• Published 6th Jan 2014
  • 3,076 Views, 32 Comments

Cops and Robbers - GreyGuardPony



Scootaloo and her bat pony mother Night Crescent make for an odd couple on the streets of Ponyville, but the two couldn't love each other more. This is the story of how bat pony adopted pegasus, and the trials involved. A Skitchverse story.

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Crescent's Crusade

Three small ponies sat discussing an issue of utmost importance among the trees of Sweet Apple Acres.

“So, we're the robbers and yer the guard?” Apple Bloom questioned her pegasus friend.

“Yup! I'll give you a head start and then I try to catch you.” Scootaloo grinned back, “And then we'll switch things around.”

“Well, start counting then!”

While Scootaloo began to count down the head start, Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle took off. Meanwhile, three older ponies watched the game play out from a nearby hill. Sharing a plate of apple slices and daisies, Applejack, Rarity and Night Crescent chatted while watching the young ones.

“She's so happy these days.” Night Crescent commented, following Scootaloo with her gaze, “Thank you for hosting the sleep over Applejack.”

“Ain't a problem! Those three are thick as thieves. Glad ta have them over for a night.”

“Excuse me, miss Night Crescent, do you mind if I ask you a question?” Rarity asked as she picked up an apple slice.

“Of course Rarity. What is it?”

“Well, I understand that you adopted Scootaloo?”

“The bat pony raising a pegasus alone gave it away I suppose.” Night Crescent smiled, “Yes, I did. Though that was a bit of a journey itself.”

“Really?” Applejack blinked. “Yer a member of the guard and an upstandin' pony. I'd think you'd be a lock for an adoption.”

Night Crescent shook her head slightly. “It was much more involved than that. I actually knew Scootaloo for a bit before I adopted her.”

She grabbed another apple slice, watching her daughter continue to play with her friends. A slight frown crossed her muzzle, old and sad memories playing through her mind.

“My apologies darling, I didn't mean to bring up something traumatic.” Rarity winced.

“No. It's okay Rarity. Probably best that you two know the whole story. She is playing with your little sisters after all.” Shifting in place, she began to tell the tale.

- - - -

“At the time, I was part of Canterlot's night guard, walking a beat in the lower levels of the city. The working class neighborhoods basically. The first time I met Scootaloo, was two and a half years ago, on Nightmare Night of all nights...

Night Crescent took a long and soothing drink of tea as her fellow guard shuffled about the precinct house, more than a few of the bat pony members of the squad blinking sleep out of their eyes.

“All right everypony, listen up!” Came the call from Captain Crag.

Captain Crag, full name Granite Crag, was an older (completely bald) earth pony with a reddish-brown coat and piercing dark gray eyes that could bore right through whoever rose his ire. He had been captain of Lower Ring Precinct Four for the last fifteen years.

That fact always caused a certain amount of rumor mongering around the desks. Some said that he had ticked off the previous captain of the Canterlot guard and been buried here. Others said that he was looking out for the mostly bat pony precinct.

“Now, I don't need to remind you that tonight is Nightmare Night, and as is our civic duty we'll be putting extra eyes out on the streets. Odds are, nothing will happen, but Celestia wants the lower ring just as safe and calm as the statue garden.”

After the general grumble of agreement swept around the room, he began to pass out patrol assignments.

“Night Crescent, Mooncast, you two are together on the stretch near the Warrens. Keep your eyes peeled. Things can get dicey over there, let's hope that it doesn't spill over into your section.”

Mooncast grinned. “We got it covered, captain! Those streets will be quiet enough to hear a pin drop!”

“Just make sure the kids have a good Nightmare Night.”

- - - -

Night Crescent kept glancing at the moon as they walked, the distinct mares headed pattern upon it's surface visible through the clear night sky. All around them, young ponies and their parent escorts moved from house to house the vast crop of candy being harvested by an army of small hooves.

“Think she'll ever come back Mooncast? ...The real her that is, not Nightmare Moon.”

Mooncast frowned, poking her partner in the side with a hoof.

“You need to stop thinking about those old legends all the time, Nighty. Luna was a great hero for us...but you can't get lost in it. Every one of those stories about her fate will break your heart.”

Night Crescent sighed, looking around at the spooky decorations that adorned the buildings, the image of a black coated alicorn repeated through many of them.

“It's just hard for me to ignore. The simple truth of the matter is without Princess Luna, I wouldn't be standing here to be a guard. My ancestors would have remained mindless monsters and been put down in the end. ”

“Which is why you gotta have faith that she'll come back, but not let it dominate your life.”

Night Crescent was about to respond when a shriek from one of the nearby foals caught their attention. A young colt, sporting a hoofmade carrot costume was sobbing, his candy bag laying at his hooves; a few rocks spilling out of the open top.

Quickly trotting over to the crying colt, Night Crescent set about calming the child while Mooncast turned her attention to the mother.

“What happened miss?”

“I...I don't exactly know.” She gaped, “Somepony stole my son's candy. Who would do such a thing!?”

Night Crescent poked the bag, causing more rocks to spill out. It seemed like somepony had weighed out just enough rocks to match roughly a full bag of candy.

“Clever...” She muttered, looking back to the mother, “And the bag wasn't like this at the last house you hit?”

The mother shook her head. “No, it was full.”

“Well, did anything happen between then and here?”

“Well...” The colt sniffed, rubbing his eyes, “I got bumped into by this filly. She was orange and purple and was dressed like a timberwolf, I think.”

Mooncast nodded. “Don't worry mam. We'll get your son's candy back. Just wait here.”

The pair set off back the way they came, towards the last house the colt and his mother had hit.

“Probably one of those ponies that runs a gang of street orphans from the Warrens crossing over and causing trouble.” Mooncast commented.

“To steal candy though? That's not the kind of decision a full grown pony makes. That's the kind of decision a filly or a colt makes.”

“Yeah, but switching out the bag with the fake one? That's a nice trick.”

“Well, we'll see once we find her.”

It was difficult to find one pony in a sea of trick-or-treaters but after around ten minutes of searching, Night Crescent spotted their target. Nudging her partner she pointed to the young pegasus trotting through the crowd; orange coat, purple mane and patchy timber wolf costume that seemed to be cobbled together from scavenged scraps of wood.

She slipped around a pair of chatting parents, to where a unicorn filly dressed as a lady bug was rooting through her candy bag. The pegasus walked past the unicorn on the left side, flicking her tail around and tapping her target's right side. When the unicorn looked that way, the pegasus dipped a hoof into the bag and transferred a pile of candy to her own with one smooth motion.

“Wow...” Mooncast blinked, “Nice move for somepony that young.”

“Wonder if she even has a home. That's the kind of slight of hoof skills I'd expect from a career grifter.”

“How do you want to handle it? Swoop and spook?”

It was a pet name they had cooked up for a tactic they had honed over years of working together. One would give chase, running the target into a confined area then the other would drop in from above, giving them a scare. They mostly used it to shake up young ruffians.

Night Crescent nodded, taking into the air. “I think that'll work for her. A good scare should work for somepony that young.”

Mooncast nodded before moving through the crowd, Night Crescent flying overhead. As Mooncast drew close to the pegasus, she put on her best guard face and snapped out a command.

“Freeze! Canterlot Guard!”

The little pegasus let loose an “eep!” of fear and tore off. Mooncast rushed after, herding her towards one of the ally ways that lined the street. Night Cresent easily kept up with the pair, preparing to drop from the sky at the proper moment.

Breaking left, the filly dove into one of the alley's hopping over a few stacks of crates before squirming through a very narrow gap between two houses and breaking onto the next street and rushing for another alley on the other side.

Skidding to a halt at the end of the alley, the pegasus glanced behind her to make sure that she wasn't still being followed. Satisfied, she turned her attentions to the bag and began to shovel sweets into her mouth by the hoof full.

Crescent grinned, tilting a wing to slightly change her direction. A clothesline was stretched between the two houses. She could use that. Wrapping her tail around the line, she pulled her wings around her body, not unlike the bat that had given her race their namesake. Darkness and shadow clung to her form, mostly hiding her from view, except for her yellow eyes.

“Little one...” She whispered.

The thief perked up, swallowing the candy she currently had tucked away in her cheeks before looking around for the source of the voice. “W-who's there?”

“I am darkness, little one. I saw you steal that candy.”

“Oh yeah?” She puffed up, flapping her wings in an effort to look tough, “What are you going to do about it? Show yourself!”

“Look up.”

As the filly did so, Night Crescent spread her wings wide, flashing a wide leer that showed off her fangs. The filly's eyes almost doubled in size as her mouth dropped open...

“It was so COOL!”

- - - -

Turning their attention towards the enthusiastic shout, the older ponies took in the happy faces of the cutie-mark crusaders.

Scootaloo was practically bouncing in place, her wings buzzing, a grin splitting her muzzle almost ear to ear. Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom were sitting nearby, the game of chase forgotten in light of Scootaloo's origin story.

Night Crescent chuckled, shaking her head. “Yes. My attempt at intimidation had pretty much the exact opposite results of what I was expecting. My little one here is not easily intimidated.”

“Can I tell the next part of the story mom? Please?”

Chuckling, Night Crescent looked to Applejack and Rarity. “I imagine that wouldn't be a problem, would it?”

“Not at all.” Applejack nodded, “Ah'd be happy ta hear your take on what happened.”

Grinning all the wider, Scootaloo launched into her tale.

- - - -

“So after I took in just how neat mom looked while she was hanging off that clothesline, I decided to play it cool...”

Scootaloo beamed at Night Crescent, eyes sparkling as she took in every aspect of the bat pony looming over her.

“You look SO COOL!”

Shocked by such a response, Night Crescent lost her grip on the clothesline and hit the ground with an undignified thud. Scootaloo giggled, rummaging in her bag of ill gotten candy and producing a large chocolate bar while Night Crescent righted herself.

“So, you're with the guard huh? Missing candy something they're worried about?” To emphasize her point, she took a large bite out of the candy bar, savoring the bittersweet flavor of the chocolate.

“It is when I see a little filly stealing it right in front of me.” Night Crescent glowered, “You ruined that colts' Nightmare Night!”

Scootaloo's expression wavered for a moment, before the tough pony persona returned. “He looked like he's from a nice family.” She commented, waving the candy bar in a dismissive manner, “They'll buy him some more candy.”

Night Crescent frowned as she examined the young pegasus. She didn't appear to be abused or neglected, at least physically. No bruises or obvious wounds, and she didn't look malnourished. Yet, the way she carried herself showed a complete lack of fear for both her appearance and her station.

“What's your name, anyway?”

“I don't snitch.” She mumbled in response, her gaze falling on a particularly interesting piece of gravel.

“Since when is giving your name 'snitching'?”

“Still not doing it.”

Night Crescent sighed. “Fine. But you're still coming with me to return that candy and apologize.”

“No way!” She growled in response, dropping her candy bar and hopping backwards, away from the bag and Night Crescent, “I'm not apologizing!”

Night Crescent took a few commanding steps forward, carrying herself as tall as she could, spreading her bat wings wide again. “Yes. You. Will. It's the right thing to do!”

She grabbed for Scootaloo, the pegasus ducking under the swipe. Darting around the side of the guardpony, Scootaloo took cover behind the bag of candy. Night Crescent pounced again, knocking the candy over as her target scrambled back towards a pile of wood piled in the corner.

Taking a few more steps back, Scootaloo frowned. “Oh yeah? You'll have to catch me first!”

Reaching into a small pile of stacked pieces of wood, she yanked an old and battered looking scooter from it's hiding place. Hopping onto the scooter and buzzing her wings like a humming bird, she shot out of the alley way and onto the streets.

Night Crescent watched her go, before picking up the candy to take it back to its proper owner.

- - - -

Having finished her tale about how she escaped, Scootaloo sat back on her haunches. Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle looked the most shocked at the revelation of their friend's past.

“You were a criminal?” Sweetie Belle gasped.

“Ah just can't believe it.”

“Now, now.” Night Crescent interrupted, “Her circumstances when she was young were difficult. Please don't hold it against her. She's still the same filly you know.”

“Yeah.” Applejack nodded, “Now run on up to the house. It's getting' close ta dinner time. We'll be along later.”

The cutie-mark crusaders took off, galloping for the farm house. Following behind, Rarity glanced at Night Crescent. “So...just how much of a criminal was Scootaloo?”

Night Crescent smiled sadly, shaking her head. “It's a heck of a story, really.”

“Well, keep on going then!” Rarity urged, “I simply must hear this!”

“All right....”

- - - -

“A few nights after the whole Nightmare Night incident, Scootaloo was still stuck in my mind. It is very rare to see a pony so young, so adept at stealing. So I went and talked to my captain about it....”

“Captain?” Night Crescent called, sticking her head into the office, “Can I talk to you about something?”

Captain Crag motioned for her to enter. “Close the door behind you.”

Night Crescent dutifully followed the orders, before trotting over and taking a seat in front of his desk. The captain didn't ask any questions, instead allowing his officer to bring up her concerns.

“It's about that pegasus that I chased on Nightmare Night, sir. Something about her is just nagging at the back of my mind.”

Captain Crag's expression was neutral, but that was hardly new. He was a hard to read pony at times.

“Do you suspect some sort of abuse?”

Night Crescent frowned, chewing her lip slightly. “I really hope not.”

An uncomfortable silence hung in the room for a moment before Captain Crag nodded. “Normally a case like this would belong to foal protective services, but I'll let you run with it off the record.” He held up a hoof, cutting off the objection that Night Crescent was trying to make, “This isn't our department Night Crescent. What she did was a third degree misdemeanor at best and investigating could be viewed as an abuse of our authority. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes captain.” Night Crescent muttered, her ears pulling flat in annoyance, “I understand.”

“If I were in your place, I'd talk with Doughnut Joe. He's a graduate of our fine penal system and still keeps tabs on who comes and goes. If your foal's been in the system, he might know.”

- - - -

“I quickly learned that 'off the record' translated into me being up and active during the daytime to investigate when I wasn't on duty. And that lead me to coffee...”

Night Crescent couldn't get her tail to stop nervously twitching, thanks to her caffeine buzz, as she waited for Doughnut Joe to have a free moment to answer her questions; his bakery was quite slammed during the morning hours.

She resolutely kept her eyes locked on the pony in question, trying to avoid the rows of delicious sugary treats that tempted her with their siren song. She had to be strong though. A guard pigging out on doughnuts was far too much of a stereotype.

Eventually, Joe was able to clear out enough of his customers to let one of his other workers take over. Motioning to one of the tables, he took a seat and waited for Night Crescent to break the ice.

“So, Joe, what do you know?”

Joe smirked back. “That depends on the situation and what you want to know.”

“My captain, over at the one-five, said that you tend to know something about crooks that are brave enough to operate under Celestia's nose.”

“The one-five eh?” Joe muttered as he tapped his hoof on the table, “How is Captain Crag doing? He still bald?”

“As a stone.”

Joe laughed, slapping the table hard enough to make it bounce slightly. “Ha! I told him when he arrested me all those years ago that he'd go bald! Next time you see him, tell him he owes me twenty bits.”

His expression turned serious again as he leaned forward. “But, tell me. Who do you want Joe to speak of?”

Sliding a badly done, in her opinion at least, drawing of the pegasus she saw over to Joe. “This filly was stealing candy on Nightmare Night. She showed a lot of skill for a pony so young. Know her at all?”

Joe glanced down at the page, recognition crossing his features a moment later. “Well, if it isn't little Scootaloo!”

“You know her?”

Joe shrugged. “By reputation. I was in state mandated rehabilitation at the same time as her mother, Sure Steps, or as she's known to the rest of the world, Carmen Sanfratello.”

Crescent's jaw dropped in disbelief. Joe just chuckled at the reaction. “Wasn't expecting that, were you?”

“Her mother is the Carmen Sanfratello? Nemesis of Daring Do? The pegasus that stole Princess Platinum's crown from her family vaults?”

“Yup. And from what I heard, mommy was training the little one between jobs to take on the family business, as it were.”

Night Crescent frowned, glancing towards the windows as her tail continued to nervously twitch. “The father?”

“Bit of a lazy leech. Doesn't like to work himself.” He paused, tapping his own hoof on the table, “He might be using his daughter to run jobs for him. It fits his personality, and most of Celestia's laws say that you can't arrest a foal for a lot of these crimes.”

Night Crescent's gaze out the window had turned into a thousand yard stare, her jaw set square, the caffeine rush forgotten.

“He'd really do that?”

“Sure Steps did not speak well of the stallion. It was a marriage that was going to fall apart anyway, because he'd never help her with her work. So I am quite sure that Fleet Wing would have Scootaloo steal for him if need be.”

Growling, Night Crescent jumped to her hooves.

“I need to get her out of there! I'll march down there and pull her off the streets or the house and get her put in foster care....”

“You can't do that! Come on! You're the guard member here, you know damn well that what your proposing is foal-napping!”

Night Crescent froze. He was right.

“Fine! Then I'll just talk to her and convince her to go into foster care.”

“And you're not going to get anywhere coming at her like that. From what her mother told me, Scootaloo does have an independent streak. So, you need to stop thinking like a solider for five minutes and listen to me.”

Frowning, she plopped back into her seat.

“What would you recommend then?”

“You need to have her come to you, in a way. Draw her out, talk to her and get her to trust you.”

“And the all wise doughnut man has a plan?”

Joe just grinned.

- - - -

“Armed with Joe's information and plan, the next morning I set out to some of the places where I thought a young pegasus would be able to steal and get away with it.”

“What kinda places are that?”

“Well, she's small and cute and could use that as an edge, so I decided to give the shops and markets of the higher rings a try.”

Night Crescent sipped her coffee, trotting down the street with a purpose in mind, her head held high and an overly full money pouch rustling in her saddlebags. Bait for her target.

Confused glances greeted her at most of the shops she visited, the ponies within unused to seeing a bat pony out and about during the day. Normally, the lingering suspicion cast on her race due to Luna's corruption would get under her coat, but today she pushed them form her mind. Helping Scootaloo was all that was on her mind.

The first few hours of searching while the streets were mostly empty turned out rather fruitless. But as the clock ticked closer to noon, luck seemed to turn her way.

Scootaloo was sitting laying on a bench next to the wrought iron gates of one of Canterlot's many parks, head hung, wings drooping; she looked crushed. Frowning, Night Crescent began to trot in that direction. However, before she could reach the little filly, two other ponies stopped in front of the bench.

Night Crescent recognized them immediately. A white coated pink maned unicorn mare, and white coated blue maned unicorn stallion; Fleur de Lis and her husband Fancy Pants. The former she knew from the society pages, being one of Canterlot's top fashion models.

Fancy Pants, she knew from work. The honorable judge had earned a no-nonsense reputation in Equestria's criminal courts. He had presided over one of the cases she had testified in.

“I say, are you all right?” He asked, leaning in to see that she was okay.

“N-no, I-I'm not! I-I lost my m-mooommmmyyyy!” Scootaloo wailed, throwing her forearms around Fancy Pant's chest, “S-she told me to wait right here for her, w-while s-she got a few things and that was hours ago!”

The upper class unicorn was shocked for a moment, but quickly recovered, patting the filly's withers to help calm her down.

“Shhh. Shhhh. There there. We'll help you find your mother. Do you remember the last store she was going to? What does she look like?”

“W-well...,” Scootaloo muttered, letting her crocodile tears slow slightly, “She has a light gray coat, and dark blue mane, and she was heading towards the clothes boutiques on the other side of the park.”

Fancy Pants nodded, looking to his wife.”I say Fleur, can you pop on over there and see if anypony matches the description?”

“Of course dear.” She nodded, trotting off around the park.

Untangling himself from Scootaloo, Fancy Pants lightly patted her on the head. He glanced away for a moment, presumably to scan the other side of the square for any sign of Scootaloo's “mother”.

The momentary lapse in concentration was all the opening that she needed. Her hoof shot out, neatly lifting an ornate golden watch from one of Fancy's jacket pockets. Hiding it under her tail, she returned to looking innocent as Fancy's gaze swung back her direction.

Having had quite enough, Night Crescent ran forward to put a stop to this. The sound of her hoof beats caught Scootaloo's attention, a cunning smile crossing her muzzle.

“There's my mom!” She yelled, jabbing a hoof at Night Crescent as she approached.

Fancy Pants whirled around, an expression of indignation plastered on his features as he tore into her.

“How dare you leave a little filly in the middle of the city! I don't care if this is Canterlot, that's dangerous! I don't know what kind of con you pulled to be made the mother of such a sweet little foal, but I will not stand for this!”

“But I...”

“Don't you give me any excuses! You're a grown mare, you're responsible for your own actions, and this is neglect of the highest caliber! You do your tribe a disservice by your very presence!”

Scootaloo took off, watch chain clenched between her teeth as she ducked and weaved between other ponies, taking advantage of the lunchtime crowds. Night Crescent watched her go with a frown.

“Your honor, I think she stole your watch.”

Fancy Pants blinked, his rant interrupted. The realization set in the next moment, the judge looking thoroughly embarrassed.

“Oh my...”

- - - -

The next night, Night Crescent was still feeling disgruntled as she walked her usual beat with her partner.

“I'm guessing that your attempt to play mommy yesterday didn't go well?”

“No, it did not. I'll have to try again tomorrow.”

Mooncast shot her partner a questioning glance. “Okay, you do know what question is coming next, don't you?”

“Oh, I bet I do.”

“Why?”

“She's being taken advantage of.”

“Then let Foal Protective Services take the case. Why are you so personally involved?”

Night Crescent stopped mid stride, glancing towards the moon.

“I'm tired of feeling like I'm being used. We get all the mistrust from Luna's banishment, but we're still required to protect the land and those ponies who are all twitchy about us. And no matter how many pronouncements Celestia makes from the mountain, they're still afraid of us and the Steel Ring still moves in the shadows.”

“You can't let one cult of bad ponies drag you down.”

“It's not just the cult!” Night Crescent snapped, “In two years, it'll be the thousandth year since her banishment. How long will we have to pay for the sins of our savior? When I see those looks I get sometimes...well, it's easy to see why Luna did what she did.”

“Crescent! That's treasonous talk!”

“I know it is. And I don't really mean it. But how pathetic is it that I have to make that qualification? We are presumed guilty by the other tribes.”

“...What about Captain Crag?” Mooncast asked, directing the question like a lance, “He's an earth pony. How many times has he gone to the mat for us? What about that pegasus couple who sends you brownies every Hearth Warming because you found those scam artists who tricked them out of their life savings?”

Night Crescent stared at the ground, frowning, but not answering.

“Besides, there's still the question of what any of that has to do with Scootaloo! What is she, your personal means to vent over the bat pony plight?”

“Because she is being used! She's being forced to steal by somepony that doesn't actually care about her! She deserves better! She deserves a loving family, a nice home, and friends!”

Mooncast smiled, putting a foreleg around her friend. “Now that is something I can agree with, at any rate. But, we still have a patrol to finish.”

The pair followed the streets for a little while until they came to branch. Mooncast broke right, Night Crescent left, as they did every other time. She had made it about halfway down the street when something pinged off the side of her helm.

A quick glance around the immediate area revealed the source of the attack, Scootaloo crouching on a nearby roof, a small collection of pebbles by her side. Her expression was furious, almost accusatory as she glared down from her perch.

“I heard you talking about my dad. He's not like that! He loves me!”

“I'm just concerned.” Crescent explained, doing her best to keep her expression comforting, “Shouldn't you be going to school and playing with friends, instead of robbing ponies?”

Scootaloo frowned, turning her eyes away. “I just need to make sure we have enough money to last for a bit. Then I'll be able to go to school.”

“Scootaloo...how long as he been telling you that?”

The little one didn't have a good answer to that, continuing to stare intently at her pile of pebbles. “He's my dad.” She eventually whispered, “He cares about me. But...thanks for caring about me too. I'll see you around.” She finished, looking back at Night Crescent.

Without another word, she turned and ran. Crescent flung herself into the air, beating her wings as fast as she could to try and catch up with her.

“Scootaloo! Just listen to me, PLEASE!”

But the pegasus was gone.

- - - -

“And that's how the whole process began, at least. Scootaloo would visit me on my patrols, and I'd try to coax a few more details out of her. Though, in retrospect, I think that she was doing the same to me.” She shrugged, “She's smart.”

“Didn't ya try to chase after her again?”

“Once or twice. She had the advantage though, being able to sneak through smaller spaces than me. So I settled on just trying to bond with her.”

“So when did you actually move to adopt her?” Rarity asked, sitting enthralled at the story.

“Well, that whole mess came to a head around Hearth's Warming Eve....”

- - - -

“Hey Mooncast, you got that address for me?”

The report on the desk before her was making her eyes ache, but it was the last one in the stack of paperwork. All around her, fellow members of the guard were doing the same. Filing reports was the part of the job that no one ever told new recruits about.

“Right here.” Mooncast nodded, passing a slip of paper to her partner, “I'm guessing this has something to do with that new scooter next to your desk?”

She glanced over at the shiny new toy that was leaning against the side of her desk.

“That obvious, huh?”

“Well, you're too big to ride the thing.”

“You got me.” Crescent grinned, “This is going to Scootaloo.”

“Well, good luck. Don't do anything I wouldn't!”

“I'll do my best.”

- - - -

The streets were empty as Night Crescent trotted towards the edge of the Canterlot district known to most as the Warrens. She was out of uniform, instead wearing only her saddlebags, a belt on which hung her hobbles and baton, and a warm coat to protect against the winter chill.

Rolling the scooter along with her, she quickly darted across the street of free clinics and other social services known to most as Miracle Mile, and entered the Warrens proper.

The transition wasn't exactly instantaneous. The Warrens was an economically depressed area, but fixing it was one of Celestia's pet projects. To that end, she had poured a great deal of bits into revitalization projects.

She passed row upon row of clean looking well maintained housing blocks and corner shops, that wouldn't look out of place in any other district in the city. But the ponies on the streets shuffled along with a distinct lack of life.

Approaching the address her partner had provided, she trotted past a closed mine entrance; faded notices of it's closure were still plastered across the wooden boards that kept the public out.

Canterlot was built into the southern tip of the Grayback Mountain range and tapping into the mineral wealth of that range had once been the lifeblood of the Warrens. But something had happened, and the mines were closed. And when the mines were closed, things had gone downhill.

Least I can make a small difference. She thought as she broke around the last corner and reached her destination.

The house in question was small and cramped, but looked well maintained like the rest of the district. Trotting up to the front door, she pounded a hoof on it and waited. A few minutes later, the door swung open, leaving Night Crescent face to face with a surly looking earth pony.

“Oh...it's you.” He snarled, the scene of alcohol clear on his breath, “What do you want?”

“You know who I am?”

“'Course I do. The brat's been talkin' about you for months now.”

“Can I speak with her? I have somet-”

“She ain't here!”

“What?”

“I threw her out.”

“....You did WHAT?!”

He fixed her with a drunken gaze. “She refused to work. You don't stay in this house if you don't work.”

“It's the middle of winter! She'll freeze out there!”

“She's a pegasus. She'll be fine. They're immune to weather.”

“They're resistant to weather! How long ago did you throw her out?”

“Three days or so? Now get lost!”

Slamming the door closed, he left Night Crescent on the front steps reeling in shock.

“That...bastard.” She snarled, shock quickly turning to anger.

Lashing out with an all mighty buck, she sent the door smashing open with an all mighty crash. The target of her her ire yelped in shock, tripping over some scattered hard cider bottles as he tried to get away from the enraged officer.

She charged, nimbly jumping over the bottles and landing on her hind hooves. Grabbing him, she hauled him up, delivering a pair of rapid hoof strikes to his stomach. Ignoring the grunts of pain, she bashed his head off the wall before slamming him muzzle first into the floor, likewise ignoring the burst of blood from his nose as she pulled her hobbles off her belt.

“You are under arrest for foal endangerment, foal abuse, and generally being a heartless ass! You have the right to remain silent, if you're dumb enough to waive that right, anything you say can and will be used against you! Have the rights I explained to drilled their way through that thick skull of yours?”

“Get OFF of me you crazy bitch!”

She continued to ignore him, slapping her hobbles on his hooves and pulling them very tight. She was too angry to do much else.

“GAH! Too tight!”

“Shut up before I hit you again and tell me where Scootaloo likes to hang out!” Crescent growled.

“I don't know! I never paid attention!”

“You must have SOME kind of clue! You're supposed to be her father!”

“Ugh! When her mom came to visit last time she was out of rehabilitation, they went to a little corner restaurant two blocks away. She might be there!”

Shoving him over, she glared right into his eyes.

“I suggest you pray. Pray to Celestia, Luna, Nightmare Moon, Discord....whoever you want! Pray that I find her still alive, or I'm coming back here and adding a charge of murder.”

Not waiting for a response, she charged out of the house and back onto the streets.

She threw herself into the air the minute she cleared the doorway, swooping over every alleyway she passed on the way to the restaurant. Desperately searching for a hint of orange or a blur of purple against the white of snow and gray of stone she could she tried to ignore the way her heart was hammering in her chest.

The restaurant was right ahead, closed and quiet for the night. A quick check of the front door revealed that it was still locked, so she quickly ran around the back to the alley and the service entrance.

A small pile of crates and boxes had been dragged into place near the back door, and then stacked into kind of a makeshift fort for protection against the winter chill. A small pile of newspapers were stacked in the center, a small shock of purple mane beginning to be covered by snow sticking out from an edge.

Throwing the boxes and newspapers aside, Night Crescent scooped the unconscious filly into her arms and immediately took wing. Scootaloo was trembling in her grip, instinctively pulling close to the warm fur that was holding her.

“Don't worry Scootaloo. Everything will be okay.”

- - - -

“Night Crescent?”

Jerking awake, Night Crescent blinked the sleep out of her eyes before turning her gaze towards the doctor.

“Yes?”

“Scootaloo's awake now. She asked to see you.” He motioned to the door with a hoof.

“How is she?”

“We're lucky you found her. She hadn't eaten in three days, and even with her pegasus weather resistance, she was close to suffering from issues with exposure.”

Night Crescent nodded, trotting into the room. Scootaloo was sitting up in bed, a tray full of greens and pudding resting neatly before her. Her expression perked up the instant that Crescent entered the room.

“Well, you're looking a lot better than the last time I saw you.” She smiled, “An actual bed and all the chocolate pudding you can eat.”

“Heh...yeah.” Scootaloo slightly smiled back for a moment, before glancing at the floor, “...Thanks for finding me. I guess you were right about my dad. He doesn't care.”

Night Crescent sighed, trotting to the side of the bed and gently wrapping a wing around Scootaloo's form. “I'm sorry. Some ponies just have problems.”

“What's gonna happen now?” She looked up into Night Crescent's eyes, “My mom's gone and I don't want to go back to my dad...I wont go back to my dad.”

“Well...you'd go into a state orphanage until a new home could be found...”

The look of horror on Scootaloo's face immediately made her regret saying that as she cowered against Night Crescent's side.

“No! I don't want to wind up with some strange pony I don't know! They'll just use me!”

“But...”

“Can't I just live with you? I trust you.”

“...You do?”

“You never asked for anything. You just tried to help.”

“Well...”

Her answer was interrupted by the door to the hospital room being thrown open, Mooncast rushing in, panic etched on her features.

“Mooncast? What are you doing here? I've never seen you awake during the day.”

“Forget that! I've been looking for you since last night. IA is looking for you.”

A chill ran down Night Crescent's spine. “Internal Affairs? What do they want?”

“That stallion you arrested is claiming you brutalized him!”

Before she could respond, the door swung open again and a very stern looking stallion stepped inside. His blue coat and almost unnervingly straight light green mane and tail were a stark contrast to his dark gray piercing eyes. Eyes that had not left Night Crescent's form since he had entered. His cutie-mark was a sheet of glass.

Transparency.

“Officer Crescent?” He growled, “I'm Clear View, with Internal Affairs. I'd like you to come down to the station with me. Answer a few questions.”

Night Crescent nodded slowly, getting to her hooves. “All right...”

“No!” Mooncast snapped, “Don't talk to him without your advocate!”

“I haven't done anything wrong! I saved a filly's life.” She glared right back at Clear View, “I'll answer your questions.”

Her jaw set, Night Crescent, followed Clear View out of the room.

Author's Note:

This story largely came about because of my decisions to make bat ponies more of an official tribe in my universe, and the fact that Scootaloo's family really hasn't been touched upon in the actual show, and I've liked the idea of Scootaloo and Night Crescent being their own small little family, without a father. Currently at least.

The Steel Ring is Nightmare Moon's cult, who over the thousand years of her banishment tried many means to break her out of the moon early. It goes without saying that since Princess Luna's restoration, the cult has fallen on hard times to say the least.

The decision to make Fancy Pants a judge may have come from watching a few to many episodes of Law and Order, but I think that it's a different take on his role in Equestrian society.

Equestria's equivalent to Miranda Rights we're passed by Princess Celestia forty five years ago as part of her reorganization of Equestria's various guard agencies. The consist of the right to remain silent, and the right to an attorney, much like the United States.