• Published 23rd Dec 2012
  • 3,541 Views, 89 Comments

The Time Keeper of Ponyville - Askre

Time Turner is in love but is hesitant to really act on it. Other things in his life also distract him like the clock tower and a new employee at his shop.

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Chapter 06. The visit of the social workers.

Chapter 6

It was a busy time in Derpy’s kitchen. The gray mare was all over the kitchen, frantically preparing for an incoming visit from the social service. As a designated foster care mare she routinely got visits from the social service to see how things were going. These were most of the time mere formalities and for the past few years the same two ponies had come and gone without any issue being raised.

This time was different because two new ponies would come visiting. Ponies she didn’t know and they probably had only vague information from any papers about her. Derpy had known about this upcoming visit for a month now but it was still making her nervous. There had been no explanation why the usual ponies weren’t coming and Derpy’s over active imagination was picturing all kinds of reason for this change.

She had taken half day off from work so she could properly prepare for this visit. They would be coming today around noon, so there was much to do and very little time to do it. Muffins had to be baked, drinks had to be prepared and the house had to be in order. Derpy was all too well aware that in this case first impression was vitally important.

Derpy was now on her third batter, the second batch of muffins was in the oven baking and the first was cooling down on the kitchen table. The mare only hoped she would have enough time to clean up the kitchen when she was done. She was immensely grateful that Carrot Top was home today and could help cleaning the rest of the house with the girls. Amethyst Star was old and responsible enough to clean up on her own but the younger fillies still tended to need supervision to make sure they finished what they were supposed to be doing.

“Mom!” The voice of Sparkler brought Derpy’s attention to the kitchen door. The mare was just in the middle of carrying the mixing bowl over to the counter with the muffin forms. Unfortunately Derpy’s right eye didn’t focus with the left one and thus she misjudged where she was stepping and tripped over her own legs.

“Oh gosh, mom, I’m so sorry!” Sparkler yelped and hurried over to her fallen foster mother. The bowl had slipped from her grasp and its contents was now spread all over the floor.

“It’s alright, I’m alright,” Derpy assured the worried young mare and accepted her help to rise up.

Sparkler still felt guilty, she knew too well that the Pegasus had to concentrate harder than most ponies. Her right eye sometimes betrayed her and due to that she could sometimes misjudge both distances and where exactly she was moving. This often made it look like the mare was a klutz with four left legs and that reputation still stuck around town with many ponies. Some even went so far to think she was retarded.

“Now will you look at that?” Derpy smiled and looked the spilled batter. “The floor wanted to lick the bowl.”

“Mom, sorry again, I was just going to tell you that we finished with the living room. Carrot is making sure Tootsie and Dinky clean up their room,” the Unicorn told her mother.

“Good, that’s good, and don’t worry about it Sparkler, it was an accident.” The Pegasus nodded and got a washing cloth to clean up the spill. Sparkler got one as well to help.

“Guess two batches of muffins will have to do, I don’t have more for a new third batch and I don’t think there is time to go buy more,” Derpy sighed a bit.

“You’re really nervous about this visit aren’t you, mom?” Sparkler glanced up from her cleaning work. The Pegasus tried to appear innocent.

“Whatever do you mean?” she asked.

“You haven’t folded your wings since you came home,” the Unicorn pointed out.

Derpy glanced at her back, indeed her wings were raised in a clear sign of agitation. That was sometimes a problem with being a Pegasus, the wings could sometimes betray them when trying to hide their true emotions. The wings were just as important part of their body language as the face and ears. The mare sighed in surrender, she was never good at keeping her wings in check at the same time.

“I can’t deny it, Sparkler. Yes I’m nervous. We’ve had Swift Mane and Trinity come for the routine visits since you came here first to live with us many years ago,” Derpy whispered and picked up the now very dirty cloth and put it in the kitchen sink.

“It took me so long to convince social service to validate me as a foster care mare. I keep worrying that one day they will change their mind about me, maybe hear one too many rumors or stories about me from the town ponies.” The mare bit her lips.

Sparkler finished up her part of cleaning the floor and threw the cloth to the sink. Then she put one leg around her foster mother in a hug. Derpy raised one leg to hug the Unicorn as well, she was shaking a little.

“I know this should just be routine, that this will probably go swimmingly and I have nothing to worry about. But I can’t help it, if they feel I’m not good enough, they will take you all away from me,” she sniffed.

“No they won’t, they will see what a great mom you are and everything will be fine,” Sparkler assured her and hugged the mare tighter.

“Yes, I know, I know. I’m worrying over nothing,” Derpy said and managed to smile again.

She hugged Sparkler one more time before they separated. The two then finished cleaning up what was left of the spill. The Unicorn rescued the second batch of muffins from the oven and both ponies began cleaning up the kitchen. They were almost finished when Carrot Top entered.

“What only two batches of muffins?” the yellow Earth Mare joshed, knowing that usually Derpy might be on her fourth batch of baking by now.

“Had a little accident,” Derpy chuckled and Sparkler blushed. “Two batches will just have to do. We don’t have time to go buy more ingredients.”

“Yes, they will probably be arriving any minute now.” Carrot nodded. “Now why don’t you two take a break, I’ll prepare the tea. I take it you have already made some juice?”

“Yes, it’s in the fridge,” Derpy confirmed, glad to have a break she left the kitchen with Sparkler. The older mare headed straight for the bathroom, intending to take a shower before the visitors arrived. Sparkler however trotted to the living room.

Carrot Top had just put the kettle on the stove when there was a knock on the front door. She quickly glanced at the clock and frowned, it was not time yet for the meeting, which was still half an hour away. Outside the kitchen, the joint loud voices of Tootise and Dinky declared their intention to get the door.

The Earth mare hurried to the front hall in case the social workers were arriving early; however, it turned out to be some school friends of the fillies. Carrot had seen them before but couldn’t quite recall their names. The friends were inquiring the girls if they could come out and play.

“I’m sorry but Dinky and Tootsie must be home for now, we are expecting visitors,” Carrot Top informed them. Dinky and Tootise both gave dramatic sighs as they did confirm her words.

“Can you come when the visit is over? We’ll be in the park,” one friend asked, a yellow earth filly.

Dinky and Tootise looked at Carrot Top for an answer. The mare nodded, seeing no reason not to allow that. Derpy didn’t mind her giving the girls permission to do things. All four fillies cheered before the friends departed. Dinky and Tootsie rushed back to the living room where they had been playing, Carrot returned to the kitchen.

Derpy felt far more relaxed and refreshed once she had finished her shower. The mare dried herself up and brushed her coat, mane and tail. Then she took a preening brush and preened her wings. Once all done she stepped outside the bathroom and went to the living room.

Carrot Top was busy setting everything up; muffins were on the coffee table along with both juice and a teakettle full of warm water. Sparkler was just bringing in a tray with the tea bags, sugar, honey and milk. Everything was just about ready for the upcoming visitors.

The most peculiar sight in the living room however were the two young fillies lying on the floor. They were on their backs, legs sprawled out and their tongues lolling out from the corners of their mouths. Derpy raised an eyebrow and glanced at her roommate, who was holding back a chuckle.

“Dare I ask what happened to them?” the Pegasus asked and gestured to Tootsie and Dinky with a hoof.

“Oh don’t you know? I’m horribly evil, I’m a hag, the worst pony, I’m the next Nightmare Moon,” Carrot giggled.

“They wanted a muffin early, Carrot told them they had to wait for the guests,” Sparkler helpfully supplied additional information. “And now they are dead from lack of muffins.”

“Oh my, that is evil.” Derpy faked a shocked gasp and approached the “deceased” fillies.

Dinky and Tootise were desperately trying to hold their vacant stares and lay still. However, the fact that they did quickly glance at the approaching mare was a good indication that their condition wasn’t as serious as they pretended to be.

“I better revive them, it wouldn’t look good when the social workers arrive and see two dead fillies,” Derpy declared, lifted one hoof and oh so gently poked Dinky in the tummy with it.

Dinky shrieked, giggled, and scrambled up to escape. She was extremely ticklish on the tummy and even just the slightest touch could set her off. The filly scrambled further into the living room, ducked behind a chair and from there peeked over the left armrest and stuck her tongue out.

Derpy knew though that Tootsie would not be so easy, she was not very ticklish in the stomach area. However, the mare knew her foster daughter well. Now she spread her left wing that was closest to the filly’s head and slowly lowered the longest feathers towards the girl’s nose.

“Meep.” Tootise quickly rolled to her feet and dashed to the safety of the same chair Dinky hid behind. If she hated anything then it was being tickled on the nose.

“Behold the miracle, two revived fillies, back from muffin death,” Derpy giggled and the other mares did as well. The two fillies grumbled from their hiding spot, it was obviously a serious business day if even Derpy didn’t sympathize with their plight of not getting a muffin early before a visit.

A rhythmic knock on the front door brought Derpy’s mind back to what everyone was actually waiting for. Derpy took a deep breath and hurried out of the living room to answer the door. Carrot Top and Sparkler gave the fillies a signal to not rush for the door as they were used to whenever anyone came over, this time it would be more appropriate for their mother to open it.

Derpy opened the front door and blinked a little at seeing the big maroon Pegasus mare standing there. She wasn’t gigantic but was still the size of a regular stallion. The blue Pegasus beside her was more regular size but slightly smaller than Derpy.

“HIII!” the maroon mare greeted cheerfully waving enthusiastically with one hoof. Then she assumed a more apologetic expression. “Sorry we’re late.”

“We’re only three minutes behind,” the blue Pegasus told her and then turned back to Derpy to greet her, but the maroon one interrupted her.

“That’s still late. We’re so unprofessional,” she grumbled but very quickly assumed her grin again.

“Anyway, hello I’m Dew Doe and the drama queen is Foxy Stripes. We are the social worker ponies temporarily replacing Swift Mane and Trinity,” the blue Pegasus introduced herself and the other one to the grey mare. Foxy just responded to the “drama queen” comment with a wider grin.

“Uh, welcome, I’m Derpy Hooves, come on in.” Derpy stepped back to allow the mares to enter. She wasn’t quite sure what to make of them, they looked friendly enough

Derpy took her guests to the living room and introduced them to Carrot, Sparkler and the fillies. Foxy greeted again with a very enthusiastic hi and a wave, while Dew was quieter and greeted with a nod of her head. Then everyone found a seat to sit in.

Foxy did have a little trouble, she actually managed to misaim for the couch landed her on rump and the left hind leg just barely missed the coffee table. Derpy let out a breath she had been holding. She had just about been ready to grab the coffee table. Everyone now stared at the sheepish maroon pony.

“I’m such a klutz, sorry,” Foxy giggled nervously and managed to sit up more properly on the floor. “Better just remain here, don’t want to risk breaking everything else.”

“Are you alright?” Carrot asked what pretty much everyone else was thinking.

“I’m fine, I’m fine,” the big mare quickly assured her and shook one hoof dismissively. “I’ll just sit here, all fine and cozy.”

“Want a pillow?” Derpy offered, her living room floor was hardwood after all and wasn’t comfortable to sit on for too long.

“If there is one available thanks.” Foxy was already learning the fact about the floor, cringing a little.

Derpy grabbed a pillow from the couch she and Carrot were on and tossed it over to the big mare. She winched when her poor depth perception actually caused the pillow to go past Foxy and to the couch behind her, narrowly missing Dew Doe.

Oh, I’m off to a good start, Derpy thought, however neither social worker seemed fazed, if anything Dew was now glaring at Foxy.

“Why do I never catch anything that’s thrown at me?” Foxy sighed grinning innocently at the blue Pegasus.

“Here is your pillow.” Dew dropped the pillow right on top of Foxy’s head, from where it slid down to the floor.

“Thank you,” Foxy giggled and slid the pillow under her rump.

Derpy and Carrot exchanged glances; so far their guests had not really behaved like any social worker they had met before. Sparkler too looked rather surprised and the two fillies were in a giggle fit over the whole thing.

“Now let’s get professional,” Dew Doe declared and started to produce papers from her saddlebag.

“Says the pony who had to hang around the market for so long that we got here late,” Foxy remarked with a wry grin, earning another glare from Dew Doe.

“Anyway, you are probably wondering why you are not being visited by Swift Mane and Trinity.” The blue Pegasus decided to ignore the maroon one for now and focused her attention on Derpy and Carrot Top.

“That did cross our minds.” Derpy nodded.

“And we quite understand. You see, Swift Mane has been promoted to the head of the Social department that handle matters related to Social work and Childcare for Canterlot, Fillydelphia, Baltimare and Ponyville. Trinity has retired and she sends her love,” Dew Doe began explaining. While she did, Derpy and Carrot started to hand out the muffins and drinks. The fillies were especially glad finally to acquire some treats. Both guests accepted tea to drink.

“Foxy and I usually do not get these kind of assignments. Our jobs are often more related to children not in foster care and rehabilitate ponies on parole. However, the annual visits for Ponyville were coming up and with Swift Mane’s promotion and Trinity’s retirement there was nopony available immediately to take those assignments. So we have been sent here to cover it until more suitable replacements have been found,” Dew Doe told them.

Derpy wondered if this was why the mares acted more friendly and familiar. Not that Swift Mane and Trinity had been unfriendly, but they had carried a more professional attitude towards the visits. Perhaps their job required them to be more casual to assist the foals and ponies they helped.

“So, why don’t you tell us about yourself?” Dew Doe put the papers down and looked at Derpy and the others.

“Well uh… I’m originally from Cloudsdale but moved to Ponyville when I was old enough to live on my own. I’ve been a mailmare for almost ten years now. I was in a relationship from which Dinky is born, however we separated shortly after I gave birth to her. Carrot here then asked me if I wanted to rent a house together and we’ve been living here for about seven years. I applied to be a foster mare few year ago and after going through the application process, I was given Sparkler who had come from a bad home with abusive parents and Tootsie whose parents had died in an accident and there were no close family to take care of her,” Derpy recounted briefly about herself.

“Sparkler?” Dew Doe looked at her papers again.

“My name is Amethyst Star, but everypony just calls me Sparkler,” Sparkler told her, at that the blue Pegasus nodded and put her papers down again.

“I’ve lived in Ponyville my whole life, I’m a part time farmer and part time whatever small jobs I can find. That is, during the summer I sell the small products I grow from my vegetable farm but in the winter I clean houses or take on whatever temp jobs that are available,” Carrot Top started telling about herself.

“I started to know Derpy when she began delivering mail here in Ponyville and we became fast friends. I helped her when her relationship turned sour. Seven years ago, I had the opportunity to rent this house. It had a bigger garden more suited for my vegetable farm, however I couldn’t afford it without help so I asked Derpy if she wanted to rent the house with me. I’ve helped with taking care of the girls and my farm produces enough extra food from what I don’t manage to sell.”

While the adults talked, the fillies concentrated on the treats. This whole social worker thing held very little meaning to either of them. As far as Tootsie was concerned, she lived here and there was no indication that it was going to change. Soon she and Dinky were in competition of eating muffins as fast as possible.

Sparkler listened only half-interested; she was already old enough that these visits no longer affected her despite Derpy’s worries. They were mostly about Tootsie Flute now. She only liked to be around just in case Derpy and Carrot needed a third voice to assure the social workers that her foster mother was a good responsible mother.

“Foxy and I also come from Cloudsdale. We moved to Fillydelphia after finishing college and started to work as social workers there. We currently rent a little house in the suburbs with a third friend,” Dew Doe told them a little about her and Foxy. “Usually it’s Foxy who gets assignments with foals and I get assignments with ponies on parole, but occasionally we get joint assignments because they feel we work so well together. Which is probably why they sent us two here.”

Sparkler stifled a yawn, looked like this was just going to devolve into the usual chitchats these visits always turned into. Derpy was now telling about the girls with helpful comments from Carrot Top. She looked over to the fillies who lay bored on the chair they were sharing, clearly just wanting to go and play instead of hanging around here.

That actually gave the young Unicorn mare an idea; she innocently looked at the older ponies and waited for a pause in the conversation so she wouldn’t be interrupting.

“I was just thinking,” Sparkler spoke up when the pause finally came. The other mares looked at her. “I know I’m not really needed here and I think Dinky and Tootsie are about ready to revolt, maybe I should take them out.”

“Revolution!” Tootsie shouted and jumped to her feet, balancing on the thick armrest of the chair. She grinned innocently when getting unimpressed glares from both Carrot Top and Derpy, Sparkler hoofed her face and Dinky rolled on the chair in a giggle fit. Dew and Foxy were stifling their own giggles.

“Well, their friends are waiting from them at Ponyville Park,” Carrot mentioned and glanced at Derpy.

“The girls don’t have to be here for this, they can go if they want,” Dew chuckled.

Derpy considered it but seeing the now eager faces on both Dinky and Tootsie, the mare knew it was just impossible to say no, especially since it had been confirmed they weren’t really needed around.

“Very well but remember to be back for supper,” she reminded them.

The fillies cheered and didn’t waste much time jumping down from the chair and racing out of the living room. Sparkler dropped down from her seat and followed the girls. Soon after the front doors opened and slammed shut. The mares all smiled at the impatience of the younger ponies.

“Now that the fillies are gone I can give you this.” Dew Doe pulled out a sealed letter and with an uncertain expression offered it to Derpy. “Swift Mane asked me to give you this but not when your daughters were present.”

Derpy and Carrot Top exchanged confused looks before the gray mare accepted the letter. She removed the seal off the envelope and pulled out the note. She began reading it silently and her heart started sinking.

Dear Miss Hooves.

It is with regret that I must inform you that my office has been asked to investigate you and your ability to be a competent mother to your daughter Dinky. Dinky’s father, Barricade, is questioning your custody over her

I feel terrible for having to write to you this letter, but when this matter came up in my office, I personally took charge of it in hopes of sparing you the grief of having to deal with unfamiliar ponies. However, my promotion came quicker than I expected so I no longer had time to see to this personally. Instead, I sent two ponies I trust the most to take care of this case with it in mind that it is you who is being wronged.

I remember your stories about him, how he treated you and then just left when you gave birth to your daughter Dinky. How he constantly gives bad excuses why he’s late paying the foal support and how he keeps disappointing his daughter by never showing up when he promises. This is not a pony I would personally trust to have the custody of any foal, however he’s made his claim and my superiors have agreed it’s valid enough.

I know you’ll come through this on top. I trust Dew Doe and Foxy Stripes to do the right thing.

With regards

Swift Mane.

End Chapter 6

Author's Note:

Soooo yeah my plans to post monthly went down the toilet with Real Life bugging me and all that. But hey at least not a year passed before the next chapter, right? Right?

And yes, Dinky's father is an OC. When I was planning this fic first, (almost two years ago, jeez) I went through the list of possible background ponies to use but I just didn't have the heart to make a villain out of any of them. I figured I would instead use a character I've actually been Rping in a private RP with few friends, though I did few modifications and changed his name since the RP world and the story world are completely different.