For Better or For Worse

by FoolAmongTheStars

Ninth Month


“You okay?”


She’s frustrated and cranky, her back hurts and her hooves are swollen, but otherwise she’s perfect. And she doesn’t want to complain, not about being pregnant when it feels like just yesterday, she was talking about being immune to stress, considering all the crazy stunts she’s pulled in the past. She ran a village all by herself, fought the Princess of Friendship to a standstill, traveled through time, saved the world a couple of times. Really, being pregnant should be small potatoes compared to all of that. She thinks about how lucky she is a lot of the time—being in the position she’s in, getting to be with the pony she loves, getting to have kids at all.

But she’s just so tired lately, and it doesn’t help that she can’t sleep on her stomach anymore or that her doctor warned her about possibly going on bed-rest in a few weeks, at the height of midterm season when her students and staff need her the most. The fact that she can’t stand on her rear legs comfortably, or use her magic without getting a raging headache, or that the professional clothes she bought for work don’t fit her anymore, or touch up her hooves without spilling some of the bottle of hoof polish on the bathroom floor aren’t helping either.

So yeah, actually, she really wants to complain. Especially because now, on top of everything else, she has to find some way to get this purple stain out of the bathroom's rug before she’s forced to buy a new one to replace it. She’s searching under the sink for stain remover when Sunburst finally appears in the bathroom doorway.

“Need help?”

“I’m just trying to find stain remover,” if there weren't so many different cleaning products in such a small space this would be a lot easier, “who bought all of these?”

“Uh, you did?” He says it like a question, even though it’s the truth, like he’s not sure that’s the answer she wants to hear right now.

He places his hoof on her shoulder and pushes slightly, as if there’s room enough for both of them to look. As if she even wants his help. She’s too flustered to remember the lid to the nail polish she’s gripping in her magic isn’t screwed all the way down when she jerks her shoulder away from his touch and suddenly there’s a purple streak across Sunburst’s blue robe too.

They both stare slack-jawed for a few moments. She doesn’t know if she wants to cry or yell or both until she finally lands on, “Sunburst!”

He looks at her wide-eyed, like a deer trapped between deciding to run backward or forward across the road.

“I told you not to help me!”


“Two seconds ago! Argh! Never mind just,” she nudges him backward a bit to start rubbing with nail polish remover, “just let me finish this, then I’ll fix your robe.”

She doesn’t look up, keeps rubbing and pouring and rubbing and feels all her anger drain to a pit in her stomach and a lump in her throat. She hears Sunburst screw the lid of the bottle and place it on the counter before he leaves the bathroom without a word. When she knows he’s out of ear shot, she sniffles a little and tries to breathe enough to force back her tears, though one escapes and she brushes it away angrily. She hates getting mad for no real reason, especially at Sunburst, something that's increasingly common these days on account of her hormones. The image of his startled face that turned to soft understanding catalyzes her frustration enough to let a few tears drop, before she wipes them away with the back of her hoof.

By the time he returns, her face is dry but her eyes are slightly puffy, but she raises her gaze enough to see him kneeling in front of her with a spray bottle and a clean rag, his cape missing. When he starts rubbing the spot and says nothing, she gets back up as smoothly as she can, and goes to lie down on their bed and lean her head against the headboard while she closes her eyes. Her eyes are still closed when he sits next to her a few minutes later. He still doesn’t say anything, just puts his foreleg around her shoulder and rearranges them until she’s between his legs, the back of her head resting on his bare collarbone, his hoof playing with the ends of her mane, which she has tied up in a pony tail to keep it away from her face.

“I’m sorry," she says, her voice thick with emotion. "I didn’t mean to...”

“Shh,” he cuts her off. “Let’s not talk for a minute, okay?”

She wants to, but she listens and waits because this usually works—feeling his chest press and release against her back, his breath on her ear, his heartbeat under her spine. She counts the full sixty seconds in her mind before she apologizes again. This time he lets her. Let’s her rant for a while, because once she gets going it’s hard to stop. When she’s done, he reminds her that he’s there for her, that he’s as much a part of her team on this as during the crystalling, the shadow pony, running the friendship school.

Later, after he’s pulled her back legs from his lap and he’s finished painting her hooves, she lets him take off the rubber band of her ponytail and her mane comes loose, he guides her to the edge of the bed so that he can rub the sore muscle in her back loose. His touch is heavenly and she sighs, all but melting under his touch. He kisses up her spine, across her shoulder, lets his hooves smooth over the curve of her stomach and lower. And she remembers some of the immediate advantages to letting Sunburst take control for a little while.