• Published 28th Feb 2016
  • 3,250 Views, 385 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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30. Departure

Rumble didn’t like waking up with drool on his face, nor did he like seeing that it was almost noon, yet there he was―groggy and gross. Five hours of unexpected late-night gaming and sugary soda had rendered him comfy and comatose.

“Time to wake up, sleepy heads.” Button’s mom smiled as she opened the door just slightly, glancing towards Button who squirmed under the covers.

“Five more minutes,” Button mumbled.

His mother sighed, “Only if you want cold oatmeal.” She giggled as she closed the door carefully.

Rumble let out a yawn as he slowly got to his hooves, unfurling his wings to their full extent, and arching his back.

“Ugh,” Button groaned, “I’m still beat. How late were we out last night?”

“Nine-ish,” Rumble snickered. “But we stayed up playing Storm Fortress II until like… I dunno.”

Rumble watched as Button settled into his bed again, tossing and turning as he fought dream sheep for a few more minutes.

“Oh yeah,” he replied as he finally threw off his comforter. “Covered a lot of ground, though. Pretty sure we’re about sixty-five percent through the campaign now.”

Rumble followed Button Mash into the kitchen, where sure enough, two bowls of oatmeal sat, accompanied by apple slices. Mrs. Mash sat across from them, looking over some papers and a tabletop calculator.

“You boys were up pretty late last night.” She pecked a few keys with her hoof, one press making a little printer go. “How was the party?”

Rumble blew on the steaming bite of oatmeal as it dripped from his spoon, glancing over to Button, whose craptrap was shut unusually tight.

Always forget he isn’t a morning pony. Rumble shook his head. “We had a good time.” He turned to glance at Button. “Didn’t we?”

Button simply nodded; Rumble could’ve sworn he saw the slightest tinge of red on his cheeks.

Come on, Button. Rumble frowned as he poked his friend with his spoon. Stop being such a wuss, and tell her what happened, or she’s gonna ask-.

“Did something happen, sweetie?” Button’s mom finally asked, her eyes now fixed on her son who kept his gaze to his food.

Rumble turned away and stifled a laugh. For all his swagger and snark, Button was easy to embarrass, especially when his mother was around.

“N―No,” Button muttered, glancing at the door. “It was fine.”

“You’re making it sound like something bad happened.” Rumble raised an eyebrow.

“No I’m not!” Button growled, quickly snapping back to avoiding eye contact. “We… had fun. Sweetie taught me how to dance, and stuff.”

“Oh, really? That’s wonderful!”

“Yeah, it was pretty nice actually.” Rumble scraped together one last heap of oats. “The girls had a pretty great time, and everypony was really... cool.”

“Well, that's terrific, you’ll have to tell me all about it after you get home Sunday.”

“Sunday?” Rumble glanced at Button, who had perked up noticeably.

“Yeah, I’m headed to ManeCon,” Button replied. “I’ve been saving up bits for the last couple months.”

Button’s mom sighed as she gathered the plates from the table. “I’m a little worried about you taking the train by yourself…”

“Pssh, I’ll be fine, mom.” Button rolled his eyes as he lead Rumble towards the front door.

“You’re leaving already?” his Mom asked, looking up.

“No.” Button stepped away. “I gotta stop by Sugarcube Corner real quick.”

“Oh, alright then. Don’t take too long, though, I have a lady’s day at the spa, and want to say goodbye before you leave.”

“Sure thing,” Button called back as he closed the door behind him.

They were a couple steps outside as Button’s mood darkened again.

Rumble had his suspicions, and it helped that devious smirk along.

“What the hell got into you earlier?”

“Nothing.”

“Opal got your tongue, Mutton?”

“No!” Button growled.

“Then why were you acting like your mom was asking if you wet the bed?”

“B-Because…” Button turned away with an indignant little stomp of his forehoof. “I don’t want my mom asking me a zillion questions about her--and then insisting I invite her over for dinner, so she can share foal pictures and tell stories about... well, you already said it.”

“Aw, you really liiiiike her, don’t you?” Rumble buzzed his wings, speaking right into Button’s ear.

Button swatted at him like he would a Parasprite. “Sh-shut up, Rumble. You’ve got it wrong!”

Rumbled snickered into a hoof before turning around suddenly. “Heya, Sweetie Belle. How’s it goin’?”

Button performed a one-eighty to see his friend muffling his laughter with a hoof. “Not. Funny.”

“It totally was.” Rumble moved to catch up with Button, who was now stomping off towards Sugarcube Corner. “Don’t worry, Button. You think your parents are embarrassing?” Rumble shook his head as he chuckled darkly, “You have no idea.”

“I thought your parents liked Scuttlebucket?”

“Yeah.” Rumble rolled his eyes. “After we had a family intervention right in front of her.”

“Couldn’t have been that bad, because she’s never brought it up.”

“I bet she would if you asked.”

“Can I?”

No.”


Scootaloo couldn’t remember the last time she had slept in like this. She hardly cared that Sweetie had tried―several times―to get her to eat breakfast, or that her oatmeal had gone cold, or that they also had plans to go see Apple Bloom before she had to do chores. She’d earned her twelve hours of sleep, and nopony was going to take it from her.

“Scoots, wake up already,” Sweetie whined at her bedside. “Rarity needs us to help her with some errands today.”

Scootaloo groaned into her pillow as she tried one last time to turn away and tuck herself in. “Go away, Sugar Belle.”

Just five more hours.

Her eyes shot open as the warmth trapped between the sheets was ripped away. She opened her eyes to see Sweetie Belle, a corner of the sheet still in her teeth, the slightest curl of a smile under her snout.

“Alright, alright, I’m getting up,” Scootaloo yawned as she crawled out of bed, using her last ounce of irritation to put on the meanest glare she could muster.

Sweetie quickly trotted to the lead as Scootaloo headed downstairs. Tempting revenge came as Scootaloo watched Sweetie’s swirly, candy-colored tail swished this way and that.

I wonder how her tail would taste. I mean, it even looks like candy.

“Well, there you are,” Rarity said as they entered the foyer, “I was starting to worry you were possibly ill.”

Rarity’s voice carried the same air as usual, but something seemed off. Scootaloo couldn’t quite pin down what, though, shuddering a little as she recalled a flash of the night before.

“Nah, just tired,” she replied, smiling. “Partied a little too hard last night.”

“Indeed, I heard you all had quite the time. I’m glad it went so well.” Rarity smiled. “I was hoping I could’ve been awake for you girls to return but, well, I bit off a little more than I could chew.”

“It was worth it.” Sweetie grinned. “I can’t remember how many times somepony complemented our dresses, huh Scoots?”

Scootaloo nodded. “Yeah, Diamond was all, ‘Let me guess, Rarity?’

“That’s fantastic, girls. You all deserved to have a splendid time, and I was more than happy to play my part, as small as it was.”

Scootaloo noticed a stack of postage boxes she hadn’t seen the night before, all stacked by the front door.

“What’s all that?”

“Oh, just some packages from the ma…” Rarity froze. “The mail.”

Scootaloo winced as Rarity’s ears flattened a little.

“Are you ok--?”

“Sweetie, darling,” Rarity began deliberately. “Would you be a dear and… run by the castle? I know Twilight needed some old tapestries repaired, and I would like to get those mended before I take on my next project.”

“Ooh, yeah!” Sweetie smiled, intertwining her tail with Scootaloo’s. “Come on, sis!”

Rarity cleared her throat.

“I think Scootaloo needs a little more time to wake up. I wouldn’t want her to go without breakfast.”

“Oh, alright.” Sweetie deflated for a only a moment. “Be right back!”

Scootaloo could’ve sworn she saw Rarity shiver as the door semi-slammed behind her. For what seemed like an eternity, Rarity simply stood there, idly fidgeting with her hooves. Without warning, she broke from her trance and trotted hurriedly towards the stairs.

The silence alone began to bear on her with a crushing weight. “Is… something wrong, Rarity?”

“Scootaloo,” she almost choked. “Could you come here for just a moment?”

She had already disappeared by the time Scootaloo had turned to follow.

Poking her head inside, she could see Rarity at the center of the room, an envelope in hoof. Something about it made Scootaloo uncomfortable.

The door closed as Scootaloo stepped towards Rarity, causing her to jump.

“Sorry about that,” Rarity said without facing her.

Finally, as she sat on the floor, Rarity turned to face her.

“There’s something we need to talk about,” Rarity began simply. “I… wanted to show you earlier, but with all you had going between the party, and your situation with your—” She swallowed. "—I thought the moment wasn't appropriate.”

She glanced at the envelope one last time, before her aura raised it from her trembling hoof, and into Scootaloo’s.

“This is for you.”

Scootaloo hesitantly took the envelope from Rarity’s magic, carefully drawing out the artful stationary, the cursive hoofwriting instantly familiar.

Dear Scootaloo,

I was worried about you, from the moment we said goodbye. I’ve been hopeful that this reaches you during a time of pleasantries and prosperity. Part of me was slightly concerned that my lack of writing would bilk you slightly, but regardless, I wanted to get settled in—perhaps it would give you time to do the same.

I’ll be frank: I miss you. Our days together were among my best, and adjusting to this new life has been difficult to say the least. It goes without mentioning that going from being responsible for and surrounded by youth and vitality, to one marred by seniority and sterility is a jarring experience. You never think you’re an old pony until you actually become one; and sure as sugar did it take but a month in Manehattan to push me to that next stage of life.

So enough about me, dear heart. Have you been a good filly, respectful, considerate, and resolute? I hope all is going well for you, dear. I miss you, and I love you.

Regards,
Mrs. Safe Harbour

Scootaloo couldn’t raise her gaze from the words on the page; they stared back at her with an intensity she couldn’t bear. She felt a hoof on her shoulder, which slowly began to pull her close. As the warmth met her, the tears came, and the artful, archaic hoofwriting began to blur into a smudge of black and white.

She didn’t know what to say as the letter was once again encased in a magical hue, delicately trifolded, and carefully slid back into its envelope.

Scootaloo shut her eyes, and as they trembled, she could see her foster mother carried into the sky, feel her hooves frantically clopping against the ground below―that horrible moment she leapt towards her…

Her eyes shot open as she hit the ground.

“I...w--” Scootaloo blinked as the words jammed in her throat. “I want to see her, but…” Her throat dried out. “I can’t! I promised Rainbow Dash I’d…”

She gritted her teeth as she fought back a burst of indignance. You can’t ask, Scootaloo. That’s selfish. Scootaloo bit her tongue.

No it isn’t! I miss her, I haven’t seen her in months! This isn’t fair! She tasted copper.

Scootaloo shook again as a wave of emotions washed over her, inundating into her resolve like a tsunami. The more she forced her eyes shut, they more they trembled.

A hoof on her shoulder tore her from her mental nosedive.

She opened her eyes, Rarity sitting before her, a mix of emotions in her eyes, though concern shone the brightest.

“I understand that you made a commitment to Rainbow Dash’s recovery, and that was a very admirable thing of you to do.” Rarity’s gaze hardened slightly as she edged ever closer. “However, you are a filly, and none of us would honestly expect your commitment to never waver, not because you lack responsibility, but because such a task isn’t meant for a single pony, let alone a foal.” She smiled and pulled back.

Scootaloo watched her for a second, swallowed a lump in her throat.

“You need to go see her,” Rarity continued, her voice stern. “If not for your own sake, then for hers.”

“But--”

Rarity waved her off with a hoof. “You have done more than enough to demonstrate your good will towards Rainbow Dash—if I’m being frank, considerably more than she deserved.”

Scootaloo was silent, sights slowly lowering to the floor again.

Come on, Scootaloo why are you being such a foal!

She shook her head, opening her eyes to reveal a different envelope floating in Rarity’s magic. She glanced up at Rarity, who nodded.

“Go on.” Rarity’s stern face cracked only a little. “Open it.”

Carefully, she opened the envelope, revealing a hotel reservation card, and three round-trip train tickets from Ponyville to Manehatten.

Scootaloo’s eyes met Rarity’s again; a smile had returned to the mare’s face. She suddenly found herself galloping into Rarity’s embrace as she struggled to speak.

“You’re such a special filly, Scootaloo. Don’t let anypony tell you otherwise.”

“Rarity?” Sweetie Belle called from the foyer.

“Upstairs, darling!” Rarity called as she gently pulled away.

Scootaloo looked behind her as she felt Rarity pull away, Sweetie Belle stopping in the entryway.

“What’s wrong?” Sweetie asked, cautiously trotting towards them.

“Nothing, Darling.” Rarity smiled. “I do suppose you have yet to get a wardrobe together for your trip to Manehatten, though.”

“Manehattan?” Sweetie’s ears perked. “Is there another fashion show?”

“Ugh, no!” Scootaloo scoffed, then smiled brightly. “Because Mrs. Harbour wants us to visit!”

“You heard back from your m—foster mom?”

Scootaloo could only laugh sheepishly as her wings buzzed with excitement.

“But there’s three train tickets...” Sweetie noted as she watched Scootaloo hold them up. “Who else is gonna go?”


As much as she preferred her own digs, Fluttershy’s couch was more than enough to satisfy Rainbow Dash. That, and homemade chai tea, a nice, warm bath; hell, the general warmth of the little cottage was enough to put even the ill-tempered at ease.

Rolling over to rest her chin on the couch arm, she watched as Fluttershy danced about the kitchen, preparing bird seed and tea cakes.

“Almost ready, Rainbow.” Fluttershy smiled she opened a window to toss out some feed, which was very quickly caught by a cluck of chickens.

It was safe to say part of her envied Fluttershy’s calm demeanor, her light touch; everything she did, she did with grace and gentleness. The amount of care and attention was incredible.

Dash swallowed as she turned over again, resting her head on a throw pillow.

“Hey, Shy...”

“Huh?” A pan rattled in the kitchen.

You startle way too easily, you—

Rainbow shook her head. “How are you so… relaxed, all the time? I mean--I know you’ve always been an animal-lover and kind and all that, but… like when that baby rabbit fell into the river, you just swooped in, got it, and somehow didn’t completely lose your head.”

“Well...” Fluttershy smiled as she set the cakes and cups on the coffee table, taking a seat on a rocking chair across from her. “There’s no sense in getting too excited, especially when it comes to the little ones, you’ll scare them more that way.”

“But, it’s not just with the animals or anything, you’re almost always--unless it's me making an ass--”

“Ahem.”

“Sorry—When I’m not busy making mule of myself. You always seem to have it together; even when you’re mad, you’re not really… y’know… mad.”

Fluttershy let the teacup linger on her lips a little longer than usual, taking a deep breath as she set her cup down.

“You can do it too, Rainbow.” Fluttershy smiled. “I know that you care about the ponies around you, and when you set your mind to something, you don’t let anything—or anypony—get in your way. You just have to commit to becoming a better you.”

It was only now that Rainbow noticed a little bird sitting on the coffee table, Fluttershy slowly stroking the back of its head as she gingerly removed a bandage from one of its wings.

“Do I deserve it, though? After all I’ve bucked up, I can’t blame anypony for wanting nothing to do with me. That’s why I’m with you right now,”

Rainbow could’ve sworn she saw Fluttershy raise an eyebrow, the little bird fluttering towards the kitchen window as she took a dainty bite of her cake.

“I mean, not that this is a bad thing, but…” She glanced out the window towards Ponyville, letting out a sigh.

“Just give it time, and give yourself some room to grow; learn to understand her, and let her understand you. It isn’t going to be perfect, and there’s going to be times you want to give up, but...” Fluttershy glanced towards her kitchen window as the little bird tweeted before taking off. “She needs you as much as you need her.”

Rainbow jumped a little as those kind eyes met her own for just an instant. Even then, it was enough to remind her of the friend who, despite having more than one reason to disavow and disown her, had not. She knew everything, even the darkest depths of Rainbow’s delinquency, and yet here she was in her home, still believing in her long after Rainbow had given up.

I don't deserve a friend like you. Rainbow couldn't help a smile.

“I was thinking, if you're okay with seeing the girls, we could meet at the Day Spa.” Fluttershy gave a hopeful smile.

“I could definitely use a day to just veg out—and who knows? That bath might knock out the rest of this crud. Sounds good to me.”

“Are you sure? I can always just run a warm bath here if you-”

“First one to the joke shop puts out for the good stuff!” Rainbow didn't dash out the door, but the vigor she did show made Fluttershy’s smile widen a little more.


“Last one to Button’s house is a rotten.... Apple!” With that, Scootaloo launched into a manic gallop over the hill towards town. Sweetie Belle blinked once or twice before leisurely trotting behind her.

“Speaking of… uh… apples… Are you sure you don’t want to take Apple Bloom?” Sweetie asked as they trotted around Town Hall.

“I don’t think she’d have much fun,” Scootaloo replied without looking back. “I mean, this is kind of… personal. And besides, Applejack probably needs a hoof on the farm this weekend, anyway.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Neither do you.”

“I just feel bad after she was snubbed for the party, y’know?”

Scootaloo finally stopped.

“Look,” she said simply. “If this was just some girls’ trip, then yeah, I’d totally make sure she was the first filly I asked, but....”

“But Babs-”

Scootaloo nickered and kept trotting, her hooves hitting the grass with a thump. Sweetie rolled her eyes as she quickly caught up.

“Found your wife, Fumble.” Scootaloo whirred around as they saw Button and Rumble leave Sugarcube Corner.

“Wife…” Rumble’s eyes narrowed. “Not funny.”

“Heh, had to get you back for earlier,” Button smirked.

“Don’t mess with his image in front of Sweetie Belle.” Rumble flinched as Scootaloo thumped his head with a hoof. “His ego can’t take it.”

“What are you guys up to?” Sweetie asked, either completely oblivious or feigning ignorance.

“We could ask you the same thing, couldn’t we?” Button said as a grey hoof restrained him from taking a swing at Scootaloo.

“Ladies first.” Scootaloo smiled. “We were actually looking for you two bozos—well, not you, Mutton—sorry.”

Scootaloo held back a laugh as Rumble instantly deflated.

“We have to head back up already?” Rumble whined.

“No, we aren’t headed back up there.” Scootaloo smiled. “We’re headed to Manehattan.”

Button was gobsmacked. “W-when?”

“I dunno.” Scootaloo shrugged. “Rarity says these are good for the rest of the mon—”

“You should go today,” Button blurted.

“Why?”

“Awww.” Rumble flicked off Button’s cap and ruffled his mane. “Poor little Button doesn’t wanna ride the big bad train all by himself.”

“W--buck you, that’s not it,” Button barked. “I just thought maybe it’d be fun if we all went together, that’s all!”

“I mean, I guess we could…” Scootaloo looked at Sweetie Belle, who shrunk back a little.

“On such short notice?” Sweetie asked.

“Sure! It’s the weekend.” Scootaloo nodded. “We just head out today, and get back by Sunday night. Not too hard. The hotel room has three beds too, so it’s perfect!”

Suddenly three suspicious pairs of eyes were on her.

“That’s not what I meant!” Scootaloo stomped.

“Whatever you say, scuttlebucket.” Button chuckled as the four of them trotted together to his house.


Rumble glanced out the window of the Friendship Express, the blur of the trees, towns, and landscapes rivaling those he recalled from his more treacherous dives in flight practice.

His sightseeing was interrupted as he felt something on his shoulder. Glancing over, he was tempted to spin the propeller on Button’s cap, which now spun lamely not too far from his ear. Sweetie giggled, drawing Rumble’s eyes across from him, where Scootaloo slept soundly. She was curled up like a cat before a hearth, Sweetie herself engrossed with a volume of the Junior Unicorn’s Guide to Intermediate Magic.

He had met Mrs. Harbour once before, the night they came home from Cloudsdale. Truth be told, most of that conversation was mixed in the blur of everything else--only a brief glimpse of her old, kind eyes managed to keep still.

I wonder…. “Hey, Sweetie Belle?”

Sweetie raised her head, looking somewhat surprised. “Huh?”

“I was wondering… What was this foster mom of hers like? I mean, I met her once, but it’s kind of a blur.”

“Well...” Sweetie Belle earmarked a page of her tome, and gently set it between her and Scootaloo. “I’m kinda surprised Scootaloo didn’t talk about her much-”

“Other than she was better than Rainbow would ever be,” Rumble muttered.

“She pretty much raised Scootaloo from when she was a newborn foal, and her husband--Sandy, was like her papa. They could be stern sometimes, but they adored her, and Scootaloo loved them just as much…”


Sweetie trembled as she stood beside Scootaloo at the top of North Hill, quivering hooves wrapped around the feisty filly whose own were gripped tight to the foam handlebars of her newly acquired scooter.

Still bandaged from a bad fall in what was to be her final ‘unsupervised practice flight’, Scootaloo smirked deviously. Confidence vibrated off of her as she scraped her hind hooves against the grass, staring down the slope like one faces a colossal beast.

“I… I don’t know about this, Scootaloo,” Sweetie Belle stammered. “Didn’t your mom say to be safe with your scooter?”

“Yup!” Scootaloo chirped. “I’ve got this, Sweetie Belle. I’ve been practicing on the littleler hill down the road—you watch, I’m gonna stick this.”

“O-okay…”

Sweetie shrieked as Scootaloo thrust them downwards, the grassy knoll and surrounding trees dissolving into a smudge as the wind whipped through their manes. Sweetie’s stomach matched the velocity of the scooter as it shot off a rickety makeshift ramp.

The last thing she heard before impact was the terrified squeal of Scootaloo as they were thrown into a thicket of bushes.

“Girls?” A panicked mare cried from not too far away.

“You were supposed to be keeping an eye on her, Sandbar,” Madame Harbour said sternly as she wrapped the last bandage over Scootaloo’s forehoof. Sweetie glanced down to see a throbbing bump on her own.

Scootaloo hadn’t said a word, her head hung low when not propped up for attention.

“You bless your hearts you were tossed in the bushes before the tree.” Mrs. Harbour shook her head. “This is why I always ask you to be careful, Scootaloo.”

Scootaloo simply nodded as she sniffled, whimpering a little as she was pulled into a hug.

“I know you like to go zooming about and getting a thrill, honey, but you need to use your head. What if Sweetie Belle had gotten really hurt? How would you have faced Ms. Rarity if something had happened?”

“I… didn’t mean to…” Scootaloo sniffled as she glanced back towards Sweetie Belle.

“Of course you didn’t, dear.” Even though her words were direct, there was a soft smile, even if it was subtle.

“There, I think that’s good enough for now.” she looked at Sweetie Belle and nodded. “Run along into the kitchen, I think lunch is about finished.”

Sandwiches, barley soup and milk—something about growing foals and bone health or something, Sweetie couldn’t exactly recall. What she could remember was that that night had ended just like every other at Scootaloo’s house; after some food, they’d head up to Scoots’ bedroom to play a game or work on some art project.

Harbour had a lovely wavering voice that not even time could diminish, always keeping time and tune with Sandbar’s playing on their mid-century piano. Songs from a time long before their own bringing them warmth in the present.

It was easy to get lost in it, their romping about the living room always turning to carefully watching and mimicking Harbours simple steps. Sweetie always tried hard from the start, but usually got distracted as Scootaloo tripped, slipped, or “spiced it up” with some nonsensical motion, leaving them hysterical and happy on the dusty armchair by the fire.

This is always where she’d be when Rarity gently nuzzled her awake, Sweetie always fighting her futile fight to have just one moment more in the company of her bestest friend in the whole wide world.


“She sounds really nice.” Rumble smiled, taking a couple seconds to watch the homes of Hollow Shades whiz by.

Sweetie Belle nodded. “I’m kinda surprised Scootaloo’s never told you much about her.”

“Eh.” Rumble shrugged. “I never really asked, so I can’t blame her. I did meet her once, anyway.”

“Oh yeah, after that... “ Sweetie glanced over to see Scootaloo still sound asleep. Rainbow Dash. “After she was left behind.”

“Yeah,” Rumble sighed. “A lot’s happened in the last couple months.”

Rumble shuddered as he thought back to one evening in particular.


It had never occured to Rumble how terrifying the sound of heavy hooves against a hardwood floor could be. As he sat at the end of the Apples’ living room, his brother by his side; Big Mac at the entryway, he felt many things, chief among them nervousness and anxiety.

In truth, his stomach hadn’t left his throat since those bad words came out of his big mouth. Apple Bloom was devastated, Scootaloo had backhoofed him and declared their friendship dead; if there had been any silver lining, he had completely missed it.

He could’ve sworn his heart skipped a beat as the front door slammed shut, the heavy hooves approaching the entryway.

“Where I’m from, somepony runnin’ their mouth the way you did wouldn’t be standing here,” Applejack snarled, her eyes squarely focused on Rumble.

He wanted to run away, he wanted to apologize—anything, really, but some sinister invisible force pinned him in place as she came closer.

“It’s one thang to disrespect me, our way of speakin’, I suppose you could even get away with mockin’ what we do; but the minute you come for my family, especially my little Bloom, well, you fucked up.”

“I-”

“You’re wrong. Dead wrong!” Applejack roared as she slammed her back hooves into the wall. “My ma was a proud mare, she wasn’t a... What was that you called her? Right, a mud pushin’ alcoholic.

“She’s had to git passed enuff bullshit in her short life. It ain’t bad enuff her mom and dad are dead, it isn’t bad enuff we’re dirt poor and barely getting by.” Applejack shook, righteous fury in her eyes, “What I wouldn’t do to put you snot-nosed little shits into the ground, make yah feel what she feels every damn day!”

Another stomp towards Rumble, this one making him whimper.

Rumble watched as she steamed, stomping around the room before stopping at a window overlooking the orchards. She stood still with that same snarl on her face; each swing of the clock’s pendulum made Rumble’s heart skip a beat.

“You know what’s funny?” she continued, gaze still out the window. “At first, I almost let you off, “Kids just being kids, no harm meant. I was going to talk to you, but it was just that—but then, I remembered—you know exactly what you’re saying. You’re a better asshole than I am a farmer.”

She let out a long sigh, then turned and stood before Rumble again.

He swallowed.

“You aren’t like the other ones, though. The other little fucks were at least decent enough to know where the line was.”

“I’m sorry,” Rumble finally squeaked out.

“Oh, you’re gonna be sorry alright,” Applejack spat. “I never liked you. Doesn’t matter what you did for her friend, you’re no good. You’re not even a good bully, you’re just a mud slinging coward. Enough of a stallion to call my mom what you did, but not enough to actually say it to my face? A real shame, I can always use more fertilizer.”

Rumble jumped as Applejack whipped around. Somepony had said something he hadn’t heard.

“Of all people to go easy on you,” Applejack muttered before trotting into the hall, giving one last icy glare to Rumble before disappearing.

“Come here, colt.” Big Mac boomed, Rumble trembling as he cautiously trotted towards the massive stallion. Following him outside, they were lead through the orchards. Rumble spotted, at the top of a hill, an empty basket at the base of a populated apple tree.

“All of them.” Big Mac said simply. “No wings, just your hooves.”

Rumble gulped, and screamed a little as he saw Applejack’s shadow loom over him, Apple Bloom now by her side.

“Now before you pay your dues, I believe there’s something you need to say to my little sister here.”

His snout to the dirt, and his tail in the air, Rumble trembled as he bowed. “Go buck yourself.”

Sweetie Belle arched an eyebrow, hooves crossed. “Why do I have the feeling you’re mis-remembering something?”

“No, that’s totally how it went.” Rumble leaned against the window.

“You sure about that?” Button deadpanned. “You’re still alive, aren’t you?”

“W—well everypony knows how it ends, no point in rehashing it. Also, when did you wake up?”

“My bullshit alarm was on high alert,” Button answered.

“Very funny, peanut gallery.” Rumble frowned, looking at Scootaloo who stirred in her sleep, kicking the wall behind her. “Are we there yet?”

“Actually, almost.” Sweetie looked around, from the city outside, to the slumbering filly that was close to her heart, and finally to the two colts traveling with her. “We’re all here for her, right?”

Rumble nodded immediately, and to his surprise and satisfaction, so did Button. “What are friends for, after all?”

They all smiled and nodded as the train whistle sounded, the station only minutes away.

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