• Published 8th Apr 2013
  • 4,616 Views, 428 Comments

Dusk Dawns - AlphatheGriffin17

Book IV Now taking up lessons with the Princess of the Night, datingthe student of the Princess of the Sun, coping with some bad memories and being the Seventh Element, Dusk certainly has a lot on his plate. And that's just stuff to do with hi

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Seeing Clearly

"So." That was the first word that Rarity said to Dusk after she had invited him into the Carousel Boutique and shut the door.

Dusk was unsure how exactly to respond to this. "So…?"

"So," she repeated. Her expression was blank and difficult to read (Though that might be because of his still terrible eyes), standing before him in the middle of the shop with the air of a judge about to pass sentence.

"So… what?"

"Don't give me that you! You know exactly what," she breathed, barely containing herself. "You know exactly why it is I have asked you here, for I have something that I have been meaning to say to you for a very long time."

"Um… do you?" Dusk racked his brain desperately. Had he done something wrong? Had he upset the debutante in some way?

"Yes, I do. Something very important, something of so great and surmounting significance that I daresay that you will remember it until your dying day, sir!" Her voice was rising slightly and it was making Dusk even more worried.

"Is… that so?" He backed off a little, but Rarity only stepped closer and held out her hoof.

"Stay right there!" Dusk stood stock still, like she was a Gorgon who had just petrified him. "You will stay right there so you can listen to what I have to say and don't you even think about running off."

"If you uh… insist." Dusk stayed rooted to the spot, barely even daring to blink.

"I just cannot believe I didn't say this to you before," she continued, her voice still rising an octave or two. "In fact I am shocked, horrified even, that I did not say this before or, even worse, that you did not come to me directly and speak about it."

"Uh… sorry?" he said, trying his best to smile.

"Wipe that smirk off your face!" she commanded and he instantly obeyed. "Oh don't think sorry will help you now, because I am going to tell you, right this instant, what I should have told you last night when all of this started!"

That left Dusk even more confused. A lot of things had happened the previous night and he couldn't think of a single one that might be causing Rarity to act like this towards him. There was of course one thing that had happened and that had only happened because of her, but how could it be possible he had done something wrong concerning that already? They had only just begun! Unless he had…

"And uh… what might that be?" he dared to ask.

"I'm going to tell you!" she cried, her voice rising now to screeching levels and still glaring at him. "And what that is… is…" All of a sudden, she broke out into a grin and her eyes lit up like the sun. "That you are going to be the happiest and most content stallion that has ever walked Equestria!"

"I… um… what?"

"After all this time, all the shy glances, the doubts, the denials, the looks, the smiles, the dancing and lest we not forget the steadily rising betting pool going on through all of that, it's finally happened!" She was beaming at him now and, considering how she had been before, Dusk was rather unnerved by this sudden change. "You and Twilight are finally a… a…"

"Couple?" he supplied, as she clearly had trouble getting the word out.

"Yes, exactly! Oh I am so happy for you both, I don't think I could possibly gauge how ecstatic I am!" She let out a small squee of barely suppressed excitement and threw her legs around him in a hug. "You two are going to be the eye of all of Ponyville, I just know it!"

"Um… thank you." Dusk unsurely placed his own legs around her, the thought crossing his mind that perhaps Pinkie wasn't the only strange member of their group.

"I mean, it's just so wonderful." She pulled back and a dreamy look came over her face. "Two young ponies, who have watched each other from afar, never having known or experienced the mysterious and wonderful feeling that is love and perhaps even scared to. Now, both are discovering its wonders together at long last." She let out a long sigh and smiled softly. "Oh, it makes my heart flutter just thinking about it."

Dusk was still feeling a little unsure as to how to react to all of this. Then again, Rarity could sometimes be a little overdramatic and perhaps this had just been her way of letting him know how happy she was for him. She had, of course, been helping him along every step of the way and this must have been like some sort of personal project for her. Now that she had achieved her goal, he supposed she had earned the right to act how she wanted.

She seemed to notice his rather bemused expression and frowned a little, but kept her smile. "Dusk, what on earth are you looking at me like that for? I don't have a pimple, do I? Oh by Celestia, tell me it's not a pimple!"

Just as he thought. That whole thing before had just been some kind of weird act she put on or it had just been her personal reaction to what had happened. Like he had said that night, the girls could still surprise him, even when he thought he knew them best. So, in the end, he returned her smile and relaxed, comforted in the knowledge she wasn't really angry at him.

"No, it's not a pimple. You look as lovely as you always do," he complimented, though not without a blush and a mumble.

"Oh aren't you the sweetest thing," she tittered. "Still, better not let Twilight catch you saying things like that."

"Duly noted," he chuckled. "Thank you again, Rarity, for all of your help in this and sorry I couldn't tell you that on the night."

"Oh it's fine dear, I know you had more pressing matters to attend to." She giggled as he blushed. "Besides, we can't let your special somepony know you had too much help, can we?"

"Um… why not?"

"Why, it's really quite obvious. Mares like a stallion who's independent and confident and I should think Twilight is no different."

"Ah… I see." That got Dusk a little worried, for he didn't see himself as independent, he preferred being told what to do or confident, for obvious reasons.

"But," she added, seeing the look on his face, "that will come with time and practice and I think you two will be just fine the way you are at the minute. Just remember though, if you ever have any trouble, come see me and I'll see if I can't put on the right track."

"You'd… you'd do that?" Dusk felt relieved, for he had still been a little nervous about the whole idea.

"Of course, I do have some experience in this field you know. Some less pleasant than others…" She let a dark look pass over her and Dusk knew she was probably still thinking about her experience with Blueblood.

"Right… thanks Rare," he said, feeling a little better.

"Oh, no trouble at all darling. Now, come along, we must celebrate and I have just the thing for this sort of occasion." She ushered him into her kitchen, just as another thought crossed his mind.

"Wait… betting pool?"

"Oh Pinkie's idea darling, nothing to concern yourself with."


"Now, now, enough of that, we have an occasion to celebrate." She gave him a disarming smile and went to busy herself with the cupboards, while he stood waiting by the table at the window.

Dusk still sighed with happiness when he recalled the previous night, a memory so strong that it even suppressed some less pleasant recollections that lurked in his mind. He couldn't remember a time he had felt more content, more satisfied than the time he had spent with Twilight last night, one leg around her and holding her close, while her head was tucked under his chin and her sweet voice played in his ear reciting facts about the stars above, radiating more warmth than the sun on a summer's day.

He had never actually thought he and Twilight would even share a moment like that, let alone caught in each other's embrace. Yet they had done it and they had both enjoyed the special time they had spent together under the stars of Canterlot. It all seemed quite impossible enough before all that had happened to them both and after all he had done… he wasn't sure if he would even be able to pull off his goal. But he'd done it. They'd done it.

Then, of course, there had been everypony's reactions afterward. Pinkie had been ecstatic, practically over the moon about the whole idea. In fact, she had literally jumped the whole moon when she heard. Fluttershy offered her quiet, yet warm congratulations to them but had mainly kept quiet. Rainbow had rolled her eyes and warned them to keep the 'mushy stuff' to a minimum when she was around. Rarity had beamed at Dusk, but had shushed him from behind the rest of them. Applejack, however, had stepped forward with a barely concealed smirk.

"Now, Twah, ah think this is all real grand an' all, but ah got jus' one thing ta say ta you 'bout all this," she had said.

"And what's that?" Twilight had asked, though from the tone of her voice she sounded like she knew what was coming.

"Now, ah don't want ya ta think that ah'm jus' bein' a smart alec here, mainly 'cause we already got two-a ya fer that," she explained, clearly milking the moment, "but ah feel there are times that, even somepony like me, has ta say somethin' like this."

"And that is?"

Applejack had stepped up close, cleared her throat and, with a satisfactory smirk said, "Ah told ya so."

"I knew it." Twilight had laughed at this. "You certainly did tell me so and, for once, I'm glad I was wrong."

Dusk hadn't known what they were talking about and he hadn't asked either, for Twilight had nuzzled into his neck after she'd said this and the warm feeling that buzzed into his brain made him oblivious to everything else.

He was still smiling when he pulled out Rarity's cushion for her and accepted the wine glass that she had poured out for him. What he tasted, however, wasn't wine. It was rather like apple juice, only with more fizz and with much more of a kick. It made his tongue tingle, his stomach buzz and he coughed a little from the after-taste. It was pleasant though and he liked it, wiping some of the froth from his upper lip.

"What is that?" he asked her.

"Some of the Apple family's homemade apple cider, freshly squeezed and freshly made every year," she announced proudly, taking a sip herself. "They make it once a year, but they never seem to have enough of it. It's quite popular with the town."

"I can see why," he remarked, taking another gulp.

"Yes, but luckily, I managed to save some and I thought now seemed like a good time to open a bottle." She raised her glass daintily. "I propose a toast, to a happy and long relationship for the two of you."

"I hope so." He moved his glass to chink against hers, but missed due to his eyes and ended up spilling some of his cider on the floor. He spilled a little more when Rarity shrieked like a banshee from the mess. "Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry!"

"It's… it's quite all right, Dusk," she said quietly, clearly doing her best to suppress her neat-clean attitude. "Just a small accident, that's all… I hope that doesn't stain."

"I really am sorry." He sighed and rubbed his eyes, a habit he'd started to develop. "My eyesight still hasn't cleared up."

"Yes, I noticed." Rarity cleared her throat and her pleasant voice returned. "Haven't you considered taking Zecora's advice and getting some glasses?"

"Um… well… I don't know…" He diverted his gaze. "Why um… why would I need glasses?"

"I'd say the answer to that is fairly obvious." She gestured once more to her stained floor, which Opalescence was coming to investigate. "I'm sure price isn't an object and any optician would tell you that you need a pair of glasses desperately. Even we think so."

"Um… well…" Dusk stammered and fell silent, not wanting to say what was on his mind.

"Dusk, what's wrong?" she asked, picking up on it.

"It's… it's nothing, it's stupid…"

"I shall be the judge of that. What's on your mind dear? Why are you so tentative about getting glasses?"

He knew she wasn't going to let this go. "You see…" He sighed and looked at her as best he could. "I don't want glasses… because I think they'd… well they'd…"

"Go on," she prompted gently.

"They'd make me look like… a geek…" he muttered, Rainbow's words echoing in his head.

A moment of silence passed between them. Rarity blinked, stared at him for a bit and giggled a little, making Dusk's cheeks burn with embarrassment.

"You see… stupid," he repeated.

"Oh no, I'm sorry dear," she said quickly. "It's just that you've really got to stop listening to Rainbow Dash."

"She is right though," he pointed out. "I'm already quite geeky as it is. Glasses would just be sealing the deal, so to speak."

"Dusk, darling, your intelligence is one of the things that we like, that I like, as your friends," she said comfortingly. "Do you honestly think that any of us, apart from Rainbow, would care even an inkling what you would look like if you took to wearing glasses?"

"… No…?"

"Of course not!" she said with utter assurance. "If anything, glasses would only serve to emphasize your intelligence, make you look more clever. Not that you need to, of course, but I believe the right glasses would suit you as well as your delightful chapeau does."

"You… you think so?"

"Of course, take it from somepony who also wears them." She levitated a pair of oval shaped red glasses onto her face. "See, fabulous aren't they? I only use them when I'm working, but that doesn't mean I can't look smashing in them."

"Well, it does work for you," he complimented her shyly. "I suppose, if I need to, it wouldn't be so bad in that case. Thanks for putting me at ease, Rare."

"Delighted to help as always," she assured, removing her glasses and beaming. "When it comes to appearance, rest assured I always know what I'm talking about."

"You do… and you're still so helpful to me, even after…" He trailed off as the memories returned again.

They were usually suppressed, kept locked away inside of his mind, but sometimes they came crawling back like parasprites. The laughter echoed in his head again, echoing like a cry in a cave of lost souls. Screams from the very mare that stood before him while she was consumed by a boulder, begging for him to stop destroying her precious stone, as he demanded that she fall on her knees and plead for him to stop. The pain, the anguish, the torment… it had all been his fault, he was the one who had let him out…

"Dusk? Dusk, are you feeling well?" Rarity's voice snapped him out of his episode. She was gazing at him with concern. "You look as if you're about to pass out."

Though he did feel assured, Dusk also felt even worse from the tone she used. He didn't feel he deserved such compassion after all he'd done. But he also was terrified of losing her, all of them and being on his own again. So, he suppressed that feeling, suppressed the memory and did his best to return a smile.

"I'm fine, I'm just… still coping with some bad memories," he said quietly.

"Oh I understand entirely. When I think about what happened whilst under his influence…" She shuddered and flushed red, but quickly covered this up. "Still, what's past has past and now we must move on."

"Yeah… I know…" He tried to keep the smile and looked out of the window, hoping she wouldn't see the darkness moving behind his eyes.

"Oh dear, look at Opal!" Dusk turned and actually smiled genuinely when he saw the cat was stumbling around in a drunken manner, her fur soaked in cider and banging her head against the wall. "Oh, you silly cat!"

"Indeed." Dusk chuckled again, well aware of the more sinister sound the echoed along with it…

Once his break was over, which he had spent at the Boutique, Dusk swiftly returned to his post at the library. He made sure, however, walking through Ponyville not to move too quickly and take extra care as to where he was putting his hooves. Since his eyesight had lost its former state, he had been tripping and stumbling quite a bit, even falling headlong into a bush on his way to work this morning and that was just from today. Even when he was thinking hard about each step, it was still easy to miss a pebble he hadn't seen or perhaps a cobble that caught him unawares.

He felt a calm comfort wash over him once he could make out the library, even with his blurry vision it was unmistakable. Before he entered, he made sure that he still looked presentable by checking himself in a nearby window. Once he had straightened his hat and furiously placed down a bit of fur that had been sticking up, he drew in a deep breath and entered the haven of knowledge and books, his heart fluttering with anticipation.

Whereas before he had already felt comfortable in the library, he now felt as if he could be safe from anything in here. Even if a meteor fell down from the sky and hit the town directly, he was sure that the ancient tree would be the only protection he needed because he felt so safe, so at peace here. He had those feelings ever since he'd discovered friendship's magic, but now they had tripled since last night he'd noticed, all because of what had changed between him and the studious mare he worked with.

He still had trouble believing that he and Twilight were actually in a romantic relationship. A year ago, just becoming her friend had seemed like some impossible goal that he only had the slimmest of chances achieving. This felt like some wonderful dream that he expected to awaken from at any moment and return to reality. But it was real, as he was reminded when she'd kissed his cheek when he'd walked into the library this morning and she brushed her side against his, making her giggle from how much he blushed.

Even though he still felt the guilt from what he had put her through, he still enjoyed every second of this fact.

There was no sign of her when he entered, but he could make out the small purple and green blob that he knew to be his fellow assistant, clearing up a pile of books that had been scattered onto the floor. Spike usually looked away or coughed loudly whenever he and Twilight showed any sign of affection, making them both blush and chuckle awkwardly, but they supposed he'd have to get used it, just as they would. Dusk accidently tripped over one of them because he didn't see it while he made his way over, crashing to the floor as the baby dragon filled his vision.

"Have a nice trip buddy?" he asked in a light tone.

"Spike, really? I thought you'd be above puns," Dusk remarked, getting back up on his hooves.

"Hey, at least I'm not the one hitting the books."

"Spike, come on."

"I mean, you were on the floor laughing from the look of it."

"Please tell me there's no more."

"Looking like you were head over heels there."

"Oh Celestia, let it end!"

"Eh, what can I say? I'm a comic genius," he shrugged as they both laughed. "Well, stop wasting time with your jokes, we gotta get this cleaned up."

"My jokes? What are you… oh, never mind." Dusk just moved to help Spike with the books, having to squint at the spines to see what they were.

Anypony else would see such a task as boring and tedious, but not Dusk. He just hummed a merry tune while he worked, keeping his mind occupied away from… other thoughts, now and again sharing a quip with Spike. As mischievous and cocky he could be at times, he still liked working with the baby dragon, just as he always did. He was just settling into the task he had been assigned, even then he was still making the odd mistake with the sorting that was pointed out by either Spike or Owlowiscious when he received a pleasant surprise.

"Excuse me, number one pony assistant?" Just hearing her voice was enough to set his heart pounding, turning to behold her. "Back on time and back to work as always, I see."

"Well… it's what I do," he replied humbly. This was one of those times he cursed being blinded, not being able to see Twilight clearly. Even then, her presence close to him was still… intoxicating.

"Isn't it just?" He blushed from the praise and even more so when Twilight bestowed a kiss on his cheek. "That's for always being so reliable."

"Wow… still getting used to that…" he admitted.

"Me too." He could make out a blush on her cheeks now. "You don't mind, do you?"

"Not at all, that is if you don't."

"Of course not. It's just that we're still… you know…"

"I know." He summed up his courage and did his best to sound appreciative. "That doesn't mean I don't like getting a kiss from my marefriend." Just saying that still made him tingle with pleasure.

"Good, because I like giving them to my coltfriend," she replied, stepping closer to him.

"Glad that we agree on that then, Miss Sparkle."

"You know, I always like it when you call me that."

"Well… that's why I call you it, Miss Sparkle."

"Oh, now you're just teasing me," she giggled.

"You know, I'm standing right here," Spike cut in, snapping them out of their zone. "Geez, I can't stand office romances…"

"Heh… sorry Spike…" Dusk returned once more to his embarrassed state and Twilight diverted her gaze shyly. "So… back to work?"

"Yeah… actually, wait, there's something I want to show you!" She grabbed his hoof and pulled him over to another of the sections.

Dusk felt another jolt when her hoof made contact with his and allowed himself to be pulled along. While it was true the two of them were still new to the concept of a romantic relationship and as such were still getting used to some public displays of affection, or even when it was just in private, but there was no denying they were both enjoying their newfound relationship. Dusk knew that he certainly was, enjoying Twilight's company more than ever and feeling even more empty when they parted.

Twilight too, despite her previous inhibitions regarding the idea of her engaging in romance, seemed to be happy being together with him too. Just today, her face had lit up when she saw him in a way that it never had before. Those shy glances they'd shared now turned into full blown, almost sensuous stares across the room. Sure, she always made sure she carried on with her studies and research, but she always found the time to throw him a look and remind him of just how lucky he really was.

He dwelled on those feelings happily before returning to reality and Twilight, who was now levitating a series of heavy-looking volumes down from one of the shelves and passing them to him eagerly, clearly excited about this. That meant that she could have only brought him over here for one possible reason and again Dusk felt privileged from how much she wanted to help him in this particular venture.

"So, I was thinking last night about some books you might want to have a look at for your sessions with Luna," she explained excitedly. "Finally, I settled on a few good ones and decided which to give you for a bit of light reading." About ten heavy books slammed on the floor next to him.

"That's light?" he heard Spike remark behind him. Dusk had to agree. The pile was almost the same size as he was.

"Anyway," Twilight continued, ignoring him, "so you'll obviously want to look at a few magical tomes, works from Starswirl the Bearded, Marelin the Magnificent, that sort of thing, because I have no doubt she'll be teaching you some advanced levels of magic. I don't know what potential your magic has, but I'm sure there'll be something in these. These cover everything from low-level enchantment to high-level conjuring, so you should be set here."

"Good to know," he said, eyeing the pile unsurely and realising something. "Thanks for this, but I-"

"Oh, you're welcome, but those are just the magical volumes." She beamed and levitated down a few more. "Now, I know that science isn't really your thing, but I still think it would be good to brush up on it a bit, because science and magic can overlap quite a bit. So I also managed to find you some works from a few noteworthy ponies, like Professor Proton, Doctor Beaker, Doctor Test Tube." She opened one of them and grimaced a little. "Actually, perhaps not that one, most of his work is rather controversial. I'm shocked some of these were even published."

"Right. But it's just that I-"

"Hold on, hold on, just one last thing, I know you're going to like this." Adding to the steadily growing pile, she pulled down even more. "As you know, magic has left a pretty big impact on history and I know you're pretty much covered where that's concerned, but I still think you should have another good look at some of this stuff. I got you some texts relating to the early days of the Unification, the Reign of Chaos, the Golden Age of Magic, some accounts of noteworthy magical researchers. In short, just about everything you'll ever need for studying significant magical events and discoveries throughout Equestria's history."

"Yeah, all you need now is a book about kitchen sinks," Spike remarked again.

"Make jokes all you like Spike, but we'll see who's laughing when Dusk is fully prepared and ready for whatever Princess Luna might have in store for him."

"Yeah, you'll sure put me in my place. Why don't you just give him the whole library while you're at it, you pretty much did," he added.

"Oh, don't mind him Dusk, you and I both know you'll need to be as ready as you can be and, with my help, I'm sure you will be," she said proudly.

"Um… sure…" He watched warily a pile that looked like it was going to fall.

"I knew you'd see things my way! So, what did you want to say?" she asked, her bright smile still on her face.

"Oh right, yes… well, you see…" He didn't want her to feel like she had wasted her time after doing all of this for him, but it still needed to be said. "I ah… I'm still having trouble with um… reading."

"What?" Her smile faltered. "You mean your eyes still haven't recovered?"


"Oh." Now her face fell, as did the piles of books, perfectly on cue and scattering all over the floor.

"Great, because I didn't have enough to clean up," complained Spike, slamming a book into its place.

"I'm sorry Dusk," she said, once again ignoring Spike. "I… I didn't know that you were still… having trouble seeing."

"How could you not know?" Spike cried. "He took three tries to get his bag and hat on the hook, he hit his head off the door frame, twice, sorted a book on ABCs into Classic Literature and he stood on my tail! On my tail! And it hurt!"

"Thank you Spike," Dusk said, finally responding to the dragon. "I'm sorry I didn't say anything, but… I didn't want to worry you."

"Dusk, if anything, I'm sorry for not noticing." She sighed. "And to think, I got you all excited about studying when you can barely read."

"Yeah…" He backed away from the toppled books a little. "It made me think… do you think I should get glasses?"

Twilight perked up once again. "Of course I would, like I mentioned yesterday. I'd say that it's a definite. It might not be permanent damage, but it looks like it's not going away any day soon, so it's only sensible that you get yourself some glasses until your eyes get better."

"I suppose that makes sense," Dusk shrugged, glad she wasn't commenting on the possibility of what he might look like with them.

"In fact, now you mention it, let's go and get you some, get it over with." She looked around to Spike. "You don't mind if we head out for a bit, do you Spike?"

"No… hey wait a min-!"

"Great! Come on, let's go." She pulled Dusk along to the door quickly, letting him stop to get his hat.

Just before he left, Dusk could make out his fellow assistant glaring after them amidst a multitude of books on the floor. Feeling a little guilty leaving him like this, but also eager to spend some time alone with Twilight without him interrupting, Dusk gave him a sheepish smile and followed his marefriend out of the door.

"Yes Mr Noir, it's definite that you need some lenses for the state your eyes are in," the optician said from behind the desk after Dusk had finished his tests. "Quite frankly, I'm surprised you didn't come here earlier than this."

"I know, I should have," Dusk admitted, taking his prescription for glasses. "It's just… I thought that…"

Though he trailed off, the stallion seemed to read his mind. "Mr Noir, I assure you, having to wear glasses is nothing to be ashamed of." He adjusted a pair of his own on the end of his nose. "If ponies do mock for it, just don't pay them any mind. Besides, we have a wide range of choices for glasses that would suit you."

Feeling a little more spirited than before, Dusk returned the opticians smile and returned to Twilight, who was waiting nearby. She beamed proudly at him.

"There we go, now all you need to do is pick out a pair that fits you best." She looked around at all of the glinting lenses. "I wish we'd brought Rarity for this, she's better at it."

"Perhaps, but I'm sure we'll be fine," Dusk said lightly. "Besides, I'd much rather hear what you think, since that's something you are definitely the best at."

"Aw, thank you Dusk." She shyly nuzzled his neck, but he could still feel the warmth from the gesture. "You can be quite… sweet at times."

"Thanks," he mumbled. Compliments like that were another thing they were still getting used to. "Right, let's have a look at these then."

He levitated down the first pair he could see, a pair of typical round spectacles. When he put them on, they instantly made his eyesight so much more clear that he almost jumped in surprise. He looked at them in the mirror, but decided within seconds that these didn't suit him at all. They made him look too geeky… wow, now he was thinking like both Rarity and Rainbow Dash.

He turned to look at Twilight, but ended up stopping and staring for a few minutes before she brought him out of his reverie.

"Sorry, it's just… I'd forgotten how… well…"

"Forgotten what?" she asked gently.

"How… amazing you look."

This comment obviously caught her off-guard, her eyes widening like saucers. But they soon sparkled with happiness, an expression reflected in her perfect smile.

"You really are sweet," she echoed utter assurance, enough to make his face burn. "Thank you. So, not the right pair?"

"What? Oh, the glasses! No, I don't think so…" He placed them back and put on the next set, that looked rather like sunglasses.

"Oh, that works!" remarked Twilight. "You look cool with those ones."

"Cool yes," he nodded, noting how much he looked like some kind of secret agent with them on. "But… cool isn't really me, more like our mutual cyan friend."

"I know what you mean," she giggled. "I think they look good on you, but if you don't like them, that's fine."

"Thanks," he said warmly, putting them back and stopping to have a think.

He was rather reminded of the time he had picked out his now iconic trilby. He didn't want to look too geeky wearing them, but that didn't mean he was unashamed of his intelligence. He wanted to look okay in them, but not end up looking like a rock star. Something that still looked decent and allowed him to see clearly, a middle ground in a sense.

He browsed for a few more minutes, stopping and pausing on some, but eventually moving on to the next set. All the while, Twilight waited patiently, providing the occasional bit of insight on what she thought looked good for him. Most of the time, they found themselves agreeing with one another in this sense and were gradually narrowing down the choices. It seemed like it was taking a while, but because he was with her, time seemed immaterial in that moment.

Finally, Dusk found himself lingering a little longer than normal on a pair of black-rimmed square shaped reading glasses. They allowed him to see better than before, which was ultimately what he wanted, but they also helped to, as Rarity had put it, emphasize his intelligence. They didn't make him look like a nerd, they just made him look… clever. Plus, the colour worked well with his hat, so that was another bonus.

He turned to Twilight, feeling the smile grow on his face, which was matched by her. She nodded in satisfaction.

"Do we have a winner?" she asked.

"I think we do. What do you think?"

"I think so too."

"Then it's settled," they both said in unison. Blushing and laughing, Dusk paid for them and walked back out into Ponyville.

Already, he could see the much needed improvement. Like somepony had made some sort of adjustment to him, he could see clearly once again, making out every little detail from the clouds in the clear blue sky, to the stones upon the ground. Even better, he could once again make out the beautiful face of Twilight Sparkle and be dazzled again by her radiant smile.

Caught up in the moment, he leaned in and bestowed a kiss on her cheek. She blinked and gasped in surprise from the gesture.

"Whoa… what was that for?"

"Oh um… well… just happy, that's all," he mumbled, feeling embarrassed again. "I didn't think you'd mind…"

He felt her hoof touch his cheek, turn his face back around and her lips briefly on his for a bit, giving him that fleeting feeling that he was like a Pegasus in flight.

"I never said I did." Nuzzling his cheek again, Dusk grinning once more, they walked side-by-side through the streets. "For the record, I think you look cute in those glasses."

"Really… you do?"

"Certainly. Now come on, let's go back and give Spike a hoof," she suggested, leading him off.

"Right you are, Miss Sparkle." Walking alongside her, his new glasses propped on his eyes, Dusk decided that perhaps wearing these wouldn't be so bad after all.

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