He Gave Her A Rose

by Regidar

Chapter 1: And It Was Beautiful

One day, he gave her a rose.

Roses were not anything special. She had roses, she grew roses, she knew roses, but something was different here. Something very odd in this rose that had been given to her. It was a wild rose. He was not a wild pony, so it wasn’t any sort of symbolism; she supposed it was just so that he wouldn’t have to go and give her roses she had grown herself.

He was an earth pony. She was an earth pony too, which is why she suspected she was so darn good at growing roses, beautiful ones of red and white and yellow and green and black and almost any color that you could dare imagine; small ones perfect for tiny baby foals to grasp in their mouth and seem of normal size, and large ones that towered overhead, small trees of flowers with thorns that could be made a sword, and pollen only to be collected by the largest of bees. It was her talent.

He was a candy maker. He made candies with another earth pony, the two of them busing themselves to help supply the bakery and sweet shop in town where yet another earth pony would enjoy sampling a few herself before gleefully selling them to her customers. Well, he was a candy maker most of the time, anyway. A lot of the time he was in a building, very professional looking with an air of pervading sadness that was draped over the entire place. Many who entered came out, feeling fine, but some did not, and that made all the difference.

He had a sick father. Had, is the keyword here, for the father was most certainly no more. Ages and ages ago, she remembered the day he came to school as a young foal, his eyes vacant and glazed, his expression hollow. She remembered how she wanted to help him, wanted to hug him, wanted to let her empathy hold him. But she didn’t act, and that time was over now.

They were friends. Good friends, in fact, for a few weeks after that hollow day, they had begun to gravitate towards each other, seeking out solace during the lunch hour, and eventually moving to seeing each other after school. They talked, but not all at once. Often they would be silent, walking about the woods, staring into the Everfree Forest, admiring the pristine look of Canterlot Mountain looming over their town, and indeed, nearly all of Equestria. When they did talk, however, it was hard for them to stop. They mulled over events in school, events they hoped would occur in their lives, and even sometimes tackled bigger, more abstract questions.

He lived with a different family. He once lived in a small, two story cottage that was quite beautiful, but for a while he lived with a family of earth ponies who ran an orchard and several other farm-related facilities. Sometimes the two would gaze longingly at the house that Caramel once lived in, often losing hours of the afternoon looking upon it; nopony lived there now, so the two would be able to observe it undisturbed. They would never speak while they were watching the house. They would stare at the house for a seemingly endless time, before eventually leaving to do other things.

He was an artist. He drew little sketches to pass the time, sometimes little cartoons to amuse himself. Over time, he got very good, progressing from the terrible chicken scratch that he once produced. She loved his art; whether it be funny, interesting, or just plain beautiful, his art was always fun to look at. He did not think highly of the sketches he did, but she loved it.

He sang too, and this was not something he was particularly good at. She herself could not figure out why she couldn’t get enough of his voice. Maybe it was a novelty to her; certainly, it wasn’t bad, but it could hardly be called good, either. It was distinctive, that was for certain, and she decided that was probably the reason why she was so enticed with it.

She was in love. Not with him, of course, she didn’t like stallions. No, she found mares to be far more attractive, stallions simply did not do it for her, or else she suspected she would have fallen for him years ago. Many years after she first befriended him, she found her own love. This divided her time between the two ponies she loved to be around. He didn’t seem to mind too much, but after a while he started acting a bit... odder than usual. He seemed to take care of himself a bit more, jump to help her out with things he usually never did (mostly running the counter at her rose and garden shop, he wasn’t very sociable so he often shied away from things that would require coming in contact with strange ponies), and in general seemed... changed.

She didn’t just grow roses. She had a massive garden, one that she had brought with the money her mother gifted her right after she graduated. Almost instantly, she had bought up a nice large plot of land, and began terraforming the field into a massive ecosystem of different plants and flowers. Soon after, many a interesting species and assortment of wildlife began to populate her garden. The garden grew to a grove, and then to an arboretum. All the while, he was there helping her, clearing brush and pulling weeds, picking flowers and raking leaves, placing vines and planting seeds, cleaning ponds and trimming trees, watering plants and fighting off giant bees.

He fell in love. Or, maybe he didn’t, she couldn’t tell. He didn’t look very happy with the unicorn he spent his time with. She wasn’t the nicest of ponies, and it hurt her a bit to see that he had to be subjected to her constantly. She wished quite often he would just up and leave her, as it is a terrible thing to see a friend slowly constricted by the tendrils of unhappiness.

She had other friends too. The candy maker who worked with him, the baker who was the candies were mostly sold to, the librarian who lived in the center of town with her dragon, the family who took him in and ran the farm, her special somepony of course, and her special somepony’s step-sister... she had many friends. He was different though. He was her first friend, her quiet friend, her musing friend, her singing friend, her artist friend... he was her best friend. She loved him, in the way that friends love one another.

She was happy, for the most part. She had great friends, a great best friend, a loving special somepony, a wonderful business, and a fluidly working life. Everything was close to perfect.

One day, that changed.

One day, she started to make sense of what was happening.

One day, he gave her a rose.

And it was beautiful.

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Other Titles in this Series:

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