When You Least Expect It

by anonpencil

First published

Berry Punch has a horrible secret she doesn't want the other ponies to know. She avoids parties, avoids friends, avoids alcohol. But one fateful night, she can't avoid running into someone who actually seems to understand what she's going through.

Berry Punch has a horrible secret she doesn't want the other ponies to know about...not yet. She avoids parties, avoids her friends, and does her best to smile through the day and not let anyone see. But one fateful night, after skipping out on a party, she runs into someone who somehow seems to understand what she's going through. He might even understand a little too well.

Maybe, through their mutual pain and brokenness, the pony and human can find some strange form of comfort in one another.

After all, the most meaningful connections often come along when you least expect it.


Not a usual anonpencil comedy. Written for Valentine's Day.
Written from Berry Punch's point of view, contains Anon.

A Bitter Bed to Share

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There is someone asleep in my bed. And for once, I'm actually not happy about that.

One room over I can still hear an occasional anguished cry from somepony who's tipped over the punch bowl. Again. That pony had been me only a few weeks ago, and I had decided I was done for the evening when I saw it start happening tonight. It brought my mood down, and I had no desire to bring down the mood of the party with me. I figured Vinyl would be next to tip the thing, as she's been threatening to launch herself against tables and walls while trying to "crowdsurf" for a while. No one really seemed to be complaining either. It was nice to see everyone so happy, but not at the expense of my own bitterness or all-too ready ability to completely kill the mood.

I may be many things, but Berry Punch is no mood killer.

So after all that, I had come here. I had come to get a little rest in Applejack's littlest guest bedroom while everyone else continued to party in the barn, dancing and drunkenly singing the night away. It's nice of her to offer me a place to sleep, no questions asked. It would be all too easy for her to ask why I seem so tired and aloof, but she's kind like that, and maybe she's preoccupied. Many of her relatives have shown up for this yearly party that I usually over-enjoy, and tomorrow I would have to shape up and be a good friend to her and all the others. I would show visiting ponies around, embarrass them with my antics, play with them, and be my bubbly, upbeat, obscene, falsely-drunken self. It isn't even three AM yet, which was a travesty, but it can't be helped. I would need my energy, and that means sleep. However, there is now this hangup.

All I really want to do is sleep, to be honest, but instead this...thing is in my bed. I have no idea when exactly he got here because he didn't come next door to say hello (or maybe he did and I didn't notice), but I know he's here now. And he's lying all cozy in my bed that I asked Applejack for. And all I want to do is sleep. What the fuck.

Before me, a slightly curled mass lies in the queen sized bed, silent and unmoving. A mess of short hair splays about the pillow like a trivet, and the center of the form rises and falls evenly, suggesting sleep. The simple brown covers are up to the neck, and although I can't see the entirety of him, he's an unusual enough creature that I know exactly who this is.

Anon had told us how he came to Ponyville. How one day he was on his home planet, Earth, and then suddenly he just woke up here. It was a weird transitional period, with lots of questions and fear at first, but he's settled in nicely over time. Plus, I found out that he can drink almost as much as me...well as much as I used to, so we at least got along. Sure, we weren't friends but we were nice to each-other. Drinking buddies almost. One would think that upon arriving to Sweet Apple Acres he would have at least come to the party to get silly and fun with everypony else. Even if he was a little too tired for it. But rather than do the courteous thing and come see us straight away, his ass seemed to have found the first bed possible and just flopped. Lucky me, that first bed happens to be the one reserved for me.

I study him from my stance in the doorway, a growl of frustration dormant in my throat. Fucking really? I debate whether to let him rest a bit and find another place to sleep, or to just kick him out. I can be quite considerate, but right now I feel a little selfish. I even consider if maybe I should let the others know he's here so we can draw shit on his face and do all that other stuff teenage girls do at sleepovers. (Lets face it, that's pretty much the maturity level we have going on here anyway.) But that seems too cruel for tonight, maybe next time if he pulls that shit again.

No, there's another way to deal with this.

My mind is made up, and I creep quietly to the bed with all the stealth of a weird purple ninja. Gingerly, I climb up onto the expansive mattress and slip under what small part of the blanket the human isn't hogging. He shifts a little as I settle in next to him, so close I can hear him breathing, but that he doesn't wake up. Perfect.

I gradually raise my back hooves until they are just below the small of his back with the flats even to his body. I take a deep breath and then aggressively straighten my legs with all my might in one swift motion.

Anon catapults forward but stops short of going over the edge. Way too quickly for a sleeping man he reaches out and grabs part of the headboard to steady himself and all I end up doing is giving him even more of the covers. The backbend he's managing is actually pretty impressive, and enraging. I growl to myself in frustration. He turns to look over his shoulder at me, and while I can see he looks pretty groggy, it's obvious that he hadn't been sleeping. He cracks a half smile at me.

"Oh hey Berry," he says simply, as if I wasn't digging my hooves squarely into his spine.

No surprise, no nice to see you, no formalities. We may have only seen each other and talked every so often, and even more rarely when sober, but he's as dismissive as if he knew I was coming and had known me all his life.

I ease off and shuffle back away from him across the sheets.

"Oh so you're awake?"

"Yep," he says. "Just got in ten minutes ago, couldn't find a quiet place in that crazy loud party over there, so I gave up and came in here. You're free to share, though. You have the whole floor, don't you?"

He drawls on in that weird earth accent of his, seeming completely oblivious to the rancor in my expression. That voice of his might in fact be cute. You know. If it wasn't for the stealing my bed and all my blankets thing. I glare at him a little harder, trying to get my point across.

"Why didn't you come next door to say hi to everyone. We could have helped you find a room or a quiet place to be, you know. Why do you even need a quiet place anyway?"

He shrugs and turns back away from me again.

"I was tired, I didn't feel like meeting a bunch of new ponies face to face yet."

"So instead you come crash in MY bed?"

I see his shoulders rise and fall again in another shrug.

"Didn't know it was yours."

"Well it is."

"Okay."

"So..."

He turns to look at me, again seeming completely oblivious to what's going on.

"So....thank you?" he says haltingly.

Oh my god, this fucking guy...

"So, get the fuck out of my bed!" I practically yell and give him another strong kick for good measure.

Still, he doesn't budge, and now I see a little bit of a smile begin to creep onto his face. Wait, could he be actually enjoying this? I pull my hooves back again and study him. Is he...is he just messing with me? Is he acting like an oblivious idiot on purpose just to make me angry?

"But I'm tired, Berry," he half whines. "I think I'll just sleep here for the night. There's a couch in Applejack's main parlor, isn't there?"

Ok, this is too much. He's in my bed, won't leave, and is now suggesting I take the couch rather than the bed in my own room?! Oh hell no. I begin to scheme. So, he's from a foreign land totally different than ours, huh? From what I remember of his drunken ramblings, Earth is a haven for misfits, the socially awkward, the mentally ill, and the just plain weird. Maybe he's awkward and weird too, especially considering his dealing with the party like this. If he wants to play hard ball, no problem. I can play hardball.

I force a smile and tilt my head a little in a pose of obviously feigned innocence. He seems to notice and is instantly suspicious of me. Clever, but I'll bet he's not as clever as I am.

"But..." I say, my tone that of a spoiled little girl. "I like the big ol' bed. Surely you can't use all of it all by your onesome?"

Anon turns red and gawks at me. I'm sitting with my back legs curled in towards me, my front hooves to the side and both flats down. It's a rather evocative pose, in my opinion. I pout my lower lip a little and push my shoulders up and back to make me look all the more helpless and innocent. And then I look up at him with these eyes that say "I sure hope this big strong man isn't going to hurt me."

The reaction is instant and apparent. His gaze darts away from my eyes and he's at a loss for words. He sits up slowly, a little uncomfortably, and backs away from me just a hair as if I'm some sort of terrible glass time bomb that might go off at any moment and fill him like a porcupine with splinters.

Jackpot.

I inch closer.

"Maybe I should just...you know....share the bed with you?" I ask, as if the idea has just occurred to me. "It is pretty big. I could just lie over here and you wouldn't even know it! I promise I won't be a bother."

He inches back away, mouth still working but no words coming out. But I don't stop yet.

"Of course," I say, doing my best to force some blood into my cheeks for a rosy, drunken glow. It's a look I've mastered over years of drinking and of recent weeks pretending to be drunk. "I'm not wearing clothes like you. So...maybe you should take yours off to sleep? Wouldn't that be more comfortable for you? I can even help you undress if you want. That wouldn't make you too uncomfortable...would it Anon?"

I can see it in his eyes. He's ready to break, give me the bed, go tearing from the room to try to hide from all this. He's feeling awkward, he's feeling scared. I move ever so slightly closer and look up into his eyes with all the fear and adulation of a gradeschool filly speaking to a teacher. I have him. All I have to do is...

All at once I see a flicker of recognition in his eyes. His shoulders relax, his mouth shuts, and he fixes me with a calm look. It's as if someone has flipped a switch inside him. I try to hide my surprise and offer a shy innocent smile up at him. He smiles back, far too steadily for my liking.

"Nope," he says. "Not buying it."

Fuck.

"W-whatever do you mean?" I ask, still trying to maintain the mystique I had held only a moment before.

He simply shakes his head.

"Berry, I don't know your ways too well, but I've heard that voice before when you're messing with ponies in bars to try to get free drinks and stuff...Not gonna work."

Shit. He has me there. I realize suddenly that I had been using the same voice as I do when I'm trying to make stallions all hot and bothered for me, either for fun or for free alcohol purposes. It was a careless mistake on my part, one bred from way too long without sleep and booze. Still, that's no excuse. I drop the expression and go back to my glare. He looks smug now, so self satisfied upon being right. All of me wants to verbally smack that grin right off his stupid face.

"Think I'm bluffing?" I say in a tone like ice wrapped in silk.

"I do."

"I'll fucking do it," I say, smiling. "I'll sleep right here if you don't give me back my bed."

"Sure you will Berry."

"I did warn you, don't say I didn't."

"Yep, you warned me, I'm terrified."

My lip twitches, a growl bubbles in my throat, and something rest-deprived and bitter in my brain just kinda snaps. This party has not been for me. This past month has not been fun for me. Holding this stupid secret and all these feelings and this heavy, heavy knowledge inside me has been dragging me down and down and it's been hard just to keep my head above water. I'm tired. Tired in ways I didn't even know a pony could be. And I'll be damned if some stupid, pig-headed, inconsiderate human is going to take this bed from me. I cock my head and throw him a huge happy grin.

"Fine, you asked for it."

With a flourish, I reach down and grab the sides of Anon's shirt. In one fluid motion, I pull up and forward to yank the shirt over his head and off. Defiantly, I toss it against the wall to the left of his head. Rather than trying to fight back and protest, Anon, meanwhile, is spellbound and horrified. He stammers at me and then down at his newly exposed upper body as if he's never seen a his own chest before, or maybe it's that a girl has never seen his bare chest before. Red creeps up the sides of his neck to cloud his face and he looks quickly away from me at something that is surely far more interesting down next to my pillow. I keep smiling as I straighten up a little and the abruptly pull down his pants zipper.

"See? See? Didn't I tell you?" I ask pointedly as I do this.

"H-hey, what are you-?"

He doesn't try to stop me, he's still too defiant and bold for that right now. I have to push him just a little further. I give a tug at his pants and they slip down, just a little. This all proves too much for him. While he doesn't get out of my bed, he quickly turns to face the wall, his shoulders heaving like he's run a great distance. With what sounds like a little yelp, he jerks up the blanket to cover his lower back and hips, which were about to be very very exposed in just a moment more. I could kick him now and send him running out of the room I know, but at this point I just kind of want the guy to suffer. I lay back and tug the blanket up around me as well.

Then before he can do much about it, I reach out and tug down his pants between my back hooves, then shove them out of bed. They hit the floor with a thud, far enough away where he'd have to get out of bed to go get them. I can feel his hands grasping for them as he half-mutters, half-whimpers obscenities at me. Still unwilling to let me win, he hasn't exactly fought back, and his protests are half-hearted and frustrated. But it's only a matter of time. I'm sure this is just too humiliating for him. I'm betting his face is about the shade of a plum now, the lazy fuck. Serves the pantless human right for trying to cross me.

"Well, goodnight Anon," I say triumphantly. "Pleasant dreams, the couch is just over there in Applejack's main parlor if you like."

And with that I switch off the bedside lamp, I flop over to my side, facing away from him, and tug as much of the blanket as I can manage up over my body. I curl up, shut my eyes, and relish the sound of uneasy breathing and shuffling next to me. I feel the mattress bow slightly as he stops struggling and looking for his clothes, and I glance back over at him. Still too defiant to leave the bed, he's as close to the edge of it as he can be, facing away from me. His shoulders still rise and fall unsteadily, and the back of his neck is still a glowing crimson. Even if he wouldn't leave the bed, he's still uncomfortable and awkward as fuck, and suffering, so I can call that a half victory. I turn back and burrow down into the bed with a grin.

After only a minute or two, my bravado begins to fade and a mixture of logic and nerves take over.

I'm lying in bed, next to a man I have never really gotten to know much, who is in just his underwear, alone. In an unfamiliar and secluded room. Early in the AM. This is...definitely not the best sort of situation for me. It's not like I think he'd try to overpower me or do anything to me, even with me picking on him the way I did, but it's still a rather awkward place to be. How the fuck did I get here? What was I thinking? Was a moral victory really worth me taking off all his damn clothes? But I'm stuck here. I've created this horrible stalemate and there's no escape other than admitting defeat, finding a way to make him get up (and really, what more can I do?), or spending the night here. All night. With him.

I quietly curse myself on my side of the mattress. What have I gotten myself into now?

-*-

Broken Calls to Broken

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Some minutes pass with us just lying there in the dark, alone and awkward together. On the other side of the bed I can still hear him moving, but now his breathing has evened out some. He could be sleeping, I'm not exactly sure yet, but he's definitely calmer. If he decided to listen hard, I'd bet he could hear my breathing coming much more nervously than his now. Good thing he's not quite as perceptive as all that, at least that I know of.

Still, I can't make my brain turn off. I had been so tired only a moment ago, but now? Now I'm tense, uncomfortable, unsure of myself, and pretty damn wide awake. I feel a prickling of anger that he gets to calm down and sleep where as I have to stay up, thinking too much. That's sure as hell not fair, considering that he's the cause of all of this. And that I deserve sleep more than he does. Some part of me, yet vengeful, decides that if I can't sleep, he can't sleep. I clear my throat and I feel his breathing catch a moment at the noise. Good, he's still awake after all.

"So," I say, slowly and loudly. "Did you see much of the party on your way in?"

He pauses, his breathing catching for a moment, but he does speak up. Good. No rest for him yet.

"Nah, I saw the lights and heard the music..."

"Could you tell if Pinkie was still playing her music mix?"

"Yeah. A lot of high pitched electronic bubblegum style stuff. Really childish, and stupid catchy. I assume that's her."

It sounds like he could let the conversation end there, but I'm not ready to let him do that yet.

"But what did you think of it?" I continue. "Is it your kind of music? Would you prefer something else?"

"Eh."

Nope, you're not getting out of this that easy, don't even try.

"So you're liking it all I assume, even if you didn't stick around the party for long? The fun, the ponies, the alcohol. Bet it's a fuckton better than the shithole Earth. Bet their parties suck," I say with a knowing smile.

I'm baiting him at this point. I know that he shit talks Earth all the time, I suspect mostly because of the unpredictable weather (thank god for Pegasi) as well as the other people there, but he's quick to defend it sometimes too. There's some weird pride there that I suppose we all have in some way for the place that we call home. For him, there's some sot of homesickness that comes with it. I'm banking on that to tick him off some, keep him talking and complaining or defending.

This time, however, he surprises me. He's silent a moment, and again I feel the vibrations of his breaths skip, like the question has unexpectedly moved something in him.

"It's...different," he says slowly. "It's good to finally be traveling, I always wanted to do that when I was on Earth. It's an opportunity I didn't know if I would get."

His tone is serious, and I quickly begin to read that there's some subtext under what he's saying, something deeper. This is the first time he's really been abroad I guess, but why would that be in question if he was back on earth? What would have prevented him from traveling? I can feel that this is personal to him, but I've always been a sucker for mystery and curiosity. I can't help stop myself from asking.

"...why wouldn't you travel back on Earth?"

I hear him take a very slow breath in, and I think for a moment he won't answer. He sounds like he's wrestling with himself and debating something, maybe what exactly to say. I'm about to withdraw my question, when I suddenly hear his voice. He sounds withered, dry, like he's all used up inside. The crispness of the tone catches me off guard and I suddenly have nothing to say.

"I'm dying."

It's a blunt phrase, and it feels like the small impact of punch inside the base of my throat. I want to say I'm sorry, because it's the natural impulse thing to say. But I also know he won't want that. He doesn't want me to be sorry. It's not what I'd want anyway. So I remain silent as he goes on.

"I found out when I was a teenager back on Earth. It's slow, not like that cancer-style insta-death or anything. But I'm supposed to be dead before 30. It's a genetic disorder involving the immune system that causes anemia, fainting spells, organ failure..."

He pauses and I'm pretty sure he takes a look over at me, as if trying to read my expression.

"Sorry, I don't know if you even know what any of that means, if they even have that here."

"We do," I say. "And I know it's pretty serious for us so..."

"Yeah pretty serious for us too," he goes on with a short scoff. "I don't know exactly when I'm going to die, and a lot of different things can cause it, but it'll probably be when I'm pretty much an invalid, in a hospital bed, and it'll be painful. My...mom didn't handle it well, but I guess I was sort of getting used to it. I was even beginning to make jokes about it and stuff, even though the jokes always seem to make people sad. There's not many means of fighting it, there's not a lot I can do except try to take good care of myself. I was trying to plan year to year, to get as much done as I possibly could just in case, but it got to me sometimes over there. I never knew if I'd get to do anything I wanted to do in life, follow any dreams, fully...be me I suppose."

I stare wide-eyed into the dark. I can hear my heart beating loudly, painfully. How could this happen? How could this happen to someone else? Instead of pity, I find a strange anger building in me. Doesn't death have any propriety, that it would target just anyone instead of people who really deserve it? It's not fair.

"It's amazing you can talk about it like that," I murmur, and he doesn't respond right away. I'm not even sure he heard me. After a moment of quiet, he speaks again.

"I just feel so..."

"Broken," I say hollowly. It's not a question.

"Yeah. Broken."

He doesn't question how I know this, and I can hear that he's almost in a trance talking about this. He's a million miles away, he's completely engrossed in some part of himself which is demanding a very uncomfortable indulgence. I know that trance. I've been there myself, just lying on the edge of the bed, staring out into the expanse of the wall beside me. Just letting myself feel, letting emotions and thoughts overwhelm me then, when I'm alone, so they won't overwhelm me later in public.

"It's not fair," he says simply.

"It's not."

We both know it, and it's an obvious thing, but it still feels good to say it.

"It's scary sometimes, you know?" he says, still sounding distant.

This human, this friend of mine sits baring his soul to me right now. He admits he's scared. And I had wanted him to suffer. I suddenly know that what he's saying has less to do with fun and parties than I thought it would.

Again, my scheming and bravado sink into the pit of my stomach. I've touched a nerve, without any intent of doing so. A nerve that I too have and know the weight of. Shit, good move, idiot. I open my mouth to apologize, change the subject, anything I can think of, but he continues speaking before I can derail us.

"I mean, I wanted to do this, traveling I mean. I thought about it a lot, and I planned for it for a while. But I couldn't be sure I'd get there, and now that I finally am, even if it's not in the way I expected or wanted...I guess it just doesn't seem real yet. Even after months of being here, away from home and traveling to a new land, it all feels like I could wake up and have it not be real. It's why I didn't want to go to the party, why I sometimes leave suddenly or hide in quiet places. I'm still kind of...adjusting. Explaining it would just add one more thing to deal with."

There's a silence, and I want to break it more than anything, but I don't have the right tools, the right words. Does he know how hard this hits me? Does he know how close to home these words are? He can't possibly know, and yet...every thing he says burrows down into the pit of my stomach. I feel it, nestled up with my own feelings of doubt, of a lack of time. My hoof slides over across the mattress, through the darkness to find his hand. I don't know why, but I just want to touch him so much right then. I want to feel that he's alive, that I'm alive too. He doesn't react at all to my touch, and I don't pull away from it either.

"I...don't want to go yet," he says suddenly. "And I don't want this opportunity taken from me. I know I have to die, probably sooner rather than later, but I don't want it yet. I just got here. I have so much to see."

He goes quiet suddenly, like he's just realized he's still talking. He gives a bitter little laugh beside me in the darkness.

"Sorry, I don't usually talk about this stuff. I don't wan't to upset you or anything, I know death is a rough topic. Just...for some reason I find it easy to talk to you right now. Not sure why. Anyway, sorry."

"No, it's ok. I know what you mean," I find myself saying, a little surprised at myself.

"Yeah?"

I can hear the surprise and newly awakened curiosity in his voice. The mattress moves as I feel him roll over. Maybe onto his back, I don't think it would be like him to be staring at the back of my head while I speak. Even then, I feel the hair on the back of my neck prickle with nerves. I swallow hard and the feeling subsides somewhat.

I didn't want to tell anyone. I wanted to be strong enough to carry it inside me. But I can feel myself compelling my mouth into words. Maybe I can just tell him. I have to let him know that I understand how he feels.

"Earlier this month," I say haltingly, "I found out I'm in the early stages of liver failure. It's...not reversible at this point."

I take a moment to listen, see if I can hear him drinking all this in. I feel so sick to my stomach, but I also find myself still pressing down against his hand with my hoof. He hasn't noticed and I now use that point of contact as a source of courage. It's barely enough to let me continue.

"I've been keeping it a secret," I say. "The doctors told me that I can't drink anymore or it will speed the process along. I did this to myself, apparently, to many years of a reckless lifestyle, but I'm not even sure I regret those decisions. Maybe I do. I don't know. They're not sure if it'll be a year, maybe two, maybe less. But I'm only looking at a few more years before...yeah."

I can't say it. He said it so easily, so simply. I'm dying. Say it, Berry, say it out loud like he did. But I know that he's lived with this longer, that he's braver and better at dealing with this than I am. It's a pretty poor excuse, but I bite my lip for a moment before I speak, still unable to admit out loud what exactly is going to happen to me over the next few years.

"And you know, it feels really surreal to me too," I say. "Like I might be making it up or imagining it, like I'm fine and this life and impending death aren't real. I can't drink, can't tell anyone, can't know exactly when my body is going to shut down and I'll just...go. And I don't want to upset any of the ponies, I don't want them to pity me or know what I'm going through. I know these ponies, and I don't at the same time. And they don't fully know me either, even if I thought they did before. So...I know I'm alone with this. Just my dying body and me. But I still have to carry on, still have to find a way to be me. So yeah, I'm...still adjusting too."

"You don't act like it."

"I'm good at hiding it."

"Got it," he says. Then, he starts to talk again, and I can hear that far away trance is back in his voice. "I wish I was better. I envy you that, heh. Feeling this way is hard enough without having to see it in the mirror every morning. I almost...want to talk about it. But I also want to be brave enough to get through this on my own, without help, without putting this on everyone else. Know what I mean?"

I know that, unlike me, he isn't reading any subtext in my words. He's wrapped up in our words and feelings, so he isn't hearing me say that this whole thing has me terrified. Not scared like I'm having to fight some terrible dragon, or like someone is breaking into my bedroom to stab me in the night. No, this is more preventative. I'm scared I'll fuck up. I'm scared I'll let too much slip about who I really am now, how I'm doing, what's wrong with me. I'm afraid that I'll have a panic attack in front of everypony at some point, and that I'll faint or throw up or just die right then and there. I'm scared I'll finally break down and drink a few bottles of wine, then be dead by my own decision, before my body can take me. I'm scared I'll mess up the happy time I might have left by making it sad or hard work. So yeah, I'm adjusting, but seeing these ponies drinking at parties, and especially talking to Anon about this has my brain going a hundred miles a second.

But I can't think about how easy it would be for me to die at any second. I can't think about how much I miss wine, the fun, the parties, the not ever giving a shit about what anypony thinks. The taking any stallion I like back to my bed, the free mugs of cider, the constant laughing. Especially the laughing. If I think about how much I miss that, how tired I feel now without it, then I'll start to think about sleep. And I especially can't think about that.

I used to like sleep but now...it's hard to find. It's scary. The scariest thing in all of this, to be honest, because I know that there's a chance I'll close my eyes and just never wake up. I'll never have a last word, a final lovely thought to focus on. I'll just slip away and never even know I was gone. People talk about dying in their sleep like it's a blessing, but every time I close my eyes the thought of that happening snaps them right back open.

If I let myself think about that all the time, I might as well curl up and die now, because my life would be effectively over.

All I say though is that I'm adjusting. I lie there in a bed that somehow feels smaller now, next to a mostly naked human I barely know, adjusting. I swallow a breath of air to calm the tightness that's suddenly in my stomach. I don't feel like baiting Anon anymore or attacking him. This conversation has taken an unexpected turn and doing that would feel so cheap and fake now. I'm fine with masking how I feel, sure, but not outright lying about it. Not to someone who seems to actually get it.

I want to stop talking, stop hearing him say things that make me feel this way, that make far too much sense, that tell me I'm not alone.

And...I also never want him to stop talking. Because for all the times I didn't have the words, for all the times when I was at so much of a loss, I can now feel my voice through him. I can touch these feelings with my own, and for once I don't feel alone. That's terrifying, and I don't want it but I also do. I feel like someone, just by the nature of their being, understands how I work and think now. And the only reason I'd have to explain myself to him is because I would want to. Otherwise he'd already know, and simple words would be enough to express exactly how I was feeling without saying anything outright. I want to hear his voice over and over, speaking things I wouldn't dare to say. I want to hear him be braver than I am by speaking up. I want to hear him be more honest than I can be. Just as long as he doesn't stop talking.

I feel dizzy, sick, hurt, but I don't want it to stop for my sake. I have tears in my eyes, though I'm not sure when they got there. I wipe them hastily away and am steadily aware of one feeling, beyond the anger at this situation, beyond my own hurt. I just want him to be happy. He deserves that much. Don't I deserve that much? If I do, he deserves it doubly so.

"Do you ever..." I force myself to say. "Get scared that you'll die in your sleep?"

I need to know if I'm the only one who feels that. He responds instantly.

"Every time. Every damn time."

And I know he gets it. All of it. And I hate that he gets it. I can feel the room around me now. It buzzes with the bright lighting for the party outside, it echoes with the words and actions of ponies in different nearby rooms. But here, we're just quietly talking in the dark. In a different place than all of them, even thought we're on the same farm. The air is crisp. The sheets are thin. I'm shaking a little, but I'm not fully sure it's from the cold. Beside me I hear him breathing slowly, still too far away to feel my hoof on his hand.

“Anon?” I venture.

He doesn't seem to hear me, but he does keep speaking.

“I'm just,” he says slowly. “trying to not let all this bother me, you know? The thoughts, the worries...I usually just keep it all in like you do, but there's a lot of it and I guess sometimes it just comes out."

His voice is suddenly gaining in strength. It's shaking, but rising like it's ready to crash over the edge of something, a tide finally breaking. I want it to stop then, I want to help hold it back and embrace it all at once. I want all this to go away for us. Even just for a moment.

"...A-anon..."

"But I won't let any of them see that. I won't let anyone see what I'm feeling because it would hurt them, and it would hurt me too, and I don't want that. Or the pity. Anything but that. Fuck no. I don't want anyone to think-”

His words break off sharply as I press my lips against his.

I haven't felt my body move. I haven't asked or willed it to do anything, and as my mouth comes down gently but decisively against his, I'm almost as surprised as he is. The next word he was going to stay still makes a short noise in his throat but dies almost instantly. I feel his body go tense underneath my hoof, which I realize is resting gingerly, flat down, on his chest. My eyes are shut, but I imagine his eyes flying open in shock, and somehow the idea pleases me. Under my other hoof which rests still on his hand, I feel his palm flatten against the bed with his fingers splayed out.

And most of all I feel his lips. They're warm, soft, a little rough from the dry farm air. And they scarcely move against mine, but I can taste their heat and sense their will to indulge in what is happening, even if the rest of his body has no idea what to do yet. I let the sensation of kissing him flow through me like a roll of electricity that reaches to my hooftips, shoulders, and even more intimate places inside.

It's a simple kiss. No tongue, mouths mostly closed, but a very intimate one somehow. It's one that has a lot of words behind it, even if I'm not sure exactly what those words are.

I'm kissing Anon...what am I doing? What just happened, how did I get to this? It's like I'm coming out of some sort of drunken stupor and just recalling memories of debauchery the night past. Except those things are still happening. What in the hell am I doing?

My eyes open as I fall back into my own body, away from the overpowering sensations of lips and breath. I see his face, way too close to mine, eyes open and looking up at me. I pull my head back slowly, breaking the kiss with a soft, whispery noise and look down at him, trying very hard not to gasp at my own behavior. He regards me with a look of absolute bewilderment, but his trance of sadness, anger, and hurt is gone. Like some sort of terrible prince charming, I've woken him with a kiss. But now what? He studies my face as I look down at him, totally frozen by the situation and the feeling of my hoof still poised on his very warm chest. He blinks, and I catch the light off his eyes like a spark.

“Berry?” he asks in a whisper, his tone one of wonder, bemusement, and bafflement.

Now I do gasp in a sharp breath and pull back away from him. Like I've been burnt. In a flash I have rolled back to my side of the bed, my back to him, my head on the pillow. I pull my back legs in a little and hug my hoof against my chest as I try to catch my breath. What the fuck did I just do? And better yet, WHY? My head is absolutely spinning, and I try to catch random thoughts and emotions as they fly past. I can feel my chest pounding, the lingering warmth of his body still pressed there under my hoof.

What's going on in my head, in my body, that I would even do something like that? How is he not running out of the room screaming? I mean, that we would be discussing something so personal, so serious, and suddenly I lean over and kiss him just like that? Besides being a totally inappropriate reaction to all this, it's so out of the blue. I've never NEVER thought of him as sexually attractive or a potential romance. I mean...he's weirdly shaped, he's a different species! He's always been a casual friend that I just tease and try to make jokes with when drunk. Sure, he is pretty cute in his own way, his eyes are really nice to look at. There's honesty in his words and voice, not to mention the sexy Earth accent, and his smile really is just so piercing. I'd almost like to know what he...

Damnit, you cut that out.

You're not supposed to have a sudden crush on this guy, especially after this sort of a conversation. Pull yourself together, stop being so absofuckinglutely insane. Ok, so he's kinda hot. And you're kind of definitely attracted to him. And you're kind of having a moment here in bed with him. He's probably lying over there, still trying to figure out the license plate number of the bus that just hit him, and you're in a semi-fetal position on your side in silence, hugging your hoof like it's a stuffed animal. This is not normal behavior, and he's probably so confused, the poor fuck. You should say something.

I stare wide-eyed into the darkness on my side of the room and say nothing.

What the fuck would I even say to him? Sorry I kissed you? Your lips taste nice? Sorry we're both slowly dying? I mean...

I feel a warm hand on my shoulder.

Now it's my turn to tense all over at an unexpected touch, and I feel my breathing stop cold in my throat. The hand is large, gentle, but also very intentional in how it rests on my shoulder. My fur prickles under it, and I feel the hair rise across the back of my neck. And I can't help but admit...it's not all an unpleasant sensation.

The grip on my shoulder tightens just a little, pulling me back from my curled posture. Almost like a ragdoll, I turn over onto my back, facing upwards. As my head rotates, I feel another hand imperceptibly slipping behind the back of my neck to cradle the lower part of my head. I let it happen, a deer caught in the headlights. As my eyes adjust to the vague lighting, I can see his outline. He's propped on one elbow, looking down at me as I lie there. His look is soft, gentle, and though there's still a fair amount of confusion there, he doesn't seem shocked or horrified like I had feared.

My eyes flick back and forth across his face, rarely letting our looks cross, and he studies me as well. We're both quiet, and the air feels taut around us, waiting. He smiles then, just a little, but it's the one I had been looking for, not forced or fake. It's one of surrender rather than joy, but it's natural, and the sight of it makes my stomach feel funny. I want to say something to him, I don't know what or how, but I feel words on my tongue, forming.

But before I can manage to put them together, Anon leans slowly down and kisses me.

-*-

The Steady Fall

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For a moment, I feel my eyes open fully in surprise, but then they slip closed as I absolutely lose myself in the sudden and completely unexpected rush. His mouth had been still before when I had kissed him, but now it is alive and I can't help but respond in kind. The hand at the nape of my neck tilts my head back and up, clasping my cheek and trailing a thumb across my fur. He presses my mane to my neck and pulls me towards him as he kisses me, and again I feel a spark of feeling up the back of my spine. I can't help but murmer softly against Anon's mouth in longing for the sensation.

He leans back a little so that our lips part and we again study each other briefly. I can see my questions mirrored in his expression. What's happening? What in the hell is going on? What did I just do? Should I...should we...

Too many questions. Life is fleeting.

I raise my chin and our mouths come together again, more eagerly now, almost desperate. I reach up with my previously useless hoof to touch his chest and cheek. I draw him in with my mouth, my body, my soft moan of delight, and he readily reacts. My lips part and I breathe the same breath as him as he presses his tongue against mine. Lips cross, hands grab, the heat of breathing transfers, and he kisses me like he wants me more than anything else at this exact moment.

His hand moves off of my cheek to rest by my head on the mattress. I open my eyes as our kiss breaks for an instant, and I take in the scene. His body rotates awkwardly at the waist so that his upper half looms over me in the dark. I can see crescent moon curves of skin in green, some rising and falling as his shoulders move to reposition his body. I breathe in a short gasp at the contrast of light and dark, the fluid motion of flesh in the glow. The sheet shifts, and when we again come together. His chest rests down on my own with only a slight weight. But I can feel how warm he is, now damn near hot his skin is to mine. My eyes shut as I'm again overtaken by his smell, his touch, his lips.

As he shifts and our lips slide across each other's, I'm very suddenly aware of how small I am right now compared to him. And how mostly naked he is. Our bodies, unprotected by any of his clothes except his underwear, are so close, touching and moving against each other with each intricacy of the kiss. He's almost on top of me in this bed, and my hoof shakes for an instant on his chest as I realize it. Still, this somehow seems less intimate given our earlier conversation. More...inevitable.

He seems to feel my nervousness and backs off. The cold air that seeps between us feels like ice compared to the warmth there before.

“You ok?” he says, and he sounds out of breath.

I try to say yes, but words don't really come out. I can feel the vibration in my hoof moving to my shoulders. Nerves, the cold, I don't know what this is. Adrenaline even. But I feel awkward suddenly, unsure, like I've never felt with a one-night-fling stallion. Under all that, I know I don't want to stop though, that this isn't a bad thing. I want this. I really really want this. I nod up at him that yes, I'm fine. He looks a little skeptical, and I nod again. A smile doesn't feel right, so I don't offer it, but I know there's a pleading in my eyes that I hope he can see.

Now he nods back and allows me to pull his head and body back down on me. With more weight this time. As he kisses me, I kiss up hard against him now, surprising him a little. I feel the air suck back out of my mouth as he gasps at my unexpected advance. He responds by leaning down farther, kissing me deeper, exploring more of my lips and tongue. His chest presses against me and I feel the sheet by my head tighten as he tenses his hand in a grip with the intensity of all this.

With one hoof I find the small of his back next to me and gently tug at his body. Almost instinctually he moves over so that I'm under him, partially pinned under his form. My body rises to meet him then eases him back down to the bed with me underneath, my legs apart. His free hand also finds the small of my back, gripping it with desire and intent, pulling me up into him. The heat of our bodies join as we touch, feeling almost painful.

Those underwear of his are an afterthought now, not really restraining anything. As he uses my lower back to hold me up against him, I feel how hard he is for me through the undergarment. It's terrifying and enticing at the same time, not at all like a stallion, and I allow him to push his body against me. I even push back, liking how that hardness feels against my inner thigh. As my tongue crosses his lower lip, I utter a soft moan against his mouth. I feel him press harder against me in response.

His underwear is slipping down slightly. He'll be naked soon, I realize. I've never seen a naked human before, or been around one who was naked, especially considering he's the only one here. But he's about to be, and it scares me. That he'll look at me, and I'll look back, and we'll see all of each other. Unprotected. I try to think only about what happens after that, because the very thought that I'll be against him, naked, is enough to draw another unexpected moan out of me, and staves off a little of the fear.

Anon pulls my torso towards his naked chest. My hooves find his bare skin as he hugs me against him. I again feel so small and exposed, and while I want to reach up and cover myself and just...hide from him, I instead put both hooves against where his shoulder meets his chest. I try to keep my limbs from trembling as I hold onto him for dear life. He holds me back and drinks me in with another deep kiss.

One hand runs up the length of my back and over the curves of my ribs, letting the fingers trail like cloth over my skin. He caresses the side of my lower stomach, eagerly but patient. My form twitches as his fingertips brush over the sensitive curve where my belly meets my inner leg. I break the kiss as I half moan half whimper in surprise at his boldness. He runs his hand back up the way it came, and I tuck my chin downward and bite my lip with the swirling pleasure of pain and ecstasy that comes with it. I can feel him sigh out a soft sound of his own as he brushes his fingers over my increasingly warm fur.

I want him so much at that moment. The sound of his wordless voice hangs in the air close to my lips. I can taste his desire for me, and I want to indulge it.

I writhe under him as he again pushes his hips down against me like he's trying to hold me still under him. I obey just a little, but push back against him to urge him on. Now his voice is a little louder when he makes a sound. I love that sound, that I'm causing it. It's not one really of joy or happiness, just raw response to the pleasure I'm causing him, and I want to give him more.

He holds himself back away from me suddenly, his hand still palm down next to my head. I look up at him, almost panting, and he stares back. I feel the tension and strength from his arm thrust down beside me, and I turn my head to lean my cheek against it as I continue to look up at him. I'm very aware now that I'm shaking all over, and now I know part of it is with anticipation from what's to come as well as nerves. It won't be long now.

His tongue flashes over his lips as he wets them. His mouth works silently for a moment as he tries to find the right words.

“D...do you...?”

I blink at him, my face solemn. I remove my hooves from his shoulders and chest and carefully pull his undergarment down off his waist. I arch my back up into him as I tug them onto his thighs, then adjust around him as I pull them down past his knees. He instantly knows what I'm up to and I allow him to pull them the rest of the way. He lets them drop heavily onto the mattress beside me.

I can barely breathe. I want to close my eyes in fear, maybe hide myself or even just start to cry with how much weird stuff I'm feeling. I'm driven. I can't suppress the absolute ache between my legs for him. To please him. To feel him inside me. It's insatiable and a hunger that pounds through my blood like I'm in heat. I can't quite look him in the eyes, too embarrassed and unsettled, but I suck in a long slow breath as I hear him fumble for a response to our present, naked situation. I just want to hear him speak. Please. Say anything.

“I want you.”

I barely know if it's my voice or his that sounds in the darkness, but I can feel my mouth move as the whisper echoes between us. And I do. I want him.

The next moments are so fast. His body descends on me like nightfall, I feel his skin and mouth on my lips, cheek, neck, chest. I yelp softly into the empty room as I feel his mouth over my neck and shoulders. My body fidgets and squirms under more of his weight, touch, and kiss, and my breathing often comes out in sounds of pain, pleasure, and wanting. We push and pull each other, all movements of silhouette and softened shapes in the night. We contrast. We blend. Our bodies find each other and speak in motions. My mane feels a tug, my teeth graze the skin of his shoulder as I whisper his name into the air over and over as a plea and a prayer.

And then he pushes into me in one continuous motion and I cry out from the intensity. We both go still, breathing hard as we feel our bodies at last connected. My legs shake against the outside of his hips as I feel his warmth inside me, and I put my head back against the pillow while we catch our breaths. He's inside me, I think over and over. It's almost a surprise to both of us, I think, and we're still briefly, almost in shock and unsure what to do other than just savor the feeling of him penetrating me.

Then, slowly, we begin to move.

It's without any real rhythm at first, just a slow give and take between our bodies. He pushes into me and I rise my hips to meet him and force him deeper inside me. I breathe in long sighs and quick gasps and above me I hear his breaths quivering. He puts his hand around the back of my waist to get a better angle and again plunges into me in a long steady stroke. I let loose a whimpering moan from how warm he feels inside me, how deep he is, and I tense around his member as he pulls back.

My muscles flex and twitch as my legs wind across his lower back to hold him inside me. My head tips back, my eyes shut, and I sigh out a groan towards the headboard. I can feel how hard he is inside me, purposeful his motions are, and I can hear his breathing trying to find the happy medium between a rhythm and complete chaos. He tugs at my back and hips as he brings us together again and again, forcing his member in to the hilt and sending my back arching up as I whimper with the slight but welcome pain of it.

There's no real release yet, but a relief is quickly flooding through me. After wanting him there, after wanting to feel him gripping me and penetrating me, the sensation of it now is intoxicating. It's the first bite of a cake after smelling it cooking for so long, a sip of ice cold beer after a long day's work. It's getting something I've been patient for, at least somewhat patient, exactly the way I wanted it.

He's beginning to form a bit of a slow even pace now as his thrusts find more confidence. With each one, I roll my hips against him, moving both against and with his motion. My body grips him, tries to keep him inside every time he starts to withdraw. He pulses as I do, just a subconscious response to my own body's effortless beckonings. His breathing falls in time with his thrusts, occasionally coming out with small sounds when I roll my body with his just right. He forces himself deep in me each time, finding parts of me I never guessed he'd know, bringing forth small yelps or cries of surprise and yearning.

My hooves, which I've dropped down to either side of my head, paw at the sheet till I'm afraid I may cut them open. I bite my lower lip to try to drown out my own sounds of pleasure and ache. I press my cheek to the pillow, wanting to bite it rather than my lip so I won't eventually make it bleed from the effort. My eyes are shut, and behind them I see sharp streaks of color and light whenever he again shoves inside all the way, like an aurora. It makes the sensation all the more intense without anything to distract me. There's just sounds, color, his skin against my inner thighs, his heat throbbing inside my body, and the continuous motion slowly building into a steady beat between my legs.

With one thrust he pushes almost too deep and a streak of white pain crosses my vision. I cry out loudly, unable to bite my lip hard enough, and my hooves fly up to his chest. I find the skin hot, wet with exertion, and I feel the blood pounding furiously underneath. He slows a beat at my cry, but doesn't quite stop. He leaves the thrusts shallower, a little slower, and he groans through teeth and lips at my abrupt touch. With each next movement, building in force and depth, my forelegs tense on him. One finds a spot near the collarbone and the other slides down to his hip, almost trying to feel the repetitive rhythm he's picking up with my hoof. Both my hooves shake, the one on his hip pulling slightly, urging him in and out, over and over.

We're breathing loudly now, and I can hear my heart pounding inside my chest, head, thighs. I feel it beat with every individual onslaught and retreat, and it's hard for my breaths to keep up.

My eyes flicker open slightly and I look up from my place between him and the mattress. It's picturesque there in the dark as my eyes adjust to the low lighting. His shoulders rise and fall, his muscles constrict and contract, all a writhing ripple of green and white slicing through the darkness. I can see his thrusts, one after the other, relentlessly sending bolts of sensation running through my entire self, and my mind falls away, just a moment, to remember him like this. To remember this moment of being under and around him in the glow of our heat and the outside light of the dwindling party. Then another powerful jolt hits me and I'm jerked back into myself with a wilting cry of desire.

It's a drumbeat now, his motions into me, and he keeps ringing out each one deep and hard, making the sensation last. The echoes of the pleasure reverberate in my mind and body. I hear him moan out my name once in a broken voice and know he's hearing the echoes too. I know he's enjoying me, using my body to please himself, using his body to pleasure me. I know he's throbbing and aching to empty himself inside me, and feeling me asking for it with each roll of my hips. It's a desperate want from both of us, almost a need, and the inertia of it drives us ever onward.

I keep time with his thrusts, telling him with my body that I'm enjoying this and want more. Occasionally I shiver under him and moan, my voice becoming a higher and higher timbre with each passing plunge. He's so hard in me that even my twitches and tightenings don't seem to constrict it much. My winking just tugs at him and milks the pleasure out of him in short breaths and slow fractured moans.

My heart is thudding out so loudly that it masks occasional whimpers from me inside my own head. I feel like it's trying to stay one step ahead of Anon's pace in and out of me. My grip on his hip tightens and squeezes to use his body as leverage to pull mine against him harder. I've almost forgotten the one on his chest, but I can feel his skin and hear his hissing groans of pain. I just hope I haven't scratched his chest too deeply with my hoof and that I haven't drawn any blood.

With a sudden thrust he moans and grunts behind closed lips and falls forward somewhat onto me. I'm caught up abruptly in a swirl of his scent and body weight pressing down on my quaking chest. I breathe in the smell of sweat, sex, and effort that hangs in the air around us and let it out in a quick sigh that's jolted by his continued rhythm. My hooves slide to his back, gripping him tightly each time he tweaks something inside of me that sends my spine arching and twisting in surprise.

His breathing next to my ear is quick, heated, and rattling. I hear the sound of each stifled noise, each attempt to not say my name or offer an expletive. In turn I push my face into his collarbone and neck, breathing out his name and my pleasure against the skin. My voice comes all in m's, n's, and h's now as it finds its way through gritted teeth and set lips, occasionally allowing a vowel to slip out as he throbs or pulses inside me.

Again he pushes too deep and I try to hold back the cry that comes with the feeling. Instead I bite down on his shoulder and neck, gently but firmly, and whimper the wordless reaction to his blood and flesh. It's sudden, and I haven't asked him if its ok to bite, so his sharp yelp of surprise isn't that shocking to me. What does shock me is how readily he utters an affirmation dripping with wanting and wonder. I bite down harder, he thrusts deep, and we both emit wavering sounds of delicious agony.

I hold his body as close as I can, and thrust with him to take all of him into my body. I want to feel him buried there, his stomach and hips flush with my inner thighs and both of us writhing with the feeling of being connected through warmth, wet, and want. He gives me every inch, and I take it with only a cry against his chest as complaint.

Against my breast, I feel his heart beating, pounding, and rushing, far faster than mine. Erratically, at a breakneck speed. Amidst the floating sensation overcoming my brain and body, through the endless ache for him rippling up from between my legs, logic manages a foothold.

How long has he been fucking me? My stomach sinks and even as he thrusts deep inside, the intensity has waned some. How long has he been on his knees, working his body to force himself forward and back? He's doing all the work, and he just told me moments ago that his body is weak and susceptible to fainting! I can't ask this much of him. As much as I'm enjoying this, I can't let him hurt himself during this act. Still...I'll be damned if I'm going to let this end just yet.

I place a hoof between him and me on his chest, and push against him firmly. He sits back from my body, his strokes slowing to a near stop. It's a simple request of body language, so slow and intentional, and he senses something has changed. He sits back, still lodged inside me, and looks down questioningly. I feel a tingle of affection for him as I notice the concern in his face, not for himself but for me. He thinks I'm not ok, and it worries him. Now I finally do smile a little, not from the sex, but from some childish flattery I feel at being worried about by someone like this. He's breathing very hard though, and his face is deeply flushed. I sense this was a good decision, and wait as he tries to catch his breath.

“Is...are you...” he says, not sure exactly which question is the right one to ask.

“I'm....fine...” I murmur between breaths. “Are you?”

He nods vigorously with eyes that scream yes, but I still am unsure. His flush and quickened breathing do nothing to comfort me, and I get the feeling he'd say anything right now not to withdraw. But I don't want to harm him. I don't know how bad the anemia is or what it would do to him if he overexerted himself. He could make himself sick maybe, and even a small risk is too much for me to push on like this. But I know what I can do now.

I smile at him, somewhat mischievous and somewhat embarrassed, as I sit up with him still in me and continue to push him back. His body haltingly obeys, but his eyes question me every inch of the way. I feel his member sliding inside me as I reposition and I push my hips forward to do my best to keep him inside. Still, I wince and chew my lower lip to keep from letting him know how intense it feels. He doesn't seen to notice my awkwardness, too wrapped up in what's happing. He's still blinking at me as our dynamic begins to change, with him falling back towards the bed.

“Berry...” he says, half a question, half a protest.

I push his body back, beginning to rise above him, my legs still planted on either side of his hips. He almost slips out of me, the head tugging back and my body fighting to keep him within. I suppress a moan, and instead try to find words of comfort.

“Lay back,” I barely more than whisper, and he responds like it was a strict order.

As his back hits the bed I slip a little on the crumpled sheets and his member comes out of me. I whine, hating how empty I feel now. He starts to sit up, maybe thinking I'm in pain, and sets a hand on my shoulder.

“Sorry, sorry,” he says quickly, “do yo-”

I shut him up by planting another kiss on his lips. This time he moans against my mouth and cups my cheek in his palm. He kisses me back deeply as I once again slowly push him back onto the bed with me on top. This time there's absolutely no sign or protest or uncertainty, just mouths, hands, warmth, and wetness. As his head finally meets the mattress, I pull my lips away and bite the place on my lip where his tongue has just touched.

My face draws away from him and I shiver as my body meets the cold air, without his to cover me. His hands slip from my face and neck to my shoulders, forelegs, waist, and then at last hips. I crawl back a little, almost out of the reach of his searching fingertips but not quite, and sit up straight with my legs on either side of his thighs. In the feeble light, I can see him standing erect just in front of my body, light glistening off of the skin that is still so wet with my own passion for him. I glance up at him, blushing with nerves, and I see him regarding me with bewilderment, but maybe a little hope too. Like he's afraid to dare to think that what I'm about to do is real.

I don't blame him for that. This all does seem so surreal, so fast, so effortless. It's like falling through the open air without a parachute to catch you or wings to help you fly. You just close your eyes and fall into darkness and nothing is there to break your landing for you, wherever your landing may be. But I'm here now. He's here. If we're falling through this surreal night, we're doing it together.

I lean forward with my hooves on his chest and raise myself up. His hands grip my waist tightly, and my breaths heave with anticipation again as I position myself. My face is close to his as I raise my lower half, my weight on my hooves, on his upper torso, and find the mark I'm looking for. Then I slowly ease myself down, away from his face and more upright, and embed him again inside me. I cry with the feeling of being penetrated once more, as his pulsing warmth fills me from within and reaches deeper and deeper as I sink. Over my own noise, I can hear him gasping out longingly into the crisp air, and feel his grip on me tighten to hold me down. Till he's all inside and I'm sitting astride him with my shoulders shaking and hoof tips grinding into the flat of his chest. Till he's twitching and aching like I am, waiting for me to begin moving like he knows I will.

I hold my breath, trying to find some sort of internal metronome for myself. Then I feel my legs tense, my stomach tighten as I rise up, stroking his shaft with my body in a slow, gripping way. His hands guide me up, wait as I pause with just his head inside me, then pull me more forcefully back down to envelop him once more. We both shudder, and I allow him to begin guiding my pace with the gentle pressure of his fingers on my sides and hips as I begin to ride him.

I keep my eyes closed and head low as I begin to rise and fall over his body, searching for a comfortable pace. It lets me search through the stabbing feelings of ecstasy to try to find some music or harmony between our bodies. It doesn't come readily, and for a while I let him push and pull me, up and down, to pleasure him at whatever speed he wants. Then, as waves of want and depth begin to come like the tide, I can sense it. The forward and back, up and down. I feel a beat to it, like the drums I felt in him before, and I listen and obey their song.

My body begins to move without the direction of his hands, and he lets me stroke him at my own pace now, pulling away so far that he's almost out, then dropping back down with him fully engulfed. I feel him relax under me little by little as he lets me do the work, and I grind my hips as I hit the bottom of my motions to send his head back in an unexpecting groan. He doesn't have to be the one exerting himself now, he can just lie back and enjoy me without having to worry at all. The notion of that satisfies far more than my aching body.

I am beginning to feel a tightness in me now, a taut little twinge coursing up my inner thighs to find an intersecting point. He must feel it too, for a hear a catch in his throat as he breathes. His hips rise and fall into me to match my descents as he keeps time with me. I am beginning to clamp down around his shaft, and his width feels all the more solid and foreign inside me, and all the better. Our limited friction slides against intimate parts of me and I shudder each time he bucks upwards against my rhythm. He's barely suppressing tortured moans now, and I'm not even holding back. I have lost track of my own calls and cries, and have abandoned my voice to the chill air around us.

The steady sound of our bodies' impact against each other picks up into a swifter pace. I hit a posting-trot and hold it, bringing my hips forward and up, then back and down in a quick rocking motion. He grips my waist again so he can thrust up into me from below. I can scarcely feel my own hooves on his chest, and I know that I must be pressing down on him very hard, maybe bruising or drawing blood. He is now venturing so deep into me that it hurts every time, and the shock of pain raging up through my stomach and chest is so sweet that I gasp in each new breath.

My head, which has been hanging forward with my mane around my face, bursts back with the force of a perfectly timed thrust. My face tips back, my mane floating up and over my neck like I am breaking through the surface of the water. I breath in the first breath of air, like I have been holding it in, and even I am aware through my stupor that the sound of it echoes through the room.

He's throbbing in me now, the tension winding up and building, and I sense inevitability in our motions. Within me too I have felt the inertia-given twinge that tells me I can't take much more. Like an ocean, the pleasure rolls, the tide creeping up on me, every time a little closer to my shore. Completely unstoppable. His breathing has quickened too, openmouthed, as I ride him hard and deep. I sit back with him buried in me, my hooves moving to find his hands where they hold onto me. And I make sure each plunge brings him entirely inside me, so that I can feel him pulsing all the way to the back. His rasping breath becomes almost a series of begging sighs.

Almost far away, I can hear a whisper and plea in his voice as he tries to warn me. I want to answer, to tell him to go ahead, to urge him on, but my voice is lost in whimpers and moans, so I tell him with my body. I hold him in, push my hips forward and back as well as up and down, spurring on his finishing bucks. I can feel my wetness dripping cold down my inner thighs to his body, and know well that I am not too far off either. My body is tingling, thrusting, aching to have him empty himself into me, to feel the rush of his pleasure that I have so well earned.

The tension builds, pulls overly tight and ready to bounce back. I feel the thud of my heart mingled with the thudding expectation inside me, and I moan his name to the darkness over and over as I approach the end. The sound sends a shiver through him and I feel his back arch up into me, his head thrown against the bed and mouth open. I squeeze him inside me and I feel the spreading, pulsing warmth as his last thrust begins to fill me.

He's cumming inside me, I tell myself. I've made him do this. I've wanted it, wanted to feel overflowing with his craving for me, and the feeling is now overpowering. Bits of color struck in lightening bolts course through my shoulders, hips, and legs as I throw my head back and cry out in surprise and release. I feel the twitch between my legs, the stabbing of an itch finally being scratched, and the brief aftershocks that come with this internal earthquake. Once, twice, and once more, far softer, but each with a wordless exclamation of feeling. It goes on and on, feeling endless and effortless, the moment before you fall over the edge of a cliff. It stops, and I'm left with my mind empty and my body full.

Then I collapse forward against him, spent and woozy, and he catches me as I fall.

I lie shaking against his naked chest, trying desperately to get air to my oxygen-starved systems. My breaths come out in sounds that I scarcely recognize as I feel me still squeezing around him, still embedded firmly inside me. I can feel his weakness too as he winds his arms over me protectively, but without much muscle, and sighs out every breath from an open mouth. Under my ear, through the rushing and impact of my own surging blood, I can hear his heart thudding on at a blinding pace. Somewhere in my pleasure addled brain, I shut my eyes and try to will it to slow down, to calm itself. I know I'm fooling myself as I feel like it does slow at my request, for just half a beat, before returning to it's strenuous rhythm.

My body feels small, far away from me. It feels frail and tiny curled up there atop his body as we both try desperately to remember what breathing is. And my shoulders continue to tremble with the rushing chemicals swirling in my brain and loins, which I know he can feel. He manages to hug me a little closer to his form, and the shaking subsides somewhat, but not enough for me to feel strong again. Now, all I feel is the rush, the daze of being half awake and half dreaming, the dizzy childish want for soft and warmth and comfort. All I want is to be there in his arms breathing in the smell of our passion as I try to remember such basics as my name, location, and form. I want to be wrapped in his touch and voice and just lose myself there for a while, forget everything outside this moment.

I know it can't last, there's a lot of this that can't last. But for a moment, can't I just be this one thing? Can't I, for now, just be his?

We remain connected at our hips, still but flowing together against my insides and legs. I can feel him growing soft inside me and I'm so careful not to move, afraid it might hurt him or me. That fear resounds in part of my chest and brain, and at least one part of me wakes up from the surreal dream. It's the part that worries, unfortunately, but even it is weak now. The floating spell breaks, and I'm back in my body.

I raise my head a little by tipping it back to look up at his face. I see he's staring down at me gently, his chest and lips still heaving with wanting to get air. He's flushed someplaces, pale others, and his eyes are dulled by exhaustion. I blink up at him, and now, for the first time since we started, I see him smile. Genuinely. I see joy, know I caused it, and suddenly feel shy in front of him. Naked, penetrated, and trembling from sex, I feel shy in front of that smile. I know that through the flush of exertion, I must now be blushing.

“Are you ok?” I say, the words forcing out around much-needed breaths. “Are you alright, I mean, is everything ok, do you need...?”

He smiles and shakes his head yes at me, but the worry is still there. Knowing how anemia is, and that he has it is making me so nervous. I really can't help but ask over and over and watch as he nods to assure me that he's doing fine. At last he puts his palm against my cheek and I go silent. I also look away, down at my hoof against his collarbone, too embarrassed to look him in the eyes.

“Berry...Berry I'm fine,” he says at last, and his voice is soft and even, not even tired.

He just sounds tender and at ease, and the sound puts me more at ease too. I let my face droop down against his chest to hear his breaths and still heavily beating heart.

How did I get here? How did this happen?

Somehow...I don't care. I am here. It happened. I'm glad it did, I wanted it to, and I'm collapsed against his naked body in his embrace right now. There's absolutely nothing bad about this. I tell myself to enjoy it, and a part of me answers that I already have been the entire time. I even allow myself a small, giddy smile. The smile you have when you get something as a gift which you secretly wanted and didn't dare to ask anypony for. He seems to notice it, for a feel the rumble of a brief laugh under my head. He runs a hand up and down my back, like he's feeling to see if I'm still actually there, if I'm still real.

“So...” he says softly, some personality back in his tone.

“So...” I say back.

There's no finish to this statement, but it is something to say.

I feel him slip a little inside me, and with an unwilling whimper I adjust forward. He slides out of me and I feel a drip and rush of our combined fluids trailing after. I stifle a yelp at how overly intense it feels, almost painful, and he grips me in his arms a moment till my body again relaxes.

“S-sorry,” I murmur.

“No worries.”

“Mnh.”

I nestle down against his body, nuzzling at his chest, and breathe out a long low sigh of satisfaction. I got to have this. I got to have him. He squeezes me in his arms then lets me relax against him again. And he got to have me. Broken, together, naked, and used up, we lie against each other, connected now by more than our mutual fate.

“What now?” I find myself asking.

It's a stupid seeming question, but a valid one. What happens now? What do we say, where do we go? I again feel the muted rumble of a laugh under my cheek.

“I have no idea,” he says, and I can tell he's smiling too.

To be honest? I don't really either at this point. We obviously don't tell anypony, we aren't going to be all lovey-dovey around anypony. And while this isn't some stupid one night stand, this obviously isn't something that's going to blossom into a lifelong romance. That would be too...complicated. And lifelong for us isn't exactly the same as lifelong for anyone else, so the title doesn't seem to fit.

He tucks a crooked finger under my chin and raises my face towards him. My mouth is smiling as it finds his, and he kisses me gently, as one who's familiar now in so many ways. Body, mind, existence. It's strange and completely unexpected to really get to know someone in such a whirlwind of activity and words. But it's not necessarily a bad thing. As he breaks the soft kiss, I'm still smiling up at him, but I can almost feel a sadness at the back of my throat. I try to swallow it down, but it sticks a moment longer.

I know how this story goes. I know the ending and it's not a happy one.

Tomorrow we get up and go about our business, and no one is the wiser. We enjoy future parties, we enjoy each other's company, we laugh, we smile. We exchange covert caresses with hands and hooves and shoulders, we cast knowing looks that make us blush and we give swift excuses about the heat. We kiss late at night around the corner from the others when nopony is looking, with hasty breaths and tongues. We tease each other, drop hints, and after everyone has gone to bed, we rest together and talk. We experience intimacy, passion, and awkwardness with each day. And then, all at once, it ends. The main characters in the story die.

We're both going to die, that part's a given. He'll most likely outlive me, I hope anyway, but who knows by how much. But more frightening to me is the very real possibility that he'll suddenly return to earth, and our lives will resume almost as if this had never happened. I suddenly feel like, after this moment, I may never feel his touch, never look into his face, never know the most personal curves of his body. That after this, I will be a memory to him, and my smell will fade from his clothes and skin. And even though our connection is limited to a mostly physical one right now, the knowledge of that possible separation hurts me. It makes his gentle warmth and kiss taste bittersweet on my tongue.

But as I look up, I see him still smiling at me. I see the affection and satiation in his eyes, and feel the tenderness of his hands on my body. I see someone like me, not like me, someone I know entirely and not at all. So I swallow as hard as I can, and the sadness drops to the pit of my stomach, just for now.

Because tonight I'm here with him. Tonight we're both alive, both strong, feeding off of each other's energy and life. We're entwined physically and emotionally, and we're enjoying every second of it without a care for anyone or anything else. Because tonight I can smell him, taste him, feel him, and even time and death can't take that away. And even if it could, the time hasn't come yet. I am with him, and for one night I am his. This moment is ours entirely, as vivid and surreal as any dream. So I lie with him and smile tonight, because it's not tomorrow just yet.

And if tomorrow comes and this really is all a dream? Then maybe...going to sleep won't be so frightening to me anymore.

-*-