"Mom, who is my father?"
Ditzy Doo paused in making dinner, the grey pegasus's body stiffening as her eyes widened in shock. Turning, she looked at her daughter Dinky Doo and blinked slowly. She held her breath for a moment, slowly counting to five before letting it out. In her head, she had known this day would come, but she had hoped her little filly would be older.
Ditzy Doo knew about how the other foals made fun of her due to her mother being 'special'. As cruel as the foals Dinky's age were, they would grow out of this stage eventually. The real painful barbs were from the mares and stallions around town. The aghast looks and the back-handed compliments towards them both when they were out shopping or having dinner. The whispered conversations and darting looks. That hurt them both far more because at times they would even say such things to their faces.
But they long ago stopped letting it phase them. Dinky knew all too well her mother understood and comprehended far more than the other ponies in town realize. But, in public, the pair just kept smiling and sometimes even thanking the others for the insults and back-handed compliments of how wonderful it is that a pegasus as special as her could raise a normal -UNICORN- filly.
But, in all this time, Ditzy had been waiting for this day. When the other ponies would talk about their fathers, Dinky would always gush about her mother the mail pony. But the subject of her father had just never been brought up. As such, a slimmer of hope had risen in the pegasus that this day might never arrive.
"Mom...?" Dinky trotted over, resting her left forehoof on her mother's shoulder with a worried look. "If... If you don't wanna talk about it..."
Ditzy looked to her daughter, a sad look in her eyes as she shook her head. Turning off the stove, she motioned for her daughter to follow. "The muffins told me that you'd want to know someday about how unicorn fillies fill life with joy..." The grey pegasus began to lead Dinky towards her bedroom as she talked. "And my most special muffin of goodness should know about the day I met her muffin sire of good joy!"
Dinky followed silently as she nodded, the young pegasus used to her mother's unique way of talking after a lifetime. She was born with a lazy eye and mental problems thanks to something called 'Foal Alcohol Syndrome'. Uncle Quarterback told Dinky once that her mom used to be a lot worse when she was younger, which frightened the young foal to think about.
As they entered Ditzy's room, the walls were decorated with crayon pictures drawn of all the ponies in town Ditzy thought of as her friends. They were actually quite well drawn, despite the medium used. Every time her mother met a new pony, she'd always draw him or her that night. It was just one of the many quirks that Ditzy loved about her mom that made her unique.
Trotting over to her bed, Ditzy pulled aside the muffin-patterned bedspread and crawled under the bed. After a moment, she pushed a small cardboard box out from under the bed before squirming out afterwards. Shaking the dust off her body, she pushed the box towards her daughter as she swallowed hard. "All the answers about space and flying balloons are in this box, my muffin. I'll leave to finish making the tasty delights of food and happiness while you learn the science."
Dinky nodded, watching her mother leave before looking back at the box. Most of her mother's possessions had an innocent, fillylike quality to them. But this box seemed outside of the room rather than a part of it. The box itself was old and tattered, as if it had been moved many times. Using a forehoof, the young filly gently pushed the lid off the top of the box and peered inside...
The small box didn't hold much, just a scroll and some photos. Taking out the first, she saw a picture of her mother when she was younger on a farm with other ponies; some earth ponies, some pegasi, and some unicorns. They were all laughing and smiling at a picnic, and Dinky felt a tear brim in her eye to see her mother so happy.
But something else caught her eye, and she had to stare closer to see if she saw right. Yes, most of the ponies in the photo, like her mother, had the same look in their eyes as her mother Ditzy had. Some were also in wheelchairs, and one was on crutches. But, all the ponies it seemed, were as special as her mother.
She sat the first photo in the box and drew out the second before pausing... There, in the photo, was her mother hugging a male unicorn next to a tree. His body was tan and he had a golden brown mane and tail. The thing that caught her attention the most was the fact his cutie mark was of a muffin. She stared for the longest time at the photo, her hooves trembling as she stared at the tree. Yes, it looked to be from the same farm, and carved into the tree was a crude heart with 'BM + DD' carved into the heart. It was not the best penmanship by far, but the sentiment was clear... This was a photo of her father...
Standing, Dinky's mind reeled with the implications. She had a unicorn father, and her mother had met him at some farm where everypony had been special like her. Suddenly, the years of her mother driving her to study more and more was making sense... She'd always assumed that it was just because her mother was fearful she'd end up like her, as unlikely as that is. But with two parents from such a place, the truth was like an explosion in her mind: She'd beaten the odds and made her mother so proud by being one of the top students in school. It was no wonder why her mother checked in on her every day while delivering mail!
Setting the other photo in the box, Ditzy's body gave a nervous shudder as she stared at the scroll. Did she really want to do this? Part of her wanted to unravel the scroll now and start reading, but a twinge of fear ran through her head. After this, there would be no going back. She could no longer spend the nights dreaming away what her father was like. She'd know for sure. Was she ready to forgo illusion and fantasy for cold reality?
Grasping the scroll, she gave a nod to herself. She had to know... Not just for herself, but for her mother, too. Her mother gave up so much for her, and had put on such a brave face for the world. And her mom had kept this box safe just for her to learn the truth... She owed it to her mom to follow this to the end. Opening the scroll, Dinky settled onto the floor on her abdomen and began to read.
Dinky, I'm writing this letter to you so you'll one day know who your father is. I'm hoping I gave this box to you and you're reading it now. If You found this box by accident digging around in my room, then you are GROUNDED! Go to your room and wait for me to get home!
Dinky gave a light chuckle. smiling to herself at the little note. Even in writing, her mother did have a fun sense of humor at times. Shaking her head, she turned back to the scroll to read more.
When I graduated school, my parents had just died the year before working as weather ponies. Quarterback had just started doing construction, and I was really a hoof full. I had a lot of trouble even doing the most basic of chores, and couldn't make out more than two words. Big Bro's job needed him to go to Fillydelphia to help build a new school for a year, so he told me I was going to go live on in a special place that could help me. That was when I was introduced to the Farm.
The Farm was just on the outskirts of Coltland, and was set up to help special ponies learn to be self-sufficient. But I didn't know this at the time. No, all I knew was that the last of my family was leaving me there, and I thought it was because he didn't love me anymore. I spent the first week in my room, refusing to come out even for meals. Every day I would just remain huddled under my covers ignoring everyone and everything.
At the end of the week, I heard a soft knock on my door. I then heard someone shuffle slowly into the room before feeling something placed on my bed. Once the shuffling left, I gave a sniff from under the covers and smelled the most delicious of scents... Poking my muzzle out from under the covers, I saw the mysterious visitor had left a basket of muffins on my bed.
My stomach growled at me, so needing of food after a week of fasting. Without a care for anything else, I dug my muzzle into the basket and began to happily eat the baked delights. Of course, after not eating for so long, I should have paced myself. I ended up eating so much so fast that I gave myself an upset stomach that lasted long into the night.
Dinky sighed, resting her forehoof on her temple as she just shook her head. She's seen the results of her mother eating too many muffins many a time, and had taken to keeping a large amount of a special pink potion the nurse ponies made in bulk just for their household. "Oh, mom..." she whispered out to herself. "That's so like you."
The next morning, I felt hungry again, so slowly trotted out of my room to the main living area. The farm's main house was where we all lived, and it had been set up so every pony's room opened into the main area where they had food, games, and held classes. Several ponies saw me as I left the room and gave a friendly wave of a hoof, and I balked slightly... Almost ready to bolt back into my room.
But a nurse pony saw me and gave the nicest smile, trotting over to give a welcome. She explained about the farm, and that my brother had left me there not as a punishment-but rather as a reward to become a better pony. She then began to lead me about the farm, tugging at me at times as she showed me everything the farm had to offer.
I slowly began to come out of my shell at that farm, and began to learn how to live by myself. They started me slow, teaching me how to cook and how to help out with the farm's chores. They also began to teach me how to fly properly, something that have been a challenge in school due to my lazy eye. I learned the painstaking task of over-compensating for depth perception, and how to think that objects could be much closer than they seemed.
And every evening, after a long day, I always found a new basket of muffins on my bed waiting for me. At first, I thought they were from my brother Quarterback, and he was watching out for me and stopping by to see if I was okay. But all that changed at the start of Summer.
It was a sunny day, and Celestia's sun was shining over all of us as we made our way towards the field. We'd finished all the day's lessons and chores early, so we were having a picnic to celebrate all our hard work. Speedy Wheels was also about to 'graduate', and we all wanted to wish him good luck. He was born with something called 'Paul-see', and lived his life in a wheelchair. But he'd been at the farm for two years, and had found a way past his chair to find out he was quite talented at delivering things. He might sit in that chair, but in it he could still go almost anywhere.
I'd been helping him out, finding I also had a knack for delivering things, as well. Between the two of us, there wasn't any delivery on the farm that couldn't reach its destination. We were an unstoppable duo, and it was with a bit of fear that I knew with his leaving, soon every one of the farm's deliveries and passing out of letters from home would fall to me alone.
But we were all happy for Speedy, none the less. The Farm had helped him find a job in Coltland with a delivery company, and had even got him a house of his own. It was going to be a big transition for him as well as for us, but he was one of the lucky ones. He was going to get to leave. Some at the Farm never could make it that far, and were here until they passed on.
But spirits were high that day, and we happily spilled out into the field to play. Even the nurses were relaxing, playing along with our games as the joyous sounds of our laughter rang across the pasture and the nearby hills.
Dinky smiled, curling up a bit on the floor as she nodded gently to herself. She could feel her mom's joy at reading this, and felt a longing to have gotten the chance to see her mom like this. Not having to put on a brave face every day, but honestly happy with no one around who made fun of her...
Several of the ponies from the kitchen had brought along soups, salads, and other delights. As the food was laid out, one thing caught my eyes: A wide variety of muffins of different flavors being set out by a tan unicorn. I trotted over, sniffing the muffins curiously before looking up at this stallion. These were the same muffins I had thought my brother was leaving me!
I turned on the unicorn, my mane bristling as I started screaming at him. Who was he to have my brother's muffins? How dare he put them out when they were left for me? Did he take them from him? Of course, with my speech problems, it didn't come out quite the way I hoped. But the point was made that I was quite upset!
He just looked at me then quietly before starting to move his forelegs in weird motions before my face. I shook my head, not understanding, and started to yell again...before feeling his soft left forehoof gently rest upon my muzzle tip. He motioned for me to follow, and I began to balk... Why should I follow this strange unicorn anywhere. But he motioned again and again to follow, so reluctantly I agreed.
He didn't lead me far, just across the pasture to a male nurse whom he tapped the rump of insistently. The nurse turned back and smiled. I think his name was Red Cross, if I remember right. He was a nice pegasus, and had helped in some of my flying classes. "Yes...? Oh, hello Bran Muffin! What can I help you with?"
The tan unicorn brushed back his golden brown mane with a hoof before moving his hooves in weird patterns again. Red Cross looked between us both, the white pegasus nodding as his short red mane bobbed with the motion. "Ah, okay..." He then looked to me and smiled. "Ditzy, I'm going to tell you what Bran here is saying, okay? But talk to him like I'm not here."
I remember I was a bit stunned at this, but nodded quietly before looking back at the unicorn. "Why are you holding the gifts of happy rhubarbs in sunshine from big bro?"
The unicorn's hooves started their quick motions as I heard Red Cross's voice. "I'm sorry, the muffins were from me. You just looked so sad when you got here, I just wanted to do something to cheer you up. They seemed to make you happy, and you look so pretty when you smile, so I just kept bringing you muffins."
I turned to Red Cross out of habit and asked, "What...? But green marmosets of-" But I hardly got out another word before I felt Bran's forehooves grip the sides of my head, turning me to face the the unicorn again before a flurry of hoof motions began
"Don't look at him!" Red said as he translated. "He's just my voice so we can talk! We're speaking not the two of you! Don't ignore me like that again!"
I tried to calm down as they taught me to do in the speech classes. to manage the right words Finally, the words came slow, but I was able to manage what I wanted to say "You are no my brother. You are new pony. But you be nice and cheer me up. But how come you no tell Ditzy this yourself?"
The unicorn sighed, pointing at his throat before making more motions as Red's voice nickered out again. "I was born unable to talk. Just like you, I was unable to tell others my thoughts for a long time. But here at the farm I was able to learn how to talk with my hooves just like you take classes to learn how to talk with your voice now."
I remember nodding, looking over this unicorn with a soft smile beginning to cross my muzzle. "You... You can teach your talking that no have star explosions that cause pony confusions up rivers?"
He gave a soundless chuckle, his body shaking as he nodded. "Of course, Ditzy." I heard Red's voice say as Bran's hooves started moving again. "I'll gladly teach you!"
For the rest of the day and as Celestia's sun set, Bran Muffin then began to teach me to talk using hooves as he did. As everyone else around us was celebrating the graduation of our friend Speedy Wheels, we two were starting to find something much more meaningful. We were finding each other with our hooves in our own personal way of talking.
Dinky felt her eyes blur with tears again, and she set the scroll to the side as she reached for a hoofkerchief. Gripping it in her hooves, she wiped the tears away from her eyes as she smiled to herself. "Mom... This is a side of you I never knew..."
After composing herself, Dinky looked at the curled scroll. Could she finish this? Did she really want to learn this much about her mother's younger days? Steeling herself, she gave a nod. Grabbing the scroll, she climbed up onto the bed and curled up under the covers. The scent of her mom all around her, she unravelled the scroll and picked up where she left off.
It was hard work, but by the end of summer we no longer needed Red Cross to speak for Bran. We sat outside or in the main living area, talking with our hooves the words our muzzles refused to let us express correctly. He told me of his youth growing up in a bakery in Ponyville, and his adopted parents Carrot Cake & Cup Cake. He was really their nephew, and had lost his mother and father in a flood when he was born-the same flood that robbed him of his vocal ability.
But living there, he learned to bake and create food that filled our bodies every night. He may not have been able to talk growing up, but that silence hid a brilliant mind within full of culinary skill and expertise. His specialty, though, was muffins. And he was quickly getting me addicted to those baked delights. Even though, we were both happy.
Every day, after delivering the letters and packages about the Farm, I'd fly over to the kitchen and help Bran with preparing food. It was a simple life, but we were happy. Truly happy. We'd spend time laughing and talking with our hooves, telling each other about our days, our hopes, and our dreams... And for us, it was enough. At least at first.
I don't remember when it first started, but we began to become more than friends. The occasional nuzzle while cooking, the hugs when we met, and even the long periods when we'd just smile at each other as our forehooves rested together while at different events. The other farm residents and nurses seemed to see the growing relationship long before we did.
But all this changed at the Autumn Harvest. Every fall, after the crops that helped pay for the farm were harvested & sold, the Farm would celebrate with a large party. There was always a vote for a Prince and Princess to oversee the evening, and lots of the other residents kept giving me a knowing wink whenever I delivered them their mail in the week leading up to the Harvest Party.
Then the day of the party arrived, and we all were hard at work to make it the best night ever. Bran and I worked so hard, preparing a feast for all our friends on the Farm as it grew later in the day. Finally, we finished and were able to carry everything out in carts before setting up a long buffet of delicious food.
Oh, Dinky, I wish you could have seen it that night. Several of the other guests of the farm had decorated the pasture and, with the help of the nurses, had set out paper lanterns to light the whole pasture in soft glows of reds, oranges, and yellows. Everything was just perfect, Dinky. Completely perfect.
The head nurse, a unicorn named Mare Blucher, gave a speech about how proud she was at all we had accomplished this year. We all whinnied and clopped our hooves in the air, happy to have this night of fun as reward. As she ended the speech, she then whipped out an envelope. "And now, to announce your Prince and Princess of the night..." She used her magic to open the envelope, then read aloud, "Prince Bran Muffin and Princess Ditzy Doo!"
Everyone around us started to applaud and whinny, and we both just looked about in shock. Several other residents started bushing our still stunned bodies up towards the stage as we felt toy crowns rested atop our heads. Finally we reached the stage and looked out, the crowd of our friends cheering for us as they all began to chant one word over and over: "Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!"
We looked between each other as Mare Blucher tried to quiet the group, but they kept cheering as that word was chanted again and again with growing intensity... "KISS! KISS! KISS! KISS!"
I looked at Bran, and he looked back at me as we both shrugged. At the time, we just wanted to quiet the other ponies so we could all get to the celebrations. So we leaned in close as our muzzle lips met...
I don't know how long we held that first kiss, Dinky. It was like... Summertime and flying and even muffins all together. It was like getting hugged by Quarterback... Like when my parents were alive... It was all of this all rolled up into one ball of warm feelings that ran through my body like lightning. I felt my eyes close as everything else in the world disappeared and it was just Bran and I alone.
The kiss was finally broken and we just looked at one another. It was then that I heard the cheering from the others in the group and turned, seeing tears of joy in their eyes as they all clapped approvingly. Both Bran & I blushed furiously, our muzzles turning almost beet red as we both motioned for the festivities to begin.
As everyone filed over to the buffet to start eating, we just looked at one another for the longest time. It felt again like the rest of the world was fading away, and it was us again. Lifting his forelegs, Bran began to say the words in what had become our own private language. 'I LOVE YOU'. Smiling, I motioned back to him as tears started to brim in my eyes. 'I LOVE YOU TOO'.
That night, after the party wound down, I didn't return to my room. Rather, I followed Bran to the apartment he had behind the kitchen. You don't want to know what happened that night, and many other nights after that. Only know that we both loved each other very much. It wasn't until just after Winter Solstice that I began getting sick quite often.
We were both so scared, Dinky! For the first time in a few months, muffins were making me sick! And I didn't want to eat Bran Muffins' cooking, I just wanted to eat things like Chocolate-Covered Pickles or Cupcakes with Hot Sauce and Sprinkles! Eventually, at Bran's urging, we went to Mare Blucher to get me checked out. She watched and listened as we both told her of my health issues, and then asked a few personal questions that caused us both to blush. Finally, feeling my growing belly with her forehooves, she told us the news: I was not sick, I was pregnant. Bran and I were to have a foal together!
Things began to move very quickly after that. Bran's parents were called, and we were both helped in packing up our things. There was a party planned, and all our friends gave us such big hugs and well-wishes. The Farm was our home, but it was no place to birth or raise a foal. So, we were to go stay with his parents where we could be able to birth the foal easier.
And so we traveled by pegasus carriage to Ponyville, where his parents welcomed us with open arms. Ah, Dinky, it was wonderful. Bran started to work in the bakery, and his parents helped set us up in a house outside of Ponyville. And, one day just after Winter Wrap Up, I began to feel the sharp pains. Nurses were called as I laid in our bed, racked in pain. But it was all worth it. After all the pain, there you were in our arms, Dinky. Our most precious muffin of all.
We lived together for three years after that, Dinky. Just the three of us as one big, happy family. You were too young to know, but your father loved you with every fiber of his being. But, The Farm needed him. They kept trying to find someone to replace him as the cook, but not a one of them had the patience to handle the job.
They needed him, and the possible outbursts from residents made the Farm a place you could never grow up in. And we wanted more for you. We wanted you to have the life neither of us could have. You had your father's brilliant mind and my voice if I'd been born normal. You were the best of us both joined into one, so we made the painful choice to be apart until a replacement could be found and your father could come home.
But, several weeks passed and we received a letter from the farm. Your father never arrived. They sent out search parties, and I spent every bit I could to try to find him. But it was like he vanished, and no one knew where he was. I know he'd never abandon you or me, so he must be dead. I only wish I could prove to you how much he loved you, my precious baby muffin. I only hope this letter serves as some solace to that fact.
Dinky sat there sniffling to herself. She knew her mother had given up so much already, but had no idea that she'd even given up the stallion in her life... All for her. Setting the scroll on the bed, she slipped out of the bed and trotted out into the living room.
Ditzy Doo sat at the table, her head in her hooves as if racked with worry. Dinky trotted up, giving her mom's side a tight hug as Ditzy looked down. Smiling in a relieved way, she leaned down to hug her daughter back as they held each other for the longest time.
Dinky looked up at her mom after a moment and whinnied out, "Mom? Can... Can you teach me to talk like you and Dad do? I'm going to find Dad. I know he's gotta be out there somewhere. And when I meet him, I want for us to be able to talk so I can find out what happened. You do so much for me, I want to do this one thing for you."
Ditzy bit her lip, trying to hold back tears as she nodded. "Of course, my precious muffin." That night, after dinner, the Ditzy began to teach her daughter the same way she'd learned: One word at a time. It wasn't until the next morning that they realized that during the night Dinky's Cutie Mark had finally appeared.
Two big muffins with a smaller muffin resting between them.