Windows were shut and doors closed in an effort to block out the noise. Hooves were clamped over ears and grimaces of pain were accompanied by glances directed at the noise's source. However, nopony was truly angry. After all, who could be upset when the origin was one of Pinkie Pie’s parties, processing at full swing on the second story of Sugarcube Corner? Most of those passing by just muttered, “At least some ponies are having a good time…”, before trotting off to handle whatever odds and ends called for their attention.
Rainbow Dash was not one of these ponies. With music blasting she tore up the dance floor along with her five friends. One would think that pony dancing would be limited by the lack of arms. Rainbow Dash proved that, with a little creative application of one’s wings, serious break-dancing could be pulled off.
“Wow, Rainbow Dash!” exclaimed Pinkie Pie, her eyes lighting up. “I wish I could do that!”
Rainbow Dash shrugged and flashed a grin which would have been the bane of any modest pony’s existence. “Well, I guess I am pretty talented. It’s all in the wings, you know?”
“I don’t know, silly filly! I don’t have wings!”
Those assembled laughed at Pinkie’s misunderstanding. Rainbow Dash chuckled as well, but amidst her laughter caught a glance of the party pony's eye. Though the smile on her face spoke of joy, her eyes presented a different tale entirely. Dash shrugged it off, content to enjoy the festivities.
It wasn’t until the sun began to set that everypony had begun to tire out. Fluttershy was the first to depart, saying she had animals to feed. Then it was Applejack, citing she had dinner to eat with the Apple family. Rarity had clothes to finish for a deadline, Twilight needed to set up equipment to observe stars that night, and Rainbow Dash… Well, she figured she’d stayed long enough. Pinkie had plenty to clean up and take care of before she went to bed, and Rainbow Dash didn’t want to hold her up.
“Later, Pinkie Pie!”
Pinkie Pie saw her to the front door. “So you’re leaving? Did you get everything?”
“Pfft.” Rainbow Dash let out a little snort. “Me? Forget anything? Puh-lease!”
Pinkie Pie laughed. “Oh, I just want to make sure you’re all set to go! Don’t want you to pop back in unexpected, you know?”
Rainbow gave her a malicious grin. “If I need to come back, I’ll make sure to scare the HAY out of you! BOO!”
“AHH!” Pinkie gave a mock scream before breaking into a fit of giggles. “Fly home safely! I don’t want you soaring headfirst into a house!”
“As if!” With a final good bye the pegasus took off into the air. She could hear the door to the Sugarcube Corner close behind her. “Smack into a building. Yeah right. Maybe for a filly night flying would be tough, but not for the super awesome Rainbow…” Her words trailed off as she suddenly realized something. Slapping a hoof to her forehead, Rainbow Dash cried out, “I forgot something!”
Dash’s saddlebags still sat in the corner of Pinkie Pie’s party room. Normally the pegasus didn’t use saddlebags, but she was responsible for bringing the chip and dip that day, and she sure as hay wouldn’t be carrying all that around in her mouth. A quick swoop brought her back to Pinkie’s front door. She was about to knock on the door, but then her memory kicked in with a recollection of what she'd said not five minutes ago; If I need to come back, I’ll make sure to scare the HAY out of you! BOO! “Wouldn’t want to break that promise.” Rainbow Dash muttered, an evil grin on her face. Slipping through the front door, there was little more than a slight creak from the hinges. Mr. and Mrs. Cake were out late purchasing products over at Sweet Apple Acres, so they wouldn’t give her away. Dash was careful to fly so as not to let the floor boards betray her presence. After gliding up the stairs, she landed with a slight creak near the door to the room she'd partied in earlier that day.
There was a low light coming from the cracks in the doorway. Rainbow could barely suppress a chuckle as she pressed her ear softly against the door, trying to hear what Pinkie Pie was up to. And apparently- Dash’s laughter subsided, and she frowned in concern- Pinkie was in the middle of crying. Peeking through a crack, Rainbow could see the earth pony sitting on a stool, slumped over a table where the punch had been set earlier, a bottle clenched in one hoof.
Joke forgotten, Rainbow Dash opened the door slowly. “Pinkie?”
The pony jerked upright in her seat, a surprised expression on her face as she whipped her head around to look at Rainbow. Her voice cracked as she shouted, “What are you doing here?! Get out! I don’t want you to see me like this!”
“Pinkie, you’re…” Dash didn’t have the heart to say wreck. Pinkie's hair was messy, not to mention uncharacteristically straight. There were some splatters of whatever she’d been drinking on her mane, as though she’d tried to drink but missed her mouth. “… Looking kinda funky. Are you okay?”
For a moment, there was silence. Pinkie Pie let out an exasperated sigh and muttered, “Great, you brought the narration with you… What are you doing here? Can’t you see I’m in the middle of being miserable?” She took a sip from the bottle she’d been holding onto. Finding it empty, she threw it over her shoulder. The bottle landed on the floor behind her, not hitting quite hard enough to shatter.
“I just wanted to grab my saddle bag.” Rainbow took a seat across from Pinkie. “But now that I’m here, I think I need to do more then that. C’mon, what’s up?”
Dash took a quick glance around the room. It looked as though Pinkie had started to take down the streamers, but midway had become frustrated and started tearing them off the wall. The punch bowl lay upside down on the floor, as though brushed carelessly off the table, the red liquid now leaking through the floor boards. A bottle, empty, similar to the one Pinkie Pie had thrown, was lying next to the bowl. It was hard to believe that Dash had been gone for only a few minutes.
Pinkie shrugged. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. They would, but you wouldn’t.” Rainbow Dash made a mental note. Pinkie Pie is crazy. Re-thinking that, she crossed out her mental note. It was something she already knew. “I guess it’s just nice to have somepony to talk to. As far as I can tell, I’m the only one who can actually see it, and… them.” The earth pony got off her seat, and moved over to a cabinet. “Want anything?”
“No, I’m good.”
Pinkie grabbed a bottle and staggered back to her seat. “Jack Daniels, sometimes I think you’re my only friend…” Then she shouted to nopony in particular; “YEAH, YOU HEAR THAT?! I JUST REFERENCED YOUR STUPID CULTURE, SO SUE ME!” Then to Rainbow she said, “Sorry about that. I may shout at nopony from time to time. But seriously, it’s a huge help that you’re here. Just… let me talk, okay?”
Dash nodded. Granted, Pinkie Pie seemed to be seeing things, but the pegasus knew from experience that getting something off your chest always helps. And if that meant sitting through Pinkie’s crazy rant then… She was a friend. And Dash would stick by her no matter what.
“It just pisses me off sometimes.” Pinkie took another swig. “Day in and day out, they watch me. They just WATCH me. All because I’m so fucking amusing… Yeah I just cursed! What are you gonna do, banish the author from the community, never to be seen again?! Go right ahead, I hate that ass too! Have you read his stories? Because they’re complete crap! Love and tolerate, my ass…” As far as Dash could tell, Pinkie Pie was talking less to her, and more to whatever it was she was imagining. “I bet you’re all getting a real hoot out of this, you know?! ‘Look at Pinkie Pie, dur hur hur, she’s getting wasted! She never gets wasted so that makes it FUNNY!’ Hey have you ever read that one story where I get high? It’s funny because I’m stoned. Hell, I laughed my ass off! Oh, Celestia, I need another…” She took another swig from the bottle. “I bet you thought I was gonna say God. ‘Oh God, I need another drink…’ Already breaking the wall, why not shatter it while I’m at it? You want me to? You want me to dance for your amusement? I’ve done it…” She tried counting the numbers on her hooves. “Like, TWO times! Why not another time?!” Pinkie Pie lapsed into silence. A moment passed where she didn’t say anything. “You know…” she muttered. “It’s funny. All of you people reading this, you’re going to all say I’m out of character. And you know what? You know what I say? I say SCREW YOU. You don’t know me. You watch me for less then thirty minutes every week, and you think you know every single thing about me! My hopes, my dreams, my personality, everything filed away neatly in your little wiki… I’m sick of it. Every little thing I say you use for proof in your little forum discussions. It’s too bad none of you idiots can actually figure out what goes on in my HEAD. You know what? That stupid story, Cupcakes? I wrote it. I confess, I’m Sergeant Sprinkles, whoop-de-freaking-doo! And since I’m me, that must mean it’s all canon! Ain’t I a sick bastard…?”
Rainbow Dash had been waiting patiently all this time. “Done?”
“… I guess so. Feels good to say all that.” Another swig.
“Pinkie, I don’t know what you’re talking about, but if I did anything…”
Pinkie Pie let out a laugh. “Oh, Dashie, you don’t need to worry. I’m not talking bad about you or any other pony. I’m just... Tired… Have you ever imagined how difficult it is to be Pinkie Pie?”
Dash smiled sympathetically. “I guess all the jumping around can be pretty tiring.”
Pinkie continued. “I just find it difficult to get through the day, sometimes. Some days are harder than others. This is… One of those days. It’s like…” She paused, trying to come up with the right way to phrase it. “Do you love the sky Rainbow?”
“Is that a serious question? Yes!”
“Imagine…” Another pause. “Imagine you’ve heard of the sky. That you can see the sky in all its glory. You can practically reach out and touch it, so close to being able to soar, unrestrained. To be able to fly through the clouds, feel the wind in your wings. You just want to be free! But… But you’re not…” Pinkie had a look of melancholy as she took a slow, sad sip. “You’re stuck in this little, tiny room. And there’s windows. You can see that sky. But the windows are all barred. And as much as you hope, and dream, and think some day you'll be able to bend those bars... Deep down, you know you’ll never be able to get out. All you can do is just look, maybe reach that hoof through the bars, pretend that you can touch those clouds you love so much. You dream. And then crawl into the corner at night and cry. That’s how I feel Dash. That’s how I feel everyday.” Pinkie’s eyes closed. Then she screamed, “And what makes is worse is all these DAMN PEOPLE are standing outside the windows throwing peanuts at you, just to see what you do, just like they are RIGHT NOW! I HATE THEM! I’m not some zoo animal! I’m… I’m not…” Pinkie’s head practically slammed onto the table, nestled in her one leg as though to hide from the world. Her hoof let go of the bottle, which rolled off the table as she started sobbing softly.
Rainbow gave her a comforting pat on the back. What could she say? “I… I can’t imagine how you must feel.”
“They watch me, Rainbow. I don’t know why. They watch me, they judge me, day in and day out. They TALK about me, draw PICTURES of me doing horrible, horrible things… And I can’t stop them. And the worst part is..." Pinkie choked up for a second, unable to continue until she took a deep breath. "They know I know… Hell, me knowing wasn’t even canon. It was those jackasses that gave me the ability to see. And what do they do? They just laugh. They point and laugh. ‘Pinkie Pie’s so funny, she can break the fourth wall! Durr, she’s gonna kill everyone, just like in Cupcakes! Pinkie Pie is the best pony, so let’s make stories about her having anal sex wit her closest friends’! And they’re the ones who get to be out there while I’m stuck in here.” Pinkie Pie gave a little chuckle as the tears flowed. “And the funny thing is, I have to let them watch. I have to let them shout at me and call me names. Not just me, but I have to watch as the throw slop at my friends without them ever knowing it, to see slander spread concerning everypony I care about. I have to let them, because without them, that room would disappear all together. Do you know what its like to have your life depend on the thing that enjoys kicking you while you’re down? Do you know what it’s like when you know your entire existence revolves around the people that spit on you, who laugh when you flinch? To know that nothing is truly real? Everything exists… For them? Every morning I wake up and just wonder why I keep going on… What’s the point? To know my pains brings people amusement?” There was a long pause. All Rainbow could do was just be there for her.
But then, Pinkie Pie looked up at Rainbow, a sad smile on her face. “And then I remember. The one thing that let’s me wake up in the morning. That let’s me get through the day. You see, there’s one thing that I forgot to mention about that little room. The walls are painted with the most magnificent colors. The little room isn’t really all that little. It’s got beautiful mountains, running rivers, and bustling towns full of kind ponies that respect you. And best of all, inside that room are some of the best friends a pony could ask for. And even though I’ll never know what it’s like to truly be free, at least I have them.” Pinkie leapt up and gave Rainbow a big squeeze. “Thank you.” she whispered. And then to nopony she shouted, “What the hell are YOU assholes still doing here? Aren’t I out of character enough for you?! What more do I have to do to get you to stop reading? Insult you? Fine, you’ve all got small dicks. And yeah, I do mean the girls too” Pinkie paused, as though waiting for something to happen. “Look, why don’t you just go off and bug the damn author about how much this story sucks, and how much he sucks for making it? I’m sure a greedy bastard like him, one that enjoys profiting from others miseries, is going to listen to all your oh-so-important opinions! Now if you don’t mind, I’m kind of having a personal moment, so let me put this to you in words you’ll understand;”
Pinkie Pie somehow, someway, stared right at the reader. “Fuck off.”