The day I met you was unlike any other. And I say this because I couldn’t understand how someone so capable of basic comprehension lay so uselessly in front of me.
Your bright blue eyes stared up into mine like our gazes were meant to lock since the beginning of time. And as pathetic and helpless as you did look, I decided to take you in. For...some reason. It was circa 21st moon, when the world was practically already ending. What was the harm in taking advantage of a country that was already in shambles?
Trojan’s troops were invading Ponyville at the time- destroying houses, enslaving the townsponies, the ushe. And then suddenly…
Like a fresh blue hibiscus in a field of sage. You were there, crying, and wailing, and begging for someone to show you the kind of attention you craved. I was too busy leading battalions to notice, however, your baby blue coat hadn’t allowed that for long.
And then our eyes met. And I was absolutely repulsed at something so drooly, so snotty, so...cute. As worthless as a piece of excrement, but as promising as a basket of muffins dropped on one’s front step. Opportunity, if you will. And how could I pass that up?
The moment I realized I could whip you into shape. To meld you into the perfect little spawn, the perfect little soldier. So I gave you a chance.
And then you started drooling on my thumb.
Griffon talons are fairly rough, so I can vaguely understand the teething practice a little now. But then, I was unprepared. Unwilling. Afraid.
Yes, I can admit, no matter how deep I was in the tears of tiny foals and their fathers’ blood, I still can’t shake the feeling of your drool on my talons. It is by far the most disgusting thing I can think of, drool. So icky. But when you saw my beak curl into a grimace of disgust, you laughed.
“...did I make an infant laugh?” I asked myself, as if to check my mug in the mirror and see if I was thinking clearly. And even then it was still such a foreign concept to me that I was completely undermined.
“Sir! Sir!” I heard a soldier call to me. He was wearing one of those hideous Troy helmets that let your mane come out of the top of it. Out of every oddity I’ve come across, that would have to be something I’d leave in Ponyville. Add that to my lists of tangents and don’t tell your father.
“Canterlot’s Royal Guard has arrived! Finally. Should we fall back?!”
“...retreat, for now. I’ve found something worth my time.”
That’s the last thing the old me has ever said. The ignorant me. The me that wasn’t open to promise just as much as I would’ve liked to think.
I entered the ship with a scowl on my face as I tossed you like a football onto the observation table. As Trojan let the hovercraft rise off the ground, I glanced toward the shaded glass windows and relished in the fact that my troops made it away unharmed. The tanks were rolling out of town, the ground rumbling with them. Seeing the look of defeat and exasperation on the enemy battalions’ faces knowing they’d lost brought me great serotonin.
Enough of that. I focused back on you once again. The drool on my talons marked my way in, one single, glossy claw mark branding the floor in awkward places. With a scowl, I hurriedly swiped it onto my flank, tiger tail lashing with anger.
“What is your source, gremlin?” I hissed through my teeth. I could see tiny pearls of my...somewhat aggressive saliva flecking onto your face. You didn’t really seem to mind it, though, clapping your hooves and looking up at me, as if to exclaim,
I was perplexed. The confusion curled my brow upon instinct as I stepped back. “Trojan! Get in here! It can talk!!” I shouted. My loyal assistant, at the time, came rushing in with his broken goggles dangling from his horn. I rolled my eyes in angst and anticipation, jabbing an accused claw at him. “It can talk, Trojan. It can relay information.”
Trojan, paying absolutely no attention to me, only scooped up the child and began rocking it side to side. I responded with a canted brow, gaze following in the rocking motion. “What are you doing? Is that a sedation tactic? Where did you learn that?”
“Relax, Birdie. I’m puttin’ the grub to sleep.” Trojan replied. For some reason, I only grew even more furious, my wings flaring and some stray feathers falling to the floor. Your father preens me now. I’m terrible at self care.
“...to sleep? He could relay any possible weaknesses their horse goddess might have. It could be important, and you’re trying to subdue him?!”
“It’s not sedation. It’s not subduing. It’s sleep.” Trojan replied by gently tapping the brunt of my beak with his hoof. Every hair of mine stood on its end as my face puffed up like a plate of bad fugu. I still hate when that happens. “Relax, bird boy. Besides, he’s a foal. Infants like these are borderline incapable of relaying anything important, much less anything to do with this ‘horse goddess’ you’re obsessed with. Go fix yourself a plate, you look famished.”
That reminds me. Trojan’s been cooking. A lot. To the point where I can barely keep to myself without him calling me for dinner. I wanted an assistant, not a housewife. If I was interested in one of those I would’ve enslaved some mare to come and work on the ship.
So why’s he being so weird?
Either way, I had realized that he was right, and went to make myself something to eat. But as you already know, I had my suspicions about you. So I watched, and I watched, and I watched.
“Upsies!” I heard you chant while Trojan held you, tossing you up and down as per your demands. I didn’t get it. How in the world was he so in love with someone so insignificant in the eyes of the universe? Something so small, and weak, and gross?
“You want upsies, baby man? I’ll give you upsies!”
And then he tossed you into the ceiling. Or, well, almost.
Like a baby bird, you spread your wings and began to soar all around the area. I choked on my birdseed and jolted up from my throne on the airship just to fly up after you.
...and that, Levi, was the first time I felt responsible.
Now, it was a feeling I couldn’t parse. I couldn’t tell, right then, whether it was that warm, fuzzy feeling of responsibility and being genuinely worried about someone’s well being, or if it was the pounding sensation I felt in my head after I’d become concussed just chasing after you.
I watched drearily, Trojan inspecting the large dent in the ceiling of the airship.
“That smarts,” he said. Gods, he’s such an idiot. I move past it, though, with groaning complaints, struggling to heave myself up from my cold, metal slumber. “Oh, bird boy.” Trojan yanked me up by my claw before I got a chance to reach out for help. Which, I wasn’t gonna. You know the old me by now, Lev.
“What the hell, Trojan?! The damn thing’s not a weapon! Or, at least, I don’t think it is…”
That was the first time I’d ever been calm in what the old me would consider a dire situation. Trojan, for a changeling, was quite blissfully unaware of my feelings. The atmosphere was so dense to him that you could cut it up and flambé it like baked Alaska.
This, Levi, is the start of when I would learn to love you.
Trojan ran a hoof through his mint green mane and locked his teal eyes with mine. I felt my face start to melt. Was it melting?
The room grew very hot in that one spot. Like I’d forgotten to force Trojan to fix the air conditioning.
“Trojan, go fix the air conditioning.”
I could see the rusty gears in his head just being replaced with fresh ones. With the roll of my eyes, I shoved him into the other room.
Computer geeks are weird."