Reharmonized/Healing/Recovery Ponies POVs Pinkamena Diane Pie, "Laughing Together"
WHAO! And hello! Don't go! Don't fear Pinkie Pie is here!
Sorry for taking so long! Cleaning up after our big 'saved the world party (again) party' took a lot longer than I thought it would! I kept you waiting a while? What? A long while?
What? It's been over three weeks now since Mr. Discord was defeated? Why is the second season's third episode taking so long to air?
Well as I'm sure as the others told you in the previous chapters, even with Mr. Discord making Princess Celestia's royal gardens just a bit sillier looking again, a lot of ponies have been really hurt on the inside.
So I've been throwing parties non-stop for three weeks! For everyone and anyone! My parties -never- fail to cheer someone up! Except Gilda but she was a meanie who couldn't laugh at herself so she doesn't count! Right? Right!
Oh? Have the parties been kinda a drain on Sugarcube Corner's reserves? Okay a little! But Mr. and Mrs. Cake are making sure we keep in stock! I've been pitching in extra hours too when not partying!
It's a pity about Mr. Discord! He had so many fun ideas! Chocolate rain! Cotton Candy Clouds! And the roads made outta soap! That was so cool!! And I just loved the patterns he came up with for the ground! And I think Big Mac was happier as a dog. Why'd he have to ruin it by making us all meanie pants?
Well it hasn't affected me at all! Nope! Not in the least! I mean, I was GRAY, can you imagine ME being gray? I guess you don't have to 'cause you saw it too right? But come on, how silly is it for PINKIE Pie to be gray?
Maybe I can ask the pegasi to make it rain chocolate milk with cotton candy clouds on my next birthday! I asked Twilight if we could have that all the time, but she said the crops wouldn't like that, and that included wheat which means she said there wouldn't be any flour and that would mean no cupcakes and-- WOULD YOU SHUT UP ABOUT THAT STUPID FANFIC ALREADY-?!
Oh! Sorry sorry! Sleep? What's that? Oh right! I really haven't had time to sleep in the last few weeks! You see with parties for everypony and baking with the Cakes, but it's okay! I found this great stuff called coffee! It really tastes awful, but it really works wonders!
I can't really remember the first time I tried it, but for some reason the next thing I remembered was that I had iron weights on my hooves and Mrs. Cake had the key around her neck. Twilight said I was trying to be in so many places at once I was damaging the space-time continuum or something, but I'm sure she's just joking. Me? Damage reality? That's just silly.
Any who a LOT has been going on these last few weeks! With my twenty-four hour parties to help cheer everypony up I've been hearing everything!
Twilight said she's worried that me partying, like, for everypony is an 'e-va-sion reflex' I'm using to not think about me being grumpy after Discord made me think (again) that my friends weren't really my friends. But that's so silly (a lot of things have been lately) I think about it and I just laugh it off!
Like I was saying, the Cutie Mark Crusaders turned in that extra homework on Discord like they were supposed to . . . Miss Cheerilee was so glad to see them so diligent she broke down crying right there in front of the entire class and told the entire class to go home early! Wasn't that nice?
Applebloom for some weird reason said she was worried that she was gonna get into trouble for that (Applebloom not Cheerilee, dude!), like when Applebloom left Applejack all alone in the Everfree Forest on a branch when Applejack was the size of a doll thanks to the Poison Joke (I don't get how that was supposed to be a joke, none of us laughed!). Apparently after we were all cured with a bath, Applebloom got spanked HARD by Granny Smith till her butt was as red as her mane. Who woulda thought leaving your micronized big sister in the middle of a dangerous predator filled forest all alone could get you into trouble?
And Twilight's been doing these boring talks about how she thinks in retrospect that Discord was trying to prove to Celestia that friendship couldn't stand up to adversity since he was clearly powerful enough to squash us like bugs if he wanted.
And she's been asked by the doctors at that hospital -that some very rude ponies say I belong in- to give this one pegasus gossamer wings, how silly is it to give a pegasus wings when they already have them? So ya see I still have plenty to laugh about!
What? HUH?! You're wondering if I'm scared of parties now because of what Discord did in the balloon garden? NAW! That would be like Rarity being scared of diamonds, or Rainbow Dash faking thinking that tiny cloud was Cloudsdale, or Fluttershy now having split personalities (what do you mean I should know?), or Applejack, to flawlessly align herself with her Element of Honesty, by looking into the heart of the cosmos! . . . .
Of course I read the previous chapters! There's no way I'm in any kind of denial! I've never even BEEN to Egypt! Except that one time with the oatmeal and . . . what was that sound I just made? Oh right it's called a yawn.
Wow I feel kinda, what's the word again? Oh right sleepy! That's okay! Just some more soda, or coffee, or some pixie sticks and . . . outta those . . .no problem, I'll just trot over to the kitchen and I'll just . . . just close my eyelids for just a second, I can make it in and out with my eyes closed no problem . . . I can . . .
"So the coffee's thrown out? All of it? AJ? Rainbow?" Twilight Sparkle called.
"Every last drop Twili!" AJ said like it was a military operation.
"I double checked all her normal and -not normal- hiding places! I also found that copy of '100 Best Pranks For Fillies' I loaned her last month." Rainbow Dash added.
"Which -I- loaned YOU from the library four months ago!" Twilight said sounding ever so slightly agitated.
"I was gonna return it . . . eventually . . . what was a straight arrow like you doing with a book like that anyway?"
"It wasn't mine! It came with the library! Apparently it was a favorite of Princess Celestia's!"
"Why doesn't that surprise me at all?" AJ said under her breath.
"Well at least Pinkie dear can -finally- get some sleep! My word, the Cakes were practically begging us to get her to go to bed!" Rarity said.
"Ah still say we oughta have gone with the ropes and tied her to bed."
"We did remember? She slipped out of them in eight point four seconds." Twilight reminded them.
"How in tarnation did you come up with eight -point four- seconds. Did you have a stopwatch or somethin'?"
"No AJ. I just figured it wasn't going to work and was keeping count in my head." Twilight said factually.
"In POINT seconds?" Rainbow Dash asked, still confused.
"You'd be surprised how many spells require that much precision to cast."
"Ugh. Anyway. Mission accomplished right? Pinkie Pie's asleep!"
Rarity shook her head. "If you call standing in the middle of a room on your hooves snoring sleep. We are civilized ponies here."
Pinkie Pie mumbled in her sleep. "Chocolate Seasalt, Strawberry Pepper Corn, Basil, Chocolate Bacon Bourbon, Vanilla Caramel Corn, Banana Pecan Toffee. Yes we do have those ice cream flavors. Half-quart or gallon? I know a lot of bronies didn't like the live-stage performance. Princess Luna will return in episode-"
"I'll get her to bed . . . and make sure she stays there." Fluttershy said, gently lifting the snoozing hyperactive pony.
"Okay everypony! Party's over!" Twilight called out, "Thank you all for coming! We hoped you enjoyed yourselves and Princess Luna willing we all hope you all have only sweet dreams tonight."
The ponies began to shuffle out to return to their homes. The sun was still a few minutes away from setting, but no one argued, some ponies actually looked rather relieved. Even the incredibly unexpressive and passive Gummy (Pinkie Pie's pet alligator) managed to somehow look relieved that Pinkie Pie's partying rampage had ended and scurried under something to catch up on his own precious sleep.
The flower pony trio of Lily, Roseluck, and Daisy led their on-again off-again friend Berry Punch away from several empty punch bowls. She hadn't been trying to drown her sorrows. It had been therapy to recover from everything she tried to drink from water to wine tasting like battery acid during Discord's reign. It was progress: she had by now been convinced by her fair weather friends that she wasn't going to turn everyone around into cardboard cutouts if she sneezed like she was sure two weeks ago. The flower ponies had only confided what Discord had done to them to each other and to the psychologist they were seeing as a group. Lily's had something to do with thinking she was invincible and any flower that got within ten feet of Roseluck dying.
Pinkie Pie kept mumbling in her sleep as Fluttershy flew her upstairs, "Twilight you should really take some lessons from the first Twilight Sparkle, she was cuter than you and liked making wishes. Did you know she was best friends with Firefly? Who's that? Firefly's Rainbow Dash's direct ancestor and was even more of a daredevil than her, oh and Spitfire is her descendant too I think, that makes her and Rainbow Dash cousins, maybe I should throw them a party . . . "
"That's all very nice Pinkie Pie." Fluttershy said softly with a smile on her face.
"There goes that chance." Rainbow Dash said under her breath, looking down.
Applejack put a hoof on her shoulder and said quietly in her ear, "Ya know, you really don't need to tell the others all at once. Ah know it's painful but Ah know they'd have already forgiven ya if ya just told'em what Discord did."
Rainbow Dash whispered, "And I should tell Cloudsdale too 'Element of Honesty?'"
AJ whispered back, "Look. NONE of us were thinkin' straight after that varmint Discord gave us all the evil eye. Ah know ya think ya were--"
"But Discord -wasn't- playin' fair! Ya know he had the whole thing rigged. Fluttershy says he just clonked her on the head when she wasn't buyin' none of his hogwash."
Rainbow Dash sighed. "Okay. Fine. I'll tell everypony in the morning whether it's all together or not, I promise."
"Thatta girl." AJ smiled.
"It just isn't fair, I had finally psyched myself out to tell everypony. It wasn't fair."
The Earth Pony said in a perfectly calm and peaceful voice. "Sugahcube: 'it just isn't fair' is the Truth of everything. Well g'night. Promised Applebloom I'd help scare away her nightmares tonight."
Rainbow Dash looked at AJ who had hugged the Pegasus and turned to leave. Ever since AJ came back from that one-on-one visit with the Princess, she had been, calmer almost, more accepting of things. She was still AJ, but there was something about AJ that made AJ, 'AJ' that had changed.
Rarity said, "I shall be going now too. I have some personal projects of mine that I want to check up on."
"I think I better tell you guys I won't be in Ponyville for a day or two," Twilight Sparkle said. "I finally got all my affairs in order and I've already delayed a lot more than I should have."
Rainbow Dash startled, looking disappointed.
"Oh my, my dear Twilight what do you mean?" Rarity tilted her head.
Twilight looked like she was trying to find the right words for a few moments before answering, "There was a unicorn in Hoofington that AJ found out about that Discord took a personal interest in breaking like he did us for some reason and she figures that with my track record I'm the best mare for the job of helping her."
"That poor dear! How did Applejack find out?"
"She didn't tell me. She said she found out during her visit with the Princess however." Twilight Sparkle said, hoping Rarity didn't press for more details like who said unicorn -was-. She worried that her friend might not appreciate her taking time out of helping Ponyville to help -her-.
"Can't you . . can't ya wait until morning? Get a good night's sleep and everything?" Rainbow Dash asked uncharacteristically off balance.
"Sorry Rainbow Dash but I can't. I feel guilty delaying as long as I have already."
A lump formed in Rainbow Dash's throat. 'Maybe it's better this way . . . more time to work up the nerve, more time to work out what to say . . . aw screw it.'
"Twilight before you, there's something really important I want to talk to you about."
Fluttershy meanwhile had carried Pinkie Pie into her bedroom. As per instructions from Twilight she had done a sweep of the room, twice, for any of Pinkie Pie's spare candy stashes. Pinkie Pie needed sleep (likely a few days worth) and her friends were determined she got it whether she liked it or not.
"Ya know I wasn't always an Earth Pony, I was actually a pegasus named Surprise, yeah I was a blond, why do you ask?"
Fluttershy chuckled kindly to herself at Pinkie's nonsense in her sleep. She gently put the pinkette into bed and pulled on the covers with her mouth. The Cakes had promised to take turns watching her, but Fluttershy had volunteered for the first shift. She wondered what Pinkie Pie dreamed about.
"Yes Gummy that is a beautiful rainbow . . . you know what this calls for?" Pinkie Pie's eyes snapped open and she sat up in bed like a donkey-in-the-box and shot up her forelegs. "A PARTY!!" An empty pie pan made contact with Pinkie Pie's face less than a moment later, leaving an impression. "Or maybe I should catch up on my rest first." And fell back into bed, her tongue hanging out.
"Cruel!" Fluttershy whispered to herself harshly. She looked at her vague reflection in the mirror next to Pinkie Pie's bed.
"It's -Flutter-Cruel," Fluttershy then said, her expression taking on a matter-of-fact slightly agitated tone, "I didn't ask for a name like yours but it's mine and I'm going to keep it."
"That's not the point." Fluttershy said, speaking to herself in the window, her expression becoming scolding. "How could you do that to Pinkie Pie?"
"Do what?" Fluttershy then said her stance becoming more lax in an instant, "If I hadn't nipped it in the bud she'd have gone down stairs, declared the party back on, and dragged inside every pony she laid her eyes on insisting on partying with her until they fell asleep on their hooves and had to be carted home. And isn't that what you and your friends were trying to stop and actually have her get some rest?"
"-Our- friends, and I know, but . . . but you didn't have to be so nasty about it."
"Oh come off it, you know she didn't feel a thing with that thick skull of hers. I was actually already ready to hit her over the head with the stool next. And I may have been born with all of your memories but that doesn't make them 'my friends.'"
Fluttershy turned from the window and stood for a minute in silence in her vigil. In spite of FlutterCruel's promise to make herself the Alicorn who rode and Fluttershy the Steed that carried her: that just now had been perhaps the single largest act of defiance FlutterCruel had done. Fluttershy could -tell- FlutterCruel wanted to trip one of her friends and laugh to their face, tell them how impotent they all were, but Fluttershy had easily been able to hold her back those times. Why had she managed to catch Fluttershy off guard this time?
Fluttershy wanted to say she could have simply sung Pinkie Pie to sleep, or Pinkie Pie would have pushed her enough to bring The Stare to bear, but Fluttershy knew Pinkie Pie wasn't one for listening when she was revved up, and Fluttershy could -never- use The Stare on one of her friends no matter the good intentions. Fluttershy chose to drop the topic.
"I was hoping to introduce you to Pinkie Pie first, since she would understand."
Fluttershy crossed her forelegs and huffed. "Pst. As if I need any of your friends . . . heh, now Gilda, she's not the brightest bulb in the box but -dang- would she be fun to hang around with!"
Instead of cowering before the idea like FlutterCruel was sure she would, Fluttershy said with an inner calm that would have made Princess Celestia proud. And she went into full spitfire-speak mode. "Yes dear. I can see very much how you two would get along. Both of you need to be meanies because you refuse to relate to anyone around you so it's your only real means of expressing yourself. You only let inside other people who remind you of yourself. Both of you don't want to admit how alone you really feel-"
Fluttershy snarled, her expression changing in an instant, "Shut up shut up! You don't know anything so stop spewing dragon fefwmets like you know me or someone you met twice!"
Fluttershy's face stiffened slightly. "Oh my my my, such language. We're going to have to clean that mouth out."
Fluttershy's eye bulged. "YOU WOULDN'T!"
Fluttershy merely stood up, kissed Pinkie Pie on the head, pushed her tongue back in to keep her from drooling on the bed, and went into the adjoining bathroom humming to herself.
Pinkie Pie looked around, a thick mist covered everything with a few colorful paper lanterns hanging from streamers. Pinkie Pie couldn't tell if she was standing on floor or ground but she didn't really care. After trotting for a few seconds she proudly declared, "Oh! A dream sequence! I always wanted one of these!"
"Keep waiting." Said Pinkie Pie's own voice in a sullen sarcastic tone.
Pinkie Pie turned her head and galloped straight towards the source dead ahead, "Hii Pinkamena!"
Sitting on a stool from Sugarcube Corner, sat another Pinkie Pie, but this one with a straight mane and tail and darker shades, unlike Angry Pie who had faded colors, she had her front hooves crossed in front of her chest and with a somewhat sour look on her face.
Pinkie Pie reached out to hug her alter-ego but ended up squashing flat against a thick two story tall glass wall right between them.
Pinkamena kept a straight, even, almost bored face. "Wish I could say it was a pleasure."
Pinkie plied herself from the transparent barrier and trotted back and forth, keeping her eyes on her other self. "Oh oh oh this is so cool! I can't remember the last time we got to talk like this! Are we gonna have a big fight scene in tribute of the hit anime Narutrot reenacting the famous fight scene between Master Jiraiya and the Six Paths Of Disharmony? Can Madame LaFlour be the Alicorn Path?"
In a perfectly straight voice Pinkamena said, "No. That scene got scrapped."
"Oh darn!" Pinkie somehow managed to snap her hoof in spite of not having fingers.
"Look, as much as I love that you're finally willing, or rather -have to- speak to me, we have more pressing matters."
Pinkie blinked and tilted her head innocently, "Oh really? What?"
Pinkamena tapped against the glass wall. "I know you remember what happened in the hedge maze even if you're repressing it. I remember it, and that is how I know you do too. When Discord managed to get you into thinking your friends were laughing -at- you and not -with- you, you realized a few things besides thinking everypony around you was the enemy."
"What? That? That's over and done with!" Pinkie Pie laughed out loud. "Twilight's spell reminded me of how much fun I've had WITH my friends and Mr. Discord was just playing a very mean prank on me!"
"Tell me Pinkie . . . why do you think YOU were the one who turned into a nasty?"
"Huh?" Pinkie Pie just looked at herself.
Pinkamena growled. "Every time you've not wanted to face reality you've pulled me out of my nice, peaceful, dreamless sleep and forced me into the driver's seat so I have to deal with it until it's safe for you to come out and play! I woke up when Discord began playing with you. But it was like I was coming up from the bottom of a lake and hit a foot thick ice surface! So -you- were the one stuck dealing with your own problems for -once-!"
Pinkie looked stunned and a little apologetic then said in a rather subdued and polite tone, "Okay. I'm sorry. But . . . then why are you here now? Shouldn't you have gone back to bed?"
"It's not because I don't want to. I'm still awake, Pinkie, because there are still things you know but still don't want to face!" Pinkamena's demeanor broke and she put her hooves against the glass wall and gently put her forehead against the barrier. "Why Pinkie? Why do you have to do this to me? I get to -remember- all the happy times, but the moment the bad times get too bad I'm the one who has to -experience- them! And as soon as things become wonderful again, I go back to sleep." Pinkamena fought back tears. "Please. Just let me sleep, or -take me back-."
Pinkie Pie took several steps back from the barrier as if the sad Pinkamena might suddenly break through the glass wall. "I-I-can't! I don't -want- to think about those things! If I'm unhappy then it makes my friends unhappy and I don't want my friends to be unhappy!"
" . . . Aren't they my friends too?" Pinkamena whispered, then shuddered and regained her self control. "Pinkie Pie. When Discord made you angry, you realized the price for our fun and games is that when we have something not RELATED to fun and games to say that we're ignored. Twilight even included that in her face to face report to Princess Celestia when we were dealing with the parasprites. A lot of what we thought was just us being paranoid, Mr. and Mrs. Cake love us like their own foal, and our friends wanted that surprise party for -our- sake because they knew us well enough to know we loved surprises. We didn't think to explain to our friends how dangerous the parasprites really were. But it wasn't that simple to say everything we thought was just an angry fantasy. Our fun and games only made the situation with the cowponies and buffalo -worse-. We really -didn't- have any deep friendships until we met Twilight and the others! . . . Pinkie Pie we invented a muscle powered FLYING MACHINE. But because we came up with it nobody sees it as anything other than a toy. We could have been a great inventor. We have creativity coming out of our ears!"
"We do?" Pinkie Pie turned her head left and right. Then she looked back at Pinkamena's expression. "Oh. You mean as one of those expressions. We could have been a lot of things. So could have anypony. AJ was almost a Manehatten business pony. Rarity almost became a rock farmer. And Rainbow Dash was almost tricked into becoming Nightmare Moon's minion. And we were almost-"
"The point IS Pinkie, that while we love fun and games: like any pony when we have something serious to say, we want to be taken seriously. But the way we act makes nearly everypony think we can't be serious. You realized this when Discord tortured you, and you dumped all that on me. Except I'm not going back to sleep, because it's all still staring you in the face. Plus Pinkie, seriously, look at us."
"What about us?"
"We aren't well! A pony's mind isn't meant to be divided like this! You broke me off from yourself and left me! You're incomplete! Just take me back!" There was a very real hint of desperation in Pinkamena's voice.
Pinkie Pie whispered, not able to, "I can't . . ."
"Pinkie Pie the more you ignore a problem the bigger it gets. And because you're so used to breaking off pieces of yourself you don't want to face the fact that the damage from Discord wasn't repaired when Twilight reminded us how much our friends love us! You just -pushed it aside- like you have with every emotion you haven't wanted to experience! I've been here for three weeks Pinkie, being aware but unable to interact. I think another part of you was aware I wanted to have a talk with you and didn't want you to have the chance."
"Oh that's silly! Just plain silly! Silly-silly it's so silly!" Pinkie Pie grinned so wide it was a wonder the top half of her head didn't fall off. "I've been partying day and night all this time because Mr. Discord hurt a lot of ponies on the inside and my parties, er party has been helping them feel better!"
"Then why did you refuse to take a nap when Mrs. Cake Pinkie Promised she'd keep the festivities going while you slept?"
"Like duh! Like I told her, I'm the best at parties, and Ponyville deserves the best party around right now!"
"And why did you ignore Twilight when she told you that drinking so much coffee wasn't good for you?"
"I figured she was just wrong like she was wrong about our Pinkie Sense being made up."
"And you didn't think your friends were -desperate- and worried about you when they tried to -tie you down to the bed- to get you to sleep?"
"I thought they were just playing a game."
"Pinkie!" Pinkamena snapped. "Be serious!"
Pinkie Pie turned up her nose, crossed her hooves and said in an uppity voice. "I AM completely serious: ABOUT PARTIES! Anything else isn't worth being serious about! Those things mean feeling angry, feeling sad, feeling scared, and those are bad feelings! Why would I want to?! And YOU. Why do you want me to take you back so badly anyway-?! You're just a big grumpy pants! You're as bad as me when Mr. Discord made me think laughing is bad! It isn't! It isn't! It isn't! Why don't you go play with Rocky, Mr. Turnip, Madame LaFlour, and Sir Lints-a-lot! What's so important that you'd want us to be together again anyway!"
Pinkamena shuddered, and then whispered something. Pinkie leaned in closer and asked her to repeat, pressing her ear against the glass.
Pinkamena whispered. "I want to sing."
Pinkie Pie fell on her rump and scooted back several hoof falls. She looked positively terrified of her other half now. Pinkamena was supposed to only feel angry, sad, scared, hurt, she wasn't supposed to -want- anything!
What right did she have?
"I won't let you." Pinkie swore, feeling VERY strange, almost ill somehow. A strange wrongness flowed through her. Like a churning broth of rock soup. "You were supposed to disappear when I got my cutie mark. My songs are meant to make people happy! I won't let you sing sad or mean or scary songs!"
Pinkamena looked at her alter ego in a new sense of alarm. "Pinkie! Stop! With this divider between us I can't take your anger! I haven't been able to assimilate what you experienced while you were tainted by Discord yet! Calm down!"
Pinkie's head was spinning, confusion weaved through her head, but she didn't care, "Calm down, calm down, calm down! Calm down Pinkamena! We'll have another soon enough Pinkamena! Please we need to work on the rocks -too- Pinkamena! You'll understand why we farm rocks when you're older Pinkamena! I cut you loose from the rest of me because I HATE YOU!" Dizziness swarmed through Pinkie's head and in an instant she fell to her knees in a heap. A sensation not unlike vomiting convulsed through her.
A light then shined bright enough that behind her, her shadow grew bigger, and bigger, stretching out behind her like a flood of blackness against the suddenly painfully brightened landscape divided between an abandoned rock farm and overused party grounds.
The shadow condensed, pulled itself together, forged from unbidden thoughts and feelings denied their outlet. It took shape from that which was most familiar to it, that which it understood most, that which it was most denied.
Pinkie Pie was covered in sweat, she felt like she had emptied out not only her stomach but all her internal organs while she was at it, but not a single thing had left her mouth. The painful light began to dim to acceptable levels then to a defused twilight.
"Pinkie . . ." Pinkamena said in horror. "Behind you."
Pinkie Pie turned.
There before her was another Pinkie Pie, but this one had her colors grossly desaturated, leaving only ghostly traces of color on her. Her sparkling eyes completely contradicted the vicious mouth full of nearly animalistic frowning, grinding teeth. She had Pinkie's poofy hair.
"Oh. Are you like the, uh, residue of Mr. Discord's evil magic inside and I'm gonna beat you, and then be able to use that magic for good and make it rain chocolate milk?" Pinkie asked in her innocent and cheerful voice that contrasted her twitching eye and fearful expression.
"Pinkie that thing, it, she didn't come from Discord, she came from us!"
Pinkie Pie somehow kept her voice jovial even as she was struggling to keep her knees from knocking. "Don't be silly. There's no way she came from me . . . I mean, just look at that frown."
The gray Pinkie's mass of exposed teeth twisted upwards.
"That's . . . much better." Said Pinkie, her voice cracking as her eyes' became pin pricks.
" . . . more . . ." The gray Pinkie said her first words.
"Uh." Pinkie Pie said, not able to understand where all this fear was coming from. The new pony looked friendly if a little monotone. "More parties? Don't worry, I'll wake up soon and we can get back to partying in no time!" Pinkie said, feeling like she was caught between a rock and a hard place.
"I want more." The gray Pinkie said. "I want more . . . I want more of us."
"Well, just give me a bit to imagine other versions of me and I'm sure I can fix that." Pinkie Pie said, somehow not feeling relaxed like she should now.
"Always pent up, always sealed away, always buried, always repressed . . . I finally have enough Ego of my own."
"Uh . . . me that always has the answers I don't like, what is she talking about?"
"I told you Pinkie! We're sick! We have been for a long time! And not for the reasons people keep thinking we are! Remember what Pa said? There are types of stone where if you break it once, it's easy to break the rest. When you broke me off from you, you left CRACKS in yourself! She's broken off from you."
"Really? What part?"
"I'm standing right here you know." Said the gray Pinkie Pie in a droll voice. "And what I am is angry. I also know what everypony really thinks of me. All that proof we've ignored. All the lies we've told ourselves. AND I HATE IT! I hate a family who wouldn't adjust itself for me! I hate a new family that treats me like I'm still a foal! And I hate how everypony thinks I'm crazy just because I think DIFFERENTLY from everypony else!!!! Hate-hate-hate!" A shock wave centering from Angry Pie knocked Pinkie Pie on her rump.
"It's time for us to be finally whole." Angry Pie said darkly.
Pinkie and Pinkamena both gasped.
Angry Pie ran straight for the glass wall. The Pinks expected it to shatter, or for her to leap over it, but instead she went through it as if it was a hologram. Pinkamena braced herself. But instead Angry Pie ran straight for one of the old buildings on the abandoned rock farm.
With an amount of super-equine strength, she tore the shack -roof and walls and all- off its foundation, revealing four ponies within. Two Earth Ponies, one with a bucket of turnips Cutie Mark and another with a rock on his rump, a pegasus with a sack of flour on her flanks, and finally a unicorn whose cutie mark was a pile of lint.
The four ponies looked VERY surprised at the gray Pinkie before them. Their reactions were slow, having just been rustled from the peaceful dreamless sleep that had been denied to Pinkamena.
She leapt on Mr. Turnip and broke his neck with her bare hooves, his form became transparent, and floated lifelessly inside her.
"TURNIP!" Madame LaFlour gasped.
"NO! Leave them alone~!" Pinkamena screamed at the top of her lungs, rushing Angry Pie who bucked her in the face, sending Pinkamena head over hooves backwards.
"I'll do you in a second. Don't whine so much, this is what you wanted right?"
Rocky snarled and rammed into Angry Pie's side, knocking her off balance while LaFlour took to the air and Sir Lints-a-lot charged with his horn lowered. Angry Pie stepped out of his line of sight and was suddenly on his back using him as a spring board to leap right into LaFlour. She was knocked off balance from the sudden impact, and Angry Pie took the chance to break her wings making her fall.
Rocky stomped his hooves, looking at Angry Pie but speaking to Pinkamena. "Run."
"I can't leave you, you're my-"
"We're just figments! Don't let her hurt the others! Just GO!"
Pinkamena blinked away tears and ran like Nightmare Moon herself was after her.
"And what makes you think there's anywhere to run from me in my own mind?" Angry Pie swore as she used LaFlour as a dive bomb right on top of Sir Lints-a-lot, breaking his back. A few seconds later his and LaFlour's form became ghostly and floated inside Angry Pie.
"LaFlour, Lints-a-lot. . . I ain't goin' down easy chump!" Rocky swore, breathing out through his nostrils, blowing dust in the rock fields.
"I am so scared." Angry Pie said flatly then growled, "You think this is some cheap samurai film-?! Where the hero wins cause he's out matched-?! I'm gonna show you wrong!"
Pinkamena ran straight into the main farm house and screamed, "BOTH OF YOU! RUN NOW!"
Two forms inside the house shifted, waking up from sleep that wasn't quite as dreamless as the figments and her own. One resembled Pinkamena but with Pinkie's colors, and had a rock for a cutie mark and wore a bright colored scarf. The other was a little filly blank-flank who looked -very- scared right now. They were all Pinkie Pie, so they all knew what was happening.
"Diane! Take Pinky and go! I can't pass through the barrier but maybe you can! Maybe she won't risk coming after you if you're near Pinkie Pie!"
"But what about you?"
"She's made out of the things I was born to absorb. I'll be fine."
"None of you will be fine!"
They turned to see Angry Pie, a beaten and bloody Rocky on her hooves. Funny, he wasn't full of rocks like she thought he'd be. Angry Pie now had horseshoe shape bruises over one eye and half her face. She stomped on his throat and he was assimilated into her.
"Now that the appetizers are done with, it's time for the main course." She looked at Diane and Pinky.
The farm pony picked up the filly in her teeth and ran through the house to the other doorway. Angry Pie took a step forward and instantly got the mother of all head-butts from Pinkamena.
"Crossing over to this side was a big mistake! It's time for you to come home and stop this insanity! Rocky and the others are my friends!"
"Isn't everypony always saying insanity is what Pinkie Pie does best behind her back-?!" The two earth ponies reared up kicking each other with their fore-hooves, trying to knock the other down prone for a killing blow.
"NO! People say we're random! That we're spontaneous! It's that we're split up into absolutes and extremes that's wrong!"
"Why are you trying to stop me? I want us to be complete too!"
"I want to JOIN with all of us not devour them!"
"Come on! You know there is always the Alicorn and the Steed, and I refuse to be the Steed anymore for an Alicorn who won't even face reality!"
"That isn't how it HAS to work!"
"Oh shut up me!" Angry Pie tail whipped Pinkamena in the eye, "And you made a mistake of sending those two off where you can't go and can't protect them!"
Pinkamena blinked, and realized Angry Pie had already trotted off almost all the way back to the barrier. Her hastily and fear inspired plan to protect the most vital parts of Pinkie's psyche falling apart around her, she ran back to the barrier.
Pinkie Pie kept ramming her head against the barrier hoping it would break, but all she was getting was headaches, and using the party tables as battering rams hadn't worked out either.
When herself as a filly and an odd version of her she didn't recognize came to the divider, she hit the wall. It wasn't solid for them like Pinkie and Pinkamena, or vapor like Angry Pie, it was like they were pushing through molasses. When the tip of one hoof began to make its way through, Pinkie Pie pulled with all her strength to get them through quicker.
Pinky instantly was at Pinkie's side, rubbing against her, a peaceful smile on her face, her tears gone for the moment.
"Okay . . ." Pinkie looked down, at Pinky, "I can kinda guess maybe what she is . . . but what are you?"
Diane spoke in a soft voice, not holding the hyperactivity that Pinkie Pie was known for and was so vital a part of her. "I don't blame you for not recognizing me." She said with complete honesty. "It's been so long . . . I couldn't stand how we were leaving home. But you told me to be quiet. So I've been all this time. . . I am the LOVE we have for our mom, dad, and sisters!" Diane lowered her head sadly. " . . . And this is the first time we've talked since we left the rock farm."
Pinkie Pie was stunned. Had she, had she really broken away that part of herself? Had she really buried those emotions? Had she wanted to be free of that dark, gray, grimy, soulless, miserable place that badly? Yes, of course she had. But, had she really been willing to throw away -her?- Pinkie Pie felt horrid.
"She stabbed you in the back Diane and now you run to her for protection? I guess you ain't Pinkie's brains!" Snarled hurtfully Angry Pie as she leapt into the air on top of the three Pinkies and dove down like a dive bomber. It threw up dust and debris in every direction, creating a crater, but the barrier wasn't even marked.
Pinkie Pie shook her head, as the dust settled she saw Pinky. Instead of killing and dissolving her, Angry Pie was PUSHING HER INSIDE HERSELF! Like Angry Pie was cake batter and Pinky was a cherry. Pinky struggled, crying and squirming as she futilely resisted.
"Let her go!" Diane screamed before Pinkie could and grabbed onto Pinky and desperately pulled. She slowed her down, but only slowed. And it was clear to all, all she would end up doing was getting absorbed herself. Diane's rear hooves were already sinking into Angry Pie.
"Pinkie!" Pinkamena called, hammering away at the barrier with her hooves like mad like Pinkie had done a minute before.
Pinkie looked at her, then looked at Diane and Pinky being pulled into Angry Pie. She got to her hooves and took two steps toward them.
"You can't save them like that!" Pinkamena cried with no deceit in her voice. "~PLEASE~ take-me-back!"
"No!" Pinkie cried fearfully, her eyes locked in Pinkamena.
"Pinkie . . ." Pinkamena's lower lip quivered. "I know better than anyone how scared you are of being hurt. I know how scared you are of just struggling day by day instead of enjoying it all. But that's ALL a part of life too!"
"I don't want to forget how to laugh!" Pinkie shouted and the heavens themselves thundered.
Pinkamena slowed time as much as she could with what limited control she had. This all had to be said.
"Pinkie Pie. Discord broke you not just by simply lying to you about your friends, but with what you've feared the most: that you don't mean anything to the only REAL friends you've made. But he also rubbed in our muzzle that laughter can be cruel, that laughter can be hurtful, that a joke for some is when another person cries. And those are laughter too. Whether we like it or not. And you didn't want to accept it, but it was so powerful you couldn't just shove it off either. I know all this because it's what you've been trying for three whole weeks without sleep NOT to think about!"
And for the first time in her entire existence, Pinkamena laughed. A tiny, small, half-breath, but a laugh none the less. "And when you stop and think about it, it makes sense. It would be rather silly that the Elements needed a pony that held them in their heart to work unless they needed someone's heart to guide them: to show them the difference between the laughter that brings friends together, and the kind that pulls them apart. And how can you be so sure you know what it's like to laugh, if you don't cry sometimes too?"
She couldn't keep time from marching at its normal pace anymore. And Pinky's face and her front hooves were showing from Angry Pie's gray belly. Diane's back hooves were now imbedded in Angry Pie as Diane futilely tried to pull the poor filly free.
Pinkie Pie gingerly reached out and gingerly touched the glass wall where Pinkamena was. Millions of cracks appeared across its surface instantly, and the barrier of glass collapsed and dissolved into nothing. The entire world shook.
Angry Pie, Pinky, and Diane all turned at the climatic sight as the wall that had been in place for as long as any of them could remember came crashing down.
And then the two main sides of herself touched hoof to hoof for the first time since they had been born. The explosion was blinding. The sphere of white light that expanded from the contact point roared with a force all its own before it then contracted and shrank back in. Like a black hole it began pulling everything into it. Angry Pie braced herself and Diane refused to let go of Pinky. But where Diane's strength had failed her this force didn't and pulled Diane AND Pinky from Angry Pie's exposed belly, and the two fell just short of the sphere of light. Diane hugged Pinky for dear life!
The explosion reversed itself completely, and at the flash point now stood a white pegasus with curly blond hair, violet eyes, and faded violet balloons for a cutie mark. She grinned and shouted, "SURPRISE!"
"No." Angry Pie gasped.
"Now now." Said Surprise cheerfully. "Don't be sad. It's time to come home now."
"I don't want to die!" Angry Pie shouted furiously, producing a flame thrower from nowhere that she fired at the Pegasus but an invisible sphere protected Surprise, Pinky and Diane.
Surprise giggled and shook her head. "Silly filly. We're not dying. We're joining. You're not going to vanish, you're going to be whole."
Angry Pie pulled a grenade from her mouth with the nuclear symbol on it and threw it at Surprise, resulting in a mushroom cloud.
"That was a great bang but for fireworks it wasn't really that pretty." Said a voice right behind Angry Pie that made her yelp. She turned to see Surprise and the two aspects right behind her now.
"Oh dummy!" Surprise said the word holding no malice or condescension. "Of course it's possible. This is all in our head. Like duh!"
"It's okay, don't worry, we're finally going to be well." Said Diane with Pinky nuzzling her in the chest.
"There's nothing about me that needs to be 'made well!'"
Then Surprise was right on top of her. And the size of an Alicorn. "Then you won't mind a 'be well' kiss right?"
Angry Pie stepped back, only to slip on a mass of marbles leaving her with a sore rear.
"Surprise!" The pegasus laughed, then leaned down and kissed her on the forehead. Both were enveloped in light and when it was done, Surprise stood, but now with gray lines along her feathers, giving her shading and depth.
She sighed and looked at Diane and Pinky.
"You guys ready?"
"I've been ready since we left home!" Diane nodded quickly.
"Silly! We have a new home now."
"There's no rule that says someone can't have two homes."
Diane's reply was instant.
Surprise tilted her head. "I guess so . . . okay, here we go! The Grand Pinkamena 'Pinkie' Diane Pie Unification!" Trumpets blared and confetti showered from the heavens along with uplifting music.
Still holding Pinky, Diane hugged herself and the entire world became light.
Pinkie Pie opened her eyes, had a strange urge to be on the look out for pie pans, and slowly sat up in bed.
"Oh my you're awake!" Pinkie Pie turned her head to see Fluttershy next to her bed with a blanket covering the yellow pegasus with holes specifically made for Fluttershy's wings.
Fluttershy dropped what she was holding and hugged the pink Earth Pony.
Pinkie Pie nodded and happily hugged back. "Yeah. For a quick nap that really helped me out!"
Fluttershy looked down looking a little embarrassed. "Uh, Pinkie Pie, you've been asleep for practically three days, almost four. Mr. and Mrs. Cake were starting to talk about the best way to feed you in your sleep."
Pinkie Pie broke the hug, surprised. "Three days? Feels like a lot less."
"Well you . . . kinda pushed yourself really hard . . . Twilight before she left said she had been worried you were going to . . . going to . . . fall over if you kept going like you were. Rarity said she wouldn't be surprised if you had been out for a week."
"Maybe I should take another nap then." Pinkie Pie suggested in a pleasant, unironic tone.
Fluttershy stuttered, "Oh no no no no! That's quite alright! I know everyone is going to be happy to see you're up and about again! Uh . . . though I think maybe you should take it a -little- easy at first just until you get your strength back . . ."
"Okay . . . I'm hungry. Want waffles?"
"Uh, maybe a tiny bit later."
Pinkie Pie finally noticed what Fluttershy had dropped.
"Hmmmm? Photo albums?"
"Eh-?!" Fluttershy acted as if Pinkie Pie had caught her reading dirty PlayMare. "Oh, oh yes. I was going to do just one shift, but I realized that it might work out a bit more if I were the one looking after you. And I thought I should be sharing these with a little filly I've gotten to know. She doesn't have anyone else so I thought it best if I look after her for now. She's being very stubborn about letting other ponies in, but I think some advice from Rarity and Cheerilee has helped."
"She sounds like she could use a party to get her to see what it's like for other ponies to be NICE to her. When can I meet her?"
"Ummm. When you're back up to one hundred percent. She can be very . . . taxing."
Pinkie Pie let out a giggle at the words 'one hundred percent' given what she had just gone through, Fluttershy didn't notice as she was quickly covering her own hoof when an unbidden laugh escaped her mouth, her body language shifting for a fraction of a moment.
"Yes Pinkie Pie?"
"I . . . I wanna say I'm sorry for making you all worry about me. That isn't what friends are supposed to do. They're supposed to be there for each other, like you were for me, I'm sorry for not seeing it." Pinkie Pie grunted. "Fluttershy can you help out here?"
"Of course." Fluttershy let Pinkie use her as a crutch as Pinkie then made her way to a seat by the window she pushed open, taking in the fresh air and directly sunlight. She looked at the town below. Looking the same as it had years ago. But the ponies themselves telling a different story.
"It's beautiful isn't it Fluttershy? I know that fun and games aren't going to be the -only- thing these ponies, that -we- need to heal, but I'm still sure it can help. I think maybe what most of them need, is just someone who's willing to listen and help laugh away their fears . . . maybe Applejack was on the right track."
Fluttershy listened intensely to Pinkie Pie. Was this really Pinkie Pie? She LOOKED like Pinkie Pie, sounded like Pinkie Pie, smelled like Pinkie Pie, and no other pony had that poofy hairstyle. But she seemed . . . more centered, more focused, but still playful.
It reminded Fluttershy how AJ had begun acting after her visit to the princess, and how Rarity had begun to act after she made that solo expedition to the Diamond Dogs. And thunder struck Fluttershy's skull. 'And. Like how I've been acting since I took FlutterCruel in?'
'Pssh I haven't noticed.' FlutterCruel thought back.
'You wouldn't. But you have taught me dear. Those who deserve kindness the least, can also be the ones who -need it- the most.'
'Oh I don't know. I'd say you've been helping me out in your own way, dear, even though you don't want to admit it.'
FlutterCruel mentally grumbled.
"How Equestria began? What the future holds?
Why do foals fall in love? What happens to our souls?
Clues to life's mysteries are what we hope to find.
Always reachin' for a reason, searchin' for a sign..."
Fluttershy started hearing the slow paced, distant but warm feeling song. It took her a few seconds to realize it was Pinkie Pie singing.
"To know the unknown,
(It doesn't mean that much to me)
To know the unknown,
(Some secrets are just meant to be)
I don't want all the answers 'cause one thing is true:
As long as my heart beats I'll always love you."
'Ugh! Make her stop!'
'No. Listen very carefully dear. This is the sound of something sung from the heart instead of to it.'
It took a minute for Pinkie Pie to remember the address of her family's rock farm. But when she did it was as clear as day as if the majority of memories not directly related to her cutie mark had been in cold storage. But still she realized, she had a LOT to tell them.
"Are ponies on other worlds? What's the magic in our friends?
What dreams really mean? Do stars hear us when we wish?
Everybody's wonderin', tryin' to understand.
But all the revelations are castles in the sand."
Fluttershy couldn't help but think how different the song was from Pinkie Pie's normally high paced songs with their fast beats and rising notes. But at the same time, Fluttershy couldn't deny this song -was- Pinkie Pie.
"I don't need all the answers 'cause one thing is true:
As long as the world turns I'll always love you.
You don't have to tell me just why you went away,
Now that you've come back there's nothing more to say.
All I really need to know is that you're here to stay...
So I don't need to know the unknown . . ."
Pinkie Pie got a group hug from the majority of her friends and (foster) family as soon as she came downstairs to fill her empty belly. She let herself have a good cry, not one that lasted ten seconds with her flooding the room and then instantly turned off, she let it naturally run its course, and it was indeed a good, nice cry. She was sure to tell her family and friends that she wasn't happy or sad, she just felt she needed a good cry right now. She felt like there had always been a blind spot somewhere in her that was gone now. She was whole, and that meant she could guide the Element of Laughter -as- a whole pony, and another truth crossed her mind, 'I'm free.'
She didn't know why she kept coming up with excuses for herself to go visit the narwhal again. She had what she had wanted from the narwhal and their business was concluded and the more she visited the more likely that her real reason for visiting the narwhal originally would come to light to her father.
She told herself that the narwhal was willing to teach her how to sew properly for free and if she was foalish enough to do that then she should take advantage of the opportunity like her papa always said a smart pony should do. And while a high class pony like herself would never -actually- need to know how to sew, her mother had liked it, and it would be annoying to have her muzzle and hooves covered in needle marks again if she chose to produce a second gift of the same sort for her mother.
Yes. There was no way she could be enjoying the company of the narwhal. There was no way a narwhal could remind her of her mother before the doctors took her away.
At least the narwhal politely arranged their meeting times when the blank-flank-marshmallow the narwhal called a little sister was off with her blank-flank friends so she wouldn't have to face them and have them learn of this humiliating endeavor and likely create another potential security leak.
Though visiting the narwhal did make her feel funny, a strange swimming sensation in her chest that rushed all the way up into her brain that made her -question- herself, which honestly scared her. But she was a high class pony, so she was sure she'd have this sewing thing down pat soon enough.
Though the brown and gray stallion in her dreams (the one with the cutie mark of arrows going off in every direction) kept telling her that visiting the narwhal was a bad thing, that it would corrupt her, damage her, she continued for now.
Not that she was about to ignore what the pony with the red in yellow eyes in her dreams was offering of course.
'You have laughed at the expense of others. You have lied to your own mother. You have been vicious to fillies your own age. You'd sooner die than share what is yours. You have abandoned and been awful to your only friend. You wish for a world where your mother is normal? Where she is well? Betray the narwhal, undo the final lock. Open the door and accept my majesty.'
And Diamond Tiara pathetically struggled to understand why she had not yet done so.
In Hoofington, Equestria
"Yes I'm Twilight Sparkle, is Trixie here?"
-- Most decidedly NOT the end.