• Published 25th Aug 2012
  • 4,662 Views, 285 Comments

The Spoon That Refused Polish - Hollyfern



Life is unfair. Sometimes even going so far as to thrust upon the young the weight of responsibility. Though, being grown up is no cake-walk either.

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Mother Dearest

The guests at Silver Spoon’s home remained there until just before dawn, the princesses having left earlier to ensure the passage of night to day, and when they did finally depart the butlers and maids busily swept over the premises, ensuring the estate was spotless before leaving themselves.

Silver Spoon sighed contentedly in her bed, still unable to find any sleep with the festivities of earlier still fresh on her mind. Keeping an eye on Twist was harder than I thought it would be. She giggled. Though, some of the things she asked made perfect sense; then again she wasn’t quite herself.

“Silver.” Her father's voice preceded his knock. “Are you awake?”

“Yes, daddy,” Silver Spoon replied, moving over to open her door. “Did you need something?”

“Not in particular, no.” Sterling shook his head, pausing and observing his daughter intently. In his eyes Silver Spoon could tell something was conflicting in his head, like he wanted to say something.

“Huh?” Silver Spoon tipped her head to the side.

With a decisive nod, Sterling suddenly smiled. “Nothing. Come with me, Silver Spoon.”

Silver Spoon shakily nodded. “A-Alright, daddy.” She joined Sterling in the hallway as the two made their way downstairs to the second floor. A thought nagged at the back of Silver Spoon’s mind. He hardly ever calls me by my name like that. Did I do something wrong?

“You haven’t done anything wrong,” Sterling teased. “I just have something very important to show you.

“Important?” Silver Spoon grew wide-eyed.

Sterling gestured with his head down the hallway. A door with a sign that read “Do not enter” was pinned in the center. As they approached the door, Sterling took it down. “This is unnecessary,” he said with a frown. “Only I can get in here anyway.”

Silver Spoon expected Sterling to procure a key, but he plucked a strand of his mane and presented it to the door. What? She looked on curiously as the strand listlessly floated in mid air; the keyhole flourished with a white light, and then a clicking sound came from the other side of the door.

“I give you,” Sterling said, pressing the door open with a hoof, “your heritage.”

The room shone brightly as Silver Spoon and her father trotted in, the door closing behind them automatically. “It’s bigger on the inside!” She gasped, taking in the sights.

The room encircled them. Tall portraits of several dozen ponies of every sort peppered the wall each bore a unique expression coupled with a pedestal that held a representation of the subject’s cutie mark. The pictures varied in their expression and color, from black-and-white and sepia, to oil paintings and framed photographs fitted to the canvas.

“Our bloodline goes back further than the rule of Princess Platinum,” Sterling explained. “This is Powder Pearly,” he said, gesturing to a grinning mare as they passed, “an assistant to Clover the Clever. From humble beginnings to the power our family holds now.”

“I didn’t know that.” Silver Spoon shook her head, listening intently to the lecture as she admired of the white unicorn.

“I had to wait until my father died to add to our history.” Sterling trailed off, stopping to cast a saddened glance to the portrait of a scowling stallion. “I’ve done better than you would have thought,” he said, looking the portrait in the eyes.

“What was Grandpa Steel like?” Silver Spoon innocently inquired, considering the portrait. He does look scary the way it’s like he’s looking right at you. She shuddered, banishing a harrowing thought before it could take root.

“It’s not important, anyway.” He gestured to a blank canvas just past his own. “That’s your space. I wonder what you will add to our name. You’ll make me proud, I’ve no doubt.”

A sense of pride welled up in Silver Spoon’s chest as she imagined succeeding her father. I’ll make you proud, daddy! She smiled, a vision of an older version of herself appearing on the canvas in her eyes.

Silver Spoon looked to her father’s portrait and noticed it was a family picture. Sunset coddled a newborn silver foal in her hooves, and Sterling smiled warmly next to her, his hoof stroking his daughter’s mane.

“I can understand why you would be hostile towards your mother.” Sterling smiled; his eyes shone as if the memory were playing out before him once more. “She is trying. I’m only asking you to consider—”

“I know why you would say that,” Silver Spoon interrupted. “But I was taught not to make the same mistake twice.”

Sterling sighed. “Well, that’s not a blatant no, so I’ll take it.” He chuckled.

Silver Spoon shrugged, her gaze lingered on her father’s portrait. Wait... huh? It wasn’t until then that she noticed a faint indentation just between her father's portrait and her own. “Daddy, was your picture moved?”

“H-Huh?” Sterling blinked in surprise. “O-Oh, that no.” He shook his head. “The design was off a bit is all. That’s why there’s a sort of gap there.”

“Hmmm...” Silver Spoon stared for a while and then slowly nodded. “Okay.”

“Alright, enough history,” Sterling smiled, coaxing Silver Spoon back to the door. “I said yesterday...” he paused, tapping a hoof to his chin. “Earlier? Heh, anyway, point is you, your mother and I will be spending the day together. She told me she has something planned.”

Silver Spoon groaned, rolling her eyes. “What are we doing?”

“You mother had the wonderful idea to throw a picnic today.” Sterling smiled. “Why don’t you go get her? She was headed for the kitchen last I saw. I’ll catch up; I need to get something myself.”

“Okay.” Silver Spoon nodded.

Silver Spoon moved downstairs and then into the dining hall. Sunset approached her, appearing to be on her way out, burdened with a large saddle bag and on her way out. “Oh, Silver Spoon.” Sunset smiled. “Good morning, how did you sleep?”

“Not too well,” Silver Spoon answered. “I got a little. Anyway, daddy wanted me to come and get you.”

“Alright, I’m ready.” Sunset nodded and then paused, tapping a hoof to her chin. “But I have the food and other things. What is your father doing?”

“I’m not sure.” Silver Spoon shrugged. “He said he’d meet us here, though.”

A silence fell over the dining hall. The ticking of the clock echoed in the room. Sunset appeared anxious, seemingly trying to find something in the room to distract her or break the dreadful, awkward, silence between her and Silver Spoon.

“O-Oh!” Sunset suddenly exclaimed. “I have something I believe you might like.”

Silver Spoon watched as her mother’s horn began to glow. From Sunset’s saddle bag a green striped candy cane levitated over to her. Spearmint! A wide smile grew on her face as she liberated the treat from the plastic. Wait! Her eyes shifted to Sunset, who smiled at her display.

“Your little friend in the black dress mentioned something to me last night.” Sunset paused and giggled. “Though, she seemed... odd, for a filly. She kept asking me about the gingerbread colt. Do you know what she meant?“

Oh, Twist... Silver Spoon giggled, taking the candy into her mouth. “She’s a little weird like that, Sunset,” she said, savoring the sharp, minty taste as it danced across her tongue.

Sunset’s eyes shone brightly with pride as she looked to Silver Spoon laughing, “It seems you’ve made quite a few connections here.”

“I guess you could say that.” Silver Spoon nodded. “I do have some memories here that I would never want to forget. I’ve grown in this past year with the help of my new friends.” Silver Spoon blinked in realisation. What am I doing, Talking to her like she cares?!

“Well, are we all set to go?” Sterling’s voice chirped.

“Yes, Daddy,” Silver Spoon replied. A bulging saddle bag instantly caught her eye. “What are you bringing?”

“The entertainment, of course!” Sterling grinned. “Alright, let’s go. I know a little field on the outskirts of town where there’s nothing but space for us to enjoy ourselves.”

---

Just as Sterling had said, he lead his family to an expansive glade with a few shade trees scattered throughout. An occasional strong breeze blew, rustling the trees and causing a wave-like effect in the grass.

“Wow! I know she said today would be nice, but I had no idea how nice,” Sunset remarked. “Now, let’s find a nice spot under a tree.”

“Here,” Sterling said, pointing with a hoof towards a nearby oak.

Silver Spoon and her family moved under the tree. With the help of her magic, Sunset quickly set the red-and-white patchwork cloth and the food as well, which consisted of a variety of sandwiches, fruits and vegetables.

“Darling, now will you tell us what you’ve been packing around?” Sunset asked, curiously looking to the saddlebag.

Sterling chuckled. “It’s something. But knowing how competitive you are, I fear for everypony’s safety. I still remember the black eye and the busted blood vessel you gave me when we first met!” Sterling laughed, rubbing his right eye.

Wait, what?! Silver Spoon reeled.

Sunset blushed. “I warned you. I was so scared when I heard you had to see a doctor.”

“You kidding me? It gave me an excuse to wear an eyepatch for a month.” Sterling grinned. “Thankfully, Nightmare Night was just around the corner. Then, the next day I asked you out and bam! We were a couple.”

“One year later, you proposed.” Sunset smiled, leaning in and kissing Sterling.

“The year after that...” Sterling looked to Silver Spoon and smiled.

“Oh!” Sunset bursted out into a riotous laughter. “I seem to recall that you passed out in the delivery room from the blood!”

Sterling flinched, blushing in embarrassment. “I-I don’t remember that!” His ears wiggled.

I might be a horrible liar, but when you lie, your ears wiggle,” Sunset teased.

Sterling rolled his eyes. “They do not.” He shook his head, his ears twitching a few times.

Silver Spoon giggled. “They do.” She smirked.

“Oh, Silver Spoon!” Sterling dramatically exclaimed. “I am hurt!” Again, his ears wiggled.

“Look at them go!” Sunset laughed.

The family’s collective laughter echoed through the plain. Silver Spoon smiled, looking to her father, and then leaving her gaze on Sunset. All of a sudden she snorted loudly, effectively silencing everyone.

Sunset blushed deeply, covering her mouth with a hoof.

“Now that was cute,” Sterling teased.

What am I supposed to think about her? Silver Spoon starred to Sunset, regarding her for a bit as the mare pawed at the ground with a hoof, hanging her head. This is so confusing. I remember her being so cold, distant. Now here she is, laughing with me.

Her gaze shifted to her father, who was laughing heartily at his suddenly meek wife. He keeps saying she isn’t like I think, and really, this just proves it—

Wha? A levitating carrot broke Silver Spoon’s train of thought. Silver Spoon looked up to find Sunset smiling expectantly. She smiled feebly back and took a bite. If I have been wrong, then... then I really need to apologize to her. I REFUSE to forgive her altogether... but I guess I’ll at least give her a chance. The girls did it for me...

“That was a nice trip down memory lane.” Sterling chuckled, setting his saddlebag down. “Now for the game!”

Sunset turned her head, trying to appear as disinterested as possible, though her eyes lingered with curiosity as Sterling produced a swollen water balloon and an insidious grin. “Don’t you dare think what I know you’re thinking.” Sunset leered.

“I know better, dear.” Sterling stuck his tongue out. “I don’t want to be remembered as a catalyst of the apocalypse.”

“Then who are you going to throw water balloons at?” Silver Spoon innocently asked.

Sterling smiled slyly at Silver Spoon. Her eyes widened along with a smile as she anxiously backed away. Oh... Wait, I’ve got a bit of practice at this! This is just like that time with the cupcakes!

Silver Spoon eyed not her father, but the balloon in his hoof. If I can dodge a cupcake, I can dodge a water balloon. Sterling lobbed the water balloon and Silver Spoon easily avoided it by leaping to the side.

Sunset looked on, giggling as she nibbled on an apple. “You’re light on your hooves,” she said after swallowing. “Honey, be careful.”

Sterling flashed Sunset a smile. “It’s in good fun, don—” A gray blur sped past his vision. Silver Spoon smiled deviously, poised and ready to hurl a water balloon. “Oh... dip.” He chuckled, backing away.

Unlike the kindness her father no doubt displayed, Silver Spoon threw her weapon with all the strength she could muster, but to no avail however; Sterling bobbed his head out of the way.

"Nice throw!" Sunset commented with a giggle.

"H-Hey, c'mon now, Silver," Sterling nervously chuckled. "Take it easy on your old man."

Silver Spoon narrowed her eyes, dashing past the bag and picking up a balloon on the sly. Her father jumped and began running in the opposite direction. He's fast. Silver Spoon stopped and tracked Sterling's seemingly erratic and sudden movements. Just like before.

Once she had his movements down, she took her shot; the balloon screamed across the field and collided with a target. An apple core fell abruptly to the ground.

"Silver Spoon... what have you done?" Sterling's ears drooped down to his sides as he backed away from his drenched wife.

Sunset's mane dripped, covering her face. Moments passed before she turned, bearing a lopsided yet menacing grin at her family. Her eye twitched and her mane caught fire, drying instantly.

Silver Spoon gasped in awe. "Did you see that!?"

"Silver Spoon, I taste that!" Sterling corrected.

Following her father's example, Silver Spoon now backed away from her mother as the legion of remaining water balloons circled around her menacingly.

"Since when can Sunset catch fire?!" Silver Spoon exclaimed.

"Silver Spoon, that is NOT your mother anymore." Sterling shook his head. "It's pure, unfathomable rage! Run!"

No sooner had the words 'run' escaped Sterling's mouth, Sunset broke into a sudden gallop after her daughter and husband, bearing the entire arsenal.

"Oh, do NOT RUN FROM ME!" Sunset roared, flinging water balloons with immense power.

"And this is why we don't play against Mommy," Sterling chuckled, bullets splashing dangerously close to him.

"I-I can see that!" Silver Spoon barked. "Why didn't you just take the hit?!"

"Same reason you didn't!" Sterling replied with a smile. He flashed a look over his shoulder and then shoved Silver Spoon out of the way.

Silver Spoon clumsily regained her balance just in time to see her father gunned down mercilessly by a rapid assault of water balloons.

“Guh, Si-Silver Spoon, run,” were Sterling’s last words as he dramatically loosed a long sigh, letting his tongue loll out of his mouth.

Silver Spoon half expected the joke to be over with the fall of her father. However, Sunset walked slowly and deliberately towards Silver Spoon now, a hooffull of water balloons at the ready.

“O-Okay, Sunset, you win, e-enough.” Silver Spoon felt painfully vulnerable without her father, and bearing down this new opponent on her own was a terrifying thought. Sterling peeked and silently urged Silver Spoon to play along.

Silver Spoon reflexively avoided shot after shot until her mother was down to the last one. She paused, watching the balloon intently until it began hurtling towards her. Silver Spoon moved, and it whizzed past her, but before relief could wash over her, water did from the back of her head.

“Ha. Ha. Ha!” Sunset teased, trotting back over to the picnic blanket.

Silver Spoon stood stunned as she soothed the back of her head with a hoof. What... just happened here? She looked to her father who stood, smiling as usual as water dripped from his body.

Sterling motioned with his head to return to the blanket. “Alright, now for something a little less dangerous.”

They regrouped under their tree, and then Sterling went rummaging through the saddlebag once more, this time producing three spindles of string and cloth lined with a plastic frame.

“Kites?” Sunset said in her normal tone of voice. “Why couldn’t you have just done that earlier?”

“Because it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun as what just happened,” Sterling frankly answered. “Now that we’ve worked out the tension among us, we can kite, eat, and talk a lot easier.”

Sunset sighed, shaking her head. “I hate it when you scheme without warning me.”

“Then it wouldn’t have felt as natural.” Sterling chuckled. “Silver,” he said turning to his daughter, who had been unusually quiet, “something the matter?”

“O-Oh, no.” Silver Spoon shook her head. “Nothing, daddy.” She looked to Sunset and caught her frowning. Silver Spoon sighed and decided to try. “Though I had no idea Sunset was so competitive.”

Sunset blushed. “I warned you two.” She appeared to be trying to disguise a smile that inevitably crept across her face.

“Yeah.” Sterling nodded, assembling the kites. “If nothing else, she likes to be in control. You should see her trying to play charades. Veeeery short tempered.”

Sunset huffed, turning her nose up. “It’s not my fault.”

“Alright, finished.” Sterling said with a nod, “ Let’s get these things in the air.”

After deciding on who got which kites, they lingered high in the sky with everyone looking to the clouds and smiling. This is all I ever asked for. Silver Spoon smiled as she looked to her father.

The excitement winded down to an odd feeling of tranquility. The sun warmed Silver Spoon’s fur. She turned, studying Sunset. I’ll get around to it. She silently nodded, returning her gaze to her kite. For now, I just want to enjoy the kites.
---
The sun burned the sky a brilliant orange as Silver Spoon and her family returned home. Sterling yawned and pressed the door open, waving Sunset and Silver Spoon inside, and then closed the door behind them.

“S-Sunset,” Silver Spoon meekly whispered, “can we... talk?”

Sunset’s face lit up as she nodded. “Y-Yes! Of course, Silver Spoon.”

“I’ll be in our room, honey,” Sterling announced, leaving a kiss on Sunset’s cheek before ascending the stairs. “You two play nice!”

Once Silver Spoon saw her father round the corner on the third floor, she turned and met Sunset’s bright, expectant gaze. I would imagine this means a lot to her, Silver Spoon mentally noted. “Sunset... I wanted to say I am sorry for how I’ve been acting towards you.”

“I understand.” Sunset nodded. “I deserved it, after all. I don’t blame you for not wanting to acknowledge me in the slightest.”

Silver Spoon inhaled a shaky breath with one question on the forefront on her mind. “Why?”

Sunset hung her head; that one word held a heavy weight. “I... was afraid,” she weakly said. “I didn’t know what to do with a foal, even with Sterling at my side. I felt... lost.”

“What do you mean?” Silver Spoon blinked. “Did you not want me?”

“I was afraid I’d ruin your life,” Sunset admitted, unable to meet Silver Spoon’s shocked gaze. “When I was your age, my mother was never there for me. I was left in the care of nannies and servants my whole life. I didn’t know how to care for you, but I so desperately wanted better for you. Then... when you were born, I-I panicked! I choked and found any and every excuse to not be around. The longer I was away, the more I convinced myself that I was acting in your best interests.” Sunset sighed. “I am no sort of mother. How could I possibly do anything but harm to you?”

“Oh...” Silver Spoon found herself unable to say anything else.

“It seems like I was wrong even about that much.” Sunset shook her head. “I can’t ask you to call me mother, but I am happy you at least acknowledge me.” She cleared her throat and blinked her watery eyes rapidly. “I-I need to go.”

Sunset hurriedly made her way past Silver Spoon. The grey filly stood stunned with a growing sense of guilt. Maybe I was wrong about her. But what if it’s all just a lie? She groaned. Why can’t she just be unlikable? It was easier when I could just hate her.

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