Scootaloo’d never really been any good at the whole ‘feelings’ thing. She was good at having feelings, and really, really good at acting on ‘em without taking the time to think things through – but that was kinda the problem. She’d always run off her feelings, but she’d never really gotten the hang of dealing with them. Charge head-first into a bunch of Griffons that were raiding a town ‘cause they were jerks and she wanted to stop ‘em? Yep, she could do that. She might even win.
Maybe. If she got lucky. But probably not - she sure hadn’t last time. But the point was she’d do it, she’d do it awesomely, and everyone would be totally impressed and call her brave and a hero and stuff – that was just how things worked. Everypony knew that. But if they asked her afterwards why she’d done it, what she’d been thinking – or worse, if the Griffons said sorry and turned out to be cool? The best she’d ever been able to manage was a blank stare and some half-assed mumbling.
And most of the time that was okay. She wasn’t a thoughts and hugs kind of pony, and she accepted that – she was the one you called when you needed some butts kicked, or a building demolished just right, or just wanted to hang out with the most awesome Pegasus in all of Equestria. It was a good life, even if not a lot of ponies had really bothered to take her up on that last but yet. But, like everything good just had to, it had a few downsides – and one of ‘em was staring her in the face, tears in her eyes and angrier than Scootaloo had ever seen her.
Sweetie Belle was crying, and yelling, and really kinda the opposite of what Scootaloo had been hoping she’d be doing – smiling, laughing, being happy - and she didn’t have a clue how to fix it. The pony she loved was muzzle to muzzle with her, glaring up at her, demanding an answer, an excuse, an explanation. Anything, really, as long as it made things like they used to be when they were kids again. Sweetie Belle was furious with her, hated her – and the only thing she could think of doing was how awesome it’d be to kiss those soft white lips.
Sometimes, Scootaloo wondered if she was a bad pony. But now wasn’t one of those times – she wouldn’t let it be one of ‘em. She had to say something or do something to make it okay. To make Sweetie okay. Because her best friend was hurting, and it was her fault. Even she wasn’t dumb enough to miss that.
“Well?” Sweetie demanded again, her voice just a little higher than it really should’ve been – her ‘why did you jump off that building’ voice that always, always meant that Scootaloo had done something really, really stupid.
“I…I dunno.” She stammered the words, and as soon as she had she regretted them. Just like her, to say exactly the wrong thing. And sure enough, Sweetie’s eyes only narrowed further as she took a step back and turned away.
“Oh, how silly of me. Of course you don’t know. You just woke up one day and decided to disappear for three months without telling us. Without telling me. Just like you always do. Some friend youare.”
It hurt. It hurt a lot, and immediately she wanted to yell – to deny it and say it wasn’t true, because that made her a jerk and she totally wasn’t a jerk. But she didn’t. She fought the urge down with some difficulty and took a step closer, reaching out a hoof to rest on her friend’s shoulder.
“Sweetie –“ She began, but was cut off almost immediately.
“Don’t touch me. You’re not allowed. You’re a buttface.” The words were sullen, mumbled – and completely serious. If it had been anypony else, Scootaloo would’ve laughed. But it wasn’t anypony else, it was Sweetie – and that made them the most important words in the world. She lowered her hoof, and wracked her brain in a desperate attempt to get her head in order. It didn’t work. It never worked. So she did what she always did: she blurted the first thing that came to mind.
“I couldn’t take it anymore,” she began, and found that as hard as starting to say things was, stopping was even harder, “You two, I mean. Seeing you together. I know how dumb that is, and I know I’m a bad pony, but it hurt – knowing I’d never be good enough.”
She turned her head away and Sweetie Belle glanced over at her, suddenly not really sure if she could handle the anger in them anymore. Didn’t mean she couldn’t hear the soft, pitying voice though – Celestia, she hated it. She didn’t need pity. Not from Rainbow Dash, or Pinkie Pie, or Apple Bloom. But especially not from Sweetie Belle.
“Good enough for what?”
She didn’t want to answer. She had to, anyway.
“For you. No, not just for you. For anyone. All anyone ever saw when they looked at me was her. When I got my cutie mark, I was so happy – but all anypony could say was ‘oh, she’s just like Rainbow Dash!’ But I’m not! I’m not her! I don’t want to be her!”
“I never thought of you like that.” The words were simple, gentle – she could still hear anger in them, but it was weaker now. She heard the words, and she knew they were true – she’d always known that.
“I know,” she said softly as she turned again to face Sweetie Belle, “I never thought you did. You…you saw me for exactly who I was. Who I am. And…ugh, it sounds so dumb now. You were the only pony besides Bloom to see me for who I was… I couldn’t handle it.”
“I’m so –“
“No. Don’t be sorry. You didn’t do anything. I was just so angry, and I didn’t know what to do. I needed help. So I went to Dash.”
Her frown deepened as she remembered the exchange, the things she had said to the pony who’d always be her hero – and the things that had been thrown right back. She opened her mouth to continue, only to be cut off as Sweetie Belle pulled her into a hug.
“I take it it didn’t go very well?” Sweetie’s voice was a whisper, and the question won a chuckle from Scootaloo.
“I bucked her in the face. Pretty sure I broke something. She didn’t even fight back – just got up, told me I needed to get my head on straight or get lost, and flew off. I…I’m not sure what happened after that. I just knew I had to leave.”
“But you came back.”
“I always knew I’d do that, too. Wasn’t sure if I’d stay, but you girls mean the world to me. I could never have just ditched you.”
She felt Sweetie nod, and then heard her mumble, “I still don’t forgive you. You’re still a buttface.”
“Yeah,” she agreed casually, “I know. But I hope you’ll forgive me one day.”
Sweetie snorted into her shoulder, and when she spoke again she sounded better. A little.
“Of course I will, dodo. But first you have to tell me what happened to your face.”
That seemed fair. But it could wait, at least for a bit, while she let those last words sink in.
Life, she reflected, was pretty good.
Comments by Kyronea:
Scootaloo and Sweetie grew up, and they’re having lots of heartache. Scootaloo especially—I understand her not being able to understand her feelings. I was like that once myself, and being unable to understand WHY you’re constantly angry or constantly up in arms with others is no fun. Scootaloo did some fairly terrible things too…I mean, bucking Rainbow Dash in the face? But she started working out her issues. The beauty of this story is the characterization. Both sound exactly like one might imagine they would once they grew up—still recognizable, still Sweetie and Scoots, but still more adult all the same. And the end promises potential…potential for Scootabloom. This pleases me.