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Nitpicking your math errors is how I show I care.


The Cutie Mark Crusaders are a team. Even now that they're adults, their friendship has never wavered.

So when something arises to threaten that friendship, Sweetie Belle will do everything in her power to protect it. No matter what.

Written as a Christmas gift for Wish, who has been trying to force me to write Sweetie Belle for years.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 19 )

That was a good story.

Ouch this story hits something.

I'm always a sucker for unreliable narrators, and this immature Sweetie Belle definitely qualifies. :D

This is a really interesting take on the CMC ten years later, so to speak. I've had several friends in several friend groups who have kind of... stagnated, the way Sweetie has here. I've always kinda been the Scootaloo in those friend group break-ups, so it's kinda fascinating to see things from Sweetie's perspective.

If I'm being entirely honest, I dislike this Sweetie Belle as a character--she's immature and selfish in the extreme. But that doesn't feel out-of-character for her, here, and it sorta feels like I'm supposed to dislike her, you know? That's usually the sign of pretty good character writing, so kudos for that. :)

Good story. People and priorities change, and it's hard sometimes to let go of the past to move into the future.

Then again, the Mane Six established that it's possible to teach at the School of Friendship on top of most other full-time careers.

Oh man….. I’m having a hard time deciding if I’d consider this canon. This hurts….deeply.

But, this doesn’t mean the full end for the crusaders. Something will always bring them back together

There are so many things I love about this story, but I think my favorite part is how perfectly you captured the quiet sadness of everyday life--the simple pain of being alive and having time and the world pass you by.

Oh daaamn, this story is good.


But, this doesn’t mean the full end for the crusaders. Something will always bring them back together

At the bare minimum, one would expect they'd keep in touch like the Mane Six in "The Last Problem".

The joy of MLP is that the "Magic of Friendship" is a real & genuine force. What you've written here is a very realistic portrayal of the breakup for a friend group. However, that's not MLP. I grant you, categorically, that you've done a well-written & realistic take on this issue. However, MLP is, at it's core, a bit of quasi-utopian escapism.


At the bare minimum, one would expect they'd keep in touch like the Mane Six in "The Last Problem".

Sums it up quite well. Don't get me wrong, this is well written, but I don't think I'll be coming back to it. You've encapsulated the feeling too well, & it strikes too hard & too deep.

A reasonable assumption. And perhaps it’s just for a season. Each season of life is different, and with their destinies intertwined, there’s no doubt they’d return stronger than ever.

They are, after all, Cutie Mark Crusaders throughout Equestria and beyond

Mica #12 · Jan 11th, 2022 · · 1 ·

What is true friendship? To preserve things as exactly how they used to be? To try to mimic a nostalgic bygone time? It's not.

I think that is where Sweetie Belle missed the mark.

This story really hits close to home for me. And I bet a lot of people as well, who've had to deal with changing friendships.

I feel like this story focuses on a friendship problem that was briefly touched upon in "The Last Problem", but could have been explored more thoroughly in the show. Ironically, I feel like Sweetie Belle taught Rarity a similar lesson about changing friendships in "Forever Filly".

Growing up is hard to do

Hello!! You know the drill: check out your review here :)

Howdy, hi!

Gosh, you hit me right in the feels with this one. Glad I took the recommendation from Mush and read this one. I love me sad fics with no obvious stab to the heart, just a low pull as you realize everything is falling apart and that ends on that bittersweet note. I was genuinely worried going through that Sweetie wouldn't have let go, but she did and found a glimmer of something new to do. The just slow build-up to the climax was solid and the payoff was worth every word to read.

It also helps that most people won't write this kind of slow degradation of friendship. It happens all the time, but you don't see stories tackle it. Thsi one handled it perfectly.

Anyways, a fantastic read, thank you for this one!

augh, this was so great! just a lovely exploration of the CMCs' futures, and how their special bond as fillies, while always meaningful, was never going to mean that they would be that close in that way for the rest of their lives. in fact, reading this, and despite Sweetie's understandable dread about it, that pedestal had to break, in order for the three mares to fully grow into themselves, with natural priorities other than staying in the same town with the same job.

and i just loved how there was no single strike of lightning or hyperreal moment of drama in this tale. just the slow dissolution, drifting apart, plate tectonics. just great understated character work all around, thank you for writing!

As sombre as this was for Sweetie Belle and the tone of the fic in general, I really liked the way it ended. it felt very real from start to finish and it gives you a spark of what Sweetie can do for herself at the end. Bravo

That hit hard.

Friendship is not unilateral, no affective relationship is, really. It requires effort from both parties to work properly.

I know very well how Sweetie feels. That feeling of giving everything you have to maintain a bond, and still losing it. That horrible feeling that you aren't reciprocated, that others are unconsciously and forcibly removing you from their lives, regardless of whether you want to keep them in yours. It is impotence in its purest and most sensitive state.

They don't suffer. They made their decision and they're happy with it. It is you who suffers.

The worst comes when you reflect on this. You realize that neither you nor they did anything wrong, and despite that it doesn't stop hurting.

And the reason for that is simple: it's a cycle. Everything that begins must end.

Something so simple to reason, but so difficult to accept. That's what they don't tell you about friendship. AND IT HURTS SO MUCH

There was a half-mumbled chorus from most of the students who spent all their time at each other’s houses anyway, and at least one flash of panic from a student who had forgotten, despite it having happened every week for the entire school year. Sweetie pretended not to see it.

aww, such is life in a small town like Ponyville!

Sweetie nodded, and went back to her essays. So long as they had each other, they could conquer anything, and that was never going to change.

definitely setting up for some dramatic irony

If you’d told her younger self that she’d still be worried about being late for school nearly two decades later, she probably wouldn’t have believed you.

oof, much too relatable

Also, she was still Rarity’s sister, and forcing her students into a mandatory gossip hour was fun. How else would she know what was going on in the other classes when she wasn’t around?

aww, fun to imagine Sweetie getting more Rarity-like when she is older

“Sugar Belle? But she’s—” Sweetie started, then caught herself.

oof, lots being held by that em dash

Sweetie Belle didn’t want to ask it, but as the silence grew deeper, she felt like she had to. “...and the foal? Is it alright?”

Apple Bloom’s expression grew even graver. “I don’ know.”

Sweetie hugged her again. “Whatever you need, you know we’ll be there, right? Anything at all. We’ll get through this.”

and yeah, none of their foalhood adventures ever felt quite like this! 

Clear Path was a good substitute, and she’d been very polite in the conversations they’d had, but she wasn’t Apple Bloom, and seeing her come out of that door every day hurt more every time it happened.

yeah, because every time it is making Apple Bloom’s absence feel just a little bit more the new normal…

Sweetie turned and headed for the teacher’s lounge. Scootaloo was there when she arrived, as usual. She always let her class out a little before the bell, and her room was closer to the lounge on top of it. But Sweetie wondered if sometimes Scootaloo went out of her way to look like she’d already been lounging for hours by the time anypony else walked in.

that feels more Rainbow Dash than Scootaloo, hoowee the CMCs really are taking after their older sisters!

Scootaloo glared back. “We are. And when Apple Bloom needs me, I’ll be there. Not when you think she does.” She hopped over the couch and grabbed her saddlebags, slinging them roughly over her back. “If you’re so sure she needs you, why don’t you ask her about it when you’re there. Tell me what she says.”

Before Sweetie could pick her jaw back up off the floor, Scootaloo was out the door.

and oof, that mismatch in obligations and expectations is so real. and the bonds of family taking priority over the bonds of friendship, even deep ones such as this, as one grows up is a tale told millions of times

Sweetie paused, opening her mouth but finding no words. For a moment, the question Scootaloo had wanted her to ask lingered on her tongue. If you don’t need her here, does that mean you don’t need me?

But she couldn’t ask it. She didn’t want to know the answer.

and oof, that pain in finding out the difference between Sweetie Belle’s expectations of how the ponies closest to her viewed their relationship, and the actual reality. one of the hardest things to face! 

When Sweetie Belle showed up at the house again the next day, Applejack told her only that the birth had been a success, her niece seemed healthy, and Sugar Belle needed rest. And then she wouldn’t let Sweetie past the door.

and oof. augh, really feeling that secondhand pain for Sweetie Belle here, not picking up on what was unsaid

“Oh, Sweetie,” Rarity murmured, her voice full of emotion. She stood and pulled Sweetie into a hug. “So long as you leave the door open for her, you haven’t lost her. But friendships require effort from both ends, and you can’t force her to focus on you. But this doesn’t have to be the end of the world. You can grow past this.”

aww, love Rarity being the older sister here and telling Sweetie what she needs to hear, as painful as it is to hear

“Of course you can. You did it with… shoot, what was her name? That other filly you used to hang out with before you formed the Crusaders.”

Sweetie frowned. “Twist?”

“Yes, Twist. That’s the one. When was the last time you saw her?”

and oof! can’t help but think about how the show also forgot about her, just like Sweetie Belle

Sweetie wasn’t listening anymore. Apple Bloom had quit? Permanently? Without telling her? That couldn’t be right.

oof, yeah. Sweetie having to find out this way really does twist that knife

She and Scootaloo hadn’t been on the same page much recently, but this she was sure about.

yeah, honestly, they should be on the same page about this!

She gestured with one hoof to her cutie mark. “I’ll still be a Crusader at heart, but I think there’s a reason we’ve all got our own personal touch. This is what I was meant to be doing, I can feel it.”

honestly still kind of annoyed that her mark never had anything to do with potions and was just an apple but i guess this is what that naturally leads to!

Sweetie nodded. She’d seen it coming. Scootaloo wasn’t very good at hiding these things, and the gears had been turning ever since their conversation with Apple Bloom. She’d expected to be sad, but the rock that was the Crusaders was gone. All she felt was numb.

and oof, yeah, that is the natural progression of Scootaloo’s side arc here. at least Sweetie Belle gets to hear it all at once

Every piece of her, linked to her two best friends. No photos without them present. No memorabilia they didn’t help her get.

And now they were gone.

and oof. 

Everypony in her life seemed to think she would just keep going. Dependable, predictable Sweetie Belle. Where the Crusaders led, she followed. She didn’t have big ideas like Apple Bloom, or take risks like Scootaloo. She just did what was sensible, expected, reasonable.

She stopped walking, and twisted to look down at her cutie mark. For perhaps the first time, she focused on the foreground, instead of the shield. A star and a music note. Those didn’t seem like a way to represent doing the same thing when everything in her entire world had changed.

really love how these pieces fit together to explain why Sweetie Belle is the one to be so attached to the CMCs as an idea! and it is one with a powerful hold to break out of, given how much of their lives and identities centered around their quest for cutie marks together

A microphone rolled into her hoof. Left over from the last school talent show, which had gone a fair bit better than all the ones they’d entered as teens.

Maybe she could find a new foundation after all.

and augh, it is nice to end on a hopeful note with an eye toward the future! finally breaking out of the unfortunate mold set by their unfortunately matching cutie marks. okay maybe i wouldn’t be so grumbly if the matching were done in a more aesthetically pleasing way but still! really great to see the CMCs getting around to exploring who they are as individuals as adults, and a really great exploration of the pain and fear that comes with such big changes in life and identity. it also just feels like a tribute to the millions of stories throughout history and time of friend groups that did not come apart due to any awful circumstance, but just time and change, and the poignance in considering this.

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