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    The nightmares happened often enough that she was starting to get used to them. 

    She’d wake up with a start, her heart pounding in her chest, followed in short order by her eyes desperately looking to the spot next to her on the bed and only relaxing when she’d see Twilight there—sleeping soundly, there next to her rather than trapped in the library behind a black barrier. 

    Rarity took a deep breath, rubbing her hoof against her forehead. It’s over, she’d think to herself, desperately. Twilight was safe, Luna was out, and Twilight was well on the path to recovery. And so was Rarity, wasn’t she? 

    And yet… And yet, and yet, and yet these stupid nightmares kept coming back. 

    After a steadying sigh, she lay back down on the bed, hoping sleep would find her fast and sound, away from more nightmares. But, rather than sleep, it was Twilight who found her, lazily wrapping a wing over Rarity while her forehooves reached out for her, dragging her close enough that Twilight could hold her like a plush toy. 

    “Nightmare again?” came the quiet question, the only thing betraying Twilight was awake. 

    Embarrassed, Rarity shrunk in Twilight’s embrace. “Yes… I’m sorry, did I wake you?”

    Twilight’s eyes opened only just. “No,” she said, “I had a dream, too.”

    “Did you?” Rarity asked, curious. Twilight didn’t often talk about her dreams, and in fact, it was very rare she ever confessed to having ones, especially now that she was a dreamwalker. “What about?”

    Twilight was quiet a minute, her eyes fixed on Rarity. Thinking. Pondering. And then, carefully confessing, “That Discord never cursed me.”

    Rarity blinked. “That he never cursed you?”

    “Mm. That we defeated him back then, and nopony was trapped, and it was all…” She paused. “All right, I guess.”

    Rarity’s expression softened, her hoof gently brushing against Twilight’s chest. “Oh, darling.”

    “I’ve had that dream before. Well. Not the dream, but back when I was in the library, I’d day dream about it. I’d think about what if none of this had happened, and we’d all been okay, and nopony had tricked nopony else, and everything was… fine. I used to think about it all the time, until it hurt too much to think about because it would never be true.”

    “I’m sorry,” Rarity said, because what else could she say? What else when she’d benefitted so wholly from the awful things Discord did because it resulted with her having Twilight in her life. 

    How silly and stupid her nightmare now felt compared to Twilight’s. 

    “This was the first time I’ve… I’ve had that as a dream,” Twilight continued, seemingly unaware of Rarity’s internal conflict. “It felt so real. Shining was there, and my parents, and the princesses, and Spike, and everyone was fine, and happy, and I even had a niece called…” She hesitated, frowning. “Shining Love? Shining Heart? Something like that.”

    Rarity hummed, trying to be sympathetic. Stars, she felt truly bad now. Rarity gaining the love of her life had come at the cost of her love’s entire… future? A future she was supposed to have and was ripped away from her. 

    “And I feel awful,” Twilight continued, her voice quiet, troubled almost. 

    “Awful? Why? It makes sense,” Rarity said, trying to push away her own thoughts. She reached out and affectionately brushed Twilight’s bangs back. “That sounds like a wonderful dream, and waking up from wonderful dreams is awfu—”

    “It felt like a nightmare,” Twilight interrupted, almost immediately. “Actually, it was a nightmare, and that makes me feel awful. What that implies, I guess.”

    Rarity leaned back, brow furrowing. “What do you mean?”

    Twilight didn’t specifically look at Rarity, almost as if she were evading her gaze. “It should have been a nice dream, but… But I remembered everything from now. And I was stuck in the past, and I knew…” She blushed slightly, embarrassed. “I knew you were in the future, and I would never see you because… well, artificial alicorns aren’t ageless or immortal, and… and so many ponies suffered because of what Discord did to us, including me—especially me!–but when I woke up and saw you there, I felt so relieved I thought I could cry.”  Finally, she looked at Rarity. “Does that make me a terrible pony?”

    Rarity was quiet a moment.

    “Well,” she eventually said, “I don’t think it’s necessarily selfish to have grown attached to… to the good you tried to find out of a terrible situation. In fact, perhaps your life now has more meaning than any potential happy future you could have had because you had to fight so hard for this one. So, the idea of losing this one feels worse than anything else you could lose, because now it matters so very much.”

    Twilight groaned, closing her eyes and pulling the giggling unicorn closer to her chest. “See, this is why I didn’t want anypony getting close again! I can’t risk losing them!”

    “Losing them? I beg your pardon, but I have never gotten lost!” Rarity protested. “The only pony making herself inaccessible for years at a time is you, princess.”

    Twilight giggled, rolling her eyes. “That was one time.”

    “And one time was one time too many!” Rarity insisted. “Count yourself lucky I’m not so awful. You’d never survive if I decided to disappear on you, I assure you.”

    Though she meant it as a joke, Twilight didn’t seem to take it as one, studying Rarity intently. “I wouldn’t,” she eventually said, as intensely as her gaze, viscerally vulnerable so much so it might have startled Rarity. “I don’t think I could…”

    “And you won’t have to,” Rarity said, sparing Twilight having to voice the difficult thought. “Unfortunately for you, nothing could ever keep me away from you, silly pony! Neither rain nor shine, nor spirits of chaos or princesses locking themselves in barriers! Why, not even death itself could do us part!”

    Twilight laughed, nuzzling her partner and planting a gentle kiss on her cheek. “I’m holding you to that, Rarity. I expect to be haunted if you’re the first to go.”

    “But of course,” Rarity replied. “I have learned about ghosts from the very best, after all! You were an excellent teacher.”

    Twilight snorted. “For the millionth time, I was displaced, which is not dead, but alright, sure, Rarity.”

    “Good niiiight,” Rarity said, burying herself in Twilight’s warm, winged embrace. 

    Though she’d never tell this to Twilight, it was true there was a selfish aspect to… their situation. The guilty confession that she was grateful Discord was a monster, because it resulted in Twilight being in her life. In fact, maybe it was a privilege she kept having nightmares about losing Twilight, for what could be more special and remarkable than having something so precious one cannot bear to lose it? 

    And so, that said, if she was to benefit from this awful tragedy—which she had already, so deliriously in love, hardships and all—then the least she could do is play her part, falling asleep with the comfort and security of knowing that so long as she had a say, nopony else would hurt Twilight ever again. 

    After this disaster of a year for me, I’m finally starting to try and heal the damage it did to my writing spirit. I’ve been meaning to DO SOMETHING with TELverse (besides finishing TEC), but it’s been difficult because the messages of TELverse hit… a bit too close to home after this year.

    But, I forced myself to persevere and wrote a little ficlet as practice. I hope you like it!


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    1. Dimbulb
      Dec 22, '23 at 11:37 am

      “Well,” she eventually said, “I don’t think it’s necessarily selfish to have grown attached to… to the good you tried to find out of a terrible situation. In fact, perhaps your life now has more meaning than any potential happy future you could have had because you had to fight so hard for this one. So, the idea of losing this one feels worse than anything else you could lose, because now it matters so very much.”

      This. This is beautiful.

      1. @DimbulbDec 22, '23 at 12:02 pm

        thank you ;-; i’m glad you liked it

      2. horse wizard
        @DimbulbDec 22, '23 at 4:46 pm

        tried to think of a more elaborate comment than “well i like this a whole lot” but, well, i like it a whole lot. thanks for sharing it

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