FimFiction Link - Short ID: 510248/home
Published: Jan '22
'Home' is a two thousand and one hundred word oneshot set in the Crystal War alternate universe. The war is over, Sombra is defeated, Pinkie is taken in by Applejack as she doesn't want to go home.
What I really like about this story is that it doesn't ignore the fact that just because the conflict is over, things won't suddenly dramatically improve. While the author doesn't put too big of an emphasis on it, the reader can still discern that Ponyville is run-down and that it will take quite some time till things go back to how they were. While the author mentions in the description that the prequel isn't necessary to understand this story, I think this is somewhat untrue. While yes, the main plot is clear from reading just this fic, I think the previous story helped establish just how bad things are in a way that I'd personally consider necessary. Regardless, the story's main theme of slow healing is very bittersweet. Seeing how two hurt individuals connect with each other through their pain and slowly work through their grief to look forward is a fairly realistic feeling and dignified depiction of a post-war story. The letter-scene in the very first section of the story was especially well done in my opinion. The bit about AJ not beng able to perfectly seal the letter was a bit on the nose, but I enjoyed the metaphor regardless.
My enjoyment was somewhat diminished abruptly at the end of the story. As you may know, I'm not really a romance-fic reader, so please do consider the following with a massive mountain of salt, but the story ending with AJ and Pinkie kissing was just so... Hollywood, I guess. This isn't an "ew gay" reaction, don't get me wrong, I don't have an issue with the two finding love in each other, it's a logical conclusion to the story. Rather that it happens so suddenly. The last section of the fic condenses a massive amount of time into just a few paragraphs and it hurts the previous subtlety and solemnness of the story. I would have also liked to see Pinkie slowly warming up to AB or visiting the city proper and talking to some other ponies who weathered the war. A few thousand extra words spent on further broadening our views of the post-war Equestrian society would have likely elevated this story much higher. Also, I do kind of miss an explanation of how exactly Pinkie survived. The previous fic makes it fairly clear that she has given up and won't even yell for help, so how come she not only survived, but was patched up so well to return "home?"
Overall: 6/10 A nice enough sad, but not depressive fic, that you can finish in minutes. If you intend to read it, I'd recommend first going over its prequel, however.