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.
26,276 / 50,000 words. 53% done!
Tammy slept late on Saturday. When she roused herself from bed, she was halfway through her morning shower before she even realized it was her birthday. She was thirteen.
She had never particularly cared for her birthday before. Her first birthday had fallen on Sun Tuesday, and ever since then Megan had insisted they celebrate Sun Tuesday instead of her birthday. Rita had prodded her several times about what she wanted to do for it—most kids did something exciting like go to the movies or a water park or something—but Tammy had never had that experience. Even though she knew that Rita wasn’t Megan, a lifetime’s experience suggested that Rita wanted her to pick something to please Rita, not for Tammy’s own enjoyment. So she’d dilly-dallied until it was too late.
On reflection, it was probably for the best. She could only imagine the awkward phone calls Rita would be fielding this morning. “Hi there, Mrs. Drabble, it’s Susie’s mom. I’m just calling to say that she has a bad case of Smoozeitus and won’t be able to come to Tammy’s birthday party.”
It wasn’t as if Tammy had a lot of friends before she’d tried to destroy the world.
On the plus side, she was pretty sure she’d put off Elizabeth Wakefield, so that was something.
She got dressed in her slobby clothes—if you couldn’t veg out on your birthday that was nothing to do with Sun Tuesday, when could you?—and headed downstairs.
The living room had been tidied and Rita was in the kitchen making bacon and scrambled eggs, which was Tammy’s favorite breakfast. There was a pile of presents on the kitchen counter.
“You’re up!” Rita said. “Happy birthday! Did you sleep well?”
“I am. Thank you. Surprisingly, yes. I guess I was exhausted after yesterday,” Tammy said.
“What do you want, breakfast or presents first? Or do you want to skip straight to the birthday cake I made you. I don’t want to brag, but it’s really one of my best.”
“Breakfast,” Tammy decided. She tried to casually eye the presents. They were neatly wrapped and were interesting shapes. And she was pretty sure they weren’t drawings of ponies. She suddenly realized that birthdays might be fun with Rita.
“And what do you want to do today?”
Tammy shrugged and gave it some thought. Maybe a slumber party or going to the movies would have been fun if she’d had friends, but she was still new at school (and she’d tried to destroy more than one world yesterday), so that wasn’t really an option. Besides, she kind of liked the quiet. She wasn’t sure she was a surrounded-by-people-what-a-fun-party kind of girl. In all the stress of the past few days, she hadn’t been out with her bird book and binoculars. And there were some really pretty walks around Sweet Valley. “Um, I wouldn’t mind going out birdwatching later,” Tammy said. “Would you come with me?”
Rita looked pleased by the invite. “Do you have enough index cards if we’re both birdwatching?”
Tammy grinned. She had a very precise filing system for her birdwatching records. It was cross-referenced by color, location, species and dozens of other options, just so she could easily find the very thing she was looking for. If pushed, she would find it hard to work out which she loved more, spotting birds, or the lengthy admin that accompanied it.
Rita served up their breakfast and they moved over to the breakfast bar to sit and eat.
They were halfway through breakfast when there was a knock at the front door. They both looked at each other quizzically. Tammy shrugged. “I’ll get it. Maybe it’s the post.”
She went to the front door and threw it open to find the entirety of Sweet Valley Middle School outside, with Elizabeth smiling beatifically at her.
Tammy sagged against the frame and muttered, “Nope, I guess it’s still Sun Tuesday.”
“Hi!” Elizabeth trilled, looking utterly delighted. “I heard it was your birthday, and since things went so wrong yesterday, I thought I’d organize the best birthday party Sweet Valley has ever seen.” All the kids in the first wave behind Elizabeth were holding cakes, cookies, chips and drinks. Behind them Tammy could see people holding balloons and streamers.
“Doubtful,” Lila commented dryly. “Have you seen my parties?”
“Uh, I don’t…” Tammy began. But then she realized that anything she said was utterly pointless. Elizabeth would do this with or without her consent, and she would expect gratitude and adoration. Tammy leant back into the house. “Rita! Elizabeth Wakefield has invited the entire town to a party at our house, and I think we’re supposed to be happy about it.”
Rita ran to the front door in horror. She smiled weakly at the hundreds of kids milling around outside the front door, and then murmured to Tammy, “The house! I haven’t vacuumed all week. It’s a mess.”
“STOP!” cried a panicked voice.
Then through the crowd came Twilight Sparkle, followed by Melissa McCormick, Applejack and the other ponies that came through the portal yesterday. Once Twilight was at the front of the crowd, she turned to Elizabeth. “For the love of Celestia, leave the girl alone!” She quickly looked over to Tammy and Rita. “Hi there, sorry about this. Happy birthday, by the way, Tammy.”
“I’m trying to make sure Tammy has a good birthday,” Elizabeth said. “I’d have thought the Princess of Friendship would understand that.”
“You’re trying to make her have the birthday you want her to have!” Twilight yelled. “You’re not trying to make amends, you’re trying to push her around.” She turned quickly to Tammy. “That’s right, right? Am I getting this right?”
For the first time in her life, Tammy felt a burst of fondness for a pony. “Yes, Twilight, you’re right.”
Elizabeth looked deflated. “I spent all morning calling everyone to organize this.”
“Nobody asked you to. You’ve inflicted a party with hundreds of guests on a house and two people who don’t want a party and aren’t prepared for it. That’s not friendship, that’s bossiness.” Twilight appeared to notice how downcast Elizabeth looked, so softened her tone. “I’m sure you’re heart’s in the right place—” (Tammy wasn’t sure Twilight believed the words she was saying.) “—but true friendship is finding out what your friend wants, and doing that, even if you think it should be something else.”
“What am I supposed to do with all this food?”
Lila waved a hand airily. “Oh, let’s all go to my house. We can have a party there, my house is large enough to accommodate the entire town.” She cast a queenly glance in Tammy’s direction. “You can come or not. Whatever you want.”
“That’s a wonderful solution, Lila,” Twilight said.
As everyone turned and started to make their way to Fowler Crest, Elizabeth lingered.
She approached Tammy. “I wanted to tell you something,” she said.
Tammy raised an eyebrow. She wondered if Elizabeth was going to apologize for bulldozing Tammy’s life.
“Last night something Lila said got me thinking,” Elizabeth said earnestly.
“It did?” They didn’t seem like an obvious pair of friends—especially with Lila announcing to the world that she was best friends with Melissa yesterday.
“Yes, she said that Megan had a lot of qualities that reminded her of me,” Elizabeth said.
Tammy exchanged an amused glance with Rita. “I don’t deny the similarities occurred to me.”
“So when I got home yesterday, I started reading the book we have about our family tree—you see, everyone loves a Wakefield, that’s why someone wrote a book about us—and it turns out that Megan is a cousin of my mother! Can you believe it? You and I are cousins! We’re family!”
Tammy shook her head wearily. “Elizabeth, all that means is that somewhere along the line, you and Megan have a bit of genetic material in common. It doesn’t make us family.”
“But—” Elizabeth started.
“No, Elizabeth, Rita’s my family, not Megan, and not you.”
With that, Tammy had the delightful feeling of shutting the door in her face. It was a pretty nice birthday present.
“I think the bacon will be cold by now,” Rita said, as they headed back to their breakfast.
“Let’s skip straight to the presents then,” Tammy suggested.
Rita pushed the brightly-colored boxes towards her, and Tammy was reaching for the first when there was another knock at the door.
Tammy froze, her fingertips millimeters away from a gift. “If it’s her again, can I punch her? I won’t ask for anything else for my birthday. Or any other birthdays.”
“I can’t condone that,” Rita said. “But I might be looking out the window when you did it, and then of course I’d be shocked that it happened.”
“Close enough.” Tammy hopped off the barstool again. She opened the door, and was surprised to see a small group of kids she vaguely knew from school. Lois… someone, Carol or Caroline, the redhead, and a rather cute boy she’d never spoken to but noticed several times.
“You’re not Saint Elizabeth,” Tammy said in surprise.
“Yeah… about that,” said Lois. She looked up at Tammy shyly. “We kind of have a support group going for people who’ve been Elizabeth’s projects in the past, it’s called SEW—that’s S-E-W—Survivors of Elizabeth Wakefield. And we’d like you to join.”
“Actually, we’d kind of like you to take over leadership,” Carol or Caroline said. “Your indifference to her was wonderful to watch.”
Tammy smiled a little. “Uh, I’m sorry, I don’t really know all your names, I’m still new here.”
“Oh, I’m Caroline Pearce, she’s Lois Waller and he’s George Henkel,” said the redhead. “I haven’t actually been Elizabeth’s project but every time I speak to her, I can feel her judging me.”
“Caroline’s been provoking her for months,” George said. “Every time she sees a Wakefield, she tells the most ridiculous story she can think up, but so far Elizabeth has never taken the bait.”
“I’m a decoy,” Caroline said. “I thought if she invested all her time in a fake problem, she might let people resolve their own problems. Lois and I have been friends for years, but every so often Elizabeth does or says something stupid that she thinks is helpful and it ticks me off!”
“We don’t really have an official meeting schedule—we’re not the Unicorns—but you’re always welcome to join us for lunch,” Lois offered.
George smiled up at her, and Tammy noticed how nice he looked when he smiled. “It’s ok, after all this, she’ll drop you. She forced me and my father back together—he’s a Vietnam vet with PTSD, and we really don’t get along. So we had the tearful reunion that she wanted, and she completely forgot either of us existed. And about ten minutes after that, we realized that we were not supposed to be around each other.”
“Huh.” Tammy said. “So I could have bypassed that whole Smooze thing if I’d have just pretended to be happy to see Megan?”
“Maybe,” Lois said. “But it’s fine. We get it. And Caroline’s got you covered. Her silly stories have been going around so much that people actually believe her now. We’ll get something else going around school and they’ll forget all about you. As long as you don’t join the Sixers, the Unicorn Club or the Boosters, you can pretty much disappear after your five minutes of fame.”
Tammy couldn’t fight the smile again. These were really nice kids, and school would be a lot more fun if she had friends like them. “For what it’s worth, I am really sorry about the Smooze.”
“That’s ok,” George said. “If I could’ve done it, I probably would have too.”
Tammy paused for a moment, then said, “Hey, do you guys wanna come in for a slice of birthday cake?”