• Published 2nd Jan 2024
  • 2,544 Views, 309 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 25

A nervous bead of sweat dripped down the side of Twilight's cheek as she stared back at Cooper, her concern growing with each passing second of silence between them. When it became clear that Cooper was waiting for an answer, she took a deep breath and slowly turned away from him.

"Cooper, I... I can't." She replied.

"What?" Cooper's voice reached her ears, and even though she couldn't see him, she could feel the despair in his gaze.

"Cooper... what you're asking for, it's... it's not possible." Twilight answered, squeezing her eyes shut.

"But... w-what are you talking about? How is it not possible? You already did it once to save me." Cooper shot back, taking a step forward.

Twilight grimaced at the hurt in his voice, "If it were possible, I promise you that I would have already saved them."

Much to her surprise and hurt, Cooper scoffed at her response, "What the Hell are you talking about, Twilight? Why isn't it possible? I'm standing right here!" He asserted.

Twilight turned around to face him, and though her own eyes were growing cloudy with tears that threatened to spill forth, she found that Cooper was already crying. Two streaks of tears ran down his cheeks as he stared her down, his nostrils flaring as his fists clenched.

"The way the future version of me saved you was only possible because of the conditions that led to it. Cooper, I'm so, so sorry... but I can't save your family..." Twilight trailed off.

"Twilight, what are you talking about?" Cooper exasperatedly questioned, "You've had time to recover, haven't you? I haven't even brought it up because I thought that you needed time to get your strength back. It's not like I'm asking you to do it right now for Christ's sake!"

"It isn't about when you want me to do it, the timing is irrelevant. What you want me to do simply isn't possible at all-" Twilight tried to explain, before Cooper cut her off.

"Why not!?" Cooper shouted, startling the purple alicorn. Taking a quick breath, Cooper composed himself as well as he could and spoke again, in a much calmer voice, "Why... not?"

Twilight felt her forelegs trembling slightly. The conversations she'd dreaded for weeks had finally come to pass, and despite every fiber of her being screaming at her to simply avoid the topic or run away, she knew she couldn't do that, not to Cooper.

"Cooper... it's so hard to explain-" She began.

"Try me." Cooper demanded, taking another step toward her.

Twilight gulped before letting out a quiet sigh. For a few moments, she failed to meet his gaze, but eventually, she managed to look back up to him with tear filled eyes, and speak.

"Cooper... how much do you know about time?" Twilight asked.

Cooper gave her a skeptical look, "I don't know... probably not much." He admitted.

Twilight gave him a thankful nod, "Then please understand that what I'm going to tell you is the truth. I would never lie to you, you know that... right?" She asked, hopeful, yet fearful all the same.

Cooper slowly nodded, "Yeah... I know."

Twilight took a deep breath, "Okay... to explain this, I have to explain how the portal works, as well as the knowledge that the future version of me shoved into my head... Cooper, she spent thirty years trying to find a way to bring you back. Whether it was in my world, your world, or somewhere in-between... she spent three decades trying to find a way- any way- to bring you back."

"Okay, so what? It'll take time? Longer than I'll live to see? Is that it?" Cooper questioned.

Twilight shook her head, "Actually, no. I have all the knowledge already, thanks to her... Cooper, what she found is that timelines- rather, dimensions- exist much like a solar system in the galaxy. Think of our timeline as a solar system, flying through the galaxy at impossible speeds. Are you following me so far?"

Cooper nodded, "I wasn't the biggest scientist, but I get the picture."

"Okay, good. Now, Cooper, I need you to understand that the first pony to figure this out was Starswirl the Bearded. He discovered it nearly eleven hundred years ago, and that was the basis for the portal that I used to go to your world. The way his spell works, is that it opens a wormhole between two dimensions if they are close enough together and can reliably maintain the connection... only so many dimensions are ever close enough to do so." Twilight continued to explain.

"Okay... can we get to the point, please?" Cooper pressed.

Twilight sighed once more, "Cooper... I saw the data on the portal... your dimension entered a stable orbit for exactly one day."

Cooper's brow furrowed, "So... what? Can't you just go back in time to that day?" He questioned.

"Cooper, you're forgetting about the time dilation between our dimensions." Twilight corrected.

"Time dilations... wormholes, can you put this shit into layman's terms?" Cooper exasperatedly demanded.

Twilight winced at his tone, her entire being seeming to deflate as she prepared to tell Cooper the news she'd been dreading for weeks, "Time passes faster in your world than in ours... that means that while it was six weeks in your world, it was only thirty minutes here. Your world entered our dimensional orbit less than a minute before the connection was established. Cooper... even if I did go back to that day, and enter your world... at best I'd only arrive a few days before I did in the first place."

Cooper recoiled back as if he'd been struck. His jaw worked but no words came out as the truth of the matter came crashing down all around him, "But... y-you could just go back in time once you get there, couldn't you?"

Twilight shook her head, "The amount of magic I'd need for a time travel spell would be astronomical. Unicorns and alicorns get our powers from Eques, itself. We're tethered to her, as a constant source of our strength... if I were to try to time travel in your world, I just wouldn't have enough power to do it."

Cooper's hands migrated to the top of his head, and he quickly began pacing back and forth as he tried to come up with any sort of rational reason to the contrary of Twilight's claims. Sadly, he knew very, very little about time travel, and it quickly became apparent that he was simply grasping at straws.

"You said that it's like an orbit, right? That means that it comes back every so often, right? So doesn't that mean that there was a point before a few weeks ago when my world was reachable?" Cooper pressed.

Twilight sadly shook her head, "I-I'm sorry Cooper... but the last time your world was within range was over three hundred years ago... due to the time dilation, that means that if I were to go back to the last time your world was within range, and try to go to it... it'd be hundreds of thousands of years in your world's time. Mia and Sarah wouldn't even have been born yet."

Cooper leaned against the wall behind him, his legs slowly giving out under him as he sunk to the floor. He held his head in his hands as the reality of the situation fully dawned on him.

"Mia... Sarah..." He whispered, his vision a blur through the tears.

"C-Cooper?" Twilight hesitantly asked, tears of her own falling to the floor.

Cooper quickly wiped the tears from his eyes, "I... I don't... there has to be a way. I can't accept that." He stated.

"Cooper, please..." Twilight pleaded, placing her hoof on his shoulder.

Much to her surprise and shock, Cooper recoiled from her touch, "Don't give me that! There has to be a way! There has to!" He shouted, startling Twilight back a few feet.

"I want there to be a way so badly! I want your family here too! I want you to be happy... but I can't do it, Cooper... I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." Twilight responded, her ears laying flat against her skull.

In the silence that followed, neither human nor pony moved a muscle, each staring at the ground as their minds reeled from the conversation they were having and its implications. However, that silence only lasted a minute as Cooper got to his feet.

"Cooper?" Twilight questioned, worriedly.

Pausing at the door, Cooper held his head low, "There is always a way... I'm going to get Mia and Sarah back... with or without your help." He announced, before opening the door and heading out.

"Cooper!" Twilight cried, tears of hurt spilling from her eyes.

Without so much as a glance back in her direction, Cooper stormed off, Twilight quickly following behind him.

"Cooper, where are you going!? I'm sorry but there's nothing I can do! Don't you think I want to help you? I want to bring your wife and daughter back almost as much as you do!" Twilight shouted, hurt, anger, and frustration boiling over in her voice.

Cooper refused to respond, instead continuing to walk away as if Twilight simply weren't there.

"Cooper, please!" She screamed, her voice echoing off the walls.

Whether intentional or not, Twilight's sudden spike in volume in the otherwise silent castle halls quickly roused the pair of guards assigned to watch over Cooper. Midnight peeked her head out from her room downstairs, her ears flicking toward the source of shouting as Cooper and Twilight came down the stairs. Sky quickly popped out from behind her, already donning his breastplate.

"What in Tartarus is going on?" Midnight muttered, making her way toward the staircase.

The guardsmare quickly got her answer as Cooper reached the bottom of the staircase, Twilight hot on his heels.

"-I know you're upset, but running off to Celestia-knows-where is not going to help anypony! It's just going to get you hurt or worse!" Twilight exclaimed.

"Princess, what's going on?" Sky questioned, trotting up to Midnight's side.

Paying little to no mind to the guard's question, Twilight continued to plead with Cooper.

"You're not going to find anypony else to do what you want because it simply isn't possible! Magic has limitations and so does the fabric of the universe!" Twilight cried.

"Woah, woah, woah. What in the hay are you all talking about? Cooper, let's just hang on for a second." Sky suggested, quickly flapping over to Cooper's side.

While the pegasus stallion walked side-by-side with the human for a quick spell, it became apparent almost immediately that he wasn't planning on stopping.

"Cooper, come on. I can see you're angry, but let's just talk this out." Sky insisted, quickly moving in front to halt Cooper's advance.

He reared back on his hind legs and placing a placating hoof on Cooper's chest to stop him, however, none of the ponies present were prepared for Cooper to grab Sky's foreleg and shove him aside with all his might. The guardstallion hit the ground with a resounding *thud*, making him wince. Twilight and Midnight both gasped at the sudden hostile action, but before a word could be said, Sky was back on his hooves, darting over to Cooper once more.

"Coop', that's enough!" Sky grunted, this time using both forelegs to physically push Cooper back.

Unfortunately, the only move Cooper was capable of was escalation, and he brutally shoved Sky aside, throwing him to the floor with a *crash*.

"Sky!" Midnight exclaimed, quickly rushing to his side.

Sky moved to get up once more, but paused as he glanced up, finding the barrel of a pistol in Cooper's hand, pointed straight at his skull.

"NO!" Twilight shrieked, firing a bolt of magic that smacked into Cooper's hand, knocking the pistol away, but firing a shot off in the process.

As Fluttershy made her way from her quaint little cottage, she continued the pep talk she'd been giving herself ever since that afternoon.

"Okay, Fluttershy, you can do this. Just go to Twilight's castle and properly introduce yourself to Cooper. Of course he'll ask why you haven't come to see him sooner... and you'll have to explain that you've been outright terrified of him ever since you laid eyes on him, but surely he'll understand... right?" Fluttershy muttered.

She paused in her step, just across the bridge leading to the town square, a heavy sigh escaping her lips.

"Oh, who am I kidding? Cooper's going to be so offended that I didn't even come to see him after Pinkie scared the daylights out of him... some element of kindness I am..." She mumbled, her head hanging low.

For a few moments, the only thing to accompany Fluttershy in the quiet evening was the gentle breeze, making soft whistling sounds against the thatched rooftops of Ponyville homes. However, she was soon alerted by the sound of hooves clopping on the ground, making her glance up to see a familiar orange farm pony just across the bridge.

"Fluttershy?" ApppleJack inquired, trotting over the bridge.

"Oh, um... hello, AppleJack." Fluttershy greeted, giving a small wave.

"What're you doin' out this late? Ah thought you didn't like being out past sundown." AppleJack noted, tilting her head to the side slightly.

"W-well, I was actually on my way to Twilight's castle." Fluttershy replied.

AppleJack gave a nod, "And?" She pressed, knowingly.

Fluttershy blushed and hid behind her mane, "And to... say hello to Cooper." She admitted.

AppleJack snickered, "Shucks, Shy'. You don't have to be all bashful 'bout it. Coop's not so big an' scary once ya' get to know im'."

Fluttershy let out a sigh, "I know, I know. There was just something about him that scared me when we first met him. I tried not to think about it too much because I was just so worried about Twilight and how hurt she was."

AppleJack nodded in agreement, "Don't remind me... I don't ever want to see anypony hurt that bad ever again... least of all, one of my best friends."

Fluttershy shivered, "I know nature is cruel and scary... and I didn't show it when I helped Twilight to the hospital... but I don't think I could stomach seeing one of my friends' blood all over me again."

AppleJack quickly walked over to the shy pegasus's side and pulled her into a hug. Fluttershy gladly returned the gesture, nuzzling her friend's cheek as they both tried to push the awful memories out of their minds. Once she was satisfied that they both felt slightly better, AppleJack pulled away, giving her friend a small smile.

"Well ah promise ya' that Coop's not as bad as that thing that did that to Twilight. He's actually a real decent fella. You won't regret talkin' to im'." AppleJack offered.

Fluttershy gave a determined nod, "You're right, and I shouldn't be hiding away in my cabin anymore. I'm going to go say hello to him." She announced.

"Atta girl, 'Shy." AppleJack smirked.

They both continued to stand in place for the better part of a minute, prompting a deadpan look to form on AppleJack's face.

"You want me to walk you over there?" She offered.

"Yes please." Fluttershy sheepishly replied.

AppleJack playfully rolled her eyes before turning on her hooves and leading the way back over the bridge, "Alright, yer lucky I just came from over there ten minutes ago. If I'd have made it across the bridge before runnin' into ya', I'd be more'n half way back to the farm." She chuckled.

"Oh, I'm so sorry. I don't want to inconvenience you-" Fluttershy began.

"Now what did me'n the rest of the girls tell you, 'Shy? You ain't never a bother, nor an inconvenience. Come along now, Twi' and Coop' prolly ain't even finished washin' the dishes yet." AppleJack chuckled.

Fluttershy positively beamed at the kind words, but just as she got a pep in her step and followed after AppleJack, a terrible, horrible sound raked at her ears. Both ponies wince as their ears splayed back against their skulls, and the sound that could only be described as a loud *crack* echoed past them.

"Buck's sake! What in the hay was that!?" AppleJack exclaimed, glancing back and forth.

Fluttershy, who had darted into a bush just a few feet away, shakily poked her head out, her eyes darting back and forth to find the source of the terrible noise.

"I-I-I d-d-don't... know..." She replied, through her nervously chattering teeth.

AppleJack squinted as she looked ahead. Dozens of lights turned on in the small town, indicating that they weren't the only ones who heard the sound. Her gaze moved down the street and finally to the castle of friendship just down the road outside of the town square. AppleJack wasn't sure, but for the briefest of moments, she could barely make out a shadowy figure darting into the woodline behind Twilight's castle. Then, the screams reached her ears.

"We gotta move!" AppleJack ordered, following her still slightly ringing ears toward Twilight's castle.

The orange farm pony galloped full speed to the front steps of the castle, finding the front door already open and light spilling out to the world outside. Fluttershy flew in right behind her, her fears momentarily forgotten under the premise that her friends might be hurt. However, as they both reached the doorway, they were treated to a sight that made them both queasy.

Sky's white fur, enchanted with his armor, ran red with blood spilling from his wither, just a precious few inches from his neck. Midnight was desperately trying to apply pressure with her hooves and magic, while Twilight did her best to keep the stallion calm.

"Twi! What happened!?" AppleJack cried out, rushing in to help.

"We need to get him to the hospital. I'm going to teleport us all there. Don't worry." Twilight announced, her horn lighting up.

"Wait! Twilight!" Fluttershy cried, making her pause.

"What? What is it?" Twilight pressed, quickly glancing back and forth between the grimacing stallion next to her and her shy pegasus friend.

"What is this?" Fluttershy questioned, holding up the pistol in her wing for all to see.

Author's Note:

Uh oh.