At The Rusty Bucket
IC date: Autumn 66, 1007
OOC date: November 24, 2012
PCs: Sodium-Fizz, Kludge, Magpie, Winter-Solstice, Ruby-Blossom
GM: None

There was one thing a certain grey and purple mare had rather missed over the last month and a half, though she knew she really shouldn't. Sodium-Fizz was more than aware that she drank for just about all the wrong reasons, it comes with overly in-depth and utterly pessemistic self scrutiny. Self scrutiny that now rather failed to give her a resonable explanation as to why she found herself sitting at one of the more prominent tables of the Rusty Bucket, spending her time either staring into her drink or staring away every unfamiliar face that comes to sit down.

Sighing she propped her chin in her hoof. This was not how she imagined drinking away her evening would go like. And she had just as much reson now as she typicaly had when hitting the bottle, she'd screwed something up majorly. Another look down into the mug. Another sight. No, this just wasn't doing it for her, tonight. Giving up on that she reached around and dug into her jacket, a thick rusty-red mail-pony flight jacket with a simulated fleece collar - and integreated saddlebags. Out came a big wad of letters, thumping onto the table heavily.

Pubs are good places for pickpocketing. A drunk pony is an easy mark. And really, if they do notice you, they usually can't sort out their legs fast enough to chase you. But normally Magpie doesn't actually know the clients. She pauses, considering, then trots over to Fizzy's table, heedless of grouchy glares and just stands there, watching.

Kludge has been taking a break from rebuilding Ruby's salon, and had stopped by the Bucket for a bite to eat and a brew or two. It's not that he usually visits the Bucket, but sometimes what you want to eat is something tasty but somewhat dubious, and today is one of those times.

Sodium-Fizz flicks through her mail for a few moments before noticing she's beeing watched and turns in her seat. Then looks down as she realises it's not a adult pony. "Oh, hello there Magpie. What brings you to the… what is the slogan… 'wetest and seaworthiest pub in the Horseshoe Harbour'? Wetest certainly is the keyword for the ale," she said, looking into her mug again, "I'm pretty certain it's been watered down. And I think I saw Iron Stock here earlier as well, and there was an argument - something about patching the hull… so lets hope it's as seaworthy as the slogan claims."

Soda shook her head and caught Kludge in the corner of her eyes, waving him in their direction before turning back go Magpie. "Ugh… Listen to me, rambling… Why don't you take a seat, I'll buy you a glass of juice."

Magpie climbs up next to Fizzy. "What's got you lookin' so down?" she asks, her horn lighting as she idly nicks a couple bits out of a passer-by's pouch. "You 'n' Winny aren't scrappin' already, are you?"

THUMP THUMP Thump thump thump thump. Those big thumpin' hooves stomp down the nearby stairs and to the bottom deck; there's a flash of white and red as Winter Solstice stomps on down to the bilge without noticing anybody she knows here in the mid-deck. She can then be heard stomping around down below, thump thump thump, the sound a bit muffled as it travels through the wooden hull of the old ship.

Kludge notices Fizzy waving him over, so he takes the invitation and walks over. Giving Maggie a friendly ruffle of her mane, Kludge takes a seat. "You have friends here willing to listen; why not talk it out?" he suggests.

Magpie acks! She shifts uncomfortably. This whole 'having friends' thing is throwin' her off.

Sodium-Fizz chuckled softly, flashing her friends a smile. "It's nothing to do with Winny, really. And no, we've not gotten scrappin' which actualy suprises me, but I always kinda expect everything to explode in my face anyway. No, I had a runnin with a friend… or a former friend, I'm not sure how that'll turn out… who's keept my things safe for me." She sighed and propped her chin up with her other hoof. "Turns out he's been living in the ruins of the appartment I've been waiting while doing so… and been possitively longing. It… It turns out the git went and fell in love… and I had to break his heart, like that. One and a half month of just… leaving his life and waiting, and I have to brush him off like that…" Soda's voice was wavering towards the and and she sighed, running a pastern across her eyes. dang it, she's not tearing up now!

Turning she waved down one of the waitresses before putting on a smile and turning to her two table companions. "So… What'll you two have?"

"Hay fries, daisyburger, and a mojito," states Kludge, patting Fizzy on the back sympathetically. "And remember, it wasn't your fault we were stuck on that iceball for several weeks."

Magpie looks over at Kludge, then tells the waitress, "Macaroni and cheese?"

Magpie leans on Fizzy's shoulder. "Do you like 'im?" she asks, nuzzling. "I mean, uh.. did you? Before you met Thumpy?"

Thumpy! THUMPY! Who is Magpie calling thumpy!? Hmm, it might be the big white pony clattering back up the stairs to the top deck once more, THUMP THUMP THUMP. Still clueless. It sounds like she's thump thump thumping up to the forecastle of the ship, even.

Sodium-Fizz smiled softly and spread a wing, wrapping it around Magpie for the briefiest of moment in a hug. "It's not like that… Either of you. I like him as a friend, nothing more. Which is the problem, becaus he likes me likes… He… was talking about buying wedding bands," a noticable shiver ran through her at that, "and… Yeah, the less said about that the better. He's a friend, I didn't like him like -that-. Never have liked a colt like that, never will. I'm… mostly upset since I've wound up doing one of the things I always try to avoid… Hurting ponies I care for. By my normal standards I've been in the Harbour far to long… In the other place far, far longer than normal."

Her muzzle scrunched up for a moment as she glanced down at Maggie. "And… Thumpy? Like that?" she asked and nodded in the direction of the incessent thumping going through the ship. "That's… nickname I supose."

"I kinda figured that you only thought of him as a friend. The reason why I mentioned the time we spent on the iceball is because that was time that could have gone to turning him down gently," clarifies Kludge. "But when you're involved in a one-sided crush, someone's going to have their heart hurt. Either the guy with the crush on you gets his heart broken, or your own heart gets strangled by being stuck with somepony that you don't love that way."

Magpie gives Soda a bump. "Yeah! If you don't LIKE like him and never did then, y'know, there's just not much you can do, right?"

THUMP THUMP THUMP… THUMP…. THUMPSCRAPETHUMP- There is a moment of aching silence following the clatter up above, then… SPLASH! Something big and heavy hits the water outside the boat. What could it be?! "Bleh!" calls Winter's voice, muffled through the hull of the ship, as she splashes back to the surface. "Hrrrblf!" More splashing ensues as she swims away, and if her hooves could THUMP against the surface of the water they probably would be. SPLASH Splash splash splash splash… it sounds like she's swimming away from the rusty bucket. What was she here for? What was she looking for? Why did she fall in? Who is 'Agent Purple?' It looks like these questions may never be answered.

"I know, a'right? That doesn't meen I'm happy about it. I shouldn't have stuck around long enough for it to become a issue in the first place. But I have anyway. Heck, I have friends now! I have my own special somepony!" exlaimed Soda and shifted her posture once more, propping her muzzle on both her forehooves. "I'm still not sure if I should be happy or terrified, to be honest. Though I'm… leaning towards the former, I just have to be super extra careful and-… Huh?"

Soda shot upwards at the sound of the splash, and more importantly the muffled voice… almost managing to knock the serving tray out of the returning waitresses' mouth in the process.

Magpie squeaks and snaps a levitation field around her macaroni without thinking. AT LEAST THAT WILL BE SAFE!

Kludge lends a hoof to help keep the tray stable, then waits for the food to be distributed. Once that's done, he munches a hay fry as he contemplates things. "Friends can be an excellent form of support, especially if it's a friendship that was made during hardship," he finallys says. "And I don't know about you two, but I'd say that our time on the iceball, with the nasty weather and the various foes, counts as that type of hardship that results in reliable friendships."

Magpie ducks her head a little and leans to the side, nuzzling at Kludge.

Sodium-Fizz rubbed the back of her head, though nodded. "Sure enough… Say, Magpie… From one pony living under somepony elses roof to another, how's it at Kludge's place? I imagine you get a bit more privacy than I do…"

Magpie says "No, not really. On account of it's a box with a tent inside it.""

Magpie says "They have standing orders to give me two minutes' warning before they start canoodling. Or anything else.""

Kludge chuckles. "I'll be getting back to work after this meal. Sooner I get the walls done, the sooner there can be more privacy for each of us," he points out. "Besides, you don't seem to complain when it's a hugpile."

Sodium-Fizz covers her mouth with a hoof and at least makes an effort to not break into fits of giggeling.

Kludge tries whistling innocently, hoof over mouth and all. Ruby and Maggie certainly act like sisters, what with their reaction to various signs of affection and all.

Magpie glares at Kludge. She knows where you sleep, buddy!

Magpie then leans down and pokes her nose into her macaroni. Hmph.

Sodium-Fizz smiled and shook her head, turning her attention back to her pile of letters. "I swear, you three act like some kind of lovable, disfunctional family… And… Huh. Speaking of which…" Soda cocked her head to the side as she opened one of the letters, reading through it. The smile on her muzzle growing wider still.

"Plenty happening back in Trottingham, it would seem. My I'm an aunt! Pitty I had to miss that, though."

"Congratulations on the family!" Kludge cheers, giving Fizzy a hearty pat on the back. His smile falters for a moment as something crosses his mind, but he blinks and keeps the smile up.

Magpie mms. "'s good," she tells Fizzy, then goes back to her macaroni. Omnom.

Sodium-Fizz smiled and nodded. "Thanks… And yeah, it's all good," Soda responds, quite possibly taking Magpie's statement as something completely different. Glancing down she caught sight of her ale and… Know what? That looked good now. Not for drowning worries, but for celebrating. Hooking a hoof around it she kicked it back. "Yes, it's all very good."

Magpie is good at this cheering-ponies-up stuff!

Kludge nods in agreement and puts some focus on his food. It might not qualify as /very/ good, but it's solidly good, and just what he had been in the mood for. It's all good, indeed.

Magpie is of the firm opinion that this is the best food ever in the universe and shut up.

Sodium-Fizz smiled for herself as she once more rummaged through her flight jacket, pulling out a rather weatherd journal and dumping it on the table with a loud thump. Throwing it open she hoofed through the pages, and there seemed to be far more of them than there should be. Enchanted maybe? "I'm not sure if it's just me… but I find it almost difficult to re-adjust back to living here… I find myself feeling self-concious that I'm not actualy clothed, even…"

Magpie eyes Sodium. "WHY? I love not wearin' a coat all the time!"

THUMP THUMP THUMP goes someone clattering up the gangplank.

Kludge nods in agreement with Maggie. "And not having to wear armor because of being afraid of attacks is also nice," he adds. Yeah, he still has his wooden armor, even if he's not going to need it in the foreseeable future!

Sodium-Fizz opened her mouth to answer. Then shut it again as her brows bunched up in thought. "I… I guess it just feels safter, another layer of… of stuff… between myself and everypony else?"

THUMP THUMP THUMP Thump thump thump thump. Winter bangs her way in and finally notices that THIS is where all her chums are! Soon the big mare is pushing her way up next to Soda and grinning big to everybody. "Hi, Kludge. Hi, Maggie. Soda! I've been looking for you. Good, here you are! I wanted to tell you that…" She trails off. "Wait, are we talking about pants?"

Magpie waves a hoof to Winny. She's got cheese sauce all over her nose. "Fizzy wants to wear sexy outfits for you more often," she says with an impish grin.

Kludge is able to finish taking a drink before Maggie finishes making her suggestion, and so instead of a spittake he is able to disguise his chuckling with a cough that is only partially faked.

Winter-Solstice arches her eyebrows and looks at Fizzy. "Chainmail thigh-highs?"

Sodium-Fizz stared in shock at Magpie for a moment, a bright red blush overpowering the grey of her coat. Hearing Winter she turned her outraged expression in her direction instead. "NO! I'm just feeling self-concious, like my arse is hanging out for everypony to look at!"

A few moments later she realised she'd actualy screamed that clear across the Rusty Bucket and more than one face was turned in her direction. Whimpering she hid her head under her hooves. "Buck it…"

Magpie just starts cackling, kicking her hooves and slumping back against the wall for support!

Winter-Solstice stares at Soda, eyes wide, apparently surprised at that reaction. After a few moments she looks up and around, the sidles over to stand behind Soda- between her and any unwelcome gazes directed at her flank. Nothing to see here, folks. The big mare glowers away the curiousity of a couple of weatherworn boozehounds at the corner table.

Magpie manages to get her breath enough to pat Fizzy's hoof, and she gasps, "It— it's — it's a NICE arse!"

Kludge takes a few more bites out of his daisyburger to help calm his laughter down, giving Maggie a look that reads "did you really?"

"Not really," sulked Sodium-Fizz, her voice tiny. "Now Winny, she have a nice arse… The nicest."

Winter-Solstice turns to peek back over her shoulder, tail.flagging to the side. "Hm?" she says, before looking away with a smile. "Thanks, Fizz!"

Magpie pats the mare's hoof. "You're plenty pretty, Fizzy!"

Kludge wisely decides to not focus on what the mares are talking about… although a small blush crosses his face when he realizes that he wishes that Ruby was taking part in this conversation.

Sodium-Fizz eyed Magpie suspicieously for a few moments. "I'll take your word for it when you're older Magpie… and if you start oggling mares." Soda sat back, seeming a bit more comfortable in the cover of Winter. "Winter's pretty… Ruby's pretty. I'm mostly… dull. Quite litteraly. I mean… just dark grey, all boring lifeless purple… and I have bubbles on my butt."

"What kind of pony have bubbles on their hindquarters, really?" querried Sodium-Fizz.

Magpie says "What's wrong with gray? And I think purple is pretty." She leave the bubbles question alone, 'cause really… "Anyway you're super smart.""

"I'm extremely skilled, I'd say. Give me a alchemy problem or a problem that can be solved through alchemy… and I'll solve it. Any problem concering soda too, I'm quite good with soda as well. It's a hobby." Sodium-Fizz smiled, though, and one of her wings unfurled once more, pulling Magpie in closer for a hug. A very brief one, mind.

Magpie says "Well, if Winny likes you, you must be good ponies. So nyeh."

"Indeed", Kludge agrees.

Sodium-Fizz flashed Magpie a small smile. "I'd be the first to tell you you're wrong, but… Put like that, I think I'll just have to agree."

Magpie says "Yeah, well… you better." Hmph. Told her. "You're a really good pony and you helped us a bunch on the other side."

Magpie 's got friends on the other side, y'know.

More nodding from Kludge. "I'd even go as far as to say that the things you did to help were more visibly productive than the things I did."

Sodium-Fizz nodded once more, if less cheerily, dropping her head to the table one more and looking somewhat conflictedly. "I'd admit that went better than I had expected… for the most part. Still managed to get myself chewed on by zombies every chance I got -and- I dragged Winny along for my own selfish resons when… borrowing… Will's head. Which turned out to do us tons of good, drawing them down on top of our heads like that…"

Winter-Solstice crawls out from under the table and settles down in a seat, propping her elbows up- which is rude- and resting her chin in her hooves. "I think I still have some gravel bouncing around in my sinuses," she muses, absently.

Magpie hugs Fizzy. "Getting zombied isn't your fault," she says, shifting a little to show the ragged half-healed wound she herself got. "And if you hadn't stolen Will's head then Plot Twist wouldn't have snapped out of it and Solar Wind wouldn't have a Very Special Somepony, so if they get married and have kids that's all 'cause of you!"

"…anyway she totally deserved it," grumbles a vengeful filly.

Sodium-Fizz is nut much better than Winter in that regard, her forelegs splayed out on the table. She does give Magpie along look before smiling. "Yeah, I guess that's something… And she tottaly did! Pitty they had to get it back…" She sighed for a moment before sitting up straighter, peering down in her journal.

Grabing the letters she put it amongst the pages before reaching around the spine of the book and fiddling. For a pen apperently, as it fell out the spine.

And a pair of rimless glasses? "Oh, I woundered where those had gone!"

Winter-Solstice turns to peek down at the glasses. "You wear glasses?" she asks, squinting up at Soda next. She then peeks down at the book. "You can keep glasses in that?" She reaches over and attempts to nab the journal for her own perusal.

Kludge looks over towards the book. It's not so much that he's interested in the contents of the book, but the activity around it has his attention.

"Hey!" Sodium-Fizz pouted att Winter as she reached for the glasses, putting them onto her muzzle. "Yes… Yes I do wear glasses. I can do without but I get pounding headaches if I keep my gaze to far off. And they help when I read and write. Could I have my journal back?"

A very quick flip through reveals that there's plenty of letters stuck to the pages and more than a few mouth-written entries by Soda herself. Most seems to be off past events, though there is a few pertaining to alchemy too. And at least one detailing the recepie for cloudberry soda.

"In a minute," says Winter, flipping through the journal. Her eyes dart across the pages and the information written inside, rapidly reading and forgetting entire swaths of information, at least when it doesn't go over her head entirely. Flip flip flip. She lifts it up and shakes the journal a bit after a moment to see if any more glasses fall out. Disappointed, she puts it back on the table and closes it up and slides it across towards Fizz, at last looking up and peering at the pegasus. She's silent for a few moments before blinking. "You look really pretty," she says, then. "With the glasses, that is."

Sodium-Fizz blushed, shooting a sideway glance at Magpie, fully expecting a 'I told you so look', as she pulled her journal back to her. "I… Thanks Winny. I've never really liked having them myself for the longest time… Then again, back when I was younger I had these big, round ones and they just looked horrible. This… this is much better." A grey hoof came up, tapping the glass.

Winter-Solstice smiles daftly and looks around the table, tapping her hooves on its surface. "That's okay. When I was a kid I was fat. Like, you know." She puffs her cheeks out and waggles her hooves in a useless fashion. "Like during that thing where everybody was turned into a foal. Happened then, too." She smiles cheerfully. "But I grew out of that, and you grew out of having big glasses. Everything works out in the end!"

Magpie beams a grin at Fizzy. It *could* be interpreted that way, if you were of a suspicious mind. But she might just be smiling.

Magpie suggests to Winny, "Maybe her glasses stayed the same size and her head just grew."

Winter-Solstice shakes her head and blanches. "Nope. She's so self-deprecating I keep expecting her head to SHRINK."

"I don't think so, Maggie," said Soda with a suspicious stare - she is a suspicious pony, Magpie's tottaly giving her the 'I told you so' look! "For one thing, these aren't huge and round and have those uggly red frames… and…" She scowled at Winter-Solstice but didn't say anything. She was, after all, essentialy right.

Kludge shrugs. "Glasses for foals have to be durable, given how active most foals are. How good they look is an afterthought at best."

Winter-Solstice points at her head. "Top-heavy, too. Foals have HUGE heads. Proportionally." She then stares at Magpie for several seconds for no particular reason. Then turns and looks at Fizz, and smiles cheerfully.

Magpie raises an eyebrow. Winny. Wouldn't. Dare.

Sodium-Fizz smiled and nodded. "Very much true," she said, fighting back a giggle, "it's almost silly the proportional differences. On another note… I found Dustdevil, I got my things back. And kinda broke his heart… but… Yeah." She frowned for moment at the wave of… No, with a shake of her head she tucked those thoughts away in the back of her mind. "Seems I got a lot of mail too, I'm a aunt now! I also got my money back… and Dust hid a bag of money in my bags too. Said he'd intended to save it for… um… a wedding. And told me to have it for… um… ours." Her ears flattened against her head.

She shook herself again, time to move on! "Either way, I got some bits now… I could hire a small apparment of my own for now but…" Soda's voice trailed of as she eyed Winter almost nervously for a moment before she forged onwards, "I was woundering if I could, maybe. Stay with you a little longer? I'll pitch inf for the cost! No problem there, it's just…"

Winter-Solstice gnaws on a sandwich. Where did she get it from? She was under the table last. Did she get it off the floor? Hopefully not. She seems to be just as confused, herself, and likely also hoping she did not get it from under the table, as she blinks and peers down at it with a frown. "Hmmm?" she says, looking up at Soda. "Huh? Oh! Yeah, that's fine. Iron Stock's too nice to ever start asking for rent but I'm sure she'd be happy to have it." She lifts a fold of the sandwich to see what's inside. "Dustdevil? Wedding?" Someone was taking a dip in the harbor when this was last being discussed. "I thought his name was Silvuuhhhhh…." Her voice trails off and she glances furtively at Fizz. "Oh, oh. This is… somoene… wait, are we getting married?" The sandwich is placed back down on its plate, and Winter frowns across the table to Magpie. "We're getting married?"

Winter-Solstice looks from Magpie, who is distracted by a thing, to Kludge. "We're getting married!?"

Magpie blinks. "Silver what?" She looks at Winny, then at Sodium, then back to Winny at the question. She throws her hooves up in a shrug. How would SHE know?!

Kludge reaches over and holds Winny's head still. "There are two questions to ask yourself, Winny. One: do you love Fizzy? Two: do you want to spend your life with her?" Yeah, the questions might be uncomfortable for Soda, but they should be answered.

As Winter's head is seized, her back end starts dancing about, fidgeting atop her chair. "Uhh?" Her eyes widen. "I- we've only been going out for a couple of weeks. Shucks, we haven't even really been OUT even. If Nightmare Moon's Frozen Carnival of Terror counts as a date, and I don't really think that it does, we've only been out on one date!" She glances across at Soda. "Oh, gosh, that's not the wrong answer, is it?"

"We're not getting married!" shouted Sodium-Fizz, red in the face one more. "And the less said about that… that… scumball scatter-brained," she shuddered at that, to close to reality there and now her hooves feelt sticky, "of a… a… Well, the less the better! And… Wait, what?" She peered at Winter curiously. "No, no I don't think it counts…"

Winter-Solstice relaxes, and is quickly back to smiling, caught between Kludge's hooves still. "Oh! Good, good. Which means we can have a real first date. That doesn't have monsters." She stares at Fizzy. "Though maybe it could have monsters anyway, and treasure chests." She stares a moment longer. "And those chainmail thigh-highs." After a few moment she starts dancing about in her seat once more.

Kludge chuckles a bit at the comment about the chainmail thigh-highs, letting go of Winny's face as he settles back into his seat. "I suspect any weddings between you two will be after several dates," he idly comments. "Go enjoy yourselves and each other's company, and I'm sure everything will turn out well in the end."

The alchemist shot Kludge a dirty stare, that's one subject she does not want to touch. Not even with a standard-issue 10-foot pole. Sodium-Fizz does blush even brighter though as she drops her head to the table and… gives Winter a cheeky smile? Fizzy can do that? "For you Winter… maybe."

Winter-Solstice dances about a bit more, her lingering smile spreading into a grin. "Anyway, you have siblings?" she asks, looking to Soda. "Like if you're an aunt that sort of implies you have siblings?"

Kludge takes note of the dirty stare. Okay, weddings are not a topic of discussion to have around Fizzy; this is something to remember. Besides, there's still some food to eat, so he focuses on his meal.

Sodium-Fizz nods and say, "Yes I do. Two older siblings in fact, my older bother's the middle child and my sister's the eldest. Though not by to much, I'm trailing both of them with about six years…" A small smile grazed her lips. "I guess my parents were feeling frisky and had forgoten how much of a pain in the plot-hole raising a foal is."

Winter-Solstice's mouth curls into a grin. Except she was already grinning, so nothing much changes. "Awwww! Soda was the little sister! That's so cute. Did they do science stuff too, or are you the brains of the family?"

Magpie got really quiet when Soda was getting visibly upset. Now that the atmosphere is clearing, she slowly lifts her head, ears ticking around to face Sodium even if her nose isn't.

Sodium-Fizz pouts. "I'm the only one that really got into… sciency stuff. They're more artsy. Upper middle-class unicorn artsy. Mom's an author and dad's the special effects director at the Trottingham Royal Theatre. My sister's a play-writer and… um… my brother's a male model.." She plonked her face onto the table, a hoof covering it. "For… the most part, they're very clever ponies."

Magpie blinks a bit. "A model?" she asks. "Clever?" What does he have to do other than stand there and be pretty?

Sodium-Fizz sighed. "I said for the most part. That doesn't include him."

Winter-Solstice listens curiously. Not that she's planning on marriage- not that she's NOT planning on marriage- but these are potential in-laws we're talking about, here. It is good to know. She does furrow her brow after a few moments, though. "Wait, are they unicorns?" she asks, before reaching over to give one of Soda's wings a tug. Is this thing real? Maybe Soda is just really really bad at having a horn, and that is why she is the way she is. Hmmm… no. Seems real enough. Winter draws that hoof back, then turns to peek back over her shoulder to see if she still doesn't have any wings. Nope, still an earth pony.

Magpie giggles into her hooves.

Kludge chuckles slightly at Winny's actions.

The rather definatively pegasus mare blinked as Winter tugged on her wings and… blushed? "Um… Winny, it's not polite to touch other ponies wings like… um, that… And yes they are, my family. A pegasus married into the family some… what was it? Seven to nine generations ago. I'm the first and only pegasus in the family since then."

Sodium-Fizz's eyes rolled. "And they were kinda suprised when I a species complex, for some reson. What's so suprising with me wanting to be a unicorn like, you know, every living relative in the family?"

"Touching wings is rude?" says Winter, as she touches Soda's wings again. Touch touch. She draws her hoof back and peers at it. "Sorry." She tucks both hooves under the table and looks around for her sandwich, which disappeared as stealthily as it arrived. Was it all a dream? "That's kinda neat. Lots of neat people are pegasi, Soda, that's no reason to be self-conscious. Some of my best GOOD FRIENDS are pegasuses. Like Jellybean."

Winter-Solstice thinks. "And you, come to think of it."

Magpie snrks into her hooves again. "Yeah, nothin' wrong with pegasi. Anyway." She sighs. "I'll be … back later," she announces, sliding under the table and out the other side.

Oh, hey! Sandwich!

Winter-Solstice ducks down under the table to wave at Magpie from a suitably low elevation. "bye, Magpie!"

Sodium-Fizz blinks and looks where Magpie sat. Where did she… Oh, there! "Alright Magpie… See you later!"

"I know… I just didn't like not being one when I was little," said Soda as she turned back to Winter. "It got a lot better though, when I discovered my special tallent… And a bit worse when I litteraly blew up the following year's science fair in a fit of… you know."

Winter-Solstice pulls herself upright and smiles across to Soda. "I bet all the unicorns were jealous they couldn't blow things up as well as you," she says.

Ruby-Blossom wasn't jealous - she blew up the whole darn base. Not that she's hear to comment…or is she?

Kludge waves at the departing Maggie. "Take care, kiddo!" he calls.

Sodium-Fizz chuckled sofly smiled, apperently this is one of the few good memories she's had in association with her problems. "Maybe… It was all really silly, when I think about it… A science fair… Well, the science fair. The Trottingham Grand School Science Fair, foals from every school in Trottingham all gathered under one roof. My presentation was on, lets see… Ah, the 'Principles of Equivalent and Disparate Essences for Alchemical Harmonization and Effectual Quality'! Very interesting, very clever too. Of course… nopony else gets the wounders of it and gives me a blank stare and just… wanders off."

She giggled. "I got a bit steamed, and it didn't help when Woodwork, Cloudcraft and Brushy-Brush came along either. I never did get along with them through most of the time in school. Those three were actualy very good, though… Sure, they made a baking soda vulcano, but then again so did half of the students. The other half made lemon batteries. Theirs reached halfway to the roof, though!"

Another bout of giggling from Fizzy. "They… kinda were the last drop and sent me… doing the crazy thing. As they got around to showing it off… I… might have gotten up in the rafters with a megaphone and… um… demanded everypony pay attention while I did my demonstration… by setting of their vulcano with a drop of my elixir. Blew a hole in the roof."

Winter-Solstice leans forward against the edge of the table, hooves folded beneath her, as she listens to the story, peering across the table to Soda. "Uh?" she says, "Ooooh. Not only did you make an explosion, but you showed up some school bullies while you were at it! That sounds pretty neato." She quiets a bit. "Being at the fair, too! Wow. Bardington's a really small town, we didn't have ANYTHING like that. Not that, you know, I would have been going to the science fair anyway even if they did." She shakes her head and grins back at Soda. "Did they give you a ribbon or something?"

Ruby-Blossom takes a sip of Fizzy's drink before commenting "School must of been very intresting." taking another sip of Fizzy's drink. "What is this? Not half bad." Seated beside the other mare - as if she just sprung up out of no where.

Sodium-Fizz shook her head. "No… I got sent to the principle's office, my parents got in trouble… and I wound up in my first psychriaty sea-oow!" Ruby popping up from seemingly nowhere did it's usual trick, sending the grey mare shooting of her seat and away and planting her face on the floor, her rimless glasses skidding of along the floor and her rear-end stickingt up out of her redish-brown flight jacket.

Winter-Solstice calmly pushes up from her seat and saunters over to stand beside Soda, then reaches out and holds her hooves out over the pegasus's upward-thrust rear end so nobody unauthorized can look at it. She then smiles over the top of Soda, across the table, and at Ruby. "Hiya, Ruby. You didn't see a sandwich wherever you mysteriously just appeared from, did you?"

Kludge trots over to recover Fizzy's glasses, then returns to the table and nuzzles Ruby. "Hello, beautiful," he murmurs.

Magpie comes trotting back. She pauses. "Winny, why are you feeling her rump in the middle of the pub?" After giving the two of them a suitable look, she trots back to the table, pops under it, and comes up on the other side next to Ruby. "Hi."

Ruby-Blossom beams adorably from where she sits - even if she tenses when Kludge nuzzles her. She pipes warmly. "You okay Fizzy? You'd think something spooked you." taking another sip of /Fizzy's/ drink - clearly the other mare was nursing this thing, such a waste.

Winter-Solstice waves her hooves around over the upturned rump. "Not touching! Just hiding. And stop looking! You're not on The List."

Ruby-Blossom gives Maggie a brief, affectionate nuzzle "Hey you." she smiles to the smaller mare and Kludge "Hey you too.

Kludge puts Fizzy's glasses down on the table and reaches over to ruffle Maggie's mane. "Always with the well-placed quips, kiddo?" he says with a smile.

Sodium-Fizz picked herself up, blushing fiercely as she took her glasses back and put them back on her muzzle and turned, giving Winter a brief nuzzle in thanks and turning her ire upon Magpie and Ruby. "Yeah, I have no idea what might have startled me, not at all! Right, Ruby? And as for you, Magpie… Just… just…" She eyed the filly for a few moments.

She pointed a hoof at Kludge and Ruby. "You've been watching them to pick up all those ideas, havn't you?"

Magpie lets Ruby nuzzle at her, then heys at Kludge. "What quip? SOmepony's got her rump in the air, and somepony's got her hooves all over it!"

Magpie pfffts at Sodium. "Seriously? /Those/ two? I don't think so. I lived down by the docks for a while, okay?"

Sodium-Fizz glanced at Ruby and Kludge for a moment before nodding. "Right, sorry… I have no idea what I was thinking."

Ruby-Blossom snickers softly. "Fizzy - Kludge's barely been allowed to lay a hoof on me." she pipes cheerfully "I'm not exactly going to give up for just anypony." The mare beaming proudly before snugging Maggie. "I've not even got four solid walls or a door to commit such indecentcies." she grins at Fizzy and Winny. "Unlike some ponies.

Kludge thinks for a moment, his hooves moving as he contemplates motion and location of something, then shrugs. That idea should be used at a later time. Blinking and refocusing on the conversation, he adds "I think the level of affection we have is reasonable for how long we've been officially going out."

Winter-Solstice watches Ruby thoughtfully, tilts her head, adopts a thoughtful expression, and trots over to reach up with a hoof and just set it on the top of Ruby's head. She then watches her, curious and wide-eyed.

Magpie starts giggling. Winny is so awesome. Even if it's accidental most of the time.

Sodium-Fizz pouts and plants her flanks firmly on the floor, pretending she's not blushing like mad. "I really need some pants…" she muttered for herself.

Ruby-Blossom blinks curiously at Winny as the larger mare places a hoof atop that pink mane; large expressive ruby-red eyes curiously watching Winny in return. The smaller mare eventually chirps "Winny?" Wondering thoughts linger inside Winny's mind - aside from sandwhiches.

Magpie pokes Ruby's ribs. "She laid a hoof on you," she explains for the overly adult-minded audience.

It requires taking a larger-than-normal amount of hay fries, but Kludge is able to mask the amused grin on his face by eating more of his dinner.

Ruby-Blossom chrips "Well in that case." suddenly pulling Winny down and kissing her smack on the muzzle - at least that's what it looks thanks to Ruby's conviently placed hoofs on either side of Winny's muzzle! Wether the kiss is real or not…that's something everypony will have to find out!

Winter-Solstice's brow gradually furrows. She doesn't respond to Ruby, simply shifting her gaze towards the table. Which means she is taken off guard when she is apparently seized, and kissed! Winter's eyes widen and her hoof drops from atop Ruby's head, shifting to the table to help prop her up. "Erghk!"

Winter-Solstice might not be kissed, actually. It's hard to tell.

Winter-Solstice isn't really elaborating either way.

Oh, what was that in the corner of her eye? Sodium-Fizz's head snapped around just in time to… Did Winter and Ruby just? The look on Fizzy's face might have been priceless if it wasn't for the fact that it cycled form shock to blind furry, on to horror, denial and then straight into horror again, with a dash of sorrow and inevitability thrown in for good messure. Hardly a priceless series of expresions. "W-Winny… did…?" She bit her lip nervously.

Kludge gives Ruby an annoyed glare. "Ruby, do NOT toy with Soda's heart like that," he states with the mild hint of a growl.

Ruby-Blossom hops to her feet and trots over to Fizzy - placing a hoof on the other mare's shoulder before softly piping. "I'd never." she leans into try and nuzzle Fizzy. "I'd never do something like that to you." her ears flatten as much as possible "That was a bad joke…I'm sorry." hearty huff before trots towards the exit with her head slung low - stupid mare.

Sodium-Fizz scowled and batted Ruby's hoof of her shoulder, turning back to Winter.

Winter-Solstice is left looking a bit dazed. Not only did she not get kissed, but everybody is mad as if kissing did happen. She reaches up and wipes her muzzle with a hoof, then scoots over to bump Soda's cheek with her nose. "She didn't actually do anything, though? Well, she sort of winked at me when nobody could see…" She scratches the top of her head and looks guiltily at the table in front of her, then blinks. Leaning up, she leans over and gives Soda a smooch on the lips. A lingering one, no less! With a hoof cupped under Soda's chin to keep her there for a moment. And then afterwards she draws off, screws her face up thoughtfully, considers, and declares, "Besides, you're better at it than her, anyway, so no worries! I'll stick with you."

Magpie opens her mouth to make a comment at Winny's extended snogging. She opens her mouth, lifts a hoof, then just hesitates… lets it drop. They needed that one.

Sodium-Fizz smiles nervously for a moment, at least till Winter plants a kiss on her lips. A kiss into which she practiclay melts, the tension just seeming to pour out of her. There might, just might, be tears stanning her coat, though chose to pretend they're not there. Pretend that didn't just happen. "Th-thanks Winter… I… I shouldn't have been w-worride but…"

Kludge trots over to Ruby and puts a gentle hoof on her back. "Look, Ruby, I'm not mad that you kissed Winny or not. It's just that Fizzy is roughly like you in that she feels that she's going to be unable to find love," he whispers quietly. "How would you feel if another mare walked up and appeared to plant a kiss on my face?"

Ruby-Blossom is all but out the door when Kludge stops her - the mare hesitating before shooting Kludge a glance. "She's not like me. She's better, and doesn't make her loved ones feel awful." stepping away from Kludge's hoof so she can proceed out the door.

Winter-Solstice smiles as she sees Soda's reaction, even as she feels a bit of surprise at its intensity. "Awww," she says, reaching up, and wiping at Soda's cheeks with one of her shaggy fetlocks. "You don't have to CRY about it! Tell you what, I'll kiss you more often so you get used to it, okay?" Returning to her seat, and scooting it so it's up alongside Soda's own, Winter settles in, then peers across to see Ruby slinking off. Her smile fades in short order. "Aww…"

Sodium-Fizz sighed softly, the moment of relief over to soon and sending her usual malestorm of fears and worries crashing down around her ears again as she drags herself back to her seat. "It's not… that… I was just… scared you'd actualy prefere her…"

Another sigh, for another reson this time, as she slumped against the table, looking down the way Ruby dissapeared. Why'd she have to…? Fizzy was prepared to -try- and forgive and forget but Ruby just keept on stuffing her hooves, plural, all four at the same time, into her mouth and… doing stupid flirtatious stuff with somepony. She really needed to get… it… Her head craned around to Kludge, a hint of steel in her voice. Possibly just a bit of crazy too. "Kludge. Go find Ruby… Tell her… tell her I might forgive her… if she stops being all… all.. that! Then take her on a date, the works… If she say no, tell her that's the end of it…"

Well, drastic times call for drastic measures. An earlier piece of advice comes to Kludge's mind, and he steps forward and sweeps Ruby off of her hooves and plants a passionate kiss right on her mouth, pouring every ounce of love he has for her into the feelings of the kiss.

Magpie blinks at Fizzy. "Now you know how I fe—eeep!

Ruby-Blossom really really isn't feeling all that romantic after having Kludge growl at her - since when does he get angry anyawys!?! Ruby wasn't aware he had any settings other than hum-drum. Suddenly she swept up into Kludge's arms and kissed - a extremelly passionate kiss; Ruby wasn't aware Kludge had /this/ setting either! The kiss might have been better received were Ruby not utterly distraught about what she just did to Fizzy; so it's hard to get much out of a mare who feels like the worst thing in all of Equestria. At the very least Ruby does shove Kludge away - that's something; or Rubyese that's actually alot.

Winter-Solstice smirks at Sodium. "Prefer Ruby to you? Awww." Reaching up, Winter hooks her forelegs around Sodium's shoulders and leans in to smooch her on the cheek. "You're supposed to be the smart one here, Fizzy, so don't say dumb stuff like that." She then pulls the pegasus in against her side in a characteristically clumsy hug. She's about to say something else when she catches Kludge trying to woo Ruby, mouthwise. Aww yeah. Winter's grinning and happy to see Kludge going for the gold like that, but looks a little disappointed when he gets shoved for the trouble.

Sodium-Fizz smiles softly, and kinda embarasedly as she's pulled into Winter's hug, trying her best not to tear up. "I… Sorry, Winny… I just dont seem to be holding together, right now… I feel a bit like a soggy cardboard box full with broken china left in the rain… Handle wrong and I'll just… come undone. The liche just… did a number on me." Turning slightly Fizzy burried her muzzle against Winter's chest.

Kludge just stares lovingly into Ruby's eyes. "I love you, even if you are overly impulsive at times," he states with simple honesty. "Fizzy is even willing to forgive you, as long as you're more willing to take her feelings into account when you do things that involve her or Winny."

Ruby-Blossom simply can't meet Kludge's gaze at the moment and her ears remain flat - everything about her body language confirms she's feeling awful at the moment; matter of fact she's down right disgusted with what she did. "No." she mutters "I dno't deserve forgiveness from anypony." finally pushing herself away from Kludge so she can fall to all fours with her head hung long. "I…can't hur any of you like that again.." if she were to slouch any further she'd be dragging her belly against cross the ground. "I'm going to go."

Winter-Solstice shifts her hug so it's less of a clumsy pony-nabbing crushglomp and more supportive. Which even hamhoofed Winter can manage sometimes. "You don't have to apologize, Fizz! It's okay." Looking up, she looks across towards the door, and Kludge and Ruby. With a sigh, the big earth pony releases Fizzy, easing her back up, and hauls to her own hooves. "Excuse me, Soda. I have to do a thing."

Winter-Solstice promptly hauls off across the bar floor, charging towards Ruby, evidently intent on tackling her. THUMPERATHUMPERATHUMPERA go her hooves, clattering over the beer-stained wooden floor of the middeck bar! "RUBY!" howls Winter. "NOOOO!"

Leap! Winter tries to tackle Ruby and stop her from leaving, but the svelte rogue is slouching SO much Winter misjudges her leap and just sails over Ruby's head to land with a thump on the other side. She didn't tackle Ruby at all. But! She is sort of in the way, such that Ruby will be forced to step around the big mare to get past.

Winter-Solstice didn't just land with a thump, she landed in a heap, too. That's important. One big pieplate hoof reaches up from the tangle of limbs and waggles at Ruby.

Sodium-Fizz smiles at Winter for a moment before she leaves, her eyes following her as she… leaps at… over… Ruby? The alchemist winces as she lands heavily on the floor, springing to her hooves as well and approaching. If at a more sedate pace, her voice rising to cut across the suden silence of the bar. "Ruby! Don't you take another step… We're going to talk, or else."

Kludge pulls Ruby close and snugs her - rest of the crowd in the Bucket be Tartarus-bound! "If you leave, you know that I will always follow you, for the very simple reason that I love you, and would be heartbroken if you were gone."

Ruby-Blossom squirms as Kludge latches onto her again - the mare simply couldn't look more uncomfortable. "Please. Just let me go." she mutters softly; eyes kept downcast to avoid contact with anypony else. "I…" having difficulty putting it all in words. "I can't stand the thought of doing stuff like this to ponies I care about; I fooled around and teased because I'm clearly getting too comfortable, too happy." she squirms - wanting more than anything to run away - cause that's what she's good at!

Winter-Solstice picks herself up, one hoof at a time, and hauls upright, and turns to face Kludge and Ruby. Her expression is a bit tried. "Ruby, you don't get it! Doing this IS what is making us unhappy!" She angles herself so she is totally in the way if Ruby tries to squirm out of Kludge's grasp and make a go for it. "We like you! You're our friend! We want you to stay! And Kludge totally wants to smooch on you, too!" With a little waggle of her hoof and a petulant outward thrust of her lower lip, she continues. "And if you truly value us and don't want to hurt us, you'll stop and listen and take us seriously when we tell you that!"

Sodium-Fizz sighed as she walked past Ruby, offering Winter a helping hoof to get right-side up and on her own hooves. That… That sounded very familiar. "Ruby… Just, no. Take it from me… It… might be worth to give it a shot. I got friends for the first time in ten years here. Heck, I got a marefriend! I've never had that either… It's… nice. It makes me happy."

Fizzy's expression fell further. "It's not easy, becaus I know I'm going to hurt somepony's feeling… Heck, I already have… and he was hoping to marry me… and… But no, you don't get to run away this time, it's clearly to late already. We like you, if you just… drop it all, you'll hurt us."

Winter-Solstice leans on Soda once she's fully collected, and then gestures to the shorter pegasus. "What she said. She's better at saying it than I am."

Ruby-Blossom flops all limp in Kludge's arms - eyes still downcast and ears flat as the mare can manage. "I'd never betray Fizzy…but I just pretended…that's just as bad." struggling to speak her heart-felt words. "I'd never. But all I do is make Fizzy think I would…that's not something a good mare would do, let alone a good sister." sniffling something fierce. "Fizzy doesn't trust me at all, and the worst part about that is she's /right/ not to."

Kludge nuzzles Ruby. "You have friends, and you have a special somepony who is completely in love with you. Give yourself permission to be happy, and let yourself love and be loved," he whispers.

Winter-Solstice gives Fizzy a look of exasperation, then turns, tromps over to Ruby and Kludge, reaches up, and swings her forelegs around them both in a big ol' hug. Because gosh darn it, she isn't good at talking, but you know what she can do? Smash things. With hugs. After a moment she jerks her head at Sodium, trying to gesture her into things. She has wings, she can help.

Sodium-Fizz smiled and rolled her eyes and trotted up to them herself before adding her own forelegs and wings, wingspan not inconsiderable considering her petite build.

Ruby-Blossom huffs softly "Fine…" the mare mutters. "Just…Fizzy. I'd never betray you, or do anything with your Winny. All I want is for you to be happy. I…" stiffling some tears. "I was being stupid…too happy. You guys make me happy, and I let my guard down, and get playful…I…" she huffs "You guys are like family, and that's scary as all heck…the word almost makes me so queasy I'll vomit."

Kludge simply gives Ruby a tender kiss. "I love you, Ruby Blossom," he says with a gentle smile.

"Yeah, Ruby. You're part of our family, too," says Winter. "And it's kind of scary because, whoa! I may totally owe you birthday presents going back like 19 years or something. But we're still happy to have you." She pauses. "Kludge is probably more happier than I am 'cause, you know." She pauses again. "Also don't barf yet."

A few grizzled sailors watching from elsewhere in the bar sniffle as they watch. They, too, remember what it is like to love. They, too, think back on families, both the ones they were born into and the ones they adopted on the open seas. A toothless earth pony in an eyepatch blubbers as his friend, a unicorn with a peg leg, pats him on the shoulder.

They then both turn back to their booze with an awkward shuffle. Er, uh. Nobody saw that.

Sodium-Fizz smiled softly. "Yes, please don't." Leaning forward she nuzzled Ruby's cheek for a moment. "Right, Ruby. Just… Winter told me… it's okey to be a bad pony, as long as you try to be a better one. Luna knows I'm not a good pony, but I try to… Just be better, a'right? You're certainly better than I am. If you want to talk about, to somepony who can relate… You know where to find me, right?" Still smiling softly she pulled out of the hug.

Ruby-Blossom glances up oh so hesitantly - ready to say something to Fizzy "But…" a hoof quickly darting to her mouth as she tears away from all three of the ponies surrounding her with a burst of unparrelled speed, and right out the front door she goes! She doesn't get far though - barely outside the door before she has to let it all out. Ruby had certainl begun feeling better, but she was already upset enough to become physically ill! Quite unbecoming!

"Ruby! Noooo!" cries Winter, thundering after the slippery rogue! "We were making so much progress!" Winter hunkers down and prepares to LEAP and all but does so when she realizes- oh. Oh, Ruby's hurlin'. Winter's upward surge halts in short order and she thumps onto her stomach on the wooden floor, picking herself up slowly.

Kludge discreetely asks for a glass of water so Ruby can rinse her mouth out, then takes it over to the ill mare. "Feeling better, my love?" he asks as he offers her the glass of water.

A certain bundle of bushes should be avoided until the next heavy rain. Ruby can be found beside said bushes looking less than delighted at the entire situation; absolutely uncouth this whole affair. The mare gives Kludge a small sides ways glance before taking the glass and dilgently rinsing her mouth. Eventually muttering under her breath "Thanks…" She's not upset as she was before, but it's never a good feeling…oh there it is again…no she's okay! She glances back towards the door to the bar.

Sodium-Fizz shock her head for herself as she helped Winter onto her hooves, and placing a swift peck on her cheek. "Let her calm down a bit, Winny. She… She don't, apperently, have quite the same ability to repress that I do. I'm not sure if that's good or bad…" With that said she turned about and strode back to the table, bundling up all her letters and her journal and stuffing them roughly into her flight jacket and turning about once more. "I… I think I'm going home to us… Uh, I mean you!" The grey mare bit her lower lip as she brushed past.

And up onto deck, near Ruby and Kludge, giving them a look as she passed. Ruby really seemed worse for wear. Of course, she did have Kludge, even if she didn't want to aknowledge that and… Oh right. Soda stopped and turned to face them. "Hey Kludge, Ruby? Kludge… When she calms down, take her out on a date or… something. She needs somepony, I think, just as much as I do… And Ruby? You better cheer up and let him… You know you should… Also, you owe me a session at the saloon."

With that she bent her forelegs before kicking off, wings spreading and beating the air, carrying her off in the direction of Iron Stock's Sturdy Seaworthy Sinkproof Shipworks.

Winter-Solstice waves after Sodium, pursing her lips as she does so. "Ooooh! Wow! Coooooool." The big mare smiles after the pegasus for a few moments longer before she turns to grin to Kludge and Ruby. "I guess I'm gonna go, uh… uh… try to catch up. You guys gonna be alright? You know. If I leave you here?" She turns and fixes Kludge with an appraising eye. "I mean, no offense, Kludge, but I don't know how well you can tackle something so I don't wanna leave you alone in case something" totally not glancing at Ruby "needs to be tackled."

Kludge waves off Winny. "I think we're fine, but thanks for the concern, Winny," he remarks with a smiling glance at Ruby.