Another Life

by Ironwolves21

Chapter Two

Riot awoke to the steady light of morning streaming through his front window. He brought his hooves up to wipe away the sleep. Riot looked over to shake Aurora awake, but swiftly decided against it. She deserved a good nights rest.

The stallion sighed in exhaustion as he swung his hind legs past the lip of the bed. He looked up at the small wall clock. “Six thirty... Yay.” He pushed off the bed and onto his hooves. Riot started to trot towards the kitchen, but when he reached it; he decided against making a large breakfast for everypony in the house. He grabbed a pair of bowls from the cupboard, then filled them up with cereal and milk.

Riot picked up the bowls with his telekinesis, then made his way towards Hunters room. He bumped the door open quietly and entered. Setting the bowls down on the nightstand, Riot sat down next to the sleeping colt. Placing a hoof on Hunters shoulder, Riot gave him a gentle shake. “Rise and shine little buddy.”

The little colt stirred, mumbling sleepily. “Sstime to get up?” He asked sleepily, lifting his head slightly.

Riot smiled at the colt before levitating over the cereal. “I brought breakfast.”

“Daddy?” The colt asked, lifting himself, groaning, to his little hooves. Hunters eyes drifted down to the bowl that floated next to him. “Mmm, cereal.” He said, focusing as much as he could, bringing the bowl to himself.

Ruffling the colts mane, Riot dug into his own bowl post haste.

Hunter tucked into breakfast, slowly eating his bowl, sleepily focusing on his telekinesis. “Where’s mum? She usually wakes me up.” Hunter looked out the window, and glanced at his alarm clock. “She’s usually awake by now”

“I wanted to say Hi before I left for town, I’ve got a long day planned.” Riot glanced at the door again before speaking. “Just wanted to say hi.”

“Where’s mum? Is she sick?” Hunter asked, finishing his cereal, and floating it back to his nightstand.

“You mum’s fine Hunter, I figured I’d let her sleep in.” Riot stood up, grasping both bowls with his magic before making his way towards the door. “You might want to wake her up if you need her before heading off to school though.”

“Alright, bye Daddy.” The young colt said, slowly rolling out of bed so he could get himself ready for school.

Riot made his way into the kitchen, quickly depositing the bowls into the sink and giving them a quick soak. He turned, and trotted to the front door; his combat boots laced up over his hooves. Riot grabbed a small set of keys before opening the door and heading out into the morning sun.

Aurora, clad in a black housecoat, watched him go from the upstairs window, a look of worry plastered across her face. “Oh Ashfall... I’m so sorry...” She whispered to herself, before going downstairs to make sure Hunter was ready for school.

Riot trotted slowly into town, letting the sun hit him as he moved. The town hall came into view after a short bit, but first the buck would have to pass through the market to get there. Riot sighed at the thought of having to deal with more ponies, but he steeled himself and headed forward.

“Apples! Get’cher apples here!” Riot heard a call off from an orange mare standing next to an apple cart hitched to the same massive red stallion from before. The huge red buck almost looked apologetic when the orange pony locked onto Riot, stopping her selling, and trotting over to him, anger in her eyes.

“Hey! You! What were ya’ll thinkin’ when ya done beat up my brother for no good reason?!” She shouted at him, hoof poking Riot angrily in the chest. He felt the strength under that hoof, quite unusual for a pony that size.

Riot cocked an eyebrow and looked down on the mare, then at the big buck. “Listen, I really am sorry for what happened, I don’t know what came over me.” Oh he knew full well what had come over him, as well as the fact that if It hadn’t been for Aurora, the large red stallion would have died.

The orange mare glared angrily up at him, drawing her height up a bit further. “Ah’ve half a mind to report ya’ll to the police, for assaultin’ poor Macintosh, he ain’t done nothin’ to you!”

Macintosh pressed his large hoof against his face, then slowly dragged it down. Riot in turn sighed. “Listen ma’am, I didn't mean to hurt Mr. Macintosh here. It was a mistake, one that I’ve apologized over several times.” Riot put on his best apologetic face in hopes of escaping this encounter.

The orange pony put her hoof down, and backed up a step. “Alright....but Ah’ll be watchin’ ya’.” She turned around, bounding back to her brother, who leaned forward, whispering in her ear. She fumed, and glared at the red pony.

Riot rolled his eyes, and quickly started to trot towards the town hall. He kept his gaze straight, avoiding the earth pony’s glare. He was becoming very uncomfortable, with all the looks he was getting from the ponies of the marketplace. Smirks, and grins, winks, and glares. The large grey pony took it all in forced stride, entering the large building.

The secretary that was chewing gum behind the desk looked up at him and exhaled slowly, showing her immediate dislike of the stallion with a bored, narrowed look.

“Like, what do you want?” She asked, valley-filly accent screwdriving into his ears.

“Where’s the Job board?” Riot met the mares bored look, then raised her with a hard military gaze.

Her eyebrow raised, and she tossed her head to the large bulletin board on the side of the room. Riot nodded quickly before making his way to the large corkwood board. His eyes scanned over the thing, and he quickly found that a small portion of the jobs were ones that he could barely even begin to stomach, like adjusting clocks or picking berries. The stallion sighed heavily before pulling a small notice off the board.

‘Help wanted. Need help building animal corral to keep chickens safe. Please come by cottage lane 12 and apply.’ Riot lifted an eyebrow at the notice. He could swear that the damn thing was whispering at him to convey the message, and if the flowing hoof script was any indication, the employer wasn’t looking for him. Riot placed the letter back on the board, and secretly hoped that there was something better than that up for offer.

Riots eyes fell on the next bit, a fancy hunk of header that looked like it belonged on the princesses lap. ‘Models needed, stallions only, see Rarity at Carousel boutique.’ Said the paper, with the mental image of the white pony winking at the grey stallion. Riot rolled his eyes. “When in doubt, it’s always an ambush.”

‘Strong ponies wanted, full-season helpers for Sweet Apple Acres, bi-weekly payment, free apples weekly, see Big Macintosh or Applejack at Sweet Apple Acres.’ Riot groaned. He wasn’t about to go and ask miss angry farm girl for work. Riot placed the notice back up, before his eyes fell on the last notice.

‘Need help moving heavy ass sound equipment, I’ll give you bits for Celestia's sake. Come by The ’Horseshoe' to help me move this shit.’ Riot chuckled, then pulled the stained yellow sticky note off the wall and placed it in his pocket. “Heavy lifting it is.”

Riot turned from the job board and made his way out of the town hall, barely noticing the mare behind the desk. He trotted onto the main drag of the town, and he quickly found himself wondering just where ‘The Horseshoe’ could be.

He looked at a large electrical pole, and smirked, seeing the small poster stapled to the wood. ‘The Horseshoe! Live music every night with DJ PON3! Five bits at the door, 16 Saddle street!’

“Well doesn’t that just solve all of my fuckin problems.” Riot turned from the pole and made his way towards 16 Saddle street.


It was about a half hour later before Riot found the club entrance. He grimaced as he stared down the little set of stairs that sat under a small overhang. “Of course its a bunker... Lovely.” He shook his head before hopping down the set of stairs with ease. He raised a hoof to knock, but found the door unlocked.

He entered the large, empty room, and saw a small white mare with an electric blue mane pushing at a huge stack of heavy amps, she squealed as it started to tilt the wrong way; she threw her hooves over her face, as if it would stop the several hundred-pound objects from crushing her into paste.

Riot dove forward, letting the stack of amps press against him as he slowed the things fall with his magic. He pushed upwards, hefting the stack back into place with a loud grunt and a bit of magic.

The mare continued cowering, eyes squeezed shut. She opened one tentatively, revealing a red iris. “I’m not dead?” She asked, straightening. She took a look at Riot, and smirked. “My hero?” She asked, sauntering up to the large pony.

“Your new employee.” He held up the little notice. “Unless I’ve got the wrong club.”

She quickly floated over a pair of purple-tinted sunglasses, hiding her red eyes from view. “Yup, only one in Ponyville.” She frowned slightly. “For all the good it does me.” She said, clopping a hoof against the concrete floor.

“Heh, tough business?” Riot looked over the small club, taking note of the raised DJ booth nestled in the corner.

“Yeah, what was I thinking? Opening a club in a backwater mudhole like this.” She sighed. “So, you here to help me move all this shit?” She asked. “Wait, what’s your name, big guy?”

“Riot.” His magic wrapped around one of the largest stacks of amps, allowing him to cart it about as he pressed his shoulder against them.

“Riot? I like it.” She said, ducking past him. “Vinyl, Vinyl Scratch.” The mare said, kneeling to her hooves, watching him work with a hoof on her chin, rubbing it in thought.

“Good to meet you ma’am. Where do you want this one?” He motioned towards a long amp, the last one in the pile.

“Ma’am? That’s a new one.” She smirked at him, wiggling a bit. “Just over there with the rest. Oh, and there’s a few more things over in the DJ booth I need moved.”

Riot nodded curtly before wheeling the long amp over, placing it on top of the others. “Alright, I’ll bolt these to the ground so we don’t have any more little ponies getting turned into pancakes.”

An eyebrow appeared from above the tinted glasses. “So, you new in town or something? Haven’t seen you around before.” She stood up, and looked Riot over, smirking.

“Yup.” Riots hoof went over to the door of the DJ booth. Pulling it open, he quickly found himself buried under an avalanche of stuff.

“Ooh, sorry about that one. I guess I packed in a little too much.” She said, pulling some of the smaller speakers, wires, and broken headsets off of him with her magic. “So, where you from Riot?” Vinyl asked, freeing the buck’s grimacing face.

“Born in Cork, but I didn’t stay long. Seen all kind of places after that.” He lifted the rest off of himself with his magic, and quickly saw it organized with a military grade sorting spell.

“Woah, that’s fucking cool, you’ll need to teach me that one.” She said in awe as her clutter floated along.

Riot chuckled quietly as he placed all of the assorted equipment in a semi-appropriate places. “You try organizing a barracks when the sarge is bearing down, you’ll learn how to get your shit in gear.”

“Military, huh?” She asked, darting around the stallion’s side. The mare slunk around him, looking him over stealthily. “I should’ve guessed. My ex-coltfriend was military.”

“It’s the scars, ain’t it?” He looked over to her, his smirk dying down to a tiny crack of the lips.

“Yeah, I like ‘em.” Vinyl said, making another lazy circle. “So, do you need any work?” She asked, eyebrows raising.

He nodded before grabbing a small drill from the toolbox in the corner along with a box of screws. “That’s why I’m here lass.”

Vinyl smirked again. “Well, I may have something for you to do, it could help my business, and keep me safe.” She darted underneath him, and around the other side. “I need somepony big and strong to make sure nopony comes in who could hurt anypony, how does that sound?”

“If there's good coin in it, and you stop circling me like a Timber wolf going for the kill, sure.”

She giggled cutely, looking into his eyes. “It’ll be worth your while. And I’m just making sure I’m making a good investment, your muscles aren’t the only reason you’re getting the job.” Vinyl smiled at him, and turned, flicking her tail at his face. She trotted into the DJ booth, wiggling her flanks as she trotted.

Riot nodded, smirking slightly as he followed her. “You still owe me for saving your ass.” He looked around quickly. “And moving everything.”

“Well, it is quite a pretty ass.” She said, smirking as she sat down, looking up at the stallion. “Hmm, how about twenty bits, and the job offer?”

“Make it twenty-five, and I need a place to smoke.” Riot plopped down next to the alabaster mare.

“Gah, you’re taking advantage of me!” Vinyl grinned, and thwapped the stallion with her tail. “It’s a deal, big guy.”

Riot nodded his head and offered his hoof to the mare, who took it up in hers and gave it a well meaning shake. “Good to be in business with you Miss Scratch.”

“Miss Scratch?” The mare feigned gagging. “Ponies called my mom that, just call me Vinyl, or Sexy, if you prefer.” Vinyl tilted her head up at him, wiggling her rear enticingly.

Riot rolled his eyes as he spoke. “Vinyl it is then.” He grinned down at her.

She pouted at the choice of name, but brightened slightly as a thought passed through her head. “You wanna drink?”

Riot frowned for a moment before shaking his head. “No, sorry. I don’t drink anymore.”

Vinyl looked at the stallion with mixed emotions fighting for dominance. “You’re my clubs bouncer...And you don’t drink? What?”

“I made a promise to a friend.”

“Well She better be a damn sexy friend, hooch is the best thing in life!” Vinyl smirked at him as she levitated over a bottle of alcohol.

Riot shook his head. “He was a good friend. He ain’t around anymore so I figured I’d make good on my promise.”

Vinyl winced as her words bit her in the flank. “Sorry.” She lifted the bottle of clear liquid as if in a toast. “To lost friends and shitty lovers!” She smirked broadley before downing a quarter of the bottle.

He cocked an eyebrow at the mare, watching her guzzle like no tomorrow. “You may want to take it easy there chief, it’s not even two yet.”

“Oh please, I’ve shotgunned everclear and zapapple moonshine. This is nothing.” She said, throwing back a short swig. The mare shot a look at him. “See, puss-” Her eyes shot open, and she sputtered, coughing. After a moment of clearing her throat, she giggled. ”This is why I don’t wake up till four.”

Riot rolled his eyes before smiling. “Maybe one of these days I’ll mix you something proper. Well, proper as in, might kill a weaker pony, but whatever.” He shrugged as he pulled the bottle away from her..

Vinyl coughed again, and reached out for the bottle with her magic, but it was so weakened by the mental barrage from the alcohol, that she ended up pulling his whole hoof towards her. “Y-you mix drinks too? Wow, that’s...” She smiled at him. “Prove it.”

Riot rolled his eyes in feigned annoyance, despite having found something to take his mind off his current train of thought. “We’ll see if you can handle trench mix. Where’s your hooch?”

“Hold on, what did you just ask me? We just met, don’t be so forward.” Vinyl giggled, playfully pushing him away. “Well.... Maybe, but only cause’ you’re cute.”

Riot groaned inwardly; he would be getting this a lot. “I need a tallcolt, and the supplies to make a 50/50 Stalliongrad Daisy Cutter, Dublin Hoof Stomper mix.” He stood up, then looked over to the remains of a tiny bar.

“Hmm, since the bar got trashed last week, I’m not sure what we have....” The white unicorn nickered. “Whole fucking joint is falling apart!” She shouted, punching the floor.

“I’ve fixed up worse.” He trotted over to the bar, then started rooting around inside it.

“Really? A repairbuck, too? I really hit the jackpot with you.” The mare said, trotting up behind him; slightly shakily from her recent slamming from the drink.

“Oh I’m sure I’ll give you a nice, solid reason to dislike me eventually.” Riot pulled up a fat mug, then a pair of small glasses. The rest, mostly alcohol, floated up to meet the glasses. “Alright, let’s see if I can make this work with what I’ve got.”

“Seriously, are you a robot or something? No one pony can know all this stuff.”

“You’d be surprised how much you can learn when you spend three years as a volunteer in a unit made up of conscripts.” He started working on the drinks, his hooves moving steadily and with purpose. “And you’d be willing to try almost anything to take the edge off when Griffon rebels are shelling your position.”

“Man, that’s hardcore.” She said, flipping up her shades, watching him with awe, eyes huge with interest.

Riot placed the pair of glasses in front of himself, each with the required drinks in them. His horn lit up, sending a small ball of energy into each cup. He pulled open his jacket, pulling a brass object from within it.

“Woah, woah, woah. Is that a bullet? What the hell are you going to do with that?” She asked, prodding him with her hoof.

“This is a thirty odd six hardened tracer. I don’t need the cartridge, I need the magic powder.” The round popped out of the casing after a short struggle. A short tap of the top saw a tiny amount of powder into the drink. Within seconds, the powder dissolved, and the amber drink turned into a deep purple. Without ceremony, Riot hoofed over the drink to the mare. “There you go, one Cremators Foley.”

“Gunpowder. In a drink.......You’re fucking amazing.” She looked into the glass, and swirled it slightly.

"Not gunpowder. That shit'll fuck you up worse than any hangover. This stuff is powdered magic residue." He frowned, capping the round. “Farley tried that once. I think he shot himself.” Finding nothing more to do, his eyes drifted around the bar. “Huh, that vodka’s gonna need to be changed over, it’s closer to rubbing alcohol than anything.”

The smaller mare shrugged, and downed the drink, eyes watering. She shook on her hooves, and belched as well, not bothering to cover it. “Da-damn that’s fucking-” She coughed, and continued. “Fucking good stuff, I need another one of you, do you have a brother who can work the bar? Preferably an identical twin.”

“He’s stationed in Libaneigh.” Riot paused, realizing the implications. “He’s not quite identical, and he can’t mix to save his life.” The tall stallion chuckled as he placed the glass in the sink.

She groaned. “Damn it, I need more eye candy. Maybe I can talk Cheerilee into becoming a dancer, that’d satisfy some hot-for-teacher feelings.” Vinyl said, rubbing her hooves together.

“Mfm.” Riot grunted in response as his thoughts continued to rift.

“What’s up with you?” She asked, scrunching her nose slightly.

“Nothin, just mulling some stuff over.” He leaned against the bar, a foul look crossing his features.

“Woah, cool the anger big guy, I don’t need more holes in the place. Have a seat, and tell Doctor Scratch all about it.” She patted the floor with her hoof.

He shook his head, wanting to be standing. For a moment Riot stayed quiet, not wanting to just up and share his problems with some mare he had just met; but he lacked anypony else to vent to. “I’m gone for eleven months, fighting and bleeding to keep her safe... I come back, and she’s talking about fucking pawning me off on other mares...She’s seriously trying to....” His eyes began to bore holes into the floor. “I feel like shit and she’s treating it like a game.” Riot rubbed his muzzle roughly for a moment. “I think I’m losing my mind.”

“Woah.” Vinyl said, surprise in her eyes. “Listen, I don’t know what you’re going through, or really enough about the situation, but that’s fucked up.” She said, placing a comforting hoof on the stallion’s shoulder. “And you’re......married to this mare?” She asked, frowning slightly.

“Nine years on, one year off, ten on after that. One foal, another on the way... I love her, but sometimes I don’t know why she does what she does. Part of me thinks it’s worse than it seems.” He blinked slowly, the desire to drown everything in alcohol and rage lifted up, only to be quashed down.

Vinyl exhaled slowly, rubbing the hoof into his back. “That’s rough......What do you think you’re going to do?”

“Don’t know yet, but I’m not leaving Hunter. No way in hell.” Riot closed his eyes slowly. “I’ll just hang out here during the night, go home, and see my son off to school while I try and figure out what’s going on.”

Vinyl frowned inwardly. “That.......doesn’t really fix things. Even though I do want you here during the nights, you need to talk to.....whatever her name is, get everything out in the open.”

Riot nodded his head slowly. “Yeah. I’ll go see Hunter once he gets out of school. I should probably be talking to Aurora about this, not some pony I just met.” Riot smirked when Vinyl pouted momentarily. “No offence.” He looked at the little mare. “But don’t you worry about any of this, I’ll still be here to do my job.”

“You’re some kind of superbuck. Why aren’t there single ones of you?” She asked, pouting.

“Hah, If things go sideways, I’ll need a sugar momma.” Riot prodded the mare with a playful hoof.

The mare smiled weakly. “I’m good with that. It’s a deeeep sugarbowl, too.” She said, wiggling her bountiful flanks again.

Riot grunted in response. “I just threw myself back into that hole.” He put out a pained smile.
“Oh joy.”

The mare gave Riot a playful shove. “Get a move on, Tiger. Get things sorted out before sundown, I need you here to work!” She said, pushing on his rear, to get him to stand.

“Alright alright, I’m goin.” He stood up, then offered a hoof of aid to the floored mare.

She smiled, and took it, standing on wobbly legs. “Celestia, that was strong stuff. This ol’ gal is gonna have trouble helping me get ready for tonight.” The alabaster DJ said, hoofing at her horn.

“We’ll see if you can still walk in an hour or so, if not...” He looked at her, smirking slightly before shrugging his shoulders. “Fuck if I know.”

“Well, then I’ll need a strong pony to take care of me once I’m crippled.” She said, going to work moving some of the smaller gear into position.

“I’m going to have to carry you everywhere aren’t I?” Riot steadied the mare as she started to sway.

“Or, you know, we could just stay in the house all the time. But bathing would be quite difficult without......assistance.”

“I’ll keep that in mind Vinyl, I’ll see you in a few.” Riot patted her head before making his way towards the door. “Drink lots of water and stay near the toilet.”

“Alright, alright. Just get moving loverbuck, that mare needs sorting out, so do you!” Vinyl called up the stairs, the door clanging shut behind him. Vinyl exhaled, sinking to the floor. “Vinyl Scratch, you are going to die alone.” The DJ said, whimpering pathetically.

Riot made his way out of the basement club and up the stairs. He squinted in the harsh afternoon light. “Celestia's really pouring it on today...” He turned his head, checking the street. There was a smattering of multi-coloured townsponies, but no-pony he knew. Riot shook his head, then started to trot towards the school. Despite how much he had dawdled, there was at least an half hour left in Hunters day, so he would have to wait.

“Alright little ones, that’s it for today.” The schoolteacher said warmly, just finishing up the class. As the students quickly got their things together, and prepared to leave, she said over the ensuing din. “And I want that math work done by tomorrow, we have a test friday!” She sat down at her desk, and opened a small folder, looking over some yet-to-be-marked tests.

Hunter trotted up to the teachers desk, placing the homework on her desk. “Here you go Miss Cheerilee.”

“Thank you, Hunter. Make sure you say hello to your mother and father for me.” She said, smiling down at the young colt.

“I sure will Miss Cheerilee, momma told me to say hello anyways. So Hello!”

The older mare laughed lightly, patting the little unicorn on the head. “Alright, have a good day, okay?”

“Alright Miss Cheerilee.” The colt raced out of the door, but quickly backtracked and picked up his bag in his teeth. He made towards the door and out into the field where the other foals were waiting to either be picked up, or were hanging out with friends.

The mare sighed contentedly, leaning back in her seat, happy with her empty, and quiet classroom, warm shafts of sunlight coming through the windows, painting the cozy classroom yellow.

Hunter trotted over to the colt who was taking pictures of the wildlife with his camera. “Hey! Thanks for your help with the math Featherweight!”

“No problem, man.” The lithe colt said, bumping hooves with the unicorn, fluttering his wings slightly.

Hunter looked about the playground; managing a smile; as Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon were nowhere to be seen. “Awesome, maybe I can help you with the history homework, my dad knows a lot about that kind of stuff, so I can just ask him.”

“Works for me, I think I can do it toda-” Featherweight paused, and frowned. “Wait, I have some stuff that needs doing for the newspaper. I’ll have to get back to you on that.”

Hunter shrugged his shoulders. “Alright, see you tomorrow.”

“See you.” The small pegasus said, fluttering off, little wings motoring.

The small colt turned, and started to trot towards town, until he saw a familiar set of figures approaching him on the road. Scootaloo rolled up in her scooter, a small wagon carrying another two familiar filles.

“See, that’s my baticorn friend, Hunter!” Sweetie said, pointing out the young colt. Both of her friends left the ‘vehicle’ and trotted to him, looking him over.

“Wah’ do you call ‘im a baticorn, Sweetie?” Applebloom asked, poking at his side. “He don’t got no wings.”

“Look! He’s got bat-pony ears, and he has a horn, baticorn!” The white unicorn squeaked, putting her hoof over one of his ears. “His mom is a bat pony, and she’s REALLY cool!” She said, smiling at her friends, showing off the colt like he was a new toy.

Hunter shook his head to hide his blush. “H-hi Sweetie, how’s It going?”

“I’m great! This is Scootaloo, and Applebloom.” She said, pointing to each of her friends. “They wanted to meet you proper after I told them I met a colt who wasn’t stupid, or mean. They thought I was lying.” She giggled, poking the colt on the nose.

“Well you ain’t lyin, I’m no dummy.” Hunter stuck his nose in the air before giggling.

“We’ll see....” Scootaloo said, circling the young unicorns. Applebloom started to do the same, in the other direction.

Both unicorns broke out into laughter as the two fillies collided into each other. Hunter snorted in laughter. “Looks like I’ll have to see if you’re the dummy Scooter.”

The pegasus and the earth pony took it in stride, giggling along with the two. “What are you going to do after school today, Hunter?” Sweetie asked, batting her eyelashes.

“I dunno, all my homework's done.” He looked about for a moment. “My momma gave me a couple bits, we could go to sugarcube corner.”

“Well, then lets go!....but you should probably ask your dad first, he should be coming to get you soon. Oh wait, there he is!” Sweetie said, pointing over the colt’s head.

Hunters head whipped around and his smile widened. “Dad!” He galloped over to the large buck, who lifted Hunter off his hooves.

“Hey little buddy! How was school?” Riot managed a weak smile as he embraced the colt.

“Great! I wanted to see if I could go into town, and play with the Cutie Mark Crusaders.” He asked, pointing to the three fillies to his side.

“Cutie mark crusaders?” Riot looked over to the fillies, and waved to Sweetie. “Alright, just be careful, and do me proud son.” He ruffled the colts mane with a hoof. “I’m gonna go talk to your teacher real quick. You want some bits for food?”

“Momma already gave me some, I’m going to bring the fillies to Sugarcube Corner.” He says, smiling up at his father, jingling a small bag of bits.

“Alright Hunter, you be good now ya hear?”

“Yes Dad.” The colt said, nuzzling his father’s leg for a moment. “Come on, Crusaders! Cupcakes are on me!” He called, running back to the trio.

Riot watched the colt run away with the fillies. He could only chuckled softly at the colts antics. “Kid’s gonna go far.” The buck shook his head, then turned to the school house.

Cheerilee was just looking over some papers, marking them with little movements of the pen clutched between her teeth. She looked up in surprise. “Oh, hello Mr. Venture, if you’re looking for Hunter, then he’s outside playing with a few of the other foals.”

The stallion entered, closing the door behind him. He exhaled slowly as he stood near the desk. Riot opened his eyes again and smiled. “Afternoon Miss Cheerilee.”

The teacher smiled sweetly as she adjusted herself in her seat. “And what brings you out here? Without Aurora?”

“I wanted to know how Hunters doing in school; stuff like that.”

Cheerilee let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding. “Hunter is doing quite well, all things considered. He took to the courses quite well, and anything he doesn’t understand he finds his own help. It’s very impressive.”

Riot nodded, expecting as much. “I figured he’d do well...” The stallion let out a breath. “Anything else I should know?” Riot stopped himself, a thought coming to mind. “So how did you and Aura become such fast friends? Last I checked we haven’t been in town all that long.”

The mare gulped unintentionally. “We uh... Well, we met through her just coming with Hunter to school, we found that we both had similar interests. I found it quite nice to talk with somepony so exotic and interesting.” Cheerilee forced a smile.

Riot chuckled, closing his eyes. “I had a similar reaction.”

Cheerilee let out a sigh, her smile remaining. “We started having coffee together quite often, it's become a bit of a habit for me.” The teacher chuckled at the thought. “She really is a very lovely mare. You're lucky to have her.” Cheerilee broadened her smile, but it didn't feel right somehow.

Riot nodded, ignoring the feeling in his gut. “Yeah, anyways, I just wanted to ask a favour from you.”

Cheerilee sputtered silently for a moment, her thoughts catching. “E-excuse me?”

Riot cocked an eyebrow and held up a hoof. “It ain't anything that deserves that reaction. It's just... She's been acting odd recently, I wanted you to keep an eye on her, make sure she's alright. That, and if something is going on, tell me.” Riot shrugged ”

Cheerilee placed her hooves together while they were on her desk and put on the best smile she could. “Of course, She's coming over tonight for coffee, I can pry a bit and see if she's doing alright.”

Riot nodded his thanks, then gestured towards the door. 'I suppose I've taken up enough of your time Cheerilee.

The teacher nodded, her eyes going to a stack of assignments that were left to be graded. Her head bolted up just as Riot neared the door. “Say, Mr. Venture?” The stallion turned his head and cocked an eyebrow. “Could you tell Aurora to bring her sugar? I'm afraid I'm a bit low.”

Riot lifted his hoof as he trotted away, signaling that he would do ask she asked. Once he was free and clear of the school grounds, Riot realized that he really didn't have anything to do. His internal compass; on autopilot; put him right back where he’d left off, the club. Not even his subconscious would let him shirk his responsibilities. The large grey buck sighed, heading inside.

He trotted inside, making his way over to a small couch. He plopped down silently, running his hooves down his face and through his light beard. His attention was drawn to the DJ booth when a sharp squeak emitted from within. Riot crammed his anger deep inside. Now was not the time for his feelings. He stood up, and quickly trotted over, opening the door.

Vinyl was huddled under the soundboard, cursing sharply as arcs of electricity zapped her unprotected hoof. Riot tapped the outside of her thigh, causing the mare to yelp in surprise and smack her head into the under side of the set-up.

She quickly flicked her sunglasses back on after placing a hoof over her forehead. “Fuck! That hurt like a bitch.” Vinyl looked up angrily, but the look wavered for a moment. 'Oh! Hey Riot, you're back early.”

“A good soldier always knows when he’s needed. He may not know why or how, but that rarely matters.” Riot leaned against the soundboard as his eyes wandered about.

Vinyl rolled her eyes before pulling herself out from under the table. “Help me up.” She held her hooves up, like a foal would. “Vinyl want up.” Riot laughed before he griped her hooves with his and pulled the mare up. Vinyl popped up and flashed Riot a smirk. “Question still stands Tiger, why are you back so early?”

Riot shrugged, finding a spot against the wall that he could lean against. “Nothing to do really, figured I'd come and help out. Again.”

Vinyl plopped down on a small beanbag chair that sat near the corner. It looked... Crusty. Riot suppressed a shudder as his mind conjured the amount of unspeakable acts that had been preformed on that oversized plush chair.

The alabaster mare blew a raspberry at him. “I don't need your help! I'm a strong, independant unicorn!” She threw a hoof in the air, before losing her balance and falling deeper into the chair. She glared at Riot from over the brim. 'My point still stands.”

Riot simply shrugged. “Whatever you say boss, I'll just go over to the bar, and mix more drinks, and maybe take off some-” He cut himself off as Vinyl started lunging forward in a desperate attempt to get to her hooves. To make matters worse for her, and for his own enjoyment, Riot trotted out of the dj booth, listening to the increasingly frantic noises Vinyl made in an attempt to get up and be lecherous.

Taking a seat by the bar, Riot managed a smile. Within a few minutes, the door of the booth swung open, and a sweaty Vinyl galloped over to the bar; out of breath and huffing. “W-why... Why isn't there any booze out? And... Why... Aren't you naked?”

Riot cracked an evil smile. “Because I'm a devious bastard who can still make the most out of shape independant unicorn bolt out of her seat.”

Vinyl let out a sound that was more akin to an animal dying horribly as she flopped against the bar. “You! You....You suck!” She took a lazy swing at his shoulder, but only met empty air. “You're an evil pony! You.. you.. you.... Jerk.”

Riot waved it off. “Come on boss, regulate your breaths and try to not waste so much energy. You've got a long night ahead of you.”

Vinyl groaned one more time, and placed her glasses back on her face, getting to her hooves. “You’re right, the show must go on.” She said, wandering off back to the dj booth; hopefully to do her thing with the crazy criss-cross of wires.


Riot stood back, nodding happily at his achievements over the past two hours. He looked over at Vinyl, who was still flank deep in the wires. “I’m gonna slip out real quick boss, gonna head on home and grab some things before we open.”

There was a near-silent ‘mmhmm’ followed by a short zap and a loud curse. Riot chuckled before heading towards the door. The evening air nipped at his coat as he trotted up the short flight of steps for the fourth time that day.


Riot stopped short of the front door to his domicile. He exhaled slowly, then pushed the door open. Aurora was inside, eating dinner with Hunter. They both looked up; Hunter smiled, Aurora frowned. “Hello, hun’, we missed you. Where have you been?” She asked warmly, taking a bite of dinner.

“Found some work, gonna be there for most of the night.” He moved towards the colt before rustling the foals mane. “How was your day out Hunter?”

“It was awesome! Sweetie Belle’s friends are cool! She kept rubbing up against me on the scooter ride home though, I think there’s something wrong with her. “ He said, scrunching his face slightly as he ate. “I think she might have the cooties.”

Riot smiled as he grabbed a plate of food. “I’m glad you’re making friends buddy.” He sat down between Hunter and Aurora, then dug into his meal.

“Where are you working, Ash?” Aurora asked, looking up from her meal.

“In town.”

She sighed exasperatedly, and Hunter giggled a little. “Where in town, Ash?”

“Working as a bouncer for the club in town.” Riot started on his small salad once he was done with the hay fries.

“I thought you hated clubs!’ Aurora scrunched her muzzle up before she spoke again. “It better not be the club run by that Scratch mare.” She asked, interest and distaste rising in her voice.

“There’s only one club in town Aurora.” Riot focused on his food as he tried to shake focus on his meal.

The mare rolled her eyes, malice becoming apparent in her voice. “Ooh, I heard about Miss Scratch before. I heard a few of the other mares saying that she's a wh-”

“Aurora!” Riots hoof impacted the table, causing the ponies there to jump. He looked over to Hunter, his expression softening slightly. “Go to your room real quick, alright buddy?”

“Uhh, alright Dad....Is everything okay?” The colt asked, feeling the tension between his parents.

“It’s fine son, I just need to talk to your mother privately.” Riot stood, scraping off the remains of his food into the trash.

“Okay....” The small colt frowned, trotting slowly from the room. The two adults didn’t start until they’d heard his door close.

Aurora started angrily, “Ash-” But was quickly cut off.

“Aurora, what the fuck?” Riot placed his empty plate in the sink, then hit it with a short burst of water. “You're gonna start going off about ponies in front of Hunter?.”

“Oh, and I'm supposed to keep my mouth shut when you tell me that you're working for the biggest slut in town!?” The bat pony demanded, standing as well.

Riot growled in anger, but smothered it into a sigh. “Really Aura? Fucking...REALLY!?” Riot swung his hoof to the side, knocking over something on the counter. “You honestly think I would do anything? You fucking distrust me so much that you actually think that!? Are you daft!?”

Aurora balked, not expecting such a sudden attack. “I-I..No! No, I just-””She wavered, her hoof falling. “”No, It's just that I've been under a lot of stress from work lately, and that mare's not exactly carrying such a wonderful reputation.”Aurora took a step towards the angered Riot. Äsh, please, just-

“I went to talk to Cheerilee today too!” Riot turned away from her, pacing angrily around the kitchen. Ï suppose that since I can't be trusted, I must have bent her over her desk and runted her fucking teeth out!”

Riots head recoiled a small amount as Aurora's hoof slapped across his cheek. The mare stood in front of him; chest heaving in and out as she sucked in air between sobs. “Ash...”

He scowled at her before turning away. The swelling had already started under his eye where she had punched him. The mare calmed herself enough to realize what she had done. “Ash, I'm sorry, I-” Riot held up a hoof, stopping her as she made an attempt to get closer.

“So is this it?” He asked, catching her off guard. “Is this how our marriage ends?” He cocked an eyebrow, and he stared her down. “Are we really gonna do this again?”

“N-no...t-that’s n-not....” She cowered slightly, sitting on her haunches. “P-please, Ash....take me back, I'm sorry about what I said, and for hitting you...”

His anger ebbed, sadness replacing it, but he kept his voice level so that Hunter couldn’t hear them. “I’m dealing with some heavy shit right now Aurora, I was almost court marshaled three months ago. I’ve got some serious issues that I need help dealing with, and I need you to help me. I can't do this without you.” Riot fought to keep his voice low. “I promised I would be faithful to you Aura, I'm not gonna cheat on you. Please just trust me.”

“Y-you...” The mare sucked in a breath,, before nodding. 'Okay.” She said, putting a hoof on his chest. “I love you Ash, more than anything. I’m sorry that life is hard, but I need help too! I can't do everything on my own anymore.”
Riot clenched his eyes shut. "I know Aurora, that's why I went to get work. I want to make sure that both you and our foals have a good home.” Riot opened his eyes and shook his head. "I'm gonna head out to work now. I'll come back after and we'll figure this out."

Aurora scowled before turning away. “Alright, but I'm not gonna pretend that I like where you're working!”

Riot rolled his eyes and stood straight. As the remainders of his anger and worries were stuffed deep down, he remembered what Cheerille had said. “What time you going to see Cheerilee?”

Aurora jolted for a moment, her eyes going wide for a split second. “W-what?”

“When I talked to her about Hunter and school, she said that you two were having coffee tonight. I just wanted to know when.”

Aurora let out a silent breath.”After I put Hunter to bed.”
Riot nodded as he turned. “I’m going to tuck my son in.” Before he left, he looked over his shoulder. “Oh, and before I forget, Cheerille said to bring your sugar. Said she was low.”

The mares eyes widened again, but Riot didn't see. “Yeah, okay. Thanks hun.”

His hoof-falls echoed down the hall and towards the colts door. Riot wiped his eyes, then sighed heavily before opening it up. Hunter looked up from his lego and smiled.

“Hi dad, is everything okay?” Hunter dropped his voice. “Did momma yell at you?”

“Your momma's a very opinionated mare.” Riot sat down next to the colt and rested his large head on the tiny shoulder. “So, whatcha building?”

Hunter nodded slowly, taking in his words. The colt promptly set his toys down and looked at the older stallion. “Dunno really. I’m not really focusing.....Dad, why are fillies so complicated?”

Riot balked at the question, his hoof moving up to the back of his head. “I wish I could answer you Hunter... I really wish I could.”

“But I thought you knew everything?” Hunter asked, hoof over his mouth in amazement.

“Heh, not really little buddy. But mares are one of the last remaining mysteries in ponykind. Riot lifted his hoof towards the legos. “Take these for example. You’ve grabbed a couple blocks, and when you’re done, you’ve made something with them.”

Riot pointed towards the blocks, then to the box full of them. “The blocks are like your brain. You know what you what to do with them most of the time, and if you need to think about something, you sit down and think.” He pointed at the box. “That is a mares brain. It’s all jumbled up with things that we don’t even know about, and they always have more thought going on than what they need. They have so much going on, they’ll never know if they need more blocks.”

“Thats kind of silly. Why don’t they just try to keep things simple?” The foal asked, looking up at his father.

“They can’t, they actually think that what they’re doing is simple, and that colts are dumb for not thinking the same way.” He leaned in close to the colt. “It’s not simple, and we’re actually pretty smart.”

“Alright....I think I might understand...a little.” The colt yawned, getting into bed. “Will I see you tomorrow, Daddy?”

“Of course Hunter, I’ll be here to see you off to school.” Riot nuzzled the colt as he pulled up the covers. “I love you so much Hunter.”

The colt snuggled into the covers, nuzzling back at his father. “I love you too Daddy.”

Riot stood up, then turned for the door. He halted at the threshold; looking over his shoulder at the form of his son. “Good night Hunter.” His hoof flicked off the light, and the door closed silently behind him.

Riots hooves carried him to his room, where a large duffel bag was filled with a few necessities. A spare shirt, pants and a first aid kit. A couple snacks and a bottle of water. Riot tossed the bag over his shoulder and started trotting towards the front door.

Aurora sat in the kitchen, avoiding eye contact with him as he trotted out the door.

Riots hooves clattered down the concrete steps and into the club. There was a small neon sign hanging up outside now, selling out the clubs entrance. The door clicked open and Riot treaded in. He walked over to the Bar, depositing his duffel bag behind it. The mare standing behind the bar cocked an eyebrow at him, but didn’t say anything.

He jumped slightly when music started to play through the speakers, but he took it as a sign to start his shift. Riot waved over to the DJ booth, then moved outside. A small sign advertised the club, and also informed Riot of the entrance price. The rest he could figure out on his own.

The street was mostly empty for the first ten minutes for his shift, but then the ponies started trickling in. Mostly mares, he noticed. A short, chubby blue earth pony came up to him and spoke.

“So, handsome, how much is it for thirty minutes with you?” She winked up at him, smiling.

Riot looked down at her, then motioned towards the poster near the door. “Five bits for entry.”

The mare purred, flicking her tail up, and curling around his neck. “Come on then, handsome, lets go have some fun.”

“Sorry ma’am, I’m workin at the moment.” He motioned towards a small group of mares moving towards the club, as well as a single buck moving towards them as well. “But as long as everypony stays nice and cordial, I may come in and play a little.”

Her face grew a bit irritated. “Alright then, but hurry it up, loverbuck.” She said, thwapping his flank with her tail on the way past, wiggling her giant flanks as she walked into the first room.

Riot shook his head slowly. “This is going to be so much fun. Yaaaay.” Fun like shrapnel in the stomach.

The next group was a light blue pegasus with a shaggy purple mane, a small mint-colored unicorn, and a beige earth pony with a two-toned mane. They came as a group, giggling at some joke as they arrived at the doors. “Oooh, I don’t remember the Horseshoe having such good looking.....” The mint unicorn started, but coughed when the earth pony shot her a look. “Umm, wallpaper?” She offered, hooves raising defensively.”

“Oh come on, Bon Bon, look at him! He’s preeeetttyyy.” The pegasus said, floating through the air as lazily as she could wish.

Riot nodded at them “Evenin ladies, if you’re comin’ in, it’ll be five bits.”

As each pony passed him, giving him his bits, the unicorn slipped an extra five into his jacket pocket. “And five more for you, big guy.”

“Much appreciated.” Riot winked at her, before opening the door for the mares. The minty mare blushed, quickly trotting in behind her friends.

The next two to come was a caramel earth pony, and......Big Macintosh. The pair walked up to him, the caramel pony looking decisively.....mare-ish.

Riot managed a flat smile before just waving the pair in. “Free entry, it’ll stop the lecherous ones from coming back out.”

“Oooh, isn’t he generous?” The caramel pony said, putting his hooves on Riot’s back, looking to Big Macintosh. The mere touch made Riot tense, holding back the desire to mangle the stallion.

“Eeeyup.” Was the only reply. Macintosh gave a smile of gratitude to Riot as they passed, followed by a tiny nod.

“Have fun you two, don’t get too rowdy.” Riot held the door open, allowing the bucks entry.

“Don’t worry, this one wouldn’t hurt a fly, he’s reaaaalll gentle.....unless you ask real nice.” The caramel buck smirked at Riot, and curled his tail under Big Mac’s belly.

As the door closed behind the bucks, Riot grimaced deeply as his eyes clamped shut. “Gaaaaaaaay...”

The next couple of groups passed without.....incident; and then the ponies started really pouring in. Riot didn’t know what it was, Vinyl had said they’d been losing money, with this many ponies they’d need a second club. A line was forming at this point, there wasn’t enough room for everypony. He was getting piles of tips, though. Some ponies were tipping five, and ten bits to him, his pockets were getting full, a pickpocket wouldn’t even have to try to lift a few bits off of him.

“Come onnn! Let us in, what’s the matter, our bits no good here?” A cyan pegasus said impatiently, prodding Riot in the chest.

“You’d prolly suffocate in there.” Riot looked at the line up, shaking his head. “I can’t just let everypony in, this place is only set up for sixty ponies maximum.”

“Pssh, yeah right, you’re probably just making sure you get some statistic like ‘20% pegasi’, racist.” She snorted.

He leveled his gaze at the small mare. “I’m dead serious. If I let any more of you folks in, there’ll be more pony than air in there.”

She seemed to mull this over, and then slumped against the wall. “Alright, but I don’t want to be waiting out here all night.”

Just then the door popped open and a pair of tipsy unicorn wandered out. Riot smirked as he glanced at the cyan mare. “You’re in luck lass.”

“Awesome!” She said, ziping past Riot, and down the stairs.

Nopony had to wait, actually. Once the line had formed, nopony else arrived, and ponies were leaving steadily. They’d filled up around one AM, and were still going to be open for a few hours. With nopony else coming, Riot decided to make good on his offer to come inside once things died down. After locking the door, he went inside, and quickly checked to make sure the push bar would open the door from the inside, satisfied, he trotted towards the bar. Once there, he emptied his pockets into a small register that sat under the bar. Poking his head over the edge, he frowned at the gyrating mass of bodies. “Bloody sweat factory...” He stood up, placing his hooves on the bar. The bartender nickered at him, but didn’t move away from the glasses she was cleaning.

He’d barely done anything before he felt a soft hoof on his flank. “Hey there, handsome.” The mare’s voice growled seductively in his ear. “So, how about it? Want to take a ride on the Cake Causeway?”

Riot grimaced, unbeknownst to the tipsy mare. “How bout I get you a drink? You look pretty thirsty.”

“Alright, handsome.” She said, trotting next to him, sweeping her poofy pink tail over his back, and then under his belly, curling around his opposite leg, then grinned at him when she thought she found what she was looking for.

Just think of the dentist, don’t think about the crazy chubby mare who looks like she’s quaffed out a few foals... And a Howitzer.... He looked up from the beer he had pulled up and forced a smile. Scratch that, I won’t have to try very hard with her sitting there. Riot slid the beer over to the mare.

The mare took the bottle’s neck into her mouth, and leaned her head back, twisting her teeth. She put the bottle back down, and smiled with the cap between her teeth. The mare picked the bottle back up between her hooves, and brought it to her mouth. She took the first bit of the bottle into her mouth, the liquid glugging into her mouth. Half of the neck entered her mouth, she smiled lecherously at Riot. She took the entire neck of the bottle into her mouth, the beer depositing itself directly in her stomach. It was at that point that Riot sincerely wished he was getting shot at.

Riot raised a disinterested eyebrow at the mare, before turning to the bartender and motioning towards the mare. The purple bartender face-hoofed then whipped a napkin at the mare. “Come on! Don’t be deepthroating bottles in public, that’s something you do at home or in the bathroom!” The bartender shooed the mare away.

The blue earth pony snorted angrily, and looked to Riot. “Remember handsome, offer’s still open for one night only, don’t miss it.” She said as she sauntered off, flanks bouncing with the beat, tail raised ever so slightly.

Riot exhaled slowly before smiling at the bartender. “ I've seen some shit in my days, and it's apparent those days are coming to a middle.” He managed a weak frown before looking at the purple bartender. “Thanks lass, she was getting a little too... Frisky.”

“Not a problem, she’s always poaching young bucks; she gets off on it. Don’t believe that ‘one night only’ crap, she’s here every night.”

The buck nodded slowly. “Roger that.” He lifted his hoof up. “Didn’t catch your name; I’m Riot.”

“Berry, Berry Punch.” She said, shaking his hoof, and then sliding a beer down the bar when a few bits were placed upon it.

“Let’s hope these ponies don’t get too rowdy, I don’t think that DJ booth is held together with more than spit and wishful thinking.” Riot reached down into the bar, pulling out a bottle of beer and hoofing it to an already tipsy mint unicorn. Thankfully, he was behind the bar, but out of Berry’s way.

“It ain't spit. Trust me.” Berry smirked at him before laughing. “We’ve had worse, the first night our bouncer took off with one of the guests, and this place got filled to eighty ponies, there were pegasi all over the ceiling like barnswallows, the crowd was insane, we almost lost a wall, I’m sure of it.”

“Celestia...I can see that being a real problem, especially considering how...’Rowdy’ some of them get.” Riot leaned back, taking in the crowd and scanning for troublemakers. He did his best to ignore the debauchery in the gyrating crowd

“I’m surprised, honestly. Ninety percent of stallions would have already been gone with all the attention you’ve been getting. You could open your own damn business in the stallions bathroom.” She said, bumping him in the side with hers.

Riot chuckled over the bumping music. “Maybe with all of this increased revenue, we can find a bigger place, or take over a field or something.” He tapped a hoof against his chin. “Maybe I should open up in the bathroom, the extra bits could buy us into Canterlot.”

Berry smiled. “Hey, if you’re taking the stallions bathroom, I’ll do the fillies. Vinyl drilled those holes in the wall of stall three for a reason.” She said, giggling. “Lets do it, we’ll get a massive place with all that money.”

“Hah, sorry. Ain't my scene.” He shook his head as a couple ponies filtered out of the club. “Wife wouldn’t be too pleased.”

The mulberry mare blew a bit of hair out of her face. “Feh, monogamy.” She looked at him curiously. “This place does have a bit of a reputation, I’m surprised she let you bounce here. Especially looking like you do.”

“I’m sure she had her reasons.” Riot leaned forward onto the bar, poking at a comatose red stallion with four shot glasses littering the bar around him. “Heh, lightweight.” He considered Berry's words for a moment before speaking. 'Wait, looking like I do?”

The Stallion looked up, smiling at him. “It's 'cause you're pretty, Captain.” The red pegasus said, winking. Berry simply shrugged her agreement.

Riot scowled deeply as he poked the Stallion again. Harder this time. “No. I ain't there, you go away.”

“What’s wrong, Boss? Aren’t you happy to see me?” The pony asked. “Another one, if you please, Berry.”

“Gorram it. Last place I’d ever think of seeing you, that’s for sure.” Riot pushed a beer towards the stallion. “Lighten up, I'm not pouring you out of here when we close.”

Wildman rolled his eyes. “Yes, Mom.” He sipped at the drink, watching the crowd. “So, did Mrs. Cake find you yet? What are you doing here, anyway? Don’t you have a nice, exotic bat pony mare to run home to?”

“I’m the new bouncer. Didn’t like sitting on my hooves all damn day, so I got a job.” Riot looked up at the throbbing throng of bodies behind the pegasus. “And yes, I ran into a fat blue mare who wanted to ride my pony stick.”

Wildman smiled, leaning back into the bar. “Yeaaah......she’s a real firecracker, that one. Nearly had a heart attack, I swear to Celestia. I can’t believe Mr. Cake is still alive.” He watched a pair of mares walk by, smirking to himself.

Riot shook his head. “Crazy bitch.” He looked at the pegasus before breaking into a half grin. “So what brings you out here?”

“Oh, you know. Got discharged cause of my injuries, came home for a while. Decided to move on, see what it was like in a new town. Cloudsdale life was starting to grate, having to balloon everywhere.” Wildman said, flapping his single wing a few times.

“Feh, yeah I can see where that would start to really blow.” Riot reached down, grabbing a bottle of water for himself. He grimaced for a moment before looking at the buck. “Have you had any...problems, coming back into civilian life?”

“Nope, just fine. A nightmare here or there of getting fucking immolated and my wing falling off along with my cutie marks, but I guess it comes with the territory.” Wild said, sipping the brew between his hooves. “Why?”

Riot rubbed the back of his head. “I don’t know man... I had an incident a couple days ago.” He sighed heavily before downing the weak brew. "And I keep waking up to the smell of thermite and death."

“What’s up? Was that the assault in the Marketplace I heard about? I thought of you when I read that in the paper.” Wild laughed, finishing his drink.

Riot shook his head. “Park, actually.”

The red stallion frowned slightly, placing his drink on the bar. “I see. Well then, I’m just glad nopony got hurt. And you’re saying that was because of the switch between military to civilian?”

“No...It’s something different.” Riot rubbed his face as he watched a few more ponies file out. “I was back on that fucking hill Wild. Hill Forty Two.”

Wildman leaned back, putting his hooves over his face. “Yeah man.....I understand. I still get the shakes over it some times. I’m not sure what was worse, flying, or galloping. They had flak cannons. I saw a griffon shredded by one of those things. It was not pretty.”

Riot nodded, ignoring some of the attention their reminiscing had gotten. “I keep seeing the assault every now and then. I’m crawling through the mud, and their artillery is pounding the ever living shit out of us.” He shuddered for a moment. “I woke up once, and my chest was pounding like it was when those tunnels opened up.”

“Yeah.....I know.” The pegasus became uncharacteristically somber. “That flamedog......that fucking flamedog. I never saw him coming......” He shuddered, looking at the ceiling. When his head came back down, he was all smiles again. “But those are old wounds. And you know how to shut them up? Hard alcohol. Berry?”

The mare waved a hoof at him, either pretending, or actually not caring about their conversation. “Kind of busy!”

Riot shook his head, reaching down into the bar. “I'll fix you something.”

“Captain's special, Boss.”

Riot looked up at the pegasus, then at the mare who simply shrugged her shoulders and went back to taking care of a trio of mares who were working a beer bong. “Alright, but you’re getting a shot glass.”

“Awwww, what are you, my mom? No, wait, if you were my mom, the bar would have been empty at this point.” Wild said, rolling his eyes. “Get on with it, Cap.”

Riot shook his head, the ghost of a smile breaking out on his muzzle. He went through the necessary steps to make his special brew. Roughly a minute later, he had three shot glasses prepared. “Here ya go lad, I gave you a double shot of the Hoof Stomper.”

“Who’s the extras for? I thought you quit.” Wild asked, pounding back the first shotglass and coughing violently; he smiled through the burn.

Riot picked up the glasses with his magic. “The dead.” He poured the first onto the ground, then lifted the empty glass up; a move the red pegasus mirrored. “And the DJ. I’ll be back in five.” He trotted out from behind the bar and started to trot towards the booth.

“Hey, Riot! Give that flank a smack for me!” Wild called, giggling as he pounded back the next drink, smirking up at Berry. “Give me a kiss, lass.” The pegasus said, butchering Riot’s accent.

“Pssh, shat ap!” Berry threw a hoof towel at the pegasus; striking him in the muzzle.

Riot made his way through the crowd, making extra sure that the drink didn’t spill. Eventually, he came up on the short stairway that led up to the DJ booth. Easily climbing them with a short few steps, Riot knocked quickly before entering the booth.

“Heeeey, Riot!” Vinyl called, bobbing her head to the beat, her hooves on the DJ table, looking behind her at him, bobbing her whole body, the white mares body jerking to and fro.

He smirked heavily as he walked in, closing the door behind himself. “I brought booze.” Riot floated the shot glass over to the mare.

“Sawweeet!” She said, pounding the hard drink back. Vinyl wobbled slightly, falling back into the stallion’s hooves. “Thanks for the catch, Tiger.”

“No problem Vinyl.” He stretched after hoisting her back into position. “The red idiot at the bar says hello. He also wants me to smack your ass like you’re a bad filly, but I’ve decided against that course of action.”

“Well, tell him that he shouldn’t send somepony else, and that he should come get it himself.” She said, smirking at the grey stallion, wiggling her rear.

“Nah, I gave him a double hit of the Hoof Stomper, he couldn’t walk if he wanted to.” Riot smiled at her as he watched as the mare pulled off the left record, only to replace it with another.

“Well, I’ve got some time before my next set.....” She said, stepping away from the table. “Go get your friend, you can come too, if you want...” Vinyl continued, brushing against the stallion’s side, her body hot with the temperature of the room and the inclosed space of the booth.

“So what was all that about needing me? You’ve got plenty of ponies jumpin’ at the chance to be with you.” Riot nudged her flank with his own.

“Yeah, but this buck’ll be like all the others, just up for a quick flank spank, and then off to the next ass that walks by, right?” She asked, blushing slightly as he brushed by her flank.

Riot waved a dismissive hoof. “I’ll leave you to it then. Someponies gotta watch the club.”

“Come ooonnn, Tiger. You don’t want any of this? At all?” She asked, pushing her thick rear into him.

Riot rolled his eyes, giving the mares side a light hearted thwap with his tail. “Tell Wild I said hi.”

“I will, but going by reputation, you might have to come to me.” She said, trotting out of the booth, making her way to the bar.

“Wonderful, I’ll have to deal with a carpet burn victim and a drunkard.” Riot shook his head, then looked over the still gyrating crowd. “OI! No drug dealing in the club!” He clambered down the steps and through the crowd towards a shifty looking buck.

The dull brown earth pony’s eyes widened. “Aww man, Flutts’ Get the fuck over here!” He called out, to nopony in particular. “We have a problem!” The stallion turned on his hoof and slipped something into a ragged jacket.

Riots eyes narrowed. “Hey! Buddy, I wanna talk to you.”

The stallion glared at Riot through green eyes. “The fuck do you want maaan?” He slurred the last word a bit, easily grating on Riots nerves.

Riot narrowed his gaze. “Don’t act like you weren’t doing anything.” He closed the distance between himself and the shaggy pony. “Come here!”

Without a second to lose, the brown pony bolted out the door, dragging a surprised pale yellow pegasus with him. Riot galloped over to the door, then stuck his head out. “I’ll remember your face buckwheat, nopony cokes up in my club!” He scowled at the pair, just as they stopped at one of the corners. The brown buck made the mistake of looking back. Riot bored into the ponies eyes with his thousand yard stare as he drew a hoof along his neckline..

The pony waved a hoof at him. “Come and get me then, big guy!” He shouted before sneering, acting like he’d won a contest or something..

Riot shook his head, his features becoming warped with rage. “I will bombard you, motherfucker!”

The stallion whistled, like calling a dog. “Come on you fascist guard dog, come on!”

Riot almost followed, but pulled back as he stepped on something metal. Looking down, Riot grasped a large buck knife, one which would easily intimidate a pony who had no spine. He cocked an eyebrow as he looked back at the brown pony.

“Hey man!! Put that down!That’s mine man!!” The brown pony yelled, taking a frantic few steps towards the grey stallion.

“What, this?” Riot waved the thing lazily. “It’s just a piece of shit butter-knife, I’ll go melt it down or something.”

The pony put his hooves up. “Woah woah woah, lets not be hasty bro, just gimme back my knife!”

The pale yellow mare turned to him and said something, but was so quiet even Riot couldn’t make out what she was saying.

The stallion on the other hoof, was much easier to hear. “Don’t be so fucking stupid Flutts, that's MY knife!”

Riot thought for a moment, before smirking dangerously. “You want this glorified butt-plug? Cause I know somepony who could REALLY use it. He waved the rounded end at the stallion before slamming the door shut.

Riot trotted through the crowd towards the bar. As he reached the bar, Riot slid the knife over to Berry, who cocked an eyebrow at it. Riot simply shrugged. “Do whatever the fuck you want with it, I don’t care.”

The mare placed it up on the mantle of the bar. “This is cool, I’m keepin’ it. If you’re looking for your friend, he and Vinyl disappeared about five minutes ago, that way.” She said, pointing towards the bathrooms.

Riot waved a hoof. “Then they already finished about three minutes ago.” He sat down in front of the bar. “Bloody idiots trying to sell drugs and shit in the middle of the club.”

“What? Since when does that happen?” She asked, sitting down as well. The club was beginning to wind down, there were maybe about two thirds the number of ponies from before.

“Fuck if I know, all I saw was this bag of something being offered about. I called him out on it and he bailed like a scared rabbit.” Riot rested his elbows on the bar, then rested his face in his hooves.

“Eh, you’ll get him next time.” She said, patting the grey stallion on the foreleg. “I think you might be able to call it, it looks like everypony’s just about passed out.” Berry said, wiping the bar with a rag.

Riot looked over his shoulder and sighed. “Vinyls supposed to do that, but I suppose I may as well considering she’s prolly taking a red cock up the ass right now.” He stood up and trotted over to the DJ booth. After a short bit, he found the volume knob and turned it down. “Thanks for the awesome turn out folks, feel free to drop by tomorrow night!” Exits are over there, and there.” He pointed to both exits with his hoof. “Have a good night, and remember not to fly drunk.”

The ponies quickly filled out, wobbling through the doors. About five minutes later, Wildman trotted out of the bathroom, single wing laying over Vinyl’s white side. “Hey there, Riot.” He said, smiling widely, nuzzling the white pony.

He lifted a hoof up, waving lamely at the pair. “Howdy.”

“And how are you, Tiger?” Vinyl asked, legs buckling slightly.

“Just fine, had to chase a pair out when they tried to sell some shit on the floor. Got a nice trophy out of the deal.” He pointed at the mantle above the bar.

“Drugs? In my club?!” Vinyl tried to wiggle out from Wild’s embrace, but failed. “I’ll tear ‘em limb from limb!” Vinyl struggled, but gave up, nuzzling back into the ex-military pegasus.

“Right right, anyways...Bits are in the bar.” Riot ran a hoof through his mane, shaking his head slowly.

“Alright, thanks for doing such good work. Take thirty home with you.” She nuzzled the red pegasus next to her, and whispered in his ear. Wild perked up instantly, a blush appearing over his already-red face.

He coughed. “So, Riot, are you leaving any time soon?”

Riot nodded slowly. “Prolly.”

“Y-yeah, you should umm, do that. Like soon.” He said, twitching as Vinyl ran her tail over his underside.

Rolling his eyes, Riot stayed silent. Trotting over to his duffel bag, Riot pulled off the heavy jacket and replaced the sweaty shirt under it with a fresh one.

Vinyl and Wildman trotted into the DJ booth, closing the door behind them. Riot heard the door lock.

Shaking his head, he turned away from the sight. “Some shit never changes.”Riot waved to Berry, who was helping herself to a full bottle of whiskey. “Don’t drink too much Berry.”

“No such thing.” She said, leaning back, sipping the whiskey as the DJ booth started shaking.

“I hope the DJ booth bottoms out.” He tossed the bag over his shoulder and started towards the door. “See you tomorrow.”

“See ya.” She smirked, standing. “I think I’m gonna go see if they need any help. “She said, cheeks reddening from the amount of hard alcohol in her system.

Riot pushed the door open and exited into the cool night air. He exhaled slowly, then started trotting towards the park. His hooves crunched across the packed dirt and gravel as he went. Riot sniffed the air, noting the coolness. “Might actually snow soon.” The park came into view, as did the number of trees within it.

He heard a set of hooves crunching in the fallen leaves, a melodic voice singing into the darkness. Riot lifted his head, scanning the area with his smidgen of night-vision he had gained from his short walk.

It was Aurora, humming to herself, absent-mindedly fluttering between the trees. He stopped, considering his options. It was obvious she hadn’t seen him. Riot sat down behind a small tree; it was enough so that he could see her, but she couldn’t see him.

She stopped as well, taking wing, and sitting up on the limb of a tall tree. The bat pony sighed, and closed her eyes. Riot exhaled slowly, waiting to see where she would go, and what she was doing out at this time.

Aurora stood from the branch, and looked down to the ground. She seemed to mull things over for a bit, before hopping from the tree, landing gracefully. The mare continued her trot, going in the general direction of the town. Riot grimaced slightly, hoping that his gut would be wrong, and he could just come off feeling like an idiot.

They walked silently into town, and into the residential area. Riot tailed Aurora by a fair distance, but he often had to hurry so he wouldn't lose her. Eventually the mare knocked on a door, and a certain magenta pony answered. Cheerilee hugged Aurora tightly, bring the bat pony into a loving embrace that capped off with a strong kiss. Aurora said something that Riot could barely hear.

Cheerilee spoke, after giving the other mare another kiss. “Did you bring your sugar?” She laughed.

Aurora nodded, bringing herself close to the other mare. “Oh you know I did, I've been waiting for this.” Cheerilee laughed, before leading Aurora in; closing the door behind them.

Riot stood there, at the edge of the street, just staring at the door blankly. He raised a hoof, but slowly lowered it back to the ground. Riot slowly stood, his mind reeling. Cheerilee was sleeping with his wife. Aurora was cheating on him, and she was doing it right under his nose. He didn’t register the crunching of hooves before they were practically on top of him.

Umm.. E-excuse me...” The drug stallions girlfriend stood not but two metres away from him. Riot didn’t answer, only looking staring off into the dirt around his hooves as he started to trot slowly away from Cheerilees home. “E-excuse me..But you have something that... Belongs to a friend of mine.”

Riots expression stayed solemnly blank as he trotted away. “If you lost something in the club you can grab it tomorrow when we open.”

“Well I-......oh.....okay.” The pegasus mare managed a meek smile as she backpedaled away from Riot as quickly as possible..

Riots trot home was uneventful, his hooves carried him home without fail. The keys jingled quietly in the lock, and he opened the door silently. He trotted in, barely noticing the tiny note waiting on the stand. Riot let his bag fall, along with the thirty bits inside. He collapsed down on the couch and stared at the wall for what seemed like forever.

A few hours later, Riot heard something, that same melodious humming, coming from outside. He heard a lock turning, and the door opened, Aurora trotted inside, smiling widely, slightly slick with sweat.

Riot looked up at her, not smiling or frowning at all. He nudged the bag of coins to her, then laid down on the couch; pulling his jacket up as a blanket.

“Oh, Ash......I uh.....I just finished coffee with Cheer'..... When did you get in? Just now?” She asked, taking off her jacket.

“Take the money Aura.”

“W-what’s wrong? Did something happen at work?” She asked, sinking down into a chair, sighing contentedly despite his reaction.

He sighed quietly, rolling over. “I’m just tired Aura. I’ll see you in the morning for when you walk Hunter to school.”

She held the bag of bits in her hoof. “W-why are you giving these to me? They’re yours.”

“Ours, actually.” He stretched out, finally finding a semi-comfortable spot. “Just take the money, buy yourself something nice.”

“B-b-but I-”

“Take the money Aura. Give it to Hunter or stick it in a jar if you don’t want it.”

“A-alright.....goodnight, Ash, I love you.” She said, going to kiss him on the cheek. 'Wait, are you really gonna sleep out here tonight?”

“Yeah. Night.” Her lips caressed his cheek, but he didn't say anything or move in response. Aurora frowned sadly as she looked down on him, then started towards their small bedroom.

Riot scowled, his thoughts growing darker by the moment. She had thought that their fight wasn’t truly important. That he would forgive her. He might have, if he hadn’t found out that she was smack dab in the middle of a sordid love affair.

His eyes closed, but it would be quite some time before sleep overcame him.