• Published 5th Dec 2012
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Tangled Roots - Bad_Seed_72



The CMC know that Babs Seed was bullied in Manehatten, but how bad could things really have been?

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What Siblings Know

What Siblings Know

They say that the journey from one’s destination back to home always seems like a longer trek than it was in the previous direction. As cliché it as it is, “they” were right in this instance, as "they" have been in many others before.

Babs Seed galloped as fast as her hooves could carry her, fresh manecut and bobtail flowing through the gentle breeze. She stuck towards the main roads and carved her path along the rows of streetlights, no longer caring if anypony saw her. The dangers of creeping through the dark outweighed the benefits, at least for tonight.

The filly pushed her limits, her lungs gasping for air, her limbs aching from rough impact after rough impact on the cobblestone streets. Jus' a little further, she coached herself, pressing on through the high-society hills of Manehatten, seeking and needing refuge in a familiar mansion at the very top.

At long last, Babs reached the gates, halting herself before she slammed into the iron bars. “Horseapples!” she cursed. She had forgotten entirely about the front gates. Greyhoof usually woke up around this time to check the gates and make sure they were secure. Whenever Babs chose to live after midnight, she had always left the gates unlatched, but otherwise closed.

Greyhoof, in his age, did not draw attention when he found that the gates had been unsecured during his check, believing that he had simply neglected to latch them. Although he was a faithful and loyal servant to the Oranges, Greyhoof did not go much beyond the call of duty. He wasn’t paid enough to do things like sweep the property when he found an unsecured door. He wasn't a security guard, for Celestia's sake.

Nevertheless, Greyhoof had beaten her this time, and now the adventurous filly would have to find another way inside. She was too big to slip through the bars, and her hooves were too tired for her to even contemplate scaling the gates, which were the height of two full-grown stallions stacked on top of each other.

Summat like twelve feet. Ugh. Damn ma parents an' their security measures.

Babs Seed wandered around the perimeter of the property, searching for a gap in the fencing or a mole hole she could dig through to slip under the bars. Discouraged, she had rounded nearly the entire circumference of the Orange Family Mansion when she heard a mare’s voice.

“Where could she be…? Oh, I knew that if she kept staying out like this, something bad would happen…”

Citrus Blossom!

Peeking through the bars of the security fence, Babs Seed saw her adult sister—a cream-colored mare with a bright orange mane—standing alone in the garden. Even from this distance, Babs could see that she had been crying, her eyes red and puffy. “I know you do this, sometimes, Babs, but I’m worried… you’re never gone this long,” Citrus whispered.

Wait… why isn’t she wakin’ up Greyhoof an' the others? Why is she out heeya all alone?

“Psst… hey… Citrus…”

Citrus's ears pricked. “Huh? Is somepony there?”

“It’s me, Babs!” The foal made her best effort to poke a hoof out between the bars, waving to her sister.

“Babs!”

Cantering happily towards her sister’s hoof, Citrus Blossom cried out, “Oh, you’re alright! You’re alright, lil’ sis!”

“Heh heh, yea… 'ey, could youze open the gate fo' me? I’m locked out.”

“Of course! Meet you there!”

Babs Seed rushed to the other side of the property, just meeting Citrus Blossom as she swung the gate wide open. As soon as she saw her younger sibling, Citrus jumped over to her, bouncing happily. “You’re back! You’re back! You’re… wait… what happened to your mane? And your tail??”

“Ma mane? … Oh, dat.” Babs blew the one strand of red-and-pink mane out of her eye, refusing to meet her sister’s gaze. “Um… er… I decided ta get a manecut, dat’s all. Makes me look tough, youze know? Heh...”

Eying her suspiciously, a look of disapproval on her face, Citrus raised an eyebrow. “Hmph. Well, you should have asked me what I thought first. You look like a colt now.”

Babs Seed blushed. “Oh, um, I didn’t realize dat.”

Citrus ran a hoof through her own long mane and sighed. “Oh, whatever. It doesn’t really matter. I’m just glad you’re back,” she said, pulling her younger sibling into a hug. Babs latched onto Citrus, returning the embrace. “Where did you go, anyhow?” she asked, Babs reluctantly letting her go as she began to trot towards the front door.

Striding alongside her, Babs thought of a quick and easy lie. I’m a good liar. “Um… well… I was jus' meetin' up wit' some friends. We gave each otha… makeovers?” Dammit, dat wasn’t supposed ta be a question!

Citrus snorted. “Pish-posh,” she replied dismissively. “You better seek out more fashion oriented-friends. I don’t think makeovers are their specialty, per se.”

“Heh, right.” Babs followed her sister into the mansion, gently closing the door behind her and bolting it tight. No more monsters would be following her tonight. Back under the rug they went.

“Wait… Citrus…”

“Yes, hon?”

“… Youze not gonna tell Ma’ an' Da’ 'bout dis, are youze? O' Greyhoof?”

Ascending the stairs, Citrus answered, “Nope,” without missing a step.

A few times previous to this night, Citrus had caught her younger counterpart sneaking back in, though it was usually earlier than tonight’s adventure. She pretended not to notice as Babs slipped through the unlatched gate, quietly opened and locked the front door, and trotted up the steps to her room. She never confronted her about it in the morning, or any other time. She really wasn’t sure why.

Citrus Blossom did care about Babs Seed, but didn’t know how to handle the rebellious filly. When she wasn’t sneaking around at night, getting into Celestia-knows-what, Babs was usually hiding up in her room or wandering through the garden. She appeared to have no interest in Manehatten society—fashion or otherwise.

When Citrus sat at the dinner table with Mother and Father Orange, excitedly discussing business, stocks, bonds, profits, parties, fashion, or celebrity gossip, Babs Seed usually sat silent, eating her meal and waiting to be excused. If prompted, she would utter a few sentences about school—what she was learning, what somepony had brought for a class project—but nothing more.

A few times, Citrus had stepped outside of her comfort zone, and confronted Babs Seed. Things did not… go as planned.

~

The most recent time was about a week ago. After a delicious dinner of mandarin orange salad and orange sorbet, Citrus Blossom followed her sister up to her room. The foal seemed surprised to have her sibling follow her, but said nothing, and even opened the door for her as she entered.

“Why, thank you, Babs. So polite!” Citrus gushed.

“Yup,” Babs said flatly, trotting over to her bed and sitting down on the soft comforter. She gazed out her west window, pleased to see that Celestia was beginning to lower the sun for her equally beautiful sister.

Citrus Blossom joined her on the bed, sitting down next to her on her haunches. “How’s school going?”

“Eh… same ol’, same ol’. We’re learning 'bout geology right now.”

“Geology?”

“Rocks,” Babs explained, her eyes still glued to the horizon, watching as the sun slowly fell in the sky towards that line where the world disappeared. “Sedimentary, metamorphic, igneous. All kinds. How ta identify 'em an' such.”

“Oh, that’s… interesting." Citrus nervously ran a hoof through her mane. Science had never been her strong suit. She wasn’t even sure if she had studied geology herself while in school.

“Mmhmm.” Babs did not tear her eyes from the window. A majestic sky of blue began to fade to purple and orange, fire on the horizon, providing a warm landing for Celestia’s burning sun. It would not be too much longer, now, that it would be dark and she would have to pretend to sleep.

“Um… Babs…”

“Yea, Citrus?”

“Is there anything you want to tell me?”

Turning at last from that enchanting window, facing her sister, Babs asked slowly, “Like… what?”

“Well,” began the older filly, stroking her own mane with a more rapid forehoof, “um, you just seem… distant. Sad. Is something wrong?”

Pausing, several different streams of thought ran through the foal's mind. Should I tell her? Will she believe me? Will she help me? O' is dis all ma fault anyway? Not havin’ a cutiemark an' all…

Lost in thought, Babs blushed hot anger at herself, Citrus watching with confusion. “You don’t have to tell me what’s wrong, sweetie, if you don’t want to—"

“Well, fine, then,” Babs snapped. “I guess youze don’t want ta know anyway.”

Confused even more, Citrus Blossom said slowly, “No, hon, I never said that… I just said—“

“Ah, whateva!” Jumping down from the bed onto all four hooves, Babs dismissed her sister with a flick of her long, streaming tail. “Youze wouldn’t understand, anyhow.”

Thinking she may have accidentally revealed a bit of her problem, a cartoonish light switch flicked above Citrus’s mane. “Oh! Is it a colt?”

What the hay?! “What?” Babs exhaled, glancing at her older sibling, seeing a cat-like grin spreading across her muzzle.

“A colt!” Citrus squealed. “A colt you have a crush on? Or maybe he has a crush on youze? Ooh! I know!” She giggled, imagining all sorts of outfits she could dress Babs in to impress her suitor. “We could do… makeovers! That’ll get him to notice youze!”

Lost in her own world, Citrus didn’t notice her sister's eyebrows furrow in anger, or see her muscles tense. Babs Seed trotted slowly towards Citrus, trying to hold back a storm of rage that was brewing within her.

She couldn't hold back this storm.

“Youze think dis a damn joke?!” Babs screamed, fires lighting within her eyes. “Youze think dis has ta do wit' some silly-filly lovey-dovey horseapples?!”

Citrus Blossom gasped. “Babs! Watch your tongue! It is not proper for a filly your age to speak like that!”

Buck what fillies ma age are supposed ta do!” Blood soared through her veins, pumped by a hurt and enraged heart. How dare she so callously ask me what’s goin’ on, as iffa she cares at all, then write me off like I’m some lovestruck filly pinin' afta some ugly colt!

“Youze wanna really know what ma problem is?!” Babs yelled, her sister’s eyes growing wide with fear with each step she took closer to the mare. “Youze really give a damn what my problem is? Huh?!”

“Babs! Settle down!” Citrus raised both her hooves in surrender, scooting herself further back on the bed as the wild seed approached her. Never before had she seen Babs like this, so full of anger and rage and… fire.

“No, YOUZE listen ta me, right now.” Pointing an accusatory hoof at her sister, Babs spat, “Ma problem… is ponies like YOUZE! Youze is so fake, right down ta youze eyelashes, fo' Celestia’s sake!”

Citrus gasped in shock. “But… but… the salespony assured me that nopony would be able to tell they weren’t real!”

Babs’s flaming anger missed a beat as she processed her sister’s words. She actually thinks I care. 'Bout. Her damn eyelashes. Right now.

“Youze… youze… IDIOT!” Leaping upon the bed to make eye contact with Citrus Blossom, Babs snorted with a rage so hot, she was surprised smoke didn't billow from her nostrils. “It’s ponies like youze, youze don’t care 'bout nothin’ important! It’s all gossip an' stocks an' money wit' youze! When was the last time youze really cared 'bout anypony o' anythin' otha than youzeself o' money?!”

Babs Seed was panting at this point, each of her words a forceful expression of pent-up anger, anger at all of the lies and facades their little family told themselves each day through their mere, irrelevant, shallow existence. Sure, they lived in a mansion, with hired help who would wipe their flanks if they wanted to, but when was the last time they had bonded? They had group-hugged? They had even said, “I love you,” to each other? They had had a real conversation? Babs Seed didn’t remember when, if ever.

Citrus Blossom blinked, slowly formulating her words mentally, running them past a very slow (if well-intentioned) word processor. What could she say to calm her sister down?

“Sweetie…” Citrus tried to pull Babs into a hug, only to be shoved away. She didn’t comment on the brush-off, and continued, “I do care about you, hon, I really do. Even if I don’t always show it. I’m… I’m trying to get better, okay? Now… I know you got really mad when I said something about a colt, so….” Her words trailed off into the distance as she chose her next words with extreme care. “If, um, it’s a filly, I don’t judge, hon, that’s okay too, and I can help you with…. that…”

Oh, no, she didn’t.

Blushing furiously, Babs Seed utilized her most hard-wired self-control skills to avoid flat-out punching her sister in the face. Her voice shaking with anger, she hissed, “Dis… is not 'bout… dat… either… how dare youze!”

“What? It’s not a big deal, dear,” Citrus Blossom said nonchalantly. “Lots of ponies are that way. My hairdresser is. He’s this dapper young stallion, oh, how I wish he wasn’t—“

“Get out.”

Citrus blinked. “What?”

“Get. Out.”

As hard as she could, Babs pushed her older sister off the bed, using only her snout and the steam rising from her hooves. Lucky for Citrus, the little filly was not as strong as she wished to be, and Citrus was able to catch herself as she landed.

“Well! I get it, Babs!” Citrus huffed, trotting over to the bedroom door. “If you need me, I’ll be next door. Don’t knock if you want to pull this crap with me again.”

SLAM!

Babs Seed wandered over and deadbolted the lock. “Whateva,” she muttered, speaking to nopony in particular.

That night, Citrus Blossom did not try to make contact with Babs Seed again. A few times, she could’ve sworn that she had heard crying coming from the next room, and pressed her ears to the wall between their rooms. Each time she had done so, however, her efforts were met with only silence. Citrus Blossom was not sure if her sister was just clever, or if she was going insane.

She would’ve placed a bet on both, and another on red, to be safe.

~

“Okay, thank youze, sis,” Babs said gratefully after her sister assured her that she would not be speaking of her late-night antics to anypony. Citrus Blossom nodded and headed to her bedroom door.

“I’ll be going back to bed, now, but if you need anything, just let me know… alright, lil’ sis?”

With a smile, Babs nodded happily. “Will do, sis. Goodnight.”

Babs Seed waited until she heard the door close behind Citrus Blossom before she entered her own room. Familiar, happy accent walls greeted her, moonbeams shining through her west window and lighting up a spot on the bed. That was her favorite spot, under the light of the moon.

Trotting over to the windowsill, she looked down at the streets once more. They didn’t seem as magical or friendly anymore.

Mean streets.

“By the light o' the moon… youze do your work,” she whispered. “Because youze are afraid o' youze deeds comin' ta light.”

She sighed and climbed into bed. Tomorrow would be a busy day. A geology test, and then Card Slinger, Lucky Toss, and Fencer, of course.

Perhaps things will be betta. Maybe Turner scared ‘em good.

Pulling the covers over her head, finding sleep whispering in her ears, Babs Seed hoped for the best, hoped against hope that she was right.