When school was out Pound walked up to Pinkie, his heart racing. “Well?” he asked. “What happened? Did she make it?”
Pinkie shrugged. “I don’t know, Pound. They’re not home yet.”
Pound let out a huff. All day long he had been distracted. He really hoped Pumpkin did okay with her testing. Even if she didn’t get approved he still wished that she was treated decently.
When he got home he threw his stuff in his room and sat down on his bed, unable to commit to anything. He was just so nervous. He knew the worst they could do is just not approve her application, but he felt like Pumpkin’s self-esteem would definitely take a hit if she was rejected.
He paced around restlessly, biting his hoof.
Luckily he didn’t have to wait too long before he heard the ringing of the bell and the sound of his parents. He zipped out of his room, flying down the stairs until he nearly collided with Pumpkin.
“Well? Well? Well? WELL?” Pound asked in a rush, panting heavily.
Pumpkin needed a moment. Pound’s sudden appearance startled her. She took in a breath to steady herself, before beaming. “I got in!”
Pound laughed, pumping his hoof. “ALRIGHT!” he yelled, grabbing Pumpkin and flying up in the air a few feet and spinning around. “Way to go, Pumpkin! I knew you could do it!”
Happy tears were coming down her eyes again as Pound set her down. “Thank you, Pound, for making me promise to give it my all. At one point I really felt like giving up and just leaving, but because of you I didn’t quit.”
“Well, I’m glad you didn’t quit. Someone as amazing as you should be at a school for the best of the best.”
Pumpkin blushed heavily. “S-stop it!” she said, squirming a bit.
“No, I won’t!” he said with a laugh. “I think you’re awesome, and everyone should know it.”
She could see and hear his genuine delight for her success. She grabbed him in a strong hug. “Thank you, Pound,” she said gratefully. “But I could only be this awesome because I had an amazing brother to inspire me. I won’t let you down.”
Cup, Carrot, and Pinkie were misty-eyed as they looked at the sibling love going on.
Pound hugged her back. “Same to you. I’ll work hard to stay a pony that you can admire. You’re not the only pony that’s ever gonna be in trouble. I’m gonna protect everyone that I can.”
“Me too! I want to help protect everyone I can too, just like my cool brother.”
“So it’s settled then. The both of us will become as strong as we possibly can and help every pony in trouble that we can help.”
Pumpkin nodded. “That’s the only kind of pony I’d ever want to be.”
“I agree. And with both of us in different schools that means that’s twice as many ponies we can save.”
“I know, right?” Releasing him she beamed, putting out a hoof to him. “Let’s do it.”
“Yeah!” He slapped his hoof to hers, and an odd sensation went through his body. It glowed slightly.
Pumpkin experienced the same thing, both of them staring at the strange phenomenon. It started from where their hooves met to the back of their tails. It quickly passed, but simultaneous gasps from their parents and Pinkie let them know that something had changed.
“What?” said Pound. “What is it?”
Warm tears came down Pinkie’s face. “Let’s just say that I’m going to be throwing a cutecenera for you two real soon.”
“Huh?” said Pumpkin. “A cutecenera? Why? That’s only when you get a… cutie…” She stopped as she processed the statement, then quickly looked towards her flank and saw a mark there. It was a shield with a cream and brown coloring, and a pumpkin cake in the center. She quickly looked at Pound, and saw he had the same shield, but with a pound cake in the middle, with an orange and yellow coloring.
Pound laughed as he looked back and forth between his and Pumpkin’s cutie mark’s. “We… we got our cutie marks. WE GOT OUR CUTIE MARKS!”
The two of them hugged anew, jumping up and down in joy. “WE GOT OUR CUTIE MARKS!”
When they let go Pound turned to his parents. “Mom! Dad! We did it! We… we…” His joyful expression faded. “Oh…”
“What’s wrong, Pound?” asked Cup.
“You and Dad are bakers, and you have baking cutie marks.” He looked away, feeling ashamed. “But we don’t. I guess we’re not what you expected us to be.”
Pumpkin turned to Pound, and then she felt bad too.
Cup walked up to her children, putting a hoof on both of them. “No, you’re not. Even from the beginning you weren’t what we expected. I expected to give birth to earth ponies, but I was blessed with a pegasus and a unicorn.
“And maybe I was hoping your special talents would lie in baking so you could take over Sugarcube Corner one day, but it seems that likely won’t be the case.
“So, no, your cutie marks and your destinies aren’t what I expected. They’re even better!”
Both of them looked up at her, curious.
“The two of you… your destinies both revolve around helping others and changing lives for the better. Your cutie marks are a sign of the eternal bond between you two in being there for each other and inspiring one another.” She hugged the two of them to her. “How could I ever be upset with that? I’m so proud of both of you. Don’t let silly thoughts like those take away the magic of your self-discovery.”
Carrot and Pinkie joined in, all of them hugging one another.
“That’s right!” said Carrot. “We have the future Elements of Friendship with us, and I am so proud of your growth and maturity.”
“And hey!” said Pinkie. “I have a party cutie mark and I can still bake in between going on adventures and helping Equestria. Even if you stink at baking it wouldn’t matter one bit to me. Like your mother said we’re more invested in seeing you develop into heroes.”
“I agree too,” said Carrot. “If you can still find time to help around the shop then great. If not, then that’s fine too. If that's the case, then become the best heroes you can be.”
With that their fear and shame faded away, and they hugged their mother back, once more feeling content.