• Published 1st Nov 2012
  • 7,510 Views, 91 Comments

Out in the Cold - EsperDerek

Haunted by her past, Trixie returns to the scene of her greatest defeat. Can she find a new path?

  • ...

Out in the Cold

A cloudless, star-filled night. The moon hung low in the sky, bathing the small town of Ponyville in its shimmering light. It really was the perfect night... well, at least, if it weren't for the terrified screams of the small town's residents, and the terrifying roars of the creature pursuing them. The Ursa Min- the Ursa had returned, its shimmering, semi-translucent form crashing through the town with a vengeance. A sweep of its claw took off the roof of the bakery. Its roar toppled the dress shop, the elaborately-designed building rendered down to splinters and scrap. Ponies fled or cowered in their homes, hoping beyond hope for some sort of saviour to defeat this terrible beast.

It seemed that, perhaps, these cowards would be granted their wish. Four ponies stood before the ravening, star-lit beast. Their leader, a purple-furred unicorn, her visage twisted by the arrogance that was present in the depths of her heart, took the lead, standing in front of the other three, who cowered and shook, trying to keep the terror that they were feeling from overwhelming them. They looked hopefully at their leader.

"Ah tried roping it, but it's too big!" cried the stupid orange hayseed.

"I tried flying at it, but I just bounced off!" whimpered the annoying blue pegasus.

"Please, Twilight, you have to do something!" sobbed the egotistical white unicorn. Twilight scowled at the three, and then turned her head towards the Ursa, an arrogant grin spreading. Her horn began to glimmer, her feet digging into the ground.

"Of course I will! I'm Twilight Sparkle, after all! I'll just do what I did before!" the arrogant pony called out, as her horn sparked brightly. Wind flowed around the ponies, carrying lulling music with it, designed to sate and stun the beast into a stupor. The three brightened, watching as the Ursa twisted and shudder, its eyes growing glassy.

"It's working!" they cried out in triumph!

Then the Ursa blinked. Its eyes narrowed, and with a sweep of its paw, sent Twilight sprawling, the light of her horn dying out! She groaned softly, putting a hoof to her head, trying to regain her senses. Her three friends widened their eyes... and then took off, fleeing in the opposite direction from the Ursa! The purple unicorn gasped, as her friends abandoned her to her no-doubt grisly fate.

"W-wait..." she whimpered, and another roar caused her head to turn. The Ursa was advancing on her. She let out a tiny whimper, tears springing from her eyes. Surely, her end was just seconds away, left behind by the people that she thought were her friends. She closed her eyes, about to accept her fate, feeling the air of the onrushing claw heading towards her...

The blow never landed. Twilight dared to open one eye, and let out a gasp! In between her and the Ursa was the most beautiful pony Twilight had ever seen, her pelt the vivid blue of a beautiful night, her hair as silvery as starlight! Her horn was shimmering with power, far greater than Twilight had ever managed, as she held the Ursa in place with her great and powerful magic!

"Hold, Ursa! I, the Great and Powerful Trixie, shall not allow you to do any more damage to this town! I banish you back to the Everfree Forest, from whence you shall never return!" The heroic, darling, beautiful pony proclaimed, a smile of confidence playing on her face, adding to her beauty. She flicked her head as if she were shooing away a bug. In response, the Ursa went flying, its titanic form showing the surprise it was feeling as this small, yet potent unicorn sent it through the sky! That was the last one could make out of the beast, as it disappeared over the horizon. The Great and Powerful Trixie exhaled softly, and turned to look at the sprawled-out pony that she had just saved.

"There. It's a good thing that the Great and Powerful Trixie was just passing through, Twilight. Did you really think that the same trick would work twice? Silly foa-" The Great and Powerful Trixie's voice trailed off, as she faced the snuffling unicorn. Now that she was up close, she really was a beautiful pony, she had to admit. Not as beautiful as herself, of course, but close. So close. Trixie felt her heart starting to patter, and she tried not to let that red blush appear on her cheeks.

"Yo-you really are Great and Powerful..." the adorable Twilight admitted, her eyes depicting the heart that had so recently been broken in half. "My... my friends... they abandoned me..." she whimpered, tears leaking down her cheeks. Trixie smiled gently, and reached out, stroking the tears away with a hoof.

"It's alright. The Great and Pow... no, I'm here," the blue-pelted filly murmured, bringing her muzzle closer to Twilight's own. The pony shivers slightly from her proximity, her watery eyes looking hopefully at Trixie.

"Y-you won't leave me?" Twilight murmured. Trixie shook her head gently.

"You'll make a perfect assistant... no... partner for me. You could be the equal to the Great and Powerful Trixie," Trixie replied, playful and loving, and brought her muzzle forwards. Twilight didn't resist, and the two fillies pressed together in a desperate, loving kiss, their hooves starting to interlock, their hearts beating quicker, as one, and Twilight's hoof slowly started to slide further down, towards the warmest part of Trixie's body...
• • •

"GWAH!" Trixie bolted wide awake, panting furiously. She shivered, but it wasn't the cool of the night air that was causing it. She steeled herself, trying to force away the warmth that was still racing through her body, the heat between her legs, and to calm her heart, that was rampaging in her chest.

"Traitorous sub-conscious. That wasn't how that dream was supposed to go," Trixie murmured to herself, as she slowly forced herself to get to a sitting position. It was night time, and the small fire that she had built for herself using her magic had apparently gone out hours ago. She tentatively flicked at the ashes, as if hoping it would somehow ignite again, but it was clear that wasn't going to happen. With a sigh, Trixie stood. It was clear that sleep was going to be an impossibility at this point. Not that she wanted to sleep, not if it meant going back to... to... her heart was beating harder again...

"No!" Trixie sternly ordered herself. The Great and Powerful Trixie was not weak. She wasn't attracted to Twilight Sparkle. She was the enemy, the one who had humiliated her in front of everyone in that flea-bitten little town. The one that had forced her to run away like a coward. To be attracted to her was completely... insane!

Not that running like she did had been her brightest move, The Great and Powerful Trixie had to admit. In her panic to save some sort of face after the defeat, she had left behind her admittedly wrecked trailer, and the contents therein. Sleeping on the hard ground, exposed to the elements, wasn't exactly what she could call fun, and it was starting to wear even on her beauty. Her hair was starting to lose its silvery sheen under the dirt and grime, and her pelt wasn't exactly prime. But there was no way she was going to go back to... to THAT PLACE, with her tail behind her legs. She would simply have to keep going, surely there would be some hamlet or village soon, and she would use her tricks to wow the locals, get a little money, and things would go back to normal. Everything was replaceable... well, almost everything.

Her magic books... and her hat and cloak. Losing those hurt. Just thinking about those made her want to turn around, was almost enough to swallow her pride and go back to Ponyville. Losing those felt like a betrayal, a betrayal to...

"No," Trixie repeated to herself, pushing down the sudden, but familiar pain that she was feeling. There was no point in wallowing in the past. She would simply have to move on. She was the Great and Powerful Trixie, after all, and there was no way she could be vanquished, least of all by herself. She forced herself back down into a lying position. Things would look better in the morning. She would feel like herself in the morning, The Great and Powerful Trixie. Until then, she would force herself to sleep, deny both the warmth of attraction and the pain and cold of loss access to her mind and body.

The Great and Powerful Trixie closed her eyes, and waited for morning to come.
• • •

Her hooves hurt. It was really amazing how much her hooves hurt. The rest of her wasn't exactly feeling great, or powerful, for that matter. The sun was beating down on her back, and there was this annoying fly that kept landing on her flank, no matter how much she tried to shoo it away. She had been walking for hours, forcing her body to keep moving, even through the lack of sleep. Trixie was determined to find some sort of shelter before night fell, or else she would be forced to confront another night of restless sleep on the hard ground.

Not for the first time, Trixie wished that she had managed to save the map she had in her trailer. The terrain, she swore, was the same that she had walked through yesterday, rolling hills punctuated with carefully managed forest. She felt like she had been walking around in circles. Trixie had left the road during her flight from Ponyville, to keep anyone from following her, but now she was regretting her choice. Even with her little magical trick to find north, she felt lost.

Her stomach grumbled. She'd had very little food over the past few days.

"I'm the Great and Powerful Trixie..." she murmured, like a mantra of encouragement. Yes, she would be fine. The Great and Powerful Trixie could take a little discomfort. She was strong, she'd had to be strong for years, ever since...

Before her thoughts drifted into the dark place again, Trixie crested a hill, and the sight before her banished the bad thoughts away from her mind. A small town, slightly smaller than Ponyville had been, but still big enough for what she needed, had become visible only about half a mile away. There was something oddly familiar about the village, but then, she had been through so many towns on her travels that she was used to the feeling of familiarity. A smile broke out across her face.

"Finally. The Great and Powerful Trixie succeeds! Time to put on a show..." She paused, and looked down at her dirty, road-worn body. "Maybe after a warm bath, some food, and a soft bed." Her spirits buoyed, The Great and Powerful Trixie cantered down the hill, merging with the road that lead into town.
• • •

The sun was starting to set in the sky as she made it the rest of the way to the town. She had to find an inn or something, and convince the matron to let her sleep there for a performance or something. Surely it wouldn't be that hard, not for someone of her talents.

But, the feeling of familiarity wouldn't shake from Trixie as she trotted through town. It was like her hooves knew where to go, her body instinctively guiding through the streets. It was beginning to disturb her a little. She was getting some odd looks, too. While she knew even in her dishevelled state she was still one of the most gorgeous ponies in all of Equestria, these looks were strange, as if Trixie was somehow familiar to them. Perhaps she HAD performed here, and they were shocked that such a marvellous creature could be reduced to that? Trixie, lost in thought, nearly rammed into an older pony, a white pelted mare, glasses perched on her face. She recovered, and scowled at the mare.

"Watch where you're walking! Don't you know who I am?" The Great and Powerful Trixie exclaimed in irritation, but the mare seemed not to notice, instead looking closely at the younger pony. "What are you looking at?"

"Trixie? Is that you? It IS you, isn't it! I'm your old school teacher, Belle Shower!" the mare exclaimed, and Trixie felt her heated anger instantly die, replaced with a sick coldness deep inside her. Her body quivered slightly, her pupils shrinking...

"Where have you been? We haven't seen you since -" Trixie couldn't hear anymore, she couldn't see anymore, she had to get out of here, the coldness was filling her from hooves to head, the pain lancing straight into her heart. Her hooves worked on their own, and before the mare could continue, Trixie took off, fleeing as if her life depended on it. She heard the ponies calling out after her, but she wouldn't stop. She wouldn't stop running until she was free from this place, the place she swore she'd never come back to, wouldn't stop until the pain and the cold went away, until all the memories fled from her, and she was The Great and Powerful Trixie again...
• • •

"So, Trixie, I believe it's your turn, why don't you give your report on what YOU want to be when you grow up?"

"Okay! Ahem... When I grow up, I want to be a magician, just like my mom! My mom is the greatest magician in all of Equestria! She's even performed in Canterlot for the Princess! She's my hero, and I'm going to perform with her when I'm old enough! Together, we'll be the Great and Powerful Trixie and..."

"Mom? What's wrong? Mom? Mommy?"

"She is very ill. We don't know what's wrong... The most we can do is make her as comfortable as possible..."

"I can't do magic as well as you can..."

"Nonsense. You're the Great and Powerful Trixie. You can do anything."

"I'm sorry, she's gone."
• • •

"G...gh..." Trixie's eyes, wet and red, slowly opened. She didn't know how long she had run, except that she ran until her body gave out, and she was pitched into those fitful dreams, the memories that she had buried so deeply forcing their way back out of the vaults and locks that she had built so carefully. The coldness was still flowing through her, despite her flight, the pain constricting her chest, feeling like her heart was being torn free..

"No... no... stop! STOP!" she whimpered, putting her hooves over her head, and trying to order herself to be calm, to ignore the pain, but her mind and heart were rebelling on her again.

"I'm the Great and Powerful Trixie... I-I don't... understand..." Tears ran unbidden down her cheeks. Why was this happening? She had put this behind her. She had been strong, she had always been strong, why wasn't she listening to herself now? She had been strong since the day...since the day she died, she had done exactly what she promised. She was supposed to be the Great and Powerful Trixie! She wowed audiences and...


And was so lonely.

Trixie curled up on the cold ground that had been her bed for the night, weeping softly.

It was because she had lost them, wasn't it? The magic books, the hat and cloak... her mom's books, her mom's cloak and hat, it was because of that, that she had left them behind. Without them, she was just that lonely little filly who had lost her mom, but with them, she was the Great and Powerful Trixie, the showmare, the one who could be strong.

Trixie wiped away the tears, swallowed her thick tongue. Yes, if she could get those back, she wouldn't have to feel this again. She had a goal. She would return to Ponyville, and demand her belongings back. The pony forced herself to stand on legs that quivered, and looked around. She had collapsed near the edge of the Everfree Forest. Trixie felt a thrill of fortune. Not only had she avoided actually entering the forest in her panic, to get to back to Ponyville would be a simple matter of trailing along the edge of the forest. Yes, this was the path that she needed to take. She'd be back to normal once she got them back.

She started to trail along the forest, trying to ignore the little tiny bit of her, deep inside, that didn't believe that for a second.
• • •

It took her longer than she would have liked to reach Ponyville again. By the time the town and its outlying farms came into view, Trixie was nearly dead on her feet from exhaustion. She could barely sleep as it was; every time she laid down during the night, she was plagued by the dreams and emotions that she desperately was trying to deny, that she had always kept behind the barriers that surrounded her heart. The pain of her moms loss. Her attraction to fillies, and to Twilight, despite the fading anger she kept trying to nurse against her. She was even being assailed by guilt now, for treating ponies poorly, for humiliating them in front of everyone, just like she had been.

Days weren't much better, either. There was little to eat, and she was frightened to travel too far into the Everfree Forest to look. She managed to have enough water, but little else. There was nothing else to do but to keep putting one hoof in front of the other. Sometimes she walked well into the night, the physical activity - and the pain - helping to keep the emotions from overwhelming her.

Trixie was terrified to think of how bad she must have looked at this point.

"Almost... there..." Trixie murmured to herself. Part of her wanted to confront Twilight immediately and reclaim what belonged to her, but she saw the rows of apple trees in the farm not far from the town, and her stomach promptly rebelled over all else, rumbling deep inside her gut. She began to unsteadily make her way to the farm. Surely they wouldn't miss a few apples, she would pay them back as soon as she got the bits that she had left in her trailer. She wasn't picky, she approached the first tree she got too, looking up at the succulent apples.

"Just one... or two..." She concentrated, her horn wearily glowing, her underused magic flaring. Despite her lack of strength, two apples plucked themselves from the tree, and, nearly drooling from the reverie, Trixie gently lowered them to the ground. She stooped her head down, and bit into the first apple.

"What in tarnation are you doing!?"

Trixie squealed, hopping away from the apples. Her eyes wide, she looked in the direction of the voice. It was one of Twilight's friends, the orange one wearing the hat. She looked at Trixie in a mixture of anger, confusion, but mostly shock.

"Hey, aren't you Trixie? What happened to you?" she asked, taking a step towards the ragged blue unicorn. There was concern in her voice, but Trixie didn't hear it in her panic. Trixie let out an inarticulate whimper, and wheeled around, her legs digging into the ground.

"Hey, wait!" Trixie took off, her hooves pattering against the ground... and then buckled. Her body, worn out and weak, finally gave out on her, and she saw the ground rushing up towards her.
• • •

She was comfortable. That was the first thing that she noticed when she awoke. Her body had triumphed over her mind, and blessed her with a deep, dreamless sleep, and while she still felt terrible, it wasn't as bad as she had been. She slowly forced her eyes to open, getting an eyeful of pillow. She really WAS in a bed, a comfortable bed, the first time that she'd been in one for so very long. She snuggled into it, grateful for the warmth and softness, that momentarily blunted the cold that was still writhing deep inside. She laid like that for a few more moments, before deciding that she needed to know where she was. Slowly, she peeked her head up.

She was in a library, from the looks of the rows and rows of books. A bed in a library? The whole thing seemed absurd... but then, she couldn't complain. She half-thought of trying to sleep again, but she rejected the idea with a shiver. She didn't want to face the dreams again. It had only been exhaustion that had saved her from them this time, but now, no. She would get her books and hat and cloak, and then she would sleep soundly again. She slipped out of the bed, and unsteadily landed on her hooves. She paused, noticing a mirror, and slowly walked towards it.

The sight of the haggard pony that looked back at her nearly sent her careening back underneath the sheets. Her hair had grown far too long, and it was worn and frizzed, the silver looking more like grey. Her eyes were red-rimmed and puffy. Her blue pelt was matted, there were obvious nicks and cuts all along her legs, and perhaps worst of all, she swore she could count her ribs. She blinked, trying not to cry. She noticed that someone had taken the time to clean her, but it had clearly been an awkward situation, with her being unconscious. Trixie exhaled softly. Once she was the Great and Powerful Trixie again, it was going to take a long time for her to recover physically, but she would. The Great and Powerful Trixie could do anything, do everything that Trixie couldn't. She trotted to the door of the room she had woken in, and peered out. She was definitely in a library, the room she was in an offshoot of the main library. She slipped out into the main room, walking slowly and carefully, and froze.

Sitting at a desk was her 'enemy', the lovely purple unicorn that had shown her up. Twilight Sparkle was reading a book, flipping the pages with her magic, and Trixie stood there, just watching, feeling her heart pattering fiercely in her chest, some of the... warmer... dreams that she had been having racing through her head. She tore her gaze away, shaking her head fiercely. She couldn't! She felt the warmth in her haunches, and the red starting to form in her cheeks.

Forcing her eyes away from Twilight, she instead turned to the desk that she was reading from. Carefully piled on the top of the desk were a small pile of carefully-maintained books... and a vivid, midnight-purple cloak, with a hat placed on top. Twilight had them! She was reading through her mother's books! She just had to reach out, and take them from her, and she could be Great again...

"Those are mine, Twilight Sparkle!" Trixie called out, and was almost horrified at how weak and raspy her voice was. Her enemy blinked, and turned around, concern etched in her face, the same sort of concern that Trixie had previously seen in that orange pony.

"Trixie, you're awake. Are you alright? What happened to you?" she asked, and Trixie shivered, almost backing up, as if the compassion in Twilight's voice was physically affecting her. The anger that had momentarily flared up inside Trixie nearly was extinguished, but she tried her best to fan it with the last scraps of her pride.

"What do you care? The G-Great and P-P-Powerful Tr-Trixie doesn't need y-your co-compassion!" She sounded so weak.

"I care because Applejack found you passed out and half-dead on her farm! And... I was concerned about you before. You ran away before we could talk..." She gestured with a hoof towards the pile of books on the desk. "I thought your name was familiar, and the books in your trailer surprised me, so I looked it up. I didn't know your mot-"

"Give those back to me!" Trixie cried out, her horn wearily sparking back to life. The books and clothes flew from the desk, the hat and cloak wrapping around her body, the books landing near her. She quivered softly, arching her back, puffing her chest out proudly.

She was the Great and Powerful Trixie again!

She didn't feel any different. In fact, wrapped in the outfit that her mother had worn, that she had inherited, all she could think of was how much she missed her. How much it still hurt when she thought about...

"T-Trixie? Are you crying?" Twilight gasped softly. The blue unicorn shook her head, but it was futile. The tears were streaming down her cheeks, dripping onto the floor of the library. So this was it. The Great and Powerful Trixie was gone. She had been fooling herself thinking that she could bring her back. All that was left was weak, lonely Trixie.

"Trixie? What's wrong? Oh, you silly pony, please tell me what's the matter..." Twilight slowly walked forwards, approaching the shaking unicorn. She reached out with a hoof, touching her comfortingly. Trixie felt the warmth, the concern, and the last bit of resistance broke. She launched herself at the surprised Twilight, the books at her feet being knocked over, the hat flying off her head, and began to sob fiercely, pressing her body against Twilight's. Twilight wrapped her hooves tenderly around the crying Trixie. It didn't matter just who this was, and the trouble she had caused for Twilight the first time they had met. She held Trixie tightly, whispering comforting noises to Trixie, as the cloak-clad unicorn sobbed, letting out the pain that had been tearing her insides apart.

Soon, the sobs quietened, and the tears started to slow, but Trixie didn't move, and Twilight didn't release her.

For the first time in a long time, Trixie truly felt warm.

Trixie didn't know how long the two stayed like that, but it felt like hours. She was pretty sure that she had fallen asleep for awhile, but surrounded by Twilight's warmth, the dreams hadn't come back. She was feeling lighter, now, as if a giant weight had been removed from her shoulders. Slowly, and with great reluctance, Trixie pulled away from Twilight, briefly looking ashamed.

"You must think I'm pathetic..." Trixie whispered, but Twilight shook her head gently.

"No, it's alright, Trixie. You've been through a lot, and needed to get it out. Everypony has to, sometimes. Are you going to be alright?" The tenderness in her voice was evident, and Trixie decided to be honest.

"I don't know. I don't know what to do now..." she admitted, both to herself and to Twilight. It was odd, though. It was... a liberating feeling. "I don't think I can be the Great and Powerful Trixie again." Twilight smiled gently, and flicked her horn, the fallen hat raising off the floor, and gently landing on her head.

"I don't think it's right to ignore your gifts. You are a very talented pony, after all. Maybe it would be better to figure out what the Great and Powerful Trixie should be. I think Midnight would have preferred that." Trixie blinked in surprise, as Twilight continued. "I didn't realize that she was your mother..."

"Y-you know about her?" Trixie asked, slightly shocked, a faint blush on her cheeks. But she wasn't the only one, Twilight's cheeks turning slightly red.

"I got to see her when she performed in Canterlot, when I was a little filly. I had her picture up on my wall for ages..." Twilight's eyes turned to the floor, and she looked slightly downcast. "I was really sad when I heard what had happened. I think I cried for a week. It... I'm really sorry, Trixie. I can't imagine that must have been like."

Trixie snuffled slightly, tears leaking down her cheeks. But she was smiling, the good memories of her mother playing through her mind, the good times, her love and warmth...

"I... I miss her," she said, and then looked at Twilight. "But... f-for the first time in a long time... it doesn't hurt as much."

"Maybe you could tell me about her?" Twilight asked, tentatively, but hopefully.

"I think I would like that."
• • •

They spoke throughout Celestia's day, and even deep into Luna's night. It felt good to share the stories that she had hidden so deeply inside, for so long, to such an attentive listener. Sometimes they would burst out laughing, and sometimes Trixie would end up in Twilight's arms again, weeping softly, but it felt... right. They even began to speak of magic, reading through Midnight's books, Trixie describing effects that she had remembered. It had been far too long since she had actually read the books, instead of just possessing them. But being with Twilight, and the lightness that she was feeling for the first time, made her want to learn more, to truly become the Great and Powerful Trixie that her mother had seen in her, even when Trixie herself had misunderstood.

It was midnight when Trixie glanced out the window.

"I... should probably go... and get out of your hair. N-now that I have what I came for, I should leave..." she said with great reluctance. Twilight blinked, and shook her head fiercely.

"You don't have to, you know. In fact, you're still not healthy, you really shouldn't, but even still, why don't you stay? I-I mean, it would be nice to have a friend with the same sort of interests. You could even be a research assistant... or partner, if you wanted." Trixie's heart pattered slightly, and she bit her lip, looking out the window.

"What about your friends? And the others? They're probably going to hate me for what I did last time I was here." Twilight smiled tenderly, and reached out, putting her hoof over Trixie's own, making the blue filly look at her.

"You don't give them, or you, enough credit. I've learned a lot about friendship being here, and one lesson that I've learned is that friendship... even more... can come even in the most unlikely of places..." She looked into Trixie's eyes gently. Trixie's heart was beating harder, and their muzzles were so close, all Trixie had to do was lean forwards... but she didn't think that she had the bravery to do it...

So Twilight did it instead.

Trixie's eyes flied wide open as their lips met, their bodies starting to press up against one another, Twilight's front legs resting around Trixie's neck. They stayed like that for what seemed like an eternity, until Twilight slowly pulled away, smiling softly at Trixie. Trixie shivered slightly, and then leaned herself tightly against Twilight, letting out a soft laugh.

"Alright, you win. I'll stay. Congratulations..." Trixie whispered softly, and Twilight tilted her head curiously.

"Congratulations?" Trixie smiled knowingly in response.

"You managed to truly defeat the Great and Powerful Trixie. You're the first to do so, save for herself."

The two ponies giggled softly, and then leaned in for another kiss, and Trixie knew that if ever she got cold again, there would be someone there to warm her.

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