• 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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20-1: The worth of a loser

Drill Bit got ready for school, his week of suspension finally over. He had spent a while thinking about things, and he had decided to do what he had pledged to do: he would help teach Pound to fly.

As he was eating breakfast he heard a knock on the front door before hearing it open.

“Hey there!” came the voice of his brother, Noble Gas.

He jumped out of his seat to go greet him. With Noble's position as a Royal Guard he rarely got to see his brother anymore.

His parents joined in right behind him, and they all gasped in unison as they took in his appearance.

Noble was a gray-coated pegasus with white hair and green eyes. However, what caught all of their attention were his injuries. In a jovial tone he said, “Nice to see all of you again.”

“Hey, Bro!” Drill said. Looking over at the casts on his brother’s wings and his left front leg he added, “You look like crap.”

Noble laughed. “Good of you to notice.”

“So what happened to you?” asked their father.

“I made a mistake and crashed into a rock formation.”

“Ouch,” said Drill. Looking Noble over he said in a more sympathetic tone, “So how long do they think it’s gonna take for you to recover? I mean, you’re not, like, crippled for good, right?”

He shook his head. “You wish, squirt. You don’t get a shortcut to becoming better than me.”

“Like I wanted one,” he responded, sticking out his tongue.

Their mother walked up to him, lightly gripping his cheeks with her front hooves. “I’m glad you’re alright.” She hugged him, being careful to avoid touching his casts.

He nuzzled her. “You and me both.”

“You’ve done our family proud by rising so far in the ranks of the Royal Guard. You’re welcome to stay here until you recover.”

“Thanks, Mom.”

They all headed to the kitchen, sitting down.

“There’s so much I want to tell you, Bro,” said Drill, “But I have to go to school.”

Noble rubbed his head. “Sure thing.”

***

Pound spotted Drill Bit as he walked in. When they went outside for practice Drill Bit came to him first.

“We need to talk, brat.”

Pound wore a half-smile. “Starting in already?”

“I have to say that I never liked how weak you were. A little bit of teasing and you fell to pieces. But something changed that day at the park. You finally stood up to me because you didn’t like that I threatened your sister.”

Pound didn’t respond. He had already said this at the park.

“You did something I didn’t expect. I offered you the chance to attack me, but you wouldn’t do that. Instead, you offered to take the blows for her sake if I left her alone. For the first time I finally saw you as something more than a weakling. Fighting for superiority would have been one thing, but being willing to get beat up in order to square things between us was fascinating. You’ve piqued my interest.”

“As I told you before I will do whatever it takes to keep my sister safe, and I’ll always put myself between her and whatever threatens her.”

Drill Bit nodded. “Mmm-hmm, mmm-hmmm. Honorable and noble for sure, but do you think that’s enough?”

“What do you mean?”

“The only thing that sparked that bit of strength in you was the fact that I posed a threat to your sister. Anyone can get an adrenaline rush and go out of their way to protect a loved one, but what about yourself? You have protective strength, willing to be a shield for your sister, but do you have any inner strength? Can you protect yourself when the time comes? That’s what I’m here to find out.

“Our teacher may treat you like a baby, letting you go at your own pace, but my family has always pushed me to be the best I can be. And doesn’t it show? As you yourself pointed out, I’m the best in our class. If you really want to fly then I’m going to make you work for it, got it?”

Pound nodded. What Drill was saying wasn’t that different then what Scootaloo described. Either he would believe in himself and excel, or allow the negative comments said about him to become the truth and give up. In his mind he went back to his usual refrain. ‘I’m an ugly duckling. I’m an ugly duckling.’

“Okay, then. Show me what you’ve got.”

“Right now?” Pound asked.

Drill rolled his eyes. “Don’t make me lose the little respect I have for you. YES, right now.”

Pound let out a quick breath before stretching his wings and jumping in the air, straining himself, but he fell to the ground immediately.

Drill shook his head. “Terrible. Just terrible. Your form sucks.”

“My ‘form?’” he asked.

“Flopping around like that won’t ever get you off the ground. Watch me.” Drill unfurled his wings, bent, jumped, and flapped, hovering in place. “You see this? Symmetry is essential for flight. The way you flop around isn’t in sync at all. That’s the same reason it took you forever to learn how to do a proper wing-up.”

Pound looked behind him at his wings. Was that why he wasn’t flying yet?

Drill landed on the ground. “Pay attention, runt.”

Pound snapped his head forward.

“Push your wings out as far as you can.” When Pound complied Drill said, “Now, I want you to flap your wings as slowly as possible.”

Pound stared at him a few moments, then mentally shrugged and complied.

Drill observed him for a few moments before walking behind him. “Your wing movements are just slightly out of sync. Maybe one of them is a tiny bit bigger than the other, or maybe you’re not paying enough attention.” He walked until he was in front of Pound again. “Now look and focus.”

He lifted his wings until they were fully up, then slowly lowered them. Up and down, up and down, up and down. “You seeing this? Your wings should always be a mirror image of each other. You can’t just flap like crazy and expect to stay in the air.” He gave a hard flap downward. “Pushing down gives you a lift, and to get the best air you need to use both wings in sync. Besides wing strength and wing length, symmetry is the most important thing in flying.”

Pound made a conscious effort to keep track of his wings as he started slowly flapping them, trying to see if he could catch himself screwing up. It wasn’t that hard at the start, when he was going agonizingly slow. All he had to do was make sure his wings hit the peak and the bottom at the same time. It was when he started speeding up that it became harder to keep track of. When he really got going it became difficult to tell if he was in sync or not.

Drill Bit didn’t seem to have that trouble. “Focus!” he’d say, giving Pound a light smack on the top of his head. It wasn’t painful. It was just enough to get his attention.

By the time they went back inside he didn’t feel he had made much progress. He thought he was a smidge better than he had been when he came in, but he knew he still had a while to go.

At lunch he sat with Pumpkin and Masky. As he was headed outside Drill Bit got in his way. “You don’t get a recess today,” the colt said.

“What do you mean?” he responded.

“I told you I’m not babying you. It’s time for more training.”

Pound went to complain, but then thought better of it. “Fine.” If he really wanted to fly he needed all the practice he could get. He could take a few days of not playing with them.

Drill Bit’s entourage hovered around them as they trained, challenging each other at feats of skill. Pound noticed that they always seemed locked in some competition or another. Maybe that was why they were so skilled.

By the end of the day his wings were a little sore, but he still hadn’t made much progress.

Days passed, and Drill Bit was steadily losing patience, and Pound was getting annoyed at his insults mainly because he was frustrated at his own lack of progress. When he was on the ground and flapping the synchronization issue seemed trivial, since he wasn’t actually trying to keep himself afloat. However, it felt like as soon as he jumped he just seemed to have a mental block. Keeping calm just flew out of his head, and he’d start flapping at random.

The tension came to a head one day during recess.

“Focus!”

“Come on, doofus! Pay attention!”

“What is wrong with you? Why can’t you follow directions properly?”

Pound growled under his breath, sick of his insults. “Oh, shut up!” he said angrily, giving Drill a shove.

Drill immediately shoved him back even harder, nearly knocking Pound down. “Don’t touch me or I’ll make you regret it.”

“HEY!” cried out one of the aides, walking towards them. “Break it up right now or I’ll send you both to the principal.”

Both of them gave each other a look of deep loathing, then stomped away from each other.

Pound was silent the rest of the day. Pumpkin tried to coax him out of his bad mood, but he was far too furious to care. Eventually, she took the hint and left him to his own devices.

He didn’t greet Pinkie when she came to pick them up, walking far ahead of them.

Pumpkin had to explain what had happened.

As soon as he arrived home he went upstairs and grabbed Champ’s leash, going for a long walk.

***

Drill Bit arrived home, throwing his saddle bag on a table before going to check up on his brother.

“Hey, Loser,” he said grumpily as he walked in. “You croak yet?”

Noble chuckled. “Well, that’s cheerful. What’s got you all riled up?”

“It’s that idiot Pound Cake. He utterly SUCKS at flying. He’s such a loser! I can’t stand him!” He crossed his hooves as he sat on a chair. “I’m done with him. He can learn to fly on his own."

“Is that right?” asked Noble. “I think you should rethink your position on things.”

“Like what? That instead of a loser he’s a talentless moron? Because that sounds just fine to me.”

“I think we need to talk, Bro.”

Drill rolled his eyes, pushing the rolling chair in front of his brother’s bed and sitting in it backwards. “Do tell. What grand wisdom do you want to impart on me today?”

“That those ponies you designate as losers can become ever greater than you.”

Drill snorted. “HIM? Never! Honestly, he probably only just got out of diapers before he started school. Shoot, he’ll probably be a grandfather before he starts flying.”

“You know, if it wasn’t for a ‘loser’ I wouldn't be here today.”

Drill’s eyebrow went up. “You got my attention.”

“I told you I got into an accident, but I didn’t explain how it came about because I didn’t want to worry all of you.

“You know how our parents are, spouting that being the best is all that really matters. I’ve been competitive in everything since I was your age, and I’ve accumulated quite a collection of awards and trophies.

“Being in the Royal Guard was no different. I pledged to become captain of the whole thing right before I started, and I’ve steadily risen in the ranks, starting from the bottom and working my way near the top, but no matter how much effort I put in Princess Celestia wouldn’t boot out the current captain and make me the leader, even though I felt I’d more than earned it. She told me I was missing something important, though she wouldn’t specify what it was.”

Drill rolled his eyes. “Let me guess: It’s something you had to figure out on your own.”

“It is. And that’s what made it so important.”

“So what is this ‘magical’ thing you were missing?” he asked, waving his hooves.

“A spirit of teamwork.”

Drill’s eyebrow went up. “Teamwork? Tch. What a joke. Other ponies are just stepping stones to your greatness. How can you show off your true skill when your performance relies on the skill of other ponies?”

Noble got a wistful smile on his face, sighing. “Yeah, our parents got to you pretty well, didn’t they? I was the same way before my accident, and it really cleared my vision.”

“So, what, you don’t care about winning anymore? You’re content to just be a loser? No thank you.”

Noble shook his head. “It has nothing to do with winning or losing. It’s about showing respect for others.”

Drill made a dismissive noise. “If ponies want respect they have to earn it. Am I gonna honor some nerd who can’t do anything right?” He kicked off with one of his rear legs, causing the chair to spin around. “How dull.”

“Like I told you before I owe my life to one of those kinds of ponies.”

“Well, whatever.” He slowly came to a stop. “Regale me with this thrilling tale of boredom.”

“His name is Hawkeye. He was a new pegasus recruit. He had a lot of passion, but not much talent. It was obvious he needed some serious training before he could even think of being allowed to guard someone like Princess Celestia. As second-in-command I was tasked with overseeing his training.”

“I’m sure that must have been fun,” Drill responded disinterestedly, spinning around again. “If he was just a talentless loser then why did he bother to sign up for the Royal Guard? Seems like a big waste of time to me. He should have just stuck with his loser friends back home so he could at least pretend he had some talent.”

Noble cringed. Seeing the pony he used to be reflected in his brother just made him feel sick to his stomach. He could only hope that his brother was receptive to his story.

“After a few weeks Hawkeye had made some decent progress, but he was still far below what I would consider acceptable for a guard position. He was rather slow and tended to go all out right at the start, leaving him wiped out during training sessions.”

Drill was still spinning around. “What did I tell you? Pathetic. Although the fact that this dude saved your life instead of the way it should be might make you even worse than him, and I don’t even know how that’s possible.”

Noble bit his lip to stop himself from retorting. Confronting his brother’s behavior would only put him on the defensive. Though bored and sarcastic Drill was at least listening.

“We went on a training exercise near Ponyville, a place called Ghastly Gorge. We started out in the forest, practicing swerving around trees, then dodging obstacles in the gorge. I treated it like a race, even though it was about skill rather than time. I blew ahead of my team, even though I was supposed to be leading them. I would be waiting for them at the ‘finish line.’"

“Heh!” Drill stopped spinning again. “Now that sounds more like you.”

“Only it didn’t go quite that smoothly.”

“Oh, right. The accident.” Drill looked like he was about to start spinning again, but then he thought better of it.

“I was so far ahead of the others I turned around to see if any of them were anywhere close by, and I wound up smashing right into the side of the gorge, causing an avalanche. And I guess I wasn’t the first pony that’s caused that issue, since the ground was already littered with rocks.

“I tried to dodge around them, but a large piece of rubble knocked me in the back, pulling me toward the ground. I managed to twist around to get off of it before I hit the rock pile, but I just took another one to the stomach that forced me the rest of the way down. As I hit I felt a great pain in my wings and my leg, but I hardly had time to focus on it as I was practically buried beneath the rubble. The only thing that was still exposed was a small portion of one of my front hooves and my snout.”

“Wow... that must have been scary.” Drill finally became serious. His brother hadn’t made it sound that bad when he first described it. It sounded more like he had broken his wings by crashing and then the rock broke his leg, not that he had been buried alive.

“It was. I couldn’t move, buried beneath piles of rock. It was hard to breathe with the pressure on my chest, and I was in pain everywhere, but especially in my front leg. I wasn’t strong enough to free myself, and I thought for sure I was going to suffocate before long. ”

Drill got a sour look on his face. “You’re not allowed to die! I don’t want you to die!”

Noble smiled sadly. “I’m touched. I’m glad to know you care.”

Drill swatted him with a wing. “Of course I care, you dolt! I’m not letting you get out of me kicking your flank in everything. Death isn’t allowed to beat you. That’s a right that belongs only to me! Got it?” Tears shined in his eyes as he let out a heavy breath.

“Got it,” he replied with a small chuckle.

Drill positioned himself so he was sitting on the chair the right way, and crossed his hooves. “Well, get on with it.”

It seemed he finally had his brother’s full attention.

Noble nodded. “Well, my mouth was exposed, but the heavy weight prevented me from yelling out. I did my best to remain calm. I knew I couldn’t afford to panic or I would begin to hyperventilate and pass out… maybe forever.”

Drill’s eyes narrowed and he scrunched up further until he was in a ball, staring into a corner of the room.

Noble pressed on. “Ghastly Gorge isn’t exactly the most populated area. I knew my only hope for survival rested on my team… the team I had left behind because I felt they were beneath me. But that hope faded as quickly as it came. Shortly after I was buried I heard their voices and a whoosh of air. I did my best to yell, but only a wheeze came out and soon enough their voices faded into the distance until I couldn’t hear them anymore.”

A tear came down his eye as he recalled that moment. “I was helpless. I was buried alive, barely able to breathe, multiple appendages broken, and my only hope had just flown right by. In that moment everything seemed lost.

“Oh, sure. Eventually they’d discover I wasn’t waiting for them at the end, but there was no guarantee they would discover I was underneath the avalanche, or, if they did, that they would be in time.”

He began trembling a little. “I just couldn’t stop thinking of the things I still wanted to do… the pain my family would be in. For all my ‘greatness’ I was about to die all alone, no one by my side, and possibly never found. In that moment I saw how small I really was, and I very nearly tried to hurry the process along by deliberately wasting what little oxygen I had.”

Drill gulped, taking in a shaky breath. Silent tears came down his face.

“And then…”

***

Hawkeye, a brown coated pegasus with a white mane, was huffing as he slowly flew through the gorge. He was a foot off the ground, wanting to land, but he knew his leader would scold him for it if he found out. He was already going to get a massive lecture for being so incredibly behind everyone else.

He looked around, trying to find anything that might distract his attention from his discomfort, and nearby he spotted the massive rockslide. “Whoa...” He paused a moment, looking upward at the missing pieces of rock above. “Yikes! I’d hate to have been here when that happened.”

He landed, taking a moment to catch his breath. He was already in hot water. What was another minute or two?

“Huh?” He noticed something off, though it wasn’t apparent at first. There seemed to be movement in the pile. He looked toward where he was supposed to be headed, and after a quick mental struggle he decided to be on his way. If he was ever put in charge of someone important he couldn’t let himself get distracted by petty nonsense.

But though he unfurled his wings and bent his knees, ready to take off, something was giving him pause. Among all the black, gray, and blueish rocks he noticed a patch of red that didn’t look like it could come from a rock. And unless he missed his guess it was moving ever so slightly.

With a pang of guilt he knew he had to satisfy his curiosity, and trotted closer to it. His head tilted slightly as he approached, curiosity turning to horror when he heard a wheezing breath and realized the red thing was a tongue sticking out of a mouth, and going by the little bit of coat he could see it was his leader.

He quickly flew the rest of the way there. “HOLD ON, SIR!” he said loudly. He glanced around in a panic, but saw no one else. He didn’t have time to grab the rest of his squad or go to Ponyville nearby. By then it might be too late. Noble’s breathing was already pretty faint.

He shoved away some of the smaller rocks, trying to dig Noble out, but it was clear the big rock needed to come off before anything else. But could he do it? Noble had made his thoughts perfectly clear about what he thought of his abilities. He was already pretty wiped from training, and if he couldn’t lift the rock up all the way the only place it had to go was back down, right onto Noble’s chest. One wrong move, and he could wind up killing Noble himself.

He shook his head. Now was not the time to get lost in self-pity. If there was no one else around to help then he would have to do it alone. It wasn’t a matter of could or couldn’t. He WOULD do it. His boss’ life depended on it.

He got both front hooves under the largest rock, trying to quell his doubts and fears. “It’s going to be all right, Sir!” he said, as much to try to reassure himself as Noble.

Pleading to he knew not what, he whispered, “Please, let me be strong, now of all times.”

He put his back into it, the rock lifting only inches at a time. After only lifting it a foot his hooves began to tremble with exhaustion, and he knew lifting it straight up and over was going to be impossible for him. Nevertheless, he wasn’t going to give up. He might not have much talent, but he always had perseverance.

Knowing he had precious little time he let one of his hooves slip down a bit before using the last of his upper body strength to lift the rock as high as he could, then quickly shifted position so he was facing the downward slope of the bottom and slammed his body into it as hard as he could. A throbbing pain went through his leg and shoulder, but to his immense relief he saw the rock go tumbling down the pile before landing with a hard thud.

He heard a gasp below him as Noble was able to take in full breaths again.

The worst of it over he finished throwing rocks around, ignoring his fatigue and the burning in his legs until Noble was completely uncovered.

“Are you alright, Sir?”

Noble opened an eyelid a crack, still taking in deep lungfuls of oxygen, before seeming to pass out without answering.

“No, Sir! Wake up!” He gave Noble a few gentle slaps to stir him.

Noble resisted the call at first, but eventually stirred again.

“You’re our leader! It’s not permitted for you to die! Got that? Something like this isn’t enough to break you. Now please stay awake!”

***

Tears streamed down Noble’s face. “Even though I had treated him like trash… even though I had insulted and demeaned and insinuated he should just give on ever being anything of value on many occasions… he showed nothing but concern and compassion for me.” Noble gulped. “Exhausted as he was he still gently set me upon his back and didn’t once complain as he set off for our rendezvous point. After the horrible way I treated him I would have been well served if he had decided to leave me there and gloat.”

“But…” Drill looked uncertain. “But I mean… isn’t that normal? I mean, I don’t like Pound but I certainly don’t want to see him DIE, and I wouldn’t just leave him behind if I could save him.”

“In the moment, when adrenaline is running high, sure. But after I was taken to the hospital and put in casts and everyone was assured there was no threat to my life Hawkeye still steadfastly supported me. He didn’t want to leave my side the whole day after the accident, and never once called me out for my attitude toward him. All he wanted was to make sure I was going to pull through, and after that to make sure I was comfortable as I could be.

“I couldn’t understand it at first, but eventually I realized what I was seeing: the spirit of true teamwork. I treated my team like they were beneath my notice, effectively telling them that if they wanted me to care about them they had to earn it and prove their skill.

“Hawkeye, however, valued me as a member of the team, and he would do whatever it took to help the team. Regardless of the way I treated him I was the one appointed leader of my squad, and he didn’t lose that respect for me even when my pride was shattered and I lay there beaten and broken.”

Drill kicked a hoof, spinning around once. “The point of your story makes no sense.”

“Why’s that?”

“If you had been nice to Hawkeye from the start and encouraged him in his training then he wouldn’t have been so far behind everyone else and he would have left you behind too. You saying it would have been better if you had died than to be a little mean?”

Noble shook his head. “Not at all. I see where you were going, but your train of thought is at the wrong station.”

“Oh, yeah?” He spun around again. “What’s wrong with it? I’m just going by what you said.”

“If I hadn’t been an arrogant jerk and acted like a true team leader I would have stayed by my team and not left them behind. I would have been right near all of them and might not have crashed. Even if I did they could pool their strengths to easily lift the rock off of me, or they might have been able to warn me in time or pull me out of harm’s way. The point is, there are any number of ways things might have gone differently if I hadn’t abandoned the ponies under my command.

“I underestimated the weakest of the bunch, but in the end he was the one that came to my rescue when I was in trouble. It made me see that even a weakling can have something important to teach if we only pay attention.”

Drill looked uncertain as he spun around again. “So what did the princess have to say about all this?”

Noble let out a sigh. “Needless to say, she wasn’t pleased.”

***

“I am extremely grateful that you were not seriously hurt, Noble, but that was a darn fool thing to do,” Celestia said sternly. “A team is supposed to act as one, not as individuals. Leaving your team behind just to feel self-satisfied at how much better you think you are than all of them endangered your life. Were it not for Hawkeye who knows how long you would have been buried under the rubble.

"If this had been a real-life invasion you would have put not only your life, but all of Canterlot in danger. Without you to lead them the effectiveness of your team would be cut in half, or maybe even more.

“I hope that this incident at least taught you something valuable.”

Noble stared at the blanket covering him in his hospital bed, unable to bring himself to look around at the rest of his team. “It has, Princess,” he said forlornly. “Seeing the depths of Hawkeye’s concern for me and how much he values not only the team but the individual members has made me feel that he would make a far more effective leader than I ever would. I’ve been horrible to my group, and I feel that I should resign from the Royal Guard.”

Celestia got a thoughtful look on her face.

“Hey! Hey! Whoa!” Hawkeye stepped forward. “You can’t resign. You’re our leader. I couldn’t lead like you can. I can’t even keep up with the rest of the team, let alone you.”

Noble glanced at Hawkeye out of the corner of his eye. “Why are you sticking up for me? I was the nastiest to you. I wouldn’t blame you if you despised me for everything I’ve said about you.”

“I can’t say I enjoy being put down, but if I can’t take some insults how can I ever expect to put my life on the line for the princesses? Any threat big enough to require our assistance isn’t going to stop at some mean words. That’s why, despite it all, I’ve continued pushing through, no matter how difficult. I don’t want a captain that’s going to deny the reality of what being a Royal Guard truly means. That’s why I’m pledging to work even harder during your convalescence, so you won’t even recognize me after you return.”

One of his squad mates nodded his assent. “Being a Royal Guard should be tough, or else anyone would be able to do it. We’re here because we want to be the best of the best, no matter how long it takes.”

Another one chimed in. “Same here,” she said. “While my main motivation has always been the protection of Equestria I can’t deny that a part of me longs for the day I can surpass you and wipe that smug grin off your face. That always makes me push a little harder when I’m feeling ready to quit.”

“Got that right,” said a third. “You’re not allowed to surrender, boss. Not until I’ve beaten you fair and square. Being a Royal Guard means never giving up, not even if you're the only one left standing.”

He looked around at his team. All of them still supported him, even at his worst moment. He was a little overwhelmed. “Thank you, everyone. Really. I guess I won’t be quitting after all. Since we’re already in Ponyville I think I’ll just go home when I’m released from the hospital.

“When I return… I’ll try to be a different pony myself. Stern, rather than dismissive and arrogant. If all of you are putting your trust in me I have to be a leader worthy of your admiration.”

“I’m happy to hear that,” said Celestia. “One of the reasons I wouldn’t consider you for a promotion was that pride and lone wolf personality of yours. While every member of the team needs to have individual skills a team’s true worth is in the sum of its parts coming together as one.”

Walking up to him she put a hoof on his shoulder. “I wish you a speedy recovery, Noble. If, when you return, you truly demonstrate a team attitude, I may well put you under consideration for captainship.”

He inclined his neck slightly. “Thank you, Princess.”

***

“Hold on a sec,” Drill said. “If she wanted you to be a better team leader then why didn’t she just say that in the first place?”

“Because,” Noble responded, “as you said at the start it’s something I had to figure out for myself. Had she told me what she wanted earlier I would have told her I understood while being annoyed on the inside. And I also could have just faked being more polite until I got my promotion. Without learning the lesson myself I never would have taken it to heart.”

Drill hopped off the chair, getting onto his brother’s bed. “So, what, you think I should become like you?”

“I certainly felt a deeper connection with my comrades in that room than I ever had before. This Pound colt you’ve been having such trouble with… is it really worth all the strife to argue with him? You shouldn’t be focusing on helping him to show off and make yourself look good. You should do it because it’s the right thing to do.

“I dismissed Hawkeye as nothing, and yet I owe my life to him. While I don’t think things will be that dramatic with you there may come a day when you’ll be glad you helped Pound to fly. There may come a situation that requires his help and he was only able to provide it because you taught him the skills he needed.

“Think it over, huh?” He patted Drill’s head. “I can’t force you to do anything, but just consider it.”

Drill stood there for about thirty seconds, his face scrunched up in uncertainty, then his face puffed up and he said angrily, “There’s nothing to consider! Just because you want to become an embarrassment and a disgrace to our family doesn’t mean I have to. I-I grew up with victory, and… and that’s what I’m gonna keep doing. O-okay?”

His eyes moved back and forth a few times, the unsure expression back on his face, before he turned around and left the room.

Noble watched him go without a word. He wasn’t hurt. He didn’t think Drill was serious in his insult. He just had a lot to think about, and wasn’t sure what to do with his feelings.

He understood exactly where Drill’s feelings sprang from. How could he not, when he had grown up the same way? If it wasn't for his injuries he'd still be nothing more than an arrogant showoff. Actually having the skills to back up his bragging wouldn't change that in the slightest.

“He’ll come around,” he said to himself. “One day… he’ll understand.”

Author's Note:

This chapter was going to end with Pound and Drill fighting and the brothers talk a separate chapter, but checking the first part over for errors there wasn't any depth to it, so enjoy a big chapter.

Drill Bit isn't quite convinced yet. Will he come around?

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