• Published 18th May 2015
  • 8,061 Views, 682 Comments

Inner Strength - Krickis



When Twilight overhears a private conversation, she has to come to terms with how she feels about herself, love, and a certain somepony. All while weighing her public image against her personal desires.

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12 – Season of Change

Chapter Twelve

Season of Change

There were a lot of good reasons to look forward to fall. The beautiful colors on the leaves, the cool air that was perfect for cozying up in bed, the seasonal treats at Sugarcube Corner. If for that alone, Fluttershy would have been happy for the change in season.

But this year was different. Something special was happening, something that only happened once every six years. Fluttershy had missed it last time, and she hadn’t lived in Ponyville the time before that, so this would be her first time getting to see the spectacle. She might have missed it this time as well if not for an offhoof comment from Twilight about how many newts she’d seen around lately.

That was another thing that was different about this fall – Twilight. There had been lots of new experiences since they’d started dating, and fall was no exception. It turned out that the cooler weather wasn’t just good for cozying into bed herself, but also for cuddling up with her marefriend. Afternoon strolls through town, drinking warm drinks together, even things like helping each other make sure they were prepared for the coming winter. Everything just seemed a little bit better when it was spent with someone who loved her.

And a nature expedition was no exception. The two marefriends were walking through White Tail Woods together, admiring the fall colors. Or at least, Fluttershy wanted to admire them. In truth, she was more than just a little preoccupied worrying about how the day would go.

It had seemed romantic when she asked Twilight to go along with her. A walk through the woods amidst the autumn colors, just the two of them. But now that they were out, she realized it was a very long walk, and autumn wasn’t cool enough to keep them from sweating. Fluttershy didn’t suggest many dates, and she couldn’t help but worry about how her marefriend might feel about her choice of one now.

“It can’t be much farther now,” Fluttershy said, hoping that was the case. She really didn’t have any idea, although they had been walking for a while, so maybe…

“I think we’ve still got a little ways to go,” Twilight said, dashing Fluttershy’s hopes. Not that she minded a walk through White Tail Woods – it was particularly lovely this time of year – but she was just a bit worried.

Not that Twilight seemed to be. Fluttershy tried to take what comfort she could in that. Still, she could feel her heart sink when Twilight asked, “Do you think we have enough time for a little break? It’s been a long time since I walked this much.”

“Oh, of course. We should have plenty of time.” Fluttershy looked around. As much as the autumn colors were nice on the trees, it meant the ground was covered in a layer of dead leaves everywhere she looked. “I, uhm, I’m not sure where to rest though. Maybe I could clear a spot for us to sit.”

Twilight giggled before taking a seat on the ground, leaves and all. “Don’t be silly, there’s no need to do anything like that.”

Fluttershy sat down beside Twilight, close enough that they were almost touching. The ‘almost’ part didn’t last long, as Twilight draped a wing over Fluttershy’s back. It had been a few months since they’d started dating, and the closeness was something they were both growing more comfortable with.

“The woods are really beautiful,” Twilight said as she looked around.

Fluttershy nodded, allowing herself a small smile. “They are. Thank you for coming out with me.”

“Of course! I’d be happy to even if we were just walking through the woods. It’s been really nice to get to see it with you.”

Fluttershy smiled a little more. “You, uhm, you don’t mind how long it’s taking to get there?”

“Are you kidding?” Twilight leaned her head in and they both blushed as their faces moved closer together. “A walk through the beautiful woods with a beautiful mare? What would I possibly mind about that?”

As they kissed, a few of Fluttershy’s worries flew away from her. If Twilight said she was enjoying the walk, well, who was Fluttershy to say anything different?

They were still blushing as they pulled apart. Even after three months, they still blushed almost every time they kissed. Although they were growing closer and becoming more comfortable as marefriends, kisses remained something special.

“It’ll be time for the Running of the Leaves soon,” Twilight said.

“Yeah. Are you going to participate again this year?” Fluttershy found Twilight’s hoof and held it with her own.

“I think so. This nature walk is a good way to get a little workout in.”

Fluttershy giggled. “Yeah, gotta get you out of the library once in a while.”

Twilight smirked. “Hey, I leave the house to visit you! And helping with the animals is no picnic, you know.”

“Yeah, I know.”

Even if the conversation wasn’t anything intimate, Fluttershy felt closer to Twilight than she had all day. If anything, especially because of how casual the conversation was. It was a reminder that Fluttershy’s misconceptions about what a relationship had to be were unfounded – they could cuddle up and talk about everyday life without worrying about trying to make it a romantic conversation.

“Well, ready to get back to it?” Twilight asked after a while. “Those newts and salamanders won’t wait for us.”

“Right. Let’s go.”

As they got up and went on their way again, Fluttershy tried her best to not worry that she might be boring Twilight with their long trek through the woods. Maybe it wasn’t romantic, but this could just be another casual thing they shared with each other.

She managed pretty well, all things considered. Guilty thoughts of what else Twilight could be doing did still pop into her head, but a look at her marefriend’s content face was usually enough to dispel the worst of them.

And if that didn’t, her excited gasp when they reached the stream would have. The salamanders had already arrived, but the newts were nowhere to be seen. That was good though, it meant they hadn’t missed anything.

“I can’t get a good view from here…” Twilight muttered.

“Me either.” Fluttershy looked around. While most of White Tail Woods was fairly clear and easy to travel in and see through, this section was a bit denser. There were a lot of trees with low hanging branches, coupled with thick bushes obscuring things on the ground.

It wouldn’t have been that bad for most things, but as neither newts nor salamanders were particularly large, it proved to be a bit of a problem for their purposes. Although, there was the stream itself…

But no, Fluttershy couldn’t suggest that. Casual date or not, mucking about a dirty stream wasn’t something she could do with her marefriend.

“We could hover a bit,” Twilight said, although she was looking uncertainly at the branches. “We’d have to stay pretty low though, and I don’t want to scare them away. Maybe we could find a tree with a good view to sit in?”

With how thick the branches were, that didn’t seem likely. “Uhm…”

“What is it, Fluttershy? Do you have an idea?”

Fluttershy frowned, certain that Twilight wouldn’t approve. “Well… If we waded into the stream a bit, we’d be able to get around the bushes without flying over them. But…”

“That’s a great idea, Fluttershy!” Twilight took a step towards the stream and dipped her hoof in. “Oh, it’s really chilly!”

Fluttershy nodded. “R-right. Maybe we can find another way.”

“I don’t think so, not without running the risk of disturbing them.” Twilight took another step in, then turned back and frowned. “You don’t mind, do you?”

Did Fluttershy mind getting a little wet and dirty to see an amazing animal experience? Not at all. It would take a lot more than a cold stream for her to want to turn back. But did Twilight realize that? Was that the only reason she was willing to do it?

Fluttershy took a look at the salamanders and hoped Twilight wouldn’t mind her being a little selfish. “No, I don’t mind. Let’s go.”

She stepped into the water with Twilight, which was indeed much colder than she expected. Her hooves sank into the soft mud under the water, which they kicked up as they walked, leaving a dark cloud around them. It was good that they weren’t on the lookout for anything too close to them.

“I think this is a good spot,” Twilight said.

Fluttershy looked towards the salamanders and agreed. The view was clear, and the two ponies would be well out of the way once it started. A few salamanders were watching them, but none of them seemed to mind having a few ponies standing by well out of the way. This far into the woods, ponies were just other animals.

“Uhm, you know,” Fluttershy said with an embarrassed smile. “This water is pretty chilly. Maybe we should, uhm, get a little closer. Just to keep warm.”

“Oh?” Twilight smiled playfully. “Well, as a good marefriend, I can’t let you be cold.” She stepped closer and draped a wing over Fluttershy, who leaned her head into Twilight’s neck.

“You’re so good to me.”

Twilight nuzzled against her. “You know, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say you have some ulterior motives to wanting to get closer.”

“What?” Fluttershy asked in mock surprise. “No, of course not. I just – oh!”

“Everything okay, Flutter – oh!”

They both looked at each other and giggled. It seemed the newts had arrived, and they were taking just a bit more interest in their pony guests than the salamanders had. The little tiny amphibians were swimming around them, occasionally bumping into them.

“Oh, hello.” Twilight lifted her wing slightly. The tip of it must have been dipped into the water, because a newt clung to one of her primary feathers.

The newt looked over the two of them, then dove into the water. Twilight and Fluttershy laughed, then Twilight dipped her wing back into the water.

The newts soon decided they’d seen enough of the ponies and swam towards the edge of the stream. And finally, everything else just felt less important as Fluttershy watched with bated breath.

This was a meeting that only took place once every six years, and ponies didn’t really understand the phenomenon. Fluttershy was positive of that, because Twilight had said as much. As much as she’d tried to learn about what they were about to witness, all she had been able to learn was that it happened.

Which suited Fluttershy just fine. She didn’t need the answers, she only wanted to see it with her own eyes. And as the newts waded onto the land, she finally got the chance to do just that.

One of the newts walked ahead of the others, and one of the salamanders walked up to greet them. They stared at each other for a moment, some sort of silent communication no doubt passing between them.

And then a moment later, the dancing started. There was no other word for it, as one by one they partnered up and began swaying rhythmically to some sound that Fluttershy and Twilight simply couldn’t hear.

The dance picked up. The usually quadrupedal amphibians rose to their hindlegs, and the dance began in earnest. They moved with surprising grace, and Fluttershy got the feeling a certain pony princess might learn a thing or two about dancing if she studied them well enough.

As they watched, it became clear that it wasn’t all on land. Some of the salamanders had entered the water, where they and the newts swam around each other in ways that could only be seen through the ripples they caused on the water’s surface.

The dance alone would be a wondrous sight to behold, but there was more to it. Just as there was more to the salamanders and newts. The Fireforged Salamanders generally made their homes deep inside Canterlot Mountain, where dragons had once lived. The area was a natural source of glowstone, which was a substance too hot for ponies to touch, but which salamanders and dragons loved.

The newts, on the other hoof, were Frostchill Newts. They originally came from the Frozen North, although were known to appear south of it through frigid underground waterways.

Neither species usually lived in or around Ponyville, and when they got together, the dance wasn’t the only unexpected thing to happen.

It started with steam, and then the steam grew to form little clouds. It was like the meeting of a miniature cold front with an equally small heat wave, and the steam just kept coalescing into the clouds.

Soon the little white clouds were neither little nor white. Dark grey rain clouds hovered just above the ponies and the amphibians, and there was only one way that could go.

The rain came in droplets at first, then fell more consistently. The heat from the salamanders and the coldness from the newts made the unscheduled rain unseasonably warm.

It felt wonderful. Even huddled up together, the water they were in was still far too cold for comfort, but the warm rain shook off those chills.

And she wasn’t the only one to enjoy it. As the rain fell on them, she heard Twilight giggle and looked up to see her marefriend beaming at the sight. There was no way she was faking her reaction for Fluttershy’s sake; Twilight was not that good of an actor.

Twilight loved this just as much as Fluttershy did. This wasn’t sharing something casual with her marefriend, this was sharing something that Fluttershy had wanted to see for years with somepony who became more and more important to her every day. And best of all, this was finding out that Twilight loved it too, and realizing she hadn’t ever been so sure that she loved Twilight as she was in that one moment.

Even so, Fluttershy didn’t have to do anything. No big romantic kiss, no declaration of her feelings. She just pressed a little closer to her marefriend and enjoyed watching the dance with her, confident that Twilight felt the same way.

If only that perfect moment could’ve stayed frozen in place. But unfortunately, the weather didn’t suit either animal, nor did each other’s temperatures, so it couldn’t last long.

The dance ended in a freeze frame spectacle, with each of them posing dramatically. Fluttershy wondered if that was what they always did, or if they secretly liked having a couple of ponies watching their show.

With the dance complete, the salamanders huddled up for warmth and moved slowly back into the woods towards Canterlot. The newts that weren’t already in the water dove in, hiding from the warm rain by staying under the surface. Twilight and Fluttershy were left giggling as a sudden rush of colder water passed them, ensuring that the newts were on there way back to their secret underground streams.

“That was incredible!” Twilight said as they waded out of the water. “I’m so glad you invited me.”

“Me too,” Fluttershy said. She looked down at their hooves as they made it onto land. “Uhm, even if we did get a little messy…”

Twilight just laughed it off. “Pretty sure a bit of mess is a given when going on deep woods animal expeditions. Besides, after seeing that? I wouldn’t mind if we had to crawl through the mud to get there.”

Fluttershy just smiled, happy to know that she could share her passions with Twilight. It had been silly to think Twilight would hold this to some sort of lofty date standard. Hadn’t she learned better than that after their second date? Why had she thought that Twilight would have a problem with getting a little messy?

‘Because Rarity would’ve.’

The thought hit her as soon as she reached for an answer, and unlike most of her intrusive thoughts, Fluttershy knew this one was true. The reason she had been afraid of letting their date get a little dirty wasn’t because she thought Twilight would mind, but because she knew Rarity would in her place.

Realizing how much she was still comparing Twilight and Rarity made her feel a little guilty. She thought she’d moved past it, and she knew Twilight deserved better. This was different than other times, though. In the past, she had thought of how much she wished Twilight acted the way Rarity did in all the daydreams Fluttershy had of the two of them. This time, it had been something about Rarity that she didn’t like, and yet had still projected onto Twilight.

Was the idea of being with Rarity really that important to her? Even after the months she spent with Twilight had been so good?

Fluttershy took a good look at Twilight. It had never been more apparent that she and Rarity were very different ponies. She was drenched, and before being rained on, the steam had caused her mane to get frizzy. The result was that her usually well-kept if simple mane was an absolute mess. The rest of her fur clumped together from the muddy water and the rain not being able to wash it all out, and her wings weren’t in any state for flying, to say the least. She even still had dirt caking her legs from where they’d sunk into the mud. Fluttershy had never had a daydream where Rarity looked like this on a date.

But then she turned to smile at Fluttershy, and that made it apparent just how different she was from Rarity, too. If the idea of Rarity even allowing herself to look like this was questionable, the idea that she’d be happy about it was laughable. And of course, Fluttershy knew she had to look the same as Twilight did. Yet Twilight still smiled at her, completely taken by the experience they shared rather than how they looked.

Twilight was not Rarity, and it wasn’t fair to anypony for Fluttershy to compare them. And she’d known that right from the start, but now she realized… Twilight was not Rarity. And that was a good thing.

“Twilight?”

“Yeah, Fluttershy?”

Fluttershy didn’t blush. For once, she felt completely comfortable stepping up to her mess of a marefriend, placing a wing around her to pull her closer, and kissing her.


The two of them must have been quite the sight to see. And indeed, ponies kept glancing at them the entire time they walked through town. It was almost as if they hadn’t seen two silly mares covered in dirt and matted fur giggling excitedly on their way through town before.

“Another six years until we can see it again,” Twilight said, a little sadly.

“That’s okay,” Fluttershy said. “We’ll have lots of other new experiences before then.”

Twilight grinned. “What’s this? You almost sound excited, Fluttershy.”

Fluttershy blushed. “Should I not be?”

“No no, I didn’t mean that. It’s just nice to hear you get excited about new things.” Twilight chuckled. “You’re usually so, well, shy.”

Although it made Fluttershy’s blush increase, she nudged Twilight. “Maybe, but… you’ll be there with me, right?”

Twilight brushed her wing across Fluttershy’s back. “Of course I will be.”

“Then… I think I can be excited about that.”

They both smiled and turned to face ahead, and Fluttershy was sure they both would’ve gone for a more intimate gesture if they weren’t in public. Oh well, they were on their way back to Twilight’s castle, where they would have dinner together. There, behind closed doors with only the two of them and Spike, they wouldn’t have to worry about what anypony else thought.

A few staring ponies and a couple questions to make sure they were okay later, and they reached the castle. “Spike? We’re home,” Twilight called.

There was no answer, but that wasn’t surprising. He’d declined to go with them and instead was spending the day playing with the Cutie Mark Crusaders. It was still late afternoon, so he had a few hours before he had to be home for dinner.

“Guess we’ve got the place to ourselves,” Twilight commented. “Although we should probably get cleaned up before doing anything else.”

Fluttershy giggled. “You’re right. But there’s one thing I want to do first.”

“What’s that?”

Fluttershy stepped closer and kissed Twilight. “That.”

Twilight wore a goofy grin. “You’ve been giving a lot of kisses today. What’d I do to deserve that?”

Fluttershy giggled. “I guess I’m just in a really good mood after seeing the dance, especially since I got to see it with you. I love you, Twilight.”

“I love you too, Fluttershy.”

They nuzzled against one another, then Twilight led them upstairs. Past Spike’s room was a bathroom, and Twilight surprised Fluttershy by stepping in it. Having multiple bathrooms meant they could both clean up at the same time without getting in each other’s way, but she’d assumed Twilight would take the master bathroom.

After a moment, Twilight stepped back out and chuckled nervously. “Spike doesn’t always keep his bathroom tidy, and… I don’t always remember to remind him. But it looks safe this time.”

Fluttershy laughed and stepped inside. She blushed as a thought occurred to her; there was no real reason they had to take separate showers, was there? Maybe… maybe it could even be fun to shower together.

But while Fluttershy weighed her options, Twilight turned to walk away. “See you in a bit!”

“Oh, uhm…” Any chance of Fluttershy suggesting they shower together was lost as the words failed to come. “Right. See you soon.”

Twilight left, and Fluttershy closed the door. She smiled to herself at the thought of how close she had come to suggesting they do something new together. Maybe next time.

This time, however, she still had to get cleaned up. A look in the mirror confirmed what Fluttershy had suspected all along – she was an absolute mess, at least as bad as Twilight had been.

That was another thing she laughed off as she stepped into the shower. It was chilly when she first turned it on, but she didn’t mind. It wasn’t any worse than the stream had been, and it felt nice to wash all the dirt off.

Without even using any shampoo, the water was still coming off dirty by the time it warmed up. Between the warm water and the feeling of finally ridding herself of all the dirt, it was tempting to just stay under the stream without actually cleaning up. Tempting, but the thought of getting her fur nice and smooth again was too good to pass up.

Fluttershy spent a long time in the shower, long enough that she would have expected Twilight to come check on her if she hadn’t been just as dirty. Between her fur, her long mane and tail, and her wings, there was a lot to clean.

But as nice as the water was, stepping out and feeling squeaky clean was even better. She wrapped her mane in a towel and put on a fluffy bathrobe, then left the bathroom.

There was still no sign that anyone else was out and about in the castle, although it wasn’t always easy to tell considering how big it was. But as she approached Twilight’s room, she could hear the water running from the bathroom next to it. With how long she herself had taken in the shower, she vaguely wondered how Twilight wasn’t clean yet.

Rather than wait around for her, Fluttershy stepped into the bedroom. Hoping she wasn’t too wet, she climbed onto the bed to wait. In the past months, Fluttershy had gotten used to Twilight’s bed. They often spent the night at each other’s houses, and had given up on any pretense that they’d be sleeping in separate rooms.

‘Only sleeping, though…’

Fluttershy frowned, wondering as she often did if Twilight expected more from their relationship. They were slowly getting more comfortable with each other in every way, but that was one barrier that Fluttershy wasn’t ready to take down. She couldn’t do that. Not to Twilight.

In search of something to take her mind off her thoughts, she looked around the room. There was, of course, a book on the bedside table. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the sort of thing Fluttershy would be likely to enjoy reading – a biography on a centuries-old author that Fluttershy had never heard of.

Instead, her eyes turned to the letter next to it. She wouldn’t read it, of course, but she did have to smile to herself when she saw it was addressed to ‘Twily’. That was a much more amusing thought to distract herself with.

The sound of water soon came to a stop, which further helped pull Fluttershy out of her thoughts before they could run away from her. She rolled over and faced the door.

A few minutes later, Twilight came into the room. She hadn’t bothered with a bathrobe, and was too busy vigorously drying herself off with a towel to notice her bed was occupied.

“Uhm, hello.”

Twilight pulled the towel from her face and gave Fluttershy a surprised look. “Oh, hi, Fluttershy. Done already?”

Fluttershy giggled. “You, uhm, you’ve been in there a long time, Twily.”

Twilight blushed deeply and dropped the towel in surprise. “I, er… Did you call me ‘Twily’?”

Fluttershy blushed a little too. “I’m sorry. I just saw it on the letter and thought it was cute.”

Twilight jumped onto the bed. She wouldn’t meet Fluttershy’s eyes. “Don’t be sorry. And… you can call me ‘Twily’ if you want.”

Fluttershy giggled and draped herself over Twilight. She didn’t mind that her marefriend was still damp. “Okay. Well, in that case, I love you, Twily.”

Although she couldn’t see her face, Fluttershy knew that Twilight must have been blushing. “I love you too. I’ll have to think of a nickname for you.”

“I like the sound of that.” Fluttershy stroked Twilight’s mane, enjoying how nice and soft she was after her shower. Although she did notice one part of her marefriend stood out as a little less cared for. “Silly Twily, you didn’t even preen your wings.”

Twilight shifted onto her side so that she was lying on one wing. She tucked the other closer to her body. “Oh, well, I usually take care of that after showering.”

In truth, this wasn’t the first time Fluttershy had noticed Twilight wasn’t always on top of taking care of her wings. It was strange for Fluttershy to think of; pegasi placed a lot of emphasis on wing care.

But Twilight wasn’t a pegasus, and, Fluttershy realized, she wouldn’t have had anyone to teach her about preening. No doubt she’d read all about it, but that wasn’t quite the same. “Here, let me help. Roll onto your other side.”

Fluttershy moved so Twilight could do as she was told. It took a moment’s hesitation, but she complied without complaint. Once Twilight’s back was to her, Fluttershy used her hooves to gently extend one of her wings.

It was a little strange to be preening somepony else. The only other pony Fluttershy was close enough to even consider doing something like that with was Rainbow Dash, but she’d never let anypony near her wings. It reminded Fluttershy of very long ago, back when she was in Twilight’s position.

“You must think it’s pretty dumb of me to need help with this…”

“Of course not,” Fluttershy said once she’d straightened out another feather. “And I know you don’t need help. But you know, it’s kind of nice.”

Twilight’s tone lightened a little bit. “This does feel pretty good…”

Fluttershy giggled. “Well, that too. But I meant… you’re so incredible. Sometimes it feels like there’s nothing I can really do for you, because you can do everything. So… it’s nice to be able to do something for you, even if it’s just something little like this.”

“That’s not true.” Twilight turned her head to look back at Fluttershy. “There are a lot of things I can’t do. And you do so much more for me than you realize. You… you make me feel calmer. Even before we started dating, you always helped keep me grounded whenever it felt like everything was too much.”

Fluttershy wasn’t sure how she could possibly do something like that. Most of the time, it felt like everything was too much for her too; how could she help somepony else when she was struggling with the same thing?

But she wanted to believe what Twilight said, so she didn’t argue. Besides, she also wanted to take the time to preen Twilight’s wings, which she’d never manage to get done before Spike came home if she kept talking.

“I’m glad I can help. But for now, I think I should finish helping with your wings.”

Twilight chuckled. “Alright, but one of these days I’ll have to oh sweet Celestia that feels nice.”

Fluttershy giggled through a mouthful of feathers. As she worked her way from one wing to the other, Twilight eventually lost her embarrassment at Fluttershy helping her with something that was so simple for most winged ponies. Or maybe she was just enjoying herself too much to complain.

Either way, Fluttershy enjoyed herself too. And always, her thoughts brought her back to when she was a filly and her mom would help her preen her wings. Simpler times, back before Fluttershy had nightmares and worried about what it meant that she liked mares.

Back when life was good. Back before he had ruined it for her.

“Ow!”

“Sorry!” Fluttershy had let herself get distracted and had been perhaps a bit too forceful with a feather. She quickly smoothed it out.

If Twilight was upset, she did a poor job showing it. “Mmm, that was great, Fluttershy!” She stretched out her wings and turned around so they were face to face. “I’m definitely going to have to return the favor someday.”

Fluttershy giggled. “I’m looking forward to it, Twily.”

Twilight blushed again at the nickname, although not as bad as before. She wrapped her forelegs around Fluttershy and guided her down to the bed, so they were lying down together.

“Funny you mentioned that letter, actually. It’s from my parents.”

“Oh?”

“They invited me to spend Hearth’s Warming with them, and… I was thinking maybe you could come with me.”

Fluttershy’s mouth fell open and she blinked in surprise a few times. Twilight must have mistaken her hesitation, because she quickly added, “You don’t have to if you’re not ready for something like that. I just thought it might be nice, you know, if you wanted to come…”

“I… I do, but…” Fluttershy looked uncertainly at Twilight. “Do you… think they’ll be okay with us? With, uhm, me?”

“I wouldn’t suggest it if I didn’t. They always taught me to accept other ponies for who they are.” Twilight glanced back to the letter, and Fluttershy could tell she was nervous too. “And, well, why should accepting me be any different, right?”

Fluttershy thought back to the two times she had briefly met Twilight’s parents. Once for Cadance and Shining Armor’s wedding, once for Twilight’s coronation. They hadn’t talked much either time, but they had seemed like nice ponies, and both Twilight and Spike spoke fondly of them. “I’m sure it’ll be okay then. And Hearth’s Warming is still a few months away, so there’s no need to worry too much about it now.”

“Exactly. No need to worry at all.”

Fluttershy cuddled in closer to Twilight. “I wish… sometimes I wish I could do the same thing. I’m sure my mama would love you.”

Fluttershy wasn’t sure of that at all. But just like Twilight, she said it because she wanted to believe it.

Twilight held Fluttershy closer and stroked her mane. “I wish I could meet them too.”

While they lay cuddled up, they heard the sound of the castle door open and close. Fluttershy was the first to rise and put on a brave face in spite of her worries about parents. “Sounds like Spike’s home. We should go down and meet him.”

Twilight smiled and nodded. “Yeah. He’s gonna be so jealous when he hears what he missed.”

Fluttershy nudged Twilight before leaving the bed. “Now now, don’t you go teasing him.”

“Sorry, but I have to. It’s in the big sister rule book.”

Fluttershy giggled. “Okay, but go easy on him.”

“Alright, but only for you.”

On their way out of the bedroom, Twilight stretched a wing over Fluttershy’s back. There had been a lot of changes in the past few months, and it sounded like a lot more were on the way, but for once Fluttershy didn’t mind. She just snuggled in closer as they walked, content in the knowledge that she could see them through so long as Twilight was there by her side.

Author's Note:

Happy chapters are hard...

Got Pasu to do a commission for the newt-salamander dance. Check it out over here!

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