• Published 21st Sep 2016
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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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Original WriteOff Version

Author's Note:

See what the very first draft of this story looked like, all the way back in January! Completely optional bonus.

As Midnight Sparkle burned another civilization to the ground, she couldn’t help but frown. Watching their citizens flee in terror, only to be ripped apart by her magic, she wondered: why didn’t they listen to her? Why didn’t they respect her? She was their creator, their goddess—there wasn’t a single part of her glorious form that wasn’t worthy of worship. Why did they refuse to praise her?

Whatever. It was their loss; she could build another city in less time than it took to blink.

She waited until the last man had collapsed into a pile of dust before snapping her fingers and erasing the universe. Surrounded by the ever-present darkness of the void, she flew on.

Her mind swam with infinity. It had been years since she had conquered Earth, Equestria, and all the other wretched worlds that existed beyond the portal. She had slaughtered so many in her quest for power—not that she regretted a single death. The power that coursed through her veins was enough to crush any pity she had left.

Power. She clenched her fists and watched the magic spark around her knuckles. To think, she had once been content to exist as a mere human, barely able to run up a flight of stairs without losing the wind in her lungs. How she had managed to make it to nigh-adulthood without ending her life was a mystery.

But none of that mattered anymore. With a smile, Midnight flicked a finger, and a new universe was birthed before her. In seconds she watched it expand, flicker with life. Maybe these creatures would finally prove themselves worthy.

“Twilight?”

Midnight spun around, only to shade her eyes from the piercing golden light that had appeared behind her. She hadn’t seen a light this bright in years—not since the day she had ascended. But now this light was growing larger and larger, all the while calling her name with the sweetest of voices.

“What do you want?” Midnight asked. “Who are you?”

“Twilight…!”














Twilight opened her eyes. As she blinked the sleep away, the first thing she noticed was a pair of amazing blue eyes staring right back at her.

Sunset Shimmer leaned forward and gave Twilight a quick peck on the lips. “Hey, sexy.”

Something exploded in Twilight’s cheeks. She recoiled, tumbling backwards and slamming into the couch cushions. “Sunset, you—!” Twilight yipped, body going rigid. “I mean, uhm, you just, I…”

“Awake yet?” Sunset asked. “If not, there’s more where that came from.”

Across the room, Rainbow scowled. “Hey! No making out during band practice. You guys wanna suck faces, you can get a room.”

“Yeah, listen to Rainbow,” said Applejack, packing up her bass and rolling her eyes. “Everyone knows that she makes all the rules around here.”

Rainbow turned up her nose. “Exactly—wait, are you being sarcastic?”

“Oh, I dunno. What do you think?”

Twilight adjusted her crooked glasses and tried to catch her breath. As her brain kicked back into gear, she took a few mental notes: she was sitting in the CHS band room. She was at band practice—well, not her band. Her friends’ band. She was at band practice, was sitting on a couch, and an absolutely beautiful girl was offering to kiss her and why hadn’t she said yes and what was wrong with her?

And why do I keep having that dream?

“If you two want the couch,” said Fluttershy, who Twilight hadn’t even noticed was sitting next to her, “I can move. I don’t mind.”

“It’s fine,” Sunset said, laughing as she plopping down on Twilight’s other side. She wrapped an arm around Twilight’s and smirked. “I mean, unless you really wanna go crazy, Twi.”

Say yes say yes say yes

“No,” Twilight said, looking down. “I’m alright.”

Sunset shrugged. “Suit yourself.”

Cursing herself, Twilight tuned in to the argument taking place before her. Rainbow Dash towered over Applejack, yelping, “I can’t believe you’re bailing on us. This is so uncool!”

“You’ll survive,” Applejack said. She locked up her case. “Granny Smith is busy and Big Mac’s got football practice, so I gotta take Apple Bloom to the dentist’s office. She got a cavity the size of Principal Celestia’s rear from all those candy apples Pinkie made last week, and I ain’t spending another dinner listening to her whine.”

Rainbow groaned and tugged on her hair. “Can’t it wait? Just give her some booze or something. That’s what my grandpa always used to do with my mom!”

“Doesn’t your mom also say she can talk to squirrels?”

“Yeah, so? It’s true! I’ve seen it!”

Fluttershy winced at every shout, hiding behind her hair. On Twilight’s other side, Sunset sighed and rested her head against Twilight’s. “So, sleepyhead, are we really that boring?” Sunset asked. “Or did you just pull another all-nighter?”

“You’re not boring,” Twilight said, smiling. “I’m just not a fan of this ‘pop punk’ music you all play. It’s not exactly my cup of tea, if you will.”

“Yeah,” Sunset said. “Not enough weird keyboards and screaming cats for you, huh?”

“The screaming cats were in one song. One! And they’re not weird, they’re avant-garde. You know, according to Scientific Orchestra Monthly—”

Sunset kissed Twilight on the cheek. At once, Twilight’s words turned to meaningless blurbles. Sunset snort-laughed and elbowed her girlfriend in the side. “Have I ever told you how much I love it when you spaz out like that?”

Twilight frowned. “I’m not spazzing.”

“Yeah? What do you call it, then?”

“Well, I—it’s not—” Twilight gritted her teeth to stem the flow of nonsense. Why can’t you speak like a normal human being? her thoughts screamed as Sunset’s grin grew wider. What’s wrong with you?

“I’m just kidding,” Sunset said, leaning into Twilight. “You know that, right?”

Twilight forced herself to nod.

“This sucks,” Rainbow said, sitting down on the armrest next to Sunset. “First Pinkie and Rarity cancel on us, now Applejack’s gotta leave early; worst practice ever.”

Still across the room, Applejack glared. “You could at least wait until I’m out of the room before talking about me like I’m not here.”

“You might as well be gone already.” Rainbow folded her arms. “Seriously. I was, like, two minutes away from getting that guitar solo down perfect!”

Fluttershy raised a finger. “This song doesn’t have a guitar solo.”

“No wonder you guys were tripping me up,” Rainbow said.

“Sunset? Rainbow?” Applejack called, her bass strapped around her torso and a bundle of cables in her arms. “Y’all mind helping me bring the amps and whatnot back to my truck? It’ll go a lot quicker if I get some help.”

Sunset rose to her feet without question. Rainbow mumbled a few curses before walking over.

On most days, Twilight would just be content to sit back and wait for Sunset to finish, so they could leave together. But today, slumped into that couch, she felt a fire spark in her chest. “Hey,” she said without thinking. “What about me?”

Sunset, Applejack, and Rainbow froze and looked at her. “What about you?” Rainbow asked.

Twilight flinched—but forced herself to mutter, “I mean, why is it you never ask me to help pack everything away? I can help.”

Applejack waved her off. “We’re fine, Twi. Really. We don’t got that much stuff to haul out, anyway.”

“Yeah,” Rainbow said with a snicker. “And besides, I think this stuff is a bit too heavy for those noodle arms of yours.”

“Lay off her,” Sunset said, slapping Rainbow’s shoulder. Her words were tinged with laughter.

“What are you talking about?” Twilight asked, very much knowing what Rainbow was talking about. She held her arms close to her chest.

“I don’t mean any offense, Twi,” said Applejack, “but you and Fluttershy ain’t exactly the strongest girls in the world.” Fluttershy nodded.

Twilight just scoffed. “Please. I’m stronger than Fluttershy.

Silence wrapped around the room.

“Oh, goodness,” Twilight said, covering her mouth. She turned to Fluttershy, who stared with wide eyes. “I’m sorry, I really didn’t mean that.”

“No, no.” Fluttershy shook her head. “You’re probably right.”

“You wanna help?” Rainbow asked, hands on her hips. “Why don’t you carry out an amp or something? Shouldn’t be any problem for a bodybuilder like you.”

Twilight felt a breath catch in her throat, but still nodded. “Fine.” She walked over to the equipment on the other side of the room and found the amplifier Rainbow was gesturing to. She gulped; it was a massive black crate, at least three times the size of her torso. She had been ready to just roll it out—only to realize now that it had no wheels.

“You don’t have to do this,” Sunset said, touching Twilight’s arm. “Honestly. We’ve got it covered.”

Words of agreement flitted through Twilight’s mind. One glance down at her noodle arms silenced them.

Twilight grabbed the amp’s handle and pulled. To her credit, she managed to lift it off the ground for at least two seconds—only to drop it again with a gasp and a thud. Already her arms burned. She tried again, clenching her eyes and straining, but it just wouldn’t budge. Every muscle she had screamed for relief, but as long as she felt Sunset watching her…

“C’mon, Twi, stop!” Sunset said, pushing Twilight away. “You’re gonna sprain something.”

Chest heaving, Twilight stumbled backwards and leaned against a piano. With shaking hands she reached into her shirt pocket and snatched out her inhaler.

“Wow. When’s your next powerlifting competition?” Rainbow asked. Applejack smacked her in the back of the head. “Ow! Ugh, none of you guys can take a joke.”

“We’ll get all this stuff,” Sunset said, lifting the amp a few feet off the ground and walking it over to the door. “Don’t worry, Twi. Just wait here, okay?”

Twilight rubbed her aching arm. “Yeah.”

The stronger girls headed out, leaving Twilight and Fluttershy alone.


Twilight took a deep breath and tried to avert her eyes from the magazine Sunset was reading. Half-naked women sauntered across the pages, straddling motorcycles and sucking on lollipops. They leered at Twilight from their thrumming machines. Twilight could resist their call—she had calculus homework to focus on, after all—but she couldn’t help but notice the way Sunset looked at them, scanning every inch of every page.

They’re just models. Twilight tapped an equation into her calculator. You’re supposed to stare at them. That’s why they’re so much hotter than you…

With a grimace, Twilight shook the thoughts away. As the calculator graphed out her problem, she gazed around Sunset’s apartment. Dirty clothes covered the floor, and whenever Twilight moved she had to pay special attention not to slip on a pair of underwear. A well-worn guitar rested on Sunset’s bed. On her nightstand stood a neat pile of textbooks—never opened, of course. Sunset never studied, and yet somehow always managed to earn perfect grades.

Strong, smart, creative… It wasn’t uncommon for Twilight to note that were they characters in a video game, Sunset would be entirely overpowered. Twilight was lucky to have her.

…But was Sunset lucky to have Twilight?

After all, they couldn’t have been more dissimilar. Twilight was small, nervous, weak. But Sunset commanded respect in everything she did; there wasn’t a single person at CHS who didn’t know her name. She held a confidence Twilight could only dream of having—well, having again. She had been that confident once, months ago. But it had only lasted for about five minutes.

At least, in reality.

“Twi?” Sunset started, flicking a glance at her. “Are you okay?”

Twilight jumped. “Ah, yes! Yes, I’m fine. Why do you ask?”

“You’ve been staring at me for about a minute now.”

“Oh.” Twilight wrung her hands. “It’s nothing, really.”

Sunset leaned forward and touched Twilight’s wrestling fingers. “You don’t have to be so nervous around me, y’know. I can help—I mean, if you need it.”

Damn your tics. Twilight tore her hands apart. She looked down at the table for a moment and tried to gather both her words and the confidence to spit them out. “Do you ever have dreams about our magical forms? The ones we became at the Friendship Games, I mean.”

“You mean Midnight and Daydream?” Sunset asked with a grin. “I still can’t believe Pinkie gave us those stupid names. It’s like we’re superheroes or something.” Her smile weakened a bit. “But, uh, no, I don’t. At least, not anymore. Why, have you?”

“Once or twice,” Twilight said, thinking back to the five times she had had the dream that week. “’Not anymore?’”

“I mean that I don’t really like thinking about that stuff too much,” Sunset said. “Having magic, defeating villains… any of it.”

“Why not?” Twilight asked in a high voice. “We were so amazing!”

“I guess it kinda scares me,” said Sunset. She shook her head. “Overloading on magic drove me insane once, and a bunch of people almost died. My friends almost died. Saving the world is cool, yeah, and just studying it is one thing... but I hate having that sort of power come out of me. I don’t deserve it, and I don’t want it.”

“That’s ridiculous.” Twilight pursed her lips. “We experienced something no human has ever experienced in recorded history. For a few moments, we were the strongest creatures on Earth. How can you not find that amazing?”

“Because I don’t, okay?” Sunset said. “Can we just drop this? Seriously, I don’t like talking about it.”

Twilight had a hundred more comebacks, a thousand more questions—but threw them away. What are you doing? She couldn’t bear to look into Sunset’s wistful eyes. That power drove you insane, too. Why would you defend something so awful?

Biting her tongue, Twilight tried to focus on her homework. Sunset went back to her magazine, not saying a word. An awkward sort of quiet filled Twilight’s ears and weighed her down like sludge. She leaned further into her paper and pressed her pencil down harder, but suddenly she just couldn’t focus on the math.

She closed her notebook. “I think maybe I should get going—”

“I’m sorry,” Sunset said with a sigh. “I didn’t mean to snap at you like that. I sorta take magic for granted, being from Equestria and all, but you must have so many questions. You’re probably more scared than me.”

Not particularly, Twilight thought, nodding.

“I don’t want us to leave angry. That sucks.” Sunset smiled. “Why don’t you spend the night here? We can order pizza or something, and I’m pretty sure I paid my cable bill this month. Pretty sure.”

“Spend the night…?” Twilight repeated, jaw going slack. Her gaze flicked over to the only bed in the apartment.

Sunset blinked a few times, then shook her head, cheeks going ever-so-slightly pinker. “Not like that. I mean, we can totally sleep in the same bed—but I’m not exactly up for anything more. Sorry.”

“It’s fine!” Twilight said, heart pounding. “It’s fine, really.” She paused for a moment, eyes falling back onto the motorcycle magazine. “But… why not? I mean, not that I want to do it if you don’t want to.”

“We are talking about sex, right?” Sunset said, making Twilight go stiff. She chuckled. “No real reason. I guess I just don’t feel comfortable enough in this body yet. I’m still working out the kinks, y’know? No pun intended.” She snort-laughed, but waved a hand. “I dunno. It’s stupid.”

Twilight could listen to that laugh of hers for days. “I understand. Let me call home, see what I can do.” Twilight pulled out her phone, stood up, and walked away. As she flipped through her phonebook, however, she noticed Sunset flip through her magazine again, opening up to a page with even barer women.















Midnight Sparkle cursed, and a pillar of burning black magic flew from her palm, straight towards the brilliant light. The black and gold collided with a muted bang—but Midnight barely had time to smirk before the light prevailed, swallowing her magic whole. Midnight felt its heat on her skin, felt the shining magic burning her alive. She waved her hand to create a shield, but the light pierced through it.

“What is this?” she shouted. “Who is this? Show yourself!”

The light drew nearer and nearer, close enough that Midnight was sure she would be set ablaze. But just as Midnight backed away, the golden magic paused and grew softer.

The light shrunk and stretched, shifting from a golden blob to a more humanoid shape. The formless orb gave way to shining wings and fiery hair. To a beautiful gown, to a horn of pure pulsing energy. This new creature looked so much like her.

So similar, and yet when the two women locked gazes, energy stronger than Midnight had ever imagined ran along her bones. Looking this woman in the eye was like eating a bolt of lightning.

Worst of all: as far as Midnight knew, this woman should have been dead.

Midnight shouted the same questions—“What are you doing here? Why have you come back?”—but got no answer. Daydream Shimmer drew close once again, her face unmoving. Every muscle in Midnight’s body tensed as Daydream stopped only a few inches away, only to reach up to run a hand through Midnight’s wild mane and trace a finger along her cheek.

Midnight shook. What was happening to her? She was the goddess of this realm—no one was stronger. Nothing scared her.

“Except for me,” Daydream said.

That got Midnight’s teeth gnashing. Spitting hexes, Midnight reached forward and wrapped her hands around Daydream’s neck.

Daydream didn’t react, even as Midnight choked her, clawed out her eyes, and pounded a fist into the side of her skull.















Twilight snapped up and very nearly fell out of bed. She kept one hand gripping the blanket and ran the other up and down her body, grimacing at the sweat coating her skin. She whipped her eyes around the room. She was still in Sunset’s apartment, under Sunset’s sheets, wearing Sunset’s pajamas—and sure enough, Sunset was still sleeping next to her, completely safe.

Trembling, Twilight lay back down and stared at Sunset’s sleeping face. Drool poured from her lips onto the pillow, and her hair was frizzed out in every direction. Passed out, Sunset was at her ugliest; and yet she still looked like a queen.

With stinging eyes, Twilight reached a hand toward her girlfriend. All Twilight wanted was to hold her, to be held, to make these awful dreams go away—but she held herself back. Sunset wouldn’t want to be touched like that. Not by Twilight.

Nausea roared in her stomach. Twilight crawled out of bed and stumbled across the dark apartment, headed for the single light in the distance and doing her best not to fall to the floor and break something and make Sunset upset again. Thoughts burning, mind screeching, she slipped into the bathroom and collapsed against the sink.

Twilight couldn’t look her reflection in the eye. She just stared at her own scrawny body, barely visible under the baggy pajamas. Sunset was twice the woman Twilight was, in size and heart. How Twilight ever thought she could impress Sunset—could ever even make her happy—was insane. Sunset deserved more. Sunset deserved anyone else.

No. Twilight raised a handful of sink water to her face and splashed it across her eyes. This is just the fatigue speaking. You’re exhausted, and those dreams aren’t helping.

And what of those dreams? They terrified Twilight; just the thought of hurting Sunset made her gag. But everything else… the power. The confidence. Dream Twilight, or Midnight, or whoever it was had no fear. Anything she wanted to do she did. Nothing ever stood in her way—no stupid anxiety, no stupid asthma. She never second-guessed herself. Never flinched at every errant sound in an empty bathroom.

What was the difference between Midnight and her? Wings? A skimpy gown?

Magic.

Twilight gripped the sink. She had sworn off studying magic after the Games, but…

“No!” she shout-whispered. “No, no. Stupid.”

She cast one final look at her awful body before turning out the light and hobbling back to bed.

Sitting down, she took a moment to adjust her too-big shirt—but froze when she looked at Sunset’s nightstand. Resting on the shelf, underneath an alarm clock and a coffee-stained shirt, was a journal. The journal. Just gazing at it, Twilight was sure she could feel a sort of electricity darting along her skin, giving her goosebumps.

Sunset was still sleeping. Twilight was alone.

She grabbed the journal and walked over to slip it into her bag.


Testing, testing. Princess Twilight of Equestria, do you read me? This is Twilight Sparkle of Earth. Please respond at your earliest convenience.

Hello, human Twilight! It’s great to hear from you again—even if it is just past midnight here in Equestria. One of these days we really should work out the temporal discrepancies between my world and yours. You can’t imagine how many messages I’ve missed from Sunset because she sent them while I was asleep.

What can I help you with?

P.S.: Normally I’d tell you to just call me Twilight, but considering the circumstances, using my title is probably wise. I would also accept “Twilight Prime.”

P.P.S.: That was a joke. I don’t know how well humor crosses dimensions.

It crosses just fine, thanks. Although I would argue that I’m the real Twilight Prime—I do have opposable thumbs, after all.

In any case, I was wondering if you could possibly answer some questions I have about magic. Namely, is there a safe way to use magic in order to induce physiological and psychological changes? Say, a growth in muscle mass, or a change in personality?

No. Not permanently, at least. I know dozens of transfiguration spells, but they all have a time limit. You can grow a third set of hooves for one hour, let’s say, but as soon as the hour passes they’ll disappear. As for psychological changes… they exist, yes, but none of them are exactly safe. Messing with the brain is playing with fire. Just one mistake could cripple you for life.

That being said, everything I just described has only been proven to be true for ponies. Most unicorn scholars don’t even know humans like you exist. For all I know, magic meant to grow a third set of hooves here could turn you into a tomato, if it had any effect at all.

Why do you ask?

Just curious.

On a possibly related note: you’ve watched each of my friends take on a semi-magical form, some hybrid of pony and human. They all call it “ponying up.” Upon activation, each of them gains enhanced reflexes and a heightened sensory array. How might one go about triggering this transformation?

You’d need to have some connection to the Elements of Harmony, first of all. Aside from that… honestly, I’m not quite sure. Sunset was studying it at one point, wasn’t she? Couldn’t you just ask her?

Can’t. It’s a surprise.

I see. Well, as far as I’ve heard, your anthropomorphic forms are powered by emotion. To transform, you would need to find something that gives you a true emotional and adrenal high. Winning a competition, for instance. Making art, falling in love, the smell of old books…

Sexual climax?

Possibly? If that’s the highlight of your day, go for it. Just maybe not in public.

Thank you, Princess Twilight. I think I have an idea of how this all works now.

Sure. Just be careful, alright? Magic is strange. Volatile. Not something you want to mess with without taking some precautions.

Twilight had already closed the journal.


Twilight grabbed her spare fire extinguisher, tore off the safety pin, and launched a hefty dose of foam at her workbench. A sharp hiss cut through the garage as the chemical flames drowned under Twilight’s assault. Scorch marks covered the wooden table, and the stench of burning rubber filled the air. Twilight kept shooting until the canister was empty, then waited. When a few seconds had passed without anything else exploding, she sighed and flumped into her chair.

She counted her blessings that her parents weren’t home. If they found out she had nearly burned down the house—again—she’d have her garage/laboratory access cut off for a month.

Sometimes being a scientist sucked.

Nevertheless, she took a puff from her inhaler and set to work wiping up the foam. There was no point in sitting around when she still had work to do.

Well, ‘work.’ She was mostly just mixing together random chemicals and watching how they reacted. Not the safest pastime in the world, but better than nothing. After all, she had already spent the last five hours working through her backlog of possible experiments. Now that she was out of ideas, there was nothing to do but throw stuff at the wall and hope nothing caught fire.

Once the workbench was clear, she grabbed two random bottles off her wall and began unloading them into separate beakers. Maybe this time she would finally get that ‘emotional high’ she needed. After all, Twilight loved nothing more in this world than science—well, science and Sunset. But Sunset wasn’t around, so science it was.

Twilight’s eyes narrowed unconsciously, and she had to stop for a moment just to take a deep breath. Sunset had declined Twilight’s invitation to come help experiment, saying she had already promised to go running with Rainbow. Rainbow. Sunset had the chance to spend time with Twilight, her girlfriend, and had chosen instead to hang out with that obnoxious meathead.

Twilight knew that wasn’t ‘friendly,’ or whatever, but it was true. Everyone said Rainbow was obnoxious. Even Sunset.

So why are they together?

When Twilight mixed the chemicals together, they fizzed for a few seconds, then went flat. Twilight had wasted twenty dollars’ worth of supplies, all for a jar of urine-yellow liquid. She cursed and poured it out into the sink.

What was she doing wrong? What could bring her that high she needed?

Twilight turned around and reached into a box of random equipment—only to wince as she cut her finger on a piece of scrap metal. Grumbling, she pulled the metal out and threw it on the workbench.

It was a rusted clamshell case, like one of those makeup mirrors Rarity carried around. But more importantly, Twilight realized with a start: it was an early prototype for her magic channeling device. The one that had given birth to Midnight Sparkle. The one that had almost destroyed the universe.

Twilight almost caught herself smiling.

She had been looking for a new project, right? Something difficult that she could really focus on? It had taken her months to build the first channeling device—but she still had loads of spare parts, and a second try would only take a few days, a week at most. And this time she could work out all the defects that had plagued the first one! She could become the first human to truly control magic. No need for an emotional high when she had technology.

This is stupid, she thought. Idiotic. You’re going to get yourself killed.

“This is science.” Twilight took a moment to bandage up her finger and drew in a few long breaths. “Just another experiment. Recreating the conditions of my last transformation. Sunset’s been studying this too, hasn’t she? She’ll be so excited to see my results!”

She reached for a screwdriver and set to work.


“Alright,” Cheerilee said, her voice laced with venom. She pointed at a picture of a bearded man in a long robe, which was taped to the blackboard. “For the third time: who is credited with founding the city of Canterlot?”

Pinkie Pie raised her hand.

Cheerilee glared. “No, Miss Pie, it is not Canter McLot.”

Pinkie put her hand down.

“Anyone? Anyone at all?” Cheerilee asked. She stared at her students, all of whom just stared back—well, most. Rainbow was sleeping, and Rarity was painting her nails. “We’ve been studying him for a week now!” Still no answer. Cheerilee dragged a palm down her face and collapsed into her chair. “Fine. Miss Twilight, help us out, please?”

In the back of the room, Twilight stared at her lap. “Hm?” She glanced up and found the entire class watching her. She flinched away, very nearly tipping her chair over. “Ah, uhm… Starswirl the Bearded?”

Cheerilee nodded. “Good to know someone is paying attention. Thanks again, Twilight.”

“No problem,” Twilight said before returning her gaze to her lap.

Under the desk, Twilight fiddled with her new channeling device. It had taken her a bit longer than expected to work out all the bugs, and technically she wasn’t sure it worked yet, but today she was taking it out for its first test run. Part of her felt bad for testing it out in school, but another part assured her that this was the only way to make sure it functioned correctly.

And besides, in the two weeks it had taken to build, Sunset had gone running with Rainbow two more times, and Twilight had suffered through five more dreams. They all ended with Midnight assaulting Daydream, each attempt more violent than the last. Twilight prayed that fixing up her device and finally getting another taste of the magic she so craved would stop the dreams.

As Cheerilee launched into another lesson about Canterlotan history, Twilight focused her gaze on Rarity, who sat just a few seats away. Crossing her fingers and toes, Twilight turned on her device.

Unlike the old one, this device didn’t suddenly snap open and start ripping magic from anyone it could find. Rather, Twilight was able to edge it open, revealing a soft purple light. A familiar purple fog snaked out of the clamshell case. The smoke slithered along the floor, through legs and over feet, until it reached Rarity. It latched onto her ankle and seemed to disappear, as if it were melding with her skin.

At once, Twilight could see the meter on the outside of the case light up. A single tick flashed, indicating that channeling was in progress. There were still twenty-four other ticks to be filled—not that she had to capture all the energy in one day. Baby steps.

Twilight watched Rarity with hawk-like eyes, making sure to take notes as the smoke crawled along Rarity’s feet. She recorded every twitch, every sigh, every hair flourish—there were quite a few of those. Once ten minutes had passed and four ticks were filled, Twilight snapped the case shut, destroying the purple tendril. She watched Rarity for a minute afterward, and only moved on when she was sure Rarity wasn’t going to pass out.

As the period passed, Twilight did the same thing to Pinkie and Rainbow. She swore when Pinkie reached down to scratch her leg, and nearly had a heart attack when Rainbow yawned—at least, until she remembered that Rainbow had been snoozing anyway.

Once class ended, Twilight stuffed her device away. It was already warm to the touch, and if one looked closely, they could see it glowing through her pants pocket.

Outside the room, Twilight stopped her friends. “Hey, girls?” she asked, unable to meet their eyes. “Are you… are you all feeling alright? Like, are you tired, or anything?”

Rainbow stretched and grinned. “Nah. That was the best nap I’ve had in months.”

“I’m good!” Pinkie chirped.

Rarity smiled. “I’m feeling fine. A bit peckish maybe, but not tired. Why? Are you feeling alright, darling?”

Twilight rubbed the back of her neck. “Uh, I think maybe I’m getting a cold.”

“Oh, you poor thing!” Rarity said, throwing a hand to her heart. “This winter weather is just dreadful, isn’t it? Come. I’m sure Granny Smith would be more than willing to make you a warm cup of soup.” She took Twilight’s hand and walked on, dragging the scrawny girl along like a suitcase.

Rushing to follow after, Twilight kept her head down.


“I swear, if Mr. Doodle makes us dissect another stupid frog, I’m suing.” Sunset tossed her phone high into the air and caught it on the way down. “Like, he knows that it makes me uncomfortable. I’ve forged notes from my ‘mom.’ I’m two seconds away from just telling him I’m a freakin’ magical horse, y’know?”

Walking next to her, Twilight gripped her backpack’s straps. “Yeah.”

“Heh, maybe not. He’d probably just try to dissect me.

“Yeah.”

The two stopped at a crosswalk, and Sunset shot Twilight a sideways glance. “You alright? I know you have a cold or whatever, but you’re being pretty quiet.”

The air was below freezing, but Twilight felt like she was in a sauna. Her entire body tingled with energy. She could feel the channeling device hot against her leg. A few more minutes, and she was sure it would burn a hole in her jeans. Every few moments a jolt of… something would spark from it, shooting into her leg and through her limbs.

“Nothing’s wrong,” Twilight said, gulping. “Everything’s fine. Fine.”

“You sure?” Sunset frowned. “Are you still having those dreams?”

Twilight furrowed her brows. “I thought you didn’t want to talk about that.”

“If it makes you feel better, I’m willing to talk about anything.” Sunset sidled up to her girlfriend, close enough that Twilight could smell the cinnamon that always seemed to waft from her soft skin. “I’m here for you. No matter what.”

“But… why?” Twilight looked down. Suddenly, the device in her pocket felt heavier than lead. “I don’t deserve that. You shouldn’t have to worry about me.”

“I don’t have to anything. I want to worry about you.” Sunset paused, then tapped her chin. “Well, I don’t want to worry, per say. But I do want to help you. Y’know, if, like… oh, you get what I mean.” Sunset grabbed Twilight’s hand and gave it a strong squeeze. “I know this sounds super mushy and all, but I love you, Twi. Honestly. If I can help, then let me. I know what it feels like to be alone—you don’t need to go through that.”

“I—” Twilight clenched her teeth, eyes starting to burn. She couldn’t bear Sunset’s perfect touch for a second longer. “I love you too, but—”

Sunset kissed Twilight.

For the sweetest of moments, Twilight’s brain went still. The raging thoughts faded. She closed her eyes and leaned into Sunset’s touch, let Sunset’s intoxicating scent surround her. She held Sunset’s hand tight, never ready to let go.

At least, not until her thigh felt like it would burst into flames.

Cursing, she tore the channeling device out of her pocket. Black smoke poured from the cracks in the case, the machine beeped like mad, and all twenty-five ticks were active, each one shining like stars. There had only been twelve filled when she left school—what had gone wrong?

Sunset spent a second gaping—then scowled. “Twilight,” she began, “what is that?”

Twilight held the machine by its strap. “Uh.”

“That’s that stupid magic stealing device, isn’t it?” Sunset asked. She clenched her fists. “I thought we destroyed that thing after the Games! What’s it doing here? How did it get repaired?”

“Well, you know… I repaired it,” Twilight muttered. "I swear, I can explain."

You?” Sunset asked, eyes wide. “But how… why?! That machine nearly got everyone killed!”

“I know, I know. But that’s not going to happen again!” Twilight smiled. “I fixed all the glitches. It’s perfectly safe.”

“Yeah, I’m sure.” Sunset thrust out her palm. “Give it here. I’m gonna break it again.”

“What? No!” Twilight clutched it to her chest. Jolts of blue electricity filtered through her shirt and into her skin. “It’s mine! I need it!”

“That thing almost destroyed the world once—almost destroyed every world. I’m not taking any chances,” Sunset said.

“You said you were here for me,” Twilight said, gripping the machine tighter. “You said you would listen to me. Was that just a lie?”

Sunset rolled her eyes. “C’mon, Twilight. Don’t pull that.”

“So you were lying!” Twilight spat. Her brain buzzed with energy. “You don’t love me at all, do you?”

“I do love you! That’s why I can’t let you use that thing!” Sunset said. “You don’t know what you’re playing with. That’s concentrated magic. One wrong move and you could get seriously hurt.”

“Stop pretending you care,” Twilight said with a glower. “You hate me; that’s why I need this magic. I know how to use it now.”

“You don’t know anything about magic.”

Twilight sneered. “At least I’m willing to experiment. At least I’m not a coward like you.”

Sunset recoiled, but just as quickly took a step forward, forcing Twilight back. “Give it to me. I’m not asking again.”

“No… I need it.” Twilight opened it up and stared at the pulsing magic inside. It called to her like a beacon. “I need it to be stronger. For you.”

Sunset leaped forward and ripped the device from Twilight’s hands. Bolts of magic energy sparked from every inch of its surface. Sunset lifted it high into the air.

“Give it back!” Twilight screeched.

She punched Sunset in the chest. Sunset screamed and flew backwards, crashing to the concrete. Electric sparks crisscrossed her body. Every breath came with a spasming cough.

Twilight scooped the machine off the ground and pressed it to her chest, ignoring the smoke rising from the fabric. Its magic coursed through her veins. Purple spots flew through her vision. Every single fear, every single anxiety she had disappeared. In that moment, all that existed was her. Her and the power.

She looked up and saw Sunset’s quivering, terrified face.

Twilight’s grip loosened, and her machine fell to the ground. Bones aching, chest heaving, she fell to the ground.

The last thing she heard before passing out was Sunset crying her name.
















Midnight had ripped Daydream apart a hundred times now, but still Daydream stared, still Daydream lived. She just floated there, mocking Midnight with every beautiful breath.

It was just after burning out Daydream’s eyes for the twelfth time that Midnight began to sob. “Why?” she asked, digging her nails into Daydream’s shoulders. “Why can’t I kill you? I’ve watched whole universes live and die! I am existence! What are you?”

Daydream smiled. “I am love.”

Midnight ripped out her throat.

Daydream touched Midnight’s face. “I am acceptance.”

Midnight tore off her head.

Daydream pulled Midnight close. “I am freedom.”

Their lips met, and the void surrounding them melted away. Tears spilled from Midnight’s clenched eyes, down her cheeks and into the darkness—a darkness that was disappeared, replaced by the most brilliant light Midnight had ever seen. The light wrapped around the two, soaking into their skin and shedding their armor.

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

















Twilight awoke to the sound of a familiar voice.

“Twilight!” someone yelled, their voice muffled. “Open up! Please!

Groaning, Twilight rose from her bed and scanned around her bedroom. A thirty-minute nap had somehow become a three-hour slumber. Half-completed homework delivered from school covered her desk, along with a stack of Get Well cards. Pinkie had made sure to load hers with as much glitter as humanly possible.

“Could you maybe speed it up?”

Twilight followed the noise to its source—only to give a shrill yelp. “Sunset!” She hurried over to the window and threw it open.

Sunset tumbled inside, hitting the ground with a thunderous crash. Panting, she lifted herself off the ground and dusted off her jacket. “Thanks.”

“How did you get up here?” Twilight asked, locking the window again.

“I climbed.”

“Sunset, I’m on the third floor.”

“I noticed.” Sunset sat down on the bed. “Never actually been here before. So this is your room, huh?” She glanced around the room, eyes darting between the star charts on the ceiling and the various pictures of scientists that covered the walls. “Yep. Just about what I expected.”

“Oh, like you’re one to talk. At least I’m not using a pair of underwear as a lampshade.”

Sunset opened her mouth to argue—but after a moment of silence, just settled on, “Point taken.”

Twilight sat down next to Sunset. “What are you doing here?”

“What do you mean? You’ve been out of school for two days!” Sunset said. “I haven’t seen you since I brought you to the hospital. I told them that you had fallen down some stairs, but…”

Memories rushed through Twilight’s mind. Most everything from that day was still blurry, but she remembered the key events. “Oh my goddess,” Twilight said, clasping her hands. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. What about you?” Sunset looked her girlfriend up and down. “You got hit by some pretty serious magic rebound. How are you feeling?”

“Fine, I think.” Twilight touched her chest. “I had a pretty ugly burn, but it’s healing up, and the doctors said the scar should be relatively small.”

Sunset winced. “A scar? Jeez, Twi, that’s… I’m sorry.”

“It’s what I get for being such an idiot.” Twilight’s eyes fell. “How could I have thought stealing magic again was a good idea? I could have killed myself—or worse, you.”

“Magic is one hell of a drug,” Sunset said, offering a weak smile. “And it sounded like maybe I had something to do with it, too.”

“No, Sunset—”

“I dunno what I did. I dunno if I did anything. But”—Sunset laid a hand on Twilight’s leg—“I never, ever meant to make you feel like you weren’t good enough, or that you somehow needed to be ‘stronger’ for me. That’s crazy, and awful, and would make me the worst girlfriend in the world.”

“But I’m worthless,” Twilight said, voice cracking. “I’m a nervous, scrawny weakling. You deserve so much better.”

“C’mon.” Sunset lifted Twilight’s shaking chin. “Yeah, you can get a bit antsy. And yeah, you’re not a world-class athlete. But worthless? Twilight, do you seriously think I care about any of that?”

Twilight sniffled. “I…”

“I love you because you’re smart. I love you because you’re sensitive. I love you because you’re funny, because you’re brave, because you make the absolute cutest faces in the world when I kiss you.” Sunset touched her forehead to Twilight’s. “I love you for being you. You’re the only Twilight in the world, and I’m so lucky to have you.”

A quiet moment passed before 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. Tears rolling down her face, she leaned forward and kissed Sunset. Sunset didn’t resist, wrapping both her arms around Twilight and pulling her closer. Twilight basked in Sunset’s warmth, in her sweet cinnamon scent. Every small twitch of Sunset’s tongue sent goosebumps popping along Twilight’s arms.

And it was there, resting in Sunset’s strong arms, that 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. 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 adjusted 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. “Uh-huh.”

Comments ( 16 )

But not the one I deserve.

7584871 Oh, of course she does. And it's only a matter of time before she appears in FiM too.

Before I read: Does this contain any spoilers for Legends of The Everfree?

7585739
It does not. The plot for this was sketched out over half a year before Legends of Everfree was even announced.

7585747 Ahh, okay. Thank you :twilightsmile:

7585814

Honestly, I saw the Tantabus as having boosted/intensified already existing fears. That was how it seemed to work in canon, and frankly, I can imagine Twilight just having that kind of anxiety to begin with (the story seems to indicate that she already had it for a long time, and even without the Tantabus, I can't imagine the magic battle would make it any better).

Also, I feel like trauma isn't quite a requirement for depression--brain chemistry imbalance can also cause it (which counts for your "mental illness that needs to be treated" bit). To put a personal anecdote to it, I didn't get my depression treated for a while because it didn't make sense based on my "happy" upbringing. (Thankfully, a lot of that's past me now and I can live a fulfilling life.) Plus, Crystal Prep and other uber-competitive atmospheres can only make it worse on students like her.

Nothing against you--you made some really good points. I, too, feel like this is only the beginning in Twilight's journey towards self-love. Just adding my two cents in for you to consider.

Really liked this story, by the way.

Dark romances? My fav <3

I liked it :)

I've aways viewed Midnight as Twilight through a mirror darkly. It's her ambition to learn completely stripped of morality and decency. She cared not for the consequences of her actions, whereas SciTwi was concerned with the unexpected outcomes of her experiment. Her strength became her darkest obsession.

In that light, why wouldn't the Tantabus as Midnight in her dreams - curious how I never picked up on that till the reveal choose to pick at the strongest part of her as well? Take her love for Sunset and subvert it into jealousy? And let's be honest, in part her motivations were induced by jealousy just as much as insecurity. It may not have been the intended takeaway, but it can be drawn.

All in all, Like, put into my Recommended shelves, upvoted, and off to read again! :twilightsmile:

Dangit, FimFiction, please notify me when I have unread chapters!

I read the full version of this story when it came out, but I don't think I commented. Well, this original draft is still pretty darn good! I like this insecure take on Twilight, and of course I always love Sunset. Parts of this draft felt a bit rushed, so it's definitely better fleshed out in the version initially posted on the site. It's earned its spot on my favorites shelf!

I particularly enjoyed when Twilight was finally allowed to have a pleasant dream. I'm sure she did, too.

Nothing to complain about your story, so I just say that's a good one ^^.
Maybe : the way you've made (wrote if you prefer) Twilight insercurity is well constructed, and how Susnet is trying to reason her too.

As far as I know, it got what it takes to be in my favourites.

Wow, this was a really good story. I don't ship Sunset with Twilight, but I genuinely enjoyed this story. The parts with them being all lovey dovey didn't bother me like most ships I don't like. I was just too invested in the plot to dislike the romance.

I had the idea a few days ago to write a twist on the Legend of Everfree where Twilight reconstructs her device from the Friendship Games as a sort of "backup plan" in case anything dangerous ever happens again. But it seemed like such an obvious story idea, I just had to find out if someone has already done it. And I didn't want to be accused of copying someone else's story. This is the closest I've found to that so far, and it's nothing like what I had in mind, so I may go ahead with my story anyway.

You did a great job, you get a thumbs up from me for sure because wow. I loved it!

I loved it, it was so adorable throughout the entire way, just felt like the ending was a little bit of a cuttoff but it was still really good overall.

the superior version.

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