• Published 17th Jan 2012
  • 1,979 Views, 106 Comments

The Donors - GoesKaboom

The truth about Pumpkin and Pound Cake's parentage.

  • ...

First Look

Chapter Ten: First Look

Ultimately, Pinkie decided that the Cakes' first chance to get a glimpse of their foal on the ultrasound was something too personal for her to be privy to, and she decided to head back to the shop to re-open it. After all, when Cup collapsed, she and Carrot had just sort of herded everypony out the door and quickly closed up shop. They'd written a hastily-worded, vague explanation on a piece of paper and thrown it up on the window for the moment, but it hadn't been meant to be a long-term solution. No doubt there would be a crowd of curious ponies by now, wondering why their favorite bakery had just randomly shut down in the middle of a weekday.

“Are you sure you can manage the store on your own, Pinkie?” Cup had asked nervously. It wasn't exactly that she didn't trust her employee, it was just that, well... the pink mare tended to make her nervous when she was given responsibilities. Pinkie just laughed.

“Oh, don't worry, Mrs. Cake! I ran the store while you and Mr. Cake were in Manehattan with no problems!”

She was right, Cup had to admit. She watched her employee bound out of the room as though nothing had happened, leaving her alone with her husband. “Do you think we did the right thing, telling her?” she asked. “Do you think she even understood what we said?” Carrot looked at her, an unreadable expression on his face.

“Pinkie Pie is an adult,” he said, choosing his words carefully. “And you know she is more aware of the world around her than she often appears to be. She truly is smarter than she looks. Sometimes I wonder if she's hiding her true personality for a reason...” he mused. Cup blinked in surprised.

“What do you mean?” she asked. Carrot shrugged.

“Just that sometimes I think the Pinkie Pie we know is a front. There have been a few incidents where it was almost like... almost like she let her guard down, or something,” the stallion explained hesitantly. “It was like her real self slipped out for a moment or two. Come on, Cup, you can't tell me what you saw back there wasn't strange. Pinkie looked like she was ready to buck you in the face or something, when she thought you had cheated on me. That sort of extreme reaction... somepony as happy-go-lucky as Pinkie seems to be wouldn't behave like that naturally.”

“So you're saying Pinkie Pie is a danger to us?”

“No, not at all,” Carrot replied. “But I'm thinking there is more to her than we realize, and I'm very sure that she pretends to be less intelligent than she actually is. I don't know why though. But I will say this- that mare takes promises and loyalty seriously, almost as much as that Rainbow Dash does. I don't think we have anything to worry about from Pinkie. She will keep her promise.”

“I do not doubt that she will, but still, what you said worries me,” Cup answered. “If she's hiding who she really is, how do you know we can trust her with the store? What if she's skimming money from the cash register or something like that?”

Carrot simply howled with laughter at that, startling his life. “Are you kidding me? Pinkie Pie is about as much of a thief as I am. No, I'm pretty sure that whatever she's hiding is personal. I get the feeling she's hiding from her own personal demons, trying to deceive herself, more than anypony else. Do you know anything about her foalhood, anyway?”

“Not all that much,” Cup admitted. “I only know what she told us when she applied for the job and to rent the room, that she grew up on a rock farm outside of Trottingham until she discovered that her special talent was planning parties. I don't think she's ever talked about her family much, or why she left them in the first place. I never thought it was my place to bring it up, especially since I got the feeling she didn't want to talk about it.”

“Yes, I got the feeling too,” Carrot agreed. “And it makes me wonder what happened with her family. I think whatever it was affected her so deeply that she wouldn't want any reminder of it, and that's where her weird behavior comes from.”

A horrible thought occurred to the blue mare just then, prompted by some recent news reports she'd seen, in the newspapers and on the television. Equestria, by and large, was a very safe place to live. Most ponies did their best to guide their lives by the principles of the Elements of Harmony. But there were those that didn't. There were bad ponies out there, and they were not as rare as one would like to believe. Despite the best efforts of the justice system of Equestria and the good intentions of the vast majority of its citizens, there were monsters lurking among the pony population. And unlike the more literal monsters that did infest certain parts of the country, like manticores and hydras, or the ponies who had become so utterly corrupted that their physical appearance warped, like Nightmare Moon, these ponies looked just like everypony else, completely indistinguishable from a perfectly friendly, safe pony. “Oh Carrot,” Cup breathed, daunted by her realization. “You don't think...?” She did not need to finish her sentence for her husband to know what she meant.

“Honestly, I don't know,” Carrot replied, face grave, “and I don't want to speculate. It is not fair to Pinkie. If, someday, she wants to tell us what happened in her past that led her to Ponyville, she will tell us. Until then, I don't think it's wise to theorize. We shouldn't think any differently of her just because she let something... slip.” He sighed heavily. “And to think this whole mess came about because we wanted to have a baby...” he muttered more to himself than to Cup, shaking his head.

“Do you regret the decision?” she asked quietly.

“No! NO! Of course not!” Carrot amended quickly. “I don't regret it at all, I'm thrilled that I'm going to be a father!” Here, thought, he paused for a bit. “I just wonder... well, you saw what happened with Pinkie. What else are we going to find out about everypony we know that we would have been better off not knowing? We already knew that Null Result was a bucking idiot, but Pinkie Pie reacting that way? It's strange, thinking that all of that, we wouldn't have found out if you hadn't gotten pregnant. What else do you think could come to light from this? Do we even want to know?”

Cup smiled softly at her husband. “I think you're overthinking it,” she said. “We'd always known there was something Pinkie Pie wasn't telling us. Eventually we would have reached the same conclusion. This was just the catalyst.” The two fell into a calm silence, both processing the reality of what had transpired over the past hour or so. They could try to sugar-coat it all they wanted, but the fact remained that they had seen a very different Pinkie Pie than the one they were used to. It also brought some other disturbing questions to light, like what had happened to make Pinkie react that way in the first place? And if Pinkie Pie of all ponies, the very same Pinkie Pie that had worked and lived with the Cakes for several years, could misinterpret the situation so drastically, thinking that Cup Cake had been unfaithful to her husband, then what would the rest of Ponyville do if they reached the same conclusion?

Cup shuddered, remembering the way the pink mare had looked at her. Pinkie Pie's expression had been one of pure, undiluted disgust- it had almost bordered on hatred. And it would be a long time before she would forget how Ponyville had reacted to certain other incidents in the past. Yes, the populace had stood up for her when the Foal Protective Services agent had come calling, but when Derpy had fallen pregnant, it really had been the talk of the town for the entire nine months. And the vast majority of that talk had been needlessly and pointlessly cruel. Cup would never forget the conversation she'd heard between Roseluck and Dasiy, right in the middle of Derpy's pregnancy. Daisy had been utterly scathing: “Who knew the village idiot was also the village whore? You know, she won't tell anypony who the father is,” she had gossiped to her friend.

“She probably doesn't even know who he is,” Roseluck had replied, wrinkling her nose.

“Honestly, I don't know why the doctors haven't recommended that she terminate,” Dasiy had continued. “The poor foal will obviously come out as stupid as its mother!” The two mares had yukked it up, not knowing that their conversation had been overheard. At the time, Cup had been horrified and appalled that anypony would even think that way, let along actually say it aloud in public. The callous disregard for another pony had been disturbing at the time, but now, just remembering it froze Cup's insides. She wouldn't put it past the rest of Ponyville to react in a similar way if they thought she had been lax with her morals.

Carrot worried as well, although his thoughts centered around Berry Punch and Malt Liquor. When they weren't being cast as the butt of jokes - “haw haw look at the town alcoholics, they're drunk again, I wonder if Malt will try to fly again”- they were popular topics for gossip. He hadn't been completely truthful, when he'd said earlier that everypony quickly forgot about Berry Punch's dalliance with Roid Rage. The mares had forgotten quickly enough, but the stallions had not. Even now, nearly a year afterwards, Carrot was aware that many of his compatriots would mock Malt Liquor. “What's the matter, Malty, not enough of a stallion for Berry Punch?” Sure, it was meant to be good-natured joking, but nopony could deny the subtle undercurrent masked bythe “hilarity.” The message, although well-cloaked, was undeniably that Malt Liquor was pathetic for having his wife cheat on him. No, he was pathetic for letting her cheat on him. Gone was any sense of proportion or understanding of the context.

Berry Punch and Malt Liquor were, to put it mildly, not well. Both were very sick ponies. Overindulgence in alcohol had pickld their marriage and led to some very serious problems. Carrot Cake was privy to some information that he was very sure nopony else knew. He hadn't even told Cup about it, but he knew that Malt Liquor was slowly dying from cirrhosis of the liver. He'd found out quite by accident, but the other stallion had told him while he was drunk off his flank. He probably didn't even know he'd done so, but Carrot remembered it very well.

It was likely that on some level, most ponies knew that there was something very wrong in the Berry Punch/Malt Liquor household, but their knowledge was tempered with the wacky hijinks the liquor-store owners would get up to. But Carrot knew how much it must hurt them, and even more than that, how much it must hurt Ruby Pinch, and always winced internally every time he heard a new “Berry and Malt are so crazy” story.

Was that what would happen if ponies decided that Cup must have cheated on him? Would he suddenly be the laughingstock of Ponyville, that poor pathetic bastard who was such a lousy husband that his wife had to go elsewhere to get satisfaction, not to mention conceive a foal?

Quite frankly, Carrot didn't want to find out.

Completely lost to their own darkening thoughts, both ponies nearly jumped out of their skin when Nurse Redheart knocked on the door. “Hello? Are you ready? I have the ultrasound equipment right here…”

“Oh! Please, come in,” Cup called back. Seconds later, the door opened and the nurse entered the room, pulling a complicated-looking piece of equipment on a rolling cart behind her.

“Have you ever had an ultrasound before?” she asked. Cup shook her head, and the other mare smiled. “Well, you’ll have nothing to worry about. It doesn’t hurt, and it won’t take long at all. All I am going to do is put this gel on your abdomen, and then move the sensor across it,” she explained, gesturing towards the attachment of the machine. “It will allow us to get a look at your foal. We should be able to determine the type and gender with this. Now, if I could just have you remove the blankets and lie on your back…”

Cup did as she was told, pushing the blanket back and adjusting herself so that her pregnant belly was easily accessible to the nurse. Redheart picked up a nondescript-looking bottle with her mouth, only to set it right back down.

“This might be a little cold,” she warned, before grabbing the bottle again and squeezing a generous amount of its contents onto Cup’s stomach. The blue mare winced- Nurse Redheart had greatly understated how cold the ultrasound gel would be- the stuff was freezing. And slimy. It felt disgusting, and if it had been for any other reason, Cup would have been tempted to call the procedure off. But she understood why this was necessary. She was going to see her foal, and she would learn whether it was a filly or a colt, and what sort of pony it was! For the chance to see her foal, Cup would put up with some minor discomfort. Even so, she couldn’t stop herself from letting out a little uncomfortable gasp when the other mare spread the cold ooze over her stomach. Carrot noticed his wife’s discomfort, and immediately interjected.

“Are you alright?” he asked Cup, while he demanded to know, “What is that stuff doing?” from the nurse.

“It’s fine, Carrot,” Cup reassured. “It’s just cold and slimy, is all.” The nurse shrugged apologetically.

“I know it’s very uncomfortable, but if it gets too warm the gel does not work properly.”

“Hmmm…” Carrot hummed skeptically, not completely convinced. He looked like he might want to argue further but a glare from Cup shut him up.

Once the gel was in place, Nurse Redheart grabbed the apparatus and began slowly moving it over Cup’s stomach, occasionally glancing up at the screen as the device provided a picture of the contents of the other mare’s womb. Suddenly, her brow furrowed, and she let out a quiet “huh.”

“Well, Mrs. Cake, I have some interesting news for you,” the nurse said, her expression deadpan. “It seems that you’re not going to have a foal after all.”

Immediately, Cup and Carrot froze, their minds playing through hundreds of horrible scenarios. Had Cup miscarried after all? Was it a molar pregnancy? Had something else gone wrong?

But before they could voice their questions, Nurse Redheart gave them an answer. “You’re going to have two foals! Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Cake, you’re going to have twins!”

“Twins?” Cup gasped.

“Yes, twins. A filly and a colt,” the nurse confirmed. “And, if I’m not mistaken, the filly is a unicorn, and the colt is a pegasus. That is very rare,” she continued, frowning a bit. “I take it you both have unicorns and pegasi in your family?”

“Uh… yes,” Carrot interrupted. “My aunt is a unicorn, and Cup, isn’t your mother’s second cousin a pegasus?” Cup nodded. The nurse didn’t look like she completely believed them, but shrugged her shoulders and let it go for the time being. It wasn’t really her business anyway.
“Well, because you are an Earth pony carrying both a unicorn and a pegasus foal, you’ll need to make sure you’re getting the proper nutrition,” she said. “Unicorns need more vitamins in utero than a pegasus or Earth pony does, to build up their magic. Normally a unicorn foal from a unicorn mother can get all of what they need naturally, because the mother’s own magic regulates it, and will actually create the vitamins needed. Obviously, an Earth pony or a pegasus mare cannot do this, so you’ll need to take a vitamin supplement. Fortunately, this is a fairly common occurrence, so you can buy the supplements over the counter. The best one is called Chanalin, but there’s another one called Ronalene that has fewer side effects, but is less effective. I would start with Chanalin, but if you still have the side effects after a week, you should probably switch to Ronalene.”

“Chanalin and Ronalene… I’ll remember those,” Cup said.

“As for your pegasus foal, you won’t need to take any special medicines, but you will want to make sure that you get plenty of calcium,” Redheart continued. “Pegasi are able to walk on clouds because their bones are hollow, like birds. But because of this, they are also very susceptible to fractures and breakage, especially as foals, so they need plenty of calcium. For the rest of your pregnancy, make sure you drink a lot of milk, and eat plenty of calcium-rich foods. Other than that, you’re doing very well,” the nurse finally said. “I would suggest you come in once a month for a checkup, until you actually do give birth, just to track your progress, but other than that, as long as you get the proper nutrients and avoid unnecessary stress, you should be fine.”

Half an hour later, Cup and Carrot left the hospital, carrying a bottle of Chanalin, the prenatal vitamin for non-unicorns, that Dr. Flatline had given them for free.

Twins. Where one twin was a unicorn and the other was a pegasus. Just having one or the other would he difficult enough to explain if anypony brought it up, but both? On the bright side, at least it was almost so unbelievable that most ponies wouldn’t be able to get past that fact and start speculating about things like infidelity? Maybe this was a blessing in disguise- everypony would be so focused on the fact that Cup, an Earth pony, had given birth to a pegasus and a unicorn, that nopony would start to wonder if maybe Carrot wasn’t the father.

But then, why did both of the bakers feel like a storm was brewing?

To Be Continued

Author’s Comments:

OK, there’s a few things I should probably explain about this chapter. I know the first half seems very random, with Cup and Carrot thinking about what had happened in the past, with Pinkie’s reaction but it is actually very important to the plot. It will become clear later on. The same goes for the conversations about Derpy Hooves and Berry Punch- they are also going to be fairly important to the plot later on, but if there’s one thing you should really focus on it’s the stuff about Pinkie Pie’s past. It will all become clear in time.

Also, just a heads-up, the next two chapters move away from Cup and Carrot and instead focus on Moneybags, introduce a few new characters (who I’m very fond of, personally), and the plot really picks up. But, as usual, the standard warnings for the Moneybags chapters apply- he and his wife really do not get along, and although their relationship isn’t exactly abusive, it’s not really healthy, either.

Thanks for reading!