Formally Edited by: Clavier, Mr. Minimii and Apple Cinnamon
Edited by: Unnamed Pawn and First_Down
Thanks to Catnipfairy for her artwork!***
Scootaloo checked her watch, only a few minutes left. She sighed and leaned back against the entrance to Ponyville Cemetery, waiting for her friend to return. Scootaloo could remember when it used to be daily, then weekly. Only after they started high school did it start to become a once a month visit, and according to her friend’s shrink it was a sign of finally moving on. Scootaloo personally thought that had happened awhile ago, but she wasn’t an expert on such things.
“Thanks for waiting again,” said a voice as the gates closed behind her. Scootaloo turned to her left and saw Silver Spoon with a small smile on her face. The former bully had removed her trademark glasses years ago and replaced them with contacts, and let her braid lengthen until it was as long as Applejack's. Other than that she looked almost exactly the same as she did when she was a filly.
Scootaloo herself had grown up over the years. To nopony's surprise she had styled her mane like Rainbow Dash, got her ear pierced and always wore Dash’s old weather patrol goggles around her neck. They had been a gift for her thirteenth birthday, around the time Dash finally graduated from reserves to acting member of the Wonderbolts. It was also to help Scootaloo deal with the unfortunate reality that had been revealed to her two months earlier.
A serious late growth spurt had made her one of the tallest mares of her age, yet she still had underdeveloped wings that were smaller than the average pegasus. An expert told Scootaloo the news she had been dreading to hear for years: she was never going to fly like a normal pegasus.
She could hover for a bit or do short bursts of flight, like the first time she flew to save Silver Spoon, but anything more strenuous than that was considered too risky. It hurt to see her dreams of being a great flier like Rainbow Dash crumble, and it put her in a deep state of depression. But her father, her stepmother and all her friends were there for her when they could be. Thankfully, she soon got her cutie mark, a skateboard with wings, and was right as rain afterwards. I can’t believe it took me that long to find it. And it was so obvious! Even more than Sweetie Belle's and Apple Bloom’s!
“You know you didn’t have to wait for me,” said Silver Spoon.
“I’ve been doing this for how many years now?” asked Scootaloo with a smirk. “It’s what friends do.”
“You could always come and say hi to her. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind,” suggested Silver Spoon.
Scootaloo bit her lip and stared out at the rows of gravestones sitting in silence. “I... I don’t know.”
“I understand. Anyway, the gang’s meeting us at Sugarcube Corner. We should hurry,” said Silver Spoon, heading towards the road that led into town.
Scootaloo nodded, following the mare she had stuck by ever since Diamond Tiara's funeral. The ensuing years produced many arguments, many tears and many hugs. Silver Spoon saw a therapist to deal with the trauma and guilt of surviving an accident that killed her best friend before her eyes. And after every session, Scootaloo was there to offer support, especially in those moments when Silver Spoon came close to giving up. Eventually the stubbornness, the determination and the friendship she showed the former bully won out. Silver Spoon was only visiting Diamond Tiara once a month now. She was president of their high school in Canterlot, and she had received a promising scholarship to a college in Baltimare. Scootaloo felt like a corner had been turned, like she could breathe a little easier. As for herself, she enjoyed being captain of the soccer team and taking first place in numerous extreme sporting contests. That was her therapy.
Ponyville had also changed over the years, slowly becoming more crowded than ever before. Part of the population boom may have been due to the giant crystal tree castle that housed six of the most famous mares in modern history, but who could say for sure. The streets were busy around this time, and more than once ponies stopped to say hello to the pair. Occasionally they would see a filly or colt running around with a Cutie Mark Crusader cape.
Scootaloo couldn’t help but chuckle at that. Who would have thought the little club we started when we were fillies would end up being a Ponyville tradition? Tales of the adventures and fun she and her friends undertook spread through each filly and colt as they grew up, and soon they too took on the mantle to find their cutie marks.
“How’s your Dad doing? He got promoted recently, right?” asked Silver Spoon as they made their way towards Scootaloo’s house.
“Yeah, he’s now dealing on the high roller international floor,” answered Scootaloo with a smile. Even if her father was now dealing cards for casinos in Las Pegasus, that didn’t mean she couldn’t be proud of him for working hard. “Half the debt he owes is gone by now. I asked Sweetie Belle for help with the math and she said if he keeps this up he’ll be able to pay all his debts soon.”
“And then he can move back, huh?” asked Silver Spoon with a sad smile.
“Yeah, he can,” whispered Scootaloo as she opened her door. “Mind waiting for me here? I’m just gonna tell Mom that I’m hanging out with you and the girls today.”
“No problem,” said Silver Spoon, sitting down on her haunches as Scootaloo went inside.
She could remember the first time she stepped into this house, but back then she was an angry filly at odds with so much in the world. Years had passed since she and Ms. Cheerilee talked, and she was happy to say that everything had worked out. The room was still filled with the same pictures that Ms. Cheerilee always had, but there were new additions as well, featuring a certain orange-furred and purple-maned filly.
“Scootaloo? Is that you? I’m in the kitchen!” shouted Ms. Cheerliee as Scootaloo walked over. Her new mother, and her ex-teacher, was working on some cookie batter with her mouth before she stopped and kissed her adopted daughter hello. “How was your day at school?”
“It was fine, Mom, and yours?” asked Scootaloo.
With a frustrated sigh, she shook her head and rubbed her temples. “Apple Burst’s newest prank was a headache all on its own. The little brat put cherry bombs into the toilets and flooded half the school when they went off. Honestly, he’s the son of an Element of Harmony and a Wonderbolt. He should have better behavior than this. I don’t even know where he got those bombs anyway.”
“Who knows,” lied Scootaloo, who made a reminder to hoof bump Apple Burst when she got a chance. “Anyway, I’m heading to Sugarcube corner to hang out with my friends. I’ll be back in time for dinner.”
“Just don’t spoil yourself,” warned Cheerilee, but she had a smile on her lips when Scootaloo walked away.
Scootaloo stopped in front of the picture in the bathroom showcasing the party she received after getting her cutie mark. Crimson and Cheerilee were both hugging her. Any stranger would have assumed that they were a typical family unit, but the truth was her father and stepmother were not married. Despite her father’s, and Cheerilee's, best efforts, Social Services found out about the conditions she had been living in. No matter how much Scootaloo and others protested, her father was determined to be unfit for parental care, especially after they learned of his gambling debts.
It looked like she was going to be taken away from Ponyville when Cheerilee stepped in, offering to adopt Scootaloo. Because of her outstanding history as a teacher, she was permitted and so Scootaloo managed to stay. Without him having to worry about his daughter all the time, Crimson was able to get a job in Las Pegasus working as a card dealer in a casino. The very same one he owed a lot of money to. At first, he didn’t want to go, but Scootaloo convinced her father that it was for the best.
She still loved her dad, and she saw him whenever she could. Scootaloo knew her dad loved her and always would, even if he wasn’t the best parent.
Cheerilee was more than just a guardian, she was her mother. The one thing Scootaloo had been denied ever since her real mother left was now finally in her life. Cheerilee was loving, she was strict, and she cared about Scootaloo. It came as a shock to them both when Scootaloo called her "Mom" one morning, but they accepted it quickly and hugged for hours afterwards. It was through Cheerilee, and her friends, that she accepted her disability, resolving to find a way to be awesome even without wings.
As for her real mother, the one who caused her so much pain? Scootaloo didn’t care. She didn't hate that other mare anymore. She didn’t even think much of her these days. Occasionally, she would pop up but as far as Scootaloo was concerned there was no pointing thinking about her anymore. She was gone, end of story. Cheerilee was her mom, not that other mare.
With one last sigh, she exited out of the bathroom and back outside where Silver Spoon was waiting.
Sweetie Belle was already waiting for them at Sugarcube Corner and she wasn’t alone. Her coltfriend, Button Mash, was there with her and the two were sharing a chocolate and vanilla milkshake mixed smoothly together. They were looking into each others eyes with dopey smiles on their faces. It made Scootaloo sick to see how they were acting. Out of all her friends, Sweetie Belle was the one who dated the most.
Her first coltfriend was technically unofficial, a sick pony she'd befriended by the name of Shoestring Catch. Sweetie had said one of his dying wishes was to have a marefriend so she agreed to be his. Three months later he passed away, and it took Sweetie Belle just as long to recover from his death. Since then she had dated Featherweight, Rumble, Snails, and a few other boys. She even tried the other side of the fence with Berry Pinch. In the end, she chose a weird colt by the name of Button Mash who was into video games. Scootaloo was happy for Sweetie Belle, no doubt, but she wished she wasn’t such a love struck puppy. Seriously, it's as bad as Spike and Rarity.
Upon seeing the two, Sweetie Belle waved at them and hugged Silver Spoon, knowing where she had just been. “How are you girls doing?”
“I’m fine. Thanks, Sweetie,” replied Silver Spoon, hugging back.
The two sat down with the others as Scootaloo looked around for their last member. “Hey, where’s Apple Bloom?”
“No idea, she’s usually here first. Maybe she’s busy helping out at the farm?” asked Button Mash, giving a suggestion.
Before anyone could reply, Apple Bloom strolled in wearing her sister's hat overtop her long red mane that made that made a few colts in the store turn their heads and blush. Apple Bloom had grown up to be a perfect beauty that made every colt in town want her. Apple Bloom had grown up into a perfect beauty and a perfect heartbreaker to a lot of colts when she announced one day that she was dating Dinky Doo. Sitting beside them, Apple Bloom rubbed the back of her neck and said, “Sorry about bein’ late. We had to dig out a few bad trees on the southeast side. We think some tree rot is spreadin’.”
“It’s not gonna hurt the cider season, is it?” asked Scootaloo with worry. The thought of all that tasty golden cider going to waste made her heart cry.
“Nah, we’re gonna be fine. Thanks to all the new helpers we got, we should be able to even have extra this year,” said Apple Bloom, much to Scootaloo’s relief.
Walking over to their table, Pumpkin Cake greeted the gang and held out a pen and pad with her magic. “Hey, guys. What will it be today?”
“The usual,” said Silver Spoon, putting the bits on the table. “One big Diamond Cake with five glasses of milk.”
Pumpkin Cake nodded, “I figured as much. I got one already made. I’ll be right back”, she said as she went off to retrieve the cake. Surprisingly, the twins still remembered Diamond Tiara as they grew older and quickly understood that she had died and not "gone to a long sleep." The day it first sunk in had been a sobering one for the two. But they soon bounced back and created a cake that grew quite famous as time went on, a cake that Silver Spoon ate whenever she had a chance. Not just because it was in honor of her deceased best friend, but it was also just so tasty.
A few minutes later, Pumpkin came out with the cake. The exterior was coated with a purple frosting with chocolate on the inside as well as gummy treats that looked like diamonds. For decoration, there were marshmallow stars of every color and a gingerbread copy of Diamond Tiara’s famous namesake on top. The gang all thanked Pumpkin and everyone took a slice along with their glasses of milk. Before they could dig in, Apple Bloom said, “Next week is the anniversary, isn’t it?”
Everypony froze as they stared at Apple Bloom, who looked at her cake with tears in her eyes. “Hard to believe it’s been so many years.”
The other girls nodded their heads in a solemn expression while Button Mash did his best to avoid the awkwardness. After all, he had moved to Ponyville only a few weeks after Diamond’s death.
Scootaloo then focused on Silver Spoon, who looked at her cake for a bit before taking the first bite. She then smiled. “Knowing Diamond, she’s arguing with an angel for bigger wings because she wants to be more noticed.”
Scootaloo snorted and replied, “That or moaning about how she’s stuck as a filly with tiny angels wings while everyone has big ones.”
The others began to chuckle as well. And with the awkward moment broken, they dug in.
Scootaloo didn’t know why she decided to do this today of all days, especially when the anniversary was only a week away. Maybe the overall mood while she was with her friends made her decide to finally do the one thing she had been putting off for years. Maybe it was Silver Spoon actually cracking a joke when the subject was about Diamond Tiara instead of being quiet and mournful. Or maybe I’m just crazy.
She passed through the gates of Ponyville Cemetery and walked among the headstones of those who had gone before her. The only reason she knew where she was going was because she saw Silver Spoon go in so many times and it wasn’t that far away.
When she stopped, she stood before four lined gravestones. The two rightmost ones displayed the names of a mother and son who tragically died in an accident. Diamond Tiara was immediately next to them. The headstone at the far left was the most recent, that pony having passed away only two years ago.
Mr. Rich led a quiet life after his daughter’s death, giving control of most of his business to his other relatives. The poor stallion saw no point in working anymore, and he had enough to retire for the rest of his days anyway. He mostly focused on charity donations or spending time with the Apples who were the closest to him. Then one day the stallion was found dead in his bed from a stroke. Yet he looked so peaceful, they said, like he had welcomed it. Everything he owned he left to Ponyville and the Apples, who were able to fix their farm, get new tools, hire helpers, and pay their debts while having plenty of money left over for Apple Bloom to go to college.
Scootaloo had been there for the funeral to support Apple Bloom, who wept for her “uncle's” death. But at the same time, Scootaloo felt like maybe this was what he always wanted, a chance to be with his family again in whatever afterlife existed. She herself wasn’t particular on the notion of which one was real among the long list of religions out there. She just hoped one existed at all. Nothingness kinda sucked when she thought about it.
Turning her mind away from the theological debates of life after death, she focused on the grave that carried the cutie mark and name of the number one bully in her life: Diamond Tiara.
Staring at it, she tried to remember all the horrible things she had been forced to endure at the hooves of the rich filly. She could remember some, like the Gabby Gums incident, as well as the time Babs Seed was with them. But she couldn’t remember too much of it.
Maybe it was because, now that she was older, it didn’t mean much to her. Why did she have to focus so much on incidents that didn’t matter in the long run? She was happy with her friends, stepmother, father, and had a promising career in extreme sports. She was doing well in school, had plenty of friends, and even dated from time to time.
Back then it seemed as though everything she did as a filly carried so much impact. Now that she was grown up, it didn't compare to all the important things going on in her life now. Maybe ten years from now she'd look back to her current life and say something similar. When Scootaloo looked at the gravestone, she tried to conjure those old feelings of anger, only she couldn't do it. She tried again and felt nothing.
And then there was Silver Spoon, a filly who she proudly called one of her best friends despite their past.
I guess it’s finally time, thought Scootaloo as she took a deep breath.
“I forgive you, Diamond Tiara.”