• Published 7th Apr 2012
  • 11,481 Views, 666 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 8

Chapter 8

Twilight woke up feeling unusually warm. She also seemed to be breathing rather loudly until a brief beat in the rhythm revealed that the sound was coming from somepony else. A turn of her neck to glance behind her revealed Fluttershy sleeping peacefully beside her, the bedsheets in disarray, with her yellow forelegs wrapped around Twilight's midsection. Demanding to know how such a scene had occurred, Twilight's now very awake brain quickly dove into the archives of her memory for an explanation. Momentary relief came as she found her explanation, but she almost wished she hadn't as the rest of the details of the day came back to her. After the horrible events of the day, they had lain here and sulked in silence until they had both fallen asleep. She guessed they had tossed and turned a bit in their sleep, resulting in the rather compromising position Twilight now found herself in.

Twilight's train of thought derailed and her body stiffened as Fluttershy, still fast asleep, leaned in and nuzzled the back of her neck. This wasn't good. Aside from the possibility that Fluttershy might have a heart attack if she woke up like this, given the way the day had been going, she half expected Spike to barge into the room any second and see them. That was, if he hadn't already seen them while they were asleep through the door she had forgotten to close.

A quick heat detection spell failed to detect the flaming belly of a dragon anywhere in the library, meaning he had probably not come home yet. Breathing a small sigh of relief, Twilight shut the door and took stock of the situation. She was stuck facing the wall, Fluttershy's grip preventing her from rolling over, and only able to see the door and the rest of the room by craning her neck over her shoulder at a somewhat uncomfortable angle. A small tug at the back of her neck told her that Fluttershy had started chewing on her mane as well. Trying to slowly wriggle out from Fluttershy's hooves met with no success as small movement only made her squeeze tighter, and large movements risked waking her.

Maybe if I lightly tickle her a bit, she'll roll over and let go? Twilight tried to move her tail over Fluttershy's side, but all she managed to accomplish was to drag it lightly over her cutie mark, eliciting a tiny gasp and an adorable, but highly unsettling moan.

"mmmm...Twilight...." Fluttershy whispered in her sleep.

AH! No no no no no no no! Okay, something else. Using something else. Casting a glance over her shoulder at the rest of the room, Twilight spotted a feather duster in the corner. Bingo. Carefully, she levitated it across the room and began lightly brushing it against her captor.

"Ahhhh...mmmm!" Fluttershy let out a slightly louder and even more disturbing moan directly into Twilight's ear. She felt the legs around her tighten and had to suppress a startled yelp as she felt Fluttershy gently bite into the back of her neck.

Wings! How could I forget about the wings? Stupid! Moving the duster up to the back of Fluttershy's head, Twilight resumed her gentle brushing until the sleeping mare twitched her head and rolled over. Finally free, Twilight silently crawled out of the bed. Now she just needed to figure out what to do with Fluttershy.

She didn't want to wake the peacefully sleeping pony, but at the same time she couldn't just let her stay in her bed. Could she? No. She had told everypony that Fluttershy wasn't feeling well and implied that she was going to take her home to bed. Twilight paused a few seconds to consider the unfortunate double meaning of that statement before shaking her head. She needed to get Fluttershy back to her cottage, if for no other reason than that she was starting to drool (adorably somehow) on the sheets.

Summoning a small amount of magic, Twilight gently touched her horn to Fluttershy's forehead and cast a simple sedation spell, pushing Fluttershy into a much deeper sleep. Now she would be able to sleep through anything else Twilight did like Luna through an apocalyptic crisis. Levitating the sleeping pony to her side, Twilight began focusing for long range teleportation. She couldn't exactly walk down the street carrying an unconscious Fluttershy.

Reaching out with her mind, Twilight visualized the area around Fluttershy's cottage. Fixing on the coordinates of its relative position to the library, she laid down a magical anchor point at both ends of the vector. Once they were both tightly wrapped in the magical field, Twilight severed the anchor at the library, snapping them through subspace to their destination like a stretched rubber band that had just been released.

After the scenery around Fluttershy's cottage had snapped into position around them, Twilight pushed open the door and carried Fluttershy inside. She was immediately greeted by a partially eaten carrot impacting the side of her head. Looking down, she noticed Angel sitting there and giving her a dirty look. She shot a glare right back at him and continued on towards the stairs. Catching another incoming projectile out of the corner of her eyes, she used a small bit of magic to swat it back along its original path and nail the annoying rabbit right between the eyes.

Leaving the stunned animal behind, she continued up the stairs, closing the door behind her and laying Fluttershy down in her bed. After leaving a brief note so she wouldn't be too confused when she woke up, Twilight undid the sedation spell so Fluttershy wouldn't sleep through the rest of the day and wreck her sleep cycle. Quietly slipping out the bedroom door, she used her telekinesis to snatch Angel out of the air, interrupting the flying kick the recovered rabbit had planned as an ambush. Levitating the writhing ball of fur behind her, she dropped him on the couch as she closed the front door behind her.

Now all she had to do was track down Pinkie and explain the concept of discretion. If she was lucky, she might be able to direct the party pony's energy into throwing a party for some other cause that would make everypony move on and make today's announcement old news. It couldn't be too hard to find something Pinkie would want to throw a party over. Glancing back over her shoulder at the cottage, Twilight was relieved that at least the worst seemed to be over.

***

There were more dates to follow in the next several weeks. The arrival of spring had brought plenty of sunny weather, perfect for picnics. The scheduled rain showers provided a perfect excuse for quiet afternoons and evenings indoors, the soft pitter patter of raindrops outside the library serving as a soothing backdrop to various card and board games, or just the enjoyment of a good book.

Fluttershy had become a regular visitor to the library, lending a helping hoof with some of Twilight's experiments, and asking questions that Twilight was always happy to answer in detail. She had been overjoyed when Twilight had shown her the section of the library reserved for biological sciences, including taxonomies and field guides to exotic creatures. Twilight had also found herself spending more time at Fluttershy's cottage, helping to take care of the animals and gaining much more field experience in veterinary medicine than she ever thought she would acquire.

Both had discovered that the other often made trips to visit Zecora. Twilight's studies into magic often required rare ingredients, with special magical properties, that were only found in the Everfree forest. Fluttershy needed a wide variety of medicines that the potion maker could provide, but dreaded the necessary journey through the forest. Since they had started making the trips together, dread had turned into eager anticipation.

Spring had hit Everfree and the branches were heavy with the weight of pink blossoms. They formed an obscuring layer that bathed the well worn path in dappled sunlight. Sometimes a gentle breeze would pick up, dislodging some of the less secure blossoms and creating a gentle rain of petals. On such occasions, Fluttershy walked even closer and stared more dreamily than usual. Twilight had to admit, it was a surprisingly romantic location. It was hard to believe this was the same deadly forest that struck fear in the hearts of most ponies.

Twilight had made an effort to keep track of any changes in her feelings towards Fluttershy. She enjoyed their time together. It felt comfortable, fun, like being with a close and beloved friend. A close and beloved friend who she would pretend not to notice staring at her flank and quickly looking away. She certainly cared for Fluttershy. The adoration she saw in those big blue eyes stirred protective feelings in her heart, and she took joy in bringing a smile and blush to that face, but there was no passion. No sense of longing when they were apart. She didn't feel the same fire that she saw in Fluttershy's eyes.

As much as she liked Fluttershy, Twilight couldn't stand looking into those cyan eyes. They reminded her far too much of the sky and Rainbow Dash. Twilight had worried that Fluttershy was going to catch on soon, but a quick kiss would always close those eyes and leave her too in bliss to be suspicious. To Twilight however, they always tasted like ashes. Worst of all, she found kissing just plain boring. It seemed like a chore, a duty she was expected to carry out, and she was fairly certain that was a problem.

On the positive side, this had led to her becoming a fairly good kisser. With nothing else to occupy her mind with, Twilight had started experimenting with different techniques and observing the responses. Adding a little bite or thrust here and there and being rewarded with muffled squeaks. At least she could take pride in a job well done.

Tonight looked like it was going to be another pleasant evening. They were both going out to dinner at the Golden Hoof Cafe, a fairly new restaurant that the local reviews claimed had a celery and carrot soup that was simply amazing. Giving her mane a quick final brushing, Twilight turned to join Fluttershy at the door. Together they began their journey through the early evening streets of Ponyville toward their destination. Twilight was feeling quite relaxed, but that relaxation quickly fled as they rounded the last corner and spotted two familiar ponies approaching from the other direction. It seemed Applejack and Rainbow Dash had the same idea for their evening. It became clear that they had been spotted as Applejack called out to them while crossing the street.

"Well hey there you two! What brings you out around these parts this evening?"

"Oh, Twilight and I were just heading out to dinner. I hear this restaurant is just wonderful."

"Yeah, same here," Rainbow Dash replied. "Hey! We should totally get a table together. It'll be like a double date. I can't believe we haven't done one of those yet. It'll be so awesome!"

"It certainly sounds like fun, and I do s'pose it'll be a might easier to get a table for four than two tables for two given how crowded it's looking to be."

"That sounds like a great idea. What do you think Twilight?" Fluttershy looked toward her with bright eyes and a hopeful expression.

She was boxed into a corner. A part of her mind screamed that this wouldn't end well, that she needed to find some excuse to back out of this. Dating Flutterhsy was fine when they were alone, but she was still self-conscious in public, not to mention around Dash. The problem was, she was coming up completely blank for a reason to refuse. Even if she could think of a semi-plausible excuse, could she really bear to disappoint three of her friends, especially when one was her marefriend and another was the mare of her dreams? Feeling crushed beneath the social pressure, she quickly consented.

"Well I can't think of any reason why not. Sure."

Having come to an agreement, the party continued on toward the door to find a table. Despite the large crowds gathering at the restaurant, a private booth for four was found almost immediately. Twilight wasn't terribly surprised. Even without having saved Ponyville and all of Equestria on multiple occasions, such things tended to happen when you were the personal protege of Princess Celestia. In the past she had found it embarrassing, if useful. The others seemed to have mistaken it for simple good fortune as they found their way to their table for the evening.

After the first round of the best garlic bread she had ever had, Twilight's nerves were starting to relax. Maybe this evening wouldn't be so bad after all. Most of her negativity was probably just due to hunger. The evening proceeded pleasantly at first. They enjoyed good food while Applejack shared news about the farm and her extended family in Appleloosa. They all shared several good laughs at the tales from Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy's days at flight school. Aside from a fair bit of jealousy that Fluttershy had so much personal history with Dash, it was like any other enjoyable night out with three of her friends.

"So what have you been up to lately Twilight?" Rainbow Dash suddenly asked. Twilight stumbled a moment, surprised that the conversation had suddenly turned to her.

"What? M-Me? Oh, nothing much really. Just studying and such, nothing that interesting."

"Oh no, it's very interesting," Fluttershy cut in. "She's been experimenting with the natural resonant frequencies of various gems and crystal structures, and trying to focus and direct magical resonance waves over long distances. If it works, vibrations from one crystal could be picked up by another, allowing easy communication over long distances. At least that's how I think it's supposed to work. She's been letting me help in the lab and I've been learning a lot." The other ponies stopped and stared for a moment before Rainbow Dash finally spoke up.

"Wow. Looks like you're turning Fluttershy into an egghead too. We better watch out, or pretty soon we'll all be catching it like some kinda nerdy plague!" Dash broke into peals of laughter at her own joke.

"Settle down there Rainbow," chided Applejack. "Weren't your lab all secret and private and stuff sugarcube?"

"Yeah, I hope Spike isn't getting too jealous of your new assistant out to take his job." Rainbow Dash laughed gleefully.

Fluttershy blushed and fidgeted in embarrassment while Twilight tried to respond. "It's not really that big a deal," she replied. Head lowered a bit, she mumbled out "I-I mean...if you ever wanted to see my lab that would be fi-" It was clear that nopony could hear her inaudible mumbling as Rainbow Dash was now turning to Fluttershy.

"So have you been doing anything other than being Twilight's new lackey? Hopefully she hasn't been riding you too hard."

"Oh no, not at all. In fact, she's been a big help with all of my animals. She helped me organize all my supplies and optimize my feeding schedules. Her sedation and anesthetic spells have been so helpful with treating the injured animals, and she even goes with me to gather some rare ingredients from the forest so I won't be scared going alone."

"Well that sounds mighty sweet of ya Twi. Good to see you're getting on so well."

"Yeah. It's good to know Fluttershy is in the capable hooves of the world's third best marefriend."

"Third best?" Applejack raised an eyebrow in Dash's direction.

"Well obviously I'm number one, and you come in at a close second."

"Watch out you don't trip over your ego there RD."

"Bah, you know you love it. Besides, I said you were close. I just happen to be the better kisser."

"Really now? Well missy, that's starting to sound like a challenge."

"It just might be."

And just like that, a make out contest had erupted. Twilight stared at one of the suddenly fascinating garnishes on her plate while she ground a hoof into the floor. This part still hadn't gotten any easier. She quickly released the magical grip on her water glass before she accidentally shattered it. Preparing to grit her teeth through the rest of the evening if it continued on like this, Twilight stole a glance over to Fluttershy who was staring transfixed, face a beet red, with a hint of something in her eyes that almost looked like...excitement? As Fluttershy returned her gaze, that excitement seemed to morph into hunger.

Is she...? Oh no. No no no no no. Not here, not now!

There was a wet smacking sound as Rainbow Dash and AppleJack finally broke apart. "Your turn!"

Twilight barely had time to process what Dash had said before Fluttershy leaped forward and pressed their lips together. The startled unicorn's eyes darted around the room and locked onto the other two ponies staring at her with large smiles on their faces. She quickly closed her eyes and struggled not to pull away, forcing herself to push back. It felt as if she were tying to press her face into a hot stove. As much as she didn't want to see, she couldn't help herself. Setting her mouth on autopilot, Twilight cracked an eye open just enough to peek through her eyelashes and see that Dash was still staring directly at her.

NO! Don't look at me! Please! She means nothing I swear! It's you I want! It's always been you!

Her concentration was so shattered that she accidentally bit down hard on Fluttershy's lip, eliciting a gasp of excitement followed by a doubling of intensity. Now it was a full on assault of bitter tasting lips and tongue. Her stomach turned and panic gripped her mind as she heard Dash give a small cheer of encouragement.

GET OFF! GET OFF! GET OFF! GET OFF OF ME!

Just in time, Twilight aborted a spell she hadn't even realized she had been casting that would have knocked Fluttershy across the room with a wave of telekinetic force. Choking back a tear, she finished up to the light applause of the other couple.

"Excuse me, I really have to use the little fillies room." Twilight slid herself away from the table and walked quickly toward the bathroom, waiting until the door had shut firmly behind her before she let out a sob. She felt filthy, sullied, and she wished she had a toothbrush to wash the lingering foul taste out of her mouth. As the last minute replayed through her mind, she felt her stomach turn again and dashed into one of the stalls to be sick. After coming back out again, she was really starting to miss that toothbrush as she rinsed her mouth several times and splashed some water on her face.

She had been avoiding being with Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy at the same time for just this reason, and it had been even worse than she had imagined. She stared at her disheveled image in the mirror, water slowly dripping down from her chin and the end of her bangs, the soft rhythm of the drops impacting the sink punctuating her heavy breathing, eyes watery and red from crying and from the acrid smell of her own sickness. She couldn't keep doing this.

GET OFF OF ME!

She had come so close to accidentally hurting Fluttershy back there. All because she thought she could fake her way through this relationship. Sure it was fine as long as Dash wasn't around, but that wasn't sustainable. There were sure to be more situations like tonight. There was no way she could avoid them all. What if next time she actually did hurt Fluttershy? No. She had to end this before things got anymore out of hoof. Not tonight of course, she didn't want Fluttershy to think it was because she had done something wrong on their date this evening, and suspicions would be raised if they broke up the same night their friends had seen them so "happy together". Still, this was not something to procrastinate on. Swearing to herself that she would take care of it sometime within the next week, Twilight made herself presentable before rejoining her friends with the sincerest looking smile she could muster.

***

Twilight took a deep breath and exhaled slowly as she stared at the door in front of her. She wished she could be doing something a bit more relaxing instead. Like facing down a hydra. Tonight was the night she officially broke things off with Fluttershy. She had carefully planned the time and location to try and soften the impact as much as possible. Doing it in Fluttershy's house might offer the little extra security of familiar and comfortable surroundings. It would still probably be devastating, but at least she wouldn't face a long walk home to reach her bed.

Fluttershy didn't know why she was coming over, Twilight had just told her that she needed to come by around 7:00pm and that there was something very important she needed to do. Angel wouldn't take too kindly to her plan. She might have to find a way to lock him in another room, or maybe knock him out with a sleeping spell. All the plans were set, now she just needed to knock on the door. A hydra would have been so much easier. Finally, after another deep breath, Twilight raised a hoof and knocked.

"Coming!" There was the sound of rapid hoofsteps followed by the door swinging open to reveal the beaming yellow face of her marefriend. "Hello Twilight. Please come in. I've got dinner all ready."

"Oh, you didn't have to do that. Really, I'm not even that hungry." Twilight's statement was immediately undercut by the audible rumbling of her treacherous stomach. With a sigh of resignation, she relented and followed Fluttershy into the kitchen.

Thanks for the food, now I'm dumping you. Classy.

Twilight sat down and did her best not to enjoy the wonderful meal Fluttershy had made. Unfortunately, it was delicious and it was evident that Fluttershy had poured her heart into making it. Twilight's stomach and taste buds lobbied to abort the break up plan entirely in favor of more home cooked meals, but there was a reason she didn't delegate thinking to her digestive organs. Glancing around the room, she noticed a distinct lack of a certain troublesome white rabbit.

"Say, Fluttershy? Where's Angel?"

"Oh, don't worry about him. I wanted us to have the house to ourselves for the night, so I asked Rarity to look after him for a while." Twilight didn't know why Flutterhsy wanted the house free tonight in particular, but she was thankful for the unexpected blessing. Both ponies were unaware that at that very moment, the first floor of Carousel Boutique was being reduced to a tattered war zone by Angel and Opalescence.

Their meal finished, silence settled between them. Twilight thought that Fluttershy looked unusually nervous, considering how comfortable they had grown around each other lately. Did she suspect? Had she picked up on some clue given unconsciously in the past few days? Figuring it would be better not to waste any more time, Twilight clenched all the muscles in her legs and spoke.

"So...as you know, I came here for something very important. There's something I need to tell you, something that has to happen."

"Yes, I know and I'm ready. If you would...um...join me upstairs in the bedroom?"

Twilight didn't have a problem with that. If her bed was the place Fluttershy felt most comfortable receiving bad news, then she would do all she could to accommodate her. As they walked up the stairs, Fluttershy seemed to be growing more nervous with each step. Strangely enough, her steps weren't filled with hesitation, so much as what looked almost like excitement. Confused, Twilight followed her up and into the bedroom where they both took a seat on the bed.

"So I-" Twilight tried to speak but stopped short when she noticed Fluttershy's face. She was blushing brighter than she ever had before. It was so bright that Twilight worried she might pass out. Her legs also seemed to be shaking slightly and her pulse was pounding so strong that Twilight could feel it through the bed.

"Fluttershy, are you alright?" Twilight asked, worried that she had taken ill and might collapse any second.

"Yes, I'm fine. More than fine really, I feel great." Fluttershy swallowed and closed her eyes, as if summoning all the courage and willpower she could muster, and fixed Twilight with a half-lidded gaze. "But I know I could feel so much better."

Twilight's mind was sent reeling. What was that supposed to mean? And why was Fluttershy squinting at her? It was at this moment that several environmental clues rose to her attention. They had been detected by her senses earlier, but only now were they finally making themselves known to her conscious perception.

She noticed a calendar on the wall with today's date circled. There was something about the date that had been nagging at her mind until she remembered that it had been exactly two months since her first date with Fluttershy. At the same time, her nose registered a sweet smell, and she glanced around to see a dozen scented candles lining the room. She also felt something lightly brushing against her rump and tail. A quick look down confirmed the source.

OH SWEET CELESTIA! THE BED IS COVERED IN ROSE PETALS!

All the pieces clicked together as Twilight realized exactly what Fluttershy thought was about to happen.

Oh Shit.

Now what was she supposed to do? Well, it wasn't as if delaying was an option anymore, unless she wanted to be a truly despicable pony. A tiny part of her mind tried to argue that a minor delay would leave Fluttershy in the most relaxed state possible to receive bad news. The rest of her mind branded that part defective and forbade it from participating in the discussion any further. The general plan hadn't changed, it was just going to be a whole lot more painful.

Twilight thought back to the night at the restaurant, recalled her own haggard image in the mirror. She remembered the tiny flame of anger and disgust that had flared in a moment of panic and almost caused her to hurt her close friend.

It's necessary. It's the right thing to do. If I don't do it, she'll just suffer more later. It's the best thing for both of us. She would need to hold onto that thought if she were to have any chance of making it through this.

"Fluttershy...we need to talk." Twilight tried to put as much firmness as she could into her voice.

"Actually, I think we've talked quite a bit already. They say actions speak louder than words anyway." Still wearing that sultry look, Fluttershy took a small step closer on the bed. Twilight could now just barely feel the warmth of breath on her coat. She had never imagined that Fluttershy could behave like this. She found it intriguing and, unfortunately for her focus, more than a little exciting. She could feel her resolve starting to shake.

The heady fragrance of the candles, their soft glow, the comfortable body heat radiating off the pony next to her, they all conspired to cloud her mind in a thick fog. Resisting was so much work, and she was feeling so lethargic. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad to be a little lazy for once. After all, Rainbow Dash could be pretty lazy sometimes, and she was still-......Dash......Dash! The thought dispelled the cloud hanging over her mind as if it were the kick of the blue weather pony herself. Shaking her head clear, Twilight fixed a serious look to her face.

"No. It's very important. I...can't be your marefriend anymore."

Twilight couldn't help but imagine the sound of screeching train brakes, as Fluttershy came to a stop, eyes open wide as she tried to process what her ears had just heard. Much like the proverbial train wreck, Twilight couldn't look away as she saw the world collapse piece by piece behind those eyes. She could see the carnage of hopes and dreams sitting in twisted and broken piles, smashed into fragments by those six simple words. Those eyes would become a staple of her nightmares for weeks.

"Wh-what?" The shock and confusion in Fluttershy's eyes made room for the desperate hope that she had somehow misheard. That soon they would be laughing over such a silly misunderstanding.

"I'm sorry..." Twilight said in what she hoped was a firm, but sympathetic tone.

"Why?!" The desperation and panic was beginning to seep into Fluttershy's voice. "If it was something I did I'm sorry! I'll do better, I promise! Just tell me what to do and I'll do it! Please!" Each word felt like a knife twisting into Twilight's heart.

"No! It wasn't anything you did or didn't do. You've been great, more than great, a wonderful marefriend, the best anypony could hope for. Anypony else would be lucky to have you. The problem is with me. I can't be what you need me to be."

"That's not true!" Fluttershy cried out. "You're fine the way you are! Perfect! Everything I want already!"

"Not quite. I can't love you the same way you love me. I care for you, I really do. I just...can't feel THAT way. Remember how I told you once there was some other pony I had feelings for? Those feelings never went away. I'm still thinking about them all the time and that's just not fair to you. You deserve better than that. I'm sorry, please don't blame yourself. It's my problem and there was never anything you could have possibly done to change it."

"But....I said I don't care if you don't like me as much as I like you. I don't mind! It's okay with me!"

"Really? Could you really be happy knowing that I could never return your feelings? Knowing that I wasn't attracted to you romantically? Doubting the sincerity of each kiss? Do you really think you would be happy like that?"

"Yes!" Despite Fluttershy's declaration, Twilight could see the uncertainty in her face as she mentally grappled with what she knew to be the truth. The logic of Twilight's words led to one simple conclusion, but one that couldn't be accepted, for to accept it would be to kill hope. "I....I don't know....I think so....maybe...."

"Well I know I won't be happy in that situation. I'd be miserable, and then I'd probably take it out on you and make you miserable too. I'm sorry."

"But...I...if we..."

"Fluttershy..." Twilight locked eyes with the frantic pegasus in front of her, and with as much solemn finality as possible, said "I'm sorry."

With those last words spoken, Twilight saw the dim light in Fluttershy's eyes go out. The thin candle of hope finally extinguished and replaced by a rising tide of salt water. It was the single worst thing that Twilight would ever see in her life. At least she had prepared for this part. She quickly moved forward to wrap her forelegs around Fluttershy, and direct her weeping head to the inside of her shoulder. Fluttershy put up no resistance and wasted no time in thoroughly soaking Twilight's coat. Twilight could hear a few words being squeezed out between choking sobs.

"Hate you.....I want to.....hate you so badly.......but I can't!" Twilight didn't say anything. There was nothing she could say that would help anymore. All she could do was sit there and try to be physically comforting. After ten minutes, the loud sobbing had died down to intermittent sniffs and whimpering.

"Are you going to leave now?"

"Only if you want me to. Should I?"

"No. Please, just stay with me a little bit longer?"

"I'll stay as long as you need."

Twilight didn't know how long she stayed there with Fluttershy's face buried in her chest, but when she finally noticed that Fluttershy had fallen asleep, the candles had all burnt low. Lowering her head, she touched her horn to the top of the sleeping pony's head and cast a spell to push her into a deep sleep and give her pleasant dreams for the rest of the night. A small parting gift for her friend and ex-marefriend.

After carefully tucking Fluttershy into bed, she quietly closed the door behind her and went downstairs. She cleared away the remains of their dinner and washed the dishes before turning out the lights and closing the front door behind her on the way out. It was done. Finally done. It was the right thing to do. But then, why did it feel so terribly wrong? Why did she feel like the worst villain in the history of Equestria?

As she turned back towards the library, a thought crossed her mind. That things were now finally back to 'normal'. She could go about her usual business of pining miserably in peace.

Alone.

Goody.

Author's Note:

Kicking up the sad to 11. First of all, please don't murder me! You'll never get new chapters if I'm dead! I always intended the whole Fluttershy thing to be a brief diversion from the main plot, but in these two chapters I kept thinking "Just stop it right here and let them be happy you jerk!" But no, I have to get this thing back on the rails, which includes plenty of sweet sweet pony misery. Second, sorry for the delay. I know it's not as bad as the last one, but I really should have had this out a week ago. Complete inability to focus combined with constant refreshing of the BronyCon documentary kickstarter page. Next chapter will be out I have no idea when. I gotta catch up on all the fics I'm reading.