• Published 18th Oct 2019
  • 2,024 Views, 167 Comments

A Slice of Cheese - MrNumbers



If everyone could see themselves as L'il Cheese saw them, the world would be a much brighter place. A story about love in the shape of laughter.

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The Siblings

Big Sugar heard Cheese Pie yelling for him the second he stepped onto the acres, but he waited for a bit. Because Cheese Pie hadn’t stopped yelling since then, and it was a long way up to the farm house. He wanted to see if he could keep it up.

“Sugar! Sugar! Sugar! Sugar! Sugar!” Cheese Pie crested the hill, “Sugar! Sugar!”

His Dad cleared his throat. “Think someone’s calling for you.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“Sugar! Sugar! Sugar! Sugar!”

“You ain’t going to holler back?”

“In a minute. I wanna see how this plays out.”

“Sugar! Sugar! Sugar! Sugar! Suuuuugaaaaar!” Cheese was gasping now.

“Go on,” Big Mac patted his son on the head. “If you’re waiting to see if he’s going to get tired out, just remember what your Aunt Pinkie’s like.”

“Reckon so,” Sugar leaned into his Dad’s head tussle, then skipped off. “Over here, cuz!”

Cheese spotted him, laser-focused in and bounded the rest of the way, bowling Big Sugar over in a flying tackle-hug. They both rolled around, giggling.

“You weren’t too worn out after all that hollering?”

“You heard?” Cheese’s eyebrows shot up in surprise.

“Well, yeah,” Sugar grinned, “You’re really loud.”

“Thanks! My Mum says I could probably talk underwater if I wanted to.”

Big Mac pulled out his newspaper and cracked it open in front of him, so the kids wouldn’t see how much he was laughing at that.

“Hey!” Cheese bounced up, pulling Sugar after him. “You want to go to Sugarcube Corner and get a milkshake?”

“Yeah, that sounds... wait.” Sugar turned to his Dad. “Hey, Dad, can I have some bits for a milkshake?”

“You done your chores?”

“Yessssss.” Sugar rolled his eyes.

“All of ‘em?”

“You and Aunt AJ didn’t raise a chore shucker. I ain’t shuckin’ no chores, Pa.”

Big Mac reached into his overalls and fished out a pile of bits, and Sugar rushed forward to scoop them all up. “You two have fun, and don’t cause more trouble than usual?”

Sugar took the bits and ran with them, and Cheese followed just a hair after.

“Have I ever told you your Dad’s so cool?”

“Just about every time you come over, yup.”

“Cause your Dad is so cool!”

“Cheese, you think everyone’s so cool.”

“Well!” Cheese shouted indignantly, “They are!”

Sugar pulled ahead again, laughing, as the two raced neck and neck the whole way to Sugar Cube Corner.


Cheese just managed to pull ahead for the last leg of the run, when he realized at the last second that whoever won got to ring the bell.

He shot over the threshold and paused, still as a stone, to appreciate the tinkle of the little shop bell over the door and grin. Sugar came in just after him and fell to the floor panting.

“Hey, Pound Cake!” Cheese skipped up to the counter, “How much for two milkshakes?”

“On the house, for you two.”

Big Sugar shook his head, and dragged himself up to the counter. “I worked hard doing chores for these bits. It’s not right I don’t get to spend them.”

Pound rolled his eyes as he popped the register open. “Not worth arguing with an Apple on this one.”

“No sir, thank you sir.”

Pound Cake took the bits, counted them, and closed the register with that fun little jingle sound of rattling coins. “Cheese still gets his for free, just because we love him, and he loves free milkshakes. Isn’t that right?”

“I am totally shameless!” Cheese agreed with way too much enthusiasm.

“That a boy.”

They sat down at their table, Cheese swinging his hooves under the seat. Big Sugar started playing with the salt and pepper shakers on the table. “You know, I never asked?”

“Asked what?”

“How come you call just about everypony in town ‘uncle’ or ‘aunt’ something, but those two you just call Pound and Pumpkin.”

“Oh! ‘Cause they’re more like my brother and sister, I guess.”

“... huh.”

“Mum still throws them birthday parties, and they still pretend they don’t look forward to them. It’s like stickers. Everypony loves stickers.”

“I don’t,” Big Sugar crossed his arms over his chest.

“See, everypony loves stickers, but some ponies think ‘cause they’re childish, they’re not supposed to. So they say they don’t. Lots of ponies are like that about my Mum.”

Big Sugar frowned, and crossed his chest tighter. “I don’t like stickers.”

Cheese reached into his mane and pulled out a roll of party stickers he kept for sticker-related emergencies, and slid them to the middle of the table. “I’m just going to leave these here. And, if you don’t like ‘em, that’s fine. I’ll just take them back. But they’re yours if you take ‘em.”

Big Sugar stared at them.


Pound Cake hurried over with the platter with two malted vanilla milkshakes on it, with cherries on top. The best kind of milkshake in the universe. He put them down, one in front of Cheese and Sugar. “Sorry for taking so long-” he paused, looking them both over.

Cheese was beaming up at him with the kind of smile he’d inherited from his mother, and Big Sugar was staring down at his hooves, sliding down in his seat. They were both covered head-to-hoof in glitter stickers.

“Should I ask?”

“I was just saying how you and Pumpkin pretend not to love my Mum’s birthday parties.”

Pound groaned. “Euugh. But they’re like, kid’s parties.”

“Yes!” Cheese slapped the table, firmly. “Who ever looked at a kid and went; wow, they don’t know fun! They don’t know what fun is! Nobody, that’s who. My Mum’s parties are great and you love them.”

Pound looked over both his shoulders, then dropped down low and whispered, “Okay, okay, they’re amazing. My favourite part of the whole year. But you can’t tell your Mum that, or she won’t let me live it down.”

“I’m telling my Mum that as soon as I get home.”

“Dang it.” Pound lifted his head up, looked across the store again, and dropped back down. “Black forest cupcake if you keep quiet.”

“Deal.”

Pound looked Big Sugar up and down, too. “Also, you got any-” Cheese already had the roll of stickers out before he could finish asking. Pound smiled and took a big smiley face from the roll, and stuck it to his right cheek. “Thanks. Be back with the goods.”

“Pleasure doing business with you.”

“You’re going to grow up into an evil little colt, huh?”

“And nobody’s going to stop me because they’re going to love me too much.” Cheese steepled his hooves together, tilted his head down and smiled, “That’s the plan.”

“I won’t tell your Mum you said that, if you give me another sticker.”

“Dang it,” Cheese went through the roll again, and this time Pound picked out a rainbow coming out from the clouds, and stuck it to his forehead, “I keep forgetting, we learned from the same master, huh?”

“Your Mum was one heck of a babysitter. Be right back with the cupcake.”

Big Sugar, still hiding a bit under the table, started pulling himself back up. “Why didn’t he just trade not telling for the cupcake?”

Cheese snorted. “That’s an easy one. He wanted the sticker more than he didn’t want to give me a cupcake.”

Sugar frowned. “But you’d have just given him the sticker.”

“Yeah!” Cheese tapped the table, “and he would have just given me the cupcake. There’s just a way to go about these things, Sugar.”

Sugar went to peel a sticker from himself, paused, and kept it on. “I don’t pretend to understand it, but I guess you do.”

Pound came back, and slid the cupcake in front of Cheese, who took a huge bite of it. He smiled. “Oh, wow, Pumpkin did the baking today?”

“She sure did,” Pound paused, “how’d you guess?”

“You like cooking things all the way through, and Pumpkin likes it when they’re a bit gooey in the middle. I think she makes things a bit sweeter, too, but it’s hard to tell after I already had a bit of the milkshake.”

Pound grinned. “She’s back in the kitchen, if you want to say hi.”

“Oh! Wow! Yes! Please!”

“I’ll go grab her. You just wait right there, little man.”

Big Sugar was staring at Cheese over the table. “What?”

“You really do think everyone’s the coolest, huh?”

Cheese gestured hard at the cupcake. “She made this! Out of like! Nothing! She can make cakes out of nothing! Why do you not seem to get how cool that is!”

“Aunt AJ can do that too. And your Mum. And, like, the Old Cakes.”

“See!” Cheese insisted, “Maybe everyone is just that cool!” he paused. “Except Aunty Rainbow Dash, but she’s Awesome, instead of Cool. She’s really particular about that.”

Big Sugar nodded, and sipped at his hard-earned milkshake. “I guess, as long as you think I’m cool, I don’t mind.”

“Heck yeah you’re cool! You actually earned your milkshake, with work!” Cheese took a big bite of his hard-won cupcake. “I could never do that!”

Sugar laughed, then paused when Cheese wasn’t laughing with him. Which was very unlike him. “What, you’re serious?”

“You know if you’re working, they get mad if you talk to your friends? Or get distracted? Or break for lunch when you’re not supposed to?” Cheese was visibly sweating, “Or get distracted?”

“You already said that one-”

“Dang it, I couldn’t remember if I did or not.”

“Huh.” Sugar sipped his milkshake a bit, “Yeah, that does sound like a problem.”

“I’ve decided that the only thing I can do, is never grow up.” Cheese said with finality, and absolute sincerity. “Everything is perfect like this, so I just need to figure out how to stay like this forever.”

Sugar frowned. “That’s... good luck?”

“Thanks! I’ll need it!” Cheese ate the last of his cupcake, and then began slurping his shake. Sugar had only just started on his.

Pumpkin came out the kitchen door and waved at them, and it was time for Sugar to slide under it a bit again. Cheese giggled - most colts chuckled, but Cheese Pie had a proper giggle, which was so much worse for Sugar right now.

“Still have that crush on her, huh?”

“Shut uppp.”

“You know you’re still covered in stickers, right?” Cheese snorted.

Sugar stared down at himself and ducked under the table.

“Hey, L’il Cheese,” Pumpkin sang when she got to their table. “Heard you liked my cupcakes. Where’s your friend?”

“Oh, he’s just hiding, because he’s covered in stickers. And not everypony can be as shameless as me.”

“You are very shameless,” Pumpkin agreed, and Cheese nodded, total seriousness. “What’s up?”

“Was just talking about how everything’s perfect right now, and I don’t want to grow up.”

Pumpkin slid in to the booth next to Cheese, and Sugar took the opportunity to slink out from under the table and try to ninja for the door. Cheese, because he was an amazing best friend, decided to try and keep Pumpkin distracted long enough that she didn’t see all the light catching Sugar’s glitter stickers on his way out.

Also, he just liked talking to Pumpkin.

“You don’t want to grow up?” Pumpkin asked him, bumping him with a shoulder.

“Why? If things are perfect now, then anything changing would make it worse, right?” Cheese said this with the confidence of a maths formula, “And things are perfect now.”

Pumpkin thought about that. “So, think about a milkshake.”

“I can do that.”

Pumpkin wiped the froth from around his mouth with a paper napkin. “I know you can. Now, that milkshake’s perfect, right?”

Cheese screwed his eyes shut, and poked his tongue out in concentration. “Yeah, why would I imagine a not-perfect milkshake?”

“Okay. Now, grate some chocolate on top.”

Cheese gasped and opened his eyes. “Oh my gosh, that would be more perfect.”

“Exactly,” Pumpkin wiped his nose. “But you didn’t know it could be more perfect until I told you, right?”

“I didn’t even think about chocolate shavings,” Cheese stared in awe, and Pumpkin grinned. “Wow, you’re like, a genius.”

“Yeah, I know,” Pumpkin flicked her hair. “You get wiser when you get older.” She paused, and thought about that. “Okay, some ponies get wiser as they get older.”

“Because some ponies are already born wise?” Cheese asked.

“... yeah,” Pumpkin squinted at him, and made the expression Cheese always made when he was holding something fragile and trying not to break it, “Let’s go with that.”

“Wow. You must be, like, super old then!”

“Ha ha ha,” Pumpkin smiled, “Owch.”

“Owch?”

Pumpkin tussled his hair. “Sorry, L’il Cheese. But us old ponies don’t like getting older, either. We just kind of make the best of it.”

“Well, don’t tell Pound, but... I think you make the best cakes.” Cheese hugged her tight.

“Ha ha. Oh, I am telling him the second you stop hugging me.” She laughed and tried to slide out of the booth. “Hey, let go.”

“You said the second I stop hugging you, right? So, I’m not going to stop hugging you.”

“No!” Pumpkin giggled, trying to push him off her, but he hugged like a pony three times his size. “I have to tell Pound!”

“Noooo!”

Pound poked his head out of the kitchen. “What’s going on?”

Pumpkin’s eyes burned with mischief. “L’il Cheese thinks I make better cakes!”

Pound shrugged. “What, that’s it?”

“Yeah.”

“I already knew that,” Pound held the kitchen door open just a second longer. “I make better fillings and custards though. You’re not patient enough to temper the eggs properly.”

“WHAT?!” Pumpkin shouted at the kitchen, just in time for the door to flap shut. Cheese could hear something heavy being moved in front of it all the way from the dining area. Pumpkin stared Cheese down.

“He’s right,” Cheese said as diplomatically as he could, “it makes a difference. His doesn’t have lumpy bits in it, and yours kind of does.”

“Wow. I can’t believe this betrayal. From my own family!”

Cheese pulled his sticker roll out. “Would this make you feel better?”

Pumpkin glared at the stickers, and angrily took off a laughing face and a four leaf clover and a lucky horseshoe, and grumpily stuck them to her face. “Yes. It does.”

“I’m going to go find where Sugar’s hiding. Um, you be nice to Pound, okay?”

“Temper my eggs... I’ll show him a temper...”

“If you’re going to be mad, you have to give me my stickers back.”

Pumpkin paused, and pouted. “Aww. But I want to be mad and have stickers.”

“You have to pick.”

She frowned, and gestured for the roll back. Then she peeled about a dozen stickers over herself, and made a contented smile. “Okay, that’s a lot better. How do I look?”

“Ridiculous!” Cheese complimented her, “Very shiny.”

“Good.” She thought about that, then squeezed Cheese with another hug. “Just remember, just because you’re going to get older doesn’t mean you have to grow up. Okay?”

Cheese nodded.

“Now, go bring Sugar the rest of his milkshake. I’m going to tell Pound I’m not mad anymore, okay?”

Cheese grabbed the milkshake - eating Sugar’s cherry because while he was a good friend he wasn’t a perfect friend - and skipped for the door.

Behind him, Pumpkin was making sing-song noises at the kitchen door, as Pound dragged heavier things to block it. Both were laughing wildly.