• Published 22nd Mar 2018
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Pound and Pumpkin Tales 2 - Never2muchpinkie



The continuing adventures of the now seven years old Pound and Pumpkin

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6-19: Fears

Flurry’s mind was racing. Starlight knew about what happened? The mare hadn’t left her sight since first coming to see her. When could she have found out?

“How… how do you know about that?”

“I ran into Twilight as she was leaving. Since I play as big a part in your life as your parents she shared the memories of the day with me.”

Flurry blinked a few times, her brain having trouble processing that. When her emotions caught up with her thoughts she growled, jumping up. “You KNEW? You knew the whole time?” She gave Starlight a hard smack, feeling a sense of betrayal. “You knew how I was feeling after what happened, and YOU STILL CAME IN HERE AND TEASED ME AND MADE ME LOSE MY TEMPER?”

“Yes,” Starlight responded, looking unfazed by Flurry’s assault.

Flurry’s horn began to glow in her fury. “WHY?”

“Because I care about you, Flurry,” she said sincerely.

Flurry was so confused by her response that she couldn’t even muster an angry response, the glow fading. Starlight had her serious face on now. There was no trace of her mocking expression from before.

“I’ve watched you since you were a baby, Flurry. I’ve seen you at your worst and at your best, and I have a pretty good grasp on the things you need.”

“And I ‘needed’ to be provoked when I was already in a bad mood? That made sense when I thought you were clueless about things, but now it doesn’t make any sense at all!”

“What you needed was an outlet for your feelings. Spending time with your family trying to forget a bad day is fine, but it’s clear it wasn’t enough. I pushed you to get your negative emotions riled up, letting you safely explode and work out some of the pain sitting inside you with someone who had to skill to withstand that rage.

“I noticed that after our pillow fight you were definitely calmer.”

“So what? I don’t want to talk about what happened today!”

“Maybe not, but I think you need to. You know better than anyone the enormous pain you held inside for months before you met your friends. It was only once you talked about it that it was all resolved. You expressed the sentiment that if you had only talked about it sooner you wouldn’t have had to suffer so long.”

Flurry twitched, tears forming in her eyes.

“Today is no different. I let you express some of that to get it out of your system, then took you to cool off with Sunburst precisely so you’d have the emotional room to speak your mind without getting overwhelmed.

“I’m here, Flurry. No more mocking or taunting or playing around. I’m here as your sounding board. You can say anything you want to me, and I’ll wait as long as I have to.”

Flurry’s mind was in a whirlwind. She didn’t even know where to start. “Everything was too crazy! I was tortured and mocked and betrayed by a friend and made to forget all the friends I had. I just wanted to get away from all of that. Why do you have to bring this up now? Why couldn’t you wait until tomorrow, or next week?”

“Because I feel like as soon as I leave you you’re going to start dwelling on it anyway. Better to talk about it now and put it behind you than to pretend it doesn’t exist.”

“I was feeling perfectly happy just hanging out with the people I loved! Why couldn’t you just let it go? Now you had to remind me of it and those feelings are coming back!”

“Which is no different than what will happen when you’re on your own. The difference is that I’m here to help you through that rather than you trying it on your own.”

“Who asked you to butt in? I don’t care what your reasoning is. I… DON’T… WANT… TO… TALK… ABOUT …IT!

“You’re no better than Mayhem, tormenting me and doing things you know are going to hurt me.”

Starlight’s eyes narrowed.

“I guess I can’t get away from it now, now that you’ve reminded me.

“What do you understand about my feelings? What do you know about how I feel and betrayal and loneliness and fear? You’re the last person I want to talk to right now, so you should just GET OUT!"

Starlight looked down at the ground. “You little fool. I understand a lot more than you think.”

She hopped off the bed, blazing now as she closed the distance between them. “You think you’re so special? You think you’re so unique? You think you’re the only one in the world who has experienced the issues you have? Well, you’re dead wrong!”

Flurry didn’t respond as Starlight stopped in front of her.

“I’m not so different than you. Fears, responsibilities… I understand that. I understand how much normalcy means to you, which is the precise reason I wanted to free you of your burden. But… I… I also needed it for myself.”

“Hmm?” She saw Starlight begin to shiver, a scared look about her as her eyes clenched shut. “What…” She found her rage fading. “What do you mean?”

“Twilight… she’s a nice person, but a terrible liar.”

“Liar?”

Starlight opened her eyes, a dead look about them. “I ran into her after Sunburst went off to read. I told you that she showed me the memories of your adventure, but she didn’t show me all of them.”

Flurry’s eyebrow went up.

“Oh, she tried to hide it, but it was so obvious she was hiding something I’m sure she knew I would figure out something was up. She probably hoped I just wouldn’t ask about it.

“You see… there was an odd gap in the memories she showed me. The green colt came flying in, and then suddenly all your friends were on the ground and Sombra was before you getting blasted.”

A tear came down her eye. “Now… what do you suppose Twilight wanted to hide from me? Who showed up right after your friend was attacked?”

"Hmm? Well, that was-" Flurry gasped, her insides going cold.

“I pushed Twilight, demanding to know about that gap. Seeing I wouldn’t be dissuaded she reluctantly showed me the rest.”

Flurry lifted a hoof, lost for a response.

Starlight put a hoof to her face, letting out a sob. “I… I saw it all. I saw that fake tormenting you, telling you horrible lies. Telling you that I had only used Sunburst to get close to the royal family… that I had been lying to you your whole life. T-That I had been the one to throw you into that horrible place.”

Her whole body clenched up as she hugged herself. “Saying… saying that I intended to KILL you and throw your dead body in front of your parents so I could wipe them out too when they were distracted by grief.”

Tears came down Flurry’s eyes at the sheer pain in Starlight’s voice.

“I saw how you were so broken by your friends seemingly dead that you agreed to attack Celestia and Luna if it meant no one else you loved had to die.” Tears streamed down Starlight’s eyes. “The very idea that you’d even accept such an offer from someone posing as me disgusted me, and there was nothing I could do about it but watch the memories play, even as I wanted to grab you and hug you.”

“Aunt Starlight…” Flurry was trembling slightly too. Aunt Starlight was always such a strong mare. She was cool and calm and funny and a great role model to her… someone she aspired to be when she grew up. To see her breaking down like this felt so foreign.

“After it all… I felt what I’m sure you were feeling just a short while ago.” Her voice was a little more composed now. “An unbearable heaviness took over me. I almost let it take me, until Twilight pushed me.”

“Starlight… Flurry is very vulnerable right now. She’s having trouble standing on her own, and she needs the support of her pillars to serve as her strength.”

“When I thought of you I felt like you needed me. I couldn’t surrender to despair, not when you were so down yourself. I gathered my strength, overcame those feelings, and went to look for you. I played dumb so you wouldn’t get defensive, putting on my best face and acting like my usual self.”

“So,” Flurry said slowly, “that’s what all this was about?”

Starlight was quiet for a while. “I’d like to say that it was all for your sake… but the truth is that it wasn’t.”

Flurry gave her a questioning look. “Then who was it for? My parents?”

Starlight looked into Flurry’s eyes. “It was for you, but… it was also for me. Because I needed it.”

“So you were messing with me to make yourself feel better?”

“No! Flurry, no!” She let out a heavy breath, looking distraught. “I was afraid.”

Flurry was trying to put the pieces together, but they just weren’t adding up.

Starlight could see that Flurry didn’t understand. “A long time ago I lost myself. My best friend left me, and I blamed cutie marks on it, going down a dark path until Twilight snapped me out of it.

“Since that time when she pardoned me I’ve done my best to separate myself from the person I used to be. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but through her efforts I reunited with Sunburst, ending that chapter of my life. I found happiness having him close.

“Then I was given a tremendous responsibility in becoming a caretaker for you, and you made me happy too. You really cared for me, and the first time you called me ‘Aunt Starlight’ it…” She smiled warmly as tears came down her eyes. “I’m sure it’s what a parent feels when they hear the same.

“Then I got married, and as you grew I began to play a bigger part in your life, teaching you magic and spending a lot of my free time with you.

“It all meant so much to me. For the first time since I was a child I felt genuinely happy. I felt like… like I had a family in you and Sunburst, and I was able to forget the past.”

Flurry smiled at her, but it faded when Starlight’s did.

“Mayhem,” Starlight said quietly. “I can’t wish that he got a harsher sentence when the only reason I’m here is because of forgiveness, but… I’m starting to remember things I’d rather not.”

She let out a little sob as she started crying again. “That’s why I needed that time out with you. I wanted to see the way you reacted to me.”

“Hmm? What do you mean, Aunt Starlight?”

Starlight clenched, her eyes closing for a moment. “ 'Aunt Starlight'… that’s right. You do still call me that.”

Flurry was starting to get really concerned. “What else would I call you?”

She didn’t answer that one. “I… I had to know. I had to see if the you way you acted around me changed because of today.”

Flurry’s head tilted. “Why would it change?”

“Because… because you believed that fakers lies.”

Flurry flushed, feeling guilty as tears came down her eyes. “Aunt Starlight, I’m so-”

Starlight put a hoof up. “You don’t have to apologize, Flurry.”

“But I do! I never should have-”

Starlight put the hoof to Flurry’s mouth. “I’m not blaming you, Flurry! I want to make that crystal clear. Being sent to another dimension full of the worst evil in the world and having your memories of your friends purged from your mind hardly left you with the mental capacity to think rationally.”

Flurry pushed Starlight’s hoof down. “So if you’re not blaming me then why does it matter? I figured out it was a fake at the end.”

“It matters because it terrifies me.”

“But why?”

“I can’t tell you what a relief it was to go out and have you treat me as you’ve always done. You figured out it was a fake Starlight telling lies, but what if… what if that got you thinking?”

“Thinking about what?”

“Like, ‘what if the real Starlight’ is no different?’ “

A pained look came to Flurry’s face.

“What if you started questioning everything I had ever done for you? What if you started giving me suspicious or uncomfortable looks every time we were together, wondering if I was one day going to betray you?”

Starlight's breath caught for a moment, her eyes slowly shrinking. “And what if it didn’t stop there? What if every question I asked you made you think I was just gathering information for that time? Your suspicion would grow and grow until you saw everything I did as preparing for the time I would strike."

"I... but I wouldn't..."

Her breathing got shorter. “Everything I’ve achieved and gained would be ruined. Eventually you’d tell your parents you don’t want me around anymore and they’d banish me from the Crystal Empire and Sunburst would begin to wonder too and divorce me and Twilight would throw me in Tartarus and I’d be all alone for eternity and-”

“Aunt Starlight!” Flurry cried out, hugging the mare as tears came down her eyes. She was kicking herself for not doing it sooner.

She sniffed. “Are you kidding me? How could you ever think that?”

Starlight looked down at her, panting.

Flurry extended her wings, wrapping them around Starlight as well. “Even if we’re not blood related you’re part of my family, now and forever. No stupid fake is going to take that away from me.

“Don’t… don’t say such horrible things.”

Starlight hugged her back, quietly crying. “I… how could I not be scared? So much time has passed. I’ve felt a sense of completeness and wholeness, experiencing joys I never thought I ever would. I consider you part of my family too, Flurry. To think of losing all that because an impersonator got into your head…” Her grip tightened as she let out a sob.

Flurry felt like breaking down herself. She had never seen her aunt in such pain. “I was a mess. That’s the only reason I was fooled. I know who you really are, and I want you to stay with me and my family forever.

“You and Uncle Sunburst… you make me so happy. When my parents were busy with their jobs you took care of me. When I didn’t have any friends I enjoyed just spending time with you because you were real with me.

“Today already had enough bad feelings.” She nuzzled Starlight’s cheek. “So don’t let something stupid like this hurt you too.

“I love you, Aunt Starlight, and that’s never gonna change! You got that?”

Starlight let out a heavy breath. “T-thank you,” she said thickly.

“In a bit of a bad mood, huh?”

“You could say that.”

“I know what will help.” Flurry said as her horn lit up.

“What’s tha-AH!” She felt a soft impact on the back of her head as Flurry chuckled. “What was that?” She saw a pillow on the floor.

“You shouldn’t mope, Aunt Starlight. You should do something more productive with those feelings.”

Starlight sucked on her cheek. At first she was annoyed that Flurry was making light of her emotions, but she had done the same thing earlier, and it seemed Sunburst wasn’t the only one seeking a little payback.

She looked at the pillow on the floor, unsure if she wanted to go along with it. She could see that Flurry was trying to make her happy by copying her.

She let out a squeak as she felt a tickly feeling on her side and jerked back, seeing Flurry give her a devious expression as she held up a feather.

“Come on! What you got, baby?”

Starlight let out a huff, seeing Flurry's taunting gaze. If Flurry wanted to throw down then she was ready.

The next five minutes dissolved into a magic fight much like before. There was plenty of laughter, at first only on Flurry’s side, but Starlight got into the action after a minute.

When they stopped they were both panting, smiling at each other.

“Feeling… better?” Flurry asked as she caught her breath.

“Y-yeah.” Starlight replied as she took in a big gulp of oxygen. “That was fun.”

Flurry beamed. “I’m glad.”

Starlight returned the gesture, but it faded again just like before. “I’m sorry,” she said sadly.

“Hey, hey!” Flurry cried out. “I thought we just worked out your bad feelings. Why are you getting down again?”

“This… wasn’t how it was supposed to be. I came here to help you through your problems, but then I made it all about me and added to your stress.”

Flurry growled. “Don’t talk like that! I know better than anyone how bad it feels to hold in a deep, painful secret. I’m GLAD you told me about your fears. You think I wanted you to go through the same fear and pain I did for months, always wondering if I was scared of you and wanted to kick you out of my life?” Angry tears came down her eyes. “You think I wanted to see you hurting like I did? Never! I wouldn’t wish that on anybody!”

The anger faded out of her voice and expression. “Just like you’re here for me, I’m glad I could be there for you when you needed me.”

Flurry took in a deep breath. “And… I… feel…” She paused for a few moments. “I'm sorry for snapping at you before, Aunt Starlight. I know you were only trying to help."

"It's okay, Flurry," Starlight responded. "I know it's hard for you."

"I was trying to run from my problems again, and I don't want to hold it in like before.

"If you’re feeling better now I think that… that I’m ready.”

“I do feel better,” said Starlight. “I needed to hear that and dispel those feelings.

“If you need me I’m always here for you.” She sat down on Flurry’s bed, the filly quickly joining her. “So… you want to talk about today? Are you sure? I don't want you to feel like I'm pushing you.”

She was quiet again for a while. Finally, she responded, “Yes. I… think that it is what I need right now.”

“Okay.”

“But first hugs!”

Starlight chuckled. “I agree. Hugs first.”

The two of them held each other, feeling a sense of love for each other.

“I love you, Aunt Starlight.”

“And I love you too, little Flurry.”

Author's Note:

This was another unintended chapter, but as another reader pointed out Starlight should have a reaction to a fake her feeding lies to Flurry, and wondering if it would affect her relationship with the filly. Now that that's out of the way we can finally get to the true epilogue of this arc. Something big is still coming.

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