Chapter 27: I Love You
Chapter 27: I Love You
Vinyl rushed forward and leapt at Josh. The human caught her in his arms, holding her tightly and crying. She planted little kisses all over his neck and face, tears falling from her own eyes as she did so.
"I'm so sorry, Vinyl." said Josh, holding his marefriend close as she continued kissing him, "I made a horrible mistake. I'll never leave you like that again."
"J-Josh. I was so scared that I'd done something wrong!"
"You could never do anything wrong to me, baby." said Josh, looking into Vinyl's eyes and smiling, "It was my fault. I shouldn't have listened to Discord. He just convinced me that you didn't need me, that you could do much better than me and that if I stayed, I'd hurt you again."
"Baby, I don't want better than you. I just want you. I'll always want you."
The two shared a passionate and loving kiss, relishing the feeling of being with one another again. Princess Celestia smiled warmly at the sight of the two lovers embracing once more, and the gathered crowd let out a collective "aww". Josh could have sworn that he even heard a few people begin applauding and cheering him on. Behind them, Liam sat stunned at the sight before his eyes.
After awhile longer, Josh rose to his feet, looking around the room at the gathered reporters.
"Josh," said Princess Celestia, smiling between he and Vinyl, "you have changed so much in only a few months. When you came to my kingdom, you were angry and cynical. You were lost in a world of loneliness and misery, though you believed your life to be perfect. However, the love of the ponies you became friends with, as well as the love of this mare, has transformed you. Your past, though marred by your actions, could never make them turn you away."
"I know that now, Princess." he said, tears of joy at seeing Vinyl once more still falling from his eyes, "And that's something I'll never forget again."
"I must confess a truth to you." said the Princess, "I was the one who brought you to Equestria."
Josh stared at Celestia for a second, trying to process what she had just said.
"I saw how your life was, and I took pity on you." she continued, "I thought that by bringing you to Equestria where you could know true love, you would change. I'm glad to see I was proven right."
"Princess, thank you for what you did." said Josh, smiling down at Vinyl once more, "Because of you, I found Vinyl. I found friends like I've never known before. That means more than I could ever say."
"Everypony deserves a second chance, Josh. No matter what they've said or done before, they can still redeem themselves."
Josh turned back to Liam, who had stood up and still had his mouth agape.
"Liam," he said, smiling as his agent stepped towards he and Vinyl, "this is Vinyl Scratch. She's the girl I met while I was away. Vinyl, this is my agent, Liam."
"It's nice to meet you!" said Vinyl, standing and hugging Liam, who slowly returned the embrace.
"So, Josh," he said as Vinyl got back down and smiled at him, "this is your… girlfriend then?"
"I know what you're gonna say, Liam. Yes, she's a pony. However, I love her more than anything in the world."
"Well," said Liam, a small smile forming, "if you're happy, then… I can't really judge you, I suppose."
Josh hugged Liam, "You have no idea how much that means to me."
"So, I assume you're going to return to, what was it you said it was? Equestria?"
Josh turned back to the Princess. She smiled warmly at the happy human and pony.
"If that's what you want to do, then I'll gladly take you and Vinyl back there."
"Princess, there's not a place anywhere I'd rather be than Equestria." he said, kneeling down and holding Vinyl close again.
One of the reporters stood up and called to Josh, who glanced up.
"What do we say has happened to you?" asked the reporter.
"Tell everyone that Xploshun is retiring here and now. Tell them that I still love them though, and that they're the best fans in the world. I've got an opportunity to return to a place I never should have left to begin with, to a girl I wanna be with for all of my life, and I'm not gonna pass that chance up. That's what you tell them."
With that, he looked to the Princess and smiled.
"Hold on tight." she said, her horn glowing.
The bright light filled the room once more, wrapping the princess and the two lovers in its embrace. A loud pop sounded, the light died, and all three were gone. They were on their way back to Equestria.
Twilight, Applejack, Rarity, Rainbow, Pinkie, Fluttershy, the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Spike, and Octavia all stood around in the regal throne room at Canterlot Castle. They had all been called together by Princess Celestia, who said she had something to cheer them up. It had only been a day since Josh had left for home, and they were all still feeling the pain of losing him. Each one was thinking about how he'd just left, leaving behind only good memories and a longing for him to return.
Princess Celestia walked into the throne room, smiling at each pony gathered there. Slowly, she made her way to them.
"I know you're all still pretty upset that Josh left so suddenly." she said, seeing each pony's dejected look, "So, I went out and found something that I think you'll all enjoy."
She looked behind her and nodded. As she did so, a nearby guard began motioning for someone to come inside. Vinyl appeared in the doorway first, a huge smile on her face. Following behind her, as tall as ever, wearing a giant smile of his own as everypony's expressions changed almost instantly, was a familiar looking human.
"JOSHIE!" yelled Sweetie Belle, rushing out to meet Josh.
Josh ran forward and scooped up the little filly in his arms, cradling her, tickling her little white belly, and holding her close. She cried tears of joy into his chest. Soon, every other pony in the room was surrounding Josh, each one hugging him, laughing along with him, and crying tears of joy at the sight of him. Tears also flowed from his own eyes as he embraced them all.
"Oh, Josh." said Rarity, tears streaming as she wrapped her forelegs around his neck and hugged him tightly, "Don't ever leave again. Please don't ever do it again."
"I promise, Rares." he said, hugging the mare back.
Finally, Octavia walked up to him, her eyes filled with a mix of anger and happiness. She stood on her hind legs and punched him hard in the face, collapsing him to the ground.
"Tavi!" shouted Vinyl rushing in front of Josh to defend him, "Don't hit my coltfriend!"
"It's okay, baby." said Josh, rubbing his jaw, "I kinda deserved that one."
"You ass!" shouted Octavia, tears flowing freely, "You made Vinyl cry again! Y-you just l-left her and… and everypony else! H-how could you?!"
Josh leaned forward and hugged Octavia tightly, allowing her to cry on his shoulder.
"Shhh. It's okay, Tavi." he said, rubbing her back gently, "I'm back, okay? I'm not going to leave you or Vinyl or Sweets ever again. I promise."
Octavia responded by hugging him back, clutching him tightly. Over the course of the next few hours, everypony continued to cry, laugh, and celebrate the return of the human they all loved so much. Josh felt a warmth shoot through his body every time somepony walked up and hugged him or smiled at him. This is what it is to truly be loved he thought.
Eventually, everypony began to make their way to the train station, ready to head for home. Josh and Vinyl found their own seat and sat together, happiness flooding their bodies as they snuggled close on the train.
"So, what do you wanna do tomorrow?" asked Vinyl her head resting on Josh's warm chest.
"I'm not sure." he replied, smiling and stroking her mane, "But I do know one thing."
"What's that baby?"
"We've got all the time in the world to figure it out."
Vinyl smiled at him and he leaned in to kiss her. The train rolled down its tracks, Josh looking out the window at the beautiful scenery speeding past, all of it painted by a stunning orange glow from the sunset. He had his marefriend next to him, his friends all there for him, and he had his whole life left to live with Vinyl. His mind was at ease now, his past no longer would haunt him or the beautiful unicorn he was in love with. Everything, as far as he was concerned, was now perfect, and he didn't see that changing any time soon.