Hope Once More

by Jay David


Hope Once More

There were many big and happy smiles in Equestria, and while the one owned by Pinkie Pie was famously cheerful, a close second right now would undoubtedly be that of Sunny Skies. He sat quietly, by himself, looking out at Hope Hollow. His town, his home, now beautiful once again. Where once there had been greyness and an utter lack of joy, now there was colour, and happiness on the smiles of Everypony here. His plan to bring Rainbow Dash here hadn't gone exactly according to plan, but there was no question that things had worked out spectacularly. Hope Hollow was restored, and for the first time in who knows how long, Sunny could breathe a sigh of relief. But this was hardly the only thing he had to be happy about right now, as his ears soon picked up the unmistakable sound of hoofsteps to the side. He knew that sound well, and his smile widened even further. Looking to the side, he watched as his beloved Petunia sat beside him. The two held hooves, something that would have been unthinkable even just a few days ago, and looked out at the town square together.

"What are you thinking about?" Petunia asked.

A quick chuckle from Sunny.

"Oh...lots of things. The festival, the town's colours..."

A softer look came to him, and he slowly turned to look her right in the eye.

"...and you."

A blush came to Petunia's cheeks, and this time, it could actually be recognised as such. Greyed-out blushes weren't exactly invisible, but this was as obvious to see as anything. Unlike previous blushes however, this did not lead to an inability to act or speak, but rather prompted Petunia to lean forward, delivering a soft and tender kiss to the cheek of her soon-to-be husband. He too blushed, and the two shared a laugh together, followed by a contented sigh. After a while though, Petunia started to giggle, earning her some confusion from her fiancé. She waved him off, explaining herself.

"Oh, it's just...I can't believe we're gonna be married!"

Sunny smiled again, leaning closer and gently placing his forehead against hers.

"I know. It's almost like a dream."

"A good dream?" Petunia playfully enquired.

Another laugh from Sunny.

"The best dream."

As they parted, Petunia stared lovingly at him.

"Just think, a little while from now, I'm going to be Mrs Skies!"

Sunny considered that.

"Or I'll be Mr Petals."

Petunia titled her head a little, prompting some nervous chuckling on Sunny's part.

"Or, if that doesn't work, we can be Mr and Mrs Skies-Petals? Or Petals-Skies?"

He was flustering here, which earned him a gentle smile from his future wife, who scooted along on the bench to be closer to him.

"Whatever we go with, I'm sure we'll love it, you hopeless romantic you."

The soft touch of his special somepony immediately disarmed the nervousness Sunny was feeling, and he allowed himself, just or now at least, to feel relaxed and content. They looked out at their town square, now filled with happy-looking neighbours and friends all doing what they loved to do. Pickle and Barley were flying overhead of course, practising all of the aerial moves Rainbow had taught them, and doing a pretty good job of it too. Kerfuffle was standing to one side with Torque, with the first sitting on another bench and working on some sewing while the latter did some adjustments to the former's prosthetic leg. It took no time at all for the leg to be tuned up of course, and after a grateful smile from Kerfuffle, Torque helped her get it back on, after which they laughed and started talking about other things. Mr and Mrs Hoofington were over with Moody Root, looking through a new cookbook together, no doubt trying to come up with new recipes to expand their new shared love of baking. All in all, it was a happy time. The happiest it had been for ages. Petunia looked out to it all and smiled.

"Our home is exactly what it's supposed to be, Sunny. Ponies are happy, helping one another, doing what they love...it's all perfect."

She didn't look to him, instead nuzzling him with her eyes closed, her loving smile making it clear to all that she was as relaxed as could be.

"Nothing could be better than this."

There was no answer for a time, and Petunia was, at first, fine with just sitting here with Sunny. But after a while, the silence started to bother her. Something was up, but it was only when Sunny started to speak that this suspicion proved true.

"...I was a fool."

Petunia opened her eyes finally, looking to her stallion with confusion and concern. He seemed upset for some reason, and it unfortunately reminded her of how he'd looked throughout most of the colourless period of their town.

"Sunny?"

The stallion shook his head.

"I was a gosh-darn fool, Petunia. All that time, all that wasted time...and I never...I never..."

Petunia smiled, at least a little, and carefully placed her hoof on the side of his face in a clear effort to console him.

"Hey now, no need to fret. Everything worked out. You were never responsible for the colour disappearing, Sunny. And you did everything you could to make things better for us. Nopony here has done more for the town than you, and we're all grateful for what you did to try and mend things."

But again, Sunny shook his head, then looked her right in the eye.

"I'm not talking about the town, Petunia...I'm talking about us."

Here, Petunia was clearly taken aback.

"U...us?"

Sunny nodded, then looked away, almost in shame. From the look on his face, it was if he was straining to put together all the words he needed to say, and it was also clear that he had a great deal of it to say. Petunia watched, giving him all the time he needed to get things together. Then, after a long sigh, her fiancé looked to her, taking both of her hooves and holding them gently.

"Petunia Petals...you mean more than I can ever say. I've tried before, back when Twilight was here, to say all I needed to about how much I care about you. How important you are to me, and even then I never got it all out."

Another blush on Petunia, but she said nothing as Sunny continued.

"All that time I spent trying to fix what I thought was my mistake. All those days I obsessed about making this town great like it used to be. Those long days when I felt sure that, if I could just bring colour back, I could make us happy again."

He winced.

"And all that time...there you were. The mare who supported me, believed in me, never had anything to say but kind words to me. I was looking for happiness in the past...when I should have been looking for it in my future..."

His face softened.

"...with you."

Petunia had to fight to keep her eyes from welling up, and she smiled sweetly to him.

"Oh Sunny, you big galoof. You and I aren't the only couple who've had a hard time talking to one another."

Sunny sighed.

"I know...but I think back to those grey days...and I think how much better they would have been if I'd have just recognised that somepony special was right there beside me. We could have had happiness, both of us, if I'd only seen it sooner. If I'd only acted sooner."

Shame returned to him.

"Instead...I wasted my days in libraries and museums looking to a past that might never have come back."

He too started to well up now.

"Petunia...can you ever forgive me?"

But there was not even a single moment of thought needed before Petunia gave him his answer, and it came in the form of a soft kiss straight to his lips. Sunny, though not exactly unhappy with this move, was nevertheless surprised by it, and when the kiss ended, Petunia looked to him with utter adoration.

"Oh Sunny, you're the silliest stallion I know, you know that?"

Naturally, this remark confused the stallion, but Petunia soon elaborated further.

"I know you love me, and sure, we could have had a happy and peaceful time together if you'd gone ahead and proposed earlier."

She paused, considering her words carefully, then took a deep breath before continuing.

"But you and I both know that you have two loves, my dear. I know now that I'm one...but everypony knows that your other love is Hope Hollow."

She gestured out to the rest of the town.

"You've loved this place since you were born, warts and all. All you've done, you've done for the town."

Her eyes met his again.

"Even if you'd focused on me as well...you'd never have been truly happy. Not until you'd fixed what was wrong with our town. You'd have been haunted by it, never able to rest because you still felt it was your fault."

The way Sunny now looked away from her was all the confirmation needed that Petunia had been right on the money with that statement. But she soon gently placed her hoof under Sunny's chin, guiding him to look at her once more.

"And that's what made you such a great Mayor. Such a great friend. You care, Sunny, more than anypony I've ever met. It's what made me love you so much."

Sunny couldn't quite believe all this, but that didn't stop him from feeling immensely touched by her words. It was inevitable then that the two lovers were soon in an embrace with one another, oblivious to whatever knowing smirks their neighbours would give them as they passed by. When the two finally moved away, continuing to stare at each other, Sunny felt the need to ask the obvious question.

"Oh Petunia...what would I have ever done without you all this time?"

Petunia giggled.

"I'm sure you'd have managed. Or tried anyway."

They shared another laugh, and when it was over they leant against each other, looking out together at their home, which they both loved so much.

"Hard to imagine, that we both spent all that time pining for each other," Sunny remarked.

Another giggle from Petunia.

"I know...but at least nopony else figured it out. I couldn't have handled all that."

Meanwhile, on the other side of the square, many of their close friends had all gathered together for a chat, and it was here that one of them, Torque, looked over to the couple. She watched as they were being all lovey-dovey with each other, and smiled.

"So...anypony wanna tell them that their crush on each other was the most obvious thing in the world?"

Kerfuffle, who also looked over to them, chuckled briefly, before giving Torque a pat on her shoulder.

"Oh, leave them be. Better to let them think we couldn't figure it out. Can't have the Mayor and his fiancé thinking they weren't subtle after all."