The streets of Canterlot bustled with people in heavy winter coats going this way and that, some carrying wrapped gifts and shopping bags for loved ones, others hurrying along on their way to get gifts for loved ones.
Couples huddled together close as the wind whipped around them, snow falling in a soft but bountiful flurry. Friends walked together, discussing things like dinners and the like.
On a particularly crowded corner stood seven teenage girls, and of the seven, six were looking very annoyed at the seventh one in particular.
"Oh, you all can go on ahead to the park without me! I don't want to keep you girls waiting in this dreadful cold!" Rarity told them, waving her alabaster hand at them dismissively as she drooled at the plush, luxurious red cashmere sweater in the glass store display they were all standing in front of.
The fashionista had been ogling at the thing for twenty minutes now, and couldn't seem to decide whether or not to buy it.
"Well, when you put it that way," Rainbow Dash started, turning on her heel to walk down the street, dragging Applejack and Fluttershy with her by their sleeves. "See ya!"
"Hey, wait a minute!" Applejack huffed in protest, her feet making a sloshing sound as Dash continued to lead her around the corner.
Pinkie giggled, bouncing behind the trio.
Sunset turned to Twilight. "This isn't really like Hearths Warming Eve at all is it?" She teased, as they followed behind the other girls at a distance. Rarity was still in front of the store eyeing the red sweater.
Twilight hummed in agreement, shoving her hands in her pockets. "Not at all. This...Christmas Eve isn't even the actual day, but it's still really exciting. You know how it usually isn't this....commercial back home."
Sunset shrugged. "Eh, you get used to it. Just a warning though, just because it's the holidays, doesn't mean that everyone's at their happiest."
Twilight nodded. "Fair enough."
The sun had set a long time ago, leaving the open night sky to glow with the light from store displays, car headlights, lamp posts with wreaths tied to them, and the multi-colored lights hanging high above their heads.
Sunset exhaled through her nose, her breath steaming up like a dragon. “You’ll never see a Christmas tree as big as the one in Canterlot Park,” She gushed excitedly to the fellow pony turned human. “The lighting was last week and the whole city was there. We would have invited you, but thought it was bad enough we were asking you to spend Christmas with us.”
Twilight rolled her eyes playfully. “It’s fine. I told you guys that the girls back home were more than happy to send me on my merry way. Too happy, if you ask me,” She added squinting in suspicion.
Sunset giggled. “I’m sure they were just trying to encourage you to have some fun. We’ve all had a pretty...rough year.” She sighed, running a gloved hand through her hair. She looked up to see that they had fallen behind, and the other girls were nowhere in sight. “Oh horse apples! We lost them!” She reached into her pocket for her phone and groaned. No signal. The snow must have picked up.
“Looks like we’re on our own,” She told Twilight, interlocking arms with her. “So, now that we can take our time getting to the center of the park, what do you wanna do?” She asked, turning to the younger girl.
Twilight licked a snowflake off her cheek. “I wonder what hot chocolate in this world tastes like. Do they have any vendors in this park?” She wondered, looking around as they approached the entrance. She inhaled and smiled at the smell of buttery popcorn and roasted peanuts melting together to create a heavenly warm scent that made her stomach grumble.
“Yeah, I think a little ways up, actually,” Sunset responded, her boots making a crunching sound as she lead the way.
Twilight followed close behind, arms behind her back watching the world around them intently. Couples snuggled up under the warm glow of the lamps, kids ran after one another in Santa hats, and there were people standing under a strange plant. She wondered what that plant was. There seemed to be a lot of it in this park, couples were under it almost everywhere she looked. She made a mental note to ask Sunset about it later.
They found a vender about halfway to the tree, who was happy to give them a warm cup of hot cocoa. Sunset opted out of getting whip cream, (mainly because she’s seen so much of it at Pinkie’s house and was starting to get tired of it,) while Twilight got a generous amount.
Twilight took a long sip and smiled. “Yep, it’s definitely better over here.” She hummed. “It’s so good!” Her smile faltered a bit when she saw that Sunset was trying to hold back a laugh behind her hand. “What? What’s so funny?”
“You. You’ve got whip cream all over your upper lip,” Sunset couldn’t help but find it cute when Twilight tried to look down the middle of her nose. “Here,” She said, taking a glove off, “Let me help you.” She ran her index finger over the length of Twilight’s lip, bringing it and the glob of foaming cream hanging off to her own, sucking it clean. Realizing what just happened, she startled, looking alarmingly at Twilight.
Twilight gave her a perplexed look, her lavender cheeks aglow with a slight blush. “That was...interesting to watch.” She commented, bringing her cup up to her lips again, seeming to purposely make sure to leave even more whip cream on her upper lip. Sunset had no doubt that she had done this with the intent of seeing her do something suggestive like that again.
The older girl sighed, and repeated the action again, her blush intensifying. “Happy?” She asked, wiping the saliva off her finger onto her trench coat.
“Very,” Twilight hummed, taking another sip. “Now if you don’t mind me asking, what’s that strange plant above our heads?” She asked, pointing a lilac finger up at the offending object.
Sunset’s eyebrows furrowed, her gaze slowly following Twilight’s finger. She nearly choked on her hot chocolate. “Oh horse apples.” She breathed smacking her forehead. “I forgot to mention that these were all over the park and make sure to watch out for them.”
Twilight tilted her head. “Why? Does something bad happen if you stand under them? Is it like walking under a ladder? Is there some sort of bad luck that comes with it?”
“No, no, it’s just, when you’re caught under it with someone, you’re...supposed to kiss them.” Sunset murmured, her blush intensifying.
“Oh. Oh.” Twilight finally understood why it was only couples under that thing. “So...me and you, are supposed to, oh.” She twirled a strand of hair and looked down sheepishly.
“I mean, we don’t have to. It’s just some silly tradition.” Sunset assured her with a slight shrug. “But...I mean, if you wanna do it, you know, in the spirit of the holiday, then-” Twilight’s lips cut her off as the younger girl pulled her close. Sunset's cup dropped to the ground, while her eyes widened in surprise. Though after a moment she melted into the kiss, the shock wearing off.
Sunset deepened the kiss, licking at Twilight’s lips before breaking away to catch her breath. Their foreheads touched and Sunset smiled as their breaths intermingled, steaming up around them. “You know,” She said, pulling Twilight in for another kiss, “I think this might be my favorite Christmas tradition.”
Twilight giggled, leaning in as well. “Me too.”
They heard whistles and laughter behind them. Both girls turned around to see the rest of their friends making kissy faces.
"What's that word Rarity used a few weeks ago?" Applejack asked with a sly smile. "A smitten kitten?"
"Twi-Twi and Sunny sitting in a Christmas tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g!" Pinkie sang, twirling around.
"Uh, how long have you guys been standing there?" Sunset asked, shrinking into herself.
"Long enough to know you love yourself some whip cream covered Twilight," Dash said cunningly.
"We're, never going to live this down are we?" Twilight asked with a sigh, but interlocked her bare fingers with Sunset's gloved ones with a warm smile.
"Eenope," Applejack assured her. "But judgin' by the way ya'll are lookin' at each other, there'll be more of that to come."
"Speaking of," Sunset said, pulling Twilight into yet another kiss, "I'm sure you guys don't mind if we have some time alone?"
Applejack whistled turning to leave. "C'mon girls, somethin' tells me they'll be here for a while."