• Published 24th Dec 2021
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What I Got for Hearth's Warming - Pen and Paper



Celestia's son gets a surprise gift for Hearth's Warming and doesn't know how to feel about it.

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What I Got for Hearth's Warming

For Hearth’s Warming, mom and dad got me a Daring Do action figure, a Rubuck’s cube, and a baby sister. Well, she’s not actually here yet, but mom says my sister’s already been growing in her tummy, which sounds yucky.

Mom and dad are sitting on the couch while I make Daring divebomb a group of bad guys, which are just leftover branches from the tree. I make do, though. I keep a smile for myself. Mr. Armor would like that joke.

I really like Mr. Armor and Mrs. Cadence a lot. Auntie Luna told me that mom taught Mrs. Cadence how to be a princess and stuff. It’s super fun when Flurry comes over to foalsit me. She’s so nice that I don’t care she has cooties. Sometimes Flurry lets me play up in the clouds with her even though I’m not supposed to. I think she’s the prettiest pony in the whole world, but I haven’t told her that yet. I want to give her a drawing when I tell her, though. Everypony likes drawings.

The rug I’m laying on is soft and it smells a bit like an old cupboard, but I don’t really mind. I like piling up all the little pieces of wrapping paper in my hooves and blowing them in the air so they fall down like snow. It makes it easier to pretend that Daring is trapped in a big storm. I turn my legs into a cave and make her hide from the bad guys. While she’s asleep, I listen to mom and dad.

Mom’s in one of those moods where dad can say anything and she just laughs and laughs and it sounds really pretty and light. It’s the kind of laugh that makes monsters run away and tears dry up. They whisper in each other’s ears and kiss a lot, too, which is double yucky.

It’s about my sister. What her muzzle is going to look like, what color her mane is going to be, what she’ll get for a cutie mark. I try not to let it remind me of my blank flank, but they’re talking about her like she already has one. Ms. Applebloom told me that I shouldn’t worry about it, but it’s hard not to notice how empty the spot is.

Daring beats up the last bad guy and ties them up with present string. The fireplace pops and sizzles on the other side of the room, and I almost throw the bad guys in, but that’s not something Daring would do. She’d probably just let them go and kick their tails again in the next story.

I move onto the Rubuck’s cube. Dad moves into mom’s barrel. Mom’s way bigger than dad, so they look kinda funny when they get all cuddle-bug with each other. They touch horns, and mom uses her big wings to wrap him up. Mom’s wings are so big they can actually fit me and dad when we’re all together. They’re also the softest, warmest things in all of Equestria. When she hugs me, I get the same feeling all over like when I bite into a hot, mushy cookie, and it’s just the best.

It looks really comfortable and I want to join them, but it’s hard to find a break in their talking. Besides, interrupting adults is rude. Instead, I try to mix up the cube by myself. It doesn’t work, though. I already remember all the ways I flipped the squares, so it just goes back to being a colorful box.

Mom and dad are still whispering like they’re planning some big secret, but I know they’re still talking about my sister. They’ve been doing it all day—ever since dad opened up the box with the stick thingy inside. I wish they would talk about something else like Daring Do or buckball or my trumpet lessons, but they don’t.

I feel like a balloon that you let go of by accident.

When mom first told me about her, I got really excited and galloped around the room. Seven years is a long time to be an only colt. Now, mom and dad are acting all weird. All their adult sleepiness is gone and they’re talking about so many things I don’t understand at all! I’m usually really good at figuring out grown-up talk, like when they were all crazy about auntie Luna getting in trouble for dunkin’ disorder-lee conduct (I still don’t know what that means yet, but she was really embarrassed).

Now, they’re saying a whole different world of words, and none of them are even the big ones Mrs. Sparkle teaches me when I see her. What’s the point of learning all this stuff if it doesn’t even help? It’s bad luck to be angry on Hearth’s Warming with all the windigos, but I just can’t help it! I find a crack in the floorboards and try to count all the tiny lines in the wood to distract myself.

It doesn’t work.

Even though I’m at the foot of the couch, it feels like I’m a hundred miles away. It reminds me of the time dad tried to teach me how to swim last year. He let go of me and I wouldn’t stop crying because I thought I couldn’t catch him and that I was going to drown.

We got hot chocolate after, so it wasn’t so bad.

But right now my hot chocolate is empty and mom and dad are so close together that I think they’re going to squash down into a little ball until there’s nothing left, taking my sister with them. They’re looking at each other like there’s nothing else in the world and my chest feels like it’s filled with scared little worms.

I want to be alone but I don’t want them to leave at the same time. It’s confusing and hard to feel two things at once. Sometimes I wish I could poof myself away like mom and dad do when they have grown-up things to do, but my forehead is just as empty as my flank. I don’t have magic like them, or wings like mom so I could just fly away. They told me that dad’s dad’s dad was an earth pony back when he lived in Saddle Arabia. It was something about jeans, but I’m still not sure how wearing pants has anything to do with why I’m an earth pony.

What if my sister has wings or a horn? Or, worse—what if she has both? Would she still want to play with me? Would we be friends? Would she even want to be my sister? I know I have unicorn and pegasus friends at school and stuff, but that’s different. They get to go home with ponies who look like them.

I still don’t get what earth ponies are good at. It feels like we’re here just to get left behind.

Great big tears sting my eyes.

I know I cry too much. Dad always tries to make me feel better by saying that I’m brave for showing my tears, but it doesn’t seem that way. Nopony respects you for crying. One time a mean newspony took a picture of me after I tripped on a sidewalk and bumped my chin. A lot of creatures saw that. I’d never seen mom and dad so mad. I think the pony who took the picture got a really long timeout.

I’m doing really well at being quiet, but then my nose gets full of boogers and I sniffle too loud. There’s a word grown-ups use when they get caught and I’m not supposed to say it, so I think it in my head and feel even worse.

And then that mushy cookie feeling is there because mom’s scooping me up in her wings. Crying is easy after that. Dad’s there, too, running his hoof through my mane and nuzzling the spot between my ears. His voice is really rumbly when he tries to be quiet, like Mrs. Smoulder when she snores.

“Deep breaths, Daydream. We’re right here, okay?” he says, and I wedge myself deeper between them. If they turned into that little nothing ball and went away, it would be ok because I’d go with them this time.

Mom’s kisses feel good on the top of my head. They’re really warm and make me want to go to sleep. I like calling them summer cuddles. It makes sense because dad told me she used to be in charge of the sun. I think it still remembers mom because it follows her everywhere, even when we get cloudy days. It always finds a way to reach her. Sometimes, when she thinks she’s alone, she talks to the morning light in the living room like it’s somecreature sitting right next to her.

The nervous question in my throat bubbles up even though I’m feeling a lot better.

“You’re not gonna leave without me, right?” I ask.

Mom looks at me like the time I broke my leg trying to fly like her. Her face looks like it’s going to break into a hundred sad pieces. Her voice sounds like it, too. I get big tears again, but I’m too tired to cry.

“Oh, honey, we’re not going anywhere—especially not without you. Do you think you can tell me what’s on your mind?” she asks. I nod and lay my head against her chest.

“You told me you and dad moved away from lots of creatures you knew when you had me. You’re not gonna leave me here and make a new house with my sister, are you?” I ask.

They laugh, and then I just feel really silly.

“No, we’re not going to move houses every time we have a foal,” mom says. “Besides, your father hates moving. Remind me to tell you about the time when we toured the Marejave together.”

Dad pokes her neck with his horn in the place that always makes her laugh. “I told you construction magic doesn’t mesh well with me. I had headaches for three straight weeks,” he grumbles.

“Oh, you were miserable to be around. I’ll never forget that pitiful look you had every morning when the group was setting up breakfast,” mom says. She has a big smile that makes me smile, too.

“Pitiful enough for you to marry,” dad says, striking some kind of knightly pose. We all laugh at that. Dad ruffles my mane. “But, no, Daydream. We’re not going to move for a long time. Remember how mommy used to be a very important pony?”

Used to?” Mom whinnies, but dad ignores her with a sly grin.

“We came out here so we could raise you in peace. If we didn’t, we’d hardly have time to see you in the day! And even if we do decide to move again, we’d make sure to take you with us. I’m sorry if we were talking to each other for so long. Having a foal is exciting, but it also means a lot of hard work and planning,” he says, kissing my cheek. “Feeling better?”

“Yeah,” I say, but another question pops into my head. “Is she gonna be nice?” I ask, putting a hoof over mom’s tummy.

“Of course she will!” dad says. “And if she’s not, we’ll drop her off in the desert.”

Hockim.” Mom shoves him with a wing, and he gets a muzzle full of feathers.

“I kid, I kid...mostly,” dad says, giving me a wink.

Mom’s hoof runs down my back and makes small circles on my withers. “I think she will, but part of that will be up to you, Daydream.”

“Really?” I ask. Mom nods all slow and wise.

“Your dad and I are going to give her as much love as we give you, but we can’t tell you how much or how little to love somepony else. That’s a decision everycreature has to make for themselves.”

“What if she doesn’t like me because I don’t have wings or a horn? What if she’s mad that I’m an earth pony?”

“Honey,” mom says, and this time she uses her teacher voice to make me look at her. “Your father and I will tell you as many times as it takes. We love you just the way you are, Daydream, and it’s going to be the same with your sister. She could have eight horns and twelve wings for all I care.” I giggle at that before mom continues. “None of that is going to change how she feels about you. Only you decide how other creatures see you.”

Dad chimes in, pointing a hoof at mom’s tummy. “She’s going to enter a big, new world, Daydream. I know you don’t remember, but it’s quite a fright to be born. There are lots of scary things out there, and it’s up to you to help protect her—just like we protect you. If you show her that you can be kind and compassionate—like I know you are—I’m sure she’ll act the same towards you.”

I feel big all of the sudden. If I had wings, I think I could cover all of us with them with room to spare. Something important happened, and I’m glad it did even if I don’t understand it all the way. Tilting my head, I look at mom and nod. “Alright, I think I’m ready. She can come out now.”

Dad chokes on his eggnog and coughs it into his sweater. Mom’s on her side, slapping the couch with a wing and snorting like a Sweet Apple Acres pig. It’s the hardest I’ve seen them laugh ever. I’m proud it was because of me, even though I don’t know what I said. At some point, mom wraps us up in one giant hug.

“I’m afraid she’s not going to be here for a little while, but you’ll get to meet her soon, I promise.”

“Ok. I hope she likes Daring Do,” I say, and they laugh again.

“Me, too, Day. Want us to read you some before we head to bed?” dad asks, and I jump up from between them.

“Yeah! Can you do your Ahuizotl voice tonight? He’s so cool!”

“Oh, I don’t know. Only if Daring Do can escape my clutches!” His voice gets really low and gruff again, and he and mom start to chase me around the Hearth’s Warming tree and up the stairs to my bedroom, but he’s evil so he makes me go brush my teeth first.

While my mouth is full of foam and water, I ask them if I can get another sister for next year, too.

“Ha! We’ll work on it, kiddo,” dad says, and mom gives him a look that I don’t even know how to describe.

They read a few chapters before I start getting sleepy, and they tuck me in with a kiss each. Mom reminds me to tell Auntie Luna everything that happened today when I have my dream, and I tell her I will.

Even when they turn off the lights, I’m still smiling to myself.

I just know my sister is gonna be the best Hearth’s Warming gift ever.