• Published 30th Jun 2015
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Results May Vary - CoffeeMinion



Derpy and Berry Punch are coerced into starting a single-moms group.

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An Unexpected Visit

“Mommy, what's that cart doing outside?”

Derpy looked up from an unfinished jigsaw puzzle depicting Princess Celestia and tried to focus her eyes on the sunlit window. Dinky was up on the back of the soft grey couch set just below it. The unicorn filly looked back at her with concern.

“What's it look like?” Derpy asked, rising from the floor.

Dinky turned her head back and pressed close to the window, stopping only when her horn made contact with a soft tink. “Foal… Protective...”

Derpy's heart skipped a beat. A routine check-up by staff from the adoption home was one thing, as Sparkler usually handled those, and she was easy to work with. Sparkler was also just a few years younger than Derpy, unlike some of the old battle-axes who worked at the home.

But a visit from FPS was something else entirely. Derpy had never had one of those before. She tried to corral her panic long enough to take a mental inventory of how Sparkler's last visit had gone.

When the knock came at her door, Derpy’s half-formed thoughts abandoned her, leaving only greater panic in their wake.

Dinky jumped down from the couch and raced over to throw her hooves around Derpy. Derpy felt heartbroken as the trembling filly asked, “Mommy... do you want me to get that?”

“N… no, I will,” Derpy stammered.

Her front door was just down a short hallway from the living room. Each step brought Derpy close to what she felt must be her end. She couldn't imagine what she'd done to catch FPS' eye… she didn't know what had gone wrong, and she didn't know if she could endure finding out. Not if it could mean losing her little muffin.

She raised her hoof to the doorknob, squeezed her eyes shut, and turned it.

“Hey Derpy!” shouted somepony both familiar and much too chipper.

Derpy's eyes fluttered open. She was too nervous to focus properly. All they took in were vague impressions of a pink and darker-pink blur superimposed on a fuzzy green-and-blue world.

“P… Pinkie Pie?”

“Well, duh! Now where's that silly filly who's just can't wait for a visit from her auntie Pinkie?”

Derpy struggled to make sense of what was happening. “You're… not her aunt,” was all she managed.

The pink blur threw a hoof around her shoulder and pulled her close. “I know,” she said in a breathy, theatrical imitation of a whisper. “But Sparkler said I could say I was if it might help break the ice with Dinky!”

“Pinkie… why are you here to see Dinky? And... why did you come with… that wagon?”

“You like my new wheels?” the blur asked. A flash of white somewhere in the middle suggested a toothy grin. “Actually, it's just a loaner. Sparkler had Lollipop there drive me over as soon as she got done talking with Berry Punch.”

Derpy grabbed what she hoped were Pinkie Pie's shoulders and fixed her with an intense, albeit wall-eyed stare. “Pinkie. You need to tell me why there's a Foal Protective Services wagon in front of my house, and you need to tell me now.”

The blur paused and made a motion that suggested cocking its head. “Oh!” Pinkie shouted. “Ohmigosh, now I get it! I'm so sorry, Derpy! No, Sparkler sent me to pick you up, but not… for that. This isn't what it looks like at all!”

Derpy took a steadying breath. “I want you to tell… Lollipop… to drive the cart away.”

“Well, okay, if you're willing to fly yourself over. Just... can you please let go of my ears?”

“Sorry,” Derpy said, doing so. As the pink pony bounded off, she settled her weight against the doorframe and heaved a deep sigh.

“Mommy?” came a small voice from behind her. “Is... is everything okay?”

Derpy turned to look at Dinky, and gave her an extra-big smile as she realized she'd calmed down enough for her eyes to focus properly again. “I think so, Muffin.”

“Okie-dokie-lokie!” the bouncing pink mare shouted as she landed next to them again. She bent down and gave Dinky a huge smile. “Hey Dinky! Are you ready for an afternoon of fun-fun-fun with your auntie Pinkie Pie?”

“Where's my mommy going to go?” Dinky asked, looking between the two mares with uncertainty.

“She's got a daaaaate!” Pinkie sing-songed, leaning close to Derpy and winking.

Derpy jerked back, feeling… almost dirty. She didn't have a date. She wouldn't. She never, ever went on dates…

“Oh, not a date like a date-date,” Pinkie said, picking up on Derpy's body language. “More like an awesome single-moms-group date!” She raised a hoof to the sky. “Sistas, represent; we doin' it for ourselves now!”

Derpy's mind pulled back from the place of discomfort that the word date had taken it to. She took a deep breath. Sparkler had been talking about wanting to set up a single-moms' support group in Ponyville for the last few months.

“So, wait,” Derpy said, putting the pieces together. “You're saying that Berry Punch was picked up by Foal Protective Services this morning, and that you were there helping Sparkler with something—”

“I come cheer up the foals a couple times a month.”

“—and that Sparkler wants me and Berry Punch to start a single-moms group right now, and that she sent you here to watch Dinky while we're doing that?”

“Ding ding ding! Now, don't worry, Missus… Mizz Hooves.” Pinkie dug into the back of her mane and whipped out a pair of folded-up pieces of paper. “I've got references from two different parents for my foalsitting credentials. I am totes responsible.”

“Are they from both of the Cakes?”

Pinkie's face grew serious, then it grew uncomfortably close to Derpy's. “Wow, do you have some kind of psychic mojo going on in there? Because you are on fire.”

Derpy sighed. Sparkler could have all the subtlety of a sledgehammer when she got it in her head to do a “proper” job of organizing something. She would have known that Derpy would be at home playing with Dinky on a Sunday afternoon, and that they wouldn't have any special plans...

Still, one thing bothered her. “What did they get Berry Punch for?”

Pinkie Pie turned to Dinky with an immense smile. “Dinky? Why don't you go run ahead and get all your favorite toys out for auntie Pinkie to help play with, while the grown-ups talk?”

“O-okay,” Dinky said, looking uncertain but heading back into the house.

Pinkie kept her smile fixed for a few moments as the filly trotted off. Then it fell. And as it did, Derpy was shocked to see Pinkie Pie… harden. She couldn't put her hoof on what exactly had changed, but there was a transformation in Pinkie's countenance that was unnerving, bordering on frightening.

“I don't like that Berry Punch,” Pinkie said, her tone leaving no mistake about her seriousness. “When I throw parties, I care about everypony having a good time, all the way from the littlest foal to the oldest and creakiest. But that mare?” Pinkie spat. “All she cares about is glug glug glug. Doesn't matter who's watching; doesn't matter what she ends up doing after, or with whom. She just doesn’t care!”

Derpy's eyes went wide. These were not words that the party pony would ever be heard to speak about anypony. Not even a pony like Berry Punch, who, granted, as far as Derpy had heard, was just as Pinkie had described her.

“Yeah, I stopped inviting her to my parties years ago, around the time she got herself you-know-whatted.” Pinkie paused to shake her head. “That poor filly. She shoulda been taken by FPS a long time before now, and she probably would've been if Berry didn't have her sister to stay with. And to lie for her.”

Derpy's eyes widened again. Suddenly her daughter's teacher had been dragged into this. “Cherrilee... would lie about the safety of a foal?”

“Of course not,” Pinkie said. “She takes better care of Pinchy than most moms would of their own foals. Doesn't change that Berry's drunk as a skunk nine mornings out of ten. Heck, if Cherrilee had just adopted Pinchy out from under her, none of us would be talking right now.”

Dinky came bounding down the hall behind them. “Miss Pinkie Pie! I've got all my toys out for you!”

If Derpy had found Pinkie's initial transformation frightening, she found the next one terrifying. In the blink of an eye, all of Pinkie's simmering anger and surly attitude were simply gone. In their place was what Derpy knew must be a smiling pink party-pony shaped mask. It bounced and laughed as it made its way into her home, but Derpy wondered what was really underneath it. And, for just a moment, Derpy felt unsure about leaving her daughter in its presence.

Derpy shook her head, willing her doubts to subside. After all, this was Pinkie Pie.

“She'll meet you over at the Silver Stirrup!” Pinkie called from somewhere deep inside the house. Derpy frowned; her nose crinkled at an imagined smell. It was a bar. She never went to bars.

Suddenly—impossibly—Pinkie's head poked out from around a nearby corner. Derpy jumped. “Meeting there was Berry's one condition for agreeing to start the group,” Pinkie faux-whispered before disappearing again.