• Published 22nd Aug 2013
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Dating is Hard - GentlemanJ



A short story in the Journey of Graves. Join our favorite grey eyed soldier as he navigates the new and treacherous minefield known as dating.

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Muffin-Minded Mediations

Muffin-Minded Mediations

Derpy smiled to herself as she made her merry way through the streets of Ponyville. She loved mornings because that’s when she delivered the mail. That was fun because everyone in town was so nice. Every package and letter she delivered was met with a cheery smile and a friendly word, possibly a bit of pleasant chatter to get the day started just right. And even better, sometimes those conversations would end with the absolute bestest things in the world… muffins.

Derpy loved muffins more than anything. Well, except maybe her roommate Carrot Top, her little sister Dinky, and the goofy doctor, but it was really close. Anywho, everyone in town seemed to know about her obsession with the delectable baked goods, so more often than not, a letter would end up exchanged for a freshly baked pastry. That’s why she loved delivering mail to Pinkie Pie and the Cakes: they had the absolute bestest muffins ever. Of course, the Apples always had wonderful apple cinnamon muffins, and Spike’s chocolate chip and hazelnut muffins were, as Twilight would say, “a fantastical culinary development and a thorough revolution of the baking arts.” Even Vinyl Scratch and Octavia could bake a mean blueberry crumble muffin, though for some reason they always left her shaky with chattering teeth afterwords. Something about wubs, apparently.

But those were neither here nor there, for Derpy had no mail for them today. What she did have, however, was a very fancy letter for Rarity, which was great as well. Derpy liked seeing Rarity because she was always so pretty, just like a princess. Not one of those really mean princesses, mind you, but a proper fairy tale princess, one that gets rescued by knights because they’re so nice. Plus, it didn’t hurt that her red velvet muffins were sinfully delicious.

So with a cheery smile, Derpy hopped up the front steps of the dressmaker’s shops, popped open the door, and–

“–are completely, absolutely, and utterly incorrigible!”

Derpy blinked. She’d never before considered herself incorrigible. Maybe difficultly recalcitrant, but certainly not incorrigible.

“What the hay are you talking about?!”

Oh, that made more sense. Hearing the baritone rumble of Ponyville’s resident marshal, Derpy surmised that she had accidentally walked into a rather heated discussion. And by heated discussion, she meant a veritable verbal warzone.

“As if you didn’t know,” Rarity snapped with the ferocity of an alley cat. “A month we’ve been back already. A month! Not that I can really say it’s been a month, considering how many times you’ve up and left without a word.”

“I thought we already went over this,” Graves forced out through gritted teeth. “I’m transitioning back into active missions, which means I’m going to be traveling.”

“And I never said that was the problem, you wool-headed fool of a man! It’s what you do in between those travels that’s the problem!”

“What did I do? What exactly is it that I did to put you in such a foul mood?”

“It’s not what you do that’s so unbearable,” Rarity fumed, “it’s what you constantly and incessantly forget to do that’s so utterly and thoroughly unbelievable!”

“And at the risk of repeating myself,” Graves shot back, “what the hay are you talking about?!”

“Four weeks ago, you come back from a trip to Stalliongrad, and I greeted you in a completely original cashmere turtleneck and miniskirt combo,” the pretty seamstress fired off with machine gun rapidity. “Two weeks ago, upon your return from a tour in the Griffon Imperium, I met you at the station sporting a fresh Parisian crossweave, a crossweave that took me an hour to prepare, I might add. And today, I received you in a limited edition Hoity Toity wraparound dress that I’d been saving for a special occasion, but not once… not once did you say anything nice about them at all!”

Derpy had always wondered what it meant to be thunderstruck. Oh, she definitely knew what it felt like, considering her less than uncommon mishaps with storm clouds, but she’d never seen what she’d looked like when it happened. That’s why she was so grateful to the marshal for demonstrating what most assuredly was a textbook example of said elusive look.

“… That’s what you’re so upset about?” Graves sputtered in pained disbelief. “You’ve been lashing my ear off all morning because I didn’t talk about your clothes?!”

“It’s certainly more than just clothes!” Rarity retorted as she drew herself up in full bristling fury. “It’s about appreciating the effort I put in to make it happen!”

“Oh, so you’re saying I don’t appreciate you now, is that it?” the marshal snorted.

“Well, you certainly have a terrible way of showing it!” the fashionista snapped. “Sometimes I think you wouldn’t even notice if I showed up wearing a potato sack!”

“Of course I would notice!” Graves roared as he made several pointed gestures to the eyes of his that flashed like silver lightning. “These aren’t just decorations for the holes in my head, you know! Just because I don’t comment on every little thing I see doesn’t mean I don’t see them!”

“Well would it kill you to say something when you do?!” Rarity cried out. “Is it really that hard for you to just come out and say, ‘Why Rarity, you look exceptionally nice today?'”

“If you want me to say stuff like that, then why didn’t you just say so?”

“I’m not supposed to have to tell you these things! You’re supposed know it without me saying a thing!”

“Confound it woman! I’m not a mind reader!”

“If you need to read minds,” Derpy chimed in, “you should ask Twilight. Or maybe Zecora. They’d know how.”

The two raging residents froze and turned, rather taken aback at the presence of a third person in the room. The mail girl waved.

“Derpy, what are you doing here?” Rarity said as she brought a somewhat strained smile to her face in a semblance of decorum. The straw-haired girl extended the letter with a cheery smile.

“You've got mail!”

“Oh, of course,” the pretty seamstress replied, chuckling lightly at her own absent mindedness. “I’m sorry, Derpy. I’d been meaning to bake some more muffins recently, but some things have been a mite distracting lately.” The poisonous glance she threw at Graves was not lost on the marshal.

“That’s okay, there’s always next time!” Derpy grinned as she spun around on her heels and skipped out of the boutique. However, just before she exited the building, Derpy turned around to face the vitriolic couple once more.

“Oh yeah, Rarity?” she began. “The marshal’s definitely a good guy, but I don’t think he’s really good about talking and stuff, if you know what I mean. You’ll need to be a bit more patient and help him understand what you want instead of just getting angry when he doesn’t figure it out on his own.”

“And Mister Graves?” the wall-eyed girl continued, turning to the raven-haired soldier. “Rarity may seem confident in everything, but every girl like it when you say nice things to them. That’s why you should put some extra effort into letting Rarity know you care not just by doing things, but by saying nice things as well.”

And before either could react, Derpy was out the door and skipping along on her merry way. Now, some people made fun of her for being slow, on account of her disposition and wobbly eyes, but she didn’t think she was slow. After all, she wasn’t about to let herself get caught in the domestic crossfire of a notably emotional fashionista and a man who looked like he was ready to chew through stone.

Anyhow, that had been the last letter. What should she do now? Maybe she should go find Pinkie Pie and do something silly. Or maybe she should go find Rainbow Dash and fly around for a bit. Flying was always fun. Or… ooh! Ooh! Best idea! She should go see the goofy doctor and have an adventure! Yeah, that was it! Adventures with the doctor! Maybe they could go and get muffins too!

Real muffins of course. First time they’d met, she’d had one of those things he considered a muffin. Even now, she shuddered at the memory. Those weren’t muffins. Those were filthy, heathen abominations. Pfft. English muffins indeed.

Oh well, there’d be time for muffins later. For now, adventure!

*****

The clock quietly ticked in the empty void left by the straw-haired girl’s departure. Neither Rarity nor Graves said anything for a spell. There was a lot to think about.

“So, uh…” the marshal finally began as he awkwardly scratched his head,“ about what we were just… talking about…”

“Yes, about that,” Rarity started, jolted from her ruminations by the baritone rumbles of his voice. “Graves, I really am sorry about the way I behaved. Derpy was right, it was unfair of me to expect you to play the game by my rules, as it were. I should have been more forthcoming with my needs.”

“No, you were right,” Graves replied as he pulled his hat lower over his eyes in embarrassment. “You were always so good about figuring me out, I never felt the need to talk much. My fault entirely.”

“That’s very kind of you to say,” the violet-haired beauty laughed, “but you wouldn’t have made that mistake if I had been a better advocate of my own needs.”

“Well, you wouldn’t have had to if I’d had some basic consideration,” the marshal countered.

“Graves, I’m trying to apologize here,” Rarity said as a hint of challenge arose in her voice. “There’s no need for you to go to such lengths to deny it.”

“I'm not trying to,” the young man said as silver eyes flashed. “I’m just saying there’s no need to apologize in the first place since I was wrong.”

“No, I’m pretty sure I was at fault here.”

“Not really. It was definitely me.”

“No it wasn’t.”

“Yes it was.”

“No it wasn’t.”

“Yes it wa–”

Pause.

Only when the young couple finally realized the sheer absurdity of their conversation, did the two burst out into peals of rich and singing laughter. Finding the point where words were no longer necessary, the two met in the middle of the room and embraced in the manner that said all lessons were learned and any wrongs long since forgive.

“So, another fancy invite?” the marshal remarked about the letter as he continued to hold Rarity close.

“Mm, probably,” she replied with a most pleased smiled. “But we can worry about later. We have bigger priorities right now.”

“Oh?” Graves remarked with arched eyebrow. “Like what?”

“For starters, I was thinking we should bake some thank-you muffins for a certain, cheery mail girl,” the dressmaker laughed. “There’s no telling where we’d be if not for her most timely intervention.”

“Indeed,” the marshal agreed just before looking down. “But… we don’t have to get to that just yet, do we?”

From the way Rarity smiled, sapphire eyes dancing as she planted a gentle kiss on the soldier’s lips, it was clear that she was in no hurry to go anywhere just yet.

And that? That suited Graves just fine.

**********