• Published 18th Mar 2014
  • 12,351 Views, 452 Comments

Promises - RaylanKrios



What would you do to protect someone you cared about?

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18
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And I'll sleep well that night

It began as a Saturday afternoon like any other. In an effort to be a better honorary big sister to Scootaloo, Rainbow Dash had invited the orange filly over to her house to hang out, and maybe get some flying pointers. She had noticed that the orange pegasus had seemed somewhat moody and withdrawn lately, but every time Rainbow had asked if anything was bothering her, the filly had quickly responded that everything was fine. It’s probably nothing. Fillies are moody sometimes. Either way, surely an afternoon hanging with the most awesome pony in Ponyville would cheer the little filly up, right?

For the first hour of Scootaloo’s visit, it appeared as though her hypothesis had been correct. Scootaloo was happily buzzing around Rainbow’s living room on her ever-present scooter, and if you looked in the window you would never have guessed that anything was bothering the excited little pegasus. That illusion quickly shattered, however, when Scootaloo took a corner too quickly and slid into an end table, causing the small reading lamp on top to fall, splintering into pieces when it hit the ground. As soon as the lamp broke, Scootaloo began to cower on the floor, curling herself into a ball and trembling frantically. Her wings twitched nervously as she looked up at Rainbow Dash from behind her tail. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry! Please, no…” she whimpered as she tried to shield herself with her tiny forelegs while tears started to fall down her cheeks.

“Overreact much, squirt? It’s just a lamp. I think I picked it up for like three bits at a garage sale,” Rainbow said, not entirely sure what was happening.

Scootaloo continued to lay curled up on the floor, her breathing rapid and shallow as she quivered behind her tail. Rainbow Dash looked at the fearful ball of fluff that had replaced her usually bold fan; something was clearly very wrong. Rainbow Dash took a step toward Scootaloo but that only elicited a terrified wail from the tiny filly. Rainbow froze where she stood and sat down on her haunches. “Okay, kid… it’s okay... I’m not going to hurt you,” she said in a gentle whisper.

Scootaloo peeked out from behind her tail, still whimpering quietly. Rainbow smiled warmly at the little filly, trying to convince her that she was safe here in the cloud house. Truthfully, Rainbow wasn’t all that good with crying fillies; that was more Fluttershy’s territory, or maybe even Pinkie’s. Hay, even Applejack and Rarity had experience dealing with upset fillies. But for Rainbow, these were uncharted waters.

Instinctively, she reached out with a wing to try and comfort Scootaloo, but at the sight of the wing moving toward her, Scootaloo retreated behind her tail and began whining again. It was the most awful sound Rainbow had ever heard, worse than the crunch she heard when she broke her wing, and worse than the hateful laugh of King Sombra. It was the sound of a tiny filly who should never feel anything but warm and safe, begging the universe to spare her any further pain. Rainbow winced sympathetically and drew her wing back, folding it against her side. “The wing’s gone, see? It’s just me.” Rainbow again tried to smile warmly.

Scootaloo peeked out from behind her tail and saw Rainbow sitting there patiently, staring at her with soft eyes. “It’s just me kid. I’m not going anywhere and I’m not going to hurt you,” Rainbow whispered quietly, not wanting to scare the little filly any further. For a few moments, Scootaloo laid there, trembling with fear. Rainbow Dash just sat absolutely still as Scootaloo again peeked out from behind her tail. The terrified filly began to sit up, her ears pinned back against her head, her eyes never leaving the larger pegasus sitting in front of her.

“Hey there kiddo, do you wanna tell me what that was about?”

Scootaloo just stared at the ground and mumbled something unintelligible. Rainbow stayed rooted in her spot a few feet away from and leaned in slightly, hoping to hear Scootaloo better. “It’s nothing,” the filly repeated, louder.

Rainbow kept her voice as even as possible. “That wasn’t nothing. Talk to me squirt; what’s going on?”

The orange filly again stared intently at the ground, her eyes darting around the room, desperate to settle on anything other than the pegasus sitting in front of her as her wings began to twitch nervously. Scootaloo took a deep breath. “My mom’s new coltfriend moved in with us a few months ago. At first it was okay, but then he started… he... started… hitting me...” The admission that she was being hurt opened up a floodgate as all of the misery and anguish Scootaloo had kept bottled up for the past weeks came bursting out of her. Her eyes watering up, she clumsily stumbled into the waiting arms of her new protector. She buried her face in Rainbow Dash’s impossibly soft chest fluff and began to openly weep for the first time since her tragic misfortune had started.

Rainbow Dash began to tremble with rage as she held the tiny filly. Ever since she was a filly herself she’d had a problem with bullies. It’s why she had jumped in to defend Fluttershy when they were in flight school, and why she had almost quit the Wonderbolts after witnessing Lightning Dust’s behavior. If there was one thing that Rainbow couldn’t stand, it was a bully; and the thought that somepony could possibly hurt a filly as gentle and awesome as Scootaloo made her blood boil. Keep it together, Dash. The feeling of the small filly pressed against her, clinging to her as though she was somehow capable of fixing everything, made Dash feel as powerful as Celestia herself; all she wanted to do with that limitless power was keep the cruel world at bay.

Rainbow Dash rested her head on Scootaloo’s, running her hoof through the soft purple mane while the tiny filly cried out her anguish, the tears matting Rainbow’s fur. After a few minutes, Scootaloo calmed down ever so slightly. Rainbow reached down with her wing and softly lifted Scootaloo’s chin up, looking the filly in her now puffy red eyes. “I want you to listen to me very carefully. This is me, Rainbow Dash, promising you that he is never going to hurt you ever again. Okay? I promise you that with every fiber of my being. I swear it."

Scootaloo nodded meekly, but then shook her head. “You can’t help me, Rainbow Dash. He’s a captain in the Royal Guard. I tried telling Miss Cheerilee, and some stallions came over to the house, but he just talked to them and they left. He said that he’d...” Scootaloo whimpered, “That he'd kill me if I ever told anypony ever again.”

Rage again surged through Rainbow Dash. She pushed it down deep, telling herself that she would deal with it later; for now, it was an unproductive emotion. “What about your Mom, Scoots?”

“I tried telling her once too, she didn’t believe me. He never leaves any marks; she thought I was just making up stories.”

The tiny filly began to tremble again as she flashed back to all those times in her room she had felt helpless. But this time, instead of trying to find solace in the cold, unfeeling embrace of her pillow, she buried her head in the comforting warmth of Rainbow Dash; it made her feel a little better. Rainbow continued stroking Scootaloo's mane as the tiny filly pressed herself as close as possible. Rainbow could feel her tiny heart beat rapidly, and it caused an unfamiliar tightness in her chest.

“I need you to tell me everything you know about this creep.”

Scootaloo remained still for a few moments, then nodded, rubbing her ear along Rainbow's blue fur. “His name is Lightning Strike. He moved to town a few months ago. I think he was promoted to Captain in the Royal Guard,” the tiny filly said between sniffles.

“A Captain, huh? Well, I know a Princess. C’mon, Scoots; we’re going to talk to Twilight.”

Rainbow gently lowered her head and allowed Scootaloo to climb onto her back. The filly wrapped her tiny forelegs around Rainbow’s neck and snuggled up against the soft prismatic mane. Confident that her precious cargo was secure, Rainbow flew towards Fluttershy’s cottage. Normally the trip would have only taken about ten minutes, but with a filly clinging onto her, Rainbow decided to fly at a more leisurely pace. While she told herself that her decision to fly slowly was for Scootaloo’s benefit, she couldn’t deny that a small part of her liked the feeling of the tiny pegasus snuggled tight against her. About halfway through the journey, she heard a voice in her ear.

“Aren't we going to talk to Twilight?”

“I’m going to talk to Twilight; I need you to stay with Fluttershy for a little while.”

That answer seemed to satisfy Scootaloo and the orange pegasus was silent for the rest of trip. Soon, Rainbow reached the edge of the Everfree Forest, where her oldest friend made her home. Rainbow lowered her neck so that the tiny filly could climb down, and knocked on the door.

When Fluttershy opened it, she was surprised to see her friend standing there with the small orange filly hiding behind her leg.

“Hello, Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo. What are you two doing here?”

“Hey ‘Shy, I need a favor; I need you to watch Scootaloo for a few hours.”

“Well sure; I’d be happy to watch Scootaloo, but what’s going on?”

“I can’t talk about it right now, but I promise I’ll fill you in when I get a chance. For now, can you just watch her for me?”

“Of course.”

Rainbow knelt down and gently placed a hoof on Scootaloo’s shoulder.

“You’re going to stay here for a little bit while I go talk to Twilight, but I promise I’m coming back.”

Scootaloo shook her head. “Please don’t leave, Rainbow,” the tiny filly wailed.

Rainbow Dash felt her heart snap in two at the tiny filly’s request. Before she could say anything, Fluttershy came over and gently draped a wing around Scootaloo.

“It’s okay, Scootaloo. Rainbow Dash will be back soon, and while we wait for her, we can have hot chocolate, and I’ll tell you all about what Rainbow was like when she was a little filly. Does that sound like fun?”

In that one moment, it was clearly evident why Fluttershy was the living embodiment of kindness. Her voice was so soothing and the concern in her eyes was so evident that even a traumatized Scootaloo knew that Fluttershy couldn’t possibly hurt her anymore than it could rain upwards. Scootaloo sniffled and nodded as Fluttershy gently ushered her inside.

“Thanks, ‘Shy. Listen, one more thing; no matter what happens, don’t let Scootaloo leave this cottage. I don’t care who shows up; Scootaloo has to stay here until I get back. Got it?”

“Rainbow, you’re scaring me. What’s going on?”

“I promise I’ll tell you all about it when I get back, but for now I just need you to do this for me.”

“Sure Rainbow, you know I’m always here for you.”

“Great. Thanks again ‘Shy.”

Satisfied that Scootaloo was in the safest place she could think of on short notice, Rainbow Dash sped off to Twilight’s house. When she reached the library, she was not surprised to find her alicorn friend curled up on the couch, reading a rather large book. As Rainbow Dash barged through the window, Twilight put her book down and regarded her friend curiously.

“Rainbow, what are you doing here?”

“Twilight, we need to talk.”

____________________________________________________

For Twilight Sparkle the hardest part about adjusting to life as a Princess was that now everypony always insisted on doing everything for her. Don’t worry Princess Twilight your meal is on the house, Oh I insist you go first your highness…. Just because she was a princess didn’t mean she had forgotten how to do things. It was true that she occasionally attended state dinners where she was waited on, she worked very hard to let every pony in Ponyville know that they were not to give her any special treatment just because she had a crown in her closet. But for as much as she disliked ponies treating her differently she couldn’t help but notice that her status allowed her to help her friends in ways that non-Princess Twilight wouldn’t be able to. For example there was a shipment of rare silk that Rarity was expecting that was being delayed by a corrupt customs official waiting for a bribe. Student Twilight Sparkle would have been incapable of releasing the shipment, but Princess Twilight Sparkle was able to clear things up with a quick letter.

Experiences such as that led to Twilight developing an uneasy relationship with her newfound power. Long ago she had resolved never to use her status to satisfy her own desires, and she was very careful not to wield her influence capriciously; but when she did need to brandish her authority she wanted to be able to do it well. A careful examination of influential thinkers throughout history had led her to adopt a Machiavellian attitude toward power combined with the restraint of Ghandi. If you must wield power, wield it well but always wield it for a righteous cause. This philosophy allowed her to find balance within her new position. She didn’t like throwing her weight around, but Twilight Sparkle never did anything half-flanked and she wasn’t about to start now.

For a normally reserved bookish sort of pony, Twilight Sparkle could be downright terrifying when she was angry. And a guard captain abusing a helpless filly certainly qualified as one of the few situations that could make Twilight furious. After hearing Rainbow’s story, she marched directly into the barracks on the edge of town, blew the door off its hinges with a blast of magic, and demanded to see Captain Lightning Strike immediately. When she was informed that he was off duty and most likely at the Watering Hole, she refused the assistance of a messenger and insisted on heading down there personally. She then ignored any questions from the guards on duty regarding the situation and threatened a lowly private with exile if he didn’t tell her where the bar was immediately.

The bar that most guards frequented on their off hours was only a few blocks away from the barracks. By the time Twilight and Rainbow got there, Twilight had calmed down to the point where she didn’t feel the need to destroy another door. That didn’t stop her from kicking the doors open as hard as she could, however. The entire room turned to look at her as she stood in the doorway.

The Watering Hole was not a fancy establishment, to say the least. It was sparsely decorated with a few neon beer signs and wooden tables. A dart board hung on the back wall, scarred with errant shots of past games, and a jukebox rested near the door, though it looked like it hadn’t been used since the bar first opened. Lightning Strike was a large stallion with a hardened physique born of years of rigorous training. His coat was jet black with the exception of a white streak that ran down his back. His white streak also perfectly matched the color of his mane which he kept meticulously cropped close to his head. Despite his name, his flank was marked not with a lightning bolt, but a jagged-looking longsword draped in a simple blue flag. The captain of the Ponyville barracks was currently surrounded by a group of lower-ranking officers laughing at some anecdote their captain had just told. When the Princess burst in, the captain waved a friendly greeting toward his liege lord.

“Welcome, your Highness! What brings you to our humble establishment? Can I interest you in a cider, perhaps?” the stallion asked with a large smile on his face.

Twilight ignored both the greeting and the offer. “I understand that you recently moved in with a mare and her daughter. Is that right?”

“Yes your highness. We’re very happy together.”

“My friend Rainbow Dash has just told me that it’s possible you’ve been abusing the filly.”

“Well, that’s simply not true. I love her like she’s my own.”

Rainbow Dash started to protest his denial but was quickly silenced by a glare from the still angry princess. “Are you calling my friend, bearer of one of the six Elements of Harmony and a savior of Equestria, a liar, Captain?”

“No, your highness. I just think she has gotten some bad information. May I ask where she heard this ugly rumor?”

“Scootaloo told me you sack of horse puck, I swear if-” Rainbow was again cut off with a glare from her friend.

“Ah, I see. The filly is making up stories again. I promise to have a talk with her when I get home. I’m terribly sorry you had to come down here on baseless allegations.”

Twilight nodded at the captain who had taken a more hostile posture than he had first adopted.“Scootaloo will be staying with Rainbow Dash while we get this sorted out. I trust that won’t be a problem?”

“With all due respect, your Highness, she belongs with her mother and me.”

“And I think it’s best if she stays with Rainbow Dash. Is that going to be a problem?” Twilight told him with a hint of venom in her voice.

“Again, with all due respect, you don’t have the authority to do that,” the captain said as he returned the princess’ glare.

Twilight let out a derisive laugh at the mention of the word authority. “Very well then, who's authority would you like me to get? How about that of your commanding officer? I believe that would be Captain Shining Armor, I just call him Shiney because he’s my brother. But no, let’s go even further above your head. How about his wife Princess Cadence? Did you know she used to be my foalsitter? What about Princess Luna? She could certainly order you to let Scootaloo stay at Rainbow’s house. We’re not related, but I did save her from Nightmare Moon, so she kind of owes me a favor.” Twilight raised a hoof and gave an expression of having an idea. “Or, better yet, we could just take this straight to the top and just ask Princess Celestia. It wouldn't be a bother at all for me, Princess Twilight Sparkle and former protégé of Princess Celestia, to contact her and get a speedy response. So I’ll ask you one more time, Captain: is it going to be a problem if Scootaloo stays with Rainbow Dash until this mess is sorted out?”

The captain of the guard knew when he was beat. “Not at all, your Highness. I look forward to getting to the bottom of these hurtful lies,” he said with only a trace of anger in his voice.

“Good. Then we agree that there needs to be some answers here.” Twilight turned and began to walk away; satisfied that she had gotten her point across.

As Rainbow followed Twilight out the door she turned to get one more look at the Captain who was hurting Scootaloo. Much to her surprise instead of being scared or chastised he was smiling, joking with his subordinates as if nothing ever happened. All the rage that she had kept bottled up began to stir, coalescing into a terrible storm that burned with a white hot intensity. She remembered how absolutely terrified Scootaloo had looked and contrasted it with how relaxed Lightning Strike appeared to be. No, he doesn’t get to smile like everything is ok.

“I’ll catch up with you in a minute Twilight. I’m just going to use the bathroom,” Rainbow Dash said. Twilight regarded her friend with curiosity, but a stern glance from Rainbow Dash told her to just go along with it. She wasn’t crazy about leaving her friend alone in a bar surrounded by hostile stallions, but she also knew enough to not doubt Rainbow Dash when she got that look in her eyes. “Okay. I’ll be right outside,” she said loud enough to ensure that everypony heard her.

Rainbow Dash walked up to Lightning Strike and stood muzzle to muzzle with the large stallion. “My friends are kind and gentle ponies. I’m not. Go near Scootaloo again and I will put your sorry flank in the ground,” she said without any emotion in her voice, but with the white hot storm of hatred burning in her eyes.

“Buck you. I ain’t scared of you, little bitch,” Lightning said without any trace of deference in his voice, now that the princess was no longer within earshot.

Rainbow ignored the stallion’s profanity and continued her emotionless decree. “The next time I see that little filly crying because you hurt her will be the last day you spend on this earth. I will slit your throat, dump you in a shallow grave and I’ll sleep well that night. Do you understand me? You think you’re special because you’re a captain? I’ve stared down changelings, dragons, and gods. I want you to remember that the next time you even look at Scootaloo.”

Lightning Strike wasn’t sure what to make of this pegasus staring at him with such vitriol. He didn’t quite believe her, but he had no doubt that she believed herself, and that was dangerous enough. Instead of responding he merely met her gaze with his own. The two locked eyes for a second, each one fully aware of the hatred the other pony felt. After a moment, Rainbow huffed and walked out of the bar where she found Twilight waiting for her.

“What do we do now?” the cyan pegasus asked.

“You go get Scootaloo, and I write FPS first thing in the morning. That’s all we can do for now.”

“Okay. Thanks, Twilight. You’re a good friend. Also, you were totally awesome back there; remind me never to get on your bad side.”

“Nopony messes with my friends,” Twilight said, as she affectionately nuzzled the pegasus next to her.

Since there was nothing else to be done for now, the two friends promised to meet up tomorrow and Rainbow raced back to Fluttershy’s cottage. When she got there, she found Scootaloo curled up in Fluttershy’s lap, sleeping peacefully as the larger pegasus gently stroked her mane. Tiny neighs of contentment slipped out past the filly’s lips, and for a moment Rainbow Dash forgot about the pain of earlier in the day. Fluttershy gently waved to her friend as she entered, neither of them wanting to wake the sleeping filly. Rainbow Dash sat across from her friend, a weary look set upon her face as she let the day's troubles finally catch up to her.

Fluttershy broke the silence first with a soft whisper. “Rainbow Dash, I love you, and you know that I would do anything for you, but I have never seen anypony as frightened as Scootaloo was when you brought her here. So, as your friend, I’m asking you to please tell me what is going on.”

“She’s being abused Fluttershy. I took her here because I needed to drop her off someplace safe, and I couldn’t think of a safer place for a scared filly than with you. Then, I went to Twilight because it turns out the creep who’s doing this is a captain in the guard, and I don’t know what I’m doing here, ‘Shy. I’m flying blind,” Rainbow said on the verge of breaking into tears herself.

“Oh, the poor little thing. I wish I could help, but I don’t know what else you can do. I do know one thing though; I know you won’t let anything bad happen to her.”

“How can you possibly know that 'Shy?”

“She loves you Dash, and I know you. You love her too. You’re just too scared to admit it.”

Author's Note:

After reading a couple of excellent Rainbow Dash as guardian stories (particularly Sororal Instincts and I'll Always Be Here for You) I decided I wanted to try my own hand at a Scootadopt story. So here is chapter 1. All authors love feedback so if you loved it or hated it or just thought it was ok leave a comment about what I could do better.

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