Author's notes:

This is a G3 story, but not based on Hasbro's videos at all, so please consider it an alternate universe if you've seen them. :) Some "female" ponies are male.

The title may change at some point. But I've kicked around a lot of ideas and this is the only one that really "fit" so far.

Past Tense is set before Wishing Well, which I promise I will eventually finish. I swear!


Past Tense

Chapter 1

He sat, unmindful of the flowers drifting around his hooves and settling on his deep purple mane. His world had narrowed to a certain patch of ground just beyond the gently sloping hillside, a neat rectangle of short, vibrant grass that sprung up more spryly than the thick waves of coarse, bending meadow grass surrounding it.

Kimono was doing what he did best. Remembering.

The pony stretched beside him shifted in the darkness, stirring the blankets nestled around them. "Kimono?"

"Yes, dear?"

"I'm going to have a baby."

He didn't reply, but a wave of happiness washed over him.

A cherry blossom landed on his nose and he blew it off without moving his eyes from the slightly sunken patch of grass. The tulips he had picked earlier, a bright splash of red and pink against the carpeting green, slowly died beneath the sun, no longer beaded with dew.

"Kimono?"

"Yes, darling?"

"I'm going to have a baby."

"That's wonderful . . ."

The sun rolled slowly across the sky, passing its blazing zenith and wearily sinking towards the horizon. When Kimono stood at last, his shadow stretched long behind him. He picked a familiar path between the grassy graves, only deviating from his course to avoid the occasional clusters of ponies gathered to weep over a fresh plot of dirt. Kimono was possessive of his grief and did not like to see the emotion reflected on others.

A rough stone wall separated the living from the dead in Ponyville, a mishmash of craggy rocks piled on top of each other, held together only by their own weight. During the winter snow had piled atop the shoulder-high wall and ice had formed in the crevices between the rocks; now it was spring and the stones from the top layer of the wall lay scattered on the ground, more often than not, jarred off balance by the retreating ice that had supported them for so long. The purple stallion replaced a few rocks on his way out. He rebuilt the wall a little more each day.

His hooves clopped against the cobbled path into Ponyville; the scenes before him were so familiar that he didn't notice the cheery, colorful houses mushrooming alongside the road or the castle rearing in the distance. Only once did he pause, and that was when he saw a weathered wood cart with only three sides; it waited in front of a pale pink house, its harness empty for now. A faint wail issued through the walls of the house behind it. Tomorrow there would be new mourners in the cemetery.

Kimono turned his head away and walked on.

A few of the neighbors chatted quietly in the small square that their houses lined. There was an awkward moment when they saw him walking past; the time for murmured condolences had passed, but they hesitated to greet him normally, perhaps sensing that he still mourned. Daisy and Tinka nodded to him while Strawberry, not quite meeting his eye, offered an uncomfortable "Good evening, Kimono."

"Good evening," he said politely, without stopping. The silence hung behind him for a few seconds before his neighbors resumed their gossip.


Kimono pushed open the neat white gate that led to the little garden in front of his pale yellow stuccoed house. He had not done much gardening recently, but the perennial bulbs still pushed their way up, uncaring of the lack of maintenance. Many of the more fragile plants had not survived the harsh winter anyway, and those that did had largely withered away from neglect. But Kimono had found time to dig the tough, thorny stalks of the rose bushes out from under their protective insulation of pine needles, watering them carefully and pulling out any weeds that dared encroach on them as they slowly unfurled new leaves.

Kimono pulled the front door open with the slightly frayed, braided tassel hanging from it. Mechanically he wiped his hooves on the mat in front of the doorway before stepping inside. The interior was a smooth display of polished wood, whitewashed walls, and crystal windows. A beautifully carved mahogany table stood in the center of the dining room at chest height, with precisely spaced embroidered cushions encircling it. Clever little shelves built into the walls held delicate trinkets and knickknacks carved far away by slender elven hands.

The purple stallion opened a cupboard in the kitchen (neatly tiled in blue and white), removing a white rag tending slightly to grey after multiple washings and also a feather duster. He polished the table without noticing how the wood already reflected his slender face and dusted the shelves without seeing them.

He put away the cleaning supplies, carefully shut the cupboard, and stood staring blankly for a moment. Then he turned and slowly walked to the door at the end of the hall, gently leaning his shoulder against the panels so that it swung open slowly.

Dust motes floated in the shafts of late afternoon light spilling across the heavy white rugs. The room was buried in heavy ruffles of light pink, from the canopy draped over the bed to the frills cascading around the sides of the walnut dresser. Pastel quilts, sewed carefully by calloused grundle hands, hung from the walls, each one furred with a layer of thin grey dust. Kimono seldom cleaned here; this room was meant to be thought about, not disturbed.

The stallion entered with careful steps that sank into the deep, shaggy rugs. He made his way to the dresser, dipping his head so that his muzzle nearly brushed the dried rose sitting frail and brittle in its crystalline vase beside the brush lying face up, tangled with strands of yellow and pink hair. A yellow terrycloth robe hung from a clothes tree nearby, the soft belt of the garment dangling loose and limp.

Kimono stepped back with ceremonial, almost reverent steps. A half-turn and he was facing the bed, pink ruffles and all. Most ponies slept on low, padded pallets, not raised beds with mattresses, but nevertheless Kimono pulled himself onto the mass of feathery softness without hesitation. He settled himself in the slight indent in the center of the bed. With his front legs stretched in front of him and one bent slightly, he lay there, staring stiffly out of the frills.

"Kimono?"

"Yes, love?"

"I'm going to have a foal."

"That's wonderful . . ."

Kimono stayed there while the shadows stretched around him. At last he climbed down, tracked back through the thick rugs, and carefully pulled the door shut behind him. He wandered to the kitchen, ate a little, and curled up on the pallet in his own room, resting his head on his hooves and staring up at the pale moon beyond his window until sleep claimed him.

The sun woke him early the next morning, streaming through the eastward facing window. The purple pony sat up, his muzzle pointing towards the ceiling as he stretched. He stood, shaking away the blue blanket tangled around one of his hind hooves. Kimono rubbed the sleep from his eyes, then turned and shook out the two blankets on his bedding before neatly straightening them on top of his padded sleep pallet. The room was otherwise almost bare, containing only an austere oak wardrobe and a beautiful set of folding screens in the corner, painted with delicate, minimalist mountains and forests fading into dabbles of fog.

Kimono trotted into the garden, pulled a few weeds, and watered the roses as he always did. He nipped off the leaves of some of the edible plants and gulped them down without tasting them. The last of the crocuses were just bursting into bloom in brilliant gold, white, and purple on the shady side of the house, the first flowers of spring which were also the first to die. He paused to pick a full bouquet of them, winding a length of string around their short stems to hold together the explosion of color.

And then he began the long trek to the graveyard.