You Are Normal Too

by Never2muchpinkie

Chapter 15: A complete heart

Doctor Hooves felt his face getting red hot. This certainly wasn’t how he wanted to greet Derpy when she got home.

“Mom!” Dinky said happily. Ripping the photo up she shoved it into Doctor Hooves’ chest, the pieces falling to the ground as she ran to her mother and gave her a hug. “I’m so glad you’re home.”

Derpy pulled her eyes from the Doctor and gave her daughter a hug. “It’s so good to see you again, Dinky.” Sniggering a bit she continued, “I see you and Doctor Hooves had an interesting day.”

Going to his mane he pulled roughly at one of the hair clips, not even caring that he ripped some hairs out as he did. “Your daughter insisted on giving me a makeover.”

“I-I-I see that.” She put her hoof to her mouth, trying not to completely burst into laughter. She could see how humiliated he felt.

“Yeah, yeah!” he said, annoyed. “Yuck it up! After having to go through that she wouldn’t let me go back to normal, then she thinks it’s funny to take a polaroid of me and threaten to show it around town.”

Derpy’s disciplinary side tempered her amusement. Looking sternly down at her daughter she said darkly, “Dinky, is this true?”

Dinky looked up at her mother, chuckling. “I wasn’t really going to do that. I was only messing with him. I thought it was funny.”

Derpy suppressed a laugh. She found it funny too, but given how embarrassed Doctor Hooves was she didn’t want to mortify him any further. Giving her daughter a push she said, “Be that as it may, you still hurt his feelings. Go apologize.”

“Yes, Mommy!” She walked over to the doctor, hugging him as well as he continued taking out the myriad of hair accessories Dinky had put in his mane. “I’m sorry. I really was only joking. You forgive me?”

She gave him a pleading pout, and though he was still annoyed her childish charms were ensnaring him again. He looked down at the ripped up photo, glad that he didn’t have to worry about it anymore. “Alright, Dinky. I forgive you, but no more makeovers. I think you just destroyed my masculinity.”

“Okay.” She giggled, nuzzling his chest. “I love you, Daddy!”

“DADDY?” Derpy cried out, shocked.

“Why so surprised?” asked Doctor Hooves, a touch of pride coloring his voice. “You’re not jealous that you have to share my love, are you?”

“N-no. That’s not it. I just wasn’t expecting it.”

“Well, neither was I. She reminded me that I wasn’t just getting a wife; I was also getting a daughter when we get married. Since it was just the two of us today we got the chance to bond. Besides…THIS-” he gestured to his mane “-today was great. We never got to spend any time together without you, and I think I can handle this fatherhood gig.

“Now, I’m gonna go throw that photo out, and I hope we can never speak of this again.”

As Doctor Hooves turned this time Derpy couldn’t help it. She let out a flurry of laughter. “Awww, that’s so cute! You even got a bow for your tail.”

Doctor Hooves stamped his hoof, taking a deep breath as he grabbed the photo pieces and walked upstairs. “I’m gonna go wash up and fix my mane. Ugh!”

When he was gone Derpy gave Dinky a flat look. “Really, Dinky? Why would you do that to the poor guy?”

“I wanted to see if he passed the dad test,” she responded. “A good daddy does stuff they don’t want to to make their kids happy. I had to beg a little bit but he finally said yes.”

Happy tears formed in her eyes as she hugged her mother again. “Isn’t it great, Mom? We’re finally gonna be a real family! I’ll have a dad at last. I don’t care if you’re not married yet. I want a dad now, and he’s it.”

Derpy felt tears coming to her own eyes. “I’m so happy for you, Dinky. I guess, like him, I forgot that this was a team venture. If he only loved me but treated you like dirt when I wasn’t around than it doesn’t matter how perfect he was for me. The stallion I marry has to be a good fit for the two of us. Now more than ever I know what the right choice is.”

“So where did you go? You didn’t tell me you were leaving today.”

Derpy pushed Dinky away, taking a deep breath. “Dinky, there’s a problem.”

“What problem? Can I help?”

“No, you can’t. It has to be settled between just the two of us. If I know him like I think I do there is going to be a big fight between us in the next few minutes.”

Dinky felt her heart sinking. “Why? Don’t tell me you really do want to run away from getting married?” Tears came down her eyes. “I want a daddy!”

“Shhh,” Derpy said gently, rubbing Dinky’ cheek. She took another deep breath. “I went to see Shooting Star today.”

“WHAT?” she yelled, her head snapping up. “WHY?”

“I have my reasons, but things didn’t go quite as planned, and that’s where the issue comes in. If things had gone as I thought he wouldn’t be happy but he wouldn’t be all that hurt. However, because of that snag he is going to get mad, no doubt about it.”

Dinky stared up at her mother, wondering what had gone on between the two of them. “You… you told me last week that you still loved Shooting Star because he was your first mate and because of me. Did… did you go because you wanted to give him another chance? After you get married you wouldn’t have the option anymore to see how things would work out with him again.”

Derpy patted Dinky’s head. “You’ll find out everything soon. This is going to be difficult enough without having to explain it twice.”

Dinky continued staring at her mother for a few seconds before looking at the ground. “I guess you want me to go to my room, then?”

“No. I’d like you to be there too.”

More tears dripped down, falling onto the carpet. Dinky looked back up at her, eye brimming with tears. “You’re not gonna break up, are you? I really, really had a great time with Doctor Hooves. I was messing with him before, but I really think he’s perfect daddy material and I don’t want him to leave.”

“He loves me enough to propose to me and told me that no one has captured his heart so completely as me. He’s going to be upset. He’s going to yell. However, our love will endure. No relationship is perfect all the time. If we can’t go through some rough patches then we can’t call it a lifelong commitment, can we?”

Doctor Hooves came down the stairs a few minutes later, taking a relieved breath. “Man, does that feel better.” He noticed Dinky staring at him, a scared look on her face. He walked over to her, giving her a big hug. “Oh, don’t be afraid, munchkin. I’m not mad at you anymore. I know you were just playing with me.” He pulled back, expecting her to be smiling, but far from looking reassured he saw she was crying now. “What’s wrong?”

She shook her head, pulling out of his grip and sitting on the couch, an uncertain look on her face. Her stomach was churning painfully, like someone had tied it in knots. She wasn’t sure if she was happy about being forewarned or not, but she didn’t want to see her parents fighting. Her heart was pounding like crazy, and she felt terrified that their happy family life was going to be over before it even began. She curled up into a ball, quietly crying on her knees.

Doctor Hooves looked at Derpy. “What’s wrong with her?”

“We need to talk,” Derpy responded.

Doctor Hooves glanced at Dinky then back to her, wondering if there was a correlation. At any rate he knew any conversation prefaced with the words “we need to talk” was never a good thing. “Okay, so what do you want to talk about?”

“Sit down, please.”

Walking to the armchair he sat in it, his mind burning with questions. ‘First “We need to talk” and now “You need to sit down for this,”’ he thought. ‘The two statements that mean something really bad.’

Derpy took a deep breath. “I’m going to be completely honest with you. Today I took a trip to Fillydelphia and I went to see Shooting Star.” She could see his body tense up immediately, his eyes narrowing.

“Why?” he said, an edge in his voice.

“Because with your proposal I knew it was finally time to put the past to rest and give him what for. I grew tired of always feeling his shadow hovering over me. Your support and this ring around my neck made me feel strong, and I knew together with you I could handle him no matter what he said or did.”

Doctor Hooves let out a long breath, feeling his body relaxing. “So you gave him a few slaps and called him out for being a dirtbag to you? That’s wonderful news! I’m proud of you!” He noticed that her expression didn’t change. Dinky as well was watching them like a hawk, like she was expecting something bad to happen. “What?” he said, feeling uncomfortable. “What’s wrong?”

Derpy continued to stare at him, wanting to put it off for just a little while longer. Taking a big breath she said, “He played me, and got me good.”

“What do you mean?” He looked over her body. “He didn’t hurt you, did he?”

“Yes. Yes, he did. But not my body.”

Doctor Hooves growled. “He said hurtful things to you, didn’t he? Maybe I should go find him and knock some sense into him.” He smacked one hoof into another.

“It’s more than that. He’s still a master manipulator. I wasn’t expecting anything out of him when I went there. I thought he was going to be the same pompous jerk he was in the past. I just wanted to speak my mind and tell him just how I felt while thinking he was just going to stand there with an amused smile on his face the whole time and making sarcastic comments once in a while. He took another route though.

“He perfectly played the part of a noble stallion, acting like he was taking responsibility for the past. He talked to me respectfully as an equal, with none of the condescension. He apologized, giving me a check for back foal support and to help out with the wedding expenses. I started out furious, giving him a hit when he provoked me, but as he talked calmly to me and didn’t deny the wrongness of his actions I slowly began to calm down myself. Then when he gave me the check I was too surprised to be mad.

“From there things began to spiral out of control. Just like the skillful manipulator he is he waited until I was at my most vulnerable to strike.”

Doctor Hooves gripped the sides of the armchair hard. “He told you the check was a fake, right?”

Derpy sadly shook her head. “He called me by his old pet name for me, taking me by surprise given that he had said I had meant nothing to him. Just like when he got me pregnant and then dumped me right afterward he saved the reveal of his true nature for the time when it was the cruelest and would do the most damage. As my emotions grew more positive I began to think of the past. He closed the distance between us, planning to expose the truth… right after I kissed him.”

Dinky let out a squeak. She knew that was it. She buried her face in her knees, waiting for the explosion.

Doctor Hooves’ eyes went wide, his mouth hanging open for a few moments before his eyes narrowed and a few tears came down his face. His body began to shake, and she could see the eyes of betrayal. “You WHAT?” he yelled, hopping out of the seat. “I can’t believe you! After everything I’ve done for you, after all we’ve been through, you went and kissed the one idiot that you knew couldn’t be trusted?

“Are you STUPID or something? Did you not learn ANYTHING from the last time?” He pointed his hoof angrily at Dinky. “Isn’t it enough you have a constant reminder of how idiotic you were in the past? I really expected better of you!”

Dinky clenched her body tighter. “Stop,” she said into her knees.

“WHY? What in the world made you think that was a good idea? Did my proposal mean nothing to you? I bared my heart and soul in front of everyone to earn your trust, and you repay me by STABBING ME IN THE BACK?” He grabbed a vase, throwing it against the wall, making it shatter into a million pieces.

Dinky shuddered at the sound of the impact. “Stop it.”

“What is the matter with you? HUH? Look at you, standing there looking at me like you even have the right to right now. You make me sick!”

“Stop it!” Dinky said, a little louder.

“Why even bother wearing that ring right now? Why don’t you go be with the royal jerkwad? You two deserve each other. You both know how to destroy someone’s heart. You clearly don’t know how to control your hormones, so when should I expect the pregnancy announcement?”

“STOP IT!” Dinky yelled out, uncurling herself and heading to the pair.

“Huh?” Doctor Hooves turned to her, his voice fading out. He had forgotten she was there listening.

“STOP IT!” she yelled again, lightly sobbing and sniffing, her vision blurry from the tears coming down her face. “This isn’t you! You’re better than this. You know that Mom didn’t mean for anything to happen, and I know she regrets it.

“No more!” She hugged his leg. “Please, Daddy! Please stop yelling. We’re going to be a family soon. I want us all to be a family. I’m tired of only having a mom. I’m finally going to get the chance to have a set of parents. I had so much fun with you today, and I don’t want you to go away.

“Please no more! I can’t take it. I don’t want our family to break up before we even get the chance to live together and do stuff as a family. Please… p-p-please stop.”

Doctor Hooves tried to turn away, but he couldn’t escape her pleading gaze. There was so much pain in her eyes. He took a long, deep breath. Even though he was still burning up inside he just couldn’t bring himself to add to her burden.

He picked Dinky up, holding her to him as he sat back down on the armchair. As his anger faded it was replaced by sadness and pain, and he began to break down right with her. “W-well, what am I supposed to say, Dinky?” he asked tearfully. “Go ahead? Kiss whoever you want just because we’re not married? We’re still in a committed relationship.”

“I know that,” she replied, hugging him hard. “But you know she wouldn’t throw you aside for just anyone. He only got to her because of their history together. She wouldn’t go kissing just anyone on the street, and you know that.”

“Doctor,” said Derpy hesitantly.

He felt a flash of irritation and pain at her voice, but he forced himself to remain calm for Dinky’s sake. “What?” he said coldly.

“I never actually kissed Shooting Star.”

He looked at her suspiciously. “Either you lied before or you’re lying now.”

“It’s neither. You misunderstood my words. I told you that he was saving his reveal that he was only playing me again for after I kissed him. I didn’t say I actually went through with the deed.”

Dinky was looking at her too now. She really hoped her mom was telling the truth. While she wasn’t happy that her mom had given in to her romantic feelings she could understand it because she’d been told of those lingering emotions. All the same, she didn’t want them to break up because of it.

“He played the part of the apologetic one to perfection. Once I stopped being so angry he slowly stirred up my old feelings from the past, wanting to cause strife between us before our marriage just because he could. Or maybe it was because I basically made a fool of him in public. Showing up out of the blue I took him by surprise, and I can bet he didn’t like that. I pushed the photo of our prom night into his hooves, talking about how my daughter would have just loved to meet him as I asked for an autograph. Of course no one else got the significance of my comments, but I got a victory over him, and he had to make sure he evened the score before I left.

“As he got close my heart was fluttering and I recalled the feelings I had for him in the past. As I got close to him I thought of the nightmare I had shortly before our anniversary. He acted just like he did in my dream. What was the result? He never meant his apologetic words, your heart got broken, and Dinky was disgusted with me. When that came to me I left my world of nostalgia and I shoved him away, refusing to be his puppet again. I went back to yelling at him, and he dropped the act, going back to his cocky, smug demeanor and insulting me. In the end I left because I knew if I didn’t there wouldn’t be anything left of him by the time I was done with him.”

“S-so,” Doctor Hooves said hopefully, “you never actually did anything with him?”

“No! This time I faced him as a grown-up. He stirred the childish side of me for a short while, but my adult side pushed her away before she fell into the same pit I had in the past.”

Doctor Hooves relaxed, the tension easing out of his body. “Thank goodness.”

“Mom?” said Dinky.

“Yes, muffin?”

Getting angry she said, “If you didn’t actually cheat then why didn’t you just say that from the beginning instead of letting him think you did and getting him all mad?”

Doctor Hooves looked at Dinky for a second before looking at her. “She has a point. I wouldn’t have gotten nearly as mad if you had just made that clear from the start.”

“There’s a simple explanation for that,” Derpy said, turning away. “It’s because I WANTED you to scream and yell and be mad at me.”

Both Dinky and Doctor Hooves gave her strange looks. “WHY?” Dinky said.

“Because even if I stopped myself in time I still feel that I cheated on you by getting that close to it in the first place. I KNEW his true character, but I still let him manipulate me. As he himself stated he played me like a fiddle. I fell for his words just like I did in the past. What I did was wrong, plain and simple. It doesn’t matter what fancy words or excuses I use. The fact of the matter is that if I hadn’t had that dream I likely would have gone through with it, and had to deal with the reality of what I had done later.

"I feel disgusted with myself for not acting as I should as your fiancée. You gave me a ring and asked me to be your life partner. The time for looking at other stallions is over, no matter who they are. I wasn’t going to hide this from you, because hiding the truth from each other is a horrible way to begin a new life together, but I also told you precisely because I wanted you to scream at me.

“However, I made yet another mistake in doing that. I forgot about the effect it would have on Dinky to see you so mad. It just feels like no matter what I do I can’t ever leave the stench of failure behind.”

She turned her head toward him, walking back toward the pair. Reaching up to her neck she unhooked the ring around her neck, putting it in his lap. “I don’t feel worthy of wearing this right now, so I’m returning it to you.”

“Mom, no!” Dinky yelled. “Stop it! Don’t break apart our family.”

“Derpy, we can get past this!” said Doctor Hooves.

Derpy put her hoof to her neck, feeling odd without the familiar weight around there. She shook her head. “I may not be worthy right now, but even so there is one thing I can do for you. One very big, important thing that I should have done ages ago. Years ago, really.” A weighty sadness came to her face. “It’s time.”

“Time for what?” asked Doctor Hooves, looking mournfully at the ring on his lap.

“I need a promise from the both of you. Until I call for you I want you to stay right where you are. Because… because this is something I can only do on my own. It’s my own choice, and no one else’s.”

Doctor Hooves couldn’t read her emotions. “Derpy, I trust you,” he said firmly. “So I’ll wait. But do I have your promise back that you’ll still be mine today?”

She turned away, feeling some tears begin. “I want to answer yes, but I don’t know. I want to be strong. I have to be strong, but I’ve always failed before. Why shouldn’t I expect to fail this time?”

“Because you’re not alone anymore!” Dinky said strongly. She didn’t know what her mom was talking about, but anything she could do to help her mom and dad stay together was worth it to her. “You not only have me, but Doctor Hooves. Both of us give strength to your heart, even when we’re not right next to you. So do what you have to do, knowing that we’ll be waiting for you when you’re done.”

“Thank you, Dinky, but things go deeper than that. The real reason I gave the ring back is that I know I’m going to be having thoughts for the next while that are distinctly not worthy of a future wife. I can’t explain more right now, but hopefully soon I can.” She walked away to the couch, grabbing her saddle bag. She opened it up, pulling out her prom night photograph.

Sitting down on the floor she stared at it, tears coming down her eyes. “It was just a fantasy,” she said miserably. “It was always only just a dream. The dream of a little girl who just couldn’t grow up. No matter how much I wished and hoped for it there was no way it was ever going to come true.

"The past is the only truth there is, and I knew that. Still, I couldn’t let it go. I held onto it in the corner of my mind, mostly forgotten, but always hoped for. With what happened today even my eyes have opened. I’m not a baby anymore, so it’s time to cut the umbilical cord.”

Neither of them was sure what she was talking about. Dinky, going from her mom’s story, figured that it was the picture of her and Shooting Star on prom night.

Derpy put both hooves near the top. Her hooves began shaking as she gave one of them a little tug, seeing a tiny rip appear. Her mind was immediately assaulted with memories of the past, just like all the times before she had attempted to rid herself of that memento.

“NO!” she yelled. “It’s over! It’s done! It’s not gonna happen! You’re not a child anymore, so grow up!” She looked up at Doctor Hooves, at the ring still lying on his lap.

“It’s for him,” she said quietly. “Because he deserves it. Because he deserves me in my entirety. Isn’t that enough of a reason, Derpy?” Her eyes clenched shut, the tears still pouring down her cheek. “Yes. Yes, it is.” Her body clenched, her heart racing and sweat coming down her face. Her breathing became sharper and shorter before she let out a loud scream and pulled her hooves in opposite directions.

She gasped in oxygen, looking horrified at the two separate parts, at the distance between them. “NO!” she yelled again. “Not yet.” She overlapped both halves of the photo, tearing them in half again so they were squares, the sound of the ripping feeling almost physical to her body.

Letting out yell after yell she continued ripping up the picture until it was too small to easily rip anymore. Her hooves fell uselessly to her sides. “Is… is it over?” she said in a whisper. She looked down at the pieces of the photo scattered about. “No, it isn’t. Nothing can remain. It all has to go. Every last piece.”

Forcing herself up she grabbed all the pieces, walking toward the kitchen. She set the pieces on the pan in the kitchen, turning on the flame. She stared down at her happy face as it began to melt. “Goodbye,” she said painfully.

Soon enough all the pieces had melted into mush, becoming unrecognizable. She shut the flame off. “Now… now it’s over,” she said, her eyes clenching shut again. “It’s over! He’s finally gone! I did it!”

But far from feeling a sense of happiness despair washed over her in powerful waves. It was truly the end. She was finally forced to accept that her dream was never going to come true, and that hurt more than anything.

Her legs lost the strength to carry her as she fell to the floor, wailing like a child as she hugged herself, feeling like the biggest fool in the world.

“Mom!” Dinky said worriedly, going to hop off the chair and run to her mother, but Doctor Hooves stopped her.

“No, Dinky. You can’t.”

Dinky went to yell at him, sure that he was doing it because he was still bitter, but she could see the pain in his eyes and it wasn’t anger. “B-but, Daddy…”

He held her close. “Your mother has to deal with this on her own for now. That’s what she asked of us. The past has no room for visitors. But when she can’t handle it anymore she’ll ask for us, and that’s when we’ll run to her and help her out. Okay, Dinky?” He rubbed her cheek for a moment before holding her close again, the two of them squeezing each other.

Time ticked by slowly for the three of them. When Derpy cried herself out she looked up with blurry eyes. She couldn’t feel any strength at all. She put a hoof to her neck, once more missing the ring around it. “Doctor,” she said weakly, no louder than a whisper. “Doctor.”

“You hear that?” said Dinky.

“Hear what?” said Doctor Hooves.

“Listen.” After a few seconds Dinky said, “She’s calling you.” Quickly hopping off the chair she pulled at him. “Well, go on! Go to her! She needs you.”

Getting up he walked to the kitchen, seeing Derpy laid out on the kitchen floor. “Derpy.”

Derpy smiled for a second, glad to see him, before her eyes filled with tears again. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry! I’m sorry! Please forgive me! I never meant for this to happen.”

“Shhh,” he said in a kind voice, walking over to her and helping to pull her back up. She couldn’t stand under her own strength so he got down to her level. Lifting her mane he placed a kiss on her forehead. “It’s okay, Derpy. I understand. I still love you, and there’s no one else I would rather have by my side. Dinky still needs a father figure in her life, and you still need a proper coltfriend to help you through the rough times like right now.”

Lifting her hoof Derpy pulled his head closer, putting their foreheads together. “I love you! Thank you for being so understanding.” Kissing him on his snout she said tearfully, “I knew this had to be done. You made a public declaration of your commitment and love for me. You were fully prepared to do whatever it took to show me that you truly loved me and were never going to leave me.” Feeling a little strength in her limbs she scooted herself so she was next to him, feeling the warmth of his side against hers as she rested her head on his neck.

“How could I call myself yours and yours alone when a piece of my heart yearned for another? How could I look forward to our future together if my eyes were still looking toward the past? That’s why I had to settle things with Shooting Star before we got married.” She intertwined her hoof with his, giving him little kisses along his neck.

“I didn’t want to ever be sitting alone and start thinking, “What if?” “What if Shooting Star had changed?” “What if he had matured with age?” “What if he had learned to be more respectful?” “What if he actually did have an interest in his child now?” If we were ever going to be married I wanted to come to you with the same level of love and dedication you gave to me. I wanted my mind to be filled with thoughts of you and how much I love you, not have my heart compete with different loves for different stallions.

“I know you’re upset with me, but I hope we can move past this together. It’s finally gone, the last thing connecting me to him. I’m finally free of his influence. I’m not going to lie. It does hurt knowing that things will never be alright between us, but I’m not going to cry over him anymore.

“With that photo gone the only thing I have left of him is the part of his DNA inside of Dinky. But honestly, she takes much more after her REAL daddy, don’t you think?” She nuzzled his face. “Someone who is sweet and kind and knows how to treat others right. Someone who is understanding and knows how to have fun but be stern when the occasion calls for it.”

Doctor Hooves smiled over at her, kissing her on the cheek. “Thank you, Derpy.”

Dinky had some mixed feelings. On the one hoof she was glad her mom and dad had made up, but on the other hoof she was feeling really left out. She wanted to be part of the group too. Dinky slowly walked over to them, saying quietly, “Can I join you?” She felt embarrassed disturbing their time together, but she still wanted some comforting from their arguing before.

Derpy got up, walking over to Dinky and giving her a big hug. “Don’t be upset, muffin. You’re always free to join us. However, I think we could do better than the kitchen floor. Let’s go to the couch.”

“Okay, Mommy!” Dinky said happily, hopping towards the living room.

“Are you coming?” Derpy asked, a smile coming to her own face.

“Wherever you go I will follow, my sweet,” he responded, walking after her.

Dinky was sitting on the couch, waiting for them. “Let’s go, slowpokes!

“Hold on a moment, Dinky,” said Derpy. “There is still one last thing that needs to be done.”

“Oh, come ooonnn!” Dinky whined. “I want some hugs and kisses too.”

“This is super important, so be patient for just a moment longer. Doctor?”

“Yes, Derpy?” he responded.

“I’ve made my choice, and my choice is you. Now that I’ve finally thrown out that worthless lump from my life my heart is now fully ready to commit to you. That being the case I’d like you to ask again, so I can give you a proper response this time.”

“Hmm? OH!” he said, understanding. He went to the armchair, picking up the wedding ring. Bowing down onto one knee he presented it to her, saying, “Will you marry me, Ms. Derpy Doo?”

“Yes! Yes, I will,” she said happily, putting the ring around her neck. She put her hoof to it, feeling so relieved to have it back. It was like a good luck charm, making her feel strong and full of courage.

Dinky clapped her hooves. “Hooray!” she said impatiently. “Now get over here already!”

Derpy rolled her eyes. “Let us go. Our daughter needs us.”

“Yes,” he said, a tear coming to his eye. “Our daughter.”

Almost as soon as they sat down Dinky jumped onto his lap, nuzzling his chest. “I’m so happy you guys made up. I love you, Daddy!”

“And I love you too, my little darling Dinky.” He put a hoof around her, Derpy on his opposite side.

Dinky closed her eyes, letting out a contented, “Mmmm.”

Derpy held on to Doctor Hooves, giving him a kiss. “If Dinky can steal her after-marriage reward early than I want to too.”

He gave her an odd look. “What does that mean?”

“Even though we’re not married yet there is something I’m supposed to get afterward that I want now.”

Doctor Hooves felt his face going red. “Dinky’s right here,” he said out of the corner of his mouth.

Derpy facehoofed. “Men, I swear.” She laughed, kissing him again. “I’m not talking about THAT. I don’t want to go by Derpy Doo anymore. From now on you can call me Derpy Hooves. It has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it?”

“O-oh! Of course! Right. Obviously that’s what you meant.”

Derpy rolled her eyes. “You’re lucky you’re handsome.”

He kissed her. “I’m much more than just a pretty face, you know. And you’re right. It does sound perfect on you. Derpy Hooves. I like it.”

“Me too.”

“So I guess I’m Dinky Hooves now,” Dinky said sleepily.

“That’s right, muffin,” said Derpy, rubbing her hoof through her mane.

“No more fighting,” she said with a yawn. “At least for tonight.”

“We won’t.”

“Good.” Soon enough Dinky was out, resting peacefully on his lap.

“We truly are fortunate to have Dinky,” said Derpy warmly. “She’s an excellent peacekeeper.”

He looked down tenderly at her. “She’s mine now, so I have to do my best to make up for those eleven years she had no father. It’s going to be a lot of work, but I’ll do my best to make sure the both of you never want for anything.”

Derpy put her head on his neck. “Do you remember our first not-date at the Apple family charity fundraiser?”

“How could I forget?”

“Well,” she let out a yawn, “I think I could go for the same ending now that we had then.”

“You mean you running away screaming at the top of your lungs from me?” he said teasingly.

She gave him a light smack. “Don’t be a prude.”

He giggled. “I know what you mean.” He put his head on hers, a hoof around her stomach. “Goodnight, my two beautiful angels.”

“Goodnight, my big strong protector.” She nuzzled him a few times, feeling content and peaceful as she closed her eyes and let sleep overtake her.