It was different for stallions. Elusive reflected bitterly on this thought as he sat in the large picture window of his boutique, gazing out at the main thoroughfare of Ponyville at all the passers-by. There were Lyra and Bon Bon walking along, so close that their flanks occasionally brushed together. Not too far away, as well, stood Gold Harvest by her vegetable stand, with Ditzy Doo right beside her, talking and laughing, leaning forward every so often to steal a small, chaste kiss.
No one so much as took a second glance at either couple. Mares partnering with mares was commonplace, after all. Mundane, even. Given Equestria’s strangely skewed gender ratios—something that not even the princesses seemed able to understand or to change—there were plenty of mares to go around, enough to ensure there’d be no precipitous decline in birth rates. But a stallion who preferred the romantic company of other stallions? Ah, that was another matter entirely.
With a small sigh, Elusive turned away from the window.
He began trotting around the first floor of the boutique, tidying as he went along, picking up the toys that Sweetie Belle had strewn around earlier that day. His guest should be arriving any moment, after all, and it simply wouldn’t do to have a messy home. The unicorn felt a smile begin spreading across his face at the very thought of just who was coming over and, as much as he tried to squelch it, he found he couldn’t quite force the corners of his mouth back down.
The knock on his door came at two-thirty exactly, just as always and just as expected. Still smiling, Elusive went to his front door and opened it with a gentle burst of telekinetic magic.
“Hi, Elusive,” greeted Butterscotch, wearing a small smile of his own. “I hope I’m not late.”
He chuckled at that. “You always say that, Butterscotch, and you never are. Please do come in and make yourself at home!” He stepped to the side and indicated the foyer of his boutique with a wide sweep of his foreleg. “Goodness only knows when Bubble will be arriving. You know how unpredictable that colt can be.”
Butterscotch fluttered over to the small couch inside and sat down, gracefully settling his wings against his back as he did so. “Oh, I actually talked to Bubble Berry this morning,” he replied, “and he said he couldn’t make it this afternoon because he has to foalsit for the Cakes and that he’s very, very, very sorry.”
Elusive stopped dead in his tracks. “Bubble … isn’t coming?”
“No, I’m afraid not.” Butterscotch gazed up at the other pony through a shock of pink mane that seemed perpetually in front of his eyes, and he bit his lower lip in a way that made Elusive’s heart speed up even faster than it was already beating. “Is that all right, Elusive? If you want to cancel our tea date and reschedule for when Bubble can make it, I can just leave and—”
Butterscotch gave a startled little jump.
“Ah, heh, heh. No,” repeated Elusive, much more softly this time. “Please … please stay.”
He hated that pleading tone in his words, that made his voice crack ever so slightly, and he hated the tell-tale flush that he could feel creeping up his neck. For just a moment, he was tempted to take back what he’d said and to ask Butterscotch to leave. But not only did Elusive very much want his friend to stay, he also wanted to spare Butterscotch’s feelings. The sensitive pegasus would never understand why Elusive was asking him to leave—would assume that it was because he’d done something wrong.
So Elusive took a seat next to the other stallion and began pouring their tea. There was nothing else that could be done.
As Butterscotch chatted happily about his day, about his animals and his garden, Elusive tried to focus on his friend’s words and ignore how very close they were sitting to one another. This was precisely the kind of situation he’d been working so hard to avoid for the last several months. He’d convinced their other friends to join them for their spa outings, and he seldom ventured out alone to the cottage by the woods. Fortunately, it was usually easy enough to convince Bubble or Dusk Shine to join him for a visit.
Quietly Elusive sipped his tea and tried not to look too long into those beautiful teal eyes. Tried not to hold Butterscotch’s gaze for longer than was purely friendly.
Everyone in town knew about Elusive, of course. The closet had never been an option for him. And for a stallion as shy and as gentle as Butterscotch to become such close friends with a stallion like Elusive … well, almost immediately the rumors had started swirling. So Elusive had done what had to be done, what his Element all but demanded he do—he withdrew. Pulled back to a safer distance. An unmistakably platonic distance. It had hurt, but it was worth it.
Butterscotch was worth it.
Suddenly, the pegasus’ hoof was on Elusive’s chest, and the unicorn couldn’t quite hold in a gasp at the soft, warm touch.
“Elusive?” Butterscotch was leaning forward now, worry and concern in those horrible, lovely eyes. “You seem distracted. Are you okay?”
Elusive could feel his smile cracking, his composure crumbling, and still all he could think of was that hoof against his fur and those eyes burning into his own. He swallowed thickly.
“You shouldn’t be here.” The words surprised Elusive every bit as much as they seemed to surprise the stallion beside him. “There will be rumors, darling, terrible rumors, about you, about us, and I don’t want … that is, I simply shan’t let you …”
Butterscotch smiled, a smile as big and bright as any gem Elusive had ever seen. “Oh, Elusive! Is that all you’re worried about?”
“Well, of course I am!”
With a small giggle, Butterscotch leaned forward and nuzzled Elusive’s cheek, his breath warm and soft against the unicorn’s face. Immediately Elusive froze, and it took him a moment to remember how to breathe. Which he then promptly forgot all over again, as soon as Butterscotch shifted a bit and brushed his lips against Elusive’s own.
Butterscotch tasted like the mint in the tea that Elusive had brewed for the both of them, and Elusive simply sat there and drank him in like a pony who was dying of thirst.
When the pegasus finally pulled away, he gave another giggle. “I know Iron Will was wrong about a lot of things, but I think he was maybe right that sometimes, a pony just has to seize the day.” Then, when Elusive didn’t respond, Butterscotch’s eyes went wide in sudden fright. “E-Elusive? Was it … was it okay? That I kissed you, I mean? Oh, my gosh, I didn’t mean to make you upset, and I’m so sorry that I—”
But whatever else Butterscotch might have been about to say was forever lost, as Elusive leapt forward to claim the pegasus’ mouth in a second kiss. And then a third. And then a fourth. After that, both ponies lost track of exactly how many kisses they’d shared, but it was enough that they were still kissing when Sweetie Belle came home from school and burst into the boutique.
That finally caused the two stallions to quickly break apart. Butterscotch blushed deeply and hid behind his mane, while Elusive simply stared at his younger sister in horror, his mouth dry and his mind racing.
For her part, Sweetie Belle let out a cheer loud enough to cause both grown ponies to wince in pain at the sound.
“Yay! You and Butterscotch are finally coltfriends!” The little filly clapped her hooves in glee. “This is so great! ‘Cause now we can have even more sleepovers at Butterscotch’s cottage, and if you guys get married, then Butterscotch can be my brother too and he’d make a really great brother—not that you’re not the best brother ever, Elusive, because you are—and we can sing songs together and feed the birds and all kinds of stuff, and just wait ‘til I tell Apple Bloom and Scootaloo, they’ll be so jealous …”
Stunned and more than a bit overwhelmed, Elusive glanced over to his friend. To his … coltfriend? A blush was still plainly visible on the pegasus’ face, but Butterscotch was also smiling again, too, smiling right at Elusive. The unicorn stallion grinned back. And then, as there was really little else to do, they both burst out laughing.
I really liked the idea that since there’s less stallions than mares there’s an odd double standard when it comes to same sex relationships. I also thought it understandable that “the closet was never an option” to Elusive. It was really sweet the lengths Elusive went to protect Butterscotch’s reputation, and that made the end result of them getting together that much better. I also loved Sweetie Belle’s reaction to walking in on them. Very good! Well done!