The Choices We Make

by Monochromatic

Chapter 1: ...And those that we don't.

The Choices We Make
By Monochromatic

Every Friday, from five in the afternoon to eleven at night, Pinkie Pie did volunteer work. It wasn’t anything special, but she loved doing it anyway. She liked to help.

Three girls waited by their school’s exit, as students often did when classes had ended for the week. The chatter of adolescents on the cusp of adulthood filled the air, every single one of them preoccupied with one of the most crucial details of their lives: what to do during the weekend.

“Personally,” said Rarity, leaning against the railing of the stairs as she inspected her manicure, “I think we should go to the mall. They’re having a summer sale at Haute Couture, and I’d like to get an early and affordable start on our outfits for the next concert.”

Sitting on the stairs, Pinkie Pie did not reply. Not because she didn’t want to, though! Rarity was always thinking of helping them all be super fashionable, and Pinkie appreciated it more than—well, she was going to say more than words can express, but she was sure she could come up with a whole bunch of words if she really sat down and thought about it.


But, that day, as it happened every Friday, she had other things occupying her mind, and so she stared into the little notebook on her lap.

“The mall?! Rarity, we always go to the mall!” Rainbow Dash complained, bouncing a soccer ball on her foot. She kicked it against a nearby wall, caught it when it rebounded towards her and then turned to her friend with a huff. “I’m picking today, and we’re going somewhere better than the mall.”


The words had come out of Pinkie’s mouth unbidden. A thought voiced. She often did that, as she believed thoughts were meant to be shared.

Rainbow nestled the ball under her arm and raised an eyebrow. “Huh?”

“It’s not better than the mall,” she replied, turning the page of her notebook. “It’s just different. Don’t do things better, do them differently.”

“Yes, exactly! See, Rainbow Dash! Is it hard to be polite?” Rarity replied, brushing a hand through her hair.

“I wasn’t being rude!” Rainbow protested. “The mall’s fine and all, but I’m bored of it!” She tossed the ball towards Rarity and grinned when she caught it. “Sorry, Rares. Didn’t mean to call your dumb mall lame.”

Rarity giggled. “Such lies! I can’t wait to see your nose start to grow,” she shot back, throwing the ball over to its owner. She then turned to Pinkie and crossed her arms. “Did you come up with that Pinkie? I might steal it.”

“Nope! It was my boss at the center,” she explained, looking up. “Telling others to do things better is telling them what they were doing wasn’t good enough! And that’s silly, because you don’t know if they were trying their best! But telling them to do things differently won’t make them feel like they weren’t trying their best! You can’t do better, you can do differently.” She looked back down at her notebook. “She calls it positive thinking.”

Rarity hummed. “Yes, I see her point… Though I don’t believe a mall cares very much if there are other places better than it, darling.”

“Wait, wait! Pinkie!” Rainbow exclaimed. “You’re not hanging out with us? Again? Come on, it’s been proooobably two years since you last did anything with us on a Friday!”

“What?! That is so not true!” Pinkie protested. It wasn’t! Or was it? Hm.

“Rainbow is right, Pinkie,” Rarity said, earning a satisfied harrumph from Rainbow. “What with those extracurricular psychology classes, and now your volunteer work, spending time with you on Fridays is rarer than a sale on Arabian silk.”

“And that’s why we hang out on Saturdays!” Pinkie offered, jumping up to a standing position and closing her notebook. “‘Cause I gotta go now! Missus Cake is waiting for me!”

“You’re leaving already?! Come on, Pinks, can’t you cancel for once?” Rainbow insisted. “It’s not like it's gonna kill them if you miss one day.”

Pinkie blinked at her. “Rainbow,” she said carefully, and the severity in her tone was enough for the teen in question to step away. Suddenly, Pinkie puffed out her cheeks and crossed her arms. “I can’t do that! They’re counting on me, and I want to help, silly!”

“Fiiiine, fine,” Rainbow relented, tossing the soccer ball into the air and catching it. “I can see it’s important to you. Guess I’ll just have to deal with hanging out with Rarity until the others get here.” She playfully stuck her tongue out at her friend. “Ew.”

Rarity fluttered her eyelashes. “I love you too, Rainbow.”

Pinkie giggled, slinging her backpack over her shoulder. “And I love you two!”

~ o ~ ###-###-#### ~ o ~

“Do you have everything, dearie?”

Inside Sugarcube Corner, Missus Cake ambled into the kitchen, carrying with her a tray filled with an assortment of mouth-watering pastry delicacies. Though Pinkie was supposed to work Monday through Friday at Sugarcube Corner, she was super duper lucky her boss allowed her to take Fridays off on condition she take Saturday morning shifts.

It also helped that Mrs Cake approved of her volunteering.

“Yepperee!” Pinkie exclaimed, carefully tying together two boxes filled with cupcakes, brownies, cookies, and more. “I stopped by the shop to buy supplies, plus that really vanilla-y coffee everyone likes. I even found the decaf one for Fireside Chat!”

“And you didn’t forget to pack the green tea muffin for Oolong?” Mrs Cake asked, putting the tray down and taking a third box of pastries. “I made it especially for her! I won’t have her complaining we forgot about her again!”

“I didn’t! She’ll be really happy, you’ll see!”

She took the two boxes and followed Mrs Cake through the back door entrance, watching as her boss loaded the box onto the delivery bicycle. Once she’d done the same with her own boxes, she got onto the bike and bid farewell to her boss, promising to bring the bike back later that night.

The center she worked at wasn’t very big. There were others, of course, and a large one in the city, but the one she worked at was small and homey and local. It was fifteen minutes away from Sugarcube Corner, which made it easy to bring her pastries.

Upon arriving, she wheeled her bike over to the little storage they’d reserved for her, and then took her boxes of supplies. Seen from the outside, the center looked just like any office building. It had a clean white exterior, large square windows, and the only detail that stood out were the large band-aided hearts she’d painted on the wall on either side of the door.

The front desk was manned by Honeydew Drops. She was an older woman with blonde hair tied in a bun, and green eyes, often squinting at newcomers from behind her pince-nez red glasses. She had a basket of lollipops she kept under her desk, which she offered to everyone that came in. If they seemed too thin for her tastes, she’d offer three lollipops.

She gave everyone three lollipops.

Honeydew’s favorite cupcake, by the way, was lavender mint.

Pinkie knew everyone’s favorite cupcake, without exception.

After accepting her five weekly lollipops and insisting that yes, Honeydew, she is eating three full meals a day, she just has a fast metabolism, Pinkie opened the office doors and walked into what could only be described as a call-center. Soft-spoken voices rose into the air, like rhythmic lullabies.

She called it the sound of hope.


Pinkie turned around, and found a young woman flagging her down from one of the many desks.

“Oolong!” Pinkie called, not too loud, going over to her friend.

Oolong wasn’t much older than Pinkie. She was twenty-three, and had a degree in psychology. Her headset had been decorated with a wide variety of stickers from some show she liked, and so did they decorate the majority of her desk.

“Aren’t you a sight for hungry tummies!” Oolong said, smiling at her friend. She was very soft-spoken when she talked, like a mother to a child. She looked to the sides in a conspiratorial fashion and whispered, “Did you bring it?”

Pinkie lowered her voice. “The green tea muffin that’s in my box?”

“Yes! Atta girl, Mrs Cake!” Oolong exclaimed, rubbing her hands together and smacking her lips when Pinkie retrieved a green muffin from inside the topmost box.

“How’s your shift going?” Pinkie asked, watching as Oolong devoured the pastry. “You’re doing okay?”

Oolong nodded. “I’m doing fine. Had a difficult call this morning, but one of my casuals called earlier, and said she liked the movie I recommended. I did get a prank call, though. Some kid. I could hear his friends laughing in the background.” She licked her lips. “Stopped laughing when I read their number back to them and asked them if that was the right number to give the police.”

Pinkie giggled. “Meanie! But they kiiiinda deserve it.” She then paused and fidgeted with the strings of her boxes. “And no…you know...gross calls, right?”

“No pervs today, no,” she said with relief. “If that gu—”

A ringing noise interrupted her. The same ringing noise that shot out throughout the room in uneven intervals. Months ago, when she was training, someone had called it the ringing of the hopeless.

She called it the ringing of the fighters.

Oolong smiled. “Thanks for the cupcake, Pinkie.” She put on her headset, smiled kindly and spoke up to whoever was on the line: “Hi, thank you for reaching out to Ponyville’s Crisis Lifeline. My name is Oolong, and I’m here to help you.”

Suicide was a concept Pinkie did not fully understand.

Even as she walked away from Oolong’s desk, even as she quietly made her way down the hallway of desks and people fighting for other’s lives, it was something she could not fully grasp despite her two months working at the Crisis Center. Her eyes roamed the walls, as they always did, imprinting in her the seemingly vacuous motivational lines that could make a difference between life and death.

Your life matters.

You are strong.

You are brave.

You are worth it.

You have a choice.

She walked towards the end of the room, past the operators, and only occasionally stopping by to talk with the few that were available. When she reached the other side, she saw her desk near the corner and near a window, as she’d politely requested.

Pinkie didn’t take calls. Not only did her supervisors say she wasn’t ready, she herself was not sure she could handle such a task. So, instead, she helped those who could. She put down her boxes and backpack on her desk, took a moment to straighten the picture frame of her friends and the one of her co-workers at the annual luncheon, and then got to work with her checklist.

She called it the H.A.P.P.Y! list.

Truthfully, the acronym didn’t actually stand for anything. She’d just always thought that acronyms were fun, and she thought it would make Twilight proud. The best thing she’d ever managed to come up for it was Heartfelt Actions Purely for People to Yay!

She’d tried her best, honest!

Anyway, she wasn’t a therapist. A year of training would never be nearly enough for that. She didn’t listen or know what her co-workers talked about when they went into Dr. Quiet Resolve’s office. Not to say they didn’t talk to her! They did, sometimes, about their lives and trivial details, but never about work. She knew it was because discretion was vital, but she wondered if it was because they didn’t want to burden her.

In every room; next to almost every wall; and taking up the space of a whole table in the kitchen, Pinkie helped by keeping everyone happy. She made sure that the refrigerator was stocked with snacks and healthy foods, that there was always coffee and tea available, and that everyone had their favorite cupcake—save for Silvertongue, who was on a diet and instead got sugar-free cookies Pinkie bought at the market.

It was hard for her to wrap her head around suicide. It was hard, even, to wrap her head around depression. She understood being sad, feeling lonely, but it was hard for her to see people being constantly sad when she knew they were wonderful.

One time, a once dear friend of hers had been very sad for a very long time. They’d been talking in Sugarcube Corner, and so her friend had stormed off in a teary huff after Pinkie had advised her to “just try to be happy! Don’t be sad!”.

She had said Pinkie didn’t understand.

And so she took her psychology extracurriculars and volunteered so she could try to understand. Or try to help, at least! Any help was good help, if she said so herself. And she did! She did say so. She just had to try in a different way.

Cleaning was Pinkie’s first duty, since Miss Feather Duster left early on Fridays, and a clean office was a happy office. She took out the trash, refilled everyone’s water bottles, and made sure the windows were clean and sunlight filtered properly into the room.

Little things, little details. Dr. Resolve said those were the ones that mattered when trying to help a friend. A droplet of rain can feel like a hurricane when you’re sad.

After cleaning was done, so came the rounds.

The rounds were an important part of the day. She would linger in disturb-free zones, as she called them, and waited until operators were off calls to super discreetly walk by and see if they needed anything. Usually they didn’t, and for the first month, Pinkie wondered if it was silly of her to keep asking and making sure they needed anything even if they looked okay.

She then stopped for a day, and what a surprise when everyone kept asking where she’d gone! Boy, was she happy that day.

“You’re like a cat,” Soft Down giggled, gratefully accepting the water bottle Pinkie brought her as soon as she finished the first. She opened it, took a big gulp and continued: “Just waiting for a chance and then you pounce!”

“Dehydration is no joke, silly!” Pinkie exclaimed. “Who’s gonna fill your water bottles if I don’t?!”

“Tell that to Fireside,” a co-worker behind her spoke up, leaning away from his desk and grinning. “He always brings his massive soda bottle, and you still pester him with a water bottle every day. You know he’s never going to say yes to drinking water, right?”

Pinkie crossed her arms. “I know, but it shows that I care!” she protested, sticking her tongue out at him. “Just because a good friend says no several times when you ask him to come hang out doesn’t mean you stop inviting him!”

Soft Down let out a delighted laugh. “Hah! Schooled by the intern! How does that feel like, Windy?”

“Yeah, yeah,” he playfully grumbled, turning back to his computer.

After she was done with her rounds, and everyone had their cupcakes and water bottles, she finally tasked herself with the most important part of the day. Even more important than the rounds.

The quiet room.

She liked the quiet room. It had some chairs and mattresses, and it was there where her friends went after a difficult call or when they needed time to think. Doctor Resolve told her they had similar rooms in other crisis centers, like the Emergency Dispatch center.

Once she’d prepared her box with supplies, she walked over to the quiet room. Its wooden door was closed, and a peek through the oval window on it revealed a man sitting inside, his face buried in his hands. Her heart shrank and she moved away, putting the box down and quietly waiting.

Gold Heart was inside. He’d only been an operator for a few weeks now. He used the quiet room a whole lot.

Pinkie waited and waited. Doctor Resolve had told her to try and avoid coming into the room when someone was inside. It could jolt them away from their thoughts, and even if she felt they needed help, the Doctor assured her they would seek it out if that was the case.

So, while she waited, she did another quick round: ate a cupcake; heatedly discussed the idea of getting a therapy kitten for the center with Honeydew; wrote a list of ten kitten names; left three cupcakes on Gold Heart’s desk; and finally, once Gold had gone back to work, went into the quiet room to restock the snacks and mini-fridge.

There was a plastic table at the end of the room. She threw away all the garbage, and once she’d restocked the mini-fridge, got to work with the snacks.

Or, rather, she got to work until the door opened and an older man walked in, a pack of cigarettes in his hand.

“Oh, Fireside!” she exclaimed. “I won’t be long!”

Fireside shrugged. “Take your time.”

Pinkie watched as he made his way across the room, and so did she place her hands on her hips and pout when he opened the window and took a cigarette out.

“Firesiiiiide. You’re not supposed to smoke in here!” she exclaimed.

Fireside stared at her for a moment before pulling up a chair, placing it next to the window, sitting down and then lighting up his cigarette.

Pinkie huffed, but she knew she had to pick her battles. “Well, fine…”

Fireside had been working at the center the longest. He and Dr. Resolve had known each other from their last job at the local Emergency Dispatch Service center, which is why the Doctor probably let him get away with little things.

“Did you have a tough call?” Pinkie asked, trying to break the ice.

“You could say that,” he replied, taking a puff and blowing the smoke out the window. “How old are you, Pinkie?” he asked, distracting her from the very important task of making sure the M&Ms weren’t confused with the Skittles. “Aren’t you still in High School?”

“Yep! But I’m graduating next year,” she replied. “And I’ll be eighteen soon! Why’d you ask?” She grinned. “Gonna get me a birthday present, huuuuh?”

“Don’t get excited, pal,” he replied, raising an eyebrow. He then smiled. “Well, maybe a little excited, but you didn’t hear it from me.”

Pinkie giggled, gesturing a zipping motion on her mouth.

“Still don’t know why you’re here, though,” he said. “Seventeen year olds don’t usually want to spend their Friday afternoons at a place like this. Don’t you have parties to go to with your friends?”

“Oh, no! My friends always organize parties on Saturdays so I can come!” she quickly explained, putting away her leftover supplies. “They know I can’t do anything on Fridays! They’re okay with it, except for my friend Dashie. She always wants to spend time with me.”

He grunted. “Doesn’t say much about her if she holds your volunteering here against you.”

Horror struck Pinkie like a slap to the face. “No, it doesn’t! She’s still supportive!” she quickly said, eager to defend her friend’s reputation. “She and the others don’t know what I volunteer for. I only tell them I work for a center.”

He was surprised by this. “Really? You haven’t told them?” he asked, and so did she feel a knot form in her throat when he stubbed the cigarette out against the frame of the window. “Why not?”

And to this, Pinkie didn’t quite know the answer.

“Uuuuuuhm… I guess ‘cause I don’t wanna make them super sad?” she ventured, even though she knew that wasn’t entirely the reason.

“I see.” He reached over with his foot and pulled a chair over by the leg. He nodded to it. “You got time?”

Though it was phrased as a question, something told her it wasn’t, so she carefully walked over and sat down.

He observed her for a moment before prompting, “So, you haven’t told them because you don’t want to make them sad?”

Pinkie swallowed. “Well, nobody really wants to talk about stuff like that.”

“And just because nobody wants to talk about it means nobody should?” he asked, and she felt very much like when she was being questioned by Vice-Principal Luna after the Super Sticky Pie Incident.

“No! It’s super important to talk about it!” she quickly said, because it was true!

He stayed silent for a moment, and then leaned back in his chair. “Do you know what it means to be casually suicidal?”

“Suicide isn’t casual!” she exclaimed at once, indignant on behalf of the many people who’d tried everything else before that. Suicide was always the last option a person felt they had.

“Calm down, Pinkie. I know it isn’t, and I don’t mean it that way,” Fireside said, hushing her down with a gesture. He then nodded to her jean’s pocket. “You have your cellphone? Go on Twitter and look up tweets in your high school’s area.”

Though she was confused, Pinkie obeyed, taking out her cellphone and doing as instructed. When the search feed came up, he extended his hand.

“May I? I promise I won’t look at anything else.”

“Sure…!” she exclaimed, handing the phone over to him and watching as he scrolled down.

“No, no, no,” he murmured as he scrolled, until finally, he cleared his throat. “Fourth tweet. Quote, ‘At that point in the semester where I don’t look both ways when jaywalking. Hashtag KMS’. That hashtag’s popular too, isn’t it?” He stopped, looked at her, looked back at the phone and kept scrolling. “No, no, here. Seventh tweet. ‘Good morning, Twitter! The sun is shining and I want to die!’. No, no, here. Tenth tweet, and with a screenshot!” He turned the phone to Pinkie, and she saw what looked like a desolate cartoon character lying in bed. “‘Me deciding if I should wake up for school or stay in bed until I die.’”

Pinkie stayed silent when he stopped.

He locked the phone, handed it back to her, and asked: “What do you think about that?”

“We-Well, that’s not really nice things to say, but they don’t mean it!” she offered, fidgeting in her seat. She unlocked her phone and looked at the feed. “Suicide isn’t something you joke about if you’re serious about it! No one should even joke about it, but, like, this tweet is from Eventide, and I know her! She’s just joking!”

“Is she?” he asked. “How are you so sure?”

“I…” Pinkie faltered. “I’m not…”

He hummed. “What’s the saying? Many a true words are often spoken in jest? It’s easy to say things like that as a joke because if people don’t take it seriously or are uncomfortable, well, hey, it’s just a joke!”

Pinkie stood up almost immediately, balling her fists. “I’d never not take it seriously!”

“But your friends won’t know that if you don’t show them you do take it seriously,” he replied.

Pinkie’s hands loosened. “...Oh.”

“You know why we get so many calls?” he asked.

Pinkie sat down on her chair, kicking at the floor like a chastised child. “‘Cause they don’t think anyone else will take them seriously…”

“Among many other reasons,” he said. “Not wanting to burden your loved ones, or not wanting them to worry, or feeling you’re not worth worrying over because it’s not serious.”

She deflated a bit. “Sorry…”

“Don’t be sorry. You’re learning. We all are,” he said. “You just have to start talking about it. Show people it’s something serious, even if they don’t think it is at first. Remember what Quiet says?”

Pinkie nodded. “Positive thinking!” she exclaimed, jumping up to a standing position. She lifted her hand and saluted him. “Yessir!”

He laughed. “Don’t call me sir! It makes me feel old.” He got up and threw the remainder of his cigarette into a nearby trash bin. “Now, let’s get back to work before Doctor Resolve comes and nags me.” He took a few steps towards the door and added, “Oh, and bring me one of your water bottles, will you please? Figure I might as well since you won’t tell the good doctor about my smoking, right?”

Pinkie giggled. “What smoking?”

~ o ~ ###-###-#### ~ o ~

Nighttime had long settled in the sky by the time Pinkie made it back to Sugarcube Corner.

As she approached, she noticed the lights still lit inside the shop, and wondered if Mrs Cake had stayed up waiting for her. However, when she stepped into the shop, bicycle in tow, she was surprised to find a familiar rainbow-haired teenager sitting on a chair and idly scrolling through her phone.

“Dashie?” she asked, alerting her friend to her presence. “What’re you doing here?!”

“Oh, hey!” Rainbow said, putting her phone away. “Mrs C. said I could crash here until you came back.”

“Awwwww! You were waiting for me?” Pinkie asked, grinning widely. She rested the bike against a wall and joined her friend, sitting on the opposite side of the table. “I thought you were gonna spend the day with the girls!”

“I did!” Rainbow said, grabbing a nearby salt shaker and playing with it. “But I, uh…” She twirled the object in her hand. “Uh…”

“Youuuuu?” Pinkie prompted, watching as her friend rather noticeably avoided eye-contact.

“Bleh.” Rainbow put the salt shaker down on the table. “I felt bad earlier for, like, dissing your volunteer stuff. I know it’s important to you and stuff, and I guess I miss you more ‘cause we don’t share classes anymore.”

“Awwww…” Pinkie’s heart swelled, and she extended her hand to take Rainbow’s. “I really like spending time with you too!”

Rainbow grinned. “‘Course you do. Who doesn’t? People line up to hang out with me, y’know.” She took the salt shaker again and played with the cap. “So, yeah. Sorry about not taking your volunteering thing seriously…”


Talk about it.

“I volunteer at the local suicide helpline center,” she said simply, the words leaving her mouth unbidden.

The reaction was immediate.

“You what?!” Rainbow asked, dropping the salt shaker on the table and looking at her friend as though she were ill. “Why?! Are you okay?!” She placed her hands on the table. “Why would you even—?! Pinkie, is there something you haven’t told me!? ”

“No, no, no! I’m fine!” she quickly said, raising her arms defensively. “Pinkie promise! I just… I want to help! But I’m okay, really!”

Rainbow relaxed slightly. “Oh… Well…” She leaned back. “Wow, uh. The suicide helpline? That’s like…” She drifted off, her eyes widening, and her face turning white. “Oh.” She crossed her arms on the table and buried her face in them, groaning loudly.

“What’s wrong?” Pinkie asked, confused.

“I told you it wouldn’t kill them to let you skip a day, that’s what’s wrong,” Rainbow muttered, groaning again. “Now I feel even worse than before.” She lifted her head and glared at her friend. “You could have said something, Pinks.”

“I know,” Pinkie said. “And I did now! So you can stop feeling bad, ‘cause you didn’t know! And how would you have known when I didn’t tell you!”

“Yeah, I guess,” Rainbow replied, sitting up straight and rubbing the back of her head. “Man, though. Suicide hotlines? That’s heavy…” She licked her lips and frowned. “Is it… Like… What’s it like? The calls, I mean.”

“Oh, I don’t take calls!” Pinkie clarified. “I don’t think I can do that yet… But I help around the center, and make sure everyone’s comfortable.”

Rainbow crossed her arms. “Yeah… That must be hard for them.”

“It’s even harder for the ones calling,” Pinkie replied. “And lots of them call us because they feel like they have no one else to talk about it with, so I want to help! People shouldn’t be afraid to talk about what they feel.”

Rainbow didn’t reply, lost in thought, and so did Pinkie feel a tug at her heart. Fireside’s words whispered in her mind, and she put a hand on Rainbow’s arms.

“You’d totally tell me if you felt sad, right, Dashie?”

Rainbow snorted. “Pft. I’m never sad!”


Rainbow nodded. “Yeah, reeeeeally.” She then faltered. “Well… I mean…” A light blush flashed down her cheeks, and she looked away. “I mean. Maybe the other day I like, maybe, wondered if I wasn’t good enough at, like, stuff.”

Pinkie blinked. “Not good enough at stuff…?” Immediately, she jumped up, filled with righteous anger. “What?! You’re totally the best at stuff! Who made you feel like you aren’t?! I’ll fight them!”

“Woah, calm down!” Rainbow exclaimed, smiling at her friend. “No one said anything, you dork. I was the one thinking about it.”

“You?!” Pinkie exclaimed. She balled her fists and put them up. “I’ll fight you!”

Rainbow snorted. “Fight me?!!” She jumped up and balled her fists. “Bring it!”

Of course, not even five seconds passed before both friends began to laugh and fell back down into their chairs.

“Silly Rainbow Dash,” Pinkie said, rolling her eyes. “You’re totally the best at stuff. You’re even better than me at stuff!”

“Hey,” Rainbow said, raising an eyebrow. “I’m not better than you. I’m different.”

“Rainbow!” Pinkie exclaimed. “You actually remembered!”

Rainbow gasped. “Oh my gosh! It’s like I actually care about what you tell me!” She giggled and stuck out her tongue. “Listen, I know I think I’m the awesomest, but you gotta give me more credit here, dork.” She cleared her throat and looked around. “Anyway, we better ditch this joint before Mrs C. kicks us out. Do you want to, uh, hang out more?”

Pinkie nodded. “Yup! Where’d ya want to go?”

Rainbow hummed. “Well, there’s that sketchy taco joint near my house that, like, never closes. You can stay over at my place if you want?”

Pinkie nodded. “Ooooh! Tacos sounds super good!”

“And super cheap, too,” Rainbow added.

They got up and cleaned up after themselves. After Pinkie made sure to leave the bicycle in its proper place, she followed Rainbow outside and locked the shop.

“Hey, Pinkie?”

Pinkie turned around and found Rainbow rubbing the back of her neck again.

“Mm-hm?” she asked. “What’s up?”

Rainbow seemed to hesitate for a moment. “You don’t think it’s dumb that I feel like I’m not good enough at stuff?”

Pinkie shook her head. “Nope! I think it’s super duper important!” She extended her hand and smiled. “Wanna talk about it?”

Rainbow stared at her hand for a moment before smiling earnestly. “Yeah,” she replied, interlacing her fingers with Pinkie and walking off side-by-side. “I’d really like that.”


Author's Notes:

I tried my best to represent the places and "lessons" in this story as accurately and faithfully as I could. I did extensive research on the subject of suicide and suicide helplines, which included reading and listening to interviews with operators, reading several professional psychology websites, listening to several Ted Talks ([1] [2] [3] among others), and scaring the hell out of a dear friend when I context-less asked him if he could guide me through the process of calling a suicide helpline.

Please seek out help if you're ever in a bad place. Haledrake posted a few places in the comment, which I've copy-pasted below.

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ 1-800-273-8255 The suicide prevention lifeline is a multi-lingual U.S. based program that helps anybody and everybody, including getting you in touch with local help centers. Additionally they provide help for deaf sufferers.

http://www.suicide.org/index.html - Suicide.org is a great... unofficial? I guess is the best word for it, resource for help. It's a non-profit originally organized by just one guy to aggregate many different kinds of help. They have the number for just about every type of mental help you can imagine, including text lines in case you don't feel like verbally speaking to someone about your problems.

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