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The Rhythm of Love: Chapter 8 :iconjamestheb25:JamestheB25 0 0
Literature
The Rhythm of Love: Chapter 7
The Rhythm of Love
Chapter 7: Conducting
I smiled as I opened the door to my home. Lyra and Test Tube both carried a couple boxes with all the flowers in them. I would have carried them myself but both them and the doctor had advised against me doing any sort of lifting until I was used to my new prosthetic. As the thought about it went through my mind, I looked back at the metal 'leg' that I now had. It was weird seeing it attached to my body, like it was my leg but it wasn't my leg. My real leg was in a pile of timberwolf shit somewhere in the Everfree Forest. But, that was my own fault and now the prosthetic was a permanent reminder of my stupidity. "I guess just set them on the kitchen table." I told them as I sat down on the couch. While I may have just been released from the hospital, I was still hopped up on all sorts of drugs and I was just ready for a nap.
"Anything else we can do for you, Rhythm?" Lyra asked from the kitchen as they put the flowers on the table.
"Not that I c
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Mature content
The Rhythm of Love: Chapter 6 :iconjamestheb25:JamestheB25 0 0
Mature content
The Rhythm of Love: Chapter 5 :iconjamestheb25:JamestheB25 0 0
Literature
The Rhythm of Love: Chapter 4
The Rhythm of Love
Chapter 4: Heartstrings
"That's good!" Test Tube's voice called out from inside the schoolhouse. I turned the hose off and watched it get levitated out the window of the school. I was happy that with all the work done, I could just sit back and enjoy watching a cute, nerdy stallion do neat, sciencey things. I entered the door of the schoolhouse as Test's magic lowered the metronome into place in the tank. Thanks to a protection spell he'd cast on it, the metronome would be able to take a licking and keep on ticking. Compared to what it could withstand now thanks to magic, water was nothing. Like throwing a pebble at a castle really. I sat down on the bench for an upright piano, the place I felt most comfortable, and watched as Test finished checking that everything was ready. While he was doing that, some of the students started arriving. Most of them gave me a warm smile which I was happy to return. Some though, really just a pink filly and her silver friend, snubbe
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Literature
The Rhythm of Love: Chapter 3
The Rhythm of Love
Chapter 3: Vinyl Records
"So, Test Tube, not to sound rude; but what is a stallion like yourself doing in a place like this?" I asked him as the bartender brought me another whiskey. I took a sip of the drink as I looked over at him with an eyebrow raised.
"I just like listening to the bands. Helps me relax. It's always better to see the band when you're hearing them rather than listening to a phonograph or Walkman."  He replied before taking a drink of his soda. "I take it you're a music fan? Just going off your store, name, and cutie mark." He asked and I felt my face heat up at the thought that he had possibly been looking at my flank.
"Y-yeah. It's kind of a family thing." I replied before downing the rest of the whiskey in one go. Setting the glass back on the bar, I saw the bartender raise an eyebrow at me as he levitated my glass over to him. He refilled it and then floated it back to me. It set down on the bar with a small thump and I nodded to the barte
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Literature
The Rhythm of Love: Chapter 2
The Rhythm of Love
Chapter 2: The Metronome
"A metronome?" I asked and he nodded his head. Putting a hoof to my chin, I thought for a second. "I might have one or two left in the back if you don't mind them being a bit dusty." I told him as I stood up and led him to the back. He followed me into the grey room and his mane again fell in front of his face. The stallion swept the hair aside with a hoof as I searched for the shelf with an M label on it. "So are you fellow musician?" I asked him, hoping that small talk would manage to calm my heart down before it killed me.
"I'm not, actually." He replied as I found the shelf and stood up on my hind legs to get a better look. "I'm needing one for a science experiment of mine." He explained as I grabbed one of the last two from the shelf and held it in my hoof. Blowing the dust off of it, I checked it over real quick before letting him take hold of it with his magic. He again moved his mane out of the way as he looked at the item, his blue e
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Literature
The Rhythm of Love: Chapter 1
The Rhythm of Love
Chapter 1: A Lyre String
The sun shined through the blinds of the bedroom, making me squeeze my eyelids tighter together but to no avail as I realized I was now awake. I slowly opened my eyes and squinted at the blinds, my mind still hazy from sleep. I glanced over at the alarm clock and saw it was still five minutes before the dreaded bells on it would sing their annoying song. With a fore hoof, I reached over and turned off the alarm to prevent it from going off. I sighed as I rolled over and out of the bed, my joints popping as I landed on the floor. I turned my head to the side until there was an alarmingly loud cracking noise. With a sigh of relief, I slowly made my way over to the bathroom to clean up for the day ahead. I turned on the shower and made stood outside of it with a hoof under the water stream to make sure it was just right before stepping in. Once it was to my satisfaction, I climbed in and grabbed the toothbrush and toothpaste that sat on a small
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The Rhythm of Love
Chapter 8: Slow Dancing and First Times




The sound of jazz music was now background noise as Test Tube and I laughed while exchanging jokes. The waiter brought over another round of drinks for us and we thanked him for them before going back to telling jokes. We sat there for what was easily a couple hours until the restaurant staff came over to ask us to leave. With sighs of reluctance, we stood up and stumbled our way out of the restaurant and onto the dark streets of Ponyville where the only illumination there on the edge of town was the moon and stars above. As we leaned on one another for support, I began to sing a song I’d loved since I was a colt.

“It had to be moonglooww, way up in the bluuee
It had to be moonglooww that lead me straight to yoouu
I still hear you saying, dear one hold me fast”

“And I kept on praying, ‘please let this moment last’”A voice begin to sing next to me and it took my drunk mind a moment to process that the voice as beautiful as an angel’s was in fact Test Tube’s.

“Dude, I didn’t know you could sing!” I said, my slightly slurred voice sounding excited about the new discovery. Really though, alcohol makes everything exciting if you drink enough. Even slug races. That one I learned from personal experience. Test looked over at me and stumbled a bit but we continued on as he replied.

"I've been singing since-hic-I was a colt. I just didn't-hic-do it in front of other ponies." His hiccups made me giggle at him. There was just something about him right then that made him hiccuping really cute. It was probably the booze but regardless, he was a very cute stallion. "Why're you looking-hic-at me like-hic-that?" He asked me and I suddenly realized that I had been staring directly at him. My face went as red as Big Macintosh and I quickly looked away from him.

"I can't tell you." I replied as I looked in the opposite direction as him and instead looked around at Ponyville as we neared my apartment
.
"Ooooooo, do you have a crush on me?" He asked and my head whipped around for me to look at him as we finally reached the stairs to the apartment. We both had stopped in our tracks and I continued to stare at him until, whether it be a mixture of bravery and stupidity from the alcohol or just my feelings for him taking hold, I quickly leaned over and placed my lips on his. He tensed up but relaxed after a few seconds. A moment later, I felt something prodding at my lips and I parted them when I realized that it was Test's tongue. I began wrestling his tongue with mine but quickly relented control to him. But all good things must end and we soon broke apart for air. We looked at each other before hurrying up the stairs for the apartment. I unlocked the door and had barely got it shut behind me when I felt Test's tail run under my chin. For a stallion, he had a rather long tail that matched his long mane and from behind he could even be mistaken for a mare. The feeling of his tail running under my chin sent shivers down my spine and I looked over at him only to see him looking over his shoulder at me. He began to walk away towards the guest room where he was staying. It was at this point that the head on my shoulders ceased operation and I began thinking with my other one.

I followed Test Tube into the guest bedroom where we immediately began kissing again as we slowly made our way to his bed. We ungracefully flopped onto the bed together and I broke away from his mouth to begin planting kisses down his neck and then to his chest. I continued to kiss my way down his soft belly, something I just loved even more in that situation, but stopped just short of the grand prize. I looked up at him as a worried look flashed across my face. "I, um, I've never done this before." I told him and he gave me a small, drunken smile.

"Me either. But at least neither of us have something to go on to know how bad we are." He replied with a smile. “Well, don’t keep me waiting all night. Let’s see what you’ve got.” I nodded as my cheeks flushed red. Given, I’d seen a few magazines and films of stallions together; but it was a lot different now that I was in that situation myself. “Well? What’s the hold up?” Test asked with a raised brow and an annoyed look. There was something about his tone that sent a shudder down my spine and made me feel weak in the knees. Well, might as well try what I’d seen in the videos. I lowered my head more until his balls were just a centimeter away from my muzzle. The smell of his musk was intoxicating and I found myself inhaling deeply to try and get as much of a high from it as I could. “Oh, so somepony loves my musk huh? Well here, let me help.” That was when I felt a hoof on the back of my head and my muzzle was shoved into his balls, making his scent ten times stronger. Sweet Luna, it was amazing.

I opened my mouth and let my tongue roll out and across his nuts which in turn got a moan from Test. The taste was certainly something else and was nowhere near anything I’d tasted before. They had a salty taste to them but at the same time I could taste his body wash and an earthy flavor from the times he’d sat down in the grass that day. I continued to lap at them like I was nothing more than a dog and above me I could hear Test moaning in satisfaction. Stealing a quick glance up, I tried to see his face but found my view obstructed by something that made my heart race even faster than it was and my face turn a darker shade of red. There, mere centimeters away from my face was Test’s cock. I leaned back and looked at it in awe. It was easily thirteen inches hard, something that made me both excited and nervous at the same time. The sound of somepony chuckling broke my attention away from the gorgeous piece of stallion meat in front of me and made me look up at Test. He’d taken off his glasses leaving nothing between me and his gorgeous blue eyes. “Lick it. Now.”

There was something about how he didn’t just tell me, he ordered me, to lick his cock. I quickly leaned in and followed his order, licking all the way from the base to the head, getting another satisfied moan from him. It was odd, for something so hard; it was so soft at the same time. I dragged my tongue up his shaft to the head where a drop of precum beaded. Carefully, I licked the head free of the liquid which got another pleased moan from Test. The pre, much like Test’s balls, had a salty taste to it. Just as I was about to go back in for another lick, I felt Test’s hoof on my chin. I looked up to look into his eyes again where I saw a mixture of caring and lust. “Lie down and turn over.” I scooted up on the bed so I was separate from Test, the feeling of my own shaft rubbing against the sheets making me moan. However, my mind wandered back to Test’s dick and then to mine which made me blush and stay on my stomach. Suddenly, a loud smack echoed off the walls and a sharp pain shot through my right ass cheek. “I said turn over.” Test’s voice practically growled into my ear. My stomach twisted in excitement as I slowly rolled over for Test to see everything. “Heh, how cute.”

His comment made my face turn beet red as he looked down at my own cock. While Test was an impressive thirteen inches, I was a measly eight. He let out a little chuckle as he looked up at my face. “It’s no wonder you’re loving this. Who’re you going to satisfy with that?” He told me as his horn lit up and his magic wrapped itself around my shaft. I squirmed and let out a couple small moans as his magic began to work its way up and down. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you like being treated like a sissy stallion.” His magic stopped moving and a whimper escaped my throat.

“P-please.” I begged as his magic simply held there at the middle of my dick.
“Please what?” Test asked, a devilish grin crossing his face as he looked down at the shaking, panting, horny mess that I’d become. “What do you want, sissy stallion?” He leaned in so that his muzzle was next to my ear. His breath tickled the hair in my ear and made it twitch out of instinct. “Do you want me to rut you senseless? Do you want me to make you moan like a mare in heat? You want me to fill your ass with my cum?”

“Yes, please for the love of Celestia! Rut me, fill me, make me moan, but just fuck me already!” I shouted as his magic vanished from around my shaft.

“That’s just what I wanted to hear.” He whispered before he slid down so that his face was where I’d been with him a few minutes earlier. A gasp escaped my mouth and my back arched as I felt something wet slide over my tail hole. Looking down, I saw Test rimming me as he watched my face. While he may have been the one rimming me, I knew full well that he was the one in control. And I loved every second of it. I let out another gasp which turned into a moan as I felt his tongue slide into my ass. He let out a hum of satisfaction before leaning back and lighting up his horn. I raised an eyebrow before I felt something slide into my ass. Looking further, I saw a tendril of his magic sliding into my hole.
“Oh Celestia!” I shouted as I felt the tendril hit something inside me that sent pleasure through my body like a tidal wave. Falling back on the bed, I began panting as his magic continued to run over the spot. I turned my head to look down at him where I saw him looking at me with an evil smile as he saw what he was doing to me. His magic continued to wiggle around inside me as it took hold of my cock again. The onslaught of Test’s magic was enough to push me to the edge. “Test, I’m about to-“

“Don’t you even think about it.” He growled through his teeth as his magic stopped, leaving me on the brink of orgasm. “We haven’t even got to the best part.” His horn lit up and a bottle of lube floated up out of one of the drawers on his nightstand. I heard the cap on the lube pop open as I reached a hoof down towards my dick. My hoof was slapped away and a moment later Test was standing over me. “Did I say you could touch yourself, sissy stallion?” He asked, making me shake my head as he continued to stare. As bad as it would’ve looked to anypony looking in at us, I was enjoying the Tartarus out of it. While his face said serious, his eyes had a caring look to them. “As much as you’re loving this, you don’t have to do what we’re about to do. You know that, right?” He asked to which I nodded my head. “It’ll hurt when we first start. I don’t want you to be in pain.”

“I meant what I said earlier. I want you. I need you. Just…be gentle, okay?” He nodded at my request and stepped back so that he was where he’d been a minute before. I could hear the sound of him squeezing the lube bottle and then snapping the cap back shut. Something cold and wet touched my tail hole, making me jump a bit out of reflex.

“Heh, sorry.” Test said after I jumped. He carefully applied the lube to my hole as well as to his shaft. When he was done, he was once again standing over me; this time trying to line himself up. “Just take some deep breaths and try to relax; it’ll make things…easier.” I nodded and took some deep breaths while trying to relax myself. Something prodding at my rear made me open my eyes and look up at him. “You ready?” Test asked me to which I hesitantly nodded my head. “It’s not too late to back out. If you want to stop at any point, just tell me.” I nodded again and the pressure on my hole increased as he pushed forward. The burning pain of my tail hole stretching out to accommodate him made my eyes water and a small whimper of pain managed to escape. Finally, and thankfully, the head popped inside, making both Test and I gasp. He was breathing somewhat heavy as he opened his eyes to see a few tears on my face. Reaching a hoof up, he tenderly wiped them away before leaning in to plant another kiss on my lips. When he leaned back he smiled at me before looking down where we were now joined.

“Well, how do you feel?” He asked me as he looked back up at my face.

“Like I’ve got to shit if I’m being perfectly honest here.” I told him with a small laugh which got a laugh from him in turn.

“Yeah, I kind of figured you would. Not something they tell you in those magazines is it?” He replied as he shifted his forelegs to get more comfortable. I shook my head as Test finished adjusting himself. “Are you alright for me to move now?” I nodded that I was, thankfully the small laugh between us made me relax a bit. He began to push further in, the pain somewhat returning for a moment. "You're pretty tight for someone with a rubber dick in their nightstand." Test said with gritted teeth. He continued to slide in, my body starting to get accustomed to the feeling of him being in my ass. And then something bumped into my tail hole. "Um, I forgot about this." Test told me as he pointed down. I twisted myself to see his medial ring against my hole. I looked up at him and nodded my head, to which he then thrust forward, popping his medial ring inside. The sensation made both of us gasp in pleasure and I let out a surprisingly high pitched moan as his cock his the same spot his magic had earlier. Raising an eyebrow, Test looked down at me with a predatory smile. I quickly realized what I'd done and covered up my mouth with my forehooves but it was too late for that. "My, my; you sounded just like a mare." He told me as he leaned down and put his muzzle by my ear again. "And I'm going to rut you just like the mare you are. I'll make sure you cum just like a mare should, from getting banged by a real stallion's cock." Test suddenly shoved the rest of his length inside me which got another high pitched moan to escape. He suddenly withdrew from me, making me whimper as I suddenly felt very empty. Pulling out until just the head remained inside, Test looked down at me again with the same smile he had before. "You ready, my little mare?" He asked me to which I could only nod my head. His length was suddenly shoved all the way back inside me, making me throw my head back in pleasure. He immediately pulled back and slammed back into me, repeating the process for several minutes.

"Test, I'm getting close." I moaned to him. Every time he'd thrust in and then pull back, his cock would hit that one spot inside me that sent waves of pleasure through me. This must have only driven him further because he began thrusting even harder, making me let out a feminine moan again as I wrapped my forelegs around his neck. With the harder thrusts, I was sent towards the edge even faster.

"Me too." He told me through his gritted teeth. I felt a familiar stirring in in my loins as Test pressed his face against my chest, careful not to stab my with his horn. With every thrust of his I could feel his cock head starting to flare which only provided an even bigger stimulation for me. Finally, he hit that spot again and it proved too much for me. My back arched and I practically screamed as ropes of cum shot from my cock, coating my chest, Test's chin, and my own face. When I came, I clamped down on Test's shaft, getting a groan from him as he hilted himself in me. I felt a warmth in me which I immediately realized was Test's seed. As we both came down from our orgasms, Test and I looked at each other with stupid grins on our faces. "You've got a bit of something on your cheek." He told me with a small laugh. Raising a hoof up, I wiped away a glob of cum that had landed on my right cheek. Looking back up at Test, I saw him looking at the cum on my hoof. I brought the hoof over to my mouth and licked it clean of my seed, all while Test watched. When I lowered my hoof, he was looking at me with a goofy smile. "That was hot." Test told me which got a small chuckle out of me.

"I'm glad you enjoyed it." I replied as he got up and pulled his softening member out of me. Slowly, I rolled over to the side of the bed and stepped down onto the floor. Just as I was about to go across the hall to my own room, I heard him speak up from behind me.

"Hey, Rhythm?" I turned my head to look at him as he sat on his bed rubbing the back of his head with a hoof. "I was wondering if maybe you'd like to stay in my bed tonight? It got kinda chilly in here last night and it'd be a lot warmer with somepony else in here with me." Smiling softly, I walked over and climbed back up onto the bed.

"Nothing would make me happier."

~~~~~

The sun shined through the window as my head pounded from the massive hangover I had. Though I hated the sun for its brightness, I did enjoy the extra warmth it provided me besides the blanket. I finally opened my eyes just a crack and saw that I was not in my room. I was in the guest room. Shifting a little in the bed, I felt a leg wrapped around me and the memories of last night all came flooding back. The drinks, the kissing, the sex; oh boy the sex. I looked over at the alarm clock on the nightstand and saw it said quarter to eight. Carefully, I peeled back the blanket away from myself and gently removed Test's grey foreleg from around my midsection. As I scooted out of bed, the warmth from his stomach on my back disappeared and I almost climbed back into bed with him. But I knew that was a bad idea. With that happening so early on in his stay, I was more focused on how the prior night could affect our friendship than the cold air that now hit my back. The first thing I decided I need to do was take a shower. There was no way I could get away with not taking one, and I certainly would need it to get myself cleaned up after some of the things we'd done in bed.

While my shower had taken longer than expected, I was able to get dried off and into the kitchen by eight-thirty. I had fed the cats and already had a pot of coffee going when I heard hoofsteps in the hallway from the bedrooms to the kitchen. I turned just in time to see Test standing in the doorway with a tired, pained look on his face. "How much did I have to drink last night?" He asked me as he sat down at the table and held his head in his forehooves.

"A lot. A few more than me if I remember correctly." I replied as the light on the coffee maker lit up to say that the coffee was ready. I poured a couple cups and carried them to the table where I slid one to Test.

"I don't remember anything after us telling jokes." He said and I felt a small pit in my stomach.

"You don't?" I asked, trying to hide my sadness at his statement from showing in my voice.

"Not a bloody thing. Also, I'm sorry but I need to wash the sheets for my bed. I think I had one of those kinds of dreams last night." He told me and that was the moment my heart seemed to shatter in my chest. While he'd been too drunk to remember it, I thought back to the night before and felt myself want to cry as I took my coffee downstairs. He still thought of us as only friends when only eight hours before we'd been making love. Sweet Celestia, I really wanted to cry thinking about it. I set my coffee on the shop counter and began my routine to get the shop ready to open for the day. With in fifteen minutes the shop was open and I was behind the counter with my cup of coffee and my thoughts. I figured that I had at least fifteen minutes to a half hour until Test Tube was downstairs to help me which gave me that time to compose myself. As I took a sip of my coffee, the bell above the door jingled and I looked up to see one of my neighbors from across the street. Most of the shop owners on the street lived above their stores and many of them were older ponies who were around the age of my grandparents. The mare who'd entered was a short mare with a fading pink coat and a grey mane. She smiled to me and came over to the counter.

"Good morning, Rhythm. Or at least I'm assuming it's good for you." She said with a slight Istallion accent, a cheeky smile crossing her wrinkled face.

"Good morning to you Mrs. Ink Well. And why do you say that?" I asked her with an eyebrow raised. I'd known Mrs. Ink Well since I was a colt and she'd always been the mischievous type.

"Why you and your coltfriend of course! You two had to have woken half the street last night with all the racket you two were making." She told me and my face quickly went red from embarrassment. Then as I thought back to the bedroom, I made the horrifying realization that the window had been open all night.

"Oh dear." I said as I realized that there was now almost no way of avoiding the topic with Test Tube. I was certainly going to be approached about the noise by many other neighbors.

"What's wrong dear?" Mrs. Ink Well asked me as I laid my chin on the counter.

"Well for starters, we're not coltfriends. Second is that we were both drunk so he doesn't remember anything. And lastly, is that he think's were still just friends since he doesn't remember last night." I told her with a sigh.

"How can he not remember that? From how loud you were moanin' I'd swear he should remember." She said, somehow making my face and ears turn a darker shade of red than they already were. "Oh, sorry to embarrass you dear. But don't you worry. They say that a pony's true feelings come out when they're drunk. He clearly wouldn't have done anything if he didn't want to." Mrs. Ink Well told me as she patted my head with her hoof in an attempt to comfort me. "Let me tell you a story. Picture it, Canterlot fifty years ago. There I was at the Grand Galloping Gala in my best dress and my hair in the done in the best way I could afford. I was dateless of course because back then, others weren't always so welcoming of ponies like you and me." She explained before continuing her story. "So there I was all dolled up but by myself when this handsome stallion in a tux approached me. We're talking cuff links, wingtip collar, white tie, and a tail coat so he certainly came from money. He asked me to dance with him and I said yes to be polite. After we were done, we went back to his table where he introduced me to his younger sister who was my age. By the end of the night, me and her were going at it like a couple of rabbits in a broom closet at the Royal Palace." She said and the last part made me raise an eyebrow at her. "We got married the next year and we've been happily married ever since."

"That's you though." I told her as I heard Test moving around upstairs. "You and Mrs. Parchment got your happily ever after. If you hadn't noticed, I don't have the best luck of ponies I love being around long." I said as I stood up to straighten a guitar that was hanging lopsided on the wall.

"Now, now; don't say you'll never get your happy ending, sweetie." She replied as I adjusted the guitar. "You're a very handsome stallion. You get that from your father you know."

"I got nothing from that deadbeat bastard except a foalhood of wondering where in Tartarus my father was." My voice dripped venom and the bitterness in it would've put a lemon tree to shame. "As for my mother, she was more focused on getting rutted in a dark alley like a common whore instead of taking care of her child." Returning to my seat behind the counter, I looked at Mrs. Ink Well as I thought about my foalhood. Now that I was thinking about it, I truly realized how fucked up it was. A child who was unwanted and unloved by either parent; who's mother was basically a prostitute and a father who was too busy snorting stuff up his nose to care about feeding his family. My grandparents were there more for me than my parents even when they lived in Ponyville. It wasn't the most ideal foalhood but I'm sure others had it worse. I couldn't really complain when I thought about it in that light. Just as Mrs. Ink Well was about to say something, the sound off hoofsteps coming from the stairs made us look over at the door to the back room.

"I think I'm going to head back to my shop now. You try and have a good day." Mrs. Ink Well said with a small smile before leaving the shop. Test Tube opened the door and stepped in wearing his typical grey striped hoodie. He smiled at me but I could tell that his hangover was still making his head pound like a drum. I smiled back at him and he took a seat next to me behind the counter. As I thought about how to avoid the subject of last night to keep from letting something slip, I realized that it was going to be a long day ahead of me.

~~~~~

Test and I sat in our corner booth as night descended on Ponyville. I'd decided to keep the number of drinks I had to a minimum to avoid any more incidents like the night we'd had a week before and I slowly sipped my martini as I watched Test Tube across the table. He was busy watching the dancers so he didn't notice me staring at him. "A bit for your thoughts." I said and he looked over at me with a sigh.

"Just wishing I could dance." He stated as he took a sip of his martini.

"You know, just a basic four step isn't that hard. Just think of it like slow dancing but sped up." I told him and he raised an eyebrow at my comment.

"I'm sure I could do that. Would you dance with me though? Just so I don't look like a fool." His request made me feel all warm inside and butterflies fluttered in my stomach.

"Of course." I replied without thinking. We scooted out of the booth and we had just made it over to the dance floor when the band began playing the next song which was far slower than expected. "Oh. Well, we can sit down until the next one if you'd like." I said to which Test shook his head.

"We're here." He replied as he leaned in to place the side of his neck against mine. "We may as well dance." We began to slow dance across the dance floor, getting a couple looks from other dancers. But that was probably more for being more dressed up than half the other patrons rather than two stallions dancing together. As we danced, I began to quietly sing along to the song that I realized had been the song that I'd sang on the way home that night.

“It had to be moonglooww, way up in the bluuee
It had to be moonglooww that lead me straight to yoouu
I still hear you saying, dear one hold me fast”

“And I kept on praying, ‘please let this moment last’” Test's voice sang softly into my ear. My heart seemed to stop as he continued to whisper into my ear. "Rhythm, I remember the other night." If there was a time that I was ever going to drop dead from a heart attack, right then was it.

"Y-you said you didn't remember." I told him, my voice shaky as I thought about what this meant.

"I lied." He said as he leaned his head back to make eye contact with me.

"A-and?" I asked him as I felt on the verge of tears. His voice was so unemotional and that was the part that seemed to scare me the most. He didn't respond with words but rather leaned forward and placed his lips on mine. My eyes widened in surprise and I tensed up as we kissed. When it finally clicked in my mind that Test Tube was kissing me, I relaxed. Just as I was about to get into it, I felt him pull away and I looked at him as he finally said the magic words I'd been praying for.

"Rhythm, I love you."
The Rhythm of Love
Chapter 7: Conducting



I smiled as I opened the door to my home. Lyra and Test Tube both carried a couple boxes with all the flowers in them. I would have carried them myself but both them and the doctor had advised against me doing any sort of lifting until I was used to my new prosthetic. As the thought about it went through my mind, I looked back at the metal 'leg' that I now had. It was weird seeing it attached to my body, like it was my leg but it wasn't my leg. My real leg was in a pile of timberwolf shit somewhere in the Everfree Forest. But, that was my own fault and now the prosthetic was a permanent reminder of my stupidity. "I guess just set them on the kitchen table." I told them as I sat down on the couch. While I may have just been released from the hospital, I was still hopped up on all sorts of drugs and I was just ready for a nap.

"Anything else we can do for you, Rhythm?" Lyra asked from the kitchen as they put the flowers on the table.

"Not that I can think of." I replied as I laid my head back and closed my eyes. The sound of hooves on the wood floor made me open my eyes back up and look over at them as they came back into the living room. They both stopped in front of me and I looked at them in confusion as they continued to look at me.

"Rhythm, we thought it would be best for somepony to stay with you for awhile." Lyra said as she sat down. "Just to make sure you're alright, help you out with the shop, and do anything around here you can't do for yourself right now." She explained as Test Tube sat down beside her. "Test Tube has volunteered to stay with you until you're back to your old self." That made a pit form in my stomach and I could feel my heart pounding in my chest.

"Test Tube, will be staying with me?" I asked her for confirmation and she nodded that she was serious. Oh boy, that was going to be interesting. "Alright, um, I guess I can get the guest room ready if you want to go get some stuff from your house." I said as I turned my head to look at Test. He nodded and said a quick goodbye to us before leaving to go to his house. I sighed and flopped my head back down onto the back of the couch. "Oh dear." I muttered as I looked at the ceiling.

"What's wrong?" Lyra asked as she stood up and came over to sit next to me on the couch.
"Nothing." I said.

"I don't believe you. Come on, I won't tell a soul. Is it that the stallion you're crushing on is staying with you?" She asked me as she placed a hoof on my shoulder in comfort. I hesitated but then nodded that it was indeed that Test Tube was staying with me.

"It's just...he doesn't feel the same way about me as I do about him." I told her with a sigh and I placed my face in my hooves. "I don't think I can handle him staying here without doing something stupid that would jeopardize our friendship." I told her. "I mean, the one night was nice where we just played games but to have him staying with me for at least a couple weeks?" With a sigh, I stood up to head for the guest bedroom. "I guess we'll just have to see how it goes after the first few days."

~~~~~

The shrill ringing of my alarm clock made me slowly open my eyes as I reached a hoof over to shut it off. I rubbed my eyes in an attempt to wake up as I slowly sat up in the bed. A yawn escaped my mouth and I looked over at my window as the sun rose over the horizon. The smell of hay bacon, eggs, and coffee hit my nostrils and my stomach growled in response. As I thought about the night prior and Test Tube moving in, I remembered that I had skipped dinner to help him settle in. Well there was no sense in denying my stomach what it wanted. Rolling over to the side of my bed, I grabbed the metal prosthetic that was leaned against my nightstand. I put it on and carefully slid out of bed to stand on the floor. With each step carefully planned out, I made my way to the kitchen where instead of his usual hoodie, I saw Test Tube standing at the stove in a purple dress shirt as he used his magic to pull hay bacon out of a pan. He levitated the plate of hay bacon over to the table next to a plate of eggs and two cups of coffee. When he turned to face the table, he finally noticed me in the doorway and gave me a warm smile.

"Good morning, Sleeping Beauty." He said with a small laugh and I felt my cheeks heat up. "You're mane is all over." Test said, seeming to catch on to my slight embarrassment and to try and defuse the situation. I reached up and smoothed it out a bit with my hoof before sitting down at the table. I reached over and grabbed an egg and a couple strips of hay bacon to put on my plate. "I wasn't sure about how I should dress, or if I should, but I threw on a dress shirt just in case." He told me as he filled up his plate.

"Typically I just go as I am. Comb my mane and that's about it." I replied as I took a bite of my egg. "I only ever put on a shirt if I have something special going on like playing at the dance hall or something." Taking a drink of my coffee, I scrunched up my nose at the taste. "Needs cream and sugar." I said to myself as I stood up to go to the fridge. But as I did so, a sharp pain shot up what was left of my back leg and I felt my legs start to give out. I reached for the table and grabbed a hold of it but my weight proved too much and it tipped, sending me and our breakfasts falling to the floor. I landed with an 'umph' and I felt eggs, hay bacon, and hot coffee hit my back as well a couple plates that just bounced off me. Test Tube was quickly out of his seat and pulling me up with his magic.

"Are you alright?" He asked me with concern as he looked me over to make sure I was fine.
"Yeah. Leg just gave out is all." I told him as he looked at my back.

"The coffee burned your back. Let's get you to the shower and try and keep it from blistering." He said as I wrapped a foreleg around his shoulder for support as we made our way to the bathroom.

"I feel like a damned fool. I'm a grown stallion damn it! I shouldn't need to be cared for like a child." I growled at myself but it was clearly loud enough for Test Tube to hear me.

"Now, now; we all need somepony to make sure we're alright. For you right now, that would be me." We entered the bathroom and he used his magic to place me in the shower. I removed my prosthetic and set it just outside of the shower as he shut the door and turned the water on with his magic. A jet of cold water hit me and made me jump and shout out in surprise. "Sorry for the temperature but the cold will help keep that burn from getting worse." He grabbed the shower head and began to douse my back with the bone chilling water. "Besides, it must get lonely being in this boring old apartment alone. Isn't it nice to have somepony here with you as company?"

"The cats usually do a good enough job doing that." I told him as I thought back to the kitchen. "Speaking of them,"

"I already fed them if that's what you're about to ask me." He said, seeming to read my mind.

"Thank you. I feel so useless. I mean, I'm either a zombie from the painkillers or in too much pain to do anything." He nodded in understanding as he began scrubbing me with a bar of soap. "It was nice having what little breakfast we could eat together though. We should do that more. Even after you move out."

"Well I'm not much of a morning kind of stallion. How about we meet and everyday we'll have lunch and dinner together?" He said with a small laugh at the start but his voice turned soft and caring towards the end.

"You promise?" I asked him. I'd been let down by ponies before. The only way it seemed to get them to actually keep their word was to make them promise.

"I promise. Everyday at noon we'll go to that little cafe from a few weeks ago. Then in the evenings we'll go to that nice little restaurant on the edge of town and get one of the corner booths where we can watch all the ponies dance to the music and we can have martinis and discuss our how our days went. It'll be nice." He said as he finished washing me. I liked the idea of lunch and dinner with him.

"Can we start today? I just want something besides what I've got here or vending machine candy." I told him which made both of us chuckle at that.

"Of course. Now, close your eyes. I don't want to get shampoo in them."

~~~~~

I smiled to myself as I looked at my reflection in the mirror. I carefully tied the silver colored tie and tightened it up a bit before turning the collar back down on my aqua shirt. Now that my collar was down, I tightened my tie up until the knot was snug against the top button of my shirt. A small knock at my bedroom door made me look over at it. "Out in a moment." I said to Test Tube who no doubt was now sitting down waiting for me. I looked back in the mirror and replaced a hair in my mane that had decided to stick up. With my black made slicked back, I looked pretty good all dressed up. I opened my door and trotted out into the living room where Test Tube sat in his purple dress shirt with a light grey tie. His mane was combed into a ducktail style and I felt my heart start pounding in my chest at how much more handsome he was. He looked down at the floor and pushed his glasses up.

"I hope I don't look too bad. I know I probably look weird like this." He said, a hint of embarrassment in his voice.

"No, no; you look...nice." I told him, trying to make sure it sounded like a compliment rather than an attempt at flirting. I thought I saw a hint of a blush on his face but brushed it aside as my mind returned to my empty stomach. "Well, shall we go?" He nodded and I led the way out the apartment for us to go to the restaurant. We made most of the walk in silence, only talking to comment how nice of an evening it was or to discuss what we might order to eat. When we finally reached the restaurant, there was just a sliver of pink left on the horizon as darkness set in. I felt cold air hit me as we entered the restaurant and I was glad that my shirt had long sleeves. Test Tube went over and talked to the maitre d' who we then followed to one of the corner booths. When Test made a promise, he certainly kept it. We slid into the booth and the maitre d' gave us both menus to look over until our waiter came over. I smiled to myself as I looked over to the dance floor where several ponies were dancing to the small band on the stage. The band was playing some jazz music that made me want to tap my hoof as I looked back to the menu and scanned it to see what I would enjoy. I finally decided on the Alfredo and a martini just before the waiter arrived to take our orders.

"Do you dance?' A voice asked and I looked over at Test who was looking back at me.
"Not for a long time." I replied as the waiter returned with our martinis. He set them down and smiled to us before trotting off. "The last time I danced was... I think with my grandma before she got sick." I said as I took a sip of my martini. "I used to be good too. Guess I should've kept up on the practice but, with the shop and all, I don't really have time. I also don't have a partner to practice with."

"Well what if you danced with me?" Test asked me and I looked over at him in surprise.
"You can dance?" I asked with an eyebrow raised at him.

"Not one bit." He admitted which made both of us laugh. "But I want to learn and it'll be good practice for you. So it's a win-win situation." He said as he took a sip of his martini. "I can slow dance alright, but usually everypony can. It's when they start playing something like a foxtrot or a waltz that I become useless on the dance floor." He admitted but kept his kind smile. "And I'd much rather learn to do something like that with my best friend. Especially if he needs the practice." Test said as the waiter returned with our food. We both thanked him and looked across the table at each other. My eyes met Test Tube's gorgeous blue ones and it was at that moment I decided that one way or another, I was going to marry that stallion.

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The Rhythm of Love
Chapter 6: A Guitar



As I watched him, Test Tube began to stir from his slumber. He stretched his legs out and let out a loud yawn before opening his eyes. He immediately looked over to me and his eyes widened when he saw me looking back at him. "How long?" I asked him, my voice scratchy and my throat feeling as dry as a desert. He quickly got up, grabbed something with his magic, and second later a straw was poking at my lips as it tried to enter. I opened them just enough to let the straw in before clamping down on it and sucking on the straw, water rushing into my mouth a moment later. Sweet Celestia, that was the best feeling in the world right then. Once I let go of the straw, he levitated it back over to the small table at my bedside. "How long have I been in here?" I asked, whatever they had me on, it probably had me out for days.

"You've been here for almost a week." He replied, his voice sounding overjoyed that I was awake but upset that I was in there. "You scared the Tartarus out of us." His voice seemed to falter a bit, almost like he was going to cry. "They...they didn't think you were going to make it for the first couple of days. Everypony has been so worried. I'm just afraid of what would have happened..." He paused and sniffled but still no tears fell "what would have happened if I hadn't found you in time."

"You were the one that found me?" I asked him as I attempted to get myself situated in the bed but I let out a loud hiss in pain as I did so. As I sat there, my mind raced back to the day of my attempt. "My leg. Did I lose the leg?" I asked in a cold tone, my brain knowing the answer already but I didn't really want to believe it yet. Test nodded his head and I carefully reached a forehoof over to the blanket to pull it aside. When I did so, I looked down at my leg and saw what was left of it. From about halfway up my thigh and down was gone. Bandaging was around where the leg ended and I then looked further up my body at the bandaging around my midsection. "Why?" I asked him. Test looked at me again with a raised eyebrow as my heart suddenly felt like ice. "Why did you save me? Why not be merciful and let me bleed there in the forest?"

"Why? You ask me why I wouldn't let you bleed to death? You ask why I didn't just accept that you would die?!" He was clearly about to cry now but I still didn't care. "Maybe it's because you're the best friend I've ever had! Maybe it's because you're probably the one pony who actually understands me!" He stopped and looked me in the eyes, taking a deep breath before what he had to say next. "Maybe it's because I don't want to go to another funeral because of a suicide." Those words managed to jam a pick through the ice around my heart and I immediately reached a hoof out to him despite the extreme pain it caused in my side.

"Come here." I told him. He slowly inched over to me until I could grab him with my hoof and pull him into a hug. He seemed surprised to say the least but quickly accepted it as he carefully hugged me back. As we hugged I noticed the warmth that he gave off, probably from him wearing that dark grey hoodie all the time, as well as the scent of oranges. I had always loved oranges. Especially those little orange slice candies. But there was one other thing in that moment that made me forget the oranges. It was the gentle thumping of his heart. The combination of his warmth and his heartbeat reminded me just how much I cared for this stallion. How much I loved him. Even if he didn't really understand love or the fact that if he did he would never go for a stallion like me, he was still going to be there for me as my best friend. Somepony knocking on the door before it opened made us break the hug and look over at the doctor who had entered. His eyes widened and he looked up at the clock above the door.

"What time did he wake up?" He asked Test as he looked back to his clipboard.

"Ten minutes ago at the most." Test replied as he looked over at the small bag that was by the chair he had been in.

"Damn. I had ten this morning in the betting pool." He said as he wrote down the estimated time. I stole a glance at the clock and saw it read 11:45. I believed it with how bright it was outside. The doctor looked over the chart at the end of my bed and jotted down a few more notes on his clipboard and then left to presumably take to the nurses. I looked over to Test as he plopped back down into his chair.

"So, how long have you been here?" I asked as I pressed my forehooves together.
"Ever since I brought you here." He replied as he pulled out a book from the bag by the chair. His magic levitated it over to me and he gently set it down on my chest. I looked at the book as he continued to talk. "So, about a week. I've only left to take a shower and grab some things from home." The book he'd given me actually looked pretty good. Actually, it looked very familiar too.

"Where did you get this book?" I questioned as I lifted it up.

"Oh, that one I grabbed from your place on my way back here from my house. I thought that when you woke up you might want something to read so I grabbed a few of the books from your office for you." He stated in a matter-of-fact tone as he fished out a science journal from his bag for him to read. I looked at the book cover again and saw the silhouette of a royal guard on the front against the white cover.

“This was my grandpa’s book.” I said as I opened up the cover and looked at the note written inside. The writing had faded too much to read many years before but I knew the story behind it well. “He served under Shining Armor’s grandfather in the Royal Guard.” Test looked up at me and set his magazine down.

“I didn’t know your grandfather was in the Guard.”

“Yeah, he didn’t ever really talk much about it. He was over in Zebrika during their civil war as part of a team to get Equestria’s ambassador over there out. Grandma said that for years after he came back from there he would wake up at night screaming.” I told him as I set the book next to me on the bed. “He would talk about all the places in Equestria they sent him and the close calls with the Gryphon Kingdom. But he would never discuss Zebrika with anyone but my grandmother. One night after he’d gone to bed and I was old enough to understand, she told me what he’d seen over there. The tribes over there can get brutal when they want to and the civil war was brutality like nopony has seen since. Grandma said that when his airship was fifty miles from Zebrika, the stallions in his unit could smell burning flesh. After they had landed, they were met by impaled soldiers from both sides as a warning from each side to the other. They saw dead zebra foals lying in the streets after they had been caught in the cross fire trying to escape.” Just the thought of it made me nauseous but I continued on. “When they got to the embassy, they had to turn back and return to Equestria. The natives had dug a trench around it in the night and camouflaged it. When the ponies inside tried to escape, they fell into the trench and were impaled on bamboo spikes. Apparently when they arrived, some of them were still alive despite their impalement. One even being there for over twelve hours without dying. They couldn’t even recover the bodies without setting off other bobby traps that had been set.”

“That’s awful. I can’t say I blame him for never wanting to talk about it. How in Celestia’s name did a musician end up in that situation?” Test asked as he leaned forward on his seat, clearly wanting to know how.

“It was back when they still had mandatory service. He didn’t have much of a say in the matter of serving. His armor, uniform, and all his medals are in the chifforobe in his old office. I haven’t looked at them since his passing.” I looked over at Test and smiled too him. “You have any family in the Guard?”

“My older brother was. He was the only pegasus among us kids but it was so great growing up so much younger than him. He was eleven years older than me and since I was so much smaller, he would let me ride on his back for a flight around Ponyville. It was so great. Being a unicorn but being able to touch the clouds. Seeing the world from a view most unicorns or earth ponies can only imagine.” His eyes looked over at something and I turned my head to see what was behind me that he could be looking at. There in the corner where I hadn’t noticed it before was a small table that was overflowing with flowers and balloons. “Sorry, I wasn’t sure if you would want those in here or not.”

“No, it’s alright. I like flowers. Are there any in a pot?” I asked him as I couldn’t see very many past the front ones in the vases.

“A couple.” He said as he leaned back in his chair.

“Any daffodils?”

“Yeah. Why?” He asked as he raised an eyebrow.

“I like daffodils. They’re always so beautiful when they bloom. They’re not around very long here in Ponyville. But when they are, it’s always so beautiful. It’s times like then that I wish I was a unicorn like you.” I said with a small laugh as I looked out the window. “I’d just sit and paint the flowers all day. I bet you could make good money off that too. What kind of flowers do you like?”

“Well, I always liked roses.”

~~~~~

“So how’re you feeling?” Lyra asked as she and Bon Bon sat by my bed.

“Alright. Been better. Being worse is how I got here.” I told her with a small laugh at myself. She frowned a bit at the joke but said nothing as Bon Bon opened her mouth to speak.

“Is the food in here as bad as they say?”

“No clue. The green stuff, I have no idea what it is. Usually I just give Test Tube some bits and have him get me something from the vending machines.” I said as I looked out the window at the sky. The sun was starting to sink towards the horizon and the sky began to take on a pink hue. “How’s your shop doing Bon?”

“Good. Although I have to make about five batches of lemon drops if Troy and his brothers show up.” She said with a small smile about it.

“Yeah, what’s up with gryphons and lemon drops?” I asked her to which she shrugged her shoulders as she placed a hoof on Lyra’s shoulder.

“Well, should we go and give Rhythm a chance to rest?”

“Yeah. See you tomorrow buddy.” Lyra said as they stood up. “Is there anything we can get for you before we come back tomorrow?”

“Yeah, actually. Can you bring a couple of my records and” I grabbed a nearby piece of paper and a pen. I wrote down which records I wanted and something for my next request. “take some of the roses from my rose bush to this address.”

~~~~~

I smiled as I watched Test’s magic picked at the strings on the guitar on his lap. He wasn’t playing any particular tune; rather he was just winging it and see where that led him. He stopped playing and looked up at me. “You got any requests?” Test asked to which I thought for a second before smiling a little.

“Do you know The Way You Look Tonight?” I asked and this time he had to think.

“Does it go like this?” He asked me as he began playing the guitar again. I smiled as it was indeed the song I wanted.

I sang the first couple of lines until a sharp pain went through my mid-section and made me hiss in pain. The guitar fell to the floor as he jumped up and hurried over.
"Are you alright? Do I need to get the doctor? What's wrong? Do you need help?" His barrage of questions seemed to come at a hundred miles per hour and I held a hoof up to silence him.

"I'm fine. I just shouldn't have done that while I'm still wrapped up like a mummy." I replied as I smiled to reassure him that I was fine. He seemed hesitant to believe it at first but nodded as he returned to his seat. "I never knew you could play an instrument." I said as he sat down and started picking at the guitar strings again.

"Another gift from my older brother. He was so good at it for a pegasus. I guess feathers served as pretty good guitar picks for him cause he would always hold the guitar with his hooves but strum with his feathers." Test said, his voice having a depressed tone to it.
"If I may, why do you always talk about him in the past tense?" I asked him and he immediately stopped playing as he looked up at me.

"He killed himself when I was ten. My sister found him hanging in his closet." He replied in a monotone voice before he began picking at the guitar strings again. Well shit. That made me feel like an ass for asking.

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked." I told him to which he shrugged his shoulders.

"It's alright, Rhythm. I spend all day doing science experiments. I can understand somepony having a curious streak in them." Test said as he continued to play random strings to make up some song. "He also told me something his commander in the Guard told him once that I think would fit well for you recovery."

"What's that?" I asked him.

"His commander told him that he didn't judge a stallion's success by how high he climbs but by how high he bounces when he hits bottom. You hit bottom Rhythm. Now let's see how high you can bounce."

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The Rhythm of Love
Chapter 5: A Low Note



I sat on my bed and watched the horizon out my window. It was almost time for the sunrise. I had always loved seeing the sunrise. It had been two days since I had talked to Lyra. They had all came and went again, the three of them trying to persuade me to let them in. Saturdays were usually the days that I slept in but this one was different. I'd been unable to sleep at all that night, so I figured I might as well stay up and watch the sun come up. The sky began to get lighter on the horizon and the birds started singing in the trees. On the nightstand sat my record player, an old vinyl record still turning with a small pop every second or so from the needle hitting the end of the record. I reached over and lifted the needle off the record. No sense in wearing out the needle if I didn't need to. The first rays of the morning sun appeared over the horizon and shined down on Ponyville. I watched it with a sad smile and a heavy heart. Not a bad sunrise for a Saturday morning. As I sat and thought about what I'd planned for that day, I thought about all the things that had to go along with it. Find somepony to feed the cats for me, I had to run by city hall and pay the water bill, have Derpy hold my mail at the post office, make sure all the money from the cash register was in the safe. Damn, there was more to do than I thought. A knocking on the front door made me turn and look towards the hallway. Getting up, I trotted out and heard somepony shuffle a bit on their hooves on the other side of the door. I stole a quick glance through the peephole and saw Lyra standing there.

"Lyra!" I shouted as I flung open the door. She jumped back, clearly not expecting that kind of reception, and I quickly pulled her into a hug. "It's good to see you. Hey, um, can I ask you a favor?" She looked at me and then nodded her head, confused about my sudden mood change. "Awesome. Can you maybe take care of my cats for a few days? They're no trouble really. Just put some food out in the morning and the evening and check their water. Maybe scoop the litter box every other day but other than that they're really low maintenance."

"Where are you going?" She asked as she followed me inside the apartment.

"Oh, there's a, uh, expo in Manehattan for earth pony friendly instruments. I figured I'd go there and see what they have. Maybe some of those in the shop would bring more ponies in. Not very many earth ponies looking to buy a grand piano after all." I told her. Wow, I was amazed how fast I could think up a lie. If my plan failed then maybe I could go into politics.

"Yeah, I know I haven't seen many earth ponies or pegasi that play the lyre. I can only imagine how hard it must have been for you to learn the piano." She replied as I fed the cats for the morning.

"Alright. Well they're good for this morning so you shouldn't have to worry about them until this evening. I still have a few errands to run before I leave if you'd like to join me." I offered as the cats entered the kitchen and began eating.

"Nah, I really should get back to the shop. Bon Bon needs help wrapping some new candies she made last night." Lyra said and we headed over to the door for me to show her out. I opened the door and she was about to leave when I grabbed her and pulled her into a hug.
"I'm gonna miss you." I told her as I squeezed her in my forelegs.

"Rhythm, it's just going to be a few days. It's not like you're dying." She said with a small laugh at my action.

"Yeah but, Manehattan isn't known for ponies not getting mugged. You never know who might pull a knife on ya there." I said as we broke the hug. We both nodded at that and I smiled at her as she started down the stairs and then wandered down the street towards the candy shop. Once she was out of sight, I went down to the shop and opened the cash register. I pulled out all the money and put it in a paper bag. Now that it was in the bag, I carried it back upstairs to the safe in grandpa's old office where I locked it inside. Now that that was done I could head for the post office and then city hall. I checked my saddlebags before I left the house and made sure that I had everything I needed for the day. Bits for the water bill, string, bait; it was all there. Perfect. With a sigh, I walked outside and shut the door.

~~~~~

I opened the door of the post office and smiled to the grey mare behind the counter. "Good morning, Derpy." I said as I sat in front of the counter. She smiled back as she swallowed a bite of her late breakfast.

"Good morning, Rhythm. I think I already dropped off your mail for the day." She said as she put the lid on the plastic container of muffins that sat in front of her.

"Actually, I'm here cause I'm gonna need you to hold all my mail until further notice." I told her as I slipped the saddlebags off my back. Derpy looked at me a bit funny as I sat up my bags to keep them from spilling.

"Are you going on a trip?" She asked me as she set the container of muffins on a shelf under the counter.

"Of sorts. Manehattan for an instrument expo." I explained. Her mouth formed an O as she nodded in understanding.

"That makes sense." She said before picking up a pencil with her teeth and writing a note to hold my mail there. A gentle tap sound came from her side of the counter as she set the pencil down and smiled at me. "Is that all you needed?" She asked, her smile making me almost feel bad for what I had planned.

"Yeah, I think so." I replied as I slipped my saddlebags back on. She stopped whatever she was doing and looked at me across the counter. I noticed her stare and looked back at her with a raised eyebrow.

"Are you alright?" Derpy asked me as she came around to stand in front of me. I fidgeted slightly but not enough for her to notice.

"Fine. Peachy as pie!" I told her. Wow, if I had a bit for every time I'd lied and told somepony that I was fine, I'd never have to work again. She seemed to think it over a she watched me, looking for the slightest hint of lying.

"If you say so." She said before returning to her seat behind the counter. I started to leave but paused as I opened the door. Turning back to face her, I saw Derpy look up from whatever she was looking at on the desk.

"Derpy, what made you ask if I was alright?" I asked her. I know the few ponies that I talk to ask that, but Derpy and I had never really talked this much.

"Your eyes." She replied as she made eye contact with me.

"My eyes?" I asked with a bit of skepticism and curiosity in my voice.

"They look sad. Even when you smile." Derpy said with a small frown on her face. "If you ever need somepony to talk to, just let me know." I nodded and left the post office, my brain working overtime to figure out how my eyes could look sad. They said the eyes are the windows to the soul but that was just ridiculous. There was no way you could tell somepony's emotions by their eyes. Was there? And her offer of talking to her, there was no way I could accept it. My problems stayed with me. I didn't need to be bringing somepony else down by telling them my problems. What if they didn't even understand? What if they laughed at me? What if they spread it through town that I was weak? No. There was no way I could ask somepony for help. It was all in that natural selection thing they taught us in school. Those who can care and fend for themselves survived. Asking for help was weakness. Or so I thought anyways.

With all the thoughts running through my head, I didn't notice that I had reached the edge of the Everfree Forest until the loud cawing of a raven snapped me from my whirlpool of thoughts. And now that I was there, it was time to get down to business. I opened up my saddle bags and pulled out the string and the jar of revolting smelling bait that sat next to it. After a few minutes, I had a couple pieces of the bait tied to my saddlebags and a small necklace of the vile things around my neck. But if my plan worked then I would only have to deal with the smell for a few minutes after wandering in.

Any pony who lives in Ponyville knows not to venture into the Everfree Forest. It's something they teach you from foalhood. All sorts of creatures lurked in there like manticores, hydras, and timber wolves. The kinds of creatures that could tear a pony to shreds in an instant. And that was exactly the plan. The bait that I had brought was a special type used to attract those kinds of creatures. And with my necklace of it, once something moved in then it would be extremely quick. With a deep breath and a quick glance back at Ponyville, I began my trek into the forest. It wasn't so bad at the edge of it where sunlight could still get through the treetops but the further in I wandered, the darker and scarier the forest became. Glowing eyes watched me from the shadows and insects as big as my hoof flew around, only to be caught in the web of a spider that looked almost as big as my head. I continued to make my way further into the forest and I could hear rustling sounds from the bushes around me. I knew what these sounds were. It was something stalking its prey. A predator had found its next meal and now began the hunt that would lead to it. That, was the sound of my death.

I stopped in my tracks and stood, waiting for the creature in the bushes to appear. But when I stopped, it stopped. I started walking again and the rustling in the bushes resumed. I knew what this thing wanted. It didn't just want a hunt, it wanted a chase. With that, I began galloping as fast as I could and from behind me came a loud thundering sound as the creature chased me. I turned my head to see what it was and was met by two timber wolves running after me as fast as they could. While I was looking back, I'd failed to notice the tree root sticking up from the ground before my hoof snagged it and made me fall forwards. Now they had me. I heard a loud snarling as one jumped and landed with its forelegs on either side of me. It wasted no time in biting down on my back left leg, its teeth virtually shredding it. I screamed out in pain as dark red blood sprayed all over and began to pool under my leg, several arteries and veins being severed by the creature's teeth. That was not how this was supposed to go.

The other had by now joined its comrade and had one of its paws resting on my side. I was breathing heavily by now, the pain being replaced by numbness as my body went into shock. From the corner of my eye, I watched its claws sink into my side then be dragged down as it sliced me open. When it pulled its claws out, I heard the a wet flopping sound of what I could only expect to be my guts spilling out onto the ground. Just as I began to slip from consciousness, I heard one yelp as if in pain and the other quickly began running away, a bolt of purple magic chasing after it. My eyes closed and I let out a sigh of contentment as a distant voice called after me.

~~~~~

There was a distant beeping sound as I felt myself coming to. As the beeping got more and more clear, I became more aware of other things as well. Things like an oxygen tube in my nose and the disgusting smell of a hospital. I may not have liked germs but the sterile smell of hospital just about made me want to puke. Not to mention that the last time I had smelled a hospital, it was when grandpa's health went down just before he died. After the oxygen tube and the smell, I noticed the sound of music. The subtle crackling of a vinyl record on a turntable was one of the sweetest sounds in the world to me. Almost as sweet as the music really. After the sound of the spinning vinyl, I noticed what song it was that was playing. It was my favorite song. The one that had been my grandma and grandpa's song and the one that had shattered when Test Tube stayed the night. It was the old version of At Last. The silky smooth voice of a mare singing made the corner of my mouth twitch almost to a grin as I listened. My eyelids felt far too heavy to open but I kept trying and I finally managed to peek them open just enough to see that I was in fact in the hospital. Looking from the corner of my eye, I saw a record player sitting by the window where sunlight poured in through the open blinds. And then as my eyes looked the other way, I saw something I didn't expect to. There, sound asleep and looking like he hadn't left his chair for days, was Test Tube.
The Rhythm of Love
Chapter 4: Heartstrings


"That's good!" Test Tube's voice called out from inside the schoolhouse. I turned the hose off and watched it get levitated out the window of the school. I was happy that with all the work done, I could just sit back and enjoy watching a cute, nerdy stallion do neat, sciencey things. I entered the door of the schoolhouse as Test's magic lowered the metronome into place in the tank. Thanks to a protection spell he'd cast on it, the metronome would be able to take a licking and keep on ticking. Compared to what it could withstand now thanks to magic, water was nothing. Like throwing a pebble at a castle really. I sat down on the bench for an upright piano, the place I felt most comfortable, and watched as Test finished checking that everything was ready. While he was doing that, some of the students started arriving. Most of them gave me a warm smile which I was happy to return. Some though, really just a pink filly and her silver friend, snubbed me and held their head up when trotting past me. It was ponies like them that made me glad I was out of school. Ponies like them that thought their shit didn't stink and that everypony owed them something. Dear Celestia, I can't stand ponies like that.

"Alright my little ponies, it's time to start class." Cheerilee announced and the kids all settled down and looked to her. Even I caught myself paying attention, my mind reverting back to primary school for a moment before realizing I'd been out of it for over six years. There was just something about Cheerilee though that made you listen to her and made taking notes not so bad. " Today we're having a demonstration for your science lesson." This made most of the kids smile. I said she made taking note not so bad, but that doesn't mean it still doesn't suck. "This young gentlecolt is Test Tube." She told them as she walked over to Test who gave an awkward wave to the kids. Heavens, he was cute when he was nervous. "And the gentlecolt by the piano is my former student, Swing Rhythm." I was startled a bit at hearing her say that but put my shock aside long enough to smile and give a small wave to the kids. "Now, Mister Tube, if you'd like to begin." He nodded and began rambling, I zoned out after a few moments as I watched his lips. I wondered what they were like. Were they soft, rough, or somewhere in between? I wondered what they tasted like. I thought I'd seen cherry chapstick in his room earlier. That'd be nice. Soft, warm lips that tasted of strawberries that I could kiss for hours on end. Shaking my head slightly, I snapped myself out of my thoughts just in time to hear the kids start clapping their hooves. I clapped with them as Cheerilee trotted back over to him. "Thank you for that demonstration Test. Now, maybe if you all ask very nicely, Mister Rhythm will stay around for today's music lesson." She said and all the kids, except for the pink filly and her friend again, turned to me with pleading eyes that made sure I couldn't deny the offer.

"Sure, I'll stay." I said and the kids smiled at my statement. At least it looked like Test would be staying too. As much as I wanted to date him, spending time with him would have to do for the time being.

~~~~~

Test and I trotted down the road that connected the school to Ponyville itself. As we walked, I heard him clear his throat which caused me to look over at him. He was looking at me from the corner of his eye but didn't actually turn to face me. "So, pardon me if it seems rude, but you've seemed to have a thousand yard stare going on the last couple days. Are you alright? My cousin is a doctor just in case." He said. It was nice that he had my well being in mind but I knew that he most likely meant it as a friend.

"Just had some things on my mind." I replied. "It's nothing to worry about. I'm fine." There it was again. The white lie that had turned into one of the biggest lies of my life. I'm fine. I figured that maybe it was like all other lies. If it's repeated enough, it becomes generally accepted. I don't know who I was wanting to convince more with the lie. Others, or myself.

"Are you sure? I don't want you getting sick on me." He said as we stopped on the dirt road into town. I looked over to him and saw his blue eyes appeared concerned, the most emotion I'd ever seen in them.

"It's just...have you ever been in love?" I asked him and he put a hoof to his chin in thought. After a moment, he lowered his hoof and shook his head.

"I mean, I care about my family but I don't think I've ever really felt love before. How would you describe love?" He asked as I sat down in the road.

"For most ponies, it's a feeling like butterflies in your stomach. A feeling of joy at being around a certain pony. Feeling like you're walking on a cloud every time you're near them. Looking at them and all you can think about is how much you enjoy them and want to kiss them." I replied, my voice sounding more depressed as I continued on. "And every time you see them you feel your heart leap into your throat and you just want nothing more than to wake up one day and feel them in bed next to you." Looking up at him from the dirt under my hooves, I saw him watching me. His ever gorgeous eyes made my heart hurt even worse. There was no way that this stallion would ever love me back. How could he if he didn't even understand love? I looked back down at the dirt and sighed.

"Do you love somepony?" He asked and I looked back up at him in surprise that he would ask me given his seeming disinterest in the subject. I turned my attention back to the dirt and smirked a bit.

"No. Not at all." I said before standing up. "Come on, let's get back to town."

~~~~~

While the rest of our walk back to town had been relatively quiet, it was nice to just enjoy the silence with somepony who I felt so much for. We had decided to eat at one of the cafes near the center of Ponyville and it was nice to be able to sit out in the sunshine for a bit. With running the shop and then sleeping away the days on the weekends, I rarely had a chance to enjoy the sun. Although if I was being honest, I favored the nighttime. There was just something about the stars and the quiet of the night that made it more enjoyable. But for the time being, I managed to enjoy the warmth of the sun against my coat and the smell of flowers that floated with the breeze. "Have you decided what you're getting?" Test asked me, snapping me out of my daze.

"I think I'm just going to have a water." I replied as I looked at the menu. There just didn't seem to be anything on there that got my attention. Resting my chin on the table, I sighed and closed my eyes.

"Alright, what's wrong? You've been acting mopey all day." He asked as he closed his menu. Test's question made me open my eyes and look at him, my heart hurting even worse and any appetite I had was gone. "I'm no expert on emotions or body language but I do know sad when I see it." Test said as the waiter started to approach our table. Test however managed to shoo the waiter off so as not to interrupt us.

"I wouldn't expect you to understand." I told him and I saw his brows furrow a bit at that statement.

"What wouldn't I understand, Rhythm?" Test asked me with a bit of hurt in his voice. "What are you going through that I wouldn't understand?" He sounded somewhat bitter now as I closed my eyes again. They began to sting as tears built up behind my eyelids. "Rhythm, you're my only friend. If something is wrong then tell me." His voice sounded more worried there and I dared not open my eyes for fear that the tears would begin falling. "Rhythm..."

"I need to go home." I said, cutting him off from continuing. Standing up, I opened my eyes just enough to not run into any tables and hurried out into the street. I turned the corner and once I was out of sight of the cafe, I began running. Tears streamed down my face, I didn't really notice any of the ponies I happened to bump into. I had just managed to get to the steps of my apartment and was going up towards the back door when I felt something grab a hold of me. I fought against it but to no avail as somepony's magic lifted me off the steps. "Leave me alone!" I shouted as the magic turned me around to face whoever was coming up the steps. My eyelids squeezed shut as tears continued to stream down my face, matting the fur on my cheeks before falling down to splatter on the wooden steps. "Just leave me alone, please." I asked of whoever was in front of me, my voice coming out a whimper more than anything.

"I'm afraid that is something I can not do." An all too familiar voice said. Opening my eyes, I saw Test's eyes level with mine. "Rhythm, tell me what is wrong." He set me down, and that's when I took my chance. I darted up the last of the steps and into the apartment, locking the deadbolt behind me. Sighing in relief, I let my head drop as I began walking towards my bedroom. But again my escape was interrupted as I heard a pop of magic behind me. I spun around to see Test standing in the living room, his eyes watching me.

"Please go. I'd just like to be alone." I told him as I turned back around and continued to shuffle my hooves across the floor on my way to my room. Closing my bedroom door behind me, I locked it before collapsing onto my bed and starting to cry again.

~~~~~

It had been three days since I'd seen anypony at all. Test, Lyra, and Bon Bon had all been by trying to check on me but I stayed laying in bed as they knocked and tried to talk to me through the apartment door. The only times I had left my bed in those days was to use the bathroom or to feed the cats. I grabbed the bag of cat food off of the refrigerator and poured some into their bowls, my own stomach growling for food. I'd stopped feeling hunger pains after the first two days. Once I was done feeding the cats, I started to head back for my bed when I heard another knock at my door. I stopped in the hallway and slowly and carefully made my way over to the doorway for the living room. "Rhythm? Rhythm, can I talk to you?" It was Lyra again. "Rhythm, please let me in." I quietly walked over by the door and sat down.

"I'm sorry, Lyra. I just can't do that." I told her through the door.

"Rhythm, I don't know what's going on but please, just let me come in."

"I'm perfectly fine, Lyra. Just a bit of a cold. I wouldn't want to get you sick. You know? I'd hate to get you sick. I don't want to get you-" I slapped a hoof over my mouth. That usually never reared its ugly head around other ponies. Keep relaxed and it wouldn't happen but at that time, I wasn't the most relaxed. And I'd told that lie again. I wan't fine. I was never fine. But my problems were just that. Mine. I didn't need to bother other ponies with it. If I was being totally honest, I hadn't been fine for years. As a colt it was because neither of my parents wanted me. As a teenager it had been from denying and trying to hide my attraction to stallions. And now, it was the heartbreak of knowing the stallion I loved would never love me back. "Just...just go away now. Alright? I'm fine, Lyra. I'll see you around sometime. Maybe help you try some of Bon Bon's new candies."

"Yes, yes please!" She somewhat shouted through the door. "I'd like that. She's got me trying all these weird flavors lately. It'd be nice to have somepony to help me through that." Lyra chuckled a bit at that. "Rhythm? Rhythm, are you still there?" I stood up and quietly made my way back to my bedroom, ignoring her pleas and knocks at the door. It's not like it mattered though. To be honest, we were all going to end up in a box in the ground anyways. Why did anything really matter in that light? I shut the door to my bedroom and listened to the muffled knocks at the front door.

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:iconhectordefendi-light:
HectorDefendi-Light Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
It appears... we are *already* watching each other. lol
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:iconwindytheplaneh:
WindyThePlaneh Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Hello and welcome to DeviantArt! :D
I hope you have a wonderful time here! :)

Btw, thank you for the watch! :D
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:iconjamestheb25:
JamestheB25 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2016
You're very welcome. And thank you for the llama:D (Big Grin) 
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:iconwindytheplaneh:
WindyThePlaneh Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2016  Student Digital Artist
You are very welcome! :)
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MacThePlaneh Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
thanks for the watch :)
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:iconjamestheb25:
JamestheB25 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2016
You're welcome:) (Smile) 
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