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Children and Kerfuffle Cherries

by Tangerine_Blast

“UHG! Stupid dumb project!”

Terramar paused in his swim through his mother’s house and turned to peer through the doorway he had just passed.

His sister, Silverstream, was surrounded by waterproof scrolls bobbing in the current around her as she laid face down on her bed. She was back from Equestria for the summer, which Terramar was very thankful for, but still had a few projects for Princess Twilight before the school year started up again, which Silverstream was very unthankful for.

“What’s wrong?” Terramar asked, swimming into the room and causing Silverstream to flip over to look at him. “I thought you really liked pony school?”

“I do,” Silverstream insisted, grabbing a random scroll floating around her, “but it’s just so much work. I have to make and bring a visual aid representing one of the ‘best stories from my family history?’” She huffed and tossed the scroll away in anger. Unfortunately, being underwater, it only drifted gently over to Terramar. “All my teachers know about my past! And it sucks… I don’t want to write another paper on the Storm King.”

“Then don’t,” Terramar suggested, swimming over and pulling Silverstream upright, “There has to be more to Hippogriffs, or to our family than just the Storm King and the…” He flinched a bit and checked over his shoulder to see if anyone was listening in. “...problems.”

Silverstream didn’t seem convinced. “Terr, you weren’t even alive before we moved underwater, and I was just a baby. What else could we possibly have?”

“Have you asked Mom and Dad what their lives were like before the Storm King?”

Silverstream opened her mouth, a dismissive look on her face. Then, she closed it slowly as a sheepish look came over her. “Um, hehe, you know I actually haven’t…”

Terramar rolled his eyes and grabbed his sister. “Come on then, I’m sure they have something good to share.”

***

“One of my best memories?” Their mother asked, pushing dinner in front of her two children, “Well that’s an interesting question, isn’t it?”

“I told Terramar you probably didn’t have any…” Silverstream groused, pushing her seaweed around her plate.

“What about something with you and Dad?” Terramar insisted, “Surely you have some good memories with him…”

“Oh, of course I do,” their mother replied with a fond smile, “There were plenty of good times. Why… I remember our first date.” She sighed wistfully, “We were out in the gardens on the west side of the mountain, some little trip all the teenagers were taking, we’ve known each other since we were chicks you see. Somehow, the two of us got separated from the group and couldn’t find our way back. We fought and fought about which way we needed to go until we were just flying around in circles.”

Terramar frowned. “This doesn’t… sound like a good story…”

His mother seemed not to hear him as she continued. “Well, it was just when we reached the cusp of our argument did we see these magnificent flowers with the most delectable fruit inside, grow and bloom, right before our eyes! Why we were so shocked that we instantly forgave each other and managed to work out how to get home.” She shrugged and turned back to her own meal. “After that I couldn’t stop thinking about him or those fruits, and the rest is history.”

Silverstream looked intrigued. “Huh, that does sound like a good story after all?”

“What was the flower called?’ Terramar asked, an eager smile on his face. 

“It was an unusual one called the Kerfuffle Cherry,” his mother replied before giving him a sad frown of sympathy, “Ah, but I’m afraid there aren’t any still around. The garden on that side hasn’t been replanted yet.”

“But we’ll still have the seeds,” Terramar insisted, rising from the table, “I’m sure if we ask around we can get permission to plant them! Come on Silverstream.”

“What?” Silverstream asked, her mouth full of seaweed, “But food!”

Terramar grabbed her fin and pulled her out of the room. “We can eat later. Thanks so much Mom!”

Their mother watched with an amused smile as her children raced out of the room and towards the surface. 

***

“I can’t believe Princess Skystar just gave you the seeds,” Terramar said in awe as the two flew to the west side of Mount Aris. “I thought for sure we’d have to convince the Queen herself.”

Silverstream laughed. “Never underestimate what name dropping Princess Twilight can do. Did you get the book about them?”

“Right here,” Terramar replied, lifting the thick book he was carrying up, “Everything you need to know about Mount Aris botany in one guide.”

“Ooo,” Silverstream suddenly cried, pointing with the claw carrying the bag of seeds, “I think I see the perfect spot to grow them!”

The two banked down and came for a landing within the overgrowth. The Hippogriffs hadn’t gotten around to refarming this area of the mountain yet so wild plants ran amok, creating a twisted web of vines and branches. 

“Uh, I guess?” Terramar said, glancing around at all the vegetation in their way, “Here’s probably as good as anywhere. First, let’s move these other plants out of the way.

Silverstream nodded and grabbed the top of a root, pulling until it snapped in half and sent her flying into a nearby bush.

Terramar shook his head with a chuckle. “No, no, you have to dig it out from the roots. You can’t just pull it or it will keep coming back.”

“Really?” Silverstream wondered, but followed her brother’s lead in clawing at the dirt until plant after plant was uprooted.

Terramar sat back once they had made a sizable dent in the vegetation. “Okay, I think that’s enough. Now we have to plow the soil a bit to get our seeds' nutrients.”

“How do you know all this?” Silverstream asked, watching Terramar use his claws to create little rows in the soil. “They don’t really teach us this stuff at school.”

“Dad showed me,” Terramar answered, not looking up from his work, “We go out and help with the new gardening areas when I’m with him.” He puffed out his chest feathers proudly. “Dad says my areas bloom the brightest in the area. Everyone says I’m a natural.”

“Wow, that’s great Terr!” Silverstream complimented with a lighthearted laugh, “If you were a pony I bet you’d get your cutie mark.”

Terramar laughed back halfheartedly as his expression dropped. “Yeah… I just wish Mom could see it… she never wants to come up to the surface. Especially when Dad is there…”

Silverstream frowned as her brother stared down into the dirt, seemingly lost in his own head. “Hey, what’s the next thing we have to do? This project won’t finish itself, ya know.”

Terramar shook his head and glanced back up at her. “Right. Well, there’s a pretty strong sea breeze, which is good, it says that this plant needs lots of salt. The book also said the Kerfuffle Cherry grows through hardship almost instantly so let’s put a few rocks down too, make sure it gets plenty of sunlight, and then start planting.”

“Oh boy!” Sliverstream said, clapping her claws together, “This sounds like it’s going to be so much fun!”

***

The two worked for hours under the hot sun. The ocean breeze made their coats gritty with salt and the dirt discolored their feathers. But still, with the sun setting slowly behind them, they managed to finish their project and could only sit back to wait as the promised plant would grow.

And wait.

And wait.

Silverstream leaned over to her brother and whispered into his ear. “Is it supposed to be doing anything yet?”

Terramar checked his book again and then turned to behind him to squint at the setting sun over the water. “It says the very first time they grow is exactly when the first sunset dips behind the horizon. That’s why they have to be planted on the west side of the mountain. 

Silverstream nodded and the two continued to wait.

And wait.

Until it got dark.

Silverstream looked at her brother again. He seemed frozen, eyes locked onto the patch of soil in front of them even as the darkness grew cold. “Um… Shouldn’t it have done something by now? Did it not work?”

“It didn’t work?” Terramar asked, staring at the plain, unforgiving dirt. He stood up stiffly and made his way over to their small garden patch. He took a deep breath, as if the soil wrong him in some way, and cried so loudly it made Silverstream jump. “Why didn’t it work? It should be growing! We did everything right!” He clawed at the ground, as if he could find the shoots just below the surface. “It has to grow!”

“Terramar, it’s not a big deal,” Silverstream said, trotting over and placing a claw on her brother’s back in an attempt to soothe, “I can find something else for my project, ya know? It was a good attempt but maybe those seeds were just dead…”

“No, you don’t understand!” Terramar yelled, smacking Silverstream away, “These are Mom and Dad’s flowers! They can’t be dead! They have to see them! It’s not about your dumb project anymore.”

Silverstream stared at him, wide-eyed. “W-what? What do you mean? What does this have to do with Mom and Dad?”

“If they…” Terramar stared at the empty soil, blinking hard to keep the tears out of his eyes, “They were the flower that helped them fall in love. If they see them… maybe they’ll remember…”

Silverstream cringed and rubbed the back of her neck. “Oh, jeez Terr, is that what this is about? You can’t… you can’t force Mom and Dad back together. They’re happy this way…”

“You aren’t here!” Terramar snapped back, whirling to face her, “You’re never here so you don’t know! You don’t see them a-avoiding each other. Or-or, changing the subject whenever I mention the other one. That story was the first time Mom’s talked about Dad that wasn’t just mentioning when I’m leaving in months.” He pushed himself into Silverstream’s face until their beaks were touching. “But you’re never here. So… so you don’t understand how important this is…”

“What?” Silverstream squawked, “What do you…? Of course I understand! Why do you think I agreed to go to Equestria in the first place?”

“Oooooh,” Terramar snorted, waving a claw in the air, “So your solution was to just run away huh? Abandon your family?”

“I didn’t abandon anything!” Silverstream insisted, “I thought you were fine! And like it or not Mom and Dad wanted to separate. I wanted to go away until they figured everything out instead of being in their way during the change. Unlike some Hippogriffs, I actually care about what’s right for them!”

Terramar flushed red with anger and embarrassment. “I do care! You’re just a coward!”

“Yeah? Well, you’re a know it all!”

“Pushover!”

“Nosey brat!”

“Jerk!”

“Idiot!”

FWOOSH!

The two siblings backed away from each other as a bright light blinded them. When they cleared the spots out of their eyes they turned and couldn’t help but gape at their little garden.

Where before was just an empty patch of soil and water now stood rows and rows of magnificent pink flowers, each taller than the Hippogriffs before them. The flowers were fully open and blooming with a single ripe white fruit in the middle of each one, giving beautiful color to the otherwise bare landscape.

In a daze, Terramar reached out and plucked a fruit from where it hung and took a big juicy bite. Instantly, he felt his shoulders relax and his feathers unfluff.

“Oh,” Silverstream spoke from his side, another fruit in her own mouth, “Kerfluffle Cherries. They grow through hardship…”

Terramar could have smacked himself but, instead, he reached out to wrap his sister in a gentle hug. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I yelled. I didn’t mean that. I just get so… so…”

“It’s okay,” Silverstream answered, “I… I shouldn’t have left you all alone. This would be hard for any creature and you’re still just a foal…”

“But you’re right,” Tarramar blubbered, getting tears on her shoulder, “Mom and Dad are happy now I shouldn’t… I can’t make them…”

“Yeah… but you shouldn’t have to deal with it…” Silverstream pulled him away until the two were looking eye to eye. “Hey, how about this year you come to Equestria with me? I’m sure Princess Twilight wouldn’t mind you attending school too. And Professor Applejack would just love talking gardening stuff with you!”

Terramar sniffed and nodded, a smile on his beak. “I would like that…Thanks sis..."

They hugged again. "Anything for you."

"...you should probably go write your report now."

"It's going to be the best one in the whole class! I can bring the flower to Equestria right?"

Terramar giggled. "If you get into fights at school, definitely."