• Published 13th Mar 2012
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Double-edged Sword - fic Write Off



/fic/ Write Off Mar 10 Entries

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Pinkie's Panic

“Good morning!” Pinkie sang as she hopped down the stairs. Mr. and Mrs. Cake were busily arranging the display before opening the store.

“Good morning dear,” Mrs. Cake smiled, balancing several boxes on her back. “Got anything planned today?”

“Not really, but we'll see what happens! See ya later,” Pinkie called, trotting out into the sunlit street.

She gazed around with a smile, taking in the colorful array of street vendors. Her cheerful mood was bolstered by the sun shining down through a clear sky. Little clouds of dirt puffed out beneath her hooves while she hopped down the road.

“Hey Fluttershy!”

“Good morning, Pinkie,” she said, turning to greet her. “What brings you here?”

“Just wandering through town. Getting more cherries?”

“Oh yes, I wanted to make a special dish for Angel again, and I thought it would be best if I got here early.”

“I'll leave you to it, then. See ya later!”

Pinkie continued along, eyeing the colorful displays. She idled in front of a tomato stand and prodded a few of the fruits. The taut, red skins glistened in the light. A few bits were exchanged as Pinkie had the sudden inspiration to attempt making tomato cupcakes. There weren't many creations she had yet to try, but tomatos were something she never thought about. If there was a way to create something sweet out of them, she was certain she would be the one to figure it out!

“Hello Pinkie,” came the voice of Twilight Sparkle from behind her.

“Hi Twilight! Getting groceries?”

“Yes, I'm running low on a few things and wanted to get shopping over with early. By the way, are you busy today?”

“How come?”

“Well, I wanted to do some experiments with those time spells we discovered in the Canterlot Archives, and I need some extra hooves.”

“I'd love to...” she glanced around, wondering if there was some way she could avoid it. “...but I wanted to catch up with Rarity! Maybe next time?”

“That's fine. There's still some stuff I can do with just Spike. Maybe if I...” she trailed off into a mumble as she strolled off. Pinkie bounced over towards Rarity, who was busily examing some fabrics.

“Hey Rarity!”

“Oh, hello Pinkie. What brings you out this morning?”

“Just buying stuff for cupcakes. What're you up to?”

“I'm trying to find something to use for my latest designs, but nothing seems to fit. Tell me, which one would you pick,” she asked, holding up two bolts of turquoise material. To Pinkie, they looked practically identical, but she didn't want to let down her friend.

“Mmm... that one!” Pinkie said, pointing to one at random.

“Yes, that's what I was thinking too. Yet, there's something missing...” Rarity turned back to the fabric and pulled one close to her face to squint at it. Pinkie shuffled around, absentmindedly fondling some of the fabrics.

“Well, I'll let you focus on that; I'm gunna get to work on these cupcakes. Bye!”

Rarity mumbled and waved as Pinkie turned to leave. The trot back to Sugarcube Corner was largely uneventful, excepting the rather large line that had formed leading out of the store.

“Wow, we sure have a lot of customers today,” Pinkie gasped as she wandered into the kitchen. Mr. Cake was dashing around, trying to bake several pies, a cake, and a batch of muffins all at once.

“Apparently,” Mr. Cake replied, tossing a pie into the oven as he pulled out a finished one and handed it off to Mrs. Cake. He turned to grab a bowl from the counter and knocked it to the floor. Eyes closed, he braced himself for the crash that was oddly missing. Peeking through an eye revealed Pinkie lying on the floor with the bowl between her hooves.

“Need some help?”

Mr. Cake nodded. Together the two began a complicated dance through the kitchen, trading jobs with simple phrases such as “Needs icing,” “Bake at 350 for 10,” and “Needs another layer.” Mrs. Cake would pop in from time to time, calling out another order that Pinkie would scribble down. Between the two bakers, the line slowly but surely began to diminish as pastry after pastry were handed out with cold efficiency.

At last, the final customer was handed their cake. Mrs. Cake poked her head into the kitchen, only to find Pinkie and Mr. Cake resting against the cabinets along the floor. She said something that Pinkie didn't pay any attention to before she disappeared to the front again. Pinkie gazed around the kitchen lazily, wondering why on earth there was a random bag of tomatos lying on the counter. Slowly, her mind worked through the haze of exhaustion before she finally remembered that she came back to do something before she started helping.

“Oh yeah! Tomato cupcakes,” she yelled, springing up off the floor.

“I don't know how you do it,” Mr. Cake sighed, pushing himself up, “but if you have the energy to bake anything, feel free. Probably best to do it now before we get another wave of customers.”

Pinkie set to work as Mr. Cake wandered out of the kitchen. She hummed to herself, tossing together ingredients haphazardly. If something looked like it would offset the sharpness of the tomato, in it went. Things that could balance the tomato flavor were thrown in. Anything to make it sweeter was added as long as it didn't conflict with the taste of the tomato. Her mind couldn't wander much since the cupcakes required so much attention, but that was what she liked about baking. It focused all the chaos in her head into something that she could control. It gave her a break.

Before she knew it, the ding of the oven timer had sounded and she was pulling a tray of freshly baked cupcakes from the oven. Several moments later and she found herself staring down at a tray of pale red, tomato flavored cupcakes. She gingerly picked one up, inspecting it. She slowly popped it into her mouth.

Her eyes lit up as she chewed through the pastry. The tomato flavor was light, but not light enough that it couldn't be tasted. There were the savory flavors of that, and at the same time there was a strong sweetness to the cupcake. It was hard to tell if the cupcake was delicious or not, simply because having something taste of tomato and be sweet was strange.

The sound of the swinging doors shook her from concentration. She looked over to see Mr. Cake briskly making his way towards the cabinets above the sink, straining to grab a few pie tins from within.

“Mr. Cake, you'll never guess what I just made!”

It took a moment of him grabbing ingredients before he acknowledged her.

“Oh, Pinkie? I'm sorry, we just got in a bunch of customers and I was focused on getting things together. What were you saying?”

She giggled. “I'm going to leave these here, is that alright?”

“Of course.”

“Good luck,” she called, heading out through the back door. The sun was still high in the sky, casting its rays unimpeded from a brilliant blue sky. Pinkie made her way out onto the road, looking around.

Hmm... who should I go tell about the new cupcakes first? Rainbow Dash is always up to try anything new I make, but she could be flying around anywhere! Fluttershy's usually at home, but she's always really busy with the animals. Applejack might not have too much to do, but that's rare...

While she thought, she let herself wander through town. Her legs usually led her where she wanted to go, even if she didn't quite know where that was before she got there. Throughout town, she waved and called to everypony she noticed. It was nice to be able to make anypony happy by just being there. Pinkie was happy that she could help.

Before she realized it, she was standing outside of Rarity's shop. She figured it was as good a place as any to start, so she hopped up the stairs and rang the doorbell.

The door swung open a few moments later to reveal a haggard looking Rarity standing inside.

“Hello Rarity! Mind if I come in?”

“Not at all, Pinkie.”

Pinkie followed Rarity in through to her room, where several mannequins were standing about the room, draped in various pieces of cloth. Designs were pinned all along the walls, and everything seemed to be in a general disarray. Rarity immediately turned herself towards one of the designs and began floating over assorted materials.

“So Pinkie, what have you been up to?”

“Well, I went home with those tomatos I bought earlier at the market, and I thought to myself, 'Pinkie, how're you going to make cupcakes out of this?' I couldn't really see any way to make these into something good, but I didn't let that stop me! I mixed and measured, and before I knew it I managed to whip up a batch of tomato flavored cupcakes that are super delicious! Isn't that exciting?!”

She waited patiently as Rarity continued to measure and cut fabric. It took a moment for it to register in Rarity's mind that Pinkie had finished her story.

“...oh, I'm sorry dear, I'm just so distracted by my work. I've got a bit much on my plate at the moment. You did what now?”

Pinkie gave a small laugh. “It's not important, I'll just come back when you aren't busy.” She turned and slowly walked out.

“Pinkie?” Rarity said, looking up from her work. The room was empty. She shook herself and refocused on the fabric floating in front of her.


Well, Rarity gets really busy sometimes. There's still everypony else!

Pinkie made her way out onto the road. She stood and looked up to the sky, gazing into the blue expanse. After a moment, she noticed a rainbow streak approaching her at an alarming rate.

“Rainbow Dash!”

Dash skidded to a halt, hovering a few feet over the top of Rarity's workshop.

“Oh, hey Pinkie. What's up?”

“Nothing much. Hey, wanna hear something awesome?”

“I would, but I'm kinda in a hurry. Weather stuff.”

Pinkie looked around at the clear sky. “I don't see anything wrong...”

“Over there,” Dash said, motioning with her hoof. Pinkie looked out towards the Everfree Forest. There in the sky were great swirling masses of darkness. Lightning flashed between the clouds, every so often reaching down to the ground with a spiky tendril. Thick clouds of smoke billowed up from the forest, and Pinkie could just make out the tiny pinpricks of pegasus ponies flying about.

“That looks like one doozy of a storm!”

“Yeah. The weather team said it's already started a few fires and it could reach Ponyville if we don't stop it.”

“Alright then. Good luck!”

Dash sped off towards the forest, becoming the rainbow streak in the sky again. Pinkie stared after her for a moment, before sighing and continuing along the road.

I shouldn't get sad just yet, that's only two of my friends who are busy. There's still three more!

A quick jaunt and Pinkie found herself at Sweet Apple Acres. Applejack was busily harvesting apples, so much so that she didn't have time to stop and chat. A casual trot and Pinkie was at Fluttershy's cottage. Fluttershy had several animals on her hands who had come down with various ailments, and so she was completely focused on them. A slow walk and Pinkie was at Twilight's Library. Twilight was enthusiastically conducting research about the time spells, so Pinkie decided it was best to leave her to her own devices.

Pinkie found herself back at Sugarcube Corner. Standing alone in the kitchen, she stared at the tray of tomato cupcakes resting on the counter. It almost felt like her friends didn't really care that she had something she wanted to share with them. That what they were doing was so important that anything Pinkie wanted to say didn't matter. It wasn't like shewas close to any of them anyway, she was just there to make them happy. Nopony cared about what Pinkie had to say, they just wanted her to make their day better.

No, stop thinking like that; you know that isn't true! Pinkie scolded herself, feeling her chest tighten.

Yet, she couldn't help herself. She couldn't help but feel like nopony wanted to be around her anymore. She couldn't stop herself from thinking all these horrible things about her friends. She knew her friends would never abandon her, but she could feel the spite welling up in the back of her mind. She tried to push it back down inside, but her feelings were being stubborn.

She even began to feel slightly nasueaous. That was new; she'd never felt sick to her stomach from sadness before. Her legs began to tremble slightly, which finally alerted her to the situation. Something wasn't right about this.

What's... Her breathing came in shorter and shorter gasps. What's happening?

Her eyes flitted around the room wildly as she felt the sweat beading up on her forehead. This room she was in, it wasn't somewhere she knew. It wasn't the same kitchen she'd known. She had to get out. She tried to move, finding her legs to be putting up a great resistance. She struggled as hard as she could, finally finding the strength to push forward. She made her way out of the kitchen, bounding towards the stairs with increasing speed. She heard Mr. and Mrs. Cake call out something, but she payed them no mind. All she could think about was getting to her room, getting away from everypony.

A few moments later and she was in her room. Lying on her side upon the floor, she struggled to stay calm in this place that felt so foreign and familiar. Her skin was covered in a sweat, despite feeling as though she were freezing. She silently trembled, staring at the far wall. Her chest hurt, and it felt like she couldn't take breaths large enough.

Then, after an eternity, things began to lessen. Her breathing came easier, her chest began to loosen, and the trembling started to fade away. Her fur was slightly matted from sweat, and her mane had lost a lot of its volume. The place she was in began to feel like home again.

The day had passed, with day turning to sunset, before Pinkie even made an attempt to move. She slowly pushed herself up from the floor, standing on weak legs. She had never gone through something like that before that she could remember. It was odd, and not the least bit frightening. Something that she couldn't control had taken over, and it wasn't something that felt pleasant.

Her energy felt like it had been drained away from her. She didn't even feel like leaving her room. Over the course of several days she stayed shut up in there, leaving only occasionally for food. Mr. and Mrs. Cake were worried, but they had no idea what to do. They had never seen Pinkie do anything like this before.

Time passed slowly for Pinkie. She didn't do much aside from lay in bed, not that there was anything she particularly wanted to do. All she did was think about her friends and hope that she didn't go through that ordeal again. She wondered why nopony had come to see her yet, why they hadn't tried to find out why she wasn't around anymore. It was at some point while thinking this she had realized how silly she was being. Her friends had their own lives, they couldn't just stop what they were doing to feel sorry for her. She had to get up and stop being foolish.

She decided the first order of business was to bathe. Once clean, she idled in the kitchen with a towel over her head while she looked around for something to eat. She desperately wanted to know what it was that had happened, but she couldn't think of anypony who had gone through something like that before. There wasn't even anypony she was sure that would take her seriously. They would probably think she was joking or something and then she would have to play it off. She munched on a tomato cupcake for a few moments before she decided to visit Twilight. She was the most likely pony to listen.

Having finished the cupcake and put away the towel, Pinkie was standing before the wooden door to the library. She knocked a few times, with no response. Resigned, she turned to leave before hearing a great deal of shuffling papers and such from inside. The door swung open, revealing Twilight who was sporting a shaggy mane.

“Pinkie? What brings you here?”

“Can I come in?”

“Of course. It is a library, after all. You don't really need to knock, either.”

“I know,” she said, wandering inside. “I just wasn't sure if you were still awake.”

“There's still time in the day. Besides, I just made a pretty good breakthrough so how could I sleep after something like that?!”

“That's true...”

Twilight raised an eyebrow. “You don't look like yourself Pinkie. What's wrong?”

Pinkie sighed and related to Twilight everything that had happened, being careful to leave out the unnecessary details of her lonesomeness. Twilight sat with a worried look on her face throughout the explanation. After it was done, Pinkie sat and leaned against the wall, staring at Twilight who was quite visibly distressed.

“Pinkie, what you went through is called a 'panic attack.'”

“Will it happen again?”

“I'm not sure. You might get them often, but this could also be something that was triggered by your emotions. What did you do after you came home?”

“Nothing. I was in the kitchen when this panic attack happened out of nowhere.”

“Hmm... are you sure you didn't get really sad or anything like that?”

“Yes, I told you, it happened out of nowhere.”

“Are you sure? I mean, it doesn't make much sense to just happen randomly, I'd think you would have gotten them before...”

“Okay, fine, I was sad! I was busy thinking about how much my friends didn't care about me!” Pinkie yelled, throwing up her hooves. She turned away, leaving Twilight silent with surprise.

“Pinkie...”

Twilight tentatively moved closer to her, reaching out to touch her shoulder. Pinkie collapsed against the wall, letting Twilight scoop her up into a hug.

“Pinkie, you don't have anypony you really talk to, do you?”

“What do you mean,” she sniffed.

“Well, you make friends with everypony in town, but you don't really have a friend, right?”

She looked blankly at Twilight.

“I had the opposite problem when I came to Ponyville. I only had one really close friend, and that was Spike. After being accepted as Celestia's personal student, I was studying almost all the time. The more I went through school, the more I felt I had to study. The more time I spent studying, the less time I had for friends. As much as I loved it, studying was basically preventing me from having any friends.”

“What do you...”

“You have sort of the opposite problem. You have so many friends that you don't have one really close friend, and everypony only knows you as a silly pony who only likes to throw parties. You don't have anypony you can share your feelings with, so you throw yourself into the role of cheering everypony else up to help forget about not having a close friend. As much as you love being there for your friends, it's keeping you from finding a true friend.”

Pinkie stared at the floor. Twilight had basically hit the nail on the head, and hearing it from somepony else made it feel even worse. She couldn't believe she hadn't seen it herself. Maybe she had seen it, but she didn't want to deal with it. Instead of worrying about finding somepony she could be really close friends with, she just blindly went along with what she thought she needed to do.

She looked up at Twilight, who was sitting there with a tiny smile. Here was somepony who, after a few minutes, had figured out something she was hiding from for practically her entire life. Twilight had gone through the same situation as her, and she easily saw what Pinkie was doing wrong. Maybe if she tried, Twilight could be somepony she would be able to grow close to.

“...Twilight?”

“Yeah?”

“Do you think we could be friends?”

Twilight laughed, bringing over a few sheets of paper.

“Here, help me look over this.”


Night had deepened considerably. Twilight was snoring away, head resting atop an open book. She had given Pinkie a crash course in how to do effective research, going over the Scientific Method more times than Pinkie cared for. They had spent countless hours performing spells over and over again to test their effects, and searching for information in the hundreds of books that lined the walls.

Pinkie rubbed at her tired eyes, stretching. She hadn't expected to be so fond of something like research. She walked over to the gas lamp on the table in the center of the room, quietly blowing out the small flame. It was probably due to the help of this unicorn that was currently drooling over the pages of her book pillow. Twilight had shown Pinkie that there was something to research that you never experienced when just looking at it from the outside. Of course, Pinkie couldn't exactly see herself going off on her own to conduct research. She flopped down next to her new found friend, curling up into a ball against Twilight's back and settling in for the night. She drifted off to sleep with the hope of a new beginning.

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