• Published 6th Jan 2018
  • 635 Views, 18 Comments

Angels in the Snow - Dafaddah



Every year, Minuette keeps showing up in Ponyville just before Hearth's Warming Eve. Why?

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Ponyville, at last!

Snow floated gently down from the silent sky. Each huge flake traced a slow and majestic descent until it joined its countless siblings below, coating Ponyville and its ponies in fluffy blankets of translucent filigree.

Two mares, one a study in green, the other in blue, entered the town square side-by-side, the warmth of close bodies and closer friendship warding off the winter chill. They paused to take in the riot of colors and lights from the shops that lined the huge open space, each one enthusiastically competing with its neighbors in presenting the very most cheerfully decorated façade for the festival to come.

“So what –” Lyra was interrupted by a blue hoof covering her mouth. Her eyes traced the limb all the way back up to Minuette’s uncharacteristicly serene face, her brow smooth and her eyes closed to the garish storefront displays.

Minuette silently lowered her limb. “Listen,” she whispered.

Lyra swiveled her ears slowly left and right, scanning the square for the source of any sound. The ponies trotting by as they went about their business were inaudible, the light, fresh snow muffling both voices and the sound of steps, save for a periodic crunch that was more felt than heard. Not even the bright jingles of Sugarcube Corner’s entrance bell found their way into her sharp musician’s ears.

Although not a patient pony by nature, after years of friendship with the mare, Lyra was quite resigned to accommodating Minuette’s frequent impulses. Placing her lips near the other pony’s ear she whispered back.

“Listen for what?”

Eyes kept closed, her friend silently mouthed her answer, as if they were still fillies waiting in line for the water fountains at Princess Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns.

“Nothing.”

Lyra paused again and listened.

FInally, Minuette opened her eyes.

“Ever notice how in Canterlot it’s never really quiet?” she said in an almost reverent tone of voice. “Even in a heavy snowfall like this there’s always the steady hum of somepony selling something, shouting at a neighbor, banging a hammer, or making a racket the next street over.

“But in Ponyville, when it snows like this... even in the middle of town it’s like everything is far, far away, and you can just open your ears wide and drink in the silence.”

Her gaze turned inward. “It reminds me of my home before I moved to Canterlot.”

Taking a step forward into the square, Minuette customary grin returned. She gestured broadly with a foreleg. “I love the days before Hearth's Warming Eve in Ponyville! There’s just something so... heart warming about them!”

Lyra raised an eyebrow at Minuette’s sudden sheepish smile. “And here I was thinking you came to Ponyville every year in the dead of winter ‘cause you liked my company!”

Minuette’s expression resumed a more customary rakish grin when a familiar voice called from behind them.

“I agree with Min,” said Twilight Sparkle as she closed the distance to the waiting mares. “The lower levels of sound and light pollution are great for my geo-seismic and astronomical studies!”

“Twilight!” Minuette pirouetted, took a step forward and curtsied deeply. “I mean, your Royal Highness!” she concluded gravely.

Twilight’s face reddened and she flicked an ear. “You know I don’t encourage the whole royal knee-bend thing here in Ponyville, right?”

Minuette rose. “Yeah, I do.” She tilted her head and resumed smiling. “But it’s so much fun to see the look on your face every time I do it!” With a laugh she surged forward, entwining Twilight in a neck hug and revealing the saddlebags draped over the princess’ withers. Minuette pulled back and pointed a hoof at the bulging packs. “Going on an expedition?”

Twilight shook her head. “Not really. I was just thinking of taking some pictures of the Hearth’s Warming Eve decorations. And I took a book or two to read, just in case.” She grinned sheepishly. “So, how long have you been in Ponyville?”

Lyra glared a Minuette. “She just popped up at my door this morning, unannounced as usual.” Her eyes narrowed. “BonBon hadn’t even opened the store yet!”

“I took the overnight train to Ponyville,” said Minuette. She turned to Lyra, and raised an eyebrow. “As if you give me any notice before showing up on my doorstep whenever you play a gig in Canterlot!” With a shrug her gaze turned back to focus on Twilight’s saddlebags. “I’ll be taking the morning train back tomorrow. Pictures you said, does that mean you have a camera in there?”

“Sure.Why?” Twilight floated the device out from the bag.

Before either mare could react, Minuette pulled Twilight and Lyra tight against her sides with her forelegs. Her horn glowed as she took hold of the camera in her own magic and grinned. “Time for a group selfie! Say cheese!” She mugged and snapped several photos, setting the other two mares blinking from the unexpected flashes.

“Can you mail me copies of those for my Princess-Twilight-Sparkle-is-my-friend-brag book?” said Minuette, levitating the camera back into the saddlebag,

Twilight sighed. “Of course. Since you’re here, how would you two like to join me for some Hot Chocolate at Sugarcube Corner, if you don’t mind some extra company, that is?”

Lyra smacked her lips and nodded emphatically. “Yes on both counts, Twi!”

“Besides, who could possibly refuse royal hot chocolate!” Minuette added with a smirk.

Twilight rolled her eyes and sighed again. “Come on! Let’s get inside before I change my mind.” She trotted off towards the gaudily decorated confectionery, Lyra and Minuette laughing as they followed close behind.


The inside of Sugarcube Corner was even more excessively decked out for Hearth’s Warming was than the outside. There were garlands draped over display cases, large and small decorated trees, and even a fake fireplace enchanted with a simulated log burning brightly. Lyra and Minuette ogled the decor in awe as Pinkie Pie suddenly appeared in their midst, her mane sporting tinsel, gold, green and red tree ornaments, and even a set of coloured lights blinking in some random pattern. She plopped steaming mugs onto the table between them.

“There ya go, girls,” said Pinkie, “three Super-Duper-Choco-Mocha-Marshmallow Surprises!” She pulled Lyra and Minuette into a huddle. “FYI, for even more of a surprise, I added extra marshmallows,” she whispered, “to help cheer Twilight up.” Bells jingled and she looked towards the store entrance as a troupe of fillies trotted in. “Incoming customers! Gotta hop to it!” Pinkie was gone as suddenly as she’d appeared.

Minuette shook her head, and gingerly floated her mug up to take a sip. “Pinkie’s own brand of magic is another reason I like coming here!” She glanced across the table at Twilight hunched over her mug. “Hey Twi, why the low ears? Not feeling okay?”

Lavender eyes looked up over a sudden forced smile. “Of course I’m okay! Whatever gave you that impression?” She hastily took a swig of her own chocolate.

Minuette and Lyra locked eyes momentarily.

“Oo, a princess in distress!” said Minuette. “This calls for some stronger medicine than hot chocolate, dontcha think?”

Lyra nodded. “Sure looks like it! What did you have in mind?

Minuette grinned and leaned forward. “Say, Twilight, do you remember that time at Magic School when Lemon Hearts got her head stuck in a beaker?"

Twilight nodded and her ears rose a bit while next to her Lyra’s eyes opened wide in alarm.

“And, did anypony ever tell you why she stuck her head in there?”

Dark blue bangs swayed as Twilight shook her head. Her ears rose some more. To her left, Lyra silently mouthed “No!” repeatedly.

Minuette’s grin turned feral. “Well, it would appear that a certain lime-green unicorn, whose name escapes me, cast a spell on her that made her think the beaker was her favorite bonnet!”

Twilight glanced at Lyra and snorted. A smile cracked her lips. “Your kidding me!”

“No not all! She even wore it to her next two classes before it got stuck on her head!” Minuette glanced at Lyra who had hidden her face in her hooves. “Let me tell you all about it!”

MInuette took a breath to prepare herself as Twilight’s back straitened and she took another swig of her hot chocolate. She grinned wider as Lyra slowly slumped into her chair.


The day had waned gracefully, lending a warm glow to the colored lights strung around the square more visible now through the confectionary windows. The three mares were still at the same table, Pinkie kept the hot chocolate flowing as she tended the many visitors coming to buy pastries and cakes, between brief forays into the kitchen to keep the shelves well stocked.

Lyra shook her head. “I tell ya, Twi, Min’s besties with practically everypony in Ponyville! Matilda even invited her to the wedding. I swear I see her more often than I do some of my own neighbors!”

“That’s because if I didn’t come over and drag you out of the house every so often you’d likely never leave it. Ponies would forget you even exist!”

Lyra rolled her eyes. “Ha, ha. Very funny. You know I keep musician’s hours! And still you show up, sometimes even before noon!” She faced Twilight. “She’s just like she was at school, always dragging her friends into her little schemes. Story club, singing club, Hearth’s Warming Eve Tree trimming club, hall decorating club, even the log selection club! And it’s not just her alone. Sometimes she brings Twinkleshine, or Lemon Hearts, or even both of them with her to Ponyville. Then they drag me out to the Running of Leaves, or Sisterhood Social some such nonsense, rather than leaving me alone with my music!”

“Wow.” Twilight looked crestfallen. “I never realized you were here so often, Min. I mean I should have noticed.”

“Naw,don’t sweat it!” replied Minuette. “I just have a knack for blending into a crowd.”

“Well, I nevertheless should have!”

Minuette’s expression grew serious. “You’re not still on about that apology thing, are you? We’re all of us over it, and so should you!” She paused and leaned in closer. “Say, is there something else getting you down?” She glanced at Lyra, then at Pinkie Pie who had suddenly appeared standing next to their table.

Pinkie stroked her chin, eyes raised to the ceiling. “I might be going out on a limb here, but maybe it’s because this’ll be the first time she celebrates Hearth's Warming Eve in Ponyville and away from her family!”

Twilight’s mouth gaped open.

“Pinkie! It’s my duty as princess to lead the major festivals in Ponyville, and that certainly includes Hearth's Warming Eve.” She looked into the bottom of her mug. “I mean, Cadence and Shiny have the Crystal Empire to think about, and of course mom and dad want to be there for their grand-foal at Hearth's Warming Eve. They’re doing all the same Hearth’s warming Eve traditions we’ve always done! But, yeah, it’s the first time me and Spike aren’t with them, and I can’t help but feel kinda... left out.”

Minuette caught Pinkie’s eye. “Say Pinkie, think you could refill these fine fillies’ cups?”

“No problema, Minuetta!” Pinkie rushed into the kitchen.

The moment she was gone Minuette rose and tightened her scarf. “Hang tight, ladies, I’ll be right back.” The door chime rang pratically before the words had left her mouth.


Minuette was back less than fifteen minutes later with a whole crowd of ponies, including Trixie, Starlight Glimmer, and, wearing his favorite parka, Spike riding on her back. They waited outside Sugarcube Corner, several holding large books in horn fields, wingtips or neck holders.

“Come on out girls!” called Minuette. “We have a mission!”

Twilight, Lyra and Pinkie Pie emerged one after the other from the shop, Pinkie locking the door behind her. Twilight looked confusedly at the crowd.

Minuette laughed at the unspoken question and bowed low.

“Tonight, fillies and gentlecolts, we are the Royal Rainbow Castle Carolers, featuring none other than her Royal Highness Princess Twilight Sparkle!”

A book floated up and cracked open in front of Twilight’s muzzle. “It’s time to engage in some Hearth’s Warming Eve traditions here in Ponyville, right Twilight?”

Lyra nudged Twilight in the flank. “I forgot to mention the Hearth’s Warming Eve Caroling Club.”

After a moment’s confusion, Twilight’s face lit up with a happy grin. “Well, Minuette, looks like you’re the conductor of this troupe! Lead on!”

MInuette raised a baton with her horn field. “First song is an oldy, but a goody. Page twelve, Circle of Friends.”

Voices rose into the night, breaths blowing wisps of condensation that glowed in the merry lights of the square.


Spike poured a generous quantity of syrup over the stack of pancakes in his plate. “That was some fun we had last night, wasn’t it, Twi?”

Sharing his breakfast table were Trixie, Starlight and Twilight, each with their own plates stacked high and accompanied by steaming mugs of coffee. The only exception was Trixie, who prefered breakfast tea served in a huge porcelain cup sporting an image of her own face and the words 'The Humble and Penitent Trixie's Equestrian Apology Tour'.

Twilight smiled. “It sure was! I’m so glad Minuette could take the time out from her own Hearth’s Warming Eve preparations to come to Ponyville. And I’m impressed with her organizational skills. She must have prepared everything way in advance for her own celebrations with her family in Canterlot to be able spend so much time with us!”

Trixie pulled a sip from her huge cup and shook her head. “Trixie knows Minuette doesn’t have any relatives in Canterlot.”

Twilight and Starlight both looked up, surprise on their faces.

“But I’ve known her since she was a filly,” objected Twilight. “I passed by her house twice each day!”

“Minuette is the owner of that house. Trixie knows because Minuette invited her there one night when Trixie had... no other shelter available.” She put her cup down. “Trixie and Minuette talked, and she told Trixie that she was the orphan of wealthy parents. Her mother had perished when she was still a foal, and her father had prepared well for his own expected demise from a degenerative disease. With no living relatives of his own, her father ensured Minuette’s future independence by setting up trusts and guardianships to keep her out of dubious greedy hooves that only wanted her money.”

Twilight’s face blanched. “You mean she has nopony to go home to for Hearth’s Warming?”

Trixie shook her head. “Trixie does not think so.”

Spike looked concerned. “And since we reconnected with her, we know she’s still living at the same place after all these years.”

Starlight put down her fork. “I chatted briefly with her last night. As I recall, she said she was going back to Canterlot on the train this morning.” She chewed her lip. “It would be really sad if she’s going back to an empty hearth today of all days.”

Twilight expression grew determined.“Not if I can help it!” She looked up at the kitchen clock on the wall above the breakfast table. “Omigosh! The train for Canterlot leaves in five minutes!”

With a loud pop she disappeared.


Minuette smiled to herself as she waited for the train to depart Ponyville station. Families making the trip to Canterlot for the holiday ranged up and down, searching for sufficient open seats in proximity to each other. By sheer luck she had found an otherwise empty bench that gave her some privacy, and was so caught up in her own thoughts that she was surprised when a pony sat down on the bench beside her.

She smiled broadly in recognition. “Twilight! My goodness, what a surprise! I thought you were staying in Ponyville today.”

The princess sat, looking somewhat abashed. “I am. But it’s just... I wanted to thank you for last night. It was really awesome!” Twilight’s smile didn’t quite make it to her eyes.

“It was my pleasure, Twilight, really! The ponies here are the nicest! That’s why I keep coming back here every year.”

Twilight looked down. “About that... do you mind if I ask you a personal question?”

Minuette was still smiling, but the corners of her mouth turned down. “Why should I mind?” She looked outside at the station clock. “We’ve got a whole two minutes before you have to get off or ride with me to Canterlot.”

Twilight eyes focused on her face. “Do you have somepony to go back to in Canterlot?”

Minuette eyebrows rose and her ears drooped.

“Why would you ask that? Of course I do. I’ve got plenty of friends, Twilight. You know I do!”

“That’s not what I’m asking,” Twilight said softly. “I’m asking if you’ll be alone tonight of all nights.”

MInuette turned her head away. Twilight bit her lip and waited as the mare took a few shallow breaths.

Minuette turned back towards Twilight, but avoided looking her in the eyes.

“I don’t ask of ponies to share what isn’t meant to be shared.”

Twilight’s lips drew a straight line. “Then you’re making the same mistake I did, when I just dropped you all without so much as a good-bye and ran off to Ponyville.”

“Twi, I –”

“– No! Listen!” Twilight placed her hoof on Minuette’s withers. “There are things that only get bigger when they’re shared!” Tears began pool in her eyes. “If you think you’re doing others a favor by keeping your distance than all you’ll end up doing is hurting them and yourself.” She sniffed. “I should know.”

Minuette’s gaze was still turned inwards. “This isn’t the same. You’re a lucky mare to have a family, Twilight. I’m just not so lucky is all.”

“You’re wrong, Min, family isn’t about blood, it’s about those who are close to your heart.” She placed a hoof on Minuette’s cheek. “Look at me, please.”

Minuette’s gaze finally met hers.

“Cadence was my friend long before she married my brother. And how about Spike? We’re obviously not blood relatives, but is there any being in this world closer to my heart?

“And what about Rarity, and Applejack, and Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash? Who would I be today if I hadn’t met them? That even goes for Starlight and Trixie, and you know how those relationships started out!”

“But,” objected Minuette in a whisper, “I know all those ponies are close to your heart! I can see it when you’re with them. A lot of ponies enjoy my company, but... I’m not a pony others want to have so close.”

Twin tears drew tracks down Twilight’s face. “Wrong again, Min. You’re one of my oldest friends. And to my shame I almost lost you before I finally remembered what you really meant to me.” She sniffed. “So I’m asking you, do you want to share this Hearth’s Warming Eve with me and the others close to my heart?”

Minuette stared for a long moment into Twilight’s eyes. Finally, she smiled and nodded hesitantly. “I’d be honoured...” The smile turned into a grin. “... your Royal Majesty!”

Twilight smiled back. “Really?” She hopped up on all fours. “Good! I’m so glad! We need to get off before –” the train whistle blew. Her eyes grew large and she grabbed onto Minuette with both forelegs. There was a flash of light and two loud pops.

The other passengers who had discretely witnessed the moment turned misty eyes back to the scene outside. It had started snowing again. The train pulled from the station to the sound of cheering foals – and not a few older ponies – excited in the eager anticipation of a magical Hearth’s Warming Eve in Canterlot.

As the train gathered speed, large snowflakes fell covering the town of Ponyville in a fresh fluffy blanket of translucent filigree. On the platform left behind, two mares began the short walk back to Friendship Rainbow Castle side-by-side, warding off the winter chill with the shared warmth of close bodies and closer friendship.

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Comments ( 18 )

There's a lot of cool little worldbuilding moments here, such as the historical discussions and inside jokes among friends.

But it only confirms what I've said for a long time: Twilight is actually a terrible friend. How could she not know about the family or lack thereof of one of her oldest friends?

8653341
By them never talking about it?

Also, I fail to see how a fanfic can confirm anything.

8653341
I had to do some homework on Minuette as I didn’t know much about her other than the wedding ang and Twilight’s sudden desire to get reacquainted. I was surprised at some of the stuff she’s been up to as a background character!


8653341
It’s long been my pet theory that sending Twilight to Ponyville to study friendship was Celestia’s last ditch effort to prevent her from permanently retreating into herself, just as Moon Dancer did, or worse go rogue like Sunset Shimmer.

Ponies would forget you [Lyra] even exist!”

ISWYDT. :pinkiehappy:

8653629
I've said it elsewhere, but Amending Fences makes a rewatch of everything that comes before it very interesting. Before it, you might have thought she lived in Ponyville, but now that you know she just visits, seeing what she visits for is an eye-opener.

One of the thoughts that go through my mind when I think of the scene where Twilight is looking for a friendship problem, and she passes right behind Minuette, who's busy smiling at the top of a house:
"Reconnect with a friend I left behind in Canterlot? ... Nah, I'll leave doing that for Season 5!"

8653713

ISWYDT

:scootangel:

It’s amazing how many times their paths have crossed without Twilight ever noticing. Thankfully (I guess) for Minuette’s ego, she was certainly very familiar with how oblivious and OCD Twilight can be!

That was lovely.

8653629
But didn't Moon Dancer not retreat until after Twilight failed to attend her party?

Amending Fences really made Twilight seem like she is still pretty bad at a lot of aspects of the friendship thing. I prefer to think there were alternate explanations, such as in Fervidor's "The Incidental Pony".

8654022

But didn't Moon Dancer not retreat until after Twilight failed to attend her party?

You’re right, but I meant the effect and not the cause.

And I really liked Fervidor’s “Incidental Pony” as well!

8654022
I kinda thought that the party was the last straw for an already reserved and antisocial Moon Dancer. If her best friend Twilight doesn't show up, why would anyone else? After that, why bother trying to have friends, when they'll just ignore you?

That's just my head-canon though.

8654950
There’s a lot of room for interpretation - which is where head-cannon comes from!

Is the Other tag for Colgate, which is the fanon name of Minuette? If so, please add the Colgate tag or ask for Minuette to be added. Maybe Knighty could merge the two or something.

8655393
Yes indeed! Thanks for the suggestion.

That was a great story! I absolutely loved how you wove it all together and how the revel near the end brought it all together. It was nice to see a story that includes some of Twilights old friends. Great job!

8655644
I’m glad you enjoyed it!

Awe

That was sweet.

But what happened to her luggage?

8666309
I had a wonderful Hearth's Warming Eve with the other unclaimed luggage at Canterlot Central Station! :pinkiehappy:

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