From the instant he woke up, Big Mac decided that he felt like pure and unadulterated hell. His eyelids were like steel shutters, his joints sore from ceaselessly shifting positions. Even the walk to Sugarcube Corner felt like The Running of the Leaves, and the rain seemed to be adding a nasty insult to a rather grievous injury.
"Three apple fritters, please," he said blandly.
"Of course, dearie!" Mrs. Cake reached behind the counter, sliding some pastries from the display into a brown paper bag. Setting it in front of the red stallion, a concerned look dawned on her face. "Are you feeling alright, Big Mac? You look a little out of it, if you don't mind me saying..."
Mrs. Cake was putting it lightly. In the past two days, Big Macintosh had gotten a maximum of six, maybe eight hours of sleep, and it showed: he was slouching noticeably, his eyes were glazed over, even his wheat sprig was a breeze away from slipping out of his mouth.
"Ah'm fine," he lied, "What do ah owe ya, again?"
"Six bits, please!"
The coins clinked onto the counter.
"Thank you, come again!"
"Ah plan on it," he said, placing the bag underneath his raincoat and stepping outside.
Nearing the Sweet Apple Acres homestead, it crossed his mind that these wouldn't even begin to smooth things over with Applebloom.
Won't hurt, neither. Ah hope. He whinnied in frustration. What the hay were you thinkin', ya idyit? You promised her somethin' so buckin' simple...fer Luna's sake, she was cryin' at the end...
He slowed his pace, squinting. Not too far ahead, he spied a miniscule silhouette against the trees. Naw, that couldn't be... "Applebloom?"
The shape in front of him stopped, then turned a perfect ninety degrees and darted into the orchard. Thought so. He set the wheat sprig firmly between his teeth, then broke into a heavy gallop.
Big Macintosh wasn't the swiftest stallion to bear the Apple family name, but he was most certainly faster than a filly the size of an apple basket. The chase took mere seconds.
Applebloom struggled against the hoof pressing her raincoat to the mud. "Lemme go!"
Big Mac sighed. "Applebloom, ah dunno what the hay you were thinkin' goin' out alone in a storm, but let's just-"
"Ah said, lemme go!" she repeated, seething.
"Ain't happ'nin', sis. Now, let's-"
"AH HATE YOU!" she squealed, jerking away as she tried again to loosen her raincoat, "YOU'RE TH' WORST BIG BROTHER IN EQUESTRIA AN' WHEN APPLEJACK GETS BACK AH'M GONNA HEY, PUT ME DOWN!"
Like a mother Manticore handling its cub, Big Mac had grabbed the nape of Applebloom's hood in his mouth and lifted her up. Applebloom continued to thrash like an epileptic mule, furiously attempting to get away from the big brother that had broken his promise of fritters and stories.
"Let's go home," said Big Mac, his voice muffled around the thick layer of plastic in his teeth.
"PUT ME DOWN!" she cried again, throwing her hooves about her, "AH HATE YOU, AN' AH WANNA GET DOWN!"
Big Macintosh turned back towards the Sweet Apple Acres homestead, giving a long, sad sigh as he began to trot. Behind him, lost in the mud when it slipped from his coat, there was a rumbled paper bag.
Applebloom grew still as they neared the door. It wasn't that she'd cooled down, but her incessant struggling and rage filled speech (of which she meant every word) had drained her considerably. She turned her head up to look at her brother, expecting his expression to be identical to last night's. Instead, he looked as he usually did: bored, eyes half-shut as if nothing around him was even remotely interesting (which was often the case). But there was something different, something odd, something just out of her grasp...
She didn't care. She wanted away from him, out of the house, and, most of all, down. Finally, after what felt like much too long, she was in her room. Big Mac dropped her on her bed, took a step back, and, for the third time this morning, sighed.
"Git out," she hissed, crossing her hooves.
"Git out!" she screamed, throwing the first object she got in her hooves at Big Mac.
The pillow bounced off his muzzle. He moved his tongue to shift his wheat sprig before realizing that it was gone. Maybe he dropped it picking her up? Like it mattered.
"Fine," he said, defeated, "Ah'll go. But before ah do, ah've got..." He felt around in his raincoat. Aw, buck it...not that, too...
"Got what?" Her voice was venomously skeptical.
"Nothin'. Nevermind." Maybe ah could go an'...naw, she'd just run off, again.
"Then go ahead and git out!"
He complied, ducking from another pillow as he left and shut the door after him. He turned, trotted down the hall, and froze just before entering his own room.
Big Macintosh swore that he could hear sobbing through the wall. Part of him wanted to turn around, go back, dodge whatever it was she'd throw at him, and tell her that he was sorry, she was still his littlest sister, and that he loved her and wouldn't trade her for all the bits in Equestria. He almost did.
Instead, he trotted into his room and set his raincoat on the door. He then looked through his window, the rain beating its irregular tempo on the glass, and he hated himself.
While hating himself, his mind drifted towards other matters. Such as a specific pink-maned earth pony who was currently sipping a severely under-sugared and stone cold cup of coffee.
Flower smiled obliviously. "So what do you think, Petal?"
Lotus Petal considered suppressing her gag reflex and telling her cyan-maned sister that it was an absolutely heavenly cup of coffee and that she'd absolutely love a second helping.
The thought was entertained for close to a half-second before she leaned over and spat the vile brew down the sink.
Petal righted herself, coughing and wiping her mouth.
"I'll take that as a 'no.'"
Petal nodded, wondering for how long the taste would be burned onto her tongue.
"Well, I'll get some from Sugarcube Corner, then," she said, shrugging, "It's my turn, anyways." She trotted to the door. "The usual?"
They trotted towards each other, meeting about midway between the door and the bakery front counter.
"It's so good to see you!" enthused Lotus Flower, pulling her hood back.
"Even better to see you!" replied Roseluck with an equal level of joy, "By Celestia's sunrise, when was the last time I clapped eyes on that gorgeous mane of yours?"
"At least a month," said Flower, smiling, "How's the shop been?"
"Positively magnificent. And the spa?"
"Great, thank you for asking. How are Daisy and Lily?"
"They're being their usual quaint selves," replied Roseluck with a mocking eyeroll, "And Petal and Blossom?"
"Blossom's fine, but Petal..." Flower glanced around, paranoid that somepony might be eavesdropping.
Flower motioned for Roseluck to lean in, which she did. "Promise not to tell anypony?" whispered Flower.
"Of course not," lied Roseluck.
"Well, you know Big Macintosh? Applejack's older brother?"
"Of course I do. Why, he bought some roses from the shop two days ago. What about him?"
"Do you know who those roses were for?" continued Flower, grinning.
"He didn't say. So who-" Roseluck stopped, and her eyes widened. "Ohhhhh..."
Flower nodded. "Yeah, her."
Roseluck squealed softly. "Oh, that's so adorable! What's Petal doing about it?"
Flower slowly rolled her eyes as she searched for the best way to phrase her response. "She's...she's working with it."
"She's being an awkward spaz, isn't she?"
Flower stifled a laugh, then nodded. "Of course. And remember: you didn't hear any of this from me!"
"Of course not." Roseluck resumed her usual volume level. "We must do lunch sometime soon, Flower."
"I'll find some time in my schedule," she replied, also dropping the whisper, "Take care, Roseluck."
Trotting back into Floral Fantasies, Roseluck was greeted by a mullet-maned earth pony leaning on the wall, humming to himself.
"Oh, I'm terribly sorry," she apologized as she hung up her raincoat, "I was busy getting breakfast. Anyways, how can I help you to brighten somepony's day?"
"Well, can I get a...dozen? Yeah, a dozen flowers, please."
"What kind of flowers?" asked Roseluck as she trotted behind the front desk, "Roses? Lilies? Chrysanthemums?"
He thought for a moment. Did she make that last one up? He then thought some more. "Get me...get me something bright, something happy."
"Nothing in particular?"
"Nope, anything bright and happy would be dandy."
"Well, give me a moment, and I'll be back with the brightest and happiest looking flowers I can find!" She disappeared through the back door.
Caramel looked around. "Not afraid to stretch things out, now is she?" he muttered. With that said, he continued his song from earlier.
A few verses later, Roseluck trotted back in with a dazzling array of twelve stunning yellow irises. "Will this do?"
"It'll do perfectly," he assured, "How much do I owe you?"
"Thirty bits, please!"
Silly me, I should've known that they'd be made of gold. A little deflated, Caramel counted out thirty bits and slid them across the counter. Roseluck pushed the bouquet over to him. "Thanks," he said, sliding the flowers in his jacket.
"It's no problem at all," she replied, "Come again if you ever have any other botanical needs!"
Caramel stepped outside, shielding the flowers from the rain. As he trotted away from Floral Fantasies, he bumped into a certain mint green unicorn and the irises dropped.
Lyra started, stopping the bouquet just before it hit the mud. She then floated it back up and in front of Caramel. "Sorry, I should have-"
"No, no, my fault." He took the flowers, sliding them back in his jacket a tad more securely. "I was thinking about other things."
"Like Cloudkicker?" asked Lyra with a teasing smile.
Caramel blinked, then looked back to Lyra. "Did I say Cloudkick- dang."
Lyra giggled. "She told me a few days ago. I think it's great you two are dating!"
"Funny, so do we."
Lyra giggled again. "Well, tell her I said 'hi.' Speaking of which, where is she?"
"For your answer, please look up."
Lyra did so. "I don't follow..."
"Yeah, I don't really, either. Apparently, though, she's gotta be outside all of today to keep an eye on the storm."
Lyra looked back to Caramel. "Why?"
"Beats me, I'm not a weather pony." He glanced at the pack on Lyra's flank. "Going somewhere?"
"Actually, I am. In fact, I should probably get on my way."
"Well, it's been nice talking to you."
"Same to you." Lyra trotted away from Caramel, subtly picking up her pace. After a few minutes, she found herself at Berry Punch's house. She knocked, and was let in almost immediately.
"Hey, Mrs. Punch, sorry I'm late," apologized Lyra as she trotted in and hung her coat on the wall, "I was just-"
"Oh, no, it's absolutely fine! Now, go on, Ruby's already waiting for you."
Lyra nodded, trotting down the familiar hallway. "Hello, Ruby!" she greeted as she turned the corner into the living room.
"Hi, Ms. Lyra," replied the carnation colored filly, sitting with a lyre in her hooves.
"How's your week been? Have you been practicing?" Lyra began to set up, pulling a chair beside Ruby and unfolding her music stand.
"Yes, and Mommy and Coronet keep telling me how good it sounds!"
Lyra smiled as she pulled out a music book and her own instrument. "I'm sure it sounds wonderful." She turned to the latest dog-eared page in the book. "Let's play, and remember to keep in tempo! One, two, three, four and..."
Lyra checked the clock. "I think that's enough for today, Ruby. Alright, I want you to practice what we did on pages thirty-five and thirty-six, and keep working on your scales. I'll see you next week."
"Bye-bye, Ms. Lyra!"
Lyra grinned as she trotted towards the front door, putting on her raincoat before she stepped out. Trotting home, she stopped and grabbed a sandwich from the Sunflower Sammich Delicatessen, munching on it as she went (shielding it from the rain, of course). She trotted to and entered her house, resting on the couch for a few minutes before somepony knocked.
She set her sandwich down and answered the door. "Oh, hi, Ditzy!"
"Hello!" She handed Lyra a hoof-ful of letters.
"Thanks, Ditzy. Are you flying alright in this weather?"
"Good to hear." She paused. "Say, Ditzy, you haven't been to Bon-Bon's house yet, have you?"
Ditzy shook her head.
"Well, can you wait here for a minute? I have something for her."
"Okay, I'll be right back!" She turned and galloped to her room. She began tearing her desk drawers open, sifting through broken quills, worn-down pencils, and old composition paper she'd never used. Where did I...there!
Opening the bottom most right drawer, she found the unsealed envelope she'd placed there the night before. Levitating it to eye level, she slid out the note inside and smiled.
It wasn't very poetic; Lyra's writing skills had always been confined to musical areas. But one way or another it got out everything she should have told Bon-Bon that night.
Letter in hoof, she galloped back to the front door, hoping that Ditzy hadn't left. Her faith was justified.
"Ditzy, do you..." She took a second to breathe from her galloping. "Do you think you can get this to Bon-Bon for me?"
Ditzy nodded. "You can mount on me!"
"Thanks. Take care, Ditzy."
Ditzy turned and flew onto her next stop, bracing against the downpour. Even with a raincoat, the rain slithered through the smallest gaps in her hood and wing-sleeves, slowly soaking through her fur. It was unpleasant, sure, but she'd been through worse as mailpony.
She landed in front of the next house and knocked. It was quickly answered by a light gray earth pony that bore an oddly striking resemblance to Whooves.
"Good morning, Ditzy!" he exclaimed with a joyful energy, "Or is it afternoon? I can't tell, my clock's broken."
"Oh, when'd it bake?"
"Three years ago. What've you got for me?"
Ditzy reached into her bag and gave him a hoof-ful of letters, which he happily turned and dropped on the floor behind him. "Thanks, Ditzy, I'll make sure to read 'em later. Anyways, I heard Whooves was back in town?"
Ditzy nodded. "I'll troll him you say 'hi.'"
"Uh, actually, could you make it, 'hi, you still owe Lucky a sno-cone?'"
Ditzy blinked, then hesitantly nodded.
"Super. Anyways, I better take a look at this mail. Have a good one, Ditzy!"
"Tame to you!"
Ditzy turned, quickly checking her list. She read off the next name, and put the paper away before the rain left so much as a single streak. She took off, blinking raindrops out of her eyes as she made her way to the next house.
Ditzy knocked, standing patiently for a few moments before the door was opened by a well known, spiky-maned unicorn.
"Wow, thanks, Ditzy!" Vinyl Scratch handled the package like a relic, softly setting it on the hallway table. "I've been waiting weeks for these records. Thanks, again, Ditzy, thanks a whole load."
Ditzy turned and checked her list again. A single raindrop managed to land on it before she could put it away.
She jumped into the air and flew to her next destination, knocking as she landed at the door. A minute passed, and she knocked again. As she raised her hoof for the third time, she was finally answered by a rather bleary-eyed earth pony.
"Oh, hi, Ditzy." Ms. Cheerilee yawned, rubbing her eyes with a hoof as she took her mail with the other. "Sorry to keep you waiting, I just had a late night with some friends."
"What were you stewing?"
The trashcan of empty bottles in the kitchen crossed her mind. "Oh, nothing exciting. Take care, Ditzy!"
"Bye!" As she readied to leave, Ditzy, once again, took out her list.
She sighed, letting a few drops splatter on the paper. Home seemed a dreadfully long way away, and home was the only place where she could read Dinky's letter. Of course, that was assuming Dinky had written. If she hadn't...
Ditzy shook her head. My muffin wouldn't forget.
After what felt like centuries later, Ditzy trotted into her house, water dripping from both the inside and outside of her raincoat. She hung it up and galloped to the dining room table. Like yesterday, she turned up her mailbag and spread its remaining contents over the table. It was larger than it should have been; she must have forgotten some letters in her rush to get home.
Undaunted, she sifted through the whole mess. Whooves trotted in seconds later, silently looking over her shoulder. She stopped.
"Did you find it, love?" he whispered in her ear.
His answer was soft sniffling as Ditzy's head sank to the table, tears streaming from her eyes. He softly nuzzled her cheek. "I'm sorry."
Ditzy didn't reply. Whooves stood there, listening to her cry as he nuzzled her damp cheek. After a heartbreaking few minutes, she spoke.
"I m-miss h-her."
"I know. And she'll be back tomorrow, right?" Whooves put up a smile in an attempt to comfort her.
"R-right," agreed Ditzy, "B-but...she s-said she'd-"
Somepony knocked. Whooves looked up.
"I'll get it." He trotted to the door, opening it to find an absolutely soaking wet earth pony with a plastic bag containing a small envelope clutched in his teeth.
Lucky chucked the bag inside, right next to Whooves. "Good to see you, Whooves! You owe me a sno-cone. And Ditzy accidentally gave me this letter, I thought she might want it."
Whooves slid the letter out of its protective bag, turning it over. On the front, he could see the words:
To Ditzy Doo in Ponyville, from Dinky Doo in Manehattan.
Whooves smiled and looked up. "Lucky, for what you just did, I'll buy you a bloody sno-cone machine. And why in Celestia's name aren't you wearing a raincoat?"
"Well, I was just about to go outside when I thought that this would be the perfect time to take a walk and a shower all at the same time!" Without taking a breath, he continued: "Were you serious about that sno-cone machine?"
Whooves thought for a moment. "Eh, why not? I owe you more than one. Seeya, Lucky, and thanks."
"Seeya, you're welcome, and don't forget about the-!"
"-Machine." Lucky shrugged, did a turn on one hoof and began trotting through the rain, whistling a miserably out of tune melody as he began daydreaming about his future sno-cone machine. He was so absorbed in his rainbow and pina colada flavored fantasies, he failed to notice the rose-maned filly not too far away.
How the hay is he so happy? wondered Applebloom, Ah've got a raincoat, and ah'm-
She jumped. Aw, it's just thunder, ya chicken. It's like that filly in Big Mac's story said, ya can't- She stopped herself. No. Ah don't wanna think about anything from mah lyin', no-good, story-and-fritter-fergettin' big broth-
She yelped as her back hooves slipped in a particularly slick bit of mud, and screamed as one bent in a painfully wrong direction. The scream traveled up and through the window of a nearby building, startling the cyan earth pony inside.
What the hay was that?
Lotus Petal looked outside. The thickly falling rain and the darkness of the cloud cover made it nigh impossible to see anything further than a few yards away. Horse apples.
A moment later, the lightning flashed, and with the brief moment of illumination, Petal managed to spy what appeared to be a fallen filly in the mud. Oh, dear...
She grabbed her raincoat and set some towels on the waiting room couch. Putting her hood up, she galloped outside. Let's see, where was...there she is.
She trotted over, nudging the filly's side. Applebloom recoiled from Petal's touch, pain lancing up her side.
"Are you alright, sweetie?" asked Petal gently.
Applebloom turned her head and looked up, shaking her head. Petal, quietly noting that this filly seemed awfully familiar, continued: "Do you want me to get you out of the rain?"
Ain't like ah got many options. "Ayup."
Big Macintosh jerked awake, a loud rapping echoing through the house. He groaned, swinging himself out of bed and trotting to the door. He opened it, and felt his jaw drop a little.
"I think this is yours," said Petal with an awkward smile, gesturing to the filly beside her.
Big Macintosh turned to his sister. Applebloom looked absolutely miserable, with a thin layer of mud caked on her belly and bandages wrapped over her back right leg. She stared intently at the ground, avoiding her brother's gaze. Big Mac turned back to Petal, smiling slightly.
"Thanks. C'mon in." He stepped to the side. "You, too, sis."
Applebloom trotted in after Petal, limping on her back hoof. She was still making every effort not to look at her brother.
"Make yerself at home." He motioned to the living room. "Lemme just get mah sis to her room."
Petal nodded, her cheeks turning the lightest shade of pink. Big Macintosh turned, nudging his sister up the stairs. "Go on."
Applebloom took off her raincoat and left it on the bottom step as she trotted. Big Mac followed her all the way to her room, letting her open the door.
The first thing Big Mac noticed was the open window, rain dripping through and soaking everything nearby. The second was the bedsheet hanging out the same window, one end hastily wrapped around a bedpost. The scene was almost comically clichéd.
Applebloom pulled herself onto her bed, turning and hanging her head. Big Mac sighed. Ah wish ah had my wheat about now. "Applebloom, ah'm sorry."
She crossed her hooves, stubbornly refusing to look up.
"Ah really am. You shouldn't've tried t'run away like that, but you had a right to be angry with me. Ah shouldn't a' said what ah did." He paused. "Whatcha think, sis? Can ya fergive me?"
Applebloom kept her gaze downwards.
She still didn't say anything, and the silence was becoming agonizing. Finally, she looked up, smiling. "Gimme those fritters and tell me those stories, and we'll call it even."
Big Macintosh blinked, then began laughing softly. "That's a deal, sis. First ah gotta go talk to Petal, then ah'll get you those fritters and tell you as many stories as you want."
"Petal? The mare that got me here, y'mean?"
Applebloom cocked her head to one side. "What're y'all gonna do, kiss?"
Big Mac's heart skipped a beat at the thought. "No."
She shrugged. "Alright. Promise you'll be back with those fritters?"
He nodded as he turned and trotted to the stairs. "Ah promise."
Petal looked up at the sound of the creaking staircase. Okay, he's coming back down. Just stay calm, act natural, don't be a spaz...
"Thanks for bringin' her back." Big Macintosh took a seat next to Lotus Petal, the usual lazy grin on his face.
"Oh, it was no trouble." Petal smiled. No blushing, no stuttering...maybe this'll go well.
"Either way, ah appreciate it." He paused. "Anything ah can do for you? Ah s'pose ah owe ya, now."
She shook her head. "No, you don't have-" Wait. "Actually..."
"I was thinking, maybe..." She took a deep breath, her cheeks beginning to flush. "...Maybe you'd take me to dinner?"
Her eyes shot down as she finished the question, afraid of the response.
"Ah'd like nothin' better," said Big Mac without an iota of hesitation.
Petal blinked, then looked back at Big Macintosh. Her cheeks flushed a deep fuchsia and an ear-to-ear smile broke out on her face. "Seven, tomorrow night?"
He nodded. "Shore. Anyplace ya wanna go?"
"Well, there was this one place I was thinking of, but then there's that new restaurant in the square..."
"Well, we can talk about it tomorrah. After what ah've had goin' on, ah could use a spa day."
Petal smiled. "Then I guess I'll see you, then."
"Eeyup." He got up. "Here, lemme walk you back to the spa. Ah've gotta be someplace anyways."
She stood with him, grabbing her raincoat as he opened the door for her. Such a gentlecolt!
Big Macintosh trotted out from Sugarcube Corner, a brown paper bag tucked securely in his raincoat. On his way home, he passed by a cream-colored earth pony who, in an attempt to calm herself, closed her eyes began breathing slowly, deeply...
...Aw, hay, that's not helping, she thought. Maybe I should...no, Bon-Bon, you're not backing out of this one.
She kept trotting, each step making her even less certain about what she would do. It's been two days. It's not like she'd still be interested.
But there's no harm in trying, right?
Except maybe losing your friendship completely.
It's falling apart as it is.
Her mind continued to wrestle with itself all the way up to Lyra's door. She knocked, and it opened almost immediately. She never answers it this quickly.
"Hi, Bon-Bon!" Lyra seemed ecstatic, yet oddly unsurprised to find Bon-Bon there. "Want to come in?"
"Yes, thank you." Bon-Bon trotted in, hanging her raincoat on the wall. She followed Lyra, who looked to have something of a spring in her step.
"So, what brought you over?" Lyra took a seat on her couch, smiling. Bon-Bon did the same, not smiling.
"Well, first, I wanted to say thanks for getting me home yesterday." She snorted a laugh. "And sorry for ruining our lunch."
Lyra scoffed. "Please, you ruined it? Did you even hear me when I was trying to make that one joke?"
Bon-Bon chuckled, and Lyra joined in. For the first time since that morning three days ago, things felt almost normal between them. It made Bon-Bon wonder if what she came here to do would be worth the risk of screwing it all up again.
Just do it.
"And second..." Bon-Bon sighed. "Lyra, I..."
Bon-Bon paused as Lyra turned sharply. Her eyes were wide, but they didn't look worried or fearful. They seemed almost...hopeful? "Yeah?"
"Lyra...I was thinking yesterday about everything you said. And I decided something."
Both their hearts began to race; one with anticipation, one with nervousness.
"I decided that I don't want things to go back to normal."
Lyra's heart skipped a beat, and for one terrifying second, she thought she was going to scream. Bon-Bon, meanwhile, smiled softly.
"Because I decided something else, too. I decided..." She chuckled. "I like you, too, Lyra."
Lyra blinked. She then threw herself onto Bon-Bon, wrapping her in a hug with force equal to most mechanical vices. Finally, seconds before Bon-Bon would have most likely fainted from oxygen deprivation, Lyra let go with a beaming smile covering her face.
"Then how about our first real date?" She jumped up, speed-trotting to the door and grabbing her raincoat. "Sugarcube Corner? I'll buy." Bon-Bon, wheezing but smiling, nodded as she followed the mint green unicorn. Lyra opened the door, gleefully trotting beside Bon-Bon.
"So what'd you think when you read my letter?" she asked.
Bon-Bon shot Lyra a quizzical look. "What letter?"
Lyra froze in mid-trot.
Bon-Bon stopped beside her. "Why?" she asked, "What was mmph!"
For the second time this week, Lyra found herself spontaneously locking her lips to a shocked Bon-Bon. The sight was enough to turn the head of a certain lavender pegasus flying past on her way home after a long day.
"That's..." muttered Cloudkicker, smiling inwardly, "Actually unsurprising."
She flew to her door, trotting in and tossing her goggles to the side. Glad to be home.
After a hot shower and a thorough drying off, Cloudkicker trotted to her living room, gladly setting herself on a couch that had never felt more comfortable before that moment. She closed her eyes, giving a contented sigh.
Now that's all over with, she thought, I can just kick back, relax, and-
Her eyes shot open as somepony knocked. Or not.
She sighed, sliding off the couch and trotting to the door. Opening it, a bouquet of the twelve brightest flowers she'd ever laid eyes on was pushed in her direction.
"For you," came the muffled voice behind them.
Cloudkicker smiled. "This is a surprise."
"Wouldn't be as fun if it wasn't. Can I come in?"
"Make yourself at home. Here, let me put these in something." She took the flowers, stepping aside as Caramel entered. She trotted into the kitchen as he trotted into the living room, taking a seat on the couch. He took the saddlebag off his flank, setting it on the coffee table. He looked around inquisitively.
Really nice house, he thought. He smirked. Sure make my place look like a pile of-
CRASH. "I'm alright!"
"Need any help?"
"No, I-" CRASH. "Yes."
Caramel chuckled, jumping off the couch and moving to the kitchen.
Ten minutes and a pile of shattered glass later, they trotted back into the living room together. Cloudkicker glanced at the saddlebag on the previously vacant coffee table. "What's in there?"
Caramel smiled. "Well, I figured after a miserable day, you'd want to relax a bit. I figured I'd help." He unbuckled the top, sliding out a still warm tray of iced brownies and a carefully-selected assortment of DVD's.
Cloudkicker blinked, then turned to Caramel.
"And you say?" he asked teasingly.
Cloudkicker's reply consisted of jumping on top of a wide-eyed Caramel and nearly smothering him with a very long and very wet kiss. Finally, she pulled off of him, smiling. "Thank you."
Caramel grinned smugly. "You're welcome."
For the first time in four days, Luna was able to bring about her night over a rather serene and happy Ponyville.
One pony was still up, quietly reading out loud to his sister as she merrily munched away on a bag of apple fritters. Another pony had fallen asleep after being relentlessly interrogated by her sisters as to every detail of what had happened. Another had fallen asleep in her lover's hooves, quietly crying tears of joy with a carefully written letter beside her. Two ponies had fallen asleep thinking of one another, each one happy at the new development between them.
And two ponies had lovingly fallen asleep on each other's shoulders as the television before them painted them in rich, fluorescent light.