyes filled with mirth. “Yeah. For what it’s worth, so am I.” Riot stood from the couch; shouldering his bag. “I better get going. I’ll see you tomorrow Hunter, you be good for Rarity.”

“Oh you won’t have to worry about that.” Rarity said, smiling. “He’s just the nicest and most polite colt I know.” She nuzzled the colt, and he giggled. “And Sweetie really likes him, and he keeps her out of trouble.”

“That’s good to hear. If you have any problems-” He paused for a second, not sure what to say. “Call...Call the Horseshoe and ask for me. I’ll be right over come hell or high water.”

“No problem.....W-what do I do if A-aurora comes?” She asked. “I mean.....legally, I can’t keep him from her...”

“Let her do the talking. I’m sure she’ll say something about me or what happened.” He placed a hoof on her shoulder. “It’ll prolly come to dual custody. She said she wanted Hunter to have a normal life.” He placed his hoof back on the ground. “I can’t see thing being very normal for him from here on though.”

“I d-don’t wanna go with momma. I wanna stay with Miss Rarity, or you, daddy.” The foal said, standing up on the aforementioned mare’s back.

“Goodbye, Riot.....I’m sorry.” Rarity said, daintily trotting up the stairs.

Riot waved goodbye to Hunter, then trotted through the door and towards the Horseshoe. Just as the door to Rarity's home clicked closed behind him, the sky cracked open once again and the downpour began. Riot shrugged his duffel bag over, then started walking.

Riot finally reached the Horseshoe, but he had been completely soaked for almost fifteen minutes. Darkness had fallen, and he could barely hear anything over the roar of the water. His hooves clattered down the steps and his shoulder pressed the door open. He trotted in a few steps, then shook himself. Scrapping his hooves on the mat, Riot trotted into the club proper.

Vinyl was chatting with Berry at the bar. It looked like they had brought in a new order of alcoholic substances. The pair smiled before waving at him. Vinyl pushed off the bar and trotted over to him. “So, how’d it go?”

Riot dropped his soaking wet bag down on the concrete floor. “I have to go back in two days, see a psychologist.” Keep quiet about it. Last thing we need is this bastion to be corrupted.

“Oh, well at least that is some progress!” Vinyl said, hugging around his neck

Riot nodded, heart still pounding and hurting from before. He hugged the mare back, but put no strength behind it. “Yeah, yeah it is.”

She pulled away, putting a hoof on his chest. “Are you alright? Your heart is going a mile a minute.” She asked, cocking her head.

“I’m fine, just jogged all the way here to avoid the rain. I didn’t make it.”

“Alright....” Vinyl said, a concerned look marring her pretty face.

He smiled at her, trying to put the mare at ease. “I’m fine, just a little wet. My kid’s spending the night at Rarity’s, hanging with his little marefriend.” He chuckled for a moment. “Auroras bone tired, I figured I’d come out and work.” Whore’s lucky she isn’t a fucking grease stain on the carpet right now. Riot focused for a moment; silently telling the angry little voice to go sit in the corner.

“Okay, if you’re sure.” Vinyl said, lightly brushing his cheek with a hoof.

He brushed her hoof away. “Yup, now lets get ready, we’ll have a lot of wet bodies movin about tonight.”

Riot trotted over to the door; cracking it open. The stallion pulled back slightly as he looked out into the literal monsoon. “Damn...” He turned about, trotting back into the club. “Do we have any space heaters?”

Vinyl poked her head out of the booth. “Heating’s been broken for twelve years.” She said. “Doesn’t matter though, the crowd makes its own heat. In the summer, it gets so bad there’s sweat dripping from the ceiling.”

“Then we may want to break out some hot chocolate, we’re going to be dealing with some shivering ponies.”

Berry piped up from the bar. “I’ve got plenty to get the fire stoked in their belly.” She said, wiggling a bottle of magically enhanced ‘flamewhiskey’.

Riot shrugged, looking back at the door. “Alright, but I’m not standing out there if I don’t have to.”

Vinyl nodded. “You can stay down here, not many ponies will brave the storm for cheap hooch. But we’ll get a good number of ponies.”

There was a frenzied knocking just as Riot was turning away. The stallion let out an exasperated sigh as he turned again, and opened the door. It was Wild, soaked to the bone, with Kepler in tow. Riot cocked an eyebrow, then stepped aside to let them in. “You two look like drowned rats.”

“I don’t feel much better.” Wild said, shaking himself dry, all over Riot. Kepler giggled, stepping to her big brother, and giving him a big hug, drying her face off in his chest.

Riot smiled broadly, not caring that it looked completely forced. “Good to see you too Kep.”

The two ponies headed down the stairs, and Riot followed. Wild was biting his lip, and talked to Vinyl.

“Vinyl, I’m sorry. But we can’t be together anymore......I kind of found somepony.” He said, wrapping his sodden wing over Kepler lovingly.

Vinyl bristled, and snorted. “Congratulations.” She said, turning away, back into the booth. “You both deserve each other.”

Riot looked over the pair, his features blank. Wildman looked away from him, his eyes shifting about anywhere that Riot didn’t occupy. Just fucking lovely! First, Aurora leaves us, now Chickenshit Wild is fucking Kepler! The angry pony in his head stomped, filling his head with ideas and dark thoughts. It was all Riot could do to shove the images away and push the little pony off to the side.

Kepler looked apologetically at Riot. “I-I’m sorry...we j-just found something in each other.....”

Riot snorted hotly as he turned back towards the door. “You two love birds try not to stain the carpets.”

Wild sighed, watching him walk away. “Kep, what’s up with him? Why do you have to apologize?” He whispered into the grey mare’s ear.

Riot ignored the rest of the exchange as he ducked outside the door, just under the tiny awning.

The first mare of the evening was surprisingly; Nurse Redheart. She’d ditched the nurse’s uniform, and taken her hair out of the tight bun she always wore, instead it hung freely; it looked much, much, longer than it looked like it did while in it’s normal ‘do. She had red lipstick on, and her eyelashes were spruced up, with a bit of shadow on her eyelids. The mare was mostly dry, carrying an umbrella in her mouth. She came up to Riot, smiling nervously.

“H-hello, Mr. Venture.” She said, extremely shy, unused to being so done up.

He smiled at her, opening the door and bowing slightly. “After you madame. Tell our bartender that I sent you with regards.”

She blushed heavily, and walked past. “I-I’m sorry...I’m just so nervous. D-do I look okay?” She asked.

“You look lovely.” Riot smiled at the mare before leaning against the door frame. “I’ll be inside fairly soon, maybe we can talk then?”

The blush seemed to spread over Redhearts entire white body. “I-I’d like that....” She walked by, swinging her flanks as sexily as she could. Riot cocked an eyebrow when he saw that under the small dress she was wearing, there was a small black strip, that could only be a thong, stretched between her taut flanks.

Riots eyebrows disappeared up into his fringe. It looked like life wasn’t done throwing curve balls tonight.

A few more ponies came, depositing their bits in the bucket that Riot was manning. The next group was Mr. and Mrs. Cake, together, side by side. “Hey there, handsome.” Mrs. Cake said, bumping Riot’s side as she walked past. “The hubby has taken a liking to swinging, how about we show him the ropes?”

“Maybe later.” Riot waved them in, holding the door for them as he suppressed a slew of expletives and slurs..

A few more regulars passed, and a couple groups of new ponies. They were all soaked to the bone, hanging coats, and scraping their hooves inside the entrance. They said their hellos to Riot, and went down into the growing throng. The line of ponies petered out much quicker than usual, no doubt due to the growing storm.

Riot took that as his cue to close the doors and head in. The doors clicked closed behind him, and he was now in the throbbing mass of ponies that was the Horseshoe. Riot made his way towards the bar, motioning to Berry to come over.

She trotted over, not very busy. “Yeah, what do you need, ‘hun?”

“I’m gonna go and sit with Nurse Redheart for a bit, she could use the company.” He motioned over to the lone mare sitting alone on one of the couches, too shy to get up on the dance floor. “I’m grabbin two iced teas.”

“Alright, don’t forget to keep your eye on the floor.”

He waved a hoof at her. “I won’t I won’t.”He pressed through the throng towards the lonely mare residing in one of the booths. She squeaked in surprise as he plopped down in front of her.

“ actually came to see me....” The small nurse said, looking up at him with her shadowed eyes.

“Hey, I keep my promises lass.” He passed her the iced tea. “On the house.”

She smiled, sipping at it. “Not bad.” The mare looked at all the ponies on the dance floor, curling her rear hooves up onto the couch with her. “Do new mare’s always get drinks from you?” She asked, turning her dress-covered body to him.

“Nah, sometimes it’s good to just do something nice.” He smiled at her as he leaned back, drink in hoof.

“Well...thank you. Y-you can go back to your friends, you don’t need to hang out with the most boring mare at the club anymore.” Redheart said, curling deeper into the couch.

“Welp, it’s either I get a migraine over there, alone. Or I get a migraine over here, with you.” Riot stretched out, finding a comfortable spot. “I’m staying right here.”

She scooted closer to him absentmindedly, sipping at her drink. “T-thank you for this.....I don’t have a lot of times when I get to”

Riot smiled at the mare. “I bet. Those doctors are just the worst aren’t they?” He chuckled a bit. “We had this one doc back at base, I swear, he had more in common with the bloody gurneys than he did with the patients.”

She giggled, putting a hoof on her thigh, circling it slowly. “Yeah, I know what you mean. All of the doctors here would rather have their patients put out a hundred percent of the time, and leave everything to do with speaking with ponies to the nurses.” The mare frowned.

“Yup.” Riot placed his hoof over hers, giving it a supportive squeeze.

She looked down at it, and then her vision travelled up his foreleg, to his shoulder, and then to his eyes, as if she didn’t believe it existed. “I-It gets hard sometimes.....” She said, exhaling. “Dealing with ponies who are really, really, gets bad.....I almost don’t want to get to know the ponies who are seriously in trouble. But it’s my job, and I do it well.” She shook her head. “I’m sorry, I’m rambling.” She put a hoof to her face. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a real social situation. I’ve just had so much work to do, the last thing I usually want is to go to a place where the music is too loud. The food stinks, and the ponies would rather grind like wild animals than talk.”

Riot nodded in complete understanding. He looked over the crowd, taking in the feverous grinding and dry humping. “Yeah... It can really grate sometimes.” He looked over at the mare, smiling a bit. “I could think of worse places though.”

“Mmhmm, this place is certainly better than most of it’s kind. Normally you can’t even breath, with all the cigarette smoke, and bodies.” She blushed as she saw a pair of ponies closer to intercourse than dancing out on the floor.

“I didn’t mean clubs, but I can see your point pretty well.” He rubbed his hoof into her fur; as lightly as he could. “We keep a pretty strict policy on that kind of stuff.”

He could see the tiny bit of her cheek where she had bitten it from the inside. Redheart nodded, not catching exactly what he had meant “That’s good, this could actually be a nice place to spend time; if they had a proper kitchen. Have you ever thought about setting one up?” She rested her cheek in her hoof as she stared at the stallion across from her.

“We have one up stairs, but it’s part of the apartment. As much as Vinyl would love the idea of ponies partying everywhere, it’s bad for rental purposes.” Riot tapped his chin in thought. “Maybe we should set this up as a kind of social club...”

“That’d be nice....maybe you’d get some more of the......savory ponies.” Her eyes were still stuck on the grinding ponies from earlier, unable to look away.

He nodded slowly as he watched over the crowd like a hungry hawk. “Yeah....” It was pretty obvious his mind was in another place, but the reasoning behind it was unknown to the mare.

“Oh.....I’m sorry, am I being boring? It’s okay, you can go talk your friends.....” She said, frowning at his apparent disinterest.

Riot blinked, then looked over at the mare in surprise. “What?”

“Y-you seem kind of.......Bored....Or maybe just distracted.....I’m sorry, I’m a boring pony, this is why I don’t go out to clubs.” She deflated visibly, the allure disappearing from her eyes.

Riot sighed, placing a hoof over the mares shoulder. “No, it’s alright. To be honest you’re very interesting, to the point that I really want to know more.” He swallowed, looking down at the concrete floor. “I’m just a little...Frazzled, at the moment.” Would it be too much to ask? Couldn’t we just kill one pony? Oh! Maybe, maybe we could get drunk! We haven’t done that in almost a year!

“Oh, what’s wrong?” She asked, putting a concerned hoof on his shoulder. “Other than the flashbacks, I mean.”

He withdrew the hoof and finished off the iced tea. “It’s nothing, really. Just trying to figure out what to do with my life now. I went from soldier to a club bouncer... It’s...It’s been very difficult getting used to things again.” Skirting the real problem, he found an easy scapegoat.

“Yeah, I understand. Did I ever tell you I used to be an ER trauma doctor?”

Riot cocked an eyebrow, looking over at the mare. “Oh? How’d you go from there to Nurse?”

She sighed. “By choice. I didn’t think I was cut out for it.......One night, a pony was brought in, he’d had his spine broken when a cart smashed into him. B-before he went into surgery, his family was notified......He got one moment of lucidity, before he went under. He was crying for his mother.....I told him that everything was going to be okay, that momma was here......I c-c-couldn’t save him...” Redheart sighed sadly, seemingly forgetting about the club around her for a moment.

Riot stared blankly at the table, his mind locked exactly where its shouldn’t have been. His hooves weren’t around a cheap drink. His hooves were wrapped around a screaming red buck as he tried to pull him out of the wreckage. Wild wailed in horrible pain, his charred flanks dragging across the dirt because Riot could barely focus through the blood, mud and pain. He stumbled, falling almost on top of the injured stallion.

He couldn’t cry out, it felt as though his head would fall off if he uttered a single word. The captain choked out a rivulet of blood before holding the crying sergeant in his hooves. “I’m sorry Wild, I’m sch-” He coughed roughly, hacking up more blood.

“M-momma? I-It h-hurts......H-hel-help me....”

Riot held the buck close, grimacing as he felt his side becoming sticky and numb. “I’m...I-I’m here...Sergeant...Jus-just hold..hold..on...” The darkness coiled around him like a predator, sucking his will and life away in an instant.

The stallion snapped back into reality with the nurse waving a hoof in front of his face. He blinked rapidly, feeling at the fat scar on his neck that strayed barely an inch away from his neck. The thin grey shirts he wore barely covered half of the ugly thing. “S-sorry...Spaced out for a moment there.”

Redheart actually looked afraid, looking up into his eyes. “Y-your eyes.....A-are you alright?”

Riot blinked hard, trying to rid whatever the nurse was talking about. “Sorry, sorry.”

“It’s okay.....Did it happen again?” The nurse in her came back in an instant; curiosity piqued in every way possible.

Riot closed his eyes, letting his head fall. “Yeah.”

Redheart placed a hoof over his. “I’m so sorry, we’ll try to get you fixed up.”

He rubbed his face, hiding the grimace with a hoof. “I hope so. I don’t want to hurt anypony...”

“You’ve got a kind heart, I know you don’t like to hurt ponies.” She said, nuzzling into his neck.

He shook his head. “I’m sorry, but I’m not a very good pony.” He looked up, taking in the crowd. “I’ve done things that I never want to remember, but I see them clear as day everytime I close my eyes.” Like what I did to Skyrunner, except he deserved it. Needle dicker bug fucker.

Redheart stood for a few moments; just long enough to swap sides. She put her face gently into his chest, listening to each heartbeat. “You’re a strong pony, I know you can get through this.” She exhaled into his warm chest. “I know you will.”

“I hope so. I really do.” The stallion looked up, then scowled. “Oh you are not doing that buddy.” He stood up, looking back at the mare. “I’ve got ponies to hurt. It was nice talking to you Redheart, I’ll see you in two days.” He offered a weak smile before picking up her hoof and kissing it. “It was a pleasure talking with you.”

She blushed heartily, slowly taking her hoof back; and sipping the drink that was given to her as she watched him walk away. Riot treaded towards the horribly drunken stallion trying to get into get over the bar at Berry. He trotted up, tapping the drunkard on the shoulder.

“What da’ FUCK do you want, asshole?” The pony cried drunkenly, taking a wild swing at him with a hoof.

Easily dodging the swing, Riot looked over at Berry. “He giving you problems?” The stallion took another swing, but only ended up on the ground due to his inebriation.

“He demanded free drinks just for being here, he said that ‘you don’t know who I am’, that whole BS spiel.”

Riot nodded, looking down at the stallion. “Sir, you are drunk. I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

“I’m not drunk! I’m just pished off!” The drunken stallion yelled from the floor, slowly getting to his hooves.

Riot smiled on the inside. He was going to enjoy laying down the hurt. “I’m going to have to ask you to step outside sir.” This. This is gonna feel GOOOOOOOD.

“Fuck you! I’m a payin’ customer!” The buck took a swing at Riot, but was apparently not expecting Riot to grab him by the back of the head, and to slam his face into the solid wood bar; hard enough to bounce the drinks on the other end. The stallions head bounced off, then the drunk collapsed into an easily manageable pile of stupidity and meat. Riot ignored the fact that for a moment, the stallion had looked like Aurora.

Riot nodded to a surprised Berry as he tossed the pisstanked buck over his back. “I’ll take this poor sod out back and toss him.”

“Thank you, Hero~.” She said, putting a hoof on his shoulder. A few ponies clapped as Riot walked off, carrying the pony.

The stallion frowned angrily, and Berry retracted her hoof quickly. Riot trotted out around the back, then ditched the buck behind a dumpster. “Lay off the booze buddy, your face will thank you.” Riot stood there for a moment, staring at the bloody mess of a pony who laid next to the dumpster. “Stupid ass piece of shit...” Riot gave the drunk a hard kick, his anger getting the best of him for a moment.

Riot trotted back out into the club, which was still going despite the heavy rain outside. He looked over to Berry and nodded. The mare waved eagerly, trying to get him to come over. Riot sighed, forcing a smile still as he made his way over. “Howdy, I assume everythings been going smoothly?”

She nodded, sliding another drink across the bar. “Yup, going great. We’re getting a lot of traffic now.”

“Good to hear, how’s Vinyl doing? Has she come out for a drink yet?”

“Nope, not yet, I think she’s waiting for somepony to bring it to her.” Berry smiled, and gave him a bottle. “Go on, do your thing.”

The buck rolled his eyes, fake smile still plastered on his face. “Alright alright, I’m goin.” Riot wove through the crowd quickly and with ease. His hooves clattered up the short bit of steps, and his free hoof the door open.

“Hey there, Tiger~.” Vinyl purred, stepping off of the mixing table for a moment.

“Hey.” He passed her the beverage before leaning against the wall.

“Thanks, I was getting pretty thirsty.” Vinyl cracked open the beer then took a sip. “Been having a good night?”

He stonefaced her. “I feel like hammered shit.”

The mare gave him a sad smile before waving him off. “Thanks again Tiger...” The mare sipped the brew, going back to her job laying down waves of wub for the crowd.

Riot gave the mare a wave before trotting back down the stairs. He scanned the floor, checking for any trouble. Not seeing any problems, or Redheart; Riot started trotting back towards the bar. Berry leaned against it, having no more patrons to serve. She pulled out a small bottle of beer; cracking the top, she quickly swigged back the whole thing. Riot sat down on the wooden stool, eager to take a load off his sore hooves.

A grey mare slid in next to him, punching his shoulder.

“So big brother, how’ve you been?” Kepler smiled at him as she waved over a drink.

Riot shrugged, trying to think of a way to get away from the bar now. “Surviving.”

The mare crossed her hooves, trying to look sternly at the buck. “What’s up? Somepony giving you problems?”

He nickered as he looked around for a reason to leave. “I’m fine, handling things how I always do.”

For the first time in her life, Kepler’s face became serious. “Ash, I’m sorry about what happened, really. If you need any help, in anything, you can come see me.” She said, putting a hoof on his shoulder, brows knitted together.

He brushed her hoof away as he took a short swig. “Right.”

“Seriously. I know, I was never really a good sister, but I’m trying to help you.” The grey mare said, turning his head to look at her.

“Like the time you helped me be late for my wedding huh?” Riot shot her a look that summed up his faith in her ‘help’. “Or the time you ‘helped’ me, by being kidnapped by your psycho buckfriend, causing me to miss Hunter being born? Or the time-”

“Damn it Ash!” She cut him off. “Don’t you think I still feel like shit about all that?! I want to try to start making up for it.” The grey mare looked at the floor, frowning.

He snorted, waving his hoof dismissively. “Don’t.”

The mare sighed, and took a sip of her drink. “You have to accept help from somepony, eventually.” She said, hoofing his shoulder. “You just keep running yourself into the ground, trying to protect other ponies. You bottle up that anger and you’ll really hurt somepony.”

Riot pushed off the bar, having noticed a possible scuffle about to happen, and sorely demanding a way out of the conversation. “If you hadn’t noticed Kep, it’s my fucking job.” At that, he pushed through the crowd towards the two drunken mares. Kepler could only shake her head as he disappeared into the crowd.

When Riot reached the mares, they were almost to blows. “Ah’ll kick your multicolor flank, Missy!” One of them said, the same orange pony that had accosted him in the market two days ago. Big Macintosh’s sister, he remembered.

“Just you try it, dirt pony.” The other mare countered, a hovering cyan pegasus, with a prismatic mane. Riot had spoken to her at one point before, but had never learned her name. The pegasus was being held back by the same mare who he had spoken with several nights ago; the one who was infatuated with the druggy stallion. She was very, very, quietly telling the other pony to calm down. The orange mare had a telekinetic glow around her, a purple unicorn struggling to keep her back.

Riot stepped in between the squabbling mares and their handlers. “Alright ladies, break it up!”

Both of them looked at the buck at the same time. “Back off!” They shouted, continuing to pull away from their handlers

His gaze darkened considerably as he looked at the two mares trying desperately to hold the pair off each other. They yellow and purple mare could only voice their opinions through sorry looks. Riot looked down on either mare, showing his utter contempt towards them. “I said, Break. It. UP.” If either of these lovely ladies try anything, it’s go time. The little pony in his head cracked a dangerous smile.

The orange mare growled. “That’s the pony that done beat on my brother!” She shouted, pointing a glowering hoof at Riot.

The cyan pegasus looked over to him as well, anger on her face. “Hey! You don’t just beat up innocent ponies!” Both of them turned to him, seemingly forgetting their own quarrel.

He was in no mood for their bullshit. “Listen, I really don’t care one way or another about what you’re fighting about. I suggest you both forget it and go back to enjoying your night.”

Both of them took another wrenching step towards him. “Ah don’t think so, Sugarcube.” The earth pony said, finally shattering the purple telekinetic hold, and barreling down at him. The yellow pegasus squeaked in surprise, and the pony she was holding tore away as well, screaming down at him at a surprisingly fast speed for the distance she had.

This wasn’t a bar fight anymore. This was a muddy crater in which his survival was fought for with teeth and claws. The buck hunkered down, his eyes and horn blazing with fury and hatred. The first diamond dog barreled down on him, only to receive a quick throat punch/ hammerhoof combo, followed by a quick kinetic burst to the ribs for its efforts. The Dog wasn’t out, but it was more than enough to allow him time to deal with the other . The second dog was already pouncing, and was about to broadside him. Riot relaxed his body in an instant, rolling with the impact, and thus throwing the dog off balance. He took the lapse in ability on the dogs part as a chance to stun it with a hard right hook, followed by a helmeted headbutt that put it out of the fight. All he had to do was kill them, quickly. Before their reinforcements found him.

Riot popped out of the illusion just as the mares hit the floor. They were almost immediately back on their hooves, albeit considerably bloody. He sneered angrily, wrapping his magic around them. He wrenched their hooves out from underneath them, then proceeded to drag them out the door and toss the haggard pair into the pouring rain. During the entire ordeal he was faintly aware of somepony yelling at him. That sounds kinda like Ma.

“AND STAY OUT!” The door slammed closed as he roared with an appropriate clang of steel on steel.

The yellow pegasus did nothing but squeak in pure fear, hiding under her hooves. The unicorn looked at Riot, anger in her eyes. Her horn was charged, but the power dissipated quickly as she let out a flustered sigh. “Okay mister tough pony, you made your point!” The purple mare huffed at him. “You didn’t have to hurt them so badly! It’s not their fault they-”

Riot held up a hoof, silencing her. She really did sound like his mother. He neared her, until he was obviously breaking into her personal space. Planting a hoof barely off her chest, Riot spoke. “You’re friends are lucky they were drunk. Next time, I won’t be gentle, and I will treat them as the enemy.” The mare pulled back slightly, taken aback by the anger in his words.

She sighed in defeat, retreating from the conversation entirely. “Come on, Fluttershy. Lets go make sure Rainbow and AJ are okay.” The unicorn shot a disgusted look at Riot as she left. The pegasus, apparently, and aptly named Fluttershy soundlessly gliding out behind her, her eyes fighting to avoid eye contact with Riot.

Riot returned to the edge of the crowd, which was acting like they hadn’t seen a thing. He looked about, hoping that the quick scuffle would dissuade anypony from starting any more trouble.

Berry looked shocked as he returned. “Wow, that was amazing.....What else can you do?” She asked, looking at him.


“O-okay....I guess that makes sense.” She said, yawning. Riot sighed heavily in response as he leaned against the bar. Berry stretched languidly, and sat back down, looking at the dispersing crowd. It seemed that the scuffle between the mares had been the straw that broke the camel’s back. “Well, it looks like the night’s drawing to a close.”

He nodded, watching silently through half closed eyes. A vast majority of the crowd had already left, the remaining ones only seemed to be sticking around because they were waiting for a lull in the rain.

Nurse Redheart bumped Riot’s shoulder. “Th-thanks for the great night.....W-will I see you tomorrow?”

Riot looked over at the mare and managed a smile. “Yea, If you want I can bring you lunch or...something.” He rolled his eyes, then smiled at the mare. “At the very least you’ll see me monday.”

“Mmhmm.” She said, nodding happily, before trotting out into the storm, umbrella between her teeth.

Riots smile dropped as he followed her to the door. As she disappeared into the darkness, Riot leaned against the open door frame and let out a long drawn out sigh. He felt somepony press on his shoulder, and he turned to see that it was Vinyl.

“What’s wrong, Tiger?” She asked, concerned.

He looked back out, taking in the downpour. “Nothin Vinyl, just a long night.”

“Wow, I don’t think anypony wants to walk in that shit. Berry will probably stay over, again. You can too, you know.....If you want to.”

He knew full well that he didn’t have a place to stay that night. Aurora...She wouldn’t exactly like him just popping in to soak the couch. Not that he wanted anything to do with that house or the whore inside it. Riot closed his eyes, thinking fast. He couldn’t just abuse Vinyl’s generosity and trust by staying here for the second night in a row.

“I think I gotta start heading home, Aurora’s gonna be wondering why I’m not home yet anyways.” He smiled at the mare, poking her chest with a hoof. “That was a... Well, it was an interesting night to say the least.”

Vinyl actually looked sad as his declination. “Oh, yeah....That’s right. was pretty crazy. I’ll see you tomorrow, alright?” She asked, placing a large bag of bits in his pocket.

He smiled weakly at her, then grabbed his bag with a burst of magic. He stood at the edge of the door. “Yeah. Tomorrow, will be a new day...” Riot shook his head, then pushed into the pouring rain.

Vinyl shivered as the draft from the opened door washed over her. She watched him go, and Berry put her hooves over the smaller unicorn’s shoulders, given her a tiny nuzzle.

Riot treaded through the dark, ignoring the pounding rain. He was already soaked, but he wasn’t any closer to finding a place to sleep. “Dammit...” He sat down on a bench, ignoring the fact that it too was soaked. There weren’t any lights on at this time of night, so all he had was his slowly returning night vision.

He groaned loudly as he sat forward, wrapping his hooves around his head. His features twisted violently as he roared his anger and pain into the night air.

A light flicked on in one of the buildings close to the park. He couldn’t see quite which one, due to the severely reduced visibility. The sound of a door opening, and closing, cut through the noise of the torrential downpour on the dirt.

Riot hugged his head, sobbing hotly into the rain as it soaked him to the bone. He pounded a hoof against his temple in a vain attempt to drive out the pain of his emotions with physical pain.

A hoof was placed on his foreleg. He snapped back, looking up into a soaked white face, normally-quaffed mane sagging under the weight of the rain, Rarity looked to him sadly.

“Riot, was that you, just now?”

He ignored her for the most part, his sorrow and pain wrenching about in his head. His hatred for himself began to consume him as the rain beat down his form.

“Riot, do you have anywhere to sleep tonight?” She asked, turning his head up to look at her.

He smirked darkly before patting the bench. “I’ve got this bench. It’s all I need.”

The dressmaker shook her head, and took his hooves in hers. With surprising strength, she pulled him to his hooves. “Come now, I won’t have my friend sleeping outside in the rain.”

“We aren’t friends. All my friends are dead and gone! I’m surrounded by traitors and idiots!” He grabbed his bag in his magic, then went to turn away before he went any further.

Despite his harsh words, Rarity looked up at the big pony, a suddenly hard look on her face. “Listen, no beating yourself up for something you didn’t do. Now come on, you’re getting a nice, warm, couch, and something hot to drink.” He scowled, his shoulders sagging in defeat. He followed the mare towards her home after a moment of deliberation.

She opened the door for him, pushing the large stallion inside. “Here, take this.” The mare wrapped a heavy blanket around Riot, and pointed to the couch. “Snuggle up right over there, try to keep warm. What would you like to drink? Coffee, tea, hot cocoa?”

He shrugged weakly, dropping his sopping wet bag on the floor. “Anything. It doesn’t matter.” The mare smiled warmly, confident in her heating to keep the stallion warm while she fetched him something hot to drink. She hummed as she did, disappearing into the kitchen. He groaned in pain, rubbing his head and neck. “Such a fuck up...

Rarity’s melodious, prim voice wafted in through the hallway. “What were you thinking, Darling? Going out into the freezing storm without anywhere to go? You should have just asked me when you were here last, I would have gladly given you a place to stay.”

“Mhm.” He grunted quickly, not looking up from his hooves.

There was an irritated snort from the kitchen, and the white mare returned, a cup of hot cocoa floating along next to her, a saucer underneath it. “Please, drink this, it will make you feel better.” The mare sat down on the couch opposite him, and smiled warmly.

Riot suppressed a sigh, then started drinking the blazing hot mix. He finished it quickly, then set it down on the table next to him.

Rarity blinked, but didn’t note it verbally. “Alright, I’m going to go back to sleep, and make sure you didn’t wake up the little ones. There’s another blanket just over there, and I’ll bring you down a pillow.” She said, standing, and trotting towards the stairs.

He nodded, then took off his jacket. The thing was still dry, being enchanted and the like to deflect up to the harshest the elements could throw at him. He puffed it out, then laid out on the couch. Riot closed his eyes, hoping that when he woke up it would all turn out to be just a dream.

The mare returned shortly, placing a soft, fluffed, pillow under his head, and draping a second warm blanket over him. “I’ll see you in the morning, no running off, now.”

“The bench won’t take me back.” He growled mirthfully, turning over on the couch.

She giggled despite his tone, and stroked his back with a hoof before standing, and trotting back up the stairs. He heard a door swing closed, and once again, he was alone with his anger, and his thoughts. As loud as his thoughts and heart was, it was all seemingly muffled by the heavy warmth around him. Sleep took the exhausted stallion quickly, dropping him into darkness.