• Published 1st Jul 2012
  • 12,376 Views, 356 Comments

Like an Unexpected Song - Donnys Boy

Can Twilight adjust her life’s blueprint to make room for the unexpected ... including Pinkie Pie?

  • ...

Chapter 2

Chapter 2

It had seemed like a brilliant idea at the time. But then, Rainbow Dash tended to think that all of her ideas were brilliant.

Now, though, standing in the center of Applejack’s large barn and looking around at the birthday party that was still in full swing, Rainbow wasn’t quite so sure. Rarity and Applejack were over by the refreshments table, arguing about apples or dresses or some other utterly unimportant and uncool thing. That part was just fine--more than that, it was pretty much par for the course with those two. Meanwhile, Fluttershy was standing right beside Dash, basking in her awesomeness and listening to her retell the story of the Best Young Fliers competition for the second or third time that afternoon.

That part was just fine, too. In fact, this was exactly what Rainbow had wanted all afternoon, a chance for some one-on-one time with Fluttershy. She loved all her pals, to be sure, but ever since the competition in Cloudsdale, things had been different with her fellow pegasus and oldest friend. When the going got tough, Fluttershy had really pulled through for her. Dash could still hear Fluttershy’s enthusiastic cheering over the roar of the wind in her ears, if she closed her eyes and thought about it hard enough.

She hadn’t gotten to thank Fluttershy for that, in all the hoopla after the competition. She’d thought Pinkie’s surprise birthday party would provide a good chance to finally do so.

But things hadn’t gone according to plan. Not exactly. Rainbow Dash still couldn’t help but shudder when she remembered the little scene she’d encountered at Sugarcube Corner earlier that afternoon. Then, after Rainbow had successfully dragged the reluctant earth pony to her own birthday party--and Pinkie had at last caught a clue that they weren’t throwing her a farewell party--Pinkie Pie had gotten even clingier than usual. Which, given how often Pinkie followed Rainbow around like an adoring puppy on a regular basis, was really saying something.

Rainbow Dash had been forced to take action. Desperate times called for desperate measures, after all. And it was then that Rainbow had blurted out the fateful words: “You know, Pinkie Pie, this whole surprise party was Twilight’s idea.”

Pinkie’s eyes had lit up like fireworks and, just as Rainbow had hoped, she went bouncing off to harass the purple unicorn instead of Dash. Once she’d gone, Dash had breathed a heavy sigh of relief and trotted over to the refreshments table to liberate Fluttershy from Rarity’s tedious, fashion-obsessed grasp.

But that had been over an hour ago, now, and still Pinkie and Twilight stood together in conversation--or, to be more accurate, Twilight stood while Pinkie bounced around her in tight, happy circles. What more, Twilight was actually smiling and laughing. It just plain didn’t make any sense. It was weird and unnatural and broke all of the known laws of nature, and Rainbow didn’t like it. She didn’t like it one bit.

“Um, Rainbow Dash?”

Blinking, Dash turned her head towards the voice that had just called out her name. Fluttershy was looking at her with an intent expression on her face, her eyes full of concern. Feeling a touch of chagrin, Dash wondered just how long she’d zoned out.

“Uh, hey, Fluttershy. Sorry ‘bout that. What’s up?”

Fluttershy smiled, a smile that was small but as warm as the sun, while she gently shook her head. “Oh, nothing, really. I was just wondering if you were all right.” Her brow crinkled, just the tiniest bit. “You looked like … like you might be upset. Maybe. A little bit.”

Rainbow couldn’t help but chuckle at that. Leave it to Fluttershy to worry even at a party. “Nah. I’m fine.”

“Okay. If you’re sure …”

There was something in the other pegasus’ tone that made Rainbow Dash pause. That caused a frown to tug down on the corners of her mouth and that caused her to take another glance around the barn. Rarity was now loudly criticizing Applejack’s table manners as the orange earth pony happily and deliberately ate a piece of cake as messily as possible. Gummy was lounging in the punch bowl and blinking in that eerie, unsettling way of his. And Pinkie and Twilight were over by the phonograph, dancing in the dorkiest and most embarrassing way possible, as an old scratchy record filled the entire barn with the sound of polka.

Almost immediately Pinkie Pie noticed Rainbow looking in their direction, and her face split into a huge, happy grin as she waved enthusiastically at the pegasus. Rainbow Dash grinned back.

It really was a great party. She had to give some credit to the bookworm--this might not be a Pinkie Pie level party, but still, Twilight had definitely brought the goods.

“Yeah, I’m sure,” replied Dash at last, casually leaning against her fellow pegasus, pleased to find Fluttershy’s shoulder every bit as warm as her smile. “Actually ... I’m feeling pretty great.”

The train rocked back and forth as it rattled along the tracks, and it might have lulled Spike to sleep if only his stomach hadn’t hurt so much. But hurt his stomach did, the unfortunate consequence of more ice cream than any baby dragon should ever eat in a week-long time period, and he dozed in fits and starts. A full, proper sleep eluded him, as his stomach churned and growled. He tried to distract himself from his stomach troubles by listening in on the conversation happening right next to him.

Twilight thought he was asleep. If Twilight assumed he was asleep, just because his eyes weren’t open … well, that wasn’t his fault, was it? Of course not. And it wasn’t really lying for him to keep his eyes closed. He was a baby dragon, after all. He needed his rest.

“I don’t think Applejack or Rarity would have come with me tonight,” Twilight was musing aloud. “I think they would have thought I’d had a screw or two knocked loose if I’d told them I wanted to, you know, stop time. Fluttershy would have probably been too scared, and I think Rainbow Dash would have just laughed at me.”

“Maybe,” Pinkie Pie agreed, laughing softly. “But Dashie doesn’t mean anything when she laughs at you. I mean, she laughs at me all the time!”

“True, true. But the fact of the matter is … you didn’t do any of that. You didn’t laugh at me, and you didn’t tell me I was crazy. You didn’t even hesitate. You said yes as soon as I asked.” Spike could practically hear the frown in Twilight’s voice. “Why?”

For a few long seconds, the only sound to be heard in the train car was the gentle chugging from the engine. Spike fought back the urge to crack open his eyes to peek at what was happening. He felt Twilight shift uncomfortably in her seat beside him.

“Sometimes,” Pinkie began, very quietly, very slowly, “when we go a little crazy is when we need a friend the most.”

Another pause, shorter this time. “That’s … actually rather profound. Who said that?”

“Um, I just did, silly filly. Weren’t you listening?”

“No, no, no.” Twilight chuckled. “I meant, who were you quoting?”

When Pinkie replied, her voice sounded a bit strange, a bit off. “I … I wasn’t quoting anypony, Twilight. I was just, y’know, talking.”


The urge to peek finally grew too strong, and Spike cracked open his left eye just a smidgen. He saw Twilight sitting forward on the bench, frowning deeply and staring straight ahead. She licked her lips, which he recognized immediately as a nervous habit from her foalhood. She always did that whenever her parents had …

Well. It was something Twilight used to do a lot. Not so much anymore, though. Not since they’d moved to Ponyville.

After licking her lips again, Twilight started speaking in a high, reedy voice: “I’m sorry, Pinkie. For jumping to conclusions, for dragging you all the way out here, for getting everypony so worried, for--for--for--”

Hyperventilating. Twilight was right on the verge of hyperventilating, and Spike began to reach towards her, began to open his mouth to whisper to her the words he knew by heart, the words he knew would calm her down. And was halted dead in his tracks when he suddenly felt someone lean over him and suddenly saw a bright pink hoof press up against Twilight’s lips.

“Shh. It’s okay, Twi.” Then a second pink hoof came into view, and together they cupped Twilight’s face and began stroking her cheeks. “Everything’s okay now, right? Ponyville’s okay, and Canterlot’s okay, and the princesses are okay.”

Twilight clamped shut her eyes, as if in pain. “B-but … but …”

“And I’m okay, too,” continued Pinkie, her voice musical and light, gently coaxing. “And so’s the good old Spikester … well, he would be okay, if only he hadn’t eaten so much ice cream that now he’s got a pudge and can’t budge!”

At that, Twilight giggled. It was small and quiet, almost inaudible over the sound of the train’s rattling, but it was undeniably a giggle. And then, after a second and louder giggle, Twilight began sobbing.

The pink pair of hooves disappeared from view, just for a moment, and then Pinkie Pie’s entire face appeared in Spike’s field of vision, as the earth pony stepped over in front of Twilight. Wordlessly she gathered up the unicorn in a fierce embrace, and Twilight leaned her head against Pinkie’s shoulder. As Pinkie began rocking the both of them back and forth, Spike closed his eye again and turned his head away.

After a minute or two, Pinkie began singing. But her voice was too low and too soft for Spike to make out most of the words. All he was able to catch was the line “Hush now, quiet now …”

It wasn’t that he’d never seen Twilight cry before. He was her number one assistant, after all, and he had known her for his entire life and for most of hers as well. Of course he’d seen her cry. It was just … he’d never seen her cry in front of anyone other than him. Not crying for real--not anything more than a single tear or tiny sniffle. Even Celestia herself had not been permitted to witness Twilight’s real crying, Twilight’s loud and unrestrained wails, so far as he knew. No matter how upset Twilight had been, she had always managed to hold in her tears until she’d reached the safety and privacy of her own bed chambers.

But she was crying now, and she was crying here. With Pinkie. Not just crying in front of Pinkie, either, but actually letting Pinkie hold her and comfort her.

It was strange. Not necessarily bad, but … strange. For the rest of the trip back to Ponyville, he sat in silence. He sat in silence, and he pondered.

Spike had insisted on throwing a bachelor party, just as he’d promised he would, and not a word anypony said could dissuade him from his self-imposed mission. Twilight begged and pleaded--and pointed out that Shining Armor wasn’t a bachelor, technically speaking, now that the wedding was actually over--but Spike remained steadfast. Pinkie Pie knew there was only one thing to be done.

She helped Spike throw a bachelor party.

Not anything resembling the traditional bachelor party, of course. It was, instead, a much tamer affair and fairly similar to most of the parties held at Sugarcube Corner. Pinkie let Spike choose the decorations and snacks, though, which the young dragon did with gusto. Consequently, there were quite a few more gems on the menu than at previous parties the bakery had seen over the years. The party games were the usual fare, however--proven classics such as Pin the Tail on the Pony, Battle Clouds, and three-dimensional chess. Rainbow Dash dominated in Battle Clouds, as she always did, while Applejack excelled at Pin the Tail on the Pony. Meanwhile, Twilight managed to absolutely demolish everyone at chess ... everyone, with the exception of Pinkie Pie.

After Pinkie had won her third game in a row, she’d braced herself, waiting for the inevitable tide of disbelief and anger to come rushing at her. But the inevitable never came. Instead, Twilight had simply smiled at her and playfully vowed revenge.

PInkie had returned the unicorn’s smile with one of her own, twice as large.

Eventually, the hour grew late, and Pinkie’s co-host for the evening lay down and promptly passed out in a corner, one arm hugging a ruby to his chest. As Twilight carefully lifted up the small dragon with her magic in order to carry him home, Pinkie Pie noticed Rainbow Dash and Applejack exchanging furtive looks with one another. Almost immediately she grinned. Pinkie had unerring instincts as to when a pony was planning something fun, and Rainbow and Applejack were definitely planning something fun.

Her suspicions were confirmed just a moment later, when Rainbow Dash loudly cleared her throat and said, “So, girls, now that the kiddo’s finally asleep … how about we go and have some grown-up fun?”

“Geez, you’re heavy.” Rainbow let out a grunt, as she trudged out of Happy Harry’s with a purple unicorn sprawled across her back. “I can’t believe I’m stuck draggin’ you home just because I suggested we hit the bars. I mean, it was AJ’s idea, too!”

Twilight giggled.”It’s ‘cause you’re the bestest, Dashie! A friend who’s true blue, through and through!”

Ugh. Don’t … don’t call me Dashie.”

“Aww.” Twilight tried to crane her neck to get a peek at Rainbow’s face but only succeed in making herself dizzy. She shut her eyes. “Why so glum, chum?”

The pegasus loudly sighed. “It’s nothing. All right? Just … just stay quiet ‘til we get back to the library, okay? Can you do that for me?”

It turned out that Twilight Sparkle could not do that, as it so happened. Instead, she prattled on quite animatedly as Rainbow Dash hauled her through the empty, dark streets of Ponyville. Twilight talked about the latest Daring Do novel, talked about her studies in advanced thermodynamic magicks, talked about the new quiche recipe Spike was trying out and the latest design that Rarity was working on. Twilight talked about anything and everything, while Rainbow only deigned to respond with the occasional grunt or groan.

“… still can’t believe Pinkie thought that was the real Cadance. S’obviously a fake. A fakey fake McFakerson.” The unicorn giggled again, a giggle that was blurry and indistinct and ending in a loud snort. “Can you believe how stupid she is sometimes?”

Suddenly Twilight Sparkle found herself on the ground, the breath knocked right out of her lungs, as she stared dazedly at Rainbow’s hooves.

“She is not stupid!” Rainbow yelled, her voice cracking on the final word. “She can be random, sure, or annoying, but that doesn’t make her stupid!”

Twilight tried to push herself up but only found herself falling back down. She gazed up into the face of her friend, frowning. “D-Dashie?”

“And don’t call me that! Only Pinkie Pie is allowed to call me that!”

“S-sorry, Rainbow Dash. Didn’t mean t’make you angry.”

Dash shook her head. “Besides, all of us fell for the Changeling Queen’s trick. It wasn’t just Pinkie. So why are you singling her out?”

From her supine position on the ground, Twilight Sparkle simply blinked in reply. For once, she didn’t have an answer. She had no idea what to say.

Sighing, Rainbow clamped shut her eyes. Her nostrils flared as she took a few deep breaths. In a much quieter tone than before, she muttered, “Fluttershy would kill me if she knew I was gonna say what I’m gonna say. But heck, it’s not like you’ll remember it tomorrow, anyhow … look, Twi, here’s the thing.”

Twilight had managed to get herself propped up in a sitting position, and though she swayed a bit, she managed to keep a more or less steady gaze on Rainbow Dash. “What? What thing?”

“Pinkie Pie … she listens to you, okay? She thinks you’re, like, the smartest pony in Equestria.” Dash opened her eyes again. They looked strangely sad. “We all think you’re smart, don’t get me wrong, but--but not like Pinkie does. And when you tell her she’s dumb, she believes you, Twilight! ‘Cause she cares more about what you think about her than just about anypony else.”

“Thass not true!” The words were out of Twilight’s mouth before she’d even realized she’d been thinking them. “I’m not … why would she care that much?”

At that, Rainbow Dash grinned, a terrible grin without a trace of humor in it. Her teeth gleamed a ghostly white in the dark. “Do you really not know? Are you really that … that stupid … yourself?”

Twilight frowned all the harder. She almost snapped back that she wasn’t stupid. Almost. But that awful grin on Dash’s face and the sadness in Dash’s eyes made the words shrivel up on her tongue.

“Ugh, I don’t even know why I’m saying all of this.” The pegasus rolled her eyes before jabbing a forehoof in Twilight’s direction. “You! Stay right there. I’ve had enough of this--I’m gonna go get Rarity, and she can drag your sorry butt the rest of the way home.”

Still frowning, Twilight watched as Rainbow Dash took to the air and darted off in the general direction of Carousel Boutique. It was only after Dash was out of sight that she took a glance around and realized she knew where she was, almost smack dab in the middle of the town square. As she surveyed the area, squinting to make out the shapes of nearby buildings through the dark and through the haze in her brain, she noticed a very distinctive building. Home to a very distinctive pony.

She also noticed that, on the top floor of that very distinctive building that housed a very distinctive pony, the light was still turned on.

If she’d been sober, she might have thought better of it--might have stayed put, as Rainbow Dash had instructed--but she wasn’t sober. She wasn’t sober and, as she wasn’t sober, she didn’t think twice as she lit up her horn and prepared to teleport.

She rematerialized right in the middle of Pinkie Pie’s bedroom, exactly as she’d planned. Though really, given her current state, it was a minor miracle that she hadn’t teleported herself into the middle of the Everfree Forest or the bottom of a lake.


The mistress of the house stood just a few feet away, her head tilted and her eyes soft with worry.

“Pinkie Pie!” Twilight grinned as soon as she spotted her friend. “I came to … came to see you!”

Pinkie trotted over. “Um, normally that would be a super great surprise, Twilight, but … wasn’t Dashie gonna take you home?”

“Oh, yes! Yes! She was. And she did. Kinda. Kiiiiiinda.” The unicorn giggled a bit before cutting herself off and attempting to force her facial muscles into a more serious expression. “But then Rainbow got mad and left to find Rarity.”

“Oh, Rainbow Dash.” Pinkie sighed and pursed her lips. “I’m gonna have to have a few words with that silly filly the next time I--”

“You’re not stupid.”

Pinkie Pie shut up.

“You’re not stupid,” repeated Twilight, earnestly, fervently. “Sometimes I say you’re stupid, ‘cause sometimes you’re really annoying and not very careful with my lab equip--equip--with my lab stuff. And you didn’t believe me when I said somethin’ was wrong with Cadance, and you wanna know something?” She swayed a bit as she sadly shook her head. “That really upset me, Pinkie, ‘cause you know what it’s like to not have ponies listen to you, like the time with the parasprites, and it hurt that you girls wouldn’t trust me and hear me out. ‘Specially after all we’ve been through, y’know?”

Pinkie’s eyebrows knit together. “Twilight, I’m super duper sorry ...”

“S’okay.” Twilight dismissively waved a hoof through the air, just barely avoiding a tumble as she did so. “But the point is--’cause I do have a point, I always have a point--the point is, you’re not stupid. Actually, you’re kind of a genius in a really bizarre way, and Rainbow said you listen to me when I say you’re stupid, which is weird ‘cause usually you don’t listen to what I say at all, so I wanted you to know that--”

“Rainbow Dash said what?

Twilight Sparkle blinked at the pony in front of her. Pinkie looked strangely upset, though Twilight couldn’t think of a reason why that should be.

She didn’t like that look. Pinkie Pie shouldn’t look upset. Pinkie, Twilight decided, shouldn’t ever look upset. And since it had to have been something that Twilight did or said that upset Pinkie, that meant it was up to Twilight to fix things. Fortunately, she knew just what to do.

Leaning forward, Twilight pressed her lips to those of the earth pony before her. She could feel Pinkie stiffen under her touch and could taste the slightest hint of sugar on Pinkie’s breath. Then, almost as quickly as she’d leaned forward, Twilight pulled away. She was met by wide, startled blue eyes when she did.

“So, yeah,” finished Twilight, with a wobbly little nod. “You shouldn’t hate me, ‘kay? ‘Cause I don’t think you’re stupid.”

Pinkie opened her mouth, closed it, and then opened it again. “I don’t hate you.”

“Thass good. I don’t want you to hate me.”

“Twilight, I …” Pinkie swallowed. “I really, really don’t hate you.”

Twilight beamed at that and felt a warmth start spreading through her chest. It might have just been the vodka fully hitting her, but she didn’t think so. “That’s great! ‘Cause you know what? I really, really don’t hate you, too!”

With a shuddering sigh, Pinkie Pie shut her eyes. “I should probably take you home. You’re really not so sober, and I don’t know if it’s the bestest idea for us to be talking right now.”

“Pinkie Pie?”


“Dashie said I was stupid, like I said you’re stupid. But you’re not stupid. Which means I’m not stupid.” Twilight grinned triumphantly. “That’s logic!”

“Twilight, please, you gotta--”

“I’m not stupid,” she repeated, careful to enunciate as clearly as she could. “And I’m maybe … maybe not at an ideal level of sobriety, but … I’m not that drunk. I’m not. Pinkie promise.” Then, miming the necessary motions that accompanied the sacred oath, she solemnly recited, “Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye.”

At that, Pinkie Pie opened her eyes.

Twilight smiled, a big bright smile, and then kissed the pink party pony for the second time that evening. She could still taste that same wonderful sweetness from before, even over the vodka that lingered on her breath.

And this time … this time, Pinkie kissed her back.