So… This might have taken me longer than I thought it was going to. Because I apparently am incapable of waking up before noon during the summer. Who knew? So instead of writing this and the next Batman Beyond fanfic chapter, I've been working on homework. -_- And then the president of my anime club at school and his girlfriend died on the 4th, and, well… I was lucky to get ANYTHING done these past two days. Sorry it took so long, and if this chapter wasn't quite what you were expecting.
Story Summary: Scootaloo is not happy when her cousin comes for a visit. With Little Miss Perfect showing up the Cutie Mark Crusaders all afternoon, perhaps there is something they are missing behind that "perfect" façade? Only a thunderstorm will reveal the truth…
Chapter Summary: Scootaloo recounts childhood horror stories, Locket tells about how she got her cutie mark, some applebucking, and a thunderstorm that may be what cures the rift between these two cousins.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything MLP related, this is all for fun and no profit was made. I do own the concept of Locket (not from the 80's show, new one), but that's about it.
To say you could hear a pinfeather drop in the tree house would have been an understatement. While both Scootaloo's and Locket's mouths were occupied with their respective lollipops, that didn't stop Scootaloo from giving her cousin dirty looks, while she seemed content to look around the room. Applebloom and Sweetie Belle met eyes, sharing baffled expressions. Finally, with a pointed gesture from Sweetie Belle as the two finished their candy, the Earth filly drawled out. "So… Locket… Um…" Frantically searching her mind, she finally said the first question that came out of her mouth, "How'd you get your cutie mark?"
Sweetie Palm stuck her hoof between her eyes in frustration. That was exactly the wrong question to ask. The orange pegasus's expression grew darker, and the white one seemed to wilt a little as she picked up the vibe. "Um… Well, a couple of months ago, I was helping my dad with some of his cloud sculptures—"
"Cloud sculptures?" Applebloom asked in confusion.
Scootaloo made a face, feeling forced to explain something that her friends wouldn't understand and Locket no doubt took for granted. "Yeah, stuff like decorations for fountains and stuff in the cloud cities, that's the really detailed stuff, and then the clouds that make certain shapes are the big ones who work under the princesses. Uncle Frostmane makes the little ones as a hobby."
"Yeah, Papa's a flight instructor normally," Locket added with a nod, happy that her cousin was speaking, and obviously missing that she was still upset about the current conversation. "He was making a sculpture, a really complicated one of the two princesses as part of a competition to be part of a gallery in the upcoming Solstice Celebration. He used snow flecks to make Princess Celestia's mane sparkle, and he used different sort of storm clouds to add variations in color." Her excitement for the piece of art was contagious, and all three Crusaders were listening attentively. "I was helping bring him clouds. But then… umm…." Now the filly flushed, and her wings scrunched up on her bag. "I ended up accidentally knocking the part that was Princess Luna over."
Both unicorn and pony gasped in horror, while Scootaloo cringed, knowing exactly how much work went into making one of those sculptures. "What did yah do?" Applebloom asked breathlessly.
"Um… I apologized. A lot. Papa wasn't mad, necessarily, but I could tell he was upset that I had sent the cloud everywhere and sat him back hours. He took a break, and while he was gone I thought maybe I could fix it."
"And did you?"
She shrugged. "Sorta. It wasn't very good, but Papa was able to fix it easier thanks to my work. And he let me help him more actively. It was so much fun to manipulate the clouds that I wished to do it again, maybe even on a bigger scale. When we were done, that's when we noticed my cutie mark had appeared at some point while we were working."
The fillies shared looks, none of them sure how they could apply this. "Maybe that means that even though we mess up at somethin', that doesn't mean it isn't our special talent," Applebloom offered, and the other two shared similar looks, neither quite sure either what to make of that story.
However, Sweetie decided to continue their impromptu questionnaire. "So are you going to do sculptures like your dad?"
"Yeah, and I'm taking classes at school to learn how the big designs are made, too," Locket revealed, sitting up a little straighter in obvious pride at her skill. "My teacher says I'm coming along really well."
"But only the best sculpting ponies go to Canterlot to serve the palace!" Scootaloo immediately protested, and her cousin wilted again.
Locket absently drew her hoof along the floor. "Well, it's just a goal, I may not reach it," she said softly.
"It seems like a lot of work, she means," Sweetie Belle added quickly. "Maybe you should aim lower." Locket just nodded, watching her cousin who still seemed really annoyed.
Applebloom decided to intercede before things got crazy…or crazier. "Hey ya'll, it's startin' to get dark, we need to get to Applejack if we're goin' to help with the harvest."
"Lead the way!" Sweetie immediately agreed, and they led the way out of the tree house, Scootaloo not far behind them. Locket lingered for a second before eventually following behind the trio, listening to their laughter and jokes as her cousin finally relaxed again.
Tilting her head back to make it easier to scratch her mane, Applejack stared at her little sister and her friends—plus one, she noticed the white filly keeping at the group's fringes—with trepidation. "I dunno, Applebloom, you three are mighty small," she said slowly. "'m not sure you're goin' to have the strength to knock dem apples down."
"At least let us try, sis!" Applebloom quickly defended, and Applejack was hard pressed to deny her.
Looking over the farm, it took her a second to find a patch of trees that she knew were a little older and a little more willing to release their bounty. "If ya'll can get one or two of those trees to drop their loads, that'll do me a world of good," she finally said, pointing to the acre in question.
"CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS GO!" The three fillies immediately shouted as they took off for a run…leaving behind the fourth.
She shut her eyes as the others tore past her like a tornado, opening her eyes and blinking when she saw they were gone, leaving her alone with Applejack. Smiling weakly, the white pegasus ducked her head down a little as she raised her wings sheepishly. Giving her an encouraging nudge, the blonde Earth pony chuckled as the filly took the incentive to trot more sedately after the others. Shaking her head, she turned to her own acre to harvest. As long as no one was hurt, that should keep them occupied for a few hours…
Locket approached the other three fillies quietly, watching them work. Rather than being individuals, they were trying to kick all at the same time. Each time their six hooves hit, two or three apples would tremble and fall, but it was obvious that at least Sweetie wasn't used to this sort of physical activity and was growing tired. And somehow, Locket doubted that four hooves would be enough. However, her back legs were probably in even worse shape than Sweetie's, she'd been flying everywhere she could at her dad's suggestion to strengthen her wings for longer flights. Looking at the branches, she tried to think like her father was teaching her to, out of the cloud. Fluttering her wings, she hovered for a minute before her weight hit the ground again with a thump. A lightning bolt went off in her mind, and she eagerly flapped her wings to take her up to a nearby branch. Maybe this would work.
Thump…plip, plop, plip, plip, plop, plip, plip, plop.
Stopping, the three fillies turned to look at the neighboring tree that they were working on. Up in a branch, Locket was looking down in glee at a full bucket. "It worked!" she squealed, and then noticed that she had the attention of the other three. "Umm…Hi?" she said, smiling slightly. And while their faces and smiles were stiff, they returned her greeting and continued with their own tree, each feeling new energy enter her hindquarters.
"It's ALWAYS been that way," Scootaloo groaned from where she sprawled out on the clubhouse floor, her entire body sore from the applebucking they had just finished. She had no idea where her cousin was, and honestly she didn't care right now. "I'll do something, and find out precious cousin Locket's already done, and done it better."
"I didn' quite get it earlier, but I see what yah mean now," Applebloom agreed with a scowl. "I mean, at Sugarcube Corner was one thing, but here at the farm? Why did she have to be such a showoff?"
Sweetie just fiddled with her bag, not sure she liked how this conversation was going. Sure, she understood where her friends were coming from. To see things come so easily for Locket was hard, and that she didn't work with them didn't help matters. But she wasn't sure the other filly was doing it out of pride. Rather than say so, she settled with popping another piece of taffy in her mouth and let the other two rant.
"Mom is always telling stories from Uncle Frostmane, talking about how marvelous Locket is, how she's doing so well at school, how she has so much talent. Even when we were little, everyone thought she was so cute and precious at family gatherings. It's disgusting," Scootaloo said in annoyance as she stamped one of her front hooves. "She's everyone's perfect little darling, and I can't stand her!"
All three of their heads jerked up at the sound of clattering from the door. Closest to the door, Sweetie stood and walked over and saw four bottles of apple cider on the ground, spilling their contents everywhere. Raising her head, she scanned the ground and, when she didn't find anything, looked skyward. There, almost lost among the clouds, a couple of splashes of purple and a glitter of gold showed. "Guys… I think she heard you," she said softly as she came inside, bringing with her the four bottles of cider to show where Locket had been.
Applebloom had the decency to flinch, however, Scootaloo's back stayed completely straight, her feathers all fluffed out. "Good, it's about time she heard how I felt!" she said defensively, and the two others just shared looks, not sure what to say. Eventually they led the conversation somewhere else, content to wait for Locket to return.
They were cut off, this time by a cerulean head with its rainbow mane poking through the window. "Hey girls," Rainbow Dash greeted, smiling at how excited Scootaloo instantly looked, "Applejack said I would find you up here." Suddenly, she got serious. "You guys need to evacuate the clubhouse, okay? We've got a big storm coming up, we missed some rain a few weeks ago and now we need to play catch-up."
"Sure thing!" Applebloom easily agreed, and they exited their clubhouse for the safety of the ground. "We could go to Twilight's library and see if she's got that book on famous cutie marks yet?" she immediately suggested, and the other two agreed.
However, Scootaloo looked at the upcoming storm being built with trepidation. Before Rainbow Dash left, she called out her name before asking, "Is there going to be a lot of thunder and lightning in that storm?" Her tone was worried, which made the others look at her in confusion. Scootaloo had never shown worry over a storm before…
Tilting her head, Rainbow Dash said, "Yeah, and plenty of it. Why? I didn't take you for the sort scared of storms."
"I'm not!" Scootaloo immediately defended herself, but her eyes were wide. "But Locket is!" She danced nervously in place, looking around the farm as if her cousin would magically appear because they were talking about her. "You haven't seen a white pegasus filly around, have you Rainbow Dash? I haven't seen her in a while, and if she gets stuck in that storm…" She trailed of, not sure how to finish her sentence.
Thankfully, the pony of Loyalty immediately picked up on her worry. "I'll tell the other pegasi to keep an eye out for her, you three do the same as you head to town to wait out the storm," she told them firmly. "Don't stay out in it looking for her, okay? You need to be safe too."
"Will do!" they chimed and watched her take off at full speed. Sweetie immediately said, "Let's do like Locket suggested before, and split up to cover more ground. We can each take a way to the library, and maybe one of us will find her."
"Good idea," Applebloom said and the three fillies separated, Scootaloo trotting the fastest as she realized that maybe letting her cousin run off on her own, upset, hadn't been the best course of action.
"Locket! Locket, where are you?" Scootaloo called at full volume, her worry at near frantic levels. Rain was already falling down on her in a faint drizzle, and her ears twitched as the first sounds of lightning reached her ears. She had taken the route farthest to get to the library, and she hadn't caught sight of the other pegasus yet. Somehow, she doubted her friends were having much more luck. How hard should it be to find a white filly? Apparently much harder than she thought… Planting her feet, she tried again. Taking a deep breath, she screamed, "LOCKET! WHERE ARE YOU?"
"Scootaloo!" came the answer, a shrill shriek just as the first flash of lightning and roll of thunder came overhead. The brief flash of light made Locket's white coat much more visible to Scootaloo's eye. The filly was cowering at the base of a tree. Her wings were shaking and pressed tight against her back, completely unable to fly. Locket was nearly in tears from fright, and she shrieked as soon as more thunder boomed overhead.
"Locket, we have to get out of the rain," Scootaloo told her, only to have her cousin give her a look of terror. Resolutely, she shoved at the slightly bigger filly, forcing her shaky legs to move out from under the tree. She wasn't cruel, though. Whenever lightning flashes, she would let Locket cower down, bracing for the next crash of thunder, before forcing her to walk again.
Soon, thankfully, the lightning and thunder faded in favor of solid rain. While they weren't slowed down by Locket's terror, they were now both shivering, this time from the cold of the water. Scootaloo shook her mane, trying to get some of the moisture out so it would stop dripping in her eyes.
Startled, the—now darker—orange pegasus looked at her cousin in confusion. Her head was drooping down and she refused to look up from the ground. "My friends? Sweetkiss and Dawnrise? They're just two fillies in the academy Papa works at. I've never met them, they're older than me, two of his advanced students."
Staring at her, Scootaloo didn't even notice that they had stopped in the middle of the road in a cloudburst. "Why would you lie about your friends?" she finally managed to ask.
"Because I don't have any!" she admitted, her voice slightly shrill as she looked at her accusingly. "Papa was always telling me about you and your friends, and all the fun you had, and then when we were in the kitchen and you started telling stories, I didn't know what to do, so I thought if I said I had friends, I'd get along with you and yours better." She stopped in her rambling to stare at the ground. "I didn't know you hated me so much. I just… I keep trying to make people like me. There aren't hardly any cloud artists in Cloudsdale who treat it as more than a passing hobby, and everyone thinks I'm stuck up for trying to do it when I grow up. Those who don't dismiss me because I'm not trying to create the next super-cool move like the Sonic Rainboom, anyway… I'm just… I'm sorry for lying, I'm sorry for making you hate me. I'll just, stop bugging you, okay?"
It took a second for Scootaloo to catch up with everything that came flying out of Locket's mouth, and but less than that for her to catch up with him. "Hey, I don't hate you," she protested, catching up and making Locket stop so the filly had to look at her. "I just… I didn't get it, okay? I didn't know you were going through that at home…" She knew things weren't easy for Locket, with just her dad to look after her. It just…didn't cross her mind that Locket tried too hard, and instead of making friends just drove away those her own age. Sighing, she said, "Maybe… Maybe we just need to stop trying so hard to get along."
Locket tentatively smiled back and nodded.
"Hey girls!" Both twisted their heads to see an open doorway with a purple unicorn in the doorway. "Are you going to stand in the rain all night?" Twilight Sparkle teased, and with grins the two cousins darted inside where their friends were waiting and where it was warm.
Later, while watching Scootaloo help Locket sleep during another round of thunderstorms, Twilight would have Spike take a letter for Princess Celestia.
Today, one pony realized that by trying too hard, she was actually driving people away instead of making friends. And another realized that if you couldn't friends with your family, who could you be friends with?
*sticks her tongue out at the story* Bleh, I could NOT get this silly thing to end! And I know that the ending with Twilight's little letter is way too simplified, since some of us have rather bad family lives, but the point is to look at the big picture, yes?
I'm looking into doing a themed-drabble series about Locket and her father… It could be fun? We'll see… Thanks for reading (and reviewing, if you are so inclined), TTFN!
EDIT 7/7: Sorry folks who got a new alert (if you did), but I needed to do this because a reviewer sent me questions, but they have their private message disabled. So, RHJunior, here's your answer instead (and sorry I'm having to do it publicly), and I hope this clears up things for other people as well if you had similar questions. I know it's a little pat, and I wasn't on a schedule other than my own. That said, I wrote it so it WOULD be a little pat, because I wanted it to read a little like the episodes feel, and those are pretty darn pat too. So, I'm glad it seemed that way to you, though I'm sorry it seemed rushed. I'm not tinkering with it though, simply because it feels DONE to me, and tinkering with something just to make everyone happy seems wrong to me. As for her cutie mark... Darling, I am just going to ask for you to look at her description in the first chapter better. Because obviously you mistakenly thought that her NAME and her CUTIE MARK were the same thing, which isn't the case always (I'd love for someone to explain how Pinkamina Diane Pie translates to three balloons if that was supposed to be the case), and for Locket isn't the case at all. How she got her name is going to be addressed in the drabble series that I went ahead and decided to write, and it's both a bit sad and a bit sweet at the same time.
On that note, I will ALWAYS reply to questions sent to me in a review, but I need an e-mail address or you to send a signed review (with PMs enabled) for me to do so. Otherwise, I guess I'll keep tacking on to this last chapter...