By: The Polecat
I reached out and plucked another bit of fluff from the cloud I was lying on. I examined the small bit of cloud between my claw-tips before I flicked it away derisively and folded my fore-legs under my head. This seemed like all I did anymore. Sure there were important things to do, but after what happened I found myself unable to focus on anything else.
Of course, there was "her" as well.
"Hi there Grumpy McGumperson!" Right on time. I gave her a sidelong look as the pink bundle of energy known as Pinky Pie bounced from cloud to cloud to come up beside me. I learned not to ask how she could walk on the clouds or even get up this high without wings, there were far too many things about the pink pony that refused to make sense, and that was just one of them.
"You again?" I asked her, not bothering to hide the contempt in my voice. Not like she cared about, or understood, it. I'd yet to figure out if she was an idiot savant on a sugar high… or just an idiot.
"Of course!" Pinky gushed. A pink bundle of energy disguised as a pony with a magenta colored mane that was every bit as unruly as she herself was. Bright blue eyes regarded me happily, not a trace of the hatred I felt towards her after what she did. I could still clearly taste my fury as she lined up those pranks to go off on me, and how I'd foolishly walked into every one of them until I blew my top and lost my temper. In one smooth motion, Pinky turned my best friend against me and humiliated me. Even now, months later, that memory stung.
"You never get the message." I told her, clicking my beak irritably. I smoothed back my white feathers as I regarded her.
"Oh I 'get' it, I'm just ignoring it." She announced happily, "I brought you some more leftovers in my saddlebags, but I don't want to put it down on the clouds here. It'll just fall through, and that'd turn the upside-down cake right-side up. And that'd be a bad thing, so…."
"Fine," I interrupted, "we can take it to my aerie."
"Okie Dokie Artichokie!" I took a perverse pleasure in shredding the cloud I was on with my claws as I took to my wings. My aerie was close by, but there were no clouds for her to bounce along to reach it, leaving her stranded. It was a hollow victory, but it felt good for a moment anyway.
My aerie wasn't much like the majestic things of ages past. It was just a cave most of the way up a mountain, with no ledges to allow someone to climb up. If you didn't have wings, you couldn't get into it at all.
"Hi again!!" came her voice as I landed, as she stood casually in the middle of the cave. That used to surprise me, but I was used to it now. "You took your time, are you feeling okay? Maybe you're not eating enough, or drinking enough, or…."
"I'm eating fine." I interrupted her again. Pinky may not have wings, but she somehow always managed to get to places she shouldn't possibly be able to. I'd given up trying to figure it out.
"Oh good! I worry about that." She noted, and pulled out of her saddlebags a picnic blanket which she spread on the floor of my aerie. "I brought your favorite! Devil's food cake… with extra chocolate icing!!"
"What makes you think it's my favorite?" I didn't want to admit to her face she gotten it right.
"You don't think I pay attention, do you? I hold more parties then ANY-pony in Ponyville, and I HAVE to know what everyone likes. So I watch and remember!" she answered happily, giving me a straight answer for once.
"Is that so? What else do you know?" I asked sidelong.
"I know you're lonely."
"Oh come on, you don't even hide it very well." Pinkie continued, laying out various plates and dishes on the blanket, "Sure you're not good with talking to ponies, but you're up here all my your lonesome!"
"I… you… Oh what do you know." I groused at her. I hated how perceptive she was. She always seemed so carefree and innocent, but those blue eyes looked right through you sometimes. "Lame-o."
"You silly." Pinkie responded, her voice as devoid of vitriol as mine had been dripping with it, "You're up here on this peak all by yourself. No parents, no family, no relatives, not even a neighbor! Of COURSE you're lonely!"
"Wait. How did you…?"
"Oh that's simple." She giggled, and downed a cupcake before she continued, "You have a picture over there by your bed of three griffons. The young one looks like you as a little filly… wait, is that what a griffon calls their young? Maybe it's chicks? No… kittens? Chi…ttens? Chittens? Chickens? Do you crow at sun-up? OH! Maybe you're a rooster!"
"I… wha… wait what?" I stammered. Dammit, she did it to me again!! How does she DO that!?! "We call them cubs."
"Oh! Okay. That's kinda plain but makes sense. But you looked so young in that picture, so those must be your parents! But there's only one griffon up here."
"Maybe they're out!"
"No. There's no signs of anyone other then you living up here, silly." The pink pony plowed on again, "So I looked to see if you had any other griffons nearby, but the closest I could find was the Aerie of Snowpeak to the south-east, and they're a bunch of big meanie-heads. Worse then you are!" I growled slightly at the implication, but for once she had a point. I absently rubbed at my left flank, where the tawny fur barely hid the scar they had given me. They were quite emphatic about not wanting me nearby.
"So what if I am alone? Maybe I LIKE being alone!"
"If you liked being alone, you wouldn't still be moping."
"I'm not MOPING!!" I roared at the pony. Pinky was completely unfazed by it.
"You miss Rainbow Dash." Pinky stated simply, her eyes meeting mine evenly. I couldn't hold the gaze and looked away furiously.
"I don't miss that… that flip-flop."
"Is that why I saw you hiding in the stands of the Junior Flyer's Competition? You know, when Dash did the Sonic Rainboom?"
"Yeah, that was pretty awesome…" I started, then almost choked "Y-you saw me?!?"
"Nope. But you just told me you were there." She giggled at me, and my jaw fell open. "You just COULDN'T leave Dashie hanging without moral support, could you?"
"You… have… NO idea how badly I want to hurt you right now." I growled when I recovered.
"Nope, I don't." Pinky answered blithely with a smile, and passed me a slice of cake. The chocolate devil's food cake filled my vision, soft and moist with a glistening layer of chocolate fudge icing. I gingerly took the plate from her and looked up at the pink pony, who was standing up.
"Well, I gotta get back to work. Enjoy the cake Gilda!" she giggled happily.
"Why do you insist on doing this every day?" I asked her softly, setting the cake down and meeting her eyes. I'd asked this question almost everytime she came here, but for some reason I actually wanted to hear the answer this time.
"Because you're a bad griffon…" she stated bluntly.
"…but you have a good soul. I hope that by showing you some friendship you'll come around. And when you're ready… we'll go to Ponyville and you can try again. Sure you'll have to apologize to Dash and the rest of the girls… especially Fluttershy, but I think with a little bit of love, you'll come around."
"I can't change." I told her softly, lowering my eyes.
"Sure you can, ANY-pony can change!" she noted with a happy giggle, and was off. She just bounced out the entrance, but I knew if I looked she wouldn't be there. As Dash said when I visited, it was just Pinky being Pinky.
After several long minutes I picked up the cake again and looked at it carefully, examining the sheer amount of care that went into it. It was double layered, with icing thick between the two layers to add to the rich chocolate flavor. She'd been coming here for months, not asking a single thing in return, and leaving me with a bundle of sweets that were either going to be thrown out from the bakery she worked at or that she made herself specifically for this trip. Made especially for me.
I put the cake down on the picnic she'd left set up and wandered towards the bureau near the straw matting that made up my bed. I tugged open one of the drawers, and my eyes scanned the clutter before finding what I looked for. With a clawed hand I tugged it out and looked it over, slowly drawing my fingers over it, feeling the old and dimpled leather of the bound book.
Carefully I opened it. It was many years old, and the leather complained, but it was still in very good shape. The yearbook from the Junior Flyer's League, a claw-tip traced over the picture I knew without even looking. Rainbow Dash and I racing, at once taunting and bantering in mid-flight with each other. My eye was drawn to our wide smiles, not a hint of malice or anger in them. I was so young, so innocent back then. What DID happen? Did I change that much? Was Dash right, that I wasn't the same Griffon she knew back then?
I thought of myself as "cool", hip, and up to date. Was that really the important thing? I flipped a page and couldn't help but smile. Dash had signed it in that ludicrously long name we'd thought up for each other as children, when we pretended we were long lost princesses, just waiting for Princess Celestia to come down and welcome us into the castle to live the rest of our lives in luxury. I scoffed at this as I grew older, thinking it was so childish and uncool. Now it just warmed a small part of me, like it was something I was missing.
Maybe Pinky is right, maybe I am lonely. Maybe I do miss Dash. And maybe… just maybe, I can change. At least I can try….
My Little Pony, Pinky Pie, Gilda, Rainbow Dash & all associated characters & situations are © Hasbro