• Published 12th Apr 2013
  • 6,813 Views, 557 Comments

Millie - totallynotabrony



In the underworld of Equestria, one mysterious pony is fearfully whispered about. Only Vinyl and Octavia know why he left a trail of destruction through the criminal ranks. Now he's back, and, well...not a he anymore.

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Chapter 7

The waitress stared at me. “Can you pay?”

“Uh,” I stammered. “My friends had the money.”

She rolled her eyes and went into the kitchen carrying the food that Vinyl, Octavia, and I had ordered. “Hey Hash! We had some ponies walk out.”

The cook came out with an unhappy look on his face. He stared me down. “So you don’t have any bits?”

“I’m sorry! The two mares I was here with got into an argument and left. None of us had eaten anything yet.”

He looked at me. “But I still made your order. Now it’s going to go to waste.”

I had to go after Vinyl and Octavia soon to make sure they would be all right. I couldn’t give either of them time to simmer and get even angrier. “I’m really sorry, but I have to go. Is there anything I can do?”

As he thought about it his eyes dropped from my face, playing over the rest of my body. I’d never been...considered like that before and it look a moment for me to realize what was happening. Disgust went through me, but I was at the cook’s mercy and he knew it.

A stallion who had been sitting a table away stepped into my field of view. “I think I can help. Just a little misunderstanding, eh? Here you go.”

He shoved some bits into the cook’s outstretched hoof. The cook counted it, shrugged, and went back into the kitchen. I got up from the table in relief, addressing the charitable pony. “That was so kind of you. I wish I could thank you more.”

He smiled and I saw his eyes drop, just like the cook. “Maybe you can.”

A long second passed. I wasn’t sure which stunned me more - the sexual harassment, or the fact that I had received it from two stallions in less than a minute. From getting yanked into this world to trying to mend relations between friends, getting ogled was the very last thing I needed.

Smacking the pony in the cheek with my hoof was partly reflexive, and partly anger. The next thing, sudden realization of what I’d done and subsequent turning to flee, was entirely embarrassment. I sprinted out the door and down the street. The sidewalks had been mostly cleared, and I didn’t slip on any snow.

I really, really don’t need to be charged with assault right now! I felt bad, but was pretty sure that I would do the same thing if ever placed in that situation again.

I spotted Vinyl about a block away. There was no pursuit behind me, so I slowed down and came to a stop next to her to talk. She looked a little surprised to see me running up, but relieved to encounter a friendly face. She spoke first. “Dude, I’m sorry about what happened back there. I didn’t mean for things to go that way.”

“Yeah.” I checked behind me again, just in case. “So are you okay?”

Vinyl sighed. “I think so. I’ll get over it.”

“I meant something else. You said you had a relapse?”

“I got high only once since you left.” Her head dropped and I thought her cheeks turned slightly pink.

“But you’ve kept off it since then?” I asked.

Vinyl nodded. A tear dripped out from under her sunglasses. “I felt so terrible... I almost jumped out a seventh story window. It felt like I was such a screwup. And with Octavia gone...”

I was surprised that I was only just now hearing about a suicide attempt, but then again that’s not something that comes up in casual conversation. Vinyl took a stuttering breath, trying to get her emotions under control. Oh Christ, I can’t stand to see someone crying in front of me.

Gingerly, I touched her shoulder. “But you made it through. You’re stronger than you give yourself credit for. You don’t need as much help as you think.”

Vinyl sniffled a little, forcing a smile and a change of subject. “Thanks dude. I’ll be alright. Hey, I was meaning to tell you; since I’ll be in Manehattan for a while longer, I got signed up for another show. It’s tonight at Rave Beatz. I’ll get you a ticket.”

I nodded. “Sounds good. I should probably catch up with Octavia now, but I’ll either meet with you at the hotel or at Rave Beatz.”

Vinyl nodded. Her expression was slightly guarded now that I had mentioned Octavia, but she appeared to understand that I was trying to make up for the disastrous lunch meeting that I had organized.

I said goodbye and went down the street. The Metronome had a few trendy-looking ponies hanging around outside. I went through the door. The stage had been dressed up slightly, with a few fabric screens brought in to add decor.

Iridium was positioned near the door, looking somewhat bored. He recognized me and nodded politely. “Octavia came in a few minutes ago. She looked rather distraught about something and went upstairs. I don’t think she would like to be disturbed.”

His voice carried no hint of accusation, although I couldn’t help but wonder if Octavia had told him what happened. I asked, “Is it alright if I wait around for her?”

“If you can stand the fashion show.” He shrugged.

I turned my eyes back to the room. A few ponies were setting up lights and sound. I saw Fleur de Lis instructing a couple of made-up ponies on something clothing-related. The fact that most ponies did not usually wear clothes indicated to me that they were some sort of luxury or high-class item. I wondered if that would attract a lot of wealthy ponies to the show, and whether those visitors would like coming to a rundown old club.

A stallion was doing something next to the stage. I saw a hammer, box of nails, and some wooden planks. Interested, I wandered over to see what he was working on. It looked like the beginnings of a set of stairs. Previously, there was only one set stairs on the other side of the stage. Maybe this set would allow the models to walk from one side to the other. There was a problem, though - the pony sucked at his job.

It didn’t look like he was having much luck getting everything into the right position. At least he hadn’t started pounding nails indiscriminately. I glanced at his cutie mark, feeling somewhat bigoted for judging him by it. Then again, the mark was a picture of a hairbrush. Maybe I was justified.

The stallion - who at least had a very complicated and chic style in his own mane - seemed a little surprised when I asked if I could help.

“No thanks, I’ve got everything under control.” With magic, he picked up the hammer and a nail. Taking his attention off the structure of planks for just a moment caused it to fall apart before the first nail could be driven.

“Here, let me.” I pulled the hammer from his magic grasp and reset the wooden boards into a shape that was more suitable, steadying them with my hooves. I lifted a handful (Hoofful? Or more appropriately, magicful?) of nails from the box and positioned all of them upright in the places where they were required.

The thought occurred to me that I was manipulating far more objects than I ever had before. I shrugged it off, not wanting to lose my focus. Nails were small things to pick up anyway. Raising the hammer, I brought it down on the first nail. Whack. To my pleasant surprise, I had hit it perfectly and drove it all the way in with just one strike.

Whack...whack...whack whack whack whackwhackwhackwhackwhack. I grinned. This was like having a magical nail gun. Finished, I stood up on the set of steps, bouncing a little to test their strength.

The stallion was a few steps below and behind me. “I could have done that.”

I shrugged. “Maybe, but I’m the one with the skills for the job.”

He glanced at my cutie mark. As far up the steps as I was, it was pretty much at his eye level. A second of silence passed and I shifted uncomfortably, coming down off the steps. “You don’t have to stare.”

He gave me a smile. “Sorry, at first I thought you were one of the models because you’re so beautiful.”

I actually shuddered at that comment; it was such a poor attempt at a pickup line. I managed to reply, “I’m married. Shove off.”

His face lost friendliness almost instantly. “What, got a burr under your tail? I was just trying to be nice by letting you help.”

I shook my head. “No, I saved this little project from your incompetence. Which one of us has a hammer for a cutie mark?”

The stallion’s extensive mane styling appeared to get more animated as he glared at me. “There are some things mares simply should leave to stallions.”

I gave him a flat look. “Yeah, and you’re a stylist. Real studly.”

“Nag,” he spat.

It took a second for me to realize I’d just been insulted. Insulted as a female. I gritted my teeth but managed to loosen my jaw just enough to mutter, “Remember that I’m still carrying a hammer.”

The pony gave me a last look before turning away and leaving in a huff. I felt my eye twitch. After taking a breath in an attempt to calm down, I picked up the box of nails and headed for the back room to put them and the hammer away. I was somewhat surprised to find Fleur and a few models in there getting ready for the show.

Lingering gentlemanly instincts made me take an involuntary step back from the sight of half-dressed females. Oh wait Millie, you’re a naked female. Suck it up.

Fleur looked at me in confusion for a moment. It appeared to take her a second to realize where she’d seen me before. I had put away the tools and turned to go before she called to me. “Ah, Millie, was it?”

“Yeah?” I stopped.

She looked at me, raising a hoof to her chin in thought. I realized that her eyes weren’t on my face, but unlike the stallions I had encountered, her expression seemed to be sizing me up like a piece of lumber rather than a tasty treat. She didn’t want me; she wanted me for something.

It did not take long to put two and two together. Before Fleur even asked the question, my mind was made up.

“Would you consider modeling?”

“No!”

Her expression looked hurt, though only to the point of somepony who was not used to being denied things she desired. “You wouldn’t have to do very much, just show off one outfit. You’ll have help with styling and makeup. Plus, your face would be presented to a lot of ponies in the industry who are looking for new talent.”

“Does this look like a face that cares?” I asked. “Seriously, this would be a bad idea for everypony.”

“Trust me, I’ve helped launch the careers of more than a few models,” said Fleur, touching a hoof beneath my chin to bring my gaze up to her taller stature. “And I can tell that you’ve got the looks for it.”

I jerked away, left the room and marched towards the bar. I approached Iridium as he was polishing some glasses. “Do you have any scissors?”

He looked at me curiously. “No, not here.”

“Give me the sharpest knife you’ve got.”

Without a word, he produced a chef’s knife of reasonable size. I seized it and went to the little fillies’ room.

Shaking with rage, it was more difficult to hack off the longer parts of my mane and tail. I came close to carving my skin a time or two. I glared daggers at the mirror as strands of steel blue hair fell all over the sink. The butchered style would probably only serve to attract even more attention to me, but I was hoping the shorter length would put off those who expected a more feminine mare. I was also hoping that somehow my fury would be spent before the knife found its way to something more critical.

I leaned forward against the sink, breathing hard. I couldn’t meet my own stare in the mirror any longer. The knife clattered onto the countertop. Seconds passed.

Breathe in, breathe out. Life sucks, but when you hit rock bottom there’s nowhere to go but up, right? Sure, tell yourself that, Millie. And before you leave the room, clean up this mess of hair.

A few minutes later, I quietly returned to the main room to give the knife back to Iridium. He looked startled at the sight of my new look but said nothing. I faced away from the bar. I really didn’t want to hang around the club, but still needed to talk to Octavia. It was not pleasant to realize that I might have to wait through the entire show.

The door opened and a white pegasus stallion came in. He was solidly built and had serious-looking eyes. I did a double take, realizing that I knew him. His name was Ice, and when we’d first met he’d been a Canterlot Police detective hot on the trail of Miller the Killer - the larger than life legend I had accidentally started. We were not on great terms.

I couldn’t help but be drawn to him. Not only because he was the only familiar face in the crowd, but also because he wouldn’t recognize me in this new body. And if for some reason he did know who I was, then maybe I could get some answers. Either way, talking to him seemed like a good idea.

Ice glanced at me, eyes going to my tattered mane briefly before swinging back to the rest of the room. “What’s going on here? I thought this was a jazz club.”

“It’s closed today for a fashion show.” I wondered what Ice knew about jazz. “Have you been here before?”

He nodded. “Yeah, I’ve been in the area for a while.”

I tried to figure out how to get more information without sounding suspicious. “You don’t sound like a native Manehattanite.”

Ice chuckled. “You’re right. I took a new job and moved in from Canterlot about three months ago. And what about you? I’m guessing... Baltimare?”

“That’s right.” I shrugged and tried to be as friendly as I could without actually smiling. No way was I going to flirt with somepony.

“I guess if there’s no jazz tonight I’ll have to find something else to do.” Ice started towards the door.

“There’s still going to be music,” I pointed out. Hesitantly, I added, “...and mares parading around in fancy clothes.”

Ice stopped to consider it. “Well, I suppose it does sound tempting. If you don’t mind me asking, though, if this is a fashion show… then why do you look like you got confused with a manticore’s chew toy?”

“Stallions,” I grumbled. “That’s where all my problems seem to come from.”

He looked taken aback, but also somewhat concerned. Fortunately, he didn’t press any further with the subject and left the club after nodding goodbye.

I settled in to wait for Octavia as the show began. They had somepony doing the music for models to strut to. A gathering of rather posh ponies had arrived and they sat near the stage, many of them with cameras clicking. Fleur was off to the side talking to a unicorn stallion who wore a monocle. My eyes went back to the stage, amusing myself slightly with some of the ridiculously over the top things the models wore.

Octavia appeared about halfway through the show. She didn’t look pleasant, but brightened a little as she spotted me. I got up to meet her, nodding towards a more private part of the club.

“I’m sorry about putting both you and Vinyl on the spot,” she began once we were alone. “I know that Vinyl and I arguing is complicating things for you.”

“That’s putting it mildly.”

She caught a little bit of the attitude in my voice. “I suppose, but she-”

“Were you aware that Vinyl almost jumped out a seventh story window?” I interrupted. “I know that you couldn’t always be there for her, but you were still the only pony who really knew what she was going through. You could have either made sure she had somepony to check on her, or maybe done something so simple as giving her your forwarding address when you moved to Manehattan.”

Octavia looked away and several seconds passed while she worked on a reply. “Yes... you’re right. So much was going on in my life that I didn’t think I could spare any time to help.”

I sighed, my tone cooling. “Yeah, I suppose we all feel that way sometimes.” Like me...

As our conversation reached its climax and began to fade, Octavia looked at my mane for the first time with interest. “What happened to you?”

“I got hit on by a couple of guys. Also, Fleur wanted me to model. I thought I would try a different look.” I decided not to mention the problems I had gone through at the restaurant; problems that were a direct result of Octavia and Vinyl’s argument. Trying to get the two of them to forgive each other felt more important than getting my own vindication.

Octavia nodded, trying to show some understanding. “Fleur has never asked me to show anything for her.”

She smiled to let me know she wasn’t jealous of my looks. That expression turned into a frown, however. “Have you gotten so much attention from stallions in the previous few days?”

“No.” I thought about the previous evening when the market pony had given me an orange. Then, earlier today, it had practically been a parade of masculinity. As a man, I didn’t think I normally acted like that. At least Ice had managed to restrain himself.

Octavia touched my shoulder. “You aren’t going to like hearing this, Millie, but it sounds like you might be going into the warm days of your estrous cycle.”

“Oh God...” My legs collapsed. I squeezed my eyes shut and covered my face with my forehooves, trying desperately to get myself under control. I wanted to cry, but some sexist part of my brain reminded me that it wasn’t a manly thing to do.

Octavia knelt on the floor at my level. “You want to pay attention to your behavior, as that might have subtly changed to be more flirting. I’m afraid you can’t do anything about the pheromones that unconsciously invite stallions to you, but at least your attitude will probably be more aggressive. I suggest you use that to your advantage.”

Yeah, aggressive was what led me to tear off my mane and threaten a couple of the stallions who had approached. Surely a few hormonal changes wouldn’t turn every guy into an idiot; case in point, Ice. Maybe I had just been unlucky and met a couple of them with poor self control.

I took a deep breath and stood up. I was getting better at containing my emotions. Maybe going to Vinyl’s show and being surrounded by a crowd wasn’t such a good idea, though. I should catch her at the hotel beforehand and tell her I couldn’t go.

I articulated this to Octavia. She nodded, displaying about as much interest in Vinyl as before. I would have to come up with a new plan to get them back on good terms.

Leaving the club, I saw that it was evening. There was only a faint glow of dusk on the horizon and the streets were dark. I shuffled along the sidewalk, head down and trying to move quickly. The cold wind blew a little, rustling small tendrils of powdery snow.

In only a few minutes, the sun had disappeared completely and the night grew even darker. The moon was only a sliver tonight. The streetlights helped light my way, but created sharply defined shadows between buildings.

“Hey there, filly...”

I started to turn, but the pony who grabbed me from behind was quicker. He wrapped up my muzzle to keep my mouth closed and quiet. Kicking hard in a panic, I tried to stay on the sidewalk, but he was stronger. My hooves left drag marks from the well lit pavement into the dark alley. I tossed my head, trying to poke him in the eye with my horn. I tried to grab a rock, something, anything.

“A fighter, huh?” He chuckled, and shoved me against the wall of the building. “I know how to keep you calm.”

In the shadow of the streetlights, I saw the silhouette of the knife before I felt it press against my throat. I froze.

“There, that’s a good girl.” He moved slightly behind me, getting closer. I don’t know how it was possible to be even more afraid, but an extra shot of terror went through me as I realized what his intentions were.

In the instant I had to think, there seemed to be only one thing I could do. I tossed my head back, away from the blade, and collided with something that felt like a nose. The stallion behind me growled in pain and slammed my skull hard against the building. I had turned my head just enough to avoid a broken nose, but caught most of the force on the side of my forehead. Sparks burst in front of my eyes and I slid down the wall. It took a moment to realize that I also felt a sharp pain on my neck.

Through my ringing head, I knew that I couldn’t just lie there. I rolled, trying to raise my hooves for protection, but no attack came. Something liquid was running over the skin of my neck.

I still hadn’t been seized. I heard a scuffle and a cry of pain from somewhere down the alley. I blinked hard, trying to see through the darkness of night and the haze in my mind. I heard something that sounded like a pony being violently beaten senseless. Seconds passed and the noise faded.

“Who’s there?” I croaked, fighting unconsciousness. “Who are you?”

There was a cackle of harsh laughter. Then, a reply. “Miller the Killer!”

Author's Note:

Edits by Treilacl, who is also dramatic.