I awake to the sound of parading.
My first thought is of Bon-Bon, as it usually is. Normally, it’s about the smell of her mane, the melody of her breath. Now, it’s a deeper, more complex concept, intertwining sociology with psychology and incorporating various elements of physics and evolutionary biology.
Neatly summarised, the thought is Oh Celestia damn it she can’t see this.
I turn over to see her stirring at around the same time. “Hey,” she says, “I didn’t know we had a parade going. What’s it for?”
“Uh, we didn’t,” I say, rushing over to her bed, putting my forehooves on her soft belly. “You should stay in today.”
She pushes me off without the slightest sign of strain. Sometimes I forget that, as celestial as she is, she’s still an Earth pony. “What in Equestria are you talking about, Lyra? If there’s a parade, I’ve got to see it. Do you know how many sweets they sell on parades?” I can almost see her eyes fill with bits as she pushes herself onto her finely toned legs, her hooves clopping onto the floor.
Loud, incoherent, joyful shouting from the outside. “Sounds like a real doozy!” she says, grinning as she trots over. She puts her hoof on the doorknob; in a panic, I force a mint-green field of energy to form around the locking mechanism and jam it. We normally leave it unlocked, but as it is I force the inside bolt to bash itself into the little hole made for it, the entire thing shutting with a loud ‘click’.
“Come on, Lyra,” she says, laughing as she pokes on the bolted door. “What the buck could possibly be that bad?”
“Er,” I say, making sure to keep her from opening the door with a firm application of magic, “you’re—you’re working too hard. You’ve got to rest.” I use the little bit of strength I have left in my horn to nudge her gently towards the bed.
“Even if I wanted to rest, I couldn’t possibly with all this racket. The bits’d haunt my dreams.” She puts her hoof firmly against the opener and pushes. I feel the kinetic field imploding, the shockwave bashing into the base of my skull.
Oh, yeah. Earth pony.
That beautiful, kind voice pulls me out of my slumber. “You okay, Lyra?”
I can see the chance like a physical thing, and I reach my metaphorical hoof out to grab it.
“Ach...” I moan, putting my hoof against the back of my head. “I don’t think so...”
“I’m so sorry!” she says, quickly scooping me into one of her hooves and escorting me gently to my bed. “I didn’t realize—”
“It’s fine, Bon-Bon.”
Her voice is filled with that genuine concern, and its genuity fills me with purpose. “Lyra, I’ve been to every parade this town ever has had. Nothing would scare me. Sure, this one isn’t scheduled. Doesn’t mean I’m afraid of it.” She laughs a little. “You’ve got to learn to loosen up a little.”
“I—I just wanted to protect you.”
She laughs. “Did that marefiddling pony infect you, or something? Because you’re sounding pretty gay right about now.”
She constantly teases me in that manner, but I can tell that she’s not serious; she wouldn’t tolerate my existence otherwise, I’m sure. “No, of course not.” I laugh a little in return.
She pats me on my withers. “Look, you stay here. I’ll give you half the bits. You’re my friend, after all.” A turn, and she begins trotting off.
It takes me about ten seconds to process what she’s just said, and one more to react. “Wait!”
I shunt myself off the bed in a burst of mint-green, sliding a bit on my hooves as I hit the wooden floor. Before it’s too late. Must stop her.
I bound down the steps in a single leap; my legs, thankfully, hold. With a grunt, I force myself out of the stairwell into the main room, where I see Bon-Bon holding her pack of sweets, hoof at the door. I reach out with my magic; she doesn’t even notice it, opening the door.
“It’s okay to be gay!”
I rush up next to the shock-still mare.
“Let’s juggle with the duggles in the gay way!”
I see Twilight trotting past, blushing as she puts her head down. Singing to herself quietly.
What’s more concerning is the fact that her tail is tied to her mane, and she is wearing something very pink and frilly. Almost everybody seems to be wearing something ridiculous as they go around, and I see Pinkie Pie waving her hooves on top of a gravity-defying float and singing loudly into a microphone as Rainbow Dash makes rainbows in the sky.
“Hooray for the kind of girls that you will find in the gay way!”
The blushing purple unicorn’s anguished whispers drift over to me through the overwhelming sound; a sort of tortured lament, a mantra of despair, a massive contrast to the generally upbeat atmosphere. “...dans quatre heure, je m'en lirai, la jument céleste pourra avoir sa lettre...”
Bon-Bon seems to awake from her little stupor long enough to run over to Twilight and grasp her by the shoulders. “What have those harpies done to you?” She looks, horrified, at the procession of flamboyance.
Her blush only deepens as she comes face-to-face with the beautiful mare. “Oh. Bon-Bon. Hi.”
“Answer me, damn it!” She shakes her hard, as if to pull her from her reduced state. “When’d this place turn into Filly-Fooler Central?” She twitches a bit, her body reacting with total grace to the pressure.
“Uh, it was Pinkie’s idea. She said somepony wasn’t okay with, uh, filly-fooling.” She looks to the side a bit. “So she said we should throw a gay pride parade, like they do in Canterlot every year. I personally think it only exacerbates the stereotypical attitudes held towards homosexual individuals, but, uh, it’s not like I’m homophobic or anything—”
“Homophobic? Have they indoctrinated you with that marefiddling propaganda? Snap out of it, marepony!” She gives her a firm smack across the face with a hoof.
“Wait, you’re the one Pinkie was talking about?” Her eyes widen, almost to the size of saucerplates. She looks towards me, and then back to her. “You mean you and Lyra aren’t—”
My beloved Bon-Bon recoils elegantly in a fluid motion, hoof pressed gently on her chest. “Nonsense! Total nonsense!” She backs up. “You’re in on it, aren’t you! You’re all in on it!” She turns about-hoof and gallops back through the doorway, bucking it and sending it back into its place as I stand haplessly.
“So, you and Bon-Bon aren’t, uh—?”
I shake my head and hoof at the ground. “Nope.”
“Uh, so, is this a friendship problem, or—?” She seems to be going through a mental checklist.
I shake my head and turn back in after that beautiful mare, pushing into the candy-shop. I’m fairly sure that this is the worst thing that could possibly have happened.
As I get up the stairs, I hear quiet sobbing.
I open the door to see Bon-Bon staring at the picture she has on the countertop, of her father. Just looking at it, and crying, tears like crystals. Most ponies, no matter how pretty they are, become ugly with snot dripping down their faces.
She’s just as beautiful as always.
“...Bon-Bon? What’s wrong?” I ask, making my hoofsteps quiet as I move gently towards her. The singing outside would probably mask them anyway, but I try to be respectful nonetheless.
“You know,” she says, looking at the portrait. “Mom always said I should ‘love’, and ‘tolerate’.” To most others, her voice would be nothing more than a series of gasping, incoherent cries. But they strike my soul like an orchestra. “That whore.” The dragged-out ‘r’ is terrifyingly beautiful, like the tip of a crashing wave.
“Do you wanna talk about it, Bon-Bon?” I say, taking care not to make any sudden movements. I’ve never seen her like this before; she was always the superstructure, and I was always the one to depend.
“‘Love’ and ‘tolerance’ and she runs off with that whore. Pile of fewmets.” She seems to be lost in the apocrypha of her beautiful mind. I approach her, and I lay a comforting hoof on her. She looks up at me.
“You can’t blame everypony for what she did, Bon-Bon.” Everything makes sense, now, to me. I knew she, in her wisdom, wouldn’t be like that without a good reason.
“That’s not why I don’t like filly-foolers. I don’t like them because they’re disgusting, and they oughta be—”
“Oh, Bon-Bon,” I say, shaking my head.
She looks up at me, face stained with tears, and hugs me deeply.
“This isn’t gay, right?” she says, as she buries her wonderfully fluffy and slightly wet head in my chest, holding her sobs a bit out of her boundless concern.
I put my arms around her head and sigh. “No. Of course it isn’t.”
We hug each other for a while, and she stops sobbing after a bit.
She lets go after a few minutes, shaking her head a bit. “Not a word to anypony about this, alright?”
“Not a word.”
She looks down at her hooves as she sits on the side of the bed. By now, the parade has gone past us, and there is only silence.
“Thank Celestia,” she says, looking past me to the window. “Damned filly-foolers’re gone.”
I nod slightly, going back to my own bed and sitting in my usual way; she looks at me, and laughs a bit. “I guess they’re not all that bad.”
I suppose I can’t change a pony’s worldview in one night.
But I suppose I can cherish these little steps.
“I totally saw you two making out through the window! Just wanted to check in on you two, see—”
Oh, Celestia, peer of heaven.
“Get the hell out of my house, you Celestia-damned filly-fooler!”
“Actually, since I’m kinda, y’know, one of the Elements of Harmony, I’m literally Celestia-blessed!”
Loud noises. I keep my head in between my forehooves as the noises move away.
A more distant voice. “Pinkie’ll be back! I’ll never stop until you two’re together!”
I can’t fault that mare, really.
But I swear that I want to wring the life out of her.