• Published 27th Apr 2015
  • 986 Views, 52 Comments

Family - Talon and Thorn

A series of short stories and extended scenes featuring various characters from the Lunaverse all on the general theme of families.

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Sick Day

Silver Script looked over his little kingdom with pride. It might not seem much compared to Luna’s realm, but in this little office in this town he was monarch. His staff might not be much more than half a dozen ponies but they were some of the best postal workers in Equestria; and he was their king, and, he thought sometimes, father to them all. He glanced around to make sure that everything was working as it should; he nodded to the sorters as they neatly split the incoming mail into piles based on what part of town they related to, and smiled at the delivery staff as they loaded up with sacks of post ready to whisk it off to their waiting customers. Ball Lightning sat ready for anypony who wished to send out mail at this early hour, he wanted to be back on the delivery route but he’d strained his horn carrying too much last week and Silver wanted to make sure he didn’t overdo it. Finally there was Late Delivery, the office’s latest apprentice, rushing over to deliver Silver’s coffee, everything was perfect! He frowned, no it wasn’t; there was a hole, a space in the whole process. Where was Ditzy Doo?

He checked the roster. As he suspected, she was on shift this morning and she was hardly ever late; she only lived above the post house so she could hardly be delayed coming in. Confused and a little worried, he turned towards the door directly linking the post office to the Doo residence. He didn’t like using it, or even knocking on it, it seemed an imposition. He preferred to use the outside door at the back of the building where possible, but it seemed stupid to go outside just to come in again.

Then, as if summoned by his thoughts, the door opened and Ditzy appeared. He let out a little sigh, he’d been worried for a moment. Then he did a double take, the young mare looked terrible. Her eyes showed none of their normal bright shine, instead they were bloodshot and glazed, she moved slowly and painfully, like the weight of the world was on her back. “Ditzy?” he asked in concern.

“Sorry, I’m late,” she croaked. “I overslept and by the time I got Dinky off to school... It won’t happen again.”

“I don’t care about that, you look terrible!” she took a few hesitant steps forwards before staggering against a table. He swooped over towards her and took her by one leg steadying her.

“I think I caught Dinky’s flu, but I’ll be fine,” she weakly protested, letting out a rasping cough.

Silver nodded, the little filly had been off school sick for most of last week and Ditzy had cut several shifts to make sure her daughter was alright. Still the foal had recovered and Silver had heard her little hooves rushing off to school earlier. “You are not fine,” he rested a hoof on her head, “You’re burning up!”

“I’m fine!” she insisted, taking a step forwards and almost falling over, forcing Silver to take her weight.

“You are not, you can hardly stand let alone work!”

“I... I can’t afford the time off.”

“You already have one of the best attendance records in the office,” he insisted. “What would Dinky do if you work yourself to death?” After knowing her for several years he knew all her weak spots. “We can work something out about pay anyway.”

Knowing she was defeated, Ditzy let the older stallion help her up the stairs into her home. “You should see a doctor,” he insisted.

“I’m not that bad,” a further cough proved that a lie, “I just need some rest.”

He nodded. “Let’s get you to bed.” Ceasing to protest, the grey mare let him lead her into the adjoining room. It wasn’t quite as tidy as he had expected, a small pile of tissues had built up by the bed and the sheets were dishevelled. As quickly as he could he straightened them and let the sick mare slump into bed.

“I’ll be fine now,” she rasped, “You can go.”

“No, I need to make sure you’re alright first,” he was worried, she was sicker than he’d ever seen her before, she was normally quite hearty.

“But you need to run the post office.”

He grinned. “We both know that I’m the least useful pony down there, they’ll miss you a lot more than me.”

“But the mail...” she insisted as he gently laid the blankets over her and tucked them in around her.

“Will be fine, Late has been around for over a month now, he can take up some of the slack; even me and Parcel can do a run if needs be.”

“But...” she protested weakly, her eyes already starting to droop.

“Just get some sleep, I’ll take care of everything.” He quickly disposed of the tissues and made sure the dispenser was refilled. He opened the window slightly to let some fresh air in then filled a bowl of water by the bed in case she woke up thirsty. He glanced down at the now sleeping mare, relaxed she looked so very young. She was normally so full of energy and worked so hard at everything she did that it was easy to forget how young she was, hardly more than a filly. He checked her sheets again to make sure her wings weren’t pinched. “Get well soon,” he whispered before leaving the room and gently shutting the door.

It was so hot, she tried to draw a breath but it felt like she was being smothered. Gasping, Ditzy tried to struggle but she was being restrained, something was holding her down, trapping her. Panic flared in her breast, she had to get away, she had to fly free.

“Ditzy!” came a soothing voice from nearby, “Ditzy, it’s alright, calm down, everything's fine.” She recognised the voice, she couldn’t put a name to it, but she trusted it, the voice meant safety. It even seemed to drive away some of the heat as she felt something wet and cool being placed on her brow. Relaxing, she let herself drift back into the darkness that surround her.

“How are you feeling now?” asked the voice.

Ditzy blinked and looked around the brightly lit room. It took her a second to recognise it as her bedroom and the figure next to her as Silver Script looking worried. She tried to speak but her throat felt cracked. “Thirsty,” she managed. The older stallion carefully lifted a bowl of water and held it before her so she could lap at it, the cool liquid felt so good.

“Not too much at once,” he warned. She nodded and lead back against her pillows, despite just having woken up she felt exhausted. “How are you?” he asked.

“I... a little better I think,” she said trying to give a reassuring grin, in truth her whole body ached.

“I’ve got some carrot and tomato soup on the stove if you feel up to it,” he said. “I met your friend Carrot Top in the marketplace, she sent her regards, and the carrots.”

She nodded and he left the room and seemed to return almost instantly, with a large bowl of dark orange liquid. Maybe I asleep again thought Ditzy pondering the seemingly lost time as she struggled to free a hoof from the bedclothes. Silver stopped her, and once again held the bowl from where she could drink from it, it was a little embarrassing but it made her feel cherished. “What about work?” she asked when she had eaten what she could.

“All done,” he said, “Me and Parcel did your run, you know I like to keep my hoof in,” he grinned. “More or less everypony on your route asked about you, they all hoped you’d feel better soon. You’re really loved around these parts. Late really stepped up to the plate as well, I can see that colt going far.”

“What time is...” she asked looking at the window and the bright light streaming in.

“Mid-afternoon, you’ve been asleep all morning.”

“Dinky, I should get Dinky,” she complained struggling against the sheets.

He rested a hoof on her. “Don’t, I’ll get her, we’ve got an hour or so anyway.” She lay back again, exhausted by her brief activity. Silver rested a hoof on her head. “Better,” he muttered, “But you’re still feverish. If you’re not better by tonight I’m calling a doctor whether you want one or not.”

She opened her mouth to argue, but his expression brooked no challenge. She lay in silence for a little while then she glanced over at Silver. “What’s that?” she asked nodding towards a letter tucked into his uniform.

“This?” he asked. “It’s from Rising,” he said with a smile.

“Your sister?” she asked. She had never met the mare, she was only about half Silver’s age and worked in an observatory up in Cloudsdale. Her and Silver’s parents had died when she was young and the older pegasus had more or less raised her by himself.

“Yes, she and Salt are trying for a foal, which she’s told me about in more detail than any brother should know,” he shuddered.

“That’s nice,” she yawned, the warmth in her stomach from the soup was making her sleepy again.

“No it’s not! She’s not old enough for that, she’s only a year or two younger than you...” he recognised his mistake. “Sorry.”

“No, you might be right, it can be better to wait, but from what you’ve told me she loves Saltlick and he loves her, wouldn’t you like to be an uncle for some cute little foal?” she teased.

“Maybe...” he wavered and his eyes flickered to the picture of Dinky at the bedside, “Anyway I better get your cute little foal before she misses you.”

“I can...” she said struggling to get up.

“You don’t need to, just lie there and get better, that’s an order,” he said.

Defeated she slumped back into her pillows and let sleep overtake her again.

Dinky bounded out of the school yard waving a hoof at Twist’s retreating back. Today had been a good day, it had been arts and crafts and she and the earth pony had built a model of Canterlot castle together, she’d used her magic to put the pointy bits at the top of the towers on and she hadn’t damaged even one. She’d gotten a little sticky, from all the paste, but it had just washed off, unlike Snips and Snails who needed to have patches of their coats shaved when they somehow glued themselves together, again!

She glanced around for her Momma, eager to tell her about her day. Normally she walked home by herself, but since that big storm last month Momma had collected her most days. Momma hadn’t looked well this morning, but she had told Dinky that she would collect her so she would be there, Momma was always there, well almost always. She frowned as she didn’t see her mother and a little trickle of fear started to break into her world view.

She did see Silver Script and his dog Parcel trotting up to her. “Dinky,” he called.

“Hello Mr Script,” she said politely, reaching up with a hoof to pat Parcel, the dog was bigger than she was but sat there placidly, tail thumping against the ground. She’d asked Momma if she could get a dog, but she’d said their house was too small for one like Parcel. She’d asked for a small dog instead, maybe a puppy, but she’d been told that puppies grew up into big dogs. “I’m waiting for Momma.”

“Ditzy isn’t feeling well today,” said Silver kneeling down a little stiffly to look at the filly. “She sent me to get you.”

Dinky frowned a little. Momma had told her not to go anywhere with strangers but Mr Script wasn’t a stranger, he was Mr Script. She’d known him for almost as long as she could remember, he’d foalsat for her a few times when Momma had to go out of town. “Ok,” she said. “How is Momma?”

“She’s caught the flu I think, like you had. She just needs a day or two in bed, then she’ll be right as rain.”

Dinky shuddered a bit. She’d had the flu last week and she’d felt all icky for days. Momma had stayed with her most the time to make her feel better. Poor Momma, she had to do something to make her feel better.

“Come on,” said Silver, “I’m sure she’ll feel better when she sees you.” Dinky nodded but Silver couldn’t help but notice a trace of despondency in her gait. “Parcel’s been getting a little flabby recently, I think he could do with a little exercise, don’t you?” he asked, patting the dogs back. Dinky’s eyes shone for a moment as the dog obediently knelt and she scrambled onto its back. Parcel stood, easily bearing the foal’s weight. Dinky leant forwards on the large dog’s back, burying her face in his thick coat.

“Mr Script?” she asked as the three of them set off, “Can we stop to get something nice for Momma on the way?”

They had ended up stopping at two places on the way back, first Sugarcube Corner where Pinkie Pie had promised Dinky that she would be hosting a ‘glad you’re feeling better’ party for her mother soon, and then to Bon Bon’s where Lyra, helping out behind the counter, had sent her best wishes to Ditzy. Silver was proud that the outsider that he’d given a job to many years ago was now such an accepted part of Ponyville. In both occasions Dinky had apologised that she didn’t have any bits to pay for the purchased treat and told Silver she would pay him back when she got her pocket money. In both occasions he’d waved away the offer, he didn’t mind occasionally treating either of the Doo girls.

The two ponies and one dog made their way back to the post office later than Dinky would normally be home. Silver feared that Ditzy might be worrying about her daughter and might have tried to rouse herself from her sickbed to go looking for her. That could cause her to hurt herself, and he didn’t want that on his conscience.

However, upon entering the house he could just about make out gentle snores emerging from Ditzy’s bedroom. He warned Dinky to be careful not to wake her mother and the two of them tip-hooved into the room to check on her. A quick examination seemed to suggest she was improving; her sleep didn’t seem as interrupted as previously, and her brow, although still warm, wasn’t as hot as it had been. Silver replaced the damp flannel on Ditzy’s head and then gently lifted Dinky so she could get a good look at her mother and hug her before he took the little filly back to the living room.

He did a quick search of the kitchen and decided what to make the filly for her dinner. Luckily, it seemed Ditzy had gone shopping not too long ago and there was quite a bit of choice. He wasn’t much of a cook, but years of trying to get his sister to eat a proper diet followed by some time living alone had given him some basic skills. He eventually decided on boiling some pasta and mixing up a sauce to go with it, he hoped Ditzy would be feeling well enough to try some. Dinky sat somewhat subdued doing some homework, he could tell she was worried about her mother but didn’t want to tell him, she was trying to be brave.

Once the filly had finished her work he asked her to help him with the dinner, it would get her mind off her mother for a while. He gently lifted Dinky onto his back so she could see the sauce and use her aura to gently stir it. Silver was amazed at how much her magic had improved over the last few months, he remembered when she could only produce a few sparks, where did the time go? When they had finished, they put a plate of food on a tray with Dinky’s treats and once again entered Ditzy’s bedroom. This time the sick mare awoke as they opened the door and blinked tiredly at her daughter.

“Dinky?” she muttered.

“Momma, you’re awake!” said the little filly, jumping onto her mother’s bed.

“How was your day at school?” she asked, her voice, although still scratchy, sounded much better than earlier.

“It was great, me and Twist got to make a model of the castle and I put the towers on and I didn’t break any of them!”

“Thank you for collecting her,” said Ditzy to Silver, “I better get started on dinner.” She started to struggle with the covers.

“No need,” said Silver indicating the tray on his back, “It’s already done.”

“I helped!” piped up Dinky.

“She was very good.”

“And I got you a chocolate muffin for afters, and a bag of lemon drops because they made me feel better when you got them for me when I got sick,” added Dinky.

“Thank you dear,” said Ditzy struggling to sit up while Silver put the tray in place.

“Come on Dinky,” said Silver, “We better eat our own before it gets cold.”

“Can we eat with Momma?” asked Dinky.

“Now, I don’t want to get food all over...” said Ditzy.

“It shouldn’t be a problem,” said Silver slipping from the room and returning with another two trays of food. The small family ate together and then Dinky spent the evening talking about what she had done at school today, Silver smiled at the story and added his own tales of today’s postal run. Soon the eyelids of both Doo mares started to droop.

“Time *yawn* time for bed Dinky,” said Ditzy struggling to lift her daughter off the bed.

“Don’t exert yourself, I’ve got this,” said Silver resting the drowsy filly onto his back.

“Night Momma,” murmured Dinky reaching out for her mother.

“Good Night Dinky,” said Ditzy reaching out to hug her daughter and to kiss her forehead.

Silver carried the sleepy foal over to her room, she just about managed to brush her teeth and get ready for bed before collapsing into her sheets. “Goodnight Dinky,” he said.

“Mr Script, Momma’s going to be all right isn’t she?” asked Dinky, a little catch in her throat.

“She’s going to be fine,” he said, leaning forwards and laying a leg over the filly gently hugging her, “You were sick but you’re better now aren't you? Your mother will get better as well,” he ruffled the filly’s mane with a hoof. “She’s a tough mare. Now you better get some sleep.”

“Mr Script...” she asked again, “Normally Momma reads me a story before bed. Could you, could you do it?”

“Of course,” he said, picking up a large book from the bedside table. He smiled as he examined it, he’d used to read the same thing to his sister when she was younger. He opened it at a marked page and cleared his throat before starting to read. “Once upon a time there were two sisters...”

“And they all lived happily ever after,” concluded Silver looking down at the slumbering filly in front of him, he carefully draw the sheets up around her and turned to douse the light when he saw a wavering shadow in the doorway. “You shouldn’t be up,” he said.

“I had to see her to bed,” said Ditzy leaning against the door frame, “Besides, I’m feeling much better now.” She yawned again.

Silver walked over to her and felt her head again, it did seem her fever had broken. He felt relieved, it looked like her illness was leaving as quickly as it had arrived, but there was no reason for her to overdo it. “You still need your sleep,” he said.

“I don’t know how I can be so tired after sleeping all day,” she walked over to the bed and gently adjusted the sheets slightly before kissing Dinky’s head again. “Good night dear.”

“Night Momma,” mumbled Dinky.

Smiling, Silver lead Ditzy back to her bed and made sure she didn’t need anything. “Thanks for looking after me,” she said.

“No problem, I’d do it for any of my fam... my friends,” he said, making sure she was tucked in.

“I’ll be back to work tomorrow,” she promised.

“No you won’t. I don’t want to see you back until next week, you need time to recover, and I don’t want you infecting the rest of the staff. We’ll sort things out later, sick days are there for a reason you know.”

“Thanks,” she mumbled her eyes starting to close.

“I’ll check on you tomorrow and make sure Dinky gets ready for school,” he said to the drowsing mare. He walked towards the door and doused the light. “Good night Ditzy.”

“‘Night,” she mumbled. She didn’t say it out loud but Silver liked to think she added ‘dad’ to the sentiment.

Author's Note:

The most obvious family bond for Ditzy is of course Dinky so I decided to go somewhere else. In a way this is a sequel to my own Training Day story following up on the Silver Script / Ditzy relationship, I really like the idea of Ditzy having her own psudo father figure in town to look after her occasionally. I really hope the relationship does come across that way, paternal rather than seeming romantic or even creepy.

Thanks to Rainbow Double Dash and Grass and Clouds 2 for their suggestions on this story and to docontra for his editing.

Comments are always welcome.