• Published 15th Feb 2012
  • 16,648 Views, 629 Comments

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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Chapter 5: Ponypile!

Twilight had just fallen asleep when an image began to form in her mind's eye. "Another vision?" She watched as her sight carved a path from her house to Sweet Apple Acres. It dropped low to the ground and entered into a lit barn, filled with her friends from Ponyville. "This must be the party. Strange though, why is everpony so quiet?," she thought. And that's when she saw herself lying on the floor towards the back, Cerulean on top of her, their lips almost touching. The crowd of ponies were staring straight at them, and she noticed shortly thereafter that Applejack, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, and Fluttershy were all present, their faces flushed with embarrassment. Well, mostly just Fluttershy. Her friends met the situation each with their own thoughts on the subject, though Applejack stood out the most; she looked ready give Cerulean a beat down.

Twilight woke with a gasp, her head spinning from sitting up so quickly. "Is he really that type of pony? I just don't buy it," she muttered, her mind whirling from the revelation. She could neither deny what she saw nor the fact that the last vision she had had came true exactly as she saw it. “Ok, calm down, Twilight. You don’t know what happened just before, there must be a reason. A sound, logical reason why he would be... be on top of...” Ok, listen up, heart. You need to stop beating so fast. That is unnacceptable, as nothing like that is going to happen, got it?

Noting the telltale glow of her horn, she attempted to bury such thoughts in the back of her mind before looking at the clock, giving a start as she realized they’d have to leave soon in order to avoid falling under the dreaded category of “tardy.” Punctuality was important to Twilight, so, even though she didn't feel like moving in the slightest, she dragged herself out of bed, fixed her hair, and went downstairs, thankful that her horn had resumed its usual appearance by the time she made it to the first floor.

The blue stallion was asleep on the couch, facing away from her. Twilight blushed as she approached, the sight of him causing the vision to resume the loop it had been playing on and making her approach somewhat more embarrassing than she cared to consider. Berating her overactive imagination, she prepared to wake him when she noticed he was shivering. Not just a momentary shiver like when a chilly wind blows through the room, but a consistent shiver of somepony who is desperately trying to get warm. She placed a hoof on his shoulder and quickly pulled it away, her state moving from flustered to anxious; he was as cold as ice. It was then that she noticed a thin layer of ice on the couch where he was sleeping, and she realized his magic was draining out just like it had been that night in the forest.

Cerulean sat motionless in the midst of a raging blizzard. Even for him, who had a passion for the snow, this eternal storm had chilled him to the bone, a tiny flame of hope the only warmth he had left. He held it to his chest, sheltering it from wind and sleet. Nearly his whole body had already been numbed. This was the world he lived in when night came, always cold, always alone. A sudden burst of light caused his hooded eyes to open. The tiny blue flame suddenly flared purple, growing ever so slightly. A single tear rolled down his cheek, disbelief overtaken by unbridled joy in a joyless wasteland, and he lifted his eyes to the gray skies as a familiar voice beckoned him from the land of dreams.

"Cerulean? Cerulean, are you ok?" He looked over his shoulder slowly, gaining his bearings and seeing a concerned Twilight anxiously waiting for an answer, her hoof resting gently on his shoulder. He looked away again, his voice betraying him and removing any hope of his words sounding believable.

"I'm fine." Twilight waited a few seconds, hoping he'd continue. When it became apparent he had no intention of elaborating, she tugged gently, rolling him over so he was forced to look her in the eyes.

"No, you're not," she pressed. Cerulean was about to protest when she reached down and gently wiped a tear from his face. He sat up slowly, leaning against the couch and staring down at his hooves.

Everypony I’ve told since that day has turned away. And this... I don’t want to lose whatever it is that I’m starting to find here. I want... to believe that she can accept me, but I’ve lost so much... He lifted his eyes to meet hers, silently waging his war before taking a leap of faith, choosing hope over fear. "If I tell you, you have to promise not to run," he said quietly, the fear causing his voice to waver. Twilight was taken aback by the statement, but given the delicacy of the situation she knew she needed to respond without hesitation.

"I promise. I would never abandon a friend." she said confidently. He searched her face, and she matched his gaze while he dug down deep to find the courage to speak, remaining quiet for a time before continuing.

"Remember how I said I have been homeless these last four years?" Twilight nodded slowly, recalling the words. "Something... happened to me four years ago." He stopped, swallowing hard. Twilight was eager to hear but forced patience, waiting for him to continue. "Part of me died, Twilight." The weight of his words shocked her. The way he said the word "died" left no doubt in her mind that he wasn't using the term lightly. He motioned to his flank, where the snowflake cutie mark was. "This is only half of my cutie mark. The other half... disappeared that night. Half of what made me myself just... vanished."

Twilight's mind was reeling from the information. Never, in all her studies had she read of such a thing happening. Cerulean's head hung low, his head again bowed as the burden of his past that he dutifully buried came upon him once more. "Ever since, I've had recurring nightmares. My magic flows of its own accord, as you can see,” he murmured, tracing a lazy path through some of the fast melting snow. Twilight couldn’t begin to think of a way to approach the situation. What could she possibly say to comfort somepony that, if what he said was true, had lost half of their heart? Remembering how he had perked up when talking about magic, she diverted the conversation in that direction.

“I know you probably don’t want to answer this, but how does that even work?” He gave her an incredulous look and a questioning stare. “I’m sorry, I... don’t really know what to say. I wasn’t trying to pry, and I wasn’t ignoring what you said.” She felt like she were on the verge of tears, helpless to render assistance to the stallion sitting beside her. Such brokenness wasn’t something she had seen since she had caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror after Discord had turned her friends away.

“Twilight, rules of magic theory aside, would you agree that magic comes from within?” Cerulean said, answer her question with a question.

“Of course, that’s basic unicorn physiology. Our bodies generate magic, which is then focused and released through the horn with the appropriate spell.” Cerulean nodded, attempting to put into words what simply came naturally to him.

“Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve used magic without stopping to think? No focus at all, just pure instinct.”

“Well, yeah, most every unicorn does at some point, but that’s just the subconscious finding the appropriate spell before your mind can recognize it.”

“That’s what they taught at the academy, too. Oh, the arguments I got in with my professors...” Cerulean muttered with a weak laugh, not looking the slightest bit amused. “I would offer you this to think about; if magic comes from within, then perhaps it can be weaved with the heart, not the mind.” It was a breach of the commonly accepted norms, but then, it was also magic. There were many things that couldn’t be explained fully, and thus rather than scoff at what many would consider a ludicrous notion, Twilight mulled it over in her head. She temporarily shoved her spirit of scientific inquiry aside to give the stallion her full attention as he continued.

“I can never seem to escape my past." The memories of his friends systematically abandoning him brought tears to his eyes, causing them to clench shut. "That night, in the forest, I had nearly given up on life. For four years I've searched, trying to find a way to resurrect the side of me that has died, to no avail. But then you..." he continued, lifting his head, forcing his eyes open long enough to make look her in the face. "You pulled me back from the brink, Twilight. And I will always be in your debt for that." Cerulean flinched as Twilight's hooves encircled him, drawing him close in a warm embrace. Twilight said nothing as his body began to shake, silent tears streaming onto her shoulders and tracing a path down her back.

"You'll have to try a lot harder than that to scare me away, you know," she said softly, stroking his mane, eliciting a small laugh that sounded more like a cough than anything else. Eventually the tides dried and he pulled away, wiping his face.

"You have no idea how many ponies have walked away because of what I've just told you," he worried, not able to meet Twilight's caring gaze.

"Silly, I'm not just anypony. I'm the great and powerful Twilight Sparkle!" she declared, striking a pose. Cerulean fell off the couch, laughing at the ridiculous display.

"I saw her show in Manehatten two years ago. She was all flash and no talent. I kinda felt bad for her," he gasped out between breaths, recalling the memory with glee.

"She came here and challenged me. I ended up having to calm and Ursa Minor because of her boasting. Nearly destroyed Ponyville, so I wouldn't exactly call it 'humorous,'" Twilight said with a snort. She casually glanced at the clock and realized it was already fifteen minutes passed seven. "Oh no, we're late!" She said, jumping with a start and racing to the door. Cerulean scrambled to follow her, and the two ran towards Sweet Apple Acres.

Arrival at the barn saw it dark, with no lights and no sign of anypony. Cerulean stared at it in confusion as they approached.

"What kind of party lasts less than fifteen minutes? Are you sure this is the right place, Twilight?" he questioned, peering into the darkness. She nodded once, a slight smile playing at the corners as they walked inside, whereupon Cerulean's vision exploded. The lights shot on and streamers and balloons suddenly flew around the room, a miniature maelstrom of rainbow colored fun.

"Surprise!" a myriad of voices shouted, each face beaming at the newcomer's shock. Pinkie Pie popped up in front of Cerulean, speaking much too fast for him to process before dashing over to the record player and turning on the music. Bewildered, he turned to Twilight.

“I may have only been here for a day, but something tells me it will take some time for me to master her dialect. In the meantime, perhaps you could be my translator?”

"Um... I got 'welcome,' 'Cerulean,' 'punch,' and 'dance,'" Twilight responded, shaking her head. "Come, I want you to meet my dearest friends." He nodded and followed her over to the refreshments table where Rarity, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash and Applejack were chatting. "Hey guys, I want you to give a big welcome to Cerulean Snowgleam."

"How do you do?" Rarity said, walking over. "My name is Rarity. My, you have a beautiful mane!" With this she proceeded to examine it in detail, feeling the consistency and running her hoof through it. Cerulean stood stock still, confused as to how to react the mare's invasion of his personal space. Satisfied with her assessment she stepped back.

"The pleasure is mine, Miss Rarity," he said, composing himself and bowing his head slightly. Rarity looked over at Twilight, gave her a wink and whispered "I approve," before cantering off to mingle with the guests.

"Rarity, it isn't like that!" Twilight called after her. Rarity either didn't hear or ignored the statement, leaving Twilight in a huff.

"Oh ho, look at the proper pony!" Rainbow Dash said, trotting up to Cerulean with a smirk. "I'm Rainbow Dash, fastest flier in Ponyville!" She offered a hoof, which Cerulean shook heartily.

"Nice to meetcha. We should race sometime, flying at high speeds is exhilarating," he replied with knowing smile. Rainbow Dash cocked her head, confusion turning quickly to mirth.

"Um... You do realize you don't have any wings, right?" she giggled, pointing at Cerulean's back to prove her point.

"I guess you're just too scared, then," he said with a shrug, nonchalantly staring at his hoof. Cerulean could tell that, boastful as she may be, her confidence was backed with the skill to perform. In truth he didn't know why he was pushing for a contest he couldn't hope to win, as losing wouldn't exactly impress anypony. But if he could win, maybe he could endear himself to the ponies of the town, or at least impress them enough that they wouldn’t leave him alone. Rainbow Dash, never one to turn down a challenge, promptly flew above the festivities and addressed the crowd.

"Attention everypony! The new guy, Cerulean, has challenged me to a race. It's gonna go down tomorrow, starting at the edge of Everfree and ending at City Hall." A murmur arose, the general consensus being that the wingless unicorn was sure to lose. Rainbow Dash landed in front of Cerulean who met her challenging gaze. "No hard feelings when you lose, all right?" Dash said with a wink.

"None at all, I look forward to it," he replied, nodding. Having adequately defended her pride, Rainbow Dash proceeded to stuff her face with cupcakes, turning back to the table. Applejack tipped her hat to Cerulean before turning to Fluttershy, who was hiding behind her long pink mane.

"C'mon now Shy, don't be rude t' the guest o' the party," she said, gently nudging her forward. Her greeting came out as a soft squeak which, while cute and dainty, offered little by way of communication. Cerulean could tell she was uncomfortable, and Twilight looked over as he scrutinized the mare, trying to figure out something to say.

"Try talking about animals, she really likes them," Twilight's voice whispered into his ear.

"You like animals, Miss?" Another soft squeak. Cerulean took a step closer and noticed Fluttershy flinch, her frame shaking slightly. She looked away, too frightened to look at the blue stallion in front of her. Suddenly, a small statuette of a bunny made of ice formed in front of her. She gasped and snatched it up, eyes shining as she admired the inherent cuteness of the sculpted bunny and her nervousness put to flight by the adorable likeness to one of her favorite animals.

"Oh wow, it looks so real! It even has whiskers and everything! Look at it's cute little tail..." she trailed off, enraptured. She turned to look at Cerulean, suddenly unafraid. "I'm Fluttershy. Nice to meet you, Mr. Snowgleam," she said, her delicate voice barely audible over the music and background noise. Cerulean's horn glowed briefly as he bent down and tapped the sculpture with his horn.

"It won't stay solid forever, but that should at least let it make it through the night without melting," he reassured, flashing her a smile. Fluttershy hugged it to her chest, nodding her thanks. Applejack was about to speak when a pink blur rushed to the refreshment table, devoured an entire cake in two bites, and then proceeded to begin dancing madly around the room. Pinkie Pie, in the throes of sugary bliss, remained unaware that her flailing limbs were causing no small amount of discomfort among the other guests, spilling punch and various treats to the ground. A particularly potent kick sent two ponies flying into the air; one falling on the record player, one bowling into Twilight, knocking her off balance and sending her tumbling into Cerulean.

They rolled over half way, Cerulean landing on top with his face dangerously close to Twilight's lips. They stared at each other for a moment, both blushing, unable to look away. Cerulean could feel her warm breath on his face, a sensation he found most enthralling, with Twilight in much the same position as the memory of her premonition came back. A suddenly booming laughter shook the rafters as Rainbow Dash fell a short distance to the ground, rolling in the hay that broke her fall as tears streamed from her eyes. Rarity had her face covered by her hoof, a slight smile playing at her lips. Fluttershy's eyes were wide, her face bright pink, both hooves held to her mouth. Applejack just glared, teeth making an unpleasant grinding noise as Cerulean yet again showed, in her mind, his true colors.

Pinkie Pie, no longer dancing on account of the notable silence, made her way through the crowd to see what everypony was staring at. Upon seeing Cerulean and Twilight, still in a daze from the tumble, Pinkie Pie gave a gleeful squeal. "Oh, oh I know this game! C'mon everypony, PONYPILE!" she screamed, flinging herself upon the two hapless ponies. The resulting crash reverberated the walls more than the music had that night.