Flashback Fantasia
written by Tabby

"Barnacle will be coming home soon!" Sugarberry declared jubilantly as she held up a glass bottle to show her friends gathered at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe.

"Can't wait ‘till he's home!" Friendly said excitedly.

"You heard from him, did you?" Clever Clover questioned.

"Yes, I got this bottle from him in the mail just this morning--"

"I'll read it." Tabby snatched the bottle from Sugarberry's hooves and extracted the piece of paper. "Ah, let's see here." She spread her hooves wide and began to read the note in her dramatic voice. " ‘ARR, Sugarberry!' "

"Tone it down, Tabby!" Clever Clover said, cringing.

Tabby went on, trying to keep the pitch of her voice down a bit. " ‘I finally be a' sailin' home to Dream Valley. Be watchin' for me in June. You can tell the rest of the gang, ARR!!' " She laid the note down on the table.

"It'll be interesting to see this Barnacle," Thomas commented. "Was it his dream all his life to be a pirate?"

"Actually, yes." Sugarberry nodded. "He was always coming up with piratey games as a baby pony. Remember that, Tabby?"

"You know, I only have two more Redwall books to read," Tabby sighed. "Oh! What was that? Ah, yes. Barnacle as a baby."

"There was that time he built a raft," Sugarberry went on. "We saw him sailing down the river on it; you have to recall that, Tabby!"

"A raft, wot? Hmm..."

Sugarberry continued to tell the story:

* * *

Baby Sugarberry and Baby Tabby were racing along the riverbank. "You not ‘sposed to wink, Bwaby Twabby," Baby Sugarberry complained.

"Ain't ‘gainst none o' my rules," Baby Tabby snapped back.

"Bwaby Twabby! Wook!" Baby Sugarberry's attention was diverted to something on the river.

"What that?" Baby Tabby looked out at the object floating on the river.

"It Baby Barnacle!" Baby Sugarberry squealed. "He on a raft, see!"

"Ooh, a raft!" Baby Tabby exclaimed. "Think he'd give us a ride?"

"Wet's see." Having said that, Baby Sugarberry stood as close to the river as she could and waved a hoof in the air. "Baby Barnacle! Baby Barnacle! Come wover here!"

"He floatin' over this way," Baby Tabby noted.

Sure enough, Baby Barnacle had soon paddled his hoof-made float over to the two other babies. "ARR!" he greeted them.

Baby Sugarberry giggled. "Silly Baby Barnacle; you're still pwacticing to be a pirate."

"Maybe he is gwonna be a pirate," Baby Tabby said seriously.

"Me already a pirate, ARR!" Baby Barnacle declared. "Me got a boat, and me gonna sail out to the sea."

"Got no weapons," Baby Sugarberry said.

"Can we come with ya? Pretty pwease?" Baby Tabby pleaded.

Baby Barnacle shook his head. "Nwope, can't. You not pirates."

"We could learn," Baby Tabby suggested.

"Me don't wanna be a pirate and run away from home," Baby Sugarberry sniffled. "Me goin' back to my mommy."

"Don't be a sissy," Baby Tabby chided her friend. "It'd be fun."

"Me not lettin' you on," Baby Barnacle said, and started floating away.

"He's gettin' away!" Baby Tabby shrieked in outrage. "Me got an idea, Baby Sugarberry. We build a raft, and we go after him! We gonna be pirates too, and we hunt him down!"

"Wokay," Baby Sugarberry said apprehensively. "How you build a raft?"

"You just gwet some sticks together," Baby Tabby explained.

"And they stick together on ‘deir own?" Baby Sugarberry questioned.

"No." Baby Tabby sighed. "Me don't really know how to make one."

"Then you lied," Baby Sugarberry said disapprovingly. "Me gonna tell my mommy."

"Wet's just follow him on da shore," Baby Tabby said, ignoring Baby Sugarberry's last comment. She started running after the raft, which was far from their sight by then.

"Wait for me!" Baby Sugarberry tried desperately to keep up with her friend.

After running for what seemed like forever, the two babies stopped. "Why you stop?" Baby Sugarberry questioned.

Baby Tabby pointed to a sight up ahead that Baby Sugarberry hadn't noticed yet. "Wook," she giggled. "His waft broke. See? He tryin' to repair it." Tittering, the pair dashed up to him.

"Hee hee! You not pirate after all!" Baby Sugarberry said to Baby Barnacle.

"Why you say that?" Baby Barnacle said, trying to look fierce.

"Real pirates would build sea-worthy vessels," Baby Tabby said. "We not gonna talk to a fake pirate. Come on, Baby Sugarberry, we goin' home."

* * *

Tabby was laughing uproariously when Sugarberry reached the ending point of the story. "I was an evil little baby pony back then, wasn't I?"

"You still are," Clever Clover said promptly.

Tabby picked up the spoon from her sundae and held it up in the air, pointing it at Clever Clover. "One more word outta you and you're gonna get it--"

"And now he's a real pirate," Sugarberry said, ignoring Tabby and Clever Clover's bickering. "Who would have thought it?"

"And since he's a real pirate, we talk to him again," Tabby tittered, momentarily putting down the spoon.

Sugarberry swatted Tabby lightly. "You know full well we played a game of hide-and-go-seek with him the next day."

Tabby nodded intelligently. "Whenever he was the seeker, he came after us waving a wooden sword."

Sugarberry shivered at the thought. "I remember being scared to death of that sword. Me, I preferred cats to swords back then... and still do." Her eyes glazed over as she told another story:

* * *

Baby Sugarberry sat in her room, combing her cat, Celandine. "You such a pwetty kwitty," she said, hugging the cat.

Celandine purred and groomed her white furr.

"Me could mwake you really pretty!" Baby Sugarberry exclaimed with a happy gleam in her eyes. "You like that, Celandine?" The cat didn't offer any opposition, so Baby Sugarberry pulled a shiny purple ribbon out of her toybox. "This goes around your neck," she mumbled to herself and tied the ribbon in a nice bow around the cat's neck.

"Vwery nice." Baby Sugarberry stood back and surveyed her work. "Nweeds more, though." After thinking, she found another ribbon, this one pink, and tied it on Celandine's tail. Celandine just continued purring. She was a very docile feline.

Baby Sugarberry squealed at a sudden thought. She dug frantically through her doll dresses. "This would look nice on you, ‘Landine." The baby pony held up a light pink dress with a lace collar. "Hwope it fits."

Pulling the cat back into her lap, Baby Sugarberry struggled to get Celandine's two front paws through the sleeves, and then buttoned the front up. Finally, she succeeded.

"You are a bweautiful cat!" Baby Sugarberry breathed in delight. Celandine did make a pretty sight.

Baby Sugarberry dashed around her room, pulling out various other accessories. "Here's a necklace." She strung a string of green plastic beads around the cat's neck, which contrasted nicely with the purple ribbon already tied there.

Then she looped two green ponytail holders around Celandine's ears, to make earrings. And she even got a cologne bottle from her mother's room and sprayed it heavily on the cat's neck.

"You da mwost perfect kwitty in da whole wide world," Baby Sugarberry declared. "Now me gonna show you to Mommy." With that, the pony scooped up her cat and dashed downstairs.

* * *

"I seem to remember doing that, too..." Tabby said thoughtfully.

"I dressed up myself instead of my pets as a baby pony," Tiffany said haughtily.

"Who'll tell the next story?" Spike prodded. "This is rather fun!"

"How about you, Tiffany? Did you get into any trouble as a baby?" Sugarberry questioned.

"Of course not," Tiffany said haughtily. "I was the model of perfection."

"Did you eat spaghetti correctly?" Tabby asked curiously.

"Spaghetti? Oh, my family never ate such lower-class food--"

"Me like spaghetti, yeah, yeah!" Friendly interjected.

"--our cook served dignified Italian food every evening," Tiffany went on, ignoring Friendly.

This comment was met with blank stares. "Spaghetti is Italian food," Clever Clover said.

"It is?" Tiffany exclaimed in surprise, but quickly sobered up. "I mean, that is, I never liked it."

"How about running? Did you run correctly?" Tabby prodded further.

"Running!" Tiffany laughed. "Of course not. I took dainty, lady-like steps. I soon learned that running only kicked up the dust and dirt. It soiled my lovely coat terribly!" She shuddered at the remembrance.

"Well, come on, you've got to have done something bad," Tabby reasoned.

Tiffany sighed. "I suppose I'd better get it out... there was that one time..."

* * *

Baby Tiffany discreetly sneaked out of her mother's room, clutching in her hooves the valuable emerald necklace that the baby pony admired so. She had set her mind on taking it for herself, so she could look at it whenever she pleased.

Running back to her own room, the young princess sat on her bed and held the necklace up to a beam of sunlight streaming through the window. It reflected off the brilliant jewel, casting green shadows across the room.

"I love to dweath," Baby Tiffany sighed happily. But she suddenly realized she had to hide it; if her mother found it, Baby Tiffany would be punished severely, she knew.

Baby Tiffany searched every nook and cranny in her room, but none seemed good enough to hide this secret. So, she got out the frilly white purse she used for dress-up and put the necklace inside. Then she'd be safe to walk around the house without the necklace being spotted while looking for the perfect place for it.

Baby Tiffany walked quietly through the halls. Weren't there any good hiding places in here? The house sure was large enough. As she snuck around one corner, she just about died of fright by nearly running into her mother.

"Baby Tiffany, whatever is the matter?" her mother questioned in concern. "You look as if you've seen a ghost; you're certainly pale as one."

"I-I'm a-a-always w-w-white ‘cause I-I'm a-a w-white p-pony," Baby Tiffany stuttered.

"And what have I told you about stuttering?" her mother chided. "It's dreadfully impolite."

"S-s-sorry, Mother," Baby Tiffany apologized. "I was just-- playing a game."

"Why don't you invite Baby Royal Blue over? It's been awhile since you've had company."

"Oh, Mother, that would be fun!" Baby Tiffany exclaimed, momentarily forgetting about the stolen necklace.

And so, Baby Royal Blue was invited. The two baby ponies walked through the halls of Baby Tiffany's mansion. "What we gonna pway today, Baby Twiffany?" Baby Royal Blue asked.

Baby Tiffany furtively glanced around to make sure no one else was near. Then, in a secretive tone, she confided to her friend what she had done. "We have to find a good hiding place," Baby Tiffany exclaimed.

Baby Royal Blue clapped her front hooves together in excitement. "This be fun! You not find hidin' place yet? This such a big place; there's gwotta be somewhere."

"Just can't find anything," Baby Tiffany whispered. "Maybe you find something?"

A smile suddenly lit up Baby Royal Blue's face. "Perhaps there no place here, but there be great place at my house!"

"Really? Really?" Baby Tiffany squealed.

"Yes," Baby Royal Blue whispered. "I'll take it home with me and put it there. No one will look at my house."

"And if they never find it, they'll never blame me!" Baby Tiffany declared gleefully. "This be perfect!"

And so, when Baby Royal Blue left, she had the purse containing the emerald necklace with her. She waved and winked at Baby Tiffany.

* * *

"So what happened?" Tabby said with a blank stare.

Tiffany sighed. "Royal Blue and I had a fight the next week. I never saw the necklace again, let alone where she'd hid it. And I got grounded for a week anyway."

"Tsk, tsk." Tabby shook her head.

"Haven't you ever asked Royal Blue about it?" Sugarberry said in concern.

Tiffany cocked her head. "No, actually, I never thought of doing that. I wonder if she still has it!"

"Come on, Tabby, what bad thing did you do?" Spike said.

"Ha! She was the terror of the neighborhood as a baby!" Quarterback declared.

"And still is..." Clever Clover mumbled under his breath.

"I heard that, Cleve Clove!" Tabby shrieked, wielding her spoon once again.

"Now, let's not resort to violence, Tabby," Sugarberry said. "Just tell your story."

"And I have to isolate to one bad incident? Man, that's hard. Hmm... but the worst of them all..."

* * *

Baby Tabby was walking home from school one day when someone tapped her on the shoulder. She whirled around to face Baby Flowerbelle. "Baby Tabby! My mommy says I can invite someone over to my house to play with dwis afternoon. Cwan you come?"

Baby Tabby winced slightly, but Baby Flowerbelle didn't notice. Baby Tabby actually didn't like this other baby that well; she was too much into dressing up and having her hair done.

"We can play hair salon," Baby Flowerbelle went on. "Me want my hair done. You style it, ‘kay?"

A smile spread across Baby Tabby's face. She was getting an idea that might make this afternoon worth it. " ‘Kay, sounds fun!" she exclaimed, somewhat over-enthusiastically.

And so, the two babies trotted over to Baby Flowerbelle's house. "You can style my hair under da willow tree," Baby Flowerbelle decided. "We pretend that's hair salon. Me go get scissors."

Baby Tabby waited under the willow tree with a malicious grin covering her face. This was just what she wanted. "Sit on the lower branch thwere," Baby Tabby instructed once Baby Flowerbelle had returned with the scissors. "Then me work on your hair."

"This be lots a' fun!" Baby Flowerbelle said contentedly, taking her seat on the branch.

And Baby Tabby got to work. Snip, snip, snip. Baby Flowerbelle's lovely tresses fell to the ground.

"You not takin' twoo much off, are you?" Baby Flowerbelle said in concern.

"Nwope, not at all," Baby Tabby assured her. "It wook's really nice."

"I can't wait to see it!" Baby Flowerbelle exclaimed as Baby Tabby continued snipping.

"All done!" Baby Tabby announced, swiftly pushing all the trimmed hair under a pile of leaves.

"Me gotta see what I wook like!" Baby Flowerbelle said excitedly as she started to run towards the house, but Baby Tabby held her back.

"First we play a game of hide-and-go-seek," the crafty baby said. "Me be the seeker; you hide."

"You're always the seeker," Baby Flowerbelle said, not noticing how short her once-long mane was.

"That's ‘cause I'm the bwest seeker."

"You are not! You can never find anybody when you play!"

"You only got thirty seconds to hide," Baby Tabby said, ignoring the past comment. She pressed her face to the tree trunk. "One... two... thwee... twenty-eleven... thirty-ten... thirty! Ready or not; here I come!" she cried out triumphantly. She glanced around. Baby Flowerbelle was nowhere in sight.

Giggling, Baby Tabby ran back home. She'd be long gone by the time Baby Flowerbelle found out about her mane.

* * *

"Sure was a good plan, wasn't it, wot?" Tabby said, looking quite cocky.

"Didn't you get in any trouble at all?" Sugarberry asked.

"Well..." Tabby started. "My mother made me clean the house every afternoon for a week. First because of what I'd done to Flowerbelle's hair, and secondly because I hadn't told her that I was going to her house."

Spike, Clever Clover, and Quarterback were all laughing. "You got what you deserved!" Clever Clover said gleefully.

"Yeah! I never would have done anything that got me into trouble," Quarterback said.

Sugarberry looked at him disapprovingly. "Now, Quarterback. What about that time you tried to hang yourself?"

Now it was Tabby, Spike, and Clever Clover's turn to laugh. "Yes, Quarterback! Tell us about that incident again, would you?" Tabby giggled.

Quarterback sighed and began the story...

* * *

"We gonna pwetend we're in da wild west," Baby Tex declared as he and Baby Quarterback hung around in Baby Tex's backyard. "Me be da sheriff."

"And me gonna be the villain that just robbed the general store," Baby Quarterback said contentedly.

Baby Tex shook his hoof at Baby Quarterback disapprovingly. "Then me gotta catch you. You evil willian!"

With that, Baby Quarterback shot across the yard. "Heehee! Me got all the jangles, and you ain't gonna catch me!" he called out gleefully.

Baby Tex ran after the "villain," but Baby Quarterback was always able to get out of his sight. They did this for quite awhile, but finally Baby Tex tackled Baby Quarterback.

"Now you gotta go to jail," Baby Tex said. "Willians never escape the law."

"Nwo, nwo," Baby Quarterback said, coming back to the real world. "Villians don't go ta jail. Dey get hanged."

"Wokay, you get hanged!" Baby Tex exclaimed. "Dat's whatcha get for robbin' da store. Now, how we gonna hang ya?"

"Gotta find a rope," Baby Quarterback said, rising to his hooves. "Den you gotta tie it onto a twee."

Baby Tex found a thick piece of rope in the house and returned outside. "Come over to da twee, you willian!" he shouted as he swung one end of the rope over one of the tree branches.

"Me don't deserve ta get hanged!" Baby Quarterback shot back. "Willians are always smarter than sheriffs."

"They is not," Baby Tex said. "Now, you cwome over here!"

Baby Quarterback finally came over. "Me gonna come back as a ghost an' haunt ya!" he threatened. "And me gonna rob all the stores in twown and you never wever cwatch me ‘cause me a ghost."

Baby Tex ignored those comments and tied the rope loosely around Baby Quarterback's neck. "Now you tied up," he mumbled to himself. Then he tugged on the string hanging over the branch, pulling Baby Quarterback up.

"Such cwruel tweatment for a willian!" Baby Quarterback complained.

"Baby Tex! Baby Quarterback! What are you doing?" called out another voice.

Baby Tex immediately dropped the rope, which dropped Baby Quarterback to the ground as well. "Uh oh, it's Daddy," he mumbled.

"And what do you think you two were trying to do?" Tex's father said in disapproval.

"Baby Quarterback was the willian, and had to be hanged," Baby Tex explained.

"That is no way to treat a friend, Baby Tex. Do you know what you could have done to him? Now, Baby Quarterback, I'll take you home..."

* * *

"Ha! I think that story just proves that Tex is evil, doesn't it?" Tabby declared after Quarterback finished.

"They were just babies," Sugarberry said. "He didn't know any better back then."

"I dunno about that," Tabby muttered.

"Actually, I wasn't allowed to see Tex for a week after that," Quarterback went on. "But by then I got into playing football, and Tex wasn't into that."

"And who's story is next?" Tabby prodded.

"Me tell a story, yeah, yeah." Friendly decided to relate the next experience:

* * *

Baby Friendly hopped home from the library one afternoon. He had just checked out several books on C++ computer programming, and he couldn't wait to start reading. He loved programming on his computer at home. "Fun, fun, yeah," Baby Friendly said happily to himself.

Looking through the book shelves had worn Baby Friendly out, so he decided to stop under an apple tree in the orchard near the Bushwoolie holes and look over the books. He had told his mother he'd be back by supper time, and he still had at least an hour until then. "Jwust stop for awhile, yeah."

Plucking an apple from the tree, he ate contentedly while flipping through the books. The late afternoon sun shown on him, and he was soon rather drowsy. Discarding the remainder of the apple and dropping the book in his lap, he soon nodded off to sleep.

Baby Friendly woke with a start. Cold drops of rain were falling on him, despite the cover from the apple tree. Though the sun had been shining earlier, rain clouds had moved in. "Bwetter get home, yeah, yeah!" Friendly jumped up, and the book that had been in his lap fell to the ground. He forgot entirely about the books, though. He hurriedly hopped back to his hole. "Hwope not too late, yeah!"

Baby Friendly's mother dried him off with a towel and served him supper. "You be okay, yeah, yeah," she consoled him.

The next day, Baby Friendly woke with a start. There was something nagging at his memory... but he shook the thought off. After breakfast, he went over to his computer, and then he remembered.

"My bwooks, yeah!" he exclaimed out loud.

"What was that, Baby Friendly, yeah?" his mother, who was doing dishes, asked.

"Me weft books I got from library outside!" Baby Friendly explained frantically. "Gwotta get ‘em, yeah, yeah!"

Baby Friendly's mother peered out the window. "Sky still gray, but no rain, yeah. You go outside and look for them, yeah, yeah."

Baby Friendly ran as fast as a baby Bushwoolie could back to the apple tree. He looked around in dismay. His books were still there, but soaked through with rain.

"Ruined, me bwad, yeah, yeah," he said dejectedly as he walked back home.

* * *

"What happened after that?" Sugarberry questioned.

"Me had to wash dishes for a week, yeah, yeah," Friendly explained. "Mommy paid library for new books."

"Even Bushwoolies don't get off easy all the time," Tiffany said sympathetically.

Spike sat back in his chair with a thoughtful expression on his face. "I remember one time..."

"What?! What?!" Tabby said excitedly.

"It was before I came to live in Dream Valley, and I was still living with my mom and dad..."

* * *

Spike, who was a very young dragon, had been allowed by his mother to play in the yard for the afternoon. Spike was enjoying climbing trees, swinging, and watching wildlife.

As he dropped to the ground from one of the tree branches, he heard something in the grass in front of him. He inspected the grass closely. It was a snake! Spike clapped his hands together in delight. It was sleek and black, with yellow stripes.

"Hi, snake!" Spike exclaimed, and gently picked up the slithering reptile. "You wanna play with me?"

The snake simply wriggled, and Spike giggled. "Me know. I take you inside for a little while. You like chocolate cake?"

The snake's tongue flicked out, and Spike ran inside with his new friend. "Look, here slice of cake. You have some, too."

The snake slithered around the table as Spike poured a glass of milk. When he turned around, the snake was gone!

"Mr. Snake!" Spike cried out. "Where you go? Gotta have cake!" He ran out of the room.

Spike's search proved fruitless. There was no sign of the snake. He sighed and sat down with his cake and milk.

"Hello, Spike!" Spike's mother came in through the front door. "I'm just back from the grocery store. Can you help me unpack?"

"Okay," Spike consented. "Me found a new friend outside," he said.

"Really?" his mother asked, handing Spike another jug of milk to be placed in the refrigerator. "Who is this new friend?"

"He's awfully nice," Spike went on to explain. "I was gonna feed him a snack, but he disappeared--"

Spike's comment was cut short by an ear-splitting shriek from his mother. "SPIKE! There's a SNAKE!" She pointed a fearful hand at Spike's "friend" who was now crawling into an empty paper bag on the floor.

"There he is!" Spike exclaimed happily. "He's still gotta have a snack. You got anything for him?"

"Spike," his mother said firmly. "You get that... that... creature out of the house immediately."

"Can I feed him outside?" Spike prodded.

"Just get him outside, Spike!"

* * *

"Didja get punished?" Tabby asked eagerly.

Spike shook his head. "Nope. But I never did see the snake again after I took him outside." He sighed.

"Spike's story reminded me of something I did as a Dibbun--" Clever Clover started.

"Now look who's been reading too many Redwall books!" Tabby cried out gleefully. "Dibbun" was the Redwall term for the Redwallers' young ones.

"As I was saying," Clever Clover continued, "I remember the one time I went in search of the bronze snake mentioned in the Bible."

Sugarberry nodded eagerly. "Yes! The one Moses lifted up on a pole!"

"Exactly." Clever Clover nodded. "So, one day..."

* * *

Baby Clever Clover placed his Bible back on his bookshelf after reading the passages on Moses and the bronze snake. "Me wanna fwind dat snwake," he said determinedly to himself. "Me give to museum; then people can see." Baby Clever Clover was fascinated by archeology work; his greatest dream was to dig up historical artifacts.

"Gotta be around somewhere," Baby Clever Clover mumbled to himself, glancing around his cluttered room. "Don't remember seeing it in here." He shrugged and trotted downstairs.

"You seen bronze snake around, Mommy?" he asked his mother who was fixing dinner in the kitchen.

"Bronze snake? You mean a bronze-colored snake?" his mother questioned. "I wouldn't want to meet up with one; it might be poisonous."

" ‘Kay," Baby Clever Clover said and ran outside. "Me be back in a little while!" he shouted back to his mother. He decided the bronze snake must not be in his house.

"Where would bronze snake be after all these years?" he pondered to himself. "Wouldn't just fade away. Gotta be somewhere." He dashed into the forest behind his house, and looked under leaf piles. No bronze snake.

Baby Clever Clover continued his quest, and wandered deeper into the forest, not finding what he was in search of. He finally ventured into the eerie Dark Forest, but he didn't even notice.

Baby Clever Clover angrily kicked at yet another pile of leaves. "Maybe it's not in the leaf piles," he decided. "Maybe it buried wa-a-a-ay underground. Or maybe it in the twop of a twee. How me ever gwonna find it?" He sat down on a rock and thought.

"Birdie, you seen bronze snake?" he called up to a robin who was singing in one of the tree branches above him. The bird just flew away at the sound of his voice.

"Anybody know where bronze snake is?" Baby Clever Clover cried out to the surrounding woodland. A mouse scampered by at that moment, but didn't stop.

"Mr. Mouse, come back!" Baby Clever Clover exclaimed. "You wanna come home with me? Me make you a nice house. You like that... Mr. Mouse? Where you go?"

Baby Clever Clover ran after the mouse, but he tripped. As he pulled himself up and inspected his scratches, he saw what he'd tripped over: a squiggly, light brown stick, which look amazingly like a snake.

"It da bronze snake!" Baby Clever Clover cried out jubilantly, and he picked the decayed tree branch off of the ground. "Hee hee! Me gwonna be fwamous now!"

Baby Clever Clover ran off back home. He didn't need to know yet that it wasn't really bronze...

* * *

As always, Tabby was eager to ask the question, "Were you punished?"

Sugarberry rolled her eyes. "He didn't do anything wrong, Tabby."

"He ran off into the woods by himself," Tabby suggested. "That's worthy of punishment, isn't it?"

Clever Clover sighed in exasperation. "My mother knew I'd gone out... no, I didn't get punished.

Tabby looked crestfallen at this announcement. "Too bad," she sighed.

Sugarberry shook her head at Tabby.

At that point, Merry Treat breezed into one of the seats at the table. "Hi, everybody!" she exclaimed. "Spearow went over by Tarquin and Tess over there," she directed at Tabby, pointing at another table in the shop where the two Meowth Pokèmon were seated.

"I still have to have a Pokèmon battle against you, Cleve Clove," Tabby said, forgetting about the bronze snake story. "Tarquin's bound to win, especially if we have Tess watching. He wouldn't dare admit defeat in front of her..."

"We were just all sharing stories of our childhood," Sugarberry told Merry Treat. "Did you do anything interesting as a baby pony?"

Merry Treat paused in thought, and blushed. "I got grounded for a week once! Here's the story..."

* * *

Baby Merry Treat skipped home from school one cloudy day. She was thinking about the story she had to write for school. She figured a cat would be the main character...

And then raindrops started to fall. "Wo no!" Baby Merry Treat called out in alarm as the raindrops got bigger. "Me get soaked!" She ducked into a doorway, which blocked some of the rain out. "Mwaybe it let up soon," she said to herself hopefully.

As she said that, she saw something cowering in the corner of the doorway. "What that?" Baby Merry Treat said aloud, bending over to investigate.

She saw a straggly gray cat, soaked to the skin, and trying to lick itself dry in the corner. She reached out a hoof towards it. "Poor kwitty," she said sympathetically.

The cat hissed slightly, but it was too worn out to fight back. Baby Merry Treat scooped the cat up. "Me get you home; you live in my room. That be fun, wight, kwitty?"

The cat struggled to get out of Baby Merry Treat's hooves, but Baby Merry Treat streaked along back to her house. Once on her doorstep, she almost rushed right in, but then remembered she had to sneak up to her room, or else her parents would find out about the cat. She wasn't sure if they'd allow her to have a pet, but she didn't want to take a chance.

Baby Merry Treat slowly opened the door to her house, clutching the cat to her tightly. The cat was still squirming terribly badly, and was beginning to use its claws.

"Is that you, Baby Merry Treat?" she heard her mother call from the living room.

"It me, Mommy," Baby Merry Treat said. "Me got somethin' to put in my room; then I be back down." She dashed up the stairs before her mother had a chance to reply.

After depositing the cat in her room, Baby Merry Treat ran down the hallway and got a towel from the bathroom. Using that, she dried the cat off, who was not fighting as much anymore.

Baby Merry Treat dried herself off, then. "You hungry, kwitty?" she questioned. "Me go get you somethin'."

Baby Merry Treat ran downstairs. "Me gonna get somethin' to eat in my room!" she called to her mother.

"That last time you had a snack in your room, you got crumbs all over," her mother scolded, coming out of the living room. "No. If you want something to eat, you'll have to sit at the table."

Baby Merry Treat sighed. "I'll be extra careful, Mommy," she pleaded.

"If you get crumbs on the floor, you'll have to vacuum," her mother warned.

Baby Merry Treat flashed her a smile. "That fine with me. Me want a... a..." She wandered what the cat would like.

"I'll get you some slices of cheese," her mother said briskly. "That shouldn't be too messy."

Clutching several cheese slices in her hoof, Baby Merry Treat ran back up to her room. "Here, kitty!" She handed one of the slices to the sleek gray cat, and kept the other for herself. The cat ate vigorously.

"You need a nwame," Baby Merry Treat said thoughtfully as she munched on her cheese slice. "Rose? Nwope, that's twoo short. Nweeds somethin' added. Pretty Rose? Smelly Rose? Sleek Rose?"

The cat retreated under Baby Merry Treat's bed.

"Bloomin' Rose? Early Rose? Late Rose!" Baby Merry Treat exclaimed. "Late Rose sound nice. Yeah! You Late Rose now!"

Baby Merry Treat carefully closed her bedroom door, leaving Late Rose inside. After supper, she read a book while sitting in the living room by herself, and entirely forgot about her new cat... and she was also oblivious to the noise of the vacuum coming from upstairs.

"Baby Merry Treat!" her mother's voice called out angrily as she stepped in front of Baby Merry Treat. "I seem to have found something in your room... care to explain?"

"Uhh... Mommy..." Baby Merry Treat stuttered. "She a really nice kitty... yes she is!"

Her mother shook her head. "I'll just have to see what your father says..."

* * *

"And I got grounded for a week," Merry Treat finished up the story.

"What about the cat?" Tabby asked anxiously. "What about the cat?!"

"My dad was allergic to cats," Merry Treat said, frowning. "And as it turned out, it was Merriweather's cat that had accidentally gotten locked out of her house that day."

"Did you know," Tabby continued explaining to Merry Treat, "that Quarterback almost hung himself as a baby?"

Merry Treat burst out laughing. "Man! I would've loved to hear all your stories! Is there anyone that hasn't told one yet?"

All eyes looked around the table. "I think that was everybo--" Sugarberry started.

"Thomas hasn't told us anything yet," Tiffany announced.

"That's right!" Clever Clover exclaimed.

"And he's the one that started us on this conversation, in the first place," Sugarberry commented.

"And Tabby'll get you with her spoon if you don't tell us anything," Clever Clover warned Thomas.

Tabby winked broadly and waved her spoon around in the air with a malicious glint in her eyes. Unfortunately, she didn't have a firm grip on it and it went flying. It sounded as if it landed on the table next to theirs, judging from the shrieks coming from that direction. Tabby shrugged. "There goes that plan."

"If Tabby'd stopped talking in between times, I might have gotten a chance to tell a story," Thomas explained.

"He must have done something really awful," Tabby predicted.

"Did you pull wings off flies and set ants on fire?" Clever Clover questioned.

Tiffany looked appalled at the thought. "I should hope not. What a disgusting thought, Clever Clover!"

"He probably liked animals and attend vet school," Merry Treat pondered.

"No, you're all wrong," Thomas declared.

"You mean you didn't like animals or attend vet school?" Tabby tittered.

"You know what I mean! If you really want to know, here's what I did..."

* * *

Baby Thomas stood and stared at the tidy row of sunflower plants that his mother had just finished raking. He grinned demonically as an idea formed in his head.

"Hee hee, I'll pull them all out!" he exclaimed to himself gleefully as he attended to the task of pulling all the young plants out of the ground, one-by-one, down the line.

When Baby Thomas reached the end of the row, his craving for flower-pulling subsided. He ran back inside.

"Hello, Baby Thomas!" his mother greeted him. "What have you been doing outside all afternoon?"

Baby Thomas thought several moments before replying. "Pickin' weeds out a' da garden," he responded.

"How thoughtful of you," his mother commented. "I was getting the weeds out of my sunflowers earlier. They look like they'll be awfully pretty this year."

Baby Thomas nodded.

"I'm going to water them this evening. Would you like to help?"

"Mmm... nwope."

"At least go feed your cat. His food dish was empty this morning," his mother instructed.

Baby Thomas trotted off obediently. Just as long as he wasn't around when she found her sunflowers.

However, later in the evening, Baby Thomas's mother stormed into his room. "Baby Thomas, what have you done to my sunflowers?" she shrieked. "They were your hoofprints I saw, I'm sure-- you're the one that pulled them all up!"

"I decided I no like sunflowers," Baby Thomas said, looking up at her innocently.
"Don't like them, do you?" his mother raged. "We'll see what you have to say after I'm through with you. You are going to have complete responsibility for the rest of the garden this year-- under my supervision, of course! That'll teach you how hard it is to grow things. And on top of that, I'll have you--"

* * *

"How daring of you," Tiffany sighed dreamily.

"All he did was pull sunflowers out," Tabby scoffed. "It was a lot more daring to cut Flowerbelle's mane." She vainly stuck her head up in the air.

"I sure got chewed-out on that occasion," Thomas said ruefully. "I always did prefer animals to plants."

Sugarberry sighed. "I'd hate to have my flowers pulled out."

"It's getting late," Quarterback noted.

"Gotta get home, yeah, yeah," Friendly agreed, hopping to the ground.

"Ah, but we sure were a villainous pack of Dibbuns back then, weren't we?" Tabby tittered as she scooted her chair out from the table.

"And still are!" Clever Clover whooped.

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