Scootaloo's Family

by Alaborn

Chapter 1: Scootaloo's Family

Scootaloo’s Family

By Alaborn

Standard disclaimer: This is a not for profit fan work. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is copyright Hasbro, Inc. I make no claim to any copyrighted material mentioned herein.

“Well, that didn’t work out,” Scootaloo said, inspecting the new network of scratches marking her coat.

“Tell me about it,” Apple Bloom said, pulling a thorn from her foreleg with her teeth.

“I thought for sure we’d get out cutie marks in hang gliding,” Sweetie Belle said. She ran her hooves through her mane, trying to free the leaves stuck in it. Off to her side rested the bent frames and torn canvas of the trio’s borrowed hang gliders.

Everything had been planned out perfectly. The fillies had thought up a new activity they hadn’t tried yet. Having learned their lesson from past crusades, they went far away from the part of the forest with all those sap-laden trees. Unfortunately, the hill they flew off of led to landing in a section of thorny scrub.

“Is that poison ivy?” Scootaloo asked, inspecting the leaves now in Sweetie Belle’s hooves.

“Ah don’t know,” Apple Bloom said after looking at said leaves. “We already know we ain’t Cutie Mark Crusader botanists.”

“I don’t think it is,” Sweetie Belle said. Still, she found herself rubbing her coat, trying to stop what she hoped were phantom itches.

“So, back to the clubhouse?” Scootaloo suggested.

“Hang glidin’s a bust, but now we’ve got to head back to town,” Apple Bloom said. She motioned to the busted contraptions. “Think Twilight can fix these for us?”

“As long as we’re willing to get lectured,” Scootaloo grumbled.

The three fillies sighed wistfully. Their devastating puppy dog stare had convinced Bright Skies to loan them the hang gliders, but if they didn’t want to be devastated in return by her expression of supreme disappointment, they needed to get them fixed. And Twilight Sparkle was the only pony that could help them.

“After the lecture, since we’re in town and all, let’s hang out at Carousel Boutique,” Apple Bloom suggested.

“No can do. We do NOT want to interrupt Rarity today,” Sweetie Belle replied. “She practically kicked me out this morning, and said very explicitly that I wasn’t to come back before dinner!”

“And your parents are out of town again,” Scootaloo stated. “And if we come all the way back to the clubhouse, that will eat up way too much of the afternoon!”

Apple Bloom turned to Scootaloo. “Why don’t we go by your house?” she suggested.

“Uh, that’s not a good idea,” Scootaloo replied hesitantly.

“Why not?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“Look, it’s… it’s just not a good day. This whole weekend is bad,” Scootaloo continued.

“We never go to your house!” Sweetie Belle said.

“Yeah,” Apple Bloom said, placing a hoof to her chin. “Never, as in really never.”

“I think what she’s trying to say is that it isn’t an exaggeration,” Sweetie Belle said, again resembling a dictionary. “We literally have never been to your house.”

Scootaloo took a step back. “It’s just not a good idea,” she said defensively.

“Well, why not?” Apple Bloom asked.

“We’re your friends. You have no reason to hide anything from us,” Sweetie Belle said.

Scootaloo sighed. “Look, I’m not hiding anything. And I’m not lying when I said this weekend is bad. I’ll need to ask permission before inviting you over.”

Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle stared at their friend, unconvinced.

“If you really want to do this, talk to me Monday after school.”

Finally satisfied, the fillies turned to collecting their broken hang gliders. After returning to town and enduring another one of Twilight Sparkle’s lectures about avoiding danger and trying things one is already good at, the Cutie Mark Crusaders went to find Bright Skies.

The pegasus mare was in the park, helping a group of foals fly kites. She smiled warmly as the Cutie Mark Crusaders approached. “Any luck?” she asked.

“No Cutie Marks, but it was a fun and safe morning,” Sweetie Belle said.

Bright Skies appraised the fillies. Their brilliant smiles and angelic haloes did their job, and she was satisfied with Sweetie Belle’s explanation.

“Now, how would you like to try kite flying?” Bright Skies suggested.

“Cutie Mark Crusaders kite flyers! Yay!” the trio responded.

The warm summer day, the company of friends, and the colorful kites made for an enjoyable way to pass the afternoon. As evening approached, the fillies went their separate ways. Scootaloo desperately hoped that all the fun had made her friends forget about their earlier request.

“So, are you ready to show us your house?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“Yeah, yer not gonna chicken out, are ya?” Apple Bloom said.

Scootaloo shook her head. “I still don’t think it’s a good idea, but if you really want to…” she said unenthusiastically. “You’re invited for dinner. Come on. I brought the wagon.”

The three ponies stepped outside and headed to the rack where Scootaloo normally left her scooter. They donned their helmets, and the pegasus kicked off, her small wings buzzing. Their speed was faster than a gallop, but somehow lacked the normal energy.

Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle looked to each other. Although both knew better, they had taken some time before school to talk about Scootaloo. With little data to go on, and not even much gossip, they had found themselves wildly speculating as to Scootaloo’s secret.

“Ah think she’s an orphan,” Apple Bloom suggested.

“I bet she’s a changeling!” Sweetie Belle offered.

“She’s an alien!”

“A seapony!”

“She lives with Princess Celestia!”

Like their crusades, the ideas got wilder and wilder. That all led to the question at hoof, just where would she be taking them now?

The two fillies’ worries soon passed, only to be replaced by confusion. Everything looked perfectly normal. They zoomed past the town center and into the residential areas beyond. Modest houses lined the streets, with mature trees providing shade.

With a final turn, Scootaloo pushed the scooter and wagon onto a cul-de-sac. She proceeded to the end of the street, stopping at a house. “Well, this is it,” Scootaloo said.

Apple Bloom stared. “This is… this is…” she started. “This is just a house.”

“It looks a lot like my parent’s house,” Sweetie Belle added.

After building up the mystery in their minds, the two fillies were stunned by the total ordinariness of the scene. Scootaloo’s house was a cozy two story structure with a grass lawn and a white picket fence. Sweetie Belle thought it might be a little smaller than her own home, which was a bit better maintained, to her father’s credit. A tricycle and a few balls were abandoned on the lawn. Everything was quiet.

“Well, why don’t you come inside?” Scootaloo offered, without much enthusiasm.

Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle nodded, and followed Scootaloo. The pegasus opened the door. “I’m home,” she called. The three fillies stepped inside, Scootaloo closing the door behind them.

Scootaloo’s home was certainly lived in. The ceilings had a few cracks, and the walls were scuffed and stained. Every wall was covered with pictures, every shelf with knickknacks. Old furniture was covered with knitted slipcovers. The carpet was clean, but the floor looked like it had abandoned the fight against clutter. More balls, toy carts, and action figures were scattered everywhere.

“It looks kinda like the farmhouse,” Apple Bloom said, though she knew Granny Smith was far less tolerant of toys being left out like that.

Sweetie Belle was examining the mementos on one shelf when her ears twitched, turning towards a high-pitched buzzing. It reminded her of bees, but being indoors, that didn’t make any sense.

“INCOMING!” Scootaloo shouted. Her friends looked at her in confusion, before noticing Scootaloo’s hoof, frantically motioning to the other side of the room.

Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle turned, following the direction Scootaloo indicated, barely in time to notice a sudden blur of movement. Then they felt something collide with them, and each pony felt a small weight attached to her head. Each could see the other’s assailant, an adorable pegasus colt of perhaps one year of age, happily playing with one of the family’s guests.

“Ow,” both fillies said, feeling a tugging in their manes. Apple Bloom reached up, trying to catch the squirming infant. Sweetie Belle did likewise. But neither filly could see the foal.

“No, Thunder, don’t pull on Apple Bloom’s bow,” Scootaloo scolded. “And you, Lightning, Sweetie Belle’s mane is not cotton candy! Stop that, both of you!”

Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom felt the tugging cease. The two infants looked at Scootaloo, smiled, and then went back to what they were doing.

“Owowowow!” Scootaloo’s friends both complained.

“Scootaloo!” a matronly voice called from further inside the house. “Is that you?”

“Yes, Mom,” Scootaloo said.

“The twins flew out of their crib again. Can you go get them?” her mother requested.

Scootaloo reached to the two infants, only to have both dodge her forelegs. “I’m trying, Mom!” Scootaloo replied, exasperated.

Scootaloo took two determined steps closer to her friends. She stared down the colts. Again, she reached out for them. In unison, the colts stuck out their tongues, blew her a raspberry, and flew off.

“ARRRGH!” Scootaloo screamed. “How can you two still be flying?” She jumped after the colts, her tiny wings buzzing, only keeping her in the air for a few seconds. Sweetie Belle’s and Apple Bloom’s necks twisted as they tried to follow the twins, bouncing around the room like pinballs. They winced as Scootaloo’s attempt to corral them ended with her upsetting one chair, knocking over the contents of two shelves, and leaving hoofmarks on three walls. And still, the twins flew freely.

“Ah guess that’s how the walls got so dirty,” Apple Bloom whispered.

Then, when the twins flew close to Apple Bloom, she reared up, managing to place a hoof on each. While not enough to stop the slippery toddlers, the distraction enabled Scootaloo to finally ensnare them. She tumbled to the ground, landing on her rump, the twins safely tucked under her forelegs.

“I guess you’ve met my brothers, Thunder and Lightning,” Scootaloo said. Now that the twins weren’t flying around, Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle could get a good look at them. They looked identical, save for reversed coloration. Thunder’s coat was a dark gray, opposed by a light yellow mane and tail; Lightning had the yellow coat and gray mane.

And then the twins looked at Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle with their big orange eyes.

“Awwwww,” both fillies cooed.

Scootaloo frowned. “Yeah, they’re not so cute when you have to chase them down every stinking day!” Still clutching the two colts tightly, Scootaloo reared, balancing on her hind legs. “Make sure they don’t sneak away,” Scootaloo told her friends. She awkwardly walked forward on her rear legs, her wings helping her keep her balance as she moved with this unnatural stance. Her friends followed.

The Cutie Mark Crusaders reached the family room. A couch, loveseat, and recliner dominated the room, surrounding the currently unlit fireplace. A crib was pushed against one wall. Somepony was here; a tired pegasus mare with a green coat and two-toned purple mane sat on the couch. She clutched knitting needles in her pasterns, and yarn of six different colors stretched from a basket on the floor, threaded through her wings, ready to be used in the scarf she was knitting.

The mare smiled as Scootaloo entered the room. “Welcome home, Scootaloo!”

“Hi, Mom,” she replied, carrying the colts to the crib. Once they were safely resting, Scootaloo fell to the ground, happy to again be standing on four hooves. “We really need to get that cage.”

Scootaloo’s mother frowned. “It’s not a cage, it’s a pegasus crib. And just as soon as they outgrow their latent magic, we won’t have to worry about them flying around.”

“But Mom, you’ve been saying that for eight months now! Most foals stop flying around eight months, and Thunder and Lightning are almost fourteen months old! I don’t think they’re ever going to stop flying.” She sadly glanced back at her own small wings.

“It will happen in time, just like you’ll fly in your own time,” Scootaloo’s mother said. “Now come give your mom a kiss,” she said.

“But Moooooom,” Scootaloo whined.

“No buts, Scootaloo.”

Scootaloo grumbled, but stepped forward, giving her mother a quick peck on the cheek. Her mother responded with a quick hug, entangling her daughter in strands of yarn. This move revealed her cutie mark for the first time, a ball of yarn and two knitting needles.

“Now, aren’t you going to introduce your friends?” Scootaloo’s mother said.

“This is Sweetie Belle, and this is Apple Bloom,” Scootaloo said, pointing to her friends in turn. “Girls, this is my mom, Quick Stitch.”

Quick Stitch smiled warmly. “It’s so nice to finally meet you girls. Scootaloo talks about you all the time!”

“A pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Quick Stitch,” the fillies replied in kind.

“There are cookies in the cookie jar. You may each have one cookie,” Quick Stitch said. She turned to Scootaloo, frowning slightly. “I don’t want you spoiling your appetite!”

“Yes, Mom,” Scootaloo replied.

“Cookies sound nice!” Apple Bloom said.

“Yeah, let’s go!” Sweetie Belle added.

Scootaloo might not be able to fly for even a minute, but her wings were good enough to carry her to the top of the icebox, where she retrieved the jar of cookies. Bringing it down to the kitchen table, she lifted the lid. Each filly reached in to grab a chocolate chip cookie.

“Not bad,” Sweetie Belle said, smacking her lips.

“Not good, either,” Scootaloo replied.

“Ya can’t go wrong with chocolate chip cookies,” Apple Bloom observed.

“Yeah, but I think Mom snuck some oat bran into the dough,” Scootaloo said. She slid her tongue across the roof of her mouth, trying to dislodge a suspicious grainy residue. “Sugarcube Corner’s cookies are so much better.”

“I bet Pinkie Pie sneaks an extra bag of sugar into her cookies!”

The fillies laughed. “Probably!”

“Well, this is my room,” Scootaloo said.

Again, her friends found themselves in a perfectly normal setting. Scootaloo’s twin bed was sloppily made, the lumpy comforter no doubt concealing sheets and blankets that hadn’t been straightened right. A small writing desk stood under the window, with schoolbooks and paper scattered across its surface. The walls held family pictures, a Wonderbolts poster, and a calendar.

“You guys want to play a game?” Scootaloo asked, rummaging through her closet. When she didn’t hear a response, she turned around, surprised by the expressions on her friends. “Is something wrong?”

“No, no, everything looks normal,” Sweetie Belle said.

“Yeah, everything looks normal,” Scootaloo muttered. “So, you want to play a game? I have Battleclouds, and Pegasus Chase, and Bountiful Fields, and….”

“Bountiful Fields!” Apple Bloom said enthusiastically. “Wait, ain’t that more of an earth pony game?”

Scootaloo dragged out the game’s box and carried it to her bed. “Of course. Um, didn’t you notice?” Scootaloo said, pointing to one portrait. In it, a smiling Scootaloo, maybe five years old at the time, stood on the back of a yellow earth pony stallion.

“You never mentioned you were from a mixed family,” Sweetie Belle said.

“I thought that was obvious, since I live here on the ground,” Scootaloo replied. “Dad’s an earth pony, and so is….”

The door to Scootaloo’s room creaked as a small form rushed in. The purple blur jumped onto the bed and onto Scootaloo. Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle jumped, but relaxed when they saw what had happened.

The purple form turned out to be an earth pony colt, maybe six years old, with a coat several shades darker than Twilight Sparkle’s. His blue mane was shaggy, nearly hanging over his eyes. And the little colt was hugging Scootaloo.

“You’re the best big sister ever!” he said.

And then, he let go, hopping off the bed and running out of the room.

“Awwww,” the two visitors cooed.

Scootaloo, however, looked frantic. “Diary!” she whispered, lifting the corner of her mattress. She let out a sigh of relief when she found the thin book still hidden there. She then flapped her wings and patted her flanks with her hooves.

“Did he put a ‘kick me’ sign on my flank?” Scootaloo asked anxiously.

Apple Bloom shook her head. “Nope.”

Scootaloo breathed out slowly, and then inhaled sharply. “My mane!” She rubbed her hooves through her mane. “Is there a spider? A caterpillar?”

“Calm down, Scootaloo!” Sweetie Belle urged.

“Yeah, we can’t rightly see if there’s any critter in your mane if you keep rubbing it like that,” Apple Bloom said.

Scootaloo rested her hooves on the bed, lowering her head so that her friends could get a better look.

“Nope, everything looks fine, Scootaloo,” Sweetie Belle said.

“Ya mind tellin’ us what just happened?” Apple Bloom asked.

“You just met my little brother, Striker. And he’s evil!” Scootaloo replied.

“Evil?” the other fillies responded incredulously.

“Evil!” Scootaloo reaffirmed. “He’s always trying to steal my diary, or put bugs in my mane, or get me in trouble with Mom.”

“That sweet little colt?” said Sweetie Belle.

“Ugh, not you too! Don’t fall for it!” Scootaloo replied.

Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom stared at her, unconvinced.

“Let’s just play,” Apple Bloom said.

Scootaloo flicked the spinner with her hoof, watching as it slowed. “All right! Eight!” She moved her pawn along the board, counting as she went. Her smile quickly faded as she realized the big number placed her token in Apple Bloom’s field.

“That’s mah carrot patch, WITH a greenhouse. Ah’ll be taking thirty bits from you,” Apple Bloom said smugly.

Scootaloo sullenly hoofed over the play money, leaving her with a nearly depleted account.

“Pleasure doin’ business with ya, Scootaloo.”

The game was interrupted by Quick Stitch calling from downstairs. “Scootaloo! You come down here this instant!”

Scootaloo groaned, and stood up. “I think you girls need to watch this,” she said.

Scootaloo headed downstairs, where her mother was waiting, scowling. Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle stayed upstairs, craning their necks over the railing to watch.

“Scootaloo, have you seen my dark blue yarn?” she said. All three fillies recognized that tone of voice. That wasn’t a casual question, and her mother definitely wasn’t asking for help because she forgot where she left her yarn.

“No, Mom, I don’t know what happened to your yarn,” Scootaloo asserted.

“Are you sure?” she asked sweetly, her voice again reflecting a certain expectation.

“I told you, Mom, I don’t know!”

“Then you wouldn’t mind me looking in your room?” Scootaloo’s mother started up the stairs.

Scootaloo groaned, rubbing her temples with her hooves, before following. “All we’ve been doing is playing games!” she said. Her mother entered her room, the Bountiful Fields game board still sitting on the floor. “See?”

Quick Stitch scanned the room, first looking into the closet, then in the drawers of the desk. She noticed something, and headed over to Scootaloo’s bed. Reaching between the bed and the wall, she pulled out a ball of dark blue yarn.

She held out the incriminating item. “So how do you explain this, young filly?”

“I don’t know how that got there!” Scootaloo exclaimed. Then, she growled. “Striker!”

Quick Stitch raised an eyebrow inquisitively. “What about your brother?”

“Let me guess, he told you he saw me take that yarn, right?” Scootaloo said.

Quick Stitch nodded.

“Well, he rushed into my room earlier today! He must have put that there!” Scootaloo said.

“It’s true, Mrs. Quick Stitch,” Apple Bloom said.

“He ran in and ran out, very quickly!” Sweetie Belle said.

“Did you see him put the yarn here?” Quick Stitch asked.

The three fillies shook their heads. Quick Stitch looked ready to speak again, but Scootaloo spoke first.

“You didn’t see either of us take the yarn! And think about it, Mom. When could I have taken it? Remember what I was doing this morning?” she said quickly.

“You were late getting up again, so I had to hurry and get you ready for school,” Quick Stitch recalled.

“Exactly! You were with me the whole time! And this afternoon, since getting home, I caught the twins, had a cookie, and then went straight up here! When could I have taken that yarn?”

“Well, I was distracted getting the twins settled down for their nap,” Quick Stitch replied, a little less certain. She stuck her head out the door. “Striker, would you come up here?”

A moment later, the young colt trotted into the room. “Yes, Mommy?”

Quick Stitch presented the ball of yarn. “Did you take this, Striker?”

“No, Mommy,” he replied.

Quick Stitch studied her children. Scootaloo stood defiantly. Striker watched his mother through big, watery eyes, his lower lip quivering just slightly.

Quick Stitch sighed. “Now, children, I want you to understand that Mommy is very busy, and has a big order of scarves to knit. So when Mommy asks for quiet, or when Mommy asks you to go to bed, or when Mommy asks you to not touch her yarn, please do what Mommy says.

“Yes, Mommy,” Striker said, hugging her foreleg.

“Yes, Mom,” Scootaloo said, feeling a little perturbed.

“Now, Scootaloo, do you think you and your friends could play outside until dinner?” her mother asked, her tone suggesting there was only one correct answer.

“Fine,” Scootaloo said.

“You too, Striker,” Quick Stitch said. The colt smiled and nodded enthusiastically.

As Quick Stitch and Striker left, Scootaloo turned to her friends. Their jaws were hanging down in shock.

“No way,” Apple Bloom whispered.

“He’s better at giving puppy dog eyes than we are!” Sweetie Belle agreed.

“You’re doomed, Scootaloo,” Apple Bloom said.

“Ah like your back yard,” Apple Bloom said. The three fillies looked over the small patio, the well-tended lawn, and the woods beyond.

“Yeah, it’s pretty nice,” Scootaloo agreed. “There’s lots of room to run around, that hill is fun for sledding in winter, and the woods behind the house have lots of places to explore.”

“That sounds like fun,” Sweetie Belle said.

“Sure beats having the Everfree Forest in your backyard,” Apple Bloom commented.

“It’s a lot like the Whitetail Wood, just smaller,” Scootaloo said. “Let’s go!”

The three fillies followed a narrow trail through trees and wild grasses. They took care to avoid several plants with burrs; getting burrs out of their manes and coat was second only to tree sap in terms of the unhappy consequences of crusading. Soon, they reached a small creek, the water pleasantly burbling underhoof.

“There are lots of pretty rocks here,” Apple Bloom said.

“Maybe we could be Cutie Mark Crusader Geologists!” Sweetie Belle suggested.

“Huh? Oh, sure,” Scootaloo said. “I tried that when I was younger. I still have a box of rocks somewhere in my room. I didn’t get a cutie mark. But yeah, go for it!”

Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle splashed around in the creek, collecting pretty rocks. It took them about five minutes to realize that one, they had no training to study said rocks, and two, even if they wanted to later, they had nothing to carry them in. They abandoned the creek.

“Wet hooves and no cutie marks,” Apple Bloom said, shaking the water from her fetlocks.

Scootaloo looked around the area. “There’s a fun area to go climbing over there,” she said.

The three ponies walked along the far side of the creek. The trees grew thicker, the ground covered in leaves and moss. Finally, they reached an area with a cluster of tall trees. A fallen tree crossed the creek here.

“I found this place a long time ago, when I was exploring these woods. It’s like a little fortress. I called it ‘Fort Creek’. Yeah, I know, real creative,” Scootaloo said. “There’s, like, a dozen trees that are good for climbing, and that fallen tree is good if you want to practice balancing.” She looked to Apple Bloom, who was starting across the log. “Just be careful, it’s….”

The sound of hooves scraping against bark, and then the sound of pony barrel smacking into a log, interrupted Scootaloo’s explanation.

“…slippery,” Scootaloo finished, before heading over to help out Apple Bloom. The earth pony filly was more embarrassed than hurt, flat on the log with her legs splayed over both sides.

“Ah’m okay,” Apple Bloom affirmed.

The fillies began climbing in earnest, helping each other climb into the higher boughs.

“So,” Sweetie Belle asked Scootaloo, “is your mom always like that?”

“Huh?” Scootaloo turned back to face Sweetie Belle. “Like what?”

“You know, weary, flustered, preoccupied.”

“What are you, a dictionary?” Scootaloo responded. “But, yeah, she has her hooves full. She really has trouble keeping up with all of us foals and her knitting, especially when Dad is busy.”

“Why’s your dad busy?” Apple Bloom asked.

“Dad’s an accountant for the Ponyville, Fillydelphia, and Western Railroad. Every three months, he gets really busy, and he usually doesn’t get home until after dinner. ‘Quarterly tax filings’, he calls it.” Scootaloo groaned, her familiar bored expression crossing her face.

“That’s too bad,” Apple Bloom said.

“I kind of wish my mom was the Element of Honesty. Then maybe Striker wouldn’t get away with so much.” Scootaloo rose on her hind legs, balancing against the tree’s trunk, and looked around.

“Is something wrong?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“What? No,” Scootaloo replied.

“But you keep looking around nervously!” Sweetie Belle said.

“Yeah, you keep looking like a timber wolf is gonna jump us!” Apple Bloom added.

“I’m not worried about timber wolves,” Scootaloo said. “I’m worried about something worse.”

“Is this about your family? How bad could it be? We survived your mom and three brothers,” Sweetie Belle observed.

“Sweetie Belle, I have four brothers.”

“Well, where’s your other brother?” Apple Bloom asked.

“I don’t know. And that’s why I’m worried.”

The silence was broken by Apple Bloom saying, “Ya can’t leave us hanging like that.”

“Yeah, what’s so bad?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“Dasher’s nine years old. He’s a lot nicer than Striker, but he’s kind of… well, obsessed with The Hydra Hunter.”

“That’s not so bad,” Sweetie Belle said. The book series, about the “real life” adventures of a fearless (or foolhardy) adventurer whose approach to the hydras and other monsters of the uncharted swamplands of Equestria was pretty much the opposite of Fluttershy’s, was quite popular with colts of that age.

“No, I mean really obsessed, like playing Hydra Hunter every day obsessed,” Scootaloo said.

“It’s a mite weird, but what’s so bad about that?” Apple Bloom asked.

“Who do you think plays the role of the hydra?”

Despite Scootaloo’s worries, the three Crusaders were not interrupted as they spent the late afternoon in the woods. She even managed to relax as the three fillies put aside thoughts of school and family and cutie marks and just played, like the foals they were. Eventually, their rumbling stomachs reminded them that there was a good reason to head home.

“So how is your mom’s cooking?” Apple Bloom asked as they neared Scootaloo’s home.

“Eh, nothing special. Dad’s a picky eater, so we eat some variant of the same five or six dishes all the time,” Scootaloo said. “You know, vegetable stir fry, baked hay, pasta with marinara sauce, those kinds of things. And dessert is normally cake.”

“That’s not too ba…AAAH!”

The three fillies were lifted a foot into the air, a ball of limbs flailing wildly. It took them a moment to figure out what happened.

They had been ensnared in a net.

Out of the grasses jumped an earth pony colt, tan with a bright red mane mostly covered by a beige hat. “Croikey! It’s the rare three-headed hissing hydra!” he said with an affected accent.

“DASHER!” Scootaloo shouted. “GET US DOWN FROM HERE!”

“Rookie! Check out this buggah. Ain’t it a fearsome one?”

A pale blue unicorn colt of around Dasher’s age stepped out of the grasses, admiring the “hydra”. “You got it, hunter!” he replied, his accent a lot less believable.

“Lighthoof! Stop encouraging my brother,” Scootaloo demanded.

“Ow! Be careful where you put that hoof!” Sweetie Belle complained.

“Where did your brother find a net like this?” Apple Bloom asked.

“I told you he’s trouble,” Scootaloo said.

“Listen to it hiss, rookie!” Dasher said. “It’s a mite upset, this one!”

“It sure is ornery,” Lighthoof noted.

The ball of ponies swayed. The branch above creaked ominously.

“Ah think Ah can get us down,” Apple Bloom said. “Ah just need to buck the tree.”

“You’re bucking my head!” Scootaloo moaned.

“Ah almost got my leg out….”

Before Apple Bloom could kick, the branch above snapped, dumping the three fillies into the dirt below, where they moaned in chorus.

“Look out, rookie! It’s gettin’ free!” Dasher said.

“I’m on it, hunter!” Lighthoof replied, taking a rope in his mouth.

As she struggled to free herself from the net, Scootaloo got a look at what her brother’s friend was doing. “Lighthoof! So help me, if you try that, I’m telling your sister that you like ballet!”

Suddenly, the game was no longer fun for Lighthoof. He stood there, paralyzed by fear. That gave the Cutie Mark Crusaders time to throw off the net.

Apple Bloom was the first to get to her hooves. She rushed forward, swiping the rope from Lighthoof.

“Rookie! Look it in the eye. Don’t let it sense fear!” Dasher ordered.

“Ah think it’s time to put those lessons mah sister gave me to use,” Apple Bloom said. She tied the rope into a lasso, and swung it over her head.

“It’s gettin’ ready to strike!” Dasher said.

Apple Bloom smiled as she released the lasso. It wasn’t a very good throw. It certainly wouldn’t have caught one of the Apples’ pigs. Fortunately, this colt was nowhere near as slippery as a pig. The lasso snagged Dasher’s forelegs.

“Rookie! It’s got me in its tail! Help me!” Dasher said. Apple Bloom just ignored him as she tied the rope to a tree trunk.

“I don’t know, Dasher. How about next time, I’m the hunter and you’re the rookie?”

Dasher groaned. Scootaloo grinned. The rookie never got out of the books without something bad happening to him.

“Come on girls, it’s time for dinner,” Scootaloo said.

Following a dinner of stir-fried vegetables, a dinner at which all of Scootaloo’s brothers were surprisingly well-behaved, it was time for her friends to go home.

“Mom, I’m going to take Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom home!” Scootaloo called.

“Don’t forget to wear your helmet! And after the sun sets, you walk your scooter home, young filly!” Quick Stitch cautioned.

“Mom! I’m not a baby!” Scootaloo responded. “Come on,” she said to her friends.

Once outside, the three fillies donned their helmets.

“I don’t get it,” Sweetie Belle said. “How come you didn’t want us to come over here?”

“I thought you’d never want to see me again if you met my family,” Scootaloo admitted.

“What? That’s crazy,” Apple Bloom said.

“Last time I brought a friend over, she got a mud pie to the face, courtesy of Dasher. And I never saw Emerald Star again!”

“Emerald Star? Didn’t she move away because her parents took jobs in Canterlot?” Sweetie Belle wondered.

“Ah think so,” Apple Bloom said. “Don’t you worry, Scootaloo. Today was kinda fun!”

“I think you have a nice family,” Sweetie Belle said.

“Fun? Nice?” Scootaloo said, amazed. “But your families have famous ponies who are members of the Elements of Harmony. I have boring parents and insufferable little brothers!”

Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle looked at each other. “Ah was once worried about inviting friends over,” Apple Bloom admitted.

“Me too!” Sweetie Belle said.

“You? Why?” Scootaloo asked.

“You know, our farm has that smell you just can’t avoid, ‘specially in summer!” Apple Bloom said.

“When I was younger, and Rarity still lived at home, she was always such a drama queen!” Sweetie Belle said.

“Still is,” Apple Bloom said. “Ah was embarrassed ‘bout how Big Mac always wore that yoke around the house.”

“I was afraid other ponies would think it weird how my mom always wore pants!” Sweetie Belle added.

“None of that would stop me from being your friends,” Scootaloo said.

“Same here,” Apple Bloom said.

“Besides, you have something that neither of us will ever have,” Sweetie Belle said.

“What is that?”

“You’re a big sister!” Sweetie Belle said.

“Sometimes, Ah get tired of bein’ the baby of the family,” Apple Bloom admitted. Sweetie Belle nodded in agreement.

“Maybe we could help you out one day,” Sweetie Belle said. “Maybe show Striker that the Cutie Mark Crusaders can’t be defeated!”

Scootaloo smiled. “Yeah, we could all be like big sisters!” She raised her hoof, and her friends joined her.


Scootaloo smiled as she kicked off, setting her scooter in motion. Her fears had been foalish, but she was glad her friends had accepted her family. That was one secret she didn’t have to worry about.

Scootaloo’s other secrets? Well, that’s a story for another day.

Author's Notes:

A little something different. Here's Scootaloo, with a perfectly normal family and a perfectly normal life! But even a normal family can be one you don't want your friends to see.

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