Three Gems and a Scooter

by RaylanKrios


Despite her breakthrough, Scootaloo realized very quickly that there was a very large gulf between knowing you didn’t have to be sad, and actually not being sad. For so long Scootaloo carried around her sadness as a perverse shield, that the thought of letting it go was oddly frightening. She took the long way back, using the occasion to think about her life in Ponyville, her friends, and her time with Rarity.

She opened the back door of the Carousel Boutique and stepped inside. Taking a moment to look around the now familiar kitchen, Scootaloo felt an odd sensation. Spurred by an unknown motivation she opened the silverware drawer to find her set left right where she left it. She looked over at the drying rack next to the sink where the plate she had breakfast on was now clean and ready for another meal. Without needed to go upstairs she knew that her scooter was in the corner and that her bed was neatly made, complete with fluffed pillows and maybe a mint.

The familiar whir of a sewing machine told her
Rarity wasn’t busy with a customer. She peeked through the door and took a moment to study the pony who was one step away from becoming her actual family. Rarity was wearing her red cat eye glasses as she pushed a shiny piece of green silk through her sewing machine. Her horn was illuminated as a separate silver spool of thread hovered nearby, feeding into the thread guide. Beneath the din of the machine she could almost hear Rarity humming a jaunty tune.

Scootaloo took a few steps forward but Rarity’s work commanded all her attention.
She made it halfway across the room before Rarity noticed her. Rarity glanced up from her half finished dress to see Scootaloo standing in the middle of the room, staring at her with an expression that could only be described as quizzical.

“Are you okay, dear?” Rarity asked, seeing Scootaloo’s expression.

Scootaloo stumbled forward, closing the rest of the distance and grabbed onto Rarity’s forelegs in an awkward hug. Rarity repeated her question, her concern now growing. “Did something happen?”

Scootaloo shook her head and Rarity could feel a soft cheek rubbing against her foreleg. She didn't elaborate because what could she possibly say that would mean anything? She kept hugging until she realized it didn’t matter how long she stayed there. Rarity was perfectly content to reciprocate the gesture. And at that realization she felt lighter. It wasn't that she instantly let go of her past, it was still there, weighing on her subconscious, but for the first time she felt capable of carrying it.

Scootaloo let go and looked up to see Rarity patiently smiling down at her. Rather than pry any further or attempt to unpack Scootaloo’s spontaneous outpouring of affection, Rarity turned her attention to more immediate concerns. “Perhaps we should have barley soup for dinner?”

“I’d like that, and could we maybe go visit Rainbow Dash tomorrow?” Scootaloo said softly.

The next morning, Scootaloo found herself at Rainbow’s front door as Rarity stood a respectful distance behind her, thanks to a cloudwalking spell learned from Twilight She rang the bell and waited what seemed like an hour for Rainbow to answer the door.

Not used to unannounced visitors, Rainbow wore the faintest hint of a scowl as she flung open the door, but it quickly dissipated when she saw who was standing there.

“Hi,” Scootaloo said softly.

Rainbow Dash glanced at Rarity who gave her friend a reassuring nod. “Hi, Scoots.”

“I never said thank you for coming to my dance recital.”

“Well maybe I kinda sorta flew out of there before you got the chance to.” There was a tension filled break before Rainbow spoke again. “That's what you came to say?”

And then came the moment Scootaloo had been playing over and over again in her mind since yesterday Scootaloo shook her head. "I don't think I'm mad at you anymore."

Rainbow Dash burst into a smile, one which faded when she noticed Scootaloo's downcast expression. "But?"

"But I guess it still hurts. I mean I know it's not your fault, but... "

"Scootaloo, I..."

"No, I get it. Things are..." Scootaloo glanced backwards at Rarity for a second. "...good. Better, at least. I know it's not fair, but I just always thought you'd adopt me. I think that maybe I never really considered you didn't want to.”

"It wasn't about that,” Rainbow protested weakly.

”But it kinda was, wasn't it? I've gotta think that, if we had the same parents, you'd want me with you before you'd let me move all the way to Baltimare."

Rainbow looked at the ground, her eyes decidedly misty with tears. "I... I don't know. I honestly don't know, Scootaloo. I didn't want you to leave. You know that, right?"

"I know, and I am thankful you were there, at the recital. I want you to be at things. With me. Dr. Sunshine says that it's good to take some time to process things. I think that this is one of those things.”

Rainbow didn’t know who Dr. Sunshine was, and that knowledge just added to the gulf between what she thought she knew about Scootaloo and what she actually did know. “Okay, I get that. So what do you want me to do?”

A few months ago, the answer would have been “adopt me”, and a few weeks ago Scootaloo wouldn’t have been able to answer the question. “I want you to be my sister, if you still want to, that is.”

“You bet I do, Squirt. Maybe if it’s okay with Rarity, we could go flying. I’m not doing anything today.”

Scootaloo’s smile returned, “I’d like that. Can I go Rarity?”

“Of course, dear, just be home before dinner. And you Rainbow Dash,” she said pointedly, “promise to be careful.”

Dash grinned at Rarity. “Where’s the fun in that?”she said, her grin widening. I’ll catch her if she falls, you know that,” she quickly added.

A bit of red touched Rarity’s cheeks, “Yes, quite.”

“Thanks, Rarity,” Scootaloo said, though she turned her gaze up to Dash.

“Yeah,” Rainbow said, her smug grin falling into a genuine smile. “Really, Rarity, thanks.”

Rarity dismissed it with an airy wave of her hoof. “You two enjoy yourselves. I’m certain you have plenty of catching up to do.”

A few weeks later, Scootaloo found herself sitting in class when Cheerilee made an announcement.

“Okay class. As you all know Family Appreciation day is coming up. For this year’s celebration, I want you all to write a report about a family member that you’re going to read out loud at a big celebration in the Ponyville Amphitheater.”

The class buzzed with excitement. Some students nervous about speaking in front of so many ponies, others wondering who they should pick as their subject.

“Mrs. Cheerilee?” Diamond asked with a smile and a raised hoof as the class quieted down. “Can our report be about anypony? Or does it have to be somepony who’s actually related to us, like by birth?”

“Your report has to be about a family member Diamond. You don’t have to be related by birth to be family.”

Diamond nodded. “Okay, I was just wondering because it seems like if somepony isn’t related to you, they really can’t be family,” Diamond said with a crocodile smile and the faintest hint of a glance toward Scootaloo.

“Families come in all shapes and sizes, Diamond. Please see me after class,” Cheerilee said. Of course the whole class knew the phrase “see me after class” was thinly veiled code for “you’re getting punished”.

“But Mrs. Cheerilee, I was only trying to clarify what you meant,” Diamond protested with a pout.

“No you weren’t, Diamond. See me after class,” Cheerilee said with authority borne of years of teaching. One simply did not argue with Cheerilee when she adopted that tone. Her message delivered, Cheerilee again smiled and continued her lesson plan on some of Equestria's early Family Appreciation Day traditions.

But even though Diamond was getting punished for her obvious dig, Scootaloo found it hard to concentrate. While the rest of the class quickly hurried out for lunch and recess Scootaloo lingered behind.

“Mrs. Cheerilee?”

“Yes, Scootaloo?”

“Do I have to do a report for family appreciation day?”

From a different student Cheerilee might have assumed that the question was meant as an excuse to get out of homework, but from Scootaloo the question was not an unreasonable one. Cheerilee had a working knowledge of Scootaloo’s home life. And though she wasn’t privy to all the details, she knew enough to realize that this wasn’t a student simply trying to get out of an assignment.

Scootaloo had been excused from other family holidays, newborn celebration day among them, but this report wasn’t an onerous one. It didn’t require a deep bond or intimate knowledge of a family member. Cheerilee mainly wanted to use the holiday as a chance for her students to practice their public speaking skills.

“Why don’t you want to?” she asked, hoping to understand her student a little better.

Scootaloo struggled with her answer, it was more complicated than she was willing to admit to herself. “I haven’t been living with Rarity very long and I don’t want to bother her more than I already have.”

“All you have to do is talk about her; what she likes, her favorite foods, that sort of thing. That isn’t a big deal is it?”

“No, it’s not.” Scootaloo was forced to concede. The real reason Scootaloo didn’t want to do the report was that it felt like a public declaration that she had a family, and despite everything, she still wasn’t entirely sure that she had really, truly, found one. It was one thing to have a place to stay, but quite another altogether to announce to the world that said place was home. And what if Rarity didn't like her report? And what if Sweetie wanted to write hers about Rairity too?

Cheerilee considered her options. She wasn't about to excuse Scootaloo from the assignment, but she also didn't want any assignment she gave to make any of her students uncomfortable. “You have to do a report, Scootaloo. But if you’d like you can give yours about Princess Celestia or Princess Luna. There are lots of books in the library about both of them that you could use to help you. Does that sound fair?”

Scootaloo breathed out a sigh of relief and nodded. Public speaking didn't really bother her, publicly declaring she had a family did.