No Such Thing As No Hope

by Jabazor

Chapter Two

The rain persisted throughout the night and the thunder along with it. Some of the weather-control pegasi debated on calling in a flood warning for those located near the bottom of town since Ponyville was a hilly area, but the flood warning never went into effect.

Scotaloo found herself drowsily awake and still on the seat of the booth. Everything felt unfamiliar, but she knew where she was. But suddenly thunder occured. The thunder was loud enough to make Scootaloo accidentally roll off of the seat in a jolt of surprise. It was a harder fall than one might think for the weak and sick filly. She struggled to get up, but she saw a familiar face pop under the table and offer his hoof in assistance.

"You''re still awake," said Scootaloo in surprise as she grabbed the hoof and was helped back up to the seat.

"Of course I am... I didn't want to abandon you here..." Hopin paused to reflect on the pain and shock in Scootaloo's quiet tone. "I couldn't have you going back out there and if your condition worsened, I needed to be there."

Scootalo was comforted to hear and see the kindness of a complete stranger. A rarity even in Ponyville because so many thought it embarrassing to be friendly to strangers. She felt a rare sense of familiarity and coziness in the warm and well-kept bar. Something she had not felt in the past weeks. There was nice food, warm and comfortable seats, and a stallion who was as kind and understanding as could be.

"Th-thanks," said Scootaloo with a partial smile. Her voice weak and quiet. She coughed a little and then looked at the stallion next to her, curious of his kind behavior and intent.

"What did you do while I was asleep?"

"I checked on my wife, cleaned up a bit...but for the most part, I stayed right by your side just looking out of the window or checking your temperature," replied Hopin in his casual and soft tone which was quickly growing on Scootaloo.


Hopin knew that Scootaloo very much appreciated the help she was receiving and Scootaloo knew that Hopin took responsibility and silent joy from keeping her safe.

Hopin turned his head and looked out of the window some more. Scootaloo didn't feel sleepy and she didn't want to fall back asleep. A nightmare that she couldn't remember had woken her up, not the noise. But a young, spry filly such as herself had to do something for the rest of the night and the bar had many possibilities.

"This may sound strange..."

"Lemme stop you there, Scootaloo," said Hopin as he continued to look out the window. He had a big smile on his face while Scootaloo silenced herself and stared at him patiently and curiously. He returned the stare with with a friendly face.

"Throughout my years of life, I've come to learn and accept that there is no such thing as 'weird' or 'strange'. Things may happen for a reason and they may not. But different things happen every day. You meet new ponies and see new things. But just because something seems a little off doesn't make it strange. Just because somepony is missing a front hoof doesn't make them strange and it doesn't make the fact that you just saw them weird."

"If a house got up and walked away you wouldn't call it weird?" said Scootaloo in a sarcastic tone that retained friendliness.

"You tell me. Is it actually weird?" said Hopin as he returned the same tone.

Scootaloo was dumbfounded. There was no reason for it to be weird or strange. Things happen and that's that, she thought to herself.

"Huh... Anyways. I was wondering if we could go around the bar and you could possibly show me what some of this memorabilia is and what it represents."

"Why sure!" said Hopin with sudden excitement and surprise. The stallion obviously enhoyed talking about the things he had collected, the places he had been, and the adventures he had. He got up from his seat and stretched a little. "Where should we begin?"

"From the restrooms," said Scootaloo. She finally had some energy return to her voice and a smile plastered across her face.

Scootaloo got up shakily from the seat. She was offered assistance, but kindly denied. She started walking to the wall near the restroom and Hopin followed close behind her.

"There's so much cool stuff here," said Scootaloo as she looked over the wall in awe. There were autographed pictures to old, sized-down carriage replicas to old cigarette boxes (which were not opened).

"How about...this part of the wall, right here?" asked Scootaloo as she pointed a hoof to the top-right corner of the wall outside the bathroom.

"Ahh...nice part to pick," said Hopin. His face that of one who was remembering good times. "Some old jazz records in the very top-right there. A few of them are autographed. Some posters for some amazing movies. You must see these movies...hmm...what else? Oh! Certainly you know about this..."

Hopin continued down the entirety of the bar walls with Scootaloo for what must have been nearly an hour. Scootaloo continued to ask about the history of some items and the meanings of others. Most were just collectibles, but others had fantastic tales. A bloody hockey jersey from when Hopin got a front row seat to a game. An autographed baseball that Hopin lost and then found in Fillydelphia in a collectible's shop years later. He had done so much.

Scootaloo had the preconceived notion that she was done after they went around the counter, but to her surprise, Hopin let her sit on the countertop and showed her a few of the drinks.

"Want a sip, Scootaloo?" asked Hopin in a casual tone as he searched for a drink and a glass.

"Well I..." Scootaloo stammered and looked around while Hopin lightly chuckled.

"Nopony's gonna see ya'. Besides, you probably won't like it."

Hopin took out a shot glass and poured a tiny bit of whiskey into it. He laughed when Scootaloo picked up the glass with her hoof and examined the drink. She was hestitant to take a sip and, when she did, started making funny faces of disgust.

"This tastes horrid! Blegh! Why would ponies drink this?" said Scootaloo as she coughed and spit into the sink that was placed behind the counter.

"Well some enjoy it and others don't. I personally don't like it," said Hopin. His voice was slightly devious and joking.

Scootaloo put the glass down and let Hopin get out his laughs. She looked around the bar again, but this time saw something she did not see before.

"I didn't see that picture above the entrance," said Scootaloo as she pointed out to the picture and continued to spit. "I know that that's you and Carol, but are those your kids? They look similar to you and Carol."

"Yep. My two beautiful sons and my lovely wife...and some guy with an out-of-fashion mustache," said Hopin as he gave Scootaloo a glass of water.

Scootaloo laughed and so did Hopin. But an uncomfortable silence befell them and Scootaloo prepared for Hopin to inevitably ask the ask the question.

"I...see that you already know," said Hopin as he looked directly at Scootaloo with a face more serious than before.

"Know what?"

"That I have to ask."

"Go ahead," said Scootaloo as she let her head down and started making pretend circles on the counter with her hoof.

"What about your parents?"

"Gone. I don't know. I live with my friends and alone sometimes. Yadda, yadda, yadda." Scootaloo's voice obviously signified that she was annoyed by the question and that she had answered it innumerable times.

"All by yourself for all these years? That's pretty impressive."

"I guess. It stinks that I've never met my parents," said Scootaloo. She was suddenly angry.

"You can still make the best of your life."

"Well how good can that 'best' be?" Scootaloo was now taking her anger out on Hopin. But Hopin didn't reply in an even angrier style. He instead sat down at a stool in front of Scootaloo.

"You know. I didn't turned out too bad, did I?"

"What?" said Scootaloo as she turned her attention to Hopin.

Hopin turned his eyes away from Scootaloo and looked at the collection that he and Carol had accumulated over the years. While still turned away from Scootaloo, he began to talk.

"Way back when I was even younger than dad would beat my mom. He smelt of liquor when he came home every night. Always in his suit and always...not quite there." Hopin turned to Scootaloo and started to look at her. Scootaloo just returned the look with her big, curious eyes.

"Every night he came home, he'd blame our problems on my mother. She protected me from ever receiving abuse and took it herself. I wanted to call the police or tell somepony, but he said he'd hurt me and that we'd be ruined without him. Not as if we were better off with him, though. But I didn't know better. Anyways, I don't know if it was my mom, but somepony alerted the police on one of the days she was being beaten and the police took him away...just like that." Hopin took his eyes off of Scootaloo and stared into nothing as to think about the moment it happened.

"It was probably the noise from the ruckus always going on inside. After that, my mom and I moved to a different place and I never saw my dad again. But my mom was never quite right. We wasn't exactly well-off and my mom, like my dad, was not exactly there all of the time. She got drunk often. She got drunk instead of seeing a therapist. She got drunk instead of actually trying to solve her problems. But she always cared for me." Hopin stopped again and took a deep breath. Scootaloo continued to stare at him curiously. Always thinking deeper and deeper about what he had said.

"She never hurt me and always supported me. Every last bit of her money and energy was spent on getting me to college and getting a good education. The last time I ever saw her was when I arrived at college." Hopin took a moment as to add some deeper effect to the story and Scootaloo continued to watch silently and take in the entire story.

"Maybe it was because I went to college far away and that meant basically never seeing her. Her suicide note stated that she had nothing to live for and no hope of getting better. All of this created so many problems for me that I won't even begin to explain."

Hopin finally turned around to Scootaloo and saw the filly's confused and saddened face.

"I'm not sure if I've grown up in worse conditions, but I certainly didn't have my parents when I grew up. I know what it feels like. You feel like you're cheated. You feel angry for no good reason whatsoever, but your anger doesn't go away."

" does feel like that sometimes," said Scootaloo in a quiet tone. She couldn't be loud if she wanted to be.

"But look around, Kid. What do you see," said Hopin as he smiled and watched as Scootaloo gazed at the walls.

"All sorts of stuff. Everything from albums to pictures of your family and your house."

"Everytime I see the inside of this place, I'm reminded of what's most important in here," Hopin touched Scootaloo's forehead, "and here," said Hopin as he touched the area where Scootaloo's heart is. "I'm reminded that there's no point in quitting or giving up. No matter what odds are stacked against you and even if you know you won't win."

"I'm confused about one thing, though, Hopin," said Scootaloo. Her voice implying that she was worried to ask.

"Go ahead."

Scootaloo paused to take a moment to think if she should speak her mind and eventually decided to go ahead with it.

"If you've had such bad experiences with alcohol, why do you own a bar?"

"Good question. I know that you've seen the picture of my family and that's why."

"I don't get it."

"The thing I see most when I'm working here is that picture. But let's go back a bit. I'm suggesting that you didn't see the sign next to the entrance in that rain, did you?"

"I don't think I did," said Scootaloo as she tried to remember the moment where she was let in.

"It shows specials and everything, but it has a rule on it. Guess what it is."

"I don't know," said Scootaloo as she was honestly out of a clue. "Employees must always wash their hooves?"

"Nope," said Hopin as he laughed. "It says that nopony may leave this place drunk."

"A bar where ponies can't get drunk?" said Scootaloo in a sarcastic and disbelieving tone.

"Some get drunk in here, but they're never allowed to leave drunk. It's caused us some hassle and even a lawsuit, but it's a rule we stick to."

"Why would ponies even come here then?"

"They can still get drunk. Besides, ponies get to know each other real well here. I've seen ponies who found true love and some that have become best friends. The drinks are good and we're very clean and friendly. We also don't have competition," said Hopin pridefully.

"But still, why is nopony allowed to leave drunk?"

"Because I'll be... If I ever let what happened to me happen to some other pony..." said Hopin with a more serious tone and a hint of anger.

The bar turned silent for a moment as Hopin stared out the windows and Scootaloo looked at the back of his head. He had turned away to look at the picture. Scootaloo felt sorry for Hopin and decided to apologize.

"I'm sorry. I should've known," said Scootaloo. She felt sad and a bit embarassed. She felt like she had inappropriately brought up topics that she shouldn't have brought up.

Hopin took a deep breath and turned back to Scootaloo. "I know that you don't mean bad. No need to apologize."

The bar was silent. Scootaloo looked at some of the memorabilia again and Hopin had his elbows on the counter and his eyes gazing out of the window.

"It's something that I have to do." Scootaloo turned her attention back to Hopin. "I live a life where everyday I try to fulfill my dreams. One of my dreams is to never let what happened to me happen again." Hopin was completely serious and still a bit angry, but his tone was always gentle and one that implied he was a kind person.


"Anyways. Enough of that. It's time to hear your story," said Hopin as he got Scootaloo off of the counter and walked back with her to the booth they were in previously.

Scootaloo took her blankets and wrapped them around herself again. She took the heated pillow into her lap and stared at Hopin who was gesturing for her to start talking. Scootaloo laughed a little and then fell silent. She took a deep breath, thought things over, and then started explaining herself.