• Published 6th Dec 2012
  • 1,958 Views, 85 Comments

On the Side - DocDelray

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A beautiful autumn day had settled upon the small town of Ponyville; the warm sun and cool breeze that drifted through the trees spoke a promise the wonderful day ahead. This brought a wide smile to the face one Pegasus in particular. Her golden coat drank in the life-giving rays as she flexed her wings to tease her feathers with the wind. Long, flowing locks of bright pink drifted from her mane and tail as her soft blue eyes scanned the pristine horizon. A long, jagged scar marred the mare’s otherwise flawless face, running downward over her left eye; a mark of valor she proudly displayed.

Fluttershy happily trotted her way down the path from her quaint little cottage towards the town. Her chores finished for the day and her animal friends fed, she was free to indulge the afternoon away with her friends. As she neared the town proper, she spied something down the road that tugged her smile all the wider and quickened her pace.

Down the path, a young human sat casually upon a fence that ran along one side of the dirt road. He was in his early twenties and possessed a lithe, athletic build; he was clad in a pair of light grey pants and a pair of combat boots, a jacket of light brown material and a dull green shirt hung over his upper body. He had a head of short-kempt, bright red hair that looked to have been left to the mercy of the wind today; around his neck was a scarf made of a dull grey fabric. His green eyes lit up as the mare made her approach.

As he dismounted the fence, Fluttershy half-hovered to close the distance with a few quick flaps of her wings; she happily called out before throwing her forelimbs tightly around his neck as she let herself settle onto her hind legs. Standing upright, the mare found herself roughly the same height as the human.

“You’re early, Arkanna.” She softly cooed.

“Nothing wrong with wanting to see my favorite girl, is there?” He asked playfully as he gave the mare hanging from him a squeeze around her waist. The Mandalorian was treated to the sweet sound of her soft giggle and a flush of red entering her cheeks.

“Not at all! I mean, if you really want to, that is.” She stammered out in her soft, lilting tone.

With a predatory smirk, he inched a bit closer to her face until his nose was against her snout. Arkanna tried his best not to start snickering when her blush deepened at his advance. He could feel her heart beat punching rapidly through her breast into him.

“You should be careful, giving me free reign like that.” Arkanna said in a low, teasing growl as he held the nervous mare a bit tighter. After a few satisfying minutes of letting her stew a bit, his lips quickly found her cheek.

Fluttershy gave him a mock glare before letting her head rest against his chest. “I wish you wouldn’t tease me like that.”

“I can’t help it,” He snickered in reply, “you’re just too damned cute when ya get flustered.”

The trip into Ponyville proper was a slow and pleasant walk for the warrior and the Pegasus. Fluttershy practically beamed the entire trip as she stayed close beside Arkanna, her wing draped around his lower back. A touch of red seeped past her golden fur to paint her cheeks when she felt his fingers idly brush through her hair. Part of her was disappointed when they finally reached their destination.

With a touch of reluctance, Fluttershy removed her wing from her “coltfriend’s” back and took a seat at the open air café. Still, it felt impossible for her to lose the smile that was now plastered upon her face. She’d nearly forgotten how good it could feel to care about somepony that wasn’t one of the many critters she watched over, or just one of her friends. It was something she feared she may never feel again.

Despite how she currently felt, it had been a long road leading to where she sat now. Arkanna had been so strange in her eyes at first, not just in the way he looked, but also the ways he acted and the world he came from. He had saved both her life and the lives of her friends, sparking her curiosity. As the conflict that threatened her world and her people was brought to a close, Fluttershy had returned the favor and saved his life as well, earning her the scar resting upon her face and the affections of the young warrior.

As they continued to spend time together, she stopped seeing him for what he was and more for who he was. Arkanna Kershom was a light-hearted soul that, despite his hardships, still found every reason to smile and enjoy life. He may have been seen as a subpar warrior and soldier by the standards of many of his peers but that never stopped him from pushing himself to his limits.

He wasn’t without his faults, however. After all, no one was perfect. His sarcastic nature could easily cross the line into coming off as rather childish, and would start to wear on just about anypony’s patience. Arkanna was also anything but the most intelligent creature in the galaxy and was prone to making poorly thought-out snap decisions. But these flaws and all the others only helped to magnify his virtues.

As their emotions grew stronger, she could feel other barriers start to crumble away in their wake. She had begun to find a number of things physically attractive about the young man who now sat across from her. That bright red mane of his that always seemed to remind her of the leaves during fall was rather fetching, in her opinion. She had come to adore the feel of his arms tightly wrapped around her, as well as the touch of his fingers through her fur and mane. The strange feel of his skin against her still sent shivers down her spine as it contrasted with her fur. Most of all though, were those eyes of his. Fluttershy adored those green orbs that held a touch of a childish spark, she could spend hours simply staring into them and find contentment.

It wasn’t until the waitress repeated herself, “Ma’am, would you like to place a drink order?” That she realized she’d let herself get lost staring into those eyes a lot longer than she probably should have.

Fluttershy’s face became beet red before quickly hiding behind the long, pink strands of her mane. “Uhm, yes. A sweet tea, please…” She managed to squeak out.

With their waitress trotting away with their order, Arkanna could barely hold back a playful snicker as Fluttershy shrank into her seat. “What was that all about Mesh’la?”

A soft smile slipped past her wall of soft pink tresses, accompanied by a deep blush. “Oh, nothing,” she whispered.

It didn’t take long before she crawled her way out of her self-imposed exile as her confidence returned to her. This had become an effect he had on her, this bolstered sense of self that was eager to be alongside him. In no time at all, Fluttershy started filling the empty air with idle small talk. She began bringing Arkanna up to speed on the well-being of her beloved critter friends. A number of whom she was sad to say, had not returned to her since the Deathwatch attacked Ponyville.

Fluttershy had carried on for the better part of the next ten minutes before she noticed something. She had been dominating the majority of the conversation. While Arkanna appeared receptive to what she had to say and was responding as such, his gaze seemed to track something else. As her words slowed to a stop, she ventured a glance to find a group of aliens and even one particular dark-coated Pegasus stallion all garbed in military casual.

Before Arkanna knew it, his view was filled by a pair of sad cerulean orbs. “Is everything okay?” She asked gently.

A forced smile came to his lips as he said to her, “Yeah; everything’s fine, Shy.”

It didn’t take long under her gaze for his defenses to start cracking about their foundations. When her hooves reached out and clasped around his hand, they had turned to dust, only to be obliterated by the soft breeze of her voice. “Tell me.”

With a sigh he took her hoof in his hand, tracing about the limb in his grasp with his thumb. “It’s just that… back at the camp, I see the other soldiers coming and going from the battlefields. They talk about the fights they’ve been in and the enemies they’ve faced. But here I am, stuck on a perfect planet, with a perfect girl and I feel so useless for it.”

“Y-you don’t like it here?” She asked, with a strong hint of worry in her voice.

“No,” Arkanna quickly corrected her before clapping both hands around her forehooves and placing a kiss on them, “I love it here. Equestria is an amazing place and I’m honored to be one of the few off-worlders to be given the privilege to call it home. I love every second I’ve gotten to spend with you because of it. But…”

His voice trailed off a moment as he gave her hooves a soft squeeze. “From the time I was a little kid, I was taught to be a warrior, to defend and protect our people. Now Deathwatch is tearing into our worlds left and right, I guess it just makes me feel kinda useless in the long run.” With a grumble he ran a hand through his hair as he threw his gaze around the town square. “I know Kad’s got good reasons for staying here; he has to help bring your planet up to speed. Gotta protect this area, being the only Knight in this system, and he’s got his kid and new apprentice to train.”

Fluttershy stared sadly at him for a time. She wanted to say something, anything to break this somber mood that had settled around them. No matter how she struggled though, her voice refused to leave her throat. Words no longer willing to give her any aid, she reached her wing out to brush the soft plumage across his cheek. With a thoughtful smile, she watched as he tilted his cheek into her affection. A shiver danced along the wing and through her spine when he reached up and took the feathered limb in his hand, playfully brushing through the down.

“Yeah, I guess I’m thinking too hard on this, aren’t I?” He pointed out with a chuckle.

Ponyville’s marketplace was full of its usual hustle and bustle as Ponies went about their daily errands. In the heavily Equestrian crowd, Arkanna found himself the odd one out. He stayed close behind Fluttershy as she made her purchases and haggled the prices when necessary, though he had a feeling that the alien escorting her about may have helped get her a few bargains. His arms had been loaded down with her purchases, mostly out of his insistence, as he let her haggle with a rather abrasive mare over the price of something called cinnamon.

He made use of this time to travel back to what they had discussed at the restaurant. Here he was, on this pretty little planet in this peaceful village with a pretty girl. All the while, his people are locked in a conflict that may very well decide the future of their society. Ponyville wasn’t an unpleasant place to be stuck by any means; it was surrounded with lush and beautiful land which held wonders that he had yet to see replicated on most worlds. The citizens, while taking some time to warm up to him and his kind, were all very friendly and welcoming, several of which had made it a point to befriend him.

One of whom, the young soldier had managed to spot in the crowds. Her name was Golden Harvest, though most referred to her as Carrot Top, an Earth Pony with quite the talent as a gardener. She possessed a golden coat coupled with the bright orange curls of her hair and tail, with a pair of deep green eyes. He had met her through Fluttershy when she had called in the Pegasus’ help to remove a group of critters that had been helping themselves to her garden. The pair had gotten to talking while Fluttershy coaxed the animals to leave; they soon found they had a few things in common.

Her attention had been fixated mostly upon a collection of seeds that had been set out for display. As she caught sight of Arkanna, her eyes lit up happily as she trotted her way over to the warrior and his mare. “Arkanna,” She happily called out to him, “jeez, am I glad to see you.”

Her overly eager tone told him quite a bit about her intentions. “And I wonder why that might be.” He answered with no shortage of sarcasm.

The Earth Pony gave him a rough shove to the gut with her hoof disguised as a playful nudge. “What, I can’t be happy to see one of my favorite bucket heads?”

“You mean besides the last time you had a smile like that, you guilted me into weeding your garden for you?” Arkanna reminded her.

“Small favors between friends.” She was quick to defend herself with. “Speaking of favors though. Pretty close to lunch time and I’m running kinda short on bits, you know, what with taking care of my one mare business and trying to keep up with the new influx of demand that your camp brings in.”

He could already see where this was going. “Whoa, you want me to buy you lunch now?”

“Oh c’mon, I bought for you.” She replied pitifully.

“You said that was payment for the yard work.”

“A few bits between buddies is nothing big.” She assured him. “I’d pay for you, given the chance. Besides, I wanted to talk to you about something.”

“Speak your mind, not like you ever stop anyways.” He pointed out while adding Fluttershy’s latest purchase to the growing load.

She glanced between Fluttershy and Arkanna a moment. “This is more of a private matter.” She said cautiously. “C’mon, I’ll tell you while you buy me some grub.”

“It’s okay.” Fluttershy interjected before he could reply. “I was done with my errands anyways. I’ll see you back at the cottage?” She asked him with a strong hint of hopefulness in her voice.

“Try an’ keep me away.” Arkanna replied with a cocky grin.

Golden Harvest waited patiently while he handed off the shopping bags to the soft-spoken Pegasus. She couldn’t help but grin as she watched Fluttershy snake a quick kiss from the young human’s lips. The deep lines of red that now burned through the nervous mare’s coat were nothing short of adorable in Harvest’s opinion. As cute as it was to watch the pair, she was still hungry; with a nudge, she gave Arkanna a reminder of this problem.

For the second time today, Arkanna found himself sitting across from a hungry mare who was more than happy to enjoy a lunch on his coin. The mare across from him happily helped herself to the collection of fruits and vegetables in front of her; it still struck the human as odd that the Equestrians could eat things like flowers and other plants. Those fruits looked pretty good, though.

“So, you gonna tell me what’s on your mind, or do I have to guess?” He asked with a hint of annoyance.

Golden Harvest rolled her eyes at his comment while she finished her salad off. “A hard working mare like me needs her strength, Arkanna.” She scolded him before taking another deliberate bite of food. “Besides, haven’t known you to do anything on an empty stomach either. Speaking of,” she continued, “very glad you decided to take me up on lunch. I really enjoy these moments, ya know.”

Arkanna’s attention for the most part was less on the conversation and more on his dwindling credit supply. “Uh huh.”

The Earth mare took a moment to glance around the café while his attention was off on the distance. She cursed herself under her breath, but she needed to do this. With a deep breath she steeled her resolve before making her move.

“I really do appreciate it,” she said in a low tone, “with the hours I work, well, I get so few chances to spend time with the opposite sex.”

Something about the way she said that set off a few alarms in Arkanna’s head, snapping him out of his bored fog. “Huh?”

Before he had any real inkling of what was happening, her back hoof beneath the table began tracing up the side of his leg. One of her fore hooves rested upon his hand atop the table. When he met her gaze, the young human was met with the softly lilting, half lidded eyes of the mare across from him.

“Carrot Top, what do you think you’re doing?” He asked cautiously as her eyes picked him apart.

She gave him a hungry smile as she continued run her hoof along the back of his hand. “Arkanna, I know how this might sound to you, but, I’ve been rather envious of Fluttershy since she managed to catch one of you off-worlders.”

Golden Harvest leaned in a bit closer to him as she continued to trace his forearm. “Fluttershy is such a sweet thing, but, I can see how she strings you along, you poor boy.” She brought herself barely an inch from his face. “I know how to treat a stallion, how to give you everything you want.”

A firm hand came against her chest and pushed her back into her seat. Harvest found herself now staring into the surprisingly stern eyes of the young soldier. “Gold, I don’t know what kinda game you’re trying to play here, but it stops right now, you copy?”

“If you don’t like this one, I’ve got other ways we can play.” She said with bedroom eyes.

“Okay, I think I’m just gonna go.” He said while dropping a few credits on the table as he started to take his leave. “Enjoy the lunch.”

Her sultry look was quickly replaced with a look of satisfaction. “Oh, thank Celestia.” She breathed out in relief. “Sorry about stringing you on like that, bucket head, but I had to make sure.”

“Wha- what do you mean, be sure?” He asked with a strong tint of annoyance in his voice.

“Your intentions with Fluttershy,” She replied casually while popping a piece of fruit into her mouth. As she glanced up at him, she caught the look of confusion still dominating his gaze. “Look, Fluttershy’s been through a lot before you got here; worst of all was that last worthless jerk she ended up with.”

“Fluttershy had another guy in her life?” He asked cautiously as he returned to his seat.

Golden Harvest rolled her eyes at his response. “Yes, well, believe it or not, we all had lives long before any of you showed up. Heck, I would assume you’ve had marefriends before meeting Fluttershy.”

“Well… yeah, okay, I see your point.” He admitted in a defeated tone. After a short pause he couldn’t help but ask what was burrowing under his skin now. “So what happened with this shabuir?”

She glanced up at him from her meal while trying to carefully pick out her next words. “A few years back, Fluttershy had met a rather handsome stallion who seemed to always have the right things to say.” Harvest pushed the food on her plate around as she sifted through the memories. “A lot of us who knew her were all really happy for her. At first, anyways.”

With a sigh she kept her story going. “It’s my fault, really; I knew something was up when I saw him ogling Rose and chatting her up like he was. But I didn’t say or do anything, just told myself it wasn’t my business and that Fluttershy had friends that’d take care of it. When I heard about you two, well, I’m so sorry, but I had to make sure it wasn’t going to happen again.”

“So what is it that happened?” Arkanna asked her anxiously.

“Well, he seemed alright at first. Was nice enough to get through her shell, after all.” She continued to recount the experience. “As time went on though, I started noticing the ‘little things’. He would walk all over her, talk down to her and find just about any reason to argue with her. All the while he’d be eyeing other mares. That was just the stuff I saw as a bystander though, anything else I could tell you is just rumors and the like. Whatever he did to her, left her in tears for months.”

Looking up from her plate she caught the dangerous glint in the Mandalorian’s eyes. She gave his shoulder a rough nudge while holding his gaze. “Don’t, I know what’s going through that head of yours, just don’t.”

“What, I wasn’t gonna…” He slowed to a stop as her sharp green eyes tore his excuse apart. “Okay, maybe I was considering burrowing that disruptor cannon the sergeant left to the Commander and taking a little road trip. ‘Sides, hunting his sheb down’d give me something to do besides drills and target practice.”

“Do you really think killing somepony would make Fluttershy happy?” Her blunt question clearly threw him off his vengeful track. “Besides, bucket head, you’ve got plenty to take care of already. You should hurry home and make her happy.”

The walk back to Fluttershy’s cottage gave Arkanna plenty of time to think on everything that Golden Harvest had told him. Who was this guy that’d been with her before Arkanna had met Fluttershy, what had he done to hurt her? The more he thought about it, the more he wanted to hunt whoever it was down and tear his organs out through his mouth then choke him to death with them.

Do you really think killing somepony would make Fluttershy happy? Harvest’s words echoed in his mind and derailed his vengeful train of thought. He hated admitting it, but she had a good point. She was uncomfortable with him carrying a weapon as it is, it was one of the reasons he didn’t carry a sidearm around her. The last thing he would want is to see the look of pain and horror on her face if he went and slaughtered some waste of food.

When he reached the front door of the cottage, he was made to pause when he heard her voice on the other side of the door. “Oh, no, no, no, Angel, I told you that wasn’t for you.” She said sadly.

With no warning, the lower half of the two-stack doorway flew open and a tiny white blur sped between Arkanna’s legs. Before he could react, a pink and gold ball of fur and feathers slammed into his stomach and knocked him to the ground, knocking the air out of his lungs. As his vision started to clear he caught sight of the poorly-labeled bunny rabbit giving him a rude gesture before vanishing into the underbrush.

“I hate that rabbit.” He muttered under his breath before trying to sit up.

The weight on his chest moved with him as he sat up, bringing a pair of cerulean eyes with his. Fluttershy quickly righted herself as deep crimson pushed into her cheeks and she pulled herself away from him. “I’m sorry, I was- I was fixing something for later tonight-“ She stammered nervously while trying to avoid his gaze. “And, well, Angel kind of got into my ingredients and-“

He watched the mare in front of him stammer and try to explain her situation to him for a moment. Her hooves fumbled nervously while she hid herself behind a curtain of pink tresses and a wall of golden feathers. Despite it all, Arkanna could feel the growing questions he had about her past hanging on his tongue but something held them at bay. Make her happy, Golden Harvest’s parting words rang out in his head.

His hand ventured past her defenses and pushed the long locks out of her face before bringing her eyes back to his. Fluttershy’s words fell silent as she stared into him. The feel of his hand against her cheek sent a soothing wave through her body that made her relax against his palm. A warm smile moved over his features while he held her gaze. His thumb absently stroked along her cheek bone as Arkanna rested his forehead against hers, all the while swimming through the warm seas of her eyes.

Fluttershy smiled dreamily as she stared into him, her heart throbbing in her chest as the seconds ticked by. “W-we should probably get off the front lawn.” She pointed out to him, her pet’s rebellious action now a distant memory.

With a teasing smirk, he quickly snaked his arms around the timid mare’s body and pulled her close to his chest. She let out a surprised squeak as he got to his feet, holding her tightly as her forelimbs instinctively wrapped around his neck.

“Yeah, I suppose the couch’d be a lot more comfy than the ground, anyways.” Arkanna replied gleefully. “Though, I kinda like giving your neighbors something to talk about.”

With a giggle she batted her hoof against his chest before snuggling herself into him with a content sigh. She allowed her eyes to drift closed while reveling in the warmth of his embrace. A few grunts from him caught her attention; peering over her shoulder, she saw he was having a bit of trouble opening the door and holding her at the same time. Snickering a bit, she tried hard not to laugh too much at her coltfriend’s troubles. She reached her wing out to open the door for him before wrapping the feathered appendage around his form.

This feeling of happiness and contentment that began to swell up inside the young warrior’s breast refused to quell. Despite all the uncertainty he felt earlier and the overwhelming anxiety over the current conflicts, he could feel a new spark kindle. No, this wasn’t new, he’d felt it around her before; but now, it was gaining strength and was burning him from the inside. The longer he spent with her, the stronger it became.

Arkanna was starting to understand, he did have a purpose on this planet, a reason and focus: making Fluttershy happy. The past didn’t matter, not here, not now. He couldn’t begin to give a damn about the one that hurt her so long ago, not when her arms were wrapped around him. This would be his revenge, his payback; making her feel happy and content every day he could until she couldn’t even recall the worthless core slug.