• Published 29th Jan 2015
  • 997 Views, 10 Comments

Let Your Mane Down, Lift Your Heart Up - TitanicPony



A certain pony hasn't been out much, recently. Send Pinkie to lift their spirits! Problem: It's Pinkie. Then send her best friend! Who's her best friend, anyway? Who understands her at all? (Also, a braincell goes on a journey, don't ask).

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This Seems to be Happening

A Preface of Pinkie's Idle Thoughts

'Despair, do you know what that is? I guess you could say that it's like blackness. Nothing wrong with the colour black, it's just like any other colour, except that it's a lack of colour. White isn't a colour either, it's every colour. That doesn't have anything to do with anything, does it? Hmmm. Despair. Why black? Is it emptiness? No. Emptiness is a still mind. To me, black is the colour of closed eyes. Why have you closed them? Do you not wish to look out into the world? What have you seen there? It must not have been good.'

'To explain, is hard. Everypony is my friend, are they not? Wouldn't you think that that's nothing but a beautiful, wonderful thing? Is it! But there's more, there's always more. Everypony has a weight upon their chest. Look around. Perhaps they're trotting slowly. Why slowly? Don't you want to go where you're going? Is where you're going not a place that you can be happy? Maybe it's a blank expression? It's much like a serene expression, but the eyes aren't misty. They never look misty, but they can feel like that. A blank expression. Emptiness. Something's missing. Is it happiness, is it love? Have you lost somepony? Did it just happen? Who's fault was it? Do you think it was yours?'

'Everypony is my friend. How much time could i possibly have for each of them? Not much. It's such a short time. A little trip here, a helping hoof there. Are they faking it, for me? Am i their only friend? With so many friends, imagine how many have only me. It must be so many. Do they fake it? Are they sad that they have no friends, but me? If you have only one, imagine the fear of losing them. I'm afraid of losing just one amongst the many i have. To go from one to zero? That thought. It's too much. Some must be forcing smiles on their faces. They know i'll visit. They'll save their happy face, their smiles, for me, even if they can only keep it up for a little while. How hard must that be? They say that i'm random. Does that scare some of them? Do they think i might just up and say one day: 'I have lots of friends, i don't have time for you, anymore.' Some might. Some must have. Can you feel it? I think that i can, and have.'

'Somepony passes me on the street. Their hooves are being placed too firmly. They're not angry, unless, maybe they are. But it's so many ponies. Have their hearts been hardened; is that how they let out the pain? What could have caused that! It can't have been good. Could i help them? Will they lash out at me if i try? I'm not sure if i could take something like that. Am i really that good of a friend?'

'That pony's smiling. I'm not needed. Not needed. Is that how i think? Am i really so different from the sad ponies who's days i try to brighten? With someponies, maybe, they're just like that. That sour expression might just be their face. Not everypony is as expressive as me. I only see things that my eyes see, and i only see things when i'm somewhere, looking at them. Such a silly, backwards thought. I forget that i'm where i am sometimes. A sad pony. What do they think when they see me? Maybe they're jealous. I'm like a bright ray of sunshine. Why are they sad? There's no sunshine in them.'

'I can't think that they're jealous of me in a bad way. I can't! Everypony should be happy, but for some it seems so hard, because some are just never happy. Never happy! That's what the blackness is to me. Around those sad ponies, smiles, laughs, and me. That's why they feel sad. Because they see me. I have more friends than anypony, and when push comes to shove, only i, am me. You can't be me, and i can't be you. Am i a reminder of the hopelessness that some ponies face? Am i like a bridge too far? Am i just a reminder of what they want so much, but can't seem to have?'

'Maybe i'm beginning to understand them. I can't face it. That thought, all these thoughts. Can't we all just be happy, together, forever?

I do what i can. The best thing i can do i throw a huge party. The bigger, the better. You can get lost in it, get carried away... and even if times are sad, for a few minutes, at least, you can remember the sunshine, the ray of hope that is laughing, smiling, or just thinking of things that you like.'

'My hooves are shaking. It's so much. That blackness. It's in everypony. If you take away the sunshine, there it is, waiting for you. Close your eyes. The light is gone. You're not asleep yet. You have to live with yourself. Do you like yourself? Do you like other ponies? When the sunshine fades away, you want it back. You have to think, or feel your way back. But, what is there to hold onto? Bad thoughts? They're all that's left when the good times fade away. How will they get you back? They'll just drag you deeper.'

'I'm friends with everypony. Their coats are every colour imaginable, their faces have every emotion ever felt, and their eyes are always unique, each pair a little different, or completely different from the last.'

'Me, i'm only one pony. Who am i to think that i can be friends with everypony. Being friends is mostly about having fun, and smiling together. Sharing good times, and bad times. But, there's also a responsibility. If your friend is down, and they truly are your friend, you can't help but try to make them feel better, right? Do i think that i can honestly keep everypony in Ponyville happy and blissful? I don't have that much time in the day, or the night, or both.'

'I've taken on to much, haven't i? The lifeless eyes around me are proof of that, aren't they? When ponies speak of the dreams they have, the hopes they have; why haven't they already achieved them? I know why. I haven't been there. I wasn't there.'

'Again. I'm being full of myself. Do i really think that i could do that much? Help everypony realize every dream that they've ever had? That's the impression that i give, isn't it? I'm happy, i'm bubbly, i look like i'm just bursting with life. Do they expect that being friends with me will make everything okay? That my happiness will rub off on them, at least a little? What if it doesn't. It doesn't always. Am i a bringer of false-hope?'

'That blackness again. Have i taken on too many burdens? Have i made every negative emotion and thought mine? Have i felt every sadness in every pony like it was my own? Have i empathized with every angry word, and plunged into every lost soul?'

'I know it too well. Why?'

'My mind is still, now, except for a lurking apprehension.'

'What of the happy ponies? They don't need me. I don't spend much time with them. Why is that though? It is really because there's no work to be done? Or maybe, just maybe, is it because the only thing i have to offer is smiles and silly fun? They already have that. They must think little of me. If they're already happy, then what use am i? Am i smart? Can i help them think through problems? I doubt it.'

'Am i even easy to be around? I'm loud. If you're tired, i can make things worse.'

'Am i desperate? Maybe it's just me. It's what i need, that sunshine. That beautiful sunshine. Like warm light coming down through the clouds. Maybe it's okay to be sad sometimes. It must just be me. It must be annoying to have me rush over to you the moment you frown. Maybe i should just let them be? It's healthy. Being a bubbly ball of fun is tiring! Maybe most sad ponies are just tired. I just make things worse for them.'

'There's nothing wrong with being a little sad. As long as you have friends, you can pull through. They'll always lend a hoof. I have to believe that. Trust is important. Not just trusting your friends, but trusting everything. Trusting that there's always going to be a brighter day. Being sad is a-okay. It's nothing to be ashamed of. Everypony gets a little down, sometimes. How silly of me.'

'I'm going to be sad now.'
_____

Chapter One: This Seems To Be Happening

A gentle tapping at the door becomes more insistent. Granted, the door is a quarter-mile from where she works and sleeps, but the massive cavernous castle in which she now lives has a certain way of amplifying the drop of a needle.

A single candle illuminates her room. Shadows are cast against the walls in all directions. It's hardly much light, but the purple glow surrounding her quill and horn are enough to at least keep the book she's reading, and the lone sheet of blank paper she writing on, lit, if only marginally so. A formerly hot cup of tea sit at the edge of her desk. Twilight reaches for it, but shivers as her hoof touches it's chilled ceramic edges. She frowns, and levitates the quill carefully down into the inkwell above the book. Her gaze wanders to the open door leading into the grand, main hall of her fortress. She sucks in a breath, after clearing her throat.

"I'm coming!" 'Eventually.' She adds in a mutter. Twilight wearily rises and catches her stool before it tumbles to the floor. A wave of dizziness hits her as she stands for the first time, in hours, most likely. Time passes in strange ways when one studies as she does, especially in a room that's essentially a solid, windowless, box of stone. Both her hooves are on the desk. The dizzy spell has passed. She looks around, groggily, and remembers.

"Oh yeah, the door." She sighs and begins making her way there. First, out of her den of solitude. Despite the prevailing chill that accompanies most castles, along with the musky presence of mildew, it will be missed. Especially when one is summoned during what is most likely the middle of the night. 'It's not morning already, is it?' Twilight closes the door to her room behind her. Completely pitch black, not a trace of light coming in from the tall windows of the main hall. 'Not yet, anyway.' Her eyelids close, for no more than a second, and an almost automatic clearing of her mind allows the simple horn-glow spell to take effect once more.

The insistent knocking has returned, and in the empty hall, save for it's pillars, central carpet, and banners, it echoes reverberate rather loudly.

"What did i just say! I'm coming, you're hurting my ears!" Her voice is hoarse at that level of volume. 'Probably should have just drank down the cold tea before i left,' she thinks to herself.

The knocking has thankfully stopped. Now, the only sounds in the hall consist of the 'tack-tack, tack-tack' of her hooves as she trots briskly to the massive oak doors at the front of her new abode. Arriving, after a little time for her to contemplate the last passage of the book she was reading, and mentally bookmark the page-number in her mind, she reaches for the handle, and with a strong tug, pulls it ajar.

"Twilight, dear, i didn't just wake you, did i?"

'Ah, it's Rarity.' In truth, she was rarely asleep at this hour, but informing her friends of such would just interrupt her study sessions if they realized she didn't call it night at anytime approaching a respectable hour. Not that she wasn't thankful for those friends, or that she wished to lie to them, but Celestia's command for her to make said friends would have been quickly ignored if she couldn't have time to herself.

"Twilight, ohhh Twilight." Rarity's hoof waved in her face annoyingly. "I suppose i really did wake you, but, the deed is already done, so, aren't you going to ask me why i'm here?" She asked with a smile that seemed a little too bright to Twilight, considering the time of-

"What time IS IT, anyway?" Twilight let out in a croak. She frowned and tried to clear her throat again. As an afterthought, her hooves came up to her mane. Of course, it was as scattered and tangled as everfree forest underbrush.

"It's barely midnight." Rarity explained, as if that was prime hour to come calling on one's friends.

"I see." Twilight let out a long sigh. "So?" Twilight asked simply. That earned her nothing but a chiding frown. "What brings you to my, ugh, ho-," Twilight stopped mid-sentence to amend her train of thought, "giant castle." A short pause ensued. 'I see.' She thought to herself. The smile she brought forward was forced, but hopefully adequate. Rarity nodded. Seemingly, it would do.

"Well," Rarity began a little nervously, "one of our, ah, mutual friends, really hasn't been out and about lately, and i was beginning to become concerned."

'At midnight.' Twilight deadpanned internally. 'Fluttershy.' Who else could it be? Twilight tried to piece together the most likely possibility in her mind, in an attempt to quickly get rid of her unexpected, and unwelcome, midnight-guest. 'Fluttershy... shy... is spending more time with Rarity.' Yes, she'd noticed. She wasn't that socially awkward, not anymore, anyway. 'Rarity is pretty outgoing... oh, that's it, Fluttershy can't keep up. There's nothing new, or bad about any of this, is there?'

"Fluttershy gets out lots. I'll see how she's doing tomorrow." Twilight mumbled. She started to press the door closed. A hoof poked through the gap, and quickly prevented her, however.

"Dear, it's not Fluttershy, it's Pinkie."

'Did... did she just say that?' There was a long pause. It was a quiet pause, most likely because everypony else in town was sleeping.

"It's past midnight. She's probably, you know... ASLEEP!" Twilight snapped.

"Barely past midnight." Rarity corrected, as if offended that anypony would even suggest that she would knock on their door anytime past 12:30pm. One of Twilight's hooves came up to her eyes and rubbed them. 'Fine.' She mumbled to herself internally. She opened the door wide. Rarity's smile beamed out as she tried to strut into the castle. Twilight's hoof barred her way.

"Just tell me here. It's a three and half minute walk just to get to my room." Twilight grumbled in an exasperated tone. Rarity rolled her eyes, and nodded in resigned understanding.

"I suppose you make a point. Well, it all started about two weeks ago." Twilight's head fell back a little as let out a rather long, tortured groan.

"Can't we get to the part that explains why you're here?" She almost begged. Rarity's hoof stamped on the ground, in a very soft, feminine way, to show her indignation.

"Two weeks, and that's how long she's been cooped up!" Rarity explained.

"I hadn't noticed." Twilight answered immediately.

"Well clearly not, you're almost as bad, and think nothing of it." Rarity almost snapped back. She blinked a few times afterwards. "Sorry, dear, but i already tried talking to her, on at least," Rarity's eyes looked up for a few moments as she preformed a mental count, "four separate occasions, but she's shut-up like a clam!"

"I don't get it." Was Twilight's automatic reply. "Not possible." 'Does not compute.' Never had her mind drew a greater blank.

"Dear, with any other pony, i would give them room-"

"Really?" Twilight deadpanned.

"-But with our good friend Pinkie, i'm admittedly very worried." Rarity finished. Twilight stood there, expecting her to continue for a moment.

"Wait, that's it?" Twilight asked suddenly.

"I'm afraid so." Rarity nodded sadly, and looked up. "Any ideas?" Twilight sighed and shrugged.

"I dunno. Just send... her... best friend." Twilight's groggy mind managed to scramble together. She almost said: 'Send Pinkie', but thankfully, the cool breeze drifting into the doorway had woken her up enough to at least avoid such obviously foolish thoughts. Rarity's face took on a contemplative look. She looked left and right, and seemed to only become more concerned. 'Don't tell me it's Rarity. Then we're back to square one.' Twilight's shoulders slumped as she prepared for the worst.

"I... i don't know who her best friend is..." Rarity finally said, a small note of shock infusing her voice. "Do... do you?" Twilight was starting to wake up. That was a question she didn't expect.

"Rainbow Dash?" Twilight suggested. 'They fool around together and mess with everypony. It should count, sort-of.'

"Oh that just won't do." Rarity tisked, with a firm shake of her head.

'It wouldn't now, would it?' "Why not, Rarity?"

That drew another awkward pause. Twilight detected a little apprehension, and noticed a slight cringe.

"Well, you see dear, if Pinkie is truly under the weather in some way, i would say that sending our Rainbow over to help make her feel better... is..." Rarity let out a long breath. "There's no other way to say this." Rarity mumbled loudly. "Miss Dash can be exceedingly insensitive. She's almost completely tactless." Twilight's eyes went wide.

'Harsh.' She thought, before taking a deep breath and exhaling. "You want me to try, don't you?"

"Oh, yes, please, precisely; was just what i was getting to, and it's really so kind of you to offer." Rarity's extra-wide grin was almost oppressive.

"I'll do it, i will, just... ugh." Twilight hung her head. 'How do i keep getting dragged into this kind of thing? I have work to do.' "Being a Princess isn't all ribbon cutting!" Rarity took a step back.

"Huh?" She tilted her head to the side. "Ribbon-what?"

"I said that last one out-loud, didn't i?" Twilight bemoaned.

"Yes dear." Rarity leaned in a little, her face pressed uncomfortably close. "Are you sure that you're alright?" Twilight almost growled at her. Instead:

"I'm just fine Rarity." Twilight hopped up and let a big, wide smile splash across her face.

"Oh, good." Rarity gave her a little smile in return. "I guess i'm turning into a bit of a worry-wort."

"Oh, no, not you Rarity, you just..." Twilight's mind couldn't sustain this kind of upbeat demeanor for long. "You look really pretty. Did you do something with your mane?"

"As a matter of fact, i did! You see, i was browsing the catalog, and inside was an article you absolutely must-

"Well it looks GREAT!" Twilight almost shouted. "I need to get back inside. Just look at my mane! It sure is messy, if i don't go now and close the door, i won't have any time to fix it up!" Twilight mentally gave herself a hoof-bump. 'That'll get her out of my... mane.' Twilight chuckled at her own pun. Rarity nodded appraisingly.

"I can see, yes, it would take quite a while for you to make it passable, wouldn't it?" Rarity leaned a little to the left, then right as she inspected the frizzle-frazzled mess.

"Yeah. It will." Twilight snapped, before kicking the door closed with a hoof. "UGH!"

***

Her saddlebags were almost empty. Really, she couldn't think of anything to bring. Or, perhaps, she simply didn't have anything that she figured would interest Pinkie, or lift her spirits, assuming Rarity wasn't simply operating off rumor again.

"This better not be a wild goose chase." Twilight grumbled, as she passed under the cone-shaped glare of a streetlamp. Eerily quiet. Just the way she liked it. "And, i'm going to Pinkie Pie's apartment." Twilight lamented. The quiet was clearly destined to be short-lived. At least the air was fresh. Twilight soaked it up and whipped her mane in the gentle breeze as she clip-clopped along. Her now combed mane felt wonderful on her shoulders. 'Maybe i should listen to Rarity more often?' It's silky straight length curled a little upward before falling back down over her shoulders. It was warm, and smooth, and it's mass rubbed a little again her back as it swayed to and fro with the motion of her trotting gait. She was honestly in a good mood. Her head leaned back as she took in the twinkling stars above. Constellations she could name off in her sleep. Oddly fitting, as that was when the stars were out. She'd share that little thought with Pinkie. She appreciated such randomness, right?

Lost in her revelry, Twilight found that she was already there. Sugarcube corner. She frowned. It looks like a nightmare-clown. The overhang of the roof cast the walls in shadows, and without the bright light of day to glint off all the shiny reflective things that looked like they'd been glued to the exterior facade, it was really nothing more than an architectural monstrosity of mysterious non-uniform bulges.

Twilight made her way around to the side, and pushed at the simple door located there. Unlocked. Good. 'Rarity mustn't have tried very hard.' Twilight peered within, and up the dark staircase that made it's way to the attic, where her friend lived. Another bit of concentration and her horn was lit up in it's magical, radiant glow.

She ascended the stairs two at a time. 'Surely, this won't be hard.' She thought. 'I'm cheering Pinkie up... supposedly. Really now, what could be easier. We'll share something made of sugar, have some tea, likely full of sugar, and i'll go home too wired to sleep, and catch up on my studying.'

*Tap-tap-tap.* She knocked cheerily. 'Some nice, quiet, one-on-one time with a friend. Maybe i should i trade jobs with Pinkie. Despite what ponies might say, there's no such thing as a pony that likes paperwork.'

The door slowly opened, and Pinkie peered out, her soaked hair dripping down onto the landing.

"Twilight!" She squeaked happily. "How... unexpected!" Pinkie added, her bright tone fluctuating for moment.

"I'm here to see how you're doing... and... you were having a shower i guess... at midnight." Twilight blinked quickly.

"Sure was!" Pinkie threw up her hooves. "It's my special, middle of the night shower! I have one every night, and i'm totally not lying!" She added for good measure.

"Woah-woah-woah, repeat that."

"No way!" Pinkie threw her hooves up again and giggled. "Wow, i think i left it on, better hop back in!" Pinkie began closing the door. "It sure was nice talking to you, but it's the middle of the night and-"

Time stopped in Twilight's mind. Alarms went off. Her brain cells began the well-orchestrated coordination that she now expected of them after many late night cram sessions, timed tests, and evaluations. The right side began it's search for the source of the alarm, to track down the relevant piece of information. The left side began double checking and refining the clues, patching them together like a puzzle. She was quite happy with her response time.

"Open the door." She commanded. Pinkie stood frozen for a few moments, before hanging her head and slowing opening it.

A trail of water ran from the sink, at the opposite end of the room, straight to the doorway.

"You can't fool me, Pinkie. I try to get rid of ponies all the time so i can be alone too." Twilight tisked. "Your hair was straight before you shoved it under the tap, wasn't it?" Pinkie frowned and kicked at the floor.

"Sure can't fool you, can i?" Pinkie suddenly piped up, with a little bounce. "I was thinking, because Rarity was saying something about how she'd changed her mane, that maybe, i should try a new hair-"

"Cut it out, Pinkie." Twilight mumbled. "I know what your 'straight hair' means." Twilight stared at her friend head-on. The mirth in the pink earth pony slowly started to die away.

"Are... you going to tell anypony?" Pinkie cringed expectantly. Twilight rolled her eyes and strode in, letting her eyes take in the room.

"No, why would anypony-" Twilight held that thought. "I'm not Rarity." She amended. Pinkie nodded, and quickly shut the door behind the two of them, pressing her back against it before letting out a deep breath.

It was a simple two room apartment. Twilight strode into the main, large square room. The ceiling where she was standing was surprisingly low, as it was at the other end of the room where the sink was. To her left, was a small archway that lead into the only other room, Pinkie's bedroom. And, of course, to the right, the bathroom, but that was only really half a room.

The decorations were typical of what Twilight had imagined. Streamers lined where the ceilings met the walls, and the walls looked like five or six different colours had been thrown at them haphazardly. At the far wall was a single sink, a stove, and to the right of the stove, some modest counter-space. Above all that, a few cupboards, their aged doors slightly ajar. The room was neat. Very little out of place, aside from the glitter that was likely impossible to remove from the floorboards. The room was well-lit, with four candles place in their respective candlesticks, two on the counter, and two on the small round table in the center of the room. Two simple wooden stools were placed under the little table, but they could be pulled out easily enough. The final thing of note, and Twilight wondered why it wasn't the first thing that she's noticed, was a massive off-red chair, that honestly could have been a love-seat if it was any wider. It was somewhat aged, but appeared to be made of maroon velvet. Any inquires Twilight may have had about it's odd presence were quickly answered by the small sign affixed above said chair, with an arrow pointing downwards. 'Thinking chair.'

"It's my thinking chair." Pinkie nodded to herself, as if her statement had actually added anything.

"Well, that's what the sign says." Twilight observed dryly.

"I've been sitting in it alot recently, but it's not helping." Pinkie lamented. "Did you want some tea?!" Pinkie's tone briefly returned to it's usual squeaky, shrill one. The earth pony strode over to the stove and flicked a few things before setting the kettle on the element.

"Yes, i would, Pinkie. That would be very nice." Twilight let out a relieved sigh. "I was kind of hoping to have some tea with you."

"You were?" Pinkie's head turned back to look over her shoulder as she rummaged around. "Really?" She asked.

"Really." Twilight answered. She made her way to the big maroon chair and touched the arm. It was soft as a kitten. She smiled and hauled herself up onto it. Her rear hooves barely touched the ground.

"Why would you wanna come see me, silly." Pinkie pointed at her mane. "See? All out of bubbly fun-ness." Pinkie's hoof shook a little as she tried to open a cupboard. "Sugar and Spice factory is closed for business." Pinkie's hoof grazed a tea-cup. It slid out of the cupboard and almost smashed to the ground before Pinkie caught with a twist and a deft grab. A box of tea that had been near the edge had unfortunately upended itself, however, sending about a hundred teabags down to rain on her head. "I'm a little low on sunshine." Pinkie admitted, the corners of her mouth twitching up a little. She let the mess be and returned a few of the teabags to their box, while removing one.

"Well, why don't you tell me what happened?" Twilight asked encouragingly as she awkwardly waited for the tea to be served. "Actually, do you need help? You look like you need help."

"Oh, i'm totally fine, i know how to make tea, silly, Gummy died, did you want Earl Grey, maybe a Green Tea?"

"Oh, just an Orange Pekeo, you have that right?" Twilight asked.

"Yahuh. Obvi." Pinkie let out a little giggle.

"What!" Twilight lurched forward.

"Gummy passed away a few weeks ago. It's not a big deal, it happens, you know, pets pass away, they don't live nearly as long as ponies do, and he was sick for a long time, so i was ready, therefore i'm totally fine, and my mane is just straight... because..."

"Need some help coming up with a good excuse?" Twilight mumbled.

"No, i can do it myself, i have a really active imagaaaa-" Pinkie froze in mid-sentence. Her ears drooped down. Twilight sighed and stood up. She took a few steps forward. She reached down and turned the stove off, as Pinkie turned away from her and hunched over.

"I'm not really good at this kind of thing, but, um, you like hugs, right?" Pinkie sniffled and slowly turned around.

"How do you do that whole 'seeing through me' thing?" Pinkie asked simply, her dull, vacant eyes staring up. Twilight couldn't help but cringe. Perhaps it was the contrast. The walls looked an abstract child's painting, and Pinkie, at the current moment, was a hunched over mass of pink, with the exception of those light blue eyes. Light blue eyes that were expecting an answer.

"You're bad at lying?" Twilight suggested. Pinkie sighed and turned the stove back on.

"I'll finish the tea. I'm just... tired." She mumbled. Her hooves were quickly back to work.

"Ugh, well, um, i take two sugar and-"

"I know, i know." Pinkie waved a hoof at her dismissively. That ended the idle chitchat.

"Did you want to talk about it?" Twilight asked tentatively. Pinkie took the now screaming kettle off the element and carefully filled the little teacups on the counter. She shook her head and looked back.

"I know what you're doing, Twilight." She stated simply, before thrusting Twilight's tea into her hooves.

"Hmmm?" Twilight inquired simply, while bringing the tea up to her lips and blowing on it gently.

"Cheering me up, or trying to." Pinkie took a quick sip of her own tea, which was markedly less hot thanks to liberal amounts of milk and sugar. "I kinda know alot about that kind of thing." Twilight chuckled and nodded, while making her way back to the 'thinking chair'. She carefully crawled up on and planted her rump on it, while making sure her drink didn't spill. Pinkie Pie had apparently followed her. That became evident when she hopped up and twisted in the air gracefully, landing between the alicorn and one of the arms of the chair. Twilight's eyebrows went up in surprise as Pinkie wiggled about and pretty much pushed her over a half-foot to make room.

"Thank you for the thought, though. I appreciate it." Pinkie continued. "I've never had anypony i know, die." Pinkie's tone was matter-of-fact, and left little leeway for disagreement. Twilight briefly considered pointing out that the small alligator wasn't a pony, but maybe, Pinkie Pie actually viewed her passed on pet as just that. Her mood certainly indicated that that was the case.

"Yeah, i really have no idea what i'm doing." Twilight admitted with a low chuckle. Pinkie smiled slowly and took another sip from her teacup.

"I know, silly." Pinkie reassured her. "You're doing okay, though, mostly you're just supposed to sit there and say say nice things while the pony you're trying to cheer up gets stuff off their chest." Twilight nodded along and looked over to her left. Somehow, at some point, the earth pony had found a towel and wrapped it around her dripping mane.

"Pinkie, i might be a little new at this, but i think i'm supposed to be the one reassuring you." Twilight chided her gently. Pinkie glanced to her right and rolled her eyes.

"It's a little weird, isn't it." Pinkie brought a hoof up to her chin. "Did you do something to your mane, it looks a little different. Different-good." Pinkie quickly added. Twilight gave a her an appreciative smile.

"Well, Rarity-"

"Enough said." Pinkie tried to hide a giggle with another sip of her tea. "Earl Grey tastes like fruit-loops." She remarked absently. Twilight almost grinned.

"Does it?" Pinkie nodded her head slightly.

"With milk and sugar, lots of milk and sugar." Pinkie clarified. Twilight nodded back and her gaze returned to her tea.

'This is nice and quiet.' Twilight thought to herself. She looked around the room again. It was a little spartan, the appliances were clearly on the rustic side of out-of-date, and the ceiling alternated between low, and head-bump depending on where you were, but in a way, it was rather quaint. With nothing else to look at, Twilight's gaze turned back to her left. Pinkie seemed pretty happy, actually. The edges of her mouth were turned up, and were staying that way. Her hoof traced a line around the edge of her cup in slow circles.

"You look a little less tense than before." Twilight let that thought slip. "I mean-"

"Sorry." Pinkie interjected quickly. The side of her head bumped against Twilight's side and stayed there. If tenseness could be transferred between ponies, then that is exactly what occurred in that moment. Twilight froze up. Their sides were glued together. A small twitch from the pink mare, or a little shift from Twilight, was quickly felt by the other.

"You're tense too. But don't worry, i'm already feeling way better." Pinkie's hoof came up to her mouth. She placed her lips against the end, and blew. Her hoof then went up to her mane, poking at it. "Well, maybe not way better, but alot better." Twilight quirked an eyebrow.

"Hmmm?"

"Oh, well, if i was totally completely fine, my mane would probably puff back up." Pinkie explained. Twilight nodded.

"Well, you seem okay, even if you're screaming and yelling alot less." Pinkie sat up and sent her friend a hard frown. "I mean, you're not as bubbly as usual, but you're still nice to be around." Twilight quickly amended. 'Geez, maybe if i sent Rainbow it wouldn't have made a difference. Tact, Twilight, tact.' Pinkie's eyes narrowed. She leaned forward, her face expressionless. Twilight gulped.

"Really?" She chirped happily, wiggling her flank and nuzzling her nose into Twilight's side once more.

"Ugh, yeah." Twilight answered honestly. She gulped. She twitched as she felt Pinkie sigh against her. Her hot breath tingled against the purple pony's chest. "Ah." She let out involuntarily. Pinkie opened her eyes and stared up.

"Oh, i'm getting a little hoofsey, aren't i?" Pinkie pulled back and shook her head at herself.

"Um..." Twilight's scanned her mind for a response. Those little brain cells seemed to be on a coffee break. Or perhaps a tea break. Yes, they were on a tea-break. Clearly. "Whatever." Twilight offered. 'Woah. All that thought and that's what i say? Nice one, me.'

"Oh!" Pinkie squeaked happily. She reached over and took Twilight's tea right from her hands. With a teacup in each hand, she skipped over to the sink, and dropped them down into it with an unceremonious clatter. She actually hummed a little as she made her way back.

"Feeling better?" Twilight grinned. 'Dang, i'm good. Mission accomplished.'

Pinkie stopped dead infront of her. She shifted from hoof to hoof nervously. "Well yeah, i am, so i guess that means you're leaving." Twilight sent her an immediate frown. "I mean, i really do feel better and i know you have work to do, or books to read, or quills that feel neglected." Twilight tisked and and patted the chair with her left hoof.

"I'll leave later." Twilight sighed and gave her friend a smile. 'I probably shouldn't treat this like just another task to get over with.' Pinkie chewed on her lip, and looked away, her voice hitching.

"C-can i.. ahem, s-sit down... you know... it's a little cramped when i sit beside you." The earth pony gulped. Her eyes slowly dragged themselves up from the floor. She looked at Twilight Sparkle, and the simple, honest smile that had been on her face for the past few minutes. "Are... you... enjoying my company?" Twilight beckoned her forward.

"Come on, sit down." Twilight's smile grew. 'Easy as Pie. Hehe. Pie.' Twilight's mind was clearly on vacation, or had vacated the premises for the annual fire-drill. Would explain the hints she was missing.

Pinkie took in a deep breath and started crawling up. One hoof, then the other. Within the span of about five or six seconds, she sitting right on Twilight's lap, facing her, her pink nose resting on the alicorn's shoulder. Her hooves (all four of them) wrapped around as she dug herself in. Twilight gasped and her own hooves quickly grabbed at the pony that was casually invading her personal space. Her hooves touched soft fur, and the relaxed muscles of the pony underneath. Pinkie's mane had dried, and it's surprisingly long length ran most of the way down her back. Stray strands tickled at the edges of Twilight's hooves as she gripped the pony ontop of her.

Somewhere in Twilight's mind, there was a mental image of a rectangular sign, that read in neon writing: 'Panic.' It was flashing very brightly, much like the pulsar that Twilight had observed last month in her telescope. She simply had to await a response from her mental processes, and everything would be fine. She was a brilliant mare, and when she set her mind to work, no matter the situation it could-

"Mmnnn." Pinkie sighed softly, her moist breath drifting past Twilight's ear, evicting a shudder from the formerly tense alicorn.

Back to Twilight's figuratively imagined head-space: Central command was on fire. With it temporarily out of commission, the vast majority of her high brain functions, and the cute little brain cells that Twilight imagined lived there, were completely incommunicado.

"Hehehe." A little drool slid from the corner of her lip, and made it's way down her chin.

"You're so snugly." Pinkie whispered onto her ear. She gave the purple mare a small squeeze. Twilight's cheek twitched.

"Pinkie... ugh... i..."

"Hmmm?" Right in Twilight's ear. She shuddered and exhaled. She leaned back and took in a shaky breath.

'Might as well hug back, right?'

***

The command center of Twilight's brain was filled with smoke. The cells therein coughed and waved their appendages at the fumes after putting the fire-extinguishers they no longer needed, down. A somewhat larger brain-cell than the rest, wearing a green helmet, with four stars affixed to the front, nodded solemnly.

"Good work on the fire, now, what's the situation, comrades!? Status report!" It yelled over the mass of sirens and whistles that were sounding from the monitoring stations. One of the younger cells slid forward with a clipboard.

"Temperature rising, elevated hormone levels, hemispheres aren't reporting in!" It squeaked in a panicked tone. The helmet wearing cell nodded. A small tremor shook the room. "Heart rate significantly elevated, irregular blood f-f-f-"

"Calm down, stay composed, we've come through worse!" The lead-cell paced from side to side. "We've composed beautifully articulate letters of friendship, and aced every exam ever thrown at us!" It yelled, as the other cells in the room stopped what they were doing to listen to the rousing speech.

A little knock sounded at the door.

"Oh, i'll get that." One of the smaller, and more newly formed cells said.

"No! Wait!"

It opened the door and peeked outside, then quickly slammed the same door closed again. The lead-cell of the group gulped as the smaller, newly-formed cell pressed what amounted to it's back against the now closed door.

"Baser urges, all of them, i think." It's cute little cherub face contorted in horror.

"Don't panic!" The Lead Cell yelled.

"I thought they were completely locked up!?!" One of the older, more grizzled cells screamed incredulously.

"I said don't panic!" The Lead Cell barked. "Barricade the door with the desks. We need eyesight, bring the view-screen up! Let's see what we're facing here!" The cells around him inclined the tops of themselves in acknowledgement. Lead Cell slithered towards the center of the room, leaving a trail of green slime on the floor. It peered up as the static on the massive screen above cleared up. A collective gasp resounded throughout the room.

"It's a mare." Somecell remarked. "Interesting."

"There's nothing about this in the manual!" Another one cried, pointing one of it's appendages down at the thick book that it held.

"Hmmm, pink, very cute." A third cell remarked.

"Stay focused!" Lead Cell barked. "I know there's pheromones in the air, but remember what we have to protect. There isn't room in this brain for The Twilight's leadership duties, her personal interests, her downtime, her friends, and whatever... whatever that is about!" Lead Cell yelled, gesturing towards the screen.

Something hammered at the door. The whole room shook.

Cell Number Two shrieked and held up four of it's six little tentacle appendage-things. "They've got a battering ram! Abandon brain, abandon brain!"

"Silence!" The Lead Cell hollered. "Turn off all those dang alarms and whistles, we know we're in a crisis, all this noise is just sending everycell into a mindless panic." The cells around him hardened their resolve.

"What do we do?" Cell Number Two asked. Lead Cell cringed and looked around. The room shuddered again.

"Physical contact with the Bubbly Pink Thing is increasing." Cell Number Three warned. Lead Cell gulped.

"Everycell, chain together. We need an idea. I can't do this without each and every one of you." Slowly, but surely, they all left their technologically complex monitoring stations, and assembled. Much like a particularly mushy campfire singalong, they attached their appendages together and completed the circle.

"Initiate brainstorming." Lead Cell commanded. They each inclined their top-parts. A few moments passed. And then a few more. Cell Number Two cleared it's throat. "Yes?" Lead Cell inquired hopefully.

"We could surrender to the baser urges unconditionally?" It suggested. Lead Cell's electrical impulses sparked ominously.

"We don't do dope-amine." It growled. "I know that we're all tempted to throw reason to the winds, but this is a critical situation! This could escalate into a relationship!"

A hushed pause filled the room.

"What's so bad about that?" Cell Number Three asked tentatively. The ring of cells began mumbling amongst each other.

"You're kidding me." Lead Cell snapped. "Next thing you know, somecell's going to suggest an impromptu make-out session." If the room could go quieter (other than the battering-ram at the door), it would have. The silence continued. Lead Cell looked around suspiciously. "No... NO!" It gasped in horror. "Don't let that thought spread!"

***

"You're even more quiet than usual." Pinkie remarked as she pulled herself up and leaned forward.

"Sorry, the command center is having a crisis." Twilight mumbled dreamily. Pinkie Pie giggled.

"Wow, something's definitely up." Pinkie pressed her nose forward until it bumped her friend's. "So, what's up?" Twilight gulped as she blushed. Really blushed. It started at her cheeks, traveled to her forehead, and started sliding down her chest.

"I..." Twilight answered. It was the best she had.

"Can i guess?" Pinkie squeaked. "I like guessing games. Do you like guessing games?"

"Sure?" Twilight answered, her head was dizzy. It took her eyes a moment to refocus. Looking right into the softest blue eyes. Pupils like a solar eclipse, irises like a clear summer day, and an almost pure-white, like fluffy clouds, everywhere else.

"Tired?"

"Not really." Automatic reply.

"Sad?"

"No." Another automatic reply. Twilight started to tense up again. Unrestrained honesty? 'I really should have sent Rainbow.'

"Are you feeling okay?"

"Not exactly." Another automatic response. Something was clearly wrong.

"Tummy ache?" Pinkie inquired, her questions firing more quickly as she picked up on the trail.

"No." Twilight blinked. 'Everything will be fine. Pinkie's smiling again. Wait, what did i just think?'

"Back sore?" Pinkie asked worriedly. She shifted back and forth a little and poked her hooves at Twilight's chest. "I really like guessing games, but you can tell me. I promise i won't tell anypony if it's something personal." Pinkie batted her eyes hopefully.

"Ugh, well..."

"So it is personal. 'Kay." Pinkie nodded and brought a hoof up under her chin. Her eyes suddenly lit-up. Twilight sucked in a breath.

"You're stressed-out." Pinkie squeaked happily, then coughed and grimaced. "I know i look happy when i say that, but it's not cuz being stressed-out is good, but you know, i'm just happy that i figured it out." Pinkie took on a worrying expression once more. "You've been worrying about me, and I've been a little moody an' stuff, so i wasn't paying attention."

"I guess i'm a tad stressed-out... kind of, in a way." Twilight managed.

"It's not princess work, is it?"

"Hehe." Twilight giggled. 'It's not like Pinkie would ever guess.' "No-no, silly. I actually like work. Well, i like reading, and-"

"Oh, i got it!" Pinkie nodded firmly. She leaned forward and whispered softly, with a wink from one eye. "You rrreeaalllyyy like me... if ya know what i mean." Both of them froze in place. It didn't last long. Pinkie leaned a little more forward. Her eyes peered into Twilight's. She was so close, her gaze had to alternate between each individual eye. "Hmmm." She hummed. Her expression turned more quizzical. "Ugghhhh." She pulled back a little. "Twiiiiiilight." Pinkie began nervously. "Twilight, talk to me. Talk to me!" The muscles in Pinkie's neck tensed up as her voice hit a remarkably high pitch.

"Mind's not workin' so good. Talkin' hard."

"Yeah, about that, i think i can see why." Pinkie's eyes tentatively traveled down, following the blush. "Well, guh, erm, do something!" Pinkie squeaked. Twilight nodded.

"Okay."

So, because she was asked, or more aptly, because Pinkie absolutely insisted, i mean, really, what other reason could there be for what followed?

"Umph!" Pinkies front hooves fell to her sides. Twilight pulled back slowly. The sights, sounds and thoughts that normally occupied her mind rushed back into her head right around the moment that the little trail of drool connecting Pinkie's lips to hers snapped in half. They both shuddered. "That was an interesting thing to do, but i did totally ask for it."

Twilight's mind was awake, and in overdrive. 'Plan. Devise plan. Perhaps lie? Pass it off in some way. I'm drunk? I really don't drink, scrap that. Banged my head? Maybe i did and forgot. Would explain what i just did, and even why i don't remember banging my head.' That one seemed best.

"I..." Twilight slumped back into the big maroon chair and let her head fall back. "You know what Pinkie. I think i might like you, in that 'more than friends' way. Don't ask why. I really have no idea." 'Well, blatant honesty has it upsides. What those upsides are is completely inconclusive at this point, and perhaps there aren't any, but at least it's morally commendable.' Twilight nodded to herself. Now, to look up and do a damage report. Her eyes slowly rose. It was like they were heavy. There was a nervous resistance of some kind. Her heart was beating quickly. Shouldn't adrenaline be making it easier for her to preform physical tasks?

"Twilight, do you like mares?" That question shocked her completely awake.

"What?!"

"Well, you sort-of just-"

"Yeah, okay, i, yeah, i know what you're asking, and the answer is..." Twilight checked her brain again. Why wasn't it doing anything! "I really have no idea." Pinkie's face was scrunched up. Twilight's eyes had finally reached Pinkie's eyes.

"Wow. Just... wowwie." Pinkie's hooves gestured wildly. "Did you just, like, randomly do something like that because you felt like it?!" Twilight's eyes lit up.

"Yes! Exactly!" There it was. That's what it was. Not exactly a concrete answer, but it appeared to be entirely correct.

"Why?" Pinkie asked simply.

"Hmmm?" Another curve-ball question. These would be much easier if the command center hadn't been knocked out. "Well, assuming my thoughts are in some way connected to my actions-" Twilight began.

"Yahuh." Pinkie nodded along suspiciously.

"-Then clearly i'm attracted to you in some way." Twilight finished clinically. "Now, in these types of circumstance, i believe it's customary for the other party who received the shockingly sudden kiss, to respond by revealing whether those affections are reciprocated." Twilight nodded to herself smugly. 'Ah. All back to normal. Wait... did i just ask-'

"Wowwie double-wowwie." Pinkie Pie whispered. She sucked in a breath and reached forward, tentatively. Twilight blinked.

"What are you doing Pinkie?! I was expecting a verbal response. You can't take a third option! It's not in the manua-" Twilight's hooves flailed a little as the pink pony licked up her chin and slowly slid her tongue past her lips.

***

Lead Cell looked down at the violently churning yellow bloodstream. It dipped an appendage in, and drew it back quickly, blowing on it to cool it off. It turned and faced the other assembled brain-cells of the recently vacated command center.

"I won't ask any of you to come with me on this perilous journey." It sighed and took off it's helmet. "For quite some time now, we've been ignoring all diplomatic communications from the heart-cell collective-"

"You can't possibly be suggesting-" Cell Number Two tried to cut in.

"That's exactly what i'm suggesting." Lead Cell finished calmly.

"That's madness!" Cell Number Two shouted. "They're volatile, they're easily swayed by random emotions, and bluntly, i think they're in league with the baser urges." Muttered agreement and much tentacle waving followed. Lead Cell sighed. It knew this wasn't going to be easy when it independently decided on this course of action.

"Look. We can hitch a ride on one of the white blood cells. We need to take decisive action. The brain has been compromised. We're the only cells left that can produce coherent thought!" Another hush descended. "I know we were never designed for this, but desperate times call for desperate measures. We're the most highly trained and intelligent cells in a brain that's proven itself and time and time again to be capable of feats of brilliance of ever increasing scale." Lead Cell slid forward, and away from the bank of the rushing bloodstream. "I know i can count on each and every one of you to conjure up remarkably well thought-out ideas, plans, suggestions, or sly turns of phrase." It continued, making tentacle-contact with each cell it passed. "We're the elite unit of the most well-conditioned organ in this body." It's voice became louder with each passing sentence. "And as i said before, i don't expect any of you to come with me, but with each of you that do follow me, our chances for success increase exponentially. We're brain cells. Sometimes we have to make intuition leaps, and drive headlong towards a conclusion." The other brain cells began to gather around. "We're going to go straight to the heart of the matter, and we're going to-" Lead Cell gulped as it's organelles swirled around inside it, "-propose an alliance with the heart-cell collective."

"You've gone mad!" Second Cell objected. "They'll never agree to it! They're too willful." The doom and gloom of their little band began to return.

"Is that a... negative thought?" Lead Cell accused. Second Cell let it's appendages go limp. "Shame on you." Lead cell slid back to the river bank. "There may be value in seeking a union with the Bubbly Pink Thing. Granted, it's brain cells appear to be completely uncoordinated, and we've theorized in the past that they may not even have a command structure, but they've accomplished feats that are remarkable. Does no-cell remember the parasprite invasion? The Bubbly Pink Thing found the solution to the crisis with almost no verifiable information." Lead cell reached out with a tentacle and grabbed onto a passing white blood cell. "This could be an opportunity to expand our abilities, and explore never before thought of ideas! In theory, a proper, working relationship is beneficial to both parties. Tasks can be shared between them according to their skill sets." Lead Cell jumped forward, and attached all six appendages to the white blood cell. "The Bubbly Pink Thing is a literal fountain of conjecture." Lead Cell turned and faced it's roommates. "Have we become so full of ourselves that we'll dismiss all other sources of thought?" Lead Cell's voice boomed as it reached it's crescendo. "Are we not free cells of an open mind?!" Slowly, one by one, the braincells came on-board, smiles covering their membranes. "We have a working knowledge of the bloodstream, do we not?!"

"Hurrah!" Chimed the chorus of cells.

And with that, Lead Cell pushed off from the bank.

"Our journey begins!"

***

'Back arching. Tingles going up. Can't see.' "Mmph." Another statement of great intellectual merit from the purple princess.

"So." One word, said in an upbeat way, as the pink mare pulled back.

"So?" Twilight mumbled back.

"Yep." Pinkie nodded sternly, while crossing her front hooves. She looked down. "Yep, it looks like i'm on your lap. Interesting. Very interesting. It's such a... lappy place for me to be." Pinkie frowned and blinked as the words spilled out. She took a hard look into Twilight's eyes. They were looking past her, and were completely unmoving. "Well," Pinkie slid down carefully, and wiped her mouth with the side of her hoof, "i guess i should be, you know, locking myself in the bathroom for a while."

"Hmmm."

"What do you think, Twilight?"

"Me?" Twilight finally answered, her head turning the slightest bit. "Seems... like a reasonable reaction, given the circumstances." She replied, her voice devoid of all tone and emotion.

"Good. Reasonable is good. So, i'll go lock myself in there, and once the shock wears off, you can, you know, freak out and run away." Pinkie slowly closed the door to the bathroom. A small click followed. "Thank you for coming over." Came a final, muffled sentence from behind the door.

"No problem." Twilight replied simply. She looked down at her hooves. She looked around the room. She looked down at her hooves. She looked over at the closed door of the bathroom. That's where Pinkie was. "Oh my-"

***

'I've been a burden. I've been sad. For weeks. That's a long time, isn't it? I wouldn't know. There's so much i don't know.'

Pinkie's back slid down the bathroom door. Her flank hit the floor with a smack.

'Twilight's noticed. She knows. She must, mustn't she? Has she been sad like this, before? Is that why she seems so eager to help me feel better? I don't know this side of Twilight. Why didn't i know about this side of her? Have i misjudged her? How many other ponies have i misjudged?'

'Oh no. Maybe that's it. I might be depressed. Is that what i look like? Is it even more than that? Maybe i don't just look like that. Maybe i just am. That word i said. I can't say it again. Does that make me a coward?'

'Ha! I can still laugh a little. Even if it's only at myself. I've ignored my own problems, and now other ponies have to deal with them. Am i a sad pony? Does it make Twilight sad just to look at me?'

'Wait. She knows. I can feel that she knows. I can't be sure, but...'

'Sadness. She knows i'm feeling it. It feels like she's desperate to help me feel better. Can she help? What happens if i don't go back to my bright, bubbly self soon? Will i take her with me, down into the hole of dark despair?'

'I can't do that! I don't want to be a bad pony!'

'Worse. No, it's getting worse.'

'Does she know sadness? She must know it better than me.'

'Oh my gosh.'

'Twilight. I forgot. Why would i forget? Am i that afraid of sad thoughts?'

'Twilight. She didn't used to have friends. That's why she came to Ponyville. I forgot that! What could that have even been like?'

'I can remember a long, long time ago. The rock farm. Before i knew what i wanted to do, to be. I didn't know that i wanted to bring happiness to others until i felt just how happy it was possible to be.'

'But, even then, i had my family, and i still do. I visit them. I've never been without somepony.'

'Twilight. There was a time that she didn't have any friends. Was Celestia always there? I never asked. I never asked. Do i not care? Do i only care about other ponies being happy so that i can see them being happy? Is that what i am? A happiness leech?'

'Twilight. She might know sadness. Long sadness. Can i even ask her? How can you ask somepony that? 'Twilight, have you ever been miserable? Tell me about it. Go back, and remember what that was like. Come on! I'm curious.'

'She might know.'

'That might be it. She knows. She knows that i'm sad like that. Am i miserable? Why am i miserable? I have no idea.'

'Gummy. He was old! Pets pass away! It happens all the time. It's such a small thing. How could that be it?'

'Is my heart made of glass? It seems so. Does every pony know that these little things can do so much to me? Are they being honest with me, or do they just tread carefully, knowing that at any moment i could 'randomly' break down and cry?'

'Maybe they're all sadder than they let on, too, and they're treating me with foal-gloves.'

'What kind of world do i live in?'

'Twilight. My thoughts keep coming back to her.'

'I have to say it:' "Twilight just doesn't want me to feel what true sadness is."

'No! I can't think that. She's so much more than that.'

'Why am i crying. Stop crying Pinkie! Other ponies will see! I have to go outside eventually! Twilight needs that. She's so... so... she makes me...'

'I can't let this go any further! I'm friends with every single last pony in the town. Oh my gosh. How much worrying...'

'Wait.'

'Rarity. I saw her knocking on my door, through the window. Quite a few times.'

'She wanted to help, i could see that. Why didn't i appreciate that?'

'I'm becoming a bad pony.'

'So many bad thoughts. Deep breaths. Get a tissue.'

'It's all over my face.'

'I hate you, mirror.'

'Oh no! Hate. How could i ever, ever think that?! Twilight was just making me feel so much better! And now, it's back.'

'My mind is empty. I don't know what to do.'

'I like Twilight. Hmmm. Oh. Ohhhh no. I can't do something like that. That's... that's... terrible! I'm supposed to make other ponies happy, and now some other pony is doing that for me! What... what do i do now. Work at sugarcube corner? Yes. I can do that, at least that. But, what else?'

'Every emotion comes out on my face, and even, in my hair. My straight, straight, hair. Why can't i just blow-dry you? Why do you fight me? Why can't you just poof back up?'

'Can i pretend? Can i pretend that everything's okay? I... could try? I have to at least try. I can't have all of my friends worrying about me. Twilight can help. She can tell everypony that i'm totally a-okay. Would she lie like that for me? Will i make her lie to every single pony i know? I could, but still, she would know. I'm not a-okay. I could make it easier for everypony else who has to be around me, but it would just get harder for her.'

'I could make it up to her. Do something really special for her?'

'She kissed me. I kissed back.'

'Why did i kiss back? Was it just because i wanted to return a favour? What's wrong with me? If she really does like me, i should either like her right back, and make her feel like she makes me feel, or tell her that i can't.'

'I can't, can i? How could i? Just look in the mirror, me. There's not much to give, here. False hope. Yeah, let's lead Twilight on. Let's break her heart. Then we can be miserable together. I can just give up, and be the worst pony that ever lived.'

'These are dark, dark thoughts. I'm sure of it.'

'Is this how i repay her? Is this what i'm going to show her on my face when i see her again?'

'It would crush me, if she did that to me.'

'Dream-crusher.'

'Is... is that...'

'Me?'

***

"Stop moping in the bathroom!" Twilight snapped, her hoof banging on the door.

"I don't wanna!" Pinkie whined. A bright flash of white and purple light blinded the earth pony. She looked up.

"Oh, yeah. You teleport."

"That's right." Twilight poked a hoof at the mass of huddled Pinkie. "Did you think i was going to just going to leave you locked up in a bathroom?" Twilight tried to pick the pink mare up.

"I was hoping." Pinkie sighed. "I'm... not me... right now."

"I know that."

"But it's a bad not-me." Pinkie whined. Twilight shrugged and helped her to her hooves.

"I think you need some sleep." The edges of Twilight's lips slowly turned up in a soft little smile. Pinkie shakily stood up on her hooves.

"Okay, okay." Pinkie sighed and wearily exited the bathroom with Twilight in tow. "But, i think i need to go for a walk first."

"Hmmm?" Twilight's hum inquired.

"Just need to stretch my hooves... no time like the present." Twilight frowned at her.

"Do you have any idea what time it is?" Pinkie shrugged and reached for the door handle to the outside world.

"It doesn't really matter. Why, is it really late?" Twilight nodded at her. Pinkie's ears drooped down.

"I'll make it quick?" She pleaded. The purple alicorn let out a long breath.

"Fine, i'll... just sit here or something. Don't be too long."

***

A gust of wind buffeted the mare as she slowly clopped along, down a side-street at the edges of Ponyville. She stopped, and kicked a loose stone on the road, sending it skipping along noisily in the stillness of night. She shook her head with a sad smile and looked up at the stars. She opened her mouth, and let her voice spill out.

"Is this my real life?

Is this just fantasy?

Singing like Pinkie Pride,

No escape from sexuality."

Pinkie raised her hooves up and framed the moon in a small box above her, blocking everything else out.

"Open your eyes,

Look up to the skies and seeeeeeeee,

I'm just a poor mare, I need a symphony,"

The shutters of the windows in the houses around her were slowly pulled apart as orchestral music began to accompany her vocals.

"Because i'm easy love, don't you know,

I wonder why, feelings grow,

Anywhere my heart goes, doesn't really matter to meeeee, to meeee,"

Pinkie threw her front hooves out, and began belting out the lyrics.

"Mama! Just kissed a mare,

Put my tongue between her lips,

Exchanged slobber, now we're shipped,

Mama! Life used tooooo be-fun,

But now I've gone and lead her heart astray~"

Pinkie put her hooves back down and stared at the ground, a look of pitiful worry etched across her face.

""Mama! Oooh-oooooohhh!

Didn't mean to turn out bi,

If my hair's still straight this time tommorrowwwwww,

Party on! Party on... as if my life's not in tatters..."

Pinkie resumed her slow trot, one hoof after the other as her eyes started to tear-up.

"Heart rate, I feel numb,

Gives me quivers, makes me whine,

Body's aching all the time,

Tell me why, everypony - I've got to know!

Gotta leave my worries behind and face the truuuuth,

Mama! Ooohhh - (Anywhere my heart goes)

I don't want to cry,

I sometimes wish i'd never moved here at all!!!"

A few weary ponies leaned out from their windows and strummed their instruments as Pinkie took a break and turned slowly in place, looking around at the world she knew.

"I'll wipe the spittle, stay still i know you can,

Scary-mushy! Scary-mushy! Will we do the bang-bang, no,

No wonder colts are frightening, very-very enlightening to me, ttooo mmmmeee,

Shall-i-stay-oh, Shall-i-stay-oh,

Shall-i-play-oh, Shall-i-play-oh,

Shall-i stay-oh i-don't-know, where-will-it-go?!"

Pinkie hung her head as unrestrained anguish covered her features.

"But i'm just a poor mare, and nopony loves me,"

A chorus from the windows shot back a few lines;

"She's just a poor mare from a rock family,

Spare her these thoughts of angry animosity!"

Pinkie threw her head back, her tears spilling down her cheeks as her and her chorus shouted back and forth at each other.

"Easy come, easy go - will she let me go?

This fill-ah! No - we will not let her go, let her go!

This fill-ah! We will not let her go - let her go!

This fill-ah! We will not let her go - let her go!

Will not let her go - let her go! (never)

Never let me go - let her go!

Never let me go - ooohhh

No no, oh woah, no! no! no!

Oh we had tea, we had tea, we had tea don't you know,

Backrub would put more feelings inside of me,

IIIINNNNN MMMMEEE!

IIINNNN MEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!"

Pinkie threw her hooves up and slowly spun in place. After a few seconds she stopped and wiped her red eyes. She stomped a hoof angrily.

So you think you can grope me and get with a ppppiiiieeee?!

So you think you can like me when i want to cccccrrrryyyyy?!

Oh filly - can't do this to me filly!

Just gotta put out, just gotta put out and feel you nnneeeaaarrr,

Oooohh yeah, oooh-oh-oh-ooohhh yeaaaahhh~

My life is in tatters...

Anypony can see...

My life is tatters... and you are what matters... to meeeeeeee...

~Anywhere my heart goes~

Pinkie finished gently. She tried to wave at the ponies from the windows. But, they were already closed. Pinkie smiled weakly, and started the walk back to her apartment.

"Anywhere my heart goes." She hummed out solemnly.

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