Not So Wise Tooth

Ace sat with in the dentist office's waiting room with great calm, one of his hooves slung over the chair nonchalantly. He always checked out of these places without any complication whatsoever; he was a very healthy young man. The dentist was a bit of a nerd, but he'd be out of there soon enough. True to his name, he always aced the tests.

Not even the pair of toddlers roughhousing across the room could throw him out of his relaxed mood. No need to worry about something he was already going to pass, right?

Soon, his mother and the dentist emerged from a room. Oddly, his mom looked… worried… That was a little odd, why on earth should his mom be worried?

"Surgery?!" Ace exclaimed.

Apparently, his mom was worried for good reason. The dentist sighed and adjusted the spectacles on the end of her nose. "Yes. It's called internal resorption. What's happening is that the pulp of your tooth is eating away at the tooth itself. If we had caught this in time, then we would have been able to save it, but unfortunately, there is barely anything left to save."

"Can't I just take a pill or some medicine or something so it'll go away?"

"Pills would only ease the pain, but it won't restore the tooth. We're going to make sure that the tooth doesn't burst the next time you eat something."

"But… But that's ludicrous! What does it matter if the pain is there if I don't feel it? That's just weird; I-I can't have surgery!"

"The pain is because your tooth is being weakened from the inside. If it remains, pain or not, your tooth will burst. It's good to catch it early, which we have."

"How is this happening to me? Ugh, I can't deal with this now! Mom, say that she's wrong!"

"I'm afraid she's right. But you'll be perfectly fine, Ace. It won't be different from any other dental procedure."

"But… you'll be drilling inside my mouth and cutting something out! How am I supposed to be 'perfectly fine'?" The surgery was terrible enough, but his mom wasn't going to back him up? What the heck was up with that?! "We need a second opinion. Let's go to a different dentist, a-and ask them what they think!"

"It wouldn't do you any good, and the sooner we stop this, the better." The dentist said, a sense of finality to her voice. "It won't be different than any other dental procedure."

"But I've never had work done on my teeth! I brush them every day! Please, mom! Don't make me do it! I'll never insult another kid again. I'll practice my clarinet every single day. Just don't make me do surgery!"

"I'm sorry, Ace... But you need this." Ace's mom answered, firmly.

Ace gave both the dentist and his mom a forlorn look. But nothing. "Please? Don't do this to me."

His mom sighed, and the dentist shook her head.

"I can't believe this! Surgery! MOI!" Ace looked at Lancer and Teddy, hoping they might see the complete lack of logic in this. "They won't even let me have a second opinion!"

Teddy and Lancer looked at each other, then at Teddy, then at each other again, then back to Teddy.

"Well? Isn't that dumb?!" Ace demanded.

"I… uh..." Lancer tried to say. "That's something," he settled for before tagging Teddy's shoulder.

"Y-yeah, that sucks, Ace." Teddy tapped Lancer's shoulder.

Ace gave his friends a steely glare as Lancer, looking uncomfortable, sat up straighter. "Yeah! That really sucks." Lancer and Teddy both gave Ace sheepish smiles.

Ace facehoofed. "I think… I'm gonna go for a walk."

Frustration was the only thing guiding Ace's steps as he stormed through the neighborhood. It was unbelievable; APPALLING, really, that his friends didn't even AGREE with him! What kind of friends were they?! And what was up with his mom trusting that amateur of a dentist about her precious Ace's dental health?! What was WITH everypony lately?!

He gave a violent shake of his head as he briefly hurried up. He found himself at the corner of Funny Street and Serious Road, and staring up at a two-story brick house.

There was one pony who was always level headed, and, hey, she was his girlfriend; wouldn't she agree with him? She lived right in that tall house, and if he went up to the front door, then he could get her to agree with him. She was perfectly reasonable and would understand his plight!

Set on the idea, he took a few steps closer to Starlight's house - and then suddenly stopped.

What if she didn't agree? What if Starlight had gone mad too? Like that day when they started that rumor about Teddy. She'd gone crazy then, so it was possible. And in this case, he'd be left up a creek with no paddle if the sanest pony around wouldn't understand him.

How would Starlight react if he just trotted up to her door, covered with mud and inhibitions, and seeked her out? He'd look like a lunatic! Even if he wasn't covered in mud, his pride was still at risk!

Dumb surgery. How dare it?! Not only was it intruding upon his perfect bill of health and his jaw's functions, but his pride was at stake! Despicable! Maybe he shouldn't tell anyone else? There was his solution: don't tell anyone! Then he could be a brooding hero, and then flee at the last minute. Yeah, that idea sounded great. Nothing could go wrong there!

He merrily trotted away from Starlight's house and started to head back to his own.

"Ace, good luck catching this!"

Patch kicked the ball forcefully at Ace, who grinned with determination and leapt up, grabbing it before it could hit the net. He then dropped it to the ground and looked around to see who he should kick it to: Teddy, Lancer, Starlight, or Clover, who was trying out a bit of soccer. Not back to Patch, because that wouldn't be fair.

Eventually, he just kicked the ball over to Lancer. Unfortunately, Lancer was completely turned around and started trotting over to the other side of the field, so the ball ended up bouncing against his flank and falling back to the ground.

Patch and Teddy collapsed to the ground laughing. Clover and Starlight at least had the decency to try and hide their glee. Lancer gave the ball a surprised look before looking embarrassed.

"Alright, I better switch positions," Ace said, grinning following his own uproarious laughter. "Lancer in the goal, me kicking."

The two boys swapped their positions, and the game continued without much to speak of. The ponies would make a remark or two, but nothing else.

But eventually, Patch passively mentioned something that gave Ace the willies. "It stinks that we can't do this all day tomorrow; I've got a checkup with the doctor."

Ace froze up. He had to go into surgery the day after tomorrow!

"Come on, Ace, we can't wait all day."

Ace realized the ball was in his possession and kicked it… but it sailed right over the goal and into the distance. His jaws parted when he realized what happened.

Everyone froze for a moment. Ace NEVER missed a goal by that margin. Ever.

Patch took a few quick steps towards it before shouting, "I've got it!" and charging off.

Ace just stood there with shock at what had happened. How did he, Ace the Champion, miss that? With slow-it-all Lancer guarding? With no one even near him?

"Ace!" Starlight called out.

Ace couldn't respond. He was torn between shock, anger and fear. He couldn't talk to Starlight; he couldn't talk to anyone! He was shocked because he missed the goal. He was angry because the very mention of surgery made him awful at soccer on top of everything else, and fearful because… where would the surgery STOP messing his life up?

Finally, Ace managed to stomp over to the grandstands and sat by the water cooler. He exhaled hard, and didn't notice that a certain pink pony followed him until she said, "Hey."

It was then that he looked up to see a really concerned-looking Starlight. "Oh. Hey."

"Mind if I sit with you?"

Ace sighed as he replied, "Sure."

Starlight did so and sighed. "It's a nice day."

Ace shrugged. He hadn't really noticed. But he still replied with a very heavy-with-emotion "Yeah."

"What's wrong, Ace? You aren't acting like yourself."

Starlight's sudden topic change surprised Ace, "I thought we were talking about the weather."

"Well, first of all you don't seem interested in the weather. Second, talking about the weather is the first way you start making someone feel better. Finally, the weather is boring."

"Oh." That was strange. But Ace still kind of got it. In a weird way.

"I noticed that you froze up when Patch mentioned her doctor's appointment. I would say you were worried about her, but that isn't your style. Is something medically wrong in your family?"

"Uh..." What should he do? Lie? Tell her the truth? She would bug him either way. Or maybe she could help. Ace sighed, and confessed, "Me. I'm what's wrong."

"What happened?"

"I was at the dentist, and they told me I had to have surgery cuz my tooth was eating itself, or something like that."

"Internal resorption? Yeah, I've heard of it. That stinks."

"Yeah... I don't even see how I can have it, I take care of my teeth. I miss a time every now and then, but it's not inconsistent. My smile is perfect. Or, was perfect." He frowned.

"Yeah, it's upside down," she teased.

Ace couldn't help but grin, just a bit. "Yeah, I guess. How about now?"

"Looks a bit better," Starlight said with a grin. "But I can tell you still don't feel too good about this whole thing."

Ace shook his head, "They're gonna be drilling in my mouth. How is that supposed to make me feel?"

"I'm not saying you should be excited for it, but it won't kill you, Ace. It'll only make you more perfect than you already are."

Ace chuckled, "Yeah. Reckon so."

Starlight grinned. "But if you know that, then why are you so worried about it?

"What if something goes wrong and I end up hurt or… dead."

"Over a tooth surgery? You don't seriously believe it'll kill you, do you?"

"Not anymore."

Starlight put her arm around Ace's shoulders, and purple and green eyes met. "I wouldn't let it kill you. If there was even a chance I wouldn't let you go in."

A weird feeling came over Ace. That was the first time someone outside his family told him something like that. And the first time he felt a pleasant jump in his heart like he did just then. He smiled genuinely, "Starlight?"

"Yeah?"

Ace touched Starlight's hoof with his own, causing him to feel a small jolt. "Thank you... You're... I..." Ace was experiencing another first: being totally speechless.

"I know," Starlight replied a touch teasingly. "My friends say it all the time."

"Well... Thanks..."

"Of course. And… if its alright, I'd like to be there for you when you come back out."

"Only if you're there when I go in, too."

Starlight nodded, "Of course. That's what friends are for."

"Well... This-" Ace gave Starlight a small kiss on her cheek, "Is for being the most awesome friend and girlfriend."

Starlight blushed furiously. "N-No problem."

Ace smiled, then stood up, "I think we better get back, Patch is probably back by now."

"Back? Probably ranting on to poor Clover about why she thinks you're so upset." Starlight smiled, though a bit flustered. "Come on, let's get back before she gets to, um, an alien theory."

"Yeah. Good idea."

Ace was literally shivering he was so frightened. The dreaded dentist office seemed a lot scarier than last time. The whimsical cats with wings that always decorated the walls seemed to be sneering at him instead of gazing curiously at the bubbles around them. Cat faces twisted into hatred and rage… scary thoughts…

"It'll be okay Ace," Starlight assured him, smiling gently and rubbing a hoof along his shoulder. "You'll be just fine."

"I… hope so…"

"I know so, Ace. I know so." Starlight glanced up at the pink clock on the wall. 12:56. "Four more minutes and you're going in for it. You'll be more perfect than ever."

"I'm just… scared, Starlight…" Ace admitted in a whisper.

"Don't be afraid, Ace," her mom said with an encouraging nod. She was sitting on Ace's other side, though she mostly just smiled at her son and his girlfriend's adorable interactions. Ace was leaning in to Starlight's chest, and she was hugging him close and trying to make him feel better. Ace was never that intimate with anyone. It was a little unnerving to have some girl from outside of the family being that close with her ten-year-old son…

But…

It wasn't just some girl; it was Starlight. One of the sweetest girls she'd ever met, and one with a knack for cheering ponies up, if Ace was any indication. And she was really dedicated to Ace. Being really pretty too was just another perk, even to someone who valued appearances like she did.

"I'm so nervous…" Ace whimpered again.

"Don't be. You'll be better than ever when you get out of there. One hundred-ten percent perfect. I believe in you."

Ace took a deep breath. "Okay. How much longer?"

"Two and a half more minutes."

Ace sighed again. "Okay. Let's do this… thank you so much Starlight."

"You're welcome," She smiled, "You can do it. You're awesome."

"Thanks…" He smiled, though a bit reluctantly.

The dentist from before trotted out, holding her clipboard to her face. "Ace, your turn."

Even though his brain was screaming, Already?!, Ace sighed. "O-okay...I-I'm ready."

The last thing Ace remembered, was being wheeled into a room, and having a mask go over his muzzle…

The next thing he knew, he was looking up at the ceiling, and hearing someone mumble… something. His mouth was numb, and he found out that there was something missing...

He pushed his tongue against a smooth thing in his mouth. He had to gingerly rub his tongue across that area, and it felt weird.

"He's awake, hopefully he stays awake, this time."

A voice Ace recognized as Starlight's sounded excited. Starlight dashed up to his bed and put her hooves on top of it. "How are you feeling, Ace?"

"...Not like a million bucks, but fine."

"Well, you'll be better in a bit." Starlight smiled big, "You did it, Ace."

The dentist appeared over Ace's head, smiling. It was the same dentist from originally. "You did it, champ. You will be missing a tooth, but it's so far back that you won't even notice. We did stitch up that area to stop the bleeding."

Ace smiled. So that's what those threads are.

"And… you're even more perfect than you were before." Starlight added.

The two exchanged a warm smile.

"Unfortunately, you won't be able to have anything solid until that area is healed."

"Guess you'll be stuck with jello and pudding," Ace's mom chuckled.

"Ughh...Thanks for fixing my tooth, Ms. Dentist, i guess. I'm sorry I called you an amateur."

"Thank you for taking care of Ace." Starlight smiled."

"And thank you for calming him down."

"You're welcome; I was just doing my job. And it's okay, Ace."

"No problem. He's not so bad. Just a downer when he's upset," Starlight replied, winking.

"Thanks for keeping me calm."

Ace's mom laughed. "I know I taught you to be polite, Ace, but you're being too thankful. We have to get going; I have a surprise for you two."

Ace bolted up in his seat. "Really? What is it?"

"No way!"

Ace stared in shock at the movie poster in front of him. Triassic Park! He'd wanted to see that for ages! "Thanks so much mom!"

"Only enough money in the budget for two tickets, if you know what I mean." Ace's mom winked. "I'll settle for Father of the Bride. Tickets are cheaper."

Actually, tickets were only 3 jangles either way. But Starlight and Ace weren't about to complain as the two, equipped with ten dollars and two tickets, rushed up to the concession stand.

Even if Starlight wasn't a fan of Triassic Park… she had the impression that she would have a lot of fun watching it. With Ace. Who wasn't being a total downer.

Yeah, it was going to be a fun movie, regardless of whether she liked Triassic Park. She was sure of it. She glanced at Ace, who was smiling from ear to ear. She smiled and thought, 'You deserve this, Ace.'