Molded to Love

by Radiant Dawn

Chapter 5: Flames of Redemption

Chapter 5: Flames of Redemption

It had been Twilight...

She had taken the bad dreams away...with her gone, they had returned with a vengeance. The dreams had changed, however, and it seemed the demons of my past that caused the nightmares had sought out a new that shook me to my very core...


As bad as it made me feel, I wished I could be having nightmares about the ponies I had slain in the past. Instead, they were all replaced by Twilight. They were false nightmares, in that they were skewed dreams brought about by my own inner turmoil...and yet I could not deny the fact that it had caused me to many times fly to the bedroom window of the young unicorn in the dead of night, making sure she was unharmed and sleeping peacefully.

It had been nearly two weeks since we last spoke, and every day was agony to me. Work was torture because I no longer had my closest friend to speak about it with, and the days as a whole seemed much more drab and grim than before. Without realizing it, I became a veritable shut-in, only leaving my home to work or feed in some form before returning. I had tried to convince myself that it was because I wished to spare the pining mare the pain of having to see me again after our altercation...

But the truth was far worse.

The truth was that I had no idea what to say to her. What was even worse was the fact that I had admitted to myself that I did care for the mare...deeply...likely in the same way she cared for me. Unfortunately I did not have much experience with my own emotions, so for the moment, I was unsure of them...but I knew for a fact that I had likely reacted prematurely to the situation, and may have permanently damaged a friendship in the process. After all, it was not like me to avoid a troubling matter as I had this one, but it was also the first time where I had no idea how to handle it.

Today, I was worried.

After work with Rainbow Dash I met Twilight in the marketplace...nearly two weeks after last meeting her. What worried me the most was her behavior. It was kind, but the sort of kindness one would treat a stranger with. And what worried me more than that were her emotions...

There was nothing.

Where I should have felt happiness towards me or at the very least, friendship, there was a void. The smile that graced her face looked genuine, but without being able to sense what she felt, I could not tell for sure. This caused a rising panic to well up within me, bringing forth all manner of fears to the surface. The most prominent was the fear that Twilight was being impersonated by a changeling spy...a fear I quickly dashed after realizing that if anypony knew a changeling in disguise, it would be me.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, as the case may be), the pony before me was Twilight. Her scent, her subtle movements that were unique to her, and even the way she walked was all the same as it normally was...which only made what was happening worse. I was confused...and oddly hurt by it all.

“Starshine?” Twilight called to me, bringing me from my thoughts and jerking my focus to her.

I shook my head a bit in an effort to free my mind from the addling thoughts. “Umm, yes? I apologize, my mind was elsewhere.”

Again Twilight flashed a gentle smile before replying, “It’s alright...happens to all of us. Anyway, I need you to come to the library later on...I have something important I need to tell you about concerning the princesses.”

My thoughts on the lavender unicorn were swept away at the injection of the new topic in the that I was no longer sure of. A mere two weeks ago, my confidence on the matter was stronger than ever. Just like so many other positive things in my life recently, however, it hinged on Twilight. My confidence, my comfort in my new life...hay, even my happiness was all connected to her. For the first time in my long life, I was in something far too deep...and it was too late to break away. As powerless as it made me feel, a very disturbing truth had reared its ugly head in my life...

I needed Twilight.

Without her friendship ‒ her care and affection ‒ I was powerless. The world seemed less important, and I no longer felt sated by the friendship my other friends offered to me. It made me feel horrible that I was playing a favorite among my treasured relationships with the ponies I had come to care for, but at the moment it didn’t matter to me...

And I couldn’t pretend it did anymore.

“I can’t do it.” I replied softly, not caring that we were out in the open, right in the middle of the market during the busiest part of the day.

This seemed to catch Twilight by surprise, as her eyes shot open in shock and worry. “What do you mean you can’t do it?”

I screwed my eyes closed, unable to look at her. “I can’t meet with them...I can’t...”

“Umm Starshine,” she sang nervously before dropping her voice to a harsh hiss of a whisper, “we’re in broad daylight!”

I didn’t care.

“I don’t care.” I answered in defeat. I then raised my head and looked around at the ponies that were milling about, noticing that a few of them were staring at us. “I don’t care what they think of me, I don’t care if they find out what I really am...not anymore.”

And I didn’t. It just...didn’t matter anymore to me. For so long, I had come to hate the need to hide from everypony...especially my friends. It was true, Twilight could see the strange miasma of aura around me that identified me as a changeling, but I still rarely showed her my true form. As a changeling, my entire life was filled with deception and deceit. It was a sad truth of my race that lying was our was a part of who we were as much as our wings or fangs. With the founding of a true friendship between Twilight though, I began to resent that part of myself. I had come to terms with my past, and had set about atoning in some way for my past sins...but my disguises had become very uncomfortable to me. Perhaps it was the fact that Twilight accepted me for who I was or perhaps it was simply time that was changing me. One thing was for sure, however...

I was about to do something very stupid.

I turned my eyes back to Twilight’s to see her face becoming the very image of dread and fear of what I was about to do...and for good reason. “I’m done pretending...I’m just done...I can’t do it anymore.”

“Starshine,” she began warily, “don’t throw away everything we’re working for.”

I kept my eyes focused on hers as I replied, “My name isn’t Starshine...and it’s time the rest of the town knew it as well.”

As I released my hold on the disguise that veiled me, I felt as a certain unicorn collided with me...and then the world disappeared.

Whether it was a few seconds or the twinkling of an eye, I didn’t know. The only thing I was positive of was the fact that I now laid in the middle of a familiar library...with my true form showing to a very frightened young dragon.

“Q-Q-Queen C-Chrysalis?!” he exclaimed in fright as he dropped the glass of water he was holding. He then turned his eyes to Twilight and growled before rushing over and pushing her off of me. “I got this, Twi! Run and get the others!”

I heard a clattering of hooves from my side as the mare quickly stood. “No, Spike! It’s fine!”

Not to be talked-down, the dragon sneered at me. “You’ve got her under a spell! Well this’ll teach you to mess with my sister!”

I watched with fear as the dragon took a deep breath and exhaled bright green flames all over me. There was a moment of intense searing pain, followed by a slight tingling as my vision began to tunnel, and lastly I could have swore I heard somepony screaming.

Voices were the first sensation that came, and then next was the feeling of my skin being hotter than the surface of the sun itself. The smell of burnt flesh and what smelled like scorched glass wafted through my nostrils, and had I been able to stand, I would have rushed to the washroom as I felt my stomach flip. I couldn’t tell if my eyes were open or closed, nor whether this was a dream or reality.

The voices did not clear with time, and sounded as if I were being spoken to while underwater. My mind as a whole seemed filled with a dense haze that dampened my thoughts and senses, but I did notice what felt like something cool on my skin, as if I were submerged in a cool lake or river.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the sounds began to clear. First, I noticed a bird that was singing, its song slowly getting more and more sharp before it was as it should be, and then I heard whispering from my side.

“Twi...I’m so, so sorry...I didn’t know.”

“It’s alright, Spike...under any other circumstances, I’d be flattered that you are so protective of me. Besides, I think two-hundred ‘I’m sorry’ sentences are enough.”

I tried to respond, to tell them that I was awake...but my mouth would not move and I could not even control my own breathing. It was as if my body was simply running by itself, and I was a silent, unwilling prisoner in it.

“How long until they get here?” Twilight asked her assistant with a trace of regret in her voice.

“They said they’d be here around sundown, so another hour or so, I guess.” he replied with a sigh. “Why did you wait so long to contact them? I mean I understand wanting to keep her a secret, but three days? That’s pushing it.”

The sounds began to muddle again as I suddenly felt very sleepy, and a moment later, the void embraced me.

”So what can we do? There has to be something we haven’t tried yet.” was the first thing I heard upon “waking”, and even though I could neither see nor speak, I knew it was Twilight.

A sad sigh sounded through the room, along with a nervous shuffle of hooves. “We can only wait, Twilight. I have done all that I can safely do...the rest is up to her. She has to want to live.”

I recognized that voice, though I couldn’t place from where.

A few moments of silence followed before being broken by the same unknown voice. “You truly care for her, don’t you?”

Another few moments of silence reigned, before a soft voice spoke, “More than I thought I could. It just sort of...happened.”

I tried to hold onto the words as they continued to come, but once again I felt myself “slipping” as the words began to become muddled in water that didn’t exist, and again, the darkness and nameless depths embraced me.

My entire body ached, my skin burned as if on fire, and my mouth and throat felt like the deserts of Camelu...thankfully without the sand. A headache pounded behind my eyes and all the way down my neck, causing even my teeth to hurt. My nose was assaulted by the strong smell of antiseptics and cleaning agents, along with the subtle smell of lilacs and vanilla.


I reflexively tried to lick my dry, cracked lips, only to find that I could do so now. The realization that I could move again nearly caused me to jump up in shock, but the only action this caused was an extremely painful twitch of my body, which caused me to groan and grunt in agony.

Deciding to take it in foal-steps, as it were, I attempted to open my eyes. Luckily, I could tell that they were indeed closed, but found them exceptionally hard to if heavy weights were attached to them. My will was stronger, however, and I forced my eyes open very slowly.

The first bit of light to invade my irises was as bright as the sun itself, and stung the same, causing my headache to intensify tenfold. I shut my eyes with haste and groaned as the pain actually made me feel somewhat dizzy.

“’re finally awake.” commented a soft voice from my right.

I licked my lips again with my tongue that did not seem to do much to moisten them, and whispered, “Lights...”

I found it strange as I heard a click instead of somepony blowing out a candle. Leaving that thought for later, I again attempted to open my eyes.

My vision swam as I attempted to focus, but after a few attempts I was able to see clearly enough to notice that I was in a small, plain bed with plastic railings. The walls of the room were a soft blue, and there were a few strange boxes to my left, each one connecting me to it by way of strange lines of what looked like twine of some sort.

“They’re monitors.” explained the voice. “They keep track of your respiration rate, temperature, heart rate, and magic flow.”

I turned towards the one speaking to me...only to gasp in shock and fear.

Standing to my side was none other than Princess Celestia, looking as regal as ever...but to me, it was very intimidating. I was helpless for some reason, and if she attacked, I could not defend myself. I was at her mercy, and I silently prayed that if this were the end, it would be quick.

I visibly tensed for the inevitable end that I saw coming...and the princess noticed this.

“Do you fear me, Chrysalis?” the princess of the sun asked with a flat expression.

Whether I was not disguised or she could simply see through it, I did not know or care. What I did know was that one of the most powerful beings in the world was standing before me, and she knew who I was. Her horn was sharp and deadly, with her vast stores of magic being even more so. With only a fraction of her power, she could crush me like an insignificant insect in my weakened state.

So why didn’t she?

I nodded in response to her question, hoping to have an answer given to me. “Yes...I-I do.”

‘Please don’t ask why...I already feel small enough as it is.’

“Why?” she asked with the same unreadable expression.

‘Damn her...’

My anger flared at the seemingly stupid question, and I just barely fought it down to keep from shouting in rage at the solar princess. Instead, I took a deep breath to calm myself, and spoke softly, “I am quite sure you know, Princess Celestia. I attempted to conquer your kingdom but a few years ago, and my kind has been a thorn in your side for as long as you’ve reigned. Not only that, but I am personally responsible for many atrocities that only you and I know of.”

The princess nodded, but did not respond otherwise.

I then sighed as I closed my eyes again, leaning against the soft pillow that cradled my head. “By rights, you should destroy me. I have caused you so much pain and hardship, and have destroyed many of your beloved subjects firsthoof...both their hearts and their lives.”

“And what sort of ruler would I be if I allowed grudges to rule my actions?” she asked, though I felt it was a rhetorical question, so I kept silent. The princess moved closer and sat down on the floor, looking eye-to-eye with me. “Destroying you would not bring the lost lives would only put blood on my own hooves. It would change nothing of the past, and would only lead to a bleak future when the ponies I love and protect learned I murdered a defenseless pony in cold blood.” She then sighed as she closed her eyes. “A changeling though you may be, and the cause of a great amount of unrest in the subjects would not see it that way should I submit to my emotions and act upon them. They would simply see me as an unstable ruler who would dishonorably attack and murder another in rage. No matter the reason, it would reflect badly on my sister and I. Twilight would never forgive me, Chrysalis...and I could never look at myself again without wanting to vomit in disgust.”

I relaxed a bit as the hope she would not kill me took root, and asked, “So Twilight...?”

The princess nodded. “She told me everything. Everything from when she first came upon you until a few minutes ago, when I forced her to go home and sleep.”

I shifted uncomfortably as I felt my rump go numb from sitting in such an awkward position, rolling to my side with a grunt of pain. “How long have I been here?”

“Nearly a month.” came the gentle reply of the princess of the day. “Let it simply be said that dragon’s fire burns more than just the flesh.”

I nodded, having come in contact with the powerful weapon before. “My magic was burned away as well.”

“Yes.” Princess Celestia confirmed. “It stunted your healing process, extending what should have only taken a single week to nearly four.” The bright white alicorn then pointed to me, and I looked to my carapace. “Luckily, I am well versed in healing magics. I will admit, it was tedious to heal the magical burn of dragon’s fire, but at Twilight’s request, I did so.” I looked up to meet the princess’ eyes again as she added, “She truly cares for you, Chrysalis.”

I simply nodded, darting my eyes away in shame.

“Do you care for her as well?” the princess asked, though I had an inkling she already knew the answer.

I sighed and answered, “I much or more than she cares for me. I feel...empty without her. I was not thinking rationally when all of this began, and she was the one I knew I could count on, because she knew me...knew who and what I really was, and accepted it.” I then remembered what had caused all of this, and nearly sobbed as I recalled our “falling out” of sorts. “I cannot be what she wishes us to be, princess.”

“And what is that?” she asked in a curious manner, shifting slightly as she did so.

I shrugged, unsure of it myself. “More than mere friends, I believe. As much as it feels awkward to say so, I felt the same emotions from her that I felt from Shining Armor when I impersonated your niece. Much less intense of course, but they were there.”

“I suspected as such.” the solar diarch replied with the smallest of smiles...a response that I noticed.

I nearly choked on the air I breathed, but was thankful that my saliva glands had worked to moisten my throat. “You’re not upset?”

The princess shrugged with a soft smile. “I will not say it is expected for such a thing to happen, but like me, you have seen many centuries of life...and with it have acquired a great deal of knowledge and understanding. I believe it is the character of a pony ‒ or in this case, changeling ‒ that is to be judged, not the form.”

“If that’s the case, you should destroy me now.” I muttered in defeat, turning my eyes to the floor.

I felt as the princess’ hoof tilted my chin to look at her again, and I noted with surprise that she was smiling. “Your history is just that, your history. Do you truly believe you are the only one in this world with a marred past?” The sun princess released my chin and tittered gently. “Heavens no, Chrysalis. I am sure you know of Luna’s infamous transformation into Nightmare Moon, as well as the atrocities she committed...and yet she has been cleansed and is now accepted and loved the same as I am.” She then leaned in close and whispered, “And just between you and I, I have made more than my own share of mistakes in the past...some of which have cost hundreds their lives.”

“Then you understand how I feel.” I mused.

“More than you know.” she replied softly, her eyes misting ever so slightly.

“How do you go on?” I asked sadly, reflecting on my own demons. “How do you not let your nightmares and the shadows of the past overcome you?”

The princess sighed as she turned her head towards the ceiling of the room, her eyes gaining a far-off look in them. “With help from those I love. My sister of course, my niece Cadence, and her loving husband, Shining Armor.” Princess Celestia then paused as she lowered her eyes to mine again, and I could see and feel nothing but love within them. “And of course Twilight.”

The rush of love I felt as she mentioned those names was enough to make me lightheaded, and its presence strengthened me more than I thought one pony’s love possibly could.

After a moment the flow of strong emotions stopped abruptly, and I turned my gaze to the princess, noticing that my eyes had rolled back in my head. She was smirking ever so slightly as she questioned, “That felt good, didn’t it?”

I smiled sheepishly at the realization that I likely looked rather lewdly pleased at the moment, and simply nodded in response.

I watched as the princess then stood with a sad smile. “I can unfortunately offer no assistance in regards to your issues with Twilight...but I must advise you to forgive yourself.” She then pointed to herself. “I know fristhoof just how easily one can become their own worst enemy. In a situation such as yours, the sort of action you have taken will only result in pain and heartbreak for all involved. Forgive yourself...and allow your wishes to be fulfilled.”

With that, the solar princess quietly stepped to the door and made her way out of the room, leaving me alone with my own thoughts. As I thought on the princess’ words, a very startling revelation took hold...

Had I made a mistake?

Had I truly let my self-loathing and misguided need for redemption take control of my life? The answer eluded me, as I could not at the moment see myself objectively, but it was clear that whatever the case, I would need to make amends of some sort with Twilight. After all, she had been more than willing to stand beside me to weather whatever storm would come...but I had allowed my own misgivings about myself cloud my mind.

It was likely she was blaming herself for it all.

It was one of the many things I admired about the mare...her willingness to accept responsibility, even if it was not given to her. And yet, it caused problems in situations such as this. The mare was often far too hard on herself for foul-ups that would happen, and from what our mutual friends had told me, it was far from a new trait. It worried me, in honesty. Still, I knew that in the same spirit of honesty, I was not one to talk on such a matter. Recently, I had taken to much the same behavior, though mine was targeted towards my past, instead of the present.

Eventually, my thoughts on the matter were exhausted, and with nothing else to do but wait, seeing as how I was not tired, I let a small spark of magic out and cradled it in my hooves. The green spark tickled my hooves as it began to run along my thick carapace, and into and out of the many holes within my legs and hooves. The burning sensation upon my carapace and on the soft flesh underneath was forgotten as I concentrated on the magical spark that I played with.

In my youth (which unfortunately was too long ago to remember clearly), I often did this very act in times of nervousness or anxiety. It was calming in some ways, though I was unsure why I did it in the first place, exactly.

My little “game” of sorts kept me busy (and sane) throughout the silence of night, and I was able to watch the sunrise. Hours had passed since I first woke in the night, with the solar princess watching over me, and while I was far from completely well, I was leaps and bounds ahead of where I began. The love Princess Celestia practically spoon-fed to me helped quite a bit, and while I was still confused of the princess’ actions and motives, I was thankful all the same.

I was startled by the sound of the door opening, revealing a rather happy-looking earth-pony mare. Her coat was of a pure white, while her mane and tail were a soft pink...akin to Fluttershy’s. Lastly, on her flank was a red cross, along with small pink hearts in each of its four open corners...and she wore a small nurse’s cap that mirrored her cutie mark.

“Good morning, dear.” the pony greeted with a warm smile.

I was shocked at her behavior, and pointed to myself as I asked, “Aren’t you afraid of me?”

The mare tilted her head as she looked at me quizzically. “Why, because you’re the ex-changeling queen?”

I nodded with a sheepish smile. “Well...yes.”

The white pony giggled softly and shook her head. “My oath binds me to provide care to all who are injured, not just ponies. Besides, the princess assured the entire hospital that you are safe, so I have no problem with you. It doesn’t matter though, I’m not one to judge. I’ve come across dragons that are so kind as to give you their own scales if it came to it, and gryphons so sweet and thoughtful that a pony might forget they’re even different species.” Again she shook her head, the few loose strands of her mane brushing against her head gently. “You’re the first changeling I’ve ever treated, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re going to receive the same care and support I would want somepony to give to me.”

The pony’s cheery demeanor calmed me, and I extended a hoof to her. “Chrysalis.”

She took my hoof in her own, not the least bit put off by its appearance. “Redheart...or Nurse, or Nurse Redheart...whichever you feel most comfortable with.”

I allowed myself a smile as I nodded. “Thank you, Redheart.”

The pony nodded before pulling a small platform out from under the bed, which she hopped up on, making her able to look at me eye-to-eye. She gazed over my body and inspected the bandages thoroughly. “So, all things considered, how do you feel?”

I shrugged. “My carapace feels like it’s on fire, I have a headache that makes me want to tear my eyes out, and my entire body aches.”

“Which can all be taken care of with a little pain medication, dear.” Redheart assured.

I nodded. “And also, if it isn’t too much trouble-”

I was cut off as the pony pushed a rather large jug of water into my hooves. “You’re thirsty...I know. It is a rather predictable condition after being in a coma for nearly a month. Drink as much of that as you can, and leave the rest on the table beside you for whenever you should need it. You’ll need the fluids as your body continues to repair the damage done by the dragon’s fire, so water is your friend right now.” The mare then crossed to the other side of me to where the monitors were and pressed a button on one of them, causing it to beep and emit a slight humming sound. She turned to me and smiled after doing so. “There. You should begin feeling much better within the next few seconds here. Press the red call button on the bedrail should you need anything. I’ll be back to check on you again in an hour.”

I felt a slight warming sensation at the origin of the clear tubing that was embedded in my arm, and nodded with a smile at the nurse. “Thank you for your care, Redheart. I truly appreciate it.”

She smiled and shook her head with a wave of her hoof. “Don’t worry about it, dear. You just get some rest and let me know if you need anything.” The white pony then trotted out of the room, closing the large, solid wooden door to close behind her.

I watched through the blurry glass of the window as the nurse pony walked away, and was rather happy that I was being treated so nicely by a stranger...and in my true form, no less. It was a very pleasant change that I was enjoying so much that I did not notice as the door opened and closed while I lay my head on the pillow and hummed softly to myself.

For a good half-hour or so I did this, gradually getting louder as the medications took hold and began to remove my reservations towards...well, anything. The music I was humming had been a tune I had heard many times when I was visiting Twilight, though I was unsure of what it was called. She always played it on the small “radio” device when I would visit her, and it became a common background element I associated with her.

“You should learn the words, you have a beautiful voice.” commented a weary-sounding voice from beside me.

I turned my gaze to my left to see Twilight, standing near the window of the small room.

“Twilight?” I questioned, as if not believing she was truly there.

The lavender unicorn frowned softly as she placed her front hooves on the bed and pulled herself to stand next to me. For a few moments she was silent as she looked over the many bandages that covered me, as well as the different monitors that were connected.

“I’m so sorry this happened, Chrysalis...” she whispered mournfully.

As I remembered the events that led me to be here, I chuckled and shook my head. “It was my fault for attempting to blow my cover prematurely, Twilight. You simply reacted to keep me from doing so, and Spike protected you from what he deemed a great threat to your safety. Don’t blame yourself for that...I sure don’t.”

“But...” Twilight began, her lip quivering a bit as she struggled to compose herself, “you almost died...several times, actually. There must have been something I didn’t do right, or didn’t do well enough, or...I don’t know...something.”

I felt as my lips fell into a half-frown, and replied, “Are you really going to keep blaming yourself for something that isn’t your fault? I mean, I know that’s kind of your forte, but I’d really like to see you smile instead.” The mare looked at me and offered a forced smile, but I shook my head. “No, a real smile.”

Twilight’s head lowered just a bit, and she sighed. “I’ll smile when you come home to Ponyville.”

To hear her refer to the town as “home” warmed my heart...even more so because she wanted me to be here. However, that still left a rather touchy subject that I needed to bring up.

I looked back to the lavender mare and tilted her head up with my hoof. “Twilight, I’m sorry.”

The mare raised her eyebrow, but made no attempt to move away. “Sorry for what, exactly?”

“I ignored and avoided you for two whole weeks.” I answered, feeling the shame and regret clawing at my mind and heart.

Twilight sighed as she looked down at the white sheets that covered my hind legs and tail. “To be honest, I probably would have reacted the same way. You’re not the only one who would panic like that.” She then grimaced a bit and added, “That didn’t make it hurt any less, though.”

I felt the cold tendrils of regret and self-loathing once again take hold, but for a mistake that I had made with somepony who cared for me, and that I too cared for. It was not a regret from my bloody past, and nor was it an act I had done out of sadism and arrogance. No...I had caused another pain based off of my own misguided belief that what she wanted was beyond our reach...that I was not good enough to be cared for in such a way.

Maybe it was time I took the wise princess’ words to heart.

“Twilight.” I whispered, my scratchy throat still bothering me. When she looked up at me, I focused my eyes on her and spoke slowly and deliberately. “My race are predators...or at the very least, parasites. It is in our nature to deceive and lie to get what we need to survive.”

The unicorn took my hoof in her own, and nodded solemnly. “I know what you are, and what you must do to survive...but why are you telling me this?”

“Because since you and I have become friends, I’ve never lied to you...and I don’t aim to start now.” I explained gently. I then took a breath in preparation before continuing. “I am unsure of how else to say this, so I’ll just be blunt about it. I care for you, Twilight...more than I’ve ever cared for another before. It is new to me, and frankly, scary.” She snorted a small laugh at this, and I rolled my eyes with a sigh. “Yes, big bad Queen Chrysalis is scared.”

Twilight smiled gently after composing herself and shook her head. “We’re all afraid of something, Chryssie.”

Her use of the nickname she created for me calmed me and caused a pleasant fluttering in my chest to come about. I locked eyes with the unicorn beside me and slowly extended a hoof to her face, and finally made contact with her cheek as I rubbed it soothingly. She sighed as her eyes shut, and leaned into the caress happily. This event brought about an unfamiliar warmth within me, but one that I was more than keen to explore. I thought back to that day in the library when we had played like fillies, before my fear and self-hate drove me to flee.

This time, however, I did not stop myself.

I ignored the slight pang of pain as I placed my arms under those of Twilight and lifted her onto the bed, next to me. I then shifted a bit so that there was enough room for her, and without questioning it, wrapped my arm around her and pulled her close, until her side was pressed up against my own, and I laid my head atop hers next to the horn.

“You’re not going to run away now, are you?” Twilight questioned playfully, and I felt as her soft breath caressed the sensitive healing carapace on my throat.

I chuckled softly and replied, “Never again, Twilight.”

Her warmth and the care and affection that radiated from her in combination with the medications began to soothe me into slumber, and I only had time to nuzzle the unicorn’s mane one last time before sleep once again claimed me.