Title: Sweet Valley Twins: Friendship is Magic
Summary: All the trouble started right after Lila saw the purple Unicorn in her backyard.
Dedication: For Raven and @buffywatcher23
Timeline: Factory reset, just like almost any book.
Notes: This won’t be as aggressively meta as my last NaNo, so if you were anticipating me leaning so hard on the fourth wall that it falls over, I’m sorry. This still will be a bit sassy, but honestly, I peaked with the Hunger Games crossover. Wait. No, I lied. I couldn’t get past the first page without doing my usual thing.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
25,572 / 50,000 words. 51% done!
Tammy rode the Smooze on a surfboard she had found in one of the first houses she had destroyed. The Smooze adjusted to her whims, and ensured she was kept upright. It was exhilarating. It was like being on a rollercoaster that moved to her precise liking.
Megan had always talked of the exhilaration of flying on the back of a pegasus, but Tammy doubted it felt as good as surfing the Smooze.
The Smooze, while following Tammy’s whims, had shown an interest in the puff of purple smoke the purple unicorn sent out. On instinct, she and the Smooze had followed it. The Smooze seemed to grow to accommodate her needs. She left a sizeable chunk circling the school ominously—sooner or later she was certain that Elizabeth Wakefield would stride out and attempt to resolve the situation. At that point, Tammy would take great delight in Smoozing her.
But that was an afterthought to her real plan. Her real plan was to carry out the witches’ plan—ironically, her foster mother’s plan—to utterly destroy Ponyland with the Smooze.
It was the only way to make them feel the way she felt. They had ruined her life, and she’d never even spoken to a pony. Actually, she’d gone out of her way to avoid the ponies once they arrived. She hadn’t mentioned them to Rita, because she was afraid that Rita had it in her too—the need to shove Tammy aside and worship the small pastel ponies.
And then she’d discovered that Rita wasn’t Rita. She was Draggle, one of the three witches Megan had endlessly told her about. It made her sick. One of the reasons that she’d taken to Rita so quickly was because she had looked like Megan’s description of Draggle, and it was a tiny rebellion that gave her pleasure every day.
She had no idea that Rita was Draggle though. Rita had never once spoken of ponies, everything Rita said was boringly and wonderfully mundane. Tammy had found it fascinating. She nearly cried with joy the day Rita came home and told her a really dull story about running out of potatoes on a busy day at work. That was the kind of thing she’d always wanted to hear. There were no sudden swerves, no magical unicorn waved their horn and made a billion potatoes. No Bushwoolies showed up with Woolie Cakes to appease the hungry patrons. All that happened was that as soon as possible, Rita nipped to the grocers and bought more spuds. It was all so boring and normal and perfect.
But Rita could have waved a magic wand or found the right spell. She could have made a billion potatoes.
The wave of Smooze swerved around a large building, but underfoot supported her surfboard. While the Smooze could destroy everything in its path, it sometimes made independent pragmatic choices, and this one made sense.
The building she surfed past was gigantic with three stories, and wings extending in all directions. It would have slowed the Smooze down significantly to go over or through it, and they didn’t want to lose that waft of magic. It was pony magic, so it was probably designed to hurt the Smooze, so Tammy wanted to know where it was going.
The Smooze swept down the gardens, cheerfully splattering over the pool house, and filling the pool, which Tammy thought was at least Olympic sized—very excessive. The Smooze followed the wisp of magic as it disappeared into the plinth of a statue. Tammy noted with very little surprise that the statue was clearly of Firefly, the pony who first brought Megan to Ponyland. (When Megan spoke her name, she would cross her hands over her heart.)
Tammy hated Firefly more than any other pony in this or any other world.
The Smooze crashed over the statue with gleeful spite, but unlike everything else it had encountered, it did not smash or shatter under the weight of the Smooze. Tammy felt the resistance, as if the statue was pushing her away. The Smooze could touch it, but it couldn’t destroy it.
The Smooze reacted to her confusion, and gently deposited her in front of the statue, just where the magical wisp had gone through. She reached out to the plinth, which was just a little taller than her and made of white marble. It was oddly warm to touch. She ran her fingers lightly over it. It was solid at the edges, but had no form at all in some places. She imagined the portal was a kind of oval shape, like the free-standing mirror in Megan’s room. The one she’d designed herself and painted an obnoxious shade of blue.
Her fingers sank into the plinth when she pushed harder, and Tammy snatched them back as if it burned. She didn’t want even a single fingertip of hers in that stupid land. Maybe she’d come back all broken like her mother. Maybe she’d spend all day blathering on about stupid pastel ponies and how they were so much more important than real people.
Her plan was to send the Smooze through. It would destroy everything and maybe finally Tammy would be able to stop hating them so much.
But the Smooze wasn’t moving. It ebbed and flowed in viscous eddies around her and the statue, but would not go through the portal. It frequently splashed the statue, but the Smooze would just peel off in bits and rejoin the mass. Everywhere else it touched, it left a foul-smelling purple stain.
“Go on!” Tammy said. “Go through! Destroy everything you see!”
The Smooze took another run at it but was unable to pass through. It was as if it was a solid stain-proof mass.
Tammy made a noise of exasperation. It would be just her luck if the portal to Ponyland had been open for days, and now, just as she was so close to getting the ponies out of her life forever, it had closed. She pressed her palm against the plinth again, but it passed straight through. Her fingers touched fur or skin or something living, and she shrieked and withdrew her hand as quickly as she could.
The Smooze seemed upset by her fear, and started groaning in sympathy.
The portal glowed a dazzling white for a moment, and Tammy—amped up by fear and panic that her plan was falling apart—urged the Smooze to make another attempt.
The Smooze surged forward just as four ponies stepped out of the portal. The Smooze gleefully oozed all over them, coating them in purple slime, and the curious looks on their faces became glares and looks of disdain.
“What a horrible world!” one chirruped. On her un-Smoozed parts, she looked pink, with a wildly curly mane and tail. “I hate this place. It’s suckerific.”
“Uck! How ghastly!” This pony was a white unicorn with a purple mane and tail. “I can’t believe Twilight wasted our time calling us to a place that is covered in slime? Doesn’t she realize we have better things to do?”
The other two ponies behind her—a yellow pony and a blue pegasus—were equally hit by the Smooze and were making equally disagreeable comments.
A small purple dragon made his way to the front of the group. “I’ve got some kind of gross slime on my tail. What’s going on? What is this slime? I wish Twilight had let me stay with her.”
“Why would she, darling? You’re absolutely useless. We only keep you around out because we think it’s funny that you think you actually matter.” The white unicorn gave a toss of her mane and a small titter at that.
The dragon looked hurt. He only had a dob of Smooze on his tail, and clearly it wasn’t enough to color his own feelings as it had with the other ponies. His small size and the ponies’ height had probably protected him from the surge.
“Yeah, Spike, you’re pretty much a waste of scales,” the pink one said as she bounced on the spot.
Spike! Realization dawned on her that he’d been in her mother’s stories too, but in all honesty, not very often. He rarely showed up in the pictures Megan drew—mostly he filled a blank bit of space she had left over. She didn’t think that Megan thought particularly highly of him. He was a baby. He made silly choices because of his age. He wasn’t a pony.
Megan suddenly felt a stab of conscience. All she’d wanted was to get rid of the ponies. She hadn’t meant to emotionally abuse someone in the process. As the ponies turned on Spike and began taunting him, Tammy began to cry. They told him he was worthless, and that he wasn’t good enough to be part of their adventures. He tried to defend himself, he said he helped, and they laughed at him.
It was like watching her own childhood. Megan had never said that Tammy wasn’t good enough, but it had been there in everything she had done. When Tammy failed, Megan told stories about how baby ponies—younger than she—had succeeded. When Tammy did well, Megan told stories about how ponies had done much better things.
Tammy was just not good enough. She was worthless.
“Just shut up and leave him alone!” she yelled.
The ponies turned towards her, ready to find a new victim for their spite.
She suddenly wanted nothing more than to rewind this whole day, and feign an illness so she and Rita could bypass the meddling of Saint Elizabeth Wakefield. And Rita always made the best soup when Tammy was sick.
Everyone turned to the sound of the new voice.
It was Rita, and a few steps behind her was Twilight Sparkle, who looked utterly exhausted from firing a continual bolt of magic from her horn. One foreleg was thrown over Applejack’s shoulder, and the orange pony was clearly shouldering the weight of her friend, so that Twilight could concentrate on her magic.
The magic was acting like a snow plough, giving them a small clear area to walk through. As they moved forward, the Smooze closed around behind them.
Tammy was so confused and upset, she was almost happy to see them. She wasn’t so upset that she was happy to see Megan or Elizabeth. She felt fairly ambivalent about Jessica.
“Tammy, are you ok?” Rita rushed through the last dregs of Smooze, and unthinkingly, Tammy cleared a path for them, and pushed the Smooze back to give them some space.
Rita wrapped an arm around her and pulled her close. Tammy sagged against her. Rita gave the best hugs. She looked too bony to give hugs, but somehow it always made Tammy feel so safe.
“I have to send the Smooze to Ponyland,” Tammy explained. “I just have to get rid of them.”
“You can’t send Smooze through a portal, Tam. Only living beings can pass through, and the Smooze is only a reflection of what you want.” Rita squeezed her again. “And you really have to tell it to stop.”
“No, I can’t!” Tammy’s throat felt hot and raw, and her eyes were full of useless tears. She wanted to stop, she didn’t want to inflict this on anyone, but she thought she might hate herself for the rest of her life if she didn’t find a way to end those stupid ponies.
“You must stop, Tammy,” Elizabeth said earnestly. “Your mother is here to prove how much she loves you. She wrote you all those wonderful stories when you were a baby. How can you not love her—and the ponies? I saw your baby book, I know your mother loves you very much. Why can’t you see it?”
Tammy stepped away from Rita in order to give Elizabeth the full force of her glare. “Because, you stupid busybody, everything has always been about those ponies! You’ve read my baby book? Did you miss the part where everything I did reminded her of ponies? I didn’t have a birthday, we celebrated Sun Tuesday! If my birthday didn’t fall on a Tuesday, we’d just postpone it. All my baby pictures are covered up with her stupid drawings of those horrible ponies. Everything I said or did somehow led back to them. I hate them!”
“You have to stop, Tammy!” Megan snapped. “How can you want to hurt these wonderful ponies?”
Instantly, the Smooze reared up and splatted itself against Megan. The twins, who were either side of her, also got a Smoozeball to the face. Tammy felt bad for Jessica, who had been nothing but nice to her.
“Forget about Megan, Tammy,” Twilight said as she stepped forward. She looked much better now that she wasn’t having to keep a spell alive. “Listen to Rita. She was willing to wade through the Smooze unprotected to get to you.”
“But the ponies ruined my life. I’m so sick of ponies!” Tammy wailed. “I don’t even know why Megan kept me around.”
“I kept you around because they visit children!” Megan snapped. “Because they left me, and all I had was you. If you think your life was ruined, think about mine. I was dragged out of my world at random one night and brought to a different land to face a monster of nightmares called Tirek! I had to fight a monster on a chariot of darkness! I was twelve! I should’ve been studying for my math test, and instead I saved their world! I loved those ponies, but they were childish and stupid! They kept running to me for answers, and I had to keep giving them. And every time they called, I dropped everything for them.” Megan’s voice caught. “And then one day they never came back.”
“I don’t care!” Tammy screamed. “You should never have had a child. It’s not my fault you’re broken!”
And suddenly, she felt lighter. Something that had been wound tight inside her for as long as she remembered, suddenly wasn’t there any more. It was as if she’d been living with chronic pain and it had suddenly gone completely. She felt almost woozy with the lightness.
Around her the Smooze calmed and stopped its infernal groaning.
“It’s not my fault. And it’s not the ponies’ fault either.” Tammy said softly. “I’m sorry they broke you, but it doesn’t give you the right to break me too. I don’t want to live with you, Megan, and I don’t want to see you again. Maybe it’ll change one day, and I’ll want to visit you, but right now, I don’t.”
The Smooze that covered Megan and the twins lifted off and joined the main mass. Tammy turned to see the same thing was happening to the ponies that had just come through the portal.
“I don’t know how to get rid of the Smooze,” Tammy said.
Rita put an arm around Tammy again. “You’re lucky. You skipped the flume. This is going to be much easier without that ingredient.”
“I did wonder what that was.”
“It’s a horrible plant back in Ponyland. Imagine the Smooze—if you’re not in control of it—but it’s a plant with angry tentacles.” Rita glanced at Twilight. “Please tell me it’s extinct now?”
“Flume? I’d have to check with a botanist for certain, but I remember that Blossomforth did a very interesting paper suggesting it had become what we now know to be a Tatzlwurm,” Twilight said. Then she moved towards Tammy, but left a respectful distance between them. “Tammy, I need to apologize. I should never have participated in bringing your mother into your life. I didn’t fully understand the situation, but that’s no excuse. I pride myself on being an excellent researcher, but in this case I just took somepony’s word for it. I upset you, I didn’t speak to you, I interfered, and I’m sorry.”
Tammy nodded and then stared at the ground with her eyes full of tears again. She didn’t quite know how to feel. Her instinct told her that the purple unicorn hadn’t meant any harm. She hadn’t realized until this moment that Twilight was even involved. It seemed like such an Elizabeth thing to do.
“Tam, I want you to know I had no idea you were Megan’s daughter. Nobody has surnames in Ponyland, so she was only known as Megan. I never saw pictures of her, and in all honesty, I never spent much time with her back then, so I honestly didn’t see any resemblance between you two.” Rita looked up at her, then continued. “I’ve told you that I was never happy with my family, that I could never please them, I never felt loved by them, but I never told you they were witches from Ponyland. I thought it would sound like I was delusional, and knowing that you had lived with one person’s delusion for a long time, I knew it wouldn’t go well.
“On a particularly low day, I decided to run away from home—from Hydia and Reeka—because I was so miserable. I hadn’t thought it through at all, but I’d made my mind up, I didn’t want to be an evil friendless witch, I wanted to be something less powerful but more happy.
“As I walked through the forest, I met Majesty. I’d heard of her, but she was so rarely seen back then that I was shocked to see her. She walked with me and asked about me, and I was just so lonely I told her everything. Every single thing that was in my head. And she just listened.
“She was so warm—you can’t imagine what it’s like to meet someone who gives off such an aura of power, but is so warm and friendly that you want to be their friend, even though you know they’re so far above you—especially when you’re an evil witch from the Volcano of Gloom. She was the first friend I ever made.
“As we walked, she asked where I was going, and what would I do if Hydia and Reeka found me, and realized that I had no plan at all. So she made me an offer. She said she could send me to a different world. I could never come back, but on the other hand, nobody could ever follow me. She was planning on closing the road between the worlds, because she worried that the humans who visited were getting too attached and my leave their world forever, which would destroy their family.”
Tammy glanced at Megan, who was weeping into her hands. Looking back, there was no way to win. When Majesty closed the link, she destroyed Megan. If she’d left it open, it would have destroyed Megan’s family to lose her. They’d still lost her though. Tammy had never met her grandparents. She hadn’t seen Aunt Molly or Uncle Danny for years.
“So I took the offer. I didn’t know how all this would turn out.” Rita looked at Tammy with tear-filled eyes. “I understand if you’d rather live with someone else. I know you’ve had a lot of emotional turmoil, and finding out I’m from the land you’ve heard about non-stop may be a step too far, but if you want to stay with me, I’d be so happy. I think you’re the reason I came to this world.”
“I’m so tired of not being important, and I’ve loved living with you,” Tammy said. “But I don’t know how to come back from this. I don’t know how to stop the Smooze.”
“I do,” said Rita. “I’ll help you.”
The blue mirror in Megan’s bedroom is merely a reference to the mirror you got in the Dream Castle playset, and Megan’s obsession with Ponyland.