• 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?

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Chapter 4

The ball bounced off the rim of the hoop, ricocheting away from the basket to land in the outstretched hooves of a small blue pegasus. The young filly hefted the ball up with a joyful grin. “Ha!” she exclaimed at her disappointed classmates. “That makes S’s for both of you; if you girls miss this next shot, then I win.”

“Yeah, yeah, we know how the game works, Archer,” Scootaloo said, annoyed with herself for missing that last shot. “Just hurry up and take the next shot.”

“C’mon, Archer, make it something we even have a chance at,” pleaded Archer’s friend Dinky.

“What? No way!” Archer dribbled the ball a fair distance from the hoop, looking for a good trick shot. “I’m on a roll this game, you two never even got a turn. No way I’m gonna pass on a perfect win.” Archer carefully lined up her shot, then launched the ball in a graceful arch. The ball bounced off the backboard and fell through the hoop without touching the rim: a perfect shot.

“Yes, I made it,” Archer shouted while Dinky and Scootaloo looked on in disbelief. “Didn’t even hit the rim, which means you have to do the same thing. C’mon Dink, you first.”

Dinky walked over to where Archer was standing while Scootaloo fetched the ball. Dinky caught it, then looked at the round target. She wiped the stinging sweat from her eyes and stared down her target. Dinky threw the ball as hard as she could, and it missed completely.

Dinky’s face blushed a bright red and she buried it in her hooves to hide her embarrassment while Scootaloo snickered behind a hoof. Sounds of quiet chuckling could be heard from some of their other classmates who were half-watching from the sidelines.

“Sorry, Dinky, but you’re a horse,” Archer said while patting her comfortingly on the back. “Don’t let it bother you; so maybe you aren’t the greatest basketball player ever, but you’re still the smartest filly in class.” Dinky just whimpered softly behind her hooves. “Oh, c’mon. Tell you what, after your mom gets here to pick you up, how about later we play a game of chess. That way you can beat my flank at something today.”

Dinky looked up in excitement. “Okay, that’ll be fun!” she said cheerfully, letting Archer help her back to her hooves.

“For you maybe,” Archer grumbled, still humiliated from their first game of chess. “I still don’t know how you beat me in six moves.”

“It was five moves actually,” Dinky cut in. Archer scowled at her, but Dinky just laughed. Archer smiled self-consciously for a moment before nodding her head off the court.

“Well, let’s get going then.”

“Hey,” Scootaloo called out. “You do remember it’s my turn, right?”

“Oh, sorry Scootaloo, my bad,” Archer replied as she ran to fetch the basketball and tossed it to Scootaloo. “Go ahead and take your shot so you can miss and we can all go home.”

Scootaloo scowled at her, then lined up her shot. Taking careful aim, she let the ball fly. It sailed through the air to bounce off the backboard, dropping through the net—but not without touching the rim. The foals watching groaned in disappointment, then went back to talking to each other as they waited for their parents to come pick them up.

“Tough luck,” Archer said with a conciliatory smile, then she and Dinky walked off.

Scootaloo kicked at some loose gravel, sighing in disappointment. “Well, guess basketball isn’t my special talent.”

“Oh, look at that, yet another thing you’re not good at.” Scootaloo stiffened at the mocking words. Turning around, she saw Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon walking toward her. The smugness on their faces was only matched by the arrogance in their stride. Just looking at the two of them was enough to annoy her on most days, but today had been particularly bad.

“Gee, Scootaloo,” Diamond Tiara continued. “If this keeps up, it seems like you’ll never find anything you’re good at.”

“Get lost, Diamond Tiara,” Scootaloo snarled and stomped her hoof.

“Yes, it must be horrible to be so talentless,” Diamond said, ignoring Scootaloo and adopting an air of tragic hopelessness. “Unlike Silver Spoon here; did you notice that she got her cutie mark this morning?”

“Oh, did she really?” Scootaloo deadpanned. “I can’t believe I missed that, what with you already mentioning it a hundred times today.”

“Yes, it’s so nice to be special. Who knows, maybe if you were to hang around me, you could be special one day too. Of course,” Diamond continued with a cruel laugh, “I’d never let a loser like you spend time with me.”

Scootaloo snorted in a mix between disgust and amusement before turning to walk away.

“What’s the matter,” Diamond called after her. “Flying away again? Oh, that’s right you can’t.” Scootaloo turned around again, her eyes flashing. Diamond Tiara always seemed to know which buttons to push.

“Just wait,” Scootaloo yelled without thinking. “I’ll be flying any day now.” The soft background chatter faded for a moment as the rest of the foals nearby looked to see what the commotion was all about. Diamond Tiara smile took on a cruel edge.

“Oh, really?” she asked, and Scootaloo nodded in reply. “Well, that’s great news; everypony should hear about it, right? Hey, everypony,” she called out, drawing the attention of their nearby classmates waiting for their parents. “Everypony, come here, I have a very important announcement.”

The other students came crowding around, curious. “Hey, everypony,” Diamond said, that cruel smile still on her face. “Scootaloo here just gave me some amazing news. She says she’ll be flying any day now, right Scootaloo?”

Scootaloo felt the anger in her chest freeze over with fear and nervousness.

“Y-yeah that’s right, any day now,” she lied, unsure of what Diamond Tiara was planning.

“Isn’t that great news everypony?” she said to the class, many of whom nodded in agreement. There was a small smattering of applause, and a few ‘great news, Scoot’ from smiling classmates.

“Too bad it’s a lie.”

The applause and smiles faded away, replaced by worried and confused expressions. Silver Spoon whispered into Diamond’s ear, but Diamond pulled away.

“That’s right,” Diamond continued, “turns out Scootaloo here won’t be flying any time soon. She may never even fly at all.”

Shame, anger, and fear all settled into Scootaloo’s chest, a tiny ball of writhing emotions that made her head hurt and stomach ache.

“How do you know that?” she croaked out, but Diamond’s jeering smile only widened.

“No cutie mark, no talent, no wings: just a loser of a pegasus.”

One by one smiles turned to disgust as the sharper foals picked up on what Tiara was doing. Those that did not want to watch the unfolding train wreck turned and left the circle of onlookers. At Scootaloo’s sudden, “What about you?” though, they turned back in surprise.

“What about me?” came Diamond’s confused reply.

“You don’t have a cutie mark either, so what is it that makes you so special? It seems to me that you’re no more special then I am; heck even Silver Spoon got her cutie mark before you.” An ugly look flashed across Diamonds face for a moment before being replaced by her usual arrogance. Silver Spoon backed away from her friend slightly though, looking at the ground.

“Ha, I don’t need a cutie mark; I’m already special.”

“Oh, yeah,” Scootaloo returned with a derisive scoff, “special at what? Being a spoiled brat?” The stunned look on her face gratified Scootaloo. Dad was right, she thought with a grin. It is much better to stand up for yourself. “After all, the only thing you seem to be good at is talking big, and the one thing you seem to have going for you is that your dad’s rich.” Diamond’s expression darkened and her eyes flashed in anger, but Scootaloo kept pushing.

“Isn’t that right, daddy’s girl?” Scootaloo turned her confident grin on the rest of her classmates, who looked back and forth between the two fighting fillies. “What do you guys think? Bet she ends up with her daddy’s face on her flank.” A few of the onlookers laughed along with her, but most just stood watching uncomfortably, uncertain of what they should do.

Scootaloo turned back to Diamond Tiara, and her grin faded slightly. Anger marred Diamond’s face with a hideous scowl, and her face was suffused with a bright red. Silver Spoon was tugging on her hoof, trying to drag her away. “Let’s go Diamond Tiara, she’s not worth it,” she said quietly, but Diamond pushed her off. Scootaloo involuntarily back up half a step when Diamond stormed right into Scootaloo’s face, her nostrils flaring.

“Who do you think you are?” Diamond hissed in her face, spraying saliva over her muzzle. “You’re nothing compared to me. I’m special, talented, pretty, and intelligent. You’re stupid, ugly, and useless.”

The anger welling in Scootaloo’s chest grew hotter, sweeping away her shame and fear until the heat was all there was.

“You’re worthless,” Diamond spat.

Scootaloo shook from the building emotions she was holding in.

And you always will be.

The edges of Scootaloo’s vision went red, she had never been so angry in her life. She felt that if she didn’t do something soon to let the anger out, she’d snap.

“Who do you think you are?!” came a high pitched yell, taking everypony by surprise. Scootaloo’s anger ebbed away to be replaced by amazement as she watched a pure white filly bear down on Diamond Tiara. It was Diamond’s turn to take several steps back, startled by Sweetie Belle’s outburst.

“So what if Scootaloo can’t fly,” Sweetie Belle yelled right in Diamond’s face. Her face was red with anger, and the way she stared right in Diamond’s eyes made the bully nervous. “That doesn’t make her useless. You’re just jealous that Silver Spoon got her cutie mark before you.”

“That’s not true!” Diamond Tiara yelled back.

“Yes, it is, I saw you yelling at her before school this morning.” Everypony turned to look at Silver Spoon, who looked down at the ground, flustered. “That’s no way to treat your friend. And why pick on Scootaloo? Scootaloo never did anything to you, so why are you being so mean!” Sweetie Belle’s voice cracked into a high pitched squeak on the last word, and the red drained away from her face in horror.

Diamond’s look of confusion and anger slowly changed to a mocking leer. “Oh, look everypony, Squeaky Belle’s found herself a best friend.” Usually Diamond’s nickname for Sweetie Belle would get her a few laughs, but this wasn’t the usual teasing. It was personal, and serious, and the others watching weren’t amused. “I think the two of you are perfect for each other: the loser who can’t fly and the loser who can’t talk.”

Sweetie Belle shrank under Diamond’s derisive gaze. “So, Scootaloo will never get a cutie mark of course, she’s good for nothing. You on the other hoof are at least entertaining Squeaky Belle. So what’s your mark going to be?” Diamond’s voice turned thoughtful. “I’m guessing a dog’s toy.” She started laughing at her own joke and Sweetie Belle sank lower, all the way to her stomach and her eyes misted over. This only made Diamond laugh harder, though.

Her laughter was cut off by a hoof on her chest, pushing her away from the crying filly. “Don’t touch me!” she yelped, looking on baffled as Scootaloo stepped between her and Sweetie Belle.

“Leave Sweetie Belle alone,” Scootaloo growled.

“Yeah? And what are you going to do if I don’t?”

“How about I punch you right in your ‘pretty’ face? We’ll see just how special you look with a fat lip.” Scootaloo stomped her hoof on the ground a few times to make a point. Diamond’s derisive smile froze as she considered this unexpected turn of events. She was used to picking on what she saw as the ‘weaker’ fillies and colts. Not because she was afraid, she’d tell herself, but because they were much more fun. They never stood up for themselves, and they never stood up for each other.

Now these two were doing the exact opposite, and she wasn’t really sure how to react to that and still come out on top. She tried staring Scootaloo down, but the filly just stared back. Her mind raced as she tried to think of someway to win this; then it came to her. Her eyes narrowed in victory and her frozen smile regained its former spiteful life.

“Now there’s no need for violence, girls,” she simpered. “I think I know a way to settle this: a bet.”

“A bet?” Scootaloo asked dubiously. “What kind of bet?” Diamond’s smile widened and she started to walk slowly around Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle. Scootaloo matched her movements, keeping herself between Sweetie Belle and the bratty bully.

“A competition to be exact. You, Scootaloo, pick something you think you’re good at, and I will pick someone for you to compete against.” Diamond stopped after completing one circle. “If you win, then I’ll apologize to Squeaky Belle and promise to leave her alone from now on—”

“Deal!” Scootaloo burst out before Diamond could finish.

“Now, now, you don’t even know the stakes yet.”

“They don’t matter,” Scootaloo asserted. “I won’t let you keep making fun of her.”

“Let’s see what you say after you hear the whole deal,” Diamond stated callously. “If you lose...” She paused dramatically, everypony on needles to hear her next words.

“Yeah, if I lose, what?”

“If you lose, then you have to admit to everypony that I was right, that you are a stupid, ugly, talentless, and worthless pegasus.” Her heartless smile spread over her entire face at the stunned silence that followed. “And that you always will be.” Scootaloo’s eyes opened in shock, and Sweetie Belle whimpered softly. Diamond stepped forward to stand only inches away from her newfound nemesis, whispering to her softly.