• Published 8th Oct 2013
  • 3,231 Views, 170 Comments

Repair and Deliver - SleeplessScribe

If there are two things Torque loves more than anything, they're helping people and mechanical work. When a worker shortage forces him to move to Ponyville, he meets a young filly with a struggling mother that allows him to do both.

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Chapter 11: Decisions

Repair and Deliver
Story 6
Chapter 11: Decisions
By: SleeplessScribe

Our visit from Mr. Fjord was most definitely the highlight of the day. We hadn’t gotten any other jobs between then and closing time, and while that meant I was able to catch Dinky’s show and tell, it was still pretty dang boring. Honestly, the rest of the day consisted of a few basketball games, another round of that dice game, and me being sent to the hardware store to stock up on spare parts.

When the shop finally closed, I made my way to Barnyard Bargains and hoped it was still open. Luckily for me, it was, though that didn’t mean they’d have what I wanted. Well, they didn’t have everything I wanted. The store did have a few small mirrors that I would need, but no glass lenses.

They did, however, have magnifying glasses, which I could file down into the shapes I wanted. Since I still had some leather and plastic at my house, the pieces for the eyes were all I needed. Once I had them, I got home as quickly as possible and checked my designs. There were a few changes I needed to make, since seeing the mirrors on Mr. Fjord’s car gave me a new idea, but I had them completed within a few minutes.

I was torn between making the frame or the lenses first, but in the end I decided on the frame. There weren’t really any electronics in this, so if I couldn’t finish it that evening, I’d definitely be able to tomorrow. Seeing as how Ditzy and I were roughly the same size, give or take a few inches, I used myself as a model for the size as I cut the frame out of the plastic and wrapped it up in the leather.

The eyes needed to be thick to give me room to work with, but seeing as how her right eye was the major issue, that’s what I put more emphasis on. In fact, I didn’t actually put a lens in the left one, just a piece of straight glass to keep the wind out of her eye. It took a few hours’ worth of trial and error, but I finally had my design perfected and attached everything with some strong epoxy.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t an adequate test subject for this, as these goggles were designed solely for Ditzy’s use. What I did was fasten two lenses on either side of the right eyehole with two angled mirrors in between. I hoped, due to the way I had shaped the lenses, the light would come in, bounce off one mirror and into the other, where it would be directed into her crooked pupil.

I had plenty of time before it started to get dark, so I trotted on over to her home with the goggles behind my back. The door opened after a few knocks, and before I could even open my mouth I was greeted with a sweet kiss on both cheeks.

“My little filly can’t stop talking about how happy she is. It’s all because of what you did with her toy, and I’ve never heard her laugh so much.” Ditzy leaned forward, nuzzling herself against my neck with a soft smile. “You’re a saving grace to both my daughter and me.”

“No, that’s way too much. I’m just trying to help.” My face heated up at the contact, but it was nothing like it used to be. With one foreleg around her, I returned her affectionate nuzzle and held the goggles before her. “Speaking of, I’ve been trying to think of a way to help you see straight in the sky. This is a rough draft here, but would you like to try it out?”

Her eyes widened and began to sparkle as she stared at the headgear. “Oh Torque, you didn’t have to do that…. Really, I’m not too sure there really is a way to help me see straight again. At least, not one that I can afford.”

I gently place my hoof on her muzzle. “If you mean surgery, I’m not going to let you go through with that regardless. There’s way too much risk involved in surgery, which is one reason I’m going to so much effort. Would you like to give it a try?”

She opened her mouth but looked down when the small unicorn poked out from behind her. “Yep! Momma wants to try!”

We both looked at each other and chuckled. “I guess I can’t refuse now; the jury has spoken.”

I handed her the goggles and she slipped them on. She blinked once, staring straight at me. “Wow… I… I can actually see you with both eyes. Torque, I can see you with both of my eyes!”

My own lit up as I wrapped my forelegs around her neck. “Are you serious? They actually work?”

She began to bounce up and down, nearly squealing. “Yes! I can see, Torque, I can see!” Her grey legs were soon around my neck as we shared a strong embrace. Before long, Dinky nestled herself between us, trying to hugs both of us at the same time.

“Would you like to try them in the air? We won’t know they work for certain until we know you can fly.”

Ditzy released me and gave a slow nod. “Of course! They seem fine already, so let’s give it a shot.”

We walked out to the center of the street with Dinky behind us. Both she and I backed away a bit as her mother spread her wings. She slowly began her ascent, hovering just above the height of her roof and moved forward. I saw her shaking a bit, but for the most part she kept straight.

Ponies that had been walking around froze and watched her, muttering to each other.

“Ditzy! You’re doing it! Do you see yourself? You’re actually flying straight!”

She started picking up a little speed when she heard me. Her smile was bright than the sun when she looked down at me. “You did it, Torque! These things really do work!”

No they didn’t.

“Ditzy, stop!” By the time I had said something, there was no time for her to turn. Thankfully she wasn’t going fast enough to damage the building, but I had to rush as fast as I could just to catch her. Pegasi aren’t normally known for their weight, but the impact still knocked the wind out of me.

“Momma! Mister Torque! Help, somepony help!”

Doors were opening left and right as I regained my breath. I managed to stand after a few moments, though everyone who had heard the filly’s shouts was crowding around to try and help us.

“I should’ve known you’d get yourself into trouble.”

My cousin’s words may have seemed callous or unconcerned, but the way she was pushing her way through the circle of ponies around us was anything but. “I saw the whole thing. I gotta admit, I was impressed, but I knew there would be some kind of issue.”

She leaned against me, shifting me some so she could help carry the weight. Dinky did the same, but her little body up against my leg only served to keep my morale high. “Come on, let’s get her home. That had to hurt.”

With our combined efforts, we managed to get Ditzy home. She came to not long after we were through the door, so we laid her down and I took the goggles back. “Are you alright, Ditzy?”

The pegasus nodded slowly, though the disappointment on her face was unmistakable. “Yeah… I’ll be fine.”

Sparks came back from the kitchen and set an ice pack on her head. “No, you’re not. That was a pretty nasty hit you took. Do you have any idea what happened?”

She just shrugged and looked back at me. “I’m not sure. I didn’t even see that building in front of me until it was too late.”

I already saw what the problem was. I held the goggles before both mares and circled my hoof around the right lens. “These are actually pretty flawed. The way I designed the, works fine as long as you keep looking forward, but as soon as your eyes move, your sight gets all wonky again. I’ll have to see what I can do to improve them.”

I was so caught up in my own thoughts that I didn’t even notice Ditzy reaching up to me until she made contact. “Torque, please stop worrying. I’ve dealt with this for most of my life, I can deal with it for the rest of it as well. Where’s Dinky?”

Sparks nudged her head towards the kitchen. “I fixed up some leftover food I found in the fridge for dinner. I hope you don’t mind.”

Ditzy shook her head. “Not at all. In fact, I’m very grateful. Please, grab something for yourself if you’re hungry.”

She nodded and returned to the kitchen, leaving Ditzy to take my hoof in her own. “Torque, I really appreciate what you did, but it’s alright. This is something I’ve learned to live with. Dinky and I are getting by, and that’s all we need.”

I shook my head and leaned down to kiss her cheek. “It’s not enough, Ditzy. You deserve more, you deserve the best. I want you to be happy, but I know you’re struggling. Don’t tell me you’re not.”

My friend let out a sigh. “Torque, money isn’t everything, and don’t try to tell me that’s not what this is about. My vision is the biggest thing keeping me from getting a better paying position, or even a whole new job. There’s an emptiness, Torque, a hole, but it’s going to take something huge to fill it. It’s going to take something high above what money can accomplish. I’m not sure what, I just know that more income won’t help.”

Since one of my hooves was already in between both of hers, I set my other hoof against one. “I’m going to see what I can do with these. Ditzy, what I would really love is to find a solution that would allow you to see everything normally, at all times. This is just the first step. I can’t say when, but I know I’ll be back later tonight. I promise.”

She leaned up, and I lowered myself so we could share a small kiss. “What did I do to deserve somepony like you?”

I set the goggles around my neck as I stood up. “You were you. I’ll be back tonight, I promise, Ditzy.”

She waved at me a little as I left, and I did the same until I was out of the house. I felt a little more comfortable known Sparkplug was still there with them, but I still couldn’t muster the strength to move at anything but a demoralized walk.

“I thought I had done enough to rid you of this feeling, child.” Once again, I found myself standing before the princess of the night. “I sense even more trouble, now. You may have lifted the weight off your shoulders, but a new pressure has replaced it. Please, Torque, tell me what troubles you now.”

I let out a sigh and looked up at her. It took me a while to form the right words, but eventually I managed to say something that was at least somewhat coherent. “I tried to create something that would allow Ditzy to see straight in the air. It didn’t go over that well… and now I’m starting to feel helpless. I’m sure, if I keep trying, I can eventually make something that will work, but she told me there’s an emptiness she has that will take a whole lot to fill. I… I’m not sure if I know what that is, or if I can do what she needs.”

The princess set a hoof on my shoulder as we continued walking. She was the princess of the night, so it was no surprise that she knew where I lived. “I have been gone for a thousand years, and I’m still trying to catch up on some of the advances we as a society have made. However, I know one thing has not changed, and it will never change regardless of how much time passes. There is one thing all ponies desire, something far above material wealth. I’m positive you know what that is, and you are capable of giving it.”

Luna took the goggles off my neck with her magic. Before I actually got through the open door, she set them on the workbench I had set up in my spare time and closed the door again. “My suggestion to you would be to give up this venture. Not permanently, but simply take a break and give yourself some time to think. The answer will come, and I feel confident that you’ll be ready.”

For some reason, all I could do was stare at the door. “Princess, why are you going so far out of your way for such a trivial matter?”

Her small frown turned up into a soft smile as her own gaze turned towards the moon. “One can never tell how big something will become until it reaches its largest point. For all we know, this situation could snowball into something far beyond a simple love story. As I said, simply allow yourself some time to think. Look at everything, and I mean everything. Consider your options, talk to everyone you think can help, and above all: relax. Believe me, things will be much clearer when you’re not so tense.”

It was probably a combination of her being here and me being told to relax, but I remembered that little breathing trick and repeated it again, somehow calming down relatively quickly yet again.

“Thank you, princess. I hope I’ll be able to take your advice; I admit it can be a little hard for me to stop working on something once I have the plans.”

She gave me a soft pat on the head. “Oh, I’m sure you’ll manage. It won’t be as hard as it seems, trust me. Even I, with my numerous royal duties, still manage to make time for myself. If I can do it, so can you.”

“I guess you’re right. Thank you again, Princess.”

Luna nodded, slowly unfolding her wings. “I wish you the best, child. Farewell!” She took off into the night sky, and though my original objective had been to go inside, I found myself trotting back to the pegasus’ house.

The lights were still on, but my cousin was the one that answered the door when I knocked. “Good news: she seems alright for now. I put Dinky to bed for her and made some food for the both of you. I gave her the money to pay for what I used as well. Well… more like I made her take it. I’ve got to get home, but I did hear you promise that you’d come back, so go on in.”

She waved at me as I walked in the door. Ditzy was still lying on the couch, but a small smile formed on her muzzle when she saw me.

“Hey, you.”

“How are you feeling, Ditzy?”

The mare managed to sit up, though it took her a little bit. “I’ll be fine. I should be good to go after a decent rest.”

I smiled at her before leaning down to kiss her forehead. “Have you eaten, yet?”

Ditzy slowly shook her head. “Sparkplug made salads for us, but I haven’t been feeling that hun—”

Oh, what an unintentional fibber the stomach can make a pony. “Um… just kidding?” She let out a small giggle as I made my way to the kitchen. Two plates of salad had been set on the table with utensils, so I did my best to carry them both into her living room.

“Is eating allowed in here?”

My friend nodded quickly, trying to prop herself up with the pillows on either side of her sofa. “Well, Dinky isn’t, but we can.”

I tilted my head as she tried to eat. Every time she got a bit of food in her fork, she would left up her hoof about halfway before lowering it. “Ditzy, are you sure you’re alright?”

She looked at me for a moment with her brows turned up. “I… I feel really weak. I’m not sure why.”

“That’s odd. I mean, yeah, you hit your head pretty hard, but I’ve never known physical weakness to be a result of collisions. I mean, I’m no doctor, but still.” After scratching my chin for a moment, I pressed my hoof against the mare’s forehead. “Ditzy, you’re burning up! How did I not notice that earlier? Alright, I’m taking you to the doctor tomorrow.”

My friend shook her head quickly. “No, you don’t have to! Besides, I don’t want to miss work.”

I half suggested half forced her to quiet herself when I lifted the forkful of food into her mouth. The way her cheeks began to glow red was kind of cute, and I felt my own doing the same. “I’ll take care of it. I’m sure both our bosses will understand. Well, I might have to endure a lecture from my cousin, but I don’t think Air Mail can be mad at you for getting sick.”

Once she had swallowed her food, she took a hold of my foreleg to give herself some time to speak. “Okay, fine, I can’t stop you. What about Dinky, though? What if the doctor tells me I can’t do things for a while or that I should take a day off or something like that? I mean, I’m sure getting up and making some food for her and putting her to bed won’t be a problem, but she’s my little baby… she needs someone to play with. She needs somepony to make her laugh. Torque, she needs a parent, not just a caregiver.”

I let out a sigh and set my hoof on your shoulder. “Ditzy, you need to see a doctor, you have a fever. Look, if you’re really that concerned about it, I’ll come by after work and we can play together. I’m sure she’ll love that.”

She closed her eyes and formed another soft smile, opening her mouth a little. “I’d like that, too.”

With a smile of my own, I lifted a little more of the salad into her mouth. “Let’s take a second to calm down. I think we’re both a little tense, so let’s try and relax before we keep talking. I’d hate for us to get in a pointless argument by accident.”

As she ate, I reached for my own plate and took a few bites. Neither of us spoke until we were both finished and I had cleaned the dishes for her. When I came back, she had set the pillows back to their original places.

“Would you like help getting to you room?”

Again, the pegasus shook her head. “This sofa is plenty big enough for me. I’ll sleep here without sacrificing much comfort. Oh Torque… I guess there’s no hiding it. I feel awful.”

“Well, I could see that. Tell you what: how about I hang out here for the night? I got a half suggestion half order from a very important pony to take a break from all my inventing and designing and stuff. She’s actually told me to just take a break to give myself some time to think. Knowing me, if I go back home I probably won’t be able to resist some more trial and error.”

She set one of her hooves on mine, shaking her head slowly. “Torque, I can’t let you do that. I should have asked you not to do all these other things for me. Just… you’ve done so much for me, and I feel kind of bad just accepting all these favors and such.”

I patted the hoof with my free one. “It’s different when the other pony wants to. I don’t feel like I owe you anything, I’m doing all these things because I care about you, Ditzy. I… I love you.”

Again with that cute blush. The mare stared at me for a moment before her gaze shifted down. She opened her mouth, but nothing came out for a little bit. “Do… do you mean that?”

“I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t.”

I probably shouldn’t have let her, but accepted it as she lifted herself up and wrapped her forelegs around me. “You… you… you’re too good. I love you too, Torque!”

Well, that was it. There was no questioning it now. You don’t tell somepony you love them and decide to go back on it. Besides, I meant it, and hearing her return the feeling with the kind of certainty and finality she did made me feel even better.

We shared a soft embrace, but after a while, I could feel her starting to fall. I set her back on the couch and stood up. “I’m going to check on Dinky and get you a blanket, alright?”

“Okay. Just be careful, she’s a light sleeper.”

I nodded and slowly made my way to Dinky’s room. Poking my head in the door, I saw the adorable filly tucked in nice and cozy with Mr. Wags right next to her. It really was a calming scene. Ditzy’s room was right across from her daughter’s, and though it was a little rude to go in, I made myself feel better by justifying it with the fact that I had told her I was going to get her a blanket. Luckily there was a closet right on the wall just a few steps away that had three blankets in it.

When I came back, Ditzy was already asleep. I pulled the blanket over her, but instead of finding a place to lie down, I looked around for something to write with and a few sheets of paper. The whole ordeal with the goggles for some reason reminded me of my sister, so I decided to write a letter to her just to see how she was. I also wrote two notes, one to Sparkplug and one to Air Mail, letting them know I was taking Ditzy to the doctor.

It was a little gutsy, but I also attached my letter to the note for Air Mail and put a post script request to have them deliver it. There was no doubt in my mind Sparkplug would have quite a bit to say at me when I finally did show up, but I was doing what I felt was right. I went out and stuck the notes on the doors of their respective businesses, making my way back to the pegasus’ house when I was done. By the time I got there, it was almost eleven o’ clock.

Ironically, I didn’t feel all that tired, so I devoted my time to looking around and finding something for breakfast, just to get an early start. Now, I’m no amazing cook, and I really didn’t want to risk the fire alarm going off and waking the girls up, so I went with the much safer option. I set a half-full box of cereal on the counter with three bowls and got the toaster out. Obviously, making the food now was pointless, but at least I could get everything set up.

As I did this, Ditzy’s words came back to me. She told me money didn’t make a difference, but rummaging through her food made me seriously doubt that. The contents of her fridge consisted of half a bag of carrots, two apples, an almost empty bag of lettuce, a few bottled waters, and a small Tupperware box of cucumbers. The only things she had in the cabinet I had gotten the cereal out from were a few packets of hot chocolate, a single tea bag, and some coffee filters. How on earth did she expect me not to worry?

I began creating dots and connecting them in my head. The things Luna had said, the things that have been happening, the situations I had been presented with, and the decisions I had to make were all pointing to something, I just knew it. My only problem was that I couldn’t put my hoof on what that something was.

Still wide awake, I decided to try and tire myself out by creating a physical thinking map. I grabbed a few more sheets of paper and sat down at the kitchen table to write down everything that was relevant. Each thing was labeled according to what it was, such as things the Princess had told me being labeled “Luna”. It honestly felt like I was back in school again, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Once I had everything written down, I read through them all and connected things that were similar. Luna’s description of love was linked to many things, including both times I took Ditzy out, my making that sound box, the goggles, and so much more. Taking Ditzy to the doctor, getting the things to make the sound box, and going to see Dinky’s show and tell were all linked to “Work Comes Second”. One thing that caught my mind was what I labeled the link between the lack of food, Ditzy’s fear of missing her house payment, and her desire to have someone here for Dinky: “Can’t Do It Alone”.

For one, the words “do” and “it” didn’t need to be capitalized, and second, I found my own choice of words… odd. Is it odd to find your own word choice odd? Wait… what? Anyway, apparently my mind knew something the rest of me didn’t, though reading through what I had written started to open my mental floodgates. As they did, an idea came to my mind, but it was something I was most certainly not ready for. I refused to even ask about it until every single thing could no longer be argued with. It was still very possible that Ditzy and I could decide that we weren’t really made for each other, it was still possible that I might be transferred to another town that needed me more, and I don’t even think I could afford something like that right now.

There was one idea I had, and I knew it would benefit the both of us. I made a mental note to ask Ditzy about it tomorrow, as well as making a note to keep my other notion on the backburner. We both needed more time, but it couldn’t hurt to be prepared anyway, right?

I still wasn’t the least bit tired when I was done, so my only option now was to break the rules a little. Luna told me not to do any building, but she never said anything about planning. However, I didn’t want to use any more paper than what I already had, so I settled for lying on the smaller couch in the living room to think.

I went back to the goggles. The problem was that, while they worked if Ditzy never moved her eyes, she was once again brought off balance if she didn’t move her entire head to look somewhere. Not only that, but her peripherals were completely blocked. Sadly, the closet solution I could come up with was having a much bigger mirror to reflect into her eye, but that would cut off the light from even getting to the first mirror.

Finally I felt myself getting a little drowsy. I closed my eyes for what felt like just a brief moment before they were forced to open again by a hoof tapping my shoulder.

“Mister Torque? Are you okay?” Little Dinky was looking up at me with her brows turned up. However, when I opened my mouth, she pressed her hoof to it. “Shh, Momma’s still asleep!”

Looking over confirmed this. Ditzy was still snoozing on the couch across from me, but the clock was now reading seven in the morning. I hopped up quietly, lifting the filly onto my back and taking her to the kitchen. I poured a bowl of cereal for her and fixed her some toast, patting her on the head. A part of me contemplated going grocery shopping, but seeing as how school didn’t start for another hour and a half, I really didn’t want to leave Dinky alone, nor did I want to wake her mother.

Call it a shot in the dark, but I poked my head out of the door just to see if anypony else was awake. Call this a stroke of luck, but there actually did happen to be someone. Her pale yellow coat made her easy to spot, though it wasn’t all that dark out to begin with.

“Excuse me ma’am! May I talk to you?”

She jumped up, dropping the bag she had been carrying in her mouth as she spun around to look at me. We both just kind of stared at each other before I actually stepped out of the house to greet her, holding my hoof out with a small smile.

“My name is Torque, what’s your name?”

I heard a mumble, but she backed away a little. It was difficult to tell how she was actually feeling, as more than half of her face was obstructed by her long, pink locks. Honestly, it was a little nerve-racking how she just shied away from me. I tried to tell her I meant no harm by picking up her bag, but all she did was snatch it up quickly and back away some more.

Suddenly her ears perked up and she rose again, though she didn’t seem to be looking at me. The little filly was scurrying towards us when I turned around with a big smile on her face. “Good morning, Miss Fluttershy!”

Finally, I saw a smile spread across her face. “Oh, hello Dinky. What are you doing up so early?”

Dinky sat down between us and looked up at the pegasus. “I don’t know. I just woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. I went to go check on my momma, and Mister Torque was sleeping in the other couch!”

She raised her hoof to her mouth as her gaze shifted between the two of us. “I heard about what happened. Is she alright?”

I picked Dinky up and set her on my back, but she decided to be a little stinker and crawl up to my head, peeking over my hat. “She’s alright, but I’m taking her to the doctor today. I’m not sure if she still does, but she had a fever last night, and told me she felt really weak in her limbs.”

“Oh no, that’s not good at all….”

I nodded to her. “I know. I wanted to go get groceries for her, but I don’t want to leave Dinky basically by herself.”

Fluttershy looked past my shoulder at the house for a moment, turning her attention back to me. “Well, I could watch her. I’m not doing anything important, so I’m in no hurry.”

It probably wasn’t the best idea, but I clapped my hooves together at her words. “You’d do that for me? Oh thank you!”

She jumped up and backed away, trembling as she whispered. “Okay….”

Now it was my turn to back up. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”

Dinky hopped off of my head and headed towards Fluttershy. “Miss Fluttershy, can you tell some more animal stories?”

I saw a smile peek out behind her mane again as they headed for the door. “Sure. How about I tell you the one about the puppy with the peanut butter?”

The little filly giggled as they went in the door, though it closed before I could hear her response. I made a note to ask Fluttershy exactly where the doctor was. My first destination was my house so I could get some money, and by the time I had gotten out, there were vendors out setting up shop for the day. I guess being a merchant meant longer hours.

There were plenty of stalls already set up with a wide variety of food, so it didn’t take long for me to pick up plenty of food to fill up Ditzy’s refrigerator and her cabinets. When I got back, Fluttershy now had a small rabbit with her and was apparently letting Dinky… curl his tail?

She caught sight of me and bounced towards me, and I saw Ditzy lift her head as well. “Mister Torque! Look at Miss Fluttershy’s bunny! Isn’t he just so cute?”

With a grin, I looked at the rabbit for a moment before leaning toward the filly. “Careful, Dinky, he’s Trouble with a capital ‘T’.”

I saw the rabbit lift his paw to his mouth, silently laughing as Dinky hugged me. “No! He’s the cutest little bunny ever!”

I picked her up again and addressed Fluttershy. “Is this your pet?”

The pegasus leaned forward and rubbed her nose against the rabbit’s, sporting the sweetest smile I’d ever seen. “Oh, yes. I spend my time taking care of a lot of animals, but Angel bunny is very special.”

My ears perked up as she spoke and a light bulb came on. “Wait, did you say all kinds of animals?”

She nodded slowly as Angel hopped on her back. “Oh, yes. I have all kinds of creatures that I take care of.”

A small grin began to spread across my face. “Any chance you have some in need of a home?”

Now her ears perked up. “Of course! I’m always looking for a place these animals can really call home.”

I looked a Dinky for a moment, then back to Fluttershy. I didn’t want to spoil a potential surprise. “Dinky, why don’t you go check on mommy, okay?”

She did a cute little salute, dashing off to her mother and leaving the other pegasus alone with me. “Dinky’s been wanting a pet for the longest time. Is there any chance you have a dog right now?”

Her ears fell flat at my request. “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I don’t at the moment. If I ever come across one that needs a home, I’ll certainly let you know.”

“I appreciate that. Oh, one more thing! Where… is the doctor? Fortunately, I haven’t actually had to pay him a visit yet.”

She pointed her hoof towards the window, swaying it from side to side. “Just go down this way, take a right, and you should see a building with a big red cross on it.”

I nodded again as she made her way towards the door. “Thank you, Fluttershy. Have a good day.”

“Thank you! You do the same.”

Dinky ran up to her with a brown bag in her mouth. She was a bit muffled, but her words were still coherent. “Thank you for making me lunch, Miss Fluttershy!”

The two left together, but went down different sides of the street. Fluttershy waved to the little filly with a bright smile. “You’re very welcome.”

With that done, it was now time for me to focus my attention on Ditzy. My… I guess I could call her my marefriend now, was now able to sit up on her own, though when I tried to help her off the couch, she did wobble a bit.

“Do you think you can stomach some food? I’d like to see the doctor now, but I’ll treat you to breakfast afterwards if you can.”

She nodded slowly and leaned against me. “I think I’ll manage.”

My smile began to return as I felt the warmth of her contact. “Do you mind if I talk to you about some things, Ditzy? I kind of want to get this out of the way now before I give myself more time to think about it.”

The mare walked through the door, albeit wobbly, and looked at me with a tiny frown. “Is something wrong?”

I let her lean on me again, though she wasn’t putting as much weight on me now. “No, nothing’s wrong, I’ve just, surprise surprise, have been thinking. There’s no easy way to ask this, so I’m just going to spit it out: Fluttershy told me that she takes care of a lot of animals. She told me she’d let me know if she found a dog in need of a home as soon as she found it, so… how would you feel about Dinky getting a pet from her?”

Her gaze shifted toward the ground a little. “Well, I’d love for her to have a pet. It’s just that I think the long term cost of having one would be a little too much for us. I mean, you saw my grocery stock. Speaking of, I’m torn between thanking you and hitting you over the head for buying all that food for us.”

I couldn’t help but chuckle at the comment. “It’s really nothing, Ditzy. I’m living on my own, so I don’t have as many expenses as you do. The least I can do is help you out when things get tight.”

She managed to lean up and kiss my cheek as we approached the doctor’s office. “You’re too good, Torque. Too good.”

“I do my best.”

We were greeted by a mostly empty waiting room and two secretaries at the counter next to the door to the offices. It didn’t take long after a quick explanation for us to get with a doctor, and I was allowed to come with Ditzy as she was taken into the office.

She spoke to me as she went through the typical procedures: temperature check, breathing, and stuff like that. “So, what seems to be the problem?”

I was seated next to the bed Ditzy was on, and it honestly felt a little awkward. “Well, I’m not sure if you’ve heard about my endeavor with her eyesight, but my attempts to help her fly resulted in a nasty crash. Not long after we brought her home, she had a fever and weakness in her legs. I’m not sure if these are related to each other, but I would like to find out.”

The nurse scratched her a chin for a moment before grabbing a wooden spoon. “Alright, say ‘ah’.”

The pegasus opened her mouth as wide as she could while the nurse grabbed a small light. She pressed down a little on Ditzy’s tongue and directed it towards the back of her throat. “Hm, I don’t see any kind of infection. It’s possible it could be the flu, but I think the more likely explanation is simply stress. I’ve seen many flu-like cases solved quickly with a day or two of rest and relaxation. That’s what I’ll be suggesting for you, and if problems persist, come see me again.”

Both of us exchanged looks before turning back to the nurse. “That’s it? I just stay at home for a few days?”

She simply shrugged. “I’d say stay home for the day. If you feel well enough to resume work and regular activities tomorrow, then do so. I honestly believe this is simply stress related, so once you take some time to yourself, the symptoms should subside.”

Ditzy let out a sigh as the nurse opened the door for us. “Alright then, thank you.”

My marefriend kept her head down the entire way back home, even going so far as to decline my offer for breakfast. “I’ll fix something here, Torque. I guess I’ll just try and get some more rest and eat a warm bowl of soup or something.”

Once we were inside, I checked the clock and bit my lower lip. In all honesty, I should have brought it up at the same time as I asked about the dog, but it was just as hard to ask her about it now as it was then.

After a few moments just tapping at the ground, I finally managed to look up at her. “Ditzy… may I ask you something else?”

She turned to me and tilted her head. “Of course.”

“Last night, I did some deep thinking. The two of us are already dating, basically, and don’t you even try to tell me you couldn’t use the extra income. I feel like I could really help if… we started living together. It’s not just about money, either. With me here and her having new friends, Dinky will always have someone to play with, even when things like this happen.”

A blush formed on her cheeks and quickly spread across her entire face. “I… I… I don’t know what to say. That’s kind of a big step, and I know it’d benefit the both of us a lot, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to have a colt in the house. No offense.”

“None taken. I understand. I don’t expect an answer right away, either. Unfortunately, I have to get to work now before I dig myself an even deeper hole. Are you going to be alright by yourself?”

She set a mixing bowl and the carton of eggs I had gotten her on the counter and nodded. “I’ll be fine. Don’t say ‘are you sure?’ either, Torque. I promise you I’ll be fine.”

Now it was my turn to nod. “If you’re positive. I’ll be back as soon as the shop closes, though, I promise.”

I was about to leave when Ditzy stopped and came over to me. My face turned just as red as hers was when the same sensation that had consumed me that Saturday night washed over me again. She drew it out a bit longer this time, and when she broke away, I found myself wrapped in a tight hug.

“I love you, Torque.”

“I love you too, Ditzy.”