She's Just Curious, Is All

by Cackling Moron

Chapter 1: It's not my area of expertise, honestly.

Author's Notes:


There were no average days in Ponyville, at least when it came to the weather. Either it was glorious outside or horrendous. Blazing sunshine or howling gale and driving rain. No in-between. At least as far as I had seen.

Maybe I’d arrived at a good time between bouts of perfectly mundane weather. Who knew?

Not that it mattered much. Today was one of the days when I was supposed to go to Twilight’s and let her poke and prod me and ask me questions to try and work out how to get me home, but apparently something had come up at the last minute. This left me at a loose end, and without anything better to do I’d wandered off to the lake and sat underneath a tree.

I’d made a little pile of pebbles beside me while I’d sat and - without really noticing what it was I was doing - I started to try and skip them across the water. I was not very good at this. The best I got was maybe two bounces, and I had the strong feeling that was a fluke.

“This is the one,” I breathed to myself, willing that the fresh pebble in my hand fly clear and true and that it might bounce well and vigorously. I then threw it.

The stone didn’t skim, it just sunk. Grumbling, I closed my eyes and folded my arms, resting my head back against the tree. The tree rustled.

“You’re pretty bad at that,” said a scratchy voice from somewhere in the branches over my head. I didn’t look to see who it was. I didn’t need to.

“Really? I hadn’t noticed.”

I heard fluttering and a gust of air blew grit into my face. Reaching out blindly I pawed the empty air for a moment before Rainbow moved her head into the way. I gave her a pat, which quickly became a scratch behind the ears as her head pressed harder against my palm. She shuddered and plopped into my lap. I grinned.

“Hi, you,” I said, opening my eyes to find her beaming at me. “You finish up early or something?”

“Nope! Day off,” she said happily, mane swishing as she shook her head.

“Heh, I swear you always have a day off when I have nothing to do,” I said, stretching my arms up and legs out before settling back again.

It had happened a couple times now, her free time and mine syncing up. At least half a dozen. Just one of those things, really. Even on a day when I hadn’t meant to be free at all. But that’s how coincidences work.

Rainbow coughed into her hoof and looked away.

“Yeah, uh, so, uh, what are you doing?” She said, quickly.

“Nothing much. Was meant to be doing the Twilight thing today but that fell through and I had nothing else on so figured I’d come here, enjoy the sunshine, skim a few stones. Fail. You know.”

I scooped up another nearby pebble and half-heartedly chucked it at the lake. Somehow, I managed to miss the water. Rainbow had to shove a hoof in her mouth to keep from bursting out laughing.

“Now that’s just embarrassing. Anyway, what are you up to with your day off, hmm?” I asked.

“Also nothing.”

“Fancy that. How do you feel about doing nothing together?”

Hoof on her chin and squinting up at nothing she made a very good show of giving this suggestion some heavy thought.

“I think it could work,” she said, turning around in my lap and promptly flopping onto her side on my legs. I had to smile at this, really, and reached down without really thinking about it to lightly scratch at her belly. This I had learned on several previous occasions she appreciated and this time was no different. If she’d been relaxed on my lap before once the scratching started she practically melted.

Eventually I had to pull my hand away and she only whined about it a little bit. We then sat in companionable silence, enjoying the warmth of the day and the quiet lapping of the lake as wind played across it. Very chill.

I noticed before too long that Rainbow appeared to be deep in thought.

Proper thought this time, not making-it-look-like-thought thought. Actual, staring into the distance kind of pondering. I idly wondered what she might be thinking about but decided to just leave her to it. Wouldn’t want anyone probing my thoughts, personally. If it was important she’d surely tell me. Not like she was a closed book.

After maybe five minutes or so - Rainbow wasn’t the best at sitting still - she wriggled around and and sat up to look at me again.

“I kinda wanted to ask you something,” she said.

Hardly a surprise. I gave her what I hoped she’d notice was a serious look, however.

“It’s not about war again, is it?” I asked.

She blanched. The memory of that particular episode still seemed to be fresh.

“N-no. Something else.”

“Then by all means.”

She made to go right ahead but paused and looked away. It took her a few moments to gather herself again and when she asked she was still looking away, delicately tapping her hooves together with what looked an awful lot like nervousness.

“What are human relationships like?”

That threw me. I blinked.

“Uh...relationship as in...the family unit or...what?”

“Like, romantic ones,” she said, blushing, the hoof-tapping getting somehow even more nervous.

All of a sudden the day felt more hotter than it had before and I became acutely aware of just how in my lap Rainbow was. She’d been there from the start of the conversation, of course, but now it seemed...something. I wasn’t sure. I tried not to think about it.

“That’s a bit different to what you normally ask me.”

She shrugged but said nothing. The question stood.

I cleared my throat and looked to the side to see if anything might be approaching that could distract from me having to answer. There wasn’t. It was just the two of us under the tree.

“I’m really not the best person to ask about that sort of thing…” I said.

“Why not?” She asked, head cocked. Shrugging helplessly I found myself completely unable to look her in the eye.

“Just not something I have much experience in. And you pony guys have all your stuff going on. Herds and that. I don’t know. I wouldn’t know where to start.”

If I’d hoped this would be enough to satisfy her curiosity I was an idiot. Kind of wished she’d asked about war again at that point, to be honest. At least I knew about that.

“Just tell me what you know then,” she said, jabbing a hoof towards my chest. “About you. What did you do? Or were you always a single loser?”

“Hah. Thanks. No I wasn’t, I’ll have you know. My experience is limited, not non-existent.”

“Then tell me!”

“Alright alright, hold your, ah, horses? Nevermind. Uh, what do you want to know about them?”

My ploy to delay the inevitable with questions of my own was transparent, and the look I got from Rainbow made this obvious. Shrinking, I just kept talking:

“Uh, I mean, it’s all just about getting to know people and the weird softly-softly dance that has to be done to find out whether someone is a someone you even want to get to know. Buying them things - maybe they like them, maybe they don’t. Flowers and chocolates or whatever. Going places. Talking. Whatever. It’s exhausting. People are exhausting. Were exhausting, I guess. Not many people now, at least for me,” I said.

Or babbled, rather. As with most things I wasn’t comfortable talking about I compensated by talking a lot and saying very little.

“Humans like flowers too?” She asked, ears pricking up.

“Uh, some do?”

I was unsure why this particular detail seemed to have piqued her interest above anything else I’d said and also unsure why it looked that moment like she was making a mental note.

“What else do they like? To get, I mean. Gifts.”

“Depends on the person, really. Sorry that’s not very helpful. One girl got me something one time. Beer, actually. Very nice of her, very unexpected. I appreciated that.”


“You guys must have beer. It’s not complicated. Everyone makes beer. You guys have apple juice! Beer cannot be beyond you, as a society.”

“We have cider.”

“I wish you had cider…”

‘Hard cider’ specifically, as it was known. Wrongly, in my opinion. Actual, honest cider - or, if I was especially lucky, scrumpy - was sadly something I had yet to find. Alcohol was surprisingly difficult to come by in Equestria, or at least Ponyville. Maybe it was a dry county. Just my luck, if so. I really should ask Twilight or somebody at some point.

“But basically you can get them something they like and that’s a good start?” Rainbow asked, snapping me back to the moment and away from wistful thoughts of frothy heads and droplets of condensation forming on frosty glasses.

“I guess? You want a guide or something? A step-by-step for beginners in human courting etiquette?”

Her ears pricked again and she sat up straight.

“Do you have one?” She asked.

“No, sorry,” I said and she slumped a little, looking as though I’d tricked her, and even though I hadn’t I felt a distinct stab in my gut for having got her hopes up so.

“There’s really not a lot to it. It’s just interaction,” I said.

This explanation might just serve to show why I was no good at it. Either I didn’t get it (likely) or I did and was just bad at the interaction part (also likely). I gave her a scratch under the chin and her leg twitched, eyes rolling back.

“And sometimes people bone. I, uh, I didn’t do a lot of that on my dates...”

Rainbow snapped upright. It was difficult to tell what sort of expression crossed her face on hearing that, but it was close enough to horror that I couldn’t help but grin. I’d never seen her so red. Never had her down as prudish but it was fun to know.

“Too much?”

“Y-yeah! Bit much!”


She must have accepted my apology because she moved her chin back into scratching range, having pulled back after my bit about the boning. At first she tried to keep an eye open make sure I knew how appalled she was, but that didn’t last long and it soon rolled back again, leg twitching some more.

I sort of hoped she’d nod off. Not because I especially wanted her asleep, but more because it was fun just watching her start dozing off whenever I did something like rub her belly or scratch her chin. There’d be quiet, adorable little snoring sounds and she’d curl up and then some minutes later she’d probably jerk awake and wonder what had happened. It wouldn’t have been the first time. Always cute.

Not this time though. This time she - with obvious effort - pulled my wrist away with both hooves and sat up, looking as at me as seriously as a slightly ruffled pony sat in my lap could hope to.

“Tell me about a date you went on. Like, as an example. That’ll help,” she said.

‘Help what’ was the obvious question here. There was an urge to ask why she was so interested in all this in the first place, but I fought it down. After all, why was anyone interested in anything?

I suppose that if I was buddies with a unique visitor from another world I’d want to know about the little details, too. Those bits were always the most interesting anyway, once the novelty of the big things wore off. That was probably it. I could let that slide.

“Well, that girl who got me the beer, one time she and her went to go see a film. That was one of the first times, actually.”

Rainbow gave me a blank look.

“Films? You guys have films here? No? Well, it’s sort of like a play only, uh, not really? Look, that part’s not important. The deal was that it was me and her doing something as an excuse to spend time together, because the spending the time together is the important part and until you know them properly you need things to do at the same time. Films, dinners, whatever. That’s generally how these things go. You work out an excuse to be somewhere with them and you try to get to know them better. Sometimes it works out and both of you click, sometimes it doesn’t and you don’t.”

There was a lurch in my gut as a tiny bit of memory came trickling back. Just a little bit, and just a little sour now thanks to how long it had been. Signs I should have picked up. Words I should have said, and some that I shouldn’t have. Long gone now, and the sting long-since numbed to nothing. Still not a good feeling though. Not something I’d expected to remember again, certainly.

“And sometimes it takes you longer than it should to realise that you’re not clicking,” I muttered.

Rainbow clearly expected me to keep going after this but I didn’t, instead just staring into space. The more I spoke about this the less articulate I realised I was being, and if I kept going it would just get worse. So I’d stopped. When he realised this she slowly, slowly moved her head into my vision, sitting up straight.

“But it’s good, right? Trying to find someone? When it works?”

Her eyes looked incredibly big for a moment and for that moment I was lost in thought. I really must ask her what colour her eyes are, at some point. Just out of curiosity. They’re quite pretty, this is obvious, but the exact colour eluded me.

Then I blinked and snapped back to the then and there.

“Hmm? I guess. It only happened once. For me, I mean.”

“And how was it?”

I’d been young then so obviously it had been a glorious and emotional rollercoaster of crude and underdeveloped romance. It had also - obviously - ended, though not as acrimoniously as some I’d seen. Which was a plus.

Enough time had passed between then and now for whatever bad feelings I might have had about the whole thing to have cooled. Bitterness was a long way behind me now, and while the good times looked a bit shallow and silly in my memory I couldn’t deny that - at the time - I’d enjoyed it.

“It was...nice,” I said.

“Is it...something you’d ever want to happen...again? If you, you know, clicked?”

I assumed she meant hypothetically. After all, how else was it supposed to happen with me stuck here?

“Sure. If the right girl came along. It’s a nice connection to have, you know? Something, uh, indescribably intimate. A very nice feeling. You find someone who gets you, who you don’t have to act around but can just be yourself around. Someone who you know will get your jokes without you having to explain that you’re joking. Someone who you don’t mind spending time with. Hell, someone you want to spend time with! Someone you miss when they’re not there! Someone who slots into your life like there was a hole there made for them from the start.”

I frowned. Where had that come from? What had any of it even meant? That sort of outburst was probably more embarrassing than failing to skim any number of stones. My face was very hot and the way Rainbow was staring didn’t help at all.

“I sound like a wanker now, sorry about that. Just went on and on. Don’t pay any attention to me,” I said

“No, no I get it. Kinda nice, the way you say it.”

She was still staring.

“If you say so,” I said. Then I thought of something and chuckled.




“Just kind of sounded a bit like I was describing you and me, don’t you think? You’re the only one around here who seems to get my jokes and when you’re not around I get restless. Mostly because it’s boring without you. Still. Weird, right?”

I grinned at her but she was looking away, rubbing the back of her head with a hoof.


My stomach chose this moment to rumble. I’d skipped breakfast with an aim to arriving bright and early at Twilight’s for the days observation and experimentation (which sounds very sinister now I think about it, which is unfortunate) but, of course, that hadn’t happened. If I’d had a watch I would have checked it then to see how close to lunchtime we were. As I didn’t, I just decided it was close enough.

I gave Rainbow a gentle pat on the side, which made her jump.

“Come on, let’s go get some food. You hungry?”

It takes her a second to register being asked something.

“Yeah. Yeah! A-alright,” she said, making no immediate moves to get off my lap and let me stand. More seconds passed.

Rainbow then stood up on my legs - which was not entirely comfortable - and hugged me. And not a wishy-washy hug either, a proper and full one. The all-embracing, refusing-to-let-go kind. No idea what had brought it on but not use in complaining. Ponies were always doing things like that, after all. Very touchy-feely. I hugged her back.

She was very warm. Warm enough I could feel it through my shirt.

It eventually broke and she fluttered back away from me and into the air, hovering there while I got back to my feet and dusted myself down and stretched out the kinks you get after sitting with your back to a tree for a while. Once that was done we set off back towards Ponyville, me walking and her breezing along beside me in midair.

“Feel like you’ve learned something?” I asked her. She considered.

“Not exactly? But kind of?” She said, which was presumably a diplomatic way of telling me that I’d been worse than useless. But I knew that already.

“That’s probably the best I could hope for. I told you I wasn’t the right person to ask.”

“You’re the only person to ask,” she pointed out.

She had me there.

“Fair point. One of these days you’re going to run out of things to ask me, you know. What’ll you do then?” I asked.

“Drop you like a bad habit,” she said, smirking. I shook my head and tried (and failed) not to smirk myself.

“Sounds about right,” I said, giving her another scritch behind the ears which made her very nearly drop to the floor. I fumbled to catch her but she caught herself in time and so avoided falling into my arms. After that she went very quiet and somehow even redder than she’d been before.

To be fair, I’d be embarrassed about doing that, too.

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