The slow ache of the unending evening left Twilight moored in despair. She lay there, on her prettily patterned sheets, as the dark that leaked over the windowsill still refused to vanish. It could have sat there for all eternity.
Alone. Spike was downstairs, driven off by her temperament, a ghost still wandering behind walls of wood. She brewed, mulling over things. The flow of water. How it started in one place, cascading, bounding, spilling over earth and rock. Sometimes it pooled and rose into a lake, or a pond. Sometimes it kept flowing and flowing, until it reached the sea, gushing out into the boundless blue that met the horizon. Sometimes, it dried up.
Her eyes shut firmly, trying hard to force out the water that wouldn't come. She squeezed and squeezed and thought of empty streams, dried cracked ground that wouldn't yield, that had simply turned brittle. She wanted it to flow, for everything kept beneath the surface to erupt like a geyser up into the world. But it wouldn't.
How long had it been? Like a pine swaying in the grove amongst others, tall and seemingly indifferent. But, within the bark, rotten. Eaten to the core by vermin and parasites. Seemingly strong and proud, but ready to collapse in a strong wind. She was the tree.
So slowly it had happened. Time had made her weak. Gradually and gradually it ate her insides, chewing and gnawing, killing anything that was vital. Hollow and ravaged, standing bleak against the cold arboreal sky in deepest winter. She bit her tongue, and it bled.
A drop reddened the grooves of her lower lip and she looked to her hooves. What tools were these? Carved out an effigy, on her own fur, an effigy of the mockery of Equestria "EGGHEAD". On her legs, where no lover would touch, she had etched her title. Curling her hooves inward, she shivered.
Books. Papers. Reports. Essays. These were the great notches she had on her belt, the trophies to champion around Equestria. "You are so blessed to be as smart as you are, Twilight." Mother would always say that. Fatuity, it seemed, was a blessed gift to mortals, and intellect a curse. Her brain worked in all the intricate ways, spanning bridges across the esoteric voids she had happened upon. But her high-site trapped her in the tallest tower above all the others.
"Bright futures are on the horizon, my student. I know there is a pony out there who can get into your head." That's all she wrote. Celestia. All these years her words would have been as much assurance as needed, but time, once again, had yellow the paper they were written on.
The season's had changed and many new limbs grew from the tree of her life. Rarity, Pinkie Pie, and Applejack had all married. Rainbow Dash had moved to Canterlot and her access to the bodies of others went virtually unhindered. Fluttershy had blossomed into motherhood, and bore a foal the last spring. But Twilight was alone.
She had tried, once or twice, to step outside her bounds, but the risk was too great. She was afraid. Every pony she gave a chance, disappointed her. They didn't understand her. They didn't respect a scholar. They had never opened a book. She was afraid to get close to any of them. She left her lips guarded, saving them in hopes of finding another worth while. But it never came.
The night was still there, and Twilight glanced over at the clock. Was it 12? Or 2? Did it matter? Time was still time, and nothing ever changed. She rubbed at her label and the skin ached in response. Shivering again, she glanced at the pattern of her sheets once more, and finally a tear glided across her cheek and dripped onto the fabric. She was ready.
The bottle beside her bed levitated over to her with a brief flick of purple magic. Uncorking it, she sniffed at the fumes escaping from the mouth. Repugnant. Vile and gagging. But no worse than the world she called herself a part of. She coughed, and more tears fell.
The candle flickered, and burned steadily into the night, until is puffed out in a puddle of wax as the arms of sunlight reached from the horizon in the earliest morning.
Spike awoke at mid morning, stretching from his slumber on the couch. He recollected his thoughts and remembered Twilight getting angry at him the afternoon before. Flustered, but not too ailed about it, he rose to the wood floor and walked into the kitchen. The room was dark, he noticed, and the stove unlit and the kettle still in the cabinet. He found it unusual that Twilight wasn't up at this time, and went up stairs to bug her out of bed.
Claw met door for a brief knock, and received no response. He rattled the knob and finding it wasn't locked, opened it slowly. Still in bed, lazy bones.
"Twilight get up. It's almost noon." Not met with a response, he noticed her precarious sleeping position, and reached his arm up and pulled himself onto the bed. Poking a claw forward, he meant to shake her...then...
He saw the empty flask laying near her crossed forehooves and the dark splotch of drool on the sheets near her mouth. Her eyes were closed tightly, and her fur...it was cold.
There were convictions Spike had formed through his years, convictions he thought to hold strong through life. One was that men never cried. On that morning, the tears of the dragon did flow over his scales, and by the end of the day, he was joined by the wails of five pony's in the cold dark room.
As the sun dipped over the horizon in the evening of the winter day, a great wind blew into the Everfree Forest. A tree, aged and rotted, feel in the tumult to the woodland floor. Nopony was around to hear it, so it did not make a sound.