• Published 30th Nov 2013
  • 16,333 Views, 1,057 Comments

Of Lilies and Chestnuts - Prane



Unable to have a child of their own, Canterlot socialites Fancy Pants and Fleur give adoption a shot. Enter Chestnut—a filly from beyond Equestria who will quite possibly turn their life upside down.

  • ...
24
 1,057
 16,333

Prologue

Contrary to popular belief, not every day in Canterlot was a dream come true.

From the evening sky obscured by dark cloudscapes, through lampposts battered by the howling wind, down to the streets resounding with thunder and pitter-patter of rain, the magnificent Jewel of Equestria along with its citizens endured the hardships planned for tonight. Those few misinformed ponies who got caught outdoors without raincoats or umbrellas had no choice but to shelter themselves at the expensive cafés where for a price of a coffee they were free to curse the dreadful conditions to their hearts’ content.

Fleur couldn’t really blame anyone. The city needed a downpour every now and then, and the unicorns of the Weather Corps—the team responsible for weather management in Canterlot—were just doing their job. By devoting their magic to ordering clouds into patterns and creating all kinds of atmospheric phenomena they had successfully replaced the pegasi Weather Patrols common in rural areas. Besides, it wasn’t like the rain came as a surprise. Anypony paying attention to the weekly newsletter of the Corps had a chance to take proper precautions, so if they had chosen not to then it served them right to get soaked.

That was perhaps too easy to say for someone comfortably seated in a dry and cozy consulting room of the Canterlot Health Clinic, but Fleur was used to a certain degree of luxury.

“You’ve mentioned that you have my test results, doctor?”

“Yes, indeed.” The pony wearing a neat white coat nodded and skimmed through a detailed report she had on her desk. “It says here you’re a healthy mare. Regular blood pressure, fine metabolism, the immune system working well—”

Fleur furrowed her brows, noticing the words FLEUR DIS LEE written at the top of the report. Where she came from, her name was spelled DE LIS, and although after so many years she had become accustomed to its Equestrian spelling she still couldn’t help but to consider it a mildly annoying inconvenience.

“—physically fit and in excellent shape.” Glancing over the pair of elliptic glasses, the doctor’s green eyes flickered with amusement. “Stallions must be lining up and down the Promenade for your attention, Miss Fleur!”

“Oh, it’s actually ‘Mrs.’ now, but that change didn’t stem the tide, if you know what I mean.” Fleur shrugged, giggling. “I suppose it goes with the job.”

“That would be a career in modeling, am I right? Recently retired?”

Oui, I used to be a supermodel for Carousel Enterprises, Toity By Design, and a few other fashion houses, mostly Canterlot ones. I must say, it is a challenging but rewarding line of work. And actually a lot harder than most ponies assume! Between numerous diets and fashion shows, I had to postpone some of my plans, or even neglect some aspects of my life.”

“Mhm, I see. Is there anything in particular you’re going to take up now?”

Fleur chuckled. She had it all planned out already as her dreams reached beyond dresses, catwalks, and photo shoots. She even made a list of potential hobbies to try out on her retirement, like amateur painting or playing checkers. Most importantly, she wanted to grow old as a happily married mare with her husband and a bunch of cheerful foals by her side. While the part about being a wife had been already checked, the one about becoming a mother was the exact reason for visiting the clinic.

“To be honest, I’ve always wanted to raise a foal of my own,” she admitted. “It was quite an unreachable goal in the past considering my profession, but a few months ago my husband and I decided to work towards it. Only that, well, you know”—a slight blush reddened her cheeks—“no luck so far. I was wondering if you could prescribe some kind of a pill or a potion for that?”

The doctor stopped flipping through the report and sat up stiffly.

“I wish I could,” she said. “Mrs. Fleur, there’s no easy way of saying this, so please bear with me. There is no known medication that could help you with your ‘no luck’ issue.”

The words sank in. Slowly. Painfully.

“Do you understand what I’m trying to say?”

Something inside Fleur cringed and rendered her speechless. When she realized what the other mare was implying, she didn’t believe it at first. Then, she didn’t want to believe, as if denying the news could somehow change the reality. She felt as if one of those blazing, sky-splitting bolts had struck straight at her heart.

A flash of lightning appeared across the window and got complemented by a thundering crash soon after.

In the silence that followed, Fleur’s voice was barely audible. “I-I can’t have foals?” she whispered. “Why?”

“Your reproductive system is dysfunctional,” the doctor clarified, opening the report on one of its final pages. She pointed at various pieces of data which Fleur didn’t even try to decipher. “As you can see here, it came out through this recent examination. It’s a genetic trait, so it’s not your fault, but I’m afraid it cannot be cured with the current medical practice. I’m sorry.”

Fleur remained silent for a lingering moment filled with the rhythmic splattering of the rain. Unable to foal? The revelation shocked her to her core. To resign from such an opportunity to pursue a career was one thing, but having it so abruptly denied felt entirely different. After almost a year of trying to get pregnant she felt robbed of what defined her as a mare.

“I…” Fleur hesitated. She cleared her throat and raised her head. “I understand.”

“I know it’s difficult, but please, remember that this is not the end of the world. There are other ways for a mare to fulfill certain needs.” The doctor grabbed a ballpoint pen and scribbled something on a yellow sticky note. “Perhaps you and your husband will consider adopting a foal? I strongly advise on inquiring at the Canterlot Orphanarium. Many couples in similar circumstances often do.”

If she hadn’t been raised to be a polite filly, Fleur would straight shout out her objections. It just wasn’t the same! How could that mare even compare the miracle of birth and upbringing a cute little foal to incorporating a stranger from the streets into the family? No, adoption was definitely not the solution she needed. In fact, the very sound of that word was causing her to quiver.

Adoption.

She brought a forced smile to her face. “Thank you, doctor. We may consider this,” she uttered the most diplomatic response she could think of, one of which her husband would be proud. She glanced at the note with the apparent address of the Canterlot Orphanarium and the name of one Sunlit Hugs. Just what kind of name was that?

A sudden wave of dizziness flooded her senses the moment she straightened up. She could barely keep herself on all fours, but she managed to hide the pain under but a slight wince. The other mare stood up as well and walked her client to the door, partly as a professional courtesy, partly to make sure she wouldn’t collapse before leaving her office.

Fleur found herself in a clean and well-maintained corridor. The Canterlot Health Clinic was a private center which offered counseling and medical treatment to affluent citizens, but it would seem that even the best conditions, the best equipment, and the best experts money could buy were powerless in her case. She looked around and saw numerous ponies, both patients and various specialists walking by, all heading somewhere, all with the purpose. Unlike them, Fleur was clueless as to what to do next, where to go, or how to act. The stupid sticky note she had been left with was no help at all.

As she was standing there with a dignified expression, trying to maintain herself despite being on the verge of collapse, she was reminded that even in complete darkness there was a single light to which she could always turn.

Him.

“What did the doctor say, dear?”

Most ponies would describe Fancy Pants simply as a handsome, wealthy, and well-bred stallion. Such a portrayal was perfectly accurate but at the same time lacking and shallow as it didn’t say a word about some of his greatest qualities. While he was, indeed, the number one gentlecolt with unflappable manners on the outside, only Fleur knew that he was also a warm and caring husband within. Although there were still crowds of mares trying to gain his social appreciation or even seduce him to win his graces, he remained faithful to the one he truly cared for and to whom he vowed his love.

Her.

“I say, you look a bit abashed!” Gently, he lifted Fleur’s muzzle and looked at his wife with concern. “Is something wrong?”

Without a single word, Fleur shambled into the stallion’s embrace, trembling more with her every step. Without a single word, he held her, hugged her, and comforted her. He understood. She could no longer withhold her emotions which flowed through tears and choking sobs, and she couldn’t care less whether she moved or looked like a supermodel right now. Her dreams had been shattered, her plans turned into trash, and her hopes—snuffed out like a dying candle’s flame.

But at least she wasn’t alone. Not now, nor ever.

Fancy Pants was always there for her.