• Published 1st Jul 2015
  • 3,999 Views, 277 Comments

Broken then Healed 2 - Tohshi

Despite still being plagued by nightmares, Lilac has adapt well and spends their time in the idyllic Ponyvile. When pains of the past resurface, Lilac has to help shoulder those pains, and help heal that which was broken.

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Part 1: Chapter 11 (A return)

Author’s Notes: So here is me coming back to this after a long, long hiatus. The writing in this is going to be different. I have written so much since I last left off and as such this may be a bit of a jarring return. Hopefully not too bad though. and it is well within reason that I am overthinking this.

Chapter 11

“We got to go now,” I half yelled half stammered. “She must be all sorts of worried right now.”

Bolting up I jumped into a gallop and headed towards the castle only to be caught in Twilight’s magic. She held me aloft letting my hooves speed away into the air. Being confined in Twilight’s grip like this was strangely startling and I could feel the panic building in me. I had to get to Annabelle this moment. Images of a frightened Annabelle must have been were running through my head.

“We will be there in just a moment. But first you need to calm down,” Twilight said. “No point in frightening her by our urgency.”

I wiggled in Twilight’s grasp. She was right but knowing that did little to make the panic subside. I tried to focus on my breath but sitting still was painful. I couldn’t hold my mine on my breathing for long enough for the calming mindfulness to come over me. Nympha pulled me out of Twilight’s grasp and her warmth started to help me regain my composure.

“Why hurt so much?” asked Nympha. “Who hurt you? Who broke you?”

“I, ah, I…” I stammered. I couldn’t think of the words to answer that question. My father yelling ran through my head. The stone cold face of Melody in the casket. A faded memory of my mom that I wasn’t certain was accurate. All of these ran through my head but also the nagging thought that I was to blame. That I just hadn’t been strong enough. That I was the problem. Tears ran down my checks.

“Nympha, I know you care but that question is going to be hard on Lilac,” Bon Bon said. “Maybe when she is ready she can tell you but you have to let her have time to be ready to talk about that.”

Nympha had grown somber and her face was torn with thought and the slightest hint of guilt. She shook her head and a smile spread across her face. It was very clear that it was a mask. Nympha said, “When ready. I love you always.”

I just nodded. I barely had the energy to do anything else. Nympha’s love was keeping me from spiraling but I couldn’t shake off the funk. I looked to Twilight and asked, “Can you just teleport us there? We’ve wasted too much time.”

“Are you certain you are up for this?” asked Twilight. “I can but I don’t want to push you to hard on this. Annabelle can wait for an hour or two.”

“No I need to do this. Annabelle needs me,” I said.

“Okay,” Twilight said.

With a loud pop Twilight and I found ourselves outside of Annabelle’s room. The door was open and Annabelle was staring at us with a look of shock. There were traces of tears running down her cheeks slightly matting her dark gray fur. Princess Luna was too one side of the bed though she paid us no heed.

“Who are those ponies? How did they just show up like that?” asked Annabelle. Her voice was similar to what I remembered it being but more smooth and silky as well as being higher pitch.

“That is Princess Twilight Sparkle and her daughter of sorts, Lilac Splash. Though you know Lilac as a different name. Do you remember an Alex from before?” said Princess Luna.

Annabelle’s head jolted towards Princesses Luna. I could see the shock in her face. Like she had seen a ghost. Then she shook her head and tears started flowing again. Annabelle asked, “Is this what happens to people when they die? They turn into ponies in heaven?”

“I have no idea but I would assume not. No your transformation was a much more complicated task than simply dying. Fear not you are still among the living,” Princess Luna said.

“We are in a different world from home,” I said. “I’m so sorry Annabelle. I should have been there for you. But I let my sadness win.”

Tears once again started flowing from me. This time there was no warmth that held the spiral back and my mind fell into darkness. Guilt ate at me in ways that felt new. I was a horrible person, or I guess pony.

Twilight rubbed against me and pulled me into a hug. She whispered in my ear, “We can come back latter. You don’t have to push yourself.”

I tried to shake the sadness and guilt from my head and managed for a moment to hold it at bay. Sure it wasn’t gone but not being up in my metaphorical face was just enough to continue without collapsing.

“I can do this.” I said. I Walked up to the side of Annabelle’s bed next to Princess Luna. “How are you feeling, Anna?”

“Confused and sad and it hurts. Like both my heart and my body,” Annabelle said. She collapsed back into her pillow. She shifted to be facing towards Princess Luna and I. “My wing keeps getting in the way.”

“Give it some time. You’ll get used to it. It took me a while to do so but eventually I got used to my wings,” said Twilight.

“Did you use to be a person too?” Annabelle asked. “Why am I broken and you aren’t?”

“No I was born a pony. But I did earn my wings,” Twilight said. “But you are in your current state due to a terrible accident. It was all we could do to save your life. I’m sorry that we couldn’t do better for you.”

Turning away her gaze, Annabelle’s face scrunched up in pain. A small gasp of pain escaped her. Princess Luna’s horn lit up with an indigo light and shortly afterwards the look of pain on Annabelle’s face eased.

“What about Mommy, and Melody?” asked Annabelle.

I had been dreading this question. I scrambled against my brain trying to prevent the coming spiral of memories and emotions. I was prepared and I managed to prevent the worst of it but the effort left me stunned. Any attempts to think of what to say had my brain spiraling again so I just focused on my breath. Moments passed as I continually fought with my mind.

“They are not with us,” said Princess Luna. “I know not of your mother, but Melody is beyond us now. She walks the golden fields of Elysium. I’m sorry for your loss. For what it is worth I understand. I have lost many precious to me.”

Princess Luna’s face was nearly unreadable. Which was slightly off putting to me as her kind nature always seemed to shine through her eyes. Who ever she had lost must have been important.

Soft sobs wracked Annabelle. For a moment we all just sat there letting her cry. I tried to calm her with touch but I was too short and it made it a feeble attempt at best. Princess Luna seemed to follow my lead and stroked Annabelle’s head in that way that felt good to a pony but hadn’t as a human.

“I’m sorry Anna. I promise to be there for you,” I said.

Annabelle snapped upwards. Anger had replaced all traces of sadness that had once covered her face. She shouted at me, “You promise. You promise. What about your last promise to me? You left me alone. You said we were going to be a family the four of us. That we were going to live together. That you wanted to make Melody happy. That we were going to be happy. That everything was going to be good now. And you lied. You couldn’t protect her. You were supposed to protect us…”

Annabelles yelling devolved back into pained sobbing and her cries were like daggers to me. Guilt ate at me quicker and stronger than ever before. She was right. I had promised to help make their life better. I had abandoned my family when Melody died. I left them behind. The very thing that I hated my mother for. The room felt like it was collapsing into me and I couldn’t get myself to breath. I had to run. I needed to not be here anymore. I needed to escape from the monster that was eating away at my heart. Pop. I started running not knowing where I was going or caring. Pain started to spread from my gut to the rest of my body but I tore down the maze like hallways of the Canterlot castle till I could run no more. Stopping in front of a doorway I opened it to find a broom closet which I promptly collapsed in. I closed the door behind me.

The darkness of the cabinet along with my lack of energy caused me to fall into a deeper darkness. Sleep gave me no solace though as monsters of my past would form in my depression fueled nightmares to eat me. Even the bellies of the beasts were no haven from their pain as even in that darkness more would naw at my limbs. Spiralling further and further out of control my dreams stopped being coherent. A bright indigo light pierced my mind and shattered the monsters and any traces of consciousness I had left.

I woke to someone picking me up out of the broom closet but I paid them little heed. Their magic felt off to the touch but I couldn’t muster the energy to care. I was stuck in a state of semi-wakefulness for what seemed like forever as my brain kept running Annabelle’s words through my head. I could tell that things were happening around me but I couldn’t break the cycle till a warmth from outside started to flow into me. Nympha’s love was what brought me out of the cycle. And the tears started again.

Some time latter I came too enough that It was apparent that I was back in my bedroom. Nympha was to my right and Bon Bon to the left. Sandwiched in their warmth I shifted my head slightly from my forelegs to the side of Bon Bon.

“You there now?” asked Bon Bon. I rubbed my head against her in acknowledgement. “Are you feeling better?”

“Um...yes,” I said quietly. Yet as the words left my mouth they felt like a lie. Guilt was still gnawing at my insides. “Well no.”

“I think we may need to go back to Ponyville. Get away from all the craziness that is going on right now. You have had a bad week and it all seems to have started when you and Twilight opened that portal back to your world,” Bon Bon said. “I love that you find an interest in magic and that you and Lyra have something to bond together over. But I need you to be safe and to not dig up these scars like this. Doctor Vibes felt that it might be best to leave your past behind and to focus on the future. I want, no I need, to be able to trust that you aren’t going to throw yourself off a building again.”

“I can’t leave Annabelle. I have to make it right with her. She wouldn’t be in this situation if it weren’t for me,” I said. This conversation was not helping my guilt which was only growing as I listened to Bon Bon’s words. “I can’t leave her behind. Not again. There is this word back in my world and I can’t remember it but it meant family and family means nobody gets left behind.”

“But that also means you don’t get left behind. Even in your attempts to make the world better you have to take care of yourself first,” Bon Bon said. “If you really have to stay then there are going to be some rules that you need to follow. Until we are back in Ponyville no more magic practice. You wear yourself out too much and you always have worse days when you do that. Second Doctor Vibes is coming up to meet with you tomorrow. I don’t want you to visit Annabelle till after you talk to your therapist and even then not till he says it is okay. Finally, you have to take sleeping draught till we get all of this sorted out. That one isn’t mine. Princess Luna’s orders. She said something about a nightmare demon that she had to fight today because of you.”

I felt even worse at that last part. I hoped that the demon hadn’t hurt anyone. Princess Luna had explained that they were the most powerful of nightmare creatures. Capable of even affecting those awake. That demons were crafty too and could be hard to track and kill if Princess Luna didn’t get to them right when they broke free of a pony's dream. Thankfully the sleeping draught would prevent me from dreaming and therefor creating nightmare creatures.

“Now don’t let that get you down. Princess Luna said she had it handled and to not worry. Look I just need you to promise me that for the time being you will put your needs first, okay?” asked Bon Bon.

“Okay,” I said. “I promise.”

“I’m holding you to that,” said Bon Bon.

Nympha had been strangely quiet during Bon Bon’s lecture. Glancing her way, I could see why she had been asleep the whole time. I nuzzled into her cream colored shoulder and tried to follow suit. Even that small conversation was draining.

Easing herself off the bed, Bon Bon headed out the door of my temporary bed room. At the doorway, she turned her head back at me and said, “Don’t fall asleep yet. You need to take the Draught. I’ll be right back with it.”

“Bring juice or something too, to wash it down. That stuff is nasty,” I said quietly. There was no happiness in me about needing to take that potion for so long. I don’t think you could make it taste worse than it did.

Bon Bon returned shortly with a small glass flask and a cup of apple on a tray she was masterfully carrying in her mouth. The flask was much smaller than I was used to and the potion was also much more transparent than usual. I grabbed the potion with my magic looking to make quick work of this unpleasant task only to be surprised when the potion was not like drinking sewage mixed with cleaning supplies but instead a nice minty aftertaste. I could feel the effects almost immediately which was also unusual.

“Who made this? It is way...better…” I said as I fell into a deep dreamless sleep.

I woke feeling groggy. Seemed the side effects were the same either way. Nympha wasn’t by my side which left me a bit lonely. It was weird how quickly one could get used to having the warmth of another body next to you in the morning. But all this meant was that I had slept far longer than I would have otherwise which was the other side effect of the sleeping draught. I stumbled out of bed and out into the living room of the Black Suite. With her nose buried in a book Bon Bon only noticed me when I crawled up next to her.

“Good morning,” said Bon Bon. “Though it is almost too late for that one.”

“Where is Nympha? Is Lyra still sleeping?” I asked. If it was as late as Bon Bon had implied then Lyra should have been awake by now. I figured that the answer to both of my questions were related.

“Lyra took Nympha to the gardens to play,” said Bon Bon. “That filly is just too filled with energy. I was just about to go wake you. Doctor Vibes is here and wants to met you for lunch. Princess Luna has arranged for a private room for you two to talk and eat.”

“How soon do I need to be there?” I asked. “Do I have time for a bath or shower?”

“That you do,” Bon Bon said. “You still smell of cleaning supplies.”

One sniff confirmed her words. I wandered back to my bedroom and into the amazing tub. The thing could have both the shower head running and the facet at the same time and so for a few minutes I took a shower while I waited for the tub to fill. I pushed my bath to the limits, attempting to enjoy as much of the warm water as possible. The bath tub had heating runes inlaid into it which kept the water just the right temperature. At least there was one silver lining in all this craziness.

After a thirty minute soak, Bon Bon lead me through the castles to a private dining room near the Cafeteria. Doctor Vibes was already waiting for us and was busy reading the menu. He smiled at me as we walked in. I couldn’t help but bow my head. I had made him come all the way to Canterlot on a weekend. He didn’t normally work on Sunday’s.

“Good afternoon, Lilac,” Doctor Vibes said. “It isn’t often that I am summoned by the Princesses to Canterlot. But it does has its perks. The lunch here is amazing.”

“Sorry for ruining your weekend,” I mumbled just loud enough for him to hear me from across the small table. Despite knowing better, I couldn’t shake the guilt. He didn’t have to have come today and if he had wanted to meeting him tomorrow didn’t seem like a big deal. But still it didn’t help the emotions.

“Lilac, you did not ruin my weekend. I get to have a paid for trip to Canterlot,” said Doctor Vibes. “There is a show later tonight that I get to see because of you. I wouldn’t have been able to do that without having transportation and room and board covered. So really you have made my weekend.”

“If you say so,” I said. I pulled up a chair and started to look at the menu. I was pretty certain about what I was going to order but I wanted to check anyway. Macaroni and cheese was in fact what I ordered along with a small side salad.

Bon Bon left the two of us to our meal. We only made small talk till the food came. Talks about seeing the gardens and Doctor Vibes recommending places for me to visit that he figured I would like. With our food delivered our talk began in earnest. In more details than I probably should have told him, I recounted the past week since I saw him. From opening the portal to Nympha to Annabelle. He gave me the space to just let it all out.

“I feel we have to address your feelings for and around Annabelle,” Doctor Vibes said. “It seems to me that you are conflating your own actions with the problems of others. You didn’t cause all of this to happen. This isn’t your fault.”

“It feels like it is,” I said. “Had I been there I could have done something.”

“But that doesn’t matter. All the could have, should have, would haves are meaningless in the face of what did happen. We don’t have to like it. It doesn’t have to feel good but we have to accept that no matter what happened we can never go back and fix it. Time flows only one way.”

“How do you get to that acceptance?” I asked.

“Only you can find that out. It is different for each of us. Some of us just stop thinking of the past. We move on and away. Some make it their mission in life to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Some don’t come to accept it. For whatever reason they can’t get there. But you will never find out unless we work on it. I know you well enough to say that you won’t be the first type of person. I just hope you can avoid being the third type of person,” said Doctor Vibes. “But if you want to be the second type of person the most important part is to be there and to not let the pains of the past preventing you from fixing the problems of the future and present.”

“I am trying but I don’t know how to fix this. I don’t know what to do anymore,” I said. “I feel like I am drowning.”

“You just need to remind yourself every time you have that thought that every journey begins with one step. That is all a journey is, a collection of steps. They may add up to more than their sum but only because each step is taken,” Doctor Vibes said. “I think you know what the next step is, don’t you?”

“Yeah work on myself,” I said. “Find a balance in my life. We’ve been over this before. It is just really hard when shit hits the fan.”

Doctor Vibes laughed for a moment. After his chuckling subsided, he said, “Sorry but that is a new phrase to me. I would say it is quite apt for this week. But we know what to do when it gets to be too much. We ask for help. I am always here for you and I know Bon Bon, Lyra, and Twilight are too. Don’t take on so much. I can tell you have been pushing yourself on your magic training too much again. You don’t need to be perfect. You are so far and above most fillies your age. In some ways you are above and beyond even adults, so take your time. You have plenty of it.”

“Can we talk about that?” I asked. “Discord sort of made me realize what it means to be immortal. Most people I know are going to die long before I do, if I do. How do you come to terms with that? I used to think dying was scary but not dying is so much worse.”

“I can only help so much in this. Everypony loses somepony eventually and while you may lose more than your fair share of them I feel like you also get to have more than your fair share of friends. Also you won’t be alone. The princesses will always be there with you. But besides that I can’t offer much advice. It isn’t something that I think I can even really imagine. I would suggest that you talk to Princess Luna about this if you can get an audience,” said Doctor Vibes.

“I will,” I said.

“Now I have already talked to Annabelle today and I think it would be a good thing for both of you to have a talk in a safe environment. So to that end, if you want, I think the three of us should have a talk,” Doctor Vibes said.

“I don’t know if that will do any good. I think she hates me. Rightfully so,” I said.

“Assumptions are a poor thinker’s tools,” said Doctor Vibes. “I don’t think she hates you. Just angry and scared and confused. Much like you were when we first met. I promise that there will be no shouting. So are you willing to talk to her.”

“Of course. I want to really apologize to her. I need to make it right,” I said.

“Remember that a real apology is not just an admission of wrongdoing but also a promise to not do so again. If you really want to apologize then you are going to have to forgive yourself,” Doctor Vibes said.

“I’ll try,” I said.

“That is all I ask.”

The two of us had long since finished our lunch and we took a slow walk to Annabelle’s room. Doctor Vibes set the pace in part because I couldn’t keep it steady alternating between rushing and dragging my feet. I didn’t relish this upcoming talk but I knew it had to be done. Doctor Vibes was constantly telling me trivia about the various art pieces that we passed. It was obvious that he was trying to prevent me from stewing on what was ahead of us. It only half worked.

“I hope you don’t mind that there will be a fourth pony with us in our conversation,” said Doctor Vibes. We were standing outside Annabelle’s room. “Princess Luna insisted that she be in attendance.”

“Nope, that is fine. Probably good even. I think she understands better than most of us, when it comes to losing things like Annabelle and I have,” I said.

“I think you are right,” said Doctor Vibes.

As the doors opened it revealed the cute scene of Princess Luna reading a book to Annabelle. She was at rapt attention despite, or maybe because of, the complexity of the book Princess Luna was reading. Annabelle had always been an avid reader. It was a thing that she used to do with her sister and a thing that we shared in common. Reading had always been a thing that we as the three of us had been into.

“I hope we aren’t interrupting a good scene?” asked Doctor Vibes.

I tried to swallow the lump that was forming in my throat. It was no more easy as a pony as it had been as a human. I could feel panic building again as Annabelle looked up from the book and in our direction. Her face was almost void of emotion for a second till it was replaced with something I hadn’t been expecting. Guilt.

“I’m sorry, Alex,” Annabelle said. “Please don’t hate me. I can’t lose you again.”

“I broke my promise once. I’ll never do that again,” I said sheepishly. Despite my hesitation I meant every word of it. I would never leave her alone like that again.

Author's Note:

Sorry for the delay on this. I got stuck and put it down and when I felt like coming back I thought it needed to be redone. And then I got distracted by original work and all in all it was a crazy time. Well it doesn't help that mental illnesses have been a problem as of recent. But here it is. I figure better late than never. I hope to have more soon.