Discarded and Forgotten

by PonyAmorous

Chapter 1: Discarded and Forgotten

First day of the school year. I roll my eyes as mom encourages me to make lots of new friends at school. She doesn't understand that I have all the friends I need in my bag. Nice, quiet friends who are there when you need them and perfectly happy to leave you alone when you don't.

I find a seat in the back of the classroom and pull out a book, figuring I can squeeze a few more minutes of reading in before the class gets properly settled. I hear somepony sit down next to me and I brace myself for the wearisome onslaught of some high energy extrovert filly. I'll be polite and make introductions through a forced smile. I'll nod patiently as they list off their interests and hobbies even though I share none of them. When asked about myself, I'll talk about some of the books I've read until they get that familiar glazed look in their eyes. Then they'll turn to somepony else, I can go back to reading, and we'll never speak again.

That's what I prepare myself for, but when I look up I see you. Well actually, I see the book floating in front of you, covering your face. A jolt of surprise hits when I recognize the cover.

"Is-Is that Marevelous Mythologies volume 3?" I ask.

"Hm? Oh, yes it is. Have you read it?"

"Not yet. I finished volume 2 last week, but I haven't been able to find a copy of volume 3 yet."

"Well, I'm almost finished with this one, so I guess I could let you borrow it when I'm done. "

"That would be great. Uh, thanks." Already, you've disappeared back behind your book, so I turn back to mine.

After a few more minutes, the rest of the fillies and colts are seated and class officially begins. We are informed that our seats are now permanent and the pony beside us will be our partner for the year. I glance to my right to see you pulling out a meticulously organized day planner with color coded sticky notes. Large sections are covered with a single word. 'Read'. This year could be...tolerable.


It's the end of the first week. Most of our conversations are short and infrequent, but we've already exchanged half a dozen books and three times as many recommendations. We somehow seem to have been absorbed into the social circle of four other fillies. They're alright I suppose. Nice enough. They may not be interested in the same stuff, but it doesn't seem to have scared them away completely, and they don't take offense or try to interrupt me when I'd rather be reading. They're happy to pick up the conversational slack amongst themselves whenever the two of us bring out the books or get into a private discussion of some obscure point of magic or history.

I think I actually laughed at one of their jokes once or twice. I'm certain they'll get bored and move on soon enough, but for now, their presence isn't entirely unwelcome.


The start of another school year. I see you already seated in the corner and hurry over to claim the seat next to you. We quickly exchange recent reads and you tell me all about your latest private tutoring sessions with the princess. I'm a bit jealous, but still fascinated and always eager to hear more. I spot the familiar faces of Minuette, Twinkle Shine, Lemon Hearts and Lyra as they pass through the door. They give an excited wave as they spot us and we both wave back. It looks like they'll be in our class this year too. Good. Not that I'd be crushed if they weren't, but there's something to be said for the comfort of the familiar.


I'm standing in my doorway while Minuette, Twinkle Shine, and Lemon Hearts try to convince me to join them for an outing of shakes and window shopping that I'm just far too tired for. Not physically, but mentally and emotionally. It's been an exhausting day at my part time job and I just don't have the energy for social activities. I just need to relax.

They seem to have difficulty understanding what I'm saying. Hitting the town and socializing with friends is how they relax. But that concept seems just as foreign to me. Socializing takes energy. Energy I don't have. I'm not completely hopeless. I have perfectly functional social skills, but it's like exercising a muscle and sometimes it can just be worn out. I still don't think they fully get it, but they shrug it off, wish me well, and head off on their way.

I make my way to the library, hoping to curl up with a good book and just recharge. When I get there I see you, already set up with a book and looking how I feel. We both read for a bit until our eyes start to get sore in the vanishing sunlight. I break first and stop to turn on the lights.

"Hm? What? Oh, Moondancer. When did you get here?"

I chuckle a bit. You're probably the only pony in Equestria who can get more sucked into a book than me. I consider briefly that this is what I probably look like to other ponies, doubly so since we started wearing the same mane cut. Not that I'm a copycat, I just really like how practical it is and actually think it's kinda cute. I just...maybe didn't realize how nice it actually looked until I saw it on you.

Soon we're starting up a conversation, desperately trying to avoid spoilers for some of our favorite adventure series, and without realizing it, we've brought out a chessboard. Though you usually beat me, I have been known to pull off a surprise victory from time to time. We continue to chat and play, and for some reason I still can't explain, interacting with you feels restorative instead of draining. Like those social muscles aren't even being worked at all. It's as if I were still reading, but without the eye strain. Maybe it's because you smell like books? I probably smell like books too, but for some reason it smells better coming off you.

That's a weird thought. I turn my attention back to the game where you are currently hoofing me my flank.


I hate parties. Or at the very least I hate this party. It's too crowded. There's too much body heat making it uncomfortably warm and constantly edging past ponies is becoming a pain. The loud music is starting to give me a headache and drowns out any attempt at conversation without shouting, which is also starting to make my throat sore. Not that there seems to be any pony worth conversing with here in the first place. Everypony seems far more interested in dancing and hooking up, neither of which I know how to do in the slightest. I only know three ponies here, and they are busy batting their eyes at a trio of stallions on the other side of the room.

I stick to the corner where I'm less likely to be jostled by some inebriated stranger and sulk in silence. I wish you were here. Then things might at least be bearable because I'd have somepony to talk with. But you have those special night classes studying astronomy with the princess, so I'm here alone. I take a moment to imagine how things would be different if you were here, and realize that we'd both probably just leave and go somewhere else, so I decide to do just that.

After I wave down Minuette and let her know I'm taking off, I step outside and start my way home. Though the cool night air is refreshing after all the stuffy heat of the crowd, I'm still tense. I've still got that edge of frustration and I'm not entirely sure why. My expectations hadn't been all that high, so why do I still feel disappointed?

I make my way back to my dorm room and flop down on the bed, still unable to shake this cranky funk I've fallen into. I look out the window and think how much I'd rather be out looking at the stars with you. I've got a telescope sitting right there in the corner I could set up right now, but that just wouldn't be the same. I pull open a book, but for the first time in my life I just can't focus enough to start reading.

I finally throw the book down with an uncharacteristic lack of care, hit the lights, pull the sheets up over my head, and attempt to call it a night. Sleep remains maddeningly elusive as I just can't seem to get comfortable no matter how much I toss and turn. Stray thoughts of you, what you're doing right now, what you're thinking about, keep popping into my head and I swear the room is now suddenly warmer no matter what the thermostat says. At the end of my wits, I finally hop out of bed and rummage through the mini-fridge for a hard cider. Hopefully it'll help me relax just enough to at least let me fall asleep.

Confound these ponies.


"I'm telling you Moondancer, you need to put yourself out there."

"And as I keep telling you, no thanks." This conversation is old hat by now, but Minuette keeps pressing on undeterred.

"But besides Twilight, the four of us are the only ones you ever talk to."


"So wouldn't it be nice to have more friends?"

"Meh. I'm fine. Let's face it, I'm never gonna be a popular social butterfly who everypony likes."

"I was talking to Social Butterfly just the other day, and she likes you just fine," Twinkle Shine adds. I roll my eyes in response.

"She likes everypony."

"But it's not just her," Lemon Hearts says. "There's lots of other ponies who think you're actually pretty cool and would love to get to know you better. They're just a bit scared to approach because you're kind of...uh-"

"Frigid." Minuette finishes for her. "And we don't mind, but everypony else thinks you just don't like them. But I'm sure that would change if you just reached out to them. Maybe invite them to a party?"

I can feel my hackles start to rise.

"Ugh. You know I hate parties."

"You only ever went to one!"

"Yes, and it was horrible."

"Well there's more than one kind of party you know. And if it's your party, you can make it just how you like it."

Planning and organizing a party sounds like a giant ball of stress I don't need, but at the same time I'm somewhat intrigued by the prospect. Maybe I could actually make something fun. And if it was a big success, then maybe....maybe broadening my social circle just a bit wouldn't be all that bad.

"M-Maybe if we just start out with a small practice party first. Just a little get together with the six of us to work out the kinks before I try anything bigger."

A vigorous round of cheering nearly knocks me off my hooves as they all promise to help me set it up. I've got a birthday coming up. That sounds as good a place to start as any.


This is it! I can't help bubbling with excitement as I make a final pass over my party checklist. It took a lot of pushing outside my comfort zone, but this party is ready to go. I see the other four approaching, excited smiles on their faces as they eye the decorations and refreshments, but there's only one pony's opinion that I'm really interested in. The other four are great, and given how long we've known each other, I can hardly call them casual acquaintances, but there's always been that wall there.

But not between the two of us. No. You're the one who gets me. The one I can actually share my true thoughts with without feeling like I have to translate them first. The others will probably be supportive and tell me everything is great no matter what, but I know you'll tell me the honest truth. You won't sugarcoat it just to spare my feelings. If my party stinks, you'll tell me because you know I'd do the same for you. Then, if it meets with your approval, if even another introvert like you can have fun at my party, then I'll know I'm ready to move on to the big leagues. And if things go really well, then maybe...maybe I'll finally work up the confidence to tell you...but no, I'm getting ahead of myself. Party first.

"Hey Moondancer! Look at this spread huh?" Minutte calls out cheerfully as ever.

"Thank you so much for coming," I answer back.

"Of course. We wouldn't miss one of our best friends' parties," Twinkle Shine replies as she and Lemon Hearts drop their gifts off on the table.

I look around, but I don't see you anywhere.

"Is Twilight coming?"

Nopony says anything, but the lengthening silence and uncomfortable glances speak for themselves.

"Oh...okay." I try to hide my disappointment but I know I'm failing spectacularly.

"Heey! We'll still have fun, right?" Minuette tries to reassure with a nervous laugh.

"Sure." It's probably the most unconvincing lie I've ever told.

I slink away dejectedly, supposedly to check on the last tray of cupcakes, but really to hide the tears forming in the corners of my eyes. I hate myself for getting so worked up over this. It's so petty. I'm sure whatever you had to do instead was important. I know you'd come if you could because we're friends aren't we? This is my fault. I let my expectations run wild thinking about...more. It's not the end of the world if you miss one stupid party. It's not like I'm never going to see you again.

I dry my eyes and return to salvage what I can of the party. We dance and eat and play some games, but the mood has soured and the night ends early. My first party is a flop. At least I'll be able to see you tomorrow.


The next day I can't find you anywhere. It's like you fell off the face of the planet.


The next day takes an unusually long time to come. When it does, it's greeted by confusion and a whirlwind of change. The city is in an uproar trying to adjust to the fact that we suddenly have a new princess out of nowhere. Some long lost sister of Celestia? Amongst the swirling gossip I hear your name mentioned, and I swear I catch the castle artisans putting a picture of you in a stained glass window.

It takes a few days, but I finally scrape together enough information to figure out what happened. Celestia sent you to Ponyville to supervise the Summer Sun Celebration. While there, you met five mares, became best friends, found some ancient mystical artifacts, and saved the world from an ancient apocalyptic evil, all in the span of 24 hours. Apparently distraught at the thought of leaving behind these mares that you had known for the entirety of a day, you decided to just move to Ponyville permanently. Just like that. No last visit to say goodbye. No letter. No hesitation to throw away your old life in Canterlot like a piece of trash.

And me along with it.

Did I even once pass through your thoughts as you moved into your new home? A single fond memory of the years we spent together since we were fillies? Any of our late night study sessions, our chess games, our school projects? When I looked at you I saw the only pony I could ever truly confide in, the only one I ever thought of as a true friend, the one I had to work so hard around to keep my eyes from lingering too long or my tongue from saying something stupid and possibly ruining the best thing I've ever had. What did you see when you looked back at me? Did you even see me at all? Or was I just part of the background to you? Just another face in the crowd that comes and goes like any other. Do I even exist to you when I'm no longer standing in front of you? After all these years, do I mean even the slightest bit more to you than the mailpony?

Apparently not.




I'm not really mad at you. I'm mad at myself. This was me being stupid all along. I misread things and let my hopes and expectations run away from me. I thought that you actually cared about me. Such a stupid idea, of course you didn't. You were Celestia's protege', clearly destined for great things. Like meeting your real friends and becoming big time world saving heroes. It was silly to think some insignificant nobody like me would be worth your time when that destiny finally came knocking. I was too delusional and too stubborn to recognize this 'friendship' only went one way.

That's the other piece of my stupidity. Thinking that I was ever cut out for this friendship business. Given how epically I screwed this up, it's clear friendship just isn't for me. It's fine. I've always preferred books anyway. I just wish it hadn't taken me so long to figure this out. Think of all that reading I could have gotten done.


Library, house. Library, house. Library, house.

Occasionally there's voices at the door that ask me to come out and join them. They always leave after a few minutes though. Eventually they leave for good.

My mane is growing, but cutting and styling it is too much of a hassle and takes up time I could be using to read. I start just pinning it up with a clip.


Library, house. Library, house. Library, house.

Something about a wedding going on. I'm not interested. I've got reading to do. I put in my earplugs to block out all the commotion coming from outside.


Library, house. Library, house. Library, house.

The city is in chaos once again over yet another new princess. The name sounds vaguely familiar. It takes me a while to recognize your picture in the papers with the new wings. I vaguely recall having known you once, but it feels like a lifetime ago.

So you're a princess now. You always were destined for greatness. A distant memory of shame and humiliation starts to rise up. Something about thinking I had any place at your side and holding you back, but it quickly fades as I turn back to my book.


Library, house. Library, house. Library, house.

Today is marked by inconvenience. My reading is interrupted by a red skinned centaur kicking in my door and draining my magic. It's rather upsetting, but I figure the princesses and their weaponized friendship squad are on it. If not, we're probably all dead. No sense running about in a panic over it. I grab a book and flip through the pages by hoof until my magic comes back. I still have to fix the door though. That's annoying.


Library, house. Library, house. Library, house.


I'm trying to study, but somepony insists on banging on my door until they put a hoof through it. Finally I get up to make them go away before they demolish any more of my house.


"What do you want? I'm trying to study!" I snap at the purple pony on my doorstep.

"It's us. Your old friends!" Four ponies and a baby dragon stand there smiling vapidly back at me.

I don't know what they're talking about. I don't have friends, and I don't have time for this nonsense. I groan in exasperation and slam the door in their faces.


Arggh! Why can't you leave me alone?! I just want to be alone! I just want to study in peace! Why do you have to follow me around and spout this ridiculous lie that we were friends? We weren't. You made that very clear a long time ago. Why the charade now? Does being the 'Princess of Friendship' give you some quota of random ponies you need to harass into becoming chummy with?

Still, how did you get into my book like that? If I can learn how to do that, maybe I can put up with this charade for a little longer.


Books. So many books. It's a paradise. And this is where you used to live? Something catches my eye and I gasp.

"A first edition of Principles of Magic!" There's something oddly familiar about it "Hey! Didn't I give this to you?"


I look inside and see writing from another life.

To my friend Twilight Sparkle. Thanks for introducing me to the classics.


Memories hit me like a freight train. I remember writing those words. All that time we spent together. The delusions of friendship. Of thinking I mattered. I remember how much of a fool I felt when you left me behind, just like you left this book and my words to rot in the ruins of your old life. I can't help but glance at the wings at your side, symbols of just how far you've moved beyond all this, beyond me.

My thoughts are still swirling even as you levitate the key in front of me in your clumsy attempt at bribery. I'm a little disappointed to find that I'm apparently not above such cheap manipulations as my storm out is interrupted by your promise to teach me Haycartes' method. Fine. I'll go to your stupid dinner.


This is unbearable. The smiles. The smalltalk. As if we can just turn back the years and pretend like none of it ever happened. That you never abandoned me. That we're those same fillies who would spend hours talking about books, magic, and our favorite historical figures, but this time you actually care about me and I'm not just wasting my time and being set up to have my heart ripped out. I try to endure, but even Haycartes' method isn't worth this much pain. I push away from the table, stand up, and leave.

And of course, you follow me into the street. Why can't you just leave me alone?! The more I see of you, the more I hear your voice, the more I start to remember. I'm starting to recall how admiration slowly became adoration, and the more than friendly fantasies I began to have. That just makes the pain worse, so please go away!

"Moondancer! You've got to give friendship a chance!"

"I gave friendship a chance a long time ago. It didn't work out then, it isn't going to work out now." I storm off before you can see the tears forming in the corners of my eyes.


Library, house. Library, house. Library, - what's this? A book? And here's another. And another. And-


I bat idly at the pinata at this ridiculous party you've sprung on me. Because, of course that's the answer. It's all so simple. Miss a party, throw a party, and everything's fine. Abandoned your supposed friend without a word? Just break out the cake and streamers.

I start to swing the stick harder. I realize that some of my internal thoughts are not staying strictly internal, but I can't seem to stop the words from rushing out. I can't stop from shouting. Can't stop the tears from pouring out with the angry accusations. I let loose. I don't even know what I'm saying anymore as words spill out in increasingly incoherent rage until I collapse into a sobbing pile on the ground.

I feel your hoof on my shoulder. You're saying something, but I'm too mortified to hear most of it. To have you of all ponies see me like this. I wish I were dead.

"-please. Don't let my mistake be the reason you can't be friends with anypony else."

I look up through leaking eyes to see Minuette, Twinkle Shine, and Lemon Hearts approaching.

"We were your friends then, and we'd be honored to be your friends now."

I turn around and see three more familiar faces. There's my sister. I haven't seen her in so long that I almost forgot I had a sister! And is that the librarian? And the book seller? What are they doing at this party?

"You've got a lot of friends Moondancer."

Friends? But I don't have those. These are just ponies I know. Sure we talk sometimes, get along well enough, but I never thought we were that close. But they care enough to come to a party for me? I didn't even remember them until right now. Like they just stop existing when I'm not looking at-

A sinking feeling of guilt wells up in my stomach. These ponies DO consider me a friend and I just took their presence for granted. Especially those three. They WERE my friends. Good friends. Until I casually threw them away because I didn't know what I had. I feel like a monster. They're alright now, but what if they hadn't been? What if one of them had really been hurt by being so cruelly brushed off? I wouldn't be able to live with myself. I wouldn't be able to rest until I'd found some way to make things right.

I look up once again and it's like staring in a lavender tinted mirror.

"I'm sorry Moondancer. I've faced magical creatures, the end of Equestria, all sorts of things. But seeing how my actions affected you, that was one of the worst feelings I've ever had."

I'm speechless. Maybe. Just maybe. You actually do understand me. Understand some small fraction of why it hurts so badly. Just like I might understand a little bit better how otherwise brilliant ponies can do such stupid things. Things they sincerely wish they could take back because of how they hurt the ones they care about.

"Thank you Twilight. I never realized how much I needed to hear that."

You reach out with a hoof and smile. That damn smile that I used to see so often when I closed my eyes. I'm still emotionally ragged. I hesitate, hoof hovering in the air.

You smirk, shake your head, and pull me into a hug. Despite my eyes and throat still stinging from all the crying, I feel...better. Better than I have in a long time. As if a muscle I had been clenching for years straight was only now finally relaxing. I feel light. Like I could just drift up into the clouds.

I take a moment just to enjoy this hug. I hope it will be the first of many in a brand new old friendship. I hope it comes with long chats, and parties, and games of chess, and book recommendations. Maybe one day I'll even find a way to tell you how I really feel. But there will be time for all that later. Party first.

Author's Notes:

Yes, I promise I am actually working on the next chapter of Heart of Loyalty, but after watching Amending Fences, I couldn't not write this. Also my first shot at writing a story in first person and present tense. Let me know if you think that worked.

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