• Published 2nd Jan 2024
  • 2,247 Views, 219 Comments

Warm - CrimsonWolf360



Returning to the past, Twilight does what is necessary to save Cooper from his fate. The consequences for such choices, however, are not to be underestimated. Only time will tell if it was worth it...

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Chapter 1

~

Time is a fickle thing. So relentless... so unavoidable. I've spent the better part of thirty years learning every aspect of time and space there is to know. I could tell you exactly when your story began... and exactly when it ended, just by aligning the timeline dilations. I'm sure you already know that I care for you... I know you cared for me as much as you did your own flesh and blood.

If I had it my way, I would have brought all of them with me and saved your timeline from the extinction it faced. What could have been, if all those billions of lives weren't so suddenly and so cruelly ended? Would humanity have found their way to the stars? Found purpose and life among the trillions of different worlds out there in the vast expanse of space?

Or would they perhaps have found the key to traveling dimensions as I have? Would they learn of Equestria's existence and find a way to come to our world? I find my thoughts drifting to these possibilities almost endlessly.

Time has a funny way of sneaking up on you before you've realized its there... and suddenly you've lost decades of your life chasing an impossibility...

Whatever happened to cause your species to wipe itself out, I will never know. You certainly weren't forthcoming when it came to that particular information, but then again, I can't exactly blame you. I've watched apocalypse after apocalypse and the death of a star. You'd think that after all the death and loss I've witnessed, I'd have grown used to it. Numb, even...

Sadly, it seems that I am still very much that scared little mare you found hiding in a cardboard box, shivering in the cold and mere days away from starving to death.

It's in moments like these where I start to seriously consider what you did that day. For four years, all you knew was death and pain... loss and grief. I should have been nothing more than food to you, yet you spared me. You went out of your way to save my life, and you even risked your own life to protect me.

You gave your life to save me. I've never forgotten that. I know that you believed that your death would allow you to be with your family again. Why else would you die for me? Was it because you loved me like you loved your own daughter? As you can see, these questions keep me up at night.

I didn't want for anything growing up. I had two loving parents and an amazing older brother. I had my books and I had the most powerful pony in the land as my personal mentor. Even when I moved to Ponyville, I still had all of that and the love of my best friends.

...So why is it so hard to just let you go?

I've had this argument with myself a thousand times, I'm sure of it. Each time I start to rationalize just why I should let you go and try to move on... I come back to the realization that... that I love you too. I have a father whom I love dearly, and I can't imagine life without him... but that time I spent with you was... I depended on you. I needed you. I loved you like my own father.

Maybe that's why losing you has broken me on a fundamental level. I can barely eat anymore. The cold sends me into a fit of shivers and turns me into a nervous wreck... and don't even get me started on loud noises. My timeline has been irreparably damaged by my own mistake of entering your world. That's all it really was, at the end of the day... a mistake.

It cost me everything; My friends, my family, and even my role as the successor to the crown. I can't manage to hold a conversation with my own parents anymore because they just simply don't. get. it. My friends... they try, but they don't know what I've been through... what we've been through. Even my brother, who I love implicitly... just can't understand.

So why is it so hard for me to regret walking into that portal to your world? I suppose the answer should be obvious at this point, huh? It's you. You are the one creature that I've met that lost so much, gave everything... and still held compassion in his heart for this broken little pony. Maybe it was fate that we met? Maybe it was luck? I'm not sure anymore, but I do know one thing.

I can't accept the past. I've tried. Celestia knows I've tried, for thirty years to accept what happened and just move on. Sadly, it just doesn't look like its in the cards for me. That's why, no matter what happens now, I'm going to fix the past. I know, I know. If you were here you'd probably just tell me to leave it. Maybe this is selfish of me... but then again, time is a fickle thing. Maybe after a few decades in my position, you'd do the same thing? There's only one way I can know that for sure.

Maybe it's not even selfish? This is a one-way trip, after all. I know that you didn't ask for this, Cooper... but I'm going to take back our past... even if it kills me.

I'll see you soon.

~

A flash of bright purple light appeared in the whitetail woods, just outside of Ponyville. Birds scattered and squirrels fled the scene as a lavender alicorn landed on the seared ground. Smoke slowly wafted from the earth as she stood upright, exhaling a steady breath as she reached her full height. Her eyes opened slowly, as if taking in the environment with a slow and steady, calculated gaze.

Twilight felt the smallest of breezes blow over her, ruffling her feathers slightly. As the last of the smoke dissipated, she looked up to the friendship castle just a few hundred yards in front of her. The serene warmth of the gentle spring sun seeped into her coat, making her sigh at the pleasant sensation.

"Almost forgot how nice that feels." She murmured, lost in her enjoyment for just a moment.

She soon walked forward, a heavy limp in her step as her severely scarred wither struggled to support her foreleg. As she passed through the calm woods and into Ponyville, she took note of the beautiful skyline and the rich colors that filled the air as the sun made its steady descent to the horizon.

She spared a cautious glance back and forth as she reached the edge of the forest and the castle came into view properly. She quickly found that the area was nearly completely empty, save for a few ponies out and about, living their lives as if everything was completely normal on a beautiful sunny day. Soon enough, they moved away from the castle or went back inside, losing their line of sight on the forest and the purple alicorn skulking out of it.

With one last cursory look over the area, Twilight unfurled her wings and quietly flapped her way up to the lowest balcony of the castle. Each flap sent jolts of pain down her wither as the muscles of her wings were still connected to the scarred tissue, but she managed to keep her reactions to a small wince with each flap. She soon reached the balcony and landed with a gentle *clop* against the crystal material. Letting out a huff from the small amount of exertion, she furled her wings back against her barrel and proceeded to open the door.

The familiar interior of the castle greeted her as if she hadn't been gone for decades, making her sigh a wistful sigh as the memories came flooding back into her mind. She could vividly recall the day she earned the castle and the hard fought victory she claimed from the monstrous villain, Tirek.

"If only it were just Tirek on the other side of that portal..." Twilight muttered to herself, her eyes falling to the floor as she limped further into the room.

Her room, while it didn't feel like it anymore, she couldn't deny the ultimate fact that this was indeed her room. She couldn't recall the last time she slept in her own bed, let alone spent any appreciable amount of time in the cozy little room. As she walked, her eyes were drawn to the full sized mirror across from the luxurious bed, covered in crimson sheets. As much as she knew she shouldn't stop, she couldn't help but freeze as she saw her own reflection looking back at her.

The grotesque scar that covered her entire wither stood out prominently against her coat, the gnarled pinkish skin contrasting horribly against her lavender fur. Her wings, for all they represented, were a cluttered mess of unpreened feathers, sticking out at odd angles or just outright missing from previous lapses in patience. She could feel every feather that was out of place, and the sensation felt like an itch that she simply could not ignore, however, she found herself unable to be bothered with preening anymore.

Her tail was in a state of complete disarray, with frizzy hair sticking out at odd angles or entire segments missing entirely. Her mane fared no better, having lost its normal straight composure and looking like a birds nest of split ends and greasy, matted hair. However, none of that bothered her. The gray streaks in her mane are what truly caught her eye. While her mane and tail still bore much the same navy blue color and streaks of fuchsia and purple, there were streaks of gray and white zigzagging along with them.

Her muzzle was wrinkled and old, and even the fur on her snout had started to take on a gray-ish coloring as the years had clearly taken their toll. The last thing to catch her attention was her eyes. They no longer held the light of a youthful mare, ready to do her very best and make the world proud. No, those eyes held a tired look about them. They reminded her of another pair of eyes she'd seen once before, and the pages of life's book closed before her as she turned away from the mirror with a shaky sigh.

"Guess it's been a while since I've seen myself... alicorns are supposed to get stronger and age with grace. Guess the decades of misery and using all my magic to come back here did more harm than I thought." Twilight dryly chuckled, before looking over to the mirror again.

At the top right corner of the reflective material, previously unnoticed, was a picture. Twilight felt herself drawn to the picture and quickly limped over to it, her eyes misting over slightly as she saw exactly what had caught her attention. She saw her youth, her friends, and most of all, her happiness. Seven smiling faces looked back at her without a care in the world, but all she could do was frown.

She had no more tears left to shed for the past, as they'd been shed long ago. She blinked back the wetness from her eyes and turned on her hooves, a determined crease forming in her brow as her ears perked up to the sound of her portal. A voice cried out in surprise, before gasping and laughing. She could hear his footsteps as he perused her castle, just a few dozen feet down the hall. The thought made her sick to her stomach. With only one goal left in mind, she limped forward, her target clear and her anger growing by the second.

Twilight pushed the door of her old bedroom open with her hoof before taking a few steps into the hallway. As with her room, she couldn't help the nostalgia that wormed its way into her heart over the sight of such familiar territory. Begrudgingly, she committed forward, ignoring the memories as best as she could while they flashed by one by one. Before she even reached the end of the hallway, there was a noticeable grimace on her face and her tail swished in agitation.

Only serving to compound said agitation, was the gleeful sounds of wonder and excitement from the voice carrying down the hall from the next room over. Twilight grit her teeth as she envisioned the source in her mind. Every detail she could recall of the man made her angrier and angrier, until her rage overwhelmed any sense of nostalgic melancholy she felt from her old home. Even so, she kept her hoofsteps as quiet as she could.

Her ears attentively flicked toward her target as she heard him walking over to one side of the room, no doubt to explore and peruse the new world he found himself in. Both his excitement, and her quiet skulking were interrupted by the sound of the portal warping two more times. Twilight felt her blood run cold in her veins as she heard her own voice speaking out from inside the room.

"Spike? Spike, where are you!?" She heard her younger self call out.

Twilight reached the doorway leading into the room, her ears perked up in apprehension as she distinctly heard the muffled sound of a familiar pair of boots on the crystal floor. Unlike the clopping sound her younger counterpart's hooves made, the noise was diluted and almost muted, as if years of wear and abuse had trained utter silence into his movements. Even so, she could distinctly hear his steps as he walked over to the open balcony.

"Four years... well I'm glad I get to see the end of that." She heard her younger self murmur.

Twilight couldn't contain the hitch in her breath as she peered through the slit between the semi-open doors, her eye falling on the sight of both her younger self, and Cooper. He looked exactly like she remembered him, from his ragged cloak, to his messy mop of hair, all the way down to his bloodied arm. The memories came back quickly, and this time she was unable to ignore them as the images of the wolf latching onto his arm and the sound of it snapping his bones like toothpicks almost made her reel.

Her own wither stung slightly as the memories continued, bringing her back to the moment she drove her horn through its hide, only for the wolf to tear half the tissue out of her shoulder and fling her to the side. Phantom pain stung like an icy needle against her scarred flesh, and despite herself, she found her chest heaving as she recalled the moment with perfect clarity.

The only thing to bring her out of her own mind, was the sound of a hammer being cocked back on a pistol. Her eyes snapped open as she glanced up again, finding that her target was behind Cooper and her younger self. A new wave of adrenaline fueled her system, and before the man could even utter a word, she shoved her way through the doors, alerting everyone inside to her presence.

Author's Note:

Welcome everyone! So I hope you liked that one. It was a lot of fun to write and hopefully enjoyable to read. There's definitely a lot of drama, sadness, happiness, and more coming in this story. I hope you all stay tuned for it!

I do have a discord now if you'd like to come check that out, or if you'd like to support me on Patreon and see up to 5 chapters early, I've posted the links in the story description. Happy New Year everyone and I hope you'll enjoy this journey with me <3