• Published 25th Sep 2012
  • 5,680 Views, 123 Comments

Sororal Instincts. - Reptilicus

  • ...
3
 123
 5,680

No mother ever cried for midnight.

"She knows, you guys." Scootaloo remarked as she tried to pry Pumpkin Cake off of Sweetie Belle's back. Sweetie turned and raised an eyebrow. Applebloom who had been shaking a toy octopus with a tiny top hat in front of Pound Cake turned as well. Both fixed their eyes on Scootaloo who stared with an intense expression.

"Who knows what?" Sweetie asked.

Scootaloo edged close to the other two and whispered, "She knows my secret."

"You mean how yah can't fly?" Applebloom asked innocently, scratching her head with a hoof.

"No! Not that you goof!" Scootaloo hissed, glaring at her friend. "She know my OTHER secret."

"You mean how you don't have a real home?" Sweetie was currently struggling to keep Pumpkin from clinging to her again like some sort of needy desperate koala with a thirst for unicorns.

"Yeah that. You know what'll happen now! Dash is gonna tell everyone and then your sisters are gonna ask you if you knew about me all this time." Scootaloo frowned and shook her head, feeling defeated.

"What do you want us tah say? I aint gonna lie to Applejack!"

"I'm not asking you to. Just tell them the truth I guess." Scootaloo looked somewhat sad as she mumbled. "I just don't want a bunch of adults pestering me. Or trying to change things. Making me live with ponies I don't like. But I don't think there's any way around it now."

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

In the next room, the four adult ponies were engaged in a conversation revolving around the same subject, of sorts. Applejack was lying on her stomach across the couch cushions, with Pinkie's forelegs and torso propped up on her back. Rarity was slouched in a brown velvet rocking chair, stirring a small glass of tea with a candy cane Pinkie had given her. Rainbow wasn't sitting at all, but was hovering around the room looking pensive. Each flap of her large wings sending up small clouds of dust. Several pressed tomato sandwiches sat in a pile on a tray in the center of the table. The lone survivors of what had once been a much larger crispier pile.

"So she's unhealthy? And the doctor told you to keep her out of the cold after she nearly passed away? I can see how that would be frightfully upsetting." said Rarity, rocking gently back and forth. "I don't know what I'd do if I found Sweetie in such a state, buried in the snow."

"And y'all haven't taken her back to her folks because....?" Applejack asked.

"Because I can't take her back to them yet AJ." It wasn't a lie but it wasn't the truth either. Rainbow started flying faster in her aerial circles.

"Why not, dear? Are they horrible? I always wondered why the Crusaders never wanted to have a sleep-over at Scootaloo's house." Rarity took a sip from her tea. "I've never met them, mind. But the subtlest clues are the loudest."

"No, it's not that." Rainbow was flying even faster in circles, feeling agitated.

"Then what in tarnation is it?" Applejack shouted.

"I don't KNOW alright." Rainbow partly lied. "Look guys all I have is some really basic info I got out of her. I'm trying to warm up to her to get more detailed stuff. I'll tell you everything I can when I really KNOW something."

Applejack sighed in exasperation. "Rainbow do ya need help? Do we need to get involved? This is a child we're talkin' about."

"No, darnit. I have the situation under control."

"Dashie has been taking really good care of Looloo." Pinkie suddenly piped up. She rubbed her cheek affectionately on Applejack's neck. "She's been feeding Scootaloo and washing Scootaloo and drying Scootaloo and keeping her happy doing all sorts of motherly things."

"That so?" Applejack grinned up at Rainbow who blushed while frowning and picked up more speed as she flew about the room looking annoyed.

"Well at least the poor dear is in good hooves." Rarity finished her tea and set the small porcelain cup that was decorated to look like a cake down onto the table. "I always thought the little thing looked sort of lanky and pale for someone her age. Is there a particular reason she is wearing a colorful sock on her head?"

"Those are my old foal winter clothes." Pinkie turned to Rarity with a large grin. "We wanted to make sure she was nice and cozy-wozy so she doesn't get any more sick."

Rarity grimaced slightly and took a bite of her candy cane. "Well. I shall just have to make her something more appropriate now won't I? Maybe I can give it to her at the party this weekend. That's still going on, right Pinkie?"

"Of course! Pinkie Pie would never cancel a party. That would be very un-Pinkie-like of me." replied Pinkie, looking as serious as anyone had ever seen her appear. Her face, a cold mask of grim solemnity. A scowl that could crack diamonds.

"Marvelous. It'll be nice to have all six of the Elements of Harmony together again. I always found it ironic how a holiday season based around spending time with the ones you love seems to draw all of us farther apart due to how busy it is. I haven't seen Twilight in ages." Rarity grabbed a tomato sandwich and took a large bite, chewing thoughtfully. "These are excellent Pinkie. Oh and Rainbow, you should probably share anything you learn about Scootaloo with Fluttershy and Twilight over the weekend. I'm certain they'd like to know what's going on as well. Pinkie whats in this heavenly sandwich?"

"Oh I let the tomatoes baste in some of that soup Applejack made. Then I put a little bit of honey mustard on the toast." Pinkie smiled proudly. It was rare she baked anything that wasn't some sort of ornate dessert and was happy her experiment into less sweet foods was proving to be popular.

"Speakin' a that soup, ya weren't planning on just feeding Scootaloo just soup for the next few weeks, right Rainbow?" Applejack raised an eyebrow suspiciously. She snickered when Rainbow completely stopped flying for a brief moment.

"I uh...." Rainbow hadn't really thought that far into the future.

"Thought as much. If ya wanna get her weight up I'll bring y'all something from the garden that should be good for her. Can't just eat soup all day. Cauliflower, broccoli, avocados, sweet potatoes. A lot of beans, too. Proteins n' such. I'll bring em over tomorrow."

"Thanks AJ." Rainbow replied as she reached for the last tomato sandwich. But it was quickly grabbed and devoured by Applejack. "Hey! What gives!"

"Thinka' that as payment for all that soup and waffles y'all got earlier."

"Granny Smith said I got those at a discount!"

"Yep. Ya did get a discount. From her." Applejack smiled mischievously as bread crumbs flew out of her mouth. "I think you and I are square now."

"I can make us some more sandwiches later Rainbow! We can-" Pinkie was suddenly cut off by a scream and loud crash coming from the room adjacent to theirs.

Rarity and Applejack immediately jumped to their feet and began making their way to the door. Rainbow's eyes widened in horror at the sound and she took off in a panic, leaving a colorful trail. The three of them arrived in the room, quickly followed by Pinkie.

"Scootaloo? Where are you? Scoot?" Rainbow flew frantically around, her voice raising in pitch. The last thing she wanted to see was the kid hurt again.

"She's fine, dear." Rarity motioned towards the table next to the cabinet where the three fillies were sitting underneath, pretending to be asleep with loud obnoxious snores that would never have fooled anyone.

"What'd y'all do?" snapped Applejack.

The three fillies all opened their eyes and shuffled their hooves uncomfortably. Applebloom was the first to speak.

"Ah wondered if maybe Scootaloo could get her cutie mark from being sick."

"Then I said I'd rather get my cutie mark for doing something cool like backflips." Scootaloo seconded.

"And then all three of us tried doing a backflip and we knocked over one of the cookie jars. But we already put it back!" Sweetie sounded almost tearful. Her large eyes glistening with tears.

"Where are the cookies, then? Without cookies its not even a cookie jar. It's just a jar. A jar that feels empty inside. Poor jar!" Pinkie asked as she surveyed the cookie jar, just to be sure nothing on it was broken.

A quiet chewing sound behind her made her turn. Pound and Pumpkin cake were sitting on the floor, their cheeks stuffed full of cookies as they ate the crunchy treats greedily off the carpet. Pinkie frowned. She knew Mr. and Mrs. Cake would not be amused.

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

A few minutes later, after some laughter and light scolding, Rarity and Applejack had left Sugarcube Corner with their sisters in tow. Pinkie set to work cleaning up the infant twins before the Cakes returned from cleaning out the cellar. Rainbow admired the pink pony as she worked. The two hazelnut-colored baby ponies absolutely adored her. They'd even learned to say her name, to an extent. It was more of a saliva-filled gurgle that sounded like 'pinkie' but it was obvious what they were trying to say. Rainbow felt a slight twang of sadness watching the display. Having a loving family seemed so....nice. Dash briefly thought about how she'd never gotten along too well with her parents. They'd never approved of her daredevil lifestyle and impulsive way of fixing problems. When she'd moved to Ponyville, Rainbow had stopped communicating with them entirely. And the feeling of having a real family had been mostly forgotten. At least until recently. Rainbow glanced fondly over at the small orange filly who was sitting on a chair, kicking her legs and looking somewhat lonely now that her two best friends had left the bakery.

Rainbow stared at her, lost in thought. Then she moved to the kitchen and started throwing together some tomato sandwiches. She was still hungry and was going to bet Scoot felt the same way. They weren't pressed or as nicely made as Pinkie Pie's versions. And they lacked the basted tomatoes that had made the previous snacks taste like a fine upper-crust delicacy. But these would be good enough and fill a hungry belly regardless. After eight sandwiches had been hastily made, she placed them on a plate and balanced it on her wing, moving over to where Scootaloo sat. The little filly brightened up immediately at the sight of Rainbow Dash and a stack of food.

"Hey Squirt. I was gonna go upstairs and eat some of these sandwiches. Maybe listen to some of the Wonderbolts telecast. Wanna come?"

Scootaloo gleefully hopped off the chair and followed her idol up the stairs, hungrily staring at the plate of food.

Pinkie sat in the velvet rocking chair Rarity had once occupied, slowly rocking back and forth to lull the twins to sleep. It worked a bit too well since in moments all three had passed out. Their snores were like a loud buzzsaw slicing its way through a cat. Tank the tortoise plodded next to the rocking chair and had a hefty yawn of his own and decided he too, would take a nap. Pound and Pumpkin dreamed mostly about food. Tank dreamed of a lover he had lost decades in the past. Pinkie had a nightmare where she had hit a pony-shaped pinata with a bat, only for it to grow very irate at its bloody injuries.

"What did you think was going to happen, Pinkamena?" the Pinata said as calmly and yet maliciously as possible. "Did you think you were going to hit me with that bat, and little chocolatey candies would come.....pouring out?"

Pinkie nodded shamefully in her dream. Unable to look the Pinata in the face. "I'm sorry." she whispered.

"I have to buy my candy from the shop." the Pinata rasped angrily. It turned to the crowd of other ponies who had come to witness the spectacle. "LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE."

The Pinata began to tearfully walk away with a crutch under one of its paper-mâché legs, leaving small bits of paper in its wake. It turned to cast an angry glare at Pinkie and the crowd.

"I'M JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE."

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

Rainbow watched with a grin as Scootaloo devoured five of the eight tomato sandwiches with a rigorous sort of gusto. Such a small thing could eat so much. Like a bottomless pit. Or Pinkie. Eventually with a small belch, Scootaloo's feasting came to an end and she laid down quietly on her now-bulging stomach looking content and happy for the first time in a while as she stared at Pinkie's radio on the edge of one the blankets, her tiny downy-feathered wings fluttering excitedly. It was nice to see the kid in such high spirits.

Within the chaotic colorful mess of party supplies, streamers and decorative lights that had made up Pinkie's bedroom, Rainbow had managed to clear up enough space to create a sleeping area for herself and a slightly smaller one for Scootaloo. Several piles of various colorful pillows sat organized like sandbags, surrounded by a circular array of cushions and blankets and a few party streamers. It wasn't quite as soft or comfy as a cloud but it would be good enough.

An uncomfortable silence filled the air as Rainbow chewed on a sandwich, wondering how precisely she was going to be able to start this conversation without making Scootaloo feel uneasy. The wrong choice of words would stop the girl from trusting her ever again. With a small push, Rainbow shoved Pinkie's radio out of the way under one of the blankets with her tail. She then gently pushed Scootaloo in front of herself with a hoof so that she could look down at the filly directly. With a quiet gulp she swallowed the last of her sandwich and cleared her throat.

"Scoot." she began quietly. "We need to talk about something kinda important here."

Scootaloo visibly tensed up, her large eyes darting around nervously. She didn't like the quiet serious tone coming from Dash. It was very uncharacteristic.

"So you've told me you don't know where your family is. And this is the truth, right? You wouldn't lie to me right?"

Rainbow stern gaze was met with a nod as she looked right into the child's eyes. There was only honesty to be seen there. Rainbow felt relieved inside. At least this kid trusted her even after she nearly froze her to death.

"Um. Did you used to know where they are?"

A nod.

"Okay. Did you run away from home?"

A shake of the head.

"Are they...you know....alive?"

A nod. And a small tic of the eyelids. A gentle shift of the wings. Scootaloo started to shrink away from Dash, trying to get away. This conversational train was heading to stations she wanted to get off at, soon as possible.

"Whoo." Rainbow sighed, relieved. One of her theories, the worst one in her mind, had been shot down. She quietly thanked Celestia. But this left one other theory in her head. One which made her blood run nearly as cold. Rainbow lowered her voice and tried to sound as gentle as she could.

"Scoot. Can you tell me why you separated from them?"

The orange filly reacted negatively immediately. Her brow furrowed as small tears began to build up in the corners of her eyes. Her tiny wings flared out, instinct kicking in, in case she needed to fly away. Rainbow regretted it as soon as she'd asked it, but this was something she was going to have to do. She placed a hoof on the filly's back and drew her closer, rubbing the shivering back as gently as she was able. There was a very quiet sob. Had there been any other sound in the room it would never have been heard by anyone. The small sound entered Rainbow's ears, and shattered a small piece of her resolve. This was too much. Time to lighten the mood.

"Hey. Hey c'mon don't get upset, Scoot. Please don't cry! Here let's do something fun. We'll swap secrets. If I tell you one of my secrets, would you tell me yours?"

Scootaloo looked up at Rainbow Dash and nodded slowly. Rainbow grinned. Scoot trusted her enough to try this. And at this point she was running out of options.

"Alrighty, Squirt. Ask me anything you want."

Scootaloo looked at the ground for a moment, thinking hard. Twenty seconds passed before she glanced back up.

"How did you learn to fly so fast?"

Rainbow snickered. "Oh c'mon it's my special gnarly talent, kiddo. Nature intended me to be this awesome. I'm just too cool for school. That's not a secret, ask me something else."

"umm.....is your hair really rainbow-colored?" The small filly reached up and tugged on one of Dash's bangs with her mouth, testing its authenticity. Somewhere in Equestria a baby bunny's dreams had been shattered, knowing it would never be as cute as this moment in Sugarcube Corner.

"Yep. It came from my mom's side of the family. They all had really wild colorful manes. Something about living in a tropical area does that to ponies. My uncle had black and red stripes in his mane. He was cool. Not as cool as me, though. Wanna ask another question?"

Scootaloo put her hoof to her chin and thought.

"You told me you got kicked out of flight school....."

"Oh THAT. Alright Scoot, lean in real close cause you are going to be one of the only ponies in Ponyville to learn this secret. It is the darkest secret I have and I will take it with me to the grave. And you can't tell anyone! Got it? Pinkie promise?"

Scootaloo nodded quickly as her eyes widened. A Pinkie Promise was serious business.

"When I was in flight school there was this one instructor that me and my best friend Gilda really disliked. He was a jerk and was always encouraging the other kids to pick on us. I was really small for my age and Gilda was a griffon so we got singled out alot. Same with Fluttershy since she couldn't fly right. This went on for a real long time. Anyway one year me and Gilda decided we had taken enough abuse from this guy so we made a plan to get revenge. And you'll never believe what we did."

Rainbow darted her eyes left and right to be sure there was nobody spying on her. She leaned down and began to whisper with an evil smile darting across her cyan features.

"We put a flaming bag of dragon poop on the front steps to his house. Unfortunately we put it too close and his whole house burnt down. You've probably never seen a cloud house catch on fire but....lemme tell ya....it is the coolest thing! Scary though. Gilda's parents managed to pay enough money to keep him from telling everyone in Cloudsdale what had happened but we still got kicked out of school. Banned forever."

With a quick motion, Dash had sat back up grinning broadly.

"And that, young lady is why I do not do pranks that involve fire anymore! Or poop for that matter."

Scootaloo giggled loudly and leaned against Dash's leg, elated she was one of the few ponies to know the real reason for Rainbow's controversial expulsion from flight school. With a gentle nudge Rainbow pushed Scootaloo off her leg and with a serious expression looked down at the little pony.

"Now you know, sport. So, it's your turn now."

The orange filly looked at the ground. Her breathing very shallow as her joyous smile disappeared. This was it. She couldn't run anymore.

"Why did you split up with your family, Scootaloo?"

Silence filled the air once again as the small filly started to tremble. Dash put a reassuring hoof on her back, drawing her close.

"You can trust me."

"They left me..." the tiny voice managed to squeak out. "all alone."

Rainbow bit her lip. She'd hoped Scootaloo had just gotten into a fight with them. Run away, possible. But abandonment was far worse. She took a deep breath to keep calm as she continued.

"Do you know why?" asked Rainbow, though she had a fearful guess as to what the answer would be.

The small filly was choking tears back quietly. Her whole body convulsing as she tried not to cry. Dash wanted to weep as well, feeling an unnatural pain rising up to her chest from her stomach, but felt it'd just make the situation worse. She wanted to hug this kid, and tell her it was going to be alright. But pride kept her motionless. The two sat for a few moments before the filly shakily raised her tiny head to look up at Rainbow. Her eyes pink and moist with large tears dripping down her orange cheeks to the pillow she sat on. She gritted her teeth and clenched her jaw and squinted her eyes, summoning up the strength to speak.

"It was cause..." Scootaloo drew in a large breath. ".....I can't fly."

Dash sat up and grimaced. Delicately, she picked up the sobbing foal and held Scoot against her chest, high enough so the filly's head could rest on her shoulder. Dash cursed quietly to herself. It was as if the universe knew the exact thing that would upset her. Pegasi abandoning their slower children, thinking the child would never fly. The old savage warrior code that some clans still followed even though it was sick and backwards. Trying to trim the family tree. Scootaloo buried her face into Dash's shoulder, snuffling quietly. Dash sighed loudly. Both terrified and relieved and in grief for all the things she knew. This child was truly alone in the world. Alone and suffering privately against her own body, against her tiny fluffy wings that didn't have the strength to carry her. Rainbow felt like her chest was going to pop. Like someone had just kicked her in the stomach. With a tilt of her head she nuzzled the side of the small weeping pony who clung to her shoulder, doing her best to comfort the girl, not sure what to say or do in a situation like this.

Neither pony was sure how much time had passed in the room. It seemed like the world had stopped turning, just to mock them. Just to stretch the despair for as long as possible. After what seemed like an eternity Scootaloo finally had managed to stop crying and lifted her face from Dash's shoulder. She felt ashamed. Ashamed that she couldn't fly. Ashamed that her family had left her. Ashamed she lacked the ability to keep herself safe, even though she had tried so hard to take care of herself. Ashamed she had cried, for the 2nd time, like a dumb baby all over her hero and favorite athlete. She wriggled from Rainbow's grasp and sat back down on the damp pillow she had been on sometime earlier. The previous tears hadn't dried, leaving the cloth soggy. She wiped away the moisture on her face with her hoof and looked at the patterned felt, feeling like her pitiful world had ended as she sulked. Her private bubble had been shattered. But in moments it was ok. Everything was ok when Rainbow put her hoof on Scootaloo's back and said the most loving reassuring things anyone had ever told her.

"I'm sorry, Scootaloo."

Scoot glanced into the caring eyes of the cyan mare.

"I will never ever hurt you like they did. Ok? I promise."

Scootaloo nodded, feeling fresh tears spring anew.

"How long ago was this? Can you remember?"

"Mmm mm." she hook her head no.

"Well uh, how many birthdays have passed by since it happened, Scoot?"

"I... uh.....maybe four..."

"Geez Louise. You've been all by yourself for that long?"

"mm hmm." The tiny pony nodded solemnly.

"I.....I'm so sorry, kiddo. I can't begin to imagine what you've been through."

"It's ok."

"No, it really isn't Scoot."

Rainbow sat there in silence. She felt dumbstruck. Four years. Probably half of the filly's short life she'd spent all on her own with nobody to look after her. This filly who sat on a hill almost every day, cheering for Dash. Celebrating every mundane trick she had ever pulled off. This filly who looked up to Dash like she was a goddess, wanting little more than acknowledgement or affection. This filly who had been through an absolute nightmare just to be where she was today. This filly Dash had always taken for granted.

"Scootaloo, I just want you to know that you can trust me, ok? I will never abandon you and neither will any of my friends. So you don't need to be afraid of telling us things, alright?"

Scootaloo nodded slightly. She wasn't particularly open to the idea of telling everyone about her past. But she did feel slightly better knowing that Dash understood and sympathized.

"Still wanna see if we can catch some of the Wonderbolt's radio show, champ?"

Rainbow wiped her wet eyes and grabbed Pinkie's homemade radio out from under the bedsheet she had shoved it in previously. As it flicked on, small orange lightbulbs inside the device warmed up, causing the radio to glow with a warm and inviting light. The two ponies sat together listening to the radio announce the winners of the various sport contests throughout Equestria that day. Neither said a word, simply happy that they were in each others company as they listened intently and ate what was left of the tomato sandwiches.

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

An hour later as the Manehattan Symphony Orchestra played the national anthem, signaling the end of tonight's broadcast, Rainbow found herself staring down at the tiny orange pony whose head was resting delicately on her arm. She seemed so happy and peaceful. Her tiny chest rising and falling with each breath. Occasionally one of her back legs would twitch, reacting to something in her dreams. Dash smiled. This kid had opened up to her, and told her things she had never told anyone else. And all she wanted was someone to have faith in. Faith she wouldn't be rejected again. Faith that someone didn't think she was a failure because her wings couldn't carry her. Dash reached down with more patience and tenderness than she thought she was capable of, grabbed Scootaloo by the soft nape scruff of her neck, lifting her up in the same way an adult would have lifted an infant foal and with great care gently placed Scootaloo's slumbering body onto a pillow in her makeshift bed. A small affectionate nuzzle to the head followed by a smile. She draped a blanket over the dreamer and backed quietly out of the room, shutting the door behind herself.

She walked down the creaky stairs to the kitchen to be greeted by Mr.Cake who was in his nightrobe stirring a cup of hot chocolate. He looked up at Rainbow with a sly smile. Rainbow grinned nervously and walked past him to where Pinkie Pie and the twins were slumbering. Tank was in his shell near the foot of the chair. The sight of the three of them squeezed together on the velvet chair was enough to make Dash laugh. She managed not to though. Didn't want to wake up the infants.

"I'm proud of you, ya know." Carrot Cake called, looking over his shoulder with a smarmy look from the kitchen.

"You are? For what?" asked Dash, perplexed.

"Well on my way down to get my favorite pre-bed snack I thought I heard some sounds coming from Pinkie's room. I wondered if she and the twins were in there. I was pretty surprised when I peaked in and saw it was you and Scootaloo."

"Oh that. How much of that did you hear?"

"Enough."

He took a long sip from his mug and smiled, giving Rainbow a nod.

"I guess I had you pegged all wrong, Dash. I always took you for a lucky troublemaker but, I gotta say..."

He turned around and faced Rainbow.

"Hearing you comfort that crying foal was magical, actually. It was very mature of you, and you handled it pretty darn well. Like a responsible adult."

Rainbow blushed slightly and looked away.

"Thanks. Um. Could you not tell anyone about that, yet? It is Scootaloo's secret after all and I'm not sure how I should handle this whole......thing. Not yet, anyway."

Mr.Cake grinned and started to head upstairs.

"Oh I won't say anything. I think I'll let the very responsible miss Rainbow Dash decide what she feels is best for the filly under her care."

He flashed Dash a quick wink and was gone.

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

Rainbow woke Pinkie and the two of them deposited the sleeping cake twins into their crib. Dash noted that Pinkie was being entirely silent the whole time as the two of them made their way to her room for the night. Quietly, Dash began to push the squeaky door open and the two ponies tiptoed into the room. With a dazed expression, Pinkie wobbled over to her bed, flopping down in a rather ungainly position and was out like a light. A long strand of drool dripped from her open snoring mouth and puddled onto the floor. Rainbow smiled and shook her head at her friend.

With a quiet shuffle Rainbow flew onto her pillow bed, throwing her forelegs out in front and curling her hind legs up, the way she usually did on clouds. Her wings lay extended, splayed lazily out to her sides. Her eyes drooped and her vision clouded as sleep began to work it's magic. However she was suddenly awoken by a tug on her wing and a quiet panicked squeal. Dash shook her head and opened her eyes, allowing her vision to clear. She looked to see what had tugged her primary feathers. Scootaloo was sitting next to Rainbow's bed, pulling on the wing with her mouth, looking very frightened.

"What's the issue, Squirt? I need some dang shuteye." yawned Rainbow, withdrawing her wing and rolling over onto her side.

"Theres a monster in here." Scoot whispered excitedly. Rainbow immediately pricked up her ears. Monsters seemed to invade Ponyville alot ever since Twilight Sparkle came to town. Had one attacked the bakery?

"Wait, WHAT!?"

Scootaloo pointed a hoof to where two small purple dots of light were gleaming in the corner of the room. Rainbow gave a sigh of relief and smiled, wiping a bead of sweat from her forehead.

"That's just ol' Gummi, Scoot. Pinkie's alligator. He's harmless. He's toothless too."

Scootaloo wavered slightly, casting a concerned glance at the blank alligator's face in the far end of the room.

"Tell you what, Squirt. You can sleep here next to me, and if Gummi tries eating either of us, I'll fling his scaly butt out the window. How does that sound?"

The small orange pony climbed into the pillow bed and curled up at the side of the larger cyan one. Rainbow watched her with a look of affection before yawning loudly and laying her head back down. She extended her wing protectively over the small warm body next to hers and closed her eyes. Almost immediately the shivering filly fell still. Sleep overtook them both. And eventually it overtook the vacant alligator as well. He dreamed of nothing. His mind as vacant as his face.