• Published 27th Mar 2013
  • 3,874 Views, 107 Comments

Birthday Wishes - StarFall825

Scootaloo's eighth birthday is coming up soon, and her life is going pretty well. Sure, she can't fly and doesn't really have any friends, but she has two parents who love her and a nice home. What more could she want?

  • ...

Chapter 2

It had taken Doctor Summer some time to process the pain medicine, and then she had felt it necessary to go over everything again: don’t eat these kinds of foods, eat more of these, you should really be taking these vitamins, get enough sleep, and on and on and on. Of course Cypress had written everything down, asking all kinds of boring questions until, finally, both adults were satisfied.

By the time Cypress and Scootaloo walked out the front doors of the hospital, the sun was at its highest point in the sky. Its heat swept over them like a wave as they left the cool hospital. The air in the distance shimmered with rising heat, too much for even the ground to absorb.

At least today’s a day off, Scootaloo thought as she looked at the sun. I can’t imagine how bad it would be if I had to be in class when it’s this hot. Looking down again, she saw her dad in the distance, already halfway down the path towards Ponyville. Scootaloo took off running to catch up with him. Cypress looked over at her as she ran beside him.

“You alright?” he asked her.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” she replied. “Just thinking.”

“Thinking?” he said in mock horror. “What is the world coming to, when little fillies can just go around thinking?” Scootaloo just rolled her eyes. “Well, don’t worry,” he said, “I have just the thing to slow those rusted gears. How ‘bout some ice cream?”

“Before lunch?” Scootaloo smiled with a mischievous light in her eyes. “Mom wouldn’t like that very much.”

“Well, don’t tell her then.”

The two reached the bottom of the trail into the town, and instead of turning left for home, Cypress kept going straight into town. Scootaloo followed close behind him, grinning as she thought about what kind of ice cream she would get. When they were about halfway to Sugarcube Corner, a shadow blocked out the sun above them for a moment.

Looking up, they could see several pegasi moving large clouds to provide shade for the busier parts of town. Scootaloo studied them intently for a moment before jumping up in excitement.

“Oooh, dad, look! It’s Rainbow Dash!” Scootaloo pointed out a bright blue mare pushing a cloud over the town hall. The pegasus adjusted the cloud slightly before flying out of sight. “Aww...” Scootaloo gave a disappointed frown as she disappeared.

“Who’s Rainbow Dash?” Cypress asked, intrigued.

“Oh, you’ve never met her?” Cypress shook his head, and Scootaloo chattered away in excitement: “She just moved here from Cloudsdale a week ago to work on the weather teams. She’s a great flier, just amazing, you have got to watch her sometime. I hope I can fly like that one day.”

“I thought the weather teams were full,” Cypress said, now really interested. “Why does Ponyville need another weather pony?”

“You know how old Mr. Snow Feather is getting,” she answered. Scootaloo kept up on all the pegasus news and rumors, especially those that involved the weather teams. “Cloudsdale just wants to be sure there is enough pony power to handle the weather, especially with the Princess coming to town next month for the Summer Sun Celebration.”

“Of course, everything has to be perfect for the Princess.” Cypress nodded in understanding. Everypony wanted to put their best hoof forward. His carpentry business had surged as ponies hired him to fix and pretty up the buildings in town. It was the first time Princess Celestia would be holding the Celebration in Ponyville since its founding.

“So, Snow Feather is looking to retire is he?” Cypress asked.

“Yeah. Mom says he’s been in charge of the weather teams since she was a little filly. He just wants to make sure there is somepony qualified enough to take over before he retires. Who knows,” she said with a smile, “maybe he’ll ask Rainbow Dash. That’d be so cool, then she could stay here instead of going back to Cloudsdale. I mean, she’d probably say yes. One of her old friends lives in town, and she’s always visiting.”

“You sure do know a lot about Rainbow Dash.” Cypress looked sideways at his daughter. “You’re not spying on her, are you, Scoots?”

Scootaloo laughed nervously. “No way, dad, I wouldn’t do that.”

“Good, I’m glad you know well enough to respect other ponies’ privacy.”

“Yeah...” she said quietly, blushing slightly. Cypress just smiled and shook his head slightly. Scootaloo quietly walked beside her dad until he stopped.

“Well, here we are,” he said, “and look! It looks like most of your classmates had the same idea.” In front of them stood Sugarcube Corner in all its sugary goodness. Families crowded the place, all of them seeking both shelter from the heat as well as cold treats to cool off with.

Cypress opened the front door and the sounds of laughter floated outside. Cypress turned and motioned for Scootaloo to go ahead of him. “After you... Scoot? What’s the matter?” Scootaloo stood with her head and ears down, shuffling nervously on her hooves. At the worried look on her dad’s face, she tried to smile and speak normally.

“Oh nothing’s wrong,” she said, but Cypress thought it sounded a little forced. “I just... I don’t really feel like having ice cream anymore, that’s all.” Cypress just stared at her, studying her closely. She tried to meet his gaze, but eventually had to turn away from his intense scrutiny.

“Go wait for me in the gazebo over there,” he finally said, and she looked up to see him pointing to a shaded, empty pavilion across the plaza, tucked between two other buildings. She turned back to answer him, but he turned and walked into the shop before she could open her mouth. The door closed behind him, leaving her alone in the street.

With little choice other than to obey, she walked over and sat on one of the benches in the gazebo. The sun still beat down on the small town, but thanks to the new cloud cover, as well as the shaded bench, the heat was much easier to bear. Scootaloo only had to wait a few minutes before she saw her dad exit the store and head her way, two wrapped ice cream bars in his mouth.

“Here you go,” he mumbled around the ice cream in his mouth, and Scootaloo reached out and took one.

“Thanks,” she said as she unwrapped the treat. Strawberry ice cream in a chocolate shell, she thought with a smile. My favorite. Taking a bite, she let the sweet flavor sit on her tongue for a moment before swallowing. Cypress sat next to her on the bench and unwrapped his own ice cream.

The two sat without speaking, trying to eat as much of the ice cream as they could before the unnatural heat of the day melted it. Scootaloo finished first and was licking the melted ice cream off her hooves when Cypress spoke up.

“So, Scoots, are you having trouble with some of your classmates?”

Scootaloo froze mid-lick, the question catching her off-guard. She finished cleaning off her hooves before putting her best smile on.

“Of course not, what makes you think that?”

“Your mom and I aren’t idiots, kid,” he answered. “We never see you with foals your age, and nopony ever comes over to see you. You spend all your free time with me in the shop or with your mom in the library.” The smile on her face slowly faded away as he spoke, and when he finished she turned away to stare into the distance. “And since when do you ever turn down ice cream? It was pretty obvious by—”

“I get it!” Scootaloo turned her back to him, hunching over slightly.

“Your mom and I are just worried about you, kid,” he continued in the same steady voice. “I’m worried that you’re just running from fights.”

“I’m not running from anything,” she muttered at him over her shoulder.

“Oh no? Then what do you call it?”

“Avoiding conflict.”

Cypress sat quietly for a moment. “Did you get that from Miss Cherilee?”

“Yes, she says it’s important to avoid fights at all cost. She says that walking away is the best way to deal with jerks and bullies.”

“Typical teacher response,” Cypress said in disgust. “They just don’t want to have to deal with the mess that comes from one student kicking in the teeth of another.” Scootaloo looked over her shoulder at her dad in surprise. He had always got along really well with Miss Cherilee.

“Listen, Scootaloo,” he said, putting his hoof on her shoulder and turning her to face him. “Walking away is definitely the best way to avoid a fight, and that’s usually a good thing. Jerks will always try to get you to react to them. It’s how they get attention. There comes a time though, when you have to stand up for yourself. If you run from every fight ever, that’s all you life is going to be, running. Pretty soon, you’ll lose everypony’s respect, and when nopony else respects you, how can you respect yourself?”

Scootaloo looked into her father’s eyes for a moment before looking away again. “Can we just go home?” she asked quietly.

“Sure,” her father answered. He didn’t sound angry or upset, he just stood up and waited for her to follow him. “Mom said she was going to close the library early today. She’s probably waiting for us at home by now.” Scootaloo avoided looking at him the entire way home, but Cypress watched her carefully, hoping that she would take his advice to heart.

The rest of the day went without event. Lunch and dinner had both come and gone, and Cypress stood next to his wife in the kitchen, helping her clean up the day’s dishes. “You took the news pretty well,” Cypress remarked to Misty Dawn, who threw a slightly amused look his way.

“Thanks, I guess,” she replied. “Though I don’t know if there’s a way to judge a mother’s reaction when she learns her child may be crippled for life.” She handed him another plate, which he dried carefully and stacked next to him.

“Well, you managed to not break down crying at least.” Cypress took the next plate from her, flushing slightly. “So you already did better than me in that regard.” Dawn nudged him with a soft chuckle.

“Awww, look at you blush,” Dawn murmured teasingly in his ear. Cypress’ flush deepened and he became so flustered he nearly dropped the glass she handed him. “Being worried over your daughter is nothing to feel embarrassed over.”

“I know, it’s just—” Cypress’s expression squirmed about as he searched for the proper words. “It’s just that fathers are supposed to protect their daughters, you know? I’m just having a hard time dealing with this. Knowing there’s nothing I can do right now to help.”

“Hey, whatever happened to that carefree, asinine colt I knew all those years ago?” Dawn made her voice airy and cheerful, but her eyes looked on her husband in concern.

“I guess he grew up, Dawn,” Cypress replied, his voice thoughtful. He looked at her, and they held their gaze for several long moments before she turned away.

“I guess he did,” she replied, handing him another washed glass. A strange sadness crept up on her as she contemplated this unusual change that had come over him.

“Well... only a little though,” he remarked, his voice full of mischief as he dumped the small bit of water remaining in the glass over her silver-grey back. She gasped in shock as the hot water ran down her back and sides, glaring over at his smirking face with a look of annoyance mixed with a bit of mischief that made him pause.

Dawn quickly retaliated by splashing large hoof-fulls of soapy dishwater right into his face until he gasped out a surrender. “All right, all right, you win,” he cried out, getting a mouthful of sudsy water for his trouble. Dawn beamed at him in victory as he spat the foul water back into the sink. They spent the rest of the time cleaning up giggling at how silly they both looked cover in soapy water.

So, where is Scootaloo anyways?” Dawn asked as she passed Cypress the last freshly washed dish.

“I sent her to take her bath,” he replied, carefully drying the dish off and putting it in the correct cupboard.

“Good.” Dawn emptied the sink water and dried her hooves off. “The oven is busted again, by the way.”

“What, again?” he said, amazed. Then he grinned slightly, mischief in his eyes. “Go easy on the appliances dear. They’re your friends, remember?”

“It isn’t my fault,” she shot back. She knew he was just teasing her, but she couldn’t help herself sometimes. “The thing’s a piece of junk. We should really think about getting a new one.”

“I know. Once I get paid from all this work for the Summer Sun Celebration, we should be able to afford one.”

“Well, until then, we’re going to need it fixed.”

“Obviously. I’ll talk to Silver tomorrow, he can fix it for us.”

“Silver Driver?” she asked, and the strange note in her voice made him look at her closely.

“Is that a problem?” he asked in return.

“No, not at all,” she replied, but her face said the exact opposite. As she turned around to package up the leftover food, he leaned against the kitchen counter and rested his head on his hoof, waiting.

3, 2, 1...

“It’s just...”

Nailed it.

“...I was talking to May today; he’s started drinking again.”

“I know, he came by the shop today, hungover.”

“And you’re okay with that?” Dawn said, clearly upset.

“Of course not,” Cypress responded. “Silver’s going through a rough patch right now, what with his mother and all. Silver and May are our oldest friends; he needs the work, and we can give him some.”

“What if he shows up drunk though?”

“Then kick him out.” Cypress shook his head and laughed. “Or come get me, and I’ll do it for you. But he deserves a fair chance from us, and we’ll give him one.”

Dawn was quiet for a long time, but Cypress waited her out, letting her think it over. Finally she looked at him from over her shoulder. She still didn’t look happy, but at least she wasn’t angry.

“Alright,” she grudgingly gave in. “But you owe me for this.”

“Oh,” Cypress said smiling, “I owe you for a lot more than just this.”

“Darn right you do.” Dawn smiled in return, then turned to finish up with the leftovers. She heard and felt him move up behind her, standing right next to her, almost touching. He stopped only about a foot behind her.

“In that case,” she heard him say, confidence and playfulness running through his voice. “Why don’t I do something to repay you now?”

Dawn felt her heartbeat and breath quicken slightly. This game was hardly new to her though, and she was able to keep her voice level. “Oh yeah?” she said. “And just what could you offer me that would make up for it?”

Cypress leaned forward and began speaking softly into her ear. She kept her cool, a twitch of her tail and a slight blush were the only signs of what he whispered. When he finished, he leaned back, that confident smirk still on his face. She looked at him over her shoulder again, returning his smirk with one of her own.

“That’ll do,” she said evenly, “as a down payment.”

“I thought you would say that,” he replied, leaning forward to kiss her. Dawn reveled in the softness of his lips pressing against hers. She closed her eyes as he ran his hoof down her neck, playing with her yellow mane. She felt his tongue on her lips, and opened her mouth for him, and then—


The two pulled away from each other in surprise. Scootaloo stood in the kitchen doorway with a disgusted look on her face, the kind usually reserved for something unpleasant you just stepped in. A towel was draped over her back, and her mane and tail were still slightly damp.

“What’s the matter, Scoots?” Cypress grinned at his daughter. “Don’t like what you see?” Cypress kept his eyes on Scootaloo, but leaned in to give Dawn another loud, sloppy kiss. Scootaloo retched into her hoof, then turned and walked out towards her room. Her voice carried down the hall towards the kitchen.

“Can’t even walk around my own house without having to see a bunch of sappy kissing!”

Dawn and Cypress giggled at each other for a moment before Dawn straightened up, a serious look on her face. “Perhaps we should take this to the bedroom so we don’t offend our daughter’s sensibilities any further.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” he responded in a similar tone. “I’ll just go put Scootaloo to bed, then join you.”

“Don’t take too long,” she called after him as he left the kitchen.

Cypress knocked on Scootaloo’s door and waited a couple moments before opening it to find Scootaloo already in bed, the covers pulled up to her chin. Her bedside light was on, and she was flipping through one of the adventure books her mother had bought her.

She looked up at him as he entered her room. “Done being gross?” she asked.

“For now,” Cypress replied as he sat at the foot of her bed, reaching over to tousle her mane.

“Hey,” she yelped, swatting away his hoof as he laughed.

“So, two days ‘til your birthday,” Cypress said, and Scootaloo’s face lit up at the reminder. “Any idea what you want yet?”

“Not really,” she replied. “Unless...”


“Do you think maybe you could get Rainbow Dash’s autograph for me?” she put her hooves together to beg. “Please? I’d ask her myself, but I get way too nervous around her.”

“I’ll see what I can do. And you’re sure you don’t want a party?”

“No,” she said firmly. “Besides, who would I invite? I don’t really know anyone I would want to come.” She didn’t say this with regret or anger, but she slouched down slightly as she realized how true that was. Cypress stared at her with a weird look on his face for a moment.

“Alright,” he said, tucking the covers under her. “Well, get some sleep, you have school in the morning.”

“Right,” she said with a frown, but she turned over and closed her eyes. Cypress reached over and turned off her light, leaving her in darkness, the moon casting its light on the window. He crept out of her room and closed the door behind him, leaving it open a crack so he could look at her.

So young, he thought, and already so many problems. Eighty to ninety percent chance she’ll fly one day. That left a ten to twenty percent chance she wouldn’t. There was a time he would have laughed at odds like that, but now? The chances that his being a father would cause problems for his children were so much smaller than this, but it had still happened.

Odds and statistics are just a way for us to feel safe, right until the unlikely runs up and bites you right on the tail. He ran a hoof through his mane, dark thoughts flying through his mind. What if the treatment doesn’t work? She already has to put up with so much, what does she do when her dream crashes down around her? What if—

“Hun? You know I’m still waiting here, right?”

Cypress breathed out the breath he’d been holding with a laugh. “I’ll be right there,” he called, his mind clear again. He wasn’t alone with his troubles, and neither was Scootaloo. No matter what the future might hold, it didn’t matter. They would face their problems together like they always did.

“Good night, kid,” he whispered. My other girl needs me a little more right now.