• Published 2nd Jun 2012
  • 5,449 Views, 360 Comments

Entangled Pathways - Storm butt



It's been a long year since Soarin and Braeburn went their separate ways, and somehow every opportunity for the two to meet up was canned in one way or another. While they keep in touch through their letters, until one day Braeburn's stop arriving.

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Feather Sliced Apples

ATTENTION ALL NEWCOMERS!
This story, the one you are about to read, is a sequel to my previous SoarBurn fic, Winding Roads, Which is found at the previous link. To understand what is happening in this story, I encourage you to read the previous one. It is pretty much necessary.

And to all old fans, you get this super early since I wasn't lazy as buck for once, ENJOY!

This is also going to be edited for errors later, since I am kind of late for something at the moment and want this up badly.

Disclaimer: I do not own My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. It belongs to The Hub, Hasbro, Studio B, and Lauren Faust. I do not own any of these characters in any way or how, nor do I claim ownership to the pony franchise. These characters are simply my toys.

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"Where were you... when I needed you most?"
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Entangled Pathways
Chapter 1: Feather Sliced Apples

"Is there any mail?"

Spitfire was lounging on one of the clouds she had personally molded into a couch as the voice hit her sensitive ears. She turned her head covered in a fiery bush she called a mane as she caught in the corner of her fiery eyes. She found herself blinking several times as she saw Soarin, his usually bright and goofy personality not shining through. His eyes looked more frantic than anything. His head bore the worn cowpony hat he had received so long ago to this day; in fact he almost never took it off. His mane at least looked the same, royal blue with a permanent wind-blown look it in, the same as off of the members on their squad. His emerald eyes darted from squad member to squad member, his mouth was open as he panted softly; sweat dripping down his forehead in beads. He quickly growled and sliced his wing across his face to rid himself of the annoyance it caused. "Well?" He spat out.

Rapidfire was the first to speak up. "Dude, I don't think so, not other than the usual fan mail anyways." He mumbled, turning over from his peaceful looking nap, his grey coat stood out in the group of Wonderbolt's lounging in the cloud-room, for it wasn't nearly as vibrant or colorful as his teammates. His large, frizzy white mane was also an eye catcher, and made him appear many years past his rather young age.

"Nothing from my personal one?" Soarin spit out. He had a sense of frantic worry in his voice. The pegasus was usually calm and collective, and joking about it if any of the Wonderbolts freaked out like he was doing at the moment "A-Are you sure?"

"Nothing, man." Spitfire mumbled, putting her hooves behind her head as she answered her vice-captain. She yawned loudly "Who cares 'bout some mail, I need my sleep after that killer show." She mumbled.

Soarin found himself trotting his hooves in place in both anger and worry. He gnawed on his lip and closed his mind off from the world for several moments, trying to become cool and collective once more.

"Dude, something up?" Rapidfire asked "You ain't looking too hot over there." He was laying on the cloud-couch, eyes a little more serious than before, now getting a good look at his friend.

Soarin snapped open his eyes, they held deep worry. He could see Fleetfoot get up, her cyan, spiky mane bouncing slightly as she lifted her goggles and took a good look at him. She blinked several times before a hint of understanding sparked in her vision. "Oh..." she mumbled quietly.

"W-What?" Rapidfire asked, turning from Fleetfoot to Soarin, the pale blue began not exactly looking his best at the moment, and the mare looking at him with sympathetic eyes. "Did I miss something, where's the fire for pony's sake?"

"It's about Braeburn." The cyan mare mumbled "Isn't it, Soarin?"

Soarin winced. He had a sense of hurt in his eyes. He didn't seem to be mentally doing alright. His four legs were a little shaky, and he seemed a little shaken up. He swallowed hard, his dry mouth finding a way to get the saliva slide down his throat. He looked down, staring at his hooves intently. "Yeah... it is."

"That coltfriend of yours, aw, man, don't get all sob-story on us!" Spitfire whined. She herself felt concern for her friend’s well-being, however she herself knew the real sensitive side of Soarin, and just how much of a baby he could be at the little things. Braeburn had recently just become an excuse for him to whine about not going on tour in the places he enjoyed, although she knew it was more than that by the way he would talk about the colt for hours if given the chance.

"Spitty, this is serious!" Soarin growled, suddenly landing practically in her lap as she jumped up in a surprise at her friends panic. He had managed to fly over in less than five seconds without her knowing. He was getting better at stealth on a side note. "It isn't just about me missing him, I do, I really really do, but..." He paused. He sat down on the couch, his rump shifting slightly in discomfort, despite the cloud's soft shell.

"But... what?" Rapidfire asked, cocking up a brow on his gray forehead as he rubbed one of his weary eyes. "Did he promise he'd send a letter soon or something?"

"No... it isn't that." Soarin mumbled, reaching up one of his hooves and sliding the cowpony hat down his head, breathing in deeply as it slowly drug over his nose, a hint of the stallion's scent was still there. He looked at the hat for several moments "I was at the bar down in Trotting ham a few miles from here, y'know how I always like to get a few drinks after a show... well this mare there, real looker, she was hitting on me, I think she was a little drunk and starting to get all clingy." He paused a moment, laughing awkwardly. "When she tried to um...."

"Feel your feather?" Spitfire teased, earning an angry blush from the pale blue pegasus.

"Y-Yeah... I guess you could call it that..." He mumbled, coughing a few times to clear his throat as his pale blue cheeks changed to rosy red. "B-But anyway, I flat out told her I wasn't really interested, and told her I already had an amazing coltfriend, and I didn't need a marefriend..." He paused for a bit after that. "After she backed off, I started thinking for a while... and realized something."

"What?" Fleetfoot asked.

"Braeburn... he... he hasn't sent a letter in three weeks..." Soarin mumbled, eyes focusing on the clouds underneath him.

"That's it?" Rapidfire whined "I wanted something... more dramatic..."

"But that's the thing." Soarin said, casting a glare to his squad member "Braeburn writes every week... he hasn't missed a single one for eleven months... I pay that mail pony, Derpy, fifty bits a week, she is filthy rich by now since I see her EVERY week."

"Look, Soarin." Spitfire said, groaning as she sat up and rubbed her forehead "I know you're still upset with me for extending the tour, and I get that." She said, sympathy somewhere in her voice "But you can't flip out every time something like this happens, so what if he didn't write you, maybe he's busy!" She grumbled, flopping back on her back in slight frustration.

"But Spitty..." Soarin began. He paused a long time, thinking back to those words. He didn't want to sound egotistical, but sometimes he felt like Braeburn's only connection to the world that didn't hate him. "Braeburn... he needs me..." He mumbled.

"Yeah, yeah, we know." Rapidfire said, rolling his eyes "But seriously, I get why you hooked up with him, but why have you stayed with him for over a year like this?" The gray stallion asked "Do you seriously think that two weeks together can cause this? Plus most of those two weeks you weren't with him!"

"Shut it." Soarin grumbled out "You don't know how much he sunk his damn way in me..." He grumbled.

"Does that mean you bottom now?" Spitfire asked, giving a slight smirk.

Soarin growled in annoyance "You know I don't mean that..." His cheeks still held a hint of light red, unable to hold back his embarrassment at that statement. The only ponies able to really get to him were his best friends.

"Man, Soar, we're all exhausted." Fleetfoot groaned "The show just ended, and we have three more this week before we get any kind of vacation..." She mumbled, closing her eyes for a moment before opening them and staring into Soarin's own. "Get off it for once..."

"Just eat an apple and shut up." Rapidfire groaned, flicking something in the pegasi's direction, only to watch it be caught in a single swift moment that was simply natural to the pegasus. He looked into his hoof and stared at the apple and blinked several times.

Braeburn apple...

"You have a bucked up sense of humor." Soarin grumbled, throwing the apple back half-heartily. He didn't have it in him. He just didn't have the will to continue trying at this point. He grumbled something as he heard a slight groan of pain from the other.

"I thought it was funny..."

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Soarin groaned as he heaved up the heavy saddle bag up onto his lap. Falling onto his back on the bed of clouds he called his own. His own room was nice, not much for anything but sleeping, but it was still nice. He found his own shoulders feeling weighed upon by an unknown force. His eyes shifted as his hoof moved to the small metal latch fastening the bag shut. He opened it and was greeted by mass hoards of paper.

The pale blue pegasus reached his hoof in the saddle bag, plunging it into the caverns of letters, only to surface with a random one clenched between his hooves. He smiled softly as the old parchment hit his other hoof and he slowly opened the letter.

Dear Soarin.

Not much is going on. People around town still act pretty badly to me, I miss you more than ever sometimes...

Love, Braeburn.

Soarin chuckled gently. Braeburn really did suck at writing letters, worse than the pegasus himself come to think of it. Something in his chest stung lightly as the words registered in his mind, a pang of homesickness, or longing. His ears twitched lightly, reassuring himself that not even his light squad members could sneak up on him. He gently rubbed his hoof over his wind-blown mane and chuckled softly at the messy mouthwriting the other had. The letters were short and sweet most of the time, hardly more than one sentence, but Soarin always read them enough times for them to be a story.

Even though the writing was in perfect english, he always imagined them in the yellow pony's accent. He loved the accent he once hated now, he used to hate it because it was typically associated with Earth Ponies. They hated coltcuddlers for no reason, why couldn't he hate them in general? But now...

It wasn't easy, convincing the pegasus who brought him the first letter to become his own personal mailpony for fifty bits a letter was stupid, but she was speedy. Clumsy, but speedy. And letters always got through to the two of them.

He reached in the bag once more, pulling out another letter.

"I wish you didn't leave..." He mumbled aloud. "I'm sorry I didn't try hard enough to convince myself to let you take me..." Braeburn's mouthwriting was always overly-sloppy during these letters, and the ink was usually smudged with once fresh tears. It broke Soarin's heart when he got those letters, because he knew what was going on in Appleloosa to the one pony he loved most of all. He knew, and yet he couldn't do a damn thing about those bucking assholes. He could tell just how much Braeburn missed him, and it stung him deeper in his chest when he read the words again. He could never read those letters more than once without fear of crying. He hated it when he broke down, it wasn't right since he knew Braeburn depended on him to be the strong one half the time, even when they were so far apart. He was sure Braeburn was drunk in those letters as well.

He pulled out another, and read it as well. It was happier, and he re-read it several times to make him feel better.

Dear Soarin,

I can't believe six months has already gone by, I can't wait until you come here. It's a little embarrassing, but I've been counting down the days... I'll make you your apple pie when you come, I promise. I've missed you so much... I really don't think that I would have made it this long without your letters.

Braeburn.

The pegasus was silent for a long time as he thought about how the unexpected tour had come up out of nowhere, and his trip had been pushed back yet another six months. He had betrayed his lover... no matter how much Braeburn tried to hide his feelings from him in the letters, the smudged words were always a sign. Always.

"I... I miss you too." Soarin mumbled, sniffling lightly as he used his wings to wipe under his eyes, despite the tears not yet spilling. He hated himself the more time passed. He squeezed his eyes shut and swore lightly. He wasn't going to break, not tonight, not when he needed to stay strong.

Soarin reached a hoof down and scooped up a large chunk of cloud straight out of his bed. He held it to his side, and pretended it was Braeburn. He missed the warm breath on his chest when he got overly protective of the earth pony. He missed the gentle nuzzling at his chest.

The pale blue pegasus took in a deep breath, and pulled out yet another letter. He wasn't sure if it would be happy or sad, but then again that was part of the fun in this game.

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Soarin's hoof pretty much ripped open the mail box when he got home after that show. He didn't stop to think of the snack his belly begged him to give, nor did he think of getting a drink. He just wanted a damn letter...

Nothing.

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Soarin reached his hoof into the mail box.

Nothing.

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Soarin found himself waiting out by the mail box an entire day, waiting for that mailpony to bring him Braeburn's letter. He needed to be reassured that the earth pony was safe, he just had to.

Nothing.

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Nothing.

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Nothing.

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Bucking... Nothing.

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Soarin found himself gnawing on his lip lately. Six days had passed without a letter, on top of the already three weeks behind that. It had been almost a month... almost a month since Braeburn had written him a letter. He had considered many things, such as the yellow pony being angry with him, or the yellow pony finding another colt. Both of these two things didn't make much sense. Sure, Braeburn was upset he had been gone for so long, but he wouldn't totally stop writing. And the possibility of him finding another colt who would love him was slim in that part of the world.

Nothing made sense. Would the pony have moved? Why would he move without telling him?

"Apple bucking... it's the only darn thing I know how to do... I'm just a stupid pony who can't do anything but help a town who hates him, Pa made me work on the farm my entire life, he wouldn't let me look into anythin' else!"

Soarin winced as he thought of these words. No, Braeburn wouldn't have moved. The more time he laid on his cloud bed, the longer and longer he thought about random things that might cause the yellow pony to quit writing. Such as he was too busy with work, or sick, all of these reasons refused to add up in the pale blue pony's head.

Or he was dead...

The pegasi's thoughts ceased as this possibility entered his mind. That entire town hated him. In the one week he was gone they had tried to kill him right in the middle of the street, and nopony but him cared to stop them. Soarin tried to talk himself out of it, tell himself that that was impossible.

But it all made sense...

He was silent for a long time as he pressed his hooves over his eyes. He wanted to fly, wanted to rid himself of these thoughts and emotions that he attempted to convince himself weren't true. When he flew he became somepony else, somepony who didn't care about anything but flying, didn't care about the roaring crowd. He tightly adjusted the worn hat on his head. It wasn't quite like his goggles, he had to be careful if he wore it while flying.

The pegasus blew air out of his lips in slight frustration. The thought of Braeburn dying was screwing with his mind. It had to be impossible... if only he could convince this to himself.

He blinked several times as he watched the ceiling intently. If only there was someway he could see the earth pony...

"Wait..." Soarin mumbled, sitting up as he fluttered his wings gently. His eyes shot to his back, to the wings on them. How far was Appleloosa again? Three days by train... he could fly faster than a train... a lot faster...

This was a stupid idea though. Spitfire was going to kill him when he got back, they had shows to go to still, if not tomorrow than soon, she never was very detailed about it. And when he got there... how soon could he bring himself to abandon Braeburn again? Braeburn would... likely cry out joy... if he was fine. No, dammit, he WAS fine. Braeburn was fine, and he would feel like an asshole for having to leave so soon.

The thought of Braeburn being dead, buried underneath the earth kept creeping into his mind. Soarin found himself clamping hooves over his ears in an attempt to stop them. What if he was dead? What if he was dead and it was all his fault for abandoning him?

"Buck." Soarin whispered to himself as he got off the bed and spread his own wings. His gut told him to trust his thoughts, at least to the extend of going to see if he was fine. He silently began to glide out of the door.

"Where do you think you're going?"

The voice startled the pegasus. Or at least it startled him to the point of jumping and falling flat on a cloud. He sat up in a flash and saw Spitfire, chuckling gently at his blushing cheeks. "Going somewhere?" She asked.

"Just... just for a little flight..." Soarin mumbled. He was a horrible liar, his eyes darted and he gave the most awkward smile anypony had ever seen in a lifetime. He needed to go... but he knew Spitfire could catch him. She was the only one who could catch him.

Spifire smirked before tossing something in the direction of the pegaus. Soarin snapped his hoof up as an instinct, and looked in his hoof to see the messenger bag. "W-What's thi-"

"Apples, water." She mumbled "You'll be gone for a while... and flying for a long time. You have a week." She mumbled.

"Spitty..." Soarin began, only to receive a slight glare of frustration.

"Hurry up before I decide I saw you." Spitfire mumbled, turning away.

Soarin smirked. She was being herself at least. "Thanks, Spitty." He said as he spread his wings and jumped straight out of the window near him. He had a gut feeling as he flew, he knew that everypony thought he was overreacting, but he couldn't help it. He didn't know why, but the reason the letters weren't coming had to be deeper than a simple solution.

He had to make sure Braeburn was alright.