• Published 12th Nov 2020
  • 5,489 Views, 39 Comments

Pretty Laces for Good Little Fillies - libertydude

Anon tries to be on her best behavior when Twilight's friends come to visit. She doesn't know if that will be enough to be loved.

  • ...

Friends of a Friend

The afternoon consisted of a strange combination of grown-up talk and the group finding different ways to baby their host’s child. Anon got her first taste from their lunch’s long dessert line provided by Pinkie herself, and Anon soon discovered modest taste-testing was not the way the frizzy pink pony wanted her goodies to be enjoyed.

“Take as much as you want!” Pinkie said, bouncing up and down around the table. “Never let good food go to waste!” This command was all it took for Anon to grab hoofuls of jelly beans and cupcakes, and even an errant pie slice found its way to her gaping maw. The resulting mess across her face entertained the group to no end, and one quick napkin across her chin later allowed them to move onto their trek to the gardens.

It was to Anon’s surprise she found Fluttershy able to call down the various robins and bluejays in the trees, who all perched on her and chirped in ecstatic glee as though she were an old friend. Anon did not notice the smile spreading across her own face, though she had a vague awareness of her mother’s approving eyes. Applejack likewise dug up a carrot embedded in the earth and hoofed it to Anon.

“Good for your eyes, sugarcube,” Applejack said with a grin. Anon nodded while she chewed on the vegetable, a mild attempt to make up for the copious amounts of sugar she’d ingested earlier.

Yet the greatest surprise came from Rainbow Dash, whose main focus had mostly been talking with Twilight, coming up to Anon and asking her if she wanted to go for a fly. Anon initially shivered, remembering her impromptu flight with Twilight earlier that day. Looking into Rainbow Dash’s eyes, however, she found the same tenderness the mare had provided in their first meeting and, most surprisingly, a reservedness at odds with the reckless daredevil Twilight often described. Against her better judgment, Anon agreed.

“A-As long as we don’t go t-too fast,” she said atop Rainbow’s back, hooves grasping the mare’s multi-colored mane like a blanket.

Rainbow laughed. “Don’t worry, kid. Speed’s great and all, but nowadays I prefer morning cruises over hundred-yard dashes.”

With that, she took off to the sky and zoomed all around Canterlot. The white and gold city sparkled below them, the sounds of the bustling streets eliminated by the rushing wind drowning out everything else. The whole time, Anon’s hooves were wrapped around Rainbow’s neck, much to the latter’s amusement when they reached the city’s mountain summit and looked down upon the kingdom. No words were exchanged while they gazed out over the green valleys and snow-tipped peaks of smaller mountains in the distance. Anon thought maybe Rainbow, the perpetual talker as Twilight had described her, had finally learned when silence bred deeper emotions than the most grandiloquent of words. The only communication was the slight buck from Rainbow’s back, a quiet signal to ready for take-off once more.

An anguished cry that was becoming increasingly familiar greeted them once they landed back in the garden. “Goodness gracious, Rainbow Dash!” Rarity said. “Look at what you’ve done to your manes!”

The decision was instantly made to go to the royal salon, a choice Anon was surprised to see even the rough-and-tumble Applejack and tomboyish Rainbow Dash agree with wholeheartedly. No sooner did she find herself in a chair and Rarity pulling back her knotted mane. A variety of powders and oils were slapped against her scalp, the fashionista behind her listing off the various styles she would impose upon Anon until she found the right one.

“Just do her original style, Rarity,” Twilight said, towel around her head and cucumbers over her eyes.

“But a gem like this deserves the absolute best!” Rarity said, combing back the slight cowlick running through Anon’s hair. The protest seemed more obligatory than impassioned, for soon enough Anon was looking back at the familiar mop of hair she’d had, if with a far more caring touch to it than usual. Rarity then made her way to the hot tub with the others, her elegant form prancing up the steps to the large bath's rim. Anon started to sit up when she caught sight of Rarity’s waving hoof.

“You’ll want to wait a few minutes, Anon dear,” Rarity said. “The spray I used to keep your hair firm washes off when it’s too wet. Just sit back for a little while before you hop in.”

“Oh,” Anon said, leaning back into the chair. “Alright.” She gave a longing glance at Princess Twilight and her friends filing into the large porcelain tub, already rolling with bubbles and foam across its surface. The whir of the pumps pushing water through the tub created a subtle rhythm that filled the room and, with each passing second, reminded Anon of hotel spas and health clubs from home.

Anon froze and turned away from the boiling tub. She closed her eyes, grasping the armrests like they were the only thing between her and an eternal abyss below. Anon’s breaths became ragged and out of sync with the cheerful laughter and splashing water coming from the hot tub.

“You alright there, kiddo?” a voice with a familiar twang said. Anon turned to find Applejack sitting in the adjacent chair, lounging while she stroked her mane with a brush.

“H-Hey, Ms. Applejack,” Anon said. Her grip on the armrests loosened, her eyes focused entirely on the orange mare rather than the chatter on the other side of the room.

Applejack laughed. “You can just call me Applejack, sugarcube. I’ve already got plenty o’ farmhooves who call me ‘Ms.’ ”

“Alright,” Anon said. “Some ponies around here get annoyed if you don’t use titles.”

She rolled her eyes, chuckling. “Yep, Canterlot’s got a fair amount of uptights like that. Sizable few need a good ‘n’ proper buck to the behind, but you didn’t hear that from me,” she said, giving Anon a wink. She turned back to brushing her hair. “One of many reasons Ponyville’s the better place, if you ask me.”

“Ponyville.” Anon leaned across her armrest, desperate to get her mind off her old life. “That’s where all of you are from?”

“Some of us,” Applejack said. “Me an’ Rares were born and raised there. Everypony else came from a few different places. Pinkie used to be a farmin’ gal too, y’know.”

“Huh. The way Twilight talked about it, she made it seem like she was the only one who came from somewhere else.”

“Well, she was certainly the last of us to make her way to Ponyville. And it took her a while to get into the swing of things. First time she came to my farm, she tried every trick in the book to weasel her way out of our family get-together so she could get back to her book-nosing.”

“That sounds like Mo―...Twilight.” Anon cringed at the slip. “She’s always trying to sneak off from the Royal Court to go read a book.”

Applejack raised her eyebrow. “You care about her that much, sugarcube?”

Anon blinked. “Huh? What are you talking about?”

“A humble farm mare I may be, but I am a mother before that. And sure as an apple don’t fall up, I happen to know a ‘Mom’ from a ‘Twilight.’ ”

Anon’s face reddened. “What? No! I mean, I like her and I’m glad she took me in, but…” Anon buried her face in her hooves. “It’s not like that! I swear.”

Applejack patted Anon’s back. “Nothing to be embarrassed about, sugarcube. I’ve known more than one Anon who called her that.”

“The way you and everypony else was talking earlier, you make it sound like every other Anon was kicked out the castle.”

Applejack chuckled. “I will admit, almost every Anon I’ve heard Twilight caring for always seems to prefer leaving this castle kicking and screaming rather than toss one ounce of appreciation her way. But there’s always a few who seem to realize how great of a teacher she can be. Some even see her as something more. As I’m sure you already know.” She gave a knowing wink at Anon.

Anon turned red once again. “Sh-She really is great and all, and I do care about her, but...” Sighing, Anon stopped, collecting her thoughts as she stared pensively at the other mares Twilight called her friends. “The first night I... I came here, she spent the whole night trying to calm me down. I was scared to go to sleep, to go back to that darkness that pops up when you... when everything’s over back where you came from. Twilight told me it would be fine, that I would wake up here for the rest of my life, but I was too scared to care. For the first time in years, I was crying. Even nowadays, there are times where I can’t fall asleep without breaking a sweat.”

Applejack gave a slight nod, and Anon gave a brief sigh.

“All the same,” she continued, “Twilight was there when I finally fell asleep, and even when I woke up. Just to let me know she cared, no matter how stupid fear would make me.” Anon stared down at her hooves. “I never got so much as a smidgen of that back ho― from my old mother.” She regretted the words the instant they came out of her mouth. She knew Applejack would stare at her with manufactured sympathy, her world too wonderful for her to comprehend there could be an unhappy parental relationship.

“I get what you’re sayin’, Anon,” Applejack whispered. Setting her brush down, she looked at her friends as well, her expression unreadable. “Mine was my grandmother, Granny Smith. She raised me and my siblings when my parents... well, when they left us too early.” Rubbing her eye, Applejack chuckled, a simultaneously melancholy and fond smile settling on her muzzle. “Celestia knows she wasn’t perfect, but she did her best and made me understand family’s what’s most important. An’ it ain’t just blood makes family.” She nudged Anon. “Keep that in mind, sugarcube. You’ll find love easier that way.”

Anon nodded, doing her best to not show her watering eyes.

“Oh, Anon!” Rarity called out. “Your hair should be dry enough now. Come and join us!”

“Okay!” Anon looked back up at the tub, steeled for the bad memories to flood back to her. She saw only a bubbling tub and Twilight’s eyes shining amongst her friends. Relaxed, Anon wiggled out of her chair.

“Figure I’ll take a quick dip too,” Applejack said, getting out of her own chair. “Fashion and I go hoof in hoof like plums in apple pie, but I ain’t above letting the ol’ mane down.”

Anon stopped in front of Applejack, the mare nearly running into Anon’s chest. “Applejack, please don’t tell her about what I said. I... I want her to hear it from me, if I ever say it. That’s the only way it’ll mean anything.”

Applejack smirked. “I have a feeling she doesn’t need to be told. But my lips are sealed.”

Anon breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank you.” She followed Applejack up the white stairs leading to the tub's edge. Anon placed her back hooves into the warm water, a surge of relief flowing through her aching muscles.

“Nothing like a nice bath to top off a get-together, eh Nonny?” Twilight said.

“Nope!” Anon said, relaxing onto a perch beside her mother. She could feel the feathers of Twilight’s wing brushing against her side. “I thought you guys would just talk a lot, but you’re actually pretty fun.”

The group laughed in unison. Anon cringed a little bit, unsure whether the guffaws were at her expense.

“Thank goodness we’re not a bunch of bores,” Rarity said between tears. “I wouldn’t want to think we’d lost our touch.”

“I don’t know what I’d do if I was called boring,” Pinkie said, sticking her tongue out in distaste at the word. “A picture perfect party pony needs to provide the most fun possible!”

Today was actually pretty fun, Anon thought, smiling as Pinkie blew bubbles underneath the water’s surface. They really are as wonderful as Twilight said they’d be.

The water went cold. Anon’s face, unbeknownst to her, fell with the realization filling her mind. Twilight’s friends were so wonderful. As wonderful as her. They treated her like their own filly, their own child to coddle and nuzzle in their own affectionate ways.

He loved them too. And he couldn’t disappoint them now as well.

She. She couldn’t disappoint them now.

An errant splash from Fluttershy awakened Anon, and she slipped her back deeper into the hot tub. She made sure her eyes were below the water’s surface and that when she rose her tears would be mistaken for the tub water.

Author's Note:

Now we get into the thing I always wanted to examine: the dichotomy between Filly Anon and the male Anon she used to be. It's something that I feel not a lot of Filly Anon fics examine, so it was quite exciting to explore it here.