• Published 29th Jul 2019
  • 1,232 Views, 73 Comments

A Place to Call Home - CrimsonWolf360

Tempest tries to find her place in Equestria after returning from her travels. After some time feeling like an outcast, Tempest begins to question her decision to come back. That is, until Twilight drags her to a Wonderbolts show. It doesn't go well.

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Chapter 9: Mending a Broken Heart

Tempest felt her blood run cold for what could have been the third time in just as many minutes. Her eyes quickly widened to the size of saucers while a knot formed in her stomach and her throat simultaneously dried up. She quickly glanced to her left to find Midnight smiling away while Sky led the alabaster alicorn into the room. Each hoofstep made her ears splay back further and further until they were decidedly flat against her skull.

After a moment, the Princess of the Sun was standing just in front of the broken unicorn, with Sky and Midnight reclaiming their seats on the couch. Tempest couldn't bring herself to speak. All she could do was stare into those magenta eyes and hope that she wasn't there to put her in a jail cell. Strange enough, instead of the harsh, cold glare she expected to find in those eyes, Tempest only saw Celestia's face relax, and a look of concern quickly cover her features.

"Are you okay?" She asked the broken mare.

Tempest's jaw moved to speak, but no words came out.

"What's wrong with me? Why can't I speak to her? Why am I so afraid right now? I didn't used to be like this..." She thought to herself.

After a moment, she finally regained control of her mouth and spoke, "I... Yes... I'm alright... W-why are you here?" She asked, trying her hardest to sound polite.

"I received a letter from Sky and Midnight informing me of your particularly distressed state when he found you. Taking that along with what I've just heard of the WonderBolts show earlier today..." She trailed off.

Tempest slowly turned to face Sky and Midnight. She gave them a confused look before Sky spoke up.

"Uh, when I went upstairs to talk to Mid. That's when we, uh... sent a letter. I know you probably didn't want anyone else involved, but I wasn't really sure how to deal with what happened... I just wanted to make sure someone important enough knew."

Tempest struggled to digest his words before movement to her left caught her eye, and she swiveled her head to the side to find Celestia stepping closer to her. She instantly backed up further into the couch away from the solar princess, until she was firmly pressed against the arm of the couch.

Celestia tilted her head to the side at Tempest's reaction before sighing quietly to herself.

"I'm not here to hurt you, Tempest. If you're afraid of retribution of any kind from me, I promise that that's not why I'm here. I simply wanted to be sure that you were okay." Celestia calmly explained.

Tempest looked back and forth between Celestia and the couple that invited her into their home several times before Midnight decided to speak up.

"Um, do you want us to give you both a little time to talk?" She asked.

"No!" Tempest immediately shouted.

"Tempest-" Celestia began.

"H-how... how can I trust you?" Tempest asked, looking into Celestia's magenta irises, "Y-you told me that if I broke my curfew with Twilight that you'd throw me in a dungeon and throw away the key..." She finished.

Celestia frowned at Tempest's words before turning to Sky and Midnight to find them both glancing curiously at her.

"Tempest, surely you know by now that I wouldn't actually do that. I was simply... upset at the time and thought that a stern warning like that would steer you in the right direction... You did some very bad things to all members of Equestrian royalty. Having said that, I am a firm believer that time heals all wounds, and after the last year, I've come to believe that you were genuine when you claimed to have changed. At this point, I'm no longer worried about you causing mayhem and destruction, I'm worried about you as a pony. I've seen firsthoof how difficult it can be when you're cast out by my ponies. It's a fate I'm sad to say Sky over there has suffered through fairly recently." She explained, a motherly look once more adorning her face.

Tempest turned to face Sky with a confused look once more creeping onto her features. Sky awkwardly scratched the back of his neck while all eyes in the room gravitated toward him.

"Uh, hehe, so I guess you want that story now, huh?" He said.

"You mean you haven't told her yet? Knowing you I'd have thought you'd have opened with that." Celestia asked, tilting her head to the side.

"Well, I was about to, but then you knocked." He replied.

"Right, go ahead."

"Alright, anyways," He said, returning his gaze to Tempest, "When Mid said that I'm from another planet... she wasn't really exaggerating... like, at all. I'm actually from a completely different galaxy." He explained.

Tempest's face quickly turned from one of confusion to outright disbelief.

"Originally, I wasn't a pony either. I'm not sure if you heard anything about an alien crash landing in Canterlot a couple years ago-"

"I... recall hearing something to that extent over the last year during my travels... But I always assumed it was another little filly's tale..." Tempest interrupted.

"Ah, well, there you go. That's why you haven't heard of me. I was once a human being. We kinda skipped any details on that earlier when we told you about how Mid and I ended up together, but the reason I got sick was because Equestrian magic and my body didn't exactly mix, and I was dying. For about six months, I was slowly losing my mind and decaying... but Mid never stopped taking care of me," He gave a loving look to Midnight, who returned the gesture with a gentle nuzzle, "-and thanks to Twilight, Luna, and Celestia, I was given another chance at life. The trade off, was that I had to become a pony. That was... just around a year and three months ago if I remember right." Sky finished explaining.

Tempest stared wide-eyed at the crimson pegasus for a few moments before looking over at Celestia to gauge her reaction to the story. One look was all it took for Celestia to confirm to her that everything Sky said was the truth. Disbelief washed over her being while she dropped her gaze to the floor and pawed at the couch cushion while her mind tried to rationalize everything she'd just heard.

"So... You're an actual alien?" She finally muttered, after some length of time.

"Yeah. Listen, when I say I know what you're going through, I mean it. My first month here was spent cooped up in a castle, and the first time I went out into town, I was hounded by nobles and told that I should leave. That I shouldn't have come here and whatnot. It was a pretty nasty time for me. Especially since I was still dealing with the loss of my friends in the crash. Point is, I can definitely sympathize with what you've been through lately." Sky replied.

Tempest tilted her head to the side and looked at him curiously once more.

"What... what happened to your friends?" She asked.

Sky's features darkened slightly, and his brow furrowed slightly, "They uh... They died on our ship. All three of them got sucked out into the vacuum of space while I barely managed to survive myself. It...It was a rough landing." He explained.

It was some time before Tempest managed to find the words to respond to his words. Even when she finally found them, they were few and far in between.

"I... I see. I'm sorry that happened to you."

"Thank you. I know that's a lot to take in all at once. That's why we kinda skim past all the 'I'm an alien' bits when we meet someone new." Sky replied.

"If you take anything from that story, please just take the fact that we get what you're going through. Honestly, I think everypony in this room has experienced something similar. Whatever you were going to do at that cliff, please don't think that it was your only choice." Midnight added.

"What's this about a cliff?" Celestia asked with some noticeable concern weeding into her voice.

"Don't worry about it, Princess. I was just... not thinking clearly." Tempest hastily replied.

"I'm not so certain that I believe you..." Celestia replied.

"Really, I'm alright." Tempest asserted.

"Tempest..." Celestia began.

"Princess, honestly, it was just a stupid, spur of the moment decision that Sky stopped me from anyways." Tempest interjected.

"The fact that something so horrible was even on your mind in the first place is what concerns me so much, Tempest. I couldn't care less how close you were to actually acting on it, the fact that those kinds of thoughts were in your head to begin with is deeply concerning." Celestia responded, taking a step closer to the mulberry unicorn.

Tempest immediately leaned back away from her as Celestia took another step forward. Celestia quickly noticed Tempest's obvious fears and frowned.

"Tempest... You don't have to be afraid. Nopony here hates you." She offered, once more taking a small step forward.

"I... I understand that... Please, I just... I-I'm not comfortable talking about it." Tempest struggled to speak as she quickly ran out of room to scooch backwards on the couch.

Celestia stepped ever closer, and within seconds, she was within a foreleg of the broken unicorn.

"I know that look in your eyes, Tempest. It's a look I've come to know well through my sister's eyes. Forgiveness isn't just something you seek because you feel guilty for what you've done... You also want to forgive yourself, don't you?" Celestia offered, reaching out with her foreleg.

Tempest didn't answer. Her eyes were glued to the alabaster white hoof that found its position just a few inches in front of her muzzle. The golden horseshoe shown with her reflection, and once more, that broken horn, and ugly scar shown themselves to her. It was all she could do to not look away in shame.

"Princess... You don't know the things I've done... The things I've really done... This place... Equestria... It'd all be better off without me." She muttered, her gaze drooping down to the hardwood floor below.

"Hey now, don't even say that. I know you've done some bad things, but that's no way to think." Sky said, dropping off the couch and walking over toward Tempest.

"Yeah, you can't think like that," Midnight added, following Sky's lead, "I mean, think about it. For every bad thing you did, there's some good you can do to make up for it... If you just ended it... You'd never be able to make up for it." She offered, taking her place on Tempest's opposite side.

Tempest looked back and forth at the ponies surrounding her and felt her world closing in. Her heart pounded in her chest, and beads of sweat began to form on her brow, but even with every nerve in her body screaming for her to leap of the couch and gallop away from these ponies, away from everything... she couldn't. She couldn't even bring herself to lean away as Celestia brought her hoof to her chin and gently lifted until she was looking at into her eyes once more.

Celestia's eyes radiated with such warmth and kindness that she'd never seen before. Even with everything that she'd been through, for just a moment, the only thought that crossed Tempest's mind was the motherly way Celestia looked down at her.

"You don't have to be alone anymore. There are three ponies right here who would love to be there for you, even when times are tough and you feel like you don't deserve the second chance you've been given." She softly spoke.

Movement to her right and left caught her attention, and the couch cushion was slightly displaced by Sky and Midnight as they climbed onto the couch with her. Tempest hesitantly looked left and right to find Sky and Midnight just a foreleg away on either side of her body. A moment later, she felt a gentle tug on her chin, and brought her eyes once more to Celestia's.

"If it means anything at all, I forgive you." She said.

It wasn't much. Just a few words spoken with honesty and heart, but they were all it took to break the dam. Tempest's lip trembled and her eyes quickly began to water. She hastily pulled back, looked at the floor, and screwed her eyes shut in a desperate attempt to keep the tears from streaming out in front of these ponies she still barely knew.

It would all be for naught, however. Just as she felt control over her emotions beginning to come back to her, a pair of hooves wrapped around her barrel, and she felt the soft warmth of another pony hugging her. She quickly glanced over to her right to find Sky tightly holding onto her. A moment later, she felt Midnight wrap her hooves around her barrel as well, and her eyes quickly scanned downward to the two pairs of hooves seemingly interlaced around her chest and barrel.

Tempest hesitantly looked back up to Celestia while tears streaked down her cheeks. Her entire body trembled and a knot formed in her throat, making it physically hurt to speak. She grit her teeth in one last desperate attempt to save face and not cry in front of the Princess, but once more, it was all for naught. Celestia sat down on her haunches and gently pulled Tempest's head to her chest with her forelegs.

The sound of pained crying filled the room as Tempest finally let go. Her tears poured out and dampened Celestia's chest fur while she sniffled and cried even harder. Every emotion she'd suppressed over the majority of her life was freed and made known to the world around her.

The pain she'd clearly gone through was enough to bring a tear to Midnight's eye while Sky simply gave a half smile held her tighter. Most notable of all, however, was Celestia. Even with over a thousand years of life behind her, Celestia found that the desperate cries of the broken mulberry unicorn held gently against her chest caused an unbearable ache in her heart. A deep frown covered her face and she gently inched ever closer to her. To Celestia's complete surprise, Tempest shot her forelegs out and wrapped them around her neck, pulling her in even closer.

Two long decades of pent up emotions poured out into the world, and no matter how hard she tried to hold back, the damage was done. The once mighty and fearsome Tempest Shadow was beaten and destroyed, and now, she was a weeping husk of her former glory. She couldn't find it in herself to care though. To her surprise, despite the humiliation of crying so cowardly in front of nearly complete strangers, she felt oddly freed from the emotional chains she'd been wearing for so long. It was as if a weight was slowly lifted off her chest with each passing second of emotional release.

She wasn't sure how long she cried for. Maybe it was a minute, maybe ten. Maybe it was the better part of an hour. All she knew was that through it all, those three ponies in the room held onto her like her life depended on it. After a while, Sky even incorporated his wings into the mashup of limbs. It was the strangest feeling, being surrounded like she was. In the past, being surrounded meant an imminent fight that she might very well not make it out of, yet here, she felt nothing but peace, and warmth. It was enough to melt even her cold, hard exterior and allow her to finally be herself, even in a room full of ponies she barely knew. For the first time in her entire life, she felt free.

Eventually, the sound of knocking at the door rang out through the entry way and into the living room. For just a moment, every pony in the house unanimously decided to ignore the door and just stay as they were, but as the knocking grew more persistent, Midnight hesitantly released her hold on Tempest and hopped off the couch. Tempest immediately felt colder on her left side, but she said nothing, instead opting to lean further into Sky and Celestia while they held onto her.

Midnight smiled at the scene before turning on her hooves and heading for the door. She quickly glanced through the window and nearly gasped at who she saw. She hurriedly walked over to the door and opened it.

Author's Note:

Sometimes, the bravest thing we can do... is break down...

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