Scootaloo walked through the snowy orchard of Sweet Apple Acres, the full moon shining down on her as she worked her way through the barren trees. She had left Applebloom and Sweetie Belle at the farmhouse, the other two Crusaders having crashed a few hours after getting back from Pinkie Pie's party.
It had only been half a year since Luna's return, but Princess Celestia had decreed the Winter Moon Celebration be observed, despite some lingering wariness on the part of the Equestrian public about the younger solar sister.
Scootaloo didn't really have an opinion one way or the other about Princess Luna, but if she wasn't the same as Nightmare Moon, then she had to be all right, right? Of course, she had mostly just gone to the celebration because it would be followed by a Pinkie Pie party, and a Pinkie Pie party was always an awesome time, and usually provided a good chance to spend some time with her hero, Rainbow Dash.
But none of this was on Scootaloo's mind as she worked her way out of the Apple family's orchards and into the flatter farmland beyond Ponyville. She didn't really know where she was going, or why she was walking. All she knew was that she needed to be alone with her thoughts tonight, even if those thoughts were just the usual mix of worries and frustrations over not having a cutie mark yet and not being able to fly yet. Strangely absent this night were any new ideas on how to fix either problem, only the problems remained.
Eventually, she found herself atop the tallest hill in the area, looking down on Ponyville. She sighed a bit, thinking of all the ponies sleeping there, snug in their beds, their flanks somehow made warm by their cutie marks and the knowledge of the special gift each pony had to share with the rest of the world.
She shook her head, turning away from the town, and instead down the other side of the hill, only to find herself gazing at the moon, or at least its enormous reflection on the surface of the frozen lake below. Her eyes wandered up to the actual moon, her mouth dropping open at the sheer amount of the sky that the huge silvery orb seemed to take up.
She kept gazing at the moon, eyes lost in its silvery glow. She wished that she could simply spread her wings and fly there, but although her wings spread behind her as wide and tall as they could, all they did was make her feel the winter breeze more keenly. She shivered and pulled them up against her sides, but they spread again as soon as her focus on them was lost, her eyes and mind lost in the glow of the moon once more.
After another few moments, she blinked herself out of her reverie, pulling herself up from a sitting position she didn't remember ever getting into. She trotted around the hilltop in a tight circle, trying to pull herself back to reality. Gotta focus. Gotta focus.
But wait, she could swear she heard music now. It was there in the wind, but trying to focus on it made it vanish. How odd. Best not to think about it too much, probably. Just enjoy it.
Suddenly, Scootaloo was dancing to the music that wasn't there, rising onto her back legs, wings spreading as she swayed and turned. The music was definitely there now, and it was lovely: soft and shining like the moon itself. It had started as a tiny sliver of noise and was building in both tempo and richness.
She gave herself over to the music, focusing on it, her body twisting and spinning this way and that, graceful and quick, leaping now, wings helping the little pony to float above the snow for bare moments before bringing her down into the next step, the next twist, the next leap.
The more she danced, the more she needed to dance. When she danced there was no need to worry, no need to wonder about her wings or her flank or her classmates. No need to think or plot or plan, the dance danced itself, fueled by the joy and spirit of the pegasus filly.
She danced for no one but the moon, its silvery rays painting her orange coat and magenta mane with hues of tan and violet, its light focused only on her this night as she gave it her dance, her passion, her joy.
The dance was brought to a close with applause in the form of silvery peals of joyful laughter, snapping the young filly back to reality, her cheeks flushed at being caught out in this private moment. Scootaloo lay crouched low on the ground, the dance having brought her down into a graceful bow, from which she had quickly flattened herself to the earth further.
The warm laughter seemed to come from the moon itself, but the silver orb maintained its blank face, showing no sign of the source. The filly's eyes darted all around, searching for her watcher. Looking down toward the moon's vast reflection on the frozen lake's surface, Scootaloo could only just make out the shape of a dark young unicorn mare standing in the reflection's very center. The laughter ceased when Scoot's eyes found her, but the dark mare smiled warmly at the young filly, then spread her large wings wide. Scootaloo gasped at the sight, frozen for only a moment before turning and running back down the hill the way she came, wings buzzing behind her, blowing a flurry of kicked up snow behind her.
As she ran back to Sweet Apple Acres, Scootaloo felt a mixture of exhilaration and confusion, but no worry at all.
* * *
Princess Luna stood on the hilltop where Scootaloo had been, joyfully retracing parts of the filly's dance for herself. She paused, shaking her head a little. "Thank you for your dance, my little pony. Someday you'll want to share it with somepony else, not just me and my moon."