• Published 23rd Jul 2012
  • 11,097 Views, 263 Comments

What's in a Name - Comma-Kazie



Ditzy Doo adjusts to life in Ponyville with help from her friends.

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Month 1 - or, Unexpected Arrivals

This summer had been amazing.

The head honchos up in Cloudsdale had finally recognized Rainbow Dash’s awesomeness and put her in charge of Ponyville’s weather team. She had been trying since early May to convince the review committee to watch her in action. As much as Rainbow hated cutting time away from practice, she’d written letters, dug up performance reviews, and begged nearly everypony she’d worked with for a recommendation to compile into her request to the weather team review board.

After months’ worth of paperwork, dozens of interviews, and a demonstration of clearing the nastiest lightning clouds Rainbow had ever dealt with, everything finally fell into place. The committee representative had pulled her aside at the end of the day and told her she’d made the cut. She had looped-the-loop for the entire flight home, cheering all the while.

She was settling onto her cloud-couch for a celebratory nap when she heard the subtle foomp of somepony landing on her front porch. Rainbow rolled off and onto her hooves to relieve the mailpony of the hefty bonus she knew was coming her way when a mischievous grin crept onto her face. She flew back over her couch to a nearby window, and from there out and over the top of her cloud-house, silently touching down on top of her porch awning with pinpoint precision. She pressed her body low against the cloud structure, holding her breath as she listened to the approaching hooffalls.

Four steps away ... three ... two ... one ...

Rainbow poked her head through the cloud and bellowed, “How’s it going, Stamp!?”

The pony below scrambled backward and fell with a yelp, tumbling off of the porch and landing in a puff of clouds. Rainbow rolled with laughter for a moment, enjoying a moment of schadenfreude at the expense of the grey pony below. Something nagged at her in the back of her mind, and when she looked down from her perch it occurred to her that Postal Stamp had been blue the last time she saw him. Plus he wore a mailpony’s uniform and he was—well, a he. Rainbow’s laughter died down as she fluttered down to her unintended victim.

“Heh ... sorry about that.” She grinned sheepishly and offered a helping hoof to the pony she’d unintentionally pranked. “I was expecting somepony else. You okay?”

The other mare stood back up and shook her head to bring her golden eyes back into alignment. “At least I know I found the right house. Good to see you again, Rainbow Dash.”

Rainbow squinted, trying to put her hoof on why this mare seemed so familiar. Grey coat, blonde mane, bubbles cutie mark—

“No way! Ditzy Doo?” She helped the grey mare to her hooves, brushing away a stray puff of cloud from her mane. “Sorry again about that. Jeez, it’s been forever since I saw you! How’ve you been?”

“Not too bad.” Ditzy gave a nervous little smile and didn’t quite meet her old friend’s eyes. “How about you?”

Rainbow Dash’s smile fell slightly; she wasn’t exactly talented at reading body language, but something seemed a bit off about the way Ditzy was holding herself. Her wings more or less drooped off of her back, and the bubbly cheerfulness that Rainbow remembered from Flight Camp had been replaced by a half-smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. She’d probably just had a long flight, Rainbow thought to herself. Give her a good nap and a hearty snack, and she’d be back to her old bubbly self in no time!

Before Rainbow could say anything else, a blue figure burst over the cloud line and landed on the edge of her porch. The real Postal Stamp laid his ears back in apprehension.

“Um, hey there Rainbow Dash. Looks like you’re not going to get to prank me today—unless you’ve already got something set up and you’re just waiting for me to set it off.” The postal pony nervously looked over the clouds around Rainbow’s doorway. Once he was reasonably certain there weren’t any nasty surprises in store for him, he trotted over and retrieved a thick envelope from his saddlebags. “I think this is the paperwork from Cloudsdale. I guess that makes it official. Congratulations.”

Ditzy’s ears perked up with interest. “What’s going on?”

Rainbow smirked and tapped a hoof to her chest. “You are looking at Ponyville’s new head weather pony! Old Breezey Wind finally retired, and they gave me her job ‘cause I’m the only pony awesome enough for it.”

Ditzy shook her head at Rainbow’s antics. “I see your ego’s still doing just fine.”

“It’s not my fault I was born twenty percent cooler than all the other fillies,” Rainbow shot right back.

“Right.” Postal Stamp shuffled his wings in the pegasus equivalent of a shrug. “I’ll leave you two be then.”

“See you tomorrow, Stamp!” Rainbow waved goodbye to the mailpony. The stallion groaned as he imagined what traps she would have ready for him the next day.

“C’muu en.” The envelope in Rainbow’s mouth words muffled her words. They went inside, and Rainbow absently spat her mail onto a table. She reached into the floor beneath her and pulled up enough cloud to make a vaguely couch-like lump. As Ditzy took a seat, Rainbow made her way to the kitchen and reached into a grey patch of cloud; a chill shot up her foreleg as her hoof searched the ice-cloud for the bottle of apple juice contained within. She grabbed one for herself and another one for Ditzy, and returned to the living room to join her friend on the impromptu sofa.

“Sooo,” Ditzy began, drawing the word out. “You live in Ponyville now?”

“Yeah, it’s a pretty cool little town.” Dash grinned enthusiastically. “Best part is it’s not just me here. Fluttershy moved here right after we graduated to work with all the animals, and Cloud Kicker came here a couple months back—some sort of thing with her family and her not wanting to join the Guard. We’ll have the old gang back together again now that you’re here. This is gonna be so awesome!

“No kidding? That’s great, I haven’t seen either of them in years! Well, I saw Cloud Kicker around Canterlot once or twice, but we never really had a chance to talk. I’ll have to say hi while I’m in town.” She took a sip of her juice as she leaned forward in her seat. “I’m kinda surprised you and she get along after what happened at Flight Camp."

“Eh, we had a lot of time to talk to each other after... Well, after.” Rainbow cleared her throat and changed to a happier topic. “Besides, once I realized there was nothing more those slowpokes at Flight Camp could teach me anyway, I went and joined the Junior Speedsters. That was pretty cool, and it helped me figure out what I wanna do with my life. The weather thing is just temporary—something to pay the bills until I’m good enough to make the Wonderbolts. What about you, what've you been up to?”

Ditzy smiled, pleased to see that her friend was still aiming for the stars. “Well, nothing nearly that exciting. After Flight Camp my parents sent me to a finishing school and then it was off to Duke Polaris University until…” She looked away and idly dug at the cloud with a hoof. “Say, what about Cloud Kicker and Fluttershy? What have they been doing?”

Rainbow narrowed her eyes at the sudden and very obvious change of subject, but she decided not to press the matter just yet. “Well, Fluttershy moved down to the ground and took some classes in animal care, and now she spends all day feeding bunnies and stuff. Seems kinda boring to me, but she enjoys it. Cloud Kicker’s on the weather team with me. Said she went to military school for a while before she decided she didn’t wanna join the Guard. Can’t say I blame her; the armor is cool and all, but I’d go nuts if I had to spend all day getting bossed around by other ponies.”

“Yeah, I remember hearing about her dropping out of West Hoof, everypony was gossiping about it for days afterwards.” Ditzy gave a nervous little giggle. “That’s actually how I knew to find you; I’d heard she ran off to Ponyville and you’d helped her out. I guess I was hoping you could ... well, never mind.”

“Sheesh, ya make it sound like I’m running a charity here or something.” Rainbow decided that she’d danced around the subject long enough and cut to the chase. “What brings you to Ponyville, anyway?”

Ditzy shifted uncomfortably on the cloud-couch. “It’s a bit of a story.”

Rainbow smirked at her. “My attention span’s gotten a little better since Flight Camp, you know. Paperwork’s nowhere near as cool as my old comic books but it’s part of the job.” She held her smile for a minute longer, but it faded as Ditzy remained silent. “You’re not just in town to say hi, are you?”

“No, I’m not. I um ... I needed some space after a fight at home.”

Rainbow blinked. Ditzy had been the easiest pony to get along with in Flight Camp, second only to Fluttershy, and she doubted that some stuffy finishing school could have changed that. Alarm bells rang in her mind as she tried to imagine what could set Ditzy off badly enough to leave home. “C’mon, families fight all the time. Did your brother wake you up singing in the shower or something?”

“No, things are actually pretty good between me and Cirrus. Me and my parents, on the other hoof ...”

Rainbow shrugged. “Okay, so you got into a fight with your parents. Big deal. I did that all the time after I quit Flight Camp. It was never anything big enough to leave home about, though. What happened?”

Ditzy drained her apple juice. “I don’t want to talk about it right now.”

Alarms kept going off in Rainbow’s mind. ‘Tactful’ was too close a word to ‘subtle’ to apply to Rainbow, but even she knew when to change the subject. Sometimes.

“Okay ... so, you’re in the area for a few days. That’s cool! You’ll have to stop in town to say hi to everypony.”

“Actually, I haven’t found a place yet. Are there any hotels around that—”

“Hotel schmotel.” Rainbow waved her hoof dismissively. “I’ve got a spare room that needs to do something better than hold my dust collection.”

She suddenly found herself unable to breathe as Ditzy hugged her. “Thank you so much.”

“Jeez, it’s just a room.” Rainbow patted her on the back awkwardly. Ditzy wiped her eyes and pulled back with an awkward laugh.

“Sorry, sorry.” Rainbow didn’t miss the subtle slump in her wings as Ditzy sank back to her hooves. “It’s been a really long day.”

“Sounds like it. Anything I can get for you?”

Ditzy thought for a second. “Actually, could I borrow some paper? I need to write a letter.”

“Yeah, no problem. Just leave it on the table when you’re done—I’ll drop it off on the way to work tomorrow.”


Rainbow’s first day as Ponyville’s weather manager required a bit of adjustment. Being the boss is a lot more complicated than anypony ever told her. Ponies kept coming to her, expecting her to think and make decisions and stuff. It had been so much easier when her job was just to go do whatever Breezey Wind said and the toughest decision she had to make was whether to focus on being awesome, cool, or radical.

Being the weather manager had its perks though. Now, she could tell other ponies to go do all the boring stuff she didn’t want to bother with herself. Plus there was the whole ‘being the boss’ thing. Breezey Wind had been a pretty hoofs-off manager, but Rainbow Dash was a free spirit. Not having to do what somepony else told her was very satisfying.

As she landed on her doorstep, another adjustment sprang to her mind. Sure, Ditzy was just staying here for a couple days until things with her folks got sorted out, but it was still a bit weird having another pony living in her house. Rainbow had just gotten used to living on her own after she’d moved away from home, and now she had to get used to living with another pony all over again. Well, it was only temporary and Ditzy was pretty easy to get along with. A lot easier than Rainbow Dash herself, in all honesty.

Rainbow Dash strode through the door and was about to announce herself when she heard it: the sound of somepony crying. The pegasus took off like a bolt of lightning. “Ditzy! Are you okay? What happened!?” If somepony had gone and made Ditzy cry, they were in for a serious flank-kicking. Nopony made her friends cry.

Rainbow found her curled on the floor, sobbing. Ditzy tried to answer her question, but Rainbow couldn’t make out anything beyond unintelligible blubbering. However, she saw Ditzy motion a hoof at an open letter on the ground. It wasn’t hard to put two and two together, so she grabbed the letter and started reading.

August 22, 994

Ditzy,

You have no idea how relieved I was to get your letter yesterday. I’m glad that you’ve found a place to stay for a while. Honestly, I thought you’d be coming back home, but for once I’m glad I was wrong. Dad’s been on the warpath since your fight with him and Mom. He’s mad, madder than I’ve ever seen him. And Mom, well...

Mom cut you off.

It’s over-the-top, I know, and feathering stupid on top of it. You all said some pretty harsh things the other night, but that’s going way too far. I’ve been trying to talk some sense into her since you left, but you know how she is when she gets something in her headit takes things exploding in her face twice before she’ll admit she’s wrong. Now that I think about it, things already did.

I won’t lie to you Dee, I don’t know what’s going to happen nextand that scares me. Ever since you sat us down for that talk, things have gone to Tartarus in a saddlebag. But I will tell you this: I’m your brother, I love you, and I’m here for you. You are not alone.

I’ll keep trying to smooth things over on this end, but I’ve sent you some money to keep your head above the water in the meantime. Don’t spend it all in one place, all right? Also, try to remember to watch your diet. Don’t overexert yourself either, and above all take it easy! Remember, it’s not just about you anymore.

Your loving brother,

Cirrus.

Rainbow immediately flew over and wrapped her wings around Ditzy. Admittedly, touchy-feely stuff wasn’t her area of expertise, but even she knew when a pony needed a hug. Ditzy clutched Rainbow like a drowning pony, sobbing into her chest.

After a few minutes of awkwardly trying to impersonate Fluttershy’s soothing tones, the worst of Ditzy’s tears passed. “What does he mean, ‘it’s not just about you anymore?’ Is he coming out to meet you or something?” Why had Rainbow Dash even asked that question first out of all the questions that could have sprung to mind? Maybe just because it seemed so much easier to wrap her head around than the fact that Ditzy’s parents had just completely tossed her aside. “And what’s all this about watching your diet? Why do you have to take it easy? Are you sick or something? What’s going on?”

Ditzy mumbled something into Rainbow’s chest, and when the weathermare broke the hug she saw the naked fear in Ditzy’s eyes. She started to speak and cut herself off several times before finally whispering her reply.

“I’m pregnant.”

“You—you’re—what?” The blank shock on Rainbow’s face slowly transformed into an angry grimace, and there was a hint of budding fury in her voice. “Your parents threw you out and cut you off from them knowing you’re pregnant?”

“Um...” Ditzy had enough experience with her old friend’s moods to recognize a brewing storm.

Without another word, Rainbow flew up to her room. "A few seconds later Ditzy heard several whumps that could only come from solid objects hitting cloud, occasionally followed by an angry mutter.

“Rainbow Dash?” Ditzy followed her friend into her room. There was an open suitcase on Rainbow’s bed, and the weather manager was shoving everything she could lay her hooves on into it. “Rainbow, what’re you doing?”

“Packing,” she answered tersely.

“Packing? Where are you going?”

“Canterlot.”

“Why?”

“So I can kick your parents’ sorry flanks!” Rainbow exploded. “By the time I’m done with them, they’re gonna be begging you to come back!”

“No, Rainbow Dash!” Ditzy flew around in front of her furious friend. “I understand that you’re mad at my parents, but you can’t do that! You’d get in trouble, and it wouldn’t fix anything!”

“It would fix their attitudes!” Rainbow snapped.

Ditzy snatched the handle of Rainbow’s suitcase in her mouth. “I said no, Rainbow!”

“Let go, Ditzy!” Rainbow clamped her teeth onto the other end of the suitcase. The two mares each tugged stubbornly, but they were stuck in a stalemate; Rainbow had more raw muscle, but Ditzy had a better grip thanks to the handle.

“Leggo!” Rainbow insisted around her mouthful of suitcase.

“No, you leggo!” Ditzy countered.

After a few seconds of deadlock, Rainbow came up with a particularly devious idea. Right as Ditzy was giving a particularly strong tug on her end of the suitcase, Rainbow Dash let go. Ditzy immediately overbalanced and fell onto her back.

After reveling in her victory for a brief moment, Rainbow’s smug grin melted into a horrified expression when she realized what she’d done. “Oh Celestia! I’m so sorry, Ditzy! Are you okay? I was just—I didn’t think—oh please be okay!”

Ditzy got back to her hooves and gave Rainbow Dash a reassuring smile. “Relax, I’m fine. I’m only a couple weeks in. Besides, I fell on my back. Onto a cloud. I’d be in more danger if I rolled onto my stomach in bed.”

Rainbow Dash let out a sigh. “Okay, good. Jeez, when you fell down and I remembered you’re ... I’m just glad you’re okay.” She took a couple more deep breaths to calm herself; she doubted that Ditzy had meant to scare her, but the fright had effectively ended Rainbow’s bout of explosive rage.

Ditzy put her hooves on top of Rainbow’s and looked her friend in the eyes. “I really appreciate what you were trying to do, Rainbow Dash, but right now the last thing I need is for one of my friends to get herself into trouble on my account. I understand that you’re mad at my parents—I’m not happy with them either—but can you promise me you won’t go and do something foalish? Please?”

Rainbow grumbled. “Fine.” Despite her promise, she couldn’t resist tossing out one final barb. "Your parents are still a bunch of stuffy nobles with their heads so far up their plots that they're shagging themselves with their own horns."

Ditzy snorted at that mental image. "My parents are pegasi, you know."

"Pssh.” Dash waved a forehoof. “Details. Besides, if they’re going to be this un-cool they don’t deserve their wings."

Ditzy helped Rainbow clean up the mess from her hasty attempt at packing. Half an hour passed before they had put everything back in its place. As she unpacked, Ditzy increasingly wondered how Rainbow had planned to intimidate her parents with a suitcase full of quills, Wonderbolts posters, irrigation requests from the weather team, and a picture frame. Though she didn’t mean to pry, she couldn’t help but notice that some of the forms were unsigned paychecks. Her ears perked as a thought struck her.

“I guess I’m going to need a job, huh?”

“I can make room for you on the weather team,” Rainbow told her.

“You can do that, just give me a position?”

“New manager, remember? I’m the boss now, I can hire anypony I want.” Which was true enough; as long as her team got the weather taken care of, nopony in Cloudsdale would get too bothered about how she ran things.

Ditzy let out a long sigh. “When can I start?”

“Tomorrow morning, bright and early.”

“Thank you, Rainbow.” Ditzy gave her friend one last squeeze. “I’m ... really glad I have you as a friend.”

“I am pretty awesome like that. C’mon, I’ll fill you in on what to expect over dinner.”

The two mares trotted downstairs, and Rainbow pulled up a cloud-cushion for Ditzy before going to the kitchen. She didn’t have much in the way of food—just what she kept on hoof for her activities: granola, protein bars, and muscle supplements. She preferred meals that were quick and easy to put together so as not to take away from her practice routine. It took a bit of digging, but she found a loaf of bread and some day-old daisy buds that she cobbled into a passable specimen of a sandwich. She grabbed a pair of bottles of apple juice out of her ice-cloud and laid everything out on the table, pulling up a cloud-cushion next to Ditzy.

The two of them ate in silence for a few minutes, the promise of explanation tactfully forgotten. Rainbow occasionally shot a glance at her friend or opened her mouth to speak, only to cut herself off with another helping of her meal. Eventually though, she finished her meal and decided to ask something which had been nagging at the back of her mind.

“So ...” Rainbow let the word hang poignantly in the air as she picked up her drink. “How’d it happen?”

“The usual way: I had sex.”

Rainbow snorted and sprayed apple juice across the table, and Ditzy’s hoof shook from laughter as she tried to hand her a napkin. Rainbow had forgotten about her friend’s dry sense of humor.

“I mean, what brought you here? How’d you find out you were knocked up?”

Ditzy’s smile wavered. “It started with an end-of-summer party. I don’t really remember much about it—just that somepony snuck in some hard drinks and that this really cute unicorn I’d seen around campus was there. He and I stayed late to help clean up, and eventually it was just the two of us. We’d both had a lot of cider and, well ... you can guess.” She nudged the sandwich in front of her. “I started feeling odd about two weeks later—tired, nauseous, moody. I put two and two together pretty quickly and went to one of the University doctors. Classes ended two days later, and the first thing my parents did when I got home was ask me if anything interesting had happened over the semester.”

Rainbow snorted. “Somehow I don’t think that was the update they were looking for.” Ditzy looked away and uncomfortably shifted her hooves, and Rainbow put an apologetic hoof on her friend’s shoulder. “Aw jeez, Ditzy, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean...”

Ditzy cleared her throat before looking back to her friend. “It’s okay. Hoof-in-mouth syndrome is part of the Rainbow Dash experience.” She nudged her friend playfully. “You’re right, though: ‘I’m pregnant’ was a pretty big bombshell. Mom tried to shoo Cirrus out of the room, but by that point he’d heard enough that there wasn’t any way to put the manticore back in its cave. Not remembering who the father was beyond ‘some cute unicorn’ didn’t do me any favors, but things didn’t really go to Tartarus until Dad reminded me that I didn’t have to have the foal.”

Rainbow’s eyes went wide as she whistled. “Yikes. Wrong thing to say, huh?”

Ditzy nodded glumly. “I pretty much exploded at him after that. I didn’t even mean to really, but I hadn’t thought about being pregnant as anything more than a condition until he said that. When I thought of it like that … it’s my baby, Dash.” Her wing absently stroked her belly as she spoke. “Celestia ... something not even the size of a grain of sand and I cut him to ribbons over it. If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn’t say some of the things I said to him. He and I have always been really close, and I know I chose words that would hurt him. Then Mom jumped on me for what I said to Dad, and I blew up at her too. Cirrus tried to defuse things and told us all to take a break, so I went up to my room, grabbed my coinpurse, and flew out the window. Then I came here.”

Rainbow draped a wing around her friend. “Look on the bright side Ditzy: your parents are jerks anyway. You’re gonna be fine; you and me will have an awesome time doing ... um ... foal-having preparation-type stuff.”

Rainbow’s pep talk had a less-than-optimal effect. Ditzy shot her a halfhearted smile before turning her head away, and Rainbow heard her cut off a sob. Open mouth, insert hoof. Time for a change of topic. “Anyway ... what do ya want to do next? I could give you the two-bit tour of Ponyville, or we could go visit—”

Ditzy held up a hoof. “Actually, if you don’t mind I’d really like to take a nap. I was a bit burned out even before the mail came.”

“Go ahead, I’ll clean this up.” Rainbow nodded and plastered a smile on her face as she watched Ditzy make her way up the stairs. Once her friend was out of sight, Rainbow smacked a hoof against her forehead with an audible wop. One of these days she’d learn to think before speaking.


The next day, the two friends were off to the town square. By the time they arrived, the rest of Rainbow’s regular weather staff was already there, so Rainbow Dash wasted no time getting down to business. “All right everypony, this is Ditzy Doo.” She pointed a hoof at her old friend. “She’s gonna be working with us from now on.”

Ditzy hung back a little behind Rainbow, giving a bashful wave of her hoof to the collection of new pegasi.

Rainbow Dash frowned as a problem came to mind. Normally she would’ve handled Ditzy’s on-the-job training herself, but being the manager meant she had to spend time actually managing the rest of the team. She couldn’t afford to spend all day showing a newbie the ropes.

What was it the old boss had told her to do in situations like this? Oh yeah, delegate. But who could she trust to take care of Ditzy? It’d have to be somepony who knew what they were doing and capable of explaining everything in a way Ditzy could understand. And then there was her condition to be considered...

Lucky for Ditzy Doo, Rainbow Dash had an awesome idea for who to put in charge of her training. “Cloud Kicker! Need ya for something!”

The pegasus in question flew up to her. “Heya Rain—er, boss. Lemme guess: I get to show Derpy the ropes, right?” Cloud Kicker grinned as she looked over at Ditzy.

“Yeah. I’d do it myself, but I’m gonna be busy handling all the manager stuff today.” Rainbow silently congratulated herself on the solution she’d found; one of Ditzy’s old Flight School buddies would be perfect for the job. Plus, since Cloud Kicker had that whole thing with her family that got sorted out, maybe she could give Ditzy some advice—or at least say something to cheer her up.

Well, Cloud Kicker was perfect with one catch. “Ditzy’s going through a lotta stuff right now, so don’t even think of trying your usual thing on her. If you do I’ll fire your flank so fast your head’ll spin, and then I’ll kick your flank too, just for good measure.”

Cloud Kicker gave a understanding smile. “I guess that would make us even, then. Don’t worry, boss—Derpy’s in good hooves. Not like that!” she added quickly, feeling the heat from Rainbow’s glare. “Derpy’s one of my oldest friends, I’m not gonna mess with that. I’ll show her how we do things up here and nothing else.”

“Super.” Rainbow held a smile for a moment. “Just remember: I’m gonna be watching you.” She pointed a hoof to her eyes, then Cloud Kicker to emphasize her point.

“Yeah, yeah.” Cloud Kicker indignantly blew a tuft of her blonde mane out of her eyes. “Gimme a little credit, boss; banging her would break about half my rules.”

“You put one hoof on her and I’m gonna be breaking something else,” Rainbow warned.

“Sheesh, I get it already. Besides, we both know I could take you in a fight.” Before Rainbow could warn her yet again, Cloud Kicker flew past her and over to Ditzy. “Hey, Derpy! Haven’t seen you in a while. Don’t worry, I am most definitely not going to attempt to bang you. Promise. At least not until the boss’ back is turned.”

Ditzy chuckled when Cloud Kicker broke out the nickname she’d given Ditzy back in Flight School and embraced her old friend. "You've changed a lot since Flight Camp."

The pegasus shrugged and gave an easy grin. “Well, a lot of stuff happened. You know hot it goes” The two pegasi took to the sky. “So, what brings you to Ponyville anyways?”

Ditzy hesitated for a moment before she answered; the wounds were still fresh enough that it hurt to talk about what happened with her parents, especially after the letter she received yesterday. “I got into an argument with my parents. I ... I needed some space.”

“Oh, gotcha.” Cloud Kicker threw a lavender hoof over Ditzy’s shoulders and pulled her into a one-legged hug. “Don’t worry, I got into a real nasty one with my folks a while back. Give it a couple weeks for everypony to cool down a bit, and it’ll all work out.”

Ditzy grimaced. “I think it’s a bit worse than that.”

Cloud Kicker pulled Ditzy a little closer and gave her a gentle nuzzle. “Wanna talk about it?”

Ditzy leaned into the hug for a moment before gently freeing herself. “Later. It’s ... it’s a long story. Can we just focus on the weather for now? I’d like to have something to take my mind off everything.”

“You got it.” Cloud Kicker spent the next couple hours showing Ditzy the ropes. She knew Ditzy well enough to stick to the basics; throwing out anything too complicated wouldn’t end well, especially on her first day. Still, there was plenty of stuff that even Ditzy couldn’t mess up.

“Alright, time to teach you about ... kicking clouds. Imagine that.” Cloud Kicker and Ditzy shared a laugh at the ironic appropriateness of her name. “Good thing my dad’s not teaching the class or you’d be learning about kicking tornadoes. Anyway, you might think busting up clouds is pretty easy, but there is a bit of a trick to it. You gotta hit it hard enough to actually disperse the cloud, but not hard enough that you bust it up into chunks that go flying all over the place. It’s easy once you get the hang of it. Just watch me.”

Cloud Kicker stretched her rear legs a couple times and bucked a cloud, scattering it into a puff of rapidly dispersing water vapor. “See? Nothing to it. You try.”

Ditzy flew up to a cloud and did her best to follow Cloud Kicker’s example. She cocked her legs and kicked it with a moderate amount of force. Everything went exactly the way it should, right up to the point where a lightning bolt shot out of the cloud and struck Cloud Kicker. Ditzy squeaked a string of apologies as her friend crash-landed back first on a larger cloud a short ways below them.

Two seconds later, Rainbow Dash abandoned the clouds above them and frantically flew down to the scene. “Ditzy! You okay?”

Cloud Kicker’s mane stood comically on end as she raised her head off of the cloud. “Is she okay?”

Rainbow Dash didn’t pay the other pegasus any mind. “Do you want to take a break? Do we need to go to the hospital?”

“I’m fine, Rainbow,” Ditzy reassured her friend. “Really.”

“I’m fine too, thanks for asking,” Cloud Kicker quipped. “You know, it’s not like I just got zapped by lightning or anything!”

Rainbow Dash continued ignoring Cloud Kicker’s complaints. “Oh jeez, if something happened to the foal I don’t know what I’d do ...”

Cloud Kicker’s wings flared in shock as the full meaning of Rainbow’s words sank in. “What!?” she screamed. “Foal? You—Derpy are you ...”

Ditzy nodded hesitantly.

“Oh. That’s ... well that’s ... huh.” Cloud Kicker recovered from her initial shock–both of them–and rounded on her boss in a fury. “You let her work with a lightning cloud while she’s pregnant? Are you out of your mind!?”

Rainbow flared her wings. “There wasn’t supposed to be any lightning in those clouds! That was a training nimbus, the most boringly safe thing I could lay hooves on!”

The two mares turned to stare at Ditzy, who smiled sheepishly and waved an apologetic hoof. “My bad.”


After finishing up with work for the day, Ditzy and Rainbow Dash needed to pick up a couple things before they could head home. Having a new pony move in did create a few unexpected complications compared to Rainbow’s single life, especially since Ditzy had left Canterlot in such a hurry. Remembering to pack a toothbrush is rarely at the top of one’s list of priorities after a painful and emotionally draining shouting match with one’s parents.

The two pegasi managed to get most of their shopping done when the event Rainbow Dash had been dreading ever since Ditzy arrived in Ponyville happened. It had been foolish to hope she could hold it off forever, but she had hoped it would at least be a couple more days before she struck.

“Oh my Celestia! New pony!” A distressingly cheerful pink earth pony bounced over to Ditzy. “Hi! I’m Pinkie Pie, and I’ve never seen you before and I know everypony in Ponyville so if I’ve never seen you before then you must be new! What’s your name?”

Rainbow Dash groaned into her hoof while Ditzy smiled at the energetic pony. “I’m Ditzy Doo.”

“Nice to meet you, Ditzy Doo!” Pinkie’s grin was so wide that the two pegasi were somewhat amazed it could actually fit on her face. “Anyway, if you’re new in town you must not have very many friends yet, so how about—”

“Actually, Rainbow Dash is an old friend of mine.”

“Oh, that’s just super-duperiffic!” Pinkie cheered. “If you’re one of Dashie’s friends, I’ll have to throw you the biggest and bestest welcome party ever!” Pinkie let out a huge gasp. “Wait right here, I gotta go get the Welcome Wagon!”

The pink pony sprinted off. The instant she was out of sight, Rainbow put her hooves against Ditzy’s rump and started pushing. “C’mon, hurry! We gotta get out of here before she gets back!”

Ditzy frowned at her friend. “What are you talking about?”

“Trust me, you don’t know her like I do.” Rainbow Dash frantically looked about making sure that the insane mare was still out of sight. “If you don’t watch out, that crazy pony will latch onto you and she will never, ever leave you alone. When I first got here, she spent an entire week following me around trying to become my friend. I finally had to tell her yes just to get her to go away for five lousy minutes!”

“You’re exaggerating.” Ditzy glowered at her friend, just a bit annoyed with her.

“I wish I was.” Rainbow grumbled under her breath. They turned the corner to come face-to-face with the single strangest wagon Ditzy had ever seen. Somehow—impossibly—Pinkie Pie was right beside it, bracing herself while balancing on her hind legs.

“Oh Dashie, now’s not the time for hide-and-seek! I mean I love hide-and-seek, but you would not believe how hard it is to move the Welcome Wagon around to surprise you!”

“Not hard enough, apparently.” Rainbow sighed. Ditzy was impressed that this strange pony had somehow lugged such a massive wagon around so quietly.

Pinkie tapped a button on the side of her wagon, and music blared as she broke into song:

“Welcome welcome welcome,
A fine welcome to you!
Welcome welcome welcome,
I say how do you do?
Welcome welcome welcome,
I say hip-hip-hurray!
Welcome welcome welcome,
To Ponyville todaaaaaaay!”

Pinkie knelt down as a compartment in the front exploded open with a metallic ding, sending a cake flying out at high speed. She caught it with practiced ease, not even flinching as a set of barrels built into the back of the wagon thundered and sent confetti streaming into the air.

Ditzy clapped her hooves in delight. “That was all for me? Aw, thank you!” It was then that she noticed ponies emerging from cover nearby. “Were you all part of this too?”

“Well no,” Pinkie admitted with a smile. “Sometimes I get the compartments mixed up on the Welcome Wagon and load the cake batter into the confetti cannons. It’s a bit messy, but I got it right this time! And speaking of cake—” she held out the cake in her hooves. Somehow, the words Welcome to Ponyville New Pony I Don’t Know! were flawlessly spelled out in green icing. “Here you go!”

Ditzy set the cake down on the table at a nearby cafe as Pinkie retrieved plates and napkins from the Welcome Wagon. Once they realized that the danger had passed, the townsponies hesitantly joined the impromptu gathering. Pinkie divvied out slices of cake, giving Ditzy the piece with “New Pony” written on it. “Usually I give the new ponies the slice with their name on it, but I wasn’t able get yours since I wanted to surprise you out here. I hope you don’t mind!”

Ditzy slid her plate in front of her on the table. “It’s okay! I’m still surprised anypony threw me a welcome party at all.”

“Ditzy, are you sure you should be eating that?” Rainbow sat down next to her, a slightly smaller piece of cake on her own plate.

Ditzy smiled at her friend. “It’s fine, Rainbow. I can have a bit of sugar every now and then.”

Rainbow sighed. “You’re supposed to be watching your diet now, remember?”

Pinkie immediately shot over to Ditzy’s side. “What’s wrong? Is the sugar too sugary? Is the cake too cakey? Too much frosting? Not enough? Too much frosting in some places and not enough in others? Did Gummy get into the cake batter again? Wait! Gummy’s not inside the cake now, is he? Don’t eat him! Gummy’s not cake, he’s an alligator!”

“There aren’t any alligators in my cake,” Ditzy answered hesitantly.

Pinkie let out a relieved breath. “Well why didn’t you just say so? Anyway, if you’re not worried about getting alligators in your cake, then why are you watching it? Cake doesn’t do anything except sit there, silly. You should try eating it instead. That’s what I always do.”

After a moment of consideration, Ditzy decided to tell Pinkie the truth. If she was going to be staying in Ponyville, it wouldn't stay secret for long anyway. "I’m eating for two now."

Pinkie Pie let out a cheerfully oblivious giggle. “Mr. and Mrs. Cake always say that I eat as much as two ponies too!”

Rainbow glowered at her. “She’s got a bun in the oven.”

Pinkie let out an excited gasp. “You’re a baker? We should have a baking party!”

“She’s expecting,” Dash clarified.

“Expecting what?” Pinkie asked. “Didja order something really cool in the mail? Wait! You’re expecting a really big ‘Welcome to Ponyville Party’ aren’tcha? Well don’t worry, Pinkie Pie’s gotcha covered there! This is gonna be the best ‘Welcome to Ponyville Old Friend of Dashie’s’ party since Cloud Kicker moved here!”

She’s pregnant!” Dash shouted in exasperation. When Pinkie stared at her in surprise, Rainbow added, “That means she’s gonna have a baby!”

“Well duh!” Pinkie rolled her eyes. “That’s what happens when a pony gets pregnant. Sheesh, Dashie, I thought you were smart.”

Rainbow’s eye twitched as the maddening party pony bounced away. A few seconds later, she stopped mid-bounce and gasped with enough force to stagger a passing unicorn before rocketing back to Ditzy.

“Ohmigoshyou’regonnabeamommy!” the pink blur squealed in delight. Due to the combination of the sudden hug and Pinkie’s rapid fire speech, Ditzy only caught part of her congratulations. To make matters worse, Pinkie broke into song again.

“Dashie’s friend Ditzy’s gonna be a mommy, mommy!
Soon she’ll have a super-cute foal whoopee, whoopee!
And when that happens we’ll have a super-duper fun party, party!
‘Cause everypony loves new babies yippeeeeeeee!”

Rainbow facehooved at the party pony’s antics. Ditzy wiggled a hoof free from Pinkie’s hug and patted her on the back. While she did that, she craned her neck until she faced Rainbow. “I like her!”

“Thanks! I like you too!” Pinkie let go of Ditzy, who watched the hyperactive mare bounce around the table as she ad-libbed a second verse.

“Is Pinkie always like this?”

“Pre’y mush, yeh,” Dash answered through a mouthful of cake.

Ditzy shrugged. Pinkie’s high-octane attitude had caught her by surprise, but on the other hoof it was nice to have somepony unconditionally welcome a complete stranger to town. The mother-to-be sat down and took a bite out of the most delicious slice of cake she had ever eaten.