Pounds For Pumpkins

by Crescent Wrench

First published

As Pumpkin's due date comes closer and closer, Pound is drafted into the Equestrian military to defend against an inevitable Zebraik invasion of Equestria. How will they keep their love together?

Five months. Five glorious, beautiful months have passed since Pumpkin said those fateful words to Pound.

"You're going to be a daddy."

Five months later, and the two are awaiting the birth of their child, but fate is not a kind one, and wishes to interfere with what might be to happiest moment of their lives. A war is on the horizon between Equestria and the Zebraik tribes, and Pound has been drafted to take the place of his father.

Will their love survive? Will their baby turn out to be some 5-legged monstrosity? Will Pound return home safe from the horrors of war? And will anypony be able to find Waldo?

This is the story that was always meant to be told.

Cover Art is a .GIF!

Sequel to:
--Pounds and Pumpkins--
--One Pounded Pumpkin--
--The Pumpkin's Pounding--

C1_Introductions

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Introductions

“R-Right there, Poun- MMMmmmm!” Pumpkin Cake squealed, a feeling of brief pleasure washing through her, a rarity these days.

“Like that?” Pound Cake breathed into her ear. Pumpkin whimpered a quiet, “Yes.”

“You've got to work it in a little bit lower, Pound,” Carrot Cake said. “Here, swap me.”

Pound breathed a quiet sigh of relief as he took a few steps from his sister, slumping into a beanbag while his father took over the administrations.

“AH!” Pumpkin immediately felt her father go to work, and he was amazing. He really knew exactly how to treat a mare, that was for sure. Pumpkin could feel herself really loosening up to him.

“Is that better, baby?” Carrot Cake asked his daughter. She nodded appreciatively.

“It feels really good, daddy,” she murmured, feeling lighter and lighter as Carrot really worked it into her.

“Of course it does, baby, I've doing this a lot longer than your brother has been,” Carrot Cake commented, sending a smirk towards Pound Cake. Pound, still having quite the struggle with his fight or flight reactions, tried hiding behind his large head of fudge mane while simultaneously scowling and shouting, “Hey!”

Carrot Cake chuckled before looking back down at his daughter, sitting hunched before him. Her fair orange coat was slicked in warm oil, coconut scented at her request.

The door to the room opened and Cup Cake strolled in, carrying a tray of warm, steaming towels.

“I hope you are being careful with our baby, Carrot!” Cup Cake said to her husband, setting the tray down on the table next to Carrot and Pumpkin. “Or did you forget the time you slipped a hoof and messed my back up for three weeks?”

Pumpkin's eyes went wide in horror.

“Get off of me!!!” she squealed, her hooves squirming madly.

Carrot Cake chuckled as he helped Pumpkin to her hooves, tossing her a warm, slightly damp towel from the pile Cup had just brought in.

“And that is why you don't let your father give you a massage when you're pregnant,”Cup Cake chuckled, trotting over to her son and rubbing his mane with her hoof. “And I think you already know where you crossed the line, little guy.”

Pound Cake blushed as he tried to swat away his mother's hoof, fixing his mane. His mother couldn't help but laugh at his reaction or antics.

“It wasn't on purpose,” he mumbled.

“Yeah, try saying that when you're five months along and can feel... something inside you,” Pumpkin said as she trotted over to Pound. Before he had any time to react, Pumpkin had wrapped his lips with her own and embraced him passionately. Immediately, all tension from either of them melted away as they shared their moment, Pound's hoof subconsciously lifting itself to rest right along Pumpkin's ribs. He could almost feel them now.

Pound was the one who broke away.

“You need to eat more, baby. I can almost tickle your kidneys,” he said with a giggle as he ran his hoof along Pumpkin's side, eliciting a giggle from Pumpkin herself.

Cup Cake swore under her breath while smirking.

“Be thankful she's only five months in, or you'd be eating those words yourself, Pound,” Cup said with a chuckle before plopping herself down in front on Carrot Cake, relaxing her shoulders.

“My turn.”

Carrot Cake obliged, lathering his wife's back with an oil-soaked towelette before working his magic. Cup was broken down to oooh's and aaah's within a matter of seconds.

Pound Cake pulled Pumpkin down next to him, wrapping a hoof around her while carefully stroking her tummy. It was slightly pooched out now, a small lump barely visible. Pound cocked an eyebrow.

“Shouldn't it be... bigger by now?”

Pumpkin facehoofed, surprised she hadn't seen her brother's inevitably insensitive comment coming.

“No, not for at least another month, Pound,” she said before lying against him. Snuggling up to her lover, she let a sigh of happiness escape her. Pound squeezed her tighter, reassuringly.

“Well then, I suppose I have another month of taking you to the bar with me,” Pound chuckled.

Pumpkin looked up, surprised at her brother's uncharacteristically bold statement.

“Wait, seriously?”

“That is, if you want to go...” he stumbled, his sense of bravado lost just as quickly as he had found it.

Pumpkin giggled as she stood up, letting her tail trail along the bottom of his chin before snapping it away.

“That... sounds like a good time, actually.”

Pound gulped with a smirk as Pumpkin trotted out, swaying her hips from side to side the best she could with the minute bulge on her underside.

“Hey, dad?” Pound called out to his father, still looking after where Pumpkin had left.

“Hm?” his father answered with a grunt, focused wholly on giving his wife the best massage of her life.

“Pumpkin and I are going out for a little bit,” he said as he scrambled to his hooves, chasing after his love. “We'll be back in a bit.”

“No problem, be safe,” Carrot Cake murmured, barely audible, as he stroked his wife's back with a tender care that only came from years of experience.

Pound skittered out of the room, hooves slipping on the wood flooring as he gave chase to Pumpkin, meeting her halfway down the hall.

Pumpkin was barely aware Pound was behind her until she was spun around and pulled along after him, Pound grinning.

“Let's go!”

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

The music was nice and lively as Pound and Pumpkin both trotted through the doors to the Pale Horse.

He really did take me to a bar, Pumpkin whimpered in her mind as Pound was greeted by a rather lanky stallion with a white coat, brown patches here and there across his hide.

“Pound, good ta see you, mate!” he bellowed, obviously intoxicated as he threw a leg over Pound's shoulder.

“Hey, Pipsqueak, how's it going?”

Pipsqueak just giggled maniacally as a fair-coated dark pink unicorn trotted over, her yellow mane styled and soft.

“He's drunk. Again. How do you think it's going?”

Pound laughed as he met hooves with the mare, nodding politely.

“Good to see you again, Dinky.”

“You too, Pound. And Pumpkin, I haven't seen you in ages!”

Pumpkin smiled as she embraced Dinky, hugging each other.

“Same here, Dinky, how's your sister?”

“Ditzy is doing just fine, she loves the gift baskets,” Dinky giggled.

“Hey, lay off my smoochykins!” Pipsqueak suddenly called, throwing himself (quite literally) between the two mares.

Drunk Pipsqueak was best Pipsqueak.

“So you two are back together?” Pumpkin asked Dinky with a cocked brow while simultaneously taking a step back, letting Pipsqueak flop loudly onto the floor between them.

“Not if he can't keep his party a little more controlled,” Dinky muttered with a smirk as Pipsqueak grabbed at Dinky, trying to pull himself up.

“Oh c'mon, bay-bay. You know me, this dashing stallion here. It's not a par-tay unless I'm a little drunk-ay!” Pipsqueak countered, his accent comically thick.

Dinky facehoofed. “That doesn't even make any sense,” she said quietly, still smirking however.

“But you love it, bay-bay,” Pipsqueak giggled.

Dinky rolled her eyes as the four headed to a table. Pound helped Pumpkin slide in, a few eyes trailing after the two as they settled themselves in to the booth.

“Pound, some ponies are staring,” Pumpkin said with a faint blush, trying to keep her eyes from wandering.

Pound showed less tact as he threw a hoof over the back of the booth and puffed up his chest, looking around and glaring at any disapproving looks he received. His confidence problems aside, he was very built for a pony, and he did not take kindly to anypony frightening his marefriend.

“Any problems?” he called out, his confidence levels high in response to Pumpkin's nervousness. He was never going to let anypony else make her feel bad again.

All eyes left the two and returned to their respective places.

Pound sighed as he turned back forward.

“Still having problems with... well, others accepting you two?” Dinky asked, noticing what had just happened.

“It's nothing serious,” Pumpkin assured Dinky. “Most of the ponies who know are perfectly fine about it, after we explained that we actually love each other. Even Applebloom finally came around to us in the end, though she still doesn't like us all too much...”

“Well thank Faust for small mercies,” Dinky laughed as she grabbed Pipsqueak by his leg, causing him to yelp as she pulled him off of the table, sitting him in his seat.

“No more sugar for you,” she informed him.

“But... but but but... What would Woona do?!?” he cried, flailing his legs in a drunken fit.

“He is... certainly a chore,” Pumpkin commented.

“He's normally such a sweet, polite stallion. But give him a glass of ale, and...” Dinky waved her hooves at the stallion, who was once again cackling like a madpony.

The three sober ponies laughed lightly as a familiar gray colt trotted up to their table.

“Hey Pale,” Pound said to the former bartender. Pale gave Pound a grin.

“Ey, it's Pound! How's it going with you and your mare?” he asked before bowing politely to Pumpkin.

“Since you saw me the first time... much better.”

“The first time?” Pumpkin asked pound. He waved her question away.

“Told you ya needed to nut up,” Pale laughed. “So, you all come here for the drinks or you willing to be Chef's latest taste testers?”

Pumpkin laughed oblivious to just how serious Pale was while Pound took a quick look over the list of drinks.

“A raspberry daiquiri,” Dinky ordered.

“I'm fine with some iced tea, if you have any.”

“We got home-brewed or Manehatten,” Pale said, winking.

“Home-brewed, please,” Pumpkin said.

“And you, lover-colt?” Pale asked Pound.

“I'll take the Manehatten, actually,” Pound replied. Pale nodded.

“Alright, I'll have these out short-”

“Hey, whattabou' me?” Pip suddenly asked.

“You ain't getting anything else, you're closed off for the night,” Pale growled with a smirk. Pip growled right back, albeit a drunken angry growl.

“Pleb.”

“Dick.”

“Please?”

“No.”

“Pleeeaaase?”

“No.”

“Pretty please?”

“...”

“...”

“Fine.”

Pale trotted off as Pipsqueak pulled his top half onto the table, letting his torso flop onto the cold polished wood.

Pumpkin settled back against Pound as she listened to the performers on the small stage in the center of the room finish up their song, receiving a few clopping of hooves from around the room.

Pound let himself relax, feeling his muscles slowly loosen themselves naturally.

“... as yet another report of a bombing came in to Canterlot from our southern borders earlier this morning.”

Pound's ears flicked up at the words. He glanced over to a television set in the corner of the room.

Pound waved for a random waitress, pointing at the television. “Can you turn that up, please?”

The room slowly grew quieter as the mare turned the volume on the television set up, everypony in the room listening to the news broadcast.

“It is still unclear whether or not this was in response to the message our ambassadors sent to the Zebraik counsel last week, but the fact remains that Equestria might very well be going on the defensive-”

Several ponies in the room gasped as the reporter on screen suddenly turned around to see a small building in the background explode marvelously.

“Oh my- it seems the hotel building that the Equestrian ambassador to the Zebraik counsel has- AAAH!”

The reporter cried as a number of ornate spears suddenly flew into the video feed's vision, and then the video went to static. A few moments later, the usual news crew at Canterlot returned.

“Well that was... unexpected. We will get back as quickly as we can as to what exactly is going on in the badlands.”

The reporter mare suddenly leaned to the side, telling the crew to cut to commercial. The screen was then filled with an advertisement for some breakfast cereal.

The chat refused to resume as the entire bar was dead silent. Everypony was stunned at the sudden news report.

Slowly, the whispering began.

Equestria being attacked?

Zebraik counsel?

What's going on?

Pound shared a look with Pumpkin. This wasn't good news. It had been over twenty years since Equestria had ever been in a military conflict with another nation, something their father was very thankful for. How would he respond, knowing this new bit of information?

The news mare returned, silence once again sweeping the room.

She coughed once, smiled for the camera, and began reading along with the news ticker at the bottom of the screen.

“Mares and Gentlecolts, I am afraid to inform you that in response to what was accidentally broadcast moments ago, the Equestrian Guard has officially declared war on the Zebraik tribes of the Badlands.”

C2_Nutting_Up

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Nutting Up

Pale trotted over through the dead-silent bar, passing the four ponies their drinks. Even Pipsqueak, as smashed as he was, could understand the significance of what was happening.

“We're... we're really going to war, huh?” he asked, taking a swig of-

“Pleh, water?! Asshole...”

Pound silently sipped on his drink, feeling the rum slowly run it's course through him. He knew everypony had a different reaction to liquor, whether it be a sudden loss of care, a new sense of confidence, or something along the lines of Pipsqueak and his hyperactive spaz attacks. Pound, however, felt something else. He felt a fire inside of him being kindled, a warmth through his body. He didn't feel aggression, but he felt fiercer. Not in the intimidating way or what not, but... it was a unique feeling. He felt more at peace, even with the cheap alcohol in his system.

Such was the joy of drinking.

“That... kind of put a damper on the mood,” Pumpkin murmured as she drank her iced tea slowly, not even bothering to add any sweetener to it. She preferred it plain, anyways.

“No shit,” Dinky said tactlessly, downing her glass in one swift motion.

“How long until you think dad will hear about this?” Pumpkin asked Pound.

“If it makes tomorrow's paper, which it probably will, then... tomorrow morning.”

Pound and Pumpkin sat in silence, thinking hard on what had just happened, how things would change now that they lived in a country at war.

“Do you think they'll start up a draft?” Dinky asked. Pound cocked his head.

“You know, make all of the colts old enough to serve enlist, maybe even drag back a couple of veterans.”

Pound and Pumpkin exchanged worried looks.

“I... think we need to go,” Pumpkin said as she practically pulled Pound along with her. They both had the same thing on their minds.

Pumpkin wrapped the two of them in her magic and, with a quick POP! They flashed out.

A sudden pulse of energy and light saw the two of them reappearing outside of their house, Pumpkin panting heavily. She was shaking from using such a powerful spell so suddenly.

“You shouldn't have done that, Pumpkin,” Pound said as he rubbed Pumpkin's back, “You aren't supposed to be exerting yourself.”

“Shut up- *pant* find dad- *pant* go!” she huffed.

Pound instead opted to behave in a much less dramatic fashion, choosing to grab his mare by her barrel and helping her inside, resting her in a chair at the table before heading further into the building to find his father.

“Dad!” Pound called as he climbed the stairs.

Carrot Cake appeared at the door to his bedroom, scowling. Pound only then realized it was rather late at night.

“What is it, Pound?” Carrot grumbled, rubbing his ill-lost sleep from his eyes.

“Dad, Equestria is at war!”

Pound then paused, realizing how crazy that might have seemed to his dad. He rethought how he should say it briefly before trying at it again.

“Dad, we just saw the news. Equestria just declared war on the Zebras. Dad, does that- Dinky said something about a draft- could it-”

Carrot Cake shushed his son by with a wave of his hoof.

“War? We were on great terms with the Zebras, why would we suddenly be at war with them?”

“I don't know, dad!” Pound practically yelled at his father.

Carrot Cake snapped to attention at that. Pound wasn't a loud pony; he only yelled when he was truly distraught, emotionally or what not. If this had him that worked up... then it had to have been serious. Carrot tried to take a step towards Pound but stopped short as his back spasmed suddenly, his hind legs locking up. It was an old battle wound from his days in the guard, and what had ended up getting him out.

“When... when did you hear about this, son?” Carrot Cake asked Pound as he tried to catch his breath.

“Less than ten minutes ago, at the bar,” he said.

He took her to a bar? Carrot Cake thought absentmindedly before shaking his head. As much as he wanted to reprimand his son for doing something like that, he was sure that Pound hadn't done anything stupid, like knock up his sister there or anything.

… Okay, maybe this needed to be addressed.

“You took your pregnant sister to a bar?!” Carrot Cake yelped.

“She didn't drink!” Pound retorted, growing even more frightened. Why was his dad yelling at him, the country was at war!

“That's not the point!” Carrot Cake shouted back.

“Then what is?” Pound hollered. Carrot Cake opened his mouth to respond but was interrupted by a knocking on the front door.

WHAT?!?” both stallions barked before realizing the door was downstairs. Passing the still-drowsy Pumpkin, Carrot Cake threw open the door to reveal-

“Former Sergeant Carrot Cake?” asked the royal guard. Carrot Cake immediately recognized the fatigues as a member of the Canterlot Guard, staff sergeant.

“Yes,” Carrot huffed, “now what do you want?”

Should I play dumb to what Pound told me, or not?

“As a former soldier of the Equestrian Guard, you are hereby re-instated to active duty, sir,” she staff sergeant saluted.

Carrot Cake refused to return it.

“No, I'm not.”

“Ex-excuse me, sir?”

“I'm retired, staff sergeant. Wounded. I have a pregnant daughter halfway through her term, I run a business here, I can't leave for war!”

“But... sir...” the guard tried to reason, realizing immediately just how stubborn Carrot Cake was going to be. “I have orders that one able-bodied male from every third house of every major town in Equestria-”

“Well there's your problem, sonny. Every third house. Skip on to the next one, you miscounted,” Carrot Cake said while trying to close the door.

The guard was now frustrated. He had a job, damnit.

Sticking a hoof in the gap, he held the door open.

“Sir, now is not the time for jokes. Equestria is at war, and we barely have enough of a standing army to defend against a rampaging hydra. We need more soldiers, sir.” With this, the guard-pony held up a decree signed by the Princess Celestia herself, the one requesting one-third of the major population provide the guard with one recruit. It wasn't a full-on draft, but it was close enough.

“Well you aren't getting any from this house,” Carrot said, a determined look set in his eyes.

The guard huffed, almost deciding to give up right then and there. Almost.

But as luck would have it, Pound had decided to peek over his father's shoulder. And the guard had seen him.

“You there, son! Front and center!”

The guard gave Carrot Cake a hard glare while pushing the door open, holding the decree in front of him like a warrant. It was as good as any warrant in this case.

“Son, how old are you to this date?”

“S-Sixteen, sir!” Pound squeaked. This was really frightening. Why was the guard-pony

“Then if your father is unable to serve,” the guard said while staring straight at Carrot, no expression to be read on the guard's face, “you have now been drafted into the Equestrian Guard. All new recruits must board a train for New Hope at seven o'clock tomorrow morning.”

The guard took a step back, eyes still locked with Carrot's.

“I'm sorry, but this is how it must be,” the guard said with a sad nod. The guard wasn't trying to be a prick or anything of the sort; he was just trying to do his job in a rather confusing time.

“Good night, sir,” the guard said before leaving, heading to yet another house.

Carrot Cake fell back on his haunches. Everything was happening so fast. Equestria was at war, Pound had just been drafted- he grabbed at his temples, moaning. Everything was happening way too fast.

“D-dad?” Pound asked, approaching his father. “W-what happened?”

Carrot Cake allowed a single tear to fill his eye as his days in the Guard filled his eyes. Back in Equestria, there was little actual violence. But in the service...

He could feel the heat from the dragon raids, the smell of blood from the close-quarters combat with griffons. He still woke up from time to time reaching out for a knife only to find himself being awoke from his wife turning over in his sleep, and it terrified him.

War was no place for a child.

And now his son was going to have to face it.

Carrot Cake looked at his son. His innocent son. He had so much to live for, a foal on the way. So much, and...

Carrot Cake ushered his son towards him. As soon as Pound had taken a few tentative steps closer to his father, Carrot pulled him close and did something Pound had never seen his father do before.

Carrot cried into his son's shoulder.

If Carrot Cake had been able to make the decision, he would have told Pound to wait. He wasn't against Pound joining the military, but... he wanted it to be Pound's choice, a choice he might have made when he was older. Not when he was still practically a child, not a choice made for him due to the consequences of war.

Not like this.

C3_Good-byes

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Good-byes

Pumpkin slowly crept her way from the kitchen towards the sounds of soft sobbing. She had heard her father exchanging words with Pound upstairs, oblivious of what was being said, before they had come downstairs at the sound of the front door knocking. They'd passed Pumpkin on their way, and were just out of sight of her.

She hadn't heard much of what had been said, but she had sensed the emotions rising. Something was up. Something was seriously up. And if her gut feeling was correct, then she knew exactly what was up.

Turning the corner, she saw a spectacle she had never expected to see, something even more surprising and far more unsettling than finding out she was pregnant with her brother's foal:

Her father was broken down into tears. Never before had she seen him so much as tear up, and there he was broken down into full waterworks.

Unsettling didn't even begin to describe what she felt at the scene before her. This was...

“Dad?” she asked softly, approaching the two. Pound whirled around, eyes wide with fear. A split second later, Pound's fight or flight reaction finally kicked in. Flight.

Pound tore out of the house, a screaming tail of red in his wake.

“Dad!” Pumpkin cried, rushing to her father. “Dad, what happened! What happened!”

“He's... my Faust, he's going to...”

Pumpkin groaned as she held her father in her hooves.

“Dad, what happened?”

Carrot Cake managed to compose himself for his daughter. Just barely.

“Your brother is... going to war,” he whispered. It was too much for the older stallion. He broke right back down to crying.

Pumpkin sat back, stunned. Mortified. Shaken.

“Wh-what?” she croaked out.

Carrot Cake simply cried on.

Pound, outside, had climbed as far as he could into the sky. Looking down, he could see guards going to a number of the houses throughout Ponyville, knocking on the doors. No doubt they were passing the same information to the inhabitants of those houses, too.

Pound cried out as he rose into the air.

Everything was happening so fast.

An hour ago, he was enjoying time with his mare, having a drink with some friends.

Now, he's expected to go and learn to fight in a war he just now learned about.

Everything was happening so fast.

Everything was happening too fast.

He screamed as he punched through the cloud layer, rocketing up, up, up...

And he stopped. His heart was racing, his breathing shallow and rapid. He was running, but... what was he running from?

He couldn't change what was happening. And he sure as Hell couldn't just keep running away from it, either. That would mean leaving his parents, leaving Pumpkin... he could never leave Pumpkin.

Taking a deep breath, he let himself glide back down. The town was slowly being awoken as guards knocked on doors. As much as he wanted to just ignore everything around him, he had to realize that this was really happening.

Landing outside of the door to his home, he entered slowly to find Pumpkin and Carrot Cake wiping away their tears.

“P-Pound,” Pumpkin cried before throwing herself at him, wrapping him up in a tight hug.

Pound felt his lip whimper, but he refused to cry. He had to be strong. For Pumpkin, he had to be strong...

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

The night wasn't long enough.

Cup Cake had cried when Carrot told her the news. The family woke up together early, ate breakfast together, had one final laugh together.

After that, Pound left to head upstairs. Carrot Cake followed after him.

“Dad, what... what do I need to bring?” Pound asked, emotionless. Carrot Cake had never seen Pound quite like this.

“Nothing,” Carrot sighed, resting a hoof on Pound's shoulder. “You'll be issued everything you need during your training.”

Pound Cake nodded before climbing the stairs of his house, heading towards his room.

Carrot Cake sighed.

Trotting back into the kitchen, Carrot sat down next to his wife. The clock read a quarter past six. Soon, they would need to head to the train depot. Soon. But not now.

Pumpkin rose from her own seat, chasing after Pound. She found him laying sprawled out on his back across his bed, looking straight up at the ceiling.

“Hey Pumpkin,” he said evenly, not even looking towards her. His wings gave subtle twitches from their spread position as Pumpkin trotted over, climbing on to the bed next to Pound. She curled up next to him. Pound couldn't help but wrap a hoof around her. He never could help it.

“Pound...” Pumpkin said quietly, “be careful, okay?”

Pound nodded. He really had no idea what to expect, heading out to war. He only knew what to be afraid of.

“I will,” he assured Pumpkin.

The two laid like that for a little while, enjoying the warmth from the other.

However, like all good things, it eventually came to an end as Cup Cake poked her head in the door.

They look so cute like that, she thought to herself with a small, sad smile before opening her mouth.

“Time to go,” she said shortly.

Sighing, the two children rose to their hooves.

Carrot Cake waited until his family was out of the store before locking it up behind him. Together, they all made their way to the train depot.

Along the way, Pound couldn't help but notice other families much like his falling in step with the solemn Cakes. Soon, he was at the head of a quiet march towards the station, the leader of what must have been over a hundred colts his age or a bit older given the same fate he was. There were older stallions, veterans who were returning to the service, but the ponies were mainly late-teenage colts, hardly stallions, hardly soldiers. Many were much like Pound; scared, fearful, anything but ready for what they were about to do.

As the ponies all clambered onto the station, the final good-byes were traded. Many parents knew not whether this would be the last time they saw their child or not.

Pound embraced his parents while still trying to hold back tears. His strong demeanor was cracking.

“Oy, Pound.”

Pound looked to his right to see Pipsqueak trotting over to him. He met Pip's hoof with his own before he asked him the question. Pip nodded sadly.

“Mum and dad didn't even want to see me off to the station, couldn't even get out o' bed.”

Pound opened his mouth to comment further, but was interrupted as the sound of a train whistle off in the distance made everypony on the station very quiet.

“There it is,” Pipsqueak whispered to Pound. “That's our future right there...”

“Yeah,” Pound whispered back. He felt a sudden warmth at his side.

Turning, he saw Pumpkin tearing up again.

Disregarding any thought or care, he lifted a hoof to her face.

“I'll be back, Pumpkin,” he said softly, resting his forehead against hers. “I promise. We have a foal to raise.”

Pumpkin sniffled, nodding.

Pound leaned in and kissed Pumpkin softly, tilting his head to the side. Pumpkin, however, was far more greedy, leaning into the kiss as if it were the last one she'd ever get. For all she knew, it could be.

All anypony had heard of wars up to that point was that they were brutal and swift. All of the veterans would agree with that, as they were the ones who had said so. The Equestrian Guard were some of the finest soldiers their side of the world, but...

War never changed. Ponies would die, that was for sure. And if relations had escalated so high between Equestria and the Zebra tribes of the south to this extreme, well...

It was obvious that many ponies would lose their lives.

After all, war never changes.

Pound wrapped his hooves around Pumpkin reassuringly, followed by his wings, draped over her protectively. He would return, damnit. He had a child and a beautiful mare to return to.

Slowly, agonizingly, painfully, Pound broke away.

“All aboard for New Hope!” the conductor hollered.

“I've got to go,” Pound breathed to Pumpkin. She sniffled and hugged him tightly before letting him go.

Pound nodded to his family before stepping up next to Pipsqueak. They shared a determined look before stepping up into the train.

All around them, colts and stallions far similar to them trotted on as well. A few mares stepped aboard, even. With one last look back to their families, the train doors closed.

And with one last call of the whistle, the train departed.

Pumpkin wept.

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Train Rides

Pound Cake sighed as he turned away from the window. Ponyville slowly shrank away into the distance until it was gone from sight.

Pound sank back in his seat on the train, looking around. The train was fancy enough to actually have somewhat private rooms, six ponies able to sit comfortably across two benches.

At the moment, only four ponies, himself included, filled this particular room.

None of the ponies wanted to talk. Pound and Pipsqueak were on one bench, while a white earth mare with a wild green mane sat on the other, as far away as she could from a large blue pegasus colt, who was looking out the window absentmindedly. His blonde mane was casually swept to the side of his face.

The white mare fiddled around with the red and white striped beanie she had on, pulling it down lower. Her ears disappeared beneath the fabric.

“So...” Pipsqueak finally said, trying to break the silence. “What brings you all here today?”

Three ponies sharing the room with Pip immediately groaned while facehoofing simultaneously.

“Pip, not the time for humor,” Pound moaned.

“But at least he had the balls to try and start a conversation,” the blue pegasus chuckled before turning to face the two other stallions in the room.

“Name is Skyfire, moved to Ponyville a few weeks ago. You two?”

Pound shared a look with Pipsqueak before deciding to answer the pegasus. What else were they going to do, ignore him?

“Pipsqueak, mate,” Pip said as he reached over to Skyfire, offering him a hoof. Skyfire bumped it with his own. “Hail from Trottingham, but was pretty much raised here. Hardly remember the old home, honestly,” Pip admitted.

“And you?” Skyfire asked Pound.

“Pound Cake. Born and raised here. Not really much else you need to know,” he said quietly.

Pip cocked an eyebrow at Pound questioningly, but said nothing. Skyfire nodded and sat back. The three stallions then turned to the mare, who was only slightly smaller than Skyfire. In other words, she was quite the tall mare.

“Care to introduce yourself?” Skyfire asked her.

She didn't respond.

Skyfire shared a look with Pipsqueak. He just shrugged before nodding back at her.

“Hello? Care to introduce yourself?”

Still no response.

Skyfire growled. He didn't like being ignored. He brought a hoof to the white mare, trying to get her attention.

As soon as his hoof brushed her, he had lost.

With a responsive flip over Skyfire, the mare swept both hooves under his front legs, pinning him against the seat.

Pound and Pip watched as she nimbly used a hind leg to scratch out an earpiece from her left ear, letting in dangle out from the seam of her hat.

“What do you want?” she asked, her voice raspy but strong.

“We were doing introductions, your highness,” Skyfire growled. “Care to join in?”

The mare sighed before hopping off Skyfire, swiftly pulling him back into his seat before returning to her own.

“Warden Eldorado. Happy?”

Pip stifled a laugh as he clutched his muzzle, trying to keep from busting up. The mare raised a hoof intimidatingly.

“Got a problem with my name, Pipsqueak?”

“Not in the least,” Pip responded, completely unaware that the mare had said his name as an insult, not knowing that was his actual name.

“Is there... anything shorter we could call you?” Pound asked, trying to avoid the angry mare as much as he could.

“Waldo,” she responded before slipping her ear piece back in.

“She's a complete loon!” Pip cackled, doubling over. Waldo snorted as she waved a circle with her hoof. Pound didn't know exactly what she was doing until he noticed he could now make out the very subtle thumping of bass. She'd turned up the volume with her hoof motion. Cool.

As Pipsqueak composed himself, Pound looked back out of the window to see that they were passing around the final bend of the Everfree forest. Soon they were passing over the Ghastly Gorge.

“So this is it, eh?” Pipsqueak said, having regained himself. “These are our last moments as free ponies.”

Skyfire gave Pipsqueak a slightly confused look.

“I mean after this, we're dogs of the military. I wonder if they make us bark on command during training?”

“Doubtful,” Pound said. “Please Pip, can you... just stop?”

Pound sighed as images of Pumpkin passed through his mind. When would the next time he could see her? He had no idea. That was what was really getting at him; the lack of knowing. He liked knowing; even if it was months, heck even a year, if he had a day to look forward to, it surely would have been better than... not knowing.

“Sorry, mate,” Pip said, realizing he was probably filling Pound with ill thoughts.

Skyfire clapped Pound on the shoulder.

“We'll be back eventually, Pound. Have faith.”

Pound sighed, turning to Skyfire. “Thanks.”

A little time passed before a cart began it's way down the aisle outside the rooms, passing out small meals. The four ponies ate quietly, making absolutely no small-talk.

Not too much longer, they made a short stop in Appleoosa.

A knocking came at the door. Pipsqueak opened it to reveal a young red unicorn mare, her red hide highlighted by her violent purple mane.

“Think this room can take two more ponies?” she asked casually. Pipsqueak looked around.

Pound and Skyfire shrugged. Waldo didn't even notice anything.

“Sure,” Pipsqueak said, scooting over to the side to allow room between him and Pound. The mare nodded politely, trotting in the sit between the two. Another mare followed behind her, a faint teal unicorn with a sharp crop of jet black mane.

“I'm Periwinkle Streak, this here is Shallow Wave.”

Shallow shot Pound and Skyfire a rather crass glare, trying to sidle up between Skyfire and Waldo without actually touching either of them.

Waldo noticed the disturbance next to her and looked Wave over, smirking snidely before closing her eyes, making room for the unicorn.

“I... I can't believe we're actually at war,” Streak said quietly. The freckles splashed across her face were almost cringing along with her voice.

“Yeah, a bit of a surprise,” Skyfire grunted. The conversation pretty much ended there.

The entire room slipped back into an uncomfortable silence as the ponies thought over what they were about to face.

Pipsqueak thought back to Dinky. He was back with her after a three week fight between them, and now he was going off to fight in some fragging war!

And Pound was getting sent away from Pumpkin. His beautiful Pumpkin. He was getting sent away from his mare, his foal. He was going to be a daddy in half a year, and he wasn't even going to be there!

The sky was darkening as the train rumbled past the border of Equestria. As the train rocketed along the tracks, an intercom sounded throughout the cars.

“Please stay in your rooms once the train comes to a stop, you will be sorted into your squads shortly.”

“Squads?” Pipsqueak asked nopony in particular.

The train slowed down until it was quietly creeping along into the forward base.

“Ladies and Gentlecolts, welcome to Forward Operating Base New Hope. Please wait while you are sorted into squads.”

The door to the room was suddenly swung open, a guard pony standing outside.

“Fifth squad of third training platoon, please follow me.”

The six ponies shrugged before following the guard out of the train, lining up in the fifth row of the third formation. All in all, there were ten formations, each with six squads of six ponies each.

As the ponies stood in their rows, barely organized and confused, a rather large purple stallion trotted onto a small podium at the front of the platoons.

“Attention!” he called out loudly, his voice being drowned out by the cries of hundreds of scared ponies.

Pound looked around. There were far more mares than he had initially thought, most likely about a hundred even, or close to it.

The purple stallion growled before grabbing an ornate mallet of office from the officer to his right, smashing the podium before him in one fell swoop.

Immediately, every pony shut their mouths, frightened by the display ahead.

“EVERYPONY! ATTEN-TION!” the stallion barked, now quite audible over the waves of ponies.

Passing the mallet back to the officer, mister purple threw his stance aggressively, scowling at the ponies before him.

“Now listen here, some of you might not know why you are here. I myself just learned the severity of what our country is facing this morning. But listen to me, because what I am telling you is not only of the utmost importance, but it dictates everything you will do for the next two months!

“Equestria has declared war against the Zebraik tribes of the Badlands! I am not at liberty or given permission to tell you the specifics as to why, but I can tell you that we are acting in national defense. We will be under attack. We are out-ponied and severely behind in training.

“Now, Princess Celestia thought it wise to proclaim this law to rapidly increase the standing size of our military. So let me make something very clear, cadets. This isn't a game. You are now a soldier of the Equestrian Guard, whether you like it or not! Now is the time for you to buck up and show what you are made of! Anypony who cannot comply will be met with... motivation.

“I did not want any of you here. If it were my choice, I would have never thought to send in a bunch of children to fight our war, but if that is what the Princess wishes then so be it! I will not stand for any laziness, rebellion, or noncompliance. From here on out...”

He paused. This was almost painful for him to say, despite his rough demeanor.

“From here on out, every day might be your last. Welcome to the Badlands. Squads, dismissed! Squad leaders, take your recruits to their tents.”

Immediately, several guard ponies approached each of the squads, directing them to their tents. Pound and the five others he shared a train room with were led to a tent marked 3-5.

“This is your squad tent. For the next two months, the ponies around you will be your tent mates. There will be no action to be had while in the tent. You will retire to your tents when told to, and leave them when you are called for. Tonight, you have the assignment of choosing this week's team leader. You will have them stay at the bottom bunk to the right of the entrance. He or she will be briefed on reporting statements in the morning.”

The stallion saluted.

Confused, the six ponies made their own attempts at saluting correctly. Skyfire was the only one to salute quickly and professionally.

“Yes, sir!” Skyfire said, dropping his salute after the guard pony.

“Dismissed to rack. Goodnight, cadets.”

The six shrugged before slipping into the tent.

It was, for lack of a better word, clean. Three double-bunks adorned the walls of the small tent, one per wall, with a split locker underneath the bottom bunk. The center of the tent housed a small table and four fold-up chairs, currently left ready to be sat in.

“So who do we 'elect' as squad leader?” Pipsqueak asked.

Him, as well as the four other ponies, all looked to Skyfire. He looked slightly surprised.

“Hey, what makes you think I should be squad leader?” he asked suspiciously.

“Out of all of us, you're the only one who seems to have any idea what he's doing,” Periwinkle Streak said.

Skyfire sighed before nodding.

“Fine, I'll do it,” he said, crawling into the small bottom bunk immediately to their right..

Waldo huffed as she clambered onto the bunk above his, growling when she realized the bunks were far too small for her to stretch out.

Pound and Pipsqueak doubled up on the center bunk while Periwinkle and Wave took the bunk on the left. Pound laid on his top bunk, feeling his heart beating like mad.

Tomorrow, he would start training. Tomorrow, everything was going to become a whole lot more serious.

Rolling onto his side, he let out his breath and slowly drifted into a restless slumber.

C5_Town_Gossip

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Pounds For Pumpkins

Digital_Hex

Town Gossip

Pumpkin slowly made her way home from the train depot. Her coltfriend, her brother, off to learn to fight. Pound was anything but a fighter. He wasn't that kind of stallion.

She sniffled once, her parents close behind her. How could this have happened? Why did the country have to go to war? Why'd they have to take her brother away from her?

As Pumpkin trotted through the town, she slowly became aware of a minor scuffle further down the street. As she approached, though, she saw that it had attracted quite the crowd.

Slipping between ponies here and there, she managed to catch a glimpse of what was going on.

“You're going to have to come with us, Zebra,” a guardpony with a riot baton said menacingly, approaching who Pumpkin recognized as Zecora, the Zebraik shaman who lived outside the town.

“I will not go anywhere, if you have no reason to share,” she said sternly, staring down the guard.

“National decree, all Zebras are to be sent to holding pens. You are a national threat.”

“I care not for a royal decree, for I am not bound like thee.

What is this barbaric racism for, I have lived here for sixteen plus years more!

Why do you think of me a threat, if I were that I would have made a move yet.”

The guard pony growled.

“Look, Zebra, I'm just doing my job! Now either come with me, or I'll just have to force you along.”

The guard slowly lifted his baton, slapping it against his other hoof in an intimidating fashion.

Zecora sighed.

“A fight I do not wish to create, but be wary of just what you might have done to fate.”

With that, the guard pounced at Zecora. She made no attempt of resisting as the guard shackled her with cuffs, and led her off in the direction opposite of Pumpkin.

Pumpkin wanted to run after Zecora. She was so nice, why'd they have to take her away?

But she couldn't move. She was terrified out of her mind. Everything was happening too fast.

“Come along, baby,” she heard her mother say as she wrapped a hoof around Pumpkin, pulling her away.

Pumpkin and her parents made their way home. Outside the house, they saw Dinky waiting for them.

“Hey, Pumpkin,” Dinky said. Her eyes were red; she'd been crying recently. Everypony had been crying recently.

“Hey Dinky, we saw Pip-” Pumpkin started, but stopped. He had been who she was crying for.

Wordlessly, the two mares embraced, no tears or anything. They simply hugged each other, feeling the mutual sense of loss between them.

“Do you want to come in?” Pumpkin asked Dinky. She felt Dinky nod against her.

The two mares entered the house.

They stayed within for the rest of the day.

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

The sun rose lazily into the sky the following morning, the entire town just a little quieter than usual. The entire populace was still reeling from the sudden events.

“Pumpkin?” Cup Cake knocked on her daughter's bedroom door.

A tired moan came from within.

Rolling her eyes, Cup Cake pushed open the door. Dinky and Pumpkin were nestled up to each other beneath the sheets of Pumpkin's bed. Pumpkin poked her head out from beneath the blankets.

“Pumpkin, you have an appointment today,” Cup Cake reminded her daughter. Pumpkin moaned, flopping to her side while Dinky raised her own head from beneath the blankets, blinking groggily.

“Appointment?” Dinky asked Pumpkin. Pumpkin replied by rubbing her belly. The bump was small, but it was present.

“Mom and I have been going to have the baby checked up every week, since you know... Pound and I... Five legs-”

“It has five legs?!” Dinky gasped in horror, scooting back in shock.

Pumpkin almost teared up again.

“NO! But if she did, well, we'll know immediately any genetic... disfigurements with her.”

Dinky nodded, feeling bad for her reaction. Pumpkin didn't seem particularly bothered, however, and the conversation ended.

Slowly, the two girls made themselves ready. Showers were taken, laughs were exchanged. They were slowly returning from heartbroken lovers to once again being mares.

After a warm shower for the both of them, they were brushing their manes in the bedroom. Dinky looked over at the quiet Pumpkin. For the usually cheerful pony, Pumpkin was being solemnly silent. It wasn't helping the situation any.

Dinky sighed as she imagined how Pumpkin was feeling. She could relate. Maybe not on quite the same level as Pumpkin, but... nonetheless, she missed Pipsqueak already. Even if he was a silly, irresponsible prick from time to time, she knew he loved her.

She smiled slightly to herself. Just as her mother had been strong for her, as her sisters still were for her, Dinky had to be strong now. Not just for herself, but for Pipsqueak, for Pumpkin.

Taking another glance at Pumpkin, she slowly laid down the brush she had been using while watching her orange friend, admiring the gorgeous locks she ran her brush through.

“Your mane is so beautiful, Pumpkin,” Dinky said with an honest smile on her face.

Pumpkin turned to face Dinky, and smiled. Gone were the tears, in fact one couldn't even tell she had been crying. Her eyes were still red, but other than that Pumpkin was more-or-less back to normal.

“Thanks, Dinky,” Pumpkin said. “Let's go.”

With a nod, Dinky followed Pumpkin as they removed themselves from the room, heading down the stairs to meet with Cup Cake.

“All ready, sweet heart?” Cup Cake asked Pumpkin as she reached the bottom of the stairs. Pumpkin nodded slowly, forcing a smile for her mother.

“Then on our way we go! We can even stop to grab a bite on the way, does that sound good?”

Pumpkin nodded. “Sounds great, mom.”

Cup Cake grinned nervously. She was slightly disappointed in her daughter for not using any protection, and more surprised than anything else that it was by Pound of all ponies that she had coupled with, but...

Pumpkin held her chest high as the three ponies made their way from Sugar Cube Corner.

She was her daughter, and Pumpkin didn't show any problems with having a child sired by her brother. If anything, Pumpkin defended it with a passion, some would say even proud.

Cup Cake was at odds with herself. She knew she shouldn't have been supporting such a relationship, but at the same time she knew her children were truly in love. Even if it was odd to some... she recognized the look Pumpkin had in her eye whenever she looked at Pound. It was the same look she gave Carrot Cake, a look of true love and care. She would have no part in ending that, no she would not.

Pumpkin strutted along between her mother and friend as they engaged in small talk, Cup and Pumpkin discussing sales at the store and Dinky telling the two how her sisters were doing.

Ponies still whispered as Pumpkin trotted by, pointing at her behind her back. They would gossip amongst themselves, some still disbelieving what they'd heard about her through their friends and other sources of gossip. While not everypony knew that it was Pound's child, most ponies had seen Pumpkin and Pound going on numerous dates in the past months, but there was still an odd sense of disbelief of the relationship between the twins.

Today, however, there was less of that. Most ponies weren't even outside, even as the temperature climbed steadily through the morning. The few ponies out were more interested in what had transpired the day before. It would be the talk of the town for a while, and for good reason.

As the three made their way to the center of town, they saw various carts beginning to set up for the day.

No matter what had happened, life would continue.

Still, Pumpkin could name the ponies who were missing.

Spring Glory, Misty Wing, Bold Tag, Wild Rain, Thunderback...

Many of the normal carts were absent this morning, and many of those would continue to be absent, the ponies that normally ran them no longer present.

However, there was one pony in particular that caught Pumpkin's eye. A moment later, the country mare noticed Pumpkin and waved her over.

“Well good mornin' to y'all,” Applejack said politely as she performed the well-practiced routine of opening up her cart. Pumpkin was rather curious as to this; the Apple family vending cart usually didn't set up until much later in the day.

Pumpkin shrugged it off.

“Good morning, Applejack, how is your morning so far?”

“It's a mornin, that's for sure,” Applejack said with only a hint of sadness in her voice. “What with Big Macintosh away for this here 'proclamation' shmuck they waved around the other night... well, it's been a might harder 'round the farm this mornin, that's for sure.”

“Oh my- Applejack, I'm so-”

“Don't,” Applejack said, holding up a hoof. “Ah appreciate the concern, but... ah don't want to hear it. Ah just don't.”

“O-okay,” Pumpkin said, sighing. “My bad.”

“None at all, sweet heart. Mac just isn't as young as he used to be is all, and ah admit ah'm just a tad worried for him. Ah'm sure you'd understand if-”

Applejack's eyes went wide.

“Did they take him, too?” she suddenly asked.

Pumpkin nodded slowly. Applejack sighed dejectedly.

“Ah'm sorry, sugar. He... He'll be fine, though. Ah'm sure of it.” Applejack then took a step and gave Pumpkin an awkward hug, to which Pumpkin responded tenderly.

“So where are y'all off to this fine morning?” Applejack asked the trio.

“Hospital, I have a check-up for the baby,” Pumpkin said. A quick look of discomfort passed over Applejack's face as she imagined the bastard child, but she quickly regained her composure.

“AH, uh... good luck, that is!” Applejack stammered. “If that's something ya need luck for. Do ya need luck for that? Whisper and ah never really had that problem- NOT A PROBELM, ah mean, uh...”

Pumpkin let out a stiffled chuckle, holding up a hoof of her own.

“I appreciate it, Applejack. Thanks. I'm just glad you aren't still upset about Pound and I...”

Applejack sighed openly.

“Ah'll tell ya straight, ah still don't think it's right. But that's just mah thoughts, and ah do realize this.”

Applejack took a deep, rational breath before continue with an honest smile on her face.

“It's too late to do anythin about it now, so... congratulations, again.”

“Thanks,” Pumpkin said, taking what Applejack had said in a positive light before motioning to the cart behind her.

“So can we peruse your cart? I for one am rather starved...” Pumpkin said.

“Sure thing!” Applejack said with a smile, trotting around behind the cart and pulling out the final sign, displaying the day's prices.

As Cup Cake watched in amazement, Pumpkin proceeded to pick out every last pie that Applejack had hidden throughout the stand with pinpoint directions.

“That'll be 60 bits...” Applejack said in disbelief.

Pumpkin levitated the bits over to Applejack with a wide grin on her face, taking the twenty apple pies stacked precariously atop each other with another coat of magic, floating them along as she trotted gleefully along, her mother and Dinky following close behind.

Ten minutes later, the two felt they would be sick as Pumpkin licked the last crumb from her lips, crumpling the last pie tin in her magic, tossing the crushed tin into a nearby trash can with a flick of her horn.

“That was tasty!” Pumpkin said as the three approached the front of the hospital.

“Yeah, that... sure looked tasty...” Dinky mumbled, still shocked by the frankly disgusting show.

Trotting in through the front doors, they headed straight for the front desk. Nopony else was in the lobby, something Pumpkin was actually slightly relieved of. Whenever there were ponies there, they'd always have to ask what such a pretty little mare was doing there. And then they'd ask in shock who knocked her up. And then they'd just sit there awkwardly next to the incestuous mare.

But after her mom had switched her appointments to mornings, there was far less of that. Plus, it was more convenient to the busy Cup Cake, who insisted she accompany Pumpkin to every ultrasound.

Today was no different than any other. They were seen quickly and promptly, and after being led to a room by a nurse, the doctor for them entered the room.

“Well hello miss Pumpkin, how are we doing today?” the doctor asked Pumpkin as he nodded to Cup Cake and Dinky, taking the clipboard from the counter in his magic and flipping through it before nodding in acknowledgment.

“I'm fine, doctor Stethoscope,” Pumpkin said calmly.

“That is wonderful to hear, Pumpkin,” Stethoscope said with slightly too much excitement. He was still used to dealing with children, whom he had to over-act with on a constant basis. In fact, he could remember when he had to use the same voice on Pumpkin back when he was the twins' pediatrician.

And thus the doctor went through the motions, and not too long after he was sweeping over Pumpkin's mid-section with sensitive magic, a fuzzy picture appearing on a monitor next to him.

“Aw, she's so cute!” Dinky said with a slight coo, smiling. Cup Cake held her daughter's hoof with her own.

“She seems to be doing perfectly fine, Pumpkin Cake,” Stethoscope said happily. He enjoyed giving ponies good news. He glanced down at the clipboard, frowning momentarily.

“What?!” Pumpkin asked, suddenly quite scared. She'd noticed the reaction Stethoscope had made.

“What's wrong with her?”

“It's nothing serious, Pumpkin,” Stethoscope tried to explain. “I was just a little surprised at... the father's name...” he chuckled lightly, a bead of sweat forming on his forehead.

Pumpkin let out an exasperated sigh, letting herself relax. Nothing serious. Cup Cake even let out a small chuckle herself before leveling at Stethoscope.

“And there is not a problem with that, Stethoscope. Is there?”

“Well, on a technical stance-” Stethoscope tried to reason before Cup Cake jumped in.

“Why do you think we are here every week, so we could see your reaction when you finally noticed two little words on your clipboard?!” Cup Cake said rather irritated. “This technical stance is the entire reason we are here!”

Stethoscope chuckled lightly, a second bead of sweat joining the first.

“I-I haven't seen anything out of the norm for the child, ma'am,” Stethoscope insisted.

Cup Cake smiled. “Wonderful!”

Stethoscope let out a relieved sigh as he wrote down a few quick notes.

Less than twenty minutes later, the three ponies were out of the hospital, heading back to town.

“Hey mom, I'm going to go hang out with Dinky, is that alright?”

“Wha-” Dinky started, but fell silent as Pumpkin shot her a look that read 'just go with it'.

“Sure thing, just be safe,” Cup Cake said before turning and giving Pumpkin a soft kiss upon her head.

“Kay, thanks mom!”

The two scampered off, heading towards the edge of town, towards the river.

“What was that about?” Dinky asked Pumpkin.

“I wanted to hang out with you some more,” Pumpkin said as she sidled up next to Dinky. “I figured we might as well get to know each other a bit more, maybe we could write to Pip and Pound together?”

Dinky was about to say something, but then she caught a whiff of the smell. It clicked very quickly.

“You are extremely horny right now, aren't you?”

“Unbelievably so.”

Dinky chuckled lightly.

“Come on, I'll show you some magic exercises I use to get over it-”

“Whoa, you use magic to help? I can't believe I never thought of that!” Pumpkin gasped in glee. Dinky was slightly horrified.

“I know that look, and that's not what I meant! I meant real magic practice, no sex.”

“Ah, okay...” Pumpkin said slowly, slightly disappointed. Her tummy felt a little funny. Then her head felt kind of light.

Pumpkin rushed towards the bridge in town, hurling her face over the side as she vomited painfully. Dinky rolled her eyes as she trotted over and held Pumpkin's mane.

“I knew you were going to feel like crap after eating all of those.”

“Gleh...” Pumpkin huffed, her mouth tasting of bile. “So horrible...”

“Just let it all out...” Dinky cooed, rubbing Pumpkin's back as her magic held the thick orange mane out of Pumpkin's face.

“Maybe... we can bond more at... my place-” Pumpkin began but was cut short as more half-digested pie forced it's way out her maw.

“As soon as you're done, take your time,” Dinky said with a light chuckle.

And with that, the two became great friends.



Two Weeks Later...

“Dinky!” Pumpkin shouted as Dinky trotted into Sugar Cube Corner, surprised at the sudden outburst.

“Hey Pumpkin-” Dinky began, but was interrupted by Pumpkin.

“I GOT A LETTER FROM POUND!!!” she shouted happily, displaying a sealed envelope addressed to her.

“Oh, what fun!” Dinky said, happy for her friend. She wasn't bitter that Pumpkin had received a letter from Pound, but Pipsqueak had yet to send her anything. Not that she was bitter or anything...

“Why didn't you open it?” Dinky asked as she approached Pumpkin, sitting upon a stool at the counter.

“I wanted to wait until you were here, maybe we could read it together,” Pumpkin said with a cute smile.

Dinky felt herself grin. “Well I'm here, let's bust it open!”

Pumpkin opened up the letter, taking out it's contents. Pumpkin skimmed over the first page, and then chuckled as she passed it to Dinky.

“It seems Pipsqueak wanted to conserve on postage stamps,” Pumpkin chuckled as Dinky took the letter angrily, reading it with a fire.

Pumpkin returned to her own letter, starting from the top...

My dearest Pumpkin Cake,

The past week sucked. All we did was PT, PT, PT, march, and then PT. That's it. Seriously. All we did.

How's life going on back in Ponyville? How's the baby girl doing, how are you doing? I can't wait until I can see you again!

With love, Pound Cake.


P.S. Pipsqueak has this obsession that the national currency is about to collapse and thus is hoarding his stamps. His letters for Dinky and his family are enclosed.

Love you baby!

Pumpkin was slightly shocked.

“That's... it?”

C6_Letters_Home

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Pounds For Pumpkins

Digital_Hex

Letters Home

Beloved Pound Cake,

That is not a proper letter in the slightest. While I appreciate you trying to send me a swift word of reassurance and all, you simply must elaborate further! What is it like there? Do they treat you alright? Do you go on marches or anything of the sort? How early do they make you wake up? This is important stuff, you know!

The regular hospital appointments have been consistently positive,there hasn't been anything wrong with our baby yet.

I still can't believe I'm pregnant, Pound. It's scary to think about. In a few months time, we're going to be parents. I know you're still terrified of that, but as I said, I'm scared too. We'll have to figure this out together. That's what you get for knocking up your sister, I guess! :P

I love you lots and lots. Dinky and I have been hanging out a lot, too. She's really nice, and we can't wait for you and Pipsqueak to get back! Have you met any nice ponies there? Have you met any nice mares? DO I need to slap a hoe? Don't make me, Pound, or I swear to Celestia I will name this filly Rape Sack and be done with it.

Okay, that was a little harsh. Still. Don't you be fooling around on me.

Love you lots and lots, hope to hear from you soon!

-Pumpkin

~.~.~.~.~.~

Pumpkin Cake, the love of my life,

I have fifteen minutes after chow to write to you. I'm really sorry that the last letter was so short, but I literally had fifteen minutes to write it, bag it, address it, stamp it, haul butt half way across camp to the post-mare and drop it off, then make it back to the tent, or else I would be dropped. And let me tell you, Getting dropped is NOT fun.

Here, it's... difficult. Not all that physically draining, actually. At least, not compared to what I was expecting. It's more of a mind game than anything. The instructors want us to quit, to give up, that way they can break us down and build us back up again. I've seen a few ponies just refuse to go on. I'm not too sure what happened to them...

… And I'm back. I didn't have enough time yesterday to finish, so I'll try and continue today where I left off. Oh, and did you know it takes almost a week for my letters to get to you, and vice-versa? Crazy, right?

They treat us like children, which I suppose is fitting. We march a lot every day, and have some basic classroom settings, namely military history and tactics and the such. Each class has a day grade that you have to make or they make you skip chow and do it again until you pass. I heard it sucks. I don't know, though, since I've always passed. Pipsqueak keeps having to take the classes over, though. He says it sucks. Oh well. Sucks to suck, I guess.

We usually get up at about six in the morning, or oh-six-hundred. Our tent, that is. Each tent is woken up at around the same time, depending on how responsible the squad leader is for them. We have a big pony named Skyfire as our current squad leader, and he's actually really good at it. So much that the instructors are having him do it again after Pipsqueak failed the first day of his round to wake us up on time. He got smoked the entire day- woops, I'll finish this tomorrow!

And I'm back, again! Fifteen minutes doesn't get you much here. Anyways, Pipsqueak gets to try again after everypony else in the squad has had a chance.

Our tent has three mares in it, and before you get any ideas, none of them can ever match up to you, so don't fear. There's no way any of them can replace you, I promise. Anyways, I did actually befriend one of them today in our class. Her name is Warden, but she insists on being called Waldo. She's so stubborn she inadvertently made the instructors even refer to her as that! Anyways, we were doing stealth and evasion classes today, and she led me out into the forest to hide with her. Five hours go by, and she'd picked such a good spot that nopony had found us yet until... My hoof slipped from our tree just as an instructor was passing by, and he saw me. But get this: he didn't even get a glimpse of Waldo! He never even knew she was there! She's got this really bright, white coat, too, so it's crazy she can hide so well. Oh well, she's pretty cool. A little cold from time to time, but she can actually smile, something none of us thought she could do. She lives in Ponyville too, maybe you can meet her when we get back!

I am so happy that our filly is doing well. And you're right, I am terrified about what the future holds. But if you insist everything will be okay, well... I trust you. So, any ideas for baby names yet? I haven't a clue!

Your stud-muffin, Pound Cake

~.~.~.~.~.~

Pound Cake,

Stud muffin? Really? That's the best you've got.

That sucks that it takes that long for you to get my letters, but that must mean you're getting close to the half-way mark by the time you read this, right? I'm so happy you're doing good, that makes me smile.

Names... I don't know. I was thinking maybe Sugar or Patty, maybe even Sweet Cake? Do we even want to keep the Cake? I don't know, I didn't expect you to be asking!

Aunt Pinkie Pie stopped by for a little while a few days ago, as did Rapid and her coltfriend, Crisp Press. They missed out on the draft, thank Celestia, but they are glad to hear you're doing good as well! Press is such a sweetheart, his demeanor is actually a lot like yours, surprisingly. Other than, well... he likes to wear dresses. I know, a little odd, but who are we to judge?

Anyways, I'm going to stay with Rapid for a week or so in Manehatten to relax and spend some time with her. Dinky is also coming, bless her soul. I should be back in time for your next letter.

I love you so much, Pound. So much.

-Pumpkin

~.~.~.~.~.~

Pumpkin Cake,

I thought it was clever -.-

Anyways, it's starting to get pretty grueling here. A few attacks out on the field on our soldiers not far from here has led to us being given extra combat courses.

I'm scared, Pumpkin. I'm not a fighter, we both know that. I finally feel comfortable with you compared to the years I was terrified to even speak to you, lest you find out about my crush on you, but... no offense, this is a million times worse. I might have to take somepony's life. I'm in way over my head.

And some other bad news. Our tent is down to four ponies. The other two ponies, Streak and Wave, were found... fooling around with each other in the wrong place, and so were assigned to a disciplinary platoon. It sucks, they were funny. They should be back in a couple weeks, though.

Anyways, at the halfway mark now. Can you believe it? And get this: we get to come home for a week after training, before we get sent right back here. It sucks and all, but it's a nice little break!

As far as names go, I kind of like Patty. And I would like to keep Cake. It keeps us close, and it means a little bit to me. Patty Cake, our little angel. It sounds nice :)

I love you even more and can't wait to see my special mare!

-Pound

~.~.~.~.~.~

Pound,

I'm scared.

The ultra-sound today showed... something. It looked like a dot on the screen, but they didn't like it. I'm scared, Pound, I'm so scared. I want you to hold me, I want to lie with you, but you aren't here...

I know it's not fair for me to be angry with you, you didn't want to go, but I miss you so much.

But I was thinking of the name.

Let me be blunt. I was joking with Patty. Do you really like it? I mean, if you like it, then we can name her that, but... don't you think it sounds a little... I don't know, cheesy? Our daughter, Patty Cake?

I'm tired. I'm going to send this to you and go to bed. I'm flat exhausted.

Loving you always,

Pumpkin

~.~.~.~.~.~

Pumpkin,

I wish I was there. Believe me, I really do. If there was a way for me to be there right now, believe me when I say I would take it.

But, bad news.

Our camp was attacked three nights ago. A couple Zebras crashed the gates, bullets were everywhere. Pipsqueak took one to his leg, thankfully it didn't do anything vital to him. Waldo lost an eye, but she's doing better now. Guess her only weak side is her left, now.

I'm terrified too, sweetie. I love you so much, and there are so many things going on right now. They're going to push the graduation date up a little bit, meaning that this should be the last letter you get from me before I show up on our doorstep. Yep, that's right, they're promoting us all to E-2 and sending us home so they can bring in a new class.

I'm coming home, baby.

I'll see you soon.

-Pound

~.~.~.~.~.~

Pound took in a deep breath as the train rolled along the tracks. It had been a rough time, made even worse by the sparse letters he was able to trade with his love. But whether or not it was all worth it didn't matter anymore. He and his three friends sat in their own car, Smiling eagerly. Waldo even managed to crack a grin beneath the full-face bandage she wore, her right eye poking out to scan the room occasionally before closing once more. She would never get used to having her entire left flank vulnerable.

Pipsqueak chewed nervously on his Warrior's Handbook, desperately trying to come up with an excuse to Dinky as to why he hardly wrote her. After Pound refused to take any more letters for him in the belief that he was just being silly, he only sent her a single letter.

One.

She was going to kill him so bad.

Skyfire just looked out the window along with Pound, his breath catching as they spotted Ponyville on the horizon.

They were almost home.

~.~.~.~.~.~

Next to the letter envelope Pumpkin had recently torn open was a small flier from the Equestrian Guard Department of Homeland affairs, alerting the family of Cake, Pound that he was expected to arrive home later that day. She had seen it before she'd opened Pound's last letter.

Pumpkin couldn't help but smile with tears in her eyes. He was coming home. Her brother, her lover, her everything, was finally coming back home. It had been horrible without him, but she finally would be able to see him again.

“Come on, sweetie, the train should be just about here by now!” Cup Cake said enthusiastically, helping Pumpkin from her seat. After seven months of pregnancy, she was getting close to the day. Her body was showing it, too. Where she had once been very good at hiding her growing child, she now sported an obvious baby bump, one that impeded her motion with every step. She was an emotional roller-coaster these days, but her parents and friends were always there for her. And soon, Pound would be there, too.

Pumpkin giggled excitedly as she waddled along next to her mom. She still wasn't used to essentially having a watermelon strapped to the inside of her crotch. Still, she made do.

Less than an hour later, the train rolled in, most of the families in Ponyville huddled onto the small depot floor. The Cake family had been graciously been allowed a rare boarding-zone spot with a generous amount of space behind for Pumpkin, everypony feeling more than accepting of her state in this period.

Finally, the train screeched to a halt. Ponies flooded out, Pumpkin desperately looking around, straining her neck to find him.

Finally, as he stepped off the train, she did.

“Pound!” she shouted, ponies in the line between them practically throwing themselves out of her way as she charged forward. Ponies laughed sweetly at her reaction, tears still clinging to their faces from their recent reunion as Pumpkin launched herself at Pound.

“Oh, Pumpki- MMMPH!”

Pumpkin didn't allow him to speak as, in front of everypony, she locked her lips to his with a heated passion. Pound closed his eyes blissfully as he returned the affection, stroking her sides and mane gently.

And all around them, not a single fuck was given.

Maybe they had a chance.

C7_Back_Home:Part_One

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Pounds For Pumpkins

Digital_Hex

Back Home: Part One

Pound held his sister in his hooves as the two finally broke away, many ponies by now having resorted to staring at them. Neither really cared, though, nor did many of the actual ponies staring. Many smiles went around. The ponies were back from their training, if only for a short time. It was time to be happy!

Pound wrapped a hoof around his mare as the two were met by their parents. Carrot Cake ruffled his son's mane while Cup resorted to wrapping her hooves around her baby son, hugging the ever-loving life out of him.

“Mom... Can't... breathe!”

All around them, similar reactions were taking place. Pipsqueak followed behind Pound, and was immediately tackled by Dinky.

“You idiot!” she bellowed at him as she pulled him into her tight embrace. Pipsqueak howled in pain as his injured hoof was crushed between their bodies, but Dinky either didn't notice or didn't care.

“Missed you too, lass!” Pipsqueak choked out before forcibly removing himself from Dinky's grasp. Before she could complain, however, Pipsqueak leaned in and gave her an affectionate smooch on the cheek, followed by a tender brush of his cheek against her forehead.

“I really did...” he mumbled, tenderly wrapping his hooves around Dinky. Nearby, Ditzy and Sparkler smiled to themselves. They would be having fun tonight.

Sky fire followed Pipsqueak, who had bumped into a rather large red stallion on the way out the door. They were about the same size, which was crazy as the stallion had to have been a good twenty or so years older than Skyfire. Oh well.

He looked around for his family before he smiled, his eyes falling on an elderly cyan unicorn mare. Trotting over, he gave his weathered old grandmother a hug.

“AH knew you'd be fine, Skitzy!” she wheezed, a tear in her eye. Skyfire just chuckled.

“Yes you did, gramma, yes you did.”

The older stallion Skyfire had bumped into trotted a bit further, meeting his family closer to the center of the train depot.

“Mac!” a yellow mare with a silky red mane shouted before bounding towards her brother, giving him a tight hug. Big Macintosh laughed deeply, his deep voice carrying over the entire depot floor.

“Well howdy, Applebloom! Ya didn't get into any trouble 'round here while ah was gone, did'ja?”

“None more than ah normally do!” she giggled as Macintosh ruffled her mane with a large, strong hoof.

Then his eyes locked with Applejack's. She smiled back at him, her cheeks tinged light pink. Big Mac gave her a grin and a wink that read, “We'll talk later.”

Not far from them, Waldo stumbled through the crowd, her heart racing.

With her entire left field of vision gone, she felt extremely vulnerable. Normally she felt so alert in crowds, able to slip between ponies with ease, but now...

She felt more clumsy than a fat heifer. She was constantly bumping into ponies, tripping over her own hooves even. Nopony was irritated with her, though. At least, nopony but herself.

She stopped where she stood, groaning as she slumped onto her flank, defeated. She couldn't find her way anywhere. All she wanted to do was just head home and sleep on her day, but she couldn't even do that. It wasn't like she had anypony she was meeting with; her mother was gone somewhere, as usual, and her father...

She shuddered.

She'd rather not think about her father.

She shook her head beneath the heavy bandage, feeling foolish. The damn bandage was stupid, she felt, but it was better than everypony seeing the side of her face all stitched up. She was lucky that the Zebras fired little more than sharp stones through mechanized slingshots, or the rest of her face might have gone along with her eye.

Suddenly she felt somepony bump into her.

“Whoops, sorry ma'am,” a light voice called to her, a stallions voice. Turning, she caught the fleeting glimpse of a blonde coat with a brown vest- the next moment, he was gone with the crowd.

“Waldo!”

Waldo whirled around to see Pound a few paces from her, weaving her over.

She gave him a stern glare. They may have been friends during training, but that ended with-

Then she noticed Pumpkin, notably her swollen belly. She then looked back at Pound, cocking an eyebrow. A quick blush from Pound was enough to confirm it to her; this was the mare he'd knocked up.

He'd only mentioned it once, and even then it was by accident. Pipsqueak and Skyfire had been chatting about what they would do when they returned home, and some time during the conversation, Pound had accidentally admitted to have been waiting on a baby back home. It was a simple slip of the tongue, but Waldo had caught it.

Waldo trotted over to Pound and Pumpkin, giving Pound a questioning stare.

“Waldo, this is my family. These are my parents, Carrot Cake and Cup Cake, and this is my-”

Pound paused for a moment, shifting his attention momentarily to Pumpkin before shaking his head, continuing.

“-marefriend, Pumpkin.”

Pumpkin was slightly shocked that Pound had used the term 'marefriend' for her instead of sister, but at the same time her chest swelled with pride. She was his mare, and he finally felt confident enough about it to say it to the world.

Or, at least to Waldo.

Well, that actually made sense in a Pound kind-of-way. Waldo didn't know her. It was easier to just introduce her as his marefriend than to explain the whole incest thing to her-

“Your sister, right?”

Pumpkin's jaw dropped. How'd she figure that out so quickly?!

Pound decided to voice his sister's thoughts exactly.

“How'd you figure that out so quickly?”

Waldo shrugged.

“I've heard about you two around town. Think I even saw you guys in a bar around here before, well... shit happened.”

Pound breathed out slowly. Well then. Guess the cat was out of the bag with this one. Good to know she wasn't particularly disturbed by this.

“Anyways, thought I should introduce you,” Pound told Waldo, adopting his shy smile again. “I take it you're going to find your parents?”

Waldo shook her head, her bandage hanging limply to her face. The married Cakes looked at it suspiciously.

“No.”

Pound waited for Waldo to elaborate further, but as per the norm with Waldo, she remained silent.

“Is there any reason?” Pound pressed, curious. Waldo rolled her eyes.

“They don't live here.”

Pound felt a little foolish. He shouldn't have been so concerned by her response; plenty of the younger ponies in town lived on their own, it wasn't particularly odd.

“Oh. Well in that case... see you around?”

“Sure thi-” Waldo said, but was interrupted as a blur of white and blue rocketed towards her.

“I FOUND WALDO!” Vinyl Scratch cheered, the DJ enthusiastically dancing around the now-irritated mare.

“What do you want, sis?” Waldo asked in exasperation.

Vinyl stopped dancing to adopt a more serious face.

“It's about the house. We kind of had a crazy party last night before you got back. You know, can't wait kind of thing? Anyways, the long and direct: the house is a disaster. More so than usual. You'll have to find somewhere else to stay for a couple days, at least.”

Waldo facehoofed.

“Why does this feel oddly forced?” she muttered before flopping back to her flanks.

“Great. Thanks for the heads up, Scratch.”

“No problem!” Vinyl said with a grin, ruffling Waldo's mane before turning a nd trotting away.

“Prick,” Waldo spat.

“Uh, Waldo?” Pound asked, slightly disturbed by what he'd seen. This was how some siblings interacted with each other?

Waldo tilted her head towards him, but upon remembering she no longer had one of her eyes, rose to her hooves to turn and face him head-on.

“If you need some place to stay... well, we do have an extra room. Want it?”

Waldo groaned. She hated charity. Not because she was a good saint or anything, but she just didn't like being given things like that. It wasn't like she was going to pay them back or anything. Like she said, she wasn't a good saint.

“I don't have to pay rent, do I?” Waldo asked. Silence overtook them as the mare felt the tension rise.

Okay, maybe the wrong thing to say right now, Warden huffed to herself.\

Slowly, painfully, and far too self-aware of her actions, Waldo forced herself to smile playfully, as though her comment had been a joke.

Pound and Pumpkin let out a chuckle of relief as their parents spoke up behind them.

“I see no problem with it,” Carrot said.

“Me neither,” Cup Cake agreed. “As long as I don't get pushed out of the house for no reason what-so-ever, only to return later and find the house reeking of sweat,” she dead-panned, giving her husband a stern glare while her children blushed deeply. Carrot could only manage a sheepish chuckle.

“Then it's settled!” Pound said with gusto, waving Waldo along next to him. “Feel free to join us!”

Waldo huffed. This was definitely not what she had in mind for her break.

Pumpkin came over and gave her a hug, smiling.

“It's great to actually meet you. Pound mentioned you in his letters, said you were pretty stealthy. Not bad for an earth pony,” Pumpkin said jokingly with a wink.

Waldo managed a light chuckle.

Okay, maybe it wouldn't be too bad, so long as they didn't talk. Their jokes were terrible and tasted all sorts of unintentionally racist.

“Not bad at all,” Warden agreed.

C8_Back_Home:Part_Two

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Pounds For Pumpkins

Digital_Hex

Back Home: Part Two

“So your sister is Vinyl Scratch?” Pumpkin Cake asked Waldo as they trotted alongside each other. Pound and his parents were a little ahead of them. Pound was comparing his experience at basic with his father's.

“Kind of,” Waldo said slowly. “It's kind of complicated, really.”

Pumpkin cocked her head to the side. “How so?”

Waldo took a deep breath. “It's a long story, really boring. You wouldn't be interested.”

Pumpkin merely chuckled in response. “Nonsense, I would enjoy hearing it.”

Waldo cast her right eye towards Pumpkin. She was smiling cheerfully.

Maybe she isn't too bad, Waldo thought to herself. She nodded slightly.

“Fine, if you really want to,” Waldo sighed. “My parents kind of travel a lot, yeah. They have friends all over Equestria, though, and when I was younger they would drop me off with them whenever they went on their... adventures. Vinyl Scratch was the daughter of one such family. I spent over a year living with them when I was... six? Anyways, we grew pretty close and I started referring to her as my sister. It's just a sentimental thing, I guess.”

“That's... pretty interesting,” Pumpkin said, forcing a chuckle. She'd hadn't really been expecting that, but then again... what had she been expecting?

… Exactly.

Waldo took what Pumpkin had said as aggressive, though. She had her reasons.

“Oh yeah? Maybe I find you and Pound's predicament as... interesting.”

Pumpkin blushed faintly before growing slightly irritated. She was trying to show this mare some common hospitality and make small talk, and here she was practically insulting her!

“Why, whatever might you mean?” Pumpkin asked with a sense of pride, sticking her nose up in the air as she trotted along.

Waldo scoffed. “Besides being knocked up by your brother? How does that even happen?”

Pumpkin felt herself shake with a slight anger. Her moods were known to violently change lately, but she seemed pretty fixated on rage at the moment. If she wasn't normally more of a composed pony, she would have beat the insensitivity out of Waldo on the spot.

“How does love happen, you ask? I would expect everypony to at least understand the fundamentals of it.”

Waldo coughed. A nerve was being prodded. She knew if she continued, a line was going to be crossed soon, but-

“Oh, I've felt love before. Just not some fetish of a fling.”

Pumpkin froze. She was going to snap, she was going to freak out.

Calm down, Pumpkin, calm, she's just a stupid mare who doesn't know, she doesn't know, nor does she care, calm yourself.

Waldo noticed that Pumpkin had stopped and allowed herself a small grin of victory. She too stopped, and peeked over her right, expecting to see Pumpkin in a fit of rage.

She instead felt her heart sink as Pumpkin failed to keep from shedding a thick stream of tears.

Pumpkin's bottom lips trembled as her body wracked with shudders.

Waldo slowly approached Pumpkin, knowing she'd crossed that line. She always ended up doing it.

“Y-yeah, your right. You p-probably never did anything l-like me. Who am I-I to judge, falling in l-love with my twin for Faust's s-sake. Just a nasty fetish, right?”

Pumpkin sniffled hard.

“You think I never thought of that? Sometimes that's all I c-can think about, is w-why I chose this path. But it wasn't a p-path I just chose. DO you even get what I'm going through r-right now?”

Waldo gulped. “No, I-”

“You don't, at all. So don't j-judge. I don't expect you to understand what's going on between me and Pound, but... Don't p-piss me off. I want to give you a chance, and that's only because Pound sees you a-as a friend.”

Waldo winced at the word 'friend'.

Pumpkin took a deep breath in, trying to calm herself. The tears were slowing.

Stupid hormones, she thought to herself.

“I will do anything for Pound, so I won't be mad at you. But... watch yourself.”

With that, Pumpkin trotted ahead, giving Waldo a chilling snort.

Waldo lifted a hoof after her, but slammed into the ground, growling at herself.

Why do I always have to do that? Damnit, Warden, don't be such a... bitch, she growled to herself.

Waldo slowly started trotting back towards the group, keeping her head downcast as she kept a decent distance from Pumpkin. Pumpkin had cleaned her face of the tears, and was now laughing alongside her mother.

Pushing on, Waldo shook her head. She needed to work on her tact. She really did.

- - - - -

“Shut up, Sparkler,” Dinky growled as her sister sang alongside her and Pipsqueak.

“... K-I-S-S-I-N-G!”

Dinky snorted. “You already know we've done worse.”

“And can't wait to rate your next performance, either,” Ditzy commented, an evil grin on her face.

Pipsqueak was aghast in horror. “You wouldn't!”

“We would!” Sparkler snickered.

“But I would never expect-”

Dinky's eyes shot open. She knew Pipsqueak well enough to know where his mind was wandering to. It was not a good place.

She stuffed a hoof in his mouth.

“Mmf mm hmmf mm mmrrphhmmm!” Pipsqueak exclaimed, completely ignoring the fact that his mouth was full.

Dinky rolled her eyes, imagining exactly what he would have said. A faint blush tickled her cheeks.

“Oh come on, Dinky,” Ditzy laughed. “Let your coltfriend speak!”

Dinky scoffed calmly. “If I let him do that, I don't think you two would leave much left of him.”

“Oh?” Sparkler asked, her interested piqued. “And whatever does that mean, little sis?”

Dinky cocked an eyebrow. “Do you really want to know?” Her voice was thick in amusement.

“Why of course, baby sister!” Ditzy said with a silly smile. “We care so much about you, after all!”

Dinky laughed before retracting her hoof from Pipsqueak's maw.

“Don't say I didn't warn you,” she snickered.

“So,” Sparkler started, “what were you saying there, Pip?”

Pipsqueak coughed before retrieving his signature smirk. It made him look like a cross between a goat and a foal.

“I was going to suggest an orgy, us four. Maybe you could put your mouth where your- well, you know.”

Dinky closed her eyes, grinning at her small victory over her sisters. Showed them to try and act smart around Pip.

A moment later, she heard the solid sound of two hooves impacting Pipsqueak's face from either side.

“O-ow...” he groaned.

- - - - -

“And this is the house!” Pound exclaimed to Waldo, pointing to Sugar Cube Corner with a hoof.

Waldo blinked. She'd passed by Sugar Cube Corner a few times before being drafted, but she couldn't imagine anypony actually lived there.

“That's, uh... neat!” she commented, trying to sound enthused. She was trying, she really was. Pumpkin's little scene earlier was cutting pretty deep with guilt.

Waldo glanced over to Pumpkin. She was completely avoiding eye contact.

Figures.

Carrot Cake opened the door, and the five ponies all made their way inside.

Waldo didn't really know what to expect, but she had to admit she was surprised.

They'd came in the back door, and it opened up to a small hallway with a couch along one wall. There was a staircase heading up to their left, while an open walkway to the right led to the kitchen area. Straight forward led to the backside of the front counter.

Waldo looked up to see an open area, a banister set against thee second floor. It appeared their common area was there.

Overall, she was impressed. It was a very nice layout.

“Come on,” Pound said, trotting ahead. “Let me show you around a little!”

Waldo smiled sheepishly before following after him, looking around. There were a lot of pictures of the family on the walls, many of them dotted with a rather bright pink pony as well. Waldo recalled meeting her before, for sure. What was her name... Pinkie Cake? Pinkie Pie? Yeah, Pinkie Pie. She was.... odd. Definitely odd.

“This is the kitchen,” Pound said as he swept a hoof towards the kitchen. “Our pantry is also there, feel free to help yourself when you like.”

Waldo nodded as Pound spun around and trotted along the hall, taking him behind the front counter.

“This is the point of sales,” he continued. From there, Waldo could see the common area of the shop, with a bar along one wall and a couple tables dotting the floor. The front counter itself had a glass display, and was furnished only with a display tower and a cash register.

Functional.

Another staircase was to their left, accessible from the front of the shop as well. Pound motioned for Waldo to follow him up.

Waldo glanced back, seeing that the other family members were heading up the other staircase already.

“Pound, wait.”

Pound stopped, looking back.

“What's up, Waldo?”

Waldo sighed. She hated confrontation usually, no matter what it was about, but... she had to at least try and do the right thing. Her father would have wanted at least that much from her.

“I... I was talking with Pumpkin earlier, and I said something I really regret.”

Waldo waited for Pound to respond.

Pound thought about it for a moment.

“So why are you telling me this?”

Waldo blinked.

“You're her brother, I figured I should say something-”

“But you didn't say the things to me,” Pound interrupted.

Waldo cocked her eyebrow, looking rather odd with only her right eye visible.

“Excuse me?”

“Look, I don't know what you said, but I noticed Pumpkin was a little upset. Between you and me, she's really shook up right now. I could tell right off the bat. A lot of things are going on for her right now, she's dealing with a lot. So... if you think you did or said something wrong... just go talk to her about it. Explain yourself, apologize if you have to.”

Waldo swallowed. Pound definitely cared for his sister, she could tell that much. She... she really felt awful about what she'd said to Pumpkin. She wasn't being fair.

“Thanks, Pound,” Waldo said. “I'll do that.”

Pound smiled. “Good. Now c'mon, there's more to show you!”

With that, Pound led her on a quick viewing of the upstairs, ending in the common room. Two couches along with a large sitting chair circled the open room, a small table in the middle. One wall indeed ended in a railed balcony that opened up to the hallway below. A window was set in the wall above the hall, and from the common room it gave a beautiful view of Ponyville's market square.

“It's a really nice house, Pound,” Waldo commented. Pumpkin was lounging on one of the couches, eyes closed. The parents were back downstairs, setting up for sales. The shop couldn't stay closed for forever, after all.

“Yeah, dad and I did a lot of remodeling after auntie Pinkie Pie moved out,” he chuckled, rubbing the back of his neck. He glanced at his sister before looking back at Waldo.

“Hey, I'm going to go see if anything much has changed here, see if Pumpkin did anything different with the room... you can wait here, I guess.”

He cocked his head over to Pumpkin while he said this, making his intended point clear. With that out of the way, he slipped his way towards his old bedroom.

The earth pony coughed awkwardly, rubbing the back of one of her legs. She and Pumpkin Cake were the only ones in the room.

“Yes?” Pumpkin asked, audibly irritated.

Waldo sighed. “Look, I'm sorry that we got off on the wrong hoof earlier.”

Pumpkin opened an eye, glancing at the other mare.

Waldo was blushing profusely, refusing to make eye contact. Obviously, apologizing wasn't necessarily something she was used to.

Pumpkin flicked a hoof, as if saying go on.

“I know it's not my place to say anything about your relationship with your brother, and I'm... sorry that I was being a bitch earlier.”

Waldo sighed.

“Your brother is a great guy, and I can tell just how much he cares about you. If it means anything to you, I'm somewhat happy for you two.”

Pumpkin couldn't help but smile. And here she'd thought Waldo was just a common douche.

“Thank you,” Pumpkin said. “And Waldo?”

Waldo looked at her with a quiet grunt.

“You don't need to share anything about your family with me if you don't want to. That's... that's your personal information, and I'm sorry for prying.”

Waldo chuckled.

“Nah, it's fine. Just don't go asking about my love life, and you'll stay sane.”

Pumpkin's ears perked at that.

“Love life, you say?” she asked with a wicked grin.

“No, no,” Waldo murmured as she took a step back. “I really don't want to talk about it.”

Pumpkin laughed. “If you insist.”

Raising herself from the couch, Pumpkin rolled onto her hooves. She gave a slight huff of exertion before making her way down the hall.

“Come on, Waldo,” Pumpkin said as she passed the white mare. “I'll show you the room you can stay in.”

Waldo smiled.

They really weren't so bad at all.

C9_Back_Home:Part_Three

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Pounds For Pumpkins

Digital_Hex

Back Home: Part Three

“Shut up, Pipsqueak.”

“But come on, can't you at least-”

“No.”

“But what if-”

“No.”

“Why can't we-”

“NO!”

“THAT WASN'T EVEN A YES OR NO QUESTION!”

“I DON'T CARE, PIP!”

Dinky huffed as she shot down every question her coltfriend threw at her. She knew each and every one was simply a different wording of the same request.

“But your sisters aaare pretty hot,” he commented right as Dinky socked him right in the face.

“Leave that stuff to Pumpkin,” she said as she tipped back her bottle of beer. His insistence was annoying her a lot more now that she was getting a little tipsy.

“And what's that supposed to mean?” Pipsqueak asked, the mood between them immediately taking on a colder edge. Even in her mildly inebriated state, Dinky could feel it.

She swallowed carefully.

“I mean, if I willingly went along with an orgy that my sisters are in- and yes, if you keep asking them they will eventually agree to it, so stop- then I would be committing incest. And I'm not trying to be rude, but I'll leave that stuff to Pumpkin. She can keep that.”

Pip let his face fall into his hoof as he sipped his scotch.

“Wow. I think that was the first time you ever actually managed to get me legitimately mad,” Pipsqueak said calmly.

Dinky looked at him in surprise.

“You're mad right now?”

Pipsqueak nodded.

“A little.”

“Care to elaborate?”

Pipsqueak took a quick swig of his drink before he began.

“Pound is my mate, we were buddies through basic and I have to say, he is the only pony I've met who really could care less how stupid I act sometimes. He helped me a lot, more than I'll ever give the kid credit. He's a strong colt, and y'know what? I kind of admire him for that. He's got a lot of balls.”

“He'd have to for what mess he's in now,” Dinky scoffed.

Pipsqueak replied by slamming his glass against the table, causing Dinky as well as a few other customers in the bar to jump in their seats, giving him a cautious eye.

“And that's the part that pisses me off!” he exclaimed. “Blokes like that, thinking they're better than him!”

Pipsqueak waved for another round as he pushed his glass away from himself.

“Didjew know that by the third week, he was promoted to our squad leader? Skyfire practically begged him to take the position, and Pound will never admit to accepting. He's too nice 'a pony for that. And with him at our charge, we excelled. I'll admit it, I don't think I ever could fire a rifle before. With his guidance... I still can't fire a rifle, but I'm a helluva lot better than I was!”

Pipsqueak hiccuped before continuing.

“Pound is, like, the nicest pony I know, and he has to deal with other ponies judging him. I know he banged his sister, and knocked her up to boot, but does that really matter? Why is it everypony's job to tell him how wrong he was? I don't think he was wrong at all, really.”

Dinky cocked an eyebrow.

“Oh? And why do you say that?”

Pipsqueak chuckled as he waved again, trying to get a waiter over to fill his drink. The bartender rolled his eyes, calmly swapping it out for a fresh glass filled to the brim. Pale was going to have a rough night with this one. Again. As per usual.

“He was always telling me about Pumpkin. I mean, I knew the mare, but he knew everything about her. Not really that surprising, I suppose, but it was... I'll say it. It was adorable. He is flat crazy over her. You should have seen him giggling when he was thinking of names for his foal. He even asked me. Me! Pumpkin really brings out the best in him, and y'know what?”

Pipsqueak paused, looking at his hoof. It was still raised for the waiter.

“What?” Dinky asked.

“What?” Pipsqueak asked, looking at Dinky, then back at his hoof.

“You asked y'know what, Pip,” Dinky said evenly.

“Did I?” Pipsqueak asked as he shook his hoof slightly, confirming to himself that it was indeed his hoof.

“Yes!” Dinky groaned. “Now what was it!”

“Probably as to why I am STILL HAILING FOR A NEW SCOTCH!” Pipsqueak yelled out.

“IT'S RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU, YA LITTLE SHIT!” Pale called back at him.

“NO IT'S-” Pipsqueak began before looking down. Sure enough, there stood a fresh glass of heaven.

“SO IT IS!” Pip yelled back.

“NO SHIT!”

“OY, SHUT IT YA DAMN PLEB!”

“OR WHAT, YA MINUTE PRICK!”

“OR YER TIP SHALL BE DOUBLED!”

“THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT, DICK!”

Pipsqueak chuckled as he grabbed his drink, a full third of the glass disappearing in a single swig.

“I love that guy,” he laughed to himself.

“Really? Never would have guessed,” Dinky deadpanned.

Pipsqueak responded by taking another swig.

“Wait, I was saying something, wasn't I?” Pipsqueak asked.

“Yes!”

“Hmmm... what was it- oh!” Pipsqueak exclaimed as he remembered. “I was saying how what Pound and Pumpkin have between them is the most sincere thing I've ever seen. So, buck whoever doesn't like it. Buck 'em to tartarus!”

With that, Pipsqueak threw his head back and cackled loudly. Dinky just sighed.

“It's pretty depressing that the most heart-felt speech you've ever given came about from being drunk,” she said, slightly disappointed.

“Buuut you love me for it,” he winked.

Dinky sighed again, allowing herself to crack a grin.

“I suppose from time to time, it is rather endearing.”

“And to that, I toast to victory!” Pip hollered as he downed his glass. As soon as the last drop disappeared down his gullet, he threw the glass to the floor, smashing it into many pieces.

“That was delicious! I demand another!”

Dinky groaned.

Pale locked eyes with her as he brought a broom and dustpan over to the mess.

“Can you promise me he wont start singing Equestria Girls?” he asked Dinky.

“No promises, but if he does he ain't getting any tonight,” Dinky replied calmly.

Pale chuckled. “Then I suppose he can stay. But if he breaks another glass- aaand he's asleep.”

Sure enough, Pipsqueak was snoring contently, leaning back in the booth.

“Just make sure he doesn't do anything.... too stupid, okay?” Pale asked the mare. She nodded.

“My daily chore,” she joked, tipping her glass to Pale. He nodded and left.

A moment later, the bell hooked up to the front door jingled as three ponies made their way into the bar.

“Oh, hey Pound!” Dinky said, waving towards him. He smiled and waved back, pointing at her as he said something to Pumpkin and another mare.

Dinky did a double-take. There was another mare with them?

She looked after this new mare. She was a white earth pony, her coat tinted with a clean sheen of royal blue. Her two-tone mane couldn't decide if it wanted to be a calm green or a snow white and poked out in thick puffs beneath a red-and-white striped beanie, while the left side of her face was... bandaged up...

“Oh my,” Dinky murmured as the three approached the table. Pound whapped Pipsqueak upside the back of his head. Without even opening an eye or muttering a sound, Pipsqueak made room for his friends. Waldo decided to sit next to Dinky, who welcomed her into the seat beside her.

“Well, I must say I've never met you before,” Dinky said in address to Waldo.

Waldo sighed.

“I've lived in this town for nearly two years, but thanks. I guess.”

Dinky opened her mouth, but (thankfully) no words came out.

“I take it Pipsqueak got straight to business?” Pumpkin asked Dinky while leaning lovingly against Pound. He responded by slinging a leg around his mare, rubbing her side softly.

Dinky grinned cheekily. “Right to the good stuff,” she said with a wink.

Pale returned to the table.

“Well well, looks like the gang's all here,” he chuckled.

“Uh, Pale?” Pound said, slightly confused. “We've all come here as a group, like, once.”

“Details,” Pale waved the fact away before turning to Waldo. “Hold on, I've seen you here before, haven't I?”

“Probably,” Waldo replied. “I've stopped by a couple times when I first moved here. It... helped.”

A thick aura of awkwardness settled over the group. Pipsqueak decided to be the one to fan it out. And what better way to do so than-

BUUUUURP!!!~

“Ew, Pipsqueak!” Pumpkin coughed, smiling softly.

“That one burned!” Pipsqueak bellowed, laughing merrily.

Pale rolled his eyes. “What'll it be for you all tonight?”

“The usual,” Pound said, immediately cringing as he realized he had a usual at a bar.

“A Manehatten, check,” Pale said before turning to Pumpkin. “And for the mare?”

“I'll stick with a Crystal Mist,” she replied. Pale nodded.

“A scotch!” Pipsqueak yelled.

“You're already plenty drunk!” Pale argued.

“And you're pretty ugly, but you...”

Pipsqueak paused, thinking hard.

“Your face... no... a bowling ball- of course not... Bah! Whatever! Another scotch, good sir!”

Pale facehoofed. He wanted to argue, he really did. Buuut....

Scritch-Scratch. He wrote down the request.

Dinky waved him on. “I'm good for now.”

That left Waldo.

“And for you, ma'am?”

Waldo looked briefly at the list of booze and wines.

“Platinum Scratch, heavy on the syrup. Toss in a lime, while you're at it.”

Pale's and Pipsqueak's eyes shot open. Pipsqueak could only utter in awe as Pale slowly wrote down the order. That was... not what he was expecting from the mare.

“A-Alright. One moment while I prepare the drinks.”

As Pale disappeared, Pip leaned across the table.

“I didn't know you could drink! I mean, I expected you to have wet your throat before, but... damn!”

Waldo rolled her eyes.

“That is... a rather strong order,” Pound commented. “Sure you can handle it?”

Waldo felt herself grin slightly in response to Pound.

“My dad was a jail warden, and on the weekends he used to-”

She froze, realizing what she was doing. She was opening up. She promised herself she would never do that again. And it wasn't for anypony else's sake but her own. Selfish, but intentional.

She coughed before waving what she was saying away.

“As I was, I can handle it. Don't worry.

Pound cocked an eyebrow, about to open his mouth. At the last second, though, he stopped himself. It wasn't his place to ask such a ques-

“What were ya saying 'bout yer dad?” Pipsqueak asked as he tried to wrestle Dinky's glass from her. She rolled her eyes as she simply pressed down on the glass from above, keeping his feeble attempt at bay.

Waldo swallowed.

“It was a, er, slip of the tongue. Forget about it.”

Pipsqueak opened his mouth again, but this time Pound nudged his ribs rather hard.

Pip looked at him.

“What?”

Pound shook his head, motioning him to stop. Pipsqueak sighed.

A moment later, the drinks were ready and Pale brought them over, passing them out.

Everypony gaped in open shock at the dark sapphire elixir in Waldo's cup. Sure enough, a lime wheel was rimmed on the glass.

“Thanks,” she said as she paid upfront for her drink. She was used to paying immediately for the more expensive liquors.

And in defiance of what everypony at the table knew to be true and just in the world, she tipped the back of the glass, downing it in a single stroke. As she brought the glass down, she grabbed ahold of the lime, suckling it between her lips.

Pale and Pip were slack-jawed. Pound felt his face go slightly red, while Pumpkin just chuckled weakly. Dinky was taken back in shock.

“T-The whole... glass...” Pale whispered before slowly backing away, looking as though he'd seen a ghost.

Waldo looked around at everypony's (well, most of the pony's) horrified expression.

“What?”

Pipsqueak let out a laugh.

Pound merely rubbed his temple.

Pumpkin was the only one to speak up.

“Yeah, you're going to fit in just fine here.”

C10_Drunken_Ponehz

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Pounds For Pumpkins

Digital_Hex

Drunken Ponehz

“-so then I says, Waaaldooo! We gooon find yooou!”

Pipsqueak bellows out in laughter as he finishes his tale. The ponies around him are in tears, laughing so hard. Many other ponies in the bar had been listening in, a couple having gone so far as to pull up a chair next to their table.

Pound slammed a hoof down on the table, snorting as he tried to contain his laughter. He remembered being present for the story Pipsqueak had recalled. Somehow, it was even funnier when Pipsqueak said it than when it had actually happened.

Or, maybe it was the tea. The tea was nommy. Chug-chug-chug.

Pumpkin was the only one who wasn't drinking, but even she was reduced to hysterics from Pipsqueak's long-winded tale. She could barely believe her brother had been part of that.

He was definitely going to get the ride of his life later for that.

Pale, too, found himself chuckling as he checked the clock. It was late, much later than he would have liked to still be filled up. He needed to get some sleep, after all, and he'd sent all of the other help home over an hour ago.

“Alright, time to start fanning out. We're closing up in ten.”

Reluctantly, many ponies slowly dispersed, heading back to wherever they came from.

The five at the table slowly got up as well. Pipsqueak was wasted beyond belief. Pound had to actually sling him over his back, else he collapse into a drunken heap on the floor. He probably would have broken something, too, with his luck.

Next came Pound himself. His legs were shaky, but his vision was good enough. Only a few of the ponies around him were upside-down. Two out of four wasn't bad.

Dinky herself hadn't really drank too much, and thus was much more composed than the two stallions. She took Pipsqueak from Pound with a grateful smile before concentrating really hard. A moment later, the two of them disappeared with a loud POP!

Pumpkin sighed as Pound swayed lightly from side to side.

“Come on, Waldo, let's get this one home before he loses his sea legs.”

Waldo groaned, rubbing her head tenderly with a hoof. Her head hurt, the bandage on her face was hot and itchy, her coat was a little sweaty, and she felt stiffer than a board. But the alcohol... oh, that was some good stuff....

Slowly, she slipped from the bench, and immediately face-planted against the floor.

“O-Ouch...” she moaned.

Pumpkin couldn't help but struggle to stiffle a giggle as Pound helped Waldo up, slinging her over his back.

“Ready to go?” she asked her brother. He nodded, a little groggy.

Pumpkin let her magic envelope the three of them, and with a sharp push they appeared inside the hallway of Sugar Cube Corner.

Pound almost vomited on the spot.

“I hate it when you do that,” he whined.

“Quit complaining and take it like a stallion,” Pumpkin giggled as she walked past him, flicking her tail under his chin. His head followed her as she made her way into the kitchen. He heard the fridge open, a few tinkling noises, and then the fridge closing again.

Pumpkin appeared again shortly after, levitating two milk bottles full of something that wasn't milk.

Pound cocked an eyebrow as he looked it over.

“What's this?”

Pumpkin laughed.

“I could list off everything that's in it, or I could just tell you it's a cure to hangovers. Cheers.”

Pound was slightly taken aback.

“How'd you know to make this?” he asked.

“Mare's intuition,” Pumpkin replied.

“And how'd you know how to make this?” he asked warily.

“Dad told me how. I figured you'd get drunk off your plot once you got back. Thought I'd make a couple.”

She nodded to a snoozing Waldo on his back.

“I only made three, so because of her there's only one more left.”

Pound almost wanted to say something about the way Pumpkin had said 'she', but... it wasn't really aggressive, the way she had said it. It was more...

Pound brushed the thought aside as he downed the glass. The drink tasted like... well, it... it-

“Tastes like ass!” he coughed, sputtering. Pumpkin nudged Waldo with the levitating glass intended for her. Waldo yawned slowly before blinking about. Seeing the glass before her, she looked at it a moment before sighing and grabbing it, going bottoms up. Unlike Pound, however, she said nothing of the taste.

Waldo could feel her body loosening up. Her mind was far from thinking rationally, though.

“Better, right?” Pumpkin asked the two. Both nodded.

“Good. Now, Waldo, I think you should go up to your room. Bed time!”

Waldo moaned.

“Why, so you two can start shagging?”

Pumpkin laughed, somewhat surprised that Waldo could guess that, even in her current state.

“Well, not particularly, but if you must know, I haven't spent quality time with my stallion in quite some time.”

“Y-Yeah,” Waldo muttered. “Must be nice, having somepony who wont leave you.”

“What was that?” Pumpkin asked, curious.

“N-Nothing,” Waldo said, depressed. Memories she did not want to recall were starting to rush back. A certain silver-blue unicorn was flashing her that silly grin of his, only to nuzzle her head with his chin, then carrying her on his back-

Waldo blinked. Pound was carrying her on his back, not-

She shook her head. She must have really been drunk. She was even starting to get them mixed up, now. It was all Pound's fault, being so nice... just like he was.

“Waldo?” Pumpkin asked softly. “Is everything okay? You're... you're crying.”

Waldo sniffled, reaching up to touch her face. Sure enough, she was indeed crying.

Wiping her face, she let herself fall off of Pound.

“N-No, Pumpkin, I'm not fine. And I'm sorry if I'm an intrusion to you two. I'll... I'll get along now.”

With that, Waldo sluggishly climbed the stairs to the room she was allowed to say in. As soon as the door closed, Pound and Pumpkin could hear her wail in sorrow.

Pumpkin rubbed her leg in concern.

“Pound, do you know what this might be about?”

Pound hung his head, nodding.

“I told you we were friends, right?”

Pumpkin nodded.

“Well, she... has nightmares. At first, she wouldn't say a word about them to anypony, but... she used to have a special somepony. She opened up to me after a while, and I learned a bit about him.”

Pound sighed.

“She really liked him, like really liked him, and I guess some things happened that even she wont tell me. He was trouble, I guess, and instead of let the trouble catch up and get Waldo hurt as well, he told her he had to leave. She hasn't seen him in just about two years now.”

“Oh my- that's... that's really tragic.”

“Yeah,” Pound said, rubbing the back of his neck.

“You know, for a stubborn mare like her, she can be a pain on the outside but, once you get to know her, she's really sweet and rather vulnerable-”

Pound's point was accentuated as another wail came from Waldo within her room.

Pumpkin sighed.

“Such a shame... I wish there was something, anything we could do... Tell me, what was he like?”

Pound laughed.

“She was crazy about him, that much was obvious. I guess he was really nice, but humble. A little silly, but very gentle. He wasn't a fighter, but the few times she saw him get angry, it was like a dance for him. He was more graceful when he was pissed than when he was sane. She mentioned something about him being a complete kluts, too.”

Pumpkin had a hunch.

“And let me guess, he was pretty quiet most of the time, but whenever he had something to say, it was meant to be heard? He seemed distant from the world, but as soon as she got to know him, he became her world?”

“Something like that,” Pound laughed, his cheeks glowing red.

Pumpkin sighed, snickering in irony.

“Pound, you do realize this mystery colt sounds like a complete clone of you, right?”

Pound breathed out slowly.

“I know.”

Pumpkin trotted over and sat down next to her brother.

“Did you ever think of the possibility that she might think of you the way she thought of him? I mean, based off what you've told me, you're a carbon copy of him. She... she might think of you as him.”

“I've... thought of that,” Pound muttered. “But it's not right. I have you, and I'm not whoever he is.”

Pumpkin sighed, smiling softly.

“No, you're not him. But you need to realize something; I've been by your side for sixteen years. I know how you are. And unless you help that mare, you're going to let it pick away at you inside until it's far too late to do anything about it... almost like what was between us.”

Pumpkin picked up his hoof within her own.

“Pound, I love you, you know that. But... that mare up there, she needs help and I know you want to help her. I don't know what you two went through, but it kills me to see you hurting. And right now, you're hurting. So...”

She sighed.

“Let's go help her. Okay?”

Pound scoffed.

“Pumpkin, you do realize that if she's this upset, plus mistaking me for a lost love... the only way to help her is probably to screw her brains out, right?”

Pumpkin laughed.

“I've shared you before with one of my friends. I suppose... I could share you again, with one of your friends.”

Pound sighed.

“This is really going to happen, isn't it?”

“Hey, there's always a chance she just want's to talk, right?” Pumpkin asked.

Pound snorted. He craned his neck over his shoulder, taking a quick whiff of Waldo's scent left on his back.

He grimaced as the smell hit his nostrils. It was strong.

“No,” he said resolutely. “She most definitely does not just want to talk.”

C11_Revelation

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Pounds For Pumpkins

Digital_Hex

Revelation

Warden Eldorado was a mess.

Curled up in a ball on the soft bed, she couldn't keep the tears from streaming down her face. Her hat was long discarded, the striped beanie thrown carelessly to the floor.

“S-Stupid emotions,” she choked out. “Stupid memories...”

She could see him in her mind's eye, almost like it was yesterday. His silver coat shone with blue not unlike her own, his snow white mane cast back in a wind-swept manner. His eyes held no irises, and at first thy were scary, but...

His soft, goofy smile. His long, slender legs that used to hold her, with a hidden strength that she could only be in awe of.

And what he was. What he was... she still couldn't wrap her mind over it, even two years later.

The horn on his head lit up, and for a moment he was there, right in front of her, with her, back. His silly little callick, with a sky blue tip, hung over his muzzle. She smiled weakly as he flashed his cheeky grin. She could see the sharp tips of his canines, betraying his ethereal truth. He was bigger than she was, bird chested but not huge. Anything but, in fact. Very slender, befitting his athletic lifestyle.

He looked just as he did the last time she saw him, back in Onyx...

She blinked, and with that, he disappeared.

He disappeared, but Waldo was not alone.

“Waldo?” Pound asked carefully, his voice soft.

He was standing right where she'd imagined... him... and she had to blink again.

He really was just like him. A pegasus instead of a unicorn, and with a completely different colour scheme and mane style, but...

He reminded her of her lover, so much. So very much that it hurt. She felt the tears welling up in her eyes, not even realizing she'd stopped crying moments ago.

“Waldo?” he asked again.

Celestia, now he even sounds like he did...

Waldo felt herself curl up tighter, and she hid her face with a leg. She couldn't believe what her mind was doing to her.

Her face burned a deep scarlet as she felt a weight press down next to her on the bed, and she knew that Pound had climbed in next to her. To another, it might have been surprising to say the least for another pony to join her on a bed, but this was Pound.

She hated to admit it, but the dork was probably the closest thing she had to a friend right then. Pipsqueak and Skyfire, too, but Pound...

He gave her a chance, every time she did something stupid. She doubted he even realized she messed up most of the time, but it wasn't out of ignorance. He obviously cared about her, and she just couldn't understand why. He had Pumpkin, what was he doing giving concern to another mare?

“Waldo,” Pound repeated, carefully setting a hoof against Waldo's back, right between her shoulder blades.

A quick spasm shot through Waldo, and she could not control herself as she gasped lightly under his touch.

Stupid hormones, she spat to herself.

Pound looked over to Pumpkin, who was in the doorway. He gave her a nod, letting her know that he had this. She paused for a moment, a look of concern briefly flashing across her face, before nodding back. She trusted him. It's not like he would do anything stupid or thoughtless, after all. The poor mare before him was drunk and confused. There was no way he would even think of taking advantage of her.

Pumpkin left the doorway, heading to her own room. As Pound stayed with Waldo, Pumpkin crawled into bed and very quickly drifted off into sweet dreams of her beloved.

“Can we... talk about this?” he asked.

She laughed before she even had time to think.

“About what, Pound?”

Pound rolled his eyes before waving over her distressed form with an idle hoof.

“The fact that you're in hysterics right now. I spent how long living in the same tent with you?”

Pound let himself snort.

“Something is bothering you, and I want to help.”

Waldo let out a dry laugh, refusing to move her face from beneath her leg.

“Oh yeah? How could you help? You've already done plenty.”

Waldo expected him to chastise her, but instead let out a sharp moan as he ran his hoof in a small circle between her shoulder blades. He pressed with the perfect level of pressure.

“Waldo, you know exactly what I mean here. You're distraught over... something, and I won't feign ignorance. I'm pretty sure part, if not most of it, has plenty to do with me.”

Waldo giggled, mind scrambling with ideas. Her inebriated state, even after the “help” Pumpkin had given her earlier, was not helping matters. At all.

“Yep, plenty. Lots to do with you,” she nodded. She then mentally punched herself.

What are you saying?! she yelled at herself. Shut up!

“Nope,” she responded to herself. “Don't wanna.”

Pound looked to the side, cocking an eyebrow as he cast his eyes around the room. Who was she talking to? They were the only two in the room-

“Uh, Waldo? Who are you talking to?”

Waldo gave Pound a look, only to double-take.

“Who do you think? Warden and I are having a wonderful conversation here!”

Pound rubs the back of his neck awkwardly.

“Warden? Isn't that... you?”

Waldo lets out a high-pitched giggle, scoffing as though he'd just said the most obvious thing in the world. Which, truth be told, he kind of did.

“Well duh, silly!” she barked.

Pound gave Waldo a curious look.

“Waldo, you're acting very drunk. Is the potion Pumpkin gave you working?”

Waldo nodded vigorously.

“Yeah, it is! It's working really good!”

Pound floundered as he tried to understand what was wrong with Waldo. He slowly started backing away.

“Uh, Waldo? Maybe we can finish this chat tomorrow...”

Waldo reached out and hooked a leg around Pound's.

“Nu-uh, I don't wanna.”

Pound froze. Her voice way waaay to cheerful.

“Well, I think we should continue this conversation tomorrow. No offense, but you're kind of all over the place. Not to mention still obviously drunk.”

Waldo pouted.

“I'm not drunk! I would know if I was drunk. And right now, I am certainly NOT drunk.”

With that, Waldo nodded confidently, sure of herself.

Pound let himself laugh nervously.

“Oh yeah? Then how did you go from crying your eyes out moments ago to being all bubbly like this? You're never this enthusiastic.”

“Inebriation.”

“Isn't that the same as being drunk?”

“Nope, it's more fancy. Totally different thing.”

“Doubtful.”

Waldo growled before pulling Pound down to her level.

“Look buster, I can't help it if you are just as cute as he was!”

Well, now we are getting somewhe- she just called me cute. Shit.

“It really doesn't help that you just can't leave me alone, either!” she huffed.

Pound gaped. “I don't leave you al- we were in BMT! I couldn't just leave you alone! We were part of the same training squad!”

She turned her nose away.

“Still not an excuse.”

Pound grimaced. This mare was a hoofful.

“Look, you're still... intoxicated, right now, so I'll come back in the morning.”

He made a move to climb out of the bed, but-

Waldo's grasp on his leg held firm. He looked back at the mare.

“Waldo, I'm seri-”

“Don't go.”

Waldo was looking away. The bubbly sound in her voice was gone, leaving a hollow plead.

Pound glanced at the door. He really wanted to just go, finish this in the morning. But...

“Please...” Waldo whimpered.

He sighed. Why did he have to be such a nice guy?

Remaining where he was, he took Waldo's hoof within his own.

“I wanted to talk with you,” he tried to explain. “You're... concerning me, Waldo. Scaring me. I'm worried.”

Waldo murmured something incoherent.

“Come again?” Pound asked.

“... Why...?”

“One more time?”

Waldo swallowed hard, her mind slowing down.

“... Why are you... so worried about me...”

Pound gave a weak chuckle. At least now she was willing to talk.

“Because you're my friend. I think it's safe to say that, in the short time we've known each other, we've been through quite a bit.”

Pound brushed his hoof along Waldo's.

Waldo shivered against his touch.

“... Idiot.”

Pound looked at her in surprise.

“Excuse me?”

Waldo wrenched her hoof from his grasp.

“You're an idiot!” she barked, turning away.

You just got her to start talking, and now she's trying to close up again! Do something!

“Waldo-” Pound said, reaching for her shoulder. As soon as he touched her, though, he felt it.

She was crying again.

“Why do y-you...” she sniffled. “Have to r-remind me of him so much...”

Pound let his hoof linger on her shoulder. He sighed. This was a... delicate road, to say the least. Should he press on and risk locking her up? Or turn away and let her sort it out herself.

No, I need to confront this now, he decided.

“Waldo... who do I remind you of?”

Waldo laughed throatily, almost choking on a few tears.

“Oh, nopony,” she practically sang. “Just a pony I knew a couple years ago, a pony I was absolutely crazy about. You aren't him, though.”

Pound waited. She had more to say.

So he waited.

And waited...

… and waited...

“But...”

Aha! There she was!

“You... you're a lot like he was...”

Waldo laughed softly, wiping at her tears.

“But I'm sure I'm just saying that because I'm drunk.”

Pound cracked a grin.

“Well, now you're admitting it.”

Waldo held up a hoof.

“Save me the humor. I'm perfectly sensible right now, just very... emotional.”

The pegasus nodded in understanding. “I get it if you don't want to talk about certain hings, but... you're obviously a mess right now. Can't I... Can't you tell me anything?”

Waldo chewed on her bottom lip.

Well, there is a few things I wouldn't really mind sharing with him...

She took a deep breath in. “I suppose I could... give you an idea of... whats going on-”

She lightly tapped her forehead.

“-up here.”

She turned so her body was facing Pound. She curled back, tucking her knees under her chin, resting her head on her legs.

“Where do I begin...” she wondered aloud. Her mind felt wide open. The potion Pumpkin had given her earlier must have started kicking in.

“Well, uh... I used to... like this colt.”

“I noticed,” Pound commented. Waldo shot him a sour look.

“Sorry,” he apologized.

“Anyways, he was... just like you. Like, you could be a clone of him, if you had a horn instead of wings!”

She shot her hooves out in exasperation.

Pound cocked his eyebrow.

“So he's tan?”

Waldo facehoofed.

“No, I mean...” she sighed.

“You act just like he did. And I thought I'd managed to forget about him, but...”

She cast a teary eye towards Pound.

“Then I met you. And it's the same thing all over again.”

Pound gulped. He had figured it was... something like that, but hearing it from her...

“Waldo, I... how do I say this...”

Waldo held up a hoof, halting him.

“You don't need to say anything. Now that the stuff Pumpkin gave me is kicking in, I can think a bit clearer now.”

She waved him away.

“Don't worry about anything. In fact, I'd rather you forgot what I said tonight. It's... for the best.”

She looked sadly down to her side.

“Besides, your sister needs you much more than I do.”

Pound grimaced. His heart wanted to reach out for the mare in front of him, but...

Waldo laughed ironically.

“Go. Please leave me.”

“Waldo...” he started, but she wheeled to face him. She was angry.

“I said go!”

Pound swallowed hard, but slowly did as he was told. He left the room, closing the door behind him.

As soon as the room was shut off, Waldo collapsed in a heap, fresh tears springing into her eyes.

“Why'd you have to do that, Warden?”

She choked out a sob as she slowly drifted off towards a eventual hangover.

“Why?”

C12_Hitting_The_Fan

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Pounds For Pumpkins

Digital_Hex

Hitting The Fan

“Pound, no...” Waldo murmured as she breathed heavily, Pound's hoof working roughly between her thighs.

“I know you want it,” Pound whispered seductively into Waldo's ear, making her shiver.

“That's... not the point,” she hissed, grabbing his hoof. She wanted to remove it, she really did, but-

She pulled it further in, making her gasp. Pound snickered.

“Told you.”

Pound flicked his tongue along Waldo's ears, trailing it down and swirling it around the inner folds.

Waldo shuddered as she let out a shrill moan. He was good, he was really good-

“P-Pound?!”

The two stopped immediately to see Pumpkin in the doorway, a horrified look on her face.

“What are you- how could...” she sputtered, disbelief at the scene before her.

“Pumpkin, I can explain!” Pound tried t say, but Pumpkin cut him off.

“Explain what, you can't even stay faithful to your own mare and child?!”

Pound huffed.

“Maybe I don't even want the child.”

Pumpkin gasped in horror.

“What did you just say?”

Waldo backed away slowly.

“Maybe I'm not ready for a foal!” he screamed.

Pumpkin roared at him before charging over, striking him across the face with her hoof-

With a jolt, all three ponies shot up from their sleep, wide awake.

“What the hell,” Pound muttered as he rubbed the side of his jaw. The dream had been so... realistic.

Pumpkin, however, was trying to control her breathing.

It was just a dream, Pumpkin, it was just a dream...

Meanwhile, Waldo blinked groggily, looking down between her thighs before sighing heavily. The sheets were drenched in her... arousal.

“That was... some dream,” she muttered.

She bundled the sheets together as she tried to shake herself awake. Tossing them in a pile in front of the bed, she peeked out of her room to make sure the hallway was secure.

Nopony seen.

Spying the bathroom door only a few paces away, she dived out, determined to clear the distance-

Pumpkin waddled out of the bedroom, yawning deeply.

They both froze when they spotted the other. A brief moment of awkward tension was shared as the smell of Waldo's dream wafted between them.

Pumpkin mechanically pointed towards the bathroom, a void expression on her face.

“Please, carry on.”

Waldo jumped into the bathroom, shutting the door with a click. A moment later, the shower sprang to life.

Curious, Pumpkin peeked her head into the guest bedroom. Sure enough, the room was thick with Waldo's scent and the bed sheets were balled up at the foot of the bed.

She sighed before heading back to the bathroom. She rapped twice on the door before cracking it open slightly.

“Waldo, did you have an... accident?”

The white mare peeked out from behind the shower curtain.

“I- I'll clean it up! I swear!” she promised.

Pumpkin nodded before leaning back out, closing the door softly. As soon as it clicked shut, though, she let her forehead drop against it with a great huff.

“Was it... really just a dream?” she asked herself quietly. “What if... what if he really...”

And with that, much like when she was younger, a seed had been planted deep within her mind.

- - - - -

A few hours later, and Sugar Cube Corner was rife with business. Waldo had agreed to help out, and was getting quite flustered working the front counter with Pumpkin.

“Wait, you said extra sprinkles on twelve of those?” she asked an inpatient customer for the third time.

The snooty mare groaned before cutting in front of Pumpkin's current customer, questioning the orange unicorn.

“I say, does all of your help suffer from this much incompetence? You shall be the one to assist me!”

Pumpkin looked at the visibly worked up Waldo, who was at the moment looking down at the floor with a mixture of embarrassment and anger. Pumpkin sighed, flipping to a new page of her memo book.

“Waldo, maybe you should go see if they need help in the kitchen.”

Wordlessly, Waldo slunk back into the kitchen as Pumpkin picked up her slack.

In the kitchen, Carrot and Cup were frantically running around. Carrot was running between the order counter, calling out requests as Cup was putting her multi-tasking skills to the test, making sure all of their current products were running smoothly.

Cup glanced at Waldo.

“Why hello, dear! I thought you were helping out Pumpkin!”

Waldo rubbed the back of her neck awkwardly.

“She sent me back here. I guess I'm no good with other ponies,” she admitted.

Cup nodded, not really all surprised. Waldo seemed a little... unsuited for customer service, to say the least.

“I see. How about you go find Pound, see if he needs help. We've got it pretty handled back h- COOKIES ARE DONE!”

As Cup Cake rushed around excitedly, Waldo trotted out of the kitchen. Last she'd heard, Pound was running deliveries.

She stepped out the back door of the building, deciding to grab some fresh air-

A blast of wind threw her backwards as Pound landed on the ground, already grabbing another prepared stack of orders.

He glanced at Waldo before realizing that there was indeed another pony nearby. He immediately retracted his wings.

“Oh, hey Waldo. What's up?”

He set the small package down. He figured he would put a remote order's products in a box and wrap it in a thing sheet for him to carry it by. It had been working very well, and he was rushing order after order as fast as they were called in. After the guard training, he was running better than ever.

Waldo felt her face flush gently as she looked at Pound. His chest was chiseled and defined, the muscles around his body tight and pumped. He didn't have to be a particularly big pony for her to note that he was extremely toned and-

She shook her head. No, Waldo, no.

She pushed the dream from the night before out of her mind, returning her gaze to Pound. His brown eyes blinked as he waited for her to say something.

“Just curious if you needed some help,” she said evenly.

Pound smiled, an obvious wave of relief washing over his face. He visually relaxed.

“Thank Luna, I was getting exhausted!” he admitted. He pointed at a stack of five more packages, plus the one he was ready to grab.

“There's just this stack here, and then all of the call-ins we've received so far will be done! You want to help pass them out?”

Waldo nodded, trotting over and picking up a package with her teeth, biting the fabric knot on top.

“Wherf fis un foo?” she asked.

Pound looked at the wrap, a hastily hoof-scrawled note pinned to it. He rolled his eyes when he read it.

“Looks like we're going to be paying Pipsqueak a visit,” he grunted as he read the recipient of the package he was holding. He snorted before rummaging through the other packages. His bewilderment grew as he went through package after package.

Finally, he facehoofed. “Guess all of these are for Pipsqueak. Why couldn't he just come into the shop and order these?!”

He huffed before flipping his wings out. He then glanced at Waldo, realizing his company was only an earth pony. He laughed nervously before folding his wings back against his sides. He opted to sling the package around his neck, an action that Waldo copied.

“Well, let's get going then.”

Together, the two set off. Pipsqueak lived a good trot away, so Pound decided to try and strike up a conversation.

“So, how're you liking the shop?” he asked the mare.

“It's... okay,” she commented. She was starting to have flashbacks to the dream last night. Her face was getting red.

“Yeah, it gets a little stressful at times but it's pretty fun. Customers weren't too bad, right?”

“Not... too bad,” she said quietly. She could imagine him leaning against her, nibbling on her ear.

“Good. I always worry about Pumpkin dealing with them by herself, but if you say it isn't that bad then it makes me feel better.” He smiled. “So what's up with you recently?”

Waldo responded by drooling lightly, eyes squinted as she imagined where the dream might have gone, Pound propping her up, fondling her flank, flipping out his tool and-

“Waldo?”

Waldo froze, looking around. Pound had stopped a few paces back, looking at her curiously. Her face was afire with a scarlet flush, her breathing rather heavy and a gleam in her eye.

“Y-yeah?” she asked, trying to sound cool and collected.

“You alright?”

She laughed. “Of course, never better!”

Pound shrugged before turning to his right, heading towards a plain brown home.

“Then come on, you passed Pip's house.”

She did a double-take. How'd she already pass it?! They'd only been trotting for... only for...

Waldo facehoofed as she realized she couldn't remember how long they'd been moving. She'd been... too distracted, obviously.

She hurried to catch up to Pound, who was knocking on the door. No response. Growling, he knocked on the door again.

The door slowly cracked open, not having been closed fully.

Pound shrugged before pushing it open all the way, trotting in. Instantly, he clutched his nose.

The house reeked of Pipsqueak!

“Great Celestia,” Pound muttered. “What did he do, stuff his spunk in every nook and cranny this house has?”

Waldo nearly gagged as she entered. She knew Pipsqueak could get excited, but this...

The two froze when they heard the sharp moan of a mare upstairs. Pound facehoofed.

He climbed the stairs, swinging open the door he knew to open to Pipsqueak's bed.

Pipsqueak was on his back, Dinky sprawled atop of him. His head hung upside-down over the edge of his bed.

“Delivery,” Pound said loudly, leaning on the door frame.

Pipsqueak looked up, lighting up when he saw the packages. Dinky yelped before scrawling backwards. When she saw it was Pound, though, she relaxed a bit. Pound was an okay stallion.

“Yes! The party can start now!” Pip hollered and whooped, trying to push himself up. Instead he fell down, knocking his head against the floor with a solid CLUNK!

“Do I need to go grab the ibuprofen?” Pound deadpanned, smirking slightly at his friend's odd behavior. It was rather endearing, now that he was used to it.

“Not yet!” Pipsqueak yelled at nopony in particular, staggering over to Pound. “But after a couple more rounds- *hyuk* I might!”

Pound directed his unimpressed gaze to Dinky. She smiled innocently.

“Drunk? Really?”

Dinky shooed him off. “Oh come on, he's more fun when he's like this!”

“I thought you hated it when he got himself drunk?”

Dinky giggled. “When he's a complete idiot, yes. But right now, where the only thing impaired is his motor skills, he knows exactly what he's doing.” She bit her lips as she chuckled. “Exactly what he's doing.”

“AAAND THIS IS AWKWARD,” Pound said loudly, slipping off the package and taking Waldo's as well.

“Just pay up, and you two can... enjoy your kink all to yourselves.”

Dinky scoffed. “Says the one who knocked up his sister.”

Pound visually deflated. This wasn't lost on anypony in the room. Pipsqueak, drunk as he was, shot Dinky a disapproving glare before slinging a hoof around his best mate.

“Come on, it was a joke, Pound. S'not like it's ANY-” he shot Dinky another glare, “of our positions to judge ya. I mean, yer gonna be a daddy! That's great, right!”

Pound shuddered at the thought.

“Oh, uh... yeah.”

Waldo looked at him curiously, noticing his sudden discomfort.

“So there we go!” Pipsqueak said before adopting a serious face as he shoved a hoof towards Pound. “Now shut up and take my bits.”

He dropped a bag of bits into Pound's hoof before taking the packages, giggling to himself. Opening a package up, he pulled out a lovely heart shaped cookie. He turned on Dinky with an evil smirk on his face.

“Now where were we about showing our love?”

Dinky's eyes went wide as her pupils shrank.

“Pipsqueak, what are you-”

“FEEL MY LOVE!!!” he cried as he hurled the cookie at Dinky. It shattered against the wall a good leg distance away from Dinky, sending bits of cookie flying all directions.

“What are you doing, Pip!” Pound shouted, trying to grab at Pipsqueak as he readied another cookie. Pipsqueak easily side-stepped, throwing his baked affection back at Dinky. His shot was lousy again, and almost hit the ceiling before raining down over the foot of his bed.

“LOVE HURTS!” he cackled, trying to grab another cookie. Pound growled before smacking Pip's temple and the base of his neck simultaneously. Pip fell down, snoozing softly. Pound learned about that weakness during basic, after a rather... stressful day of training.

Dinky breathed out a sigh of relief. As sweet as Pip was at times, she really didn't want to be spiked full of cookies.

“I'll bring the other boxes over,” Pound told Dinky, who nodded as she climbed out of the bed to poke at Pipsqueak's side. He giggled and rolled over, out of it.

Waldo followed after Pound as he left the house, catching up to walk by his side.

“What was that in there?” she asked him.

“He was being an idiot, I was tired of-” he started, but Waldo cut him off.

“Not that, the... you locked up when they mentioned you being a father. What... what was that about?”

Pound shivered involuntarily. “N-Nothing.”

Waldo rolled her eyes.

“Pound, I know what nothing is. This is definitely not nothing.”

Pound sighed.

“It's just... it was exciting, at first but... I don't know if I'm ready... you know?”

She nodded as the scene from her dream played in her mind.

“Yeah...” she murmured. “I just hope Pumpkin doesn't...”

C13_Doves_Cry:Part_One

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Pounds For Pumpkins

Digital_Hex

Doves Cry: Part One

Pumpkin hummed to herself as she finished washing up the last bowl from the sink. The day had been busy, so she wanted to be very thorough as she went through her standard procedure for cleaning. She looked at the bowl again, carefully. She checked it twice to make sure it was nice, then after wiping it dry she set it aside.

Smiling to herself, she pulled the plug in the sink, letting all of the yucky water swirl away down the drain. She wiped her hooves off, putting away the dishes where they went before giving the kitchen a once-over, immediately followed by a sweep from the broom, levitating it with precision. In the end, the room was immaculate, just as she always left it.

Letting out a long-deserved sigh of relief at her work, she left the room, pulling herself up the stairs of the house, her legs tensing up. Her back was really tight, too. She'd have to ask Pound if he could give her a back massage.

Making her way over the final step, she noticed Pound laying along the couch in the upper landing, reading a book. She grinned, trotting over before climbing int the couch next to him. She snuggled up next to him.

He responded by moving away, making ample room for her. Pumpkin frowned. She wanted to snuggle!

She scooted closer to him. He responded almost in sync by scooting slightly away, not even looking up from his book. It was a Daring Do title. Pumpkin growled.

“Pound, I'm trying to sit with you,” she said, irritated.

“I know,” he murmured, still engrossed in the text. He hadn't read anything since he left for basic, and sweet Celestia he'd missed the act! He flipped the page excitedly, following Daring Do as she narrowly escaped a collapsing temple.

Pumpkin huffed. “Then why do you keep scooting away?”

Pound opened his mouth, but-

He tore himself from the book, looking at Pumpkin. What was he doing, again?

“I'm sorry? What's up?”

Pumpkin rolled her eyes, letting herself clamber off of the couch, upset. “Nothing, Pound. Go back to your book.”

Pound set down the book. “Wait, Pumpkin! I was distracted, what were you saying?”

Pumpkin didn't even look back as she let herself into their bedroom.

“Don't worry about it!” she barked before disappearing through the threshold. Pound groaned before falling back into the couch, rubbing his temple.

“What did I do this time?” he grumbled to himself.

Pumpkin had been acting like this all day after he'd returned from running deliveries with Waldo. She was rather cross with him, it seemed. At least, from what he could tell anyways. It was almost as if she was angry with him about... something.

He closed his eyes as the dream he'd had the night before flashed through his mind. He cringed as he saw himself with Waldo. He almost felt guilty about it all, even if it all had just happened in his head. And then...

“Maybe I'm not ready for a foal!”

He cracked his eyes open, the murky brown orbs misting over.

Why? Why did he agree with himself. Why did he suddenly feel... unsure?

He sighed, letting his head hang back. Pound let out a strangled sigh, flopping his hooves away from him.

“Why am I suddenly thinking about all of these things,” he groaned.

“What things?”

Pound snapped his head to the side, relaxing a bit when he saw it was only Waldo. She must have came out of her room.

“Oh, nothing,” he mumbled as Waldo trotted over, sitting on the far side of the couch. She gave him a concerned look.

“Uh, dude? You should have just seen yourself, you looked like you were about to break down into tears.”

Pound rolled his eyes. “Says the mare who was in hysterics last night.”

Waldo blushed faintly, growling. “I said forget about that!”

Pound cracked a wry grin. “Ah, so you weren't too drunk to forget it all?”

“No, I wasn't!” she barked. Pound raised his hooves in defeat.

“If you say so,” he said.

Silence overtook them as they let themselves wind down. They'd both had a busy day.

After a spell, Waldo piped up, her voice rather quiet.

“Pound, were you... be honest with me. Why are you suddenly freaking out so much about being a father?”

Pound didn't react at first. Slowly, though, he reached up and gently massaged his temple with his hoof.

“I... I don't know,” he admitted.

Waldo looked at him, concerned.

“You seemed so excited about it before,” Waldo said softly. “Is... does it have to do with Pumpkin?”

He shot her a look.

“No,” he said firmly. “It has nothing to do with Pumpkin,” he said confidently. “I just...”

He struggled to speak what was on his mind, but in the end...

… In the end, what was on his mind, really?

“Just... drop it, okay?” he said.

Waldo stared after him. She wanted to say something, but-

“Okay?” he repeated, irritated.

Waldo swallowed. She'd never seen him angry, but... he seemed like he was getting angry.

She slowly pushed herself up, trotting back to her room.

“Alright, whatever dude.”

She trotted into her room, closing the door.

Pound let his head drop back against the back of the couch, groaning in aggravation. He tried to let himself calm down, and once again it was silent.

In the silence, he could barely register the sound of a sobbing mare.

C14_Doves_Cry:Part_Two

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Pounds For Pumpkins

Digital_Hex

Doves Cry: Part Two

Waldo closed the door softly behind her, sighing as she let her back slide against the wood. Her flank dropped to the ground. She let herself hunch over, back arched high.

Across the hall, she could hear a soft sobbing.

Is that Pumpkin? She thought to herself. I wonder what's wrong with her...

She yawned, though, taking her mind away from that topic and to one of sleep. Waldo pushed herself back to her hooves, practically dragging herself to the bed as she let the busy day catch up with her. She was exhausted!

As soon as she let her head hit the pillow, she was out.

. . . . .

Waldo blinked as she looked around. It was an ethereal plane, a whiteness surrounding her as far as she could see. She circled where she stood, only to see that the expanse was everywhere. She looked down, and her stomach almost lurched.

There was no ground. There was no shadow beneath her hooves, she was just... floating. But it didn't feel like she was floating.

She looked around again, begging for an answer as to what was going on.

“Hello?” she called out. It echoed around her, loudly.

A soft breeze suddenly swept her up, tossing her back. The white suddenly shifted to a deep, sickly purple, streaked with a coal black aura.

“Warden Eldorado... We've been expecting you.”

Waldo narrowed her eyes, still glancing around desperately. That voice, it was familiar...

“Who said that!” she yelled back. The voice chortled darkly.

“In due time, you will find that out on your own. But as for now, I have a message for you.”

Waldo chewed nervously on the inside of her cheek. This was by far one of the trippiest dreams she'd ever had.

“Yeah?”

“Your life is important to the balance. There may come a time when another life must be lost for us to maintain your own.”

Waldo blinked. “What? What does that mean, why are you telling me this? What do you mean by us, who are you!”

The voice laughed again, but this time it was softer, more friendly. A nostalgic laugh.

“That will be answered... eventually. But I had to warn you. Prepare yourself.”

With that, Waldo felt herself shooting up, even as everything around her stayed still. She looked up to see a small speck of light shining brightly above her.

“Wait! What does that all mean! Who are you!” she called back in desperation.

The voice gave a short chuckle.

“You could call me a... Hex.”

“WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?!” Waldo screamed as she jolted upright from her sleep, eye wide and breathing heavy.

She heard a grunt from outside of the guest room, followed abruptly by the distinct sound of something heavy hitting the floor, coming from the loft. Immediately following it was a swift curse.

Waldo tried to catch her breath, slowing her heartbeat.

What was that dream about? She thought to herself as she rolled to the side, sliding out of the bed. She could heard quite clear that the profanities from outside of the bedroom were continuing. Waldo trotted over to the door, pulling it open and poking her head out into the hallway, looking around.

Pound was still laying halfway on the couch, the back of his hips hanging to the top of the cushion while his torso was propped up on his elbows. He was rubbing his forehead with a hoof, still muttering loudly.

“Dude, y'alright?” Waldo asked. Pound shooed her off with a hoof.

Although, this did leave Waldo with a question-

“Uh, did you sleep on the couch last night?”

Pound groaned as he stopped rubbing his forehead, letting his hooves rest on the floor beside him.

“I... don't want to talk about it, okay?”

Waldo rolled her eyes.

“I'm going to avoid excessive levels of angst and let it go. Ciao.”

With that said, Waldo retreated back into the bedroom, closing the door. She mulled over what she'd seen, though.

Why did Pound sleep on the couch? I know he and Pumpkin are going through, y'know, a rough patch, but damn. If they make it any more obvious, I'm going to have to call them on it.

Shrugging, Waldo trotted into the bathroom to take a morning shower. The warm water felt good on her coat.

Meanwhile, Pound was left looking off blankly against the wall. He couldn't believe he'd actually fallen asleep on the couch, instead of joining Pumpkin that night. What was going on with him?

He returned his hoof to his forehead, rubbing it not in pain but in annoyance.

For the first time since he'd been with Pumpkin, he wasn't worrying about her. And it frightened him.

He was fully aware of his lac of concern, and it scared him even more.

Why am I- is this about that stupid dream, still?! He spat to himself, frowning.

Suddenly, the door to his room opened up, and Pumpkin waddled out. She glanced his way, giving him a surprised look, before looking away.

Did she just look... ashamed? Pound asked himself as his twin turned from him and made her way down the hall, heading down the stairs.

Still in his uncomfortable position, Pound groaned as he let his head fall backwards against the floor.

THUD!

“DAMNIT!”