Inspired by and adopted from @Chikahiro
They began their journey as the sun started to rise, only small traces of light visible through the blackened sky. One by one, each toughie made their way past the crying mares, each speaking words of love and encouragement to their foals before hesitantly giving them over to the crowd of large earthies. Taking what little insulation they could spare: twigs, inedible leaves and the like, the chirping and frightened babies were each put into one of the paper bags the herd had spent the past few days gathering, knowing the foals would arrive soon. It had been the smarty’s idea to deal with the unplanned offspring, as the approaching winter would be too severe for newborns to survive it. Now wrapped up within makeshift nests, the toughies orders were clear, even if some thought the plan mad. The nearest city was far, nearly two hours travel for a fluffy and the snow was already beginning to fall, an eerily beautiful prelude to what was to come.
Many considered the nearby city off limits, even dangerous as humans were as unpredictable as nature itself, but there were few options left. With the newborns too vulnerable to survive the coming cold times, the toughies made the long and difficult journey, instructed to find a home, knock on the door, and leave behind the precious bundles, hopeful that at least some would be saved. Afterwards, they were to either come directly home or if the weather worsened, to take shelter.
It was already freezing within the small apartment, with Alec cursing slightly as he tried to fix his busted heater. Times had been rough and with his finances being what they were, his only option was squatting in the abandoned property. Once clearly a drug den, he could only assume it was unoccupied due to the lack of insulation that was currently vexing Alec himself. As he was about to give up on the repairs, there was a sudden light rapping on the front door. Confused, Alec stood up, leaving the broken heater for the moment to see who could possibly be at the door this early, and in this weather no less. Opening the front door, Alec shivered as the harsh and bitter chill worsened, the heavy snowfall making seeing past the stoop nearly impossible, glancing around as he saw that there was no-one to be seen. Confused, cold, and quickly growing annoyed, Alec grumbled under his breath and was about to close the door when he heard an abrupt noise.
“*chirp… … …*chirp… … …”
Gazing downward, Alec saw a paper bag on the porch, the discarded sack slightly wriggling as he heard the slow peeping again. Lifting it up he opened it to reveal a small foal with white fluff in a nest of twigs and leaves.
“Where the hell did you come from…” Alec pondered the peeping mass of fluff as his teeth chattered from the frigid gale that was growing stronger by the moment. He hadn’t seen a fluffy in years, as they were made illegal after the city was overrun by them a few years back. He hadn’t seen it himself, having only recently moved to the city himself, but Alec had heard of the brutality as the unfortunate biotoys were ousted and killed on mass. Since then, it was against the law to own a fluffy within the city limits and orders were to kill them on sight. Sighing to himself, Alec thought about putting the bag back where he found it, not really wanting to do anything unlawful. But as he weighed his options, the chill started to get to the foal, her little body trembling as she started to chirp and peep with confusion and panic.
With her eyes still closed, it was clear she had no idea where she was or what was happening to her, only that she was cold, her instincts telling her to call out for her mother’s warmth. Without even realizing it, Alec had reached in and placed his palm against her, the tiny filly’s still forming nubs gripping his fingers gently as she shivered. “…Damn it…”
Alec brought the small bundle into the house, shutting the door behind him and made his way back to the kitchen where he had left his heater. It was still freezing and Alec knew that the filly wouldn’t last long even inside unless he did something. He’d been trying to fix it for the last few hours and was fairly sure that it was a lost cause, but his hotplate still worked. It wouldn’t be much but it was better than nothing. Plugging it in, Alec was thankful that the old building still had power as he turned the dial up to ten and placed the bag next to it, careful not to put it so close it’d endanger the foal. Rubbing his hands together, Alec held them just above the plate as it began to heat up, thankful for the momentary relief from the bitter chill. “You can stay with me for a while, at least until I can find you somewhere safe to live…”
Whether it was his voice or coincidence, the filly within the bag began to chirp frantically again, her cadence growing louder than before. Peering in the bag, Alec saw that she was no longer shaking but she was wriggling and flailing her tiny hooves as she peeped in distress. Thinking for a moment, it dawned on Alec: she must be hungry. Rubbing his temple as he looked around the kitchen, his eyes fell on a half emptied jug of whole milk, thankful that he hadn’t finished yet. Still, it wasn’t enough, as it would need to be warmed and he’d need to somehow feed it to the ravenous foal. He was no expert, but Alec remembered hearing that until they grew old enough to walk around, foals were notorious for how much they needed to eat and could easily starve if not properly cared for.
Heating it up would be a simple matter, as Alec gathered a small sauce pan and poured a healthy bit of the milk within before placing it on the hotplate. Leaving it to warm, Alec began to search the junk the previous tenants had left, hopeful that he could use something they’d left behind. Scouring through the garbage, he picked up his pace as the filly’s shrill cries grew worse, worried that she might starve. After several minutes he finally found it, an old bottle of eyedrops. Taking it to the sink, Alec emptied the expired contents and thoroughly flushed it out with water. Once he was sure it was clean enough he took it to the sauce pan, testing the milk and making sure it wasn’t too hot or too cold before squeezing the small plastic bottle and letting it syphon up some of the lukewarm milk.
Taking the finicky foal out of her bag for the first time, Alec held her belly up in his hand as he prepared to feed her, trying his best to calm the malnourished filly. “*Shh…It’s okay now, it’s okay…I know you’re hungry…” He let a few drops of the warm milk fall near her mouth but to no avail as the fluff screeched as it touched her, unsure what was happening and fearfully crying out for her parents. But after a few well timed drops fell into her open maw, the filly lightly smacked her lips before chirping excitedly, her hooves grabbing blindly towards where the drops were falling from.
“*chirp?..*chirp…*chirp…*chirp…*chirp! …*chirp! …*chirp!”
“There we go…” Alec slowly emptied the dropper and fed the filly, refilling it several times before she finally calmed. Her belly pleasantly distended, the foal now chirped calmly, her hooves finding Alec’s hand before she grasped against them firmly and fell fast asleep. He’d only seen the occasional fluffy, mostly on TV, but now that he was holding one in his hand, he could see the appeal and thought the filly was rather endearing, even a little cute. Now that he could look at her without her wriggling so much he could see that she was an earthie, with fluff the color of light cream and the beginnings of a dark brownish mane and tail. “You’re pretty cute I guess…Shame I can’t keep you…”
Placing her back into the bag near the hotplate, Alec warmed himself, finally having a few moments to actually think about his situation. No longer starving or frightened, at least for the moment, the filly curled up in her makeshift nest as he watched over her, unsure what to do. Even if it were legal, Alec could barely keep himself fed, let alone another living being. Gazing over to his sparse supplies: a couple loaves of bread, some water, the milk he’d decided he’d give to the foal, some peanut butter, and a bag of mini-marshmallows that had already been in the kitchen and were both unopened and unexpired, Alec felt his stomach begin to grumble. “Guess I need to eat too…”
Taking a small swig from his water jug, Alec then took two slices of bread and carefully spread some of the crunchy peanut butter on top. Wishing he had some jelly to go with it, he once again noticed the marshmallows, deciding to open the bag and add a few to his unorthodox meal. Taking a bite, Alec was pleasantly surprised at the taste being almost like an old dessert his Aunt would make for him when he was a child. As he tried to recall what she had called them, he saw that the filly was shivering in her sleep, occasionally peeping and warbling uncomfortably as she shifted about. Pushing her nest slightly closer to the hotplate, the foal quickly calmed as his hand touched her, the filly’s hooves trying to wrap themselves around his fingers even in her sleep. Looking at the sweet display and the foal’s colors, it suddenly came back to Alec as he smiled at the slumbering filly.