• Published 28th Jul 2012
  • 4,166 Views, 64 Comments

A Handful of Crumbs - *Squee*

Rarity had learned she couldn't forget her sister but what happens when she loses her forever?

  • ...

The Candlelight Wish

Two weeks later, it was a bright morning. Rarity couldn't find it in her to move out of her bed for what seemed like hours.
How exactly was she supposed to handle this? It felt like her entire world had been ripped out from underneath her.
Every silence magnified. She wished harder than she had ever wished for anything, to soon be hit by the smell of thick black smoke, courtesy of chef Sweetie Belle to tell her this was all a horrible, lucid dream.
But no matter how long she stayed there, the smoke never came. She didn't hear the sound of Sweetie Belle's sweet humming through the house, or her and the Crusaders loudly announcing their latest shenanigan in the hopes of cutie marks.
Rarity thought for a moment. I should go see how the other Crusaders are doing. It wouldn't hurt to seek comfort in my friends either.. she thought moving slowly to get up.
The dark and slightly wet spot on her pillow, and the tightness of the skin on her face told her she had cried in her sleep. Again. She didn't even bother to really doll herself up, even though she had to look like a bedraggled cat. She couldn't care about that now. Nothing mattered more than Sweetie Belle's swift and thorough recovery. She only wished there was some way to aid that. Her faithful magic wasn't even of use. She had some of the best doctors in Ponyville, and even a specialist all the way from Manehatten working and watching over her. There was nothing a simple fashion designer could do. Even a unicorn.
But maybe she could, in some way, console Sweetie Belle's two closest friends. And hope for some silver lining to come of this.
She ran a comb through her purple mess of a mane, only enough to call it brushed. Cleaned the smeared make-up from her face, without bothering to reapply anything but a little mascara. She wanted to clean herself up more, and look presentable, but she just couldn't find the will and energy to do it.

Walking through town was tedious. Several ponies shot her sympathetic looks, but not one had it in them to offer their condolences in words. Though she didn't mind, she was sure she wouldn't be able to take them as graciously as she would like, so it suited her just fine.
But even in the morning sunshine, everything seemed so dark and bleak. As if somehow the entire world was grieving the tragedy that had befallen the alabaster mare.
Regardless, she forced herself to complete something today.
Rarity remembered that Scootaloo was with Rainbow Dash, and honestly she didn't know where Dash was at the moment. Chances were she was in her cloud home, but that would be impossible for Rarity to visit. So she set forth, thinking to stop at the library to speak to Twilight, and hopefully manage to pass on a message to Fluttershy regarding the care of Opalescence.
She walked mechanically along the streets of Ponyville. Numb. Little more than an empty shell of a white unicorn.
She arrived at the Ponyville Library, also the residency of her purple unicorn friend and little green and purple dragon that she cared for. Hoping with everything in her that she could keep together. She knew she didn't have to be perfect. Nopony would be expected to be perfectly collected in such a tragic situation. But she dreaded the idea of being total a broken-down mess.
A small laugh void of any and all humor, escaped her lips. What did appearances mean in a time like this? She was a broken-down mess. She had no idea what to do with herself other than cry for two weeks! Whilst her poor little sister is fighting for her life, Rarity is crying her eyes out and then worrying about her appearance! Could anypony be more self-centered and petty? The white mare was disgusted with herself.
The sound of a voice ripped her away from her inner thoughts.
"Rarity? You do realize there's a sign that say's 'open' and you're welcome in my home at any time. You can come in instead of sitting on the porch all day."
The white mare looked up to see a very haggard and worn Twilight Sparkle. She looked like she hadn't slept in days.
"Oh dear, Twilight! Are you alright?" Rarity asked immediately full of concern for her purple friend.
"Shouldn't I be asking you that?" Twilight said with a weary giggle. "I'm just a little-" Twilight yawned, "Tired, I guess. Come on in." she said ushering in her friend.
"What in Equestria have you been doing when you should be sleeping?" Rarity asked, already knowing the answer.
"Reading. Studying. Trying to find something-" Another yawn, "Anything, really."
"For what?"
"Well, for a while it was for extensive healing and awakening spells...." Rarity was touched by her friends concern for Sweetie Belle.
"Trust me, I've looked. There's nothing that will help anymore than everything the nurses and doctors are doing."
Twilight simply nodded, "Yes, I found about the same. But now I'm trying to find something that might snap somepony out of a sort of post-traumatic comatose state." She shook her head, "It's difficult to explain and even more so to research on."
Rarity was just about to ask why Twilight would be searching for such a thing when a few voices rang from Twilight's room.
"Spike!" Twilight called in the same direction. "Spike! Can you come down here?"
The purple and green dragon bounded down the stairs..... Happily. Near exuberantly joyful. Which immediately perked Rarity's curiosity. Twilight was worn ragged trying to help, not to mention she knew how sad this entire ordeal was..... What was Spike so happy about?
"Twilight, Scootaloo's doing even better today! She's been smiling and I even got her to laugh!" Spike said positively beaming, "Rarity! You're here." he said cheerfully.
"Hello, Spike." Rarity said trying her hardest to give the joyous little dragon a genuine smile. She knew it probably looked more sad and tired then significantly happy, but it was the best she could do.
But even this miniscule act suited the bouncing little dragon.
"Spike, will you make Rarity some of that tea? And me some coffee please?" Twilight asked with an exhausted grin. It was odd to see somepony, or rather some-dragon, genuinely happy in such a time. But at the same time it was sort of refreshing. A nice dose of cheer to warm the heart and reassure the mind.
"Scootaloo is here? I thought she was with Rainbow Dash." Rarity asked Twilight.
"Well, Rainbow stayed with Scootaloo up until a few days ago. The Weather Factory needed their best mare back on the job and they couldn't grant her much more time off because Scootaloo isn't technically her direct family. So she has been here while Rainbow is at work." The purple unicorn mare explained. "Cheerilee has excused all three of the girls from school for as long as they need be."
Rarity nodded, "That's very kind of her. But won't they fall behind in the work?"
"She's been sending their work to us. And she also offered to help them catch up when they return. Of course, Sweetie Belle will simply be excused from most of it given the situation."
"Ah, I see. I'll have to remember to thank Cheerilee." Rarity said nodding.
"How are you holding up Rarity?" Twilight asked with sincere concern for her friend.
Rarity sighed, "Not well to tell you honestly. Other than the one outfit with the ribbon, I haven't done a single thing. At least I've kept the house clean, but...... I feel like there's nothing I really can do, but that doesn't mean I should do nothing. You know?"
Twilight nodded, completely understanding. "We're all struggling a little right now." she said solemnly.

"I'd like to speak with Scootaloo for a moment, will you excuse me?" she asked looking up in the direction of Twilight's room.
The purple mare simply nodded silently and proceeded to rummage through a few books, that Rarity didn't believe to belong to the Ponyville library. Maybe Twilight had borrowed a few tomes from the Canterlot Archives. Being the Princess' star pupil gave one access to many resources in the sense of research. Rarity was once again touched by the effort Twilight was exerting, but the poor dear should really get some sleep.....
She ascended the knotted wood stairs. Every step felt harder, like something thick as honey was trying to pull her back and away from what she was determined to accomplish.
She did almost dread talking to little Scootaloo, it just forcefully reminded her of what happened. Once again forced the memories in her head, like a knife creating fresh slices over existing wounds. It was excruciating, and several times she stopped, almost turning around and galloping out of the library immediately. But she was not turning back now. She had to do this for Sweetie Belle. The very least she could do was make sure her friends okay.
Rounding the corner, climbing the last few stairs, Rarity was met with a door left ajar. Through the doorway was a room was an average sized bed with fluffy pillows and sky blue coverings, a small basket bed with an apple themed quilt draped messily in it, and a small orange and pink pegasi filly quietly coloring a picture on the floor furiously. Rarity cleared her throat quietly. The filly looked up with large purple eyes, her extreme cut hot pink hair laid messily falling in front of her eyes every so often. She set down the bright orange crayon that she held between her teeth.
"Oh, hi Rarity." Scootaloo said staring directly at the floor.
Rarity tried to make her voice cheerful, but she sounded like one of those nurses with a terminal filly. "Hello Scootaloo. How are you today?"
The filly shrugged, "O-Okay I guess." she muttered, still not taking her gaze off the floor, but she couldn't seem to keep her eyes on the same spot of the ground for long.
"What are you coloring?" She asked gently.
"Nothing!" the filly said suddenly furiously attempting to hide the drawing.
Rarity flinched. What was she so excited about? The filly sat with her forelegs curled tightly around a now horridly crumpled piece of paper, holding it tightly to her chest. She held the paper as if her life depended on it.
Rarity remained calm and spoke gently, "If you don't want to show me that's perfectly fine. But I would like to see it if you don't mind." She said kindly.
The young filly remained still and silent for a long while, and by the look on her face she was thinking.
Finally, she relented and released the wrinkled mess, never once taking her eyes off the ground. Something about the grimace on her face was…. Odd. As if Rarity should recognize the emotion behind it, but she just couldn’t place it.

A light blue glow surrounded the drawing, and out of habit Rarity began to attempt to iron out the imperfections. It was less wrinkled now, but a few deep creases cut through the wax colors.

Rarity looked at the picture, and almost instantly she felt her heart break at the sight.

The drawing portrayed a sunset orange pegasi filly with spiky pink hair, floating above a carriage. In the pegasi filly’s forelegs lay a smiling white unicorn with two-toned purple-pink hair.

“Scootaloo….” Rarity said aghast, “Honey, why would you draw something like this?”

The young filly instantly broke down. “It was all my fault! If I wasn’t teaching them that stupid trick….!” she began sobbing, “If I wasn’t a freak pegasus who can’t fly, I could have saved her! I could have saved her! I’m so sorry. Please don’t be mad, I’m sorry! It was all my fault! I’m…. So-sorry.” the filly cried.

In a blink Rarity was holding Scootaloo tightly. “Sssh! No, honey, it’s not your fault! It couldn’t possibly be your fault! It was just an accident, sssh, it’s ok. It’s ok.” Scootaloo buried her face in Rarity’s alabaster coat as she cried as if she was in pain. Rarity rocked gently, and rubbed her back in an attempted to comfort the young filly. A rushed sound of hooves and another strangely muffled beat alerted Rarity of the approach of her friends. She wondered what the muffled sound was, but soon discovered it’s source was the wing beat of a bright, rainbow-maned, cyan Pegasus that had just rushed into the room.

“Scootaloo? Rarity…? What happened, what’s wrong?!” Rainbow Dash asked in a panic. “Is she hurt?!” Twilight rushed into the room seconds after.

“Ssssh,” Rarity said once again. She directed her attention to Dash. “She’s okay. She‘s okay.”
Rainbow then landed, and quickly took Rarity’s place holding the young filly to her. Rarity backed away.

“Ssssh, Scootaloo, sssh. It’s okay, it’s me. I’m here, it’s okay. Ssssh. It‘s okay.” Dash cooed gently. Rarity had never seen her colorful friend so maternal in her life. But at this moment, she almost could have sworn that Scootaloo was Rainbow’s filly or at least little sister, despite the lack of familial resemblance.
She motioned her purple friend out of the room to explain, now that Scootaloo was in Rainbow’s hooves. Twilight followed silently, leaving only the sound of Scootaloo’s fading sobs and Rainbow’s gentle cooing.

“What happened?” Twilight asked as the door closed.

“Scootaloo blames herself for the…. Accident. She drew a picture of her saving Sweetie by flying.” Rarity said sniffing.

“Oh…. The poor thing.” Twilight said under her breath. “It’s not her fault!”

Rarity shook her head, “No… No, it’s mine. I should’ve….”

Twilight interrupted her instantly, “Rarity! Don’t you dare try to blame yourself! The only pony who could be at fault would be the careless driver! They didn’t even stop! How do you not notice something like that?”
The white mare remained silent for a while.

Twilight shook her head, “I’m serious Rarity don’t you dare go and blame yourself.”

“I’m not, I’m not. I promise.” Rarity said stopping to wipe her face. She sighed sadly. “I’m terribly sorry, but I have to go. I need to go check on Applebloom now that I’m sure Scootaloo is in good hooves. Don’t let her…”

Twilight nodded. “I’ve got it under control.”

“And do get some rest dear.” She said with a small smile.

Twilight nodded again with a small smile of her own.

The streets were once again silent with a cloud of pity and sorrow thick in the air. She walked slowly along the long stretch of road to Sweet Apple Acres. Where asphalt faded to smooth dirt. Where humble homes and businesses gave way for an endless forest of apple trees. Rarity quietly pondered how in Equestria, Applejack and her brother could harvest every single apple. Just the two of them. It seemed a daunting task, and dreadfully hard work. But they both seemed to enjoy it with as much passion as she herself held for her trade.
A light wind kicked up some dust, making small tornadoes before the white mare. The breeze gently teased her mane and tail, and felt colder on her face where her cheeks were streaked with tear tracks.

The modest weather vane, and tin roof of a bright red barn soon came into view on the horizon just above the trees, as Rarity drew closer to the Apple residence. Within minutes the barn was in full view along with the other quaint buildings of Sweet Apple Acres. She walked briskly to the door of the Apple home. As she was a mere few feet from the door, another weary pony stepped out. A large scarlet red earth stallion with golden hair, usually strong and steady, was wobbly and fatigued.

“Macintosh?” Rarity asked, surprised not only to see the stallion, but to see him so uncharacteristically weak and drained.

“Eeyup?” Mac said in more of a yawn than words.

“You look absolutely exhausted! Where are you going this morning?” She asked quietly.

He yawns again. “The orchards. Gotta…” Another yawn. “Harvest the apples.”

“By yourself?”

He nodded slowly, “Applejack has tried helpin', but she's too tired. Been takin' care of Applebloom." he said sadly.

"Yes, I.... I heard about that. How is she?" Rarity asked, once again quiet and unable to hold direct contact with the dull and faded emeralds that sat before her.

It seemed he tried to shrug, but exhaustion weighed heavy on his shoulders, and they appeared to merely quiver non-chalantly. "It doesn't change. It never changes. She just..." he shook his head. "She just sits there. She screams when she sleeps, and wakes up and sits there." Rarity had never seen so much pain in Macintosh's eyes. Again she couldn't look directly at him for long, and continued to stare at the ground. He too looked intently towards the dirt beneath his hooves.

After a few deep breaths, Macintosh spoke again. "Well," he said a slight choke in his voice. "Ah need to... uh... get to the orchards." He said and he quickly walked away.

Rarity stared at the ground, long after the sound of Macintosh's hooves faded. She took slow deep breaths, calming herself and battling the tears that threatened to spill over at any moment. She drew all the strength she had left and stepped forward. Entering the Apple residence she felt a cold, and suffocating sorrow surround her.

A familiar orange mare sat at the table with a cup of coffee beside her, and her face in her hooves. Her trademark hat lay across the table in front of her, and Rarity noticed how her mane was without it's usual symptoms of hat hair. Meaning she hadn't worn it often within a few days. Normally, Rarity would find this as a fashion breakthrough for her friend, but today she knew it meant something was wrong.

"Applejack? Are you alright dear?" Rarity spoke quietly, not wanting to disturbed her obviously distraught friend.

Rarity expected her to jump, but she didn't. The orange mare slowly looked up, just as exhausted, if not more, than the two ponies before her.

"Oh, hiya Rarity. What ya doin' here?" Applejack said quietly resting her face back down on her hooves.

"I came to see how everyone is doing." She said sitting at the table. She noticed the cup of coffee by Applejack appeared to be completely cold. "Applejack, dear, I don't mean to be rude but you look positively dreadful! What is the matter?"

Applejack actually smiled. Normally, one could expect Applejack to retort with a defensive comment on Rarity's incessant need to be neat and perfect. But she just shook her head, with a small almost humorless smile. "Yer not up to yer usual perfection yerself there Rarity. Ah don't blame ya, know exactly how yer feeling, what ah don't know is how yer holdin' up." Applejack said looking straight at the table, but not focusing on anything in particular.

Rarity laughed, also without humor, as her gaze losing focus on any physical object. "To be completely honest, my dear, I'm not." She said shaking her head. "I am not holding up well, what-so-ever."

Suddenly, a blood-curdling scream was heard from upstairs.

"She fell asleep." Applejack said in a huff, before walking briskly up the steps. Rarity followed thinking about what Macintosh had said.

The two mares burst through the door of the little filly's room to find a young light orange filly thrashing and screaming on her bed.

"Applebloom. Applebloom! Sssh it's okay sugar-cube Ah'm right here." Applejack said calmly petting her sister's hair. Almost instantly Applebloom's thrashing stopped and her screams subsided quietly. She sat straight up, eyes void of any and all of the spirited young ranch-pony she was, and completely silent. Applejack sighed in exasperation when she realized her sister had slipped right back into her dazed and absent state.
“Applebloom? Rarity’s here. She wants to talk to ya, ok?” Applejack said gently.

Applebloom did nothing to acknowledge her sister’s words, other than turn to stare blankly at Rarity. It was chilling for the white mare to see such emptiness in the young filly’s eyes. Applebloom was always full of life. A fiery determination to earn her cutie mark, cheerful, expressed herself no matter what. Now she sat, silent and void of her natural spirit.

Rarity smiled gently, “Hi Applebloom.” she said quietly.

Applebloom then looked down at the sheets laying messily under her small body. She then got up, eliciting a gasp of surprise from Applejack, and walked to Rarity. The filly hugged the white mare tightly. Her eyes closed tightly as she began to cry. Rarity rubbed her back gently, glancing at Applejack, who didn’t know exactly what to do with herself. Too many emotions played across her face to pin down exactly what she was feeling.

Obviously this was a small break in the filly's waking silence, and Applejack was relieved, but sad. Glad, yet at the same time a little depressed that she, herself, couldn't pull her little sister out of such a dark time. It wasn't like Applebloom thought of Rarity as a better sister, as Sweetie Belle had once thought of Applejack, the sister of her injured friend just happened to be the trigger to pull her back. Like a bucket of ice-water on a sleeping pony.

"Ah didn't know what to do!" Applebloom cried, her voice hoarse and cracking from misuse and her racking sobs. "It.... It.... It just happened! Sweetie Belle.... She was in the road and.... Ah didn't think.... Ah didn't know what to do! Ah'm so sorry!"

"Applebloom, now it ain't yer fault!" Applejack shouted instantly.

"In no way could it possibly be your fault, my dear." Rarity said calmly.

"Ah'm just sorry," the young filly said. "Is she going to be okay?"

Rarity looked down and sighed, "I don't know."

Suddenly Applebloom was up and animated, like her normal self, and instantly speaking rapidly. "Ya know what we should do?! We should do the Candle Wish! Everypony in Ponyville could come!" she sat and thought for a moment, "How many candles would that give us?"

"I'd say somewhere near one thousand or more, dear, why?"

"That's perfect! Can we do it Applejack? Please?!" Applebloom begged her sister.

Applejack smiled, "Ah think that would be a great idea, sugarcube. Ah'm sure Rarity and Sweetie Belle would appreciate that very much."

Rarity looked questioningly at Applejack, and was about to voice her silent wonderings when Applebloom's excited burst interjected.

"Ah'll start callin' everypony! Applejack, you do the same. We'll have it at the school, 'kay? Ah gotta go tell Scootaloo and Twist!" and Applebloom disappeared in an excited blur and a rushed sound of hooves.

"Well, at least she's better and not so spacey-gone-sorts." Applejack said sighing with a joyous relief. "Maybe this house can get some sleep tonight! Even Granny Smith couldn't sleep through that lil' fillies nightscares."

"Applejack, dear, what exactly is the 'Candle Wish?' " Rarity asked quietly.

"The old Ponyville magic story, it's said that if one thousand candles are lit with a strong wish for something and fly into the air with those balloons things, it'll come true."

"I thought that was just an old pony-tale ponies told their fillies." Rarity said recalling the myth.

"Well, it darn well might be. But right now Ah think all anypony can do is hope fer a miracle and if a couple old candles and paper foldin' could make a miracle I say it's worth a shot." Applejack said shrugging. " 'Sides, if nothing else it's a mighty nice thing to do for Sweetie Belle, knowing that everypony is wishin' for her to get well and come home."

Rarity nodded. Honestly, what could it hurt? Any little hope of magic or miracles has to do some good in this case. And it did help Rarity knowing that the town honestly cared, and weren't simply acting sympathetic because it's what they should do.

"Just be at the school tonight when it starts to get dark. Me 'n' Applebloom will handle the rest." Applejack said as the two were walking outside.

"Okay, I'll be there." Rarity said with a smile, and continued home.

As Ponyville grew dark, glowing dimly with the remaining light of the setting sun, a large crowd of ponies gathered in the field behind the old school house. The entire town, and even surrounding pegasi and outliers was there. Each pony with a candle and paper balloon in their possession. In front of and facing the crowd stood Mayor Mare, Zecora the Zebra, Rarity, and Applebloom.

Mayor Mare spoke clearly, yet gently, addressing the crowd.

"Citizens of Ponyville, and friends. We are here today to honor the bravery and strength of one little filly who has been stricken with tragedy. Young Sweetie Belle was hit by a speeding carriage two days ago, and continues to battle for her life in Intensive Care. Tonight our hearts go out to this young filly, and in an old, almost forgotten tradition of Ponyville, we light these candles and give them to the sky in hopes of our wish for Sweetie Belles swift and complete recovery and return. Thank you Applebloom, for orchestrating such a gesture for your friend. And thank you Rarity, for your strength and courage to attend, our hearts are with you and your family as well."

Applebloom and Rarity both nodded in turn.

"Everypony, Zecora will walk around and light your candles. As she does this wish as hard as you can and send them into the sky."

Zecora lit the fireplace match and walked through the middle of the crowd of ponies, touching the small flame to each candle on either side. At the fourth candle, a gentle voice was heard. Rarity believed it to be Lyra Heartstrings, quietly singing. Then the ponies with lit candles leaned over to the next pony, using the flame of their candle to light the wicks of others. And a small wave of dim light passed over the crowd, as the gentle voices grew in number quietly singing the song.

The lights began to rise in the sky as they sang.

"You ask me time and time again
How did this start, how did it all begin
And I will tell you one more time

It was your smile
From across a crowded room
That first drew me to you
It was that heartwarming smile

And it was your laugh
In the darkest of times
That made me fully realize
That I had fallen for you

It wasn't your hair
That bounces in the breeze
Or even your eyes
As blue as the seas
Although, yes it's true,
I'm quite taken with all of you,
When you smile a dazzling smile,
All your beauty shines through

It was your smile
That captured my heart for all time
And that made me wish you could be mine
It was always in your smile

All your crazy ways, give me so many happy days,
But it all started
With your smile...."

A tear ran down Rarity's face as she watched the lights rise like the stars of Luna's night. And she wished harder than anything for her sister to come home.


Authors Note

Just so you know, I do not own the song. All credit/rights/yada yada goes to the great and beloved Mandopony "It All Started With Your Smile."
I heard the song and simply fell in love with it, and felt it fit in this part well.
Also, I know it took forever and a day to post this. I've been SUPER busy moving into the dorm and with all the work/school/blah blah blah and there's no internet in my dorm.
I hope you guys like this chapter though! Let me know. :)