• Published 14th Jun 2018
  • 5,958 Views, 72 Comments

Recuperation, Relaxation, Realisation - Cackling Moron



Recovering from a freak teleporter accident is a lot easier when your best friend insists on helpling you.

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The door opens and lets the future in

Author's Note:

I still don't really have a good grasp on how emotional beings with thoughts and feelings actually interact or behave so most of this is me just stabbing in the dark, making wild guesses and throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks.

Things got uncomfortable after that. Something had changed.

Was it me or was it her? I didn’t know. Was her not looking me in the eye and being much quieter than usual just in my imagination, or was it actually happening? I didn’t know. Why was I too scared to just ask, even though the room seemed far less casual and friendly than it had even just twenty minutes previously? I didn’t know.

Was not a fan.

Rainbow was still looking after me, obviously. Lunch was made and brought and I was kept confined to bed - though, really, I didn’t need to be at all - and later on the salve happened again. Only this time it wasn’t a horrendous and embarrassing experience for both of us. It was just clinical. Which somehow I found far worse.

Again, not a fan.

She didn’t get back to me about learning some grim medical history from back home. It wasn’t even brought up again. Not even hinted at. I was more upset about than I would have expected.

What had I done? Clearly I’d done something. Everything had been pretty much fine until I’d opened my mouth and vomited out that rambling, inarticulate speech about how much she meant to me.

Had it been that? Had I not got myself across clearly enough? Had she taken it the wrong way? Wouldn’t have been the first time I’d said one thing and the person listening had heard the exact opposite.

The sensible thing to do would have been to ask, but I was far too terrified to do that. I couldn’t just ask someone what they thought, least of all my best friend! That would have been crazy.

Not sure why, but it just would have been. This was how I’d been raised.

Time passed so, so slowly without Rainbow to help speed it up for me. I mean, she was there, but she also wasn’t. She mainly wasn’t. To an outside observer it would have looked as though she was there and everything was normal, but to me I could tell she was - at least in her head - somewhere else. And wherever that was I’d apparently put her there.

And at one point she just left the room and didn’t come back.

At first this wasn’t something I thought muc h about. She’d been dead quiet most of the day, after all, so she wasn’t exactly going to tell me where she was going or what she was doing - she’d just do it. I figured she was...preparing something, I didn’t know. But then as time wore on I started to get a little anxious. And then I heard something.

Not a sound I could readily identify. My brain struggled to try and define it, leading to all sorts of strange possibilities running through my head. The brain does that, I’d heard. Without a frame of reference it just makes stabs in the dark until you give it more to go on. I felt I had to give it more to go on, because the strange noise was coming from inside the house.

Knowing that I was defying orders from Rainbow I got out of bed unsupervised and lef the room as quietly as I could.

On the landing the noise was louder, and I could now tell that it was coming from downstairs. I also had more of an inkling of what it was and my heart sank somewhere down to about my stomach. That was the sound of someone being unhappy.

I did my best to creep down the stairs but they creaked with every step I took. Not that Rainbow - sat facing away from me on the sofa - seemed to notice. Or if she did, she just didn’t care enough to say anything about it.

She’d taken off the little hat, but the rest of the uniform was still on. Her wings droops, her shoulders shuddered. I came up ever-so-slowly behind her.

“Are you crying?”

“No. Go away,” she sniffed, while crying.

Someone blatantly lying about themselves crying is always a bad sign.

The sensible, adult part of me that I kept locked away somewhere knew that this was something I had to confront openly, honestly and as soon as possible. Every other part of me whined that life was unfair and asked if someone else could do it. I ignored those other parts and listened to the adult part. First time for everything.

“Come on, even I know something’s up. You can tell me,” I said, as delicately as I could manage. Which probably wasn’t very delicately. I knew I should move around the sofa sso I was speaking to her from the front rather than from behind, but I was still shit-scared and I could only be so adult all at once. Baby steps.

“No!” She half-sobbed, waving a hoof through the air while the other rubbed at her eyes. “It’s fine! Just go back to bed!”

Up until this moment I hadn’t even considered the possibility that Rainbow Dash could cry. I hadn’t ever imagined any situation where she’d need to. Apparently I’d created one. Go me.

I moved around in front of her.

“I don’t really need to be in bed. And I can’t leave you like this. I don’t like this. And, uh, I kind of figure this is my fault. Somehow. It’s what I said, isn’t it?”

That got her to look up. One eye hidden behind her mane, the other locked onto my face. I might have gone a bit pale. I coughed.

“That thing I said. I - I probably fluffed it. Probably came across wrong. Probably wasn’t clear?”

She scoffed - actually scoffed - and looked away, again wiping his eyes and noses on the back of a hoof.

“Oh, you were pretty clear.”

Well that was bad. If I’d just been misunderstood then I could try again and fix it up and that would solve it. But if I’d been understood and that had still been wrong then I didn’t know what to do. That would mean that what I’d said had been the problem, but that I just didn’t know why.

That idea was nauseating, so I instead just grasped hopelessly at the slim chance I’d been misunderstood, but she didn’t think she’d misunderstood. Feeble, but I was running out of options.

“I was just trying to say how much you meant to me, as a friend,” I said, hoping to straighten things out.

Apparently it was the wrong thing for me to have said.

Rainbow sat up straight and finally stopped trying to hide her face, hitting me with the most powerful look of miserable, desperate anger I think I’d ever seen. On a pony this expression was no joke. I flinched.

“I know what you were trying to say! I didn’t want to hear you say it! I sat through that whole thing and waited and waited but you didn’t say what I wanted you to say! We’re better than friends and we should be more and I want to be more and I’ve made it so obvious and you’re either just an idiot or you’re not interested and just won’t tell me!”

I’m sorry, what.

I stared. My mouth moved but nothing came out. My brain sort of fizzed.

“And now you’re just staring at me!” She shouted. I flinched again and shrunk back, looking dejectedly at everything in the room that wasn’t Rainbow Dash.

“M-more than friends?” I mumbled.

“At first when we met I just thought you were weird. Then I thought you kind of cool and weird. After that I knew you were weirdly cool. Past that I started to realise that you’re my kind of weirdly cool. The kind that I sort of want - really want - to have around. In my life. Properly.”

I couldn’t parse any of this. It didn’t fit anywhere in my brain. But there she was, saying it.

“I’m just a guy…”

“You’re the only guy like you. And the only guy who I like like this. I’ve never worried about anyone else like this. Or thought about from the moment I woke up. Or saved up things to talk about with. Just you.”

I kind of wished I was sitting down at this point, as standing up for all of this just made me look ungainly and uncomfortable. I was both of those things, yes, but I didn’t want it to be so obvious right then.

Even I wasn’t dense enough to not get what she was saying. Even I have limits. But I still couldn’t hack it. Wasn’t this something forbidden? Wasn’t this going to be looked down on? She seemed awfully relaxed about that part. She just seemed mainly angry with me, which was understandable.

But still. A pony and a strange, extra-dimensional stray? Wouldn’t people talk?

“I thought it wasn’t something that happened here,” I said, fidgeting.

“What?”

“Didn’t think that...ponies and...anything else would...do...that…”

“What?” She said again, the tiniest bits of annoyance starting to creep in.

“I don’t know. Back home there’s just one species you can have a conversation and getting into a relationship outside of that is, well, difficult. And frowned upon. Here you got dragons and ponies and griffons and all sorts and I just...I don’t know...kind of thought everyone kept in their lanes.”

That was a terrible analogy and I felt appropriately ashamed of myself for using it. Lanes indeed.

Rainbow’s patience - already strained - snapped.

“What does that even mean?!”

“It means I thought you’d be grossed out if you thought I liked you too!”

Well, that slipped out.

Rainbow’s whole aspect change. The annoyance at my mangled, useless explanations vanished. The exhausted, desperate anger at my totally inability to read between the lines dropped away. She just looked stunned. Eyes wide, jaw slack.

“You like me too?”

‘Like’ like, not like like. God talking like this was dumb.

She had me dead to rights though. I’d said it, and I’d also meant it.

“Well obviously I like you. I said you’re the most important pers- pony in my whole world. Any world. You mean a lot to me.”

“But not just as a friend, you see me as more than that, right? You can see me as more than that?” She asked, pointing at me, trying to pin me to an answer. I squirmed in place.

“I - yeah - I mean, I don’t - I was worried that If I liked you like that it’d be bad. Thought I’d be seen as some...offensive, rocing monster from another world getting ideas. You don’t rally see ponies...getting affectionate with anything other than a pony. You know?”

“You don’t see it all the time but it still happens! No-one cares! It’s fine!”

“...really?”

“Yes!”

I’d have to ask her for more details on that later, I felt. Right at that moment wasn’t the time. Right at that moment all that was important was that no-one cared, that it was fine. This was important information. It changed things. At least in the world around me. In my head gears were still grinding. Things in your head can’t change quite so easily or so quickly.

“So, socially speaking, there’s nothing to worry about?” I asked.

“No!”

“This sort of thing is...fine?”

“Yes!”

“And I won’t end up getting chased out of town by an angry mob?”

“No!”

“So this is all up to me?”

“Yes!”

Shit. That sounded a lot like responsibility to me. Like something I could do wrong and be held accountable for without anyone else to blame. Those were the worst.

I grasped at the air as though it might hold some answers for me. But it didn’t. It was just air, and therefore useless for this. So I just had to come up with something on the spot. Again. Always worked well for me in the past.

“I’ve always liked you. Lots, really. All the stuff about you? The things that make me fond of you? They made me really fond. Squishy-inside fond. But I guess in my head I just never...made a connection between...because I always just saw you as ‘Rainbow Dash’ but not as, uh, anything...else. But then you put on that nurse outfit and something just kind of, er…”

This was going to go South fast again, I knew it. But at least I was consistent in being terrible.

“Think it just gave me a little nudge. Not sure why. Must have rattled something up here,” I tapped a finger to my temple. “Cleared things up enough. Still worried me though, at the time. Because of the thing I said. The interspecies thing. But it helped. Saw you differently. Thought about you differently.”

Rainbow looked utterly incredulous, which was bad as I’d rather been hoping for ‘happy’.

“All I had to do was dress up?!” She squealed, voice popping. Bad sign. Damage control!

“No! No, it wasn’t just that. I mean, it helped, but, ah fuck I don’t know. I don’t know! This is new! I was shit at girls back home and I’m still shit at them here. Sorry.”

Best way to impress girls? Complain about how bad you are ‘at girls’ in front of them, as though they were an event at sportsday you weren’t much good at. They love it.

I’d finally had enough of standing up. Looking back I found the chair and flopped into it, head resting in my one good hand.

“Ah I’ve fucked this up. Why did you even ever like me? Me!”

I laughed bitterly and melted backwards into the chair, just letting it embrace and, not removing my hand from my face, talking into my palm and at the room in general.


“I just - you’re great. You’re so, so great. You can fly, for one - that’s a great place to start from. You got cool hair. Your laugh is great. You’re just so overwhelmingly lovely and considerate and you’d go twice around the world if a friend needed you too and you wouldn’t even need asking twice. Hell, you’d do it without being asked. And you’re funny. And you’re a hell of a lot smarter than you give yourself credit for. And just - all of this stuff. So much of it! All in you. In this person in my life. This person - pony, fuck! Hate that - who makes my life, now. Is part of my life. Couldn’t imagine a life without you. Wouldn’t really want to. There’d be a gap and I don’t know what else could go in it. I’ve never had that. Guess I should have thought that a bit more. God I was an idiot. Worrying about all the wrong things. And never just asking!”

“Well, you were being an idiot.”

The floor creaked. I peeked through my fingers and saw Rainbow standing right in front of me, smiling just enough to make my heart twinge.

“Probably still am, aren’t I?” I asked.

“Little bit,” she said, holding up a hoof for emphasis.

“I’m never going to live this down, am I?”

“I wouldn’t get your hopes up.”

My head rolled onto the back of the chair and I stared at the ceiling. Again the floor creaked as Rainbow climbed onto my lap. Automatically my good hand went to rest on her, to help her balance. Pulling my head back I look at her face, now bare inches from mine.

“So this is something we’re really doing?” I asked, utterly unable to look anywhere other than her eyes. So big, but so pretty. Just filled my world right at that moment.

“If you want to,” she said.

“Well, yeah. Assuming you still think I’m worth it.”

She gave me a pound on the shoulder. The one not attach to my broken arm. Still hurt.

“Don’t say that.”

“Sorry. Yes, I want to. It’s either that or ignore the big swooping in my belly everytime I hear you coming my way. I don’t think that’d be healthy.”

She chuckled, most for politeness than anything. That’s a keeper.

I ran my thumb across her coat. So very, very soft. Her hooves rested either side of my head.

Time passed.

“So do we kiss now or what?” I asked, my voice barely above a whisper, my heart pounding in my ears as though it thought I was back in my teens again rather than being a big boy. Rainbow felt like she was trembling.

“If you want,” she said.

And so we did.

Not going to lie. Bit weird. The facial geography didn’t quite match up. Neither of us knew where to put ourselves.

But it wasn’t really about that. It didn’t matter whether it was good or bad or - as it was - a complete shambles. What mattered was that we’d done it at all. That was what was important.

“We’re going to have to work on that,” I said once it was over and we’d pulled back.

“Yeah,” she said, then her eyes gleamed. “We might have to work on all night, once you’re better.”

Uh, eep?