• Published 15th Jun 2018
  • 496 Views, 27 Comments

Redux: The Harbinger's Oath - Ringtael



Twilight's been having odd dreams for months now. Snaps and flashes of a life she doesn't remember, places she';s never been, but thers's something consistent in the dreams. The stallion that isn't a pony she knows, but one she remembers.

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Clarity Comes In Time

Redux: Clarity Comes In Time

Dear Diary,

My morning started off a little rough. I’d had another sticky dream and that was nice, but I honestly felt like somepony had made me exercise all day and hadn’t let me take any breaks at all. My muscles were all sore, and that really wasn’t pleasant, but hunger still made me get out of bed and go take a shower because I figured that it would probably help me get over my soreness sooner. Without Max in the house, I didn't have to worry about looking cute to impress him or anything, so I got myself together pretty quickly and finished my Morning Meandering in time to catch Spike as he stared at the big pile of dust on our kitchen floor. The pile had me stopping and standing next to him, wondering just how grounded he was about to be due to the fact that I had no idea how my poor table had been reduced to ashes.

“Care to explain yourself?” I asked drily.

Spike gave me the weirdest look I’d gotten from him in years and jerked a thumb at the pile of dust. “I don’t think I can do that, Twilight.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “So my table just collapsed into dust on its own:?”

He shrugged and spread his hands. “What do you want me to say!? I came home like, five minutes ago and there just wasn’t a table anymore!”

I pursed my lips and rubbed my cheek since my Truth Spell hadn’t gone off. “If it wasn’t you and it wasn’t me, then who?”

“I dunno… Maybe we should ask Max?” Spi8ke suggested.

I furrowed my brow again. “Was he even here last night?”

“... Why are you asking me? I stayed the night at Applejack’s.”

A mild headache started building, so I started rubbing my temples.“I feel like Max was here last night, but I don’t remember seeing him…”

“Where is he, anyway?”

“Um… He should be over at Rarity’s,” Spike’s eyes shot open, “unless she threw him out already. I don’t think they’ll get along very well for the rest of the week.”

“Right.” Spike chuckled anxiously, probably worried about Max making a move on his crush. “I-I’m just gonna go check up on him and… Uh, see how he’s adjusting! Yeah!”

I gave him a dubious look. “Just don’t bother anypony too much, okay?”

“I won’t!” Spike promised.

“Mhmm.” I replied flatly. “If Rarity asks where you’re looking, what are you going to say?”

“Anywhere but her chest.” Max said, surprising both me and Spike. Neither of us had heard him come in or even close the door, so we just stared for a moment. “What? I’ve got something in my teeth, don’t I?”

“... How did you get in here?” I asked hesitantly.

Max gave me a dull look. “How do most people get in here, Twilight?”

I blushed and cleared my throat. “W-Well, th-there’s a chime on the door…”

“There’s also the pile of dust from where you disintegrated the fucking table. Would you care to explain what the fuck happened last night?”

“... I did that?” I asked dumbly.

He sighed. “Figures. You started talking like you had all the answers last night, but I knew I didn’t see you in your eyes.” Max shook his head.

“Ah-ha! I told you I didn’t fry the table! And to think you were probably gonna ground me over it!” Spike cheered triumphantly.

“Oh yeah, since Max is here, I guess you don’t need to go to Rarity’s.” I said evilly.

Spike’s face fell and his shoulders slumped. “... Yeah, I guess you’re right…”

That brought a smile to my face, but then Max said, “Actually, Rarity sent me over to grab Spike since I won’t help her with any of her seamstress shit. Just seems tedious to me.”

“Oh. then I guess you’re good to go, Spike.” I said, a little disappointed that raining on his parade turned from a downpour into a rainbow.

My little brother beamed and pumped his fist subtly. “Then I’d better get going! Thanks for the heads up, Max!”

Max gave him a lopsided grin and a nod. “Just don’t let Sweetie Belle know you’re there. I stole her diary and it’s filled with all sorts of borderline-creepy stuff.”


“... What?” Spike and I asked in unison.

“Yeah, girl’s weird, but then again, kids are weird in general. Go get into the Weird Pool, Spike.”

“... Sure.” He answered, not sure how to take that.

Spike walked out and Max watched him leave, making me hesitate to say something. Once I heard Spike close the door, I said, “So… I-”

“That was a bitchy thing to do.” Max said coldly.

“...” I stared at him as he turned to give me a frosty glare.

“Do you honestly have nothing to say for yourself? Spike’s your little brother, Twilight. Legitimately making him sad is some shit you would do if he knocked off one of your friends, not because he rubbed your nose in the fact that he was innocent in the first place. I can honestly say you just lost a lot of my respect.” He continued, his judgement brutal.

“I-I-I- Y-You don’t-”

“I saw the look on his face and I compared it to the one on yours and I saw a bully and a victim. Are you a bully, Twilight?” He asked harshly.

“N-N-No, I-I-I-”

“Then why would you act like one?”

I tried my hardest, but I still ended bawling my eyes out and teleporting to my room just to avoid the look of utter and complete disappointment in Max’s eyes. Guilt ate me up so fast I barely had time to breathe in between my sobs, and not being able to breathe made me panic, and I cry when I panic, so I ended up crying harder, which meant that it was even more difficult to breathe, resulting in me gasping for air hard enough for somepony to come and make me loosen up from the ball I’d curled myself into.

“Twilight. Twilight, Cherry.” Max said softly.

I couldn’t answer him, and I really didn’t want to look at him either. So I said, “Go ‘way!”

“Breathe, Twilight.” He replied calmly. “You’ll feel a little better if you get a good breath in.”
I tried but my breaths still came out as shaky, pathetic sobs that made me cover my face, but then Max hugged me, which made me so confused and embarrassed and ashamed, but at the same time I was so happy and comfy and warm that I kept crying because I couldn't get a grip on myself. “I’m sowwy!”

“I know, Twilight. I know.” Max said gently, stroking my mane. “I know you weren’t being mean to Spike for the sake of making him feel bad, but it was still cruel. I won’t take back what I said, but I will apologize for saying it so harshly.

I didn’t have an answer for that, but I did wrap my arms around Max and let his warmth surround me as I calmed down. By the time I was just hiccupping and sniffling. Max had sat down next to me and put an arm. A good twenty minutes had passed since Max had chastised me for being mean to Spike, so I thought another apology was in order, just not to Max. “... I’ll- Uhp! Apologize to Spi- Uhp! Spike when he gets home.” I said quietly.

“Are you saying that because you think I want you to, or because you feel like you should?” Max asked softly, like his voice was a scoop of my table in a strong breeze.

“Spike’s big sis- Uhp! Sister shouldn’t be the o- Uhp! One making him feel the worst…” I replied, guilt still gnawing at me with fervor.

“The sincerity in that sentence just earned you back some respect.” Max said proudly, the smile on his lips transferring over to his voice.

… Well, I imagined that he was smiling. He sounded happy.

At the moment, I was a little surprised by that. “R-R-Ruhp! Really?”

“It’s not in your heart to be a nag, Twilight, and yes, I know that’s really offensive, but it was accurate earlier.” I flinched and I felt him kiss one of my ears, making me flick it involuntarily. “However, if you would’ve answered wrong or lied to me, there wouldn’t have been anything between us, so thank you for staying true to yourself.”

“... I’m confu-Suhp! Confused…”

“Good. That’s how I like my women.”

I actually had to pull away and look at him for that one, my eyes puffy and scratchy from crying for so long. “What?”

“I wouldn’t worry about it yet. I would worry about your kitchen table though.”

“Awww, Darn it!” I groaned.

Max chuckled and gave me a longsuffering smile. “What am I gonna do with you, Twi?”

“Help me shop for a new table?” I asked sheepishly.

He rolled his eyes and made an amused noise. “Alright, sure. Let’s go furniture shopping.”

I gave him a bashful smile. “Y-You don’t have to-”

“Nah, I have nothing else to do today.” Max thought for a second. “Oh yeah, Spike should be home in like, ten-fifteen minutes.”

I tilted my head. “Oh. Does Rarity not have that much to do?”

“No, I lied to your face because I felt bad for Spike.” He said bluntly.

“... You lied to me?”

“The guy’s crush is super obvious. You probably would have ruined his day.” The complex stallion in front of me said.

“I… I can’t really be mad since you just did it to be nice to Spike, but… I-I guess I just thought you wouldn’t…” I said softly.

Max inhaled sharply and touched a hand to his forehead. “Ah, yep. Yup. See why you think that now.”

“Did you remember something?” I asked cautiously.

“Yeah. I promised to never lie to you. Then like, four years later I killed a guy and you said I lied to you.”

“... You- Nope. Not even talking about it.” I said, tapping my horn three times for good luck and good health. “We’re going table shopping.”

I could have sworn that I saw a glimmer or a twinkle of some sort in Max’s eye as he suddenly invaded my personal space, and I do mean suddenly. “What’s the rush, Cherry Pie?” He placed his hands on my hips and pulled me closer to him, biting his lip and giving me a half-lidded gaze. “I’m sure we can find something to do around here for a little while. Maybe we could read a book, or do some research.” He touched his forehead to my horn and I was pretty sure that breathing was easier when I was sobbing my face off. “Even better idea; let’s ex-peri-ment~

If Max actually wanted to do anything to me, I would’ve been rolled into a hay-bale and chucked to the cows, only to be found weeks later. Not literally of course, but Ma x could have easily had his way with my while I was unconscious, but yet again he proved his morals to be better than ‘shady’, even going so far as to tuck me into bed and draw the curtains in my room so that it wasn’t as bright when I woke up. I was fully clothed and a little sticky, but that was okay since I kept a box of tissues on my nightstand anyway for when allergy season rears its ugly head. When I was good to go, I walked downstairs and found Max reading on the couch in the library, looking a little more amused than anypony reading about Equestrian Morality and Philosophy should be.

I walked over slowly, trying not to disturb him, but then Max chuckled and closed the book, rubbing his brow with his thumb and forefinger. “Fucking ponies, Mate.”

“Wh-What about ponies?” I asked.

He looked up at me and gave me a roguish grin. “You lot are some skittish creatures, if your morals and philosophy are anything to go by. ‘Avoid Dragons at all costs’?” He rolled his eyes. “If I hadn’t spent half of my time walking around town, then I’d avoid Dragons. Nah, Equestrians are just racist.

I stared at him blankly.

“Ah, sorry. Generalizations are pretty ignorant, but I should say that a lot of Ponies are extremely xenophobic. At least, they are to me. Can’t help but think that those same Ponies wouldn’t hesitate to write a book about how scawwy the other races are.” He rolled his eyes and scoffed.

“... Uh…”

He raised a brow at me. “Am I scary, Twilight?”

I pursed my lips and looked away.

“... Well, I honestly wasn’t expecting that.” He said, sounding somewhat offended.

“Weeell… You kind of threw a knife at one of my friends when I first met you…” I answered nervously, steepling my fingers.

“Yeah, but it was the most hostile person out of your friends! And she attacked me first! And she started it!” He protested, vexed.

“I-I know…” I replied quietly.

“That’s what I’m saying, Twilight. It’s stuff like that that makes it obvious where the other races sit on the totem pole in Equestria. I can’t tell you how many of the bastards in the Town Circle tried to rip me off with jacked-up prices since I’ve been here, and it’s been like, what? Three, four days?”

“I-I’m sorry…”

He sighed. “It’s not your fault, Twilight. If it’s anyone’s fault, it’s Celestia’s.”

“Woah. Hold on, Buster.” I pointed at him. “I won’t kick you for disrespecting Celestia anymore, but that does not mean that I won’t beat you with a rolled up newspaper for treason!”

Max gave me a bored look. “Come at me. Shrimp.”

I balled my hands up. “Oooh! Don’t you test me!”

Testing, testing: One. Two.Three.” Max said, standing up.

I marched over to him and stood close enough to push him if I felt like it. “Do you really wanna go there, Buster?

Out of bucking nowhere, Max grabbed me by the shoulders and engulfed my entire horn in his mouth. I felt his lips touched the base of my horn as I stood in place; mortified by the occurring event, but then it got worse! Max started sucking on my horn! And the worst part? The absolutely horrifying part? He only had his mouth on my horn for a few seconds before… Um… He poured syrup on my shoes too! Yeah, he poured syrup all over my skirt and it got on my shoes and on the floor, so when I stopped moaning about the grossness of Max putting my horn in a place it had no business being, I shoved him back and covered my nether regions, my lips trembling and my eyes watering.

“You SUCK!!!” Teleporting to my room for the second time that day took but a second, but this time I locked the door.

While I cried (Again) about being embarrassed (This time), I wonder what possessed Max to do such a thing and why I’d had such a weird reaction to it. Having syrup poured on my skirt had felt really good, like my Cupcake Castle was pumping out icing for a massive cake, but that’s what was so bad! I felt like I could die of humiliation at any moment, and even as I cried I just wanted to get the syrup off of my legs so I’d stop feeling so darned dirty. I hated that Max of all stallions had made me feel so bad, but then I heard a soft knock on the door and I knew it had to be the one pony I wanted to see the least right now.

“Go. Away!” I shouted through the door.

“Twilight, I didn’t know, and I’m sorry-” Max tried.

Get out of my house!!!

He didn’t answer, so I waited a few minutes before letting loose and crying for the third gosh darn time. After like, two minutes of crying, I just sighed and sat on the floor for a little bit, feeling a little empty. I didn't’ want to keep teetering on a knife’s edge with my mood, but Max… Well, he seemed to be fond of strapping me into an emotional roller coaster whenever he saw me. For a few more minutes I wondered if he just wanted to toy with me, but even when I tried to convince myself that Max was no good, his actions from earlier kept bringing up the good qualities in him, like how he’d been willing to lie to make Spike happy and remind me of my duties as a big sister. He even comforted me when I was totally in the wrong and deserved to be a sobbing mess, but I just doubted that it was in Max to leave someone who was suffering if he thought he could help it.

With another sigh, I hefted myself off of the floor and wiped up the sticky spot before grabbing some more clothes and going to my half-bath to look at myself for a moment. The mare in the mirror didn’t look happy to me. In fact, she looked ugly and miserable.
She looked like she wasn’t worth the syrup on her hooves, and that hurt. That hurt a lot, but then there was another knock, followed by one more. They’d come far enough apart that I felt like whoever was knocking was hesitating to do so, but I didn’t want anypony to look at the piece of trash I had to look at, so I didn’t bother to answer it.

“Twilight.” Max said from the doorway of my bathroom.

I jumped so hard I probably could have touched the ceiling with a little more effort. “Bucking buck buck!!! Max!” I gasped for breath, shaking like a leaf in the wind.

He held his hands up and took a step back. “Sorry, sorry, didn’t mean to surprise you.”

I got control of my breathing and swallowed hard. “... I told you to leave. And I locked that door.”

Max looked down, mumbling. “... the door.”
I gave him the same look I give Rarity whenever she tries to talk about math. “What?”

“I said… the door.” His ears were bright red and so were the parts of his face that I could see.

“... You forgot how to open the door?” I asked incredulously.

Max looked at me like I was the dumb one. “I’m tryin’ ta say that I couldn’t make it past the door, not that I couldn’t work the damn thing!”

I blinked. “Ah, that would certainly make more sense... “

He looked away again, working his jaw. “... I couldn’t just leave after… Screwing up like that.”

I laced my fingers together and twiddled my thumbs for a little bit. “... You wanted to make sure I was okay.”

“Don’t tell anyone I’m a softy like that, would you? Ruins the Tough-Guy, Dashing-Rogue thing I’m trying to work with.”

I couldn’t help but snicker a little bit at that. “Mr. Tough Guy gets his butt whooped by a half-pint mare?”

“What’s that smell?” Max asked innocently.

I slammed the door in his face. “Butthead!

“Twilight, I’m worried about your alcoholism! Seriously, how much wine have you had?” He asked through the door.

“I haven’t had any, you ass!!!” I yelled back.

“... Did you spill a bottle?”

“I don’t keep wine in my room!” I huffed.
“Wha- Oh. Oh! Oh my~” Max said, making an odd noise through the door.

I wondered what he’d come up with as to why he was smelling wine in my room of all places, but when I poked my head out, he wouldn’t look me in the eyes. “What?”

“Nothing. I’ll be downstairs if you want to talk in a little bit, or we can talk now. It’s up to you.”

“It’s not nothing. I heard you ‘Oh my~’ like you figured something out!” I objected.

He smiled and walked away, still not quite looking at me. “Gotta say, I love the smell of fine wine any time of day.”

“Are you okay?”

He opened his mouth before closing it. “I am of the goods. I am be fine.”

“... Are you sure you’re okay?” I asked worriedly.

“Unless you’re coming with me, then I’m sure I’m okay.”

My traitorous face flushed and my mind wandered, wondering if he meant to include the double entendre, but there was nothing on his face that was giving it away. I took a moment to answer, but I finally said, “... I-I’ll be down soon.”

Max nodded and offered me a gentle smile. “I really am sorry, Twilight. I didn’t mean to break my promise from before, I just didn’t think it was that big of a deal. Kinda thought it’d be like licking your face or something.”

That’s weird too!” I groaned.

“But it’s less weird.” Max pointed out.

I gave him a look that I couldn’t put my heart behind. “You’re weird.”

Max put his hand on the door knob and stepped into the hallway before saying, “And you smell like wine.” He then closed the door before I could register what he’d said.

I had to check if the syrup really did smell like wine, but it didn’t. At least not to me. To me it smelled like plain old syrup, but the longer I waited around trying to smell wine, the stickier I was actually getting since the syrup was drying, and it was getting really uncomfortable beneath my skirt. Instead of awkwardly walking through the hall, I figured that I’d just toss my undies in the hamper and go from there, and so I did. Nothing looked up my skirt, my shower made me feel better, and I wasn’t dying of discomfiture anymore, so the day was looking a little bit brighter, but I still had to go deal with my Park Attendant of a crush so I could get into the next coaster, and as little as I wanted to go talk to somepony who made me feel on edge all the time, I just… I wanted to be around Max more than I wanted to stay away from him, so I ate my misgivings and plodded downstairs with apprehension in my heart and worry on my mind.

I saw Max in the library again, but this time he was just sitting and waiting for me. When we locked eyes, he patted the spot next to him on the couch and said, “Hullo, hullo.”
I sighed inwardly and gave him a little smile in turn, crossing the room. “Hi.”

I sat next to him and Max offered me his hand, but I just looked at him. “Right. Twilight, I-”

“Max, you make me feel a lot of things.” I sighed.

“... Getting tired of feeling a lot of things?” He asked.

I laid my head on his shoulder. “Can I ask you something?”

“Go ahead.”

“Do you find me attractive?”

“Yeah, of cour-”

“No, Max. I don’t mean am I comforting, or if I make you feel better about being on a different planet. Do you think I am attractive?”

“Again, no shit.” He said flatly. “If I didn’t find you cute and cuddleable more often than not, then this whole ‘I know you, you know me, but we’re strangers’ thing would have sent my ass to the other side of the planet just so I wouldn’t have to put up with this shit.” He grumbled angrily, scoffing at the end. He took a few calming breaths and murmured, “Something just tells me that a chance with you is worth it… I mean, the best things in life are the things you have to work for, right?”

I took a deep breath. “Do you love me?”

“... It’s too early to tell.” He answered honestly, sounding a little rueful about having to say it.

I lifted my head from his shoulder for a moment so I could hug his arm and go back to the same position, only a little more comfortable this time. “That’s how I feel too… I just… I want you to like me, Max. I don’t want you to think I’m just some sloozy mare that throws herself at whatever stallion happens to smile at her-”

“I’d actually have to be retarded to think that.” Max scoffed. “For the love of God, woman, do you not think that I pay attention?” Max pulled away from me and gave me an exasperated look. “Maybe you just don’t know many observant people, but I’ve got a good read on you, Twilight. It doesn’t take long for me to suss someone out and correct me if I’m wrong, but if you say yes to the following sentence, I’ll be your first boyfriend, yeah?”

“Um… Y-You m-m-m-mean c-c-c-c-coltf-f-f-f-f-friend?” Blindsided wasn’t the word for it.

Max rolled his eyes. “Twilight, what I’m asking will you go out with me? Or rather, will you let me court you?”

“... Dear Celestia, my first coltfriend is a stud. He’s a stud muffin.” I said giddily.

“So I was righ-yikes!” Max yelped as I let go of his arm to squeeze all of him.

“Oh, I knew I didn’t have to wear fancy stuff or dress like a whorse to get a good stallion!” I cried, pure elation pumping through me like a well-fed aquifer.

Max chuckled weakly. “Can’t breathe.”

“Just a little longer!” I said shortly before letting him go, giving him the biggest smile I could.

Max smiled back and kissed my temple, avoiding my horn entirely. “You know, you’re probably the nicest gal I’ve asked out. Or dated. Or thought about sleeping with in general.” He said, adding the last part in like he was embarrassed about it.

“Was that a compliment?” I had to ask since I wasn’t sure.

“I said you were nice, and I mentioned that I fantasize about you, so I’d take it as a compliment, yeah.”

“Y-You fantasize about me?” I asked, more touched and honored than embarrassed for once.

“You’re cute! What, am I supposed to fantasize about Celestia and her shin-splitting arse?” He asked, his face a little rosy.

I thought about it for all of three seconds. “That wasn’t a serious question, right?”

“No, it was rhetorical, but my point stands. I’d rather dream of you.” He huffed.

“... Seriously?” I asked doubtfully.

“Seriously.” He said, giving me a look. “She’s got the-”


I must have made some kind of face he didn’t like because he jabbed me in the side with his thumb. “Eeyah! Why would you do that!?”

“What was that fucked up look you were giving me?” He asked.

My poor side ached a little and I still felt a little jumpy from the poke. It wasn’t fair, so I glared at him, the old bad habit starting up again. “You can’t honestly say that you’d rather have me over Celestia.”

“You make me want to kiss you, you know that? Just so you stop saying halfwit shit at the moment, but in general it’s a feeling that persists.”

“Did you just call me a halfwit?”

“No, I said you were saying halfwit shit. Not that you were one.”

I rolled my eyes and gave him a bored look. “Can we not start our relationship on lies? I know that a lot of stallions like to affirm their love through comparing their mare to Celestia, but it’s all hooey. I don’t need to have .”

Max looked at me like I had a mental handicap and had started speaking gibberish. “Why would I wanna fuck someone who broke my leg?”

I pursed my lips. “... You bring up a very valid point, but Celestia is still prettier-Mmm! Mmm~” I didn’t get to say much more than that because Max was kissing me again, and it was every bit as good as the first time, if not a little bit better because he was officially Twilight Sparkle’s Coltfriend!

Max pulled away too soon for me to be any kind of happy about it, but the look he gave me told me he wasn’t exactly happy. “Comparing yourself to other people is a great way to ruin your self-image. Don’t do that.”

Be still, my heart! “O-Okay…”

“Are you gonna do it anyways?” He asked flatly.

“N-Not on purpose!” I said a little louder than necessary, not wanting to lose Max’s favor so soon after becoming his fillyfriend.

He placed his hands on my shoulders and looked me in the eye. “You don’t think you’re pretty, do you?”

I blinked a few times and Max joined me. “... So we’ve had this problem before.”

“Seems like it.”

“... I can’t really help it, Max…”

“Then I’ll just have to tell you the truth every day until you decide to stop being blind.” He replied flippantly, shrugging.

I was a little upset by that, but then again, Max was literally saying that I was unmistakably wrong about what I saw in the mirror and… That made me a lot happier than being called blind made me mad. “Th-Thank you… H-Handsome.”My words came out every bit as awkward and fumbly as the mare saying them.

Max gave me a warm smile and kissed my temple again. “Come on. We still have to go find you a new kitchen table, don’t we?”

I returned his smile with one of my own. “Yeah. I’d like that.”

With that, we took our leave from Golden Oaks and started a lovely little stroll through the best of places for a casual walk: Ponyville. What a perfect day it was to go around town with my new coltfriend! I glanced at the puffy white clouds overhead and at the small crowds of ponies making their way to and from Town ‘Square’. Of course I snuck a peek at Max every once in awhile just to remind myself that he was there and he’d asked me out! Squee~! I was so happy and I remember being super-duper-extra-califragilisticexpialidocious when Max nudged me with his shoulder and offered his hand. It felt right, like Max’s slender, dextrous fingers were perfectly capable of playing my heartstrings, and that made my heart beat just a little harder. I held on for all that I was worth while trying not to squeeze Max to death, which got a middle-aged mare to stop us and ask us how long we’d been together. I was happy to announce that we’d just made it official and the nice mare gave us some cookies to celebrate.

As we were saying our goodbyes, Max snuck a cookie from our bundle and bit into it with his usual ‘Yeah, I did it. What are you gonna do about it?’, smuggy-smug grin before that glossy look came back to his eyes. The mare (I didn’t know her name yet) said, “Young stallion! Will you at least wait until we’ve finished to snack?” She chastised playfully.

“Sorry Mum- Ma’am.” He replied, grimacing when he’d said the wrong thing.

“Max? Did you remember something?” I asked hopefully.

“Oh? Is he an amnesiac?” The blue mare asked.

“You could say that.” Max replied uneasily. “Blue? Stick to chocolate chip. Please.”

She blinked. “Blue?”

“Short for Blueberry Tart, yeah?” He inquired, expecting her to say yes.

She took a half step back. “... What did you say your name was again?”

“Maximus. Kaid Gadai.” He replied.

‘Blueberry Tart’ inhaled sharply. “Did you know Cream Pie!?”

My coltfriend shook his head. “No. He was your son, wasn’t he?”

“He- He told me to wait for you… They were some of his last words.” She replied thickly, her voice wrought with pain.

Max took another bite of the cookie. “Would you like to have tea with Twilight and I sometime? Or coffee? Cocoa is also an option as long as it’s frozen chocolate.”

“... If you wouldn’t mind.” Blueberry said a little numbly. The look on her face said that she didn’t really know if she wanted to agree or to run from Max, and I couldn’t really blame her.

Still, after we set a date Max nodded. “Thank you for the biscuits. They’re terribly delicious.”

I looked at the cookies in my hands. “Max? Are you okay?”

“Ah, the Brids call them biscuits, Dear.” Blue explained.

“Oh. I just thought he was being weird again.” I stated blankly.

“I am weird. I’m from another country, planet, and possibly dimension. You could almost call me foreign.” Max teased.
The middle aged mare with a gray in her mane that I really wanted to point out giggled at me.“He’s got you there, Twilight.”

“And you’re going gray.” I mumbled, blushing.

Max pinched my arm-fat and I smacked his hand for it. “Now Twilight, it’s rude to mumble about old people under your breath in the presence of old people.”

We both looked at Blueberry and she wasn’t smiling. “I don’t know what a ‘people’ is, but I don’t believe I’m one of them, am I now?”

Max coughed. “Nonsense. I’m just mentally older than Twilight sometimes is all.”

“Then you both looked at me with those silly grins because…?”

My coltfriend tapped my shoulder twice and grabbed my hand and started ‘singing’. “Tele-por-tation, mo-les-tation, my brain’s on vacation, Twilight hurry up before she starts her vindi-cation. Rapping for no paycheck, drinkin’ hard n’ stay wrecked-”

I finally understood what he was saying and just teleported us to the furniture store. “You… You’re brilliant, Max!” I gave him a hug.

“Dis-tractions!” He chuckled, hugging me back. “Ah, that was some good shit right there, but I gotta ask what took you so long.”

“You try understanding why somepony started singing out of nowhere!” I said, flushing a little.

“I literally told you to hurry up.” Max answered flatly.

“That’s what made me realize you were telling me to avoid Blueberry tearing into our butts like we were a Hearth’s Warming Day marinated-cabbage. It’s the only food Ponies eat that really has salt in it, by the way, so a lot of Ponies look forward to Hearth’s Warming Day more than they should.” I answered, hoping my own distraction would work.

The look Max gave me told me that it wasn’t working because I was any kind of sly. “Right. So what kind of table are you looking- Paper?”


I snatched the note out of the air after the teleportation spell wink it into existence again so I could crack the seal and read it:

Dear Twilight,

My faithful student; are you okay? Is Max okay? Last night’s events were worrisome to say the least, but my Scrying Spells have told me that you are faring well enough. It would seem that something has sparked between yourself and Max, but all I feel I should do at the moment is to be careful with how much of your heart to give him. You may feel that Maximus is as trustworthy as they come, but we have yet to see his true nature. Clarity will come in time, but as for now, please respond as soon as is convenient and allay the fears in your poor Mentor’s heart.

With Sincerest Concern,

Her Royal Majesty, Princess Celestia of Equestria

“Ah… I need some paper.” I said uneasily. “Max, can you fill me in on the details of last night? … And can you write the note?” I asked sheepishly.

He gave me a look. “Lazy-ass.”

“I’m not that bad!”

“I’ve seen your room.”

“You have not!”

“Even if I didn’t, which I have, Spike has.” Max said grinningly.

“I despise you so much right now.” I pouted, the bad habit showing up again.

Max gave me a warm smile and spread his arms. “Bad handwriting?”

I looked down and shuffled my hooves. “... It just hasn’t gotten any better, no matter how hard I try.”

My lovely, caring coltfriend came to me instead. “Again, I’ll have to dial it back on the teasing. I wasn’t trying to upset you.”

“It’s okay.” I said, far less upset than I was before his arms were around me. “... Am I ever allowed to be mad for more than five minutes?”

“M-Ma-May-No. No you’re not.” Max answered.

I couldn’t help but pout at that, but it wasn’t like I was mad at the moment. “I’m allowed to be upset if I want to be!”

“Yeah, but if I can make you feel better, why would you want to feel bad?” He asked like it should’ve been obvious.

“Because it’s cathartic sometimes!” I huffed.
He tickled my sides and I giggled, hopping away from him and giving him the sternest smile I’d ever given a pony. “Just relax and give into Max, Cherry.”

The smile he was giving me was making my heart do that funny thing where it beats really hard erratically, and for a moment I thought I had an arrhythmia or was about to go into cardiac arrest. It was the sexiest, sauciest, most salacious look I think a mare’s ever gotten in public.

I gulped.

Max took a step toward me, close enough for me to smell his cologne, which is to say very close. He snaked his svelte digits through my mane effortlessly and kissed my temple, down to the corner of my eye, then to my cheekbones, two more kisses that fell on my actual cheek, another one placed just on the corner of my mouth and the final, best kiss was placed on my lips, even if it was brief. Then he licked my nose and chuckled.

“Now take off your knickers and hand ‘em to me.” He whispered, winking at me before giggling his head off.

I looked around, saw that no one was watching and barely even thought about it. I didn’t realize that I’d just taken my darn undies offin PUBLIC!!! Thankfully Max pushed my hand down before anypony saw them, but when I saw his cherry-tomato red, blank-like-a-clear-sky expression on his face, I fully cognized and processed the information of the past thirty seconds.

“Did-I-just-” I squealed.

“Shh, we’ll go to the restroom. Stuff them into the waist of your skirt.” Max said quietly, looking around.

The world beneath us was quaking, splitting in have to open a bottomless chasm of embarrassment that would swallow me if I let go of my life-line. Whorses did what I did did. Sloozy Draft-Whorses just up and take off their undies and public, not Twilight Sparkle! “I-I-I-”

“It’s okay, Cherry Berry.” He interrupted soothingly, twisting his arm a little so he could hold me. “No one’s in here so early and the clerk is talking to the manager. Neither of them can see behind this couch. You can put them back on here if you’re too nervous and I Pinkie Promise I won’t watch.”

I nodded against his arms, but I was shaking too hard to move, but then Max took my undies from me and started kneeling. “Oh-my-gosh-don’t-look-don’t-look-” I nearly sobbed, my voice strained, making me think that it was too soft to hear.

He made me let go of his arm and I gripped his shoulder. “I promise I’m not looking, Cherry. I don’t know what they look like, I only know what your face looks like, and it’s a nice face. I like your face. I’m thinking of your face right now, and that beautiful smile of yours.” He Held my undies out for me to step into and I could see that his eyes were tightly shut and that his head was turned. “Let’s hope I get to see you smile again today, yeah?”

There was little else to do other than nod and sniffle some more, so I stepped into my undies without a word. I looked over at the employees and they still weren’t looking at us, so I got Max to let go and pulled them up, whispering, “I-It’s o-okay n-n-now…”

Max rose and gave me a hug. “Why did you do it if you didn’t want to, Twilight? I wouldn’t ask you to do something you’re not okay with doing.” He said compassionately.

“I dunno.” I said into his chest.

“I don’t think any less of you for it, Twilight. You tackled a stressful situation and you overcame it without anyone seeing your butt, but that also means that I didn’t see your butt, and that makes me sad. You have a nice butt.”

I hit him lightly. “You’re terrible.”

“You’re the goofiest cuteball I’ve ever met.” He chuckled, rubbing my back.

Something… Something naughty in me made me ask in the tiniest, quietest of voices, “... Did you really want them?”

Max cleared his throat. “W-Well, yeah, but I was expecting you to blush, give me a look, or blush, hit me, then give me a look; in that order.”

I peeked at the clerk and the manager one more time. “... What are they worth to you?”

“Three favours, a massage, two errands and infinite kisses. Pick three.” He rattled off quietly like it was a salt deal and he had different types on him.

What? Everypony in Canterlot has done salt at least once. Hay, even Celestia did a full cube of Manganese Salt, and that’s some of the strongest stuff out there!

“... C-Can I have infinite kisses?” I asked, the deal being the best out of all of the choices.

“Wish granted. Two more.”

“... Errands?”

“Damn, but okay. Last one?”

“... The m-m-m-massage, p-p-please…” I asked bashfully.

“We’ll split it up into three since I doubt you want a full body massage.”

“Eep!” I covered my mouth.

Max chuckled. “Just let me know.” He kissed my temple.

I nodded, and with shaky hands, I started to take my undies off again, but I was afraid of being seen. Absolutely mortified in fact, but Max stopped me before I could do anything by standing behind me and grabbing my hands. “Would you like to renegotiate?”
“A-A little…” I murmured.

Max’s hands crossed over in front of me, rubbing my tummy for only a handful of seconds, but that was all it took for me to fall into his arms. “Ah~”

“W-Woah! Tw-Twilight! Ponies are more dense than Humans!” He said.

“I’ll give ‘em to you here and now for a tummy rub.” I answered, whipping around and licking my lips.

“Deal.” Max said, glancing over to our potential audience.

Mimicking him let me see that they were still talking, so I hurried up and gave my undies to Max without shaking this time and he put them in his pocket with a grin to beat all others. “My day is so made right now.” He said quietly. “Can I cash in one of your infinite kisses?”

I blinked and tilted my head. “They’re mine, though.”

“Guess I’ll just have to steal one.” He said, giving me the smoldering look from earlier that had made my mouth go dry.

Before I could deny him (Not that I would have. Kissing Max is great.), Max snuck a kiss and slipped me a little tongue during the extended affair, until we heard somepony clear their throat and tap their hoof. Embarrassed yet again, I hopped away from Max and covered my mouth. Max, on the other hand looked irritated. “Wotcher, Mate. We’re looking for a table.”

“Are you sure about that?” The salesmare asked suspiciously.

“Well, we were here for a table, but then I realized that I hadn’t kissed her,” He pointed at me, “like she was the most special, sweetest, goofiest little female of any sapient, sentient species I’d ever seen, so I gave her a proper snogging. Do you have a problem with that?” He asked, folding his arms.

“Are you here to buy something, Sir?” She asked.

“He just said that we were, but if you want to be a ninny, we can just go to Canterlot and get something with a Royal Discount.” I snapped, not liking how that utter sow was talking to my stallion.

She looked at me and inclined her head. “I’m terribly sorry, Ma’am-”
“Be ‘terribly sorry’ in Tartarus you nag.And I dare you to say something else. I dare you.You’ll be naked before you know it. After a few seconds of silence, I said, “Max, we’re taking our business elsewhere.”

“Sweet. Can I kiss you again after we get a table?” He asked, already leading us out by taking my hand and walking off from the stunned mare.

A little smile came to my lips, pushing the hostility to the back of my mind. “Why wait?”

“Where’s all this confidence come from? I gotta say that I am loving it.” Max answered with a thousand watt smile.

I bopped his nose casually with a finger. “Bop! I guess I just feel better after standing up for you. I really didn’t like that ninny speaking to you like that.”

“First; Boop. Second, I love you the mostest You’re the best, Twilight. Thank you for calling that racist out.”

I thought about that for a moment. “... Yeah, she didn’t give me any sass, I suppose.”

“Maybe we’ll just have to find another place to apply infinite kisses?” He teased.

I felt my cheeks heat up, but I wanted to smile along with him as well as get another kiss. “Well, we don’t need a table right now…”

“We should get one before it becomes a problem.” Max said, being the responsible one.

I sighed. “I really need to start making better choices.”

“Or I could dial back the teasing when we have stuff to-” I teleported us into my room ,then teleported him out of my room.

I realized that I wasn’t wearing undies and it was a little windy outside. It hit me all at once, so when Max knocked, I said, “Just a minute!”

“Alright! Just worried about ya.” He called back.

I heard Spike on the other side of the door and Max probably explained the situation to him, which made me hurry to find my sexiest pair of panties (A sheer purple pair that was lined in lace. I swore I’d only ever wear them for a real chance, and it was looking like a really real chance.) and open the door. Spike was scratching his scales and looked at me funny when I came out with a bright red face.

“Max said you thought your outfit wasn’t good enough for a date, so why didn’t you change?” My thick-headed younger brother asked.

“Like I said, she probably got halfway through getting dressed again before she realized that if I didn’t want her in the clothes she picked for herself, I probably wouldn’t want her for who she is. You don’t give your sister enough credit sometimes, Mate.” Max covered smoothly, a lie flowing through his lips like water over a riverbed.

Spike shrugged. “Adults are weird. Fillies are weirder.”

“Dragons are weird. You eat gems.” I said irritably.

“They’re tasty!”

“That’s weird.” Max agreed.

“You both suck. Silly non-scaled races.” He chuckled evilly. “Mwahaha! You’ll never know the pleasures of stepping on all the stuff you want without getting hurt!” Max kicked his leg. “Ow!”

“Sorry, what were you saying? All I could hear was sss sssss ssssss.” Max said, hissing like a snake.

I giggled and Spike huffed. “You guys suck.”

“It’s all in good fun, little man.” Max said cheerfully.

“Kicking people isn’t fun!” Spike said, trying to kick Max back and failing miserably due to his unfortunately short legs and Max’s agility.

“It is when you’re tall!” Max laughed, tapping Spike with his foot a few times while hopping on the other.

I teleported Max to the other side of the hall and held Spike from going after him. “Alright fellas, enough is enough. Let’s stop before someone goes too far or gets upset.”

Max sighed. “Ah, I love being an ass.”

“Accurate.” Spike grunted.

“Max, stop being a Butthead and try to clean up your language a little while we’re on the topic. Spike, stop being sensitive like me and act like a stallion. Mares get to be soft because we are soft, except for Applejack and Rainbow. Knock their heads together and you’ll cause an earthquake, but now I’m rambling and that’s because you two are stressing me out.” I got a cookie from the bundle Blueberry had given us and took a bite. “Mmm~ Stress cookie~”

“Can I have a cookie too?” Spike asked.

“Are you going to drop the thing with Max?”

He nodded, so I levitated one over to him. “Thanks!”

“I don’t want a biscuit, so can I have a kiss instead?”

My cheeks grew a little rosy and I bit my lip. “I don’t know… You stole one earlier.”

Max strolled over to me and Spike got out of his way, probably expecting me to move. When I found myself stuck in place, Max came over and laced his arms around me, locking his hands behind my back. “It’s my specialty, you know. Stealing kisses.”

“Ew, dude.” Spike said.

I gave him a look and he pointed to his room. “Comics, am I right?”

“Sure are.” I said critically.

With that, Spike got to the skedaddling he should’ve done as soon as Max started getting flirty while the stallion I was actually looking forward to hearing words from was busy kissing me again, but this time it was a slow, tender kiss that rarely involved more than our lips grazing. It was nice, I guess, but it wasn’t the passionate, intense loving that Max had given me in the store, though he did start getting more into it as the time progressed. He eventually pulled away, but I’d gotten my fill of him for once and I was glad that I could be satisfied after a kiss until I realized that I could feel something crawling down my leg, and it was not a spider.

I stared at Max as my face flushed brightly, the thing traveling down to just above my knee. “I-I-I need to go to the restroom!”

He got out of my way and I started toward the bathroom before I bucking slipped. Celestia bless him for flipping my skirt back down and helping me up before giving me a kiss to keep me calm. I still ran off to the bathroom once I got to my hooves, again, but I couldn’t help but wonder about what I’d slipped on. It occurred to me that I might have spilled syrup there by accident because I keep a bottle on hand at all times, so I may have let a little hit the floor before I felt it running down my leg. That or I’d just been particularly unlucky and Max had gotten a free view of my keister with my pretty undies on. A part of me was, surprise surprise, embarrassed, but another part was happy for my forethinking in my choice of undergarments and another part of me was worried that Max might have seen a syrup stain or two.
Either way, I cleaned myself up, dusted myself off, and had Max write the note to Celestia explaining the nights events as well as having him catch me up on them for the sake of knowing my own life. After that, it felt like a good time for Max to go back to Rarity’s for the day so I could focus and get something done for once since I’d met him. We parted with a kiss, but as I walked Max to the door, he said, “It’s always nice to spend time with you, Twilight. Here’s hoping the sailing’s a little smoother from here on out.”

I gave him a little smile and steepled my fingers, using my bangs to add a layer between myself and him. “Will you think of me when you’re away?”

Max opened the door and turned to face me, offering me one of his hands. When I took it he said, “I’ll think of you with every fourth or fifth breath when I remember that you’re not walking next to me anymore.” He replied cheesily.

I giggled and gave his hand a little squeeze. “Don’t let Rarity know you have the… Thing, okay?”

He gave me a silly grin. “What if I put them on her face before she wakes up?”

My jaw dropped. “If Rarity didn’t beat you, I would!”

Max laughed and pulled me to him for a kiss. “Ah, I guess I’ll have to skip that one then. Should I come back tomorrow, or should I find something to do that doesn’t involve messing with you?”

“... I’d like it if you came back.” I said softly.

Max kissed my temple. “Then I’ll see you in the morning to check out what your new table looks like.”

I gave him a kiss on his chin since I could reach it without standing on my tippy-hooves. “I’ll be waiting.”

He gave me one last kiss and left, and I watched him until he was about halfway down the street before closing the door with a smile. The roller coaster had definitely been worth it for the feeling of satisfaction and enjoyment that I’d gotten from my time with Max, and I’d even gotten to give him something, even if it was one of my favourite pairs of undies. I just liked that he had something that I’d once had and that he was going to treasure it, even if he hadn’t really meant for me to give the thing to him. Somepony might still be confused as of me penning this down concerning how Max managed to get me to drop my modesty entirely and do something that Pinkie might do for the right pony in the right place. I didn’t plan on mentioning the little event to the girls, but I did need a partner for furniture shopping, and Fluttershy just had the best eye for detail when it came to aesthetic, even going so far as to touch up on some of Rarity’s designs from time to time to add a little flair to them. Rarity always gave her a small amount of credit and paid her a commission for a consultance fee, though Fluttershy really just liked helping a friend out with something they both enjoyed, which is sweet.

After a relatively quick walk (Quick for me, anyway), I got to Fluttershy’s house and a few of her animals scurried around me, probably waiting for some of the treats I usually brought with me. “Sorry everypony, I didn’t bring any today, but I will next time!”

A lot of the little scamps squeaked and scattered, though there was always Lupa the dog who just seemed to like me. She was a little scary since she happened to be as big as a Timber Wolf and as jet black as the night sky, but her pretty blue eyes always let me know that she’d rather lick me to death that nibble on me. I think the only time I’ve actually seen Lupa bite anypony was when Spike and I came over to see if we could whip up a quick cure for Poison Joke, and even then she was just nipping at him because she couldn’t hurt him. Speaking of ponies Lupa wouldn’t hurt, Fluttershy was number one on that list, and when my shiest friend came out of her house to greet me, she pointed out how it was weird that Lupa wasn’t licking me to death like usual. Neither of us knew why, so we shrugged it off, and with that Fluttershy and I were on our way to Canterlot, though I just teleported us there since I knew I could. I’d teleported myself and all of the elements to Canterlot and back not too long ago, so it wasn’t even that taxing.

Anyway, the first place I went to in Canterlot was my parent’s place because I knew my Mom had the day off and that her advice with shopping would be perfect to match with Fluttershy’s, and when we got there, my Mom had just so happened to be finishing whipping up a batch of peanut butter cookies. We all ate a couple that were way too hot, but we got some giggles and had a good time, so it was worth it. However, the good times almost stopped there because Fluttershy kept dropping hints to me that I should let my Mom know that I had a coltfriend, which I’d actually planned on doing. However, having somepony pressure you to do something and having the ability to do it yourself are two different things.

Still, my Mom’s a smart mare. “Fluttershy, why don’t you let Sparkle tell me in her own time? I’m sure her news can wait as long as it needs to.”

“S-Sorry…” Fluttershy apologized meekly.

I gave her a friendly smile. “It’s okay Fluttershy, I’ll probably tell Mom about Max soon.”

“What a lovely name, Max is.” Mom commented airily.

In hindsight, I think she suckered me into saying, “It really is, and he’s a lovely guy too most of the time, though there was this one time where he nearly tickled me until I had an accident!” I huffed. “Max is a real Butthead at times, but he makes up for it by being a super sweet Sweetheart and being very understanding.”

“A crush if I’ve ever heard of one.” My evil mother said happily.

I glanced at Fluttershy and back to my Mom. “Well… I was gonna wait to share the news, but…”

Fluttershy gasped and her hands flew to her bosom. “Really!?”

“Hold on, what now?” Mom asked, looking between us.

“Max asked me out and I said yes!” I squeed excitedly.

Mom and Fluttershy both rushed me for a hug and my Mom just had to embarrass me by saying, “Your first coltfriend! I can’t believe it only took you twenty-three years!”

Fluttershy giggled way too hard at that, so I hit them both, my face coloring. “You’re both just deplorable for that! And here I was sharing a happy moment!”

Mom gave me another hug and giggled some more. “I’m just glad you finally found somepony that caught your attention long enough to get you away from studying, Sparkle! I really want to meet this Max guy before we tell your father, though.”

“Why don’t you come back to Ponyville with us and we’ll have a Mother-Daughter Day-Date or something tomorrow?” I asked, hoping she’d say yes.

“It does sound fun, and it is the weekend, so I suppose we could do something that sneaky.” She gave me a devious grin.

I looked at Fluttershy. “You need to meet Max too! Oh, wait…”

Fluttershy smiled at me. “I’m sure I’ll be okay. I’m better these days, right?”

I smiled back at her. “You’ve made real bounds, I’ll say! You don’t even flinch if a stranger looks at you anymore!”

“Right? I’m sure Max won’t tease me too much if you ask him not to.”

Mom nodded. “And if he doesn’t, Momma still has some scoldin’ left in her!”

Fluttershy looked at my Mom, funny. “Are you from the South, Ms. Velvet?”

Mom nodded. “Sure am, though the accent rarely comes out these days. Sparkle’s only heard a few times, if I’m not mistaken.”

“Yeah, it’s easy to forget that Dad’s the Canterlot native sometimes.” I said, rubbing one of my ears.

“That so interesting!” Fluttershy said before asking more about our family as we started walking again.

The walk to the shopping district wasn’t particularly long or arduous, but it did take a little time since it was near the center of town, away from the Residential District. We stopped and got ice cream because it was summer and thus it was a little hot, but I was wearing a skirt, Mom a dress, and Fluttershy a sundress, so it’s not like we were that hot. It was just warm enough outside to be a little unpleasant, so ice cream! I myself had to get Peanut Butter Turtledove, Mom got her old standby, which was Brownie Batter, and Fluttershy got some Birthday Cake ice cream that I tried a little of. It was alright, but my choice was far superior to my palette, and Fluttershy’s, judging by the fact that we basically ate half of each other’s ice cream. As we strolled through the streets of Canterlot, we talked about the random, unimportant things that we thought were interesting enough to be shared among friends, though when my Mom started talking about her days as a Field Scientist slash Explorer, Fluttershy had a thousand questions that had been asked by me, myself, and Twi a few times over the years, so I just soaked in the loveliness of the day, appreciating the fact that the mare who was probably my Best Friend and my Mom were both with me while I got to blow some bits on a table.

While we were walking, Celestia sent back another note that read as such:

Dear Twilight,

I’m glad to hear that you’ve found a partner in Max, though I once again ask that you heed my warning. There is darkness in that stallion that you have never witnessed before, a past that I would not want to dig into further than necessary. I do not know for sure, but Max is a stallion who has seen tragedies; this much is obvious to me. We cannot tell what horrors his heart might be annulled to or what hidden depths he may possess, so for the final time (I promise) I beg of you; Be wary of Maximus if he start showing odd traits. The Elements of Harmony would be invaluable in helping you learn of his character, so please consider formally introducing Max to your friends.

On a more personal note, I’m worried about this Diliculum mare, Twilight. What connection she has to you is extremely relevant to the situation, and I do believe it was her power that you were channeling when you banished me to Canterlot and erased your Anima Signature from my memory. When you can, I wish to run some diagnostic tests on you to see what all we are currently missing in our ongoing endeavor. For the time being, keep reading Max’s journals and see if you find more parallels. As of now, we’ll wait for the nightmares to come and see if Max truly does have them.

With Love and Concern,

Her Royal Majesty Princess Celestia of Equestria

I had Mom write the next note, and after we got it teleported back to Celestia, we hurried up with the table shopping so we could get over to Canterlot Castle and let the Princess run the tests she had in mind. My table ended up being a nice enough maple number that matched the rest of my kitchen pretty well, and after I teleported that home, we went to the castle. Upon realizing that I’d never cleaned up all the dust that was in the kitchen, I immediately bemoaned having to go home and clean it up since it just seemed really tedious. When I actually outwardly sighed about it, we were already waiting on Celestia in one of the many designated Pastime Parlours that she liked to use from time to time, but other than that, those rooms rarely ever got used by anyone other than employees who were doing things they weren’t supposed to be doing. I’d caught a couple ponies making out or doing salt while on break during my search for places to practice harmless spells, so I was a little more aware of how lucky we were to find a clear room than my companions.

When six o’clock came and went, Celestia arrived with a strained smile and greeted everypony formally. “Hello all, and welcome back to Canterlot Castle, Twilight Velvet, Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy. I wish we were meeting under better circumstances, but nevertheless.”

“The circumstances aren’t good?” Mom asked, looking at me.

Weeell…” I said awkwardly. “... Max… Maximus kinda-sorta isn’t a… Well, he’s not really a ‘Pony’ per se…” My chuckles came out awkward as I was in my teenage year. Dear Diary, if you think I’m bad now...

“Sparkle, there’s no worries about what your coltfriend is! Unless he’s a Changeling.” She added.

“I have confirmed for myself that Max is no Changeling, but he’s not from Equus either.” Celestia said, cutting straight to the point.

“... What do you mean he’s not from Equus?” Mom asked slowly, trying to clarify.

“W-Well, th-the funny thing about that is, like, you know…” Sweating arrows wasn’t the phrase for it.

“Maximus is an extra-equustrial.” My teacher said for me.

Mom’s brows furrowed before her jaw dropped and she blinked rapidly. “... Are you saying that my daughter has a crush on the first alien observed on Equus?”

“It’s a far more complicated bond than just a simple crush.” Celestia said heavily. “I can’t say that I know the full story, but it would appear that Twilight and Max have lived together at some point and have memories of an alternate timeline.”

Mom looked at me and I winced. “... Yeah… Max is kind of the stallion from the wedding dream…”

“... Oh. Oh. I suppose I’d rather like to meet him as soon as possible then.”

“Worry not, Velvet. These tests should show what bonds there are between Sparkle and Max as well as reveal anymore hidden memories.” The Princess said comfortingly. “While Max does seem like a wildcard to me, I can see that he is not too easily provoked as to be immediately dangerous. However, I would feel better if Sparkle were to have a Shield Charm, if you do agree.”

My mother nodded. “I’d like that if Max isn’t even an established race. There’s no telling what harm he could do!”

Defending my new coltfriend came as easily as breathing. “Mom, Princess, Max isn’t that dangerous! You actually have to attack him to make him retaliate, and the meanest he’s ever been was when I almost ruined Spike’s day, but even then it’s not like he called me anything other than a bully!”

“... Max called you a bully?” Mom asked confusedly.

“Please explain the context, Twilight.” The Princess requested, concern evident on her face.

A blush rose to my cheeks and pressed my index fingers together. “... Well… It started this morning when I came downstairs and saw that my table was a pile of dust, but I didn’t know how it happened. I asked Spike if he could explain himself since I figured that he’d accidentally caught it on fire again and hadn’t been able to put it out, but it turned out that I disintegrated the table…”

“Right… So you grounded Spike?” Mom asked.

I pursed my lips. “I was considering it until Max somehow got into Golden Oaks without making a noise and said that I was the one who turned the table into dust…”

“I see. So Spike obviously rubbed it in like a little brother would and you shut him down like a big sister would. I don’t see why Max called you a bully.” My ever loyal Mom said.

“I concur. Luna and I have had many spats that would be considered bullying each other, but it never felt that way to us.” Celestia said, backing up my mother’s words.

Fluttershy was looking at the floor, grinding her hoof slowly, probably remembering her Butthole of a brother Zephyr Breeze. “... Sometimes i-it’s not so simple…”

With a nod and a sigh, I said “Before Max came over, Spike asked to go over to Rarity’s since I’d mentioned that Max was staying the night with her-”

“Wait, why is your coltfriend staying with another mare, even if she’s one of your friends?” Mom inquired, her accent slipping in at the incongruity of the situation.

“I started a couple days ago, so Rarity and I thought it would be better to keep Max out of the house at night, just in case I forget to make the right decisions.” The logic behind my choice was sound to every mare present.

My mother nodded a few times. “Good. I don’t want you giving your first time away during estrus, do you hear me?”

“Yes Mom, I’ve never heard that one before.” If boredom had a tone, I would’ve nailed it perfectly.

Fluttershy giggled. “Don’t worry, Twilight. We’re in the same boat as far as that advice and the reality goes.”

Mom gasped like a true-blue jerk. “Twilight! You swore you would tell me when it happened!”

My face lit up like a Hearth’s Warming Day Tree. “Mom! I will when it does!

She blinked at me and looked at Fluttershy before looking back at me like she hadn’t just insinuated that Fluttershy was a sloozy. “Oh.”

Fluttershy wasn’t bright enough to understand the implications of what my Mom had said, but Celestia and I were. “I believe you owe Fluttershy an apology, Velvet.” The Princess said mindfully.

Mom blushed and chuckled awkwardly. “Fluttershy, I truly do apologize. It’s just that you’re such a beautiful mare that I thought you would have a stallion or two just a letter away.”

My poor, poor fluttery friend finally realized that my Mom had called her a whorse and was trying not to let it get to her. “I-It’s okay…”

I chose to move on before Fluttershy could cry because I knew it could happen at any moment if we didn’t keep things moving. “Why don’t we get started on those tests, Princess?”

She nodded. “Let’s. The sooner we finish them, the sooner I can go get a slice of cherry chiffon that’s been calling my name since lunch” Celestia groaned.

We all giggled at that and thus Celestia and I started drawing the appropriate Rune Circles on the floor to get through the various stages of testing that we were doing. I’m honestly torn between writing every little test down because I want to catalogue exactly what happened, but the results are far more interesting than a bunch of Rune Circles with complicated names and narrow, niche uses that could only be broadened to such a degree. The main tests were the Destined To Determine Test, the Lover’s Lace Lock Test, and the Forgot-Me-Not Circle. The Destined to Determine Test along with a dozen others that gave us similar information and lead us to a solid conclusion basically told us nothing. The Rune Circle is foal-proof. It literally spits out information about you that you should know and doesn’t. Fail. I mean, Starswirl-the-Freaking-Bearded made it!!! It should have told us something, but just like the Forgot-Me-Not Rune Circle, we got a whole lot of squat.

… We did learn something though. Celestia wanted to see why Max and I had formed a relationship so quickly after meeting, even under the odd circumstances, and the Lover’s Lace Lock Test confirmed something very unnerving: I was already in love with Max, and he at least reciprocated it a little. There was no fudging the Lover’s Lace Lock Circle because it was one of the easiest Rune Circles to do! I learned how to do it back in like, Elementary Magic School because every filly, Unicorn, Pegasus, or Earth-Pony, tried to shove colts into their circles to see if they were soulmates. I never actually shoved any colts into my Rune Circle, but I knew how to draw one and mine was always perfect since Sola-Phestus is rudimentary for a Rune Cypher, but I should probably get back on topic before I fill this whole book with observations about Magic and runes in particular.

In other words, we had no explanations as to why I couldn’t remember anything, we had no idea what would happen in the near future, and Max and I were bound by fate to be together one way or another. Between us was True Love, which was fantastic news to me…

My Mom? She was a little less happy. “Are you seriously telling me that I’m not going to get grandchildren?”

I stomped my hoof inside of the Lover’s Lace Lock. “Mom! You still have a son!”

“We both know that stallion’s as queer as a red ace of spades!” She scoffed.

“Wow.” Celestia said, unsure of how to properly respond to that. At least, I assumed that’s why she and I said the same thing at the same time. If we were feeling the same thing, it would make sense, and the awkward silence that followed was definitely loaded.

My non-judgemental mother sighed. “Look, I love the colt, he’s just gay on the inside. If you watched him grow up, you would’ve seen little signs.”

“... Wow.” Was repeated, but not because I couldn’t believe it this time. “That’s not right. You’re not wrong, but that’s not right.” I said, my head hurting enough to make the lights hurt my eyes. A migraine was coming on fast, but when I stopped fighting it, the pain only grew. “Ah! I think it’s a repressed memory!”

Celestia hurried to my side and laid her hands on my head, locking eyes with my Mom and most likely telepathically telling her to come and assist. Seeing as how my mother sprinted over and did the same thing Celestia did on the opposite side, I would say telepathy. They then began chanting: “Fading, fading, hide from light; let not this mind suffer from spite. Wax and wane and ease the pain, possess control of your thoughts again.” Their tones were low to keep the rhythm steady.

The ache flared up one last time before it started to go away. “Ah, there we go.” A sigh of relief escaped my lips.

“Okay, so maybe Shining isn’t gay per se.” Mom said uneasily. “That still doesn’t explain the rounded rod in his room.”

“Mom, stop talking please.” I groaned.

“Please?” Fluttershy requested.

The older, more butt-headed mares shared smiles, but Mom still acquiesced. “Fine, Dear, but you should talk to your brother about-”

Please no. “How he’s doing and how life is going? Yeah, I should!”

The Princess giggled because she might actually be evil. “Well, that was a pleasant distraction, but we’re still nearly bereft of answers.”

“Which means what exactly?” Mom asked. “We can’t just assume that Max is a good pony.”

“I believe True Love will keep Sparkle safe from Max, and if it has anything to say about his actions, then she could use said connection to make him safer to be around by disapproving of violent or hateful actions.” Celestia replied. “For the time being, there’s little we can do and there seems to be few to no ill omens, so I suppose we’ll see if Max is the stallion for Sparkle after all.”

“I-I think we should give M-Max some trust j-just like anypony else…” Fluttershy said softly, garnering attention from Celestia, Mom, and myself.

“... We’ve been treating Max differently because he’s different, but we already learned that lesson with Zecora…” I said softly.

“I saw Max put his mouth on your horn.” Celestia replied idly.

I turned slowly and stared at her, my face flushing faster than Max could say ‘Fuck’, but Mom just had to ask, “What would that do besides be a terribly atrocious social faux pas? Max wouldn’t know anything about the intimacy of a Unicorn’s horn or a Pegasus’ wings.”

“Sparkle?” The Princess said way too nicely for my tastes. She was being awfully cruel. “Would you care to explain?”

“N-No…” I whimpered.

I’m sure she would have rolled her eyes if it wouldn’t have been meaner than she was already being. “When Max put his mouth on Sparkle’s horn, it caused a reaction in Sparkle that she would rather not discuss in front of her mother and her teacher.”

“Oh.” Somepony with my mother’s voice said.. “I’ll have to keep that one in mind.”

Mom!” I cried, my world ending in a sea of embarrassment.

“Sorry, Dear, thinking out loud. Do I have to go pummel Max for molesting my baby?” Mom asked, toughening up her tone.

No! he didn’t even know that he wasn’t supposed to touch my horn, let alone suck on it!”

“That’s a pretty fair point. I assume he apologized?”

And then there was nodding. “I even told him to get out of my house, but he stayed for nearly an hour just to see if I was okay. I’m also pretty sure he knows how to pick locks.” My chin desired some attention, so I stroked it and thought, furrowing my brow, eyes unfocused.

“Wait, he accidentally molested you, of all ponies, and you didn’t beat him!?” Mom asked incredulously. “I mean after he somehow picked whatever lock fits into this equation. I’m assuming it was the one to your room.”

“Yes, but again, I didn’t hear him come in. Max doesn’t… Huh. I never noticed that the only time he ever really gets above a volume just adequate enough to hear everything he says is when he’s messing with somepony or when he’s upset. He’s an awfully quiet pony.”

My Mom seemed a little suspicious. “Which makes me wonder what his past has to do with that. I know ponies who lead quiet lives, blending into the background for the most part-”

“To the contrary, Velvet; Max is a a little on the ostentatious side for his volume level. He won’t hesitate to poke fun at you. Or sexually harass you if you annoy him.” My teacher added flatly.

“... Are you telling me that my daughter’s coltfriend had the treasonous moxie to sexually harass you?” Mom asked blankly.

“He made a cryptic comment about my breasts that took me a few moments to decipher.” Celestia actually smiled. “He’s quite the charmer, if I do say so myself. Witty too, if his riddle was anything to go by.”

“If he likes you, Max is a very positive influence and will do anything to make a pony smile. He was pretty adamant about his dislike of ponies who break his shins.” Take that!

I scored a point against Celestia by way of making her blush, but my mother just nodded. “A good enough punishment for a potty-mouthed colt. I salute you, Your Majesty!”

“Mom! Max is literally more frail than a Unicorn!” I said hotly. “He’s not really strong enough to hurt your average Pony for more than a few minutes.”

“Didn’t he make you cry?” Celestia asked.

I pointed at my friend. “I cried when Fluttershy hit me once. Fluttershy.

“I-I-I felt s-so b-b-bad!” Fluttershy sniffled.

Celestia stared at me. “That’s a little disappointing, Twilight.”

“You are your father’s child.” Mom sighed.

“... Night light is one of my toughest Drill Sergeants.” The Princess replied awkwardly.

“I once watched Dad bang his knee on the table and shed a tear.” A sneeze overtook me, jogging another memory. “Oh! I’m pretty sure he cried as much as I did when our goldfish died when I was six.”

Wow.” Her left ear flicked twice.

“Real softy, to be honest. At least I know that Sparkle could spank Max if he ever started messing with her.” Mom said happily.

The look I gave her was enough to make her blush. “You know I don’t have a mean bone in my body. I think the ponies here are probably the ones most well aware of that.”

“I know, I know, but it’s nice to have a little assurance.”

Princess Celestia nodded. “I’m sure I don’t need to ask, but you intend on meeting Max soon, correct?”

Mom nodded. “Yes, Your Majesty. I was actually going to meet him tomorrow.”

Celestia nodded again. “Good. Would you all like to stay for some tea? I believe it’s time for that cake I mentioned earlier~”

I looked at Mom and Fluttershy who were both smiling at me expectantly. “We’d be delighted, Princess!”

Celestia smiled and ordered for the cake to be sent to us rather than having us go to the Dining Hall to go get it. I’d been looking forward to seeing Luna again since I really liked to try and talk to her from time to time because she was actually incredibly intellectually inclined, it was just that she had literally forgotten more about Magic than I’ve learned and my questions about the things she did remember often came in bursts of a dozen or more, which apparently made her feel like she was being quizzed for subjects she’d studied thousands of years ago. I couldn’t really appreciate the feeling of it, but at this point I knew better than to ask for her presence if she didn't want to be bothered.

The cherry chiffon cake was fantabulistic as most of Celestia’s cakes were, and I know that’s not an actual, conventional word, but you can find it in in the extended Equestrian dictionary, so ha! Anyway, Celestia teleported Mom, Fluttershy, and I back to my house, but Fluttershy didn’t stay long. She flew off shortly after we got home and saw my new table sitting on top of my old table, probably to avoid making Mom and I feel the need to clean it up the old fashioned way. No, instead we just cast a few Dusting Spells to sweep the dirt outside, but Spike called us Buttheads for doing it the easy way when he would’ve had to do it the hard way. Mom put him in a headlock as a way of giving him a hug and I tickled my little brother because it was fun.

Spike, Mom, and I stayed up late talking and catching up on recent events that hadn’t been relayed in letters, and before long Spike went to bed, leaving Mom and I to drink wine by ourselves and giggle about the silly things that the colts in our lives used to do, like when Shining when through his Grimdark phase and wore all black, but still followed every rule to the letter. Mom mentioned something about finding a Playfilly magazine in Dad’s collection once and I choked on my wine after that one, but Mom made sure I was alright before we ended up calling it a night. There weren’t any obvious ill omens about how the next day was going to go, though it feels odd to say that since it was only a few days ago as of right now…

Oh well. It’s time for a nap.

ↂ✶✵✶ↂ

The next day saw me waking up bright and early with a smile on my face and a bounce in my step. My Morning Meandering barely took any time at all, and I even felt rather cute in my second favorite outfit, which was a smock and some tights. Hope that Max would like it was freely flowing, but before I left my bathroom, I decided to put my mane up into a bun and leave a few locks to frame my face like Max had suggested. I was tempted to do a little trimming, but the prospect of ruining my mane was too terrifying to face, so I left it out of my activities and went downstairs to check on Spike and see if he wanted any help with making breakfast. He and Mom were already up and about, working in perfect tandem to get the hard stuff done when I came down, and Fluttershy wasn’t far behind in my arrival downstairs.

“You know, I never appreciate how early you get up to take care of your animals, Fluttershy. It must be tiring.” I complimented as we stayed out of Mom and Spike’s way.

“Oh, it’s not that bad once you get used to it. The hard part is remembering everypony’s birthdays.” She said, waving it aside.

“Oh, Sparkle, do you know when Max is supposed to come over?” Mom asked.

“Uh, we didn’t actually set a time, but-” I heard somepony knock on the door. “And I’m gonna guess that’s him… I wonder how early he gets up.”

Spike shrugged. “I dunno. He was up before Rarity and Sweetie Belle yesterday.”

I pursed my lips. “Well, I guess I’d better get the door.” I turned to walk out of the kitchen and saw Max enter the doorway. Somepony looks a little tired. “Nevermind.”

“Sorry, do I need to stop letting myself in?” He asked, giving me an apologetic smile.

“N-No, you’re okay. This is a public place after all, just don’t go upstairs alone.” My smile may have been bashful, but it was equally happy.

Mom let Spike take over with the cooking and came over with a hand outstretched. “Hello there, I’m Twilight Velvet, Sparkle’s mother. It’s such a pleasure to meet you.” She said pleasantly.

Max took her hand gently and gave her a doubtful look. “I could believe cousin or Aunt, but ‘mother’ is stretching it. If Twilight inherited the timelessness you seem to put off, then either I’ve lucked out, or I’m right to be skeptical.”

Mom gave him a look. “You don’t believe that I’m Sparkle’s mother?”

“I don’t mean any disrespect, but you just don’t look or really sound old enough. I could believe that you had a child Spike’s age, but not Twilight’s. Especially if she’s somehow older than me.” He made a face.
“Well, Mr. Max, I believe you lucked out.” She said smugly.

My Sweetheart looked over to me. “I’m falling for your mother.”

“Shush!” I huffed playfully.

He gave me that devious grin. “No, I’m being true! My heart is torn and I don’t know what to do!” Max let go of my Mom’s hand and gave her a wink. “What do you say? Leave your husband and run away with your daughter’s lover for years to come, living life on the edge!”

“Like Sparkle said; shush.” She tittered, giving him an amused smile “You really are quite the card.”

Max waved it aside. “I just like making people smile is all. It really is a pleasure to meet you though, Ma’am. You’re the first in-law potentiate I’ve ever met, and you fill me with hope for when Twilight’s in her thirties.”

“Now wait just a cotton-pickin’ second, Buster! How old do you think I was when I had Sparkle!?” Mom asked, scandalized. “Let alone her older brother!”

Max blinked. “... If you tell me you’re like, fifty or something, I’m gonna go buy Twilight a ring. No lie.”

Mom blushed and giggled at that, the expression on Max’s face being more than priceless. “Oh, you almost lost money on that one! I turn thirty for the twentieth time soon.”

His jaw hit the floor and he stared at her. “Dayum!” Max turned to me and beamed. “Wine-purple, wine-like! We’ll be the cutest couple at the retirement home!”

I lightly whacked his arm and giggled into my hand. “Oh, hush! You’re just trying to butter my Mom up so she likes you.”

“I think I’m trying to butter her up because she looks like you, or rather, you look like her. Can I have a hug, Ms. Velvet?” He asked innocently.

“Well, I don’t see why not.” Mom replied warmly.

They met for a hug and Max pulled away with a smaller smile and a look in his eyes that I thought was more wistful than upset. “Thank you. Twilight gives good hugs, but no one beats a Mum, right?”

“That’s not counting Grandmas and Nanas, though.” Mom replied, wagging a finger.

“Nah, Nanas have bony fingers.” He answered, frowning before doing a doubletake and catching Fluttershy’s eye. “Ah shite, I’m so sorry! I totally ignored you Love, and that’s my fault, but meeting your girlfriend’s parents is pretty important, yeah? Anyway, my name’s Max, of course; what’s yours?” Max gave her a warm smiled.

My poor socially-awkward friend looked at the floor. “M-M-My n-name’s…”

“Fluttershy!” I stage-whispered.

More than anything, my coltfriend seemed to be endeared by Fluttershy’s timidity. “Ah, it’s nice to meet you, Fluttershy. Twilight said you were an animal caretaker, yeah?”

She nodded. “Y-Yes…”

“It must be quite the endeavor to take care of all sorts of fauna, but I don’t suppose you would happen to have a garden as well, would you?”

“I-I used to! B-But then m-my animals kept eating everything before harvest time…”

“I bet you if you told them that the next critter who ate your crop was going to be made into chowder, they’d stop. Ooh, rhymes and alliteration.” Max smiled at her.

He got a few stares because predator. “... Y-You w-w-w-want me to e-eat one of my animals?”

My coltfriend looked at her like she’d started speaking to one of her animals like they were a pony. Again. “Well, I’d rather have you dip them in chowder and have them go around smelling like soup all day, but if you’re hungry, you’re hungry, I guess. I’d suggest eating an animal that isn’t under your care though. That would just send the wrong kind of message and then you’d have to deal with the attorneys and the Court Officials before getting bogged down in all that bureaucracy to the point where you’re barely slogging along, nearly making no progress in actually getting to eat said critter. It’s better just to dip ‘em in some lukewarm soup.”

“... Max, shut up.” I said quietly.

“Aww.” He groaned.

Mom and Spike started giggling their heads off, and soon after Fluttershy joined them, though I was just confused about what was even going on. “Anypony want to explain why we’re laughing?”

“Max just told Fluttershy to scare her animals, not eat them!” Mom guffawed. “I can’t believe we were scared about Max being a meat eater!”

“I do eat meat. Why would that be scary?” Max asked, scratching his head.

Silence fell hard and I coughed. “Max is a different species. Let’s all keep that in mind.”

“Right.” Mom shook her head. “Tell me, Max. Does killing something make you feel tough?”

“Uh… Couldn’’t… Really… Y’know, answer that since… Y’know… Kinda gotta kill somethin’ to know.” He said awkwardly.

“So you don’t even kill the creatures you eat!?” She asked in horror.

“No, no, I don’t do it personally, and on Earth it’s not like we beat livestock to death or anything. They usually live free-range without a care in the world for a few years before it all ends quick and painlessly. Besides, Humans kinda-sorta need some form of meat to survive unless we can get vitamin supplements to keep us healthy.”

“Can you eat fish?” I asked.

“If I fry it.” He said, making a face.
I hesitated to ask, but I had to know. “What other kinds of meat do you think would be less… Inponane, to eat?”

“Probably poultry. Anything really, but chickens and most birds tend to be pretty unintelligent creatures.”

“Please don’t eat my owl.” I requested anxiously.

“Ew dude.” He grimaced. “I don’t think I even could. That’d be like eating a hawk or something.”


Interesting… “... Can you not eat raptors?”

“Not to my knowledge, no. I think there’s a specific chemical in their meat or rather, a breed of Avian Flu that might kill me. What, do you guys honestly think I just go hunt like, rabbits down and tear into them like some kind of rabid animal?” Max asked, clearly taking offense to the implications.

“Yes.” Mom said simply. “That’s exactly what was going through each and every one of our heads from the moment you said you eat meat.”

“Fucking. Racist.” He groaned. You’re not wrong on that...

“I would argue against that, but it barely takes two seconds to see that you’re right.” She sighed. “I do apologize, Maximus. I’m sure that your methods are ponane and necessary for your survival, I just wish they weren’t necessary.” She sighed.

“I wish Ponies didn’t have tails, but you don’t see me trying to yank anyone off.” Max huffed.

Mom blushed for some reason, but I don’t think anypony else knew what he was talking about, so I posed a question. “Why would you go around yanking tails?”

“I don’t know, but I’d rather go around spanking tails.” He shot back smoothly, making me blush and cover my butt.

“Please no.”

“You’d like it if you tried it.” Max huffed casually, looking to my Mom. “ Tell her, Ma’am.”

Mom copied me and gave him a stern look. “Now don’t you go implying that I engage in sexual deviancy, and don’t you go dragging my daughter down a dirty path along with you!”

“Yeah!” I chimed in.

Max gave me an eager grin. “So quick to forget our night of passion, Lover?

Wishes that Ponies could control blushes danced through my head. “We’ve never done that kind of stuff you fibber!”

“Oh how my heart pounds at the memory! It leaps and bounds, thrums and pounds as I recall the sleekness of your fur, the softness of your lips, the sodden heat of your-” I pressed my hands over his mouth.

Shush! Shushity-shush-hush!” I cried. “That didn’t happen! Nothing happened!”

Spike looked incredibly uncomfortable, Mom looked far too amused for me to not put a Harpy Hex on her blouses for a day, and Fluttershy was blushing as brightly as I was. Max slipped away and wrapped his arms around me from behind faster than I could turn and said, “All I was going to say was the sodden heat of your sweet breath drifting across my cheek. I’m describing a kiss, unless you’re being a naughty ‘filly’.”

I tried to be mad enough to hit him, and I managed to hit him, but it wasn’t that hard. “Stop being such a Butthead!”

He chuckled and kissed my cheek. “I torture you because I like you~”

If my face wasn’t already warm it would’ve been. “... Just be quiet and come eat breakfast, okay?”

“Ah, I actually ate at Rarity’s, so I’ll skip out on breakfast for the time being. If you’ve got coffee, I’ll have a cuppa if you don’t mind.” He bargained.

Ooh! Definitely doable! “The library’s morning specialty is coffee!”

Mom chuckled and started walking toward the pot. “Let me get you a mug, Dear.”

“Thanks, Future-Mum-in-Law-” Max started.

Hold on a second. “Wait, didn’t you call Blueberry Tart ‘Mum’ yesterday by ‘accident’?”

“Yup. Accident.” He said, letting go of me and walking over to my Mom.

Truth Spell, do your thing. “... Are you sure about that?”

He raised a brow at me. “She was my surrogate mother. The one I always wanted but never really had.”

Everypony stared at him for a moment before my mother asked, “What was your mother like, Dear?”

“She wasn’t much of a mother, and we can leave it at that for the time being.” Max answered, sounding uncomfortable. “How’s the morning fairing for everyone so far?”

There were a few murmured versions of ‘Good’ that all amounted to ‘Good’, but the mood was a little ruined before Max chose my Mom as his next victim and started asking about the possibilities of grays in her mane. I would have told him off, but my Mom literally has white streaks in her mane, so it didn’t really matter if she had grays. Mom still whacked him with my wooden Whacking-Spoon a few times for calling her old, but everypony knew that Max was still a little staggered that my Mom looked more like my big sister than my Mom at times. With the mood boosted and everypony laughing and smiling again, Max sipped his coffee and kept the good times rolling, making Mom laugh more than anypony else, though I definitely noticed that Fluttershy’s eyes rarely left Max for whatever reason.

It took me awhile to notice, but I saw the beginnings of dark rings around Max’s eyes, though they were already pretty pronounced from how pale he was. His irises also seemed duller, like he was being haunted by something, or like he had something on his mind. The longer I looked at him while he told silly story after silly story, the more I became that Max was hurting on the inside and that he was doing what Pinkie would do; make everypony around him smile so he could smile too, it… It was just that Max’s smile wasn’t real. I’d seen the real, honest ones he gave when he was really happy or proud, and I’d felt the energy in his actions whenever he moved, but at the moment? At the moment he felt like he was hiding behind a mask and was going through the motions, which worried me more than it probably should have, but in all fairness, I was starting to think that Max was either lying about something or that he wasn’t sleeping at Rarity’s.

I waited for breakfast to be over before I asked if I could have a word with him in private, and after he topped off his coffee, we went down into the basement for a little chat that I started off with, “Max… Are-Are you really staying at Rarity’s?”

He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “As little as I like it, yeah. Why do you ask?”

My Truth Spell should’ve kept him honest, but I myself felt kind of like saying that I wanted to bring him over to my house. Instead, the earnest explanation seemed like the tailor-made choice for the situation. “You don’t look like you’ve been sleeping very well…”

“Well…” He said awkwardly.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, taking one of his hands in mine.

Max gave me a reassuring smile. “It’s nothing, Cherry. Just a few bad dreams and a couple headaches is all.”

I’m sure he saw the worry on my face. “I think those headaches might be caused by repressed memories, Max. I had one yesterday and it was awful!

“I’m fine, Twilight. When I stop being fine, I’ll come to you, okay? For the time being, let’s just go and mess with your Mum some more, yeah?”

“... What are your dreams about?” I asked.

“Bad stuff. You know, I-”

“Max, please don’t try to distract me. I want us to be able to talk about anything, okay? An open floor where we can share our feelings without judgement, where we can express ourselves and get our worries out of our minds.” I said, looking at him imploringly.

He looked down and grabbed my other hand. “... If I tell you what my dreams are about, they’ll ruin your day.”

“That’s a chance-”

“It’s not a chance.” Max said softly.

“... What are your dreams about, Amour?” I murmured soothingly, drawing him closer to me.

He didn't say anything and just breathed slowly for a little while, his eyes closed as he tried to find his words. I noticed that his grip on my hands kept getting harder and harder as his breathing picked up before I finally whimpered at the pressure he was exerting, making Max let go and start shaking his own hands, pacing in a circle. “I don’t wanna talk about it, Twilight. I just don’t. Just leave it alone.”

I flexed my hands to get some feeling back into my fingers and said, “Amour, come here.”

Max glanced at me and took a deep, shaky breath, stopping in place to calm down for a moment before doing as I’d asked. “What, Twilight?”

Hugs, do your thing! “If you don’t get any sleep tonight, then I want you to come over here, okay?”

“Okay.” He replied quietly.

“If you need to, just let yourself in and come wake me up. We can get an early start on the day, or maybe we can try letting you sleep in my room and see if having somepony nearby helps at all.” I offered, hoping that he would skip to sleeping in my room so I could see him in the morning.

“If I can’t sleep, then I’ll be by in the morning.” He compromised. “We’ll sort it out from there, but if you’re not comfortable with having me in your house-”

“No, no! I want you here, Max, it’s just that I’m going to be putting a lot of trust in you… I just don’t want you to get one too many whiffs of my… Scent, and go into a frenzy like some stallions.”

“Yeah, I’m not a Pony though.” He answered simply.

“Oh yeah.” I said blankly.

He gave me a quick smooch. “You’re adorable. Forgetful and adorable.” He rested his chin on my head and held me to his chest.

“You’re warm.” Appreciating his warmth in the coolness of the basement slash lab was nice, even if Max himself seemed to be struggling with something he didn’t want any help with. Standing by while seeing somepony you care about, even if you didn't’ know them last week, is a hard thing to do, Dear Diary.

Max squeezed a little bit before holding on a more loosely. “So is there anything else you wanted to talk about?”

“Your Mom… Well, your parents.

His tone was level as he spoke, but… “Mum was a junkie whore,” what. “and Dad was a better man than I turned out to be before she killed him.” What. “Let’s go get another cuppa, shall we?” He said frankly, like he hadn’t just called his own mother a whorse (Or the Human equivalent, I guess) as well as a junkie.

... What!?“... Your Mom killed your Dad?” Breathless, my heart broke for him in so few seconds, fracturing and scattering painfully.

“June sixth, twenty-oh-seven. She carved the date into my back so I’d never forget.” He said darkly. “Cuppa?”

“... Please tell me that you somehow found a way to beat a Truth Spell.” My voice cracked horribly, betraying my discomfort.

“This is why I didn’t say anything about my nightmares. They’re worse than reality.” Max replied, shaking his head. “Let’s just- Gurk!”

“Amour, I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry that horrid mare ruined your life like that! I just want you to know that nopony in Equestria is going to want to hurt you other than the reallyk, really stupid ones!” I sobbed into his chest.

“Twilight’s it’s in the past.” He said struggling to breathe. “It’s okay now. The wounds have healed by now.”

I eased up on him and wiped the sympathetic tears from my eyes as hoofsteps beat their way down the steps. “Sparkle? Are you okay?” Mom asked.

“Max’s Mom-” He clamped a hand over my mouth.

“Was an especially terrible person and that’s all that needs to be said.” Max finished for me.

Mom reached the bottom of the stairs and Max let me talk again, but I was too concerned with hugging him to be worried about what Mom was doing. “He didn’t hit you, did he?”

“No! Max is an orphan!” I wailed.

“Oh no!” Mom gasped. “How long has it been, Dear?”

Max sighed. “It’s been eight years since I lost my Dad, seven since I lost my Egg-Donor, and three years since I lost my non-blood brother.”

“... Do you have any relatives left?” She asked hesitantly.

“None that I know of.” He answered plainly. “It’s a big part of the reason I’m not freaking out about being on a different planet, worlds away from anything I’ve ever known; there was nothing there for me anyway…” Max held me a little tighter when he said that.

Mom was quiet for a little while, prompting him to start saying something before she stomped her hoof, cutting him off. “Gosh darn it! I will not stand by and let a stallion as sweet and annoying as you keep going without a family! Nopony should have to go it alone, and from here on out, you’ve officially got the weight of the Twilight Arcana Family behind you!”

“Lol what?” He said dumbly.

“It means we’re sponsoring you!” Looking up at him with a smile earned me a befuddled one in turn. “Oh, you’re gonna love it! Now I don’t have to worry about Dad finding me anymore boring or lecherous suitors that just want a piece of the Noble pie!”

Max blinked. “Whaaa?

“... You’re not excited.” Mom and I said at the same time.

My coltfriend seemed pretty uncomfortable at the moment. “Well, I just so happen to despise the aristocracy. Kinda been hammered into my bones.”

“Do you despise me?” I asked nervously.

He gave me a look, licked my nose, then gave me another look. “Your face is too tasty to despise.”

I rubbed his slobber off of my nose and licked his entire throat, making him gag and gasp simultaneously, resulting in him coughing like I’d hit him in the throat rather than licking it. “Oh, are you okay!?”

“Why is your tongue so long!?” He cried, panicked.

“I’m a Pony! We have tongues!”

“But why is it so long!? That things gotta be the length of my bloody sausage!”

“Your what?”

Mom whistled. “Too much information, but are you sure about that?”

“It gets the job done and then some.” Max said proudly, wiping my own slobber off of his neck.

“What are you two even talking about?” I asked.

“Nothing.” They said in tandem.

My horn tingled and my ear twitched. “Fibbers.”

“He was talking about his spear.” Mom inspected her fingertips for stray follicles..

“My polearm, yes.” Max nodded.

“... You have a spear?”

My coltfriend coughed awkwardly a few times and it seemed a little familiar. “I do.”

“You’re making a joke, aren’t you.” I wasn’t really asking.

“Maybe~” He sang.

“Don’t worry, Sparkle. It might be scary, but it’ll probably be nicer than anything.” Mom said unhelpfully.

“Seriously, what are you two talking about?” I asked, rubbing my ear.

“Don’t worry about it.” Max said.

“I wouldn’t.” Mom seconded.

With a roll of my eyes, I said, “Whatever. Let’s just get back upstairs and out of this chilly basement.”

“I think it feels lovely down here.” Max huffed haughtily.

“You’re free to think whatever you want when it’s not freezing.” My mother replied, probably feeling the same draft I was. “Come along, Maxxi.”

“Maxxi?” He asked. “Are you trying to call me a feminine hygiene product?”

“No, I’m trying to call my new ward something cutesy, Maxxi. Let’s go!” She started marching right back up the stairs.

I went to follow her and Max held me back. “Thank you.”

“For what?” I inquired, curious as to what he meant.

He just gave me a soft smile. “Being you.” Then he kissed the base of my horn for just a second, and it felt a lot better than a normal little peck should have, but it wasn’t like I was going to start losing my grip on my bottle of syrup or anything. It just made me feel good inside, and kissing his chin in turn made him smile, so I considered that a plus too.

We joined Mom upstairs after a few more smooches back and forth, but when we got upstairs, Mom was looking at us with a knowing smile that made me feel awkward. “What?”

“Couldn’t pass up on a chance, could you?” Mom teased.

“Your daughter has a lovely mind and some very soft lips. The two combined make for interesting conversation and good kisses.” Max said casually.

I pinched him and he jammed his thumb into my side again, making me jolt and let him go. “Hey!”

“Stop pinching people and you won’t get poked.” He stated plainly, like he was listing off drinks on a menu.

Mom wrapped her arms around Max and took him down with no problems. “Now looky-here, Mister! This mare has back-up and you don’t, so where do you think this is going?”

His jaw dropped and he gasped. “I’ve read about this so many times, but I never dreamed it would come true! Will you both lick it at the same time!?” He asked excitedly.

She actually slapped him for that one, though I missed the joke and the slap wasn’t hard. “Mind your manners, you lewd pervert!”

Max grinned up at her. “I can see your knickers from here.”

Mom looked down at her pants. “No you can’t.”

My devious coltfriend used the opportunity to unbalance my Mom and pin her arms above her head. “Gotcha. Guess you can teach a dumb dog a few tricks, huh?”

“That’s not even how the saying goes.” Mom said flatly.

“Well, I’d hate to bring up age to someone who has so much of it.” He said grinningly.

“Hay!”

“Well, it’d be like bringing up weight when- Woah!” Max said as Mom sat up and nearly flung him off of her.

Mom caught him before he could go too far and got on top of him all over again, sitting on him now. “What was that about weight?”

“Mom, you might want to-” Max started tapping her leg rapidly. “Get off!”

She did as I asked and Max gasped for breath, his lungs making an unhealthy rattling noise. When he sat up, his back made some pretty ugly noises that made me kneel down and wrap my arms around him while he leaned into me and caught my breath. “Max, I’m so sorry! I didn’t think I was that heavy!”

“Human… Frail… Light… Ponies… Heavy.” Max gasped.

“Oh, I see! There should be a spell or two that can help with that down at the University if you want to go, or you could always ask the Institute for their opinion. Either one should be able to help you do what you want.” Mom said helpfully.

“We’ll go on Starday,” I said, the current day being Lumoday, “and we’ll come see you at the Institute if my ban is up.”

Mom made a face. “You’ll have to wear a Magic-Cancellation Ring.”

“That’s not too-”

“On your horn.”

“Oh come on!”

“You teleported an entire department into the ocean.” Mom said flatly.

“I was twelve!”

“That’s terrifying.” Max said, sounding creeped out.

“I-It’s not as bad as it sounds!” I protested.

“Twenty-two ponies. All gone in the blink of an eye.” Mom whispered conspicuously to Max.

Mo-om!!! How do you expect me to keep a stallion if you’re embarrassing me to no end in front of the first one!?”

Mom just winked at Max. “We’ll have to have tea sometime.”

Max squeezed my arms. “Twilight, your Mum’s trying to put the moves on me.”

It was a snort worthy comment. “She is not, you incorrigible dirigible!”

“Oh, that was a good one.” Max complimented.

“Thank you, but shush.”

“Aww.” He sighed.

“Don’t make your stallion feel like he can’t talk to you, Sparkle! For shame!”

Mom earned herself a look. “Hey Max, would you like to hear about the time my Mom ate a dozen wine corks on a da-”

“Missy, I will ground you from Canterlot!” Mom interrupted, her face beet red.

“Hey ladies, would you both like to hear about the time I got caught by the Golden Girl Gang?” Max asked.

“It sounds better than the story Twilight was going to tell.” Mom shivered.

Max chuckled. “Right. So I was about fourteen or fifteen at the time of the story, so keep in mind that bad things were going down at that point in my life. My parents were out of the picture, I had no relatives, no real friends, and nowhere to go, so I spent most of my times sleeping where I could, right?” He said like he hadn’t just bucking said that he’d been a homeless child. “So one night while I was stalking and prowling for a bite to eat, thinking about going dumpster diving and catching another trespassing charge that probably wouldn’t have amounted to much anyway, I saw this old lady standing alone at a bus stop, which is like a place you could get a rickshaw or something since you guys don’t really have buses here, I think. Anyway, so old ladies usually had food for me if I was willing to do the slightest bit of work for them, so I approached the old broad and asked her if she could spare some food that I could pay back through labor or information. One way or another, y’know? Anyway, the Grandma-lady was actually really pretty for being over sixty, and that was a bit distracting for a young guy, so I wasn’t paying attention to the fact that I was soon surrounded by a bunch of women who couldn’t have been younger than sixty. Before I knew it, I was tied up and on my way to Nowhere, Great Britain, and after that scary little trip, I found myself strapped to a vertical table with the Grannies all around me.”

Max bit his knuckle for a moment and choked on some chuckles, smiling as he carried on. “So the whole situation is some kinda fucked, right? Because now these old ladies are all stripping, and I mean everything, and I saw so many wrinkles, I could’ve sworn it they were made of crumpled up paper with coffee stains and liver spots! Anyway, once all the old broads are nice and naked, they cut my chest here,” Max tapped two spaces on either side of his chest, “and there deep enough to keep the blood flowing and then they started licking it off of me! I was so lost at that point that I didn’t even care that I only had my boxers on, but as the night progressed, so did where they touched and licked me. Eventually the crazy old lady started drawing on me with the little bits of blood that was still flowing, but by that time, all eighteen of ‘em had gotten their lips red and I was still high on whatever they used to get me there in the first place. After that, however, they started taking turns sucking on my nipples like that would do something and there were a few more graphic things mixed in that polite company doesn’t need to hear about, but that’s basically the story of how I creampied thirteen old women in one night.”

Mom waited until he was done to start crying and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be terribly far behind her until Max threw an arm around my shoulders. “What are you crying for? I made it through, didn’t I?”

Mom couldn’t get her face straight as she asked, “Did they just get away with it!?”

“No, they all got arrested on kidnapping, malice, assault, rape, molestation, statutory rape, and a few other charges a couple weeks later. I got paid to testify against them, and they all got life sentences because they were on the serial side of the rapist spectrum. There were a lot of aggravating factors, and they were tied to one or two accidental deaths as well, so they were boned the second I met a woman by the name of Sketchy Sammy. Ah, I miss that old shitty cunt.” He sighed dreamily. “Tongue like a barbed whip and a face like the business end of a bull, but not the pointy bit.”

Mom just wiped her eyes before sweeping Max up in a hug that he looked like he didn’t really want. “Still, you poor thing! The Ritual of Manhood is barbaric! It’s- It’s-”

“In the past.” Max squeaked.

My ever precious mother held his arms for a moment and let go of him, allowing him to breathe. “... It’s the look in your eye, Max. You look like somepony I love and care so deeply for used to right now that it breaks my heart that you won’t let the healing start! You’re trying to ignore the fact that it happened!”

“I’m trying to make light of something that was honestly terrifying. It feels better to laugh at it than to mope and bitch.” Max said, grimacing. “Maybe we shouldn’t talk about my morbid history and let’s focus on Twilight’s. Have you guys always lived in Canterlot, or did you decide to-”

“Maximus!” Mom cried. “Can you not deal with your emotions!?”

“...” Max thought about it, tapping his lips with a finger. “... I’m gonna go to the restroom real quick. I need to make a face in the mirror and see if it’s blase enough to wear when I tell you that I don’t deal with my emotions because I would have fucking killed myself by now if I actually had to.” He nodded. “Nevermind, I got it right now.” He shook his head pretty hard for a moment before giving my Mom the most lifeless look I’d seen a pony wear since… Since a really bad dream that I’d had and didn’t want to think about. Same stallion, same face.

“Max…” I said softly.

“Mhmm?” He answered.

“... We really need to work on your pony skills. You’re very depressing.” I replied a little more quietly.

“Ah, I just don’t see things the same way Ponies do, Twilights. I’m actually not doing all that bad as far as Humans go. Most would say that I could be considered well adjusted if not a regular functioning adult. Hell, I was saving up to go to college instead of finding somewhere warmer than an abandoned building to live so I could have a better life that way instead of the sucky way doing odd jobs and making chunks of change at a time.” Max waved the rest of his daily doings aside. “Anyway, I think you’re getting stuck on the differences between a Pony mind and a Human mind. I’m pretty sure Human minds are a little more resilient to emotional trauma in most cases.”

“Chief Graham.” I replied shyly.

Max licked his lips. “We’re not talking about it.”

“Max-”

He bolted. Faster than Mom could react and I could snatch his arm, Max was out of the hall, and subsequently out of my house. “... I’m going to guess that it’s a touchy subject.” Mom said obviously.

Touchy isn’t the right word for it…” I bit my lip and tried to focus on where the first place Max would go would be.

“Maybe we should leave him be for a bit and wait for him to come back?”

I was about to answer her when Spike stuck his head around the corner and asked, “So… Who ticked Max off?”

“He’s not mad.” I assured him.

“The poor colt’s probably just panicking since two reasonable mares seem to think that being in touch with your emotions is better than swallowing them.” Mom sighed.

“Ah. Right.” Spike nodded like he was an adult who understood what working through complex emotion was like.

“Right.” I replied. “Is Fluttershy still here?”

“Nope, went right after Max when he nearly ran her over. She said he looked like he was running from something scary, but guys like that don’t scare like, ever!” My little brother said, his admiration of Max’s Devil-May-Care attitude more than apparent.

“That’s because stallions like Max don’t know what they’re feeling half the time, call it angry, happy, or sad, and drink. That’s about it.” Mom said derisively.

“Max isn’t that bad Mom. He’s just, again, different.”

“He acts normal for the most part other than a few oddities, Sparkle. I’m willing to say that his planet and ours are pretty similar as far as societal standards go.”

“That’s… Mom, similar is not the same. Are you honestly telling me that accuracy and precision are but roses with seperate names?”

“... Dear lord, I’ve become your father and your brother!” Mom gasped. “I bet Max just didn’t want to talk about his feelings because he can’t handle them!”

I gave her a look. “Please stop.”
“Watch that tone, Missy.” She wagged a finger at me.

“Do you want to get teleported into the toilet again?”

“That you would even say that makes me worry about what this stallion is turning you into, Twilight.” Mom replied, concern written across her face.

“That you can’t see that Max is an adapter above all else boggles my mind! The stallion is on a new planet, with Magic: The driving force of all life on Equus. Can you imagine a life without Magic, Mom?” I asked, slamming the Debate Gauntlet onto the table hard enough to leave a dent.

You don’t normally mess with my Mom’s furniture, but I was getting tired of ponies constantly sniping at Max for just being different. I’d thought that the mare who raised me, the pony who taught me what it was to be a good, decent pony would understand best not to judge a book by its cover. Since that pony just so happened to be a little blinded, I was going to help her see, and I was going to do that by taking her down the only way that the Twilights knew how:

Intellectual discourse.

“Twilight, life couldn’t possibly exist without Magic. Neither of us need to be taught this lesson twice.” Mom said. “However, I-”

“That wasn’t the point at all, but I see your eagerness to derail the line of questioning. Afraid, perhaps?”

Mom raised her chin at me, her tail swishing violently to the left. “Make your case.”

“My case is made in points. This point is that Max comes from a world completely devoid of Magic.

Mom rolled her eyes. “A cute hypothesis.”

“And you’re now saying that in the Infinite Cosmos there are no possibilities that life exists without Conventional food or water? Warmth or wood? light or Magic?” I countered savagely.

“Fair point. Counterpoint: What makes you so certain that Max is from a world that subsists without Magic?”

“What makes me so certain that there is a world that thrives without Magic is because I’m not a Dummy-Dummy-Big-Fat-Tummy; Just-Bright-Enough-To-Be-Like-Bunnies.” I answered coldly.

Mom’s face went blank for a moment. “So you think I’ve become a Mush-Melon.”

“With the way you’ve been so vehemently against believing anything out of Max’s mouth that isn’t tragic, I’d say that’s correct.” I said.

“... The next time you call me a DDBFT; JBETBLB, I’m spanking you in front of the whole family and Max with your tail up. Am I understood?” Mom said, her tone telling me that disagreeing would be the worst, stupidest thing I could do.

“... It’s True Love. Max wouldn’t judge me for it, but he’d be mad at you. Is a name-”

“That’s it.” She snapped. “You’ll be at home by eight o’clock sharp, and if you don’t want Max to see-”

I teleported away because I was sure that Max could probably weasel his way into my
Mom’s good graces and tried to think of a good place to hide that Spike didn’t know of. I wasn’t too sure if he knew where Applejack’s distillery was, but nopony other than Big Mac, Applejack, and Granny Smith herself were allowed to go in there. I figured it was a special enough occasion that I could hazard a hidey-hoo in there for a little while until nightfall, which would be when I went to Rarity’s since Max had to sleep sometime. It was around eleven or so after I picked the lock to the distillery with Magic and locked myself in, the thought that skipping the eight o’clock deadline on Mom’s promise would be better than getting there and having to tell her that she wasn’t going to get to make Max watch me get spanked like a naughty filly seemed better and better. Either way, if I failed or if I succeeded in the end, I had a good, long time to sit in the relative darkness of the big, machine filled room and think since there wasn’t much else to do.

Aww maaaare. Why does love make you do such stupid things, Twilight?’

“I don’t know…” I whispered.

‘Just go back and apologize to Mom! She’s a reasonable mare.’

“I don’t want to take the risk, to be honest… Mom only gets mad every once in awhile and she’s never been that mad at me.

Ninny.’

“Oh hush, you’re trying to get me spanked.” I huffed softly.

“Wait, did you hear that?” Applejack asked from near where I was hiding.

“Oh buck me.” I hissed even softer, barely even audible to myself.

Somepony’s forgetting that they know an Observer Obscurer Spell.’

‘I knew that!” I thought back, casting the spell without a verbal incantation since Earth Ponies aren’t usually that good at seeing through Glamours.

I looked around for a good place to hide anyway and settled on one of the rafters above, as dusty and smelly as they were. Everything reeked of alcohol in the tall, well ventilated building, but at least I could teleport to a safe place where nopony would think to look and hide even better. Applejack unlocked the door and light spilled into the room, the strong afternoon Sun illuminating a good portion of the room. My farmer friend started looking around the distillery, but I wasn’t making a peep, nor was I going to move since I didn’t want to be seen.

And then my Mom teleported directly beneath me, the soft pop of her teleportation sending icy blood through my veins.

“Now wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute!” Applejack yelled, running toward my Mom.

“Applejack? What is this place?” Mom asked confusedly.

“The real question is how did you get in here!? And why are you in here!? Did you not see the big sign with the big red letters and the really interestin’ explosion picture near the bottom!? It took me six hours ta make that sign and what, you’re just gonna up and-”

Mom put a finger on her lips. “Sh. Shh. Shhhhh. Okay? Okay. Now where the buck is my daughter?” She growled.

“... Um… Dunno?” Applejack answered weakly.

Find her.”:

“Y-Yes Ma’am!” She whimpered.

Mom nodded and started looking around. “Twilight~ I know you’re here~! Why don’t you come have a cookie with Mommy and we can talk this out over tea?”

‘Holy crap, she’s going to turn your flank black, you poor, poor, silly filly.’

I wanted to ignore the voice and just teleport down and go hug my Mom and babble out apologies like the faucet was broken, but it had initially told me to just go and get it over with to begin with. Now I felt like it was telling me to hide on the Moon, which would probably be just about the only place to really get away from my Mom if I really wanted to avoid her. I started fantasizing about my own little farm on the Moon, harvesting space rocks to sell to passing aliens that all looked a lot like Max with different colored eyes, and it was a nice fantasy. I got food, water, and the occasional luxury item by trading the minerals and ores I harvested during the Full Moon and I got to read all day forat least two nights due to the New Moon, which would require me building a house of some kind. I considered what a house on the Moon would need to withstand a meteor strike or two and decided that a bunker would be the best thing for me, but then while I was on the topic of a bunker, I wondered why I didn’t just start a mine for all of my materials. I’d be able to sell the byproducts of whatever I obtained my ore from and I’d probably be able to make a pretty comfortable living by just selling off fine Moon Dust since it’s said to have magical properties.

Go-go-go-go-’

Twi~light!” Twilight Velvet sang. “Why don’t you get down here you sil~ly fil~ly?

I may have peed a little, clamping my eyes shut tight.

“H-Heya, T-T-T-Twilight.” Applejack said from below. “A-Are ya up there?”

“Mommy, I’m sorry-” I tried, peeking over the rafter.

Oh Mommy believes Twily!!” Mom crooned sweetly.

Bucking. Teleport. You. Nag.

And just like that I was hiding under Fluttershy’s bed.

Not even a minute later, my mother said, “The longer Twily makes Mommy look for her, the sadder Mommy gets…” My Mom said softly. “If Twily gives Mommy a hug it’ll all be okay~

She’s going to break your tailbone and pierce your hymen.’

“What do I do?” I asked myself, stessing for an answer.

Suddenly, I heard the door to Fluttershy’s room open and with that came the Harbinger of the End Times. “... So hi Velvet. Is there a reason- Woah.

I scrambled out from underneath the bed to possibly save Max only to find that nothing was happening. Mom was just looking at Max and Max was just staring at her. I thought it wise not to say anything since nopony seemed to notice my sudden departure from my hiding spot until Mom turned her head and gave me a warm, caring, loving smile. “Twily!

Max glanced at me and back to my Mom and I realized that I really cared about Max seeing me get spanked. I really really cared about being able to look my coltfriend in the eye, so I begged. “Mommy, Twily didn’t mean-”

Or at least, I tried to.

Oh no, Twily, the time for apologies is over. Now come he-” Mom said sweetly.

Max is the only pony… I mean... “Grrr.” He purred like a cat, taking a handful of my Mom’s bottom and squeezing hard enough to make his strain visible. “That is some arse!

Mom froze and stopped smiling, her head slowly turning to look at my grinning boyfriend. “Colt, if you don’t unhand my flank, I’ll break your itty-bitty weenie.”

Max let her go and cocked his his head to the side, swaggering a single step backwards. “Oh really? Issat ‘ow ya feel, ya sweet little tart?” He gave her a cocky, flatout arrogant smirk.

Mom narrowed her eyes at him. “I beg your pardon?”

“Do ya wanna check the Ol’ Chap? Ya wanna see the ‘itty-bitty weenie’ that’ll have you on your knees in seconds, begging for cock, just like your son?

I knew he was gay!” Mom cried.

“Right.”

“When!? When did he finally accept it!?”

“Not too long ago. Said he’ll be coming out soon since he’s walking a little funny and he doubts I’m going to let him shake it off any time soon. I’ll give your boy a break though, Velvet, so don’t worry.” He winked at her.

Mom beamed like Max had just told her that she’d never have to worry about ever being sad or mad again before blinking rapidly. “Wait, you’re dating my daughter.”

“I am.”

And having coitus with my son?” Mom asked slowly.

“I’m trying to get your husband to let me be his sub, but I think he thinks I want it too much.” My coltfriend replied sighing. “I just want that fat cock in my little hole, you know? I just want to get the whole family together for some quality time.” He said salaciously, touching himself inappropriately and biting his lips, giving my Mom a hot, steamy look. “You could say that I’m a bit of a family man.”

Mom fainted and I probably would have if I knew what to do. Max let her hit the floor and turned to me, scratching his head. “I’m not having sex with your brother, you know that, right?”

I nodded.

“And I’m not gay.”

I nodded.

“I grabbed your Mum’s bum to distract her. I wasn’t trying to make a move or make you jealous, I was just trying to send her into outer space for a moment, yeah?”

I nodded.

“... You okay, Twilight?”

“I am so confused right now.” I choked out before I fell to my knees, my brain sending weird signals to my limbs.

Fluttershy poked her head in the door. “... Th-There are a lot of ponies in here…”

Max looked to her and gave her a thumbs up. “Drag the old Twilight and I’ll see if I can get the new one working again.”

Fluttershy nodded slowly before looking at me. “... A-Are you okay T-Twilight?”

“I dunno.” Squeaking wasn’t the plan, but it was honestly adequate.

My coltfriend came over to me and laid my head on his shoulder. “Well, how about we go figure out how you feel at the Treebrary?”

“The tree-library?” I asked, scatterbrained like never before.

Snack him and shack it up, filly!’

“Yeah. Let’s have some tea and brainwash ourselves into forgetting that today ever happened.” Max said blankly.

I pushed him away and smacked him, making Max recoil and inhale deeply. “This. This, Max, is what’s wrong. When will you ever find time to deal with your problems? When are you ever-”

Max smacked me back, but it didn’t actually hurt. He just pushed my face kinda roughly. “First off; I just did you a fucking favor. Second off; quit putting your fucking hands on me. Third; If you want to go back in time and tally up the shitstorm of dicks that have been crammed in my ass or the amount fuckin’ reekin’ cunt I’ve had to fuck, if you really wanna fuckin’ understand why I don’t deal with this shit, then do it. Don’t tell me how to handle my Goddamn problems because I don’t need some fucking nag naggingmy arse all fucking livelong Goddamn day.”

“Max, we talked about this.” Fluttershy said softly, standing over Max.

He got up and gave her a look. “You talked.”

Fluttershy put a hand on his arm. “Then let me listen.”

His eyes took a hard glint. “The past is the. Past. We live. We grow. We learn. Most importantly? Most importantly we get the fuck over it.” Max shook his head. “I did.”

He started to leave, Fluttershy stepping to the side since she wasn’t exactly ‘Mrs. Confrontation’ or anything. I, however, had a bone to pick. “Maximus.”

“OHmyfuckingGod, strike me Bruv. Come at me down at Tesco ya cheeky cunt.” Max growled at the ceiling. After a full minute of awkward silence full of Max staring at the ceiling like a raving madstallion, he inhaled deeply looked down, pointed his fingers and me and said, “You crazy. I like ya, but me crazy, my strolls paid me, so I used that dough to allure ladies to with whom dome dope never know that my mind’s shady, kinda like some pure Hades, bystanders steady standin’ by couldn't endure to save me, thus a Brit doth blaze tree and wake up early just to drink at three; pre-dawn doubledown Six-Shot Quickdraw playin’ by myself and the loser has to drink ‘em all, wobble around till ‘e stumbles ‘n falls, for Daddy he calls, can’t chase the thoughts away so broke shit just bawls.He inhaled. “Like, FUCK! Can a ladget a break?

“When you actually open your heart, you won’t be tormented anymore.” Fluttershy said, wrapping her arms around him from behind.

I stepped close enough to hug him if anything I said didn’t screw up the perfect shot
Fluttershy had lined up for me. “I swear, Max. I’ll never laugh at your true pain, or smile because of your sadness. I promise that, within reason, I’ll never betray you or your secrets.”

Max looked at me blankly and I knew it. I just knew it. I knew that I had Max’s heart and that if I kept my promise as I fully intended to, I would have him by my side for as long as I cared to keep him.

Then Fluttershy said, “And I promise to be there for you when you need a shoulder to lean on, not just when you want one. I swear that, i-if I can help it, I won’t hurt you for my own gain or betray your trust.”

And just like that I had to share him with my best friend.

There were honestly worse things that could have happened.

“... It means a lot to you two, doesn’t it? Prying into my privacy.”

“Helping you is worth having you upset with us.” I said softly, hugging him.

“We want you to be happy, Max. Without having to choke down your pain.” Fluttershy let go of Max to envelop me in her hug too with her stupid long arms.

“Can you two let me go before I either start sweating or start getting the wrong idea? The second head doesn’t do too much thinking, after all.” Max tried pitifully.

“Hug better!” I spouted, hoping that Fluttershy’s nuzzle-snuggle skills were still up to par.

We started nuzzling Max and before I knew it, Max was chuckling his head off. “Alright, dear Lord! Just let me go and get a drink. I’m dying of thirst.”

Fluttershy and I let him go and my friend joined me in standing in front of him. We traded a smile and Max just gave us a vexed look. “I have tea here if you’d like to start talking.” Fluttershy offered.

“Sounds lovely. I’ll be right back, alright?”

I gave him a tender smile. “Please don’t run away.”

“I’d cross my fingers and tell you that I wasn’t going to, but that’s dishonest. I’m just going to the bathroom and never coming out.” He winked at me. “Slip me grains of rice and pour liquor on the floor. I’ll slurp it up.”

I rolled my eyes and smiled again. “We’ll be waiting downstairs.”

“Right.” He nodded, walking out of the room.

I looked at Fluttershy. “Get started on the tea, I’ll catch up.”

She nodded too and I teleported outside, leaving my Mom in Fluttershy’s room, hoping that waking up in a strange place would make her forget the last couple of hours like it had the last time. When I stood looked up to make sure that somepony wasn’t going to try escaping again, I saw Max look out of the bathroom window before opening it and vomiting violently.

I decided to go home. Mostly because I was standing under the window, and I wasn’t exactly far enough away to not get hit. Of course, I teleported back after emptying my stomach and changing my clothes, but by then Fluttershy and Max were talking about where I’d gone and why I’d suddenly become so disinterested. It was hard to look at Max when he’d just tossed his cookies on me, but it was easier than telling him that I wanted to shove my hoof up his butt. As it was, Max apparently found a way to smoke some of Fluttershy’s tea and he did that for a few minutes by having me light the tea while he smoke it from a hollowed out cucumber that Fluttershy didn’t like looking at for some reason. Max mentioned that it smelled like cake, but I don’t know of any cucumbers that smell like cake.

Once Max’s eyes were red, he started telling us… A lot. He told us a lot that we weren’t prepared to hear… Max didn’t seem to be all that bothered by what he said, all the horrible, horrible things that happened to him when he was young, during the time in his life where he should have been making friends and finding himself. He… He was obviously not the type to let his pain show. He wasn’t a stoic stallion per se, but he was… I don’t know. You could call it stubborn or you could call it numb. You could call it repressive or you could call it adaptive. You could call it anything but weak, and I respected Max for shouldering his burdens because I understood him a little better after he shared bits and pieces of his past with us. Sure, Max really didn’t feel like talking about his past, but that wasn’t because it was heartbreaking for him. It was just hard to talk about with Ponies, and not just Fluttershy and I. Things like rape and murder? I’ve never actually heard of it making the news in Equestria because it only happened in the places that the news didn't cover. Thieving? It was against Equestria’s base values of honesty, generosity, and kindness. Things like that made up an awful lot of Max’s life, but there was so much good in him that he tried to show as much as he could…

I thought I understood Max. I thought I had a grasp on what made him tick, but I was wrong. There was something in Max that was stronger than anypony his age had the right to have, and I loved that the little ball of pure bronze was too dense to be dented. For a moment, I wondered if that was what Fluttershy saw in him too, and then I wondered if Fluttershy even wanted Max in the first place, nearly facepalming over my own silliness. Still, throughout Max’s soliloquy I paid attention to the bland, detached way he recounted the events of the past and saw a broken stallion who really was dealing with his problems in the best way he’d ever been taught how. The problem was that I couldn’t figure out a way to help Max process the emotions he’d buried for so long since it was so hard for him to talk about his past in the first place.

Max ended up taking a nap on Fluttershy’s couch for awhile before Lupa and Bearett dragged him off of it. Bearett let himself be made into a giant pillow and Lupa made for the perfect snuggle buddy while Max got a little rest, and Fluttershy and I waited. We waited as patiently as we could for Max to fall asleep once more, the sounds of his breathing leveling out and his shoulders relaxing a little giving it away. The two of us, as quietly as we could, moved to sneak upstairs to check on my Mom, but when we came to the staircase, she was just standing there with her eyes closed.

“... Mom?”

“... I had a Truth Spell on while he was talking.” She said softly.

“... So did I.” I replied weakly.

“I didn’t need one.” Fluttershy muttered just loudly enough for me to hear.

The three of us stood in silence for a few minutes before I spoke again, “We need to help him somehow.”

“I think Max would do best around somepony who likes to laugh and joke around.” Fluttershy suggested.

My mother nodded. “From what I remember, he seemed to be the fun-loving type. Maybe you could find him a job that he could do with his hands?”

I started nodding along, but Fluttershy was the one who said, “W-Well, Blossom’s and Bloom’s is looking for a sous chef and the O-Onyx Lock at the Lock Pad is looking for a partner.”

“Then we’ll ask him if he’d like to have something to keep his mind off of his past and fill his days.” The plan was already coming together in my head. “Between that and the schedule I can draw up for him, Max’s days can be adjusted and re-adjusted to suit what makes him happiest!”

Mom gave me an amused little smile. “After I slap him for groping me, of course.”

My smile faded. “Right…

She rolled her eyes. “I’m sorry, Sparkle. I was truly upset over nothing, and hunting you down was something that a bad mother would do. Can you forgive me for nearly making a mistake?”

I gave her another smile. “Of course, Mom. I love you.”

“I love you too, Dear. Now Momma’s going home so she can explain to her husband that her son-in-law is weird, but nice. I’m leaving out the part where he grabbed my flank to stop me from spanking you, but I’m going to say that he licked my face, and we’re going to go with that. Understood?”

“Yes Ma’am.” I said dutifully.

Mom nodded. “Alright. Thank you for introducing me to your complicated problem, Dear. If you ever need advice, you know where I live and how to write a letter. Please don’t feel like just because I’m leaving right now that-”

“Mom, it’s okay.” I replied patiently. “We’ve both got our own lives to live, and right now my heart is telling me to live it with Max.”

Mom nodded one more time and came down the stair for a hug. “I love you baby, and don’t be afraid to knock some sense into Max every once in awhile.”

“I don’t think that’s what he needs as much as hugs and comfort, but maybe. You never know.” I gave her a squeeze and she let me go before teleporting, most likely back to Golden Oaks to get her stuff and get ready for the train back to Canterlot.

Fluttershy and I went up to her room and laid down on her bed after kicking off our shoes. We held each other for a little while and talked about happy memories and the times where we’d laughed and laughed until our tails would have fallen off from exhaustion to purge the dark thoughts that Max had instilled into the back of our minds. It was hard to think that one pony had suffered so much, and as I write this, I still worry about Max, but that’s for the conclusion. Fluttershy and I ended up talking until we fell asleep, so I’m actually writing this two days after the events of this entry. Talk about procrastination… Anyway, I feel like now’s an important time to mention that Max had only managed to save my butt by sheer luck according to Fluttershy, with him having gone upstairs to use her restroom. Probably to escape.

Anyway, I think it’s time for the conclusion on this days since it’s been such a long entry.

ↂ✶✵✶ↂ

In conclusion, I thought it was nice that Max wasn’t afraid to call me out when I was acting like less of a mare than I am, but I can’t help but feel like his acidic words are meant to pierce the fur and go into the bone. It’s like being on the receiving end of Fluttershy’s Stare when Max looks at you like he’s never been so disappointed… I was glad that we got to reconcile after all and that nothing too terrible happened other than the near miss of the spanking of a lifetime.

On the same vein, Spike accepted my apology with no kerfuffle since he really is a sweet colt, but I couldn’t help but feel like he was planning on getting me back in some way. Time will tell when Spike actually makes a move, I just hope that it isn’t anything too embarrassing. He tends to keep it tame, but I don’t put it beneath him to go to Max for help. Celestia save us all if Max’s lack of respect for boundaries makes it into a prank.

I wish things had gone smoother with Mom meeting Max, but it’s not as though she didn’t like him or anything. He just posed a very vexing prospect and she didn’t seem to quite know how to handle him yet. Still, when we weren’t talking about his past, Mom was absolutely charmed and had seemed to approve of him pretty well. I was grateful for Max’s intervention, though why he had to say he was attracted to my Dad and older brother (I’m hoping), I’ll never quite understand.

As for the following day and all that ensued… Well, Diary? We’ll just have to schedule another appointment ♡

Alright, that was pretty decent for a summary, though I left out a few of the embarrassing bits… I don’t think anypony needs a reminder of those little things, right? In any case, it was lovely writing to you, Diary. Have a wonderful day!

Author's Note:

And with this, the timeline is officially super fucked.\

As Always,Stay Cool, Kids

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