"GIVE THEM BACK!"
"Pff. Jump for 'em, Freak!"
Vinyl Scratch only cried harder, jumping as high as her tiny legs would allow.
"GIVE! THEM! BACK! I'LL GO GET THE TEACHER IF YOU DON'T!"
"Ooooooh, I'm so scared!" The tan colt laughed in her face, his entourage joining in chorus as he dangled the purple sunglasses just out of her reach.
The little unicorn filly fell down to her knees, crying at the bully's feet. She had yet to gain control over her magic, and without being tall enough to reach as the colt before her stood on his hind legs, she had no hope of retrieving her protective spectacles.
"Hahaha! Look at her! You made her cry! Oh man that's hilarious! What a loser!"
Stupid colts. I can't help it that I was born like this! It's not fair!
"I'M TELLING! YOU'RE GONNA BE SORRY, YOU JERKS!"
Vinyl turned and galloped away from the playground equipment, sobbing as she ran. Why did this have to happen to me? Why can't they just leave me alone?
A sharp impact hit the back of her skull, drawing more laughter from the crowd. She stopped and rubbed the back of her head, sniffling as she picked up her thrown glasses from the ground. One of the lenses was cracked, and she knew that her parents would yell at her for 'being so careless', just like every other time. She scooped up the bent frames in her hooves and slowly cantered over to sit on the steps outside of the school, alone. She knew that staying there for the rest of recess would make her life just a little bit easier, and sitting alone in boredom and tears was better than having to deal with more stress.
I hate this.
Hours later, Vinyl Scratch sat outside of her small Manehattan apartment, letting the cold rain soak into her fur. She didn't feel like dealing with her parents yelling at her, and though she felt essentially naked without her glasses, she didn't care anymore. The teasing over her ruby eyes had become routine to her, and she saw it as just another part of her life that she would have to deal with day by day.
Being born albino was by far the thing that Vinyl hated most about herself. She could dye her mane, and mask its pure white color, but she could do nothing for her eyes other than hide them. She had tried contact lenses, but her eyes were too sensitive, and they caused great irritation and a reddening effect around her pupils, leading her to look even stranger. Sunglasses had become her only option to hide her eyes away, and prevent the constant smart remarks from the other ponies at school. However, that barrier had been breached as well, and now everypony knew about her misfortune.
She had stopped crying about half an hour ago, but the cold wind and rain kept her sniffling. She hugged her knees a bit tighter into her chest, and rested her chin upon her hooves. Stupid eyes. I hate them! Why can't I just be normal like everypony else…
The sound of hooves clopping against the sidewalk interrupted her thoughts, and she closed her eyes, turning her head away from the approaching stranger immediately. Great. More ponies. I just want to be alone…
The stranger cleared her throat, and spoke slowly and carefully. Something about her speech sounded unnatural, but Vinyl didn't want to look up to see the pony. She would rather hide her eyes and be left wondering what they looked like than have to hear another pony laugh at her.
"H-hello. How are you? Why are you sitting all alone out here? I do not think it would be smart to continue sitting in this rain. Uh… um… why ain't…" the filly immediately stopped talking and cleared her throat, trying again. "Why are you not inside in the warmth?"
The unicorn filly felt the rain stop falling into her two-tone azure mane, and could no longer hold back her confusion. She reluctantly raised her head, opening her eyes and hoping for the best. A bright green umbrella was being held over her head by an orange filly, who had a long, straw-colored mane tied back by a red ribbon. The girl had no cutie mark, and Vinyl figured they must have been about the same age. She immediately gasped and turned, hiding her eyes once again as the other filly sat down beside her, shielding them both from the rain with her umbrella.
"Have you been crying? I noticed that y'- UH your eyes are bright red."
Great. She totally did notice. Let the laughter begin.
"Hey." The orange filly poked Vinyl with a curious hoof. "Are you alright?"
The stranger moved her head away from Vinyl, slightly confused by her tone. "Did… did somethin' happen?" She gasped immediately, correcting herself. "SOMETHING. Did SOMETHING happen?"
"Go away. I just want to be alone."
The filly wrapped a hoof around Vinyl's neck, trying her best to comfort the distraught girl. "Aw, don't be like that. Please just try t- UGH!" The orange one threw her hoof up in the air, rolling her emerald eyes and snorting. "CONSARNIT! This is hard! Ah don't care anymore, Ah'm just gonna talk natural-like. This city accent-learnin' stuff is stupid! Ah just wanna be me!"
Vinyl looked up, confused by the sudden southern drawl coming from the pony's mouth. She sighed and opened her eyes. She already knows. What's the use in hiding it now?
"I know how you feel. You get teased because of your accent?"
"Yeah. Yeah ah do, all the time, ever since ah got here. Ah'm… ah'm from Ponyville. Name's Applejack. How 'bout yourself?"
Vinyl swallowed. Applejack hadn't started laughing yet or calling her names, and the little bit of conversation was quite nice so far...
"Vinyl. Vinyl Scratch. I'm from around here, but I hate it. What's Ponyville like?"
Applejack sighed and hung her head. "It's… it's home. Lot quieter. Easier ta get work done. Ah… ah miss it."
Vinyl reached over to rest a hoof on Applejack's knee, giving her a reassuring rub. "Well, why did you have to move?"
"Ah didn't. Ah thought ah wanted ta come here, live the life of the high-society pony and get away from mah parents' stupid farm, but… but ah miss it more an' more everyday. Livin' with Aunt an' Uncle Orange jus' ain't the same. Ah can't go back, though. This's where ah gotta stay."
Vinyl scooted closer to Applejack for warmth. Sitting out on the soaked metal steps was indeed a stupid idea, and she knew that she would probably catch a cold. However, she decided to stay outside just a little longer, wanting to listen to Applejack's story. The tale had her interested, and she didn't understand why anypony would stay somewhere that they clearly didn't belong.
"…why? Why not just go home to your parents?"
Applejack leaned sideways into the wrought-iron railing alongside the small set of steps, looking downcast and staring at the ground. "…ah don't know. Ah just… can't."
The earth pony looked up at Vinyl, wanting to change the subject. "So… why are y'all out here all alone? Ya can't honestly be comfortable out here, 'specially in the rain an' all."
Vinyl shivered a bit, and hugged Applejack back, putting her hoof around the filly's neck, tightening their embrace. Though she normally didn't like such close contact, she was so cold. I really gotta get inside after this. I'm so dumb for sitting out here for so long…
"W-well, I… my parents are mad at me. Some stupid colts broke my sunglasses at school again, and they're blaming it on me not being careful. That isn't the real problem though, what really sucks is that I won't have my shades until my parents can get 'em fixed. I'm gonna have to ride out the rest of the week getting teased and pushed around even more now."
Applejack raised a brow. "Why's that?"
"Isn't it obvious?" The farmpony shook her head, confused. Vinyl pointed a hoof to her eyes angrily. "My eyes. I'm a freak. Everypony thinks it's hilarious and strange, and they never let it go. I hate it. I hate me. I just want to run away. Say, you think your folks would take me in? I'm sure they miss their daughter, we could totally swap places…"
Applejack gave Vinyl a squeeze, looking directly into her ruby orbs. Vinyl began to move her head backward, slightly freaked out by how intently the foreign girl was staring.
"Aw, Sugarcube, they ain't freaky, they're beautiful! Ah've never seen eyes o' that color before. They remind me of… of apples. Of home…" Applejack moved away, looking down at the ground again. She sighed, and shifted her umbrella to better cover the pair.
"You… you don't think I'm a freak?"
"Nope, an' anypony tells ya different deserves a buck right ta the chin. Y'all should be proud of your eyes, they make ya unique. They really are pretty, ah ain't jus' tryin' ta be neighborly an' all. Ignore them stupid colts, ah'm sure ya can find some other friends who think them eyes o' yours are special too. Ya gotta feel good about yourself, Vinyl, or else y'all are gonna be miserable."
Vinyl wasn't completely convinced, but somehow, her worries lifted, just a bit. Maybe it isn't so bad. I mean… I did think they were pretty cool… before I got teased…
"…thanks. I… I'll try to keep that in mind. Now about you… seriously, girl. If you hate it here, go back home. Your parents really must miss you, like a lot. I know mine would be devastated. Even if we don't always get along, they're still my parents."
Applejack paused, letting her long mane flop around in the wind and watching her mother's ribbon as it danced in the air.
"Maybe. Maybe… ah'll think about it. Ah'm sure mah Aunt an' Uncle would be none too happy to see me go, but…"
Vinyl gave Applejack a playful punch on the knee, causing her to jump a bit. "Hey! Take your own advice, Applejack! You've gotta make yourself happy before you worry about others, right?"
Applejack blinked. "Well. Well, ah s'pose ah do. Thanks for that. Ah… ah better go, Sugarcube, th'Oranges are waitin' on me for dinner. Maybe one day we all can meet up again and talk s'more. Your eyes really are pretty, though. Show 'em off with pride."
Vinyl blushed, giving a small grin as she felt her self-confidence rise just a little bit. "Thanks. Your uh… your freckles are cute!"
Applejack returned the blush, lowering her neck a bit and shifting her eyes sideways. "Ya really think so? Y'know, ah used to get teased about 'em all the time. Mah brother, Big Macintosh, put a stop ta that, and gave me his own lil' version o' the speech ah just gave you."
Vinyl gave a raspy laugh, shivering once again as she stepped on her hooves, trying to get the rainwater off of her feet. "He sounds cool. I'd like to meet him someday."
"Maybe ya will. Well… go back inside, Sugarcube, 'fore y'all get sick. It's been nice talkin' ta ya, mind if ah stop back around sometime?"
"If you're still in Manehattan, sure! But I almost hope you aren't. Give it some thought tonight, about whether or not you really wanna stay here. Go with your heart, girl, and I'll go with mine."
Applejack titled her head and turned. "Thanks. Ah will." She began her slow trot back home, leaving Vinyl to stand at the foot of the steps, alone.
She found it hard not to grin. You know… maybe school won't be so bad tomorrow after all…
She trotted up the steps, and walked back into the house and her waiting family, feeling just a little bit better about herself.
Author's Note: UPLOAD! DOUBLE UPLOAD! TRIPLE UPLOAD! HYPER UPLOAD FINIIIIIIIISH!
Alright, alright, that's enough stories for today, and possibly this weekend in general. But maybe not…
Sorry if this came off as a little cheesy, but I think sometimes, we could all use a little feel-good story and reminder that sometimes people are mean and unfair to you, but life isn't all horrible. Love & tolerance, bronies and ladybronies. Don't bully people, getting pushed around sucks. It really does. And if you're being bullied, talk to someone or just ignore it and wear your differences with pride. It might sound cliché or stupid, but whatever.
This message has been brought to you by the National Council of Start-Living-Your-Life-How-You-Want-To-Without-Fear-Of-Judgement-And-Being-Rejected-For-Liking-Things-That-Others-Don't, which works in tandem with the Board of Start-Loving-Yourself-For-Who-You-Are-And-Don't-Worry-About-What-Others-Think-About-You.