Nothing&NoOne

Private The Bird and the Axe

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//Don't you worry. I was running out of ideas anyway XD//

 

Ebony stared outside, the snow fall reflecting in her eyes. The winding street lights were lit, the snowflakes fluttering through the light. It really was beautiful.

 

She looked over at Iron when he started speaking and smiled. "It is very pretty." She frowned only slightly at his comment about getting home; surely she could easily arrange something. She opened her mouth to say something, but he stepped in first with his offer.

 

The schoolfilly in her brain almost died from d'awwwness.

 

"Walk me home?" She repeated, leaning towards him as well. She blushed again and looked into his eyes. "I'd hate to impose, but..that'd be delightful." She flicked her mane away from her eye and smiled.

 

Had it been anypony else that had asked her, she most likely would've declined politely. She even ditched Cutter sometimes and walked back to the castle by herself.

 

However, she was greatly enjoying Iron's company, and he seemed to be enjoying her company too.

 

And the thought of walking with him through the snow on such a beautiful evening...

Her smile turned into a small grin.

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"Well then," he mused, "lets finish up here and get the hell home!"  Iron finished off his tea, mouth stinging at the piping hot beverage.  He took one last look outside to check the conditions.  Yes, still the same as before: tonnes of bloody snow. 

 

Rising to his hooves, Iron gave a quick stretch of his limbs before heading towards the door, internally gaping with amusement.  He was pulling!  He was wooing!  He was attracting!  He was inches from hitting his head again!  Iron ducked in the nick of time from the wall ornament just a few feet fom their table.  It was an intersting little thing, but Bass paid it no heed.

 

He then turned to the princess, offering a hoof (why not?) for her to take up.  After all, he had not the faintest idea where the castle was!  He could see it from the streets, but navigating there would be a different cuttle of fish.  He smiled back, both out of politeness and pure ecstasy.

 

---

 

"Hey-oop, Bassy-boy!"  The resounding voice of the Hayslayer chimed from the corrior leading out from the sitting area where Iron was sat reading a rather uninteresting gossip magazine.  The guitarist made a rather charasmatic entrance through the simple wooden doorway, giving a little shimmy as he stepped in.

 

Looking up from his magazine, Iron said, "Hey, Biff.  You all clear, mate?"

 

"Yeah, doctor says I'm clean as a whisle.  Though I'm pretty sure something's up in there, itches like hell."  He looked down his body as he spoke.

 

"You just need to shower for once!"  Iron joked, gaining the usual banter face as a reaction from the pony. 

 

It was yet another trip so the clinic to see whether Biff's latest marefriend was as clean as she claimed to be.  It was a laughing stock for the band and one of great shame from his parents, but it never seemed to phase the guitarist.  Of course, he was no heart-breaker.  Biff just never seemed capable of settling with one pony for more than two months or so.  Luckily, he was one for the less innocent type and made sure he kept it that way.  It was for this, that Iron respected him (even though Biff had tried something brash back at the last gig in Caerfilly).  Not because he was a loose as a slipknot, but because he knew who to start on and when to stop.

 

The two filed out of the clinic, depositing the magazine in the tray by the door before hitting the streets of Bridle.  The litte town was common of west Britmane, being both grey and remaniscent of an industrial past.  For this, Bass liked it here, but he always dreamt of more.  Perhaps, if things took off, they would be in Hayfair before long, living it up like true rock stars.

 

But for now, the stallions ignored the colourless sights of the town and hurried back to Barney's house.  There they would be informed of their next gig.

 

Canterlot.

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Ebony smiled and took his hoof, stepping away from the table. She called "thank you" towards the counter, getting a muffled "you're welcome" followed by the sound of something falling to the ground, then laughter.

 

Her horn lit as she pulled the door open, the chill and cold instantly gripping onto her, the icy breeze winding it's way through her mane, making her shiver. She stepped out into the street, away from the warmth of the cafe, and stood, half waiting for Iron, half taking in the surroundings.

 

She looked into the sky. It was black, apart from the seemingly endless spotted pattern the snowflakes were falling in. And heavy pattern, for that matter. Standing still for a few moments had already flecked her with white snow, sparkling slightly in the blurry yellow lights that were the spiraled street lights.

 

Ebony's eyes stayed fixed on the sky, her eyes widened slightly, trying to take in as much of the sight as she could. It was all so quiet and beautiful. She flinched suddenly as a snowflake fluttered down and landed on the ends of her eye lashes. She bowed her head, blinking a few times, laughing quietly to herself. She shook herself, partially from the emotions running through her mind, and partially from the cold that was creeping it's way towards her core. She half smiled, despite herself.

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The stallion looked quizically back at the counter, but he decided it was best to leave it.  Iron caught up with Ebony, stopping by the door beside her.  He too gave a quick look around, remarking the way in which the sky seemed to crumble piece by piece as the little specks fell left, right and centre.  Come to think of it, some of those specks were in fact, blobs!  The street was filling up quickly with inches of cystalline whiteness.  It was hard to think that these streets would have actually been tarmac and cobblestone mere hours ago.  That was what amazed Iron the most.

 

Ok, maybe not.

 

For Iron dared a gaze rightward, right into the form of the sparkling, giggling Princess Nightingale of Canterlot.  This was not the first time he had been drawn to her, but by jove was it the first time he had actually found himself falling in love with the very sight of her.  He stood there transfixed.  His eyes opened to levels unkown to him, drinking in the delicate form of the snowy mare.  She appeared even more divine than before.  Right there, Iron silently pledged an oath to whatever was listening to his mind that would obediently serve and cater for the mare's every need and desire.  Iron let himself be consumed by love, falling into its deep, cushiony abyss with little but the icy breeze to stop him.

 

The little noise just sealed it.  Something went tug in his chest and Iron gave a quiet gulp. 

 

"She's cold"

 

Iron reacted instantly, pulling his jacket (despite its lack of insulating properties) over Ebony's shoulders, taking care to keep his hoof in contact with her for as long as possible.  With a hoof still between her shoulders, Iron moved a little closer.  His face was still frozen in an almost uneasy expression.  He gazed at her with longing, naiive eyes, only just managing to crack a smile as his head lowered towards her's.

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(edited)

Ebony's eyes trailed along the road. Untouched snow was building up, giving no hint that there was road underneath it. She breathed out through her mouth, her warm breath billowing infront of her in the cold air. Her ears perked up as something was laid across her shoulders. She turned her head and saw Iron's jacket, feeling the dwindling heat weakly breaking through the cold veil around her.

 

She felt his hoof between her shoulders, and she looked up.

 

A little "oh" sound escaped from her lips.

 

She gazed up at the stallion that was inches away from her. Something sparked in her mind the moment her eyes stared into his. There was something about his touch and expression that just..drew her in. Her eyes softened as she felt something bloom in her chest, like a flower unravelling it's petals to bask in the sunshine; she'd never felt that before. She didn't know this was a feeling you could get, but she somehow knew that it was love. It had to be. The look in his eyes-

 

And that's when she realized she was staring. Though, frankly, she didn't care. When he lowered his head, hers tilted very slightly and raised towards his. His smile brought out a smile in her, and she raised her front hoof, lightly touching his leg that wasn't on her shoulder. Her mind sparked again, this time from memories being plucked to the surface.

 

~

 

The stallion removed his helmet and sat next to the filly on the ground. "I need to get you to Canterlot..will you come with me?"

The filly on the ground continued staring at the figures infront of her.

The stallion put his hoof on her shoulder and gently pulled her so she was facing him. She stared up into his eyes, her gaze reflecting his. He pulled her into his other front leg and hugged her to him, letting her latch onto him.

"I've got you."

 

~

 

Ebony blinked once, still staring into Iron's silver eyes. It reminded her of the comfort that Cutter had given her, but it seemed far stronger. She didn't know what feelings were coursing through his system, but she could feel them coursing through hers. Before she had time to relish in the warmth of the love she felt for this stallion, a metaphorical tidal wave of emotion hit her. It contained everything; happiness, joy, love, adoration, sadness, sorrow, despair, longing-...she recoiled from the wave, her eyes reflecting the inward strike it made on her.

 

Her gaze turned almost pleading as she realized exactly what it was; it was like the comfort her father had given her. That sense that even if everything was crumbling and collapsing, it'd all be ok. That she could fall back, and he'd catch her. But she'd lost that sense. She'd had nothing to fall back onto except Cutter, and even he couldn't always catch her. Staring into Iron's eyes, she wanted to catch him if he fell. And as selfish as she felt for it, she didn't want to fall again either. She had that sense ripped away from her, and she didin't want to lose it again.

 

She didn't want to lose him.

 

"Oh, god.."

 

She closed her eyes and hugged him suddenly, the force of it rocking them both a little bit. She wrapped her front leg around his, the side of her head (that wasn't hidden by her mane, which was also conveniently hiding the rosy hue that was burning on her cheeks) against his warm chest, and the front of her slightly shivering frame against him. She didn't pull away, nor did she apologize (an inward battle on it's own).

 

"...You're so warm." She mumbled into his chest, opening her eyes halfway.

 

She was harshly scolding herself in her mind, but she was choosing to ignore it.

 

She pulled her head back (though she was still holding onto him and gently pressing herself against him) and looked up at him, giving him an apologetic and timid smile and a look that said "I'll let go if you want me to".

Edited by Princess Nightingale

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It was enough to send a buzz of something questionably rational through his form.  Iron practically froze in place as the tenderness of Ebony's form pressed against his.  At once, Iron felt the rush of emptiness, followed swiftly by the most delightful sensation of the princess' head against his chest.  His heart gave a whoop, the mare's presence fulfilling its desire to just be close to her. 

 

Bass managed to move his hoof on her shoulders a little bit, gently holding her head against him.  He let his other hoof be held; the point of contact seeming to exist as the centre of the multiverse for all eternity.  He did not squeeze her hoof, he just let them be together, without force.

 

After what seemed several eternities of pure revalation and togetherness, Iron felt his newest spark of life move.  He looked down into her eyes, those eyes which had drawn him in and now asked something of him.  He saw the question.  'Was this ok?'

 

He aswered the only way he knew how.

 

With one delicate movement, finding his way under the mare's mane, Iron placed a light, tender kiss on Ebony's lips.

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(edited)

Ebony's eyes widened slightly when Iron's lips met hers, her heart skipping a beat (or 2..). She tensed for a second before melting into the kiss, her eyes closing as she gently kissed him back. Apart from the snowfall, everything was completely still. It seemed completely still. As far as she was concerned, the only thing that currently existed was her and the tall stallion infront of her.

 

The chill found her again, forcing her to shiver (despite her best (and somewhat distracted) efforts to hold it in) and she slowly pulled away from the kiss, opening her eyes again to look into Iron's. She smiled up at him, the emotion in her eyes showing where words would fail to express. The icy breeze wound it's way through her mane, like a bird dodging between tightly woven branches in a tangle of trees, making her flinch slightly. She moved closer to him, her front leg still wrapped around his, and leaned the side of her head on his chest again, nuzzling it slowlly,

 

She huddled against him, half smiling. "Do you mind if we continue on?" She looked up at him, hesitating a bit nervously with the next part of her scentence; "I do love your warmth," which she emphisized by pressing against him a bit more, "but I feel bad about keeping your jacket from you... Aren't you cold at all?"

 

If the warmth flooding through her chest and mind could keep her warm physically, (which still, to her slight annoyance, was keeping her cheeks rosy) she'd never be cold again. Physically and mentally. She subconsciously squeezed his leg.

 

(( "You're so cold, keep your hand in mine.."

;) ))

Edited by Princess Nightingale

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The feeling lasted for only a few short seconds, but it was enough to send sporadic waves through Iron's chest.  The whole time, the stallion focused further and further onto the off-black mare at his lips.  There was no passion, just simple and straight affection.  The excitement filled his cheeks before spreading into a smile.

 

Ebony's words made him melt a little more from within with each syllabel she uttered.  He found his gaze slipping into her own, cascading reams of ribbon over his heart before the ends tied together in what was the strongest love-knot to have ever graced the earth.  He kept her by his side, relishing in her warm (yet ever chilling) head against his chest.  The strands of mane that occasionally followed in the wake of the wind made the most delicate of patterns, each small movement caressing his lean form.

He hugged her closer, hoof now back between her shoulders.  He sighed a little.  "I'll be fine.  Come on, Princess.  Lets get you home, eh?"  Oh how Iron lied.  He was freezing his arse off.  He dared not show it, feeling compelled to keep this other pony warm.  Any way, it seemed only manners (even more so for royalty).

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Ebony nodded against his chest, leading him down the familiar route from the streets of Canterlot back to the castle, staying close to his side the whole time.

 

 

Cutter fixed the cloak over his armor, keeping it tight against him. He levitated the lamp off the ground and opened the large double doors that led out to the palace gardens, then walked through to the gate that led to the main entrance. He trudged through the snow that was piling up on the road, raising the lamp up as he looked around. He stopped and peered through the snow at the figure making it's way towards him. He shook his head to himself. No, too tall to be-... He took a few steps forward, making out another figure against the taller one. "..Ebony?"

 

Ebony looked up from Iron's chest. "Yes, I'm here. Calm down." She called back, bringing Iron to the front of the castle with her.

 

Cutter sighed. "I was just going to start looking for you, are you alright?" He noted the jacked on her back and glanced up at Iron.

 

She smirked at him. "I'm fine. Cold, but fine. How are you?"
 

He gave her an annoyed look. "I'm fine. Come inside, Princess. I have a fire going in your room." He turned back towards the garden gate.

 

Ebony watched him go instead of following straight away. She gently pulled away from Iron, and her horn lit as she lifted the jacket from her back and onto his. "Thank you." She smiled up at him, but it faltered. She looked to the city roads, then to the sky. The snow was still falling heavily, the large flakes speckling them both from standing still. She looked back up at Iron. "Forgive my boldness, but...I don't think the snow is going to let up anytime soon, and.." She lifted her hoof and touched his leg gently. "..you're cold. You could stay here tonight, if you wish..though I do insist on it, I don't want you freezing out here." She half smiled, pulling her hoof away again.

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It was that funny little guardspony again.

 

Iron watched the two exchange words silently and curiously.  It was evident that an apology or reasoning was due.  It crept over Iron's face with icy fingers, the fact that he had been escorting and romanticising with none other than royalty.  He tried a smile at the guard, only to watch his eyes flick away again.

 

The offer appealed greatly to the stallion as he shuffled his jacket back on.  His face seized a little at the choice that faced him.  What would be the polite thing to do?  Iron looked up at the glestening towers of Canterlot Castle, tracing the battlements with equally icy irises.  His gaze then fell back to the twilight coated mare who awaited his response.  He coughed as best he could, rasing a hoof and stalling for time as his mind raced.

 

Would it be too much to- How long would- Where are- She didn't- How in the- Perhaps... you should?

 

Iron met Ebony's eyes, speaking clearly.  "I would love to, Ebony, honestly.  But-"  He stops to wince a little at his lack of usable words.  "I don't think many would be too accepting of me just waltzing into this place.  You're a princess and I'm... well I'm not from this place at all!"  He smiled in spite of his dilema.  "I've had a most wonderful evening with you anyway, Ebony.  Truly, I have never been so gallantly struck by somepony as you.  Thank you very much, but it would feel like I'm over-staying my welcome."

 

Oh how Iron wanted to join Ebony for... whatever there was to join in with inside the walls of the mighty structure.  But surely it would be rude to simply take advantage of the moment and enter?  Or was it rude to decline the kind offer?  Oh Iron, what are you doing?

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(edited)

Ebony giggled. "Well, I'll have to track you down at a later date then." She winked at him, then looked over her shoulder to look at Cutter. He was looking up into the sky, and at the castle. "And I'll show you around the castle one day..remind me." She partially grinned at him.

 

Cutter looked to Ebony and sighed. She hadn't moved an inch. "Ebony, please. I have to get back to my post soon. And I need to talk to you about something." He gave her a stern look. She hadn't been acting properly, nor had she stayed in her proper posture.

 

Ebony turned her head and looked at him. "Alfred, I shan't respond unless you refer to me as Princess or Miss. Honestly, it's not so hard." She gave him a similar stern look, but she was smirking. She turned back to Iron and laughed under her breath, then looked back up at him.

 

Cutter's head, eyelids, and ears drooped in a heavily annoyed fasion. For the love of Celestia.. He straightened up again and grumbled to himself. He kicked at the snow covering his hooves and looked back to the castle.

 

"Anyway..I had a lovely time, Iron. Thank you." She smiled at him sweetly. "Really. I'd love to go out again, if it's alright with you." She looked back to the street. "I trust you know your way back, but..just continue down this road for a bit, then go the way you need to. As long as the castle is behind you, you should be alright." She smirked jokingly and lightly touched his leg again. She bit her lip in thought, then looked back at Cutter, whos attention was still on the castle. She smiled mischievously and her horn lit. She slowly undid the strings on his cloak, then tugged it off him.

 

Cutter got jerked back a few inches. "Ebony, what the hell are you-" His sentence was inturruped when the cloak smacked him in the face, and he pushed it away with his own magic.

 

Ebony levitated the cloak over Iron and draped it over his back, bringing the strings to his chest. "He'll forgive me, don't worry. I'll get him another one." She half smiled as the light from her horn faded. She took the strings gently between her teeth and fastened them that way, nuzzling his chest inconspicuously as she did so. "Goodnight, Iron." She pulled back and smiled warmly again, then bowed her head. She turned and walked to Cutter, giving him a half apologetic half smirking smile.

 

Cutter shook his head at her, then glanced at Iron again. He held eyecontact for a few seconds before pulling Ebony through the garden gates, closing them gently behind him.

Edited by Princess Nightingale

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"That would be marvellous, princess."  Iron smiled back, glad that his point of view was understood.

 

Now it was time for him to be overcome.  Ebony's well-placed movements and inconspicuous nuzzling made Iron feel like it was something that his mother would have once prohibited him from, but was getting ot anyway.  This only made him love it more.  He would have felt sorry for Cutter, seeing as Ebony pretty much had full control over him at this point in time, but the steely stallion was rapidly losing his cool to the heat of the mare's ears against his chest.

 

When she pulled away and gave that flawless little smile, Iron felt the camera in his mind's eye flicker.  That image would be forever imprinted into his soul; in sepia tone of course.  He was unable to return the gesture as well, his hooves frozen to the icy ground.  He shuddered out of something.

 

"Go-odnight~"

 

Then she turned and trotted away.  The guardspony regarded him.  Iron returned it.  He tried an apologetic smile but it was too late.  Bass would have to repay him for all this bother one day. 

 

After watching the two figures disappear, the stallion trotted backwards out of the small avenue as if it would be some sort of insult to turn his back on the castle.  It was something in the air, surely.  It was that time of year again.  It was Hearth's Warming... Was it not just that.

 

//Timeskip?//

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//Yessir. Wall of text, awaaay//

 

Cutter opened the castle door, and they both trotted inside. They walked in silence until they got to Ebony's room, where they both stopped outside the door. He opened his mouth to speak, but noted the snowflakes in her mane that had refused to melt away. He sighed and opened the door, walking in and stepping out of the way so she could enter afterwards. His horn lit as he shut the door and slowly unwrapped the scarf from her neck, setting it down on her dresser, his magical aura shifting to his helmet afterwards.

 

Ebony trotted over to the fireplace. A small fire was crackling and snapping away, serving as the only point of warmth and light in the room. She shivered and sat a few feet infront of it, enjoying the warm glow it cast on her as she stared into the glowing embers.

 

Cutter set his helmet down on her dresser as well. "Princess-"

 

She closed her eyes and cut him off. "Alfred, please don't ruin my good mood with a lecture. You told me I could do as I wished tonight."

 

He waited a few seconds. "That isn't what I was going to say."

 

She turned her head and looked at him, her shadow long against the floor.

 

Cutter took a few steps towards her. "I was going to say that you sang very well today. I talked to Celestia, and a few other guards. Everyone really enjoyed it." He stopped when she gave him a half smile, but continued. "I was also going to ask how your night with that stallion was." He closed his eyes, expecting a backlash of how he was "too overprotective". He had good intentions, despite his outward attitude; he just wanted to make sure she was well taken care of. He had his own doubts, especially because she'd only spoken to him, or anypony for that matter, after a year or two. But she seemed in a good state.

 

Ebony smiled gently and turned back to the fire, lowering herself fully onto the floor, lying on her side. She crossed one of her front legs over the other and rested her head on them, her gaze returning back to the fire. "It was delightful." She mused quietly, blinking slowly. Her eyes reopened halfway and she brought her tail around her back legs, her body making a crescent shape on the floor.

 

Cutter opened his eyes again, a bit dumbfounded by her response. "I'm..very glad." He nodded to himself and turned back to her dresser, levitating his helmet to his side. "I should probably go do my rounds before I go to bed. Do you need anything, Princess?" He turned back to her after he put his helmet back on. He walked over to her when she didin't reply, and his eyes softened. She was breathing lightly, and she was fast asleep.

 

His horn lit as he levitated a blanket from her bed and layed it across her. He gently brushed her mane away from her eye with his hoof, and he sighed quietly. "You really shouldn't hide behind your mane." He murmured. He kept his gaze on her for a few seconds, then trotted back to the door, openeing it and closing it silently behind him, leaving the dark mare to sleep in the crackling glow of the fire.

 

~~~

 

"Art thou ready?"

 

Ebony looked over at Princess Luna. Her horn was lit, and she was looking expectantly at her. She looked around and saw Princess Celestia, Cutter and a few of the other Unicorns looking at her as well. Celestia gave her a small smile.

 

She blinked. "Oh. Yes, my apologies." Ebony's horn lit also, and they all turned back to the large tree that was towering in the center of the castle foyer. Celestia and Luna spread their wings, the aura from their horns casting a string of glowing light of the corresponding colours. Ebony, Cutter, and the other Unicorns did the same, and started trotting around the tree in different patterns as Luna as Celestia flew around it and to the top. They touched horns and a large ball of blue and yellow light positioned itself on the top of the tree. The flew back down afterwards, and they all stopped and turned their gaze to the tree.

 

Celestia smiled. "It's perfect." She looked down at Luna, who smiled up at her.

 

Each of the ponies around it had cast a modified light spell on the tree, letting the orbs of magic settle and glow on the branches, the act replacing what would've been ordinary strings of lights. The ponies around the tree each had different coloured magic auras; Celestia had yellow, Luna had blue, Cutter had turquoise, Ebony had red, and the other unicorns had green, purple, and pink.

 

Each of them smiled and mubled similar things.

 

"Ebony?"

 

She turned her head and saw Cutter smirking at her. "You're very out of it today. Are you alright?"

 

Celestia closed her eyes and smiled. "She's probably just thinking about something." She opened her eyes and met Ebony's gaze, raising her eyebrow and giving her a small, knowing smile.

 

Ebony blinked a few times and blushed slightly. "Just..Hearth's Warming." She laughed awkwardly and grinned at Cutter. He shook his head and looked back up at the tree.

 

"Thank you for your assistance, everyone." Celestia and Luna looked amongst all of them, and they all bowed respectively. Everyone left a few moments afterwards, a few walking out together.

 

Cutter looked at Ebony. "Hearth's Warming, eh?"

 

"Oh, stop." She flicked her tail and walked past him as he laughed quietly to himself. She walked back to her room and shut the door, then walked to the window. The snow wasn't as harsh anymore, and a lot more ponies were outside. She rested against the windowsill.

 

It'd been 5 days since her outing with Iron Bass. She'd been too busy to go locate him, but found herself distracted by thoughts of him quite a few times. She'd often daydream and think about the feeling of his hoof on the back of her head holding her gently to him, and the kiss they shared in the snow.

 

She smiled to herself and sighed.

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(edited)

The reuninion with the band had gone better than expected, gaining much appreciation from them all.  It seems that a certain frontpony decided to share Iron's "catch" as he so put it.  They had all retreated to Iron's modest house, where there may have been a can or two going around. 

 

"You know who that was, yeah?"

 

"Yeah, mate, that was the fucking princess!"

 

"You've hit abov-"

 

"Alright, lads!  Shut up!  All of you."  Iron may have been smiling, but the way it was going did not please him one bit.  He clopped his forehooves together, breathing out as the group listened intently.  "Yes, that was Princess Ebony Nightingale.  Yes, she's the princess of song.  Yes, she and I shared a drink.  And what?  Chunk, what are you getting at?"

 

The plump pony smiled and winked.  "It's a compliment, mate."

 

Iron just cradled his head in his hooves.  Why did he have such laddish friends?  The group shared another laugh, exchanging post-gig experiences.  Iron managed to keep his own rather vague to the distaste of the others.  It was a rather dizzy walk up the narrow staircase to the stallion's room.  He would have been internally thanking his grandfather for this useful house, but the beer and images of Ebony clouded his rationality.  He had not had a lot to drink, but it did show.

 

That night, Iron sat awake, thankful for his cosy bed.  He could not keep the feeling away from him.  It was a strong sense of longing and desire yet... softened by something tender.  He closed his eyes and though of Ebony.  It was the combination of the mane and eyes that drove him.  She seemed so polite too.  Perhaps there was more to discover to like?  He paused, then stopped himself.

He was thinking too much.  He was... going to have to wait another half an hour before sleeping.  After having finally relaxed into his pillow, Iron began to drift off into a pleasantly warm sleep.

--//--
 

Bass was out again.  It was about 3 days until the eve of Hearth's Warming and he still needed to find one last gift he planned on giving.  It was only polite to think of Ebony.  After having reflected on what she had said about her own life in the palace, he deemed it almost necessary to try and brighten it up... or dull it down?  Or... something.

Of course, it was damn hard trying to figure out what to get sompony who infact held co-ownershp in the state!  It did frighten the stallion.  What if she simply laughed at his effort?  No, Iron.  She's too polite.  In fact...

Iron had an idea.
 

Edited by Ballistic456

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Cutter trotted quietly through the hall, his helmet levitating in the aura of his horn behind him as he went. His ears pricked suddenly, and his trot slowed to a walk.

 

"The streets of town were paved with stars.."

 

His walk slowed, and he stopped completely. He could faintly hear somepony singing.

 

"It was such a romantic affair..."

 

He smirked slightly to himself and looked down the hallway the the double doors with the red trim and the Nightingale carved above them. He trotted towards the doors, still listening to the words being sung.

 

"And as we kissed and said goodnight, a nightingale sang.."

 

He stopped outside the door, and pressed his ear against it. He chuckled quietly to himself and opened the door silently with his magic, peeking his head in.

 

Ebony was standing infront of her window, her back partially to the door. Her head was tilted up slightly and her eyes were closed. Her hoof was lifted by her head, slowly rising and falling in time with her voice as the pitch changed.

 

"A nightingale sang, I know 'cause I was there.."

 

She dragged the notes out, smiling slightly to herself.

 

Cutter smiled also, stepping fully into the room.

 

"That night in Berkeley Square.."

 

"Delightful, Princess."

 

Ebony jumped, her eyes opening and her head turning to the doorway. "Oh! Alfred." She laughed quietly and put her hoof back on the ground. "You startled me."

 

He bowed his head to her slightly. "Forgive me. I heard you singing."

 

She blushed slightly. "Was I that loud?"

 

He half smiled. "Loud enough for me to hear you down the hall." He chuckled as she looked away, still blushing. "Don't worry. At least you can carry a pitch." He raised an eyebrow at her and smirked slightly.

 

She looked back at him and smirked back. "I've had a bit of practice. Anyway, did you barge in for a reason or did you just follow my voice?"

 

He chuckled. "I've been told to inform you of the Winter Solstice, Miss. Princess Celestia has confirmed it is indeed happening."

 

Ebony frowned slightly. "Must I attend?"

 

"I promise that you won't have to sing unless you want to. Octavia will be there, she'll be in charge of music. She'll ask if she wants you to." He half smiled when she continued frowning. "You can escape to the gardens whenever you wish, and you can bring a date if you desire. As long as it isn't me. I'll be busy for most of the evening."

 

She smiled again. "3 questions. Can I stay in the gardens the entire time, is there any critera on who my date can be, and can I wear a red dress?"

 

He shook his head. "Not the entire time. At least mingle around for an hour or so, I'm sure the Princesses and some of the other nobles will want to chat with you for a little while. Bring whoever you want, as long as they won't cause a huge commotion..and no. No red dress this time." He lifted his hoof when she opened her mouth to argue. She scowled at him, and he smiled. "I'm sorry. But your dress is going to be white this year."

 

One of her ears lowered in confusion. "White? I don't own anything white. I've never WORN anything white. All I have is red..and black."

 

He chuckled and turned back to the door, lifting his helmet to his head. "I know. The tailors are designing one for you as we speak. So if you get a knock at your door and you get attacked by a flurry of white fabric, don't be surprised. And it's a Winter Solstice, Ebony. Besides, I'm sure you'll look fine in white." He put his helmet on and stepped out the door. "The Solstice will be in a week. Your assistance for decoration may be needed, but other than that you can do as you wish. Just..please inform me if you plan on running off anywhere." He gave her a look and trotted out, going back down the hall the way he came.

 

Ebony watched him leave. Her horn lit as she shut the door, and she turned back to her window, watching the scattered snowfall. She let out a thoughtful noise and trotted to her desk, pulling a scroll, quill, and ink out from one of the drawers.

 

She smiled slightly to herself and dipped the quill in ink.

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Well... talk about under-estimating!  Despite the exchange rate, it seemed that everything to be found on Canterlot High Street was rather... cher.  It was that old enemy of Iron's again: cities.  Everyone earns more, so teh prices are higher; great fun when you're a student who's living off the modest amount earned from playing an instrument in a rather low-key band. 

 

Iron tapped his chin.  (Was the glass getting closer by any chance?)  There on a glossy stand sat a rather handsome looking ring.  It was a bright silver, with a clear gem in the middle.  He was no expert, but Iron deduced it to be a diamond or crystal.  The former was confirmed wth a glance at the price tag.  His heart sank slightly; it was divine.  He may have only known her for a day but she was indeed a royal, whether she liked it or not!  It was tradition to fork out for these ponies!

 

Then it found him.  Was that really the kind of gift he would want to give?  Just to show how much he would pay for royalty?  No.

 

Iron regained his morale, taking it with him further down the high street.  There was a shop he had heard of, one that had been brought to his attention by a certain drummer.  There, at least twenty doors down, was a rather quaint-looking shop with heavy wooden doors.  It smelled like those old pubs mixed with smokey cottage, quite nice.  The worn plaque read:  "Arcane Alchemic Assorted Ltd."

((Will the Solstice Celebration take place before Hearth's Warming?))

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(edited)

((Hmm..night before, night of, or night after would work. Doesn't matter to me))

 

Ebony's quill paused when she heard a knock at her door. She frowned slightly and set it down, the trotted over to the door, pulling it open with her magic as she did so. "Ye-"

 

Just as Cutter had said, she was attacked by dressmakers and engulphed in a flurry of white and blue fabric. She exclaimed loudly and stumbled back, but was steadied by another pony. "Please hold still, Princess. We need to find out which colour would go better!"

 

"I'm in the middle of something, can't we-" She was silenced by a fold of fabric that was behing pulled over her head. "Girls-"

 

"Mm.." A pale pink unicorn narrowed her eyes at her, then shook her head. "Not the white. Too light." Her horn lit and the dress was pulled off her again. A purple pegasus and a green unicorn passed her a pale blue dress, and she looked back to Ebony. "Hold still please, miss."

 

Ebony took a few steps back. "Stitch, I really don't have time for this right-"

 

The pale pink unicorn, Cross Stitch, smiled at her. "Which is why we're doing it for you." She levitated the dress over Ebony's head and pulled it down on her. "Fasten the back for me, will you Needle?"

 

The green unicorn, Needlework, took the clasps of the dress in her aura and pulled them together, clasping them shut, making Ebony call out. "Easy-"

 

The pegasus, Patchwork, was hovering infront of Ebony's face, twirling her mane around in her hooves. "We really should have Spritz curl her mane..it'd look so pretty, don't you think?"

 

Cross Stitch smiled again, using her magic to get the sleeves properly around her front legs while Needlework fixed the actual skirt part of the dress.

 

Ebony, at this point, had given up and was standing still in defeat. "You really could give me more warning, you know." She huffed, blowing her mane away from her eye. She gave Patchwork a look, and she grinned back. "Sorry Princess. But we need you looking your best! A lot of nobles will be at the Solstice, and we need you looking like a proper princess. A..winter princess. We need to get you away from red, at least for a day."

 

She scowled at her. "I have no intention of "wooing" nobles. And I'm the Princess of Song. Not winter. I wear red because it goes with my cutie mark and eyes-"

 

Cross Stitch waved a hoof at her. "The dress is covering your cutie mark anyway. Besides, this'll just make your eyes stand out more. We're locating a silver crown for you to wear. It'll go better."

 

Ebony sighed. "You've really got this all figured out, don't you?"

 

They all smiled and said "yep" in unison, and Ebony laughed quietly. "Fine then. Can I see it, at least?"

 

Cross Stitch looked over Ebony's shoulder at Needlework, who was adjusting the lace that fell around the bottom of the dress. She stepped back and nodded at Stitch and Patchwork. Patch flew above Ebony's head and put her hooves over here eyes, then nodded at the unicorns. They both gently took the collar of the dress in their magic auras and dragged Ebony over to the mirror. Cross Stitch shifted her aura to Ebony's mane, gently holding it in curls. They smiled, and Patch let her hooves fall away from Ebony's eyes as she landed on the ground next to Needlework. 

 

Ebony blinked a couple times and stared at herself in the mirror. Her mane was still falling over her eye, but in round curls apart from bone straight. She turned slightly to get a better view of the dress; it was a pale blue with swirling black lines all over it, along with lace as the collar on her neck, sleeves, and the bottom of the skirt of the dress. The fabric seperated between the collar and the skirt, leaving part of her back bare.

 

"Oh..my." She murmured, looking away from the mirror and looking down at herself instead.

 

"I told you she'd look great in the blue." Patchwork said, giving Needlework a smirking look. She stuck her tongue out at her, and Cross Stitch let her aura fade from Ebony's mane, letting it fall back into it's normal, straight shape. "Will this do, Princess?"

 

Ebony smiled after a few seconds. "Yes..I think it will."

 

Cross Stitch smiled back. "Excellent." The dressmakers surrounded her again, drawing out laughter from the dark mare as they started the task of getting the dress off her.

 

~

 

After the dressmakers had left, Ebony went back to her quill and scroll. She stared at what she'd written, and let out a thoughtful noise. She scowled down at the scroll and crumpled it up in her magical aura, and turned to her window. "...Perhaps a...live invitation would work better."

 

((edited so it's reply-able))

 

Ebony tightened the scarf around her neck with her magic and trotted down the street at a slightly slowed pace. She was clumsy enough at times, and didn't want to risk a spectacular fall on the snowy streets.

 

She was looking around here and there, trying her luck to see if Iron was out and about. If not, she'd have the task of finding his house. She knew which house was his, as creepy as that sounded. Knowing Canterlot was part of her "duty". Cutter gave her good natured pop quizzes on buildings and the ponies who lived in them, so she knew the basics of who lived where and if that changed.

 

But, even though she knew which house was his, she didn't know exactly where.

 

She huffed quietly, her breath billowing out infront of her. She turned down another street and looked around. Upon seeing no one, she kept trotting slowly, and started singing to herself.

 

"They've come to get me again,
The cloud is over my head,

My polyamorous friend,

He got me in a mess of trouble again,

 

So..

Just when you think that you're alright,

I'm calling out from the inside..."

 

She looked down the roads as she came to them. She saw a couple walking together and disappear into a bakery, but other than that, it was empty. She sighed and continued down the road she was on, tightening her scarf again when a shiver worked it's way up her spine.

 

"..I never heard anyone,

I never listen at all,"

 

She carried the note for a few seconds, then caught a snowflake on her tongue.

 

"Just stay away from the white light,

I'll tell ya what side's your best side,

I never heard anyone,

I never-"

 

Her note got cut short as she turned the corner and knocked into something. She stumbled back in surprise and exclaimed, then apologized automatically, her scarf unravelling from her neck in her movement and the slight breeze. It fluttered into the snow around her hooves, and she lifted one of her front hooves off the ground as a couple things fell in the snow infront of her, including a pony.

 

She bit her lip and her horn lit. She bowed her neck and head slightly, levitating the small packages off of the ground. "I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention, I-..oh, I'm sorry.." She kept spewing out quiet apologies, then ignored her scarf and finally looked at the pony she knocked over, the insecurity and social awkwardness starting to wash over her, until she gasped quietly.

 

"....Iron?"

 

((Sorry for the wall of text. Christ))

Edited by Princess Nightingale

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The stallion could hardly wipe the grin from his face.  With a little imagination, Iron could possibly make this work wonders.  The little device sat in the depths of his shirt pocket in a small paper bag, the metallic edges feeling quite cold through the thin materials.

The air was crisp and cold (much to Iron's delight) as he made his way out onto the street again.  He just needed to make one trip to the florist a few blocks down that he knew of and he could make that all important trip to the visitors entrance of the palace.  Of course, he would need to drop Ebony's present back home first; it was not quite Hearth's Warming yet.

Iron took a moment to imagine presenting the token to Ebony when he felt something hit him swiftly, but for some reason, he didn't quite feel...  Is that cobblestone getting larger?

 

Ooof!

 

If it were not for the benevolent layer of puffy equestrian snow, Iron would have surely lost a tooth or two.  His head ended up rather like one of comic book character; nose buried in the powdery mess.  "Gordon Bennet-"  The stallion huffed, mind too dazed to register the words of this obviously blind or hurried pony.  Lurching to the side and standing back up, the sallion offered his concern, "I'm so sorry, are you-"

 

Iron stopped everything.  It was Ebony. 

 

He stumbled for a foothold.  "Well, fancy meeting you here, princess!"  He said a little too loudly.  As a matter of fact, the stallion had not ceased to think about the pair's next meeting.  He had planned to set aside a day or two for a catchup, but for now that could wait.  Instantly recognising her awkward stance, Iron softened his approach. 

 

"Are you alright?  Sorry... I didn't see you there."  The thought of crashing into royalty did cross his mind, but it dispelled all too easily.  He must have been getting better at this!  Iron's eyes then widened as he saw what Ebony was holding.  Ok.. no use in drawing attention.  Iron's knees gave minutely, causing him to stumble ever so slightly.  Occasionally his eyes would flick down to the little bag, perhaps a little too obviously.

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Ebony blinked and laughed nervously,blushing because of the pony she barreled into. "I'm so sorry, I wasn't paying attention.. I'm fine," She levitated the things above her head a bit as she went to him and looped her leg under his, pulling him completely to his hooves and holding him steady. "Oh, Celestia.. I'm so clumsy...I'm sorry." She looked up into his eyes, placing the little objects on his back and releasing them from her magical hold as she shifted her focus to her scarf, entwining it with magic and letting it snake around her neck again.

 

"Are you alright? I'm sorry.." She trailed off again, her eyes drifting from his. She blinked a few times, her eyes widening slightly. She looked back up at him, grinning out of nowhere. "Fancy meeting you here indeed! I was looking for you, actually.." She stepped back from him and lit her horn, and a rather royal and official looking scroll popped into existence in front of him. "I was trying to find you so I could give this to you." She undid the silky ribbon around it and unrolled it gently, revealing the elegant scrawl that said "Winter Solstice".

 

"The Winter Solstice is in a few days..I was wondering if you wanted to come with me. I have to attend and Alfred refuses to join me. It's just a party with the nobles and the Princesses and such. You don't have to, I'm just going to be avoiding everyone and hiding out in the gardens for most of the night I think, but..company is always nice." She rolled the scroll back up and carefully put it in his jacket pocket. "Think about it. You can bring your friends if you want as well." She flicked her mane away from her face and half smiled, then looked up at the sky.

 

She caught another snowflake on her tongue, then shivered slightly. "Anyway..I should probably leave you alone now. Just stop by the Castle when you have your answer, Cutter or one of the guards will bring you up to my room. You'd get lost by yourself." She giggled quietly, then gave him an apologetic smile. She turned and started walking back the way she came, taking careful steps as she went. "Let me know. Sorry again..I should be more careful." She smiled over her shoulder at him, then looked forward and kept walking through the snow.

 

"Leave your shoes at the door, baby,

I am all you adore lately,"

 

She jumped gently off the sidewalk and onto the snowy road, lifting her head slightly afterwards.

 

"Come with me, and we will run away.."

 

She sustained the note as she turned a corner and started back to the castle, still singing to herself as she went.

Edited by Princess Nightingale

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It all happened a bit too quick for Iron.  There he was being helped up by no less than Ebony herself and now he was being invitied to a noble party or sorts?  Iron checked that the items in his jacket were secure before following her off of the pavement and onto the road, placing a hoof on Ebony's shoulder as she trotted away.  Hopefully he would have held her from going any further away. 

 

"Ebony, please.  Just stay for a moment.  I haven't seen you for ages and," he paused, "I could do with a catchup."  He managed a thin smile, trying to make solid eye contact.  He was aware that he may have been taking a lot of her time, but he could not bare another moment without her.  It was an alien feeling, but a good one. 

 

His mind drifted as he contimplated.  A 'Winter Solstice', she called it.  A party for nobles and royals... How in Equestria would he be allowed?  Would he have to pay a huge entrance fee?  Hell, he didn't even know WHAT this celebration was!  Questions flashed like strobe over his mind.  Hopefully, he could get some answers from Ebony.  But first, he just wante to know how she was doing.

"I've got nothing on today.  If youre free, we can, oh I don't know, get another drink?"  He asked.

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Ebony's ears perked up as he put his hoof on his shoulder, and she turned partially towards him. She looked up into his eyes and half smiled, noting the very slight strain in his gaze.

 

"I'd love to catch up. I can't really stay out in Canterlot though, I have a fire going  in my room and I'd hate to burn the castle down.." She laughed quietly and turned fully towards him. "Why don't you come back to the castle with me, Iron?" She nuzzled his chest lightly and pulled away, starting to trot back from the way she was headed previous. She turned her head and smiled, chatting casually as she lead him to the towering structure that was Canterlot Castle.

 

//Slight godmod, with permission. Makin' it easier//

 

After working their way through the castle's many hallways and quickly stopping for 2 mugs of hot chocolate, she huffed to herself as they started going down a very familiar hallway.

 

"I'm surprised I don't get lost here, honestly. My room is in one of the quieter parts of the castle..spares them all the singing, I guess." She smirked slightly to herself, stopping infront of 2 large, wooden double doors. It had lines carved and swirling around it that were filled in with red, as well as a carved nightingale (very similar to her cutie mark) on either door, filled in with black.

 

Her horn lit as she pushed the doors open, letting Iron go in first. She stepped in after him and closed the doors, locking them afterwards. She turned away from the doors and half smiled. "I'm not locking you in with me, I swear. Alfred has a habit of randomly bursting in here." Her smile turned slightly apologetic. "I apologize for the slight mess, as well." She trotted past her bed, the blankets a twisted mess from a night of sleeplessness and forgotten nightmares.

 

Ebony unraveled her scarf from her neck and tossed it on her vanity, it landing over her tiara and necklace. She turned away from it and walked to the fireplace which was crackling quietly. She stopped at the foot of the plush rug she had infront of it and levitated another log onto the fire, then sat on the left side of the rug.

 

She turned her head to Iron and smiled gently. "Come over here with me, we can talk while warming up." She set the 2 mugs down infront of her, levitating one of them to her mouth and taking a small sip, gazing with half-lidded eyes into the embers of the fire. She lowered herself down fully and sighed contently.

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Iron was utterly aken aback as they entered the huge palace.  Iron had never seen such regality, wealth and pure draconian archietecture.  He always saw the royals of Canterlot to be rather friendly and considerate... but by looking at this place, his faith wavered in the non-existant wind like a flagpole.  He tried to keep as easy as he could, but his fae seemed lined with uncertainty.

Then they reached her room.  The doors would have been enough to knock him dead as finely cast as they were.  However, these doors opened.  When they did, Iron seemed to freeze over.  Don't.  Touch.  Anything!

 

Rather bewildered, Iron gave a nervous laugh at Ebony's jibe at her guardspony.  What on Earth had he let himself in for? 

 

Mess?  Oh, just the bed.  "It's ok, I'm guilty of it too."  He chuckled somewhat uneasily.  Is this entire bedroom for one pony?

 

--//--

 

Iron slipped in beside Ebony, thanking her greatfully for the drink before proceeding.  "What a grand home you have, if I may.  Sorry to be so bold, but is this really," he gestured at the healthy-sized room, "all your room?"

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(edited)

Ebony looked to Iron when he sat down beside her. She half smiled at his comment. "If you think this is big, you should see the Princess' rooms. Those are places I'd get lost in." She giggled quietly and took another small sip from her mug.

 

"Celestia insisted on this room. I asked for smaller, but..the fireplace is nice. Keeps most of the room warm." She turned her gaze back to the fire and sighed. "..I don't think I've ever had somepony that wasn't Alfred or Celestia in here." She said a bit quietly.

 

She turned her head towards a plush chair that was beside a bookcase and focused her magical aura around the quilt that was neatly folded and placed. She brought it over to them, then unfolded it and lay it across them, moving closer to Iron in the process. She leaned her head on his neck, her eyes forward again and reflecting the flames twitching and snapping a few feet infront of them. "I don't bite, you don't have to be so nervous." She murmured quietly.

 

Ebony exhaled slowly and turned her head into him more. "Sorry. I'm still a bit cold." She crossed one of her front legs over the other and closed her eyes for a few seconds, nuzzling his neck slightly. "What have you been up to lately, Iron?"

Edited by Princess Nightingale

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Iron internally gave a coy smile.  He looked over to see Princess Nightingale rest her head against him, nuzzling his neck too.  Her words were instantly forgotten as he drank in this new, tender feeling.  She was cold.  But he was not.  Iron reacted in the only way he could muster, bringing a shaky hoof over Ebony's shoulders.  "No no, it's ok.  We all get it now and again." 

 

Iron quickly began to relax as she made conversation.  "It's been ok, I guess.  Not really been doing a whole lot today."  Nope, nothing at all.  "The lads have gone on home now, just me left here.  I've been packing things away and giving my grandad's place a good clean.  You have no idea how much mess those guys can make," he joked. 

The fire was particularly gorgeous.  The handsome flames flickered and sparked, spilling a very pleasant and warming glow from its pit.  Iron could just see the ruby eyes of Ebony mere inches from his own.  He kept his glance brief and discrete, not wanting to seem too forward. 

 

Was he doing this right?

 

"What about you?  I'm sure somepony such as yourself would be very busy this time of year."

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Ebony sighed and relaxed against Iron, leaning fully into him. She watched the flames and listened to him. Her focus snapped back at one point, but she shrugged it off.

 

She let out a quiet, thoughtful noise. "I'm not that busy. I help with decorations when needed and need to attend the Winter Solstice, but that's about it. I get asked to sing at a couple small things and might need to perform with Octavia, but..that's about it." She sipped her hot chocolate absentmindedly, then looked up at Iron. "You should come to the Solstice with me. It'll be fun." She gave him a small smile, then settled against him and closed her eyes.

 

She stayed that way against him for a little while, listening to the soft crackling of the fire and the silence otherwise. She nuzzled into him and pulled the quilt tighter against them, turning her head into him more. Something about being so close to him was comforting.

 

Ebony sighed quietly and pulled her head away from his neck and looked up at him, into his steely eyes with a slightly uncertain and very slightly saddened expression. "Are you leaving soon too?"

 

//May be reading it wrong, I'm getting the impression they've left Canterlot and that's what I'm going upon ^ //

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