Cutie marks. That was all Sweetie Belle talked about these days. 'Where's my cutie mark?' she would say. 'Why don't I have a cutie mark?' she whined. Rarity certainly wasn't prepared to deal with that. She felt that Sweetie Belle should stop being so silly.
Rarity sighed as she watched Sweetie Belle leave for some party or another. She knew that she really shouldn't be too hard on Sweetie Belle for wanting her cutie mark. After all, Rarity herself had been like that at Sweetie Belle's age. Rarity briefly imagined what it would look like if Sweetie Belle had gotten her cutie mark in the way that she wanted: by being like her big sister.
Rarity had a mental picture of that scenario in her mind. Her baby sister would be standing over the slain corpses of Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon in a secluded part of the forest, a large rock in her hooves and blood splattered all over her coat. The idea seemed interesting to Rarity. If she had the urges that Rarity did, the two could certainly kill together. The mental picture in Rarity's mind changed to one of a pony' severed head on a table in her basement. It was Nightmare Night and they were making it into a Jack-O-Lantern. Rarity was helping Sweetie Belle with the eyes. Rarity's hoof would guide Sweetie Belle's as the two carved a new, grim face onto the hapless pony that they had killed together.
Rarity snapped out of her fantasy and she actually had to sit down as the memory of her holding a crying Sweetie Belle, both covered in blood from Rarity's latest kill, came rushing back to her. It was a memory that Rarity had thought that she had repressed, but every time she thought about Sweetie Belle being like her it came rushing back. She never, ever wanted Sweetie Belle to be like her. Although, it would be interesting if she was. No, Sweetie Belle couldn't be the mare her sister was.
Rarity shook her head to clear the memory out of her mind and began work on her latest dress design for her latest very important client. Still, no matter how hard she concentrated she couldn't get the idea of Sweetie Belle being a murderer out of her brain. Rarity didn't know what she would do if she found out that Sweetie Belle had murderous urges.
A few hours after Rarity had begun working on new dress designs, Sweetie Belle came back from her little party. To Rarity's surprise, she heard her talking to two other fillies as well. She recognized one as Applejack's sister Apple Bloom, but as the three fillies talked, Rarity realized that she didn't recognize the voice of the third filly in their little group. Frowning, she got up from her work and walked over to her kitchen where the three friends were getting an afternoon snack.
"Hello there, Sweetie Belle. Who are your friends here?" she asked.
Sweetie Belle greeted her with a smile. "Well, I know you already know Apple Bloom, sis, but this here's Scootaloo," she said, motioning towards the third filly, an orange pegasus with unkempt purple hair, who waved at Rarity. Rarity cocked her head slightly. Scootaloo... Scootaloo... where have I heard the name Scootaloo? She certainly looks familiar. Where have I...?
All of a sudden, it hit her like a brick. Scootaloo had been the filly that she had dropped off at the Ponyville Orphanage! Rarity held back a squeak and put on a smile to hide her shock. "Oh... yes. Hello Scootlaloo, it's nice to meet you."
Scootaloo frowned. "My name is Scootaloo, just one 'L' in there."
"Oh, yes, of course, my mistake," said Rarity with a false laugh. "I don't believe I've ever met you before. Are you from around here?"
Scootaloo shrugged. "I lived in the Ponyville Orphanage for a while. I still go there when I can't find a place to sleep at night or I can't scrounge up some food. Other than that, I live pretty much wherever."
"You have no parents?" asked Rarity.
Scootaloo shook her head. "Nope, they just dropped me off at the orphanage when I was a tiny filly. Nopony knows where they are." Scootaloo's smile turned confident, and she leaned back in her chair, draping one foreleg over the back. "But I'm gonna find 'em, though. They left a note with me at the orphanage saying that they couldn't take care of me, but one day I'm going to find them and we're going to be a family again." Scootaloo's smile fell slightly and she sighed. "Well, when I'm old enough to get a job to find them, that is. Still keeping my ears open for now."
"Well, I wish you nothing but the best of luck." Rarity smiled warmly at Scootaloo and gently patted her on the head. "You are more than welcome here if you need a place to stay."
Sweetie Belle's eyes widened, and she wrapped her forelegs around Scootaloo. "Yeah! My parents are traveling salesponies so I live here lots. It'd be awesome if you did too!"
Scootaloo smirked and gently wiggled out of Sweetie Belle's grasp. "I'll keep that in mind. The orphanage ain't always that cool. They don't let me have my scooter with me when I go to bed!"
"Oh yes, I can see how that would be frustrating," said Rarity. "Well, uh, it was nice meeting you Scootaloo, but I must get back to work. Apple Bloom, be sure to tell your sister 'hi' from me."
Apple Bloom nodded. "Will do, Rarity. See ya later!"
Rarity went back to her dress making and began pondering how Scootaloo's life had turned out as a result of her actions. The filly's life had turned out even worse than she could have imagined. Not only did she not have parents who loved her, anymore or even now, but she was constantly wondering when the next meal was going to be. It made her wonder if she had done the right thing by sparing her life. Sweetie Belle for sure seemed to think so, even if she didn't know it. The two were getting along wonderfully it seemed. She sighed sadly as she continued her work.
* * * *
A few hours later, Rarity had just finished helping a customer pick out a dress to wear for a fancy party she was attending in Canterlot when she saw that Sweetie Belle's friends had left. Rarity smiled to herself. It was good that Sweetie Belle was making friends in school.
Rarity began work on a new dress when she heard Sweetie Belle mumbling something as she cleaned up the mess she had made in Rarity's kitchen from the snacks her and her friends had eaten. Rarity strained her ears to listen to what she was saying. She couldn't make out all of it, but what she did hear was... interesting.
"Stupid Diamond Tiara and... be mean to... gonna get you for that... aloo and Apple Bloom are..." Rarity didn't need to hear all of it to fill in the blanks.
When Sweetie Belle finished cleaning up, she walked back up to her room to do her homework or something of that nature. Against her better judgment, Rarity called Sweetie Belle to her as she was walking up the stairs. "Uh, Sweetie Belle, can I talk to you for a few minutes?"
"Sure sis!" said Sweetie Belle. Sweetie Belle walked back down the stairs towards Rarity who led her into the kitchen where they sat down at the table. "So sis," said Sweetie Belle with a grin. "What do you want to talk about?"
Rarity opened her mouth to outright say what she wanted, but her words died in her throat. She softly groaned and tapped her temple. "Uh, Sweetie Belle... I..." Rarity shut her mouth and frowned. "Oh, how do I put this?"
Sweetie Belle cocked her head slightly and raised an eyebrow. "Are you okay?"
Rarity sighed and decided to bite the bullet. "Sweetie Belle, do you feel that you can be honest with me? If there was something big in your life that was bothering you, could you tell me about it?"
"Uh, I guess," said Sweetie Belle. "Like what exactly?"
"Like if you maybe had angry feelings towards your bullies at school and you wanted to hurt them."
Sweetie Belle raised her eyebrow even more. "Uh, they make me mad sometimes, but I don't really want to hurt them or anything." A slight look of disbelief crossed Rarity's face and Sweetie Belle flattened her ears. "Well, maybe sometimes if they make me really mad."
It was Rarity's turn to raise her eyebrow. "Really? How would you want to hurt them?"
Sweetie Belle looked away, preferring to stare at a wall rather than make eye contact with her sister. "Why are you asking me this?" she asked in a quiet, nervous tone.
"I heard you mumbling things when you were cleaning up in the kitchen today about how you want to get revenge on them," said Rarity.
Sweetie Belle's ears drooped down more and she continued to avoid eye contact with Rarity. "Oh, you heard that huh?" Rarity nodded. "I dunno, I just get so mad at them sometimes when they're mean to other ponies."
Rarity put a comforting hoof on Sweetie Belle's shoulder. "It's perfectly natural to feel those things. I know that now that you have two best friends of your own you want to protect them from that kind of abuse."
Sweetie Belle looked up at her sister and cocked her head. "I still don't know why you want to talk to me about this."
"Well, I just want to make sure you were okay and that you weren't going to act on these feelings. It's a dark road that is hard to get away from."
"How do you know?" Sweetie Belle questioned.
Rarity 's mouth opened to respond, but the reply died in her throat and she only managed the faintest traces of stuttering before she was silent.
Sweetie Belle's eyes narrowed as she took a step forward. "I said, how do you know?"
"Well, I had some bullying problems in my youth and I got in a fight on my first day of school and I don't want that to happen to you," said Rarity.
"I don't believe you!" said Sweetie Belle, a grain of anger appearing in her voice. "What do you mean 'it's a dark road that's hard to get away from'?"
"I... you're too young to know," Rarity stuttered. 'Oh Faust, let that be the end of it.'
Sweetie Belle groaned and rolled her eyes. "I know you're not telling the truth. Have you hurt other ponies before?"
Rarity bit her lip and flattened her ears. "Well, yes, like I said I got into some fights when I was a filly at school."
Sweetie Belle scoffed. "What are you trying to hide? Mom and Dad said that you never got into fights and that you only had a problem with three bullies once and..." Sweetie Belle's eyes widened and she stood up from the table. Rarity's heart dropped into her stomach. "... And they were found torn to shreds in the Everfree Forest a few days after that." A tear formed in Sweetie Belle's eye as she backed away from Rarity. "Oh."
'No, please don't let her have...' Rarity lowered her head closer to her sister and took a tentative step forward. "Sweetie Belle, what's the matter?"
"I... I remember something from when I was just a filly; something I never really got. I remember you holding me and crying. Blood, I remember there was a lot of blood." Sweetie Belle whimpered and hit the back corner and laid on the ground, curling up into a small ball.
Rarity's eyes widened. "But you were only a few months old! How do you...?"
Sweetie Belle looked up at her, tears of fear streaming down her face. "Whose blood was it?" she whispered. "Please stop lying to me."
Rarity's normally sharp mind was at a complete loss as to what to do now. Her jaw twitched up and down as if doing so would will words coming out, but nothing came. Sweetie Belle had found out. Sweetie Belle suspected what she did.
"Does it have anything to do with your basement?"
The question snapped Rarity out of her shock and she let out a large gasp. "How do you know about my basement?!"
Sweetie Belle turned her gaze to the floor in a pose that almost reminded Rarity of when the filly was caught doing something she wasn't supposed to. "I... I came home from school one day when we had a half day," she began. "I walked through the back door a-and I heard a piano playing. I followed the noise and saw a door close in that storage closet you have. I thought about knocking, but didn't because I thought you'd be mad at me since you didn't tell me about it. I thought you didn't want me to know."
Rarity closed her eyes and sighed. She shook her head and listened to Sweetie Belle's subtle movements in the corner. After a few moments of silence, Rarity gained the courage to speak up once more. "The memory with me and the blood, how much do you remember?"
Sweetie Belle's face scrunched up as if she was deep in thought, and her mouth moved up and down as if to form coherent words. "I... I remember that you seemed very scared. You were covered in blood and you were holding me and saying something. That's all, though."
"I still have nightmares about that night," Rarity admitted. "I was so scared when I saw the blood on you; I thought for a moment that I had hurt you. What I was saying was 'I will never hurt you, do you hear me? Big sister will never hurt you'." Rarity reached out a comforting hoof, but Sweetie Belle flinched away from it. "That is still true Sweetie Belle. I would never do anything to hurt you!"
Sweetie Belle's eye widened in fear, and her eyes flitted between Rarity and the floor. "Have you... have you ever hurt anypony bad enough that you killed them?"
Rarity took a few deep breaths to hold back a few tears, and walked closer to her sister. "Sweetie Belle, I..." Deep breath. "Sweetie Belle, I want you to know that big sister loves you very much, and she would never do anything to hurt you—"
Rarity was cut off by a piercing whimper from Sweetie Belle who buried her head in her forelegs and began softly sobbing. Rarity uneasily took a step towards her sister, and Sweetie Belle flinched away violently. She curled up into a tighter ball and rolled so that her back was to Rarity.
Rarity could only stare at the weeping form of her sister, unsure of what to do to make it all better. Her filly sister had just figured out that she was a murderer. She didn't know the extent of her crimes, but that hardly mattered now. Despite her inner warnings about it, something that Rarity really felt that she should listen to one of these days, she blurted out "Please don't tell anypony!" Sweetie Belle shakily moved her hoof over her chest like an 'X' and then placed it over her eye. A Pinkie Promise. Nopony in town had the nerve to break a Pinkie Promise.
Sweetie Belle continued to cry on the floor for another half-hour. Rarity could only sit back down at the table and watch her cry. Celestia knows what she was thinking and feeling at the moment. Betrayal? Horror? Anger? Sadness? Probably all of them plus a million more.
Finally Sweetie Belle's sobs got quieter, and she was soon merely sniffling. She wiped the tears from her eyes and turned to face Rarity. "So... what now?"
Rarity flattened her ears, and moved to sit on the floor in front of her sister. "I don't know Sweetie Belle. I just don't know. I said I would never hurt you, but..." Rarity closed her eyes and shook her head. "I clearly broke that promise today."
Sweetie Belle nodded. "Yeah, you did." After a few more moments of silence, Sweetie Belle spoke up again. "I want you to show me what's in your basement."
Rarity immediately shot to her hooves, and stood in front of the doorway to the kitchen.. "No! I can't let you go into my basement! You would never recover!"
Sweetie Belle's eyes widened with horror once again. "Does... does the reason that I can't go into your basement have anything to do with the pony you killed?" Sweetie Belle subtly flinched back again. "Have you killed more than one?"
Rarity opened her mouth, every fiber of her being desperately wishing she could deny the charge and her sister's innocence could be preserved. However, the one word that came out of her mouth was far different.
Sweetie Belle whimpered but she somehow gained the resolve to stand up. "I... I think I need to go lie down," she whispered. "I don't..." She wiped away another tear and shook her head.
"Oh, of course Sweetie Belle. We can talk more about this later."
Sweetie Belle shrugged, and Rarity moved aside to allow her sister to leave the kitchen. When the filly was out of sight, Rarity shook her head sadly, and sat down at her table.
"Why didn't you lie?" she asked herself. "Why didn't you try to protect her?" Before she could answer herself, a familiar melody entered her ears. It sounded like somepony was playing her piano, the one that led to her basement. Rarity's eyes widened in horror when she realized who was playing the piano. "No!" said Rarity desperately, running towards her basement. "Sweetie Belle, please don't do this to yourself!"
Rarity reached the door in time to see the secret door into her basement open and Sweetie Belle hop off of the chair she used to reach the piano and bolt down the stairs. Rarity followed after her, only a second behind her. If she could just reach her sister before she got to the bottom, catch her before she entered into Rarity's world from where there was no coming back, then maybe everything would be okay and they could go back to the way things had been before this terrible conversation.
Sweetie Belle's hoof reached the bottom step and she looked into the main room. Sweetie Belle's eyes went wide and her mouth dropped slightly. Tears began streaming down her face, and she lifted a shaky foreleg as if to run from what she saw, but her other three limbs remained glued to the floor. Rarity cried out in panic as she reached the bottom of the steps, hoping to shield her sister from a world in which she had no place.
A scream echoed through Carousel Boutique.