• Published 2nd Jan 2016
  • 26,390 Views, 1,860 Comments

Blank - Carrier of Heartbreak



A dying young man discovers that his life may not be what he thought it was, and the seemingly innocent TV show he watches in his hospital room may not be fictitious.

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S1E2: Star of the Show

"Wheeew! What a day!" sighed the pink earth pony happily. Containers of every baking ingredient known to pony kind littered the floor and counters around her. Numerous puddles of milk stained the floor, made pasty by the flour that congealed with them. Frosting of numerous colors painted a mosaic on the counter, telling the story of the possibly thousands of cupcakes and other confectioneries that had been made that day. Any other pony might have fallen from the sheer energy it took to speed around the kitchen at top speed for over twelve hours, doing as many as a dozen different things at the same time. A lesser pony might have even succumbed to the mess and gave themselves over to their new dark overlord, chocolate frosting.

But not Pinkie Pie. This is what she lived for, creating sweet treats for all the ponies of Ponyville. The smiles that her baked goods brought to her friends' faces could keep her motivated for...well, ever. And today was one of the absolute greatest bestest days for making sweets and making her friends smile! So many ponies looking for some goodies to go along with all the different viewing parties for tonight's episode! And here Pinkie was, just the perfect pony to help them out with those tumbly rumblies that came with parties! Oh, of course Pinkie was hosting one of her own as well. There was no way the premiere party pony in Ponyville was going to miss the opportunity to throw another one of her super famous parties! So even though Sugarcube Corner was now all but cleared out, Pinkie still had her own private stash of goodies hidden away for the party she was hosting for her friends tonight.

Pinkie sped around the room in a terrifying storm of pink fur, the spots she passed ending up cleaner than before she started baking that morning. It was over in a matter seconds, the kitchen was left sparkly clean, a faint lemony fresh scent hanging in the air. The pink pony looked over her work with a large smile, a small 'squee' sound coming from nowhere. Pinkie heard a cough behind her and turn to one of her bosses, Mrs. Cup Cake, standing in the kitchen doorway. The plump blue earth pony stood there in a silent shock, having just witness the pinknado of cleaning tear through her kitchen. It probably shouldn't have surprised her at that point, having had Pinkie in her employment for years. But she still couldn't quite process it when she saw it. It was just too...surreal.

Pinkie gave Mrs. Cake a large smile and bounced all over to the doorway to greet her. She noticed her boss was quite disheveled from the long day. Mr. Cake probably felt the same way. It wasn't every day that seemingly every pony in Ponyville stopped by to leave a large order. The empty glass display case was left of proof of the emptiness the bakery was currently experiencing.

"Wow, we really got cleaned out, huh?" Pinkie giggled, snapping Mrs. Cake out of her stupor. The pink-maned blue earth pony shook her head and smiled weakly at her employee.

"No kidding, dear. Why, we might have to stay closed tomorrow so Carrot and I can restock our supply of...well, everything," Cup Cake sighed, wiping her face with her foreleg. Pinkie retained her smile and nodded, some chocolate chips falling from her poofy mane and towards the ground. Before they could touch the freshly cleaned floor, they were snagged by Pinkie's tongue as it shot from her mouth. Mrs. Cake's eye twitched once as she witness this, but she nodded and turned around. That was probably the best thing for her sanity at this point.

"That's probably fine, I'm sure everypony will be super tired from staying up so late tonight anyway!" Pinkie exclaimed. Her boss gave her a questioning look. Did Pinkie know the reason for the sudden mega-rush that they had been experiencing all day?

"So why did so many ponies need baked goods for tonight? And all at the same time? Is something going on?" Cup asked. Pinkie's smiled dropped and she let out a loud 'Gasp!' at her friend's obliviousness. Mrs. Cake flinched a little at Pinkie's sudden mood change. What, was something happening that she should have been aware of?

"Mrs. Cake, you don't know?!" Pinkie shouted, prompting her boss to take a step back. Loud Pinkie is not always best Pinkie. In response to her booming interrogation, Cup Cake shook her head softly. She really hadn't had much time to go out and get the news around town, owning a business and all. Pinkie had enough energy to work all day and socialize often, but the older mare was a full time businesspony and mother. She didn't have the time or energy to go out after everything else her day consisted of, spare her few vacations a year with her husband. Pinkie stared at her in disbelief for a few moments before explaining herself.

"Tonight's the season finale of OtherWorld!" she shouted, her legs waving in the air, not unlike a certain wacky-waving-inflatable-leg-flailing-tube-mare. Cup Cake blinked a few more times. Well that didn't explain as much as she hoped.

"And that is...?" she asked nervously. Whatever this OtherWorld was, Pinkie sure was passionate about it. And if it was also was caused the massive day long baking frenzy, then many other ponies were just as passionate. Pinkie very dramatically sighed and facehoofed.

"Oh nothing, just the most super amazing gem show in like ever!" Exasperation was very obvious in Pinkie's voice at this point. Mrs. Cake let out a 'Aha!' at realizing that she knew something about those. Gem shows, magically enchanted to show images from a Unicorn's mind. They could be used to send messages too, but were often used to tell stories as a sort of visual/audio aid. With one of the enchanted gems, a Unicorn would just have to think the story, and it would appear from the gem as a very high definition projection. Of course, some ponies got the idea to turn this into a major money maker and developed a way for one gem to transfer the broadcast to as many other gems as they wanted. This effectively created Equestria's first system of mass entertainment. The Cakes owned one of these gem projectors, but usually just left it on to help distract her twins, Pound and Pumpkin, during the times that everyone in the bakery was busy. Pumpkin seemed to love anything bright and cheery, but Pound had been caught more than once trying to change the gem line to one that broadcast some underground fighting rings. Way too violent for her innocent little boy.

"Okay, Pinkie, I know what those are. But, no, I've never heard of OtherWorld," she explained to her pink friend, who had still been waving her arms in the air, even in silence. Pinkie immediately stopped at this new information and smiled again, moving closer.

"Oh, it's so cool! It's a show about an entirely different world, with a family of strange bald monkeys that walk on two legs as the main characters!" she went off. Mrs. Cake understood what Pinkie was doing, so she tried tuning out all other senses in an effort to keep up with the excitable young mare. "Everything there is so different from Equestria! Like, those monkeys, or 'hoomans' I think they were called, are the only smart thing on the entire planet!" Mrs. Cake blinked at this.

"Wait...there are no ponies in this show?" she asked. Pinkie nodded, smiling widely again. "And the only characters are all some new fictional species...that must take a lot of imagination." Pinkie nodded her head again wildly, starting to bounce once again.

"Oh, it's so cool! Well, okay, it's sad kinda, I mean the world is a lot meaner and more violent than here. But that's what makes it so much happier to watch the main family make it through all of that!" Pinkie started up again. "My favorite is the younger stal-erm, man, in the show! He always does anything he can to keep his friends and family happy and laughing!" Cup Cake gave her a knowing smile at this.

"Sounds like a certain pink pony I know~" she sang gently. Pinkie gave her boss the largest smile of the night, followed by a small blush.

"Aww, you flatter me, Mrs. Cake," Pinkie said, flipping her hoof in a 'Psh-aa' motion. Cup smiled back at her as another question popped into her head.

"So is everypony watching tonight? Is something big happening during the season finale?" she asked innocently. Pinkie's smile suddenly dropped several octaves at this question, prompting a worried look from the blue mare.

"Yeah, kinda. The man I mentioned, his name is Ryan. And from what I've heard around town, he's not just my favorite," the pink pony explained. "It seems he's the most popular character on the show, everypony loves him!" Cupcake nodded her head, but was still unsure what caused the smile to fall from Pinkie's face.

"So what's happening, dear?" she asked, rubbing up against Pinkie in a comforting fashion. Pinkie's smile lifted at the worry her boss was showing her. It was truly a gift to have such a nice mare as an employer. Pinkie swallowed once before continuing. Whatever was happening on tonight's episode, it was really affecting poor Pinkie.

"Well...over the last few episodes, he got...really sick," she explained softly, her tone taking on one of deep concern and sadness. Mrs. Cake hated seeing Pinkie like this, but her reasoning reached Cup and held her attention. So that's why...poor Pinkie. Cup Cake wrapped her one leg around Pinkie's neck and gave her a comforting hug. The pink pony was pulled from her funk and smiled, hugging her boss back tightly.

"Thanks," she said happily. Her smile had returned somewhat. "I mean, Ryan's been through a lot, so I'm sure he'll pull through, especially with his family and marefriend there with him! But still...I hate seeing him hurt like that...he wants nothing but to make everybody happy, but he's stuck being the reason everypony around him is sad...I can't even imagine making my friends all cry and not being able to stop it!"

At this, Cup Cake knew why this was affecting her so much. Pinkie couldn't help but relate with the hooman that wanted his loved ones to laugh. And because of this relation, she had imagined herself in his place. A situation like the one she was describing would absolutely destroy Pinkie...not being able to make her friends laugh, only making them cry. That's...an awful thought. Mrs. Cake gave Pinkie another tight hug, letting her know it was okay. It was just a show, nopony was actually going through that. Pinkie smiled once again and wiped away the tears that were started to form.

"I'm not the only one worried," she said. "Everypony who's rooting for him...we're all hoping he gets better!" Determined Pinkie was definitely one of the best Pinkie's. As long as she wasn't determined to punish you for breaking a Pinkie Promise. Shiver. Mrs. Cake gave Pinkie one more squeeze before letting her go.

"I'm sure everything will be fine, dear. Why don't you go get ready, then? You could probably use a bath...or several," the businesspony laughed, eyeing Pinkie's coat of chocolate, vanilla, and...what even was that flavor? Purple?

"Thanks, Mrs. Cake! I'm meeting with the girls tonight at Sweet Apple Acres to watch! Already got my secret sweet stash made up! I think they were doing a larger showing for the ponies who didn't buy access to the gem line if you wanted to watch!" Pinkie said excitedly. Cup Cake smiled but shook her head.

"Would love to, dear, but I'm sure Carrot and I need sleep more than anything after today," she said kindly. Both mares looks over to the lanky yellow stallion currently asleep against the counter, a mop still clenched in his teeth. They both giggled at the sight and nodded to each other.

"Okie dokie lokie then, good night Cakes!" she sang, gathering her stuff and trotting towards the door. Mrs. Cake waved her goodbye as Pinkie disappeared out of the front door, the door giving off a little jingle as it closed. To Cup Cake's surprised, the bell was still intact, even after the amount of use it had gotten today.

****

"C'mon, Pinkie, hurry up!" said a raspy voice from the direction of the farm house window. Rainbow Dash was hovering there, impatiently staring outside and towards the dirt path leading to the house, waiting to see any sign of her poofy pink friend. Behind her came a sigh of annoyance.

"Dash, would 'ya quit foggin' up mah windahs? Ah jus cleaned 'em!" complained Applejack from the couch in the living room. Rainbow turned around, biting her lip. Her rainbow mane fell into her one eye, forcing her to flip it gently.

"She's not here yet and the show is starting soon! And I am not doing this without something to munch on!" Dash whined. She turned her face back towards the window, quickly steaming it. Applejack groaned and tipped her Stetson over he face in irritation.

"Well then grab a snack, silly! Don't want to miss the show!" came a bubbly voice from next to Applejack on the couch. Dash growled for a moment before it clicked. She turned slowly to stare at the pink mare on the couch next to a now-smirking Applejack. Pinkie was there, munching on a platter of cupcakes, her face already covered in frosting. Rainbow Dash froze when she spotted the snack table set up next to the couch, in easy reach of everypony. But...that table was not there a minute ago! And Pinkie had somehow got without using the door, and set up a table within a few seconds, and made no noise whatsoever, and...it's Pinkie.

"What," was all Dash said before she flew over next to the table, all but ignoring the antics of her pink friend. Pinkie and Applejack smiled at her innocently. Next to the Apple family couch sat an overly fancy red velvet couch belonging to Ponyville's very own fashionista, Rarity. She sat there, examining the gem she was working on, making sure everything was set up correctly. Pinkie looked around suddenly, her eyes darting around the room randomly.

"Hey, where's Twilight and Fluttershy?" she asked, tilting her head to the side.

"Twilight's not going to be able to make it tonight, darling, said something about an important project coming up," Rarity answered, not breaking her concentration away from the gem. "That's why I'm taking it upon myself to use this gem to record this showing for her. I know how much she wanted to see it." Pinkie let out a disappointed sigh but nodded anyway.

"And Fluttershy?" she asked. A few moments after, a rustling sound came from under the snack table before Fluttershy poked her yellow nose out from under the draped tablecloth, her teal eyes gazing gently at Pinkie. The pink mare blinked for a second before letting out a giggle.

"What are you doing under there, silly?" she asked, holding her tummy as she laughed. Fluttershy moved her head out more until her light pink mane was visible, but kept the rest of her body under the veil of the table cloth.

"I was laying here...you put the table over me, but I kind of...like it under here," she whispered. Applejack and Rainbow took this opportunity to join in on Pinkie's laughter, while Rarity smiled while she worked.

A series of movements came from next to Fluttershy under the cloth, but she surprisingly didn't flinch. After a few seconds, three small heads poked out from the shadows and joined the yellow mare. Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo formed a line at the base of the cloth along the floor with their heads. Fluttershy turned and smiled lovingly down at the three small fillies. Applejack smiled again, letting out a small relieved sigh.

"So that's where you fillies went. Was gettin' a might worried about 'ya," she said to the three small heads. They all smiled back at her, shifting slightly so that they could all get comfy under the table.

"We just came downstairs, actually," piped up Sweetie. "We saw Fluttershy's tail sticking out from under this table and wanted to see what she was doing." Fluttershy gave off a shy smile as her cheeks went as pink as her mane, her tail subconsciously flicking itself firmly under the shroud of shadow the cloth was providing.

"Yeah, it's really cool under here!" This time it was Scootaloo that had spoken up. "Totally hidden, like a ninja!" She threw her little leg out in a small punch that made Rainbow Dash smile widely. Apple Bloom had to shift once more, her large red bow getting caught by the sheet surrounding her head.

"Ah can't believe you're finally lettin' us watch too!" Applejack's younger sister exclaimed. "Oh this is gunna be so fuuuun!~" Applejack smirked down at her sister. It was hard not to smile at the sight of the four pony heads peaking out from under the table. It was just too adorable, even to the grown farm pony.

"Ah think you fillies can handle it," she started. "It ain't all that bad. Least, they don show the bad stuff, just imply it." At this, all three fillies let out a tiny cheer amongst themselves. They had been begging and pleading for weeks now, having been around the other fillies in their class that had been allowed to watch OtherWorld. It wasn't the easiest, seeing them brag about all the cool stuff their parents let them watch. And with something as new and cool as a gem show about a whole different planet with a different species fighting itself, everypony who was anypony was watching. Up until now, the three fillies were refused access into the club by their older sisters. It was just too much for them to handle, they were told. The Crusaders were determined, however, and were well behaved for two whole weeks just so that could watch this episode, which they had heard was not to be missed.

They couldn't help but let out another cheer, just for the heck of it. They were going to get to watch this cool new show with their sisters! None of their classmates could tease them about not seeing it ever again! Woo!

Just as their cheer finished, Rarity got up from her couch and trotted over the the gem that sat in the middle of the floor, the pointed end facing towards a blank wall that they were all facing. The smaller gem that she had been working on was placed up against the larger gem and let off a tiny flicker as they touched. Rarity smiled in triumph.

"Allll done~" she sang, trotting her way back onto her couch daintily. "Just in time, too! Look!"

She was right, the larger gem was currently flickering as it connected to the gem line that was broadcasting the show that they had been all waiting for. Immediately they all settled in, Rainbow taking her seat with a big plate of snacks in her grasp. Rarity just settled with some tea and a cookie or three. Fluttershy didn't seem to have anything, but the smacks and crunches from the fillies next to her let everyone know that the Crusaders likely had a small stash hidden under the table with them. Pinkie continued with her cupcake platter and Applejack opted to just share with Rainbow Dash.

"Thank you for tuning into OtherWorld. OW Production would like to thank GemShow for supplying the method of telling this story," came a soft, feminine voice. She sounded like she was reading from a sheet. "Before we begin tonight's episode, we would like to remind you of the new GemShow 'SuperShow' gem, coming out this fall, with twice the definition and sound quality of the current top model-"

Everypony in the room groaned in irritation. A piece of popcorn flew through the projection, disrupting the image of the new GemShow model for a moment.

"Get on with it!" shouted Scootaloo.

"Yes, get on with it!" shouted every other pony except for Rarity and Fluttershy. Those two merely gave the projection an unimpressed stare. Then, as the GemShow advert ended, the show began.

****

Twilight sat in her bed, shivering nervously. Spike was asleep downstairs at her request, his soft snores still heard through the floor of her room. She would have to ignore it for now. Right now was time to watch her favorite show. Normally, she watched it with her best friends, but tonight's episode was different. The last few episodes had been spent building up the sickness of her favorite character, Ryan Burbank. And tonight was the season finale...this could all be leading up to something very bad, and she did not want to do anything demeaning in front of her friends in case the OtherWorld creators decided to go...that route.

They couldn't. Not to Ryan. He was the absolute sweetest being on the show, he would never hurt anyone. Even worse, he had traits that reminded her of each one of her friends. Seeing him slowly break down in a hospital bed...she could imagine any one of her friends in that same position. She would be lost if she had to go through that. No, no...Ryan will be fine. He's like, the fan favorite on the show! They couldn't risk doing anything that bad to him! Ponies would stop watching!

...Right?

Oh, who was she kidding? Nopony would stop. It's just so amazing that a pony could have that level of imagination to create an entirely new world in their head, populate it with new flora, fauna, etc. If only it were all real...she would study all of it.

The sound of her new GemShow 'SuperShow' humming to life caught her attention. Yeah, apparently princesses got the new models before they were even available to the public. Normally, she wouldn't want to accept such a gift, but it would be something she would use to watch her favorite show...it really was an awesome piece of magic and craftsmanship.

The projection started, and by Celestia was that picture clear. It was at least twice the clarity of her last model, the GemShow 'View II'. Her 'View II' model was currently with her friends at Sweet Apple Acres. She felt slightly better about accepting the 'SuperShow' since her friends got her old model as a result.

Twilight was vaguely aware of the advert playing out on the projection, showing the model that was sitting on the floor of her room. Oh good, she could ignore this part. Quickly, as to not let too much heat escape from the bed nest she had formed, she hopped up and ran to her closet. She frantically scrambled through her stuff, stopped as her lips settled on the familiar fabric of her favorite OtherWorld hoodie. Grabbing it in her teeth, she yanked it off the rack, ignoring the rest of the clothes falling to the floor. They could be cleaned up later. Now was time to make sure Ryan was okay.

She jumped back onto her bed and into her nest, pulling her hoodie sloppily around her body. It was a special edition designer hoodie, made to look like the hoodie Ryan liked to wear between seasons 3 and 5. It was her favorite design, just a simple gray with some strange text written over it in different colors. She couldn't read the human language yet, but she was planning on buying the fan guide at some point. She wanted to know exactly what she was wearing.

"Welcome to OtherWorld."

Twilight looked up, settling down into her warm nest of blankets and pillows once again, surrounded by her favorite hoodie. Even with the blankets, pillows and thick garment covering her front half, she still shivered.

"Please please please please," she begged, watching as the projection opened to the sight of Ryan sitting in bed with his marefriend, or girlfriend to him, Sarah. They were watching something on some kind of screen on the wall. Twilight wasn't sure was it was, but she knew it served the same purpose as her 'SuperShow.' They were laughing together at something that happened.

"Okay, good, laughing is good," Twilight said to herself, her eyes rooted to the scene.



****



Back at Sweet Apple Acres, the rest of the group was watching happily as Ryan and Sarah laughed at whatever was on the wall. Pinkie let out a giant sigh of relief, happy to see that things were looking a bit brighter. No more hurt, Ryan. Time to get better.

"BEEP!" shouted Ryan, causing most of the ponies in the room to laugh out loud. The fillies were rolling around under the table, accidentally crushing some of their snacks as they laughed. Fluttershy was smiling gently at the scene being projected onto the wall. She wouldn't say too much about it, but she really liked Ryan. He was always so nice to his family, always tried to cheer them up. It reminded her of Pinkie.

"GODDAMN IT, RYAN!" Sarah shouted. Everyone in the room flinched at her language. Luckily the fillies were still laughing loudly and hadn't heard it. They liked Sarah, but she could be a bit...violent. A fact that was proven as she shoved Ryan lightly. Even though it was a very gentle push, he almost got ejected onto the floor on the other side of the bed. Apple Bloom took this time to notice the projection.

"Wuz wrong with 'im?" she asked, tilting her head. "That wasn't even a hard push!" The older mares looked at her sadly.

"He's very sick, Apple Bloom," said Fluttershy gently, giving her a nuzzle. "They don't know what it is, but it's already made him unable to walk..." A new cloud of sadness spread around as she reminded everypony about this. They had almost forgot about this point after last week's episode. Scootaloo took this information especially hard, looking back at her tiny wings.

"He's...going to be okay, right?" the orange filly asked. The five older mares looked down at the floor, not answering her right away. Scootaloo turned her attention back to the screen to see Sarah hugging Ryan tightly, her eyes starting to water.

Sarah got up for a moment to turn off the wall screen, though they couldn't see what it was showing anyway. Both Ryan and Sarah looked slightly annoyed at the screen for some reason. They then watched as Ryan took up the spot on his bed that she was sitting in, effectively kicking her off. And he was smirking.

"Oh, really? Well then~ What if I sit...here?~" they heard Sarah say seductively. The five mares went rigid, realizing with was possibly about to happen. Fortunately, Fluttershy thought quickly and used her foreleg to cover the eyes of all three fillies at the same time.

"HEY!" they all whined in unison. The mares watched in awkward silence as Sarah proceeded to tease Ryan with her rump, rubbing it all over his waist. There wasn't a face in the room that wasn't pink. Oddly enough, Pinkie's face was split into a wide grin. Applejack and Rarity tried to take their eyes from the projection, but it did little good. That was...too much. Rainbow even had to pin her wings against the back of the couch to keep them from smacking Applejack or Pinkie in the face.

As quickly as the scene started, it was over. Replaced by a scene far worse. Ryan started violently shaking, his whole body convulsing in a terrifying manner. All the ponies in the room gasped. Fluttershy removed her leg from the eyes of the fillies in order to cover her own gasping mouth with it. Of course, now the poor Crusaders were given a front row ticket to the sight of the thrashing Ryan. They all gasped just as loud, Sweetie covering her eyes. Apple Bloom sat there with a look of horror on her face, while Scoolaloo ran up to the projection, yelling at it.

"NO! Stop, Ryan!" she yelled. She was pulled back onto the couch by a still-shocked Rainbow Dash. Scootaloo tried thrashing to get out and back to the projection, but Dash held strong. The little orange filly finally gave up and just watched in silence, tears running down her face.

They all became aware of the screaming. Sarah was screaming at him at first, before she screamed for help. And then they heard a sound that they would not soon forget: Ryan's screams. This was not a panicked or angry scream like that of Sarah. No, this was far worse. These were the screams of a creature dying in agony. The screams of a being that just wanted to die to end the pain. Why was this happening? Why to Ryan?! He didn't deserve this!

Pinkie was sitting on the couch, shaking. Her normally poofy mane was becoming slightly deflated, letting it sag down to cover her wide-open eyes. Her pupils were hardly the size of a pinprick. Ryan's screams were still present, though muffled. The doctors had placed something over his mouth. Yes, help him!

"Save 'im!" shouted Applejack, her hooves smacking the floor as she did so. The surrounding ponies in the room shivered, too terrified to look at the screen. Then Ryan's screams faded. The doctors had calmed him...

The girls let out a weak cheer, until another sound became noticeable. The continuous 'Beeeeee-' of Ryan's heart monitor. Every set of ears in the room folded back in realized horror. His heart had stopped. He was dead.

****

Twilight sat inside her bed nest, not moving a muscle. Did that really just happen? He was doing fine! Sarah was just teasing him with her flank, then...he was gone. The doctors on the projection were running about, working with some sort of twin paddle thing. It didn't matter. His heart had stopped. Doctors can't heal death. Ryan, her favorite character in any work of fiction ever, was gone for good.

At first, she didn't cry. She just sat there, basking in this new feeling. And after a few moments, the tears came. However, they were no longer tears of sadness. They were tears of fury. They just killed off Ryan! How could they do this to all of the fans of the show?! Nobody would be watching this show anymore, she would make sure of it. She would destroy every last GemShow product if she had to!

She had almost smashed her 'SuperShow' into millions of gem bits when the gentle 'Beep...beep...beep' sound filled her ears. Wait...what? He... was breathing! By Celestia's sweet sun, they brought him back! But...how?

Her attention was grabbed by movement towards the back of the room. Oh no. Sarah. She had seen all that. Ryan had died right in front on her, screaming like a madmare. And without a second to think, Sarah shot out of the room and down the hallway, crying hysterically. By the sun...whatever Unicorn was broadcasting this sure knew how to play with emotions! So that's what they were building up to.

Twilight sighed happily. The finale was meant to scare the fans, she realized. But why was it still going? Ryan was okay again, now he could start recovering. Sarah was probably traumatized, but she was strong, she could recover. The worst was over, now. Right?

She didn't trust that point anymore. So she continued to watch as the scene faded and was replaced with Ryan waking in bed the next morning. He looked...awful. Twilight could immediately tell he was in pain now. And now his face showed...fear? Wait, why isn't he moving? It's just his head moving around.

"Come on, Ryan," Twilight said softly, more to herself than the character. "Sit up, move around." Her voice was now pleading. At that moment, Ryan started coughing. It was a rough, raspy cough that tugged at Twilight's heartstrings. He sounded like he was in so much pain...she had to stifle a sob. Why were they doing this to him? Nearly killing him wasn't enough?

Ryan's sister Emily appeared on the scene, making Twilight smile. Emily was very protective of Ryan, nothing bad happened when she was around. She would know what to do. And she did. The purple Alicorn watched as Ryan's little sister helped him with a glass of water. Ryan surprised Twilight once again with his optimism, choosing this moment to jokingly make slurpy noises with his straw until Emily got annoyed and took it away from him. This was the Ryan that Twilight lo...admired. Nothing, even a near death experience, could keep him down for long. Just get better, Ryan!

"No kidding. I swear you need a leash sometimes, Ryan," said Emily, her voice sounding disappointed, but in a happy way, if that makes any sense. Twilight nodded and laughed at the scene. It was true, Ryan got into a bit too much trouble sometimes with his carefree attitude. He needed someone to show him how to stay a bit more...organized.

"You would like that, wouldn't you?" said Ryan, obviously teasing. That didn't make Twilight blush any less, however. He just insinuated that his sister wanted to...Oh, my. This episode was quite the doozy. Usually Twilight was lucky to catch a dirty joke or two hidden in the show, but this time...an almost steamy scene, followed by fake-out death scene, followed by implied incest.

By the time she recovered enough to pay attention once again, Ryan was in another one of his space-outs. Twilight nodded sadly and watched. She couldn't blame the poor human. After everything that had been going on, Twilight wasn't even sure he should be sane anymore. No matter how tough...

"Ryan, you're doing it again," piped Emily, breaking Ryan from his trance. Thank you Emily. After some reassuring by Emily saying that she was okay, the doctor came in. Oh, good. Come help Ryan get better! Look at his family, they need him! Oh, the doctor was talking again. She really needed to stop losing focus.

"What hurts, Mr. Burbank?" asked the doctor. What, no 'How are you?' or something? That question almost seemed grim. Why, though? Ryan lived! She watched her favorite human on the screen, trying to think of what he was going to say.

"I need to take a body shit," was the response the doctor got.

...Alrighty then. Well she wasn't expecting that. Sure, Ryan was sometimes vulgar with his language, especially with his humor. But come on, Ryan, take this seriously! The doctor was as confused at first as Twilight had been. Then he continued on, giving Emily a look. For some reason, Emily shook her head.

"I didn't...he just woke up," Emily said sadly. What was going on? Was Emily supposed to have told him something? The doctor just nodded and looked at his notepad. Then he did something that none of the doctors had done since Ryan was admitted. He used Ryan's first name. Twilight was confused by this. Why now? Some weird attempt to be more casual, maybe?

"I'm not really sure how to say this, but I'm sure you're already feeling it," said the doctor.

...What?

"Well...it appears that your most recent episode has spread the infection much higher and much quicker than we thought it would," the doctor continued.

No. No, he's wrong. Not again. This couldn't happen.

"You are now paralyzed from the neck down. The same thing that happened with your legs has happened with your torso," the doctor was sounding more and more like some kind of mind slave.

Para...paralyzed? That's why he couldn't...move. Twilight's pupils shrank and he hoof went up to her mouth.

"C-Celestia, no..." she squeaked. Please stop, creators. Only so much could be taken...no more gut punches. Please just let Ryan go...how was he going to take this?

"Hey, doctor, ever hear the story about the asparagus plants?" said Ryan with a devious grin. Twilight stopped crying and stared at the screen. What...what the hay? Asparagus...p-WAIT. WAIT, NO, DOCTOR, DON'T SAY YES! RUN! Twilight became a mass or flailing hooves as she tried to warn the doctor somehow. Alas, he was just a projection and could not heed her warning.

"Um, no, I don't think so," the doctor mumbled. YOU FOOL! Luckily Emily took the initiative and covered Ryan's mouth with her hand and mouthed the words 'Shut up' at him with a few not-so-nice words thrown in for good effect. Yes, Emily to the rescue! The doctor took the hint and tried walking away.

Then Ryan proceeded to scream a very shortened version of his asparagus plant story at the top of his lungs at the doctor. Twilight let out a loud groan and buried her face into a pile of pillows.

"Celestia damn it, Ryan," she mumbled to herself. Ryan and his asparagus story. No being was safe from their tiny legs. Though it was to her shame that she had a good collection of asparagus plant plushies...hidden away of course. Oh, wait, his parents were awake now.

Twilight could hardly watch this scene. It consisted of his parents fussing over him, his mom crying, Ryan explaining the amount of pain he was in and his mother trying to comfort him. It was then that a good point was brought up. Where was Sarah?

****

"Sarah...she said she couldn't take it, Ryan," Ryan's mother said sadly to her immobile son. The entirety of the room let out a collective gasp, another one in the long list for tonight's episode. Apple Bloom and Sweetie were curled up against Fluttershy, trying to hide from the strong emotions going around the room. Pinkie was curled around herself, her shimmering blue eyes barely visible from behind her mane. The only dry eyes in the room belonged to Applejack, but she was very surely crying on the inside.

"Don't tell me..." Dash said, her eye widening as she turned to her friends. "She...she didn't...right?" Rarity shook her head.

"We don't know, darling, we're watching it at the same time as you," she said, her voice little more than a ragged whisper. Rarity was well known for her wailing and whining ability, and when Ryan died...she nearly took out every set of eardrums in the room. She was happy he had been revived, but the event still left her with barely any voice left at all.

"Oh, no no no! She's fine, Ryan! She's back at your cabin, resting," came Ryan's mother's voice to the rescue. Another sigh of relief was let out. Poor Scootaloo was watching intently, her eyes having barely blinked since Ryan's heart had stopped. Even during the Asparagus Plant scene, she hadn't changed her expression. For the moment, she was stuck.

"But..." Ryan's mother continued. Oh no, what now?

"She said she can't visit anymore, Ryan," the adult hooman told him. Okay, now there was confusion and anger.

"What. The. Buck?!" were Rainbow's words.

"What in tarnation?!" were Applejack's. It was obvious to both Elements of Honesty and Loyalty; Sarah had left Ryan. Given up on him during his time of need. This new found anger towards one of the characters they thought they liked caused a stream of insults and threats to fly from the blue and orange mares.

"Could you...take care of her after?" asked Ryan weakly. Everyone in the room stopped, letting these words sink in. He wasn't mad at her. And he was asking his family to help her out after he...no...well, hay. The tears were back again. The sight of Ryan's family hugging their crippled son and nodding did not help make the group of mares any less sad. Sweetie and Apple Bloom curled up tighter while Fluttershy shushed them, trying to use comforting them as an escape from her own sadness. Her poor Ryan...why? Why was this happening? The show up to this point had always been so optimistic in the face of the darkness that the fictional world spewed out. But now...the darkness was just crashing down onto everypony's shoulders. Apple Bloom and Sweetie sure couldn't handle this. Scootaloo might have passed out at this point, Fluttershy didn't see or hear her. Pinkie wasn't even watching anymore, her spot on the couch replaced with a pink ball of poof. Rarity was sobbing quietly, her purple main bouncing with each movement. Rainbow and Applejack appeared to be stuck between seething about Sarah and moping about Ryan. The mixture was very confusing to their friends around them.

Oh, good, the scene was shifting. Please, please let this scene bear some good news.

****

She...she just left him. Left him alone to die, unable to do more than lift and turn his head. What kind of monster was Sarah?

"That...that...horseapple!" Twilight yelled at the projection before making an 'eep!' sound and covering her muzzle with her hooves. She didn't mean to use such harsh language, but Sarah's actions had prompted her to do the unimaginable. Wait, the scene was changing again.

In the projection, Twilight was now being shown Sarah, curled up in the corner of the cabin she lived in with Ryan, the inside absolutely trashed. The couch was flipped, fridge door-less, all tables smashed into chunks and lamps thrown around. She was still crying loudly. Twilight wanted to hate her...but seeing her like this...

It was then that Twilight noticed something in her hand, looking like a little white thermometer. Wait...was that? Oh, Celestia, it was. The scene zoomed into Sarah's hand, letting every viewer of the show see the tiny '+' displayed on the pregnancy test.

Twilight didn't know how much more she could take. Just this episode, she had lost her Ryan, gained him back, saw his suffering and immobility, saw Sarah leave him and heard Ryan's last wish to his family. Ryan...he wasn't going to make it. Sarah was pregnant. He would never see his offspring.

The scene was now focused back on the hospital, focused closely on Ryan's pained expression, the light from the screen on his wall dancing across his face. Besides for that light, his room was dark. He was awake and alone at night. And he was crying. No, Ryan, please don't cry! You need to stay strong, you can get over-

The scene changed again, this time a flashback, as made apparent by the faint white surrounding the borders of the scene. It showed the doctor talking to a more able-bodied Ryan about...no, not this again. This is the scene that gave Twilight nightmares and made her watch this episode alone. This was from last week when the doctor had been conversing with Ryan about...assisted medical suicide. Ryan had been given the option to just fall asleep and not wake up, if the pain became too great. Last week, it seemed so far out of range. But now...

The scene exited the flashback and returned to Ryan's face, a scarily determined look upon it, showing up even through the pain. Oh. Oh no. He was going to do it. He was going to let himself die!

"Ryan!" Twilight screamed, dashing out from inside her nest and moving up to the projection. She tried grabbing him to shake some sense into him, but her hooves passed through him. The only thing she managed to do was disturb the picture for a moment.

****

The group watching at Sweet Apple Acres was now together in a tight cuddle pile, watching Ryan's family cry over him, saying their goodbyes. Not one of the mares could believe what they were watching. Ryan was letting himself go. His family was letting him go. Sarah had let him go already. They couldn't blame him though, the look on his face was too much. He was shivering and twitching in pain at this point. It was obviously just going to get worse until it killed him. It was going to take him soon anyway.

"I l-love...you guys..." said Ryan weakly. His voice was...broken; barely audible through his chattering teeth. It was like he was talking to both his family and his fans. Him saying that was too much for both his family and the pack of mares huddled in Applejack's living room. They began blubbering again, clinging to each other for support in a manner similar to how Ryan's family was hugging him. Fluttershy was crying and hiccuping into her pink mane, Pinkie was sobbing loudly, Rarity was trying to wail through her raspy throat, Dash was choking through her tears and Applejack was watching the screen, frozen. The three shivering fillies were surrounded by their older friends, who were protecting their innocent eyes from the sight of their dying fictional friend. They should NOT have allowed the fillies in here tonight, regardless of behavior. This was too much for even the strongest pony.

"Are you all ready?" they heard the doctor say. The group froze, watching the screen. This was it. Fluttershy was the first to move a muscle. She nodded very gently in tune with Ryan's family. The next to nod was Applejack, followed by Rarity, and then Rainbow. Finally, Pinkie was the last not to move. Her lip trembled violently her eyes locked with Ryan's. The scene focused deep into his deep brown eyes as he nodded slowly. Pinkie followed his movements and nodded.

The doctor nodded and got to work with a tube of liquid he was holding. Every pony in the room knew that the tube was the end to Ryan's pain. A few of them smiled even, knowing that it was going to be over in an instant.

****

"Ryan, stop! Just hold on, I can...I can..." begged Twilight, her hooves waving pathetically through the image of Ryan's slowly relaxing body. The doctor had just connected the tube to his IV, letting the murderous liquid spill into his veins. The poor pony princess bit at her hoodie, watching through wide eyes as Ryan's chest slowed, his breathing becoming shallow. He was fading.

"Please, please don't go!" she shouted into a pillow that had previously been launched by her onto the floor. Her pleas fell onto deaf ears however. Ryan let out one last exhale and stopped breathing. His expression became one of peace. Twilight's panic became full blown at the sight of her Ryan, dead once again. This time, however, no doctors were rushing to save him. This time he was just going to pass away.

"Ryan!" Twilight wailed out loud, tears streaming down her face. Her horn glowed faintly, trying to lock onto the object of the spell she was subconsciously casting. Ryan's heart monitor went flat, causing his family to break down once again and hug him harder. This would be their last chance.

"Ryan!" her horn glowed bright, a ripple appearing inside the projection.

"RYAN COME BACK!" she screamed. At that instant, her horn lit up the room, her Alicorn magic pouring out into a spell that she should not have been able to cast. She closed her eyes in response to the bright light and braced herself for whatever was happening. A pounding could barely be heard on the other side of her room, coming from her door.

"TWI! ARE YOU OKAY? WHAT'S GOING ON IN THERE?!" came the voice of Spike, her adopted little dragon brother. Twilight didn't respond, her eyes squinted open and locked on the projection. At the very center, she could barely make out a dark shape forming inside the light. Then it was over with loud 'BANG!' The force from the explosion sent Twilight flying backwards, her body rolling a few times before colliding with a mountain of pillows that had formed against the wall.

Twilight sat there, trembling for a few moments. She then opened her eyes slowly, her gaze falling on the new figure laying on the ground among the shattered pieces of where her 'SuperShow' used to be.

She blinked once. Then twice. Then three times just to make sure she could actually see what she was seeing.

The very familiar body of Ryan Burbank was laying there, his chest raising and falling slowly. He wasn't in his hospital garb, however. He was in a hoodie very similar to Twilight's, dark blue jeans covering his lower half. Twilight stared for a full minute before daring to move closer. The image didn't fade as she approached. This was no mirage.

"Oh...buck," were the only words Princess Twilight Sparkle could form at that moment.

****

A few minutes away in Ponyville, a mint green Unicorn sniffled sadly. Her head was bowed towards the ground where she lay, her horn touching a large transfer gem gently. Her eyes were closed, but the tears could still escape. Her entire body was trembling. She was trying her hardest not to cry.

"I'm sorry, Ryan...Rose...Rich...Emily...Sarah" she whispered to herself as she played out the scene inside her head. In her imagination, Ryan took his last breaths before finally passing on. It was over now...she had done it. Celestia knows she didn't want to, but she had no choice. They had said it was this or...the entire family...all for the sake of the bucking ratings. Sure, ponies would be talking about this. How the show OtherWorld had reduced a legion of loyal fans into a sobbing mess during the season 8 finale. Fans were going to be mad. This was going to cause an uproar. She could already hear some pained sobs from some of the neighboring houses. If they knew they were living right next to the one who had just killed off their idol...

"Are you okay, Lyra...?" asked a cream colored earth pony mare that had been sitting next to her. Lyra Heartstrings sighed and nodded slowly, nuzzling her friend Bon-Bon slowly.

"Yeah, it's just...I had so much more planned for him, you know...?" Lyra asked weakly, struggling to give Bon-Bon a smile. The mint Unicorn received a friendly hug.

"I know, Lyra, I know..." Bon-Bon cooed, looking at the transfer gem in distaste. "Those buckers at OW...they don't know what they just gave up." Lyra shook her head at her friend's words.

"No, this will probably do exactly what they want. Ponies will be mad, but the controversy will breed attention, and that means more viewers...not to mention all the 'In Memoriam' merchandise they are probably planning," Lyra spat. She hated this. Her pride and joy, Ryan Burbank, was everything she had ever wanted in a friend. She regretted selling herself to this show, giving Ryan away to a producer that just slit his throat and drained him of anything worth money. She had created Ryan years ago, as a sort of imaginary friend that she could talk to when she got lonely. He was so nice...and even when she started living with Bon-Bon, she still kept him in her thoughts. And now he was just put through the most excruciating pain a being could go through in her mind, all for sake of money. Did he feel it? She knew he was just imaginary, but what if he was real in her head and she had just tortured her best friend?

She...wouldn't have been able to live with herself.

It was at that moment that she was assaulted by the very sudden feeling of another being feeling inside of her mind. It was one of the absolute most invasive experiences she had ever been put through. She couldn't do anything; she was frozen in her own head. Bon-Bon took notice of her sudden stillness and tried shaking her awake. It did not work.

Then as suddenly as the presence entered, it left again. But it did not leave alone. Lyra was put through the very strange feeling of having something in her mind forcefully ripped out and taken. She was immediately back in control on her body.

"Lyra! What's wrong?!" Bon-Bon shouted, trying to shake her friend to attention. Lyra looked at Bon-Bon slowly, tears pouring down her cheeks. The sight frightened the Tartarus out of the poor cream colored earth pony.

"He...he's gone..." Lyra whispered hauntingly before her eyes rolled back into her head and she passed out.

Author's Note:

Yeah, should have waited until this chapter was done before submitting. Sorry, mods! Without this chapter's information, the last chapter appears to taken place in just some boring version of Earth. Now you know this isn't the case~

Also, something to think about: in this story, is Lyra copying humans or are the humans copying Lyra?