My body was shaking, and I was unable to stop the tears flowing down my eyes like a river. I was nervous about ruining the make-up Rarity had put on me, but the tears kept coming regardless. With all the bullies and Shooting Star’s betrayal Twilight had pegged me pretty well. I often thought of myself as the one off to the side, the outsider, the one who didn’t belong.
I had never wanted much in life. I only wanted to provide for my daughter, and have a few friends. And I thought I was okay with that, because I could never picture that I would have anything different.
But here… now… I finally see something that I never expected. Something that I never could have imagined. I have way more friends than I thought. By hiding myself away and keeping my pain a secret all I had done was delay my healing. I have a bunch of friends who all came to celebrate my happiness and joy; who came to help me out and ensure today went smoothly.
I never in a million years expected this, but it’s so beautiful I can barely arrange my thoughts or stand up. Twilight’s words spoke to my heart, inspiring everyone to further show their companionship. “We all love our Derpy.” I think I loved that line the best. It really showed me how blind I was being, and how much love had been surrounding me all along, only waiting for me to breach the protective bubble I had placed around my heart, and it was Doctor Hooves who continually pushed through, to remind me what it felt like to be loved, what it felt like to be hugged and kissed and nuzzled and rubbed.
More and more and more I could tell that those dark days of my past were over, and that I was right in my belief that everything was going to go right today. I felt no fear at all as I had the love of an entire town backing me up.
Composing myself I looked over at Dinky, joy radiating off of me, and told her it was time for her part. She grinned back at me, the biggest one I had ever seen on her. Like me, she was feeding off of the spirit of the day, the magical, whimsical power that suffused the entire hall with love and friendship and the spirit of togetherness.
Dinky picked up her basket of flowers as the music began to play; .a soft, classical wedding tune entwined with the whistling of birds. Heading through the door she began sprinkling flower petals all over the place, having a blast.
I followed in behind her, taking my time as I approached where Doctor Hooves stood, Princess Celestia standing behind him at the podium. On the way there I looked over at all my supporters. They were a lot quieter now so as not to disrupt the sacredness of the ceremony, but I could hear little whistles and whispers of support and well-wishing.
I could see Doctor Hooves waiting for me, love in his eyes. I had to struggle not to run full out up to the platform, tradition be damned. As my eyes took in the four alicorns standing around the altar I found my patience. They all come to watch over my ceremony, and the ruler of Equestria was performing the service. I didn’t want to look like a fool in front of them nor disrespect the sacrifices they had all made to make time to be here today.
I took a deep breath, reminding myself that today was not just about me, nor Doctor Hooves. All the ponies here today had opened their hearts, making a spot for me there, so all of them were sharing my joy and feelings, so I owed it to them to do things the right way and not make a scene.
As I continued my slow walk up I reined myself in, taking a step back in my mind to just enjoy the little things. I listened to the music and the sounds of the birds. I turned my head to the crowd, saying thank you to those who spoke their encouragement. The walk there became much more pleasant.
As I neared the small incline leading up to the altar I saw Dinky standing there, a huge grin on her face. She gave me a quick hug and whispered, “Knock ‘em dead!”
I winked at her, peace in my heart as the music hit a peak and I finished the walk, standing across from the Doctor.
Princess Celestia cleared her throat, and the music faded out. “Greetings, one and all. As my faithful student Twilight has said, we are here today to celebrate the union of these two ponies: Doctor Hooves and Derpy Doo. There’s been a lot of buzz going around town about this special day, and it’s a privilege to be able to attend this celebration of the magic of friendship, the greatest friendship there is.
“The power of harmony fuels all that we do. Truly, I know that better than anyone else. I only told this to Twilight before, but I’ve had to put on a brave face and hide my pain at times, especially when it came to the Summer Sun Celebration. It always served as a reminder of how I had failed to stop my sister before her jealously spiraled out of control. And, yes, in a way every night did last forever. I’ve endured, helping others wherever I could, but no other pony could fill the void left behind when I was forced to seal my sister away. Now that she has returned and reintegrated into pony society I couldn’t be happier for her.
“Knowing the pain of having to fight with someone you love dearly, someone you always expected to be there for you and you never expected to betray you, is something I can identify with, and it struck a nerve with me when Twilight told me the story of what happened with Derpy. Being here now to see her being reborn, ready to start again and commit to another, fills me with boundless joy, and it is a great honor to preside over this ceremony, to tie that knot that will bond them as partners forevermore.
“But enough about tales of the past and the bad memories that followed. Let us return to the present, and the true reason we are all here today: to send Derpy off on her new journey toward a better life.
“Yes, princess?” He bowed his head a little as he said it.
“What is it that you intend to bring to this marriage? What makes you feel that you are worthy of Derpy’s love and deserve to be her one and only?”
“That’s easy,” he replied, lifting his head as he turned toward me, love in his eyes. “I said it once already, but I intend to bear her pain as she continues to recover from the pain of being left behind. I promise my whole heart to always be there for her whenever she needs me. I promise to always be faithful. If my eyes should ever stray, whether intentional or not, I promise to be honest and upfront about it, just as she did for me when she nearly came close to doing the same. I promise to provide for my new family, and do my best to make sure that they never want for anything. I promise to be forgiving when we inevitably fight, after we’ve cooled off. I promise to be there forevermore, and never to leave her side until one of us dies. And, on the off chance that ghosts are really real, than maybe not even then will I stop watching over her.
“As I was reminded some time ago, though, in this marriage I am not only getting a wife and a partner. I can’t forget about the other half of my commitment. Besides Derpy, who was in desperate need of love, there was another who was also in desperate need of something, and that’s another role that I intend to fulfill to the best of my ability.” He turned away from me, looking out toward the audience. “Aside from a wife I’m also getting a daughter, my darling little Dinky. Though she is not my biological child I intend to love her and raise her and treat her right as if she were of my own flesh and blood, because I love her as well. I promise-”
“I love you too, Daddy!” Dinky said in a raised voice. It was scarcely louder than her regular speaking volume, but it almost sounded deafening in the relative quiet.
I looked over at her, seeing her flushed cheeks, bright with delight. Ordinarily I would have been mortified, but all I felt was content.
Doctor Hooves didn’t look bothered by the interruption, nor did all our guests, a large number of them letting out little, “Awww’s.”
He giggled a bit before saying, “I love you too, Dinky.” He turned back to me, saying, “I promise to protect both Derpy and Dinky to the best of my ability if they’re in danger, even if it ends with my death. It would be enough to know that I lost my life protecting the two girls who mean more to me than anything in the world.”
His eyes began to tear up, and I found mine starting to as well.
“I promise all of this to you, Derpy, if you will accept me this day.”
“Derpy,” said Princess Celestia, “Do you accept his terms of marriage?”
I nodded my head. “I do, Princess Celestia.”
“Very good. And what of you, Derpy? What is it you’d like to add? What do you intend to bring to your union?”
“To start off with, I want to express my gratitude for all that he has done for me. I know you said we should be focusing on the greatness of today, but it only means so much to me because of the trauma and hassle’s I’ve gone through in the past.
“For the longest time I’ve felt I was alone. I was relentlessly bullied in school, the only friends I had in other classes that I rarely got to see. Today I found out that I have a lot of friends, so I don’t need to hold back anymore and keep everything inside. I want to lay everything out on the table. I’m not doing this for pity or because I want sympathy and everyone to show me special treatment, but because all of you opened your hearts to me, showing me your friendship, so it’s only right that I return the favor. I can’t think of any other occasion where Ponyville’s eyes will be on me like this to listen, so it has to be now.
“Twilight wasn’t too far off in her assessment of me. Up until now I’ve kept all of this inside my heart, faking my smile even when I dearly wanted someone to be there for me. Recently I finally opened up and told Dinky about it, but that was it. Now, I don’t have to hide anymore. Even if everyone else betrays me I’m not afraid anymore, because I have the love of my life in front of me, the symbol of his love around my neck for all to see." I lifted my hoof to my engagement ring.
“There were two times in my life where I was at my lowest. Back in school every day I had to endure taunts and mocking about my eyes. The most common nickname I got was “freak eyes.” It was considered “in style” to go after me, because I was such an easy target. With very few friends to defend me every day felt like a giant hill in front of me, the end of school like paradise. Month after month, year after year, I had to endure those hurtful comments. And it all came to a head one day.
“I was lost in thought, a light drizzle coming down. All of a sudden I went flying. A stallion was annoyed I was blocking his path, so instead of going around me he shoved me out of the way. I landed right in the middle of a big mud puddle, getting covered from head to hoof in mud. Everyone else thought it was hilarious, cheering and laughing and slapping his hoof.
“I ran away crying my eyes out. The rain helped to wash away some of the mud, but it did nothing for the ache in my soul. I had reached my limit. I took a length of rope, tying it around my wings, heading to a cliff in the hopes of ending it all.”
I could see the Doctor’s mouth hang open. It occurred to me that I hadn’t told him this story before.
“In that moment life held no light for me. That time was just pitch dark, utter blackness with no hope of ever improving. I jumped, wanting the pain to just end, no matter what I had to do."
“Obviously I didn’t succeed. As I headed toward the ground I found the will to live spark inside me, struggling to remove the ropes. I managed to get my wings free, saving myself before I crashed. I never told anyone about it, not even my parents. Although I continued to live on, inside my heart was still dead. I went numb, trying not to feel anything anymore.”
I could hear the mumbled whisperings of the ponies, but I didn’t want to see their expressions. I kept my focus on Doctor Hooves, some strange feeling of freeness from talking about all these things I had kept secret for so long. I saw him crying, and though I was upset at hurting him, I knew that all this needed to be said.
I put my hoof to my engagement ring again, taking a deep breath. Just like when I told Dinky about the past I didn’t want to stop now that I had started. “The second part of the story you already have the gist of. In high school during sophomore year I was being bullied as usual, when a pony named Shooting Star came out of nowhere and socked one of the ponies who was making fun of me. He made the stallion apologize, and threatened to hit anyone else who wanted to open their mouth against me. It made a big impression, as Shooting Star was the biggest pony in school. He was rich and popular, a sports star, and very influential.
“He asked me out, saying he wanted to try dating someone below himself on the social ladder, as the other mares around him only cared about getting the prestige of his money and status. After defending me publicly once he did it again later that day when a mare shoved me out of the way to go moon over him. He picked me up, snapping at the mare who pushed me, and declared me his girl for all to hear.
“My life took a huge upturn after that. The bullies left me alone, afraid of his wrath, I began to make other friends, and, best of all, I had a sweet coltfriend who valued me. We grew closer and closer as the months passed, and I finally found true joy, life finally feeling worth living.
“Around our six month anniversary he invited me to prom. At that time it was the happiest moment of my life. I felt special. I felt important. I felt beautiful. Even though I didn’t have the kind of money he did I did my best to look like someone worthy of a stallion like him.
“At the end the two of us were crowned the king and queen of the prom, and the ovation and cheers filled me with such magnificent radiance. It was beyond my wildest dreams. When he took me home I was so overwhelmed with how high he had lifted me up that I made the foolish decision to sleep with him.
“After that he gave me the boot. He had gotten what he wanted from me, so he had no further use for me. He coldly told me that the child he had helped create was my problem and that I was just a fling to him.”
The memories floated over me, but they weren’t razor sharp like they had always been before. I put my hoof to my ring again, proud that not a single tear came down. I stayed strong.
“That was the second time in my life where things the light left me, and I felt hopeless. I was so devastated and unsure of what to do I nearly got an abortion, but just like with my attempted suicide, I came to my senses in time and I didn’t go through with it.
“Both of those events were my lowest points and the points at which my regrets were at their greatest. Following Shooting’s betrayal I did wonder about who I was. When Dinky was only a few years old I lost my parents in an accident, leaving only me alone with my child, and I’ve limped on ever since.
“I don’t want to sound insulting to Dinky, but her love wasn’t enough for me. She has been an absolute gem. She’s been by my side and believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. She’s always pushed me to be my best, and at times she’s much more grown up and more mature than I am. She’s helped me keep going even when I’ve wanted to give up, because I know she needed me.
“However, while her love kept me going, it wasn’t enough to change me. After all, your child is supposed to love you. You live with your parent most of your life, being taken care of by them until you can start your own life, so it’s expected to be loved by your child. I do have to thank Dinky, though, as she was the one who started the ball rolling for me and Doctor Hooves, setting us up on a date on the pretense of just having a night out with a friend at the Apple family charity event a while ago. Having finally told Dinky the truth about her father she now wanted to see me do better.
“Over the course of that night he got me to open up, giving a chance to the things I never expected to have again. He watched over me with the protectiveness of a big brother, while being a gentle partner and understanding of my reluctance. We shared romance and stories and love, with Dinky always nearby to ensure things didn’t go too far.
"His love filled me up, soothing the aches and pains like a bandage around my hurt, finally starting to remind me of the old days. At times I would feel afraid and back off, but I always returned to him, because I needed him more than I can say. His never-ending persistence and love made me long for the joy I had felt in the past.
“I almost ran away from it all, a terrible nightmare of all these happy things that had been building up came crashing down upon me, making me terrified again. Of my ex returning, faking me out again, and hurting those I loved the most. But just like always we couldn’t stay apart for long.
“He came to me once again and we made up, leading up the new best day of my life: the day he proposed to me. When he jumped onto a table and demanded everyone’s attention I couldn’t have prepared for what he would say next. I was so focused on the eyes on me, afraid of being put under the spotlight, but then he came out, asking the question that blew my doubts away, leading up to now, the true best day ever.
“Doctor Hooves was one thing, but the overwhelming support and help that all of you have shown throughout these wedding preparations, having four princesses at my wedding, hearing Twilight’s inspirational speech and everyone giving me “a welcome worthy of a princess,”” I could feel myself starting to tear up as I finished, “truly, I can feel the light of friendship obliterating the darkness and the hard shell I had placed around my heart.” I sniffed, swallowing through the lump in my throat. “The long night is finally over. Now I’m ready to take my proper place, proud of the mare I see in the mirror.
“In a strange sort of way I’m grateful for what Shooting Star put me through. Looking back I can see now the signs that I missed that he didn’t truly care about me. Without knowing the darkness how can we come to truly appreciate the light? In that same vein, all the fake love and the easy way outs Shooting took can’t be replaced with the patient love of the Doctor, who has been perfectly responsible and respectful to me in the year we’ve been together. He always matched pace with me, never trying to skip ahead. When I’ve pulled back he waited for me, and if I took too long he came to me, always letting me make my own choices. When I tried to rush things he made sure to pull back and tell me no.
“There is no way I can ever repay him for all the affection he’s given, opening up my world to a possibility I had long though was just a dream. I’m no longer alone. I’ve found my missing piece, the one who makes me feel complete. The only stallion I would ever want by my side, and I pledge not to hold back either, giving him all that I can, to repay the love he gave me with all the love I can return to him, so that he never looks backs and wishes he had chosen someone else.”
He was crying and smiling just like me, and I was growing weary of talking, the distance between us, though just a few feet, seemed like a few feet too much.
Princess Celestia finally spoke again. “Thank you, Derpy, for sharing your story with us. I think we can all understand you a lot better now, and for what you’ve gone through I offer my heartfelt condolences. I can see it in your eyes, though, that all your guests aren’t in your field of attention right now. Doctor Hooves, do you accept Derpy’s words of faithfulness and caring?”
“Yes, Princess, I do.”
“Does anybody object to this union of Doctor Hooves and Derpy? Speak now or forever hold your peace.” A few seconds passed, but no one said anything. “Very well, then. Derpy Doo, Doctor Hooves, I hereby declare you mare and colt. You may kiss the bride.”
“With pleasure!” my beloved said, and I moved at the same time he did, sharing my impatience. We kissed, a long slow kiss. Cheers and whoops and stomped hooves followed suit. Overhead, I heard a loud bang, and the glass ceiling rained a rainbow light down upon the chapel. For a split second I raised my eyes, seeing a magnificent sonic rainboom, but at that moment even that impressive sight meant nothing to me as I returned my attention to Doctor Hooves, kissing him passionately.
I never wanted it to stop. I felt my heart on fire with adoration. I was a bride now! And that was never going to change. I opened my eyes, looking at him tenderly with all the love I could muster.
My dear friend, my partner, my lover, my protector... my husband.