• Published 23rd May 2016
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Rough beginnings - Never2muchpinkie



The prequel to You Are Normal Too, showcasing Derpy and Shooting Star's relationship in greater detail

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Chapter 2: True colors

The morning after she mated with Shooting Star she woke up alone. At first she wasn’t sure whether the previous night was a dream, but as she moved around and her lower region seared it all came back to her. She had really done it. She had given herself away to a stallion, the best stallion there was.

She had no regrets about it, even though her body was a little sore. She had to be careful in the way she walked, but she knew that pain would pass in a day or two. However, the night they shared would last for eternity. Just like her, he would never forget it either.

She found a note on her desk from him, telling her that he couldn’t stay because her dad would probably kill him if he saw the two of them in bed together. She gulped. There was no doubt about that. How could she expect her dad to understand the love and passion they had shared?

She looked at their prom photo, and her head began to swim with the lovely memories. She sighed dreamily, her head on her hooves as she stared at it for several minutes. Life was so wonderful. It was such a grand day to be alive.

When she felt ready she went to the kitchen to greet her parents. They didn’t fail to notice the odd way she was walking, but she passed it off as being from too much dancing. She told them all about prom as they ate breakfast, but left out inviting Shooting in. She made it seem like he had only taken her home and then left.

At school she looked for Shooting, but it seemed she kept barely missing him in the halls. She waited outside after the final bell, spotting him leaving. She ran up to him, nearly knocking him over as she hugged him. “Hey there, stud!”

“Don’t do that,” he said gruffly, pushing her legs off him.

His lukewarm response took her by surprise. He had never acted like that before. “What’s wrong, honey? Bad day?”

He kept walking without a word. Derpy watched him, confused more than hurt. She caught up to him and then matched pace with him. “What’s wrong, baby? This isn’t like you. Someone must have really upset you.” She saw a flash of irritation.

He came to a stop, turning to her. “Look, Derpy, I think it’s for the best if we split up for a while.”

She could almost feel her heart deflating. He had been a cork in the dam holding back all the bad things. What would she do without him? “W-what? How could you say that, Shooting? After all we’ve been through.” Tears began coming down her eyes. “A-after prom and… what happened afterward.”

“Yeah, that’s exactly the point. Where do we go from here? Doing it every day? Things are moving way too fast and heating up. I think we both need some time to cool off. You’re still pretty young for us to be going that far.”

Derpy took a deep breath. Although she didn’t like to admit it he was right. “W-well… okay… then.” She wiped her face. “So let’s break up for a little while. I guess I do need some perspective.”

“Right.” He nodded, and then took off again without so much as a goodbye.

She returned home alone, still wishing Shooting was beside her. He gave her courage to face the world. Things felt a lot scarier without her living security blanket.

She went to her room, laying on her bed, thinking about the past and how it had led up to her giving herself to him. She wasn’t just a filly anymore but… she wasn’t quite a mare either. She was in the transitional phase between childhood and adulthood.

Should she have mated with Shooting? She had done what she did on the spur of the moment, because her love and affection had ratcheted up so high it only felt like the natural thing to do. Wasn’t that what lovers did? She loved him, and he loved her. They were a perfect fit. What did it matter if they grew a little bit closer? It would only make their love even more special. No matter what happened, he could always look back and know that he was her first. They would always have a special connection together, no matter how much time passed.

She spent a lot of time thinking. Every time she tried to do something else her mind just returned to the issue Shooting raised up. In the end she decided that she didn’t regret what she did with Shooting, but he also had a point that things were maybe going along at an uncomfortable pace. She didn’t know if she wanted to mate again, and it wasn’t just because of the pain. It was more about not wanting it to become common and cheap. She wanted it to stand out.

So, she decided, she would continue on without Shooting for a while. The both of them would take some time off to understand what had happened between them, and then they’d come back together stronger than ever.

She’d spot Shooting in the halls of the school, and she’d ignore him like he ignored her. She didn’t bother him, and he didn’t bother her. They needed this time off. Although she didn’t like the lack of dates and communication she didn’t let it bother her overmuch. She knew it was only temporary. That gave her the strength to endure.

One day she woke up ill. She felt like she was going to puke. She ran to the bathroom, nausea consuming her. The spell passed after some time, but she wondered if she had caught a bug.

When it became a continuous issue she grew worried, heading to the doctor. She answered questions, they took some blood, and in the meantime he prescribed her some medication.

A few days later she returned to get the results of her exam, and she was floored.

“C-come again?” she said.

“I said you’re pregnant.”

The doctor’s office felt like it disappeared. Her body went cold and numb, her mind went blank, and her eyes became little dots. She thought of Shooting and their little tryst together, and she had no doubt about what led to it.

Stupid! She had been so stupid! In the weeks they had been apart how had she not once considered the possibility he may have gotten her pregnant?

“Derpy?”

She heard the voice from far away, and reluctantly pulled herself back into the present. “Y-yes?”

“When you came in for your problem you didn’t mention anything about a stallion.”

She flushed deeply. “W-well, it was prom, and my date took me home, and then one thing led to another and…”

“I see.” He scribbled on her file for a short while. “Well, you’re not the first one to have a prom night baby. These things always crop up.”

“Hey! Don’t get me wrong. The two of us are in love. We’re special to one another.”

“Of course,” he said, unperturbed. “I wasn’t making any assumptions about your character, but if you wanted the best possible diagnosis then you should have been upfront with the facts. I could have told you the most likely cause of your nausea had I known about your partner.”

“W-well… I didn’t think it had anything to do with anything. It’s been a few weeks and this just started a few days ago.”

“Mmm-hmm.”

He instructed her on the best ways to manage her morning sickness, but she was only half-listening. A dull chill was coursing through her veins, threatening to turn into full blown panic.

As soon as she was able she left, heading up into the sky and doing laps, trying to burn off some of the anxious energy burning within her.

She was pregnant! She was going to have a child. She was only in her sophomore year of school. She wasn’t ready to be a mother. She wasn’t ready for that responsibility. What would her parents say? What would Shooting say? What would her friends and classmates think of her?

Things were turning into a complete disaster. She felt like she couldn’t breathe. She lay on a cloud panting for breath. This couldn’t be happening to her. It couldn’t! She was too weak to handle this by herself, but she wasn’t ready to tell her parents yet.

A modicum of calm settled her emotions slightly. Shooting felt they needed some time apart to reevaluate their relationship and think about how far they both wanted to go with it. It had been over a month. Hadn’t it been long enough?

She had to tell Shooting. He would know what to do. He was her knight. He’d give her the courage and strength to confront her parents. They wouldn’t be happy, but if the two of them pledged themselves to each other and showed they were serious her parents would accept it. They had to. Shooting was the father of her child. They couldn’t go back now. They wouldn’t want to keep him away from his own child, especially if she told them she had initiated things.

Her troubled breathing slowed down to almost normal levels. That was right. Shooting had promised to always protect her. He probably wasn’t ready to be a father either, but he would be great at it. He was compassionate but stern and a hard worker at whatever he devoted himself to. He would be the central pillar of her life, like he had been for so long.

She went to his house, but she was told he was away in another town playing a game and wouldn’t be back until late that night. It wasn’t what she wanted to hear, but she couldn’t do anything about it.

She was a ball of nerves as she went home. She went to her room, taking out her prom photo and staring at it, a habit she had gotten into since they had split up. It wasn’t as good as the real thing, but so long as she had the photo she always had a piece of Shooting Star with her to comfort her when he wasn’t there.

It managed to sturdy her, helping her through the day. The next day she barely paid attention in school. She had seen Shooting around, but she knew she couldn’t go having such a big discussion during school hours.

Slowly, agonizingly, the time passed until the final bell rang and they were free. Now that she was free to move as fast as she wanted she found herself going slower than ever. She spotted Shooting heading toward home, following him from afar, unsure of how to open the conversation.

As he reached the gate of his father’s mansion he seemed to finally get the feeling he was being followed, and turned toward her. The two of them met eyes. “Oh, it’s you. Stalking me now?”

Derpy took a few steps toward him and then ran full out until she was in front of him. “Shooting, I need to talk to you. It’s important.”

“Really?” he muttered. “Just how important?”

“I’m… I’m…” She had trouble getting oxygen in her lungs, but she knew she had to say it. He had to know. “Shooting, I’m… pregnant.” She put a hoof on her stomach, giving it a quick rub.

“Pregnant?” came his neutral reply.

“Yes!” said Derpy, tears pouring down her eyes. “I’m feeling so lost! I don’t know what to do. Shooting! Shooting!” She ran over and hugged him. “W-what should we do?”

“We?” he said disinterestedly. “That’s YOUR problem.”

“Wha-what?” she said disbelievingly as she looked up at him.

He pushed her away from him. “Look, babe. It was a fun six months with you, but I got what I wanted so now I’ve lost interest in you.”

Derpy blinked repeatedly. This wasn’t like him. He had never acted like this toward her before “What are you saying, Shooting?”

He rolled his eyes. “Tch. Do I need to spell it out for you? Remember what happened after the prom? That was my end goal all along.

“I was being serious when I said I needed a break from all the idiots who surrounded me, but I already had a mare lined up who’s more my speed for a while now. She’s someone also of wealth and prominence who fits more into my social class than a rube like you. No offense, of course.” The sarcasm was clear.

Tears began forming in her eyes. “So I… I was just a fling for you?”

“Ding ding ding!” he said, looking down at her smugly. “But do you really have the right to complain? After all, because of me all your bullies have gone by the wayside, you’ve made a bunch of friends, and you had the honor of having me as your first.”

“Of course, you’re always free to go around and talk about what a jerk I am,” he said without a trace of fear. “But, really, who’s gonna listen to you? You’ve seen how much authority I command first hoof. The only thing you’ll get in return for starting a hate campaign against me is losing every one of the perks you got from being my girl. You should be grateful for that much.

“I had my fun, but there’s no more entertainment to be had here. So, I wish you luck with the brat.” He tapped her head dismissively and continued to his house, leaving her alone.

Derpy stood there, a stone statue, trying to process things. Shooting Star, her hero, her lover, her savior, her friend, her confidant, the one that had protected her and cared for her for so long… he was a big phony. He had played her like a fiddle for all she was worth, and then kicked her away when the song was over. She was only a fling for him. He hadn’t actually cared about her. He was just using her to keep the other mares away while he looked for another mare behind her back.

Her breath caught, and she began to pant. How could it be true? Shooting wouldn’t do that to her. Never! That wasn’t Shooting.

Her legs felt weak, and her body tensed. She had been deceived. Her heart burned. She had given the most special gift she had to him. It was supposed to be a symbol of their eternal bond to each other, but it meant nothing to him. It hadn’t connected them at all. She had given him what he wanted, and he thought nothing of it.

She thought of the baby in her stomach, and panic overtook her. She turned and ran, unfurling her wings and taking to the air as she rushed to the hospital, feeling like she was going to pass out. She felt like she was just an observer in her own body. Her legs seemed to move without her making them. Her mouth spoke words without her forming them. She signed paperwork, her hooves shaking like mad as she fought a nervous breakdown.

She was too weak to handle this. She couldn’t do it alone. Shooting was supposed to be by her side to help her. Without him she was nothing. She had only been cool because of his name. Now that he had left her everything would go back to the way it was. She would just be a loser again. Everyone would make fun of her.

It would be better for her child not to have to deal with all of that. It was for her own good. Things would just turn into a huge mess if things continued the way they did.

The time that passed felt like an eternity until they took her in. Derpy was continually trembling, holding her hooves together in front of her as the doctor talked to her. Every second that passed made her feel worse. She just wanted it to be over.

Eons seemed to pass before he finally stopped talking. She was so relieved when he took out the needle that would put her to sleep, that would let her escape into a blissful nothingness.

Time still felt warped. She could see the needle in the air, seeming to approach millimeters at a time. She turned away from it, unable to stand the endless wait. Her eyes focused, and it felt like her heart stopped.

There was a poster for vaccinations. “A healthy baby is a happy baby.” Underneath was a mother holding a giggling baby.

Her mind broke free of the haze of panic clouding her mind, her thoughts becoming crystal clear. What was she doing?

“STOP!” she yelled, making the doctor jump as she knocked away the needle. She hopped off the table, shivering like a leaf. “I changed my mind. I don’t want to do this!”

She didn’t wait for his response. She didn’t know if he called after her as she nearly ripped the door off its hinges in her rush to get out. She employed only the slightest caution to avoid hitting other patients as she ran full out toward the exit.

The second she was outside she took to the air, heading for home, her heart too full of emotions to think. She burst inside, taking a quick look around, relieved that she was alone. She rushed to her room, lying down on her bed.

She closed her eyes. Now that she had stopped her emotions took her over, and she began bawling as she rubbed her stomach, unable to get the picture of the mother and child out of her mind.

“I-I-I… I-I’m s-s-sorry!” she cried out, holding her stomach. “I-I’m so s-sorry!”

What was wrong with her? How could she have even thought of getting an abortion? What had her child done? Had it done anything to deserve having its life snuffed out before it even had the chance to take its first breath? Had it made the terrible mistake? Had it given its heart away to the wrong stallion? Had it done anything at all, besides existing? It didn’t deserve to die, not when it had committed no crime, not when it wasn’t to blame for anything. It had been her stupidity, her immaturity, which had gotten them into this mess.

She spent hours sitting there, blasting herself for her foolishness. No matter what had happened, she should never have resorted to that as her first decision. It wasn’t too late, though. She could make up for it.

She knew she was weak, pathetic, and worthless, but… she had enough strength for this. She rubbed her tummy over and over. No matter what may come, no matter how bad things got… she wanted this baby. She wanted to keep it, raise it, and love it. Things certainly weren’t going to get any easier in the months to come, but that was absolute.

She felt an outpouring of affection that brought tears to her eyes. A smile pulled at her lips. “I love you,” she cooed. “I’ll always protect you. I promise I won’t ever make you suffer for my mistakes.”

Was it just her imagination, or had the baby kicked in response? Was it telling her that it forgave her? That it believed and trusted her?

A measure of comfort entered her. “Thank you,” she said warmly, settling down for a nap.

When she awoke some of her memories resurfaced, and a surge of guilt rushed through her. She couldn’t take back her night with Shooting, and she refused to take it back by harming her baby and denying it the right to live, so the only thing she could do was keep moving forward.

Although she desperately wanted to avoid it, she knew there was no way to hide it forever. She had to tell her parents.

When he heard the word pregnant her dad left the room. Her dad could be very stern, but he recognized when he was going to blow his stack and be nasty rather than helpful.

Her mother was more levelheaded, but her discontent was clear. “Derpy, did you really think it was a wise decision to have a boy over when you knew no one else was home?”

She shook her head. “It was just such a lovely night that I lost my head.”

Her mother closed her eyes as she sighed. “I think I should go check on your father. I have no idea what I feel right now either.”

Her original meeting with them went well enough, but once they settled down they sat her down and gave her the mother of all lectures about responsibility and choices. They brought up Shooting Star at one point and she felt panicked she would have to speak about him, but they didn’t press her, for which she was grateful.

They made it clear they still loved her, but they were very disappointed with her decision. She was grounded and barred from any dating for a while. It suited her just fine. She didn’t have anyone to date anymore anyway, and she still needed some time herself to think.

When she was set free she went to her room. “Shooting…” She looked out the window, seeing ponies walking by, playing in the sun. When a couple passed by she felt the smoldering flames burst into life inside her, her body taut as she snorted.

She sat down at her desk, her head on her hooves. She pulled open the drawer slowly, her breath catching a little as her rage turned to sadness.

She took a shuddering breath, pulling out the photo of the two of them at the prom. Tears dripped onto it as she stared at them. She had been so happy then. It was the happiest she had been in her life. She had felt like someone special; someone valuable. She had been on stage in front of everyone getting crowned, something she had never imagined. How had things come to this?

Her eyes turned to Shooting, and she shook as she bent over her desk, quietly crying. “Shooting!” How could he have done this to her? It didn’t feel real. It couldn’t be real. That wasn’t the Shooting she knew and loved. He protected the weak, like her. He had made her feel special and did so much for her. The Shooting she knew would never be looking for another mare while dating her. He wouldn’t be so cold and heartless. He wouldn’t leave her alone and scared.

So how? How had things turned out this way?

A light flicked on in her mind. Of course! It was so obvious. She sat back up, looking down at the photo again. There was no way that Shooting was that callous. She rubbed her belly in slow circles. Of course that had scared him off.

If he really didn’t care about her then why wait to reveal the deception? Why not just dump her the day after prom? He had specifically told her that he just wanted a break because he felt their relationship was going too far too fast. So what had changed? Her pregnancy.

Shooting was a young athlete with a desire for all the finer things in life. She had thought she was just a loser, but he had done his best to show her she was really a diamond in the rough. The thought of having to settle down, to not be able to go out and play all his games… well, naturally he didn’t want such restrictions. So he pushed her away. He told her horrible lies to escape it. He may have a ton of money, but wealth alone didn’t make one a good parent. He wasn’t emotionally mature enough to deal with the thought of being a father.

He had to be terrified. That was quite a bombshell she had dropped on him. As she looked down at him her heart swelled with compassion. “Poor Shooting. He had to have been just as surprised as me by the news.”

She stared at Shooting, feeling like she understood him again. She’d leave him be for now. He would come around. She believed that with all her heart. But if she discarded the photo? Why, she might forget what life could be if she only believed in herself. She needed it, so she could always remember. She thought of the memories they had shared together, her heart filling with love. Things would turn out just fine.

Derpy spent a lot of time staring at that photo, making her wish stronger and stronger with each passing day. There had been no word from Shooting, but she figured he would need a long time to come to terms that he had gotten her pregnant accidentally. He was probably ashamed of the way he had acted and wasn’t sure how to approach her.

She wasn’t a monster. She made big mistakes too. What relationship didn’t have some rough patches, especially when a huge unexpected event happened? Didn’t he understand that their bond ran deep in the wake of her giving herself to him? Didn’t he understand how much she needed him now? Didn’t he understand that she would forgive him, if he only came back and apologized?

When she wasn’t staring at the photo she spent a lot of time holding or rubbing her stomach, thinking of the life growing within her. She hadn’t quite forgiven herself for her rash decision, even if she decided against it in the end, but she focused on her promise to keep her going. She wasn’t ready to be a parent either, but it was too late to change that. She could only move forward, and try to be the best parent she could be. She took to reading the parenting books her mother still kept.

Summer vacation came and went, and as her junior year approached she grew more anxious. Looking at herself in the mirror she could see her belly had grown, sticking out a bit. What would the other students say when they saw her? Could see pass it off as just being fat?

She shook her head at the thought. Either she’d be teased for being fat, or she’d be teased for being pregnant. It felt like a lose-lose situation. Shooting still hadn’t come to make amends. Without him she didn’t know how she was going to handle it. His protection had kept her going through the rough times by keeping the bullies off her back.

She tried begging her parents to home-school her or have a home study program, but they wouldn’t hear of it.

“You made your choice, now you have to deal with the consequences! We’re not going to let your education suffer just because you’re embarrassed.”

That was that. The subject was closed.

She went to her closet, feeling a familiar pang as she saw her prom dress hanging up. She looked over the few items she had. Maybe she could hide it by wearing some loose fitting clothes. Eventually she would be too big for that to work, but wouldn’t it be better to put it off?

She sank to the floor, a wave of despair threatening to envelop her. Maybe she should just run away. Go live in Cloudsdale, where no one would know her. She already knew it wouldn’t work. She didn’t have the money for that.

She went to her bed, running circles over her belly. “My dear little child,” she said gently. “You’re so lucky. You have a big, beautiful life ahead of you. You won’t have all the stigma’s I do. I love you. I love you.”

It was a habit she had gotten into, that always helped to cheer her up when she was down. All she needed was daddy Shooting Star and things would be perfect. Her picture perfect family would be complete.

Time seemed to rush by, and she found herself slowly plodding to school. She elected to not wear anything. She felt it would only draw more attention to it.

As she walked through the familiar halls she felt more than heard the whispers. She might have just been imagining them, expecting them as she was. She kept her head straight and just walked until she reached her first class.

To her immense relief the day passed without incident. No one seemed to notice yet or, if they had, they didn’t make a scene. A few ponies were rude to her, but overall it was a good day.

It was about two weeks later when things became complicated. Her child went through a growth spurt, and she had a significant bulge now. The whispers were louder now as she walked through the halls. She kept hearing Shooting’s name as she passed by students, no doubt wondering what was going on between them. She did her best to ignore them, though she could feel her ears going red.

One day shortly after that she got a surprise as school ended.

She had just closed her locker, and jumped as she saw Shooting resting up against the one next to it. “Hey there.”

She didn’t know what to say. Months had gone by without a word, and now he was in front of her again. Hurt, rage, happiness… she didn’t know which to feel.

He gestured with his head. “Come on. There’s an empty classroom right there. I think the two of us need to have a little chat.”

Her heart began to beat a little faster. She was trying to keep her thoughts neutral, but her mind couldn’t help but turn to their photo together and her wish for Shooting to see reason as she followed him, wondering what he had to say.

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