“Trixie, you really don’t have to do this.”
Trixie rolled her eyes, but had her back to Twilight. “Nonsense Twilight. You can’t even walk. Besides, it’s not like I’m only fixing them for you. It is breakfast time you know.”
“I guess… just don’t go to any extra trouble because of me okay? I’m really not even hungry.” Almost instantly, Twilight’s stomach betrayed her, unleashing a massive rumble that caused Trixie to giggle. Twilight blushed a deep crimson, but whether from the embarrassing noises her stomach was making or the angelic tinkling of Trixie’s laughter she didn’t know.
Trixie turned around, a look of sympathy on her face. “Look, I know that you’re probably used to doing things on your own, but your injuries are pretty bad. If we weren’t out in practically the middle of nowhere I would take you to a hospital.” She stepped closer, unknowingly entrancing Twilight. “I’ll do the best I can to make sure you recover, but you have to work with me okay?”
Twilight realized that she needed to respond, but could only nod. Luckily, that seemed to be enough for Trixie, who turned away. Twilight gazed at the showmare as she walked away, awed and confused. This Trixie was so different from the one she remembered. She was so… nice now. It wasn’t a bad change by any means, but it was a drastic one.
“All done! Here you go. Hope you like blueberry.” Twilight was snapped out of her reverie by Trixie appearing in front of her, levitating two plates of delicious, steaming, blueberry grass pancakes covered in maple syrup. The proximity of the delicious looking food made Twilight’s stomach rumble again.
Twilight began to try and get off the bed when Trixie held up a hoof. “Um… Twilight? What do you think you’re doing?”
Twilight gave Trixie a sheepish grin. “Um… getting up so that I don’t get your bed dirty?”
Twilight got the impression that if she hadn’t been holding a plate of pancakes, Trixie would have facehoofed.
“Twilight, of all the dumb things… you can’t even walk yet. Besides, do you see a table in here? No, you don’t. Just enjoy your pancakes, and if you do happen to get some on the bed, don’t worry about it. I’ve learned a couple of cleaning spells in my time, okay?”
Twilight nodded dumbly and accepted the plate. While she looked at it, Trixie climbed onto the bed and sat across from Twilight, levitating her own plate of pancakes over to her. Twilight eyed the fork Trixie had provided warily. It had been a very long time since she had eaten without levitating her utensils. Twilight’s horn glowed dimly as she tried levitating the fork. Maybe if she only used a little magic…
The intense burning pain that followed brought tears to her vision and caused her to whimper softly.
Trixie reacted immediately, her voice heavy with concern. “Twilight! Are you okay!?”
After a moment, Twilight brushed away her tears with a shaky hoof and nodded. “Y… yeah. I’m alright. I don’t think I can use any magic though.”
Trixie didn’t know what to do. A unicorn unable to use magic was like a pegasus unable to fly. It was the worst thing that could happen apart from actually dying. Trixie watched Twilight as she tried to hold back tears of helplessness. She started to reach out a hoof and try to comfort Twilight, but she decided against it. There was nothing she could do.
Twilight shook herself. She was acting like a foal. Her magic would come back eventually. In the mean time, she would just eat like a pony without magic. Twilight picked up her fork and painstakingly cut a bite-sized piece out of her pancakes. Stabbing it almost violently, she brought it to her mouth and chewed.
These pancakes were amazing.
Twilight closed her eyes and savored the light, buttery flavor. They were even better than the ones Spike made. She stayed like this until she heard the sound of barely concealed laughter. Opening her eyes, she glared at the only pony the sounds could have come from.
Trixie’s pancakes were untouched. The mare had been too busy watching Twilight eat hers. “You… you don’t eat without magic a lot do you Twilight?”
Twilight’s glare intensified. “To be honest, no, I don’t. Why do you ask?”
Trixie shot Twilight an innocent smile. “Oh, no reason. Just wondering.” Then she began to eat her own pancakes, carefully avoiding Twilight’s death glare.
The two mares fell into a companionable silence after that. Each looking at the other when they thought they weren’t being watched themselves. Twilight steadily got better at wielding her fork without magic. Eventually, Twilight decided that she needed some answers.
“So, um, how did you find me?”
Trixie swallowed the last bite of her pancakes and was silent for a moment, collecting her thoughts.
“Well, to be honest I just found you on the road.”
Twilight blinked. “That… that’s it?”
Trixie shrugged. “Well yeah. I mean you were just lying on the side of the road with that nasty wound on your flank. You were covered in snow and your lips were almost completely blue. I… I thought you were dead when I first saw you.”
Twilight stared off into space for a moment, envisioning what Trixie had just told her. Had she really been that close to death? The thought made her shudder. “You said I was unconscious for four days right? How did I stay alive without food and water?”
Trixie looked away. Was she blushing? “Well… you… ah… didn’t. I did my best to give you water and liquid foods. It wasn’t easy but… well I couldn’t just let you die. I wanted to get you to a hospital but the snow is too thick for the trailer to get through. I did my best, but I’m not a medicine pony.”
Trixie’s embarrassment made Twilight smile. This Trixie was so different from the one she remembered. “Well, I’m alive so apparently you did something right.” Twilight’s face grew somber. She made sure she had Trixie’s attention and continued. “Thank you Trixie. I’ll never be able to repay you.”
Trixie glanced over to where she had set her newly reacquired hat and cape. Her eyes grew wistful staring at them. “How about we call it even? I never thought I would see those again. They mean the world to me.”
Twilight nodded, but knew that regardless of what the hat and cape meant to Trixie, saving her life still outweighed them. She would find a way to repay her in full, no matter what. “What makes them so important to you?”
Trixie shot Twilight a wry glance and smirked. She wanted answers too. “I’ll tell you, but you have to answer my question first. What are you doing so far away from Ponyville? How did you even manage to get that wound?”
Panic froze Twilight for a moment. She couldn’t tell the truth, not yet at least. “I… I was looking for somepony.”
Trixie eyed her skeptically. “You came all the way out here on foot to find a single pony?” Then her eyes flashed and she smirked again, leaning closer to Twilight. “Well… who is he?”
Twilight gave Trixie a confused look. Then the reality of what she had said hit her. Twilight flushed red immediately. “W… what makes you think I’m chasing somepony like that?”
Trixie rolled onto her back began to laugh uncontrollably. Soon tears started streaming down her face. “Ahaha! I knew it! You… you are so crushing on some stallion!” She laughed for a few more moments then calmed down, wiping the tears from here eyes. “Ahhhh, I’ve not laughed like that in a long time. I knew you weren’t as perfect as you seemed in Ponyville! You do have flaws!” She leaned towards Twilight again, a curious gleam in her eye. “Seriously though… who is it?”
Twilight turned away, trying to hide the answer she knew was apparent in her eyes. Trixie couldn’t find out. Not now. Not like this. “I can’t tell you. Not right now anyway.”
Trixie was relentless. “Oh come on Twilight! It’s not like I’m ever going to meet him. Besides, I saved your life remember?”
Twilight whirled, her blush being replaced by a flush of anger. “Hey! I thought you said we were…” Twilight stopped when she realized Trixie was just joking. It was evident in the amused expression on the showmare’s face.
“There’s really no sport in teasing you Twilight. You’re too gullible.”
Twilight was astounded. She never would have pegged Trixie as a pony who would tease others, especially not after what happened in Ponyville. She voiced her curiosity. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but what caused you to change so much? You were kinda… um…”
“A jerk?” Trixie filled in helpfully.
Twilight looked down, but nodded. They both knew it, no point in lying about it.
Trixie sighed and rubbed the back of her neck with a hoof. “Twilight… what you did to me in Ponyville… broke me. It broke my spirit. After the anger left I just felt… nothing. It was like I was dead inside. But then I woke up. I started seeing the sunrise again; I started feeling the wind on my face again. I was… reborn… I guess. It made me realize what a foal I had been. So I changed.”
Twilight stared at Trixie as the silence stretched. She had… broken her? But… she had only done what she had to. Trixie noticed her expression. “Now Twilight… this is why I didn’t want to tell you. It wasn’t your fault. I… wasn’t a very nice pony back then. If anything, I should thank you… again.” She beamed at Twilight.
Twilight beamed back, her heart fluttering. Maybe she should tell her now…
“I… that is to say…” Twilight couldn’t seem to get the words out. Doubts were slithering around her mind like dark, constricting coils. She redirected the question, hating her cowardice. “Was there anything else you wanted to ask me? I think it’s your turn.”
“Oh.” Trixie contemplated for a moment, staring at nothing. “Oh yeah, how did you manage to get those wounds? I mean, with your magic I would think you could take care of yourself.”
Twilight suppressed a shudder and briefly recounted her encounter with the wolves. She told it quickly and quietly, not leaving anything out but not emphasizing anything either. Especially not her fire cone. When she finished Trixie simply stared at her, unmoving.
Twilight endured the piercing gaze as long as she could before she decided to speak. “What? What is it!? Why are you just staring at me?”
Trixie blinked, seemingly coming out of a trance. She looked awed. “Y… you produced fire hot enough to completely incinerate a grown wolf? Even the bones? That’s… that’s… incredible.” Trixie got up from the bed, unconsciously levitating both of their empty plates as she did so and heading towards the door.
As Trixie went outside, Twilight could feel the cold chill her flank, even from inside. What was Trixie doing? Why was she acting so… odd? Trixie came back in a moment later, a fine powder of snow dusting her coat. She carried two newly cleaned plates but was still in that odd trance. Twilight could hear her faintly muttering.
Twilight needed to get through to her. Trixie’s behavior was scaring her just a bit. “Um, Trixie?”
Trixie didn’t even acknowledge her.
Twilight tried again, louder this time. “Trixie!? Are you okay?”
Again, Trixie didn’t even bat an eye as she busied herself putting the cleaned dishes away.
Twilight tried a final time, this time yelling as loudly as she could. “TRIXIE!” The exertion caused her headache to flare up, but if it got Trixie out of this… this daze, then it was worth it.
That got a response. Trixie jumped a little bit and gave Twilight a confused yet annoyed look. “What!? Why are you yelling?”
Twilight waited until the pounding in her head was just a dull ache before answering. “You were in some kind of trance or something. I tried to get to you in a more reasonable tone but you just ignored me. I got sc… well, I was worried.”
Trixie’s annoyance evaporated immediately. “I’m sorry Twilight, it’s just… well, when I saw what you did to that Ursa Minor, I knew you were powerful. But… magic like that is… is… incredible! I would be lying if I said was wasn’t jealous.”
Twilight shook her head. She knew what she was capable of normally, and that definitely wasn’t it. “I could only do that because of how desperate I was. If I hadn’t I would have died.” She spoke quietly. That memory still frightened her.
Trixie noticed. “Ah, I’m sorry Twilight. It’s been a very long time since I’ve had a guest that wasn’t here simply to see me do magic tricks. My social skills are somewhat… lacking.”
Twilight simply shrugged. “It’s okay. I get like that too. Sometimes Spike has to hit me with a pillow just so that I’ll answer his questions!” The memory made her smile sadly.
“I wish I could go back. I miss Spike and Rarity and Fluttershy… I miss everyone.”
Trixie came over and sat on the bed again, placing a comforting hoof on Twilight’s shoulder. “Well, I’ll tell you what. When this snow clears I’ll take you back myself alright? I’ve been meaning to go back to that area of Equestria anyway.” Trixie frowned, momentarily in thought. “That won’t interrupt your stallion chasing will it? I would hate for you to have come all this way for nothing.
Twilight smiled. “That won’t interrupt it at all. I don’t think um… he’s… around here anyway.”
A devious grin crossed Trixie’s face. “You just don’t want to tell me who he is. I bet you know exactly where he is!” She paused, then continued in a mock-ominous tone. “Don’t worry though. The Great and Powerful Trixie has her ways of finding out! Mark my words!”
The giggles at the end of her statement really ruined the effect, and soon both mares were laughing.
As their laughter died down, Trixie unsuccessfully tried to suppress a yawn. “Oh… I’m sorry Twilight. I haven’t really gotten much sleep these last few days. Not just because of you.” She added, seeing Twilight’s face fall. “I’ve been working on new tricks for my act and too often I stay up really late practicing.”
Twilight giggled again. “I do that when I study. I just lose track of time and then I don’t get to sleep until morning comes! I’ll move if you want me to… it is your bed.”
Trixie yawned again, shaking her head. “Nonsense Twilight. The bed is big enough for both of us, and you need your rest if you want to recover.”
As Trixie climbed onto the bed beside Twilight, Twilight felt her heart begin to race. She was too close, Twilight couldn’t handle this. “Tr… Trixie, really it… it’s no problem. I’ll just…”
She was stopped by Trixie’s hoof. “Shh! Naptime!” Trixie rolled over and pulled the comforter over herself, making sure to leave Twilight enough should she want any.
Twilight lay there, reveling in the proximity of Trixie’s body. That glorious scent had overwhelmed her again and she inhaled deeply. Twilight didn’t notice when her eyelids began to droop down. She didn’t even notice when they closed completely. Her entire being was focused on Trixie lying next to her. She smiled dreamily. Things were finally beginning to look up.