Pound got a talking to for his reckless behavior in trying to jump off the flagpole. That didn’t bother him a bit. He was more worried about Pumpkin. He knew she was upset and angry with him. The look on her face, and the words she spoke to him, weighed heavily on him.
When their lunch hour ended they all headed to a classroom large enough for all the students in the school. There was a third teacher there, this one an earth pony.
“Hello, everyone,” she said. “It’s so nice to meet you all. Now, we have about two more hours before all of you are done for the day and get to go home. Being that there are some new and unfamiliar faces here I think this is a good time to get to know each other. This first hour we’re going to devote to social interaction. Smarts and learning are important, but getting along well with others and making close connections is just as valuable. So don’t be shy. Get to know your fellow classmates. The unicorns and pegasi have to have their own individual classes to develop their unique talents, so now that the two races are together here you should interact with them. And, of course, we should not forget the last group: the earth ponies.
“We may not have horns or wings, but we are just as valuable and important as the other races. Earth ponies, specifically the Apple family, founded Ponyville during a rough patch of history, and despite it being a period where the three races hadn't yet been properly unified, and distrust reigned, other races were allowed to integrate into this society, expanding it and creating it into the great town we have today. Earth ponies are the ones usually cultivating the land, creating the delicious fruits and vegetables that you eat on a daily basis.
“The three races each play a part in this, which is why racial unification is so important. The earth ponies cultivate the land, the pegasi create the rainclouds to help them grow, and the unicorns USED to be the ones to raise the sun. Nowadays that role is taken by our alicorn rulers Celestia and Luna. Their magical proficiency is great enough they can do this alone, while in the past it could take as many as twenty to thirty unicorns to muster the energy to do so. The point is that we all need each other, and each race of ponies has something important to offer.
“So now we come back to the beginning. Don’t just make friends with unicorns if you’re a unicorn, or pegasi if you’re a pegasus. Each of the races has something important to offer, and the ways in which you differ as just as important as the ways in which you’re alike.”
The students began to split up, seeking out others to talk to and hang out with. As they weren’t doing any learning at the moment all the desks were stacked upon each other on the sides of the classroom to give them all room to interact.
Pound only had eyes for his sister. He walked over to her, seeing her chatting with another pegasus. “Hey, Pumpkin. I’m really sorry about what I did.”
Pumpkin stopped talking, giving him a dirty look, then she grabbed the pegasus and dragged him away about ten feet, and continued what she was saying like there was no interruption.
Pound sighed, his face falling. ‘Yep,’ he thought, ‘she’s mad, alright.’
There was a knock on the door, and Pound’s teacher came in. “Excuse me,” she said, “but could I speak to you for a minute?”
She got up and left the room, closing it behind her.
Pound paid no attention to this. He kept trying to get Pumpkin to talk to him, and she just as stubbornly ignored him.
Finally, Pumpkin got fed up. Turning to him she shoved him, saying coldly, “I don’t want to talk to you, so JUST… GO… AWAY!”
Pound was starting to get irritated. “Come on, Pumpkin! I said I was sorry! Why can’t you just get over it?”
Pumpkins eyes widened in disbelief, saying incredulously, “Why can’t I just… get over it? Are you that brainless? I’ve been freaking out day after day at the thought that I almost killed you by losing control of my magic and not wanting it to happen again. And you have this BRILLIANT idea of jumping off the top of the flagpole because a couple of your other stupid friends dared you to do it, when you KNEW you couldn’t do it, and you’re asking me to just “get over it?”” You could have DIED! You just got out of your casts last month. “Get over it?” No! I’m not! You disgust me, Pound! I don’t even want to look at you right now.” And with a contemptuous huff she turned away from him.
“It’s not like YOU’VE never done anything stupid!” Pound replied, his voice rising up. “I never beat you up or held a grudge with you for nearly KILLING me, you murderer!”
Pumpkin gasped, her body and face clenching up as guilt washed over her. She stomped her hoof, rounding on him. Neither of the two noticed that the general chatter was dying out, everyone becoming more interested in their quarrel. “At least I can use my special talent like a pony should.” Her horn lit up, and a blue aura surrounded Pound, lifting him up a few feet before she released him and he fell flat on the ground. “Whoops! Guess even MY magic can’t help you off the ground you flightless loser!” She gave him an arrogant smirk as several ponies began laughing at him.
Pound almost started crying. Pumpkin’s comment was an extremely low blow to him, and his face went red with humiliation before his eyes narrowed. ‘Two can play at that game!’ he thought angrily as he stood up.
“Oh, yeah? Well, at least I don’t still wet the bed sometimes, Puddles!” Renewed laughter broke out, and now all the students were watching them, finding it extremely entertaining.
Now it was Pumpkin’s turn to go red and gasp, not believing that Pound would reveal that to everyone. She recovered quickly, retorting, “At least I don’t play dress-up where I pretend I’m a princess. Did you like wearing a dress?”
The two of them continued exchanging insults until they got fed up, storming up to each other and putting their heads together.
“Aw, sweet!” one of the kids said. “Fight!”
The doorknob suddenly rattled, and the mood in the room shifted instantly. All the other kids quickly turned away, acting interested in the students around them.
Pound and Pumpkin were a little bit slower to react, not wanting to be the first to turn away.
“Pound? Pumpkin? What are you two doing?”
The two turned to face their teacher, hooves around each other and big smiles on their faces. “Staring contest!” Pound invented.
“Yeah! Staring contest,” Pumpkin agreed.
She didn’t look quite convinced, but she let it go. The second her eyes were off them the two split up, glaring at each other for a few seconds before storming off to opposite sides of the room.
Both of them were fuming, sitting heavily on the floor and curling up with their heads on their knees, angry they hadn’t been able to settle things properly.
“Sisters!” “Brothers!” the pair said with contempt.
Some of their pegasus and unicorn classmates came up to them, being reassuring. “Come on, Pound. You weren’t hurt. She was clearly overreacting.” “Your brother was out of line. He shouldn’t have fallen to their bait.”
Pound looked up. “Yeah! You’re right. I’m perfectly fine, so what’s the big deal? My sister is such a butthead!”
“My sister is a pain too.”
“So is mine!”
“What a whining little crybaby!”
“Come on!” Pumpkin said, gesturing with her hoof. “How dumb do you have to be to jump from up that high when you know you can’t fly?”
“Brothers can be so dumb.”
“Especially your brother. I never seen something so stupid in all my life.”
“Hmm?” Pound and Pumpkin both glanced over at the ones who made the last comment, a hot feeling in their stomach.
“So immature-what a baby-stupid-moron-”
The talk continued on, with the pair getting more and more frustrated. Almost simultaneously there were two battle shouts, and they each jumped at the ones making the biggest insults to their siblings. The class, which had been subdued since the teacher had come back in, were worked into a frenzy at not one, but TWO fights going on at the same time. They cheered and whooped as their earth pony teacher tried to work through the crowd to break them up, loudly ordering them to stop all the while as the four rolled around on the group exchanging hits. The loud commotion finally caught the attention of another teacher, who yelled for more help.
After a few minutes they finally got all the fighting children split apart, dragging them to the principal’s office.
As the teachers talked about what had happened and they waited for their punishments Pound and Pumpkin both looked at each other, odd smile on their faces. They knew they were in trouble, but they both understood they had fought for the other despite their disagreements.
Their tiny joy didn’t last long. They all got a big scolding from the principal. When the story finally got completely out that the two of them had instigated both fights, along with the trouble earlier during lunch, the principal told them she felt they weren’t the kinds of students she wanted at her school.
They spent the remainder of the school day in a separate classroom away from the other kids, their stomachs feeling tight as they wondered what their parents would say.
When the day ended and the other students were picked up by their own parents or siblings the two of them had to stay behind while the principal had words with them. When Cup Cake and Carrot Cake, along with Pinkie Pie, came in to collect them they had no doubt they were in big trouble.
“Come,” Cup Cake said in a quiet, authoritative voice. The pair obeyed instantly.
The walk home was terrible. They walked ahead of them at a normal pace, forcing the twins to jog to keep up with them.
When they got home they both got yelled at and punished; no dessert for a week, grounded, how mortifying, not the way we raised you…
Pinkie Pie didn’t say a word to them. She was hurt beyond words.
Dinner was a tense affair, with nary a word spoken besides an almost inaudible “Thank you” from the twins when they were done.
If the pair thought the worst was over they were in for a big surprise. As part of their punishment they were tasked with washing the dishes and cleaning the table. Just as they were finishing up there was a knock on the door.
They were planning to go upstairs to their rooms, but they were stopped in their tracks as they saw who had come to visit: Princess Twilight, and from the look on her face as she glared down disapprovingly at them they knew she had heard what had happened.
The two of them gulped.