• Published 2nd Mar 2013
  • 1,783 Views, 53 Comments

Lunar Orbit - Benman

Banished projects, miscellaneous scraps, and the detritus of larger works.

  • ...

Where The Heart Is

It was a fake Hearth’s Warming dinner, but Top Notch had cooked as though it were the real thing. Her best tablecloth was nearly hidden beneath the platter of honey-glazed carrots and asparagus, the tureen of mashed potatoes drowning in butter, the bowl of strawberries and grapes and blackberries, and all the rest. There was no way the three of them could eat it all, but then, that was rather the point.

“Wow, Mom,” said Carrot Top. “You did all this for me?”

“Of course, dearest,” said Top Notch. “It’s not often we get you home with us.”

Beside her, Tip Top harrumphed. “Not often enough, you ask me,” he grumbled into his mustache. “Don’t see why you can’t stay for Hearth’s Warming. Just two more days. Think it’s important.”

“It is important,” said Carrot Top. “Swarm Siren can’t visit her family, so the girls and I figured we’d show her a real Equestrian Hearth’s Warming.”

“That’s awfully sweet of you,” said Top Notch. “Still, if you’d rather be with us for the holiday, I’m sure they’ll understand.”

“They’re my friends,” said Carrot Top. “I want to be with them.”

“Supposed to be at home on Hearth’s Warming,” said Tip Top.

Carrot Top pressed a hoof to the bridge of her nose. “Mom. Dad. I care about you. That’s why I came here today. But I’m building my life in Ponyville, okay? It’s a special place, and I’m a part of it, and, and, that’s important to me. Okay?”

“Certainly, dearest,” said Top Notch. “You should spend the holiday wherever you think is most important. If that means being away from home… well, then it means being away from home, that’s all.”

Carrot Top walked into her house, luggage handle in her mouth, and kicked her way past Bon Bon’s boots, Derpy’s flying goggles, and molted bits of Swarm Siren’s exoskeleton. After spending all day on the train, her neck ached and her legs were cramped and she wanted nothing so much as to collapse in her own bed and never ever leave.

She nudged open the door to her bedroom, only to be greeted by a set of gray hindquarters. The pony’s head was out of view, rooting through Carrot Top’s wardrobe with all the finesse of a griffon mating dance. Dresses and sweaters lay discarded at her hooves.

“Derpy,” said Carrot Top, “what are you doing?”

“Oh!” Her friend whirled to face her, bonking her head on the wardrobe’s side. A blouse slipped from its hanger. Derpy squealed and lunged, catching it, but knocking three more hangers loose. She lunged again, bonked face-first into the wardrobe’s door, and slowly slid to the floor.

“Sorry!” said Derpy. “Ow. Sorry.”

“Oh, Derpy.” Carrot Top exhaled slowly, trying not to let herself smile. “Are you okay?”


“Good. Now. What are you doing?”

“I, um.” Derpy stood, Carrot Top’s rumpled blouse draped over a foreleg. “It’s a surprise.”

“Well, good job. I’m surprised.”

“That’s not what I mean!” Derpy bent and began scooping up the fallen clothing.

Carrot Top stepped forward. “Maybe I should handle that.”

“No!” Derpy darted between her and the wardrobe. “No, I mean, you can’t look in there yet. You’re supposed to see it tomorrow, for Hearth’s Warming, and it’s supposed to be a surprise.”

By now Carrot Top was completely failing to hide her grin. “Did you get me a present?”

“I can’t tell you! It’s! A! Surprise!

“Alright. I’ll go make us some smoothies while you finish up. Will you be done in ten minutes?”

“Uh.” Derpy glanced dubiously at the pile of clothing about her. “Maybe?”

“Well, get me when I can come back, okay?” Carrot Top turned to go.

“Okay. And Carrot?”


Derpy nuzzled Carrot Top’s neck. “I’m glad you’re back.”

“You know what they say.” Carrot Top leaned against her friend. “There’s no place like home for the holidays.”

Author's Note:

Written for Chris because of reasons.

This is one of the more transparently autobiographical stories I've written. I've been building a (trans)humanist winter holiday, and reuniting with dozens of friends from thousands of miles away has felt like more of a homecoming than going to my grandparents' house.

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Comments ( 6 )

I was rushing through the prereading and forgot to stop and mention how quietly lovely this is. Derpy talking about her surprise in particular is sweet. The changes you made really do help bring the story out. :twilightsmile:

While interesting, I find that this story feels .. a bit short. Not long enough to really be a story, for we don't know enough about your characters to really care for them. But that may have been intentional. From what you wrote in your A/N, am I right to believe you wished more to capture a moment?

I'm more than happy with this! Like InMyMind said, it's more a moment (or rather, two moments) than a classic narrative, but there's a simple yet important idea at its core: that family matters. And whether it's the ones you're born with or the ones you chose, whether they make you feel guilty or giddy, it's important to be home for the holidays.

There's nothing quite like being home.

Thank you for the story; I really enjoyed it.

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Yeah, it's more of a vignette than a story—or I suppose the first scene is more storylike and the second scene is more vignettelike.

"I emptied your closet!" :derpytongue2:

Best pony and friend. Always adorable, always enjoyable. Thank you for this lovely little snippet.

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