• Published 16th Nov 2012
  • 20,170 Views, 1,026 Comments

Address Unknown - remedy



Derpy's suffered scorn for a mold she doesn't fit. Will a chance meeting change her life for the better?

  • ...
53
 1,026
 20,170

10. Uncertain Reactions

Chapter 10 – Uncertain Reactions

Anypony happening across Applejack and Rainbow Dash heading toward the library in the afternoon would have doubted their eyes and ears. The two mares walking side by side weren’t arguing, racing, or poking jokes at one another. For what must have been the first time ever, the pair was walking slowly, talking about what seemed to be a very important topic in hushed tones.

“So, whatta we do then?” Dash asked. “We need to find out what’s going on, and we can’t just sit around and wait for Derpy to make Twi’s tree fall on her head or something.”

Applejack nodded, but seemed to be trying to consider every angle before responding. “Well, first we should just see for ourselves how Twi feels about Derpy. Right now all we got is a buncha guessin’ and we’re not gonna figure nothin’ out without just askin’ her. Ah’m not quite sure how ta do it, but Ah think that’s first.”

Rainbow Dash gave a short “Mhm,” before sinking back into thought. “Yeah, we need to figure that out, but what do we do about Derpy? I mean we can’t just tell her to get lost, especially not if Twi really likes her.”

“Yea, Ah know” Applejack huffed. “Ah don’t like that pony all that much, an’ it don’t mean we gotta be best buds with her an’ all that, but Ah wanna make sure she ain’t gonna give Twi any trouble. Last thing we need is the clumsiest pony in Equestria ta break everythin’ Twi’s got. Y’all know how she gets with messes an’ all.”

Both ponies fell silent. Neither was good at discussing feelings and it made it even worse that they only had vague suspicions about what the feelings even were, if they even existed at all. The only way they were going to get anywhere was to get up the courage to talk to Twilight about it, and that was maybe their best bet. They were, after all, the bravest of the elements, ready to throw themselves into the thick of anything without hesitation, or at least anything that didn’t involve emotions.

They let out simultaneous sighs as they saw the giant tree loom into view. For all their thinking about the matter, they were just going to have to wing it and hope for the best.

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

Twilight had left the archives and gone straight for the train depot as soon as she had found the scroll she was looking for. She knew that she had to get the parchment transcribed before it disintegrated itself and destroyed her dreams of helping Derpy, but she also was mentally fatigued from her search, extended reading, and ethical dilemmas. Riding back along the tracks, she merely allowed herself to casually daydream; she didn’t dare take the scroll out while on the train for fear that a simple bump might cause it to dissolve in her hooves.

Her thoughts turned to her friends and how they would react to finding out that she had a new obsession that wasn’t book-related. It gave her an uneasy feeling that all of Tartaros would be released if she confessed to be interested in a mare rather than a stallion, but she knew she would have to eventually.

Undeniably it was hardly a trivial matter for her to announce her sexual preference to be different from what must inevitably be the social norm – though admittedly she was not entirely keen on societal perception. Regardless, her horrid tendency to imagine the worst case scenario surfaced; it forced itself to the forefront of her consciousness and began displaying vivid situations that could possibly arise.

Rarity would spread the news to everypony in Ponyville, and though Twilight didn't value her reputation above all else, it would nonetheless be ruined. There wouldn’t be a mare or stallion who wouldn’t be aware that she wanted a marefriend and the taunts and laughter would be unbearable. She wouldn’t be able to leave her library without ridicule and ponies would refuse her business; she would be forced to grow her own food, completely ostracized from society.

Finding out that Twilight was in love with a mare, and not just any mare, but Derpy - would completely crush Rainbow Dash. Dash had already been extremely critical of Derpy; the notion that Twilight had fallen for her would horrify Dash, and all contact between the two would cease. Rainbow Dash’s loss of faith in her friend might plunge her into depression, causing her work to suffer and her speed training to falter. There would be miserable weather all year round, and there would never again be a Sonic Rainboom.

As if she wasn’t enough of a recluse, Fluttershy would be so devastated that she would become a complete hermit, never leaving her cottage again. Animals would go uncared for and the lack of proper attention would leave the poor creatures sick, spreading disease to animal and pony alike. A plague outbreak would be imminent and ponies would be streaming to hospitals for treatment.

Of course, Applejack would be thoroughly disgusted at the idea and immediately refuse to talk to her. She may even reject the notion of seeing Twilight altogether. She would never be allowed into Sweet Apple Acres ever again, and probably wouldn’t get to eat another apple for as long as she lived.

Granny Smith and Big McIntosh would shun her anywhere she went, and Applebloom would be traumatized by the whole experience. Unquestionably Applebloom would share the news with Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle, though Sweetie would hear it from Rarity too.

The three fillies would spread it around the schoolyard and Miss Cheerilee would catch wind – she would be banned from the schoolgrounds for life, and countless fillies and colts would avoid the library from the stigma she had brought to it; books would go unread and pony intelligence would drop sharply, slowing all development in Ponyville.

Pinkie Pie… well, Pinkie Pie wouldn’t be fazed in the slightest. She would throw a party of course, but then, nopony would show up… nopony would want to celebrate an aberration in natural societal norms. The failure to cheer her friend would throw Pinkie Pie into a depression only seen in the pink mare once before; her mind would crack and she’d begin talking to inanimate objects again.

Complete social upheaval, dismal weather for eternity, sickness running rampant, driving students from the ability to learn, and the friendliest pony in town thrown into insanity, and it would be ALL HER FAULT.

The train whistle sounded and she was snapped back to reality. She looked up and saw everypony staring at her, unsure of whether to be concerned for the sanity of the unicorn who had been twitching, shaking, and sweating uncontrollably, or for the safety of themselves from the nervous wreck in their midst.

Twilight took several deep breaths, her twitching fading away as she apologized to the other passengers for her behavior... too much coffee this morning, she had said. She doubted anypony believed it, but they were at least satisfied enough to turn away and go back to ignoring her.

She facehooved, recognizing the signs of her own near meltdown. It had happened before, and every time her friends had been there to help her, to reassure her that her fears were completely unfounded. It took her considerable effort to push the nightmarish vision from her head, but she was sure now that her friends would never abandon her. They never had, and never would.

Twilight stepped off the train at the Ponyville station much to the relief of every other pony on board, and she headed toward the library. It was still early afternoon, and studying could wait until she had spoken with Derpy about the risks. Right now, she needed to relax.

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

“Howdy, Spike!” Applejack shouted as she barged straight in through the front door of the library. The greeting was answered by some sort of wobbly sounding yelp and a large crash.

“Ugh! Don’t you ponies ever knock?” Spike looked up from under the pile of books he had been re-shelving. “Twilight’s not here anyway. She still hasn’t gotten back from wherever she disappeared to.”

Applejack and Rainbow Dash exchanged glances before Rainbow Dash spoke up. “That’s okay. We were just gonna hang around here for a while until she gets back anyway. There’s a new Daring Do book out that I’ve gotta find besides. By the way, nice job cleaning up the place.”

Spike sighed. “It took me long enough, and as you can see from this pile I’m still not done.” His look turned sour instantly. “Most of my morning was taken up with that stupid stain. I got the spot out, but it still smells kinda funky over there. Whatever it was she spilled on the carpet, she’s cleaning up herself next time.”

Applejack shot a bemused look at Rainbow Dash. She had gotten a whiff of what was lingering in the air as well, and though it was much fainter there was no doubt as to what it was. “Don’ worry Spike. Ah think if she ever makes a mess like that again she’ll want to clean it up herself.” She winked at Rainbow Dash, who was trying her best to hold in fits of laughter by clamping her hooves over her muzzle.

Spike gave Dash a confused look. With her eyes bulged out like that and the muffled snorts coming from her, he thought she may be about to get sick. Right. In. His. Clean. Room. “Dash, if you’re gonna hurl or something, do it somewhere I didn’t just clean.”

She lost it, breaking out into a snorting, high-pitched squeal of a belly laugh. Spike looked to Applejack, who just rolled her eyes and gave a tip of her head toward Dash, acknowledging their friend’s insanity. The baby dragon gave a chuckle.

“Well, if you guys want to wait around for her, be my guests. I’m going out shopping for groceries. If she’s mad that some books are still on the floor, tell her to clean up her own spills and THEN I’ll do it.” Spike wandered out the door, still annoyed at Twilight.

The two mares waited for a few minutes, watching him leave through the window. The moment he was out of sight they both burst into roars of laughter. Wiping the tears from their eyes, Applejack looked over at Dash. “That settles it,” she said. “That’s definitely the smell of a turned-on mare. We’re just gonna hafta bite the bullet on this one and just come right out and ask her what’s goin’ on.”

Dash nodded, still giggling but holding up a hoof. “Alright, fine, we’ll be blunt about it. Manners can kiss my flank on this one. I’m asking her though; this is too good of an opportunity to pass up.”

“Too good of an opportunity for what?” inquired a familiar voice behind Applejack and Rainbow Dash. Twilight had just returned from her trip, and was looking at the two mares sitting in shock in front of her. “Well, at least Spike got the books cleaned up. Whew though – what’s that sme…”

Twilight froze. Oh sweet Celestia, please don’t let it be that.

Rainbow Dash sauntered over, batting her eyes lightly and playfully at the unicorn. “Oh, THAT smell.” She grinned, holding a hoof to her chin. “Funnily enough it was SO much more powerful smelling before Spike cleaned up the spot it left.”

Twilight’s eyes went wide and her coat lightened by several pale shades. She looked over at Applejack, who was merely sitting there with a sly grin on her face.

Dash took full advantage of the silence so she could continue. “So I guess it’s our turn to be asking YOU the questions. Who’s the lucky stallion,” she paused slightly, “…or mare who got you so riled up last night?”

Dear Celestia, they already know…

Twilight allowed it all to sink in. They knew. How much she wasn’t sure, but they did. She hadn’t planned on bringing the topic up for a while yet; she hadn’t even had a chance to talk with Derpy about her feelings, but now she had no choice but talk to the most uncouth ponies out of all her friends. She took a deep breath.

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

Twilight recounted her story for the next half hour. She had gone through an entire summary of Derpy’s demotion, the accident, the comforting talks, the shared emotions, the time they had been spending together, and the research into the spell. She had only neglected one detail in her speech, and she smiled inwardly as her friends took her explanation very well, optimistic that they hadn’t noticed the omission.

Applejack was the first to shatter that hope. “So that’s all fine ‘n’ good an’ all,” she smirked, “But that don’t tell us what got you so flustered last night. We can tell you were havin’ a might nice dream there. What got ya so riled up that ya done left such a strong smell lingerin’ ‘round here?

Twilight sat, fumbling for words but none came. She felt her face afire with crimson, and she knew perfectly well that the explanation was simple. She loved Derpy. There it was, yet she couldn’t find a way to describe the feelings she had for the mailpony. Somehow the unicorn was, for the first time, unable to state the obvious.

Rainbow Dash looked at Applejack, who gave her a nod back. They both knew their friend was trying her hardest to explain what they had already figured out. Whether or not they liked Derpy was beside the point; Twilight was one of their best friends and they couldn’t let her suffer in front of them.

“Twi.” Rainbow Dash walked toward the unicorn slowly.

Twilight looked up fearfully, still frantically trying to assemble an explanation that wouldn’t make her friends angry with her for her emotions. Rainbow Dash was so close that Twilight could almost feel the disdain building up in her friend, ready to ridicule and scorn her for her idiotic infatuation.

“You’re in love with Derpy, aren’t you?”

It was simply stated. No judgment in Dash’s voice, no scorn or contempt. Applejack began walking toward Twilight as well. Twilight glanced toward Applejack, then back to Dash. She meekly nodded, bracing herself for the worst.

“Alright, Sugarcube. If that’s the way ya feel, then that’s the way it is, and we ain’t gonna give ya grief about it.”

Every synapse in Twilight’s nervous system seemed to fire simultaneously and then freeze in suspended animation. She snapped upright, confusion and shock displayed prominently across her face. She felt paralyzed and just sat, staring at the two mares in front of her.

Dash nodded an assent to Applejack. “Twi, I can’t honestly say what in Equestria you’re thinking. I know you said she’s not a klutzy airhead, but I won’t believe it until I see it. But that’s no reason for us to hold you back.”

Twilight had a fleeting feeling that two changelings were posing as her friends. It didn’t seem natural for them to be so… accepting. Then again, loyalty and honesty were sincere traits, even if she didn’t see them often in such a heartfelt state. A wave of relief swept over her as she shakily got to her hooves.

“You guys… aren’t angry? AJ, Dash, doesn’t this bother you at all?” She tried to collect her thoughts, but they remained a helpless jumble of mush at this point.

Applejack was the first to respond; Rainbow Dash may be loyal but she still wasn’t very good with expressing how she felt. The honesty in Applejack merely led her to give the answers Twilight was desperately looking for.

“We were for a bit, Sugarcube – bothered at least, not angry. When Dash here put the pieces together it nearly blew our heads off ta even think ‘bout it. Took us a bit ta get used to the idea, but we did.” She gave Twilight a bit of a stern look. “Whatever got it in yer skull ta pick that pony over any other Ah doubt we’ll ever know. Can’t say we rightly like ‘er, an’ we’re more than worried ‘bout ya getting’ hurt with Derpy ‘round, but it ain’t our right ta say ya can’t be in love with somepony, no matter who it is.”

“Yep,” Dash chimed in, “but don’t let your eyes off her for a second. Last time I did that I wound up with a column smashing my head into the basement of the town hall. Ugh, I still get headaches from that. Twi, just remember that it’s Derpy. She’s a walking accident.”

Twilight winced at that statement, but bit her tongue before she said something without thinking. She hated letting her friends undermine Derpy after all she had learned to love about the pegasus, but she also knew her friends hadn’t been given the chance to get to know her better either. She was also eternally grateful for their understanding; she never expected such open acceptance from her friends. It would be alright after all; they just needed some time to get to know Derpy.

She smiled weakly and gave them a rather timid, “Thanks, you guys. Just, please, give Derpy a chance. She’s really not the pony you may have thought she was.”

The pair nodded to her as they let themselves out of the library. “Take it easy for a while, Twi,” Rainbow Dash called over her shoulder. “We’re still gonna watch out for you, especially when Derpy’s around, but we trust you enough to know you can take care of yourself.” And with that Twilight was alone, left to mull over her thoughts and wait eagerly for Derpy to stop by.