Beast in the Machine

by Mr Unsmiley

First published

A talented musician and her dead-weight bassist have words with a Wonderbolt.

In the land of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, one law stands above all others:
You must rock the fuck out.

Ember and the air-breathers she calls band mates don't care about being the best musicians in the industry. They don't expect to win any awards—their sound is subpar, the bassist has no talent whatsoever, and they're just getting by on good looks and energy.

What matters most is the afterparty.

Includes: Cursing, drunk (consensual) sex, and the devil's music.
All characters are of age.

Commission for Red Ignis and Dezmo.

Midnight Oil

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"Oh God, you're so good to me."

Looking over the edge of the warm leather seats, Ember raised her eyebrows, smiling curiously as she crumpled the bag between her hands into a wad of grease and paper. "Best you ever had?"

Spike wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, leaning back in the passenger seat and sighing in comfort. "Best may be a stretch." Laying his burger to the side—a monstrosity of a meal, hedged in wax paper, where thick chunks of barbecued prime rib were sandwiched between equally thick slices of garlic toast—the young man laced his hands behind his head and propped his feet onto the dashboard of the van. "You definitely earned a notch on the bedpost, though."

"You're gonna earn a notch upside your goddamn head if you don't get your crusty fucking feet off my dashboard."

Scowling, Spike turned to face his companion. Garble returned the grimace from his place in the driver's seat, one hand on the steering wheel. "And who's gonna give it to me, huh?" Spike snorted with unusual disdain. "You gonna put a dent in my head with your mutant chin?"

Garble shrugged as he focused on the nearly empty highway in front of him. "If we're lucky, I'll hit the exact part of your brain that makes you such a shitty bassist."

Spike easily would have shrugged the jab off, if not for a nearly indiscernible chuckle heard somewhere behind him. Frowning, he turned towards the traitor: Ember covered her mouth, as if she hadn't meant to make the sound at all. "Am I a bad bassist?"

The young woman chewed her bottom lip, staring at Spike uncertainly but not unkindly. In the interim of silence, Spike took the opportunity to examine his fellow band mate.

Aside from the usual sunflower-colored tank top and faded yellow capris, Ember looked much the same as ever: short blue hair pointed backwards, even as Spike's own faced forward, firm but scrawny, tanned limbs that belied her considerable strength, and a commanding pair of sharp crimson eyes that would morph into fearsome slits at the earliest sign of bullshit.

"There are two kinds of musicians, Spike," she said, crossing her arms over her chest—she'd be sure to don her dark teal jacket before they arrived at the stadium, Spike was quite sure: Ember was breathtakingly beautiful in the face, but lamentably boyish almost everywhere else. "One sells good albums, and the other sells good album covers."

Despite himself, the young bassist felt his heart sink. "So...I suck?"

Immediately Ember was shaking her head and wringing her hands worriedly. "No, Spike, sweetie, no." She smiled at him in what he assumed was supposed to be a reassuring manner. "It's just that you're good at certain things in the band, and me and Garble..." she shrugged, "we just do things a little different, that's all."

"Basically," Garble spoke up, feeling the curious and furious gazes of the bassist and vocalist—respectively—land on his face, "you're good for selling merch and shit—something all the good little girls and boys have something to jack it to until they grow up and get decent tastes in music."

Ember's face scrunched in distaste at the first part of her band mate's statement. "You're disgusting."

The driver shrugged noncommittally. "Truth usually is."

Used as he was to his band mate's trash mouth, Spike arrived, smiling, at a new conclusion. "So I'm like the frontman?"

"No, pencil-dick," Garble said, wanting to roll his eyes but not quite willing to chance it while on the road. "Ember's the frontman."

"Frontwoman," she corrected with a frown.

Through the van's rearview mirror, Garble stared brazenly at the front of Ember's chest, then met her eyes with a nonverbal scoff. "I had it right the first time." Powering through her sputters of indignation, Garble turned to spare Spike a glance. "You're more like a, uh—"

"Band mascot?" the young man tried, smiling hopefully and reaching for his sandwich.

Garble snorted. "As if. You're more like a stray groupie who learned to play bass as an afterthought."

As Spike bit back into his meal, face turned upwards in thought, he was silent for a while. Between the three of them, some time and distance passed as their van rollicked with deceptively subdued excitement towards the city.

Off in the distance, a cry of thunder began to grumble, like a fountain of angry stones rolling down the side of a great, vast mountain. If the windows had been rolled down, they would have felt the cold, shallow depth that accompanied the autumn downpours, alongside the heaviness of the air and its thick metallic flavor. The sky was winding itself up, portending a long, enduring storm that wouldn't abate for hours to come.

It was this same seemingly infinite storm that would awaken Ember later that night, pelting her out of a drunken sleep with a heavy rain that danced through half-lowered windows.

At that point she would wonder where her pants were, find them within reaching distance, and then wonder instead at the young green-haired man who sat at the edge of her reach, inside the space of her legs yet facing away from her, staring up at the torrent of rain and wind and thunder, bare-chested and unusually calm, unusually there, instead of his usual scatteredness.

Spike swallowed another mouthful of food as he peered back at Ember, eyes exuberant and mercurial. "Am I a good groupie?"

And Ember, who not even eight hours hence would reflect on the soreness of both her throat and groin—and find both satisfying—said, rather prophetically, "You're definitely a notch on the bedpost," and laughed.

As they neared their destination, the trio of musicians persisted in their good moods—partly to stave off the performance anxieties that were as constant as clockwork, and partly out of a desire to prolong their separate peace. Experience had taught them that, as exciting as performing live could be, the lead-ups to said performances were emotionally draining in the extreme.

The rest of the evenings would surely be marked with nervous deescalation, where the three would attempt to put the thoughts of their own showing out of their minds in time to enjoy the rest of what the night had to offer. Their first few shows had been exhausting mental slogs, a series of hyping and dehyping: in the back of his mind, Spike had likened it to a bizarre mixture between public speaking and a grueling gladiator's match, where the only ax at hand was the kind with plastic and strings.

Their enterprise was new: the band had only formed a couple of months ago, but logic said that the novelty and stage fright would wear off soon enough.

They were still waiting on that part to pan out, unfortunately.

"Hey," Garble spoke up, getting the other's attention, "show starts at 7:30, right?"

"Yeah," Ember said warily, looking over her shoulder at the driver. "And our set isn't until 8. We've got plenty of time, why?"

Pausing briefly to glance at the clock—6:50 pm—Garble shrugged, his broad shoulders sagging as he stared ahead at the darkening sky, still rife with the constant storm. "Getting awful dark out for only ten to the hour."

"It's November," Spike added in, rubbing his eyes tiredly and yawning. "The days get shorter in the winter, remember?"

"Doesn't happen overnight," Garble returned, his worried sneer turning into one of growing anticipation. "Something's wrong, guys."

A bark of laughter sounded out, causing the two older members to jerk in their seats. "What is it?" Ember asked, glancing up at Spike worriedly.

Looking away from his phone, Spike crossed his arms. "Hypothetically speaking, let's say we just so happen to be coming from a town that's in a completely different time zone than the one that our gig's at, and it's actually ten minutes to 8."

Ember's face paled. Garble nearly bit through his tongue by slamming his head back against his headrest.

"So," Spike continued, unusually calm, "hypothetically speaking: how fucked are we?"

Grasping the edge of the driver's seat, Ember pulled herself forward. Her eyes roamed frantically over Garble's shoulders, "How far away are we from the theater?"

"About eight minutes—"

"Floor it," Ember commanded, squeezing his biceps—Garble looked down at the action briefly, before returning his attention to the road. "We can't afford to lose our slot, Garble. We need to be seen."

"Then you and Junior better get changed fast," he warned, beginning to pick up speed as he maneuvered away from the busier main streets and into the traffic-less side paths. "We lucked out by having our shit sent on ahead of us, but we're going to have to haul ass to the stage once we get there." He scoffed. "Assuming they don't just roll right past us, that is."

"We'll be fine," Ember asserted...though given the shake in her voice, it wasn't quite clear who she was trying to convince. Turning around—and trusting her male band mates to do the same—she slipped out of her tank top, bare back to the front, and pulled on a familiar-looking leather corset.

"Oh," Spike said, viewing her change of clothes through the rearview mirror, "you're wearing that again?"

Ember would've scowled at him if it weren't for the fact that she knew he'd seen her in less on more than one occasion. "What's wrong with this top?"

"Nothing!" Spike said hastily, turning back around in his seat, even as Ember whipped around to face him. "It's just, you know...that kind of thing doesn't really suit you, is all. At least, that's what I think."

Sighing, the vocalist bent over and began to breathe gently onto her palms. A thin stream of blue flame washed over each digit, leaving the woman's hands tingling and pleasantly warm. "Look, Spike," she started, smoothing her wire-like hair back with super heated hands—fire was so much more convenient than a hot comb, after all—"I get that it can be weird seeing me wear this kind of stuff, but that's just how the music business works." She started to pull off her shorts. "Believe me, I'd just as soon go without—"

"That's...not what I meant," Spike said, interrupting her with a raised hand. "I get that sex sells—" Otherwise, why else am I here? he thought to himself with a scoff—"and all I'm saying is that that—" he pointed to her corset—"doesn't suit you."

Ember's glare was searing. "So basically, what you're saying is that I can't make this outfit work." She shrugged, angry fists balled up against her waist. "I'm guessing it's because of my features?" she asked, gesturing with one hand to her washboard chest.

And Spike, ever oblivious, shrugged rather nonchalantly. "Well, yeah." He ignored Garble's sudden coughing fit, instead hunching over the seat, head resting over crossed arms. "People don't exactly stare at your chest when you're performing."

"And I take it you would know."

"I'm not blind, Ember," Spike said, smirking playfully. "There are more attention-grabbing parts about yourself."

The vocalist rolled her eyes. "Such as?"

Spike reached under his seat for his outfit, grunting as he pulled a gym bag out. "You're sitting on it," he said, turning his back to his friend as he began to change.


As someone who had little desire to masturbate or engage in sexual activity in general, Ember was more astonished than anyone upon discovering just how deep her body went.

She wasn't terribly sure how big Spike was, given the darkness of the bus and her lack of sexual experience, but whatever it was, it was enough. Enough to hurt, enough to stretch, enough to make her quiver, enough to to push up against her guts and enough to lift her up off the couch he plowed her on—or was that her, clinging to him?

Her ankles were around his neck, small feet bouncing with each heavy thrust, voice sprinkling out small Ohs and Uhs with each revolution. Ember was just tall enough for them to be within kissing distance, but romance was the farthest thing from her mind.

Spike's hands were currently entwined with hers, but oh, it had all started on that couch, when those hands had seized her hips and roamed over them freely. The calendar had been swatted away, the beer bottles emptied and discarded, but the roaming really had been all it took: old pin-ups were fine for getting you hot, and alcohol helped along any thoughtless decision, but the outcome was the same when those hands came out to play.

Even for her first time, Ember knew how it had to go after one suggestive look too many: two rough hands to squeeze, to pinch, to strip, to caress, to spank and spread, to convince you to bite the bedsheets and receive, to make you want to meet the rest of the hands's many friends, yes.

A tongue for her mouth and breasts—and pussy, if he was feeling generous. A back for her nails, a neck for her teeth, a chest for her chest and sweat to match sweat, a dick for her front and her back and her daydreams.

God, she thought to herself, imagining Spike there in her mind even as he picked her up and slammed methodically into her, why didn't you tell me it was so nice? I know you're a sweet and funny guy but couldn't you tell me that it's so nice?

Ember eyed her partner distrustfully as she bounced deeper and harder onto his cock. Spike groaned, returning her stare and giving back as good as he got. He drove back into her fiercely, hilted to the balls and holding her there.

Aren't we friends? she accused in her thoughts, staring at him even as her tongue sank stubbornly into his mouth. How can we be friends if you don't show me something so nice? Don't you think about mine?

Didn't you think mine would be nice?

Ember, in spite of Spike's earlier slights, paused to consider his point. Rolling slightly on one hip, she glanced over her rear, smoothing over the fabric of her dark blue underwear and the taut skin of her thighs.

Spike wasn't exactly wrong, she begrudgingly admitted to herself. Her rear had always been her best feature, after all—genetics and gym time had seen to that. Showing her lower body off wouldn't be so easy, however: it wasn't usual for rockers of her type, male or female, to wear anything but pants, and being the frontman—frontwoman, she insisted firmly to herself—meant that she had to face the audience at nearly all times. Maybe I should do some more pivoting while on stage, Ember considered as she reached for her trademark pair of leather pants.

Her fingers ran with loving care over the tough but gorgeous material. As much as she loved them, they were a trial to get into, given the size of her hips. Nothing but the wide eyes aimed at her waist and the audible cracking of necks turning to look at her as she walked by made them worth wearing.

She had thought off and on about garnishing the front with large, sapphire sequins—after all, what was a "Dragon Lord" without her scales?—but her teammates had shot the idea down as one liable to get them labeled as a laughingstock, and Ember, reluctant but realistic, had to agree.

The thought put a smile on her face as she wormed her feet into the pants, grunting with difficulty once the fabric reached her thighs. Once clothed, Ember pondered her discarded jacket, before deciding to don it. Best to play to her strengths, she figured, rather than highlight her weaknesses. The jacket served to make her feel bigger, helping her to wean a bit more swagger into her step.

"Hey," she heard Spike say, already dressed and speaking into the phone, "we're almost there. We still have the slot, right?" He crossed his fingers, looking back at Ember and winking comically. Despite herself, Ember couldn't help but chuckle as she slipped on her caged heels.

"Two minutes out," Garble declared, pouring on speed for the final push.

Ember heard a groan mix with static over the phone, and after a pause, Spike's shoulders unbunched and he let out a whoop. "Yes! Thanks Neon, I swear you won't regret it. We'll knock their socks off." A mumble followed Spike's statement, accompanied shortly by the telltale beep of the call ending. Sighing, Spike turned to his teammates. "We're still on, but we gotta give 'em hell, guys."

"Oh, don't you worry," Garble snarled. "We're gonna shit all over the competition."

Spike winced and curled away. "So, maybe not that much hell."

The music took a lot out of Ember.

Despite her love for the music, the crowd, and the exhilarating life she'd led to this point, her relief after the band finished performing was the sort of pleasure that defied constraint by language.

Nodding and smiling shakily at the bands of professionals applauding them and clapping her on the back as she maneuvered her way backstage, Ember felt the roots of a stubborn headache begin to worm its way into her skull. By all rights she should've been ecstatic that their performance had gone over so well.

Instead, the praise she and her bandmates had earned may have well as been just so much feedback, painful and irritating.

"You guys kicked ass!" a young woman exclaimed, beaming as she ran up to their group. She wore a plain black t-shirt and raggedy navy blue jeans. The maroon-haired girl couldn't have been much younger than Spike, Ember surmised with a withering stare, but her bust was just large enough to cause the hem of her shirt to rise, showing a sliver of midriff. "That part where you set the stage on fire? Illest shit I've ever seen."

Grunting, Garble turned on his heel, hands in his pockets as he wandered off without a word. It was a mark of Ember's fatigue that she let him leave without contest.

Spike snorted as he hugged the girl around the shoulders, and Ember came to realize that she'd met her sometime before. "Yeah, well, you gotta do something to stick out, Scoot. I think they were catching on to the fact that I played the same riff maybe the entire song."

Scootaloo slapped Spike playfully on the back as they traveled farther and farther away from the front of the theater. "Give yourself some credit, dude. I'm pretty sure you played at least two." She chuckled. "Or was it the same thing backwards?"

The bassist smirked back at her as they reached a rusted black door with a wilted star taped hastily onto the middle. In cursive was written the initials 'B.I.T.M.'.

They continued catching up with each other in that fashion for a time, to Ember's chagrin: her headache wasn't getting any better, and there was no way she was going to change in front of a near-stranger, female or not.

It was a shame, Ember thought to herself: after being on the road together for so long, seeing Spike get along with someone other than herself was nice, and the girl—Scootaloo, if that was really her name and not some bizarre inside joke—seemed to take genuine pleasure in spending time with him.

"So," Scootaloo said at one point, "what was with your guy leaving? I don't think he likes me."

"Who, Garble?" Spike asked. "He doesn't really like anyone. But if I had to guess, it's probably because he knows you're cool with Gabby."

Scootaloo only looked more confused than before. "So what?"

"You remind him of Gabby, and she reminds him of Gilda," Spike answered, as if that solved everything.

"They dated," Ember added quickly, and Scootaloo nodded in newfound understanding.

Eventually—thankfully—they reached a lull in the conversation. Spike's eyes glanced over at Ember's, and something in her face must have communicated her exasperation to him. Making a show of yawning and stretching, the bassist cracked his head as spoke through a yawn. "You know how much I love chatting up my favorite Wonderbolts groupie—"

"Roadie," Scootaloo corrected, with a frown that was only marginally sincere. She seemed to mumble something along the lines of "...wish I was a fucking groupie..."

"—but I'm sure they're running you ragged, trying to get out of here ahead of the press and all." Spike spared her a final, genuine smile, before turning away to change out of his post-performance clothes. "We should catch up some more later."

When he turned back, fresh shirt in place, and she was still there, the young woman preempted Spike's confused stare with a sputter, shuffling on her feet and tugging at her collar. "Actually, so...a couple of us are going out for drinks later." Scootaloo leaned against the threshold of the doorway, one hand in the rear pocket of her jeans. "You should come with."

Spike pondered the invitation as he pulled on his casual set of pants—the act of which brought about viewship but not commentary. "Who else is coming?"

"Well, there'd be us, uh, Spitfire, Soarin'—"

Ember paused in the middle of removing her shoes and looked up, eyes wide.

"—and maybe Dash, if she feels like it." Scootaloo shrugged. "You in?" She cocked her head as she addressed Ember, as if suddenly seeing them for the first time. "You're invited too, if you want." It was a pity invite of course, Ember realized, and Scootaloo would just as soon make tracks with Spike alone...

...but, not for the first time after a performance, she didn't have anything better to do, Ember concluded. She'd never been overly social like Spike, or hell, even Garble, which lead to her own circle being rather limited.

Ember sighed, rubbing her temples as she weighed her choices. You've been here nearly a year now, girl. Maybe it's time you try and branch out for once.

Besides, it wasn't as if she'd be by herself in a room full strangers, she thought with some optimism. Even if things didn't pan out, at least Spike would be there.

And it wasn't like you met a Wonderbolt every day, either...

"Actually," she spoke up, ignoring the grimace and hunched shoulders of their guest, "that sounds like fun. Just let me get changed first."

"What are you talking about?" Spike asked, looking over his shoulder at her. "You look fine as is." Ember's appreciative smile went unseen as the young man turned back to his friend. "Alright, I'll go. Just make sure your boss keeps it in her pants this time."

Scootaloo rolled her eyes. "You never could tell when a good thing was staring you right in the face," she said, staring him right in the face.


When Scootaloo saw an opening, she took it.

They had been monopolizing him all night, she had thought bitterly to herself as she finally grabbed hold of Spike's wrist. But now Ember and her boss were preoccupied with each other, their walls gone thanks to the inhibition-killer sold in bottles.

The early (brave) bird got the worm, so she thought to herself, but the patient one would surely get its seconds.

She wasn't sure when her fixation with Spike had begun: she certainly wasn't in love with him, but he was cute, he was fun, and he could be trusted. Scootaloo saw him frequently enough on the road and, well, familiar faces were so much more convenient when you felt alone and handsy.

Why the hell not?

Sex wasn't going to do it for her, she thought to herself as she led him towards the closet, away from the fucking and the frozen listener. She'd had it before and, while not bad, it wasn't her thing.

Whipping off her shirt, Scootaloo was glad of her decision not to wear a bra that day, if only for the flame-like ignition of arousal in her partner's eyes. Of course, the friction of the black fabric on her breasts was enough reason for her most days, but she took her wins as they came.

She used the discarded shirt to wipe away the fluids of his previous partner—it was her second day in a row wearing it anyway. Sinking to her knees and smiling eagerly—finally, she thought to herself, I've waited forever just to feel it—she wrapped her hands around his recovering cock, feeling it come back to life under her thin feminine touch. As an afterthought, she loosed her belt and allowed her jeans to sink to the floor, if only to give Spike something else to look at.

She would've told him how much she had been looking forward to this, how she had bided her time, waiting for the opportune moment where she could just take a few goddamn minutes to have his cock in her mouth, but she figured that it would only detract from the few goddamn minutes she had to have his cock in her mouth.

Finally, finally she had it in her, and it was so much better than just imagining it, better than pretending on the bananas she had for breakfast, because neither had the hands to hold your hair back or the hips to drive your head back.

Fuck yes, she thought, fingers slipping into her pussy as she pleasured herself and let him watch. Fuck yes, as he came away from the door panting, resting on the carpet of the closet and pulling her down with him. Fuck yes, as she knelt down on all fours and blew him dutifully, drawing her head back and flicking the tip of his cock with her tongue, before brushing back down with pursed lips, gorging herself again on his length. Fuck yes, for her greedy hands grasping his balls, grinding them just so to bring pleasure that begged discomfort. Fuck yes as he arched upwards, groaning her name in a medley of obscenities, grasping each globe of her meticulously-toned ass and spreading her wide for the cold air to massage.

FUCK yes for the sore throat and the shots of cum arcing down her throat, for his shaking hips and flagging orgasm.

Fuck yes, for sitting up, swallowing the lot of it, and showing a clean tongue like a good bitch.

"Sure," Spike said, waving at Ember to follow as they left the dressing room. "Don't get me wrong, she's, uh, super good-looking. But she's way too aggressive for her age."

Slack-jawed, Scootaloo stopped in her tracks and glared incredulously at Spike. "Spitfire's in her thirties, dude."

"Mid-thirties, and twice my age, dude."

The roadie grunted as she shouldered open the heavy, rusting door that led to the parking lot. "So you mean to tell me that, given the chance, you wouldn't date Spitfire, because of her age?"

Spike's bark of bittersweet laughter was telling. "There's a four-letter word for what she wants from me, and it sure isn't 'date'."

As the two continued to bicker, Ember surveyed them both with a small smile. She sincerely doubted that Scootaloo was so offended for her employer's sake; rather, the girl seemed to be pushing the subject to find out more about Spike, who either failed to notice her poorly masked interests—"It's not like you're actually dating someone," she said, semi-doubtfully—or lacked sufficient interest to acknowledge it.

Ember herself could see the younger woman's wants being justified—traveling alongside two male companions led to more than its fair share of evaluating possible partners, after all. Spike was...different, to say the least.

To say the most?

In many ways, he was the exact opposite of your stereotypical man—dragon-blooded or not. Where some might say he lacked masculinity, others would say he was simply kind and non-aggressive. In addition, he'd grown into an infectiously energetic young man since Ember had first met him, which she was quite sure was a response to her and Garble's own more reclusive and sometimes hostile natures.

He wasn't perfect, of course: Spike had always been too passive for Ember's tastes, and seemed to lack any real ambition of his own. That, too, was either a pro or con, depending how you looked at it, as his laid-back nature made him easy to get along with and struck a good balance among the three of them.

In addition, Spike's musical "skill" was nigh-on negligible: he filled a needed role on the band, but just barely. Rather, his greater contributions came from his personality, looks, and accessibility, all of which he managed without conscious thought. For that much, at least, Ember knew they were indebted to him.

You're a good man, Ember thought as she smiled behind the two youngsters. Her smile turned wistful as they neared the Wonderbolt's tour bus. Things would be so much easier if I could just love someone like you.

She doubted he felt the same way, of course, given his apparent obliviousness. Hell, the spare minutes they had before their performance where he had commented on her physique so openly, was one of the few instances where Spike had shown that he even saw her as a woman. As such, what few romantic feelings she might have held for him felt dormant, buried beneath feelings of an acquired-but-sincere sisterly nature.

"Her hair?' she heard Scootaloo bark, waking her from her internal dialogue. "You're telling me her hair doesn't do it for you?"

"You can't tell me that she doesn't look better with it up," Spike argued, leaning against the door of the bus. "When someone mentions the name 'Spitfire', you know what image doesn't spring to mind? A hard-ass with a five-head and a front-bump ponytail."

"She's going for a new look," Scootaloo offered with a shrug, rifling through her pockets for the key. "Rockabilly, I think. Goes great with her Aviators."

"Still not as good as her last look," Spike said in return.

Scootaloo was quiet as she fingered the keys, and all was silent save for the shrill chirps of the nightlife and the crunch of the lock being opened. "So you like girls with short hair," she said, posing the statement as equal points observation and inquiry.

Spike shrugged. "I like girls who wear what suits them," and Ember couldn't help but squint suspiciously at him as she once again fingered the back pocket of her leather pants.

Before Scootaloo could make to reply, however, she shrank away from the door with a cry of shock: it was being opened from the other side. As the door creaked open, she nearly backed into Spike's stomach, stopped only by a firm but gentle hand at the rear of her waist.

With a light but deliberate clump, a pair of black combat boots began to descend the stairs of the bus. Then came slender legs, adorned by slim but bulky charcoal camo pants, followed by a grey wife beater and dog tag nested between modest cleavage.

Scootaloo slipped away from her friend's waist with the closest thing to a squeak Spike had ever heard from her. The young woman glanced down at the ground, hands folded inward at the hips as a feigned attempt at nonchalance. Beside her, Spike crossed his arms in anticipation of the inevitable.

Despite her companion's apparent lack of enthusiasm, Ember couldn't help but be intrigued. If Spike had been serious about her relentless pursuits, then what drew a person like her to him? The anticipation of the answer nearly made Ember impatient. Who was Spitfire to cause such unease in the two of them? By what she had heard, the captain of the Wonderbolts sounded insufferable, beautiful, and aggressive to a fault.

And, regardless of what common sense dictated, Ember found herself half-convinced that the woman might be part-dragon, like her.

However, most of that impression vanished when the boots hit the ground, and Ember found herself silently agreeing with Spike: while the woman in front of her was certainly beautifully well-formed—as far as she could tell with those sunglasses covering half her face—she seemed far too relaxed to be branded 'Spitfire'. She supposed that her ponytail and fringes weren't nearly as unpleasant as Spike had made it out to be, but then she hadn't seen the original look to compare it to, either.

Still, regardless of rumors, there was no denying her powerful presence. Spitfire's entrance was sure to halt their conversation regardless of who she was, but Ember was under the impression that she was the kind of person whose appearance would turn heads, and whose absence would leave a sort of vacuum after her departure.

Presently, Spike and Spitfire seemed to be engaged in a standoff of sorts. The older woman stood firmly within the young man's bubble of personal space, arms behind her back in a show of cool confidence. By comparison, Spike's own posture was stiff and uninviting, though his arms lay out to either side.

"I don't remember inviting you back to my bus, private," she finally said, breaking the silence.


It was a long time in coming, but Spitfire knew.

She fucking knew.

From the first time she had spoken with him, at some Wonderbolts function that Rainbow Dash had brought him to, Spike hadn't reacted typically. Spitfire had recognized the teenager as the one who had saved her life and many more at the Equestria Games, and, seeing as how it was the least she could do, granted him a picture and a hug.

No looking down her dress, no unwarranted touching, no lame adolescent flirting or even bad breath.

That had been interesting, but she hadn't known.

Then, lo and behold, years later she saw the same young man, handsome now—legal now—and still being strung along by Rainbow Dash at some get-together or another.

Even better, he wasn't just courteous: he was funny! He cleaned up well! He wasn't afraid to show his sensitive side, and he even held doors open for the women he didn't want to fuck!

Not bad! Spitfire had thought to herself. He was a catch and a half, for sure, but she still didn't know.

Then she had encountered him again, at one of the Grand Galloping Galas. It had been one of the few years where she had been allowed by higher-ups to ditch the skins and go in a dress—a lively little number that showed some leg but was still respectable.

And else who should be there, looking dapper in a tuxedo and bowtie, with the Princess of Magic on his arm?

Spitfire had only been in Spike's company for maybe a half hour, max, for the few times she'd seen him, but by then she knew.

Oh, she knew.

"You didn't, ma'am," Spike answered, wanting to roll his eyes but intent on maintaining eye contact.

Spitfire kept her thumbs on the lips of her cargo pants as she circled him. As her eyes roamed over his figure, sometimes lower than Ember would've liked, she continued to speak. "Then what possessed you to drag yourself over here, private? Shouldn't you be out helping some old ladies cross a street with the rest of the boy scouts?"

To his credit, Spike was more than able to keep a straight face as well as a straight back. "There aren't any old ladies on this side of town, ma'am. I've checked."

The captain stopped suddenly just under Spike's chin. "Are you being smart with me, private?"

"Never, ma'am."

"Are you looking for trouble, private?"

"No ma'am."

Spitfire came closer to Spike's neck, her voice just short of a bark. "Well maybe I am, private. Maybe you'd better take your little friend here," she said, jerking her thumb at Ember, who looked on with mild amusement, "and skedaddle the fuck out of here, before I go and find you some."

Scootaloo watched the two attentively, but not worriedly, Ember noticed. Going by her reactions, or lack thereof, it seemed that this exchange wasn't the first between the two.

"Permission to speak freely, ma'am?" Spike asked, as if Spitfire wasn't already nearly buried in his neck.

"Granted," she responded, betraying no emotion other than a hard grittiness.

Spike finally relaxed his posture, brushing his neck against the captain's nose by turning his head. "You're more than welcome to try and move me."

Spitfire remained still, glaring up at Spike through her Aviators as if this response had also been expected. "And where exactly should I put you, private?"

Ember wanted to snort in laughter. Despite Spike's earlier complaints, it was clear that being around Spitfire didn't unsettle him nearly as much as he let on: if it did, he wouldn't bother playing this little game of theirs. The only question, then, was why he bothered playing at all...

"That's your call to make, ma'am," he replied simply. "Just make sure it isn't a painful one."

Spitfire stepped back and gave an unbelieving smirk. "I don't care for what you seem to be implying, private. I only lay hands on my crew when they're out of line." The back of her fingers grazed his biceps lazily. "Besides, you're a big guy."

"For you."

What a bizarre way to flirt, Ember thought, watching Spike drop his rigid posture altogether as he relaxed around the Wonderbolt. But, at least she was starting to understand why he was willing to interact with the woman at all, as the flirting must've done wonders for his ego. Ember could speak from experience, as the feeling of being doggedly pursued by an attractive, powerful person was new and exciting.

The banter was its own reward, alongside the overwhelmingly positive elation at someone wanting you, thinking of you, looking into their eyes and discovering the plain truth that you were being undressed and more with their eyes, and finding yourself wishing for it to become a deeply-ingrained habit.

"So," Spike finally said, "you gonna invite me in?"

Spitfire cocked her head in mock-confusion. "In what?" She glanced at Scootaloo, who stared blankly at her employer, then back at Spike. "My house? My bus?" She shrugged, hands still on her waistline. "Me?"

The bassist finally rolled his eyes as he shoved past his would-be hostess and climbed into the tour bus. "That was bad, even for you."

Spitfire laughed as she followed after him eagerly. "If anything, it's par for the course."

Glancing back at Scootaloo, who seemed unusually subdued, Ember raised an eyebrow. "Is it usually like this?"

The younger woman shrugged, and it seemed as though most of the youthful vigor had left her body. "More or less," she muttered.

Suddenly, Spitfire stopped her upwards movement, nearly causing Ember to collide into her backside. "I'm so sorry," Spitfire said, reaching out and helping Ember up the few remaining steps. "I completely forgot to introduce myself." She smiled apologetically at her guest as she squeezed her hand. "My name is Spitfire."

Ember returned the smile in earnest. "Ember, it's nice to meet you." She glanced around at her new surroundings, making note of several wide-screen TVs on the walls, a kitchen area, beds, as well as what appeared to be a built-in treadmill. She whistled. "You guys sure don't lack for funding."

Spitfire grinned beautifully as she removed her shades and shook her hair loose, her persimmon-colored eyes dancing as she saw the younger woman sway slightly. "That we don't." Her thumb passed once over the back of Ember's hand before letting go. "Can't say I've seen you around before. How do you know Spike?"

Ember's smile faded as her hand dropped to her side. "I was on stage with him. You didn't see us perform?"

Wincing, Spitfire crossed her arms in front of her chest and leaned back. "Afraid not. I literally just flew in maybe ten minutes ago. Well," she said, glancing over her shoulder at the beds, "we just flew in. Dash and I had to take care of some business back in Cloudsdale, and it was faster than waiting for the bus to circle back for us."

"I'm still not that familiar with your land's geography," Ember admitted, "but isn't Cloudsdale halfway across the country?"

The Wonderbolt nodded solemnly. "That it is." At Ember's wide-eyed expression, Spitfire opted to explain. "We're expert flyers, after all. Wonderbolts are expected to be able to fly to remote parts of Equestria at a moment's notice." She glared at the lump of cloth on the bed behind her. "Though apparently, some of us aren't always up to the challenge."

The lump, apparently sentient, groaned in the general direction of its accuser.

Sighing, Scootaloo moved from the stairs over to the kitchen, grabbing a water bottle from the mini-fridge attached to the cabin wall.

"What's wrong with her?" Spike asked, walking over to the lump with a sympathetic frown.

"Let's answer that question with another question," Spitfire said. "Either of you ever get yourselves blackout drunk the night before you have to travel long distances?"

The two of them shook their heads, and Spike eyed the frustrated-looking lump with a newly critical eye. Next to him, Scootaloo approached the bed and tapped what appeared to be the lump's shoulder.

"Of course you haven't," Spitfire said, "because neither of you are dumbasses."

Ember patted Spike's shoulder sympathetically, which earned her an unamused shove in the shoulder. She stifled a giggle.

"Dash isn't a long-distance flier to begin with, but having to make the trip with a hangover really knocked her on her ass." Spitfire sighed. Placing the tip of her boot against the rear of the other, she kicked her shoes off, placing them in a small wicker box near the stairs. "Her head was splitting so badly that I had carry her myself for the final stretch."

"Don't act like you didn't like it," the dumbass groaned from under the covers. A pale-looking hand grasped gratefully at the cold bottle that was offered to it.

Spitfire scoffed, but otherwise didn't acknowledge her teammate. "So, if you're wondering why we didn't get to see you perform, there's your reason." Her shoulders sunk as she looked over the two of them. "It was really too bad. I was looking forward to seeing you play, Spike."

Spike shrugged vaguely, rubbing his arm complacently. "It's fine, Spitfire. I'm really nothing special, Garble and Ember are the real talent."

The older woman patted him on the back, smiling. "Come on, dude, I'm sure that's not true at all. Right?" she asked, turning to Ember.

"No," she responded, shaking her head, "it's pretty spot on."

Spitfire blinked. "Then why do you keep him on?"

"Looks, desperation, and nepotism," Ember answered without hesitation.

"Thanks, boss," Spike muttered. He nudged Scootaloo with his elbow. "This what it's like for you?"

"Nepotism was the clincher," she said flatly.


Spitfire sat down heavily at the couch on the opposite side of the living area, one that sat across from a wide set of expansive windows. Wind howled against the outside of the bus, the glass creaking mournfully in its place as the grey monotony of the skies churned together for a long-lasting storm. The captain of the Wonderbolts eyed the weather distrustfully, intensely glad that she had touched down when she did.

"Scoot," Spitfire said, getting the younger woman's attention, "call Soarin' and let him know we're not going to be joining him."

Nodding, the younger woman fished out her phone and plopped down in a smaller loveseat opposite of her employer.

"So what are we supposed to do now?" Spike asked as he followed Scootaloo, making sure to stay clear out of his aggressor's reach.

"Oh, we keep drinks in the fridge if you wanna grab some," Spitfire answered, gesturing towards the kitchen. As Spike wandered over, Ember found herself beckoned to the couch by their hostess. "I take it you're new to our country, Ember?"

"A little," the younger woman said, hands smoothing out the creases in her shirt. "I've come here a couple times in the past, but only for visits. I've only lived here for a couple months now."

"How do you like it?"

"It's not home," Ember admitted, "but it has its charms."

Spitfire nodded in agreement, accepting a chilled bottle of some beer that Ember wasn't acquainted with from Spike. Using her molars, she pried the cap off with practiced ease.

Thanking him for the proffered bottle, Ember held her own drink in both hands, eyeing Spike as he sat next to Scootaloo, who rested on curled legs as she spoke over the phone.

As Spitfire sipped at her drink, Ember worked on the cap to her own and glanced at her, watching her throat bob with every swallow. "I have a question."

Wiping her mouth, Spitfire turned fully onto the couch, pulling her legs up and resting her head on her palm. "I have an answer."

Sparing a brief chuckle, Ember brought her knees to her chest as she faced her new acquaintance. She began to speak when her hostess held up a hand. "Hold that thought," Spitfire said, and grasped the bottom of her guests's calves, preventing her shoes from staining the couch.

Ember winced, leaning forward to fix her small mistake. "Sorry, I forgot. Let me—"

But Spitfire only smiled good-naturedly, laughing briefly but deeply as she reaffirmed her grasp of the other woman's legs. "It's fine, Ember. You're still my guest." As she removed Ember's shoes, Spitfire spoke through the silence—partly to keep her newfound friend from becoming uncomfortable. "These heels are great. Where did you find them?"


Spitfire could not breath fire, Ember was reasonably sure, but the trail left by her tongue felt for the world like the real thing.

Her fingers had rarely left Ember's breasts or rear for more than a moment at a time, but when they did, it was to push the smaller woman back into position.

Back into her place.

Rough, experienced fingers surged into her womanhood as Ember's legs lay splayed out to either side, disoriented. Her leather pants lay off to the side, discarded—they had never come off that fast, but then, her body had never been so drenched.

Her fingers had hooked inside of Ember, stringing her along like a sex puppet, twisting her hips and arching her back with the push of a joint. Spitfire's tongue carved a line of heat from nipple to collarbone, her free hand engulfed in Ember's wild blue hair, keeping her head level and her neck exposed.

The darkness engulfed them: nothing existed but the cold of the table, the sweat that slicked it, the tongue and the hands and the voice that rocked her, and the fleeting flashes of lightning that showed glimpses of the woman who fucked her.

I knew it, Ember thought as her aggressor moved to grind against her cunt with her lips and tongue, I fucking knew it.

Spitfire's mouth left nothing on Ember's body feeling sacred, scraping rubbing against the inner hood of her pussy, dutifully scrubbing each wall, her lips circling and sucking at the bump that saves marriages—

Ember wanted to laugh, but didn't quite trust her voice not to choke her during it.

—as her hands plied at her ass like a woman possessed. In them Ember could feel Spitfire's tenacity, the need to touch and appreciate everything that made a woman like Ember beautiful and fuckable.

I knew from the time you took my shoes off, she thought, grasping the shocks of orange-yellow hair that rode between her thighs. I felt you looking at my ass when I was bent over.

Somehow, Spitfire found the Spot.

Ember's eyes rolled in the back of her head, her hands curling and becoming unusable corkscrews of flesh. Something hot and tangible shot through her lower abdomen, squirting onto the older woman's face.

Ember pounded the table as her body turned to mush.

I fucking knew you fucked girls.

"Oh, one of Spike's friends gave them to me," the singer replied, sounding distracted. Even though she was facing away, Spitfire could feel the younger woman's stare of caution and suspicion on her face: not hostile, but wary, feeling out the waters to see if what she thought was happening, might actually be happening. "She said it was a gift."

After she was finished undoing the straps on the heels, Spitfire grasped her by the ankles and tugged the adornments free. Shortly afterwards, Ember pulled her bare feet away, partly out of reflex. If Spitfire was offended at the motion, her face showed no indication of it.

Instead, the elder Wonderbolt got up from her seat, feeling the curious stares of Scootaloo and Ember on her back, as well as the slightly heavier stare of Spike's, thought whether its weight was borne of jealousy or possessiveness was unclear to her.

She felt a bubble of laughter burst in her chest as she placed the shoes in the bin near the door. She definitely wouldn't mind finding out, though.

Resuming her ever-present smile, unassuming and purposefully ignorant, Spitfire took her place again at the couch. "You can go ahead and ask that question now."

It took Ember a moment to recall what she meant. "Oh! Right, of course." She directed her gaze south of Spitfire's face, wondering somewhat despairingly at her own embarrassment. "I hear about your group all the time, but what exactly does a Wonderbolt do?"

"Damn near everything," Spitfire said, shrugging. She scratched her cheek, acutely aware of the two youngsters—Scootaloo especially—following her every movement. "We're trained for combat, but for the most part we're performers." Her arm draped over the edge of the sofa, her legs crossing over each other, taking up half of the furniture and coming just short of infringing upon Ember's space. "Fundraisers, charity drives, photo shoots, magazine covers, so on and so on."

Despite her mild discomfort, Ember couldn't help but be impressed. "You model?"

"Not as much as I used to," she admitted. "When I first joined up I did a few spreads for some fitness magazines, for the money, mostly." She rubbed her nose and looked away, somewhat embarrassed. "I, uh, was in a few calendars too."

This drew an unexpected laugh from Spike, who leaned forward in his seat. "You did pin-up work?"

Spitfire, to her credit, looked only mildly offended. "What's so funny about it? It was good work for an up-and-comer."

"Nothing funny," Spike admitted, "I'm just surprised is all. You sound like such a hard-ass from the way Dash talks about you—" Spitfire whipped her head at the lump, glaring as it started to whistle innocently, "—so I figured that you weren't the modeling type."

Grinding her teeth stubbornly at her traitorous junior, Spitfire turned back to Spike. "Hard-asses have student loans, too."

Spike shrugged, admitting through his silence that he saw her point. "Do you still have any lying around?"

"Of course. Why?"

"I wouldn't mind looking through one."

Spitfire blinked in surprise, leaning back. "I'm right here," she said, composing herself quickly. "You have a problem with the genuine article?"

Snorting, Spike uncrossed his arms as he got up from his seat. "The 'genuine article' can't fit on my wall."

"Or under your mattress," she returned quickly, also leaving her seat. Reaching into an unassuming drawer near the kitchen, she pulled out a faded white packet, which upon closer inspection was a swimsuit calendar.

At the looks of anticipation held by her companions, Spitfire felt a deep, familiar satisfaction well up in her chest. She pushed Spike into her previous seat—missing an annoyed sniff from her other guest—as she took the arm of the sofa for herself. Scootaloo sat down in the remaining space, resting a hand on Spike's shoulder as she too glanced at the cover.

"This was one of my earlier ones, I think," Spitfire said, pointing to the cover, which held an image of a silver-haired beach beauty, reclining among small dunes of newly wet sand. "That's Wind Rusher. Total knockout. She left the 'Bolts a couple years after this shoot came out."

"Where are you?" Scootaloo asked, thumbing at the later pages in the calendar.

"I was Miss August," Spitfire claimed proudly. Her hand looped around the height of Spike's torso as she leaned downwards, but the young man did nothing to rebuff her actions. "Spoiler alert: it's not for the faint of heart."

"Nothing ever is with you," Scootaloo muttered as she flipped to August, and Spitfire couldn't help but laugh.

"I can't see," Ember said from the other end of the couch.

Without hesitation, Spitfire slid from the arm into Spike's lap, holding out a hand to drag Ember closer. Startled, the singer was pulled over Scootaloo's lap, until she lay prostrate over the girl, her arms resting on Spitfire's legs. "Classy," she grumbled with an increasingly thick tongue as she struggled to reorient herself.

"You're welcome," Spitfire replied with a smile. Her smile widened as she took in the younger woman's frame, which swelled gorgeously halfway down—


I knew we were going to fuck.

There was no convincing her otherwise: Spitfire had lived long enough to know to obey her hunches. When to walk, when to run, when to pounce and when to wait. Her hunches had saved her on more than one occasion, as a professional flyer, and had only benefited her career.

They also got her laid.

She'd had a hunch about Ember, too: something about her seemed unblemished...that something that cried out for blemishing. She was young, gorgeous, and everything about her body betrayed the fact that she was curious and used to being ignored.

Spitfire hadn't thought that by day's end she'd know what a dragon-woman's pussy would taste like, but—thanks be to hunches!—she could tell any inquiring soul that they were awfully spicy. She didn't even know pussies could be spicy.

Ain't that some shit?

Now, dragon-man dick? She had thought long and hard on the subject, more than once on the flight over—and had honestly considered dropping Dash off in a dumpster when the risk of missing said dick came terrifyingly close.

Did that make her a bad friend? Sure, and an even worse boss.

But only because Spitfire knew, and after that amazing tryst with Ember, she knew even more.

Ember herself was curled into a ball on the living room table, the lightning from the bus's window illuminating her half-naked sleeping form. Scootaloo had gone to bed after brushing her teeth nearly an hour ago and was currently dead to the world.

Spike sat on the couch, arms spread out to steady himself as Spitfire rode him.

He was still tired, of course, but she'd already waited long enough for him to recover. She was naked from the waist down, legs wrapped tightly around her partner's waist. Her wife beater remained, only to be squeezed between her jostling cleavage.

It was either the beer or the dedication that formed her opinion—possibly both—of their fucking. It was great.

No, fuck that. It was to die for.

Spitfire knew that they had to be compatible, not merely in discussion, but in body, mind, and bed. She'd been with enough guys to know the ins and outs of her body—what was too big, too small, too awkward, too greasy, too average, and so on.

But—and this was the awesome part—he was perfect. There just wasn't any other word for it.

The perfect size, the perfect velocity, the perfect stamina, the perfect goddamn swing of his hips, the perfect smush of his sweaty face on her shirt and the perfect shudder of his spine when she licked the back of his ear.

It was so right that in the heat of the moment Spitfire was scared by their own rightness: was this why strangers got married? She was legitimately worried she might have to marry the man, they were just too damn snug. The rock star and the Wonderbolt, now wouldn't that be a story for the press...

Still, it was best not to get ahead of herself. Living in the moment and all that—living in the riding of cock and the jostling and groping and the deep-down creampies, living in the curled toes and arched backs, living in the moments until they were lived in.

She couldn't even remember her own orgasm, to be honest. Wrenching herself off of Spike's softening cock had taken all of her brainpower, and Spitfire found her mind wandering back to the start of that night, back to before—

—before a brilliant thought overtook her.

"Hey," Spitfire said, getting the attention of her companions. "After this, you guys wanna play a drinking game?"


Spike's head—heads, honestly—hurt like hell. His mind reeled from the nights events, a bizarre slideshow where he had taken part.

Frowning at the pain, his head leaned against the chilled windows of the tour bus, droplets of rain colliding against his steaming forehead. Unlatching the windows had been a comparatively agonizing task, but the drops of relief on his skin was slowly making the trouble worth it.

Beside him, Ember stirred slowly, and began to stare frantically at the unfamiliar surroundings, before finding Spike and calming down. She pulled on her pants and lowered herself into the seat on the opposite side of the table. She groaned, as if each action pained her already sore body to an unbearable degree.

"Hey," she whispered, getting Spike's attention.

Her face was just barely visible: did she smile or wince? "What did you think?"

Spike blinked through the darkness. "Huh?"

"You know, when we, um..." Swallowing, Ember cupped her hands around her mouth. "Was I a notch—"

The lump pulled back its covers, revealing a red-faced, wild-eyed Rainbow Dash.

"Would you all just SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY."