Cuddles

by Admiral Biscuit

First published

Cold feet and a lousy day at work and hunger can all be solved by cuddling a pony in front of a fireplace.

This I know: cold feet and a lousy day at work and hunger can all be solved by cuddling a pony in front of a fireplace.

Ponies are for hugging

View Online

Cuddles
Admiral Biscuit

Ponies had invented cubicles.

Well, that wasn't being quite fair to the ponies; they had adapted cubicles from contact with humans.

The unfortunate effect of this was that despite being in Equestria, I was still in a cubicle for my day job. Granted, it was a lot nicer than the soul-sucking version of a cubicle farm on Earth, but there was still something demoralizing about being in Equestria and working in a cubicle.

But that didn't matter. Until tomorrow morning, my cubicle could rot in my absence. The day was over, and it was time to go home.

It was snowing outside again. The pegasi seemed particularly attentive around their shift change, which unfortunately coincided with the end of my shift, and made for a less-than-stellar trip home.

They didn't plow their streets. Instead, ponies towing rollers compacted the snow on the roads, and that was good enough for ponies and their wagons. And I'll admit, it was an interesting sight to see; they were like giant lawn rollers made out of wood, pulled by a pair of stallions.

I could have waited for a taxi, but I hadn't been the first one to leave the office, and there was a line of gossipy mares ahead of me all waiting for their turn.

Besides, it wasn't all that far to my house.

The trip home would have been more pleasant if my boots hadn't leaked. I'd been meaning to get a new pair, but it took about forever to get anything from Earth transported through, and despite the local cobbler's well-meaning efforts, the idea that feet bent was completely foreign to her. I would have done just as well to go to a traditional Dutch craftsman and had calf-length wooden clogs made.

One thing that the ponies hadn't bothered to invent was zoning, and my house was reasonably close to the office; even so, my feet were soaked by the time I finally arrived home.

I hung up my overcoat and suit jacket in the hallway, then kicked off my boots.

I was peeling off my socks when Cami came around the corner and nuzzled me. There was still a light dusting of snow on her back, so she hadn't been home all that long. She worked at a branch of the Ministry of Magic—it was actually called the Thaumatic Scrutiny Agency—working a job that I barely even understood. Whatever it was, she was apparently good at it, because she was a supervisor.

“I don't feel like making dinner,” she said.

“Neither do I,” I told her. Truth was, she'd never really learned to cook, and neither had I.

“Good. I ordered Chinese food on my way home.”

For some reason, ponies had jumped on the idea of Chinese food.

I knew that the American version of Chinese food wasn't very Chinese; the pony version was even less so. It was also naturally focused on vegetarian options. I should have expected that, but the first time I'd seen General Tso's alfalfa on the menu I'd almost cried.

“From Cheerful Cow-Bear.” They also weren't very good at coming up with names for Chinese restaurants.

“Sound good,” I said. “You know, you ponies are really lucky.”

“How's that?”

I bent over and started peeling off my soaked socks. “You can't get cold feet.”

“I don't even have feet, silly.”

“I know. Lucky. Not only can't you get cold feet, but you can never experience the pain of a stubbed toe.” It was hard to say whether my foot was colder now that the sock was off, but at least the dampness would cease. “No stepping on splinters, either.”

Cami rolled her eyes. “You make it sound like it's terrible to be a human.”

“Well, it's got its disadvantages.” I stripped off my other sock and then tossed the pair of socks in the general direction of the laundry hamper.

“Cami for the assist,” she said proudly, as her telekenetic aura faded from around my socks.

“I wasn't really trying,” I said.

“Yes you were.”

Changing the subject was always a valid method of argument. “What should we do until the food arrives?”

“Snuggle on the couch in front of the fireplace,” she said.

“Bad day at work?”

“Bleh. The worst.” She stuck her tongue out. “We had to send a team out to clean up a mishap at the school. Somepony got ahold of her mom's college conjuration textbook and actually managed to cast conjurer's closet in the classroom. Of course she didn't know how to stop it. Luckily, they got in there before things got really ugly. It could—your feet are blue.”

“It's the socks.”

“Nothing a little cuddling won't fix. I've already got a fire going.”

I let her lead me into the living room, which was without question the best room in the house. There were windows on three sides which let in lots of light and a good breeze any season other than winter, and the stone fireplace took the place of what would have been a TV.

For all the false steps the ponies had taken in adapting to human culture, they'd skipped right over TVs, and I wasn't sad about that.

• • •

“I bet you know a spell to warm up my feet.”

“Where's the fun in that?” She lifted the blanket over us, and then rested her head against my chest. “It's better to warm up this way.”

I couldn't disagree entirely with her. My feet were still cold, and by extension, so was the rest of me, but that discomfort was fading fast.

Her coat was silky-smooth and smelled just a little bit like lavender—her soap was powerful stuff. Unlike most unicorns, she didn't trim her coat in the wintertime, which gave her an extra bit of fluff that was more than welcome. Top that off with the fact that ponies had a higher body temperature than humans, and I would have been warming up even if there hadn't been a fire crackling in the fireplace.

“If you put your feet up on the couch, I can cover them with my tail, and that'll help warm them back up.”

“I don't think I bend like that,” I told her.

“You won't know until you try.” She stuck her tongue out at me again.

“Who's a silly pony? Cami.” But I pulled my feet up on the couch anyways, and as she'd promised, she flopped her tail over them.

It wasn't a terribly comfortable position, but I didn't want to move at all.

Except to stroke her mane.

“I just had my mane done at the salon today,” she told me.

I couldn't see any difference in it from this morning, but of course I didn't say that. “It looks nice. Do you want me to stop?”

“No.”

“Thought so.” I brushed her forelock back and then scratched behind her ear.

“Do your powers extend far enough to summon hot chocolate?”

“Of course they do.” She lit her horn and after about a minute, a kettle floated in from the kitchen and onto the fire.

“You're slacking.”

“Kettle wasn't full. You try summoning something you can't see.”

“You know I can't summon anything,” I said, running my hand down her neck.

“That's why I like you.” She leaned up and rubbed the bottom of my chin with her velvety muzzle.

• • •

Unlike on Earth, deliveryponies would bring the food right to you. It was both weird and convenient.

There were times when hunger took a backseat to comfort, and this was one of those times. I was perfectly content; I was living my life inside of a Tomas Kinkade painting, albeit one with faux Chinese food on the coffee table and a pony on my lap.

“Are we actually going to eat?”

“We could.” She glanced at the food. “Probably should before it gets cold. It's not as good when it's cold.”

“Yeah.” I ran my hand down her back. “Too bad we don't have a microwave.”

She lit her horn for a moment. “There's a spell for that.”

“Of course there is.” I ran a finger up the spiral of her horn and gently brushed across the tip, eliciting a small shiver from her.

“Dude, that feels weird.”

“I know. You tell me that every time.”

“'Cause it's true.” She yawned and stretched out, leaving my feet briefly without a tail to warm them. “I've never had leftover Chinese food for breakfast.”

“Sometimes it's totally worth it.” It was within arm's reach, and if I'd cared to, I could have gotten to it, but I had my priorities straight, and ignored the food in favor of stroking her ear.

“Yeah.” She rubbed her cheek against my chest. “I'm so lucky to have you to pet me and scratch behind my ears.”

That was an invitation if I'd ever heard one, and she sighed in pleasure at my touch. “But I'm luckier.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Because I've got a pony to pet and scratch behind the ears.”