• Published 17th Nov 2020
  • 928 Views, 44 Comments

Memories Returned - Jake The Army Guy



Not everypony has the luxury of Flying East

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Together

Spike gnawed on his lip. There was a nervous excitement in the air that made his scales itch. Muted conversations danced around the starlit garden, the laughter of ponies that were once strangers, brought together by tragedy. Ever since the Incident, they had all sort of unofficially agreed to meet with at least one member of another family every month or so, just to check in. Even with that bond, this was the first time all of them had been in the same place in a little over a year. Combine that with what was about to happen, and some frayed nerves were forgivable.

A little wave from across the way caught his eye. Hondo Flanks stood next to his family, Cookie Crumbles speaking with Snap Shutter and Mane Allgood while Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo nervously giggled. His eyes flicked down to something in Spike’s claws with a wry smirk. Looking down, Spike let out a huff and released the tight grip he had on his tail. He hadn’t done that in months. He rolled his eyes as Hondo snickered.

The voices of all their families merged in the air. Igneous Pie and Cloudy Quartz were sharing an awkward yet friendly conversation with Granny Smith, Posey Shy comforted a very nervous Gentle Breeze, and Pinkie’s sisters ran the gamut from terrified to furious to nothing, as per the usual. However, just audible above the din, Princess Luna spoke to a voice he knew all too well, despite not having heard it in a little over two years. A soft pillar of moonlight shone in the center of them from which emanated that scratchy, tomboyish voice, with only a slight tinny echo to it. Not bad, he mused, for being on the far side of the plane

Apparently Spike’s nerves were noticeable. A blue hoof tapped his shoulder, and Spike turned to see Night Light wearing a quietly excited smile. “You okay, kiddo?”

“Uh, yeah,” Spike said, giving a shaky nod to the stallion he was just a hair taller than. “I just—”

“If we may have everypony’s attention,” came the soft yet commanding voice of Princess Luna, and all the conversations immediately ceased. “We believe that enough preamble has been given, and that the main event should commence. Rainbow Dash? Art thou ready?”

“Yeah, I think we should, Princess Moon Moon,” Rainbow Dash said. “I think Pinkie Pie will explode if we don’t get started soon.” A quiet chuckle rumbled throughout the room. Even Maud cracked a tiny smile.

“Very well,” Luna said, turning to Spike and giving him a small nod. “Let us begin with somepony who specifically requested to speak to thee first.”

Spike had known this moment was coming. It was nearly a month ago when Princess Luna showed up at the library, offering a chance he never thought he would have again. He had a month to consider his words, to decide what to say with the precious time he would have, for he wouldn't get another chance. Rainbow Dash was just about to cross over to the Dark Side of the world, and she would most likely never return. Yet still, as the moment came, when Luna stepped away from the beam of moonlight and all eyes fell upon him... he froze. Every muscle in his body locked up, his fight or flight response screaming in his ear. He took a half-step forward, but made it no further.

“Hey,” Night Light said. “You can do this.”

Twilight Velvet gently nuzzled into his side. “We’re right behind you, sweetie.”

He gave them both a quick appreciative glance. Running his eyes across the garden, all the other ponies gathered smiled at him. Except for Limestone and Maud, of course. Steeling his courage, Spike took a deep breath and stood before the moonbeam. “Uh... h-hey, Rainbow Dash! It’s me! Spike... uh, obviously,” he said with a wince.

“Hey hey! Spike the Dragon Guy!” Rainbow’s voice came from the moonlight. “Heh, Twilight almost just had a harmony ghost heart attack over how deep your voice has gotten!”

“Yeah I’ve, uh... done a bit of growing,” Spike said, rubbing the back of his neck for some reason. “I’m almost eye level with Big Macintosh now. Plus there’s, you know... the wings,” he said, then rolled his eyes as he realized he was pointing at them.

“You better be practicing with those. I expect you to become the first dragon Wonderbolt! Anyway, you probably have a lot you want to say to—”

“A-Actually, Dash,” Spike interjected. “Before we get to... t-that, there’s something I feel like I need to say... to you.”

“Oh. Well, okay. What’s up?”

Spike took a deep, cleansing breath. “I... I want to apologize.”

“Uh, for what?”

“Okay,” Spike said. “So, shortly after you left Ponyville, I... I, uh...” He flicked his claws along his thighs, a nervous habit he was trying to replace the tail wringing with. “You see, the thing is... nrgh, look! I was hurt, I was scared, I was alone... I was angry.” Despite his best efforts, he found himself shying away from the moonlight. “I was very angry... a-at you.”

Now that the ice was broken, Spike found the words all but spilling out of his mouth. “I-I was convinced that it was all your fault. That you were the reason Twilight was dead. And that you left because you d-didn’t care. And no matter how many times everypony told me that you were under the same spell as the girls at the time, I refused to hear it. I... I-I hated you, Dash.

“But, eventually my friends,” he took just a moment to glance back at Night Light and Velvet. He had his arm around her, and they both showed him warm smiles, which he answered with a tiny smile of his own. “A-And my family, helped me see that I only felt that way because Discord was dead, and I... needed somepony to blame. Heh, I think Princess Luna used the word ‘projecting’ at some point. The truth is... you did everything you could given what was happening. It was just... a horrible situation all around. Discord was the one to blame, not you. And now that we know you’re on this destined quest older than time itself, maybe it...”

Spike let out a shuddering breath. “Still, you’re my friend, Rainbow Dash. You have been since the day me and Twilight came to Ponyville... and I spent a non-insignificant amount of time hating you for something that ultimately was out of your hooves. I’m sorry, and I hope you can forgive me.”

The silence that followed was very likely the most tense and awkward Spike had ever experienced. For what seemed like an eternity, the only sound in the garden was a cricket in a nearby bush, blissfully unaware of its excellent timing. Right about at the point where he started to wish the spell had failed, a deep sigh echoed from across the world. “It’s okay, Spike. I honestly don’t blame you. Truth be told... I-I kinda hated myself for a long while there. In some ways I think I still might.” Dash took a deep breath, and Spike could all but hear the lopsided smirk he remembered so well. “Don’t sweat it, kid. Rain off a pegasi’s back.”

A seemingly literal weight lifted from his shoulders. He stood to his full height just as Night and Velvet walked up to him and hugged him from each side, which he reciprocated. “Thanks, Dash. You... y-you have no idea how much better that makes me feel.” Looking around, a sea of friendly faces, some with moist eyes, warmly smiled back to him. Spike heard Dash take a breath, and stiffened. “Uh, just... just one more thing, Rainbow?”

“Yo.”

Spike’s eyes clenched shut. Night and Velvet held him tighter as he spoke. “Um, I-I was also always afraid that... t-that if Twilight knew how I felt, she’d... be disappointed in me?” he asked more than said.

For some odd reason, the silence that ensued, while longer than the last, was nowhere near as tense. Eventually, Rainbow spoke. “Okay, through a whole butt load of tears, Twilight just said that you could never truly disappoint her, Spike.” A few moments later, she chuckled. “Uh, ‘except for the time when you were four years old and you ate Princess Celestia’s favorite diamond necklace’.”

Spike let out a snort of laughter. “Hey, she was the one who wanted to play dress-up and then basically put a giant piece of candy around my neck!” As a wave of laughter circled the garden, it finally struck him. The true weight and meaning of this night truly sank in. “Rainbow, she... she really is there, isn’t she?”

“Mm-hmm. And she’s got a lot she wants to say to you. What do you want to say to her?”

For several long moments, Spike gnawed at his lip. The past two years had been the lowest point of his life, and yet it had improved him in so many ways. He found a new family in the one he kind of always had, he made friends with ponies who knew his pain and helped him ease it as he did for them, he had decided what to dedicate his life to, and grown in every sense of the word. And now, he finally had the opportunity to speak with the one pony it was all for. The pony who mattered more to him than any. How could he possibly begin? Finally, a soft smile spread across his face as he moved to stand directly into the moonlight, gazing up at the stars.

“Twilight? I’ve missed you.”

Comments ( 41 )

Set in the Austraeoh universe. Written as a love letter to the Colon Most Imploded and the sweeping journey he has carried us on, and posted with his permission.

Special thanks to Klamnei and several Noble Jurors for pre-reading assistance.

Oh shit. I’m actually here at the start for this one!

Mmm, this was a nice little piece. Mourning is a rough process, twice as rough when a loved one meets an unexpected end, four times more when it's someone young doing the mourning. But as rough as it is, it's necessary to start healing.

Many thanks for the warm fuzzies Army Guy. Now go bug ):( to do more pushups.

Good, Jake. Very good. And it's good to see you writing more, too.

Y'know, I keep putting it off, but someday I've really gotta get around to reading Austraeoh and its sequels. I mean, I've known the bare basics of the storyline for some time, but this is technically the first story in its universe that I've actually read.

And I must say, this is quite the note for me to start off on. An emotional gut-punch in the best possible way. Kudos, Jake!

Very awesome story. Looking forward for more!

stares at parts

Uh...spoilers oops? (Nah, that's on me fam.) (But yeah, I also had the feeling that Rainbow wouldn't be able to talk to Luna once she crossed over to the Dark Side of the Plane.)

But it's good to know Spike does understand eventually. Poor kiddo.

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I'm pretty sure it was established even before Ynan that they would lose contact should she actually make it to the Dark Side, because there's no moon there.

10537391

Probably! I took waaaaay too long of a break in the middle of reading Odrsjot, so a lot of stuff kinda leaked out my brain.

10537417

I hear that. What actually inspired this was I've been re-reading the whole series, so I can get caught back up for Oflrodi now that it's back in action. As I read the chapter in Eljunbyro where the girls dies, it just sort of... hit me.

10537463

I definitely get you.

Also congrats on being a kick flank moose!

I always speculated on how things were going for those who stayed. This was good.

10537417

I know what you mean by taking a too-long break, I dropped off at the end of Innavedr, as at the time, I was having a hard time focusing on such a tremendously long series, and countless other stories that I was checking out. And, if I am to be completely honest, I also was kind of put off by all the spelling errors and stuff I was noticing. My mind is weird that way.

I'm currently waiting for a couple of excellent fics to be finished on my tracking list. But, perhaps it's time for me to get back up into the saddle, as it were, so I can see what RD's been up to starting with Odrsjot. (I might want a brief recap, but I don't exactly want to start all over again from Austraeoh).

10536215
I am always amazed at how much power can be put into short stories. It doesn't matter how many I read or how frequently I read them. Yours is no exception. I'm glad Spike got this closure and in a matter of speaking, a happy ending of sorts.

10537701

Thank you for the kind words, good sir! I am an absolute slave to a happy ending, but what people sometimes forget is that "happy ending" doesn't always mean "everything is fixed and perfect."

10537115
yoooooo you're in for a treat!!!

Sometimes mending starts on it's own, other times, we need a little push to have that vent we truly need to start coming to terms with things.

10537494
I saw that picture in your post and I totally missed what it meant, and now I'm kicking myself. :facehoof:

Awesome piece, Jake. Didn't really reveal anything that wouldn't have been obvious (from where I'm at, at least), so thanks for the heads-up earlier. I've got 64 chapters left in Ynan and then I'm gonna keep going. It's been one hell of a binge for the first time I've read this series, and I cannot WAIT to catch up to Oflrodi. Then I can comment in real time with the rest of my fellow jurors! See you there!

10537723
Verily good sir, you make a good point. Methinks that such a wise observation would make Luna and Celestia Proud.

I’ve never read the eastward series, mainly cos it just seems so damn intimidating and it takes me ages to read anything anyway.
But this was really sweet, and even had someone who hasn’t read the main one you easily got across the main bit of the story, at least the reason of why Rainbow is flying east. In other words, this was great

10538281

Thank you very much! It sparks great joy to know that even someone who isn't an East Hoers fan can still enjoy it. :pinkiehappy:

10538287
I would love to read it, and maybe I should have started back when it was smaller, but it’s 3,00,00+ words. I ain’t got time for that lol.
Anyway great work with this, it was a treat to read either way.

Aww, that was really sweet. I hadn't ever thought about how Spike would feel after The Incident.

One of my dogs literally dropped dead in my arms.:fluttercry:

I just hope the other one, from a pup as a child through school and university, also did. :pinkiesick:

It made me wonder, to get back, did Verlax mess up The Great Blight so much, that even unpowered ballistics accross the edge of the chaos field itself, wouldve ended up plummeting into the unfloatable ocean beneath?:pinkiesad2:

10537857
I know I'd probably love it, but it's such a massive undertaking that I keep putting it off.

Damn my dauntability, amirite?

You conveyed the angry kind of grieving and dealing with loss really well in this. It was rather cathartic to read that. As I said before, I think it fully works without knowing the East Hors storyline, but it's great to hear someone else feel that way too. Thanks for writing this, seriously.

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10538544
By all means, there are so many other amazing stories and things to go through instead, you don't need to make that investment. Still I feel the need to recommend treating it as a series where you don't have to read the entire thing. You can quit after the first book (which is also the shortest one) in my opinion to get the general flavor of eastscenery, eastheadbuttery and - as you can tell from this story - eastgrievery. You get a reasonably sized adventure that has it all and then you're free knowing that everypony and Spike and Rainbow Dash will be fine!
... I hope it's clear that this did not work out for me at all I went in completely blind thinking it's just one book shorter than some other big poni pages it should have been fine oh god it's been 8 years I spent 11 months on this read-through what a lovely ride it is easthors onwards or bust.

10538544

Read a little bit every night. Maybe like 1-2 chapters. Make it part of your schedule, a tradition of daily Austraeoh reading before bed. Just take it at your own pace and you'll get there eventually. That's what I did.

10538544
The chapters are short. If you’re like me, the hardest part of getting some thing done is just starting it. Once you start it, you’ll find it goes pretty quickly, especially the first story which has a much faster pace. By then you’re hooked.

geb

Brilliant.

I love this and wonder why it took anypony so long to make it happen.

Congrats on the feature!

Read it yesterday, and you earned it.

--Spade

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10539154

Thank you very much, kind sirs!


10539149

Well, I think we were so caught up in Dashie's epic adventure that we... kinda forgot about the homestead.

10538761
Awww, dude if I did read the first story I wouldn’t be able to help myself in trying to read the rest. Lol
Maybe one day

Never read the series, but loved this story.

10539459

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :pinkiehappy:

Man the allergies here must be intense, my eyes kept tearing up.

10539810

Damn onion-cuttin' ninjas man, I swear...

10538544
I atarted reading and well its certainly awesome. After ten chapters. Its just not for me.

This is amazing work :heart:
You wrote something very awesome and all kinds of heartfelt. I gladly welcome this into Austraeoh canon. And I hope to continue reading your stuff in the future. You're very talented :twilightsmile:

11149091

D'aww, thank you so much! :twilightblush:

While I would never deign to claim this as canon, I feel it's the most likely thing that would happen with regards to Spike after Dash left. I'm quite sure the families of the rest of the girls had similar stories, but for reasons I have spoken of ad nauseum, I chose to focus on Spike. Fun fact: a while back I toyed with the idea of doing another pair of chapters involving Shining Armor finding out that Twilight died, and learning that he could speak to her via moon mail.

Anywho, I truly thank you for the fave and the watch! I hope I can continue to be worthy of your attention! :twilightsmile:

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