Private The Bird and the Axe

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Iron's face flushed a little.  He was honestly not sure about this.  As much as he was grateful, Iron could not shake the intense feeling of being not of the correct 'calibre' to be attending such an event.  He moved a little uneasily under the blanket, staring down at his chocolate have ablaze in the ambience of the crackling fire.


He froze a little as she pulled the duvet tighter and snuggled into him.  What was he supposed to do?  Did he have to say anything?  Iron felt her warmth through his own coat of fur.  Being slightly longer than most other ponies' it was something he seldom felt.  After a moment, he began to settle, sinking a bit deeper into the wonderful cosiness of the blanket.  The mare next to him huddled closer, practically burying herself into his shoulder.


When she pulled away, Iron looked down at her saddened expression.  His mind instantly went racing into a helix of over-reaction.  Shit, I've blown it now.


"Oh no, not at all.  The lads have gone home now, since the gig is over; the boat must have left early this morning.  I'm definitely staying here for a while."  He looked deep into her eyes, feeling his internal stress leave for a moment.  He was definitly still very tense but slowly and surely, the threads sewing his muscles together started to loosen up.  He just kept looking-- looking deep into those eyes, deep as great corridors.  His breath caught. 

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Ebony relaxed considerably when he said he was staying, but her expression remained one of slight sorrow. She stared up into those steely eyes of his, and noted his lack of breath. And his tense muscles. And uneasiness and shakiness when he put his hoof over her and how he froze when she moved closer to him-


Her eyes narrowed slightly as they always did before she started crying; she pulled away from him. Stop it. She closed her eyes and hung her head, letting out a sad but convincing attempt at an awkward laugh. She bit her lip and blinked a couple times, keeping her eyes on the ground, the side of her mouth visible by him turned up into a well-practiced forced smile.


"Sorry." She continued staring at the ground with half-lidded eyes, arguing with herself in her mind. "..I really don't want you to feel nervous around me, I'm sorry that you do. I know royalty scares ponies, but..there's nothing that royal about me to be scared of. There's nothing about me in general to be scared of...There's scarier things out there." She mumbled the last bit to herself, her eyes drifting up to the light of the fire. She looked out the window afterwards, the darkening sky causing the light from the fire to reflect in the window, like a mirror.


Ebony glanced over her shoulder to the darker areas of the room. She shivered slightly to herself and looked back to the fire, but turned her head towards Iron a bit. She opened her mouth to say something, but hesitated and sighed quietly. Her horn lit, the red magic aura lighting her face and eyes as she unlocked the door. The light from her horn faded and she looked back to the fire.


"You can go whenever you want to, I don't want to keep you if you don't want to be here. Especially if you're uncomfortable." She looked up at him and half smiled gently. "You don't need to feel obligated to stay, Iron."

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The stallion could have been a rough mirror-image of the mare next to him.  Oh how he loved being that much socially awkward...  He instantly wanted to throw his forelegs around Ebony just to make it up to her.  But would she just shy away?  Iron yet again began racing through his head, looking for a way out.


No not that kind of way out!  She had opened the door.


He shifted a little, listening to what Ebony had to say.  Something about that smile wasn't quite right.  Perhaps it was the odd light, but he could just about detect enough behind what she was saying.  Ebony really wanted Iron to stay!  He cocked his head slightly, furrowing his brow as he placed a more definite hoof on hers.  He bobbed his head a little, lips curling in. 


"Ebony."  He paused, waiting for her response before turning to face her square-on.  "I am a very nervous colt.  I think perhaps you can relate there.  I'm not at all put off by you, neither am I inclined to leave."  His eyes popped a little, "Un-unless you say so, princess," his manners following.  He laughed quietly to himself, shaking his head.  "I've been brought up in a working-class family.  My father is a factory worker and my mother cleans the local rally-yard.  Monarchy back in Britmane is a lot different.  It means..."  he bit his tongue, visibly trying to get his words out.  "It means I'm more likely to fear than befriend a royal.  We don't have princesses galore who are rather compassionate and have roles.  We just have the royal family, headed by the king himself.  One doesn't simply..."  Again, he paused, desperately trying to communicate the message he wanted to.  "He's an arse basically, and if he ever found out that I said that I'd be trialed for heresey!  I'm just not used to princesses being so,"  he looked down at her dainty, regal, yet not empowering hooves,lingering there as he took a second before gazing back into her eyes, "approachable".


He held her hoof in both of his.  "You're the most beautiful pony I've met.  I- I 'm just not used to meeting and talking and expressing and-and..."  He trailed off.


I cant believe how hard she tried to smile that one off...


Iron made a mental note of her gances back over her shoulder.  He would ask about it a little later.

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One of Ebony's ears went down slightly as she listened to him. She'd heard of the other monarchs, of course, but she never knew they could be that bad. She looked down at her hoof when he did, and frowned slightly. Nothing about her was very regal, not to her anyway. Hell, she didn't feel that approachable either.


She looked back up at him at the word "beautiful". She stared into his eyes after he trailed off, then blinked slowly after a few seconds. She recoiled slightly in surprise at the feeling of something wet running down her cheeks. She blinked again, now in confusion, and gently pulled her hoof away from his. She brought it to her cheek, then up to her eye. She made a quiet little "oh" sound.


Tears. She was crying.


Ebony scowled. Why was she crying? She didn't feel sad.


Did she?


The tears escaping her eyes proved her wrong, almost seeming to mock her slightly as they fell from her face. She closed her eyes and turned her head to the side, her mane creating a curtain between them and hiding her from him. Her head hung and she hunched her shoulders slightly, biting down on her lower lip to keep quiet.


"I'm sorry," she breathed out. A single, quiet sob escaped from her. She mentally slapped herself immediately after, shrinking away from him a bit.

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Iron certainly was not expecting this sort of reaction.  Or was he?  Somewhere in the back of his head, something clicked.  Iron's face dropped a little, seeing the pony before him remove herself from him and scoot over to the side.  Iron felt utterly gutted.  His mind seemed to give up in that second, leaving him at wits end.


The tears on her fur came as a surprise to him too, filling him with regret.  Was what he said wrong in any way?  It was no time for that, though.  Iron needed to do something and fast.  Maybe not too fast...

The stallion remained quiet for a while, allowing himself to consolidate his feelings in order to aid in helping hers.  He placed a hoof on her back gently, giving his best approachable smile.  Ever so gently, he brought Ebony's head towards him, taking care not to handle her aggressively in anyway.  He was in constant fear that she might pull away and become even more upset.  But what kind of stallion would he be just to let somepony cry infront of him in their own abode?


With his head now fairly close to Ebony's he brough his brow down into her cheek, gently wrapping his forleg around her tighter.  Having gently nuzzled her for a moment, he whispered, "There's nothing to apologise for, Ebony.  Now come here, you."  Iron pulled the mare into his warm withers (thanks to the lovely fire).  Making the necessary adjustments to the blanket to keep the both of them covered, Iron squeezed the mare gently.  He took his other hoof (resting his weight on his wrist) and gently rubbed her ears, pulling the pony into his plush-like chest.

"Shh now.  It's ok.  I'm sorry too."  Iron closed his eyes, focusing on the mare in his limbs.  Never before had he felt so... driven... to comfort another like this.  He felt as if it was some duty that he had been given before birth.  Whatever it was... Just hold her.   Hold the damn pony.


Iron kept Ebony close, closer than what seemed equinely possibly to the stallion.  His furry withers engulfed the mare's head in a warm, fluffy and soft pillow of support.  If pillar were required, Iron would gladly provide them. 


He kept her face burried deep, gently encouraging her to dry her tears in his coat.  Iron's face did not show any signs of sorrow or hurt, but only of pure duty.  It was a day of new feelings for him, it seemed.


Iron held the pony until she had calmed down a little, bringing her chin up ever so slightly as he brought his own down, gently nuzzling the damp cheeks of a princess.  He kept this going for a while before gently cooing, "There's no shame in being emotional, Ebony.  It's only me."  He paused for a moment.  "Do you think you could tell me what made you cry?"

Edited by Ballistic456

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