• Published 28th Mar 2013
  • 5,707 Views, 104 Comments

Between Chaos and Creation - Donnys Boy

The sun is big and beautiful and bright. It warms you up, and it makes you smile. But the sun can also exhaust you. And if you stare directly into the sun, if you get all caught up in its beauty and forget to look away, it can blind you.

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Chapter 2

Chapter 2

“Pinkie, I think we should break up.”

There were a lot of words that had come before those particular words, and there were a lot of words that were still being said after those particular words. But for Pinkie Pie, the only words that mattered were the ones that meant that Fluttershy didn’t want to be dating her anymore.

Those simple few words, spoken so softly and yet without a hint of a stutter, were doing strange things to Pinkie’s chest. She almost felt as though she was drowning. Maybe she was, in a way. She just stood there and stared into those two soft pools of teal, and she was drowning in them, slowly but surely going under. The air in her apartment above Sugarcube Corner was, even at the best of times, overly hot and stiflingly thick--a consequence of the constantly baking ovens below--but right now it was positively unbearable.

“I’m sorry,” said Fluttershy. Her voice was barely audible over the sound of blood roaring through Pinkie’s ears. “I’m so sorry. I never wanted to hurt you. I never wanted … never wanted any of this, Pinkie …”

Biting her lower lip, Pinkie squeezed her eyes shut and began gently shaking her head. Fluttershy was still speaking, her tone as soft and soothing as it ever was, but the earth pony wasn’t listening anymore. She concentrated, instead, on trying to control her breathing and on fighting down that awful drowning sensation.

Then she felt a hoof touch her shoulder, warm and tender. Pinkie almost wept at how good that hoof felt, at how much she needed this physical contact. She opened her eyes to find Fluttershy staring at her with a sad smile upon her lips.

Quietly Fluttershy said, “This is why. This is why we can’t work. We just … hurt each other. All the time.”

“No!” The word exploded out of Pinkie before she even realized she intended to speak. “No. That’s not true, ‘Shy! You don’t … I mean, we don’t …”

Fluttershy’s terrible smile stayed firmly in place. “Yes, we do.”

“But … but I love you!”

At that, the pegasus’ trembling smile fell apart. Fluttershy quickly ducked her head, and her mane obscured her face. Pinkie Pie felt a jolt of panic as soon as she lost sight of the other pony’s eyes--it felt as though she’d had something stolen away from her, something important, something precious.

“It’s not about that, Pinkie.” Fluttershy shook her head, and still her eyes were hidden behind that curtain of long pink hair. “It’s never been about that.”

“How can it not be about that? That doesn’t make any sense!”

Fluttershy sighed, a long sigh that seemed to come from somewhere deep inside. The pegasus slowly turned around--slowly turned her back to Pinkie Pie--and began walking towards the door of the apartment. Still her head hung low to the floor, and her wings drooped on both sides.

Pinkie felt her heart stop. This was real. This was really happening. Fluttershy was … leaving.

Leaving her.

Ten years ago, almost to the exact day, Pinkie Pie was having the worst day of her entire life.

It hadn’t started out that way. On the contrary, the day had started out with great promise and immense hopefulness. Early that morning, before the sun had even peeked over the horizon, Pinkie had bade her family goodbye with many songs and much hugging. Her parents had just smiled at her, while her sisters had shooed her on her way. Certainly she didn’t want to miss her train to Manehattan, they’d suggested, as they’d waved their good-byes. The very thought of Pinkie wanting to miss the train was silly, of course--she’d been saving up all her bits for months now in order to afford this trip out to the big city--but she knew what her family meant. So without further delay, she’d bounded off down the road that led from the Pie family farm all the way down to town.

The village of Rockton wasn’t much more than a few houses, a municipal building, and a train station no larger than a shed--but that morning, as the sun finally had risen and bathed the land in its warm, orange light, the entire town had positively glowed. Pinkie hadn’t been able to keep still as she’d waited by the train tracks. She had danced on the very tips of her hooves and hummed any number of songs to herself as she waited for the train. Finally she was going to Manehattan. Finally she was going to realize her lifelong dream.

Finally she was going to work for the Equestrian Weather Control Bureau.

She hadn’t stopped bouncing on the train, either, as she’d stared out the windows in rapture and watched the scenery whizz by as the train rattled down the tracks. First, there had been endless fields of rock, flat and gray, but those had passed quickly enough. After the fields had come the much more colorful and much larger Ponyville. Then, after Ponyville, there had been still more fields, much greener than those that surrounded Rockton, followed by dozens of more villages and even a few actual, honest to goodness cities.

Pinkie Pie had loved seeing each and every one. Eventually, after hours confined in the train car, they had pulled up to Manehattan’s huge and ornate train station, and Pinkie Pie had been so excited that she’d nearly exploded out of the train car before it had rolled to a complete stop. But that was right about when things had started to go wrong.

She’d swam in a sea of stallions, mares, and foals as she walked along Manehattan’s teeming streets, and she’d smiled and said hello to as many ponies as she could. But instead of smiling back, those ponies had merely glared in her direction and grunted. In fact, no matter how brightly she smiled or how cheerfully she greeted ponies, none of those ponies ever smiled back. It had been truly perplexing.

Still, Pinkie Pie had persevered, as she always had and always did. She had gotten lost more than a few times along the way--somehow ending up on the campus of the University of Manehattan, where she’d given an impromptu lecture on quantum mechanics until the thaumaphyics department chair had realized she wasn’t actually a visiting professor--but, after some twists and turns, she’d found herself in the bright and shiny reception lobby of the Manehattan branch of the Weather Control Bureau. The key to all of her hopes and all of her dreams.

Where she’d promptly been told it was all for naught. She wasn’t a pegasus. She wasn’t a pegasus, and that meant they wouldn’t hire her.

Her hopes and dreams? Gone, in the blink of an eye.

It was at this point that her shoulders finally slumped and her step finally lost its bounce. Defeated, she turned around and prepared to trudge off to find some dinner or maybe a balloon factory--and instead was hit by a ton of bricks. Or, at least, it felt like she’d been hit by a ton of bricks.

By the time her head had stopped ringing, Pinkie found herself firmly pinned under a yellow pegasus with huge, desperate eyes and a surprisingly firm grip. Pinkie blinked a few times, just to double-check that all of this was actually happening, and once she’d confirmed that it was, she put on a grin.

“Hi! I’m Pinkie Pie!”

“My whistle!” exclaimed the pegasus, her voice high and tight. “You … you found my whistle!”

Pinkie glanced down at the whistle that laid nestled in her chest fur. “Oh, is this your whistle? It was on the floor when I came in, and it was really shiny and pretty and rainbow-colored, and I like rainbows a whole lot, you see, so I--”

“Give it back!”

Pinkie’s head snapped up again and, as soon as it did, the pegasus stumbled backwards as if suddenly frightened. The yellow pony scooted back a few feet, but her eyes never left the whistle around Pinkie’s neck. Still grinning, Pinkie Pie stood back up and shook out her mane.

“Oh, my gosh.” The other pony’s voice was soft now, nearly inaudible. Her wings were shaking a little, too. “I’m … I’m so sorry. That was so mean of me, and--and--and I didn’t mean to shout, really I didn’t …”

“That’s okay!” Pinkie quickly dipped her head, low enough that the whistle slid down over her head and onto the floor. She lifted the whistle by its cord and held it out for the pegasus to take. “Here’s your whistle back! Thanks for letting me borrow it.”

The pony’s teal eyes ping-ponged between the whistle and Pinkie Pie’s face. Pinkie just kept on grinning. She didn’t really know what was going on, exactly, but a big, bright smile had never done her wrong before. After a few tense moments in which neither pony moved, the pegasus reached out with a faltering hoof and gently pulled the whistle from Pinkie’s grip.

The pegasus’ long, pink mane fell into her face as she draped the whistle’s cord around her own neck and fidgeted with its positioning. When she finally looked back up, there was a hint of wetness in her eyes.

“Thank you,” she whispered. “Thank you.”

Pinkie giggled. “Aww, it was no biggie! It’s not like--”

She was interrupted by a pair of yellow forelegs suddenly wrapping around her and squeezing her tightly, almost possessively. Pinkie blinked in surprise, just for a moment or two, before she put her legs around the pegasus and hugged her in return. The other pony was warm and soft, and she smelled a little bit like lavender. Maybe, Pinkie Pie decided, today wasn’t such a bad day after all.

A second later, a loud cough drew both mares’ attention, and they both glanced over to see the weather bureau clerk pointing to a nearby wall clock while shooting them a pointed glare.

Pinkie gave another giggle as the yellow pegasus quickly disentangled from their hug. “I think Mr. Grumpy-puss over there wants us to leave so he can lock up, so why don’t we go get some dinner? I dunno about you, but I’m hungry enough to eat a whole hay bale!”

Feeling much more cheerful about her lot in life than she had just a few minutes ago, Pinkie Pie went bounding out the doors of the weather control office and happily skipped down the street. She hadn’t made it more than a dozen steps, however, before she realized there was something missing. Or, rather, somepony missing.

She looked over her shoulder and spotted the pegasus mare back by the front doors of the weather control building, scuffing a hoof along the sidewalk as she stared at Pinkie with uncertain eyes. Pinkie felt her chest seize, and she struggled to keep the smile on her face. Her heart pounded in her chest as she returned the other pony’s nervous gaze. Some mean, nasty corner of her mind whispered that her brand new friend was going to turn around, walk away, and leave her all alone again.

That couldn’t happen. Pinkie Pie wouldn’t let it happen. As cheerfully as she could, Pinkie called out, “C’mon, I found a really great pizza place a few streets over! It’ll be my treat!”

Still the pegasus didn’t budge. “Um. I … I don’t know.” She bit her lower lip. “It wouldn’t really feel right, accepting dinner from a stranger …”

“Nuh-uh! We’re not strangers!” Pinkie rapidly shook her head, fast enough to send her curls bouncing wildly around her face. “I told you my name, don’t you remember? So we can’t be strangers.”

At that, the other pony frowned thoughtfully. “But I still haven’t told you my name. I don’t think.”

“Oh. Huh. I guess you’re right.”

“I’m sorry.”

Pinkie wasn’t sure why her new friend was apologizing, yet again, but she waved a hoof dismissively anyway. It seemed like the thing to do.

“Don’t you worry your pretty little head about it!” And then Pinkie grinned, the grin that had always gotten her out of trouble with her parents and the grin that had always won her sisters’ forgiveness after she’d pulled a prank or two too many. “So! What’s your name?”

The pegasus opened her mouth but, with a furrow of her brows, closed it again. She returned to worrying her lower lip as the seconds ticked by. But then, finally, she smiled, a smile that was tiny but undeniably there, and she came trotting up to join Pinkie Pie.

“It’s … it’s Fluttershy,” she said in a voice louder and stronger than Pinkie had expected. “My name is Fluttershy.”