The sunlight of another bright spring day spilled over the hilltops of Ponyville, and pushed it way through the windows of Sugar Cube Corner, where inside on the kitchen floor, something groaned and rolled over. Residual cake crumbs and raw sugar cast tiny shadows along the checkered floor.
Morning already? But I just fell asleep, silly!
Slowly, with much effort, the shadow-cloaked unconscious form hooked its hooves into the handle of the cabinetry, and pulled itself up. Rising as slow as the sun itself, over the counter the magenta-fringed face came into view, and stared down it's adversary. Reaching lugubriously, a pink hoof met the switch of the coffee maker, which some pony had thoughtfully prepared the night before.
Just a few minutes, and I'll feel like myself again! And who wouldn't like that?
She stopped short. The sound of the gurgling contraption on the counter that was churning out her morning fix filled the entire room as if it were a jet engine, such was the isolation of the bakery at this hour. Pinkie smiled, and breathed deep, one of her ears still cocked to one side. She relaxed, morning being one of the few times when she could manage to do so, and drifted, wondering why she found herself on the floor of the Sugar Cube, as opposed to in the mountains of pillows and quilts that formed her cloud-like bed.
A whisper came from behind her, soft, inquisitive, and startling.
“Pinkie Pie, are you okay?”
Pulsating, thumping, and beating, Pinkie's living room shook with the music of the night. A clear night sky soared overhead, and twinkled in through the windows.
“Hey guys, check this out,” called out Dash. She sprung into the air and gripped the hanging mirror ball, spinning it up with such force that the individual sparkles it projected in the room turned into shooting stars of multicolored light. She landed confidently, proud, head high, though everyone else was having too good a time to pay attention. After a little wobble from the dizziness, Rainbow joined Twilight and they started another back-and-forth groove. Pinkie found herself, one leg on the floor, three in the air, center stage. Rarity stood only a few feet from the grooving pair, adjusting her dress, and trying to find the beat, which surrounded them in waves of heat and noise.
“Fluttershy,” Pinkie called out, “come on silly! Join in! This wont't be a party if all the elements aren't in harmony!” Rainbow Dash groaned at this, and Applejack didn't appear to register Pinkie had even said it while she was grabbing a cupcake off the sidebar.
Fluttershy stood in the doorway through to Pinkie's room, head down, pink locks obscuring her demure expression, a beacon of ignored tranquility amongst a room full of rumpus. She had been leery of joining the others tonight, and had been more reserved than usual the past few days, ever since Twilight and her had been thrust by Pinkie into the wall at Gummy’s birthday.
She meant well, Fluttershy thought. I can just watch her and be happy from here.
Amidst her heated dance moves, Pinkie had kept an eye on the cute yellow pony since the party had started. Something kept her coming back to her.
“Well,” Fluttershy intoned quietly, almost to herself, “I don't know.”
“Just leave her, Pinkie”, offered Dash, breaking her groove and walking over to face Pinkie on the dancefloor. “What makes you think she wants to start dancing now? She's been even quieter than usual all week.”
At this, Fluttershy looked away, and shuffled her hooves a bit, barely keeping them off her hair.
“I don't see how it's all any of our here business what Fluttershy does for fun.”
Applejack approached from the sidebar, squaring up to Rainbow Dash. When she was within spitting distance, she stopped, shoulders and head held high, hooves thrust down with authority. “It certainly don't seem to change your behaviour, Dash.”
“Who asked you?”
“Nopony asked. But friends don't attack friends.”
Twilight and Rarity awkwardly turned to face the standoff. Rainbow looked around to dredge approval for her words, but got nothing but awkward glaces, with the exception of Applejack, who gave her a hard stare, and Pinkie, who had just finished her last single-legged super-spin as the music came to a stop. She shook her head, and looked around.
“I SAID the Elements of HARMONY,” Pinkie commanded at the room, her grin transformed into her menacing Forever stare as she met all the other ponies' gazes.
Rainbow twitched irritably, casting an angered look at Applejack, a confused glace at Pinkie, and a lack of approval at Fluttershy, who still hadn't returned her gaze. Her wings twitched again, and she swung her mane out of her eyes with a rounding head movement. Rarity and Twilight's faces were blank.
“Fine,” Rainbow finally burst in defeat. “Go harmonize.” She marched off in the direction of the kitchen.
“Aw, c'mon now sugarcube, I didn't mean-”
Applejack's late attempt at civility was cut short by a door slam, followed almost immediately by that signature burst of flight the accompanied Rainbow most places. Pinkie's expression had returned to normal, and Fluttershy seemed to droop even more.
“Now why did she have to go and be all like that?” Applejack asked as her expression of concern melted into frustration.
Maybe, Pinkie thought, maybe a party isn't the best thing for harmony tonight.
“Maybe it is time we adjourn for the evening,” offered Rarity. “It is, after all, a quarter past two,
and I do have a very important client meeting with me tomorrow quite early. Not that I haven't enjoyed your party Pinkie Pie; you're always such a dear to us.” The other ponies, the hour and their lack of rest suddenly hitting them like a loaded-down apple cart, could only nod and smile politely in agreement.
“Well, okay,” Pinkie relented, “but you just have to come to my party on Saturday! It's for Gummy! His first tooth is finally coming in! It's definitely something we should celebrate with him.”
At this, the girls smiled, if only a little awkwardly, but knew they wouldn't turn Pinkie down. She escorted them to the door in the kitchen which Rainbow had used not a few minutes before, and one by one said their goodbyes and left. Pinkie latched the door, and walked back to the party room, the glitter and mirrors still reflecting the colors and outrageous imagery of a party, only the room was still and quiet and not at all exciting.
“Um... Pinkie Pie, I...”
Pinkie spun around, facing her room's doorway, to find Fluttershy still there.
Why hadn't she left with the others? Sneaky pony.
Fluttershy had regained some of her composure. She wasn't drooping anymore as she had been when the other ponies had left, although she was still quite cautious.
I don't think she knows why she's here, Pinkie thought. Then again, neither am I. But that's okay! Maybe she'll feel better without the pressure of everypony being around.
“I'm sorry I ruined your party,” Fluttershy whispered.
“Don't be such a silly, silly. You didn't do anything.” Pinkie Pie came up to her and smiled unabashedly. “This only happened because SOME pony wouldn't mind her own business,” she explained, taking a second to scowl at the kitchen door. “It's not your fault at all!”
Slowly, gently, a smile crept onto Fluttershy's face, and she looked directly at Pinkie Pie for the first time tonight.
Pinkie returned her gaze, her smile slowly melting to a soft, warm expression of appreciation.
Fluttershy is such a pretty pony. Is that why I couldn't take my eyes off her?
The moment passed. Fluttershy grappled at words.
“I... I was wondering if I might stay with you tonight. It's a bit of a distance to my house. Of course, if you don't want me to... I completely understand. I just...”
“Of course you can!” Pinkie cut in. “Why didn't you say so! I'll fix you up a bed.”
Pinkie Pie disappeared through a doorway off the kitchen, leaving Fluttershy in the party room, alone, except for her thoughts. She started to wander a bit, but didn't stray from where Pinkie would easily find her.
She's so nice, she thought of Pinkie. Always so happy.
Pinkie returned, piled high with blankets and pillows.
“Did you want the ones with the balloons or the ones with the flowers?” she called to Fluttershy as she re-entered the room, posing to show off the patterns she'd draped on each of her flanks.
“I, um...” Fluttershy began, before Pinkie interjected again.
“I'll just give you both! Twice as much fun, and just as comfy.”
Pinkie walked into her room and began arranging a cute little nook full of colorful patterns to be Fluttershy's bed. The dim light of the bedroom gave Pinkie a warmer glow than usual.
Why am I so comfortable around you?, Fluttershy wondered as she watched Pinkie work.
Triumphant, Pinkie emerged from the corner, a nest of clouds and dreams assembled behind her, as Fluttershy averted her gaze to keep from staring at the pink, smiling pony.
“You look so tired,” declared Pinkie.
And with that, soon the lights were out at Sugar Cube Corner, and both ponies were fast asleep.
Fluttershy woke suddenly. There was a presence nearby, although she couldn't discern who or what. Pinkie should have been sleeping soundly on the bed next to her, but she couldn't hear her usual little snore.
“H... Hello?” Fluttershy asked aloud, in the tiniest voice she could manage. There was a long pause.
“Shhh,” came the whispered response. “It's me, silly.”
“But I thought you were sleeping, Pinkie?”
Some time passed with this. Then the presence Fluttershy had felt made itself known. Pinkie slowly embraced her from behind, holding her gently. She stiffened for a moment, and then relaxed into Pinkie's embrace. She felt Pinkie's warmth on her back, and her sugary-sweet breath by her ear.
“Are you... okay?” Fluttershy asked.
Pinkie hesitated. “Yes.”
“I was... lonely. And you seemed so sad earlier. Do you... mind if I join you?”
Fluttershy knew how Pinkie was, but this was a surprise. She was always happy and loving towards all her friends. She had the biggest, most unabashed heart of them all. It was a comfort to have someone close on a night like this, but she didn't know what to make of this. She just knew she wasn't scared. The quiet continued. Pinkie nuzzled Fluttershy's neck a few times, and said nothing.
She's so sweet, Pinkie thought. If only I could stay here forever.
Meanwhile, in Fluttershy's head, thoughts were flying. What could she do? There was a part of her that really wanted to stay, and be loved, but part of her didn't know what was happening at all. It was all confusion and second guesses. Was Pinkie a friend? Was Pinkie, perhaps, more than a friend? And how could she possibly ask, or deny her, without having to discuss it?
The pure, unadulterated mass of her shyness came flooding back, and she curled up more tightly in Pinkie's blankets. But then, what was there to be afraid of in Pinkie's embrace? She felt safe, warm, accepted. Accepted for being the quiet, shy pony she was, without having to prove her bravery or composure. If Pinkie was more than a friend, then surely the only reason for that is that she liked her for the pony that she was.
Pinkie felt Fluttershy get tense.
Oh my gosh, what if I've ruined our friendship?
But then she relaxed again into Pinkie's arms. For a long while, nothing was said. The night spun by in suspended animation, marching onward with the clock, but standing still at Sugar Cube Corner. Pinkie gave Fluttershy another nuzzle and let her mind wander, and soon, she could hear Fluttershy's breath slow and deep, and felt her unconscious weight against her.
Soon afterwards, Pinkie crept as quietly and slowly as she had before, and left the room entirely. She paused at the door to look back at the pale-yellow pony wrapped in her pink mane, sound asleep.
Why do you make me feel like this?
Pinkie retreated to the kitchen, and stared at a lone piece of left over vanilla-cream cake on the counter from the party. She sat on the kitchen floor, and ate the confection. She started to sob as she did so; quietly, discreetly. After some time, she fell asleep against the cupboards.
All at once, Pinkie stood bolt upright, rubbed her eyes, and spun around to face Fluttershy. Her lips still had some red on them from the cake she'd eaten the night before, her eyes were sunken from the tears and lack of sleep, and her hair was more ridiculous than usual. She tried to brighten into a full-on Pinkie grin, all she could muster was a subtle smile. She stood in the middle of the kitchen, dazzled by the incoming light. Her physical demeanor was slumped and shaken, as if she thought Fluttershy were about to accuse or attack her. The color drained from her face.
How could I have forgotten?
“Hey Fluttershy! How did you sleep?”
Before she could get in any kind of reply, all of Pinkie's memories of the night before came back to her, and she almost buckled under the weight of them. Fluttershy was staring her down from the kitchen doorway, with a blank expression on her face while the sunlight turned her hair into a fountain of pink and her eyes sparkled in the shadow.
“Oh Fluttershy, I'm so sorry.”
Fluttershy stepped forward, towards Pinkie Pie, and rubbed her head against the sweet pink pony. She broke into a smile. Now Pinkie stiffened, terrified.
How could this be? Why am I suddenly such a shy pony?
“I … I know I was a silly pony last night...” Pinkie began.
They were still for a moment, Fluttershy's head on hers. Pinkie bit back more tears, and barely breathed.
“I've never had a pony just like me for me. It's enough.”
“But didn't I scare you? What about us being friends forever?”
“Isn't this better?”
In the golden streams of light pouring in from the windows of the bakery, the two ponies stood, Pinkie's hair sparkling with the sun and the sugar that had gotten caught in it. Then she closed her eyes, and whispered into Fluttershy's ear again, this time not confident, but shaking.
All My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic characters, settings, and material are the property of Hasbro. This is a fictional adaptation of those materials, distributed for free in the creative commons.