• 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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9 – Pride

Chapter Nine

Pride

It wasn’t like Fluttershy had expected things to be simple. Right from the moment she allowed herself to suggest she and Twilight keep dating, she knew that her feelings on it would be complicated. They had been since she had asked Twilight out, after all, and there was no reason to expect that would stop.

But she had at least expected it would get a little easier. That each passing day would make her true feelings just a little more clear to her. But if anything, as the weeks rolled by she found she became less sure of how she felt.

And there was no way that trend was changing today. Fluttershy and Twilight were waiting at Fluttershy’s cottage, where one of their friends would be coming to get them. They tried to keep calm and casual, but it was clear the mood between them was tense as both worried what the day would bring.

Neither of them had really been too sure about the idea, but Pinkie had insisted. Two of her best friends were dating, and she ‘abso-positive-lutely’ had to throw a party for them, she had explained. They had immediately shot the idea down for obvious reasons, but Pinkie had promised to keep it secret and only invite their closest friends who already knew about them. Even then, it had taken Rarity offering to co-host the party for them to agree.

It was comforting to know that Rarity would help things from getting too out of hoof, but still nerve wracking to imagine what was coming, especially since neither mare was informing them what kind of preparations they were making.

And so, Fluttershy and Twilight found themselves waiting as their friends decorated Twilight’s castle for a party neither of them was feeling too confident about. They tried their best to keep their minds off it, talking over tea and snacks and reading a bit more of ‘Disharmony’, but it was hard to keep their minds from defaulting back to worry.

Which meant the knock on the door brought a mixture of both relief and spiked anxiety. The waiting was almost over, but that just meant it was time to face whatever was ahead of them.

“Fluttershy! Twilight!” Pinkie called through the door. “Everything’s all set up!”

“Alright, Pinkie,” Twilight called back, then turned to smile at Fluttershy. “Ready to see what our friends did for us?”

“Y-Yeah.” Fluttershy tried to smile, but her nerves made that difficult.

It seemed Twilight saw right through the poor attempt, as she placed a hoof on Fluttershy’s shoulder. “It’ll be okay. It’s just our friends there.”

Fluttershy nodded. “Right. And they already know, so there’s nothing to worry about. Besides, it’s not like we haven’t seen any of them since Cheerilee’s party.” Just… not all at the same time, or while the couple was the center of attention.

“Exactly!” Twilight said. She stood up and waited for Fluttershy to do the same, then the two of them walked to the door together.

Pinkie grinned at them as they opened it. “Are you two ready for the superest duperest party ever!?

Fluttershy looked nervously towards Twilight, who answered for them. “Not too super duper, I hope. This is still just a small thing between our closest friends, right?”

“Oh, psh…” Pinkie waved a hoof as if she could physically shoo away their worries. “Of course, silly filly! You don’t think I’d bring anypony else to something like this, do you?”

Twilight smiled, but couldn’t quite shake the worry from her expression. “Of course not. It’s just… nice to be reminded.”

Pinkie hopped between the two of them and put a foreleg around each, gently guiding them out of the house and somehow closing the door behind them. “No need to worry! It’s just the three of us, Spike, Rarity, Dashie, and AJ.”

That seemed to comfort Twilight, but Fluttershy wasn’t any less worried. She had never doubted that it would just be the seven of them, but those were the ponies she was most worried about letting down.

But it seemed to only be Fluttershy worrying, so she tried to push those fears away. Twilight looked to be at peace with the upcoming event, and Pinkie seemed downright delighted. So Fluttershy would be too. Her friends were throwing a party for her and Twilight; she owed them her gratitude, not her fear.

The thought didn’t keep her from being afraid, not really. But it did make it easier to keep putting one hoof in front of the other. Of course, Twilight and Pinkie helped with that as well, even if neither of them knew it. Pinkie in particular lifted her spirits without doing anything more than simply being her energetic self.

She greeted ponies as they walked past, and each one smiled and greeted the group in turn. The happy expressions of Ponyville’s citizens reminded Fluttershy of how friendly their little town was. It didn’t stop her from worrying about their reactions if they ever found out, but it was something she could remind herself of.

So…” Pinkie said as they reached the castle. She smiled, but Fluttershy didn’t like the way she drew out the word. Nor the way she laughed nervously as she talked. “I don’t want to worry you two or anything, but…”

Twilight slammed to a halt. “Pinkie, that is probably the most worrying thing you could say…”

Pinkie quickly waved her hooves. “No reason to be worried! I just… thought I should give you two a little heads up is all.” Pinkie looked around for prying ears, but nopony seemed to be paying them any mind. She still leaned in and lowered her voice as she continued. “It’s really gay in there.”

Fluttershy and Twilight exchanged glances, then Twilight answered for them again. “And what does that mean exactly?”

Pinkie chuckled nervously and started to back up towards the door. “Just a few decorations nothing too huge I don’t even know why I’m bringing it up anyway let’s get going inside no time like the present!”

Pinkie,” Twilight said forcefully, stopping her in her tracks.

Pinkie winced as she turned around. “Well, we were thinking about what the best way to show you how much we support you is, and… we may have gone just the teeniest tiniest bit too far.”

Twilight sighed. “I regret agreeing to this already…”

Fluttershy frowned, then took a steadying breath. She wanted to trust her friends, who had clearly thought this was a good idea while they were working on it. Even though she was unsure, she forced a smile for Pinkie’s sake. “I’m sure whatever you’ve done will be lovely.”

Now it was Twilight that wasn’t so easily convinced, but at least Pinkie looked relieved. “I’m sure you’ll both love it!”

Twilight turned to face Fluttershy and melted. It was clearly forced, but she had a smile on her face when she said, “Well then, let’s see what you two did.”

A purple glow encased the door and it opened for them. There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary as they walked in, just the castle’s entry hall as it always was. They both looked to Pinkie as the door shut.

“We set everything up over here,” Pinkie said, leading the way to one of the castle’s many other rooms. “That way nopony could see in when any of us go in or out.”

Twilight nodded. “Good thinking. Is everyone else here already?”

“Yupperoni! Everyone’s waiting right in here!” She gestured to a door in front of them.

Fluttershy took a deep breath as Pinkie threw open the door, but it did nothing to prepare her for what she saw.

“Fillies and gentledrake!” Pinkie announced to the room. “I present to you the cutest couple ever, Twilight and Fluttershy!”

There was a round of applause from everypony in the room, but Twilight and Fluttershy just stared with open mouths. What Pinkie had described as the teeniest tiniest bit too far was a barrage of rainbows everywhere they could see.

There were rainbows on the tapestries hanging from the ceiling, on balloons dotting the room, on the table cloth, the cups, the plates, even the cupcakes. There were garlands of intertwining female symbols that were colored in a gradient from purple to white to red. A banner hung across the length of the room reading “Congratulations Twilight and Fluttershy!” in rainbow print.

And of course, their friends were there. Rarity had gone all out, wearing the same purple-white-red colors on her dress and rainbow heart earrings; Rainbow already matched the theme perfectly, but she had female symbols painted on each cheek and the purple to red gradient on the edge of her primary feathers; even Spike was dressed for the occasion, wearing a jacket, bowtie, and top hat, all of which were rainbow colored. The only ones who weren’t dressed in rainbows were Pinkie, who had needed to slip through Ponyville, and Applejack.

Well, Pinkie didn’t let that stand for very long. As soon as she was through the door, Pinkie was wearing a rainbow party hat and glasses with the female symbol for eyes. Fluttershy had no idea where she got either, but she’d also managed to get a party horn, which she blew to reveal it was also rainbow colored.

Fluttershy hid in her mane.

Twilight looked around and tried to force a smile. “This is… really something! Right, Fluttershy?”

“Oh, uhm…” Fluttershy looked around at everyone. Spike and Rainbow both looked excited, while Rarity, Pinkie, and Applejack looked nervous. Rarity and Pinkie had gone to a lot of effort to plan and throw them this party, and all of her closest friends were here to support them. She didn’t want to let anyone down. “I… I think it’s great! It’s, uhm, it’s really… colorful.”

Predictably, Rarity saw right through her. “You don’t like it, do you?”

“Oh no! It’s lovely!” Fluttershy hoped her smile looked authentic, although she doubted it.

Rarity took a step closer. “I know it’s a bit, well, gaudy, but that is how these events usually go.”

These events? How many events like this had Rarity gone to? It wasn’t like there were tons of other ponies like her…

But Rarity had gone through far too much trouble for Fluttershy to disagree, so she nodded along instead. “Of course, and we really appreciate it! Right, Twilight?”

“Right!” Twilight had been examining a picture of a flower on the wall, but she quickly turned back towards Rarity. “You clearly put a lot of effort into this, and we really appreciate it.”

Rarity gave Fluttershy a break, turning to Twilight instead. “But?”

It seemed Twilight was less affected by Rarity’s pout. “It’s just… it is a bit much.”

“I think it’s cool,” Rainbow said through a mouthful of rainbow frosted cupcake.

“Aww, lighten up, Twi,” Spike said. “It’s just friends here.”

Twilight looked at Fluttershy, gave a small smile, and shrugged. “I guess you’re right. And anyway, you all did a great job setting this up.”

At least Twilight seemed content with it, even if Fluttershy still had reservations. But she chose not to say anything, wordlessly following Twilight once she walked further into the room.

Someone shut the door behind them, and Fluttershy took another look around, trying to find something appealing about the decorations. “What are the pink flags?”

“You don’t know?” Spike asked in surprise. “That’s the lesbian pride flag.”

It was strange hearing Spike say the word ‘lesbian’ so casually despite how young he was. Fluttershy had only heard kids say words like that one way, and that way had nothing to do with pride.

“I didn’t even know there was a flag for, uhm, for that,” Fluttershy said.

“Yeah, me neither…” Applejack muttered as she looked one over.

“There are pride flags for everything on the LGBTQ spectrum,” Twilight explained.

Fluttershy didn’t want to admit how little she actually knew about that, especially since, like Spike, they all probably assumed she knew more than any of them.

Applejack chuckled. “I, er, I don’t reckon I really get it. I mean, we do stuff with rainbows all the time. What’s that have to do with, well, with all this?”

Rainbow Dash flew over, floating above Applejack. “What’s the matter, AJ? Worried we might’ve gotten some gay on you doing Element stuff?”

Fluttershy shot her a sharp look. She knew Rainbow and Applejack poked fun at each other a lot, but she didn’t think this was helpful right now.

And from the sound of Applejack’s voice, she was right. “I didn’t say anything like that!” Applejack said defensively. “I just said I don’t get it is all.”

“Well, rainbows traditionally symbolize harmony,” Twilight explained. “So when ponies used to think being gay was unnatural, gay ponies adopted it as a way of saying we are in harmony.”

“Besides,” Pinkie said, hopping over with a cupcake of her own in hoof, “rainbows are super fun!”

Applejack looked around at everyone and smiled nervously. “If y’all say so.”

For all the times Fluttershy wondered if she was faking a believable smile, she knew there was no way she did as poor of a job as Applejack. But before she could worry about that too much, she was already being whisked away by Pinkie.

“You’ve gotta try some of these cupcakes!” Pinkie brought her to the table, which had various snacks and a punch bowl on it. Pinkie picked up a cupcake for Fluttershy to see. “Rainbow cupcakes! It’s gayke!”

Fluttershy reminded herself that at least her fake smile was better than Applejack’s. “I… see. Thank you, Pinkie.” She wasn’t really sure they needed ‘gayke’, but she politely accepted anyway. Pinkie had probably baked them herself just for them, and Fluttershy didn’t want to hurt her feelings.

She took a bite, which at least gave her reason for an authentic smile. “This is delicious,” Fluttershy said once she’d swallowed it.

Pinkie waved a hoof. “Aww, it was nothing.”

“You’re lucky any of those are left,” Rarity said, walking up behind Fluttershy as she ate. “I practically had to beat Rainbow back with a stick to keep her away from them, and I do believe Spike managed to sneak a couple while I was preoccupied…”

Fluttershy giggled. “That’s okay, as long as everypony enjoys them, I don’t mind if I don’t have too many.”

“Nonsense!” Rarity placed her foreleg around Fluttershy’s shoulders. “Today is all about you and Twilight, you two better make sure to have your fill of everything!”

Fluttershy smiled as she indulged herself in returning Rarity’s hug. That brought a genuine smile to her face, too.

“These are some interesting pictures, Rarity,” Twilight said. Was Fluttershy imagining it, or was Twilight staring intently at the two of them?

“Do you like them?” Rarity pulled away from Fluttershy and walked back towards Twilight. Fluttershy fell in step behind her, keeping her eyes off Twilight’s.

The paintings they were talking about were flowers, and there were numerous along the walls. They were elegant and colorful, and Fluttershy wondered how they fit the theme until she got a closer look at them. “Are they, uhm…”

“Just a few painting prints that I thought might be appropriate,” Rarity explained. “The artist is well known for her use of delicate, yet sensual floral imagery to convey the beauty of female sexuality.”

“Yeah, they’re vaginas,” Rainbow Dash said plainly. Over by the punchbowl, Applejack was coughing up her drink.

Rarity shot Rainbow a sharp look. “They do delicately suggest a certain part of the feminine form, yes.”

Again, Fluttershy was left wondering if something like this was really necessary. And it seemed she wasn’t the only one, as Twilight was casting glances towards Spike. “That sure is… really interesting! But maybe it’s not the most appropriate thing for an all-ages party?”

Rarity laughed and waved a hoof dismissively. “Twilight, don’t be silly! Don’t let Rainbow Dash having her mind in a gutter somewhere ruin your appreciation for fine art. These pictures may be mildly suggestive, but they’re hardly vulgar.”

“I guess…” Twilight said, although Fluttershy wasn’t so sure. It wasn’t that she thought the pictures were too mature for Spike – she was positive some of the comics Twilight let him read had more suggestive art than some flower paintings – but there was just something about the whole thing that didn’t sit well with her.

That feeling persisted throughout the day. Not everything about the party was out of their usual style. There was music, dancing, food, and conversation, just the same as any other get-together between the group of friends.

But the decor and some of the comments it brought served as a constant reminder that this was not one of their usual get-togethers. Fluttershy and Twilight both tried their best to show their appreciation for all the effort their friends had made in the party and the show of support behind it, but it was pretty clear neither of them was really happy with it.

They weren’t the only ones either. Halfway through the day, Applejack made an excuse and left early. Everyone pretended to believe her, and Fluttershy spent the rest of the day pretending that her absence wasn’t felt as a heavy blow.

Soon after Applejack’s departure, Fluttershy made an excuse of her own to get away. Not to go home, she couldn’t do that to Twilight or their friends, but just to get out and clear her head for a bit. She excused herself to the bathroom, but wound up in the kitchen instead.

Fluttershy liked how quiet it was. She didn’t always like the quiet, didn’t always like how she felt when she was left alone with her thoughts, but it was better than the overstimulation that waited for her when she returned to the others.

She sat at the kitchen table and put her head down. This had gotten so much worse than it should’ve. Why couldn’t it just be a fun day with her friends? All of her friends, without one of them feeling like she had to make an excuse to not be around. And why did everyone have to make such a big deal out of this one thing?

“There you are.”

Fluttershy didn’t pick her head up as Rainbow walked into the room. She didn’t turn to greet her, didn’t say anything at all.

After a moment, Rainbow was sitting next to her. “Twilight got worried when you didn’t come back. Even thought you might of gone after AJ or something.”

Fluttershy shook her head. “I’m sure she just needs some time.”

“You’re not letting that get to you too much, are you?”

Telling Rainbow how upset she was would just be a good way to stir up unneeded drama between her friends. “No.”

Rainbow scratched her neck awkwardly. “So… what’s up then?”

Fluttershy looked Rainbow in the eyes, prepared to deny that it was anything, then folded. She always did with Rainbow. “It’s just… don’t you think this party is going a bit overboard?”

Rainbow shrugged. “Everyone just wants you two to know we’re with you. And it’s not like anyone else is here.”

“I know…” Fluttershy sighed and reminded herself that she was being dumb. She should be in there having fun with her friends.

“But you know, it is your party.” Rainbow placed her hoof on Fluttershy’s shoulder. “We could take down some of the decorations if you want. Or move to another room or whatever.”

Part of Fluttershy really did want that, but she couldn’t bring herself to say it. “No, I just needed a few minutes. I’ll be fine.”

“So uh…” Rainbow gave her a perplexed look. “What bothers you about it, anyway? I mean, if it was just AJ leaving, I could see that. But you’ve been faking it pretty hard all day.”

Fluttershy winced. “Do you think anyone else noticed?”

“I dunno. But you’re avoiding the question.”

“I just… I wish it wasn’t such a big deal that Twilight and I are dating.”

“We’re just happy for you two.”

“I know.” Fluttershy sighed. “And I appreciate that. But… I don’t think I was really ready for a big thing like this. Especially with what type of party it is, where everything is…”

“Super gay?” Rainbow prompted when Fluttershy couldn’t finish.

Fluttershy nodded. “It feels like that’s all anyone sees, how different we are from everypony else.”

“No one’s saying it like that.”

I’m saying it like that!” Fluttershy held her face in her hooves. “Because that’s how it feels. Like everyone only cares that we’re both mares instead of caring that me and Twilight are happy together!”

“To tell you the truth…” Rainbow fidgeted in her seat. “I think that’s kind of what Pinkie thought about the whole thing. She wanted a few rainbows, but that was more Rarity than her. And, er… probably me most of all…”

Fluttershy pulled her face from her hooves to look at Rainbow. “What do you mean? I thought it was just Pinkie and Rarity that planned things.”

“Yeah, but then I was talking to Rarity and she was telling me some of her plans, and how she wanted to do some stuff to show you that, you know, it’s okay to be gay. And I thought that sounded great! So I encouraged her to add a bunch more and helped convince Pinkie…”

Fluttershy shook her head. “Rainbow, why would you think I’d want this?”

“I don’t know, I guess I thought you’d probably think it was weird at first then be okay when you saw how totally cool everyone else was with it.”

That sounded extremely dumb, especially coming from the pony who’d known Fluttershy longer than anyone else. Still, she couldn’t stay mad at Rainbow, so she just sighed and gave her a sideways hug. “I wish you would’ve talked to me before doing something like that.”

“Yeah… I’m sorry.” Rainbow returned the hug. “We can still move it if you want.”

Fluttershy shook her head and pulled away. “No, it’s okay. We should probably head back though.”

They both stood up, then Rainbow followed Fluttershy out of the kitchen. “And hey, maybe all the rainbows are just for me. Because I’m awesome.”

Fluttershy smirked. “Oh? Is this party because you got a marefriend?”

“Careful, Shy, you almost sounded proud there.”

Fluttershy giggled. “Well… maybe I am. A little.”

As they walked back into the room, Fluttershy took another look around, keeping in mind what Rainbow had just told her. The whole thing felt silly now. Just a misunderstanding because Rainbow had gone overboard. It didn’t make her happy about the decorations, but it made them seem much less important.

And anyway, there was something much more interesting than a few rainbows going on: Everypony was dancing. Or rather, Twilight was dancing, and everyone else was trying to keep dancing while holding back their laughter at how bad the alicorn was at it.

Rainbow nudged Fluttershy. “Yeah, I can see why you’d be proud. Some marefriend you got there.”

Fluttershy rolled her eyes and approached the others. “I stand by my words.”

Although Fluttershy intended to join in their dancing, she didn’t get the chance as Twilight stopped when they walked up. “Fluttershy! Is everything okay?”

Everyone turned their eyes towards her, so Fluttershy blushed. “I’m fine. I just… needed a few minutes. I hope I didn’t worry you too much.”

Twilight smiled. “Of course not. I’m just glad you’re okay.”

Fluttershy glanced around the room and smiled back. “And I’m glad to see everyone’s enjoying themselves.”

Twilight’s smile turned sheepish. “Yeah, it’s not so bad once you get used to it.”

A white foreleg appeared around Twilight’s shoulders, and Rarity giggled as she prodded Twilight. “It did take a little while for somepony to let her mane down, but I’m delighted to say we finally got Twilight to join in the festivities!”

Pinkie hopped over to take hold of Twilight’s other side in one foreleg and use the other to pull Fluttershy closer. “And now that you two are back, we can really get this party started!”

Surrounded by friends, Fluttershy couldn’t help but let out a giggle. “I think that sounds perfect.”

“Alright alright,” Rainbow said as she kept her distance from the others. “Less hugging, more partying!”

Everyone laughed, and Fluttershy felt like a lot of the weight had gone. The decorations were still more than she would’ve liked, and it did sting that Applejack had left early. But that had been nothing more than a misunderstanding, and she was still surrounded by ponies who loved her. What else could she ask for?

Her good mood even managed to hold up through yet another reminder of how over the top the party was. It seemed that Rainbow wasn’t the only one who decided to sit out on the hugging, as Spike had used the break in dancing to stop by the refreshment table.

“So what’s with the cats?” he asked as he helped himself to the contents of a candy bowl.

“Cats?” Fluttershy quirked her head and looked to the others. To her surprise, both Rarity and Pinkie looked embarrassed. Rainbow just laughed.

“Yeah, all these candies are shaped like cats.” Spike held one up for them to see, then popped it into his mouth. He spoke as he chewed. “Is that some sort of gay thing?”

Twilight walked over to get a better look. “Not that I know of.”

Rainbow flew over them, still snickering. “Well… maybe not ‘cats’, exactly.”

Twilight still looked as confused as Fluttershy felt. She tried eating one of the candies, which didn’t seem to shed any light on what everyone was talking about.

“Well, that is to say…” Rarity cleared her throat and looked around for help. “Er, Pinkie?”

“We just thought Fluttershy would think they’re super cute!” Pinkie said, grinning too widely as she took some for herself. “Besides, they’re yummy! What else could we need, right, Rarity?”

“Yes, that’s it exactly!” Rarity exclaimed.

Fluttershy walked joined the others and looked at the candy. They were making far too much of a fuss over the cat candy for that to be it, but she decided she would just ask Rainbow later. Besides, eating one herself confirmed what Pinkie said. They were both cute and yummy, and that’s what really mattered.

“So, Fluttershy,” Pinkie said in a not-so-subtle subject change, “we still have some of the fur paint we used on Rainbow. Want me to paint something on you?”

“They tried to get me to do it too,” Twilight said.

“Aww, you didn’t want anything?” Fluttershy asked. “Fur painting is fun.”

Twilight chuckled. “I guess, but with how everything else is here…”

“We don’t have to do anything like that,” Pinkie said. She had already gotten out the paint. “I could do a heart, or maybe a butterfly. Ooh! Or how about a star? Whatever you want, Fluttershy!”

“Hmm…” Fluttershy looked up at Rainbow Dash, who was still flying idly around the room. The paint on the edge of her feathers was even more noticeable in flight. Fluttershy wasn’t sure she was ready for anything like that, but maybe… “Uhm, could you do something like… like what Rainbow has on her cheeks?”

Pinkie beamed. “Of course!”

Fluttershy did her best to slow her heartbeat as Pinkie painted her cheeks. This was only a little bit of fun, just going along with what everyone else was doing. Nopony was even going to see it, not that there was much to see. Just the female symbol, and that could mean so many things.

Besides, maybe it would help hide her blush as she reached for Twilight’s hoof. She couldn’t turn to look at Twilight without running the risk that she’d make Pinkie mess up, but she was pretty sure she saw the other mare smile, and she definitely felt Twilight’s hoof wrap around her own.

“All done!” Pinkie said, taking a step back.

“How does it look?” Fluttershy asked.

She’d meant to ask Twilight, but Spike answered first. “Looks great, Fluttershy.”

Twilight blushed as she echoed the sentiment. “It sure does.”

Fluttershy blushed as well, and couldn’t help but think that the paint did little to hide it after all. But that was okay. Everypony here was happy for her.

‘Happy for us,’ Fluttershy thought as she looked down at her hoof entwined with Twilight’s.

Pinkie leaned in closer to Twilight. “Sure you don’t want anything?”

“Maybe in a little bit,” Twilight said. “For now, I wouldn’t mind dancing a bit more. If, uhm, if that sounds good to you, Fluttershy.”

Fluttershy nodded. “Dancing sounds nice.”

“Alright then!” Pinkie jumped back towards where everyone had been dancing. “Let’s get things shaking!”

“Way ahead of you, Pinks!” Rainbow said as she placed another record on the turntable.

Upbeat music filled the room, and soon everyone was joining Pinkie on the dancefloor. Twilight took a step closer to the others as well. “Ready, Fluttershy?”

“I… actually…” Fluttershy couldn’t keep her eyes on Twilight, or the blush from her face as she lingered behind.

“Something wrong?” Twilight stepped back over towards Fluttershy.

Fluttershy flicked her eyes up for a moment, then let them fall back down. She couldn’t say what was on her mind, so instead she just did it. Hoping the others were too preoccupied to notice, Fluttershy closed her eyes and kissed Twilight before she could think better of it.

Before she could even see Twilight’s reaction, a squeal of delight revealed that they had indeed been noticed. Fluttershy and Twilight were both left blushing and avoided looking at Rarity. “You two are simply the cutest!”

“Aww yeah!” Pinkie joined in. “Go Fluttershy!”

“Wait what?” Rainbow said. “What’d I miss?”

Fluttershy and Twilight both burst into laughter. Fluttershy hid her face against Twilight’s neck, which of course only encouraged them more.

“Aww, and I didn’t bring a camera!” Rarity teased.

“Now now, let’s give them some privacy,” Pinkie said, far too loudly to actually only be talking to Rarity.

“I don’t get it,” Spike added. “You girls hug and stuff all the time.”

“You two okay over there?” Rainbow asked.

Fluttershy finally managed to look at the others. Rarity and Pinkie were practically fawning over the couple, while Spike and Rainbow just looked confused.

And Twilight stood beside her, clearly just as embarrassed, but also just as happy. Fluttershy nuzzled against her one more time. “Better than okay. But, uhm, how about that dance?”

The two of them had decided to take things slowly and hadn’t shared many kisses, and even those had only ever been in private. That wasn’t something Fluttershy had been in any hurry to change.

And yet, as they walked onto the dancefloor side by side, she was glad. She was Twilight’s marefriend, as Twilight was hers. Things were new and there was no telling where they were going to go, but she’d been afraid for so long. She’d spent years being ashamed of herself, and it was about time she tried being proud instead.

Author's Note:
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