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Okay, so I tentatively promised to have the next chapter for my story up before my birthday on Tuesday?

Big lie. All sorts of things happening, chapter is longer than expected... I'm hoping it comes out before I go in to my final run at work on the 2nd (before I am replaced by a robot... CURSE YOU PROGRESS!!!). That and I ended up getting all depressed when someone commented on Newsworthy about how they didn't like it and somehow I was a psycho for putting in cartoon violence on-par with the show's, so that crushed my writing motivation...

Either way, I am sorry that this story has taken so long, and I sincerely hope the last... 3 or so chapters will be worth the wait.
  • Mood: Eager
Ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies ponies!!!!!

The Season 5 Premiere! Oh how I have missed you.... I am not watching the rest of it on the TV, because dear Luna the commercials are annoying, but still, poooooooooonieeeeeeeeessssssssssssssss.

Also, I really wanted Pinkie to say: "It's not just a boulder, it's a rock!"



Also also: Anyone else get a slightly Nazi feel to this whole thing? "A race of blonde haired, blue eyed Aryan men led by a black haired Jew..."
  • Mood: Eager
The day of the meeting came, all of the armies surrounding the town hall while Ink Well stood in front of everypony there. He cleared his throat, breaking the tense silence that hung in the room. “I have an announcement everypony. I did not actually call you here for peaceful reasons.”

“I KNEW IT!” yelled Pinkie Pie pulling out her heavily modified attack party cannon.

Ink Well just raised his hooves. “I came to tell you that I… am pregnant!” The entire room gasped, Rose fainting and hitting the ground. “And Cadance is the father!”

Shining Armor turned to his wife of so many years, tears streaming down his face. “Pero, ¿cómo ? Cadance , ¿cómo pudiste traicionar mi confianza de tantos años como éste ? Por qué tienes que romper mi corazón aparte con su ratos femenina?”

Cadance pointedly ignored him, walking into the center of the platform and joining Ink Well on the central platform. “It is true! I love him more than the sun, the moon, and the stars!”

“How could you? You harlot!” Twilight, Celestia, and Luna all yelled in unison before looking at each other accusingly. “You? Cadance was mine!” Within seconds beams of magic were flying between the alicorns, causing the armies outside to begin to war as well, slapping hooves against each others cheeks and pulling at manes.

Minutes later, Jazz Apple bursts into the room, his long green mane flowing behind his handsome form. “My love, I have come for you at last.” He held out his hoof, though he looked away, the sun perfectly reflecting off of his glistening fur.

“Darling!” Flora started to run to him, but was trampled by Steam Cloud, who leaped into Jazz's arms.

“My one and only!” she cried as he threw her over his back, galloping off into the sunset.

Or was it sunrise? Moments later the sun shot into the sky, wheeling around like a mallet, before the moon swung in under it, blocking the fiery orb. Both celestial bodies fought for dominance in the sky while Twilight threw stars like shuriken at both of them.

Shining Armor, tears falling from his face, tried to wake Rose. “Por favor , despierta , debe entrar en razón a mi esposa y su marido antes de que el mundo en sí rompe en pedazos .”

Flora stormed off after Jazz, while Wind Key sank down on the spot crying like a tiny foal. Her heartbreak was short lived, however, as the moon smashed into Ponyville, ending all of the drama once and for all. Not to be outdone, the sun smashed into the moon, and the resulting explosion destroyed the entire planet, ending all life as it was known.

To this day, it is said that Luna and Celestia continue to fight.

*     *     *     *     *

The End

*     *     *     *     *

Discord looked at his bong strangely, shaking it for a moment before tossing it to the back of the room. “I am never smoking Poison Joke again...” He grabbed his remote and turned on the Discovery Family channel, unable to wait for the season premiere.
meetS Where dAy niGht. Chapter 420: THE END
Finally, the end of my magnum opus! The most beautiful, perfectly created piece of work anyone has ever seen! All shall bow and tremble in the greatness. YOLO SWAG MONEY
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Ink Well trudged through the snow and winds, feeling them biting his back with every step he took, his hooves freezing in the snow. Ahead were the great gates of Volary, the centerpiece of the Gryphon Kingdoms, but they were shut, as had been every town from the border to here. He was tired, hungry, and shivering as he stumbled through the snow, but the cloaked figure made his way ever onward, stopping only once he was sure he could be heard and lowering his cloak. “Please, I request entrance to your city.”

A head looked over the edge, the gryphoness's face as cold as any of the others, though she seemed more conflicted, like she was being forced to say it. “Go away! We don't just allow
any pony to wander up to us and...” She stopped, looking once more at the haggard, lined face before recognition struck her. “Ink Well? Is that you? I'll be right there!”

The gates slowly swung inwards, the other guards looking at him with disgust, while the one from the wall ran forward, the pink feathers around her eyes highlighting her worry. “It's okay, Ink Well. I'll get you inside.”

Ink Well shook his head feebly, his weak protestations lost in her caring movements. “Gilda, we have hardly spoken in so long, you can't throw caution to the wind just to—” He was silenced by a coughing fit, the cold he had caught on the way wracking his body.

Gilda just shook her head, walking him past the guards that glared at both of them and placing him inside a small house near the entrance. “I still owe you a debt for Steelwing and myself, and that doesn't count what we all owe you for the factory... I'll take the heat, you just rest.”

Ink Well wanted to complain, but when his head touched pillow, he was already asleep, his labored breathing fighting to recover from his journey so far.


*     *     *     *     *    

“I stayed in Gilda's care for three days before I was strong enough to do anything,” Ink Well said as he sipped from his third cup of tea, looking into Rose's eyes as he continued to recount his tale. “She had been given a safe job as a city guard after the incident on the Darkest Night. A reward for services rendered, though it was the last thing she wanted. She truly wanted to be an adviser to the king, having had more experience with ponies than even the king's trusted diplomat, but she was a commoner: it couldn't be done. However, I had some clout, so when I had recovered, she asked me if there was anything I could do.”

He sighed. “Even 'the savior of the gryphon proples' wasn't a good enough voice to talk down the king, and he only grudgingly accepted my presence in his city. He was in a cold war with the ponies of the Crystal Empire over attacks on a mountain pass between their borders. When I asked what could be done to earn his trust, he dispatched me as an ambassador to the empire, certain that Princess Cadance would more likely listen to a pony than a gryphon.

“The problem, however, wasn't the Crystal Empire. A frost dragon had taken up residence near that mountain, and it attacked me and the gryphons protecting me as we traveled through. Conveniently, Prince Shining Armor was traveling as an ambassador himself when the dragon attack happened, and the attempts made on his life pushed him and his guard into hiding with us. It was a tense situation, particularly since Shining was loyal to Princess Celestia and thought I was a traitor to be turned in, but I convinced him now was not the time, and we grudgingly worked together.

“Between his shields and the gryphons' weaponry they managed to subdue the raging dragon, forcing her to listen to reason when the only alternative was death. It took some negotiations, and for some reason they decided I should be the pony to do them, but staring down that frosted white maw I eventually convinced her to move her home so as to not attack the gryphons or crystal ponies.

“Now that both sides had proof that the other wasn't the cause of the problem, they were quite easily able to establish friendly trade between the nations, eventually leading to the state you saw today with their joint demands of independence.” He unpinned the feather that was on his woven shirt, holding it up for Rose to see. “In service to King Grandis of the gryphons I was trained in survival and a few gryphon customs over the course of a year, treated as one of their own. When that time was up, I was given the Gilded Feather. I am, officially, the voice of the gryphons in pony lands, while my suggestions let Gilda be placed as a voice of reason in Grandis' ear.

“Seeing that I had the support of the gryphons, I used Rarity's relatively new underground network to move safely through the entire continent, meeting with all of the races to see if they could help me talk sense to our leaders. The dragons cared little for the affairs of ponies, scaring me from their lands, while the minotaurs were too focused on industry to bother with politics. Rarity speaks for the diamond dogs, but she gave me instructions to use the Everfree not only to find the indifferent and elusive deer, but the waving grasslands of the zebra nation. They, like the others, did not wish to get involved in foreign politics, but apparently my reputation preceeded me.

“The zebra Elder believed in my cause, and, knowing I was coming, presented me with the gift I now wear. A woven chestpiece to protect me from harm and keep me safe on my journey. I still remember her words. 'Though only hearts you seek to soothe, there's naught but peril on the path of truth.' I thanked her for her gift and was left with just one race to speak to. I wandered into the Badlands, searching for their home, but they were the ones to find me...”

*     *     *     *     *    

Ink Well collapsed in his cell, his brain foggy and his thoughts scattered after the changelings fed off of him, the remnants of their strange green magic swirling around his head. He hoofed the ground lightly, trying to crawl his way back to standing, but he couldn't do it, feeling far too weak after the feeding, like he always did. Like, it seemed, he always would.

Nearly two years ago they had captured him, able to catch a hint of the love floating around him and capturing him immediately, threatening him with worse should his flow ever stop. Even without the fevered dreams the cocoons offered the other ponies, he was a fountain of love, all of it based around the pony he held in his heart, the pony he missed more than all others right now...

They had tried to tempt him a few times to milk more from him. Faked escape attempts were staged or body doubles brought in with bedroom eyes and empty promises, but he had refused them all. There was only one Rose, true and pure, waiting for him when he would eventually escape, and he wouldn't allow her memory to be sullied by their horrid lies. Eventually they relented, but in return, they demanded his supply never falter, else he'd suffer the same fate as so many others.

So far he had upheld his end of the bargain, and so had the changelings, yet to put him in the pod. There was even an instance where, after being fed from by the queen herself, he was given a tour of her Hive, as she referred to it, showing him the seemingly endless rows of stark black buildings hidden in a chasm among the sandy dunes. In this barren land her people had created civilization, feasting on unfortunate travelers like himself, and he was one of a privileged few ever to see it. After that she had fed again, draining him until he could hardly breathe before tossing him back in his cell like an empty juice box.

That had been a month ago, and Ink Well didn't know if he could hold on any longer. He still loved Rose with all his heart, still able to create enough to satisfy the seemingly endless hunger of the guards, but there were more every day, draining his life, his love, his energy... It was only a matter of time before he either died or ran dry.

As he staggered to his hooves, looking at the ponies trapped in pods just across the hall from him, he noticed something in their reflective surfaces. A hole forming behind him that had never been there before. He turned, expecting a private visit from the queen or something much worse, but instead he is greeted by a sandy furred pegasus with one ear who motioned him closer. “Come quickly, Ink Well, before they know we're here!”

The changelings had staged an escape for him before, nearly breaking his heart when they presented their gilded Rose and beating him mercilessly when he lashed out... but even if this was death, a trap concocted for some new, twisted reason, he was willing to give it a shot. He had to if he wanted to survive. He moved as fast as he could, following the other pegasus down through the darkness of twisting, rough tunnels hewed from the rocks.

The other pegasus kept close to Ink Well, making sure he never got lost as the narrow tunnel opened wide, yawning into an abyss with no end and no escape. Ink Well entered this maw, sure he'd reached the deadest of ends, when suddenly there was a light. It was the glow of magic, but it revealed his worst fear: dozens of changelings, all looking at him intently, their blue insectoid eyes locked on him. But, unlike for the last two years, none of them were demanding or hungry. They all seemed relieved, maybe even happy.

It was then that he realized the magic illuminating them wasn't green, but instead a familiar violet hue. His eyes moved from the swarm around him to the source of the light, causing him to bow in deference. The pegasus that had led Ink Well down took a spot by the magic owner's side, causing her to giggle as the guide removed his disguise, revealing he, too, was a changeling.

Twilight Sparkle held out a friendly hoof, raising Ink Well to his hooves once more. “We've finally found you...”


*     *     *     *     *    

“Princess Twilight had looked through many avenues to try to pinpoint the cause of her mentor's strange behavior, even suspecting at one point that she had been replaced by a changeling. Celestia had not, however Twilight's test did find quite a few imposters in the castle.

Sandstorm was the perfect candidate to question, having been injured after the Battle Beneath Cloudsdale and only saved when Newsprint sacrificed himself...” Ink Well looked over at the helmet shrine, knowing Rose's vision had gone there too. Even after all these years the pain was still there, and neither of them believed his life had been a cost worth paying.

Eventually, Ink Well continued, wrenching away his eyes from the sad reminder. “The injured changeling soldier was the perfect subject for Twilight to question, and she confirmed the discovery I had made on the Darkest Night: There were changelings that lived peacefully among us. In fact, all throughout Equestria there were 'rogue' changelings, those left behind after the attack on Canterlot failed or, far more common, those who had fled to pony lands to escape the tyranny of the queen, who lived among ponies without being discovered. Some of them had even been there for generations, creating a life for themselves like anypony else, though they had to hide their true nature each day. But that wasn't all.

“While the changelings had been meeting with each other, they weren't planning any sort of attack. The Hive didn't care what happened to Equestria any more, presumably having found some other steady source of food and love, and those left behind... They created a support group, always willing to help and living in constant fear of discovery. Hearing their plight, Princess Twilight couldn't help but try to aid them as she could from the shadows of Princess Celestia. However, if they truly wanted peace, they needed a real diplomat. And much like Selene years ago and the gryphons much more recently, for some reason Twilight picked me to be her diplomat.”

Ink Well reached into his bag, pulling out a small leather booklet, flipping it open to show the blank piece of paper inside. “Do you remember what this is, Rose?”

Rose nodded slowly, her eyes still full of love even after hours of his tales, though this sight seemed to give her pain. “The psychic paper you were given by The Doctor... The call you never answered...”

Ink Well paused, struck by the words she said, though he knew the explanation was needed. He seemed ashamed as he looked away. “I answered... I just never sent them.” Ink Well reached into his satchel again, this time bringing out a tightly bound bundle of letters, hundreds of them, which he placed on the table with a heavy thud, leaving his pack mostly empty and relatively weightless. “One thousand, six hundred and forty-two letters, one for each and every day between my leaving you and my being captured by the changelings and unable to write any longer.”

He looked at her with determined eyes, filled with sadness and years of longing. “Every message you sent, every thought you had on me that the psychic paper could pick up, every bit of news about one of our children that I had... I wrote it down. I fought every day not to place it in the mail, knowing the damage it would cause to you and the danger it would put us all in, but I never once stopped caring. I only wished and dreamed that you would somehow know. That you would somehow still care...”

Rose looked at the massive bundle of papers, tears in her eyes formed from every moment she had doubted him and all those times she had claimed to hate him… Even for the years she thought he wouldn't come back. When he had married her, he made a promise, a sacred vow, until death did they part, that he would love her every single day of his life. And he never broke his promises.

Ink Well watched her face for a few moments, grabbing her hoof and squeezing it, giving her some of his love willingly, before he held up the psychic paper once again. “Just before I had been captured, I received some strange messages on the paper, and I didn't know who they were from. They were cries for help, but I was unable to act on them while I was imprisoned. During this same period of time, Princess Celestia began to sequester herself away, making decisions even more strange and radical than those that started the war, and this had frightened Twilight. She had gone out seeking help from anypony she could, and it was by chance that she discovered I had disappeared near the changeling hive. Between her need for a diplomat and Sandstorm's desire to repay Newsprint's final act, they mounted a rescue attempt.

“Twilight and Sandstorm broke me out of captivity merely a week before the Grand Galloping Gala, asking me to plead with the Princess for peace and understanding for the changelings. I was... shocked, honestly, that they thought I could do so much to tip the scales from war to peace, but it was my mission from the start, so I agreed. How could I not?”

Ink Well pulled a glowing, heart shaped vial on a chain from around his neck, the green liquid inside and holes running through the container suggesting whose symbol it was. “In recognition for my new title as the Changeling's Heart, I was given this: a container with a drop of blood from every changeling working towards peace in Equestria. They also, to aid my travels, gave me this cloak, enchanted to help a changeling, or pony, hide in plain sight, only recognized by choice or those who truly know them. After that, Twilight left me at Fluttershy's medical camp, knowing I would need the rest and care only she could provide before attempting to take on Canterlot Castle. After seven years, it was time for me to attend the Gala once more...”

*     *     *     *     *    

Ink Well looked from spear tip to spear tip, wishing his plan of action at the Grand Galloping Gala hadn't needed to start with him walking into the hornet's nest and yelling at the bees. Still, when the guards advanced on him, ready to take Equestria's Most Wanted Pony off of their capture list, Princess Celestia stepped in. “Don't take him into custody yet. He still has an invitation to the Gala: he is allowed to enjoy the festivities all he likes. You can catch him when he leaves.”

The Princess walked down from her position at the top of the stairs, her flowing gown and ethereal mane not at all matching the cold eyes watching Ink Well, who was still flanked on all sides by the guard. He was in the same suit he'd been in seven years before, made party-ready once again by Rarity, but when Celestia saw him, her face remained stoic. “You haven't aged well, Ink Well.”

“I don't know about that. I'd like to think that I have grown wiser, Princess.”

“What brings you into my castle on this festive occasion?”

“I wish to talk, nothing more. And, as you said, I have an invitation.” He could see the guards close in on him, each probably well versed in what had happened the last time he'd 'talked' to the Princess.

She appraised him with her judging gaze, but when he looked into her eyes, he found relief, not malice. “Very well. We shall speak in my chambers. Alone.”

A guard stepped forward, shock on his face. “Highness, you can't-”

“There is very little I can't do, Point Runner, and talk is not on that list.” She glared the guard down, then looked at Ink Well once more. “Come.” With that she left the Gala behind, walking silently through the halls until she reached her study, the path exactly the same as it had been before.

This time Ink Well was calm and silent, knowing long ago that his fate was in the hooves of luck when it came to this part of the plan. He had gambled on many things, even if Celestia had been the one asking for help, and he just had to hope that he'd done well with his hunches. He entered the room, letting her walk past him, her wing tapping against his breast pocket as she made her way to her desk. Inside that pocket he kept his psychic paper, though how she had known...

“Now, Ink Well, let us attend to matters.” She looked at him expectantly, her eyes flicking to his pocket while she sat upon her grand throne. Behind her the stained glass had been replaced in all of their glory, though the overall scene seemed far less frightful than it had previously. “I am sure you understand why your presence cannot be overlooked.”

He took out the paper in question, seeing words forming the instant it left his pocket. '
They are listening.' “I understand my previous actions do not deserve a pardon, but I came to ask for one all the same.” 'Who are they? How are they listening?' he asked in writing, holding the paper for her to see.

She looked to the map on the wall, where fabric lines had been placed over the great gemstones to show the ever changing nature of the battlefield. “I cannot simply grant you a pardon. Your crimes are too great, and your actions cannot be overlooked. If you are lucky, you won't be executed.”
'I do not know, but they monitor by sound and magic, I am sure. She looked him in the eyes. 'I am a prisoner here.'

Ink Well took care to stay where he was, looking at the gilded cage Celestia had formed around herself. “Highness, if I may... I would like to at least negotiate the terms of my surrender, should that indeed occur tonight.”
'What is it you want me to do about this, Highness?'

“Speak away, Ink Well. I would be curious to hear what you propose.”
'I do not know, but there must be peace. I... was foolish to think that all of my thoughts were entirely my own. Paranoia and denial drove me far after the fall of the Weather Factory. I fell into decadence, tried to prove prosperity we didn't have and looking to blame anypony but myself, even clinging to blaming you… I now pay the price for my foolishness.'

Ink Well sighed loudly, then began a list of things he wished, practiced in his mind for years, which left him free to continue his conversation on the paper.
'So even you wish for a peaceful outcome. You do realize that this could end quite bloodily, depending on who leads the charge.'

Celestia listened intently, her mind blanking it out, already knowing her words when his list of request ended, letting her thoughts remain on the pager.
'I would rather die a Princess of my nation than be a pet of the unseen hoof.'

'You do not know who it is?'

'I no longer trust anypony. Any step near the edge of the palace lays threats upon myself and those who work here, my every action is monitored, and I don't know how or who is in control. I was blind to let them get this far. Blind to allow any of it.'

'You are threatened?'

'There is not much one can do kill an immortal, but torture is efficient all the same. I have already lost two very close hoofmaidens... I just want this nightmare to end, for me and the ponies of Equestria. Before the year is out. Whatever the price.'

Ink Well was solemn as his list came to an end, looking the trapped, yet determined princess directly in the eyes as she responded to his list. “Your requests are denied, Ink Well. No concessions will be given.”

He looked at her gaze and nodded, placing the psychic paper back into his pocket. He would do as she asked to the best of his ability. He would bring this to an end. “As you wish, Highness.” Behind him he could just make out the sounds of armored hooves outside the door, ready for him to make any sort of sudden movement.

His ear twitched as he watched the doorknob turn, his muscles coiling to run when a bright white glow surrounded him. He looked back at Celestia, whose eyes told him the wrath that would follow if he failed in his task, before he simply disappeared from the room in a wink of magic, appearing miles away in the open sky.

The guards burst down the door, horns glowing at the ready and aimed at the sole occupant of the room, who looked at them calmly and regally, proudly awaiting the consequences of her actions.


*     *     *     *     *    

“From there, the story is simple. I spoke with Sandstorm about my plans for this nation, I asked Rarity to send messengers to Cadance and Grandis, and then I returned to the New Lunar Republic, finalizing my plans for peace with Selene. The leaders all want peace, any sensible ponies in both nations want peace, but the ponies in the middle, who pulled the strings even the leaders couldn't see and control the military like their personal toys… They want the war to continue. It was time to remove the strings entirely.”

Ink Well stretched as he placed down his empty tea cup, looking at the candle that had nearly burned to nothing while he had explained the situation to Rose. “I had been watching over Wind Key from Manehattan as things went on, but it was luck that had me in Timbucktu when push came to shove, and from there, it was just a matter of getting home, something I'm sure Wind filled you in on.”

He waited for her nod, then stood from his chair and continued recounting the final part of his plan. “Tomorrow I hope that the leaders can meet like-minded on level ground, creating a peace treaty that their nations can follow on the road to recovery. If all goes well, maybe, just maybe, this will end all of this without bloodshed. But I know better than to think the world is that simple. I am simply one pony in the right place at the right time, more useful as a symbol than a diplomat or even a pony.”

He backed up slowly towards the door. “I have failed so many times to be there for you, and failed even more to keep the family safe while I was gone, but I will not make that same mistake now. I will find somewhere to hide and wait out the night, and should all go well tomorrow, perhaps I can begin to futilely attempt to make this mess up to you. I wish you a good night, Rose, and hope—”

“You stop right there.” It was the first time Rose had interrupted him at all in his hours of speaking, and it rooted Ink Well in place. She stood up quickly, trotting over to him. Her eyes met his, and instantly he could see that the outcome of what she was about to say had already been decided. “For seven years I have wanted you by my side every night, kicking away bachelors looking to 'ease my pain' and ponies promising me happiness... some of them might even have been able to give it to me for a while, but I refused because we made a vow. We promised each other that, in everything, we would be one until the day we died. I understand your reasoning for breaking it these last seven years, and though I absolutely despise the circumstances, I could never despise you...”

She shook while she looked at him, tears forming at the edge of her eyes. “I sat in this house for so long, moping and praying I wouldn't see the next day, not because I couldn't move on with my life, but because I chose not to. I had invested my future happiness in your well being. Thinking for all that time that you were dead or gone...” She sighed, recovering some of her strength. “After years, the only thing that could make me smile again was the knowledge that you were alive, delivered by a newspaper and the guard knocking at my door, and now you're asking me to wait once more? To accept your story as some selfish reason why you're not good enough for me?”

She looked him in the eyes, her face determined, but within her eyes were the fires of passion and the lights of love that he had known so well for twenty years before he left. “The only reason you are a selfish stallion is because you think you can choose whether or not I should love you. That was decided a long, long time ago. I don't care if tonight is the last night I spend on this earth. I don't care if being with you is the reason I am killed. After all of this time, if I am going to die, it will be laying by your side, my heart complete as I rest in your arms once more.” She took a step closer to him, practically glaring straight into his soul, while her ear flicked angrily, drawing his attention to the earring that marked her as his, bearing his cutie mark directly over her heart. “Are you still the stallion I married all those years ago, or will you finally break that promise now?”

Ink Well knew somewhere deep inside that this was a horrible idea. That if he truly loved her, he would keep her safe and leave, like he'd been trying to do for the last seven years, but the weight of the earring in his own ear as it lay flat against his head, his eyes looking into those ivy ones that only ever saw straight through him... Even pretending he could make it another night was beyond him. Tears streamed down his face as he pulled her close, enveloping her in his wings and hugging her with the force of all the love drained from him. The force of all the nights he'd shivered in the cold, longing for her touch. The force of fighting the driving force that had been calling him home for so long... All of that poured into the hug, making it impossible for either of them to hold back the tears that had built up, breaking down and crying while they held themselves as close to their other half as they possibly could be.

No matter the danger or the risk, come success or failure, this would be how they continued. Only together did either of them feel complete, and so, together, they finally walked upstairs. Around them their empty house became a home, its familiar air soothing them both as they comforted each other and went to sleep, clinging to each other like they'd never let go.
“~I hear your heart beat to the beat of the drums! It's such a shame that you came here with someone. So, while you're here in my arms, let's make the most of the night like we're gonna die young!~” I slammed the radio of the shiny new Bentley I had hotwired, managing to silence that damnable pop song. I floored it, burning rubber past the guard and smashing though the chain link fence of Hillview Mental Hospital.
“Hey, Al, I like that song!”
“Shut up, Johnny,” I growled, nearly slamming into a car as I hit the highway.
His voice tutted in my ear. “Doctor Moroe is not going to like what you did to his car.” I looked over at the passenger's seat, where a young man in black raver gear sat on the dashboard idly kicking his legs against the seat back and not at all reacting to my wild swerving. I took my eyes off his playful frown to look in the rear view mirror.
“Goddammit!” I took a sharp right, skidding into a wall and crushing my door in when I hit the corner of a narrow alleyway before scraping through and leaving my tail behind.
“He was such a gentleman too, Al. He saw so much potential in you, and look at what you're doing to his car.”
“Johnny, if you like the guy so much, why aren't you bugging him?” He was about to respond when the car bounced out of the alley, the passenger's side glass shattering as the frame buckled, sending me spinning into a store front. There was crumbling masonry everywhere, my body aching and covered in shattered glass but largely unscathed. I jumped out the windshield, clambering over the ticking, cooling engine and looking at the destroyed minivan that had smashed into me. When she recovered, that soccer mom was gonna be pissed.
“There are two cops coming down the street to your right and a sewer cover in the alley to your left,” Johnny said while sitting calmly in the crashed car, an amused smirk on his pretty boy face. He gave me a mocking wave. “You may want to move.”
“Shut up, Johnny!” I broke into a sprint, turning down the alleyway and hoping nobody was looking too closely as I made my escape. It took some effort, but I managed to wrench open the manhole, climbing down into the sewer as quickly as humanly possible. Upon touching the slimy stonework I started to run, wishing I couldn't taste the fetid smells I fought with my nose to ignore. Eventually I gave up holding my breath, nearly vomiting from the smell as I stopped to gasp in air.
“~Let's make the most of the night like we're gonna die young!~” I slowly lifted my head, glaring at Johnny who stood in front of me, quietly singing that damnable song. When he saw me, he gave me a falsely innocent smile. “What? I told you I like that song.”
“Just shut up and tell me if I was followed,” I muttered, the song starting to get stuck in my head.
“Nope! I made sure the cover was closed before the police rounded the corner. Even got a piece of newspaper over it for added measure.” He looked around, running a hand over the dark, slimy sewer wall. “So… You really did the sewer escape, huh? You must really be nuts.”
I didn't even deign that with a response, ignoring him as I walked past him through the pitch black underground. It was times like these I wished I hadn't lost all my stuff going into the mental institute… Moroe's coat was snazzy, but it didn't have my flashlight, lock picks, or slim jim. But it was free and got me out of the boring green coveralls, so it was better than nothing.
Johnny whined, following behind me. “Oh come on, Al, you broke out of an asylum! You're in a sewer! That line was good on multiple levels and not even a chuckle?”
I stopped, turning around to yell at him, when a pipe in the wall emptied its contents right onto my feet. My rage fizzled, replaced with a quiet, desperate acceptance. “Shut up, Johnny. Just… Shut up.” It didn't matter how many times I said it, he never did. He didn't have an off switch, never had since I met him, and ignoring him only made it worse. It was almost as bad as the feeling of raw sewage seeping into your stolen socks.
I shuddered and kept going, each step squishing despite the relative dryness of the stonework I walked along. Behind me, Johnny tutted. “Dr. Moroe isn't going to like this one bit.”
“Well, if it weren't for you, I wouldn't be in this mess. And neither would Moroe's shoes.” They were good shoes, easily hawked for a hundred bucks, and now they were worthless and squishy.
Johnny continued to whine behind me. “Oh, it's not that bad, Al. You were having fun during the car chase!”
“I could've died!” My words echoed through the tunnels. “I could've died and then we'd have both been stuck!”
Johnny laughed, no echoes at all following the sound. “You know, dying isn't all that bad, Al.”
I stopped, spinning on a dime and glaring at the pretty boy apparition behind me. “Maybe not for you, high off your ass in the middle of some party, but I don't want to die young. I want to die old and rich in the tallest penthouse this city has to offer!” I turned around again, storming down the sewer once more, my shoes squishing with each step.
I bumped into his body, standing before me like a brick wall and freezing to the touch. “You know, you could've just happily gone on stealing cars if you hadn't crashed that first one. And if you'd just stopped yelling at me, maybe you wouldn't have spent three weeks in an insane asylum for being schizo. Seriously, what kind of medium are you?”
I threw my hands up in the air. “I wasn't one until you latched onto me! Or if I was, hell if I knew! One minute I'm breaking into some gang banger's Escalade behind the club, next thing I know I've got a raver shouting in my ear as I'm trying to escape! And then you wouldn't stop singing Kesha songs in the holding cell! How was I not going to yell at you?”
Johnny scoffed. “It's not my fault you have horrible taste in music.”
“But it is your fault that I'm here,” I pointed out, poking him in the chest, “that I went to an insane asylum, and that I am currently standing in Doctor Moroe's shoes with my feet reeking of sewage!” I poked him two more times on emphasis for each following point. “You could've been like all the other lost souls moving things around the room or getting revenge on a murderer, but no! You just had to go and haunt me and make your death my problem. And, despite all of that, I'm still going to get your body buried, just so that it will shut you up!” He looked sad for the first time I could ever recall as I yelled at him, and when I went to poke him again, my hand traveled through him, the momentum from it pulling me through as well. When I turned around, he was gone, nowhere to be seen or heard.
Grumbling and muttering under my breath I continued down the sewer pipe, hoping that none of the glass cuts were going to be infected and that I wouldn't slip and crack my head open or die of 'natural gasses'. I didn't like the idea of haunting a sewer for all eternity.
Johnny explained it to me as best he could about two weeks ago, which is why I'd started my break out plan. When a person died, if they had too much unfinished business, they came back as a ghost with only a few minutes to haunt something before they were stuck haunting it forever. Ones that either really liked a place or couldn't pick fast enough ended up haunting rooms as apparitions or poltergeists, while others haunted specific objects or even their murderer, trying to make them go insane.
I was a thief, but I was no murderer, and both Johnny and I knew that. The problem was, he'd died of dehydration after ODing on ecstasy in the club, and with all the pumping music, nobody was able to hear him when he was trying to latch on. So, at the last second, he found me.
Johnny died alone, jobless, and without a family to contact while partying at the club with no ID and far too much E in his system for it to end well. It was still going to be another week before his landlord would start to care that he was missing, and only thanks to his rent being due. He might have been a raver bum only comforted by the throbbing music of the clubs, but even he at least deserved a burial, right?
And you'd think that sort of thing would solve itself, but that was the problem. He wanted to be buried whole, and, unfortunately, due to how he'd died and who he was, he was sitting in a hospital morgue awaiting somebody to come and claim the body. If nobody did within a month, it would be cremated and placed in a mass grave with all the other John Does. That was over three weeks ago, and it was February. We were a bit short on time.
“The next right will take you directly under Lighted Hope, and there's a ladder there that will bring you right up into the utility part of the basement. The hospital used to be county owned and, due to the convenience, they never bothered to close off the access ladder.” Johnny's voice floated from behind me, his steps completely silent on the stones that echoed mine. I couldn't see him in the dark, so I didn't bother looking back.
“How do you know that? Were you some weird city history nerd that hung out in the sewer and knew every entrance and exit?”
Johnny chuckled. “Nah. I scouted ahead for the entrance, and I was told about this by the old janitor that used to work here. He knew all sorts of random stuff and had the best hookups in town. Pretty sure it was his crap that killed me. Best trip of my life, though.” We moved on for a while in silence, able to hear sirens above combing the city streets. Whether they were for me or unrelated didn't matter, I was suddenly happy to be underground.
We reached the junction and were making our way towards the ladder he'd mentioned when Johnny spoke, his voice sincere. “Look, Alfred, what you're doing? It really means a lot… I never would have thought you'd let me find rest, especially after all this crap I've put you through.”
I nodded to myself, my voice coming back a little weaker than normal. “Yeah, well… if it'll get ya to shut up and leave me alone, I'll do just about anything.”
“It still means a lot, Al. So thank you.” The plan had been so simple when we'd left the asylum. Break out, grab the body, bury it, job's done. He didn't even want a proper burial, just his body laying in a cemetery. He wanted someone to care, and it had to be me.
I found the ladder he'd mentioned, climbing out of the tunnel and pushing open the cover, entering into what looked like a janitor's closet, complete with a change of outfit. I swapped out of Moroe's ripped and smelly outfit in favor of the grey janitor's onesie, stylish leather shoes being traded for cheap, strong work boots. Placing a hat over my face I stepped out into the hallway, able to get by without any questions asked thanks to my clothes and how busy the few people down there were. And, since the entrance was in the basement, the morgue was on the same level. I didn't even get spotted by an elevator camera. Everything was pushing up roses.
When we got to the entrance to the morgue, however, Johnny started to think we had a different issue. “Oh, geez, this isn't going to be fun.”
“What is it?” My hand was already on the door's handle.
Johnny seemed upset as he looked at me. “Just… don't make eye contact. Pretend you don't see them.”
I twisted the handle, pulling the door open. “Someone you know?”
He shook his head. “Not even close.”
As I entered the morgue I was greeted by nearly a dozen people in street clothes simply standing there, staring at me. Their eyes pleaded with me like I could save them, and perhaps, if I were a better person, I might have tried. Instead, I fixed my hat, lowering my brim so that I couldn't see them and walking through like none of them were there.
I made my way into the freezers, stopping at the one Johnny leaned against and opening it up. Out slid Johnny's cold, lifeless double, a strange thought when you think about a ghost, but it was completely true. Johnny had a spring in his step, a smile that never faltered, and always had a joke or a quip, while the pale grey shape laying on the table with a massive scar in its chest and a dour expression just did not do Johnny justice. He ran his hand over the scar for a second, staring into his face that did not at all look like he was sleeping, and sighed. There wasn't a single ghost in that room I felt worse for than Johnny right now, but we had an audience and who knew when someone would come in the door?
I grabbed a body bag from where many were laying in the corner, placing it on a gurney and quickly zipping up the corpse inside. That done, I started to roll it from the room, right past the ghosts who now stared at me furiously. One of them stepped forward, grabbing my shoulder, and it took every ounce of willpower in my being not to look directly at him, trying my best to play the dumb, confused target of a haunt. Meanwhile, Johnny grabbed the ghost's hand, a protective glare forming on Johnny's face. “He's mine.”
The other ghost backed off, letting me leave the morgue and make my way to the elevator, pressing the button for the ground floor and hoping there would be a clear shot to a parking lot. As the doors slid closed, a thought occurred. “What were all of them doing in the morgue? Shouldn't they be haunting some dump?”
Johnny just shrugged. “I guess they couldn't give up their own body, so they decided to haunt it in hopes they'd get back up.”
I stood there in silence for a few moments before chuckling to myself. “That's so dumb though!”
Johnny started laughing as well. “I know! I hope they like sitting around in a coffin. We're…” His face suddenly went serious. “Oh.”
“What?” The elevator doors opened, giving the police officers near the nurse's station a perfect view of the escaped lunatic wheeling a corpse from the hospital. “Oh,” I agreed, feeling everything that needed to be said had been.
“To the right! Doctor parking is straight down the hall.” Both the cops started running at the same instant I did, them towards me, me towards the exit pushing Johnny's corpse along while he ran behind me, a huge smile on his face.
“You're enjoying this way too much!” I slammed through the doors and entered the parking structure. I ran to the first car I figured I could get in to, smashing the window with my elbow as my heart pounded in my throat, demanding I not go back to jail. To my side, Johnny started to sing at the top of his lungs.
“~I feel your heart beat to the beat of the drums!~” I wrenched open the door, picking up the body from the gurney and spinning awkwardly, trying to shove it into the passenger's seat. “~It's such a shame that you came here with someone!~” I dived under the steering wheel, ripping open panels and stripping wires while I heard the cops burst through after me. Johnny stood outside the car with his arms out like he was going to either hug them. “~So, while you're here in my arms,~” They pulled their guns on me, the triggers clicking as they both yelled that the guns had jammed. Meanwhile, Johnny appeared in the passenger's seat sitting on his body, pointing to just the wire I had been searching for. “~Let's make the most of the night like we're gonna die young!~”
The car roared to life, Kesha's 'Die Young' blaring on the radio at the exact point that Johnny had stopped singing it while I leaped into the car, slammed on the accelerator, and peeled rubber out of there. Before the music could continue any further, I shut off the radio, glaring at Johnny again. “Okay, I don't care how ironic it is, this obsession of yours has got to stop.”
I slammed into the front of the police car trying to block the exit, spinning it away and making my escape, knowing exactly where the nearest cemetery was from my prior planning. It was the next right, then a straight shot to the place. Conveniently close to the hospital, considering it was the only cemetery in the city and people were still getting buried there on a regular basis so hopefully I'd be able to dump the body and be done with it quickly... Although I realized I had no idea which side the gate was on. I just had to hope it was mine.
Johnny sat on his body as we turned the corner, a thoughtful smile on his face. “You know, Al, it's too bad you're not a midget, or else you'd be a small medium at large.”
I looked at the barricade set up before me, then at Johnny, my face completely flat. “If that wasn't your body beneath you, I swear I would kill you myself for that joke.” I slammed on the gas, swerving to the sidewalk to try to scrape past the police line. As I approached, I could hear them yelling, though I was too focused on my maneuver to actually pay attention to their words.
“Duck!” yelled Johnny and I immediately did, narrowly getting beneath the three bullets that embedded themselves in my headrest as I bounced off the building, narrowly avoiding a parked car and screeching back onto the clear road behind the barricade. In front of me was a solid rock wall, still far away, but it was what I feared. The gate was on another side.
As I started to swerve into a turn, taking a guess at the correct direction I heard my tire pop, causing me to lose control. My car began to spin like a top. I crashed headlong into the cemetery wall, watching Johnny and his body sail through the windshield, with myself not far behind for lack of a seat belt. We all seemed to move in slow motion, twisting through the air and starting to come down right towards an open, freshly dug grave. I reached out to Johnny, hoping he would help, but he just smiled, closing his eyes and accepting our final resting place. We passed by the level of the dirt, into the hole, and then there was a blindingly bright light that seemed to surround me.
A moment later I smashed into the soft dirt, groaning out in pain, my back aching from the hard impact. My whole body hurt, and it was only that fact that convinced me that I wasn't dead after the crash. I looked next to me, seeing the black body bag laying in the hole with me, the body still inside. But there was no Johnny. “Johnny?” I called out, not getting any response… and my heart sank a little.
It was exactly the wrong reaction I was supposed to have for my friend reaching peace and his final resting place, I knew that, but that didn't mean I didn't miss the jerk. Even with his stupid Kesha songs and puns, he'd at least been a fun person to be around! Every day had been full of excitement since he'd been around. How was I supposed to go back to grand theft auto the old, boring, lonely way after that?
“The least the bum coulda done was say goodbye...” I mumbled at the bottom of the pit as I tried to climb out only to lose my grip on the loose dirt. “Anyone out there? I need a little help! I fell in a hole!” I tried to climb out, reaching for the ledge, when a hand grabbed onto mine, cold as the rest of the world was in February, lifting me out and onto my feet. “Hey, thanks pal,” I said as I dusted dirt off my jumpsuit.
“Sure thing, Al.” My heart leaped into my throat when I looked at the person who'd just saved me, the pretty boy face and the raver gear as obnoxious as ever.
“Johnny!” I hugged the ghost and swung him around, causing him to laugh happily. “What happened? I thought you'd have eternal rest!”
Johnny nodded. “Oh, I can. But, as you can probably guess, I am going straight to Hell for my horrible, 'hedonistic' lifestyle, so I may have bent the rules a bit.” He gestured to the wall I had smashed through, which was now completely intact. In fact, now that I thought about it, there weren't any police sirens either. “See… You did a selfless act when you rescued me, allowing me my eternal… well, burning agony, but we weren't thinking about that. Your selfless act, basically, performed a miracle, but would have left you stuck in Hillview Mental Hospital forever. So, Al, I did a 'selfless act' myself and decided to become your guardian angel, giving up my eternal rest to get you out of a pickle and stay your tie to the spirit world.”
It was an amazing con he had pulled, but that still didn't actually explain anything. “So that means…?”
Johnny held up three fingers, which he pointed to with his other hand one at a time. “It means you have no police record. At all. Not even a speeding ticket. It means Doctor Moroe won't remember you and you're officially not crazy anymore.” He then smiled, pointing to the third finger. “And it means there's this beautiful new Porche sitting in the parking lot. Check your pocket.”
I reached into the pocket of my janitor outfit, half expecting a car key, but instead I pulled out a tool I recognized all too well: my slim jim. I smiled at the sight, looking at my new guardian angel and good friend, who seemed very proud of himself. “Who's the best guardian angel around, huh?”
I rolled my eyes. “Shut up, Johnny.”
Ten minutes later we were blazing down the road in 'my' new Porche, Kesha's 'Die Young' blaring on the radio and both of us singing along at the top of our lungs.
Dead Signal
Also dangerously non MLP, I know, and a day too early for April Fools (instead you're going to get something you're quite glad isn't a joke) but I figured I rather liked the story, and I hope you guys do too.

And before anyone asks: The song is STILL stuck in my head and I wrote this over a month ago... Kill me now.
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Okay, so I tentatively promised to have the next chapter for my story up before my birthday on Tuesday?

Big lie. All sorts of things happening, chapter is longer than expected... I'm hoping it comes out before I go in to my final run at work on the 2nd (before I am replaced by a robot... CURSE YOU PROGRESS!!!). That and I ended up getting all depressed when someone commented on Newsworthy about how they didn't like it and somehow I was a psycho for putting in cartoon violence on-par with the show's, so that crushed my writing motivation...

Either way, I am sorry that this story has taken so long, and I sincerely hope the last... 3 or so chapters will be worth the wait.
  • Mood: Eager

deviantID

Medicshy
To heal with love!
United States
I'm just here to help everypony, and solve what I can with as little violence as possible. And when that isn't possible, I am here to make sure my team lives.
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:iconwinternachts:
Winternachts Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the watch. Hug 
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:iconmedicshy:
Medicshy Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2015
Eeeeeyup. Figured you deserved it after all the time we've spent chatting, since I found out you were here too.
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:iconwinternachts:
Winternachts Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Still thanks. I am always glad to get some reaction. :happybounce: 
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:iconmedicshy:
Medicshy Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2015
huzzah
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ShimmyCocoPuffssX1 Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
thanks for the fave  n_n
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godzillabadger Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanx for the fave! :)
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:iconuseraccount:
useraccount Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2014
BAPPY HIRTHDAY! 

Haha, yeah, I saw my post from [I]last[/I] year, and I decided to change it up a bit.
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:iconmedicshy:
Medicshy Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2014
lol, thanks dude!
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aNIGHTLYpony Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2014  Student General Artist
:iconthankuplz:
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useraccount Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2013
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
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