• Published 4th Aug 2015
  • 1,744 Views, 19 Comments

Beauty? - bahatumay

Scootaloo is distracted by something. Rainbow helps answer her question.

  • ...

A Little Support

Scootaloo adjusted her helmet and looked down at the halfpipe, sizing up the jump. She nodded imperceptibly. She had made this jump numerous times. This shouldn't be a problem at all.

She glanced around at the apple trees and exhaled before rolling up to the edge of the ramp. This shouldn't be too difficult. She’d done it a thousand times. Maybe even two thousand.

But as soon as she pushed off, she knew she had made a mistake. She had pushed off perhaps with the wrong amount of force, or maybe she had dropped in at a slightly incorrect angle. Either way, something had gone wrong.

Unable to stop, she instead tried to pick up speed as she coasted down the pipe, wings buzzing as she tried to regain control and save her jump; but she couldn't overcome her poor start. Her scooter flew off the edge of the halfpipe one wheel at a time and fell, tumbling to the ground. Scootaloo buzzed her wings even harder, trying to keep herself aloft, but she couldn't quite save herself. She raised her hooves to protect her face as the ground neared frighteningly fast; but thankfully, her bad luck didn't last. She crash landed, disappearing with a poof into a large pile of leaves and sending a shower of leaves up in a little mushroom cloud. Uninjured, she popped her head out and spat out a mouthful of the dry, crunchy leaves. Now irritated, she brusquely wiped her mouth and pulled herself out of the pile. Stomping over, she retrieved her fallen scooter, and dragged it behind her as she headed back to the halfpipe. Now it was personal. She would not let it make an idiot out of her!

Once more, she lined up her front wheel with the edge of the half pipe. She glared at the ramp and wiggled her body as she prepared to descend. Once more, she kicked off and dropped in; this time, she hit it. She zoomed down the halfpipe, wings buzzing, a triumphant smile crossing her face as she hit the bottom and zoomed upwards. She prepared to jump, ready to do a spin and ride back down.

Her jump came a split second too late. Her kick, which was supposed to push off the wall and just spin her scooter around the handlebar, instead knocked her scooter right out of her hooves, sending it flying out of reach. Now with nothing to hold on to, she cartwheeled backwards flank over teakettle, heading face first into the halfpipe, which was going to be a lot less soft than the leaves had been. She buzzed her wings again in a futile attempt to slow herself down, but she knew it was hopeless and she curled into a ball as best she could to brace herself for impact.

But instead of crashing into the unforgiving wood, she hit something much softer.


Scootaloo looked up and saw a very familiar face. “Rainbow Dash!” she gasped, relieved.

“The one and only,” Rainbow confirmed, floating back down and letting Scootaloo drop gently on the top of the halfpipe. “What’s up, Squirt?”

“Oh, not much,” Scootaloo said, her ears burning pink as she reflected on the fact that Rainbow had seen her fail so spectacularly.

“Oh, oh. I know that look.”

“What look?” Scootaloo asked.

“Something's distracting you. You should have landed that jump, no problem; but you’ve got something else bothering you, and so you can’t focus as keenly as you need to.” Rainbow Dash couldn’t suppress a little smile, clearly pleased with her vocabulary.

Scootaloo wanted to defend herself, but Rainbow was definitely right. “Was it that obvious?” she finally asked sheepishly.

“Just a bit.” Rainbow cracked a wry smile. “Last time I was distracted by something, I went for a quick fly to clear my head, misjudged a turn and wound up with my head stuck in the cloud wall of somepony’s house. While they were eating dinner. Not a great memory.” She shook her head and sat down on the edge of the halfpipe, then patted the ground, inviting Scootaloo to sit. “So, what’s got your feathers misaligned?”

Scootaloo sat. “I dunno.”

Rainbow chuckled and shook her head. “I’ve got nothing planned for the evening, Scoots. I can stay here all night if I have to.”

Scootaloo sighed. She briefly considered running so she wouldn’t have to answer, but knew that she wouldn’t stand a chance fleeing. Rainbow was going to find out anyway. “So somepony in my class mentioned that there was a beauty pageant thing going on soon, and they had open auditions, so she invited everypony to try out.”

“Beauty pageant, eh?” Rainbow asked. She paused, then raised an eyebrow. “You want to do it?”

“No!” Scootaloo blurted, shifting her weight away from Rainbow. “I mean…” She hesitated. “I mean, I don't… don’t think so… but…”

“Oh, I bet you could rock a really sweet dress,” Rainbow said, smiling. “I mean, nothing too frilly, obviously; but definitely something light blue, maybe a little gold trim, and a snazzy little hat because you always need a little hat. You’d definitely score good points on the saddle competition, for sure. A little black saddle would stand out great against your fur; and since you’re a pegasus, you’ve got wings you can spread for contrast or decorate with rhinestones.”

Scootaloo’s mouth hung open. “How do you know about that?” she stammered.

“I hear things,” Rainbow shrugged. “Rarity’s dragged me into modeling for her a few times.” She buffed a hoof against her barrel. “Apparently, I have a great body type for modeling.” She paused, then dropped her hoof and looked away, scowling. She subconsciously scratched irritably under her right hind leg. “And also a right leg made for stabbing with pins,” she added darkly under her breath. “I swear she does it on purpose sometimes.”

Scootaloo wasn’t quite sure how to respond to this.

Rainbow leaned in closer. “So if that’s not what’s bothering you, what is?” she challenged.

“Well, I guess it’s not that; but where it’s coming from. See, Diamond Tiara says she’s going to sign up and that she’s guaranteed to win, so…”

“Ohh,” Rainbow said, finally understanding. “She’s not exactly a fine, upstanding, model citizen.”

“You can say that again,” Scootaloo grumbled, her head falling. “I mean, I kinda want to try it, at least once, you know? But if Diamond Tiara is what they’re looking for in a beauty pageant, and she’s a giant pain in the neck, then what the hay is beauty, anyway?”

Rainbow opened her mouth… then sat back and rubbed her chin. “You know, that's a really good question,” she said. “I mean… I guess it matters what you think beauty is. I mean, I think open, clear skies are beautiful because I can fly fast without slowing down; but I also think an overcast day with big, fluffy clouds is beautiful because I can fly around them and work on my banking.” She stood up and looked around, searching for a flash of red amongst the green. Spotting one, she flew up to the nearby tree and picked an apple, which she tossed over to Scootaloo. “Applejack says there’s universal beauty in an apple,” she said as she picked one for herself, “and that anypony can see it if they just look.” Rainbow dropped back down next to Scootaloo. “I guess it makes sense to her somehow, but I don’t get it. You know what I think the most beautiful part of an apple is?”

Scootaloo shook her head.

Rainbow Dash looked mournfully at her apple. “When it’s turned into cider,” she said. “But I’ll take this, too.” She took a bite, and then wiped the apple juice off her chin. “I guess it’s different for everypony,” she said around a mouthful of apple. “What do you think beauty is?”

“I dunno,” Scootaloo shrugged, examining her apple as though it held the answer. “I mean, I guess I thought it meant doing your mane and dressing up nicely in clothes that are a bit too tight and itchy on your underbelly, like we did for the wedding or something.”

Rainbow Dash shrugged. “I guess dressing up and looking nice could be part of it,” she said. “But if that’s all beauty is, then I’d say it’s overrated.” She took another bite and chewed slowly, giving herself time to think. “I always figured beauty pageants were a bit of a crock, really, because they're a lot of dressing up and they don’t show off the real you. I mean, look at Fluttershy. She had a little modeling gig for a while, and they said she was beautiful; but they didn’t know her. They didn’t know she’d faced down Nightmare Moon, they didn’t know she’d taken down Diamond Dogs, they didn’t know she can face down a dragon, they didn’t know she’d walk through the Everfree Forest at midnight to help an injured animal; they just saw her exterior. I mean, I guess she’s pretty cute with her long mane and such; but what makes Fluttershy so awesome is that she’s… Fluttershy. I mean, sure, she’s a bit of a scaredycat, and she’s kindof a doormat, and she’s really quiet, and sometimes you can’t hear what she’s saying, and… uh…” Rainbow scratched the back of her neck. “Where was I going with this, again?”

Scootaloo hid her laughter behind a hoof.

Rainbow cracked a smile before she continued. “But the thing is, she’s still one of my best friends. I’d trust her with anything, and I wouldn’t trade her for anypony.” She looked at Scootaloo. “Hay, I’d say there’s plenty of beauty in you.”

Scootaloo started. “Really?”

“Yeah,” Rainbow Dash said. “I mean, look at you. You’re… tenacious.” She leaned in close and held a hoof up by her mouth, and whispered, “Twilight says that’s like stubborn, but in a good way.”

Scootaloo cracked a smile.

“I mean, you don’t let anything get you down. Nothing stops you. And some of the stunts you and your friends come up with? Genius. Crazy, but genius. I wish I’d thought of them when I was a kid. And you always pick yourself up afterwards and try again, no matter how many times you end up covered in tree sap.”

Scootaloo chuckled wryly, and she looked down and scuffed a forehoof. That happened far too often for her liking.

“So if you want to compete in the beauty pageant, go right ahead; but know that I think you’re already pretty awesome,” Rainbow finished, giving Scootaloo a gentle nudge on her shoulder..

“Thanks, Rainbow Dash,” Scootaloo said, fidgeting her hooves slightly. Rainbow recognized that motion, and she answered the unspoken plea; she stretched out her wing and pulled Scootaloo into a hug, and Scootaloo happily returned the gesture.

Rainbow waited until Scootaloo had pulled back before continuing. “But if you ever did want to become a saddle model…”

Scootaloo couldn't help but laugh. “You’d be the first I’d tell,” she said.

“I should probably be the second you tell,” Rainbow pointed out. “Rarity should know first, because she actually knows how to make saddles.” She stood up and shook. “Speaking of, I’m actually heading back into town; you want a lift?”

Scootaloo stood. “Sure! Can you drop me off at the schoolhouse? There’s a competition sign-up there that needs my name on it!”