• Published 15th Feb 2012
  • 14,041 Views, 606 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 8: Promises

Consciousness slowly returned to Twilight due to the muffled shouts echoing all around her. She refused to move due to the biting cold that had numbed the tips of her limbs, and she screwed her eyes closed as the nausea inducing headache kicked in. Whatever she was laying on was ice cold, and while uncomfortable for most of her body, it was soothing for her head.

Then the memories came back, and she opened her eyes to find herself lying on top of Cerulean. She opened her eyes and slowly, painfully stood upright before gasping in shock as she beheld the stallions dire condition. There were traces of blood along his back where the bottom layer of ice had shattered and dug deep. The amount of blood he had lost was minimal, due to the low temperature freezing the wound shut shortly after being opened, but the most worrisome fact was that the air had remained as cold as it had. Just as she feared, his horn was glowing softly as his regret manifested into reality.

“Cerulean, why... why would you try something so foolish?” The shouting outside caused her to look up, noticing that they were still trapped within a large half-sphere of ice. She could make out the forms of ponies all around, bucking the ice and making nary a dent. Walking over, she placed her horn to the wall, attempting to analyze the structure of the spell only to find there wasn’t one. “This... this is what you were talking about, isn’t it, Cerulean? But, how do I take it down then?” If he can do it, so can I. I’m the Element of Magic, and I’m not going sit here and do nothing. He needs a doctor, I have to help... Touching her horn again to the structure, she closed her eyes and began gathering magic in her horn, her mind filled not with her theories and spells, but a singular desire to escape their icy tomb. Flooding the ice with her magic, it began to crack, lavender fractures racing through and finally shattering, letting the in the sunlight.

“Twi, are you ok?” Applejack yelled, jumping in and wrapping the tired mare in her hooves. “Ah thought we lost ya, Twilight. Ahm glad yer safe.”

“Thank you, Applejack, but Cerulean...”

“Is a damned fool,” she growled, stepping back and eyeing the stallion with contempt. “Look at what he did, Twilight.” Twilight raised her eyes and looked around, but she wished she could deny it. Discounting the sea of angry glares being directed at Cerulean, the impact had seemingly caused tremors on par with an earthquake, as shattered windows and broken supports were among a few of the damages on clear display around Ponyville. “Ah want him gone, Twilight. Ponyville has no need for a stallion like that.”

“Applejack, he’s hurt, he needs a doctor! He wasn’t trying to do this, you have to know that!”

“If you weren’t a good friend t’ me I’d give you an earful, defendin’ him like that. You ‘aven’t even known him a week. Fine, go ahead and take him to the clinic, but if he don’t have a good reason fer his actions, ah want ‘im gone. An’ if you don’t comply, ah’ll buck him out myself.” Applejack’s sentiments were shared by nearly every other pony around, and as she turned and walked away, so did everypony else, save Pinkie Pie who walked over and sat next to Twilight.

“I don’t want him gone, Twilight. He seems like a nice pony.”

“Thanks, Pinkie. He is, he just... somethings going on with him, I just don’t know what. I want to help, but until he let’s me in there’s nothing I can do.”

“Silly, that’s not true. You’re being his friend! Friendship is, like, the greatest thing ever! At least, greatest thing that can’t be eaten. Speaking of which, I’m famished! I’m going to grab some cupcakes, would you like me to bring you some?”

“Sorry, Pinkie, I’ll have to pass. I don’t think I could stomach anything.”

“Twilight, you better hurry, that looks really bad,” Pinkie urged, suddenly serious. Twilight followed the direction of her hoof over to Cerulean’s back, where the sudden rise in temperature was allowing the blood to flow once more. Without a thought she grabbed Cerulean and teleported into the lobby of the clinic, whereupon Nurse Redheart immediately called for assistance, rushing Cerulean to an empty bed and bandaging his wounds. Doctor Stable came in midway during the process, monitoring his vitals and hooking him up to various machines.

“Is he going to be ok?”

“Twilight, I can’t really say. Thanks to your prompt arrival, he hasn’t lost very much blood, but his pulse is incredibly low. His heart could give out at any minute, unless his condition improves.” A brief flash from his horn caused his heart to skip a beat, and an agonizing three seconds passed before the next beep came from the monitor. Twilight was already tired, whatever spell he had used consumed much of her magic, but she refused to walk away and just hope for the best. Even if nopony else could see it, she knew that there must be a reason for him to be like this, and she wasn’t letting him leave the world without knowing; those kinds of unanswered questions were the worst.

So, without another word on the matter, she climbed up onto the bed next to him, wrapped her hooves around him, and held him close. Ignoring the burning sensation as her already slightly frostbitten limbs cried out against the sudden rush of cold, she gently touched her horn to his and began to transfer some of her magic, slowly and evenly.

“Twilight, whatever you’re doing is helping. His heart rate is improving.” She allowed a small sigh of relief but said nothing, continuing to bequeath a trickle of life-giving magic over to Cerulean. Within a few minutes, his body temperature began to rise to normal levels, and as the last of the cold left she canceled the flow and lay exhausted by his side.

“Twilight, you’re really going out on a limb for him.” She turned wearily at Spike’s voice, who had at some point entered the room.

“Yes, Spike. Friendship isn’t just about when times are fun, but being there for other ponies when things are hard, too. And this stallion hasn’t had anypony to be there for him for a long time, so regardless of what others may feel, I’m not going to cast him away just because things are hard.”

“You know, a lot of ponies in Ponyville just want him gone. I mean, have you seen the town?” Twilight nodded, turning back to Cerulean.

“I’m not blind to what’s happened, Spike. I’m not happy with him either, but I know there’s a reason behind all of this.”

“If you say so. Everypony is pitching in to help with the repairs, and I bet you could help things along with your organization and magic.” Twilight knew she should, but she didn’t want to leave Cerulean alone. With as much enmity as there was surrounding him, the last thing he need was to wake from a near death experience to a world full of angry ponies. But she had done what she could, and even while she was drained emotionally and magically, she could at least help with the organization.

“You’re right, Spike, I’ll be right out,” she replied, giving Cerulean one more squeeze. “Hang in there, Cerulean. We’ll get through this.” Unfortunately, when she returned that evening, Cerulean hadn’t woken up. Nor the next morning. Worry and fear seemed to grow with each passing hour, and by the third day, Twilight was too sick to leave the house, not having eaten so much as an apple in the last forty-eight hours. All she could do was hope for his recovery, her studies forgotten in the face of her singular desire to see Cerulean well. Even to Twilight, the importance seemed irregularly high, but she couldn’t deny it. She wouldn’t deny it.

Cerulean awoke to a rhythmic beeping noise off to his right. He blinked a few times through bleary eyes, not able to see anything but a blur. He feebly raised a leaden hoof and rubbed his eyes, causing the dull throb in the back of his head to intensify. As his vision cleared, a quick scan of the surroundings revealed it to be a hospital room. His whole body felt drained of every last bit of energy, though that didn't surprise him; he had pushed himself far past his limit with his foolish bravado.

Was I really that desperate to win their approval? To impress Twilight and her friends? He examined his body, finding bandages around his chest and forelegs. I can hardly believe how moronic I was. I bet Twilight’s going to be furious. Wait, Twilight! The thought struck him like a thunderbolt, and suddenly all he could think about was if she was safe. He looked over at the machinery next to him and found the "Page Nurse" button, hitting it several times before waiting anxiously for someone to approach. He was about to hit it again when nurse Redheart entered the room, and he fired off his inquiry before she even had a chance to close the door. "Where's Twilight, is she hurt?"

"Calm down, she's fine. She was actually the pony that brought you here, and she didn’t have any injuries that required our assistance, though she did have help in healing you. You scared everypony half to death with that little stunt. I hear it took several earth ponies a full hour just to fill in the crater you left." Cerulean hung his head, too ashamed to speak in his own defense.

"I'm just glad she's safe..." he whispered, hooves held to his face. "Was everypony else all right?"

"Fortunately, there were no other injuries save your own. What you did was reckless, and there are quite a few ponies that want you out of Ponyville after that. However..." she said, sitting down beside the bed, "there is a certain mare by the name of Twilight that has been here every day to check on you since." She saw the confusion on his face, and shook her head. "Cerulean, you've been unconscious for three days."

"Three days?" He stared blankly, mouth agape and failing to fill his lungs with oxygen. Cerulean had heard every word, but he couldn't believe it. He forced his breathing to return to normal, trying to get his bearings and fight the torrent of self-hatred which seemed to be flooding every inch of his soul. Nurse Redheart remained silently seated by the bed, awaiting further questions. After a time and with great hesitation, Cerulean voiced his request. "Can... Can you ask Twilight to come talk to me? I need to apologize to her, and to everypony else, too." Redheart nodded, leaving him alone again. He tried to think about what he would say, what he could do to fix the situation, but everything came up blank. The stress of the situation began to catch up with him, combining with his pounding headache to produce a powerful narcotic-like effect, and he was soon asleep.

Twilight sat on her bed, gazing off in the distance at nothing in particular. A plate of food lay untouched at the foot of her bed. It was like part of her had been paralyzed, leaving her numb to everything around her. She didn't stir when she heard the knocking on the door below, and Spike wordlessly rose and answered. Twilight heard a few voices but she was too removed from reality to pick out who they belonged too. She glanced up as her friends ascended the steps.

"Twilight?" Applejack spoke softly. No response. "Twilight, he's awake." Twilight's head snapped up. "Nurse Redheart asked me to tell you, but ah thought maybe we should all go an’ see how he's doing."

"Yeah, he's got a lot of explaining to do!" Rainbow Dash chimed in. "I mean, that stunt he pulled was awesome but crazy even by my standards! What has he thinking?"

"That he certainly does," Applejack agreed, making no attempt to hide her anger. Twilight rose weakly from her bed, but Applejack gently pushed her back down onto the bed. “Not so fast, Twi. You ain’t goin’ anywhere until you ‘ave some food in your stomach.” She nodded and began eating automatically, ignoring her stomach’s cries of protest and finishing the plate. After downing a cup of water from Pinkie Pie, she stood once more, her legs shaking slightly as she descended to the floor, nearly falling to the ground. Rainbow Dash and Applejack moved in to help support her, and they slowly made their way to the clinic. Nurse Redheart fussed over Twilight's condition a bit before leading them to Cerulean's room. They entered quietly, everypony but Rainbow Dash noting that he was now asleep.

"Cerulean, what were you thinking?" she thundered, causing him to groan and sit up.

"Rainbow Dash!" Twilight turned, her face pained. Rainbow Dash landed and muttered an apology, drawing small circles on the floor with a hoof.

"No Twi, Rainbow Dash is right," Applejack countered, stepping in between the two and feeling no need to restrain herself now that Cerulean was awake anyways. Twilight cringed at the unbridled fury in her voice, stepping back. "Cerulean, you have a load o' explainin' to do. What could possibly 'ave made you do something so downright foolhardy? Are you that much of a show off, or are ya just plain stupid? You could have killed somepony, Cerulean! Nearly did, ah barely managed to get Pinkie and myself away in time. And do you have any idea how much the repairs are gonna cost the town? What 'ave you got to say fer yerself?" As bad as Cerulean's headache was, Applejack's thundering voice caused more pain than just the physical, his spirit crushed under an avalanche of accusations he couldn't hope to deny.

"I was afraid," Cerulean whispered, so quietly it could barely be heard. "I thought that maybe, just maybe, if I could pull off something amazing and win the admiration of the ponies of this town, then I would never have to worry about being abandoned again. That I..." There was a deafening smack as Twilight punched him full force in the face. Her friends all gasped, never having seen her take such violent action towards anypony. As much as Applejack had wanted to be the one to give him a sound beating, seeing him in such a pitiful state made her feel at least slightly bad for him. Cerulean was too shocked to pull his head back from where it had moved to from the blow.

"Did you really think the favor of others is as important as your own life? As their lives?" Twilight screamed, tears of frustration forming in her eyes. "How could you think we'd abandon you after we all threw you a party? After we talked about magic and Daring Do?" she lowered her voice as twin rivulets coursed down her cheeks. "After I held you in my arms to keep you from freezing in the night..." All traces of anger in her voice had left, leaving only sadness. Cerulean wanted to say something, anything, but couldn't find the words to express the tumult of emotions roiling inside his heart.

"You told me... You told me that you should never be ashamed of who you are, isn't that what you said?" Twilight leaned over and wrapped him in a tight embrace, whispering into his ear, "Who you are now is who we're trying to accept, not anypony else." Cerulean slowly put his hooves around her, returning the embrace. "Promise me... Promise me you'll never needlessly endanger yourself like that ever again."

"And promise you won't doing anything so dang foolish again. You're lucky nopony got hurt, cause I don't think I could forgive ya if they had," Applejack demanded. "As it is, it's gonna take time. An' not just for me, either. If it weren’t for Twilight, ah’d kick your sorry flank out o’ town myself."

"I promise, to both of you, that nothing like this will happen again. I'm sorry..." he managed before the last of his strength to fight the tears broke, releasing a small cascade.

"You better be," Applejack muttered before she spun around and briskly left the room.

"Perhaps it would be best if we left them alone for a bit, " Rarity said, looking at the others. They nodded, quietly excusing themselves. Twilight and Cerulean said nothing as they held each other, crying softly for several minutes. Eventually, the tides began to dry, and Cerulean pulled away so he could look Twilight in the eyes before speaking.

"I'm sorry, Twilight..." Cerulean whispered as he fought to regain his composure. "Up until now all you'd seen of me is the cheery, fun loving side. I was afraid to let you see the true condition of my heart." Twilight buried her face in his mane.

"You're wrong." Her response caught him off guard, but he said nothing. "You’ve shown plenty of signs that you’re suffering. The way you suddenly go from happy to sad at a moments notice, it speaks volumes, Cerulean. At night you... you shiver violently, and your magic flows out on it's own. It freezes everything around you..." Cerulean nodded.

"That's why I've slept outside for the last four years," he remarked, his hollow voice completely stripped of emotion. Twilight nodded once before continuing.

"I knew there had to be something going on deeper on the inside, but I didn't feel like it was my place to pry, even though I desperately wanted to know. You were cold as ice, Cerulean. It scared me, and I tried everything I could think of to help but nothing worked... So I climbed into your bed and held you, once at the library and once here at the hospital." Cerulean pulled away, regarding her with newfound awe. "It was piercingly cold at first, but you gradually began to warm again."

She knew about me, about my nightmares, but she didn’t run... she stay with me. So was that... the warmth that I felt? Maybe she can know the truth, then. No, she has to know. Fear rose up to quell the decision, but it was put to flight under the overwhelming magnitude of the conviction that flooded his whole being.

"Twilight, there's something I need to show you. I'm terrified of what you'll think of me afterwards, but you deserve to know... what caused me to become who I am now." Twilight cupped his face in her hooves, adopting the most confident look she could muster given the circumstances.

"Cerulean, don't be afraid. Nothing you could show me would ever..." She was stopped short as he put a hoof to her mouth, his pleading glance bidding her be silent. Twilight could see fear rising in his eyes; whatever he was about to show her, he was utterly terrified of how she would respond.

"Close your eyes," he whispered, leaning close. Twilight obeyed, and gave a shudder as his skin brushed hers; it was quickly dropping in temperature as if he were having another nightmare. She felt his horn touch hers, and everything went black.

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