Pinkie Pie waited impatiently at the train station, squinting down the tracks. She hopped up and down, ran around in a circle, made a quick snowpony, then sat down and sighed. It seemed like the train would never come. She ran over to the pony in the ticket window. "What time did you say the train was coming again?" she asked.
The grey pony rolled his eyes. "As I just said not thirty seconds ago," he replied. "The train should be here in two or three minutes. Have some patience, ma'am."
Pinkie Pie sighed, then went to sit on a bench and stared down the tracks, fiddling with her scarf. "Come on, come on," she whispered.
Suddenly, her ears pricked as she heard a very faint whistle. She let out a gasp and sat up. "I can hear it! I can hear it!"
Soon, she could see it as well. She bounced eagerly as it slid into the station, looking up and down the cars. "Where is he? Where is he?" she wondered aloud.
As if to answer her question, a golden stallion in a cowpony hat and vest stepped off the second to last car. He looked around curiously, as if waiting for somepony. Pinkie Pie grinned excitedly and bounced eagerly over to him. "Hi there, Braeburn!" she said cheerfully. "Welcome to Pooooonyville!"
Braeburn let out a chuckle. "Hey there, Pinkie Pie! Thank you kindly fer the welcome," he said. Then he looked around. "Say now, where's Applejack? She was supposed to meet me here."
"Oh!" Pinkie Pie said, jumping. "Applejack had to take Apple Bloom to the doctor's the poor thing was burning up with a fever. I saw her going in, and stopped to see what was wrong. When she said you were coming in for a visit, I offered to come get you while she takes care of Apple Bloom."
"That's mighty kind of you, Pinkie Pie," he said, giving her a grateful nuzzle. "I hope Apple Bloom isn't too bad off."
"Me too," Pinkie Pie replied. Then her eyes went wide. "Why don't we prepare a 'Get Well Apple Bloom' party for her? That would make her feel better!"
"Say now, that's a good idea!" Braeburn said, grinning. "Your place or mine?"
Pinkie Pie paused and arched an eyebrow. "Say what now?"
Braeburn's ears burned as he realized what he had just said. "Erm..." he stammered. "Should we have the party at Sweet Apple Acres or...your place?"
"Oooh!" Pinkie Pie replied. "I think Sweet Apple Acres would be best! After all, the poor dear's still sick even with all the cake and balloons in the world, and if she gets tired, she'll be able to go right up to bed instead of having to walk allllll the way back."
"Good point. I guess we should start walkin' then."
"Sure!" she said, before giving him a look over. "Are you going to be warm enough without a scarf or a winter cap?"
"Oh, of course," he replied. "I'm a tough pony, I can handle a little chill."
She nodded and smiled. Then the two set off from the train station. Pinkie Pie couldn't help bouncing and kicking up the snow as she went. "So, Braeburn," she started. "How's Appleloosa? Is everypony and everybuffalo getting along down there?"
"Appleloosa's been doin' great, especially after y'all gave us Bloomberg," Braeburn replied. "We had a real nice crop this year, and the buffalo all loved the pie, as usual."
Pinkie Pie gasped. "Pie? Oh, that sounds good! I hope it's apple pie?"
Braeburn laughed. "The finest apple pie in Equestria," he answered. "If you have a hankerin' for some, I get you one next time you're in town."
"Nah, that's ok. I don't know when I'll have enough time to travel far again, especially with so many holidays coming up! Hearts and Hooves Day is tomorrow, did you know that? And then Winter Wrap Up is just around the corner...oh, so many fun parties and festivals and celebrations!"
Braeburn tilted his head. "What does that have to do with anything?" he asked.
"I'm a baker! And bakers bake things, especially before holidays."
"Right," Braeburn said, smacking his head. "Sorry, Pinkie."
"Sorry for what? I don't think I ever told you what I did!" she replied, leaning over as they walked and giving him a gentle nuzzle. "No reason to feel sorry." Then she pulled back, eyes widening. "Braeburn!" she said, shocked. "You're shaking like salt!"
Braeburn winced visibly, for her observation was extremely accurate. "Don't worry about me," he replied, trying to hide how cold he was. "Desert nights get mighty cold; I'm used to it."
Pinkie Pie looked furious. "Unacceptable, Mister!" she said sternly. She then moved behind him and started pushing. "Change of plans. We're going to Sugarcube Corner right now and getting you warm!"
"Hey now-!" Braeburn tried to protest, starting to dig his hooves into the ground.
Pinkie Pie lifted her head and shot him a death glare. At once, Braeburn felt his hooves fold and go limp. The party pony nodded silently, then resumed pushing him to the bakery. Braeburn could hear her muttering "Crazy pony" and "Freezing? Why didn't you say something?" under her breath every so often.
Once they got to Sugarcube Corner, Pinkie Pie almost took the door off its hinges with the force she used to open it. She stuck her head in first, then waved for him to come in with her. He came in and sniffed, his smile slowly reforming. "This sure is a bakery," he said. "You live here?"
Pinkie Pie nodded. "Wait here," she said before vanishing up a flight of stairs. There were the inexplicable sounds of a horn blowing and a cat screeching before she returned with a bright fuchsia scarf. "Here, wear this," she ordered.
Braeburn's eyes went wide at the sight of it. "But...it's so...pink," he said.
"Yes, it is!" she declared cheerfully. "It normally matches my mane perfectly, but now it's going to keep you warm!"
"Um, thank you, Pinkie, but..."
Pinkie Pie looked from him to the scarf. "Ooh," she said. "You don't like pink."
Braeburn sighed. "I'm sorry, Pinkie..."
"No, no, it's ok," she replied, setting it down on the counter and flashing him an odd smile. "I don't think I have anything other than pink, but I'll look."
She set them down on the counter, then went back upstairs. A muted bleating sound followed by a loud "No! Pink!" reached Braeburn's ears, causing him to give the staircase a look of confusion. Then a bell clanging ("Pink!"), an explosion ("Also pink!"), and a screech ("That's the same one as before!") followed. A few moments passed. Then Pinkie Pie came back down the stairs, her hair completely flat and her color somewhat faded. "I couldn't find any, Braeburn," she whispered. "I'm sorry."
Upon seeing her look so devastated, Braeburn felt his heart break. He regretted his words immensely. "Hey now," he said softly. "You did nothing wrong, Pinkie."
Pinkie Pie looked up at him, not appearing to believe him. Braeburn then picked up the fuchsia scarf she had first brought him. He then stood there for a moment. "Um, Pinkie?" he asked. "Could you help me put it on?"
She blinked, then slowly approached him. She delicately took the scarf in her mouth and began wrapping it around his neck. Once she had it settled, she took a step back and looked him over. "It's a shame you don't like pink," she said quietly. "It looks good on you."
He gave her a questioning look. In response, she brought him over to the window. He studied his reflection for a moment before smiling. "Well, don't that beat all," he said. "It looks mighty nice, Pinkie. Thank you."
She gave him a small smile, but Braeburn could see right through it. He leaned over and gave her a nuzzle. "I'm sorry about makin' such a fuss," he said. "Can you forgive me fer bein' a dummy and not appreciatin' a gift from a friend?"
Pinkie Pie's smile faded. She looked down at the floor and scuffed it with her hoof. Braeburn looked over at her, worried. "What's wrong, Pinkie?" he asked.
She looked back up, uncharacteristically shy. She opened her mouth, then shut it again. She shook her head before forcing a smile to her face. "We should get going," she replied. "Gotta make sure Apple Bloom's party is super special."
She moved towards the door, but Braeburn stuck a hoof in front of her. "Pinkie, talk to me," he said softly. "What's wrong?"
She looked down, a few tears leaking out as her face crumpled. In the tiniest voice, she whispered, "You said you were a dummy for not appreciating a gift from a friend."
"Yeah. What of it?"
She slowly raised her head and looked him in the eye. "Only a friend?" she asked, trying unsuccessfully to keep the pleading tone from her voice.
Braeburn's eyes flew open as he finally understood what she was getting at. "Oh my word," he said. "Pinkie, I..."
"I like you, Braeburn!" Pinkie Pie blurted out, silencing the golden stallion. "I really, really, really like you! I've liked you ever since me and my friends all went to Appleloosa to visit but everypony was so crazy about the buffalo I didn't get a chance to say anything! I wanted to send you a letter but I didn't know how to contact you and I couldn't ask Applejack because she's be all...suspicious and ask me questions that I didn't want to answer! And now you're here and I'm talking to you and you don't like pink and nothing's going right! I just want to kiss you right now and you say I'm just a friend and... and... and..." Pinkie Pie collapsed on the floor, tears flowing freely. "I'm so sorry!"
The next thing she knew, Braeburn was laying on the floor next to her. "Sssh," he said quietly, gently nuzzling her as she loudly hiccupped. "Please don't cry, Pinkie..."
She sniffed. "I'm sorry I'm such a frowny-face today," she replied. "I didn't mean for mmmph!"
Her body grew stiff as Braeburn pressed his lips against hers. Cheeks burning, a few more tears slipped out as she happily returned the kiss. She wrapped a hoof around his neck and hugged him close. "Oh sweet Celestia," she thought, "If this is a dream, please do not wake me up!"
Eventually, Braeburn pulled away and inhaled sharply, his hat slightly askew. Pinkie Pie's mane twitched, as if it wanted to poof back up. "Braeburn?" she asked weakly. "Does that mean...?"
He smiled and nodded.
The shriek Pinkie Pie let out could be heard all over Equestria. She bounced gaily around the room, her mane curly and full color restored. "Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!"
Braeburn laughed as he straightened his hat. "Yer really somethin', Pinkie," he said fondly.
She smiled back at him before giving him another sweet kiss. "Only trying to spread happiness and laughter," she replied.
His heart melted as he returned the kiss. Then he paused. "Oh, and Pinkie?"
He grinned at her. "I'm rather fond of pink," he replied.
Her eyes glowed happily as she gave him a loving nuzzle. "You have no idea how happy it makes me to hear that," she whispered.
He returned the nuzzle, then caught sight of the clock behind Pinkie Pie. "All right, Pinkie," he said. "Let's get on out of here and take care of that party. We can continue this later."
"Oh! Right!" she replied. "Party time at Sweet Apple Acres!"
She then pulled a party hat out of hammerspace and stuck it on her head. Braeburn opened his mouth to ask, then smiled and shook his head. Pinkie Pie gave him one more kiss before they both turned and headed out the door.
"I love you, Braeburn."