Three Gems and a Scooter

by RaylanKrios


Scootaloo lay in bed, alone in the upstairs bedroom of the boutique. She didn’t want to admit it, but she liked this room, and that, more than anything, ate at her. She wanted to hate the room, she wanted to hate Rarity. You didn’t miss a room you hated. A pony you hated suggesting you might be happier elsewhere was good news. She had learned a long time ago that things you hated couldn’t hurt you, and not being hurt was the most important thing in the world. A hurt pony was a weak pony, and Scootaloo wasn’t weak. Weak was for ponies who could afford that particular luxury.

So she pulled the covers closer to her and tried desperately to hate the soft feel of the blankets and the color scheme that reminded her of Rainbow Dash without being obvious. And how those were her pictures on the wall and that it was her scooter in the corner. She tried to hate Rarity for letting her make her own decision because that was exactly what she asked for and then she tried to hate Rarity for not forcing her to join her family and not promising that everything was going to be okay from now on.  That last one was particularly loathsome because it meant she couldn’t hate Rarity for lying to her.  

Scootaloo skipped breakfast, it was harder to hate a pony who fed you, opting to leave without saying anything and pick up an apple on her way to the Foal Services office. Perhaps the only good thing about being an orphan was that your case officer could write you a note excusing you from school when you had “orphan problems,” such as needing to meet a prospective parent. Autumn didn’t do it very often, but he had done it.

Scootaloo didn’t bother waiting at the front desk; she simply marched right into her case officer’s office to find Autumn sipping a cup of coffee as he filled out some forms.

Autumn wasn’t entirely surprised Scootaloo was there given yesterday's conversation. And while he assumed she would be back to either give him an answer to ask more questions after school, he wasn’t about to kick her out for not working around his schedule. “Good Morning?” It was as good an opener as any other he could think of.

Scootaloo wasted no time getting to the purpose of her visit. “I want to talk to Lilly and Treble; can I do that?”

“Sure, I’m happy to arrange another meeting.  I think I could bring them in tomorrow.”

“No, today. It has to be today!”


“It’s important.  I can’t go to school, Sweetie’s there and I won’t be able to focus and I need to talk to them today! Please, Autumn!” Scootaloo pleaded with wide eyes.

Despite his years of working with troubled children, or perhaps because of them, Autumn had a weakness for foals in distress. In particular, hearing Scootaloo’s anguish always brought him back to the first time he met her, it was an experience that still ranked as one of the worst moments of his life.

One thing he could say about Scootaloo was that she was always honest with him, and it didn’t take much to see that she wasn’t simply looking for an excuse to avoid a math test. He relented, “I can’t promise that they’ll say yes, but if you’d like to wait here, I can go see if they’re willing to come today.”

“Thank you,” Scootaloo said softly, breathing out a momentary sigh of relief.

The playroom at the Foal Services office was almost a second clubhouse to Scootaloo for all the time she had spent in there; so the idea of killing a few hours there may not have been pleasant but it wasn’t unfamiliar. No one needed to tell her where the crayons were or the Daring Do coloring book, she simply retrieved them from the drawer and took a familiar seat at the table in the far corner. She sighed as she opened it up to find that some careless foal had colored in the picture she had been working on, not paying attention to the lines at all.  Scootaloo turned the page to find a fresh picture and began a new project.

At one point a green pegasus poked his head in, Scootaloo didn’t recognize him. “Do you need anything?” he asked.

She wasn’t sure if he was a new staff member, a stallion thinking about adopting or just some obnoxious pony there to annoy her.  “No,” she said, making a point to turn her attention back to her coloring book.  The stallion shrugged and left her alone. She sat undisturbed for the next couple of hours until she saw Autumn walk up to the door, Lilly following him.

“Hello, Scootaloo.” Lilly’s voice was like an ocean breeze, tranquil on the surface but teeming with possibility underneath.

“Hi,” Scootaloo said, trying and failing to make eye contact.

“I hope it’s okay that Treble isn’t here.  He had a music lesson to teach, but he wanted me to tell you that he’s happy to answer any question you have when he gets back and he’s looking forward to a chutes and ladders rematch.”

“It’s fine,” Scootaloo mumbled.

“Okay.” Lilly took a few steps closer and sat down next to Scootaloo. “So Autumn didn’t really tell me anything, he just said you wanted to meet with us?”

Scootaloo’s heart began to beat faster and she forced herself to try and stay calm. “Why do you want to adopt me?” Scootaloo asked as calmly as she could manage, but her voice was still tinged with an aching loneliness.

The question clearly rattled Lilly and she reflexively blinked several times before speaking again. “Well… I’ve always wanted to be a mom. I know all little fillies play with dolls, but ever since I was little I dreamed of taking care of my very own child,” she answered, her voice sharing a similar ache to Scootaloo’s oft stated desires to move in with Rainbow Dash.

Scootaloo had never really played with dolls, but that didn’t seem to be worth mentioning right now. “But why adopt one?” Where exactly babies came from was still a bit of a mystery but Scootaloo knew enough to know that most parents who wanted children just kinda had them, they didn’t go through the trouble of  adopting one.

“I can’t have children,” Lilly whispered.  “Treble and I tried for so long to get pregnant.  When we didn’t we went the doctor and he told me that my ute—” Lilly stopped as she realized Scootaloo wasn’t looking for a medical history or a biology lesson. “He told me that my body couldn’t have foals.”

Scootaloo recognized genuine pain when she saw it, an unfortunate side effect of being intimately familiar with it, and the anguish of Lilly’s grimace was clearly genuine. “I’m sorry,” she offered.

“Thank you.” Lilly tried to smile and Scootaloo recognized it as the same pained smile she saw in the mirror everyday.  “But it’s okay. I may not be able to have my own foals, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be a mom.  And then I met you and you seem like you’re looking for a family too and I thought that we could be each other’s family.”

“That’s a nice thought,” Scootaloo said quietly.

“That’s what you wanted to ask? Why we wanted to adopt?”

Scootaloo shook her head. “Not really, I mean kind of. I wanted to know why you wanted to adopt me.  I’m not the only orphan in ponyville.  I don’t garden and I’m not very good at music.  You two get to pick your child, why wouldn’t you pick somepony… better,” Scootaloo finished, fishing for an adjective.

“I don’t mind that you don’t garden, and I’m sure Treble doesn’t care if you can carry a tune.  We can teach you if you want, or not. And you can teach us about the things you like.  You said you like to dance right?”

Scootaloo nodded, but didn’t say anything else.

Lilly wasn’t sure how to proceed so she said the only thing that she could think of. “Would you like to come see our house?”

Autumn walked with Scootaloo as Lilly led them through Ponyville; opting to stay quiet. For her part, Scootaloo was kind of hoping that Lilly’s house would be a rundown shack, just so her choice would be easier. Yes this is where we live, here’s the broom closet you’ll be staying in, no you don’t get a bed. But it wasn’t. It was a cozy-looking one story house on the east side of town. The outside was painted blue and the roof didn’t have any gaping holes.  The extravagant, multi floral flower bed being the main thing that distinguished it from its also well-maintained neighbors.

“Do you like them?” Lilly asked gesturing toward a patch of orange Tulips that Scootaloo kept staring at.  Scootaloo nodded, hoping that Lilly didn’t specifically plant orange tulips in preparation for her arrival. “Come, let me show you the inside.”

Lillys and Treble’s house was pretty much what Scootaloo was expecting based on her impression from the exterior. Fresh flowers filled a number of vases on the table and end tables of the living room and kitchen, but stopped just shy of being excessive. The furniture matched and looked perfectly stable, and there didn’t appear to be any rodent or insect problems.

Autumn stood off to the side, letting Lilly lead the way. A pungent waft hit Scootaloo’s nose and she wrinkled her snout.“What’s that smell?”

“Oh, I made a few loaves of garlic bread earlier.  It taste great but I guess the smell does kinda linger, doesn’t it?” Lilly said with a giggle.

The thought of garlic bread reminded Scootaloo of spaghetti and how that one meal in particular always served to remind her that she was living with ponies who didn’t care enough about her to remember that she hated spaghetti.

“Would you like to see your room?” Lilly asked, before Scootaloo could dwell on the meaning of garlic bread.

Scootaloo followed Lilly down a short hallway, to a room located on the left; much to her disappointment, it was not a broom closet and she didn’t share it with a hot water heater or a washing machine. Other than being sparsely decorated, it seemed like a perfectly nice room. The walls were a soft shade of white and it had a window overlooking the backyard that afforded her a nice few of Lilly’s flower garden. It was connected to its own bathroom and already had a set of wooden, child-sized bedroom furniture: desk, dresser and bed; similar to every bedroom she had ever had.  It seemed so familiar that it wasn’t particularly hard to imagine living in this one.

Lilly again interrupted her thoughts. “I was thinking that maybe we could go pick out decorations together, if you decide to stay here.”

“I don’t know,” Scootaloo said pawing at the ground. “You have a nice house,” she said quietly. A different pony might have meant that as a perfunctory compliment but for Scootaloo it was meant a test, to see if Lilly would try and pressure her into moving in.

Perhaps Lilly sensed Scootaloo’s intentions, or maybe she just figured that Scootaloo didn’t need to hear anymore about how much she wanted a filly of her own to take care of. She responded with a sincere “Thank you,” and left it at that.  

Both Autumn and Lilly just waited and Scootaloo felt their gaze grow more oppressive.  Clearly they were waiting on her to say something. “I need some time to think,” she said, not daring to look either one of them in the eye.

“Of course, I understand,” Lilly replied, passing Scootaloo’s last verbal test.

Autumn led her outside, where he informed her that she had the day off from school if that’s what she wanted and that, as usual, he would do his best to get her anything else she might need.

Scootaloo spent the rest of the day in a haze. She kept mainly to the outskirts of town, a by-product of wanting to be alone.  She couldn’t retreat to the clubhouse because her fellow crusaders would likely be there.  She didn’t want to go back to the boutique, and she also didn’t want to spend anymore time in the Foal Services office. Ponyville was too small a town for her to walk around in without running into Rainbow Dash, or Pinkie, or Applejack, or any of her classmates and she really didn’t like those caves down by the lake.  That left the outskirts of town on the west as a place she could be where she likely wouldn’t run into anypony, but also still be relatively safe.

Lilly was the safe choice.  She didn’t really think it would work out, but when it inevitably failed eight months from now it wouldn’t be anything new; a couple awkward conversations and then she’d pack her bags and move somewhere else to repeat the process.

A “break-up” with Rarity wouldn’t be so easy.

Despite her mantra of not being weak, Scootaloo knew she had one glaring weakness, two if she was being technical about it.  Her fellow crusaders were the only two ponies she knew who accepted her wholly for who she was.  That meant they alone were unique.  In quiet moments, Scootaloo would sometimes wonder if there was anything she categorically wouldn’t do for Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle.  The answer always came back as no, if the need was dire enough Scootaloo couldn’t imagine refusing anything that might help them.

And breaking up with Rarity would mean breaking up with Sweetie Belle. Not entirely of course, she knew (fervently prayed) Sweetie would still be her friend. But if she had to leave Rarity’s house it would strain their friendship is ways Scootaloo didn’t want to think about.

As she sat on a hill watching the sun go down, a stiff breeze forced her to notice how cold it was and a gnawing hunger reminded her she hadn’t eaten since her apple in the morning.  A small voice in her head told her that being cold and hungry was what she deserved, but the more self-interested voice told her that there was food and heat back at the Carousel Boutique. The thought that being cold and hungry wasn’t going to change her decision pulled her to her hoofs and Scootaloo began the walk back to town.

She entered the Boutique to find Rarity puttering about her sales floor.  Subtly adjusting the gowns on display and swapping the various accessories. "There you are, I was begining to worry,” Rarity said, setting the rest of her scarfs down on an end table.

“I know. I’m your responsibility until I leave. Broken or not.”

“As a matter of fact I was just thinking about that. What you said earlier, about being broken.”

“So you do agree with me.” It was unclear weather Scootaloo meant it as a declaration or a sentence.

“No, I am merely proposing a hypothetical in which you are right, so for a moment let’s say that you are. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing.”

“How can it not be bad? Broken things don’t work, that’s why they are broken!”

"Are you familiar with Kintsugi?" Scootaloo shook her head. “Kintsugi is an Nieghponese technique for repairing pottery.” Rarity said, adopting that familiar lecture tone of voice, instantly recognizable to children everywhere.  

“If it’s a pottery thing, how do you know about it?” Scootaloo asked, momentarily wondering if Rarity was also a secret potter in addition to being a poker playing fashionista.

“A couple years ago, eastern influences became very popular in Manehattan and so I incorporated a few points into my spring line, but that’s not the point.” Rarity said with a dismissive hoof wave.

“What is the point then?”

“With Kintsugi potters use gold to fill in cracks from broken pieces, the result is that the broken pot is more beautiful precisely because it has been broken.”

Scootaloo heard the words but they didn’t make sense.  A broken scooter wheel was a useless wheel, and even if it could be repaired it would still never be a good as a fresh out the box wheel. “I don’t get it.”

“I was afraid a demonstration might be in order.  Follow me,” Rarity said turning toward the workspace of the Canterlot Boutique. Sitting on the ponyequin in the center of the room was a silver dress, a bit too large to fit Scootaloo but also clearly too small for Rarity. It was composed of three distinct pieces. A long flowing back piece made of a silver silk. A light blue top piece to cover the wearer's shoulders and a small cinch that graduated from the silver to the blue to connect the two. “This was the first dress I ever really designed and sewed myself,” Rarity said, the pride in her voice unmistakable.

“It’s nice?” Scootaloo guessed, not having any real opinion about what she was looking at.

“Thank you, I’m afraid it’s a bit tacky in retrospect, but regardless it holds a special place in my heart.” Rarity took a deep breath and used her magic to tear several large rips in the back piece, letting out a small whimper as she did.

“Why did you do that!” Scootaloo shrieked.  If Rarity thought she was going to endear herself to Scootaloo by breaking things in some sort of weird act of solidarity then clearly Lilly was the better option.

“Because it serves to illustrate my point.” Using an impressive bit of telekinetic magic Rarity deftly wove pieces of purple ribbon the the ripped back piece and sewed the dress back together with a silver thread.  When she was finished the back piece now had some irregular, purple stripes running down the length. Perhaps the dress wasn’t as polished as it had previously been, but the additions gave it a character and charm that it had previously been lacking.

Rarity’s next words were spoken softly, lest Scootaloo interpret them as challenge, false hope or anything other than a simple declaration. “I don’t think you’re broken Scootaloo, but even if you think you are, the broken part is just part of what makes you special.” Rarity wrapped the dress in a magic bubble and gently levitated it over to Scootaloo. “Here I want you to have this, regardless of what you decide."

Scootaloo took the dress in her forelegs, running a hoof over the freshly repaired tears. “You don’t have to do that.”

“I want to; perhaps it can serve as a small reminder that you are perfectly fine, imperfections and all.”