• Published 27th Dec 2014
  • 2,183 Views, 104 Comments

Laughter or Darkness - Starlitomega

It seems like an easy choice, doesn't it? However, when you've spent a thousand years away from other ponies, the darkness can be comforting. It will take a lot of work to drag Luna out of the darkness, but one pink pony is up to the task.

  • ...

Twilight Has a Burr Forcibly Removed From Her Saddle

Sugarcube Corner stood as a shining example of earth pony strength. Running a bakery is hard work, full stop. Add to that the pressure of raising a set of energetic twins and it crosses the line into miracle territory. Knowing where Pinkie fit into this family was yet another complication Luna hadn't quite figured out. She took the time to marvel at just how much ponies could do when they set their hearts and minds to it.

Her ruminations aside, Luna's presence in the sweetshop wearing an elegant, yet simple light blue dress sent a message not lost on the patrons or owners of the establishment.

This was a date.

The older pony behind the counter nervously cleared her throat. "Are you sure you wouldn't like to take a seat, Your Highness?"

Mr. and Mrs. Cake seemed friendly enough, and given the way Pinkie talked about them with near godlike reverence, they were—in all likelihood—good-hearted ponies. At this instance however, they were behaving as if a princess-shaped bomb had been placed in the lobby of their shop.

"I appreciate your concern, Mrs. Cake, but Pinkie said she wouldn't be long," Luna explained, offering a sincere smile. "I'm fine with standing until she returns."

"Oh... okay, Your Highness. Just, uhh, let us know if you need anything," Mrs. Cake replied, seemingly satisfied enough with the response to go back to pretending like she wasn't staring at Luna.

The ringing of the doorbell echoed in the cozy shop. Everypony looked to the front door, if for no other reason than to have an excuse to stop staring at the lunar princess.

"Hi, Mrs. Cake. I was just wondering if that order I left earlier was don—"

Oh no. Of all ponies that had to appear now, why her?

Twilight Sparkle came to a screeching halt halfway to the counter. "Woah... Princess Luna. Funny seeing you here of all places... in a dress..."

Luna oftentimes thought about how her sister would handle the uncomfortable situations she found herself in. The alicorn decided she would try her hoof at Celestia's uncanny ability to remain stoic and non-plussed in even the most awkward circumstances. "Yes... I am here... in a dress."

Twilight nodded slowly. "Riiight... doesn't that seem a bit suspicious? Like you're prepared to go on a date or something?"

"Perhaps It's most probable that I am about to go on a date," Luna suggested. She finally met eyes with Twilight, determined to stare her down.

The purple pony let out an uneasy laugh. "Gee, that's funny, because the only pony you could be picking up on a date here would be Pinkie Pie, and we both decided how ridiculous that would be."

Mrs. Cake stepped from behind the counter, her face turning red. "And what exactly is that supposed to me—"

Luna held up a firm hoof, silencing the older pony. "Wrong, Twilight Sparkle. You decided it was ridiculous. You decided it wasn't 'proper'. I withheld my judgement, and upon further consideration, determined that I would indeed pursue a relationship with Pinkie Pie. Quite frankly, I don't know why you're so invested in this."

Twilight's eyes narrowed angrily. "I'm trying to do what's best for Equestria, and for you. Ponies will think you're a... a common floozy for dating a pony like Pinkie Pie!"

Anger flared behind Luna's eyes. She lowered her head and dug her hooves into the hardwood floor like an animal preparing to charge. "I don't care what they, or you for that matter, think about who I choose to date! This is my life, my choice. You are not in any position to tell me how to live it!"

Poking herself in the chest, Twilight scoffed and looked around the entire shop. "Oh yes! Make me the bad pony here! I don't know if you realize it or not, but there are proper procedures and policies when it comes to dating royalty. You can't go dating anypony on the street just because you feel like it!"

Luna cut her eyes, shooting a venomous glare at the purple alicorn. "Are you calling me a street urchin? Is that it? Do enlighten us, then, about Cadance and your brother. How did that go? Did they follow the ‘proper’ procedures’, or is Cadance a floozy too? How about your brother?"

“Don't you dare talk about my brother like that!" Twilight yelled, her horn sparking with a purple charge.

Luna smirked at her opponent. "Why not? You don't like it when the rules apply to you or your family? Tell me then: why is it that I'm not allowed to court Pinkie Pie, yet your brother can sleep his way to a marriage without telling his little sister until the day before!"

"Shut up!" Twilight gritted her teeth and fired the bolt she was holding. Luna quickly fired a charge of her own in answer.


Raising her head at the familiar voice, Luna gasped when she opened her eyes. Pinkie stood between them, hooves outstretched both ways, clearly calling for an end to the violence. When the blasts connected, Pinkie spasmed violently as the magic flowed through her. Luna watched on in horror as a belch of smoke escaped the mare's lips before finally slumping to the ground.

"Pinkie Pie!"

In a single stride, Luna dashed to the unconscious pony’s side, scooping Pinkie up in her hooves. "Pinkie? Pinkie! Pinkie, wake up!" Luna gently shook the pink pony in an attempt to rouse her.

Pinkie remained silent.

"Hospital! I have to get her to the hospital!" Luna shouted frantically. She took to her hooves and picked the pony up with her magic.

"Wait!" Twilight shouted as she charged toward them. "I-I may have a spell, or, or... please, let me help!"

Luna glared at Twilight. She concentrated a single malevolent thought toward the alicorn. A precisely-aimed blast weaved its way around the tables and chairs until it found its mark, sending Twilight flying into the wall behind her. The purple pony crumpled to the ground in an unconscious heap.

"You have done enough!"

You can't choose your family.

This was a saying that had long haunted Celestia. To be fair, it was a phrase that reared its ugly head very rarely. When it did come up, though, it always did so in a tiring manner. One which required a patient hoof, a good ear, and a swift response.

Celestia sat patiently and listened to every word her sister had to say. Luna described exactly what was said, and what was done, after which she returned to doting on the unconscious Pinkie Pie. She knew Twilight could become unhinged at times, but even this seemed overboard, given the circumstances. Stepping into the waiting room, Celestia was greeted by worried faces.

Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Rarity, and Applejack sat huddled with Twilight. Fresh tears and worried eyes pleaded with Celestia to go easy on her.

But there could be no leniency.

"Twilight Sparkle!" she shouted, her voice making the group of ponies jump in fright. Twilight looked up at her with streams of tears streaming down her face.

"P-Princess Celestia, please—"

"Outside! Now!"

Celestia teleported instantly, without giving Twilight or her friends a chance at rebuttal.

The sun peaked just above the horizon, coloring the skies in shades of purple and orange. On a day like today, ponies would usually be bustling through the streets, preparing to go home. However, the incident seemed to drop a pallor over the town, leaving the main thoroughfare deserted. On the bright side, it at least meant there were no ponies around for what she had to do.

"Princess Celestia, I know what I did was wrong, but I—"

Twilight's words were silenced by a firm hoof across her cheek. She stumbled on her hooves, left in shock by the strike. She worked her jaw for a moment before looking up at her mentor in disbelief.

"Twilight Sparkle! What were you thinking? Antagonizing my sister, vilifying your friend, assaulting Luna with a magic attack. This is not the kind of conduct I, nor anypony else in Equestria, expects of you! Have you any defense against these egregious actions?"

Twilight regained her balance, gently rubbing her cheek. As her head drifted downwards, she spoke in a muted tone. "I... I thought it wasn't fair..."

Celestia craned her neck downwards, trying to hear her student’s words. "Excuse me?"

"I said it's not fair!" Twilight shouted, her head jerking back up. Her eyes burned in anger. "Why is it that Pinkie Pie can date Luna and there's no problems, but when it comes to me and you..." Twilight choked on a sob as the tears started flowing once more.

Celestia sighed and shook her head. She stepped over to the crying pony and slowly draped her wing over Twilight's side. "So that's what this is about."

Celestia curled up on the ground and pulled Twilight close to her chest. "Twilight, I think you misunderstood me."

"I don't see how,” Twilight said between sobs. “You made it perfectly clear."

"When I said it wouldn't be proper for us to date, I didn't mean it in a societal way. I meant it in a very different way."

"Wh-what do you mean?" Twilight asked, trying to dry her eyes.

"I do love you, Twilight, more than you'll ever know. Ever since you started your first day at my school, I've felt a special bond toward you. I love you, Twilight. I love you like a mother loves her daughter."


Celestia lowered her neck onto Twilight's head, nuzzling her softly. "I think of you as the daughter I never had. I watched you grow up from a nervous and excitable foal, into a strong and powerful princess. I watched as you took every challenge thrown your way, and simply tossed each one to the side. It was no small measure of pride when you graduated from my academy. However, I knew, from that day forward, I would have to say goodbye and let you become the strong pony you were destined to be."

Twilight looked up at Celestia, tears still welling in her eyes. "I... I never knew."

"Of course not. What reason would I have to tell you? You had parents, and you earned your achievements by your own merits. I had no right to take credit for your accomplishments. Yet, I still do. That's why we can't be together. You are the daughter I never had, and apart from getting my sister back, watching you grow up has been one of the largest blessing I've ever had in my entire life."

Twilight fell quiet. She adopted a squint, and her eyes moved rapidly from left to right. Celestia recognized this trait of hers. Twilight would fall into this behavior anytime she had a problem to work out, or an issue to resolve. She had seen the purple pony do so for countless complicated mathematical equations, among other academic conundrums. It wasn't long, however, until the squint vanished completely.

"Princess.... will Pinkie be alright?"

With a heavy sigh, Celestia pulled Twilight closer and placed a hoof around her. "I don't know, Twilight. If the blasts happened at the same time, they should cancel each other out, using her connection to the earth as a conduit."

"A-and if th-they didn't?" Twilight stammered.

Celestia wished telling a lie would help—that it could ease Twilight's guilt, but she knew lies like that would simply come back later.

"Then the power will be multiplied two-fold. Under that stress, her heart might fail, or there could be internal bleeding. It could even disrupt her natural connection to the earth."

Twilight lifted her head. Although clearly terrified to hear the truth, her eyes still pleaded for more. "Wha-what would that mean?"

"Pinkie Pie would appear to be fine, but she would get weaker and weaker with each passing day, sleeping much more than usual. About a month later, she'll fall asleep... and never wake again."

Tears fell once again as Twilight started sobbing. "What have I done?"

Luna sat patiently by Pinkie's side. The hospital chairs weren't very comfy, but comfort was the last thing on the alicorn's mind at the moment.

Why does this have to happen? Why do ponies have to be such fragile creatures?

Luna touched Pinkie's hoof, half expecting it to wrap around her own. Unfortunately, wishful thinking did little to change the reality of the situation.

The scene played out again in her head. Pinkie's defiant stance between them, the blasts connecting with the earth pony... her slumped form hitting the ground.

She pursed her lips and cried out in anger. "You idiot! Why did you do that? Why jump between us like that? What in Equestria did you hope to accomplish?"

Luna didn't expect Pinkie to answer her. Truth be told, she didn't know why she was asking the questions in the first place. She already knew the answers. Pinkie abhorred fighting, especially among her friends. Throwing herself in the middle of an altercation was exactly how Pinkie resolved them. As usual, the plan worked, but this time, the cost could be immeasurable.

Despite the severity of the situation, Luna couldn't help but smirk at the grin pasted on Pinkie's face. Adding the fact that she hadn't been summoned meant that if Pinkie was indeed dreaming, the dreams themselves clearly weren't very bad.

Looking down, Luna grinned ruefully. "I hope you're at least enjoying your nap."

"It was pretty good," Pinkie muttered through a yawn.

Lifting her head, Luna's eyes flew to Pinkie's. "Pinkie Pie! You're alright!"

The pink pony pointed her hooves into the air, still at the tail end of her yawn. She smiled and tilted her head curiously. "Of course I am, silly. I just took a nap, that's all."

Luna looked down, her eyes filled with shame. "Uhh, actually, Twilight Sparkle and I accidentally hit you with our magic."

Pinkie squinted, her eyes flitting in confusion. "You did? Ohhhhhh. So that's why I'm in the hospital. I thought I was having a surprise root canal."

Luna wrapped her hooves around the pink pony and hugged her tight. "I'm sorry."

"It's okay, really."

Gentle knocking from the door forced the pair to end their hug prematurely. Luna cleared her throat, but kept her eyes on Pinkie. "Come in."

Creaking softly, the door opened. Luna saw Pinkie retreat beneath the covers. She turned to see who it was that had come to visit.

"I... I hope I'm not interrupting..."

Standing in the doorway was Twilight Sparkle. Luna's hair raised in anger for a brief moment before she noticed the remorseful look on Twilight's face.

"You're not. You may enter," Luna spoke.

Pinkie shifted in the bed, turning to the window. "I don't wanna talk to her."

Luna turned back to Twilight.

"She won't have to... I just... I have to make sure she's okay—that there won't be any lasting effects after what I did," the purple alicorn said.

"After what we did," Luna corrected her.

Twilight nodded and stepped slowly to the bed. Luna watched curiously as the purple pony pulled a book out of her saddlebags. With her eyes transfixed on the book, Twilight's horn ignited, and a slow, magical beam shimmered to life. The beam traced across the bed and its occupant several times before finally cutting off.

Twilight let out a sigh of relief. "Please... when she's better, tell Pinkie I'm—" Twilight's voice cracked as a sob escaped her throat. "I'm sorry."

At this, Pinkie slowly turned in bed, peeking out from under the covers.

"I-I was jealous that she had something I couldn't have," Twilight continued. "I thought I couldn't have what I wanted because what... no, who I wanted was a princess, but that wasn't it at all. Even if it was, I should have respected yours and Pinkie's choice, and kept my nose out of it."

Luna nodded stoically. "I will tell her for you. Thank you."

Laughing nervously, Twilight turned and made for the door. "I-I guess I'll be on my way. I've got a lot of studying to do to make this right. I'll need to go through all of my friendship reports with a fine-tooth comb. It might take days, or even weeks, to fix this."

Twilight had barely made it a step away from the bed before two pink hooves grabbed and yanked her back into a vicious hug. "Nuh uh! No studying! We're gonna hug this out right now," Pinkie said, locking Twilight into a full body grip.

"Ack! Okay, okay, Pinkie! I get it!"

Luna stifled a chuckle with her hoof.

"And what are you laughing at? You're part of this, too!" Pinkie shouted, peering over Twilight's shoulder.

Luna left her chair and turned to flee, but was just half a second too slow. Another hoof grabbed and pulled her in, officially making it a group hug.

"Isn't this soooo much better than arguing and fighting?" Pinkie mused, holding her captives with an iron grip.

"It's.... great," Twilight choked out, her cheeks bulging with effort.

"Vision... fading… fast," Luna grunted out with what little air hadn't been forced out of her lungs.

Walking into the waiting room, Twilight and Pinkie struggled to stay upright, thanks to the avalanche of support from their friends.

"I better not hear of y'all firing your fancy magic at one another ever again!" scolded Applejack, rubbing her hoof on Twilight's head playfully.

Rarity nodded in agreement. "Yes, no more of this barbaric treatment. We're all civilized ponies here."

Luna smiled as the circle of friends exchanged well wishes and fears over what might have been... save for one; Rainbow Dash didn't seem as enthused as the others. She stood off to the side, wearing a paper-thin smile.

"Welp, it's gettin’ late. Ah'm sure Granny and the rest of mah kin are wonderin' where Ah'm at," Applejack finally said, breaking up the impromptu get-together.

"Oh my, I bet Angel is hungry! Oh no! All of the critters must be! I've gotta go, everypony!" Fluttershy shouted, darting out of the hospital.

"It is rather late. No restaurant in town will have us now. Pinkie and I shall be off, too." Luna started charging a teleportation spell, but Twilight interrupted her.

"Princess Luna, Pinkie Pie, I wanted to say... I'm sorry for ruining your date tonight."

Pinkie stepped closer to Twilight and gently nuzzled her. "It's okay, Twi-twi. We'll have other dates. I'm just glad we're still friends."

Twilight managed a small, but grateful smile.

"Are you ready?" Luna asked, still holding the teleportation spell.

Pinkie nodded furiously and bolted to Luna's side, her mane bouncing from the sudden stop. Waving frantically, they both vanished in a blinding flash.

"Uhhh, why are we in a bush?"

It was a reasonable question for Pinkie to ask. After all, Luna did just declare they were going home. Instead, a full-grown alicorn princess and an earth pony shared a bush right outside the hospital they were just standing in.

"We're in a bush because I have a hunch," whispered Luna.

"Oh. That makes sense!"

Luna placed a hoof on Pinkie's mouth. "Quiet."

They turned their eyes to the hospital entrance. Rarity walked out, no doubt headed for home. Twilight walked out next with a lifeless gait, her eyes and head aimed low to the ground.

"Poor Twilight," Pinkie muttered. "I hope she doesn't feel too bad."

"Her pain is a necessity. She must learn that wielding such magic irresponsibly can have consequences, especially in public." Luna sighed with a heavy heart. "Not to say I'm without blame. This disaster falls upon my hooves, as well."

Pinkie leaned into Luna, wearing a hopeful smile surely meant to alleviate her guilt.

The hospital doors opened again, causing them to separate. Rainbow Dash galloped out into the night, her eyes focused dead ahead like a laser. "Hey, Twilight."

The purple pony turned around, adopting a fake smile. "Hi, Rainbow. You headed home too, huh?"

Rainbow laughed nervously. "Heh, heh, uhhh... not yet. I kinda wanted to talk to you."

"Is something wrong? You've been acting kind of unusual all night."

Rainbow Dash looked like she was about to keel over. Sweat poured off of her brow, and her face started to pale. "Listen, I... well, what I mean to say is..."

"Rainbow, are you sure you're alright? You look like you've seen a gho—" Twilight gasped as the pegasus wrapped her up in a tight hug.

"You idiot! I was so worried about you! When Mrs. Cake told me Luna blasted you at Sugarcube Corner, I was expecting to find nothing but a black smudge on the floor. And when Princess Celestia called you outside, I thought she was gonna turn you into a frog or something!"

Twilight laughed and turned her head away. "Rainbow, it's not a big deal. I'm fine an—"

"No, it's not fine!" Rainbow objected. Her eyes burned with resolve that even Luna could see from where she was standing. "I almost lost you today."

Twilight seemed taken aback by the sincerity in Rainbow's voice. The pegasus took that moment to hug her once more, tighter this time.

"I, uhhh, gotta go!" Rainbow shouted. She took the sky, leaving a blur in her wake.

"Rainbow, wait!" Twilight shouted as she blasted off into the sky in pursuit.

Once again, the night fell quiet.

"Ooohhh. How did you know?" Pinkie asked.

Luna stepped out of the bush, using her magic to gently remove the leaves from her dress. "I've seen Rainbow Dash's dreams multiple times… or rather, I should say nightmares, given what they usually entail. When I saw her in the waiting room tonight, I knew she would finally speak up. After their exchange, I imagine Rainbow's nightmares of rejection are unfounded."

Pinkie sighed and planted her rump on the ground. She craned her neck up at the moon, and then back to Luna, giving her a rueful grin. "So much for our date."

Luna placed a hoof on Pinkie's shoulder. "We don't need a restaurant to have a memorable night."

Pinkie tilted her head at the alicorn. "Huh?"

Luna said nothing in reply. Instead, she charged a teleportation spell.

"So Rainbow Dash said, 'I bet you can't reach the top of that flagpole' and I was all like, 'you're on!' and quicker than anypony could blink, I went shoom! Straight to the top!" Pinkie exclaimed, clapping her hooves together.

In lieu of a restaurant, Luna chose a more private venue for her and Pinkie's date. Together, they laid on Luna's bed, staring up at the ceiling. Between them sat a bowl, which had been full of fruit, and now had no other purpose than to show how little they cared to actually send it back.

"What happened next?" Luna asked, her eyes still transfixed on the ceiling.

"Rainbow laughed and flew away. She came back and put me back down five minutes later," Pinkie said, blowing the tip of her unruly mane away.

"That hardly seems like a friendly thing to do. Why didn't she put you down before then?"

"Rainbow said I need to learn to stop getting stuck on top of flagpoles."

Luna narrowed her eyes. "Just.... how many times have you done that?"

Pinkie put a hoof to her chin. "Uhhh, I think twice..."

"That hardly sounds like a pattern to me."

"No, no. It was twice this week," Pinkie corrected her.

Luna sighed. The pink pony clearly wasn't dumb. She just seemed a bit... frivolous. Perhaps that's why Luna found herself drawn to Pinkie. Maybe she needed a bit of spontaneity in her life. The chance to be a bit silly. She is a princess, after all. Who would stop her?

"Oh! I almost forgot!" Pinkie exclaimed. Luna watched curiously as Pinkie leaned off the side of the bed and rummaged through her saddlebags. "Found it!" Sitting back up, the pink pony thrust something toward her with both hooves.

"Isn't this... a comic book?" Luna asked, taking it gingerly into her hooves. "I thought these were for foals."

"Oh. Well, it's alright if you don't like it..." Pinkie said, her ears and smile drooping.

There I go, judging books by their covers.

"No, no, it's fine. Why don't we read it together?" Luna suggested.

Pinkie's smile returned as fast as it had left. “Okay! I haven't read this one yet, so it'll be new to both of us.”

Luna rolled over onto her stomach and placed the comic on the bed. Her hooves rested on the cover for a moment. It had a smooth feel she had never really experienced before. Somewhere between a magazine and a paperback book.

Another first, I suppose. Not too hard to fault me for this, though, given how little princesses and comic books overlap.

"You're not having another existential breakdown, are you?" Pinkie asked, wearing a small frown.

Luna giggled, wrapping a hoof around the pink pony. "No, you needn't worry." Clearing her throat, she pushed the comic between them until they could both see it easily.

"Deadeye and Flashpoint, issue one-oh-five: The Shot Heard 'Round the World."

Pinkie snuggled up close as Luna turned the page.

"The only way you'll stop the overload now is if you can shoot the core... something even you can't do, Faileye!"

When Luna had first begun reading the comic, with every line she read, she did so with little enthusiasm. After just a few pages, she found herself putting more heart into her performance, nearly shouting the villain’s lines and adding a gruff tone to Deadeye's dialogue.

"I'll hold these guys off! Shoot the core!" Pinkie urged, also reading Flashpoint’s lines in a gruff manner.

Luna spoke again. "With only seconds to line up her shot, Deadeye holds her breath and places her hoof on the trigger!"

Luna turned the page, only to realize she had now arrived at the back cover. Flipping it back open, she stared at the comic again. "What the...maybe they're stuck together?" Scrutinizing the pages carefully, she realized it was, indeed, the last page. "Pinkie Pie! We have been cheated! This book is not complete!"

The pink pony giggled and turned the book over. "Yes it is, silly. See? This is issue one-oh-five. Next month they'll release issue on-oh-six and we'll see what happened."

"You mean, there are one hundred and four more comics before this one? We must have them!" Luna shouted.

"I thought comic books were 'for foals'," Pinkie said, sticking out her tongue.

"Yes, you have reminded me of my words five times now. I said I was mistaken," Luna admitted, placing the comic on her nightstand.

"I'm tired," Pinkie said in the midst of a long yawn.

Luna smiled and extended a wing over the pink pony's back. "Then you should rest. It's been a long day for all of us."

Pinkie nodded, rolled onto her back, and threw her hooves over the wing gently draped over her. "Good night, Luna," she mumbled.

Pinkie’s breathing slowed as she seemed to shut off like a lamp.

A smile crept up on Luna’s face as she stared at her companion. "Good night, Pinkie."

The pink pony was quite a conundrum. By now, Luna had figured that, much like an ancient hooftrap, the more somepony tried to understand her, the more confused they would get. Dispelling all her eccentricities and reality stripping allusions, Pinkie really was driven by one single goal.

Making ponies happy.

As long as somepony understood that, the rest fell into place. Once she realized that, Luna finally knew why she adored Pinkie so much.

She was a simple pony. In a world of complications, Luna adored simplicity. Wrapping a hoof around Pinkie's neck, she celebrated the harmonious simplicity by letting her eyelids slide shut as she drifted off to sleep.