Caramel paused mid-step, one hoof still raised, as the distinctive sound of a fluffy in distress, muffled by the nearby bushes, reached her ears. She’d been trotting through a nearby park, in search of food — not that she needed it for milk, her nipples were still so swollen with it they dragged between her legs, though they were noticeably less engorged now she was feeding two babies instead of just one. She’d even fed her own brown foals once or twice, if only to shut them up now that they could talk, and talk they did, begging Caramel for milk day and night. Caramel would have happily ignored them had she the choice, but their constant begging had been distressing her ‘bestest babbehs’, and so she’d relented.
“Huuu, huuu… GO ‘WAY BABBEHS, mummah has no miwkies fo’ yu.”
Curious, Caramel decided to investigate. There was a strange scent in the air, a familiar scent, but Caramel couldn’t quite seem to remember where she’d smelled it before. Lowering her head and closing her eyes, she pushed her way through the bushes, to find a small clearing within, where a fluffy sat, the red fluff of her pudgy cheeks matted and damp from tears. A litter of foals surrounded her, darting in to nip at her teats, and each time they did, the mother would push them away. She was so distraught she didn’t even notice Caramel emerge from the bushes, so the green fluffy promptly introduced herself.
“Hewwo!” Caramel called out cheerfully, lifting her head and wagging her tail to show she was friendly, not a ‘meanie’.
“Huuu… hewwo… huuu.” the mother sobbed, not returning the gesture. Instead she simply sat there, trying to keep her babies at bay.
“Wy mummah no gib’ babbehs miwkies?” Caramel asked, tilting her head inquisitively. “Babbehs nee’ miwkies to gwow up big an stwong!”
“Mummah hab no miwkies, huuu.” the other fluffy replied.
“So mummah num bushies and gwassies?” Caramel stated, as if it were obvious. “Eben 'do not bestest miwkies, stiww miwkies.”
“Mummah no wanna num!” the fluffy snapped, her tone more anguished than angry. “Mummah no wan’ gib miwkies to dummeh babbehs, no wan munstah babbeh, onwy wan’ bestest babbeh bak!”
Suddenly, Caramel remembered where she’d smelled this scent before. This was the mother she’d pilfered her first stolen baby, the red unicorn foal, from.
“Mawbe bestest babbeh wun away?” She suggested in a defensive tone. Anyone with half a brain cell would have noticed the immediate shift in her demenour and put two and two together. Fortunately for Caramel, fluffies were not the most perceptive creatures.
“NUUUUUU! BESTEST BABBEH NEBA WOWD WUN AWAY FWOM MUMMAH!” the red mare shouted, angrily lowering herself to all fours and stamping her hoof in Caramel’s direction as if to punctuate her words.
“Weww Cawamew no kno’ wah happen to bestes babbeh den.” Caramel retorted, raising her head indignantly. Again, it was fortunate for her she was dealing with another fluffy, her obvious denial would have immediately been picked up on by a human.
“Mummah no kno too…” the mummah noted sadly, hanging her head and stamping at the ground nervously. “Mawbe bestest babbeh get wost, or mawbe he get stowen by a fief, or maw-”
“IT NOT STEAWING” snapped Caramel suddenly, “ONWY BAD FWUFFY STEAW. GOO’ FWUFFY SHAWE!”
“Shawe?” the red mare questioned, cocking her head.
“Ya, wike wen Cawamew wa’ a widdwe babbeh, befo’ meet no-mowe-nyu-daddeh.” Caramel explained. “Cawamew wan’ pway wif bwockies, an’ Cawamew bwudda hab baww, but bwudda wan’ bwockies too. Bwudda twy take bwockies, but nice wady teww bwudda ONLY BAD FWUFFY STEAWS. Nice wady take bwockies from Cawamew and gib bwockies to bwudda, but gib’ Cawamew baww in-sted’. Den it not steawing, it shaweing. So wen cawamew wan’-”
Caramel trailed off mid-sentence, suddenly realizing what she was saying. Fortunately for her, the red mare was far too distraught to think.
“MUMMAH NO WAN’ SHAWE BESTEST BABBEH!” the mother erupted. “BABBEHS NO WIKE BWOCKIES, NOT FO’ SHAWE, BESTEST BABBEH IS MUMMAH’S. NEE’ MUMMAH’S MIWKIES AN’ HUGGIES AN’ WUB TO GWOW BIG AN’ STWONG! HUUU, HUUU…”
“Den yu BAD FWUFFY.” Caramel spouted, raising her head indignantly again. “Bestest pointw’ babbeh betta’ off wi’owt bad mummah, betta off wi’ nyu mummah!”
“SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” the mother screeched, devolving into hysterics. The thought never even crossed her mind to ask how Caramel knew her best baby had been a unicorn. She knew her baby was a unicorn, so she took it for granted everyone else did too, of course.
“HUUU, HUUU, WAN BESTEST BABBEH BAK! HUUU, NO WAN BESTEST BABBEH HAB DUMMEH NYU MUMMAH, HE TOO WIDDLE, NEE’ BE WI’ MUMMAH, NEE’ MUMMAH WUB AN’ HUGGIES AN’ MIWKIES!”
“NYU MUMMAH GIB HIM WOTS OF WUB AN’ HUGGIES AN’ MIWKIES.” retorted Caramel angrily.
“NUUUUUUUUUUUU! GO 'WAY, YU MEANIE FWUFFY! MEANIE MUNSTAH, JUST WIKE MUNSTAH BABBEH!”
As if on cue, a brown foal tentatively poked its head out from the bushes behind the red mare. He seemed no less malnourished than he had been the night Caramel had ‘shared’ him with the red mare, in exchange for the mare’s own foal, but he had the strength to stand, if shakily, on his own legs, so he had to be eating something.
“Mummah?” the brown foal ventured, its big brown eyes fixated on the red mare, who of couse, he by now thought to be his own biological mother. “C-can dummeh poopie b-bebbeh hab m-miwkies, pewase…?”
“SCREEE! NU! GO ‘WAY, MUNSTAH BABBEH! MUMMAH NO WAN’ YU! WAN BESTEST BABBEH BAK, HUUU, HUUU! GO NUM POOPIES WIKE MUNSTA SHULD!”
“Yu am bad mummah.” stated Caramel, puffing up her cheeks to make herself appear more threatening. “Goo’ mummah wub’s aww hew babbehs.”
Naturally, the hypocrisy of her, of all fluffies, saying such a thing was completely lost on Caramel, who not only refused her own brown foals milk, but had now stolen not one, but two babies from other mothers to replace her own ‘poopie’ litter. Hers was a simple mind, like most fluffies had, unable to grasp things like nuance. She had no idea what she was doing, nor did she connect the red mare’s torment to her own selfish actions. Caramel knew only two things: What she wanted, and what humans had taught her, and she unconciously twisted the latter to suit the former.
“NO MUMMAH’S BABBEH! NEBA BEEN TUMMEH BABBEH WIKE MUMMAH’S BABBEHS, GO 'WAY, DUMMEH MEANIE MAWE!”
“AM NO MEANIE MAWE, AM BESTEST MUMMAH!” Caramel retorted, turning on the spot and lifting her tail. The red mare had barely a moment to let out a ‘SCREE!’ before Caramel silenced it, unleashing a splatter of sludgy ‘sowwie poopies’ directly into her face, before scampering off through the bushes before the red mare could retaliate.
It took Caramel only a few minutes to scarper back to the safety of her nest, still leaking a trail of noxious brown liquid from her rear end most of the way. When she turned the corner down the alley to her safe spot, however, she was met with an unwelcome and distressing sight. A young woman—barely out of her teens and on the cusp of adulthood, by the looks of her—knelt just outside the mesh fence that protected Caramel’s nest, a smile on her face and the half-finished remains of a burger in her hands. She had chestnut-brown hair, almost the same shade as Caramel’s mane and her brown babies’ coats, and was dressed in a black sleeveless shirt that left her pale shoulders exposed, and a pair of denim shorts that did the same for her thighs. Caramel’s children, both her own brown babies and stolen best babies, were lined up just inside the fence, chirping and talking happily. The red unicorn, the very same baby she’d stolen from the mare she’d just met, was standing up on his hind legs, clumsily but enthusiastically waggling his body and arms around rhythmically, dancing for the girl.
“Oh, aren’t you just adorable?” the girl smiled, though a frown came across her face as she turned her attention from the dancing foal to the four brown babies, all of them skin-and-bones and barely able to lift their heads from the ground.
“C’mere, little cuties.” she encouraged, holding out what was left of her burger and squishing it through the mesh of the fence. “You guys look like you need a bite to eat. Has your mummah not been feeding you?”
“NO TOWCH BABBEHS!” shouted Caramel, slamming into the unexpecting girl’s leg with enough force to knock her off balance. She let out a sharp ‘Ow!’ as she threw out a hand to steady herself. “What the fuck?”
“NUUU! BAD WOWDIES! GO 'WAY MEANIE MUNSTAH HOOMIN!” Caramel shouted, puffing up her cheeks again in a display of intimidation that was utterly lost on the young woman. “WEAVE CAWAMEW AND BABBEHS AWONE!”
“You little shit.” the girl snapped, irritated, and she turned to reach for Caramel—who immediately dove for the hole in the fence that was just a little too small for her milk-swollen frame, desperately scrabbling in an effort to push herself through to the other side. Instead, she felt something grab her tail and yank her backward, hard.
“NUUUU! SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” she screeched at the top of her lungs.
“Calm down for fuck’s sake.” the girl said, yanking Caramel from the hole and planting a hand on her back, holding the struggling fluffy there with ease. “I’m not gonna hurt you or your babies, I just wanted to play with them a little.”
“NUUUUUUU! NO TOWCH BABBEHS!” Caramel repeated, her kicks and frantic writhing starting to slow as the fluffy tired herself out.
“Hey, little fluffies, come on, come here.” the young woman said in a sing-song voice, holding Caramel down with one hand and trying to reach through the hole in the fence with the other. It was low to the ground, so she had to lower herself until her shoulder was resting on the gravel, and even then, the babies sat just out of reach, looking back and forth between their screeching mother and the ‘nice wady’ who’d been trying to feed them, as if trying to decide what to do.
“BABBEHS! WUN 'WAY! WUN BAK TO NESTIE!” the struggling green fluffy urged.
The sky-blue pegasus, still younger than the other foals and uncertain of her new ‘mother’, was skittish and easily frightened. She immediately turned and bolted back towards the nest, or at least tried to: The clumy baby managed five steps before she tripped over her own feet and fell, collapsing in a ball on the hard gravel and starting to chirp and peep for help. She was followed by one of the brown foals, who, never having been allowed in the nest before, realized the opportunity and seized it, scrambling past his blue ‘sister’ and clambering up into the warmth and safety of the nest with some effort. The rest remained, frozen in place, unsure of what to do.
“M-mummah say no tawkie to stwanga, nice wady.” the red unicorn explained uncertainly. He was confused: His mother had told him over and over not to talk to strange humans or fluffies, but from the moment she’d appeared just outside the nest, she’d been happily talking to them in such a comforting way, and even offered them ‘nummies’. He didn’t understand, of course, the conflict between his instincts and biological programming. His animal instincts urged him to listen to his mother, but all fluffies were programmed to find human attention rewarding. Naturally, certain things were strong enough to override this genetic desire: fear, paternal instincts, and of course, the much stronger desire of a mare to have babies. But in lieu of any of those, the unicorn found himself ambivalent, torn between the two.
He was lost in internal conflict when one of his brown siblings decided to make a move. She was a filly, emaciated just like all of Caramel’s ‘poopie babbehs’, and almost quivering with fear. Nonetheless, she raised a hoof slowly, holding it in the air for a moment, before putting it down and taking a step closer to the girl’s grasping hand. Then another, and another, until her head was just within reach.
Caramel expected the girl to immediately grab her baby and yank her out, but she didn’t. Instead, she gently lowered her fingers to cup the filly’s head from above, and began to scratch her behind the ears, a satisfied look coming over her face. The filly’s surprise and uncertainty quicky dissapated, and she closed her eyes and began to chirp, thoroughly enjoying what may well have been the most physical affection anyone had shown her in her short life.
“Oh my god, you’re so soft!” the girl gasped in delight, switching to stroking the top of the filly’s head with a barely suppressed squeal. “God, you’re adorable. I just wanna take all of you home and-”
It was at this moment, her attention on the filly and her hand starting to relax, that Caramel made her move. Over the last few moments her struggles had slowed almost to the point of stopping, but now, with one desperate kick, she broke free, launched herself at the girl’s arm, and bit down as hard as she could. With a surprised shriek, the girl yanked her arm out from under the fence, a determined Caramel still latched onto her skin just below the shoulder.
“Fucking bitch!” the girl exclaimed, grabbing Caramel’s tail again and yanking her away. The green fluffy landed back-first on the hard gravel with a thud, but quickly twisted her body and scrambled for the hole, scurrying under and through while the girl was examining her arm. There was no blood, fluffies seldom had the bite strength to actually harm a human, save only for the toughest ‘tuffies’, but the mare’s teeth had dug in hard enough to leave an imprint in her skin. By the time she turned her attention back to the fluffies, Caramel had gathered all the babies in the nest and sat between it and the girl, cheeks puffed up like balloons, stamping one hoof in what she no doubt thought was a scary fashion.
“Go 'way dummeh hoomin, weabe babbehs awone, ow Cawamew gib sowwy hoofsies!” she declared. In reality, her threats were far less an obstacle to the girl than the fence Caramel had made her nest behind: It was tall, easily twice the girl’s height, capped with barbed wire, and despite its age and rust, still strong enough to withstand quite a bit of force.
“Like you care, you’re not even feeding them!” the girl exclaimed, exasperated.
“Cawamew gib miwkies to babbehs aww time!” Caramel protested.
“Look at the brown ones, they can hardly stand!” the girl argued. “If you’re not going to feed them, why don’t you let me take-”
“NO! NO AM TAKE BABBEHS!” Caramel squealed over the top of her. “DEM CAWAMEW BABBEHS!”
“We’ll see about that, you little shit.” the girl muttered, ignoring Caramel’s cries of ‘bad wowdies’ and regarding the padlocked gate that provided access to the alcove where the green fluffy had made her nest. “Someone’s gotta have the key to get in here.”
She knelt down by the fence again, looking past Caramel at the babies shivering behind her. One, the filly she’d managed to pat before, tried to move closer, almost managing to tumble out of the nest before Caramel scooped her up and pushed her back into the centre.
“Hey little guys, I’m gonna go find out if someone can let me in, okay? I’ll be back, and I’ll bring lots of ‘nummies’ for you.”
"Caramel opened her mouth to protest, but she was cut off as by the brown filly, her voice scarely louder than a whisper as she spoke her first words.
“Be nyu mummah?”
“SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” Caramel let out an enraged screech, spinning around and nipping at the filly, who let out a both a fearful chirp and a small ‘scawdy-poopie’. “NU! MUMMAH AM MUMMAH! DUMMEH POOPIE BABBEH QUIEW! YOU GET NYU MUMMAH WEN’ MUMMAH FIN’ NYU BESTEST BABBEH!”
“Don’t you dare bite her, you fucking bitch.” the girl snapped, and Caramel turned back to her.
“Wha dummeh bad-wowdie wady gon’ do abowt it, dummeh wady no can ge’ in nestie, no can huwt cawamew ow babbehs! Go 'way!”
“Oh, I’m going to, but I’ll be back.” she promised in a huff, crossing her arms across her chest and storming off up the alleyway.