• Published 28th Feb 2016
  • 3,249 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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35. Dawn

Scootaloo couldn’t remember the last time she set hoof on the clouds with nothing but the stray bird for company. On one hoof, she got it; Rumble was just as homesick as anypony else.

Darkness and silence were all the greeted her, her vision eventually adjusting to make out bits of moonlight that reflected off the furnishings. As she felt her way between the living room and kitchen, she finally stepped into the hallway.

With the tick and tock from the wall clock now fading behind her, she stopped. The room she was sleeping in was to her left, but her ears swiveled with her rightward gaze.

Why is it so damn quiet?

Curiosity taking the wheel, she booped the door ajar; moonlight cast over a passed-out Rainbow Dash, a hoof and wing limply hanging over the bed. A pillow had long since tumbled to the floor, threatening to take a corner of the comforter with it.

Scootaloo watched for a moment, the seemingly lifeless mare finally sputtering with a snort and what sounded like a growl. Sighing, she dragged her tired hooves back down the hall, pushed the door open, and then crawled under the covers herself.

Even as she sank into the pillowtop, she couldn't shake the anxiety that made her head throb. She forced her eyes open for one last moment and saw nopony. No Sweetie Belle for warmth, or Rumble for pillow talk; she shivered as she cocooned herself with the comforter.


Morning came with an echoing boom. Barely grasping at the tail of a dream as she opened her eyes, Scootaloo smacked her chapped lips, wincing as she felt the slightest crack rupture.

Part of her very much didn’t want to leave the comfort of the bed, now a sanctuary of warmth against the oppressive cold. As the merits of getting out of bed duked it out in her head, she took in the room around her.

Adorned on all but the windowed wall were various posters for the Wonderbolts as well as Washouts banner hanging above the desk. She only snuggled deeper into her blanket cocoon as she stared at an empty picture frame on the nightstand.

Then she smelled it: hot chocolate-chip pancakes.

Fluttershy’s here?

Even as cold as it was, her stomach growled for nourishment. She wormed out of bed, ears splayed and tail tucked as she fought to conserve what little warmth she had.

Scootaloo shivered again as she plodded down the hall, her nose barraged with the smell of batter, butter, and milk chocolate. She didn’t hear any humming, however. Fluttershy typically accompanied her chores, be it cooking or caretaking, with a little tune to herself.

She rounded the corner, revealing that Fluttershy was nowhere to be found. There was just a table set for two, and an equally groggy Rainbow Dash emerging from the kitchen with a steaming plate of pancakes.

Her gait froze as Rainbow looked at her. For the briefest moment, the two stared the other down, both seemingly too tired to put on their best glare. Rainbow finally finished setting the plate down, gesturing to it as she floated back towards the kitchen.

“What do you wanna drink?”

Scootaloo didn’t answer as she trotted cautiously towards the table. She stared at the plate as she sat on her haunches, fighting the instinct to dash.

“O.J. or milk?” Rainbow rounded into view, stalling as she saw Scootaloo’s uncertainty. “That’s yours.” Rainbow nodded to Scootaloo’s plate.

“Oh,” Scootaloo yawned, “cool.”

As Scootaloo seated herself, Rainbow appeared beside her with two pitchers.

“Juice.” Scootaloo finally answered, glancing at her lone fork. “Where’s the knife?”

Rainbow’s eyes went wide as the pour of orange juice gushed. Without a word, she filled it half full, and whisked back into the kitchen before emerging with a butterknife. Scootaloo flinched as Rainbow stabbed the pancakes with her fork.

“I can—”

Scootaloo’s words seized as Rainbow cut the pancakes into squares, setting the fork down, and wandering back into the kitchen.

“Thanks… ” Scootaloo muttered.

“Yeah,” Rainbow Dash replied, biting her lip as she took her seat across from Scootaloo.

Cold was once again accompanied by its good friend silence as the two dug in. Scootaloo sniffed her first piece as she opened her mouth. They weren’t the best pancakes she ever had, but it was far from the worst.

It was fine.

Scootaloo winced mid-bite as she heard the scrape of a knife against ceramic.

Finally, she bit her tongue as she heard the pancakes churn between Rainbow’s teeth.

“Can you not?”

Rainbow looked up, cocking her head as a piece of pancake fell from her open mouth.

“Huh, hwhwat…?”

“Now I know why Rarity never has you over for dinner, Rainbow.” Scootaloo’s voice wavered as she kept her gaze low.

“Uh…” Rainbow stopped mid-bite, a piece of pancake falling to the plate. “Oh… ” Rainbow’s coat lightened as she glanced away.

Plate empty, Scootaloo reached for her glass, and was about to stack it on her plate before that was taken. Scootaloo fumbled before looking up.

“I got it. You need to get ready,” Rainbow said as she trotted into the kitchen.

“What?” Scootaloo glanced at the clock. “It’s… seven-thirty?”

Rainbow stalled in the entryway. “Don’t you need a ride to school?”

“Not if I’m gonna be, like, an hour early!” Scootaloo clapped back as she stormed into the shower.

Rainbow kept talking, but Scootaloo couldn’t care less; the warmth of the shower was more than enough to distract her. The clouds of steam momentarily let her pretend she was anywhere but here.

After some soaking and scrubbing, she smelled clean at least, nothing special. She brushed her teeth, checked her mane, and cursed to herself as the mirror revealed she was overdue for some preening.

As badly as she needed it, she could hear Rainbow rushing to her room. Not long after, there was a knock at the bathroom door.

“You almost ready?” Rainbow asked, “We need to get going, kid.”

“Uh-huh,” Scootaloo answered as she trotted out of the bathroom, and into her bedroom; she swiped her saddlebag, then followed Rainbow onto the front porch, the sun peeking above the clouds.

“Yeah,” Rainbow laughed like Applejack was next to her with a branding iron. “Unless you and your friend work out some kind of deal, you’re gonna have to get up before Celestia.”

Scootaloo hopped on, and Rainbow took off with a burst of speed that almost frightened her. Breaking through the morning fog, Scootaloo could feel Rainbow swallow.

“Where am I taking you?”

Scootaloo glanced down as southern Ponyville came into view.

“Rarity’s!” Scootaloo shouted above the shipping winds.

Rainbow nodded as she banked right, slowing as they neared Carousel Boutique. Finally descending, Scootaloo loosened her grip a little

Hopping off, she followed Rainbow to the front door. After a knock or two, Rarity finally answered, several hairs out of place and wearing a bathrobe that looked hastily tied.

“Everything alright?” Rarity asked, glancing between Scootaloo and Rainbow.

“Everything’s fine, I just…” Rainbow gestured towards Scootaloo. “I gotta be up there before the sun, so she’s kinda stuck down here for a while.”

“Scootaloo is, of course, quite welcome.” Rarity smiled at Scootaloo, who trotted past her and into the boutique. “However, this seems like a detail you should have considered beforehand. If this is to be a regular thing, we’re going to have to get something figured out.”

“Sorry.” Rainbow turned away, “Between having to be in Cloudsdale all weekend for… everything, and then her showing up last night… kinda got me in a tailspin.”

“It is quite alright, Rainbow.” Rarity’s smile returned. “We’ll talk, if not about that--” She glanced into the foyer, her smile widening a little. “--then of other things. Do you intend to pick her up from school this afternoon?”

“Uh…” Rainbow blinked. “Oh. I’ll… try to.”

“No worries, dear.” Rarity waved. “Worst case she can stay with me until you return.”

“Thanks, Rarity.” Rainbow forced a weak smile. “I… gotta go now. My squad is probably already looking for me.”

WIth that, Rainbow took off, whipping Rarity’s beadhead in its gust. Watching her turn to a speck, Rarity sighed and closed the door. Midway to her dining room table where coffee awaited, she noticed Scootaloo passed out on a sofa, looking anything but comfortable.

“It’s just me here, so if you’d like, the guest room is available.”

Scootaloo didn’t bother moving. The minute she lay on the cushions, gravity intensified, and she fell into an uneasy slumber.


Rainbow Dash didn’t like being late, nor did she enjoy having to slowly explain to grown mares and stallions basic meteorology like they were foals; yet there she was, dashing towards the Wonderbolts Academy with reckless abandon. She’d be one, not five minutes late had the blockhead from North Group had paid more attention in junior weather class.

Spitfire didn’t even blink as Rainbow blasted through the doors to her office.

“Better late than never I guess, fuck.” Spitfire popped a mint into her mouth as she pushed some manila folders to the side. “Wing cramps mid-flight?”

“More like the wrong pony being held back,” Rainbow muttered as she took her seat. “Didn’t think you could get into the Weather Wings dumber than a rock.”

“Thought that about the Bolts, too, Dashie.” Spitfire smirked as she leaned back in her far more comfortable chair. “Life’s full of fuckin’ surprises.”

Her smirk widened as Rainbow rubbed her forehead.

“Well, let me give ya the first good news today.” Spitfire tapped some papers on the desk. “Cleared command, and now you’ve just got me to deal with.”

Rainbow's eyes suddenly shot up. “You mean...?”

“Damn right,” Spitfire leapt over her desk and noogied Dash with ferocity. “Told ya they liked ya, egghead.” She finally let off. “Just no more J.V. shit, comprende?”

“Yes, Ma’am.” Rainbow nodded.

“Good.” Her smiled faltered. “I guess I got some bad news too, sort of.”

Rainbow straightened her posture.

“I was supposed to have time to knock this shit out with you, but Princess Celestia drafted us into a charity thing for some elite schools in Canterlot--which, I ain’t mad, but we’ve got today and tomorrow to bust ass and practice.” Her smirk returned. “Hey, you should come! Bring the kid. Would look good on two fronts.”

“I’d love to...” Rainbow laughed nervously, “but I heard it was this weekend.”

Spitfire arched an eyebrow. “Uh huh?”

“Well... Twilight’s got me doing the last of my community service helping her back in Ponyville.”

“Breakin’ my heart, Dashie.” Spitfire pouted. “Gotta blast here in a sec, once I clock out, though, I’m all yours. You got plans tonight?”

“Well, I want to try to pick up Scoots from school...” Rainbow frowned. “I don’t think so, but I don’t know how she’d feel about me bringing ponies over the first night.”

“Just tell her aunt Spitfire is going to do a test run of her legendary three-cheese macaroni, that’ll get her good. Have her bring a friend, it feeds a village.”

“Well...”

“Your place? Be there about...” She glanced at her agenda. “Six-ish? Sounds good.”

“Oh.” Rainbow blinked. “Ok.”

“Alright, alright, good.” Spitfire patted Dash on the head as she sped towards the door. “See ya!”

The sound of hooves made them both stop as Fleetfoot passed by Spitfire’s door. “Good job, Rainbow. It’s not usually ‘til the second date that Spitfire fills you up.”

“You better find somewhere else to be or you’ll be replacing our crash-test dummy for the new dizzitron!” Spitfire gave Fleetfoot a slap on the rump, making her yip and scurry away.


Gliding down as the town came into view, she glanced down towards the Ponyville Schoolhouse, both relieved and confused by the emptiness of the playground.

“I guess it isn’t lunchtime yet, huh?” Rainbow’s stomach growled in dismay. As great as a quick stop by Sugarcube Corner seemed, part of her felt a little dirty not returning to work, even if she had planned to take the rest of the day off.

Inspecting the cloud formations, everything seemed in place and on time--far from the disorder and discord she expected with this new crew.

Her smile quickly downturned as she neared the flank of the formation.

Aw, shit. Rainbow gritted her teeth as she shot up towards the weather cloud.

“Care to remind me where the buck I said we needed rainclouds, knuckleheads?”

“What? Where?” one of the fleet dared to ask.

“Either you’re playing dumb, or I could replace you with an ant and get better results.”

The stallion gulped, with the others looking away.

“Who’s seen Thunderlane?”

“He went to supervise the West Team, Ma’am.”

“Looks like that was a mistake, then,” Rainbow muttered, turning to one stallion who flinched. “Don’t any of you move.” Her eyes narrowed. “I’ll be back.”

Celestia, dammit! Rainbow snarled as she spotted Thunderlane.

“Hey, Mohawk!”

Thunderlane lowered his marshalling wands as she approached. “Yes, Captain?”

“Why the hay are you supervising our vet squad and not the foals horsin’ around on the south side?”

“They seemed in formation and on track last I was with them-”

Rainbow glowered. “Unless Saddle River dried up, and you’ve directed them to supply it, then there should be zero rain clouds in my sky.”

“Wha… horseapples.” Thunderlane slid a hoof down his face. “I swear it's that problem case from Applewood. The rest are a bit clumsy, but I always gotta get on his ass.”

“Well, time to turn him out, I guess.” Rainbow sighed as she led them to the troubled team. “Of all days for a jam at work.”

“Bad first morning?”

Rainbow slowed a little. “It wasn’t bad, just…” She shook her head. “Awkward.”

“Awkward?” Thunderlane tilted his head as he caught up to her. “What do you mean?”

“We couldn’t even make small talk,” Rainbow complained. “She just snapped at me for chewing with my mouth open.”

“Even with my own brother, things were weird for a little bit.” Thunderlane looked towards the offending clouds. “Just take things slow and simple; you’ll both get used to being around each other.” He swallowed, looking away for a moment before facing her again. “You’re… on okay terms with her now, right?”

“I think so.” Rainbow put a hoof to her chin. “She doesn’t hate my guts, at least… I don’t think she does, anyway.”

“That’s good.” Thunderlane cracked his neck before looking around. “Oh. Before we get too stuck in this mess. I have some of her stuff at my place. Ceecee took their bags home after they got back.”

Gives me something to do with her on the way home.

Rainbow nodded to Thunderlane. “We’ll come grab her shit after she gets out of school. Which--I guess we ought to just wrap a little early today. I probably should be on time.”

Thunderlane looked away again, finally spotting the troubled flock.

“You’re a great captain, Thunderlane.” Rainbow smiled lightly. “I trust that you got your head on straight, just a couple bad apples to sort out, that’s all.”

“I should’ve been on top of it.”

“Shit happens.”

Thunderlane stalled as Rainbow smirked. “I mean, if we get a hailstorm during the Summer Sun Celebration, I’ll kick your ass--but you’ve done a damn good job when I had to be out for a bit. We can clean up this mess.”

“You know, if you put half the effort into that little filly that you do the weather…”

Rainbow shook her head, letting a little laugh escape. “Okay, Spitfire.”

“Look, I’m hot, but I’m not that hot.” Thunderlane flapped his wings as he angled towards the troubled team.

“Shut up and get back to work.” Rainbow Dash couldn’t fight the grin.


“Alright, class!” Cheerilee tapped her hoof on her desk, getting the attention of most of her students, the rest after a silent pause. “Like I said on Friday, we’re beginning our lesson on Thestrals. First, let’s list what we know about them. Anypony?”

Cheerilee blinked as Diamond’s hoof stretched and waved.

“Yes… Diamond Tiara?”

“They really, really like Princess Luna!”

“That’s certainly an understatement,” she giggled as she turned to the board and chalked her answer. “In fact, Thestrals and some other nocturnal creatures regard Luna to be the only… ‘true’ princess.”

She smiled at the predictable series of gasps.

“Yes it, may seem a bit… strange, but every creature has their own way…”

Diamond’s hoof shot up once again.

Cheerilee couldn’t hide her surprise. “Something else?”

“Their wings are huge!”

“....they...sure are.”

Scootaloo didn’t care.

As she rested on her crossed hooves, she stared out the window towards an approaching band of fluffy clouds. While the weather did not call for rain, there certainly were quite a few white clouds on the horizon.

“They eat bugs and other gross stuff!” Silver Spoon’s answer was added to the growing list of ‘Thestral Thoughts’.”

Now they were just shouting answers. “They can only be seen by ponies that’ve seen other ponies pass on!” Apple Bloom said, though immediately received awkward stares.

“Where did you…” Cheerilee shook her head. “Nevermind, all but that last answer were indeed correct.”

Scootaloo could barely keep her eyes open. Freakin’ Rainbow Dash… Making me get up early and shit. Last time I was up that early was when I used to… spend every moment I could with her.

She still had the aftertaste of the cake-y pancakes, and the melted chocolate bits within.

She’s no Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo smirked at a faint memory of forcing down some charcoal cereal. How do you even burn cereal in the first place?

“Scootaloo?”

She turned from the window to see everypony staring at her, and as her eyesight focused, she felt, to her horror, drool brimming on the edge of her mouth. The snickering and hushed whispers implied she wasn’t the first to see it.

“Huh?” Scootaloo answered as she dabbed her mouth with her hoof.

“Anything you would like to add to our list of thestral facts?” Cheerilee’s arched brow made Scootaloo gulp, her ears growing a little hot.

“Uh…” Scootaloo stalled as she heard a carriage return inside her head. “They… they uh…”

“Pay attention, please.” Cheerilee glowered. “This subject is on the upcoming test Princess Boo- I mean Princess Twilight has created for us. You especially could benefit from a passing grade.”

After a couple more answers were added to the tee chart, Cheerilee passed out a report prompt, wherein the students were to form teams and write about one interesting thestral fact.

Scootaloo was torn from daydreaming again as she heard a chair scrape the floor a little too close. For the briefest moment, she was excited, but forced back a frown as the face was that of a filly.

“Oh no~” Scootaloo feigned distress. “I’m totally getting an ‘F’ now!”

“More like you’re totally not.” Sweetie tapped Scootaloo’s worksheet. “You’re lazy, and Rumble can’t tell you ‘no’. He’s a bad partner.”

“Heya, girls!” Apple Bloom beamed as she scooted a spare seat to the side of Scootaloo’s desk, paper in hoof.

“Hey, Apple Bloom.” Sweetie smiled. “See? Now you’ll definitely have no excuse!”

Apple Bloom tilted her head. “Excuse?”

“She thinks I’d flunk without you girls.” Scootaloo smirked. “Pretty sure it’s both of you who distract me the most.”

“As if.” Sweetie cleared her throat and fixed her sitting posture. “But uh… how was your first morning with your mom?”

Scootaloo arched an eyebrow.

Sweetie rolled her eyes in return. “Sorry. Rainbow Dash.”

“Fine,” Scootaloo answered, watching Rumble pester Button out of the corner of her eye. “She wakes up super early for work, so I’m probably gonna be at your sister’s house every morning.”

“You look tired.” Apple Bloom frowned. “You can always come stay with us if you want, might be a little less boring and all.”

Cheerilee cleared her throat. “Sorry girls, but this is a two-pony assignment. One of you will have to pair with Twist… and Snips. Snails is still on vacation.”

Apple Bloom raised a hoof just as Sweetie scooted her chair back.

“No worries.” Apple Bloom’s smile wavered. “You was here first.”

“But—”

“Nope, not hearing it.” Apple Bloom shook her head as she quickly turned and trotted to join Twist… and Snips.

“How come they get three, then?” Scootaloo scowled.

“You know,” Sweetie leaned in as she whispered, “Snips is… slow.

Scootaloo snorted. “Sweetie Belle! That’s so rude!

“Is not!” Sweetie pouted as her face grew scarlet. “Anyways…”

“You know anything about the astrals?”

Sweetie blinked. “Thestrals?”

“Yeah...” Scootaloo deadpanned. “What you said.”

“Not really.” Sweetie smiled as she tapped a book before her. “But that’s why we’re doing this! I don’t think I’ve ever seen one, have you?”

“Didn’t they invade Sweet Apple Acre—See, this is why Apple Bloom should be with us!”

“Well, there isn't much we can do about it,” Sweetie Belle said as she watched Button get accosted by Cheerilee for roughhousing.

“Sounds like my life.” Scootaloo smirked.

“That bad, huh?”

“I dunno,” Scootaloo shrugged. “She made pancakes that were okay, and I made it here alive, so I guess it isn’t bad… yet.”

Scootaloo arched an eyebrow as Sweetie giggled.

“Sorry,” Sweetie stifled a snort. “I could say the same thing about my sister sometimes.”

“See, but your sister can cook.”

“Rainbow can, too.” Sweetie smirked. “You throw up, yet?”

“Naw, I’ll probably keel over and croak on the way home—to her house.”

Sweetie couldn’t help a shit-eating grin. “Ya slipped.”

“Did not.” Scootaloo stuck out her lower lip.

“Did too.” Sweetie booped Scoot’s snoot. “You’re not feeling even a little at home, yet?”

“No way in tartarus.” Scootaloo furiously shook her head.

“Give it time.” Sweetie smiled as she opened their textbook, flipping through with her magic. “Like Mrs. Harbour said, if you two actually give it a shot, it’ll probably work.”

Probably not.” Scootaloo retorted a final time before joining her scholastic pursuit.

It felt like an eternity by the time the bell rang. Scootaloo struggled to pull herself out of her seat, and was even slower following her friends outside.

She watched for a moment as her classmates wandered home, her gaze finally fell on Rainbow Dash waiting by the schoolyard entrance.

WIth a sigh, Scootaloo trotted towards her.

Rainbow’s flashed smile faded fast as Scootaloo returned a glower.

“Ready to go?” Rainbow forced a light grin.

“Sure,” Scootaloo answered, glancing at her hooves before reluctantly climbing onto Rainbow’s back.

“Oh, wait.” Rainbow aborted her takeoff stance.

“What?” Scootaloo whined.

“Well, I’m going to have a friend over, tonight…” Rainbow trailed as she expected protest. Meeting silence, she continued. “I figured maybe you could bring somepony, too.”

“Oh.” Scootaloo glanced around, hopping off Rainbow and wandering into a still-lingering group of colts sitting on the schoolhouse steps. Rumble looked up from the game he was playing; his faint smile flatlined.

“What’s up?” he asked as all eyes were now on her.

“I guess she’s having somepony over, and says I should bring a friend.”

“Make sure you pick up a helmet and mouthguard first,” Button sniggered as Rumble’s lower lip quivered.

“Do I have to?”

Scootaloo blinked in surprise.

“I mean, you’re cool and all, but I just spent the weekend with you—and all the shit I had to put up with last night.” he shuddered. “I need a break, Scoots. Why don’t you ask Sweetie Belle or, oh yeah, Apple Bloom! You said you wanted to make up, it’s perfect!”

His enthusiasm died as her face betrayed no emotion.

“So... that’s a no?” Scootaloo blinked as her voice hitched.

Rumble shrugged. “Sorry.”

Scootaloo turned away, trotting towards Rainbow with a hung head.

“He said no?” Rainbow asked as she climbed aboard.

“Yeah.” Scootaloo grumbled.

Rainbow shuddered as her rider’s grip was anything but comfortable. As soon as she was secure, she took off towards home.

It was sweet relief when she finally landed on their porch, Scootaloo dropping off beside her.

“You sure we can’t see if the crusaders wanna come?”

“It’s fine.” Scootaloo answered as she wandered inside.

“Are you… sure?” Rainbow trailed as Scootaloo calmly trotted into her room.

Rainbow waited for the expected slam of a door, but when she floated to the entrance, she saw Scootaloo quietly doing homework.

Perplexed, she shook her head.

Guess I’d better get ready for at least one pony.

After a little tidying of the living room, Rainbow set her sights on the kitchen.

She was about to do a half-assed wipe-down of the counters when she heard three obnoxious knocks on the front door.

What a surprise. Rainbow rolled her eyes. She’s early.

She flinched as a key worked its way into her door, and it unlocked.

“Woulda thought you’d change the locks after a year.” Spitfire smirked as she let herself in. “Can’t be fucked, huh?”

“When did I give you a key?” Rainbow looked at the keychain that Spitfire playfully dangled in her face.

“Seriously?” Spitfire feigned offense as she yanked the keychain back. “How long have we known each other? And where’s the mini-Dash?”

Rainbow cringed, glancing towards Scootaloo’s bedroom door. “I… wouldn’t call her that.”

“Still a little icy?” Spitfire’s smirk only widened as she nodded towards a sack she had saddled. “This ought to thaw it.”

“You weren’t kidding?” Rainbow followed Spitfire who helped herself to a cutting board, bowls, and oven tin.

“Told ya I wasn’t playin’.” Spitfire winked. “When Aunt Spitfire promises her World Famous Three-Cheese Casserole, you fuckin’ get it. She bringin’ a friend?”

“Doesn’t sound like it.” Rainbow frowned.

“Won’t have to make shit for a week, then.” Spitfire smiled as she thumped Rainbow playfully on the head. “Alright, where’s the peep?”

“Doing homework—”

“Fuck that!” Spitfire made a beeline for Scootaloo’s room. “Need a helping hoof.”

Rainbow reached out to stop her, only to miss her by mile. She shuddered as she flew into Scootaloo’s room. Spitfire looking over her shoulder.

“Oh boy, homework.” Spitfire rolled her eyes. “Fun times.”

“It’s not.” Scootaloo answered.

“Bat ponies, huh?”

“Yeah. We gotta write a report about them.”

“Well, you’re in luck, cause I know a thing or three about ‘em.”

“Really?” Scootaloo finally turned to face her.

“Yep.” Spitfire smirked. “Come gimme a hoof and I’ll tell you all about the time we had some show up in Las Pegasus and robbed a fruit stall.”

After some hesitation, Scootaloo hopped from her chair and followed a whistling Spitfire back into the kitchen.


“...Perception check on the conspicuous armoire, please?” Featherweight asked Dungeon Master Pipsqueak as Rumble was five seconds from ending his existence.

“Alright, you see nothing at first, though a small, ring-shaped object resembling an amulet rests upon the penultimate shelf,” Pipsqueak detailed. “What shall you do, bard?”

“I shall taketh the apparent amulet, and present it to Sir Gelding of Hollow Shades!”

I will taketh this pen-eth and shove it into my Discord-damned ear. Rumble growled as his chin hurt from resting on his hoof, itself having died of boredom hours ago.

Button Mash cleared his throat. “Gonna break kayfabe real quick, I gotta piss, and that bowl of nachos has been licked clean for the last hour. Take five.”

With that, the gallant heroes suspended their adventure as they all rushed towards the bathroom. Button watching as the filed out of his room.

“You aren’t feelin’ this, are you?”

“I’ve contemplated suicide at least eight times.”

“In character, or for real?”

“Yes.”

Button snickered as he playfully prodded Rumble’s side. Clearing his throat, he was met with a fierce glare.

“You can… you can go if you want; your character’s been just making ironic quips and half-assing attacks for the last twenty turns so… nothing of value lost. Maybe make dinner with the misses before she packs up and takes the foals with her.”

“If I wasn’t bored stupid, you would be in serious pain right now.” Rumble groaned along with the chair as he pushed back and stood, flaring his wings with a satisfying pop.

“Aw, you’re leaving?” Pip whined as he returned.

“Sorry, bud.” Rumble shook his head, “Y’all seem to really like this stuff, and that’s cool and all, but I’m fucking bored. All the figures and math, and high-fantasy shit…. and math….”

“Fair enough.” Pip smiled. “Perhaps you’ll join us next week! I’m starting a new campaign with…” He trailed as the front door clicked shut.

Rumble took a whiff of fresh air, the smell of chips, salsa, and body odor extinguished from his nostrils.

“Well, there’s five hours of my life I’ll never get back.” Rumble sighed. “Sweet.”

Opening the door to his apartment, he saw his brother and Cloudchaser seated at the dining table, a small bowl of salad between them.

Cloudchaser was the first to see him.

Shit, she mouthed.

Rumble’s eyes widened. “I’m just getting some things.”

“I thought you were staying at your friends’ ?” Thunderlane asked as Rumble trotted past.

“I was, but their little bored game nearly put me to sleep.” Rumble stopped. “I’m gonna go to… Scootaloo’s house.”

“You sure you don’t want to just stay here, bud? We can make you something.”

Rumble shook his head as he continued to his bedroom. Grabbing Scootaloo’s luggage, he trotted back towards the front door.

“Uh…”

“It’s fine.” Rumble smiled. “Pretty sure I can haul this up to her place.”

Thunderlane opened his mouth, then closed it.

“Sure thing, stallion,” He crossed his hooves with a smirk. “Don’t come cryin’ to me when your suitcase anchor yanks you down for a nosedive.” There was a rather large whap. “Ow! What was that for!”

“As if.” Rumble waved a hoof as he made to trotted through the door, only for the suitcase to catch on the frame. Hastily swinging it over, he didn’t bother raising his heated face as he heard Cloudchaser’s snickering.

What in Tartarus did she put in this thing? Rumble growled as the suitcase wheels dragged over grass, frowning as he hadn’t even made it to his usual takeoff knoll and was already winded.

After what felt like an eternity, he finally made it to the hill, hooves aching from lifting the suitcase most the way there. He looked at Rainbow’s house and could have sworn it was moving away from him.

He gritted his teeth, slipped on his aviator goggles, and with suitcase in hooves, shot off towards the lion’s den with a fierce roar, or maybe a terrified squeak.


Scootaloo stared at her half-finished report with the enthusiasm of a mud puddle. Armed with Spitfire’s story; superfurious or not, she was guaranteed at least a C-, but Cheerilee insisted she score higher.

Probably shoulda copied Sweetie’s notes… Scootaloo slumped in hear seat. Crap.

Her ears perked as she heard a knock at the door--its rhythm familiar. Her fur stood, and before she could second guess, she bolt from her chair, and shot across the living room.

On the other side of the door she flung open was a panting Rumble, her suitcase set beside him.

“Oh…” Scootaloo’s smirked. “Look who decided to show up after all.”

“Sorry.” Rumble shrugged off his obvious pain. “Button’s new game sucked, so I made like chips and dipped.”

Scootaloo snorted, then looked around him. “You brought my suitcase?”

“Damn near died, but…”

“Well, what above the clouds do we have here?” Rumble’s pupils seared as Spitfire stepped into view, still donning an apron.

“...Spitfire?” Rumble breathed.

“That’s my name, don’t wear it out.” Spitfire smiled as she ushered Rumble indoors. “You keep dawdling on the porch, and all the cookin’ heat’s gonna go to the birds.”

Rumble couldn’t help himself. “What is she doing here?”

“What does it look like I’m doing, fledgeling?”

“Well—I’m just…” Rumble stammered. Surprised he mouthed.

Scootaloo watched as Rumble’s eyes tracked Spitfire into the kitchen and behind the counter. She knew that look, very well, in fact.

She growled, getting Rumble’s ear to swivel.

“Rumble!” Scootaloo hissed. “If she doesn’t set you on fire, I will.” That finally got him to look at her.

“What?” His grin flatlined as an icy glare impaled his fluttering heart.

Scootaloo simply shook her head. “I need help with Cheerilee's stupid essay.” She nodded towards her room. “Now.”

She watched as Rumble passed her, waiting until he reached the little hallway to finally trot towards the room herself, closing the door behind them.

Rumble snorted. “If it makes you feel better, she might be hot, but nothing comes close to my spicy little chicken wing.”

“Keep it up, airhead.” Scootaloo tutted. “That spice’ll have a little more of a kick to it.”

“I thought we kept the ‘kicked at Rainbow’s house’ quota to once a year.”

“...I hate you.” Scootaloo sighed.

Rumble’s smirk only widened. “Right back at ya, featherbrain.”

Scootaloo stuck out her tongue before clearing her throat. “Isn’t this the partner project? Kinda already bagged mine.”

“No.” Scootaloo frowned. “This is extra credit that she wants me to do.”

“Yeesh,” Rumble shook his head. “Your grades must be shit. Even I have ‘A’.” He fought back a snicker as Scootaloo’s glare intensified. “But~ I’d hate to see my lovely little filly stuck in after-school detention~”

“Stop.” Scootaloo deadpanned.

“Stop what?” Rumble asked with an exaggerated head tilt.

“Hoggin' all the suck,” Scootaloo huffed.

“Hey, I’m bored, alright?” Rumble faked a pout. “I had to sit through a stupid fantasy game, and now I gotta help you with homework? What do I get out of this?”

“...the satisfaction of helping a friend?”

“I was thinking something more like… y’know.”

Scootaloo shook her head.

“Whaaaat?~” Rumble pout, wrapping his hooves around Scootaloo as he rest his chin on her shoulder. “That’s not what you meant when you said…?”

“...You’re an idiot.”

“You’re misleading.”

Rumble watched as Scootaloo tapped her pen below a hoofwritten paragraph.


Rainbow Dash sat uneasily at her dining room table. Even with her oven warming up the room, there was an ever-present chill creeping up her spine.

Scootaloo hadn’t been much for conversation… at all. It also didn’t help that her hopes of having one of her friends’ little sisters provide company instead of her cocky “colt friend” were dashed in an instant.

She shuddered as she recalled the last times he had set hoof on her clouds; It had been at best a shouting match and a squabble--and at worst, baiting a brute stallion into coming a breath short of killing him.

Rainbow shook her head before stealing another glance behind her, Spitfire apparently done with most of the actual cooking. Now, she was casually filling dishes with steaming, mouthwatering goodness.

She’d but blinked and stood from her chair before Spitfire burst past.

“You stay put, mama bird.” Spitfire winked. “I’ll get the lil’ shits.”

Rainbow unsteadily lowered her flank back onto her seat, staring down the hallway with wide eyes.

A loud bang on the door sent her at least three inches into the air, her teeth clenched.

“What’cha two doin?” She could hear Spitfire’s sly grin. “Pretty sure this door’s supposed to be open.”

“Yeah, what do you care?” Her fur stood as Rumble shot back.

“I care because if you two don’t get your flanks out here, this food I slaved over’s gonna get colder than that glare you’re puttin’ on.”

A triumphant Spitfire floated back into the kitchen, snickering as she passed a tense Rainbow Dash.

“Will you just relax, Dashie?” Spitfire razzed from the kitchen, the clank of ceramic filling the air. “You let them nerves get to you, and my hard work’ll get all over your tablecloth.”

Rainbow watched as Rumble lead Scootaloo into the dining room, he at least looked excited. Scootaloo looked anything but as he pulled out her chair and she took her seat.

“The wait is almost over, fillies and… gentlecolt,” Spitfire fluidly placed two covered entrees at the center of the table, retreating once more, and returning with a round tin that caught Rumble’s eye.

Spitfire couldn’t help herself. “Bet you wanna know what this is, dont’cha?” She winked. “Well, then you’d better tell me that’s the best chow you ever had in your life, or you ain’t gettin’ sh—”

Rainbow cleared her throat.

“Alright, gang,” Spitfire finally took her seat beside Rainbow, and across from Rumble. “Let’s eat!”

Rainbow waited as the main dish was passed round. Scootaloo eyed Rumble with amusement as he generously helped himself to a good third of the casserole, Spitfire snickering as a large chunk of his serving plunked on his plate.

“You’d better eat all that,” Spitfire smirked as Rumble cut Scootaloo a significantly smaller portion.

“Are you kidding?” Rumble half-scoffed. “I have a solid eight hours of JCC training tomorrow. If I don’t eat now, I’ll drop dead before we get to the Cyclone circuit.”

Spitfire seemed suddenly interested. “JCC, huh? Damn, that takes me back a ways, ey, Dashie?” Rainbow suppressed an eep as Spitfire nudged her. “God, I don’t miss that shit at all. They still have you doin’ cyclones and shit? Unless you’re shottin’ to be like your brother—no disrespect—but just lookin’ at ya, I’d say shoot for…” she glanced at Rainbow, “Shit, do what she did. Fuck JCC, and go right for the throat.”

Rumble tilted his head.

“Junior Cloud Marshals, colt,” Spitfire answered, her slight smirk widening with Rumble’s eyes.

“I… don’t think my parents could afford that.” He blushed. “B—Besides, I’m cool with Cadet stuff, I just…”

“Hate bein’ held back?” Spitfire’s brow arched. “From what this dame says about you, you’re already besting sophomores just in carriage; you show them hauling that filly at crusin’ speed, and they’ll give you a damn scholarship.”

“...Really?”

“Shit yeah, really.” Spitfire leaned back in her chair as she took a hearty bite of gooey goodness. “Tell you what, tomorrow you tell Fleethoof to meet me after that foal shit she calls flight training, and we’ll sort this out.”

“Seriously?”

“Come on kid, I’m not that buzzed, yet.” Spitfire waved a dismissive hoof. “Probably don’t call her class foal shit, but you get it. Kinda owe ya anyway for what that deadass did to ya.”

Rainbow suddenly found her food very interesting as Rumble followed Spitfires’ hoof to a patch of wiry fur along his jawline.

“Oh, this? I—It’s nothin’...”

Daring to look up from her quarter-remnant dish, Scootaloo appeared as invested in Rumble’s spin on that fateful night as Spitfire, eyes only darting downard to make sure she didn’t miss her mouth.

If Scootaloo noticed her watching, she didn’t pay any mind; wide eyes watched Spitfire’s lips briefly curl towards a smile as Rumble needlessly embellished a couple details from a flight he didn’t even remember himself.

For a moment, her nerves eased enough to let her finish eating, herself. While greasy, it was gooey, cheesy, and most important, damn good.

“I’m impressed, Spitfire,” Rainbow finally said. “I’m probably getting seconds. This sh... is good.”

“Better hustle, then.” Spitfire nodded towards the kitchen. “That gelding in training is on a mission to take it all for himself.”

“Am not!” Rumble hollered from behind the counter. Rainbow’s ear twitched as she heard a hushed snicker across the table.

“You already had enough to feed a fuckin’ platoon.” Spitfire ignored Rainbow’s brief glare. “Naw, there’s enough for even him to grub for days, Dashie, days.”

“Thank you.” Rainbow smiled. “Honestly, I was so stressed out at work today, I had no idea what I was doing for dinner...”

“You get your second-in-command shaped up, yet?” Spitfire asked as she watched Rumble return to his seat, a much more modest serving this time.

Rainbow shook her head.

“Well, you probably should.” Spitfire arched a brow. “Can’t have you split between Bolts and boss bullshit.”

The color drained from Rainbow’s face as she heard silverware clank against ceramic. Scootaloo staring directly at her with nothing short of contempt.

For what felt like an eternity, the two stared each other down, Scootaloo’s wide eyes narrowing into a glare.

“Scoots...” Rainbow heard herself say, timidly.

With one brisk bush of her foorhoof, her chair slid back. Without a word, Scootaloo hopped from her seat and stormed off towards her room; Rainbow winced in anticipation for the door slam that never came.

Her eyes first darted to Rumble, who watched after Scootaloo for a moment before he rolled his eyes and happily returned to his food.

She jumped as Spitfire sucked in a breath.

“Too soon?”

Rainbow simply sighed.

“Well shit,” Spitfire muttered to herself. Rainbow watched Rumble who eventually noticed her stare.

He shrugged, and no sooner resumed stuffing his face.

“Don’t worry,” She felt a hoof on her shoulder. “Mama’s got this.” Spitfire winked. “Right?”

“Yep...” Rainbow grunted as she stood, trotting around the table, her stomach sinking with each step.

Sure do.

Despite the door being open, Rainbow still stood at the threshold, look at Scootaloo who lie on her bed.

With a deep breath, Rainbow trotted in.

“Scoots, look. I—I know what it sounds like, but I think this will be good for me—for us.“

Met with silence, she carefully sat beside her filly who defiantly pulled the covers over herself.

“Come on,” Rainbow stopped herself mid-whine. “Remember what Rarity said? We gotta be able to talk about this stuff.” Rainbow swallowed as she heard faint conversation between Rumble and Spitfire.

Must be nice.

She scoot a little closer to the mound under the comforter.

“If I’m gonna earn your trust, you gotta give me a chance.” Rainbow dared reach towards the rim of the blanket, carefully pulling it back.

“Come on, Scoots... if you’re mad, just talk to me.”

Scootaloo turned from her side, to her back, looking up at her, her face betraying no emotion.

For a moment, the two trade between staring at each other, to elsewhere. Scootaloo finally sighed.

“How do I know you’re not just gonna ditch me like last time?”

“Because I won’t,” Rainbow asserted. “There was no excuse before, and there sure as shit isn’t one now.” She bit her lip as her inner Rarity accost her profanity. “I can’t promise you, but I can show you.”

“How?”

Rainbow sighed “I can’t promise I’ll be the best mom in Equestria, but I’m gonna try my best, and...”

Rainbow shuddered as her tongue tied. Suddenly looking towards the door again, she fidgeted her hoofs.

“Okay.”

Rainbow turned to see Scootaloo’s softened, albeit still skeptical gaze. “If you promise to try your best, I’m gonna try my best, too.”

Rainbow said nothing, but felt her brow arch.

“Like... doing my homework, and cleaning up after myself, and trying to cuss less.”

“Don’t worry about that last one.” Rainbow couldn’t help a light smirk.

“Huh?”

“N—Nothing.” Rainbow shook her head.

She jumped as she heard the growl of a foal’s stomach.

“Can we do this later, though?” Scootaloo hopped from her bed as her cheeks burned crimson. “I’m kinda hungry still.”

“Fine by me,” Rainbow said as she followed Scootaloo back into the dining room.

If Spitfire and Rumble noticed them returning to their seats, they certainly didn’t show it; They were still deep in conversation about intermediate aerodynamics. Rumble was still seated at the table with Spitfire buzzing about the kitchen, fervently washing dishes with all the grace of a blindfolded manticore.

“So?” Spitfire asked as a bowl clanked against the sink. “You two make nice?”

Rainbow dared a shrug, Scootaloo too focused on her food to acknowledge anything.

In a way, she was relieved. As she watched Scootaloo and Rumble file into the kitchen and deposit their dishes for “Auntie Spitfire” to enthusiastically clean, she felt the weight bearing on her shoulders dissapaiting.

Getting up, she wandered into her kitchen to help Spitfire with the rest.

“The hell you think you’re doing in here?” Spitfire smirked. “Kick up your hooves and relax, I got this shit.”

“Can’t have you feed us and clean up after us.” Rainbow shook her head. “Remember when we were stuck on dish duty after the last Bolts cookout?”

“Fuck, don’t remind me.” Spitfire did a raspberry. “Those boys owe me at least a year of good behaviour for that bullshit.”

“Pleasseee?” Both turned to see Scootaloo putting on her best pout to Rumble, who sat by the front door.

“I promised I’d be home by now,” Rumble groaned as he made a meager stomp. “I brought your stuff up, and helped you with your stupid essay. You’re welcome, by the way.”

Rainbow couldn’t help a snort as Scootaloo’s whining intensified. Rumble simply rolled his eyes, straining to trot out the door with a filly playing the part of a ball and chain.

“How’d it go?” Spitfire asked as warm water pelt the sink.

Rainbow glanced back. “Okay.” she shrugged. “Kinda just agreed to chill out and give it a shot.”

“Good shit.” Spitfire smiled. “Told ya you’d start to figure this shit out.”

“I got a long way to go, Spits.” Rainbow chuckled. “You’ve seen her in a good mood.”

“What’s a bad mood look like?”

“You don’t wanna know.”

Spitfire snickered. “Now... who does that remind me of?”

“Shut it.”

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