• Published 4th Feb 2014
  • 2,511 Views, 87 Comments

Blankets - MidnightDancer



Nopony said marriage was easy. Carrot Cake must find a way to traverse the canyon between Cupcake and himself.

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Blankets
By MidnightDancer

I wake, a sudden chill down my spine. My eyes open reluctantly, fixing on the ceiling of the little room I share with my wife. My Cupcake. In the gloom, my eyes can barely discern the cheerful, bright patterns above me; made to be seen and appreciated the most in the shining light of day. The clock beside my bed ticks over the minute past midnight, and I sigh.

I'm still cold.

Reluctantly, I turn to the right. The outline of my wife stands out, stark against the window beyond the bed. I can see that, in her sleep, she has rolled over, taking the blankets with her. Moonlight washes over her mane, the usually impeccable tresses flowing like pink, glowing water down the bedspread. I can't see the other side, but I can imagine, after so many years of marriage, that her nose barely peeks out of the blankets; the rest of her snuggled down warm and soft.

A ghost of a smile crosses my lips, and I shiver once more. I reach out with one hoof, experimentally tugging at the blankets, only to find them firmly in the grasp of my wife. I try once more, grabbing with my teeth this time and pulling harder; yet still, they barely budge from the slumbering pony. I give up, a good natured huff escaping me. The bedsprings squeak once in protest at my rolling, and I glance back up to the ceiling, wandering through the recesses of my mind.

There is a faction in Equestria, made up almost wholly of stallions, that preach and shout and stomp to any that will listen that mares are weaker than stallions and thus, below them. It has always been my private and unshakable belief that none of these stallions have ever once had to try to get the blankets back from a sleeping mare. I smile to myself at that thought, before my muzzle droops once again, my eyes drifting to her. Slowly, I roll over, still careful not to disturb her; one hoof reaching out to gently touch her, before falling away, just short.

Lately, there's been a canyon there, you see. A large, unspeakable gulf that I can actually feel getting larger sometimes. Sometimes the gulf is tiny; nigh-nonexistent, and I can hold her in my forelegs and stroke her mane and giggle with her about this and that; but so often, the canyon grows. So often, it gets so large and deep that even if I squint, I barely recognize her as my wife on the other side.

The canyon doesn't come from nowhere, though. Sometimes, I cause it, and other times, she causes it. Tonight, I know she blames me for the gulf but really, I feel it's her fault.

In the end, though... it's not important. My hoof worries at the sheets between us, and I scrunch my eyes shut; drawing in on myself like a young, lost foal. Curled up on our tiny bed but still leaving that important space between, I let a sigh dance through the air, the aching emptiness and the loneliness while being a mere three inches from her permeating my being.

What's important is that the canyon exists and that I wish it did not exist. There was a time, when we were much younger and Cup still had so much spring to her step and shine to her eyes, that I could simply lay a hoof on her withers and nuzzle her. I never felt, back then, that I needed to hurdle a gorge simply to offer her support or comfort.

We could simply lay quietly together on the highest hill in Ponyville, watching the sunset. I loved seeing the deep fingers of rosy light across her blue coat, dappling in the summertime through the trees. Or when we finally bought the bakery—we spent hours together the day we opened baking our first stock. That little poke of the tongue from the side of her muzzle when she carefully squeezed on frosting to her namesake, the practiced ease of how she rolled the tarts, the hoofprints in the flour we spilled—all of that just made me fall a little deeper in love each time.

I certainly never felt that I needed to draft my every interaction with her, editing and re-writing in my head the parts that seemed likely to make that rift grow. Conversations that took mere seconds ten years ago now take minutes, sometimes hours—both of us carefully circling the other with our words, hoping against hope that we'll catch one another. I wonder, as I lay here curled up beside my gently snoring wife, why we lay these little verbal traps. Is it to pull the other closer, cross that canyon... or is it to ensnare, to capture, to hold the other aloft and score points on some Luna-damned board?

And I never, never once, saw that glimmer of fear in her eyes before. I can tell by her cautious approach to me and her pauses in speech that she is doing the same thing—composing, re-composing, and carefully evaluating each possible outcome. It's in the hitch in her voice, the way one front hoof is always slightly off the ground, the uneasy sway of a mare truly considering simply running. That glimmer of fear has overridden the usual shine and zest for life she once had.

I hate myself for it.

I roll off the bed, setting my hooves down gently before carefully making my way into the hall, down to the first door on the left. The bathroom light is bright, too bright, and I fumble for the taps; splashing my face with cold water, I finally open my eyes to look at the stallion I've become. I... I don't like what I see.

I'm not sure why she does.

The walk down the hall to that half-open door on the right feels more like the trudge of a criminal, being brought back to see the fruits of his crime. I poke my head in, the tiny creak of the door deafening in this absolute silence. Moonlight has spilled into my children's room, snaking across the carpeting to the crib, coming to rest finally upon two soft forms. I can feel my own face soften as I reach inside, gently stroking my son's mane as he and his twin sleep peacefully beneath their blankets.

Ponies tell you, always, that having foals changes things. That it's a whole new life, even after the huge leap into marriage. Back then, standing tall and proud beside my Honeybun as she grew and nurtured and perfectly cared for our twins inside her own body—an idea that I'm not quite sure I'll ever fully wrap my mind around the enormity of—we smiled. We bumped noses playfully, looking at each other and looking forward together and knowing—knowing! How naive we were—that we were prepared for anything.

When I stood beside the hospital bed and watched two foals, neither of which were Earth Ponies, come out of my wife... I realized I most certainly was not prepared for that. Every word, every action over the past two years from my Cupcake to any other male was thrown in harsh relief, leaving me to wonder if that unicorn vendor wasn't a little too friendly, if she didn't giggle just a little too cutely at that pegasus customer's jokes. I stood there under the harsh and unforgiving hospital florescent light, staring blankly down at two snuggling foals in her forelegs, a frozen smile on my face as the doctor's exclamations about genes this and hereditary traits that droned on.

I think he went on for a bit about peas. I don't quite remember.

I give a last stroke to my son's mane, and plant a whisper-soft kiss on each of their perfect little foreheads. It is late, and my exhausted body cries out for relief. I make my way back to my room—our room—and hope against hope that maybe she's rolled over since I left.

Ah. Not so much. I slip back into bed, laying now with my back to her. Every inhale, I can feel the soft blankets wrapped around her rubbing gently on my back and withers. Against my better judgement, I lean further against them, letting my eyes slip shut as I enter my memories once more.

I tried to be every inch a proud father. I helped name them, showed them off to the girls while Cup rested, and kept that frozen rictus of a grin on my face the whole time. Pinkie and her friends cooed and giggled, and it comforted me in that moment to see one of the smartest ponies around completely accepting this quirk of biology. Twilight even offered advice!

I tried, so hard, not to let my paranoia get the best of me. Eventually, though... it did. In the end, I quietly brought a lock of my son's mane and my own mane to a magical scientist. I did not tell Cup, or anypony else, and the scientist had a sworn confidentiality agreement.

I curl closer against her, and feel her shiver and pull in tightly against herself. I suppose I deserve that.

She knew. Somehow, she knew. There was no logical way, but... she did.

Mares, for all their power and strength, have a fey way about them that I have yet to truly understand. Some sort of way of tapping the underlying ebb and flow of emotions and translating them to real events that transcends even the inherent magic that permeates this land. The cock of her head and strange shimmer to her eyes when I told her everything was "just fine" was enough to tell me that she knew. She would never tell me she knew—she had no hard proof, after all—but as we stood and traded stares under our respective masks of loving calm, I knew she knew.

It was true, everything was fine, and I can proudly call my children my own. But I cannot proudly call myself a good husband for that. Trust is the most precious of commodities in a marriage, and knowing that I had lost that trust—even for a little while—made me ill. She hadn't done anything wrong. All she had done was bore me two strong, healthy children that I could be proud of.

And instead, I found reason to doubt her.

The clock ticks over again to twelve-fifteen. I bring up my hooves, rubbing my bleary eyes before squinting again at the mare beside me. I ran my eyes over her again, debating each critical thing I had said towards her.

The rift opened soon after, and regardless of the fact that I had no real reason to behave poorly, I did. Maybe it was my stupid pride, hurt at being proved wrong about my children and wife. Maybe that private embarrassment needed some outlet, yet still, I ought to have known better.

It was true that after having the twins, her generous figure had only expanded slightly. It was to be expected, and I knew that, yet I couldn't help but mildly judge her each time she ate. I tried to introduce more healthy things to our menu, but with Pinkie Pie and a mother somewhat dependent on sugar and caffeine to get through the day, it was a losing battle. Many were the battles we fought, not always with words, me attacking under the guise of "concern".

My gut churns and my face heats as compounded embarrassment rears up to slap me.

Do I really care that much? Does it really make that big a difference that I need to tell her what to eat, and how? Why did I assume that she didn't know her choices weren't the healthiest, and why did I think it was any of my business? She was entirely healthy, and her doctor had already told us that her weight was not affecting her adversely. All it did was drive her to eat in secret. Drive her away from me in yet another way.

I groan softly into the silence, pinching the bridge of my nose with a hoof. I remember all of it. All the times I glared at her over a cupcake, or snapped at her over the same spilled flour that so charmed me ten years ago. I remember her face, most of all.

The cautious stare of a mare that isn't quite sure who has done away with her husband and replaced him with this... thing.

Perhaps the rift protects her. Perhaps being on the other side, safely with her children, gives her some small measure of comfort.

Her silhouette against the window blurs, breaking into small refracted glows of light, and it takes me a moment to realize that I am crying.

Screaming across a canyon is no way to live with another pony. Deliberately ensuring the canyon is there is no help, either. I feel a small surge of anger worm through my stomach and up to my chest at her. How dare she not try to fix this? Doesn't she care?

And just like that, lying on the cold side of the bed beside my wife at twenty past midnight, the anger disappears. Perhaps I am too old to continue fighting. Or too tired.

Or, perhaps, too mature. My mind works, clicking through the scoreboard, totted with marks on both our sides, before I quite suddenly toss it down into that Luna-damned canyon. A sudden spike of cold dread at throwing away the one weapon I have to win against her shoots through me, before being replaced with a giddy warmth. Radiating out from my chest, it spreads to my forelegs and head and eventually, I breathe out. A small, fond smile replaces my previous frown, and I turn fully to face her back.

The canyon might always be there, but there is nothing saying that we cannot be on the same side of it. I realize now that I am going to have to build a bridge. It is a good thing, then, that I have a strong back and able hooves. Bridges take time to build, to make them sturdy and safe for travel, and I know it will be some time before she can join me permanently on my side. Yet, there is nothing saying I cannot show her my efforts to build that bridge, and I begin by draping one foreleg across my slumbering wife's body. She shivers, then relaxes, body pressing back against my chest.

I hold her, even through the cumbersome blankets, and stroke her mane. The smell of sugar and fresh bread rises from her, and I smile. Snuggling deeper against her, I pull her in tightly, willing my feelings of love and devotion to translate through the fluffy barrier.

Marriage is not a war. She is not my enemy.

She is my love. My Cupcake.

And I can't believe I ever forgot that.

Author's Note:

for my best beloved.

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Comments ( 87 )

denver.mylittlefacewhen.com/media/f/rsz/mlfw7901_small.jpg
☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁☁

3893117 :p leave my love of ascii codes alone


3893153 That means a lot, coming from you. Thanks.

3893153

Did you Dig-Dug it?

I've very mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I really like the thematic elements in this. It has a very powerful message that I admire, and I wish I could write something as deep as this. The whole premise is solid, and Mr. Cake is very well done.

On the other hand... this feels off. I feel like this should be sad, but it's really not. It's more of a brooding, introspective fic, and while there's nothing wrong with that, it feels... incomplete. I feel like there should be something more here, because I'm just not getting "dem feels." I dunno. Maybe it's just me. Very nice, either way.

3893182 Eh. Was written more for myself than anyone else. It made sense to me :p It is fairly introspective, and it wasn't meant to be ultimately sad (for once), so there's that.

I found this to be really quite provocative. There's this reality about the story, in how we change and how we do not, and how sometimes it's not a suddern shift but a subtle infiltration that leads you to the point where the person in the mirror isn't someone you're sure you know for certain, or which side of the mirror is the better one.

It takes that, and manages to acknowledge the struggle and the truth that there will be struggle without losing itself to hollow, inactive brooding. He has his moment of doubt and despair, then he gets through it.

Lots of emotions here, yet none rampant and immature. Reflective, introspective, explorative and insightful. Written like a guy who's married to his love, is natural and flawed, makes mistakes, has moments of weakness and moments of strength.
Yay for MidnightDancer's quarter-past-midnight story

Very muchy enjoied.

As I read this, I began saying to myself, "This had better end with them making up, or Imma slap-a-hoe." However, once I reached the final stretch, I realized that would have ruined the effect. The faint glimmer of hope, the resolution to make it better, the incredibly subtle body movements. Very well done. :ajsmug:

I hope your parents become batman.

3893400 Thanks, Jake!


3893408 Joke's on you, one's a ho and one's a... well, another ho.

you see where i get it from

I love this like I love you nuff said:moustache:

I know too well the feeling of screaming across the chasm at someone ten inches from you. This reminded me of it:
i.imgur.com/hkQYzxb.gif

Thanks a lot, Dancer. Sheesh :rainbowwild:

But seriously, truly moving story :pinkiehappy: Love me some good Cup/Carrot Cake fics.

I feel the feels but I don't know what to say besides good job.

Very well done, Dancer. I really liked this, the way you handled his emotions. Sweet and sad, and redeeming.

3893182

It's more of a brooding, introspective fic, and while there's nothing wrong with that, it feels... incomplete.

Probably because - at least in my mind - it is exactly that: more of a brooding, introspective fic. There's no real tragedy, not yet, but this is a good thing; while there is a chasm there, at least he realizes how much he loves his wife and how wrong he was before he could let it go too far. There are many things that hurt in life, but the death of a long-term relationship - especially a marriage - is one of the very most painful things I've ever gone through. I'm very glad this fic didn't touch on that.

Take my fav. Take my like. Take my read. Take it all!

Beautiful. :heart:

Written with such depth and emotion, I can't help but feel this was drawn from the well of personal experience - as much as I am loathe to admit it, this could be a snapshot taken directly from my own life. I'd say that it touched a chord in me, but it was more akin to playing my emotions like sheet music.

Liked and faved without hesitation.

3893449
3893524 Thanks!


3893640 sorry :3

3894103 you hit the nail on the head, there :) I've also gone through a marriage falling apart-that's not something I'm gonna drag into pone.


3894661 *takes*


3895245 It was indeed. The canyon is such a real thing, but so hard to figure out how to fix, no matter how many times it appears.

I truly wish that Hasbro would take the time to develop it's side characters like this.

Wow.
That certainly was introspective; almost dark given the themes it covers. The middle portion, where his trust began to erode, especially felt like the story equivalent of slowly, inevitably sliding down a scree slope and off a cliff. The ending though gives a glimmer of hope that the canyon can be bridged and the relationship saved.

I am sorry to hear this was based off of personal experience. Nobody should have to go through that...

On a completely unrelated and silly note this happened to pop into my mind:
derpicdn.net/img/view/2012/10/9/117854.jpg
I am a horrible person...

Comment posted by AceOmega deleted Feb 5th, 2014

3898757 The personal experience was with the canyon itself; the bit about the children was more because it's part of Cup and Carrot's life. Either way, sucks a bit, yeah.

Most of the time I like to picture the Cakes as the idyllic perfect family, but it's also nice to see a more realistic interpretation. They're not perfect, they go through troubles and obstacles like everypony else, but they still love each other and they struggle to overcome those obstacles.

I really liked it. Very interesting exploration of Carrot's thoughts. It was beautiful :twilightsmile:

Owie.... Right in the feels... :fluttercry:

All my yes. :twilightsmile:

:pinkiesad2:
Love the story

Great story! Almost brought a tear to my eye. I'm glad it ended on a hopeful note. :twilightsmile:

You know, I think this is the first story I have read by you. Let me be the first to say that you have done a damn fine job with this story. Colour me impressed at your writing abilities.

Hmm, solid writing skills, that I have to say. Also, this kind of bittersweet to me, not because I'm in a marriage or anything, but my parents aren't exactly going through their best phase right now. So yeah, this has a pretty personal feel to it, but it was still an enjoyable story. As an admin of Twilight's library, I say good job and let's approve this fic.

Dancer, you make me feel the feels :raritydespair:
I quite enjoyed this; it was easy for my tired mind to glance over at 5:56 AM. Some may call that a mark of a pedestrian story, but honestly, stories to not gain merit by being harder to read/understand (which is something I've yet to learn with my stories). If you can make a tired kid cry at the early hours of the morning, while the words flow like a sweet honey, then you wrote a damn good fic.

Schisms and chasms grow and shrink, avalanches fill the gorges we once thought impassable. The Earth doesn't part to keep us away from one another, but to save us from creating something worse than a divide together.
;~;

Your stories, Dancer, they often scare me, because I am weak of character. I'm young, and I have yet to experience the hardships of life on a grand scale. One day, though, I'll get out of gas, out of car, out of road, out of everything at last, huddled up on the floor of some convenience store bathroom, cold; and in that moment, it's not funny, for once (for when bad things happen to me, they usually are). For once, I am more pathetic than I ever was, and I will be purely and completely terrified. Even though it's just pony fanfiction, you set a part of yourself into it that doesn't make me pity you, it makes me admire how god damn strong you are, as a person.

And I hope that one day I'll be able to exhibit half of the strength you do.

I love you, mom.

One issue:

or is it to ensnare, to capture, to hold the other aloft and score points on some Luna-damned board?


and your other usage of Luna strikes me as careless, really; Luna has not been around long enough to instill herself as a god figure yet (especially so since Carrot Cake grew up and lived a good portion of his adult life believing that Celestia was the only sister. Do note that Luna was basically a faded figment, a part of nightmare night at the very most, and I can't easily see him hailing her as a god figure so soon.)

3944479 Awww Regi ;~; Second-best son <3

Thanks. Seriously. It helps to hear. I about teared up.

3956801 I meant every god damn word :heart:

3895245

Mmm. Character development is a precious thing, and every bit costs. So they focus on the main characters.

This story was a sucker-punch to the feels. And like a sucker-punch, it left me light-headed and a little out of breath.

Okay, so the chapter title is a cloud. I need to know how to do this so bad, I had to edit this comment for profanity. Clouds are awesome.

☁☁☁☁

I copypasted this what is this what is it i am no longer capable of multiplying by two

HAHAHA YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU HAVE UNLEASHED

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Short... but impactful. Emotional. Well done, I'm sure that they can recover.

Words fail me, save one: fantastic

How are you able to do that with your chapters titles?

Marriage, much like life, is a journey. However, staying with your loved one always requires that both people/ponies must take part in. How did you put so much feeling into these characters?

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