• Published 26th Mar 2012
  • 15,935 Views, 770 Comments

The Past is the Future - the_panic



A human escaping from a nuclear holocaust brings change to all of Equestria and a certain librarian.

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Epilogue: End of a Beginning

A Few Months Later...

In the corner of a cluttered workbench, a tan stallion sat hunched over on a stool. He looked up at the clock mounted on the wall before straightening up and stretching out, groaning in satisfaction as he felt his spine popping.

“Man, time went by quickly, today,” Sam mused aloud to no one in particular, “I feel like I hardly got anything done on this project schematic...”

He looked around curiously, suddenly remembering why his ears failed to detect a response; Sam had once again stayed past the lab’s closing hours that he himself had set.

Not in any hurry to step out into the chill of Winter, Sam instead absent-mindedly paced around, admiring his new shop and reminiscing about how much he and his team had accomplished in just a few short months.

After giving him a few days to get reacquainted with Twilight Sparkle as well as his new body, Princess Celestia offered to let Sam open a new branch of the Royal Academy in Ponyville in which to continue his research and development of humanity’s advanced technologies.

Sam chuckled as he remembered Twilight’s encouragement: “Sam, this is LITERALLY an offer you can’t refuse! You can stay with me, continue your work independently, and best of all, I can help! I’m dying to get my hooves into all of that data you unlocked!”

Twilight had also given him another objective; she wanted him to eventually have the lab turn its focus towards attempting to reconcile what ponies currently knew about magic with the advanced theories of physics that ancient humans had discovered. Sam himself had been pondering that topic for some time, though his academic area of expertise was in electrical engineering, not theoretical physics.

Officially called the “Equestrian Institute for Advanced and Exotic Technologies”, Sam’s first order of business was to complete the upgrades to the hydroelectric dams in order to provide cheap, efficient electrical energy to every pony who wanted it. This was a great first step towards achieving the mission statement that Sam and his colleagues had decided on: “To Improve The Lives Of Everypony Everywhere.”

So far, Sam and his team had successfully built a small prototype of the new generators for the dams, and they were due to test it within the week.

Sam looked back down at his spot on the workbench both in dread and in excitement of how much work he had ahead of him. It feels good to be back in my element, but damn I have a lot to do!

He glanced back up at the clock. If I don’t get home soon, Twilight’s gonna kill me. Better head out, I guess.

Sam reached up to his desk and switched off the lamp, before levitating his lab coat onto his chair and his fleece jacket around himself, a garment that he found himself wearing mostly out of habit from the days before his transformation.

Once he was certain that everything was safely turned off and locked up, Sam stepped outside into the chilly night air, and began trotting through town back to the library. As he passed by Sugarcube Corner, he stopped to wave at Pinkie Pie as she began closing up the bakery for the day.

“Hiya Sam! Wanna come in for some hot chocolate before I close up?”

“Thanks Pinkie,” Sam chuckled, “normally I’d say yes, but I’m late getting home, don’t want Twi to worry about me, you know!”

Pinkie giggled. “Ooooh yeah, we don’t want that, do we! See ya tomorrow then Sam!”

“See you around!” the tan pony replied as he trotted away.

Finally, just as his face was beginning to feel slightly numb from the cold, Sam arrived at the door. Rather than knock or otherwise attempt to enter, he took a few steps back and scrunched up his face in concentration as his horn lit up. The brass doorknob began to glow as well, and rattled in place, before the door finally swung open, revealing an amused Twilight Sparkle.

“Still haven’t given up on the door, eh?”

“Nope,” Sam replied, panting, “I don’t get it, I’ve managed to get to where I can put on and take off clothes with magic, precisely manipulate small tools, and even use the keyboard on my laptop. Yet, I can barely manage to magically open the door.”

“That’s magic for you! You just have to practice applying forces in different directions. Now, come on inside before we let out all the heat!”

Sam complied, quickly cantering inside and kicking the door shut with one of his hind legs.

Twilight sidled up next to him and nuzzled his cheek, “Oh wow,” she gasped, “your face feels like ice! Good thing I had Spike helping me with the soup, you feel like you could use something hot.”

“Oh come on, it’s not THAT cold. Though, I am pretty hungry.”

“Good!” Twilight replied as she began walking towards the kitchen, “So, how was your day?”

Sam began following her. “Oh, same old. We’ll be testing the new generator by the end of the week. Imagine if this works out; we could eventually get the entire country running on hydroelectric power! We’d be one step closer to eventually bringing Equestria up to 20th century-levels of technology. But, you hear me rant about that every day. What have you been up to?”

As she levitated the pot of soup onto the table, Twilight pointed a hoof towards a stack of parchment and several books. “I’ve been taking some notes on Pre-Equestrian history to compare to your records. I want to get things in order to have that information recorded and researched more thoroughly.”

“Yeah,” Sam sighed, “there’s certainly a lot of it. If I didn’t know you enjoyed that sort of work so much, I’d tell you to wait until I can use the nanobot generator to build you your own computer.”

“Say what you will about hoof-written research,” Twilight said with a smirk, “but there’s something awfully satisfying about having a huge stack of books laid out before you with all the information you want contained within.”

“If you say so,” Sam chuckled.

Once Spike arrived back in the kitchen, all three residents of the library sat down to eat.

As the meal progressed, only Twilight and Spike spoke; aside from occasional slurping sounds, Sam was unusually quiet.

“...So then Rarity was like, ‘Sweetie Belle! You, Scootaloo, and Apple Bloom had better take that model volcano of yours outside be-’, and the thing began,” Spike stopped in an attempt to contain his laughter, “erupting and spewing dyed foam everywhere before she could finish! I felt bad for Rarity, but boy it was funny!”

Twilight shook her head. “I warned her about letting the Cutie Mark Crusaders work on their science project indoors...” Normally, Sam would be laughing too, I wonder what’s on his mind...

Sam continued eating his soup, deep in thought. Alright... Start the preliminary test runs tomorrow morning, then, head out a little early to talk to Mr. Cake, he’s probably my best bet for some advice on what I’ve been planning...

Twilight firmly tapped a hoof against the table. “Hello! Sam? Anypony home?”

“Uh wha-?” Sam snapped to attention, “Sorry, my mind is somewhere else tonight.”

“Everything okay?” She said, a look of concern etched onto her face.

Sam smiled and nodded vigorously. “Yeah, everything’s fine, just thinking about everything I need to do tomorrow. Gonna be a busy day, gotta start the first test run on the generators, make sure everything is lined up properly, and then start training a team of construction workers on how the thing works. On top of all of that I have to make a trip to Sugarcube Corner.”

“What for?” Twilight asked.

“Just gotta pick a few things up, to... Um... You know, I’ve been craving some chocolate chip cookies like crazy! Do all ponies have cravings for sweets like this, or is it just me?”

“Um, okay... You know we could bake some ourselves, though, right?”

“True. But something about the way Pinkie and the Cakes do it... Their recipe is amazing.”

“Fair enough! But yeah, come to think of it, we do eat a bit more sweets than you did as a human, but it seems a little abnormal in your case,” Twilight shrugged, “maybe it’s a side-effect of the spell? I’ll write the Princess later.”

“Who knows?” Sam replied, chuckling. Not a bad cover story for my little secret meeting with Carrot Cake. Of course, now I have to spend extra bits on cookies.

A few minutes later, Sam, Twilight, and Spike cleaned up the kitchen, and began getting ready to go to bed.

As Sam soaped and rinsed the dishes, Spike lightly flamed them dry before Twilight floated the items gently into their designated spot in the cabinets.

“Uhh, Sam?” Spike tapped Sam’s shoulder, “Why’d you stop washing?” He followed the stallion’s gaze towards where Twilight was standing, prompting a sly smile to form on the dragon’s face, “Oh, I see, staring at Twi, eh?”

Sam shook his head, crashing back to reality. He smiled sheepishly, and resumed his washing.

I may not quite understand Equestrian standards of beauty yet, nor be able to see what makes one mare prettier than another, but Twilight sure looks amazing. I mean, I always thought she was cute, even before I took the transformation, but now that I’ve changed, lately she’s looked absolutely beautiful to me. I wonder how much that spell changed me? I mean, I know the doctor’s tests and Twilight's own experiments with my blood showed that I am now a physically normal unicorn as far as pony medical expertise can tell, but is it possible that the transformation changed the way I think? Or maybe it’s just that because I’m a pony like Twilight now, my subconscious is allowing me to think ponies can be attractive.

He stole another furtive glance at the purple mare.

Either way, I don’t care. I’m so lucky to have her...

Once the kitchen was cleaned, everyone began their usual nightly routines of showering, brushing teeth, and, in Twilight’s case, last minute pre-sleep reading.

When Sam entered the bedroom, he saw that Twilight had already beaten him to bed. They still slept together in the larger bed that Twilight had set up back when it was just Sam’s room; even though they could both comfortably fit in Twilight’s old bed, they liked the idea of sharing a room that they could customize and decorate together.

Sam climbed into bed, and leaned over her, nudging her book aside with his muzzle. He kissed her on the nose before lying back down next to her. She responded by floating the book over to the table, rolling onto her side, and pouting, her non-verbal way of demanding a proper kiss on the lips. He obliged, and wrapped a foreleg around her.

“Goodnight, Twilight, love you.”

“Love you too,” She sighed happily, before magically switching off her lamp.

As Twilight drifted off to sleep, Sam stayed awake, contentedly gazing at the slumbering unicorn.

It was his thoughts that prevented him from sleeping.

She’s so adorable when she sleeps... If she only knew what I’m planning, she’d be as wired and excited as I am...

---

After another productive day at the lab, Sam began closing up shop. He was just about to switch off the lights when he noticed one of the other scientists was still at his bench. He approached the black stallion, and gave him a light tap on the shoulder.

The bespectacled earth pony gasped and jerked around, only to breathe a sigh of relief when he noticed it was only his supervisor. “Heh, sorry boss, ya kinda startled me there. Is it really time to leave already?”

Sam smiled. “Yeah, well, sort of. I decided to let everyone go early today, we’re ahead of schedule, and,” he looked up absent-mindedly, “well, let’s just say I’m in a good mood, Ratchet.”

Ratchet shrugged; he certainly didn’t mind working under Sam, but the lack of sarcasm and genuine upbeat demeanor had the junior researcher confused. Who am I to argue with that?

“Alright, well, see ya later, Sam!” Ratchet closed up his notebooks and stowed his tools, and trotted out the door with Sam following close behind.

Once Sam had managed to lock the doors, he turned around and set off in a light canter for Sugarcube Corner.

Stepping inside, he was immediately greeted by the sky blue Mrs. Cake. “Oh, hello there Sam! What can I get for you, dearie?”

Sam looked through the glass counters before spotting his prize. “Just some chocolate chip cookies. By the way, is Carrot around? I kinda need to ask him for some advice on something.”

Mrs. Cake nodded her head. “Of course! Let me box these up for you, and I’ll go track him down. He’s probably upstairs playing with the twins!”

“Great, thanks. How are the little ones, anyway?”

“Oh, they’re a hoof-full, for sure,” she laughed, “we can barely keep Pound out of the air, and Pumpkin just keeps finding more and more tricks she can do with her magic!” Mrs. Cake’s expression turned to one of curiousity, “If you don’t mind me asking, what is it you need advice on? Is everything alright, dearie?”

Sam smiled. “Everything’s great, don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll hear about it all in good time.”

“Well, alright, then. Let me go find Mr. Cake for you!”

Mrs. Cake turned to walk upstairs after placing the box of baked goods on the counter, from which Sam levitated them into his saddlebags, replacing them with a small pile of coins.

A few minutes later, a more masculine voice called out from the top of the stairs. “Hey Sam, come on up, I’m free. Lemme just put the twins in their crib and I’ll be right with you.”

Sam trotted up the stairs, and waited in the hallway. Seconds later, a yellow stallion emerged from one of the rooms.

Mr. Cake motioned for Sam to follow him to a room at the end of the hall. The two stallions sat across from each other on opposing sides of a wooden desk in the corner of the Cake’s bedroom.

“So, Sam,” Carrot Cake cleared his throat, “my wife says you need my advice. What can I do for you? Is everything okay? I don’t mind helping but I can’t imagine what I could help you with.”

Sam nodded. “Everything’s great, don’t worry! In fact, that’s exactly why I wanted your advice. How long have you and Cup Cake been married?”

A flash of confusion briefly appeared on Carrot Cake’s face. “Uh... Going on six years now. Why do you ask?”

“Well...” Come on, Sam, don’t get all nervous now! “You see... Um... Well, things have been great with Twilight and I.”

“Okay... And?”

“And, it seems pretty clear to me that we’re in it for the long haul, and you and Cup are the only married couple I know in town, so I figured you’d be a good pony to ask about this sort of thing, but...”

Carrot Cake chuckled. “Sam, are you thinking about proposing to Twilight Sparkle?”

Taking a deep breath, Sam replied, “Yes.”

“Way to go Sam! That’s great! So, what exactly did you want to ask?”

“For one, I’m still learning about Equestrian culture. I mean, I want to make sure I do this right. But, before that, how did you know for sure that Cup was the one for you? I mean, I’ve been having all these really weirdly vivid dreams about Twilight and myself, and everything feels right when I think about it, but part of me is still skeptical, you know?”

“Ah, I see,” Carrot smiled, “I’ll answer your second question first. It’s simple, when you know, you just know it’s gonna happen. You start having dreams about each other that almost seem like you’re looking at the future, and you feel like if you didn’t have each other that you’d lose part of yourself. It’s hard to explain to some ponies, but it sounds like you already know what I mean. Don’t worry! I’ve seen you and Twilight together, you remind me of Mrs. Cake and I at that point in our relationship. Plus, Pinkie won’t shut up about how cute she thinks you two are together,” he chuckled.

“Okay. So, how do I do this right? I mean, she and I have been together only for a few months, just since mid-summer.”

Carrot shrugged. “Sounds about right. Like I said, when you know, you’re sure of it; that’s just sort of how it works, is it not like that where you’re from?”

“Well, the emotions are the same, but are you implying that pony marriages never end? Because it’s not that guaranteed with humans.”

“Eh, I’m not necessarily saying that, but divorce is pretty rare. But yeah, Cup Cake and I dated for just a few months ourselves, and in a few more months we’ll have been married for a full six amazing years,” he said, smiling proudly, “and don’t get me started on our two foals!”

“So, how do most ponies propose?” Sam asked, somewhat anxiously.

“Well, just ask the question, of course! You’ll want to get a bit of jewelry, maybe a bracelet or necklace... Oh, Twilight’s a unicorn, so you could get a small ring for her horn. I don’t know much when it comes to jewelry. Maybe your friend Rarity could help?”

Sam nodded. “Yeah, I’ll probably ask her about that, I’m not expected back at the library for another hour or so. I closed up the shop early today. But that’s really interesting though; what you said is pretty much exactly how my people handled marriage proposals...”

Carrot leaned back in his seat. “So, any other questions, Sam?”

The tan stallion brought a hoof to his chin in thought. “Hmm... I think I’m good now. I’ve been mulling this over for a while, and I guess I needed to talk it out a little. You’ve given me a lot to think about. Thanks, Carrot Cake.”

“Any time! Now, go get ‘er!”

Sam laughed, and stood up to leave after shaking hooves with Mr. Cake. As he walked down the stairs and through the store section, he heard Mrs. Cake giggling softly behind the counter.

“What’s so funny?”

Still smiling, she replied, “Oh, nothing...” She stepped out from behind the counter and gave Sam a quick hug, “I just overheard what you and Carrot were talking about and... Oh Sam I’m so happy for you!”

Sam took a few steps back. “Thanks, but seriously, please keep quiet about this, I want it to be a big surprise!”

“The way Pinkie talks about you and Twilight, I don’t think anypony would be surprised to hear about that sort of news,” Mrs. Cake laughed.

“Well... Twilight will probably be pretty shocked. After all, before we started dating, most of what she knew about dating was stuff she read from books on the subject,” Sam chuckled.

“All the same, just know we would be glad to host or help with your engagement party!”

“Thanks! Anyway, I’ll see you later.”

“Good luck!”

Sam walked out into the chilly evening, and made his way to Rarity’s boutique.

Once he arrived at the Carousel Boutique, he knocked on the door.

A cheery, feminine voice rang out from within. “Come iiiinnnn!!”

Sam entered as instructed, and waited at the front counter. He caught a glimpse of a white mare happily entangled with several strips of fabric as she examined her latest work-in-progress.

“I’ll be with you in just a moment, darling, just getting to a stopping point,” Rarity called out as she removed the fabric that was draped around her midsection.

“Sure, take your time, Rarity,” Sam replied.

“Oh! Sam! Why didn’t you say it was you!” She promptly trotted over to meet her guest, “What ever can I do for you? Are you finally ready to let me take your measurements for your new suit? It’s about time you and Twilight have another romantic night on the town!”

“Not quite here for that yet, Rares,” Sam chuckled, “And I’ll have you know Twilight and I have our own idea of a romantic night out... But... If everything goes right, soon, I’ll probably be back for that suit, though.”

“You know how I don’t like nicknames,” Rarity said with a scowl, “But, what exactly do you mean ‘if everything goes right’?”

“Well, I wanted to find a nice piece of jewelry. You see... My relationship with Twilight has gone from great to wonderful over the last couple of months, and I’ve got a really good feeling about where it’s headed... So...”

Rarity laughed. “Only because you two share a bed together, darling, I know you stallions all too well.”

Sam felt his face practically glowing red. “Hey now, what Twilight and I do is our business and ours alone, I thought a so-called ‘lady’ such as yourself would respect that.”

“That may be true,” she giggled, “but I do so love trying to get a reaction out of you. It’s only fair, given how you and Rainbow Dash give me such a hard time over my proper manners!”

“Yeah yeah, anyway... Getting back on topic... First thing’s first, do you make jewelry?”

Rarity pointed proudly towards a small box on her shelf with a few pieces of jewelry in it. “I certainly do, though not many ponies come to me for such items, except as special gifts or for wedding propo-” Her jaw dropped in realization, “Sam! You’re not going to... Ask dear Twilight to marry you, are you?!”

Sam nodded, grinning like a madman. “That’s the plan, hopefully, and I thought-”

“Oh my goodness, of all the possible things that could happen, this is THE. BEST. POSSIBLE. THING!” Rarity’s exclamations quickly degraded into a series of excited squeals as she flung herself down onto a conveniently placed couch.

Sam waited for her to calm down before he continued. “Anyway, I’d recalled you saying you sometimes made settings for jewelry to go with the gems you and Spike dig up, and I was wondering if you could recommend something. What would be better, a bracelet, necklace, ring?”

Rarity looked at him as if he had just asked an incredibly stupid question. “Well if you were talking about the actual wedding jewelry, a horn ring, of course! Twilight IS a unicorn, after all,” her expression softened, “but for the engagement, it doesn’t really matter. Personally I’d suggest a necklace... Ohh I’ve got just the idea!! You just let me handle it, I’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready!”

“Awesome! I know whatever you come up with will look great.”

“Of course! Oh I’m just beside myself, I just know she’ll say yes! You two make a wonderful couple.”

“Thanks, Rarity,” Sam replied bashfully, “you’re too kind. Well, I’ll leave you to it, I’m going to get on home before it gets too much colder. See you around!”

Sam turned to leave, and headed outside as the sun was in its final stages of setting. I can’t believe it, I’m actually going to do this... Now to just keep sane until I get the necklace and get everything in place to pop the big question...

---

Two weeks later, Sam and Twilight found themselves walking side by side down the road back from the Ponyville train station to the library, having spent their day off together in Canterlot.

Twilight leaned her head against Sam’s shoulder. “Thank you Sam, today was wonderful. It’s been ages since I’ve gone to Canterlot for anything besides school or the usual crisis threatening Equestria.”

Sam laughed, somewhat bitterly. “Yeah, I think this was the first time I’ve been there under anything but depressing circumstances, myself.”

“Oh, don’t think about that, please,” Twilight pouted, “let’s see if we can’t find time for a longer trip, there’s so many places I’d love to show you. Oh! We should go to Manehattan, next time.”

The two ponies shivered as Twilight lifted her head from Sam’s side, taking a degree of warmth with it.

“Rarity would kill us if she saw us dragging our clothes through the snow,” Sam chuckled, “she certainly did a wonderful job on your dress and my suit, though.”

Twilight stopped to pull up on her dress a bit, saving the deep blue lace on the edge of the royal purple skirting. “She always does seem to get them just right,” she sighed.

Sam turned to look at her. “Everything okay, Twi?”

“Yes, but, well... I really wanted to ask you the same thing. You’ve been a little... Secretive, lately, going out or staying out later after work with very little explanation,” she looked at him with genuine concern, “and why have you been going to Rarity’s so often over the last two weeks?”

Sam felt the color drain from his face. Oh hell.

“And then there’s my friends, they’ve all been acting like they know something I don’t know, especially when I mention anything about you...”

Damn it, I told Rarity and the girls to play it cool!

Twilight was close to full-blown tears. “Sam? Why aren’t you saying anything?”

Okay, just gotta make it a little further... This whole thing better work or else I’m going to kill Pinkie.

Sam stepped closer to the distraught mare, and hugged her tight. “Twi, there’s nothing to worry about, really. I don’t know what’s up with your friends, but I’m sure it’s nothing. Come on, let’s get on home before we freeze to death.”

Twilight pulled back, smiling. Even though she still felt as though something was afoot, hearing Sam’s words put her at ease, as they always did.

The two picked up the pace, and made it back to the library. Both noticed that the inside of the tree was unusually dark.

“Sam, didn’t we tell Spike to leave a few candles lit for us before he went to Rarity’s?”

“Yeah, I thought we did, anyway... I’m sure it’s nothing, let’s go on in, I’m freezing.”

Twilight’s horn lit up, smoothly opening the door, and went inside ahead of her companion. Sam kicked the door shut as Twilight went to light one of the candles on the wall.

“Sam? Aren’t you going to come on upstairs with me?” she turned around to see him still standing in the middle of the room, a nervous grin on his face, “What is it?”

He beckoned for her to come back over to him.

“Sam, you’re acting really weird tonight, are you sure nothing’s going-” she stopped mid-sentence as an oblong box floated over in front of Sam as he knelt down in front of her, “Sam...? Oh. OH. Ohhh my... Sam?!” her jaw hung open.

A few tears welled up in Sam’s eyes as he began to speak. “Twilight, ever since I arrived here, I’ve experienced a lot of change and trouble, and have had to adjust to so much. Everything is so different from what I am accustomed to, and it hasn’t been easy. But one thing has been pretty constant through it all: you, Twilight. You,” he saw her eyes beginning to mist, “You’ve been there for me during my hardest, darkest times, and during some of my happiest. You’ve been an incredible friend, and an amazing special somepony. I love you more than I can put into words, so... Twilight Sparkle, would you make me the happiest stallion on the planet by marrying me?”

Sam focused his concentration, opening the box to reveal a starburst-shaped cluster of purple and red gems on a silver chain, which he promptly levitated over to hang around the lavender mare’s neck.

Her face streaked with tears, Twilight shakily stepped closer to Sam, who stood up to meet her at eye level. She locked eyes with him, smiling, before she suddenly and passionately kissed him, her forelegs around his neck holding all of her weight. If Sam’s adrenaline hadn’t been coursing off the charts, he thought he’d have been dragged to the floor.

Finally, Twilight let go of him, still smiling and gazing tearfully into his eyes before finally replying with a soft, “Yes.”

She held her gaze for a few more moments before tightly shutting her eyes and giggling, then began jumping around in a circle, excitedly chanting “Yes yes yes yes yes!”

At that exact moment, every candle in the room ignited, bathing the space with a happy, warm glow as all of Twilight’s friends, her family, and nearly every pony she knew jumped out from hiding. Almost every pony present was racked with some combination of joyous laughter and sobs of happiness.

As usual, Pinkie Pie had conjured party supplies, punch, and other party accessories out of thin air, and quickly bounced over to spastically blurt out her congratulations to the newly engaged couple.

Twilight’s parents managed to slowly push their way through the throng of friends surrounding her.

As Ray was too busy blowing his nose and crying, Sparkler spoke up. “Oh, honey, congratulations! I’m so happy for you and Sam!”

Ray finally regained his composure. “I’ll admit, I was confused when he first met up with me to ask me about this last week. I distinctly remembered Sam being some sort of weird monkey,” he sniffed slightly, laughing, “but once he told me the whole story, your mother and I couldn’t have been happier!”

Sam smiled. “Thanks, Ray.”

“That’s ‘dad’, now, Sam. And besides, I had a good feeling about you the first time we met, and seeing how you look now, I’d say you turned out to prove me right! My little filly always did deserve a nice stallion, but you’ll do anyway, I think.”

Sparkler bumped her husband. “Ray!”

“Heh, I’m kidding, I’m kidding. Seriously Sam,” he extended foreleg to shake hooves, “when I saw how happy you made Twilight, even as weird as you looked, I knew you were alright. Welcome to the family.”

Twilight was still beaming. “Thank you, Dad. Oh my gosh, I just can’t believe this is happening!”

“I do have to ask you one thing, though, Sam,” Ray said, his tone serious, “how are you gonna peel and eat bananas without your hands?”

This time, Twilight pushed Ray over. “Dad! Seriously! Enough with the monkey jokes!”

Sam just laughed, bringing a hoof to rest against his forehead.

“Well, sweetie, your father and I are going to go get some punch and let you two greet the other guests! Congratulations!”

Ray lingered behind, pulled Sam aside, and whispered into his ear. “Now, Sam, I normally wouldn’t say this to a stallion, but I’ve read the reports and articles about humans that you released from your archive and... Well, humans seem different enough that it only seems fair that I warn you, be prepared for the ride of your life come next Summer.”

Sam simply looked confused.

Ray shook his head in pity. Poor kid doesn’t know what he’s got coming... “If you need further explanation, that’s something you should ask Twilight about, I already feel awkward enough right now as is. Take care, Sam! And make sure you have plenty of ice!”

Sam shook his head. That was weird.

As Twilight’s parents left, her brother and Princess Cadance took their spot.

“Hey there, little sis. Looks like it shoulda been you that caught Cadance’s bouquet,” Shining Armor chuckled.

“B.B.B.F.F.!” Twilight threw her forelegs around her brother’s neck.

As Twilight excitedly accepted her brother’s congratulations, Cadance just smiled smugly at Sam.

“What? What’s so funny, Cadance?” Sam asked, unsure of whether to be afraid or equally amused.

The pink alicorn looked up, pretending to be aloof. “Oh, nothing, just bathing in the satisfaction of being RIGHT! I told you that you and Twilight were meant to be, you stubborn chimp.”

“In case you haven’t noticed, Cadance, I’m not exactly swinging from trees with a prehensile tail, anymore,” Sam retorted.

“Yes, I see that, but I’m sure you still get the urge from time to time, right?” her expression shifted to genuine happiness, “But anyway, enough teasing. Congrats, Sam. I knew you’d work things out, even if it took a little prodding.”

Sam smiled. “Yeah, thanks for that."

Both Cadance and her new brother-in-law-to-be turned and laughed at the sight before them; Twilight had been completely surrounded by her friends, who had shoved poor Shining out of the way before he knew what had hit him. Rarity was doing her best to avoid stealing the spotlight by bragging about creating the engagement necklace, and the other four girls were in various states of giggling and tearing up. Even Spike was struggling to keep his cool.

Finally, Twilight convinced them to enjoy the party. Once the crowd had dispersed from around her and Sam, she beckoned for Sam to follow her upstairs to the balcony.

“What are we doing up here, Twi?”

“It was getting a little too overwhelming downstairs,” she giggled.

“No kidding, I always forget how intense Pinkie’s surprise parties are.”

Twilight moved closer to her stallion. “So this is what had you acting so suspicious lately?”

“Yep! I take it monkey done good?”

Twilight shot him a look of disapproval. “My dad’s monkey jokes better not rub off on you... But yes, this was, this IS, amazing. I never saw it coming. I mean, I’d hoped this would happen, but still...”

Sam nuzzled her cheek lightly. “You’d think after all the surprises just my being here has caused that you’d have seen something like this from a mile away!”

Twilight smiled. “And this necklace, it’s perfect, absolutely perfect. There’s just one thing though,”

“What’s that?”

“I’d have thought Celestia would have been here,” Twilight said expectantly.

“Oh, I invited her, Luna too. They did tell me that they might be held up a little. Maybe they’ll show up later tonight,” Sam explained hopefully.

Twilight laughed. “They ARE the rulers of the country, after all, who knows what came up?”

They stood there like that for a few more minutes, just gazing at the stars, before Sam turned to look Twilight in the eyes. Both ponies smiled, excitedly anticipating what the future had in store for them both.

Finally, Twilight spoke. “Sam, I can’t remember the last time I’ve been this happy. I wish I could come up with something more creative to say other than ‘I love you’, but...”

The tan stallion leaned over and lightly kissed her cheek. “That’ll always be more than enough for me. Come on, it’s too cold, let’s go back inside.”

Twilight nodded, and followed him back downstairs, where they rejoined the happy company of their friends.

---

Unbeknownst to Sam and Twilight while they were on the balcony, two alicorns had been watching them from the air. Luna had insisted on going on inside to join the festivities, but upon seeing the couple of the night enjoying their moment together alone on the balcony, Celestia elected to hold back for a few minutes.

After the heartwarming moment had ended, Luna once again stated her desire to go inside.

“Sister, we have given them their privacy, I do believe that we may join the party without ruining anything.”

Celestia smiled. “Patience, Luna, patience. This party is about them, no need to make a grand entrance and steal the spotlight.”

Luna suddenly began grinning mischievously, slightly unnerving her elder sibling.

“Luna... What are you up to? I know that grin all too well.”

The Princess of the Night put on her best faux-innocent expression. “Oh, nothing, Tia, nothing. Just entertaining myself with glimpses of the happy couple’s recent dreams,” her eyes lit up in mock surprise, exaggerating her interest in her mental images.

Celestia knew her own curiosity would soon get the better of her. “Fine, Luna, fine. What is it?”

“If I show you, may we PLEASE go on inside?”

Celestia gave an exasperated sigh. “Very well...”

Luna giggled excitedly, before lighting up her horn in preparation to project the image. “You’re going to love this, sister. It was so clear when I saw it... Almost as if it was, or is, really going to happen.”

“Well, dreams have been known to occasionally show the future... Now show me already!”

Luna laughed, and completed her projection. The resulting image cast a faint glow across the two princesses’ faces, as Luna continued giggling while watching her sister’s reaction.

After letting out a surprised gasp, Celestia’s mouth curved upwards into a smile. “That’s adorable, Luna. I hope they really do end up that happy!”

The projection faded, as Luna looked at the Solar Princess expectantly. “So, may we go in now, sister?”

“Of course, after you Luna.”

As Celestia followed her sister to the ground, she happened to glimpse Twilight through one of the windows. She and Sam were both surrounded by their friends and family.

I haven’t seen either of them that happy in ages; they’ve certainly come a long way.

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