A Dash Of Pink

by inacti

Laughing Softly By Yourself

Today was the day Twilight Sparkle would be returning home to Ponyville. It was a bright morning, and everypony had gathered in the town square to set up the welcome. Pinkie Pie, a bright pink mare whose talent was, in fact, parties, was in charge of the festivities. The town was draped with banners, and figures of the elements of harmony decorated the scene, all of which declared most proudly that Princess Twilight Sparkle, resident of Ponyville, would be coming home today. The sun shone brighter on this particular morning, for Celestia wanted everything to be beautiful on the day of Twilight's return. Twilight Sparkle stood in her carriage, watching over Ponyville and getting ready to land. Her dear guards, Blueshine and Forestpeak, were flying her so smoothly into Ponyville that she could scarcely tell that she was in the air at all. Twilight would have flown to the little town herself, but she hadn't gotten used to her wings enough to be comfortable.

"Over here boys, right in the town square. Thank you for flying me all this way," she said, unused to this treatment.

"It's our pleasure, Princess," Blueshine answered as they hit the ground softly.

Twilight stepped out of the carriage, flapping her wings slightly as she walked with the element of magic pronounced proudly on her head.

"Well if it ain't Twilight Sparkle! How ya' been?" Applejack, a farm pony from Apple Acres, asked, trotting toward her friend.

"Oh, I've been all right. Still getting used to these wings, though," she laughed, giving her dear friend a warm hug.

"Well ain't that nice! Hey girls, Twi is here!" Applejack called out.

Rarity and Fluttershy emerged from behind the fountain. Rarity was wearing a lovely pink dress with white and yellow ribbon dangling from it and a beaded hat.

"Hello Twilight, it's been quite a while. I made you a delightful outfit while you were away. Since you're a princess now, you'll absolutely need extra fancy clothes," Rarity squealed with delight.

"Aw Rarity, what about all of those other beautiful gifts you sent me?"

"Those were just fancy clothes. This one is really smashing, you'll absolutely love it!"

Twilight smirked, knowing her friend probably put way too much effort into it.

"Hi, Twilight . . . " Fluttershy cooed. "We missed you."

"I missed you guys, too! Where are Rainbow and Pinkie?"

"Hey, where are those two? Don't they know yer' here?"

"Hmm. Well, maybe they're at Sugar Cube Corner . . ." Fluttershy said.

"Perhaps. Let's check, we wouldn't want them to miss the celebrations. After all, Pinkie is supposed to be planning them," Rarity replied.

"Good idea. Let's go girls," Twilight answered. "I'll say hi to everypony else in a bit."

They walked to Sugar Cube Corner, the sun shining down on their eyes, reflecting perfectly off of the element of magic. The sand and rocks they kicked up while walking began to cover Twilight's shoes, but she didn't mind.

"Oh dear me, you are ruining that lovely outfit, Twilight," Rarity whined.

"Don't worry Rarity, I'll wash up. Maybe I can wear that dress you made me while I greet the town."

They knocked on the hard wooden door of Sugar Cube Corner. There was a rustling at the other end, frantic running, and a loud sigh before Mrs. Cake came to the door.

"Oh my, hello Miss- I mean, Princess Sparkle. I am sorry we weren't at your arrival, we're just so busy," Mrs. Cake gasped.

"Don't worry about it. I was just looking for Pinkie, is she here?" Twilight asked brightly.

"Oh my . . . Come inside, girls. It's a private matter, really," Mrs. Cake shook her head sadly.

"What is it Mrs. Cake? Is Pinkie Pie all right?" Fluttershy asked politely.

"Follow me upstairs. You see girls, Pinkie has a very rare sickness and can't leave the house right now. It was all very sudden. Your dear friend Rainbow Dash has been helping us take care of her," she said calmly.

A collective gasp from everypony in the group drowned out the sudden coughing fit upstairs.

"What is it that she has? Maybe I know a sp-" Twilight started.

"They don't know what it is . . ." Mrs. Cake was on the verge of tears.

Rarity held a hoof to her forehead, feeling a tad faint. The room seemed darker now even when the bright sun shone down through the windows. Applejack held Rarity's hoof with fear. They were silent on the way up to Pinkie's room, listening to the two ponies upstairs talking.

"I wonder if Twilight is here yet," Pinkie said softly to Dash, who was sitting in a chair next to Pinkie's bed.

Pinkie's fur was an off color, almost white, and her hair, droopy. She had reddish marks on her cheeks, but still a smile on her face.

"I don't know, but if you want me to check, maybe I could . . ." Rainbow Dash started.

"No, please, I don't want to be by myself right now, Dashie . . . I hope she comes here though, I miss her," Pinkie coughed.

"All right . . . You know, this book is amazing," Dash said holding up the copy of Daring Do she had been reading to Pinkie. "It's just so cool."

Pinkie smiled. "You are a total egghead, Dashie," she giggled.

Rainbow Dash sighed. "Yeah, I am, but don't tell anypony, okay?"

"Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye," Pinkie smiled.

Twilight looked at Rarity, Applejack, and Fluttershy with fear in her eyes.

"At least she's still happy . . ." Applejack started. "Ya'll know she's the only pony who could laugh at the face of death."

"Lets go in now, I don't want to keep her waiting," Twilight said, opening the door.

"Mrs. Cake?" Rainbow Dash questioned.

"No, it's me, Twilight. Applejack, Rarity, and Fluttershy came with me, too. We came to say hi." Twilight tried to smile, but she was worried.

Rainbow Dash smiled. "We expected you'd look for us. Sorry I didn't have the chance to tell you guys, I couldn't leave her."

"Twiliey! I missed you!" Pinkie threw up her hooves weakly.

"I missed you too," Twilight said, happily taking Pinkie's hoof in hers.

"What happened, Pinkie? How did you get like this?" Twilight asked.

"I was just jumping around, and then this thing bit me. I don't know what it was, though. It was, like, a big bug thing."

"A parasprite?" Rarity asked.

"No, smaller, and less parasprite-ey," Pinkie giggled.

"Hmm, I should research that in my library. I'm sure I have a book on disease carrying bugs. How do you feel, though?"

"I don't know, I kinda have this weird headache, but other than that there's, like, no feeling anywhere . . ." she coughed softly, still managing to keep a smile. "I wish I could get up and hug you but-"

"Pinkie, don't even try it, the doctor said you can't walk because-" Rainbow Dash interrupted.

"I know, I know, my bones are weak . . . but so? I could crawl or something. I was supposed to plan that party . . ." Pinkie moaned.

"We could just have it in here. Ya'll want to have it in here, just us girls?"

"As long as you're quiet," Dash said, hiding the book behind her back. "No loud noises for her."

"Aw, Dash, lighten up!" Pinkie said.

"I don't like loud noises, Dashie. Can I help you with her?" Fluttershy asked.

"I guess so. You're good with animals, you should be good with ponies, too." Dash sighed, she wasn't going to bother rejecting the nickname.

Twilight looked nervous for a moment. "I'm so sorry girls, but I need to go now, I'm supposed to greet the townsponies. By law, I am supposed to be there along with everypony in the town who can walk.

"If you need anything, Rainbow, just holler," Applejack said. "We'll all be back soon."

Mrs. Cake popped her head into the room. "Rainbow Dash, that reminds me, I need you to go get Pinkie's medicine from the Fillydelphia clinic. I would do it myself, but I'm not fast enough to get back by the end of the day. Don't Worry, I'll watch over Pinkie."

Everypony said goodbye and left for the welcoming speeches. Pinkie sat alone in bed, her fur matted and messy, and looked up at her ceiling. The painting she had drawn of her five best friends was still there. She was smiling just thinking of them.

"When I get out of here, I will throw them all the biggest *cough* party I've ever had," Pinkie smiled.

She remembered all the fun she had with those five mares and laughed softly as she waited for her friends to come back.