Everything had started out simple. She was to go to Flight Camp with her father, and assist him in running the daily activities. With her mother long since gone, and her father not willing to leave her alone for the fall while he instructed at Shady Sands, Derpy had no say in the matter. She truly did not mind, though, as always, she had secretly hoped that she would finally be able to make friends, true friends, who wanted to get to know her. She kept that wish to herself, voicing it only to the stars late at night before she went to bed. She had never expected her wish to come true, but Derpy Hooves was quickly finding out just how unpredictable life could be.
First, there was Gilda. An outcast, just like her. Thrown around, treated unfairly, judged on appearance. Just like her. Derpy had reached out to her, looking to establish common ground, and expecting her efforts to blow up in her face, as they so often did. Despite her initial misgivings, Gilda had been in need of a friend as well, whether the griffon would admit it or not, and so a spark had formed between them, which had recently grown into a strong bond. Gilda had become like a sister to the pegasus, and Derpy wouldn't trade her friendship with Gilda for the world.
Second, came Rainbow Dash, the confident, talented flier with a heart as big as her smile. Derpy and Rainbow had become fast friends after Gilda had volunteered to allow Derpy to stay with them, and Derpy knew that the other mare would look out for her. She had absolutely no doubt in her mind that Rainbow truly cared, and was by far the most loyal and dependable pony she had ever met. Without those two in her life, Derpy would have been so lost, doing only her job and keeping to herself.
While helping her father two nights ago, Ember had told Derpy not to overestimate the friendships she had won, and not to presume anything. He had told her that it tore him apart to see her face whenever she was let down, as she always was. All of her 'friends' in the past had ended up using her, and with each one she lost, a little piece of her faith in ever being appreciated died. Wonderbolts tickets, cheap laughs at her expense, someone to walk all over who would bend over backwards just to please them. Derpy knew well the agenda of most who would seek to get to know her, and she wasn't stupid.
She hated when her father tried to shelter her from the world, when he would tell her things would be alright if she would only listen to his advice. Deep down, Derpy knew that her father only wanted her to be happy, but she had made two friends, two real friends, without his stupid rules, restrictions, and worries. Derpy was riding the high of success, and was in no mood to come down. Being able to vent to Gilda without losing her, and helping the griffon in turn, had boosted her confidence to levels she had never known. And so, she did the only thing that seemed rational to her: she rebelled.
She had had enough of being told 'no'. She wasn't going to listen when her father said things were 'for her safety'. She had finally broken out of the protective shell that her father had placed around her. She was successful on her own, far more successful than she had ever been listening to him. And so she ignored his advice, taking her life into her own hooves, confident that she could face the world with her friends at her side, and without Ember hovering over her. She was eighteen, and just as capable as any other pony her age. She was ready to be her own mare, take risks, and never look back. She had met reality. She had met her fears, and vanquished them.
She had met him.
Derpy had felt her breath catch in her throat at the sight of him, and was still in total disbelief that he would even consider talking to her. Dusky was real, he had to be. The way that he spoke and moved so naturally, the flirtatious glances he had given her from across the fire pit while they made introductions, the way that he said her name without mockery. It all made her heart ignite, and she wanted nothing more than to get to know him. From the moment she had been introduced to him by Dune, she knew that Dusky was the one for her. She could forgive the brown pony's rock throwing and insults, as he had given her a stallion much greater than himself. Whether he knew it or not, he had given Derpy her first coltfriend.
The realization had made her entire body shudder with delight, as she had dreamed of having a coltfriend since she was but a little filly. Those dreams had always been dashed, as nopony had taken an interest in her… until now. Dusky and Derpy had connected instantly and passionately, and Derpy found herself getting lost in his eyes on a regular basis. They were a beautiful light shade of green, and perfect in every way, unlike hers. She hated her eyes. She hated the way that they were the first thing anypony noticed about her, and even those with the kindest of hearts were bound to take note of them and involuntarily judge her or approach her more carefully than they would most. Derpy didn't want any of that, she wanted to be treated as normal.
Dusky had treated her as normal. He had seen past her eyes, giving her his best interested looks and comments, taking in her entire body and appreciating her for her. She knew it was love. It had to be. No other stallion had ever looked at her in that way. They had talked at length as they walked through the forest, away from her concerned friends. She had told him about Gilda and Rainbow, about how she had never been in a relationship, and how nervous she was. He had reassured her, and kept his hoof around her neck the entire time that she voiced her fears to him. He cared. She knew he cared. She could see it in his eyes, and her heart told her that Dusky was worthy, that he was different from all of the rest.
She didn't care that they had only known each other for the majority of a single day. She didn't care what her father would have to say about her decision. He gave her hope that love could be for her after all. So in return, she gave him everything.
Once they had gotten far enough into the forest so as not to be seen, Derpy had made her move. She wasn't going to lose him. She loved him too much, and he had understood her instantly, something that she could claim about no other pony, not even her two best friends. Derpy had a plan to steal his heart for good, to show him how much she loved him and needed him. She had to show him how much she wanted this to work out. She knew what she had to do, and went about doing it with a smile on her face. No regrets. It's time. This is what lovers do, isn't it?
As he was talking, she had turned around and locked him into a passionate kiss, closed her eyes, and let her hooves roam over him. He had initially been shocked, and though he hesitated at first, he was more than willing to accommodate the mare. He began kissing her back, and she took it one step further, sliding her tongue into his mouth and placing a hoof firmly upon his flank. She squeezed his backside, and brought her hoof up to caress his horn, a gesture that she knew spoke volumes. He shuddered as she stroked the sensitive area, keeping her lips attached to his, and lustfully staring into his eyes the entire time. He moaned into her mouth, loving every second of it, and she knew that she had him. She knew that things were going as they needed to.
No words had been exchanged, her actions had spoken plenty loud enough. Things quickly escalated, and Derpy soon found herself facing away from him, clinging to a nearby tree and panting as he stole her innocence. No regrets. This is what I wanted. This is what I need. And I know he wants it too.
Her entire body rocked, moving with his rhythm as he pushed into her. A light sheen of sweat had coated them both, and the musky smell served to drive her wild. She was beyond sense, beyond all caring, totally lost in how good she felt, and how good she must have been making him feel. She had never imagined this moment would come, but she could think of nopony else she would rather share it with. Her very soul felt like it was burning, and she moaned at his every touch. Her nerves were overloaded, and she was beginning to become unable to differentiate the pleasure from the pain. She could feel him inside of her, and hear his grunting in chorus with her own voice calling his name, but she was unable to register what exactly she was feeling. Derpy had no idea that anything could feel this good or confusing, and she found herself screaming for more.
She felt his release, and a wave of pleasure sent her body on autopilot to climax with him. He bit down hard upon her mane, yanking her backward and causing her pain, but the sheer bliss that she felt outweighed the discomfort to the point where she barely felt it at all. Finally, it was over, and the stallion collapsed onto her back. Dusky dismounted her, pulling out and falling to his hooves beside the shaking mare. Derpy had to fight to remain on her feet, and held on to the tree desperately as she closed her eyes and panted. Though she wasn't the most knowledgeable about the matters of sex, she was aware of what had occurred and the risks involved. No. No regrets. This was… perfect. I love him, and he loves me. This is the ideal. This is how it needs to be.
She felt him move to nuzzle her, brushing his neck against her own. Derpy opened her mismatched eyes, and felt that her depth perception and focus was more off than usual. She returned his gesture, sliding her neck against his, and then moved to kiss him again. They parted, and he said nothing as she still fought to regain her breath.
Her flanks and rump ached, and she was sure that she was bright red. Derpy knew that there was no way she could be seen in public for at least a few hours, and she knew that she needed time to collect herself and come to terms with the fact that she was no longer a virgin.
"Hey. You alright?"
He inclined his head toward her, flicking it upward in a questioning gesture. His tone struck Derpy as odd, and she recognized it as so different from the one that he had used before. Did I do something wrong? Is he upset?
Finally, she managed to unwrap her legs from around the tree, and she let her hooves fall, watching as they sunk into the moist soil. She could see the evidence of their act upon the ground, and the sight made her feel cold. No. No regrets. I'm living my own life now. I'm a big girl, and I've found love.
"Hey, seriously, babe. You're not gonna get all weird on me now, are you? This was your idea, you know that, right?"
Derpy looked up from the ground, meeting a mixture of what looked like anger and fear in Dusky's eyes.
"N-no. I'm fine! I just… I just feel… dizzy. I need to lie down." She wobbled a bit as she walked to a clearing among the trees, and Dusky put a hoof around her for support.
"Yeah, sure. Just lie down until you feel alright."
Derpy did as he said, and slowly lowered herself to the ground, tucking her limbs under herself. She began to feel slightly nauseous, and her eyes suddenly became heavy. She lowered her neck to the ground, resting her head and letting her mane hang down around her. I… did it. I'm independent now. I can… live on my own… see?
She was gradually losing the battle against sleep, and looked upwards one last time to see Dusky looking down at her, his face unreadable. Content that her guardian was there and that no harm could come to her, she lowered her head once again, and drifted off into unconsciousness.
Derpy awoke with a start, her eyelids flying open and her neck rising in alarm. The snapping of a nearby twig had awoken her, and she immediately felt sick as she rose. She began to heave, bending low to the ground to force her stomach to empty itself, but nothing came. I feel like I'm gonna die! I need food… Where… where am I…
She looked around, her unfocused eyes slowly adjusting to the darkness. All at once, she remembered what had happened, and she began to panic. It hadn't been nearly this dark when she'd fallen asleep, and Dusky's jet black coat wasn't going to make it easy to locate him in the darkness. She shivered to herself in the wind, listening as the leaves rustled around her.
"…Dusky? Are… are you here?"
She waited patiently for over a minute. He… he must have gone to get me something to eat. Or… or something for himself. Or maybe… maybe he's scouting the area?
"Dusky?" She began walking slowly, her head still spinning. She shook her neck a bit while closing her eyes, trying to shake off the sensation, but nothing seemed to work. The nausea returned in the pit of her stomach, and she had to stop and lean against a tree to remain upright.
"Dusky! DUSKY! WHERE ARE YOU!"
Derpy began to panic. She could not think straight, she didn't know exactly where she was in relation to her cabin, her flanks still ached, and she was cold, tired, and apparently alone.
She hugged herself and began to cry. She felt incredibly empty, as if she was just a shell. No! He didn't abandon me, he wouldn't! He… he's perfect… There's some kind of explanation, I just have to find him. I… I need to get back. Gilda will know what to do. I'll find Gilda.
Though she was not a strong flier, Derpy knew that her wings would make getting out of the forest much easier. She tested her aching muscles, cringing at the bright red bite mark at the base of one of her feathery appendages. They're going to know. What if… what if Dad finds out…
She shook the thoughts from her head, realizing that escaping the forest was the top priority. Derpy flapped her wings a few times while staying upon the ground, making sure that they, at least, were up for the flight home. Finally, she jumped upward, and took off, floating slowly through the canopy of trees.
She zig-zagged about, occasionally catching a branch in the face, which only served to make her tear up in response. Her crying had not stopped, but she decided to worry about that once she found a way back home. As she rose up above the treetops, she caught sight of the circle of cabins in the distance. Did we… really go that far into the woods? It really didn't feel like it…
Derpy fought back her tears, and began slowly flying in the direction of her temporary home.
Derpy stood outside of her cabin, shaking. She could see one light on through the window, and knew that someone was in there. She prayed that it was Gilda, that the griffon could be her security blanket, that her best friend could tell her everything was alright. If it was Rainbow… she knew that despite the other mare's good intentions, Derpy would never be left alone until Rainbow knew what the problem was. Her stomach lurched. She had to think of something.
As her eyes spun in all directions, desperately searching for an answer, she caught sight of the rolled up hose hanging off the side of the structure. That's it! I'll do what Gilda did!
Derpy immediately remembered seeing Gilda cry, and diving underwater to soak her entire body and cause her tears to blend in with the water. She grabbed the hose in her mouth, and turned the valve with a hoof. Her neck whipped wildly back and forth as she coated herself with the water, feeling the tear trails upon her face wash away. She knew that her lie would be perfect, that if it was Rainbow Dash waiting inside, the mare wouldn't be able to tell that Derpy had been crying. With a satisfied look, she turned off the hose, and moved to the doorway. Derpy had forgotten her key as usual, and knocked on the wooden door.
"It's me!" She immediately brought a hoof up to her face. Her voice had come out all wrong, she sounded fearful and desperate. No. I'm not scared. I'm happy. I got what I wanted, and now I have Dusky. This is the happiest I've ever been!
…so why do I feel like crying again?
The door swung open, and Rainbow Dash greeted her with a smile. "Hey, Derps. You and Dusky went swimming?" Rainbow looked her friend up and down, laughing a bit at the grey mare's appearance.
"Uh… uh yeah, we did! He just… he just went back to his cabin."
"Oh, ok! Hold up, lemme get you a towel. Stay right there!"
Rainbow stepped back inside the house, trotting to the bathroom and out of sight. Derpy waited outside in the cold, shivering to herself. Getting wet was a dumb idea. Stupid! What was I thinking!
Finally, her friend came back with a large beach towel, and passed it to Derpy.
"Dry yourself off, girl, and come on inside! I'll start a fire if you want! Do you need to warm up? It's pretty cold out there."
Derpy shivered. "N-no. I'll be fine." The less attention she could draw to herself, the better. "Is… is griffy back yet?"
Rainbow sighed. "Nah, it's just you and me, for now. She's still with Ember."
"O-oh." Her stomach churned. But… but I need Gilda…
With a pained look, she began drying herself off, working the towel through her fur and wincing as she dried her backside. It was still sore, and her entire lower body felt strained. She wasn't concerned, as she assumed that such a thing would be normal, especially after her first time. The sensation was still unsettling, though, and she hurriedly dried that area before tossing the towel onto the armrest of the couch while still standing in the doorway. She needed to get her mind off of things, off of Dusky. She would find him in the morning. There was no sense in obsessing over what had happened at the moment.
"Do we have any food? I haven't eaten since breakfast…"
Rainbow blushed. "Um… we have…"
"MUFFINS?" Derpy's eyes lit up as she leaned forward, smiling and flaring her wings. Rainbow leaned back, surprised by the sudden change of mood.
"Uh… sorry, Derps. No muffins."
Derpy looked crestfallen, and deflated a bit, tucking her wings back into her sides. I could so use a muffin. Muffins make me happy… and I don't feel happy…
"I… hehe… I tried to cook earlier. So… we have pancakes. But they're burnt. Like uh. Really bad. I'd offer to make you something else, but… I can't really cook." Rainbow blushed hard, shrinking herself back as she stepped inside. "Come inside though, already. Standing out there isn't doing you any good!" Rainbow turned, and trotted into the kitchen, waiting for Derpy to follow.
Eventually, she did step in, and walked into the kitchen slowly, her legs still slightly numb. The plate of pancakes looked repulsive, but Derpy was so hungry, she didn't care. She sat down, and quickly began eating them as Rainbow watched in amazement. Neither spoke, and in no time at all, Derpy had finished eating. The food did nothing to calm her, and she realized that she really hadn't been hungry at all. Eating wouldn't fill the emptiness inside of her, but she refused to consider what else might be causing the sensation. She felt tears coming again, and turned away from her concerned friend, who was reaching out to put a hoof upon her shoulder.
"Derpy… did something ha-"
"I'm tired, Dash." She rose from her sitting position, and backed up, avoiding the sky blue hoof. "I'm… I'm gonna go to bed." Derpy sniffled. NO. I'M FINE. THIS WASN'T A MISTAKE.
"O-ok. If you're sure. I just… if you need someone to talk to, just ask." Rainbow tilted her head. After what had happened earlier with Gilda, the mare wasn't sure she could handle any more drama. And yet, she offered her help, unable to deal with seeing a friend in need.
Derpy didn't acknowledge her, deciding to remain facing away from her friend as she slowly cried. She carefully walked to her bed, keeping her face out of Rainbow's sight at all costs, and lowered herself onto the covers, slowly. The blankets gave her a little comfort, and she tunneled under them, wrapping herself in the warmth before rolling over and wiping her tears against the cotton.
"Goodnight, Dashie. I'll be fine in the morning. I'm just… tired."
They both knew it was a lie.
"Alright. I'll… hit the lights, then, I guess. Sleep well."
Derpy rolled back over, faced the wall, and cried herself to sleep.
Derpy awoke before her two friends, and rolled over in the morning semidarkness. She saw the outline of Gilda's body rising and falling as the griffon breathed in her sleep, and smiled, knowing that her friend would be there for her. If anyone would be allowed to find out what had happened, it would be Gilda. Derpy's sudden happiness was interrupted by her returning sick feeling, and she felt her stomach fighting with itself as it struggled to settle. Silently, she hopped out of bed, and trotted quickly and silently to the bathroom.
…no. They'll hear. They'll hear, and they'll know, and I'll have to tell them, and they'll tell me how stupid I was.
She instead turned, and moved as quickly as she could for the door to the outside world. She silently stepped out into the dirt, and closed the door behind her with great care. When she had secured the portal and knew that her friends wouldn't be awoken by the noise, she galloped hard around the side of the cabin, and leaned over, retching. Her stomach finally lost its fight, and she found herself bringing up the food from the previous night, spilling it across the ground.
Derpy recoiled at the sight, disgusted by the thick mixture she had coated the ground with. She immediately grabbed the hose, turning it on and trying to dilute the vomit. The smell made her want to heave again, and she turned up the power of the water, finally managing to wash it away and into the ground. She immediately turned the water down, and sucked upon the hose nozzle to get the taste out of her mouth before spitting the tainted water out into the dirt.
I feel so disgusting. I feel like I'm not clean, and won't even be again. Why…
Derpy turned off the water and sat down. She began to get depressed, and was already regretting what she had done, despite all of her efforts to fight the feelings back. She needed to find Dusky. She needed to know that he cared, and that she wasn't a fool who had just thrown herself at him in total desperation. With new resolve, she stood up, finding that her legs and back still ached, and shook herself off. She heard the cabin door open, and looked up into the morning sky as a multicolored streak rose into the air, rising higher and higher and stopping to circle an errant cloud.
There goes Dash, doing her morning exercises. That means… Gilda is awake!
Derpy's mood improved dramatically, and she found that she had a little bounce in her step as she cantered back around the house. She nudged open the unlocked door with her head, and entered to find all of the lights on and a groggy griffon stumbling around the room.
Gilda had no time to prepare herself for the flying hug that she received, and ended up on the floor, smothered by the grey mare.
"Hey! HEY! Derpy, I can't breathe!"
Derpy giggled, all of her previous problems forgotten for the moment. She looked out the window, noticing the orange and purple glow cresting the horizon, signifying the approach of dawn. Derpy knew that Rainbow's exercises usually took almost two hours, so she had plenty of time to get advice from her griffon friend. She hopped off of the pinned girl, giggling as she did so. The sound was odd to her, as internally, she was still feeling hollow. Though she was much happier than she had been, something just wasn't right.
"Hey, you ok? You hopped off of me and just kinda… froze for a second there."
Gilda waved a claw in front of Derpy's face, and the mare quickly snapped out of her thoughts.
Derpy tackled her to the ground again, nuzzling the griffon and hugging her tightly.
"GAH! You already did that! Get off! You know I'm a bitch in the morning!"
Derpy hopped off of her friend for a second time, and laughed again. Simply being around Gilda was enough to make Derpy happy, and though her feelings of unease, and her soreness, for that matter, remained, she no longer felt as if her life was coming to an end.
"Heehee, sorry Griffy. I'm just so happy to see you again!"
Gilda's face sunk as she sat up, clearly irritated. "Derpy. It's been like… not even a day. What the hell."
"I know, but I missed yoooooou." It was the truth, after all. Derpy had longed for Gilda's support the entire previous night, and her heart was bursting upon reuniting with her again. Even if she had made a mistake, which she hadn't, and even if Dusky had in fact abandoned her, which he didn't, Gilda would still be there. Gilda was constant. Gilda was her shelter in the storm of life.
"Uh…huh. Well… I'm gonna go take a shower now and wash off the bitch clinging to me. I'll see you in a few."
"Ok! Have fun!"
Gilda shook her head and walked into the bathroom, closing the door behind her as she watched Derpy jump on the couch.
At the sound of running water, Derpy settled a bit, content to just sit and think. Her thoughts wandered to Dusky, and she wondered if he was awake yet, and if she should go find him. She looked outside again, and the sun had not yet crested the mountains in the distance. No, he's not awake. Boys are silly! They sleep so much!
Thoughts of Dusky made Derpy happy again, and she resumed her bouncing. Even though he wasn't there, even though he had left her in the woods, he was still hers. All that mattered was that they loved each other, and Derpy would deal with all of the soreness and nausea in the world just to have him. She giggled to herself, completely pleased, and hopped off of the couch and onto the rug. Seeing that the beds would be much more fun, she trotted over to Gilda's and hopped up on it, resuming her wayward bouncing.
As the bed rocked, she thought of Dusky again, and how much fun they could have together on a mattress. Maybe I'll invite him back to the cabin tonight and we can do it again! Not on Gilda's bed, though, that would just be weird. OOH MAYBE THE COUNTERTOPS IN THE KITCHEN! YAY!
Derpy's mind wandered through all of the things that she could do with her new beau, and she smiled wider to contrast the feeling of panic within her. Her mind was at war, bliss and despair splitting her thoughts evenly. And yet… she had what she had wanted for so long. Should she not be happy? Taking that logic and running with it, she allowed bliss to win out, and focused her thoughts on all of the good things that had happened. Suddenly, a small flash caught her eye from atop the blankets, and she stopped bouncing to look down at the source.
The rocking of the bed had caused Gilda's necklace to fall out of her duffel bag and onto the sheets, where it was reflecting the light from the room into one of Derpy's eyes. She had seen Gilda holding the trinket often, though she didn't fully understand why. Derpy assumed that maybe her parents had given it to her as a gift, or perhaps the griffon just found rubies to be really pretty. Either way, she knew that the necklace was of great value, and she carefully picked it up in her mouth, before setting it onto the nightstand.
With the ruby out of the way, she grabbed Gilda's pillow in a hug, and flopped down, back first, onto the griffon's bed, squealing in delight. Duskyyyyyy!
Her thoughts were immediately interrupted as she felt a few sticks poke into her side, and she jumped in alarm, tossing the pillow off of the bed. Her flopping into the covers had caused Gilda's duffel bag to jump, spilling even more of its contents onto the mattress. Several paint brushes were scattered across the blankets and floor, and Derpy flapped a wing frantically to dislodge one clinging to her feathers. Various small plastic paint containers rolled along the surface of the bed, dropping to the ground and making small sounds as they impacted the wooden floorboards.
Derpy was mesmerized by the rolling colors, and watched as a few of the containers bumped into the carpet and stopped. She heard the water shut off, and her eyes widened as she realized that she was probably about to be in trouble.
Gilda stepped out of the bathroom, enveloped in a rolling cloud of steam that trailed behind her from the shower. She was running a towel through her fur, when she suddenly paused, having caught sight of the absolute chaos before her.
"What… the ass? Derpy, why are you on my bed…"
"Because yours is the bounciest!"
Gilda let the towel drop out of her claws and onto the floor. "You checked?"
"Of course! What do you think I do all day when you guys aren't here and I'm not with Dad?"
Gilda ran a claw through her feathers, chuckling to herself. She didn't doubt the pony's statement in the slightest. Gilda had always found Derpy's extreme simplicity and honesty funny, in a cute sort of way, and found herself taking on the role of protector for the poor mare. I just hope she never loses that innocence…
"So anyway! Are these paints yours? Do you really paint?" Derpy stood up on the bed, wincing a bit. Why are my legs still so achy? Is this even normal?
"Well… I mean, they were in my bag, so yeah. I paint. What of it?"
Derpy's eyes widened, and she immediately abandoned her plan of talking to Gilda about anything serious. Art had always gotten her excited, and the thought of seeing her friend's work made her overjoyed. I'll get advice later. I can deal with things on my own for right now, and Dusky can wait! I want to spend time with Gilda!
"CAN YOU PAINT ME!" Derpy jumped off of the bed, and began assuming various poses in different places around the room. "How about like this?" Derpy sat herself upon the couch, her chin up and eyes closed, striking a pose.
Gilda paused. "You… really want me to paint you? Are you sure?"
"YEAH! OHPLEASE OHPLEASE OHPLEEEEEEEEEEEEASE?"
"Alright, alright. Just settle down. You're gonna have to be really still, though, you know that, right?"
"You sure you don't wanna eat anything first?"
"Ok, hold on. I'm gonna go grab something out of the kitchen, and then we can get started."
Gilda left the room, and Derpy opened her eyes, excited at the thought of having her very own painting. Maybe I can even show Dusky later! I wonder if he likes art? I'm sure he does! OOOOOOOOOOH MAYBE I CAN HAVE GILDA PAINT HIM!
She squealed into her hooves, grinning like a foal in a candy store as she waited for her friend to return.
"You sure you don't wanna come?"
"Nope!" Derpy hopped once, smiling. Although the idea of sleeping out under the stars and just talking to her friends, maybe even about what had gone on with Dusky, sounded like fun, Derpy had other plans. She had gotten so caught up in watching Gilda paint that she had let the entire day go by without looking for her mate, and while her friends were gone, she could bring him back home for a little fun…
Rainbow Dash raised a brow. "Well… alright, Derpy. If you change your mind, we're gonna be on Razorback Ridge. Come find us if you get lonely, I guess."
"Ok! I will!" Derpy waved as her friends started out down the dirt road, heading for the hill that overlooked Shady Lake. Derpy walked down the opposite path, in search of Dune. She knew that finding Dune meant finding Dusky, and she couldn't wait to see him again.
Derpy didn't know which cabin Dune lived in, and so decided to try her luck at the fire pit and near the main hall before resorting to knocking on doors. She trotted down the dirt road, smiling happily as she passed other pegasi, who gave her uncaring looks. She checked the cafeteria, the beach, and the outskirts of the woods, and could find no sign of the tan male. Just as she was about to give up and walk back to her own cabin, he found her.
"Well, well, well. If it isn't the little whore herself."
Derpy had never been so happy to be insulted before, and let the words wash over her without giving them a second thought.
"Hello!" She turned immediately, looking for Dusky, and finding only Dune and his sidekick, Stormtail. "Do you guys know where Dusky is?"
Dune laughed hard, and his protégé joined him. "Yeah, probably back in Hoofington by now. He told us what happened, you know. He said you weren't bad at all."
Derpy's insides turned to stone as her entire body went numb. "Wh… what do you mean? He's not… he's not staying with you? You… you two know what we…"
Dune continued laughing at her, pointing a hoof in her face. "No, he's not staying! He's a friend from back home! Didn't you notice he's a unicorn, you dumb bitch? He was just visiting, and looking for some easy tail." He stopped his laughter, looking directly into her golden eyes with his icy blue ones. "Looks like he found it, huh?"
Derpy was ready to throw up again. She shook her head, snorting and stomping at the dirt.
"NO! YOU'RE LYING! HE LOVES ME! WHERE IS HE?"
Dune started getting annoyed, and stood close, towering over her. "Don't you get it? You got played. You walked right into his hoof! Hell, he was just looking to make out with a pretty mare for a bit while he was here, but apparently he got a lot more!" Dune began laughing again, and shoved Derpy backward. "I can't believe you actually slept with him! You really ARE retarded, aren't you?"
Derpy began to cry, and found herself getting absolutely enraged. She wanted to buck the stallion in the face, to yell more and tell him that he didn't understand what she and Dusky had shared, and run away and hide. The more that Derpy thought about it, though, the more it began to make sense. He really had abandoned her, and she had thrown herself at him in a desperate attempt to earn his love by giving him her body.
"SHUT UP! LEAVE ME ALONE!" She thrust a hoof into his chest, and the blow bounced off ineffectually. Dune collapsed on the ground, laughing at her pathetic attempt to harm him.
"Man, this is priceless. Just wait until your dad finds out! Oh, man, I can't wait!"
Derpy began to hyperventilate, shaking her head furiously. She still clung to hope, she still wanted to believe that Dune was wrong. She couldn't face the alternative. With a final pained howl, she turn and galloped as hard as she could back to her cabin, hearing the stallions' laughter behind her in the distance the entire way.
As she arrived at the house, she slammed her shoulder into the door, praying that it was unlocked. Fortunately, it was, and she closed it behind her, her tears still falling into the carpet. She was happy that she was alone, and knew that no one would find her there. She trotted over to Gilda's unmade bed and sat upon it, scooping up the griffon's pillow and hugging it again. The scent of her best friend calmed her slightly, though she knew that all evidence pointed to Dune being correct.
I'm such a foal! Dusky is just like all of the others, and I… I gave myself to him! I'll never be the same again! What was I thinking! How can I live with what I've done… and… and… what those two know… If they seriously tell Dad, he's going to disown me! He would never let me back in the house again!
Derpy cried harder and harder, wailing into the pillow and letting her tears stain the case. She squeezed the pillow with all of her might, and shook her head, willing it all to have just been a dream. However, her rational side knew that such things only happened in badly written stories and cheesy movies, and she breathed hard, knowing that there was no escaping her past.
What do I do? Where do I go from here? …what would Gilda do?
Derpy sniffled, and wiped her eyes against the pillow. She stopped crying, thinking only of the griffon, and how strong she was. Derpy wondered if Gilda had ever shown weakness, if she had ever made mistakes or lost a part of herself. Suddenly, it hit her. The one time that she had seen Gilda cry, the griffon had hidden her tears, and willed herself to stop, before leaving to do something about her problems. Derpy wanted to follow that example, and she knew well that crying would indeed get her nowhere.
She allowed herself a final sniffle, and let go of the pillow before drying her eyes and sitting quietly, thinking to herself. This is my life now. What happened yesterday… that's reality. I need to move on, and deal with it. If word gets out… at least I know two who will stand beside me, even if my father doesn't. Derpy cried a few more tears, before she shook her head and got angry at herself for being weak. I need to toughen up! I need to be strong, and deal with my problems instead of running from them.
Derpy rose from the bed, and walked into the bathroom. She splashed water onto her face, rubbing away the tears, before standing and resting her front hooves on the rim of the sink. She tried to stare into the mirror, and succeeded, though one eye strayed off to the side a bit. This is me. This is Derpy. I'm not a virgin, I don't have a coltfriend, and sometimes, my dreams don't come true. She blinked, and wanted so much to cry, but hardened her face and refused to allow it to happen. She swallowed hard. I can overcome this. I can be strong, just like Gilda. Just like Dash. I'm sure she wouldn't let something like this get her down, either.
The mare watched as her reflection's lip began to quiver, and the bottom rims of her eyes moistened. Suddenly, she burst into fresh tears, and lowered her head, bawling into the basin of the sink. No… I'm not strong like them. I need help. I need support, I need… Gilda. Her mind focused upon the griffon, and she wanted so badly to fly to Razorback Ridge and open her heart to her friend, but she stopped her train of thought. No… Gilda needs a night to herself, without me. I'm sure they're having fun out there, and I can cope. Maybe.
Derpy lowered herself from the sink, and walked over to the towel rack, once again drying her face. She tried her absolute best to put Dusky out of her mind, as that was the past, and she had just recently resolved to live for herself. To live in the present, where she was in control. To take risks… and accept the consequences. The thoughts proved sobering to Derpy, and she took a deep breath. The emptiness returned, but she would no longer cry. Not on that night, not over something like this.
The pegasus walked back into the living room, noting for the first time how alone she truly was. Not knowing what to do with herself, she moved to lie down upon the couch, staring out the window. Moments passed before she looked away from the setting sun, and brought her attention to Gilda's messy bed. Though the griffon never made her bed to begin with, Derpy felt bad for invading her friend's sanctuary, and slid herself slowly down to the floor. The trot to the bed was short, and Derpy grabbed the sea foam green blankets in her mouth, moving to pull them up and make the bed at least somewhat presentable.
As her face moved to the top of the bed at the end of her pulling, she noticed Gilda's necklace lying upon the dresser. Derpy opened her mouth to drop the blanket, and realized that her friend had made some kind of mistake. She never sleeps without that! Oh, she must be so worried right now! Derpy looked outside again, confirming that the sun was still going down. There's still time! She won't be asleep yet, I can get it to her! Derpy snatched the necklace in her hoof, and sped for the waiting door.
There's… there's so much blood… h-how is he even still breathing…
She pounded her hooves harder and harder against the griffon's side, pleading with her best friend to spare her greatest enemy's life.
"GILDA! PLEASE! YOU CAN'T DO THIS!"
Gilda ignored her, focusing instead on the stallion held in the air. Derpy didn't hear what Gilda was saying over the throbbing in her head, but she recoiled in horror and stopped her assault as she watched Dune spit into Gilda's face. Everyone at the scene knew immediately that the stallion had made a fatal mistake.
Derpy began to back away, and closed her eyes tight as Rainbow Dash made one final attempt to bring the griffon back to sanity. This is all my fault! I brought the necklace, and now my best friend is about to murder somepony! Derpy began to sob, and fell to the grass. I can't stop her! Somepony help, ANYONE!
She opened her eyes to see Gilda rounding on Rainbow, and her heart stopped in her chest. Derpy dragged herself off of the ground, and resolved to shield her friends from each other, but her father beat her to the punch. She watched as Ember collided with Gilda, sending the griffon spiraling off to the side, screaming in fury. Dune dropped to the ground in a bloody heap, and Rainbow Dash galloped over to Derpy's father.
Seeing that the stallion was alone, Derpy ran straight for his broken body, praying that he was somehow still alive. She met Stormtail standing over him, and the smaller stallion was in hysterics.
"Save him! Do something, ANYTHING! HE'S MY ONLY FRIEND!"
The words stung Derpy's heart, and for the moment, she was able to sideline her hatred for Dune as she tried to focus over the screams of her father and Gilda's whimpering.
"I…I-I don't know if I can do anything…"
She looked down over Dune's scarred form, seeing bits of his skin torn apart, the bone and muscle beneath exposed and his blood seeping into the grass. Derpy shuddered, and gingerly placed a hoof upon his body, feeling for a sign of life. Dune opened one eye slowly, staring directly into hers. He tried to speak, but could only cough up blood. Derpy watched as the thick liquid trailed down his chin, and she gave him the most sympathetic gaze she could. Nopony deserves this… he may have played a part in ruining me, but… not even him…
"DERPY! GET HIM TO THE INFIRMARY IMMEDIATELY!" Ember pointed his hoof at Stormtail and barked orders at the stallion as well, but Derpy didn't hear them. She was too focused upon the bleeding mass of flesh and fur before her. The dying stallion whimpered, and Derpy closed her eyes. After taking a deep breath and coming to terms with the situation, she opened her eyes, and picked Dune up in her forelegs. It took a colossal amount of effort just to hold on to him, and even more for the mare to successfully take off. Her wings screamed at having to carry the heavy male along with their owner, and Derpy sped off at top speed for the emergency entrance to the main hall of the campgrounds.
The blood and tears of Dune mingled with her fur and mane, matting them down and causing them to stick together. Though Derpy's mind was screaming at her to stop, to abandon Dune as Dusky had abandoned her, she would not listen. She knew that Dune's life rested in her hooves, and her conscience was already wrecked by her earlier mistakes. There's no way I'm letting this happen. No one is beyond redemption.
She burst through the automatic door leading to the medical wing, and flew down the hallway, Dune grasping her neck weakly with one leg as he wheezed. The stallion was giving her a confused look between his grimaces of pain, but Derpy was too invested in her task to notice. She flew for the office where the only staff member, Nurse Redheart, would be waiting.
The white earth pony looked up as she felt her Cutie Mark tingle, and knew that a patient would be on the way. Her light blue eyes widened as she saw Ember's daughter flying toward her with the body of a stallion, and she readied a stretcher.
"My goodness! Derpy, what has happened?"
Derpy tried to compose herself, and barely managed to get the words out through her panting.
"There was… a fight… Gilda… Dune… he hurt her… so she hurt… him…"
The nurse reached for a tie to hold her pink mane back, and secured it quickly before helping Derpy place the stallion upon the mobile bed.
"I'll do the best that I can. He looks to be… in pretty bad shape."
Dune wheezed in response, and his head shook uncontrollably.
Derpy gave him a concerned look before landing on the immaculately cleaned white tile floor.
"Can… can I help somehow?"
The nurse shook her head sadly, as she began to wheel the stretcher into a waiting room. "Derpy… please go back to your father. I'll update you both as soon as I can assess the patient. I can say with complete certainty that he will pull through, but… he's going to be hurting for quite some time, and he may never be the same…"
The light blue curtain closed around the room as Redheart entered, and Derpy was left alone. She turned back the way she had come, and galloped out of the building and into the night. She had to go and find Gilda, to make sure that the griffon was alright after everything had occurred. She knew that Gilda would be a wreck once she realized what had almost happened, and Derpy wanted to be there to give her support. Though the level of violence and rage that her friend had demonstrated greatly worried her, she would never abandon Gilda, and felt the urge to be there in the griffon's time of need.
She may have made a huge mistake, and she may not be perfect. But I've come to find… no one is.
She spread her wings and flew as fast as she could back to the cabin.
Derpy flew back out of the cabin after having talked to Gilda. Her words had moved Gilda to tears, and Derpy responded in kind. The circumstances under which it happened may have been horrible, but Derpy had never felt that any situation had ever brought her so close to anyone else.
She sped toward the infirmary, intent on checking up on Dune, and hopefully, meeting her father. It was logical that Ember would head there immediately after talking to Gilda, and Derpy wanted to know what had occurred between the two after she had left with Dune.
Derpy slowed before reaching the automatic door, and landed, her hooves clopping against the wooden walk-up to the door. She trotted into the hallway, finding Nurse Redheart scribbling away on a clipboard, standing alone.
"Is Dad here? Did he come and see Dune?"
The nurse looked up, smiling at the young mare before her. "You just missed him. I believe he's heading back to his office, so you should head on over there if you need to speak to him. Dune is under sedation, and I'm still assessing his wounds. You'll have to come back tomorrow for an update on his condition."
Derpy sighed. At least he isn't dead.
She didn't know why, but she found absolutely no pleasure in seeing the stallion in such a state. Though she had every right to hate him, she found that she could not. She nodded to the nurse pony, and made her way to the door connecting the hospital wing to the main hall of the building, where her father's office was located. Derpy made her way to the overlarge door, and clacked the knocker against the wood. She received no response.
Curious, she rose a hoof to the door, and tried pushing it open. The portal gave way, and swung in to the room slowly, revealing her father, sitting behind his desk with his back turned to the door.
"Derpy, is that you?"
"Yeah, Papa. It's me."
Ember spun his chair around to face his daughter. His mane was in disarray, and he looked supremely frazzled. He rose and walked to his daughter, enveloping her in a tight hug.
"Oh, Derpy, I'm so glad you're safe. When I saw that there was a fight up on that hilltop… I was scared to death that you might have been involved."
Derpy was absolutely exhausted, mentally from the earlier news about Dusky from Dune, and physically from carrying him. She hadn't realized how fed up she was with life until that moment, and felt her temper steadily rising. She began to get annoyed with her father's protective nature, and snorted into his fur.
"I'm fine, Daddy. I can take care of myself, you know."
Ember leaned back a little, confused at his daughter's tone. "Sweetie? Are you alright?"
Derpy began to huff, and pushed herself away, turning her head to the side. All of her problems and what she had just seen stressed her to the point of overload, and she began to take out her anger on the one who deserved it least. Sweetie. I'm not his 'sweetie' anymore! I'm not a filly anymore! I'm… I'm… tainted, and he doesn't even know! How can I ever look him in the face, after all that he's done for me, after all of the effort he's put into protecting me, and know that I've failed him?
Even though Derpy knew that she was at fault, she couldn't face the truth. She had to push him away. She had to guard herself. He can never know. He can't know that I'm… I'm not his innocent little girl anymore…
"Don't call me that. Just… stop. It's not cute, and I'm tired of being patronized. Leave me alone." Why did I even come in here?
Ember's mouth opened, but he was at a total loss for words. He closed it, and stared after his daughter with a mortified expression. Derpy shifted and rolled her neck as she began to leave the room, regretting ever having entered. I can't deal with him right now. I need to be alone…
"…Derpy. Derpy, please come back in here. I care about y-"
The fur on Derpy's back bristled, and she spun, wings flared up behind her and spit flying from her mouth as she screamed at her father.
"YOU CARE ABOUT ME? YOU WANT ME TO BE HAPPY? THEN LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE! I JUST WATCHED A STALLION ALMOST DIE, AND THAT'S THE LEAST OF MY PROBLEMS RIGHT NOW!" She began to shake with rage and sadness, and almost told Ember of her encounter with Dusky before she caught herself. "YOU HAVE NO IDEA… NO IDEA WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE TRAPPED IN THIS IMPERFECT BODY THAT MAKES ME LOOK LIKE SOME KIND OF FOAL! EVERYONE HATES ME BUT GILDA AND RAINBOW!" Derpy started to cry, and beat her wings in anger. "YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT ME! YOU TIE ME DOWN SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO FEEL GUILTY ABOUT WATCHING YOUR RETARDED DAUGHTER CRY! YOU DON'T WANT TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH ME AND MY PROBLEMS, SO YOU KEEP ME 'SAFE' SO THAT THEY DON'T HAPPEN! WELL GUESS WHAT? THAT DOESN'T WORK!"
As Ember let out a pained noise, two hearts broke in perfect sync. Derpy immediately regretted her words, and knew that they weren't true in the slightest. Her look of shock was almost more intense than Ember's own, and she would not have blamed her father if he had raised a hoof and struck her across the face as hard as he could. She knew that she would certainly have deserved it after all he'd done for her, but his reaction was quite unlike her imagined scenario.
Ember hung his head, and slowly walked back to his seat, falling heavily into it and burying his head in his hooves. He began to choke up, and closed his eyes.
"If… if that's really how you feel… I am so, so sorry, Derpy. I never… I never wanted you to think that… that I was ever ashamed of you, or that… that I was protecting you to save myself from heartbreak. Derpy… I love you with all of my heart. Please… don't leave…"
Derpy shook her head, and her tears splattered across the floor as she blinked.
"Daddy… I-I'm sorry… I didn't mean… I JUST CAN'T! PLEASE JUST… LET ME BE ALONE!"
She stormed from the room, galloping frantically down the hallway and ignoring the few ponies present. Derpy ran for the bathroom, as she was feeling sick again, and needed a place to be alone. She stumbled through the door, and fell sideways into the tiled wall. The surface felt cool against her body, and she cried alone, letting the feeling breach her fur and reach her core. Derpy knew that she wasn't making sense, she knew that she was in the wrong, and she knew that she had hurt her father and herself. She also knew that Gilda would be long gone by the time Derpy could reach her cabin, and she suspected Rainbow might leave with her.
She cried, alone and cold, for several hours.
It… isn't fair… Daddy…
Derpy had avoided her father for over two weeks. Camp had drawn to a close, and all of the pegasi had gone home to their families, though Derpy, Ember, and Dune remained. Dune's family had come to visit him often, and did not want him moved to a hospital in his hometown, Hoofington. Nurse Redheart was renowned for her ability to treat her patients with utmost care and tenderness, and Dune's parents respected her abilities upon seeing them firsthoof.
At that moment, Dune was alone with Derpy, who had come to visit him somewhat often, though the two always remained silent. She had nothing better to do, as she refused to speak to her father, both out of irrational fear and her own guilt. He turned to her, and for the first time, he spoke.
Derpy jumped a little, rising up from her sitting position in the corner. She blinked at him, her eyes unfocused as she paused, lowering her muffin from her mouth. She chewed and swallowed, and fixed him with a concerned look.
Dune shifted his bandaged body and arched his back, trying to relieve the discomfort he was feeling from being bedridden. The top of his bed was propped forward at an angle, allowing him to see out into the room, but lying on his back for so long still felt unnatural.
"Why did you… save me… you know that I hate you…"
Derpy set her muffin on the bedside table, and walked over to the bed, leaning her head in near to him.
"Do you still hate me?"
Dune's uncovered eye shifted to look at the mare. There was no malice in the icy blue pool of color, and Derpy could tell that he was hesitating. Thinking. He had not been prepared for such a question.
"I…."He paused. Dune had never been an introspective pony. His life was simple, and his world black and white. Those useful to him were friends, and all others were useless at best, and enemies at worst. "I don't know. But I don't want to think about it. Just… leave me alone."
Derpy didn't move from her position above him, and her eyes held a sadness that Dune didn't often see. One that he didn't like seeing.
Derpy sighed, and knew that he was not going to cooperate with her. She grabbed her half-eaten muffin from the tray over the bed, and held it out to him.
"Here. It'll make you feel better."
Dune blinked, not understanding her offer or her motives. He had told her to get lost, and yet she remained. The stallion was pretty hungry, though, and eventually reached out a hoof to accept the food.
Derpy waited for his thanks, but soon realized that she would receive none. The mare walked away from the bed, and stopped at the curtain that blocked the room from outside view.
"…feel better, Dune."
She exited the room and entered the nurse's station across the hallway. Nurse Redheart was on lunch break, and Derpy had planned her visit with perfect timing. Though she likely would have visited Dune anyway due to her kind nature, she had her mind set upon a different goal.
After Gilda and Rainbow Dash had left and Derpy's body had healed from its soreness, she had felt fine… for a time. She stayed in the vacant cabin, away from Ember in the main hall, and spent her days mostly alone or in the hospital. However, for the past three mornings, she had been inexplicably sick. At first she was confused, and passed it off as a random occurrence. But as time went on, Derpy began to fear for the worst. She had always known that the possibility was there, but it was something that she forced to the back of her mind whenever possible. Until she had reason to suspect it, she would rather not even entertain the thought. She now had reason.
The pegasus moved silently into the empty station, looking around at the shelves. Nurse Redheart was a personal friend, and Derpy knew that she would never breach patient confidentiality, but Derpy wanted to find out alone. If it was real, if the problem was what she thought it was, she knew that she would freak out, and didn't feel like drawing any more attention to herself than she needed to. With a satisfied smirk, she found her prize, and grabbed one of the boxes in her mouth. She knew that they were free to any who asked, and knew that the nurse wouldn't notice a single box missing anyway. With her prize secured, she galloped straight back to the cabin, where her future, and possibly that of another, would be determined.
Blue. The stick was blue. The stick was blue, and it dropped onto the floor, its clatter against the cold tile a deafening roar in contrast to the total silence that had reined over the cabin previously.
It's… positive… oh dear Celestia, it's positive… I was right…
Derpy felt incredibly uncomfortable, and stood as still as a statue, her soft breathing the only sound in the building. She shifted her feet, staring at the small apparatus upon the floor, unblinking. The vivid color remained the same, and the stick was still.
Derpy licked her lips, and swallowed her rising panic. She closed her eyes, and did the only thing that she could think of. She opened her eyes, and spoke.
The words hung in the air, meant for herself and no one else. She didn't know what the statement would accomplish other than to cement the reality, but she spoke again. It just felt… right.
"I'm… pregnant. I'm… I'm going to have a child."
Cold fear overtook her, and her entire body became numb. Her mind raced, and she sat heavily, eyes still locked upon the stick that told her that her life would never be the same from that moment onward.
Am I… am I ready to be a mother? I can't even take care of myself… how can I be responsible for the life of a baby… what will Father say…
She answered her own questions mentally, finding the answers much easier to arrive at than she thought.
It isn't a matter of if I'm ready, the baby is coming, and I wouldn't dare consider the alternative. And Father… Father won't find out. I'm going to run. I'm going to leave, and he will never know until it's already happened. Nurse Redheart is going back to her hometown, Ponyville, and I'm going to follow. I'll find a place to stay for a while, get a job, and then rent a place of my own. I'll have Redheart help me, and promise not to tell my father. I know it isn't right. I know I'm being a coward. But… this is my life now, and I have to take matters into my own hooves, whether I like it or not. Daddy wouldn't want an impure daughter. He would be so disappointed in me… this is the only way…
Derpy walked out of the bathroom and into the kitchen, turning on the light as she entered. She solemnly removed a piece of parchment from the bag upon the central table, and began to write.
I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I yelled at you, and I'm sorry this has to happen. I need to leave for a while, and do some thinking. I don't mean what I said to you, and I've regretted it every day since I came into your office and screamed at you. You're the best Daddy I could ev-
Derpy's teardrop splashed the page, and she wiped her eyes with a hoof before continuing.
er ask for, and I know you've given me everything you could. Please don't try to find me. I promise that I'm fine, I just can't keep doing this, and I need to live on my own for now. I'll come back to you, I promise. I hope you can understand, and even if it doesn't make sense now, in time, it will. I hope you're not disappointed in me, and I don't want you to worry. I am safe, and it's time for me to stop relying on you. Goodbye, for now.
It didn't make sense. There was no way it could work, and there was no way he wouldn't exhaust all of his resources to come after her. She knew that, and yet she couldn't think of anything else to do. She grabbed the letter in her hooves and folded it, before placing it in her mouth and stepping outside. Derpy flew silently, sniffling occasionally, and headed straight for the mailbox outside of the main office. She opened the latch, and shoved her letter inside, before turning away from the building and facing the horizon, in the direction of Ponyville. With her mind focused on her new responsibility, she took off, and began the long flight to her new home.
Two months later…
Derpy could not believe her luck. She had landed a job as the Mailmare of Ponyville, and found a cheap hovel for rent that she could afford. Her life alone was beginning to stabilize, and she had heard nothing from her father. Nurse Redheart had moved back to Ponyville and knew of Derpy's pregnancy, and was legally obligated to keep it a secret, though she had objected loudly to keeping information from Ember, especially Derpy's whereabouts. Regardless, she had finally agreed, and vowed to help Derpy through the delivery of and care for the baby when it arrived. Derpy had found unstable resolution in her life, and had accepted her motherhood. Only one thing remained before she could focus fully upon living her life not for herself, but for her coming child.
She reached a grey hoof out to tap the doorbell, and sat down upon the front steps, waiting for a response.
"Coming! Just… hold on a sec!"
Derpy giggled to herself. Gilda would be busy. She never wastes time…
The door flew open to reveal a surprised griffon with a paintbrush in her hand. Upon seeing her guest, Gilda picked her up in a powerful hug, which Derpy returned. Her slightly swollen stomach brushed against the griffon's chest, but Derpy knew that she was not pregnant enough for it to be really visible to anyone but those looking specifically for the signs.
"Oh, Derpy, I've missed you so much! What happened? Where have you been?"
Derpy shifted her eyes away from Gilda. Though they were best friends, she did not intend to reveal everything. Not yet. She felt horrible lying, but didn't want Gilda to be worried for her.
"I've been… around. I'm still staying with Dad at the camp while Dune recovers. Not much has happened, I just wanted to come see you."
Gilda stepped back, and gestured the mare into her home. "Come in! I'm the only one here, but I'd love the company!"
Derpy stepped forward into the foyer, and smiled at her friend. In truth, she had only come to check on Gilda, not to share anything about herself. Unless the griffon asked her questions or spoke to her, Derpy wanted to remain silent. She knew that it would be off-putting, but she did not intend to stay long at all.
"Speaking of… how is Dune. Is he… recovering?" Gilda had a look of unease and deep regret upon her face, and it didn't suit her. Derpy tilted her head and smiled, finding the griffon's awkwardness cute.
"He's doing better. He still can't leave, but he can walk on his own now. He's got some nasty scars, but he'll live." Derpy actually had no idea of Dune's condition, and hoped that her quick answer was convincing.
"Oh, well that's good." Gilda coughed. She was horrible at small talk, and though she wanted to see her friend, had no idea where to steer the conversation.
Derpy took care of the problem as her eyes wandered around the room independent of each other, and one of them landed upon the huge mural taking up the entire floor of the game room.
"What is that?"
Gilda followed her gaze, and saw what Derpy was staring at. "Oh! Come look, I've been working on this since I got home. I think you'll like it…"
Gilda walked into the room, barely able to edge around the massive, stretched-out canvas. Derpy followed, her eyes widening at what she saw.
The entire floor was covered by a painting framed on three sides by a golden case, the final panel of wood framing resting diagonally against the wall. The painting itself was a beautiful depiction of a night sky, with the Sun, the moon, and their own planet located in the center of the work, connected by a large golden ring. Inside of the ring, Celestia and Luna were painted flying opposite each other, their trailing manes and tails forming a complete circle. The sides of the painting were filled with deep purple and blue hues, dotted with silvery stars. Derpy's breath was taken away by the sight, and Gilda smiled with satisfaction.
"Doesn't have a title yet, but it's done. I just put the last strokes on it when you came by, and now I've just gotta put the final side of framing on before I can submit it to a local gallery. What do you think?"
"I… I've never seen anything so beautiful in my life…" Derpy looked up at Gilda, and walked toward her friend.
"You really think so? Thanks, Derpy, that means a lot. Can you stay a bit, or…?"
Derpy stopped walking, and considered. She had planned on the visit being mere minutes, but Gilda looked so happy to see her. Could she really walk away already?
"I'm sorry, but I… I can't. I have to get going." She looked sideways at the painting once again. "It really is beautiful though. I know everypony will love it."
Gilda's face fell at Derpy's words, and watched the mare walk back into the foyer, while she followed.
"Derpy, is… something wrong? You just show up out of the blue for five seconds and now you have to leave? Are you really ok? You're not hiding anything, are you?"
Derpy looked at her friend. If she had learned anything from all of the bullying, teasing, and bad treatment that she had gotten throughout her life, it was how to put on a convincing poker face. She wouldn't cry in front of others anymore. Her tears were for when she was alone, and though it made her sick, she once again bent the truth.
"Of course not, silly! Everything's fine, I just… kinda didn't tell Dad I was here! I promise I'll write, though, and hopefully I can visit again soon!"
She gave a short wave and stepped outside, Gilda following her and stopping at the doorframe.
Something isn't right here, I just know it. But… if she needs time, I'll give it to her. I didn't exactly rush to fight my own demons, and respecting her wish to be alone is only fair…
Gilda sighed, and stood on her hind legs, resting against the side of the doorway. "Well… alright. Have a safe flight home. You know I'm here for you whenever you need me, right?"
Derpy's heart leapt, happy to know that Gilda was still her guardian, still the constant in her life. The griffon hadn't changed at all, and Derpy knew that Gilda would be one of the first to know the truth, but only when Derpy was ready to face it fully.
"Yup! See ya around, Griffy!"
Gilda waved, and closed the door. Derpy turned, and walked down the small steps, feeling horrible about herself. She took a deep breath, and mentally scolded herself for being so dishonest and cowardly. Stomaching her unease, she took off toward Ponyville, wings beating hard as she flew back home, to go and live her perfect lie.
Author's Note: It's amazing how fast-paced this story seems to me despite how ridiculously long it is. This started as maybe 2000 words, and was only supposed to cover a few scenes, but… I felt like this needed to be done, and completely. This is what Derpy was hiding, and is the origin of her daughter, Dinky.
I wanted to make the scene transitions jarring and disconnected, to line up with how chaotic these few days were for Derpy, and hopefully the shifts were easy enough to follow. I know that Derpy's logic is extremely flawed, full of self-hatred, and bound to fail, but I tried to make her confused, saddened, angry, and terrified all at once with her situation, and unable to think rationally. I can only hope that it was convincing, and whether her plan held up will be revealed in Crossroads.
It feels horrible to make Derpy lie and run from her problems, and it was especially hard to write her being such a bitch to Ember, but… there you have it. Ember's actions will also be revealed in Crossroads, and though this story is over, the multitude of loose ends WILL be tied up. I have a feeling this story will be really polarizing, but... I guess that's just how it is...
Also, I have moved the picture of Script to my profile, and I now have pictures for Ember and Dusky there too! Feel free to take a look at them if you want, so you can get an idea of the two. Their Cutie Marks may not be there, but… bleh. Laziness.
As a final note, the title of this story was chosen based on the song Fuckin' Perfect by P!nk. Originally, I didn't have a title, but that song is one of my favorites of hers, and it came on the radio while I was driving home from work. It suddenly hit me how well the lyrics fit Derpy, and so… there you go. Pie and Pegasi chapter 3 is coming up next, unless I do something ridiculous out of the blue like that insane pirate battle one-shot. I definitely need to write something light after this before there's a drama overload, but it will take a few days, or maybe until the end of the week to post. See you then!