TWO MONTHS AGO
Deep Dish’s Pizza Parlor was across the street from the hospital and at the moment, the largest table was taken up by two extra-large supremes, a couple of pitchers of Coke, eight teenage girls and one woman. As each of them grabbed a slice, Posey took a drink from her beer and asked, “Where do you want me to start, sweetie?”
“The truth, Mom,” Fluttershy said simply. “And start from the beginning.”
“Okay, you know that Redheart and I have been friends since medical school, right?” Fluttershy nodded. “Well, your father and I met when Red and I went to a concert at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater. We won backstage passes that night and went. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect – was I going to be treated like some groupie, ending up stoned, drunk and with my pants off in his bed? Or was I going to be given the kid gloves treatment? The truth was? Neither.”
“Neither?” Sunset asked.
Posey shook her head. “The concert itself? It was great. Watching him and the band on-stage – this was the classic line-up, with him, Tirek, Screw Loose and Steel Strings. They rocked hard, and even before everything, I was a fan. So it was just a shock to see the wild, deliriously silly and happy Discord walk off stage…and turn into probably the saddest man I’ve ever met. Don’t get me wrong: he was polite, shook our hands, signed some autographs and then walked to his dressing room. Screw Loose was with her fiancé, so I didn’t get to meet her then; and this was just before Steel Strings was kicked out of the band for excessive drug use, so he was already high as a kite. But it was Tirek who had the most impact.”
“Wait – aren’t Discord and Tirek rivals ever since he quit to form ECI?” Sunset asked.
Posey laughed. “Nothing but record company posturing. They wanted to give Tirek an edge, so that’s why. In truth, he and Discord have been best friends since they first met. In any case, Tirek pulled us aside and took us to the staff cafeteria, where we sat down for some coffee. He told us that happy, crazy Discord, a man who even then was considered one of the new gods of rock, was completely and utterly dialing it in.That he was tired and lonely and though he loved performing, he was still, after all these years, nursing a broken heart after the one that got away.”
“Celestia,” Twilight spoke as if on cue.
“MS. CELESTIA?!” Fluttershy, Sunset, and Rarity said at the same time.
“Yeah,” Aria said. “She and Aunt Velvet were talking about it one day while we were working on our homework, and we overheard. They used to be an item, but for some reason it didn’t really pan out.”
“I…guess that explains the awkward meeting she and I had your freshman year, sweetie,” Posey told Fluttershy. “I just thought that it was just one of those natural dislike issues people have from time to time, but I guess she must’ve found out and put two and two together. I suppose that also explains why she’s tended to keep tabs on you more than the average student, unless she’s that involved in all her students’ lives like that. But again, I’m digressing.
“Anyway, Tirek apologized for Discord, but pointed out that it had been the anniversary of the day he’d broken up with her – well, now I know it’s Celestia – and that he forced himself to go onstage. He offered to give us tickets for the next venue along with others to make up for it, and Red took him up on that. But I couldn’t.
“So, ignoring what probably was my better judgment, I rushed upstairs and stormed into Discord’s dressing room, where he was playing with a silver pistol and tears streaming down his cheeks. Fearing the worst – this was the month after Flaming Burrito committed suicide with a gun in his hotel room in Vegas – I knocked it out of his hand and hugged him as hard as I could, saying that he wasn’t alone, that it wasn’t the way to end it, that I wouldn’t let him end himself like that.
“I could feel his tears soaking my shirt. That night, he let everything go – all his pain, all his heartbreak, all his loss – for a crazy medical student who knocked a pistol-shaped lighter out of his hands.”
“A lighter?” Fluttershy asked.
“Yes, a lighter. When he realized how it looked, he couldn’t apologize enough,” Posey answered. “That night, I slept with him – and no, don’t get any wrong ideas; we had a late dinner that night, then went to his hotel room and talked into the wee hours – he apparently really needed to talk. By the time he was done airing everything out, we both crashed on the emperor-sized bed in his penthouse suite. The following morning, we had breakfast in bed, and I skipped classes talking to him all day. We then snuck out of the hotel – it was his last day in town before he was scheduled to play in Phoenix – and went to the movies. After that, he had the limo drop me off at the apartment me and Red lived at and saw me off.
“For the rest of that year, we kept in touch via email or he would call me – you’d laugh if you thought how many others thought I was dating a guy named Disco Red. By the time he came back, I’d already started my internship at UC Irvine Medical. He strode on in, making a big show in the emergency room then parked right in front of the desk with the biggest bouquet I’d ever seen. And, because Discord was being Discord, the bouquet was nothing but dandelions…common flowers that are often considered nothing more than weeds.” The smile on her face was wide as she added, “A bouquet about the diameter of a telephone pole, made up of nothing but florist-grade dandelions. To this day I have no idea how he pulled it off. But as I came in, he formally asked me for a date and of course I said yes – the year of constant talking to each other had tied us together enough to set a spark, but it was then that it became a fire.”
Rarity sighed. “That’s very romantic, Doctor.”
“The next few years, were great. We lived in his mansion in Corona Del Mar, and I commuted to and fro while he recorded more music. Eventually Steel Strings was bounced out of the band and was replaced by Smooth Strummer. Eventually on the European leg of another tour, I joined him in Monaco, where he proposed to me. We then married a year later, and…that’s when everything went wrong.”
Posey nodded. “You were everything he always wanted, Fluttershy,” her mother told her. “He loved you from the moment he found out I was pregnant and never let go. He didn’t want to. To him, you, and later Angel, were his life. You remember those moments, don’t you?”
Fluttershy said nothing, but instead recalled everything: the father who would, out of the blue, decide to make a cake for his precious daughter at four in the morning; the dad who used to take her for long walks in the fields, pointing out the various kinds of butterflies; the parent that would, despite his wife’s profession, insist on taking care of Fluttershy’s cuts and scrapes, kissing them to make them feel better. Everything that Fluttershy remembered about her father in the past was nothing but pleasant memories. But that was the problem: it was in the past.
“Forgive me for asking,” Twilight spoke, “but…what happened?”
Posey was about to continue, when Fluttershy rose from her chair. “Everyone…I…I don’t want to talk about this anymore,” the teen said, a distraught look on her face.
“Sweetheart, you can’t keep hiding from your father,” Posey told her daughter. “You may want to deny it, but he still loves you. He still loves all of us.”
“And you never told me that you’re still married to him,” Fluttershy accused. “You never told me anything!”
“It was to protect your father,” Posey answered, looking down at the table. “You don’t remember, do you? Your father had neglected his career, and the record company was about to drop him. Furthermore, we were being hounded by paparazzi who wanted to prove that your father had turned his back on his fans – they weren’t doing it just for the money, they were actually out to hurt him and us!” Posey looked away. “So, he and I made an agreement.”
“An agreement?” Sonata asked.
Posey nodded. “We would live separately. We moved from Orange County up here to Canterlot, where I was from, and he bought the house we live in. At the same time, he sold the place we were all living in and bought a higher-profile one in Malibu so that he could throw meaningless parties and keep up his image, just to keep the press hounds off us.”
“Mom, what do you mean ‘move up here’? I was born here! Lived my whole life here!” Fluttershy countered.
But the doctor shook her head. “Sweetheart, have you actually looked at your birth certificate? You were born at the UCI Medical Center in Irvine, sweetie. We lived in Corona Del Mar until you were nine.”
“But I attended Mrs. Cuddlebunny’s kindergarten class! And we’ve lived in the same house practically since I first learned to walk!”
“Fluttershy, you attended Mrs. Fluffykitten’s kindergarten class at the private school we sent you to – and the fact that those two teachers were identical twins was one of the weirdest things that I found out about since we’ve lived here! Hell, your father and I made sure that our current house looked a lot like the old one. We even kept the recliner that you used to sit in with your father – you used to fall asleep in his lap all the time,” she said, tears of melancholy starting to well in her eyes.
“Fluttershy, I love your father – he has been the only man in my life. And despite what you’ve read in the news, he only loves me. But it’s hurt him to be away from you two. He wants you back in his life, Fluttershy! He wants us to be a family again, and he doesn’t care if it costs him!”
The chiffon-haired teen folded her arms. “I wish I could believe that. And he’s had years to do so…but he never did.” She then looked at Rarity, a look of pleading in her eyes. “Do you mind if I stay over your place tonight? I…I need some time to think.”
“Not at all; of course you’re welcome over, Fluttershy, dear,” Rarity replied, though she sounded nervous. She felt that she was stepping into a situation that she shouldn’t be involved in, but she couldn’t turn down a friend in need.
“Fine; let’s go.” Without waiting for anything else, or even saying goodbye to her mother, she picked up her purse and walked out of the pizza place.
Posey took the hint immediately. “Rarity, please take care of her. This…this isn’t ea….” Posey broke down into tears and Octavia moved to her side immediately.
“We’ll take care of this,” the raven-haired girl told her friend. “You deal with Flutters.”
“I’ll go with her,” Twilight offered. “You two take care of Dr. Posey and we’ll see to Fluttershy.”
“I think I’d better go with as well,” Adagio suggested. With that, all three girls departed the pizza place, chasing after their frustrated friend.
Meanwhile, Octavia looked at Posey and asked, “What can we do, Doctor? I know I’m to blame for all of this coming out, and I want to make amends, both to Flutters and you. She told me it wasn’t necessary, but….”
Posey looked up at the two girls with tear-stained eyes. “Just…please…help my daughter. She doesn’t understand what’s going on. And while she has the right to her feelings – neither my husband or I have handled this well, in hindsight – we just want what’s the best for our children. Fluttershy will be an adult soon, and on her own, and I want her and her father to make up before she heads off to college. If not, they may never do so.” She took Octavia’s hands in hers and pled, “Please. For my family’s sake, I need your help. Fluttershy needs your help.”
“We’ll do everything we can, Doctor, I promised you and I mean to keep that vow,” Sunset said from behind Octavia. “Fluttershy’s our friend; we won’t leave her hanging. Will you be okay?”
The doctor nodded. “I’m a big girl, Sunset. I’ve been through much worse. But I appreciate the concern. Go ahead and get going; I’ll take care of everything here.”
SIX WEEKS AGO
“You know, even after all this I still have a hard time believing your father is Discord,” Aria told Fluttershy as they all waited in the terminal at Napa Airfield, waiting for the charter flight that would take them home.
“I suppose it is, but as you know, it’s true,” Fluttershy told her friend. “It’s been…tough, but I can’t deny that. And now that I know the truth about my parents, hopefully things will be better.” She looked at Adagio. “But did you have to hit Rose and Pea?”
“Well excuse me for overreacting,” Adagio non-apologized. “I go into your room to read you the riot act, and Pea is there, naked as a jaybird, you look like you’ve been slugged and Rose is yelling at you. Sorry, but I protect my friends.”
“Pea was what?” Sunset asked.
“You did what to Rose?” Rainbow retorted at the same time.
“It was a misunderstanding, okay? We got it cleared up. We were trying to help Flutters and we didn’t think our cunning plan all the way through,” Rose admitted.
“You mean you were being extra stupid about it,” Adagio reminded her.
“Dagi, you know what I used to do for a living. Sorry if I’m still a bit limited in scope when it comes to planning,” Sweet Pea muttered.
At this point Rainbow stepped in. “You owe me a better explanation than that, Dazzle. Rose is a close friend of the family.”
“And Fluttershy isn’t?”
Rainbow suddenly realized what she was saying. “Yeah, okay, I sound like an idiot.”
“Wouldn’t be the first time, Rainbow,” Aria cracked.
“So, you’re not coming with us, Flutters?” Sonata asked, trying to change the subject.
Fluttershy shook her head. “I actually took the following week off as well, so Dad asked if I’d come with him to his tour dates in Sacramento and then the tour bus should be able to drop me off at home while he’s on the way to finish up the rest of his tour.”
“Sounds like you have a lot of catching up to do,” Twilight commented.
“Yeah. But it’ll be worth it.” Fluttershy hugged her friends and thanked them for everything, not sure of what else she could say. “I don’t deserve to have friends as good as you all.”
“We’ll send a bill for services,” Rose cracked, and Sweet Pea laughed.
“But I guess that means you’re moving to LA?” Pinkie asked sadly, her hair starting to deflate. “That’s where your dad lives, right?”
“Ha! As if,” Discord said, walking up to them all, Posey and Angel in tow. He was dressed in a polo shirt and slacks again, very much not what was expected of him – and something he relished. “Actually, we’re keeping the Malibu place as a vacation home. We actually own undeveloped land in San Palomino...something something Golden Oaks–”
“Wait – you own that undeveloped plot at the end of the street?” Twilight asked. “That means that Fluttershy’ll be living down the street from us!”
“Not immediately,” Posey explained. “We still have to build a home there and that’s going to take a bit. We’ll actually be renting out the penthouse in the Marriott Renaissance Retreat downtown. And since we’ll still have ownership of the house we’re currently living in, Fluttershy can still use that as an address so she doesn’t have to change schools if she wants to stay at CHS.”
“I do,” Fluttershy said, putting her arms around Rainbow and Sunset. “I wouldn't want to leave my life just because it’s changed.”
“Are you sure?” Discord asked. “Now that people know who you are, it’s going to be a lot more difficult to hide from the paparazzi.”
Fluttershy beamed as she gestured to her friends. “I think I’ll have enough help with that.”
SIX WEEKS AGO
“So I was thinking we could all go to Modesto for the end of the year vacation, not only to celebrate the end of Summer, but also to celebrate both Twilight and the triplets’ birthdays, as well as Sunny’s adoption at the end of August!” Pinkie chirped. “We’ll make this a blast to remember forever!”
“Yeah, you girls had to go and be born a week away from each other, didn’t you?” Fluttershy gently teased.
“Technically, we don’t know when we were born,” Adagio told her. “Our birth certificates are actually marked with the day we were found. Hell, to be honest, we don’t even know our birth order – that’s based on when we were given our names.”
“Yeah, just think about it: Soni could actually be the oldest of us,” Aria said with a grin. “Wouldn’t that be horrifying?”
“But I like being the baby!” Sonata responded with a mock-pout.
“Well, from comparing all our calendars, the best time to do it would be just after Twily’s birthday,” Octavia suggested. “What do you think, Twily?” The answer to that was silence, as Twilight sat, sulking in the corner.
Adagio got up from her seat. “Well, I’d love to stay and chat, but I promised Bonnie I would spar with her today. You up for coming with, AJ?”
“Yeah, if you don’t mind swinging by mah place so Ah can get mah gear,” she said.
“Not at all.” She looked at the others. “We’ll see you guys later.”
“Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but it looks like work is picking up again,” Sunset said, “so I gotta get back to work.”
“We can help,” Sonata and Pinkie said.
“Aren’t you two off the clock today? Besides, if necessary I can call in Pepperdance and Garden Variety, if they’re not already scheduled to work at the other store.”
Sonata looked at the clock. “Oh, besides, I think Trixie wanted me to come over and see if I could fix her PS4 controllers. Apparently, Lyra’s been throwing them against the wall again when she loses.”
“You’d think she’d stop being such a poor sport in PVP,” Pinkie added.
“Well, far be it from me to stop you from doing that,” Sunset said. “You two go on and have a fun day off.”
Both Pinkie and Sonata left Sugarcube Corner, headed towards Sonata’s car. “Pinkie, you’ve got to tell her.”
Pinkie uncharacteristically frowned. “I shouldn’t have told you.”
“Pinkie, the last sleepover we had I caught you nearly kissing Sunny while she was asleep. It was fairly obvious.”
“Yeah,” Pinkie said dully as she got into the car. “I suppose it was.”
“Look, are your aunt and uncle opposed to you being gay or something?”
“Well, for starters, I’m bi, not gay – I had a boyfriend last year and the relationship…ended badly. And I’d rather not talk about him right now, if you don’t mind.” She sighed. “It’s just…look, I’ll tell Sunny when I have the chance. I just had a moment of weakness.”
“No, you had a moment of desire, girl,” Sonata said as they headed towards Trixie’s house. “And last time I checked, it was all just a part of being human.”
“When it comes to your cousin,” Pinkie sighed, “that’s just part of the problem.”