• Published 17th Nov 2014
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Crystal's Wishes - Crystal Wishes



Crystal Wishes thought she was content just writing about ponies falling in love. While her career takes off, her love life is somewhat... lacking. Can she be happy living vicariously through her stories or will she find her own happily ever after?

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Drawing Conclusions

Crystal chewed on her bottom lip, eyes glued to the clock on the wall. It ticked onward, blissfully unaware of what worry its moving pointers brought her.

What if he had collapsed at work? Could he be in the hospital at that very moment? Would anypony think to come and tell her?

She sighed, lowered her head to the pillow, and stared at the empty one a few paces away. It was time to let it go and buy a new one. The smell of sweat and impression of him was likely permanent even though she had washed it several times already.

Slowly, her gaze drifted back to the clock. She didn't care whether or not he was in time for dinner. She just wanted him to come home.

The pointers marched ever forward, never looking back, ticking quietly into the silence.

Crystal's ears flattened to the sides. "Wherefore art thou late, Silent?" she muttered, then giggled to herself.

Another hour rolled around and she was startled out of a dozing daze by the lock being worked. When the door opened and Silent walked inside, she jolted upright. "Welcome home!"

Silent paused to look at her with tired, sagging eyes. "Hi."

A frown crossed her lips as she rose to her hooves. "Well, doesn't somepony look exhausted?"

He bobbed his head. "Yeah. But"—he raised a defensive hoof—"I don't regret going to work. It felt good to be productive."

"And now that your masculine bravado has worn off, you're worn out," she said with a light huff. "Take off your armor and go take a shower while I make you something to eat."

He stood there for a moment, his expression a blank slate. "Yeah." He turned his head away and started toward the bathroom. "Okay."

She stared after him as concern clouded her thoughts. Normally, he would tease by asking if she would help or join him. Her ears flicked and she walked over to the kitchen, shaking her head. He was just tired. It had been a long day, after all.

When his shower was over and dinner was almost ready, Silent just sat down at the dining table, not making eye contact with her. She gave up waiting for him and cleared her throat to ask, "How was work?"

"Work?" He blinked, lifting his head. "Oh. Work was no problem. I saw Radiant Orchid." He paused, then asked, "Do you remember who that is?"

"Radiant Orchid?" she repeated. Her magic stirred the pot of potato soup while she looked over at him. "Of course. She was your first sergeant, the one that just had a foal. She retired to be a mother, didn't she?"

Silent shrugged. "In a manner of speaking, I guess. She's a warrant officer now. A case worker. I met with her today."

Crystal turned her attention back to the stove. "Oh? How is she?"

"She's fine." There was a pause, the sound of him shifting in the seat, and a clearing of his throat. "It turns out she has some ideas for me. Like going to therapy."

"Therapy?" Crystal squeaked, her ears perking upright while her head jerked to look at him. "What for?"

Silent didn't look at her. "I don't know."

Her breath passed her lips in a squeaky puff of air. Words were intended to accompany it, but none jumped forth to express her sudden shift in emotions. A therapist? What did he need one of those for? Slowly, her ears drooped. Couldn't he just talk to her? She swallowed and asked, "When are you going?"

He shook his head. "I don't know."

"I see." She turned off the heat and ladled the soup into two bowls and brought them over. "Do you want me to go with you?"

"What?" He finally met her gaze, his brow furrowed. "Why?"

The confused look was met with an arched brow. "Solidarity? Support? It doesn't sound like you want to go, so I thought perhaps it might bring you some comfort if I were there."

"Oh. Well." He blinked and focused for a moment on blowing on a spoonful of soup to cool it before slurping it. "The soup's good."

"Don't dodge the question," she said with a teasing lilt to her voice as she sat across from him. "It's all right if you want to say no."

He sighed and shook his head. "It's not that. It's fine. It just sounds boring for you, since you can't come in with me."

She laughed softly. "Don't worry about me! I can bring my notebook. Let me know when it is and we'll make a little date of it. We can stop by the Crystal Delicacy and pick up a new game for the group."

A small smile lightened his expression. "Sure."

---

The waiting room was small, with several chairs set against three of the four walls and a couple fake plants sitting in the corners. A clock ticked away on the wall to remind her of every second that crawled along.

She stared at the empty page of her notebook, as blank as her mind while her muddled feelings clouded her ability to think. He wouldn't say why he was in therapy. Was it confidential? Was he just embarrassed? Was it about his father? Her ears folded back. Was it about her?

With a quick shake of her head, she focused her gaze on the quill. Why couldn't it just write for her? Come on, magic! She puffed out her cheeks, pressed both hooves to her forehead, and squinted as words were slowly written on the blank lines.

It was a dark and stormy night

No, no, no. She rolled her eyes. Try that again!

It was a bright and sunny day, and

Seriously? Her hooves rubbed a small circle as she nursed a growing headache. What was wrong with her?

She was jolted out of her frustration as a door opened and Silent walked out. "Oh!" She snapped the notebook shut and smiled at him. "Are you done?"

He paused to look at her, as if he had forgotten her, then nodded. "Yes."

"Ready to go home?" She tucked the notebook into her saddlebags and slipped them over her back.

"Actually," he said, pausing before he walked past her to glance her way, "I think I'll just head back to my place. If you don't mind."

Her ears folded back at first, but she quickly forced them upright. "Not at all!" She watched his retreating form and when he was out of sight, she visibly deflated as her shoulders fell, her gaze lowered, and her tail drooped.

It was about her, wasn't it? She sighed and stopped outside of the building to get her bearings. The Café au Lait wasn't too far from there, so with a forced smile on her face she started toward it. When she got there, she noticed that the pony behind the counter wasn't Rossby, and neither was the one carrying drinks to tables.

"I'm sorry," she said to the waiter when he walked by, "is Rossby working today?"

The pony blinked at her. "Huh? No, not today. Why?"

Crystal shook her head and waved a hoof as she sat down. "No reason! Could I get a green tea, please?"

"Coming right up!" The pony flashed a smile before trotting away.

Crystal let out a heavy sigh as she slumped into her seat and stared at nothing in particular. It was probably for the best. She wasn't sure she was in the mood for an encounter with the cantankerous pegasus. She had bigger issues to deal with, like figuring out what was going on with her stallion.

---

Eating dinner alone was a lonely affair, more so that evening in particular. It left her feeling bitter and irritated as she sat at the dining table, one plate empty and the other cold and untouched. Why had she thought things were going to change? To celebrate him coming home on time, she had made his favorite—zucchini and broccoli—and now it just seemed to be sitting there, mocking her.

She sighed and carried the plates into the kitchen, the empty one going into the sink and the other wrapped and set in the fridge. What was she supposed to do? She didn't want to invite somepony over just in case Silent did show up, if they would even be free for dinner. Painted, Raven, and Willow were all fairly busy mares, after all.

A frown tugged at the corners of her lips. When was the last time she'd had lunch with Raven? She crossed the condo to one of the bookcases and retrieved an envelope and stationery from the top shelf, then penned a quick letter.

Raven,

It's been a while! I hope all is well with you and your husband! I would love to catch up over lunch sometime soon. Please let me know when you have room in your schedule later this week.

Yours always,

Crystal

There. That was one relationship kept intact. She set it on the table by the door and walked over to the couch, flopped onto it, and sighed.

Dinner would have to be shuffled back a few hours. Maybe then she'd be making it so late into the night that he'd actually be able to join her. She would need to start tracking when he finally made it home to learn when to start cooking. Lunch would have to be delayed as well so she wouldn't die of starvation while waiting, of course, and—

The door opened and Silent walked through, his gaze downcast. "I'm home."

Crystal lifted her head to look at him. The guilty look on his face gave her a conflicting sense of irritation and satisfaction. It was nice that he knew being so late wasn't a good thing to be doing, but if he knew, then why did he keep doing it? "Your dinner is cold."

"I'm not surprised," he said with a light nod. "I hope you didn't wait for me and already ate."

She shrugged. "I waited for a while, but when it was clear you weren't coming I went ahead. Another long day?"

He started to remove his armor, setting each piece neatly in the space that had been cleared for its storage. "Yeah. I finally found a new sergeant. Most of the unit is still out sick, though. Things like that."

The muscles of her legs groaned as she pushed herself up off the couch and walked into the kitchen to retrieve his plate from the fridge.

He continued, "On top of that I'm also planning a trip for Princess Luna. Business as usual. How are you?"

She rolled her eyes at the skillet. The vegetables hissed back at her as they reheated. "Fine."

"Fine, huh?"

Her magic grabbed a plate and dropped it on the counter beside the stove. "Yes, fine. I said I was fine, didn't I? So I'm fine."

"You sound angry." He walked over and stood in the transition between the living room and the kitchen to look at her.

As soon as he said the word, the associated emotion flared in her chest and she snapped, "No, I'm not angry! It's just that you're late again. I thought we were through with that. That's all."

His ears folded back. "It was and it wasn't. For the other things, yes. But I'm not sure it will ever be completely over. Sometimes it's just out of my control, though. That's how my job is."

She rolled her eyes and levitated the skillet over the plate to dump the food onto it. Of course. So nothing had changed. The universe had given her a few days of time together and now it was taken away again. "I understand," she muttered, her magic carrying the plate over to him.

There was a pause as he set the plate down on the table, stared at it, then looked at her. "Do you really, honey?"

"What?" She shot him a curious look, one brow arched.

He held her gaze. "Do you understand?"

"What sort of question is that?" Her ears pinned back and she turned back to the kitchen to clean the skillet. "Of course I understand! What's there not to understand? You are an important pony with important things to do. Your schedule is out of your control. You had to work late again, as always. That is the way life is for you."

"Right."

"Right?" She shot a light glare over her shoulder. "Of course it's right! I'm certainly not making things up!"

Silent sighed. "I'm sorry, Crystal. I'm sorry about being late again and again and putting you through this over and over." After a pause, he continued in a stern voice, "I think it's time we had an honest conversation for once."

Ice chilled the boiling blood in her veins. Slowly, she turned around to look at him. "All right," she said in a low voice, her jaw clenched tight. "What do you want to talk about?"

He raised a hoof to gesture between them. "All of this. Everything. Me being late, my job, you eating alone, you being alone. All of it."

Each breath was slow and steady as she tried not to assume anything, but her mind raced ahead of her. "All right. What about 'all of it'?"

"How long are you going to be 'fine' with me coming home late like this?" He shook his head. "Crystal, we haven't been together very long. I'm already missing dinner, important events, and not being around because of my job. And you're already upset about it."

Her heart pounded in her chest as she nearly shouted, "I'm not upset!" She winced at the sound of her own voice and added in a quiet mumble, "I would just appreciate it if I had some inkling of when my stallion would be around."

"I know it's frustrating. Trust me, I know. I also know it will only get worse." He shifted from one hoof to the other and his gaze darted away. "Stratus was never there when we needed him, but when he was around, it wasn't much better."

A part of her wanted to slap him, but instead she just waved a trembling hoof. "You're not your father, Silent! You'll be there when it really matters. And when you are, you won't strike our foals in some strange tradition to make them tough."

"Crystal..." He sighed and shook his head while his ears drooped slightly. "I don't think you're listening to me. What I'm saying is that if you're this frustrated now, just try to imagine what it will be like later down the road. Maybe..." He swallowed. "Maybe you would like to reconsider your answer."

Heat shot through her as her desire to slap him grew twofold, joined with the polar feeling of wanting to cry. What was he saying? "How... how dare you!" she spat.

"I'm just trying to look out for you," he said in a soft voice.

"Look out for me?!" Tears pricked her eyes, but were kept at bay by the anger roiling in her chest. "How dare you!"

"Please try to think about this rationally. My job will always be a big part of my life and who I am. That means more short notice trips, more long hours. Maybe even being killed on the job. I'm just not sure that is the kind of life for a pony like you."

"A pony like me?" It had angered her when Iridescence said those words a year ago, but to hear them from him? It cut through the boiling rage and straight to the hurt feelings beneath. Her chin trembled and the tears returned to blur her vision. She blinked several times to chase them away and stormed the distance between them to get right in his face. "How dare you!"

He stared at her, uncertainty written in his furrowed brow. To his credit, she was at a loss for what to say and yelling the same phrase repeatedly. When his mouth opened, a wave of words crashed into her mind and she shoved her hoof over his mouth. "Don't you dare continue! You listen to me, Silent Knight!"

She took a shaky breath and glared at him. "I'm sorry if I've seemed—no, that I have been a little upset that you've been gone so much, but you have been gone a lot lately! More than I think you ever have been in the past. And before you decide for me what I want and what kind of pony I am, maybe you should try asking me first!"

His jaw worked but she pressed her hoof closer to stop him. "When you were lying in that hospital bed, lost in a coma, I was terrified, Silent! I couldn't understand why your mother was so calm that you might never wake up. You were dying right in front of me and I wanted to run. I was so scared and I didn't know what to do at first, but I decided to stay. I decided right then and there that I would be tough because I loved you. Because it is worth loving you, regardless of everything else. So how dare you come into my home, look me in the eyes, and suggest that I would be better off without you!"

A sad look reached his eyes and when his ears folded back, she pulled her hoof away. "But... I could die and never come home to you."

"Yes." She kept her glare firmly locked on him. "Yes, you could. Don't you imagine me some weak little mare, because I'm prepared for that."

He paused and one of his brows arched. "Are you really?"

She snorted and shook her head. "Of course not! Nopony could be! But I am prepared to be prepared, and I want the chance. How dare you think walking away from me would be for the best. I've worked too hard for this and love you too much."

The brow lowered and his gaze fell with it. "I think you're making a mistake..."

"Then it is mine to make!" She put her hoof under his chin and forced his head back up. "Can you honestly say that you want to walk away from me?"

He shook his head. "No, of course not. But I also want what is best for you. You deserve that."

She rolled her eyes and slid her hoof from his chin up to caress his cheek. "You're what's best for me! Do you know how hard I've worked to become a good officer's wife? How many horrible events I've endured? Do you really think I would go through all of that if I wasn't sure it was worth it? If you were worth it?"

After a pause, he blinked a few times and cocked his head to the side. "What? I never asked you to do any of that."

Silence occupied the space between her ears as she opened and closed her mouth a few times until thoughts rushed in all at once. Slowly, her hoof lowered to the floor. That was true—"But..." A wife of a high-ranking officer had to be—"I..." If she were a nopony, then it would reflect poorly on him! "You—"

"Couldn't care less about that sort of thing?"

Her brow furrowed. "But, a proper wife—"

He stared at her. "According to who?"

An embarrassed heat filled her cheeks and at that moment, she wanted to fall to the ground and wail over the suddenly wasted time. Instead, she just looked away to try to hide her face. "O-okay, fine, your point is taken! But it doesn't change the fact that I did them because I felt you were worth the effort! I have no intention of giving up on you, and you... Well, you'll just have to be careful."

The serious tone returned to his voice. "If I have to give up my life to do my job, then I'm going to, Crystal. You have to understand that."

"Understand?" She looked back at him, her embarrassment replaced by a soft melancholy. One hoof raised to rest on his chest, over his heart. "I'm not sure I can, but at the least, I can accept it. Just, please, don't put yourself in unnecessary risk, all right? There's no reason to do that, right? You don't have to go out there and look for death if it's not looking for you."

He shook his head. "No, you're right, I don't have to."

"Then don't." She smiled up at him. "Just do what you have to do and somewhere in there, think about coming home to me. Okay?"

He gazed at her for a moment, then asked, "Are you sure?"

"Yes! Now quit asking!" She lifted her hoof from his chest to lightly tap him on the nose. "If I change my mind, I'll let you know, not the other way around!"

"All right." He bobbed his head in a light nod that slowly petered out until he tilted his head and furrowed his brow. "I'm sorry, but why did you think going to all those events was a good idea? I'd have much rather had you around."

A heavy sigh escaped her and she clenched her eyes shut as she shook her head. Any other officer and it would have been expected. Her stallion wasn't any other officer, though, and she should have remembered that. "I was just assuming things," she muttered. "I'll happily stop going. That will make things easier with your schedule, and it will give me more time to write."

"Yeah, and once my ponies are well, I'll try harder to keep some regular hours so you know when I'll be home."

"That sounds good," she whispered, suddenly exhausted. Feeling so many things all at once left her drained. Her head bobbed before she rested it against his and closed her eyes. "I just want to get married, live happily ever after, and be together forever."

Silent chuckled. One of his hooves shifted to rest over hers and gave it a squeeze. "Actually, I think all the real work starts after marriage."

"Probably." She gave a soft, breathless laugh. "But first we have to get that far."

Her head bobbed as he nodded his own. "Yeah." His hoof trailed up her leg and he said, "Okay, then. So set a date. If you're so determined to marry me, then let's just get married already."

"What?" She tilted her head back to peer up at him. "Are you serious?"

"Of course. Go get a calendar, pick a date, and start planning." He smiled.

Just like that? She gawked at him in silence, but slowly, the idea sounded better and better until she nodded with certainty. "All right. I'll start planning. For real this time, not just for fun with Velvet."

"Good." He leaned in to kiss her cheek. "You'll have to let me know how that goes."

"What do you mean, let you know?" One brow arched and her ears flicked. "Where do you plan to be?"

He sighed and wrapped his foreleg around her neck to pull her closer. "Unfortunately, Haven, again. We can talk about that another time, though. Why don't you tell me about your dream wedding so I know what to expect?"

Her dream wedding? Well, she had thought about it a few times, certainly, but what if he didn't like her ideas? She tried to giggle the fear away and snuggled against him. "Well." She sighed wistfully. "I've always wanted to get married in a rose garden."

"A rose garden?" He stroked his hoof along her back. "Are there even any in Canterlot?"

"Shh!" She nipped at his neck. "This is a dream wedding! They don't have to be practical."

"All right, all right." He chuckled. "I'm listening."

After a cautious pause, she continued in a soft voice, "Just imagine a beautiful rose garden, with a string quartet playing... All of our friends and family sitting in pretty little white chairs in front of a pretty white arch. Maybe there's roses on it, too! And they change songs, and everypony rises, and you turn and down the aisle you see me. Our eyes meet, and a breeze carries rose petals through the air. It would be so magical..."

Author's Note:

Companion Secrets Chapter: Making Decisions
Companion Secrets Chapter: Commitment?

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