• Published 26th Dec 2014
  • 10,575 Views, 1,950 Comments

Three Gems and a Scooter - RaylanKrios

For Rarity, what starts as a simple quest to help her sister turns into an unexpected journey of what family really means.

  • ...

Depends on What?

After their little talk, Rarity left Scootaloo alone so that she could prepare dinner, but when she got to the kitchen she had the belated realization that she hadn’t ever actually cooked barley soup. She did own a few cookbooks however, mostly for ambiance, and one of them did contain a recipe for “down home barley soup”. Luckily for Rarity, it turned out that making Scootaloo’s favorite meal, or at least one of the few things Scootaloo had admitted to liking, wasn’t particularly hard. After measuring out a two-to-one ratio of barley to water and adding some spices, all that was left was to let the mixture simmer for an hour.

Dinner taken care of, Rarity turned her attention back to her work. As she stitched together a few more dresses, it began to occur to her just how much work time she had already lost to dealing with Scootaloo’s situation. She had gotten involved a mere twenty four hours ago and already she was more behind in her work then she preferred.

But Scootaloo was important, and not just because of her relationship with Sweetie Belle. She was a living breathing filly who had a rough start of life and it was impossible for Rarity not to feel sympathy for her. She couldn’t really empathize with the situation, but she could imagine what it might be like to feel as though you weren’t wanted anywhere, and that thought made her heart ache.

Before she could finish the order she was working on a shrill “ding” from her kitchen timer informed her that it was time to check on her soup. She opened the pot, gave it a quick stir and tasted it. It tasted like the other few bowls of barley soup she had in her life, which meant that she still found it bland and tasteless. After adding a final dash of salt she declared it finished and called Scootaloo down for dinner.

Scootaloo came down the stairs slowly. She looked better than she was an hour ago, her mane still a little damp from what Rarity guessed was a hot shower and her eyes no longer red, but her expression was still reading as neutral at best.

The pair sat down at the table and Rarity served them each a bowl of her culinary creation. Scootaloo looked skeptically at the bowl in front of her and poked at her soup before slowly lifting a spoon to her mouth. She took a tentative lick, her tongue briefly darting out from behind her teeth, before blowing on it and shoving the whole spoon in her mouth.

Rarity winced as she studied Scootaloo’s face, hoping for a clue as to her opinion. “Not bad, it could use more pepper,” Scootaloo said with a small shrug of her shoulders. Rarity raised an eyebrow, unsure if that was high praise or a scathing rebuke. Flustered and confused by Rarity’s reaction she amended her previous statement quickly. “I mean umm, thank you.”

Scootaloo let out a painful sounding sigh, “I don’t mean to have bad manners, I just say things without thinking, I don’t know why. The soup is great, really!” Scootaloo ate another large spoonful and tried to smile.

Rarity couldn’t help but laugh at Scootaloo’s obvious lie. “It’s okay Scootaloo; I think it is important for us to be honest with each other. For starters I don’t actually like barley soup.”

“But you said it was one of your favorites!” Scootaloo shrieked.

Rarity kept her voice level in response to Scootaloo’s escalation. “Yes, I did. You seemed upset and I thought it was important to establish some common ground, so I told you I liked barley soup in the hopes that you might feel a connection with me.”

Rarity’s frank admission left Scootaloo shocked, she had never heard an adult admitting to lying so readily before and she had certainly never heard them justify it in such an open way. Unable to respond she turned her attention back to dinner. The two continued their meal in relative silence, Scootaloo not knowing what to say and Rarity not wanting to risk setting off another tantrum.

As Scootaloo finished her soup Rarity took advantage of the lack of banter to steer the conversation down the path she wanted. “I owe you an apology, dear. It was…uncouth of me to broach the subject of my visit with Autumn today without giving you at least a moments warning.”

Scootaloo nodded cautiously, her body going completely still as she drew in a sharp breath. Only the slight twitching of her ears betrayed any emotion as she waited for the next part of Rarity’s sentence. “But we do need to talk about your living situation,” Rarity finished, as gently as she could, and waited for Scootaloo to indicate that she was ready to talk.

Scootaloo’s face grew red and Rarity mentally prepared herself for a verbal onslaught again, but Scootaloo didn’t say anything. She just sat there, her expression growing increasingly despondent. From Rarity’s perspective it appeared as though Scootaloo was arguing with herself, Rarity couldn’t imagine exactly what the content of Scootaloo’s debate might be but she fervently hoped that she had an advocate somewhere in there. Eventually Scootaloo spoke again, “Fine. What do we need to talk about?” she said sadly.

“Well, for starters he’s agreed to let you stay here until we can find a home for you in Ponyville.” Rarity’s summation wasn’t exactly true, but it was close enough.

Scootaloo smiled, though her eyes betrayed her true emotions. “Great. What else do we need talk about?”

“This is all rather new to me, perhaps you can tell me a little bit about the process?”

Scootaloo shrugged. “It depends.”

Rarity suppressed her growing frustration. At some point Scootaloo would have to be more expressive, but for now she hadn’t shut down, so Rarity pressed onward. “Depends on what?”

“Well, sometimes when there’s a family that might want to adopt me, Autumn takes me to the Foal Services office and introduces us. There’s a room with some games and some coloring books and stuff and we just kinda hang out for an hour or so.” Scootaloo spoke softly, her eyes darting around the room, never settling on the same spot for more than a few seconds.

“Hang out?”

“Yeah, no one really talks about adoption. Autumn says it’s just so they can get to know me and I can get to know them.”

“I see.”

“Then later, I guess if they like me, we spend another afternoon together, this time at like a park or something. After that visit Autumn asks how’d I feel about living with them. I usually say it’d be fine, it’s not like I have ponies lining up to take me in.”

Rarity placed a hoof on Scootaloo’s shoulder. “And how do you feel about all that?”

The gesture stirred something within the little filly. For the first time Scootaloo looked directly at the mare talking to her. “I don’t really like it. I always feel like they're always judging me, like if I do something wrong they won’t want me. I shouldn’t have to audition to be part of a family!” Scootaloo said, her voice growing louder. She took a deep breath and shook her head, when she finished she seemed calmer, though sad again. “It’d be different if I could fly,” Scootaloo said wistfully.

Unsure of exactly what Scootaloo could mean, Rarity asked for some clarification. “Why do you say that, dear?”

“If I could fly Rainbow Dash would adopt me,” Scootaloo replied without a trace of sarcasm.

The statement was delivered so sincerely, as though Scootaloo was reporting that the sky was blue, that it took all of Rarity’s self control to pretend to agree with her, lest she radically alter Scootaloo’s world view for the worst. “I see. Have you talked to her about this?”

“Well no,” Scootaloo admitted. “But that has to be the reason she hasn’t, isn’t it? I mean, she lives in a cloud house, it’d be unfair of me to expect her to move, but if I could fly then I could live in the cloud house with her. She already said we were sisters.”

Rarity was again unsure how to respond, but she did make a mental note to have a very serious talk with her friend later. “You said sometimes dear, what happens the other times?” she asked, grateful for the chance to change topics.

“Oh, sometimes Autumn just tells me that I’m going to move. That’s how I ended up at Mrs. Hoofington’s, and what happened with the family in Baltimare. I don’t really know why some families meet with me first and some don’t.”

Rarity wanted to ask more questions, but decided to err against turning this into some sort of interrogation. Scootaloo was being as open and honest as she had ever seen, she didn’t want to risk shutting that down, lest she lose any progress she had made. “Well, you’re living here now, and if we are going to find you a home in Ponyville, you should have a say in where you live.”

Scootaloo shrugged again, “It won’t make a difference anyway.”

Rarity was about to interject when she remembered the promise she had made barely an hour ago. It seemed for the time being Scootaloo was entitled to her fatalistic worldview. Before she could say anything, Scootaloo spoke up.

“I still shouldn’t have to help out in your dress shop and-”

Rarity held up a hoof, “We can talk about all that later. Can you trust me enough to believe me when I tell you that I’ll try and make your stay here-?” Enjoyable? That wasn’t the right word; Scootaloo wasn’t here for some kind of sleepover. Agreeable? That seemed too formal. Rarity finally settled on “comfortable,” deciding that it struck an appropriate balance.

Scootaloo looked down at the remnants of her soup and mentally reviewed everything that had happened in the last twenty four hours. Rarity had been nicer to her than she thought she deserved, and other than lying about the barley soup, hadn’t given any indication that she had some sort of ulterior motives for any of her actions. “Okay,” she said quietly. Another pause later, “If there’s nothing else I think I’ll go hang out in Sweetie’s room for a while,” she said a little louder.

Scootaloo pushed herself away from the table and went upstairs, leaving Rarity alone with some dishes and a still unfinished dress order.

The order wasn’t complicated, but it was large. Rarity had agreed to design and sew the gowns for the touring production of How to Grow a Tulip. The old world, rustic setting of the play meant that all of the dresses were spartan and unadorned, but the cast numbered in the low twenties and a little more than half of them were females. That meant Rarity had to design and sew fourteen dresses, and even though most of the dresses where only four pieces of cloth sewn together, with only a ribbon cinched around the middle, the entire order was extremely time consuming. By the time Rarity sealed up the last box she was so tired she could barely carry herself up the stairs to reach her own bed. But when she reached the top she heard a faint whimpering coming from Scootaloo’s room.

She opened the door to find Scootaloo wide awake, sitting upright in her bed, her mane damp with sweat. “It’s late, you should be asleep,” Rarity said.

“So should you,” Scootaloo shot back.

“Believe me dear, I would like nothing else; but since I’m here, is everything okay?”

“Everything’s fine. I just have trouble falling asleep sometimes.”

It didn’t take a pony of with Rarity’s pony-reading skills to see that Scootaloo both was anything but fine. Her breathing was noticeably shallow and though it was hard to see clearly in the moonlit room Rarity would swear that she looked pale. Remembering her earlier promise Rarity didn’t press for answers. Instead she simply walked over to the side of the bed and sat down on her haunches, “Sweetie Belle has trouble getting to sleep sometimes. Would you like me to do what I do for her?” she asked gently.

Scootaloo cocked her head and nodded, more out of curiosity than anything else.

Rarity lit up her horn and a faint blue glow began to envelop Scootaloo; she instinctively started to struggle but quickly realized that the tingling warmth she felt was not dangerous, rather it felt like she was being gently swathed in a soft blanket.

Rarity took notice of Scootaloo’s bewilderment and offered a brief explanation. “It’s a modification of the spell I use to get wrinkles out of delicate silk.”

“You’re ironing me?!”

“Not really, no. I can stop, if you’d prefer?

Scootaloo shook her head, too busy enjoying the sensation to protest further. Beyond feeling physically pleasurable, her skin enjoying the dual sensations of both softness and warmness, it was hard for Scootaloo to ignore the fact that there was another pony doing something to make her feel better. And while most of Scootaloo’s thoughts screamed that none of this was real, Rarity was just wanted to put Scootaloo to sleep so she could enjoy her own rest; there was small dissenting opinion that dared to suggest that perhaps Rarity did care about her beyond just Sweetie’s feelings.

Scootaloo shut her eyes, and for a brief moment imagined that this is what it must be like to have somepony actually love you. Her imagination took her back to some very vague memories from before she was abandoned for the second time. Her mother would swaddle her in a blanket and gently rock her back and forth. It all happened when she was too young to remember, but she did have a faint notion of that feeling of being safe and loved, it felt a little like this.

As Scootaloo fought between the reality she wanted and the reality she knew existed, Rarity began to sing in a low timbre, much less shrill than her usual speaking voice.

I know a little filly
I see her every day
And though it may sound silly
She keeps the night away

Cause when she cries
it’s not some ornamental sigh
and when she breathes
it brings the world to its knees

But when she smiles
It’s when she smiles

Now she’s the light I long for
She’s the light I see
Long as the moon rises
I’ll have dreams of Scootaloo

“That doesn’t rhyme,” Scootaloo said, letting out a yawn and snuggling more firmly under the covers, the combination of Rarity’s spell and the gentle lullaby alleviating some of her previous stress.

“Well, when mother sang it, the line was dreams of Rarity,” Rarity replied, stroking Scootaloo’s mane gently.

Scootaloo instinctively leaned into Rarity's hoof and shut her eyes, finally giving into her exhaustion, and maybe a little bit of her fantasy.

Author's Note:

If anyone can tell me where the fourth verse of Rarity's lullaby comes from, I'd be very impressed.

Most authors love feedback.

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!