A collaboration between Viking Hoof and Digital_Hex
On The Subject Of Arrivals
The sun over Manehatten peaked in between the clouds as it rose in the sky, beginning the new day in the big city. Ponies all over the city were waking as those already awake gave a sigh of relief, their night shifts coming to a close. And at one particular train depot, a particular gray unicorn trotted nervously in place, turning circles.
“When is the train going to get here, when is the train going to get here?”
The unicorn, one Crisp Press, continued pacing, a bead of sweat developing on the young pony's forehead. A passerby trotted by, accidentally bumping into Press.
“Oops, my apologies miss,” the mare apologized before trotting away, leaving Crisp Press standing back, unamused.
“I'm a colt,” he huffed, rubbing his shoulder.
Turning, Crisp was faced with a panel of clean glass along the walls of the train depot, his reflection staring back at him.
He was a smaller stallion of seventeen, lithe stature with rather feminine curves along his form, his cutie mark a proud origami swan of pure white. His face could have fooled even the most hetero of stallions, a face blessed with a rather curious beauty. A face that, when combined with his figure and rather silky mane, had led many to believe he was a mare, as evident of his latest encounter. Even his own voice sounded like a mare's, a quality that did not help him in the least.
He hated being mistaken for a mare, but every attempt to look more masculine just backfired. He messed up his mane? Then he became a punk girl. He cut it short? Tomboy. He wore a suit?
He wasn't quite sure how, but that made him even more feminine.
A sound off in the distance piqued his attention, his ears flicking in tune with the gentle rocking of pistons on the horizon. His hopes grew; she was almost back.
Crisp ran a hoof down his hide, making sure his hide was clean and calm. His heart was beating rapidly, his mouth going dry. He hadn't seen her in almost five months, and it killed him. She had been his best friend, ever since they were small. Press had graduated from grade school a year before her, but that hadn't changed anything. At least not to her.
Unbeknownst to the mare on his mind, Crisp Press had, in the more traditional sense, fallen for her. He'd been taken with her beauty from a young age, but it took the sudden fluctuation of hormones and puberty for him to realize just why he longed for her company, why he felt so secure and safe around her. She was a strong-minded and able-bodied mare, with beautiful curves and a charisma unlike any he'd ever seen.
And he was crazy for her.
The train pulled into the train station with an agonizing lack of urgency, slowly creaking along until it finally came to a stop in it's resting place, belching out a last puff of choking smog from the pipes.
“She's here, she's here, she'shereshe'shereshe'shereshe's-”
He felt his heart soar. She'd spotted him before he'd been able to spot her. Completely oblivious to the fact he was only one of three ponies on the depot floor, thus easy to spot, his heart raced at what he had interpreted as her longing for him. Had it been as powerful as his for her? Had she laid awake for hours, unable to get him out of her mind as he had done for the past months?
Press was suddenly wrapped in a tight, crushing hug, jarring him from his thoughts.
“I missed you so much!” Rapid Souffle chirped as she held her precious colt in her legs, taking his breath away.
Press gasped, squirming in her gasp as his face glowed bright red.
“I- missed you... too!” Crisp Press choked out, gasping as his dream mare let go of him. He instantly doubled over, huffing desperately for oxygen. Rapid Souffle blushed slightly, the sierra-toned mare surprised by her sudden outburst. It seemed as though her short trip before returning home had brushed off on her a little more than she'd expected.
“So how's my favourite little colt?” she asked with a giggle, giving his head a familial noogie her hoof. He immediately froze up.
“She just... no no no, things were supposed to change!” he yelled at himself, unable to verbalize his thoughts. He settled for a slight scowl.
Rapid pawed at her cherry mane, the curled tips bobbing along with her hoof. Press was down for an awfully long time, she hoped she hadn't hurt him. She blinked her luminous green eyes, cocking an eyebrow. She really hoped she hadn't hurt the poor colt.
“Yo Press, y'alright?” she asked, her Manehatten quickly returning to her. Her accent was a curious one: when she focused, she could pass for the upper-class mare her parents had dreamed for her to become, but she could quickly drop it, whether intentionally or not, and revert to a more earthy slang that Manehatten was famous all over Equestria for.
“Never better,” Press choked out, clutching himself as he willed his blush to disappear.
Rapid draped a hoof along Press, trying to help him stand.
“So how was Ponyville?” Crisp Press asked his friend, desperate to start a conversation to mask his screaming red face.
“Oh, it was a drag, but I was able to hang out with Pumpkin a lot, so that was fun!”
“Pumpkin,” Press started as the two began trotting away from the train, “that was the mare you... mentioned, in your letters, right?”
“Yeah, she was one fine mare. I'll have to visit her again soon,” she giggled. Press groaned to himself.
Fine mare. Press was aware that Rapid was more into mares lately, but... surely she could be interested in him, right? Right?
Rapid glanced at her little friend, frowning. He seemed rather upset, which in turn upset her. She didn't like seeing him upset, he was too sweet deserve being upset. Perhaps if he met a special stallion while at the mall, maybe...
“Hey,” Rapid said with a smile, “Ponyville was pretty dull... how about we go shopping, just the two of us? It'll be fun!”
Now, an interesting tid-bit of information: Rapid thought that Press was gay. He loved hanging out with her, talked with her about everything, even would paint her hooves for her when she asked him. He was her gay best friend forever, at least in her mind.
Press couldn't help but smile sadly. He'd made the mistake of telling her one time that he enjoyed shopping with her, which she had apparently taken to heart, as she insisted he accompany her to the mall every time following.
Sighing, Press nodded his head.
“Alright, but can we drop off your bags first? They're kind of heavy.”
After learning where her new house was, Rapid Souffle made her way there with Crisp Pres in tow, dropping her things off and kissing her mother before taking off again, in high spirits.
Crisp Press, however, was not as high in spirit. He was rather low and quiet, silently following after Rapid as she led him towards a rather large department mall located near the edges of the shopping district.
“First things first, clothing!” Rapid declared as she strutted ahead, taking in the sights. Not much had changed in the past near-five months, but for her it was an entirely new scene. The massive store housed hundreds of separate clothing outlets, each of them awaiting Rapid for her shopping pleasure.
As Rapid Souffle giggled on ahead, Press groaned to himself. Why did he let himself get roped in to such things? He knew the drill by now: she'd shop herself silly, hit up a bar, get drunk, move on to a lez bar, get even more drunk, and wake up in a motel room with a mare she'd never see again. Oh, and Press would be watching guard for her the entire fragging night.
Press groaned again. Why did he let himself get roped in to such things?
Following Rapid in to the store, he caught sight of her immediately jumping at the nearest dress, her eyes sparkling as she looked it over with a certain fascination that Press couldn't help but smile at.
That look right there, he told himself, that's why I come along with her.
The love-drunk colt looked after his dream mare with next to no attention to his immediate surroundings. An instant later, he was blindsided by a loose display cart.
“OOOF!” he cried out as the cart toppled over him, showering a range of skirts and dresses over top of him, burying him beneath.
“My bad, miss!” Press heard a store attendant call, rushing over to him.
He hated being mistaken for a mare.
Struggling to push himself up, Press popped up out of the stack of clothes, glowering.
“Could you be a little more careful there, please?” he asked with an attitude. The white store attendant chuckled.
“Sorry, ma'am, it was an accident. Won't happen again."
Press grumbled about as he pulled himself from the pile, feeling fabric pull and tug at him. He was suddenly aware of multiple ponies staring at him rather... powerfully.
Stopping mid-pull, he glanced around. Of the few customers in the room, several of them were staring at him with a smirk and a cock to their brows.
All of them were stallions.
Rolling his eyes, Press continued to pry himself loose.
No, I'm not gay, don't even try and ask me- he started, but was cut short at something he dreaded.
It also happened to be something he was definitely not expecting.
“Hey, miss, the modeling stands are out in the window!” one of the stallions hollered at Press while another colt hooted at him.
Miss? They can't be that thick, right? Ri-
Then he felt it. The way the fabric contorted to him, rode along his body.
With a quick flash of his magic, he shot out of the pile, stumbling into the assistant from earlier. And in a stroke of fate, he landed in such a way that his face was rubbing a small mirror attached to the counter.
He was wearing a thin white dress. Nothing fancy, nothing frilly, just a plain, white dress.
And suddenly he knew why the stallions were hooting at him. He even felt himself blush slightly, a feat which confused him.
He looked damn hot. His mane was, instead of the usual shag, tossed in front of his eyes, and the dress clung to his shallow curves far more sensually than he would have expected.
And suddenly, he was extremely aware of himself. But not in the way one would expect.
He literally looked every bit like a mare. Not as in the usual “Oh hey miss- whoops, my bad” way. No, no, no, he was unrecognizable as a stallion at this point unless he suddenly was forced to have an erection, something that was thankfully a rarity for him.
He was, for all intents and purposed, a mare. And for some reason... he liked it.
“Miss, are you alright?” the white stallion manning the counter asked while helping Crisp up.
Crisp coughed slightly, nodding.
“Y-yeah, I'm fine. Thank you, though.”
“Sure thing- woah, that dress suits you fine,” the stallion obliviously commented, looking Press up and down. Press tried to hide behind his mane at the sudden attention he was receiving.
“Um... th-thank you?” Press squeaked.
OHMYGOSH THIS IS SO FRAGGING AWKWARD... Crisp Press screamed in his mind.
“If you want to purchase that, it would be my pleasure to see you through the check-out,” the stallion winked before trotting around Crisp and beginning to pick back up the rack of fallen clothing.
Meanwhile, Crisp Press was hyperventilating.
Did that stallion just HIT ON ME?! That was so weird, please never let that again happen! What would Rapid think if-
Suddenly, he had an idea. A rather twisted, demented idea, but an idea nonetheless.
Rapid liked mares, this he knew. As he was now, he could hardly recognize himself as the stallion he once was. If he was able to fool the other colts in the room into thinking he was a mare...
Well, why couldn't he fool Rapid Souffle? It would take a lot of time making himself look different in order to be sure she couldn't recognize him, but he could do it.
Then he had another idea. It was even more twisted then the last, and he hated himself for thinking it, but he thought it nonetheless.
They were going to a bar later. She would be getting inebriated to hit on mares at bars. He would be unrecognizable in a dress if she was looking through beer goggles. She might just hit on him. He could say yes.
Now Crisp Press had been dealing with his crush on Rapid for years now. He was a desperate colt devising desperate plans, and like most plans, this one didn't factor what came after the plan. It wasn't important, only the plan was.
Gulping hard, Crisp Press slowly trotted over towards Rapid, head low and focused. Rapid was still ogling over the peach dress she'd spotted upon entering the store, having witnessed absolutely nothing since stepping hoof beyond the doors save the magnificent assortment of fabric and art.
Press sidled up next to Rapid, keeping a very short distance between the two of them as he pretended to be interested in the dress rack next to Rapid. His eyes were carefully cocked to the left, keeping a lookout for any reaction on Rapid's part.
Nothing. She hardly even noticed anypony was there.
Sighing, Press trotted away, heading for the rack to return the dress. He was going to hear an earful about strutting around with it on and was sure he'd get thrown out of the store as soon as the attendant learned Press was really a guy, but it was fine-
Press stopped as he passed by the mirror again.
His gaze wandered over his figure, his body. He had to admit, he really did look like a mare in the dress. An attractive mare, at that. And, oddly enough... it made himself feel better about himself.
As much as he hated to admit it, he kinda did like the dress. It was comfortable. It suited him.
Smiling in sick disgust, Press sighed as he let his judgment cloud over. Pulling out his bit bag, he trotted over to the counter.
“Is it okay if I wear this out?” he asked the attendant sweetly, hoping he wasn't laying the false charm on too thick.
If he had been, it had went way over the attendant's head.
“It's no problem at all, miss,” he assured Press before taking a quick glance at the dress as if trying to find the price tag. Press was all too aware that his eyes lingered a little too long on his flank.
“It was on the 30 bit rack,” Press coughed, passing over the correct number of bits. The stallion coughed, excusing himself as he collected the money.
“Thank you miss,” he said with a way to friendly smile. “Have a nice day now, y'hear?”
Press grinned, nodding with a sweet curtsey as he left the store.
Once out of the store, he whooped loudly.
“THAT WAS SO WEIRD BUT FUN!” he cried in bliss.
Thinking back, he couldn't help but feel the rush of excitement as he wondered what could have happened if he'd been caught, how wrong it was to enjoy pretending to be a mare.
He whinnied in giddy, never before having felt such taboo joy. He had found a new hobby, it seemed.
As he trotted off to find another store to test out his disguise, he was completely unaware of a light shimmering along both sides of his flank.
Back at the store, Rapid Souffle snapped out of her trance, finally deciding to purchase the dress. She would look perfect in it for... later. Hey, she was allowed to dress up for bars! There would be some cute mares there for sure, perhaps even a stallion or two that really caught her eye-
“Hey,” she said aloud, looking around. “Where's Press?”