"Promise that you'll never leave. I'd be so lost without you."
The demand came out in a pained tone, barely audible over the other pony's panting. The feel of the silken sheets against her fur and the warm body nestled against her back brought little comfort, and despite the tingling pleasure still lingering in her entire being, the unicorn found herself on the verge of a breakdown. Even though her mate's presence was usually enough to chase away the depressive thoughts and uncertainty, on some nights, the unicorn was unable to focus on anything but the past.
"You know I won't. I love you, Babe, and nothing's gonna come along and change that." The pegasus leaned upon an elbow, propping herself up beneath the sheets as she trailed a hoof lazily down her lover's back. More shuddering gasps escaped her mate as the mare ran her tongue down the back of her friend's glistening neck in slow circles before resting her forehead upon the soft fur.
"I know how hard it is not to think about it, and on some nights, I feel it, too. But… just let it go for tonight. We both need to be strong to make it through this, and you just landed that job, right? Things'll turn around. If anypony can figure it out, you can. You'll see."
The smaller mare closed her eyes as a warm sensation passed over her chest. Looking down, she found a pair of forelegs enveloping her in a tight hug, barely visible in the darkness of the bedroom. She leaned her head back, nestling it under the neck of the other pony, and allowed herself to be comforted by the reassuring words.
"I hope you're right. I really, really do. Sometimes, I just… I can't even believe that she's gone."
The mare felt her mane being stroked gently as the pony behind her sighed, accompanied by the slightest hint of a sniffle.
"Neither can I. Just… please. Let's get some sleep. We can talk about it again tomorrow. Kay?"
The mare nodded softly, brushing her mane into the chest of the one holding her. With a sigh of her own, she shifted position slightly, arching her back to revel in the sensation of warm fur against her own.
"You're right. I'm sorry. Your big audition to join the team is tomorrow, and we both need rest. You for flying, me for cheering." The mare allowed herself a yawn before drawing the sheets closer around herself, and a smile as she felt her mate do the same. "Goodnight."
"Goodnight, Babe. Tomorrow will be a brighter day."
The oncoming headache throbbed dully in the back of the unicorn's head as she furrowed her brow, twisting knobs and studying her target with utmost concentration. Unblinking, she sucked in a breath, holding it in with anticipation as she watched the scene play out before her irritated eyes. No changes. Once again, she had failed. The new injection had done nothing to stop them, and another week's worth of research had ended in heartbreak. The pony closed her eyes, holding back tears as she leaned her forehead into the eye pieces of the microscope, pressing as hard as she could in an attempt to alleviate some of her frustration.
"Doctor Belle? Ma'am, it's half past five. Time to clock out."
Sweetie Belle raised her head immediately, and licked her lips before clearing her throat and turning around to face the speaker. She offered a half smile as she brushed her long, two-tone mane out of her face with a hoof, hoping that her colleague wouldn't question her composure.
"I know. I was just… I wanted to look one more time. I'm sorry. I'll get going."
The caramel-coated pony nodded, shifting his spectacles further up his nose as he did so. With a smooth motion, he took a pen out of his lab coat, grasping it in his mouth and scribbling upon the clipboard held before him in midair by a bright green aura. "I'm… sorry to hear that it's still not working."
The stallion sighed and replaced his pen back into its pocket before shaking his head. This had almost become routine, and though his co-worker's drive was inspiring, catching her working past hours was beginning to get old. "We'll get there. It may not be in my lifetime, or even yours, but… keep at it. You're a talented researcher, and an invaluable credit to this team."
Sweetie Belle looked up and blinked in surprise. Somewhere between his words, her gaze had ended up fixated upon the white tile floor, and her mind had followed the surface to another place. The smell of bleach, that sense of sterility- it always unnerved her, and dragged the hardworking pony back into memories she would rather forget. Her co-worker hiked a brow with a questioning look, as though expecting her to say something. It took several seconds of silent staring for her to find the words.
"It's… I'm sorry, Doctor. It's… Thursday," she said in a muted voice. The stallion's questioning gaze turned to one of worry, and he gave a firm nod of understanding before trotting over and resting a hoof upon her shoulder.
"Ah… yes, it is. I'm sure she'll be happy to see you."
Sweetie Belle swallowed, and tried once again to fight back tears. Not one drop of moisture left her eyes, which promptly found their way back to the white tile. Years of practice at holding back tears had served the girl well, and she only allowed herself to release them around one other mare.
The jarring sound of an awkward, forced cough sent a tingle throughout Sweetie's body, and she jumped a bit as her friend removed his hoof and placed it slowly back to the floor. "…good luck, Sweetie. Try to get some rest tonight, and take tomorrow off. You need it."
The mare nodded immediately, and gave a half smile. "Thank you. I'll see you next week."
The lights flicked off as the other pony left the room, leaving only a few dull glows as the only light source. A sigh escaped the lone mare as she shuffled off her lab coat, revealing her dress shirt and dark slacks. With a careful swirl of light purple magic, her coat floated slowly through the air to land upon the waiting hook, where it came to a rest against the wall with a quiet shuffle. Sweetie pulled her hair back and tied it into a bun, frowning as she surveyed the room while turning slowly in a melancholy motion. Lit, transparent cabinets, an autoclave, the dull hum of an incubator, and the smell of bleach. How she hated that smell.
For what felt like the thousandth time, Sweetie dipped the tag around her neck into the waiting machine on the wall, and waited for the sharp 'clack'. Successfully signed out for the day, the mare turned and walked slowly across the floor, back to her previously abandoned microscope. A final glance through the device revealed that nothing had changed, and her heart sank just a little bit further. With a huff, she flicked off the backlight on the device, and swore quietly as she hung her head.
"One day. One day, I'll figure you out. One day, I'll be the one to stop this. For both of them, and everypony else," she whispered. A single tear slid down her face and found its way down to the tile floor, abandoned to the darkness as Sweetie Belle turned and left the laboratory. One final click, and the door was locked, leaving the room completely dark as the last occupant exited the building.
The scent of the city streets was a welcome change as the mare stepped outside, and she found herself inhaling desperately, smiling as the crisp autumn breeze filled her lungs. The refreshing wind swept through her and expelled the familiar laboratory scents from her nose, banishing the dark thoughts that came attached to them.
"Hey! There you are! Geeze, can't you ever just get out on time?"
Sweetie opened her eyes and displayed a toothy grin. Her heart leapt at the familiar voice, and she responded with her traditional line. "Hay no. I've got a world to save."
Light purple eyes rolled skyward as the pegasus walked toward her exhausted friend, grinning ear to ear as she pranced down the street. Her blue and yellow hoodie was drawn tight around her head, obscuring her mane and coloration, but Sweetie recognized the voice immediately and galloped straight for her best friend, embracing her with an affectionate nuzzle as they met in front of the tall building.
"Damn, I've missed you. This tour went on for so long!"
Sweetie was unable to contain her own grin, and tightened the embrace. Through the years, the pegasus had been the only one to truly stick by her, and the only one to understand her radical shift in lifestyle. All of her other friends had either distanced themselves or were unable to be there, but none of that mattered anymore. So long as Sweetie had Scootaloo to come home to at the end of the day, everything else would work out.
"Yeah, well, Captain Dash runs you guys like that. It's not a surprise anymore." Sweetie added a little snark to her voice, only to be batted playfully on the shoulder by her snickering mate.
"Babe, you can't do that stand-offish tone. It just doesn't work. Leave it to the professionals," Scootaloo replied as she pulled down her hood, letting a cascade of long, fuchsia hair spill down over her shoulders. "And speaking of things not being a surprise, I guess I should've expected you to be late. Even on the first day of off-season. Y'know, when I dragged my flank down here to wait for you, in the frigid, deathly cold."
It was Sweetie's turn to roll her eyes as the two began walking side by side, passing ponies on the streets while they idly chatted. The entire world seemed to disappear when Scootaloo spoke, and Sweetie found herself entranced by the Wonderbolt's words as she told her tale of the final show of the season.
"And then Dash did her classic Rainboom, and the crowd went nuts! Oh, man, I so wish you were there!"
"I do, too," came the melancholy reply. Both ponies sighed in unison, and the orange pegasus turned around to find her companion standing slightly behind her, no longer walking in sync. Scootaloo let out a sigh and trotted back to the unsure mare, doing her best to swallow her pride as she looked away.
"Babe… look, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said anything. I know how important your job is, more than anypony else. What you're doing for 'bloom is more important than any show of mine. Are you… getting anywhere?"
Sweetie scrunched her nose as she looked back up at her best friend and lover, somewhat annoyed by the innocent question. "No. Everypony's been working on a cure for years, and we've barely made any progress. And… a-and this isn't just about Applebloom anymore." Sweetie's breathing quickened a bit, and for the second time that day, she held back her tears. "There was nothing we could do for her. That may be why I chose this road, and I am still doing it for her, too, but… I-I'm not about to just sit back and watch it happen t-"
"Belle? Breathe." Scootaloo moved closer, wrapping her wings around Sweetie's shaking shoulders. Several ponies stopped to observe the pair, but the pegasus blocked them out of her mind and focused only on the trembling unicorn before her. "Just… look, I know it's hard. Really hard. But you can't think about that kinda thing all the time, it'll drive you nuts. Let's just keep walking, and I'll be there with you every step of the way. Even if I can't do all of that fancy research you got yourself into, I'm with you in spirit. And so is 'bloom. Got it?"
"G-got it." Sweetie shivered again as she leaned into the warm feathers, relishing the sensation of the fluffy appendages against her face. The two stood that way for several seconds before both moved in for a nuzzle, totally oblivious to the outside world. The embrace brought the mare's shaky nerves back to a halt, and her breathing finally slowed as Scootaloo retracted her wings and dipped her head in a firm gesture.
"Better," Sweetie nodded. The mares resumed their walk, the orange, elder pony blowing a breath into the crisp air and watching a trail of steam emerge from her mouth. "Y'know, I… think about 'bloom. A lot. It's been years, but… things will never be the same without her."
"I know." The curt reply had become typical for Sweetie, but it still brought a frown to Scootaloo's features. "It's… it's still hard, but… at the same time, it's… I can't explain it. I'm sorry."
"Don't be sorry." Sweetie flinched as she felt the sensation of a wing cuffing her upside the back of her head. "When did you get so timid?"
"When our best friend died in a hospital bed right in front of us after months of struggle, Scootaloo. That's when I became so timid. That's when I became the mare I am now, and that's when I devoted my life to research."
The pegasus stopped walking immediately, and let her mouth hang open as she turned. Her head swam with thoughts and she choked on her words, completely unable to process what had just been said. Had her light ribbing gone too far?
"That's… that's also when I became overly-sensitive, and started lashing out at everypony when I become stressed. Scoots, I'm so sorry." Scootaloo was still reeling from having the truth laid right out in front of her, and accepted the sudden nuzzle despite her entire body feeling numb.
"You're not overly-sensitive, Sweets. I'm… I just… sometimes I should just stop talking. I'm sorry."
"You take after your idol quite well," Sweetie replied with a grin as she pressed further into her friend's neck.
"Maybe you can pull off snark. Huh." Both ponies snorted together as their walk resumed for a second time. Their destination came into view as they rounded a corner, and Sweetie's eyes swam with worry. After several steps toward the large, white building, she began to shiver and sniffle again.
"Scoot… I know we can't bring her back. It's just not gonna happen. And… and I know the odds are against me right now, but… do you promise to stay with me? No matter what?"
Scootaloo nodded, her wild mane bouncing all around as she continued to walk without missing a beat. "Of course. This is hard for me, too, but… I can't even imagine what this must be like for you. I'll be with you, no matter what tomorrow brings. I promise."
The ponies continued their trek across the grass, and stepped onto the gravel pathway leading up to the hospital. The small stones crunched under Sweetie's hooves, and the noise interrupted her thoughts, drawing her attention to only the sound as her mind went blank. Despite the reassuring words, reality hit her like a wave of ice through her veins, and she found herself staring at the large, golden doors of the building entirely too soon for her liking.
"Babe, do you want me to come in with you, or would you rather talk to her alone this time?"
The unicorn paused to consider, and looked down at the white, marble steps below. The steps that she hated so much. The steps that lead to the building that had been the place where one of her closest friends left her, and where another pony dear to her was fighting the same losing battle. The steps that smelled faintly of bleach.
"…I want to see her alone. I… hope you can understand. She hasn't been doing well these past few weeks, a-and…"
"I get it. Don't say anything else." Scootaloo leaned in, and gave her soulmate a passionate kiss, pouring all of her love and support into the act in a desperate plea to let her lover know that she understood. The two broke the contact, only for Sweetie to look away. "I'll wait in the lobby, and afterward, I'll be here for you. Go and do what you need to do."
"Scootaloo… I can't thank you enough. For… for everything."
The pegasus only nodded, and watched with tear-filled eyes as the unicorn pushed open the door and stepped inside.
The only thing standing between stability and reality was a plain, wooden door. Sweetie had always treasured flights of fancy and daydreams as a filly, but after Applebloom's death, everything had changed. She became a realist; cynical, detached, and obsessed with her work. Obsessed with finding a cure. Only Scootaloo was her anchor to her fillyhood and the idealism she once had. Those feelings of security and fantasy were still there when she had her pegasus mate, but stepping through that door would shatter all illusions and lay bare her greatest fear. Sweetie had discovered that happiness and fantasy had its place, and so she treasured her unexpected relationship with her closest and most sympathetic friend. However, now was not the time nor the place for such things, and so she placed her hoof upon the handle and stepped through the door as quietly as possible.
The familiar, steady beeping reached her ears at the same time that the overpowering scent of flowers met her nose. Lilacs had always been the hospitalized pony's favorite, and so Sweetie had a fresh bouquet delivered every week. The lone girl walked as quietly has she could, half praying that the resident was asleep. She wasn't sure which would be more painful anymore, having to watch the helpless mare lying silent under the sheets, or having to speak with her and pretend that their relationship was as it always had been.
Her hooves clacked against the tile, and the noise was met with a slight rustling of sheets from around the corner, followed by a pained, dry voice.
"Sweetie? Darling, is that you?"
Sweetie winced at hearing the familiar name, not liking the memories of happier times that came with it. As she rounded the corner and spotted the reclining mare, her throat closed up and she found herself unable to say anything. Even after months of this, it never got any easier, and the sight shattered her heart every single time.
Rarity lay quite still atop the bed, barely recognizable even to her own sister. Patches of her snow white fur were missing, her mane was all but gone save for a few stringy amethyst strands drooping languidly around her face, and her once bright sapphire eyes had become a dull, faded blue. The pain in those eyes told Sweetie all that she needed to know: it wasn't getting better, and it wasn't slowing down. She looked away, closing her eyes and wishing that the skeletal mare before her would magically turn back into the pony she used to know, and the sister she used to have.
"…Sweetie? What's wron-?" Rarity broke into a coughing fit, holding a hoof over her mouth as her entire body shook beneath the sheets. Sweetie still couldn't bring herself to look up, and tried her best to shut out the sound as she responded quietly.
"How can you even ask that? You know what's wrong, Rarity. Everything is wrong about this. You shouldn't be in that bed. You never did anything to deserve this. It should be me."
"Darling, stop being ridi-"
"Don't call me that!" Sweetie yelled, eyes ablaze as she looked up and advanced upon the sickly mare. "I walked out on you! I'm the one who ran away from home, who said all of those… those terrible things to you, and… a-and… when I heard, I…"
"You came right here, and dropped our silly feud. Just like a sister should." The elder unicorn waved her hoof, beckoning her little sister closer. The distraught girl finally complied, and the former fashionista leaned in, pulling the mare into as tight of a hug she could manage with her withering forelegs. "It's all in the past. What matters now is that we make up for all of that lost time while I'm still here."
Sweetie cried. Rivers of tears poured forth from her eyes, completely unchecked for a period of time unknown. Rarity continued to hold her sister for the duration, not letting a single tear slip from her own tired orbs. She had long since run out of tears, and accepted the situation for what it was. Clearly, Sweetie had not.
"Rarity," the smaller girl choked, "you're dying."
"I know," came the quiet reply.
"…h-how can you be so calm? I still feel awful about everything I said, about the fight that I started. We hadn't seen each other for years, a-and then y-"
"It doesn't matter. Sweetie, listen to me." Rarity shifted to the side, and patted the sheets with her hoof. A small indent appeared in the material at the impact, and Sweetie slowly and carefully climbed into the bed, taking her time to avoid jostling her sister. She sighed, and buried her face into Rarity's exposed shoulder, trying her best to let the mare speak.
"We're sisters, no matter what happened, and we need each other now more than ever. I'm… I've come to terms with the fact that I'm… well… not long for this life, as it were. There's nothing that can be done."
Sweetie shut her eyes tight, pressing harder into the peach skin before her. Rarity winced just a little, but let it happen, stroking her little sister's mane as she listened to the coming protests.
"I'm trying! E-every day, I'm doing everything I can to fix this! F-first it was for Applebloom, 'cause… 'cause nopony could save her. I'm not gonna let it happen to you, too!"
Rarity shifted, slightly uncomfortable both in positioning and in spirit as she replied. "Sweetie… the odds of fixing this before it's too late are astronomically low, and you've been working with a team of Equestria's best for years. There's no doubt in my mind that you'll someday be the one to stop this, but… it's too late for me."
"No!" Sweetie cried harder, absolutely soaking the sheets as she wailed. Every single visit, she had left with eyes full of tears, cursing herself for being so weak and incapable, and every time she left, Rarity had just watched her go, saddened but unable to follow. This time, things would be different.
"I'm not going to fail! I-I'll fix it! I'll find a way! You can't leave me, Rarity, you just can't! I'm not leaving here until Monday! I don't care anymore, I just… I just want to be with you! You shouldn't have to be in pain and alone!"
"Sweetie… please. What about Scootaloo?"
The crying pony choked on her tears, and wrapped her sister in a tight hug. "She… I…"
"She needs you, too. She's always been there for you, and I know it's the first day of off-season. You haven't really had time with her in months, Darling. I'm not alone, Twilight and the others still visit." Rarity offered a sad smile, and rolled slightly to return the hug. Sweetie watched as her far hoof rose upward, dragged down by so many wires and tubes running from underneath the blankets. The sight only made her cry harder, and the tears spilled down onto her shirt as Rarity tried her best to silence her.
"Shh… Sweetie… I'll be alright. I love you so much, and just the fact that you visit every week is enough for me. I don't want you to beat yourself up over this, none of it is your fault, especially the lack of a cure."
"It is my fault! I'm useless!" she wailed, coughing as her throat ran dry. The tears had stopped, but her spirits had sunken to a level of near depression. A long silence reigned in which Rarity just held the smaller unicorn, stroking her mane as the heart monitor provided background noise.
"…you're not useless. Apple pie, remember?"
Sweetie couldn't help but laugh a bit, completely taken aback by the mention of events from so long ago.
"You're the perfect sister to me, and you always have been. I know that it's… hard to watch me here, so… I want you to go and spend the night with your Wonderbolt. You don't have to stay."
Sweetie pulled back and stepped off of the bed, eyes downcast and her clothes a total mess. "I'm not leaving. I want to make you happy again. You don't deserve this."
"Maybe not," Rarity replied as she leaned back into her pillows. "But there are two things you could do to make me happy, and neither one of them requires you to stay here."
Sweetie rolled her eyes and sniffled, knowing where this was going. "Yeah? The first is to 'spend some time with Scoot.' What's the other?"
"…take some pride in how you look, Darling. You're a mess right now, even before the crying."
Sweetie looked down at her uniform, now covered in tears, and blushed a little at the sight. Her shirt was creased in odd places, her pants were dirty, and her tie hung uneven and in complete disarray. Hesitantly, she tucked in her shirt, her face reddening even more as Rarity laughed a bit.
"I thought that you always wanted to be like me? So much for that, hm?"
"…I… I get distracted with my work. I'm sorry." Sweetie hung her head yet again, unsure of what to say.
"Oh, don't apologize. You look fine, you could just use some… cleaning up. My days in fashion are over, clearly, so let me help you." Rarity touched her hoof to one of her few remaining strands of hair and made a face of disgust. "I'm hideous now. Indulge me just a little?"
"You're not hideous, Rarity! Y-you're… I still think you're one of the most beautiful mares I know. Honest." Sweetie felt a fresh wave of tears, but held them back as she watched Rarity shake her head. The waning pony looked to be on the edge of crying herself, but was clearly fighting just as hard as Sweetie not to let the tears fall.
"I… if you really mean that, I… thank you. But… I don't feel it, anymore."
Rarity's horn began to glow with a soft light, much weaker than Sweetie was used to seeing. The bedside drawer slid open with a creak, and a small blue box levitated forward, stopping just in front of her eyes.
"These… were the last thing I made before I was diagnosed. I had planned to give them to my prince, if I ever found him. But now… that's not happening. Please, they're yours."
Sweetie accepted the box with her own magic, unable to say anything. Inside were a pair of golden cufflinks, inlaid with small, brilliant purple gemstones. The mare looked down at her unbuttoned sleeves, and sniffled once again as she remembered Rarity chiding her over them when she had first gotten the research job. The habit had stuck, partially because Sweetie thought it looked just fine, and partially as an act of defiance against her sister.
"Something… to remember me by."
"Don't talk like that!" Sweetie slammed the box closed, and moved it to rest atop the bedside table as she advanced across the floor. "You're not going anywhere. Just… just keep hope alive!"
"This coming from you, of all mares." Rarity smiled grimly, and nodded. "We both know that it may not be long now. You need to just… let go."
"NO!" Sweetie stomped, causing Rarity to jump. "I'm not giving up on you, even if it's getting worse by the day!"
"Darling, that isn't what I meant. I meant to let go of the past. We need to treasure what little time we have left. That doesn't mean you need to be here and be miserable until I'm gone, but it does mean that you need to stop blaming yourself. I love you, Sweetie. I'll always be with you, no matter what happens."
The words suddenly clicked, and an unpleasant memory played back through her mind. Saying goodbyes, but being too stubborn to listen. Insisting that it wasn't over, and that she would find a way to fix it. Watching with a broken heart and streaming eyes as the pale yellow mare breathed her last, and finally, ignoring her friend's dying wish out of sheer inability to cope. All of that guilt still clung to her like a wet sheet, slowing down her movements and making Sweetie feel trapped. She gave a small shiver as she replayed the scene in her mind one more time, and silently vowed never to let it happen again.
Sweetie swept the box up and turned, straightening her clothes with a quick, magical wind. She pulled the cufflinks out of the box and put them in, buttoning her sleeves with one smooth motion as she spun back around to face her sister. With a confident smile, she moved in for a final nuzzle, which Rarity returned immediately.
"You're right. Scoot usually keeps me on track and helps me focus on the good, but… I've been letting this destroy me. Ever since… ever since she died." Rarity nodded, waiting for her sister to continue. "I'm sorry that I lost sight of things for so long and retreated into my work, but… that's over. I love you, too, and I will come by more often. No more crying. No more thinking. From now on, we can just be sisters, like we always were."
Rarity smiled, and leaned fully into the pillows to resume her rest. "That's all that I ask. Now, get out of here, Sweetie. You've got a Wonderbolt to catch."
Sweetie nodded and laughed, giving a small wave as she walked back toward the door. "I will. Thank you for everything, Rarity. For being the best sister I could ever ask for."
The sound of the door closing echoed throughout the room, and for the first time in months, Rarity found herself crying, alone and feeling better than she could remember in years.
"So… how'd it go?" Scootaloo watched with interest as a cleaned-up Sweetie Belle walked into the waiting room, head held high and a smile upon her face. "You look… strangely happy. Please don't tell me you smothered her with a pillow or something."
Sweetie laughed at the words, and didn't stop her momentum as she reached the pegasus. The orange flier was pulled into a bone-crushing hug, one that she quickly returned as she stood up, and the two kissed once again.
"Quite the opposite. We… talked. But this time, I listened."
Scootaloo arched a brow and clapped a hoof on Sweetie's back. "About damned time. So… you two are finally cool?"
Sweetie let out a genuine, ringing laugh as she wiped at her eyes and let her lover go. Scootaloo grinned wide, happy to hear the sound that she had missed so much, and offered a hard nuzzle.
"Yes, we're 'cool'. She's always been cool with me. I'm the one that was uncool."
"Tch, well I could've told you that. But I still friggin' love you, ya pasty nerd."
Sweetie returned the hoof-slap, and let a tired sigh escape her. "You're just testy because you need food. Let's go grab something to eat, and tonight, I'm all yours."
Scootaloo arched a brow and tucked a hoof under herself in uncertainty, unable to keep the smile off of her face. "You're… sure? Just like that? Things are alright?"
"Things… might be alright. Tomorrow could be a disaster, or the day after, but… it's time to start living in the now. I'll do what I can, when I can, and right now, I can spend some much-overdo time with you. Let's go, Babe."
"Can't argue with that. You're an amazing mare, Sweets, and I'm happy to see the old you shining through again. Never change."
Sweetie fell into step behind the pegasus, shivering slightly as the two walked back over the steps and onto the gravel, hooves crunching against the material as they made their way out of the building. She paused briefly, and adjusted her cuffs with a smile. "I'll try not to. Not letting it happen again. For myself, for you, and for Rarity."
Scootaloo gave her mate a tight squeeze, and the two continued their walk into the darkness, thinking only of how happy they were to be at each other's side.
Author's Note: I don't even.
Recommend checking my profile if you haven't recently, there are some explanations up there about where various stories are. I'm having some trouble managing things right now, but I WILL get started on Venom 9, soon. I feel absolutely terrible about the long delay, and I stopped writing for a bit because of it. Even if I can't make myself write Venom right now, it's time to stop being stupid about it and post some one-shots and such. I really missed writing, and it feels good to post again. Likely more stuff coming soon, and I'll try not to leave you all hanging yet again.
There are quite a few themes here and reasons I wrote this, but I won't go into it. I'll leave it up to your interpretation. Would be interested to hear your thoughts, though, and thanks for reading!