• Published 2nd Nov 2013
  • 8,289 Views, 346 Comments

Alienation - Longtooth

I am not Twilight Sparkle. We share one body, one past, but not our souls. I do not know why I am here, or why I have done these terrible things. This is my story.

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You can imagine how well that went over. No, they didn’t get it. How could they? From their perspective it was a random statement, a complete non-sequitur. Rarity and Applejack decided that I was too distraught to answer their questions, and insisted that I be looked at by a doctor. A different doctor, not the one that I had… well, okay, yes I guess that part’s obvious.

I wasn’t a good patient. I mean, I didn’t try to kill this one, but I wasn’t very good at following the doctor’s instructions. They did, with some cajoling from Twilight’s friends, manage to get me to swallow some pills that calmed me down. Further attempts to question me only continued the stream of very-true nonsense that no one but me understood. I’m very lucky they didn’t decide to keep me overnight for observation.

Fluttershy got Spike to swallow a dangerously large amount of painkillers and he was finally able to relax. The message was sent up to Canterlot for a pony specializing in draconic physiology to come and help take care of him. All this happened while I sat in mildly-drugged shock, my thoughts spiralling inwards.

I didn’t eat anything the whole day. They tried to make me, but the memory of my panic that morning was too fresh, too dangerous. I refused anything solid, though I did gulp down water and coffee by the cup. Before I knew it, it was night. The whole day lost because of a moment of fear. I cannot tell you how pissed off that makes me now. The first day I can actually call my own, wasted.

Yes, I’m bitter. Why wouldn’t I be? At least I’m not blaming Spike or anything. I know whose fault this was.

The doctor wanted me to stay at the hospital. Applejack wanted me to come to Sweet Apple Acres, and Rarity agreed, though she offered a room at her own place if I didn’t feel like going that far. I refused them all. They just wanted to keep an eye on me, to make sure I was okay. No, actually that’s not true. They wanted to make sure Twilight was okay.

I didn’t want to be looked after. I didn’t want friends or comfort or forgiveness or understanding. I wanted to be alone, and I got what I wanted.

I was probably pretty rude to Twilight’s friends. I honestly don’t recall. They never brought up my behaviour that night, so I don’t think I was all that horrible. In any case I ditched them and went home.

The library looked… well, okay from most angles. There was a big hole punched through the trunk of the tree where the kitchen was, but some helpful ponies had already boarded it up, which looked like weird bandage. Like one of those adhesive ones, that are supposed to be colored like your coat, but since they have to be generic they’re just off enough that it looks strange and obvious? That kind. It was disconcerting, but someone once told Twilight that it was better to have a lampshade than a bare bulb, and I guess this was something similar.

Inside, there were hoofprints all over my floor. I spent an inordinate amount of time staring at them. The kitchen had been swept up, everything broken removed. It was odd. I felt a sense of loss to see my kitchen so broken. But I also felt somehow invigorated by it.

I’d put a hole in my wall. I’d made a mess, and I didn’t feel the slightest need to clean it up. I’d put a hole in my wall over pancakes. The absurdity of it can’t be understated.

So I laughed. I stared at the dirty floor and the broken library and I laughed, and laughed, and laughed. I laughed my way up the stairs to my bedroom. I laughed as I went to the washroom and I laughed as I looked at my stupid, grinning face in the mirror.

Then I screamed. My horn pulsed with light and the mirror shattered. I fell to the floor, curled up around myself and began to sob.

What? Oh, don’t roll your eyes at me. Yes, it sounds all dramatic and overblown when I tell it now, but at the time it was… real. I felt like my world was ending. I felt like I was losing my mind. Twilight wasn’t a stranger to despair, or to having loved ones hurt.

One time, soon after she had become Celestia’s student, Twilight’s brother was injured in a training accident with the Royal Guard. She was brought to the hospital by her parents. She saw him, her BBBFF, lying in a bed with tubes in his nostrils and a dozen beeping devices scattered around him. The adults around her said that he was going to be okay, but she was old enough to know then that adults often lied to spare the feelings of children. She saw him, unconscious, hurt, and she was sure that he was going to die.

She cried then. For hours, inconsolable. It took Celestia herself coming to the hospital to calm her down. It got turned into a lesson. A bit of pony biology so that Twilight could understand exactly how Shining Armor was hurt and why it wasn’t that bad.

I remember that as clearly as she did. I remember that as if it happened to me. I have to make a conscious effort to recognize that Shining Armor isn’t my brother, that Celestia was never my teacher, that… that I’m just an observer. It’s a hard habit to get into.

The pain and fear I was feeling curled up on the bathroom floor, it felt nothing like what Twilight had experienced in that Canterlot hospital. It was at once both more intimate and more impersonal. I had hurt Spike, but that was like I had hurt someone else’s friend. An acquaintance I knew but hadn’t formed close attachments with. And that distance from the relationship I knew I should have, that’s what hurt most. I felt like I was betraying him by not feeling as bad as I should. And I knew that it was because I was not who I should be.

I was coming apart. If I had still been Twilight, then it would have probably devolved into another round of neurotic breakdown. A few days of acting like a lunatic and delusions of guilt, the friends would rally and the hugs would be given, then capped off with a letter to Celestia and all would be well.

I don’t deal with things the same way as she did, though. I didn’t know it at the time, of course, but I don’t take to this meltdown stuff as easily as she did. And I know I keep saying it, but this was my first day ever. I didn’t even know there was a different way for me to react. So it came as a complete surprise to me when I grabbed a shard of broken mirror and stabbed it into my leg.

Yes. Of course it hurt. That was the point. My brain was running in pointless circles, and it was getting me nowhere. The pain focused me. It was an urgent problem, one that could be dealt with immediately, and one that was unambiguous. The pain broke the cycle, got me thinking rationally again. I really should have done something like it a lot sooner.

So, there I was, lying on my bathroom floor, surrounded by shards of my mirror, in my broken house, with a jagged piece of glass sticking out of my leg, just below the cutie mark. Yes, right here, where the coat’s greyed a bit from the scarring. I probably could have avoided the scar if I had just gone back to the hospital to have it cleaned and stitched by a professional, but there was no way I was going back there that night. The wound wasn’t dangerous, anyway, I know enough about biology to be able to hurt myself without fear of doing any real damage. Anyways, the stab wound did what it was supposed to do, and my mind took the opportunity to reset itself.

Twilight is a fairly rational mare when she’s not being a wide-eyed innocent or a babbling neurotic. One of the qualities we share is a penchant for thinking things out. So, I thought about it. I pulled the glass out of my leg and I bound the wound and I thought about it. I cleaned the wound out with a wet face towel and I stitched it closed with a magically sterilized needle and some dental floss and I thought about it. I tested the injured leg by sweeping up the broken mirror shards without magic, and I thought about it.

Finally, I picked up one of the larger shards from the neat pile I had made and looked at myself again. Dishevelled, tear-stained, baggy-eyed and haunted. I looked terrible, yes, but that wasn’t what made me stare hard into the silvered glass. No, I was searching for something. Something I couldn’t quite define at the time. I know what it was now, though. I was looking for a sign. Some indication that I was possessed or that I was brainwashed or that something, anything could explain the conclusion I was drawing.

There was nothing there, of course. There wasn’t then, and there hasn’t been every time I’ve looked. I don’t know why I’m here. I just am.

“I am not who I should be,” I told my reflection. “But if I’m not who I should be, then who am I?” I didn’t know. I still don’t, not fully, but that was moment I made my decisions. The ones that led me here, to you, to this. The first was to find out who I was, by the simple procedure of trial and error. I resolved to discover what kind of pony I was, and by any means figure out my origins. I had a vague notion that I would find out what had happened to the real Twilight Sparkle somewhere along the line, but I was honestly more concerned with figuring out who I am than where she went. Second, I decided to hide this from Twilight’s friends.

I thought I was acting rationally, doing my best to figure it all out and leave the possibility for Twilight’s smooth return to her life. Maybe I was, or maybe this all could have been avoided if I had been open with them from the beginning. It certainly would have made trying to tell them now a lot simpler. I definitely could have avoided the whole thing with… okay, I’m getting ahead of myself again.

My decision made, I put the mirror shard down and set about figuring out what to do next. I was exhausted. The day had been so wearing on me, despite spending most of it sitting down and not moving. So going to bed was an option. However, my stomach growled to remind me that I had also not eaten anything in over twenty-four hours. I could either go to sleep and deal with the hunger in the morning, or I could find something to eat now. Even with my kitchen in shambles there was probably something there I could throw together for a quick late-night snack.

But I didn’t want a late night snack, and I didn’t want to just put off my problems, and my resolution, until morning. I wanted to take action now. So I trotted downstairs and out the door, limping a bit on my injured leg, and set off to find some place in Ponyville that served food this late, if there was such a place.

It turns out, such a place does exist, but it’s somewhere that Twilight had never been to before, and likely never would have gone on her own initiative.

In other words, exactly what I wanted.

Author's Note:

True word count: 6331. Days 1-4 covered.