• Published 2nd Aug 2012
  • 1,927 Views, 28 Comments

Measuring Tape - abandoned2123

Life is hard for the Canterlot elite, particularly for those in high places.

  • ...


All of the forsaken fillies and colts had long since departed to their alleyway havens, leaving naught but a cluster of empty streets in their wake. As Hoity trotted down a maze of carefully picked intersections and roundabouts, he kept his eyes peeled. Occasionally he’d lay his gaze upon a knot or two of unicorns, all pampered up and loitering about the walkways, though it was very rare that he would find an Earth pony like himself.

It had always been a bit of a game between him and his sister, to see how many of their own race that they could find in a day. In a peculiar, egotistical way, it made them feel somewhat special compared to all the other pompous horned equines.

His cuffed hooves were slightly streaked with dirt, an inevitable occurrence when it came to traveling the trampled clay roads. Still, the unclean sensation didn’t help the stress that was stewing in his chest.

The worst part was that he didn’t even know why he felt so agitated. Granted, Fancy Pants had a way with needling into his head, despite their friendly terms, but certainly at never such a negative level. It almost hurt to try and keep his breathing at a steady rhythm as he walked, his chest nearly knotting in on itself.

He looked up from his hooves, watching as buildings passed by his path. They all looked the same, cookie-cutter shells with unpredictable guts to them, just like his studio. Underneath his glasses, the world was tinted a deep purple, with varying shades of violet and indigo depending on the harsh light of the rising sun.

The simplicity of the lack of color had a soothing effect on him, even more so as the unmistakable form of his building slowly faded into view. The sight of it made his pace quicken to a fast canter. Work would make him feel better, as always. Sketching designs and coloring in potential dresses always had a way with clearing all the unneeded smog in his head, especially if he happened to be alone, too.

With the thought of a quill in his hoof and the quiet in his ears, Hoity paused at the door to fish for his keys in the niche of his collar.

As he searched, there was a loud clatter from inside. The sudden noise caused the stallion to jerk up in surprise, just as a familiar ice-blue mare slammed open the door.

Normally, such an occurrence wouldn't have phased Hoity. His sister had always been rather eccentric in her behavior, but one look at her frazzled, unkempt appearance told him that something was quite different.

"The nerve!" she breathed, hissing between her teeth. She looked down at Hoity and quickly adjusted her glasses. "The absolute nerve!"

"Photo?" Hoity cocked his head to the side. "Are you alright?"

"Alright? Alright?! Pah!" Photo stamped her hoof dramatically, "It's that client! The snobby one! He came in just as you left, und he von't leave!" she cried, her pseudo accent thickening with each strangled breath,

Hoity winced, his ears reeling back to press themselves against his scalp. "You mean Blueblood, don't you?" he asked reluctantly. He kept his shaded eyes locked to his hooves.

"Ja! He's snooping all over und von't shut that pretty mouth of his." She took a deep breath and straightened up her posture, the fabric of her dress rustling in protest. "I go out for coffee now," she announced formally, holding her head high as she cantered past her brother toward the streets.

Hoity helplessly watched as Photo eventually dissolved amongst the gathering crowds, his teeth meditatively chewing on his lower lip as he looked back at the solid oak door.

It had never looked more intimidating, let alone unwelcoming. The shiny brass knob seemed to carry new specks of rust, and the door looked to be rotting at the edges.

The stallion took a deep breath through his nose and paused to lift a hoof to his long mane, neatening it along with his ruffled waistcoat.

As he smoothed out the wrinkles with the base of his hoof, he paused. Why should he bother making himself look presentable? If anything looking somewhat tattered might have sent Blueblood the right message, that he was unwelcome and unwanted in favor of individualized work.

The thought of confronting the stallion only made Hoity feel even more frazzled than he already did, but he soon found himself opening the front door regardless.

The lights were still on in the main waiting room, industrialized florescent bulbs that cast a sickly white all over the marble tile and vacant chairs. Hoity reluctantly stepped inside and shut the door behind him, softly.

His hooves clacked quietly against the flooring as he moved to the office doors, placed side by side at the end of the room. A simple set of stairs led up to the actual studio, chock full of lighting equipment and props.

Hoity didn't even consider going up there first. Why would he? He already knew where Blueblood was. Holding his breath, he cracked open the door to his office.

It was in its usual state, what with the bits of fabric strewn about and his wide desk situated across from the door.

What was different was that Blueblood was sitting at that very desk, his horn aglow as he curiously sifted through the unorganized mass of papers that lay upon it. As Hoity stared at him in shock, he looked up with a cheery smile. "Oh, you're back! Good, I've been waiting for you," he chirped pleasantly, and promptly continued to shuffle through the parchment.

Hoity had not been sure of what he had been expecting, and it took him a moment to regain his composure, his words spilling out of his mouth. "Wh-What in Equestria do you think you're doing?" he sputtered, his movements stiff as he stormed up to the desk. "Get away from my things!"

Blueblood merely raised an eyebrow and stared back at him. "No need to get angry, you know. I wasn't even reading them." He cast his eyes down to fish for one paper in particular and let it float upwards. "I only read this one, your schedule for today." He placed it back on the table and shuffled the papers some more, placing them into three little neat piles. "There, see? You're all organized now."

"So you expect me to compliment you for rummaging with my papers?" Hoity stormed around the desk and waved a hoof at the unicorn. "Out, out of my chair!"

"Alright, alright!" Blueblood laughed and raised up his manicured hooves in a defensive gesture as he backed off. "I'll just go over to my seat here." He backed off and strolled over to plop into the opposite chair, his shoulders slumping forward in a casual manner.

Hoity eyed him suspiciously as he took his own seat, his sunglasses still resting upon the bridge of his snout. By his own perspective, Blueblood wasn’t a snowy shade of white, but a light teal. It only made his name all the more fitting. For a few moments, the stallion couldn’t really find any proper words to say, in fear making himself look foolish. Instead, he looked down at the three piles of papers. “Why did you-?”

“I was bored,” Blueblood interrupted. He held up a hoof to his face to scrutinize the shine of the clear polish that had been smothered onto it. “That so-called ‘waiting room’ out there didn’t have any magazines that struck my fancy, so I came in here to pass the time.” Sighing, he looked up and raised his eyebrow. “Why do you and your sister wear sunglasses indoors? It’s weird.”

“Thank you for your opinion, but it’s not needed,” the cobalt stallion curtly replied, his hooves dancing over the neatened sheets of paper. He spread them all around to count them, if only to make sure that Blueblood hadn’t stolen anything. “You’re not needed either, you know. The appointment was for tomorrow. Did you forget that?”

Blueblood pouted and pointed at the papers. “You have a huge gap right now though,” he protested. “Why not move it up a day?”

“Because I still haven’t designed anything that I can measure you for,” Hoity replied flatly. His own expression was blank, assisted by the sunglasses that protectively shielded his face. “It’s easier for me if I have an idea of what I want to make for you before I do measurements.”

“Oh, really?” The unicorn sat up and leaned forward to get a better look at the desk. “Well, that’s your fault for being lazy, then,” he accused simply.

The quill that Hoity had picked up in his hoof nearly snapped into pieces at that little remark, and the stallion found himself taking a harsh, deep breath from his nostrils. “I was just going to take a few hours to do some sketches today, if you must know,” he muttered.

“Oh.” Blueblood blinked and moved to brush away a lock of his dirty blonde mane. “Can I watch?”

A sudden crunch echoed through the modest chamber, and Hoity glanced down to find that the quill was crushed in his grasp. The brittle metal stem had cut his hoof, just enough to where a trickle of glistening blood had begun to seep.

Just like that, his own blind frustration and anger turned to dull confusion as he stared at his bleeding hoof.

Suddenly, a glowing tissue floated up towards him and pressed itself against the base of his hoof. The blood soaked into the thin fabric in a large, blossomy shape, and Hoity looked up to find Blueblood regarding him with a smirk.

“You don’t really know how to control yourself, do you?” he chided. “That’s okay. I don’t either.”

Hoity didn’t say anything. He merely held up his hoof as Blueblood manipulated the tissue to wipe away the blood that still yet lingered. It was when the unicorn had placed the soiled thing in the wastebin that he was able to mutter an embarrassed thanks, hoping to death that the stallion wouldn’t be able to see the humiliated flush on his cheeks.

If the prince had noticed, he didn’t really show it. “I do hope that isn’t your writing hoof, is it?” he asked, his voice laced with faux concern as he pressed a hoof to his mouth. “I would hate for my appointment to be delayed.”

A little spark of anger reignited in Hoity’s blood, but he kept himself calm as he cradled his cut hoof. The seeping blood had already begun to clot. “Hm, no, it isn’t. Nothing that a good bandage won’t solve.”

“Oh, good!” Blueblood’s face brightened a little. “Draw something nice, then. I don’t care what you put me in, so long as it isn’t boring or scratchy,” he demanded.

“As my employee, I can assure you that I won’t design outfits that will make you uncomfortable,” Hoity dumbly replied, as if in shock of the whole audacity of the conversation. His brain felt hazy, and his instincts told him that he was being backed into a corner once again. Still, what harm was there to humor the snobbish unicorn a bit?

With his clean hoof, he picked up another spare quill and plucked up a blank sheet of paper from a separate pile of junk off to the side. He glanced over at his brass inkwell, then up to Blueblood.

The unicorn was regarding him with an impatient frown. “Well?” he asked. His tail was swishing from side to side, like a cat ready to pounce. “Are you going to draw or not? I’m curious.”

That was the final straw. Hoity unceremoniously dropped the quill and pointed to the door. “That’s the way out. You know by now, I’m sure.” His voice was quiet, but commanding. “I don’t like it when ponies watch me work,” he added in awkwardly, but with just as much force.

“Please, you just don’t want to take off those silly glasses of yours,” Blueblood hopped from his chair and smiled. “What’s the matter? You had them on during that silly interview, too.”

Hoity bit his lip and unthinkingly tilted his head downwards. “Well, ah...”

“Your sister wears hers all the time, too. What, is it some kind of Earth pony idiosyncrasy? Some sort of primitive superstition? Or do you have some kind of hideous birth defect?” he asked, quite seriously considering the insulting absurdity of his questions.

Before the other stallion could even reply, Blueblood allowed for his magic to gently lift the glasses away. “Only old, senile oafs wear their sunglasses inside, you know? Are you senile, Hoity?” he placed the offending object on the desk and grinned.

Hoity didn’t once budge or say anything in protest. He merely watched as Blueblood slid the glasses away, his eyes instinctively shutting as the fluorescent light pierced at them. “It’s a habit,” he answered simply.

“Well, it’s a stupid habit.” Blueblood sniffed. “Are you going to open them now?”

Hoity tensed and reached out a hoof to blindly pat around the whole of his desk. “Oh, my eyes are a bit sensitive in this light. I don’t think that I can, sorry,” he lamely explained.

Still, lacking sight and being in a closed room with a strange stallion was more than enough to make him rethink such a preposterous argument, and nervous paranoia was more than enough to convince him otherwise. Slowly, Hoity allowed for his eyes crack open a little, just a little.

Blueblood’s grin curled up even wider. “There you go! Good to know that you aren’t some vampire or the like. Come on, then, all the way,” he urged.

Cringing, Hoity opened his eyes.

They weren’t particularly special, his eyes. If anything they might have been a bit of a letdown to someone expecting something grand. They were a predictable shade of teal, matching near perfectly to the hue of his pelt.

Hoity had never felt more helpless and naked as Blueblood very obviously observed his face.

Finally, the prince reeled back and nodded his head in approval. “Blue, just like mine. I quite like them.” he complimented. “They’re pretty! Why, it’s almost a crime to hide them away!”

“P-Pretty!?” Hoity immediately dove for his desk and snatched up his glasses to paste back on his face. With one hoof holding them to his snout, the other pointed sharply towards the door, shaking.

Blueblood seemed to take the hint, and he sighed in defeat as he started for the door. “Alright, fine. I suppose I’ll drop by tomorrow, then?” he asked.

Hoity just nodded his head.

“Very well then!” The prince grabbed hold of the doorknob and promptly thrust it open. "I'll be there, maybe late, maybe early. It'll be a surprise for the both of us!" And with that he left, with not even a 'goodbye' to spare.

Hoity stared at the closed door for some time before realizing that his hoof was still resting upon his face. Silently, he let it drop and turned to examine his cut hoof.

It was a good distraction to keep the sensation of his flushed cheeks at the back of his head, and the ever-nagging fact that Blueblood wasn’t calling him by ‘Mister’ anymore.