• Published 7th Aug 2018
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The Bug In The Basement - Skijarama



A changeling egg is left in the human world by its mother in a last-ditch effort to save it.

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Chapter 65: All The Love in Both Worlds

One Month Later.

“Dad, I have a question.”

“Yes, Beebee?”

“If I decide to go and live in Equestria, how long would it be before I got to come and see you again?”

“I...I don’t know, Beebee. A while, probably.”

“How come?”

“It’s complicated, and to be honest, I don’t actually know all of the details. I think that having too many things going back and forth through the portal can cause some sort of imbalance over here on Earth. I mean, you know how panicky people can be when dealing with the unknown, and pretty much only the high schoolers in town know about Equestria. If word got out about it on the whole, well… who knows what might happen.”

“Oh… I think I understand.”

“Yeah… Princess Twilight keeps a pretty close eye on things according to Sunset. Plus there’s the travel time between Twilight’s castle and wherever the Hive is. It took your parents a few days to make the trip, and they don’t have cars over there, last I checked.”

“But… I would get to see you again, right?”

“Yes. I don’t know when, but yes, if you went through, we could see each other again… someday.”

“...I think I’ve made up my mind.”

That conversation had been two weeks ago, as Eventide and Beebee sat on the Everfree Park trail to catch their breath and take in the breath-taking view of the mountainside. They had talked off and on about Equestria over the weeks before, with Beebee asking questions to make sure he fully understood exactly what he was deciding on.

And he had decided.

And in his heart, Eventide secretly wished that his son had decided differently.

It was the late evening, and through the windows of the car, one could see the sun setting on the horizon in the distance. The distant ball of gas and fire cast hazy orange rays of light across the world, blanketing the sides of the town’s many buildings in its glow and sending long stripes of darkness spreading where the light could not reach. A few clouds could be seen rolling by in the heavens, drifting lazily in the wind.

It was beautiful… and to Eventide, completely unfitting for what was to come. As he turned the car down another corner, his eyes flicked to one side and caught sight of Beebee in the passenger’s seat. The bug was in his dog form, his piercing blue eyes staring directly ahead through the windscreen.

There weren’t very many people about right now, thank goodness for that. Only the occasional pedestrian wandered by on the sidewalks, and vehicles were even less frequent. Just about everyone had gone home early for the day, as the common work week was due to start back up again tomorrow. Everyone needed their sleep, leaving the streets mostly devoid of activity.

Another corner came and went, and at last, the ever-so-familiar structure of Canterlot High School came into view in the distance. Eventide’s heart beat a little faster, and his blood began to go cold. Every instinct in him was screaming to slam his foot into the brakes and refuse to go another inch, to turn around and take his son home and never let him go.

Beebee looked sideways at him, his face sagging with regret and sympathy. “Dad… it’s okay,” he whispered in a tender voice, no doubt seeing his father’s dread.

Eventide sighed and nodded his head. “I know… I know…”

The car steadily slowed down until it came to a total halt right next to the school. Cutting the power to the engines, Eventide looked and caught sight of all the people waiting for them. There was Sunset Shimmer, Fluttershy, the Crusaders, and of course, Clypeus and Lancea. “They must have just come through,” he thought to himself before his gaze was drawn away from them by a swirl of green flames in the passenger’s seat.

Beebee, back in his real body, looked out the window for several seconds, his eyes glued on his parents. He slowly turned back to Eventide, his jaw clenching as if he wanted to say something.

Eventide silenced him before he could speak, though. He leaned over and put his hand on Beebee’s shell, his thumb right at the base of his neck. Beebee tensed under the touch for a second, but then relaxed and leaned into it, a quiet purr coming from the bottom of his voice. After several moments of this, Eventide withdrew his hand and looked into Beebee’s eyes. “...Are you sure about this?”

He hesitated for a second, then nodded. “I’m sure. I’m ready.”

A heavy silence fell over them, and Eventide took the moment to look at his adopted son. “...Alright,” he eventually said in a quiet whisper before unclasping his seat belt. “If you’re sure, then we shouldn’t keep them waiting anymore.”

Beebee hummed quietly in agreement. After another moment of hesitation, his horn lit up and undid his own seat belt before opening the door. Eventide followed suit, stepping out of the car and circling around to stand by his son.

All eyes turned to look at them as they stepped forward, and Apple Bloom came running up to them. “Beebee!” she greeted loudly before sliding to a halt right in front of him. She crouched down so she was at his eye level and peered deep into his glowing blue orbs. She stared at him for a long while, not saying anything. As the seconds ticked by, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo came up and joined her, each one crouching down by her sides.

Beebee finally looked away under the silent attention, his ears drooping. “Uhm… Hey, girls,” he greeted.

“Beebee,” Sweetie Belle said in a low, hushed voice. She reached out and gently lifted his chin so he was looking at them again before giving him a small smile. “...It’s good to see you.”

He managed a small smile at that, his shell twitching on his back. “Y-yeah. It’s good to see you, all, too.”

“Do you really have to go?” Scootaloo asked, her voice surprisingly solemn.

Beebee turned to her, his ears drooping again. “Yeah, I do. There are so many things I want to learn about myself, and what it means to be a changeling. And…” he glanced up at Eventide again, his eyes shimmering with an apology. “I can’t learn those things here.”

Scootaloo considered this for a second before sagging and nodding her head in understanding. “Okay, fair enough… you just make sure you come back and tell us all about it, you hear me?” she demanded while jabbing him in the chest with a finger.

Beebee managed a small smile at that. “I will, don’t worry,” he assured before his eyes returned to Apple Bloom. His smile faded when he saw the still-solemn look on her face.

And then, to only Beebee’s surprise, she reached out and tugged him into a hug, holding him tight against her chest. He squirmed for a second to get comfortable, and then returned the hug affectionately, giving a quiet chitter. After a moment, Apple Bloom leaned back and looked into his eyes again. “Y’all take care of yerself,” she requested in a whisper.

“I will.”

With that said, Apple Bloom finally smiled and put her hand on his head as if to ruffle hair that wasn’t there. After a second, she finally stood back up and backed away, the other Crusaders following her and clearing the way.

And so they pressed forward, emerging into the very center of the group. Clypeus came forward first, only just catching Beebee when he launched himself against her in a tackle-hug. She fell back onto her haunches with an ‘oof’ from the force of the impact, but all the same, returned the hug as tightly as she could.

Eventide watched the two of them cuddle, his lips twitching up into the ghost of a smile. It was an adorable scene, to be sure… if only the surrounding situation weren’t so depressing.

Lancea stepped towards the two, his eyes briefly flicking over to meet Eventide’s gaze. He then sat down by his mate’s side and poked Beebee to get his attention. “Hey, Beebee. Are you sure about this?” he asked in a hushed whispered, bringing his face close to his son’s. “It’s not too late to rethink this, you know, and we won’t be able to come back for a long time once we go through.”

Beebee hesitated, his eyes drifting away while his ears fell flat against his head. “...I’m sure,” he finally acknowledged with a stiff nod. “I wanna see where I come from. I wanna see the hive. And I want a mom.”

Lancea studied him as if looking for any signs of deception. Eventually, he gave a satisfied nod and backed off. “Clypie, give him some space,” he called quietly to his mate. “Let him say goodbye.”

Goodbye.

Eventide went rigid the moment that word hit his ears, and it truly dawned on him what was about to happen. This was goodbye. It wasn’t goodbye for good, but… his eyes affixed themselves to Beebee, watching intently as he was released from Clypeus’ embrace. He stood there for a second, his ears twitching before he slowly turned around to look up at Eventide.

“Stay strong, Eventide,” Eventide told himself. He shook his body to clear his mind and looked over at Fluttershy. Part of her face was hidden by her long pink hair, and the one visible eye was shimmering with tears. Her lip was trembling, and her breaths were becoming uneven.

Something stirred in Eventide, compelling him to react. Slowly, he lifted a hand out to Fluttershy, beckoning her to approach. “Hey,” he called over gently, drawing her eyes to him. He gave her a smile, trying to hide his own shakes as well as possible. “Come over here.”

Fluttershy was motionless for a moment, looking unsure. But when Beebee turned to look at her, she made up her mind. With slow movements, she crossed the gap and took Eventide’s hand in hers. Her grip was firm as if she were clinging to a lifeline.

Eventide swallowed heavily and pulled her into a hug. She returned it gladly, burying her face into his shoulder to take a few deep, shuddering breaths without having to look at the rest of the world. She repeated this several times before pulling back from the embrace, having gotten at least a partial hold of herself.

Satisfied that she would be alright for now, Eventide returned his attention to Beebee. Keeping Fluttershy's hand in his, he got down onto one knee, guiding her down with him. Beebee looked back up at them, his own face starting to tremble a little bit.

He looked down and scuffed the pavement with his hoof. “Dad… Aunt Fluttershy, I... I…” he tried, but the words wouldn’t come. He shuddered, a single tear falling from his hidden face to splatter against the ground. “...I’m going to miss you guys.”

“We’re going to miss you, too,” Eventide replied, struggling to keep his voice steady.

“Every minute of every day,” Fluttershy added with a sniffle, barely able to smile as a few tears of her own rolled down her cheeks.

Beebee looked back up at them, and Eventide’s heart twisted when he saw the dark streaks rolling down his son’s face. “...Th-thank you… thank you both so much for taking care of me.”

He couldn’t do it. Eventide couldn’t keep it in any longer. He tried so, so hard to hold it back, but in the end, he screwed his eyes shut and looked down with a sudden sob. He felt Fluttershy’s hand squeezing his in an attempt to comfort him, a gesture he returned without even thinking. Grunting, he wiped the back of his hand over his eyes to clear away the unwanted moisture before looking at his son again. He forced himself to smile. “O-of course… ever and always.”

“We love you,” Fluttershy added, brushing away her own tears. “More than anything else in the world.”

Beebee’s face contorted, his teeth becoming visible in a sad grimace. Without another word, he jumped forwards and wrapped his forelegs around Eventide’s neck in a tight hug. The gesture was instantly returned, and Fluttershy joined them from the side.

Eventide squeezed Beebee close, then looked up at Clypeus and Lancea. They, too, had tears in their eyes, though they were managing to smile all the same. Maybe they were glad their son had gotten such a loving adoptive family. Maybe they were just happy to have their son back. It didn’t really matter, though.

Clypeus glanced over at Lancea, then stepped forward until she was right in front of them. She reached out and put her hoof on Eventide’s hand, which was still wrapped around Beebee, before looking into his eyes. “Thank you again for looking after him when we couldn’t,” she whispered. “I can never hope to repay you for everything you’ve done for my family.”

Eventide sniffled, choked down a sob, and looked intensely into her eyes. “J-just take good care of h-him, okay? Love him and care for him and make sure he’s happy. D-do that, a-and we’ll call it e-even.”

“We will,” Clypeus replied before leaning forward and joining the group hug. She positioned herself so her muzzle was between Eventide and Fluttershy’s heads before she spoke again, in barely even a whisper. “I’ll give him all the love in the world… All the love in both worlds.”

Eventide wasn’t sure how long they sat lack that, bundled together in a massive group hug. But alas, all good things must come to an end, it seems. Slowly, bit by bit, everyone backed out of the embrace, with Clypeus backing away to be with her mate again. Fluttershy and Eventide pulled back as well, looking into Beebee’s eyes one more time.

He sniffled, a few more tears rolling down his cheeks. Despite his tears, though, he managed to smile up at them. “Dad… Fluttershy…”

Eventide took one of Beebee’s hooves in both of his hands, holding it tight. “We’ll see you w-when you come back, Beebee,” he said, his forced smile faltering.

“No matter how long it takes, we’ll be here ready to welcome you back,” Fluttershy agreed, looking to finally be calming down. “And I can’t wait to hear all about what life in the hive is like.”

Beebee smiled at her, a quiet chitter bubbling out of his throat. He leaned over to give her one more hug before finally backing away and standing entirely on his hooves again. He stood there for several moments, taking deep breaths, before looking into Eventide’s eyes.

The rest of the world faded away for the both of them, seeming to vanish and fade away into nothingness. It was just them, a father and his son, a man and his basement bug, and the boundless familial love they shared for one another.

One more tear rolled down Eventide’s cheek, and he smiled. “...Goodbye, Beebee. Your nest of birds will be waiting for you when you get back.”

Beebee stared back up at him for several seconds, his expression hard to read. Finally, he smiled and nodded. “I’ll come back soon, I promise.”

“You’d better. Buddha’s gonna get lonely without you.”

Beebee managed to give a quiet, weak laugh at that. It petered out quickly, though, devolving into a soft sigh. He took a deep breath, steeling himself. “...Goodbye, dad.”

And with that, Beebee turned around to look at Clypeus and Lancea. The two of them nodded at one another before stepping forward and joining Beebee in front of the portal. They looked up at Sunset, who had stood by the portal, silently waiting and her head held down respectfully.

“I think we’re ready, Sunset,” Lancea told her in a quiet voice.

“Okay… Twilight’s ready on her end,” was her quiet, simple response.

Clypeus looked down at Beebee with that confirmation, a gentle smile on her face. “Are you ready, Beebee?”

Before the basement bug could answer, Sweetie Belle’s voice suddenly cut through the air. “Beebee!” she cried out, drawing all eyes to her. She was breathing heavily and shakily, tears of her own rolling down her cheeks. The same was true of Apple Bloom and Scootaloo, though they seemed to be making an effort to contain themselves. “We’ll miss you!”

Beebee didn’t say anything but instead looked between everyone gathered together. Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, Fluttershy, Eventide… all of them. His best friends and his family. His eyes lingered on Eventide’s for a second, and the man nodded at him.

Beebee nodded back and then turned to face the portal. “...Okay. I’m ready…” he told Clypeus, his voice barely audible.

Nothing else was said. As one, Beebee, Clypeus, and Lancea stepped forward, the portal starting to shimmer as they began to pass through. Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo and Apple Bloom all began to cry out their own farewells, and even Fluttershy joined them in waving and calling goodbye. Eventide was silent, though, his eyes trained on Beebee’s body, watching each part of him pass through.

The tip of Beebee’s tail disappeared through the portal.

That was it.

Beebee was gone.

Eventide tried to hold it together, but it was no use. The second the light faded away, his eyes screwed themselves shut of their own accord. He couldn’t stop the long, anguished wail that tore past his lips no matter how hard he tried. Everyone around him fell utterly silent, and he could feel their eyes on him.

He could also feel Fluttershy’s hands on his back and shoulder, gently pulling him up until he was held in a tight, comforting hug against her chest.

In the distance, the sun disappeared beneath the horizon.

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