• Published 25th Sep 2012
  • 5,616 Views, 123 Comments

Sororal Instincts. - Reptilicus

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I wish I may, I wish I might.

Hearths-Warming Day was, as usual and as it should be, a joyous event. The extreme winter coolness was not enough to keep the citizens of Equestria from enjoying the awesome holidays. Families, friends, and those who were once out of touch spent the time together. A day to celebrate camaraderie as a nation while also a day to give thanks for the things you were lucky enough to have. Appreciation and dedication rolled into one holiday. Special, in that it proved that while cultures may clash, and beliefs may be contrary, everypony was the same, inside.

There could not have been a more apropos example of the spirit of this holiday then the particular group of equines who were staying within the cozy confines of Sugarcube Corner, a charming bakery in the center of the tiny town of Ponyville. Some family. Some not. Some close friends. Some not. All as different as can be, but more than happy to spend the day in each others company. More than happy to give love and thanks to those who have shown them kindness over the years.

Cynical ponies would say that this holiday was a sham. A shameless ruse of what was once an honorable celebration of the day a nation came together. The day six ancient horses realized they needed each other to survive. The day Equestria was founded. Cynical ponies would say that all the fluff and stuff had ruined this one solemn day. The gift giving, the shopping, the singing, the dancing. That it was all too much. Too focused around objects and not emotions. Perhaps in a way they were right. The day had changed. It's meaning was different now than it had been thousands of years prior. But in a way, who could be a greater judge of the holiday itself then their leaders? The two mares that had adorned the Equestrian flag since the beginning of time? Who were more than happy to celebrate this holiday the same as many others did now. Gifts and subtle affections for those who worked under them, those who had helped them rule in peace for so long.

If they were fine with it, who could truly disagree with a straight face? If these two, of all ponies, embraced the changes so easily, then who could say otherwise? Who could define what it meant to celebrate this occasion in such a way? It's meaning may have expanded, changed, sometimes even been forgotten. But what it represented was still ever present in the minds of those who sat together, embraced together, and loved together. The ideal that love and friendship could overcome any conflict.

The shop had closed early that day, by mid afternoon. Pinkie had gleefully opened her gifts as soon as the doors were shut, laughing loudly at the reptile leash she had gotten for Gummy. Now she could easily take him outside without worrying if he was scuttling off without her noticing. It would mean less worry and less restraining orders for everyone! The Cakes themselves had been overjoyed with their gift from Pinkie, tickets to the Manehattan Symphony Orchestra, and had showered her with hugs and kisses. The shop had been doing so well that the Cake's had given something to the pink pony that she never would have expected to get in a million years. A fancy motorized carriage. It brought her to tears to think about how much it must have cost them, and was afraid to accept it at first, but her adopted parents were adamant. Had it not been for her brilliant idea and ever present support, the shop would not have made nearly as much money this year. Or any year for that matter. They had enough for the carriage and far more in the bank. They wouldn't have to worry about finances for a long long time.

There was a condition to the gift, however. Pinkie would HAVE to take driving lessons before she could use the carriage. And she would promise to the Cake's that she would be responsible with it, and not drive it after partying or when sleepy. She still had to follow curfew as well. The pink pony swore up and down she would obey these rules. And she kept her word. That's what a Pinkie Promise is all about.

The Cake's had given Scootaloo a new red helmet and kneepads earlier that morning to go with the red electric scooter she had received from Pinkie. She was instantly delighted by the device and the first hour of the shop's closing had been filled with the 'put-put-put' of the tiny motor in the scooter as the pegasus gleefully drove it around the kitchen, performing wheelies and flips. It didn't take long for the adults to demand she take the vehicle outside since it was scuffing up the floor. Rubber tire treads are a huge pain in the flank to clean. Especially off untreated hardwood flooring. Scootaloo dearly loved the electric scooter, now that she had a mode of transportation considerably faster than her old wooden one. And this one didn't require her to exhaust her small underdeveloped wings. All one had to do was plug it into a power source for an hour and it would have enough power to drive the rest of the day.

As the day went on the other members of the Elements of Harmony came to visit Pinkie, now that celebrating with their own families had ended. Simultaneously to also thank the pink pony for her generous and often shockingly expensive gifts. The Apple Family were shocked to find a brand new 'Bronco Pride Rotary Tiller' being lowered from the sky by two pegasi handymen onto their lawn. This would completely change the way they did things on the farm. Fluttershy loved the magic quilt that Pinkie had made for her and had arrived at the bakery with the whole thing wrapped around her body like a shawl. It kept her warm and smelled like her favorite flowers. As the day grew darker and the sun began to sink, Rarity eventually arrived with Sweetie Belle, thanking Pinkie for the quiche and wine that had arrived in a basket on her doorstep. The evening was spent with Rarity sharing amusing stories about her parents and how they had spent the day before the long train ride back to Ponyville.

In the corner of the room sat two gifts. The wrapped bass guitar for Rainbow Dash from Pinkie, and vice-versa, a gift for Pinkie from Dash. Pinkie had held off opening the present, feeling it would be more appropriate to wait for Dash to arrive back to the bakery with Twilight before unwrapping it. And so the day wore on. Scootaloo played outside with Applebloom and Sweetie-Belle, dragging them behind her in a small wagon that they hooked to her brand new scooter. Laughing and shouting with joy as they careened through the town, leaving small trails in the snow. It was a beautiful winter day and the three tiny ponies were just happy to be together. Happy to be friends again and in the company of those who cared for them. Isolation had brought them together once, and their oddities are what had made them friends.

It would be almost night by the time Rainbow Dash and Twilight Sparkle arrived back at the bakery.


*****************************************************


As the sky reddened and the sun disappeared behind the horizon, the quiet laughter and chatter of Sugarcube Corner was interrupted by the small tinkling of the copper bell that hung over the front door. Several set of eyes glanced expectantly at the visitors who entered. They were long overdue to join in the celebration of the Holiday.

"Hey gang!" Rainbow chirped as she entered the establishment. She looked tired, as expected after a long day of filling out forms and having somewhat uncomfortable conversations with very important ponies. But the evidence of her completed mission sat packed into the two saddlebags that hung at her toned sides. Parchments and other objects within each bag.

A rousing welcome of 'hellos' and 'happy holidays' was soon cried out by the other ponies inside the building. Rainbow entered, followed closely by Twilight whom, much like Rainbow, looked tired. Twilight flopped onto the couch in the den, ready to take a quick nap when suddenly a small box wrapped in green silk was being shoved into her face by two pink outstretched hooves.

"You can't go to sleep yet, sleepyhead!" Pinkie pushed the box even closer. "You have presents to open!"

"Pinkie, can it wait til' I'm somewhat well rested? I've been on my hooves all day." Twilight yawned, flopping onto one of the couch pillows.

The sad look on Pinkie's face provided the answer to Twilight's question. With a small sigh the purple unicorn used her mouth to tear the silk wrappings off the small box. It was two tickets to the luxurious Mustang Motel on the beaches of Horseshoe Bay. Quite a swanky joint, indeed! It was the sort of place royalty and celebrities often stayed. Although part of the royal family, Twilight had never really considered herself famous, though she was.

"Now you can have a nice relaxing swimmy swim whenever you want! You seem like you could use one right now!" Pinkie hugged her friend, who was still shocked at receiving such a pricey but elegant gift. Twilight dearly hoped Pinkie would like the flat cap she had bought for her in Canterlot.

Dash entered the kitchen to find the Cakes watching Applebloom and Sweetie Belle play a game of checkers, in which the board of the game was balanced on the shell of the sleeping tortoise, Tank. As if spurred by a psychic connection, the tortoise woke the moment his master was near and walked (slowly) immediately up to Dash, spilling the checkerboard and all its pieces to the floor much to the laughter of Applebloom and dismay of Sweetie Belle.

"Hey there, boy! Did you like my gift?" Dash exclaimed, patting the tortoise on the head. He smiled and pulled his head, new scarf and all, into his shell, squishing his face against the warm downy fabric.

Dash walked over to Mr. and Mrs.Cake motioning for them to follow her through the door to the kitchen. The two elder ponies stood silently near the cyan mare, once she was sure nobody was watching.

"I wanted to thank you." Dash began, looking up at the ceiling. "For letting me stay here. You guys have been really generous and nice and I.....er...I'm not really sure how to like...express how much I appreciate your support over these last few weeks. You let me into your home and let me take care of Scoot and you've just been so much help."

"We're happy to help, dear." Mrs.Cake gave Rainbow a warm hug. "You're always welcome, you know."

"I wasn't really sure...how to thank you. You two are so dang nice. Pinkie is so lucky to have you both. I wasn't sure if I could find anything to repay you with." Dash frowned a bit. She'd hoped that while in Canterlot she might spy something appropriate to give to Pinkie's parents. But nothing seemed appropriate for the odd couple. It had seemed to be an impossible venture until she'd passed by the radio station. Then it had hit her! The perfect gift.

"Dash, really you don't have to worry about us. We're just glad to -" Mr.Cake was stopped by a raised cyan hoof.

"Nah! You're gonna like this. Like really really like this." Rainbow shoved her head into one of her saddle bags, pulling out a white cardboard box. It looked a bit worn and dusty. Dash hadn't really found the time to wrap it. She pushed it towards the two elder ponies. Cup delicately flipped the lid of the box with her small chubby hoof. The two seemed to gasp in sync.

"It's an eight millimeter tripod-mounted cinemacam. It'll let you guys record movies and then you can watch them on Pinkie's film projector. I also grabbed a bunch of blank film. Apparently color film is the next big thing so you can buy these older models now."

"We could record the twins when they take their first steps with this, Honeylumps!" Mrs.Cake said excitedly.

"Or record when Pinkie can officially drive her wagon for the first time, Sugarsquash!" Mr.Cake replied, looking into his wife's eyes.

"Or record the day we make our one millionth bit, Boogerbear!"

"Or record our trip when we renew our vows, Pepperpeach!"

Dash coughed loudly. She didn't want to seem rude and break up their romantic conversation, but the endless atrocious pet names these two had for each other was leaving deep wounds in her mind. They blushed and nodded at Dash.

"Thank you." said Mrs.Cake, dabbing at her eyes with her frilly yellow apron.

"You're very welcome. Now if you'll excuse me, I gotta go talk to Pinks." and with that Dash left the kitchen. She steered around the mess of checkers on the floor that were being pushed into a pile by Applebloom who had apparently received a stetson much like her older sister's hat. It was too big for her head and covered most of her face but the small pony seemed determined to keep it on her head even though it impaired her vision. Pinkie was sitting stoically near the wall, holding Dash's small gift in her hooves, glancing eagerly up at her rainbow-maned friend.

"Can I open it now, Dashie?!" She seemed to vibrate with excitement.

"Sure thing, pal. Also you gotta stop calling me that."

Pinkie blew a raspberry at the request and set about tearing through the gift wrap like a rabid dog tearing through a particularly unlucky squirrel. Except the gift wrap was lucky to never be alive in the first place. Small pieces of it floated to the ground as Pinkie observed the small cardboard box, her torso pressed to the ground and her rump poised in the air, her snout sniffing the box in the hopes of guessing its contents before opening it. Her pupils contracted as she realized the scent from the box was unfamiliar.

"Is it candy?"

"Just open it already, Pinkie!" Dash threw her hooves up in exasperation. "I don't have all night!"

Pinkie smiled brightly and pushed the lip of the small box off with her hoof. Inside was a small piece of paper with writing on it. The poor spelling and scrawled penmanship made it plainly obvious that Dash had written her a note. She picked it up in the cuff of her hoof and held it up so she could read it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hey Pinkie.

I know it's kind of weird to get paper for a holiday but hear me out. Or read me out. Whatever. Pinkie when we first met I thought you were annoying and kind of weird. As I got to know you better I realized you're actually really annoying and really weird! But you're also the sweetest, funniest, best pony I know. I don't know what I'd do with myself if you weren't around, P. Every moment we hang out is like the best moment in the world. It's kind of hard for me to express how much I love having you as a friend. I'm not good with talking about this stuff. So maybe writing it will be easier? I'm not sure.

Pinkie you taught me to smile. To smile like you mean it. Not just fake smiles. You've taught me to laugh at myself when I was too big of a jerk to do it on my own. You've made me feel comfortable in situations I would normally hate. You've helped me understand our friends better. And you've kept me busy so I can't get into trouble like I used to do. You taught me not to run from my feelings and not be scared of hugs. I was so full of hate when I came to this town, pal. You and Fluttershy have transformed me. Made me a better pony. A happier one.

So basically I made this note because there aren't enough gifts in Equestria that I can throw at you to show how much I care. Especially this year with you helping me house Scoot. So I guess one large gift at a time over the course of a long time will have to do. So here's the deal: next sunday night I want you to put on your favorite dress cause you and I are going to the live performance of the 3 Coocoos. They are performing with Sapphire Shores at the Canterlot Comedy Club and you are coming. There will be no excuses! I will not take no for an answer! This is final! Cause I bought the tickets already.

I think this is the most I have written ever, Pinkie. I'm in Twilight's library as I write this. Spike is helping me since I'm not good at this sort of thing. Spike wants me to mention he'd like to order a box of troufles. Oh wait it's spelled truffles.

Love you,
R.D.

p.s. don't crush my ribs when you hug me

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The addendum to the note was ignored. Geologists say that the force of Pinkie's hug actually caused one of the tectonic plates to shift unnaturally. Several dormant volcanoes went off on the other side of the globe. Many towns were destroyed in a fiery haze of molten terror, leaving their inhabitants screaming at the sky, looking for answers. All this caused by a small pink pony you was hugging the very life out of her bestest best friend and peppering her face with smooches. This was where Dash would draw the line.

"Okay! That's enough of that, yuck!" Dash muttered aloud as she pushed Pinkie away with a leg and wiped all the slobber off her face with a napkin. It wasn't that Dash didn't appreciate the kindness, but some ponies just take it too far. "Pinkie you need to learn the definition of personal space!"

Pinkie cackled madly and hopped around the kitchen, eventually colliding with the pile of checkers that Applebloom had been fixing. The youngster had not noticed due to the very large hat on her head. In fact, she stood up and decided she felt like talking to Sweetie Belle some more and wandered out of the kitchen, leaving Pinkie and a mess of checkers in her wake.

"Did you get me a guitar, Pinkie?" Dash asked, observing the remaining wrapped gift. Pinkie's face of glee fell to a frown instantly.

"Rainbow! You spoiled the surprise! How did you know?!" She crossed her arms and pouted, sending more checkers flying.

"Well...for starters the package is perfectly shaped like a guitar. You even wrapped the strings. I'm not a detective or anything but yeah. Kinda obvious." Dash grinned at the gift. Only Pinkamena Diane Pie would be so immersed with gift wrap that she would wrap every piece of the guitar while it was still assembled.

Suddenly there was a loud clattering of hooves and a blur of orange from up the stairs.

"Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaash!" Scootaloo squealed, leaping into the air as she reached the bottom of the stairwell, her tiny wings buzzing at unheard of speeds, propelling her forward as she collided into her mentor, giggling happily. All she really wanted that day was to spend some time with her hero. Now she finally had the chance.

The force of the hug was similar to Pinkie's version. But with less volcanoes. Dash sailed backwards several feet, landing on her rump. She smiled lovingly down at the tiny foal who was burying her face in Dash's chest fluff and laughing happily. It felt good to be here. It felt like home. But the time had come to have some important words with Scootaloo. Hopefully in private.

"Heya there, Squirt! Did you have a nice holiday?" Dash lifted the small orange filly up, planting a small kiss on her forehead.

"Yeah yeah! Rarity gave me a scarf like yours and Pinkie n' her mom and dad got me a scooter!" Her small legs kicked in the air happily.

"Another one, huh?"

"Yeah but this one runs on its own when I push a pedal on it."

"Ah, so it's motorized. That's pretty rad."

"It goes so fast!"

"I bet it does. Thanks, Pinkie." Dash smiled at her friend. Pinkie nodded and winked.

Dash rubbed the back of her neck. It would be a lot less awkward to do this where there weren't so many eyes watching.

"Hey, Scoot, I know I've been gone all day and I'm sorry." She gave the filly a small nuzzle. "But I had a really busy day getting presents for you. So how about we go over here and we can talk a bit."

Dash walked into the main shopping area of the bakery where the cash register sat. She pulled the saddlebags off of her back and placed them at her side. Scootaloo happily galloped in after her, sitting in front of Dash and staring up with complete adoration. Whatever Dash had gotten her, it was probably going to be awesome.




****************************************

"It's happening!" Pinkie whispered excitedly, jabbing Rarity in her side. The white unicorn turned, nonplussed. Sipped her tea once, twice. Then it hit her as she saw the look on Pinkie's face.

"Oh my gracious! Girls! It's happening!" She clapped her hooves together getting their attention, spilling tea all over the chair.

As quietly as they could, the adults in the room adjusted their positions so they could see out into the main dining area. Fluttershy crept quietly up to the door frame, peeking around the corner to watch Dash and Scootaloo, an eager smile on her face. Pinkie and Rarity stood on their hind legs on the soft armchair Rarity had been sitting in, their heads poking out from behind the headrest. Twilight and Applejack stood on either side of the armchair, craning their heads and leaning, not wanting to miss a moment. Sweetie Belle and Applebloom were too busy trying to build a castle out of blocks to notice the change in their sister's behaviors. It was a pretty impressive castle. Applebloom definitely had a talent when it came to building things.

Mr. and Mrs.Cake took notice of the odd antics occurring in the den. They put the camera back into the box and quietly tiptoed behind Twilight and Applejack.

"What's going on?" Mrs.Cake whispered, concerned with what was causing the deathly silence. Twilight pointed a hoof at the next room. The Cakes crowded to the door frame, opposite Fluttershy, curious to see how this would all go down.

"So this means she's going to do it, right?" Fluttershy whispered, her already soft voice nearly silent.

"Yes." Twilight whispered. "We spent most of today in Canterlot getting this set up."

"Canterlot?" Applejack asked a bit too loudly. Everyone shushed her.

"We wanted to register Scootaloo as a citizen of Ponyville, Applejack. She has no birth certificate or anything. So we needed to get all that stuff fixed up. And get some letters of recommendation to take to the adoption bureau. One of them was from Celestia." Twilight replied quietly.

"Shh! Something's happening!" Rarity frantically whispered.


************************************************

Two ponies sat quietly in the middle of the dining area. One large. One small. One blue. One orange. Neither said anything for a few moments as the larger one collected her thoughts and began opening the large saddlebag she had sitting adjacent to her on the floor. The smaller pony's purple messy tail was waggling happily, eager to see the surprise. The larger of the two cleared her throat and brushed her colorful hair back briefly with a hoof before smiling at the smaller one and beginning to speak.

"Scoot I wanted to talk to you a bit. About uh....well, you I guess."

The smaller orange pony frowned slightly. Every time the subject of herself had come up over the course of the last few weeks it had been painful and emotionally exhausting. She wasn't looking forward to talking about this again. The change in demeanor hadn't gone unnoticed.

"Scootaloo, you remember how I said I would help you rebuild your treehouse when it got warmer?"

The filly nodded.

"Well, I can't do that for you. Sorry. It's not healthy and it's not safe, Squirt. You can't go back to living in the woods."

The frown got deeper as the filly felt a small sense of fright building up. If she couldn't go back to her treehouse then that meant she was temporarily without a home.

"Also I don't think it'd be a good idea for you to live in Applejack's cellar anymore. I'm pretty sure she doesn't like you eating their storage food."

Dash took a deep breath. This was going to be hard to express.

"Scoot. You've been through...well ALOT lately. You've told me so much about yourself. I know that it hurts to think and talk about sometimes. About .....you know.....family stuff."

Scootaloo nodded slowly, looking at the floor. Her former family was not a subject she wanted to think about ever again, if possible. Every day since then had been a struggle.

"I know you've been by yourself a really long time, Squirt. I know what it's like to be alone. So does Pinkie. It hurts sometimes. Not having anyone there. But nobody deserves to be alone. And I know you don't like being by yourself. I can tell when you cry at night. You miss having a family. I do, too."

Dash cleared her throat again and reached into her bag, pulling out one of several parchments. Each was very important, but the particular one she had chosen was the most important of all. It had a small wax seal on it, in the shape of the Equestrian flag. It shook in her trembling hooves as she cautiously lowered it to the floor between her and the foal. Dash pawed at the wax with her hoof until the scroll unfolded, laying flat on the ground. This felt awkward.

"This...um paper here, Scoot. Well it's a ....uh, legal document. For adoption. Do you know what that means?"

Scootaloo shook her head innocently, briefly glancing at the parchment.

"Well basically it means that....if I were to sign this....right here." Dash pointed to a blank line in the paragraphs of writing.

"It means that....you and I would be like....a family. You wouldn't have to be alone anymore. You could come home with me, Scoot. And I would take care of you. I could be...you know... like a big sister or a....... ma.........m...mom." Dash stuttered slightly. This was ending up way more difficult to do then she had previously hoped.

A minute passed as the small filly stared up at Dash, her expression blank. She said nothing. Her mind processing all of this sudden information. Dash felt her heart break as the filly frowned slightly and looked back at the floor. Not the reaction she had expected at all. It had failed. It had all failed. The one thing she really felt was the right thing to do. Her dream. Her instincts. All had come crashing down. And so Dash did the one thing she was an expert at. She tried to make light of the situation.

"Well, anyway, it was just an idea. You know just a silly thought I had. Anyway don't worry about it, Squirt."

Dash pushed the paper aside, shoving it under the dusty oak podium that the cash register sat on. Every moment felt like agony. Every small crumple the paper made as it slid aside into the wooden crevice was like a pang of guilt, tearing its way through the cyan mare. She hadn't wanted to resort to a "plan B" but here it was.

"Anyways, I got you some other neat stuff while I was out today, Scoot." Dash shoved her head into the saddlebag, taking a moment to clench her teeth in a silent scream of grief. Ruined. Everything was ruined. She recovered quickly as possible, putting on a false smile and drawing out a gleaming golden pair of goggles, fastened with small brass rivets and tied back with black rubber straps. "These babies are official Wonderbolts gog...."

The filly was gone. Dash was confused as she stopped in mid-sentence. Scootaloo had been sitting right in front of her but a mere few seconds ago. Where had she gone? Had she run away? Did she hate Dash so much she no longer wanted to be present? Was she back in the other room with the others?


A quiet crinkle of paper caused Rainbow's heart to stop. She turned to look at the podium. A sliver of the document was being tugged on by the tiny orange filly as she dragged it from its hiding place. With her back turned she sat on her small haunches and quietly read the paper. It was full of big words and strange rhetoric. The sort of thing most adults can barely understand.

Dash held her breath and placed the goggles into her hoof, watching the filly intently with a worried expression. Scootaloo was bent over the scroll, quietly reading the parts that made sense. Her lavender eyes darting to and fro. The only other motion was the occasional twitch in her small downy wings. An expectant silence filled the air. The tension was palpable. Every equine in the building was stock still, afraid to breathe or even move a muscle. Bravely, Dash took a small breath and tried to break the uncomfortable quiet.

"Scoot?" she whispered, lowering her hooves and the goggles to the floor.

The tiny filly shifted slightly. There was a small sniff as she turned her head to look at the cyan mare. The one she trusted and loved so much. Her eyes pooled with tears as she turned to look at Rainbow Dash. This is what she wanted. A home, a real home. And a real family. Love. With a small cry, a yelp full of both joy and sorrow, the filly rose to her feet and ran, clumsily lowering her body and leaping into the outstretched arms of her mentor, burying her face into Dash's chest as she wailed happily.

It was as if time seemed to stop. As if the universe knew that this moment, if any moment was special. And it deserved to last as long as possible. Dash sobbed and choked slightly as she held the whimpering bundle close to her heart, doing her best to not let her tears fall onto the filly's head. Scootaloo's little forelegs wrapped around Dash's neck as she pressed her head into the mare's shoulder, muffling her cries into the cyan coat. The two rocked back and forth gently, as Dash nickered affectionately, comforting the weeping foal. Tank came trundling into the room and sat at his master's side, grunting happily.

Delicately, Dash pulled a small inkwell out her saddlebag with the cuff of her hoof. With no quill in sight, she outstretched her powerful wing and plucked from it, one of her lesser feathers, dipping it in the ebony ink. The blank line on the tear-stained document soon had two letters scrawled across it. "R.D." with a small drawing of a lightning bolt. It wasn't the most formal signature, but those who looked upon it would know immediately who the signature, and the filly in question, belonged to.

"There." she whispered, wrapping her wings around her daughter. "You're my little pony, now."


***************************************






"Why is Scootaloo crying?" Sweetie-Belle asked, not entirely sure what was going on.

The small white unicorn and Applebloom had grown curious to what the adults in the room were staring at. They had abandoned their toy castle to seek out the reason for the room growing so quiet. All the big ponies looked so happy but at the same time their eyes were all so watery. It was a strange sight to see. Particularly on a holiday such as this.

Rarity reached down and picked up her little sister, hugging her tightly.

"Well, Sweetie, you see Rainbow Dash is going to be Scootaloo's mother from now on. Isn't that nice?"

Applebloom poked her head around the door frame to watch the silent spectacle. She smiled up at her big sister as realization dawned.

"So that means that Scootaloo doesn't have tah be all by herself now?"

Applejack adjusted the oversized hat on her sister's head, trying hard not to laugh at how it nearly covered her entire face.

"Yep. Dash is gonna take care o' her from now on, Bloom. Just like me and granny and Mac do wit you."

"Ah bet she's real happy about that!"

"I know they both are." Applejack replied. "I'm happy for 'em."

Mrs.Cake dabbed at her eyes with her apron, giving her husband a kiss on the cheek.

"This special moment is happening in our home." she choked out, trying to keep her voice down. Pinkie and Mr.Cake hugged her. It was a moment none of the equines in the bakery would forget.

"I kinda wish Dash had shown us that camera sooner. Would have been nice to record all this." Mr.Cake quipped with a sly grin.


"Well." Twilight began, resting back onto the couch and yawning. "I've got to admit. This is the most interesting Hearth's Warming Eve I've ever had."

****************************************


The two ponies sat in their embrace for some time. Occasionally the larger one would see if the smaller one was ready to be placed back down onto the floor, usually answered by a panicked squeak of dismay and a tightening of their embrace. Eventually they separated and moved back into the den to be with their friends. Tearful congratulations and hearty thanks were passed around by the various equines in the room. Glad that they were together on this, the most blessed of all nights. Glad to be healthy and happy and safe and loved.

As it got colder, darker and Luna's moon began to rise, the time had come for the company to break apart. Preparations for the yearly Winter Wrap-Up would begin soon. Everyone had a job to do in order to herald the new season. And now that Scootaloo had a home, a real home in the sky where her kind belonged, Dash was eager for her to see it. So, the room upstairs was cleaned. The nest of pillows dismantled. The blankets refolded. And soon it was back to being it's average messy candy-covered self. Pinkie was sad to see it gone. She had enjoyed the company so much.

Friends said goodbye as they headed home. Ready to rest for the night and experience the new day. Rainbow was the last to leave. She thanked Pinkie Pie and the Cake family one more time for their gracious hospitality and generosity. Pinkie gave Scootaloo a warm hug before they exited, wishing her all the happiness in the world, and then some. And so they parted, the pegasi and the earth ponies. It would be a few more hours before the earth ponies returned to bed.

The cyan pegasus soared happily through the air. Bulging saddlebags on her sides. A loyal tortoise in one, and a new daughter in the other. As the three flew through the clouds, the dewy surfaces gleaming in the light of the full moon, they knew their lives had changed forever. For the better. Everything felt beautiful and perfect, because it was.