• Published 18th May 2015
  • 11,286 Views, 870 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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17 - Welcome to the Family

Chapter Seventeen
Welcome to the Family

Everywhere they walked, they drew attention to themselves. Twilight had always hated it, but it had become so much worse ever since she started dating Fluttershy. Even when she wasn’t worrying what ponies thought of the two of them being seen together, it was still a lot of pressure to have so many eyes on her.

It wasn’t like she didn’t want ponies to talk to her. She just wanted ponies to treat her like anypony else. At least in Ponyville, everypony knew her. She wasn’t just a princess there, she was a friend and neighbor.

But in Canterlot, friendly waves and casual greetings were replaced with open stares and awkward bows. Even when ponies did greet her, it was always with far too much formality, calling her ‘Your Highness’ and talking about how it was ‘an honor to meet her’.

None of which was helping Twilight’s nerves. She was a wreck at the thought of coming out to her parents, just as she had been for months. Each day since she had first talked to Fluttershy about it, the date drew closer and Twilight grew more anxious.

Until it was finally time. Now she was walking through Canterlot, on her way to her parents’ house. The big moment was finally arriving, and it was looming over her. All while ponies insisted on treating her like a mini-Celestia and dealing with the fact that she was exhausted.

But then she looked at Fluttershy, who smiled. Even in the snow, that smile warmed her heart, and that made everything a little bit easier. She wasn’t just doing this for herself, she was doing it for both of them.

And they wouldn’t have to do it alone. Spike was with them, ready to give his support. He was riding on Fluttershy’s back. He had decided that if he attempted to hitch a ride with Twilight in her current mood, he’d just wind up face first in the snow. He was probably right.

Of the three of them, Spike was the only one in the holiday spirit. He even waved at all the slack-jawed onlookers. He chattered most of the trip, telling Fluttershy all about their family.

While Twilight tuned most of it out, she did find it cute how excited he was. For him, this was just a holiday family reunion. She only hoped his excitement would help put Fluttershy’s mind at rest; Twilight knew she was more nervous than she let on.

“...and wait until you try Dad’s peach cobbler! He makes it every year, and it’s the best!”

“Well, this is the street,” Twilight announced as they rounded the last corner. She was amazed at how familiar everything felt. “That’s the house right over there.”

“Oh.” Fluttershy stopped, and her eyes grew wide at what Twilight had called a house, but was really more of a manor. “It’s so, uhm… big.”

After glancing around to make sure the coast was clear of nosey neighbors, Twilight pulled her marefriend into a hug. “It’ll be fine, Shy.”

“It’s just, uhm…” Fluttershy broke her gaze away from the house and instead stared down at her hooves. “They must be very important.”

“You mean snobby.” Twilight smiled. “Trust me, they’re not. Yes, they’re a little on the fancy side, but they’re regular ponies.”

“They’re not regular ponies,” Spike said, jumping down to properly talk to Fluttershy. “They’re the best ponies. And seriously, they’re gonna love you. They’d be happy just because you make Twilight happy, but even besides that, you’re, well, you. What kind of parent doesn’t want somepony like you dating their daughter?”

Fluttershy picked up the little dragon and hugged him. “Oh, thank you, Spike. You’re right, both of you.” Setting him down she looked back at the house. “And it is a lovely house, really.”

As always, Twilight was overwhelmed with pride at how mature Spike was growing. When did that happen? “Keep talking like that, and pretty soon Rarity won’t be able to resist you.”

“Really?” Spike said excitedly, before remembering to play it cool. “I mean, yeah, but who could blame her?” He slicked back his spines and did his best to look suave, causing both mares to giggle.

They continued to walk up to the house, but were stopped before they could reach it. “I knew I heard voices out here.” A moss green unicorn approached them from the house next door. “Why, if it isn’t little Twilight Sparkle. Well, you’re not so little anymore, but I’ll always remember the adorable little filly. And Spike, oh it’s been ages, how are you?”

“Hello, Mrs. Ivy Jewel,” Twilight answered. She smiled and glanced at Spike who raised an eyebrow skeptically. “We’re doing well, thank you. How are you doing these days?”

‘You old bat,’ she added in her head. Ivy Jewel had been nothing but trouble for her growing up, and had been known on occasion to voice her opinion against a dragon being raised by ponies. She was not fond of foals, and it seemed that always included Twilight, no matter how old she was.

That is, until Twilight was crowned. That seemed to change her opinion completely.

“Oh, you know dear, I’m not getting any younger and this weather doesn’t agree with me.” Even as she said it she flipped her orange mane back, accentuating her beauty, which Twilight always assumed was more than a little magically augmented. “But enough about me; I don’t believe I’ve met your friend here.”

Fluttershy covered one eye with her mane, and Twilight chose her words carefully. “This is Fluttershy, she’s a friend of mine from Ponyville.” Hopefully mentioning that Fluttershy was from Ponyville would keep Ivy off her rant about Twilight moving back to a proper city fit for her title, like say Canterlot, where she could settle down, and oh by the way, did she mention her son was single? “Fluttershy, this is Ivy Jewel, she was my neighbor back when I lived here.” If Ivy caught the subtle jab that that was the extent of their relationship, she didn’t show it.

“Uhm, pleased to meet you,” Fluttershy said.

“Oh, yes, likewise.” Ivy barely acknowledged Fluttershy before turning back to Twilight. “Well, I won’t keep you, I’m sure you’re anxious to get out of this dreadful weather. But, Twilight, do stop by and catch up while you’re in town. I just know Silver Spark would love to see you too.”

Twilight couldn’t help but notice the invitation was only extended to her. “That sounds lovely,” she lied. “I’ll try and make some time, but unfortunately this isn’t purely a social visit. Princess Celestia requested my presence as well concerning a sensitive matter.”

While Celestia actually had requested to meet with her while she was in Canterlot, Twilight didn’t actually know what she wanted. Honestly, she suspected it was for nothing more than to catch up over tea, but she hoped leaving Ivy out of the loop would get under her skin. “Work never stops, you know how it is.” She didn’t – Ivy had been born into money and married into more of it. She had never actually worked a day in her life, as far as Twilight knew.

“Oh, I certainly do.” Ivy placed a hoof on her brow dramatically. “Enjoy yourselves while you can, then. Say hello to your parents for me.”

As they walked away, Fluttershy gave Twilight a sideways glance. While she would have loved to explain her disdain for her former neighbor, the hag was still within earshot, so Twilight just rolled her eyes.

When they reached the door, they paused for a moment while Twilight smiled at Fluttershy, which she nervously returned. Twilight steeled her nerves and knocked on the door.

To Twilight’s surprise, it was Shining Armor who answered, wearing a blue Hearth’s Warming sweater. “Twily! Spike!” he said, hugging them each in turn. “Hey, Fluttershy,” he added, extending a hoof to bump hers.

“Shining? It’s good to see you, but I thought you wouldn’t be here until Hearth’s Warming,” Twilight said.

“Well, that was the plan, but we managed to clear up enough time to come a few days early. Cadance has been working so hard to get this vacation together.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “Truth is there was kind of an incident. Everypony’s okay, but she’s kind of rattled. It involved a changeling.”

“What!?” Twilight exclaimed before throwing a hoof over her mouth.

Shining Armor glanced inside before stepping out and shutting the door. “Like I said, everypony’s fine. It was just one, no sign of Chrysalis or the hive, and the pony it was impersonating was found unharmed. We don’t know what it was doing, but we doubt they’d try a full-scale assault on the Crystal Empire, not after how the wedding worked out for them. All the same, Cadance has been on edge since it was discovered. I think being here will be a big help though.”

Twilight nodded. “You know, if there’s anything at all we can do, please let us know.”

“Thanks, Twily. Right now we’re still investigating, but I’ll keep you updated. Oh, and there’s one more thing I should warn you about.” He smirked. “Somehow mom got it in her head that your mysterious guest was gonna be a coltfriend. Be prepared for an interrogation.”

Spike snickered and Fluttershy blushed. “Trust me, I am,” Twilight said. Shining didn’t seem to pay any attention to everypony’s reactions.

“Well, let’s quit standing in the snow then.” He opened the door and led the way inside.

As they entered the room, Twilight felt herself thaw out. Foalhood memories washed over her as she took in the sights, everything just as she remembered it. The normally classy decor was broken up with strands of colorful lights, tinsel, and wreaths. The fireplace crackled as Cadance and Twilight’s parents sat around it, talking cheerfully. Everypony was wearing sweaters similar to Shining Armor’s.

Cadance was the first to notice they had finally come inside. “Twilight, Spike! And Fluttershy, so good to see you again.” As everypony came over for greetings and hugs, Night Light looked visibly relieved that Cadance had reminded them of Fluttershy’s name. They hadn’t seen her since Twilight’s coronation, after all.

Once greetings were done, everypony returned to the fire. Night Light pulled up three more chairs while Twilight Velvet offered spiced cider. Fluttershy tried to politely decline, but Twilight rolled her eyes and insisted they would both like some.

“Fluttershy, it’s a pleasure to have you here,” Twilight Velvet said once all the guests were taken care of. “We never get to see enough of Twilight’s friends.”

“You know, she never did get along with fillies her own age,” Night Light said. “She usually only ever played with her brothers or Shining’s friends, playing that, what was it? Dungeons something?”

“Oubliettes and Ogres,” Shining and Twilight answered together, him with a grin and her with an eye roll.

“Yeah, that. Well, I’m just glad she finally opened up to other ponies.”

“Although, you could bring a stallion home sometime,” Twilight Velvet said, broaching the topic in record time. “A beautiful mare like you must have tons of suitors.”

“Told you.” Shining shrugged.

“Uhm, well…” Twilight began.

“Oh, I know.” Twilight Velvet waved a hoof. “In your own time, dear. I’m sure you’re far too busy these days to even think about romance.”

Twilight looked at Fluttershy who nodded encouragingly. But before she could fortify her will, Cadance spoke up. “Oh, I don’t know. Something tells me that she’s given it some thought lately.”

Twilight blushed furiously as all eyes fell on her. “Really?” Twilight Velvet asked, leaning forward in her chair.

Taking a deep breath, Twilight addressed the room. “Mom, Dad, everypony.” She took Fluttershy’s hoof in her own and her heart felt like it was going to break through her chest. Twilight couldn’t believe Fluttershy wasn’t hiding in her mane when that’s exactly what she wished she herself was doing. “The reason I asked Fluttershy to come here with me is because, well…”

She swallowed the lump in her throat, and didn’t quite meet anypony’s eyes. “Fluttershy’s actually my marefriend.”

Cadance reacted first, clapping her hooves. This was probably the least surprising to her, after all. Shining Armor looked confused, seemingly slow to realize she meant marefriend romantically rather than a mare who was her friend.

Twilight Velvet’s mouth fell open but she only took a moment to collect herself and join in with the clapping. Night Light looked surprised, but was smiling nonetheless. When they first came in he had elected to just give Fluttershy a friendly hoof bump, but the news seemed to change his mind and he walked over and gave her a hug instead. “Welcome to the family.”

Twilight and Fluttershy beamed as everypony offered their congratulations.

“Ooh! I’ll go get the camera! We need pictures,” Night Light said, heading up the stairs.

“That reminds me, I have something for you two.” Twilight Velvet followed after him.

Shining Armor approached the young couple. “You know, normally as B.B.B.F.F. it’s my duty to warn you not to break my little sister’s heart, but I think we can trust the Element of Kindness on this one.” He gave Fluttershy a hug and checked that their parents were out of earshot. “Something tells me that somepony here has known for a while now.”

He looked at Cadance, who didn’t even try to deny it. “Twilight wanted advice and I am sort of an expert,” she said. “What gave me away?”

“All the letters you two were writing, not to mention the squeals of joy.”

“I do not squeal.” Cadance crossed her forelegs.

Shining grinned at Twilight. “After every letter. Just don’t let mom know you told Cadance before her or she’ll freak out.”

“Do you think I’m crazy?” Twilight asked. “We’d never hear the end of it.”

Cadance came over and pulled the two of them into a group hug. “I’m so happy for both of you. But remember that relationships are never easy. If either of you ever needs advice, please let me know. And I do mean either of you, Fluttershy.”

Fluttershy didn’t say anything, but she nodded her agreement.

“Actually, there is something,” Twilight said. “Fluttershy doesn’t believe me about the cuddles.”

“What?” Cadance’s face fell. “Fluttershy, cuddles are the most important part of being a princess.”

Fluttershy looked between the two princesses, who both looked deathly serious. Turning to Shining Armor didn’t help either. “Consider yourself lucky,” he said. “Friendship probably isn’t as needy as love.”

“I’m not needy,” Cadance insisted.

“You’re cuddling me right now!” Shining Armor gestured to her forelegs which were wrapped around him.

Fluttershy shook her head and gave up on trying to figure out if they were serious. She leaned her head on Twilight’s shoulder. “Everypony's so nice, I can’t believe how nervous I was. Your family’s the best, Twi.”

Twilight kissed her on the head while Cadance failed to contain her squeal of joy. As Twilight and Fluttershy blushed, a flash went off near them. Twilight was surprised to see Night Light wasn’t pointing the camera at her and Fluttershy, but at Cadance.

“How long have you been waiting to take that picture?” Cadance asked.

“Pfft, years,” Night Light said. “You always gush over ponies in love, and now you can’t deny it.”

“Hmph.” Cadance crossed her forelegs and grumbled, “It’s not my fault that they’re so adorable.”

Shining put a foreleg around her to comfort her, but Cadance was having none of it. Fluttershy giggled.

“Seriously though. Don’t tell your mother Cadance already knew.” Night Light wound the camera. “Now, smile.”

By the time Twilight Velvet returned, everypony was blinking away spots from their vision. Twilight and Fluttershy most of all – Night Light had wanted plenty of pictures of the couple.

Twilight Velvet scooted her chair closer to Fluttershy’s. “Fluttershy, I have something to show you.”

‘Oh no,’ Twilight thought. ‘Please don’t be the photo album…’

“The family photo album!”

Twilight, Shining, and Spike exchanged miserable looks while Cadance, Fluttershy, and Night Light crowded around Twilight Velvet and the book.

“Aww, Twi, you were so adorable!” Fluttershy exclaimed. Twilight threw her hooves over her face as she tried not to imagine which embarrassing photo she was looking at.

“And Shiny, you were… kinda a dork,” Cadance teased.


“Fine. You were a cute dork.”

Spike was the first of the siblings to give up on the protest. “Check out that good looking guy,” he said after he had climbed atop Twilight Velvet’s shoulders. “Looking good even as a hatchling.”

Somewhat reluctantly, Twilight made her way over to the book, and was soon followed by Shining. Before too long they forgot they were supposed to be miserable, and everypony was enjoying reliving and sharing old memories, laughing at their siblings, and occasionally themselves.

“Oh, I remember that!”

“Woah, look at those braces, yikes.”

“Oh, is that when Cadance was your foal sitter?”

“Aww, that one’s so cute!”

“Burn it. Burn it now.”

“I think this one’s my favorite. Or maybe that one.”

It seemed almost too soon that the pictures came to a stop, with plenty of pages still to go. “Time for a new group photo?” Night Light asked.

“Not quite,” Twilight Velvet said. She pulled out three boxes she had set aside and handed one each to Twilight, Spike, and Fluttershy.

Spike tore into his immediately. “Already?” Fluttershy asked. “But Hearth’s Warming isn’t for two more days.”

“Oh, this is just a little something,” Twilight Velvet said. “Family tradition.”

Twilight, already knowing what was inside, opened her box. Sure enough, inside her box was a red Hearth’s Warming sweater. She pulled it out and saw Spike was already wearing his – a blue one, which looked similar to Shining Armor’s.

“Looking good there, Spike,” Shining said, pointing his hooves at the dragon.

“You know it!” Spike said, pointing back to Shining.

Fluttershy, finally convinced it was okay to open her present, pulled out a green sweater. “Oh my, it’s lovely! Thank you so much.”

“You’re welcome, dear. I may need to make some adjustments though. I did make it with a stallion in mind, after all.” Twilight Velvet sat next to Fluttershy and levitated over her knitting supplies. “Hmm, it doesn’t actually look too bad. Thankfully, Spike was a big help.”

“Ah, it was nothing,” Spike said. “All I really did was ask Rarity about the size.”

“Well, Twilight certainly wasn’t giving me anything to go on,” Twilight Velvet said.

Twilight looked at the ground guiltily. She felt silly now for how long it had taken her to work up the courage to tell her parents about Fluttershy.

Glancing at the clock, Night Light said, “I think I’ll go start on dinner.”

“I’ll help!” Spike ran after Night Light. “Can we make some of the new dishes I’ve been working on?”

“Of course we can!” Night Light said as they disappeared into the kitchen.

“Did you make all these yourself?” Fluttershy asked.

“Yup. I never really did like knitting, but I’ve gotten used to it over the years.”

“Oh, I hope I’m not being a bother. You really don’t have to worry about adjusting it.” Fluttershy said. “I usually wear Twilight’s, and those are a little big for me anyway.”

Twilight Velvet chuckled. “I’m glad somepony does. I’m lucky if I can get Twilight to wear hers all through Hearth’s Warming.”

“Hey, I do too wear them.” Twilight crossed her forelegs. “Alicorns just don’t get as cold as unicorns.”

“Cadance wears hers,” Twilight Velvet pointed out.

“Twi, even Aunt Celestia still wears hers,” Cadance said.

“Spike’s been wearing them for weeks, and he’s a dragon,” Fluttershy added.

Twilight looked around the room eyes falling on the one pony who hadn’t sided against her. “Hey, don’t look at me,” Shining said. “I’m wearing mine. Besides, you never wore them when you were a unicorn.”

Twilight let her eyes fall to the floor again. “…but it’s itchy.”

“Oh, it’s not that bad,” Twilight Velvet insisted. “Besides, it’s only once a year, and it’s a tradition. One I hope you’ll continue on as well when you have a family of your own.”

There were a number of things wrong with that. One was that Twilight hated knitting. Two was that she was bad at it. Three was that without a stallion, it was pretty unlikely she’d ever have foals. Four was that she really hated knitting.

Still, she kept her mouth closed. Pointing this out would only make her mom sad, not to mention she would never force Twilight into keeping the tradition if she didn’t want to. With some reluctance, Twilight pulled on the sweater.

“Oh, I love knitting!” Fluttershy said, noticing Twilight’s reluctance. “I’d be happy to keep up the tradition.” Catching what she had implied, Fluttershy began stammering. “Oh, I mean if, well… not that we’ll definitely be, uhm…” she trailed off as Twilight Velvet wrapped a foreleg around her shoulder.

“That would be lovely,” she said. “Such a sweet mare, it’s no wonder Twilight fell for you.” Fluttershy and Twilight both turned red. “Now, I want to hear the whole story. How did you two get together?”

Twilight told the story with occasional input from Fluttershy. She omitted the parts where she wrote to Cadance for advice and argued with Rainbow Dash, as well as downplaying Applejack’s reaction, but otherwise told the full story. When she was done she was surprised to find her mom giving her a dirty look.

“Seven months? You waited seven months to tell me about this? All those letters, and not so much as a simple ‘Hey, Mom, I have a marefriend now?’”

“I’m sorry, it’s just… hard to talk about.”

“Twilight, how could you even think we’d have a problem with it? We always taught you to never judge other ponies, especially for something like whom they decide to love. And all those years of letting me prattle on about finding a coltfriend.”

“But that’s why I was scared to tell you!” Twilight retorted, more forcefully than she had intended. Fluttershy looked like she wanted to be anywhere but in between the two of them, while Twilight Velvet just frowned and waited for Twilight to explain. Cadance mimed her deep breathing technique, which Twilight mimicked before continuing in a calmer tone.

“Of course I know that you don’t have any problem with gay ponies, but it always felt like it was different for me because I’m your daughter. All those years, in every letter and conversation, of how I should find a coltfriend, settle down, and raise foals. I felt like you had this whole life planned for me, and I was terrified that I’d be letting you down.”

“Oh, Twily.” While Twilight had been confessing her fears to the floor, her mom had moved to stand next to her. “Don’t ever think I could be anything but proud of you. And I’m sorry, I never meant to put so much pressure on you. I just want you to be happy.”

As the mother and daughter embraced, there was another flash. Shining Armor held up the camera. “Well, Dad can’t be here to get all the cheesy family moments.” Both Twilights threw pillows at him as he ducked behind the couch.

Twilight Velvet returned to Fluttershy’s sweater. “You’re so much like me, you know. I was afraid that if I didn’t push you to look for somepony, you’d never do it yourself. We can’t always count on somepony like Night Light to stick around like a lovestruck foal.”

“What do you mean?” Fluttershy asked.

“Well, Twilight wasn’t the only one to have difficulty with other ponies,” Twilight Velvet said over the clinking of her sewing needles. “When I was younger, all I wanted to do was write. I thought I couldn’t worry about silly things like love – I wanted to see my name in print. Then, when I did get published, it was on to the next book.” Cadance levitated over a picture of a much younger Twilight Velvet triumphantly holding a book with her name on it.

“So while I was writing my fourth novel, I found that I needed to know more about how the stars affect magic. Of course I went to the library, but it’s a very complicated field, and I never did have Twilight’s enthusiasm for non-fiction. So I decided to get the answers from somepony directly. I arranged a meeting with the most renowned astronomer of the day. Then he cancelled at the last minute and I got stuck with his assistant instead.”

Cadance replaced the picture with one of Night Light standing in front of Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns. He was in a jacket and tie which set him aside from the students, though he hardly seemed much older than them.

“Night Light was, of course, the perfect gentlecolt. He was very helpful and patient with every question I had. As I wrote my way through the book we met up several times, and he’d occasionally make house calls just to see if he could help in any way. Young and naïve as I was, I honestly thought he was just overly helpful. Eventually I finished the book, thanked him for his help, and promised him a place in the acknowledgements. I thought that would be the end of our relationship, but on the day I handed the final draft into the publisher, he asked me out on a date.”

“Aww, that’s so sweet,” Fluttershy said.

“Yup,” Night Light said, entering the room with Spike. They were in matching flower aprons. “And she said, ‘While I thank you for everything you’ve done, the only romance I have time for is in between the pages of a book.’ ”

Fluttershy looked surprised. “You turned him down?”

“Yes, but he was persistent. Once the book came out, I was doing a signing and he showed up early. He said he just wanted to help set up and make sure everything went smoothly, but he stuck around while everypony else was leaving. He waited there at the bookstore with me until the sun was going down, then he pulled out his own copy. At first I thought he had just felt awkward to ask a pony he already knew for an autograph, but when he handed it to me I noticed there was a letter in it as a bookmark. When I opened the page, sure enough, it was a love letter and he had highlighted one of the passages.”

Cadance replaced the picture with a book titled The Heavens Above. “It’s on page eighty-six.”

Flipping to the page, Fluttershy read out loud. “ ‘I only have one chance to do this, he thought to himself. He couldn’t imagine what would happen if he failed. But as the sun faded and the first stars appeared, his gaze turned to the sky. As he watched the twilight sparkle, he knew this was meant to be, and everything would work out.’ ”

Twilight Velvet and Night Light looked into each other’s eyes. “And it certainly did,” he said.

“That’s the sweetest story I’ve ever heard,” Fluttershy said. As she reached for Twilight’s hooves, Twilight instead threw them around her, pulling her surprised marefriend into a tight hug.

Twilight had kind of always thought the story was silly. The stallion in the book wasn’t even talking about love, he was trying to save Baltimare from a looming threat, and her dad had only chosen it because it used the word ‘twilight’. But for the first time, she understood how her dad must have felt chasing after the mare of his dreams, even when it felt he was facing impossible odds. “I love you, Shy.”

“I love you too, Twi,” Fluttershy said, blushing.

Spike looked at Shining Armor and Cadance. “Don’t you two start,” he said.

“Nah, I was just thinking those stories lacked action,” Shining Armor said. “I had to stand up to an obnoxious bully to win over Cadance.”

Twilight laughed, which turned into a yawn. Shining Armor didn’t seem amused. “Hey, I know you already heard the story, but that’s a bit much,” he protested.

“Sorry,” Twilight said. “It’s just that we didn’t really sleep much last night.”

“Dinner won’t be ready for a few more hours,” Night Light said. “Why don’t you two take a nap and we’ll wake you up in a bit.”

“That sounds nice,” Fluttershy said. Twilight just yawned again.

“Before you go, try this on.” Twilight Velvet handed Fluttershy her sweater.

Slipping it on, Fluttershy smiled. “It’s perfect, thank you so much!”

“I’m glad you like it. Now go get some rest.”

Twilight led the way upstairs and into the room they’d be sharing. “Is this your old bedroom?” Fluttershy asked.

“What gave it away?” Twilight asked jokingly. There were still posters of Starswirl the Bearded, Clover the Clever, and other great magic pioneers, as well as a few smaller ones of Daring Do and a framed picture of A. K. Yearling signed ‘To my #1 fan, Twilight Sparkle.’

“Just a hunch,” Fluttershy giggled.

They turned off the lights and lay down on the bed. “Sorry my family’s a little crazy,” Twilight said. “Hope it’s not too much.”

“Please don’t apologize,” Fluttershy said. “They’re perfect. I wish I had a family like yours. Everypony loves each other so much, even when they disagree.”

Fluttershy didn’t like to talk about her family. All Twilight knew was that her parents both died before she came to Ponyville, and that she and Rainbow Dash adopted each other as sisters. “You heard my dad,” Twilight said, hoping she wasn’t crossing a line, “you’re part of the family now.”

In the dark it was hard to tell what Fluttershy’s reaction was, but when she latched onto Twilight as she shimmied under the blankets, Twilight thought she had a pretty good idea. “Thank you so much, Twily. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

Twilight smirked. “Well, you wouldn’t be stuck sharing a bed meant for one pony in an itchy sweater.”

“That just means that we’ll have to snuggle extra close. And I love the sweater. She still makes them even though she doesn’t like knitting, it just shows how much love is in them.”

“Yeah. You’re right,” Twilight murmured, already half asleep. The last thing she was aware of was Fluttershy stroking her mane as she drifted off to sleep.

Author's Note:

Because I'm some kind of crazy I made hot spiced cider while writing this chapter. I live in Florida. I don't have air conditioning and it's 90° here. I don't know what the hell I was thinking :rainbowhuh: