• Published 2nd Jan 2024
  • 2,213 Views, 213 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 2

Gabe. Twilight could recall every detail of his face and the way he scowled at both Cooper and her younger self. The bloodshot iris was a memory that was seared so deeply into her brain that she couldn't help but see it every time she closed her eyes and tried to sleep. She could recall ever article of tattered clothing he wore, and the bloodied rags wrapped around his left arm and legs, highlighting just how close Cooper had come to killing him before he ever made it through the portal.

Twilight felt the slightest hint of remorse at the sad state of the human before her, but that feeling lasted less than a millisecond, and righteous fury quickly took its place. Every night of misery and loneliness she suffered for nearly thirty years came rushing back as she stared at the sole cause of her torment. Rage filled her veins; rage for what this man took from her, rage for what he put her through, and rage for how his ideological beliefs turned him into a monster. It was enough to light a fire in her eyes.

She didn't wait for him to speak, or react. She knew full well that she held the attention of every creature in the room and her time was running out. Her horn sparked to life, instantly whipping the pistol out of Gabe's hand with a flash of purple. He grunted in surprise, reacting quickly as he tried to dive after the pistol, but it was all for naught. With her full magical might after thirty years of preparation, Twilight grabbed hold of his hand with her magic, the seismic forces compressing the appendage in a second. With enough force to crack a diamond, she crushed Gabe's hand.

Bones splintered and compressed into dust in the blink of an eye, so quickly that Gabe could only stare at the bloodied stump of a hand he once had, in shock, but he was quickly overwhelm with unimaginable pain. Lancing, crushing, searing, and tearing pain shot through his arm and brought him to his knees, tears forming in his eyes as he cried out in agony.

Twilight only gave him a few more moments to wail in excruciating pain before unleashing all of her magical might upon him. A beam of white hot energy blasted from her horn and completely obliterated Gabe within the span of a few precious seconds, reducing him to nothing more than ash and dust. Barely a scorch mark on the floor was left as almost all of the energy blasted through the wall and out into the horizon, fading away into the slowly setting sun.

Twilight stared down at the remains of the man who took everything from her, a sick sense of joy and excitement rushing through her system as she took revenge for the crime that was yet to happen. However in the moment, she felt her strength quickly waning, and with a shaky sigh, she collapsed to the floor. Her ears instantly perked up to the sound of confused voices and hooves on marble.

"T-Twilight?" Cooper hesitantly asked, rushing to her side.

Twilight sluggishly turned her head enough to look up at the human she just saved, a fond smile forming on her muzzle as she looked up into his eyes. He looked exactly as she remembered in her dreams every night. His messy mop of hair atop his head, his piercing brown eyes, and his pale, cracked skin all filled her eyes with comfort as she gazed at a long lost friend. Even the bandages and injuries on his arm were exactly as she remembered them.

"Been wanting to do that again for... thirty years..." She weakly chuckled.

"How... what is... are you... me?" She heard her own voice ask.

Twilight felt her gaze pulled down to the sight of her younger self. Much like Cooper, she was exactly how she remembered herself. Her coat was matted and dirty after months without a wash, while her ribs were clearly visible from the starvation she endured during that time. Her wither was covered in bloodied bandages, just like she remembered. She couldn't help but glance down at her own scarred wither, finding that the pattern looked like some sort of abstract painting that she couldn't be bothered to look at.

"I am." She answered, plainly.

"How... what's going on?" The younger Twilight asked.

"I don't have much time to tell you, but the simplified version of it is this: I'm you from the future. I came back to save you both from Gabe." She explained.

"W-wait, from the future? Y-you mean..." Cooper hesitantly asked, looking to the younger alicorn.

"I... I don't understand. I would never go back and alter the past! That's... wait... Gabe was supposed to kill us here, wasn't he?" Twilight's younger version asked.

Twilight only responded with a sad nod, "One of you, at least." She admitted.

Her alter ego frowned as the realization hit her. She quickly looked over to Cooper, who quickly came to the same conclusion.

"He was supposed to kill me... You... you can travel through time? A-and you used that to save me?" Cooper muttered, his brow furrowed in disbelief.

Twilight nodded, "I don't have long. A full explanation simply isn't possible... at least, not verbally." She said, turning to her younger self.

"W-what do you mean? Why don't you have long? A-are you okay?" Cooper quickly asked, his hand coming to a rest on Twilight's barrel.

Twilight let out a breathless sigh as she felt Cooper's hand against her coat for the first time in decades. She slowly glanced down at the point of contact between them, the feeling of his fingers registering just as she remembered. Despite all the hardship and all the suffering he'd endured, his hands still felt soft to the touch, a fact that she was made even more grateful for as she looked back up into his eyes.

"My timeline is gone now... that means I'm going to go away too." She explained, glacially moving her hoof.

Cooper's brow furrowed even more in confusion as he watched Twilight's slow and deliberate movement to place her hoof upon his hand, but he did not move or flinch as she gingerly placed the appendage atop of his. Cooper could feel the warmth and softness from the frog of her hoof as it pressed against the back of his hand, almost like a gentle hug against his skin.

"T-Twilight..." Cooper whispered, his thumb stroking through the fur on her chest.

"T-there has to be something we can do. I-I can get Princess Celestia and Luna here in a matter of hours." The younger Twilight asserted, turning to dash over to the piece of parchment on the table lining the wall.

"There's no point," Twilight stated, halting her before she could move, "What happens now goes beyond even them... come here." She instructed, gesturing to her counterpart.

Eyes wide and hesitation written all over her face, the young Twilight complied and laid down beside her. She stared into her eyes, finding a tiredness that she could only remember seeing in one other creature, but before she could get too lost in her musings, her older self spoke again.

"I'm going to give you all the information you need... but you need to let me touch my horn to yours."

Cooper looked over to the youthful version of the lavender alicorn as she slowly nodded and leaned her head down enough for her to reach. Sluggishly, and with clearly waning strength, the weathered mare laying on the floor craned her neck up until her horn touched her younger self's. A small flash of purple light sparked from the contact, before fizzling out and sending the younger alicorn reeling.

"Gah!" Twilight cried out, throwing her head back and clasping a hoof over her forehead.

"Twilight!?" Cooper exclaimed, reaching out to her.

"I'm okay. I'm fine. It just startled me, is all. That was a lot of information you just shoved into my brain." She replied, shaking her head before looking back at her older self.

However, much to her shock and horror, the version of herself she saw staring back at her was now semi-transparent, her body seemingly fading away from existence by the second. Cooper noticed less than a second later, and quickly clasped her hoof in both of his hands.

"Twilight!" He cried, panic forming in his features as he tried to hold her close to him.

"It's okay, Cooper... it's okay." Twilight whispered, her eyelids growing heavier and heavier.

"W-what's happening to you!? Twilight!" Cooper exclaimed, the fear growing in his voice as he frantically looked for any way to help her.

Twilight gave his hand a firm squeeze, halting the man in his place as he looked down to her, panic in his eyes.

"It's okay, Cooper... I want this... you two need to take care of each other... just like you have been." Twilight spoke, her voice coming out as a fraction of its usual strength.

Cooper and the younger Twilight shared a quick glance before looking back down to her, "But... you're dying." Her younger counterpart said.

"All part of the plan... it'll be okay. You have each other now... Twilight?" She replied, gaining the full attention of her younger doppelganger.

"Y-yes?" She asked, fearfully.

"You need to be there for him... he'll need you to look out for him and keep him safe in Equestria." She instructed, receiving a hesitant nod of acceptance.

Turning to Cooper, Twilight gave a sad smile, "And Cooper... I know you've already lost so much... and I know you were willing to die for me... but I need to ask you to do something much harder." She whispered, her voice having lost much of its strength.

Cooper quickly nodded, his hand unconsciously squeezing her hoof in an unspoken gesture of support.

"I need you to live for me. Live for each other... live for your family and your future... can you do that?" She croaked, her eyes watering slightly.

Cooper's mouth felt quite dry and the pit in his stomach only made the guilty feeling in his chest hurt that much more as he stared down at the fading version of Twilight below him. He opened his mouth to speak, but quickly found that his vision was blurring. He blinked through the blurriness, feeling two distinct streaks of wetness stream down his cheeks as Twilight came into his view once more.

"I... I was supposed to protect you..." He whispered, his own voice cracking.

Twilight smiled, "You did... that's why I'm here now... but this is where my story ends... you need to be there for each other. Promise me you'll be there for one another... please?" She asked, quietly.

Cooper sniffled as the tears continued to blur his vision. He quickly nodded, "O-okay... I promise." He whispered, squeezing her hoof tight in his hand.

"Good... thank you." Twilight trailed off, her eyes finally closing fully.

Both Cooper and the younger version of herself struggled to watch through their tears as Twilight's body simply continued to fade out of existence. She grew more and more transparent, until finally there was simply nothing there anymore. Cooper and the remaining Twilight sniffled and shed their tears as the last of the older Twilight disappeared from their very plane of existence.

The world around them faded to perfect silence, as the man and pony wept for the loss they'd just witnessed. Even though Twilight found her emotions horribly conflicted, she couldn't help the sadness that overwhelmed her heart as she watched herself die before her very eyes. The knowledge of just what she would do, and how far she would go for the man beside her filled her with a level of both surprise and fear.

Sadly, neither man nor pony had time to reflect on the death of the lavender alicorn for long, as the sound of hooves and scaled claws on crystal floors quickly reached their ears.

"This way! I think she's back!"

"Darling, whatever do you think that blast was?"

"If I know Twilight, it's probably another spell gone wrong."

"Well, I just hope she didn't hurt herself."

"Come on guys! She said she'd only be gone for a few minutes, and it's been almost half... an... hour."

The prepubescent voice of her number one assistant trailed off as the group rounded the corner, all of them slowing to a halt at the sight of the bloodied human and alicorn before them.

Author's Note:

I'm sure not everyone will be satisfied with this, but we can't have time travel without consequences. I firmly believe that this is the only way for this particular story to progress without breaking canon. I hope it isn't too emotionally destructive for you all.

There is much still to come. I hope you all like what I have in store.