• Published 15th Dec 2014
  • 9,854 Views, 575 Comments

This Cruel and Random World - Bluegrass Brooke

It was a simple bet. Spend one month as a pony, and prove to Celestia that he had been right all along. Discord never thought he would actually enjoy it. As the days pass, he finds himself desperate to keep up the façade a little longer.

  • ...

Would It Be So Wrong?

Twilight always considered herself a highly rational pony. Easily stressed, but certainly not liable to make emotional decisions without thinking through the consequences. At least, that was what she used to think before she woke up with a stallion in her bed and no idea how he ended up there. Come to think of it, how did I get here?

The morning light cast warm rays onto the quilt where Entropy lay sprawled out on the foot of the bed, fast asleep. Judging from the dried sweat on his coat, he must have pushed himself last night. Twilight thought back to the last thing she could remember. The river had dissipated, and she had been telling him about her theory. And, after that, they ended up here. Her heart lurched as she started to put two and two together. Oh, Celestia! What did we do last night?

She sat up straight, blinking the sleep from her eyes and looking for Spike. Certainly she would not have done anything like that with him around, Entropy at the least would not have dreamed of it. Still, that did not change the fact that he was on her bed. Slowly, she crawled over to him, nudging him in the ribs. "Entropy. Entropy, wake up."

Spike's voice came from the top of the stairs "Twilight?" He adjusted his apron, tapping the wooden bed frame with a frown. "What are you doing?"

What am I doing? She sat up straight and stared back at him. "I . . . don't really know." That was the understatement of the century. Her eyes fell onto Entropy's sleeping form, the stallion really did look exhausted. "How'd I get back here, and why's Entropy in my bed?"

Spike clapped a claw to his forehead. "You don't remember?"

"No." She braced herself for whatever he was about to say. "Was it bad?"

"No." Spike waved the thought away, walking over to her. "Entropy came back around two in the morning carrying you. He said something about you being tired. But," he pointed at the sleeping stallion, "he was complaining he was tired, and wouldn't leave. I tried to tell him you wouldn't like it, but he didn't listen."

Twilight's heart skipped a beat. He carried me? But those cliffs are at least two miles away. She could not help but smile at Entropy. There was never anything to worry about with him around. Her hoof stroked his side gently, "Oh, I don't mind, Spike. He's welcome to stay."

Spike gaped at her for a while, then, seemingly searching for a change in subject, he pointed at the clock. "It's eight thirty, the festival's already started."

She yawned, looking back at the faded numbers with a frown. They had overslept, and for once, she did not care. Slowly, she got to her hooves, wincing from the aching in her limbs. Ran too much last night. She could only imagine how tired Entropy was, especially with his arthritis. "I'm going to take a shower, Spike. Let Entropy sleep as long as he wants."

"Uh, okay." Spike trotted after her, taking the stairs two at a time. "What were you talking about yesterday?"

"Huh?" Her half-awake brain could hardly focus on her steps, let alone Spike's wild train of thought. "Talking about?"

Spike jerked a nod, "Yeah. When Entropy came back, he said you had a lot to talk about. What were you talking about, Twilight?"

Twilight rolled her eyes, not in the mood to humor him. "A lot, okay? It's nothing important." It was in fact, very important to her, but she was not about to explain herself, not yet. She reached the door to the bathroom, and turned back to him. "Later, Spike."

Stepping inside, she slammed it, sliding down onto the cool tiles. Her life seemed to be on fast forward ever since yesterday. The festival setup, the mishap with Cheese, looking for Entropy; the focus and subjects of the conversation had somehow slowly blurred until they were no longer distinguishable from each other. A good long shower was exactly what she needed to clear her head and sort out this whole mess. That was assuming it could be sorted out.

Discord never imagined that his favorite smell would be lavender. Not that it was bad, but it was a decidedly feminine smell. However, since he had messed around with Twilight's tail the other day, he could not get enough of it. He was even smelling it in his sleep. Or was he? A warm sensation spilled over his back, as though he were laying on a sunlit hill in the middle of the day. He probably had fallen asleep by the cliffs after running off yesterday.

"Entropy?" Twilight's voice drifted to his ear like a wind chime in the summer breeze.

Great, now I'm imagining things. With a bit of effort, he blinked awake and stared at the alicorn lying beside him, soft coat glistening in the morning light. Now I know I'm imagining things. "Twilight? What? Why are you here?"

Twilight rolled her eyes clean over, blowing a strand of damp forelock out of her eyes. "Seriously?"

Discord wiped his face with a grimy hoof and took a good look at where they were. His heart sank when he noted the large bed they were lying on and the sunlit interior of Twilight's loft. A glance at the clock said that it was nearly nine thirty. Twilight was leaning against his side, coat still damp from what he assumed was one of her showers. She was looking out the window at the town beyond, tail resting comfortably atop his own.

Try as he could to remain calm, he could not help the rapid beating of his heart upon realizing that Twilight did not seem bothered in the least with their proximity. Have mercy on my soul. "What did I do to you?" The words spilled out before he could figure out something remotely intelligent to say.

"Nothing much." Twilight shot him a very knowing smile before kissing him on the cheek. "For somepony who claims to be intelligent, you're really clueless."

Yes I am. Explain! He closed his eyes, desperately trying to remember the sequence of events from the previous night. Accepting defeat, he turned to Twilight, "What happened?"

An almost hurt look flickered across her face, "Don't you remember?" She stared piercingly into his eyes for a moment, as though judging his sincerity. Then, slowly, she reached out, stroking his forelock back with a hoof. "You carried me back from the cliffs after I collapsed."

Then, it came back to him as fast as a wave against the rocks. His screw up, their conversation, the river, Twilight collapsing, and the long walk to Ponyville. Instinctively he attempted to move, sending an equally involuntary gasp from the sudden, searing pain. He gritted his teeth to avoid letting loose a string of curses.

Twilight frowned, rubbing his back with a hoof. "Are you okay?" Though she was being incredibly gentle, he could not help but wince from the contact. She sighed, and lit her horn. The pain numbed in an instant as she cast a healing spell on his back. "Sorry, I should have tried to treat it before waking you up."

"It's fine." The day before, he would have had something to say about Twilight nonchalantly casting harmony magic on his body. However, that seemed idiotic now that he knew the truth, her magic was every bit the same as his, just drawn from one place instead of thousands. It no longer bothered him in the least, in fact, it felt rather good. He lowered his head, allowing her to keep working on the spell.

"Your back's strained." She flicked her mane, sending up yet another tantalizing waft of lavender. "You could have woken me up, silly."

Discord snorted a laugh, "Please. Nightmare Moon herself couldn't have woken you up last night." His eyes tracked her progress. For a mare whose specialty was far from healing magic, she had a knack for it. He glanced down at the quilt, noting the dirt obscuring the lilac checkered pattern. "Sorry about falling asleep on your bed, and making a mess."

Twilight gave a filly like giggle, still focusing on his back. "Oh, I don't mind, Entropy. You're always welcome to stay. Besides," her voice lowered to a near whisper, "that's what mares do for their stallions."

Their stallions? Discord felt his heart lurch again. He tried to think where she had gotten such a ridiculous notion. And then it came to him. "Twilight, I think you're confused. Yesterday when I hugged you, I . . . it wasn't like that."

The spell stopped as she turned to stare at him, eyebrow raised. "Really? What was it then? Because, last time I checked, stallions don't go hugging just any mare like that."

"I . . . I was caught up in the moment." He really had been. If he had been in his right mind, he would never have dreamed of holding her the way he did. Discord tried to look away, but was quickly ensnared by the playful glint in her eyes. Why must she look at me like that?

"Yes, but . . ." She leaned in close enough for him to smell the mint from her mouthwash. Then, before he understood what was going on, she pressed her muzzle to his in a determined fashion. For some reason, Discord could not pull away, it felt too good. Then, slowly she broke it, flushing crimson. "You're saying you don't like that?"

"No, I like it a lot!" Discord felt like kicking himself the instant the words left his mouth. It was the truth, but it was far from helpful given his current predicament.

She caressed his neck with a hoof, an almost pleading look taking over. "Then, what's the problem? Don't you want to date me? Isn't that what you've been wanting for days now?"

"I . . . you . . ." A part of him wanted to scream that it was not right, that they could not be together. They were completely different species, it would never work out between them. But, another, more dangerous part wanted so badly to agree, to finally have the chance at finding someone more than a friend. The thought was dangerous, and crazy, but so tempting. Would it hurt to play along, if only for a month?

"Well?" Twilight leaned in with all the air of an expectant filly.

Discord gulped. Gods help me, I'm going to do it. "Yes, that's what I want . . . as long as that's what you want." He looked down at his hooves, at the façade he kept for the sake of his little game. Somehow, that did not seem important at the moment. She liked him, and who knew, maybe after all was said and done, she would grow to like him for who he really was. "But, I'd like to take it slow. Go on a few dates, and see where it leads, that sort of thing."

Twilight gave a squeal of delight, wrapping him in a bone crushing hug. "Thank you, Entropy. You won't regret it."

Oh, I'm sure I will. Discord flinched when Spike chose that moment to appear at the top of the stairs. "Hello, Spike."

With the agility of a cat, Twilight released him, sitting up straight to face her assistant. "What's wrong?"

Spike just stared open mouthed at the pair of them. Then, slowly, he raised an accusatory claw at Twilight. "What were you two doing?"

Discord chuckled, getting slowly to his hooves. Thankfully, Twilight's spell had done a credible job at keeping the agony in check. He limped over to Spike, patting him on the head. "We've decided to start dating, that's all." His attention turned back to Twilight, "I'm going to take a shower, and then we can walk to the festival together." Without another word, he started down the stairs. It was better to leave it there and let Twilight hash it out, she was far too fond of withholding information from the child. Besides, he could use the space. After all, he, Discord, the master of chaos himself was dating someone for the first time, and he had to get it right. The thought made him warm all over, and more than a little nervous. Oh, what to do first?

"You're dating him?" Spike felt as though his entire world had collapsed with a single sentence. There was no way in Equestria Twilight would decide something so important without him, was there? He leaned in close, tugging on her leg. "Twilight? Tell me this is some kind of joke."

Twilight sighed patting him on the head in that patronizing fashion of hers. "It's the truth, Spike." She levitated a brush to her mane, looking out the window as if indicating the point was moot.

Don't ignore me! "Twilight." He stamped a foot down against the hardwood, still glowering at her. "You can't just go and decide to date somepony without asking me first."

Twilight snorted a laugh, turning back to face him. "Really? Since when do I need your permission to date somepony? Besides," she dropped the brush, getting to her hooves, "I thought you liked Entropy."

"I do." Sometimes. "But he's been getting way too friendly with you." Twilight seemed perpetually stuck under the illusion that Entropy was perfect. After what Applejack told him yesterday, he thought she would be mad at him for hurting Cheese. Instead, she seemed all too ready to forget it even happened. "He hurt Cheese, Applejack told me."

"It was an accident." Twilight started down the stairs, list hanging suspended in front of her. "It's all forgiven, Spike. So don't worry." Her progress halted at the bottom as she lowered the list to stare wide eyed at the door. "Do you know whose running the activities if I'm here?"

Annoyed by the change of subject, Spike spoke a little more tersely than he intended. "Mayor Mare." He cuffed the floor with a foot, mumbling under his breath, "If you weren't so obsessed with Entropy, you'd know that."

"My, my, is that a hint of resentment I hear?" Entropy's smooth voice directly behind him, made Spike wheel around. Sure enough, the stallion was looking at him with that Cheshire grin of his. "I thought we were friends, Spike."

"Yeah, well, friends don't go dating Twilight without my permission." He puffed out his chest, keenly aware of how ridiculously underwhelming the gesture was. Just as he was about to speak up again, Entropy shook himself off like a dog, spraying water all over him and a little on Twilight.

Rather than snap or chide him, Twilight burst into a fit of giggles. "There is such a thing as a towel, Entropy." She trotted over to the hall closet, returning with a fluffy white towel. Using her magic, she proceeded to rub off his mane, causing Entropy to flush violently.

Urgh! Spike felt like he was trapped in some corny romantic comedy. Deciding to end the noxiously lovey-dovey atmosphere, he kicked Twilight pointedly in the hock. "Twilight, shouldn't we go to the festival now?"

"Oh, right, sorry." Twilight dropped the towel, making her way a few strides before stopping in the center of the floor. Her eyes made their way across the shelves, focusing back on him. "Where did we put the speech for the contest winners, Spike?"

"Uh . . ." Taking the initiative last night, Spike had cleaned the entire library. There had been so many papers, and he had been so distracted, that for once, he could not remember where he had put everything.

Entropy's booming laugh made them both jump. A scroll levitated from the very top of the nearest shelf, landing in front of Twilight. Entropy smiled brightly, still holding the scroll steady in his golden magic. "Here, I put it up so you wouldn't lose it."

Twilight just gaped at him, and Spike was inclined to do the same. He can control his magic? Apparently this was news to Twilight as well, because she literally screamed with delight, causing Entropy to lose concentration and drop the scroll. The expression of shock on the unicorn's face was beyond priceless as Twilight leaned in close, grinning from ear to ear. "You did it!"

Entropy lowered his ears submissively, tail tucked between his legs. "Did what?"

"You used harmony magic to lift the scroll." She spun in place like a ballerina, then hopped up and down in a credible impersonation of Pinkie. "Yes, yes, YES!"

The stallion shot him a questioning look, but Spike was not inclined to help him out. Instead, Entropy cleared his throat, "Yes, I suppose I did."

Twilight leaned in close, eyes sparkling in that over exuberant way Spike knew would lead to trouble. "How did you manage it?"

"I just remembered last night, and how you drew the magic out of the river." Another flush stretched across the stallion's face as he focused on the floor. "It was nothing really," he murmured.

"Nothing really? Entropy, that was incredible!" Twilight gave Entropy a quick hug before turning to Spike. "Did you see that? He just performed a perfect levitation spell!"

Spike rolled his eyes, "Thrilling." Apparently the sarcasm was lost on her, because she continued to jabber on as they made their way out into the sunlight beyond.

The air was heavy with a sticky kind of heat that clung to one's back like a sweaty hug you could do without. To top it off, the pegasi had cleared the sky to allow Celestia's sun to break through in all its fury. At that moment, he would have given anything for a glass of lemonade.

"Spike?" Entropy had slowed, allowing Twilight to walk ahead, still chattering away to herself. The stallion collected his walk so that he could keep pace with him. Though he looked as upbeat as ever, there was a distinct hint of concern in his golden eyes. "I'm sorry for not explaining the situation with Twilight first. I didn't mean to upset you, I just," he chuckled, staring hard at Twilight, "get swept up in the moment when I'm around her."

Swept up in the moment? Spike could see his point. Twilight was the kind of pony you wanted to do your very best for, not because she was intimidating or demanding, but because you knew without a shadow of a doubt she would do the same for you. "Yeah, guess you're right. And, I guess it's okay, I mean, you two are practically made for each other."

Entropy barked a laugh, "Maybe. Time will reveal the truth, one way or the other."

He raised an eyebrow, watching Entropy stride forward to walk with Twilight again. The truth? Something told him that there was more to "the truth" then just their feelings. But what? What kind of secret could Entropy be hiding? Certainly it was not anything dangerous. After all, how much harm could one nerdy professor with zero magical ability cause? Still, the thought was unsettling, and he made a mental note to keep an eye open just in case.

Awkward moments were Discord's specialty. There were many days where, in his boredom, he would conjure up the most embarrassing situation to throw unsuspecting ponies into. Such "discomforts" never bothered him, in fact, they always had a way of raising his spirits. Unfortunately, such was not the case with Twilight.

They had walked into the festival to see it in full swing. A bit more chaotic then Twilight would have liked, but ponies appeared to be enjoying themselves. That suited him just fine. After all, what fun was there in sticking religiously to a schedule? Spike seemed to agree and scampered off to go "guard" the dessert displays. Before he and Twilight had time to orient themselves, Mrs. Plumsworth appeared with her gaggle of friends. They had voiced their surprise at his and Twilight's late arrival together. Mrs. Plumsworth asked where he had been, and then things fell apart.

Apparently stating that you spent the night at somepony's house was a cause for alarm. After he had said it, the words seemed to linger in the air like the oppressive humidity. Discord felt his stomach sink as the implications of his blunder sunk in. Being frozen in stone for over a thousand years made it difficult to keep up with the "lingo." He looked apologetically at Twilight, but the poor mare was cringing behind him, flushing cherry red, and murmuring something incomprehensible. Great, smooth going, Discord. He turned back to the elderly ponies, "It wasn't like that! I . . . we were studying magic last night. Twilight had a new theory, so we spend the night working it out." The words tumbled out in a rush, but he hoped they were enough.

Mrs. Plumsworth was the first to step forward, that knowing smirk plastered on her face. "Oh, don't you worry, son. We can keep a secret, can't we girls?" The mares nodded approval. One by one they came up, clapping Discord and Twilight on the back before shuffling off to torment some other ponies.

When they were relatively alone, Discord turned back to the still cringing alicorn. "I'm so sorry, Twilight. Really, the words just sort of tumbled out. I didn't think they'd take it like that."

Twilight stood a little straighter, giggling nervously. "It's okay, I just didn't expect you to be so . . . blunt."

She has a point. "Sorry for being so tactless. Why don't we—"

He was cut off by the thundering of hooves and an overly excited looking Applejack. "There you are! I was startin' to think you'd never show up."

Twilight sprung to attention, head jerking around the crowded thoroughfare. "What? Is somepony in danger?" Discord had to stifle the urge to break out into a fit of laughter. It was such a "Twilight" thing to do. That at least was good news, as it indicated she was returning to normal at long last.

Applejack raised an eyebrow, "No." Then her eyes fell on him. She stepped forward with all an over-serious air. Unconsciously, he stepped back a few paces, trying to avoid her piercing stare. To his surprise, she actually bowed in front of him. "I'm sorry for what I said yesterday. It wasn't right to go blamin' you without the facts, an I only hope you can let me make it up to you."

What? She's apologizing? Discord's heart was pounding uncontrollably in his chest. In all his years, he had never had any pony or creature give him a genuine, respectful bow. Certainly they would for Celestia, but never for him. The whole situation felt terribly awkward, and for the first time in his life, that thought did not amuse him in the slightest. "It's fine, Applejack, I forgive you. Just," he motioned her up with a hoof, "there's no need to bow."

Applejack got up, and nodded, a small flush tinting her cheeks. Her attention turned to Twilight once more, "It's not a big deal, Twilight, but the mayor could use some help with the judging. An maybe Entropy could help run the dances, since he's so good at them an all."

Discord saw the playful smirk on Applejack's face before it vanished. Ha, ha, very funny. He stood up straight, "Very well, I shall grace this town with my knowledge of classical dances." He walked over to Twilight, and without hesitation, kissed her on the cheek. "See you later." The expression of mingled surprise and pleasure on Twilight's face was all the encouragement he needed. Something told him that, no matter what came of their little "experiment," it would be well worth it.

"Twilight? What was that?" Applejack looked as though Twilight had slapped her with a wet sock.

"What was what?" Twilight knew exactly what Applejack was getting at, but something told her it would be more fun to tease her a little first. "You want to walk to the judging tent with me?" Before her friend could get a word in edgewise, she started off at a brisk walk.

"Twilight." Applejack nearly collided with a passing couple in her attempt to catch up. When she had, she stood in front of her, blocking the way. "Why'd Entropy kiss you?"

She giggled, brushing a strand of forelock back. Guess I'm caught. Her eyes darted around the laughing and chattering ponies, checking for eavesdroppers. Though she was delighted at the prospect of dating Entropy, she was not certain how he would feel about the entire town knowing they were dating quite yet. "He kissed me because that's what stallions do to their marefriends."

"What?" Applejack leaned in, hissing in her ear, "You're datin'?"

Twilight was unable to stop the smile from stretching across her face. She, Twilight Sparkle was dating a stallion for the first time in her life. Wait till Shining Armor finds out. Her eyes focused onto Applejack's. "Yes. We just decided this morning."

Applejack let out a long whistle, removing her hat to scratch her forelock. "Well all be, I didn't think you'd take my advice that fast, Twilight. But," she clapped a hoof on her back, "I'm right happy for you, even if he is a bit . . . different."

Different? That was the understatement of the century. Twilight snorted a laugh. "Yeah, he is that."

They walked for a while as Applejack relayed the latest from Sweet Apple Acres. Apparently, there was something wrong with Flim, she refused to say what exactly was wrong with him, only that he would not be able to stay and work for much longer. Twilight was starting to get the sense that this news was offsetting for Applejack on more than just the obvious level. Just as she was about to ask her about Flim, she literally ran into him.

The lank stallion staggered back a step, rubbing his head. "Twilight?" He gave a strange, soft laugh that sounded more like a wheeze. Judging from Applejack's lack of reaction, this was normal for him. His eyes darted around the spacious expanse of grass littered with a multitude of townsponies readying themselves for the relays. "You running the seven legged race or something?"

"No, Applejack's walking with me to the judging tent." Twilight could not help but stare at Flim. Since he had arrived in Ponyville, she had been too busy to properly chat with him. Now that they were face to face, it was easy to tell just how thin and "strung out" he looked. The sunlight cast a long shadow over his face from his cowboy hat, but it was easy to make out his sideburns, and shaggy forelock. That coupled with the driving collar around his neck made him look all too much like Big Mac. It was an almost comical contrast from his slick maned showpony getup he usually sported. She could not help but burst out laughing from the comical picture.

Flim rolled his eyes, "Forgive me for assuming you partook in more activities than paperwork." He turned his attention to Applejack. "Is she always like this?"

"I think she's just surprised 'bout yer," she gestured to all of him, "new look."

"Oh." Flim glanced down at his dirt covered hooves, then shrugged. "Can't be helped, Applejack, can't be helped."

Applejack clapped him on the shoulder, "Darn right. That's the mark of a good workin' pony, Flim."

"Indeed." He looked back at her with a frown. "Did you need something, Twilight, or were you just looking for some late morning entertainment?"

Twilight flushed a little, realizing how rude she had been to him. "No, I—" She gasped so loudly that both Flim and Applejack jumped back a little. "That's it!" How could she have missed an opportunity like this? This was the perfect time to test her theory. She leaned in closer to Flim, eying his horn. "You're a pretty powerful unicorn, right?"

"Yes." There was a definite note of caution in Flim's voice as he regarded her with wide eyes. "I have to be to power our machines."

Perfect! She allowed herself a short victory dance before regaining composure. "So, what's your magic specialty?" Her hoof reached out to touch his horn, but he flinched away like a cat. Flim and Flam's horns were unusually long, did that mean they could harness more magic? "Could you demonstrate?"

Flim sighed theatrically, "I suppose." He lit his horn with a green aura, pointing it at a lone tricycle on the grass. Immediately, its wheels began to turn furiously, and it whizzed off at an incredible speed until Flim released it. He turned back to her, a smile across his face. "My specialty is power generating magic, so's Flam's."

"Awesome!" Twilight could not believe her luck. This was a perfect chance to test whether or not Entropy was the rule or the exception to it. If the river could be accessed by any unicorn with enough power, then Flim should have no trouble drawing directly from it. She looked pleadingly up into Flim's eyes, "Would you be willing to help me with my research? All you'd have to do is cast a few spells in front of Entropy and myself."

The stallion seemed to consider this for a moment, then spoke slowly, "My magic gives a lot of energy, but it takes a lot of physical strength to use." He moaned, running a hoof through his dusty mane, "All right, I'll do it. But, you'd better pay me. Just because I work for the Apple's for free doesn't mean I'm a walking charity case."

Pay? Twilight snorted, rolling her eyes. She should have known Flim would not have changed his tune completely. "Sure, I'll pay you. Say, ten bits an hour?"

Flim held out a hoof, and she took it. "Deal. Just let me know when you want to start." With that, he started back towards the stage, whistling a cheery tune.

Twilight stared at Applejack, mouth slightly ajar. "He's really something else, isn't he? Applejack?" The mare was staring at Flim as though just seeing him for the first time. Maybe she had not expected him to be so forward with the payment. "I don't have a problem paying him, Applejack, it's only fair."

Applejack her head, turning back to her, "Sorry, Twilight. Just spacin' out." Her eyes darted towards the relay games. "Just, I got to do somethin', so I'll see you later." Without another word, she cantered away.

Really? If you didn't want to walk with me, you could have just said something. Reluctantly, she made her way to the judging booth. Today was looking to be a long one, but when it was over, she would have something's, or rather somepony's company to look forward to. Things were finally looking up.

Author's Note:

Finally moving forward with the romance. Only took forever and a day. But, you can't rush progress I suppose. Thanks for working with my rewrite of last chapter. I almost never do that, but in my opinion, it needed it, and I'm much happier with the result.

Wooo! Another chapter done well before I thought it would be. I wanted to get this published before RL delayed me again, so that's why it's a bit short. Hopefully there won't be too much of a wait on the next one.