<center>Party of Two</center>
"Sorry, Fluttershy! I've already got plans for today!" The pink pony's ears drooped in apology, but the huge grin on her face dispelled any impression that she was truly disappointed. "Talk to me tomorrow, okay? We can throw a 'Pinkie's not busy any more' party!"
Okay," Fluttershy nodded slowly, her smooth voice faltering as she dipped her head. "I
I guess I will. Come back tomorrow, I mean. Sorry for bothering you."
"Okey-dokey-lokey, then! See ya!" With that, Pinkie Pie threw Sugarcube Corner's door shut, only reopening it to place a "closed" sign on the doorknob and cast another huge smile her friend's way.
strange," commented Fluttershy, ruffling her wings nervously. As the other four Elements of Harmony emerged from their hiding place behind the pastry shop, she stared at them helplessly. Pinkie had [i]never[/i] turned down an invitation before.
"No kidding," replied Twilight, using a hoof to brush her mane away from her face. The shrewd pony's eyes were narrowed, her mind already chipping away at the implications of what had just occurred. "Pinkie's never busy unless it's with a party."
"And she always invites us to her parties!" Rainbow Dash took to the air, circling Sugarcube Corner agitatedly. "And those parties have cupcakes! And those cupcakes are delicious! I can't believe her!"
"That ain't why we're here, Rainbow. Ah'm really worried about 'er," fretted Applejack, glaring at the fuming pegasus. "Remember how she got when we were settin' up that surprise party?"
"Now, let's not jump to conclusions," Rarity's face was positively covered in makeup; it was clear she hadn't planned on staking out the local bakery when she awoke that morning, but it was hardly in the Element of Generosity's nature to abandon a friend in need. Hoity Toity could wait for his interview
well, he could wait until he arrived in Ponyville, at which point Rarity would have to head back to the Carousel Boutique, Pinkie Pie or no Pinkie Pie. Even generosity had its limits. "Perhaps she isn't alone. Perhaps she had a date with her coltfriend."
Twilight raised an eyebrow in disbelief. "Pinkie has a coltfriend?"
Rarity shrugged. "It is a possibility, is it not?"
"I ain't so sure," interjected Applejack. "Pinkie Pie always seemed a bit
queer to me. In every sense of the word, if ya know what I mean
The fashionista snorted, tossing her mane back melodramatically. "Fair enough. Maybe she has a fillyfriend, then. Applejack, why must you always make things more complicated than they have to be?"
"Well, at least Ah don't have to put rhinestones on every piece o' tack Ah own!" retorted the farmpony.
Rarity's eyes widened in anger and insult. "How dare you! Those are genuine gems; you've seen where I find them!"
"Girls!" snapped Twilight, sensing that Applejack and Rarity's argument wasn't going anywhere helpful. "Have we decided what to do about
" She gestured toward Sugarcube Corner's front door impatiently. "
Inkie-pay Ie-pay, yet?"
"I say we just come back tomorrow and make sure she's not out of her mind," suggested Dash, finally halting her flying laps around Ponyville. "Some of us have weather to maintain!"
"There isn't a single cloud in the sky
" muttered Fluttershy, more to herself than to Rainbow Dash.
The weathermare raised both forehooves in a shrug, angling her gaze away from her friends. "Yeah, well, I gotta be up there to keep it that way!"
"Oh, stop yer lyin', Rainbow! You jus' wanna get out of here before Pinkie starts talkin' to rocks again!"
"Maybe! Can you blame me?"
" mused a quiet voice. Fluttershy raised her gaze to her fellow pegasus. "'Loyalty'
"Hey, did you say something, Passive-Aggressive-Shy?"
"Speakin' of rocks," piped up Applejack, grinning mischievously. "I ain't never seen a pony look more like a statue than dolled-up little Miss Rarity over here
Having drifted out of the conversation, Ponyville's premier designer came galloping back in full-force at the mention of her name. "I'll take that as a compliment, you mud-covered peasant!" she snapped.
Twilight sighed as the group dissolved into a mass of semi-friendly bickering. Maybe Rarity was righteven if she wasn't romantically attached, Pinkie had to have friends aside from herself and the others, and she deserved to hang out with them, too, didn't she?
The unicorn shook her head, wordlessly trotting away. Spike was right; she really did worry too much
Pinkie sighed in relief as she saw her friends slowly leave the street, one by one. As Fluttershy cast one last nervous glance toward Sugarcube Corner before walking off, the pink partier finally closed the window she had been peering through. She had been anxious that they would be anxious, but now it seemed they were caught up enough in their own adventures to give up worrying about crazy old Pinkie Pie.
"Finally," Droned a high-pitched female voice, nearing monotone in lack of emotion. Pinkie turned around and came face-to-face with
herself. Or rather, a reflection of herself. She had dragged each and every mirror she could find around the bakery to the living-room-slash-party-space, creating a veritable funhouse of reflections. "I thought they would never leave," continued the reflected Pinkie Pie.
The puffy-haired earth pony frowned at her reflective doppelganger, her voice taking on a tone of mock-scolding. "They're my friends!" she protested. "I'm glad they didn't want to leave me."
Her mirrored self stared back with considerably less enthusiasm. The pony that Pinkie saw in the mirror was of a darker color than herself, with a straightened mane and tail. Said tail flicked dismissively as she replied, "I'm your friend, too. And, unlike them, I never leave you."
Pinkie dropped her façade of seriousness and grinned into the mirror. "Of course you're my friend, Pinkamena! You're my best friend!" Filled with boundless energy as always, she hopped about the room, turning her head constantly so she could keep eye contact with each despondent reflection of her. "That's why I'm spending the day with you, remember?"
"Yeah, it has been awhile sense it's just been us, hasn't it?" commented each mirror thoughtfully in perfect sync. Pinkamena's tail twitched again, this time in relative cheerfulness rather than dismissal. Upstairs, the sound of a crash was heard as something fell. "I've missed that."
Pinkie came to a stop in front of an oval-shaped mirror with a stone frame, pressing her nose to the glass and displaying a huge Cheshire smile. "Me too, me too! I mean, I love my friends and allmy other friends, I meanbut you're just the cutest, sweetest little grumpy-wumpy-saddie-waddie-pinky-winky"
Pinkamena smirked as her clone continued to ramble, her smile caught somewhere in the void between sarcasm and affection. "All right, Pinkie. I get it, okay? You can stop now."
The cheerful pony disregarded Pinkamena's orders, instead opting to continue her pseudo-rhyming barrage. "
Pinkamena's grin faded. "Really, Pinkie. Stop it."
Pinkamena snapped. Her tail flared, her eyes burned with rage, and for the first time that afternoon, she actually moved from her apathetic sitting position, leaping into a stand. "I AM NOT FUNNY! And neither
" She glowered at her puffy-haired alter ego. "
Pinkie stopped, though her expression was unfazed when she finally pulled her face away from the mirror. As a substitute, she swung her two forelegs around the mirror's frame, tail wagging like that of a dog. She said nothing as she hugged her clone closely.
Pinkamena sighed, recomposing herself. It was always like this, and it had been since the sonic rainboom had awakened her latent enthusiasm. She remembered being lost in awe at the explosion of color. She remembered seeing a brightly-colored filly hop out from behind her, forehooves raised in a gesture of glee and carelessness. She remembered sobbing in the other filly's embrace, wishing she could fit in with such beauty the same way the newcomer did. Then she remembered coming to the sudden, shocking, life-changing realization that shewas the other filly.
Since then, there had been no "I," or "me." Just "us." Pinkie and Pinkamena. Inseparable. Two minds in one body.
Pinkamena tilted her head downwards, letting her straightened mane fall over her eyes. She swallowed, suddenly angry that she had come this close to crying. "Pinkie," she growled, addressing the joyful mare still hugging her mirror.
The Element of Laughter fell back onto four hooves, smiling at her doppelganger through the mirror. "Yeah?"
" Pinkamena's tail twitched again; somewhere in Ponyville, Rainbow Dash lost control of her wings and crashed to the ground. "Your, uh
" She grimaced. "Your
friend. Rarity, I think it was."
"Oh, yeah! She makes the prettiest dresses! Oh, I wish you could have worn my Grand Galloping Gala dress! I mean, you did, technically, but really"
"She was, well
" Pinkamena inhaled, glancing around her mirrored version of Sugarcube Corner, avoiding Pinkie's gaze. "
jealous. Of that pegasus, that one time."
Pinkie tilted her head, finally catching on to Pinkamena's serious tone. "Fluttershy," she corrected, uncharacteristically concise.
"Right. Whatever." The dull-colored mare rolled her eyes. "Anyways, Rarity still loved her friend, even though she was jealous, right? And she knew it was wrong, and she was sorry
" Pinkamena's voice faltered. Oh, Celestia, her chest ached! "And all."
Pinkamena shut her eyes, too afraid to see her alter ego's expression. She didn't want it to look like her own pained grimace. She wanted Pinkie to look as happy as she always did, not dragged down by her sad-sack of an alternate personality. She drew in a pained breath. "Well, it's the same with me!"
Pinkie gasped; the other pony winced. "You're jealous of Fluttershy?!"
"Whano!" Pinkamena shook her head vigorously, tears springing up in her sapphire eyes. "I'm jealous of you, Pinkie!"
She was met with silence. It was exactly what she was afraid of. With no way to take back her words, Pinkamena could only continue on recklessly. "I mean, you have
you know? Friends that aren't me. If you
if one of them left you
" Pinkamena held back a sob. "You wouldn't have to worry, because you'd still have a lot of friends! But I
I only have!"
Pinkie pushed forward, pressing her lips against the mirror with surprising force. The glass was warm, not like a real pony, but not like a simple mirror either. She knew what Twilight Sparkle would say; she would say that Pinkie was undergoing nothing more than a hallucination, a psychological oddity left over from her lonely past. She also knew that Twilight was probably right.
Even moreso, she knew that she didn't care.
Pinkamena returned the kiss, imaginary heart beating at a near-Dashian speed. Classic narcissism. Selfish but sweet. She wouldn't be surprised if, miles away, Trixie was doing the same thing. Her eyes opened halfway as she pulled away, tears drying on her cheeks. "Pinkie"
"Pinkie Pie? Dear?" The call came from a few rooms away, in the kitchen where the back door was located.
The bright-colored mare jumped back in surprise, strangely unnerved to hear a voice that wasn't her own. "I'm in here, Mrs. Cake!" she shouted back. "I was, um
" She glanced at the stone-framed mirror, and her own puffy-maned face glanced back. There was a foggy spot in the center of the glass, where her lips had met her reflection's. "I was practicing making funny faces!"
The overweight mare chuckled, trotting into the living room to meet her adoptive daughter. "Of course. Did you make any breakthroughs?"
Pinkie raised a hoof to touch her head. Two minds in one brain. Pinkie and Pinkamena. "Us."
She smiled, a genuine Pinkie Pie smile.
"Yep! I had a great time!"