• Published 7th Apr 2012
  • 12,336 Views, 667 Comments

Then Tomorrow Came - PonyAmorous

Twilight falls for Rainbow Dash but finds herself on the wrong end of a love triangle.

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Chapter 5

Chapter 5

Twilight Sparkle stared up at her ceiling in the vain hope that something would change. All she noticed was a tingling feeling where her right rear leg had fallen asleep. She had probably slept on it wrong. Something else was wrong. She was supposed to feel...what was she supposed to feel? What exactly had she been expecting? She didn't think she was just going to forget about Dash altogether. She knew emotional healing took time, that she might have lingering feelings for Dash for a long time. Still, she had hoped that four weeks of soul searching and introspection would have made some kind of dent. Instead, she felt just as miserable and heartbroken as ever.

She was certain she had dreamed about Dash again last night. While the memory had vanished before she had even finished waking up, she recognized the lingering feelings. The expectation as she rolled over and opened her eyes, and the crushing disappointment as she failed to see a splash of color beside her. The sense of betrayal, as if something wonderful had been dangled in front of her face before being cruelly ripped away, as her hooves met only air and mattress. The twist in her stomach and stinging behind her eyes as she remembered the unyielding facts of the waking world that she had been thrust back into so suddenly. The wrinkling of her nose as she squeezed her eyes shut in a desperate and futile attempt to rewind and pick up where she had left off for just a few minutes longer.

Twilight threw off the covers and leapt out of bed. Gritting her teeth as she tried to work feeling back into her leg, she began to pace, giving a flick of her tail at each turn as her frustration grew. She had done everything right. Had taken all the advice she had found in her books. Glancing over at the stack of books in the corner, she gave a snort of annoyance.

The guides to dealing with loss and moving on from failed relationships had been irritatingly vague. Aside from a few semi-useful breathing exercises she had found in one book, there was nothing of value to be gained from them. Every single one seemed to be no more than an exercise in filling pages by restating the same five stages of grief, followed by hollow platitudes of time healing all wounds. She had briefly entertained the notion of creating a drinking game for every time the phrase "Carpe Diem" appeared, but didn't hate her liver nearly enough to try it. The covers could be switched and she doubted the authors would even notice.

Bunch of useless, armchair psychologist hacks. Probably never had a tragic relationship in their lives and they feel qualified to give advice after a third hand account of somepony's experience and an intro level psych course.

She had turned next to fiction. Maybe there was a decent role model character in some romantic novel or play. Writers were supposed to be experts on the equine condition weren't they? Maybe she could at least get some decent catharsis.

Apparently, as the rejected love interest, she was supposed to either die tragically or graciously step aside, caring only about her beloved's happiness, and fade into the background. She had been trying to take the second path. She had reached the point where she gives one last nod over her shoulder and walks quietly off into the sunset, a last farewell whispering on the wind. The End.

And that was it. The story just stopped. It never explained what the character did the next day, or the next week, or year. Did they spend the rest of their days as a hermit pining away in a secluded shack? Did they go about their ordinary life, making breakfast or cleaning the house while giving long sighs about what could have been? What did they do with themselves now? Pick up a hobby making decorative coasters?

I'm supposed to care about Rainbow Dash's happiness above all else. If she's happy, that should be enough for me right?

But I want to be the one to make her happy. I'd rather she be happy than not, but it's not enough on its own. I need to be a part of it.

But if you truly love something, shouldn't you be able to let it go?

A stupid canard uttered only by idiots who have obviously never experienced love themselves. If you actually love something, you should go after it. Hold onto it no matter what it takes. No matter what the cost. To even consider "letting it go" just indicates that you never cared enough about it in the first place.

Something about this last thought rang true in her head. Her feelings were more than targeted and focused altruism. There was also an undercurrent of insatiable greed. She would do anything for Dash, give her own life if need be, but she also wanted Dash's undivided attention, needed Dash to look at her, needed to be an important part of her life. She could never be satisfied watching from the sidelines like an anonymous guardian angel.

Most of the stories she had read felt they had to separate the darker or more negative aspects away from "true" love. Associate it with a villain or tragic fallen hero and call it obsession or infatuation. Make it, at best, a corrupted and lesser form of love, and at worst, an insincere result of vanity and self-obsession. No, the villain or creepy stalker's feelings couldn't possibly be legitimate, couldn't possibly be on equal footing as that of the hero. They just wanted the damsel as a trophy because they were too broken to understand what real love was. Were incapable of truly loving anything other than themselves. If they were good, their feelings would be pure.

To Twilight, the main difference between the actions of a romantic suitor and a creepy stalker seemed to be one of successful execution. Even if a pony's idea of a touching romantic gesture was completely deranged, it might be reason to question their sanity, but certainly not their sincerity.

Reflecting on the uselessness of cliche ridden literature was getting her nowhere. She needed to focus on her available options and figure this out herself. Unfortunately, there didn't seem to be any options and she was currently in danger of wearing a groove into the floor with her pacing.

Deciding that some fresh air might help, Twilight hurried downstairs to make a quick sandwich and grab a scarf. After leaving a hastily written note informing Spike that she had gone out for a walk and didn't know when she'd be back, she walked out the door with her simple lettuce and carrot sandwich levitating close beside her. Walking with no set destination in mind, she took small nibbles of her sandwich as she reviewed the situation once again.

Murder was already off the list. Seduce Dash away with her raw charm and sex appeal? Yeah, right after Rarity took a job cleaning septic tanks. What about breaking them apart by other means? She could actively sabotage the relationship by fostering discontent. Push their competitive streaks into full blown fights and encourage each side privately. Encourage miscommunication with her own hearsay. Maybe even plant some evidence of unfaithfulness. A multitude of Twilights weighed the pros and cons in her head.

That's absolutely sickening, and you should crawl into a hole and die for even considering that!

I'm just making the list of options here, not saying they are good or bad.

How about they're completely EVIL! Seriously, this is the kind of thing Discord would do.

Definitely bad ideas. They're loyalty and honesty incarnate, so fostering miscommunication, doubt, and mistrust is highly unlikely to work. Also brings a high risk of detection. They'll see right through it and then Dash will be furious.

Those are just excuses. Rationalizations. You know you actually would have a decent chance of pulling it off if you actually tried. You're just exaggerating the risk and making excuses because you don't have the stomach to follow through. You don't want to admit that you still care more about being a "good pony" than you do about having Dash.

Well how's this for a good reason? The whole thing still causes distress and harm to Dash. Rule number one, end of discussion, motion rejected.

Having finished her sandwich, Twilight took a brief look at her surroundings and found that she had inadvertently walked to Sweet Apple Acres. Dash's cloud house floated above her head, having been pushed there some time last week so the two ponies could see each other more often. Not that it took much time for Dash to travel the distance, but now Applejack could come knocking (well yelling from the ground really) whenever she wanted. Dash wasn't in at the moment. She was probably busy getting the other weather pegasi ready for the first snowfall of the year. From what she had heard, they were pretty far behind schedule.

"Howdy there Twi!" Applejack called from behind as Twilight nearly jumped out of her skin. "Anything you need or you just come by to visit?"

Twilight gave a gentle shake of her head. "No. Nothing. Just went out for a walk and ended up here."

"Well I just finished making the biggest apple pie you've ever seen and was out here checking the fences while it cooled. Should be done right about now. You're welcome to have some if you like."

Twilight considered the offer. She still didn't dislike Applejack on a personal level, and her company wasn't entirely unpleasant. It was also incredibly difficult to turn down Applejack's baking. "I'd love some, thank you."

Walking back through the lines of now leafless trees, the pair of ponies were greeted by the most mouth watering smell drifting up from the farm house. Once they got closer, Twilight noticed that the pie was in fact cooling on the open windowsill. She didn't think anypony actually did that, but if it tasted half as good as it smelled, she wasn't about to complain about cliches.

Once inside, she took a seat at the nearby table while Applejack cut them two large slices. Between bites, they started some friendly chatter. The latest trouble Applebloom and her friends had gotten into trying to get their cutie marks, Pinkie's latest confectionery invention, how the two topics had intersected and events had spiraled out of control until the barn had somehow ended up filled with noodles. The only pegasus mentioned was Fluttershy and how she had helped out when Winnona had gotten sick eating mushrooms at the edge of the Everfree forest.

Before they realized it, two hours had passed and they had both eaten far more pie than intended. Despite a somewhat overfilled stomach, Twilight wore a sincere smile as she shared a story about how Spike had once gotten his head stuck in a bread box. With a sudden whooshing noise, Rainbow Dash swooped through the open window and dropped perfectly into a nearby seat.

"Hey AJ, I'm back. Oh hey there Twilight, how are - ooh pie!" She mostly greeted them before tearing into the dessert with a ferocity normally reserved for a certain pink earth pony.

Twilight felt slightly queasy as her pie filled stomach tried to make room for the butterflies now flapping about like they owned the place. She was both happy at the prospect of spending time with Dash, and distraught with the knowledge that she would have to suffer through the couple being so undeniably good together. After licking a few lingering crumbs off her nose, Dash filled them in on her weather team's progress. It looked like things were all set to snow later this evening.

The room was suddenly filled with cacophonous shouts of "Cutie Mark Crusader Diversion Creators!" as Applebloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo burst through the door, snatched the hat off of a stunned Applejack, and bolted back outside as fast as they could, as a formerly stunned and currently angry Applejack gave chase.

"Not quite what I had in mind, but it'll do. Now we can talk privately." Dash said as she turned towards Twilight with a conspiratorial look in her eyes.

Twilight's mind was running so fast she thought it might burst into flames. What did Dash need to talk to her about? Why did it require secrecy? She attempted to curb her wild speculations and failed spectacularly. She pulled herself together enough to give a brief nod of acknowledgement.

"There's a little something I need your help with."

"Anything!" She answered a little more quickly and forcefully than she had intended.

"Well Hearth's Warming Eve is coming up and I have this really great idea for a gift for Applejack, but it requires some magic."

Twilight managed to redirect her falling facial muscles from disappointment into what she hoped was a look of focused attention before giving another short nod.

"I want to take her flying with me, show her what the farm looks like from the clouds, maybe let her visit my place once in a while since I'm always in here messing up her house. I know you've got that walk on clouds spell, but I know you're not just gonna be around to cast it whenever. I was wondering if there's some way to store spells for later."

She managed to unclench her jaw long enough to answer. "Yes. With a small object to use as a talisman, I could enchant it to hold about 20 charges of a cloud walking spell that should affect the wearer when activated. If I make it right, the charges could even be refilled."

"Wow, that's awesome! And I think I have just the thing. Hang on." Speeding off to some nearby secret hiding place, Dash returned holding a necklace with a shiny heart shaped pendant on it. A jagged lightning bolt and an apple were engraved on opposite sides. "This was going to be my backup gift, but it would totally make the perfect, most awesomest talisman. So do you think you could help me with this Twilight?"

It was the easiest question she ever had to answer. There was no way she would turn down a direct request from Rainbow Dash, especially with that pleading look in her eyes. "I'd love to help Dash. Consider it done." She was prepared to go to any lengths to fulfill this demand. What she wasn't prepared for was Dash's arms being thrown around her neck in a hug that turned her mind to mush and filled her nose with a smell like sunshine after a heavy rain. Twilight hoped that Dash couldn't hear her jackhammer of a heartbeat, though she was sure it could be heard as far off as Canterlot. As the hug came to an end, she was glad she remembered a cosmetics spell that she had learned from Rarity to cover up excess blush.

"Thanks Twilight, you're the best. I'd better get going now, my break is almost over. You may wanna take off with that pendant before Applejack gets back. Don't let her know anything about this."

With that, Rainbow Dash was up and streaking across the sky. Twilight searched around for a pen and pad of paper to leave a note thanking Applejack for the pie, then picked up the pendant in her magic and left. She twirled it in front of her as she walked, seeing how the light reflected off the intricately carved designs. It had obviously been made with great care.

When she had finished enchanting it, Dash was going to use it to take Applejack flying. It would probably be breathtaking, and romantic, and everything Twilight had ever dreamed it would be. They would probably spend hours perched on a cloud and staring at the night sky, or into each other's eyes. Then they'd probably head back to Dash's cloud house for the night and--Twilight turned and bucked the nearest tree hard enough that it would have dropped every single apple, if it hadn't already shed all of its fruit and leaves for the winter. Turning to a nearby boulder, she lashed out with her mind and reduced it to rubble. Focusing on her breathing, she continued walking until she was back on the main road.

What was she going to do now? The short term answer was easy. She was going to get to work and make the best talisman anypony had ever seen. No matter who it was ultimately for, she would give her all for a favor to Dash. However, she still hadn't resolved her long term problem from earlier. With actively working toward the destruction of Dash's current relationship off the table, there didn't seem to be any courses of action left. There was just...doing nothing. A lot of first time relationships simply didn't pan out (of course she knew her own relationship with Dash would certainly work) so maybe a little patience would pay off. Maybe there was even a chance that, while she was waiting for things to fall apart on their own, she might figure out how this acceptance and moving on business was supposed to work.

She realized that this was probably nurturing false hope, that she should just give up completely and move on. But she had already tried that and she still didn't know what "move on" even meant. She had tried to kill hope, but it just flared back like a phoenix. If it were as easy as flipping an off switch for her feelings, this wouldn't be a problem.

She couldn't say that she had come to a decision. More that she had worked out what was going to happen anyway. She would sit back, wait, and hope that something changed. Either an opportunity presented itself for her and Dash to be together, or her feelings changed. Both seemed rather unlikely.

Twilight looked up to see that it was early evening, and she had been circling a fountain at the center of an empty town square. The first few snowflakes of the season drifted down and landed on her nose as a chill breeze began to pick up. She turned and started towards her library to get to work, the beautiful fluffy snow flakes now transformed into a stinging horde by the harsh and unforgiving wind.

Author's Note:

Sorry for the horrible delay. I kinda slacked off for a week then spent the weekend rewatching finale songs constantly before tackling the writer's block. I hate it when people don't update regularly which is why I considered writing the whole story and posting all at once, but I'd never get it done without the guilt. This is the first part of what was going to be one chapter before I split it. This is the spot on my outline that was pretty much blank. Everything from Twilight leaving her bedroom to the cliffhanger of the next chapter is just me writing and seeing where it goes since I figured a 1 paragraph glossed over time skip was inappropriate. As for the chapter itself, I think I may have gone a bit too much author avatar rant at the beginning. After a second read through, I'm noticing a lot more of the sarcastic and flippant humor from before that I totally didn't even do intentionally. It just kinda ended up in there. Next chapter might be slightly shorter, but should come out sometime this weekend.