Hardcore Friendship

by The card holder

First published

Henry has a body count in the dozens and nothing but questions about his past, but most of that is put on hold when he literally crashes into some weird horse dimsension.

For most people, any day where you killed dozens of mercenaries, learned your life was a lie, and lost your only friend in the world would be a bad day.

For Henry, that was all he knew.

Before he can think on that for too long, however, he finds himself ripped from one unfamiliar situation into yet another one, with no time to adapt. But at least no one wants him dead here.


Contains spoilers for Hardcore Henry


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Not many things could apply to such a phrase, but for Henry, he was starting to build a list of such things.

Decapitating Akan using his own eye? That was easy, once he punched him enough.

Dropping the lying cunt who pretended to be his wife out of an airborne helicopter to her death? Even more so.

Subsequently taking out the pilot? Child's play.

Flying the helicopter to solid ground afterwards?

That was the tricky part.

Unsurprisingly, while Henry found that he excelled at murder and avoiding being murdered, he was lacking in the aircraft control department. Plus, the chopper had drifted too far away from Akan's headquarters to simply jump out and let it crash.

In the interest of avoiding crashing, Henry started pulling whatever levers, switches, or cranks he thought would help. All that this got him was a lot of tilting, confusion, and ultimately flying downwards. A step in the right direction for landing, but unfortunately he was going down much too sharply to actually land.

He kept pulling levers, hoping that he could right himself, but alas, it seemed he had thrown himself into an inescapable dive. To think, everything he had gone through, and he was about to be done in by attempting to fly.

While searching desperately for a way out, Henry noticed a red button tucked away under the controls. It had writing in Russian above it in bold red letters, but Henry had no idea what it said. Deciding that it couldn't really make the situation any worse, he slammed his hand on the button, not expecting much.

The moment he did, an alarm started going off in the cockpit, and he noticed a bright bubble of light forming around the aircraft. Eventually, it got bright enough that Henry had to shield his eyes, but he could still feel how the helicopter's flight path seemed to almost slow down. He was still pointing down, that much was certain, but somehow he wasn't plummeting out of the sky anymore.

Daring to take a look outside, Henry managed to catch a glimpse of a massive palette of glowing colors before gravity decided to take hold once more, and he was once again dropping.

However, he took notice of a distinct change in scenery he was about to smack into. For one, it was daylight now, which was odd in and of itself. Secondly, rather than urban Russia, he was now above what looked like a small village of some description. Third, said village had a large, oddly-shaped castle in the middle of it. And finally, he was plummeting towards that same castle.

Henry tried pulling up on anything that could go up, but it only delayed the inevitable, as the chopper only barely pulled out of its nosedive, slowing the descent from "certain death" to "99% chance of death".

Seeing no other way this could go, Henry simply braced for impact.

And what an impact it was, a sickeningly loud mess of twisting metal, scraping blades, and even shattering crystal(?!) capped off by the unmistakable feeling of the engine exploding and catching fire.

The chopper was stuck in the wall for a brief moment, giving Henry hope that he could escape mostly unscathed, but those hopes were dashed when the chopper let out a groan, and pulled free from the wall to continue dropping, this time into a large interior hall of the castle.

The second impact was less spectacular than the first, but it was no less destructive, turning the helicopter upside down and throwing Henry around like a ragdoll.

And then, just like that, the chopper had stopped.

Pulling himself to his feet, Henry failed to get any sort of view from what remained of the cockpit, so he retreated farther back into the chopper in the hopes of finding a way out of the wreckage.

On the bright side, there was now a large hole in the side of the chopper.

The bad news, it was on fire.

Seeing no other option, Henry took a deep breath and dove through, making sure to roll on landing to put out any flames he picked up. As soon as he was sure he wasn't burning, he sprang back to his feet and looked around.

And saw a pair of purple horses looking at him with alarm, both with horns on their heads and one with wings on its back.

Thoroughly confused and unsure of what to do, Henry just stared at them, not moving. They did the same. Meanwhile, the crashed chopper just kept on burning.

Hearing the sound of liquid dripping onto the floor, Henry looked down to see that he was hurt more than he thought in the wreck, as there was a large gash on his side dripping blood onto the floor. That injury, along with everything that happened to him just before, no doubt made him look like absolute hell.

At that moment, he could feel his legs going weak, but he fought to keep standing. He didn't want to die until he got some answers as to what the fuck just happened.

Unfortunately, the events of the past day were starting to take their toll, and he could feel his consciousness slowly fading away, even as he stood.

Not that he stood for very long, though. The pain and fatigue soon forced him to one knee, but he still made sure to keep his gaze on the horses.

While he was tired and injured, this didn't feel like last time, when he was running out of power in that brothel. That told him that power wasn't the issue, but rather his own human limitations.

Still, the weight of everything that had been done to him recently was unavoidable, and he couldn't prevent himself from blacking out and falling to the ground.

"Twilight, what the hay do we do?!"

"Look, it's obviously hurt! We need to get it stabilized!"

"We don't even know what it is! How do we know we can even help? And why is it covered in all that blood?!"

"Starlight, it's bleeding all over the floor, I'm pretty sure we can't actually make it worse!"

A rustling of several pages, along with several quick steps.

"Aha! I got it! An all-purpose healing spell!"

"Are you sure that'll work?"

"Like I said, it's better than nothing."

A deep breath. Then, an odd sensation.

"Wait, why is it...?"

The sensation intensifies. Then, wounds slowly piecing themselves back together.

"It... It's working!"

"Well, that takes care of the worst of it... Now, the next step is..."

A press on the chest.

"Huh, feels a lot harder than it looks..."

Another press. Harder this time.

"Twilight, I think I see it moving!"

"Alright, then finally..."

One last press, directly on the heart.

Henry's eyes snapped open and he wasted no time springing to his feet, shocking both of the horses. They were a lot closer now, and the one with wings had a book hovering in front of it, bathed in the same light purple glow enveloping its horn.

The glow stopped the moment he stood up, and the book dropped to the ground, while both horses gasped loudly and backed away. Henry took the time to get a better look around the room. However, apart from the crashed helicopter (no longer on fire, he noticed), the room was almost entirely empty, save for a number of doors leading elsewhere, and the giant hole in the wall he left.

He turned back to the horses just in time to catch them sharing a look at each other, one that looked to be one of uncertainty. When they noticed him looking their way, the winged one took a deep breath and took a step forward. Henry tensed, ready for combat should the need arise.

The horse gave one last look to the other, before opening its mouth. "Are you... okay?"

Henry said nothing. Not that he could, anyway.

The horse in the back let out a sigh. "Great, it can't understand us."

They definitely sounded female, that was for sure. The second horse winced slightly as Henry's gaze fell upon her.

Now somewhat confident that he wasn't in any danger, Henry relaxed slightly.

"Well, I'm sure we can figure out some way to communicate," the winged horse continued. "Think it would understand if we asked it to write something down?"

"Can it write?" the other one asked. Henry casually flipped her off in response.

"Wait, did you see that?" wing horse asked, suddenly getting excited. "What did that gesture mean?"

"I don't know, but-" No-wing horse gasped, before leaning close to her friend. "I think it can understand us!"

Henry nodded.

"It can!" wing horse said, now smiling. "We can be the first ponies to make contact with a never before seen species!" She clapped her front hooves together excitedly, a display which Henry had to admit was pretty cute, before clearing her throat. "So... what's your name?" she asked.

Henry made a dismissing hand wave, before pointing to his throat and shaking his head quickly.

The horse deflated slightly. "So... you can't speak?"

Henry nodded.

She put a hoof to her chin in thought. "Well, that complicates things..." She shook her head. "Anyway, I guess we should introduce ourselves, in any case. I'm Twilight Sparkle, and this is Starlight Glimmer."

Henry nodded to each of them in turn.

"Sorry, but uh..." Starlight started, "I have to ask, why all the... blood?"

Twilight mirrored her friend's questioning gaze, and Henry looked down at himself. Sure enough, his clothes were practically caked in blood, and it was unclear how much was his and how much wasn't.

He looked back up and gave a shrug.

Starlight and Twilight shared a concerned look.

"Well..." Twilight began awkwardly. "Were you in any danger?"

Henry wavered his hand back and forth, as if to say 'sorta'.

"Right..." Suddenly, she seemed to realize something, and smacked her face with her hoof. "Oh, right, writing stuff down..."

With that, she lit up her horn and vanished in a flash of purple light. Now alone with him, Starlight gave an awkward smile.

She didn't get to make any idle conversation, though, as Twilight soon returned, now levitating a quill and parchment. "This should do the trick!"

She offered the tools to Henry, and he very hesitantly accepted them. He already didn't have a good track record with levitation.

Once her purple glow was no longer on the objects, he started writing, trying to work around writing with a quill. Once it was done, he turned the paper around to show them what he wrote.

Akan is a cunt

Both of the horses looked at it, their expressions dropping slightly.

"I... can't read it," Starlight finally said.

"It's not any language I've seen before..." Twilight added. "This complicates things."

Henry just rolled his eyes in frustration. Of course, the first chance he had to actually talk to someone with more than just gestures, and it turns out they used a different language.

On top of that, all the blood on his person was starting to dry, and it made moving feel more stiff and uncomfortable than it needed to be.

Suddenly, he got an idea, and started writing again, both Starlight and Twilight looking over curiously. When he was finished, he turned it back to them again, revealing a poorly drawn, but still identifiable picture of a showerhead.

Twilight seemed delighted at the newfound ability to communicate, but quickly realized what exactly he was asking. "Oh, uh, right, follow me, please."

She started walking towards one of the doors, and Henry followed, still holding the quill and parchment.

"What about this mess?!" Starlight yelled across the room, pointing to the remains of the aircraft.

"I'll fix it later!" Twilight shouted back, before disappearing into a doorway, Henry close behind.


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Once Twilight had shown Henry to the bathroom, she left him alone while he handled the issue of washing a day's worth of mud, blood, and other such gunk off of himself.

Deciding to get his clothes out of the way, as well, Henry went ahead and held his clothes under the shower stream before washing himself, including cleaning Akan's blood off his eye stalk.

Once that was done and he was dressed again, he couldn't help but shiver due to the fact that his clothes were still damp from their impromptu cleaning. Still, most of the filth had washed off, so that was a plus.

Once he emerged from the bathroom, Twilight was waiting for him, who arched an eyebrow upon seeing Henry's clothes sopping wet. "You... didn't shower in those, did you?"

Not being able to explain otherwise, Henry just shrugged.

Twilight tilted her head in confusion, before shaking it. "Nevermind..." Lighting up her horn, she aimed it at Henry, who tensed up reflexively.

"Relax, I'm just going to dry you off." As she said this, Henry could feel some sort of force buzzing around him, but he couldn't pinpoint exactly what it was.

Twilight let out a small grunt. "Why is it... not working...?"

The force intensified, before suddenly Twilight's horn glow flared, and after what felt like a strong wind passed by him, his clothes were completely dry.

Twilight stopped using her horn and panted slightly. "Strange... it seems you really are naturally resistant to magic. Odd..."

Having nothing to add or react with, Henry just stood there.

"Anyway, I've already sent a letter to the princesses about this, so in the meantime I hope you don't mind answering some questions?"

Henry followed as Twilight started walking down the hall, and he nodded in answer to the question.

Twilight smiled. "Oh, this is so exciting! We- Ponies have never seen a creature like you before! This is unprecedented! Think of all the things I could learn!"

Henry just stared at Twilight as she rambled on. Eventually, she noticed him staring, and smiled apologetically. "Sorry, got a bit carried away there."

He was led back into the room where he crashed, which was no longer sporting a hole in the wall. The wrecked chopper was still there, but it seemed to have been moved, and even tidied up a bit, as much as a twisted hunk of metal could be tidied up. Starlight was still there, along with five other ponies that Henry had not seen before, and some kind of small lizard-looking creature.

They all turned as Twilight entered the room, Henry close behind her, and the human was now bombarded with six differing gazes from the others. The blue and orange one looked suspicious of him for some reason, while the others just look surprised. Starlight simply held her neutral expression.

The blue pony, who also had a very bright multi-colored mane, walked up to the pair. "So, this the thing that crashed into your castle, Twilight?" she asked, gesturing to Henry. There was a mild undercurrent of an accusatory tone in her speech, but not enough to be considered outright hostile. Not yet, at least.

"Yes, this... creature," Twilight started, looking back to Henry for a moment, "arrived not too long ago through unknown means. He was badly hurt at the time, so I used a healing spell to deal with the worst of his wounds."

"He?" the orange one asked. "How'da know it's a he, Twi?"

Twilight looked around sheepishly, before glancing to Henry for confirmation. "Lucky guess?"

Henry rolled his eyes and nodded. He noticed the pink one was seemingly dying to say something, judging by the massive smile on her face, but the yellow one seemed to be holding her back.

"So, unorthodox method of arrival aside, what brings you here?" the white one asked, looking directly at the human. Henry noticed that she also had a horn, and that the lizard person was hovering closest to her, with an odd look on its face.

Unable to answer, Henry just shrugged.

"He... can't speak, Rarity," Twilight said in his place.

"Oh! Dreadfully sorry, then, didn't mean to offend."

Henry just gave a dismissive hand wave, as if to say 'S'fine'.

"So, you said something about him being resistant to magic?" the lizard spoke up, sounding younger than anyone else here.

"Oh, yes, when I attempted to use the healing spell on him, it took more effort than should've been necessary to actually cast it on him."

This got the group muttering to themselves, which Henry started to tune out. While he was still confused at his situation, the novelty had worn out its welcome, so he was ready to simply be done for the day and get the first night of genuine sleep since he woke up. To tell her as much, he tapped Twilight's shoulder then pantomimed writing something down on his hand. Thankfully, she seemed to catch on immediately, and brought over a quill and parchment with her magic, also bringing a halt to the ongoing conversation from the others.

They started talking again once he started drawing something. "What's he doing?"

"Ain't it obvious, Dash? The feller can't speak, so he's writin'."

Once he was done, Henry presented the picture to Twilight, showing it to be an image of a bed. "Oh, okay." She turned to a door next to the one they entered from. "Through there, first door on the left."

Henry gave a thumbs up, before making his leave, the quill and parchment now hovering in Twilight's magic. By now, the others had come over to see what was written.

"Wait, he just drew a picture?" Dash asked. "Can he not write?"

"He can, but not in any language we recognized," Starlight said, levitating the previous piece of parchment that Henry had wrote on, the words unreadable to the ponies and dragon.

Pinkie suddenly let out a gasp, as if she had been holding her breath. "Oh my gosh! I get to throw a party for a new pony- No, a new... thing!"

"Might wanna reel that in a bit, Pinkie," Applejack admonished. "The guy's probably confused and scared right now, we could at least wait until he gets settled before ya start partyin' around him."

"...yeah, I guess you're right, but still!" Pinkie continued, bouncing in place with excitement, before suddenly stopping. "Oh, I should go home and get started on that!"

And with that, she was gone, before any of them could voice any objection to the plan.

"Confused and scared?" Dash asked Applejack, skeptical. "He didn't look like that to me. I mean, confused, yeah, but not really scared."

"You really want Pinkie to already be throwin' him a party, when he could turn out to be dangerous?"

"...yeah, good point."

"Anyone else notice those bits of metal in one of his hands?" Spike said suddenly, bringing attention to him.

"I actually noticed that, too," Rarity added. "Was that another one of his injuries?"

Twilight put a hoof to her chin in thought. "Hmm, I don't think so. Every other major wound of his closed up with the spell, but not that. Perhaps it serves a purpose?"

While the group thought in silence, Dash suddenly turned to the one friend who hadn't said anything so far. "Say, Fluttershy, you got any idea what he is?"

The yellow pegasus's eyes widened from the sudden attention put on her, but she calmed down quickly. "I have no idea. I've never seen a creature like him before."

"Looked kinda like a monkey, to me," Applejack said.

Fluttershy shook her head. "No, he looks different from a monkey."

"I don't see it," Dash said. "Stands on two feet, has hands, looks like a hairless monkey to me."

Fluttershy gave her friend a blank stare. "It's like the difference between a robin and an eagle, Rainbow Dash. They aren't the same."

"Okay, okay, I guess."

"In any case, I have the situation under control," Twilight said. "I mean, what's the worst that can happen?"

You little pussy.

This is war, baby!

You didn't help make history, Henry. You helped end it.

Henry! Listen to your heart!

Henry didn't know what to expect when he slipped into his first genuine dream since being put together by that cunt of a woman, but what he got was a constant loop of the only memories he had up to that point. His fights with Akan's goons, his constant brushes with death, him working together with Jimmy...

Well, poor bastard won in the end, didn't he?

Amidst all the memories, the only one from before whatever killed him the first time was the one with his father. At least, he assumed it was his father. He couldn't think of anyone else who would not only help him up after bullies beat him up, but then strongly urge him to return the favor. Everything else was a blurry haze, incomprehensible to his mind.

Sure, Jimmy had done away with the memory block before his unfortunate death- for real this time- but Henry had no idea how long it would take for the memories to come back.

So instead, he stewed in the ones he knew for sure happened.

The ones he made himself recently.

He never really got a chance to stop and think about his circumstances while Akan was gunning for him, but now that he was finally given a peaceful moment, that's all he could do.

He was really, really good at killing people. A lot more than he felt was normal. He couldn't just pass that off as the machine side of himself, either; sure, that gave him the strength and speed, but the sticking point was that he also had the ability, the knowledge.

The fact that he couldn't remember any of where that came from scared him.

He stopped at one particular memory, of his "wife" screwing his leg on. Seeing it again, he noticed how calm and relaxed he was at the time, and that in turn made him angry is the present.

"Was this someone close to you?"

Henry whirled around, fists at the ready, and came face to face with another pony. This one was a very dark blue, and like Twilight, she also had both wings and a horn.

"Do not be alarmed. Princess Twilight has told me and my sister about you."

Slowly, Henry relaxed, dropping his fighting stance. Twilight did mention something about contacting the "princesses", now that he thought about it. This must be one of them. But how was she-!

"Before you ask, yes, we are in your dream," she continued. "I am Princess Luna, and among other things, I am able to enter the dreams of ponies."

Henry just decided to roll with it. Maybe this was his subconscious mind trying to resolve something within him, given recent events.

Luna nodded towards the memory in front of them. "So, is she someone close to you?"

Henry looked back at the memory of Estelle's smiling face, and he turned back to Luna with a scowl, shaking his head.

"Oh, that is right, Twilight mentioned that you were unable to speak." A small smirk appeared on her face. "However, here in the realm of dreams, you have no need to be held back by such a physical limitation. Simply try to speak, and your mind will enable you to do so, even if your body normally could not."

This gave Henry pause. He could not even remember was his voice sounded like, and yet this pony was telling him that he could manage to speak anyway while dreaming.

Hopefully, his social skills hadn't disappeared completely due to Akan fucking with his head.

Steadying himself, Henry gave one last moment of thought, before looking back to Luna and managing to speak.

"So, it's that easy then?"

Henry cringed heavily the moment the words left his mouth. In retrospect, he should've seen it coming. With no memory of his own voice, his mind seemed to improvise by giving him the voice of someone he heard a lot from in the short timespan his memories now covered.

Still, did it have to be fucking Jimmy's voice coming out of his face?

His reaction was missed by Luna. "Well, now that you have found your voice, so to speak, may I ask what your name is?"

Henry was reluctant to talk with Jimmy's voice again, but he sighed as he realized he didn't really have much of a choice. "Henry."

Luna nodded, before looking at the whirlwind of memories around them. "I see you have had an... eventful life, Henry," she finally said. Her gaze lingered on some of the more action-packed memories, wincing at each life past-Henry ended.

Henry noticed where she was looking. "If you're worried about me hurting ponies, don't be. They haven't given me a reason to harm them."

Luna happened across a memory of Henry trying in vain to douse the fire on a bystander, the context of which was completely lost on her, and she sighed. "For your sake, I hope you are correct."

Suddenly, the memories around them began to fade, leaving the two of them in darkness. "What-?!"

"Ah, you must be waking up," Luna said as Henry started fading away. "You likely won't remember most of this, but farewell for now."

And with that, Henry was once again in the land of the living.


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The next few days were a whirlwind of activity for Henry. He got fully acquainted with all of Twilight's friends, and while some of them still seemed suspicious of him, they were at least able to be friendly enough.

At some point, Twilight had the burnt remains of the chopper moved elsewhere, but Henry honestly couldn't care less. It wasn't exactly his to begin with, after all.

Meanwhile, both Twilight and Starlight had begun to try and teach Henry how to read and write Equestrian. At first, Henry was at least a little optimistic, but that hope was dashed the moment he got a look at the alphabet. Who in their right mind makes an alphabet with over fifty different letters?

Thankfully, the fact that, through sheer coincidence, their spoken languages were almost exactly the same served to help things along greatly, though it was still a very slow pace, seeing as having the letters spoken individually out loud seemed to be a weird mix of English letters and stuff that might as well been gibberish. The fuck was a "semi-tilde"?

So slow, in fact, that Henry was just starting to get close to forming his first Equestrian word.

"Come on, Henry," Starlight said. "Try and spell 'apple'."

Henry frowned at being treated almost like a child, but he supposed there wasn't really any other way. The parchment in front of him only had his own English writing of the word, purely for his own benefit, and a couple scribbled out lines from past attempts.

Next to that, was an open book displaying the entire Equestrian alphabet, and another parchment showing a written English counterpart. The book was for children, of course, but such is life.

Henry continued to frown as he looked between the pages in front of him, trying to find any sort of common ground he could use.

Except none of the letters were even vaguely recognizable, even compared to some of the Russian writing he saw.

If Henry could speak, he'd most certainly be grumbling by now.

Eventually, much to Starlight's relief, Henry managed to get close enough to the correct spelling that she decided to call it a day. She knew it would be slow progress, but that didn't stop her from being a little bit embarrassed for the poor... thing.

Henry was equally glad to be done, though he knew he'd just be delaying the inevitable. Not like he had literally anything else to do in this weird horse world.

He waved goodbye to Starlight as he made his way to the kitchen. While being a cyborg meant he had to eat a good deal less than the average human, he still had to eat once in a while. Thankfully, the ponies were taking the given diet of humans rather well, all things considered.

Okay, maybe only Twilight and Starlight knew, and made it sound like it would be an issue of utmost secrecy from the rest of their friends, but still.

Of course, Twilight didn't actually have any meat in the castle, and she said it could take a few more days to get something arranged, so he just grabbed a lettuce and tomato sandwich from the fridge and ate that.

Halfway into the meal, Twilight entered the kitchen, smiling. "So, how are the lessons going, Henry?"

Mouth still full of food, Henry gave a thumbs up.

"Glad to hear. Er, is that still right to say?" She shook her head. "Nevermind."

Henry just continued eating, giving a small shrug.

"Anyway," Twilight continued, "some of my friends' sisters are going to be coming over in a little bit, and... well, I don't want to sound rude, but..."

Henry got a feeling he knew what she was asking, and made a show of getting up and bowing exaggeratedly before walking towards the kitchen door.

It was hard to master the art of nonverbal sarcasm, but Henry never regretted it.

"Wait, wait!" Twilight said, causing Henry to stop in his tracks. "Look, I'm sorry, but trust me, they can be a bit... destructive. And the last thing I want is for them to accidentally attack you while they're here, or something."

Henry let out a silent laugh and just waved a dismissive hand, as if to say "I'll be fine."

Twilight gave him a skeptical look, but when he didn't back down, she did. "Well... if you say so."

She then turned around and left him to finish his sandwich. As he did so, Henry thought about what she said. It was only some kids that were coming over, then. He had no idea why she thought it would be such a big deal.

After all, what's the worst that could happen?

It turns out, Henry was pretty much right.

The moment the three fillies spotted him, simply lounging around in a spare chair in one of the castle halls, they ran up and started babbling countless excited questions at him. It made Henry miss his speech even more, since he was unable to yell and get them to quiet down.

Thankfully, Twilight was there to smooth things out, and once order was restored, they started asking their questions in a much more orderly manner.

Of course, they were disappointed when they learned he couldn't speak, and as such couldn't answer most of their questions, but it didn't take them long to recover from that and start asking exclusively yes and no questions.

"Are, like, all of you things that tall?!"

Henry nodded.

"And did ya really crash into th' castle from th' sky?!"

Henry nodded again.

"Ooh, ooh, did you lose your voice in the crash?"

Henry paused, before he shook his head.

"But wait, how were you flying?" the orange one (Scootaloo, if he remembered right) asked, suddenly skeptical. "You don't have any wings."

Henry nodded, and then pointed to Twilight so she could answer the other half of the question.

"He arrived in... some sort of aircraft. It looked like a large chariot, but..." She put a hoof to her chin as she searched for the right word. "Thicker?"

Henry gave a thumbs up, signaling that it was close enough.

The yellow filly, Applebloom, took the time to cut in. "So what's that piece o' metal in your claw?"

"Hand," the white one, Sweetie Bell, chimed in, getting an amused smile from Twilight.

As Applebloom ignored her, Henry brought the hand in question to his face. Of course, he knew why that metal was exposed, and what it signified, but there was no way to explain in his current state, so he simply gave a shrug and let the subject drop.

If he was being honest with himself, he also didn't want to give away everything about himself. Sure, Luna knew it all by now, but apparently she hadn't told anyone else yet.

The questions continued, and Henry answered as many as he could to the best of his ability. Surprisingly, he found that he was actually pretty alright with kids, though he wasn't sure if that was a factor of his former life or not.

Likewise, the fillies seemed to be absolutely thrilled at even his mundane answers, likely due to the novelty of meeting a new species. It was almost like when he had his first one-sided discussion with Twilight.

Speaking of Twilight, she had left the four of them some time ago, confident that no trouble would be caused in her absence. Much to her delight, when she came back, she was right, as the only real difference was Scootaloo jumping up and down excitedly, even buzzing her wings a bit.

"This is so cool!" she said, to no one in particular. "It's just like that one Daring Do book!"

Twilight tilted her head slightly, trying to think. "You mean Daring Do and the Crystal Skull?"

Scootaloo winced. "Ew, no. I meant the one with the thing from outer space!"

"...you mean Daring Do and the Thing From Outer Space?"

"Yeah, that one! Where the thing crashes into Daring's school in the middle of one of her classes, and she has to keep it safe, but then it turns out it's actually really powerful! And..."

Henry just silently laughed at the filly's quite active imagination as he started to tune her out. Though, he supposed that, technically, he could count as an alien. That is, assuming the term applies to cross-dimensional travelers, or whatever this world was in relation to his own.

Eventually, Scootaloo stopped rambling, and Twilight had to fight to not burst out laughing. "Oh, I don't think that book really applies here. After all, Henry here isn't in any danger from evil ponies, and I doubt he's freakishly strong."

Henry felt his robot arm twitch reflexively.

"Anyway, it's time to go, now."

The fillies all let out a chorus of "Aww"s, and Henry felt his heart melt just a little bit. They all said their farewells as Twilight led them out to do whatever it is they were here to do, and Henry decided to turn in for the night.

Okay, maybe he didn't really need to sleep as much as a normal person, either, but that doesn't mean he didn't enjoy doing it.

Once again, Henry found himself in what was becoming a familiar sight, as his memories simply played on loop around him. His experiences with the ponies were slowly getting added into the mix, though the memories about his past life were still an unreadable blur.

As usual, Luna arrived after some time, giving a small bow of her head to Henry in greeting. "Hello again, Henry. How goes the writing lessons?"

"To be honest, kinda bloody slow." After that first night, Henry came to accept Jimmy's voice as his own projected mental voice, so he figured he might as well pick up his somewhat eccentric speech patterns, too.

Luna nodded sympathetically. "To tell the truth, when I first returned, I had to spend a week essentially re-learning Equestrian, since it had changed so vastly from before."

In the nights before, Luna had told Henry an abridged version of the Nightmare Moon incident. She had rationalized it as a way to ensure they were roughly on equal terms, since she could clearly see his own memories around them.

"At least you still remembered how you were before," Henry said. "I still have nothing beyond this," he added, pointing to the memory of his supposed father.

"Do not worry, Henry, I feel that, one day, you will be able to find the answers you seek."

The two lapsed into silence, simply watching more of Henry's memories.

"May I ask a question?" Luna eventually asked.


"Are you... afraid of what your past might hold?"

Henry didn't answer at first, choosing to simply stare at the whirlwind that was his forgotten memories. After a few moments of thought, he spoke up again.

"A little bit, yeah. A man doesn't get that good at killing just from some robot parts."

After another moment of silence, Luna stood beside Henry. "Whatever your past may hold, know that I will not hold it against you, nor will I share it with anyone if you do not wish."

"...thanks, Luna."

When the moment between them passed, Luna began walking away. "I must take my leave, now; there are many other dreams to get to in this night. Farewell, Henry."

"Later," Henry said simply, as she disappeared from his mind, leaving him alone with his thoughts, quite literally.

After some time, a recent memory floated into view, of his time with those three fillies. Despite himself, he smiled at the sight of it.

Maybe being stuck here wouldn't be so bad, after all.