Sweetie Belle's heart began to race the moment she heard her name being called. Although she knew who it was, she didn't turn around; she didn't make any gesture to look at her. All she did was hang her head lower than it already was, her ears seeming to droop and the tears continuing to stream down her face. She could hear her galloping hoofs on the muddy road becoming louder and louder, a clear indication that she was approaching her. However, she couldn't let her stop her from what she was doing. Sweetie Belle had made up her mind and she was sticking to it, no matter what.
"Sweetie Belle!" Scootaloo called again, as she steadied her gallop into a trot, hoping to catch her breath so she could talk, "What are you doing?"
When she caught up to Sweetie Belle, she stopped and began panting heavily. She looked at the white filly before her, the small curls in her mane unraveled from the drizzle that came pouring down. Although her back was to her, she could see that Sweetie Belle was scared and nervous about leaving. None of that mattered now; all that mattered was stopping Sweetie Belle from making a terrible mistake.
"What does it look like?" the unicorn filly asked. She tried to make her voice sound cold and flat, but the deepened sadness that she felt prevented it. "I'm running away."
"Running away?" asked Scootaloo, her eyes widening with shock and horror, "Why the hay would you be doing that?"
"Why do you care?" she asked coldly, as she continued to walk away.
Now, Scootaloo's eyebrows furrowed, as she could sense the anger that Sweetie Belle was trying to express.
"Of course I care," she said, her tone firm, "I wouldn't be standing here, trying to stop you, if I didn't care!"
"Yeah, sure you are," said the unicorn filly, sarcastically, "You're probably just here to throw it in my face some more or make me feel worse than I already do!"
Now, Scootaloo was angry, "Whoa, whoa, whoa! Don't talk to me like this is my fault! Need I remind you that it was YOU who did this! YOU were the one who kissed ME, remember?"
Sweetie Belle stopped walking again and let out a soft sigh. She knew Scootaloo was right, that it wasn't her fault she was doing this. However, she knew she needed to do this, whether it was because of her or not.
"It doesn't matter, anyway," said Sweetie Belle, "I've made up my mind and that's final. It's better for us if I left. That way, you won't have to look at me ever again for the rest of your life and I won't have to worry about being tormented and humiliated for the rest of mine."
"Tormented? Humiliated? Sweetie Belle, what in Equestria are you talking about?" asked the Pegasus filly.
"Like you don't know," said Sweetie Belle, feeling the tears beginning to stream from her eyes, "I know you told somepony about what happened. You probably told Apple Bloom, who will tell Applejack, who will tell Rarity! Probably all of Ponyville knows what happened by now. I'm not going to spend the rest of my life being made fun of for what I did."
"What are you talking about?" asked Scootaloo, "I didn't tell anypony about what had happened. First of all, I wouldn't have done that to a friend! Secondly, I've been stuck indoors because of the passing storm. Even if I wanted to tell anypony about it, I couldn't because I didn't see anypony after you left. I went straight home!"
Sweetie Belle felt her eyes seem to widen at Scootaloo's words. A wave of relief washed over her as she felt the anxiety of everypony knowing about what she did and exiling her from town flush out of her mind. However, it still didn't convince her that Scootaloo didn't want to be her friend anymore, not after what had just happened.
"That doesn't change anything," the white filly said as she began to walk again, "I've decided to leave and that's final. Besides, it's probably what you would want, too!"
Scootaloo could feel the tears beginning to well up inside, as she watched her friend walking away. She could only imagine what she was going through right now, and it was far worse than what she, herself, was going through.
"What I would want?" asked Scootaloo, as she began to follow her, "What do you mean by that? I don't want you to leave! What would make you think something like that?"
Again, Sweetie Belle stopped walking, her eyes stinging from the tears that were there. "I saw the look on your face, Scoots. I know what you were thinking! You don't want me as your friend anymore! You probably don't even what to see my face around here ever again. That's why I'm going into the Everfree Forest. Maybe a Manticore will gobble me up, or a Cockatrice will turn me into stone for the rest of my life. That way, you'll never have to see me ever again."
With that, Sweetie Belle continued to walk, still not turning to look at her friend. However, she only took a few steps forward before she found herself unable to move. She tried moving forward, but found that something was holding her back. Her eyebrows furrowed, as it became clear what was happening. She didn't have to turn around to know that Scootaloo was holding her tail down with a hoof, preventing her from going anywhere.
Without turning around Sweetie Belle furrowed her eyebrows and said in an annoyed voice, "Let me go."
"You know I can't do that," said the Pegasus filly, her voice almost as annoyed as hers, "Not until we've talked about this."
"There's nothing to talk about, so just let me go."
"What do you mean, 'nothing to talk about'?" Scootaloo shouted, "We have everything to talk about! I can't just pretend that none of this ever happened, Sweetie Belle! I have questions, and you're the only one who can answer them. Ergo, you're not going anywhere until we've talked about this!"
Not seeming to listen to her, Sweetie Belle tried desperately to get her tail free by tugging as hard as she could. She hoped that the mud beneath them would be slick enough to allow her tail to slide out from Scootaloo's hoof. However, with every tug and pull, she could feel pain running through her flank. After several attempts of freeing herself from the orange filly's grip, she stopped and let out a deep sigh; at this point, she felt it was pointless to try and run away from her, not without telling her what she wanted to know.
"Are you going to cooperate?" asked Scootaloo as she whipped her flattened mane from her eyes.
An annoyed sigh was Sweetie Belle's only response.
Seeing that Sweetie Belle wasn't struggling anymore, she lifted her hoof off of her tail. When she did, she watched as the unicorn filly only lowered her whole body in shame, almost like she didn't want to talk to her about anything. However, she knew she had to try and get some clarification from her, whether she was willing to comply or not.
Getting the idea that she wasn't going anywhere, Scootaloo trotted over to her face, hoping to look her in the eyes as she told her what she needed to hear. However, when she went over to her, immediately, Sweetie Belle squeezed her eyes shut and turned her head, trying to avoid making eye contact with her. Scootaloo picked up on this and raised an eyebrow.
"What are you doing?" she asked, as she cocked her head at her friend, "Why aren't you looking at me?"
"Because I can't," she explained, as she squeezed her eyes tighter than she thought she could.
"Why can't you?"
"Because if I do," she explained, tears leaking from the corners of her eyes, "The feeling will come back and it'll happen again!"
Wide-eyed in confusion, Scootaloo asked, "'Feeling?' What feeling are you talking about?"
Sweetie Belle let out a small sigh, as she said, "It's the feeling I've felt for you for a while, for the past few days now. It's the same feeling that drove me to...to...to kiss you."
Still confused, Scootaloo asked, "What kind of feeling are we talking about?"
Then, she heard her mumble something. Because she said it low and her face was turned away from her, it was very difficult to make out what she said.
So, Scootaloo asked, "I'm sorry, but I didn't hear you. What did you say?"
Again, Sweetie Belle mumbled something. This time, it was much lower than it was the first time she said it. Now, Scootaloo was beginning to get annoyed at her. She was getting sick and tired of playing this game with Sweetie Belle. She needed answers, and she was going to do whatever she needed to get them.
"For Celestia's sake, Sweetie Belle," said Scootaloo as she stomped her hoof in protest, "I can't hear a word you're..."
"IT'S LOVE, OKAY!" Sweetie Belle practically shouted, interrupting her friend. Then, she lowered her head into the muddy road and began crying, unsure of what Scootaloo would make of it.
Scootaloo stood there at a complete loss for words. The moment the words left Sweetie Belle's mouth, her own heart began to race. She might have understood that she had a crush on her, but the word 'love' was a little too much for her to bare. In fact, she couldn't see the logic in it; either that or she didn't want to.
"'Love?'" she asked, her voice in almost a quiet whisper, "You...you...you..."
Knowing what she was going to say, or what she was trying to say, Sweetie Belle answered in a low voice, "Yes, Scootaloo. I...I...I've fallen in love with you."
For several moments, the two of them stood there, the light drizzle pouring down on them both. Neither of them could find the right words to say at this point. All they could do was stand there. Scootaloo stared at her unicorn friend, while Sweetie Belle tried her best to hide both her tears and her face from the Pegasus.
Then, Scootaloo asked the only question that she could at that moment, the only one that floated in her mind that was the most sensible, "How?"
Trying her best not to look her in the eyes, Sweetie raised her head ever so slightly and said, "It happened several days ago, when we tried bungee jumping, remember?"
Scootaloo nodded her head, recollecting what had happened in her mind.
"Well, when we were helping you heal your wounds, you...well...you..." she continued, not sure if she could bring herself to finish the sentence.
However, she didn't need to say anymore, when Scootaloo asked, "When I hugged you?"
Still not making eye contact, the unicorn filly simply nodded and said, "That when the feeling first started. Ever since then, I've been developing feelings for you."
"What kind of feelings?" asked Scootaloo.
"Well..." said Sweetie Belle, not sure if she could bring herself to say them. Slowly she began to name the feelings that overcame her whenever she looked at Scootaloo. From the flushing cheeks to the blank staring, the unicorn filly told her everything.
As she spoke, Scootaloo could only sit on her haunches and stare at her, absorbing everything that she was telling her. As she did, all the questions that were in her mind seemed to vanish within seconds; it was almost as if there weren't any questions in the first place.
"The feelings always seem to intensify whenever I look into your eyes. That's why I can't look you in the eyes. It feels like nothing else in the world matters, except us."
Scootaloo directed her attention to the tears that began to stream from her friends' eyes. As she stood there, the thoughts in her own head began blurring with one another. She didn't know what to say or do now.
"At first, I thought that it was our friendship getting stronger or something," continued Sweetie Belle, bringing Scootaloo out of her own thoughts, "But, the longer I thought about it and the more I felt it, the more I allowed it to sink in until I realized that this is much stronger than friendship. It's love, Scootaloo! I can't really explain why it happened, but it did!"
"But..." Scootaloo began to say. However, she couldn't find any words to say to her. She had spent the past two days coming up with questions for the unicorn, but now, after hearing what Sweetie Belle was going through and the feelings she had for her, she couldn't find any of the questions in her memory bank.
Thinking that she knew what Scootaloo was going to ask, Sweetie said, "I made up 'Scott' to try and hide my feelings for you. I was too scared to tell you the truth, to tell you how I really felt about you. Unfortunately, that only made problems worse, especially when everypony wanted so much to meet him!"
At this point, Scootaloo focused her gaze on the ground, letting the thoughts sink in. When she thought about it now, she realized that what Sweetie Belle was going through was extremely difficult. She had no idea that she was feeling for her in this way, not to this extreme. If the choice of returning her love to Sweetie Belle wasn't hard enough to make before, it was definitely hard now. She didn't want to break her heart, nor did she want to get involved with something that she really knew nothing about.
"Look, Scoots," Sweetie Belle said, tears still flowing and her voice still low, "I understand you don't feel the same way that I feel for you. I just wanted you to know that I do love you, even though you clearly don't love me in return. That's why I'm running away, so you don't ever have to worry about seeing my face in town ever again. I'm really sorry for lying to you and I hope that you can find in yourself to forgive me, but I have to do this, for both of us."
All Scootaloo could do was watch as Sweetie Belle stood up straight, her eyes fixated on the muddy road. She slowly began to trot, refusing to look her friend in the eyes. When she was standing next to her, all she could do was whisper quietly, "Goodbye, Scootaloo."
With that, Sweetie Belle began walking again, heading into the dark murky forest, not turning back. As much as she didn't want to do this, she knew that it was the right thing to do. It was better for the two of them this way, she kept reassuring herself. There was no other choice.
As all the thoughts began racing through her mind, with all the feelings she had felt during the storm coming into light, Scootaloo knew what she had to do. It wasn't out of guilt or remorse, or even sympathy; it was because she knew it had to be done. Furthermore, when she really thought about it, she knew that it was true and that it needed to be brought out into the open.
"Wait," said the Pegasus filly, stopping the unicorn filly in her tracks, "There's...there's something I need to tell you."
Confused and unsure of what she could possibly have to say, Sweetie Belle turned around and looked at Scootaloo, who's back was facing her.
Wiping the excess tears from her eyes with a hoof, Sweetie Belle asked, "What is it?"
Not turning to face her, Scootaloo said, "I have something to tell you, but you have to do something for me first."
"Okay..." said the white filly, her heart pounding in her chest, "What do you..."
"You have to look me in the eyes, Sweetie Belle," said the orange filly, "And really listen to what I have to say."
Tears began to well up inside her eyes again, as Sweetie Belle said, "I can't do that, Scoots. You know what will happen if I..."
"Please, Sweetie Belle," she interrupted, "Please."
Slowly and surely, Sweetie Belle began making her way to her friend, her heart racing and tears starting to stream from her eyes. Soon, she sat next to the Pegasus filly, who was looking down with her eyes closed at the moment. When Scootaloo knew she was next to her, she turned her head, opened her eyes and looked at her friend.
The moment their eyes connected, both of their hearts raced, as the feeling from before began overflowing within Sweetie Belle. She was lost in the moment now, the moment where nothing else mattered, except the two of them. She didn't know what she was going to do, or what she was going to say, but she had a feeling it wasn't going to be good.
Then, something unexpected happened that shocked both fillies in a heartbeat. With no warning or anything, Scootaloo closed her eyes lightly, leaned in, and pressed her lips against Sweetie Belle's.
Like before, their kiss was nothing more than the connection of their lips. Sweetie Belle's eyes were widened in shock, much like Scootaloo's were the first time they kissed, she assumed. However, this time, Sweetie felt that it was much more natural than it was before, like this was how it was supposed to be in the first place. Feeling a sense of comfort and normalcy, she closed her eyes as well, allowing their kiss to last for several long moments.
It felt like an eternity had passed before they released the kiss. When they did, they both stared into each other's eyes. Both fillies appeared to be blushing and trying their best not to smile, even though they both failed at doing so.
"Scootaloo," Sweetie Belle finally said after several long moments of silence, "Does this mean that you...that you..."
Scootaloo simply nodded as she smiled. "I've been doing a lot of thinking during the storm that just passed, and even more so now. What I've concluded was this: you were my very first friend I had, Sweetie Belle, even before we met Apple Bloom. I guess, in a way, I've always felt the same way about you. I guess I might have just been a little better at hiding it than you were."
"Really?" asked the unicorn filly, her tears becoming tears of joy, "Do you really mean that?"
Scootaloo nodded, as she brought Sweetie Belle in for a romantic embrace. They wrapped their arms around each other, enjoying every moment of it. Then, Scootaloo whispered something in Sweetie Belle's ear, something that she, herself, didn't expect to say.
"I love you, Sweetie Belle."
As they released their embrace, Sweetie began nudging Scootaloo's neck as she replied, "I love you, too, Scootaloo."
When they released their embrace, Scootaloo said, "Now, let's get back to Ponyville, where we both belong, shall we?"
Sweetie Belle nodded, as she and her friend began making their way back into town. As they walked, they looked into each other's eyes, both of them smiling and feeling the same way for each other. They no longer had to keep their feelings a secret from each other anymore, as they walked side-by-side.
Whether it was from the light drizzle that came down or that they were voluntarily doing it, neither of them could tell. However, as they both made their way into town, their tails were intertwined with one another as they made their way back home.