“And that’s how we fell in love,” Twilight concluded with a grand sweep of her hoof and a subtle flare of her wings for dramatic effect. Draped under one of said wings still, Sunset huffed and nuzzled into Twilight’s neck gently, and the purple alicorn sheepishly got the wordless hint and settled down so it covered her comfortably again. “More or less. I may have simplified some things.
In the silence that followed that statement, anypony in the room could have heard a pin drop. Their captive audience didn’t immediately respond, probably because she was stunned into silence and didn’t know what to say in response to everything she had just been told.
“… Everything that happens to you is weird,” Starlight Glimmer said at last.
Sunset snickered. “You think that’s weird, come over to my world sometime. We have pretty crazy stuff going on there too.”
“Speaking of, I need to get you home.” Twilight gave Sunset a light squeeze with her wing. “And we’re using the book this time, not the TPT.”
“Talisman,” Sunset corrected, almost on instinct now.
“I still think TPT sounds more scientific, calling it the Talisman is just so—“
“Okay, you know what.” Starlight held up a hoof, silencing her mentor. “I have to go help Spike with something in the library, I was just passing by when you told me all of this, and it is… a lot to process, so. I’m going to go do that now. Do you need help setting up this book or something before I go?”
Twilight smiled warmly. “Thank you, Starlight, but we should be fine. You can go and help Spike, I’m sorry we took up your time. I just needed to talk, I guess.”
“It does make a pretty good story,” Sunset admitted.
“Right. Um… have fun, lovebirds. If you plan to spend the night in your fillyfriend’s world, Twilight, just let me know so I know to settle things down in the castle.”
Starlight left—more like fled—immediately after saying those words, clearly needing time and distance to process everything she had just been told. Twilight frowned as she watched her student leave, her ears flicking back slightly. “Why would Starlight offer that? I guess she was just trying to be friendly, but I don’t have any plans to—“
Sunset nuzzled against her ear, her breath warm, and Twilight’s thoughts immediately went fuzzy and her words trailed off into silence. It was a small miracle she didn’t start stammering right on the spot.
Then she felt teeth against her ear as Sunset nibbled teasingly, and she had to swallow back the urge to moan.
“I have plans,” Sunset practically purred, and the tone of her voice as she delivered those words should have been considered criminal in every world they’d traveled to during their adventure and some that they would never find.
Twilight did moan then at the implication, and she blushed deeply as Sunset laughed huskily in response. She swallowed again, trying to find her voice, and only just barely managing.
“W-Well, then… I suppose I’ll take advantage of Starlight’s kind offer.”
The moment they got through the portal safely and their feet touched ground again, Twilight didn’t hesitate to grab Sunset’s hand in hers, lacing their fingers together. It was funny, really, how quickly she had taken to the idea; it was a purely human gesture of affection, but the more she did it the more she liked it. It would be hard to go without it once she was back in Equestria.
That was something they would need to talk about at some point; they both knew it. Universal constants was all well and good, and seeing their… other selves—would calling them their alternate selves be more accurate?—confirmed that regardless of the challenges that faced them they would find a way to be together. They would still need to decide how to get to that point, since for the time being returning to Equestria and potentially facing Celestia again was something Sunset didn’t seem willing to consider.
It was something they would need to talk about, but after everything they had gone through it wasn’t exactly a priority. And as tempting as it was to go right to wherever Sunset lived and make good on Starlight’s promise to manage things for the night—which made Twilight blush again just thinking about it, and made the redhead smirk because she knew exactly what the purple girl was thinking about—there was one more thing they needed to settle before they could fully relax.
There was always something.
“Are you sure letting me keep this is a good idea?” Sunset reached into her pocket, where the portal had seen fit to transport the Talisman to once they had crossed over from Twilight’s castle to Canterlot High. She fished the device out and carefully held it in the palm of her hand, and fought back a vague sense of unease. This wasn’t even their device anymore. She had no idea what this could do or how it would work.
Twilight squeezed Sunset’s hand. “I really think it is. I know you’re worried, and I don’t blame you. Sparkle said this is like our device, but…. well, we’ll know for sure once we run some tests on it. Until then, the human world seems like the safest place for it. There still isn’t as much magic here as there is in Equestria, and there are fewer potential threats who would try to steal it.”
“…Well, when you put it like that.” Sunset carefully slid the device back into her pocket. “Okay, Princess. I’m still not crazy about it, but it works until we can figure out what else to do with it.”
Twilight breathed out quietly and nodded. “Thank you. Do you know of anywhere we can put it? I’d rather not have someone stumble on it and walk away with it, even if they couldn’t use it like we could.”
“My place is probably the safest bet. Come on, we can walk.” Sunset paused, then grinned. “That way you don’t have to let go of my hand.”
Twilight tried to scowl, but it didn’t quite work. “You like it too.”
“Oh, I do.” Sunset lifted Twilight’s fingers to her lips, pressing a light kiss to them. “I just also like to get my cheap shots where I can.”
“… You’re lucky I love you.”
“I know I am. And I love you too.”
“Start walking, Sunset.”
Sunset laughed and gave Twilight a gentle tug, a reminder that the princess had no idea of where they were going and her partner would have to lead the way. Twilight held on tightly to Sunset’s hand, and took a moment to simply enjoy the quiet of it all. After how everything had been going for them, a part of her had wondered if they would ever be like this again. Just…. together.
Now that they were, it almost felt like a dream.
“So,” Sunset began after they had walked a ways in silence. “‘Universal constants,’ huh?”
Twilight winced. “I was kind of hoping we could relax a little bit longer before we had this talk, to be completely honest.”
That made her—fillyfriend, girlfriend, Twilight would have to get comfortable with using both terms to describe the young woman next to her, laugh. “Twilight, after everything we just went through, I think the two of us figuring out how things are going to work with you and Equestria and me here in the human world is going to be easy.”
“… Point.” Twilight glanced at Sunset. “You still aren’t ready to face Celestia yet?”
It was Sunset’s turn to wince, now, and her grip on her fellow Equestrian’s hand tightened slightly. “I-I will be one day, I think. Maybe. Not right now, but—“
“Sunset.” Twilight tugged them to a halt, turning her around to face her and resting a hand on her cheek. “It’s okay. You can take as long as you need. I know the two of you didn’t exactly part on the best of terms.”
Sunset snorted, nuzzling into Twilight’s palm despite herself. “That’s a mild way of putting it.”
“She regrets it as much as you do, believe me. I’m only asking so I have some idea of what we’ll be doing for now.” The princess smiled. “And honestly? Like you said, after everything else we’ve been through to get to this point, this will feel easy either way.”
It was strange to say that when she had been the one so hesitant about this discussion in the first place, but she truly believed it. They had survived traveling different worlds, defeating Tirek, and had even managed to convince the Accord to spare them and let them continue on their way. She had mostly just wanted a moment to relax and breathe after everything, but maybe hashing this out now was the best idea.
Especially since Twilight suspected that once she and Sunset reached the place she called home, neither of them would really be in the mood to talk.
“So,” she continued without missing a beat, “what so you have in mind, considering that?”
Sunset was quiet for a moment, then turned into Twilight’s palm to press her lips there lightly before pulling away and digging into her pocket to fish out the Talisman. Twilight tried to fight back the sorrow she felt at the loss of warmth, until she remembered the wonderful fact that humans had two arms. She hesitated a moment, before taking a quiet breath and stepping forward, closing the distance between them and tugging Sunset into a hug, arms coming around her neck.
Sunset clearly hadn’t been expecting it, Twilight could tell from the startled exhale that escaped her and the way that she briefly went tense at the unexpected intimacy. She relaxed quickly, though, and while she still fished the Talisman out of her pocket with one hand she settled her other one on the other girl’s hip, gently bumping their foreheads together with a small smile. “Hey there.”
Twilight giggled and leaned in the short distance for a kiss—she didn’t think she was ever going to get tired of kissing Sunset, and they’d only just started doing it. “Hi.”
“To answer your question…” Sunset brought the Talisman up between them so they could both see it, without needing to break their embrace. “We have our portal, and we can only wait now and see what the Accord chooses to do with what we said. We don’t need to use the Talisman…”
“We don’t need to use the Talisman to travel between my world and your world. We’ll… think very carefully about what Sparkle said and what we’re going to do with this. I say we just keep doing what we’ve been doing until I feel more confident and graduate high school, because honestly, I want to finish my education there, and then… well, we’ll see.”
“Mm, that sounds good to me too. We’ll both see what happens, and in the meantime, we’ll still be together no matter what.” Twilight smiled warmly, reaching out and taking the device from Sunset’s hand and gently tucking it back into her pocket. That freed up her hand, which promptly settled on her other hip, and pulled Twilight ever so subtly closer.
Sunset, it turned out, was very good at getting wordless hints.
“… So, um.” Twilight blushed faintly, nuzzling their noses together and making Sunset giggle. “This is probably really stupid of me to ask since we’ve come this far, but were you serious about having plans with me tonight? Just, you know, double checking. I don’t want to assume or anything.”
That made Sunset laugh outright, and she tugged Twilight in for another kiss—something that started out warm and soft and chaste, and then she felt her tongue press against her lips and the kiss got warm and deep and left Twilight breathless.
“Yes, Twilight,” Sunset purred, “I was serious.”
Twilight was suddenly very, very thankful for Starlight’s kind offer. With that tone of voice, she wouldn’t be back in Equestria until at least late in the morning.
She couldn’t wait to see what plans Sunset had in mind… and maybe along the way, she’d come up with some plans of her own. The night was long, after all.
Twilight Sparkle adjusted her glasses and sighed, noticing that she was almost near the end of the book she had been reading. She couldn’t reach over and adjust her lamp; she’d done that earlier, and the light was perfect. Her parents were out on a date night, and Shining was working a late shift at work, so she had the house all to herself save Spike. There was nothing for her to do, except enjoy the rest of her night in some other way after finishing her book.
Which she would be finishing. Soon.
She grimaced, then bookmarked her place and set aside the story with a deep sigh, rubbing her eyes. She was bored. She’d had nothing worthwhile to do since Princess Twilight Sparkle and Sunset had taken away her pendant, and they wouldn’t even let her help with whatever they had in mind. Which was totally fine! It was! She just kind of wished they’d needed her help so she wouldn’t be like this; at home in her room with nothing to do but finish a book she’d read a million times, if she was honest with herself.
Well. She had some school assignments she needed to get ahead on anyway. She could get started on that at least, make a good impression on her new teachers at Canterlot High.
Mind made up, Twilight nodded to herself and climbed out of bed, invigorated and eager for the task ahead of her—and then the portal tore its way into her room. This wasn’t a gentle parting of air to form a stable gate between worlds; the blast of energy knocked the girl back against her dresser with a yelp, her glasses crashing to the ground. Bright light blinded her, and as the portal closed as abruptly as it had opened Twilight briefly saw white, blinking several times to try and clear her vision. She groaned, patting around until she found her glasses, and shakily put them on.
And then, she stared at the girl who had appeared in her bedroom.
Blood dripped from shaking fingers, stained through clothes on the right side of her body; she’d pressed her hand against the wound to try and stem the bleeding, but it clearly wasn’t helping much. She staggered on her feet, the pendant around her neck appearing to be the twin to the one Twilight had designed herself—if she could ignore the cracks that webbed their way along deep into the object, occasionally sending off small sparks of wild magic.
But what truly made Twilight stare was that beyond the wound, beyond the unstable pendant and the different clothes, beyond even the fact that this girl’s hair was a pixie cut and not long enough to fall down her back like it did in this world—what made Twilight stare was that the girl was Sunset Shimmer.
Teal eyes met violet. For a moment, the entire world seemed to stand still.
“Help,” the other Sunset gasped, and the spell was broken.
That single pained word spurred the purple girl forward, and she surged up to catch the redhead as she passed out from blood loss and collapsed into her arms. Twilight swore violently, gingerly setting her down on her bedroom floor and ripping a sheet off of her bed to try and stem the bleeding before she tore out of her room, yelling for Spike to find the first aid kit.
Because that was the fun thing about universal constants, you see—a Twilight and a Sunset would always meet, and always end up together in some fashion. It was never specified who they would be, or how this would happen; it would just happen.
And so as a story came to a close for one pair, a story began for another pair. Because that was the beauty of universal constants—there was always a new story to be told, a new adventure to be had. What would happen to this pair, to this Sunset Shimmer and Twilight Sparkle, was still unknown.
But whatever happened, they would go through it together. As countless pairs before them had done, and as countless pairs after them would do.
And so a new story, and a new chance to shine sunlight into darkness, began.