• Published 4th May 2014
  • 1,340 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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Having to Realize

Lightning had shown up after all at the end of the day. Fudge Pop was in the midst of closing down her vending wagon, so Lightning Dust knocked on the open doorframe.

“Just one minute,” the vendor mare responded upon noticing Lightning, “let me finish closing everything up.”

Lightning stood by out of the way and waited while Fudge Pop finished up her end-of-the-day routine. She'd already pulled the cover closed over the service window and was placing the cold-trapping seals back over each of the ice cream bins.

Fudge Pop spoke up to Lightning Dust as she went about sealing the bins. “All of these are labeled by color so take a look as much as you want now and don't forget nopony really ever comes early in the morning so you'll probably have some time to check again tomorrow too.”

“I should be able to tell,” Lightning said in her new neutral tone.

“Oh, yeah I forgot. You said you used to get ice cream here a lot, didn’t you?” Fudge Pop responded.

“When I was a filly,” Lightning confirmed, “my sister took me here a lot.”

Fudge Pop suddenly stopped in the middle of washing the ice cream scooping spoons. She gave an odd look over at Lightning Dust. “You lived in Canterlot?” She asked.

“My parents and my sister are all unicorns . . . so, yeah,” Lightning answered.

“Oh,” Fudge seemed decently surprised for a moment, “well if you think you still remember all the flavors well enough then.”

Fudgepop stepped past the ice cream lids over to the little wooden counter next to them where it seemed everything necessary for serving it was kept somehow without taking up that much space, despite the counter's size.

“The cones are over here,” she explained, “and so are the are the ice cream scoop and the sprinkle shovel. Oh! And don't forget about the hot fudge and the whipped cream! They’re under here on this little secret shelf. Had to hide them since I’ve had little fillies and colts reach over the window counter and run away with them before.”

The older mare turned about to the wagon's other side to open a cupboard revealing the small shelf holding several bottles of each of the toppings she'd just reminded herself of. She took one of each out and placed both of them up on the counter next to the cones and scoops. “You can keep them out here if you want, but just keep a really close eye on them. And, I mean REALLY close.”

“Alright,” she started to finalize, “well there's not much else to the little place so if you don't need to ask me about anything else I'm just going to go ahead and leave the key with you and go catch the train to Ponyville. I know it's not going to be anything like when . . . she still really knew who she was, but I'm still ready to finally go see my sister again.”

Lightning didn't look at the mare, made too uneasy by the thought of how much time it'd been since she'd seen her own sister.

“You said you had a sister,” Fudge Pop drew Lightning’s attention back again, “you know you should probably go and see her too, after I'm back to run the wagon in a few days.”

Lightning couldn’t keep herself from the sting that suggestion brought. She hadn’t seen Lyra in . . . a long time, but Lyra lived in Ponyville, and even the chance the going there would bring wasn’t an option. “Yeah . . . she doesn't exactly live someplace I can go.” Lightning told her. She chose to remain unspecific about where she meant, especially given that the ice cream mare herself was literally about to travel there in a short half hour train ride.

“Oh,” Fudge Pop looked genuinely saddened for Lightning’s sake, “I'm sorry to hear she's so far away. Well, there's always writing, at least. Or maybe if it is just that you're too down on your luck right now to make to her, you could always write and see if she could come see you.”

A kindhearted smile was the last thing Lightning saw from Fudgepop as the ice cream mare finally left the wagon to hurry off for the train station. Lightning Dust lingered in the vending wagon for a little while after the other mare had left. She did spend some time studying over the small bit of what she'd need to know for tomorrow, but most of the remainder she spent wishing she could see Lyra again. Why? Why did her sister have to live in Ponyville of all places?

***

Fudgepop hadn't been off; Lightning had gone through the entire morning until about eleven o’clock without seeing more than two customers. Only now, going on noon was she actually even seeing fillies and colts beginning to be brought to the little ledge-side park, running around and playing tag while the parents sat down amongst the picnic table, talking like boring adults.

Lightning stood, head in the window, ready. And surely enough the little young ponies got tired at some point, and playing tagging shifted into begging and badgering their parents for bits to buy ice cream with. And of course, none of the parents refused, only giving resistance long enough to lecture their foals about not eating too much of the treat.

Four of them rushed over to Lightning at once, a purple pegasus colt being the first to skid to a stop in front of the open window.

“And whatta you want?” Lightning tried her best to sound somewhat pleasant, forcing herself to almost smile.

“Chocolate! Double chocolate?” The colt demanded with exploding enthusiasm.

She couldn't avoid raising an eyebrow at him before turning aside to extract a cone.

“Hey, shouldn't you be a unicorn?” Another, younger colt behind the first asked, peering around the first to see that Lightning was a pegasus.

Lightning dropped the cone she had clenched between her teeth. The question came at her so sideways she didn't even exactly know how to take it, let alone what the little foal even meant by it. She looked back to see the one who'd asked examining her wings, just surprised, apparently at her being a pegasus.

“Ahh-no,” she answered back, “I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to be a pegasus.”

She kicked the fallen cone up across the wagon toward the waste bin and picked another off of the stack, scooping to clumps of chocolate ice cream on top of it and passing out the window to first foal in line.

“Your mane's really cool,” the next in told Lightning as the former first put two bits up on the window counter before walking away with his cone. “Does it sweep back like that cause you fly really fast?” The new first-place went on to ask.

“Yeah, you could say that. I used to.” Lightning answered.

“Why are you working in the ice cream wagon?” Yet another foal, a little older than the current front two asked.

“She said used to fly really fast,” the filly standing next to the colt at the window began suggesting, “maybe she went so fast she couldn't control where she was going and flew all the way to the sun! And now she came to the ice cream wagon to cool off?”

“That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard!” The little colt next to her said.

“Is not!” She fired back.

“Yeah, it kinda is.” He just reaffirmed himself.

“Stop being mean!” She demanded, resulting in him jabbing his tongue out.

Lightning’s face quickly began to display her unsettledness at the fight that seemed about to start. The idea of potentially having to deal with their parents became unappealing really fast.

“Uhh maybe you guys should just get your ice cream,” Lightning tried suggesting, “You know, that tasty stuff you came here for in the first place?”

The little filly snapped her head over and up to Lightning, and although it took a second or two she developed an expression of apparent guilt. “Sorry.” She actually apologized to Lightning Dust.

“I'm not.” The colt she’d been bickering with declared, yielding a glare from the little filly next to him.

“Come on!” The slightly older colt behind them suddenly complained. “I just wanna get some ice cream already! Can't you two NOT do this all the time?”

“But he's such a jerk!” The little filly yelled, pointing her accusing hoof at her now-apparent brother next to her.

“Who cares?” Words that were once instinctive to Lightning Dust now escaped her mouth again.

“Seriously!” Their older brother agreed with her.

Lightning blinked awkwardly for a second when she saw that both formerly fighting foals were staring at her inquisitively. “Kid,” she actually found the motivation to try and explain, “you can't waste your time going off the cloud about what somepony else thinks or what somepony else is acting like. You're never gonna take yourself anywhere.”

“I never would've ever gotten to do anything if I'd stayed like that,” she added on about herself.

“Whatta you mean?” The little filly asked.

The older brother groaned and then answered his little sister before Lightning could. “She means stop listening to him, AND yelling back at him! Just say whatever you wanted to say or whatever and keep doing whatever you wanted to in the first place. Mom and dad told you guys a million times it takes both of you to make a fight. So if you don't get into it then it'll just be him running his mouth by himself.”

Lightning pointed back at him. “Purple back there's got it.” She said.

“Can get my ice cream first then?” The rear colt pleaded.

The way he begged, and the fact of everything it was a response to made Lightning laugh, just once. All in all it sounded like a single cough, since her mouth was still closed. But regardless, she actually felt amusement again. Keto Profen was right, whatever he had her taking was starting to work.

“Sure,” she answered the older colt.

Lightning took his order and began to scoop it out. As soon as she had passed it out to him and he stepped away, the filly went to come up next but her other brother bumped her casually out of the way.

“Me next!” He demanded.

Lightning just held a flat, unimpressed face. “Yyyeah,” she responded, “how'bout no, kid.” She looked past him at his sister and asked her instead. “So what did you want?”

The little filly went to answer, but she stopped instead for a moment and looked like she was thinking. “Just let him go on get his,” she finally said, “if he wants it that bad.”

Her brother looked absolutely confused, while Lightning almost smiled at the little filly's response. The filly waited for the thirty seconds it took for her brother to get his ice cream and walk off, and then she finally took her turn coming right up to the wagon window.

“So what do you want?” Lightning finally got to ask her again.

“Can you make my ice cream look like your mane?” The little filly asked.

Lightning was nearly stunned by the question, and her face actually displayed a strong reaction for the first time in while, which of all things was shock and confuddledness.

“Uuhhh, what, like, cookie dough and orange sherbet?” She asked back.

“If the colours are the same.” The filly answered, smiling.

Lightning wasn't dumb, she obviously got why the filly had asked for that of all things . . . but the shock value of it was still there. The farthest thing from her for months was the thought of hearing somepony say anything implicatively positive to or about her. First Keto Profen and now this little filly?

“Here you go.” Lightning handed her as much of a perfect blend of the two flavors as she could make.

“Thanks miss.” The little filly said cheerfully, and then took her ice cream cone and turned off to go sit with her family.

Lightning watched her leave, and as she did what she’d told the little filly earlier stuck in her head. It stuck until she realized there was another piece to it that she hadn't mentioned. “Hey kid, wait.” Lightning called out.

The little filly stopped where she was and turned around again.

“You should try to remember what I said a couple minutes ago,” Lightning said, “but . . . you need to also make sure you don't ignore ponies when they're telling you stuff you might not wanna listen to if they're just trying to help you, or if they're trying to keep you from turning into the kind of pony you started ignoring in the first place.”

“That was my mistake,” Lightning admitted, after a pause, “and now I'm not awesome anymore.”

***

Lighting went about closing everything up as the sun was finally being lowered. The vending window was closed, all the ice cream bins were sealed, plastic cover was over the cone stacks and lids were back on the sprinkle buckets. She'd even wiped the counter clean of its spilled ice cream droplets. All she had left to do from what she remembered Fudge Pop telling her was to wash off the scoops.

As she went to collect them she stopped. What she'd told Keto Profen was true: she never used to eat ice cream, at least not any time in her recent past, not since she made her entire life about training, intensity, and pushing her physical limits. She'd touched nothing that would have compromised her extraordinary flying shape . . . former extraordinary flying shape. The only time she'd even recently had ice cream was when Keto got her some yesterday.

The contemplation grew in the front of her mind, not having any restraint anymore. And she thought, “Why not? What am I holding myself up to now anyways?”

With that, she grabbed a scoop in-hoof and dug it into the orange sherbet. She peeled out a good-sized clump and lifted the ice cream scooper up above her muzzle and just let the whole scoop of ice cream just fall straight into her mouth and gulped the creamy orange deliciousness straight down.

For some reason the memory of Keto of getting her some the day before held on as she consumed her scoop in a single moment, but that then quickly turned into the memory that it was around the time right then that she normally had been taking her medication. She needed to take it with food, Keto said so, and she hadn't exactly tested it otherwise. And, the orange sherbet bin was still open . . .

Lightning dug out another scoop, pulled out the two pill bottles from her pony pocket and took them out. One big capsule and one medium, like she'd been doing every day, just like Keto told her to. She packed them into the scoop she'd taken and went right on with what she'd done with the first, waiting until the orange taste was completely gone afterwards to toss the final ice cream scooper into the tiny sink and seal the orange sherbet container again.

By the time she finally left . . . everything felt like it was sinking. Everything she thought with each step she took sank down into her just like the ice cream had, and even though it all stopped where her heart was in her chest, it felt like it went so much deeper.

It was what she'd said to that little filly, both parts of it, both parts she'd said about herself: the embittered memories of her parents that came from what she said first . . . but those came up on their own often enough, especially now. So what was it really then?

Lightning Dust knew. She finally realized the truth, she finally saw beyond her own self-victimization, and just what it was she realized made her stop where she was.

For a moment she just stood there at that grassy Canterlot street corner, eyes angled downward. It was the truth that she'd told that little filly before she left with her cone . . . that stupid Rainbow Dash . . . was right. Lightning Dust had been wrong, just like she warned that little filly not to do, she'd stopped listening to anypony . . . stopped caring about anypony, in a way . . .

Lightning went home with stinging eyes and nose, the pre-crying sensation gripping her every step of the way until she finally got to her little two-room apartment . . . and then the sensation lifted away, replacing itself with the feeling her face fur slowly growing damp from her eyes down.

Author's Note:

Here it FINALLY is!

I'm really sorry, everypony, for being away so long. But, I'm back now . . . again.
This chapter's not as long as usual, I realize, but I feel everything that needed to happen in it does in the allotted amount writing.

We have Lightning Dust being faced with some realities and painful memories, some of which took part in making into who she formerly was. And, she comes to realize a bitter truth here . . . but with accepting such things, moving onward and bettering of one's life afterwards is always meant to follow.

Comments are welcome, and loved, as always.
Here it is, as promised in my latest blog post.

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