• Published 15th Jun 2018
  • 498 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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Paper? < Scissors~ < Rock.

Redux: Paper? < Scissors~ < Rock.

ↂ✶✵✶ↂ

Dear Diary,

… Let’s… I need to talk about some stuff with someone other than Max. You’ll lend a page or two, won’t you…? Thanks, Diary.

So the morning started with me waking up among the gals after our slumber party, specifically after my trip to the basement for a little release after Max’s teasing. My prank was already in my head, and Max decided to sweeten the loaded morning by making breakfast for everyone. Well, he did a few other things toward being the ultimate, sweetest boyfriend ever, despite having argued with at least two of my five friends. The little grabs and fondles when no one was looking were just nice. Rarity and Applejack pitched in to help Max make the most of what we had in the kitchen, and with Fluttershy helping with the preparation, breakfast was done in no time flat.

It wasn’t exactly fancy, and it didn’t take long for everyone to finish up and be ready to get on with their day. I saw the girls off while Max went and took a shower, but Applejack stayed behind to have a quick word with me after the rest of the girls left. She waited until Spike was out of the house for the day and my boyfriend had started his shower to mention that she wanted to talk in the first place, but it’s not like it wasn’t obvious by the fact that she’d lingered so long.

When I had her sat down in the kitchen with another mug of coffee, Applejack asked, “Twilight, do you… Do you think Max is happy right now?”

I gave her a sad smile, knowing that her intuition was spot on. “Not as happy as he could be, even given his situation. Last night hurt for Max.”

“... I thought so. Somethin’ didn’t feel right when I mentioned that I needed a guy like Max in my life.”

There was a little smudge on my new table, so I cast a quick spell to wipe it off. “... Max… I think Max feels like nopony respects him. Nopony sees him as more than a ‘thing’ with legs, if you get what I’m talking about. If I’m right, then that’s a large part of why Max doesn’t like me talking about our bed life.”

“Doesn’t want more mares seein’ him as just another piece a’ tail.” Applejack murmured.

I sighed along with her. “Why don’t you take him fishing or something, Applejack? I know you know how to make friends with stallions.”

“I could try gettin’ some fellas together for some hoofball. The season’s just right for it, I reckon.” She cracked a little smile.

I returned it with a suspicious look that she didn’t believe for a second. “You just wanna get your hands all over him!”

“That beanpole?” She lifted a brow. “Maybe if he filled out a little more. I-”

“Used to be his FWB before I started dating him in another life~” I teased.

Her jaw dropped and we broke out into giggles. “Seriously!?

“Yup! Apparently you liked how honest he could be as long as you weren’t openly prying.”

“Huh.” She just shook her head at the thought. “That’s kinda odd.”

“Well, if you want to cuddle with Max, you have my permission as long as he’s okay with it.” I gave her a warm smile.

“Well, I wouldn’t want him to think I’m tryin’ ta steal him from ya, and I doubt that he wants me as a friend with benefits more than just a friend right now. We’ll see what happens after we go fishin’.”

“Let me know how that goes, by the way. I don’t know what you intend on doing with what you catch-”

“Oh, the little buggers are goin’ straight inta the field as fertilizer unless Max wants to throw ‘em back.”

“He might want to eat a couple.”

“Ah. Yeah, I noticed he had a couple a’ fangs, but I wasn’t too worried about it.”

“It’s honestly just a plus. It makes his nibbles more nibbly.”

She gave me a flat look. “Alright, Lover-Mare, simmer down.”

I shrugged. “The guy’s cute. What am I supposed to do about it?”

“Go upstairs and surprise him in the shower?”

“Why don’t you go and try to get ahead on your work so you can go shopping tomorrow with me and the gals in Canterlot~?”

Applejack gave me a look. “Because I don’t wanna. You know I never actually get anything on our shopping trips, right?”

“That’s because nopony wants to be seen going into Flannel-Tartarus,” I replied, giving her a look of equal magnitude.

“There’s nothing wrong with flannel!”

“It only looks good on farmers.”

“It’s not the darn hat!”

“It’s the hat.”

“You could wear hats too!”

“My beret is all I need, thank you,” I sniffed.

“You need a Trotson. You’ve got the perfect mane for it, Twi!”

“You’re dehydrated.”

“You’re stubborn,” She pouted.

I tried not to stare at her with too much ‘Ninny please’ in my eyes before I tried brokering a deal. “How about this? You and I take a special trip to Jolly Junction-”

What!?

I held up a finger. “If you let me pick out an outfit for you to wear on our next outing with the girls.”

Applejack’s face fell and I felt a little offended. “Well…

I gave her a dirty look. “It’ll be from what you already own.”

“Oh, then yeah. Let’s do it today! That’s the only reason I got to come to the slumber party anyway, with work bein’ light right now.”

“Meet up in say, two hours?” I proposed.

“Sounds good to me. Here or the train station?”

“The train station. Would you mind if I brought a new friend along with me? Her name is Roxy, and I’ve wanted to introduce her to the girls for a couple days now, but there just hasn't been time.”

Applejack gave me a blank look. “Ya mean like last night?”

“That was kinda sudden, and I don’t think a complete and utter lesbian wants to hear about my first time with a stallion.”

“Ooo, stone-cold homo?”

“She has a warm personality! She reminds me a little of Max, actually.”

“Huh. Then I can’t wait to meet her.”

I smiled and Applejack finished her mug of coffee before leaving for the time being. Max was finishing up with his shower, so I went upstairs and grabbed some of my more ‘Working Mare’ clothes so I could match with Applejack for our shopping trip. I only had two flannel shirts in my whole wardrobe, which would work out well for what I had in mind. When Max came out of the shower looking hotter than a coal that’s been left in a blast furnace in the middle of a volcano, I asked him to leave his shirt off until I got out of the shower. As his reward for being a sexy Sweetheart, he got to wash my back and my front when he started fake-pouting about not getting anything out of being shirtless. I could’ve just let him wash my tail since he asked, but I wanted something out of it too, so shush!

Once I was done being molested washed by Max, he also helped me dry off and get dirty all over again by giving me plenty of kisses after he finished shaving his face. As nice as that was, I still needed him to stop so I asked, “Can you please not make us lose any more time than we’re already taking? We need to get ready for my prank!”

Max pulled away from me with a strange look on his face, my shirt unbuttoned and my jeans still yet to be put on. “You? A prank…?”

I started putting my pants on and tried giving him a look at the same time until he held my undies out for me. After snatching them from him and putting them on I said, “Yes, me. How do you feel about being a girl for a day?”

“... Can we snuggle while I’m a girl?”

“Did you think we weren’t going to?” I asked in disbelief.

He gave me a wide smile. “You’ll change me back if it sucks, right?”

“Of course, Amour. I think I remember you being around my size when you were female, so let’s find you something to wear!”

His smile faltered. “... Can’t we-”

“It’s going to be a flannel shirt and some jeans.”

“Yeah, that’s cool. I thought you were going to try and strap a bra on me.”

My horn lit up as an evil smile crossed my lips, Max’s entire form changing into the finest woman I’d ever known. Her smattering of freckles were adorable, even if Max himself didn’t have them, and the way his eyes had lightened and softened made him- Er, her, look more approachable, even with the mildly disgruntled, disapproving look she was giving me. I couldn’t help but blush, my heart pounding in my chest as I fell in love all over again, an awkward, nervous smile coming to my lips.

“... Wow…”

Max glared at me and patted herself down, feeling up her chest and rear while giving me few reasons to be smiling. “Give a guy some warning, will you?”

“Maybe next time~” I sang mercilessly. “Don’t you want to see what you look like?”

She gave me another look and went to the mirror to check herself, frowning at what she saw. “Well, I wasn’t expecting sex-bomb of the year, but I was at least aiming for a six.”

I stared at her. “... You don’t think you’re pretty?”

“... No? Why would I?” Max asked, turning to look at me, smirking. “I’m not exactly Twilight over here, you know.”

“... You don’t think you’re as pretty as me?

“... You think I’m legitimately attractive like this?”

“Max, I would lick your paw-thing for a chance to just hold your hand. I-I-I would get a special shovel to-to scoop up some dirt you walked on!”

She stared at me and gave me an odd smile. “Just relax and give into Max.”

My heart fluttered and I beamed at her lovingly. “Yes, Amour?”

“Come kiss my nipples.”

My smile grew a little dirty as I came over to do as she asked, having to stoop pretty low to get down to her chest since she was shorter than me. Once I gave each one a little peck, my face lit up and I covered my mouth. “Max!

She rubbed her breasts, her face flushing like mine. “That was kinda hot.”

I tried to glare at her, but my lips were tingling too hard for me to frown properly. I kept my mouth covered because I could still make angry eyes, but it was still a little frustrating, so I tried something for myself. “It’s alright; listen to Twilight.”

Max’s eyes went glossy and she gave me a gentle, peaceful smile. “Anything for you, Cherry.”

My grin was beyond mischievous. “Do something cool.”

She tilted her head and her brow furrowed for a split second before she turned on one leg and took off toward the shower in the cramped space, rocketing away from me like a rock from a sling. Or like a rocket, I guess. Either way, Max did the most ridiculous flip I’d ever seen off of the lip of the tub, stepping off of it to launch herself to the point where she kicked off of the ceiling and spun in the air to land on her feet facing me. While I was busy being stunned, Max shook her head to clear it and gave me a look.

“You honestly couldn’t think of anything better to make me do?” She pouted, “My legs hurt.”

“Sorry, but that was amazing! You have to do that in front of Spike!”

She shrugged. “Just give me a bare wall and some shoes. Your ceiling makes my feet hurt.”

“Ah, they’re called feet!” I exclaimed. After a quick facepalm, I gave Max a smile. “Well, I’ll explain my prank to you while we’re getting dressed in my room, okay?”

“You’re more dressed than I am.” She grumbled, shimmying her hips so that her bottoms fell off completely instead of just hanging off like they had been. I stared at the small patch of fur that covered her flower and wondered what it smelled like before Max said, “Oh shit, I could probably shave that now.”

“Why would you want to?” I asked confusedly.

She gave me a look and pulled on some of it. “It’s too long.”

I cast a quick spell and it fell off of her. “How about that?”

She and I looked at her lips while I tried not to drool. “Huh.” Max felt herself up. “Puffy.”

“Can I feel?” I asked meekly.

“Well, it’s your fault it’s here in the first place, so feel free, I guess.”

Max’s hand didn’t leave herself as I approached her, but when I touched her beneath the waist, she bit her lips and put her hand over mine, the warmth I felt between her legs intoxicating. The softness of another mare had been lost on me until then, but we weren’t going to spend the day having snack time quite yet. No, we alighted to my room before things could get any seriously seriouser than they already were and got Max dressed up for the day. She reluctantly let me strap one of my old bras on her that hadn’t been thrown out yet. Roxy was a little modest with her bust, and the jeans that she chose to wear just made her flank look phenomenal. The panties, on the other hand, had been a battle to get her to wear since, for one, she didn’t want to wear girl’s underwear, and for two, she didn’t want to wear my underwear. I eventually cajoled and blackmailed her into slipping on a pair of navy undies I’d gotten with her in mind, though the irony was lost on my sweet little Human.

Once we got dressed, I left a note for Spike and we went off to the train station to meet up with Applejack, though she was almost late for the train by the time she got there. Apparently, she’d had to help Big Mac fix the door on the barn unexpectedly, but it hadn’t made us miss our train. Everything was turning out well so far, but then we actually got on board the train and Max introduced herself as Roxy to Applejack. Roxy was kind and pleasant; ready to smile at the drop of a hat or the slightest crack of a joke, and Applejack really seemed to like her from what I could tell.

By the end of the relatively short train ride, I was already a little more jealous of the bond between my boyfriend who currently happened to be a girl and my farm-filly best friend, but I brushed it aside every time they brought me back into the conversation and let them make me feel better about essentially being a third wheel. As we walked and talked, or rather, as Roxy and Applejack told rambunctious stories about their youths, I felt like I was watching a budding romance between a young couple and wondered if the gals were as envious of me as I was jealous of Applejack. She just always seemed to know the right ways to get into Max’s good books, even if they started out a little rocky. Honestly, between the two of them you’d never know that a conversation could carry on so fluidly.

When we actually got to Applejack’s all-time favorite shop Roxy asked, “Wait, is this the place to get a jean-jacket or what?”

Applejack beamed at her. “It sure it! Welcome to the workin’ gal’s paradise!”

“Huh. Wonder if I can find a bow in there.”

She gave Roxy an odd look. “What would ya need a bow for?”

“I live near some crazy dangerous beasties. Never hurt to keep ‘em at a distance, yeah?” Roxy said, smirking easily.

Applejack chuckled and gave her a look. “Ya really do remind me of Max. Both a’ y'all got the same sense a’ humor and that funky accent.”

“You have an accent too, Applejack.” I pointed out, trying to get back into the conversation.

Roxy gave me an appalled look. “So do you, ya purple little minx!”

“I don’t have an accent!” I gasped.

“Yeah ya do. It’s a slight Canterlot Cadence, but it’s there.” Applejack huffed.

I blushed. “Well, I never knew that.”

Roxy grinned at me. “C’mon, let’s go make you look the part of the small-town heroine.”

“Now you’re speakin’ my language!” Applejack said a little louder than necessary. I think she was just glad to get to go shopping at Posie Pickers.

Once we got inside the shop, Applejack could barely contain herself until Roxy told her that she’d follow her lead wherever she went, much to my concern. There were so many things that would only ever look good on Applejack, though Roxy convinced me to buy a denim skirt and a cute pink and black plaid shirt that was linen instead of flannel. It was a cute outfit, but after I made sure that Max knew I was going to get her one to match it, she was keen to stick with Applejack as she went undie shopping. I wasn’t exactly worried about my ‘girl’friend getting turned on by Applejack’s choices since the only things Posie Pickers had that were even close to being snack-worthy were boyshorts that made your tail hike up.

Applejack couldn’t convince me or Roxy to get anything other than a few pairs of boyshorts apiece, though it was a lot easier to convince Roxy to model things for me in the same changing room as Applejack. I never saw her eyes wander whenever it was my bestie’s turn to strip and redress, so I was feeling good about Roxy and her dedication to me because Applejack is like a nine-point-five and I’m just a four. Applejack has the looks, the bust, and the booty to back up whatever kind of talk she wants, but she just has some complex about being too muscular because a couple dumbbutts told her that she was too strong for them. Maybe I was just more Roxy’s type, but either way I appreciated the fact that Applejack had to call her out for sneaking peeks at me while I was changing.

“Roxy, are ya tryin’ ta catch a peek a’ Twi?” Applejack asked amusedly.

I turned to face Roxy, covering my chest with one arm. “Wait, what?”

My girlfriend’s blushed and she chuckled awkwardly. “Um…” She gave up and sighed. “What can I say!? She’s got a cute bum!”

My farmer friend’s face flushed. “Oh.”

“Roxy!” I hissed, trying not to get us kicked out of the store. “Don’t say that!”

“It’s true!” she whispered back, making an innocuous gesture with her hand.

“I didn’t know ya- Oh wait. Yeah I did…” Applejack murmured, her hoof firmly in her mouth.

Roxy gave her a look, her cheeks still rosy. “You’re just jealous that I wasn’t looking at you.”

“I’m wondering why,” I squeaked.

Roxy shot me a glare as Applejack said, “I’m not saying anythin’ on that, but stop bein’ a pervert!”

“I’m not a pervert; I’m an opportunist,” my actress of a girlfriend said haughtily, crossing her arms and raising her chin.

Applejack gave her a look. “Uh-huh. Why don’t you get dressed and-”

Roxy flip-flopped one of Applejack’s breasts before scooting around to stand behind me. “Gotcha!”

Applebrain flipped her off. “Come take it like a mare!”

“Neh-neh-nah-boo-boo, stick your head in doo-doo!” Roxy sang, holding my back to her chest, sticking her head over my shoulder.

I summoned up the power of every unfertilized egg I’d ever had and tapped into the raw energy of Marehood Incarnate to grab Roxy by the pussy. “Knock it off, you goober!”

Yeep!” She cried. “Wooah now!

I pressed my middle finger against the place I knew it would feel the best, being a merciless menace while Roxy clutched my arm. “Are you going to be good?”

Applejack’s face was as red as her brother’s and glowed brighter than some of my former favorite minerals. “Twilight Sparkle!

A salesmare chose that moment to poke her head into the room, a concerned look on her face. “Is everything- Oh.”

“I-I-It’s not what it looks like!” Applejack squawked.

The salesmare looked over to Roxy and me, her eyes traveling down as I slowly moved my hand away. “... Yeah… Um… Don’t do… That. Don’t do that here.”

“This is a huge miscommunication, but thanks for the interruption,” Roxy said meekly, jamming a thumb in my side.

Ow!” I glared at her.

The salesmare looked at Roxy. “Yeah, Sugar. If a mare bigger than you tries to do that, then don’t jus’ let it happen.”

“Noted.” Roxy murmured.

She turned to me next. “We don’ like yer kind ‘round here.

“... Oh.”

The salesmare made the ‘I’m watching you’ gesture and backed out of the room. Once the door was closed, Roxy wrapped her arms around me and kissed my cheek. “Love you, Sugar Plum.”

I twisted in her arms and kissed her lips, flicking the inside of her mouth with my tongue during the slightly extended exchange. “I love you too, Sweet Birch.”

She raised a brow. “Sweet Birch?”

“It’s what you taste like.” I shrugged and looked at Applejack. “Why don’t we get dressed?”

When I saw the cold expression on my friend’s face, I flinched. “Yeah, sure.

“... Is there a problem, AJ?” Roxy asked carefully.

“You know a guy named Max by any chance?”

Roxy draped her arms around my shoulders, her breath tickling my collar. “I dunno. What’s it to you?”

“Your fillyfriend has a coltfriend.”

Well somebody told me, that you boyfriend, that looked like a girlfriend, that I had in February of last year, it’s not confidential, I’ve got potential, a-rushin’ a-rushin arooound! Roxy sang, rocking me back and forth until I stepped on her toes. “Yeeow!” She picked me up without using her hands, but she smacked my flank with one.

“Ow! Stop that and get dressed already!” I said when she put me back on the floor.She made a silly face at me and got her clothes while Applejack stared at her.

“... Did you not hear what I said?” My orange friend asked in the most confused fashion.

Roxy put her shirt on and fastened the buttons in less than ten seconds. “Hmm? Yeah, I think so. Twilight has a boyfriend?”

Applejack nodded.

“Applejack, Roxy knows about Max.” I giggled.

She shot me a stern glare. “But does Max know about Roxy?”

My little smile made her frown harder and my wink made her look dissipate into one of confusion. “Maybe~

“... Are ya cheatin’ on the stallion who loves you most or not?”

“I’m not a stallion. I’m not even a fucking Pony; for the last time, I swear to God.” Roxy grumbled irritably.

Applejack stared at her. “... Max?”

“Vagina now included.” She gave her a big wink and a smarmy grin.

My simple farm-gal stared at her before she lit up bright red and started whacking her relentlessly with one hand, covering herself with the other. “Put’cher damn pants on and get outta here you pervert!”

“Stop hitting me so I can!” Roxy guffawed, shying away from Applejack while trying to protect her face.

Applejack laid off so Roxy could finish getting dressed, and I wasn’t far behind her, but Applejack hit me too before I could leave. When we had all our stuff bought and paid for, the cowfilly asked, “So what are ya buyin’ girl clothes for anyway, Rox- Er, Ma-”

“Nah, just call me Roxy. It feels more natural while I look like this,” she interrupted, though not unkindly.

“Right. So… Are ya plannin’ on stayin’ like that or somethin’?”

“Nope,” I answered for her. “It’s just going to be an occasional thing. We’re also going to try and prank the rest of the girls with it too if you want to play along.”

Applejack looked a little sad about that. “You know how bad I am at smart pony pranks.”

“What, you can’t lie worth a cowpie, can you?” Roxy giggled, and thus it was adorable.

“Pretty much.” I patted Applejack’s back as she shrugged. “It’s not like it’s a bad thing.”

“Right? I’d rather be honest than be a liar any day anyway.” Applejack huffed.

“Which is gonna get you pranked again.” My girlfriend said impishly, her smile making Applejack and I trade a look.

My orange friend’s cheeks were a little pink and her voice was a little lower than normal when she said, “Yeah, sure.”

Roxy reached over from my left side and poked Applejack, making her jolt. “What, you’re just gonna bend over and take it?”

I hit her. “Roxy, will you stop?”

“What!? Ben Dover was famous in my country for his prankability!” Roxy exclaimed, clearly offended.

Applejack’s arms were the longest out of our trio’s, so she rapped her knuckles over Roxy’s head with no issues. “You’re just a goofball with whatever hormones ya got, aren’t ya?”

My widdle Sweetie pouted and shot Applejack a dirty look. “Nig-nug-neg-nog.”

“... What?” We Ponies chorused.

“Ah, sorry, I was a little concussed. I meant nag.”

“Damn, that was kinda good.” Applejack muttered.

I almost went crosseyed trying to give both of them looks at the same time. “You two need to clean up your language!”

Moo.” Roxy crooned.

I gave her a sharp look. “Are you calling me a cow?”

“Me? A cow?” She held a hand to her heart. “Why, I never!”

“Not you, me!”

“Me? Don’t call me a cow!” Roxy pinched me.

I pinched her back. “You called me a cow!”

She whacked me. “I am not a cow!”

I whacked her in turn. “I didn’t say you were one!”

Applejack’s giggles got her hit twice, but she was still smiling. “Aww, shucks! Tan my hide an’ butter my biscuits; y’all are better than the Uniday funnies!”

Roxy stuck her tongue out at her, so I figured a show of unity would prove Applejack wrong. I was sadly mistaken, but at least somepony got something out of it. With that out of the way and Applejack fully aware of who Roxy really was, my girlfriend and I could hold hands and trade smooches as much as we pleased. Or rather, so I thought. When Roxy and I kissed as we were making our way to the train station, we usually attracted some pretty maligned looks as we did, but Applejack being nearby seemed to keep most ponies at bay. However, there was a group of mares and stallions that started following us while we were on our way, and that made Roxy more than a little sketched out.

As we walked along, the ponies kept getting closer and closer to us, walking faster as Roxy started hurrying along. Applejack checked the road behind us and made us stop, but Roxy wasn’t really feeling the while ‘Stop and chat’ thing. When the ponies walked up to us, a mare and a stallion both wearing Trotsons stepped forward ahead of the rest, making Roxy put me behind her and Applejack.

“Howdy, Y’all. How’s it going?” Applejack asked calmly.

The stallion spat something icky and brown on the dirt next to his hooves. “It was goin’ gooder before y’all queers showed up.”

Applejack worked her jaw while Roxy took over. “Then why don’t we just take our queer little tails on out of town?”

“Sounds like Y’all might need a little extra impeetus to hurry on along.” The mare next to him slurred.

Applejack started forward, but Roxy caught her arm. “You’re messing with the Element of Honesty, the Element of Magic and a personal friend of Celestia’s. Do you really think it’s wise to keep on?”

The stallion started beating his fist into his meaty mitt. “It ain’t dumb iffin’ ya don’t make it out of town.”

Applejack looked at Roxy and they both put their hands up. “You got Twi?” My farmer friend asked.

“You watch her. I got this.” Roxy said coldly, stepping forward.

“Sugarcube-”

“Looks like the littlest nag is gonna step on up first!” Somepony from the mob of intolerants shouted.

“Roxy, we don’t have to do this!” I cried.

She looked over her shoulder and opened her mouth, but then a rock came and clocked her in the side of the head, splitting her brow and slicing my patience in half. However, I couldn’t tell if it was my fury or Roxy’s that tasted like ashes and copper, but I could tell that Roxy was eating up all of it. I barely got a mouthful while she feasted on the negativity, blue flames erupting around around her feet as she swept her hands outward. When her fingers met her palms in the form of fist, the fire raged on, sucking the heat out of the day and adding some much needed fear to the ponies who’d thought it was a good idea to be hateful. Roxy’s flames suddenly flashed and she screamed, her voice shredding as she peaked in volume.

The flames that had circled her feet raced to encircle the spiteful, narrow-minded group of foals who’d thought throwing rocks was something that adults did, but what worried me about the whole situation, the only thing, was that Roxy shrieked, “Who did it!? Who hit my Cherry!?

I was staring at her, trying to blink something out of my eyes when Applejack wiped something off of my forehead and lip. She was talking, but it was hard to hear her, which made no sense to me. Then whatever was in my eye before clouded it again, but when I tried to wipe it away, my hands were fumbly and I almost fell over until Applejack caught me. My memory is still a little fuzzy, but a little Memory Spell… And there we go! While I was loopy in Applejack’s arms, Roxy was on a warpath, using the cold flames that were still flaring up to push the crowd of hateful pieces of trash toward her. I remember wondering why we were being persecuted for doing nothing wrong when I realized that Roxy had gone through the same thing pretty much everytime she left Ponyville, which partially explained why she was so… Upset really isn’t the word… Pissed might be better, but apoplectic takes the cake.

With bleary eyes and a trembling Applejack holding me close, I watched as pony after pony tried to run out of the flames, only to be caught on fire. The one way out of the circle of fire was directly in front of Roxy, and I wasn’t too keen on going near her. You fuck-ing COWARDS! You attacked an innocent woman for WHAT!? You. FUCKED. UP!!!

A second or two later, the last twelve or so ponies that were in the circle of violet flames ran out in fear for their lives, each of them trying to push past Roxy in order to keep themselves in one piece. They all made it past her, but none of them made it further than the shadow that spilled behind her in the setting sun. All of the ponies were frozen in the positions they’d been in whenever they’d crossed a certain threshold beyond Roxy, giving her ample time to walk among them and sock each and every one of them until she got tired of hitting one person in particular. Then, like a Revenant straight out of the scary stories, Roxy walked over to the ponies who were still on fire and quenched her flames with a snap of her fingers, leaving them crying, but otherwise unharmed to the naked eye. In the moment, I had forgotten that Dark Fyre doesn’t kill ponies unless you don’t manage to find the counter-spell in time, but it is painful. Very much so. That’s probably why Roxy lit the ponies she beat up on fire, but that doesn't explain why she went back to stomp on the ponies she’d already taken care of.

My consciousness faded just as Roxy came back over to Applejack and I, her words now too soft for me to hear as well. I reached out for her, but Applejack pulled me away before I could mumble anything, my eyes closing while the concussion and blood loss from me getting hit with rocks dragged me into the well of slumber. It was a good nap, all things considered, but waking up in the Ponyville Health and Wellness Center wasn’t a good thing. Mostly because I woke up alone, my head kind of hurt, and my face felt like it got hit with, you know, a rock. My head was awfully fuzzy at the moment, but I knew that my best bet was to look for the ‘Call Nurse’ button and figure out how exactly I ended up in the hospital.

My hands felt funny, but not terribly useless. The button was on the side of the bed, which took a little looking since I wasn’t thinking clearly, but I found it nonetheless. It only took a few minutes for Nurse Rainy Parade to show up with her usual sad-sack smile and bevy of sorrowful sighs, but the news was good for the most part. I’d been attacked for being openly gay in Jolly Junction, which I hadn’t known was that backwater of a town. Apparently I was proven very wrong, and Max in the form of Roxy proved that she wasn’t the woman to mess with. Well, She proved that I wasn’t the mare to mess with since she’d sent all of the ponies who’d come to mob us to either the hospital or Happy Smiley Acres, the closest ‘Happy House’ that there was to Jolly Junction. Nurse Rainy didn’t have anymore details than that, but she did tell me that Roxy was walking free; she just wasn’t allowed into the hospital by order of Applejack.

The second thing I asked for (The first being the information I just wrote down) was that Roxy be allowed to come see me, and the third thing I asked was how long I’d been out of it. Apparently I’d only been unconscious for a day and a half, but Applejack was still standing guard, stalwart as she’d ever been. The gals had all been by to see me already, and my parents were both in the building getting food at the time, but no one had told Applejack to let the love of my life get through the darn door. With that little spot of bother on my mind, I asked that Rainy get me a chair since I wasn’t confident about walking while feeling so out of it, and she returned with my parents, both of them wearing worried smiles.

“Here’s your chair, Twilight. Just let us know where you’re going at the Nurse’s Station, okay?” She asked sadly.

“Sure thing, Nurse Rainy. Have a lovely day,” I replied politely.

When she was out of the room Dad grumbled, “Thanking the help.”

Mom gave him a look. “It’s polite, Night Light. Anyway, how are you, Twily? Your lip looks like it hurts…”

I gave her the widest smile I felt like giving at the moment, which wasn’t much more than a grin. “It’s not pleasant, but I’d feel better if Max-”

“No.” Dad said firmly.

Mom glanced at him and bit her lip while I blinked. “Um…”

“That stallion doesn’t have any right to be with you! Especially since he’s a meat-eating Dark Magic user!”

“Max hasn’t eaten meat since he’s been on Equus and I’ve only seen him use Dark Magic once!”

“You mean besides the time he terrorized the ponies that hurt you?” Dad said angrily.

I gave him a look. “... Max used Dark Magic to defend me?”

“What he did wasn’t self-defense, it was bullying.”

“... Those ponies put me in the hospital.” I said slowly, my head aching something fierce.

“He should’ve fought with his hands-”

“He was a mare smaller than me!” I shouted, making myself wince. “Urgh… If anypony should be ashamed, it’s those Jolly Junction shitstains who think same-sex couples are wrong!”

Dad pointed a finger in my direction and went to scold me when Mom pushed his hand down, her ears flicking. “... Do you hear that?”

“Don’t distract me, Velvet! Did you not hear what our daughter just-” There was a loud crash that sounded like it came from down the hall.

“Somepony stop that maniac!” Some mare shouted.

Buck that! Run!” A stallion shouted.

“The buck is it!?” Somepony shrieked.

Mom and Dad traded a terrified look as I made a distasteful face. “Why don’t you two go check that out? I’m sure I’ll be fine if I lock the door. If anything, I’ll just teleport away when I summon up the strength.”

Dad kissed Mom, looking her in the eye. “Look after her.”

“Be careful, Honey!” Mom cried after him

Before the memory could even finish shocking me, Dad was on his way to die and Mom raced over to me, shaking like a leaf. “We have to get out of here, Twily! Your-”

“He’s gonna die.” I said numbly. “He’s the only one who’s gonna die, Mom. Don’t worry…”

I was too busy crying my eyes out, staring off after my father

My attention wasn’t on Mom at the moment, the crashing reality of what had just happened bashing me in the back of the head: It was so, so much more than that… My egg was scrambled and I was seeing the yolk for the first time.

I am Roxanne. I am Twilight Sparkle. We are one in the same, and it’s because I fucked myself. From the beginning of this time period, outside of existence where time has no meaning, Diliculum’s final act was to create another Universal Collective. She… I… We began anew because… Because Fate is a fucking CUNT!!!!!!!! There are a lot of ways to explain what happened, but I’ll try to use the most logical, reasonable terms that I can to get this across to you, Diary. I know it’s about to be a lot to take in, but this. Is. Ludicrous.

When Diliculum saw that Kaid Maximus was destined to slay everything that lived in the Eighth Universal Collective, she went mad. She killed herself until she couldn’t bear to die anymore because she knew that she would ultimately have to end Max’s existence; to kill him entirely with no chance of him ever existing in a comprehensible sense again if she ever wanted to keep the Eighth Collective, his greatest legacy, alive and well. Fate’s tasks in and of itself weren’t what broke her: It was the choice between letting her greatest love destroy everything he’d created, or kill him and save the day for an uncertain future.

What she didn’t realize is that you. Can’t. Subvert. Fate.

It was written and so it would be. In trying to save Max, Diliculum created a new Collective with me as the Omnium. However, at the same time, while she was trying to FUCKING MULTITASK (It’s a skill and a bad habit. Sue me.), Diliculum fused a piece of herself with Roxanne, who she stuck in a Goddamn Time-Loop.

Get where I’m going with this? No?

Well let’s delve deeper!

When Diliculum created me and made me God of Universe One in the new Collective, she didn’t tell me shit about the job. I had no idea that I was supposed to be recruiting other Gods for the ranks of a new Heaven, so the nearest God to me just needed one good, strong jolt to wake their powers. Whether that jolt was magical or emotional; physical or mental, it would only take a single solid shove to send the over the slippery slopes. Unfortunately, the God nearest to me had, within the last six months, been raped and tortured simultaneously, stranded and ostracized on an alien planet, been abused and treated like an animal and nearly arrested for being different, died (Almost forgot about Luna breaking his neck. We never talk about it), and was constantly reminded of the fact that he was friendless.

Max constantly told me that I was the only thing he had going for him. He’d already proven that staying away from me was a bad idea.

The force I felt approaching my hospital room wasn’t Kinkaid Gadai. It wasn’t Maximus. It wasn’t Kaid Maximus Omnium.

It was Max. Just Max.

He’d fully awoken.

Max wasn’t doing anything to the innocent ponies that ran past him; he was just scaring them off with a spooky illusion that barely even registered as ‘kiddy’, which almost kinda made me sad about the state of my country. The only pony that didn’t make it out of the Hospital safely was Night Light, and I wasn’t sad about that per se. I was crying because I wasn’t as clever as I thought I was. Even as I felt his power fade out into the Whiteness Beyond, the Nonexistence that Has No Name, I felt him cast Night Light out as an offering to the new King of the Nameless Ones. He tried to consume another being before his power fully faded, and I know for certain that he pummeled it to the point where it could probably use a hug, but I think he was trying to kill the King, whoever that is/whatever that means. Even I don’t know that one.

When… When he opened the door, I saw a pair of eyes that belonged to a God: one of his eyes was green with golden flakes and the other blue with silver. His looks were polished, like everything that I’d known about him before was sharpened in an image and committed to a moving statue that would hold its beauty everlasting. The silver streak in his hair shone a different glow than his skin; it’s luminescence like the full moon compared to a warm, light radiance that seemed far more natural. It was almost as if the streak in his hair was to remind him of his age, dangling just above his left brow with the rest of his bangs. His lips were set in a line, twitching with rage every couple of seconds. As I could see through the downfall of my plans, his eyes were colder than hoarfrost, making the final pieces of the puzzle click into place.

Max had known. He’d known all along. He’d been Fate…

He… He knew I would try to save him… Knew I’d try to keep both him and his legacy alive long enough for him to rest in peace… He knew that I would make a mistake like I always do when I multitask, so he compensated for it, taking care of me like he always did. When I woke up after being knocked out, Max woke up. The only reason it took him so long to show up was because he needed to adjust to being him again. When he saw that the Eighth Universal Collective was still alive, he sent a piece of himself back to it along with a piece of Roxy. If Max hadn’t corrected my mistake; if he hadn’t foreseen that I would royally screw things up and nearly demolish Existence in its entirety then I would’ve had an aneurysm from the stone hitting my temple, causing a massive brain hemorrhage that would’ve killed my Mortal Shell. From there, the Time-Loop would have kicked in and Roxy/I would have gone back to the morning I met Max, completely bereft of any memories regarding my death. There was no telling if The Transfer was complete or when it would be completed, but since Max kept me alive when I should’ve died, he upset the loop and snapped of his own accord.

Apparently Max would rather be molested than see me hurt. It’s sweet and worrisome.

All I could do when he calmed my Mom with a wave of his hand was babble, “I’m-so-sowwy”, but he shook his head, walking over smoothly, nearly gliding over the tiled floor.

“You broke the black plum.” He grumbled. “You do realize that was why I lived so long, right? I knew damn well it wasn’t just Crimson spiting me and you should have too.”

I blinked. “I’m sow- CUP! Wee?

His glare intensified as he leaned down, making sure that my personal bubble wasn’t as personal as I’d have liked. “What did I tell you about. Being. Fate?

“... W-W-Wong Twiwight?” I stammered.

He narrowed his eyes at me and made a face. “... I thought your eyes were the wrong color.” Max took a step back and shook his head. “Whatever. Don’t break the Goddamn rules. Got it?”

I nodded rapidly.

He sniffed. “I don’t speak nod.”

Y-Y-Yes…

He tapped his chest with his fist twice and gave me a peace sign before he rotated his hand so that his fingers were pointing up instead of sideways. “Seriously. I’ll finger your butt for a year. An entire. Year. You suck at breaking rules.”

I raised a hand tentatively. “Uh- Um…

“I’m your husband by two different accounts. Don’t raise your hand to ask me things, Cherry-Slush.”

I nodded. “... Right. So…”

“Wondering why I haven’t killed you for nearly damning everyone that’s ever lived ever?”

“... I know you severed the string of Fate between us. You came here with killing intent, Max…” I whispered.

He sniffed. “Yeah, I had some scum to purge from this planet.” Max paused and pointed at my petrified mother. “Oh yeah, killed your husband. He raped your daughter because she fucked up and broke the rules of the Universe that I made. He still did it of his own free will, so he’s dying. Dead. Dying again. Raped? Ooo, that’s- Dead. Yeah, I don’t like that guy.” He snapped his fingers. “And that’s how you get proper payback, wouldn’t you say? Oh, of course you wouldn’t.”

I stared at him like he’d lost his mind. “... I technically-

He made a face. “Even if I didn’t love you, I couldn’t kill both of you. You might’ve fucked up, but you know h’wut?” For the first time since he entered the room, Max cracked open the old standby; a crooked grin with a smug, in-the-know crinkle to his eye that made me want to whack him!

The fear, despair, and desolate loneliness that had swallowed me faded in favor of being irritated at my husband. “Shut up, smartass. I pick up after you waaay more than you pick up after me!”

His grin grew deeper and my heart beat harder. “Yeah, you scoop the poop more often, but you take bigger dumps than I do. And they’re smellier~

“Th-That’s not true!” I yelped.

He booped me, so I pinched his nose, making his voice come out nasally as he said, “Even without Fate making me love you, I still love you, Twilight. Shon can’t stop me from doing that.”

“What?” I asked.

He patted my cheek. “From here forth, this is as free as we get. This is Max and Twilight being unchained from Destiny. What happens happens, and what’s going to happen is good. Be a Sweetheart and try to make Applejack understand the Revenant thing, okay?”

“Wait! What about you!?” I asked desperately.

Max’s lips split into the widest smile I’d ever seen from him as he chuckled. “Who ever thought I’d be happy about dying?” He wiped a tear from his eye as more started to fall from my eyes. “Christ it feels good to say that. I’ll hook you up with a good Max that’ll keep life interesting and all that, but me?”

Max shrugged his silver streak fading from the roots. His hair lost its luster and grayed rapidly, my husband aging into a silver fox before my very eyes until he looked confused. Weakly, I heard a mare with my voice ask, “Max?

“Damn, I was supposed to die of alcohol poisoning at fifty-seven. At least I died looking hella good for my habits.” He shrugged again. “Honestly surprised I lived that long…”

My body trembled at the weight of the event unfolding in front of me; absolute misery and total elation took their turns while battling each other for the spot at the forefront of my mind. I was witnessing an event that only one other being in the entire Universe could claim to have seen:

The Dusk of Kaid Maximus Percussor Fulminata, Savior of Equestria, Blue-Collar and Warrior Prince of Arcadia, Unifier of Equus, Slayer of Tirek, Discord, and countless gods, Gods, demons, Demons and all things betwixt, Creator of Universal Collective Number Eight, and Catalyst of Universal Collective Number Nine. I bore witness to the final moments of the greatest, most generous, loyal, friend I’d ever known. The best, most supportive, compassionate father, brother, son, uncle and lover I’d ever met.

In that moment, my world ended.

In the very next breath, a new one took its place.

Even while ‘Max’ drifted off, departicalizing into the air, blessing my Mom and I with his leftover Goodwill, he was blowing out of the window to form a rainbow in shades of blue. I watched my first lover…

I’m sorry. I need Max right now.

ↂ✶✵✶ↂ

Alright, I’m okay. Just because the original Max is gone doesn’t mean that my Max isn’t within shouting distance at all times here recently. After a few cuddles and a reminder of the fact that I still have him, I think it would be a good time to continue.

As the God finally got the rest he deserved, a gift long overdue, I heard steps coming down the hall. I still hadn’t gotten out of bed, and I really saw no reason to until I felt him. Max had stayed true to his word and left me with a Shell that was basically him, and that’s good enough for me! The only thing is that my Max lacks the ability to become a God, which means he’s gonna die~!

Er, eventually… I’ll save that particular conversation for when we actually have it. As of me trying to figure out whether I was crying because I was happy or because I was sad (Mostly just overwhelmed), a head full of shaggy dark brown hair poked itself through the door that Max had left partially open, green eyes with little gold flakes peering out beneath messy bangs.

“... So what’s up with all the scaredy-cat Ponies?” My boyfriend asked cautiously.

Mom dropped like a rock and I didn’t even feel bad about letting her fall because I only know she fainted due to waking up before her. Thanks to the power of my Human, non-Godly (Though divinely handsome) boyfriend’s kisses, I joined the waking world again, and this time my head didn’t even hurt! It took me a few moments to realize that my lips didn’t either, but there was still something uncomfortable in my mouth. It wasn’t Max’s tongue because I like it when Max gets a little frisky, which left me to believe that the Buttfart that nearly reset time chipped a tooth when he or she did it. When my most treasured person pulled away to give me a concerned look, my tongue ran across my teeth to find that both the top and bottom incisors on the right side of my mouth had been badly chipped. I wondered why I wasn’t healing that at the moment and almost rectified it before they hurt for no reason. I tried doing it again and got the same result, which made me think that God Max had cursed me so that I’d remember not to break the darn rules. My Max nodded when I thought of that, but neither of us had said anything.

“Fuck was that?” he murmured.

“You just answered a question that I didn’t ask, but that’s okay. Rules are good.” I kissed him again.

“Yeah, I told me about you breaking some kinda big-arse rule?” Max shook his head from side to side, waiting for me to elaborate.

“Kinda. It’s complicated.” I gave him an exhausted smile and made him move his hands off of the bedrail so I could make it go down. The hug I got when I stood up was worth the risk of falling over, even if it wasn’t very high.

“Am I gonna have to put you in time out?” he asked, that crooked little smile of his playing on his lips.

“No,” I let my head rest on his chest and held him close. “No, I’ve learned my lesson. Sometimes Max just knows best.”

“Only sometimes,” he chuckled, kissing the top of my head.

We stood there for awhile, soaking in the soft sounds of my Mom being knocked out like a tired front door, but I had to ruin it by asking, “So how much trouble are you in now?”

Max puffed out a mirthless chuckle. “Celestia said she can’t indict me since they struck at us first. In fact, Hate Crime charges would’ve been levied against ‘em…”

I hugged him a little tighter. “... How are you holding up?”

“Me? What do you mean?” he asked, sounding tired before he could even put in the effort to lie.

“I can feel you now, Amour.”

“You’re hugging me.”

“I meant inside.”

“That’s what they call Sticky-Dick.”

I gently pushed against him with my head, a minor, if not completely negligible ache popping up. “You know what I’m talking about, silly.”

He sighed heavily. “Yeah, I know… I just…”

My heart froze along with the blood in my veins, my vocal chords and lips acting of their own accord. I dreaded his answer more than I thought I could’ve with the events that had just taken place. I didn’t want to know, but I needed to. “...Do you feel bad about hurting those people?”

“... I still hear them screaming when I’m alone.” He admitted, clutching me tightly. “I… How did I kill people, Twilight? H-How…?

More tears added themselves to the cup for the day, but instead of being a bucket of misery that I was going to get doused with, it was a cup. A little cup full of smiles. “Y-You f-f-f-feel bad?” I murmured.

“... They hurt you, but… They didn’t deserve… They didn’t deserve that…

I nearly shoved him away, but he wouldn’t have gotten far even if I had shoved him. Instead of giving myself some distance, I just hopped on Max while wearing nothing other than a hospital gown and tried to kill him with kindness. “Oooh! I love you so much!” I cried. Literally and figuratively. Shouting and weeping, I reminded Max of my love for him over and over again, eventually waking my mom after he sat us down on my borrowed bed.

Ugh…” Mom groaned.

Max sniffled and hiccupped, having been crying himself for a different reason. “Mum?”

She snapped to attention and stared at me and Max. “... I need a buckin’ drink.”

“Can I join you?” Max asked thickly.

“... You said you killed my husband,” Mom said slowly, her voice warbling as she spoke.

My boyfriend looked at her like she’d lost her mind. “I stuck my head in the room and you hit the floor.”

“... So Night Light is…?”

“Your husband…?” Max asked nervously.

“Mom, this isn’t the same person. It’s really mind-bending right now, so… I don’t really know. Just don’t expect that piece of shit to come home tonight.”

Mom’s lips quivered. “... Was what the other Max said true?”

I laid my head on my own personal Max’s shoulder. “... It wasn’t just you and me. It was a lot of ponies, Mom. Shiny too.”

“... I’d like to have a word with him,” Mom said, her face creeping towards smiling while her eyes started glowing malevolently.

Twilight? I-I don’t really wanna use Dark Magic again,” Max muttered shakily.

I kissed his temple. “We’ll get it out of you soon, Amour. Mom?”

Yes, Dear?

“Dad isn't technically alive anymore. He’s... Currently somewhere between being [Indescribable noise] to death and being brought back to life again. It’s been going on for trillions of generations at this point.” My face scrunched up, but it was mostly because I found the situation awkward. And Max was poking me against his better judgement. That added to the awkwardness, honestly.

Mom’s eyes darkened from a bright red to a maroon color that I’d never seen before. “And whose fault is that?

“You need to calm down, Mom. You had your chance to handle it. Your chance has passed. I know it hurts, but it’s best to move on like you were doing before you knew.”

She visibly cooled at my rationality, but Momma Bear was still mad. “Hmph! Next time somepony hurts you, let me deal with them.”

“Or Max could beat them up the normal way.”

Mom gave me a look. “Shush before you get whooped.”

I smiled at her, the gesture filled with as much love and affection for the mare as I could muster. It had the desired effect, making Mom’s eyes return to their non-Berserk state. “Thank you.”

She sighed and shook her head. “Don’t let Max use Dark Magic willy nilly, and Twily?”

“Yes, Mom?”

“Live a boring life for once, will you? I miss the good old days when I just had to pull some schmuck out of a wall to fix whatever mess you were in.”

My face flushed while Max trembled a little like he was trying not to laugh. “It only happened-”

“Several times. Literally seven times.” She deadpanned.

I was young!

Max burst out into giggles, nuzzling me as he did so. “Only seven? At least it wasn’t twenty~

I pinched his ear for his treachery as Mom said, “Twenty-two.”

“There were twenty-two ponies in the department, but two were on vacation!” I huffed.

“It’s still in the twenties.” Mom maintained amusedly.

Barely!

“It still counts.” Max giggled.

“Shush! No kisses for the next three seconds!” I huffed.

“Three seconds?” Mom asked.

I shrugged just as Max snuck a kiss from me. “Why don’t we get you dressed and out of this creepfest? Weird shit keeps going down, and I want some snuggles.”

Looking down, I realized that I was feeling Max’s jeans a lot more… Closely, than I should have been, and a slight adjustment to my positioning verified my hypothesis: I was not wearing undies. My face lit up and I conjured up the ACC because I was waaay too sober for that malarky. A quick puff later had me limiting my memories to the ones I wanted, but I still tried not to pay attention to the little, itty-bitty damp spot on Max’s pants.

Sparkle! Are you not-” Mom started.

I flung a Silence Hex at her before she could slap a hand over her mouth and stop herself, but better safe than sorry. “Sh-sh-sh-sh-shhhh-shoosh!

Max glanced at his lap, made his face completely flat, and then said, “Let’s go find Cherry’s clothes.”

Mom was too busy staring at mine to hear him. “Mom, Max just had a great idea.”

“Colt’s got a tent. Let’s see how long he goes camping.” She murmured, her eyes glued to his crotch.

My boyfriend covered his lap as he stood, prickles of unease and a sort of pleasure he wasn’t fond of welling up inside of him. “Trip’s over. Too many people at the campgrounds.”

Mom blinked, her tact finally returning as she realized that she’d been staring at a stallion’s erection. A stallion she’d asked to call her Mom at that. “... There are no words for my level of embarrassment at the moment. Max, I am truly-”

“A horny old woman?” he said bluntly.

“Don’t speak to your Mom like that!” I giggled evilly, not sure who I was having more fun jabbing at with that particular jibe.

Max decided that it wasn’t going to be him. “I’ll fuck your mother. She’s sexy as hell. Try me.”

I looked at him as my Mom decided it wasn’t going to be her either. “I won’t say no. I’m apparently going to be a lonely old spinster soon, so what the hay?”

My heart throbbed for her when she said that, and I felt Max’s do the same. “Mom…”

Instead of looking like she’d just implied that her husband was recently killed (Because he was), Mom licked her lips and did the grossest strut over to Max that I’d ever seen. Walking her fingers up his chest. “What do you say, Lover-Colt~? Care to make your Mommy smile?” She started kiss up his throat from his collar while I resisted the urge to whack my Mom.

Max shoved her and ran out of the room like his feet were aflame. Mom and I shared a look. “... You know Max has severe emotional trauma that pretty much all revolves around his Mom, right?”

“Damn...”

“He never actually told since he doesn’t technically know, but she raped him too.”

“Damn.

“Yeah, that was pretty… That was…”

“I was honestly just trying to play a joke on you,” Mom said quietly.

“He wasn’t expecting you to take it so far. He probably doesn’t even know why he’s reacting so strongly.”

“So we’re keeping this between us?”

Big time.”

As little as I liked keeping secrets from Max, especially key secrets that explained his tendency to lean toward maternal mares and his distaste for children, I felt it was best to not let him know that his egg-donor was a bigger pile of trash than he already thought she was. It bounced around in my mind while I wondered where that particular supposition had come from before I realized that it made sense. Max couldn’t account for a lot of the time he spent with his Mom, but he said that they used to do things together, he just couldn’t remember what. I’d have to wait and sober up to invade his privacy, but he was almost legally mine, so…

Mmm… It still feels like a bad idea. Maybe I’ll wait until tomorrow… Or just leave that mystery unsolved… There’s no reason to wake sleeping dogs. Especially flea-ridden dogs that’ll leave you scratching patches in your fur for weeks.

In any case, Mom went and got my clothes from wherever they were being kept. Max snuck in while she was gone and gave me an apologetic smile, looking a little green around the gills. “Sorry about that, I-”

“It’s fine, Max. Any normal son would freak out if their Mom started making a move on them like that.” He received my smile well, but he still glanced over his shoulder. “She wasn’t serious. She thought you would play along.”

“... The thought of trying was what made me run. Just… Between the whole ‘Mum’ thing and betraying you like that…”

Oh, you sweet sonofagun!” I squished him nice and proper, I did! He’d earned it with that, and it still makes me smile just thinking about it. I’m glad I got to spend tonight so I could write with a steady hand. He gets better sleep and I get his cuteness, but without the volume!

In return for my squishing, Max gave me what he calls ‘The Squishums’, which was sooo cute that I gladly kissed him for a taste of the sugar dripping from his lips. Mom came in while we were just holding each other, looking into our future spouse’s eyes as we thought of days to come, but she didn’t disturb us until I was already dressed and Max was escorting me out of the room.

As Max opened the door, he nearly hit Mom with it, making her take a couple dquick steps back.. “Oh! W-Well hello there platonic son of mine whom I love platonically like my own blood-relative!”

Max looked at me, then looked back to my Mom. Then the cheeky Butthead blew her a kiss and swept me off of my hooves, bringing me low to the ground for a stupidly good snoggerifical kiss that left me smiley and giggly when he brought me back up. “Sorry, my lust for geriatric women was peaking. I had to get get a taste of youth.”

I teleported us back home before he could get himself abused and chided him for being a dummy-dumb-dumb, but he kissed away my frustrations and snuggled up to me on the couch in the library. It wasn’t that late in the day, but it seemed like a good place to call it until Max reminded me that I hadn’t bathed since he’d washed my back. Embarrassed and a little irritated that I couldn’t just enjoy being in a tolerant, mostly pleasant place where ponies didn’t chuck rocks at you for being different, I took my bath and grumpily rejoined a frowning Max.

I gave him a look before I even sat down and said, “If that long face is because you’re blaming yourself for something or other, I’m making you eat an entire jar of peanut butter.”

The guilt in his heart stabbed a little deeper with his apologetic grin. “Sorry. Guess I can’t help being…” He trailed off when he saw that I wasn’t having it.

“You were showing me that you loved me and a bunch of bigots decided that we didn’t have the right to love each other. They attacked us, and you snapped. It happens, Max. Once I sober up a little bit more, it won’t even be possible for you to do that again, okay?” I finally sat, smoothing my dress down between our knees before I placed my hand low on his thigh. I wore a frustrated smirk since I knew I should’ve died as I said, “Honestly…? Honestly those… Things might’ve hurt us a lot worse than just putting us in the hospital, Amour. I don’t want you to feel guilty for defending us, but I’m not sad that you do.”

He reached for my hands and I grabbed his before he could journey into my mini personal bubble. With a little chuckle and a loving, adoring smile, Max murmured, “At least I’m better this time around, right?”

I rolled my eyes. “Have you killed anyone in the twenty years you’ve been alive?”

Max blinked. “... No.”

“Then why are you comparing yourself to someone who lived a different life?”

“... Trippy, but I love you for reaching out to my weird side.”

He got the boop as the price of my wisdom. It’s a very steep cost, you know? “I love you, Max, but we need to re-teach you how to punch people.”

“I can punch people!”

“Beef up, beanpole.” I huffed.

He gasped, his eyes wide as he swallowed hard. “Did Applejack say yes to me buying one of her cows!?”

“... No. No, I was telling you to start working out and eating more protein. Stop trying to cram some bull’s meat down your throat, you gayfer.” I curled my lip and leaned away from him.

He pushed me over and climbed on top of me. “You seem to be pretty eager to have-”

The front door closed and stomps were heard as Max’s voice died in his throat. We looked at each other before looking to the foyer, Mom coming into sight as casual as could be. “Why hel~lo!

Duuude.” Max whispered shakily.

Max! I choose you!” Mom yipped gleefully. “Come give Mommy a hug!

Max froze, a cold pit forming inside somewhere indistinct. “... I don’t want to give Mommy a special hug…”

Mom blinked. “What?”

My boyfriend stared at her until I hit him in the crooks of his elbows, making him faceplant on my boob. “Ow!

He pushed himself up and plastered a smile on his face. “I’m beginning to think man’s not so hot with the ‘Mommy’ thing.”

I patted his cheek and tried to not be obvious about rubbing my boob. “Go give Mom a normal hug, okay?”

He looked over to my blushing mother, then back to me. “... Why?”

“It’s a normal, platonic hug,” I replied.

Max got off of me slowly and looked at her again. “No funny business?”

“I would never! I was just trying to mess with you, Max, honestly.” Mom said, her face betraying her embarrassment along with her voice.

He rubbed his arm subconsciously and walked over to her. “Right. Sorry about calling you a geriatric.”

“It’s okay, Hun, just don’t make a habit of it.” She gave him a short hug when he came over and Max felt considerably better for it.

“Maybe when you start graying out a little more.” Max chuckled.

“Hey, she can still whoop you, you know.” I reminded.

My boyfriend looked at me with an impish grin. “She can also carry alcohol.”

“I have to sober up for a little while, but I’ll go with you to the liquor store anyway.”

“Ah, right. You have to get the Dark Magic out of me…”

I tried to think of something I could do other than giving Max more powers when I remembered that there was a mare getting settled in Ponyville somewhere that Max would probably like so see. “You know, Noir could probably do it so I don’t have to be too terribly sober. I’ll give you back your True Theft in the morning, and I’ll write have you write her a note now. How’s that sound?”

He gave me an odd look, glancing toward the foyer with Mom. “Sounds like you should be writing the note, but then again, you have me write all the notes we leave for Spike.”

“Was that my cue or what?” My little brother himself commented, walking into the library with a smile.

“Thought I heard you come in. What’s up, Super Reptile?”

“Not much, Mega Monkey.” He and Max fist-bumped casually. “I see Twilight soothed your Dark Magic stuff like you said she would.”

Max shrugged. “She’s the music, I’m the beast.”

“Is Applejack still scared of you?”

“Yup.”

“Ah. Good luck with that. I’m gonna get started on-”

“Washing up so we can go out for dinner? Good idea.” I interjected.

Spike beamed. “Oh, where are we going!?”

I chuckled. “I think we’re limited to Blossom’s and Bloom’s since someone happens to be too good to eat flowers like the rest of us.”

“I’ll die!” Max objected mirthfully. “How is that my fault!?”

I shrugged. “You might’ve been even cuter as a Pegasus or a Pony in general. Maybe even a Dragon~”

He stuck his tongue out at me, so I kissed it and made him giggle. “Alright, get me some paper and a pen so I can write that note to Noir and we can get the thing, stuffs, and what-nots to the settling.”

“... Get you some writing materials so you can settle things?” I asked dumbly.

“Eeyup.”

“Ah.” I teleported Spike’s biggest quill and some parchment into my hands before passing them off to Max. “Are you ready?”

“Whenever you are.” Max winked.

I gave him what I wanted to say, but he didn’t let me read over what he’d written before he had Spike send the letter off. I got a reply in minutes from Noir, saying that she could show up whenever for the task while Max got a note for himself a couple seconds later. As he was reading his note, a tall dark blue mare with wings and a horn rose from his shadow and pretty much just towered over him, the weight of her breasts at the same level as his head. I was a teensy bit covetous of her endowments when I saw her hips flaring out around Max’s own thin frame, but the woman just had so much more than me that it was hard to take her seriously in a comparison. It would take a different type of stallion to find me attractive, and I was well aware of the fact that Noir and Max only ever slept together one time in their entire history together. Their relationship wasn’t necessarily sexual so much as just intimate, but my Max barely seemed to even register who she was.

He noticed her behind him though.

Turning slowly, he look at her breasts, took a step toward me, then looked up further to see Noir’s face. “I did not hit huuh; I did not. Oh hi Noirk.”

“In another life, you forced me to watch that with you. I am currently reliving that very scene as we sat together and you burst out laughing,” Noir said softly. “It is good to see you, Max.”

He gave her a little smile. “Hey, Blackberry. You settling into Ponyville okay?”

“I am nearly prepared to receive you in our home.” She replied warmly. “Whenever you are prepared to begin your physical regimen, you will most likely have the freedom to begin.”

“Oh yeah, you were going to beef me up,” Max said bluntly.

I giggled. “See?

He gave me a look. “Shut up, Flatsy-Patsy.” He gestured toward one of Noir’s breasts. “This is a knocker, Madam.”

The big blue Alicorn turned to the side before using her back-breaking boobies to bash my boyfriend’s brains. Max fell onto the couch, legitimately stunned as Noir said, “Huh. You always said I could do that, but I had never tried until now. Interesting.”

Max rubbed his face while Spike practically drooled over Noir and all her snacktimey-ness. “Wow…

My boyfriend looked over to my little brother. “It wasn’t as fun as you think it was.”

Spike blushed brightly, a little rivulet of blood leaking from his nose. “Um… I think my snout is bleeding! I need to go find a tissue! For my snout!” He scurried off like the purple skink he was.

While Max and I watched Spike, we missed the exchange between Mom and Noir that essentially explained who Noir was. “Oh, so you’re like his Aunt!”

“I am his mentor. We do not claim familial bonds.” Noir replied firmly.

“Because Noir seduced him.” I stage whispered when I let myself into their conversation.

Noir blushed and Mom rolled her eyes. “Of course.”

“It was a mutual, misplaced attraction.” Noir grunted.

Mom choked. “What!?

“He is notoriously good in bed.” Noir shrugged. “He is also a sweet young man. There are things that Max has forgotten that I will never speak of again, though reliving the moments where I unload my burden onto his shoulders are often some of my fondest memories.”

“Oh… So… Max is the kind of stallion whose true worth shows itself after this kind of stuff…”

The Alicorn in the room patted Max’s head like he was a puppy. “He is good in a pinch and pleasant for the lazy days. Do not take him anywhere. People do not like him at first since he is simply too stupid for-” Max wrenched a piece of her boob and she swatted his hand. “Ow. How do you always manage to find it?”

“Nipples just attract my hands.” He made a ‘What can you do?’ kind of gesture.

I gave him a look. “Noir, can you extract the Dark Magic from him as uncomfortably as you can’t?”

“As I ‘can’t’?” she asked.

“That was grammatically incorrect,” Mom seconded.

“Well, I don’t want him to be uncomfortable,” I replied logically.

“Shush,” Mom huffed.

“Max is rubbing off on you,” Noir grunted.

Max gave me a hug. “Lo~ove yo~ou”

Noir rolled her eyes and made her hand turn black with swirly white lines all over it. “One moment, please.” She slapped the crap out of Max’s back and he yelped as the blackness swept down his arms and pooled in his left and right hands.

Friggin’ Ow!” Max ‘bitched’.

“You have your main Magic back and you are free from the taint of Dark Magic. Be happy.”

“I’ll pee on your hoof,” He grumbled irritably.

“Don’t pee on mares who do you favors,” Mom whacked him.

“What if they ask me to!?”

“Then don’t engage in their deviancy!” She almost got another swing in, but he swerved out of the way until Noir caught him. She flicked his forehead and it sounded like it hurt, so Mom was satisfied.

With that out of the way, Max ‘stormed off’ (He was as goofy as he could be while doing it) to go get Spike so we could go to dinner, and when they came back, they both looked pouty and irritable, so Mom scolded them, but Max decided that the was going to act like a foal. I don’t date foals, so I took his kisses away from him until he could prove that he was mature enough to receive grown-up kisses from a grown-up mare. My boyfriend failed to shape up and just kept stealing the kisses he wanted from me until I started biting him for taking my kisses instead of giving me his. It was quite rude of him, as you may know.

When we got to Blossom’s and Bloom’s, Max was all too happy to order the fettucini alfredo he used to get all the time in the other universe, Mom got a tasty looking carbonara, I got a nice scampi, Spike got hay fries and a burger because Bloom is a simple kind of mare and likes serving simple food, and Noir ordered the soup of the day, which turned out to be a broccoli and cheddar chowder that was delicious! If I had looked at that portion of the menu, I would have ordered it since Blossom’s chowder is divine! I had to settle for getting a to-go bowl, but it reheats well, and I’ll probably get a couple nibbles of it after I finish writing this.

Speaking of finishing things, the day was nearing its end and Mom didn’t want to go back to Canterlot, so she opted to buy a room at the Bee and Barb to avoid sleeping in my guest room because she got used to living the comfy Canterlot life and is too good for my cozy guest bed, apparently. It meant that Max had no reason to not sleep there since he’d apparently been awake since the day we left for Jolly Junction and had been running off of concern, love, and caffeine, according to his own accounts. He’ll probably move in with Noir tomorrow, but…

Buck it. I’ll enjoy him in my home while I have him. It’s not like he’ll be gone forever.

ↂ✶✵✶ↂ

In conclusion, I’m probably going to avoid turning Max into a girl anywhere outside of Ponyville for the time being… It just seems safer than possibly getting killed again… At least the day was nice besides that. Silver linings are what make the world go ‘round, after all. Anyway, I was incredibly touched to find that Max would get so angry over my Shell getting hurt when he knew that I was technically God, but I wish his heart didn’t hurt over what he did. I’m glad that it does, but it’s only because it means that Max is more remorseful; more Human so to speak, than he was in the previous iteration. I know it’s technically a disingenuine copy of Max because he feels differently, but…

I feel like I love the same man, and it’s unshakable.

I have so many doubts about whether or not I really love my Max, but I well and truly can’t find a reason not to. He just… The way he’s just next to me makes my heart flutter; it makes me want to reach out and caress him to show that I love him just as much as he loves me. There is no room for doubt in my mind over Max’s love, but is that because God Max wanted it to be like that?

… Even if it’s only because someone wanted it to go that way, is that so wrong? Is it wrong for me to appreciate what’s been forced on me…? I… I know that Max is hard to like when you don’t want to deal with him, and a lot of people don’t want to deal with him most days, but I can’t imagine myself being as happy with anyone else as I am with Max. The cognitive dissonance is strong, but I honestly just want to enjoy what I have. I could be living in a Time-Loop, but I’m not. Max could want nothing to do with me, but he loves me. I could’ve destroyed everything, but Max saved the day. I should just be happy that my husband is the ultimate problem solver, so that’s what I’m gonna do.

I don’t want to talk about Night Light, I’ll talk to Noir personally about the passing of the Last Omnium of the Eighth Collective and show her the memory. I… I don’t want to talk about that anymore, Diary. Just being reminded of the fact that my real husband died makes my heart heavy, but at least I have a familiar, Maxxy face to kiss when I miss him.

Until next time, Diary.

ↂ✶✵✶ↂ

Life is good. It just is.

Oh! Darn it! Let me start over.

ↂ✶✵✶ↂ

Dear Diary,

Life is good. It just is. I got to wake up with Max all snuggled up to me, his forehead against my heart while I held him. His hair had the faintest hint of sandalwood that nestled into my nose and brought me plenty of contentment through the power of a mare’s olfactory sense. We like things that smell good for a reason: It’s the most direct way to our hearts. Besides a home-cooked meal and maybe some snacks. Maybe. I toyed with the idea of getting some snacks since I had a feeling he would be more appreciative than anything if I woke him up with a favor. However, that would require letting go of Max, and that just wasn’t in the agenda.

The schedule did allow for me to say some things to Max while he was asleep that I didn’t really have the confidence to say while he was awake, though I knew I was pretty much talking to myself. “... You’ll never know how much I love this... Us... You. It’s not a Fairy Tale. Life here might seem like one sometimes, but Fairy Tales don’t have heroes like us. Not the ones I’ve heard, anyway… It’s not a bad thing. It’s unique, and special, and… Well, no one else has what we have. Who we have…” I gently stroked Max’s hair as I fell silent for a little bit, finding my words again. “You’re special, but… You never let me tell you. You always take it the wrong way, but it comes from love, Amour. I see you. I know you. I love what I see. I love what I know. I can’t wait to see more and learn more with you, about you…” Thoughts of his mother crossed my mind and I held him a little tighter, a deep hatred boring a hole in my stomach for the woman who’d shattered a perfectly good child and forced them to pick up the pieces alone. “... Maybe some things are better left unsaid… I’ll… I’ll think about it some more, but… Now’s just not the time. Not now.”

I continued stroking his hair as he nuzzled me in his sleep, his deep, even breathing calming the cyclone of frustration and anxiety that was starting to bubble up in me. I wanted to tell him, but I just couldn’t summon up the courage to share my suspicions with Max, and there was even more holding me back from just spitting it out, like the fact that I had no clue what Max would do if he knew. I didn’t know what kind of memories I might stir up, but while I thought about it, I remembered that Max told me about Night Light’s treachery against his better judgement because he thought it was the right thing to do. I, however, didn’t know if giving Max more reasons to hate his egg-donor was going to work out for me, which was the line of thinking that brought shame and guilt around to show their ugly faces at the Pit-tea Party.

Knowing that Max had faced a similar situation and had chosen to do the selfless thing when he thought the time was right made me feel like a terrible girlfriend. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that he’d taken my feelings into account before he told me, and I was certain that he would rather know than not. Still, the selfishness that was keeping me from sharing my probable hypothesis was damming the words as I tried to push them out while he was sleeping, trying not to physically react to the stress I was putting myself under. To be frank, it wasn’t difficult to stay still and just look at Max until the feelings went away, but I knew what I had to do and severely hoped that I could support him through the news.

Then Max woke up and I forgot about everything. “Mmm~

His hum tickled my chest and made me giggle, so I placed a careful kiss on the top of his head. “Good morning, my handsome little Human.”

My boyfriend nuzzled me again and sighed pleasantly. “Is the sun up?”

I glanced outside and saw the bastard staring at me through my window. “If I say no, are we staying in bed?”

He chuckled and tried to leave me all too soon, so I held him in place until he gave up and cuddled me like the Cuddle Cretin he was. He gave me about thirty more minutes to soak in the moment before he started tickling me, ending the morning in a fun way and beginning the afternoon with kisses and promises of coffee. We tried taking a shower together, but Max kept tickling me for some silly reason and almost made me fall, so I kicked him out of the shower and made him wash my back from the other side of the curtain. When I let him get in again, I was barely even done drying my mane by the time he came out and I had to ask if he’d even washed his mane. The odd look he gave me made me wonder if Humans had bad hygiene. His response was that washing his hair on a daily basis would ruin his scalp, making him ask if all Ponies washed their manes everyday. To my knowledge we did and do. All I got was a shrug for my loquacious answer and I was okay with that.

Spike was washing his dishes in the kitchen when we came downstairs, wearing a little smile that didn’t seem very genuine to me. “Hey guys.”

“Wotcher, Spike. Something wrong?” Max asked carefully, like he was expecting Spike to want to say something in private.

“Well… Not really. Just something Sweetie Belle told me, y’know?” He answered shyly.

“... Do we need to talk, or is this…?”

“Can we talk?” my little brother murmured.

I looked to Max and he cast a furtive glance at me. “Alone, or…?”

Spike glanced at me and must have seen the concerned look on my face. “... Well… Sweetie Belle asked me out…”

“Sounds like a bad idea.” Max replied easily, like Spike had asked what his shirt said. The breast pocket actually said ‘Lucky Lucky’ in a circle, but that’s not important.

“... That’s probably why she and Apple Bloom aren’t friends anymore,” he said softly, his voice quaking.

I rushed over and he met me halfway. “Oh, Spike! It’s not your fault! Sweetie Belle isn’t the filly everypony thinks she is, and it’s better that you and Apple Bloom distance yourselves from her anyway, Spikey.”

Spike hugged me back. “... If you say so.”

“She’s right, mate. Sweetie Belle is gonna push you to do things you don’t want to do,” Max said, coming to lay a hand on Spike’s shoulder. “It might seem like fun at the time, but it’s only going to get you into trouble.”

Spike sighed. “I just feel so bad for ruining their friendship… They even started fighting!”

“That’s because Sweetie Belle likes you for all the wrong reasons and Apple Bloom likes you for the right ones.” My boyfriend said, patting Spike’s shoulder.

The record skipped and Spike said, “If you say so…”

“I do say so, and I say so why?”

“Because you’re a smart old guy and I’m a naive young guy who should listen to the wisdom of old guys,” Spike chuckled, letting me go. “That still sounds goofy.”

“That’s because you’re young and goofy,” Max answered casually. “Why don’t we go fishing later or something? I’m sure we’ll find something to talk about while we do it.”

Spike put a hand to his mouth and made a face. “You want to do it to me!?”

My jaw dropped as my boyfriend winked. “You bet that sweet, scaly arse I do.”

The little Dragon was stuck for words. “... I was kidding.”

“Who said I wasn’t?”

“Oh.”

I giggled. “Gaaay!

“Hay!”

Max shrugged. “Oi, if you love me, you love me. I’ll treat you right~”

I hit him lightly, smiling. “Oh shush! You’re just trying to weasel your way into my family, aren’t you?”

“What can I say? Mum’s sweet, Spike’s cool, and I’d like to meet your other brother sometime. Seems like a nice family to be in.” He gave me a little smile.

I gave him a little kiss because it wasn’t my favorite smile of his. “You know you’re already welcome wherever we’re welcome, Amour. Now you just need to go and visit Blue so you can start building your family again.”

Max rubbed the stubble on his chin for a second. “... It’s kinda awkward, Cherry. I mean… I like her already, but what if she just wants to know how I’m connected to her son?”

“... Then it would be selfish to hold what you know back from her. If you don’t know anything, you just say so. It’s better than making both of you hurt, and it might actually bring you together if you be yourself.” I crossed my arms and gave him a look for being foalish- Childish. Whichever.

He snorted and closed his eyes, waiting a few breaths to open them again. “I guess it’s better to get it over with, right? Might as well do it after breakfast.”

“I’ll give you a hug if it goes bad and a hug and a snuggle if it goes anything less than perfect~!”

Spike rolled his eyes, but I didn’t miss his miniature grin. “If you guys keep it up, I think I’m gonna start sinking into the floor with all this-”

“Mushy-gooshy-malarkey.” Max and I groaned.

“Find something new to say-” My boyfriend started.

“And make it appropriate!” I ended.

“Making it funny is a plus-”

“But making it accurate is more important.”

Max gave me a look. “Can you stop-”

“Finishing your sentences?” Spike and I chorused.

For a second, I thought Max was going to lick me with the look of deviancy in his eye, but then his left hand turned black with white, swirly little ivy-like vine crisscrossing his forearm. One second he reached back, and the next he thrust it forward, his arm disappearing up to the elbow. A small mercy was that it wasn’t like I could see Max’s insides or anything, but the problem was that he’d basically stuck his hand in my face. Kinda. The next thing I knew, he stuck a foot between my legs. I felt something hit me in the lower back, nearly making me faceplant like a foal learning how to walk. Like a BUTT, Max caught me just before I could hit the ground, making me shriek like I was terrified. Mostly because I didn’t put it past him to find something icky with his weird True Theft stuff. While I was scrabbling to kick the thing that trying to get off of me, Max suddenly yanked me forward and I narrowly missed bucking Spike in the face.

When I got to my hooves, I thumped Max a good one for his antics. “You Butt. Muncher! You almost made me kick Spike!”

Spike blew some flames at my butt and startled me, making me hop into Max’s arms. The raised brow and amused look he wore didn’t do him any favors in getting out of the Doghouse, but apparently he didn’t like the look I was giving him. “Kiss me or I’ll drop you~”

I wrapped my arms around his neck and glared at him. “Don’t.

“Kiss you or-”

“You owe me an apology.” I said firmly.

He gave me a gentle smile. “I’m sorry for making Spike fall on you, but that’s what you get.”

I teleported myself out of his arms and stood, giving him a dirty look. “I might love you, but that doesn’t mean you can just do whatever, Max.”

He raised his hands. “Cherry, I won’t do it again.”

I took a deep breath. “... There’s no point in being this upset over it, I guess. Just try to rein it in, okay?”

“The reins are taut.”

I rolled my eyes. “We’ll see. Do you want me to help make breakfast, or what?”

His smile took a dip. “If you wouldn’t mind.”

“I’ll make coffee.”

“Thanks. What sounds good for breakfast?”

“Whatever you feel like making.” Was my curt reply.

Fortunately Max had the sense to keep the talking to a minimum, and when he decided that he was ready to go see Blue, he asked if I wanted to go. It was supposed to be a personal thing and I said as much to Max, but shortly after I left, I realized that he’d been asking for my support and I’d basically told him no out of spite. It made me feel bad, but not bad enough to make up for it after the crap he pulled. Normally I’d have given him more of an earful, but I figured that a couple hours of the patented Mare’s Cold Shoulder would make the lesson stick. When four hours passed and Max hadn’t returned, I started to get a little worried. Four hours turned to five, then to six, and the sun was already preparing to set and Max hadn’t said a word about being out so long.

I used the old faithful Clairvoyance Spell to hit the streets of Ponyville in the amber glow of the fading light, the sun reflected in the west-facing windows of the town. It was a little hard to see the faint trail that would lead me to my ever-worrisome boyfriend, but it was visible enough to lead me to a bar full of ponies that were either laughing at the person singing karaoke on the new machine, or cheering her on while she drunkenly wailed through Left Hoof Right Hoof. It was hard to get through the small-town, Earth Pony drinking crowd in all honesty, and it was even worse since it was the weekend and most ponies had the next couple of days off. I couldn’t even manage to see the trail anymore, but I still found Max when he stepped up on the recently built stage, shooing away pony after pony as they pushed the microphone into his hand.

I couldn’t hear him over the hoops and hollers of the mares in the crowd and a few shouts of ‘Pretty Colt! Sing us a song!’. He seemed to be saying ‘Fuck off, alright? I’ll do it, I got ya.’ or something of the sort, the smirking mask on his face making it hard for me to tell what he was saying. It wasn’t hard to feel Max’s unease and disquietude; his general dislike of being the center of attention when it wasn’t storytime or a small gathering of friends, but he still tapped the mic and tested it for a moment.

“What? Do I have something on my face?” He joked, getting some jeers for stalling. “Aww, shut up. Let me sing you rainbow brite Fartbags a little alien song~” That earned a few more chuckles, but then Max smiled and said, “Oh wait! I don’t know any Equestrian songs! Guess I can’t do-”

Put your hand on the top of the box and the song you’re thinking of starts playing!” I shouted helpfully, using Magic to amplify my voice.

“Woo.” My boyfriend said tonelessly, his mask still in place. I wondered if he didn’t want to sing, but then rationalized it away, thinking that he would have just said no if he didn’t want to. “This one goes out to the lovely lady who just did me that special little favor. Song’s called Sun Hands by The Local Natives.” With that, he put his hand on the karaoke device and music like I’d never heard before spilled forth from the speakers like the band was there in the room with us.

I climbed to the top of a hill. But I had just missed the sun.

And although the descending arc was gone, Left behind were the traces that always follow along.

The most beautiful co~lors chase the sun.

They wrap her trail in a taunting gesture that seems to sing out loud,

"This is what you're missing"

Aaa-aah-aah, I'll endure the night

Aaa-aah-aah, For the promise of light

Aaa-aah-aah, I'll endure the night

Aaa-aah-aah, For the promise of light

I want to lift my hands towards the sun

Show me warmth. Baby, won't you show me warmth again?

And when I can feel with my sun hands

I'll promise not to lose her again

And even if the morning never comes, my hands are blessed;

To have touched the sun

The Su~un

And when I can feel with my sun hands

I promise not to lose her again

And when I can feel with my sun hands

I promise not to lose her again

And when I can feel with my sun hands

I promise not to lose her again!

Aaa-aah-aah, I'll endure the night. Aaa-aah-aah, For the promise of light

Aaa-aah-aah, I'll endure the night. Aaa-aah-aah, For the promise of light

Aaa-aah-aah, I'll endure the night. Aaa-aah-aah, For the promise of…”

When he finished, there was a quiet round of applause that slowly crescendoed into a roar of Encore! Encore! Encore!’, Max’s singing voice just… Blowing us away! I’d heard him sing in the other timeline, but I’d thought his voice was amazing because he was singing for me. Paired with upbeat music that had slow moments in it just showed that he could hang with the Crooners and the new Rock and Rollers. Max had found something he could easily turn into a career by accident.

Max tried to get off the stage, but hands shoved him back on from every direction until he relented for just one more song. My boyfriend let his mask fall and I could easily tell that the next Pony who put their hands on him to make him do something he didn’t want to do was going to get a tongue lashing. As he relented for just one more, he dedicated the next song to nothing. Literally nothing. It was called Fourth of Jewly by Sound Garden, or something of the sort. From the very beginning of the song, my heart started hurting, and the crowd’s energy waned. A nearby stallion with a decent voice provided backup vocals, Harmonic Resonation echoing through Max’s voice as he put his heart behind the song.

He received another round of applause for his efforts, though it was more muted than the last. Max was allowed to leave the stage and head to the bar to grab a drink, so I struggled my way through the crowd until I popped out next to him and some sloozy. I could see the Dimbo smiling at my Max and he didn’t seem to be giving a darn about her at all, which was nice for me. I tapped his shoulder and he gave me his attention in a second, swallowing the mouthful of the drink he’d had. When he saw me, he gave me a dirty look, so I gave him an apologetic smile.

“Do you want to go home?” I asked, trying to be heard over the crowd.

He downed the rest of his drink, paid the bartender, and got up. “I’m ready when you are.”

I kinda had to make him lead us out since Earth Ponies and all that, but we got back to Golden Oaks no problem anyway. Along the walk, I apologized for making Max do the thing and he apologized again for being a butthead in the morning, so I forgave him and let him have some kisses for being sweet. Kinda. Ish. Close enough. The main thing was that we were over the little spat like it was nothing and back to being us, even with that little hiccup costing us some time away from each other. There was a question hanging in the air, and it was what Max had been doing in the bar in the first place. He told me that he’d thought that I wanted some space, and he’d been right in a way.

It wasn’t something I’d really considered, but I knew that giving me time to cool off had been the right thing for him to do, even if I didn't want to be left alone for the rest of the day. I’d rather have him around so I can ignore him and keep an eye on him at the same time, thus making the Cold Shoulder more effective than it had any right to be. I couldn’t have kept it up for long if Max really didn’t want me to and we both knew that, but he let me have my victory and I took it for what it was worth. I considered it important, and I’m sure Max knew it was important to me, which made it all a touch sweeter that he was willing to bend his knee to make me happy.

As we entered our home and prepared to end the day, Max asked if I wanted a kiss and I just took one from him since there was no point in trying to be mad at Max for more than a couple of hours anyway. That and I really wanted the kisses I could get anyway. Can you blame a mare for having her priorities? No, you can’t, which is why I made Max let me take him out for a nice date at Blossoms and Blooms where he tried their carbonara. He said that it was both missing salt and some kind of protein, but I didn’t really know how beans or eggs would make pasta any better. I decided not to comment on it and Max enjoy his meal, though there was obviously something on his mind.

While we were walking back home to end the night I had to ask, “Is something on your mind, Amour? You were awfully distracted at dinner.”

He gave me a small, apologetic smile and waved my worries aside. “It’s nothing much. Just wondering why I repay you with irritation and the occasional bout of sweetness.”

“Because love is weird like that, silly.” I giggled.

Max just gave me an odd look. “... And you’re just okay with that?”

“I don’t have a reason not to be, Max. I’m less happy when you’re not around, and I’m a little more irritable than normal. Even if you’re the one upsetting me, I’d rather have you nearby so I know your safe and at least comfy.”

“You want me around all the time so you can ignore me and make it have an effect.” He said flatly.

Eep! Er, I-I mean… Well, that’s not the whole story!” I protested.

He kissed the tip of my horn before flicking it with his tongue, sending shivers down my spine. “I know that, you goofy goober. I’m just getting back at you for kicking me out of the house.”

I gave him a little push. “Butthead! I thought you might have really been upset for a second!”

My ever-infuriating boyfriend chuckled and pulled me closer. “I don’t like getting upset with you. Not over things we can talk out.”

I gave him a one-armed hug and bounced my head off of his shoulder. “You’re still a butthead, even if you’re a sweet butthead.”

“And you’re still my sweet little Cherry, as sour as you can be sometimes.”

“I’m not sour, I’m tart.” I huffed, winning the argument through the power of Marehood.

“You’re not tart, you are a tart.” Max purred.

“... What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked, a little more than confused by the analogy.

“It means you’re a snack!” He shouted, jerking me toward him so he could nibble on my neck and tickle me at the same time.

“N-N-Nooo~! M-Max waaait!” I cried, trying to get away from him.

My hands couldn’t get his away from my sides, but he relented on his own and placed them on my hips to hold me in place for a giggle filled kiss. “I’m waiting.

I gave him the most steely, sternest look I could muster. “Now, I want you to stop this foalishness until we get back- Yeee!” He grabbed my sides and started tickling me again. Maaax~!

“Yes?” He asked, pulling me in for a hug.

I tried my hardest to get away from his evil little fingers. “St-Stop tickling me b-b-before I-”

Max gave me The Smile. “Before you what?”

I licked my lips and worked out a couple more giggles. “Um…Before I… Put a finger in your butt?”

“Ew.” He pulled a face.

The curse was lifted and I gave him a triumphant look. “See? It’s alright; Just listen to Twilight.”

His face eased into a contented smile and he asked, “Yes, Cherry?”

I tapped my chin while smiling at him. “Hmm… I want a kiss~”

Max leaned down and gave it to me. “Is that all?”

… See, on one hand, I doubted that I could come up with something that would actually upset Max. On the other hand, I could see him being displeased about being forced to do anything, so I just said, “I want to be carried like a Princess in the Fairy Tales~”

He beamed at me and swept me off of my feet, giving me a loving smile as I held onto his neck. The strength that lay underneath his pale, smooth skin felt like it was radiating into me through the contact we shared, and the warmth he gave off naturally was just icing on the cake. I didn’t have to, but I curled up in Max’s arms and buried my face into his chest, taking in his natural musk and his cologne at the same time, the odors clashing and blending beautifully, not unlike how Max and I seemed to be getting through our days together. Where one smell was stronger than the other for but a few breaths, the other was just waiting its turn to waft its way into my nose and further convince me to fall asleep in Max’s embrace.

I actually stayed awake until Golden Oaks was just in sight, but after that I was out like a light. I didn’t wake up until Max set me on my bed and leaned down to kiss me goodnight. “Mmm~

He stroked my cheek softly with his thumb before pulling away. “I figured you could use the rest you were getting.”

Nooo~ I missed some snuggle-” I yawned and stretched. “Tiii~me. Oh that felt good.”

“Tch, wish I could feel that well rested from a power nap.”

“Too bad~ I guess you’re just going to have to hop in bed and get some rest the old-fashioned way, hmm?”

“Don’t we have the same Mum? This is all incest, you know.”

“Then let’s disappoint Mom extra good after you sing me something~” I bargained.

He puffed out a laugh at that and waltzed on over to the closet. “Right, because Kaid Gadai sings.”

“Oh, come on.” I drawled, rolling onto my side so I could see him more easily. “You say that like you didn’t have that whole bar pin-drop silent when you were done.”

“Yeah, that’s what happens when you sing to drunk people-”

“Not always.” I deadpanned. “You should hear my older brother try to sing sometime.”

I felt like he rolled his eyes. “Mediocre isn’t good, Cherry.”

“Do you seriously not think you can sing?” I asked.

He looked over his shoulder. “You’re blinded by love.”

“Only in one eye, and that doesn't affect my hearing in the slightest.” I countered.

Max chuckled at that and gave me a little grin. “Then would you like to hear one of my favourites?”

I gave him my biggest smile yet. “I’d love to!”

And I’d love to write the song down, but I’d flub the lyrics terribly since I wasn’t even listening for part of it. I just enjoyed the moment, having Max sing to me. It was something nice that I felt like we hadn’t done before, and he even asked if I’d like to learn a song and do a duet with him for fun. It sounded like a great idea to me, and after we got changed for bed, I started teaching Max the song I knew the best. It’s A Wonderful World by Dewey Strongarm is still one of my favorite songs, and Max knew some of the lyrics already too. Paired with his mellow, soft baritone and the deeper octaves he could reach, my ears were in bliss as we sang our harmony into the night and fell asleep without snacks.

At least there weren’t any crumbles to clean up, I guess… Would’ve been nice to get lucky after the songs, but it wasn’t necessary. I suppose I should add it that I’m writing this by lamp light, only having slept long enough for Max himself to get good and deep into dreamland before getting this written out. It took some time and a couple of stifled giggles, but I managed to get through all of it okay. I think it’s about time for the conclusion, though… Maybe. Just know that I really appreciate you listening, Diary!

Anyway, here goes nothing!

ↂ✶✵✶ↂ

In conclusion I’m still worried about Max and I being pariahs as far as our relationship goes, but I don’t think too many ponies are going to care as long as we’re male and female. At least not too many ponies in the northern places. I do wonder what Mom did all day since she didn’t come over, and I wonder what the heck happened to Noir since she didn’t make an appearance either… It’s weird that both of them neglected to show up for the entire day, but I’m sure it’s just some odd coincidence. It’s not like my Mom and Noir were ever terribly friendly back in the other timeline, so I’m sure that they just had their own reasons for ditching Max and I.

Waking up with Max was a special treat like no other, and I hope to get to cuddle him like that again tonight. It was nice to get to talk to him when I knew he wasn’t going to say anything back or get upset. It was especially nice to be able to get my feelings out in the open and have him take them the right way, even if he didn’t know that I was talking to him in his sleep. There are worse things than speaking and not being heard, like wanting to walk and having no legs. That sounds much worse than talking to someone who’s asleep.

Sending Max off to Blue’s without my support was mean, and I don’t plan on doing something like that to him again. Even if Max almost made me hurt Spike, I shouldn’t have reacted so strongly. While I hope that Max got the message that he can’t just do whatever he wants and expect to get away with it, I do hope that Spike isn’t too upset with both of us for ignoring him for the rest of the day. Well, Max didn’t ignore him, but Spike didn’t want to talk to him anymore than I did, so I guess that also played a part in why Max decided to-

Wait a second… Where the hay did Max get money from?

ↂ✶✵✶ↂ

I woke him up to ask him. He said he forgot for all of two seconds before he remembered and confessed to robbing some ponies before he decided to make a fresh start for himself. He apologized to the wrong person for it, but I couldn’t make him give back money he’d already spent and there was precious little I could do to return the money to its rightful owner without ruining Max’s reputation. However, I made him give me the money so I could send it to Celestia for proper distribution to people who might actually need it, but there’s was still the problem of dealing with Max. For the time being I’m letting him sleep in my bed, but that’s mostly because I don’t want to miss out on my rapidly dwindling amount of time I have with him in my home. I know we’ll have plenty of time in the future, but that’s not now, now is it?

… I know I should be more upset with Max for stealing, but in his defense, he’s never had a role model to really follow like I did or most other Ponies for that matter. England didn’t have the Elements of Harmony and the way Max talked about his hometown made me wonder how he managed to stay alive so long… Well, it was probably because he was smart and willing to dip his toes into dirty water to make ends meet and keep going for another day… Maybe I should end the conclusion here since it’s not really concluding anything.

Oh well. Thanks for listening, Diary~❣ Maybe next time we’ll have more fun things to talk about?

Author's Note:

Pickled jalapenos are the best. Put them around the tip of your dick for the Trojan Challenge.


As Always,Stay Cool, Kids

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Comments ( 3 )

the sudden change in tone to 4th of july was fantastic bahaha

9315278
It's some shit I would pull if you made me sing songs I knew. Or some Tiny Tim type shit. Tiptoe through the tulips n all that.

9317286
now you've got me all excited for max's ukulele rock-out

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