• Published 12th Nov 2020
  • 5,504 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.

  • ...

The Love You Need

The march to the dining hall seemed like the ones Anon could remember seeing in her past life, with the hungry desperate men staring over at the camera and wondering why the people holding it tortured them so. Corridors once helpful reminders of her new status in the world became mausoleum passages leading to a waiting gravesite. Even the dinner table, just as majestic as before with its plethora of breads and vegetables, elicited nary a grumble within Anon’s stomach as she walked beside Twilight. The sole consolation came in the mares being too distracted chatting amongst themselves, catching up on the time they’d missed in pampering Anon.

I can’t do this anymore, Anon thought, staring down at the floor to hide the last remaining wetness in her eyes. I don’t deserve to be around these wonderful mares.

“Wow!” Rainbow Dash called out, zipping towards the seat on the opposite end of Twilight’s chair. “Onion rings!”

“And buttered scones!” Fluttershy said, louder than she’d been for all of the time Anon knew her. She glanced over at Twilight with a look half-thankful, half-admonishing. “Twilight, you really shouldn’t have.”

Twilight gave a flippant wave of her hoof. “It’s nothing, really. The chef was more than happy to prepare everything. Mostly because whatever we don’t finish will go to the staff. They work so hard all the time, and everything’s gone so smoothly today that I think they deserve a treat.”

Stop being so good! Anon wanted to scream. She kept her head down while the rest of Twilight’s friends took their respective chairs. Anon only moved when she saw Twilight heading toward her own chair, and she pattered behind her guardian to her own designated seat. She hopped up and landed with a fwoomph louder than she wanted to make. Fortunately for her, Twilight paid no mind, instead beckoning her friends toward their waiting feast.

“Please, eat up!” Twilight said. “The cooks didn’t make this just for show!”

“Wayth aheadh ov you, sishter!” Pinkie Pie called out between a mouthful of mashed potatoes. The table all chuckled, an act Anon could only replicate with a strained smile. Much like her mounting of the chair, nopony paid any mind to the half-hearted gesture and dug into their respective dishes.

For a few minutes, Anon found her nondescript position amongst the group the greatest blessing she’d had next to being sent to Equestria.

In between bites of food, Twilight and her friends talked about themselves and the happenings in their own lives. Whether the discussion was the latest zap apple harvest at Applejack’s farm or the new bearcat Fluttershy introduced to her wildlife preserve, the mares paid little attention to the morose filly picking at the food on her plate. Their own chewing, violent and quick due to wanting to get a word out in between bites of their feast, contrasted with Anon’s measured nibbles. Too measured to be anything but an attempt to blend in, but Anon was sure not even Twilight could catch onto the act as long as her friends remained the targets of her affection.

The only hiccup in the visage, Anon found, came from her own face. Much like her eating, Anon’s face was pushed into a form of abject neutrality. No happiness, no anger, no melancholy, nothing. Nopony in Equestria, not even the greatest Manehattan detectives, would be able to gauge her emotion for however long they stared. In anyplace else, ponies would’ve looked at the filly as just taking in the world around her and gone on with the rest of their day.

In a room overflowing with so much joy and warmth, however, Anon’s coldness stood out like blood in the snow. Anon discovered this during a few lulls in the mares’ conversations, when one of them would give an errant look her way. Their happiness would stifle for just a moment, confused by the forced boredom in Anon’s eyes. Anon did her best to assuage their concerns and force a faint smile to cross her face. The mare, whether Applejack or another one of the Elements, would then give a smile of their own, almost suffocating in its genuineness, before returning to the topic at hoof.

These moments were when Anon’s love towards the mares intermixed with hatred. Hatred for how wonderful they had made her day. Hatred for making them clever enough to spot the seams in her ever-weakening disguise. Hatred for being the kind of mares one couldn’t hate, for tricking an enemy is much easier than tricking a friend.

After what felt like hours forcing unsentimental smiles and prodding peas upon her plate, a chef came out of the kitchen. His name was Mr. Whirl, the head chef, and a large handlebar mustache stretched across his face. He was pushing the dessert tray, loaded with various ice creams and gelatins that wiggled over each bump on the ceramic floor. The mares all looked at the assortment of treats with anticipatory glee, especially Pinkie Pie.

For a moment, Anon breathed a sigh of relief. Another distraction coming to her aid, stalling the tears that she couldn’t shed now lest her mother and her friends’ day be ruined. She would sit back, refuse dessert on account of the meal size, and wait for the inevitable sugar crash to take care of the mares. Maybe they’d be so tired she wouldn’t even have to talk to Twilight tonight. Maybe Jet would have to guide her back to bed, her tight-lippedness Anon had once considered off-putting becoming a great relief for the agony she now felt.

Anon watched the various mares give directions for each dessert. Pinkie had merely taken one of everything, Applejack had only a scoop of vanilla, and Rarity weighed the potential caloric intake each treat might give her. The chef almost seemed relieved when Anon shook her head and pointed to the still unfinished peas upon her plate.

“Everything alright, Nonny?” Twilight asked.

Anon’s back stiffened, before she realized Twilight’s seating gave her only a clear view of the back of Anon’s head. Forcing the smile once more, she turned to her and said, “Sure am. I just wanted to finish my peas before dessert.”

“That’s certainly mature of you,” Twilight said. “But I’m sure Mr. Whirl wouldn’t mind if you tried some of his desserts.”

“You said the cooks get whatever we don’t eat, right? Maybe Mr. Whirl would like some of his desserts when he’s done.”

“Why, how considerate!” Twilight said, levitating a mixture of strawberry and rocky road ice cream in front of her. “I’m sure Mr. Whirl appreciates your thoughtfulness, Nonny!”

Mr. Whirl gave only a disinterested shrug and chugged the cart along to the nearby Fluttershy, who was trying to pick lettuce out of her teeth.

“Guess you’re still a little full from Pinkie’s treats, huh?” Twilight said.

“I guess,” Anon said. “And I’m just kind of tired.”

“I’ll bet. Flying with Rainbow Dash, wings or not, would exhaust anypony. We’ll go to bed after I talk with the girls a little more, okay?”

Anon nodded. The relief that had come only in spurts now unleashed itself upon her like a bursting dam. She had only to wait a few more minutes when the ice cream would grow too soggy to eat and conversation would falter into mutterings as the friends became weary with the exertions of the day. Then the day would be over, and the tears she’d been fighting back the last few hours would be easier to shun.

“Goodness, is it dark in here,” Rarity said. The room indeed seemed darker than when they’d arrived, aided by the sun’s magically-coerced descent shortly before the group had settled for dinner. “Can we find a way to brighten…”

Anon heard and saw nothing but the past in front of him. The decadent table shifted away into the blank form the darkness always brought whenever Anon fell asleep. Only she knew she was awake then, watching the various nightmares appear before her in a manner not unlike the old black-and-white televisions from her past life. They flashed past, each scene vivid and gut-wrenching.

The last obscene gesture his father had made when the pleadings to stay echoed ineffectively throughout the house.

The CPS agent pushing him and his brother away as their mother walked with the orderly to her new room in the state hospital.

The stinging blows to the head each new bully in each new school provided with each new foster family the two found themselves in.

The car crash. A ringing headache that carried over with him to Equestria, along with the knowledge his brother’s body sat somewhere broken and torn on the wreckage-filled highway. Or maybe still in the driver’s seat where Anon had screamed at him for a reason he couldn’t even remember.

Anon could feel the tears already flowing, as well as the Princess staring down in concern.

“Anon, what’s wrong?” Twilight gently asked.

The doors were too far away to scamper past, the windows too high up to leap out safely. Anon dove under the table and began to sob. She tried to keep the bawling down, but she knew the cat was out of the bag. The rustle of the tablecloth already indicated Twilight’s presence, as well as the hushed voices of her friends above.

“Anon?” She looked up to see Twilight sticking her head under the tablecloth. Even in the darkness Anon could see the telltale worry across her face.

“I’m sorry,” Anon said, sniffling. “I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“For ruining everything. Making today a sad day instead of a good one.”

Twilight’s eyes widened before she shook her head. “No! Anon, you didn’t― What do you mean?”

Anon gave a quick sniff. “I didn’t think it would be like this. All these thoughts from before mixing with now. Some days I wake up like I should be. A little filly, all happy and smiles. Others I’m back to being… older, like you and your friends. And a boy and grown-up. And sad.” She buried her head into her forehooves. “I don’t know what to do...”

“Pain isn’t always easy to heal,” Twilight said. “It’s… It’s pretty hard, actually. And that’s okay. That’s why I’m here, Anon. You don’t need to hide it from me...”

“I didn’t want to bother you,” Anon whispered, hiccuping every few words. “Over there, that’s all I was. A bother.”

Twilight frowned. “Don’t say that. It’s not like that at all.”

Burying her head in her hooves, Anon said, “Maybe you’re right. But I still feel like it’s my fault anyway.”

A silence passed between them, aided by the now completely silent mares sitting above them.

“I don’t know what happened to you before, Anon. But the pony I’ve seen these past few months is somepony anypony would be lucky to know. One who cares about others and tries to be the nicest pony they can just so others won’t have to suffer the same way they did.”

Twilight ran a hoof through her mane, each newly mangled frizz still sparkling in the table’s darkness, and sighed. “So I guess what I want to say is that I’m worried. Scared, even. Because you act so happy and loving that the little voice in the back of my head says you’re hurting more than all the other Anons I’ve taken in. That you think you’re not worth helping.” She eased ever closer to the shaking filly. “But I’m not asking you to be the perfect pony, Anon. I don’t want you to fake a smile. I want you to let somepony help you.”

Anon leaped towards Twilight and buried her neck into Twilight’s lavender fur. “I’m sorry,” she said between sobs. “I’m sorry.”

“I know,” Twilight said, nuzzling her daughter as best she could. “You deserve to be happy, Nonny. Okay? Believe me, you do.”

A small rustle emanated under the table behind Anon, who gave a weak smile. “You girls can come under here, too,” Anon said. “I can hear you listening.”

Around her, the tablecloth lifted to find the five mares staring in at them. Concern filled their faces, even the ever-cheerful Pinkie’s.

“Are you alright, Anon?” Applejack said, reaching out toward her.

Anon grabbed her hoof and nodded. “I was just sad because you’re all so wonderful,” Anon blubbered. “And you make me feel like I’m loved. I… I haven’t felt like I deserved that in a long time.”

Applejack returned the squeeze, moving so she could wrap Anon in her own embrace. Rainbow soon followed, the unmistakable scent of the stratosphere enveloping Anon’s mucus-leaking nose.

“Keep your chin up, kid,” she cooed. “You still got plenty of flights to take.”

The others followed, and one by one, each pony’s legs wormed their way through the others’ until Anon could feel nothing but the warmth of their soft fur and see only the stars in Twilight’s hair surrounding them under the blackened table.

Yet for the first time since she arrived, Anon was not afraid of the darkness.

Author's Note:

The march mentioned at the beginning of the piece is a reference to the Bataan Death March from World War Two.

Also, Mr. Whirl is paid too much to care about Filly Anon's drama.

Comments ( 23 )

Although this was a little confusing, it was still good.

Feels like it's not really complete. May be a sequel hook? Also, I had a feeling it might go so much darker than it did.

With the death tag, I was expecting this to end differently.

Heh silly filly ain't got no hands. Sucks don't it?

Ngl this had me choking up a bit. The way you described that feeling of not being worth the effort, of feeling like you don't deserve love hit a little too close to home. Good story

I'm assuming that Anons just come and go? Doesnt make sense cause where tf are the rest tho. Mane 6 arent that old are they? Regardless, it was extremely good. And some more added, maybe explaining things in depth, would definitely help.


I'm still a tad confused, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Based on the title, tags and picture I had suspected another kind of story (I was picturing myself typing a 'what a wonderful tragedy'); if that was intended, I congratulate you. It has a kind of happy ending which for some reason feels bittersweet (may as well be the the reader's bias:derpytongue2:).

I can't help but feel that the question of the other Anons can easily put this story into Dark or Horror territory. My initial thought was that there has only been one Anon--they just tweak his mind and/or body after he "acts up."

Love and want a series on this.
Plus, it plays into my belief that you go to where you want when you die.

Interesting. I’m curious what happened to the others. I assume most found something to do with themselves but some small part of me would like to think there is a small army of green fillies planning to storm the castle.

Wait.. this whole thing was vibing sinister as hell, but thats the end?
I feel cheated, but annoyed too because it wasn't intentional.

The style and color of this feels so familiar, for some reason. It's also really nice.

I really enjoyed this, but it left more questions then answers and the ending was really, super unsatisfying. What happened to the rest of Twilight's "children" and why are they gone? Are they all named Anon? And are they all little green fillies? Is the phenomenon of humans dying and waking up as filly anons like... a new thing? Is it being investigated? I feel like this is an opening to an entire world of interesting stories, and that these questions are never going to be answered D:

It does raise more questions than it answers... not sure if that's the point.

Hey all! Sorry I took so long to respond to your comments, but I was busy with a few things and didn’t really have much time to sit down and think about what you all said. The fact the story was on the front page for a week and I was constantly getting updates even several days afterward didn’t help my disposition. However, I’m here now, so I’m going to hop to it!

Glad you enjoyed it!

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These comments point out the same things generally, so I’m giving an all-encompassing answer here. The story was not written as part of a series, but a singular work. The ambiguity presented was more a result of me trying to be economical with description and detail than trying to signal some nefarious intent on the side of the ponies. The idea Twilight or the others were doing something evil never even crossed my mind during the writing process of this story, since I was explicitly trying to go against other Filly Anon stories where Twilight or other ponies are borderline (or just straight out) abusive. I just wanted to do a story where both the ponies and Filly Anon were good, and the drama came mostly from a Filly Anon who hadn’t yet adjusted to her new home and the traumatic life they came from. I suspect most suspicions of a darker undercurrent to the story come from either the ambiguous description of Filly Anon’s angst (which, not being elaborated upon in-depth until the final chapter, might come off as suggestion of malfeasance on the ponies’ part), the mentions of other Anons (which I go into in the next paragraph), or the expectations many of us give this genre. A lot of Filly Anon stories either portray Filly Anon, the ponies themselves, or both as antagonistic in some manner so as to create conflict. Doing a story where nobody really is the villain or purposefully causing problems for the other is not only difficult, but makes many of us as readers suspicious. The story reads as too good to be true with the friendly Twilight and her emotional investment in a child who should just be disposable in this system, but the story instead doubles down that Twilight and the other girls are just that caring. I can actually understand why you might feel cheated of a sinister reveal; if this wasn't My Little Pony, most people would've laughed off this obscene amount of hospitality. I’m sorry if you thought the story was going in a darker direction, but that was not really my intention in writing this.

As for the other Anons mentioned in the story, neither I nor my editor really talked about them much. We pretty much came to the implicit agreement they were just out and about in the world once Twilight had set them on the right path, and that the Filly Anon shown was just one in a long many of Anons that appeared to Twilight after their demises on Earth. I pretty much established them as an excuse for why Twilight is so comfortable around Filly Anon (she’s done this multiple times before) and why the other Mane Six were initially wary around her (the other Anons were more akin to the foul-mouthed Filly Anons we usually see). It also established the fact Filly Anons appearing in Equestria wasn’t terribly unusual. A lot of other Filly Anon stories start with FA appearing in Equestria because they need to set up how Filly Anon perceives the world and how Equestria reacts to their presence. I wasn’t terribly interested in doing all that set-up and wanted to highlight how different this Filly Anon was to the archetypical Filly Anon we usually see, so I decided to merely establish other Anons had appeared before to show this Filly Anon was just another one going through the sluice, while also showing her individual personality in the breakfast scene. In hindsight, I realize it does leave a lot of open questions about how this “Twilight takes care of Filly Anons” system works and where the other Anons went, but as I said before, I wasn’t really interested in them. The focus was on Filly Anon and how she comes to accept that she doesn’t need to hate herself. Anything that didn’t contribute to this significantly was only briefly elaborated upon, for better or worse.

I hope this information helps in your understanding of the story, or at least my intentions in creating it. Whether it improves the story in your eyes or not, thank you for your input regardless.

I mostly put the Death tag just because there’s a description of death towards the end of the story. I wasn’t sure if it qualified as necessitating the Death tag, and at the time of uploading, I didn’t feel like bothering the mods with the question. So I put it there mostly as a precaution more than a signaler of the story’s tone.

That's actually the picture that inspired me to put that line in. It was one of those Filly Anon pictures that stuck with me when I first saw it, and I couldn't resist throwing in a reference to it the first chance I got.

Were this a Spider-Man crossover, you could’ve used this instead.

Yeah, this was one of the main reasons I wanted to write this story. I think a lot of people go through this feeling at least once in their lives, and the worse off of us go through it for almost our whole lives. I’ve only read a few Filly Anon stories where the implicit self-loathing and fear the character would feel were examined, so I really wanted to tap that vein and see if I could make something out of that situation. I’m happy you found that aspect understandable and affecting.

I thought it was more of a happy ending, but I can see where you’d perceive it as bittersweet. Anon is still lost in a world they don’t understand, but they can at least fully allow themselves the parental figures of Twilight and the other Mane 6 she never had in her previous life. In fact, thinking about it now, I wish I’d emphasized the need for parental figures a little more in the story.

It’s funny. As I said above, I wrote this as a single stand-alone story throughout the whole process. I had no real intentions of creating a series or sequel, since I felt I only needed one story to focus on Anon coming to terms with the need for her to accept love.

In the month since I published this story, however, the idea of sequels have pervaded me. Enough people enjoyed this story (it’s my most popular story at this moment) and the set-up of the story naturally produces a lot of sequel possibilities (Twilight cares for multiple Anons, then sends them out into the world). A few ideas have danced in my head about how this could be done, whether through Anon going off on some adventure with one of the Mane 6 or how she could run into another Anon who’s more similar to the traditional Anon characterization (swears a lot, acts obnoxious etc.).

That being said, I am not going to make any promises of sequels at this point. I have a good number of other stories that either need to be finished or completed stories that I think do need sequels, so trying to ride the brief wave of attention this story gave me with another Filly Anon tale doesn’t appeal to me. I won’t completely rule a sequel out; I may stumble across another idea I think would be a good fit for this kind of Filly Anon. But for the time being, it’s not going to be the first thing on my mind.

And yeah, I hope there's a place for us after death too.

Well, I don’t know about the castle, but I know they’ve already tried to storm Twilight’s treehouse.

The writing style should seem familiar, as it was actually your story, Flashback, which was the main inspiration for this story. I really liked the idea you presented of a serious Filly Anon story, and I even considered writing a story more akin to your dark portrayal of the Filly Anon character. However, I decided I really didn’t like many of the tropes you used like the abusive Twilight or the dystopian Equestria, so I decided to go in the complete opposite direction story-wise. While your story’s idea of a self-hating and introspective Filly Anon is still evident in this story, I went with the idea that Filly Anon’s hatred was entirely wrought upon herself or the people in her past life, and that she needed to open up to the ponies in order to fully get over her problems. Consider it a happier riff on your story’s ideas.

Thanks for the inspiration, and glad you enjoyed the story!

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Applejack is in the pocket of the Big Carrot Lobby. How else do you explain a busy apple farmer having the time to visit the head of state every moon and never fret about finances?

(On a serious note, interesting history lesson. Now I want to know who started the nonsense about cramps if you swam within two hours after eating.)

Just like we only hear our own voice as others do in recording, a story can look very different to a writer who knows why each part is at it is and a reader who's figuring it out as they go. It's a phenomenon hardly unique to fanfic - everything from the show to great novels are the same way. And there's a fair bit of debate over whether the authorial intent or what the readers take from it should be pre-eminent - complicated by how different readers can take different things.

Yeah, it is a prickly question, and one of many reasons having an editor is so necessary. I wasn't trying to invalidate your or others critiques of the story, but more to provide my perspective on why I made some of the decisions I made. In fact, I'm glad you did just so I know how to avoid such issues later on and find a way to balance brevity in description with clarity of story.

I'm flattered. Thank you.

I'm in this story and I feel attacked. I started tearing up at the first chapter and haven't stopped yet.


Honestly I was not expecting such a feels trip when I clicked on this story, but damn this was good. You explored the feelings of insecurity really well here, with Anon feeling like a victim of abuse that doesn't want to upset her new mother out of fear of being punished or kicked out alongside her obvious lack of self worth. The story wasn't fully just sad stuff and had some pretty humorous moments (particularly Rarity's little 'You little dear' moment) which helped it feel more alive and genuine.

The only thing I that think could've been explored more was her identity, I feel like you did attempt to poke at the subject, but didn't really get deep into the matter (such as when she corrects herself for using her old pronouns). I feel like this fic could've greatly benefitted from showing us some kind of body dysmorphia or gender dysphoria to help flesh out how the character feels about their new body.

Overall, this fic was a pretty fun read with some good character development and the right level of angst to make it touching without feeling forced. The only complaint I have is that I thought it was gonna be more of a horror story after the first couple chapters, as they do carry a lot of suspense and the entire 'other Anon Fillies' sounded like something sinister was going on. Even so, it's still a nice read with some really good moments. Consider this reader thoroughly satisfied.

Thanks for the feedback! I'm always happy to see somebody comment on my stories. I’m glad you largely enjoyed the story, as it was one that I thought would alienate a lot of people with the dour storyline in a genre usually focused on comedy. Seeing so many people enjoy it or even outright relate to it makes me feel all the more accomplished as a writer.

The only thing I that think could've been explored more was her identity, I feel like you did attempt to poke at the subject, but didn't really get deep into the matter...

One of the most amusing things about many Anon stories, at least to me, is the fact that Anon never really feels like they could be anybody. Sure, there's an attempt to give them a general crassness and over-the-top attitude, but Anon in general has become virtually unanonymous through the sheer amount of stories we've done with this archetype. In my story, I purposefully wanted to make Filly Anon feel like they could be any mild-mannered, beaten down person who landed here. The kind of person with such low self-worth that they would land in Heaven instead of Hell and assume there's been a mistake. This is why Filly Anon actively refuses to talk about her troubles in my story, because she thinks discussing her problems are just tossing them onto others, much like how she was tossed from guardian to guardian to be “somebody else’s problem”. This was, in my own weird way, to truly make Filly Anon anonymous; after all, how many people in this world feel such inefficacy? It’s also why there are mentions of previous Filly Anons who were under Twilight’s care, since this gives an excuse for our Filly Anon to have a degree of self-loathing. You can practically hear Filly Anon imagining Twilight and the others saying, “All those other Anons were troublemakers. Surely you’re not like them?” It’s not a case of the ponies being malevolent so much as the weird system the Anons appear through (which neither the Anons nor Twilight had a hoof in deciding whether to participate in or not) creates a perfect storm for somebody with this mindset to be utterly battered down.

I feel like this fic could've greatly benefitted from showing us some kind of body dysmorphia or gender dysphoria to help flesh out how the character feels about their new body.

Funny thing is, I actually did consider going that "body/gender dysphoria" route in the early writing stages. Transformation fiction is something that's always fascinated me, and the inherent concept of Filly Anon lends itself well to exploring such ideas. However, I found that a lot of other Filly Anon stories focused on that adjustment between forms (albeit largely in a more comedic and emotionally restrained way), and most of them tended to make that the main focus of their story. This isn't bad from a storytelling perspective of course, but I felt a lot of stories became so focused on Filly Anon's initial appearance and adjustment to Equestria that a good chunk of their wordcount was more set-up than execution. This story starts well after this Filly Anon first appeared because I wanted to focus on the emotional turmoil in a different way. Filly Anon is (mostly) adjusted to her new position in Equestria, but the walls she’s put up in order to deal with the change are starting to crumble under the pressure of her self-enforced anonymity. The story’s first act is basically starting where a lot of other Filly Anon stories would have their second act. In hindsight, this method did have somewhat of a drawback, as many readers assumed like you did that there was some kind of nefarious intent on the ponies' parts. Had I did the traditional opening many Filly Anon stories have, this would've likely never crossed anybody's minds. I’d always intended the ponies to be sincere in their attempts to help Filly Anon, though I can now look back and see how the current execution might lead readers to the opposite opinion (the lack of elaboration for how this Filly Anon/Twilight system works doesn’t help either). It's something I'll keep in mind for the next story I decide to do in this environment and these characters.

Anyways, sorry to have written so much for a single comment. You just jogged my memories for a couple aspects of this story, and I really wanted to talk about them. Plus, I never turn down somebody with a kind word to say about my stories. Positivity should beget positivity in this sour-sack world, and I wanted you to know your opinions/feelings were appreciated.

Thanks again!

really cute and good story

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