Fluttering, Shimmering

by ColdGoldLazarus

Fluttering Heart at Sunset Hill

The sun was setting over the ridge to the west, and the beauty of the sight was not lost on the seven girls that lay atop a hill, just watching it. Silence had fallen, though it was not an awkward one, or tense - just comfortable, a mixture of relief and contentment pushing all worries aside.

Rarity idly reached up a hand, drawing a well-manicured finger across the sky to trace the outline of a coral-stained cloud. "I suppose I'll have to give these outfits a thorough wash if we're to use them in the future." She said, not quite realizing she'd spoken aloud. "Grass stains aside, that battle was rather... intense." She added.

Somewhere to her left, Rainbow let out a groan of annoyance, though there was no ill feeling behind it. "We just saved the world and put on a rocking performance all at once, and you're complaining about dresses?"

"Oh, just making an observation," Rarity responded idly. "Wait, did I say all of that aloud?" A round of laughter greeted her, and she smiled and chuckled as well. After all, there was a lot to feel grateful for at this moment.

"I suppose I'll be needing to head back soon as well," Twilight said, now that the silence had been broken. "I'd love to stay longer, of course, but duty calls." She made no move to get up from her spot, enjoying how the light played across the mountains around the city.

"Well, you can at least stay one more night, right?" Pinkie said. "We can see you off tomorrow morning before school starts, but I want at least one more party!"

"Well, maybe," Twilight began. "If it's a bit of a quiet one. I can't speak for you all, but I'm feeling rather tired now, after... well, you know." Far off to their left, on the southern and opposite end of the park, lingering groups of students were still hanging around the stage, their chatter and laughter sounding refreshingly distant. Perhaps naturally, perhaps ironically, the septet were more appreciative of quiet at the moment.

"It was very nice, though," Fluttershy spoke up, her gentle voice carrying some remnant melody - or perhaps her voice was just always like that. "I feel..." She frowned slightly as a though occurred to her, and without moving her head, she glanced over at Sunset Shimmer. The redhead seemed to almost be asleep, lying back with her hands clasped over her heart, her eyes closed, and a big, satisfied grin gracing her features. Fluttershy's own smile returned, though it was tinged with some slight apprehension.

Still, if ever there was a time, it was now - she might not get a chance like this again. "Sunset?" she began.

From the other side, Applejack reached out to give the girl a lazy poke. "Ah don't believe it. She really is asleep."

Fluttershy felt her heart sink, frown returning with a vengeance. "Oh, okay then. I'd better let her rest, then."

"Yeah, let her rest, Flutters," Rainbow called.

"Oh, come on now Dashie, no cheating!" Pinkie admonished her, before whipping a bullhorn out from beneath her skirt, sending a gale-force wind across the hillside. "SUNSET SHIMMER, WAKE UP!"

Sunset instantly shot upright with a loud snort. "Tell them I'll be right down!" A moment of silence passed as everyone else tried to recover from the ringing in their ears before she realized her surroundings and flopped back down to the grass.

"Hypocrite," Rainbow Dash muttered.

"Right, then. Um, thank you, Pinkie?" Fluttershy was wringing her hands, and couldn't help but feel upset. This was not how she'd imagined this going, not at all.

"Z'it time to go already?" Sunset asked. The park didn't have closing hours, but sometime during their wandering over to this hill, it had been vaguely agreed that they should head elsewhere once the sun had set completely.

Which it was in the process of doing right now; only a small triangle of orange light remained, framed by two steep slopes. Fluttershy gulped to herself, but with a determined expression, finally pushed herself upright and folded her legs beneath her. "I'm sorry about that, Sunset, but I wanted to ask you about something, if you d-don't mind." Sunset must have heard the tremor in her voice, for she too began standing up, concern written across her face. Behind her, the other girls did their best to stifle knowing giggles.

The two made their way down the hill, to a small divot between the grassy slope and the road that marked the north edge of the park. Fluttershy was halfway hyperventilating, heart beating rapidly as she felt something lodge in her chest. You can do this, Fluttershy she told herself. She'd performed surgeries at the vetrinarian's before, seen more blood than probably all of her friends combined, without flinching, so why was a simple question so hard to even think about asking? Because this is about your future, duh! answered the part of her mind that spoke in Pinkie Pie's voice.

Once they were safely out of earshot, Fluttershy stopped and turned around, trying to ignore the way her legs were shaking. Sunset stood before her, the last sunrays lighting her hair up from behind. It was like an inferno, but also like the most heavenly radiance. Sunset just waited, one eyebrow raised in curious expectation, but to Fluttershy, she was beautiful.

"S-Sunset?" She began, voice quavering at first but growing steady as she continued. "I know it's been a short time, but I feel like I've really gotten to know you in these last two months."

"I think I've been getting to know me, too," Sunset quickly responded with a hesitant chuckle, but then stopped. "I'm sorry, go ahead?"

Fluttershy was visibly trembling now, her hands shaking from the sheer force of nerves. On impulse, she reached forward and grasped Sunset's palm, and the shaking ceased. She could go on and on and try to explain the history of her developing feelings, and how she'd come to the others to ask for advice, but really there was no point in that right this moment. Time to cut to the chase. "Sunset Shimmer, would you like to go out with me?"

Time stopped for a moment, and the sun, deciding to leave the duo some privacy, silently slinked out of sight below the horizon. Sunset just stared, eyes growing steadily wider as the question and all its possible implications settled in. "Me?" she asked in a hoarse whisper. Perhaps it was just because the streetlights had yet to blink on, but she found she couldn't see so well, everything becoming blurred and watery. In her minds eye, images flashed past - pushing Fluttershy into a row of lockers, threatening to tell the staff about the real reason her backpack left a trail of fur everywhere, 'accidentally' kicking her in gym class during soccer.

Then other memories came, less numerous but far more vibrant - laughing with the group over smoothies at Sugercube Corner, helping take care of animals at the shelter when another volunteer had fallen ill, offering a handkerchief to wipe off the shy girl's face after Pinkie got overexcited with her frosting poster.

"Y-yeah," she responded, vaguely wincing at the way her voice cracked. "Yeah, I'd be okay with that, if... if you really want to date me."

Fluttershy's apprehension melted away and she rushed forward to wrap the other girl in a tight hug. Sunset was already so mentally off-balance that she didn't even think before returning the embrace, resting her narrow chin on Fluttershy's shoulder. She could feel the warm body in her arms. "Yeah," She said once more, needlessly.

Crickets were beginning to chirp out in the grassy fields of the park by the time the two made their way back up the hill. The others were waiting with bated breath, but let it all out as they saw that Sunset and Fluttershy were holding hands and grinning giddily, the musical battle from earlier that evening forgotten entirely.

"Well, ya did it after all!" Applejack greeted, nodding her head in approval.

"What did I tell you, darling?" added Rarity. "It all worked out for the best."

Pinkie jumped up, confetti bursting in from nowhere in particular, accompanied by a sourceless kazoo noise. "Whee! I'm so happy for you two!"

"Well, looks like I owe you ten bucks, Pinks." Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes as she fished out her wallet, but still had it in her to give the pair an enormous thumbs-up. "Good job, 'Shy! I thought it'd be another month before you worked up the nerve to ask her."

Sunset blushed slightly at these comments, still somewhat out of sorts. "You all knew about this?"

"Well, of course, darling," Rarity began, "but I do believe I will allow Fluttershy to tell you the full tale in her own time." For her part, the caretaker's smile was of pure bliss.

"Well, I suppose we should get going now," Twilight spoke up, unable to hide her own wide grin. "This has been a really good day, but I for one am ready to hit the hay." She yawned as if on cue, and the others followed suit as the contagious condition beset them. Laughing and smiling, the group set off walking, and Sunset's hand never left Fluttershy's.