• Published 17th Jan 2012
  • 1,856 Views, 106 Comments

The Donors - GoesKaboom



The truth about Pumpkin and Pound Cake's parentage.

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Manehattan

Chapter Three: Manehattan

The rest of the trip to Manehattan went uneventfully enough. Carrot Cake awoke from his nap a few miles outside of Fillydelphia, and noticed that his wife had fallen asleep as well. Smiling gently, he dug around in their luggage until he found the throw blanket they had packed, and carefully placed it over Cup. Once he was sure that she wouldn't catch cold, he stared out the window, thinking about what this meant for them.

Although the whole endeavor had been his idea in the first place, Carrot was beginning to wonder if he'd done the right thing. At first Cup had been so opposed to the idea- had he forced her into this against her will? She had told him that she wanted to do it, but how much of that was her just trying to get him to shut up about it?

He wanted to be a father- that much he knew. And he knew that Cup wanted to be a mother. But did she want to be a mother so much that she would actually want to carry some random stallion's foal?

Carrot hadn't been lying when he'd said that any foal that resulted from this treatment would be as good as his. After all, he would be the one to raise it. But Cup... Cup had been suspicious of the whole thing from the start. And maybe she did have a point, after all. So many things could go wrong with this. And what if after they'd taken all the time to come all the way out to Manehattan, only to discover that Cup wasn't a candidate for the treatment after all? Or even worse, what if Null Result had been wrong, and that his wife actually was incapable of having foals? Would she be able to stand the disappointment?

Suddenly feeling like he'd rather be anywhere else but on that train, Carrot slouched down in his seat. Of course, as usual, he hadn't thought things through to their logical conclusion- the same thing he'd done with that damned coupon service, not realizing that everypony and their cousin from here to Canterlot would end up buying the wretched things. This was just more of the same- he hadn't thought things through all the way, and now all he could see for the future was more anguish and pain. And, even in a small part of himself he didn't like to admit existed, he doubted that his marriage would survive.

“You're not having second thoughts, are you?” a voice startled him out of his introspection. Carrot jumped, turning to realize that his wife had woken up.

“Oh good, you're awake,” he replied, hoping that he sounded nonchalant. “We should be there in half an hour or so. Hey, you know the appointment isn't until later, do you maybe want to check out that bakery that won the Royal Canterlot Cupcake Battle? We could spy on the competition! And anyway, I've heard their cupcakes are amazing, but I'm sure we can do better. Hey, how do you think Pinkie Pie is doing? Hopefully she won't have blown up the shop by the time we get back...” Carrot gave a nervous laugh, the prospect of actually returning to find Sugar Cube Corner a smouldering pile of wreckage actually not too much of a stretch for him to worry about. But Cup knew her husband better than that, and she of all ponies was the best equipped to tell when he had something on his mind.

“You didn't answer my question,” she said. “Are you having second thoughts?”

“No,” Carrot replied, immediately going on the defensive. “I'm not. But what about you? Are you sure you want to go through with this? You originally... well, you didn't seem like you really wanted to do it, and I don't want you to feel like I'm forcing you into anything. Where we go from here... it's completely up to you.”

“You ought to know me well enough that if I didn't want to do this, I won't be on this train right now,” Cup said shortly. “I know it's not ideal, and I will be honest with you, she continued. “I would rather the foal be both of ours. But it's like the doctor said... if we're to have a family, it's going to have to be either this or adoption.”

“You don't feel like I pressured you into this?” Carrot asked.

“No. I made this choice myself,” Cup stated bluntly. “I'm not backing out now, unless you change your mind.”

“Of course not!” Carrot exclaimed. Cup nodded.

“Good. And yes, I do want to go to that bakery while we're here.”

The rest of the trip was fairly easy, if a bit tense at times, with both ponies making banal small-talk about what they would do while they were on this trip. Cup wanted to see Broadmane, even if they wouldn't have time to attend a show, and Carrot wanted to see the Statue of Friendship. Since they knew they would have several hours between getting off the train and the scheduled appointment, they figured that they might as well do some things that they wouldn't otherwise have the chance to do.

Once they got off the train, they realized that the famous bakery was right across from the station. There was no need to hunt down a map of Manehattan, at least not yet. Feeling like a couple of foals on a school trip despite themselves, Cup and Carrot hurried into the bakery, taking a look around.

For a supposedly famous shop that had won one of the most prestigious baking contests in all of Equestria, it was surprisingly small and dingy. The counters looked to be in need of a good scrubbing, and the young mare running the cash register stared blankly off into space, as though she was thinking about being anywhere other than in the shop. “Welcome to The Cake Store,” she said in a monotone when she realized that she had customers. “My name is Sparkling Sage and I'll be your server today/ While you make a decision, allow me to recite some facts about our store. In 20XX, The Cake Store was invited to participate in the annual Royal Canterlot Cupcake Battle bake-off in Canterlot...” as she droned on, Carrot smirked and turned to his wife.

“It makes you grateful that we have Pinkie Pie, huh? At least she knows a thing or two about 'service with a smile,'” he said. Cup laughed softly under her breath.

“Now don't be mean to the poor filly, dear, it's not her fault that she has so much energy!”

“Energy?! What are you talking about? This filly sounds and moves like she has a hangover! Does the Apple family ship their cider out to Manehattan? Because I tell you what, it sounds like she was up all night drinking a whole barrel!”

“I was talking about Pinkie Pie,” Cup replied. “Although now that you mention it, I think the Apples do ship their cider... at least I know they send some of it to their relatives that live here. I remember last spring, when Applejack came to ask me if I knew how to ship a pie safely that she needed to package it with some bottles.”

“... and that is the story of our shop up until last spring. Can I take your order now?” Sparkling Sage's conclusion of her spiel snapped both ponies back into the moment, and they realized that neither of them had picked a cupcake out. With so many choices, it would take forever to look at and decide what to get. Thinking quickly, Carrot asked-

“Which one is your favorite?”

“Huh?”

“Which cupcake flavor is your favorite?” Carrot reiterated. “You have so many choices, which do you like the best?”

“I actually hate sweets,” Sparkling Sage replied in a monotone. “I only work here because my brother owns this place and the pay's good. I can't help you out.”

Cup and Carrot exchanged horrified looks. How could anypony hate sweets, let alone anypony who worked in a specific sweet shop! But, there was a first time for everything, they supposed. Realizing they would have to make a decision fast, Cup picked a strawberry cupcake, and Carrot got a vanilla cupcake.

“Eighteen bits, please,” Sparkling Sage demanded. Eighteen bits for two cupcakes? That was practically extortion! But now that they had gotten the cupcakes on the little paper plates, it would be bad form if they backed out now. Feeling ripped off, Carrot dug around in his saddle-bag before finally finding enough loose change to pay for their treat. The mare took the money, deposited it in the cash register with a clink, and went back to staring off into space.

The two other bakers took their cupcakes and settled down at a table far away from the register. Cup removed the liner from her cupcake and took a bite out of it. Chewing slowly, her face became unreadable. “How is it?” Carrot asked.

Making sure to finish eating before she spoke, Cup replied, “honestly? It's dry and flavorless. I don't think there's any real strawberries in here, either.” Carrot nodded, then tried his own cupcake, immediately gagging as soon as he had taken a bite. Concerned, Cup looked around to see if the shop's staff was paying attention. Luckily, it appeared that Sparkling Sage was more interested in studying her hooves than in anything the customers were doing.

“Bleh...” Carrot groused once the taste was out of his mouth. “I can't tell if they iced that with buttercream or cement!”

“It's hard to see how this place won that contest,” Cup agreed. Carrot stood up, taking their trash with him.

“We still have two hours- did you want to see the Statue of Friendship?” he asked. Cup shook her head.

“No, we should just go. We don't know for certain where the clinic is, we should probably try to get there early. The pamphlet said that if we miss the appointment it won't be rescheduled.”

Luckily, the two out-of-town ponies found the building housing the Equine Reproductive Project in record time, probably thanks to the logical grid layout of the city, combined with the numerical naming system of the streets. Both Cup and Carrot Cake stared in awe at the huge building- and it was only twelve stories tall. Even though it was rather puny by Manehattan standards, it was still exponentially larger than any building in Ponyville.

“Are... are you sure we're in the right place?” Cup asked, daunted by the sheer size of the building. “It looks much to big to be a doctor's office!” Carrot pointed his hoof at the sign reading “Equine Reproductive Project- World Headquarters.”

“It's probably got all their offices and data files and research laboratories in it too,” Carrot replied, trying to hide the fact that he was daunted as well by the huge building. Steeling his courage, he added. “Well, we don't want to miss our appointment...”


When they walked through the shining glass doors, the Cakes found themselves in a huge foyer, completely empty except for an oversized white marble desk, occupied by a coal-black unicorn mare with some sort of headset on, and with her magic being used to scribble down something on a roll of parchment.

“Mmmm-hmmm,” they heard her say when they approached. “Well, I don't know what she expects u sto do about it, all of those files are protected under doctor-patient confidentiality.” A pause. “Is she seriously that stupid that she thinks the law in Califoalina applies to Manehattan? I don't know how to break it to her... well, actually I do, but I don't know if I can use small enough words for her to understand. That's a local law, it doesn't have any traction here.” Another pause. “Look, I don't care who her father is, nopony can access any records here that aren't their own without an order from one of the Princesses or a valid DNA test!” A brief pause. “It doesn't matter if they're married! She cannot see that file, and that is final! Do whatever it takes to get that through her thick skull, even if you have to break her horn off and yell into the stump! Good day to you!” Using her hoof, the mare pressed a button on her headset, and finished scribbling the notes, putting her pen down. She then turned to the Cakes, eyeing them disdainfully, as though they were a couple of cockroaches on a scone.

“State your name and business,” she ordered sternly. Beside him, Carrot could feel Cup shaking, and he couldn't blame her. That was one scary mare- she could probably give Nightmare Moon herself a run for her money.

“Uh... Cup and Carrot Cake, for an appointment with Dr. Scientific Method at four o'clock,” Carrot said nervously. Using her magic, the unicorn summoned a file of a cards, and immediately started shuffling through them. Apparently she found the one she was looking for, because she set it down on the desk and banished the others with another surge of magic.

“Cup Cake? Blue Earth pony mare, cupcakes for a cutie mark, husband is impotent, here all the way from Ponyville?” she asked. Carrot Cake's face lit up like a flambè at the problem being stated so bluntly (not to mention loudly) like that. Cup nodded.

“Yes, that's me,” she said with a nervous little chuckle. The other mare nodded almost imperceptibly.

“Dr. Method's office is on the fourth floor, she's waiting there for you. As for your husband, well, he may wait here until the conclusion of the appointment.”

“You mean he can't come with me?”

The unicorn smiled rather nastily. “Trust me, it's probably better if he doesn't see this.”
To Be Continued

Author's Comments:
I know it seems like nothing really happens in this chapter, but it's actually pretty important, since it kind of sets the foundation for what's to come later. Sorry it's so boring.

Also, pony names are really hard to come up with, but something occurred to me- the names for cosmetics sound a lot like pony names. Sparkling Sage is actually the color of an eyeshadow. But no one cares about that, do they? :P