• Published 28th Feb 2016
  • 4,022 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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3. Decision

Rainbow Dash didn't like waking up early on a weekend. Nor did she particularly like somepony else waking her up.

And yet, here she was: somepony was knocking on the door, at who-knows-what o’clock. And now she had to get out of bed, and see who the hell it was. She opened her eyes--then immediately closed them again. After the drinks she had, and the general craziness of the day before, it seemed almost insulting for somepony to assume that she was in working order, let alone wanting company.

Slowly, she got out of bed, stretched her hooves forward, and winced as her hangover made itself known in the form of a migraine and a viciously upset stomach. Things didn’t improve much as she left her relatively dark bedroom, and was blasted by the sunlight which poured through the exuberant windows of her expansive cloud home.

Eyes squinted, she put a hoof out to feel for the doorknob. She managed to find it, then grabbed, twisted, and pulled the door open. She groaned; her hope that she would be spared the intensity of a clear spring day was dashed as she couldn’t bear to open her eyes. She probably looked ridiculous, to boot.

“Whaddaya want?” she snapped.

As she stared, the pony standing on her doorstep came into focus: Fluttershy. Rainbow Dash took a sudden step backwards; Fluttershy’s expression was hard, with steel in her gaze.

And then, she seemed to come to herself. She swallowed, hard, and the rage drained from her face. She looked up at Rainbow and smiled faintly. “Sorry for waking you, Rainbow Dash,” she said, no trace of anger in her voice.

Rainbow swallowed. “H-hey, Fluttershy,” she said, hesitantly--then yawned. “Come on in.” She turned and stumbled her way to the kitchen to brew some coffee. “Care for some joe?” Rainbow called out, as Fluttershy found a spot on a large sofa in the foyer.

“Thank you, but I had some tea this morning.” Fluttershy responded quietly.

Rainbow pricked up her ears. “This morning?” she asked. “What time is it?”

Fluttershy took a deep breath. “It’s almost three in the afternoon, Rainbow Dash,” she said carefully.

Dash’s eyes widened. Three in the afternoon? Then why the hell do I still feel like shit? She poured herself a mug of coffee, hesitated, then gulped it down, pure black and scalding hot. What the hell was in my drink last night?

Rainbow poured herself a second mug, added a sugarcube and a splash of milk, then poured a glass of water. She carried both of them out to the foyer, plunked the water on the coffee table in front of Fluttershy, then sat.. “So,” she said, taking a sip from her mug, “what brings you here? I thought you usually did your critter roundup or whatever, today.”

“Thank you.” Fluttershy smiled, then took a sip from her own glass, then carefully set it down. “You don’t remember what today is?”

Rainbow groaned to herself. I have a lot of days to keep track of all of the sudden.

Fluttershy watched her carefully, then took another sip. “It’s Scootaloo’s birthday today,” she offered, quietly.

Rainbow turned to look blearily at her. “I thought that was yesterday?”

Fluttershy clenched her jaw, and another faint ripple of anger passed across her face. “No,” she said patiently, “that was the cutecenera. For all three of them.”

“Wait…” Rainbow sat up. “That was yesterday?”

Fluttershy nodded. “Last night.”

Last night. Rainbow Dash slowly sank back into the couch, letting her words echo in her head. Slowly but surely, the memories of yesterday morning came back to her. The more she remembered, the deeper the pit in her gut grew. Fluttershy watched her carefully, then turned away.

“The girls are pretty upset with you,” Fluttershy said. “Especially Scootaloo.”

“I had plans!” Rainbow snapped defensively. “Soarin’ never has any time off, and that was the only time we could’ve schedule a night out.” She crossed her arms. “ Not my fault the little squirt got lost in the shuffle.”

Both of them knew it was a lie.

“I wouldn’t say that.” Fluttershy said, the edge creeping back into her voice. Fluttershy had a reputation for being quiet and non-confrontational with almost everypony--but Rainbow Dash was an exception. They had known each other since foalhood, and shared a mutual respect. As such, the animal-lover had no hesitation when it came to telling the speedster what she thought… at least, in private.

“You promised her you would be her big sister,” Fluttershy continued. “And you’re not doing a very good job of keeping that promise.”

“I know, I know,” she groaned. “And I--I feel terrible.”

Fluttershy raised an eyebrow.

“I do!” Rainbow snapped. She groaned again, then put her head in her hooves. “What do I do?” she said. “She probably hates my guts--”

“Her party is still going on down at the castle.” Fluttershy made eye contact, her gaze hard. “You should go,” she said pointedly.

“Of course it is.” Rainbow sighed, the prospect of confronting more than just an angry filly was not at all in her favor. “I… I’m in no condition to go to a filly’s birthday party, Shy. Look at me! I’m hungover and half-dead. I show up like that, it would just make things worse.”

Fluttershy heaved a sigh. “Did you at least get her something?” she said. “Maybe I can--” She looked into Rainbow’s face and frowned. “You didn’t, did you,” she said flatly.

“I’ve been busy—”

“Rainbow Dash,” Fluttershy said quietly, “please don’t lie to me.”

Rainbow stared at her, open-mouthed, then leaned back and pouted.

Fluttershy cleared her throat a little, then took a sip of her water. “So, you didn’t get her a gift,” she said. “Not even a cutecinera present? Or a card?”

Rainbow hesitated, then simply nodded. As if verbalizing it would just rub salt in the wound.

Silence hung for a bit. Fluttershy watched Rainbow carefully as she sipped at her coffee.

“You should come,” Fluttershy said suddenly. “Even if all you do is apologize. That’s all she really wants, is to spend time with her—” she hesitated, then swallowed nervously. “--with her idol,” she finished. She had almost said a different word, one that might have ruined everything. She took another sip. “Maybe you could take her with you to the Wonderbolts show this weekend?” she suggested. “I think she’d love that.”

Rainbow rolled her eyes. “Since when did being a big sister have to be such a big responsibility?” she said, folding her arms. “I thought I was supposed to just hang out with her sometimes, and take her for a treat at Sugar Cube Corner or something.”

“But you’re not doing even that.”

“Oh, can it, you,” she muttered. She stood, then gritted her teeth at the sudden wave of nausea. She stumbled to the mailslot by the front door, looking for anything to distract her from her conversation with Fluttershy. She was surprised to find the wire basket underneath the mailslot stuffed with old mail; flyers, and ads, and—

She frowned, then pulled an envelope out of the stack. She tore it open, then unfolded the letter. It was a reminder from Ponyville Hospital that she had a checkup scheduled for this coming week.

Ponyville Hospital.

Today not only was the decennial of her little sister, it was also a decade since she foaled. So far as she had been told, that foal had gone to an orphanage. The Ponyville Orphanage closed its doors eight years ago, and most all of the orphans were dispersed to foster homes throughout Equestria.

If she was honest with herself, there were some nights she regretted giving up her foal. But this wasn’t one of them. She tapped the letter on the edge of the basket thoughtfully.
I’d have made a terrible mother, she thought.

“If you can’t make it to the party,” Fluttershy said suddenly from behind her, “maybe you could visit her.”

Rainbow jumped a little, then sighed. “Where?” she asked.

“At her house, I would imagine,” she sighed. “You know, down in—”

“Will you stop doing that?” Rainbow barked.

Fluttershy flinched. “D-Doing what?”

“You know! The-the thing where you state the obvious! I know I’m a terrible big sister--ya don’t need to rub it in!” She gritted her teeth, then stomped her hooves. “Luna, Celestia, and all the stars—” she muttered darkly.

Fluttershy turned to stare. “Rainbow,” she said carefully, “what are you—”

Rainbow Dash shot up into the air, her eye twitched as the sudden motion made her head throb in horrific pain.

“Come on, Fluttershy.” Dash proclaimed, a newfound determination about her. “We’re going to that birthday party!”

Pizza was delicious. Especially in the company of friends.

Now back inside, the crusaders and company sat in the spacious and spectacle dining hall of the Friendship Castle. The table now covered in plates, pizza boxes, and a giant chocolate chip cookie-cake that Spike made.

Pepperoni with mushrooms: Scootaloo’s favorite. Originally, Sweetie Belle insisted that Scootaloo loved cheese quesadillas, but for whatever reason, Twilight Sparkle insisted that pizza would be a better choice. No reason given, really. Rarity and Sweetie both were denied an explanation, and after some back and forth, pizza prevailed.

Scootaloo couldn’t care less. Already on her third slice, she was now reaching for a slice of the cookie cake.

“My, my,” Applejack teased, “Looks like the birthday girl’s got a big appetite.” This earned a chuckle from everyone, and a blush from Scootaloo who shamelessly shoved a slice of cookie in her mouth. Nodding in agreement as her packed cheeks were flooded with flavor.

“I have been eating absolutely terrible this weekend.” Rarity lamented. “Effective tomorrow, I am back on my diet.”

“You always say that, Rares.” Applejack opened, “Ya don’t need no diet, yer practically skin an’ bones.”

“I agree, sis.” Sweetie Belle added. “You worry too much about that kind of thing.”

It would be fair to say Sweetie intended this out of concern for her sister. She did. But, her main issue was, that with Rarity’s diet, came the reduction of sweet things in her house. When Sweetie Belle stayed over, it was a delectable choice between some green protein smoothie that looked like vomit, or some “healthy choice” hay fries that tasted like cardboard.

Add to that, Rarity would always comment on Sweetie’s dietary choices. Stating that practically everything that wasn’t a vegetable or upscale diet shake was “bad for you”, and that she should be “careful” with her eating habits. She implied Sweetie was fat, basically.

As much as Scootaloo would have loved to enjoy yet another slice of pizza, nature was calling, and she figured that heeding said call was the best course of action. There was just a slight issue. She figured with all the side-chatter going, that nopony would hear her.

“Um, Twilight?”

Wrong. As the birthday girl, with every utterance, the whole room went silent, all eyes on her. Scootaloo’s whole face turned a bright shade of red. Getting up from her seat, she cantered over to Twilight’s side, and whispered something in her ear.

“Oh.” Twilight suppressed a giggle, “Yes, first door by the main entrance.”

“Thanks!” With that, the filly was off.

A quick glance down the hall showed that the bathroom was indeed the only door closer to the main entrance outside of the dining hall. She began her trot, as the urge to go intensified to an alarming degree. Her trot became more of an erratic prance as she hurried to the door.

“Well, Ah think we did a pretty good job here, girls.” Applejack proclaimed.

“I concur.” Rarity agreed, “Scootaloo was simply adorable when opening her presents!”

“So, when Ah’m ten,” Apple Bloom smiled, “Ah’m gonna have an amazin’ party like this too, right sis?”

“I didn’t.” Sweetie Belle muttered, a half-glare sent Rarity’s direction.

“Darling, you know the reason for the opulence, remember? Somepony decided that their spring fling was more important than the filly that held them in the highest regard.”

It was impossible not to hear the venom in her inflection, and Applejack was even more potent.

“Ah reckon Fluttershy wasn’t able ta get that brat ta even come down here, huh?”

“Probably for the best.” Twilight sighed. “Would Scootaloo even want to see her anyway?”

The sound of the castle doors opening made the diners turn to the hallway.

“Looks like we’re about t’find out.” Apple Bloom muttered.

Spike and Twilight went into the hallway to investigate, and saw Rainbow Dash standing in the entry, Fluttershy just behind her..

“We were getting worried about you.” Twilight commented, being sure to keep her gaze on Fluttershy alone. Twilight did notice though, that Rainbow Dash looked unwell. As much as she was disappointed in her friend, it would be out-of-character to disregard that observation.

“You not feeling well, Rainbow Dash?” It didn’t come out caring or compassionate, she sounded annoyed, almost offended.

“Not really.” Dash grumbled. “Last night was kinda crazy.”

“You don’t say?” Rarity did nothing to hide her disgust, and Rainbow was greeted by an ensemble of scowls. Fluttershy watched Rainbow dispassionately, a faint sense of vindication in her eyes.

She tried to brush it off, “So, where’s the birthday girl?”

“Just to inquire,” Rarity spat. “Do you know who the birthday girl is?”

“Ah doubt it.” Applejack quipped.

“Look.” Rainbow growled. “I know I messed up, alright? At least I’m here. You know, I could’ve just stayed home!”

“You should have, you jerk!” Sweetie Belle snapped.

“Sweetie Belle!” Rarity gasped.

“Well?” The filly pouted. “She is!”

Before Rainbow or Rarity could retort, the sound of filly hooves coming down the hall stopped them. Rainbow turned around to see the stoic look of Scootaloo, who at first said nothing as she sat on her haunches, looking at her like some kind of curiosity.

Millions of words vied for the front of the queue, tons of emotions jostled for dominance in a wayward, haphazard mess; Scootaloo wasn’t sure whether she should be glad that Rainbow made it, or disgusted that she bothered to show at all. As the birthday girl, she had favor no matter what choice she made. The emotion which won, was disappointment, and the words that broke free, were anything but jubilant.


Her monotone, yet sharply accusatory delivery caught everypony off guard. Her tail, ears, and eyes signaled to anyone initiated to not try anything funny. As such, Dash was silent, but attentive.

“You promised that you would be my big sister.”

The pause between charges were practically murdering the rainbow-maned Element of Loyalty.

“Applejack is Apple Bloom’s big sister, and Rarity is to Sweetie Belle. They showed up… So why weren’t you there for me?”

“Scootaloo… I know no apology is going to make up for my failure. I failed you as a friend, but more importantly, I failed you as a sister; as an Element of Loyalty. The one time you needed me to be there- and, I’m going to be honest with you- I was too busy thinking about myself to worry about you.”

She let that resonate for a moment. Studying Scootaloo’s face for any shift in mood. None.

“Despite that, I owe you an apology.” Dash continued, “I’m sorry I couldn’t live up to my promise, and I’m sorry I hurt you. I don’t expect you to forgive me. I just hope that you don’t hate me forever.”

“Of course I don’t hate you, Rainbow Dash.” Scootaloo’s frown didn’t change, but her tone turned to understanding. “I’m disappointed-but… I don’t hate you. I never could. That’s not who I am.”

Rainbow tired a weak smile, but noticed Scootaloo didn’t move. She wasn’t done.

“Still, I can’t accept your apology.”

“I understand.” Rainbow resigned. It felt so weird to be intimidated by such a small fry, but Scootaloo’s presence was equal to a manticore at this point.

Scootaloo decided that the best course of action, was to give Rainbow a second chance. As naive as it would seem to her friends, and as much as she may regret it later, she was in too high of spirits to let herself remain bitter.

“But,” Scootaloo perked up slightly, “This is my birthday party, and I want everypony to have a good time.”

Scoots waited for Rainbow to smile back.

“I got a new scooter.” Scootaloo grinned.

Rainbow was uncertain how to reply. “So--You did?”

“Uh huh.” Scootaloo nodded. “Wanna see it?”

Rainbow glanced back, and while Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom looked mad as hell, the mares seemed to soften a bit. She turned back to the filly and smiled with her usual cocky grin.

“Sure. I’d love to.”

Scootaloo lead Rainbow to the outside of the castle, eager to present her newest toy.

“Fer the record, Ah think Scootaloo’s jus’ bein’ nice.” Apple Bloom crossed her hooves, scowl still plastered on her face.

“Me too!” Sweetie Belle grunted.

“Now, now girls,” Rarity cautioned, “Even if Scootaloo is sparing us the dramatics, we need to play along. The last thing we need, is for this wonderful day to be tarnished by conflict. Understand?”

The two girls nodded reluctantly.

“Pretty slick scooter, kid.” Rainbow complemented. “Does it ride as good as it looks?”

“Sure does!” Scootaloo answered smugly. “Wanna watch me do a tailwhip glide over a cliff?”

“That sounds a bit dangerous, Scoots.”

Scootaloo simply ignored her insistence, and sped off, leaving Rainbow to zoom after her.

“Hey kid…” Rainbow called after her, causing Scootaloo to slow a bit.


“I was wondering, I’m going to a barbeque up in Cloudsdale at the Wonderbolt Clubhouse, and wondered if you wanted to come?”

The scooter skid to a stop. Suddenly, those magenta eyes were piercing her again. Rainbow could see the filly thinking, the wheels of that little brain spinning at top speed, as it processed the offer, what was to gain, and what could be lost.

“Will you remember to bring me with?”

Rainbow could tell despite the wry smile on her face, that the filly was dead serious.

If anything, this meant that Rainbow truly did have a shot to redeem herself in the eyes of her number-one fan. This wasn’t just a snarky question, this was an invitation to prove her apology was more than just lip service.

“I promise I won’t leave without you.”

Scootaloo wasn’t taking that risk. “Why don’t you just pick me up at my house?”

Rainbow blinked. “Oh… right…” House…

Scootaloo sighed, “It’s where the orphanage used to be.”

“Wait… you're an orphan?”

Scootaloo did her best not to scowl. “Seriously?”

She folded up her scooter, and sat on the cliffside, Dash joining her.

“I was an orphan. Mrs. Harbor said that they changed the rules later, and all the foals were sent to foster homes. I just happen to have stayed here, I guess, and she adopted me.”

“Never met your parents?”

“Nope.” Scootaloo nodded. “I know I have ‘em; Just never met ‘em.”

As if Rainbow couldn’t be any more wretched... It wasn’t just that Rainbow Dash hadn’t been there for her, nopony was. Sure she had her fellow crusaders and their sisters of course; but a cutecenera was just as much about family as it was anything else. She could also tell by the way Scootaloo answered, that the subject was a sore one.

Risking further rebuke from the filly, Dash asked the inevitable. “So… where do you live, exactly?”

“You don’t remember?” Scootaloo groaned, but she couldn’t help but be slightly amused by how daft her idol was. “Come on. I’m sure you’ll recognize it once we get there. I need to get something, anyway.”

Scootaloo’s ears were lateral, and her voice carried a melancholy air about it. Still, the minute the scooter got momentum, her little wings were abuzz once more, and she was weaving around, under, and aside pedestrians of all sorts; Rainbow following from above.

What she felt she couldn’t explain. It was a mutt of uncertainty and annoyance. Despite this, and the heavy heart she carried, the filly was nimble and swan-like on her little scooter. Her maneuvers and detours were enough of a spectacle. An absurdly opportunistic upturned hay cart was in her sights.

WIngs beating furiously, a look of unfettered determination, she sailed up the impromptu slope, and soared into the air, letting her hind hooves rise from the deck and flow freely in the wind. Now in freefall, she used those same hooves to spin her body in a full circle; her handlebards being the pivot. Just before the front wheels made contact with the grass, her hooves reconnected with the scooter perfectly. Her landing was a bit of a drift, but never did she threaten to lose balance.

Part of her very much wanted to hear the complements of the cyan pegasus trailing her, another thought, was fine with their absence.

Now, they reached town hall. Scootaloo took a swift right, now cruising though residentials.

Rainbow recognized this neighborhood. Outside of a antiques shop, it was single-family cottages. She didn’t remember ever seeing an orphanage here, or at least anything that resembled the ones she’d seen in Cloudsdale or Manehatten.

Finally, they came up on a house. It looked like any other with the noticeable exception of it being about two times the usual size. From her vantage, she could see a simple playground in the backyard: complete with a slide, swingset, and tetherball pole. Scootaloo screeched to a halt before it’s double door, and looked up to beckon the elder mare to the ground.

“So this is-” Rainbow began before being vigorously shushed.

“Quiet!” Scootaloo hissed. “The foals are probably napping.”

With this, she propped her scooter beside the building, and fetched a key from her saddlebag. With the slow turn of the key, and a gentle push on the door, they headed inside.

Rainbow quietly followed as Scootaloo led her through the foyer. Size aside, the house seemed to be decorated and designed like the typical laypony cottage, with plain walls, and wooden frames. The foyer was nothing too special, and was more of a mud room with all of its coat and saddlebag hooks, horseshoe cubbies, and pictures of various foals, fillies,and colts. Dash noticed a couple of Scootaloo were up there: One of her as a foal, another that she assumed was about five years ago, and a more recent photo.

Exiting through the right entryway, they went through a narrow hallway, which terminated with a staircase. Again, pictures adorned the walls, though these seemed to be of Mrs. Harbour’s family. One image in particular--a faded wedding photo--showed a young mare and her stallion standing before what appeared to be Canterlot Tower.

Finally, the stairs lead to a small hallway with four doors on either side. Scootaloo ventured right, and slowly opened the second left door.

Instantly the room was familiar to Rainbow. The teal walls with the dark wooden trim, the circular flower trip rug, even the green checkered comforter set was the same as she remembered. That memory came back to her: Rainbow and the two other crusaders were on a train bound for the Equestria Games. The three fillies were supposed to perform their flag carrying ceremony for Ponyville.

Long story short, Rainbow wound up coming to this very room, in this very house, to encourage Scootaloo that her inability to fly meant nothing, both in terms of the ceremony, and in general. Scootaloo had talents of her own, and never let her disability stand between her and her aspirations before. They wound up taking first that day.

Scootaloo noticed the mare was staring into space. “You remember now?” She snapped playfully.

Dash shook the thoughts away. “Yeah, yeah. I remember now. It was kinda crazy when I came here last time. Most of it’s a blur.”

“Oh.” Scootaloo answered as she turned the blinds open. “I guess that makes sense.”

Rainbow took some time to look around while Scootaloo busied herself with rummaging through a box that sat nearby. Among the Wonderbolts posters that adorned the walls, were drawings. One of note, sat just above the filly’s desk. It was a simple drawing, an orange filly was strapped to a kite blowing in the wind. High above, was a rainbow streak, and a certain cyan mare leading the trail.

Then she noticed something else. The kite string wasn’t attached to a pony, or a stud. It was tied to an anchor that was well set in the ground. Dash’s heart sank as she realized what the artist was communicating.

She didn’t have much time to process it any further, as Scootaloo cleared her throat, and was standing impatiently in the doorway.

“C’mon, Dash.” Scootaloo ordered. “Let’s go.”

As the two headed back downstairs, Scootaloo could hear the sounds of restless fillies, chattering and clamoring about. No doubt that Mrs. Harbour was up and about, too. Sure enough, she was indeed in the foyer, moving some laundry from the nursery, to the washroom it seemed.

“Oh. I didn’t expect you to be back so soon. How has your special day been?”

“Pretty good.” Scootaloo grinned. “I got a new scooter!”

“Well I’ll be--” Harbour cooed, “Hanging out with Rainbow Dash for the day?”

Scootaloo flinched, almost like she’d forgotten about her.

“Oh. Naw, I was just showing her my new scooter. I forgot something here, and decided to come get it. You want me home in time to help put the foals to bed?”

“No, no no, today is a special day for you.” Harbour smiled, “Don’t worry about me, you enjoy yourself.”

Scootaloo seemed thrilled with that response. “Alright!” She turned to Rainbow Dash and made to open the door. Before she could however, a little colt popped out from the backyard.

“Is that Rainbow Dash?!”

Ten autographs and twenty-one questions later, Rainbow Dash finally managed to escape the swarm of youngsters who had engulfed her with inquiry and infatuation. Scootaloo was in tow with her saddlebag as the duo made for the castle.

She could at the very least claim some accomplishment: Scootaloo seemed perfectly ready, able to put the past aside--behind was asking too much--and get on the business of living.

Rainbow didn’t like silence. “What’cha got in that bag, kid?”

Scootaloo offered a simple answer, “You’ll see.”

“Where in tarnation did they go?” Applejack wondered aloud as Spike went around cleaning up the dining hall.

The two pegasi had been gone for several minutes now.

“Rainbow Dash probably made Scoots cry.” Apple Bloom grumbled. “Made ‘er go runnin’ on home.”

“Girls…” Rarity scolded.

“Yeah.” Sweetie Belle added, “Then, realizing what a horrible big sister she is, she went home, too!”

Applejack stomped a hoof to get the girls’ attention. “Oh will you two knock it off, already? Land sakes, girls! All you two been doin’ since they left, is mutter an’ moan, and Ah’m sick of it!”

“What else are we gonna do, sis?” Apple Bloom whined. “Can’t really have a birthday party without the birthday girl.”

“Ah got a bunch a work back at the farm fer ya.” Applejack growled, getting face-to-face with her sister, who flinched. “Mac and Granny could use an extra set of hooves if you ain’t gonna make nice with Rainbow.”

Apple Bloom simply nodded in resignation. Sweetie Belle only needed a scowl directed her way to clam up.

“I’m sure they’re fine.” Twilight smiled. “Scootaloo’s probably showing off some tricks or something.”

“They seemed fine when I last checked.” Rarity added. “Scootaloo honestly has a heart of gold to be so forgiving. Though I will admit that she ought to be careful. Never thought I would say this, but it appears Rainbow has commitment issues.”

Fluttershy glanced between her friends and frowned. She had hoped to bring Rainbow and Scootaloo together--not turn Rainbow into a pariah. But what else could she do?

Rarity glanced over at her, then frowned. “Fluttershy, Darling,” she said, “is something wrong? What’s bothering you?”

And, before she could stop herself, she thought back to that day in the hospital--thought back to when she’d first seen—

Fluttershy shook her head. “No,” she said. “I-I’m alright.”

And yet, she could not wipe the image of Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo, walking side-by-side from her mind.