• Published 28th Dec 2015
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Breakfast with Rose - Admiral Biscuit



After a dinner with Rose and a late night drunken trip to Sugarcube Corner, Sam wakes up from a nightmare with more questions than answers about life in Equestria.

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Nightmare

Breakfast with Rose
Chapter 1: Nightmare
Admiral Biscuit

I opened my eyes, momentarily disoriented.

I'd just had a really weird dream. It had started in a mall McDonalds which was completely vacant.

Since I couldn't get an order of poutine, I headed down the escalator into the main part of the mall. Unlike any real-world escalator, once it got down to the lower floor it seamlessly turned into a moving walkway, and it felt like I was trapped on it for a long time, going past dozens and dozens of backlit posters advertising vacations to exotic locations like Acapulco and Bermuda and Canterlot.

When I finally reached the end, I realized that I was in the Sheraton and that I had no idea where my car was now, or how I'd get back to my apartment. But there were a bunch of doors, so I thought I'd look through them and see if I could get my bearings back.

The first opened to the sky, which was odd since I was sure I'd gone down into the parking garage and down to the McDonalds and down to the mall/hotel. There was a landing platform with people-sized paper airplanes, and as I watched, a man got into one of them and launched himself off into oblivion.

That wasn't where I wanted to go, so I tried the next door. A counter was off to one side, with two bored-looking teenage ponies leaning on the counter and not paying attention to anything except their cell phones.

I asked them where I needed to go, and one of them pointed to an unassuming steel door on the right side of the room. It looked like the kind of door that might lead to an underground parking garage, so I tried it.

Instead of stairs, there was a long cave-like poured cement room, lit only by a single caged light bulb. Exposed pipes ran along the walls and hung from the ceiling, and the room was jammed full of people. They weren't saying anything, they were just standing there, occasionally shifting on their feet. It was like a room full of zombies.

I closed the door in alarm and looked back at the desk. A rising feeling of unease was creeping up on me: the room was now full of ponies. I was in the wrong place, I didn't belong, and I didn't know how to get back to where I did belong.

I saw a pair of bulky stallions dressed in police outfits coming my way, and the crowd was parting to let them through, and there was just nowhere I could go. I saw a skywalk leading away, but I wouldn't make it far.

Amid the rising worry, though, I began to have a feeling that this wasn't real; this was a dream, but I'd be damned if I could remember what real was. Nevertheless, I began running, even as the rational part of my mind was beginning to debate whether I should wake up and end the nightmare, or let it go on and see what happened next.

And then it was gone, reduced to drifting nonsensical fragments as I opened my eyes. I was back in my own bed, in my rental house, which was in Ponyville. A statement that by itself should have been nonsensical, yet I’d mostly adapted: some of my memories of the time before Equestria were starting to feel as if they could be the product of an overactive imagination. I knew that wasn’t true, I knew that there had been a time before I was here, but sometimes in the middle of the night the past seemed like it had been just another vivid dream.

It was dark in my room, although there was enough moonlight that I could see clearly. I’d never really understood the Equestrian moon: unlike Earth's moon, it didn't seem to have middle phases. Sometimes it was full and sometimes it was a crescent.

For a moment I thought it was the dream that had awakened me, and then I became aware of the pressure in my bladder. How much did I drink last night? I wondered. Probably too much. Hopefully I could make it to the outhouse in time.

I really didn't want to move. I was spooning Rose, and she was like a little furry heater. I vaguely remembered that horses had a higher body temperature than humans, and while I wasn't positive that was true of ponies as well, it felt true.

As I disentangled myself from Rose, I spared a moment to wish for indoor plumbing, ideally with an attached master bath. Unfortunately, unless I could get a steady, well-paying job, it wasn't in my future.

Of course, my robe wasn't anywhere obvious. I usually hung it over the top of the door for convenience, but it wasn't there. The blanket wasn't a standby option; I wasn't cruel enough to deprive Rose of it. As I scooted out the side of the bed, hoping not to disturb her any more than I already had, I tried to think of alternative choices, but none sprang to mind. You went to Sugarcube Corner naked last night, I reminded myself. The backyard is no big deal. I was still going to grab my robe if I saw it on my way out of the house.

As soon as I made it to my feet, it was obvious that I was still drunk. The room swayed alarmingly, but there was nothing for it now. I didn't really have a lot of choice, so I pinballed my way down the short hall and made sure I had a very good grip on the handrail before I began to navigate the stairs. By the time I was at the bottom I'd gotten used to being on my feet, and made a nearly straight path through the living room and kitchen to the back door.

I caught sight of my robe in the kitchen, folded neatly out of the way next to some kitchen towels, but by that point I was convinced that I wouldn't have time to put it on and then take it back off in the outhouse, so I went without. From more than a few sleepless nights in the past, I could attest that Ponyville didn't have much in the way of a nighttime population, so barring a Pegasus with insomnia I would be unobserved.

You went to Sugarcube Corner naked last night, I reminded myself again as I scurried across the grass.

You were drunk so it doesn't count. I grabbed the outhouse door, yanked it open, and squatted down.

When I stepped back out, Rose was waiting on the lawn. A faint smile crossed my face, and I charitably held the door open for her. Judging by the way she was dancing around on her hooves, her need was just as urgent as mine had been. At least she didn’t ever have to worry about taking off her clothes before she used the bathroom.

Not that I’d had to this time, either. Despite my nakedness, I paused for a moment in the backyard, glancing up at the star-studded sky. One of the blessings of Ponyville’s primitive nature was the complete lack of arc-sodium lights totally washing out the night sky, and every time I saw it, it filled me with wonder.

I must have been contemplating nature for longer than I’d intended, because I was suddenly snapped out of my trance by a warm face pressing against my bare hip. I reached down and rested my hand atop her head, took one more look at the night sky, and then headed into the house. I vowed that some other night when I was more sober and more dressed, I was going to spend a night in my backyard, looking up at the stars.

My robe was still neatly folded in the kitchen, alongside yesterday's clothes and a completely empty wine bottle. I leaned against the kitchen counter as a brief wave of dizziness came over me, then decided that I ought to have a bit of water. Hopefully it would help quell the inevitable hangover in the morning.

There weren't any clean cups to be had, so I took one out of the sink, poured out the last few dregs of wine, filled it with water, and quaffed it in one go. Rose was still standing in the kitchen, so I looked down at her. “Do you want some?”

Rose nodded, so I filled a glass for her and handed it down. When she’d finished, I drank a second glass for good measure, then refilled it in case Rose wanted some more, but when I looked down she was gone. I caught a flash of white going up the stairs and shook my head, figuring that I’d just zoned out there for a moment.

Since I was already in the kitchen, I scooped up the clean clothes I’d set out and not worn last night, and my robe as well. I was feeling a little steadier on my feet, but I made sure to keep a good hand on the railing as I went up the stairs.

It took but a moment to set my clothes on top of the dresser—there was no point in putting them in a drawer; I’d be wearing them in the morning—and hang my robe over the door where it usually went.

Rose, predictably, was already in bed. She’d pulled the covers up around herself, graciously leaving enough for me. I just studied her for a minute, my half-drunken mind trying to make sense of what I was seeing.

She looked almost human, with the way her head was lying on the pillow and the lump of her body under the fabric, and yet . . . she wasn’t. So what did that make me? What did it mean that I was sleeping with an animal?

You slept with your cat all the time. Mimi liked to curl up on your chest at night.

That’s not the same. But it was, in principle. I’d never been much of a pajamas person. So that line of logic went nowhere.

Well, ponies aren’t animals. They can talk and build houses and cook dinner and some of them can even solve complex equations.

If anything, that made it more awkward. Rose occupied an undefined space, something that all of humanity had no experience with, and it just kept gnawing at my mind. Less so now than when I’d first arrived, but still . . . it was one of those things where I wouldn’t think about it for a while, and then out of the blue, there it was again.

Maybe my dream had prompted those thoughts. It felt like something I should bring up with Tenderheart, but I knew that she didn’t really have the frame of mind to truly understand where I was coming from. Might as well have tried to describe a Macbook to some villager in a jungle tribe somewhere.

I shivered, either from the cool night air or a dream flashback, and told my brain to shut up. A few steps took me to the bed, and before my rebellious mind could conjure up something else to mess with me, I was sliding my legs under the covers.

At first, I just lay on my back, not quite touching her. The physical gap between us couldn’t have been much, but the mental gulf was much, much wider. I closed my eyes and tried to divert my mind from its pointless yammering by imagining pine trees. Counting sheep had never really been a successful technique, but pine trees usually worked.

This time, it didn’t work. I kept getting distracted in my attempts to imagine a nice pine forest, and I felt as if I was going to reach that point where I wasn’t ever going to fall asleep and the attending worry that went with that would reinforce the sleeplessness in a vicious cycle.

Then Rose rolled into me.

Rather than slide away, I gave up. Answers would come when they came, and until then I’d just muddle along as well as I could and try not to think too much about things I couldn’t change. As I snuggled up against her, the traitorous part of my mind was still saying that I wouldn’t fall asleep again tonight.

The next time I opened my eyes, it was faintly light. I had to pee again, although it wasn't as urgent as last night. I was still snuggled up against Rose, and I wasn't sure I wanted to move. However, after a little thought, I decided that if I went now I could probably fall back asleep, whereas if I didn't move I'd certainly be up in half an hour and then I probably wouldn't get back to sleep at all.

This time I took my robe.

Author's Note:

Pre-read and edited by Topaz Moon, AShadowOfCygnus, and MSPiper.