"Hey, Rainbow Dash!"
Dash heard a recognizable voice call out to her. She was in the middle of napping on a cloud after a hard day's work. Blinking her eyes, she tossed off the last moments of her relaxed break. She stood on the cloud, stretching her back and wings with a loud yawn. Finally, she moved to the edge of the cloud, looking down to see Scootaloo standing below, waiting in anticipation.
"Hey, Scoot," Rainbow Dash said, her voice still sounding tired from her rest. "What's up?"
Scootaloo eagerly bounced from the ground. "School's out! I came as fast as I could, since I didn't want to keep you waiting!" The orange pegasus filly sounded extremely excited. She was smiling ear to ear, flapping her small wings a bit as she hopped in place.
Rainbow Dash then remembered how she promised to give the filly a few lessons in flying today. "All right," the older pegasus replied. Though a little irritated that she was disturbed during her nap, she had made a promise, and was always loyal to her word. She jumped down from the cloud, landing gracefully in front of Scootaloo. The young pegasus seemed even more excited than just a second ago trembling with happiness. It was kind of like when a school girl meets her idol. This was, of course, the case with Scootaloo, as she highly admired the rainbow-maned pegasus.
"So, you wanna get started?" Rainbow Dash asked. Any grudge she held over being bothered quickly disappeared when she saw her little fan's face. Being a proud and sometimes boastful pony, she was always happy when others openly admired her flying abilities, and nopony admired her like Scootaloo. "How far along are you anyway?"
Scootaloo flapped her tiny wings once nervously, lowering her head a bit in embarrassment. "So far only able to stay in the air. And even that isn't for very long."
The tiny wings fluttered into motion, soon becoming a blur of momentum. The orange filly clenched her eyes in concentration, giving it her all to flap her underdeveloped wings. Slowly but surely, she rose from the ground, levitating in the air no more than a few feet from the ground. She began to wheeze slightly from the strain, but she settled down after a few seconds. Setting off was always the hardest part.
Rainbow Dash gave the filly a smirk. "All right! Now let me see how high you can go." She was rather amazed at Scootaloo's progress. It was not more than a few weeks ago that the same filly could only use her wings to give herself a kick-start on her scooter. It was, however, about time she learned how to fly, and Rainbow Dash couldn't help but wonder why the filly's parents weren't teaching her themselves.
Scootaloo made the same trying expression. She ascended a few meters before stopping. She looked at Rainbow Dash, sweat covering her face. "This is about as far as I can go. I've been training hard for this."
"And you're doing great. Not as great as me, when I was your age of course," Dash said jokingly, yet with a bit of pride in her voice as well. "But you've really come far in such a short time. You know what? How about we start navigating today?"
"Navigating? Really!?" Scootaloo almost fell to the ground from the surprise, but managed to regain her balance. Rainbow Dash laughed loudly at this, making the orange filly blush. She grinned in embarrassment. "Hehe, whoops."
Still giggling a tad, the rainbow-maned pony continued: "Yeah, navigating. You've pretty much got the flying under control. From here on, it's just training, and I can't teach that. Instead, how about I teach you how to move from side to side?"
"That would be awesome!" This time, Scootaloo did fall to the ground because of her exaggerated excitement. Rainbow Dash burst out laughing, holding her belly to try and control herself.
"Hey, cut it out, Rainbow," Scootaloo said, blushing yet again. She took to the air one more time, this time a tad faster and with more ease than before, though still wheezing for a few seconds.
After she finished laughing, Rainbow Dash flew up to the side of the orange pegasus filly and gave her a light pat on her head. She faced the same direction and tried to get the same altitude, so as to be able to train her more efficiently.
"I gotta be honest with you: I've never actually trained anypony before, so I'm gonna do the same my dad did when he trained me. You ready?"
Scootaloo nodded, staying focused on hovering steady.
"Cool. All right, first thing first: it's all in the weight. When you wanna fly in some direction, you gotta lean your body that way. Like if you wanna move forwards, you lean forwards, and then you use your body weight to push yourself in the direction. You got it?"
"I think so." She nodded again, swallowing her spit with a nervous face.
"Great. Now, try and follow me, okay?" Rainbow Dash tilted forwards, slowly moving in a straight line, feeling the wind picking up as she was moving. She looked over her shoulder to see Scootaloo doing pretty much the same, although a bit wobbly. She was obviously nervous, focusing hard on her every move.
"Good! You're on the right track," Dash encouraged, smiling over her shoulder. "Now, try and move the same way I do. Follow my trail." She leaned to the right, making a turn sharp enough to make a sound in the wind. She spun around so as to face forwards again.
Scootaloo tried to do the same, but accidentally leaned too far, losing her balance. She wobbled a bit through the air with panic spreading across her face and into her movements before losing control, flying in wild patterns as she desperately tried to correct herself. Finally, the young pegasus hit a tree branch and made a painful expression as she fell to the ground.
Rainbow Dash's eyes widened as she darted over to the crash site to check on the filly. They were not high in the air, and their speed was not that great, but even a small collision can leave quite a bump, so the older pegasus could not help but bite her bottom lip in worry. "You okay?" she asked, landing beside the filly and helping her back to her hooves.
Scootaloo rubbed her sore forehead a bit, but otherwise seemed fine. Even so, Rainbow Dash felt that she had to check for herself, since she didn't want her little fan to get hurt.
"Come here. Let me see." As Rainbow Dash expected Scootaloo's forehead, she couldn't help but notice the filly turn red with a blush and steer her eyes away. The young pegasus leaned backwards, as if she was embarrassed by Rainbow's closeness. Dash gave a gentle smile and patted her on the forehead again to indicate that she was done checking. "Seems like you're all right. You got a lot of practice to do yet though, Pipsqueak."
Scootaloo looked back up at her with adoring eyes. "Do you think I'll ever be as good as you?"
"Ha! Not in a million years. You gotta settle for second place, Scoot," Rainbow teased with a grin. "You ready to go again?"
Scootaloo nodded fast and took off into the air. Rainbow Dash followed and positioned herself beside her again, getting ready for round two.
"Scootaloo!" Applebloom called, making both Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo turn their heads. The young earth pony and Sweetie Belle were fast approaching. The Cutie Mark Crusaders had planned to be together today to find their Cutie Marks, or just to have fun and see if they happened to get them in the process. The two fillies ran over to their friend and her rainbow-maned pegasus idol.
"Hey guys," Scootaloo said with a smile. "Are you as excited about tonight as I am!"
The two fillies nodded simultaneously, giggling as they did.
"Sure am!" Applebloom proclaimed. She cast her gaze to the older pegasus. "Hi, Rainbow! How're ya?"
Dash smiled to the filly. "I'm good, thanks. So, what plans do you three have for tonight?"
"We're gonna have a sleepover! We're sure ta find our Cutie Marks tonight!" the yellow earth filly said with a lot of confidence.
Rainbow Dash giggled, amused by the the filly's excitement. "Well, good luck with that. Do your parents know about this?"
"Ah told Big Macintosh. He said it was fine," Applebloom said.
"Yeah, Rarity knows," Sweetie Belle added.
"Don't worry about it," Scootaloo said with a low voice and a rather weak smile.
Applebloom looked to her pegasus friend. Scootaloo seemed to become a bit quieter every time somepony mentioned her parents. She didn't give it much thought, though.
Rainbow Dash gave the orange filly a quick, serious look, but let it fade. "Well, in that case, let's say that's it for practice today, eh Scoot?"
"Sure, Rainbow Dash." The filly smiled widely at her idol.
Dash gave a nod of goodbye to the trio. "I'm gonna head home now. You three have fun, okay?"
"We will!" the three fillies said simultaneously.
Rainbow Dash flew off, leaving the fillies to themselves. Scootaloo turned her attention to her friends. "So, has the plan changed any? You guys come up with anything new?"
"Not without you, we haven't," Sweetie Belle said with a smile. "We thought about going to the treehouse to figure out how to get our Cutie Marks, and find out where we'll have our sleepover, just like we promised."
"Sounds good," Scootaloo replied.
"Great! Let's get to the clubhouse, shall we?" Sweetie Belle said.
The three of them nodded in agreement and took off towards their base of operations.
In the treehouse, Sweetie Belle picked up a folded piece of paper and a few crayons from the corner. Unfolding the paper at the table, the Cutie Marks Crusaders' unfinished plan from last meeting on how to get their Cutie Marks was revealed.
Applebloom and Scootaloo sat down on each side of Sweetie Belle. The unicorn filly banged her hoof on the table like a gavel and cleared her throat. "Before we start the meeting I wanna check that everyone's here: Scootaloo?"
"Here!" the orange filly proclaimed, raising her hoof.
"Here," Applebloom giggled, finding this a little silly, yet funny.
"Sweetie Belle?" The white unicorn became silent for a second as she stared straight ahead with as serious a face she could make. "Now where's Sweetie Belle?" she joked, unable to keep a smile from forming on her face.
"Stop joking around, silly," Applebloom giggled and gave Sweetie Belle a light push on her shoulder. The official Cutie Marks Crusader meetings always started the same way; lots of laughs, fun and silliness that had pretty much nothing to do with finding their Cutie Marks. It was just three fillies having fun together.
Scootaloo always seemed the most happy. While Sweetie Belle and Applebloom stopped laughing relatively quickly, Scootaloo just kept going. She really cherished their moments together. Applebloom couldn't help but smile at her friend who was having the time of her life. She herself enjoyed spending time with the pegasus and unicorn as well, even if their friendship was pretty new.
It was strange, really: Sweetie Belle used to attend another school in Ponyville, but she changed schools when the Parasprites ate it in the incident a few months ago. Scootaloo, however, had always attended to the same school as Applebloom. She always kept quiet, though, and Applebloom had never even noticed her. It was as if she intentionally avoided contact with other ponies.
It was nice to see her open up like this. Scootaloo was fun, energetic and friendly all at the same time, which was rare to see. The trio had only been friends for a short while, but it felt like they'd been friends forever.
"Anyway," Applebloom said when the orange filly had finally turned her laughing into a much quieter snickering. "Ah think we should find out where we can have our sleepover. Ah'd propose the clubhouse, but Applejack says Ah'm too young ta sleep somewhere with no adults. Sweet Apple Acres is out of the question too, since Big Macintosh is having guests."
"We can't sleep at my place either," Sweetie Belle said with a guilty look on her face. "I accidentally set fire to one of Rarity's dresses, and she needs peace and quiet to work on it through the night."
The two other fillies laughed out loud at the ridiculous bad luck Sweetie Belle had, creating a blush and an embarrassed smile on her face. This kind of result seemed to be customary for whenever she helped her sister out.
Sweetie Belle and Applebloom then turned their attention towards Scootaloo, smiling at her with anticipation shining from their eyes. The orange pegasus seemed to shrink under their gaze. She smiled nervously, coughing into her hoof. "So what do we do then?"
"Well, since we can't sleep at mah place or Sweetie Belle's, yer pretty much our last option," Applebloom said. She could see Scootaloo sinking even lower and losing the smile on her face.
"I…" she began, obviously making excuses. "I don't think tonight's a good night."
Wondering why exactly Scootaloo suddenly seemed so nervous, Applebloom continued: "Why not? Are your parents busy?"
"Well… um… yeah. They are. They're having… um… a dinner party tonight." Scootaloo gave a fake, toothy smile. She was trembling with nervousness, showing just how bad a liar she is. Sweetie Belle and Applebloom looked at each other with a hint of worry in their eyes. Why would Scootaloo lie?
Applebloom continued even further: "Scootaloo… what's wrong?"
Scootaloo flinched. "What do you mean?"
"Well… yer lying." Applebloom had always been rather straight-forward. She did not want to make her friend uncomfortable, but she could not help but wonder why she was hiding something from them.
The orange filly took a step backwards and looked down at the floor. "I'm not lying… They really do have a… dinner party."
There was an awkward silence in the room. The three fillies were all looking at the floor, thinking of what to say next. Applebloom was worried whether or not she went too far, but more so, she worried about what could be so important for Scootaloo that she had to hide it from her friends.
"You can't come home with me…" Scootaloo suddenly said, her head hanging low and her voice almost a whisper. She was saddened by something; as if she wanted Applebloom and Sweetie Belle to come over, but for some reason could not allow that to happen. "I can't tell you why, but you can't."
"… but why? Ya don't have to hide anything from us..."
"I can't tell you."
"Is it something with your parents?" Sweetie Belle asked.
"Just drop it, okay?"
"Maybe I can get Applejack to talk it over with 'em. I'm sure it'll be okay."
"JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!" the orange filly suddenly shouted out. Tears started flowing down her cheeks and a quiet sobbing began to break her voice. She was trying hard not to cry, yet the tears kept fighting to fall.
Applebloom and Sweetie Belle sat horrified. They hadn't intended to make their friend cry. Both apologized at the same time, and in the same quiet voice. They both wanted to walk over to Scootaloo and comfort her in some way, but they were not sure whether this would help or worsen the situation. They had never seen their usually energetic friend like that.
Scootaloo stood up after a short while and walked towards the door. "I'm sorry… I need to be alone right now…" she said, her voice weak and saddened. She started running, disappearing out of sight into the growing darkness of evening.
The mood had changed, and Applebloom and Sweetie Belle bid each other goodnight. Each walked home with a mixture of guilt for unintentionally having made Scootaloo cry, and worry for her well-being.
When Applebloom came back to Sweet Apple Acres, her head hung low, she was greeted by the familiar, cheerful voice of her big sister. "Howdy, Applebloom. Yer sure back early. Didn't ya have a sleepover planned tonight?"
Applebloom looked the cowpony in the eyes, wondering whether or not she should tell her about what happened. She was sure Scootaloo wouldn't want her to bring this up with anypony, but on the other hoof, Applejack would probably find out sooner or later. Her big sister might also have some idea of what to do in this situation. She recalled the meeting's events to her sister.
Silence struck the siblings and the cheerful expression on Applejack's face had been reduced to one of worry. She sat on her flank and signaled her baby sister to come closer to her so she could comfort her. Applebloom was showing a sad face that could give somepony a heart attack, making her sister smile at her to turn her frown upside down.
"Ain't nawthing fer you ta worry 'bout, sugarcube. Although, Ah gotta admit: That does sound mighty weird," Applejack said with a gentle yet pondering tone. She brought her hoof to her chin, thinking about which steps to take now. "Ya said ya think it might be something about 'er parents?"
"Don't know what else it could be. She got awfully upset when Ah brought it up."
"Well, as Ah said: Don't you worry about it," Applejack comforted, putting a hoof around the filly, whose eyes were shaking and wet. "Ah'm sure we'll figure out what's wrong. In fact, Ah think Ah might speak to Rainbow Dash about it. Since Scootaloo idolizes 'er so much, she should be able to talk to 'er about this." She pulled Applebloom towards herself for a hug to soothe her worries. "It'll be all right, ya hear?"
Applebloom nodded slowly with a weak smile. She wanted to be the one to take care of this, but she didn't know what to do. It was probably a good idea to let the big ponies talk to her friend. They had a better idea of how to take care of a crying filly. She hoped, at least.
"Now, off ta bed," her sister added, sending her heartwarming smile. "Ya had a rough night. Ya should really get some rest."
Applebloom nodded again and went into the house. She greeted Big Macintosh and his guests, excused herself for being tired and unsocial, and went straight to her room. Lying in her bed, she put on a hopeful smile and was instantly asleep.
Rainbow Dash was up early today. She was practicing a few loops she wanted to show the Wonderbolts the next time she would meet them. She had the stunts pretty much nailed down, but it could never hurt to be extra cautious and train a little more, perfecting the already perfect.
Wiping off a drop of sweat from her forehead, she noticed a familiar figure in the distance coming towards her; Applejack. She gave off a smile and went to greet the cowpony.
"Hey, AJ," she greeted, flying over to the pony without landing, instead staying in the air before her. "What's up?"
"Heya, Rainbow," Applejack replied, sitting before the pegasus. "Not much going on with me, but Ah'd like ta talk with ya about somethin', if ya don't mind."
"Well, sure. What is it?"
"It's about Scootaloo. Applebloom was with 'er last night."
"Yeah, I know. I saw them run off to their clubhouse. She didn't disappear or anything, did she?" the rainbow-maned pegasus asked, making a worried face.
Applejack shook her head. "Ah don't think so. But she kinda had a fight with Applebloom and Sweetie Belle. Well, fight or flight. Whatever ya'd call it. Anyway, she apparently became mighty upset when the girls mentioned 'er parents. Had 'er crying and all, and this made Applebloom and Sweetie Belle worry a bunch. Ah thought ya might want ta talk with 'er or somethin' like that."
Rainbow Dash finally landed. She was a little surprised to hear that Scootaloo had trouble, yet no more surprised than that she secretly expected this. She did not know what to do about it though. Scootaloo was just a fan. The orange filly wasn't her responsibility, and she couldn't see why she should be the one to talk to her. She wasn't family or anything. She just trained her.
"It's too bad for her if she's sad, but why me?" the rainbow-maned pony asked with a bit of hesitation.
"Beg yer pardon?" Applejack replied in surprise, narrowing her eyes.
"Why should I be the one to talk to her? It's not like I'm her mom or anything."
"Why, Rainbow Dash… Ah'm surprised ya would say somethin' like that." Applejack was getting irritated. She was disappointed that Rainbow Dash did not simply agree to talk to Scootaloo without hesitation. She stepped forward towards her in a way that made Rainbow Dash back off a few steps.
"It's not like I know her very well either!" Rainbow Dash defended, a little intimidated. "She doesn't tell me about her life or anything. She just likes to spend time with me and have me practice with her."
"And why in tarnation do ya think that is?"
"I don't know. Because she looks up to me or something?"
"Exactly! Yet yer saying ya ain't got nothin' to do with 'er personal life?"
"I didn't mean it that way... I just meant she isn't my responsibility." Rainbow Dash was getting a little ashamed of herself, yet she insisted that she should not be the one to talk with the orange pegasus filly. She would not know what to say to her anyways. She didn't have any experience with kids, nor any real experience with comforting people. Applejack or Fluttershy would probably be much more suited for this job. Hay, maybe even Pinkie Pie.
"But yer her idol, Rainbow Dash!" Applejack said in a loud, slightly angry voice. "She respects ya! She looks up ta ya! Yer probably the only pony she'd open up to! How can ya just stand there and say ya don't wanna talk to 'er?"
Rainbow Dash crumbled in shame. She turned quiet for a second and tried to avoid eye contact with the cowpony. She really did feel bad about what she was saying, yet she did not have the courage to actually act the adult; to take responsibility. "I just don't know what to do…"
Applejack sighed. She shook her head a little and calmed herself by keeping quiet for a second. She looked Rainbow Dash in the eye with determination and concluded the lecture: "Scootaloo is having a hard time right now, Rainbow. She needs ya. For Celestia's sake, she's just a filly. Yer the grown up here. Ya gotta act the part, all right?"
Rainbow Dash was quiet. She lowered her head and nodded in agreement, accepting her defeat. She needed to do something about this whole thing.
Seeing the rainbow-maned pegasus agree made Applejack smile with a mixed sense of relief and accomplishment. This was her win. "That's better," the cowpony said. "Now go and talk to 'er."
"I don't know where she lives, though."
"Oh... right." Applejack hadn't planned on that, but knew it was only a matter of time. "Ya got any training planned with 'er?"
"No. And she hasn't come around today."
"Actually, yeah." Rainbow Dash stood up and regained a bit of her usual, proud attitude. "She's kind of bent on training with me as often as she can, so she comes around every day before school and ask me to practice flying with her."
"In that case, she might still be upset. We'll ask her teacher where she lives, s'posing she won't go ta school tomorrow. Cherilee's the one, right?"
"You probably know that better than me, AJ. You're the one with a little sister in that class, remember?" the rainbow-maned pegasus giggled, making the cowpony blush a tad in embarrassment.
"Ah s'pose so."
Rainbow Dash and Applejack parted ways, having mutually decided to ask Cherilee where Scootaloo lives after school. Rainbow Dash still felt bad after Applejack's lecture, embarrassed and ashamed of her hesitant act. Sure, she wasn't Scootaloo's big sister, but she spent so much time with the orange pegasus filly that she should have noticed the signs.
She flew up to her cloud, intent on relaxing a bit before getting to work clearing the skies for the day. Settling in to the billowy cloud, she tried to rest, but couldn't keep herself from looking over to Ponyville, pondering what to do if Scootaloo really had trouble. What could it be? Is she being abused at home? Is it some kind of trauma? Whatever it is, it must have something to do with her family, considering the reactions she has when her parents are mentioned.
After a few minutes of thinking, she noticed another recognizable figure at the Ponyville market. Apparently, she would not need to speak with Cherilee after all; it was Scootaloo. The filly was hiding behind a corner for some reason, invisible to the ponies on the ground, but very noticeable from the cloud where Rainbow Dash was sitting. The rainbow-maned pegasus thought about flying over to the filly to talk to her like Applejack said, but she became curious about what Scootaloo was doing. Why was the filly sneaking around like that? Dash decided to stay hidden for a while herself and follow the filly's course of action.
Much to Rainbow Dash's surprise, Scootaloo jumped out from behind the corner when nopony was looking, grabbed as many apples as she could carry from a small vendor nearby, and quickly sprinted away as if her tail was on fire. She had stolen the apples.
Rainbow Dash was stunned after having witnessed this. She decided to keep stalking the filly, curious as to why she would do something like that, and also a bit afraid of confronting her about it. Not to mention the dreaded emotional talk she would have to have with her. She jumped from cloud to cloud, staying out of Scootaloo's sight. The orange filly had changed her means of transportation from hooves to scooter.
After a few minutes, Scootaloo made a right turn into a cemetery. It was still early in the morning, probably about half an hour before school started. Why would she go into a cemetery at this time of day, or at all for that matter, Rainbow Dash wondered? The filly stopped the scooter in front of a semi-large gravestone. Taking off her helmet, she sat down on her flank with the stolen apples between her and the stone. Dash got a bad feeling at this point, but still wanted to stay hidden. She chose a large tree to hide behind, close enough for her to eavesdrop.
"I brought breakfast," Scootaloo said, pushing an apple closer to the grave before her. "I know, I know. You don't want me to steal anymore, but it's not like a few apples will hurt them. Besides, I haven't been caught yet." She took a bite of her apple and chewed it fast at first, then slowed down before forcing herself to swallow. She look disgusted at the apple in her hoof. "I've never liked breakfast. It's always so hard to chew this early in the morning. But I know it's healthy for me. That it keeps me going through the day, like you always said, so I'm making sure to eat it." The filly paused on both eating and speaking. She hung her head a bit, smiling at the stone in front of her. Lowering her voice, she continued: "I'm sorry for keeping you up all night... I just had to tell you about what happened between me, Applebloom and Sweetie Belle. I feel bad keeping this a secret for them, but I don't want them to treat me any differently either. I know they're just trying to help and all, but it's not like they understand anything, right? I mean, they're not like me." Another pause. She was rotating the apple core in her hooves, looking at it without actually taking notice of it. "How could they understand...?"
Rainbow Dash was astonished. She had an idea about what was wrong, but this was simply too much for her to handle. Could Scootaloo really be...? Could that grave...? She sat down behind the tree and placed her hoof over her mouth, trying to find the courage to speak to the filly. She had no idea what to say. No idea what to do or even how she should sound when speaking to her. That filly is completely alone...
Scootaloo was sitting quietly in front of the grave for a while. She was smiling vaguely, but her eyes were storing another mood. She wasn't teary-eyed. It looked more like those eyes had lost their will to fight. She lied down on her belly, head and forehooves stretched forward, reaching for the gravestone. "... I miss you, mom," she said in a faint voice, almost a whisper.
"Hey, Pipsqueak," Rainbow Dash said with a gentle, yet nervous voice. She finally had enough of hiding and wanted to comfort the filly sitting alone in front of her mother's grave. Scootaloo was surprised by the sudden appearance of the rainbow-maned pegasus and rushed up on her hind legs, desperately trying to block the view of the gravestone.
"Hey, Dash," she said in a voice more along the lines of her usual volume, yet still not quite there. She was shaking, clearly afraid of how much Rainbow Dash had seen. She really did not want anypony to find out about this. That was too late though: Rainbow Dash had seen everything and she could no longer pretend that everything was fine.
The older pegasus walked over to the filly, still unsure of what to say, which her face showed all too clearly. "What are you up to?" she asked, afraid this was too straight-forward a question.
"Nothing... just passing through the graveyard on the way to school."
"... I already know, Scoot," Rainbow Dash said with a sad sigh, finally confronting her. This was not for herself, she thought, but for Scootaloo.
Scootaloo threw away her fake smile and looked to the ground, seeming a little embarrassed and saddened that Rainbow Dash found out. "So, what of it?" she said defensively with a low, irritated voice. "You're gonna pity me now?"
"Go ahead. See if I care..." The two of them were silent for a while. Rainbow Dash was looking at the filly with worry, and Scootaloo was looking at the ground, a tear forming in her eye.
"Yeah, I probably am gonna pity you," Rainbow Dash said, making the filly bite her bottom lip. "But it's not like I'd do that to anypony." She walked over to the filly, put her hooves around her and sat down with her, whispering to her: "I'm sorry, Scootaloo... I wish you didn't have to go through this... I can't say I know how you feel, but I can tell you this much: You don't have to be alone anymore..."
The tears in scootaloo's eyes were forming faster. She began whimpering, yet she kept her body stiff and in as much control as possible.
"... You're putting too much on yourself, you know...?" Rainbow Dash continued, clinging to the filly in a way she never thought she would do. "... You should have some more faith in us bigger ponies... You're too young to have to be by yourself..."
"So what if I'm young!?" the filly cried out, weeping louder than before. "You big ponies are all the same! As soon as I start trusting you, you leave me alone! YOU LEAVE ME ALONE!!" she grabbed Rainbow Dash, hugging her tightly and wept. She was trembling throughout as the emotion poured from her. It was as if she had not cried out in years. "First Dad leaves before I can even talk! Then Mom leaves me! Even Gran'pa and Gran'ma left me! Why should I think you're any different!?"
"... I won't leave you..."
"... I won't leave you, Scootaloo..."
"SHUT UP! JUST SHUT UP!!!"
"LISTEN TO ME!" Rainbow Dash cried out as she pushed the filly back, keeping her hooves on her shoulders. She could not help but form a few tears in her own eyes, but she knew Scootaloo needed her. She looked the filly in the eyes intensely enough for her not to look away, making sure their gazes were locked. "I won't leave you! No matter what happens, I promise, I will be here for you! Do you understand!?"
Scootaloo was quiet for a few seconds. Her face was forcing a different expression on her face as her tears increased the speed with which they were pouring out of her eyes. She jumped in again for a hug, clinging tight to the rainbow-maned pegasus. She cried to her heart's content. All the tears she had kept in finally streamed from her eyes, running down Rainbow Dash's shoulder. They stayed like this for what felt like an eternity, neither saying a word. The filly cried, and the older pegasus brushed her mane with a hoof, consoling her.
Rainbow Dash brought the filly back with her to her house in the clouds. She let her skip school for today, simply because of what had happened. The two of them shared a connection that seemed to have strengthened greatly during this little incident. She walked over to the young pony with a box of tissues to clean up the remaining teartraces on her face.
"You know, you really shouldn't steal," she added as she was wiping her face with a tissue.
"It's not like there was anything else I could do. I don't wanna go to an orphanage."
"You should stay here instead."
The filly looked up. Her eyes widened and her mouth gaped open in surprise. Rainbow Dash smiled at this reaction and thought to herself that it was the best solution for both of them.
"I'm not much of a cook, though, so you gotta live with whatever the hay I serve," she laughed, making the orange pegasus filly smile. "So what do you say?"
Scootaloo did not say anything. She simply smiled as wide as possible and leaned in to give Rainbow Dash a big, loving hug, which the rainbow-maned pegasus returned with a smile.