• Published 4th Apr 2021
  • 2,127 Views, 89 Comments

Sombra's Recovery - MisterEdd



Hunted by the crown, Sombra tries to evade capture while rediscovering who he is.

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Reconciliation

Twilight winced at the slamming door, dropping her head and wings as she was overcome by regret. She knew Sombra didn't mean to do anything wrong, merely trying to help Spike and look after him. It was honestly touching how much concern he showed for the drake considering his reticence to let anyone in and his discomfort towards others. However, it was downright presumptuous for Sombra to declare that he knew what was best for Spike's well-being. Both Princess Celestia and Twilight instilled certain virtues upon Spike and, as his former and current caretakers respectively, it was their responsibility to protect, nurture, and guide Spike as he traversed down the path of life.

However, what really earned Twilight's ire was Sombra's statement that she wasn't Spike's mother. No, she may not be his biological family obviously, but she loved him and cared for him as a mother would and, arguably, better than his birth mother would've. It was rather telling that statement came from Sombra after Twilight pointed out that he wasn't Spike's father, something that seemed to get under Sombra's skin. Perhaps Sombra, on some subconscious level, had developed feelings of a paternal nature for Spike, either using him as a proxy for missing Cadence's foalhood or genuinely thinking of him as an ersatz family member to protect. Regardless of his intentions or feelings, Sombra had crossed a line and it was well within Twilight's right to point this out to him and to correct his behavior.

Then why do I feel so guilty?

It wasn't as though Sombra's arguments were entirely baseless. Yes, she and her friends did have to resort to physical force on more than one occasion, the changeling invasion during Shining Armor and Princess Cadence's wedding, the situation with the diamond dogs, and the battle against Lord Tirek all serving as prime examples. Those were, however, dire circumstances in which a violent coarse of action was necessary where diplomacy would otherwise win the day. Sombra was still trapped within his archaic us-versus-them mindset, using shows of strength and aggression to browbeat others into submission. This was the modern age, where words and rational actions trumped force.

Sombra's not completely wrong in this case, a part of Twilight argued. My friends and I do spend a lot of time keeping Spike out of harm's way. Would it really be so terrible for him to learn how to be more self-reliant?

Spike is a child, for Faust's sake! He shouldn't have to worry about fighting!

"Ugh, why is this so hard!" Twilight groaned, massaging her temples in little circles. "Maybe I should get a second opinion. Or six."

~*~

To say that Sombra was aggravated would be a colossal understatement. A thud-tink followed every hoof-fall as he marched through the hallways in a rage-filled daze, a cluster of black crystals forming with each step. It was actually fortuitous that Twilight sent him away as he was a powder keg imminently waiting to explode. How dare she?! The absolute nerve of that mare!

She's acting as though I've committed some giant, unspeakable transgression!

Sombra didn't actually do anything wrong. If teaching a young male an important life lesson, then oh yes, lock him up in Tartarus and throw away the key! Faust forbid that Spike receives any training and self-defense and learns some self-reliance! The general view of umbrums and other similar tribes of the north was that they were bloodthirsty barbarians that just went on raids and pillaged small, helpless towns, which was sheer and absolute nonsense. Self-restraint, battlefield honor, and necessary violence were cornerstones of their combat training and society as a whole.

Knowing when not to fight was just as important as knowing when to fight.

Rounding the corner, Sombra arrived back at his room and slammed the door behind him. There were no locks or keyhole so he hoped that anyone with half a brain would know to leave him be. The only good thing about his reputation was the fact that ponies were, for the most part, spineless little weaklings that would do anything to avoid confrontation, even at the cost of their dignity. And all for what, some silly ideals about peace and harmony? It was all so aggravatingly naive!

How many wars had Celestia been forced to fight, or at the very least, supervise in her thousand-year reign? It didn't matter the time nor the place, war was an eternal concept, as natural to sentient lifeforms as air or water. Did this mean that he glorified conflict and the often senseless loss of life that arose from it? Absolutely not but to think of it as being uncivilized or even unnatural showed a supreme lack of intelligence on the part of many anti-war detractors. Ponies were going to disagree and fight; this has always been in existence since time immemorial and would last for the rest of eternity.

He found the gift basket on the nightstand next to him, all of its contents haphazardly shoved back into it. A bit of red behind the bird-watching book caught Sombra's eye and he magically lifted it out. It was a red envelope that he remembered seeing Twilight slip into the basket before they headed over to Sugarcube Corner. Frowning, he decided that he wasn't in the mood for reading and slipped it into one of his cloak's interior pockets. Whatever it was could wait.

Closing his eyes, Sombra took several breaths both long and short through his mouth and nostrils. The anger was expunged from his mind, traveling to a place deep within his core where it was stored for later usage. Slowly, he felt himself relax, his previously taut muscles going slack as he allowed his body to unwind. The usage of dark magic required control over one's emotions, focusing and redirecting them into something productive, like a magical attack or a fuel source. Grimoire's baritone voice practically rumbled in his ears, lecturing him in that old condescending tone.

Let the rage flow through you like a river; don't fight it or you will be swept away in its current.

Sombra reopened his eyes, his scleras gently throbbing as purple mist oozed around his head before gradually dissipating. His anger vanquished, he could now think clearly without the fury clouding his vision. The truth was, he'd allowed his temper to get the best of him, causing him to behave like a savage. Although he was only trying to help, Sombra had been in the wrong, at least a little so he was partially at fault. He didn't expect Twilight to explode at him like she did.

You DID tell her that she wasn't Spike's mother, he reminded himself ruefully. That was a cut too deep.

He really should've considered that fact in the beginning. The pair were practically inseparable, sharing an adoptive brother-sister or mother-son relationship that'd seen them through many a peril. Using their bond as a retort was wrong of Sombra and served as his primary regret for the argument. For whatever reason, Twilight pointing out that Spike wasn't Sombra's child enraged him so he'd retaliated, albeit in the stupidest, most conceivable way imaginable. He knew full-well that he wasn't the little dragon's father so why did that perfectly logical observation hurt as badly as it did?

"You know why, you idiot," Sombra muttered aloud. "You let him in. You let them all in."

~*~

"I don't know, maybe I overreacted?"

Twilight stared across the massive table in the Map Room, her head bowed and tail curled around herself. She fiddled with the ends of her tail, looking and feeling like a filly once again. Her friends were all gathered around her in their respective thrones, each one deliberating on the issue she'd presented them with. After everyone had arrived, she started from the beginning, relating the events of the story from beginning to end. Spike was even seated among their number, seeing as how he was an official Element-bearer and had more than earned his spot at the table.

Applejack was the first to speak: "Well, Ah don't know 'bout th' rest of y'll, but Ah think th' both of ya are at fault. Sombra should've talked t' ya first an' tha' jab 'bout ya was uncalled fer but ya definitely could've handled th' situation better."

"Really? Because I believe Twilight was in the right," Rarity affirmed. "When you are in a relationship, you have to set limits and there are certain boundaries that must not be crossed. Sombra was being inappropriate."

Rainbow Dash nodded at this. "Sombra was wrong. He shouldn't have been, uh,..."

"Presumptuous?" Rarity offered up.

"Yeah, that."

"But Twilight was being more aggressive," Fluttershy said softly. "Arguments are already intense enough but any act of aggression just makes the situation worse. It's like with bears or dogs. You never want to be the aggressor."

"Sombra needs to control his temper," Pinkie observed. "I mean, yeah, maybe Twilight was a bit harsh but he wasn't any better."

They all turned to Spike. He rubbed the back of his neck. "Uh, well...yeah, he sh-should've talked to Twilight first but he had no way of knowing that teaching me to fight would be considered a big deal. To him, it's a normal thing. You said so yourself, Twilight."

"I mean..." Twilight tapped her hooves together. "That is true. And he was just trying to help protect Spike..."

"Ya both should sit down an' talk this whole thing out. Ah'm sure it'll be water under th' bridge soon."

"I agree," Rarity stated. "But perhaps, Darling, you should have a mediator? You know, somepony to ensure that this doesn't happen again?"

Pinkie raised her hoof. "Ooo, ooo, I pick me!"

"No offense, Sugarcube, but they need somepony a bit more...uh, collective?"

"I think it should be Fluttershy," Spike suggested, one finger pointed upward. "She's the calmest one here and knows how to diffuse an argument."

"Yeah, that sounds like a safe bet," Rainbow concurred.

Fluttershy thought on this. "Oh, if you think so, then I'll do it."


The two arrived at Sombra's door, following the trail of black crystal clusters. This brought Twilight back to their first encounter with the Shadow King, back when he was just a mad, dark presence trying to reclaim the Crystal Heart. Shivers assaulted her form as she recalled passing through that cursed doorway and being confronted with her greatest fear, that Princess Celestia would see her as a disappointment and kick her out. Spike, who had also been exposed to the door's power, was tormented with visions of Twilight abandoning him, a scenario never even remotely possible. Thankfully, Princess Cadence and Shining Armor later had the curse dispelled by some royal mages during their exploration of the castle but this brought an interesting question to mind:

What is Sombra's greatest fear?

Focusing back on the task at hoof, Twilight raised a hoof and knocked.

"Yes?"

The voice on the other end of the door was low but distinctively irritable.

"It's um, Fluttershy and Twilight. Could we come in please?"

A recognizable bubbling black aura surrounded the door and forced it open. Taking this as a nonverbal invitation, the mares carefully entered, the door creaking back into place and latching. They found Sombra seated in the wing chair, the bird-watching book opened in his hooves, eyes watching the two as they approached him. Calmly, he marked the page with a ribbon, slid the book onto the table, and tapped his forehooves together. Twilight teleported in a couch and the two wordlessly took their seats across from him, the air rife with tension.

Fluttershy lightly cleared her throat. "W-we're here to settle the argument that you two had earlier."

Sombra nodded somewhat stiffly. "Go on."

"Twilight told me what happened and I am here as a mediator. Twilight, would you like to go first?"

The purple mare took a breath. "Sombra, I don't want to fight anymore. If you wanted to give Spike combat training, then you should've asked me first, since I'm his guardian and he is my responsibility. And when you said..." She pushed her chest out. "That I wasn't his mother, it hurt. It seriously hurt. I know you didn't want to hurt me or go behind my back, and maybe I overreacted. From now on, if you make any decisions involving Spike, you first have to clear it with me. That being said, I'm sorry for freaking out."

Sombra's expression softened, his shoulders sagging.

Fluttershy smiled sweetly at him. "Sombra, is there anything that you want to say to Twilight?"

Sombra faced Twilight remorsefully. "I understand that...while my intentions were right, my method was not. You're right, I should've consulted you first. More importantly, however, my jab about your ties to Spike was unwarranted." He took one of Twilight's hooves in his own. "I never meant to hurt you. You're one of the few ponies that I'd never hurt, at least intentionally. I love you and I am so, so sorry. Can you forgive me?"

Rushing into his embrace, Twilight buried her face into his chest. "Of course I can."

Fluttershy placed both hooves over her muzzle to contain a happy squeak.

Noticing the pegasus, Sombra let out a semi-annoyed sigh and held a hoof out.

"Come on in."

Fluttershy let out a yip and gleefully accepted.

After all, who could pass up on a free group hug?