• Published 29th Jun 2013
  • 2,968 Views, 113 Comments

The Pinkie Paradox - SpaceCommie



When one of the duplicates, not Pinkie Pie, passes the test and remains in Ponyville, she's forced to lie to everyone. Well, almost everyone.

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Chapter 7

Ordinarily, I’d welcome the chance to get away from Sparkle. Unfortunately, my own thoughts aren’t much better company right now.

I’m not sure why that is. This is probably the best news of my life, after all. I may have slightly more existential angst to contend with, but it’s an improvement on worrying about getting zapped by Twilight. I’m free, as far as she's concerned. I can go where I want, do what I want. Maybe I’ll even get a cutie mark of my own. Who knows?

On the other hoof...

I honestly don’t know what to make of all this. Before I knew what I do now, I could justify holding onto this life. Even if I don’t deserve it, there’s nopony with the right to take it away from me. It’s not my fault things turned out this way.

But now things are different. I’m not just disconnected from these ponies. In some sense, I’m broken. This isn’t how I’m meant to be, and I’m the only one standing between Pinkie and her friends.

And now look at me, exorcising my demons into this little notebook. I don’t think there’s even a point to giving you this anymore. Pinkie would never have hurt you, and I don’t remember doing it.

Not even my guilt is real, it seems.

---

Twilight walked into the library, slamming the door behind her. Rainbow Dash, sprawled across a chair, reading a Daring Do novel, barely looked up. “Oh, you’re back,” she said indifferently. “Did you do it?”

“Dash, you’d better—wait, do what?”

“Send her back. The dupe.”

“No, I didn’t. Now, what the hell were you doing with her before I came in?”

Rainbow tried unsuccessfully to look nonchalant. “I was planning on beating the crap out of her. Maybe more, if I felt like it.”

“Rainbow—”

“I should have done it, too. That little bitch killed Pinkie, and she put Derpy in the hospital! If she hadn’t-”

“You need to listen to me now.

“What?” Rainbow growled.

“She is Pinkie Pie,” Twilight said, her patience stretched thin.

“Twilight, it’s a duplicate of Pinkie Pie! It’s not the same thing and you know that.”

“No, Rainbow. That’s what I’m talking about. She’s not a duplicate.”

Rainbow blanched. “She’s what?”

“She’s the real Pinkie Pie. She just... can’t remember who she is. She got that knocked out of her that day when all the duplicates were running around, and never managed to figure out that she’s the real one until I told her.”

“She’s...” Rainbow was momentarily taken aback, her mind thrashing about for an explanation. “Twilight, don’t you see what she’s doing? She’s playing you! This is how she operates, remember?”

“I didn’t want to believe it at first, either. But the evidence is inarguable. Here, come look at this.”

Rainbow reluctantly extricated herself from the chair and walked over to Twilight’s desk.

“Okay, look. Here’s Pinkie.” Twilight gestured towards the older readout. “And here’s your ‘duplicate’. They’re almost exactly the same.”

“Hence, duplicate, egghead.”

Twilight shot a glare at Rainbow. “Shut up, please. Do you think I didn’t consider that? If all the duplicates had the same magical imprint, I should have been able to find that in the Pool over and over again. I didn’t find it once.”

“So—but—” Rainbow sputtered, and froze.

Twilight waved a hoof across her friend’s face. Hello? Equestria to Dash? Rainbow snapped out of it.

“You mean... that’s the real Pinkie?”

Twilight nodded numbly.

“Oh, Celestia. Twilight, I could have killed her. I wanted to kill her...” Rainbow shook her head disbelievingly. “Bucking hell. Twilight, what the buck was I doing? Where is she? I need to apologize. I need to—” She stopped, as if her mental gears had suddenly seized up.

“Rainbow, calm down. This isn’t your fault. It’s mine. I should have told you earlier. I just wanted to be sure before I let you know. It’s my fault.”

“You shouldn’t have had to let me know, though! I nearly killed her! She’s my friend and I could have killed her. Some bucking Element of Loyalty I am. Wait. Twilight?”

“Yes?” the unicorn responded abstractedly.

Rainbow began talking very quickly. “So if she’s Pinkie but she just can’t remember that she is, that must mean...” she trailed off. “You can fix it, can’t you? Make her Pinkie again?”

“I can, but I’m not going to unless she lets me.”

“Twilight, you gotta do it. We need our Pinkie back. I need my Pinkie back.”

“I told her that I wouldn’t force her to let me do it, and I meant that.”

Rainbow sighed in defeat. “You’re right. I just wish—”

“We all wish, Dashie.”

---

I wandered around the town for a while, going nowhere in particular. Sugarcube Corner beckoned, but I don’t think I could deal with seeing the Cakes right now. Too many questions would be asked, and besides... I don’t think I could bear to see one more pony that misses Pinkie that badly.

So I walked towards the library, Spike was, interestingly, there waiting for me. I was not expecting that. Hell, I’m surprised I even came back there.

“I figured you’d be coming here,” Spike said smugly.

“Spikey. How’d you manage that?”

“I know you pretty well, don’t I?” he responded with a smile.

“You’ve known me for what, two weeks?”

“A bit longer than that.” He rubbed the back of his head nervously. “I may have, uh, overheard a conversation between Twilight and Rainbow.”

“Oh. So I guess you know by now that I’m—”

“The original Pinkie?”

“I was going to say the real Pinkie, but that works too,” I said dispiritedly.

“Ah, heck, Diane. You were always real to me.”

I actually teared up. That absurd little dragon. “That means a lot to me, Spike. Thanks.”

He paused uncomfortably for a moment. “So do you know what you’re going to do?”

I shrugged. “Honestly, no. Either prospect scares the hell out of me. I doubt I’d be able to live with myself if I didn’t go through with it. But I don’t know that I’ll survive the process. It’s a mess.”

“Do you need a hug?” he asked awkwardly.

I decided to let him play it off as a joke. “Save it for Rarity. What do you think I should do, Spike?”

“You’re asking me?”

“Why not?”

“Well, in that case...” Spike said, producing a glass lens and placing it over his eye.

“What the hell are you doing?” I asked, bemused.

“This is my monocle. You need a monocle if you want to properly philosophize,” he said matter-of-factly. “That, or a mustache, but that’s more of a long shot.”

“You’re so full of crap!” I said, smiling widely.

“Absolutely. But anyways, I don’t know how much it matters whether you’re Pinkie or Diane. Memories can’t be everything. There’s also, I don’t know, your soul. Who you are. I mean, look at that smile. There’s probably more of Pinkie in you than you realize. And the same will probably be true the other way around, if you’re going to go through with this. Does that make any sense?”

I laughed. “Possibly.”

Spike took out his monocle and regarded me worriedly. “Whatever happens, though... I hope you’re okay.”

"Me too. Thanks. Listen, Spike, there’s somepony else I need to see before I... make my decision. Is it okay if I leave?”

“I guess. See you later?”

I couldn’t lie to Spike. “Probably not. Goodbye.”

“Right. Goodbye, Diane.”

I hesitated. "Spike?"

"Yup?"

“I’ll take that hug now.”

It was just as awkward as I think we both expected, but I left the library feeling obscurely contented.

---

I walked towards the hospital. It must sound pathetic, but I wanted to see you. Don’t ask me why. I can’t even figure it out. Why do I come back to you, or to this notebook? If I knew what I do now when I had first heard about you, I would never have written this. I probably would never have given you a second thought.

“I’m here to see Derpy,” I told the receptionist. She looked reproachfully at me.

“Er, Ditzy Doo. I’m a...” I paused, unable to come up with the right word. I settled on “friend.”

She duly read off a room number and pointed your way. I’ve been here a few times to see you. This time feels different, as I look at you. Okay, maybe a bit creepy. Don’t worry though, my intentions are good.

They talked about how clumsy you are—never in a mean way, of course. Personally, though, I haven’t been able to conceive it since seeing you. You look so calm, so... centered, I guess. Surely it can’t be you that moves so gracelessly. It has to be the world, spinning crazily around you, that screws up so badly. I wouldn’t know, I guess. I wish I did.

---

“Hey, Dinky,” I said with a genuine smile. She’d come into your room.

I saw her pretty often before I left for Manehatten, as she’d been getting free meals from Sugarcube Corner whenever she wanted. Knowing the Cakes, they’re still at it. Anyways, Dinky’s a good kid. She’s doing about as well as can be expected under the circumstances, but she took what happened to you pretty hard.

Her eyes widened. “Oh, hi Miss Pie! What are you doing here?”

“Visiting,” I said vaguely. “You probably want me to leave.”

She nodded, smiling apologetically.

“Right,” I said, getting up. “You don’t mind if I ask you a question about your mom, do you?”

“I guess not. What is it?”

“If she woke up and I...” There didn’t seem to be a good way to explain this to Dinky, to let her know just how high the stakes were for me. “If she woke up and I wasn’t there anymore, how would your mom feel about that?”

Dinky looked thoughtfully. “Probably not so good. I mean, the two of you aren’t that close, but...”

I looked at her expectantly.

“I dunno. Sometimes ponies get impatient with Mom, ‘cause she’s, you know, different. You never did that. You treated her like everypony else, always trying to make her smile. I think you really helped her after my dad left. If you hadn’t been there... I don’t know how well she would have done. You’re a good friend.”

I tried to say thank you, but no sound seemed to come out. I walked uneasily out of the room as Dinky started to talk to you.

“Hi, Mom. Everything’s okay I guess. I miss you though. I wish—”

Her voice faded out as I left.

---

I’m at the edge of the Everfree now. It’s beautiful out here. The early evening sun is shining through the leaves, making them golden. I always loved that. Part of me wants to stay here forever, sitting in the sunlight and watching as the faint breeze gently tousles the grass in front of me. I can see Canterlot gleam in the distance, and hear bird song.

I know it sounds uncharacteristically saccharine for me, but I’m glad I got to be here and see this before I.... you know. That, and seeing you one last time.

It was about you, in the end. I know that it sounds insane. There’s no bonds of kinship or romance connecting us. Why should your happiness be worth my life? Like I said before, starting to write this was, if not a mistake, certainly an accident. But as it turns out, you’ll know me better than anypony. I only wish I could have known you before I...

In some sad, strange way, I think I love you, Derpy. I may not have to apologize to you, but I dearly want you to understand me.

I’ll get your friend back. Goodbye.

---

Diane knocked at the entrance to Twilight’s study.

She looked up from her desk, surprised. “You came back.”

“I guess,” Diane said.

“Thank you.” It was impossibly inadequate, but what else was there to be said?

“So what do I have to do?” Diane asked. She tried to keep her voice steady, but not very successfully.

Twilight couldn’t meet her eyes. “Just stay in one spot long enough for me to work.”

The pink pony nodded once, then started uncertainly to speak. “Twilight?”

It seemed like an eternity before she could respond. “Yes?”

“What happens to me if this works?”

Twilight sighed. “It won’t hurt, if that’s what you’re wondering. Other than that, I don’t really know. You won’t be you anymore. Pinkie might have some of your memories, but she still won’t be you. I’m sorry.”

“Maybe memories aren’t what’s important,” Diane said. “And I forgive you. You have to do this. If Pinkie doesn’t remember everything... will you give this to Derpy?”

She offered Twilight a small notebook, with two words carefully written on the front. To Derpy.

“It’s for when she wakes up. Spike might want to read it too. You’ll give it to her?”

“Of course.”

“Okay, okay,” Diane said, blinking back tears as Twilight’s horn began to glow.

Wet. It would be the last thing she remembered.