Jade smiled. He knew that he would have this encounter sooner or later, it was a guarantee upon moving back to Ponyville. He had no idea it would happen so soon.
"Well well, if it isn't the filly who shamed my name. Welcome home."
"This isn't my home. My home is with Spitfire and Rainbow Dash." Scootaloo boiled with rage upon the sight of her long gone birth father. It sickened her that another foal could be going through what she went through while living with him
"Steel, go inside. I have to talk to this mare in private." Steel quietly obliged. He didn't want to be around this confrontation anyway.
"Are you hurting him too? Like me?" Scootaloo asked.
"Me? Hurting my child? You must be crazy." Scootaloo almost attacked him.
"Scootaloo, I never step out of line as a parent. You were just so ungrateful that-" Before he finished his sentence Spitfire landed between Jade and Scootaloo.
"Scootaloo, go tell your friends they're coming back to our place tonight."
"Now Scootaloo. This isn't a stallion I want you involved with." Scootaloo reluctantly flew down to her friends and told them what had happened. She wasted no time in explaining the whole story.
"Ya mean yer dad is back in town?" Applebloom asked with wide eyes.
"And you have a little brother?" Sweetie Belle asked with the same wide eyes. Spitfire flew down to meet the three friends.
"I'm sorry Scootaloo, but I know that if I were to let you stay here now you'd be flying right back up there." Scootaloo didn't try to argue. Her mom was right. "I'll talk to local authorities. Given the circumstances of your adoption they'll probably investigate Jade and his family to see if they can find any signs of abuse or neglect."
"The prospect of the stallion having another foal sickens me." Scootaloo said with her head down. "What if that colt is putting up with all the same stuff I did?" Tears were forming in Scootaloo's eyes. "Why am I just now learning I have a little brother?" Spitfire put a wing around her while her friends hugged her. Scootaloo broke down and wept. When she looked up, the mares who were consoling her saw determination in her eyes. "I'm going to get to know him. My little brother will be a part of my life. I'll get him away from Jade."
Jade looked down from his cloud home at the scene unfolding before him. A smile crept across his face when he saw Scootaloo break down in tears.
"That's what happens when you shame your father." He said to himself. He thought back to the conversation he had with the golden coated pegasus that had interrupted his conversation with his former daughter...
"You trained her well. I'd congratulate you if you were worth the words." Jade smiled.
"Stay away from my daughter, you understand? I don't ever want to see you anywhere near her." Spitfire got right to the point.
"Your daughter? Have you forgotten that both you and your partner have ovaries?"
"I don't care what you think of my wife and I, but leave her alone. She went through enough with you, and she won't go through it again. I don't care if she's your daughter by blood."
"She is no more my daughter than she is yours. She may carry my blood but I removed her from the family a long time ago."
"So we have an agreement. You'll leave her alone."
"As long as you get off my property we do." With that, Spitfire walked to the edge of the porch and dove off the cloud home. He watched her descend and the scene at the ground. He then turned and walked inside to see his son. He rarely raised a hoof to his son. Likely due to his bias against mares, but all the same he couldn't be charged for 'abuse'. The modern world just didn't understand what punishment was anymore. His father had beaten him plenty as a child and he turned out just fine. It didn't matter. He had a son, and that son could not be taken from him. But Jade wasn't about to let his son's mind be perverted by his former daughter. He had to make sure his son knew to stay away from her. She was a disgrace to the family name and should be treated as such. His son was patiently waiting for him just inside.
"Who was she dad? She was really nice to me."
"She disgraced our family and made a personal effort to shame me. She would have been your older sister if she had kept in line.You are to stay away from her, do you understand?" Steel had heard all the stories about his older sister. Hatred burned within him for the mare that had shamed his father and mother. He wasn't going to speak to her again.
"Yes dad, I understand." Jade nodded.
"Good." Jade turned and walked to the kitchen. Whiskey sounded wonderful at the moment.
Spitfire and Scootaloo watched as Rarity enchanted Applebloom and Sweetie Belle so they could walk on clouds. The spell wasn't permanent, so they made sure that the fashion pony enchanted Scootaloo's friends whenever they went to the Dash home.
"I do wish Twilight was here for more of the winter." Rarity said. "I'm overjoyed that she received that position as a professor at Celestia's school but that spell is draining for a pony like me." Twilight had become a professor of magic in Princess Celestia's school a year after Lightning's family moved to town. It wasn't the same in Ponyville without her, but she had taught Rarity enough of the spells she used in Ponyville's day to day affairs that Ponyville didn't have to relearn life without the most powerful unicorn in Equestrian history.
"She'll be back tomorrow Rarity, don't worry. You'll get a break from constantly using magic soon enough.
"I know she will. I receive her 'Weekly Update' as well you know." Spitfire and Rarity shared a laugh. Twilight sent a letter back to each of her friends in Ponyville once every week. They all made sure to reply, so Twilight had to send seven different letters every week. It almost seemed unfair, but Twilight apparently had learned to write them all at once using her magic. She no longer dictated her letters to Spike. Although Spike missed that part of his job as her assistant, he still had plenty to keep him busy back in Canterlot.
"We should test the enchantment to be sure it worked." Scootaloo said. "I'll pull a cloud down."
"The moment you leave that door you'll be heading right back to visit Jade and you know it." Spitfire knew Scootaloo all too well. "Don't try something like that again. I don't want you going anywhere near that stallion."
"Mom, I just-"
"I'll get the test cloud. Rarity, girls, make sure she doesn't leave." Scootaloo sighed. She hated when her parents read her mind like that. All she wanted was to see her brother, make sure Jade wasn't hurting him. She knew Spitfire was looking out for her, but it was at times such as this that Scootaloo wished she'd be less worried. Outside, Spitfire was pulling a cloud into position just above the ground. They had learned to always test the cloud walking enchantment after the incident where Sweetie Belle and Applebloom fell right through the floor of the Dash home. It was the first time Rarity had attempted the enchantment, and the girls were lucky that Twilight had still been in Ponyville at the time. If Twilight hadn't been there to catch them and show Rarity the proper way to perform the particular enchantment, Applebloom and Sweetie Belle would have made for some interesting street decorations in Ponyville. Scootaloo and Spitfire flew the earth bound ponies onto the low cloud and set them down on it. The enchantment worked.
"Thank you Rarity!" The four pegasi called out in unison before pushing the now occupied cloud towards the Dash family home.
"You're welcome! Have a good time tonight girls!"
Spending time with her friends always allowed Scootaloo to forget her troubles entirely. As the three young mares sat around Scootaloo's bedroom talking and laughing, Scootaloo entirely forgot the events of the afternoon while she was with them. It felt great to just sit around and for once not have to think about the stresses of everyday life for a while.
"Hey Scoot, how 'bout ya play yer guitar fer a little bit? Ah sure do love watchin' ya play." Applebloom inquired.
"Yeah, you could play that solo you've been working on for us! I really hope we can find a way to work that into a song!" Sweetie Belle added. At her friends' request Scootaloo gladly slipped on her talons and plugged in her guitar. When she began playing, the whole world seemed to stop. As usual, she became lost in the music. She began playing faster and faster until the climax of the solo, after which she began to slow to a peaceful melody until she finished. Sweetie Belle and Applebloom applauded.
"Yer amazin' with that guitar Scoot!" Applebloom said with a smile.
"I knew it was smart making you our lead!" Sweetie Belle agreed. "We have to work that into a song!" Scootaloo blushed. She always took praise like that to heart, no matter how many times she heard it.
"You never do cease to amaze me Scoot." The three young mares screamed in surprise at hearing Lightning's voice. Lightning chuckled from Scootaloo's window and flew in. Spitfire burst through the doorway.
"Is everypony...oh, hey Lightning. You know you could've just used the front door right?"
"I like to change it up every once in a while. Keep it fresh." Lightning casually responded.
"Don't sneak up on us like that. You scared the hay out of me!" Scootaloo said. Lightning laughed.
"It wouldn't have been any fun if you were expecting it." He responded. Scootaloo hit him on the shoulder. She then decided to accept and enjoy the presence of her crush. She leaned against him.
"Does that mean I'm forgiven?" He asked while wrapping a wing around her.
"Yeah." She responded. Sweetie Belle couldn't take it anymore.
"Will you two stop playing this silly game and start dating already? It's driving me insane to see two ponies who are as crazy about each other as you two that refuse to make it official!" Scootaloo and Lightning froze up.
"Yeah, the two o' ya been pinin' over each other fer the last four years, just give in and do what ya want." Applebloom was far calmer than Sweetie Belle. Lightning looked at Scootaloo, then back at Spitfire. Spitfire wore a grin that to Lightning resembled that of an axe murderer. Inside her head, Spitfire was thinking of all the ways she could scare the hay out of Lightning upon asking her daughter to go out with him. She LOVED the prospect.
"I don't know...I mean, Scoot's great and all, but..." Scootaloo pulled away from Lightning.
"But what?" She asked forcefully.
"It's just...not what I'm looking for. Right now I don't want a relationship to distract me from what's important."
"And what is important?" Scootaloo asked. She was beginning to get angry with Lightning.
"Scootaloo, I'd rather we talk about this in private."
"There's plenty of clouds you two can have a private conversation on outside." Spitfire said. "I can keep the girls entertained while you two sort out your issues." Lightning flinched. He had been hoping to delay the inevitable confrontation with Scootaloo, but it appeared that he wouldn't be so lucky.
"Sounds good ta me." Applebloom said.
"Yeah, we can hang out with Spitfire for a bit." Sweetie Belle added. Scootaloo wrapped a hoof around Lightning's neck and dragged him to the window. She jumped out of it and took flight. Lightning looked back and saw three mares giving him stares that read "If you're still in this room in three seconds your testicles will be removed by force." He sighed and took flight. He was not going to like the conversation he was about to have.
"Lightning, I'm sick of this game. You know I want you and I know you want me. What's keeping us from being together like we want?" Scootaloo didn't understand why Lightning wouldn't just ask her out already.
"I told you, I don't want to be in a relationship right now." Lightning responded. This was a lie and Scootaloo knew it.
"Uh huh. Now tell me the real reason." Lightning knew he couldn't lie to Scootaloo. She could see right through him. He sighed.
"Look, I'm unwilling to date you because...I'm afraid."
"Afraid of what? You know I won't reject you."
"I...just..." Lightning had a hard time finding the words.
"Talk to me. You know you can tell me anything." Scootaloo had calmed down completely.
"I'm afraid that if we give in to each other that things will go wrong. I don't want to lose the friendship I have with you Scootaloo."
"What would go wrong? We've basically been dating for the last four years. In that whole time we've stood by each other through thick and thin and have spent almost every moment of our time together. What's keeping us apart? If it's just us waiting for one of us to ask the other, I can change that right now."
"Scootaloo, I'm sorry. I just...I can't. Not you." Scootaloo walked to the edge of the cloud.
"Soon enough the two of us being apart is what will destroy our friendship. Think that over." With that Scootaloo spread her wings and dove off the cloud. Lightning watched her fly back home. He began to wonder if she was right.
"How'd it go Scoot? He finally give in?" Sweetie Belle asked.
"No. He didn't." Scootaloo lowered her head. Her friends put their forelegs around her.
"Give 'im time. It took years fer Big Mac ta give in ta Twi. An' now they've been tagether fer gettin' on a year." Applebloom hoped bringing up the "MacinTwi" story would cheer her friend up. It did, though only slightly. Spitfire and Rainbow decided this was best left to the youth.
Scootaloo couldn't manage to sleep that night. She wanted to, but it wasn't going to happen anytime soon. Between Jade moving back to Ponyville, finding out she had a younger brother, and her first argument with her best friend she wasn't going to be able to think straight for the next few weeks. She knew she had said that as a last ditch effort to convince Lightning to give in to her, but she was beginning to wonder if there was truth to the statement. She felt guilty though. She knew she shouldn't try to manipulate ponies like that. She intended to apologize next time she saw him. She looked at the two mares sleeping comfortably on the cloud floor next to her. She smiled. At least I can rest assured that I'll always have them she thought to herself. She was about to snuggle up to Applebloom before she heard Lightning's familiar voice.
"Scoot, you still up?" Scootaloo looked at him through the window and nodded. He motioned for her to follow him. She flew out the window. Unbeknownst to Scootaloo her wingbeats woke Sweetie Belle just before Lightning was out of view. Sweetie Belle shook Applebloom awake.
"I think we're gonna want to be awake for this." She said with a smile.
Scootaloo followed Lightning to a decently sized cloud. She would have enjoyed the feeling of the brisk night air against her as she flew if she wasn't so focused on wondering why Lightning had asked her to come talk in private right then. It wasn't uncommon that Scootaloo would sneak out of the house to see him, but after their previous conversation Scootaloo wasn't expecting to see him anytime soon. Scootaloo landed next to Lightning on the cloud.
"Alright Lightning, what's-" Before she could finish her sentence Lightning's lips embraced her in a deep, passionate kiss.