The Hidden Heart

"Hey, Sweetheart, let me carry those books for ya."

"Why thank you, Teddy! That is so sweet!"

"Teddy is actually being nice?" Melody whispered to Bright Eyes.

Ever the logical one, she replied, "I think he's up to something. Better follow them."

As Teddy and Sweetheart made their way to her house, they neared a large mud puddle. The young boy eyed it deviously.

"Uh oh. Looks like I was right. Better hurry."

With that, the two girls sped towards the upcoming disaster. Teddy, as soon as he was near the puddle, purposely let go of the books. Bright Eyes dived down, catching them just before they were ruined by the mud, though she got the stuff splattered all over her when she landed.

"Teddy!" Sweetheart exclaimed, crushed and upset. "I actually thought you were just trying to be nice. Now look at what you went and made Bright Eyes do!"

After he finished his maniacal laughter, he replied, "I didn't MAKE her do anything. Boy, I sure wish I had my camera. She's more like a Dark Eyes now." Then he chuckled further at the pony covered in dark mud.

"You're really lucky I did that, Teddy!" Bright Eyes told him angrily, starting to wipe herself off. "If you had ruined Sweetheart's books, you would have had to pay for new ones. Didja ever think of that?"

Teddy rolled his eyes. He couldn't deny her acute sense of logic, but it really got on his nerves sometimes.

"Eh, so what? I'd just get my parents to cover it anyway. Later, losers!" Then the young male pony galloped off.

"Really, Sweetheart, you can't let your guard down around him at all!" Bright Eyes said as the other two ponies helped to get the mud off of her.

"Yeah, I know you try seeing the good in folks, but with him, you're just wasting your time," Melody added. "Besides, you have tons of friends you can count on. Why bother with someone you can't?"

"Don't talk badly about him, please. He isn't here to defend himself," Sweetheart told her friends.

"Ugh, how can you defend him even now!" Melody wanted to know.

"Yeah, you should show kindness when it can be returned," Bright Eyes told her.

"Being nice isn't about being repaid," Sweetheart replied. "Doing what's right is its own reward."

Both of her friends sighed. They knew they just couldn't get through to her about Teddy.

"Still, I wish that one day all your kindness to him pays off," Melody remarked. "Anyway, I gotta go."

"Yeah, me too. See you, Sweetheart." Then the two girls started to go their separate ways. "Oops, almost forgot to give your books back. Here ya go."

"Thank you lots, Bright Eyes."

"Anything for a friend."

Sweetheart walked home with a lot on her mind. She didn't mind that Teddy doesn't return her kindnesses over and over- or does she? Her friends had a point. Still, she shook her head back and forth, trying to get their words out of her head. She cared about Teddy and that was that, regardless of what anyone said. She finally reached her house and put her front foot up to open the door.

"What in the world?" she suddenly asked, yanking back to get her hand off of the knob.

She looked at the bottom of her foot and saw a strand of glue. Looking back up, she saw that the doorknob was covered in it. It wasn't hard for her to figure out who did it. She sighed gently and quietly, went inside, got some rags, and cleaned the glue off. She went straight to her room and sat down to do her homework. She opened her book and let out a small cry. There was a crushed fly between the pages.

"Teddy…" she said quietly.

She wasn't mad at him, she was just- confused. Teddy had been pulling more pranks on her than usual lately. After she finished the assignment from Mrs. Hackney, she decided to get some rest. At first, she was afraid to lie down, thinking maybe Teddy did something to her bed. Then she quickly dismissed the notion, knowing that he would never sneak into her room. Therefore, she plopped down onto her bed with much enthusiasm. As she closed her eyes, ready to drift off to sleep, a noise awoke her, and she immediately sat up. She reached around under her blanket then screamed when she found something. There was a frog in her bed! She gently scooped him up and let him outside.

As she got back to her bed, she thought to herself, "I'm sure that little guy just found his way inside by accident," she tried to convince herself.

This time, she checked every aspect of her bed, and, satisfied, she lied down to sleep. Unfortunately, her rest wasn't as peaceful as she had hoped it would be, as she had a bad dream, and Teddy was in it. Sweetheart was trying to get home, but everything she got near had some prank on it. A fire hydrant she walked by exploded mud all over her. Part of the sidewalk had grease on it, so she slipped and fell on her face. She found a shiny quarter and stooped to pick it up, but it got stuck to her foot and she couldn't get it off. She then noticed a beautiful flower and stooped to smell it, but the odor was like rotten fish. Finally, she reached her house. As she got to the front door, it burst open all on its own and sucked her in as all the household appliances started going crazy. They got closer and closer to her, and as soon as they were all over her, she awoke with a start. She looked at her clock. It was still very early, so she tried going back to sleep- with no luck.

"Sweetheart, time for school," her mother called in. The young pony groaned and got ready to go.

"Sweetheart, are you okay?" Starlight asked.

"I'm great. Why do you ask?"

"You look absolutely exhausted."

"Big surprise," Teddy said with a laugh as he entered the classroom.

"Teddy!" Starlight exclaimed angrily. "What did you do to her?"

"Me? Why ever would you think I would do a thing to her?" When Starlight glared at him, he continued, "Although, I may have done a little something to her door, book, and bed."

"So Teddy did put the frog there," Sweetheart thought to herself sadly. "He must have snuck in through my window."

"You apologize this instant!" Starlight demanded.

"Yeah, like that'll ever happen."

"Don't worry," Patch, the ever practical joker, whispered to Starlight. "I'll see to it that he gets what he deserves."

After class, the little ponies headed over to the ice cream shop, including Teddy.

"One chocolate shake, and be quick about it," he ordered to Starlight who worked there.

"Be right there," she replied, barely hiding her annoyance.

Patch grinned and snuck behind the counter, kneeling down so as not to be seen by anyone but Starlight. She grabbed a small box out of her backpack and poured some of its contents into a tall glass. She motioned from below for Starlight to use that one to put the ice cream in. Starlight glanced at her worriedly, so Patch flashed the label of the box to put her at ease. "Novelty Hiccup Powder: Guaranteed to be Followed With Laughs," it read. Starlight did her best to muffle a giggle. Starlight filled the cup with chocolate ice cream and syrup and began mixing it around. When the contents were vigorously combined, she set the drink in front of him, and he handed her some money. Starlight wanted to watch, but other customers needed her attention. Patch tried looking from the end of the counter, but too many ponies were in the way.

"Hey, Sweetheart, I bought this for you," Teddy told her.

"For me? Really? Awww. Wait, did you put anything in it?" she asked cautiously.

"Aw, relax, Sweetheart. I've been sitting next to you this whole time. If I had added anything, you'd've noticed."

"That's true. Sorry for worrying." Sweetheart received the glass and took a big gulp.

The ponies that were blocking Patch's view finally got up and left, so she could see clearly. She gasped and shot up from behind the counter, shouting, "Sweetheart, no!" But she was too late.

"What's wrong, P- hic! Oh, excuse hicca!" Sweetheart covered her mouth in embarrassment. "Hic, hic, hiccup!" She just couldn't stop.

"I'll get you some water!" Starlight called, rushing to pour her a glass. All the while, Teddy was laughing hysterically.

"How did you know!" Patch demanded.

"You think I'm that dumb? I saw you out of the corner of my eye sneaking behind the counter. Even if I hadn't, Starlight kept glancing down like someone was there, so I would have figured it out anyway. Later, losers."

Sweetheart watched him go with sad eyes and a hiccupping body, then turned away, gulping down the water. She set the glass down and waited. The water did the trick alright. Her hiccups had stopped.

"I'll get him yet!" Patch declared.

"No, it's alright, Patch. Thank you, both of you, for trying to help me, but I think trying to get even with Teddy will only make things worse."

After what Teddy just did, Starlight and Patch had to agree. Bon Bon had overheard and finally spoke up.

"What you need, Sweetheart, is something sweet. That'll cheer ya up. Come by my house in an hour or so, and I'll have your favorite cookies fresh and ready."

"Aw, what about us?" Patch moaned playfully.

Starlight laughed and said, "Don't worry about me. I need to save room, because my family is having pizza tonight. Yum!"

"I'll make some for you too, Patch," Bon Bon assured her.

"This is great! Thank you so much, Bon Bon," Sweetheart said, hugging her cooking friend.

"And the best part of all is, we don't have to worry about Teddy," Patch concluded.

Ace, who was sitting nearby eavesdropping, smiled and thought to himself, "I wouldn't be too sure of that." He got up and snuck away subtlety. Arriving outside, he walked to the edge of the ice cream parlor and whispered, "Teddy! Hey Teddy! I found out what she's doing next."

"Great job, buddy. Lay it on me." Teddy listened with genuine interest. "I have a plan already. Looks like that life science lesson will be of use after all…"

"Wow, you made so many!" Sweetheart declared happily. "I don't think I can eat even close to all of them."

"We'll do our best to help you out with that," Patch replied with a grin.

Bon Bon walked over to her refrigerator and got out some milk. After getting out three glasses, she filled them all nearly to the top. She lastly grabbed some napkins and divided the cookies evenly on the three of them. Nearby, the kitchen window opened slowly, but no one noticed it. The three ponies sat down to dig into the treats when one of their senses detected something awry. An acrid smell filled the room. Sweetheart tried to ignore it and took a bit of a cookie, then had to keep from abruptly spitting it out.

"What's that awful smell?" Patch asked, covering her nose.

"Ugh, we can't enjoy our food with that odor in the air," Bon Bon moaned.

"That's right," Ace said to himself. "Most of what ponies perceive as taste comes from their sense of smell. School isn't as worthless as I thought." He chuckled and made no attempt to muffle the sound.

"Teddy!" Bon Bon shrieked, running to the window and looking down. "I'll get you for this!"

"Good luck trying to catch me!" he called back, getting to his feet. "I think you'd better worry about getting rid of the effect of my stink bomb first!" With that, he took off down the street laughing wildly.

"That Teddy…" Patch muttered, gritting her teeth.

"I'm sure he was just trying to have a little fun," Sweetheart explained.

"That doesn't matter!" Patch argued. "Fun isn't good when it comes at someone's expense. Try arguing with that."

Sweetheart paused. "Well, I think he just needs attention."

"Sweetheart, try as you might, you can't justify this, or anything else he's done. There are tons of positive ways to get attention. He doesn't have to pull pranks that upset ponies," Bon Bon told her, grabbing the stink bomb in the window sill, tying it in a bag, and taking it outside. When she returned, she opened all the windows in the house to get the odor out. "I'll just put these cookies in bags for you both to have later when the aroma isn't so- distasteful."

Sweetheart and Patch left and waved good-bye to Bon Bon. She poured the milk back into the jug and started cleaning up the cooking mess. The two girls soon split up and began to head for home.

"I so really really hope there's no more trouble with Teddy tonight," Sweetheart thought to herself. Well, she got half of her desire.

"Whoa, look out!" a familiar voice called coming towards her. A lavender purple pony came rolling towards Sweetheart at a great speed.

Sweetheart knew that Clover might get hurt if she crashed into something hard like a wall or fence, so she stood her ground to cushion the fall of her friend. Clover crashed into her and they tumbled onto some grass.

"Oh no!" Clover exclaimed, starting to tear up. "I am so so so sorry for crashing into you, Sweetheart! Are you okay? Hurt at all? Please say you're alright!"

"Relax, Clover. I'm fine, and I got hit on purpose so you wouldn't get hurt too badly from hitting something hard, so I'm to blame for the collision."

Clover couldn't hold back a smile. She was wrong for trying to rollerblade down the street, clumsy as she is, but Sweetheart was making this out to be her fault. She always had that special way of making ponies feel better. She took off her skates and helped Sweetheart up.

"Ooh," she said after putting pressure on her front left leg.

"Oh no! You really are hurt! I'll call a doctor right now!"

"Clover, calm down. My ankle is only a bit sore. I'll walk it off in no time."

"Are you- are you sure?"

"Completely. Now I wish you a good night, and I'll see you in class tomorrow."

"Thanks, you too. But, uh, should I walk you home?" Clover pressed.

"I'll be okay, thank you. You just worry about getting yourself home safely," Sweetheart joked.

Clover laughed and replied, "I'll do my best."

As Sweetheart continued home, she found that she was right. A little walking and her ankle felt just fine. She examined the door and found everything to be normal. Arriving in her room, she looked everywhere- all over her bed and dresser, in her closet, and across her floor. There was nothing out of the ordinary.

"I guess Teddy is running out of ideas," she thought to herself, partially relieved that she would have a peaceful night and somewhat worried about what he'll try next. She was so concerned that she had trouble focusing on her homework, so she finished later than usual. This was followed by another bad dream, same as before.

The morning arrived and her alarm managed to wake her up on time, but she groaned groggily and covered her head with her pillow. Her mother came in to wake her up and saw that her daughter was already conscious.

"You feeling okay, honey?" she asked, taking the pillow off her head and putting her front leg on her forehead. "Oh my! You're hot."

Sweetheart only groaned in reply.

"I'll call the school and tell them that you'll be absent." She was gone for only a few minutes and returned with a large glass of ice water. "Drink this. You need plenty of fluids."

"Okay, mom," she answered, sipping it slowly.

"Anyone seen Sweetheart?" Starlight asked.

"I can explain that," Mrs. Hackney replied, entering the room. "Her mother just called. She's sick with a fever and won't be coming to class today." The students starting murmuring their concern, so their teacher told them, "I'll leave the last few minutes of class for you kids to make her some get well cards."

"Thanks, Mrs. Hackney!" Bright Eyes exclaimed. "We'll cheer her up for sure."

Sweetheart's friends could barely pay attention to their lessons. They were all waiting impatiently for the end of class to make those cards. Mrs. Hackney had more material that she wanted to cover, but she was no fool to what was going on. Realizing she wasn't getting through to them, she said early, "Okay, let's all do what we can to make Sweetheart feel better."

The class cheered. Melody started drawing Sweetheart in bed and herself singing to her. She drew music notes on top to symbolize this. Starlight drew herself serving Sweetheart a huge hot fudge sundae. Bright Eyes started to draw a scene of her reading to Sweetheart, then Clover came over to her.

"Um, would you please help me with mine? I'm really clumsy with drawing."

Bright Eyes smiled. Clover was clumsy everything but she said in reply, "Sure. Why not work together to make one big card for her?"

"Sounds great!"

Bright Eyes added picture of Clover sitting next to Sweetheart then handed the picture to Clover, suggesting, "Okay, why not you do the coloring in part?"

"Happy to!" Clover eagerly grabbed some crayons and started coloring the three ponies in. However, in her rush, several bits of coloration got outside the figures. "Oh no! I am so so sorry!"

"Don't worry. I'm sure she'll will appreciate anything that's made for her. You know Sweetheart. She doesn't have a complaining bone in her body."

Feeling better, Clover replied, "So true."

Bon Bon drew a picture of her holding a big tray of cookies towards Sweetheart and smiling at her. Patch took a long look at her and Sweetheart playing soccer together on her card, then erased it. She wanted it to reflect Sweetheart more positively, so she drew herself kicking the ball and Sweetheart blocking it successfully. Lancer drew Sweetheart sailing happily on his family's big boat. Ace and Teddy just sat there, doing nothing.

"I can understand Ace not making one, but you're friends with Sweetheart," Patch remarked to Teddy. "When she finds out we made her cards in class, I'm sure she'll be expecting one from you too. Don't you dare disappoint her."

"Aw, whadda you know? She won't care about some stupid card from me. Mrs. Hackney, if we're not making a card, can we just go now?"

The teacher sighed. "Very well. If you're done or not participating, feel free to leave."

Starlight was just adding some glitter to represent sprinkles on the sundae, then she and everyone else got up to go over to Sweetheart's house, save Ace and Teddy.

As they walked, the kids whispered about Teddy.

"Can you believe him?"

"No, not at all. Sweetheart will be devastated that he didn't make a card for her too."

"I bet when she finds out, it'll suck all the joy out of the ones we made."

"Yeah, but I bet she'll act all cheerful like she always does so we don't feel bad."

Finally, they arrived at her house, and Starlight knocked on the door. Sweetheart's father answered it, and Starlight explained what they did.

"Come right in, all of you. Sweetheart will be delighted."

The children piled into the house and Starlight knocked on Sweetheart's door.

"Come in," she said weakly. She was totally surprised when nearly her entire class was inside her room.

"Mrs. Hackney told us you were sick, so we couldn't just do nothing," Bright Eyes explained. "We each made you a card. Well, most of us. Clover and I worked together on one of them."

They each stepped forward, giving and explaining their card to her, despite their meanings being obvious. Sweetheart's eyes were aglow and she gazed lovingly at the hard work her friends did to make her feel better. Still, they all noticed that she was occasionally glancing at her door.

"She must be hoping that Teddy will come in too," they all realized.

Eventually, her father came to her room and announced, "Okay, kids, I want to personally thank you for what you did for my daughter. Now, though, she needs her rest. You all have a nice evening."

"You too," the kids said in unison as they all piled out.

"You have some wonderful friends," her father said before closing the door.

"Well, most of them are," she said to herself quietly as tears formed in her eyes. "No, no!" she exclaimed, jerking her head back and forth. "I mustn't say things like that. I'm sure he had a good reason not to come. Maybe he'll even come later."

The sun eventually set and the moon took its rightful place in the sky. Sweetheart never saw Teddy, and she cried herself to sleep. She dreamt of Teddy standing on a far away hill. She kept calling to him, but he wouldn't come over. When she tried going over to his hill, he moved away, so no matter how hard she tried, she just couldn't get close to him. When morning finally came, her mother came in to check on her.

"Are you feeling better, dear?"

"Yes, mom, a lot better. I think I can go to school today."

To that, her mother took her temperature again.

"Your fever has gone down, but it's still a little above normal. Just take one more day off and you should be fit to return tomorrow. Starlight told me before she left yesterday that she'll bring today's homework over. She said that there wasn't any assigned yesterday."

"Okay, thanks, mom." Then she pulled up her covers as she felt a chill and looked out of her window longingly. She missed Teddy very much, and her eyes started to tear once again. When a knock came to her door, she quickly wiped her eyes and said, "Come on in."

Who she saw took her breath away. She thought she was dreaming. Teddy was standing in the doorway.

"Are you real?" she asked him.

"I guess you really are sick," he said with a laugh. "'Course I'm real." Then he came over and sat on her bed.

She couldn't hide the tension on her countenance, but Teddy reassured her by stroking his front foot through her long mane.

"I think I've done enough to make this work out," he told her.

"Huh?"

"I'm sure you've noticed I've been a lot meaner to you than usual."

Sweetheart quickly sat up in bed. "Oh, don't worry about that! You're just being yourself." When Teddy made a funny face, she quickly said, "Oh, I didn't mean to say that being mean is how you are. I was just-"

"Hush," he interrupted, laughing. "I suppose I am a mean pony. But my reason for being so much more than usual lately is so that no one would believe you if you ever told them what I'm about to do."

"What do you mean? What are you going to do?"

Teddy then proceeded to lean forward until they were face-to-face. Though his "reply" came from his lips, he spoke not a word, and Sweetheart "answered" back. It was a moment neither pony would ever forget, and truly, no one would have believed it anyway. Melody would have never guessed- that her wish came true.

Thank you for reading. The My Little Pony franchise belongs to Hasbro.