This was it. This was what every excruciating second being more sociable was building up to. Maybe it hadn’t been Princess Celestia’s idea when she sent her faithful student to Ponyville, but Twilight Sparkle had made it her personal mission ever since she had met the adorable pony.
She was going to ask Pinkie Pie out on a date.
Really, how could anypony not like Pinkie Pie? Yes her attitude could be grating at times and she didn’t really have any social setting other than hyper charismatic, but that was something Twilight loved about the other girl. She was so different from the withdrawn unicorn that it made her irresistible!
The setup was great, too. Twilight had chosen an occasion when all her friends would see them out together (and hopefully accept them as a couple) so that there wouldn’t be lingering awkwardness. Today was the day that Rainbow Dash officially debuted with the Wonder Bolts! She had gotten all her friends front row tickets to the event and everyone, even Applejack, had decided to show up. After her breakup with Rainbow Dash, no one had thought the two would be in the same city let alone hanging out. Twilight was as pleasantly surprised as everyone else; the two pony’s relationship had helped bolster Twilight’s own confidence about finally asking out Pinkie Pie, so she hoped and prayed that her two friends would work things out between them. Maybe everyone could be happy at the day’s end?
“Twilight, are we going or not?” Spike asked, lightly kicking his feet from his spot on his friend’s back. “You’ve been standing here for ten minutes! The show’s gonna start in half an hour!”
Oh darn it, she’d zoned out again! “Sorry! Come on! I know I saw Pinkie Pie head for the dressing rooms!”
All of the ponies had separated when they arrived at Canterlot Stadium to waste some time before the show began. Applejack had suggested walking around rather than waiting in their seats and no one wanted to argue – she probably needed more time to sort herself out before seeing Rainbow Dash again. Pinkie Pie had announced she was going to make a delivery and trotted off a second after that. Saying that she wanted to go get a soda, Twilight had excused herself to follow her and Spike invited himself to go as well.
“Look, Twilight! She’s over there by Dash’s trailer!”
Oh, wow, this was really it, wasn’t it? Pinkie was standing next to the door that had Rainbow Dash’s star on it, a little wrapped box dangling from her teeth. She just looked so cute and adorable! Showtime, Twilight! Spike hopped down from his perch and plodded alongside his friend when Twilight gave him a little buck, thankfully not complaining.
“Pinkie! Wait up!”
The earth pony turned, surprised. “Oh, Twilight! Hey!” she replied, letting the box fall from her teeth as she did so.
It rattled when it hit the ground near Spike. “Oh, wow! Something smells good!”
He was right: the delectable sent of freshly-baked cookies was coming from the little box. Unless Twilight missed her mark, they were Pinkie’s own special chocolate chip cookies that everypony loved so much. Still, cookies weren’t the reason Twilight had come to see her friend about.
“So, um, Pinkie…” She could feel her cheeks starting to light up like a Christmas tree already. Pinkie Pie was just standing there and listening with rapt attention, much like she always did when Twilight was talking to her. “Are you going to the show with anyone? You know, I know we’re all there together, but I mean with someone. I was thinking that I could switch out my ticket and we could…sit together?”
“Oh no! I’ve got special seats for the second part of the show!”
Wait, what? The second part of the show didn’t include Dash, so they were all planning on heading into town together. At least, that’s what Twilight thought.
While she was trying to process this, the door to the trailer swung open. Rainbow Dash, with her goggles and half-zipped Wonder Bolts uniform, stepped out, beaming once she saw Pinkie.
“Hey! There you are! Come on in, I’m just finishing getting suited up.” It took a substantial beat for her to notice Twilight. “Oh, hey! Did you get the tickets? Stupid question since you’re standing here and everything, duh!” Pinkie Pie giggled. “Well, I hope you enjoy the show!”
“I’ll see you and the guys tomorrow, Twilight!” Pinkie Pie said before gathering back up her box of cookies. Faintly, Twilight could make out a tag on the bow that said Congratulations Rainbow Dash! The earth pony trotted past her friend and disappeared into the trailer, humming a perky tune as she went. The door slammed shut a moment later.
Spike looked at the door, to Twilight, and then back to the door, seemingly at a loss. “Uh, I guess Rainbow Dash got over Applejack,” he muttered, lamely.
“I guess she did.”
“Are you, I dunno, okay? You wanted to sit with Pinkie Pie, didn’t you?”
“No…I mean, yes, but she wants to sit with Rainbow Dash. She can have other friends. I-I-I don’t want to s-smother her. We’ll see her tomorrow. A whole day after the show is over. Why wouldn’t I be alright?”
Spike didn’t interrupt as Twilight droned on, nor did he say anything about the way the unicorn’s smile was twitching as it fought to stay on her face. He just hopped back up onto the unicorn’s back and hugged her neck.
“You know what, Twi? You’ve really grown up.”
The lesson she would write to the Princess today was short and clipped: sometimes the happiness in a friendship meant not being happy yourself.
She requested a transfer back to the castle a week later.
For Love of Another Pony
Spike looked over all the boxes stacked around their home of so many years. He sighed. "So, we're finally leaving Ponyville, huh?"
Twilight Sparkle was lying next to him. "Yes. ...I'm sorry for putting you through this."
"I mean...this was your home too."
"It's all right, Twilight. I mean, I...I got over that crush on Rarity years ago."
"And when Apple Bloom told me that...that she was, well, you know... I was sad, sure. But seeing her walk down the street, with those two girls...she's happy. And I'm happy for her."
"...so, I should just...give it time...?"
Spike shook his head. "No. I understand that it hurts. We've been growing apart from the others for a while now." Even though he had only grown a centimeter since they had first arrived, his eyes looked weary. "And sometimes, you need time by yourself to sort through your feelings."
Twilight quietly laid there. "...like those about Dash and...and..."
Spike laid a hand on her neck reassuringly. "And Pinkie. ...we can always write. Dinky's been doing a good job of delivering the mail since her mom retired."
Twilight nodded, tearing up. "...I should probably write that into my last report. Ponies...change."
Spike nodded. "Maybe, but not now." He patted her gently, then walked away. "I'll let you say goodbye to the ol' library. I'll be outside if you need me." He left, leaving the door open to the evening air.
Twilight Sparkle sniffed, her eyes moist. She thought she knew Pinkie... She thought they had something special. ...typical Twilight. Always THINKING. Never looking, never really knowing...
A book floated into the air, gleaming with her aura. It shivered, then smashed into a wall. One by one, methodically, the pile of books was rammed into it. Her eyes were shut tight, leaking saline.
"Um...Twilight?" She opened her eyes to see a pink and yellow blur. Slowly, it resolved itself into the familiar pegasus who rarely flew.
"...I'm sorry that you had to see that, Fluttershy."
“...It's okay. I understand." She shuffled over to her and laid by her side, tucking her legs beneath her. She met her eyes.
Twilight recalled the first time the two of them had been able to maintain eye contact for more than a minute. It was shortly after Angel's funeral, in this same room. Fluttershy had been a wreck. She had gotten the scholar by herself here, and started pouring out the words she had been unable to say by the open grave: the story of how she had raised him since he was born, how she didn’t know if she could go on without him, how she felt so very alone, even among her friends... Twilight had cried then too. Words, her constant companions, were failing her. What could she do? Instinctively, she hugged her close, neck to neck, for a timeless moment.
The stinging in her eyes brought her back to the present. Fluttershy still gazed into her eyes, tearing up as well. Sparkle rubbed her eyes with a hoof. "I...I don't nee...need your..."
Fluttershy shook her head. "You do. I needed you...just, let it out." So her friend, choked slightly with sobs, told her what had happened at the Wonderbolts show. When she finished, no words passed between them.
Then, blushing ferociously, the shy pony leaned towards her and licked up her bitter tears. Twilight blushed as well, blinking in confusion. "Fluttershy, why are you...?"
"I...want your pain to be mine too. ...I want us...to be closer...than...than close friends. I..." Her words faltered. "...sorry. Enough about me." She turned her head away, her own tears dripping down.
Then Twilight's tongue swept her cheek clean. Her blue eyes widened. "Me too."
Spike watched their first gentle kiss through a window, with a devil-may-care grin. "Ponies change all right. Friends sometimes drift apart...but some blossom into something more." He waved along the Pegasus stallions harnessed to the moving carriage. "Get outta here! We ain't movin'!" He laughed. "Not now. Not EVER!”