• Published 28th Aug 2012
  • 5,747 Views, 241 Comments

Me, You, and a Library for Two - Dull Mist

A story about a stallion meeting his childhood crush for the first time in years.

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Fatigue does strange things to ponies...

Fatigue does strange things to ponies...

An hour or so had passed before Silver Quill, Pinkie Pie, and Rainbow Dash parted ways from the bakery. They had spent the entire time happily eating and chatting about everything from the most progressive author of the Pre-Nightmare era (it was Chicken Scratch in Silver’s very informed opinion) to what is the best thing to shout when trying to surprise somepony at a surprise party. Pinkie said that it was “bless you.”

“Because then they will be double surprised, because they didn’t actually sneeze!” she had explained to a pair of unconvinced, confused eyes.

Pinkie had gone back to her baking of delicious treats, and Rainbow Dash went back to do whatever it was that she did, which was napping, as far as Silver knew. After saying goodbye to his new friends and making promises to meet up with them sometime soon (Pinkie was oddly insistent that he do something called a Pinkie promise, which made Rainbow look a little bit worried), and made his way back to the library at a slow, sluggish pace.

Silver was plum tuckered out. The mental strain of dealing with the two most energetic ponies he’d ever met at the same time combined with the fact that he hadn’t gotten enough sleep last night made him slump back to the library with his head drooping and his hooves dragging with fatigue.

The first thing he did when he entered the library was check to see if Twilight and SpIke had returned from their expedition from the Everfree Forest. The coat rack by the door was bare, and there were no sounds coming from the interior that he could discern, so he assumed that they were still out.

He made his way upstairs to his room and threw his saddle bag on the desk as he flopped down onto his bed. “I think I’ll take a page out of Rainbow’s book…” he thought to himself as he gave a mighty yawn. Without bothering to throw the covers over him, he turned over on his side and fell asleep.

Twilight was tired, and boy did it show. Her steps were sluggish and her breathing was laboured, a testament to all the hard work that she had done that day. Her hooves were stained with the green of the grass that she had been trudging through all day, and sticks and leaves were poking haphazardly out of her mane as a result of her having to force her way through some of the thicker patches of foliage in the forest.

Twilight’s exhaustion wasn’t because she had been straining herself physically, but mentally, and not in a way she was used to. The Everfree Forest had an unnatural effect on all ponies, or at least ponies smart enough to know to stay away from it. Therefore, just being near it and its creepily unnatural ways was enough to set her nerves on edge, sandpapering them to extreme tenderness and making her more nervous than she was on even her most neurotic of days.

It was worth it though, something that could easily be seen by the smile on her face, even though she didn’t find anything that she didn’t already know. The Everfree Forest has always intrigued her, much like the way a supposedly unsolvable mystery intrigued the detective in her novels. It was a challenge to her and her intellect, one that she relished in devoting all of her time and energy into. In fact, she would still be there now if her number one assistant hadn’t fallen flat on his face when he fell asleep as they were walking. He currently was curled up on Twilight’s back, snoring softly in his slumber.

“I’ll buy you a sapphire cupcake to make it up to you Spike, don’t you worry.” She thought to herself as she gazed at her sleeping assistant. She hadn’t been planning on taking him with her, but Spike was adamant that he join her, asking how he could be her number one assistant if he didn’t. And even though Twilight felt bad that she made the little guy work so hard, she had to admit, he had adhered to his role admirably.

It was half past 7 by the time she reached the library. Thankfully, she hadn’t run into to many ponies on her way back, and those she did run into only stared at her for a moment or two before dismissing her strange appearance from their minds. Knowing Ponyville, they had seen 10 things much more strange then the disheveled unicorn in that week alone.

“Rarity would blow a gasket if she saw me now.” Twilight thought with a wry smile.

She magicked the door open with a quick flare of her horn, careful to not make too much noise and wake her assistant. She unwound her scarf from her neck and hung it limply on the rack as she slowly walked over to the sitting area and gently levitated the sleeping dragon from her back into one of chairs that dotted the library.

She smiled as his claw twitched and he softly murmured something in his sleep. Twilight couldn’t resist reaching out and stroking his head, flattening the green spines that ran along the top. Spike reacted by curling his tail around himself and hugging it with both arms.

Twilight chuckled, and with one last fond look, made her way upstairs and to the bathroom, where she assessed the damage done to her mane and coat. The effect that combined scraggly mane and tired face had on her was reminiscent of that one time where she met her future self who warned her about some incoming disaster about to befall Ponyvile. She had run herself ragged in the few days that followed.

Just for the heck of it, Twilight made a few funny faces in the mirror, inflating her cheeks and sticking her tongue, making her look even more ridiculous. She giggled at her reflection, who seemed just as amused as she was.

Done with making a fool out of herself, Twilight left the bathroom and started to make her way to her won room when she stopped. The door to Silver Quill’s room was completely open, and from it she could hear the sound of soft snoring. Figuring that she would be considerate to her napping friend, she moved in to close the door, walking on the tips of her hooves so as not to wake him.

Twilight’s horn enveloped the handle of the door, but before she could close it, she took a passing glance at Silver Quill’s sleeping form. Her earlier intentions of ensuring the stallions privacy were then thrown out the window.

Silver was laying on his side facing the doorway where she now stood. One forehoof was curled into his chest while the other was sticking out straight, almost touching the edge of the bed. A few strands of his neat black mane fell over his face, gently swaying from the force of the breathing from his slightly parted lips. The light pouring in from the window on the opposite wall bathed his sleeping form in its warm radiance, illuminating him in an effect that was almost angelic in nature.

Twilight was captivated by the look on his face. The normal, blank stoicism that was ever present when he was awake was replaced with the gentle peace that could only be achieved in sleep. It took her about a minute of staring at his prone form for her to remember how she got into this position in the first place.

Flushing in embarrassment at her own actions, she quickly and gently closed the door and walked to her room as she shook her head in bewilderment.

“I must be more tired than I thought.” She mused. Sighing heavily, she dropped her saddlebag on the floor and grabbed a towel from her closet, then making her way back to the bathroom with intention of getting herself cleaned up.

Silvers’ nap was thankfully dream free. The disturbing dream that he had been getting over the past few nights hadn’t disturbed him in the slightest, letting him get some much needed rest.

Or at least until he was woken up by the sounds of running water coming from a nearby room. His eyes fluttered open and he groaned in irritation at being interrupted. He rolled over on his other side and closed his eyes in an attempt to go back to sleep. One that proved futile when he couldn’t force himself to ignore the sound of water running from a faucet.

Silver Quill regretfully pulled himself out of bed. The clock on the wall of his room told him it was almost 8, so it was probably best that he did anyways. He didn’t want to sleep too long now and be unable to sleep later after all.

Blinking the weariness out of his eyes, Silver sat on the edge of the bed, listening to the sounds of the water coming from down the hall. Pretty soon, the sound stopped, and Silver Quill took that as a sign for him to get off his lazy flank and get some food, as his stomach was making gurgling noises.

He walked out the door of his room, making his way down the hall to go to the kitchen when he was stopped by the sight of Twilight walking out of the bathroom door whilst rubbing a towel over her mane and face with her magic. Steam drifted out of the open bathroom door as she closed it behind her with a light kick from her back hoof.

“Mmh, nothing wakes you up better then a piping hot shower.” She muttered, still unaware of Silver’s presence as she scrubbed herself dry. After a brief moment, she removed the towel from her eyes to see Silver standing in front of her with his mouth slightly open.

Twilight smiled. “Well hello there sleepy head, did you have a good sleep?” she asked politely. Silver only nodded dumbly, forcing himself to tear his gaze away from her eyes, lest he fall into their devious trap that he seemed so damned susceptible to. Unfortunately, this did little to help.

Silver was taken aback with the sight of the slightly damp Twilight, with her glistening, somewhat wild looking mane and her shimmering clean coat. His thoughts were interrupted however by a loud rumbling noise emanating from his abdomen. Twilight giggled as heat rushed up to his face, embarrassed at the sound of his traitorous stomach. That only embarrassed him further.

Twilight noticed his embarrassment through the furious blush that he was sporting, even though his expression hardly changed at all. “Don’t worry, we’ll get something to eat soon enough.” she said kindly.

Silver nodded stiffly once more, still looking at everything but her eyes. The rosy tint still adorned his face, but he paid it no mind as he walked past her and made his way downstairs before his body embarrassed himself anymore. Twilight merely chuckled and walked back to her room, continuing to dry herself as she did so.

Silver walked rigidly to the kitchen, where he stood awkwardly and without a purpose. His mind was a cacophony of emotions that he could barely control and keep hidden. Happiness, desire, fear, and sadness each vied for his attention as they clamoured about in his mind with the roar of a tsunami crashing on land. He gritted his teeth and narrowed his eyes, glaring daggers into the wall in front of him.

“Not today mother…I promise you that…” he muttered darkly under his breath. Silver Quill fought for dominance over his own mind, forcing those intruding emotions into the darkest recesses of his mind with sheer willpower. After a tremendous amount of self discipline and focus, the roar eventually quieted down to a slightly distracting hum.

Silver sighed and massaged his brow with a hoof. Unfortunately, so preoccupied with his battle with his own psyche, he failed to notice the sound of descending hoofsteps behind him.

“Silver? Are you all right?” called a concerned voice from behind him.

“Oh bollocks.” Silver turned around to see Twilight walking towards him looking concerned. He put on his best poker face, which was pretty much his normal face, and looked her straight in the eye.

“Yes, I’m fine Twilight.” He answered, flinching inwardly at his profoundly lame response. Twilight seemed to think it was lacking as well, as she didn’t look convinced.

“Are you sure? You were looking a little pained for a moment there. Are you sick?” Twilight stood in front of him and started to closely examine him for what he assumed was any more signs of his aforementioned pains, Silver quickly responded before her scrutiny got a little bit too personal.

“I assure you Twilight, I feel as good as I’ve ever-” He was cut off as Twilight gently placed a hoof on his forehead, surprising him enough to stem his flow of words. She hummed contemplatively.

“Feeling the forehead is a really ineffective method to detect sickness, but from what I can tell, you don’t…have a…fever.”

Her sentence gradually veered off track as she pressed her hoof against his head. Silver eyed her uncertainly, as any earlier attempts to determine the source of what ailed him was seemingly thrown to the wind.

Twilight slowly drifted her hoof along his brow as she brushed away a few loose strands of hair that stuck out. She was looking him dead in the eye with a glazed over look on her face, lips slightly parted and eyes focused on his. This went on for few more awkward seconds, and Silver found himself looking around nervously, hoping that Spike wasn’t anywhere spying on them.

“Er, Twilight? Something wrong?”

Twilight’s half lidded eyes snapped open, and her mouth formed a perfect O shape as she realized what she was doing. She quickly withdrew her hoof as her face turned tomato red.

“S-sorry!” she stammered in a panicked voice. “I don’t know what came over me!”

Twilight threw her hoof against her face, either in self derision or in an effort to hide herself; Silver didn’t know. He did however feel bad for her.

“Well, give it to me straight doc, am I going to live?” he asked with a small smile that he hoped convey the fact that there were no hard feelings for her blunder. Twilight shook her head and smiled as she lowered her hoof which was on her own face this time.

“I think you’ll be just fine, Silver” she said as the embarrassed red started to recede. Silver nodded his head, satisfied.

“Good, I would hate to leave my kids fatherless.” He said casually, enjoying the reaction of Twilight’s mouth dropping.

“I…You…Kids…?” she babbled incoherently, causing him to laugh.

“Just a joke Twilight, just a joke.” He replied with a smirk. Twilight gave him a scowl that didn’t have as much malice in it as she probably hoped for.

“That’s not funny…” she muttered under her breath. Silver chuckled heartily.

“I would beg to differ.” He said with a wink. “Now come on, you said something early about us whipping up something for dinner? I don’t know about you, but I’m famished.”

Twilight snorted derisively. “Yeah, I noticed when your stomach played the song of its people. C’mon, let’s see what we can scrape together.” Twilight said as she walked past him and opened the refrigerator, peering inside.

“Yes ma’am.” He replied as he opened the cupboards.

Turns out that neither Silver nor Twilight were really in the mood to cook anything that required too much effort, so they settled on the usual default that most ponies fell back on when hungry and lazy, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

They sat at the table with their sandwiches and talked about their days between bites. Silver told how he spent time with her, no, their friends, and Twilight shared her findings in the Everfree Forest.

“So is ponykind any closer to understanding the riddle wrapped in an enigma that is the Everfree?” Silver asked her. She only shook her head tiredly.

“Ugh, no. All of my findings were pretty much things that are already known. I was hoping that I would discover something new, but no such luck.”

Silver smirked as Twilight dejectedly poked the last few bits of her sandwich, lost in her thoughts. “It must be eating you alive, being so tantalizingly close to such a mystery and not being able to make any headway into solving it.”

Twilight grinned slightly, her head still bowed. “You have no idea.” She sighed and propped her head on a hoof against the table. “I know how the Everfree Forest came about, a result of Princess Celestia’s and Luna’s battle that somehow altered the entire ecosystem, I just want to know how it works!”

Twilight looked sheepishly up at Silver Quill with a pleading look in her eyes and her bottom lip stuck out in a pout. “Is that too much to ask?”

Silver cocked an eyebrow. “Apparently it is.” He answered.

Twilight’s pout turned into a grumpy frown. She waved a hoof dismissively as she crossed her arms and slumped into her chair. “Bah, what do you know.” she grumbled.

Silver smiled slightly. “Nothing, which is exactly why you shouldn’t give up on it.” Twilight looked up at him curiously, and Silver winked at her. “If Shercolt Holmes didn’t give up every time somepony said a case was unsolvable, then neither should you.”

Twilight giggled and shot him a grateful smile. She ate the last bite of her sandwich just as Silver was finishing his and walked with him to the kitchen sink where they cleaned up.

They were quiet for a little while, not saying or looking at each other until Twilight broke the silence with a clearing of her throat.

“Hey uh… I never got any time to read today, so I’m going to go fill my 1 hour a day quota.” Her eyes fell to the floor as she spoke. “Would… you like to join me?”

Silver looked at her oddly as she brushed her hoof against the ground shyly. He decided that it would be prudent if he didn’t make any remark.

“Sure.” was all he said.

Twilight nodded, still not meeting his eye, and led the way to the sitting room. Silver noticed that Spike was curled up on one of the chairs, snoozing softly.

They went their separate ways as Twilight headed to History section, probably to look up information on the War of the Alicorns while Silver went to the Fantasy section, as per usual.

But when he was browsing the selection, he felt a strange sensation in the back of his mind, one he couldn’t quite identify. He stood there for a moment, contemplating, until the revelation hit him like a sack of bricks.

He didn’t feel like reading fantasy. For his entire life, Fantasy and the occasional Sci Fi had been Silver’s life blood, his bread and butter. Him not wanting to read either of them was almost as though he just decided to live the rest of his life without breathing.

He stood there in silence, trying to decipher the new signals that his brain was sending him. The desire for monstrous creatures and epic battles fought by spell and sword was replaced with something…simpler. Something more meaningful and emotional.

He scanned the room, running his eyes over every section until they stopped at one that utterly shocked him. He squinted at it uncertainly as a single thought popped into his mind.

"I want to read romance?"

He walked over to the Romance section and browsed the titles that were available. A lot of them seemed very lovey-dovey, with excruciating titles like “The Heart’s Desire” or “Love’s Curse” none of which appealed to him in the slightest with their covers showing an attractive pony gazing wistfully out into the sunset or some other drivel.

A few did catch his eye however. They seemed to be more than just a smattering of emotions somepony dumped on a bunch of pages and called the messy result literature. They seemed to have more thought and more soul in them, and Silver Quill hesitatingly withdrew one from the shelf.

The cover showed a rainy city street with a stallion in the foreground watching an umbrella holding mare walk away from him in the background. The title of this particular book was “Nothing Ventured.”

“Nothing gained.” Silver thought as he sat down in a chair and started reading.

Twilight looked up at him and did a double take when she saw the book he was holding. She grinned at Silver, who only shrugged his shoulders in response.

About an hour into the story, Silver had gotten a good feel for it. It was about middle class journalist who interviews an up and coming musician in Canterlot proper. He finds himself intrigued by her beauty and makes a point to show up at all venues that she plays in, eventually working up the courage to ask her out on a date. She agrees after some hesitation, and it all goes on from there.

He was reading a particularly interesting section where the middle class stallion and upper class mare were walking through a park on a moonlit night where the mare is explaining to him why their relationship would not be able to be anything romantic when Twilight spoke up.

“Hey Silver?”

“Hmm?” he replied without looking up from his book.

“I’ve been wondering for a while now, and I hate to risk sounding inappropriate by asking this, but…”

Silver said nothing, which Twilight took as her cue to continue.

“Why are you always so stoic looking?”

Silver’s eyes stopped moving, glued to a single spot on the page, but not seeing anything. Twilight didn’t notice, and continued talking.

“I mean, it’s not a bad thing. You just never seem to let any emotion show on your face. Do you do that on purpose or…”

Twilight stopped her sentence abruptly when she noticed his expression. There was a small bump in his jaw where it was clenched as he burned a hole through his book with his gaze. There were hard lines around his eyes as he squinted, as though trying to suppress something painful

Twilight felt a twinge of guilt for bringing it up. Her curiosity about the stallion had driven her to ask a question that she normally wouldn’t have asked, just in case something like this happened. She had to resist the mighty urge to facehoof for making a fool out herself for the second time in the same amount of hours.

“You know what, nevermind. It’s not important.” She said, quickly dismissing her question with the hopes of sparing either of them any discomfort.

His face softened slightly as he gave a curt nod, and with that, the topic was dismissed and they continued reading, though neither of them with as much ease as before.

Twilight retired to bed shortly after, claiming that her hectic day had caught up with her. Silver Quill bade her good night as she gently picked up the still sleeping dragon and listened as her hoofsteps faded from the room and up the stairs.

He had gotten quite far into his book, far enough to realize that it would be a good idea to broaden his literary horizons to encompass other genres, romance probably being the first on the list of prospective genres. But now that Twilight had left, for some reason, he just couldn’t force himself to drag his eyes from one side of the page to the other, and he closed the book with a sigh.

He looked at the candle sitting on the table beside him. He always preferred reading by candlelight; only because that was the way he read when he was first learning to read. Some unicorns prefer to light their horns, or conjure up a small orb spherical lantern of the color of their choosing, but they never had the same charm as wax and wick in Silver’s eyes.

He gazed at the small flickering flame, and held out his hoof where he gently inserted in the middle of it where it danced around his forearm. All he felt from the special heatless candle that he picked up on his way back from his earlier outing was a gentle cool breeze. Silver, with Twilight’s consent, had opted to get magically altered candles that couldn’t start a fire even in the hooves of the most careless, pyromaniacal filly or colt.

He withdrew his hoof and leaned over to gently blow out the candle flame. With the only source of light to ward of the shadows of the library extinguished, the room was blanketed with a tenebrous void.

Leaving the book on the table so he could finish it some other time, Silver went to his room to turn in for the night. He paused briefly as he passed a window that gave a perfect view of the waxing moon behind its misty veil of cloud and stars. He watched it for a moment before continuing on.

He was…troubled. Troubled enough for it to show slightly on his face to any who was observant enough or knew him well enough to notice it. The dark interior of the library matched his mood perfectly as he slowly put one hoof in front of the other, eventually reaching his room.

He wasted no time with getting in bed, roughly throwing the covers over him as he slammed his head into his pillow. The sound of his breathing filled his ears, and he slowly closed his eyes.

“Gods above, please let this be a restful night…” he whispered to nopony. Right now, he sure could use one.

A/N Things are kinda slow in the story right now, but they soon will be picking up speed and getting more interesting, so stay tuned for the not so exciting adventures of Silver Quill!