A Sacreligious Hearth's Warming

by Doctor Parker


After Thanksgiving: Part 1.

The day of Thanksgiving came to an end. Scootaloo bid goodbye to all the guests of her father's house, and now her father, Sukhbataar, had to go through the long, and painstaking project of having to put away all of the food and then clean all the dishes, but luckily, he had Rainbow Dash now practically living with him to help him; it didn't make it much faster, but he was now less lonely than he used to be every Thanksgiving evening. It was nice, just the two of them to be together for an hour and a half...

....but he knew it wouldn't last.

This was the start of the Hearth's Warming season, and all would eventually plunge into chaos. Sure Rainbow would be by his side the entire time, but he would be under constant stress.

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As was often the case, Rainbow stopped by Sukhbataar's place at 9:00 in the morning as part of her jogging route; the two were now inseparable (it was often remarked that Rainbow was like Sukhbataar's growth on his foreleg when they were together), and it seemed as though Sukh would never really get Rainbow out of the way very long. He knew he would have to marry her so that their arguments would be far more practical, since arguing with someone who almost lives with you but sleeps far away is very inconvenient indeed. Rainbow and Sukh dearly loved each other, which was, as love often is, very pleasant, but sometimes a real pain in the plot for the two of them.

Rainbow then crashed on Sukhbataar's couch without even asking, as many Ponies did, since Sukh tended to lack the guts to raise his voice or raise a complaint or anything of the kind, and then curled up into a sleepy little ball. With a big yawn, she said, "Good morning Honey." That was not how Rainbow addressed most Ponies and Sukh knew it well. Rainbow, who had barged in the house without even knocking, was resting her head on Sukh's lap, which Sukh admitted to himself he didn't dislike at all. "I would rather spend my morning here with you than at some shop" Rainbow added.

Sukh was somewhat touched by this: "I would do the same for you too, Darling." And then he kissed her forehead.

However, Sukh was more surprised than he probably should have been when Rainbow remarked: "But not because you're special or anything."

"Huh? What?"

She went on, eyes shut and mouth smiling: "No offense, but you're a big wussy. I mean, of all the tragically flawed Ponies I know, you're one of the least tragically flawed. But you're still tragically flawed."

"Oh..."

"If it makes you feel better, everypony I know besides me is tragically flawed too!"

"Really?" Sukh asked, vaguely comforted.

"Really really! As I was saying, I would rather spend the morning here with you, because you see, Black Friday sucks."

Oh right! How could Sukhbataar possibly have forgotten Black Friday? It must have been on all the commercials for the football game! But then again, he didn't like football much anyway; he mostly turned it on because Rainbow Dash liked it, and Rainbow turned him on. He spent most of the time looking at Rainbow Dash instead of the television screen, such as her glorious, thick, Rainbow-colored mane, her chubby cheeks, her small smile, her amethyst eyes, her shapely hind legs and torso...yeah, Sukh never really did pay much attention to the television.

Scootaloo peeked her head around the corner of the living room entrance, and wondered what exactly was going on between Rainbow Dash and her father. It was through Scootaloo that the two met, and though the intimacy grew quite slowly between the two, the spark between them was rather swift. Scootaloo knew that they loved each other, but she wondered if it was the "Friendship is Magic" love or the "I want to make your babies" love. It was of course the latter between both Rainbow and Sukh, but Rainbow still suffered from fear of commitment and all the prices that came with it, a major gender-role reversal on top of the fact that Rainbow was also the first to ask Sukhbataar out.

Needless, to say, Sukhbataar found himself in an increasingly raw deal, and also equally needless to say, he was well aware of it and yet also rather enjoyed it the entire time.

Through all this reminiscing of Sukhbataar's he almost ceased to listen to what else Rainbow has to say, but he was considerate and thus gave a heading ear to the rest of her story: "I went a couple years ago; it was me, Rarity, Fluttershy, Twilight, Applejack, and Pinkie Pie. Rarity and Twilight Sparkle woke me up with air horns...in five in the morning...."

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Two years ago:

"Alright my little Ponies, we have precisely three hours to commence our plans, and from consulting this book, I have determined a course through which we must hastily make our selections before they are all purchased by any other pony; any questions?"

Rainbow Dash raised her hoof.

"Yes Rainbow?"

"Can I go back to bed?"

There was a pause, broken by a large "NO!!" from Rarity. "HOW CAN YOU LIVE WITH YOURSELF, SPITTING UPON THE OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME!! SPITTING UPON A MAJOR START TO THE HEARTH'S WARMING SEASON??!! YOU'RE- YOU'RE UNBELIEVABLE!! YOU'RE A GRINCH!!!!!!"

"Not as unbelievable or Grinchy as waking me up in the middle of the night."

"HOW DARE YOU!!"

Twilight Sparkle put a hoof on Rarity's shoulder. "I got this Rarity. Rainbow Dash, you can only come if you want to, but remember, that if you don't, you are denying yourself a vital Hearth's Warming tradition."

Rainbow Dash looked poutily at the ground: "Oh, all right" she said with a heavy sigh.

Twilight then pointed to her chart: "We each can spend only 30 minutes at each of these stops before 8:00 comes-"

"Which will be when everypony else is awake..." Applejack grumbled.

Rarity saw something wrong with Twilight's chart: "Darling, are these all bookstores?"

"Nope! Some of them are libraries too!"

"Darling, many of the Libraries will be closed on Friday."

"Well that will give us about 45 minutes at each stay!"

"Darling...Ponies want other gifts than books."

"They do?"

"Well, yes; allow me to change the course a bit darling." After Rarity had a field day with Twilight's white board and her squeaky dry erase marker, she made many more lines of a far more elaborate route before she shouted: "Ta-da!! What do you think?"

The mass of lines and squiggles was hard to make out, and Pinkie Pie flatly admitted: "I don't get it."

Applejack decided to step up to the game: "Allow me, Sugarcube."

Applejack then made a few small changes to the image on the Whiteboard, which was enough to now make the image resemble Rarity's face. Then she added the cherry on top to the image by adding a pointing arrow and the caption "stickhead" on the whiteboard. "Any questions y'all?"

"Ooh! It makes so much more sense now!" Pinkie exclaimed.

Rarity rolled her fabulous eyes and went back to explaining: "We shall divide ourselves into three pairs, me and Rainbow Dash so I can teach her some manners" she added glaring at Rainbow Dash, who was already asleep again. "Applejack will stay with Pinkie Pie so that she won't have to put up with any 'Stick Heads' during the trip, and so Twilight will guide Fluttershy. Any questions now?"

"Yeah, can I go with Rarity?"

All heads turned to Spike.

Twilight knew perfectly well why Spike wanted to go with Rarity: "Spike you are absolutely not-"

"-Going to leave me all to my lonesome! Of course you can come my Spikey-Wikey!" Rarity finished.

Twilight was on good terms with Rarity, but she didn't trust her at all.

"It's absolutely settled!" Rarity declared.

"No it ain't Sugarcube; I got a concession stand to run, and I can't go shopping with Pinkie Pie."

"What will you sell, Applejack?" Twilight asked.

"Apples, Apple pie, Apple sauce, Apple juice, Apple cider, Apple-"

Rarity cut her off: "Fair enough; I shall bring the little angelic dragon with me and also that Philistine that is sleeping on the job" she venomously stared at Rainbow Dash as she spoke. "Twilight and Fluttershy shall be a pair, Pinkie Pie will shop alone, and Applejack will run her predictable concession stand!"

Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Spike managed small, tired smiles, but Twilight and Fluttershy couldn't for they had bad feelings about this...

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Applejack settled herself in the concession stand and waited for customers; she observed nopony was there yet, but at least she could assume that her friends would have no troubles with crouds...right?

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"Okay Fluttershy, where do we go first?"

"Um," Fluttershy began, "I was really hoping to go to the pet store...I...promised Angel Bunny to get him a Christmas present."

"Don't you always, Fluttershy?"

"Well, it's complicated."

"Try me!"

With a sigh, Fluttershy began: "Oh, well...okay...um...Angel made me promise."

"He made you promise?"

"Yes...at gunpoint."

Twilight was utterly flabbergasted at this.

"Fluttershy...you can't let him do that?"

"Oh Twilight, he's not as bad as he sounds, he's just slightly maladjusted."

"Sl-sl...SLIGHTLY MALADJUSTED?!?!?!?! FLUTTERSHY: THAT IS UTTERLY EVIL!!!"

"But...oh, I knew you wouldn't understand!"

"I understand perfectly well Fluttershy! What he needs for Christmas is a slug in his brain!!! Let's go to the Ammunition store! They've got lots of great stuff there! Bet Angel would like it all in his gut!"

Fluttershy could only say: "Umm...yay?"

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Rainbow Dash could not bring herself to share the same enthusiasm that Rarity and Spike seemed to express.

They took the first stop which was, in fact, at a bookstore, with hopes of buying presents for Twilight Sparkle.

But small problem: Early as they went, many other equally desparate shoppers had the exact same idea.

Rarity's cry pierced the air: "OH COME ON!!!!"

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Pinkie happily cartwheeled towards a used clothing department store...where one would get only a mild taste of the chaos that would ensue...