• Published 7th Apr 2020
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Consonance and Dissonance - applezombi



After an unfortunate injury while hiking, Pinkie Pie accidentally sets into motion of a chain of events that leads to new friendships, romantic encounters, and even the salvation of an old enemy.

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Chapter 3

“Ms. Sweet?” Pinkie called out as she worked her way clumsily through the large back door. “Ms. Sweet? Can I get your help with something?” She tried to hold the door open for her guest behind her with an outstretched crutch, but Sonata merely glared at her from underneath her hood as she opened the door for herself. After their eyes met for a moment, one pair friendly and open, the other darkly suspicious, Sonata looked away in a near cringe. “It’s okay. Come on in.” The hooded siren nodded silently. “The sink’s over there so you can wash up if you want.” She pointed at the hand washing sink, well used but well cleaned, set next to one of the prep stations in the restaurant’s kitchen. With a shrug, Sonata silently rolled up her sleeves and washed the grime of her dumpster diving off her hands.

“Pinkie?” Sweet Snack poked her head from around the corner of the office door. “What can I…” The café owner trailed off as soon as she saw the dirty, shrinking figure half hidden behind Pinkie. “Oh! One of your friends, dearie? Come on in!” Pinkie could have hugged her boss; the older woman seemed to have an instinct for reading people and situations, and Pinkie could tell her mind was turning as Sweet took in what she was seeing.

“Heya, ma’am. Where did you say that leftover soup was?” Pinkie called out. It took only a split second before Sweet’s eyes lit up with understanding.

“If you and your friend are hungry, Pinkie, just find a seat out in the dining room. I’ll heat up the soup for ya.”

“It’s okay, boss, I can…”

“Pinkie!” Sweet Snack shouted in her very best boss voice. Pinkie stumbled, nearly tripping over her own crutches in her surprise. Sweet almost never yelled at her staff. “Find a seat in the dining room and park it, girl!”

“Yes ma’am!” Pinkie yelped, and even Sonata snickered behind her. “C’mon, Sonata. I’ll show you to the dining room.” The siren followed behind the pink girl, trying to subtly hide behind the floofy mass of cotton candy hair. Sweets watched long enough to ensure that Pinkie was going to rest her leg as ordered before going back into the kitchen to reheat the soup.

The dining room looked lonely now that the restaurant was completely closed. The cleaning was done, and the room was in immaculate shape, ready to open for breakfast tomorrow morning. It was clear Sonata felt awkward and uncomfortable by her hesitant movements, but goaded along by Pinkie’s encouragement and a good solid prod from a crutch, she found a seat at one of the booths near the door. She slid into the back of the seat, sitting sideways so as to place her back up against the restaurant wall. Pinkie sat down opposite her, leaning her crutches against the metal rim of the Formica table.

“Hungry?” Pinkie asked. Sonata tried to sink further into her threadbare hood.

“I don’t want…” the siren began, her voice bitter. “I mean, I can’t…” She stuttered, cutting off again. Pinkie cocked her head with a smile, waiting and listening patiently. “I can’t afford to pay you right now,” she finally managed with a shameful flush. “I can wash dishes or something.”

“I don’t think Sweet’s gonna charge for the soup. Today was the last day. It was just gonna get tossed tonight anyways. Trust me, you’re not costing me or Ms. Sweet anything.”

“I don’t need charity,” Sonata mumbled back. It was obvious that she didn’t even believe what she was saying. Pinkie merely smiled at her.

“Okay,” Pinkie said cheerfully. “But what about gifts?” Sonata grunted in response, which Pinkie took as a yes. “I love giving gifts. I’ve been in such a frowny mood about my soup not selling well. It’d make me feel so much better if at least somebody eats it.”

“What makes you think I want to make you feel better?” Sonata snapped angrily. Pinkie flinched, but her smile never shrank.

“Do whatever you want,” she said cheerfully. “But the boss is gonna heat up your soup no matter what you say. So you might as well at least try it.” Sonata looked away sullenly.

“What kind of soup?” the siren asked finally.

“Tortilla soup,” Pinkie answered simply. Sonata finally looked up, staring at her.

“What’s tortilla soup?”

“It’s like a chicken taco, except in soup form,” Pinkie said, and finally got a response other than anger from the siren. Sonata was looking at her, eyes wide and jaw slack.

“You... can make tacos in soup form?” Sonata asked. Her face was alight with wonder. Pinkie couldn’t help but giggle, which of course made Sonata scowl. “What?”

“Oh, nothing,” Pinkie giggled more. “It’s just, your face looks just like I imagine mine did when I first tried cupcakes. You really like tacos that much?”

“Tacos are perfection in edible form. They are the Siren of human foods,” Sonata declared. “I’ve been alive for hundreds of years, and tacos are the very best thing that humans have ever invented.”

“Hmm. We’ll have to agree to disagree, I guess,” Pinkie said. “I mean, there’s cupcakes.” She didn’t say any more. What more needed to be said? Cupcakes were the real greatest human invention. Sonata merely shook her head, but Pinkie sensed that a conversational hurdle had been passed. The Siren was at least speaking with her now, rather than just glaring and grunting. It was clear to Pinkie now what her last few ‘Pinkie Sense’ episodes had meant. Sitting across from her was clearly a frown in desperate need of upside downing. Now she only had to tread carefully here; it was also obvious that she would need to be very aware of Sonata’s fragile feelings.

“Soup’s on!” came a cheerful singsong from the direction of the kitchen. The swinging chrome door revealed a beaming Sweet Treat, expertly carrying two large bowls on steaming soup on platters. Pinkie could smell the spicy soup, the aromas of the chicken, peppers, and melty cheese filling the mostly empty restaurant. She set the platters down in front of each girl, and Pinkie nearly giggled again at the way Sonata’s eyes followed the steaming bowl like she was hypnotized. “You eat up too, Pinks. You’re still healing.”

“You sound so much like a mommy,” Pinkie said with a giggle, and Sweet gave her a stern look that didn’t quite overcome the amusement in her eyes.

“That’s cuz I am. Now eat up, both of you.” She made sure to share her stern gaze with both of the girls, and Sonata shrank away against the wall. With one last glance at Pinkie, the café owner disappeared into the kitchen. Sonata’s magenta eyes darted back and forth between the swinging door, Pinkie, and the bowl of soup sitting before her. Tremulously, she seized the spoon resting by the side of the bowl on the platter. With her wary gaze still on Pinkie, she scooped up the first mouthful of tomatoes, peppers, and shredded chicken. Pinkie smiled and waited.

If there was one thing that Pinkie lived for, it was that moment of surprise and joy that made a person’s eyes just light up. It could be for any reason; an unexpected surprise party, a perfect birthday gift, a hug on a rainy day, or the perfectly flavored cupcake. Whatever the reason, watching a person’s expression just lighten up with happiness was her oxygen. It was even better when the person was a former Meany Mcmeanypants. Pinkie remembered the first time she’d seen a real, genuine smile from Sunset Shimmer. She remembered the first shy, nervous smile of Twilight Sparkle as she announced that she would be transferring from Crystal Prep. She had a gallery in her head where she saved those moments, memories locked in frames in the gallery of her mind. This moment would have a place of honor alongside those others.

Sonata didn’t necessarily smile with her lips, but that was okay. Pinkie knew that some people just smiled with their eyes. Also it was hard to smile when chewing. Especially when after that first bite, Sonata couldn’t shovel the soup in fast enough. She even took a second to lower her hood, letting her two-tone blue hair spill out. Pinkie wanted to stand up and shout, she wanted to dance around and throw a party, a ‘Hooray-You-Discovered-A-New-Favorite-Food’ sort of party. Admittedly that sort of thing might be difficult with her bum leg. And also may not be appropriate for the situation. So instead she held herself back, letting herself simply enjoy being an observer for this moment.

“I had no idea tacos could be soup,” Sonata finally admitted with her mouth full, once her bowl was almost gone. “Or that it would be so good.” Pinkie merely beamed, sliding her own bowl over besides Sonata’s. “Really? You’re sure?”

“I ate earlier,” Pinkie said with a shrug. “I’m good. You enjoy, okay?” The siren didn’t need any more than that. Pinkie took the time to watch her (hopefully) new friend as she practically inhaled the soup. There was something different about the siren. Something off. There were physical differences; Sonata’s cheeks were sunken, and there was a darkness around her eyes. She was missing the confidence she’d had when she was evil. She didn’t move with the same sensual and seductive grace that she’d had when she was singing alongside her sisters. She acted like she’d been beaten down, and Pinkie felt a surge of guilt at the role she might have played in putting the frown on Sonata’s face, even if she and her friends hadn’t had another choice.

Pinkie liked to spend time with each of her friends. That meant doing things they enjoyed, such as helping Fluttershy volunteer at the animal shelter the shy girl loved. Pinkie remembered one weekend, nearly a year ago, when she’d been helping Fluttershy play with some of the cutest puppies and kitties and bunnies Pinkie had ever seen, when suddenly a group of animal control officers had brought in an injured dog. Even thinking about it made Pinkie want to cry forever. The poor dear had been underfed, and his fur was patchy. The shelter vets had done surgery to remove the pitiful creature’s collar. Pinkie had to leave, but Fluttershy had stayed to assist. It had been impressive to see Fluttershy in her element, but the look of anguish and despair in the dog’s eyes still haunted Pinkie. The moment Pinkie had caught Sonata stealing things from Sweet Treat’s dumpster, her eyes had been the same as that dog’s. The realization gave Pinkie an idea.

“What are you doing after you’re done eating?” she asked the siren suddenly, as Sonata was slurping up the last bits of Pinkie’s bowl. The siren looked longingly at the dregs in both bowls, as if she wanted to lick them out. The question, however, made Sonata’s shoulders slump.

“Dunno. Probably go home,” she said, sounding decidedly frowny again. Pinkie shook her head.

“You don’t have to, ya know. Go home, that is. Do you wanna hang out for a bit?” Pinkie asked. She felt nervous. This next bit could easily end in a completely unfriendly disasterific explosion of ultimate frowny faces. She’d have to tread lightly.

“Hang out? With you?” Sonata asked. Thankfully she didn’t sound as skeptical about the idea as Pinkie thought she might have even a few minutes ago.

“Yeah. I’d like to talk to you for a bit. Get a chance to get to know you. Maybe even be your friend?” Pinkie said. She hadn’t meant that last bit to be a question, but she couldn’t help herself.

“Don’t have anything better to do,” Sonata muttered, her voice defeated. Pinkie fought the urge to stand up and clap. Mostly by remembering that it would probably hurt a lot. New friends meant parties and celebrations, more birthdays to remember and cakes to bake, more presents and more smiles and more joy to spread around. The former villain thing didn’t bother her in the slightest; two of her very best friends in the entire whole wide world had been temporarily demons, after all. “What do you want to know about me?”

“Well, how have you been?” Pinkie asked, then immediately regretted it. It was one of the number one rule of good questions according to the weekly improv classes she took with Rarity; never ask a question that could be answered with one word. It was a good rule of thumb for asking questions of skittish, shy new friends as well.

“Fine,” Sonata said, and Pinkie slumped. She’d have to do better than that, but if she was too obvious Sonata would shut down.

“What are you up to these days?” Pinkie asked, hoping the more open ended question would produce more of a response. She was disappointed.

“Mostly working.”

“Oh yeah?” Pinkie asked. “Where are you working these days?”

“Oh, I’m a wish fulfillment ambassador at an Amaze-bay distribution center.”

“So you’re like a genie? Fulfilling people’s wishes?” Pinkie gushed. Sonata’s laugh was bitter.

“That’s what I thought when I read the job title. No, I work in a warehouse and fill people’s internet orders. It’s… not fun.”

“Aw, that’s no good,” Pinkie said. “Sorry it turned out so badly for you.” Sonata looked into Pinkie’s eyes, looking a bit taken aback by the sincerity in the other girl’s voice.

“Yeah. At least I have a job,” Sonata said. Pinkie was about to ask something else, when Sweet poked her head in from the kitchen. Sonata quickly put her hood back up, hiding her face almost by instinct.

“You girls need anything else?” she asked. In one hand she held a plastic bag with a to-go Styrofoam soup container.

“Nope! Thanks so much for letting me stay late, Sweet!” Pinkie cheered at her boss. Sweet eyed her with an amused expression and laid the bag on the table next to Sonata.

“You take this for tomorrow,” she ordered the young woman. Sonata opened her mouth to protest, but the older woman bulldozed forward. “I don’t wanna hear it. You be sure to eat this within the next day or so. We can’t sell it, but it will still be good to eat for a day or two. Pinkie, I’m about to lock up. You think I can have a word with your friend by herself for just a moment?”

“Okie Dokie Lokie,” Pinkie sang, though inside she was nervous. What did Sweet have to talk to Sonata alone about? “I’ll wait for you outside, Sonata.” Sonata nodded expressionlessly. Pinkie stood up, snatching up her crutches as she flashed Sonata an encouraging smile. As she maneuvered her way clumsily towards the kitchen door, she briefly entertained the temptation to hesitate behind the door to eavesdrop. She almost did it, too.

“Oh, Pinkie Pie?” Sweet Treat called out, and Pinkie nearly dropped her crutches in shock. “Your Pinkie Sense is vindicated. Don’t you dare come into work tomorrow. And don’t even think about…”

“I’m going, I’m going!” she called back, and hightailed it out the back door. Clumsily she worked the handle and managed to squeeze out the back door. The alley was dark and lonely, and Pinkie found her gaze drawn to the dumpster, where only a few minutes ago Sonata had been digging for scraps. It broke her heart to think about. For Pinkie, food was life. Food, after maybe only smiles and surprise parties, was like the third most important thing in the entire world. To think about somebody without enough food, even somebody who was sometimes a bit evil, was anathema to her. Crutches clicking against the concrete and asphalt of the alleyway, she made her way over to the dumpster and peered inside. The smell hit her like a fist, and she nearly cried. The idea that anybody could eat from a dumpster physically hurt, with a wrenching twist in her gut. She had to turn away before she lost her dinner. With tear filled eyes, Pinkie Pie turned away from the dumpster towards the door to wait for her new friend to emerge. She had a plan for Sonata for tonight, and she was praying that the siren wouldn’t hate her.

With a click, the back door of the restaurant opened, and Sonata emerged, with Sweet behind her. The siren was smiling, though her eyes were filled with tears. With a sniff, she wiped her nose on the sleeve of her ragged hoodie, then turned and, to Pinkie’s shock, hugged Sweet. The café owner, about to turn and lock the door behind her, gave a surprised chuckle and returned the hug with a hearty squeeze.

“Thanks,” Sonata whispered, and Sweet patted her awkwardly on the back.

“No problem. Enjoy your soup,” Sweet said, motioning to the to-go bag that Sonata was holding. “You remember what I said, girl. And be nice to Pinkie, she’s an angel.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Sonata said, releasing the hug and glancing over at Pinkie. Sonata gave her a small smile, and Pinkie’s heart sang. It would definitely be time to start planning a New-Friend party soon. Maybe she’d have to find a way to ease her friends into the idea of befriending one of the sirens. It would take time, energy, patience, and an infinite supply of balloons and cupcakes. Each one in her friends’ individual favorite flavors, of course. Sonata walked over to stand beside Pinkie, her face once again disappearing into her hood as she looked down at the ground. Sweet bid them both goodnight before heading for her car. Sonata and Pinkie watched her go.

“She’s okay letting you head home on your own?” Sonata asked, a bit incredulously.

“Yup. She knows if there was something dangerous out there, I’d get an ear twitch, eyebrow wiggle, tummy clench,” Pinkie said confidently. “C’mon, there’s somewhere I wanna show you.”

“So, you’re psychic?” Sonata asked as she followed slowly after the other girl.

“No, I’m Pinkie,” she sang back, and Sonata’s face screwed up with confusion. It was an expression Pinkie was used to seeing in her friends, old and new. She didn’t mind.

“Where are we going?” Sonata asked. They exited the alley onto the dark street, well lit by frequent, smartly placed lamps. It wasn’t the nicest neighborhood in Canterlot Town, but it certainly wasn’t anywhere near the bottom. It was nearly ten p.m., and most every business was closed.

“One of my favoritest places ever,” Pinkie said. “You’ll see.”

“You’re plotting something,” Sonata accused as they passed slowly by the Sweet Treat’s neighboring businesses.

“Why do you think that?” Pinkie asked, trying to make her voice sound as innocent as possible. Sonata rolled her eyes.

“I’ve spent the last few centuries hanging out with Adagio Dazzle. I know when somebody’s plotting something,” Sonata said. She didn’t sound angry, though.

“Yeah, okay,” Pinkie admitted. “Maybe a little. But it’s nothing bad, I promise. We’re heading towards the Canterlot Hills Youth Drop-in Center.”

“What’s that?” Sonata asked.

“It’s, um, a place where teenagers can go if they need help,” Pinkie said. Sonata stopped, freezing in her tracks.

“What kind of help?” she asked suspiciously.

“Do you mind if I tell you a story first?” Pinkie said nervously. Sonata’s eyes narrowed, but she started moving again, walking alongside the injured girl. After a few silent seconds, she nodded.

“It starts about two years ago,” Pinkie began…

It was sophomore year. I’d like to say I was as happy and bouncy and smiley as normal but… uh…

That… wouldn’t be very honest of me.

See, we didn’t know it at the time, but there was a bully at Canterlot High who was spreading rumors and lies, driving me and my friends apart. It was a pretty dark time.

Yeah. It was Sunset. But I don’t like to talk about how she was back then, because of how she is now. She’s a great friend, she tries so hard and she’s nothing like…

Right. Getting back on track.

Anywho, this bully, and no I’m not going to say her name in this context thank you very much, kinda made it so that me and my bestest friends weren’t talking to each other. Or me. So I decided I was gonna be the best of best friends for everybody and anybody I met. When me and my friends cut each other off, it left a hole in me, an emptiness, and I tried to fill that by giving as much love and joy and friendship and cupcakes and smiles to as many people as possible. I had a database on my phone, complete with the birthdays and favorite colors and favorite foods and favorite deserts of almost everybody at school, most of my teachers, both Principal Celestia and Vice Principal Luna, my favorite café owners, and even my boss Sweet and my coworkers there. I didn’t do the math until later, but I was spending about six hours at school, two or three hours on homework, five hours at work, and sometimes five or six hours a night baking, planning parties, creating surprise gifts, that sort of thing. Seeing my friends smile, I thought, was the only thing I ever needed. Some nights I got less than four hours of sleep.

I was like a really sad clown with really happy makeup; the bright colors were hiding the frowny face that even I didn’t know I had. Sometimes my teachers would notice something was wrong, and they’d say something. Vice Principal Luna called me into her office a few times to ‘chat’, just to make sure I was okay. I don’t think she believed me when she said I was, but she didn’t argue. My sisters, Maud, Limestone, and Marble, all knew something was up. They begged me to slow down and take care of myself, but I was convinced I was just fine. Nothing was wrong.

Finally it was my dad that snapped me out of it. My dad and I…

We’re very different people. I love my dad, and he loves me, but I don’t think he gets me.

So one morning I’ve got my alarm set for 3:45 AM. It was just enough time for me to shower and get ready for school, before heading downstairs to make my first coffee of the day.

At the time? Probably about eight or nine cups a day, depending on how frowny I felt. My friends think I can be scary on caffeine. I don’t see it. So I was heading down the stairs at about 4:30 and my dad’s there already.

Dad usually wakes up at five. He owns a farm, and he’s used to being an early riser and working hard. I was a little surprised to see him up before his usual alarm. He was sitting at our kitchen table. My dad doesn’t really show his emotions like I do. People say I’m transparent, that I wear my heart on my sleeve.

Of course it’s silly. There’s no hearts anywhere on my sleeves, or even my skirt, or blouse, or socks. I think they mean it as a metaphor when they say it though.

But my dad’s not like that at all. He’s a pretty happy guy, but he never smiles on the outside. All his smiles are on the inside. But that means his frowns are on the inside too, and his tears, and his surprise. It’s almost impossible to startle that man with a surprise party. Trust me, I’ve been trying for twelve years now. But when I came down the stairs, it was clear even on his emotion-hiding face that he was ultra-extra upset about something. He was quiet, and his eyes were fixed on me, and without saying anything he pushed one of the kitchen chairs out with his foot, inviting me to sit there. I knew something was wrong right away, but I didn’t think it was me. At the time, I still didn’t realize how much I was hurting myself.

“Pinkamina, sit down,” he said, when I didn’t sit right away.

Yes, that’s my real name. Pinkamina Diane Pie. I prefer Pinkie.

You didn’t? Hm. I guess we never really did introduce ourselves. Too busy with the Battle of the Bands, I guess. Oh well. No time like the present.

Hi! I’m Pinkie Pie! Nice to meet you, Sonata Dusk! Let’s be friends!

Okay, back to the story. So I sat down, and Dad looks into my eyes. I can tell he feels totally awkward about all of this, and I’m about to speak up and ask what’s going on.

“Pinkamina, thy family is concerned about thee,” he said. Yeah, Dad sometimes talks all weird and old-like. It’s just another great part of what makes my dad my dad. “Thy health and thy happiness is important to us.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Dad,” I said. I was starting to feel worried. We argued.

Well, I argued. He just kept trying to interrupt me. I was jabbering away. I don’t even know what I was saying. I might have been a bit delirious. He just kept saying my name, trying to get me to stop, and I couldn’t. ‘Pinkamina,’ he’d say, and then I’d keep trying to talk. I was one second away from running out of the house and…

I actually have no idea what I would have done.

Finally, he said my name. Not ‘Pinkamina’, but ‘Pinkie Pie’.

“Pinkie Pie,” he said. “If you do not sit down right now I might never smile again.”

It was the nuclear option. I was completely stunned into silence. I think I might have been standing at that point, so I fell into the chair and listened while he told me everything he and my mother and sisters had been seeing for the past month. “Thou art killing thyself,” he said, and he’d never sounded sadder.

“I can’t stop,” I said desperately. “I don’t know how.”

“I have spoken with someone who can help thee,” he said. “Though I cannot force thee to go.”

He’d made an appointment for me with a counselor. A social worker who specialized in teenagers in trouble. But our family doesn’t exactly have enough money in the world to send me to a shrink, but fortunately Canterlot City has some good options for mental health services for folks without much resources.

I had no idea what to expect. I was thinking there’d be a reclining couch, and a beardy man with a weird accent asking me stuff about my childhood and then saying ‘hmm’ while he scribbled notes onto a pad of paper. Or maybe, I dunno, a padded room and a straight jacked. I almost didn’t go. But then I remembered what Dad had said about never smiling again. I could tell he was hurting because I was hurting, even though at the time I didn’t even really believe I was hurting. So I show up at the address he gave me, and it’s not even a real doctor’s office like I was expecting.

There’s a basketball court outside, and a nice well-kept lawn. There’s a garden, full of vegetables. There’s big doors outside that lead into a large open room, with huge glass windows to let in as much light as possible. There’s a ping pong table, and a pool table in the big room, and even a lounge area with comfy couches. I go inside, and there’s kids from all over hanging out, playing with the stuff. There’s kids our age eating…

Yes, yes, I know you’re not really our age, but you kinda count that way now that you don’t…

I’m sorry. That was mean of me.

Anywho, there’s kids eating lunch. Probably about ten or so, just hanging out, having fun, doing stuff. I saw a few other people I recognized from school, and they called out and said hi. There was a front desk check in area, and a nice looking middle aged lady with floofy blue hair…

No, not as floofy as mine. There’s no such thing.

…Okay. I’ll give you that. Adagio’s is just as floofy as mine.

She calls herself Calm Breeze, and says she was expecting me. We go back and meet her husband, the councilor, a guy named Still Waters. And… we talked about stuff. Every week. Once a week. For, well, until now. I’m much healthier now, and happier, but I still go see him once a week. He’s… really good at what he does. Both he and his wife run a safe place for teenagers, people like us who have problems that just seem bigger than they are.

Can you please not tell anybody I see a therapist? I’m not embarrassed about it, but if my friends find out they might worry and start blaming themselves. And I don’t want that.

No, I don’t think you need therapy. Really. But that’s not all they do. Calm Breeze and Still Waters give people a safe place, a place to belong, to be accepted. Sometimes even a place to stay and get a hot meal and a hot shower. No questions asked. And I won’t ask you any details, but it seems like you could use a place like that right now.

“If I’m wrong, I’m really sorry,” Pinkie said finally, feeling a stab of worry deep in her gut. Sonata was trailing behind, her hands stuffed into the pockets of her hoodie while one still clutched at the bag with the leftover soup inside. Her gaze had been on the sidewalk for most of the walk.

“How much further is this place?” Sonata said finally. “It’s pretty late.”

“Only another block or so,” Pinkie said. She stopped when she realized Sonata had stopped in her tracks. Sonata was staring at her feet, frozen in the yellow light of the street lamps. Finally she looked up, her magenta eyes blazing with intensity that Pinkie hadn’t seen since the Battle of the Bands.

“Why?” she demanded. Pinkie turned around, so she was facing the other girl rather than simply looking over her shoulder.

“Cuz you needed a smile. And because everybody’s my friend, and I love seeing my friends smile,” Pinkie said. “So? Will you let me help you?”

Sonata shuddered, her shoulders shaking as she sobbed. Finally she looked up at Pinkie with tear stained eyes.

“Okay.”

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