• Published 18th May 2015
  • 8,061 Views, 682 Comments

Inner Strength - Krickis



When Twilight overhears a private conversation, she has to come to terms with how she feels about herself, love, and a certain somepony. All while weighing her public image against her personal desires.

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4 - Pen Pals

Chapter Four

Pen Pals

It had been some time since the sun went down. The only light came from the soft glow of moonlight through the window and a single flickering candle on the desk. The candle cast long dancing shadows over everything, from the overflowing trash can, to the empty bed, to the purple alicorn scrunched over a sheet of paper.

Twilight reread the letter she had written. There was nothing wrong with it. It stated in plain terms what she wanted it to, avoiding sensationalism while also giving all the important details. It was the perfect letter for the matter at hoof.

She balled it up and threw it towards the trash, where it bounced off and landed on the pile of other balled letters on the floor. She let her face fall to the desk. “Why is this so hard?” she grumbled to herself.

There was a slight vibration on the desk. Twilight frowned. She hadn’t expected to hear from Sunset again so late, and she doubted her human friend would be sharing good news. She opened the journal in time to see the final words appearing.

‘I just can’t catch a break. And she seemed so nice too! Another wasted night on a bad date.’

That’s exactly what Twilight had been afraid of. She quickly grabbed her quill, hoping she could catch Sunset before she was too far from the book. So she could help her friend sort through her problems, of course, and in no way because she was avoiding writing a certain letter.

‘I’m sorry it didn’t go well. Do you want to talk about it?’

It was only a moment before a reply came. ‘Twilight? What are you still doing up? Probably researching something knowing you. It’s already one in the morning, in case you didn’t realize.’

Twilight rolled her eyes. ‘I've only done that once.’

‘I find that a little hard to believe.’

‘Okay, maybe a few times more than that.’ Really, Twilight couldn’t say how many times she’d done that over the years, but Sunset didn’t need to know that. ‘The point is that I know what time it is, and I’d like to hear about your date if you want to tell me about it.’

‘If you say so. Anyway, the night started out great. We caught a movie and went out for dinner afterwards. It was a pretty standard first date, but she was charming, nice, funny, and best of all she really seemed understanding about the whole Fall Formal incident. But then I let it slip that I live alone and she started implying things. Once I made it clear I had no intention of taking her home to bed, she just totally changed her tone. Fifteen minutes later, she’s already out the door and I’m stuck picking up the bill. I don’t think I’ll be able to date a girl who cares about more than getting me naked until college.’

‘I’m sorry it didn’t go well. You’d think they’d get the hint eventually.’

‘That’s what I thought at first, but now I think that’s part of the problem. Everyone sees me going on dates with all these different girls and they probably assume they’re all just random hookups. I think all the good girls are scared of the bad girl past, and everyone else just wants sex. I shouldn’t even give them a chance anymore, I’m just encouraging them.’

‘I hate to say it, but you’re probably right.’ Then again, Twilight didn’t know much about dating, and she didn’t want to give Sunset bad advice. ‘Still, don’t give up completely. I’d hate to see you let someone slip by that might be good for you.’

‘I’m fine, Twi. It’s not like anyone else has asked me out or anything. Besides, graduation is right around the corner. I’ll just spend this time with my friends, then I can worry about romance once CHS is behind me. Anyway, how are things on your end?’

Twilight hesitated. She didn’t really want to talk about that, but she knew it was for the best. ‘I’ve been thinking a lot lately. I’m starting to think you might be right.’

‘Of course I am! What am I right about though?’

Twilight chuckled. ‘About telling other ponies. Actually, the whole reason I’m up is because I was actually taking your advice and finally writing that letter to Cadance. But no matter what I write it just seems wrong.’

‘You’re probably just overthinking it. Here, write to me like I’m Cadance.’

‘Really?’

‘Yes! Come on, I know it’s silly, but just give it a shot. What’s the worst that can happen? I already know what your ‘deep dark secret’ is.’

‘But the journal just sends whatever I write, I can’t edit it!’

‘Yeah, that’s the point. Don’t tell me you’re embarrassed? Come on Twi, you don’t have to worry about me. I just want to help.’

Twilight sighed. The whole thing was ridiculous. But Sunset was playing her cards right because Twilight really couldn’t turn down a friend who was genuinely trying her best to help. She suspected Sunset knew this by now and was intentionally exploiting her weakness.

It didn’t really matter either way; whether Twilight knew it was a trick or not, it was working. She shook her head and wrote her letter to ‘Cadance’.

‘Dear Cadance,

I hope this letter finds you well, and things in the Crystal Empire are running smoothly.

I’m writing to ask for your advice on something, but it’s difficult for me to talk about it. For some time now, I’ve been in lo had a cru had feelings for a friend of mine. I’m sure this would be confusing enough, but the thing is that this friend is another mare. I know I should have told you this ages ago, but I’m a lesbian. Don’t worry, I’ve come to terms with how I feel years ago. To be honest, accepting myself wasn’t actually a problem for me, but telling other ponies is terrifying.

Which brings me to the problem at hoof. I’ve never even told my friend that I like mares, let alone my feelings for her. When I first came to Ponyville, I was still figuring out how I felt about myself. Then when I finally did, I was afraid to tell anyone because I didn’t know what they’d think of me. They were the best friends I’d ever made, and I didn’t want to lose them. Not to mention what it could mean for Equestria if the Elements of Harmony stopped being friends!

I’ve had crushes on other mares before and figured it would pass just like every other time, but it hasn’t. I care about her more and more as time goes on, and lately she’s all I can think about. Eventually, I realized our bond was strong enough that she would want to stay friends whether she felt the same way or not, and I made up my mind to tell her.

But then while I was building courage, I became a princess and suddenly everything became so much more complicated. Now I have to worry about what everypony will think! Will Equestria accept a gay princess? Will they still respect me as their Princess of Friendship if I have a marefriend? And that’s all only if she says ‘yes’ in the first place! She was recently turned down by the mare she has a crush on, and I don’t want her to think I’m trying to take advantage of that. But how long are you supposed to wait for this sort of thing?

I wish I talked to you about this years ago, before I became a princess. It seems like it would’ve been so much easier back then. I don’t understand why I waited so long to come to you about this. I don’t understand why it’s so hard to talk to ponies I know will still care about me. You’re technically the first pony in Equestria I’ve told, but I’ve talked to my friend Sunset Shimmer about everything. I don’t know what I’d do without her, she’s been so much help in figuring everything out and staying at least somewhat sane in the process. She was actually the one who finally convinced me to write to you.

As terrified as I am of sending this letter, I’m also excited. It’ll be nice not having to keep this secret from at least one pony, and I’m sure you’ll know what I should do. I can hardly wait for your response.

Sincerely,

Twilight Sparkle’

Twilight set her quill down and sighed. She couldn’t place what, but something still didn’t seem quite right.

‘Hold on, Fluttershy likes mares? You never told me that!’

Twilight’s ears folded against her head as she blushed. Almost reluctantly, she picked up the quill again. ‘Uhm… whoops. I must be more tired than I thought... I kinda forgot I was really writing to you.’

‘Oh, so you weren’t just adding that part about me for my benefit then?’

‘You know what? Let’s just forget that this ever happened.’

‘I’m just teasing, I’m happy I’ve been able to help you. I owe you so much for everything you’ve done, it’s nice to know I can pay you back, at least a little. And I won’t say anything to Fluttershy. We don’t even know if the whole double thing works like that anyway. Actually though, come to think about it, maybe you were right about not giving up on love so easily. I can see why you like her so much, maybe I should talk to her. See if I can find out if this Fluttershy’s gay too. Who knows, right?’

There was a long pause from Twilight’s end as she glared at the journal. Sunset couldn’t see that, of course, but Twilight glared with enough intensity that she imagined Sunset could feel it.

‘I was just joking! She’s really not my type, and I know it’d be pretty weird for me to date your marefriend’s double.’

‘She’s not my marefriend.’

‘Not yet. But seriously, that letter was perfect. Just copy that and you’ll be good to go.’

‘Alright. Thank you, Sunset. And I really did mean what I said, by the way. As far as I’m concerned, with how much you’ve been supporting me lately, I think we’re even now. And sorry for talking so much about my problems. I’m still up for hearing about your date, or anything else on your mind.’

‘Oh no, you’re not dodging this anymore. Go write your letter, I’m fine. I don’t really want to talk about it anymore anyway. I actually feel a lot better just talking to you. Besides, it’s getting late and I have work tomorrow. You should get some rest too. After you write that letter.’

‘You’re right. Again. Goodnight, Sunset.’

‘Goodnight, Twi.’

Twilight pulled out a fresh sheet of paper. Writing the letter felt easier this time. She felt calmer. She actually managed to get through the whole thing exactly as she had written it to Sunset, and she didn’t doubt herself once.

When she was done she read it back. Hmm… maybe just one more rewrite.’

The book vibrated again. Twilight read the note, rolled her eyes, and sealed the letter in an envelope.

‘And don’t throw it out!’


The following week was torturous. What if the letter fell into the wrong hooves? Her life could be destroyed! Maybe she shouldn’t have signed her name? She definitely shouldn’t have signed her name. She could have let Cadance know who was writing without explicitly stating who she was. It wouldn’t even have been hard, if she had just thought about it. But she hadn’t, and now everypony would find out, and it would cause a huge scandal.

That knocking on the door was probably an angry mob to run her out of Ponyville. Did angry mobs knock? Probably not. But sneaky angry mobs?

Nevertheless, she asked Spike to get the door. There was only one pony there, a grey pegasus in a blue uniform. “Special delivery for Princess Twilight Sparkle! Straight from the Crystal Empire, first class.”

Spike reached for the letter, but Twilight had already grabbed it with her magic. “Thank you, Derpy!” Twilight called as she raced to her room, practically slamming the door, and tearing open the envelope.

Dear Twilight,

I’m so happy you finally decided to tell me this. And while I do wish you had told me sooner, what’s important is that you have now. And as usual, you’re worried about things that you shouldn’t be. While I doubt that public reaction to you coming out would be as bad as you think, that bridge can be crossed later.

You have to realize that it’s not just black and white, in and out. You can come out to ponies you trust first, and then when you feel the time is right, you can tell everypony else. Start with your friends and family. I won’t mention anything to Shiny until you’re ready, but I promise you he’ll give you his full support as well. I’m sure you know, but the same goes for your parents.

But before that, how about you start with someone closer to home? I’m surprised you haven’t told Spike yet. You may think he’s too young to understand, but I think he might surprise you. Having a safe home where everyone around you accepts you and you don’t have to hide anything can make a world of difference.

Now, as far as what to do about your friend. The best thing to do is to just talk to her. Explain your feelings. Understand that she might need time, and that’s not the same thing as rejection. Everypony is different, and if she’s just been rejected by somepony else then she may need time to herself to get past it, or she may already be ready to move on. You can’t assume you know what she wants to do, the only way to know is to talk to her and let her make the decision herself. You already said you don’t think your friendship is in danger, so what do you have to lose? If nothing else, you’ll feel better when you’re not hiding things from the ponies you care about, and If you continue to not say anything, there can only be one outcome.

I know you can handle this. You’re one of the strongest mares I’ve ever known. Just remember to take everything one step at a time, and don’t get blinded by the big picture. If there’s anything at all I can do, you know you should never hesitate to ask. And please, keep me posted on what happens.

All my love,

Cadance

P.S. Is it Rainbow Dash? You two would be so cute together!

Twilight set the letter down. She smiled as she wiped tears from her eyes. She was accepted. She had finally told another pony, and she was still loved. It felt so much better than she thought it would.

It had been easy to tell Sunset. Well, relatively speaking. Actually, Sunset had come out to Twilight first, and in a combination of bravery inspired by Sunset’s announcement and early morning sleep-deprived honesty, Twilight confessed as well.

Then she tore out the page. It turned out that it didn’t matter, the message still sent, and all that was accomplished was that Twilight felt guilty for defiling a book.

She knew Cadance was right about coming out to select ponies, and that she should take things one step at a time. Twilight was good at that. And at organizing those steps. She already had her quill and paper ready to write a checklist.

1. Talk to Spike. She had been reluctant to tell Spike because she was afraid he wouldn’t be able to keep a secret, but she realized that lately he was more mature than she gave him credit for. And Cadance did have a point; it would make her feel much better if she didn’t have to worry about hiding things at home.

Step two was a little trickier. At first, she thought it would be best to invite all her closest friends over to tell them all at once. That’s what Sunset had done and it worked well for her, after all. But while in some ways it seemed easier, she just knew as soon as Rarity found out she liked mares, the next question would be if there were anypony in particular she was interested in. She’d either have lie to her friends, or she’d be forced into admitting her feelings for Fluttershy to everypony.

Too much all at once, and besides, she wanted to tell Fluttershy privately. Not to mention the idea of telling Fluttershy that she was gay, even if she left out the crush, made her chest tighten. No, she’d do it individually, or at least in smaller groups.

So then who second? She wanted to talk to somepony who could give her some more advice. Cadance was great, but her friends simply knew Fluttershy better. Rarity and Rainbow already knew Fluttershy liked mares, which made them the obvious choices. Rainbow would probably tell her to just go for it and damn the consequence, which wasn’t really as encouraging as she seemed to think it was. And after Cadance, Rarity would normally be Twilight’s choice for romantic advice, but she was probably too close to the situation and Twilight didn’t want to make things awkward.

So that left Applejack and Pinkie Pie. She knew Pinkie would be happy to help, but Twilight doubted she would be much help with something so delicate. She’d probably just want to throw a big party, and that was the last thing Twilight needed. Applejack, on the other hoof, was perfect. Her down to earth advice and grounded nature would be exactly what Twilight needed.

2. Talk to Applejack.

3. Talk to Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie in no particular order. Even if not for advice, she’d still want their support. She could decide how much she wanted to tell them when that time came.

4. Talk to Fluttershy. Even thinking of it made Twilight nervous. She forced a deep breath and reminded herself to take it one step at a time. Talking to Fluttershy was four steps away. If she wrote all her friends separately, it’d be six steps away. ‘Maybe I should rewrite the list…’

“Twilight?” Spike said, knocking on the door. “Is everything okay? You kinda freaked out back there.”

Better to just get started. Twilight smiled and pulled open the door. “Yes, Spike, everything’s fine. Can you come in? There’s something I want to talk to you about.”

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