• Published 21st Sep 2016
  • 14,370 Views, 68 Comments

The Nightmare I Need - Dubs Rewatcher



Twilight's sanity is at stake as she's haunted by dreams of Midnight Sparkle's resurrection. But Midnight's dark magic might be just what Twilight needs to win Sunset's love.

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Three

Twilight floated through the void. Neverending darkness surrounded her and seeped into her bones with an unearthly chill. Her limbs ached like they had been beaten with bats. Every breath came with a gasp.

She recognized this void. Midnight would soon appear, would set upon her like a vulture to rotting meat. Midnight would float down to feast on Twilight’s fears and worries. She would violate Twilight again and then throw her away like the trash she was.

No use in crying. She covered her eyes and prayed that today’s nightmare would end quickly.

No.

Twilight balled up her fists and took a deep, steadying breath. As she hung there in the darkness, memories came rushing back. The warmth of Sunset’s body at her side. That perfect little snort-laugh, and the way her fiery hair shone in the light.

The look of abject terror on her face when Twilight punched her.

There was no way Twilight could have done that. She loved Sunset, loved every single thing about her. Someone else had driven her to this: that strange voice in the back of her mind. The one that spoke over all her other thoughts, that clung to Twilight's mind like a parasite.

That voice—for the first time, Twilight recognized it.

“Midnight!” Twilight called into the void, voice cracking. She trembled and shuddered, but kept her fists tensed. “Get out here! Come and face me, you, you—you witch!

“Strong words.”

Twilight yelped and spun around, only to find Midnight floating just a few inches away.

“I hate you,” Twilight spat.

“Really?” Midnight scoffed. “That’s why you believed everything I told you, is it? Why you tried to bring me back to life?”

“You tricked me into it!” Twilight said. “You’ve been torturing me with these nightmares for weeks now! You made me think that I was worthless, that Sunset would never love me, all so I would bring you back.”

Midnight shrugged. “It’s not like I was lying, right?”

Twilight blinked away tears. “I’m not going to let you get away with this anymore. This ends now.

“Says who? You?” Midnight let out a wicked guffaw, then flared her wings, making Twilight flinch. “My dark magic is already inside of you. I just have to snap my fingers and I’ll be resurrected, ready to finally destroy that awful little world of yours.” She tapped her chin. “I think I’ll start by beating someone to death... how soft is Sunset’s skull, do you think?”

“I’m not letting you hurt her again!” Twilight held up her shaking fists.

“Do you really think you can stop me?” Midnight asked, tilting her head. “You, the girl who can’t run up a flight of stairs without running out of breath?”

“Maybe not.” Twilight gulped and tightened her stance. “But if you wanna get to her, you—you gotta go through me!”

Midnight clicked her tongue. “Nice cliché.”

Midnight flapped her wings and shot towards Twilight. Cursing, Twilight tried to throw a punch, but she had barely just wound up when Midnight kicked her in the stomach. Twilight doubled over with a wheeze. She reached up and tried to grab Midnight’s shoulders, but Midnight just cracked a fist against her forehead, knocking her away.

Pain shot through Twilight's limbs as she tumbled through the darkness. Spots flashed in her vision. From the corner of her eye she could see Midnight’s burning blue horn rushing towards her.

Every instinct screeched at Twilight to give up and beg for mercy. Maybe then Midnight would put her down quickly, painlessly.

Midnight grabbed a handful of Twilight’s hair and yanked, earning a squeal from her victim. “Well,” Midnight said, preparing a magical blast. “This has been fun. I wasn’t expecting you to put up such a fight! Hopefully Sunset will last a bit longer, though.”

Glaring, Twilight sputtered, “Screw you!”

A tortuous burn erupted in Twilight’s stomach once again as Midnight slugged her in the gut.

Midnight raised her glowing fist up high. “See you around.”

Twilight closed her eyes and waited for the fire.

Release her, foul beast!

A bright light shot past Twilight’s eyelids, and Midnight screamed. The she-demon released her hold on Twilight’s hair and was flung away. The smell of ozone and burning fabric smothered Twilight’s face, and she had to wrinkle her nose as she opened her eyes.

Midnight hovered a few yards away—or, at least, something that vaguely looked like Midnight. About half of her once-shapely body had been blown away, replaced by a shifting purple mass, dotted with stars. Smoke poured from Midnight’s torn clothing, and what remained of her face was contorted into a horrible grimace.

And across from her: a pony. Her starry mane flowed in an unseen breeze, and her horn shone like a spotlight. Wings spread wide, the pony descended from the darkness, narrowed eyes aimed straight at Midnight.

“Twilight Sparkle of Earth,” the pony called, very nearly giving Twilight a heart attack. Her voice sounded regal, but familiar. “Are you alright? Has it hurt you?”

Twilight still felt like she needed to puke, but she nodded. “I’m fine. Who are—”

Midnight roared. She rocketed toward the pony, arms outstretched.

The pony rolled away, just barely dodging Midnight’s attack. Midnight threw her wings out flat and tried to slow down, but the pony had already fired a beam of magic. The white laser blew through the rest of Midnight’s torso, melting it into that same purple energy. The rest of Midnight’s body dissolved with it.

The shifting blob spun around and shot toward Twilight. Twilight shrunk away.

A torrent of energy launched from the pony’s horn and ripped through the blob. As the light tore through it, piercing every inch, every molecule, the blob let out a brain-rattling screech.

But it soon faded away, and along with it went the dark void that surrounded them. With Midnight—or whatever was pretending to be Midnight—gone, a chamber made of polished marble appeared. Twilight fluttered gently to the floor, but once she touched down and gravity reclaimed her, her shaking legs gave out and she collapsed.

Lying on her back, clothes cold with sweat, Twilight found herself somewhere between needing to scream and needing to pass out. Her heart still hammered like a school bell, but she was back on solid ground, Midnight was gone, and for the first time in what seemed like forever, she smiled.

“I am glad to see you safe,” came the familiar voice again.

Twilight’s smile disappeared. Grunting, she lifted her head, only to find the pony—an alicorn, she thought Sunset described this sort of creature as—towering over her, wings still spread wide. She exuded an energy even more skin-chilling than Midnight. The alicorn, standing as tall as any normal horse, gazed down at Twilight with soft eyes, almost like she wasn’t a magic talking equine who had just killed a literal demon.

The alicorn thrust out a hoof, making Twilight flinch. “Twilight Sparkle of Earth,” she said. “I am pleased to make your acquaintance.”

It took a moment, but soon enough Twilight gulped and returned the gesture, shaking the alicorn’s hoof. Twilight could see her reflection in the crystal horseshoe. Twilight opened her mouth and started to ask the pony for her name.

But before she could get out more than a word, Twilight looked into the alicorn’s light blue eyes and froze. The pony’s voice, her words—they spun around Twilight’s head, over and over until...

Twilight raised a brow. “Vice Principal Luna?”

Princess Luna,” said the alicorn, bowing. “I assume Sunset Shimmer has told you of me?”

A memory of walking into Vice Principal Luna’s office, only to find her standing on her desk and singing a Sapphire Shores song popped into Twilight’s mind.

“Sure,” Twilight said, nodding.

“I must apologize,” Luna said, helping Twilight to her feet. Her ears drooped. “I would have come to banish the Tantabus sooner, but tapping into the dreams of a human is no easy feat. It took me weeks merely to sense your distress.”

“‘Tantabus?’” Twilight repeated. The three years she spent taking Roaman at Crystal Prep proved no help to her now. “What is that?”

“A dark creature, created by a foolish, foolish mare,” Luna said, looking away. “It invades your mind to feast on fears, insecurities. It infects you with horrid nightmares until it has devoured every last scrap of sanity you hold.” She frowned. “Months ago, your pony counterpart and I worked together to destroy it once and for all. Little did I know that the Tantabus did not die, but merely escaped into your universe and found another magical being to torment: you.”

“A magical being?” Twilight asked. “Me? I’m sorry, Princess, but I don’t have a single gram of magic power in me.”

“Princess Twilight has told me of your transformation into the demonic Midnight,” Luna said. “Even if your darker half was banished, the scars still remain, etched into your veins. You are no less magical than any of your human friends.”

“Then why couldn’t I pony up like the rest of them?” Twilight pursed her lips. “All the data seems to suggest that with a strong enough rush of emotions, I’d achieve a pony-like form. What’s stopping me? What variable am I not understanding?”

Luna tittered, catching Twilight’s attention. “Forgive me,” the alicorn said, stifling her laugh. “It merely amuses me how similar you are to the Twilight of my world. All you need is a difficult enough equation to forget all your worries...”

Twilight gave a sheepish grin and tried to respond—but a new thought took her off guard. “Wait,” she said. “You said the Tantabus creates nightmares so it can eat your fears. So all this awful anxiety I’ve had over the past few weeks... none of it was real! The Tantabus created all of it to mess with me!”

“No.” Luna shook her head. “The Tantabus causes nightmares, yes, but it only exploits what already exists.” Luna touched a wing to Twilight’s withering shoulders. “Here in your mind, young Twilight, all is revealed. Your entire life is laid out in front of me. These thoughts, these fears... there is a reason you did not find the new voice in your head strange. These thoughts have plagued you since childhood.”

Face going hot, Twilight shrugged the wing off. “I’d appreciate it if you left my memories alone.”

“I apologize,” Luna said. “But my point remains. What the Tantabus did to you was unacceptable, of course—but it was merely the shot that set off a long-brewing war inside your heart. You hold so much worry. So much doubt.”

“Yes, well,” Twilight began, only to realize she had no defense. She crossed her arms to keep them from shaking, held a breath to beat back the whimpers she felt jumping up her throat—but a single glance down at her awful, weak body made it all for naught. Even with Midnight dead, Twilight felt like she was being torn apart, a hundred different emotions tugging at every limb.

A single hiccup slipped from Twilight’s tongue, and she clasped a palm over her mouth. “I’m sorry,” she said.

“There is no need,” Luna said, offering Twilight a smile. “I understand.”

Twilight stared at Luna’s sparkling jewelry, her heavenly mane, her muscled legs. “You understand?” Twilight snapped before she could stop herself. “How could you understand?”

“I was like you, once. I believed that I was less, that I was inferior, would always be inferior. And I hated myself for it.” Luna took a long breath. “It took me over a thousand years to discover that I was wrong—that I was seeing myself in ways no one else did. I was so busy hating myself that I never realized how many ponies truly loved me for who I was.”

“A princess? Royalty?” Twilight asked, scowling. “In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m not any of that. I’m just a stupid nerd. You just destroyed a goddess-forsaken dream monster like it was nothing; I have to sit out of gym class just so I won’t have an asthma attack and pass out. Trying to make my own magic went all wrong, yeah, but without it—without it, I’m nothing. Without power, I’m just boring old Twilight Sparkle.”

“Without power?” Luna asked, incredulous. “I do not need to read your thoughts to know that you are a genius in training. You stop at nothing to discover the truth! The secrets of your universe must quake, knowing that you are well on your way to discovering them.”

“So I’ve won a few science fairs,” Twilight said. “Amazing.”

“You are not convinced?” Luna asked. A simper grew on her lips. “Alright: what of the predicament I rescued you from? Your fight with the Tantabus?”

“What of it? Midnight was about to kill me; I barely got a punch in.”

“Perhaps. But the fact is that you knew you would lose, and you fought anyway; you put your life on the line, all to protect the woman you love.” Luna smirked. “That does not sound like ‘nothing’ to me. Inside you lives a spirit that refuses to be crushed.”

As Twilight squirmed, trying to come up with some excuse, some way to wallow in her pity again, Luna stepped forward and pressed a hoof into her chest.

“Power is a strange, vague thing,” Luna said. “We all have power inside of us—sometimes, it is merely a matter of discovering what that power is.”

“But what about Sunset?” Twilight asked, voice small. “I’ve been so scared that I’m worth nothing to her, that she hates me. You keep saying that I’m stronger than I think, that I’m not worthless—but she’s so perfect. How can I stand up to her?”

“Sunset isn’t perfect. No one is perfect,” Luna said. “As much as you love her, you must know that even Sunset has flaws.”

“Maybe, but—” Twilight shook her head. “Mine are worse. I love Sunset; what if I’m holding her back? What if I’m really not good enough for her?”

Luna paused for a moment, gazing down at Twilight with furrowed brows. She shrugged. “Perhaps you aren’t.”

Twilight winced like she had been struck. “Huh?”

“Perhaps you aren’t ‘good enough’ for Sunset. And perhaps she isn’t good enough for you.” Luna leaned in close. “Perhaps thinking you could ever be unworthy of love is a fool’s errand.

“Love does not see worth. Love does not see inferiority.” Luna took a long breath. “Young Twilight, if there is one thing that I have learned in my life, it is this: true love—whether it be familial or romantic—is not bound by things like looks, or physical strength. It does not matter how much you can lift, or what instruments you can play. If Sunset truly loves you, she will love you for everything you are, weak or no. And if you truly love her, you will love her for everything she is, flaws and all.”

Luna met Twilight’s eyes. “Love is acceptance. Love is freedom.

Her words burned in Twilight’s chest, hotter and hotter until Twilight had to look away. “You sound like a holiday card,” she said, hiding a smile.

“A holiday card who knows what she is talking about,” Luna corrected.

Twilight fiddled with her fingers. She thought about Sunset’s flaws; Sunset could be messy, moody, and even careless at times. And yet Twilight loved her, imperfections and all. Twilight could still remember the way Sunset held her, laughed with her, made her feel special.

Sunset loved Twilight, too.

Wiping her eyes, Twilight said, “Thank you, Princess. Maybe you’re right.”

“Take it from someone who has lived through seven marriages,” Luna whispered. “I am. Just promise me that you won’t let your anxieties overcome you.”

Twilight nodded and opened her mouth to make the promise—but stopped short. After a moment, she just said, “I’ll try.”

“I suppose that is the best I can ask for,” Luna said, summoning a tissue for Twilight.

The marble chamber that surrounded them melted away, replaced by pure light. Pony and human floated through a golden sea, warmth flooding their bones. The fears and worries that once crushed down on Twilight’s shoulders disappeared.

“So,” Twilight said, sniffling. “What now?”

“What else?” Luna asked. “You dream.”

Luna left Twilight with a small nuzzle, barely a brush on the cheek, before fading into the light—only to be replaced by a new figure. Out of the golden light approached a svelte woman, her dress glistening and her horn sharp.

Twilight took in a sharp breath, ready to see Midnight’s face once again.

“Twilight,” Daydream Shimmer said, drawing close. She smiled and ran a finger down the side Twilight’s stunned face. “It’s time for you to go back. You’ve kept me waiting.”

Twilight went rigid under her touch. “Oh, goddess, Sunset—er, Daydream. Or both?” Twilight scratched her head. “I mean, Midnight and I existed separately, so I would assume that means we’re separate entities, and I don’t see any reason why that wouldn’t translate to you. Of course, Midnight wasn’t really Midnight, but the Tantabus. So perhaps the paradigm of separation is merely—”

“It’s a dream, Twi. Just roll with it.”

“Oh.” Twilight gave a small giggle. “Sorry.”

“Don’t be,” said Daydream, leaning forward to touch her forehead to Twilight’s.

Twilight didn’t resist. She traced a palm down Daydream’s side, savoring the warmth of her skin, the silk softness of her dress. Daydream touched Twilight’s palm and murmured something into her ear—one that made Twilight’s throat lock up, twisted her tongue into knots.

Their lips met, and the light surrounding them doubled in intensity. Quaking breaths spilled from Twilight’s throat as Daydream slipped her fingers underneath Twilight’s shirt. Twilight’s mind buzzed like a battery, and her heart pumped in overdrive, so it took a few moments to wrest back control of her trembling fingers. But soon enough Twilight did the same, running her hands down Daydream’s back and over the straps of her dress. The golden glow soaked into their skin, wrapping around their limbs, shedding their clothes.

The two pressed their bare bodies together. Eternities passed by with nothing but the sound of Twilight’s and Daydream’s gasps to prove they had ever happened at all. It was there that they floated, naked and vulnerable and flawed. But not afraid. Never afraid.








Twilight awoke to the sound of crying.

Pricks of pain jolted through her brain as she edged open her eyes. Above her hung a blurry mass of red and orange. It took a few blinks for Sunset’s twisted grimace to come into focus—her eyes were clenched tight, and splotchy patches of red covered her face. Whispered words flew from her lips and into Twilight’s ears: “Oh, goddess,” she said, rocking back and forth. “Please be okay, please be okay, please be okay...”

Twilight took in a breath, only to wince at a sharp sting in her chest. She coughed, and Sunset’s eyes snapped open. Twilight managed a smile. “Hey,” she said.

“Holy—Twilight!” Sunset snatched Twilight up and crushed her with a hug. She planted quick kisses on every free inch of Twilight's face, drowning the half-conscious girl in a storm of skin and spittle. “Are you okay? Please tell me you’re okay.”

“I’m alright,” Twilight squeaked, bending in Sunset’s grasp. Her eyes flitted around, and she realized that she was in Sunset’s apartment. “Just—just give me a second? Maybe?”

Sunset laid Twilight down across the bed. As Sunset slipped her hands across Twilight’s back and under her arms, a sudden tickle coursed through Twilight’s skin. Twilight tried to sit up—only to slam her head back down on the pillow when she realized that she wasn’t wearing a shirt. Dim lamplight shone off her bare stomach. Her frilled white bra stuck out against her deep purple skin.

And in between her breasts sat a soggy cold bundle of paper towels. Twilight tried to pull it off, and Sunset grabbed her hand.

“Don’t,” Sunset said. Her voice still quaked. “It’s a cold compress for your burn.”

“My burn?” asked Twilight. That explained the stinging, at least. Memories of smoke spewing from her magic channeling device popped into her mind.

“It’s not too bad, but you got hit by some pretty nasty magic rebound,” Sunset said. She picked Twilight’s glasses up from the nightstand and handed them over. “You passed out right in the middle of the woods. I was gonna take you to the hospital, but what was I supposed to tell them happened? You pressed an iron to your chest? I had to just take you home and look everything up online. I got these towels, and I went out and bought a bunch of aspirin...”

“What did you do with the channeling device?” Twilight asked, frantic.

Sunset froze. Her brows furrowed. “Why?”

“Sunset, please. If that device falls into the wrong hands—”

“I smashed it,” Sunset said. She sighed and leaned back in her chair. “It turned off when you fell unconscious. I took it back here with us, and as soon as I was sure you were safe, I took it into the alley outside and smashed it into a million pieces. No one’s ever gonna use that thing again.”

Twilight let out a deep breath. Good.

Sunset shook her head. “I can’t believe you. That stupid machine almost killed you for the second time, and you’re worried about what happened to it.”

Frowning, Twilight said, “You know that’s not—”

“Do you know how scared I was, Twi? How I felt carrying your body halfway across town, praying that you would wake up?” Sunset jumped out of her chair and paced across the apartment. “I wrote to Princess Twilight, but she hasn’t answered. None of the girls are picking up their phones, and your mom keeps calling, and I was all alone, all by myself, freaking out, and all because of that awful, stupid magic thing!”

A knife had lodged itself firmly in Twilight's spine. She bit her lip. “I’m sorry, Sunset.”

“This is just...” Sunset dragged an arm across her eyes, then affixed Twilight’s with a bleary-eyed gaze. “Why? Why did you rebuild that thing?”

Any explanation Twilight could have mustered stayed stuck in her throat. She looked away, cursing the fear that still lingered in her mind. She wanted nothing more than to admit everything to Sunset, to reveal every ounce of weakness in her. But what would Sunset think? What would she do, knowing her girlfriend was pathetic, would always be pathetic? How could Sunset ever love her?

Luna's voice echoed in her ears.

Twilight dug her nails into her palm. “Because I wanted to be stronger.”

“What?" Sunset said. "What does that mean?”

And so, sitting together in Sunset’s apartment, Twilight explained everything. She told Sunset about her insecurities, her fears. She told her about the dreams, and about the Tantabus haunting her—Sunset’s eyes went wide when Twilight mentioned Luna. Twilight told Sunset how useless she had felt, how she thought herself nothing but a scrawny weakling. She told Sunset how she had only wanted to make herself worthy of Sunset’s love, but had only ended up risking both their lives in the process.

“Oh, jeez,” Sunset said, running a hand through her hair. “I’m sorry. Ugh, I’m so stupid! I swear, I had no idea—”

“Because I never told you.” Twilight grabbed Sunset’s hand. “I never wanted anyone to think even worse of me than they already did—than I thought they did. So I just bottled it all up all my life, all my anxieties and fears, and the Tantabus took advantage.” She drew in a long breath. “I should be the one apologizing. I hurt you, and I completely understand if you never wanna see me again.”

Sunset scoffed. “C’mon, Twi, I’m not blaming you for any of this. It’s not your fault you got attacked by a weird dream monster,” she said. “And I dunno if it’ll help at all, but... I think you’re pretty great.”

Twilight looked away. “Really, Sunset, you don’t have to do this.”

“Hey, you’re always saying how great I am. Lemme have this,” Sunset said. She squeezed Twilight’s hand tight. “Yeah, it’s true that you can get kinda antsy sometimes, and yeah, you’re not a world-class athlete. But you’re smart, and you’re sensitive, and you make the cutest friggin’ faces when you talk about science, or music you like.” Sunset touched her forehead to Twilight’s. “I love you for being you, not some magical wizard. You’re the only Twilight in the world, and even if you’re not some perfect divine goddess, you’re pretty friggin’ awesome.”

Twilight managed a small, shaking grin. “Only me in the world? What about Princess Twilight?”

“She’s not in our world, you goof. And besides: she’s got nothing on you in the looks department.”

Twilight let out some mix of a laugh and a sob. As the tears rolled down her face, Sunset lay down next to her and held her tight. Twilight basked in Sunset’s warmth, in her sweet cinnamon scent.

“I’m here for you,” said Sunset. “You don’t have to bottle things up anymore.”

There, resting in Sunset’s arms, that Twilight realized: Princess Luna was right. For the first time, Twilight didn’t feel ashamed to be in Sunset’s arms. For the first time, she didn’t feel that anxiety weighing down on her stomach.

She did feel a bit embarrassed, however, lying next to Sunset with no shirt on. She blushed remembering what she had done with Daydream—or dreamt about doing, at least. Maybe I should go put some clothes on...

Sunset kissed her, and every thought disappeared. Twilight didn’t resist. Every small twitch of Sunset’s tongue sent goosebumps popping along Twilight’s arms. In the back of her mind, she could hear the awful thoughts bubbling up, trying to take over—but she ignored them. Right now, her anxiety could go screw.

Twilight was so caught up in the kiss that she barely noticed as a new sort of electric energy passed through her veins—this one calming, pleasurable. The exact opposite of Midnight’s magic was wrapping around her, filling the room with a piercing purple light.

Eyes still closed, Twilight felt herself rising off the bed. Her thoughts raced, her heart hammered—but before she could make a sound, it was over, and she fell back down. She inched open her eyes and found Sunset staring at her, jaw hanging.

“What just happened?” Twilight asked, trying to catch her breath. “Did I destroy the world again?”

Sunset leapt up and pulled out her phone. She snapped a quick picture of Twilight—the electronic shutter sound seemed extra loud to her—then turned the phone around to show the product.

Two purple nubs had grown from her scalp. Her hair had broken free of its bun, and now lay sprawled across the bed, at least five times its previous length. Purple, glimmering sparkles coated her skin.

Twilight pushed up her glasses and squinted to make sure she was seeing the photo correctly. She reached a hand up to touch one of her new ears—then reached back to stroke her longer hair.

“Congrats,” Sunset said through a giggle. “You just ponied up!”

Twilight stopped breathing.

Sunset whooped and pulled Twilight to her feet. “My intense emotions hypothesis is proven once more! Oh man, this is amazing!” She scratched her chin. “And kinda ironic, maybe? I can’t tell. Aw, whatever—this is awesome!” She laughed and danced around a bit, circling Twilight’s petrified form.

“Sunset?” Twilight choked out after a moment.

Sunset beamed. “Yes, Twilight?”

“Could you… could you…?”

“Inhaler?”

Twilight nodded.

Author's Note:

This story is part of the Sunset Shipping Week Project! Check out the rest of the stories as they come out!
Applejack - The Sun Sets Over the Apple Orchard by Oroboro
Rarity - A Suit With Sincerity by Oroboro
Rainbow Dash - A Heartfelt Goal by Oroboro
Oroboro's Pinkie Pie - 9/22
Oroboro's Fluttershy - 9/23
Oroboro's Twilight Sparkle - 9/24
Oroboro's ???? - 9/25
(Pony) Twilight Sparkle - Anemesis, by TheAlbinocorn. 9/22