Scootaloo's Growth: from Baby to Champion

by Never2muchpinkie

Chapter 1: Prologue: Adoption

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It was a dark night, the moon only just starting its cycle over and providing limited light.

Two pegasus ponies were flying up high in the sky, a mare and a stallion.

The stallion had a light blue and dark blue mane with a yellow coat and blue eyes. He carried a diaper bag around his neck.

The mare was a tan brown with a yellow and orange mane, and light green eyes. She was holding a blanket in her hooves, covering the body of her child.

“Do we really have to travel through the night like this?” the stallion asked, squinting towards his wife. “I can barely see you.”

“Oh, come on,” said the mare with a laugh. “My big, strong husband isn’t afraid of a little darkness, is he?”

“Of course not! I just don’t see why we can’t stay at a hotel for the night. Traveling from Trottingham to Fillydelphia isn’t exactly a casual flight.”

“Yeah, I know, but it’s a lot easier for Scootaloo here,” she responded, looking at the little bundle in her arms. She could see the orange coat and pink mane, though it was hard to make out with the relative darkness. “She’ll probably sleep throughout the whole ride. The up and down motions put her right to sleep.

"Besides, you know my mom. She’s been wanting so bad to see our newborn. She’s getting on in her years, so the trip is a lot harder on her than it would be for us, you know? Besides, Scootaloo is nearly a month old already. She’ll start saying her first words soon. It’s the best time for it.”

A hard breeze passed by them, pushing them back slightly. Scootaloo shivered a little, fussing at the cold. The mare looked with some concern at her baby. “Honey, let’s go lower where the breeze won’t be as strong.”

“Alright,” he responded, the two of them heading down near the ground, flying just on top of a forest. As he turned he glanced around and said, “Hey, I think we’re right by Ponyville. Are you sure you don’t want to just wait until the morning? I know you want her to sleep, but it is kinda chilly out here. If you want to keep going we should at least get her another blanket.”

The mare let out a sigh. “I’d rather not stop, but you’re probably right. If she wakes up from the cold it’s going to be a real chore getting her to conk back out.”

“Alright, then. Let’s head this way,” he said as he changed direction, her following along.

As they traveled along the stallion felt a strange sense of foreboding. He looked down at the forest right below them and, even with the dim light, noticed that the trees looked off. For some reason the trees seemed almost sinister, like the place below them was a forbidden ground where they were not welcome. From what he remembered of the few times he had visited Ponyville this was probably the legendary Everfree Forest, where nature cared for itself.

He shook his head, admonishing himself for getting all worked up over a legend. Trees weren’t alive, they had no feelings, and weren’t out to get them. However, that didn’t mean some of the creatures living there couldn’t be a threat. Even though they were only a short ways away from the edge he thought it would be better if they went a little higher until they reached the town.

As if on cue, as he went to say something to his wife, out of the dark came something that he had mistaken for a part of a tree branch. Before he could react it came flying at him, crashing into him and knocking him out of the air with a sinister cry.

“Honey!” cried out the mare, spinning around. Another creature was looking at her now, and as she heard the struggle going on down below she found herself torn between going after her husband or trying to protect her child.

The voice of her husband cried out, “Go! Get Scootaloo to safety!”

That was that. She turned and flew, flapping her wings as hard as she could as the creature flew after her. She didn’t know whether the creature was simply trying to chase out intruders from its territory or whether it was a carnivore looking for its next meal, but in the end that wasn’t important. She had to get away from it, for Scootaloo’s sake.

To her panic the thing flying after her was slightly faster than her. She could feel it catching up to her, feel its breath on her neck and the snapping of its jaw. As a last resort she made a sharp turn just before it grabbed her. It bought her a little time. She could see the edge of the forest fast approaching. 'Just a little further,' she thought, hoping her husband was alright. He could take care of himself, though. Her baby couldn’t.

Just as she decided she’d better get more altitude something suddenly jumped in front of her. She let out a scream, tilting her body hard, flying backwards in the direction of the ground. She barely had time to get her bearings before a mind-numbing pain assaulted her as she crashed into a tree, her wing muscles feeling like they were crushed in.

The feeling of the pain instantly dulled as she realized that Scootaloo had gone flying out of her hooves from the impact. She strained to fly before she hit the ground but was unable, and slammed into the ground.

Her muscles aching from the fall she decided she’d have to run it. Before she ran more than a few steps a putrid smell assaulted her nose, then there was a chorus of howls and she saw glowing green eyes. A group of timberwolves surrounded the young mare.

“Scootaloo,” she said softly, dizzy and blurry-eyed from pain, tears coming down her eyes as they approached.

The baby had completed its upward launch, and now gravity was pulling her back towards the ground. She was crying now from being jostled and the scratches she had received from the branches nearby. She was headed straight towards the ground, momentum increasing her speed. As she neared the forest floor her blanket caught on a branch, halting her descent slightly before her built up momentum forced the blanket open, the baby launching out of it.

With a crunch the baby hit the ground just outside of the forest, skidding along for a few feet before coming to a stop, silent now.


An elderly mare named Peach Cobbler, an earth pony with a peach colored coat and a nearly white mane that had been pink in its time, was on a nightly walk. Her blue eyes were taking in everything without really seeing it. She had recently lost her daughter, and she wasn’t over it yet. She had taken to walking at night, being unable to sleep soundly.

In her lanterns glow she picked up something that caught her interest. She could just barely make out the head and wings of a pegasus, asleep near the forest. For a moment she thought to go wake them up, but then she shrugged and began to continue on her way. Who was she to tell somepony where to sleep? Besides, they could be the type of pony who just liked roughing it in the outdoors.

As she got closer to passing the sleeping pony she once again glanced at it, and this time she started to get the feeling that something was wrong. Going by the size of the wings, the pony had to be very young. It was a chilly night too. It was surely not the best conditions for a campout.

She struggled to ignore her feelings. Caring had become difficult for her. Everything just seemed so hollow lately. However, her good nature won the battle, and she turned and started walking toward the sleeping pony. As she did she dropped the lantern, letting out a cry that she was sure had woken up the ponies in the neighboring town. In the full light of the lantern she saw that the pegasus was gravely injured. It was also a baby, looking less than three months old. It was covered in dust, its wings were stuck out at odd angles, and there was blood coming from several cuts along its body.

Her heart began hammering in her chest. She had to get help. Thankfully she didn’t have to go far. Her scream had drawn a few other night owls. She frantically told them they needed a doctor there immediately, and the young earth ponies ran off toward the hospital.

The mare looked at the little foal with tears in her eyes. She really wanted to just pick up the baby and carry her to the hospital herself, but she knew that you’re not supposed to move an injured pony, lest you make their situation worse. If carried in any which way you could wind up causing irreversible damage, especially because a baby has very fragile bones.

It was a very tense wait. She had dragged the lantern over to the foal, wanting as much light as possible and not trusting her aging eyes. She wanted to make sure the baby was still breathing… still alive. It was faint, but there was some definite movement in the foal’s chest. However, its breathing was irregular. It wasn’t a steady in and out. It didn’t seem to follow any set pattern, and while she knew that was worrisome she couldn’t do anything except wait and look over the child until the doctors came.

She let out a mild sigh of relief when she finally heard them coming back. For a moment she thought about going home when they started to take the child away, but she couldn’t get that image out of her head, of the damage that poor foal had suffered. She found her hooves following after them. She pictured her daughter, so recently gone from this world, and she felt she had to know. She had to know if that child was going to survive, and what was to become of her.

Hours passed, and at times she was certain she had fell into a light sleep as she sat in the emergency room waiting area, but she’d always wake up feeling alert.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, a doctor came out to talk to her.

“Well?” she cried out, surprised at her voice. It felt unnaturally loud.

The doctor removed his face mask with a sigh. “Her injuries are pretty serious, but she’s stable. From what we can tell she fell from a good height or with significant force. Her wing muscles are broken and she has a mild concussion. She also appears to have injured a lung. From what we could tell of her examinations there doesn’t appear to be any threat to her life, but she has a long rehabilitation period ahead of her.”

Tears came down her eyes. She was so glad for that news.

“Are you a relative of this pegasus?” the doctor asked, noticing she didn’t have wings.

“N-no,” she replied, wiping her eyes. “I was just the one who found her.

“C-can I see her?”

“Sure. However, it’s not a pretty sight.”

She followed the doctor along to the intensive treatment ward. Inside an incubator lined with transparent glass usually used for premature foals was the pegasus. Her head was wrapped up in bandages as well as her wings and chest, and over her mouth was a mask, pumping oxygen into her system. On several parts of her body were wires attached to suction cups, monitoring her vitals. Her eyes were closed, little tremors running through her body as her eyes clenched like she was in pain or having bad dreams.

The doctor sighed again. “Unfortunately, because she is so young, we are limited in what we are able to do for her. It’s not safe to give her even the smallest dose of some medicines. Surgery is out of the question for her wings as the bones are so brittle. With them already being broken it could wind up crippling them for good. The best we can do is give her what medicines we can to numb the pain and hope that her wings heal naturally.”

She watched the movement of the foal’s chest, more steady now. “So what’s going to happen to her now?”

“She’ll have to stay in intensive care until she heals up. It’s going to be at least two to three months before she could be considered fit to be released. If she was older, a year or two, I could cut that estimate in half, but babies are very fragile.

“You said you found her. Do you have any idea what happened?”

“I’m afraid I don’t,” she said sadly. “I was just walking along when I spotted her sprawled out on the ground near a forest.”

“I see.” He glanced over at her. “Regardless, thank you for alerting someone to her. She probably wouldn’t have survived without you.”

“Thank you,” she replied.

She headed home, but just like before she couldn’t sleep properly. Only this time it wasn’t only her deceased daughter that troubled her spirit, but the sight of the half-dead pegasus all alone near the woods. She saw the pegasus with her body practically wrapped in bandages and breathing through a tube. She fell into half-sleeps, but always seemed to wake up only five or ten minutes later.

When the morning finally came she was grateful. She left her house, deciding to go for a walk. She thought of going to the hospital to check up on the baby, but she changed her mind. She hadn’t been able to get the image of that poor child out of her mind all night, and she didn’t think she could take it if she had to see the baby in real life.

A few days passed, and still the child nagged at her mind. Though she wanted to go check up on the child, the critical side of her kept dissuading her, telling her that she had done her only duty of making sure the foal got to safety, and it wasn’t her business what became of her after that. And the voice was right, of course. However, when she found herself suddenly walking by the hospital she couldn’t make herself keep going. Whether the child was alive or dead, she felt she had to know or it might drive her insane.

A minor issue came to her as she walked up to the reception desk. She didn’t know the child’s name. Who was she supposed to ask for? In the end she had to describe the pony to the nurse.

She was brought back to the intensive care room, where she saw the baby was still in the protective box. The white-maned nurse said, “She’s still in stable condition, and looks to be healing, but she hasn’t regained consciousness yet. She’s started breathing on her own again, which is good, but for now we’re keeping her in here for her own safety, just in case her condition starts to go south again.”

Peach Cobbler walked up to the glass. “Oh, you poor little thing. Having to endure so much at such a young age. At least you’re safe, where no one else can harm you.” In the silence that seemed to permeate the room except for the steady hum of equipment the sound of her hoof touching the glass felt unnaturally loud to her.

To her surprise it seemed to be enough for the child too as there was a sudden movement from inside the glass. Bleary eyes were staring back at her, half lidded and almost devoid of life. The contact lasted only for a few moments before the baby’s whole face scrunched up and she let loose with a mighty wail, shouting her displeasure at the lights blinding her and the pain coming from her wings as she naturally attempted to move them.

Peach Cobbler thought her lungs sure sounded okay, but even without the now rapid beeping of the monitor she could see the baby was starting to work itself into a frenzy, and that wasn’t good for her.

She asked the nurse if she could take the baby out. The nurse said she could as long as she was very careful to not touch her wings. When she agreed the nurse opened the incubator and Peach Cobbler gently took the wailing infant out. She gently held the pegasus close to her, blocking the bright lights that were traumatizing her. She gently spoke soothing words to the infant, maternal instinct taking over. The beeping of the monitor slowed down slightly.

Getting an idea, she began to sing one of the most popular lullabies around town. “Hush now, quiet now. It’s time to lay your sleepy head…”

It definitely seemed to do the trick as the foal began to settle down more, snuggling into her hold.

In her own primitive way the baby felt the sensation of safety. The one holding her didn’t sound like mommy, but she certainly felt like mommy, and in her confused state she was willing to cling to anything that would comfort her at the moment.

Asking the nurse to dim the lights she began gently rocking the child while still singing. Her voice was raspy and her tempo was off from not needing to do such a thing for so long, but the baby didn’t seem to mind.

Little by little the pegasus calmed down, the beeping of the monitor becoming more and more quiet. As she looked at the seemingly sleeping child in her lap she felt a sense of nostalgia, and then right after that a feeling of loss as she was reminded of her daughter. It wasn’t like her daughter had been this young when she died. She had been grown and married. Still, the act of holding a baby and singing her to sleep just brought her back to those times of holding her own child back then.

She rocked the baby for another few minutes until she was sure the child was asleep, then she placed the baby back into her protective box. As she left the hospital she felt relieved that the baby seemed to be okay.

Like a fly following her around the buzzing voice of her critical side began to attack her. Yeah, she’s okay. Are you happy now? Now you can leave it alone, right? I mean, what are you expecting here?

She wasn’t really expecting anything. Was it a crime to have a heart? Who wouldn’t feel a desire to follow up after finding any pony, adult or child, in such a state?

She found herself walking along the path she had taken the night before, coming up upon the Everfree Forest. Along the way something made her pause. She was fairly certain she had arrived at the spot where the baby had been found. Near the trees were marks where it looked like something had been drug along the ground, along with a few small patches of burnt grass from when she had dropped the lantern and sent some embers flying.

She sat down, looking at the spot for a few minutes. In her mind she could still see the baby there.

A flutter of movement caught her attention. She had been seeing it for a while, but she had been ignoring it. She looked up towards it, seeing a pure white that contrasted heavily with the relative black of the forest. Dragged forward by curiosity she entered the forest, hearing nothing but the sound of her own hooves. She came upon a blanket stuck in a tree, flowing in the wind. She looked behind her at the skid marks on the ground and made a connection. The doctor had told her the baby had either fallen from a significant height or with great force.

For a few moments she began looking around for a fallen branch to knock the blanket out of the tree, but then she stopped, wondering why she needed to. What was she going to do with it? Keep it as a memento? She shook her head. She didn’t need her critical voice to know she was being foolish.

A glint on the forest floor suddenly caught her attention. It was a silvery-gray medallion, shaped like pegasus wings and bearing the word “Scootaloo.”

“Scootaloo,” she said quietly. Was that the name of the baby? More connections started forming. Going from the blanket and the distance between the skid marks she thought the child had to have been dropped. She sincerely wished it was just an accident. She didn’t want to imagine it was on purpose. Who would throw away a baby?

It was the Everfree Forest, after all. It had some of the rarest and dangerous creatures Equestria had to offer. Thinking of that, she decided she shouldn’t stay too long. In the end she did knock down the blanket from the tree, taking both it and the medallion with her. If those two items belonged to the baby then she deserved to have them.

The next day she went to visit the child again. She had washed the blanket, and presented her findings to the doctor. He felt that it seemed likely that was the baby’s name so he marked it down, crossing out the placeholder name of Jane Mare.

When she saw the foal she smiled. The baby was being relatively quiet, moving around in her little box. “Hello there, Scootaloo.”

Scootaloo turned toward her at the sound of her voice. There was a curious look on her face, almost like she was wondering something.

“How are you today?”

A small smile came to the baby's lips as she heard the voice again, starting to recognize it as the same voice as yesterday.

She opened the side of the box, holding the child close to her as she began talking and singing to her like yesterday.

Scootaloo sure enjoyed it. She hadn’t heard mom or dad yet since waking up, but she knew she liked this pony.

Over the next week Peach Cobbler found herself visiting the hospital every day to play and care for the young foal. However, the more days that passed the more worried she grew. She thought it was only going to be a temporary thing until Scootaloo’s parents eventually showed up. There didn’t seem to be any panicking pegasi running around searching for a missing daughter. Had it really only been an accident or was there actually something sinister behind it? She still didn’t want to imagine, after her hurt over losing her own daughter, that any pony could be so heartless as to try to get rid of their own child.

She decided to take a day and try to see if Scootaloo’s family was local to Ponyville. If there had been some kind of attack that would mean someone besides the baby had to be missing. A pony that would have had connections to some others in town.

Armed with a picture of the baby she began scouring Ponyville. Despite all her efforts she wasn’t able to locate anyone who recognized Scootaloo, nor were there any missing pony reports. So did that mean that they may have been from Cloudsdale? It was going to be a futile endeavor to go beyond Ponyville. There were far too many places Scootaloo could have come from.

A month passed, and still no one had come looking for the young foal. Scootaloo made slow but steady improvement. As her health improved, so did her moods. She became more and more cheerful, though it was clear she was starting to get bored of being confined to one room. She wanted to run and play and explore, as is normal for a kid her age.

Finally the day came where her injuries were considered healed enough to be released.

One of the nurses, Nurse Redheart, who Peach Cobbler knew quite well by now, came to her. “Can I talk to you?”

“Of course,” Peach Cobbler replied.

“Scootaloo is doing very well. Her injuries have healed up nicely, and while she’s still going to need to be careful with her wings for the next few months, we’ve reached the point where there is nothing further for us to do.”

“I understand.”

The nurse closed her eyes with a slight sigh, hesitating before meeting Peach Cobbler’s eyes again. “No family member has come looking for her. As such, we don’t have much of a choice in the matter. Within the next few days or so she’ll have to be sent to an orphanage to make room for baby ponies that really need the equipment. Since no one has come forth to claim responsibility for her would you be interested in adopting her?”

The question took Peach Cobbler by surprise. “Me?”

“Yes. I hate to ask, but you’ve clearly made an impact on her. She’s grown very comfortable in your presence, and it’s not healthy for a developing child’s mind to constantly be switching to new caregivers or they’ll start developing a fear of abandonment. Even if that wasn’t the case, a baby living in an orphanage just feels too sad. And even though ponies who adopt are usually good hearted ones who want to add a new member to their family, very few of them want to deal with ‘damaged goods.’ Doubly so in a baby. I…” She suddenly stopped talking, closing her eyes and sighing again before saying in a sad voice, “I’m sorry.”


“Yes. As a nurse I’ve seen many things no one would want to see, but I’m supposed to maintain a professional detachment from my work. Yet here I am, practically guilt-tripping you into taking her without even knowing what your home situation is or whether you could care for her, and for that I’m deeply sorry. If I have anything to say in my defense it’s that no matter how much I see it’s impossible to completely close out feelings when it comes to seeing babies as young as these have their lives upended.”

“I forgive you,” said Peach Cobbler. Speaking to herself now she said, “Adopt her?” She looked at Scootaloo, sitting down on the floor.

When their eyes met Scootaloo let out a little fake scream of fear, hiding behind her hooves. Then she poked her head out saying, “Eek-a-poo!” She giggled before hiding again, repeating her words and actions.

It brought a smile to her face. In her mind she thought, Nurse Redheart does have a point though. This child needs me. As she looked at the baby still playing her little game of peek-a-boo she knew that that was wrong. Well, it may be true that this baby does need somepony to look after her it could be any pony that does it. It’s much more correct to say that I need her.’

As she thought that she knew that it was true. She had been coming to the hospital every single day just to spend time with Scootaloo. It wasn’t like she had anyone waiting for her at home anymore. Scootaloo had been filling the void left behind by the loss of her daughter. She had grown too attached to the little girl now to think of just leaving her behind to be raised in an orphanage, possibly for years never getting a real home to live in. It was too upsetting to think of letting that happen.

On the other hoof, though, she wondered if she was capable of raising Scootaloo. Sure, she had the loving and comforting part down pat from her own experience as a mother, but there was much more to raising a child than that. She was retired, and with a combination of money she had saved when she was younger and some assistance programs she was pretty well off on money by herself, but the cost of a child is very expensive.

Aside from that, she was also quite old and an earth pony. How was she supposed to chase around and keep an excitable, untiring baby from getting hurt? How could she possibly teach Scootaloo to fly? What would happen to Scootaloo when she died? She was in good shape, but the older she got the harder it would be to maintain that. What if she died before Scootaloo was smart enough to ask for help or get out of the house? Scootaloo might starve to death before anybody knew what was going on.

Despite the risks associated, she again knew that there was no way she couldn’t go through with it. Not taking Scootaloo along with her would be like losing her child all over again.

“I… I’ll do it,” she said finally. If worst came to worst, and she felt like her health was failing, she could always try to find another family to give Scootaloo to.

“Thank you,” said Nurse Redheart. “It makes me feel really relieved to hear that. I’ll grab the paperwork you need. In cases where there is no family member to give a child back to, adoption is usually an easy process. There are conditions, of course. You have to go through a physical and mental check-up, and the hospital itself can’t approve your application. All we can do is give you a letter of recommendation to the Ponyville adoption agency, explaining the situation.”

As Nurse Redheart said the process went smoothly. Her health checkup went off without a hitch and within a week Scootaloo was now considered her grandchild, and her Scootaloo’s grandmare. The first two months were the toughest. Scootaloo was very curious of her new home, and she kept trying to pull at the bandages on her wings with her hooves. Even though they were supposed to be nearly healed, the doctors thought it would be for the best to keep them wrapped for a longer time frame just to be sure, which aggravated the young foal to no end. It was a part of her, and she wanted to use them just as she used the rest of her body.

In terms of money, it wasn’t that bad. Since she was adopting there were more assistance programs to help her in that regard, and she got discounted baby supplies at certain places.

Despite Peach Cobbler’s worries over a rambunctious baby Scootaloo was actually pretty fair-tempered. She did love to explore all around the house, and she was full of energy as would be expected of a pony her age, but she was old enough to understand some sentences. And speak them too! She wouldn’t ever forget the first day she told Scootaloo that she loved her, and the young pegasus responded back, “I wuv yew too!”

Although Scootaloo surely wouldn’t understand at her point of development, Peach Cobbler made it a point to tell her new granddaughter that she was not biologically her grandmare and the story of how she was found. She resolved to tell Scootaloo every three to six months so that Scootaloo would never feel she was lied to in the future. As time passed and her brain grew she would begin to understand a little more every time she heard the story, until she grew to the point she could begin asking questions about it.

Although she had several blankets to wrap Scootaloo in to make her comfortable, more often than not she found herself giving the baby the blanket she had found in the forest. As she grew a little older Scootaloo began insisting on that one as well. In her own way she felt that it was appropriate. Besides the medallion, it was the only thing that Scootaloo would have to remember that bit of her past. She wasn’t sure whether it was a parent, another family member, or even just a friend, but someone had been carrying her near the forest.

As the years passed Peach Cobbler watched the milestones come, one after another, as her granddaughter turned from a baby into a healthy filly and slowly began her own life.

Next Chapter: Chapter 1: Stunted wing and Rainbow Dash Estimated time remaining: 4 Hours, 8 Minutes
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