My Little Pony Monthly Issue 91 (October 1, 2004)


My Little Pony Monthly A publication of Nematode (Electronic) Publishing Established June 1997 This Newsletter is Safe for All Ages

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Issue 91
October 2004
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Contest!

Bee Bop has learned to play 10 instruments - and that includes the harp, after her symbol, but why her parents named her Bee Bop with such a classical instrument as her symbol is a mystery to me. Anyway, we have one winner and one honorable mention!

Posey (posey@drsasquach)

Honorable Mention

Mystique (jykle2@yahoo.com)

And Posey, that means you are our prize winner! The Butterscotch lip balm is yours! Please e-mail me your address and I'll send it off to you right away!

Masquerade is back with us this month with her AVON Beyond Color lipstick in a shade of purple named after her (she likes to think, anyway). It's the month of Halloween, after all, and masquerades kind of fit into that... anyway. For a chance to win this (or, for you Big Brothers out there, we have Wild Country talcum powder) prize, answer the following question correctly:

What is Buttons' unicorn magic?

Tell me the answer by e-mailing TabbyMLP@aol.com mailto:TabbyMLP@aol.comor entering through the form at

http://mlpmonthly.tripod.com/Contact.htm

THE RULES! *ANYONE* can enter. That means anyone as in anyone. Even if you've already participated in the past, you can enter; in fact, I encourage you to do so. You don't even have to be a subscriber of MLP Monthly in order to enter. But if you're not a subscriber, you're probably not even reading this. ^.~
However, now that we've introduced *real* prizes, we will be putting a limit on how many times you can be entered in the drawing for that. If you've already been selected to win one of our prizes in the past, you can't be entered again- BUT, you can still participate and get your name in the newsletter! So just because you've won something in the past doesn't mean you can't have any fun at all with our contests anymore. And, of course, if eventually all contest participants are ones that have won a prize, it's fair game for everybody again!
On the contest form at http://mlpmonthly.tripod.com/Contact.htm, you will be able to select your gender so we'll be able to determine which prize you get. Or, if you'd prefer to be opted out of the prize drawing, you can select that on the form as well.
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Survey!

Last month, no one wrote in their ideas on what male ponies for the G3 line would be like, so this section is rather sparse this month. Myself, I'm unimaginative when it comes to male My Little Ponies- they have to be Clydesdales; that's all there is to it for me! My idea for Daddy Sea Ponies, though, is for them to have stylin' Neptune-esque beards. But I digress. Can I get any bites for this month's question? Can I even THINK of this month's question?

Do you think each of the Pony Friends are unique creatures, or are there actually entire species of little zebras, lions, llamas, elephants, etc. to go along with the little ponies?

Go to the following URL to give your opinion:
http://mlpmonthly.tripod.com/Contact.htm
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Into the Darkness
by Clever Clover (Swordrat@aol.com)


In his laboratory on the Dark Isle, Jack O Lantern chanted a spell over a dark orb encircled with candles. As the chanting ended, the candles went out and the orb melted away, revealing the figure of a pony standing in the darkness.

"So, this is to be my prison?" the dark pony hissed.

Jack O Lantern grinned. "It is only a prison if you view it to be such. I think you will find that this body is less pathetic than you imagine. And I know just how you can test its potential..."

* * *
Clever Clover and Belle Star had returned to the Crystal Desert to explore the mysterious chambers that they had discovered under the kiva the year before. In Port Cactus, they met up with Kiva, who was directing the work; and Coyote, who would be working with them.

"It's good to see you two again," said Kiva.

"What have you been up to?" asked Coyote.

Clever Clover and Belle Star both blushed. "Ah," said Clever Clover. "We've gotten engaged, for one thing."

Coyote stared in disbelief. "You mean, to each other?"

"Uh-huh!" Belle Star replied, with a nod.

"Ha ha! I knew the two of you were more than just friends last summer already! When's the wedding?"

Clever Clover shook his head. "We haven't decided yet."

"Well, let me know when you decide... and don't forget to invite me!"

"We won't forget you, Coyote," said Belle Star.

"I'm happy for the two of you," said Kiva. "But we've got work to do. The bus is loaded and ready to go, and daylight's wasting. Let's go."

The four archaeologists boarded the bus and set off across the desert.

On the bus, Coyote questioned Clever Clover. "So, why haven't you two set the date?"

Clever Clover shook his head. "Some people aren't too happy about our engagement.."

"Oh?" said Coyote. "You mean the princess and the pirate?"

"Actually, they're taking it rather well..."

* * *
Meanwhile, in Friendship Garden, Minoko knocked on the door of the apartment of the painter, Coral. The pinkish pony with sea-foam green main, streaked with blue, opened the door.

"Hi, Minoko. I had a premonition it might be you."

"Yeah. May I come in?"

"Sure." Coral led Minoko into her studio. "What do you want?"

"I want you to paint a picture of me." Minoko struck a sexy pose.

"Oh?"

"It's for Clever Clover."

"Oh? I'd heard you'd had a thing for him, but he's marrying Belle Star. She seemed to think you were over him."

Minoko grinned evilly. "I was just playing nice so Clever Clover could see that I could behave if I have to. Besides, they're not married yet. He hasn't even met her parents."

"Has he met your parents?"

Minoko's head drooped. "I... never knew my parents. Just like Clever Clover. I guess that's one thing we have in common. But we never talked about it. Maybe if I had..."

"Well, I guess Belle Star wouldn't mind; she's not the type. But you'll have to wait; I've already got a client." There was a knock at the door. "That must be her now." Coral opened the door to admit Morning Glory.

"Hey! What's she doing here!?" cried the princess.

"What! You're painting her!" Minoko replied.

Coral shrugged. "She is a princess. And she has money."

"So, it all comes down to money, eh? It's not like I don't have money, you know!"

"Oh? And where would this money come from? Everyone knows you haven't done an honest day's work since you got here." Coral led Minoko to the door. "You should be going now. I have work to do and I don't like working in the middle of an argument."

* * *
It was near dusk when the cliffs came into view. The ancient ponies of the desert built their homes and temples on ledges high on the cliffs. It was one of these temples, or kivas, at the very top of the cliff face, that the four archaeologists had come to explore.

As the bus pulled up to the base of the cliff, to the surprise of the archaeologists, they found a small tent already set up. A lone pony with beads and feathers in his mane and tail sat in front of a small fire outside the tent. The bus came to a stop and Kiva debarked.

Without looking away from the fire, the strange pony addressed Kiva. "This place is your birthright. Why did you bring the outsiders?"

"Who are you?" inquired Kiva.

The strange pony was silent.

Coyote poked his head out the bus door. "Hey! I know you! You're that crazy shaman who's always protesting all the land developments and stuff. Crow, isn't it?"

The shaman sighed. "You are one of us, but you are young. You have much to learn about respecting your elders."

The young archaeologist hopped off the bus. "I didn't mean any disrespect. I meant 'crazy' in a good way, you know, like 'Crazy Horse'."

Belle Star and Clever Clover got off the bus.

"So, Crow, why weren't you here causing trouble last summer?" asked Kiva.

Crow shrugged. "I had bigger fish to fry."

Belle Star clapped her hooves together. "You're frying fish? I'm so hungry after the long trip; a nice fried fish would taste soooo good right now!"

Crow stared in disbelief. "These are the ones you brought to desecrate our heritage!?"

Kiva stomped his hoof. "We're not here to desecrate anything!"

"We just want to understand how your ancestors lived," added Clever Clover.

"Then why don't you just ask them?" the shaman smiled.

"We can do that?" asked Belle Star and Coyote in unison.

Crow nodded.

Clever Clover's jaw dropped. "Ah... what?"

Kiva shook his head. "As much as I appreciate your suggestion, we need quantifiable data. But you're welcome to come along and provide commentary and to observe our methods, to insure that we don't unduly desecrate anything."

Crow shrugged. "I suppose that will be a step in the right direction."

The archaeologists set up their camp and turned in for the night.

* * *
Early the next morning, the archaeologists began the long trek to the hilltop kiva. Crow, the shaman, could not be roused from his slumber. By noon, the four ponies had achieved their goal; and to their surprise, Crow awaited them with a small fire and hot lunch. "What took you so long?" he asked.

"Cool!" replied Coyote.

"Oh! I'm so hungry!" Belle Star bowed. "Thank you so much, Mr. Crow, for fixing us such a nice lunch!"

Clever Clover shrugged and sat down next to the fire. "Mm, roasted corn, my favorite."

After lunch, the ponies set up their camp on top of the mesa. They would not be returning to the bottom until their work on the kiva was finished.

* * *
The sun was still low in the sky when the archaeologists made their way to the kiva the next morning. The first thing they did was to drop a plumb bob from the southwest corner of the opening in the floor of the kiva that led to the chambers beneath. Clever Clover made the descent into the chamber to mark with spray paint where the plumb bob touched the floor. The others followed with lanterns, measuring tapes, graph paper, and various drafting tools to begin the mapping of the complex.

It was mid morning before Crow joined the others. "So, what have you grave robbers been up to?"

Belle Star looked around in surprise. "Robbers!? Where?"

"He didn't mean it literally," assured Clever Clover.

Kiva approached the shaman. "I'm allowing you to observe our work; but if you cause trouble, I'm going to kick you out."

"Come on, I'm sure they knew I was just joking. Well, most of them."

"Hm, just keep it in line."

"All right. Now, what are you... scientists up to?"

"We've started mapping the chambers," Kiva explained. "We don't want to go too far into the complex before we've established a reference point."

"Makes sense. You're not taking anything out of here, are you?"

"Not yet. If we find anything, it may need to be taken back to the lab for analysis; but we haven't found anything yet."

"Will this analysis damage the artifacts?"

"As little as possible."

"Hm. Then what?"

"The artifacts will be kept in the university's museum collection."

"Would there be any chance of having them returned to this place?"

"Possible, but ultimately out of my hooves."

"But you would have some influence in the matter."

"Yes, some. Now, if you have no more questions, I have to get back to work."

"Of course. Could I lend a hoof? It could help me appreciate what you are doing here."

"Fine. Come with me." Kiva handed Crow a clipboard. "I'll take some measurements; you write down the numbers as I give them to you."

Crow nodded. "Sounds simple enough."

* * *
Meanwhile, the others had moved on to map the next room. Belle Star and Coyote took measurements while Clever Clover recorded the measurements and added them to the map. Coyote was digging through a pile of sand so that he could get his tape measure into a corner when something caught his eye.

"Hey, there's some kind of drawing on the floor."

Clever Clover went over to see what his friend had uncovered. Where the sand had been brushed away, Clever Clover could see a series of lines etched into the stone of the floor. "They're too deep and regular to be tool-marks from when they carved the room. Why don't you go tell Kiva about this while Belle Star and I finish mapping this room?"

Coyote chuckled. "Oh, right. You two want some alone time, eh?"

"Just go," said Clever Clover, shaking his head.

The young archaeologist rushed back toward the first chamber where Kiva and Crow were taking measurements. "Hey, boss, we found something interesting in the other room."

Crow, who had become quite bored recording measurements, was suddenly quite attentive. "Something interesting?"

"Let's take a look," said Kiva.

The trio returned to the chamber where the strange markings had been discovered. "It was over in this corner," directed Coyote.

Kiva knelt down and began to carefully brush the sand back, exposing more of the lines. "This is interesting, but we should finish mapping the rest of the complex before we look more into it. It will take a lot of time to move all this sand away."

Crow looked over Kiva's shoulder. "Are you sure that's a good idea? As you said, it would take quite an effort to move all this sand, and it doesn't look like it could have blown in here from outside on its own. Whoever built this place took a lot of effort to cover up these drawings."

"Do you think it's some kind of curse?" Coyote asked.

Crow shot Coyote an annoyed look. "That is not the way of our people. This isn't Egypt, you know. The inscription may relate to some secret knowledge that was not meant for outsiders."

"But me and Kiva aren't outsiders. We could look at it!"

Crow shook his head. "You two are scientists. If you were to look at it, you would feel obliged to share this knowledge with others."

Kiva stood up. "We don't know why they would have covered it up, and there's no use speculating until we can see what is under the sand. But for now, let's get back to mapping."

* * *
For the next couple of weeks, the archaeologists mapped and explored what they found to be a massive and maze-like complex of chambers within the mesa; while in Friendship Gardens, Coral was finishing her paintings of Morning Glory and Minoko.

Minoko knocked on Coral's door. "Just a minute," Coral's muffled voice replied. Minoko stood, tapping her hoof impatiently for several minutes before the door finally opened. "Hi, Minoko! Your painting is ready. I think it turned out really nice, one of my best works. Come in and have a look!" The artist grabbed Minoko and pulled her into the studio where the portrait stood on an easel. "What do you think?"

Minoko regarded the painting for a moment and smirked. "I like it. You've really captured the real me."

Coral clapped her hooves. "I just knew you'd like it! I had a premonition. Now, about my payment..."

Minoko tossed Coral a large golden coin. "Will this cover it?"

Coral studied the coin for a moment. "Hm, this looks really old. Is it solid gold?"

"Yep, I... ah, dredged it up from a shipwreck off the coast of Pearl Coast."

"Ah... right. Well, I'll just take your word for it. Now I'll wrap the painting up for you and you can be on your way."

"Oh, no need. Ryo!"

Minoko's lop-eared bunny came bounding into the studio and onto Minoko's shoulder. The pony pirate picked up the picture. "Be seeing you." Pony, painting, and bunny disappeared.

Coral shook her head. "Boy, these friends of Belle Star's are going to take some getting used to."

* * *
Minoko and Ryo reappeared in Clever Clover's living room, surprising Morning Glory, who almost dropped the portrait of herself that she was hanging next to the portrait of Belle Star over the mantle.

"Hey! What are you doing popping in here like that!?" demanded the princess.

Minoko glared at Morning Glory. "How did you get in here?"

"Clever Clover gave me a key so I could take care of Pixie."

"So did Pixie ask you to redecorate?"

"This is a surprise birthday present for Clever Clover!"

"Shows what you know, princess. Clever Clover's birthday was last month."

"I know that! That's what makes it a surprise!"

"Well, I'm giving him a present just because!" Minoko proceeded to hang her painting on the other side of Belle Star.

"Humph!" Morning Glory proceeded to re-hang her painting slightly higher on the wall.

Minoko stepped back and regarded the paintings. "Hm, maybe it would be better to hang it closer to eye level, a little lower." She proceeded to lower her painting.

Morning Glory looked back and forth between the two paintings. "You know, I think you're on to something, for once." She then lowered her painting, a little lower than Minoko's. "There! Perfection."

Minoko grinned. "Yeah. I couldn't agree more."

* * *
Clever Clover made his way through the maze of chambers beneath the kiva. He came to a chamber where Kiva and Coyote were mapping one of the many etched floors that had been cleared of sand. The lines resembled a topographic map, though none of the archaeologists could recognize what land it might represent.

"Do you guys know where Belle Star is?" Clever Clover asked. "I was hoping she could help me sort out some paperwork."

"She's showing Crow chamber 103," replied Kiva.

"One-oh-three? Right, thanks."

The purple prince headed off through another passage. Though the complex was maze-like, Clever Clover, having drawn a comprehensive map of the chambers, knew his way around quite well. And if he got lost, it was no real problem; he carried a map, and each of the rooms had been numbered with a wooden sign. As one got farther from the entrance, the numbers got bigger. If a pony ever got lost, he or she just had to look for the decreasing numbers to lead them out.

When Clever Clover got to chamber 103, he found Crow sitting in the middle of the room while Belle Star stood off to one side, watching attentively.

Clever Clover observed the unchanging scene for several moments in silence. "What's going on?"

"Shhhh!" Belle Star put her hoof to her lips. "He's meditating, to find out what the spirits can tell him about this place."

"Oh-kay. Why'd he have to come all the way down here to talk to the spirits? Couldn't they come up to the camp?"

"Oh, that seems like a very good question. We'll have to ask him once he wakes up."

"I am awake," mumbled Crow. "And finding it very difficult to meditate."

Belle Star bowed. "I am so sorry."

"So, what did the spirits have to say?" asked Clever Clover.

"Actually, quite a bit, despite your interruption. They are not as offended by your presence as I thought they would be. It seems they have taken a liking to you."

"That's good to hear," said Clever Clover. "Any other news from the other side?"

"Yes. Follow me." Crow led the couple into another chamber. "It's in here."

"Ooooh!" said Belle Star.

Clever Clover looked around at the empty chamber. "What's in here?"

The shaman took a bottle of water he had been carrying and splashed it on the wall. In the glistening of the water on the stone, strange characters appeared. "They asked me to show you this."

Belle Star gazed in wonder. "Wow!"

Clever Clover got out a pencil and paper and started recording the strange images.

"I'll leave you two to contemplate their meaning. I'll find my own way out. Oh, and they don't want you to tell Kiva and Coyote about this."

Clever Clover scrambled to finish recording the strange symbols before the water dried and they disappeared. When he was finished, he held up the paper. "What do you make of this, Belle Star?"

Belle Star pointed to one of the characters. "It looks like this guy is trying to get across the river to that house over there."

"Yeah, it looks like some sort of pictograph. I don't recognize it; but if we can figure out what the pictographs represent, we could get a general idea what it's about. When we get back to civilization, we'll have to do some research to find out more about them."

Belle Star scratched her head. "Um, okay."

Clever Clover folded up the paper and stuck it under his hat. "Come on, we've got some paperwork to do."

* * *
The last weeks of work at the kiva passed relatively uneventfully. What few artifacts had been found while clearing away the sand from the engraved floors were being carefully packed for transport. Clever Clover had been sent back into the passages to make sure that no equipment was left behind. The sun sank low in the sky on the last day before they would begin to transport the artifacts and equipment to the bus, which would take several days. Clever Clover, who was supposed to have been back well before sunset, was nowhere to be seen.

Belle Star wrung her hooves. "Oh! I'm so worried! Where could Clever Clover be?"

"He probably just lost track of time," suggested Coyote.

"Why don't you two go look for him?" said Kiva. "Last time he reported in, he had cleared everything but the east wing."

Belle Star nodded. "Oh, yes! Right away!" She and Coyote made the descent into the subterranean complex with a map and two lanterns.

When they reached the bottom of the rope ladder into the chambers, Coyote said, "I'll hold the map; you keep an eye out for Clever Clover."

"Uh-huh," Belle Star nodded.

"Let's see, the east wing would be this way." Coyote pointed down one of the dark passages. The two archaeologists set off into the darkness.

"Look! Hoofprints!" said Belle Star before long. They were in one of the chambers that hadn't been cleared of sand. "He went this way!" The tan pony rushed off following the tracks.

"Hold up!" Coyote called, as he took off after her. A short time later he heard her cry out in fear. "I'm coming, Belle Star!" Coyote increased his pace and shortly ran into Belle Star.

"Oh, no!" Belle Star cried out.

Coyote saw that Belle Star teetered on the edge of a deep shaft, her forelegs thrashing wildly as she tried to regain her balance. Coyote grabbed her tail and yanked her away from the edge of the pit. Belle Star fell over backwards, knocking Coyote over with her.

"Owie," Belle Star moaned as she rubbed her tail.

Coyote stood up and inched cautiously to the edge of the shaft. He shined his lantern down the shaft and gasped at what he saw. "It's Clever Clover!"

Belle Star rushed to the edge of the shaft and almost fell in again, but was able to right herself. "Clever Clover! Are you all right?"

There was no answer.

"He's not moving," observed Coyote. "You stay here and keep an eye on him. I'll get the others!"

"Oh! Clever Clover," Belle Star sobbed. "Clever Clover, say something!" Tears welled up in her eyes. She continued calling out to her fiancÚ for what seemed like an eternity before the others arrived.

"Come away from there," said Kiva. He put his foreleg around Belle Star's shoulders and led her away from the shaft. Coyote took a rope that had been anchored in the next chamber and lowered it down the shaft. The young archaeologist was about to climb down to the ledge on which Clever Clover's still form lay when Crow restrained him.

"I'll go. When I'm not protecting our heritage or leading others to spiritual enlightenment, I'm a paramedic." The shaman gracefully began his decent.

The others watched tensely while Crow examined Clever Clover's still form. After several minutes, Crow called up to them, "He's alive! He hit his head, though. Coyote, go to the camp, take down my tent, and bring it here!"

"And use the emergency radio to call Port Cactus and request an emergency air evac!" added Kiva.

The young archaeologist nodded and rushed off.

"Wh-what should I do?" sobbed Belle Star.

"Talk to him!" called Crow. "Even though he's unconscious, the sound of your voice might help him pull through!"

"I...I don't know what to say."

"Say anything." coaxed Kiva. "Talk about how you two first met."

"Oh...sob...it was my first day on a new job and I fell into a hole and there was Clever Clover...sob."

Belle Star continued relating her life story since she had met Clever Clover, of the attack by the pirate Minoko one winter's night, of her first trip to the Isle for the royal wedding, of Jack O Lantern's kidnaping of Minoko and the chase to Isla Soja, and on and on. When Coyote interrupted the tale with his return with the dismantled tent, Crow was somewhat disappointed that he wouldn't hear the rest of the story. But he knew that Clever Clover's safety was paramount.

"Okay, use the tent to make a stretcher and then lower it down to me!"

Kiva and Coyote went to work lashing the tent poles together into a rectangle and stretching the canvas over it. Once the stretcher was finished, they tied a rope to each corner and lowered it down to Crow and Clever Clover on the ledge below. Crow carefully moved Clever Clover's still form onto the stretcher and tied him down with rope. Then Coyote and Kiva carefully pulled him up out of the shaft. As soon as he was back on solid ground, Belle Star threw her arms around him and began to cry. "Oh, Clever Clover! I hope you'll be all right!"

"There'll be time for that later," said Coyote. "We've got to get him to the surface now."

Belle Star stood up and wiped the tears from her eyes. "Right."

Kiva and Coyote carried Clever Clover out; and Belle Star and Crow, who had climbed up from the pit, followed. When they reached the surface, the med-evac balloon was waiting for them. Clever Clover was quickly loaded onto the balloon.

"Can I go with him?" Belle Star asked the pilot.

He nodded. "Yeah, but the others will have to take the low road. The balloon won't carry all of you."

"That's fine," said Crow. "We'll see you at the hospital, Belle Star."

Belle Star nodded and boarded the balloon. As the balloon drifted off into the sky, Kiva, Coyote, and Crow began their descent from the mesa top, taking only what equipment they could carry. It was dark by the time they reached the bus at the base of the cliff. They drove through the night to reach Port Cactus. When they arrived at the hospital, they were shown to Clever Clover's room. Belle Star sat in a chair next to the bed, asleep.

"It looks like your friend is going to be just fine," explained the doctor who had shown them the way. "Other than the blow to the head, there was no other injury. He could be regaining consciousness any time now."

Almost as if on cue, Clever Clover began to move.

"Belle Star!" cried Coyote. "Wake up!"

Belle Star groggily opened her eyes while Clever Clover shot bolt upright and looked around him in confusion. Belle Star, seeing Clever Clover awake, threw her forelegs around him and began to cry. "Oh, Clever Clover! I'm so glad you're all right."

"Ah, so am I," replied Clever Clover. "But, who are you?"

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The Mysterious Cave
Part Two
by Mystique (LadyChrystaline@aol.com)


Kasbah and Mitakke' climbed the steps to the announcement ledge. "Molecats, my people! I am sure you are aware of the ever-growing threat of darkness," Mitakke' began. "Your queen and I have decided who will bear the task of reopening the Light Source. My Lady." He stepped back and Kasbah stepped forward to continue.

"We have chosen a pair who we know will make us proud." A cheer erupted from the crowd; their queen signaled for their silence. "We must have faith and support the chosen ones. Diva! Nitatan! Come forth."

The two Molecats were afraid; why had they been chosen? They always failed! Yet, they knew they must do their best, for it was not theirs to question the king and queen. They came forth and bowed low. "Your highnesses, we are forever at your service. Command and we shall obey."

The queen smiled strongly at them. "You two know our lands better than any of us. You have a way about you that brings joy to the little ones. We have faith that you shall complete your task swiftly and without fail. This shall be your shining moment. Go forth and clear the Light Source!"

Diva and Nitatan left with a sea of cheering friends and family at their backs. They tried to look brave and happy to be doing such a service for their people, but inside they were shaking, terrified of being unable to do what was asked of them.

As they set out on their task, the Molecat couple took the rarely-used path to the mouth of the great cave. When they reached the opening of the passage, they stood blinking in the bright sun. When their eyes had adjusted to the light, they looked around themselves.

The meadow was wide and green with spats of purple and pink flowers here and there. The grass waved at them in the soft breeze. "Oh, what a beautiful place!" said Diva.

Nitatan took her claw in his and pulled her around the hill. "We must find the Light Source. Perhaps we may be granted the chance to come back to enjoy this place once our task is complete."

Diva hoped he was right. She longed to stay here in this beautiful, open place. After looking across the meadow for a few moments longer, she allowed him to pull her up the hill behind the cave.

* * *
Meanwhile, Fizzy, Firefly, and Cotton Candy were on their way to the meadow to play and have a picnic. "I hope the lilacs and tulips are in bloom today!" giggled Fizzy. "I love the butterflies they attract!" She ran ahead to go see.

The other two ponies shook their heads at her. "She sure does like to play a lot!" said Cotton Candy.

Firefly leapt into the sky. "I better keep an eye on her. You know how much trouble she can get into by herself!" Firefly flew up over the sparse trees, looking for Fizzy, but she couldn't find her. Uh-oh, she thought, wonder where she went? The pegasus swooped down to settle on the hill behind the cave. As she landed, she shivered. I don't like this hill; why would Fizzy have come this far? she thought. Still, I must find her. She then gathered her resolve and courage, and went to look for her friend on hoof.

* * *
Meanwhile, Diva had seen the flying pony, but did not know that that was what it was. She had grabbed Nitatan and thrown him and herself into the tall grass. When she could no longer see the creature, she turned to her mate. "Did you see that? Oh, I do so hope it does not like Molecats for lunch!"

Nitatan was not sure what she meant. He had been watching the ground for the Light Source when she had jerked him into the grasses. "What creature? I saw nothing!" Just then, over Diva's head, he saw two ponies walking towards their hiding spot. He pushed her down close to the ground and hid her beneath him. It was obvious that a confrontation was at hand.

Doing the only thing he could think of to protect his wife, he leapt out of the grasses and charged Cotton Candy and Fizzy. As he ran toward them, he let out his mightiest Molecat battle cry. "Urugahought!"

The two ponies reared in fear. They had no idea what was going on! Looking for Firefly, they ran in opposite directions. Fizzy ran back to the woods and hid safely behind a tree, but Cotton Candy was not so lucky. She had blindly ran to the cliff on the other side of the hill. She was unable to stop in time and slid off the cliff...



What will happen to poor Cotton Candy? What of the Molecats? Find out next time!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Megan's Secret
by Sadira (fizzyponygirl20@yahoo.com)


DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT own any of the ponies. They belong to Hasbro. I also do not own the songs you see in this story. They belong to their respective writers. But I do own Megan Julia Hartson; her little sister, Julia Corina Hartson, Julie; and their younger sister, Molly Shaianne Hartson (although Molly doesn't appear until "A New Friend") as well as the girls' Aunt Abby.

Enjoy!!



AUTHOR'S NOTE: My Megan is original in that while she has blond hair, she has green eyes, not blue; and she has two younger sisters who are also my original characters. Julie has green eyes and blond hair, but it's more of a reddish blond; and Molly has hazel eyes and blond hair, but it's a shade darker than Megan's. I created the Hartson girls when I was five and have used them for other stories besides MLP. I put a bit of my own personality into each one of them and they hold a special place in my heart.



It was a warm day in Nebraska. Eight-year-old Megan Julia Hartson was sitting by the apple tree, reading a book in her school playground. The kids hadn't picked on her in a while, but it was only a matter of time before they started up again. Almost as if on cue, Megan felt some mud hit her full in the shoulder. She jumped up and gazed around to see where it had come from.

"Come and get us, pony girl!" Gretchen taunted from somewhere near the sliding board. "Or are you too scared to face us!"

"Little orphan Megan is a scaredy cat!" Tim chanted. "Scaredy cat, scaredy cat, Megan is a scaredy cat!"

Megan had had enough. She was still a little afraid, but she had to stick up for herself sometime. And she knew if she got into real trouble, Firefly would come to her rescue. Taking a deep breath, she put her book in her bag and went to confront the two bullies who had made her life a living nightmare ever since second grade. "You guys better stop picking on me," Megan said, feeling stronger than she had in a long time.

"And if we don't..." Tim asked, preparing to throw another ball of mud at her.

Megan glared at him as she smiled inwardly. She then felt a shove from behind. As she fell, she felt the heart on her beloved necklace contract. The Rainbow jetted out of it, and caught her. She landed on the ground, but was unharmed. Megan patted the Rainbow lovingly. "Thanks, Rainbow." She then got to her feet again and glared at her two tormentors. Apparently, Tim and Gretchen had noticed nothing.

"Whatcha gonna do, pony girl?" Gretchen asked, getting into Megan's face.

Megan stepped back a little and smiled slightly. She had a no-nonsense look about her, the kind of look she gave Julie whenever her little one wanted to stay up past her bedtime. "This," Megan said.

As she pulled out the Rainbow of Light, Tim snickered. "A necklace doesn't scare us!" he said, laughing.

"Oh yeah?" Megan asked. "We'll see about that." With that, she commanded, "Okay, Rainbow of Light, do your stuff!"

The Rainbow of Light, much to Tim and Gretchen's surprise, flew out of the locket at the sound of Megan's voice and obeyed its keeper. It took off for the two kids and started to swirl around them. It wasn't going to hurt them, just scare them off. It worked, and in a matter of two minutes, the Rainbow of Light was back in the locket at Megan's command and Tim and Gretchen were making a bee line for the nearest teacher.

Megan smiled a little. She sat back down and started to read her latest entry in her diary. It was about Ponyland and something fun she and Firefly had done together. They had gone on a flight and Firefly had showed Megan a place called Flutter Valley. Megan liked it. It was very pretty and had lots of flowers. Megan was sure that Julie would like it, too.

As Megan flipped the page in her diary, her thoughts started to wander back to Ponyland and to the fun time she was going to have when Firefly picked her up that afternoon. Megan wasn't as scared anymore when the little ponies approached her, and she patted their manes without a second thought. She really liked Medley, Fizzy, and Twilight the best. And Ember was so cute!

Megan was suddenly interrupted by a teacher's voice. It was Miss Elle, Megan's old pre_kindergarten teacher. She was really nice; Megan liked her a lot.

"Megan couldn't have done anything to you," Miss Elle said. "She's sitting over there, reading like always. She's never any trouble."

"But her necklace!" Tim protested. "It chased us. A rainbow came out of it and it made us fall."

"Yeah!" Gretchen cut in. "Just ask..." She searched the playground and her eyes landed on a girl named Felischa. Felischa hadn't met Megan yet, but she had seen the whole thing, including the Rainbow of Light's triumph, but she wasn't going to say so to Miss Elle. "Felischa!"

"Okay, I will. Felischa, honey, did you see anything odd happen between Megan and these two children?"

Felischa took a deep breath. "No. But I did see Tim and Gretchen push her down again and throw mud at her. I was going to help, but then Megan told them to leave her alone and I guess they got the message."

Miss Elle nodded. "Very well. All right, I think the two of you need to come with me and see Miss Pearlson."

"But-" Gretchen started, but Miss Elle shook her head.

"No 'buts'. Now come on."

Megan smiled to herself as she went back to her reading. She made a mental note to thank the Moochick the next time she saw him.

* * *
Later that afternoon, Megan flopped down on the couch in her Aunt Abby's house. After the day Megan had had, she was looking forward to her trip to Ponyland more than ever.

It had been a month since Megan had met Firefly, and the two best friends were becoming closer every day. Aunt Abby had told Megan that it was her choice whether to tell Julie about Ponyland, and Megan had decided not to for the time being. She wanted to keep Firefly and Ponyland a secret until the time was right- at least until her and Julie's new little sister was born. Then Megan would spill the beans. But only to Julie and Molly.

Impossible though it seemed, Megan actually had a name picked out for her little sister already. She wasn't sure how or why this had happened, but something inside of her heart told her that she was going to be the one responsible for caring for the young one once she arrived into the world from the heavens above. Megan didn't mind at all. She loved younger children to pieces and she enjoyed taking care of her younger sister, Julie. Well, most of the time, anyway.

Megan sighed as she closed her eyes for a minute and fingered the Rainbow of Light lovingly. She wasn't feeling sick, just sleepy. And right now, she could use a flight with Firefly and the double inside out loop.

As Megan fingered the Rainbow of Light lovingly, a small voice from behind Megan made her jump: "What's that?"

Megan quickly put the Rainbow of Light back underneath her shirt and whirled around to face her little sister, Julie. "It's nothing, Julie," Megan said, trying to keep her voice casual. She was a little anxious for Firefly to come. She hadn't yet sent the signal, but Firefly had also told her that she would be there no later than four_thirty. This was a special trip to Ponyland. Unlike the many times Megan had visited her now-second home over the last month, this time she was going to spend the night. She was really excited and she knew it was going to be fun.

Just then, a voice broke Megan out of her thoughts. "What did you just hide under your shirt?" Julie asked.

"Nothing, little one," Megan said, using her special name for Julie. "Aren't you supposed to be eating your lunch?" She gave Julie a gentle smile and ushered her back into the kitchen.

Julie grumbled, but went to do so. She wasn't that hungry and she wanted to hear a story, but she knew that Megan wouldn't tell her one until she, Julie, was done eating. That was a rule that Abby had set and Megan was going to stick by. She had to teach Julie right from wrong, and she was determined to do a good job.

As Julie took a few more bites of her peanut butter and jelly sandwich and drank her milk, Megan absentmindedly played with the Rainbow of Light. As she fingered it lovingly, Julie looked up and gasped.

"That's a pretty necklace, Megan. Where'd you get it?"

"A friend gave it to me," Megan said. This wasn't a lie. The Moochick was her friend.

"Does it do anything special?" Julie asked.

Megan thought about this. "I'll tell you later," she said, not wanting to get into it now.

Julie pouted, but nodded. She knew the rules and she knew that Megan would keep her promise.

Megan smiled lovingly at her little sister as she once again started to play with the Rainbow of Light. "That's my girl. Now finish your lunch and I'll tell you a pony story, okay, little one?"

Julie nodded and smiled. She liked the sound of that.

Megan sighed and closed her eyes for a minute. She couldn't wait to get to Ponyland. She was going to read another chapter of The Secret Garden to Ember and she couldn't wait. Ember was so sweet and she really liked her a lot.

Just then, Megan's thoughts of her trip to Ponyland were interrupted by a crash! She jumped to her feet, ready to set the Rainbow of Light on whomever had come to hurt them, but laughed a little when she realized that the crash had come from across the table. She then groaned inwardly as she saw the broken glass and jelly on the floor. "Oh, Julie!" Megan said in a frustrated tone. "What did you do that for?"

"It was an accident," Julie said, her lower lip quivering a little. "I'm sorry, Megan!"

Megan sighed and went over to comfort her little sister before she made herself sick. "It's okay, little one," she said gently, kneeling down to Julie's level. "It's all right. I'm not mad at you." She gave Julie a kiss and hug. She then sighed and suggested, "Why don't you go into the living room and watch some TV; I need to clean this up."

Julie nodded and did so. As she passed the living room, her gaze traveled to the staircase. She went up the stairs and pushed open Megan's bedroom door. She knew she wasn't allowed in there without Megan's permission, but her curiosity was getting the better of her. Megan always said that she, Julie, was allowed in the room as long as Megan was there with her and she knocked before going in. Julie knew this full well, but it wasn't going to stop her from exploring a little.

As Julie walked in, her gaze traveled to Megan's brand_new diary that Aunt Abby had given her. It was a little bigger than the last one and it had rainbows and stars on it. The cover was blue and the stars were yellow. Julie took a cautious step forward and sat in Megan's desk chair. She then opened up the diary and started to read a little. She wasn't that good at reading yet, but she knew a lot of words from reading with Megan.

Just as Julie had gotten to a page that said "My Best Friend, Firefly" as the title, she heard a voice from behind her exclaim, "Julia Corina Hartson, what in Ponyland are you doing in here?"

Julie whirled around to see Megan standing there, and she did not look happy at all. "I... I... I was just reading," Julie said truthfully.

Megan nodded and came over to see just what her little sister had been reading. She gasped when she discovered it was her diary! "Julia Corina Hartson, how many times have I told you not to come in my room without my permission?"

Julie's lower lip quivered as she looked at the floor. "A lot," she said in a whisper.

"Then how come you didn't listen?" Megan asked in a stern tone.

Julie didn't answer.

"Julie...?" Megan asked, feeling her patience wearing thin.

"I'm sorry!" Julie whimpered before bursting into tears.

Megan sighed. "I want you to go to your room for fifteen minutes. I'll check on you in five minutes. Go on now."

Julie nodded and left the room.

After Julie was gone, Megan picked her diary up and made sure that Julie hadn't drawn on it or anything. Not that her sister would do that, but she was only three years old. She didn't understand how important a diary was.

About twenty minutes later, Aunt Abby came back home. Megan told her what happened, and her aunt said that she was going to have a talk with Julie. "You did the right thing, " Abby told her niece. "Putting Julie on a fifteen minute time-out was a wise thing to do. Go on and get ready now. Firefly's going to be here soon." She smiled and gave Megan a hug.

Five minutes later, Julie was allowed out of her bedroom; and, naturally, the first room she went to was Megan's. Megan was there, brushing her hair and putting the Rainbow of Light on. She never normally took it off, but she had just gotten into the shower, so she took off all of her jewelry except for her bracelet that her friend from India had given her.

"What are you doing?" Julie asked, making Megan jump.

"Brushing my hair," Megan replied.

"Where are you going?"

"Somewhere," Megan replied.

Julie sighed. "You don't tell me nothing!"

"Anything," Megan corrected her.

"That either," Julie said.

Megan giggled. "I'll tell you a story when I get back, little one. I promise. I have to get ready. Firefly's going to pick me up any-" Megan shut her mouth straight away. She hadn't meant to say that at all. She wasn't intending on telling Julie about the little ponies yet. But now she had let it slip.

"Who's Firefly?" Julie asked curiously.

"My best friend," Megan replied.

"How come she never comes over to play?" Julie asked.

Megan sighed. She really didn't feel like answering Julie's twenty questions. "I'll play with you when I get home, okay?"

Julie huffed and turned away. She left the room and went to watch TV. If Megan wasn't going to tell her who Firefly was, then Julie would just have to find out for herself.

After Megan was done brushing her hair and putting a bow around her ponytail, she went to wait for Firefly outside. She gave Aunt Abby a kiss and tried to hug Julie, but Julie wouldn't let her.

"Julie will come around soon," Abby assured Megan. "I promise. She might need to go to b_e_d early tonight."

Megan nodded and gave Aunt Abby a hug before leaving for the back porch.

As Megan sat there, waiting for Firefly, Julie crept to the window to see what Megan was doing. She watched Megan read a book and then take something out from underneath her shirt. It was a heart shaped locket. Megan opened the locket and a Rainbow came out of it!

Julie squealed with delight, but then she screamed. Something pink and blue was speeding towards the house! Right for Megan! Julie ran to get Aunt Abby and then thought better of it. She ran outside just as Firefly landed and Megan hugged her and patted her mane.

"Were you waiting long?" Firefly asked.

Megan shook her head. "No. Come on. Let's fly!" She jumped on Firefly's back and Firefly took off. "Can we do the double inside out loop, please?" Megan asked.

"All you have to do is ask, my sweet girl!" Firefly said happily as she did her famous trick. "All you have to do is ask!"

Megan giggled and begged her to do it again. Firefly obliged and then headed for the Rainbow.

Julie gasped and then ran back into the house. She ran into the living room and burst into tears of anger. Megan hadn't told her that Firefly was a little pony who could fly. She hadn't told her anything. As Julie sat down, she buried her face in her hands and let the tears fall. Megan had never kept anything from her before.

* * *
Meanwhile, Megan and Firefly were heading for Ponyland. "So what's been going on, my sweet girl? Did those kids pick you this week?" Firefly asked. She wanted to make sure that her sweet girl was okay.

Megan sighed and nodded. "Yeah, but I took care of them, or rather the Rainbow of Light did."

Firefly smiled. "That's good." She nuzzled Megan as they landed in the familiar fields of Dream Valley ten minutes later.

When they reached Dream Castle, all of the little ponies came out to greet them and Megan smiled.. Unlike the first two times Megan had visited her now-second home, she wasn't as nervous and she patted all of the little ponies' manes without a second thought.

As Megan was patting Fizzy's mane and watching her do a new bubble trick, she felt someone nuzzle her leg and that same someone tried to climb into her arms. As Megan glanced down to see who it was, she heard Twilight say with a gentle giggle, "Take it easy, little one. Megan will spend time with you. Just give her a few minutes to relax."

Megan giggled lovingly as she gazed down into the cute and adorable blue eyes of Ember.

"But I want Megan to read to me, " Ember said excitedly. She then gazed up at Megan, who had picked her up, and asked, "Read to me, Megan, pwease?"

"Aw, of course I will. Come on. Let's go to the nursery and you can pick out a book, okay?" Ember nodded and snuggled into her friend for a cuddle.

Firefly smiled as she followed her sweet girl into Dream Castle and showed her where the nursery was. Megan was still getting used to things, but she had mastered most of the castle by now.

When they reached the nursery, Megan put Ember down so that she could pick a book out for Megan to read. As Ember picked out The Secret Garden, she sneezed.

"Bless you," Megan said. "Are you feeling okay, Ember?"

Ember nodded as she crawled into Megan's lap and handed her the book.

Megan shrugged and felt Ember's forehead just to be sure. She felt a little warm, but not enough for Megan to get Twilight. "All right. Let's see..." Megan said, opening up the book. "What chapter were we on?"

Ember thought for a minute and then said, "The Key." Megan nodded and found the chapter Ember was talking about. As Megan started to read to Ember, the baby pony snuggled into her, making Megan's heart melt. Megan really loved Ember a lot, and she loved spending time with her.

" 'No I won't go back upstairs!' Mary jerked her hand out of Mrs. Med lock's grip and ran for the safety of the woods. There she found the robin waiting for her. He tweeted as if he wanted Mary to follow him." As Megan read on, Ember sneezed again. Megan frowned and asked, "Are you sure you're feeling okay, sweetie?"

Ember nodded, but she had started to shiver a little.

Megan frowned and rechecked Ember for a fever. This time, Ember felt warm. "All right, let me go get your mama and then I think it's bedtime for you, honey." Megan patted Ember's mane gently as she set her down and went to find Twilight. Ember sighed and waited for Megan to come back.

After Megan and Twilight returned, Twilight nuzzled Ember gently and asked, "What hurts, little one?"

Ember sighed. "My head," she said.

"Okay. Well, let's see what the thermometer has to say. Megan, do you mind..."

"Not at all, " Megan said, giving Ember a gentle smile. "Let me get it." She went to the bathroom and returned minutes later with the thermometer in her hand. She put it underneath Ember's tongue and hushed her gently while they waited for the results. After the thermometer beeped, Megan took it out and read it. According to the thermometer, Ember had a temperature of 100.6 degrees.

"It's not that bad," Twilight observed. "But it's still a fever. All right, little one, it's bedtime for you. Megan can finish reading you the story and then she'll sing you to sleep, okay?"

"Can we have cuddle time until I fall sleep?" Ember asked, her big blue eyes gazing up at Megan hopefully.

"Sure we can," Megan said. "Tell you what, why don't we save the story for another time and I'll sing to you. Would you like that?" Ember nodded and yawned as Megan began to rock her back and forth gently while stroking her mane.

"Sweet dreams, little one," Twilight said gently, nuzzling her daughter and giving her a kiss on her cheek. "Mama loves you. I'll see you when you wake up."

Ember nodded as she snuggled into Megan's gentle and warm embrace. "Time we took our naps, before we all collapse," Megan sang softly. "To your bed, douse the light and put your sleepyhead down and sleep tight!" Megan sat there, holding Ember for about ten more minutes before Ember's steady breathing could be heard. Megan tucked Ember in bed and then went to talk to Firefly. She wanted to spend some time with Fizzy, too.

As Megan reached the hallway where the kitchen was, she heard voices coming from it. She followed them and found Firefly, Fizzy, Cotton Candy, and Glory having some hot chocolate.

Firefly smiled when she saw Megan and said, "Come join us, my sweet girl. Did you have fun reading to Ember?"

Megan nodded as she sat down next to her best friend and Firefly nuzzled her gently. "Yeah. But now Ember's sick. Poor baby. She has a headache and a fever. Her throat is hurting a little bit, too."

Firefly frowned. "Did Twilight give her some medicine?"

"Yup," Twilight said, coming into the room. "My little one's off to dreamland now, thanks to Megan." She smiled at Megan and nuzzled her. Megan blushed. Twilight then sat down on Firefly's other side and helped herself to some cake and juice.

After the little ponies and Megan were done eating their snack, Firefly wanted to take Megan for a flight. Megan agreed happily and jumped onto her best friend's back. Firefly and Megan spent a quarter of an hour just talking about stuff and laughing. Firefly did the double inside out loop and her sweet girl burst out giggling.

It wasn't until they returned to Dream Castle, did disaster strike. Twilight met them at the door, and she was frowning. "Twilight, what's the matter?" Firefly asked.

"Ember had a bad dream," Twilight said. "I calmed her down, but she wants Megan to sing to her."

"Sure, I'll sing to her," Megan said. "I don't mind. Is she still awake?"

Twilight nodded. "Uh_huh."

Megan then followed Twilight to the nursery and sat down beside Ember's bed. The lavender baby pony was crying a little. "Aw, shh, shh, hush now. It's okay, Ember. It's all right. I'm here now. Come here. Let's see if we can't get you back to sleep, huh?" Megan took Ember into her arms gently and started to stroke her mane again. She then started to sing a song she knew would help Ember get to sleep. "In no time at all, we'll have things back in shape, everything will be the way it was. Birds will start to sing again, bees will start to buzz. In no time at all, you'll be shouting out with glee at the change you thought could never be. Though the task is far from small, and it seems like a mighty long hall. With a little faith and trust, we can fashion dreams from dust! In just no time at all!" Megan then smiled down at Ember and gave her a gentle kiss on her cheek.

"Can you sing another song, pwease, Megan?" Ember asked. "Your voice is petty."

"Aw, thank you, sweetie. Sure I will." Megan then started to hush Ember gently. "Shh, shh. Shh... there' always another rainbow, search until you find it. Don't look at the cloud, look behind it. There's a Rainbow there somewhere. There's always a ray of sunshine, though it all seems tragic, you may turn around and like magic, there's an answer to your prayer! Now you feel forlorn, but hope can be reborn. Try and lose that frown. Look up," she put her hand underneath Ember's chin gently and made her look skyward, "not down and you'll find another Rainbow, I can guarantee it. Even though you think you've reached the Rainbow's end. There's always another Rainbow, always another Rainbow, 'round the bend!" By this time, Ember was half asleep.

"I love you, Megan," Ember said sleepily.

"Aw, I love you too, Ember. Sweet dreams now. I'll see you tomorrow." Megan gave Ember a kiss and then left to find Firefly.

Twilight met her at the door. "Thanks," she said. "Thanks a lot. Ember really seems to like you. I've never seen her take to anyone like that before."

Megan smiled and blushed a little. "I like Ember a lot, too," she said, following Twilight back to the kitchen where Firefly was waiting to play a game of Scrabble with Megan, Fizzy, and Glory.

After the game was over, it was dinnertime. Megan enjoyed eating the chicken patties, green beans, and noodles that Firefly and Paradise prepared. That was actually one of Megan's favorite meals.

Ember didn't show up for dinner because of her cold and fever. Twilight had made her some soup and was now feeding it to her in the nursery. "I'm going to check on Ember after dinner," Megan said. "I think she said she wanted me to sing her to sleep."

"I know she'll like that," Firefly said, giving Megan a warm smile. "You have a pretty singing voice, my sweet girl."

Megan grinned and nodded.

After dinner was over, Megan went to check on Ember. Sure enough, the baby pony was awake. Ember crawled into Megan's lap the minute Megan sat down and Megan started to sing to her again. It wasn't until twenty minutes later did Ember fall asleep.

Around nine o' clock, Firefly tucked Megan in bed. She was going to sleep in a spare room that Firefly had said could be her own when she came to visit. Megan liked the way the room looked. It had rainbow-colored wallpaper and a pink carpet on the floor. The bed was nice and warm and Megan had even brought one of her own stuffed animals, a cat she had named Meeko, so that she would have something to cuddle. She had left Meeko at Dream Castle so that he would always be there waiting for her.

"Sweet dreams, my sweet girl," Firefly said as she nuzzled Megan gently and gave her a kiss as Megan wrapped her arms around Firefly's neck and gave her a hug while patting her mane.

"You too," Megan said. "I love you, Firefly."

"Aw, I love you too, honey. See you in the morning. I'll check on you in a little bit."

"Okay," Megan said. After Firefly left, Megan said her prayers and then fell asleep to sweet dreams.

* * *
The next morning, Megan had breakfast with Firefly, Fizzy, Medley, Twilight and some of the other little ponies. She was having so much fun, that when Firefly said it was time to go back to Aunt Abby's, Ember wasn't the only one pouting.

"Aw, I know you don't want to go home, honey, but I'll come and get you on Monday. I promise," Firefly assured her best friend. She nuzzled Megan gently and let her say goodbye to everyone before she took her back over the Rainbow.

Megan wasn't mad at Firefly, not by any means. She just wished she could stay in Ponyland a little bit longer. After Firefly and Megan had said goodbye, Firefly flew over the Rainbow and back to Ponyland while Megan entered Aunt Abby's house.

The minute Megan walked inside, Julie ran to her, throwing her arms around Megan's waist. She wasn't mad at her anymore, and she had missed her big sister. "I missed you!" Julie said.

"Aw, I missed you too, Julie. Aw, come here, little one. Did you have a fun time while I was away?"

Julie frowned, but nodded. "Where did you go, Megan?" she asked. "Please tell me." She gazed at Megan with her green eyes full of hope.

Megan sighed and carried Julie into the kitchen. She needed a cup of juice. After Megan quenched her thirst, she would consider whether to tell Julie about Ponyland or not. But not before then.

After Megan had gotten a cup of juice for herself and Julie, the two sisters sat at the kitchen table, each in their own thoughts. It wasn't until five minutes later, did Julie break the silence.

"Megan?" Julie asked.

"Yes, little one?" Megan said, looking up from her half empty cup.

"Please tell me about Firefly, please?"

Megan sighed and thought about it for a long time. She then asked, "I'll tell you about Firefly on one condition."

"What's that?" Julie asked.

"You can't tell-" Megan started to say, but Julie interrupted her.

"No. What's a condition?"

Megan had to stifle a giggle. "It's a promise," Megan said. "Meaning, I'll tell you about Firefly if you promise not to tell anyone else. None of your friends at school at all. Promise?"

Julie nodded. Then she asked, "Can I tell Auntie Abby?"

Megan was silent at this and then she said, "Aunt Abby already knows."

Julie's eyes widened and she glared at Megan. "You told Auntie Abby before you told me?!" she asked, her blue eyes flashing with anger.

Megan nodded and sighed. She had just made a huge mistake.

Julie's lower lip started to quiver and she burst into tears. She jumped up from her chair and ran out of the room. She had banged her chair so hard that her glass of juice tipped over, sending pink colored liquid all over the table. The glass also cracked a little.

Megan sighed heavily as she got up to clean the mess. "Way to go, Megan!" she scolded herself. She knew she had to fix this and fast. The only question was, how?

After Megan had cleaned the mess up, she went to talk to Julie. Megan found Julie in her bedroom. She was holding her stuffed cat close. Julie had named her Sagwa. Julie loved Sagwa very much. Megan had given Sagwa to Julie when she was born and Sagwa meant a lot to the little girl.

"Julie, can we talk, sweetie?" Megan asked, coming into the room and sitting on Julie's bed.

Julie looked up at Megan; her face was tear-stained and shook her head.

"Little one, come on. I'm really sorry. I would love to tell you about Firefly, but it's just not the right time yet. That's all." Megan took Julie into her lap and gave her a hug. She started to stroke Julie's hair and sing her a song.

After Megan was done singing, Julie said sleepily, "I love you Megan."

"Aw, I love you too, little one. I love you so much. And I promise you, one day, you can meet Firefly and I'll take you to Ponyland. But not today."

Julie nodded. She snuggled into Megan for a cuddle and Megan felt her heart melt. She was happy that Julie wasn't so angry with her anymore. She knew that it was just going to take time. In a few days, Julie would forget about why she had been mad at Megan and the two sisters would get along again. Megan smiled as she thought of her upcoming visit to Ponyland. Megan knew that one day she would take Julie to Ponyland. She also was glad that her secret was out in the open, at least with Julie. She was going to tell Julie some stories about her adventures with Firefly and Medley in the morning. Right now, they both needed a little nap.

As Megan laid down, she kissed Julie's cheek and tucked her in.

"Sweet dreams, little one. Megan will see you when you wake up. I love you." With that, Megan closed her eyes and tried to sleep herself. It had been a fun weekend and she was exhausted from having so much fun. She just needed a little rest and then she would be energized for the rest of the day. After all, there was always another Rainbow around the bend.



THE END
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This is a retro-story, going back to May and early June of 2002 for the wedding of Fern and Toby. At that time, Tabby and I had so many ponies getting married that we had to skip over most of the weddings and just mention them in passing. Recently, however, Lance asked for the story of Toby and Fern's wedding, so back in time we go for Tried and True.


Tried and True
by Sugarberry (Sugrbery@aol.com)


A deep purple stallion and a spring green mare walked hoof-in-hoof through the fallen leaves of the Dream Valley park. Many of the trees were already barren and only the most hardy of the autumn flowers were still blooming, but nature seemed radiantly alive to the two ponies who had just confirmed the fact that a second foal would be born to them the following spring. Neither pony said a word, all their happiness expressed in a tender touch or a telling glance.

Arriving at the fountain that still sent its silvery streams arcing toward the deeply tinted blue sky, the stallion brushed some scarlet and gold maple leaves from the seating and grinned at his wife as he assisted her to a comfortable rest.

"This is where it all began for us."

"Not that I remember," Fern retorted, rolling her expressive blue eyes.

Toby laughed. "I remember it clearly enough for both of us. I knew you were special the first moment I laid eyes on you."

"Only a doctor could look down on an unconscious- and a considerably unkept- filly and get hit with cupid's arrow," responded Fern, pulling her husband down next to her and snuggling into the curve of his body. "But I'm very glad it was you who found me."

The homeless pony who had collapsed from the intense heat and a lack of proper food three years earlier had blossomed into a healthy young mare with a protective husband and a now eleven-month-old daughter. The news that their family was on the increase mantled Fern in a contented glow that Toby smiled on appreciatively.

Toby brushed Fern's nose with a tender kiss. "Our coming together was in the Master Plan."

And so it was. Toby, the dedicated physician at the Dream Valley hospital, had fallen irretrievably in love with the then dejected waif of a girl who had so suddenly and so unexpectedly come under his supervision. So unlike the regal Princess Tiffany with whom his name had once been linked and the total opposite of the worldly Miranda who had once tried to capture his prestige rather than his affection, Fern had mesmerized Toby with her sweetness, her innocence, and her compassion... without even trying.

Fern had found that she was utterly captivated by the stallion; the only problem for her was believing that he could find such a young, inexperienced, insignificant pony as herself desirable. But Toby would not allow her doubts to cloud the issue of their love, and a Christmastime proposal had met with a satisfactory answer for both of them.

A fairytale wedding had taken place the following June. Although Fern's family was small (Her Great-aunt Maisie was her only living relative), Toby's parents and siblings had accepted Fern into their ranks with joy. And as Toby's family was centered in New Pony, it was decided to hold the ceremony there. Ribbons n' Lace was more than happy to take charge of arranging for the church and the reception facilities, leaving Fern with only her bridal finery to worry about, having Chocolate Chip, Garnet, and Lemon Treats as her advisors in organizing her style in gown and hair dressing. Toby benevolently allowed the wedding preparations to go ahead without much input, trusting in his mother's experience and in his betrothed's common sense.

Buoyed up by the enchantment of having found the love of her life- and a new family besides- to cherish her, Fern lived in a dream-come-true world, planning via long distance discussions with Ribbons n' Lace for the June 1 wedding, spending quality time with her adoring fiancÚ, keeping up with her part-time class-work at Pony Pride, chumming with her friends, and working at Lemon Treat's Boutique at the mall. Her troubles that had mushroomed at the death of her grandmother were now behind her; she was safe in Toby's love.

When her classes at Pony Pride ended mid-May, Fern was hesitant in accepting Ribbons n' Lace's invitation to come to New Pony for the remaining two weeks until the wedding, but she had to agree with her soon-to-be mother-in-law that it would be wise for her to become more familiar with Toby's family members and with the locations of the wedding functions.

It was a teary-eyed filly who had watched Toby depart from his parents' swank home in New Pony after he had accompanied her to the city and had assured himself that she would be safely and comfortably accommodated.

"I leave you in good hooves," Toby had assured his bride-to-be as they said their goodbyes. "You're to consider my parents as your own, Fern."

"I can't help but love them, Toby, for it's through them that I have you." Fern's intensely blue eyes so caressed the stallion that it took all of Toby's resolve to turn from her and return to Dream Valley.

The days in New Pony were a swirl of activities for Fern as Ribbons n' Lace introduced her to relatives and friends, most of whom would attend the forthcoming wedding. Toby's sister, Tendril, made a point of seeking Fern's companionship, pleased that her brother had shown wisdom in his choice of a life-mate. With no siblings herself, Fern soaked-up the sisterly affection Tendril showered on her; and Tendril found that having a younger sister had its own rewards in that Fern was a wonderful confidant who could be trusted to keep private any shared thoughts and who was competent to offer sensible advise as well. To further strengthen the sisterly bond forming between them, Fern had also instantly taken a personal interest in Tendril and Copper's foals, four-going-on-five Patina and sixteen-month-old Quill.

It was because of this blossoming friendship that several days before the wedding, Tendril treated Fern to lunch at the exclusive Peerless, New Pony's fashionable and highly popular eating spot. Leaving her two youngsters in the capable hooves of her regular sitter, Tendril was set on showing Fern a good time.

"Fern, I want you to know how happy I am for my brother in that he fell head-over-hooves in love with you," Tendril confided after the elegantly prepared dishes had been placed in front of them. The mare chuckled. "Can you imagine that we once thought Toby would end up tied to the Princess Tiffany?" She nodded in the direction of a sparkly white pegasus several tables away.

Princess Tiffany, too, was in New Pony finalizing some elaborate plans for her own wedding which was to take place in Dream Valley the week following Fern and Toby's. Fern stared at the beautiful and regal mare and felt somehow inadequate. Princess Tiffany, in Fern's eyes, was everything Fern was not: poised, sophisticated, fashionable, respected, and very lovely. To top it off, the princess was sitting with, of all ponies, Miranda. The conversation coming from their table was light and bubbly.

"Certainly, you've met Miranda," Tendril stated, noting Fern's interest in the neighboring ponies, yet unaware of Miranda's attempt to foil the attraction that had budded between Toby and Fern. "Her parents are longtime friends of my parents." She grinned. "Being younger than Toby, I didn't always understand what was going on in his life; but there was a time when I imagined Miranda was sweet on my brother. But trust me, she would have made Toby a terrible wife. She's so calculating," Fern ended, then giggled. "No pun intended." Miranda was a financial counselor, and her life revolved around calculating ponies' fortunes.

"Yes, I've met Miranda," Fern admitted dryly, but did not clarify. She saw no reason to tell Tendril of Miranda's spiteful words if Toby had not already done so. She concentrated instead on Tiffany. "The princess will undoubtedly have a magnificent wedding."

"All pomp and circumstance with no true emotion," Tendril huffed. "I think Guido is blind to her grasping nature. But enough of Tiffany. You're the bride I'm interested in. Is Mom satisfied that everything will proceed smoothly on Saturday?"

"Even if a problem comes up, Ribbons n' Lace will have it solved with a wave of her hoof. She has connections everywhere."

"She hasn't denied you the right of making your own decisions, has she?" Tendril queried, suddenly worried. "She can be rather intimidating when she's in full swing."

"She's allowed me plenty of opportunities to make suggestions," Fern said. "She then gently prompts my thinking to see the fallacy behind my reasoning and the sense of doing it her way. So I almost always bow to her superior wisdom."

Tendril laughed. "You've learned early that Mom can be rather intimidating in her gentle way. But, trust me, you must stand up for your own opinions occasionally, or she'll organize you're entire life for you."

"After my year alone without Granny, I treasure having someone to look out for me," confided the young mare.

"I'm sorry, Fern." Tendril reached across the table to pat Fern's hoof. "I didn't mean to bring back unhappy memories now when you should be only thinking pleasant thoughts."

"Since the day I promised Toby I'd marry him, I've had nothing but pleasant thoughts," Fern admitted shyly.

"My brother is one lucky stallion," Tendril grinned before being interrupted by an attendant with a telephone.

"A call for you, ma'am."

The two mares exchanged a questioning glance, Tendril's look of worried apprehension quickly conveying itself to Fern. The ensuing conversation verified that there was an emergency. Little Quill, in an attempt to reach the cookie jar, had taken a tumble from a counter and had received a rather nasty bump on the head for his efforts. The foal was inconsolable and wanted his mother. Could Tendril come to the foal's aid? the concerned care-giver wanted to know.

Nothing would keep Tendril from her son in his need, and both she and Fern made ready for a hasty departure. Their duress, however, had not gone unnoticed; and they found Miranda and Tiffany at their table, curious as to the unwelcome news.

On hearing of Tendril's plight, Miranda was quick to make a suggestion. "Neither of you have finished your lunch; surely there's no need of Fern to leave such a delectable spread, Tendril. Your little one will want only his dear mother. Leave Fern with me and I'll ensure that she enjoys her lunch, and I'll see to her return home."

"Oh, Miranda, would you?" the harried Tendril said. "Fern, you don't mind, do you? I'm so sorry this had to happen on our special day out, but I can't enjoy myself knowing Quill needs me."

Having no desire to spend time alone with Miranda and Tiffany yet not wanting to increase Tendril's distress, Fern capitulated, although she felt as if she was caught up in something over which she had no control. "You run along, Tendril. Just remember to give Quill a kiss from me."

Tendril was gone in a flash, and a discreet motion from Miranda soon had a waiter at the table transferring Fern's unfinished lunch over to join Miranda and Tiffany's setting. Fern nervously took her place, feeling out of her element without the friendliness of Tendril to support her. Seeing Miranda and Tiffany share what appeared to be a smirk, Fern called up all her hidden reserves of self-confidence and flashed the two socialites a brave smile.

"Princess Tiffany, I assume you have all the details of wedding planning in hoof just as I do," she said as coolly as possible, assaying the princess with a show of tranquility she was far from feeling. "Of course, mine is occurring in just a couple of days while yours will be in another week, if I remember correctly?" She made the statement a question.

Loath to admit that her elaborate plans were far from complete, the princess waved a languid hoof through the air. "I give orders and I assume they are obeyed. Everything will be as it should be a week from Saturday." The princess could not stop herself. "As money is no object, any problem that might occur can be easily remedied... although I'm quite sure that Toby and his family have been very generous toward their orphan bride."

Unable to believe that Tiffany had made such a tacky remark, Fern reverted to speechlessness and timidity. How did one enter combat with royalty, especially in so public a place as Peerless? Surprisingly, it was Miranda who stepped into the void to defend Fern.

"Now, Tiffany, that smacks of snobbery. Surely you can't begrudge Fern winning such a prize as Toby. Why, there was even a time when you had cast your lure in that direction, am I right?"

Princess Tiffany sniffed, pushing her unfinished salad away. "You didn't live in Dream Valley when the stallions were scarce, and a mare didn't have much choice," she grated. "Luckily, I was spared making a dreadful mistake." The pegasus shuddered, thinking how different her life would have been with a hard-working doctor as a husband rather than a globe-hopping billionaire like Guido, the stallion she would be marrying so soon. "Now, if you will excuse me, I have an appointment with the orchestra that will be playing at my reception; there are some changes I'd like them to make." She made her exit with a toss of her silver-laced mane.

Miranda grinned impishly, completely baffling Fern; Miranda leaned toward the younger mare as if they were bosom friends. "The princess has an exalted impression of her status; it was a pleasure to bring her down a notch or two."

"I... I wouldn't want to make her a... angry with me," Fern stuttered, fearing some sort of reprisal from the white pegasus. "S... she is, after all, a p... princess."

"And it would be remiss of Toby if he doesn't consider you a princess, Fern," Miranda responded with a raised brow. She laughed over Fern's answering blush. "Well, it's nice to know that Toby hasn't lost his gallant address."

Before Fern could respond to that hint of an earlier familiarity between the mare and Toby, Miranda went on.

"You might not have a royal background, but you'll make a stunning bride. You're in New Pony, I assume, for your final fittings on your gown? Did Ribbons n' Lace refer you to Reginald's or Champagne's?"

"Neither, actually. We both thought it would be best to work through Lemon Treats' Boutique."

"Lemon Treats doesn't carry bridal wear."

"Oh, but she has all the accessories. And because she handles Clare's Creations and is a personal friend of Clare, I had access to Clare's wedding line. Lemon Treats is actually thinking of opening a bridal shop at the mall if I 'come across well'."

"Well, that is a choice piece of information. The Princess Tiffany has obtained her wedding finery from Clare as well. It's nice to know that you will be equally fashionable."

"I'm sure Princess Tiffany will be much more up to the mark than I could ever be," Fern countered. "I didn't see fit to spend a great deal of money on an outfit that I would wear only once, even if it is the most important occasion of my life. My grandmother would never have countenanced such foolish..." Fern came to an abrupt stop when she saw the disbelieving look in Miranda's eyes, and she wished she could retract her incautious words. She struggled to erase the impression she must have conjured up in the discerning mare's mind. "Granny always advised quality, but without the frills. I never lacked for anything under Granny's care, but we did live simply..."

"Don't feel it necessary to explain, Fern," smiled Miranda. "I'm sure I would've liked your grandmother very much. Don't forget that it's my job to help ponies get the most out of their jangles."

Fern's soft green complexion was suffused with a rosy glow. "You must think me a veritable country bumpkin."

"Of course not, my dear! But you surely haven't skimped too much, have you? This is a very important day in your life, as you said. I'd hate to think that you were gypped of your chance to shine."

"T... Toby agreed that I should dress simply. He said I'd be lost in too many frills and ruffles."

"Describe your attire," Miranda ordered, leaning back in her chair with an assessing gleam in her eyes.

"Well, I'll wear a white circlet of roses and pearls with a lacy veil that trails to the floor..."

"That's all very well and good," mused Miranda, "but isn't it rather... commonplace?"

"It's traditional, if that's what you mean," Fern defended rather tartly.

"Have you never dreamed of breaking free of the ordinary, Fern? Just this once, wouldn't you like to make your own statement, set your own trend?"

"I'm satisfied with what my friends and I've decided on."

"And I'm sure it's lovely! But imagine the light in Toby's eyes if he was to see you come down the aisle in an original creation by someone like... Nate."

"His styles are... weird," Fern shuddered.

"But noteworthy," Miranda responded. "And that's what you need, Fern. Something that will set you apart so ponies take notice of your union with Toby. Imagine the stir you'd create wearing something extravagantly unique!"

"But that's not my style!"

"Ponies will talk, Fern. They'll note the drab little mouse Toby chose and compare her to the fashion-plate bride that Tiffany will be. You don't want ponies to make an uncomplimentary comparison, do you? Some might think that Toby would have been better off with Tiffany after all."

A vision of Tiffany elaborately gowned and bejeweled in the latest fashion flitted through Fern's mind, stirring a twinge of jealousy over the princess who had lived her life with every advantage at her disposal and who would now glitter in magnificence on her wedding day as all of Ponyland watched while insignificant Fern Feather would march down the aisle in veritable obscurity, even thought Toby and his family were highly respected in their own sphere.

Doubts began to invade Fern's mind. Had her friends advised ordinary dress because they knew she would not be able to carry-off a more dazzling ensemble? Had Ribbons n' Lace wanted this wedding to remain low-key so as not to call attention to their son's pathetic alliance? Did Toby himself prefer to keep his bride commonly attired, knowing full well that Fern could never shine as the Princess Tiffany could and would?

A little fire of indignation began to burn within Fern. Her snapping eyes met Miranda's amused ones. "You have a point, Miranda. But it's too late to do anything about it now."

"Maybe not, Fern," Miranda said, leaning forward over the table. Her mind had been as busy as Fern's in the last few minutes. "Nate happens to be a good friend of mine, and he owes me a favor. How would you like to consult with him now and see what his recommendations would be?"

"On such short notice? There'd be no time..."

"You'd be surprised what can be accomplished if you have the right incentive. And Nate will jump at my command. Trust me, Fern. You'll be spectacular!"

* * *
It was a tired- no, exhausted- Fern who finally arrived home much later that day to find a note from Ribbons n' Lace explaining that Quill had been so distraught after his bump that she and Andrew had gone to assist Tendril by entertaining Patina until Copper returned home from a late shift at work. The note stressed that Fern was to make herself comfortable. Fern would have liked to relax, but she found herself pacing the flower-perfumed patio instead, going over in her mind the strange events of the afternoon.

Miranda had proven to be as good as her word, taking Fern to the posh setting of Nate's suite of offices and workrooms. Whatever Miranda held over the stallion's head must have been substantial, for he dismissed the client with whom he was conferring and greeted Miranda with a fawning deference that embarrassed Fern who was nonetheless swept along in its wake.

Once Miranda explained her mission of seeing Fern outfitted in the first stare on her wedding day, Nate's eyes began to gleam with delight. Ribbons n' Lace was a highly respected matron of New Pony, he well knew, and her fashion sense was never suspect. Her daughter-in-law dressed in a Nate Original on her wedding day would ensure an influx of business.

In all honesty, Nate would have to admit that the demand for his outrageous designs was meager. If he was brutally honest, he would admit that he could barely make the rent. His clientele came from a thin slice of the New Pony elite, mares who were not afraid to make a striking statement or to raise a few eyebrows. Even in this eclectic city, many mares tended to lean toward the more conventional designers.

However, if Ribbons n' Lace's name became linked with Nate's, it would lend a new respectability to his label. The well-known names of the prestigious Dr. Andrew and his charitable wife would go a long way to raising his reputation to a new level. Even if he had to go without sleep for the next forty-eight hours, it would be worth it.

Disconcerted to have Nate's assessing gaze so brutally surveying her, Fern was ready to run from the designer's office; but Miranda, sensing her distress, sent her a quelling glance before speaking to Nate. "What do you think? Do you have time to design a masterpiece?"

Unbeknownst to Fern, Miranda had managed to place a call to Nate while Fern was freshening up after their luncheon. For a brief moment, Nate's gaze slipped from Fern to her companion; an intense look of understanding was exchanged between the two before the designer's eyes came back to Fern. After several more minutes of keen scrutiny, he pushed some papers from his desk to clear it, then reached for a pristine sheet of drawing paper and began to sketch.

The only sound in the room was that of the pencil on paper. Fern sat, barely breathing, as the artist scratched out his vision of her as Toby's bride. His brilliantly red, spiked mane jerked with his movements like a rooster's comb, Fern noted, the similarity bringing a genuine smile to her face, replacing her worry lines. Nate looked up just then, surprised to see the softened expression that made the young mare's face truly beautiful. His artistic flow arrested, he smiled back at the mare.

For the first time since her arrival at Nate's, Fern relaxed with this expression of camaraderie. Nate might be a maverick designer, but he had Miranda's approval; and even if Fern and Miranda had gotten off on the wrong hoof when Fern had first arrived in Dream Valley, Miranda was a long-time friend of Toby's, and her response to Fern after Tiffany left was all that was friendly. And Nate was only a stallion, after all, even if he was considered by some to be a demigod and by others a notorious fake. Fern convinced herself that she should have no qualms about trusting her wedding attire to him.

"When can I see the sketch?" she asked.

"Look now. Understand, however, that this is only tentative." He turned the sketch to face Fern as she crossed the short distance to his desk, and she gasped when she saw Nate's image.

The first detail that caught Fern's attention was the representation that Nate had made of her own face. In his drawing, her meek countenance had been highlighted with quick, bold strokes of his pencil; her eyes were outlined in deepest charcoal, giving her an exotic look. She could only imagine what colors he would expect on her lids, but she knew with certainty that they would not be her usual pale mauve and beige.

Only belatedly did Fern note the design of the headdress that Nate had concocted. Rising from her severely coifed hair rose a feathery fan of fern-like fronds that dwarfed her petite stature. From the downy feathers gems sparkled, and a cape of the same feathers draped to the floor and cascaded behind.

"It's rather... showy," Fern mumbled. She was ignored.

"It need more pizzaz," Miranda conversely observed, frowning.

"It needs something," Nate pondered, tapping his chin as he concentrated, his eyes taking on a faraway look.

"Are the jewels diamonds?" Miranda asked.

"Of course," Nate murmured, still deep in thought. Suddenly his eyes cleared and lighted. He reached for his chalks and added color to the drawing, bringing it to life. With a deft sweep of his hoof, the headdress took on a pale green hue that blended with soft blue over the back and became a shimmering metallic blue as it flowed to the train of the cape. The effect was that of a cluster of ferns budding forth from the edge of a pristine mountain stream. Nate quickly added a luxurious bouquet of ferns and brilliant red tea roses to the ensemble, then stood back in satisfaction. "It's you, Fern," he stated simply.

From over Fern's shoulder, Miranda expressed delight. "Nate! This is wonderful! It's exactly what Fern needs to give her countenance with New Pony society. Fern, you'll be the talk of the town."

Not exactly thrilled to fuel the tattle-mongers no matter how highbrow, the gentle Fern shook her head, trying to rationalize this beautiful but flamboyant outfit with the softly romantic white lace, pearls, and flowers that lay waiting for her wedding day. "I'm not sure..."

"You're going to shine, Fern," Nate interrupted. "I'll get my staff right on this, and I'll help them myself every step of the way. Never fear; everything will be ready by Saturday."

Fern smiled weakly. She wished she shared Miranda and Nate's enthusiasm.

* * *
"Tendril, can I talk to you for a minute?" Toby asked his sister. He had arrived in New Pony two days hence for the final countdown to his wedding; and now that the eve of that occasion had arrived, he needed some advice.

"Why, of course, Toby. What's on your mind?" The mare grinned. "Other than Fern, of course."

"That's just it, sis. Did you notice how tense Fern seemed at the rehearsal tonight? And even at the dinner afterwards, she didn't seemed to be enjoying herself."

"Bridal jitters." Tendril waved a negligent hoof through the air. "It's to be expected, what with all the changes that will occur in Fern's life now."

"She was happy when she left Dream Valley; now she seems to be under some kind of dark cloud. Did something happen while she was here in New Pony?"

"Lots happened, Toby. We've been very busy with last minute preparations, and Mom made sure Fern met everyone. And Fern was worried about Quill when he cried himself into a fever after his fall. She really is a compassionate pony, Toby; I think she was nearly as worried about him as I was."

"But Quill is fine now, and she still seems distracted by something."

"Did you ask her if anything was bothering her?"

"Of course, I did. She denied any problems, but she couldn't seem to face me squarely. I'm worried, Tendril. What if she's having second thoughts?"

"Toby! Don't even think it! That girl loves you with her whole heart and soul. Trust me on this one, brother dear." She kissed Toby's cheek and gave him a sisterly hug; but deep down inside, she wondered if maybe Toby had seen something she had missed. She vowed to keep a close eye on Fern for the rest of the evening.

* * *
It was Tendril's covert attention to Fern's mood that prompted her to corral Chocolate Chip, Garnet, and Flower Drift (a former classmate from Fern's hometown of Bushley) shortly after Fern's abrupt announcement that she was exhausted and needed to retire if she was to be a bright-eyed bride on the morrow. Tendril was especially troubled to note the rather cool goodnight Fern had bid Toby, leaving the stallion with a pained and worried expression on his face. After a whispered alert to Fern's bosom friends, the quartet slipped away from the rest of the wedding party to make their way to Fern's chamber.

When a soft knock on the young mare's door brought no response, Tendril turned to Chocolate Chip. "What now?" she queried softly.

It was Garnet who responded. "We bust down her fortification," the red mare said, matching her actions to her words. She turned the doorknob and pushed open the door. "Fern? Are you in here?" she asked, finding the room in relative darkness.

From the center of the bed came a muffled sob followed by a raspy, "I'm here. Just go away."

Garnet, Chocolate Chip, Flower Drift, and Tendril shared a perplexed glance; then, as one, they marched into the room, circling the bed.

"Okay, Fern; what gives?" queried Garnet.

"N... nothing," Fern sniffed, sitting up and blowing her nose.

"Fern, dear, we're all your friends. You can confide in us," Flower Drift said, dropping to Fern's side and smoothing back her mane.

"I... I know that," Fern stuttered, then covered her face with a clean handkerchief from which she mumbled, "There's... there's just nothing to talk about."

"It's obvious that something's troubling you," Chocolate Chip declared, taking up a position on the other side of the sniffling bride-to-be. "We're here to help."

"N... no one c... can help."

"Fern," Tendril said, "have your feelings for Toby changed so suddenly?"

At this notion, Fern uncovered her tear-stained face abruptly. "No! How can you even think such a thing?"

"Then what's made you so terribly unhappy?" Tendril questioned, sitting down in front of Fern. "You can't doubt my brother's love for you."

"I... I don't doubt his love," Fern sniffed, "but I've proven to be a disappointment to him." She was then engulfed in a stream of silent tears.

"What makes you say that?" Garnet joined the others on the bed.

"H... he thinks I'm a drab little m... mouse," Fern mumbled, picking up one of the bed pillows and hugging it to her. "H... he'd rather have s... someone of T... Tiffany's c... c... caliber for his bride."

Garnet's, Chocolate Chip's, Flower Drift's, and Tendril's mouths slacked open in astonishment. "What are you talking about?" demanded Garnet, the first to find her voice. "The stallion adores you!"

"M... Miranda said..."

"Miranda... said... what?" Tendril asked in a deadly calm voice that caused Fern to stop her sniveling and to dry her eyes. She took a deep breath as she glanced from one to the other of her friends, then gulped uncomfortably before she poured out her story to the interested onlookers.

* * *
"So that's what Miranda meant when she said that she couldn't wait to see Toby's face when Fern walked down the aisle," Chocolate Chip grated. "I ran into her when Wigwam took me to lunch yesterday," she explained further.

The mares were gathered around the Nate Original that had been secretly hanging in Fern's closet next to the snow-white finery that she had brought from Dream Valley. The showy outfit had been delivered to her only that morning, put into her hooves by a courier with orders to consign the package into Fern's care alone. She had secreted the parcel to her room without anyone in the house being the wiser and had been burdened with feelings of guilt ever since.

What had seemed so right, so exciting, when she had been with Miranda and Nate had seemed like a betrayal once the shimmering green and blue work of art had been hanging in her closet. For all its expensive trappings, it appeared to be a gaudy costume compared to the virginal innocence of the wedding attire she had so lovingly decided on with the help of her true friends.

"It sounds to me like Miranda was setting you up," Garnet knowingly informed Fern. "And look how well she succeeded," the mare added, touching Fern's still wet cheek.

"Setting me up?"

"She planted the seed of self-doubt in your mind, then goaded you into accepting this spectacular outfit knowing full well that Toby would prefer something less ostentatious."

"She did that on purpose?" the meek and mild Fern questioned. "I thought she'd come around to seeing me as a friend."

"Miranda probably still feels slighted that Toby chose you over her," Chocolate Chip rationalized, "even though she's dating Jack now. She was trying to get even in her own way."

"This Miranda sounds like a real shrew," Flower Drift snorted.

Tendril laughed. "That wraps up her personality fairly well. Thank goodness Toby never got snarled in her web." The mare gave Fern a hug. "He chose you instead, Fern; and for that we're all grateful. Haven't I told you that before?"

Fern grinned ruefully. "Yes, you did; but Miranda came on so strong that I believed everything she said."

"She's a salespony at heart," Garnet reminded the bride. "It's her business to convince ponies to see things her way."

"Well, I'm definitely wearing the white apparel tomorrow," Fern stated firmly, then frowned. "But what am I to do with Nate's Original?"

"Send it back," suggested Garnet. "Explain to this Nate what Miranda did."

"Who's getting the bill?" wondered Tendril, touching the feathery headdress to feel its softness.

"As to that, Miranda said this was her wedding gift to me and Toby," explained Fern.

"Well, then," giggled Flower Drift, "it's yours to keep."

"I'm not sure I'd want it around," admitted Fern.

"But just think, Fern. When Snuzzle plans her next fund-raiser ball, you'll have the perfect raiment!" Chocolate Chip chortled. "No one will even come close to this finery."

"That's perfect!" agreed Garnet. "As the wife of Dream Valley's number one doctor, you'll be expected to dazzle everyone. And you'll certainly do that in this number!" She held up the Nate Original and twirled around the room, causing the diamonds to seemingly explode in a rainbow of light.

The young mares talked and laughed for some time before a yawn from Fern alerted them to the fact that the bride did truly need some beauty sleep before her wedding day. With another round of hugs and best wishes, Chocolate Chip, Garnet, and Flower Drift departed, leaving Tendril behind.

"A little advice, Fern," Tendril said as she stood in the doorway. "I'd suggest that you hunt up Toby and let him know what was going on in your mind tonight. He was in a bad state earlier, thinking that you were unsure about marrying him. I doubt he'll get a wink of sleep if you don't set things straight with him."

"Oh, my gosh!" Fern cried out. "I thought I had my inner turmoil under wraps."

"Well, my dear sister-to-be, get used to having your moods read by Toby; he's so much in tune with you that you'll have a hard time keeping a secret."

"Where will I find him?"

"When he's got a problem, he often paces out on the patio," Tendril said, then grinned. "Scat, sister dear, and put him out of his misery."

Fern did not need a second nudge.

* * *
The house was quiet as Fern made her way downstairs, the only voices coming from the direction of the kitchen. Fern had not realized how late it had gotten while her friends were coaxing her out of her doldrums, but she was grateful for the privacy as she stepped to the patio doors and peered out into the gently lit outdoors.

Toby was there as his sister had said, but he was not pacing. Rather, he was standing next to a fragrantly blooming fruit tree with his shoulder leaning heavily into the rough bark as if he needed the tree's support. Even a less conscious pony than Fern could have read the despair in the stallion's stature, and Fern mentally chided herself for letting Miranda get to her. Quietly closing the space between them, Fern was within a pace away from him when he heard her approach and straightened, turning to face her. Her heart thudded painfully as she read the concern in his eyes.

"Toby, there's something I've got to tell you," she whispered, her voice tremulous due to the embarrassment she was feeling in having to admit that she had allowed Miranda to cause her to doubt his feelings.

For Toby, Fern's words were like the tolling of a death knell. He had been reliving the last forty-eight hours since he had returned to New Pony and had realized some unsettling facts. True, Fern had flown into his forelegs when he had first arrived at his parents' home, a radiant smile upon her face; but she had soon adapted a reticence that had kept him at foreleg's length as if they were good friends but nothing more.

What reason could there be for her reserve except that she had changed her mind about their future together? What else would she have to tell him at this last moment? He felt numb as he tried to prepare himself for her dashing of all his hopes and dreams for the two of them. He found he could not voice a single syllable, so he simply nodded.

Taking a deep breath, Fern dove into her confession. "I've been such a dunce! I never thought I'd question the depth of our love, Toby; but I realize I've made a terrible mull of things. I've let another pony come between us, but I never meant to hurt you. Can you forgive me?"

So this is what it feels like to have your life-blood cut off, Toby thought, unable to take in any air as he stood frozen in front of the mare that meant life to him. She had found someone else! His face blanched, causing Fern a moment of panic.

"Toby, say something!"

The best the stallion could do was to manage a brief shake of his head which was the final straw for Fern. Getting a grip on her own emotions, she blasted him with all her pent-up worry and self-recrimination.

"You've known from the start that I was raised a simple country girl, and you saw how easily Aunt Maisie's husband bamboozled me out of my inheritance. Can't you see how easily Miranda could do the same thing, convincing me that you would someday come to regret my background? All I wanted to do was prove that I could be as elegant as the likes of Tiffany and Miranda if I was given the chance. And now you refuse to talk to me?"

Fortunately, Fern had to stop to take a breath, giving Toby a chance to intervene, for at the mention of Miranda's name, his heart had started beating again. Anger could do that to a pony.

"What has Miranda been up to this time?" he growled menacingly.

"Haven't you been listening?" Fern accused, certain that her explanation had been succinctly recited, forgetting that Toby had not the least idea what had gone on between her and Miranda in the past week and was therefore receiving a less than complete picture of events. The mare's emotions got the best of her, and tears began to trickle down her cheeks again.

What could Toby do but gather her into his forelegs and kiss away the tears?

* * *
Not a bit of nervousness assayed Toby as he stood in front of his family and friends waiting for his young bride. He could almost be grateful for the torment Fern's mistake in trusting Miranda had caused the two of them. Unable to stifle a satisfied grin from appearing on his face as he remembered how good it had felt to hold Fern is his forelegs while she explained the near fiasco that had developed the day Tendril had left her in Miranda's care, Toby caught a cynical glance from his brother, the eldest of Ribbons n' Lace and Andrew's offspring, who was in attendance on the groom.

"Smile while you can," Tribute drawled, straightening his brother's tie for the umpteenth time. "Soon enough, you'll be under the cat's paw."

"And what a gentle paw it is," Toby responded, flicking Tribute's tie in place. "Some day, brother, you'll understand. Someday..."

The swell of organ music ended the siblings' sniping. Toby's glance was drawn automatically to the point where he knew Fern would be standing, and the sight of her draped in flowers and white lace was the answer to his prayers; the look of love and promise in her eyes took his breath away. Their eyes met, and life began anew.

* * *
As Miranda had informed Chocolate Chip, her eyes were on Toby when the organ music filled the church; and her stance was reminiscent of a feline huntress waiting for its prey to inch just within reach.

At her side, Nate restrained himself from craning his neck to catch his first glimpse of Fern in the eccentric original he had fostered. He was feeling a bit ashamed of himself for allowing Miranda to coerce him into taking advantage of such a genuinely naive mare; but the reward for his cooperation had been too enticing. Miranda's financial expertise would go a long way in helping him avoid his jangle-hungry creditors.

Nate was lost in his reverie of a more lucrative cash flow when he heard Miranda gasp, and his attention was brought to the events at hoof. One look at Miranda's face was enough to know that her plan of embarrassing Fern and Toby had somehow backfired. A glance at the bride coming down the aisle verified Miranda's abysmal failure.

Unable to stifle a chuckle, Nate received a sharp punch in the ribs from Miranda; but he did not let that stop his enjoyment of the situation. Nate had liked Fern, found her innocence refreshing after the jaded mares of New Pony, and was pleased to see that she had circumvented Miranda's revenge. And the sweet young thing looked lovely in her flowing white garment with the fragrance of lily-of-the-valley lingering in her wake.

Turning his attention to Toby, Nate felt a moment of envy as he saw the look of love and pride that the purple stallion showered on the bride as Toby received her hoof from Raven who stood in place of the parents that Fern had lost when she was just a foal. That same look was mirrored in the glowing face of Fern as she accepted Toby's guidance to the altar.

At that point, Nate stole another glance at Miranda, and the mare glared back at him. He shrugged his shoulders, letting Miranda know that he had upheld his part of their bargain in good faith; he had no control over Fern's last minute change of plans. It was Miranda who was now stuck with her portion of the agreement, to be Nate's financial advisor until solvency was realized. It would be a pleasure to whisper that piece of information to the bride and groom.

As for Toby and Fern, they wasted not a thought on the mauve-colored mare or on her attempt to cause trouble between them. They had both learned, once for all, that their love was a reality, tried and true.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Receiving a Gift from Above
by Sadira (fizzyponygirl20@yahoo.com)


DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT own any of the ponies. They belong to Hasbro. I do, however, own Megan, Julie, Molly, Lisa, Aunt Abby, Dr. Arielle Larson, and Jeanie Mathews.



It was a beautiful day in June. Megan and Julie were sitting in the hospital waiting room, waiting for their new little sister to be born. Their cousin Danny was with them, too.

As Megan paced the waiting room for the tenth time, Danny gazed up from his game and asked, "Are you planning on wearing a hole in the floor, Meg?"

Megan glared at him and sat down across from her cousin. She knew he knew she hated to be called Meg. Her name was Megan. Nothing more, nothing less. She loved her name just fine, but any variation just didn't sound right to her. She had one special name and that was from her best friend in the whole world. Her name was Firefly, and she was a pegasus pony who lived in Ponyland, which was over the Rainbow. Firefly called Megan her sweet girl and Megan liked that special name very much. It made her feel good whenever Firefly used it.

Danny gave Megan a reproachful look. "What?" he asked.

"You know perfectly well, what!" Megan hissed sternly. "You know I don't like it when anyone calls me Meg." She said the last word as if it tasted bad.

Danny chuckled, but he only earned another glare from Megan. "Julie calls you Meg," he countered.

"I do not!" Julie cried indignantly. "I call Megan by her name, and it's not Meg! Don't call my sister that again!"

"Okay, little one, calm down, all right?" Megan advised gently, using her own special name for her younger sister. Julie nodded and sat back down in Megan's lap.

After Julie was occupied by her book once again, Megan turned back to Danny. "There you have it. Julie DOES NOT call me Meg. Julie NEVER... she knows I don't like that variation of my name. In fact, all variations of my name are out of the question. It's just Megan. Megan Julia Hartson. Nothing more, nothing less."

Danny stifled a giggle. "Okay, Miss Shakespeare!"

Megan blushed and glared at her cousin. Sometimes Danny could be so impossible. She did like Shakespeare and her favorite play happened to be "King Lear", but she did not like any of his other plays except for "The Merchant of Venice". Other than that, she was strictly a Broadway-type of kid.

As Megan was about to change the subject and suggest they play the memory game, Aunt Abby came into the waiting room. She was smiling. Megan jumped up at once. "Is everything okay?" she asked.

Aunt Abby nodded. "Yes. Everything's fine."

"Can we see her?" Megan asked.

Julie nodded and smiled. "Yeah, can we see her, Auntie Abby, please?"

Abby smiled at her two nieces and nodded.

Danny glared at Megan. "How do you know it's a girl?" he asked. "It could be a boy."

Abby smirked. "It's a girl."

Megan's smile brightened. "Can we see her?" she repeated. "Please, Aunt Abby?"

Aunt Abby nodded. "Yes. But only one of you can come back at a time. Why doesn't Dr. Larson take you back," she pointed to Megan, "and Danny and Julie and I will wait."

Megan smiled at this idea and Danny glared. He hated being last for everything.

Julie also frowned at this. "But I wanna see the baby too!" she whined.

"Shh, hush now, little one," Megan said, picking Julie up and giving her a kiss on her cheek. "You'll see her soon. Now be good for Aunt Abby, okay?"

Julie nodded and gave Megan a hug before sitting with Aunt Abby again.

"Come on, sweetie. Let's go see your new little sister," Dr. Larson said, leading Megan back.

Megan followed Dr. Larson into the maternity ward and into the room where her mother and new little sister were. When Lisa Hartson saw her eldest daughter, she gently placed her new little sister into her arms. She smiled, but Megan could tell something was wrong- not with her little sister, but her mother.

"Can I name her?" Megan asked. She didn't expect her mother to say yes, but Lisa nodded.

"Sure you can. You're going to be the one taking care of her, after all."

Megan nodded and felt a little uneasy about what her mother had just said. She didn't mind taking care of her new little sister. She loved her so much already, but there was something about how Lisa had said it that made Megan feel uneasy.

Megan sat down in a chair as Dr. Larson placed the newborn baby girl into Megan's arms. "Hi there, little one," Megan said gently. "Hi there. I'm Megan. I'm your big sister. And you have another big sister named Julie who is waiting to see you outside, yes you do." Megan then bent down and gave her new little sister a kiss on her cheek. "I love you so much. Yes I do. I love you so much. I'm going to show you wonderful things as you grow, yes I am." Megan then started to sing softly. This seemed to calm the baby down and she fell asleep instantly.

Dr. Larson smiled down at Megan and the interaction between her and the new little one. She knew Megan was going to be a terrific big sister. As Dr. Larson glanced up to see what Lisa was up to, she found that she was gone! Dr. Larson silently but quickly hurried out of the room so that she could find Megan's mother. She told her friend, Jeanie, where she was going and Jeanie agreed to keep an eye on the girls until Arielle got back.

Megan settled herself down in the chair and held her new little sister in her arms. It wasn't until she heard something, did she look up. Someone or something was tapping on the window. She smiled when she saw it was Firefly. She opened the window and Firefly soared in.

"You can only stay a few minutes," Megan told her best friend of six months. "Otherwise the doctors might find out."

"Don't worry, my sweet girl," Firefly said, nuzzling Megan gently. "I only have fifteen or twenty minutes to spare, anyway. I would stay longer, but Medley needs my help with a party or something."

Megan nodded and showed Firefly the newborn baby girl in her arms.

Firefly breathed in awe. "She's so cute!" she said in a loud whisper. "What is your mother going to name her?"

Megan shrugged. "I'm not sure what I'm going to name her."

Firefly nodded and then gave Megan a confused look. "You?"

Megan nodded. "Yup. Mom doesn't want anything to do with the cute little one. I'm not sure why. I have a bad feeling about this, though; but I'm not saying anything yet. First, I want to think of a name for this little one." She thought hard but nothing came to her. She sighed as Firefly nuzzled her again.

"Don't worry, sweetie. You'll think of the right one when the time comes." She smiled and said, "So are you going to bring this little one to Ponyland soon?"

Megan smiled. "Uh_huh. When she gets a little older."

Firefly nodded and gave the baby a small nuzzle. She then nuzzled Megan and said good_bye before flying out of the window and back to Ponyland.

After Megan shut the window, she smiled down at her new little sister. "Well, sweetie, that was Firefly. She loves you already, as do I. I promise, I'll take you to Ponyland soon. When you're a little bit older. And then you can meet Fizzy and Medley and Ember and Twilight and Wind Whistler and Locket and Heart Throb and Galaxy and..." Megan's voice trailed off as a yawn escaped her lips. She settled back in the armchair and cradled her little sister close. She started to hum a song and ended up falling asleep.

That was how Dr. Larson found them an hour later. She smiled at the sight, but then tucked the little one back in her crib. She didn't bother waking Megan up; she didn't have the heart too. She draped a blanket over the young girl and gave her shoulder a gentle pat.

"Sweet dreams, sweetie." With that, she left the room.

* * *
The next day, Julie finally was able to meet her new little sister. She loved her from the moment she laid her green eyes on her, but she had a question for Megan. "Why are you going to name her? I thought Mommy and Daddy are going to do that."

Megan smiled gently down at her little sister and patted her shoulder. "Well, because Mom doesn't want to take care of her. She gave her to me to take care of."

"So you're her mommy now?" Julie asked, still a little confused by the whole thing.

Megan nodded. "I guess so, little one."

Julie nodded as she sat down in the chair beside her new little sister's crib and patted her shoulder gently. Julie really did love her new little sister very much.

* * *
Two days passed and Lisa showed no interest at all in her new daughter. She let Megan take care of her and although Megan didn't mind one bit, she still was a little curious to find out why her mother was acting this way.

It wasn't until the third day did Megan finally come up with the perfect name for her baby sister. She was watching "Annie" and holding the baby close. She bent down and gave her a kiss. About five minutes after the movie started, the baby girl started to cry and Megan started to rock her back and forth and started singing "There's Always Another Rainbow". After she was done, the baby started to fuss again. Megan started to sing to her again and then she started rubbing her shoulder gently.

"Aw, shh, shh; hush now, sweetie. It's okay, honey. Your big sister's here. Megan has you, sweetie. It's okay." As Megan continued to soothe her sister, the name came out of her mouth two minutes later. She gave her little sister a kiss and then started rocking her again. "Shh, shh, it's okay, Molly. It's okay. Megan has you. You're all right, sweetie. That's a girl. You're okay. It's all, right, Molly." As Megan said her little sister's name for the second time, she smiled. It sounded perfect.

Just then, Dr. Larson came in. She smiled when she saw Molly in Megan's arms. "Did you think of a name for her yet?" Dr. Larson asked kindly.

Megan nodded. "Yup."

Dr. Larson looked at the older of the two sisters curiously. "What did you name her?"

"Molly," Megan said, smiling down at her baby sister. "Her name is Molly."

Dr. Larson smiled at this. "Molly's a very pretty name. What about her middle name?"

Megan thought about this. This one wasn't going to be as easy. She would have to think about it for a little while. She frowned and gazed up at Dr. Larson. "I'm not sure about that yet. I have to think about it," she replied.

Dr. Larson nodded. "That's okay. I'm sure it will come to you when you least expect it." She patted Megan's shoulder gently and then started to take Molly away from Megan so that she could do an examination on her. Molly didn't like this and started to cry. Hard.

"Shh, shh," Megan soothed, rushing to her sister's side. She allowed Dr. Larson to hold her, but she put a comforting arm on Molly's shoulder. "Shh, shh, hush now, sweetie. It's okay, Molly. It's all right. Megan's here, honey. You're okay. It's all right. Everything's okay. Megan's here. Shh, that's my girl. It's okay." Megan then started to sing "There's Always Another Rainbow", and sure enough that calmed Molly down long enough for Dr. Larson to do the examination. Once the examination was over, Dr. Larson gave Molly back to Megan. Megan took her baby sister carefully in her lap and started to sing her to sleep. It worked, and in a matter of ten minutes Molly was in dreamland once again.

Megan held her for a little while after she had fallen asleep. She loved Molly so much and she was determined to teach her how to be a sweet and nice person. She knew her little sister was going to be special.

* * *
That night, Megan was just finishing eating the dinner that Aunt Abby had brought when Molly smiled at her for the first time. She looked up at Megan and actually smiled at her! Megan was so happy she grinned right back. She then bent down and started to tickle Molly gently, making her baby sister squeal with giggles.

"Aw, now that's the sound I wanted to hear. That's the sound I wanted to hear!" Megan said, laughing herself. "That's my little sunshine. Aw, I love you so much, Molly." Megan then picked Molly up and cradled her close. "Ya know, that's just the perfect special name for you. My little sunshine. That's what you'll always be. I love you so much, Molly Hartson. I love you so much. I will always love you, my little sunshine." Megan gave Molly another kiss before tucking her in for the night. "How about you, little one? Do you like that special name?"

Molly gurgled and smiled up at Megan.

"I'm glad," Megan said, grinning from ear to ear. "Because you will always be my little sunshine. I love you so much."

* * *
About two days later, Megan finally came up with Molly's middle name. It came out of her mouth out of nowhere, just like her first name had. She was trying to get Molly to sleep after Dr. Larson had performed a LP on her to check for a certain disease. It had come out negative, thank God, but Molly was in tears afterwards.

"Shh, shh, hush now, my little sunshine. It's okay, sweetie. Megan has you. You're safe and sound in my arms where you belong. It's okay, Moll. It's all right now. I know, sweetie, I know. It's all right, honey. Megan has you. Shh. That's my little sunshine. That's my little sunshine." Megan started to sing "There's Always Another Rainbow", which calmed Molly down, but not by much. She was just really tired and in a lot of pain.

Megan sighed as she picked Molly up and started walking around the room with her, trying to help her feel better. "Aw, what am I going to do with you, Molly Shaianne Hartson, hmmm?" Megan was smiling even though she was feeling a little tired. It was then that she realized what she had just said. "Molly Shaianne Hartson. That's perfect. Just like you." Megan then kissed Molly on the cheek and tucked her in for a nap. As Megan watched her baby sister sleep, Dr. Larson came into check on them.

"Did Molly calm down?" Dr. Larson asked in concern.

Megan nodded. "Yup. She's off to dreamland now. I finally came up with her middle name."

Dr. Larson smiled at Megan. "You did?"

Megan nodded.

"What is it?" Dr. Larson asked.

"Shaianne. Molly Shaianne Hartson."

Dr. Larson smiled. "That's perfect." she said.

Megan nodded and smiled as she sat down to watch her little sunshine sleep...

* * *
Exactly one year later, Megan was spending the night at her Aunt Abby's house as was her younger sister, Julie, who was four; and their new little sister, Molly, who was just sixteen months old. The girls had been living with Aunt Abby since their mother, Lisa, had abandoned them a year ago. Abby was trying to get custody of them, but the court system was being rather difficult about it. Abby loved her three nieces with all her heart and she wanted to see them happy and healthy.

Megan sighed in frustration as she tried to calm her youngest sister down. Molly was teething and had a small fever, so Megan had her hands full. Thank goodness Aunt Abby was there to help her.

Julie, who was just four years old, was sitting in the living room, reading. She liked looking at picture books and she wanted Megan to read to her, but she knew that Megan had to take care of their little sister first.

As Danny walked passed Megan, he grabbed Molly's stuffed golden retriever, Brandon, out of her hand. Molly started to cry, and Megan glared at Danny and gave him the silent signal to quit while he was ahead. Danny glared at Megan, but gave Molly back what was hers and left the room.

Megan sighed and went to see if she could calm her little sunshine down. "Shh, shh, hush now, my little sunshine. Shh, shh, hush now, sweetie. Megan has you now. You're safe and sound where you belong. Safe and sound in my arms. It's okay, honey. It's all right. Shh, sweetie. Aw, up you come, Moll." She picked Molly up and cradled her close. As Megan walked around the room with her baby sister in her arms, Molly reached out and touched the Rainbow of Light.

Megan knew what that meant and she was sorry she couldn't give her baby sister what she was asking for. "I'm sorry, sweetie. I know who you want to see, but not right now. We'll see her tomorrow. I promise. It's all right. Shh, shh, hush now, honey. You're okay."

Just then, Molly, feeling ignored, even though Megan was holding her and talking to her, blurted out something that made Megan's jaw about hit the ground and caused Julie to ask something that Megan wasn't ready to answer.

"Firefy!"

Megan's jaw about hit the ground. Molly knew how to say Mama and Megan's name, but that was about it. She knew little words like cat and dog and cup, but she was still learning. She wasn't saying full sentences yet, but Megan knew that would come in time. Before Megan could praise Molly for what she had said, Molly said Firefly's name again and started to cry. She then threw up from being upset, which made her cry harder.

"Shh, shh, hush now, my little sunshine. Shh, it's okay, Molly. It's all right. I know, honey, Megan knows. I know you want to see Firefly, but we can't right now. I'm sorry, sweetheart." Megan cleaned Molly up and started to rock her while singing "There's Always Another Rainbow". As Megan was getting Molly back to sleep, Julie asked, "Megan, can you take me to Ponyland, please?"

Before Megan could answer, Molly started to cry again and say she wanted Firefly. Of course she just kept saying "Firefy! Want Firefy!" But Megan knew what it meant all the same. She didn't have to say it properly yet.

Megan sighed. She really didn't want to answer that question right about now. It was true that Megan was planning on taking Julie to Ponyland soon, but not right now.

"Megan!" Julie said, feeling ignored.

"Little one..." Megan said warningly, using her special name for her younger sister. "I'm not in the mood right now, okay? Just relax for now and after I get Molly tucked in, I'll tuck you in."

Julie nodded and glared at her older sister. "I'm not tired," she said, crossing her arms over her chest.

Megan sighed. "It's way past your bedtime, anyway."

Julie nodded, but didn't answer. She really did want to have cuddle time with Megan, but she didn't want to go to bed.

Just then, Molly cried, "Want Firefy! Want Firefy!"

"I promise we'll see Firefly tomorrow," Megan said. She gave Molly a kiss on her cheek and hugged her close. "Shh, hush now, my little sunshine. It's okay. It's all right. We'll all see Firefly tomorrow."

Julie beamed at this. "You mean you'll take me to Ponyland to see Medley?" Julie really loved Medley. She had known Medley for six months now and she really loved her a lot. She was her best pony friend.

Megan smiled. "Yup. But you have to get ready for bed like a good girl and go right to sleep, okay? Will you do that for me, little one?" Julie nodded. "Aw, that's my girl." Megan smiled as she patted Julie's shoulder lovingly. She really did love her little one very much. Julie and Molly meant so much to her. Megan was determined more than ever to keep her little sisters with her and as happy and as safe as they could be- even if that meant taking them to Ponyland for good. Megan was ready to do this if the court system wasn't going to let Aunt Abby adopt them.

* * *
Early the next morning, Firefly came down to the house, followed by Medley. They were being extremely quiet. They didn't want to wake anyone up.

Megan took Molly and climbed on Firefly while Julie threw her arms around Medley's neck for a hug. She had really missed her over the last few weeks. "Aw, how are you, my sweet little bluebird?" Medley asked, using her special name for Julie as she nuzzled her gently.

Julie grinned. "Fine. Can we take a flight when we get home, please?"

Medley smiled and nodded. "We sure can."

Firefly smiled as she nuzzled Megan and then Molly and Julie. "How's my Jules doing today?"

Julie smiled. "Good!"

"Aw, that's good." Firefly then turned her attention to Megan and Molly. "And how are my sweet girl and my precious peanut today?" she asked, nuzzling them both gently as Megan patted her mane.

Megan shrugged as she held onto Molly protectively so that she wouldn't fall off. "We're all right. My little sunshine missed you. She said your name last night."

Firefly's jaw was about on the ground!

Megan almost giggled. "Actually, she said 'Firefy', but it's close enough."

"You've got that right," Firefly said, smiling gently at her precious peanut.

Megan frowned as she dismounted from Firefly and prepared to take Molly back into the house. "Unfortunately, Molly came down with a fever a few hours ago and Aunt Abby wants to look after her. I'll bring her next time, I promise."

Firefly nodded. She could feel the heat radiating off Molly when she had nuzzled her. She nuzzled her precious peanut again before Megan took her back into the house. As Megan set Molly in Aunt Abby's arms, Molly started to cry. "Firefy!! Want Firefy!!"

"Shh, shh, hush now, my little sunshine," Megan said. "Hush now, sweetie. It's okay, honey. I'll take you with me next time. I promise. I love you, sweetie. Be a good girl for Aunt Abby." Megan then gave Molly a kiss and patted her shoulder before going back outside and jumping on Firefly's back once again.

"Is Molly going to be okay?" Firefly asked.

Megan nodded. "Yup. She's going to be fine. I think I'll bring her to Ponyland as one of her presents for her second birthday. It's not that far away."

Firefly smiled. "That's a great idea!!" With that, she took off towards the Rainbow and Ponyland. She knew her sweet girl needed a break, and she was going to take her home for one.

Medley felt the same way about Julie. She knew the two girls were going through a hard time and she loved Megan and Julie and Molly very much. She wanted to see all three girls happy and safe.

When they got back to Ponyland, Firefly took Megan for a flight while Medley took Julie on one. "So how are things going?" Firefly asked, nuzzling Megan gently.

Megan sighed. "Okay. We're living with Aunt Abby now, so everything's all right. The girls like it and I feel safer knowing that they're safe when I come here alone."

Firefly nodded. "Everything's going to be okay, I promise." She then did her double inside out loop, earning a giggle from Megan. Firefly loved it when her sweet girl was happy, and she loved hearing her laugh.

When they returned to Dream Castle, Megan had a snack with Julie and the little ponies and then she went on another flight with Firefly before Firefly and Medley took her and Julie back home.

* * *
Later that night, Megan smiled as she watched Molly sleep. She really loved her a lot and she was convinced that Molly was a gift from above. All children and baby ponies were gifts from God, but Megan was sure that Molly was going to be a special little girl as she got older.

"Sweet dreams, my little sunshine," Megan said, giving Molly a kiss. "Megan loves you so much. I'll see you in the morning." With that, Megan went to get ready for bed herself. It had been a long day. Fun, but long. And Megan wanted to be ready for the next one. She knew it was going to be a nice one. After all, there was always another Rainbow around the bend and if you looked hard enough, you could find a Rainbow anywhere.



THE END
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Let a Song Carry You Along
by Sadira (fizzyponygirl20@yahoo.com)


DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT own any of the ponies. They belong to Hasbro. I do, however, own Megan, Julie, and Molly Hartson; along with their Aunt Abby.

Enjoy!!



It was a beautiful day in Nebraska. Nine-year-old Megan Julia Hartson was busy taking care of her ten-month-old sister, Molly, while her other little sister, Julie, read on the couch. Julie had been reading a book now for an hour and she really wanted to do something else. She really wanted to go to Ponyland, but she knew Megan wouldn't take her yet. Not that Megan didn't want to, but she had to take care of Molly. But little did Julie know what surprise Megan had in store for her.

As Julie put the book down, Megan came over to her and put a hand on her little one's shoulder. "Are you okay, my little one?" Megan asked, giving Julie a kiss.

Julie nodded. She then sighed and whined, "Megan, I'm bored!"

Megan giggled a little. "You're bored?" She then started to tickle Julie's tummy, making her giggle.

Julie nodded. "Can we go to Ponyland, Megan, please?"

Megan thought for a moment and then smiled just as a tap, tapping sound was heard at the window.

"Who's that?" Julie asked.

"I don't know," Megan said. "Do you want to see?"

"Will you come with me?" Julie asked. She knew she wasn't allowed to open the door without her big sister or Aunt Abby with her.

Megan nodded. "Sure." She smiled as she walked Julie to the door. She wanted to see if Julie could figure it out on her own.

As the tap, tapping sound was heard again, Julie frowned as she opened up the door and looked out to see nobody there. "There's nobody there!" Julie said in frustration. "Maybe it's a wood peeker."

Megan giggled. "It's wood pecker, little one."

Julie nodded. "Wood pecker."

"Good girl." Megan smiled and then said, "Well, if the tapping sound isn't coming from the door, then maybe you should check the window."

"Huh?" Julie asked.

Megan giggled. "Just trust me. Check the window."

Julie gave Megan a strange look, but went to do so. As Julie got to the kitchen window, she gasped and almost bumped right into Megan. Firefly was hovering outside the window! Julie's face broke into a grin. She had hoped Firefly would come and visit. She had known Firefly now for three months and she liked her a lot. Firefly even had a special name for her. She called Julie her Jules. Nobody else called Julie that except for Firefly- not even Aunt Abby or Megan. Julie grinned as Firefly landed and nuzzled Megan and then Julie herself.

"How's my Jules doing today?"

"Good!" Julie said as she gave Firefly a hug. She then turned to Megan with a hopeful look in her green eyes and asked, "Are we really going to Ponyland?"

Megan nodded. "Yup. Come on, little one." Megan picked Julie up and climbed onto Firefly's back. Once Firefly had taken to the air, she asked, "What about my precious peanut?"

Megan frowned. "Molly's taking her nap. Aunt Abby's home. I told her I was taking my little one to Ponyland, so she knows where we are."

Firefly nodded. She knew that Abby worried about her nieces a lot.

When they touched down in Dream Valley ten minutes later, Megan dismounted and patted Firefly's mane as did Julie. "Thanks, Firefly," Megan said.

"No problem, my sweet girl. Come on. I'm starving!"

Megan giggled as she led Julie into Dream Castle. Once they got inside, all the little ponies came out to greet them. Fizzy was among them. "Hi Megan!!" Fizzy said cheerfully, nuzzling her friend gently. "I missed ya." She then smiled at Julie, who had buried her face in Megan's waist and asked, "Aw, who's that?"

Megan smiled as she pried Julie's arms from around her waist and picked her up. "Everyone, this is my little sister, Julie. Julie, these are the little ponies." Megan began to point out various ponies to her little sister.

Julie nodded and buried her face in Megan's shoulder. She was very shy and she didn't like being around new people or ponies she didn't know.

"What's the matter with Julie?" Fizzy asked.

Megan frowned as she carried Julie into the kitchen for a snack. "Julie will be okay. She just needs a little time to get used to everyone. Right, little one?"

Julie responded by letting out a fearful sob.

"Aw, shh, shh, it's okay, little one. It's all right. You're safe and sound in Megan's arms where you belong. You're safe and sound in my arms, where you belong. It's okay." Megan started to stroke Julie's hair as she sat down in her usual spot.

"Gee," Fizzy said, frowning a little. "I hope Julie's goin' to be okay. She's shy like you were the first time you came here."

Megan nodded. "Yup. But Julie's going to be okay. I promise, Miss Fizzy." She smiled as she used her own special name for Fizzy, making the green unicorn giggle. Megan then continued, "I'm not scared anymore."

"I should say not!" North Star said, nuzzling Megan gently.

"I agree with North Star," Wind Whistler said. "Megan has overcome her apprehension when among us."

"Huh?" Fizzy asked.

Megan giggled. "She's agreeing with North Star," she told her friend.

"Oh," Fizzy said. She blushed and then smiled at Julie warmly.

After Megan and Julie, along with the little ponies, had had their snack, they all went outside to play and enjoy the springtime weather. Once they were outside, Firefly got Megan onto her back via the double inside out loop. Megan was giggling, but Julie's jaw was about on the ground! She burst into tears and started to cry.

"Oh Julie!" Fizzy exclaimed, coming over and nuzzling her new friend gently. "Shh, shh, hush now. It's okay. Megan's not hurt, see? She likes it when Firefly does that. Look!"

Julie looked to where Megan and Firefly were now flying around and saw that Fizzy was right. Her big sister was laughing up a storm.

Fizzy then got an idea. "Hey Julie, watch this!" She then stepped a little ways back and lit up her horn. Bubbles started to come out of it, which got Julie giggling. "Do ya like 'em?" Fizzy asked.

Julie nodded. "Can you do it again, pwease?"

"Sure!" Fizzy said. She was happy that Julie was feeling a little bit better. Just as Fizzy was about to blow another bubble, Julie reached out and popped the one she had just blown for her. Julie's lower lip started to quiver and she burst into tears all over again. She was sure Fizzy was upset, which was far from the truth. "Julie, what's the matter?" Fizzy asked.

Julie didn't answer. She just turned the other way and ran into Dream Castle, still crying. She didn't stop until she ran into a bedroom. Once there, Julie threw herself onto the bed and cried herself to sleep. She hadn't taken her nap yet and all the excitement had worn her out!

* * *
Meanwhile, back outside, Fizzy had started blowing bubbles to get Firefly and Megan's attention. It worked, and Firefly looked down.

"What's up, Fizz?" Firefly asked, using her special name for Fizzy.

Fizzy giggled, but then remembered what had happened. "It's Julie!" she exclaimed.

Megan frowned. "What about Julie?" she asked. Before Fizzy could answer, Megan jumped from Firefly's back and landed on her right knee. She tried to get up, but couldn't due to the pain.

"Megan!" Fizzy cried in alarm. She ran to her friend and nuzzled her. She wanted to make sure she was okay.

Firefly also wanted to make sure her sweet girl was all right, but boy was she going to scold her. Megan knew better than to jump off her back in mid flight, and Firefly needed to let Megan know that what she had done was wrong. But first, she had to make sure that she was okay. When Firefly reached Megan's side, she nuzzled her gently and then asked sternly, "Megan Julia Hartson, what did you think you were doing! You scared me to pieces. You know that jumping off my back in mid flight is a BIG no_no, right?"

Megan frowned and nodded. "Yes, ma'am," she said.

"Good," Firefly said. She then gave Megan another gentle nuzzle and asked in a more gentle tone, "Are you okay?"

Megan nodded and tried to get up, but her right knee was hurt. As Megan tried for the third time, she burst into tears and buried her face in her hands. "I can't!" she sobbed. "It hurts too much!"

"Shh, shh, all right, it's okay, my sweet girl. You're going to be okay. Come here, honey." Firefly nuzzled Megan gently as the young girl wrapped her arms around her neck and cried into her mane. Firefly was still a little mad at Megan, but she couldn't stay mad at her sweet girl for long. She loved her too much. Firefly knew she was going to have to punish her, but that would wait until she inspected Megan's injury and got her some ice. "Come on, sweetie. Let's get you inside so you can rest, okay?" Megan nodded and Firefly got her onto her back via her double inside out loop.

When they entered Dream Castle, Firefly got Megan settled on the couch and went to get her some ice. Fizzy stayed with her to make sure she was okay.

"Okay, here we go, my sweet girl. I know it's cold," Firefly added, seeing the look on Megan's face when she applied the ice to her injury, "but it needs to stay there for awhile. You bruised it pretty badly. I never want you to do that again, do you understand me, young lady?"

Megan nodded and sighed. "Yes, ma'am," she said.

"That's my sweet girl. All right, you just rest here for awhile."

"Can you stay with me, please?"

Firefly nodded and nuzzled Megan gently. After a few minutes of silence had passed, Firefly turned to Fizzy. "So what was wrong with my Jules?"

Fizzy blushed as she started to explain what had happened. "I started blowin' bubbles for her and then we started to play bubble catch. Everythin' was okay, until Julie popped one of my bubbles by accident. Before I could tell her it was all right, she burst into tears and ran into the castle. I don't know where she got off to."

Megan nodded. She went to get up, but Firefly pushed her back down gently.

"You aren't going anywhere, my sweet girl. You need to rest your knee. I'm sure Jules is fine. She probably fell asleep in my bedroom or something."

Megan nodded and sighed. Firefly was probably right.

* * *
Meanwhile, Medley had just gotten back from a flight with Locket and had decided to take a little nap before she spent time with Megan. She knew her human friend was there, and she would see her when she woke up. After all, Megan was staying for a few hours.

As Medley pushed open the bedroom door, she gasped. Someone was already sleeping in her bed. Medley smiled as she gazed down at the little girl who was now fast asleep. She had reddish blond hair and green eyes. Medley could only assume that this was one of Megan's little sisters. Medley knew that Molly was just a baby, so this had to be Julie.

As Medley went to leave the room, a gust of wind from outside blew through the room and knocked over a picture frame. Medley held her breath, but Julie just rolled over, mumbled something, and slept on.

Medley then decided to go and see what Megan was up to. As Medley turned to leave, a clap of thunder sounded throughout the castle. As another clap sounded, Julie bolted upright and looked around the room before letting out the loudest scream Medley had heard in her life!

"MEGAN!!!!

Medley was sure that Megan, along with the entire castle, heard Julie's cry.

* * *
Meanwhile, in the living room, Firefly had heard her Jules scream and rushed to see if she could help. Megan had fallen asleep due to the pain in her knee, and Firefly had covered her sweet girl with a blanket.

When Firefly reached her room, she found it empty. She then got an idea and went to see if Medley had seen Julie.

* * *
Back in Medley's room, Medley was trying to calm Julie down. She didn't want to scare her, but she wanted to help her see she had nothing to be afraid of. "It's okay, sweetie," Medley said gently. "You're okay. You're all right. Can you tell me your name, honey?"

"Julie," Julie whispered.

"Aw, well, it's nice to meet you, Julie. My name is Medley. I'm Firefly's best pony friend. Are you Megan's sister?"

Julie nodded. "You know Megan?"

Medley nodded and smiled. "Yup. She's a real sweetheart." She then smiled and asked, "Do you like to fly?"

Julie shrugged. "Sometimes. I don't like to took flights with Firefly, 'cause she goes too fast."

Medley giggled and nodded. "I have to agree with you there. And it's take, sweetie."

"Take," Julie repeated.

"Good girl," Medley said. "If Megan says it's okay, do you want to take a flight with me? I promise I won't go too fast. I'm really careful when I fly."

Julie smiled and nodded. "You're pretty," she said as she reached a hand out to touch Medley's mane.

"Aw, thank you, sweetie. I think you're pretty yourself. Go on. It's okay."

Julie nodded and patted Medley's mane. It was nice and soft.

Just then, Firefly rushed into the room. She sighed with relief when she saw that Julie was safe and sound. "Oh thank goodness!" Firefly said, coming over and nuzzling Julie gently. "I heard my Jules scream. Are you okay, honey?"

Julie nodded. "I am now," she said. "Medley's nice. Can we take a flight, pwease, Firefly?"

Firefly thought about this and then said, "Sure. I'm sure Megan won't mind. She's taking a little nap."

Julie nodded and climbed onto Medley's back.

Firefly smiled as she watched her best pony friend take to the air. She was glad that Julie had made a new pony friend.

As Medley and Julie flew, Julie looked up in the air and then to her right and then left. "What are you looking for, sweetie?" Medley asked.

Julie smiled. "Hummingbirds. I like them a lot."

"Are they your favorite bird, Julie?"

Julie nodded. "Yup."

"Ya know what?" Medley asked, smiling.

"What?" Julie asked.

"I'm going to call you my sweet little hummingbird. Do you like that special name, Julie?"

Julie nodded and smiled. "Uh_huh."

Medley smiled and nuzzled Julie gently. As they continued to fly around, Julie told Medley about some of the different things she liked to do. As they were flying back to Dream Castle, Medley gasped and said, "Julie, look!"

Julie looked to her right and saw the prettiest sight she had ever seen in her life! "Hummingbirds!! Hummingbirds!!!" Julie cried. "Look, Medley!!"

"I see them, my sweet little hummingbird. I see them. Aren't they pretty?"

Julie nodded.

As the two new friends continued to look at the hummingbird nest, Medley started to sing. "There's a song in the air in the forest, birds are singing as they're winging here and there. Could it be the scenery, the brilliant forest greenery? Is that why there's music everywhere? There's a beautiful sound in the forest, birds are tweeting out their greeting loud and strong. There is nowhere to be found, something sweeter than the sound of nature's own sweet song!" Medley then flew Julie over to a newborn robin's nest. As Julie reached out to touch one, Medley finished her song. "Birds feel safe and at home in the forest. They feel right there, 'cause they're right where they belong! There's no way to recreate. To replace or imitate, nature's own sweet song! Nature's own sweet song!"

Julie smiled. "I like that song," she said. "It's pretty. You sing pretty, Medley."

"Aw, thank you, my sweet little hummingbird."

Just then, Julie gasped. "I know what I can call you! I'm going to call you my pretty Medley. Do you like it?"

Medley nodded and nuzzled Julie gently. "That's perfect. Thank you, my sweet little hummingbird."

Julie nodded as she patted Medley's mane gently. "You're welcome, my pretty Medley."

When they got back to the castle, Julie climbed off Medley's back and patted her mane. They went into the castle and into the living room. There they found Megan awake and pouting about something.

"But Firefly-" Megan was saying, but Firefly wouldn't hear it.

"No buts, my sweet girl. What you did was dangerous; and even though I know you know that, I need to punish you to show you just how dangerous it was. No double inside out loop for a week."

"Okay," Megan said with a frown. She sighed and then smiled when she saw Julie. "Did you have fun with Medley, my little one?"

Julie nodded and grinned. "Yup. We went flying and guess what we sawed? Guess what we sawed, Megan! Guess!!!"

"It's saw," Megan corrected her little sister while smiling.

"Saw," Julie repeated.

"Good girl. What did you see?" Megan asked,

"We sawe... I mean, we saw hummingbirds!! We saw a bunch of hummingbirds and my pretty Medley sung a pretty song about them."

Megan smiled and patted Julie's shoulder. "I'm glad you had fun, little one. But you know what time it is now, right?"

Julie frowned, knowing what was coming. "I don't want to go home!" she said, her lower lip quivering. "I want to stay here with my pretty Medley! I don't want to go home! I don't want to go!" With that, Julie ran out of the room in tears.

Medley followed her. She wanted to make sure her sweet little hummingbird was okay. Megan was about to go after Julie as well, but Firefly stopped her.

"Let Medley handle it," Firefly advised. "She'll get my Jules feeling better."

Megan nodded and tried to relax a little bit.

* * *
Meanwhile, in Medley's bedroom, Medley had found Julie crying on her bed.

"Shh, shh, hush now, my sweet little hummingbird. Shh, it's okay, Julie. It's all right. What's the matter, sweetie?"

"I don't want to leave!" Julie wailed. "I want to stay here with you!"

Medley sighed as she sat down and nuzzled Julie gently. "I know you do, my sweet little hummingbird, but you have to go home with Megan. I'll see you tomorrow, I promise."

"Pomise?" Julie asked.

"I promise," Medley said.

Julie nodded and gave Medley a hug. "I love you, my pretty Medley," Julie said as she wrapped her arms around Medley's neck.

"Aw, I love you too, my sweet little hummingbird. Come on. We need to get you and Megan back home before dinnertime." Julie nodded and followed Medley back to the living room.

"Feeling better, little one?" Megan asked as she helped Julie to put her coat on.

Julie nodded. "Yeah. I'm going to miss Medley."

"Aw, I know you will, my little one. But you'll see her tomorrow."

Julie nodded and smiled a little as she climbed onto Medley's back for the journey home.

Once they got home, Firefly nuzzled Megan gently and then nuzzled Julie. Firefly gave Megan a kiss good bye and Megan hugged her best friend and patted her mane. "I'll see you tomorrow, okay, my sweet girl?" Firefly said.

Megan nodded. "Yup. And I PROMISE never to jump off your back like that again."

"Good girl. But you're still punished from the double loop for a week."

Megan nodded. "I know. Safe trip back."

"Aw, thanks my sweet girl." Firefly then nuzzled Julie before soaring for the Rainbow again.

"I'll see you tomorrow, my sweet little hummingbird. I love you," Medley said, nuzzling Julie gently.

"I love you too, my pretty Medley." Julie said. After she hugged Medley one more time, the green pegasus nuzzled her gently and left to catch up with Firefly.

Megan then picked Julie up and carried her into the house.

* * *
Later that night, Megan tucked Julie in and sung her their song. After Megan was done singing, Julie smiled up at her and said, "Thanks, Megan."

"For what?" Megan asked as she tucked the covers around Julie.

"For taking me to Ponyland. I'm glad I met Medley."

"Me too, little one," Megan said, giving Julie a kiss. "Me, too." With that, Megan made sure Julie was going to be all right before checking on Molly and going to bed herself. It had been a long day and Megan was happy that Julie had made a new pony friend. Megan had a feeling that Julie and Medley were going to be friends for a long time. After all, there was always another Rainbow around the bend and if you looked hard enough, you could find a Rainbow anywhere.



THE END
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A New Friend for Molly
by Sadira (fizzyponygirl20@yahoo.com)


DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT own any of the ponies. They belong to Hasbro. I do, however, own Megan Julia Hartson, Julia Corina Hartson, and Molly Shaianne Hartson, along with their Aunt Abby.

Enjoy!!!



It was a beautiful day in Nebraska. Ten-year-old Megan Hartson smiled as she got ready to go to Ponyland. She had been going over the Rainbow to Ponyland now for two years and she enjoyed the time she spent there. What made this trip special, though, was that she was going to bring her little sister, Molly, who was just two years old, with her. She had promised Molly that she would bring her someday and she had told her all of the stories about her adventures with Firefly, Medley, Fizzy, and all of the baby ponies; and Molly was eager to go. She liked Firefly and had met her a couple of times so far. Firefly even had a special name for Molly. She called Molly her precious peanut. Molly enjoyed that special name and enjoyed spending time with Firefly. Firefly had a special name for Megan, too. She called Megan her sweet girl and Megan enjoyed that a lot. She and Molly, along with their sister, Julie, loved Firefly a lot. Firefly would sometimes stay to play with Molly and Julie when she brought Megan back home, but that was only if Megan's Uncle Mark was out, which was very often.

As Megan searched the sky for her best friend of two years, Molly gasped and said, "Firefy!!! Firefy!! Megan!!! Look, Firefy!!"

Megan giggled at her little sister's mispronunciation of their friend's name and smiled. "You're right, my little sunshine. That is Firefly. Come on. Let's go say hi." Megan scooped Molly up in her arms and went to greet her best friend. She gave Firefly a hug and let Molly give her one as well.

"Hey my precious peanut. How are you?" Firefly asked as Molly gave her a hug and kiss.

"Good!" Molly said happily. Then she turned to Megan and asked, "Go to Ponyland now, Megan? Pease?"

Megan nodded and scooped Molly up in her arms. "We sure are, my little sunshine. Come on." She hopped on Firefly's back and they headed over the Rainbow to Dream Valley.

As Firefly soared over the Rainbow, she asked, "Where's my Jules?"

"Over at Charlotte's house for the day," Megan replied. "Aunt Abby is going to bring her back to Uncle Mark's house an hour after we get back."

Firefly nodded. She missed her Jules, but she was glad Julie was having fun. Julie really deserved it.

When they got to Ponyland and Dream Castle, Molly started becoming shy. She wasn't used to everyone and she started crying as Megan put her down so that she could greet the little ponies.

"Aw, it's okay, my little sunshine," Megan said as she picked Molly up and hugged her close. "It's okay, Moll. Megan has you. You're safe and sound in my arms where you belong. It's okay, sweetie. That's my little sunshine. It's okay. Come on, let's go inside and have some juice and pretzels. Do you want to go inside with me and have a snack with Firefly?"

Molly nodded as she buried her face in Megan's shoulder and continued to cry.

When they reached the kitchen, they found Medley, Fizzy, and Baby Cotton Candy enjoying lunch. Fizzy galloped over to Megan, as did Medley and Magic Star. After Megan greeted them, she put Molly down, who immediately wrapped her arms around Megan's waist, wanting to be picked up again.

"It's okay, Molly," Megan soothed. "It's all right. We're going to sit down and have something yummy to eat now. Come on." She picked Molly up and gave her a hug before setting her in a booster seat that the ponies had set up for her. After Molly was sitting down, Megan sat down next to her.

After Firefly had given Megan and Molly their snack, Megan thanked her and then said, "What do you say to Firefly, Moll?"

Molly looked towards Firefly and said, "Thank you, Firefy."

"Aw, you're welcome, my precious peanut. Enjoy." After Firefly had gotten something to eat for herself, she sat down.

As Molly ate her snack, she looked across the table at Fizzy, who smiled at her warmly. Just then, without warning, a few bubbles came out of Fizzy's horn. Molly giggled at this and smiled at the green unicorn. She then turned to Megan and asked, "Megan, whose dat?"

Megan smiled and said, "That's my friend, Fizzy. Fizzy, this is my little sister, Molly."

Fizzy nodded and smiled at the child. "It's nice to meet you, Molly." Fizzy then blew more bubbles, getting another giggle out of Molly.

"I think Molly likes your bubbles," Megan said with a giggle. She then turned to Molly and asked, "Do you like Fizzy's bubbles, Moll?"

Molly nodded and then asked, "Blow bubbles gan, pease, Fizzy?"

"Sure!" Fizzy said, giggling herself. "I'm glad you like 'em. Do you want to play with me after lunch, Molly?"

Molly nodded and smiled. She then turned to Megan and asked, "Me play with Fizzy afer lunch, pease, Megan?"

Megan nodded and smiled at her little sister. "Sure you can, Moll. Just let me get you cleaned up first. You have to finish your lunch, okay?" Molly nodded and did so. "Aw, that's my good girl."

* * *
After lunch was over, Megan washed Molly's face and helped her wash her hands. After she was washed up, Megan let her go play with Fizzy.

As Fizzy blew more bubbles for Molly, Megan went to read a book in the sunroom and talk to Firefly and Medley. She knew that Fizzy would take good care of Molly.

As Fizzy was playing bubble catch with Molly, Baby Heart Throb and Gusty came into the room. Gusty smiled when she saw Molly. She had never met her before, but she had heard a lot about her from Megan.

"Hey!" Gusty said. "Who's the kid?"

Fizzy giggled. "This is Megan's little sister, Molly. Molly, this is Gusty and this is Baby Heart Throb. Can you say hi, sweetie?"

Molly shook her head and did something that surprised Fizzy. She started crying and instead of running to find Megan, she buried her face in Fizzy's mane while wrapping her arms around Fizzy's neck.

"Aw, it's okay, Molly. It's all right. Gusty won't hurt you. You don't have to be afraid."

Gusty nodded. "Well, see ya later, bubble head!" she said, directing her comment at Fizzy.

Molly turned around and glared at Gusty. "No call Fizzy names! NOT nice! Say sorry!" Molly demanded.

Gusty was taken aback by Molly's outburst. She didn't know that Molly was going to understand what she had said, let alone who the comment was for.

Fizzy nodded and glared at Gusty.

Just then, Megan came into the room. When she saw that Molly was crying, she went to scoop her up, but Molly backed away and pointed an accusing finger at Gusty.

"What's going on?" Megan asked. "Is Molly okay?"

Fizzy nodded. "She's fine. She's just mad at Gusty."

"Why?" Megan asked.

"Gusty call Fizzy bubble head," Molly told Megan through her tears. "Make her say sorry!"

Megan nodded and smiled at her sister's kindness. She had no idea that Molly was going to warm up to Fizzy so fast. Then again, Fizzy was the sweetest and friendliest unicorn Megan had ever met, so it wasn't surprising that the two had formed a close bond in just a few hours.

"Gusty," Megan said, frowning, "you need to say you're sorry to Fizzy."

"But I was only kidding." Gusty said.

"Were not!" Molly shot back tearfully. "Say sorry now! You not hurt my best fend!"

Fizzy's heart melted at this compliment from Molly. She had barely known her for an hour and already the child had said she, Fizzy, was her best friend. Gusty blushed, but did as she was told. Even though she didn't feel it.

"I'm sorry," Gusty said.

"There," Megan said, smiling at Fizzy and Molly. "Feel better, Moll?"

Molly nodded and her tears stopped almost instantly.

Gusty smiled and then said, "Sorry that you are such an airhead!" With that, she left, laughing.

Molly glared after her and gave Fizzy a hug and started crying again.

"Shh, shh, hush. Shh, hush. It's okay, Molly. It's all right. Shh, hush," Fizzy soothed. "It's okay, Molly. It's all right. I'm okay. I promise." She nuzzled Molly gently and reassured her that she wasn't hurt by what Gusty had said. It took some time, but Molly eventually calmed down and she and Fizzy started to play again.

Megan smiled as she patted Molly's shoulder and said, "You guys play and then in a little while, we have to go home."

Molly shook her head as fresh tears came. "No!" she whimpered. "Don't want go home, Megan! Want to say here with Fizzy!"

Fizzy soothed her as did Megan, but it was no use. Molly didn't want to leave and she wasn't very happy when Megan announced it was time to go an hour later.

* * *
When they got back to Uncle Mark's house, Megan put Molly down for her nap and then asked, "Did you have fun today, my little sunshine?"

Molly nodded as she closed her eyes. "Want to see Fizzy gan, pease, Megan?" Molly asked hopefully.

"Sure you can," Megan said. "I promise, we'll go back to Ponyland tomorrow."

Molly nodded and drifted off to sleep.

Megan smiled as she kissed Molly on the cheek and gave her shoulder a pat. "Sweet dreams, my little sunshine. I love you very much. I'll see you when you wake up." With that, Megan went to see what Julie was up to. She wanted to make sure her little one was okay.

As Megan left the room, she smiled. She was glad that Molly had made a new friend, and Megan knew that Molly and Fizzy would be friends for a long time. Both of them had really big hearts and Fizzy really cared about Molly as well as Megan, and she loved to have fun.

Megan couldn't wait until she took her sisters to Ponyland again. She knew Molly and Julie would have a good time. After all, there was always another Rainbow around the bend and if you looked hard enough, you could find a Rainbow anywhere. And Megan was sure the same thing went for a new best friend.



THE END
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