Pinkie Pie stirred, the morning sun in her eyes, and brushed up against something soft and light that sent tickles up her spine. She giggled, then quickly stifled it with a hoof as she remembered just what that soft something was: Rainbow Dash's wings. Taking care not to jostle the mattress, she rolled over to where she could gaze at her best friend in the whole wide world. Tears sprang to her eyes. Less than a month ago, they'd been nothing more than good pals, her with an unspoken longing deep within that not even she could understand. All it had taken was mutual understanding for things to move forward, and now they were sharing her bed for the first time.
"You're so beautiful, Rainbow Dash," she whispered, brushing her lips over the ear of the pegasus, who murmured and kicked a hind leg without waking. Pinkie bit her lower lip. The excitement was more than she could contain, but she also didn't want to interrupt their first morning together. There was only one solution: pancakes.
Rolling out of bed to her hooves, she tip-toed quietly around the bedframe, casting one more glance back at her fillyfriend and stifling another giggle.
You're so lucky, Pinkie Pie!
Being in love is like a secret you share with the whole world! It's the best thing that's ever happened to me!
"Which means pancakes will make it super-double best," she murmured to herself as she shuffled down to the kitchen.
At the bottom of the stairs, she stretched. Sleeping with another pony wasn't quite as comfy as she had imagined. Not only did Dash toss and turn all night, but the bed was also just a little bit too small for both of them. Not that she minded; it was an excuse to cuddle up close all through the night. Still, her back was groaning. She'd just need to get a bigger bed, that's all.
Putting on a smile and blowing an errant curl out of her line of sight, she trotted to the kitchen and began the ever-enjoyable process of mixing up frycake batter. As she worked, she hummed a tune to herself, and starting trying to think up words for it.
"What rhymes with pancake? Plantcake, blandcake, clamcake... Ugh, none of those sound yummy!"
The rhythm of measuring, mixing, frying and sweeping about the kitchen made time pass, and soon there were two plates atop the counter with heaping stacks of flapjacks, butter and syrup oozing down the sides. Steam rose off the golden cakes and Pinkie had to wipe away drool with a foreleg.
"Calm down, Pinkie ol' gal. First wake up Rainbow Dash. Then eat tasty pancakes!" She clapped her hooves together and squealed. "This is gonna be the best morning ever!"
As she hopped out of the kitchen, preparing to set up a table in the more private backroom for them to breakfast at, there was a knock at the door. Adjusting her trajectory midair, she moved towards it.
"I wonder who that could be... We don't open early on Sundays... I wonder if I should send them away... Hmm, or maybe I should welcome them in, because that's good for business! But what if they're loud and wake up Mr. and Mrs. Cake, or the foals? Or what if they have spiders? Oh that would be terrible! If I let them in, the spiders would run everywhere and get into all the cabinets and gobble up all the pancakes and then everypony would be mad at me! Oh well, here goes! Hi--"
The gears in Pinkie's brain locked up as she was faced with a number of conundrums. First: that the pony before her, a tall black pegasus with short blond mane and a monocle, was entirely unfamiliar, and that meant new pony party. Second: the question of whether or not to greet him warmly or send him away. Well, it wouldn't do to send him away and then invite him to a party, so maybe that wasn't such a problem after all. Finally: what was this strange pony doing here? She hadn't any time for implementing a plan to answer any of these questions, however, as he cleared his throat and began speaking.
"Might there be a pony here who goes by the online handle 'PartyPartyParty99'?" His voice was pinched, his pronunciation overly proper. She could hear the air quotes around her Canternet name. The gears kicked back on.
"Umm, I'm PartyPartyParty99." New conundrums blossomed. "Why... I mean how..."
"Ah, good," he said, a smile creeping into his clean features, "that saves me some trouble, then. Don't go anywhere, I'll be back in a tick!" Spreading his wings, he launched backwards and was gone from her field of vision before she could blink.
She squinted, frowning. "That was weird..." With a shrug, she shut the door and bounced back to what she was doing before, the entire scene already out of her mind. It was then that she nearly bumped into a groggy and frizzy Rainbow Dash.
"Mornin', Pinkie. Somethin' smells good."
"Oh my gosh, Rainbow Dash!" She threw her forelegs around the pegasus without missing a beat. "I made you breakfast, to celebrate our first night spent together! Why don't you go wait in the breakfast nook, and I'll bring out the pancakes!"
Rainbow gave her a lopsided smile. "That's great, Pinks. I was gonna go spend the day at Applejack's though, can I maybe get a doggie bag?"
Pinkie's face drooped. "But... don't you want to spend time together? It's early and we've got the whole store to ourselves!"
There was another knock at the door, along with a muffled, "I've returned!" Rainbow Dash cocked her head.
"Sounds like you've got company, Pinkie. I really would like to stay, you know I would, I've... just been thinking about some things lately, and I wanna go have some me-time. You understand, right?" She tousled Pinkie's mane and gave her a peck on the cheek.
Pinkie didn't understand at all. The knocking returned, more insistent.
"Might wanna get that!" Dash said, zipping into the kitchen and emerging a few seconds later with her mouth full. "Ah heave ou' ha bag," she said, unhelpfully.
Numbly, Pinkie shuffled back to the door and opened it. Now along with the black pegasus were a diminutive grey earth pony in a black cowpony hat and an elegant fuchsia unicorn mare, her purple mane done up in fancy curls held fast by a golden tiara. None of them seemed happy to see her, and she shrank back from the door, even as her Welcome New Ponies to Ponyville Reflex was actively kicking her in the flank to party right now, darnit.
"My name," said the pegasus, "is Black Snooty, and these are my associates, Hokey Smokes and Queen Meanie."
Those names meant something to her. Her mouth moved soundlessly.
"We're here t'settle a score with ya." Hokey Smokes's accent reminded her of Applejack's. Hadn't Rainbow Dash just said something about Applejack...?
Queen Meanie cleared her throat. "Simply put, we have discovered your 'fan fictions' on the Canternet, and your despicable use of our names therein!"
"Kindly take down all copies of your writing," Black Snooty continued, "or we shall be forced to sue for defamation of character!"
The three ponies seemed to grow in size as their glares washed over her until they were no more than dark silhouettes with bright, powerful eyes. She shrank back onto her rump. Her throat was dry; her mouth wouldn't work.
"Very well, I think our point has been made," Black Snooty said, turning about and flicking his tail haughtily. "We will be staying at the Ponyville Inn, Miss Party, and we will give you one day to deal with slanderous scripts before we take action, and we shall be checking in on you. Until then, adieu!"
They turned as one. Hokey Smokes stuck his tongue out at her and followed the other two away from the Sugarcube Corner.
Her mind whirled. A lawsuit over her fanfiction? This was not the best morning ever. What had gone wrong?
Rainbow Dash. Rainbow Dash would know what to do.
She spun about, not bothering to get up off the floor, but Rainbow Dash wasn't there.
Why Fanfiction Is Bad for You
by Present Perfect
"...And then they said they were gonna sue me, can you believe it? And when I turned around to find Rainbow Dash, because I was feeling poopy and I wanted some comfort, she was gone! Just, poof!" Pinkie had by this time climbed to the top of a bookcase and was making a circuit of the upper reaches of the main library room, including the parts that did not have bookcases to walk on.
"I'm worried about Dashie, Twilight. I mean, she didn't even want to stay and have breakfast with me! I can't understand why! I just wanted to celebrate our first night spent sleeping together..."
"Whoa, Pinkie, hold on." Twilight looked up from her computer, color draining from her face. "I don't need to know about what you two do in bed together, okay? That's not something you should really be sharing with other ponies, you know?"
Pinkie squinted at Twilight, raising her eyebrows. "What we did? You mean snuggling? Or kissing? I think we talked, too." She pointed an accusatory hoof at Twilight, which caused her to drop from midair and land daintily on her other hooves. "Stop distracting me, Twilight! The point is, I have a real hunky-dunky problem, maybe two problems even, because I dunno what Dashie's up to yet, which might be a problem in itself, which means I have three problems, which means..."
The pink pony stopped mid-sentence and perked up, grinning. "Yes, Twilight?"
The unicorn let out a heavy sigh. "I don't mean to pile problems onto your problems, but you might have one more."
Pinkie's ears drooped. "Oh no, now what? Did Derpy finally find the can of exploding springy snakes I accidentally dropped down her chimney during last Winter Wrap-Up?"
"No, Pinkie, I... What?" Twilight shook her head rapidly, sending her eyes spinning for a moment. "No! I'm talking about these stories!"
"My stories? Don't tell me you don't like them, Twilight!" Pinkie's eyes became impossibly huge, glistening with a multitude of stars. She gazed up at Twilight, despite having been higher than her a moment ago, her bottom lip jutting pleadingly forward. Twilight sighed again.
"It's not so much that I don't like them, Pinkie, but the way you've used my likeness, Rarity's... All our friends... Well, if any of them found out about these, they might get upset, especially Rarity. Fashionface is such an unlikeable character! I can't believe you'd think about Rarity in that way! And don't get me started on Midnight Twinkle and her 'goth clothes'..." Twilight glared and scrunched up her muzzle, but the gesture was lost on her irascible friend.
"Oh, Twilight, don't be such a silly! It's not that I think any of you are really like that! I wrote the first story to be funny, and to cheer up Rainbow Dash when she was feeling sad! The characters just kinda took on a life of their own after that. I can't change them now! Although now that you mention it, the Element of Whining is kind of totally not awesome. Hmm, maybe I should change it to Bitchiness..."
Twilight boggled. "I don't see how that's any better."
Pinkie sprang up on her hind legs. "It's totally better! She could be all, 'Uh-huh, oh no you di-in't! Snap snap, fillyfriend!'" Snapping sounds emanated from her waving hoof. The intensity of Twilight's boggling grew.
"Pinkie, you shouldn't be able to snap with hooves..."
"Yet I totally just did! It'll be great, Twilight!" Her manic grin changed to a frown of concern. "But I can't make any other changes, or I'll disappoint my fans!"
Twilight threw up her hooves. "You can't just change the Elements! Err, I mean... You have fans?"
"Yeah!" Pinkie nodded six or seven times in quick succession, her head making a rattling noise. "Lots of ponies enjoy my fics! And I aims to keep 'em satisfied with my further installmentseses!"
Twilight's hoof smacked into her forehead and slid down her face. "Getting back to those 'further installments', that's another issue I have with this story world. It just keeps getting crazier and crazier! I mean, what about this scene in 'The Further Adventures of Wondercloud and Sugar Rush' where Sugar gives her virginity to Wondercloud on the back of a dragon mid-flight?"
Pinkie bit her lower lip and squealed. "Wasn't that awesome? That's one of my favorite scenes! I'm so glad you're getting into my stories, Twilight, this is super! I'll have to write a special one about Midnight Twinkle, just for you!" She began bouncing in place.
Twilight began to massage a spot just left of her horn. "Really, Pinkie, you don't have to..."
The bouncing stopped suddenly and Pinkie took on an expression of thoughtfulness. "Gee, Twilight, d'you really think our friends would be upset if they read my stories? You know I wouldn't want to make them mad."
Twilight let out a long breath. "I know, Pinkie. And I'm not really mad at you for making my textual doppelganger a bossy, uptight know-it-all, even if it was kind of irritating the first time I read about her." She tapped the monitor screen. "But I do think you shouldn't show these to them at all if you can help it. I mean, just look at what happened with those three ponies this morning!"
"Oh, yeah." Pinkie crossed her hooves over her chest. "What a bunch of grumpy-pusses! They're not getting a Welcome to Ponyville Party from this pink pony! That'll show 'em!" Like lightning, a thought struck her and she dove to the foot of Twilight's chair, wrapping her hooves around the unicorn's leg.
"Oh Twilight, you gotta help me! I don't want to take my fanfiction down from the Canternet! Just think of the hundreds of readers I'll let down! And I don't wanna get sued either! I mean, I don't know what a lawsuit is, really, but I hate wearing suits, they're so restrictive and... gray. Suits would be much nicer if they were green with polka dots. Hey, I should talk to Rarity about that..."
"It's not that kind of suit, trust me," Twilight muttered, trying unsuccessfully to extricate her leg from Pinkie's grasp.
"Twilight, Twilight, Twilight!" Pinkie broke out the starry eyes routine once more. "Don't let them take my stories away! Don't let our friends find out! I don't want anypony to get mad at me! Help me, Twilight Sparkle, you're my only hope!"
The unicorn let out a breath and stared straight ahead. "Fine," she said at length, "but only on one condition."
"Oh, anything Twilight!" Pinkie cried, rolling onto her back. "I'll dust your dishes, wash your books, I'll even be your slave for a whole month!"
"Heh heh..." Twilight's face twitched, and she continued to stare straight ahead. "Tempting as that might be, my request is simpler: let me be your editor!"
Pinkie's head twisted ninety degrees on its forward axis. "Editor?"
"Yes!" Twilight's hoof shot skyward. "Pinkie, the worst part of your stories isn't that they inspire hatred in total strangers and potentially in our friends as well. It's your crimes against grammar and logic that are the real tragedy here! You have no idea how hard it's been not writing on my monitor with a red pen while I read these!"
Pinkie lay still, staring up at Twilight. After half a minute, Twilight began to wonder if something wasn't wrong with her, when the pink pony suddenly sprang up onto her hooves and wrapped Twilight in a tight hug.
"Oh Twilight, thank you, thank you, thank you! Do whatever you want to my stories, just please promise me you'll try to keep our friends from reading them!"
Twilight patted Pinkie on the back. "Don't worry, Pinkie Pie. Your stories are in good hooves and your secret's safe with me."
At that moment, in the main orchard of Sweet Apple Acres, Rainbow Dash had landed downhill from the barn and was pacing a rut in the dirt.
"C'mon, Dash, you just hafta talk to her, it'll be easy..." She glanced back at Ponyville. "Then why do I want to fly back to town so bad?" Putting on a brave face, she stuck out her chest. "No! You're gonna walk up to that barn and talk to that mare... She's your friend... your..."
Her pacing ceased and she bit down on her lip. She nearly bit through it as she heard somepony excitedly calling her name.
"Rainbow Dash, oh my gosh, hi!"
She looked up to see a familiar trio of fillies running towards her, lead by the pegasus of the group.
"Hey, squirt. What's up?"
"Rainbow Dash, Rainbow Dash, I'm totally stoked that you're here!" Scootaloo twirled excitedly in place. "We were just about to go try jet skiing, but I bet you can totally give us some pointers on getting our cutie marks!"
Rainbow pulled a face. "Well, squirt, I'd love to, it's just..." Wait a sec, this is the perfect excuse not to talk to her!
And she's the perfect excuse not to hang out with the Trouble Trio.
Is that all you can think about? Excuses? Why don't you try doing something for once?
"Uhh, Rainbow Dash?"
Focus, RD! "Sorry, kid, can't right now. Apple Bloom, I need to talk to your sister. Is she around?"
The yellow filly nodded. "She's in the house. Oughta be comin' out soon."
"Hey, uh, Rainbow Dash?" The little unicorn looked up at her with big, inquisitive eyes.
She's Rarity's sister, right? What's her name... Sweetie somethin'? "Yeah, kid?"
"Is it true you and Pinkie Pie are fillyfriends now?"
She hadn't expected that question and took a step back as the filly grinned irrepressibly up at her. "Uh, yeah. Why d'you ask?"
Sweetie clasped her hooves together and sighed wistfully, little hearts bobbing in her eyes. "You two were really good friends and then you fell in love! I just think it's soooo romantic! Love should always be based on friendship! That's what my sister told me!"
That's a laugh, coming from Rarity. "Well, it's fun, I guess."
"Eww!" Scootaloo stuck out her tongue. "I don't want any of my friends falling in love with me!"
"Look out, Scootaloo," Apple Bloom said, slinking forward with a sly grin on her face, "or Sweetie Belle might fall in love with you! She might even kiss you!"
"No kissing! Eww, gross, get away!" The pegasus filly took to the air as best she could, gaining but a hair's breadth of clearance from the grass, and made a buzzing beeline for the river.
Sweetie laughed and began pursuing her friend, while Apple Bloom kept up her taunts.
"Scootalooooo, where're you gooooiiiiing?"
"Kiss 'er right on the lips, Sweetie!"
"Kiss me and I'll slug you!"
Rainbow Dash shook her head as the three vanished out of earshot. "Man, how can something so annoying be so darned cute?"
"They sure are a hoofful, ain't they?"
Rainbow Dash spun, heart racing, as Applejack loped down the hill behind her, chuckling.
"Sorry there, Rainbow, didn't mean t' scare ya. Ain't like you t'be up and about so early on a weekend. What's up?"
Rainbow forced a laugh. "Yeah, well, I, uhh... Umm..."
Applejack tilted her head, eyebrows lifting.
Rainbow Dash rubbed the back of her neck. "D'you, uh, maybe have any work around the farm I could help you with?"
Applejack's eyes narrowed. Dash gave her an extremely large, extremely fake grin.
"Well, sure," Applejack said slowly. "I mean, there's always work t'be done around the farm, and applebuck season's just about to start. C'mon, you can help me with the apples."
Rainbow Dash followed quietly as Applejack directed her to grab some bushel baskets and a cart, then led her out towards the south orchards, the back of the farm. Apart from Applejack showing her exactly what needed to be done -- place baskets around the base of a tree, shake the upper limbs until all the apples had fallen, pick up the apples that missed, then move the baskets that weren't full to another tree -- they worked without talking.
Applejack broke the silence with: "All right, sugarcube, I done let ya think it over long enough. What's on yer mind?"
Great. Rainbow put that cheesy, over-wide grin back on. "Hey, did you know that, uh, Pinkie's writing a story with all of us in it? Kinda? It's lots of fun!"
Applejack frowned. "No. But that don't sound like the kind o' thing you'd come all the way out here to tell me about, not while you're actin' all nervous-like."
"Well, AJ, as a matter of fact, I, uh…" Dash rubbed at the back of her neck. Applejack glared at her.
Dash sighed. "Applejack, the truth is I… I can't stop thinking about you. I've got Pinkie, and we've got a great relationship and all, don't get me wrong, but sometimes? Sometimes my mind just goes back to that one day…"
Applejack held up a hoof. "Hold it right there, Rainbow Dash. You just said everything you need to. Your relationship with Pinkie is great and there's nothing you'd wanna do to mess that up. End of story." She turned her back on the pegasus. "Don't even know why you'd wanna come tellin' me all of this anyway."
"Applejack, listen to me!" Rainbow took a hesitant step forward. "I… I don't know if I'm doing the right thing. I mean, what if I made a mistake? What if I'm leading Pinkie on?"
Applejack whirled on her, lashing out with her hind legs and knocking an entire tree's worth of apples to the ground. "Would you knock it off with that kinda talk? What you're gonna do is get your rainbow-striped butt back to that mare and do right by her. You two got somethin' special goin' on and I'll be hornswoggled before I let you mess it up for…" Her eyes dropped to the ground. "I ain't the one for ya, Rainbow. Pinkie is, and that's that. Now knock it off with this kinda talk, d'you hear me?"
Rainbow Dash stared at her friend for a good long moment. Her lips moved. And then she turned tail and streaked off back towards Ponyville.
Applejack sighed, shook her head, and went back to applebucking.
"Why, Twilight dear, whatever are you doing?"
"Aaaagh!" Twilight spun in her chair, while simultaneously attempting to use all four of her hooves to block the view to her monitor. "Rarity? Fluttershy?" Panic put an edge to her voice. "What a... pleasant surprise! Whatever are the two of you doing here?"
"Well, we were going to invite you to come to the spa with us, but..." Rarity tilted her head, trying to look at the screen. "It would appear that you're busy."
Twilight put on her widest grin. "Oh! Yes! That's me, busy, busy, busy! Heh, heh! So much time and so little to do!"
Rarity nodded. "Forgive me for snooping, but I'll ask again: just what are you so busy with today?"
Twilight's eyes flicked to the right, then to the left, and back to the right again. "Busy, did I say busy? I meant, uh... I'd love to go, yes, that's right! Because I'm a good friend and I like spending time with my friends! Let me just close out of my file here..." She tried and failed to grab the mouse and click the X in the upper right corner while facing away from the screen. It fumbled out of her hoof and Rarity caught it with her magic.
"Oh Twilight, now you've got my curiosity piqued. I just simply have to know what it is you're trying to keep a secret!" Blithely, she trotted over to Twilight's computer and insinuated herself between Twilight and the screen, peeling the other unicorn away from it like a fake eyelash past its usefulness.
Twilight gasped, horrified. There was nothing to be done: this was the end. Images of eternal torment at the hooves of a red-skinned Rarity with demon's horns and a long, spiked whip flashed through her head.
How dare you treat me in so a vile manner! You shall burn in the fires of Poor Grammar Heck forever!
Except, wait a second. This isn't my story, it's Pinkie's. She's the one who's going to--
"Goodness, Twilight," normal, not-red Rarity said after a moment, "I would have really thought that somepony as well-read as yourself could produce writing far better than this!"
"Ehh-heh..." Twilight nibbled on her hooves. Should she tell? It was likely that the secret would come to light at this point. Past experience had proven Twilight a poor keeper of them, after all. Images of an enraged Pinkie Pie covered in flaming sponges, a pitchfork in her hoof, nipped at the corners of her mind.
"Actually, Rarity, I'm just editing it." She swallowed. "Pinkie wrote it."
Rarity spun her chair about. "Pinkie? Oh dear, that is almost worse!" She turned back to the screen, frowning at it. "It seems that Pinkie is writing a pastiche of the six of us, and the majority of it is most unflattering, if I do say so. Listen to this: '"You should cheer up, Wondercloud," said Fashionface. She was a pretty unicorn with purple mane, and she tended to whine about things a lot. Her cutie mark was FASHION.'
"I mean really, purple mane, a unicorn with a cutie mark of 'fashion'? Beyond that making no sense whatsoever, she seems to be painting me as a... a whiny loser!"
"Am I in it, Rarity?" Fluttershy pressed forward, pushing Twilight completely away from the computer as she pushed her face up to the screen, creating a noseprint.
"Yes you are, dear. Here, your double is named... 'Whisperlite'. My goodness, and it seems most unflattering to you as well!"
Twilight's teeth ground together. "Say! How about that spa trip? I know I could sure use one right about now!"
"Oh my." Fluttershy's head lowered slowly between her withers. "I mean... I suppose it could be worse, but... Does Pinkie really think about us like that?"
Twilight waved her hooves. "Spa? Together? Anypony?"
Rarity harrumphed. "Well I, for one, am certainly going to give her a piece of my mind when next we meet! This is simply dreadful!"
Fluttershy nodded slightly. "I never would have thought that Pinkie Pie would have such a poor opinion of her friends!"
Pegasus and unicorn lifted into the air, each surrounded by a magenta glow, before being placed gently back onto their hooves a generous distance from the computer desk. Twilight took a moment to compose herself.
"Listen, you can't tell Pinkie about this. I was supposed to keep this a secret!"
Rarity raised an impeccably plucked eyebrow. "Well, you haven't done a terribly good job of it, Twilight."
"I would have if somepony hadn't butted in," Twilight replied through clenched teeth. "But think about it this way: Pinkie isn't the kind of pony who would make fun of her friends behind their backs. This is just a parody; it's meant to be funny!"
Rarity sniffed. "Well, it certainly isn't very funny when you're the one being parodied!"
Fluttershy nodded, eyes closed. "It certainly isn't."
"The version of me in there isn't all that flattering either." Twilight rolled her eyes. "Look, I know you're both upset right now, but why don't we go to the spa? It'll be the perfect way to relax before talking to Pinkie, so that nothing regretful is said. Yes? Please?" Her face was beginning to hurt due to the size and duration of her smile.
Fluttershy looked at Rarity. "That does sound like a good idea, Rarity. I wouldn't want to be mad at Pinkie..."
"You're right, of course." Rarity sighed and her eyes fell to the side for a moment before refocusing on Twilight with solid determination. "But we're not backing out of talking to her, do you hear me?"
"Loud and clear!" Twilight saluted, which did not elicit the tension-breaking laughter she had been hoping for. Deflating, she called out, "Spike! I'm going out for a while! Just hold the place down, please! Hopefully nothing else horrible will happen while I'm gone."
The tension did ease as they passed out the library door, and pleasant chatter began as Rarity told them both about an idea for a swimsuit. Not two minutes later, however, the door opened again, this time to allow a pony entrance rather than egress.
"Twilight, ya here? Twilight?"
"Just missed her, AJ!" Spike called from the other room.
Applejack made to leave until the soft glow of a computer screen caught her attention. She looked left, then right, then, finding nopony around to stop her, tromped up to the computer.
"Huh. I wonder what this is..."
Pinkie puttered about the kitchen, feeling distinctly less bubbly than she tended to while cooking. It might have been related to her first batch of cupcakes coming out rather flat, but she couldn't tell if that had happened because of her mood, or if its having happened had made her feel bad. It certainly hadn't helped any either way.
She had just decided to switch to muffins to get her mind off of the bad cupcakes when there was a knock at the door.
Pinkie dusted flour off herself and trotted to the door. It simply was not a bouncing sort of day. As she opened the door to the face of Rainbow Dash, all those saddy-waddy thoughts faded into the back of her mind, melting like icicles.
"Hey Pinkie," she said, her voice kind of strained. "How are you doing?"
"Well, I've kind of been worried about you since you just up and vanished this morning," she said, leading Rainbow in and feeling a little bounce return to her step. "And right after you left, these three weird ponies showed up and they were all, 'Raaar, we are going to sue your butt if you don't stop writing fanfic!' and I got all sad and you weren't around and I was sad, Dashie, but now you're back and I don't have any reason to be sad again and that's good, and I'm gonna make a cake now!"
She zipped into the kitchen, but was arrested halfway as Rainbow cleared her throat.
"Pinkie, maybe this isn't the best time, but we need to talk."
Pinkie levitated slowly back to the floor. "T-talk? What about, Dashie?" She laughed nervously.
"I..." Rainbow Dash sighed, stepped forward, and hugged Pinkie tightly. "Okay. Pinkie, what I'm about to say next, I just want you to remember that I love you and nothing's changed."
Pinkie felt like a balloon, the tip of a pin straining against the latex.
"Way back when we first started dating, Pinkie, I kind of..." Rainbow took a deep breath, he eyes traveling to the ceiling. "I liked you, but I liked Applejack too, and I wasn't really sure who I wanted to go with. Now, I'm happy being with you, like I said, but... I still have feelings for AJ. And I kind of don't know what to do about them."
Pinkie could only stare. Rainbow Dash noticed a speck on the floor and began digging at it with her hoof. There was a long silence before Rainbow spoke again.
"I wanted to tell you, because, um... Geez, I'm not good with this stuff..." She cleared her throat. "I need to figure this out. It's not fair to you if I feel this way. I just want to know that I can come to you for support if I need it. Is... that okay?"
Pinkie's smile was too genuine to be genuine. "Of course it's okay, Dashie! Why wouldn't it be okay?"
"You mean you're not mad or anything?" Rainbow's face lit up.
"Of course not, Dashie," Pinkie said, the edge of a giggle in her voice. "Why would I be mad?"
Rainbow rushed over and hugged her tightly. "Thank you, Pinkie. You're the best friend a mare could ever want."
She kissed Pinkie on the cheek and zipped out the door, calling, "I'll let you know when I figure all of this out, Pinkie! That's a promise!"
The icicles refroze. Pinkie's face twitched. She cantered to the door and was about to close it when Twilight came trotting up to it, a frantic look on her face.
"Pinkie, I don't have much time!" she gasped. "Rarity and Fluttershy found out about your story!"
Pinkie's jaw hit the ground. "They what? Twilight, you promised!"
"I tried, but I couldn't stop them!" Twilight's eyes rimmed with tears. "We're going to the spa so they can calm down, but they want to talk with you later. I have to get back before I'm missed!" She bit her upper lip. "I'm so, so sorry, Pinkie!"
Without another word, the unicorn dashed off. Pinkie could see Rarity and Fluttershy in the distance, waiting for her, and zipped behind the door, placing her back to it. She began pushing it closed, but it stopped as a black hoof stuck forward into the jamb.
"Ahh, Miss Party," said a nasal voice. "So glad you're still home. We just wanted to stop by and see how our little agreement was faring. The stories are still up, you know."
Pinkie looked up at Black Snooty, Queen Meanie and Hokey Smokes, who gazed impassively back at her, and three things happened.
Her mane went flat.
She slammed the door, and the icicles dropped.
"I'm going to need another trip to the spa when this is all over," Twilight murmured to herself. As she led Fluttershy, Rarity and Rainbow Dash back to her house. The news that Rainbow couldn't find Applejack anywhere had been slightly unnerving. As Fluttershy had pointed out, it was unusual for her to be away from the farm for anything length of time with applebuck season just warming up. With no ideas, Twilight felt the need to return to home base, as it were, to center her thoughts.
As it turned out, that was the best course of action they could have taken. When Twilight opened the door, it was to discover Applejack and Spike, tears of laughter streaming down their faces, seated in front of her computer.
"Oh, Applejack, not you too!" Twilight groaned, and her friends filed in around her.
"Applejack!" cried Rarity. "Are you reading Pinkie's story? I cannot believe you are actually enjoying that... dreck."
Applejack blew out a laugh and wiped her eyes. "Aw, c'mon, Rarity, this mess is funnier'n a cat at a dog kennel! Like this part where Johnniepear's walkin' away from an explosion without lookin' at it!"
"It's classic!" Spike declared, then proceeded into another fit of giggles, rolling on his back.
Twilight elbowed her way to the front of the group, grinding her teeth together and generally not looking overly pleased with the situation.
"Well, this is just great!" she fumed. "Now everypony knows about this story that I was supposed to be keeping secret for Pinkie! What's next? Will the Mayor come here too? Maybe it'll get into the newspaper: 'Pinkie's Stinky Stories: Twilight Sparkle Involved?'"
"Ohh," Rainbow Dash said, drawing everyone's attention. She laughed nervously and scratched the back of her head. "Those stories were supposed to be a secret?"
"What did you do, Rainbow Dash?" Twilight stomped over to the pegasus, who took to the air to avoid her fury.
"I didn't do anything! I mean, I might have mentioned it to Applejack and that's why she's here." Rainbow held up her hooves. "But I swear, I didn't even know you were involved, Twilight!"
Twilight's eyes narrowed. "You realize that Pinkie's been acting strange recently, right? She's been under a lot of stress."
"I..." Rainbow's face fell. "Oh geez, you're right. She keeps wanting to talk, but I... I've been ignoring her. She said something about ponies who were angry with her, and then I told her about me and Applejack, I... Oh no, what have I done?"
Applejack whirled around in the desk chair. "You told her what?"
Rainbow's head hung lower. "That I was still trying to figure out if I had feelings for you."
Rainbow zipped down, imposing herself in Twilight's face. "Twilight! You and Applejack have to help me talk to her! She's gotta be going crazy by now! This is all my fault, and I have to make it right!"
Rarity shook her head, trying to clear it. "All this drama is giving me a migraine!"
"Why don't you bring Pinkie back so we can all sit down and discuss this?" Fluttershy suggested. "We'll wait here since Rarity isn't feeling well."
"All right then." Twilight nodded firmly. "Rainbow Dash, Applejack, you're with me! The rest of you, wait here. We'll go find Pinkie and then sort everything out!"
The door to Sugarcube Corner squeaked open, echoing in the foreboding darkness. Twilight, her horn alight, suppressed an involuntary shiver.
"Pinkie? Pinkie, are you here?"
"Why's it so dark?" Rainbow asked, craning her head over Twilight's to try and see inside the building. "And cold?"
"Oh, dearie me," cried the voice of Mrs. Cake, "in all the confusion, I musta forgot to put out the Closed sign. We're havin' a power failure, don'tcha know!" She appeared from the kitchen. The flickering of a candle could be seen against the doorway, throwing the mare's shadow dancing upon the opposite wall like a wild demon.
"If you're here lookin' for Pinkie, she's up in her room." She smiled apologetically and whispered, "Could probably stand to have some company right now, poor dear."
She watched as Twilight, Rainbow and Applejack made their way upstairs, nodding thanks.
"Do ya think," Applejack said, hesitating, "it's like that one time? Her birthday party?"
"I hope not," Rainbow said, swallowing.
They started up the stairs, Twilight 's horn their only source of constant light. It seemed feeble against the encroaching darkness, and Rainbow and Applejack stuck close by her. Ascending the stairs, she stopped every time one creaked underhoof. It only made her companions edgier.
The curtains at the end of the upstairs hallway were drawn, filtering the outside light into a pink haze cast at unreal angles over walls through which they heard the muffled screech of Pinkie's voice. Twilight hesitated for a moment, looking back at her friends. Applejack seemed confused by the stutter in her walk; Rainbow looked anxious.
"Would ya hurry it up, Twilight?" she whispered.
"Let's go, girls," Twilight said, to herself as much as to them, her voice involuntarily echoing Rainbow's whisper.
Floorboards creaked beneath their hooves as Twilight led them tiptoeing down the hallway. The walls closed in, funnelling them inexorably towards the lone doorway standing at the far end of the hall. The window beyond it gaped like a mouth. A bead of sweat trickled down Twilight's horn and into her eye, causing her to blink and shake her head.
"It's only Pinkie," she mumbled to herself.
"What'd ya say, sugarcube?" Applejack's voice, at outdoor levels, startled Twilight, and with a shriek, she backed up into both Applejack and Rainbow Dash, ramming them against the wall. From within the room they had just hit, the sound of crying started up.
Twilight panicked and wheeled, crashing into the opposite wall and knocking a picture frame down onto her head. Her vision swam as Applejack and Rainbow Dash, the latter upside-down, fought to untangle themselves from one another.
"Oh dear," said Mrs. Cake from below, "I guess naptime's over. Hold on, sweeties, mama's coming!" She tromped up the steps and gave the three of them a worried look as she passed.
"Are you girls all right?"
Twilight shook her head to clear her vision and grinned lopsidedly. "Of course we're all right! Aren't we all right, girls?"
Applejack and Rainbow groaned and nodded.
"Why wouldn't we be all right?" Twilight's grin grew in size and insincerity.
"Well, er, all right then..." Mrs. Cake turned and pushed her way into the twins' room, closing the door behind her.
From the opposite door, a muffled voice came. "Sounds like somepony's hungry..."
Twilight's blood ran cold. That wasn't Pinkie, it was... The other Pinkie. She swallowed.
"Um, Rainbow Dash! Maybe you should knock on the door to her room, yes?"
Rainbow, finally having righted herself, frowned. "You're supposed to be breaking the ice here, Twilight."
Twilight giggled, an edge of strain in her voice, and her eyes flicked over. "Applejack?"
"Source of the troubles," she replied with a shrug.
"C'mon, Twilight, lighten up," Rainbow said, and planted the top of her head firmly in Twilight's rump, pushing. "Just go tell her I want to talk."
Hooves scraping along the wooden floor, Twilight suddenly found a hundred reasons why she would rather be anywhere else. She squeezed her eyes shut.
"Um, but, uh, my laundry's in the oven! I left the bookshelves on! I've got a doctor's appointment with the dentist! I'm allergic to death?"
Her eyes opened once Rainbow had stopped pushing, to the view of a sign reading "PINKiEZ ROOM!!" She swallowed against the lurching of her stomach, raised a hoof, and knocked.
She waited two seconds, then, her voice stuttered by nervous laughter, loudly said, "Well, nopony's in! Maybe she's asleep and we should just--"
The creepy voice was accompanied by a long, loud screech as the door swung ever so slowly open. Inside, Pinkie's room was much as they had seen it before, albeit unlit. The shadows cast strange edges to everything, making the familiar unfamiliar and intimidating. Pinkie herself was nowhere to be seen.
"P-Pinkie?" Twilight called, her voice nearly failing her. "You're in here... right?"
They crept into the room, pausing every time a loose floor board sounded under their weight. They cast their eyes left, right and up, yet were still taken by surprise when the lights suddenly flicked on and Pinkie jumped out.
Her mane was flat and she was dressed in a frilly outfit. Perhaps "ruffled" would have been the better word. It sported, among other things: a tricorner hat with a long plume, brass epaulettes, gold piping, a hook, a peg leg and an eyepatch. Pinkie pointed the hook at them menacingly, growling, "Where have you been?"
All the fear that had been building in Twilight suddenly deflated. She released a long breath and cast a glance back at her two friends, who were clinging to one another, shaking in fright.
"It's us, Pinkie. You remember who we are, right?" Trepidation colored her tone, as Twilight wondered whether Pinkie might not remember after all.
"Of course I know who you are!" Pinkie said with a large smile. "You're my best friends!"
They visibly relaxed. Pinkie pointed the hook at each of them in turn, saying,
"Lady Midnight Twinkle, my maiden in waiting...
"Sir Johnniepear the Stalwart, one of my best warriors...
"And Captain Wondercloud of the First Sugar Rush Battalion! Attention, soldier!" she cried authoritatively. "Where have you been all this time? Don't you know we have ninja problems?"
"Uh..." said Rainbow.
"She must think she's in her stories," Twilight murmured, "play along." Aloud, she said, "Soooo, Sugar Rush..."
"That's Pirate Queen Sugar Rush to you, Lady Twinkle!"
Twilight grimaced. "Pirate Queen Sugar Rush. We came to talk. 'Captain Wondercloud' here has something very important that she'd like to say to you."
Pinkie put her hooves on her hips. "Well, I should hope so! I need that report on ninja activity in my kingdom, pronto!"
Rainbow Dash sighed and floated forward. "Pinkie... Sugar, whatever you want to call yourself, the only thing I have to report is... I'm sorry."
Pinkie cocked her head. "Huh? That doesn't sound like a report."
"It's not!" Rainbow made an exasperated noise and rubbed her forehead. "Pinkie, I don't know if you understand what I'm saying, but please, listen to me.
"I'm not good at this whole... emotions, love, relationship thing. I'm still trying to figure everything out, but I've been so selfishly focused on myself I didn't even notice you were having problems of your own." She closed her eyes and sighed. "And now I see just what that's done to you. I didn't want to hurt you. I'm not being a very good marefriend. I'm sorry."
Pinkie seemed to consider Rainbow's words. Twilight and Applejack crept closer, hopeful. The pink pony sniffed and wiped a hoof across her eyes, smearing tears over her cheek. She gave Rainbow a sad smile and moved forward, hugging her, the hook falling off her hoof and onto the floor with a little clunk.
"Sorry if I went a little nutty-nuts, Dashie," she said softly. "With everything crazy that's been going on lately, it was just more than I could take."
"Don't apologize," Rainbow Dash replied, kissing Pinkie on the forehead. "I'm the one at fault here."
Just then, the sound of the downstairs door opening was heard. After a moment, Mr. Cake called up to them, "Pinkie! There are three strange ponies here, saying they want to sue you!"
Pinkie's face turned desperate.
"Uh, except for that," Rainbow said quickly. "That I had nothing to do with, I swear."
Twilight nodded. "I think it's time we rounded everypony up for an explanation."
The six friends had assembled at Twilight's with Queen Meanie, Black Snooty and Hokey Smokes in attendance. The latter three were at the end of their collective rope, but had agreed to join in the intended discussion. Despite Pinkie's earlier distress, she had nevertheless cleaned herself up and somehow produced a large assortment of drinks and cookies for those present. She stood upon the coffee table in the center of the room and made her address, at Pinkie Pie speed.
"So, what happened was a couple days ago Twilight found my fanfics and said she was going to edit them, and I asked her to keep them a secret but she's not very good at keeping secrets, so you all found out about them, and at the same time these three came to sue me because their names just happened to show up in the stories even though I've never heard of any of them before and just made those names up off the top of my head, and Rainbow Dash took off right when I needed her because she still has feelings for Applejack, but she apologized and I forgave her, and now here we all are!"
The ponies looked at one another, nodding while Pinkie caught her breath.
"Pinkie," Rarity began, "Fluttershy and I wanted to tell you how hurt we felt after we saw how we were portrayed in your story."
"I understand, Rarity," Pinkie said, "and I'm sorry if you both got the wrong idea. I never wanted to make you feel bad, and if you want, I can change things so they're more favorable for you." She took a deep breath. "Some things are more important than catering to my fans, after all."
"It's all right," Fluttershy said, smiling. "We were pretty upset when we found out about it at first, but in hindsight, they're just silly stories you're writing to entertain ponies we'll never meet."
"Mostly never meet, you mean," Queen Meanie interrupted. She stood and pointed an accusing hoof at Pinkie. "You still have yet to answer our grievances, Miss Party, or Pie, or whatever your name is!"
The pink pony frowned. "You just don't understand, do you? My life is weird sometimes, and my head is kind of a weird place to be, so when things happen that don't make sense, I write these stories to help get myself through those weirdy-weirdo times. Bad things, good things, or just the silly happenstances that occur day to day here in Ponyville." She held out her hooves imploringly. "I need these stories! I could take your names out, sure, it's just six words. But the point is, I shouldn't have to, because it was all a silly coincidence and has no reflection on you three whatsoever!"
Pinkie snapped her hoof, and suddenly the lights dimmed. A red glow suffused the room, accompanied by a disco ball whirling slowly from the ceiling. Gentle, romantic music piped in from places unknown, along with the scent of roses.
"Which is why I have a much better idea than getting sued!" she cried, hopping off the table. "Orgy!"
A chorus of "What?" sounded in response.
"Sure!" Pinkie snapped again, and a pair of shades appeared on her nose. "It's easy! First, Rainbow Dash and Applejack obviously need to work out their unresolved sexual tensions, so they should do it already and get it out of their systems!"
A bed appeared beneath Rainbow and Applejack, knocking them onto their sides so they could cuddle easily, which they did.
"As for you three," Pinkie continued, pointing to the lawsuit ponies, "I think you'll appreciate us all a lot more once you get to know us better! So Queen Meanie, since you look like a pony into bondage, you should top Rarity!"
Rarity appeared, trussed up in restraints and a ball gag, ready to receive the lashings of her Mistress Meanie, who was dressed in leather and other dominatrix stuff.
"Black Snooty is, if I don't miss my guess, extremely uptight and full of pent-up sexual energy. So he'll work perfectly as Fluttershy's slave!"
Black Snooty was restrained spread-eagled to a table while Fluttershy stood over him, covered in fishnets and masks and other dominatrix things. Because dominatrices are sexy.
"Um," she said softly, "if that's okay with you." Black Snooty nodded vigorously.
"Wait," Twilight said, "I don't want to lose my virginity to a stranger! Or engage in bondage play!"
"That's why you're gonna be in a threesome with me and Hokey Smokes, Twilight!" Pinkie exclaimed, grinning. "I had a feeling you were a virgin, and so I figured, what better way to lose your cherry than with your old Auntie Pinkie showing you the ropes? Plus I'm sure Hokey Smokes wouldn't mind having two mares at once, isn't that right?"
Hokey Smokes grinned, shaking his head.
"Then it's settled! Whee!"
And they all bucked.
Every mouth in the room hung open. Pinkie stood, a satisfied smile on her face, papers in hoof.
"Well?" she asked, arms outstretched for praise that never came. "What do you think?"
It was quite a long silence before Rarity broke it with a modest, "Uhhh..."
"Ummm," Fluttershy agreed.
"Twilight helped edit it, so the writing is super-duper better than it was at first!" Pinkie exclaimed with a grin.
Every eye in the room turned toward Twilight, whose face turned a very deep shade of crimson.
"I-I-I swear, that last scene wasn't in there when I saw it!" she cried, covering her face. "Didn't you notice how bad the writing got toward the end? She added it in herself after I looked at it! I'm innocent!"
"We ain't havin' sex, Rainbow," Applejack said flatly.
Rainbow nodded in quick agreement. "I'd totally be willing to help you find a--"
"Nope." Applejack cut her off. "Just fine, thanks."
"I found it thoroughly disgusting," said the pony they knew as Black Snooty. "And you have finally knowingly used our persons in a demeaning and, if I may add, completely degrading manner."
"Don't worry, Black Snooty," Pinkie said, "this one's not going up on the 'net ever. It's just an explanation of what's been going on over the past few days. Like I said, I need these stories to work through weird stuff like that!"
Hokey Smokes shook his head. "Lady, if you're that set on writing your ridiculous stories, maybe we oughta just let you write 'em."
"I don't think they're doing any harm," admitted Queen Meanie. "It's obvious nopony besides you and your friends will ever read them." She swallowed, eyes turning towards the floor. "And, uh, well..." With a sigh, her horn lit up and her eminently-coiffed lavender hairdo lifted up, revealing a short, flat black mane beneath. "Queen Meanie's not really my name, it's Crown Jewel. That's just what they call me at the club."
Jaws dropped once more.
"You're a... an exotic dancer?" Rarity exclaimed.
Queen Meanie sneered. "Hey, lady, I ain't judgin' you!"
Black Snooty sighed. "I would continue to protest, but I likewise have been engaged in a deception. My name is actually Meerschaum. I am a tobacconist. Black Snooty is actually a degrading moniker I earned in boarding school." He closed his eyes, black cheeks reddening. "I have dishonored myself in the hope of winning ill-earned money. I am so very ashamed."
Hokey Smokes hmphed. "Well, my name really is Hokey Smokes, and the only deception I engage in is illusions, 'cause I'm a street magician up Canterlot way. And it's tough enough work for an earth pony when ya got blusterin' blue unicorns muckin' up every single..." He cleared his throat. "Anyway, it's obvious you wasn't tryin' to drag our names through the mud, and just a weird coincidence."
"Shall we drop the suit?" asked Meerschaum, head lowered in defeat. The other two nodded, and rose.
"Sorry for makin' you get all crazy," Crown Jewel said to Pinkie, having replaced her wig. "You won't be seeing us again, promise."
Meerschaum bowed. "Many apologies, Miss Pinkie."
Hokey Smokes nodded. "I'm sorry too. Consider it settled."
The three ponies nodded to each other, then to Pinkie and her friends, and left the library, parting ways once they were outside.
Once they had left, an uneasy silence settled over the six friends. One of them coughed, startling the rest, and they shared a nervous chuckle.
"The one thing I do not understand," Rarity began, "is why you decided to have us all..." She waved a hoof in the air. "Doing that at the end. And in such unseemly ways, too!"
Pinkie grinned. "What can I say, Rarity? Sex sells!"
For the three of you who were waiting for the next Elements of Awesomery story, I present this fic. This fic. Oh my lord, this fic took me a good year to write, plugging away word by word sometimes, when I could evn stand to look at it at all. And yet somehow, when I got to the end, I realized it wasn't as bad as I'd originally thought, and now here we are. Thank you for reading this far.
I wrote this story for three reasons. First, because I care about the EoA framing story, even if no one else does. Second, because it allowed me to utilize the "Pinkie's names for Nightmare Moon are real ponies" joke in a way that made sense. I actually shoehorned them into The Elements of Awesomery just so I could write this story. Thirdly, because that second scene teases a bunch of stuff to come and will give you all something to look forward to, should you be following the series.
And there is so much to look forward to. As I write this, the first actual EoA sequel, "The Adventures of Wondercloud and Sugar Rush" has been written and is just waiting for me to post this before going up. (I wanted to post them together for those who don't care as much about these side stories.) I have planned seven more sequels. There is a possibility for more.
So yes. There's lots to look forward to, these don't take me long to do, and I have plans to finish this series as soon as possible. The best laid plans, though. The best laid plans.
Thanks to kits pony for giving me feedback on this one. Hope that ending has enough oomph for ya!