• Published 1st Jun 2013
  • 27,267 Views, 1,385 Comments

Legend - Radiant Dawn

He was an average man in nearly every sense of the term, but his entire life is flipped upside-down when a push for a paycheck turns into something unexpected...something much more.

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Chapter 13: Revival

Chapter 13: Revival

“Jamie, quit messing with that.” Rainbow Dash chastised, motioning to the blazer I wore. “It’s fine, you look fine, and everything’s going to be alright. I’ve got your back.”

I forced my hands to my pockets, and took a steadying breath as the two of us walked to the Lunar District of Ponyville. “Thanks for doing this, Dash. I owe you one.”

She grinned and shook her head, knocking her shoulder lightly into my leg. “Just don’t get drunk and make a fool of yourself and we’ll call it even. I’ve got a rep to keep, and I’d rather not ruin it by being seen with a trashed monkey.”

“Human.” I corrected with a grunt.

“Whatever.” she replied with a roll of her eyes. “Monkeys scream a lot and they tend to make a mess indoors, which I think is exactly what you’ll be like if you have too many drinks.”

I sighed and shook my head. “Honestly, I’m more worried about waking up in some random pony’s bed, with no clothes on and no memory of the night previous. As long as you can keep that from happening, I’ll be happy.”

We continued our trek to the club, but Rainbow Dash sent me a very confused look. “I thought you said you don’t really feel that way about ponies.”

I glanced in her direction. “I don’t, but testosterone is a hell of a hormone, Dash.”

She rolled her eyes disbelievingly. “It can’t be that bad.”

I pursed my lips and nodded. “Okay, well how bad is it when heat season rolls around?”

Rainbow Dash’s face began to change from cyan to lilac as a blush lit up her face, and she nearly tripped over her own hooves. I jumped a little inside at the small victory, having never before made the daredevil pegasus lose her cool.

After a few seconds of Rainbow Dash struggling to compose herself, she coughed and answered, “I-it’s bad...like really bad.” The blush on her face began to die down as she continued. “I mean, I guess it’s not as bad as it’s made out to be though.” Rainbow Dash looked up at me and flapped her wings until she was hovering next to my head. “I’m going to let you in on a little secret:” I leaned closer so she could speak directly into my ear, and she whispered, “heat season is all an act.”

I raised my eyebrow and turned to look at her. “What do you mean?”

She chuckled softly and shook her head. “Did you really think the mares in town go crazy and abduct any males that might be around?” She shrugged. “I guess if you did, then the whole thing worked the way it was supposed to. See, the fact is that behavior-wise, we don’t change all that much during estrus. Mentally and emotionally though, we do...like a lot.” I motioned for Rainbow Dash to continue, and she sighed before saying, “Okay, even though males technically don’t have to worry about being hog-tied and dragged away to their lustful doom, it’s still not a good idea for them to be around. Mares get more emotional, and we can’t really think straight.” Again the blush came to her face, and she cleared her throat nervously. “For me at least, I think about sexytimes constantly. Not enough to where I’ll lose control and tackle somepony to the ground, but enough that if there’s a fine piece of flank nearby, I won’t even be able to do my job.” She sighed and nearly grimaced as she spoke the next word. “Intercourse gets rid of the heat for a day or so, but that’s also the problem; when a mare’s in heat, she can get pregnant.”

I nodded. “Okay, but why all the rigamarole? Can’t you all just tell the guys tha-”

“If you were a horny guy and had females everywhere willing to have a roll in the hay with you, would you trust yourself?” she asked with a frown.

I thought for a moment before smiling sheepishly. “I-I guess not. I mean I think I’d be okay, but I’m not sure.”

Rainbow Dash sighed before dropping to the ground again, trotting next to me. “I know it seems kinda weird to do all that acting instead of figuring something else out, but Princess Luna put this whole thing into effect thousands of years ago. There’s a reason it’s stuck around this long; it works. It’s easier for males to be afraid to go outside during heat season than to risk trusting them to control themselves around a bunch of sex-craving mares.”

I was pleased that things weren’t as strange in Equestria as I had believed, but cleared my throat when I realized the tangent we had gone off on. “So basically what makes it so hard is that you can’t stop thinking about sex, right?” She nodded, and I just chuckled. “Dash, that’s what I go through every day of my life. On Earth, it’s just called being a man, and the longer a guy goes without getting laid, the worse it can get.”

Rainbow Dash’s cheeks lit up again, and she chuckled nervously. “S-so you’re like, in heat all the time?”

I chuckled darkly, showing off my fangs (yes, I’m calling them fangs now. Fangs are badass). “You worried to be around me now?”

Rainbow Dash seemed to realize how she was acting, as she stopped cowering and smiled sheepishly. “Sorry. I didn't realize until now just how bad it must be for you. Sharp teeth and prey instincts don’t go together all that well either.”

I shrugged as we continued walking. “And yet ponies have become interested in me in both the scientific and romantic sense.” I chuckled again, this time full of mirth. “If only you all knew exactly what humans were.”

“Explain it to me. We’ve got a good ten or so minutes until we get there.” Rainbow Dash replied with a smile.

I nodded before turning my gaze back to the road ahead of us. “Alright. Well first of all, you need to understand that in the world I come from, we’re the only sapient species. That means that we are the only one that’s evolved to read, write, and speak our own language.” I sighed before stating, “Humans have come to understand what we call the ‘Theory of Evolution’, which is a scientific idea of how we came to be, as well as other species on the planet. Basically, the theory states that the strongest of a species will survive and breed to pass on its genes to the next generation, while the weak will be left behind with little to nothing. Now what you need to understand is that in every generation, some mutations to the genome crop up, which can be either positive or negative depending on how well it allows us to survive. ” I pointed to her and said, “For example: wings give a unique advantage over those that are tethered to the ground. In a fight with someone of your same strength, you’d likely win, which means that you would survive, while the other would not.”

“I don’t mean to sound like Rarity or anything, but that sounds kind of…” Dash voiced, seeming to grasp for the correct word.

“Barbaric?” I offered. Dash nodded, and I smiled gently at her. “Survival of the fittest, my dear. If the world were uncivilized and we were all fighting for our own survival, some would survive while others would not. That’s evolution at the base level, and whoever has the easiest time surviving will give birth to a new generation that is more fit to live in the world. Over time, what an animal once was will change through the generations, giving rise to completely different species that have evolved to live more efficiently. ” I cleared my throat and continued. “So anyway, with all the other animals of our world, humans clawed their way to the top. We aren’t the strongest, we don’t have claws, and neither are we very fast. What we do have is our intelligence, our physical endurance and healing ability, and our ability to think rationally. With all of that, we were able to become the apex predator of the entire world, with no natural enemies and nothing to oppose us as far as predation goes. And by God, we will eat anything.” I scratched my beard and sighed softly. "And that's another thing you have to remember about my kind, Dash; we're predators. We are the most dangerous kind of predator, because we are the one that you have to watch out for whenever you turn your back. We are the only predators that walk the earth that hunt for sport, not survival."

"Wow," she breathed almost reverently, "humans are hardcore."

I nodded. "They can be. What's even crazier is our biology though." I smirked as I continued. "Our bodies are incredibly resistant to damage, for example. While a broken leg might kill another animal from the shock alone, a human can get back up and hop away, healing the injury within only a few weeks or months. We have a hyperactive scarring response as well, allowing us to recover from virtually any injury that isn't immediately fatal. We can survive for longer without sleep than any other animal alive, and we can live solitarily or in a group." I pointed to my teeth. "And let's not forget about the dangers of human bites."

Rainbow Dash looked at me with a curious expression. “Human bites? No offense, but until recently your teeth were a little small.”

I nodded. “Yeah, but I still had canines, and enough jaw strength to break the skin if I needed to.” I then shrugged, seeing the lights and young ponies associated with the Lunar District coming into view. “The bite itself isn’t what does someone in though. Instead, it’s the bacteria that we have in our mouths. Even if the bite itself isn’t that dangerous, the wound can quickly become infected, killing our victim with overwhelming infections. In fact, it’s dangerous even to other humans.” I then chuckled again. “And yet, ponies want a piece of Equestria’s only human. You all are crazy.”

"I know you wouldn't hurt me though." Dash murmured quietly. She then coughed and said, "I mean us; you wouldn't hurt us. That's why we're not afraid of you."

I raised my eyebrow. "I could."

"But you won't." Dash confidently stated.

I offered her a warm smile and nodded in agreement. "I won't."

Dash's initial statement about me wasn't forgotten by a long shot. True that I had come to know a much more caring pony than most saw, but it was unlike her to refer directly to her and I in such a sense. It was likely I was overthinking things though, so I ignored it for now and focused on the building in front of us.

It was a large brick building with steel pipes running from the foundation to the roof, which I couldn't figure out a practical reason for. In front was a long line of ponies bordered by a velvet rope, overlooked by a massive neon sign.

"Well," I muttered to Dash, "it seems fairly obvious."

She nodded with a grin. "Yep, this is the place. C'mon, let's get in line."

As my prismatic friend and I made our way to the rear, I couldn't help but notice the stares I was receiving. True that I sort of expected them, but that didn't make me feel any more comfortable about it.

"Excuse me," shouted a masculine voice from behind us, coming from one of the bouncers by the door, "are you the human?"

I restrained a laugh and snarked, "No, I'm Discord." The bright orange stallion stared at me in horror, so I blandly clarified, "That was a joke."

He cleared his throat and trotted over to us. "You're on the VIP list tonight, courtesy of tonight's DJ."

I nodded dumbly before following the bouncer, Dash whispering, "You're a VIP? Since when?"

Instead of firing off a retort, I simply entered the club, and was immediately aware of the deep thrum of bass rumbling through my body, which I hadn't heard or felt outside. A glowstick-clad unicorn mare approached us with two bands floating in her magic, so I silently offered my wrist as it wrapped around and adhered to itself. From there, I followed Dash through another set of double doors and was assaulted by booming bass and synthesized music.

I felt Dash rest her arms on my shoulders as she loudly said from behind, "There she is, on the main stage." I looked to the DJ booth, and saw the familiar two-toned blue mane of a white unicorn, bobbing to the rhythm. Dash then voiced, "Wait here. I'm gonna get us something to drink."

I nodded to my friend as she flitted away to the bar, which happened to be the only landmark I could spot in the darkness of the club. I suppose that was the idea though, so I ignored the questions that presented themselves; instead, I subtly tapped my toe to the beat running through me. Having never actually been to a club since one time in high school, it went without saying that I was a little out of my element. Still, as I looked to see Vinyl Scratch doing her thing on stage, I steeled myself and enjoyed the music. After all, I did care about her, seeing as how she was one of my first friends since coming to this world; if nothing else, she at least deserved to know that I cared about her enough to attempt to mend our friendship.

Out of the corner of my eye, I caught Dash approaching with a two-cup holder in her mouth, so I reached over and grabbed it so that she didn’t have to hold it longer than necessary. True that ponies had sort of evolved to hold things using their mouths, but I knew it couldn’t be that comfortable.

She nodded her thanks as I took the drinks from her, and then flitted up so her mouth was next to my ear. “Alright, this’ll get us started: some Sweet Apple Acres cider. It’s got a good kick to it, but it’s tame enough not to knock you on your flank.”

I looked to Dash out of the corner of my eye and nodded before grabbing one of the drinks, immediately taking a sip to soothe my nervously dry throat. There was a part of me that assured I didn’t have anything to worry about, seeing as how with Vinyl adding me to the VIP list, it was clear she wanted to speak with me. Still, with Dash and Twilight’s explanations, it was also clear she was attracted to me, which complicated things. That was beside the fact that as a pony in general, Vinyl was quite the wild card.

Oh well. There’s a reason they call alcohol “liquid courage”. With a sigh, I downed my entire drink in one gulp, motioning to Dash for another.

Lasers, man. And smoke. And...awesome.

Maybe it was the fact that pony drinks were weaker than those of humans, or maybe it was that I had always had the alcohol tolerance of a three-hundred fifty pound man, but whatever the reason, Dash and a few other ponies that had saw fit to subtly eye me throughout the night were flabbergasted as I slammed my twelfth shot of Apple Bucker upon the bar counter (which was curiously the exact same as an Apple Fucker). By this point, I was pretty well lit, and wanted to dance.

“Dash!” I shouted louder than necessary, causing the three or four ponies around me to jump a little. “We’re dancin’. Get your colorful ass up and shake it with me!”

Being well-accustomed to my speech styles by now, Dash just chuckled with a mild blush and nodded, taking my hand as I pulled her to the darkened dance floor. The funny part was that I can’t dance sober, so I knew dancing drunk was a bad idea, but I also didn’t care. For the first time in a long time, I was fit to cut loose and do whatever I felt like. The hangover and aching muscles that were sure to come later were sober Jamie’s problem, not mine.

Fortunately for me, Dash was nothing if not creative, as she quickly figured out that dancing as most ponies did (all four hooves on the ground) wasn’t going to work. So without preamble, she flapped her wings as she rose on her hind hooves and deftly balanced to stand erect. This put her at only a few inches shorter than me so that she could look me in the eye, and with her stunning mane and slightly spread wings...damn, she looked beautiful.

Wait, did I just think that? Fuck it, who cares.

Dash flashed a cocky grin as she began to dance with me fluidly, keeping in constant contact with me in some way so that she could keep from falling. Oddly enough, I liked having her close to me, and found myself occasionally running a hand through her mane or along her cheek as she led me through simple steps. I was subtly aware of the blatant stares we were receiving from the ponies around us, but I didn’t care. I was having fun, and I wasn’t going to let self-consciousness ruin it.

Even as track after track played over the sound system, Dash’s eyes never left mine, and her smile never wavered. I didn’t care that she was a pony, because if even just for a minute, I could simply revel in the fact that there was someone in my life that cared for me simply because of who I was, not what I could do for them. It was such a rare thing nowadays that I latched onto it as my inhibitions fell away, and I found myself wishing I had known people like Dash and the others back on Earth. It was nice to have someone that gave a damn, and wanted nothing more from me than my friendship.

“Um, J-Jamie?” Dash called to me as the song led into another on the set, and I looked down at the mare in front of me. “Y-you can let go, now. We’re in public.”

I blinked my eyes to focus and found Dash with her back pressed against my chest, and my arms wrapped around her barrel. Through the haze of my mind, I realized just how intimate our position looked to a pony, and I hurriedly released her with a sheepish smile and a nervous cough. “S-sorry about that, Dash. I got a little carried away.”

My friend was luckily very understanding, as she just shook her head while she turned to face me, draping her arms over my shoulders. “It’s alright Jay, just be careful with stuff like that. It can send the wrong message to a girl.” She then smirked and said, “Still, you looked like you were having fun. I figured I could let you enjoy that for a little bit. This is a club, after all.” Dash motioned with her head to the stage and said, “But tonight, you have somepony important to talk to. She’s done with her set and...oh, here she comes.”

I looked to where Dash was looking to see Vinyl approaching through the sea of ponies. I found it oddly interesting that the ponies all around seemed to bend to her desires, but I suppose it made sense. After all, Vinyl was a goddess of the nightlife, and her subjects would readily bow to her every whim. So, it went without saying that just making room for her was perfectly acceptable.

Dash offered the DJ a smile as she approached before swiveling to stand at my side. It was a simple gesture as she pressed herself against me, both comforting me and allowing me to focus more on the unicorn in front of me.

"Hey Jamie," she greeted with her trademark toothy grin, "can we talk?"

"I saw you dancing out there." Vinyl commented offhandedly as we entered the backstage, where her team was working furiously to be sure her equipment was in good working order. She then motioned to Dash with a grin. "I take my eyes off you for only a few days, and you're already picking up fillies."

Being confronted with what I came to the club for seemed to sober me up quite a bit, as I was able to notice that even though her tone spoke of playful mirth, there was a strong undercurrent of pain. I was oddly thankful that ponies are so bad at hiding their feelings. Also, I had to remind myself that what was months for me was only a few days for her, so with Vinyl being affected so strongly in so short a time, it was clear I had vastly underestimated our relationship.

I offered Vinyl a small smile before motioning to Dash. "She's not my girlfriend, she's just here to make sure I don't make too big a fool of myself." Vinyl seemed to relax a bit, so I continued with honesty. "I've missed you, Vie. I'm sorry I made you think I don't value you, because that would be untrue."

Vinyl removed her glasses before taking a deep breath and focusing her ruby gaze on me. "I missed you too, Jamie. I'm sorry I flipped out on you like that. It was unfair, no matter how much I was hurting. You deserved better than that." She shrugged with a happy sigh. "Seems Tavi's always lookin' out for me."

I nodded before turning to Dash. "Do you think you can give us a few minutes?"

Dash nodded before nuzzling my hand affectionately. "Sure thing, big guy. I'll be out on the floor." I nodded to her before gently rubbing her cheek with my palm, then watched her go.

"She really cares about you." Vinyl commented softly.

“A lot of ponies do, strangely enough.” I replied with a smile. I then smiled sheepishly and turned to face Vinyl. “It just took me a bit to take my head out of my ass and realize it.”

Vinyl reclined in the chair she sat upon, crossing her hindlegs and placing them on a footstool. “So why be that way in the first place?”

Whether it was because of a bit of maturation on my part or the alcohol, the answer came easily. “Fear of the pain of loss, mostly. I figured that if I didn’t allow myself to get too close to any of you, it would be easier for me to leave when the time came.” I then chuckled mirthlessly and flopped down on a beanbag chair to Vinyl’s side. “Of course, that was because I was banking on the idea that I was returning to Earth. With that falling through, I had to deal with the fact that I had been a royal prick to all of you, merely because I didn’t want to say goodbye to friends.” Before she could speak, I added, “With my luck though, I made friends anyway, but chose to ignore it. I tried to protect myself by completely ignoring the bonds that were forming, and in doing so hurt those who had come to care for me, doing ill to the ponies who were there when I was alone and scared.”

I caught Vinyl nodding sagely out of the corner of my eye. “You’re not the only one guilty of only thinking about yourself.” She released a sigh before saying, “The whole time you were talking to me that day, all I could think was, ‘Am I not good enough to be a friend? Was I not memorable enough for him?’ It hurt, a lot, but I never once thought about just how hard it was for you. So much is different for you here, and you don’t have anyone of your own kind to talk to about things; no pony really understands what it’s like for you, and maybe no pony ever will.” Vinyl then reached across the armrest of her chair and laid a hoof on my forearm, smiling gently. “There are ponies out there that want to try though, because we care about you. You’re a friend, and even if we will never completely understand everything about you, that doesn’t mean we can’t be great friends.”

I took a deep breath and nodded, feeling the tension and nervousness leave me as Vinyl’s hoof gently stroked my arm. “Thanks Vie. It’s nice to be reminded that no matter what, I have friends out there. Not many people would be willing to put up with all I’ve put you through.”

“Only the ones that matter.” she replied with a grin.

I nodded. “Indeed.”

As soon as I spoke the words, Vinyl hopped out of her chair and made her way to my seat before quickly embracing me and laying her head against my chest. Save for a few times when Vinyl had to help me drunkenly stumble out of a bar, we had never actually hugged. As I returned the embrace, I couldn’t help but think that she was much softer than I expected, and smelled like blueberries despite the sweat she was sure to have on her. I sat still and enjoyed the closeness provided to me, and was quite pleased that I had my first friend back. Truthfully, even though I trusted Octavia, a part of me had been afraid that Vinyl would never want to speak to me again. It appeared my fears were groundless, however, so I let the last of the tension melt away and hugged Vinyl tighter.

The few ponies in the backroom that passed us by eyed us curiously, but didn’t speak a word in regards to our actions. In honesty, I wouldn’t have cared anyway. Be it the “don’t give a shit” chemical in alcohol or simply the joy of a friendship renewed, not even the princesses could make me relinquish my hold on the little DJ in my grasp.

“I’ve got another set soon.” Vinyl mumbled as she lay comfortably against me.

I nodded slowly, my eyes closed. “I figured. It’s not even nine yet, so I figure you have a long way to go.” She nodded in agreement. “Well, I better get going then. I’ve got a coronation to get ready for, and one very manic Twilight Sparkle that I’ll need to calm down.”

“Stay.” Vinyl pleaded softly. “Just five more minutes. I’m playing a set at the soon-to-be princess’ afterparty, so I’ll see you there...but I’m not ready to let go just yet.” Then came the clincher, when she looked up at me with those bright vermillion eyes, and my defenses fell away.

I sighed in defeat and nodded. “Alright, I’ll stay for a few minutes.”

“Thank you.” she murmured as she rubbed her muzzle against my chest.

I knew at some point I would need to address her apparent infatuation with me, but for the time being, I simply basked in the affection of a good friend, and one that forgave my faults.

As Dash escorted me home, it became clear that I had made a rather large oversight when it came to alcohol. While it was true that regular pony drinks were generally weaker than most human alcoholic beverages, it seemed that hard liquor was pretty much the same. That wouldn’t have been a problem though, if I had remembered that hard liquor takes longer to process than beer or cider, and you continue to get more trashed even after you’ve stopped drinking. I didn’t feel the slightest bit nauseous, but damn, the ground seemed to refuse to stay still.

“C’mon Jay, we’re almost there.” Dash repeated for the third time, trying her best to keep me from falling on my face as she flew beside me.

It was a struggle, but I had only fallen once as we made our way to the large tree library not too far in front of us, though my right knee and elbow made sure to remind me constantly of my loss of balance.

I took slow, stumbling steps of fluxed balance as we made the journey, but otherwise felt remarkably good, all things considered. After all, I was still conscious, Vinyl had chosen to forgive me for my idiocy, and Dash smelled really good for some reason. I’m still not sure why I thought the latter, but there was plenty of “fuck it” in my system at this point ‒ more than enough for me to not give a damn about random thoughts here and there. Thinking someone or something smelled abnormally good was not in any way the strangest thing I’d ever thought while under the influence, nor would it be the last.

I tripped a bit as my toes caught something, and was just barely stopped from face-planting by Dash’s hooves around my shoulders. “Easy, big guy.”

I nodded silently and instead focused on making my way to the Golden Oaks in front of us, and cheered inwardly when my hand rested against the door. I pushed open the door as I steadied myself against the doorframe, and stepped inside with Dash beside me.

Twilight was sitting at the large table in the center of the room, a mug of tea floating in front of her and a worrisome frown on her face. She looked up to Dash and I as we entered, and let a relaxed smile curl her lips. “Hey, you two. How did it go?”

I stumbled past the alicorn and collapsed onto the sofa behind her, groaning in comfort as I did so. “It went well. Vinyl and me are cool again, and she’s going to be at the coronation.”

At the mention of what was to come tomorrow, Twilight visibly flinched.

Dash fluttered over to her friend and placed a hoof on her shoulder. “You alright Twi?”

Twilight took a deep breath before slumping with her chin on the table. “I think so. It’s just a lot to take in, you know? I mean, I won’t say that I didn’t want this in some way; I’ve always had a little bit of a fantasy about being a princess. Still, I just didn’t expect it to really happen, let alone be so abrupt.”

The haze of drunkenness was heavy on me, but I still knew what to say. “Princess Celestia is really smart, Twilight. She wouldn’t have done this if she thought you weren’t ready. Besides, you have me and all your other friends to help you out.” I then chuckled and said, “Besides, Princess Luna was very thorough when designing my outfit. No point in letting it go to waste.”

“Thorough?” Twilight asked in confusion.

I nodded with a grin. “She measured everything, and eventually found it more efficient to pose me with her hooves instead of asking me to move.” I then shrugged. “Although, I suppose it was less invasive when I had a gay guy measure me for a tux for my mother’s wedding. He got a little handsy.” Both mares blushed a bit at what I was insinuating, and I just laughed it off. “In all seriousness though, you’ve got this Twilight. They’re not going to just thrust you into the political arena with no training; they’re still going to teach you. It’s just going to be different lessons than you’re used to, and we’ll be there to help you every step of the way.”

Twilight seemed to relax a bit more and she smiled at me as Dash stood beside her. “Thanks, both of you. I don’t know what I’d do without you all.”

“Probably have a mental breakdown and destroy the town.” I commented with a sly grin.

“That was one time, and it was the parasprites’ fault, not mine!” she shot back angrily.

I laughed and shook my head. “I’m just yankin’ your chain, Twilight.”

She rolled her eyes at me before downing the last of her tea and standing. “Well, the train leaves at seven tomorrow morning, and we’ll be taking the royal car.” I saw her horn glow as the sound of the faucet in the kitchen was heard, and then it stopped before a large glass of water levitated over to me. Twilight pointed to it and said, “Drink that. I don’t want you to be whining tomorrow about a hangover in front of the princesses.” I rolled my eyes right back, but did as I was told. I held the empty glass out to her and she sent it back to the kitchen, then trotted over to me. “Alright, let’s go to bed. We’ve got a big day tomorrow, and I want to be sure we’re all well-rested.” Twilight turned her eyes to Dash as she asked, “Are you staying the night?”

Dash looked to me with a wordless question in my eyes, and I just nodded. “Sure, why not? You’re warm and soft, and in honesty, I get kinda lonely sometimes at night.”

Dash just grinned at me. “You know I’m not going to let you live that down, right?”

It took me a moment for me to realize what I said, but I just shrugged and turned toward the bedroom. “That’s sober Jamie’s problem.”

After showering and dressing down for the night, I once again found myself in bed with Rainbow Dash, and once again enjoying it more than a human should. I’d had both cats and dogs throughout my years of growing up, so I enjoyed the familiar feel of a warm, fuzzy body to hug in bed, but I had to remind myself that this fuzzy was connected to a sapient mind as well. Also, I probably shouldn’t pet her back, touch her tail too much, or give her a kiss on the nose.

A part of me wanted to though, and not because it saw her as an animal.

As I had more and more begun to see ponies as people as opposed to animals, my brain had started to subtly change in regards to how I felt about them, and how I acted.

I would never refer to myself as a guy who was a stud, but I’d had a few women share my bed in the past. More often than not, for me, it was an act comfort and closeness instead of just sex, and I would find myself eagerly reciprocating any cuddles that were offered. By nature, I was social, but had conditioned myself as a defense mechanism to distance myself from others. Whenever I would sleep alone at night though, the feelings of loneliness would often surface as I laid in bed, and I would sometimes find myself reaching for another who wasn’t there.

It was in that respect at least, that Equestrian ponies were perfect friends for me. Sleeping in the same bed didn’t have to mean anything beyond mutual comfort, and the ones that I considered friends were more than willing to physically show me their affection, even in public. As much as I hated to admit it, even in the beginning, I liked it. I enjoyed the feeling of another wishing to be close to me, and loved knowing that I wasn’t alone.

I still found myself at odds in my own heart and mind on certain matters though.

I am a man after all, and I hadn’t been exaggerating to Dash when I explained what being a human male was like. True that I didn’t think about having sex all day every day, but it was true that there was always something sexual in nature floating around in my head. The reason this was a problem was because my brain had begun to assimilate the fact that there are no other humans in Equestria, or the planet for that matter. And so, here and there, I would find disturbing thoughts or images of a sexual nature that centered around ponies, or even worse, my friends specifically. Being a base instinct, the desire for physical intimacy wasn’t something I could just ignore and hope it would go away. In fact, it had been slowly building ever since I had come to Equis, and with no outlet (it had always felt weird to “take care” of myself), my brain had naturally sought out other possibilities besides my own kind.

For example: earlier in the night when Dash and I was dancing, I had thought she was beautiful...and not in an abstract way.

It hadn’t been the first time I’d thought of such a thing about one of my friends, and I knew it wouldn’t be the last. Without a doubt, I expected it now, as expecting certain actions of myself or the physical world allowed me to more easily prepare for their eventuality. However, there was still a very strong part of my rational mind telling me that such a thing was wrong, and I just couldn’t get past it. Yet again, I hadn’t been lying when I explained to the princesses and Dash that I just wasn’t attracted to ponies that way, but a part of me wanted to be. More than anything, it wasn’t so much that I was sexually pent-up, but rather that I was romantically lonely, and without some sort of outlet ‒ even as a random girl over the internet ‒ the desire for someone to call “mine” was becoming stronger every day.

I kept it to myself though, until I could figure out what to do about it. I mean let’s face it, no matter the species, people probably wouldn’t want to be with someone that wasn’t sure about how they felt. I knew I cared for my friends, but what I was unsure of what how much, and until or unless I knew, I wouldn’t be making any advances on that avenue.

It struck me as odd just how wrong I had been when I had recited to Princess Luna just how skeptical I was about the idea that I could ever love a pony romantically. It made sense then that I was shocked to be able to see that preconception slowly being destroyed before my very eyes. I had tried not to think about it, and most times completely ignored the idea outright, but now it was becoming painfully clear that I would have to deal with my hang-ups at some point. The question was: which would win? Would my mind decide that there just wasn’t any possibility in a romantic venture with another species? Or would my heart, something I’d neglected for most of my life, triumph?

It was frustrating to ask these questions, as with such strong thoughts and emotions, I couldn’t even be sure of what I wanted, let alone with who. So, with a sigh, I shoved the troubling feelings to the back of my mind for now and relaxed in bed.

Dash murmured in her sleep and wrapped one of her hooves and a wing around me in an almost protective manner, and I couldn’t help but smile at the endearing gesture. No matter what I could feel for these ponies, there was no denying they were adorable.

With a twist of my head, I whispered, “Goodnight, Dash.” She smiled gently and hugged me a little tighter as she slumbered, and I finally allowed sleep to claim me as I wrapped my arm around one of my best friends.