Just a Little Batty

by I Thought I Was Toast

A New Battler Approaches

Sticky, sweaty, and just a tiny bit smelly, I glided towards home in the early light of dawn. My muscles were still tingly from today’s run, and I grinned at the welcome relief that came with just letting the wind carry me home.

I banked to the left momentarily as Sugarcube Corner came into view, and the smell of warm, delicious pastries carried me upwards. I licked my lips. Cinnamon-flavored updraft, yummy.

Angling back towards home, I set my course and looked down on the town below. Few ponies were out and about so early, but I could see a few of my platoon mates trudging for home to wash up before school.

Among them, Scoots and the other Crusaders were wobblily zigzagging along on Scoots’ scooter and wagon. Sweetie and Bloom clung to each other for dear life in the back, and I had to fight the sudden urge to dive when Scoots hit a ramp and they almost crashed into another pony.

“She knows what she’s doing….” I growled, forcing myself to focus on home.

I landed on the sky porch and dug a hoof into the cloud stuff to find the key. We put it in the wall just to the left of the doorbell, but it liked to sink down and settle about one or two hooves lower than that. It was as easy as putting a hoof in and—

Odd…. I couldn’t find the key. Did somepony accidentally put it in the wrong spot? There was no way I was going to fetch the spare key from the under-porch. It’d be downright murder on my wings right now to go down to the ground, get the key from under the welcome mat, and fly back up.

Oh! There it was! Gosh, it was a lot higher than usual. I’d had to stand on the tips of my frogs to feel it, and I’d had to jump to get a good grip.

“Mom?! Dad?! You still home?!” Entering the house, I closed the door and sank to the floor for a moment, enjoying the sweet, cool shade of home.

“Night, is that you?” The sound of somepony hurling came from the bathroom. Mom poked her head out of the door—her eyes bleary, her mane disheveled—and blinked at me several times.

“I thought I had more time until you got back…. Give me just a second, and I’ll—“ Her face darkened and her cheeks bulged as she hastily pulled her head back into the bathroom.

As she started retching again, I frowned and carefully crept forwards. “Mom? Are you alright? This is three days in a row now. Don’t worry about making my lunch if you’re sick. I can—”

“Your mommy isn’t sick, Night.” Mom almost hurtled herself out of the doorway at me. “I’m better than fine—great, even! I just took a test that told me everything is fine, and that there’s nothing to worry about. Now, why don’t you go sit on the couch while I go make your lunch?”

I looked myself up and down for a moment before arching my brow at Mom. “Mom, look at me. I just ran a lap of Ponyville. I need a shower.”

“Oh, right….” Mom’s face darkened further. “You’ll be wanting the bathroom, then. Just let me…” The door was shut in my face, and the ominous sound of thunder rumbled on the other side. Gales raged, foals cried, and thunder boomed as Mom ravaged the bathroom a second time. The door burst open with a flash and a boom as Mom sped in and out with the garbage can. She was back before I could blink, smiling sweetly.

“There. All clean.” She gently pushed me in with a wing. “Your lunch will be ready when you’re done.”

“Are you sure?” I squeaked, squirming a little. “You still look a little—”

“I’m completely sure.” With a twitch of her feathers, Mom’s push became a tickle, and I giggled my way into the bathroom. When she stopped and shut the door, I turned to look in the mirror.

Yep. That was a good amount of dirt and lather. My sweat-soaked mane hung limply about my face, and I tasted salt when I licked my lips. Lifting a wing, I looked for any wear and tear—just in case—and bent down my head to take a sniff.

I nearly lost consciousness at the smell.

I stepped towards the shower cloud only to hear something snap beneath my hooves. Looking down, I found a little plastic stick broken in two. One half seemed to have a little window with a softly glowing, white light in it, but that was it. It must have fallen out of the garbage can when Mom rushed by.

I dutifully picked it up, and returned it to its rightful place. No big deal, really. It could always wait until the next trip.

My civic duty complete, I pulled myself into the shower and set the cloud to warm summer rain with a poke. I melted like butter under the water—just sitting in there dreaming for a minute or two—before I began to scrub the dirt from my coat. It had gotten everywhere today, and I was glad for it. It gave me an excuse to soak myself a little longer before I stepped out and flap-dried myself.

“Mom! I’m done!” I poked my head into the hall.

“That’s good, because so am I.” Mom gave me a shaky smile as she stepped into the hall. “Your lunch is on the counter. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go get ready for work before I end up being late.”

“Yep!” I chirped, a certain spring in my step. “Being late is never good. I’m just going to grab my bags and I’ll be off.”

I ran up and hugged her before bolting for my room. I zooped about it, throwing my books in my bag, and raced into the kitchen so I could grab my lunch. Leaping out the front door into the warm, spring air, I unfurled my wings and soared towards the schoolhouse.

I briefly looked back to see Mom waving at me in her armor at the door, and I smiled.

If Mom was feeling good enough to go to work, then there couldn’t possibly be anything wrong.

When I got home from school, Mom was snoozing in her lounger. It was a very un-Mom thing for her to do, and that worried me. Cooking, cleaning, reading: those were all things Mom liked to do off duty. That or going for a good fly and a swim. She only let herself nap when she was sick and needed the rest.

“Mom?” I prodded her with my snoot to no effect. “Mom, are you sure you’re alright?”

“Wha— Huh?! Whozzat?!” Mom startled awake on the second prod. “Oh, Night, when did you get home?” Ruffling her wings, she stood and headed for the hall. “I wasn’t expecting you for—” She glanced at the clock. “Oh….” Her wings sagged as she wilted, ears splaying back. “I told your father it was a bad idea to sit and rest my eyes….”

“Mom, are you sick? Do you need me to go get the stuff for chicken noodle soup?” I put a hoof on Mom’s side. “I can look after you while Dad’s at work, honest! I can come home straight from school, and I can follow orders to get you whatever you need, and—”

“I’m not that sick, little star.” Mom patted my head and kissed me on my forehead. “I just didn’t get as much sleep as I could last night because I kept waking up to use the bathroom.”

“You mean you threw up all night, too?!” I asked, my voice cracking in a shrill squeak.

“No, Night.” Mom hugged me. “I just had to use the bathroom. I think I got a little food poisoning from something. I’m well enough to work for the most part, so it should be gone soon.”

I rubbed my face in her coat and inhaled Mom’s scent. She was wearing blueberry and banana perfume today, and smelled like a fruit smoothie.

“So no chicken noodle?” I looked up at Mom with big, weapon-grade eyes.

“No chicken noodle,” Mom chuckled and ruffled my mane.

I started to giggle, but stopped at the clanging of pots and pans in the kitchen. Several muffled words-that-must-not-be-named came through the walls, and Mom stopped noogying me to glare at the kitchen.

“What is that lunk doing? He knows it’s my turn tonight.” Mom started towards the kitchen and I followed. “I swear, if he started fixing chicken noodle when I told him not to, I’m going to pluck his—” Mom glanced at me for a moment. “—feathers out.”

“Dad doesn’t have feathers, Mom.”

“Then I just need to tar and feather him first.” Mom snorted as we entered the kitchen to find Dad pulling a sizzling cricketloaf from the oven.

“Hello there, sleepyhead!” Dad winked at Mom as he waved some of the excess heat away. “I’m sorry, dear, but I figured you deserved at least a little more sleep after Princess Twilight had you running through the castle all day.”

He set the loaf down on an unoccupied part of the stove to cool, and then stirred a bowl on the other side. He took a taste of the paste and hummed in satisfaction, holding out the spoon to me.

I licked it once and decided that wasn’t enough, happily cleaning the spoon as the spicy tingle of chile gravy spread through my mouth.

“I see somepony is looking forward to dinner,” Dad chuckled. “How are you, my little light in the night? You have fun playing with your friends today?”

“Mhmm….” I gnawed the spoon just a little, but no more gravy was to be found.

A bowl of mashed potatoes stood ready on the counter next to a plate of roasted veggies,  a pitcher of water resting by the edge of the sink. The bottom of it was dusted with snow and hail stones to keep it cool, while the top had a few citrus slices floating in it.

Mom judged it all with a hawk-like eye before nodding in approval.

“What was that bit of noise earlier?” She flicked an ear and gave Dad a look.

“Oh… ah… umm…” Dad took off the oven mitt to rub the back of his head. “I didn’t restack the pans carefully enough when I was digging out everything I needed. Sorry if it woke you, honey.”

“You’re fine. It didn’t wake me,” Mom sighed. “Honestly, I wouldn’t have minded if it did. It’s supposed to be me in here today.”

“But you—“

Mom cut Dad off with another pointed look. “Don’t expect me to do nothing, though. Night and I can easily set the table. Right, Night?”

“Right!” I reared up on my hooves to grab the handle to the pitcher in my mouth. Setting it carefully on my back, I started to head towards the table.

“You girls do that, then.” Dad grinned. “I’ve had to drain the reservoir for like, half an hour, but couldn’t leave the food unsupervised.”

He headed off to go do his business, and I dug into the drawers for plates, napkins, and cutlery. Mom moved the rest of the food to the table, while I set the table for three, and then we both sat down to wait for Dad.

He was taking a weirdly long time, and I squirmed impatiently. Mom fiddled around with the silverware a bit—making it just right—before standing up and heading for the hall.

“Tempered? Are you alright? Don’t tell me we’re all actually falling si—”


Dad burst through the door and tackled Mom in a rush—spinning her round and round as he pranced about in glee. Mom looked a little darker from the motion, but Dad just kept going. He nuzzled her and booped her snoot with his. His manic laughter boomed through the house along with several whinnies and snorts and attempts to say something to Mom.

Eventually, he ran out of breath, and that forced him to calm down himself. He still grinned like a loon under moon as he held out the little stick I’d thrown out earlier that morning.

“When were you planning on telling me, my lovely little Morning Glory?” He put his snoot to Mom’s neck and chuffed, breathing warm, tickly air all over her.

“I— Wha— Huh?” Mom’s eyes bugged out at the little stick. “That’s… That’s not what it said earlier!”

“That’s not what what said earlier?” I tilted my head to the side. “Mom? Dad? What’s going on?”

“We’ve got a brand new bouncing baby bat on the way!” Dad’s grin was wide enough to split his head in two. “You’re going to be a big sister, Night! Isn’t that great?!”

“I’m going to be a what?!” My squeak could have broken glass. Suddenly, I too was hopping around, dancing with Dad and screeing in glee.





“Sweet Celestia above… you’re both giving me a headache.”

Dad and I stopped spinning about to see Mom seated at the table, head in her hooves.

“Honey?” Dad set me down to go poke Mom with his snoot. “Glory? Are you alright? I thought you’d be happy? You were the one who wanted to—” He bit his lip and looked at me. “Try.”

“Oh, I’m happy all right.” There was a sob—or maybe a giggle—and Mom heaved a mighty sigh and smiled at us. “I’m unbelievably happy right now.” She sniffed. “I’m just a little worried, too. I thought we’d have a little more time to settle in Ponyville and build a nest egg. It took more time with Night.”

“We had fewer chances to try back then, Glory,” Dad rumbled, pulling Mom into a hug. “It was bound to happen faster now that we’re sharing shifts. Don’t worry. I’ve been keeping track of our bits. We should be fine.”

“Why’s Mom sad?” I hopped from hoof to hoof in the background. “Isn’t this a good thing?”

“It is.” Dad pulled me into the hug with his wing and squeezed. “But a foal comes with a lot of responsibilities, Night. We need to make sure we can care for both of you.”

“I’m pretty good at taking care of myself!” I squirmed, trying to get into a good position.

“We know you are.” Mom ruffled my mane. “And we’re proud of you for that, but soon you may be helping take care of more than just yourself, dear. Do you think you’re up for that?”

“Of course I am!” I would have saluted, but we were a tangled mess of limbs.

“Then let’s stop worrying, dear, and celebrate.” Dad kissed Mom on the nose and she finally giggled.

I squirmed at the cootie exchange, but Mom began mercilessly tickling me with her wings—no warning whatsoever—and I collapsed in a fit of high-pitched squeals. Then, Dad gave a rumbling laugh and stole me away from Mom for a bit of roughhousing. I scrabbled at him, he batted at me, and ears were nipped on both sides as we scuffled. At some point, it transitioned back into a hug, and Mom joined in again.

We sat like that for a while, dinner forgotten, until my stomach growled.

“We should probably eat dinner before it gets any colder, shouldn’t we?” Dad chuckled, pulling away.

“Before we do that, can I ask one question?” I nuzzled into the crook of Mom’s legs, and she rested her head atop mine.

“Of course you can, Night.” Mom squeezed me tight. “You’re bound to have a lot of questions.”

I squirmed a bit. “Okay, then… so… now that we’re getting one… are you finally going to tell me where foals come from?”

Mom went from soft and cuddly to bristly and tense. Her entire coat stood on end at the question, while her grip became almost vice-like. Dad just blinked a few times before giving a thunderous laugh.

“That’s my girl! Go right for the throat.”

“Tempered!” Mom tutted.

She shifted, bringing her head around to look at me directly. “Are you sure you want to know, Night?”

“Uh huh!” I nodded vigorously.

“Even if it’s really squicky and gross?”

“I can handle it!” I vibrated at the revelation, my imagination running wild. “Does it involve blood or guts or fighting your way out of the Gates of Tartarus? Oh! Is the stork actually some baby hoarding demon ponies need to fight their way past?!”

Mom gave Dad a look as he sat there roaring with laughter. “No, Night, even worse. It involves colts…”

“Oh…” The wind was instantly knocked from beneath my wings.

“And kissing…”

“Oh…” I squirmed further.

“And cooties….”

“Oh…” My ears folded back. “Umm… nevermind, then. I think I’ll be fine just waiting for them to teach it in school.”

“Whether any of us like it or not, Night, you’re probably going to learn where foals come from at some point over the next eleven months.” Still chuckling, Dad leaned over to boop me on the nose. “It might honestly be better to talk about it now. It’ll help prepare you for being an adult.”

Well, when he put it like that…

“Alright…” Mom and I sighed at the same time. We both blinked twice at the resignation before bursting into giggles.

“Oh, my little star is growing up so fast….” Mom nuzzled me. “Just give me one more dinner with my little filly first. The Talk is such a huge step forward for you.”

My stomach grumbled its agreement, and the inevitable was postponed until after dinner.

“Woah….” It was an understatement, but my mind was kind of blown.

I had squirmed when both Mom and Dad had sat beside me on the couch to wrap a wing around me, but now I was grateful for the support. The Talk had left me feeling a little numb to the world.

“Woah, indeed….” Dad nodded, a slight grimace on his face. “Now you understand why it’s my sacred duty to scare colts away from you.”

“That’s just… woah….” I looked for words again and failed. Burying my face in his side, I tightened my grip on him. “So… when Rumble asked me out, he wanted to… No, no no no no no, that’s just too icky!

“You say that now…” Dad chuckled, ruffling my mane with a hoof.

Mom shifted on my other side, and I turned to place a hoof on her barrel. I leaned in and brushed my ear against her ribs, causing her to giggle. Her stomach gurgled lightly as it digested dinner, but otherwise there wasn’t much sound.

“I always thought they came from somewhere far away.” My ear flicked, and Mom’s giggles grew. “It’s weird to think of them growing inside ponies. Is that what happened with Aunt Star Fort? She told me all that extra weight was to prepare for a siege on her castle gates, but then the fort she was stationed at never got attacked.”

Dad snorted while Mom made a strangled choking sound.

“Anyways! Where’s he gonna come out? How does he breath in there? What does he do to eat? Does he have a name yet?”

Dad almost fell on the floor he was laughing so hard, and even Mom started to chuckle as my barrage of questions grew. She had to set her hoof over my mouth to get me to stop rambling.

“How about we focus on names for now?” She smiled before pulling her hoof away.

“Short Spear!” I immediately chirped upon being able to speak again.

“No colt of mine is going to wield a weapon as weak as a shortspear,” Dad chuckled.

“You two can’t know for sure whether it’s a colt or not.” Mom shook her head.

“Blood Moon!” I grinned triumphantly.

“He’s not a vampony.” Dad frowned.

Mom just rolled her eyes.

“How about Iron Hoof?” Dad tried.

“Shadow Stalker!”

“Battle Hymn?”

“Death Wing!”

“Owl Eye?”

“Dark Whip!”

“Night, please….” Mom set a hoof on my withers. “I know you’re excited, but your names don’t have to be so… intense…. I understand you want a little buddy to follow you into the guard, but all those names sound like the type of colts Dad will be scaring away from you in a few years. Do you really want a brother like that?

“Besides, most of those names won’t work for fillies.” She coughed. “You need to remember that you might be getting a sister.” Looking at Dad, she smiled. “I like Battle Hymn, though. Let’s keep that one on the list.”

My ears flicked a few times as my mind started doing mental acrobatics. A filly name? I could do that. Oh! I could go with—

“Flank Support.” I nodded sagely.

There was a roar of laughter from Dad, while Mom sputtered a bit.

“What?” My ears folded back against my head. “She’d always have my back!”

“Night. Night. Night. Night. Night…” Mom tutted. “We are not going to name your brother or sister after their butt.”


“Oops?” I squirmed in my spot. “How about Cadence Call?”

“Much better.” Mom was smiling again.

“Iron Maiden.” Dad grinned.

“Don’t you start.” Mom gave him a pointed look only for him to waggle his brows. “Maybe we should wait a bit for names.” Mom started massaging her temples. “You’re both clearly a bit too giddy about the new foal right now.”

“If that’s what you want, mama Morning Glory.” Dad leaned his head over me to boop Mom’s snoot with his own. “I’m going to head out to the bar and tell the troops the good news.”

“No drinking, you hear?” Mom frowned.

“I’m only going to have some soda and maybe a pinch of salt.” Dad grinned. “We’ve got work tomorrow, after all.”

“Be back by midnight at the latest.”

“No promises!” Dad laughed. “After stopping at Berry Punch’s, I’m planning on flying all the way to Canterlot and screeing the news to the heavens.”

“No salt, then.” Mom’s glare brooked no argument.

“Yes, ma’am!” Dad saluted Mom and winked. “Anypony you want me to tell in particular? Right now, I’m just planning on hopping in on my old buddies and our folks.”

“Don’t you drag my parents into this at Celestia knows what hour of the night!” Mom’s left wing tightened around me as her other one attempted to swat Dad. “You let them get their sleep, and we can fly out to tell them this weekend.” After failing to hit Dad several times, Mom ruffled her wings and preened a bit before finally answering his question.

“Optic Lens might be up in the observatory if you’re that dead set on telling our friends, though….” Mom hummed. “If you mention it to her for me, I’m sure word will spread to the rest of the girls.”

“What about your friends in the guard?” Dad grinned. “Permission to raid the barracks like I used to?”

“Denied.” Mom rolled her eyes.

“Aww….” Dad pouted. “Well, it was worth a try. I’ll see you later then, sweetie.” He swept in for one last smooch. “I’ve got a lot of air to travel.”

“Yes, you do.” Mom smiled. “Have fun and at least try to be back by sunrise.”

Dad just winked and turned to head out the door.

“So… Mom?” Now that that was settled, I leaned into Mom to bring her attention back to me. A certain question was now burning into my mind as bits of The Talk still flitted about my head.

“Yes, Night?”

“What am I going to tell the Crusaders if they ask me where foals come from?”

It started as a giggle, but Mom quickly fell to the floor in a laughing fit. “Oh, I didn’t think of that! If any of your friends don’t know, they’re sure to ask, and then you’ll—” She couldn’t get any farther in her mirth.

It took a minute, but eventually she managed to get her giggles back under control, and she stood up to take her place on the couch again.

“Oh, I am so sorry about that, Night, but I really needed to hear that.” She put her wing back over me. “The truth is, I suspect some or all of them may already know. You’re friends with a group of very curious fillies.”

There was another brief bout of giggles. “If they do ask you, though, it’s up to you what to say. You’re mature enough to have an idea of what your friends might think or do if you tell them, and you’ll know better than me whether or not their parents will get upset if you do. I trust you to make the right decision if they ask, and to make sure that if you do say something, that you’ll make sure they get The Talk themselves.”

I sighed. “Horseapples, I was afraid you’d say something like that. It’d be so much easier if you just told me to keep quiet.”

“Being an adult isn’t easy, Night, but you took a big step in that direction today.” Mom hummed. “Also, language.”

It was my turn to giggle. “At least I didn’t say any of those other words Dad likes to use.”

“True. True. If you had—” Mom nuzzled me in my barrel before ambushing me with a raspberry. “—your punishment would be much more severe than a visit from the tickle monster!”

“Mom!” I flailed and shrieked as I was suddenly flanked by two feathery armies. It was a three-front war between her wings and her muzzle assaulting me. “Mom, I’m not a foal anymore! Tickle monsters are for babies! Mom!”

My protests merely encouraged Mom, and I ended up going to bed a ruffled, disheveled mess that hiccuped all night long.