She looks so beautiful.
I mean, she always looks beautiful. But today, she’s better than ever.
Her white gown trails softly behind her, gently being held up by Sweetie Bell. Scootaloo is flying above dropping rose petals made Twilight’s shade of purple by magic. Applebloom is following closely behind, those three little ponies still do everything together.
All along the front row are our closest friends, watching us and sharing with us the happiest day of our lives.
Twilight gets up to the altar. The dress Rarity made for her is absolutely stunning up close, it’s the first time I’ve been able to see it since Rarity insisted I wait for the big day before we got to see each other’s dresses. Rarity made a dress for me too, but I don’t look nearly as nice as Twilight does.
Twilight smiles at me. “You know, I’m actually kind of glad that everypony talked us into having an official ceremony. Normally I wouldn’t want something like this at all but it looks like everypony is having a really good time.”
“Not as good a time as I’m having, I don’t think a single pony here is enjoying themselves as much as I am.” I say, smiling back.
Twilight laughs softly, “Oh, I doubt that. I think I may be having a better time than you are.”
She is so perfect.
“Alright ya egghead, you win this time.”
“I think we’re both winners here, Dashy.”
Celestia steps up behind the altar, taking her place as the officiator of the ceremony.
This is it! This is a day that only four short years ago I would have never dreamt of being a part of. Here I am, though, standing side by side with the greatest pony in the world, ready to take the next big step in our lives, together.
I’m so excited that the whole speech and everything Celestia says goes right by in a blur of happiness. Right up until Twilight Sparkle talks again.
“I do.” She says.
“And do you, Rainbow Dash, promise to love your partner, Twilight Sparkle, no matter what? Through thick and thin, through good times and bad? That no matter what, you will always be by her side, ready to protect her, ready to go anywhere with her? Do you promise that you will love Twilight Sparkle more than anypony in the world, even more than yourself?”
As if I needed to be asked.
I look at Twilight with a big grin. She’s looking at me the same.
“I now pronounce you Wife and Wife.”
I can’t wait anymore.
I jump in and give Twilight a kiss, and she kisses me right back.
This is the best day of my life. This is the day that Twilight Sparkle, the greatest, smartest, prettiest pony in the entire world, and I, will begin to spend the rest of our lives with each other.
I smile at her.
She smiles back.
“Try not to look too excited Dashy, it’s not like this is the first time we’ve ever kissed.”
She’s so perfect.
I wake up.
My back hurts.
Not a whole lot, but there’s a dull ache.
I climb out of my old, rickety bed slowly.
I stand up and start walking down the stairs for a glass of water. My knees have the same ache.
I’ve been ‘old’ for pretty long time now, but I’ve never really gotten used to it.
I carefully head down the stairs so that I don’t accidentally trip and break something. At my age I might not recover from even a small break.
I hate being this slow, I used to just wiz down to the kitchen, make a good cup of hot cocoa, and then fly right back up with two steaming cups, where me and Twi would spend the morning in bed, enjoying the peace and quiet before we would get up and start our daily routines.
Oh well, I’ve made it down now, it just took me forever to do it.
I walk over and grab a glass of water, it seems like my throat is always dry now, which keeps me drinking a lot. The doctors have told me that it’s a side effect of always flying at such high speeds, the wind was always drying my eyes and mouth out, so as a result I have to drink a lot and my eyesight isn’t very good anymore. This also means I have to wear glasses now.
Twi used to make fun of me when I first got my glasses. She’d always tease me asking “who’s the egghead now?”
I swear I sulked for a week around the house before she finally convinced me to leave and show everypony my new glasses.
Rarity even complimented me about them. She told me they were pretty fashionable, even pretty. It was a nice gesture but I still wanted to puke from the thought of being considered pretty or dainty.
Glasses aren’t so bad though, if they help me see then I guess they’re alright.
Somepony is knocking at the door now, it’s probably Applejack. We go to the park everyday now and eat some sort of apple related lunch there. She’s too old to work the farm, and she’s still not used to doing absolutely nothing so it helps her to have somepony to see and do something with on a daily basis.
It helps me too.
She’s the only pony I see any more really. For as much as this town has stayed the same for the past sixty or so years, everypony is still too young for me to hang around with too much.
Most of the ponies I knew are long gone by now.
Rarity was the first to go. She left a few years after me and Twilight got married. Her business had finally caught the break it needed and at a time when she wasn’t as obligated by family to stay home, so she started up another store in Canterlot and made her fortune there. We used to visit her on a weekly basis, but then it turned into months, then once or twice a year, and after a while we even stopped writing to each other. It felt sad at first, but everypony agreed that if she was happy following her dreams, and they kept her too busy to talk to us, then as much as it felt bad we shouldn’t pester her to keep in contact as much. To this day Rarity still works in Canterlot, though as a fashion consultant. Sweetie Bell and Rarity’s daughter Precious Ruby run the company now.
A lot of other ponies left, too. Scootaloo joined the Wonderbolts after her wings finally started working. She was a late bloomer but when she finally flew, it blew everypony away.
Spike eventually got old enough to get out on his own, and became the first ever ambassador to the other dragons of Equestria. From what I heard, he negotiated Equestria out of some pretty sticky situations too.
Applebloom even left for a little while, just like her big sister. But eventually she grew tired of city life, and just like her big sister, came back to help the farm.
But for as much as we were all sad to see Rarity, Spike, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Bell go and eventually lose contact, nothing was as quite as shocking as when Pinkie Pie died.
We were all in our early forties at the time. She died of a heart attack in her sleep above Sugarcube Corner in her room.
We lost a source of laughter and happiness that day that we never got back. Pinkie’s death took with it a part of us that we knew we could never recover. Parties never felt the same, cupcakes weren’t as tasty, and nobody ever pulled a prank as quite as funny as Pinkie after that.
It was devastating for the whole town, really; but not as much as it was for Fluttershy.
Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie became a thing shortly after me and Twilight announced our relationship to everypony we knew.
A few months after we were official, Fluttershy ripped a page from my book, and in a rare show of bravery and assertiveness, she confronted Pinkie Pie about her feelings for her.
It shocked Pinkie a bit from what I heard.
Ever since that though, Pinkie bounced a little bit higher, and Fluttershy whimpered just a little bit less.
So when Pinkie died, in a way, Fluttershy did too. It was heartbreaking to watch, Fluttershy stopped coming out of her house as much, and she stopped caring about her beloved animals as much as she had before.
We all had to watch her die slowly for five the next five years from depression as our futile attempts to keep her interested in life failed to stop her from dying of a broken heart.
Twilight cried all night when we found out she’d died earlier in the day. I consoled her as best I could, but I was pretty broken up too. If I hadn’t had her when Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy died, I’d have probably torn a hole in the sky from how fast I would have tried to fly.
Twilight started talking about death a lot after that.
She wanted to discuss burial plots, and funeral services, and plans for what we’d do if either of us died first.
I assured her we’d both die in an awesome, fiery explosion together, and that would be that. Then I dropped the subject.
I wasn’t ready to handle thinking about things like that, and I never became ready, it hurt too much to think about and I just wanted to enjoy life while we had it.
Then, one day, I was forced to become ready.
Twilight got sick. From the start, we both sort of knew that it wasn’t a normal kind of sick. When she finally had to go to the hospital, the doctors knew too.
She was old, they told us, and her body didn’t have the strength to fight off what was trying to kill her. Even a younger pony would probably be lucky to survive what she had, they said, and with proper treatment she could hold on for another month. They told us she was lucky, that she was going to have time to say goodbye, and that if we were especially lucky, she’d have a month to do it.
Well, she lasted two months. Surprised everypony else, but she didn’t surprise me. I knew that even if she didn’t have much time, she was better than the doctors thought she was.
In the first month, I very suddenly had to deal with everything I’d wanted to ignore. I had to find a burial plot, I had to start thinking about funerals, and worst of all, I had to worry about facing the rest of my life without the love of my life.
I decided to ignore that last part for a little while longer.
When she lasted longer than the one month she’d been given, I started to hope again, but Twilight said that I probably shouldn’t expect too much.
I spent every day at the hospital for the next month. I spent every last day with her. We talked and laughed about everything, recounting our life together and even discussing what we’d do when she got out of the hospital sometimes.
She never got out of the hospital.
It was late when she went. She grabbed my hoof and she looked me in the eyes with that smile that I loved on her face. She told me that she wanted me to be strong, and that she wanted me to keep going. She wanted me to keep being awesome and cooler than anypony else, because even if I didn’t know it, other ponies needed me to be awesome for them just like she’d needed me to be awesome for her.
When I started to cry and shake my head, she squeezed my hoof even tighter.
“Rainbow Dash,” she said weakly, “It’s going to be ok. I know you’re worried, you’re worried about the future, but I promise I’ll always be with you, even if you don’t know it. I also want you to know, I’m not scared to die. It’ll be ok, and eventually, we’ll be together again. You’ve given me the most amazing, wonderful years of my life, and I’ve always been more grateful than you know for the day you crashed into my library and told me that you loved me. I’ve always been more grateful than you’ll know for that same night you took up and showed me the stars and the sky like I’d never seen them before. And when you first held me tight as we fell asleep after that, even though I was half asleep, when you said that you loved me I knew at that moment I’d never want anypony else more than I wanted you, Rainbow Dash. I still don’t.
I love you, Rainbow Dash.”
And just like that, the life faded from her eyes, and the magic disappeared from her smile.
I never cried so hard and for so long as I did that night. It was the worst feeling I’d ever had, made all the worse by the fact that nopony was there to hold me while I grieved.
When I did stop crying though, everything inside of me went a little more numb. I was never as happy, I was never as sad, or mad, and I never really felt ambitious again.
I stopped caring about a lot of things, including my flying. It had already been almost too difficult to fly in my old age already, but Twilight said it made her happy to see me use my wings every now and again, so I did. After she was gone, I didn’t see a point.
After Fluttershy died, I told myself that I wouldn’t end up like her. I’d never let myself just give up and die. I’d never just let my heart stop because I couldn’t go on anymore, and I’d never let myself wither away into nothing over something like heartbreak.
That little promise of mine was put to the test after I lost Twilight.
I almost did let it happen too, if not for Applejack I probably would have faded off a while ago, maybe even a few months after Twilight died. Applejack, being the stubborn mule that she could be, though, had managed to keep me around for another five years. Thanks to her, I keep pluggin’ along to this day.
Someone’s still knockin’ on the door.
I hurry to the door to answer it. Sometimes I drift off a little without realizing it.
I open it up, as expected, Applejack is standing there at the door with a satchel of food on her back.
“Hey Applejack, sorry I took a little while, I was grabbing a glass of water.” I hate my voice now. It’s so wobbly and old. At least Applejack sounds almost the same, too.
“Took ya long enough ta get it, what happened to the fastest flyer in Equestria I used to know?”
“She got old, remember?”
Applejack laughs, “You can’t let a little somethin’ like old age stop ya! Look at me!”
“Then I’m sure Sweet Apple Acres could use its’ champion apple bucker back for the day.”
“Hmph, touché.” She says ‘touché’ wrong. “Alright, ya smart mouth, ready ta get goin’?”
We head to the park not too far off from the library. It’s a nice walk on flat ground, which makes it easier for our old legs to handle.
We get to our favorite spot, by the small pond and under a tree that provides nice cool shade and a good flat spot to sit on.
We lay out the blanket and pull out the food. Nothing gets said for while we eat, for some reason, Applejack and I never like to talk until our plates are empty. Twilight used to complain about it all the time whenever we’d go out to eat with everpony.
Applejack breaks the silence. “So I had the craziest dream last night.”
“Yeah? What was it about?”
“I dreamt that I had gotten married when Ah was younger, to this handsome young colt from the city, and Ah moved there with him. I have no idea why I’d ever do such a thing like that, dreams are so odd sometimes. Did you have any dreams last night?”
“Sort of the same thing, actually.”
“Really now? Do go on, sugarcube.”
“Eh, I’d rather not.”
Applejack gets a little annoyed. “Rainbow, we’ve been over this. Ah know it’s hard for you, talkin’ about your feelings and whatnot. It’s not my style either, but you can’t keep doin’ this to yourself, shuttin’ yourself away and only comin’ out once every now and again. It just ain’t healthy.”
I stare past her. I want to say something, I really do, but I’m out of things to say. Applejack is right, I never was one to talk about my feelings a whole lot; I liked to let my flying do the talking for me. I feel bad, I have gotten a lot more quiet in the past couple of years, but when I stopped flying, in a way I stopped talking, too.
A few more seconds of silence pass between us.
“Alright fine, sugarcube. Keep on bein’ silent. I don’t have much time to talk today, anyway. I’ve got babysittin’ duty for Applebloom’s grand kids, and Ah got ta get goin’.”
Applejack gets up and puts away all her things. She’s obviously bothered by my silence, and I still feel bad about it too. I owe Applejack a lot for these last few years, and even though I know I’ve been a horrible friend back, I still can’t find anything to say.
Applejack heads back to her farm, leaving me to walk back home alone.
I make my slow walk back, as I do, I look up at the sky.
I used to spend a lot of time up there.
First it was to cope with the problems in my life, but after I had Twilight, it became something I wanted to share. It became a source of true happiness in my life, because I could take Twilight up anytime we wanted to or needed to.
When we wanted a romantic night, I’d take her to see the stars.
When we had a fight, I’d take her up there, and the cool wind and quiet skies would help us make peace.
When she had to study late into the night, I’d fly through the clouds and keep up my job as a weather pony to help pass the time and pay the bills.
Then I stopped going there. I got old, and I lost the will. Like the moon, or the stars, or the sun, the sky had now become something unreachable.
A lot of things in my life had become unreachable.
It had made me sad when everypony started leaving, or passing away, but I’d always had two things in my life that made it all ok. Eventually I lost Twilight, and with her, my ability to reach the sky was lost too.
I want my sky back.
I want Twilight back.
But they’re not coming back.
It hits me like a ton of bricks.
I’ve wanted a lot of things in my life, and not once did I ever wait for them to come to me.
I went to them.
Today, today is the day get what I want. I won’t get them back, I’ll go get them.
My old creaky knees bend down, getting ready. For the first time in a long time I stretch my wings out, and I start to flap.
It hurts to flap, but it’ll be worth it.
I push off from the ground with a leap of pain and start to climb.
I’m slower than I remember, and it takes me a little longer to get my wings flapping in sync with each other than it should, but I start making steady progress in getting higher.
It’s been longer than I realize since I’ve flown, I guess I’ve gotten kind of rusty at it.
My heart is beating pretty hard by the time I reach a high altitude. My wings ache and my chest hurts too, but I deal with it. I deal with it because an old feeling comes back and surges through me that fills me with an odd sensation of living I haven’t had in over five years.
Ponyville looks the same as it ever did from up here, though the surrounding area is a little more populated than it was, say, twenty or thirty years ago. I look around a little more, it feels comfortable to be up here, like visiting home when you’ve been away for a long time.
I close my eyes, and I begin to dive.
I start picking up speed, bringing back memories of years past. The wind starts to howl in my ears, and my wings pick up the pace again. I need to go fast if I’m gonna do this right.
When Fluttershy died, she left much the same the way she’d lived: with a whimper.
I pump my wings harder. It hurts a lot, but I ignore it.
Twilight made me promise that I’d stay awesome and cool.
My heart is pounding, sending pulsating waves of pain through my entire body with each beat.
When I’d stopped flying, in a way I’d stopped talking. I feel bad, staying silent for so long, I just felt like I didn’t have it in me to say anything.
I hope Applejack forgives me, I’m sure she’ll understand I just did what I had to do. And I’m sure she’ll understand why I didn’t leave a note, she knows I do my talking with my flying.
I know Twilight will understand too. After all, I’m just trying to do something awesome, and I’m gonna give Ponyville something great it hasn’t seen in over sixty years.
And I know I haven’t broken any promises to myself either. I’m not going to go out with a whimper, quite the opposite, actually.
I’m gonna go out with a nice, big-
For the first time in over sixty years, Ponyville has seen another, and it’s last, sonic rainboom.
It shoots light across the sky just as well as it ever did, and with the resounding explosion, I feel my heart do a little sonic rainboom of its’ own.
Looks like this is it.
The ground is coming up quickly, and my vision is starting to go white.
I close my eyes and enjoy the wind in my mane for one last time.
I let out a small tear, as I whisper quietly to myself:
“I love you, Twilight Sparkle.”
Just before I hit the ground, I can hear a little voice off in the distance somewhere.
“I love you too, Rainbow Dash.”