by PaulAsaran


It took a moment for Pinkie to realize she was awake. She blinked, taking in the warm light from the window and the quiet beeping of a heart monitor. When at last her vision cleared, she found that she was lying on a hospital bed. She tried to sit up, but her weak body rebelled. She reached up as carefully as she could and felt bandages on her neck.

Something shifted on the covers. She looked down to find two broad purple eyes gazing at her. A single blink was all the reaction she got, but that was enough to make her grin.

“Hello, Gummy. Did you keep me company?”

A purple head popped up from the corner of the room. “Pinkie!” Twilight cried with a grin. She climbed to her hooves and trotted over. “How are you feeling?”

She thought on the question, casually petting Gummy. “Really tired. Like, super duper ‘gosh-and-I-thought-dealing-with-a-hundred-Pinkie-clones-was-tiring!’ tired.” She looked around the room once again, then asked, “How am I still alive?”

Twilight sat by the bed and offered a sheepish smile. “The moment Arabus realized my mind was protected from him, he had no choice but to go back to his box. When he did, I was freed from his control and had just enough time to hit you with a stasis spell. It kept you alive long enough for me to get you here to be patched up.” She rubbed her hooves together bashfully. “I came up with the spell on the spot. I hope it doesn’t have any lasting side effects.”

Pinkie stared up at her, a smile creeping upon her face. “You… You saved me. I was going to kill you, and you saved me.”

“You saved me first.” Twilight rested her cannons on the bedside and beamed at Pinkie. “You were willing to take your own life to save mine. Part of me wishes you hadn’t tried, but I can’t tell you how proud I am of you.”

“It’s just like what you did when Tirek had us.” Pinkie shifted into a more comfortable position, her eyes set on Gummy’s back. Her cheeks were burning. “I couldn’t let him win. I had to be strong.”

“And you were, Pinkie. You were amazing.” Twilight nuzzled her cheek, to which Pinkie could only grin. “Oh, and I thought you’d like to know: Celestia already took Arabus back to Tartarus. Turns out they had some history.”

“No!” Pinkie shook her head, moving it slowly since her neck was still sore. “I don’t want to know about him, don’t want to think about him! I want to forget that he even existed.”

Twilight frowned, her words laced with concern. “Don’t forget, Pinkie. Whatever you do, don’t forget. This is something best kept alive.”

Pinkie sighed and nodded. “I guess you’re right. But I still don’t want to know about him. Stupid jerkface.” An ear twitched and she peered up at Twilight. “Wait, how did you know I was in trouble?”

The smile returned to Twilight’s face, but it was subdued. “Trixie told me. I used a spell Luna let me borrow to get inside her head. Turns out she’s the one who let Arabus loose, although she didn’t realize what she was doing.” She raised a hoof to stop Pinkie’s question before it could leave her lips. “She’s fine. As soon as the box that held Arabus crossed into Tartarus, Trixie woke up. She’s still in town, if you’d like to talk to her.”

After a moment’s thought, Pinkie asked, “Did she end up… killing things?” At Twilight's unsteady nod, she shivered. “I want to talk to her. I still owe her a party, after all.”

Twilight's jaw dropped. "You just nearly killed yourself, and you're already thinking about hosting a party?"

Pinkie felt as if all the energy had left her, but she still smiled. "Not really... but I'm the resident Party Pony, and I'm sure Trixie could use some cheering up too. Although... I think for now we'll just settle on a friendly talk."

“I understand. You both went through something horrible. Maybe it’ll help.” Twilight pursed her lips and averted her gaze. She opened her mouth, closed it, tried again. “Pinkie. About… the incidents. Winona and Harry. Did you… I mean…”

Pinkie closed her eyes and her throat constricted. “Yes. I did it. I did it. I didn’t want to. Oh, Fluttershy and Applejack must be so angry with me.”

Twilight rested a hoof on Pinkie’s shoulder. “I can have them come by later, if you’d like.”

She shook her head, lips trembling. “No. It’s too soon. I can’t f-face them, not after I… I…”

“Shhh…” Twilight nuzzled her once again. “It’s alright, Pinkie. We’ll take it one step at a time, okay? You know Applejack and Fluttershy will understand. It wasn’t your fault.”

“Wasn’t it?” Pinkie turned her head away. “I resisted, Twilight. I protected you. Why couldn’t I protect them? Why didn’t I fight him when Harry’s life was on the line, or Winona’s?”

With a sigh, Twilight patted her shoulder. “I couldn’t say, but it doesn’t make you a bad pony. They’ll forgive you, Pinkie. The hardest part, I think, will be learning to forgive yourself.”

Pinkie remained silent, staring at the window and absentmindedly petting Gummy. She thought of Applejack and her anger, then Fluttershy and her sobs. Both were far too much to bear. She wanted to crawl into a box, then have somepony lock the box, then bury that box in a…

The train of thought faded. She noticed Twilight watching her intently. She took a deep breath and direct her focus to her friend. “I’ll try, Twilight. I just… need time.”

Twilight offered a reassuring smile. “That’s okay, Pinkie Pie.

“Take all the time you need.”

Pinkie stood in the doorway, staring at the two foals playing on the floor. The scent of fresh-baked cookies rose from somewhere below as the Cakes prepped for opening time. The early morning sun streamed through the window, making a neat pattern that Pumpkin Cake seemed to be thoroughly enjoying.

Pinkie watched as Pound Cake threw his toy high into the air. It landed with a soft plop atop his sister, who broke into a fit of giggles. Pinkie saw this, and she smiled, but she didn’t dare enter. She could still see herself standing over their crib, a knife in hoof and murder on her mind. But it wasn’t really her mind, was it?

Did that matter?

Pumpkin spotted her and gave an ecstatic “Pinkie!” Pound heard this and whipped around to chime in with “Pie!”

The sound of her name coming from their small lips slammed into her like a sledgehammer. Her hind legs failed her and tears welled in her eyes. She watched the foals crawl for her.

A knife in the dark…

She began to hyperventilate. “N-no. Don’t come over here you two. Please.”

They didn’t listen. They giggled and were soon embracing her forelegs. They rubbed their heads against her and grinned, Pound Cake already trying to pull her into the room to play.

She wanted to step away, but her legs betrayed her. She could only stare, heart pounding and body trembling. The twins shared uncertain expressions, then pressed even harder against her.



No knives appeared in her mind’s eye. No deadly thoughts, no soothing pressure, no roiling stormclouds.

Her breathing slowed, but the tears didn’t stop. She smiled and snatched the two foals up, hugging them close to her chest as they squealed with delight.

“I love you two little cupcakes!”

And then she played with them. She played with them all day long, and not once did she think about death or pain or knives or her guilt. She played through their eating time, and changed their diapers and kept going right up until they fell asleep that night in exhaustion. Then she stayed up, staring at the two of them and basking in the pleasure that was her life.

For the first time in over a week, Pinkie Pie remembered joy.

She swore that she would speak with Applejack, Fluttershy and Trixie tomorrow.