• Published 28th Mar 2013
  • 5,716 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 4

Chapter 4

“I will always love you.”

The words raced all around Pinkie’s brain, in ever-tightening circles, causing her temples to pulse and throb. Slowly, carefully, she removed her hooves from Fluttershy’s chest and took a step back. She felt almost dizzy from how fast her heart was pounding, and she drew in a few deep breaths as she struggled to calm herself down and to clear her head.

Fluttershy still loved her.

Fluttershy still loved her, and that meant there was still hope. There was still something to hold onto, something to fight for, something to believe in. And whatever else she was, good or bad, Pinkie Pie was a pony who believed. She was a pony who believed deeply, with all her heart, with all her soul.

But even so, she knew she probably only had one shot at this. One chance to convince Fluttershy that this could work, that they could work, and she needed to make that one chance mean something. Briefly Pinkie considered attempting to work out some sort of game plan--considered rehearsing in her head just what exactly she wanted to say--but almost immediately she tossed out that idea. Planning and organization were not her areas of expertise, she well knew. No, spontaneity and perseverance were where her strengths resided.

So Pinkie went with what she knew and what she was good at. She opened her mouth, and she let out whatever words might come. She simply opened her mouth and started talking, trusting that somehow she’d say whatever needed to be said and needed to be heard.

“Do you remember when you first came to Ponyville, ‘Shy?” Even Pinkie was surprised to hear these particular words come tumbling out, but with a tiny mental shrug, she pushed onwards. “You told me that you were surprised at how small Ponyville was. How quiet and peaceful it was. Remember?”

Slowly, gracefully--always, always gracefully, with Fluttershy--the pegasus sat down on the floor. “How could you … do you honestly think I could ever forget the day I moved to Ponyville?”

Pinkie grinned in reply. “Nope! I know you’d never, ever forget something important like that, silly filly! It was just a rhetorical question.” She leaned forward and whispered, in a conspiratorial tone, “Twilight told me all about rhetorical questions. She says they’re good for when you wanna make a point about something.”

Fluttershy simply blinked back at her and looked confused.

Sneaking forward just a tiny bit closer, Pinkie continued on. “And I laughed when you told me about Ponyville being small and quiet, and you thought I was trying to be mean, but I wasn’t trying to be mean! I was just laughing because I thought it was really, really funny to hear somepony describe Ponyville as small and quiet.”

“Because it wasn’t small or quiet. Not to you.” Fluttershy glanced down and smiled, very slightly. Her eyes twinkled in a way that made Pinkie Pie’s heart skip a beat. “You said that you’d never lived anyplace as big or as loud as Ponyville. Or, um, anyplace as friendly.”

Pinkie grinned even harder. Fluttershy did remember. Not that she truly thought that the other pony might have forgotten, of course, but … but it was good to hear Fluttershy say it, nonetheless. It was good to hear the words in Fluttershy’s own voice.

“And do you …” Pinkie faltered here, just a bit, just for a moment, before she was able to force her tongue and her lips to keep moving. “Do you remember what we said after all that? Do ya?”

“Yes. I … I remember.”

Pinkie Pie couldn’t sleep.

It was only partly because she’d drank at least five glasses of soda back at the pizza restaurant. That certainly didn’t help, by any means--nor did the omnipresent neon lights outside the window, so oddly bright compared to the pitch black night she was used to back at the rock farm. But truth be told, none of these things were the primary cause of Pinkie’s restlessness. The softly snoring yellow pegasus beside her was.

Fluttershy could be such a silly pony, really. She had apologized to Pinkie all night. She’d apologized as Pinkie had paid their dinner bill, and she’d apologized as she reluctantly accepted Pinkie’s offer to stay with her in a hotel room after much hemming and hawing. Then, she’d apologized when they arrived at the tiny, cramped room and she’d seen it contained only one small bed and a dresser much too large for the claustrophobic space. And when Pinkie had laughed at her and told her to stop apologizing, Fluttershy had blushed and apologized for apologizing so much.

It really was silly in the extreme. Fortunately, Pinkie liked silly ponies. She was, after all, a silly pony herself.

It had been ages, however, since she’d shared a bed with anyone else--not since childhood, back when she and her sisters had all huddled under a pile of blankets during the bitter cold of winter. She’d forgotten how distracting it could be. Instead of sleeping, Pinkie simply lay in bed and watched the gentle rise and fall of Fluttershy’s chest. She listened to Fluttershy’s rhythmic snores, and she smiled at the peaceful expression on the other pony’s face.

It was nice seeing Fluttershy look so relaxed for a change. With any luck, sometime she’d get to see Fluttershy look this peaceful in the daytime, too.

Pinkie Pie yawned.

Come the morning, she’d have to think of a plan. Or she’d have to pretend to think up a plan, which was pretty much the same thing. Successful plans were really more about style and presentation, anyway, in Pinkie’s opinion. As long as she kept up hope--as long as she believed--she knew that she and Fluttershy would be just fine. They had to be.

She yawned again, a yawn that was longer and louder than the one before, but she didn’t bother fighting it. She was warm, and she was safe, and best of all, she was with a friend. All was well. Finally, lulled by the snoring from her companion, Pinkie drifted off into an easy, dreamless sleep.

When she awoke, she awoke to dull gray light filtering in through the curtained windows and to the unpleasantness of a cold and empty bed. She blinked for a few moments, as a frown tugged down on her lips, and she tried to figure out why the coldness of the bed cut through her life a knife. And then, all at once, she remembered. She remembered that she was in Manehattan, and she remembered the weather control bureau office, the whistle, the pizza parlor. She remembered a pegasus with shining, huge eyes and a heartbreakingly timid smile.

Instantly Pinkie leapt to her hooves. She turned her head this way and that, frantically searching the hotel room for any sign of Fluttershy. But all she could see was a small envelope that had been placed on the edge of the dresser.

She took the envelope gently between her teeth and ripped it open. Then, just as gently, she pulled out the paper inside and laid it flat against the top of the dresser.

Dear Pinkie,

Thank you so much for buying me dinner and for giving me a place to spend the night. It meant a great deal to me, and I’ll never forget your kindness. I’m very sorry I didn’t stay to say good-bye in person, but I didn’t want to impose on you any longer.

I hope you’re able to make your dreams come true.

All the best,

Pinkie Pie swallowed as she took a step backwards, her rump hitting the edge of the bed. Her heart pounded in her chest, a wild, out-of-control rhythm. Fluttershy had left. Her new friend--her only friend--was gone.

It wasn’t until she was bursting through the front doors of the hotel and charging down the crowded Manehattan streets, her saddlebags banging against her sides as she ran, that Pinkie Pie even realized she’d made the decision to track down Fluttershy. She made it nearly halfway across the city before she realized further that her hooves were taking her, almost of their own accord, towards the Manehattan train station.

The train station looked exactly as it had the day before and yet somehow utterly nothing as it had the day before. Yesterday it had been large and open and full of promise, an architect’s marvel of carved stone columns and polished tile, while today it looked imposing and almost hostile. It was strange, Pinkie reflected, how things could change so much and in such a short period of time.

But this was no time for philosophizing. Quickly, eagerly, she scanned the long rows of benches, filled to overflowing with ponies of every shape and size. Finally she spotted a familiar pink mane over by the station’s ticket counter, and she galloped over without a second thought and pushed her way to the front of the line.

“Hi, again!” Pinkie Pie gasped out, as soon as she skidded to a stop beside Fluttershy.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” said the pinch-lipped mare behind the ticket counter, “but you’ll have to go to the back of the line and wait, like everypony else.”

Meanwhile, Fluttershy’s mouth hung open, and her eyes went wide. “Oh! Oh, h-hello, Pinkie. I, um, I guess you found my note?”

“Yep, yep!” Pinkie nodded. “So, where we goin’?”

The ticket counter mare loudly and pointedly cleared her throat, momentarily drawing Pinkie’s attention. “Nowhere, I’m afraid. As I was explaining to your friend here, we aren’t able to accept I.O.U.s as a form of payment.”

Pinkie glanced back over to Fluttershy. The pegasus was staring down at the plain wood of the ticket counter with the saddest pair of eyes that Pinkie had seen in a good, long while. It hurt seeing Fluttershy like that almost as much as it had hurt to wake up in an empty room earlier this morning.

Clearly, something had to be done. And, just as clearly, Pinkie was the mare to do it.

Whipping her head around, Pinkie Pie reached into her saddlebags and pulled out her purse. She dropped it onto the counter and grinned triumphantly as all of her bits spilled out of the bag with a loud, happy clatter.

“There! Two tickets, please! To, um, wherever we can go for those many bits, I guess!”

Fluttershy frowned and gave a subtle shake of her head. “No, Pinkie. You’ve already done so much for me, and I couldn’t--”

“This isn’t very many bits,” the clerk interrupted, in a brisk tone. “This could get the both of you to Ponyville, I suppose, but not much farther.”

Still grinning, Pinkie hopped in place. “Ooh, Ponyville! I know where that is! I bet Ponyville’s a super, duper great place to go.”

“I’m sure Ponyville’s very, very nice, but ...” Fluttershy bit her lip. “But I was hoping to go to Los Pegasus next. To keep looking for Rainbow Dash.”

The ticket mare squinted at the bits spread across her counter and hummed thoughtfully. “Los Pegasus, eh? This would be enough for one ticket to Los Pegasus, but only one way.”

Fluttershy’s eyes lit up at that, sparkling more brightly than Pinkie had seen yet, even as the pegasus kept on slowly shaking her head. “Oh, no, no. Like I said, I couldn’t take Pinkie’s money.”

“We could go to Ponyville first,” suggested Pinkie, feeling her grin crack at the edges, reaching out to grab Fluttershy with a shaking hoof, “and then we could get jobs and earn more money, and then we could get train tickets and go to Los Pegasus and look for Rainbow Dash together!”

Fluttershy didn’t reply. Instead, wincing a bit, the pegasus gently pulled herself free from Pinkie’s grasp.

“Doesn’t that sound like lots and lots of fun, Fluttershy?” The earth pony stood perfectly motionless, her foreleg still outstretched even though she had no one to hold onto. She felt cold deep down in her belly. She didn’t know why. “I mean, don’t you wanna stick around and hang out with me some more and have tons of great adventures?”

The other pony wouldn’t meet her eyes. Fluttershy simply stared down at the train station platform and shifted her weight from hoof to hoof.

Finally, after several moments of terrible silence, the ticket counter clerk spoke up. “If neither of you is going to buy a train ticket, I’m going to have to ask you to move along.” She gestured to the line of grumbling ponies behind them, which seemed rather a bit longer than it had been when Pinkie had first arrived. “Now, ladies, if you’ll be so kind?”

The glares from all the grumbling ponies waiting in line cut into Pinkie Pie like tiny little daggers, but even so, they were nothing in comparison to the sheer ice that flowed through her veins. Trembling all over by now, Pinkie reached out to lay a hoof on Fluttershy’s shoulder. If only she could get Fluttershy to look at her, that terrible coldness creeping through her bones would finally go away. She was certain of it.

“I’m sorry, Pinkie.” Fluttershy lifted her head, but her eyes were closed tightly. “I’m sorry, but I just ... I can’t. I can’t.”

And then Fluttershy slowly turned around, Pinkie’s hoof dropping from her shoulder as she did, and Fluttershy slowly walked away. Pinkie Pie watched numbly as the pegasus trudged off, and she felt the ice rise up in her throat, choking her, drowning her.

The ticket clerk groaned. “Ma’am, can’t you see your friend is gone? Will you please just leave?”

Surprised, Pinkie turned her head toward the clerk, having almost forgotten that the other pony was even there. As she did so, she caught out of the corner of her eye the almost painfully bright glitter of her spilled coins on the counter. She stared down at them for several long moments, her brow furrowed, before suddenly putting on her very best smile.

Nodding towards her bits, she declared, “Will do! But first, I wanna buy a train ticket.”

The clerk merely raised an eyebrow.

“Yep, you heard me right!” Pinkie just kept on smiling. It was what she was good at, after all. It was what she knew how to do. “I’ll take one ticket to Los Pegasus, please!”