• Published 4th May 2014
  • 1,339 Views, 24 Comments

Drug Dust - Maxojir



Lightning Dust struggles to deal the severe depression she fell into after being kicked from the WonderBolt Academy, and tries to find a new future for herself.

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Somepony Thought About Her

Lightning meandered out of the front door of her small apartment complex, the smallest, and therefore cheapest Canterlot had to offer.

She didn't have any other choice in apartments, as she didn't exactly have all that much remaining in terms of bits. And, in her eyes, she didn't have much else of a choice in terms of where she lived; she could never return to Cloudsdale. No, there was simply no way she could ever show her face there again, because anypony who used to know her before she went to the Wonderbolt Academy: she'd have to tell them. And it wasn't exactly like Ponyville was any option either; that's where Rainbow Dash lived . . .

The sun was just climbing high enough to rise over the tops of the two and three story stone buildings of the narrow street her temporary home was on. She spread out her wings, somewhat, to take in as much of the sunlight's warmth as she reasonably could and kept moving on.

She had to do something; she knew Keto Profen was right about that much. It was the days when she just sat or walked around aimlessly that her depression was the worst, obviously, as she realized now thanks to him, because during such times there wasn't anything else for her to think aobut. So . . . she had to find something to do, and maybe she would eventually start wondering about what she really wanted to do with her life as a whole now, now that the only option that she'd ever let herself see for as long as she'd been able to even think about the future at all had now been torn away from her.

“Come on, sis, let's go to the ledge!” a little colt yelled back to his sister as he came barreling past Lightning Dust.

The little filly and colt siblings ran past her as they headed west through the Canterlot city streets towards the famous ledges of the city that was built on a mountain.

“Sorry miss!” he called out an apology to Lightning after they almost ran into her.

Watching the two of them running off towards the ever-magnificent view one could have by looking out at the world around from the ledges of Canterlot, Lightning decided she might as well head out that way too. Perhaps the view would pull her mind loose for a while.

***

The portion of the city ledge Lightning followed them out to was set up like a little open park area, with grass spread wide for a short distance split only by a few white stone paths leading up to the railed ledge itself. There was also a small wooden wagon stationed at the area's outskirk, with a sign hung from that read: Ice Cream!

The area wasn’t completely deserted, but much to Lightning's content the little ledge-park wasn't too crowded either. There were at most only ten ponies, including the ice cream vendor inside her wagon. The two foals were peering over the ledge, looking out at the world beyond, and an assortment of other ponies were seated at the various picnic tables that stood throughout the grass.

Lightning walked up to ledge herself, looking out over the land below and beyond.

Had she found herself standing there before the Academy, she knew she would have felt that irresistible dare-devil urge to throw herself over the edge and see what aerial stunts she could make out of the plummet. Now though, she just took in the view. She felt better than she had, now at a point of only feeling general depression and not teetering back and forth between complete and utter misery and apathy like she had been. She knew it was because of Keto's medicine . . . because of Keto. Inside she really was grateful for him trying to help her so much, and it had been a while, now that she thought about it, since she'd really let herself feel grateful to anypony else.

“H-hey, Lightning Dust,” Keto Profen greeted her a bit shyly, walking up.

She looked over to see him walking up to her from nearby. “You're out here?” she asked, sounding just as surprised as she looked.

“Uh, well I do, kind of, exist outside of the pharmacy,” he joked back in response.

Lightning actually smiled just a bit at that, granted her grin was clearly sarcastic, it showed him that she found what he'd said humorous all the same.

“Yeah, nopony ever would've guessed,” she replied with sarcasm.

“Well if you're laughing at things now . . .” he began to say about her grin and humor, “especially at me, you've gotta be feeling a little better?”

“Yeah, some,” she said back, “I feel better than I did last time, now that I've been getting sleep.”

“Yeah, Eszopiclone always works,” he said, to which she looked at him with a raised eyebrow for a second.

“It tastes horrible,” she commented, making it obvious she knew the word he’d used was the name of the sleep medication. “You let it touch your tongue?” he asked almost right away, surprised. “Hey,” she answered, mildly defensive, “I'm not a unicorn. I can't just use stupid brain-magic to make the thing stay perfectly in the middle of the water I'm holding in my mouth.”

“Uh-sorry,” he said back.

She side-glances him again upon him making yet another apology, at which he realizes he'd done such and he just begins getting hot under his fur. “It's fine . . .” she told him, “whatever, don't worry about it. Yeah it left me wanting to scrape off my tongue that one time, but it works pretty good. It's just like you said it would.”

She looked to him with actual appreciation and acknowledgment in her eyes when she said what she did, which Keto finds, to his surprise as nothing but time and Lorazepam had ever really done so before, her appreciative gaze actually calms him down and lets his skin under his fur cool back down to normal.

“Yeah, of course. I wouldn't lie to you, to anypony, or . . . I mean I promised you that I was trying to help you. And I still am, just . . . not exactly doing anything right now,” said after a few seconds.

“N-no, you are, kinda . . .” she said, looking away while she did and trailing her words off. Keto took the words in with widened eyes and a partly-open mouth, not at all certain of anything he should say back.

After a moment he broke the growing awkward silence, though not with any comment directly related to what Lightning he just said to him.

“Do you want some ice cream?” he asked.

Lightning looked over at the ice cream stand. The last time she'd had ice cream was almost two years ago, the last time she spent any real time with her sister. She looked back to herself, running her eyes in a scan over her own figure. It had been weeks since she got expelled from the academy, and she'd basically ceased any attempt at all to maintain her physical fitness. Her form and shape were still relatively unchanged, but the drop in muscle tone was beginning to become noticeable.

In the end she decided to just go with it. Besides, it wasn't like she had any real need or desire to hold her top physical condition anymore . . . and eating ice cream would allow memories of all the times she used to have with her sister: good memories . . . happy memories.

“Sure, I guess; just one scoop of chocolate,” she agreed to it.

“Okay. Um, did you want it with rainbow sprinkles, or choc—” he only got two and half words past rainbow before she exploded with harsh bitterness. “I don't want RAINBOW anything!” she shouted.

Keto pulled back, and all the brightness fled from his face in an instant, replaced by uncertainty. Lightning snapped her head away to the side and stared off with spite in her eyes.

Out of the side of her sight she did notice his reaction, and a another moment of guilt actually began to come over her. It had been such a long time since she'd really felt guilty over anything, the later part of her growing up had pushed her into replacing it with resentment . . . with blaming the other side of whatever her conflict was, always, no matter what. But that's not what this was. Having her one goal and dream shattered really had left her this open again.

She was hesitant as she spoke again, unused to the sensation of guilt. “. . . Sorry,” she said quietly.

“I-it's fine,” he responded quickly, “I didn't know: whatever it is.”

“Don't worry about it; it's fine. Just, don't . . . bring that up again,” she told him.

Keto just assumed she was very broadly referring to the word rainbow itself, and he chose to just go with it for then. “Ok,” he said. She actually released some of the stress from her face, even closing her eyes and exhaling through a slow, bowing breath with her head half-way tucked down.

“Here,” he offered her, “ah-did you wanna sit down while I go up?” He pointed with a hoof to indicate the nearest empty picnic table. Lightning reached back to her pony pocket and felt for any bits she had. “Ahh,” she began to say as she discovered what she’d assumed, she had nothing, “I might have to fly back to my place real quickly. I don't think I brought any bits out with me.”

“Here,” he said back, shaking his head with an assuring, though still clearly nervous smile, “you have enough bothering you. Don't worry about bits; I'll get it.”

“. . . thanks . . .” She said quietly, looking after him for a moment as he walked away, then pulling her eyes off the receding stallion and heading slowly over to the table.

Keto walked up to the open service window of the small ice cream vendor just as a group of two fillies and two colts receive their soft-serve cones and delightfully walk away with them. The server at the window, a blue unicorn mare with a curly white mane puts their bits into her jar and looks back out just in time to smile at Keto Profen as he approaches.

“Hi, uh-two single-scoops please: one vanilla, one chocolate,” he asked as he greeted her.

“Would you like any sprinkles on either, young sir?” the vendor mare asked.

“Ah-no thank you; not for mine. And for hers . . .” he answered, but then stopped for a short moment to look back over at Lightning Dust and think. “Um,” he asked the vendor, turning his head back to her, “are your colored sprinkles all just in one bin, or . . .” The mare nodded her head before he’d even finished and looked over to her immediate side to indicate so Keto could see for himself. “Sorry, nevermind then,” he apologized.

“What? Why, what you going to ask for?” she asked, slightly puzzled.

“I was just wondering if we're allowed to ask for just sprinkles of two different colors?” he went ahead and said, since she’d asked.

The mare looked a tiny bit befuddled, but she answered him, “well, I don't get asked that often, but actually I can do that easy, not a problem.”

Keto lightened up instantly when she said that it was fine. Though she added right then, “It's just there's not going be that many to go on the ice cream since I can only take out the ones right on top that I can see.” She lit her horn and levitated up a few blue sprinkles to demonstrate, all coming from the top of the half-filled bin.

“Oh that's fine,” he promised, “it's just a little bit less dextrose anyways. I mean, she's a former athlete, so she's probably not gonna mind a little bit less sugar.”

The server began to smile at Keto's mentioning of Lightning. “Are these for the vanilla or the chocolate scoop?” she asked. “The chocolate,” he answered, after which she set the vanilla scoop’s cone down and got ready to sprinkle the chocolate. “And what two colors did you want then?” she asked. “Uh orange and blue, if that's alright,” he answered again.

“The same colors as a certain special somepony?” she inquired with a hinting smile.

For the first second after she spoke, Keto was actually too shocked to react properly, or how he normally would. After that one second passed however, and he realized that she had clearly indicated Lightning Dust with a motion of her head, his face shot beat-red, though as always it wasn't noticeable under his red fur. And then he struggled to pull together a verbal reaction amidst his intense anxiety, “wait-wh-no, woah-uh she's not, she's . . . a friend, who's really down on herself right now. And, I can't really do much for her, so this is just my best attempt to cheer her up.”

“Oh?” she reacted, with a quick but still seemingly genuine shift of demeanor to sympathy, “I'm sorry to hear she's had to fall into one of those times. Whatever's happened to her?”

“She . . . kind of lost an opportunity,” Keto explained indirectly, carefully trying to avoid saying anything directly personal that he knew about her.

“Was it something big?” she asked, keeping most of her focus on him while levitating up most of the visible blue sprinkles, specifically targeting lighter blue ones closer to the same shade as Lightning Dust's coat.

“Uh, yeah, she . . .” Keto paused for a second to think on how to say what had happened without really saying it, “can't do what she always wanted to do anymore.”

The vendor mare gasped. “Oh no . . . I know-or I guess I used to know somepony who had something like that happen to them . . . it was so bad . . .” she said, starting to trail off but snapping herself back after a moment.

“Uh-I'm so sorry for spacing into my own memories like that,” the mare apologized, and went asking, “she's not terribly out of sorts is she? Oh tell me she didn't lose her ability to fly?”

“Wha-no, no n-nothing like that. She can still fly . . .” Keto answered, and then thought for a brief moment again before finishing what he was saying, “. . . well, she can, just not like she used to.”

“At least she still can then,” she responded with obvious relief, “just, I guess given she's a pegasus that's the first thing my mind jumped to.”

She kept on levitating sprinkles, switching to sorting out all the orange ones she can find and lowering them down onto Lightning's chocolate ice cream. They were a little less visible against the dark surface than the blue, so she was careful to make sure and put them in slightly denser concentrations than just a random sprinkle here or there.

“Well, yeah, that's kind of the first thing anypony would assume. It's alright,” he assured her.

“At least she can still get to go about something of her life. My sister . . .” the vendor mare began to wander off in her memories again, and then suddenly displayed a bit of momentary shock at her revelation to him, not having really intended on saying that friend she'd referred to was her sister. “She's . . . n-not herself anymore,” she explained vaguely, sounding like she didn’t really want to.

Keto’s mouth opened just slightly, but then he hesitated still, for a half moment. “Is . . . it a mental condition?” he tentatively asked.

All the vendor did was nod her head, though she then also shook it a few times. “. . . I don't understand it,” she said, “but, she can never really leave the hospital, not now.”

Keto felt a cold drop in his gut, freezing up in his not knowing just how to respond to her. He'd never had to deal with any patients or anypony related to a patient with something as severely life-altering as what she was implying her sister lived with.

“But she's ok, i-in a sense,” the vendor suddenly started telling him, “she lives at Ponyville Hospital; there's a wonderl, nice doctor there who takes such sweet care of her.”

Keto blinked once at the last part of what she said, just a bit curious. “Dr Stable?” he asked out of curiosity.

She nodded, and with a small smile again. “How'd you know his name?” she asked.

“I'm a pharmacist here Canterlot,” he explained, “Ponyville's well supplied in most things but sometimes we get telegrams from him requesting certain medications and medical supplies that they only keep a certain amount of on hoof down there.” “And you're right, he's an awesome doctor,” he added on the assurance of his own belief.

“Oh thanks,” she said, all but exhaling relief and gratitude, “I'm really glad to hear that from somepony who must know. I just . . . really miss her.”

She shook her head once again to snap herself back to the present in front of her and levitated the two ice cream cones out the service window to Keto Profen, who took one with each wing.

“Well, are you allowed to visit?” he asked, and then also starting explaining just a little, “cause, I mean it would be good for her, probably. I'm not a Psychologist, and pretty everything I know about the brain is all chemical, but I know from what Doctor Stable's told me that it usually helps.”

“Yeah, I wanted to soon,” she in turn explained to him, “I probably will, even though I don't have anypony who could run the ice-cream wagon for the day or two I'd be gone.”

Keto shared her glum look, but suddenly remembered something and turned his head to make a quick, instinctive glance back at Lightning Dust. Maybe . . .

***

Lightning Dust had zoned somewhat while Keto Profen was up at the stand, mainly trailing into thinking about what she could do for the next few days . . . since Keto had told her that she needed to draw herself away from just dwelling on the recent memory.

Keto approaching the picnic table suddenly drew Lightning's attention back, and she looked to see him coming up with a single scoop cone of vanilla ice cream for himself, and a single scoop cone of chocolate. Though, she quickly saw that the chocolate had sprinkles, but before she could react to the preconception that he'd known not to get her any . . . she saw the colors, and it brought a better, much happier memory snapping back from where it had been drowned out.

“Here,” he said, passing her ice cream cone to her.

She hesitated for a second, long enough to make Keto notice, though she still took the cone.

"Thanks,” she said.

“Is it . . . ok?” he asked, pleading inside that he hadn’t upset her by still getting sprinkles, “or did you just want absolutely none on it? Cause I know you sa-“

“Nah, it's . . . really alright,” she said, “I just haven't had anypony do something like this in a while.”

Keto heard Lightning's voice distinctly rise, a large amount of sullenness dropping out of it. “Somepony else did this before?” he asked, legitimately curious and hoping to aid in carrying on her sudden lightened mood.

In response to his question, and to Keto Profen’s unfounded disbelief . . . Lightning Dust not only smiled, but she also giggled. “Hmhmhahmhe, yeah, my big sister Lyra. Well, she always calls herself that, but she's only three years older than me. She used to take me by here, and there was another ice cream wagon. Hahahe, this one time, she did this too, made my colors with ice cream. Only, she did it by having the ice cream pony mix up Orange Sherbert and Cotton Candy flavor.”

It took him a few seconds to pull together a reaction of his own, shocked from her sudden elation. “Really? What kind of flavor mixture is that?” he asked, doing his best to sound lighthearted and just go along with her apparently happy memory.

“A really weird one,” she said through several seconds of laughter, then went on, “it's not like it was bad or anything; it actually tasted alright, it's just the way they mixed was . . . eh-not as good what they both taste like by themselves.”

“She did that because it was my birthday, just for the colors,” Lighting jumped into further explanation, “she had no idea what it was gonna taste like; she didn't even really like either flavor, just chocolate.”

“You like them both though? Ah-and obviously chocolate too, I'm assuming?” Keto asked on.

"Yeah; orange sherbert's my favorite. Chocolate kinda only grew on me. I started trying because it was her favorite . . . and, there . . . wasn't much we both liked, so it . . . I guess was one of the few things I . . .” she said, until her eyes drooped down to a groundward aim, and her head slumped down a little bit with them, all while she twisted a few noses to the side.

“But, uh y-it sounds like you two grew up really great together, or at least that you liked her,” Keto tried to turn her fluctuating emotional state back around again.

“Uh, yeah! She's my sister!” Lightning’s mood literally sprang back up, the ends of her mouth shooting skyward again, “I don't care that we couldn't really both DO a lot of stuff, Lyra is the best sister ever!”

Keto cringed back for a few seconds instinctively at her sudden forwardness and jump in volume. Though, after a quick moment, mostly since he sees the smile remaining on her face the entire time, he returns to normal as he realizes that she's not angry but actually just being boastful of her sibling.

“Well, ah, I'm glad you have really happy memories you can think back to, and I guess glad that I just somehow managed to accidentally bring these ones up,” he said then, very willingly admitting his reminding her being an accident.

Lightning's expression changed to a thinking one for a few seconds as she herself ran over all of the joyful flashes of the past that had just been coursing through her mind. She realized she really was feeling happy, no matter mild the feeling was.“Wait, what?” she asked, thinking out loud. Her mouth hung open as if she were about to say more, but couldn't reach any words as she lost herself in the sheer fact that she'd felt happy for the first time in 2 months.

Keto leaned a little ways forward and lifted his head up a couple of times, a motion to indicate for somepony to go on.

“W-ah-I actually really did feel happy,” she said, sounding as if she’d discovered something impossible, “. . . I haven't been feeling anything like I did for the whole time till I first came in to you, but I still haven't felt happy about anything since before the academy.”

“Really?” Keto asked, gaining a hopeful smile.

“Uh, yeah,” she said back, but then took a couple seconds looking him before she finished, “. . . hey thanks, a lot.”

“Huh? Why?” he asked right back.

“What do you mean what? For . . . this, making this happen, even on accident,” she told him, with a hint, just a hint of gratitude finding its way into her voice. She pointed a hoof at the sprinkles and asked, “why'd you even do this anyways?”

“Uh-uh, just to cheer you up,” he answered, faltering back into shyness about it, feeling himself becoming so hot under his fur from saying that, and his face turning a hidden red. But why? It annoyed him so much. It wasn't like what he'd just said was meant to be anything . . . or was he so anxious just because it could potentially be interpreted as something more? He'd never even tried anything like that; his anxiety disorder alone had been way too much of an inhibitor to start with, let alone going through Pharmacy School. Now, he practically didn't even think about it anymore, or at least not intentially. He did like Lightning Dust; she gave the feeling she was an amazing pony whenever she wasn't depressed, and he did seriously have to admire the exceptionally high degree of confidence she'd had. And, though she wasn't among the "type" of ponies that would be described using words like beautiful or pretty, she looked . . . well, Awesome.

Keto froze in his thoughts, struck by that sudden, overturning realization.

“Wow, guess you really like going over the top,” she suggested assumptively.

“Sometimes, for some things,” he said, “I try to do as much for my patients as they'll let me. Though usually that's just telling them way more about their medication than they would have asked about otherwise.” Keto Profen ended looking somewhat more than a bit regretfully embarrassed at his truthful remark. He'd kept a hoof-full more than a few patients at the consultation counter longer than they'd expected to be.

“Really I . . . hadn't been expecting you to tell me anything,” Lightning explained her own pre-visitation assumptions, “I kinda just thought I was gonna walk in and take the stuff and leave.” “I guess I was just only expecting that much after what my Doctor was like . . .” she added after.

“Well, uh a lot ponies kind of only think of us like that anyways,” he assured her, and basically speaking what most Pharmacists knew was the truth, “that's why some are usually annoyed when I don't let them leave until I tell them everything I think they need to know.”

If you hadn't,” Lighting started saying, “if it had just been what I thought, then . . . yeah, I don't know. I'd bet you could guarantee I wouldn't have been able to finally feel like this now.”

“Thanks for being like that,” she said through an exhale and a still-maintained smile, somewhat shyly herself.

Keto smiled: faint, and nervous, but also truly heartfelt. Regardless of his suddenly-realized liking of Lightning Dust, he felt so fulfilled right then, at her, a patient of his, telling him that he'd really helped her that much and helped start lifting her life back up.

“Well, it's not like I have anypony else to be,” he said, attempting to joke.

Lightning blinked for the second took to process his implying himself being multiple ponies, and somewhat to her surprise, she actually laughed.

“You really are feeling that much better?” Keto asked her, just wanting to hear her say so outright.

“Guess so,” she said back, sounding so upbeat, relative to what she’d been like since Keto had first given her her consultation three weeks ago. “Uuhh-I kinda still don't have anything to do,” she added on right after that.

“Oh!” Keto snapped his immediate memory forth and began bringing up his suggestion, “hey, about that, and I know you said you're . . . ah, kind of stretched for bits, but uh-she needs some help.”

“Just for a day,” he added on, “but, she needs somepony to run her little ice cream wagon.”

Lightning’s eyes went wide at her realizing his idea. “What, me?” she questioned him.

Keto in turn looked a surprised that she doesn't react positively towards it.

“. . . yeah. Is it-uh, th-you don't want to? Or . . .” he started cautiously asking, until she started answering, “ah . . . I don't know. I'm feeling, better, just, I don't know about that. I mean it's like a bunch of fillies and colts that go up there to ice cream most, right?”

“Yeah, they'll love somepony as awesome as you,” he tried to encourage her, sounding as bright as he could.

Lightning had no response to that. In the past, she knew, she would have said something like, "you bet!" or, "no doubt about it!" But, now . . .

“. . . Uh, hey, don't go getting the wrong idea. I'm . . .” she started to say, and struggled to go on, finding some remanent of her pride just then that wanted to hold her back from saying, “I'm not as awesome as you think I am.”

“H-hey, you don’t need to . . .” Keto started saying one thing, but chose mid-way to switch to another, “it's, um-not exactly like ah-ah . . . wait, no I mean I do . . . like you, you're an awesome pony, but i-it's not like I'm going foalish and idolizing you or anything. I mean, usually ponies idolize role models, older than themselves, and I'm like the same age as you. Or, uh, wait, how old are you? If . . . that's uh, alright?”

“Twenty-one. Why? What are you?” she answered, and then reflected the same question.

“I'm twenty-four,” he answered and said more, “so, actually even more unlikely then, since nopony's really able to idolize somepony younger than them. It doesn't matter even it's not really a difference. It's actually the older somepony is than you, the more you might idolize them, normally.”

“Yeah, I kinda know what you're talking about,” she responded, “and I know you're not a little colt. It's just . . . what I was saying was something else. I . . . almost hurt a lot of ponies, more than once. It was just so I could try to make sure I was the best."

“I always knew I was awesome,” she kept going, “. . . or I always used to tell myself that I was. But . . . I guess I never acted awesome towards other ponies.” Keto didn’t say anything immediately, not exactly knowing what to, so Lightning just ended up continuing speaking out her own introspection, “it's kinda easier to be that way when you're always getting ahead out of it. But . . . when you don't get anything from it to keep you going without thinking . . . all you have to end up with is just thinking about how you almost hurt everypony else.”

“Ah . . . uh-is that part of, w-what happened?” he asked cautiously, nervous about the reaction he might get.

Lightning's face just washed over with a clashing mixture of resentment and regret, and she looked away to the side to avoid holding Keto's gaze. It was more than enough of an answer for him, and plenty enough to make him feel quickly terrible for asking.

She snapped at him, instantly becoming defensive, “it was only almost; nopony actually got hurt! It's not like that's what I wanted!”

Keto cringed, half out of instinct, but also half out of sympathy, having just then been able to make a complete-picture, general assumption of what must have happened.

“The same thing would happen to me,” he starting telling her, “if, I messed somehting up, I'd have to be fired . . . and have my liscense to practice revoked, obviously.” That mentioning drew Lightning's head back in his direction. “But, I guess I'm kind of lucky I have an anxiety disorder then,” Keto went on, “there's no way I'd ever be completely calm enough to not second-guess myself on anything. So I kind of never had to learn that lesson, since I was always already so worried about screwing things up anyways.”

Lightning's expression turned bitter, and she turned her head away again, leaving Keto to sigh quietly and regret his stupid choice of what to say.

“I'm sorry,” he started, “I'm talking about myself like—”

“Just . . . stop, alright?” she stopped him, “I already did all that stuff. It's too late . . . I can't go back.”

In a way, Keto snapped, though not intentionally, and mostly without realization it. He didn’t yell or really even raise his voice all that much, but his eyebrows dropped to narrow his eyes. He couldn’t take her teetering on this edge. “Yeah,” he snapped at her, “but you can keep going somewhere. I mean . . . it's really horrible that you had to learn . . . what you did, like this. But I believe you; you're not evil or sadistic. Even the basic psychology courses we had to take in pre-Pharm are enough for me to know that almost nopony is JUST some way. We all live lives; things ... well, affect us, and sometimes . . . uh, ah-you mentioned something about your parents . . . not caring about you . . .”

Lightning was struck, very,very, very profoundly. Her eyes actually widened with utter shock. Nopony had ever . . . everypony had only ever just jumped right on her, said she was simply selfish, or dangerous, or . . . reckless. Nopony thought about why she did anything . . . or why she felt anything . . .

She just looked at him, blinking, with something she'd really never had before, only because she hadn't needed to: hope. Hope, and, maybe a spark of something else she didn't know . . .

“So . . .” Keto tried to sound encouraging, even though he was still asking tentatively, “well, do you wanna at least try this?”

Lightning thought about it, although enough of her confidence had apparently returned that she really knew from the instant began to think what her decision already was.

Author's Note:

As promised, here's the fourth chapter. Finished everything up on the train ride up here (I'm in Baltimore right now, for BronyCon :)

I really hope everypony likes this one, cause I really did, we're getting to go a good deal deeper, even with Lighting Dust, but I feel as if I kept her still well within character

Anything anypony wants to ask or say, go ahead and comment. And don't forget to try to find me if you're here at the convention!

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