"I'm home!" the orange filly shouted as soon as she opened the door. She did not get a response though, which was usual for whenever she would return. She walked upstairs and slowly opened the door to the brown pegasus' bedroom, careful not to wake her up. The sound of her mother's breathing was steady, and loud enough to be called a low snoring. She was wrapped up tightly in a blanket and lay crumbled up in a fetal position. Scootaloo noticed a half-eaten sandwich, a glass of water and a bottle of pain-pills on the drawer next to her, probably something Dr. Heartfeld had given her before he had left. The sandwich and water made the young filly smile at the doctor's kind-heartedness, but the pills made the smile fade away as they reminded her of her dear mother's condition: She was not sleeping because she wanted to.
Scootaloo's gaze then turned to a different drawer with a mirror hanging just above it. On this drawer were a collection of photos, neatly framed and showing a black stallion from the front with grayish-purple eyes. It was not possible to see the stallion's cutie mark on the photo, but Scootaloo had been told enough stories of her father to know that his flank sports a silver bicycle.
She momentarily thought back on how Cherilee had been acting awkwardly when told of this stallion's leaving, and decided to take a closer look at the framed photo. She walked over to the drawer and looked at the picture angrily, quietly snarling at it as she tried to somehow have a vicious staring contest with it. She truly hated him. She often lay awake at night, thinking about how he could simply turn his back on them when they needed him the most, despite what she had told Cherilee. But the main reason she hated him was the fact that her mother didn't; the very fact that this picture had not been torn to pieces proved that Copperbolt still had some sort of feelings for him. He was hurting her, even when he was not around, and that made Scootaloo think of him as an enemy.
Yet she secretly kept wishing for him to come home someday; wishing for him to tell them that he was sorry or that he did it for their sake in some way. He was her father after all, and nothing could possibly change that.
As she leaned in over the drawer, using her crossed hooves as a pillow for her head and leting out a sigh, she felt a hoof softly being planted on her shoulder. She looked up and saw her mother, gently smiling at her with her eyes showing the most caring of lights, although her fatigue was still clear.
"How was school, Scoot?" she asked in a calm, motherly voice.
Scootaloo let out another sigh and took a few seconds to answer. She was still leaning in over the drawer, looking at the picture while speaking: "Fine, I guess. Nothing really happened, you know?"
"Did you have fun with the others?"
"Well, if you mean 'did I get into a fight with Diamond Tiara?' then yes, I did," Scootaloo answered in an angry tone of voice. That snobbish filly had been bugging her throughout the entire recess to the point where Scootaloo almost went over and smacked her face in. The only reason she remained cool was that this sort of behavior would probably make Cherilee angry at her.
"Seriously, Scoot," the one-winged pegasus said while rolling her eyes. "You really gotta make some friends. It's no good if you just stay alone. And it's even worse if you keep getting into fights."
"Yeah, because I totally wanna be friends with Diamond Tiara," the orange filly said without attempting to hide her sarcasm.
Copperbolt laughed and gave her a few taps on the shoulder. "I'm not saying you should be friends with that gal. In fact you should probably get back at her somehow."
"But I thought you didn't want me to get into fights?" the filly said, looking back up with a confused expression.
"Well, I didn't say fight, now did I?" The brown mare said with a devious smirk and a sneaky look in her eyes. "You should just pull a prank on her or something. That way she'll learn not to mess with you."
Scootaloo giggled through a closed set of teeth. "Yeah, she deserves that."
The two of them spent the next few minutes, plotting a wicked plan to get back at the snobbish filly. One of the things Scootaloo loved the most about her mom was her liveliness; how everything she did became all fun and games, even though she was sick as hay. The laughter they shared were always sincere, and even the occasional cough from her could not bring them to stop.
Scootaloo looked at the picture of her father once more and released a sigh through her smiling mouth. She noticed her mother do the same, although her eyes had a different glow than her own. They were happy and sad at the same time, showing just how much she missed that black stallion, even though he hurt her so much when he bailed.
"You shouldn't hate him, Scoot," the brown mare suddenly said with a smile. She was somehow always able to read the filly's mind completely. An ability that was sometimes comforting and sometimes scary, depending on what Scootaloo was thinking about. "He's really not that bad."
"Then why did he leave?"
The mare looked at the ceiling in thought. "I don't know… I guess he had his reasons."
Scootaloo looked back at the picture while leaning her body up against her mother's soft coat. She could hear her heartbeat and compared it to her own: It was slower. The coat also felt rather cold when she compared it to her own, but the appearance the one-winged mare had was a lot more energetic.
"You won't leave me, will you?" she suddenly found herself asking, only realizing what she said after the words had left her mouth.
Copperbolt looked at her with surprise, her face momentarily showing a rare seriousness. She then laughed quietly and nuzzled the filly's mane. "Why would you think I'd leave you?"
"I don't," Scootaloo said, returning the mare's gentle smile. "I just asked for some reason."
A kiss was gently planted on her forehead, followed by another nuzzle. "Of course I won't leave you, Scoot. Don't ever think that."
It was words like these that made Scootaloo feel all the more calm. She closed her eyes and nodded, thinking of how silly she was to even ask such a question. Of course Copperbolt would never leave her. Officially she was sick, but the energy and happy mood she was sporting always made Scootaloo think that her attitude itself was enough of an antidote to keep the illness at bay.
"Now, how about we get off our hooves and go to the playground?" Copperbolt asked as she nudged the orange filly. Scootaloo gave another nod in reply and stormed to the stairs.