Chapter 8: Home
Home of Twilight Sparkle, Ponyville, Equestria, Gaia, Autumn, 1002 C.E.
"It's the diamond Twilight, isn't it?" Bright Eyes asked.
"Yep," Rainbow Dash groaned in reply.
"Oh no! Oh no, oh no, oh no! We've got to find them!" Derpy cried.
"I don't think we need to find them," said Rarity suddenly.
"What do you mean by that?" Pinkie Pie asked.
"I think they're going to find us." Rarity pointed to behind Derpy and Bright Eyes. A spot of air was rippling and bubbling.
"Another rift?!" asked Rainbow. Just then, three figures slid out of the dimensional rift and hit the floor with three consecutive thuds.
"Doctor! Twilight!" Derpy exclaimed.
"Clockwork!" Bright Eyes exclaimed. Clockwork was unconscious and the Doctor looked like he was half asleep. Twilight was the only one who was conscious.
"Doctor! Clockwork!" Twilight called. She picked herself off the ground.
"What happened?!" asked Rarity.
"I'll explain later. Right now, I think the Doctor and Clockwork need some help, Clockwork especially."
Ponyville Hospital, Ponyville, Equestria, Gaia, Autumn, 1002 C.E.
Clockwork awoke to find himself feeling oddly relaxed. There was a slight pain in his forehead but, aside from that, he felt fine. He was lying in a hospital bed with the sheets pulled up to his neck. The pillow under his head felt incredibly soft. He suddenly realized how long it had been since he had had a good night's sleep.
"Oh good, you're awake," said a familiar voice. Clockwork turned and noticed that Bright Eyes was sitting next to his bed. She was still wearing her mailpony uniform, which looked fairly damaged by this point and could use a good sewing or two. Clockwork smiled at his visitor. He had never been happier to see the inverted yellow eyes of Bright Eyes. His memory was clouded. He hardly remembered anything from the time he, the Doctor, and Twilight had been back in his home dimension. He, however, remembered one particular detail clearly. It made him sad.
"How long have I been out?" Clockwork asked.
"Around a day or so."
"Yeah. You arrived back in the library with Twilight and the Doctor. You looked like you were in pretty bad shape."
"I was. I'm still hurting a bit from what happened."
"Yes. Twilight and the Doctor explained everything to me, Derpy, and the others. I asked when it would be all right for you and I to head home but the Doctor simply said that was something that you should tell me." Bright Eyes looked at Clockwork curiously and the stallion gulped in reply. He had to break the news to her.
"Bright Eyes, you and I aren't returning home for a while."
"Are you saying that you can't travel through the rifts anymore?"
"That's part of the reason."
"Well that's no problem! The Doctor says that the TARDIS can travel through dimensions and-"
"The TARDIS can't help us. The walls of our dimension have been welded together for a time. Nothing, not even the TARDIS, will be able to pass through them for a while."
"Are...are you saying what I think you're saying?" Bright Eyes was beginning to tear up. It pained Clockwork to see the innocent mare in such a sad state but he knew that he had to tell her the truth.
"Yes. Until further notice, you and I can't return to our home dimension." Bright Eyes looked down sadly. Clockwork felt her pain and reached a hoof out. She looked up and grabbed his hoof with one of her own. "Don't feel so bad, Bright Eyes. We're alive. We're safe. The Doctor, Twilight, and her library are back where they belong. Everything worked out...for the most part."
"But what about our home?"
"I have a feeling that the walls won't be closed forever. Someday, we'll return home."
"You think so?"
"I know so."
"So...I guess this is our home for the time being."
"I guess...but I have another idea in mind."
"And what would that be?" Clockwork smiled.
"Bright Eyes, how would you feel about joining me on an adventure? And hopefully one that doesn't involve killer clones and living nightmares?"
Outside the Home of Twilight Sparkle, Ponyville, Equestria, Gaia, Autumn, 1002 C.E.
Twilight and Derpy stood outside and watched as a friendly snowfall drifted down from the clouds above.
"This is a lot better than the storm we recently had," said Derpy.
"I agree," Twilight replied with a laugh.
"Is Spike doing better?"
"Yes. He woke up this morning but he's going to need some rest in order to recover from what happened."
"At least he's fine. What about the Doctor?"
"He's been quiet ever since he left the hospital yesterday. He just went downstairs and has been moping around in his TARDIS ever since. I can only assume that he's thinking up something."
"Well, there's a lot to think about. At least he can go to sleep knowing a little bit more about the rifts."
"Yeah. This Dark Doctor is creating them. I have a bad feeling about this."
"We should go and visit Clockwork and see if he's woken up yet."
"Bright Eyes is already there looking after him." Twilight smiled and looked up at the bluish-white sky. She took in a deep breath of air. It felt cool and crisp. She missed calm days like this.
"The days after a storm are always the best, don't you think?" Twilight asked.
"Yeah," Derpy replied. "I agree." Both mares took in deep breaths of air and exhaled with loud sighs. "It sure feels good to be home."
"It's just...I love being home...but I've missed that thrill, to an extent."
"I know what you mean. The thrill of not knowing what's going to happen."
"The thrill of finding new things."
"The thrill of fighting for your life and protecting those you care about."
"And the running."
"Of course, the running."
"Running with the Doctor."
"The Doctor." The two mares were quiet for a moment before smiling and giggling. "Look at us. We just had another crazy, heart-pounding adventure and yet here we are asking for more."
"I think the Doctor's starting to rub off on us."
"I wonder if that's a good thing or a bad thing."
"I'd say that it's somewhere in the middle."
"I'll take that." Derpy yawned and stretched a bit. "Come on. We probably should go and check on Clockwork."
"No need to!" called a familiar voice. Clockwork and Bright Eyes walked across the snow towards them. They had some bags slung across their backs.
"I see that you're looking better," said Twilight.
"Going somewhere?" Derpy asked as she looked at the bags.
"Kind of," Bright Eyes replied. Just then, another familiar noise echoed around them. The TARDIS materialized a few feet away from the library. The Doctor hopped out the box. He was now wearing a brown suit with a red tie.
"Hello, everypony!" he said as he walked towards them.
"You look happy too, Doctor," said Twilight. "What's going on here?"
"I think I'll go and let these two tell their plans first." The Doctor nodded at Clockwork and Bright Eyes.
"Bright Eyes and I are going on a trip," said Clockwork.
"A trip?!" asked a surprised Derpy. "To where?"
"Anywhere. Since we're going to be staying in this universe for a while, we decided that we might as well explore it and see what it has to offer."
"Besides, I think traveling will help us get over things that have happened of late," Bright Eyes added.
"Traveling can help clear the mind," said the Doctor. "Take it from somepony with experience in that field."
"What's in the bags?" Derpy asked.
"Just some of the stuff I had with me when I came through the rift and the food you set aside for me," Bright Eyes replied.
"Well you're going to need more than that if you're going on a world tour!" the Doctor said as he dashed back into the TARDIS. He returned a moment later with a small silver box connected to a silver chain. He handed it to Clockwork.
"What's this?" Clockwork asked.
"That, my friend, is something I recently invented."
"You invented something?" Twilight asked.
"Why do you sound so surprised? What? Did you think I spent all of my time in the TARDIS just moping around?"
"Nevermind." The Doctor turned to Clockwork. "This is something I like to call a TARDIS Storage Bin. Much like the TARDIS, it's-"
"Let me guess," said Clockwork. "It's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside."
"Correct. Open it." Clockwork opened the top of the box and a small, holographic screen appeared.
"It's the list of everything that's currently inside. I've already gone through the liberty of storing it with some food, clothing, toiletries, and some leftover money that I received from the Good Queen Bess (which the TARDIS Storage Bin can happily turn into Equestrian currency)."
"Good Queen Bess?" Derpy asked.
"Don't ask." The Doctor turned back to Clockwork. "Now read anything off that list out loud."
"Okay. Winter jacket," said Clockwork. Suddenly, a blue winter jacket popped out through the top of the box and landed in the Doctor's outstretched hoof. "Brilliant!"
"I know. To put anything back, you just tell the TARDIS Storage Bin to send it back."
"Just like that? Okay. Send the winter jacket back." The jacket flew off the Doctor's hoof and back into the box.
"Wow," said Derpy and Bright Eyes.
"I know. I also managed to put in a little bit of Equestrian magic as well," said the Doctor.
"How?" asked a somewhat skeptical Twilight.
"I'm the Doctor, shouldn't that be enough of an answer for you?"
"I like you, Ms. Sparkle. Have I told you that recently?" Everypony laughed and Clockwork placed the TARDIS Storage Bin around his neck. He closed the top and the holographic list disappeared.
"I guess this is goodbye," said Clockwork.
"Until we meet again," said the Doctor as he extended a hoof. Clockwork hesitated for a moment and then shook it.
"Until we meet again, Doctor." While Derpy hugged Bright Eyes, Clockwork turned to face Twilight.
"Good luck, Clockwork," said Twilight as she walked forward and gave him a hug. It still felt a bit awkward between Twilight and Clockwork but they knew that they would get around this one day. "Are you okay?"
"I'm better than I was when I arrived here in your dimension. But meeting the Doctor and seeing you...it's made the whole thing easier to face."
"You'll see her again someday."
"Until then, make sure to live life to the fullest. That's what she'd want you to do."
"Yeah. That's what she would want, isn't it? Thank you, Twilight." Twilight smiled and nodded.
"You best hurry to the station then," said the Doctor. "The train leaves in twenty minutes."
"Right! Bye!" said Bright Eyes as she began making her way towards the station.
"Bright Eyes! Wait for me!" Clockwork called as he ran after the excited pegasus.
"Slow poke!" Within seconds, Clockwork and Bright Eyes had disappeared around the bend.
"There they go," said Derpy. "Do you think they'll be all right?"
"Hey, he's an alternate version of me and she's an alternate version of you. That's already a deadly team right there," said the Doctor. Derpy giggled. She suddenly noticed that the Doctor was eyeing the TARDIS oddly.
"Doctor? Is...is everything all right?" The Doctor looked at Derpy and sighed.
"I don't know. I guess, after everything that's happened, it's made me feel a bit homesick."
"You mean of your dimension?"
"Yeah." The Doctor looked towards the TARDIS. Twilight and Derpy looked at each other and then turned back to the Doctor.
"You know...I've been interested for a while now in seeing your home dimension," said Twilight. The Doctor instantly turned back to Twilight and Derpy. A smile appeared on his face.
"Would you both really want to go after all this?" he asked.
"I guess traveling around with you has kind of made us used to stuff like this," said Derpy. The Doctor chuckled and nodded.
"Well, in that case, are you two in the mood for a quick trip to my home dimension?" The two mares smiled and nodded. "So, let's get to it then! The Doctor, Twilight Sparkle, and Derpy Hooves off again!" They began making their way over to the TARDIS. The Doctor opened the doors and stood to the side. "Mares first."
As she walked through the doors, Twilight said, "This should be quite interesting."
"Couldn't agree more, Twilight." Twilight then entered the TARDIS. Before entering the TARDIS, Derpy gave the Doctor a quick hug.
"I can't wait to see what your home dimension's like, Doctor! I wonder how muffins taste like over there," she said as she walked through the doors. The Doctor took one last look at Ponyville.
"Home," he said with a smile before turned around and heading into the TARDIS, closing the doors behind him. Just then, the door to the library opened. Spike stood in the doorway.
"Twilight! Where are you? Your new book of distant Equestrian history just arrived!" he called. Then he heard it: VVRROOMP! VVRROOMP! VVRROOMP! Spike looked and watched as the TARDIS slowly began disappearing. "Already?!" Spike rolled his eyes and smiled. Then he looked down at the book in his claws. "Might as well get this ready for when Twilight returns."
Spike then walked back into the library as the TARDIS disappeared. Meanwhile, a few yards away, a familiar mare in a large, brim hat named Matilda watched as the TARDIS vanished.
"And so it begins," she said to herself before activating her vortex manipulator and disappearing in a quick flash of light.
To be continued...