Rainbow Dash blasted across the sky, a deafening prismatic boom following in her wake.
Tears leaked from her eyes, from more than just the effort. How could Fluttershy say such things? That stuff couldn’t happen! She wanted to fly back and kick Fluttershy’s quivery yellow butt, and at the same time her bones were chilled with an unspeakable terror. If that was true, her life was over—yet she had a foal to protect, it couldn’t ever be just about Rainbow Dash anymore.
Dash could feel herself pushing harder and harder, speed accelerating impossibly, and she harshly reminded herself to slow down and watch. To spot Big Macintosh, to spot Applejack out here would give the lie to Fluttershy’s claims. For that matter, Braeburn—damn Braeburn! That maddening hunk of stallion. Things in Appleloosa should have stayed in Appleloosa, but no, he apparently had to come out to Ponyville and work that other side of the fence he was so happy to say he’d jump for a pretty tail… it had seemed so cool and radical and awesome until it got personal, until it involved family…
Rainbow Dash looked ahead, and the trees on the prairie weren’t all the same. A pony searching the ground might not think to look, certainly wouldn’t be on the scene in time to see, but a pony rocketing across the treetops at Rainbow Dash speed could be just in time to spot something completely unexpected.
She could spot a cowpony rump, and a dangling tail, clambering up into one of the trees where no earth pony should be able to go. She could even spot a large red spot, cutie mark of a pony who packed a big tasty juice-squirting treat and just loved to share it with all the mares—whether expert or amateur.
Rainbow Dash gritted her teeth. She began to scream, a pegasus battle cry, as she gathered her pegasus magic that let her smash through the sound barrier without injury, the magic that formed a spear-head and split off into chromatic rings and trails, and she arched up high over the prairie, and she shrieked her wordless song of destruction as her target mushroomed in her vision and she accelerated brutally and smashed directly down into the tree, becoming a ball of raw velocity magic and temporarily losing her physical form in the impact, her rainboom encasing her in incandescent energy for just a bare instant.
The tree fucking exploded—as Rainbow Dash knew it would. She was stunned briefly by the crash but shook her head, fighting to clear it, looking around. She saw a staggering form, his vest askew, his russet mane and cowpony hat smouldering. He was just as dazed as she was, but he was still trying to get away.
Rainbow Dash squealed, all her pent-up feelings venting themselves in one cathartic burst—and she leapt and tackled him physically, bowling him over and pinning him, spread-eagled, to the ground.
His jaw fell open as he stared into the ruby eyes of Doom.
“B… Bluebird?” he stammered, wide-eyed.
“You’ve got some explaining to do, Braeburn,” gritted Rainbow Dash.
Braeburn licked his lips, blinking rapidly.
“And don’t even fucking think of making up some story! This is serious!” she snarled.
His eyes flew wide again.
“Aw, Bluebird, ah would never! Darlin, I saw you comin’ and I thunk maybe you wanted to do it again like we done that first time, the first an’ only time I might add, and that’s a damned shame with such a lovely pony lady. Ah swear I ain’t been thinkin’ of nopony else all this time. Now some might say you’re a mite rough but I say, allowances for enthusiasm and that enthusiasm, darlin’, is shared, let me tell you…”
Dash shook her head, her ears laid back in exasperation. “No! Cut the bullshit, Braeburn, that’s not what I’m here for!”
He gasped. “Bullshit? What? You forgot! How kin you forget the happiest night of my life, dear lil’ Bluebird of sticky happiness that haunts my dreams…”
“Big Macintosh!” yelled Rainbow Dash, and Braeburn froze just for an instant.
“Ain’t familiar with that name, Bluebird,” he said, and his eyes were grim behind the smile. “The hell you talkin’ about?”
“You can’t just run off with innocent ponies, Braeburn! Just because ponies like you and me are a little on the awesome radical side…”
Something clicked, and his gaze was smouldering and sensuous again, just like that. “You’re tellin’ me! Fly down an’ explode for me again. Ah liked it. Think I’m foolin’?”
He did pelvic thrusts. Dash squeaked, for she felt his erection beginning to grow against her belly. Braeburn would hump a cactus if it winked at him right, he was incorrigible and she knew that danger and provocation turned him on like no other pony… like almost no other pony, admitted Dash.
She glowered at him, though the frank interest buoyed her spirits. “Cut it out. This is serious.”
“Define serious,” retorted the cowpony stallion, his gaze fierce and untamed. “This here ain’t serious? Seem like you was impressed once!”
He flinched, then, for Rainbow Dash grimaced and punched the ground beside him with a forehoof. Then, he was staring into those ruby eyes again, inches from his.
“I don’t know what you think happened,” said Rainbow Dash. “I don’t care what’s been happening between you and Big Macintosh. You might say I sympathize with you more than anypony, though I have a friend named Flight Lightning who could argue with that. I’m not mad at Big Macintosh but we’ve got to bring him home, back to his family, and it’s important—both for us, and for him.”
Braeburn’s eyes had gone cold and his mouth was tight. “Keep talkin’. Let’s hear it. Go on.”
“So you admit you ran off with Big Macintosh!”
“I ain’t admittin’ shit, Bluebird. That ain’t a name to me, I don’t know no Big Macintosh. I want to know why you kicked my tail in so hard, that’s all.”
Rainbow Dash gathered her thoughts. “Okay, that’s nopony you know, huh? Try this on for size. I know a very nice pony, who’s had some trouble with mares before. Let’s say he meets a stallion, a real sexy and free-thinking stallion who can really show him a good time. Let’s say his family struggles to deal with this stuff, they’re not laid back about such things like a decent pegasus ought to be and they give him a hard time about it…”
“Too long of a story,” complained Braeburn. “Let’s fuck. You know I’m jes’ that kind of a stud-horse, don’tcha? Have a heart.”
“Oh, no you don’t,” said Dash. “Listen! This family, they upset the pony I’m talking about, and he runs off, because he’s not really that experienced, and it hurts him really bad that they turned on him…”
That got through. Braeburn stayed tight-lipped and rebellious, but something in his eyes showed pain. Dash saw it.
“Oh, yeah. It hurt him really bad. He might have cried, I don’t know. He might,” said Dash, “have even run away to someone he loved, believing he had nowhere else to go.”
“Don’t know who you’re talkin’ about,” said Braeburn. “Maybe you could rub your belly on me a lil’ bit? You know I ain’t good for but one thing, and time’s a wastin’.”
“Oh, no you don’t. I’m onto you!”
“Naw,” said Braeburn with a twinkle, “not yet you ain’t. Not prop’ly you ain’t. Now, scoot forward a lil’ and lower that sweet cooch and Ah can be into you in a jiffy, an’ then you’ll be onto me. Wouldn’t that be nice? It’s been so long, darlin’!”
“Don’t darling me,” snapped Dash, forcing herself not to smile. “You’re trying to be a huge slut-pony on purpose to weasel out of talking to me! Do you know how I know that? Huh?”
Braeburn stopped trying to rub his cock against her tits and belly. “What’s this here? All right, how, Bluebird? And Ah am offended on your behalf, that you could imply I wouldn’t be th’ hugest slut-pony in all Equestria for that fine lil’ blue…”
Dash cut him off. “Because I’d do the same thing. It’s not gonna work, Braeburn. I’m onto you. I know what you did, and you can’t run anymore, and I’m gonna tell you why—because I was the same way.”
Rainbow Dash could feel that Braeburn’s determined attempt at a hard-on was flagging. The wild cowpony heartbreaker had one major weapon, but she was steadily disarming him of that weapon. Rainbow pressed on, holding her body clear of his undercarriage even as he squirmed and tried to distract her with sex.
“So there’s the runaway pony, right, and the other pony. And the runaway pony was real sweet and loved that other pony, and you know what? Maybe this other pony loved him back. I know, sounds crazy, huh?” said Rainbow. “Maybe they were planning to run away and live a wild, awesome life. But something tells me it wasn’t that simple…”
Braeburn wouldn’t even speak, anymore. He glared, his eyes troubled.
“Maybe the other pony tried really hard to make things okay for this pony, this runaway pony. Maybe he gave him all the love he could, not just lots of great sex but you know, cuddles and campfires and romantic evenings. And all the while, he would see in this other pony’s eyes the hurt, so much hurt. And he couldn’t help. Because the other pony had lost something that couldn’t be replaced—his family. And some of us didn’t have that. We look at that stuff and wonder where we fit in. We can’t really understand what they have, and we’re confused and freaked out when they lose it and act like the world’s totally ended. It’s like these ponies, they have this incredible foundation that we don’t have. And we cover it up with awesomeness and sex and stuff, but we can be lonely too…”
Braeburn was trembling. Rainbow wouldn’t stop.
“And that’s why I understand how this other pony must have felt. I think he wanted to start being a family for that first sweet pony, to not be so lonely anymore, and he reached out to try to love him. And I think it must have hurt when it wasn’t enough, when that first pony still hurt and cried at night…”
“That’ll do, Bluebird,” muttered Braeburn.
“…and when his love couldn’t replace what that pony had lost…”
“Ah said, that’ll DO!” roared Braeburn. His eyes burned. “Git off me! Ah don’t know any of these ponies and don’t care to, take your stories and to hell with ‘em!”
“Shut up! Listen,” demanded Dash. “The solution is very simple.”
“Oh, y’think so? Go be hated and scorned, that’s good. That’s very simple, thank ya kindly, Bluebird…”
“No!” snapped Dash. “Listen! We’re fixing it. We’re on his side too. Do you understand, Braeburn? Look at me. You know me. Do you honestly see me as one of those jerk ponies treating Bi… treating this runaway pony like he’s bad and wrong?”
That stopped Braeburn in his tracks. He paused, and then he said, “Keep talkin’.”
“Dude,” said Dash. “I don’t care if he’s gay. I kinda think he’s like you and works both ways, because he fucked the hell out of me one time and I even got a foal from it…”
Braeburn winced, and muttered, “…damn hair-trigger pegasus pussies…”
“Nothin’. Keep talkin’!”
Dash went for broke. “Big Macintosh is miserable. Don’t even argue, I know it’s true. We have to bring him back home, but it can’t be like before. It can’t EVER be like before, because he’s changed, whether he knows it or not. He’s cut loose, he can’t ever look at Granny Smith and think she has the same kind of power over him that she once had, because he’s taken that step for his own independence. But his family loves him. They really do, Braeburn. Some of them have to be taught. They’re just gonna have to deal with it. They’re miserable too, with things this way. He’s got to come home as a new pony and let them learn who he is all over again. I realize it’s hard, but it’s the right thing for him.”
Braeburn swallowed. “Supposin’ this other pony don’t want to lose that runaway pony you talked about? Y’ever consider that, Bluebird? What if the other pony never saw such a sweet flower of pony tenderness? Some blooms come from strange places.”
Rainbow Dash smirked. “You love him more than me! Cool.” Something about the situation, straddling and mastering a wild cowpony stallion every bit as radical and awesome as herself, grounded her. She smiled down at Braeburn, once more content in her own skin, feeling confident and ready to deliver the coup de grace, finally back as the star of her own personal movie.
“Hey! Ain’t but what you might call hypothetical,” insisted Braeburn. “An’ you ain’t answered my question!”
“Yeah, that’s the other hard part,” admitted Rainbow. “I think the other pony needs to come join the family too, because all this just shows how lonely he must be. It’s not so hard, really. Heck, I did it, and you know me!”
Braeburn’s jaw dropped. Hastily, Rainbow explained herself, filling in the details.
“Maybe this other pony’s even got, like, a whole other awesome family he could have, of terrific amazing ponies. Maybe he could have just all kinds of family? With me in it, so you know it’s gotta be pretty awesome, right? Family that understands him for what he is. Like that runaway pony’s family can learn to understand him for what HE is.”
Rainbow Dash gazed down with some concern at Braeburn. The cowpony’s brain seemed to have shorted out. He’d even quit making the teasing pelvic thrusts that he’d been determinedly making the entire time.
“You okay, there, Braeburn? Here, you forgot to be naughty, now I’m worried I broke you. How’s this?” Rainbow lowered her hips, and sensuously rubbed her pony tits against Braeburn’s forgotten and withdrawn erection in a helpful way. “Does that help remind you who you’re talking to? I shouldn’t do more, though, I think Applejack would be mad at me.”
Braeburn gulped. His eyes were very wide. “Aw, Bluebird. You gone crazy or somethin’? What are you tryin’ to say here?”
“We need you,” said Dash. “We need Big Macintosh back, but not alone. You obviously mean a lot to him, and I know a couple other ponies who are super lonely and they need you too. And we can totally deal with you being just who you are. I mean, I would know, okay? Remember that night? Out by the campfire? Two outrageous slut-ponies going after each other? It was brutal!”
Braeburn began to smile. “Y’ teased me so bad, Bluebird…”
“And I flew up into a tree and winked at you from up there,” grinned Dash. “I liked what I saw, bigtime, so I tried to work you into a frenzy. I’m pretty sure I dripped on you, even. I tried to!”
“Aw yeah,” smiled Braeburn. “You sure did, you vixen. Nectar of th’ gods. You’re seein’ Applejack now? Were you datin’ her back then?”
“I totally wanted to!” said Dash. “Maybe that was part of why I was so worked up. All those romantic runs in the woods…”
“Sure,” said Braeburn indulgently. “Guess I got the benefit of all that. Ah’ll never forget the look on your face when I climbed up that tree after ya.”
“How can you even do that?” laughed Dash. “That’s crazy!”
“Ah’m full of surprises.”
“Oh yeah,” smiled Dash. “I’ll never forget holding onto the tree trunk, with you balancing on some branches behind me, your forelegs around me. Do you know how hard it was to not kick out when that thing started to slide in?”
Braeburn grinned. “Ya shook like a leaf, Bluebird. Ah’ll never forget them noises you made, ever. You near fell out of th’ tree! We had to stop and go back to th’ ground. You still needed th’ tree, though. We put your back up to it!”
“I never did it like that!” squeaked Rainbow, happily. “It was so awkward at first but you said you knew what you were doing. Where did you learn how to do it that way?”
Braeburn smiled, wickedly. “Well, now, all you got to do is lift the mare up. Lil’ cutie like you, light like a pegasus, ain’t no thing. Belly to belly means them wings is clear even if they go as stiff as they did go, Bluebird. And they did, ‘cos I saw that plain. You just lift the lucky mare up, back her against the tree, and lower her gently onto a Big. Ole. Hook.” He licked his lips.
“It’s not a hook shape, though,” objected Dash. “It’s like a… a bomb of penis! Brutal!”
“You weren’t complainin’. No, hang on, there was a couple times when you was all cryin’ out, stop, no, I can’t. That was me gettin’ up to speed, with your back braced against that tree. Uhh… should I have done? Stopped, I mean? I thought stoppin’ weren’t what you really wanted, to be honest.”
Rainbow’s eyes popped. “What? No! Oh Celestia no. I’d have killed you. What I meant was, I thought I was gonna die from heart failure. Didn’t you notice the kicking and writhing and screaming and stuff? My body tried to crush your dick with clenches, but it couldn’t. How could it? I oozed a puddle, remember? You dropped me in it and I smacked you with a hoof when I woke up. It got in my feathers. Never spooge on the wings!”
“Fair enough. That puddle wasn’t all pussy juice, Bluebird, so I accept th’ reprimand. I thought you wouldn’t notice, on account of y’all screamed and fainted jes’ before I was done. Hope I din’t leave you too sore in there, ‘cos that’s a concern, Bluebird, with me. Damndest thing, I never saw a pair of wings bristle out that way. Was it from rubbin’ against th’ bark of the tree? I was tryin’ not to do that, ‘cos of, well, you know.”
“You held me up,” purred Dash, her eyes half-lidded and sultry. “Even while you came in me, you held me so nicely.” She fluttered her wings, never dropping her gaze.
“Course ah did,” crooned Braeburn fondly. “And I know not to touch them feathers. Didn’t need to, either. You was clenchin’ and comin’ to beat th’ band even as you passed out. Sweet Celestia, Bluebird, you are fine! I’m not sure you was awake to notice, but darlin’, I went off like a cannon. Want you to know that. Proper flooded that sexy blue body with pony come.” He licked his lips, waggling his eyebrows.
Rainbow smiled at him. “Good. Now go and get Big Macintosh, and we’ll head back to Ponyville.”
The smile dropped off Braeburn’s face like a switch had been thrown. “What?”
“Well, I just proved that I’m the same Rainbow I ever was, right? So come on. Family’s awesome, dude. I thought my new family was all screwed up, but now I’m gonna fight to straighten it out, and you should help. You and your new family can all help, they’re pegasuses like me!”
Braeburn looked stunned again, and then laughed. “Aw! Now that you put it that way, how kin I resist? I surrender, Bluebird. Jes’ one thing?”
“Yeah?” blinked Dash.
“Rematch,” purred Braeburn seductively. “After the way we been talkin’, how can you not? For old time’s sake. Nopony’s gotta know. You’ve brought it all back to me, Bluebird. Please honor me with your delicious favors… an’ flavors… an’ feels.”
Rainbow Dash gazed fondly at him, still straddling him intimately. “Nope.”
Braeburn’s eyes widened. “Beg your pardon?”
“I could say no way, not a chance, but you might not understand why I’m saying it,” said Rainbow. “I told you all that to remind you that I’m like you, not so that I could get frisky with you. Let me tell you what I think would happen if I did. You think you’re gonna give me a hug, some fondling, get playful, tease me—hoof between my legs, get me excited, then the next thing you know, I’m crosseyed with horny and want to fuck—then, you get on me and give me that totally awesome cock, and after a lot of screaming and thrashing and losing my pony mind I pass out like I did that other time. You’ll go to any length to make me faint from coming too much, even worse than you did before. I remember how good you were and you might not have been trying your hardest. I’m pretty responsive, dude, it’s a serious risk combining Rainbow Dash with a stallion that good in the sack. Passing out is, like, totally a thing.”
Braeburn’s ears were quirked to the side. “Ah don’t understand why this would be a BAD…”
“And then you’re gonna run away.”
Braeburn stared, speechless.
“Right?” said Dash. “With Big Macintosh.”
“You’re not the only one who can use sexual awesomeness as a weapon, dude,” said Dash smugly. “I needed to make Pinkie Pie take a nap once. She was trying to make forty cakes. It’s a long story.”
She smiled at him. Braeburn gulped. “An’ if I can’t persuade you to enjoy a lil’ recreatin’…”
“Then you can’t leave me unconscious, and I can and will follow you and Big Macintosh anywhere you can go. I can fly, remember? I know you would never hurt me, you’ve never lifted a hoof to anypony. You can’t take me out with sex if I don’t let you start on me. So, you have to let me talk to Big Macintosh and tell him what we’re trying to do for him.”
Braeburn just stared up at her. His ears were splayed to the side in chagrin and perplexity. Then, he heaved a big, resigned sigh.
“You gotta let me up, Bluebird.”
“You can’t get away! I can fly really fast!”
“No,” said Braeburn gravely. “It ain’t that. I have a signal to give. Then we shall see what we shall see.”
Warily, Rainbow rolled off him, watching his every move. Braeburn rolled over, stood up, shook the dirt off. He stood for a moment as if in reverence, and then he walked slowly, an eye on Rainbow Dash, over to some nearby trees. There, he hopped in the air, and seemingly danced on the earth, drumming the sod with a deft pattern of twinkling hoofbeats Rainbow recognized as steps from one of his Wild West dances. Not Mild West, either. This was one of the late-night dances, when sweating cowponies really shook their tails.
Five feet from where Braeburn danced, earth fountained into the air. Soil churned, and a familiar red pony head appeared, digging out of the ground with astonishing dexterity. Big Macintosh seemed to burst from the earth as if fired from a spring, his powerful body making light of the dirt-digging, and he flung himself at Braeburn with a curious little squeak of delight, only to freeze in his tracks as he spotted, past his cowpony lover, Rainbow Dash sitting and watching.
Braeburn turned, and there was both a tear and a twinkle in his eye. “Ah go up when trouble strikes—but Princess here is jes’ great at going down!”
Dash snorted with laughter in spite of herself, at the innuendo. Her giggle ran out of steam real fast, though, as she watched Big Macintosh. His expression crumbled, and the hurt of embarrassment was just the beginning, for he looked at Braeburn and anger would have been easier to bear than that horrible, crushing look of betrayal and loss…
“Whoa,” said Rainbow Dash. “Hey. Big Macintosh. Hey! Hear me out, okay?”
Big Macintosh didn’t listen to her. He simply rushed over to Braeburn, and seized him like some long-lost doll, wrapping the tough cowpony up in a frantic clinging embrace and bursting into silent, miserable tears.
Braeburn hugged back, awkwardly, though he struggled to breathe at the same time. “Hhh! Princ! ess! Easy there!”
“No!” sobbed Big Macintosh, the deep voice incongruous with the forlorn and fillyish look on his face.
“I ain’t goin’ anywheres, Princess,” said Braeburn, “so how about you hear th’ little blue pony out? Come on. Fer me?”
Big Macintosh looked up into Braeburn’s face, and Braeburn gave him a tender little kiss on the lips, his own eyes glistening. “You don’t even know what she’s gonna say, twinklehooves. Be brave. Would I betray you?”
Big Macintosh glanced over at Rainbow in a panicky way, his face so vulnerable. She sat quietly, hoping not to blow it.
“Talk to her, Rainbow Dash,” said Braeburn.
Dash blinked. “Seriously?” she blurted. “Her? I mean, is that how we should be…”
Braeburn cut her off with a sharp look. “Well, Ah hear YOU grow a dick, so how about makin’ a few allowances, Mister Dash?”
Rainbow’s eyes were wide. “Uh, yeah. Got me there. Totally. Wow…”
“Ah cain’t go back,” whimpered Big Macintosh.
“Easy now, Princess,” soothed Braeburn, holding him close.
Big Macintosh struggled. “They can’t have me!”
“No, listen, Big Macintosh, listen!” cried Dash. “It’s not like that at all! We’re not gonna try and change you, we’re totally not.”
He was struggling, but it seemed halfhearted, as if despair was preying on him so heavily that he hadn’t the energy to fight it off. Then, he shoved Braeburn away, and collapsed on the ground, curling up in a huge red ball.
“Gon’ be a FAKE stallion, can’t bear it, Ah should jes’ die,” he blurted. He covered his head with his hooves.
Rainbow Dash and Braeburn exchanged a glance, and both dove to comfort the massive red pony.
“Aw, now, Princess, ain’t so. You’re the realest pony I ever met,” soothed Braeburn.
Dash didn’t bat an eyelash at this, she just joined in. “We miss you, Big Macintosh, everypony misses you, that’s why I had to come and find you. We’re all out trying to find you and bring you home!”
A tearful stallion eye blinked. “All?”
“Um,” said Dash, “certainly me and Applejack. Didn’t you know your sister would try to find you? And I bet Apple Bloom would search for you if she could. It’s not her fault that she’s too little to do that.”
Big Macintosh looked at her for another moment, and then buried his face in his hooves again. “I ain’t leavin’ him. Ain’t leavin’ Braeburn. Oh, Celestia, I lost everythin’ but I can’t bear to leave him, so just you go away, Rainbow Dash…”
Braeburn swallowed, and shook Big Macintosh’s shoulder. When that got no response, he did it again. Finally, his Princess looked up at him, to see a quavery smile, wide and too-bright eyes, a cowpony biting his bottom lip in sheer anxiety and trying to speak.
“Th… That’s…” began Braeburn, and bit his lip again. Rainbow Dash held her breath, and Big Macintosh gazed into his lover’s eyes, entranced and startled.
“That’s why Ah’m… comin’ with you,” said Braeburn, shaking.
Big Macintosh’s eyes were huge. “But they won’t let you. They won’t let you, Braeburn.”
“Ah think we ain’t quite alone no more, Princess. Somepony’s gonna fight for us so’s we can be together.”
“But who would defy Granny Smith for m…”
Big Macintosh slowly turned, as if seeing Rainbow Dash for the first time. She stood, wings erect from the stallions’ romantic talk, a crazy grin growing and growing on her little face, and she started to think up a suitably impressive Dashian remark that fit the situation. It had to be perfect. She cleared her throat.
“Who else but the awesome, and intensely fuckable, Rainbow D… OOF!”
Rainbow gasped for breath, unexpectedly tackled by a stallion twice her size and swept into an impetuous, childish hug that nearly squeezed the life out of her. She flailed a forehoof helplessly. Big Macintosh was sobbing, shaking, crushing her in his forelegs in transports of gratitude. Dash’s eyes rolled back in her head a bit, since she’d rarely been pounced so aggressively, and Mac stank of sweaty male horse, and the way his forelegs wrapped around her and crushed her to his powerful chest also happened to crush her w…
Braeburn hauled on Big Macintosh’s hooves, shifting his grip, and Rainbow’s wing was no longer squished boldly against her by Macintosh’s powerful equine limb. It sprang free, quiveringly erect, but was no longer being handled.
Rainbow panted. “Th… thanks!”
“There y’ go, Bluebird. He ain’t done ya, did he?”
She shook her head, feeling Big Macintosh tremble. “Nah. I’m not quite that responsive, Braeburn, he’s not trying to make me horny and he’s not trying to get me pregnant so this time he hasn’t done my wings in quite that way. Pretty close! Wow! Actually did you know that wasn’t his fault at all? It was Applejack the whole time. From earlier that morning, and boy did she mean it.” She hugged Big Macintosh back, nuzzling under his chin. “I never thought such a horrible mess could have led to something so wonderful.”
Big Macintosh was beginning to get a grip again. He wept, gazing helplessly at Dash and Braeburn in turn. “How ya gonna convince Granny? She hates me. Apple Bloom don’t wanna hear it, Applejack’s all upset and it’s prob’ly my fault…”
Rainbow Dash beeped his nose with a hoof. “Leave that to me.”
“What do Ah even do, Rainbow? Ah don’t even know where to begin.”
“I think first you trust me. Both of you, okay? It’s gonna be weird. I have to bring you to Ponyville and make Granny deal with it, and I gotta talk to Flight Lightning bigtime. She’s a true pegasus like me, she’s not going to try to get between y… um, actually she just might but not in a bad way, okay? She… Whoa. Wow. Okay, now I think I’m actually envious…”
Big Macintosh looked at Braeburn, who was blushing and who muttered, “Lil’ Bluebird here, she tells me I’ll have more family on m’ side than jes’ you and her. Does that upset you, Princess? Ain’t sure what to think, m’self.”
“Braeburn?” said Big Macintosh gently. “What ya sayin’?”
“Uhh… I kinda did what you done, once. I got on a sweet pegasus filly and there was what you might call a lil’ accident.”
Braeburn couldn’t meet Big Macintosh’s eyes, and the huge red stallion considered things, unblinking, taking in his gay lover’s anxiety and shame with a deep, soulful stare. He bent his head slightly, and he kissed Braeburn on the side of his face, since Braeburn wouldn’t turn to meet him.
“Ah know the kind,” rumbled Big Macintosh softly, releasing Dash. “Braeburn? Don’t fret, Braeburn. Ah kin help you. I know how that works.”
Braeburn’s eyes peered sideways at his Princess. “Y’ ain’t mad?”
“Who’s your most special somepony?” replied Big Macintosh sternly.
Braeburn looked around frantically, blushing scarlet. His eyes caught Rainbow Dash’s, and they begged forgiveness. They lifted to the sky, and all the time, Big Macintosh patiently waited, unperturbed.
“Dammit,” said Braeburn. “Don’t you hurt nopony with it! Ain’t fair to make a stallion say such things!”
“The truth, y’mean?” said Big Macintosh.
Braeburn stamped the ground, in exasperation. “Fine!” He turned to Big Macintosh, and Rainbow Dash was startled to see the eternal slutpony’s lip quivering. “Fine! Ah love you, Princess. Cain’t help it. I want to be your world. You are my breakfast, lunch an’ dinner, and all other ponies is jes’ dessert.” He glanced at Rainbow Dash, his ears back. “No offense, but… dammit! Dammit, Princess…”
Dash snickered. She reared and gave Braeburn a little hug. “I’m a specially awesome dessert. Full of whipped cream. Or churned butter? Whatever. Take it easy, I have my own special somepony, remember? Oh, and I have Pinkie, I guess. She’s kind of paired off too, though. Gosh. How’d all that happen?”
“Ah don’t know, Bluebird,” said Braeburn. “I din’t reckon it would happen to me. What am I gonna tell Lil’ Bird? I ain’t even seen the lil’ pumpkin-seed she squirted out!”
Dash’s jaw dropped. “Squirted out? Really? Are you fucking kidding me? Dude!”
Big Macintosh ignored her, his eyes only on Braeburn. “Will you stay with me?”
“Always,” said Braeburn. “Always.”
Big Macintosh nuzzled him. “Don’t worry. Ah love a whole mess o’ ponies. Is it so different from what you do?”
“Y’mean, fuckin’ a whole mess of pretty tails?” blinked Braeburn.
Big Macintosh frowned. “Maybe this is actually gon’ be good for you, Braeburn. You shouldn’t love jes’ only me. You shouldn’t not love th’ ponies you fuck! Ah wondered about that. Ain’t you got no tender feelin’s for them other ponies you make happy?”
Braeburn looked vulnerable, off balance. “Uhh… honey, Princess, I din’t reckon on fallin’ in love with you neither. Ah know the prairie winds howl emptier these days, but ain’t that just the way it is? Y’know, when you get old an’ tired an’ alone?”
Big Macintosh glanced somberly over to Rainbow Dash, who was practically tying herself in knots trying not to jump into the conversation, and then back at Braeburn. “You ain’t gonna be alone no more, Braeburn. I guess we’re gonna bring you home.”
“Okay, I give up!” squeaked Dash. “Why don’t you have a pet name for him? Braeburn has pet names for everypony and everything! His one for you is really cute, but why don’t you have a special name for him? Or… oh horseapples, is it just that you won’t say it in front of me? I’m sorry!”
Big Macintosh shook his head. “Naw.” His eyes softened. “There ain’t no name in all Equestria as perty as ‘Braeburn’. You’re a silly pony to think any different.”
Rainbow’s jaw dropped again. She stared at Braeburn. He was blushing dreadfully, but he looked so happy. “O-kay,” she said. “Braeburn it is…”
“Course it is,” said Big Macintosh.
“Are you sure you’re okay with this?” said Braeburn. “Cos I’m scared shitless, pardon mah fancy. Lil’ Bird’s a sweet lil’ pegasus but she been scarin’ me, I don’t even know what she expects, and this kid? Kin you imagine what a cross between me and such a pushy pegasus would be like? Is it a colt or a filly? Hell, I don’t even know that!”
Rainbow Dash blinked. “Uhhh… actually, that’s a really interesting question and I’m not sure she knows either.”
Braeburn moaned. “Is it too late to head for th’ horizon?”
“Nothin’ doin’,” said Big Macintosh. He glanced at Dash. “Do I know th’ tyke?”
“Of course! Maybe you don’t know her mom. The mare’s Flight Lightning. The kid’s Scootaloo, you know her! Braeburn sired Scootaloo.”
Big Macintosh’s eyes widened. “Oh! Figures.” He nodded. “Ayep. Ah see it.”
Braeburn kicked at the dirt. “What’s so damn funny?”
“You’ll see,” chuckled Big Macintosh.
Rainbow grinned. Big Macintosh seemed to have forgotten his fear of facing Granny, and was rapidly returning to his old familiar self as he thought about the Ponyville ponies he knew so well. He was smiling a little smile, as if some basic part of his world had fallen back in place. Rainbow realized she was smiling as well. Having Braeburn around was a dose of awesome and radical you didn’t generally get as a pony mom, much less a pony mom trying to fit into a very traditional earth pony family. She felt more like herself than she had in months.
“Trust us,” said Rainbow Dash, “and come on, we should start heading back to Ponyville. It’s getting dark. I’m hoping Applejack made it home safely. That’s got to be where she is by now. I know she didn’t find you, and I haven’t seen her anywhere out here.”
The three ponies began walking back from Appleloosa, Braeburn peering over his shoulder at the empty prairie behind, searching it, hunting with his eyes for something like freedom or pride or victory.
But the only thing left out there was emptiness and the lonely wind.
Braeburn turned his head back, and trotted to catch up with his beloved, and with the adorable sexy pegasus whose company he deeply enjoyed, and the wind howled all the lonelier without him.
“What’s wrong?” asked Dash.
Braeburn’s ears were alert, scanning to and fro. “We’re bein’ hunted.”
“What?” cried Big Macintosh, alarmed.
“Ssh!” hissed Braeburn. “Ah’ll protect ya.”
“Me too,” proclaimed Dash. “I can totally do that! Did I tell you that I fought a dragon?”
“You did?” said Braebrun. “When was that, Bluebird?”
“Well, I say fought, I sort of offered to fuck her and then she let me go…”
Braeburn’s ears were splayed out in horror. “Dang! Y’all ought to be more careful. Not sure even Ah would try that. Um. Well.” He blinked, shook himself. “That’s as may be, but right now, you hush. Ah want to stalk this critter, and ain’t neither of you prepared to do that like I kin.”
“Oh yeah?” said Dash, but then hesitated, staring down Braeburn’s cocky gaze. “Er—yeah, okay, knock yourself out.”
“Lay low,” ordered Braeburn, and slunk into the tall grass like a snake, not making a sound.
Dash looked around. The area was a dense thicket of grass and foliage on the outskirts of Mareheim, at least halfway to Ponyville, and night was falling. She felt eyes watching her from everywhere, but could see none of them. Big Macintosh trembled, spooked by the growing darkness of the evening.
Rainbow oofed, as Big Macintosh clutched her. A ripple in the grass that could have been the night breeze had turned and headed straight for them…
“Bluebird?” whispered Braeburn, emerging. “Might need your help here.”
Dash pushed aside Big Macintosh’s clinging hooves, her ears alert. “Sure. Yeah. To do what? You got it.”
“That thing’s more wary than Ah expected. I’mma be over by that tree. You cut around th’ back way, drive it to me, all right? Ah reckon it’s out takin’ cover in that ravine.”
Bushes rustled. Braeburn’s eyes narrowed. “There it go again. When we ain’t lookin’ it sneaks up. Come on, Bluebird.”
A strange light lit up Rainbow’s ruby eyes, and she grinned madly and crept off like a cat, barely stirring the grass. The effect was ruined by her wings sticking up. Braeburn snorted quietly with laughter and vanished into the foliage again, and all was quiet.
Big Macintosh sat alone against a tree, his ears laid back in terror.
He whimpered faintly, glancing to and fro, eyes wide. Not even an insect stirred. Then, he heard a faint rustling. No, it was two different sources of rustling. The one was furtive and ominous, like a snake or some poisonous spider crawling through the grass, and the other was larger and also had quivering blue feathers sticking up. Rainbow Dash clearly found her job exciting. Big Macintosh could just barely see her dainty wingtips as she crept around behind the scary thing…
Dash began to creep back toward Big Macintosh. Not toward Braeburn, wherever he was. Big Macintosh stared in horror, as the unexplained stirring in the grass turned and began to approach him.
Dash stamped the ground. The mysterious presence froze. Dash moved closer, and Big Macintosh held his breath.
Then, there was a faint motion to the right of both Dash and the thing, so delicate that it could have been a passing breeze. Yet, still, the thing seemed to notice. It pivoted, unseen except for the motion of the grass stalks, and then without warning it began to sprint directly towards Big Macintosh, as both Dash and the hidden Braeburn charged.
Big Macintosh screamed like a filly as the unseen threat plunged toward him. The grass and underbrush churned, a cowpony hat flying into the air only to dangle from a shrub, and Big Macintosh cowered against the tree as fierce eyes came into view…
Scootaloo plunged out of the long grass, only to be seized by the tail and swung into the air by a triumphant Braeburn. He reared, holding her clear of the ground, and she screeched in outrage and began pounding the crap out of his stallionly chest with her hooves, dangling upside-down. The high-pitched shrieking became intelligible words.
“LET ME GO! I’m on a quest! To save my Dad from a horrible monster that’s killing everypony! You fucking idiot, stupid head, it’ll kill you too! Let me go right now or I’ll fuckin’ kick all your teeth in! I’ll rip your stinking head off! Then I’ll poo down your neck, then I’ll totally kill you even more, let me GOOO!”
Rainbow Dash galloped up, and screeched to a halt, staring in astonishment. Scootaloo saw her, and her anger doubled.
“Rainbow Dash!” she yelled, outraged. “What are you doing running around with cute horses when you’re supposed to be RESCUING my DA…”
Scootaloo froze. She stared up between her legs at the handsome stallion who had her by the tail. She squinted at the chest she’d been pummeling. She sniffed at it, taking in the unbathed cowpony perfume of the prairie, remembering a scent picked up off her mom’s dock and croup. Her eyes widened more than they ever had in her whole entire life.
“DAD!” shrieked Scootaloo, and seized Braeburn in an upside-down embrace, her forelegs hugging his chest and her hind legs wrapping around his neck.
Braeburn looked stunned. His jaw dropped, and Scootaloo’s tail fell free. She didn’t let go.
“Is this…” he managed.
“This is,” confirmed Rainbow Dash. “Hey! Kid! Let go before you choke the poor guy!”
“No!” squeaked Scootaloo.
“Okay, how about, let go so he can look at your face for a change?”
Braeburn’s eyes were wide, and his chin was high as he desperately tried to avoid staring down at what was apparently his own foal’s business end. Scootaloo suddenly realized her position, and her face went from orange to scarlet. She let go hastily, and her tiny wings weren’t up to speed for it, and she fell on her head. “Ow!”
“Aw, shit, did it break?” stammered Braeburn, shying away from the sprawled pile of pegasus filly. Scootaloo thrashed and regained her hooves, and the next moment she’d flung herself at Braeburn again, wrapping forelegs around his neck and hugging him manically.
“No way! Never!” she cried. “Not broken! Aw yeah. I saved you! You gotta come home where it’s safe!”
“Rainbow, is this a colt or a filly? I swear Ah was scared to look and right now Ah don’t dare ta guess,” said Braeburn, gulping.
Dash smirked. “I told you, that’s a tricky question. This is Scootaloo. She’s all yours. Her mom’s pretty awesome too, but you knew that already.”
Big Macintosh gulped. “Um, Rainbow… what’s up with that?” He gestured nervously with a hoof. Scootaloo’s wings were rigidly erect as she hugged her long-lost other Dad.
Dash gave Big Macintosh a very sharp look. “Watch it. You’re not a pegasus. Be nice and don’t say anything later, okay? It’s not what you think. Sometimes when we’re very excited and pleased… put it this way, I don’t blame her. Oh, and don’t touch or I’ll seriously kick your head in, she’s really vulnerable right now.”
Big Macintosh nodded, dutifully.
Braeburn looked down at the clinging orange pony, noticing the wild little mane, the cuts and scratches from underbrush, the supple form of an adolescent filly, the blazing eyes and little mouth going a mile a minute.
“We have to get you back to town ‘cos there’s this wild griffin killing ponies and it got Big Macintosh and Applejack except it didn’t get Big Macintosh ‘cos that’s him over there and they caught Gilda but it can’t be Gilda because we were gonna ask Gilda to help us find the real one…”
Dash had gone still. “Whoa… whoa, Scootaloo, what’s this? What did you say about Applejack?”
Scootaloo turned her head. Her eyes were exultant but glistened with tears from the battle of strong emotions. “They say the wild griffin ate her! I’m sorry, Rainbow Dash, I would have saved her too if I found her! I did the best I could!”
Dash’s ears were laid back flat against her head. “Slow the fuck down. Who said this? How do you know? What wild griffin?”
“Fluttershy came and told you about the wild griffin, and you screamed and flew off! I had to come and help when I found out they got Gilda by mistake!”
“Ponies did! Twilight Sparkle and Trixie got her! She was all tied up in this mask and stuff!”
Rainbow Dash stared at nothing for a moment, her face mirroring the chaos of her feelings, and then turned back to Scootaloo. “But kid, Gilda is the one Fluttershy got all bent out of shape about! Gilda IS the wild griffin they’re talking about!”
Scootaloo blinked. “She is?”
“Who got her?” demanded Dash. “Tied up? Twilight got her? Define ‘got’! What happened to Gilda?”
Scootaloo stammered, still hugging Braeburn. “I saw Trixie and Twilight with her! It looked like they were gonna capture her and put her in a dungeon. What do you mean, Gilda’s the one? How can she have killed Big Macintosh when he’s right there? How could she have hurt Applejack?”
Dash held still a moment, and then unexpectedly laughed. “Maybe she’ll enjoy Trixie’s hospitality! Hoo boy. I wish I could watch! For your information, kid, they have it all wrong. She’s dating Applejack, and they’re real close, get me? I don’t know what’s going on, but she would never hurt Applejack. What’s more, I’m sure she’s safe with Twilight Sparkle. Except she might end up some kind of science experiment! I wish I could watch that too. Wow. Good times! I think Twilight’s… imaginative.”
Dash licked her lips and waggled her eyebrows. Scootaloo glowered at her on general principles, and then the worried look crept back.
“So do you mean… that everything’s going to be okay?”
Rainbow Dash grinned at her little friend and fan, and at Braeburn, and over at Big Macintosh for good measure. “Everything’s going to be totally okay. Gilda’s in good hooves. Applejack’s probably home by now,” she added, an ear twitching subconsciously as she went on into assumptions she hadn’t tested, “and we’ll straighten out Granny Smith, don’t you worry. Scootaloo, let’s get you home to your mom.”
With that, the small group of ponies began to amble toward home in Ponyville, unhurriedly. There seemed to be no reason to hurry. Big Macintosh hung back, fretful, but Braeburn’s loving gaze called him on, and on he came.
“Pssst!” whispered Dash, to Scootaloo. She made wing-lowering gestures. Scootaloo squeaked in alarm, and went red in the face as she tried to do likewise, and Rainbow Dash looked tactfully away with a wry little smile.
Braeburn didn’t seem worried by that, but all the same he looked worried. He’d fetched his hat from the stray shrub it had landed on, but he kept shifting it around with a forehoof, and his eyes were anxious. Finally, he spoke in a low tone to Scootaloo, whose little ear perked eagerly to hear him.
“Ah… hope you don’t mind, that I been known to um… hop on your mom and go to town?”
Rainbow Dash guffawed, and both Braeburn and Scootaloo gave her an offended look. She smirked back. “Talk about the one pony least entitled to complain about that!”
Scootaloo ignored her. “Huh? What are you talking about?” She blushed and nuzzled up at his neck. “Dad?”
“Er,” said Braeburn. “Ah mean… Ah don’t know much about how you are, lil’ scaper, an’ I would hate to offend yer sensibilities, but on th’ other hand if I’m gonna spend a lotta time with y’all, Ah would hope that…”
“What are you saying?” whined Scootaloo. “Spit it out, Dad!”
Braeburn gulped. “Here I ain’t even sure how grown-up a pony you are or nothin’, and I… Aw, hell. Scootaloo, kin I have sex with your Mom?”
He looked down at Scootaloo. She grinned up at him.
“Fuck her senseless! She’s way nicer when you do.”
Braeburn’s jaw dropped, and then he grinned back and ruffled her mane with a hoof. She giggled, and trotted along beside him, and both father and daughter’s hooves lifted high with ebullient good spirits.
Scootaloo glanced back up at him, in sudden alarm.
“Can you not ever tell my Mom that I said that, though?”
Braeburn blinked in startlement, and then gave his filly an even more earnest smile.
“Ah reckon your secret’s safe with me… Lil’ Scaper.”
The little group ambled off into the night, unhurriedly.