True Colors
IC date: Fall 68, 1007
OOC date: November 26, 2012
PCs: Ruby-Blossom, Winter-Solstice
NPCs:
GM: None

Bang, bang, bang. What a day! Good thing Sodium was there to help get it off to a proper start, as Winter had been up ALL NIGHT worrying about things, to such a degree it'd woken up her marefriend, who had to come out and mollify Winter as she toiled over the forge. Of course, Winter was put enough at ease by Sodium that she could subsequently fall asleep. Which she did. Which means she was late to get the day's work started. Which means she's going to be late to finish! Which means she's starting to worry once more- or rather, she IS worrying once more- as she pounds on a sheet of metal in the workshop at the heart of Iron Stock's foundry. The good news is that all of that worrying means every backward, buckin' kick is all the more satisfyingly solid! Pow. Pow!

There's no visual sign of the mare from outside the shop, of course, but this IS where she lives and works, and, you know. SOMEONE is pounding on things, and it probably isn't the proprietor, who is a skinny little unicorn.

Ruby-Blossom is a pretty little thing - who certainly has /no/ business being in foundry or any other place of manual labor; but she does have business with one of the ponies that work her. A pony very dear her to whom she's managed to hurt; she does seem to be getting quite good at that these days. The small mare peeks through the doorway and scrunches up her face before catiously trotting inside. The contant *thwapping* of metal a sure sign Winny's hard at work; she attempts to time her calls between the larger mare's bucks. "Winny!" *CLANG* "Winny!" *CLANG* "WINNY!" *CLANG* "WINNY!!!"

*CLA-

Winter halts mid-buck, turning to see just who is shouting at her, and balancing up on her forelegs for a moment while she does. The large sheet of metal is one of many in a sequence, all hanging in a line from a heavy chain mounted into a track suspended from the ceiling above the workshop floor. One by one, th ey're ratched over the big mouth of a two-story-tall forge, immersed in the heat, and brought back up so the big mare can pound them flat. The atmosphere in the shop is sweltering; a thin layer of sooty dust coats many surfaces near the forge, including Winter's, and a dusting of grey smudges her white coat.

She drops her hind legs down- they're wrapped in her iron-plated boots, used as a weapon back in the nightmare world, once more turned to peaceful purposes here at home- and blinks at Ruby, surprised. "Ruby!" she says. "When did you get here? Is the door unlocked?" She leans around a bit to peer across the workshop floor and towards the entrance. "Well, yeah, it usually is during the day. Did you shut it behidn you?"

Ruby-Blossom 's ears flatten against against her head as the other mare looks her way. She's about to speak softly but quickly realize she'll need to speak up to be heard. "I just got here. I came to talk to you, I mean if you have time." Her shoulders slouching a bit as it's obvious the mare is feeling guilty about /something/ that involves Winny. "It was unlocked, yeah." an adorable little huff. "I can always go - if you're busy, or don't want to talk, or whatever." glancing over her shoulder at the half-open door.

Winter-Solstice turns and looks at the door. The door is open! That's not typical. She frowns.

"Eh, it's getting a little hot in here, anyway," she says, before turning to tromp over to the side of the forge. Reaching up, she starts turning a wheel crank, and as she does, a shuttered door squeaks down over the open mouth of the forge. "You should stay, though. I was gonna try and come find you when I was done here, anyway. It, like, it's convenient?" If Winter is as nervous as Ruby is, she seems to be compensating by staying Busy. Even after she finishes shuttering the forge, she tromps over to a table nearby and picks up a dusty rag to mop her damp forehead and brow with. And THEN she gets to take a drink of WATER.

She mumbles into the glass. "Did, uh, did Soda, did she talk… to you today at all?" Winter pauses, licking her lips. "Oh, can I get you anything? Like…" Slowly she looks around. "Like something to drink?"

Ruby-Blossom shakes her head "i'm fine. Did you want to step out for a little air?" taking a few small steps back towards the door. "Yeah, Fizzy told me." those ears remain flat against her head - guilty as sin that she made the larger mare feel bad. "I uhh." she scoots a little closer. "Lets step out, it's sweltering in here." Even with the furnace cooling off the room is hot; but not as hot as the nervousness is making Ruby. "I uhh. She mentioned about well, you know." having trouble getting to the point to say the least; shifting her weight uncomfortably between her hooves.

Winter-Solstice tosses back the rest of her glass, then turns to follow Ruby. "Okay… here, let's step out to the side door. The view is nicer out there."

As the two slip out a side entrance to the shop floor, Iron Stock- a dreary blue unicorn with a murky grey mane that hangs in her eyes- peers around the corner from an adjoining room. Oh, it's one of Winter's friends. Apparently she picks up on the prevalent attitude of anxiousness readily enough that she sees fit not to even alert the pair to her presence in the first place, heading back to wherever she was.

Outside, facing the shoreline, it is nice and cool, the afternoon of what has been a fairly crisp and cloudless day. A short fence consisting of a rusted chain suspended from posts walls off something of a side-yard facing towards the docks. It is a nice view, if you like oceans. Turns out a lot of people here in the harbor do! Funny how that works. Winter turns and looks to Ruby. "I guess there's not a lot for me to say that you don't already know," she says, then. "I just… why didn't you tell me, if you were telling them, huh?"

Ruby-Blossom notices Iron Stock; being the observant mare Ruby is - and gives the foundry owner a small nod of acknwoledgement. She recalls the owner from the night the group was sent AU side. Stepping out into the cool ocean air offers Ruby a chance to relax - briefly forgetting the momentous task before her with a heavy sigh. At least until Winny comes right out and asks her. The mare seemingly caught off guard for the briefest moment before she provides a reply that's just as simple. "When was the last we had time to just talk, without anypony else around?" Doing her darndest to pull those ruby-red eyes away from the ground to look at Winny. "That's it, really. You were like the first friend I made here, and I know I may not be as awesome as some ponies, or as special…" tip of her hoof scratching at the ground. "But I've always liked you - I mean not in the same way Fizzy does. Don't get that confused…"

A small huff "You're a irreplaceable friend to me." she flops against the ground - totally defeated. "I'm sorry." covering her face with one front leg.

Winter-Solstice turns and watches Ruby, with her STARING EYES. Well, it's not really a stare so much as it is a… a watch. Winter being as bad at being self-conscious as she is, she seems to be equally bad at realizing how self-conscious she's making others. The big mare does grunt with dismay as Ruby flops over, though, and tromps over to kneel down beside her. She hesitates, then reaches out with a broad hoof to pet the smaller mare on the head.

"Well, I guess it was pretty crowded there in the base," she says. "Hardly ever… got a moment of privacy one way or another. I sorta wonder how the base ponies managed it themselves." Winter looks up towards the sea for a bit, then back down. "But that's… that's really all it was? Just a matter of opportunity? Or like, not having any?" SHe narrows her eyes, and her tone is equal parts suspicion and hope.

Ruby-Blossom mutters "Winny - I value your friendship so much, you're so awesome; I'm lucky to have you as a friend - your super popular - everypony likes you." she rambles on before realizing she's totally off topic - leg still covering her eyes. "We just never had time for that sort of heart to heart. I'm all full of secrets - and I've shared them with some ponies because it came up, and felt appropiate. It just never came up with you." sincere as she could be. "I'll show you something no pony else knows - cause I trust you." A small swirl of magic reveals Ruby's horn! Then with a soft glow a small transparent orb appears at the tip of that horn. The tiny orb siwrls and twirls and slowly the color begins to bleed out of her mane and fur. "I only know one spell properly, and it's used to remove the dyes I make." the color bleeds slowly away until the a small turquoise and pink marble falls to the ground with a little bounce. This leaves Ruby very white save for the ruby-red eyes she's cover - why she's so plain there's not even a cutie mark in sight.

Winter-Solstice draws up and back, making a bit of space as magic starts happening. Magic is SUSPICIOUS. Winter squints against the glow, even if it's subtle, then widens her eyes as the color drains from the mare in front of her. If Ruby was hoping for a gasp of amazement or applause or something else, it doesn't happen, as Winter seems mostly dubstruck. Eventually she shuffles a hoof. "You're whiter than I am," she notes, lamely, reasching over with a shaggy hoof and placing it near the other mare. Shen then reaches up and pokes Ruby's horn. "And you're a unicorn, too," she says. She definitely sounds sad there. "I always thought you were kind of… kind of like a cool earth pony sister, I guess you could say? Well, not really. But I kind of liked that about you. I mean… I'm not sure I really know any other Earth Ponies, here, now. I guess there's Kludge…" OR IS THERE "… and… there's Pumpkin, sort of? She's not really a, er, a GOOD FRIEND, though. Just sort of an acquaintence."

Winter reaches up, rubbing her forehead, and draws her hooves in. They suddenly feel far too large. She feels far too large. Big and awkward and heavy. She shakes her head and peers back down at Ruby. "What's your real name, then? Do I still call you Ruby, or… or I guess I can't call you Scarlet or someone freak out…"

Ruby-Blossom sighs huffily "I hate being a unicorn Winny - that's why you never see my horn. I don't know any magic, I've nver been good at it." she starts to sound angry. "A colorless unicorn? No wonder I was abandoned as a foal, can you imagine?" her eyes still covered. "I never learned magic, I was too busy trying survive on my own. Then when I finally found somepony I thought was family I spent the rest of my youth working to take care of her, buy her used books, and do everything I could to help her. Then once she got into a magic school other ponies noticed her, and she found a good home. I'm happy for her even if she kicked me aside when she was done. No pony wanted to be around a colorless, 'useless' unicorn like me. All those rich, snooty ponies always looking down at me - a useless unicorn. I'm not a stupid unicorn, I'm stupid earthy pony with a stupid horn! A horn that just points out what a worthless pony I am, and the worst part is everypony's been right all along. I'm beyond worthless - I can't even keep from hurting the ponies I care about." The small mare throwing a tantrum like some sort of foal. "Scarlett O'Mare was my way to get back at them, to steal from the rich."

Winter-Solstice sits up and approaches Ruby once more, though she isn't entirely sure what she intends to do when she gets there. Then again, this is hardly the first time Winter has thrown herself into a situation without a plan. She setttles down beside the prone mare. "-I'm- mostly colorless, though," she says. "And I'm definitely a stupid earthy pony and I don't even HAVE a horn. That doesn't make anything less of ME, though, does it?" Her tone suggests she's not entirely sure of the answer herself. She leans down and bumps Ruby on the top of the head with her nose. "And you're not totally worthless. You're worth-" She is about to rattle off the price listed on Scarlet O'Mare's Wanted poster, but a sudden red light flashes in her head: THIS IS A BAD IDEA. DO NOT SAY THAT, EVEN IF IT IS TRUE.

Winter pauses, glancing up. Yeah… yeah, that wouldn't be a good thing to say.

She dips her head back down and bumps it against Ruby's shoulder. "Well, you're worth a lot to me, because you're still my best friend, Ruby! That's why- that's why it sort of, sort of hurts, feeling like I don't know the real you, because I totally want to. Because I like you! And I don't think I like you for some fake reason like your color or what kind of a horn you have or don't have. I like you because you're fun and you're helpful and you're caring and you were like a big sister to a lot of us back in the base." She quiets. "Well, maybe I should stop saying 'sister' 'cause I guess that's a bad term to use. Also you're kind of a -mischievious- big sister that teaches everybody how to get into trouble. But that's good." She pauses. "Also I'm older than you so… so anyway I don't know."

She stares at Ruby for a few moments, then frowns. "Am I gonna have to sit on you to make you not run away now? I did it once to Sodium and I'll do it to you, too, don't even try and push me."

Ruby-Blossom snorts loudly - clearly crying even if she's covering her eyes to keep the larger mare from seeing those tears trickling down. "When you're a unicorn everypony expects you to know magic - a squib is as useless as they come; and every snooty pony I did house work made it known in their own way. They all looked down on, every last one of them." Recalling her childhood in the magical land of Canterlot - which totally sucks from her perspective. "I learned how to dye my main and coat to avoid ridicule - no pony else knows this." she huffs and slaps her free front hoof against the ground. "I mean…I it doesn't bother me anymore - but…" clearly getting into that whole 'I'm okay' bit already.

A long moment of silence from the smaller, sniffling mare. "You don't mean that - there's no way I'm your best friend; you have too many better friends." she protests all the while laying the ground - perhaps the sound of the harbor will drown out some of her sniffles. "I like you so much Winny. You're so awesome, and strong. The thought of hurting you makes me so sad it's hard to bare. I'm so afraid of hurting you, or Fizzy, or…" she visible shakes "Maggie..if I ever hurt her I'd just die.

Winter-Solstice bumps Ruby's shoudler again, then shifts and settles down beside her, legs folding underneath… except for her nearer foreleg, which reaches out to hook around Ruby at the withers and pull her in for a sideways hug. The big mare is warm against the cool late autumn (or is it fall?) air, and though that encircling leg isn't pinning Ruby in place- she could probably squirt out and escape without even having to roll!- it seems clear Winter would rather she not go. "Too many better friends? I guess I have a lot." Every pony is her friend, after all! Even the ones she has not met. "But I mean it, you're the best of them. I mean… Soda's close, yeah, but that's different, and you know why. And I'm not just saying that, too. I'm not gonna- gonna lie about something like that. I don't even know if I COULD lie to you. I'd probably be really bad at it if I tried. You'd be all, 'whoa! Winter, you're bad at that.'"

She trails off, looking out at the ocean for a bit. "Anyway, I guess I think you look prettier like this. And not just 'cause I'm white and I like white things, but it's like I said, it's more the real you and that's sort of who I want to get to know. And I think if you're more open about that, then that is probably what's gonna make the difference between hurting Magpie, or anybody else, and not." She peeks back down at Ruby and squeezes the smaller pony up against her side once more. "Because we trust you, and we want to know that you trust us, too."

Ruby-Blossom softly whispers back to the larger mare "I do trust all of you." Winny can feel the small mare breathing hard as she hugs her close - clearly upset although steadily calming down. "I probably trust you most of all." Another moment of silence before she pipes "You were the first friend I made here - the first pony in a long time to call me a friend…that meant alot. M..more than you might imagine; I might have just up and left if you hadn't." the smaller mare pushing herself against Winny's side. "I don't lie to you guys…I might not say things sometimes, but I don't think I could lie to you."

Some uncomfortable shifting finally gives way to relaxation as the white on white mare mutters. "I can't show this to anypony else…a blank flank at my age? I'd be laughed out of town…" There's a VERY good reason Ruby's flank is blank; of all the ponies she lies to - she lies to herself the most, and has never truely acknowledged her calling…duh duh duh. Eventually she huffs softly. "I like my colors…they're mine…" she argues cutely.

If Ruby looks up, she'll notice Winter is looking a bit more happy, glad to see her BEST FRIEND looking like she's feeling a bit better. Winter is not a clever pony; she only has so many tricks in her big bag of encouragement. But even if Ruby doesn't seem the big mare's smile, she can hear it in her voice. "You were my first good friend here, too!" she says. "It was so neato." She lingers on the thought for a moment, appreciatig the warm fuzzies, and then turns to peek back. "You're really totally blank? It isn't just some kinda color magic stuff?" Winter reaches back and pokes Ruby's rump where a cutie mark would go. "Really?"

Ruby-Blossom squeeks adorably when Winny begins to feel up her flank. "Hey! What would Fizzy say?" she protests while rubbing her face against the insdie of the hoof she was using to conceal her tears. "So what if I am? It just means I don't have any special talents - I just have alot of little talents." justifying her embarrasment with a half-truth. "Don't tell anypony - I mean. A magicless unicorn without a cutie mark? By Luna's mare flare." she whines "Could I BE anymore pathetic?

Winter-Solstice can't help but stifle a snort and a giggle as Ruby objects to the pokin' in such a fashion, but the moment doesn't last too long. Winter brings her hoof back up to hook it back around Ruby once again. "Maybe you don't know what your special talent is because you're used to hiding things about yourself," she says. "And you're not magicless. You can do that cool color thing. I bet you could pull off some light tricks, too. Shucks, Ruby, you've had everybody fooled about your color for… for however long. That's a pretty magical trick. And all that stuff you pulled off, making yourself look like Will?" Winter draws back a bit to eye the unicorn beside her critically. "You're telling me that isn't some kinda magic? Really?"

Ruby-Blossom huffs "The only magic I use is color removal." she protests a tad loudly. "I hate magic. Magic cheapens everything, and causes all sorts of problems. Look at the stupid other ice world we where stuck on; that would have never happened without magic." she huffs adorably. "I use dyes that I make myself - no magic what's so ever." she emphasizes "None. Why just the last night Rising was trying to teach us, and I turned myself invisible on accident. I spent the whole night half-transparent." she whines softly admit some heavy sniffles. "I..I don't know - I know everypony has a special talent, but…I figure I'm just as blank as I am colorless, and magicless."

Winter-Solstice listens, intently, worriedly, but gradually her brow knits. "Wait," she says, in the manner of someone confused. "If you're… how do you turn yourself invisible if you're magicless?" she asks. "That's kinda… kinda super magical? Well maybe not SUPER magical but if there's a binary choice between magic and not magic, that's pretty magic. No! Not even pretty. It IS magic." She squeezes Ruby firmly. If she gets a squeak from the unicorn she'll consider herself successful. "Maybe you shouldn't worry too much about your special talent and just worry about all your little talents. Which you said yourself that you have, so no takes-backsies. And if you keep trying to be honest with all of us, and focus on the things you're good at that you enjoy, the rest will come naturally. S'how it usually goes for everybody else, after all."

Ruby-Blossom rubs her eyes feverishly against her front hoof for several long moments before managing to look at Winny for the first time all evening. "I wasn't trying to do it, I was just trying to make an illusion like Rising told me to." She returns to wiping her eyes despite no longer crying. "I stopped worrying a long time ago. I really don't care about it anymore - I don't need it." If you had asked her four months ago she would have said she didn't need friends either! "I don't think I'm comfortable sharing this with anypony else." she protests - it's probably the most embarrasing thing EVER after all. "I don't know what else to be honest about…"

"Ruby…" says Winter, ruefully. "You'll… you're gonna have to tell everybody someday. I don't know if you really see yourself being with Kludge for a long time, but with him especially… he's gonna find out somehow. And if he doesn't he's gonna suspect something. But the longer you let something like this go without ever telling anybody, the harder it's gonna be when the truth comes out. And besides!"

She shifts her stance, sitting up a bit, and that arm wrapped over the unicorn scoops her up so Winter can pull her into a hug. "You're hiding something that isn't even bad! That's what makes it sort of funny! You're so worried we're all gonna laugh at you, but we're not. We're better than all those chumps back in Canterlot! We're your real honest to goodness actual friends and that's the truth." She relaxes her grip, but doesn't let go, so she can lean back to smile down at Ruby but still squeeze tight and arrest her if she decides to abscond. "And if you really want to hide your blank flank, then… then I guess, okay, you can do that. But the moment your real cutie mark appears- and I'm sure it's going to, someday, because it'd be just SILLY if it never did- you gotta tell everybody. Because that's gonna be as much a part of you as your horn or your bein' a cool white color and it'd be real sad if we never got to know what it is."

Ruby-Blossom is all hugged - and absolutely loves this; even she just kinda hangs there in the hug semi-limply while the most adorable giant of a mare lovingly scolds her on her misbehavior. "I don't think Kludge would laugh - well he might chuckle lovingly." she admits with her eyes rolled off to oneside. "Maggie - I think she'd laugh." she admits "Not in a mean way - but it'd probably amuse her…" ruby-red eyes casting downwards "I don't want her to think less of me…I know it's stupid, but I adore her more than anything else. I want to give her a wonderful life - she deserves better than being a street rat like me." squirming simply to get a little more comfortable before eventually flopping against Winny. "I want her to be happy, and safe. I love her." her voice quieting "Being together with Kludge? I don't see any reason for that to change…I mean I Kinda could, would, you know if he asked." Her voice lowered to a meek whisper.

Several quiet moments pass with the waves lapping at the shore before Ruby manages "I don't know if I could come out to everyone like this…it's just so scary!

Winter-Solstice keeps her forelegs looped loosely about the shorter unicorn, such that it's easy to relax forward and against the big mare's chest. Winter turns her head and rests her cheek atop Ruby's head- mindful, of course, of the horn. "You don't have to do it all at once. Just, you know. Pull someone aside and be like, hey this is me. Don't start with Magpie, though, she probably can't keep a secret worth beans." She draws her head up and peeks down. "And I could, I don't know. Help, maybe? Would that help? If I was there. Because I'm okay with it and if they see I'm okay with it, maybe they'll be like, okay, maybe I should be okay with it, too. Winter doesn't mind and she's good at finding evil and punishing it."

Ruby-Blossom can't help but giggle just a little "Having you around always helps…I'm honestly really glad you're with Fizzy now. You two are great together." she nuzzles the bigger mare firmly. "I suddenly want to have foals just so I can make you guys watch them." another small giggle. "I guess…we really should tell Kludge - maybe - we should set up a double date for Friday…it might be easiest to spring it on the both of them then…

Winter-Solstice reaches up with one big hoof to scratch her head. "A double date? Uh… that could… that'd be fun! You sure? I mean, if you think that's the time to do it, then that's fine. Oh, do I- I don't have to dress up, do I?" She glances back. "I don't know if I have anything nice to wear." The big mare shakes her head as she looks back to Ruby. "Oh, well. It's not a big deal. And if you want us to watch your kids, that's fine! I am kinda curious if Soda would make a good mom, but that way we could just give them back to you when we're done and go off on adventure together."

Ruby-Blossom looks all seriously huffy the moment Winny mentions running off with Fizzy "Don't you dare run off! Ever!" the mare looking more than a little uncomfortable with the idea, and feeling as if her heart was being pulled out. "I mean it's fine as long as you come back…you just can't go off galavanting all over Equestria. It wouldn't be home without you two." she huffs "I mean…" she can't help but chuckle "I don't think I'd be against raising foals on the road…that'd be the way to grow up, huh?" she shakes her head "Anyways…yeah - let's do a double a date on Friday. Don't worry about dressing up! We'll hit up that fancy resturant down the way."

Winter-Solstice blinks her eyes wide when Ruby takes the threats of adventure seriously. "Oh! We'd come back, don't worry. We were both telling eachother how… how normally both of us would just have wandered away for now, gone someplace else, but now we're staying here isntead." She smiles and looks out over the harbor for a moment, then back at Ruby. "It's home for both of us, now. We're not gonan abandon it. And we're not gonna abandon our friends. And if we DO go on an adventure, you and Kludge and Magpie can all come with." Winter reaches up, and squeezes the smaller mare for another hug, before relaxing her hold and slipping back onto all fours to stand up nice and proper. "Anyway, sure. Friday! It'll be fun."

Ruby-Blossom huffs cutely "I think I'll stick around - even if you have to get back to work." offering a small smile to the larger mare. "I'm the same you know - I just went from place to place; stealing from the well-to-do then donating all the stalleons and profit from selling the stuff to orphanages…" a kinda meek grin. "Well, not all of it…I do have some really nice jewels." she waves a hoof "I'll show you some night.

Winter-Solstice brightens up. "Sure! We can trade stories sometime. Although, uh, mine normally don't… don't end with… big treasure." She sheepishly brushes her mane up and away from her face. "Anyway, let's head back in. I know you said you didn't want anything but I got this awesome carrot salad I made and you TOTALLY have to try some!"