• Published 2nd Jun 2012
  • 5,712 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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Simple Things

The sound that began to slip out of the yellow stallion’s throat seemed to be something that he didn’t mean to come out so easily, for he squeezed shut his eyes even harder than they had previously been before slamming his hooves against his mouth. His body continued to tremble as he forced himself to choke back the pitiful whimpering his body tugged out. He pushed his backside against the the wooden walls behind him with force, the uncomfortable and rough sheets under him seemed only to add to his discomfort. He began to force himself to focus on anything but his legs. He glanced to the wooden floor, the ugly pink covers on the bed, and even the somewhat questionable shade of green on the walls.

“Do you have to be such a baby about it?” The raspy voice of Soarin finally spoke up. “You do realize that this is your own fault, right?” Even as the pegasus spoke these words, a sympathetic tone was hidden under a layer of bitter roughness. He slowly reached his hoof to the brim of Braeburn’s hat before pulling it down past the stallion’s eyes. He shook his head before resuming the massage on the stallion’s legs.

“S-Sorry...” Braeburn mumbled out, removing his hooves from mouth to uncover his eyes from his hat. “Ah jus-”

“You shouldn’t even be out of the hospital so much as running like a maniac.” Soarin grumbled, his grouchy tone breaking through as he began to feel a sickening guilt grow from the pit of his belly. The pegasus swallowed hard before gently stroking his hoof across Braeburn’s cutie mark, brushing the red fur back and forth several times. “Sorry... shouldn’t snap like that.” He quietly apologized.

“It’s okay...” Braeburn replied, casting his gaze at his legs. “Ah should have known better than to run off like that.”

Soarin sighed as he began to heave himself against the wall, matching himself to Braeburn’s height. He began to blow air out of his lips as he reached out his hoof around the earth pony’s neck, pulling him to lean on his side. He could feel the muscles in his lover’s body relax as the stallion rested his head on Soarin’s chest.

The pegasus slowly rubbed his hoof up and down Braeburn’s back, his face resting in the stallion’s long and golden mane. “Think she’ll force us to spend the night?” He jokingly asked.

“Don’t know where she would force us once Apple Bloom get’s back from school...” Braeburn mumbled, glancing around his younger cousin’s bedroom. “Unless AJ want’s us ta sleep in the barn or somethin’”

“Never done it in a barn yet... now that would be interesti-” Soarin kept smiling as Braeburn cut him off with a light punch to the ribs. He began chuckling as the yellow pony’s face flushed and he began grumbling into his blue tufts of fur.

“L-Let’s not discuss your perverted thoughts in my cousin’s room, alright?” Braeburn rapidly spat out, burying his face deeper into Soarin’s chest. He could swear his nose was touching Soarin’s beating heart underneath his skin.

“Ah agree.” A familiar voice came from the hallway. The simple sound of this voice caused Braeburn to try and force his body off in such a rapid and unfamiliar motion that he only ended up jerking his lower half.

“Ever heard of knocking?” Soarin snapped, taking his hoof from Braeburn’s neck as he helped the stallion sit back up against the wall. “And I thought I said we needed a little while.”

“The door was open. And it’s been a whole hour. Ah’m startin’ ta get worried on what yer doin in my sister’s room.” Applejack said as she rolled her eyes, taking several hoofsteps into the room. “And ya don’t have ta stop cuddlin’ because of me. Ponyville ain’t exactly low tolerance like some places.” She paused as she took a good five seconds to glare at Soarin before her gaze changed to sympathetic, turning to Braeburn. “Ya okay Brae, ya didn’t hurt yourself, did ya?”

“F-Fine...” Braeburn forced out. It didn’t seem clear if he stuttered because of pain or the simple fear of having his cousin walk in. He continued to only gaze downward, neither at Soarin nor Applejack.

“C’mon, don’t be so gosh darn nervous.” The orange mare said. Her voice wasn’t forceful, nor mean-spirited as it had been when Soarin talked to her. “It ain’t like we’re strangers or nothin’!”

“A-Ah guess.” Braeburn mumbled, finally forcing his gaze to turn toward the direction of the orange mare. He began fiddling with his hooves as his upper legs slowly trembled. It wasn’t until Soarin forced his own hoof to grasp Braeburn’s that the stallion finally glanced back to the pegasus.

“Look, Brae,” Soarin began, gazing into Braeburn’s eyes. “Applejack isn’t here to yell at you, or to tell you you've done something wrong. She just want’s to ask you why everything that’s happened... happened. She isn’t going to act like them.” He turned his gaze to Applejack’s on those last few words. “Are you?”

“N-No, course not!” The orange mare quickly said. “Braeburn, ah just wanna talk.”

Soarin turned back to Braeburn, pressing his lips to the earth pony’s forehead until he could feel his hooves stop trembling, only then did he pull back. As he slid his hoof off of Braeburn’s, he hesitated for only a single moment. He slowly crept off the bed, trying to avoid Braeburn’s eye’s, whatever emotions they might be portraying.

He placed a few bits on the bed as he walked by. “I think I’m gonna raid your trees for apples, I’ll give you two about an hour.” The pegasus said.

“Should be enough.” Applejack replied, scooping up the bits in her hoof. “Now leave yer little Brae Brae with be for a while, alright?”

Soarin was silent as he shook his head, putting one hoof in front of the other as he went to exit the room.

He chose not to turn around, knowing it would only hurt him to do so.

________________________________________________________________________

“So... you just left him alone with her?” The words fell from Spitfire’s mouth down on the pegasus who was quietly spinning a bright red apple in his hooves. “Don’t you think... I don’t know, that’s a bad idea?

Soarin slowly shrugged as the wind gently ruffled his fur as he gazed out from the balcony. He finally drew the apple to his mouth and took a bite, noting that it tasted bitter than it should for this time of year. “What do you expect to happen? For him to get brainwashed again and I’ll have to fight for his love?” He questioned, cocking up his brow as he glanced at his captain. “Isn’t that a little too... I don’t know, far-fetched?”

“Soarin, don’t talk to me like I’m Rapidfire.” Spitfire fired off, trotting forward to lean on the same railing as Soarin. “How long have I known the damn colt? A few day’s? And even I can tell he’s a total trainwreck in front of ponies who are nice to him.”

“C’mon Spitty...” Soarin began to whine as he went to take another bite of his apple. Before his teeth even scraped the skin, he felt it be jerked from his hooves. His gaze shot a glare at Spitfire, who was glaring back at him. “Geez, now I’m starting to see why that mare irritates me...” He mumbled.

“Soar, don’t get defense now, please...” Spitfire begged. “Now isn’t the right time for you to start ignoring all of us again.”

Soarin let his eyes droop downward, avoiding the golden mare’s gaze. “Look, I get it, but shouldn’t I be the one worrying about him like you are?”

“That’s why I’m worrying. Because you aren’t.” Spitfire said as she tossed the apple in the air, watching Soarin catch it without even looking. She smirked at his reflexes before letting it fade once more.

Soarin glanced back to Spitfire. He looked deep into her eyes before letting a small grin latch onto his face. “Still worried for me, aren’t you?” He didn’t bother to wait for a response, simply kept speaking.

“Truth is... I’m trying to tell myself this is good for him.” Soarin mumbled. “Ever since I found him again, he hasn’t been facing his fears. Only clinging to me whenever he so much as gets nervous.” He took another bite of his apple, only to pause a moment before throwing it off the balcony. “Bitter...” He mumbled.

“Okay... but don’t you think he deserves for you to let him cling after being alone for a year?” Spitfire asked, a disappointed look on her face.

Soarin sighed as he slid his body down, clinging to the balcony bars as he rested his forehead on the cool metal. “Spitty... I really want too.” The pegasus tightened his wings around his body. “If I could, I would play his knight in shining armor.” He mumbled, closing his eyes. “But I don’t know if I can fight every battle for him... if I’m there with him, he’ll just hold onto me and I’ll feel so bad I would say everything for him. He won’t learn to stand up for himself."

“Soarin...” Spitfire began.

“I think I’m mostly being selfish though...” Soarin interrupted. “Truth is, I love to have him cling to me. Part of me thinks that it was great for him to get beaten down so badly so that he would chose to hold on tightly to a low-life like me.” He lowered his head even further. “Isn’t it sad that the only way I can get someone to love me as much as he does that I have to find someone who is even more pathetic than me?” He bit his lip as he finished speaking. “I sound awful...”

“At least you admit that.” Spitfire stated. “A year or so again you wouldn’t even bat an eye, much less as feel guilty for it.” She reached a hoof down to his back and began to gently pat. “Braeburn’s been good for you, selfish or not.”

Soarin let out a mixture of a grumble and a whimper. “Funny thing is... I didn’t start feeling so awful about it until I met him. I can’t really believe now I just wanted to plow him and get out without saying a word...”

“Most ponies couldn’t do what you’ve been doing for him.” Spitfire replied. “You’re real strong for that, you know? ”

Soarin gazed toward Spitfire. “Being strong makes feel powerless...” He mumbled. He chuckled softly “Maybe that just means that I really...”
________________________________________________________________________

“...Love him.” Braeburn mumbled.

Applejack was silent for several moments. She looked at Braeburn, at his scar-covered belly. Her mouth began to feel dry as she attempted to speak, however the words wouldn’t seem to form.

“S-So yeah, ah think ah can say ah love him as much as ah do without worryin’ ah’m lyin’.” Braeburn said. “And he ain’t never acted to me the way you said he does, the biggest fight we’ve had is when ah was learnin’ ta walk again.”

“Braeburn...” Applejack began. “Ah wasn’t doubtin’ ya, I was just sayin’ that yer movin’ awfully fast for yer first... love.”

Braeburn glanced at Applejack out of the corner of his eye, still keeping his gaze lowered. “T-That’s the thing cuz, he is my first love.” He managed to say without blushing. “A-And A-Ah have been... s-scared ta love anypony else before this...” He began fiddling with his hooves once more, the blush finally showing.

“Ah get that Brae, but...” Applejack trailed off, falling silent as she let out a sigh. “Isn’t this all just a little extreme, running away from home with a celebrity, becomin’ famous through... through THAT photo.” She gestured her hoof off in a random direction.

Braeburn began to curl up very slowly. “T-That photo wasn’t supposed to be a photo.” He admitted “Soarin say’s that ponies like to gossip about him all the time since he’s so famous.” Braeburn began to play with his mane as he became noticeably more and more nervous.

Applejack shook her head. “Rainbow’s been goin’ on and on about that,” She mumbled, half to herself, half to Braeburn. “Sayin’ over and over again how ah ain’t a friend for tellin’ her. Sure she ain’t serious though...”

Braeburn held his breath for a few seconds without even realizing it. He felt as though his own throat was attempting to close up. “A-Ah... when Ah’m around him though...” He began as a defence to himself. “Ah feel like ah don’t have to look over my shoulder every second, and the only eyes lookin’ at me are his.” Braeburn smiled softly. “I must be selfish though... always forcin’ him to be near me, wantin’ nothin’ but to talk ta him all day long.”

“That isn’t selfish Braeburn.” Applejack stated. “That’s only being head over hooves in love...” She let out a small sigh as she spoke, as if it tired her out. She straightened herself up. “Braeburn, let me ask ya somethin’.” She said, not meaning for it to be a question. “What did ya think ah saw ya with yer little coltfriend? That Ah was gonna yell at ya? Ah was gonna act like ya were a monster?”

Braeburn avoided eye contact from the mare for a long period of time. He slowly nodded, as if he were a young foal caught doing something naughty. “A-A little.” He admitted.

“Heaven’s to Betsy Brae, ah might have come off harshly, but I’m still yer family, why would ah act like... like...” Applejack trailed off, twisting her face as she realized just how wrong those words seemed when talking to this specific stallion. “Look, ah’ll love ya whether yer as girly as Rarity or have sonic rainboom’s comin’ from behind.

“Sonic... what?” Braeburn asked, this statement strange enough to get him to look at Applejack once more.

“Point is, ah’m a little offended ya didn’t tell yer favorite cousin about anything, ah haven’t even heard from ya since the buffalo incident!” She remarked, lifting her hooves to physically show her emotions.

“Ah’m... sorry?” Braeburn asked, tilting his head.

“No, don’t apologize!” Applejack spat out with such force that Braeburn winced. “Ah’m the one who feels bad here. Yer makin’ me feel like a bad family member for not knowing thing’s ah couldn’t have! Yer folks never told anybody ya left, and ya didn’t ask fer help.”

Braeburn frowned. “Yer upset because you didn’t know what ya couldn’t?”

Applejack glared at Braeburn. “But... ah should have known.” She grumbled. “When was the last time ya came ta the reunions?” She asked. “And when I visited ya, we didn’t even talk, even when things finally settled down ah didn’t think anythin’ was strange...”

“But... how could ya?” Braeburn pipped in, causing Applejack to glance up at him. “All Ah ever did in that town before they kicked me out was let other’s push me around and try not to let it bother me too much.” He lowered his head again.

“Now yer makin’ excuses fer me...” Applejack said with a chuckle. She began to shake her head. “No... Ah’m not gonna keep makin’ excuses fer myself.” The orange mare began to look Braeburn in the eye. “Brae... you need to promise me... if Soarin ever does anything to you, no matter how small... you’ll write, you’ll come to us as soon as you can.”

“But... it won-”

“Promise m-” Applejack was cut off by a knocking sound in the doorway that caused both of the ponies to jump. She shot her head in the direction of the doorway to spot the pale blue pegasus smirking. “What, you’re a ninja now?”

“What, I’m not allowed to re-claim my coltfriend?” He asked, trotting in the doorway, eyes on Braeburn. As he got to his lover’s end of the bed, his gaze shifted. “And trust me, it won’t go bad.” He said. “I won’t let that happen.”

Applejack began to chew on her inner cheek. “Fine.” She settled, getting up and off the bed in a quick and swift motion.

“Oh, by the way, here!” Soarin said, sliding several strips of plastic to the mare across the bed. He hopped on a moment later, grabbing Braeburn’s hoof while still remaining eye-contact with the mare. “A peace offering. I don’t like glarin’ at ya whenever ah see ya.”

“Peace offerin’... what?” Applejack mumbled before taking up one of the pieces in her hoof.

“Soar... what are...” Braeburn began.

“V-I-P passes to tonight’s show.” Soarin admitted.

Braeburn quietly yanked Soarin’s hoof just enough to take him off balance for a moment. Soarin smiled at him “Jealous, baby?” He teased, reaching out his hoof to ruffle Braeburn’s mane.

Applejack took several moments to examine the set of tickets in her hooves. She closed her eyes for a few moments. “Fine.” She said, looking Soarin in the eye with a smile. “Ah’ll humor ya just this once."

“Great.” Soarin smirked. “Make sure to bring some cutie’s with you.”