The funeral was a modest affair. The town gathered up a collection and the mortician was even kind enough to donate a simple black coffin for the sake of holding her. It almost didn't seem real as Scootaloo stared down into the open casket and examined the tiny bundle within. They had done a good job, she admitted. She still only looked asleep, a small smile permanently hovering on her face from her final dream. Scootaloo turned away and cast her gaze to the sky, a sigh causing her to shudder. The weather team hadn't been able to clear the skies. Why, she didn't know, but the day was somber in its muted gray sky that occasionally rumbled with the softest rumbles of thunder.
"It's time, Scootaloo
we should take our places." It was the mare who spoke, beckoning the filly away from the casket to stand beside it instead. She had positioned them to watch the approaching procession of friends and loved ones that heavily trod to the filly's final resting place. Upon seeing Applebloom and Sweetie Belle, accompanied by their sisters and their friends, Scootaloo turned to look up at the mare. "You never did answer me in the clubhouse. What happens to me now? Is this it?" The mare didn't speak for a moment, but instead gestured to the procession before explaining. "When a life is lost before its time, and while it's still innocent of crime, judgment cannot be passed. There was never enough time to decide who you would have grown up to be or the choices you would have made, and death doesn't believe in punishing the innocent." She lowered her gaze to meet the filly and smiled sadly. "Your life wasn't without purpose though. You lived and you touched ponies lives through simply being there."
Time did not stand to wait for the pair. As the mare spoke, ponies came and went. Each had their own words, but only a precious few being heard. As Applebloom approached the coffin, the mare paused in her explanation. Applejack stood beside her younger sister and gently pulled her close, doing her best to offer comfort that would never be enough to fill the hurt. The little filly spoke with a seriousness that Scootaloo had never before heard her friend take upon any matter before, even her own heart's desire in obtaining her cutie mark. "You were never supposed tah die, Scootaloo. Ya were one of mah best friends, and I
you were like another sister tah me. We were gonna grow up together and find our special talent, an now I don't know if ah can without you. I miss you, and I loved you; so even if ah can't find mah special talent, I'll keep lookin fer yours. You were so special, and I hope, if ya can hear me, that ya know I admired ya. Ahm sorry about the argument, so please forgive me, cause I
" then the tears took her again and she was led away by her sister to piece back together a broken heart.
As Applebloom was led away from the coffin, Scootaloo felt her composure beginning to slip. She bit down hard on her lip and willed herself to keep what little she had together. The mare noticed the filly struggling to handle the scene and allowed her to compose herself again before continuing her explanation. "What happens now is this. Your death - much like life - is what you decide it is. It is your choice to make what happens now. Yours to decide what your heaven will be. But please
" her voice faltered as she lowed her head, as though weighted down by the sorrows of the world. "Once you choose
you can never go back. Your heaven can change, but you have to do it on your own. I can only help you the first time. So please
make your decision wisely."
It was by that time that Sweetie Belle and Rarity had approached. The young filly looked up with a lost sort of heartache, unsure of what to do. Rarity only stroked back her sister's mane and turned to reach into a saddlebag she had brought to the procession. From within, she pulled out a garment designed for a young mare. It was a long, flowing cape lined with the shimmering gold of Celestia's sun. The rest was comprised of a rich, heavy scarlet velvet. In the middle was a much more intricate design, three mares of all creeds joining in the center. The earth pony and the unicorn were mere silhouettes, but between them they held the magnificent wings of a Pegasus. Carefully, she draped it over the coffin and nodded to Sweetie Belle. Soft at first, the little filly began in low trembling tones, but as she closed her eyes and turned her head to the heavens her voice grew louder and louder as she sang.
"I have not wings to follow you, and I know not where you go.
I cannot fly to heaven far to ever let you know,
But your wings were made for angels, irreplaceable in their worth,
So goddesses have now taken
back from earth
The song dissolved in bitter tears, and as the former had - she was led away to recover in the company of her only surviving friend.
"I-it's not fair
" she choked, furious at herself for collapsing back into the grief of her own death again. She scrubbed at her eyes and cursed herself before taking a deep breath and forcing herself to calm back down. Even after the touching words, she felt at a loss. Did they not understand? "You were the best friends a girl could have
Sweetie Belle is more of an angel t-than I am
and Applebloom is just trying to be strong for her. It isn't fair
The crowd slowly dispersed as the hours ticked by. Scootaloo watched as many of the adults she had known spoke in low soft tones of their regret and sorrow. She watched as some lay down gifts and letters to a filly that most of them had never known. Was it guilt that drove them to do this? She didn't know. She only watched as familiar and unfamiliar alike gathered to say their goodbyes, and then she was all alone.
Scootaloo could feel a dull ache in her chest as she sat there, waiting. Out of many faces - there had been one missing. "I-I guess I wasn't
I wasn't really important to her." she began, looking up at the mare who moved to sit beside her, offering only what she had to give, if only an ear to listen. Scootaloo continued as she looked up at the sky. "I wanted to grow up to be just like her. She was the most amazing flyer in all of Equestria
she could break the sound barrier. She could move the world if she wanted to
A creak of protest interrupted her. The origin came from a rusted hinge at the funeral's gate, and two figures seemed to move at the edge of the haze that had begun to enshroud the grave site. They seemed to speak to each other for a few minutes. One turned away only to be shoved by the other, gently but firm in its resolution. As one ushered her companion nearer, their voices began to materialize. "I-I c-can't
please, I can't d-do this
" "Yes you can
I know this is hard, and it's going to be hard for a little while longer, but if you don't do this than you'll never get another chance. Please
" The silhouettes began to become clearer outlines, and Scootaloo's eyes widened as, finally, they stepped into visibility and approached the coffin.
it's me. I just
Oh Scootaloo, I'm so sorry!" the mare choked, a cry of anguish ripping itself from her heaving chest. Tears blinded her as she bowed her head and rest it against the coffin. "I'm so sorry! I-If
If I had known
I should have
I'm so stupid, Scoots. I should have seen w-what was going on. You w-were the first filly to believe in me. You looked up to me. You d-depended on me and I was so blind
It should have been me!" She cried, beating the earth below her with her front hoof. "I-it shoulda been me
I'm so sorry
I loved you, Scootaloo
and I n-never t-told you that
it didn't have to be this way
and it's my fault. I'm sorry
please forgive me
It was then Fluttershy tucked her wing around her friend and held her close. It was disturbing in its way. Scootaloo could find no words for what she saw before her. The strongest flier in Equestria now bowed before her, broken and inconsolable by even her closest friend. She had never seen Rainbow cry before. She had never even known if the confident mare was capable of allowing herself that relief; that didn't matter to her anymore. Scootaloo had mattered. Now it was too late.
Yet, at the same time, Scootaloo couldn't bring herself to anger. She had been angry at times, yes. Why had no one ever looked for her? Why had her parents failed to take care of her? Why had Rainbow never once asked if everything was ok with her home life - or known there had never been a home for her to go back to? In life those things had made her angry. Now they only made a deep sigh well within her as she wished she could tell Rainbow her true feelings.
She had never blamed any of them for what had happened and she never would. They never needed to ask for forgiveness - because they were never blamed
but how could they know? How could they hear a voice come from a mouth that would never move again?
Fluttershy did her best to console Rainbow for the time that passed so slowly. Finally, after a moment in eternity that lasted what seemed forever, Rainbow got up. The mare silently pulled out something she had tucked beneath her wings, placing it on the coffin and whispering a final, "Goodbye
" before turning to leave with Fluttershy at her side.
Once they had finally gone, Scootaloo brought herself to look at it. It wasn't a second longer before she couldn't look at it anymore and turned away. The crown of Equestria's Best Young Flyer had been placed over the cape Rarity had left behind.
It had been Rainbow's pride and joy. It had been her happiness and inspiration. Now, it was only a memory they would never share, and a broken dream. She would never get to see her fly - so there was no reason to wait for the next best flyer, her flyer, that had never gotten to soar. As they reached the gate to the funeral, Rainbow stopped one last time to cast a glance back at what could have been. She couldn't see Scootaloo staring back at her, nor could she see anything more through the tears that blinded her.
Now truly alone, the air was silent. The filly and the mare sat together there for a long time, the filly staring off into a nothingness that stretched endlessly before her. There were endless possibilities now to fill the void of all that she would never grow up to realize. The destination of heaven now loomed to replace the journey of life to reach it. There was no hurry to get there. She had all the time in the world now. The mare knew this just as well as she did, and did not move to disturb the filly's thoughts.
Days passed in the course of those thoughts, and Scootaloo uttered not a word. She sat there, perfectly still, staring sadly into forever that merely stared back. Tears would occasionally brim and flow down her features, but even those waned and ended as time passed. Finally, on the first morning of winter, she spoke.
"I've decided." the words came from absolute silence. The mare started at the sudden resolution is such a young filly's voice, but listened to hear what she had deemed worthy of heaven. Over thousands of years she had heard and seen many different heavens. Sometimes, the heaven would be of one who chose to become a god and rule forever in their own domain. Sometimes, the heaven would be a fantasy they had never gotten to fulfill. Then, sometimes, it would simply be to never want or need for anything again and to simply join their loved ones when their time came; living in paradise for all eternity. Scootaloo continued, pushing herself up and bracing for whatever was going to come next. "I know what I want, so now what?"
While the mare found it odd she did not simply speak it and let it be, she nodded and turned to stare into forever once more. "Will it to be, but be sure
there isn't any going back after this. Do you understand?"
Scootaloo only nodded and closed her eyes. This was her heaven. This was her final wish.