Some time passed before Dinky could bring herself to move. She stood up on shaky legs, plodding towards the stairs. Each step seemed to take forever. Slowly she made her way to her room, shutting the door behind her as she flopped onto her bed.
She sniffed, letting her tears fall freely onto her pillow. All she could hear were her mom’s scathing words, calling her a traitor. The two of them had always been together. They had been Team Muffin since she was born and had been just learning to talk. Muffin had been one of her first five words, right behind words like “Mom” and “love you.”
The two of them had gotten into fights before. Plenty of them. It was only natural, but just like she had never told her mom that she hated her, her mom had never told her that they weren’t a team anymore. That was the worst thing she could have ever said. What did that mean? Was her mom never gonna speak to her again?
She hadn’t intended to make her mom angry. She only wanted to point out that her mom didn’t seem like she was making a smart choice. That was what her mom did for her all the time. Shouldn’t she do the same for her if she had the choice? Wasn’t it only right?
She dissolved into sobbing again, squeezing the pillow tight as she wailed. Every time she began to calm down she would hear her mom’s hateful words, and her heart would ache so bad she would begin bawling again.
Sometime later she heard a few gentle taps on the door. She lifted her head as she then heard the sound of something slithering along the ground. She saw a folded piece of paper right under the door.
It took her a while to muster up the energy to get up. Even though she didn’t feel the strength to walk she wanted to know what it said. She crawled the whole way there, rolling off the bed when she reached the end of it.
When she finally got to the piece of paper she lifted her hoof and picked it up, unfolding the paper. She immediately noticed it was covered in tear stains and the mouthwriting was very shaky.
“Dear Dinky,” she read, wiping her face, “I sent this letter to inform you that a spot just opened up on Team Muffin. Please hurry up and enroll now because you’re the only one that can fill that spot, both on my team… and… and…” She took a shaky breath “And in my heart.”
Dinky wiped her face, giggling just a little as the rainclouds began to clear away and strength returned to her limbs. “She wants me back!” she said happily. Getting up, she opened the door and ran over to her mother’s room.
Derpy sat on the edge of the bed, a sad look on her face as she saw Dinky come in.
Dinky immediately ran to the bed, hopping up onto her mother’s lap as the two of them hugged each other.
“I’m sorry, Dinky,” said Derpy, tears flowing down her face. “That was horrible of me to say. I didn’t mean it. Team Muffin always has a spot for you. You’re the only one I always want on my team.”
“I forgive you,” said Dinky, nuzzling her mother as she felt relief go through her. “I love you, mommy.”
“And I love you, Dinky.” Sighing, she said, “I heard it from him and then from you. Both of you were against me, or so I thought. But really, both of you were trying to help me when I was being stubborn. I didn’t want to hear the truth, even though it was so obvious. When it’s staring you in the face that’s when you should realize it, but I didn’t want to. My pride got in the way. I thought I knew what I was doing, but you were right. I was acting like a kid. I was so sure of myself that I could handle things, and I didn’t like having to admit that I probably couldn’t. I especially didn’t like to hear that I was trying to turn Doctor Hooves into Shooting Star number two, but again you were right. I keep trying to tie the past to the present and “fix” my first mistake, ignoring the reality that it won’t work because they’re two entirely different ponies.
“Lately he’s been on my mind a lot. And I’m not just talking about that dream. Ever since I told you that story it feels like that mental block in my mind is gone, and he comes out to visit whenever he feels like. That’s why my mind is so topsy-turvy lately. I want to have the same kind of good times I did with Shooting, but at the same time I’m afraid because of what happened at the end.”
She put a hoof on her face, starting to cry again as she shook. “I… I don’t know what I’m doing anymore! I’m happy then sad and I’m all over the place. One minute I’m afraid and pulling away, the next I’m happy and throwing myself at him and now I’m yelling at you and taking things out on you and putting too much pressure on you. I’m so confused and uncertain and I don’t know what to do!”
Dinky felt a few tears come down her own face. “Come on, mom,” she said as pulled her mom’s hoof away, wiping away her tears before kissing her. “It’s gonna be okay.”
Derpy looked into her daughter’s eyes, feeling her emotions going numb. “This isn’t working out,” she said quietly. “I don’t feel like myself anymore. How am I supposed to care for you like this? If I’m going to keep hurting you like this…,” she gulped, closing her eyes tight, her body tensing as a few more tears came down and she forced the rest of the words out, “…then maybe I should put you in foster care for a few months until I get my act together.”
“WHAT!” Dinky yelled, her heart immediately beginning to race. “No! NO! Don’t say that, Mom!” She took hiccupping breaths. “Don’t ever say that!” She squeezed her mom tight. “I’m not leaving you! I won’t! We just got Team Muffin back together, and-and-and now you want to split us apart again?”
Derpy began crying harder, hating seeing her daughter’s pain. “What else am I supposed to do, Dinky?” she said helplessly. “You need a more stable environment where you won’t have to worry so much.”
Dinky looked at her mom, her face puffing up. “NO!” she yelled. “Do-do-do you think I’m going to worry about you less if I’m living somewhere else? I’m only going to worry even more! How many times have you told me that I’m the only thing that keeps you going when you’re sad? Just a little while ago you said if it wasn’t for me you wouldn’t be alive today.
“I KNOW you! If you’re all alone you’re just gonna think bad things like how terrible a mom you are and how terrible of a marefriend you are and attack yourself and yell at yourself. And without anyone to stop you from saying those bad things to yourself… what if… what if… wha-wha-wha-what if-if-if you decide t-t-to…” She began to get a mental picture of her mom heading towards a chair below a noose, a hopeless look on her face as she looked around her empty house. She began bawling in her mom’s hooves, unable to finish the sentence.
Derpy began bawling too, unable to keep her emotions in check as she joined her daughter,
Through her sobs Dinky said, “I don’t want A mom. I do-don’t want to be part of team Lyra… or Team Bon Bon.” She squeezed as hard as she could. “I want to be part of Team Muffin! I’d never be able to-to-to forgive myself if I lost you.
“Please! Let me stay with you!”
Derpy was silent, not knowing what was the right thing to do. “I… I don’t know, Dinky. I just don’t know!”
“Why not?” Dinky said angrily. “We’re a team. We always have been since the day I was born. You think that me being with you is bad for me? I would rather see you crying and have you yelling at me than to have to see you in a coffin!” Derpy winced hard. “How do you think THAT will make me feel, when I could have done something to stop it if I was here? It’s too much to take! YOU’RE my mother, and no one else! I don’t care how hard it gets or how much it hurts. We’re a team, and the two of us need to stick together! So please don’t send me away. I need you. And you need me.”
Derpy gulped, tears pouring down her eyes as she pulled her daughter close. “We’re a team. Yes. The best team there is. We fight, we argue, we split apart. But within an hour we’re back together like nothing ever happened. Team Muffin will stay strong together, just like we always have, because I know that I can’t live without you nearby. You give purpose and meaning to my existence, my ray of sun bringing me joy and comfort when I’m at my lowest.”
Dinky began sobbing again, relieved that her mom wasn’t going to send her to live with some other family. The two of them nuzzled and kissed each other, their love filling each other up as they began to settle down.
How long they stayed that way Derpy wasn’t sure, but neither of them was anxious to split apart anytime soon, not wanting any distance between them.
Eventually Derpy heard the light sound of snoring. A tender look came to the mare. “Poor thing. She probably tired herself out with all that crying. It’s been a rollercoaster of a day, for sure.
“Thank you, Dinky,” she said, giving her daughter a kiss on the forehead. “Thank you for everything you do for me.”
She thought of Doctor Hooves, and how he had had the maturity to back off and leave when he felt things were getting too out of control. She couldn’t see it before, but now she could see how dumb she had been earlier, and she felt her love for him filling up her heart. “Thank you, Doctor Hooves, for saving me from myself. I’m very fortunate to have my two biggest supporters.”
Carefully moving so as not to disturb Dinky she laid down on the bed, stroking her daughter’s mane. She closed her eyes as she felt like taking a nap herself.