It was a sunny and warm day of summer, like any other. Or, it could have been, if it hadn't been the day when Scootaloo learned the terrible truth.
It was also the day of the grand annual reunion of the Weather Pegasi family. A long awaited moment for the related winged ponies who got together, from all over Equestria, to share news and see friendly faces for the first time in a year. Everyone looked forward to the party, but Scootaloo was an exception.
Each year, at those reunions, she couldn't help but always have this awkward feeling of being 'out of place', as each time some members of the family would look at her, then whisper strange things between themselves about 'how sad it was' and 'how a shame it was that they couldn't be there' and then moved away, to continue their conversation in private. It didn't help that she was pretty much the only pegasus of her color, as almost every other were white, black or grey, different shades of blue and green and even one pink, that odd aunt which every family had.
She could hardly enjoy those family reunions, between the whisperings and her orangeish skin, but things weren't that bad... Some of the pegasi were also very good to her and also offered her presents, to compensate for their rare visits. Or, at least that was what she always thought? There was also Rainbow Dash, her older sister, who was always ready for a quick race around the cloud house, between two of her famous racing stories.
Scootaloo needed to think of something else. She wanted to stretch her wings a little with a quick race to ease her mind, so she set out to find her sister. Last time Scootaloo had spotted the blue pegasus, she had been heading into the kitchen with her parents, not more than a minute ago.
This is where she heard them talk, while she was hiding on the other side of the door, catching them in the middle of their conversation.
''Dear, I know it may be hard but... I think we should tell her. She's not a young filly anymore.'' Her mother said, with concern in her voice.
''Hmm, I don't know. She sure has grown a lot, but I think we should wait more, at least until after her next birthday. Now isn't the most ideal time for such a shocking news dear.'' Her father said softly.
Scootaloo, still listening at the door, was very confused. Were they talking of her? What could possibly make her parents worry about her reaction... her reaction to what exactly?
Later, she would have wished to have never thought of that question and heard its heart-shattering answer.
''But dad! She has the right to know, especially now, more than ever, with the whole family present tonight. Don't you hear some of them talking? It's only a matter of time before one of them spills the truth accidentally and it would be a lot better for her, if it was her own parents to tell her that she was... adopted'', said Rainbow Dash almost whispering the last word.
Suddenly, it was like the clouds under Scootaloo's hooves had disappeared, her heart beating intensely as if she was falling. She couldn't believe what she had just heard. It had to be a mistake or a bad prank or maybe they were talking of somepony else, anything else. As the cruel words were making their way to her heart, she would have accepted anything other than that.
Their voices buzzed in the background for a few more seconds, but Scootaloo wasn't paying attention to them anymore. Her parents weren't really hers... Rainbow Dash wasn't her sister... None of those pegasi in the other room were even related! She shook her head, trying to clear it, then stared blankly at her sister's face as Dash opened the kitchen door.
''Oh horseshoes! Scootaloo, how long have you been there? Are you ok, Scoot? You should really come in the kitchen, there's some things we need to talk, about mom and...'', she said worried by the expression on her sister's face.
She couldn't finish her sentence, as she saw Scootaloo suddenly dive toward the restroom. She quickly followed with her parents, hearing the panicked voice of some of the pegasi present.
In the restroom, many were wondering why Scootaloo had run through the crowd, slamming the door as she left, without even a word of excuse. A few others that had seen the expression of distress on her face turned toward the mother and father to know what had happened, which they explained very briefly, as Scootaloo had just run away from her home.
After a few minutes of what seemed an eternity for Rainbow Dash, various groups were formed in order to find Scootaloo before anything bad could happen to her... or before she went into troubles. The parents decided to stay home, in case she would return and Rainbow Dash decided to go her own way, as she had a few ideas of where her sister might have took refuge.
An hour of searching and one pretty worried Fluttershy later; Rainbow Dash had narrowed down her search. She just had Applejack's old treehouse left, which had been serving as the Cutie Mark Crusaders headquarters since the beginning of summer.
As she reached her destination, she could see a feeble light coming from inside the treehouse and knew she had found her sister. She forced herself to slowly descend toward it instead of her usual speedy approach, so she wouldn't make too much sudden noises, which could frighten more her already troubled sister.
Floating gently above the entrance, where she could hear Scootaloo sobbing as she landed, choosing to softly knock at the door. The treehouse felt silent for a moment and she heard a timid and trembling voice calling for her. Rainbow Dash pushed the door and saw her sister in a corner, with what she recognized as a photo album, then went and sat in front of her, unsure of what words she could say that would reassure the poor pegasus.
''Sis, I... I don't know what to say. We wanted to tell you, when you would be ready, but...'', she hesitated, seeing how Scootaloo was fixing a photo of who she had thought were her real parents just a hour ago, ''To say the truth, we weren't sure if it was a good idea to tell you, but it was your right to know, as a member of the family...''
Scootaloo lifted her watery eyes from the album, looking at her with a trace of anger, trying not to cry again.
''How can you keep saying that, how can you keep calling me sister? Even though you know 'they' aren't my real mom and dad... I never was really a member of this family, we aren't even related at all, this has always been only a lie, a big lie!'', she said raising her voice slightly, with a confused expression in her eyes.
Rainbow Dash was pained by what Scootaloo was saying, her ears tilting around nervously with hints of anger in her eyes. She knew that she couldn't really blame her for saying them and yet, she couldn't believe how easily Scoot had admitted defeat. Lowering her head she saw one of the photos in the album; it was last year during the Winter Wrap Up, when they were all together jumping on branches to make the snow fall of them. When the photo was taken she was buried in up to the chin in snow, Scootaloo standing near their mom and dad, laughing happily at her expense.
It warmed her heart and she knew what she had to say, gaining the courage she needed to make her sister realize what was really important, what she had forgotten. She fixed her sister, a fierce look in her eyes.
''Scootaloo, listen to me! We are sisters and mom and dad are both our parents, whatever you may think, this will never change. You want to know why I say this? How you can believe this? Because it's me, Rainbow Dash the best and fastest pony of all Equestria that say it'', she said, her voice regaining her usual cockiness, ''But also because being a family isn't just being related by blood. It means being together, doing things together, having fun and sticking together during times of trouble and sharing all those moments filled with joy and happiness, but also those with pain and sorrow'', she said sitting closer to Scootaloo and passing a hoof over her sister's shoulder, ''This is what being a family really is about.''
Scootaloo had started sobbing again, but this time it was different. This time it was out of relief, her fears gradually melting away, being replaced little by little by a new hope. With a small and discrete smile, she looked at the pony that was now for her, a sister more than ever before and spoke of a soft and slightly nervous voice.
''Thank you Rainbow Dash, thank you so much sister, I... thought I was losing you and mom and dad and... It was so terrible. I thought that, because I wasn't really their daughter, that everything had changed, that we wouldn't be able to play anymore or have fun like before. I was so afraid; I didn't want everything to change. I wanted everything to stay just the same as it had always been'', she said all in one try, breathless at the end, ''Can you ever pardon me, for running away?''
Scootaloo was feeling tired, from all those emotions and the stress and Rainbow Dash could easily see it, as her too was starting to feel drowsy, so she simply nodded, passing a hoof in her sister's mane. She helped her to get on her hooves, took the album and went to the door waiting for her to come.
Scootaloo was going to join her sister, when she saw a photo on the wall. She had completely forgot about this one and smiled when she read the inscription she once had wrote on the corner of it, then she slowly trotted to the exit and quickly flew away in the night sky, finally racing with her only, unique and extraordinary sister.
On the photo, where she was with Rainbow Dash standing comically with their parents, in front of the cloud house, was written those few simple words:
'Family is Forever'.