• Published 18th Nov 2016
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Under Her Wing - Tinyweasels



Rainbow Dash is a human in Equestria. A story about finding your place in a world where you don't quite fit in.

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Chapter 15 - A Sad Departure, a Happy Event and a Shocking Disclosure

Chapter 15 - A Sad Departure, a Happy Event and a Shocking Disclosure

Rainbow eventually was able to track down Scootaloo in time for lunch. The little pony excitedly told her about the efforts of her and her new friends to get their cutie marks.

For the next few hours Rainbow and Scootaloo just hung out in town, Scootaloo often glancing at the clock as time ticked down for the arrival of the evening train that would take her and the matron back to Cloudsburg. Rainbow watched as Scootaloo visibly tensed when they heard the distant train whistle and the filly's shoulders slumped.

"Well, I guess this is it." Scootaloo said, all joy draining out of her.

Rainbow picked up Scootaloo, gave her a hug and put her on her shoulders as they headed for the train station. Once there they met up with the matron as well as Scootaloo's new friends to see them off. Rainbow put Scootaloo down and her friends gathered around her in a group hug. Rainbow hugged the matron.

"Thanks for everything, ma'am. You're a life saver," Rainbow said with emotion as the matron hugged back.

"You're welcome, Rainbow. I am so happy you're happy."

The train pulled into the station with a loud hiss and Scootaloo looked up at Rainbow, fighting back her tears. She rushed up and hugged Rainbow tightly.

"Thank you so much for letting us visit, Rainbow. It's been so amazing to get to hang out with you for a weekend. I'll really miss you!" Scootaloo said, sniffling.

Rainbow crouched down and hugged her back. "Hey, next time I'll have things planned better and maybe we'll actually get Lady Golden Meadow to really have a proper day off."

Scootaloo apparently didn't hear anything after "next time."

"I get to come back?!" Scootaloo shouted, bouncing and her wings flittering.

Rainbow was caught by surprise—she hadn't even realized she'd said it, but she quickly recovered. "Sure! An awesome hero like me has to keep an eye on her biggest fan."

The matron ushered the euphoric filly toward the train.

"Remember what I said, Scootaloo. Be awesome!" Rainbow said.

"I will, Rainbow!" Scootaloo said, waving wildly.

As the matron got on the train she stopped and looked at Rainbow with a smile. "Remember what I said, Rainbow."

Rainbow nodded back. "I will, ma'am."

Once on the train, Scootaloo appeared in a window, waved to Rainbow, and she waved back.

"She wasn't bad, for a pony," a gruff voice said from behind her.

"Gilda!" Rainbow said, hugging her friend.

"Hey, honey," Fullbright said, hugging his daughter tight.

"Hey, Dad. So, what did you guys want to talk about?"

Fullbright opened his mouth to reply but Gilda cut him off with a wing over his face.

"Food, then talk. I'm starving," she replied and her stomach rumbled for emphasis.

Fullbright nodded. "A hungry griffin is a cranky griffin. We'd better eat first."

Rainbow could only roll her eyes at her question going unanswered yet again. Shortly they were at a local restaurant eating at the table—or rather, Gilda was eating just about everything within arm's reach. Rainbow sat silently, lost in her thoughts.

"You miss her already, don't you?" Fullbright asked, looking up at his daughter with a knowing smile.

"Yeah," Rainbow said with a sigh. "To complicate matters, Lady Golden Meadow thinks Scootaloo and I are a good match and she wants me to consider adopting her."

Fullbright and Gilda looked to her with surprise, then Gilda resumed eating.

"What did you decide?" Fullbright asked.

"I told her I'd think about it."

"Good. She's a good mare and we owe her a lot, but don't let her pressure you into a decision that big. You need to be 110 percent sure before you commit. "

"Yeah, I don't want to just do it just out of pity. I need to be sure I'm ready”

“If you decide it’s the right choice, honey, you’d be an awesome mom.”

“Yeah, you’d probably do a good job and that would be good for me ‘cause we can share mom… stuff,” Gilda said between bites.

“But hey, enough about me. Will you two finally tell me what you wanted to tell me?"

Gilda looked up from her food and took one of Fullbright's hooves in her claws and they both looked to Rainbow. Fullbright led the way.

"Rainbow, this will be an odd question to ask, but, do we have your blessing to get married?"

Rainbow looked at them in surprise. "You even have to ask? Sure! I figured that's what you two wanted to talk about." Rainbow relaxed, now that the pressure was off. She saw her dad and Gilda relax as well. "So, when do you two plan to get hitched?" She noticed them both get a bit nervous.

"At the Summer Sun Celebration," Fullbright said.

Rainbow checked her mental calendar and something wasn't right. "But that's only two weeks away. What's the rush? Why are you having—" she said and stopped when they both looked away and fidgeted nervously in their seats. Then a possibility dawned on Rainbow. She leaned forward and rested her face in her hands. "You're pregnant."

"I'm pregnant," Gilda confirmed.

"You two have got to be kidding me! How far along are you?"

"About three weeks."

"How did this even happen?"

"Well, when a pony loves a griffin very much…" Fullbright began.

"Dad! Seriously, this isn't time for jokes."

"Sorry, Rainbow, but we had this discussion when you were younger. Ponies and other creatures of our world, well, spring's a very special time for us."

"Don't remind me, Dad. That discussion was one of the most awkward events of my life," she said, managing a bit of laughter.

"For me as well," he replied with a smile. "Are you mad at us?"

"Nah, just surprised. That's all."

"Not as surprised as we were," Fullbright said. "We thought hybrids were just a myth."

Rainbow nodded. "They're called hippogriffs. The front half is eagle and the back half is pony."

"How do you know about them?" Gilda asked in surprise.

"Twilight showed us something from a book that talked about them. She's got books on everything."

"Then we need to speak to Twilight," Fullbright said. "We have no idea what's in store."


After the restaurant they quickly made their way to the library of the Princess of Friendship. Twilight looked over her expansive collection as she combed it for references to hippogriffs. "Hmm, there really isn't much information beyond what I was able to show Rainbow and the others. Einhorn's Bestiary isn't wholly reliable, but there is enough empirical evidence to support his descriptions."

Shortly Spike let out a loud burp and a swirl of green smoke produced a scroll with Celestia's seal. "Ah, this should be interesting. If any pony alive knows anything about hippogriffs, it would be Celestia."

She opened the scroll and began reading:

Dear Twilight,

First, congratulations to the happy couple. It has been over 600 years since a hippogriff has been born in Equestria that I am aware of. Due to the enmity between our peoples over the centuries it is not surprising, but with the cooling of hostilities over the last few decades I expect to see more of them. That last hippogriff was Sir Surefeather Ramblestone—see enclosed picture. He was a true and loyal friend. His parents, a mare and griffin, were diplomats who took their diplomatic relations a little too far. I do not know if that will affect the appearance of the child.

Gestation was around eight months; the mother laid an egg. Even now I have no idea how that worked, but she laid a viable egg and it required about a month of incubation before it hatched. The hatchling was the normal size and weight for a foal and he had normal development. Hippogriffs can get cutie marks. He did marry and have children—they were normal ponies as the hybrid properties did not travel beyond him. Let me know if you require more assistance. I'm afraid you're in virtually uncharted territory, but I will do all I can to help.

Celestia



Twilight showed the picture to the others. It was a photograph of a very old oil painting depicting a hippogriff in Equestrian guard armor and holding a lance, standing in a heroic pose.

Fullbright relaxed a bit and comfortingly wrapped his forelegs around Gilda. "At least we know the child can be had safely."

"Yeah, but it'll be a freak," Gilda quipped.

Rainbow nudged Gilda and smiled. “Hey, it’ll be in good company. Dad knows all about raising misfits. So, what plans do you have for the wedding?”

“Well, we don’t have any plans," Fullbright said. "We don’t need much of a ceremony. You and I don’t have much family, Rainbow."

“I don’t have much,” Gilda said. “I’ve got a little family, but it’s mainly just my nutty grandpa.”

Fullbright looked to the others. “Really, we could do it right now,” he said, turning to Twilight. “Princess, you have the authority to do marriages. Rainbow can be the witness required by law.”

Twilight looked up in surprise. “Are you sure? I mean, I’ll gladly do it, but it seems rather lackluster. A wedding should be something special. Besides, our friends are great at things like this. They’d be heartbroken if Rainbow's father and Gilda had a wedding without letting them help. This is Ponyville after all—this town loves a party.”

The couple looked at each other and after a conversation that seemed to be expressed just in eyebrow movements they shrugged their shoulders.

“Well, we've been worried about how ponies would react to a pony and griffin getting married, but all right, maybe a just a small one," Fullbright said.

“Okay! We’ll need to assemble the troops,” Rainbow said with a smile.

Once Rainbow's friends had arrived, the nuptial couple just sat back and let the others work. Soon the small intimate wedding ballooned into a major event.

Spike belched up another letter and Twilight opened it and smiled. “Princess Celestia said she’d be willing to perform the wedding ceremony, since you wanted to have it on her day.”

“Celestia herself is performing our wedding,” Fullbright said in astonishment.

Pinkie Pie was unusually subdued as she looked over the notebook laid out in front of her. “Okay, this will be a bit unusual. There’s that thing with food for the griffins. We probably shouldn't use Fluttershy's bird friends for music as the griffins might mistake them for hors d'ouerves. Fluttershy, how are you going to be with serving meat at the wedding?”

Fluttershy closed her eyes and thought silently for a little while. “Some of my animal friends are carnivores. I know they’ll want meat, but please don’t serve anything still alive."

"Okay, that won't be a problem. I think that takes care of the big stuff," Pinkie said with relief.

"Only..." Rarity began. All turned to her. "There is one big problem," she said, holding up a book on griffin customs. "There is the hunt. That's a big part of the wedding ceremony."

"The hunt?" Fullbright asked.

"Yeah," Gilda began, nodding. "I've been to a few griffin weddings. There has to be a hunt. An animal's released and the couple have to hunt and kill it."

"No!" Fluttershy and Fullbright said adamantly.

"Rarity, what are the specific details of the hunt?" Twilight asked

Rarity turned to the book and read more. "A large animal of a type appropriate for the region, big enough for everyone in attendance to get a taste."

Rainbow looked to Pinkie, who was deep in thought. Pinkie suddenly lit up brightly with a big smile on her face. She rushed over to Twilight and whispered something in her ear.

"Sure, I could do that," Twilight replied. Pinkie rushed over to Fluttershy and whispered something to her.

Fluttershy relaxed and smiled. "Yes, that's a very good idea, Pinkie."

Pinkie looked to the rest. "That problem is solved. Let's hear it for loopholes!"

Fullbright looked to the others. "So? What did you decide?"

"Now, Mr. Dashie, it's no fun if I spoil the surprise! We've got the hunt covered. We'll have a large ‘animal’, she said, making air quotes with her hooves, "of a type appropriate for Ponyville ready for the wedding." She made a playful wink. "We'll have to check to see if we can get Gustave Le Grand to do the griffin catering too."

Fullbright turned to Rainbow and smiled. "Honey, since we'll be doing a proper wedding, I want you to be my best mare."

Rainbow was stunned for a moment and then smiled proudly. "Dad, it would be an honor."

The planning went on for a while longer. The couple decided to go with a small quickie wedding right there, so that it would be less awkward to explain the birth date/wedding date issue, but they'd still have the big official wedding in a few weeks. Twilight performed the ceremony with Rainbow and her friends as witnesses. After the congratulations and celebratory hugs, the couple declined the invitation to late night dinner and merrymaking and instead headed out make merry in their own way to celebrate.

After the ceremony Rainbow looked over the marriage certificate that Twilight had filled out and as she signed it as witness, she noticed that Twilight had backdated it three weeks for the sake of the baby.

Rainbow was still in a daze. Her dad was married again! And Gilda was her stepmother! It was surreal.


When all the celebrating was over, Rainbow walked back to her place. She stopped outside and looked at the dark house, feeling a sense of emptiness inside herself. After settling in on her couch she studied a collection of wedding and group pictures Pinkie had just given her, taken during Scootaloo's visit—strangely despite the fact Rainbow couldn’t recall Pinkie having a camera at any point during the wedding, and no time to develop them. She shuffled through the snapshots until she came to one that showed her with the little filly on her shoulders, her dad and Gilda in front of her.

"Like a family picture," she said out loud, then looked around suddenly, as if it was Lady Golden Meadow who'd said it. Rainbow studied the picture more closely. “I don’t remember us posing like this. Wait, this is a Pinkie Pie pic. Don’t think about it, Rainbow. Just don’t think about it…”

She used the frame from a picture of herself to frame the group picture and put it on a shelf—she'd soon need space for wedding pictures and then pictures of her new little sib. Rainbow had to sit down when that thought hit her—she was going to be a big sister! Her dad was going to be a dad again; Gilda was going to be a mom. That thought made Rainbow giggle—she was already Rainbow's step-mother, so that gave Rainbow license to call her "Mom" to annoy her.

Rainbow sat on the sofa with her great-grandfather's guitar, strumming softly, thinking about the future as she looked over the pictures and the empty space on the shelf for the ones that would soon be there. When she was ready for bed, she made her way upstairs and looked over her rooms, most just piled with her stuff. There was the exercise room, another set aside for her massive collection of vinyl records, while the others were just storage for junk. Any one of those would make a good room for Scootaloo; the thought made Rainbow smile when she realized she was already making room in her heart for the kid.

The next day Rainbow arrived at Twilight's castle and searched until she found Spike on a high balcony, sitting in a folding chair, holding a reflector as he tried to get a tan.

"Hey, Spikezilla! Just the dude I was looking for," Rainbow said as she sat on the railing opposite him, but not blocking the light.

Spike looked over the rims of his oversized sun glasses and smiled. “Sup’ Rainbow,” he replied, closing his eyes again and adjusting his reflector.

She hopped off the railing and leaned against it. “Got some serious stuff to ask you, dude. What did you think of Scootaloo?”

“I liked her. She was kinda like an orange and purple you.”

Rainbow laughed a bit. “Good. I was hoping she made a good impression. The reason I ask is that when Lady Golden Meadow was here, she said I should think about adopting her.”

Spike fumbled his reflector in surprise. “Holy guacamole! That’s big.”

“Yeah. We both thought of you when I said I wasn’t sure what it would be like for a single Element of Harmony to try to raise a kid. How do you and Twilight manage what you have?”

Spike relaxed and brought up his reflector again. “I dunno. We just know we can count on each other. I have Twilight and you guys and as Ma Apple constantly says, 'you can always count on yer Ponyville family' so we always have somepony to help us fix anything that goes wrong. Maybe I’m not the one to talk to about this because I have such a big family. Maybe you should talk to Rarity. She’d know more about stuff like this.”

“Really? I mean, they have their parents around.”

“Rainbow, count on your fingers how many times you’ve seen Rarity's parents in Ponyville."

Rainbow did a quick calculation and then ticked off the number on her fingers. “Four.”

“You’ve seen them here four times in the last few years.”

“Wow, I never really thought of it like that. Yeah, I should talk to her. Thanks dude, I owe you one,” she said, leaning down and putting her fist out.

Spike smiled and did a fist bump. “Hey, it’s the least I could do. Other dragons may love their gold and jewels, but you guys are my treasure.”

“Aww, that’s sweet, Spike," Rainbow said as she departed. She briefly visited Twilight in her library and told her about the suggestion of adoption and Twilight's reply had been confident and to the point. "Rainbow, I think you'd make a wonderful mother and role model for her."

Rainbow hesitated outside Carousel Boutique—of all her friends, Rarity was the one she was perhaps the least close to, and she could be very judgmental at times, yet of their little group, she in many ways was the most mature. Rainbow had taken a very roundabout way of getting here, visiting her other friends beforehoof.

***

Pinkie Pie: Dashie, I'm already planning the celebration!

Apple Jewel: Ma and I already talked about it and we both think it would do a world 'o good for both of ya.

Fluttershy: Adoption is a big step, Rainbow, but I’m sure you can handle it.

“Really? You think I have what it takes to be a mom?”

“Of course,” Fluttershy replied, with the slightest hesitation in her voice.

“Okay, out with it, Fluttershy. You have reservations.”

The shy pony tapped her hooves together self-consciously a few moments and took a sip of tea before she replied.

“Rainbow, you fight too much, drink too much and swear too much.”

“%$^&*#}@!”

Fluttershy gave her a stern look, holding her hooves over Angel’s ears while Harry the bear looked at her disapprovingly from over the rim of his tea cup.

Rainbow looked around and saw all the animals in the cottage staring in shock at her. “Okay, you got me on the last one.”

Fluttershy paused and thought silently for a few moments before she continued. "Rainbow, you are constantly testing your limits, taking greater and greater risks. For what? To one day find a risk too big and you die? Life isn't a race. The winner isn't the first one to reach the end. The winner's the one who makes the most of the journey to the end."

Rainbow sat quietly, absorbing what her friend had told her.

"I think taking care of Scootaloo would be the best thing in the world for you," Fluttershy continued. "It would give you a reason to think before you act. Taking care of her would force you to slow down and to stop and smell the roses. A chance to grow up and be mature and responsible."

"But that's the opposite of awesomeness!" Rainbow protested.

"Is your dad awesome?"

"Of course!"

"Is he mature and responsible?"

Rainbow wanted to protest, but she couldn't. She folded her arms and sulked. "Yes," she grumbled.

"See? You can be mature, responsible and awesome all at the same time. That's what she needs in her life, Rainbow, and you can be the pony to give her the life she wants and needs. If you need a different perspective on this, my therapist would be more than happy to talk to you."
***


That talk with Fluttershy had given her pause, but now she felt she was finally ready to face Rarity. She boldly approached and opened the door. Shortly Rainbow sat at tea, making polite small talk as the cultured unicorn poured some herbal tea.

“So what brings you here, Rainbow? You’re not usually one for casual chit-chat," Rarity observed.

“Well, it was suggested to me by Lady Golden Meadow that I adopt Scootaloo.”

Rarity’s eyebrows went up and she put down the teapot. “My word, that was rather presumptuous of her, was it not?”

“Well, sort of yes and no.”

“I beg your pardon?” Rarity asked quizzically.

“You know Pinkie-sense?”

“Of course.”

“Well, she has what we called Orphan-sense," Rainbow said. "It's this weird knack for finding the just-right fit for parents and kids. Heck, she managed to find a pony couple willing to adopt a human! She’s doing something right. She said Scootaloo and I were a good match, so now I’m doing some soul searching.”

“That is a momentous decision, to be sure. Pie?”

Rainbow quickly ducked in alarm, then turned to Rarity, who chuckled, levitating a slice of lemon pie in front of Rainbow. “Sorry, wrong type of pie.”

“So anyway, I was talking to Spike about how he and Twilight get along with the Harmony stuff happening. He said I should talk to you.”

Rarity gave Rainbow a curious look. “Really? Why would he think I’d know about that?”

“Well, he said that since your folks aren’t around much, you might know what’s it’s like to raise a kid and be an Element of Harmony.”

Rarity’s brow furrowed. "Hmm, yes. I will have to have a word with my dear Spikey-wikey about that.”

“Hey, he was just trying to help me out in a tough jam. He didn’t mean to gossip or anything," Rainbow said defensively, holding up her hands.

Rarity relaxed and nodded. “I know, Rainbow. And he is right in the sense that I do more to raise Sweetie Belle than my mother and father.”

“How do you handle it?”

Rarity took a sip of her tea. “It isn’t always easy. We are both a bit fragile at times, so things can get tense. I suppose the best way I could describe it is as a balance—I have to balance her, my career and my duties as the Element of Generosity. As you know, it does stress me out quite often. That spa is a godsend.”

“What I don’t understand is why you put up with it? Why don’t your folks do more to raise your sister? I mean, I know it’s none of my business and all, but still.”

Rarity appeared to be studying her teacup. “Rainbow, I appreciate your concern, but there are reasons for what they do.”

Rainbow gestured animatedly. “But they’re your parents! They have a job to do…” Rainbow began a run on sentence of what she perceived to be the responsibilities.

Rarity listened silently, stirring her tea the whole time, her head down and eyes closed. Rainbow was so lost in her tirade that it was only the high pitched chime of Rarity daintily tapping her teaspoon against her teacup that interrupted her.

“Rainbow, please. Remember that you are speaking about my parents,” she said softly.

Rainbow nodded and sighed. “Yeah, I'm sorry. Not my place to judge.”

“Precisely. I know and understand your reasons for why you feel so strongly about parental responsibility,” Rarity said, looking down at her teacup again.

“You’re doing a great job raising your sister, Rarity,” Rainbow said, picking up her cup and sipping her tea.

Rarity finally looked up and met her friend's gaze. “Rainbow… Sweetie Belle is my daughter.”

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