Fizzlepop Cuddletwist

by CategoricalGrant

Chapter 1: Fizzlepop Cuddletwist

The clouds in the sky drift lazily by as the minutes pass. The gentle breeze and mild cloud cover make the setting absolutely perfect for an afternoon nap, and as your eyelids grow heavier, you decide to roll over and address your comrade.

“Why do you always do that?”

A tall, almost beet-colored pony with an intimidating visage regards you, emotionless. “What do you mean?”

“Just stand there,” you answer, rolling on your back in order to regard the clouds once again. “I’m always like, ‘Hey Tempest, you want to come along to the park with me?’ and you’re always like, ‘Sure’, and then we talk for fifteen minutes or so before I fall asleep, but you always just stand there.”

“I’m standing at attention in order to respond quickly to threats.” You can’t see her, but you can practically feel her eyes scanning the street nearby, analyzing the passing ponies.

“Please, that’s not a ready position. You’re standing at attention. I hate to tell you this, but as long as the Princesses have you confined to Canterlot under travel restrictions, your chances of running into any major threats are pretty slim. You might as well relax.”

Tempest Shadow lets out an almost imperceptibly quiet huff. “You love to taunt me about that, but you can’t move freely, either.”

“That’s not true,” you claim, holding a single finger in the air to accentuate your point. “I have complete freedom of movement between here and Ponyville, and I can take short vacations as long as I am accompanied and closely monitored by an approved authority.”

“You told me that you don’t have plans to do that anymore, after you and Twilight Sparkle’s very vividly-colored pegasus friend lost all those bits in Las Pegasus.”

“I grow tired of this conversation,” you snip back, crossing your arms across your chest.

“Suits me,” Tempest replies.

You resist the urge to look at your friend and instead focus your attention on the spiral movements of the clouds around Canterlot Mountain. Channeling in from Cloudsdale’s weather factory, a stream of white puffs enters your vision from behind you, only minutes later to slip around the mountain’s rocks, heading to an unknown fate.

After a minute or so, the leisurely drifting of the clouds slows your breathing, and you close your eyes.

A strange noise almost immediately forces you to open your eyes. Furrowing your brows in thought, you analyze its characteristics: short, deep, almost mournful. You turn your head and cast a curious glance at Tempest Shadow, who is still standing stick-straight a few yards away. “...Did you just yawn?”

Frowning, Tempest Shadow meets your gaze. “...I don’t see why that is any of your concern.”

“Are you a little tired?” you ask mockingly, as if to a foal.

“No. I am not.” Tempest narrows her eyes and scowls slightly as she glowers down at you. “You yawned and then I yawned. It’s a built-in reflex.”

You purse your lips and lift your brows in an expression of condescending doubt. “I don’t believe that I yawned…”

“Well, you did.”

You stare intently at Tempest for several seconds. Not one to back down from a non-verbal challenge, she analytically leers back.

Thirty seconds later, one of Tempest’s nostrils twitches. Then, the other. She scowls in agony for a few moments, before opening her mouth and yawning.

“AHA!” You cry, sitting up and pointing an accusatory finger at her. “I knew it! You are tired!”

“Fine!” she loudly relents, stomping a hoof authoritatively as a single spark shoots from her jagged horn. “I was awake longer than usual last night due to unforeseen circumstances! Rest assured, I could still break your pretty little neck in a half second if I so chose!”

You regard her cooly for a few moments, before tilting your neck and smiling at her. “But you won’t, because we’re friends and you like me.”

Tempest Shadow lets out a huff through her nostrils and sighs, not saying a thing.

“Just come over here and take a nap with me, already. It’ll feel good to relax, I promise.”

Tempest drops her head slightly. “I-I can’t. Everything just feels so foreign. We could be attacked, or arrested again. I don’t know what to expect, I...don’t belong here.”

Sighing softly, you wrestle with the feeling of mild pity in your chest. It had taken you mere weeks to settle into this new world, but for Tempest, it seemed that she couldn’t even adjust to a different land and style of living. “...I don’t belong here, either. You’re safe with me, and if anything threatens you, I promise to protect you.”

Tempest looks up at you blankly. After a moment, she slowly approaches and takes a seat next to you, under the arms of a wide oak tree. Her lips tighten briefly, which you almost mistake for a grin. “I am not sure you’d be of much help, but I still appreciate the sentiment.”

You chuckle and lie on your back again. “Lie down, Tempest. Nopony can fall asleep sitting up.”

“Entirely untrue,” she retorts. Nonetheless, you hear her armor clank slightly as she eases herself onto her tummy.

Log rolling once in her direction, you wrap your left arm around her midsection, the cold armor stinging your skin slightly. “See, now we can relax together.”

You can feel Tempest lean away from you. “This is entirely unnecessary,” she protests as she lifts her hoof in an attempt to extricate herself from your grasp.

Au contraire, I think getting a hug once in a while would do you all kinds of good,” you say, adjusting your body in order to wrap your other arm around her barrel.

Tempest lets out a disgust-filled grunt and shrinks under your touch. “You sound like Pinkie Pie. I don’t like spending time with her.”

“And nopony likes going to the doctor, either, but it’s good for you!”

“I have seen a physician only twice in my entire life, and not for over a decade,” she exposits. “Sickness is a sign of weakness, which I force myself to overcome.”

“You have all sorts of problems,” you protest, sitting up slightly. “Take off your armor, it’s too uncomfortable.”

“Absolutely not,” she responds, glaring at you and attempting to push you away with a hoof.

“And why not?”

“Because, it’s my protection. And you’re going to get even more touchy if I do.”

“I’m going to get touchy anyway,” you tell her, taking a hand and running it up the back of her neck and into her mane. Her coat feels rough, as if it was shorn tightly, but is still warm and inviting.

Tempest glares at you as you run her hand through her jagged mane, letting your fingers occasionally escape to stroke behind her right ear. After a few moments, she huffs and lies her head down between her hooves. “If one day we were to find ourselves inside and in a situation like this, then perhaps I’d consider removing my armor.”

“See?” you ask, wrapping both arms around her barrel from behind and nuzzling into her mane. “Hugs can help!”

Tempest exhales sharply, but says nothing.

Gently, you begin leaning away from Tempest while retaining your grip on her. You can feel her tense up as she resists the force, but after a few moments, slowly collapses into you. Burying your face into her mane and pulling her armor-clad midsection tightly against you, you sigh happily. Rubbing your face against her short coat, you whisper, “Y’know...you could really use some new conditioner.”

Goodnight, friend.” Tempest spits.

“Goodnight, Fizzlepop,” you whisper back.

Tempest Shadow slams one of her back hooves back quickly, bruising your shin.

Wincing in pain, you give her midsection a tight squeeze. “Sorry.”

Tempest lets out a single chuckle, and places one of her hooves over your hands, which are resting on her stomach armor. “Hmmm...It’s alright.”

Nuzzling into her mane, and with her hoof lightly stroking your hands, you slowly drift off like a cloud into a much-needed afternoon nap.

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