• Published 10th Nov 2022
  • 3,768 Views, 158 Comments

Her Bitter Half - Casketbase77

Pinkamena hates being in control. It's a chore. But now Pinkie is gone from their shared head. Can a sourfaced split personality pass as her better half and solve the mystery of where Pinkie went? No to the first, yes to the second.

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The Most Impatient Meal of the Day

Sourced from Little Black Raincloud on Twitter

My promised Ponish Muffins were in the kitchen. So were two obnoxious foals in highchairs.

"Ah, Pinkie! Bless you for always knowing when you're needed."

Mrs Cake had a spoon in one hoof and a bowl of mashed carrots in the other. There were orange splatters on her apron, the highchairs, the tablecloth, pretty much everywhere except the mouths of the flailing excited little crotch dumplings. "The twins are surlier than normal today!"

Mm-hm, so is your pink tenant. I'm at least planning to eat quietly.

A dinging noise came from the bakery telegraph, and my hooves were suddenly filled with the spoon and carrot bowl.

"I'll get that. Here, take these." Mrs Cake was wiping herself off as she hobbled to the counter. "You're the best with the twins and I know feeding them is your favorite part of the morning. Would you work your magic and settle them both down?"

"But... muffins," I mumbled, not really sounding like Pinkie. More like that walleyed grey marechild who sometimes delivers our party invitations.

Mrs Cake didn't hear me. She was already at the telegraph, focused on whatever order was coming through. I stirred the bowl of orange mush while Pound Cake and Pumpkin Cake eyed me suspiciously.

"H-hey kiddos. You see your old gal Pinkie Pie, right?"

Pumpkin burst into tears. Which I guess was her way of saying 'no.'

"Pinkie, please stop fooling around. I need to listen to Starlight's order over here."

My breathing was getting heavy. So were the bowl and spoon in my hooves. Pumpkin Cake kept crying and crying and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Pinkie would be singing a nursery rhyme by now. Or using the spoon as a puppet show prop. Or something other than just standing here getting angry.

I don't solve problems in nice ways. But nice ways are the only type you're allowed when dealing with foals in diapers. Even a meanie like me knew that.

I was sort of having my own Current Crisis right now. But instead of a friend from my head coming to the rescue, I had Mrs Cake back from the telegraph. She scooped up the crying one and bounced her a few times.

"Goodness Pinkie, I'm sorry. I didn't realize you'd be so slow after a late night out."

My ears went from flat to strait up.

"I was out late last nigh-?"

Pumpkin's wails drowned me out and kept Mrs Cake's attention. I heard some gurgles and remembered Pound Cake was still there. Forgotten by his mom because he was the quiet kid. My sister Marble could relate.

"Hey kiddo," I tried again. "How's your morning been going?"

Pound didn't cry. But he did blow a clumsy grumpy raspberry, and that made me like him.

"I feel ya."

I tried to smile. That was a mistake.

Just like upstairs, I only managed to bare my teeth and open my eyes too wide to be friendly. Mr Cake had been across the room and also able to leave after I made my nightmare face. But Pound Cake was up close, and when his flapping little wings weren't enough to carry him out of his chair and away from me, he made a few sputtering sounds that were a lot like the ones coming from his sister.

Mrs Cake heard me. Making her other kid cry just like the first. She was looking hard now, at my limp mane and my shaking knees and everything else that gave me away as a terrible incomplete head cold trying to be a pony. I think it was Mrs Cake's face, and me feeling in my bones I was about to get caught, that made me scrunch my eyes shut and do what I did next. No matter what, I was not going to let Pound Cake cry too.

So I stuffed a heaping spoonful of mashed carrots in his mouth.

I'm not gentle. But I did my best to not be rough either. It helped that Pound Cake's frizzy baby mane made his head kind of the same shape as Pinkie Pie's. Or maybe it didn't matter at all, since right away Pound began nomming his breakfast, my scary face forgotten.

Mrs Cake sighed in relief and said something to me. I couldn't her over the rain pouring outside and the blood thumping in my head. Because I had just stopped a baby from crying. I had made the day better for a mom who needed it.

I did that.

Me. Pinkamena.

"Pinkie Pie? I said thank you."

"Yes ma'am! Always happy to help!"

It wasn't hard right now to fake being chipper. Maybe I wasn't really faking. That thought made me sick, so I had to slump into a chair at the breakfast table. I searched my muscle memory to see if this was Pinkie's seat. Its answer was that Pinkie doesn't generally sit down for anything.

"Don't forget Pumpkin either, dearie." Mrs Cake was back behind the counter. I smelled coffee being brewed, black and strong. Not as strong as Pumpkin Cake's scowl though, back in her high chair and glaring at me like the stranger I was. Oh boy, did I ever want to trot away with my Ponish Muffins and leave her just sitting there. I didn't though, since I knew Pinkie Pie wouldn't want me to. And I guess Pumpkin Cake knew that too, because her tiny horn lit up and the bowl of carrots rose out of my hoof.

"Hey! Put that down, you-"

Pumpkin blew a raspberry, louder and brattier than her brother's. Then the bowl was on her tray, getting licked clean. Pound Cake giggled at the show, still gumming his rubber spoon like a toy. I grunted and gave up. There were babies on both sides of me, and neither one was crying. It was the best I could do for now.

"Wonderful work, Pinkie! And with a much smaller mess than usual, too." Mrs Cake was back. I knew better than to try to smile at her, so I started chatting instead.

"Who was that on the telegraph?"

Mrs Cake bit her lip. "Starlight was, Pinkie. I already told you that."

Buck. She did, didn't she?

"Aw, sure. Right. Well... you know me. Brain more scattered than crumbs on a plate of Ponish Muffins!" I grabbed one and tore in.

Did Pinkie talk while eating? Never mind, that's a dumb question. Pinkie talks while doing everything.

"You thaid that I wathf..." I coughed and swallowed. "You said that I was out supery dupery late last night. Where did... um..."

I realized too late that there was no good way to word this question.

When Pinkie and I were little, she would stay up past bedtime to read story after story of Fetlock Holmes. A sneaky detective who was great at getting answers without talking to others. I really should have paid better attention in those days. Or paid better attention to our life in general, because Mrs Cake just noticed another mistake.

"Since when do you eat pastries with no toppings?"

I hissed, fumbling with a nearby jar of jam and scooping what I hoped was a Pinkie Pie-sized glop onto my food. Then I added another glop. Just to be safe. Feeling three sets of eyes on me, I glopped a third before biting into the slab of jelly that had bread buried somewhere underneath.

My tongue hated what it tasted. Not a big surprise, since I'm me. But in the tug of war between my gag reflex at my panic at being found out, panic was the winner. Gag got choked down, along with a big red wad of sugary jelly.

"Mmmm..." I slurred. "Strawberry. Puts the spring in a pink pony's step. Or something."

A banging noise made me flinch, but it was just Pumpkin Cake throwing her emptied bowl at the table.

"Pumpkin, really!" Mrs Cake scolded. "That's enough breakfast for today." The twins babbled helplessly as their mother scooped them both up. Pound Cake babbled loudest, since he'd done nothing wrong and he knew it.

"I'm terribly sorry, Pinkie. Would you... um..." Mrs Cake was looking at the messy table. Then she was looking at her messier foals.

"I'll clean the dishes," I cut in. It was that or help hose down the carrot-coated kids.

"Thank you. But don't let yourself be late for work."

Mrs Cake staggered off towards the washroom, which was the wrong direction if you ask me. With how hard the rain was coming down, it'd be easier to just let the gremlins run around in the back yard for a bit.

I made a noise that was almost a laugh and pushed my seat back. This was my niche. Fixing up a room and staying away from others. I once turned the storeroom attic into a party of one, a long time ago. Not my proudest project, but one of my bigger and more successful ones. The memory made my shoulders slope and teeth click, but that was my version of feeling relaxed. Too bad the awful taste of sugar was still haunting me.

I dumped my ruined Ponish Muffins in the trash. Pink hair was back in my eyes, so I swept them aside after dumping the dishes in the sink. My mane was a reminder that I still had work to do. That I still had a Crisis to solve.

Just as soon as I figured out what it was.

Lightning flashed outside as I smacked my lips. Having Pinkie's brain cells made it hard to focus even at the best times, but sugar mouth really wasn't helping. Maybe if I chugged some tap water before I left...

My gaze landed on the thermos of freshly brewed coffee.

It wasn't mine. I knew that. But really, what was? What in the wide world of Equestria belonged to Pinkamena? Not the hooves that were picking the thermos up. Not the eyes that were locked on the washroom door or the ears straining to hear any signs of Mrs Cake coming back. None of them were mine.

But at the moment, no one else was using any of these. Not Pinkie, not Starlight. Would it really be that selfish if I just took a sip? Its not like I had much of a self to be selfish about anyway. More quiet than a broken noisemaker I reached out and popped the tab on the thermos lid.

Thunder crashed. So loud and so close I actually yelped like a spooked little filly. My forelegs flailed, missing the thermos but smacking the cash register. The drawer dinged and knocked a plate of candies onto the tiles below.

I cussed and scuffled to my knees on the dirty kitchen floor. Those candies were handouts. Or "complimentary", or whatever fancy word there was for it. The bottom line is that they're supposed to be free for customers. Hand the happy horsey their receipt with one hoof, present their thank-you gift with the other. Pinkie used to sneak mouthfuls from the plate while working her shift at the register. It took the Cakes months to find a flavor she couldn't stomach.

"Value brand Salt Lick lozenges," I read aloud off one of the wrappers. These things were sweet tooth anti-matter.

I replaced the refilled plate on the countertop, then turned to leave. The kid in the candy store needed to buck up and go be a teacher at the Friendship School. Rain was still pouring and my mouth was still sick with sweetness, but at this point I was too deflated to care. Just like upstairs, I'd gotten too big for my haunches. I'd gotten greedy and uppity and (worst of all) forgetful of what I am. Of what I'm not. If Pinkie were here, she'd be disappointed with me. I'm sure of it.

I trudged past the umbrella stand. It was empty, since Mr Cake had taken the only one with him for deliveries. But even if there had been an umbrella, I wouldn't have grabbed it. Umbrellas were like lozenges and thermoses of coffee. They were for real ponies. They weren't for me.

I kicked open the front door of Sugarcube Corner. Rain blew in, but only for the second it took to have the latch swing shut behind me. I trotted forward, one forelimb defensively held to my chest.

Striking out without even a set of horseshoes on my feet, I ignored the downpour. My jaw was clenched as I braced against the chill, the wind, and the wetness seeping past my fur and into my skin.

There I went again. Saying "my" over and over like I had the right to use that word.

After a few blocks of shuffling, I felt something else. Heavy, metallic, warm. A foreleg wasn't the only thing tucked close to this chest. I kept trudging, too guilty to look down, but I could feel them. Tight in the elbow crook, like a filly gripping a stuffed Smarty Pants doll, I had the thermos of coffee and one salt lick lozenge. Both things were unopened. Undeserved.

But I was holding them tight all the same.

Author's Note:

Next Week:

A new friend makes her entrance.