Chapter Eight: Where's My Happiness?
MLP FiM: Copyright Hasbro
Pinkie Pie's Mind
Pinkie looked up and around at the sky with Pinkamena as the voice spoke to them, both of the Pinkie's looking startled and confused by it's sudden presence. A pair of sparkling blue eyes, just like Pinkie's, swirled into the air and blinked as it looked back and forth between the two Pie's.
Wowweeee, just look at that! It was harder then I thought it'd be to finally get a chance to talk to you Pinkie!”
The voice came from the same direction as the eyes, a sunny reflection of Pinkie's own voice that off-set the sullen tone of Pinkamena's own voice.
“Wait, who are you? This is supposed to be my chance to talk to her!” Pinkamena protested as the scenery around her shifted to that of the rock farm, a stark contrast to the Cakes' loft that Pinkie stood in.
“Hold on, I think I have some static on my end, did you say 'a yam's dance to baulk at her', cause that's a pretty silly thing to say!” the newcomer chirped back with a light giggle as it became less ghostly, the outline of an earth pony becoming visible.
“Ohhhh, I haven't heard from you before! Wait, don't tell me who you are! Lemme guess...are you the memories of all the good times?”
“Not quite, but you're close!”
“This is ridiculous! Pinkie, we're not well and you don't have time to play guessing games with some new Pinkie!” Pinkamena shouted though her voice sounded as if it was coming from a great distance. Now that Pinkie was actually looking at her it seemed like her more grim half (or was it quarter?) was receding into the distance along with the rock farm.
“Wait, Pinkamena! You said you had something you wanted to talk to me about!” Pinkie called back, planting her front hooves on the invisible barrier between the two of them and casting a confused look back at the floating outline of herself as it gradually took more form.
“Don't worry, you two can talk later, but right now we have greetings to do! Besides, I have an idea of what she wants to talk about and I may be able to help. You can just call me Happy Pie!” the voice said in a tone that brought to mind a cheery grin and a perfectly planned party going off without a hitch! That was something a lot of ponies didn't really appreciate, they just thought a good party would just 'happen' but she put a lot of work into her parties to make sure everyone was having a good time and enjoying themselves!Still with a new pony to meet, even if that pony was just a different part of herself, Pinkie didn't dwell on that errant thought for long and quickly got out the welcome wagon to greet Happy Pie!
“Well if this is the first time we've meet then I need to throw a 'Nice-to-meet-you-new-part-of-my-psyche ' party!” Pinkie declared joyously, throwing her hooves up into the air as confetti fired out of the confetti cannon, dousing the two Pie's with confetti.
“Ohhhhh, that sounds like an awfully fun party!” Happy giggled back, doing a little dance with her hooves before she pushed the welcome wagon out of sight and mind, pulling Pinkie up against her with her front right leg. “But I've got a better idea!”
“Really? What is it?”
“I'm going to show you the truth about Laughter!” Happy replied grandiosely, waving her free hoof through the air to a great neon sign that read 'the Truth' pointing down to a simple wooden door where there hadn't been one before. Lightning boomed outside as Pinkie recoiled away from Happy with a scared expression on her face.
“What?! Oh no, you're not going to trick me like that! Fool me once, shame on me. Shame me twice, shame on you, I'm not going to be tricked into becoming a grayed out meanie pants again.” Pinkie said
warily as Happy shook her head and threw her leg Pinkie's shoulder once more to pull her close.
“Oh don't be such a worry-wart, I'm here to help!” Happy replied as she pushed Pinkie through the door and into a bright white light...
Pinkie blinked rapidly as the light faded, reaching up to rub her eyes to reveal...an amazing cloud building! Even with her hoof-powered flying machine and Twilight's cloud-walking spell, she had never gotten the chance to see many cloud buildings up close and personal! Little colts and fillies raced around a little obstacle course like little balls of colored feathers, streaks that had her going 'ooohhhh' before she even really thought about it.
A quick glance around showed Happy was standing right beside her, though she didn't look half as cheerful as she had a moment ago.
“Wait, are you taking me on some kind of introspective spirit journey? You should have told me, I would have brought my spirit journey party pack!” Pinkie said as she watched the young pegasii race around the course. “Huh, if this is supposed to be a spirit journey then how come I don't recognize this place?”
The pink earth pony quickly pulled out a large yellow book labeled 'Plots for Dummies' and leafed through it for a moment.
“Yeah, see? Says I can only imagine places that I've been to but I'd remember if I'd been here!”
“That's cause you haven't,” Happy answered as she took the book and pointed to a different page, “but you can go to places you've imagined after hearing about them, which is what this is.”
“It is?” Pinkie paused for a moment to peer all about as a commotion began to happen close by the first obstacle.
“Yeah! Remember all the stories you heard Dashie and Fluttershy tell you about Flight Camp?” Happy said as she pointed at the source of the ruckus, a buttermilk colored pegasus trying to leap up through a cloud hoop only for her hoofs to catch on the bottom and send her toppling down to a waiting cloud.
Pinkie gasped aloud as the realization hit her like a ton of bricks! Not literally, she stepped out of the way of those when her active imagination made them appear above her.
“Is that Fluttershy? She's so adorable and shy, just look at her!” Pinkie squealed out, hopping from one hoof to the other ready to go zooming off to pinch the filly's cute little cheeks when she heard it.
“Fluttershy, Fluttershy can hardly fly! Hahahahaha” the other colts and fillies laughed at the crestfallen pegasus, pointing at her as they jeered and taunted the poor thing to the point of tears. As the image of Fluttershy ran off towards what had to be the flight camp's main building, the laughing continued for a couple of moments before it died off and the young ponies returned to their practice.
“...but...what? Why were they laughing? That wasn't funny at all, it was just what Discord was talking about they were laughing at her!” Pinkie finally said, looking dumbfounded and hurt. She wanted to run off to comfort her friend at that very moment even if she knew this was all just in her head. “Wait...how do we know about this? Fluttershy never told us about this or at least Pinkamena's never mentioned it.”
“Well...we don't, not for certain.” Happy admitted, “but we've also known she had a tough time at cloud camp and her performance anxiety came from somewhere. Deep down we always suspected she got picked on a lot when she was young, that's why we don't play pranks on Fluttershy.”
“Well duh! She's so sensitive and she'd take them completely the wrong way!” Pinkie agreed with a nod, even as she turned her head to look at Happy Pie. Her other self seemed a little dimmer, with shading and depth marring her otherwise bright pastel appearance. “...why do I need to see this?”
“Because Pinkie, as much as it hurts to admit it, Discord did have a point...”
“Nuh uh! Not listening, la la la la la la la!” Pinkie quickly covered her ears and began to sing to herself until Happy forcibly pulled the other pony's hooves down.
“...that laughter can hurt someone,” Happy finished once she was certain Pinkie had to hear her again, the scenery warping to take the two back into the balloon garden that Princess Celestia had sworn up and down hadn't actually existed. “You didn't like to think that all of our friends were laughing at us and it made you angry just to think about it. It hurt you to think they were laughing at you didn't it?”
“No, stop talking about it! I-I don't get angry! It's nothing but smile, smile, smile with Pinkie Pie, just ask anypony. That was all just Discord's bad mojo that made me mad. Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye!” Pinkie recited, miming the motions of the Pinkie Promise just for Happy Pie to give her a flat look.
“Other-Me, you can't lie to yourself in your own head,” Happy said sternly as the laughing balloons silently began to swirl around the two of them once more. Without the laughter the balloons were no less sinister but there was an odd sense of comfort in having someone else there beside her. “Being told the truth hurt us badly, after all, aren't we the Element of Laughter? Don't we go out of our way to bring laughter to as many ponies as we can? You began to doubt if you were getting ponies to laugh because you were funny or if it was because they were laughing at somepony or you, then you got angry.”
Pinkie wilted beneath the words, her poofy mane flattening out until it resembled Pinkamena's more then her own self. Doubt welled up in her breast like it had in the hedge maze, like it had when all of her closest friends had been avoiding her. Her eyes squeezed back tears as she remembered how she had acted to Twilight and the others when they had found her, even if she had just laughed it off at the time to make them feel better. It was the touch of a hoof on her cheek that prompted Pinkie to open her eyes to find Happy smiling gently down at her.
“Pinkie, it's alright to be angry, you had every right to be mad with what you thought was true. There's nothing wrong with that,” Happy confided as she leaned in close to give the other Pinkie a heart-warming nuzzle that brought a hesitant, small smile to Pinkie's face. “But you can't keep that anger inside and ignore it like you do your other feelings, you have to accept it as part of yourself or it will just get worse.”
Pinkie sniffed and wiped her eyes with one hoof, standing up as the scenery changed around them to flash forward through the events of the Day of Chaos...
“What if I stop being the same old Pinkie Pie?” she finally asked as she watched the angry gray mare snap at her friends, sourly refusing to help or denying that she was having fun. “What if I just turn back into a mean ol' grumpie pants or...worse? I could end up like that stupid 'cupcake' story! I don't want to be angry and mean to everypony, I want to stay me!”
The other Pie nodded in an understanding way as she laid on the ground beside Pinkie and leaned up against the pink earth pony to support her.
“Pinkie, we'll always be us no matter what happens. I don't think there's a force in the multiverse that can stop Pinkie Pie from being Pinkie Pie, but you can't keep hurting yourself like this. It can't always be laughing and parties, we have to take responsibility for our own emotions,” Happy said as they watched just how miserable they had been during the whole 'surprise birthday party scandal'. “We have to grow up Pinkie and accept the good and the bad on our own. It's not fair to Pinkamena that you make her experience all of the bad and none of the good.”
“...I know,” Pinkie finally admitted.
“You need to let Pinkamena sleep and dream of all the wonderful things you get to do and the amazing friends you have,” Happy urged. “You are strong enough to handle your anger and you are strong enough to face the world without fracturing your own mind into pieces to handle different parts of life.”
“No I'm not! I tried to before and just look what happened, I ended up running away from home and my old family when they couldn't accept all the partying and jokes and when I couldn't handle the loneliness of being on my own then Pinkamena appeared!” Pinkie protested, leaning back away from Happy and waving her hooves in the air. Once the violent display was over though she slumped to the ground with a defeated expression on her face.
“Pinkamena Diane Pie you are not giving yourself any credit,” Happy said brightly, “Who was it that helped all of our friends through the grove of fear trees when we were on an epic adventure to stop Nightmare Moon? And wasn't it us that knew exactly how to get rid of the parasprites and kept up our efforts despite all of our friends turning their back on us, thinking us to be just a bad joke? Who did her best to liven up the Great Gallopin' Gala despite the annoyance of all the Canterlot ponies or tried to cheer up Gilda the Grump even after she picked on Fluttershy?”
“That's right, you! You had the inner strength to do all of those things and you have the strength to do this to!” Happy declared as the scenery shifted back to the Cake's loft where a slightly faded version of herself ranted and raved, tossing over tables and tearing up Gummy's favorite shellac collection until she became aware of the presence behind her.
“You! There you are!” Angry Pie snarled viciously, a sly, bestial smile coming to her face as she advanced on the two Pies who had just arrived. “I've been looking all over the place for you Pinkie! I'm not going to sit in the shadows anymore, it's my turn to have my day in the sun and I'm going to have it!”
“Go ahead Pinkie, you don't have to be scared of her!” Happy urged, giving Pinkie a nudge forward towards the psychotic looking mare stalking towards her.
“Who's that? Another happy and bright shard of your mind? Well it doesn't matter! I'm going to absorb her just like I'm going to absorb you, I'm going to make us whole again!” Angry growled out as she stomped towards a trembling Pinkie.
“I-I'm not afraid...I-I'm not afraid...I'm not afraid,” Pinkie chanted to herself as Angry came closer and closer to her, despite the fact her knees were shaking and she felt like throwing up. Could ponies even throw up in the first place? It felt like she couldn't but that didn't make her stop feeling like she was going to anyway.
Angry Pie wasted no time in storming towards Pinkie, reaching out one hoof to grab hold of the mare, “What are you mumbling about over there? Speak up!”
“I'm not afraid of you!” Pinkie shouted at Angry, causing shock to blossom across the latter's face as she found herself staring into Pinkie's determined blue eyes. “You're not who I am, I'm not angry, I'm not a grouch, and I don't think I'd be better off on my own! My name is Pinkie Pie and ponies are ecstatic to see me coming, we join in on musical numbers about just how happy our days are! I don't laugh at others and they don't laugh at me despite what Discord said, so there's no reason to be angry anymore!”
A remarkable thing was happening, the volatile Angry Pie was backing away from Pinkie with a stunned look on her face, looking like a frightened little foal as she did. Wait, no, it was because she was shrinking to the size of a foal! By the time her rump bumped into the wall behind her, Angry Pie was only about the size of a newborn foal and found herself staring up in horror into the resolute face of Pinkie as the mare came over to gaze down at that part of herself. She picked up the screeching Angry pie with both hooves, holding the 'foal' at legs' length away from herself.
“No, no! Don't do this Pinkie, you need me! All of those ponies are laughing at us, our friends don't even like us, you need me to be angry for you. So you can go on being happy!” Angry Pie pleaded as she squirmed and writhed in Pinkie's quiet grip. “Don't do this Pinkie, I don't want to go back into the dark again. I don't want to be forgotten in the back of your mind while you frolic and play with everypony, I can't go back to the cage you keep me locked up in. It will kill me!”
Happy took a step forward as if she was about to intervene as Pinkie's legs shook as if she was about to put down Angry Pie, incapable of doing what had to be done.
“Please Pinkie, even if you don't want me, don't absorb me back into the whole!” Angry wailed fearfully, eyes full of tears for fear of her life as Pinkie shook before her. Still despite her best efforts she couldn't wriggle free from Pinkie's grasp. Finally Pinkie drew in Angry Pie until she was crushing her other-self up against her, making Angry cry out in fear.
“You silly billy, I'm not going to absorb you!” Pinkie said tearfully as she hugged her terrified, angry half tight against herself. “You're not going to be forgotten and you're not going to die. We're going to become one again Angry, I promise. I won't lock you away and I won't ignore you anymore, sometimes you just need to be angry and I should have known better then to try and stop that.”
Pinkie's words confused Angry enough that the slightly gray foal stopped struggling, gazing at Pinkie's face in confusion as Pinkie leaned back to smile at her.
“You're a part of me Angry...an important part of me. I'm sorry I did what I did to you...I can't take that back but I can try to make it better so can you forgive me?” Pinkie asked.
Angry was struck speechless, there were no words for the new found feelings surging through her at Pinkie's admission and apology. A warmth began to grow inside of her, a white light growing from within Pinkie and her both.
“You...you really mean it?” Angry asked as Pinkie pulled her in for another tight hug.
“Yes, Pinkie Promise!” As Pinkie promised and hugged the glowing foal back to her, there was a bright flash of light that left the mare blind for a few seconds as she blinked the spots out of her eyes. To Pinkie's surprise she felt a little...annoyed that her eyes hurt and for a brief moment a dark pit yawned open in front of her. All of the worst scenarios flashed in front of her eyes, what if this was just the beginning? If she got annoyed at this then what would happen if something super-duper-ultra bad happened!? For a single panicked instant she almost threw her anger away like she had before until Happy's words echoed in her mind's mind which didn't make much sense when she thought about that, which also made her angry!
I don't think there's a force in the multiverse that can stop Pinkie Pie from being Pinkie Pie!
“...that's right...it's okay to be angry,” Pinkie whispered to herself, touching one hoof to her head with a little smile. She didn't feel anything like what she was worried about, she wasn't consumed by anger or anything, it just...faded like it was supposed to!
“ALRIGHT! Pinkie Pie is officially back in business!” the pink party mare shouted as she leaped into the air, blowing on a noise-maker and throwing confetti into the air, joined by the spectral image of Happy Pie with a glowing smile on her face.
“Thanks a whole total bunch Happy, I don't think I could have done it without you!” Pinkie gleefully tittered before zipping about the ruined mental room, respectfully tidying up the mess that Angry Pie had made during her stay. Except for the shellac pile, she left it a tidy, un-tidy bit of mess to remind herself about Angry Pie as Happy cleared her throat.
“Pinkie, it was super-duper important that I talk to you about that, but it wasn't why I'm here,” Happy confessed and Pinkie looked at her with a confused look on her face until her other-self continued on...
The light hurt Pinkie's eyes as she stirred from her long sleep, like little knives that made her groan and almost roll back over to continue napping until reason stole over her. The party mare gazed around her surprisingly subdued room with a little bit of surprise, she had thought she'd see one of her friends waiting to see when she'd wake up or at least one of the Cakes, but there wasn't anyone here to greet her! It was only after a moment when she heard the clatter coming from the kitchen down stairs that it dawned on her that it was only just the morning and the Cakes were making breakfast.
“Ohhh, I hope there's cinnamon waffles with strawberries and big ol' dollops of cream on top!” Pinkie gushed as she struggled to pull herself up, finding her body weak and unsteady after her long sleep, an angry rumble from her belly as she slipped and fell out of bed with a loud thump. Even then Pinkie couldn't stop laughing as she slowly pulled herself alongside her chair to get ready to pull herself up. Maybe it'd be better to wait for the Cakes to notice she was up and help her out!
“Haha, what a goofy thing to try Pinky! Hehe...” the mare murmured to herself as she began to pull herself up unto the couch until she found herself eye to eye with a young orange face, looking into drowsy and confused purple eyes.
Pinkie and Scootaloo stared at once another for a long moment before their mouths dropped open.
Breakfast held more then a few surprises and not all of them had been good ones and once Pinkie had been given a chance to get something in her stomach she took a moment to process what she had learned.
First, the Cakes were out of strawberries but were picking more up later that day. Bad surprise but one easy to fix!
Second, Scootaloo would be staying at Dashie's house for the time being which meant tons of chances to have sleep overs with the orange pegasus filly she knew the least in Ponyville once the Cakes felt she had regained her strength and Twilight could cast the cloud-walking spell on her. She'd already come up with a couple of games to play to help cheer Scootaloo up!
Third, the reason Scootaloo needed cheering up in the first place. Fluttershy had stopped by after breakfast had been cleaned up to give her the horrible news about what had happened and it had felt like the floor was going to drop out from underneath of her. Thinking that something like that could even happen brought up bad, bad, bad memories that...huh...well...she didn't hide from that. It was weird but she didn't feel like she had to like...she could handle the tragedy.
Fourth, she found herself getting really, really angry. Scary going-to-validate-that-terrible-story-angry but...she couldn't do anything about it either. The Dawn Guard had arrived this very same morning to take the culprit and the funny Dog that had kidnapped Rarity that one time to Canterlot for his sentencing. Unable to do anything about it her anger just sort of...sputtered about and left her with a whole bunch of nervous energy with no outlet for it! Still it just meant that she had made the right choice in accepting Angry instead of hiding from her. It was a nice surprise that didn't manage to take the sting out of third.
“Alright Pinkie, you can't just sit up in your room moping all day! There's a town full of unhappy ponies out there and you have to go and cheer them up!”
Pinkie, why are we so obsessed with making others smile? You never really stopped to think about it, have you?
Of course I have silly! I love to see other ponies smiling and happy!
Yes, of course...but why?
The door closed with a bang behind her as the maid slammed it shut, leaving Pinkie rubbing her backside in confusion after her violent expulsion from the Tiara residence. A moment later a window on the second story opened just for a box of party supplies and balloons to get tossed out and spill over her head.
“AND STAY OUT!” came the infuriated roar of Onyx Tiara from inside.
“Wait! I was just trying to cheer you up, I promise!” Pinkie pleaded to the uncaring mansion in front of her, standing up to knock on the door with a rubber chicken draped over her head. “I know everything seems really sad and lonely Filthy but I'm here to show you ACK!”
She narrowly avoided the porcelain plate as it smashed against the stone beside her, dipping and ducking the other flatware that was launched at her. It was silver shrapnel all around as she dove out the gate panting as the barrage finally stopped behind her, reaching up to wipe one hoof across her forehead with a sigh.
“This might be harder then I thought...”
What do you mean why? I just...like seeing ponies happy is all.
Do you? Why did you leave the rock farm Pinkie?
You know why, it was just so unhappy there...Papa Pie and the others came to the first couple of parties I held but then they just stopped. I kept on trying to make them smile but they just ignored me and went back to rock farming.
That's right, eventually they ignored the parties and ignored you.
“Buhuhuhuhuhu...! Ah hahahaha!” Berry Punch blubbered, burying her face in her hooves as Pinkie panicked on the make-shift stage that she had set up in the former's home. The pink pony quickly darted over to throw one foreleg over Berry's shoulder, trying to console the mother by patting her on the back.
“Ah! I'm sorry Berry, I was just trying to...” Pinkie began to apologize before another cry from Berry interrupted her.
“T-that was Ruby's fah-fah-fahritre song!” Berry bawled with tears streaming down her face, burying her head in Pinkie's shoulder to snuffle against the other's pink fur. “S-she'd sing it before she went to bed..!”
The entire room smelled like salted punch and it didn't take a genius to deduce that Berry had been drinking hard in the past couple of days. Discarded cups were tossed about the room, it hadn't been cleaned in a little while but who could blame Berry for it?
“I-I didn't know, I was just trying to make you smile, to make you happy..” Pinkie tried to explain, feeling lost as Berry's snuffling stopped. Berry looked up at her with wide, shocked eyes at what Pinkie had said until finally she leaned back.
What are you getting at Happy?
You left the rock farm because they stopped paying attention to you Pinkie. They stopped laughing at your jokes and smiling at your parties so you left once you gave up hope.
I had too, making ponies happy is part of my destiny. Even my Cutie Mark shows how good I am at making others happy, so why would I stay where I can't make anyone happy?
But they were happy Pinkie, I know it doesn't seem like it to you but your parents and sisters did enjoy their lives on the rock farms. Maybe it wasn't full of parties, pranks, smiles, and cuteness but it was a life that they choose for themselves and that their parents before them chose. So if they were happy with the lives they had on the rock farm why did it bother you so much that you weren't making them happy?
I don't know...
You do Pinkie. It's not just making ponies happy Pinkie, you have to make them happy or it doesn't count for you.
“S-see? Doesn't it feel better to smile again Mr. Twist?” Pinkie said uneasily in the face of Twist's father. The stallion had a wide grin on his face that was vaguely unsettling to actually see and, just in case, she held up one foreleg just in case he was going to take a swing at her. Her right eye still throbbed from where Berry had given her a brutal right hoof and she had no desire to complete the set with another black eye.
In fact, that smile was getting a little too creepy and Pinkie knew this was as good a time as any to abandon ship on this particular project of good cheer. Pinkie passed by a stunned looking Mrs. Twist as she bolted out the door.
What? Now your just talking silly Happy, it doesn't matter to me why they're smiling as long as their smiling!
Really? Is that what happened with Gilda? Rainbow Dash was plenty happy hanging out with her friend for a few days but you just couldn't leave her alone.
That's different, Gilda was a total grump and a meanie pants! I was trying to cheer Gilda up too!
It's not different Pinkie, until you found out Gilda was a grouch you were already getting moody that Gilda was making Dash happy instead of you. And once you figured that Gilda was being all sour you had to go and cheer her up instead of just telling Rainbow Dash and letting her handle it.
The Split family was unnaturally quiet in the wake of her greeting, they didn't frown or smile, the silence just stretched on unnaturally long, turning awkward and uncomfortable. After the first couple of failed shots she had altered her approach, trying something a bit more subdued then her normal energetic one. Just a cheery greeting and a couple knock-knock jokes to break the ice.
“Hehe...tough ice,” Pinkie said sheepishly in the face of that wall of silence, rubbing one hoof against the back of her head. “Okay, maybe a different joke. Have you heard the one about the oatmeal?”
“Now's not a good time Pinkie,” Double Split said uneasily, giving her husband a glance to get a morose nod in return as Pinkie's face fell. What was she doing wrong? Maybe she had changed her approach too soon and she wasn't being zany enough? The pink mare had just reached out for a box of gags when Double Split interrupted her. “It's not that we aren't grateful for the effort Pinkie, but now is just not the time for fun and games. Maybe some other time would be better...”
What? The oatmeal story always made ponies laugh! Every house she had gone to so far had turned her away for one reason or another yet she hadn't gotten a single pony to smile! A couple had actually seemed even more unhappy after her visit truth be told and it looked like the same was happening here. Pinkie gave the couple a sorrowful nod before she turned and began to trudge away from the house with her head held low. Name after name had been crossed off on her list but not a single one of them had a check mark to show she had even the tiniest bit of success with them, now she was getting closer and closer to the name on the list Pinkie was the most worried about messing up with but she was running out of excuses to avoid that one.
With a sigh, Pinkie turned towards Sweet Apple Acres...
Well of course I couldn't let Dashie handle it by herself I had...
You had to what? Listen, you can't keep hiding your emotions like this Pinkie, its not good for you. The fact is that you make other ponies smile and laugh because it makes you feel good, not them.
That's not true at all! They wouldn't be smiling and laughing if they didn't feel good!
True, but you're not doing it for them...you're doing it for yourself. Whenever you feel down you go running out to find somepony who's down in the dumps so that they'll smile and laugh because of you...for you.
Now you're just being a meanie grouch like Discord and trying to convince me that Laughter is a bad thing!
No, Pinkie, I'm not...Laughter is a wonderful and glorious thing but not all the time and not if there's selfish reasons behind it. How would you feel if you found out a friend of yours was trying to cheer you up just so they felt better about themselves?
I'd...I'd feel betrayed I guess. Like they were just using me.
Exactly. You're using other ponies Pinkie and you can't keep doing that. You have to realize that ponies don't always need to laugh at the world or giggle at the ghosties, that they don't need you to cheer them up all the time.
Huh?! That doesn't make sense! I can improve anyone's mood, you'll see!
Pinkie, don't do this, you'll only set yourself up for heartbreak...
Sweet Apple Acres
It had begun to rain in the aftermath of the incident with Rex and the Diamond Dogs, in part because the pegasi had been marshaled by Dashie to search for the missing Sweetie Belle but also as a concession to the tragedy that had happened. Pinkie remembered that her father used to say that it rained on certain occasions because the Princess was crying which made sense because most ponies seemed to be crying because of what had happened. Her mother said that it rained on sad days because the rain would hide a pony's tears so they wouldn't feel embarrassed about shedding them. Dashie and Twilight had laughed when she had told them the story once before telling her the weather was set as far in advance as it could be and it was just a coincidence that it tended to happen on sad days, but Pinkie didn't believe them.
It felt like the Princesses were crying in the face of the tragedy and giving ponies the blanket they'd need to let their own emotions out.
That was part of the reason that Pinkie had come after all, to help one of her closest friends deal with her grief and so she approached the front door and knocked loudly on it a couple of times. It took a minute before the door opened to show Granny Smith in a black dress and veil, a tired look in her eyes that made the old pioneer pony-gal look her tremendous age.
“Oh hi there pickle-barrel, what brings ya out to our parts?” the old mare asked.
“Hi Granny Smith. I just came by to check up on Applejack and Big Macintosh to see if I can't make them feel better,” Pinkie replied with a shy smile, feeling like a little filly again under Granny's scrutinizing gaze. “I even came up with some special apple jokes for maximum funny! Want to hear one?”
“Pinkie, now's not a...”
“Just one quick one, I promise! What do you get when you cross an apple with a shellfish?”
“A crab apple!” the party-mare quickly pulled out her drum set to give herself a rim-shot though there was no real change in Granny's expression.
“Dearie, now's not the time for jokes,” Granny began before Pinkie interrupted her again.
“Okay, okay don't worry that wasn't one of the good ones, I've got plenty of good material. What is the left side of an apple?
“...The side you don't eat!” Another rim-shot and Granny Smith let out a long sigh.
“Pinkie, come with me please,” the elderly mare said gently, taking one of Pinkie's hooves and guiding her around the farmhouse to get a commanding view of the orchards. Even though it was raining hard the apple trees managed to keep most of the rain off of the two as Granny guided Pinkie slowly to the base of a large hill. Only a single tree stood at the top of the hill, majestic and proud against the weather with big, juicy apples bowing down it's branches which seemed weird cause wouldn't a member of the Apple family had gotten them down?
It took a moment for Pinkie to register that Applejack and Big Macintosh sat beneath the boughs of the tree in front of three stone markers. The silent stallion wore a dusty looking suit that seemed several sizes too small, as if it hadn't been worn in a very long time and kept one leg over Applejack's shoulders. The farm pony sat with her hat laying on the ground in front of her, head bowed in silence at the three graves. Another black dress that stood out against the gray, over-cast skies like coal would in snow. Both siblings seemed to be sitting in silence for a long time until finally Applejack's shoulders began to shake and Big Mac leaned his big head down to whisper something to her.
Seeing Applejack's pain had Pinkie starting up the hill before she even realized what she was doing and it was only Granny's hoof on her chest that stopped her. Pinkie's blue eyes dropped down to Granny Smith's, conveying in a look what she could never express in words. She wanted to be there for Applejack more then anything in Equestria, to make her friend smile again but even as she looked on the scene...she didn't know how. Parties and practical jokes just seemed so...so pointless compared to what had happened and she didn't know what she could do.
“Do ya see dearie?” Granny asked gently, giving the flat-maned Pinkie an understanding look. “Ah know yer heart is in the right place and that ya only want to help, but it ain't time for that yet. The Apple family and many others have all lost an apple from their bushels and they need tahme to come to terms with that. They need time ta grieve with their families pickle-barrel and to remember what they lost.”
“I...I just wanted to help...” Pinkie stammered out as she felt her joy at waking up and healing herself deflate out of her, mane laying flat and lifeless.
“Ah know dearie but right now we need to help ourselves. Now come on inside and enjoy some warm apple cider to chase off that chill...”
Pinkamena stared down at the scroll for a long time before she finally picked up a quill and began to scrawl her letter to the Princess on it.
Dear Princess Celestia,
Today I learned an important lesson. I learned that what you have to offer isn't always what somepony needs and can make the situation worse even with the best of intentions. I thought that once Discord had been sealed away and everypony got over all the terrible stuff he did that we'd get a chance to just be normal again but I was wrong. Terrible things will always happen and sometimes you need to grow up and admit you aren't helping the situation. I'm free of anger and Discord's taint...but my friends and Ponyville don't need me now. Maybe they never did in the first place. I'm finally free and back to the old Pinkie...but no one needs the old Pinkie.
Your Faithful Student,
Pinkamena Diane Pie
The script of the letter blurred before Pinkamena's eyes as tears sprang into them unbidden and she paused in the middle of signing her name to wipe them away. She was writing by fire-light in her loft and when she finally managed to write that last 'e' she paused.
“I-It's okay Pinkie...you can handle this, you are strong enough to handle this...” Pinkamena mumbled to herself as she carried the letter over to the fire place and throwing it into the burning logs inside. She had never meant to send the letter in the first place but she had felt the need to spill her emotions out on to the paper to get a release from the pressure in her chest. Pinkamena trotted over to the rug in front of the fireplace and laid down in front of the fire as she thought about what she had written.
Tears came unbidden to Pinkamena's eyes as she lay in front of the fire but sleep eluded her as her mind churned over that phrase.
Pinkamena blinked as her brow furrowed. Why did she think that? It was such an odd phrase and she certainly didn't feel free, so why think it? Was she really free? The pink mare blinked again and sat up, the words of her letter turning over in her mind. Not just the burned letter but what Angry and Happy had said to her, what Pinkamena had begun to tell her. The memories she had seen of all the past times that she had made her friends laugh and smile in the most adverse situations and of Applejack with her brother on the hill. Hadn't she been the one to convince the girls to laugh at those silly trees that Nightmare Moon had made? Wasn't everypony laughing after the Gala in part because of what she had tried to do there? Gramma Pie had told her something when they were having cider once when she was young, even if the memory was a little fuzzy from age.
"You don't need to do anything to be there for your friends dearie, you just need to be there. A pony may be sad and want time alone for their thoughts, but that don't mean they want to be alone...do ya know what I mean?"
At the time she hadn't understood because who ever heard of someone wanting to be alone but not alone? It sounded like a riddle without an answer and what fun was a riddle without an answer? It was like a joke without a punchline! Now that she was here alone though it began to make sense.
Pinkamena stood with purpose and got a new sheet of paper, putting the quill to work once more and this time the words poured from her heart and not her head.
Today I learned a very important lesson about myself. I can be a fun pony to be around, the real life of the party! That doesn't mean that every situation needs a party though. Sometimes I need to realize that what I offer isn't what somepony needs which can make me sad...but then I remember something important! Just because I can't cheer my friends up doesn't mean they don't need me or that I can't be there for them anyway, there's different ways of supporting someone then making them laugh and smile. Sometimes its as simple as just being there as a shoulder to cry on or to listen to them talk. It's not what I'm used to but sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone for the ponies that are important to you. When it comes to your best friends you're strong enough to do whatever you need to do!
Pinkamena set down the quill as a small smile came to her face, rolling up the letter and slipping it inside of a desk drawer. A letter like that, no matter how nice the princess was, could only be read by the person it was written for, even it had a really important lesson on it.
Pinkamena trotted over to the window as a single ray of sunshine broke through the cloud layer to light up her window, a little smile growing as the light warmed her face.
It's just like Gramma Pie told me, they need some time to themselves right now and I can give them that. But when they're finally ready to smile again, Pinkamena Diane Pie will be ready to help them along! And if they need me for something else before that then I'll be there then too, that's a Pinkie Promise!
Just give me a joyful grin, grin, grin!
And ya feel me with good cheer!
It's true some days are dark and lonely.
And maybe you feel sad?
But Pinkie will be there to,
Show you that it isn't that bad!
There is one thing that makes me happy,
And makes my whole life worthwhile!
And that's when I talk to my friends and get them to smile!
Hehe, there's a song there, I know it!
“Hurry up Spot, we's ain't have all day!” Rover barked, digging his hind paws into the ground as he hauled on the wagon's rope, dragging it behind him one pain-staking step at a time.
“Thises seems like a bad idea Rover,” Spot said doubtfully, grunting beneath the weight of the sacks tossed over each shoulder. “Aren't we'se pushing our luck? Stealing from da little ponies so soon after what Rex had us do seems stupid.”
“Pah, they's give us da food if they knew what it for!” Rover grumbled as their meandering path carried them towards a plain wooden door in an abandoned part of the den. With one last protesting shriek the wagon came to a halt just behind the slate-gray Dog and he reached up to wipe the sweat from his brow with a pleased look on his face until he noticed that Spot had fallen back and was scratching his head with a confused look on his face.
“...What is da food for?” he asked aloud.
“Uhh...we's need to stock up on food for when we gets more work-horses! See, dis why I'm da brains of the pack now, you's keep forgetting stuff like this. Now da we're back to business like usual, we's need to prepare for da future, when's we got horses to mine and pull carts,” Rover replied with an authoritative nod of his head.
“Really? Cause da dig dogs have been doin' a good job and da ponies may take it out on Fido if we's kidnap anymore ponies. Cant's we leave da ponies alone?” Spot worried, concern obvious on his big dopey face. Rover stared hard at his pack-mate, his green eyes betraying the conflict in the new top dog's mind before he finally shook his head.
“You'se let me worries 'bout that. Now run back to da mines and make sure everyone is doin' their jobs, I's put the food away,” Rover ordered, pointing back they way they had come from. It took a moment under Spot's scrutiny before the larger dog finally nodded and began to lumber down the tunnel towards the distance noises of digging and gem-collecting, leaving Rover alone with his thoughts.
With a sigh the Diamond Dog turned back to the door and opened it up, stepping inside the candle-lighted room with wagon behind him to return the corridor to darkness when the door was pulled shut. Rover's voice was muffled thanks to the thick stone and wood but a close listener would still be able to hear what he said next.
“Yes, I's got youss new food, just like I's promised, you's ain't goin' hungry.”