by AbsoluteAnonymous

Chapter 1: Ambition

A/N: This fic was written for DeirKun as her prize for getting the 1000th comment on "The Games We Play". She requested a Rarity/Pinkie story, but I'm not really used to writing about the two of them, so I'm not sure how well I did. Hopefully I didn't screw it up too badly.

They came once a week without fail. Every Friday, at precisely two o'clock in the afternoon, Rarity would find herself interrupted by the chime of her doorbell; and always - again without fail - she would promptly rise to answer it, wearing her best customer-service smile to greet whoever was on the other side.

But it would never be a customer who waited for her. Instead, it would be the mailmare, the gray pegasus with the unusual cutie mark, who would come bearing a letter for Rarity clenched between her teeth. Every time, Rarity would take the letter with a nod of thanks before sending the pegasus away. She would retire to her private office, quickly shutting the door to ensure that she was alone before opening it to read.

Then, once that was done, she would drop the paper in her desk before locking the drawer and never looking at it again.

The letters always said exactly the same thing. Rarity didn't even need to read them anymore, really. She could've recited them by heart.

...your sister misses you, you know. Heck, we miss you, too!

It's been ages since we've seen you. Why don't you come visit more often?

Well, we suppose you're busy, running your own business and all. We'll be sure to stop by the next time we're in the area, though.

Please write back this time. Remember to take care of yourself.

Always the same.

Love, mom and dad.

Exactly the same.


"I suppose that will have to do," Rarity said with a sigh, taking a step back to admire her work.

She had outdone herself, the unicorn decided with some satisfaction. Pinkie's last Gala dress had boiled down to a traditional party dress; the sort of dress that a filly might have been worn if dressed by her parents, all frills and crinolines and bows. Which had worked fairly well on Pinkie, true, but it had been so foalish, Rarity had almost been embarrassed by it. With this gown, Rarity had taken Pinkie Pie's dress in an entirely new direction - a more mature direction, with fabric of a softer, more subdued shade of rose, floating and delicate and lovely, and a design better fitting the mare Pinkie was becoming.

At least, that's what Rarity chose to believe. But instead of behaving like a grown mare, Pinkie squealed like a filly before leaping off the low platform she had been restricted to for most of the afternoon while Rarity had made the final modifications to her dress for this year's Grand Galloping Gala. She practically skipped to one of Rarity's many mirrors to examine her reflection.

"Oh, wow!" Pinkie Pie cried, giving a happy little twirl before the glass that sent her skirt flaring. "This dress is so poofy! I just wanna spin in it all day and watch the skirt go all twirly!"

Rarity didn't answer, focusing instead on collecting the pins scattered on the floor. The fitting had taken much longer than it should have; Pinkie hadn't been able to stand still at all, and had instead spent the entire time wriggling about and knocking the pins askew, then giggling and apologizing before doing it again.

Rarity couldn't help but feel relieved that they were finally done. It would be lovely to have some peace and quiet after spending an entire afternoon with Pinkie Pie.

Pinkie Pie was quite likable, really. Even lovable, in her own way. After all, the earth pony was friendly and sweet, with a cheerful disposition and a knack for getting others to smile. But the truth was, she wasn't exactly the kind of pony Rarity would've sought to befriend before she'd met Twilight.

It wasn't a conscious thing by any means, and the unicorn didn't actively seek to discriminate. But Rarity was something of an elitist (by her own admission) and she couldn't really help but mentally divide those around her according to class and status.

It was wrong, she knew; but most of Rarity's life had been spent seeking out those who'd be able to help her rise above her dismal family situation, and, well, old habits die hard.

Even though she now ran a successful business of her own, a business that had finally pulled her out of her parent's embarrassing shadow, Rarity still often found herself instinctively scoping out social situations for potential connections.

She still found herself quietly judging others with her too-discerning eyes before she felt comfortable pronouncing them worthy of her time.

Rarity loved her friends dearly and wouldn't have traded them for anything in the world, but...well, occasionally she found herself turning that too-discerning eye on them. And if she were to be completely honest, which she so rarely was, Pinkie Pie simply didn't fit. Not the way Rarity's other friends fit.

The unicorn had found something to respect and admire in all of them. Even Rainbow Dash, as lazy as she was - after all, ambition was something Rarity understood completely.

All of them, that is, except Pinkie Pie.

Oh, yes, Pinkie was certainly likable enough. Good-natured and charming. But she was so...frivolous.

Rarity might have been a pony fond of luxury, but she wasn't one to waste things, either. She always knew how to put them to good use. But Pinkie? Even her special talent was mindless. As if parties were supposed to change the world or help you succeed. The worst part of it all was that Pinkie made no effort whatsoever to improve herself, either. She was childish and shallow and fully intended to accomplish nothing at all with her life, and she just didn't care.

And that could be lovely every once in a while. It could be fun. It could be entertaining and pleasurable. But there was nothing about Pinkie that Rarity could respect.

Not only that, but she was irritating, Loud and nonsensical, constantly fidgeting and twitching and breaking out in the most ridiculous ways, coming out of nowhere and doing things for no reason at all other than she felt like it. Pinkie was hyperactive and ridiculous and completely out of control, and if there was one thing that Rarity couldn't stand, it was loss of control. Applejack was bad enough, with her blatant disregard for the rules of etiquette and propriety, not to mention her inclination to go for days without brushing her mane. Pinkie Pie, though, took it a step further, utterly disregarding the rules of reality itself.

It was far too much to expect a creature accustomed to order and perfection the way Rarity was to cope with a creature as chaotic as Pinkie Pie, who couldn't even be bothered to tame her hair.

Twilight saw Pinkie as an enigma; a mystery to be studied and solved. Rainbow Dash thought Pinkie was hilarious, and wasn't above using Pinkie's many quirks to her own advantage - for example, by weaponizing her babbling in order to blackmail somepony. Fluttershy seemed almost frightened of the pink pony, but then again, she was frightened of everything. Applejack alone seemed to just accept Pinkie as she was, unquestioning of her many oddities, but maybe it was some kind of earth pony thing.

Rarity couldn't help but feel annoyed by her.

Even now, as Rarity continued to tidy her work space - gathering pins and ribbons, rolling up the measuring tape - Pinkie's incessant chatter served only to get on her nerves. What she was saying didn't even make sense anymore; it had long ago stopped being about the dress and had at some point turned into a list of the pink pony's favorite words.

"...and pickelbarrel and kumquat are fun to say, but so's pumpernickel! Ooh, and lumbago, and skedaddle! I like hullygully, too, and beluga's..."

"Pinkie Pie, darling?" Rarity interrupted, having finally replenished her pincushion to her satisfaction. "I believe we're finished here, so if you could just take that dress off, now..."

"Aw! But I like it! It's so pretty and fluffy!" Pinkie cried with a pout, whirling around to face the white unicorn. Her skirts swished and rustled as she did so. "It's the prettiest dress ever and I'm sooo excited to wear it! I can't wait to - "

"Careful!" Rarity warned. "You don't want it to rip, do you? I haven't - "

Pinkie giggled. "Don't be silly, Rarity! I'm not going to - "


"Doorbell!" Pinkie Pie shrieked, practically leaping five feet into the air. "OhmygoshI'llgetitIloveansweringdoors!"

In a flash she was gone, still adorned in her gown, and Rarity sighed before returning to straightening up the room. She had done well, the unicorn told herself decisively, half in congratulations and half in reassurance. The dress suited Pinkie in a way she hadn't initially expected, but it did suit her. It softened Pinkie's features, somehow giving her a dainty appearance; like a wingless angel, almost, hugging and complimenting her curves.

Rarity was so lost in reflection that she almost didn't realize what day it was or what the door bell might have been until she glanced up and noticed the clock.

Two in the afternoon, and it was Friday.

Pinkie Pie was the one going to answer the door.

Oh, no.

With a gasp, Rarity dropped the ribbon she had been collecting, letting it unceremoniously drop to the ground as she raced to the door.


"But Rarity, honey! You're still so young!"

"Mother. Father. I've decided. I know what I want to do with my life, and I can't do it here."

"But why not?" asked her mother. Pleading. "You can sew here! You can make all kinds of pretty dresses for Sweetie, right?"

"It's not about sewing," Rarity answered, her voice clipped. She spoke with a tension so rarely heard by those outside of her family circle.

"Then what's it about?" asked her father. Also pleading. "Is there something we did wrong?"

All of this is wrong, Rarity wanted to say. The tiny house; the cluttered neighborhood; her amazingly embarrassing parents, with their tacky, common behavior.

Why couldn't they see that it wasn't enough? She was bigger than this, bigger than the world they had given her. At least, she wanted to be. But how was she supposed to find out just how large she could grow if she were forever trapped in a family as claustrophobic as this?

The only way she could learn was if she left. If she broke away from them all and began again as the pony she wanted to be.

"It's not about you," she lied; but Rarity, as young as she was, was no fool, and she could see the hurt reflected in the eyes of her mother and father. They had heard the deceit in her voice.


Rarity arrived just as the door was closing, and there stood Pinkie in her foyer, closely examining the package held between her hooves.

"Rarity!" Pinkie Pie cried upon seeing the unicorn. Whereas Pinkie looked almost bridal, with her ethereal dress and enormous smile, Rarity looked haggard, her perfectly-coiffed mane no longer quite so perfect and her eyes manic behind the red-framed spectacles she wore. "You got a package! Oh, wait, I guess you probably already guessed, huh? I mean, why would they deliver somepony else's package to your house? That would be totally weird, but anyway, you got a package, Rarity!"

"Please give that to me," Rarity answered primly and with as much dignity as she could muster, her horn glowing with magic as she attempted to snatch the box from Pinkie; but Pinkie whipped around, bringing it closer to her face so that she could read the return address scrawled in the corner.

Of course. Not only did it have to be Friday, but the first Friday of the month.

"Are ya gonna open it? What's inside? Can I hope it for you? Ohmygosh please say yes, I love opening presents! Packages are kind of like presents, right?"

"Pinkie Pie, give it to me!"

"What does that name say? I can't read it. Does that say Magnum? That's a funny name! Who do you know named Magnum?"

"Pinkie Pie, give it to me!" Rarity shrieked, her voice cracking in an extremely unladylike way; but desperate times called for desperate measures, and if Pinkie Pie wasn't going to give Rarity the box, she would have to take it by force.

A gust of magic knocked into Pinkie, throwing her off balance, and Pinkie fell to the ground, a look of surprise on her face.

Rarity flushed, immediately feeling ashamed. She wanted to offer Pinkie a helping hoof, but instead grabbed the package, safely tucking it behind her while Pinkie Pie rose on her own.

Rarity opened her mouth to speak, to apologize; but Pinkie spoke first, smiling like always. "I'm sorry, Rarity," she said sweetly. "I guess I wasn't really listening to you, huh? I do that sometimes. Anyways, is that a secret box?"

A secret box? Yes, in a way.

"No," Rarity answered stiffly. "It's just not really any of your business. That's all."

"Who sent it? What's inside?"

"If you'll excuse me, dear, I have some work I need to do," was Rarity's calm reply, said in a falsely cheery way as she neatly dodged Pinkie's questions.

Apparently the pink pony didn't know the meaning of the phrase not really any of your business, though; but Rarity already knew that. It was another one of Pinkie's faults that continued to grate on Rarity's nerves; although Pinkie tended to make a huge fuss over the value of trust and the importance of keeping secrets, she was utterly tactless when it came to prying.

Rarity's dismissive answer was intended to be Pinkie Pie's cue to leave; but instead of taking the exit Rarity had so generously offered her, the pink pony continued to follow her, trotting alongside the unicorn.

"If it's a secret box, I totally understand," Pinkie said in a conversational way. "I mean, I know all about secret boxes."


"Yeah-huh! I make them all the time!"

"I'm sure you do."

"Yeppers! I don't get many, though. I get secret letters, though! Only I guess they aren't so secret if I'm telling you, are they? Oh well. They're mostly secret. Mine are from my sisters! They've been sending them to me since we were just itty-bitty littleTwinkie Pies! I don't get any from my parents, though, so you're lucky."

That got Rarity's attention.

She froze, turning her now-wide eyes on Pinkie Pie.

When Pinkie looked back at her, her blue eyes shone with a lucidity so rarely seen on the pink pony's face. She wore a look of understanding.

"I didn't know you had..." Rarity began, before catching herself. She'd almost said parents.

"Sisters," she finished lamely.

Pinkie had never spoken of her home life before. Her fillyhood was essentially a mystery, and none of them knew anything at all about her family. All that was known was that the Cakes cared for her like a daughter and that Pinkie, in turn, treated her almost like surrogate parents.

"Oh, yeah," Pinkie answered with a little nod of her head. "I've got two. I'm the youngest, though."

For some reason, Rarity had already assumed as much from the moment Pinkie mentioned her siblings. There were times when the resemblance between Pinkie Pie and Sweetie Belle was astounding; after all, both of them were generally well-intentioned, with charmingly innocent personalities, but they also had ways of always managing to cause trouble for those around them. Somehow, the fact that Pinkie Pie was a younger sister seemed to justify this. Perhaps all little sisters had a way of driving their elders insane.

"Are you...are you close to your family?" Rarity asked, a little hesitantly.

Maybe it was just that Pinkie so rarely opened up this much about her past. Maybe it was because Rarity was naturally curious about what it would be like to grow up as the youngest in a household. But for whatever reason, the question was asked, and Rarity's intentions were pure, without a hint of malice. She was only curious, after all, and therefore wasn't expecting the blunt reply she got.


Rarity blinked behind her glasses. Why was she still wearing them?

"I beg your pardon?"

"I said, nope! Not really!" Pinkie answered cheerfully, not seeming at all bothered. She was bouncing on her hooves, head nodding in time to music only she could hear. "I left home when I was little, and I don't really keep in touch with my parents. My sisters write to me sometimes, though, and I send them secret boxes with cookies and candy and other fun stuff I make at Sugarcube Corner."

Rarity glanced down at the box that now floated before her.

On the first Friday of every month, her mother would send her a care package filled with cookies and other homemade treats, as if Rarity wasn't perfectly capable of providing for herself now that she was an adult. Every time, without fail, she would throw them away. Just like she did with the letters; reading them once and locking them away. Never replying.

She might as well have thrown them out, too.

"Why aren't you close to your family?" Rarity found herself asking.

She had no idea why she asked that. With anypony else, such a question obviously would've been a sore spot that she would've been smart enough to avoid - but with Pinkie Pie, for some reason, she felt safe asking.

"They're mad that I left," Pinkie answered simply. "My parents didn't want me to leave home, and I did anyway. I tried writing to them a few times later, but they never answered. Then I got a letter from one of my sisters saying that they'd left, too. So I keep in touch with them, but...but I don't know how my mom and dad are. I'm sure they're doing great, though!"

Pinkie's cheerful attitude very nearly masked the slight tremor in her voice when she spoke of her parents; but the tremor was still there, and didn't go unnoticed by Rarity.

If what Pinkie said was true, then it was very nearly the reverse of her own situation - and yet, at the same time, they were so similar.

When Rarity's eyes once again met Pinkie's, the unicorn could feel a warmth welling up from somewhere deep inside her. Not the irritation she usually tended to regard the pink pony with; but something like a sense of kinship.

Maybe that was why she said what she did next.

"I left home, too."

For once, Pinkie didn't seem to feel the need to speak. She only cocked her head slightly, as if listening curiously, and that was all the encouragement Rarity needed to continue.

"I left when I was young, shortly after Sweetie Belle was born. I'd decided...I'd decided that I didn't want to be trapped in the life my parents gave me. They were good ponies, of course, and I loved them dearly, but...but I didn't want to be them. I wanted more. I had ambitions. I wanted to be more than them."

Pinkie Pie nodded. Still she didn't speak. Instead she regarded Rarity with an air of quiet understanding, as if to say, yeah, I know what you mean.

"They're simple, and they're happy with that. They've never wanted more. But I did. I didn't want to be like that. And then, I was afraid of growing older and deciding I didn't want things anymore, either, so I decided to get out while I could."

"Me, too," Pinkie said simply, prompting Rarity to cock an eyebrow. "After I got my cutie mark, I decided that I wanted to go out and see the world; but my parents told me that life couldn't be all fun and parties all the time, and that I needed to work, too. So I decided that if I had to work, I wanted a job that I could enjoy, and decided to come to Ponyville; but I think they were hurt that I didn't stay behind and work the farm like they did. I think they would've been happier if my cutie mark had been a rock or something. But that's not what I wanted," she explained.

It sounded so simple. But it was unsettling, how Pinkie managed to be simultaneously so serious and so casual, especially when she had never told any of the group any of this before. Rarity didn't know what to say. It was a bizarre kind of honor to be the one hearing these words.

"They wanted you to stay home," Rarity said quietly. "And...they're mad that you didn't."


"My mother and father aren't angry with me," the white unicorn said firmly, with a conviction she wasn't entirely sure she genuinely felt. "They're good ponies. And I'm not mad at them, either. I didn't leave because of them. I left because...I left because I wanted to be more than them."

"And that's good!" Pinkie said happily, with an eager nod. "Kids should want to be more than their parents. I mean, what's the point, otherwise? Nopony would grow or change. And your parents might be sad or angry, or they might miss you, but they still love you. That's why they care so much!"

If Rarity closed her eyes, she could see a drawer filled with letters. Read but never answered. And still, they kept coming, once a week without fail.

She'd left home.

She'd left her family.

She'd left her baby sister.

They'd all wanted her to stay, but she'd left anyway. She'd been selfish, and she'd never forgiven herself for it. Those first few months on her own had been the loneliest months she'd ever spent, bogged down with homesickness and a nameless ache for comfort. Rarity had said goodbye to her fillyhood before she'd been fully ready, and she'd done it all on her own.

It would've been so much easier for her to have begun again if her family had just let her go. If only they'd hated her the way she'd hated herself. Rarity wouldn't have missed them so much if they'd just stopped caring. If they'd stopped making her miss them. If they didn't insist on coming up to see her so often, putting her in the awkward position of attempting to maintain her carefully-regulated distance from within the same building.

What kind of daughter abandoned her newborn sister to pursue a career she had no way of knowing would succeed? If only her parents would just take the hint and stop writing so dutifully. It would've been so much easier for Rarity to ignore them, to forget them, if they would just have the courtesy of doing the same for her.

But Rarity didn't hate them; she'd just wanted more than them. And it had been so very, very selfish of her to want so much, to not be satisfied with what she'd been given, and she'd hated herself for it her entire life.

It was only now that Rarity noticed how her eyes were stinging. Probably from the glare of the studio lights.

Pinkie's smile was knowing.

"I bet your parents would be really happy if you just let them know you were okay," she said softly. "I bet they worry about you."

"I know they do," Rarity snapped.

"If you love them so much, why let them worry?"

"Because it's easier to ignore them."

"Getting ignored doesn't feel very nice, though," Pinkie answered sadly, and Rarity felt another sharp stab of guilt. She couldn't even begin to imagine how it would feel if she were to attempt a reconciliation, only for her parents to reject her. Maybe that's why she'd avoided them for so long - fear that they would.

No wonder Pinkie Pie was so afraid of being abandoned. What had once seemed to be pure neediness now seemed to take on a new light, now that Rarity knew a little more about her.

"Well, what about you?" Rarity asked after a moment. "Can you honestly say that you're completely happy with things being the way they are?"

"No, but that's okay."

"I can't exactly agree that it's okay," retorted Rarity with a disdainful sniff. "Perhaps I should make the effort to reconnect with my parents, but it's hardly your fault that you had aspirations greater than those of your parents."

"Well..." Pinkie answered. She looked thoughtful, a strange expression for a pony as light-hearted as she typically was. "It's been a while. Maybe I could try again. I just sort of gave up after the first few times. Or maybe I could try going home for a little while and surprising them! And hey, you can come with me!"

"With you?" Rarity repeated, using her special silvery laugh to mask how flattering the idea of Pinkie inviting her alone was. As if Rarity was some sort of special friend. Maybe Pinkie had felt that strange kinship as well - the connection of two ponies with ambitions beyond their stations in life. Just very different ambitions. "I can't really picture myself especially enjoying a trip to a farm, darling, but thank you all the same."

"Oh, no!" Pinkie Pie cried, zipping towards the unicorn, making Rarity flinch. "You'd totally love it! It's not just any kind of farm, it's a ROCK farm, and you like rocks, right? Especially pretty shiny ones?"

"A rock farm?" Rarity repeated, not entirely certain that she'd heard her right. "Do you mean a mine?" In her head, she was envisioning great fields of gems; but Pinkie didn't seem to have heard her.

"You gotta come with me when I go!" Pinkie declared happily, the matter of whether or not she would actually go no longer seeming to be in question. "And I can help you find all kinds of nice rocks to bring home to Ponyville and it will be so super special fun!"

Pinkie had begun to skip ahead down the hall, back to Rarity's work space, humming blissfully. Rarity floated the package before her to examine it.

Perhaps she would send a thank-you note. That was the polite thing to do, after all.

She followed Pinkie into her work room, carefully examining the pink pony from the back. When she looked at Pinkie now, Rarity found that she didn't feel quite as annoyed by her anymore; instead, she looked at her with benevolence. There was a lingering sense of companionship between them. Of goodwill.

Pinkie was sashaying towards the mirror once more when Rarity entered, still dressed in her almost angelic-looking gown.

"Get out of that dress so I can put it into storage, will you?" the unicorn asked. "And then..."

Again, Rarity eyed the box from her parents. She'd opened one once; the first time she'd received such a care package.

You never tell us how you're doing, so we need to make sure you're getting enough to eat SOMEHOW! the note that had come with it had said. Inside had been far too many sweets for Rarity to have a hope of eating by herself.

"Would you like to join me for tea?" Rarity asked after a moment. "Since you're already here, I mean."

"Tea?" Pinkie repeated, her face lighting up. "Does that mean snacks?"

"Well, I suppose - "

"YAY! Does that mean I can open the secret box now?"

Before Rarity could respond, Pinkie had snatched the box away and had taken off running.

Now that Rarity thought about it, the lucidity Pinkie had displayed earlier shouldn't have surprised her. Knowing Pinkie, she'd planned the entire conversation just to get at the food the package contained.

Rarity shook her head and smiled to herself before heading to the kitchen to begin preparations for tea. As the water boiled, she pondered.

Pinkie Pie was quite likable, really. Even lovable, in her own way.

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