• Published 28th Feb 2016
  • 4,020 Views, 440 Comments

Someone Still Loves You - brokenimage321

After realizing her dream of earning her cutie mark—in the company of her best friends, no less—Scootaloo’s life should have been on an upward course. Instead, she sees herself on yet another crusade.

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1. Discourtesy

Rainbow Dash didn't like needles. Nor did she enjoy being in a hospital bed.

Yet here she was, and two of her least favorite things had become almost commonplace. At her bedside, was a pegasus nurse, an earth-pony anesthesiologist, and another pegasus, a yellow mare with a pink mane; a close friend. Moral support. Today was to be the end of the needles, sickness, and complications. Today, the foal was to be born.

All Dash could hear beyond the beeps and blips of various monitors was the conversation of the trio beside her, which drifted between polite conversation about the weather, and some trivial gossip--all in an attempt to avoid discussing the obvious. As the anesthetics began to take their toll, She looked around, and for one last moment, fixated on her bloated stomach. it had grown considerably over the last year, and Rainbow was more than ready for this to be done and over with.

She thought about that foal for a moment. She hadn’t the slightest of whether it was a filly, or a colt. This was intentional of course, part of this whole adoption thing was to have as little maternal attachment as possible.

In other words, it would make giving it up easier.

While the uncertainty of it all was killing her, it was what she had wanted, after all. She wanted to be a Wonderbolt. That’s what years of blood, sweat, and tears at the best flight school in Cloudsdale were supposed to ensure. She wasn’t about to let the consequences of her sleeping around interfere.

Without warning, she was slammed with a sudden wave of pain and nausea. The tempo of the mechanical beeps increased, the muted conversation became inaudible coordination and barked commands. Dash’s breaths became closer and closer together She saw Fluttershy through her bleary eyes, a soft smile on her face.

And, just like that, like that, everything around her began to fade away.

Everything would be alright…

Rainbow’s eyes shot open. The vision faded, retreating into the abyss with a whimper. Even in her warm sleeping bag in the company of her friends, for a brief moment, she felt cold and alone.

Rainbow Dash thought of chasing after her dream, as if catching it would finally reveal what happened next. The only thing she remembered it all fading to black.

Despite it being well after midnight, she had hit the sack not too long ago. The slumber party which Twilight had arranged had gone well into the night, with stories, gossip, and snacks, courtesy of Spike. Everypony was tuckered out, and Dash secretly hoped she was the only one awake.

“Um...Rainbow Dash?” As timid as the voice was, Rainbow jumped anyway. “Are you okay?”

“Y-Yeah.” Rainbow answered, “I’m fine. Just that nightmare again about… y’know...”

“Oh.” Fluttershy answered.

Rainbow stared up at the ceiling. Silence ruled for a short while.

Finally, Rainbow spoke again, in a whisper. “How long has it been?”

“Since… then?”


Fluttershy knew the answer without thinking. “Awhile,” she said. “I think it's this week, in fact,” she added. Rainbow’s face played host to confusion, surprise, worry, and finally, curiosity.

“Do you ever wonder about what happened?” Rainbow’s gaze fell on her hoof that was nervously swirling upon her blanket. “Do you think… they’re okay?”

Fluttershy turned to look at her--and suddenly, she was back in the hospital. Back in the maternity ward. Back in the painfully-white room that smelled of sweat and blood. Rainbow, still barely a mare, lay on her back, unconscious, IVs dangling from her arm. Fluttershy wanted to wake her--have her be here for this--but the nurse stepped in front of her and handed her a squirming bundle. Fluttershy took it, then, peeled back the blankets to see—

She squeezed her eyes shut and swallowed, hard. She bit her lip until she tasted copper. And slowly, the vision faded. Slowly, she came back to the Friendship Palace. And slowly, she realized Rainbow was still waiting for an answer.

Fluttershy swallowed. She could never tell, when Rainbow got in one of these moods, if this time she wanted a real answer, or if she was just thinking out loud again. In either case, Fluttershy said the same thing she always did:

“I’m sure,” she said carefully, “whoever they are, t-that they have lots of friends. Probably doing alright in school, too.” She turned to face Rainbow, and saw her looking back at her, eyes wide and hopeful. Fluttershy smiled a little, then took Rainbow’s hoof in hers. “If they’re anything like you,” she added, “they’re going to do amazing things. I just know it.”

Dash smiled, and let out a long, contented sigh.

“Yeah, I bet you’re right,” she said. “...Thanks, ‘Shy.”

The two were alerted by Twilight, who rustled her sleeping bag as she stirred awake, grunting slightly as she awoke. One last look at one another, and Rainbow Dash slowly tucked back into her sleeping bag. The night was still young, and she had a busy day ahead of her.

Cake, confetti; compliments and congratulations.

It seemed to the three fillies, the Cutie Mark Crusaders, the day they had been conspiring and crusading for, had finally arrived. No longer were they ‘blank flanks’, they had their cutie marks. While the fact the three fillies got theirs at the same time for the same reason was certainly remarkable, the research and ramifications could wait.

It was time to party.

And party they did: Pinkie Pie, the party-planning extraordinaire had somehow out-done herself once again. The buffet was stocked with food and fancies of all kinds from every end of Equestria, the music was curated by the beloved Vinyl Scratch, and everypony they could possibly know was there.

“So, do ya like it?” Pinkie asked the Crusaders as they sat in the middle of it all.

“Are you kiddin’ me?” Apple Bloom’s mouth was agape, “This is amazing!”

“Yeah, this is incredible, Pinkie Pie!” Sweetie Belle added, a sparkle in her eye.

“I can’t believe it girls,” Scootaloo beamed, “We finally got our cutie marks!”

Sweetie Belle nodded in agreement, looking at her flank dreamily.

“Just look at all the Apples here, girls! Why, Ah haven’t seem some of them since our last reunion!”

Apple Bloom suddenly let out a gasp. “Babs?”

“Apple Bloom!” Bloom’s cousin came galloping towards the trio.

“Wow, you did get your cutie mark! It’s amazing!”

“Not jus’ me, neither. Girls?”

On cue, the three crusaders turned to show their flanks.

“Whoa!” Babs was awe-struck. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of ponies getting the same cutie marks, at the same time!”

“Twilight says it's a, uh… an anatomy!” Apple Bloom stated.

“I think she said, anomaly.” Sweetie Belle corrected.

“There’s a difference?” Apple Bloom retorted.

“I think so. Right, Scootaloo?”

Sweetie Belle looked around. “Scootaloo?” Though it appeared the pegasus had wandered off.

Scootaloo stealthily snuck back into the kitchen of Sugarcube Corner. Hiding behind a standing cabinet, her eyes went wide, and her mouth was agape, captivated by the grandeur and detail of it all.

It was a massive tiered ice cream cake, each of the three tiers featuring a color scheme that matched each of the crusaders. The base tier featured Magenta trim, with a orange frosting. The middle tier: Red trim, with cream-colored frosting, the topmost layer: lilac icing along the trim, with white frosting. Each tier had in the center, frosting piped in the shape of their cutie marks. As Scootaloo’s eyes traveled to the top of the colossal confection, she saw a chocolate topper: the Cutie Mark Crusader shield, held aloft by a thicket of pocky sticks.

To say she was in absolute awe, would be an understatement. To say she nearly had a heart attack when a certain pink party pony popped into view, would be fairly accurate.

“Pretty neat, huh?” Pinkie beamed. “Gonna have to wait though, I gotta finish some cupcakes and special cookies. You’re gonna love them!”

With that, the party pony was back through the swinging doors to the kitchen, leaving Scootaloo alone, who only now noticed she was drooling. WIping her muzzle, she headed back out into the main room, and went looking for her friends. It didn’t take long to find them, or, at least, where they were. A large crowd had gathered on one end of the room. Pushing past a few ponies, she spotted wrapping paper all over the floor. Looking up, she saw a table, adorned with presents.

Pinkie watched Scootaloo over her shoulder as she trotted towards the presents--and so, she almost ran into Fluttershy, waiting for her in the kitchen. Pinkie yelped and jumped a little.

Fluttershy’s only reaction was to toss her head a little, getting a strand of mane out of her face. “Pinkie,” she said, “I think we have a bit of a problem.”

“Problem?” Pinkie asked, cocking her head.

Fluttershy nodded out the swinging door at the presents. “Notice anything?”

Pinkie shook her head slowly. “Nooooo...” she began. “I mean, we got everything squared away hours ago for Apple Bloom, and Sweetie Belle, and…”

And then, the penny dropped.

“Oh, horseapples,” Pinkie breathed.

Back in the party room, Apple Bloom, holding an opened cardboard box on her lap, could hardly speak, “Is that a… no way!!” It was a stetson hat, just like her sister’s, a badge of her cutie mark drawn on the front. It was on her head instantly. Her once-cherished bow, tossed aside.

“Thank you so much, Applejack!” Apple Bloom ran over and squeezed her sister in a tight hug.

“Ya earned it, Apple Bloom.” Applejack grinned, fitting the discarded bow onto her sister’s hat, “Big Mac an’ Ah are awful proud of you.”

Meanwhile, Sweetie Belle was over the moon with what Rarity had brought from Trottingham: a complete set of the Junior Unicorn’s Guide to Intermediate Magic. It was hardly cheap, and very hard to find. Certainly some strings had to have been pulled for that one.

Rarity trotted over to her little sister who was practically shaking with excitement.

“Ever since you were a foal, I knew you had a special gift for singing. I just know that if you put your heart into it, and give it your all, that your name will be in lights--underlined, even! But,” she added, the slightest squeal of excitement creeping into her voice, “to get there, you’ll need lessons from a true professional…”

Sweetie Belle’s jaw dropped, as several surprised gasps and squeals erupted around the room. No sooner than that did none other than Countess Coloratura round into view.

“Sweetie Belle,” Countess smiled, “Rarity’s told me a lot about you. You think you’ve got what it takes?”

Sweetie Belle was speechless, her only response was a delighted squeal.

“I think she intends to accept your offer.” Rarity smiled.

Scootaloo kept watching. One by one, the wrapped boxes were opened, Thanks and hugs were given, and the mess was cleared. Scootaloo realized that there was nothing for her.

Certainly this was the part where Rainbow Dash would swoop in with the Coolest Gift Ever™.

...Any minute now….

“Uh, is that really everything, Rares?” Applejack cast a concerned glance to the mare.

It took a few moments to register.

“W-No, it shouldn’t be…” Rarity trot around frantically, turning over loose wads and blankets of wrapping paper, praying to Celestia something was underneath.

Applejack face hoofed, “Don’t tell me we left all that with Rainbow…”

“She was supposed to have brought her a gift,” Rarity sighed, “She said she would.”

Pinkie pie appeared between them “Girls? We have a CODE RED, I REPEAT, WE HAVE A CODE RED!!”

“Lemmie guess,” Applejack frowned, “Scootaloo, right?”

“What are we gonna do? It isn’t a cutecenera without presents!”

“It isn’t that she doesn’t have any…” Rarity winced, “It’s just she’s getting them tomorrow. Rainbow Dash was supposed to have gotten her VIP tickets to the upcoming Wonderbolts Centennial Spectacular…”

“But, Rainbow Dash is a no-show,” Applejack finished, “So, as far as poor lil’ Scoots is concerned…”

Pinkie frowned, “She has nothing.”

Rarity looked in the direction of the Crusaders. “This isn’t good, girls. We have to do something.”

“The whole town is here, Rares.” Applejack sighed, “Ah reckon’ there won’t be nowhere to get her anythin’.”

Pinkie suddenly grinned. “Well, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything here. just a sec!”

With hair-raising speed, the party pony dashed from the end of the party room, through the kitchen, and up the stairs to a storage closet. Inside was a large box with an assortment of old foals’ toys from decades past.

Inside were dolls, toy trains and stagecoaches, figurines depicting famous faces of the past. Sifting through the wood, plastic, and stuffed toys, she finally found something that just might work. With a wide smile, she triumphantly bounced back downstairs.

“Hey Scootaloo!” Sweetie Belle zipped over to her friend’s side, horn glowing. “Watch this!”

Scootaloo turned to watch. . Hovering above Sweetie’s head was a cupcake on a dessert platter. It soared up, around, finally diving down to a hove in front of Scootaloo’s muzzle. The pegasus didn’t hesitate to take a huge bite She chewed, then smiled broadly at how proud Sweetie was..

“Hey Sweetie, Scoots, check this out!” Apple Bloom lead the girls over a giant crate. A look inside revealed a series of beakers, cauldrons, and a thick, weathered, exoctic-looking book. “Zecora gave me these cool beakers and potion recipes, an’ stuff!” she cried.

“Cool!” Sweetie Belle exclaimed, skimming a few pages of the dusty tome.

Apple Bloom turned to Scootaloo. “So, what’d you get, Scoots?”

Scootaloo’s eyes darted around, as she stammered a bit. “I… uh…”

“Scootaloo?” Sweetie Belle frowned, the concern on her face growing more pronounced.

“I… I got…” Scootaloo looked for anything she could shoehorn as a gift, desperately hoping this was the cue her ‘big sister’ needed to make a grand entrance, and save the day.

Her friends knew her well enough to know something was up, and felt a little guilty for showing off,

Sweetie Belle opened her mouth to speak, but suddenly, Pinkie burst through the swinging doors of the kitchen.

They watched as Pinkie said something to Applejack, Rarity, and Twilight, whose faces went from attentive, to relieved in short order. She was holding something wrapped, and it didn’t appear to have a tag on it.

Apple Bloom was immediately curious. “Ah wonder what that is…”

“Me too,” Sweetie Belle added, “I thought we opened all of our presents.”

Pinkie practically skipped over to Scootaloo. “Didn’t think we were gonna leave you out of the fun, did we?”

Scootaloo’s grin was massive, as she took the wrapped present with trembling hooves and tore it open, her smile fading fast.

“A… really old stuffed dragon?”

Pinkie frowned at the filly’s displeasure. “You don’t like it?”

Scootaloo looked up to see the other Elements watching her, faces mixed between nervous, and uneasy.

Scootaloo forced the best smile she could.

You went into your attic, and brought me some crusty baby toy?

Rarity struggled to come up with some kind of explanation, “Well, you see… it’s…”

“Fine. It’s fine. I love it.” Scootaloo found it difficult to keep up the act, her forced, toothy grin was starting to hurt. “Thanks.”

For a moment, nopony said much of anything, as Scootaloo kept her gaze to the pitiful present, nudging it with her hoof.

Pinkie Pie bit her lip. She glanced around for something to break the tension, and and saw the Cakes emerge from the kitchen, presumably looking for her. A smile flashed across her face.

“Speaking of surprises…” Pinkie’s smile widened as she hopped over to an empty table, Pinkie announced with glee, “Time for some CAKE!” Pinkie bounced over to a long table which now hosted a giant cake, waving a hoof towards the Crusaders as an opening was made for the trio to go up front. Pinkie hopped down in front of them, brandishing a slicer, and a small plate.

“Who wants to go first?”

Sweetie and Apple Bloom immediately nudged Scootaloo forward. A brief glance back saw an encouraging wink from the unicorn, and a nod from the earth pony. A smile on her face, Scootaloo gingerly cut a generous slice of the bottom tier, making sure to get a chunk of cutie mark on it. Within moments, she had taken an enormous bite.

All sorts of delicious flavors washed through as she swallowed the dessert. The cake itself was spongy vanilla base, and the icing was almost pure sugar. The frosting had an interesting, white chocolate taste to it. Scootaloo sported the widest, most sincere grin she’d had since the party began.

“So?” Pinkie was face to face with Scootaloo. “Whaddya think?”

“It’s awesome, Pinkie Pie. Thank you!” Scootaloo beamed.

“No problemo!” Pinkie now hopped in front of Sweetie Belle. “Your turn!”

Sweetie was determined to show off her magic skills, and thus took the cake slicer by magic and attempted to position it over the cake, sticking out her tongue in concentration. Her aim was to cut it with grace and elegance. Instead, the slicer jerkily shot downward, then swung to the side, sending ponies diving for cover before it bit deep into a wooden pillar, then stuck.

Sweetie could only muster a nervous laugh as her ears dropped with embarrassment.

A blue aura overpowered her own, and wrenched the slicer from the pillar. “No worries, dear,” Rarity murmured as she sliced her a generous piece from the top tier.

Apple Bloom didn’t try anything funny, she simply asked for a slice from the middle, and got one, much to the relief of everypony else.

The three went to a table set just for them, and sat around with their cake. Apple Bloom didn’t hesitate gorging herself, frosting smattered all around her muzzle. Sweetie Belle slowly, deliberately, levitated a fork (plastic, at Rarity’s insistence), and gingerly ate. Scootaloo took a look around the room. So many ponies were there: parents, siblings, neighbors; None of which were there for her sake. After growing bored of this panorama, she danced a distracted hoof along a now-empty plate.

“You okay, Scootaloo?” Sweetie asked, concerned. “You look a little down.”

“Yeah, you didn’t get any presents?” Apple Bloom shot a curious glance back towards where the presents had been stacked. She didn't recall anything with Scootaloo’s name on it.

“It’s okay girls, really. I mean, I did get a present...” Scootaloo waved a dismissive hoof. “I’m sure Rainbow Dash has something awesome waiting for me: like flying lessons, or--o-or a camping trip! Just the two of us!”

Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle shared a confused glance, but Scootaloo seemed determined. Rainbow Dash was going to show up and set things right. No way she was going to miss her number-one fan’s biggest day.

Everything was going to be alright.

The rest of the night should have been fun: there was ‘pin the tail on the alicorn’, dancing, a singing contest (which Sweetie won), not to mention some tearful speeches on the part of Applejack and Rarity. For all intents and purposes, the party should have been the most fun Scootaloo ever had. She finally got her cutie mark at long last, and there was a grand celebration to mark the occasion.

But Rainbow Dash was nowhere to be found. With her absent, it was more or less a party just for Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle. Scootaloo’s ticket in was simply the fact that she got her cutie mark, too.

Bitter and tired, Scootaloo marched out of Sugarcube Corner. She had no interest in staying behind for parting words or congratulations. A light drizzle began to fall just as she entered the perimeter of Sweet Apple Acres. She wanted to be alone. She wanted to be away from the fun she couldn’t have. She wanted to be in the old Crusader’s clubhouse. No one would find her up there.

She hated being angry. Today was supposed to be such a great day. Her flank was no longer blank and Diamond Tiara, a former bully, nuisance, cause of many tears and tantrums, was reformed and befriended. There was even a giant cake, with the biggest tier in her colors, with her cutie mark, and her name on it…

Not even the so-called Element of Loyalty, the one who promised to take her under her wing and treat her like a little sister. Last Scootaloo checked, Rarity and Applejack were there for their little sisters--they showered them in gifts, praise, and compliments. What had Scootaloo done that she didn’t deserve the same?


Scootaloo stopped, her head dropped as Sweetie Belle tiptoed up beside her.

“Feeling any better, Scootaloo?”

“I’m fine, Sweetie Belle.” Scootaloo hissed through her clenched teeth.

Sweetie grimaced. "What's the matter, Scootaloo?"

She wasn’t about to be blunt. "My cutie mark," she lied.

"Huh?" Sweetie arched an eyebrow. "What about it?”

"I don't like it." Scootaloo pouted. "It's stupid."

"What?" Sweetie was taken aback, "W-Why not? Our cutie marks are special! We have a mission, don't you see? We have to help other fillies and colts. Help them find their special--"

"What about me?" Scootaloo snarled, "What about me, huh?" Her voice raising, her hoof stamping a patch in the grass "What about my family? What about my stupid wings? Why doesn't somepony help me? It's not fair!"

"Scootaloo..." Sweetie began hesitantly, , but Scootaloo reversed course, and began her homebound trot, fuming.

Sweetie Belle didn’t bother following. She knew that Scootaloo was sensitive--as, truth be told, she had a right to be. Still, it stung to watch her friend sour and solemn on what was supposed to be the happiest day of a filly's life. Part of her very much wanted to find that rainbow-maned pegasus, and give her a piece of her mind.

“Hey girls!” Apple Bloom greeted. Babs and some other Apple fillies by her side. As she saw Sweetie Belle, alone, her face fell.“Where’s Scootaloo?”

“She went home.” Sweetie Belle said flatly.

“Oh…” Apple Bloom’s ears fell slightly. “No sign of her, huh?”

“Nope.” Sweetie Belle sighed.

“Well…” Apple Bloom pawed the ground nervously before perking up again, “Are you comin’, at least?”

“To what?”

“The party.” A smile returned to the farm filly as she glanced at her cousins beside her.

“I thought we already had a party?” Sweetie Belle asked, confused.

“Yeah, but this one’s an Apple Family Cutecenera!” Apple Bloom grinned. “There’s cider, games, music; all sorts a cool stuff, c’mon!”

With nothing better to do, Sweetie Belle followed Apple Bloom and company past the clubhouse, and towards the orchards. No sooner had they rounded the thick grove of trees that separated the clubhouse from the farmland, than they were almost knocked off their hooves by a massive wave of smells: cider, pie, and other sweet things. Sounds of blues rock, laughter, and even some rowdy stallions playing a game of horseshoes echoed through the trees.

The whole orchard was dressed with fairy lights, with tiki torches lining the entrance, exit, and buffet tables. It seemed there were more ponies here than at the Cutiecenera. It wasn’t just Apples either, it seemed most of Ponyville was going to be here soon enough.

“Whoa…” Sweetie gawked at the sight. “This is amazing! When did they do all this?”

Apple Bloom couldn’t help her smug expression. “Well, we kinda got it all set up earlier this evenin’. Big Mac, Granny, an’ some of the Apple boys stayed behind an’ got the food ready. Yer sister helped with the lights an’ such.”

“Ah, Sweetie Belle, there you are!” Rarity greeted as she emerged from the homestead. “You ran off, and I was worried you headed back to the Boutique.”

“I almost did.” Sweetie Belle said, “But then Apple Bloom saw me, and brought me down here.”

Rarity glanced over the little crowd of fillies. “No Scootaloo?” she asked.

“No.” Sweetie’s frown returned. “She went home. She’s pretty upset about everything.”

Sweetie noticed a flash of disgust on her sister’s face before it returned to a weak smile. “Apple Bloom, I do believe your grandmother could use you for a moment in the kitchen.”

“Ah bet it’s the pies, girls! C’mon, Sweetie Belle!” Apple Bloom beamed as she and her cousins dashed towards the house, Sweetie Belle not too far behind.