• Published 17th Jan 2012
  • 1,890 Views, 106 Comments

The Donors - GoesKaboom

The truth about Pumpkin and Pound Cake's parentage.

  • ...

Happy Birthday

Chapter Fifteen: Happy Birthday

Deciding that it would be far better for Cup to foal at the hospital, rather than in the middle of Sugar Cube Corner, Carrot quickly called the emergency services to give his wife a lift. That left him with the awkward task of having to inform Pinkie Pie of the situation. Carrot was unsure if approaching the pink mare was a good idea at this time, especially considering what she had revealed less than an hour earlier. Ultimately, though, he decided that she deserved to know. Pinkie was in a fragile state of mind- who knew what damage it could cause if she went downstairs to discover that Cup and Carrot, the ponies who had been her surrogate parents for more than half a decade, were gone. Carrot worried that she might see it as a rejection.

So he knocked softly on Pinkie's door, entering only after he heard a muffled voice saying “come in.”

He hesitantly entered, mindful of the mare's emotional state. After what she'd told them, he was doing everything in his power to be as non-threatening as possible. While Pinkie had never shown signs of being especially wary around stallions before, Carrot knew that it was common for survivors of abuse to be hyper-vigilant around ponies that were the same gender as their abuser. So he went out of his way to show Pinkie Pie that he wasn't a threat. If the mare noticed this, however, she didn't say anything.

“You wanted to talk to me?” she asked. “I don't mean to be rude, Mr. Cake, but I don't really want to talk to anypony right now. No offense. I just need to be alone and think thinky thoughts.”

“I completely understand,” the stallion replied. “I just wanted to let you know that Cup went into labor. I'm on my way to the hospital right now. I just didn't want you to come downstairs and wonder where we were.”

It took a couple of seconds for Carrot's words to register, but once they did, Pinkie gasped in delight, eyes widening and mane returning to its usual poofy disarray.

“Mrs. Cake is having the foals?!” she squealed happily. “That's awesome! I can't wait to see the new baby ponies! I bet they're going to be soooo~ cute! We should totally go to the hospital! Mrs. Cake will need all the support she can get! We'll need to help her! And then I'll throw the biggest bestest birthday bash for the babies that Equestria- no, the entire world has ever seen! Whee!”

“Um, Pinkie?” Carrot suggested gently, “I'm not sure if that's such a good idea, for you to be in the delivery room...”

“Oh, don't worry about it, Mr. Cake! I actually know a lot about foaling! I helped my mom deliver my brother when I was thirteen!”

She said it so casually, as though she was discussing something as mundane as the weather or a new cupcake recipe, but given she she'd told him earlier in the day, it was impossible for Carrot to not notice the desperation mixed with bitter sarcasm underneath his employee's words. Had Pinkie always been like this, with despair and a caustic attitude just barely concealed by her happy demeanor? What else was lurking beneath the surface? But even as those more existential thoughts occupied his mind, he couldn't help but admit that Pinkie had a point. He didn't know the first thing about foaling. He technically knew how it worked, of course, he'd been given the birds and the bees talk when he was a colt, and he and Cup had been trying to conceive for several years before they'd turned to the Equine Reproductive Project. But all things considered, Carrot really didn't know that much about the actual foaling part of the process. And if the process of bringing new ponies into the world was as painful as movies and television shows made it seem, Cup was probably wanting to buck him in the face like Kim Kardashamane did to her coltfriend when he cheated on her on that stupid reality show he wouldn't admit to watching. Having somepony there that knew about the process (and that wasn't a doctor) might make Cup feel more at ease.

“Alright,” he said. “You can come, if you're sure you're feeling up to it.”

“Are you kidding?” the pink mare asked excitedly, bouncing around the room like her usual hyperactive self. “I'd love to! Let's go!”

Carrot followed as Pinkie rocketed out of her room and down the stairs. She ran out the door in the direction of the hospial, looking much more cheerful than he'd seen her in months. Since the incident in the clinic, if he was honest with himself. Feeling hopeful for the first time that day, Carrot thought that maybe, just maybe, everything would turn out okay.

It didn't turn out okay.

“I'm sorry, Mr. Cake, but Dr. Null Result says that nopony is to be allowed in the delivery room,” Nurse Redheart said nervously, biting at her lower lip.

“What?!” two voices, a mare and a stallion, said in unison.

“But Mrs. Cake needs another mare with her!” Pinkie protested. “A mare needs a midwife too, not just a doctor! And it's improper for her to be alone with a stallion that isn't her husband while foaling!”

“Null Result?” Carrot asked, talking across Pinkie's explanation of (rather old-fashioned) values. “I thought I made it very clear that Dr. Flatline was to attend to her! And why the buck can't I go in there with her? She's my wife! She's delivering my foals! This is ridiculous!”

“You're not being a very nice pony right now,” Pinkie said dangerously, eyes narrowing sharply. “A nice pony would at least let Mr. Cake see Mrs. Cake!”

“Pinkie, calm down,” Carrot said quickly, recognizing the danger zones he'd become intimately acquainted with in the past several hours. “It's alright. I'm sure this is just a misunderstanding. Right, Redheart?”

The nurse looked around uncomfortably. “I understand your frustration, Mr. Cake, I really do, and I do remember that you'd requested Dr. Flatline to help with the birth, but he's been called away unexpectedly to Canterlot. A family emergency, he told me- his niece was in an accident at school. Some sort of spell blew up in her face. I am not qualified to assist with a foaling, and Dr. Null Result was the only one available.”

“Fine, fine, but why can't I see my wife? She is bringing my foals into the world! I think I should at least be able to be by her side!”

Nurse Redheart shrugged apologetically yet again. “I'm sorry, sir, but the doctor told me that nopony was to go into the delivery room until the foals were born. If you'll have a seat in the waiting room, somepony will come and inform you when you can come in and see your children.”

Carrot knew when he was outmatched, so he sighed and trudged toward the waiting room. He wasn't happy about it, but he knew a lost cause when he saw one. Pinkie Pie, on the other hand, looked as though she was going to protest more and potentially cause even more problems, so Carrot decided to intervene before Pinkie could get violent.

“Pinkie, I think I forgot to lock up the shop. Why don't you go back and make sure it's closed up, and then go let your friends know about what's going on? They all mentioned wanting to come visit when the foals were born. I mean, if you want to, of course.”

The pink mare shrugged. “I guess. If you're sure that's really what you want me to do...”

“If you don't mind,” came the reply. Pinkie did as instructed, hurrying off to follow Carrot's directives, and the orange stallion sighed in relief. He had been worried for a moment, afraid that Pinkie Pie might have tried to force her way past the nurse. But once she'd left the hospital grounds, he plopped down into a hard, uncomfortable chair in the waiting room and perused the magazine selection. What was up with medical institutions only having periodicals at least three years out of date? The copy of Time laying next to him was proudly proclaiming Sapphire Shores as Mare of the Year. Hadn't that been four years ago? Picking up the horribly outdated magazine, Carrot settled in for the long haul.

Pinkie Pie, meanwhile, hurried back to Sugar Cube Corner as though she was attached to a jet-propulsion system. Just as Mr. Cake had feared, there was a queue of ponies waiting to buy sweets, Rarity among them. “Pinkie, darling, what's going on? Why aren't you at work?”

“Sorry everypony,” the pink mare called, “but we're closed today! And probably for tomorrow and the next day and the next day...”

“Oh come on!” somepony yelled. “You can't just close up like that for no reason! I got family visiting and I need a cake!”

“Then go to Bon-Bon's place,” Pinkie replied nonchalantly. “There are no cakes today. Well, there are, but there's only a few and I can't bake more and run the store at the same time, silly! Mrs. Cake is in labor!”

Suddenly, the crowd of ponies understood. “Ooohh...” came the collective gasp.

“The foals are coming? No wonder you guys closed down!” somepony said. “I completely understand! When you see her again, tell your boss congratulations!”

“Will do,” Pinkie replied, watching the crowd disperse. Rarity, once most of the ponies were gone, approached her.

“Is Mrs. Cake really in labor?” the unicorn asked. Pinkie nodded.

“Yeah. Mr. Cake is at the hospital right now, Mrs. Cake is in delivery. I came back to make sure everypony knew that we were closed for now. I could probably keep the store open for a while, honestly, but I'm just one pony! I can't bake and run the cash register at the same time!” Pinkie shook her head vigorously. “Nope. No can do. But come on! Let's go tell the others! I bet they want to see the new baby ponies too!”

“Are you sure that's a good idea, darling?” Rarity asked. “Mrs. Cake must be terribly tired after foaling!”

“Oh, don't worry about it!” Pinkie chirped. “Mr. Cake told me to let everypony know what was going on! He told me all of my friends would want to see the foals, so he told me to bring you all by!” The pink mare conveniently left out the fact that her employer had suggested that to get her out of a tense situation. Rarity really didn't need to know the details. They didn't concern her.

Of course the white unicorn was curious about the foals, and she also especially liked to gossip, so she didn't take much convincing. “Oh! Well, if you're sure...” she said, “why don't I go tell the girls?”

“Okie-doki-loki!” Pinkie replied cheerfully. “You go get everypony and head over to the hospital. I'll meet you there. I've got some stuffies to take care of here!” Rarity agreed, and hurried off to go spread the news. Pinkie, however, slipped up to her room as soon as Rarity was out of sight. She collapsed onto her bed, tears leaking from her eyes. She wept for the past, for the deaths she'd failed to prevent, for the incidents she blamed herself for, and yet, she also cried from happiness. Maybe this was her chance to right the wrongs of the past. She'd failed to protect her half-brother. But she could protect these foals.

“I swear I won't let you down,” she whispered. “I swear it on my Element!”

Carrot thought he was going to explode from nervous energy. How long did it take for a mare to give birth, anyway? He paced back and forth, mind running a mile a minute. Was Cup okay? Was that useless waste of space of a doctor doing his job properly? What about Pinkie Pie? Carrot knew, theoretically, that his pink employee knew how to handle things regarding the shop, but it still worried him. One doesn't easily remove six years of an impression of somepony being flighty and kind of irresponsible, even if it, in fact, becomes apparent that said irresponsible pony's behavior was nothing more than a front. It was still a lot to take in, and for a stallion eagerly anticipating the birth of his foals, rationality was not necessarily the order of the day.

Grinding his teeth in frustration, Carrot resumed pacing back and fort. He almost regretted stopping Pinkie from barging into the delivery room. At least then he would maybe have some idea of what was going on.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Dr. Null Result poked his head into the waiting room and grinned nastily at the waiting Earth pony stallion. “Your wife has delivered safely and is resting with... her foals,” he said sardonically, placing special emphasis on the female pronoun. “She's asking to see you, so I told her I'd come get you. But don't be surprised if they're not quite what you expected... seems like Cup Cake has been a bit, shall we say, busy?” the doctor snickered.

Carrot felt like the bottom had dropped out of his stomach. He knows, he thought. He knows the foals aren't mine!

Instantaneously, however, Carrot's fear was replaced by a wave of vicious rage crashing over him. Where did that worthless doctor get off making assumptions like that, even if they might technically be true? What business was it of his if those foals weren't biologically related to the father? Since when was Cup's “virtue” any of his concern? And whatever happened to doctor-patient confidentiality?

Before he could think any more and talk himself out of it, Carrot launched himself across the room so that he was glaring down at the shorter stallion. Instinctively, Null Result flinched.

“I swear to Celestia, Result, if I ever hear you say anything of that sort again, I will end you,” Carrot snarled. “What happens in my family is none of your concern, and if you think I will let you threaten them or insinuate untrue things without consequences, you have another think coming. Now get the buck out of my sight before I kick you into next Tuesday and let Discord sort you out.”

Null Result shrank back in fright. Quiet, unassuming Mr. Cake really could be quite frightening when he was angry.

“Very well, then,” the doctor said, rather shakily. “I'll let you and your wife bond with your... offspring.”

Carrot glared at the other stallion's retreating form. Somehow he thought he hadn't seen the last of the disgusting doctor, but he couldn't bring himself to expend any more mental energy on the wretch. He had a wife and foals- FOALS! to attend to.

The orange Earth pony made his way to the delivery room, where his wife was resting with the foals. She lay back on the pillows, eyes closed, while two tiny ponies- a male and a female- laid against their mother's chest. The filly was a pale orange unicorn, a few shades lighter than Carrot himself, the colt a cream-colored pegasus.

They were the most perfect foals he'd ever seen.

Lazily, Cup opened her eyes and focused on her husband, smiling weakly. “We have a son and a daughter,” she whispered.

“Yes we do...” Carrot murmured, still trying to really process the situation. He was a father. He and Cup were parents. “What... what are their names?” he asked.

“I thought I would ask you before I made anything official,” Cup answered, “but I think I like Pumpkin for our daughter. Pumpkin Cake has a nice sound to it, don't you think?”

“Yeah. Pumpkin Cake. I like that,” Carrot replied. “What about the colt?”

“You know, his coloring reminds me a little bit of those soap-cakes you used to be able to buy, that smelled like lavender. I was thinking Soap for our son. What do you think?”

Carrot looked at his wife, mirth dancing in his eyes. “I think the pain medication has scrambled your brain,” he gently teased. “Soap Cake? What kind of a name is that?”

Cup did laugh at that. “Now that I think about it, you're right. But what do you think we should call him, then? Nothing else makes sense to me.”

“What about Short Cake?” Carrot suggested.

“Isn't that your cousin's name?”

“Oh yeah.”

“What about Funnel Cake?”

“Ugh, no, that sounds ridiculous.”

“Moon Cake?”

“That sounds like a mare's name, don't you think?”

“True, true... what about Pontefract Cake?”

“Yuck. You know I hate liquorice. Why would I name my son after a liquorice cake?”

“How about Banana Cake?”

“Nah, he's not the right coloring for that.”

“Let's see you come up with something better, then!” Cup challenged.

“Fine,” Carrot said. He thought for a moment. Then, “Pound Cake. Our son is named Pound Cake.”

“Pound Cake,” Cup murmured. “I like that.”

Almost as soon as they'd decided on a name for him, the little pegasus opened his eyes and blinked up at Carrot quizzically, like he was asking “who are you?”

“Hello there, son,” the orange stallion said quietly, smiling when his voice woke up the tiny unicorn as well, who peered up at him like she was studying him. Carrot felt like his heart was going to burst from his happiness. He was the father of these foals! “Happy birthday,” he murmured, taking Pumpkin from her mother and cuddling her close. “Happy birthday.”

To Be Continued