• Published 6th Jan 2012
  • 14,655 Views, 217 Comments

Our True Colors - Donnys Boy



Scootaloo's never really cared much for Pinkie, but that's not going to stop Pinkie from "helping."

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Chapter 2

Chapter 2

“In a world full of people, you can lose sight of it all
And the darkness inside you can make you feel so small.”
--Cyndi Lauper, “True Colors”


She was hungry.

She’d been hungry before--in fact, her parents had often complained, albeit jokingly and with great affection, that she was eating them out of house and home--but she had never been hungry like this. Her stomach had rumbled at first, and she’d even giggled to herself at the sound, because it sounded a bit like what she imagined a dragon’s roar might be like. But then, after a while, the rumbling stopped. After that followed the pain.

Pain pulling her tight, so tight she thought she might rip apart. She’d cried from the pain, and she never cried. She even tried scrounging through the trash bins at night, but the food she’d been able to find only left her vomiting and weak.

Thankfully, the pain only lasted a little while. Once the pain was gone, there was nothing left.

Only emptiness. She felt hollow. Dead.

Every so often, she told herself that she should go try to find something to eat that wouldn’t make her sick. Sometimes, she almost even listened to herself. But then she would remember Mother and Father … and her sisters … and … and suddenly, she didn’t feel like eating any more. It didn’t seem important.

Her dear old Granny would never have countenanced her giving up, however, if she’d still been around. Gotta stand up tall. Face your fears. So towards the end of her very first week in Ponyville, the little filly decided that today was going to be the day. She crawled out of the safety of her barrel and, keeping to the shadows as much as possible, carefully made her way to the village marketplace.

It felt strange to venture out in the daylight, and she had to suppress a sigh at that depressing realization. She missed daylight, with its sun and its blue skies and its pretty clouds and its rainbows. Rainbows were still her favorite, of course. Rainbows would always be her favorite.

But today she wasn’t hunting rainbows or their pots of gold. Today, she was hunting apples.

---

Almost despite herself, Scootaloo grinned as soon as she stepped into Pinkie Pie’s small but cozy apartment. Every inch of the space was decked out in streamers, balloons, and all other kinds of party paraphernalia. Pinkie had clearly gone full-tilt for this slumber party.

Scootaloo felt her breath catch in her throat as she spotted a blue, rainbow-maned pegasus in the far corner, hanging up a last batch of balloons. “Rainbow Dash! You’re here!”

Dash glanced over her shoulder and flashed a grin. “Heya, squirt. You excited for the sleep-over?”

“You bet!” The younger pegasus nodded happily. “This is gonna be the best slumber party ever!”

“Well, of course it is!” Out of nowhere Pinkie Pie had appeared, right next to Scootaloo. She patted the young filly on the head and seemed not to notice Scootaloo’s scowl. “Your bestest best friends are gonna be here, and that’s what makes for great parties!”

But Scootaloo was spared any further annoying head pats when the other two Cutie Mark Crusaders suddenly burst through the door with loud whoops of laughter and excited chatter. Applejack and Rarity followed not too far behind, looking rather tired for how early in the evening it was.

“Hi, girls!” Pinkie greeted, full of good hostess cheer.

“Hi, Pinkie Pie!” Sweetie Belle and Applebloom beamed up at the older mare for a moment before they spotted their friend. “Scootaloo!”

Together, the unicorn and earth pony tackled the pegasus filly, and the three girls began tussling playfully among the veritable sea of party balloons covering the floor. But out of the corner of her eye, Scootaloo kept watch over the adults. It was always a good idea to keep track of what the adults were doing and saying.

Adults couldn’t be trusted, after all. Not really. Not completely.

“Are you quite sure you’re up to looking after the three of them, darling?” Rarity was asking Pinkie Pie in a careful tone. “They can be rather the handful.”

“Oh, don’t worry, Rarity!” Pinkie giggled and dismissively waved a hoof. “It’ll be easy-peasey, one two threesy.”

Abandoning the balloons, Dash flew over to the other adults. With a snort, she added, “Besides, if Fluttershy could do it all on her own, I’m sure the two of us can handle the little rugrats just fine.”

Applejack still looked doubtful. “All right, then. But if you need anythin’, anythin’ at all, you run and get us lickety-split, y’hear?”

Rarity nodded her enthusiastic agreement. “Oh, yes, yes, please do.”

It was odd even to Scootaloo to witness those two very different ponies agree on something. Almost a sign of the apocalypse. It was unsettling, at any rate.

Rolling her eyes, Rainbow started shoving the two overprotective older sisters out the door. “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sure thing.” She gave one last shove, then slammed the door shut behind them.

From the other side of the door came Applejack’s stern voice: “I mean it, Rainbow Dash!”

But Dash had already turned around again and was rubbing her hooves together gleefully, scheming and mischief sparkling in her eyes. “All right, soliders!” she barked out. “Who here wants to try and earn her cutie mark tonight?”

The girls exploded into a chorus of enthusiastic shouts and cheering. Scootaloo cheered loudest of all.

Meanwhile, Pinkie was pouting a bit. “Aww, Dashie! But what about all my party games?”

“Plenty of time for that later, Pinks.” The pegasus grinned and quirked an eyebrow at the three fillies. “So, any of you girls ever try boulder wrestling?”

Boulder wrestling, as it quickly turned out, was not as easy as Scootaloo had thought it would be. It was also not her special talent.

It was fun, though. She laughed when Sweetie Belle ended up sprawled on her back, grumbling and spitting out all the tiny pebbles that had somehow gotten lodged in her mouth. She nearly broke her back in trying to boost Applebloom up a particularly large rock, and Appleblom couldn’t stop giggling the entire time. And somehow, inexplicably, all three of the Crusaders ended up covered in tree sap. Even though there weren’t any trees anywhere near where they’d gone boulder wrestling.

Plus, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie seemed to have a good time, too--they kept calling one of the boulders “Tom” and chortling to one another, anyways, which was admittedly kind of weird, but still. And Dash laughed good-naturedly when Scootaloo tumbled off a boulder and actually reached out to offer her a hoof back up. After Scootaloo was back on all fours, Dash then brushed off all the dirt and grass from her wings and back, the older mare’s hooves surprisingly gentle, and Scootaloo wondered if her heart might actually burst from all the joy she felt.

When they returned to the relative safety of Sugar Cube Corner and were greeted by platters piled high with Pinkie Pie’s famous cupcakes, that was just the icing on the proverbial cupcake. Well, actually, it was the icing on the literal cupcake, too, now that she thought about it.

But a party was no time to engage in deep philosophical debate. Scootaloo happily dug into the towers of desserts with exuberant abandon, as her two best friends in the whole world right by her side doing the same, all while Rainbow Dash guzzled down punch and made loud belching noises. For once, everything in Scootaloo’s life was absolutely perfect.

Maybe that was why, when Pinkie snuck up behind her and enveloped her in one of those powerful, overenthusiastic Pinkie Pie hugs, Scootaloo just sat there and submitted to it. So what if Pinkie was a little too touchy-feely? She was just being Pinkie Pie, after all. It wasn’t so bad. So instead of trying to wriggle her way free, as she would on any other day, she just calmly continued eating her cupcake.

While still hugging the filly, Pinkie leaned forward and whispered, in a tone full of concern, “Did you get enough to eat?”

It was an odd question. It shouldn’t have been an odd question, but it was. Scootaloo shrugged. “Yeah. Sure. I guess?”

“Because there’s lots more food, if you didn’t.” Pinkie’s voice was still unusually quiet, and her tone almost urgent. “And … well, if you’re ever nearby and get hungry, you just come right over to Sugar Cube Corner, okay? Just come right in, and your Auntie Pinkie Pie will get you whatever your little pegasus heart desires, on the house!”

There was a beat of silence. “Okay,” Scootaloo heard herself agree, as if under a spell.

“Good!”

And then Pinkie finally released her hold on the young pegasus and quickly bounced away. It was at the exact same moment that Sweetie Belle found Pinkie’s accordion, which she promptly started playing, and that Applebloom started a staring contest with Gummy, which she promptly lost, and just like that, everything was back to normal. It was almost as if that weird little moment with Pinkie Pie had never happened.

Scootaloo decided not to think about it too much. The sleep-over was turning out much better than she’d thought it would, and she didn’t want to ruin it. So she didn’t think about it.

---

Hidden behind a pair of bushes, the little filly peeked out between the bristly leaves and kept close watch over the market’s apple stand. She’d originally wanted to go to the bakery--the scents that wafted from that building always smelled so good, and the ponies who worked there always seemed to be happy and smiling--but there were simply too many customers there. She didn’t think she’d be able to sneak in without getting caught.

Besides, she’d grown to like this apple farmer, too. She always sounded a bit cranky and irritable, but she had kind, loving eyes--and the filly had learned that while it was easy to lie with words, it was much harder to lie with your eyes. Plus, the older mare frequently brought her grandchildren along with her to help mind the apple stand, and the filly had dearly missed seeing and talking and playing with other children. Watching these foals in the marketplace, while safely concealed in one of her many hiding places, was almost as good.

Almost.

The two younger apple farmers were there today, in fact. A big red colt, as large and strong as any she’d seen, and a smaller orange filly. Usually they spent their time in the marketplace arranging apples on the stand or engaged in countless wrestling matches, but they were somewhat subdued at the present moment. She didn’t know why.

Silently she watched as the colt gave the filly an affectionate nuzzle, and her heart seized in her chest. It had been seeming ages since she’d felt the touch of another pony, since right before … before the accident. Suddenly her body ached with an acute and desperate need to be held, to nuzzle, to cuddle, any and every kind of touch. It hurt worse than being hungry hurt, and it took all of her willpower and self-control to not rush out, throw herself at the two foals before her, and embrace them in a crushing hug.

She decided, then and there, that if she somehow made it through all of this, she would give hugs to every pony she ever met. She would give hugs to every pony who needed them, because no pony should have to go without another’s friendly touch.

It was one of the best decisions she’d ever made. She was absolutely sure of it.