• Published 6th Jan 2012
  • 14,654 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 3

Chapter 3

“Show me a smile, then, don't be unhappy.
Can't remember when I last saw you laughing.”
--Cyndi Lauper, “True Colors”


“Hey!” The voice was young but sharp as flint. “You gotta pay for them apples!”

She ran.

Darting through the marketplace, her stolen apple grasped firmly between her teeth, the filly threaded her way through crowds of ponies, through merchant stands, through all sorts of obstacles that seemed designed for the express purpose of slowing her down. From behind she could hear a pony galloping after her, but she dared not risk glancing back for fear of stumbling or falling.

She choose not to head directly for her alley. Instead, she ran up streets and down streets, zigzagging through town as though it were a giant maze, until she could no longer hear any trace of her pursuer. Finally, she paused, just long enough to take a look around, and felt a rush of relief when she didn’t see anyone behind her. Only then did she creep back to the relative safety of her alley.

Taking one last furtive glance around, she set the apple down next to her barrel. She stared at it longingly and licked her dry, cracked lips.

“I gotcha now! Ya no-good, apple-thievin’ varmint!”

She gave a jump and whirled around. Right at the end of the alley stood the orange filly from the marketplace, her legs splayed out in a wide, aggressive stance. As the other earth pony began advancing on her, she shrank back and cowered close to the ground.

Then, something changed--the orange pony’s eyes went wide, as though she’d seen a ghost, and she froze right in her tracks.

“Well, lookit you. Yer nothin’ but skin and bones ...” The young apple farmer’s voice had gone quiet and gentle, no trace left of its earlier harshness. “Aww, shoot. You can … you can keep the apple.”

She looked down at the apple then back up. Was this a trick? A trap? She wasn’t sure.

“Go on,” the other filly urged, nodding, her eyes bright and open and honest.

Frowning a bit, she took a tentative bite, her gaze never leaving the pony in front of her. She chewed awkwardly--it felt foreign and strange to have food in her mouth after all this time.

“The name’s Applejack, by the way,” the orange filly said, smiling. “How ‘bout you?”

She opened her mouth to reply then thought better of it. If she told this pony her name, the mean government ponies might be able to find her, and she didn’t want that. She wasn’t entirely sure why that was so important, but it was. She couldn’t go to Fillydelphia, she just couldn’t. It was bad enough that she’d had to leave the farm.

So instead of answering Applejack’s question, she just bit off another chunk of apple. Chewing and swallowing went easier with the second bite.

Applejack’s smile faltered, a bit. “Uh. Can’t ya talk?”

She only stared in reply, munching on the delicious apple and basking in the other pony’s presence. A feeling almost like contentment settled over her. It was miles away from anything like happiness or joy, but it was something. She didn’t feel quite so empty any more.

Finally, Applejack sighed. “Look, I gotta get back to the apple stand, ‘cause I know Granny will be wonderin’ where I got off to. But … “ She cut her eyes towards towards the entrance of the alleyway. “But I’ll meet ya here same time tomorrow, all right? And I’ll bring ya another apple.”

For a moment she couldn’t move, almost couldn’t breathe. Then she rocketed forward, throwing her forelegs around Applejack and hugging as tightly as she could. She could hear Applejack let out a soft, surprised grunt. But then, after a moment, she felt the other filly awkwardly return the embrace.

I’m gonna throw you a party someday, Applejack, she promised, silently but fervently. The biggest and bestest party ever.

---

Scootaloo stood outside a dark and silent Sugar Cube Corner, paralyzed with indecision. From above the freezing rain beat down on her, soaking her to the bone and causing little prickles of pain along her sensitive wings.

She bit her lip. Pinkie had said she could come by, but surely she meant only during the day? On the other hoof, Pinkie hadn’t explicitly said that she could only come during the daytime, so maybe that meant it was okay to drop by at night, too. Ugh, all this thinking was so not Scootaloo’s thing. She was a filly of action, not contemplation.

She should go, she decided. Quickly she turned around and began slinking away, her head low and her mane plastered to her face. She should go. It was stupid to come here, anyways, she shouldn’t have come, she didn’t even like Pinkie Pie, stupid stupid stupid, why had she even bothered to--

“Scootaloo?”

She stopped. The voice calling her name sounded faint through the thunder and lightening, but it was discernible. Real, not imagined.

“Scootaloo! Hey, Scootaloo! Over here!”

Slowly she turned back around. The front door to Sugar Cube Corner was thrown wide open, warm light streaming from inside, and a familiar-looking silhouette was gesturing wildly from the doorway. Something strange fluttered in Scootaloo’s chest, which she ignored. Instead, she walked back towards the bakery, careful to be slow and deliberate, to not seem too eager, and Pinkie Pie yanked her inside as soon as she was within reach.

Mere minutes later, she found herself plunked down into a bathtub full of nice, warm, relaxing water. It was an infinitely superior position to be in than stuck outside in the the cold rain, so Scootaloo didn’t even protest all that much when Pinkie began lathering her mane with shampoo.

That didn’t mean she didn’t protest at all, though. “I’m not a baby,” she grumbled, throwing in an eye-roll for good measure. “I can wash myself, you know.”

“Oh, I know that, silly,” Pinkie replied with as much cheerfulness as ever. She began rinsing. “But sometimes it’s just really nice to have somepony do things for you! Don’t you think?”

Scootaloo remembered how it felt when Rainbow Dash had pulled her to her feet and brushed her off. She remembered and felt a warm glow at the memory, even as Pinkie’s hooves ran through her mane, carefully and painlessly undoing all the tangles and snarls.

“No,” said Scootaloo, firmly.

Pinkie seemed to deflate, just a little, but quickly recovered. “Oh. Well, that’s okay!” She grabbed a nearby towel and placed it on the edge of the tub. “I’ll let you dry yourself off, then.”

And then Pinkie Pie was bounding off, heading downstairs, and Scootaloo felt a slight pang as she watched the older pony leave. She hadn’t meant to be rude, it was just … she didn’t know. She sighed. Stepping out of the tub, she gave herself a thorough shake, picked up the towel, and began drying her dripping mane and coat.

By the time she’d finished, Pinkie had returned upstairs, carrying a tray of goodies in her mouth. Scootaloo eyed the food tray greedily as Pinkie set it down on the large dining table. There was a hay sandwich and hot chocolate and a slice of pie almost the size of Scootaloo’s head. Scootaloo’s stomach growled, quite loudly.

She glanced up at Pinkie Pie and felt suddenly and strangely hesitant.

“Go on!” Pinkie urged, nodding, her eyes bright and open and laughing.

That was all she needed. The young pegasus hungrily attacked the tray of food, gulping down huge bites and slurping noisily at the hot chocolate. It was delicious. It was perfect. Once or twice, she lifted her eyes and glanced over at Pinkie in a self-conscious way, but each time the older mare just grinned and motioned for her to continue eating. So she did.

After she finished, she sat back with a contented groan. A warm, happy fullness spread slowly through her body, and she struggled to stifle a yawn.

Still grinning, Pinkie Pie gave the pegasus a wink, took up the food tray again, and trotted back downstairs. Scootaloo finally gave in to the urge to yawn as soon as the other pony left the little apartment. She took a look around the room, as though seeing it for the very first time, and, as if in answer to her every last prayer, she spotted a pile of pillows near the window.

She headed over to the pillows and told herself that she’d just lay down for a little while. Maybe shut her eyes. Just to give them a tiny bit of a rest. Just for a while.

When she awoke, everything was dark, and she had no idea where she was. A bolt of panicky terror shot through her heart like lightning. Not good. Not, good, not good, not good--

There was a loud, braying snore that ended in a snort.

--wait, was I ponynapped by a lumberjack?

Groggily she shook her head, trying to clear it. Her eyes slowly adjusted to the scant light around her and, as they did, she could make out the footboard of a bed. A small alligator sat there, blinking unevenly. His creepy purple eyes gleamed in the darkness.

Pinkie’s apartment, she realized with a start. She was still at Pinkie’s. Scootaloo wasn’t sure whether she should find this reassuring or not, though.

As her eyes continued to scan the room, she spotted the source of all the noise, which was Pinkie Pie herself, curled up in a chair with a blanket, snoring away. Scootaloo couldn’t help but crack a grin at the fact that the pink earth pony was just as loud asleep as she was awake. Then she glanced out the window and saw that the rain had finally stopped.

She should leave. Surely Pinkie wanted her bed back and, besides, Scootaloo had better places to be. So she should go.

She didn’t want to go.

Maybe it’d be okay to stay, then, just this once. Maybe.

With a quiet yawn, Scootaloo snuggled further into Pinkie Pie’s bed and under its mess of blankets. They were soft and warm and smelled vaguely of cotton candy. It was a sweet smell--a little too sweet, really--but it wasn’t so bad. Sleepily she wondered why Pinkie hadn’t even bothered to ask why Scootaloo had just shown up on her doorstop, in the middle of the night, in the rain, but she was too tired to really pursue the thought very far. She quickly fell back into a restful, dreamless sleep.

---

“You keep eatin’ that fast, yer gonna choke.” Applejack sounded amused.

This was the fourth day in a row that Applejack had returned to her little alley. The fourth day that Applejack had come back to her, bearing the gifts of a friendly smile and a delicious apple. She still felt a bit nervous about it all, a bit worried about those government ponies who she was certain still wanted to take her away, but she couldn’t deny that she cherished having a bit of company. The alley could get lonely sometimes. Well, a lot of the time.

All of the time, really.

“Seriously now--slow down, sugar cube! That apple ain’t goin’ nowhere.”

But she couldn’t. Even when she tried, she couldn’t make herself slow down. It was as though, if she didn’t eat the apples as quickly as possible or dared glance away for even a second, they might magically disappear. It was a silly fear, but it was a real fear nonetheless. And it struck down to the very bottom of her heart.

Applejack sighed, the way she always did when she realized her nice, sensible words were going to be steadfastly ignored. Then, in a completely different tone of voice, she said, “I gotta find something to call ya. I told ya my name, so it’s only fair.”

At last the filly glanced up from her apple, her curiosity at least momentarily winning out over her hunger.

The orange pony was squinting at her thoughtfully. “Can’t think of anything good, though. You don’t ever say nothin’ to me, so it’s not like there’s much I know about ya. Really, all’s I know is that you’re pink all over, and … “ Suddenly Applejack’s eyes lit up. “Hey, yeah, that’s it! Pinkie! I’ll call ya Pinkie!”

The little filly tilted her head, considering the proposed name. Pinkie. Nopony had ever called her that before, but instantly, she decided that she liked the nickname. Decided that Pinkie was somepony she could be. Was who she would someday be.

Forgetting all about her apple for the moment, Pinkie smiled at the orange earth pony--smiled at her friend--and Applejack smiled back.