Gilda clutched a small piece of paper, staring at the flickering image, the wind whipping it around. She tightened her grip around the photo, not letting the last morsel of her friendship be stolen by the greedy wind. Rainbow Dash smiled up from the picture, happy in her pose, leaning against Gilda.
Gilda felt a single tear snake down her feathered cheek, as she mourned the loss of her friendship.
“Those… ponies. They took her away. Greedy, selfish, stupid, lame PONIES!” Gilda spluttered, her voice cutting in to the empty skies around her and echoing, her voice lonely. Tears flew steadily now, warm against the cold air, dripping on to the creased picture, washing the vibrant colours of the cyan pony’s mane into a mixture.
Flakes began to twirl from the sky, lacy, delicate white circles fluttering around the hunched figure. Gilda openly sobbed, tears flowing like a waterfall from her deep amber eyes, sliding over her glossy white feathers and dripping off her orange beak. She watched the flakes twirl through the grey skies, waltzing to a swelling tune of mournful violins as she held the photo close to her heart, cradling it in her warm caress against the bitter wind.
The crunch of talons sounded behind her in the crisp snow, alerting Gilda that someone had been there the whole time. She drew her talons across her eyes, drying some of the tears that had slicked across her glossy feathers, and turned around to see who had been spying on her.
“Who…?” she began, trying to mask her misery with her usual brash confidence. Gilda stopped mid-sentence, her heart warming up as she saw a familiar griffon standing opposite her, sheepish and, to Gilda’s surprise, crying too.
It was her childhood friend, Dmitri, a fellow griffon, smiling weakly at the beautiful griffon before him. He silently glided over to her side, wrapping a wing around her.
“I saw what happened.” He whispered, looking into her saffron eyes steadily, wiping away a tear from Gilda’s eye. “What did they do to you?”
“They… they turned me into a fool…” she spluttered, moving closer into her friend’s warm embrace.
“But you’re nobody’s fool!” he said, frowning. “Gilda, who could think that?”
“The ponies,” she said dejectedly. “All of them. They all think I’m a bully… But they took Dashie. How could they take my best friend? How dare they?” Gilda began seething, her hurt expression turning into one of seething rage quickly, images of a certain pink party pony bubbling up from the back of her mind. Dmitri held her tighter and felt her body relax against his, her warm breath exhaling as a cloud in the crisp air.
“Rainbow Dash… She was my best friend. She never laughed at me, and she always had the best jokes, and was awesome in a race…” Gilda said, looking into Dmitri’s face, longing for him to empathise. Dmitri nodded, listening intently to the radiant griffon in his hold. Whilst she enthused about Rainbow Dash, he could only see the good in Gilda – his beautiful, funny, powerful friend whom he had known since he was only very young.
“They took something special from you.” He concluded, taking Gilda’s face into his talons. “I swear I won’t go away, Gilda. I won’t go away.” Tears formed as he slowly whispered the words into her ear, leaning into her and kissing her, first tentatively, but as they relaxed, the two griffons locked into their embrace and kissed with all the passion they had ever known, the delicate snowflakes swirling around them, dancing in a gentle blizzard between the two griffons.
Gilda let all the memories of Ponyville slip away, instead hugging Dmitri tighter, her heart swelling as she realised the love that they had shared all those years, unspoken, yet mutual. She finally pulled away to look at Dmitri, a playful smile on her face.
“I’m… I’m sorry… I don’t know what came over me…” he said, his face anxious and worried of how Gilda would react. Gilda shook her head and laughed, tears of what were once loneliness turning into ones of joy as she looked at him lovingly, moving closer under his brown wing again.
Dmitri returned the smile and hugged her tight before standing up, shaking the white flakes off his feathers and holding out his talons to Gilda.
“May have this dance?” he asked mischievously, and Gilda smiled for the first time in days and wiped away the remains of any tears, standing up and getting into a waltzing position with Dmitri. The pair swirled to a tune that flooded their minds, their bodies intertwining as one as they paced across the ground in time to the music, dipping and swirling and giggling, lost in each other’s eyes. Gilda knew she still loved Rainbow Dash and wanted her to be her friend, but Gilda took comfort knowing that she wouldn’t have to heal alone. They finished with a final flourish and looked at each other, breathless. Before Gilda knew it, she was kissing Dmitri again, each other’s body heat warming them inside and out, their wings shielding them in a cocoon of russet, fluttering feathers, protecting them from the bitter elements whipping around them.
“They don’t know you like I know you, Gilda, all those ponies are the same. Rainbow Dash would never love you like I have. She’s moved on, now, and if you really love her… you’d let her go.” Dmitri said, looking into Gilda’s eyes again, his arm around her shoulders, comforting her.
“I.. I guess.” She said, shrugging. Dmitri realised it would be a tender subject, but he knew Gilda, and was confident she’d forgive Rainbow Dash and her friends and be strong enough to know that she wasn’t Dashie’s best friend anymore.
Now, the snow is getting heavy, won’t you please come back with me?” he said, smiling at her. Gilda nodded and stood up, leaning her head against his, their tails intertwining. They looked at each other and began walking home, to the warmth that awaited them inside.