• Published 15th Feb 2012
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Tears in the Snow - Wintergreen Diaries

Twilight sees a vision after casting a spell to see the future and ends up saving a mysterious colt.

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Driving the Nails Deeper

Chapter 14: Driving the Nails Deeper

As the suns first rays lit the sky, a strange chill was in the air of Ponyville. A startled cry from one of the residents caused the few ponies that were awake that early to gather around a monolithic pillar of ice protruding from the ground. Inside was an unconscious Cerulean, suspended in the center and completely inert. Some of the ponies backed away immediately, frightened that they may suffer a similar fate should he awaken. Most discussed what it could mean in hushed whispers.

Rainbow Dash had awoken far earlier than she would have liked, and after half an hour of unsuccessfully attempting to fall back asleep she decided to go for a flight to wake herself up. While the sensation of the wind in her wings and mane were usually adequate to rouse her, the unusual nip in the air finished the job properly, bidding her fly a little faster to generate more body heat. As she made a pass over Ponyville, she saw the reflection of sunlight glinting off the crystalline structure and made straight for it, her looming weather duties momentarily forgotten. Landing a short distance from Cerulean's frosty cage, she approached cautiously, calling out to him.

"Cerulean? Hey, Cerulean!" No movement. "Cerulean, wake up, you're scaring everypony!" she said, raising her voice. "Cerulean, Twilight's gonna freak if she sees you like this! C'mon, wake up!" she shouted, desperately pounding on the structure with her hooves. He stirred and opened his eyes, blinking a few times. He glanced briefly at Rainbow Dash before shattering the ice and landing on his hooves, which immediately buckled from the numbness. He lay motionless, ignoring the burning sensation as life tried to seep back into his limbs. "Cerulean, what's gotten into you? Did you and Twilight have a fight?"

"She gone, Rainbow. She left last night." His hollow voice carried no emotion, only information. He rose shakily to his hooves, wincing with each step as Rainbow hovered alongside him.

"Gone? What do you mean gone? Like, left Ponyville?" Cerulean nodded slowly. "Then why are you still here?" The question was fair; after all, if someone wounded one of your best friends, it's only natural they'd be upset.

"Do you want me gone too?" he asked, completely serious. He braced himself for the affirmation that never came.

"Why would I want that? You make life pretty interesting around here."

Wait, what? Did I even hear that right? He stopped again and fixed her with a quizzical stare. "So, you call nearly destroying half the town and tugging the heartstrings of two of your best friends 'interesting?'"

"Well, gee, it sounds pretty bad when you say it that way, doesn't it?" she replied with a laugh. "The reason I asked why you're still here is because if Twilight ran off, then it's safe to assume you'd rush to get her back." Cerulean sighed, knowing Rainbow Dash didn't have a clue as to what had happened the night before.

"I looked for her all night, but I couldn't find her. I don't know where else she'd be if she's not in Ponyville. And besides..." he choked on his words, remembering the look on her face before she left. Her eyes conveyed more pain and betrayal than Cerulean dared to admit, and he knew he was the cause. "She wouldn't want to see me anyway, not after I..."

"Tell me what happened," she commanded, landing in front of him and rolling her eyes. Cerulean was rightfully annoyed with her flippant manner, but summarized the last week into a few minutes of speech. Rainbow Dash sat for a moment before responding, voice full of confidence. "She's in Canterlot." Cerulean simply stared at her.

"How can you know that?" he inquired, trying not to let his hope flare but failing to restrain it. If he could find her, then maybe...

"As the Element of Loyalty, I believe it's in her best interest that both of you make up, so I'm willing to help you out a bit," she said, seeming to ignore his unimportant inquiry. "You weren't just gonna let her go, were you?" Cerulean remained silent. He wanted nothing more than to apologize and set things right, but he couldn't shake the expression on her face after he had struck her, the fear in her eyes as she backed away. It was if it had been branded onto his mind, and he didn't know if he thought he even could have another chance. "Listen, from everything I've heard about you, you don't go halfway. I'm not gonna lie, you screwed up. Big. Huge. Monumentally..."

"I got the picture, Dash, thank you," Cerulean interrupted, shooting her an irate glare which she shrugged off.

"And that's why you get to go fix it!" she proclaimed, grinning ear to ear. Cerulean knew she was right. "She's likely staying at the royal castle. All you have to do is figure out a way to find her and say, 'Sorry for spitting on your kindness and smacking you in the face.'" He cringed inwardly at her blunt approach to things, but couldn't deny the truth to her words. His determination had been withering as despair took it's toll, but the will to fight began to creep back into his heart.

"Wait, hold up... Did you say the royal palace? As in the royal palace? Home of Princess Celestia?" he inquired as the words suddenly registered."

"Uh, as if there's any other royal palace? Twilight is the princess' star pupil, you didn't know that?" Cerulean shook his head in disbelief, staring at the ground. "I'll take that as a 'no.'" He imagined what kinds of things she might be telling the princess about him at that very moment. Come to think of it, when he first seen her at the bookshop, Francis had mentioned that, hadn't he? "Snap out of it!" Rainbow's voice yanked him back to reality. "Listen, I don't know what's in store for you over in Canterlot, but you've shown everypony here that when you put your mind to something, you make it happen. Even when it's gonna hurt, you pull through it. Is she still worth the pain to you?" He sat stunned by the weight of the words for a moment.

"Every second." Even if they could never fully repair their relationship, the time they shared was worth every burn he now bore, every moment of agony in the orchard. "I'd do it all again in a heartbeat." Rainbow Dash nodded her approval then took flight, shooting into the sky with blinding speed before being lost from sight. He sat waiting, unsure what to do when she swiftly returned, handing him a small pouch.

"All right then, here's money for a ticket to the next train. It should be boarding in about fifteen minutes so you better get a move on." Without hesitation he grabbed the bag and broke into a run towards the library. Rainbow Dash darted after him, urgently indicating that the train station was in the opposite direction. Cerulean said nothing and summoned his wings, cutting through the sky and arriving at the library to find Spike sitting on the couch, a small box sitting in his lap. There was no warmth in the young dragon’s gaze, only anger that his friend had been driven away by the stallion walking towards him..

"Twilight wanted you to have this. I sure don't think you deserve it, but take it," he said as he thrust the box at Cerulean, looking away. Rainbow Dash wandered over as Cerulean accepted the box and opened it. Inside was a silver necklace set with a heart made of shining amethyst. A card was inside the box, which read, "For the one who's given me so much, my heart given in return." There were no words to describe the depth of gratitude he felt at that moment, and the flames of hope flared strongly within as he clutched the box to his chest, a few tears seeping out onto the floor. This couldn't be how it ended. This wouldn't be how it ended. He affixed the gift around his neck, and Rainbow Dash grinned as she saw the life return to Cerulean's features, his being radiating new found hope and the will to overcome any obstacle that may await him in Canterlot.

There was a spray of snow as he took off towards the Carousel Boutique, Rainbow Dash in hot pursuit. Rarity glared at him irately as he made a rather abrupt entrance, slamming open the door and completely ruining her creative flow as she designed her latest masterpiece.

"Honestly, there are better ways to enter a place of business, Cerulean." She then noticed the necklace around his neck and squealed excitedly. "Oh, she gave it to you sooner than I expected! You must be thrilled, did you..." she stopped, his expression telling her something was definitely wrong. He slowly approached and bowed himself to the ground.

"I have nothing to offer you, but I would ask of you one thing - is there any way you can make something like this set with a sapphire? I know you're not a jeweler, but... Please, I'm begging you!" Rarity smiled knowingly and rummaged through a chest before returning with a box the same size as the one that his necklace had come in, depositing it in front of him. Inside was a necklace identical to his, but set with a deep blue jewel. She didn’t look like the type to practice divining or clairvoyance, and even Twilight was having difficulty with predicting the future, so he was rightly confused by her display of intuition. "How did you?.." It didn't matter, he didn't have much time. "Rarity, thank you. I will find a way to repay your generosity, somehow," he called out as he took flight, making it to the station as the last boarding call was made.

He settled into his seat and looked out the window as the scenery started to fly by, his mind solely focused on one mare, and one task. Twilight... you’ve reached out time and time again on my behalf, and now it’s time for me to do the same. I can’t let things go like this, and I’ll do anything it takes to show you I’m sorry. Don’t give up on me, Twilight. Because I’m not... going to give up on you.

The train ride was only a few hours long, but it felt like much shorter to Cerulean as he recalled all the memories he had from Canterlot, both good and bad. He hoped against hope that four years was enough for people to have forgotten his face from the trial, because if they hadn't then even getting directions would be difficult, let alone gaining entrance to the castle grounds. As the train pulled to a stop and he stepped off, the familiar scene caused him to freeze. The buildings, the roads, the signs; nothing had changed. He wandered in a daze, reliving his college days and reveling in the nostalgia that bubbled up within his chest.

"What are you doing back in Canterlot?" a voice called out, shattering his dreamy stares and causing him to cautiously turn around. It was one of his old classmates from the university, but his face conveyed nothing but disdain. Cerulean said nothing, unsure of how to respond to the blatant animosity. He had expected he might run into this, but this soon?

"There's something I have to do, and then I'll be leaving," he said, forcing himself to remain calm. He couldn't well afford to be jailed just because he throttled somepony, no matter how badly they deserved it.

"Oh really? What's the poor little filly's name, huh? You sick freak, you're not welcome here." Cerulean attempted to walk passed when the colt stuck out a hoof, barring his path and challenging him with narrowed eyes. Cerulean swiftly flipped the colt onto his back and froze his hooves together before allowing himself a slight grin.

"You really haven't learned much, have you Levinbolt? Just stay out of my way like a good little foal, hmmm?" Cerulean ignored the stream of curses behind his back and continued trotting towards the palace. He could hear the murmur of hushed whispers as he passed through the streets, the inhabitants clearly not having forgotten his alleged offense. He held his head high, ignoring the jibes that the braver ponies were hurling, fixing his eyes on his destination that glowed radiantly in the distance.

"Twilight? Twilight Sparkle, it is you! Haven't seen you around here in quite some time!" Francis exclaimed, looking up from the tome he was reading behind the counter. She slowly nodded, saying nothing and heading towards the back corner of the shop. Francis frowned and followed her, studying her facial expression as she perused the volumes on the shelf. "It doesn't take much to see you're upset about something. You're sleep deprivation is clearly evident by the unsightly bags under your eyes. They're not befitting of your beautiful face." Twilight cringed at the word "beautiful," recalling when Cerulean had called her that after his welcome party, and how much joy it had filled her with.

"Now I'm not one to pry, but if you'd like somepony to talk to, I'm here, ok?" He turned to walk away when Twilight stopped him. She began to explain, but as soon as she mentioned Cerulean's name Francis let loose a mighty laugh. "Wait, Cerulean? Cerulean Snowgleam? Hahaha, that dog, he really did go after the mare of his dreams!" Twilight cocked her head as confusion derailed her train of thought.

"Francis, what the hay are you talking about?" her unusually irate tone causing Francis to immediately quiet down.

"You really don't remember, do you?" he replied, shaking his head. "Remember when I got you that copy of the first Daring Do early, now how long ago was that... Four years ago?" she nodded. "Cerulean was the other unicorn at the counter. He watched you leave, and I could swear even then he was lovestruck. He'd never really talked to me, seemed like a shy colt, but there was a definite longing in the way he looked after you as you dashed off." Twilight's eyes began to water as memories of him began to flood her mind. Everything cascaded down at once as she thought about how he must have felt, running away like she had. But the hatred in his eyes... Could she ever fix what she'd broken?

As hard as he tried, Cerulean couldn't tune out the growing chatter of all the ponies around him. Every whisper was a reminder of the atrocities of the past, every item thrown at him a declaration of misdirected animosity. He wanted to scream out the truth, but he knew that nopony would believe it. Seeing book shop he used to frequent when he was going to the university, he decided to take a quick breather in the relative safety it offered, hoping Francis was there. The "Open" sign on the door gave him hope for a momentary reprieve as he made straight for it.

"Everypony shut up and leave him alone!" a voice rang out, causing him to whirl around. Before he could even see the owner of the voice, a pair of pale green hooves wrapped around his neck, drawing him into a massive hug. The mare's magenta mane was cut short, neatly styled and matching the color of her eyes. A chocolate bar with three heart shaped indentations graced her flank, and she held him close the way she had so many years ago.

Francis returned tissues in hoof and listened as Twilight relayed all that had happened. He focused intently, and as she finished the tale her tears dried and she looked at him with expectant eyes.

"Twilight, I don't know Cerulean like you do. But based on what you told me, I don't think he was trying to hit you like that. He just doesn't seem the type to display anger with violence. I won't tell you what to do, but you should probably at least try to talk to him. Besides," he paused, giving her a wink, "if he looks anything like he did then, he's rather fetching, don't you think?" Twilight tried not to think about how strange that sounded coming from him, but nodded her agreement as she allowed herself a small chuckle. He was right on both accounts. As she resolved to go back to Ponyville in the morning and talk to Cerulean, she made her purchase and bid Francis farewell, thanking him for the advice. Twilight beamed with the anticipation of getting to see Cerulean again, and then stopped dead in her tracks as her heart shattered like glass.

"Amora?" Cerulean was rooted in place, shocked to see his ex-fillyfriend from highschool after nearly six years apart. Time froze and the world went silent as he watched Twilight walk out of the book shop. The book she was carrying dropped to the ground, forgotten as their eyes connected. Her smile faded as she saw the mare nuzzling his neck, rubbing against the necklace that she had planned to give him the night she ran away. Any hope she had of repairing their relationship was snuffed out; he had found another to take her place. The wounds she had caused him ran too deep.

"Twilight, wait!" Cerulean cried, but it was too late. With a flash she disappeared, leaving a single tear drop on the cobblestone street. Cerulean body began to tremble as he was overcome by frustration, surrounded by the growing shouts of hatred from the ponies all around and a mare full of unwanted affection, her hooves still wrapped around his trembling shoulders.