• Published 17th Jan 2012
  • 1,956 Views, 106 Comments

The Donors - GoesKaboom

The truth about Pumpkin and Pound Cake's parentage.

  • ...

It Begins

While the thought wasn't constantly hanging over his head, and while he really could say that he had other things on his mind, Moneybags hadn't forgotten his foray into biological experimentation at the Equine Reproductive Project. Just the idea that somewhere out there, there could be a little filly or a colt- HIS filly or colt, captured his imagination when he had an idle moment to let his mind wander.

He'd seen Scientific Method a few times since then- in a purely platonic context, of course, he was still married, after all. And even though he wasn't particularly fond of her, it was in his best interests to keep Ideal Diamond in a relatively good mood- Moneybags didn't dare attempt to pursue a relationship with another mare. But he had been to lunch a few times with the doctor, and he was able to do it without it being suspicious. He was rich, and the Equine Reproductive Project was always in need of funding. To any outsider it would just appear to be a business meeting, even though they rarely ended up talking about business for long. Every time he saw her, he always made sure to ask the pegasus mare if he'd been chosen yet. And every time he asked that, Scientific Method kept putting off answering him. “You'll get a letter if and when the time comes.”

“Can't you just tell me?” he'd plead.

“No, I can't,” the doctor would reply bluntly. “It's against protocol for me to tell you before the initial announcement. So I wouldn't tell you even if I did know.” And grudgingly, Moneybags accepted. He supposed the doctor wouldn't want to reveal confidential patient information before he was allowed to know- he was a businessman himself. He knew how predatory lawyers were, and the mare probably wanted to avoid any messy lawsuits.

Still, it didn't stop him from thinking about it. Would his foal be a filly or a colt? What would their mother be like? Or, what would their mothers be like (Scientific Method had mentioned that the treatment was likely to be used by pairs of mares, who obviously would be unable to have foals on their own. Medical technology was advanced, but not advanced enough to remove the stallion from the conception equation)? But if the parents were a mare and a stallion, what would the mother's husband or coltfriend be like? Would he be a good parent to Moneybags' foal?

Somehow, though, if that was the case with the couple, the unicorn stallion couldn't bring himself to think of some nameless, faceless stallion as the father. The nameless, faceless mare? No problem, she clearly would be the foal's mother, having carried the child inside of her for the full gestational period. But some random stallion? No, he wouldn't be the father. Moneybags was the one who was the father, it was his genetic material that gave that foal life!

It didn't help that the orange unicorn had heard horrible stories about what some parents did to their foals. Sometimes it seemed like whenever he turned on the television news, or opened up a newspaper, there were more stories about little fillies and colts being rescued from their abusive parents by Foal Protective Services. Why, just recently, Princess Celestia herself had intervened on behalf of a young filly whose father had burnt off her cutie mark, because he didn't approve of his daughter's special talent.

His own sister had spoken of some of the other young mares at her finishing school, who had arrived clearly traumatized, terribly frightened of everypony and everything. Trust Fund, in her own, naïve, sheltered way, hadn't understood what was the matter until one of the other fillies had confided in her, what she went through on a daily basis in her home.

Later that day, a shell-shocked Trust Fund had written a letter to her younger brother, expressing horror at what she had found out. That had been nearly a decade ago, and as time went by, both brother and sister learned that the world was not as cushy for everypony as it had been for them. Moneybags shook his head, remembering of what a shock it had been when he'd learned of his sister's demise. That hot-air balloon accident had been horrifying on its own, but he'd known they were possible, even somewhat common. But on some level, he'd thought ponies like Trust Fund and himself were immortal. How quickly things could change, he thought ruefully.

It was exactly at that moment, with a start, that the unicorn realized that he'd made a terrible miscalculation. He'd just made allowances for his foal to be raised by some unknown quantity of a couple. While he was a good pony, what if the couple chosen to raise his foal were not? What would become of his offspring? Would they be subjected to the sort of horrors that haunted his nightmares, incidents ripped straight from the headlines? Moneybags shuddered violently, his mind consumed with gruesome images, thinking of that most recent story. That poor little filly, languishing in Canterlot Hospital, while the doctors tried to find a way to graft large portions of her skin back on...

“Dear, you've got some mail~!” a high-pitched female voice cut through his gloomy thoughts, only to replace said gloomy thoughts with others. Wonderful. Ideal Diamond was back, probably with another ridiculous credit card bill. Fortunately (or unfortunately, if you wanted to think of it that way), Moneybags had sort of repaired his relationship with his wife. At the very least, he'd decided it would be too much of a pain in the flank to divorce her. Ideal Diamond was still an empty-headed, vapid excuse of a trophy wife, but at least she generally left him alone, preferring to spend his money rather than spend time with him. Which was annoying, but at least it was less awkward working with her father than it would be if he'd gone the divorce route.

“Let's see... it looks like the credit bills from Neighman Marcus and Manecy's came, oh, and look, the Hoity Toity's Secret lingerie catalog! It looks like your aunt China Teacup sent a card,... oh, there's some junk mail from some Equine Repro...ductive Project-” Ideal Diamond rambled on, oblivious to anything not relevant to her interests. Moneybags, used to his wife's inane chatter, mostly tuned her out, but when he heard the mare stumbling over that familiar name, he nearly jumped out of his skin.

“Give me that!” he demanded, using his magic to snatch the envelope from Ideal Diamond.

“Kya-!” the mare cried out in shock. “Moneybags, what-?”

“I-it's nothing,” Moneybags stammered, immediately realizing his mistake. “I'm just... expecting some mail from somepony who works there. They... and I have workd together on an... investment, of sorts,” he continued, telling half-truths that he was certain anypony with half a brain could see through. But then again, he wasn't entirely certain that Ideal Diamond had half a brain in the first place...

To her credit, said mare looked suspiciously at her husband for a moment, then just shrugged. “Whatever,” she said, turning and trotting out of Moneybags' office. “Just make sure you pay off the Neighman Marcus account on time. I don't want my credit withheld again because you were lazy!”

Normally, Moneybags would have offered a scathing retort, something along the lines of ordering her to get off her lazy flank and do something to earn the money if she wanted to make sure she could buy things, but at the moment, he didn't care. He just wanted her out of there. “Yeah, fine,” he said. Ideal Diamond shrugged, surprised at the lack of her husband's usual sarcastic vitriol, but left all the same. It wasn't like she was going to stick around and wait for the inevitable enraged invective to be flung her way. Besides, she'd seen a pair of absolutely lovely horseshoes for sale in the cutest little shop, and she absolutely had to have them as soon as possible.

Once that infernal excuse for a wife was out of the way, Moneybags used his magic to open the envelope and remove the single sheet of paper inside. Scanning it quickly, the unicorn stallion let out an excited whoop. Finally- FINALLY- his dream had been realized. There was a couple that had selected his number as their choice of donor. The note did not go into too much detail, simply letting him know that he'd been selected, but Moneybags didn't care. He was going to be a father! And it was just a matter of bribing the right ponies to get the information he needed. As though simply not having access to who the supposed parents of his foal were would stop him... he'd gotten business information out of the most recalcitrant of ponies in the past. How hard would it possibly be to get it from a medical organization, especially one that he knew was desperate for funding? Moneybags smirked to himself. Being wealthy had its perks...

“Hey, Dad, you have a letter!” Steel Seethe looked up from his workbench to see his daughter, Lavender Blast, holding a nondescript envelope in her mouth. The locksmith pegasus walked towards the filly with some trepidation, not wanting to find out what was in that envelope.

“It's not from the creditors again, is it?” he asked. “I just worked out another payment plan with them... your mother should be able to get her medication without us needing to pay in full for another two months.” Lavender Blast shook her head, speaking around the mail in her mouth.

“No, it's from some doctor's office- Equine Reproductive Project or something like that.”

Steel Seethe started. Truth be told, he'd completely forgotten the deal he'd cut with the research project. He'd done his business and collected the 175-bit reimbursement, securing his daughter's place at her private school for another year, while still being able to pay for his wife's medications, and the rent, and the utilities. That money, however, was long gone. As far as he knew, he wasn’t entitled to any more money from the researches, and he wasn’t about to go do it again- once was enough, even if he was broke still. Sighing, the pegasus took the envelope and placed it on his workbench. He’d get to it later- for now there were more pressing matters to be concerned with.

“How was school?” he asked nonchalantly. The little purple pegasus scowled.

“Strawberry Tart and Shale made fun of me again for being a blank-flank,” she complained. “It’s not fair! Shale only got her cutie mark last weekend!” the filly continued- “and Peach Smoothie was showing off her new horseshoes! Why can’t I have new horseshoes, Dad?”

The blue-gray pegasus stallion winced. He already hated the fact that the only thing he’d been able to provide his daughter with (that wasn’t an absolute necessity) since his wife’s accident was a new saddlebag, and even that had been for school. Lavender Blast hadn’t asked for much else, but now she was bringing up horseshoes? And of course she couldn’t have picked a worse time to mention the expensive accessories- it was around that time of the month that the rent and utility bills would be coming in. While as much as he knew his daughter might actually need new horseshoes (for that matter, Steel Seethe couldn’t even remember the last time he’d bought her new ones), but he was pretty sure it would be better for the filly to wear old, ill-fitting horseshoes for the time being, rather than losing her home. Even if said home was a crappy, moldy old apartment.

Poverty sucked, the stallion decided. It was hard enough trying to raise a daughter in the middle of a world that seemed to have the mentality of “the one with the most stuff at the end wins.” It was doubly hard when he couldn’t even afford the most basic of “stuff.” But how do you explain that to a little filly? Steel Seethe couldn’t expect his daughter to grasp the intricacies of economics and financial planning- the child barely understood that her mother would never be able to fly again, and might never even be able to walk- that put having any sort of job out of the question. As far as Lavender Blast knew, money came out of those weird square machines at the bank. She didn’t understand, except on a very superficial level, that one had to work to get money, and that even simple things like being able to live in a dwelling cost money.

But instead of choosing to explain the harsh realities of the world, Steel Seethe shrugged off his daughter’s request for new horseshoes with a simple “we’ll see.” Maybe it was cruel to lead her on like that, but the stallion had a feeling that telling her the truth, point-blank, would be even crueler.

Instead, he changed the subject. “Is your mother awake?” Lavender Blast shrugged.

“How would I know? I didn’t go looking for her. The letter was for you!”

“Go and see if she’s up,” Steel ordered. “If she is, make sure she takes her medicine, it’s on the nightstand. If she’s not, let her sleep for now, I’ll wake her in time for dinner. And then go do your homework. I don’ t want to hear from your teachers that you’ve been slacking off again”

“Fine,” the filly grumbled, shuffling slowly out of her father’s workroom. But before she left completely, she stopped and turned around. “You will think about, though… right?” It didn’t take a genius to figure out what she meant by “it.” The stallion winced again. Perceptive little thing, wasn’t she?

“I’ll see what I can do, but I’m not going to make you any promises.” It was the truth, softened a bit- Steel Seethe already knew that there wasn’t a whole hell of a lot that he could do, short of him winning the lottery or something. Lavender Blast visibly deflated at that, but accepted it with only minimal sighing.

Once she was gone, Steel opened the envelope and removed the letter. He scanned it quickly, not knowing what to expect- perhaps a request for a monetary donation (ha- as if!) or information on the organization’s progress. Despite himself, a small part of him hoped it would be a request for another kind of donation, again. It was humiliating and degrading, but Celestia knew he needed the money. Another 175 bits… that would be enough to buy some nice things for his daughter… including horseshoes.

What he did not expect was the notification that his genetic material had been chosen for one of the experiments, and that it was very likely that a foal of his would be born.

Immediately, Steel started hyperventilating. No, no, nonononono… he couldn’t afford foal support payments now! It was a minor miracle every month he managed to pay the rent AND buy food at the same time, how would he support a whole other pony, on top of his invalid wife and young daughter?

But then, he remembered something from the contract he’d signed- the Equine Reproductive Project had agreed to keep him anonymous. No one, without an order from one of the Princesses, or his consent, would be able to find his identity until the foal became an adult, if he or she wished to find out who their father was. As far as the mother of this foal was concerned, he was just Donor # Whatever.

A strange sense of calm washed over him. Yes, he was broke and desperate, and yes, there could potentially be another child of his running around sometime soon, but at least it wasn’t going to be his problem. Maybe it was a horrible thing to think, but so be it- he already had a family to take care of, he couldn’t deal with another. So what if he was the foal’s father? It’s not like he had engaged in the act that would have created it himself- so why would he be beholden to care for it?


Author’s Comments:
This is out quite a bit later than I had planned it to be, thanks to a few nasty surprises that cropped up over the past few weeks, two of the most obnoxious being one of my coworkers buggering off to Florida on vacation (without telling the boss until the last minute), so I had to cover her shifts, and a surprise (and very painful) medical issue that reared its ugly head last weekend while I was at work. Add in the fact I’m a student as well, and the past couple of weeks have basically consisted of me running around like a crazy person and ending with me practically dropping dead from exhaustion. I’m really hoping that I’ll have some more time to write soon, but honestly? Until mid-May it’s looking like I’ll be lucky if I can get a chapter out a month. I will do my best to update as soon as possible, though.

I personally find the bio-dads very difficult to write without them coming off as complete assholes (especially Moneybags), and in a way, they kind of are, but I don’t think they mean it maliciously. This will be the last of them for the next few chapters, again, focusing back on Cup and Carrot.

Thanks for reading!