• Member Since 19th Oct, 2014
  • offline last seen April 13th

Thornquill


Purveyor of Pony Parables & generally too-serious MLP fan.

T
Source

“Sometimes, you can’t have the family you want. Even if you’d give anything for it.”

For Sunburst, risen from obscurity to Court Wizard of the Crystal Empire, life has taken an incomparably good turn. Shining Armor and Cadence have almost become a second family to him, and Princess Flurry Heart like the daughter he never had.

Hoops, by contrast, has lived life on his terms since day one. With flight school behind him, his career in the professional leagues ought to be all but guaranteed—if only the pros would let him in already.

And when Sugarcube Corner burns down, it should not affect either of them.

Yet, when façades start to fracture, their connections to Ponyville's model family will threaten even the most sacred bonds. Before long, Sunburst, Hoops, and the Cakes will all have to decide if the past can be buried again, or if the old, comfortable stories just aren't enough anymore. In only one way, they are all alike: To get what they want, they are all willing to risk shattering every life around them—and maybe even their own.


Original story concept co-developed with Astro Brony and Obabscribbler. This story would not exist without them.

Special thanks to my beta readers: Luna Farrowe, Neighrator Pony, Chaotic/Sojourner, and AShadowOfCygnus, whose encouragement and guidance made publishing this a reality.

Cover art by UrbanQhoul.

Chapters (18)
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Comments ( 89 )

I T B E G I N S

<3 happy to have helped. It'll be good ;)

Oh, this is going to be beautiful. <3

Hm? So what is the reason why there are these two stallions apparently related to the Cakes?

Oh... Oh I see.

Mrs. Cake did several bad things, didn't she?

Well. We'll see how things move forward from here...

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Oh my god, those are amazing lines you've drawn already.

This is gonna be epic.

‘Beta readers?’
What’s the difference from pre-readers? :derpyderp2:

inb4 featured box.

Just you wait.

8707213
i dont know maybe they where reading it as the story was being written?

8707213
8707378

Two different terms for the same concept. No real distinction.

Nice to see you around here Thornquill, I like the premise of the story so far and I will be looking forward to seeing more of this story again soon.

Oh hey it's Hoops.

honest applejack gonna be the spear head into the hydra of a problem

Wow. This is one huge mess, to put it lightly. That was so gripping, I was compelled to read every bit of it with gusto. Wonderful job with the atmosphere and tone. Adultery is a complex topic and I appreciate with how you've handled it so far.

Here's what I think: Cup Cake made a huge mistake, for Sunburst I imagine she was at a point of incredible weakness and used him for comfort (and maybe out of sexual frustration). However, Sunburst is also just as guilty here because he was probably right of mind when she wasn't and ended up going with the flow when he should have flat out refused to commit the terrible act with her. With this in mind I'm a little on the fence about sympathizing with Sunburst at all because while he unintentionally plays it as he just wants to see his daughter, which is fair and something to sympathize with, he also played a huge part in letting things get to where they are hence why I can understand Cup's anger at him BUT ALSO his own anger toward Cup. They both royally fucked up and it royally sucks for both of them.

With Hoops I imagine that after Cup did the deed with Sunburst, she felt unimaginably guilty, depressed, and mad at Sunburst but mostly mad at herself. Since she doesn't remember anything from her encounter at Las Pegasus, I assume that she probably went there as a vacation or getaway to vent her sorrow and maybe cheer up a little bit. Unfortunately, she got stupid intoxicated and in an attempt to numb her emotional turmoil she ended up sleeping with Hoops.

That's what I think happened so far. What I'm looking forward to is Cup revealing how she went on with herself knowing what she did while also keeping it all from Carrot. Like at that point how could she look Carrot in the eye? Or be around him without feeling awful? Maybe Carrot is already aware of Cup's betrayal? Argh...so many questions.

Speaking of Carrot, something else I anxiously wait for is Carrot finding out about Cup's infidelity. I don't think I've ever seen a serious story that has Cup committing adultery, Carrot finding out about it, and then focusing on the ensuing fallout/consequences their relationship goes through.

As a side note I honestly cannot hope ENOUGH that it doesn't devolve into Carrot becoming a willing cuckold with follow-up sexy times, because while I personally sometimes find it a hot fantasy, I think the setup here has the potential to be much more mature and seriously touch upon the fearful underlying possibility of Cup cheating on Carrot that we all probably picked up on from the actual episode that started all the doubts and jokes and fan theories. But who knows? Maybe that would be closer to your vision for the story, and if it is, I'd be okay with that too. Anyways...I think Carrot would be devastated, but I can't imagine him going on a particularly gory rampage. It would be so interesting to see him and Cup talk about what happened, how it happened, blow up at each other, and see their relationship go from there.

To close, I LOVE what you've done so far, and I will be following this story closely with baited breath to see what happens next!

Alrighty, I'm done.

You know it's sometimes hard to imagine everything going to hell over infidelity considering how forgiving pony's have shown to be in universe but that doesn't taken away how well this story convey emotions. Cupcake's guilt over the affair and wanting to keep it secret from Carrot is so realistic and something you'd expect someone in her position to do.

I take it SCC wasn't insured? Or the fact that Pinkie Pie, an Element of Harmony, lives there? Wouldn't she be able to get royal funds to help the Cakes?

When I first read the description and tags for this story, I thought it was going to be about Sunburst and Hops falling for each-over during there help in rebuilding the cake's household.

Well, I was wrong!

Well this is beginning to escalate. Now five or six ponies will know to the truth, and that is way more than three. And you know the about three people keeping a secret.

That would be best,” Colgate said ‘sardonically’

So I have to know if that was you or Scribbler :p XD

Oof. I never saw the possibility if Carrot's, or Cup's, virility playing such a big role, but it makes a lot of sense now. I've been putting off the last 2 chapters because it's kinda just...painful to read, but when I finally get to reading it I just can't stop.

Also new prediction, though it might even be probably painfully obvious, but I think Cup might have actually slept with Sunburst because she was 1.) intoxicated, and either 2.) Sunburst's coat colors reminded her of Carrot so she either thinks he is Carrot, or 3.) she seeks comfort in Sunburst because he reminds her of Carrot plus he might also seem to be someone she connects with and her inhibitions are still lowered enough for her to go through with intercourse.

Good story, thanks for writing it!

This really is a bad situation all round for everyone, with a lot a mangled feeling about each other. I think Cupcake is mostly afraid Carrot abandoning her and has put walls of irrational fear that her whole lie that she has desperately held would fall apart hat his keeping her silence and not acquiesce to Sunburst Request to see Pumpkin in some aspect of her life. I think it would have been best that she didn't contact Sunburst for help and expect him to just give her money out of hand without some concessions for him, especially sense he went along with her request she shouldn't have been so suspicious of him of actually holding back anything especially. I perfectly understand that she was stress out with her livelihood destroyed, with no certainty that the insurance would actually pay for the reconstruction and that has let her say things with more vitriol than she meant or make wrong accusing assumptions on to him and trying to gilt trip him into helping her. Sunburst I am guessing that he thinks he sees himself as being guilty of being denied to have the chance to have the experience of being a father and that he has responsibilities of providing a child that he has never had the chance to known or that she even knows that he exist. I am guessing that he feels like the was gilt twice into this situation and has not found a way to wash himself of any responsibility for cupcake or the foal.
I think Sunburst could be agree upon being an uncle of sort for for the twins and be told that he was the ceregate father and spend some time with her and the cakes. I am not sure why he felt it necessary to tell the pegasus that he is a father to pound at all, without Cupcake's agreeing to it, I am guessing that it is misplace sympathy for him.

Looking forward to the next chapter.

What an emotional bit :(
Also! Why do I have a feeling theirs a parallel here to parents who take their kids to bronycons ^^’

"So a wife, a failure and one thirsty boi walks into a bar........"

Dang!!! OwO
Well, what a way to start a weekend, with a bang! :pinkiehappy:

That part with Hooves though? Wow. Totally came out of left field for me. It was like Sod's law bad-to-worse. After all of that, I've lost most of my sympathy for Cup. To the point where I don't like her right now in this story at least. I'll even go a step further and say that all the anxiety and self-hate she feels in the present is justifiably deserved as it stands.

So I don't like Cup right now, but I can only hope that both her and Carrot will come out as stronger individuals, and committed spouses, afterwards.
----------------

Great story, thanks for the chapter!!

Hoh damn. That ending just made this a LOT more complex.

Well it seems things are about to simmer down-"BOOM!" Sudden AppleHoop out of nowhere!

Cadence can not become involved in this,” Sunburst sighed wearily. “First off, I think the stress of it might actually kill Cupcake. But more to the point… Cadence is the Princess of Love, Starlight. She still sees ‘at’as her personal mission

Think you meant ‘it’
And oh boy OwO what kind of energy drinks and coffee were you guys on when you came up with ‘that’ idea?!

And that, ladies and gentleman, is how you land a cliffhanger.

This was my mistake. I won’t let Carrot or the twins be hurt for it.”

“And that’s right noble,” Applejack said gently. “But what if enduring ain’t enough? I’m worried a secret this big might not keep. Cracks are already showing, aren’t they? Sunburst’s walking around injured, and now I know too.”

The thing is... Cupcake, and to a lesser extent Applejack, is sorta treating this like it's totally fine for Carrot as long as he doesn't find out. That, like, as long as he thinks they're his children this is fine.

When, really, it's not.

It's not fine. It's not alright just so long as he never finds out. An injustice is being carried out upon him. A very very large one. An injustice that just so happens to correspond with Cupcake's fantasy life.

And, well, an injustice that will cause a big issue, because being cuckholded, that is to say being deemed not worthy or capable to bear your wife's children so she lies to you and gets pregnant with someone else, is, short of physical emasculation, probably the most emasculating thing that could happen to him.

At least, thankfully, Cupcake does seem sufficiently self loathing for her actions. I know that seems sorta uh... heartless of me to say, but her (or the story itself) trying to play it off as anything she did being justified would make me lose my sympathy for her. Same with "it's also worse for me than it is for him."

“Well, the game is called buckball,” Applejack retorted.

It’s finny because I made that joke in a review of the epsidoe. ^^

Also this read awkwardly;

“Well, why else would I spending time with him?”

This was a good chapter, I think.

I'm happy Cupcake decided on her own, and the confrontation was good.

I mean, how could it go worse? How could it go better? Well, it was going as bad or good as it could until Carrot vented his anger at the kids, and Cupcake hit him.

Cupcake is a bit violent, isn't she?

Carrot does need space. He does need time.

Hopefully he can have someone to help him though, through this time. And he's not actually entirely alone... That could go very, very badly. For, like, everyone.

With Cupcake hitting Carrot, I think it couldn't be any more clear that she loves the twins more than him and their relationship. Plus she follows up and trivializes everything by calling what she had done a "horrible mistake" after she had JUST HIT HIM! I fully understand why she was angry over Carrot's words about the twins, but he had every right to be angry and her hitting him just makes her look exponentially worse.

I had my hopes up for a happier ending but at this point, and this is the exact polar opposite of what I said a few chapters ago, I REALLY hope Carrot decides to divorce her so can just move on and be happy away from her. Seriously, he deserves to be happy with someone who wouldn't take him for granted and have more faith in him than Cupcake has. God, I at least hope Carrot doesn't just let bygones be bygones and forgive her. There should be some real justice here for him.

Then everyone tried making excuses for her too! They didn't even let him be justifiably furious with her! Like good grief, what is wrong with these people?

Argh! I'm in a glass case of emotion!!!

She's lucky he did not hit her back.

Heteropaternalistic superfecundation:
If you say it loud enough you'll cause some consternation
Basically it means that half the town's your blood-relation,
Heteropaternalistic superfecundation!

You didn't tell me this was a pity party! I would've brought ice cream!

I think I might have an idea of how Carrot's visit to Manehattan will go down. He'll go, somehow meet Hoops, he might have a heart to heart with him without knowing Hoops' own role in all this and maybe convince Hoops to take responsibility. OR he could figure out that Hoops' story matches up with his and Cupcake's situation and his role as the other father and maybe get angry with Hoops or more at Cupcake.

I do seriously wonder though if they really would be better off divorced? My initial feeling is that, yes it would be better because 1.) Cupcake would still have Pumpkin and Pound, and maybe she could find someone that would love her and her children since it's not out of the realm of possibility. 2.) Carrot could move on from this and find someone who loves him and wouldn't cheat on him. He could use this situation as a learning experience and maybe discuss artificial insemination or other pregnancy options sooner with his new partner who probably wouldn't have cheated on him, consciously or otherwise. The point is both could cut their losses and try to move on and regain some happiness in their lives.

On the other hand, they COULD try to work it out. I'm also probably reading too much into it, but I think there's some foreshadowing of them trying to go this route. Starlight suggests the idea that they try and be more open now and work through it together, then Carrot who has his own idea of Cupcake's cheating on him to be completely willful and malicious even though he has his doubts about that and he also feels a bit of hope when he kind of believes Cupcake words to be genuine when she said she still only loves him. If they do try to work things out, I would hope to see them get real personal, and be more open and entirely honest about things like perhaps how the whole situation started. I imagine it would be a perilous journey of healing, but one where they might come out the other side together; maybe even stronger than before too.

Honestly I'm more upset that Carrot isn't more disappointed in the fact that Cupcake didn't have enough faith in him, or their relationship for that matter, to still love her after their one argument, which led to her getting drunk and the rest of the story. I understand that her getting drunk was a mistake and that she did it out of sheer stress, but she didn't have to drink, and getting drunk doesn't solve your problems nor does it grant immunity of responsibility from one's own actions. Especially when they had other options they could have considered, such as the artificial insemination, or regular procedures/schedules that help induce pregnancy.

Then there's the whole thing of where Sunburst and Hoops will fit into this.

Nice chapter. While I'm overly glad to see that Carrot is sticking up for himself and not going back to Cupcake, I admittedly feel rather bad for almost everybody in this chapter. It's just something that snowballed into one ginormous tragedy and everyone had their own way of contributing to it, with some more than others. There's a part of me that really wants Carrot and Cupcake to reconcile, but there's another that wants them to separate and try to move on and find new happiness that way.

8786223
I just about shit myself, had to re-read that last chunk a couple times.

Just picked up on this story tonight and I gotta say, I really appreciate the way you're handling the events. Sometimes things happen and it ends up being a huge mess. Everybody was irresponsible in Las Pegasus, but not unbelievably or despicably so. Any time I try to pin down which one of them made the biggest mistake, I *can't.* Cupcake was the only one who knew she was married; and even if she had a moment where she realized or suspected that she wasn't with Carrot, she was severely inebriated, and that tends to have an impact on rational thought. Sunburst was (at least mostly) sober, and recognizes that he was the one with more agency, but he didn't know she was married - for all he knew she was just looking for a one night stand. Hoops, well...he was an irresponsible blockheads who set out to do irresponsible blockheads things, but he knew even less about the situation than Sunburst.

And then how they all react to the situation is So believable - while I have no first hand experience in this kind of situation to say that it's realistic (thank goodness) each and every one of them reacts trying to protect what's important to them. Cupcake wants to protect her family and marriage, Sunburst his integrity and honor, and Hoops...is still reeling, but his thoughts are on his future career and relationships. And they respond to the actions of the others as one would if their actions were viewed through the lens of their own motives. "Who threatens to tear apart a family just to avoid child support?"/"She won't let me help or see my daughter"

Basically you've done a really good job setting up and playing out a huge mess and making it very convincingly messy. Where one person might wave their hands to show a mess, you spun a tornado. Phenomenal. I look forward to more.

Oh....OH....
This is really good

Is no one on Carrots side?

8848155
Cupcake, during this chapter, did reveal she realized that her hiding of this wasn't for Carrot's benefit, to "protect him" from the truth, but for her own. Which is a big step in the right direction.

However, all the guys will be in Manehattan very soon. But, well, I think Carrot and Sunburst are going to have a big issue, once it becomes clear Sunburst wants to be involved with his daughter. Compared to, well, Carrot's situation of his daughter not being his.

That's probably going to be an issue.

8848155
Seems to me like no one's worrying about him or his feelings or how all this is affecting him. Even when they do mention him it always pertains to Cupcake's feelings and how she's doing, not him. Granted Cucpcake doesn't have a lot of time to think about that kind of stuff, but she's mostly concerned with if he wants to stay with her or not, instead of worrying about how he's coping. To me, at least, that just shows how little she cares about how he actually feels right now. I know that Cupcake is going through a really difficult time, being a single moher now, but that's the direct result of her own actions.

I honestly am hoping that Carrot's father will be on his side completely, and I'm wondering how Cupcake's talk with her parents will go if and when she tells them the story.

Also I'm glad that AJ and Starlight are trying to cheer Cupcake up, because she needs the support to stay strong for her own children and her future, but to minimize what she's done to Carrot and their relationship by simply calling it something "not to be proud of" is a very callous to Carrot. I do agree with their intentions, which I believe is that you can only say sorry so many times and that it carries only so much value before you just have to begin to move on since the damage is done and there's nothing they can do about it at that point, but I alsi think they're going about it wrong by neglecting Carrot's well-being in favor of Cupcake's.

I am glad Cupcake's at least realized how selfish she was keeping the knowledge of her affair and children's real fathers from him, and even though it's a start in the right direction, I still view it as a small consolation that's "too little too late," and she'll have a ton to do/answer for if she wants to earn her spouse's trust and love back.

Starburst trying to fix things again. What could go wrong? Can't blame him for trying though, since everything is already crap.

Good chapter!

Oh jeez. Carrot didn't come back ever? He has never seen his family since he left and got married?

Why... did he think coming here was a good idea?

In fact, I would bet money his ideas of the insecurity that Cupcake was talking about came from his family. Given the way that he left and is bitter...

This could be a big mistake.

But maybe not... I certainly don't know.

I actually look forward to each chapter, this story is real good.

Sunburst should stop he is not doing them any favors.

Funny how Sunburst feels like he has the moral high ground and can tell Hoops that he's a scumbag, and that he doesn't deserve AJ or his foal when he himself took full advantage of a drunk mare, got her pregnant, and made the whole situation worse by trying to "fix" it. Hoops passed up on a good opportunity to call Sunburst out on his hypocrisy, but maybe he'll get another chance to later.

Both Carrot and Hoops having very troubled childhoods with very bad fathers just reinforces my belief that they're definitely gonna have a heart to heart moment, or at least have something common that will help them bond or maybe understand each other. Though Hoops did get Cup pregnant, and Carrot will definitely not like that, but he also didn't know she was married and I think he brings up an excellent point: Why didn't Cup take a morning after pill or something like that the day after?

She must have thought something wasn't right then or when she went back home and realized what she did. She had time to try and fix everything and come clean before it was too late, but she didn't. I think it was probably because she didn't want to tell Carrot of her infidelity, and she figured because he wanted kids anyway she could learn to live with her awful secret and everything would be alright. I do hope this point gets expanded upon, if it hasn't already.

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