The five friends stood gathered around the sick bed of a sixth. The doctors had informed them that she would be lucky to survive the night and if they had anything to tell her then now was the time. One by one they took their turn standing by the yellow pegasus’ bedside and pouring their heart out to her in low tones that if the others could hear they pretended they couldn’t.
Applejack was quiet and grim and was the briefest. She had had to stop halfway through and give the pegasus a firm but gentle hug before pulling away and finishing what she had to say.
Twilight was there in sleep deprived disheveled appearance, having lacked time to clean up before coming, she hadn’t slept in days, as evidenced by the dark rings around her eyes, and she’d spent more than a little of that time crying instead of researching a way around what was happening before them, as the redness in them showed. She didn’t cry when she spoke but she repeatedly choked on her words. Her volume was the second least controlled of them and her friends, while ignoring what she said at the moment, resolved to take her aside later and scold her for feelings of having failed Fluttershy by not solving the problem.
Rarity’s voice was carefully controlled when she took her turn and managed to keep from being overheard by anypony. It was to her endless shame that she only managed to say half the things she wanted to before she broke into quiet sobs that were a stark contrast to the hammy loud ones she so frequently effected. It took severe comforting from her friends before she could get herself to a point where she could finish.
Rainbow Dash never managed to finish a full sentence of whatever she had to say to her oldest friend. She broke out into loud sobs almost immediately, her stoic exterior breaking at the first attempt to communicate. Any words she had to say were lost in her cries and at length she spent her turn just holding her old friend and crying until she was led away.
When Pinkie’s turn came she shushed Rarity’s invitation from where she’d been sitting at the foot of Fluttershy’s bed, not facing the yellow pegasus at all but instead glaring at every corner of the room as though daring it to try something. After several moments Fluttershy was wracked with another series of weak hacking coughs before she stilled. Her friends turned to her with concern save for Pinkie. Who suddenly sprang to her feet and jumped at a random part of the room.
“Pinkie, what are you-“ Twilight’s voice cut off midword as she suddenly froze.
Everything in the room seemed to take on a warmer red hue as it instantly stopped where it was. The world became deathly quiet and still. Except for a pink pony who tackled a black mass that had been standing, unseen by anypony there, until Pinkie had taken it down.
“No,” Pinkie told the figure as it struggled beneath her and against its own tangled robes.
“What? Huh, this isn’t supposed to happen!” the robed figure finally hooked a black clothed hoof over its hood and pulled it back to reveal a white earth pony mare with black splotches of color along her ears, eyes, nose and mouth, making her face look like a mocking simile of a pony skull, her hair at first appeared to be thing and white like the lingering strands stuck on an elderly pony’s scalp, though further examination quickly showed it to just be a side effect of her hair color which seemed to change to enhance the illusion no matter which way she turned. When ignored however the mare still managed to look quite comely despite her unfortunate coloration.
“How did you do that? How did you know there was a that to be done?” the skull patterned pony demanded, her voice carrying an archaic lilt that reminded Pinkie vaguely of Luna.
“I knew you’d show up eventually,” Pinkie declared triumphantly, “So I watched out for you and was ready when you did.” Her tone then changed as she observed that stopped world around her. “Why is everybody holding still like that anyway.”
“Because,” the white pony grunted as she shunted Pinkie off her to stand, “It is easier to stop time than it is to stop me. You must know that you cannot prevent me from carrying out my duty.”
The robed mare straightened and glared a challenge at Pinkie.
“Nope. I’m well aware,” Pinkied chirped, “Death can’t be stopped.”
“Good,” the mare said with a happy nod, moving to step past where Pinkied sat between her and Fluttershy’s frozen figure, “Now if you’ll kindly move aside.”
“Buut,” Pinkie continued, putting a hoof out to block Death’s advance, “you can be bargained with.”
“Huh?” Death replied numbly, “Oh, that, I’m sorry but I don’t play chess or anything to let a pony have another chance at life. The excess living they did when they won was wrecking my numbers.”
“Aw,” Pinkie said, nudging the chess set she’d hidden under Fluttershy’s bed back under it with a hind hoof, “Then how about a trade instead?”
“Nope. No exchanges. All internees must have a proper cause of death. I can’t just have you fall over stone dead instead of her, it’d be suspicious.”
“I was actually going to ask if we could split the difference,” Pinkie offered.
Death stopped to consider this for a moment. “You mean, you give up half of what’s left of YOUR life to extend hers?”
“I was actually thinking all five of us,” Pinkie explained, “That way we can all go out at once if we go out at all.”
“I can’t let you make deals using other pony’s lifespans,” Death told her flatly, “They have to have a say in it.”
“But I have their power of attorney,” Pinkie replied, pulling out a paper that had five signatures on it, “I got them to give it to me last week during a game of truth or dare.”
Death examined the paper that appeared to have been written messily and hurriedly in crayon but from what she could tell was still a binding legal document, “Well… I suppose this will do. But you realise that all of you will die at the same time. You would be making whatever ponies you six end up with at the end of your lives all very unhappy.“
Pinkie shook her head, “Don’t you worry your pretty little head about it. I’ve got a plan that involves six way make outs. Do we have a deal?”
Death stared at the pink pony flabbergasted as she tried to piece together how exactly a six way make out session would work.
“Y’know what, fine. You seem nice enough and something tells me you’d make my non-life miserable if I said, ‘no’,” Death finally capitulated, “Enjoy your marginally shortened life span.”
“Aw, thanks Deathy Weathy. You’re the best.” Pinkie hugged the mare close before continuing, “I know, you should come by the Corner some time and I’ll throw you a thank you party.”
“Um, ok,” Death replied, uncomfortable with how friendly this encounter was.
“Great! You’re the best. Just drop by whenever you have time. I’ll be ready for you. Now you must be really busy so I’ll let you go.” Pinkie grabbed the white mare and planted a solid kiss on her that lasted an instant. A fairly long instant because time was stopped, but an instant none the less. As she let go Pinkie took on the same red hue as the rest of the world.
Death stared at the frozen pink pony and touched a hoof to her lips tentatively. They still tingled and tasted of cotton candy.
“Well…. Alright then. Later…”
Comments by Kyronea:
Hah! Leave it to Pinkie to finangle a way to save Fluttershy’s life, and for the sake of an Omniship to boot. I’ll admit I like the idea of the Omniship lasting till they all go at once—it’s better than some of the dropping off, one by one, and having to cope with life after the others are gone. (I should know—I wrote a story about just that.) While I admit I’m a tad bit bugged that Pinkie didn’t ask the others prior to making the arrangement, it still works out for all of them. Pinkie had her heart in the right place, and I’m sure Fluttershy will be grateful.