• Published 10th May 2014
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Pound and Pumpkin Tales 1 - Never2muchpinkie



Set a few years into the future, six year old Pound and Pumpkin have a lot of growing up to do. They fight and make up, make mistakes and learn lessons, and love and protect each other as much as they get on each other's nerves.

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14-4: Two friends

Twilight sat down and closed her eyes. She didn’t quite get why the two colts considered wrestling that fun, but then again she wasn’t a boy, a child, or the physical type. She had always lost herself in books when she was younger.

She gave them about five minutes of roughhousing before she walked over and pulled the two apart. “Okay, boys. I think that’s enough.”

Panting slightly Pound said, “You’re lucky the princess saved your butt. You were about to give up.”

“In your dreams,” Tree Leaf responded, sticking out his tongue.

“Come on now. Focus,” Twilight said. The two of them moved to the edge of the bed and sat down, but they were both still looking at each other with confidence.

“Listen up, both of you. I’d like to apologize to you guys.”

That broke the two of them out of their staring contest. “What for?” asked Pound.

“Yeah,” said Tree Leaf. “What did you do?”

“Well,” said Twilight, “the two of you had a really good point, and I have to admit that. Trying to spark friendship is good, but I was going about it the completely wrong way. In a way I had yet to really integrate the lesson I learned when I was helping to train Pound to control his temper. I underestimated your feelings because you were younger, and thus I wasn’t treating you both with the respect you deserve. It wasn’t my intention, of course, but I was treating you both as inferior to me.”

Tree Leaf shrugged. “Well, we are, aren’t we? You’re a princess and we’re just little kids.”

Twilight shook her head. “There’s a difference between status and attitude. In terms of status I am above you, yes, but that doesn’t mean I should treat you like you are beneath me. I should respect everyone and treat them as equally valuable.

“Pound.” She turned to him. “I forgot one of the most important things about forgiveness, and in that it showed I was looking down on you as simplistic.”

“You did?” Pound asked, having no clue what she was talking about.

“Forgiveness is something that has to come from the heart. You have to MEAN it and want it. You even said yourself that I couldn’t force you to become friends. However, I essentially blackmailed you into meeting with Tree Leaf by using your biggest weakness, manipulating you into coming by playing on your love for Pumpkin when you told me that you wanted a break from all the negativity that had been going on. I didn’t respect your feelings and thoughts, because I thought I knew best what should happen.” She bowed her head to him. “I’m truly sorry for that.”

Pound saw the guilt on her face, and he started feeling awkward again. “H-hey, you were trying to help me learn stuff.”

“That’s just an excuse for my bad behavior.” She lifted her head. “I will NOT make the same mistake a third time.”

Turning her head to Tree Leaf she said, “As for you, you also brought up a good point. I didn’t take your feelings into consideration either when I planned this meeting. I didn’t give you a choice or ask your opinion or even try and talk with you alone to try to get your side of the story, and so you wound up getting defensive and lashing out.”

She bowed her head to him as well. “I’m sorry for failing you. I’m not going to make any excuses. My lack of experience is still causing me to see ponies your age as older and more mature than they really are, as I’m used to interacting with ponies that are older than you.”

“Princesses make mistakes?” Tree Leaf said, looking a little confused.

“Of course they do,” Twilight replied, lifting her head. “No one pony knows everything, and we all must struggle to control our feelings and do the right thing as much as you do. Being an alicorn doesn’t stop me from having feelings that can be hurt, or anger that can cause me to lash out at others. One of the most important aspects of being a princess is to set an example for others to follow, and that means owning up to my mistakes and admitting when I’ve done something wrong, and striving to do better the next time. How could I teach others to do that if I walk around with this air of superiority that I never screw up and am absolutely perfect?

“I didn’t show you two the proper respect, and largely all the pain and hurt you both suffered today is a byproduct of my ignorance. I didn’t have any sort of plan when I came here. The two of you both called me out for butting into your problems. I just threw you two in the same room and waited to see what would happen. I assumed that you two would argue and shout a bit until you were able to get your feelings out and come to an understanding, basically ignoring what I had gone through with Pound during the week of his suspension.

“Yes, I was hoping to teach Pound a lesson about forgiveness and continue to teach him better means of resolving his problems than resorting to attacking other ponies, but I went about it the wrong way, and so Pound was only pretending forgiveness for the sake of protecting his sister, and Tree Leaf picked up that he was being insincere and rejected it. It wasn’t until the very end, when Tree Leaf finally revealed his true feelings, and Pound felt an understanding due to similar circumstances in his own life that he was truly willing to let go of his anger and apologize from his heart.”

A tear came down her eye. “I’m sorry. I never meant to cause so much pain. I’m still learning myself. I know that’s just an excuse for not doing more research, but I hope you can forgive me.”

Pound felt bad for Twilight. She was only trying to be helpful. Who cared if she made a mistake? Crying a little himself he hopped off the bed and hugged her. “It’s okay, Twilight. I forgive you. If you hadn’t told me that story about Moondancer I wouldn’t have been able to really understand him, so it was with your help that I’m becoming a better pony.”

Twilight put a hoof around him, her head on his as she closed her eyes and said tenderly, “Thank you, Pound.”

Tree Leaf came down as well. “Well… even if it was a total mess until the end at least me and Pound got to talk things out, and I got my first friend back too. I… I was wrong for what I did. I just felt so mad and didn’t know what to do, and I hurt Pound and his sister, and that hurt a lot. I’m… I’m really glad you came here today.” He hugged her leg too.

Twilight unfurled her wings wrapping the two of them in them. “Thank you, boys.

“I think I’m going to devote a month at your school, Pound. It would really help me to understand children better. I don’t want to keep making the same error in judgment of assuming I understand something I really don’t.”

“Sounds good, Twilight,” he replied, nuzzling her.

She nuzzled him back. “Don’t think that means anything is changing. I’m still going to treat you like everyone else.”

“I know, I know.” He giggled.

Pound turned to Tree Leaf as Twilight released them. “You should come to my house. I’m not the only one that deserves an apology.”

Tree Leaf nodded. “I know.” He looked around awkwardly before putting his hoof out and asking hesitantly, “Friends?”

Pound shoved his hoof aside just as Tree Leaf had done before. For a second Tree Leaf felt crestfallen before Pound straight up hugged him.

Tree Leaf smiled as he held Pound back.

Twilight was beaming to see the two renewing their bond.

When they broke apart the three of them left the room, looking for his mother. They found her in the living room, sitting there with her head on a hoof.

When she saw movement she turned her head and saw her son and Pound coming toward her, looking content. “So is everything settled, then?” she asked, her frigid tone from before gone.

“Yes, indeed,” said Twilight.

Tree Leaf walked up to her and sat on her lap. Automatically her legs curled around him, holding him to her. “And what did you learn, son?”

“We both screwed up. He didn’t know how I was feeling, and I didn’t know how he was feeling, so we both did dumb things.”

“I certainly heard you two yelling at each other, although I couldn’t make out the words.”

He rested his head on her chest. “We both apologized to each other and we’re friends again.”

“That’s wonderful.”

“I… I was kinda jealous of Pound because he had a sibling and knows a princess and goes to school. I know it was wrong, so I’ll try not to do that again.”

She closed her eyes, squeezing him hard. “Now that’s the boy I’m proud of.”

He giggled, enjoying her praise. “I gotta go for a little while. I have to talk with Pumpkin too.”

“Alright,” she replied. “Come back when you’re ready.”

She set him on the floor, standing up herself. She bowed her head low. “Princess Twilight, please excuse my earlier rudeness. He is my son, after all, and I feared that he might get overwhelmed if I wasn’t there for moral support.”

“Please raise your head,” said Twilight, that uncomfortable feeling inside again. She wondered if she was ever going to get used to others giving her an elevated status. “I completely understand your concern. We all want to protect those who are near and dear to us. Uncertainty can cause the imagination to picture horrible things, but I had no desire to administer punishment or judgment on your son.” Gesturing with her head she said, “Pound here makes his fair share of mistakes and through lessons and practice he’s improved a lot since I began teaching him.”

Pound nodded. “It’s like my Auntie Pinkie says. Doing bad stuff doesn’t make you a bad pony. It only means you made a mistake. Hate the behavior and not the pony.”

“Right,” she replied, nodding. “I’ll always love my son, no matter what he does.”

Tree Leaf gave her a warm smile before bidding her goodbye and heading out the door behind Twilight and Pound.

During the trip to Sugarcube Corner Twilight had to endure the two of them trading put downs and shoves, giggling all the while. She had to keep reminding herself of priorities. They were getting along. She could work to ease them out of their macho behavior another day.

When they arrived at Sugarcube Corner Tree Leaf’s attitude shifted, and he became hesitant in his steps.

“What’s wrong, Tree Leaf?” asked Twilight.

“I’m… I’m a little scared,” he admitted.

“Of Pumpkin?” Pound asked. “The worst she can do is not forgive you.”

He shook his head. “Not of Pumpkin. Of your parents. If my mom was getting all worked up because Twilight wanted to talk to me about what happened I don’t know how your parents are gonna react when I ask to see her.”

“You’re with me, Tree Leaf,” Twilight said reassuringly. “They already know why I left with Pound, and I’ve known the Cakes personally for years. They’re very sweet and kind, and they’ll forgive you if you show you’re sorry. Pound already told you about how crazy he got after your fight, and they forgave him.”

He let out a sigh. “But he’s their son. Of course they’re gonna forgive HIM.” He let out another heavy breath.

“You’re just gonna have to trust me.” She put a wing around him protectively. “I told this to Pound and Pumpkin before. As a princess every pony is like family. I have to look out for ALL my little ponies, no matter how well or how little I know them. I’ll keep you safe. If things go badly I’ll get you out of there. Okay?”

Tree Leaf felt the warmth of her hold washing over him, and he didn’t feel quite so nervous anymore. “Okay,” he replied, comforted.

As they entered Sugarcube Corner Cup Cake was at the register taking an order from a customer.

Tree Leaf hid behind Twilight's leg as they waited for her to be free. His little heart began to race when the customer got his goods and went to sit down at a table. They approached the counter.

“Hello, Twilight,” came her bright voice. “So how did everything go?”

“Just fine,” Twilight replied, pushing Tree Leaf out from behind her.

“H-hello,” the colt said, nervously raising his hoof and giving a feeble wave. “I was wondering if I could talk to your daughter.”

For a moment her eye’s narrowed, but then she got control of herself and worked her face into a more neutral expression. “Of course. I think she’s up in her room.”

Pound heard the same frosty tone he had heard in Tree Leaf’s mom, and he began to think that moms were kinda scary when it came to their kids. He fancied himself a tough customer when it came to his sister, but he didn’t think he could compare to an angry mother. “Let’s go upstairs, then,” said Pound.

“Hold on,” said Tree Leaf, hanging his head. Leaving Twilight’s side was terrifying, as it meant giving up his security, but as he had seen with Pound Pumpkin wasn’t the only pony he had hurt with his actions.

He walked behind the counter, and awkwardly hugged her leg. “I’m really sorry about what I did. I… I know that you don’t like me but I hope you can forgive me.” He sniffed, tears dripping onto the ground.

Cup Cake could hear the remorse in his voice. Her eyes softened, and she rubbed his head and said in a kinder tone, “I forgive you. We all make mistakes. I’m just glad you can admit that you did something wrong.”

Twilight, Pound, and Tree Leaf all went upstairs to the twins room.

Pound pushed the door open, seeing his sister sitting on her bed reading a book. When she heard the door she looked up, seeing the trio. Pumpkin gave Tree Leaf a cold look to rival her mothers. She jammed a book mark into her story, and slammed it shut. “Well, look who showed up,” she said haughtily. “You two all palsy-walsy again?”

Tree Leaf moved in front of them, telling them, “Don’t get involved this time.”

Twilight sat down near the door. “As you wish,” she said in a resigned voice.

Pound looked between Tree Leaf and his sister. “H-hey. There’s no need to fight. Tree Leaf-”

“Pound!” Twilight said sternly. “Let him handle this on his own. A key component of friendship is allowing those you care for room to grow, which means not always saving them from their problems.”

“But-”

“I know, Pound. You understand his troubles now, but Pumpkin doesn’t, and he should be the one to own up to his shortcomings, not just allow you to settle things the easy way.”

Pound looked put out as he walked heavily and sat down next to Twilight. “Haven’t we had enough fighting recently?” he said under his breath.

Twilight rubbed his head. “Just settle down, Pound. This is good practice for the two of them.”

Pound just rolled his eyes and crossed his hooves.

Once it was down to the two of them Pumpkin hopped off her bed and stomped over to him. “You’re a total jerk! You know that?”

“Yes,” he said, not even fighting her claim.

She eyed him suspiciously. “Just because I broke up your stupid wrestling match you hated me? I was trying to protect the two of you from getting in trouble. You ignored me, tried to push me out of our games as much as you could, then flung sand in my eyes as soon as we were alone. I guess you’re a lot less brave now with a princess in front of you.”

She gave him a light shove. “Go ahead. You said you wanted to handle this on your own, so Twilight isn’t going to scold you. Why don’t you just say what you really feel?”

He shook his head. “It had nothing to do with you. Not really.”

“Nothing to do with me? Then why did you tell me to get lost and chuck sand at me? Why don’t you just be honest? Go on! Give me a hit now! Or don’t you have the guts?”

“I don’t want to hit you anymore. I was wrong to do what I did. I was just kinda jealous of Pound for having so much more than I did, and I saw how much he cared for you, so I… I tried to get you out of the way so I could have more time with him.”

Pumpkin rolled her eyes. “You’re no fun. You’re not even trying to fight back. That just makes me look like the bad pony for picking on you.”

Unable to stop himself Pound yelled out, “That’s because we worked things out and he’s not angry anymore! That’s why I was trying to tell you from the start!”

Pumpkin shifted her gaze to Pound, then back to Tree Leaf. “You caused a lot of problems for our family. You know that?”

“Yes,” he responded. “And I‘m really sorry about that.” He scratched his head. “I, well, I’d never had a friend before, and so I wanted Pound all to myself. But Pound told me something I didn’t even think of before.”

“And what was that?”

“He said that if I hadn’t been so busy being annoyed at you and been nicer to you I could have had two friends, instead of losing my first friend and winding up all alone again.” A tear dripped down his cheek. “I’m really sorry about what I did. I know that must have really stung.”

“Yeah. A bit,” she replied with a touch of sarcasm.

“Do you think that maybe we could start over… as friends?” He held out his hoof. “I’ll try really hard not to hurt you again. It… it can just hurt so much being lonely.” Another tear dropped down. “I don’t want to give up on friends.”

Pumpkin sighed. “You’re such a dork… just like my brother. Hot headed and stubborn and annoying. Buuuut… I have to live with Pound, so I suppose I can give you a try too.” She slapped his hoof with hers, and Tree Leaf wore a genuine smile as he threw his hooves around her. “Um…”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” Tree Leaf gushed. “I’ll be the best friend ever!”

Pumpkin found it a little odd to be hugged by a near stranger, especially after what happened the day they met. But she could tell his feelings were genuine, so she ignored her discomfort and hugged him back.

“Wow,” said Twilight. “That conflict was resolved in record time.”

“Hey,” Pound complained. “I did most of the work.”

“Indeed you did, Pound,” she agreed, patting his head.

“Hee hee.” Approaching the pair he said, “So can we play together, all THREE of us?”

Tree Leaf detached from Pumpkin, nodding.

They played a variety of games, from make-believe adventures to hide and seek. It took Pumpkin a little while to really warm up to him, but seeing his shift in attitude toward her with her own eyes she lightened up after a while.

Twilight stayed to watch over the trio, thinking back to the Cutie Mark Crusaders. They even had one of each race in their group just like them. Hopefully their friendship would endure as well as Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and Apple Bloom’s would. She certainly hoped so. The blossoming of friendship was a wonderful thing to behold, and she felt serenity washing over her.

Despite not feeling excluded Pumpkin still had to deal with the two of them trying to one-up the other and trash talk one another, which did grow a little wearisome after a while, especially when they’d start getting physical and abruptly challenge the other to a wrestling match or a hoof-wrestle.

After the boys yet again dissolved into a pile of limbs Pumpkin finally get fed up. “Alright, that’s it!” she said, refusing to sit back any longer. She jumped right into the fray. “Bring it on, and I’ll show you who’s really the tough one here.”

Twilight sighed, shaking her head with an amused smile on her face. “Go get ‘em, Pumpkin,” she said in a whisper.

A few hours later all three of them were pretty played out, but with such bright expressions on their faces.

Twilight mentally checked off today as a success. There were some hiccups here and there, but she could tell it meant a lot to Pound that he had worked things out with Tree Leaf.

“Come on, Tree Leaf,” she said. “It’s about time I take you home.”

The colt looked over at her, and she saw that he looked considerably less joyful. “Alright,” he replied in a small voice.

Twilight walked over to him, patting his head. “Come on now. Don’t be upset. You can always visit again another day.”

“I guess so,” he said noncommittedly, getting to a standing position and going over to give Pound and Pumpkin a goodbye hug. “This was the first time I got to play with friends. I just didn’t want it to end so soon.”

Pound squeezed him tight. “Don’t be upset, Tree Leaf.” He understood his friend’s loneliness. He knew how much he depended on his sister.

Pumpkin could also see his distress, and she got an idea. “Hey, Twilight?” she said, letting go of him and turning to Twilight.

“Yes, Pumpkin?” she replied.

“Do you think you could get Tree Leaf into our school?”

All three of them looked at her with surprise. “Get him into your school?”

Pumpkin nodded. “You said that you can’t show anyone special treatment and you have to treat everybody fairly. So it wouldn’t be right to use your authority to get us into Magic Kindergarten and not him. If he goes to school he’ll be around a lot of other ponies his age, and us, of course, so he won’t be as lonely.”

“Aw, Pumpkin,” Tree Leaf said, tears shining in his eyes. “I would love to go to school with you guys.” He turned to Twilight. “So can I go?”

Twilight hated the thought of shattering his hopes, but there were issues that had to be resolved. “I am a princess, yes, but that alone doesn’t mean I can do it.” As she thought his face was falling again. “First of all, the school year has already started, and they gave me a bit of a hard time when I tried to get Pound and Pumpkin in there a month before school even began. And second, there’s your parents. I might be able to get you a spot, but it’s your parents that have to approve it and sign you up. I can only do so much. Just being royalty doesn’t mean I have absolute authority and I can change any rules to suit my whims.

"I’ll do my very best to get you in, though. I’m already planning to take an observatory role at the school to get a better understanding of children your age for the next month. I’ll see if it I can take you with me for the interim period. If you behave yourself and prove that you’re eager to learn and work real hard that will go a long way toward convincing them to keep you on.”

Tree Leaf nodded, running over and hugging her as well. “I will, I will. I want to go to school and be with my best friends!”

Twilight giggled, using her magic to place him on her back. “Alright, then. Before anything else, though, we need to get permission from your parents.”

“I know, but I don’t think my parents will care. Why wouldn’t they want me to learn stuff and make friends?”

Twilight headed for the door. “I doubt they’ll mind, but I still need to ask.”

Pound and Pumpkin joined them as they headed down the stairs. “Bye, Pound. Bye, Pumpkin.” Tree Leaf waved to them as they exited the front door.

“Goodbye, Tree Leaf!” they both called out after him.

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