The day could've gone better for Diamond Tiara.
It had been something to look forward to originally. She woke up that Monday morning thinking only of the agonizing embarrassment and shame in the face of her classmate Apple Bloom. It was her turn that day for her to bring in a family member to do Family Appreciation Day, and upon hearing it was that senile grandma of hers, Diamond Tiara found it hard to stop smiling. For the longest time, she had looked down on Apple Bloom and her lack of a cutie mark. She was always looking for ways to belittle the filly in front of others, and it was the perfect opportunity to humiliate her for the rest of her life. The old mare walked into class that day, Apple Bloom was on the edge of humiliation, and the pink filly expected the worst to happen.
But ironically, she made herself look like a fool in front of class.
The filly closed the door to her room with a hind leg and carefully removed her tiara. She placed it on a cushion set by her mirror and proceeded to flop on her lush bed. The light of the sun was now receding from her overly bright and pink room, leaving a faint glow in the air. Diamond Tiara dug into her pillow and groaned loudly. The sheer embarrassment, the students turning their rumps on her, every pony thought of her as less than noble, it was overwhelming. All the students in her class now looked down on her, for her crude ignorance and shameful disrespect of the elder Apple family member.
She used to be on top of the class. She used to be revered and idolized. Now she was back to being a hated snooty filly.
To make matters worse, apparently Cheerilee had informed her father about the scene she made. Her father was a respected businesspony. Their forefathers had played a major role in the founding of Ponyville. He had peers that looked up to him and workers that respected him. So it came to no surprise when her own father forced her to don bunny ears and leap over watering cans as punishment for disrespecting Granny Smith. Her rump was killing her…
"Stupid apple ponies…" Diamond Tiara muffled into her pillow, "Stupid Zap Apples…"
The curses she muttered were empty words. She really didn't hate the apple family or their produce. She had come to respect Granny Smith from that riveting tale of the founding of Ponyville; given how her great grandpa had an equal part in it, she found it very relatable to. She didn't hate Zap Apples at all. When she had tried some of the jam after the humiliating bunny hopping, she had to do her best to hide her adoration of the taste. The flavor and colors were to die for; she regretted only having one piece of toast. Of course she had a few more jars in the fridge as her father was the one promoting them, but that wasn't what was aching her right now.
The only pony she hated at the moment was herself.
They were right, and she knew it. She shouldn't have acted the way she did in the classroom. When every other foal had been impressed and amazed at the old mare's story, she remained ignorant and salvaged what humiliation she could get out of mocking the granny, only for it to backfire. The entire class had turned their back on her after that less than sportsmanly display of intolerance, including Cheerilee, the teacher she was supposed to respect. Even her own father had been disgusted with her, sending her up to her room without another word concerning the earlier incident.
And she had only herself to blame.
"Why…why am I such a brat?" the words stung like a bee in the throat. The filly would have never described herself in such a way, when only astounding, proud, and sophisticated would have done. But as it were now, pretty much every foal in her grade thought of her like that. It was about time she had to be honest with herself.
This was a long time self esteem issue the filly had with herself. She knew she was difficult to tolerate. She knew she was snooty. Her family was rich and could afford better than what most foals in her class could. That did bring up the question as to why she couldn't just transfer to a better school, but her family was grounded in Ponyville by the root, and the only way out was by growing up.
This was the glaring contrast between her and Apple Bloom. Diamond Tiara had everything. Clothes, accessories, better food, better baths, a better house, even. While Apple Bloom's family ran the second biggest business in Ponyville, right behind her own family's business Barnyard Bargains, her folk were more conservative, preferring to do things the traditional way. They all lived in the same barn they worked at, spent their entire days working in the apple trees, and only made just enough to have some pocket change left over from investing in the welfare of their farm. All Apple Bloom had was her family, her home, and her friends, which was more than what Diamond Tiara could say about herself.
"Stupid Silver Spoon…" the filly muffled into her pillow.
They were supposed to be friends. They were supposed to be better than the others. They were not degenerates. They knew more about fashion and looking good than the other foals ever did. They were supposed to make their way through school with their combined popularity. They were supposed to be confident together.
So why did she applaud first?
It didn't make sense.
Did she have any idea what she risked by clapping first? Applauding for such a senile old mare, grandmother of the filly they detested, telling such a wonderful story to the whole class, and led them into a grand applause for the sake of congratulating them, it just didn't make any sense.
But as Diamond Tiara had admitted before, she had to be more honest with herself. The problem wasn't that Silver Spoon risked their social status.
Silver Spoon knew better than her than to put importance on popularity. She was not afraid of losing her social status to something she honestly enjoyed. She didn't let her pride get in the way of openly showing admiration for the 'enemy'. Maybe she didn't care? Did the importance of social interactions matter at all at that moment? Sure, it was just for the moment, but did anypony really cared who they were? If that was the case, had Silver Spoon figured this out when she applauded first? Or had she always known?
It bothered her so much. Everything they had worked for together. The promises they made to each other. Did they not matter anymore? Were they not good enough to keep their self imposed social importance?
What did this mean for them?
She didn't want to lose Silver Spoon, her one true friend. Since the beginning, she had been the only one she could count on. Somepony whom she could share her snootiness with, who could engage in talks about clothing and accessories, and berate others to make them stand out. Silver spoon was the only filly she knew who could tolerate her. Everypony else would rather lose an arm than spend a minute in the same room as her. Maybe she was spoiled, she could admit that, but for the longest time she had never had a problem with it. Silver Spoon was her anchor to happiness. If she couldn't have friends, she'd have to do with Silver Spoon. Only today did she realize just how loose her hold was on the metaphorical ocean floor of content.
And she did not want to lose that hold, or else lose everything.
"Diamond Tiara?" a carbon coated filly peeked through the door. She eyed the crying foal across the room and couldn't help but feel sympathetic towards her friend. Of course, she had every reason to cry after what happened today, but she didn't think it'd ruin her this badly.
The pink filly slowly removed her stained face from the pillow to meet Silver Spoon's gaze. The filly noted the redness of Diamond Tiara's eyes and considered it fortunate that she hadn't resorted to trashing her room out of anguish.
"What is it?" the filly replied hatefully. While Silver Spoon could understand her emotions, she found it odd that Diamond Tiara would lash out against her. Usually whenever she was down, only the purchase of clothing or rings cheered her up, especially if Silver Spoon bought them. If she hadn't known any better, she'd have thought she was the reason for her breakdown.
"Umm, I came by to see how you were doing," she said as the filly cautiously stepped into the room, "You know, after that whole…bunny hopping ordeal."
The tiara filly huffed and dove back into her pillow to silently sob. She couldn't face the oblivious Silver Spoon without hating herself. That filly wasn't sorry about what she did. Silver Spoon wasn't ashamed of herself. And she braved the fear of social demotion and openly approved of the mare they were supposed to make fun of. Compared to her, Silver Spoon was a better pony than Diamond Tiara was. It was a miracle the filly stood by her for so long.
Why did Silver Spoon even hung around a royal brat like her?
"Do you…wanna talk about it?" Silver Spoon was now at her bedside, a hoof placed on the filly's shoulder in empathy of her emotions.
At first Diamond Tiara just wanted to continue crying, but by now the tears had dried up and her voice wanted to make itself known, "Silver Spoon…did you…really like Granny Smith's story?"
The filly blinked and pondered the question. That had nothing to do with the ridiculous bunny ears she had to wear or the way everypony ignored her after class.
"Umm, it was…okay, I guess?" she answered curiously.
"Be honest," she turned to face her from the pillow.
"Uhh. Well, I thought the story was really amazing," the filly looked up to recollect the details she liked the most from the story, "The TimberWolves, the Zap Apples, all of it coming full circle to right now, it was really entrancing, hearing about how your hometown was born. Those kinds of stories make you feel extra close to the place you live in, and I thought you'd like it too, considering your great grandfather was just as involved."
The pink filly looked away for a moment, then looked back.
"So, you honestly thought it was the greatest Family Appreciation Day ever?"
Silver Spoon still didn't get where this was going, "Umm, yeah. Honestly."
"Even if it was Granny Smith telling the story?"
It took her a while to connect the dots. The moment before Granny Smith had started the story, the two of them joked about her polka dotted memory. They were not expecting to have been blown away by such a mesmerizing tale. Silver Spoon really did think the story deserved praise, she even expected Diamond Tiara to join in on the applause. But when the filly remained ignorant and called out the old mare for being what they had joked about, the entire class had gasped in disgust. Silver Spoon thought she knew better than to mock another pony liked that, especially under those circumstances. Her entire family business wouldn't have existed if it weren't for the Apple clan; she probably wouldn't even have been born. So seeing her being less than grateful for the mare really shocked the classroom. Silver Spoon honestly thought she deserved to be humiliated the way her father made her hop over watering cans.
Had she learned nothing?
"Diamond Tiara…" Silver Spoon started, but couldn't figure out how to say the first important words, "…okay look. We're friends, right?"
The pink filly couldn't hold back a sniff, "Yeah?"
"Wrong," she quickly shot down.
Diamond Tiara stared as the carbon filly had turned serious.
"The only reason you and I know each other is because my mother runs a business under your father," she explained, "She makes jewelry for him to sell, and we earn profit. You and I just happened to be acquaintances through our parents."
The filly couldn't believe what she was hearing. Had she been…deceived all this time?
"But…so…why did you…?" the filly asked.
"Listen, we both lived in the same town, and we went to the same school," Silver Spoon continued, "…well, it's the only school, but still. You know you're father likes to get close with his suppliers, right? Why do you think he made you wear those stupid bunny ears during the jam sale?"
The filly squeezed her pillow out of embarrassment, "Because of…"
"Because you insulted Granny Smith. Not a very smart move," the filly mocked, "You know, even your dad has trouble tolerating you, right?"
Diamond Tiara could feel her tears returning as she faced these truths, "Yes…"
Silver Spoon stayed quiet for a moment, thinking back to the first day of school.
"I saw how lonely you were in that playground, Tiara," the filly was the only one in Ponyville who called her by half of her name, "I've helped my mother sell fancy jewelry and necklaces to all sorts of clients. Just from looking at you I already knew what kind of pony you were."
For the first time in forever, Diamond Tiara had an empathic look on her face. Here she was receiving an uplifting talk from her only friend, and she was even more grateful now for having someone like Silver Spoon tolerate her. If it weren't for her, she'd have been long gone by now…
"You were up tight. You lived on daddy's money. And there was nothing you couldn't have if you asked nice enough," Silver Spoon listed, "That's what I saw in the mask you wore every day. I had seen that too many times in the customers of our store, and I hated every single one of them."
She remembered working the summers helping her mom forge the metals to make rings and necklaces. Every mare who walked into their store eyed each one of their designs, criticizing them and imaging the beauties on their hooves and necks. Silver Spoon stood by the counter at each sale, and came to realize that they were all the same. Uptight, condescending, and too good for others. The jewelry they sold was supposed to help ponies accomplish that image, and while it paid very well, Silver Spoon had learned to detest all of them. Any jewelry that did not live up to the customer's ideal sense of beauty were quickly refined and redone into new, better jewelry, and there were a lot of refunds.
"But…" the filly lifted her head a little, voice somewhat raspy from crying, "Why did you become friends with me?"
When Silver Spoon met Diamond Tiara, she saw a lonely individual who only wanted friends. Upon directly talking to her, she quickly made her out to be a rich snob, and immediately regretted ever confronting the filly. But when she returned home that day, she thought about the circumstances of her attitude and knew that she still had a chance. Silver Spoon had a talent in seeing the true value of others, and she saw potential in every rough ugly rock, it was in her cutie mark after all. It was then she decided that she wouldn't leave Diamond Tiara alone to face the hardships of her life. She would help her shape up to become a more acceptable pony.
She was just disappointed that all of her efforts had been in vain so far. Until now.
"I wanted to help you become a better pony," she revealed, "I didn't want to see you grow up to be some self imposed snob who thought she was better than others. I was just surprised to see somepony so young already down that road."
Diamond Tiara remained quiet for a long while, taking in the carbon filly's words. Has she really been faking it this whole time? Did she really hate being around her? Was she so bad that she needed to learn humility through trial and error from her peers? It was an ugly thought, but Diamond Tiara had to be honest with herself.
She was a nightmare.
"…I'm…" the filly whimpered.
"I'm scared…" Diamond Tiara finally said, "All I really want is to be loved by ponies. Mom's too busy in Manehattan, making business meetings to expand our retailers, and daddy…he wanted a colt instead of a filly…"
Silver Spoon was aware of how distant their family was from each other. Diamond Tiara only mentioned it once, but it made her more determined to get through to her. She figured if the pink filly couldn't get the adoration she needed at home, she'd get it from her peers who'd admire her for being special; special as in being rich.
"Look, I think it's time to cut Apple Bloom some slack," Silver Spoon suggested, "I know why you pick on her. Well, we, pick on her. She has friends. Friends that you wished you had."
"I had you," Diamond Tiara said as she turned to face the wall, "I thought that was enough."
"Tiara, you may think you're special," she patted the filly again on the shoulder, "But you're only as special as the friends you make."
"Yeah, thanks for reminding me," she replied sarcastically.
Silver Spoon sighed, "Look, maybe you can open up more. Let other foals see you for who you really are."
This set her off. Like a light to a puddle of gasoline, the pink filly exploded in tears.
"No!" Diamond Tiara sat up, to the surprise of the filly. She was seething with anger and sadness, an odd mix of disgust and fear, "I can't do that, Silver Spoon!"
"Why not?" she asked.
The pink filly pointed to her flank, "You see this? This is my special talent. My very person! I am embodied in this sign! It's there for everypony to see. And what do they see?"
Silver Spoon took a moment to analyze the cutie mark. A tiara studded with diamonds, just like the one she wore every day. Her mother had it custom made for the filly, just to strengthen ties between her and Filthy Rich. It worked, though, and because of that, Silver Spoon's family was a successful retailer of jewelry wear.
"I see…a special crown?" she tried to be nice about it, but Diamond Tiara knew the truth better than she'd admit.
"My special talent is being special," the filly seethed, anger receding as sadness replaced it, "My sole purpose is to be noticed for how rich I am, that I can afford a crown made of diamonds to parade on my head every day. I can't change who I am, Silver Spoon. This is who I really am. And for the longest time…"
She started tearing up again as she stared at Silver Spoon.
"…I thought you accepted me for who I was. But I guess I was wrong…"
Silver Spoon looked down shamefully for a moment. She had well intentions in the first place, but she had no idea she was a metaphorical band aid to her personal flaw. Normally those flaws could be fixed or even rectified through humility or boosting self esteem. But very rarely was a personality the very flaw itself. She couldn't hide her true self. She was meant to be snooty, a brat, a rich kid, uptight, the very pony meant to be despised by her peers.
And to be known only as a nuisance to society, Silver Spoon had no idea just how precious she was to preserving Diamond Tiara's state of mind.
Then, euphoria struck the filly.
"Tiara, cutie marks mean way more than what they show," Silver Spoon reassured with a pat on her arm, "I mean, look at my cutie mark."
The filly turned so that Diamond Tiara could see her flank. It was a silver spoon, much like her namesake, molded and sculpted with a fancy handle and a heart at the tip. It wasn't anything special, but she could never understand what it meant.
"It's…" she sniffed, "…just a spoon."
"Yeah, and what are spoons made of?" she asked.
"Exactly. And what is metal made of?" Silver Spoon faced Diamond Tiara again.
"And from rocks, you can make something as beautiful as a chandelier, or jewelry, or even a crown," she went on.
"I don't get it," the filly said.
"Look, I got my cutie mark helping my mom make some utensils for an order," she explained, "You can turn an ugly chunk of silver ore into a fine spoon to feed royalty."
"And what does this have to do with me?" Diamond Tiara asked.
"Look, when ponies look at you, they see an ugly lump of coal," the words caused the filly to retract a bit in her position, "But I can see something worth of value inside you. I see a diamond just waiting to be carved into the perfect shape on the perfect tiara."
"So you're saying…" she wiped one last tear from her eye, "Your special talent is gonna help me become a better pony?"
"Well, that too," Silver Spoon rubbed the back of her neck, "But I also mean that cutie marks always do more than what they show. I can easily compare you to a lump of silver, but I thought a coal was a better anagram."
Diamond Tiara sighed, "So, what do you think I can do?"
Silver Spoon took another look at her cutie mark and pondered, "Well, tiara's are a very princessy thing, right?"
"Well, don't you have any talent in leadership? Like, back when we had that team project to do, the day you got your cutie mark."
Diamond Tiara remembered that day fondly, mostly because it was her last day as a shameful blank flank. The whole classroom was to create a poster to represent their school, and she was selected to be the group leader by a lucky draw of the hat. She commanded and worked the foals to do their part while she watched and monitored their progress. Of course the students were more than annoyed with her, but she criticized every portion of the poster and fixed any minor errors she spotted. When the poster was finished, Cheerilee had congratulated all of them on a spectacular job and commented that it was the best to have ever been produced by the school in ages. Every student was proud of their work, but Diamond Tiara received the most thanks as team captain for the project done. She had never felt so accomplished that day, to have been recognized for her natural talent. She thought it was because she was such a credible figure that the students followed along out of the will to please her. She never caught on, but she was too distracted by her cutie mark to have given it any attention.
While she was snooty and hard to please, it just meant that she had an eye for detail and perfection. Having been able to get whatever she wanted, she knew what perfection was when she saw it. Diamond Tiara thought her talent was being special, to be treated like a princess. She never guessed that the ability to lead was part of her talent.
"Leadership," the filly said as she looked down to her flank, "Is…is that what my talent is?"
"As sure as my talent is craftsmanship," Silver Spoon nodded.
"I never knew…" How embarrassing. To have proudly worn a cutie mark and to have never understood its meaning. Diamond Tiara felt mortified from this realization, almost as much as the time Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle stuck up for Apple Bloom at her own Cutecinera, "But…that still means ponies won't like me for it."
"That's something you have to earn, Tiara," the carbon filly said, "It's as Cheerilee said. Respect others as you would want to be respected."
"Huh. I guess that much is true…" Diamond Tiara swung her legs over the edge of the bed, "But how do I get ponies to like me more?"
"Well, it'd help to think of them more as your equals rather than think you're better than them," Silver Spoon scratched her cheek, "Like, think of Rarity for a minute."
Of all the ponies they respected above their own parents, Rarity was pretty high on the list. She was beautiful, friendly, and a well respected designer. Not many knew it, but she was their role model. Rarity was exactly the kind of mare the two of them wanted to grow up to be.
"She's the best clothes maker in all of Ponyville," Diamond Tiara said, "And she's even the Element of Generosity…"
"Right, but she's also a great friend too," the carbon filly nodded along, "Did you know she's close friends with Applejack and Rainbow Dash?"
The pink filly had known about Rarity's relation to Rainbow Dash from the Best Young Flyer's Competition, but she had never known she was affiliated with the farmer as well. Even worse, that very farmer was Apple Bloom's older sister. The contrast made her think about herself and Apple Bloom.
And that was when it hit her.
"She must be such a great pony for them to hang around with her…" Diamond Tiara uttered, "They don't hate anything about her, and they all love her for her honest work and generous nature…"
"So now are you getting it?" Silver Spoon asked.
"Honesty, generosity, and respect…" the filly listed, "Is that what makes a good friend?"
"It's a start," she answered, "But it's a great first step. Be yourself, but don't forget to like others for being themselves."
It was such a simple solution, mind blowing even. Had Diamond Tiara forfeited her pride, she'd have made her own friends in school, friends she liked and liked her back. But she was too hoity and stuck up to see this. Had it not been for Silver Spoon, she wouldn't have realized this, and she'd have been a lost cause, doomed to have been left behind by society.
She was extremely grateful that a friend like Silver Spoon had stuck around to show her this. Diamond Tiara may not have been a friend anypony wanted, but she could acknowledge that Silver Spoon was a friend she needed.
It was as they said. A friend in need is a friend indeed.
"Thank you. For everything," she leapt off the bed and hugged the filly tightly, "Thanks for not giving up on me, and for standing by me."
"Hey, it's about time you learned your lesson," Silver Spoon patted her back, "And you're welcome."
Diamond Tiara broke the hug and looked into the filly's face curiously, "So, all the times we made fun of Apple Bloom together, you were just playing along?"
"I had to keep your trust, didn't I?" she replied with a sassy smile.
"So you really don't think she's a loser?"
"Not really. She was really ehh," Silver Spoon motioned with her hoof to express her neutrality, "But after today, I can't help but be impressed by her family history."
"Ohh…" the pink filly once again felt ashamed for disliking Apple Bloom because of jealousy. Her father and the Apples were good friends and she had to be more grateful to her. It was the least she could do. "So…are we friends for real, this time?"
"That depends. Do you want to go out shopping?" the carbon filly asked.
Diamond Tiara considered it, but then thought of a better idea.
"Hmm, I'd rather go to Sweet Apple Acres. I think it's time to pay my dues."
"Start slow, Tiara," Silver Spoon held a hoof in the air, "Maybe you should invite Apple Bloom to a party instead."
"Well, you're the craftsman. It's your call," Diamond Tiara rubbed her face and noted how sticky it was, "Maybe we should go shopping. Right after I clean my face."
"I'll be outside when you're ready," she said as she followed the filly out of the room.
As Silver Spoon trotted down the stairs, she looked back to catch the pink filly's flank as she went around the corner. She felt proud of herself for doing something most ponies thought was impossible; fixing Diamond Tiara. Where most ponies would have given up on her, she kept going, believing she could be saved. She was also proud of the pink filly as well, for accepting the change and to be willing to become a better pony. Being snooty and stuck up was doomed to fail from the start and Silver Spoon knew that. Maybe now, Diamond Tiara could finally get the friends she desired. And she couldn't have been prouder to have been her first friend.
That's what friends are for, after all.
I wrote this after watching Family Appreciation Day and noticed a subtle divide between Silver Spoon and Diamond Tiara. When I took the idea of their conversation afterwards and the inspiration of looking into their characters, this happened.
You have to work on an inspiring idea as soon as you can, so that it doesn't go to waste. I let my inspiration get the best of me, because neglecting certain things can be a burden on your conscious. *grumgleHisNameIsMacgrumble*
And now back to your sporadically scheduled fanfiction. R&R.