• Published 3rd Oct 2015
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Finding Home - Krickis



Sunset Shimmer returns to Equestria only to find that returning home is different than finding one.

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13 – Houses and Homes

Chapter Thirteen

Houses and Homes

Ponyville was just around the corner. When she left, Twilight was already anticipating her return, eager to come home with newfound revelations that would prevent her marriage from unravelling before it even began. But now that she was so close, she couldn’t be more terrified. Cadance had been a huge help, and Twilight finally felt like she understood what was going on, but explaining that to Fluttershy was another matter entirely.

“Hey, it’ll be alright.”

Twilight realized she’d been staring vacantly out the window for some time. She turned and smiled. “I hope so. Thanks again for keeping me company.”

Amber smiled back. “No problem. Seriously, after everything in the Crystal Empire, I should be the one thanking you.”

True to her word, Twilight had kept Amber with her the whole time they were in the Empire together. Twilight had thought they were just going to have to go back to Canterlot at first, but Amber insisted on staying. She calmed down a lot over the course of the day, and eventually she seemed to enjoy herself. She even commented that she might plan another trip there sometime, which Cadance was delighted about. Amber left in the evening, catching another overnight train to Canterlot, where she had to be for work in the morning. Once she left, Cadance confessed to Twilight that she was hoping for a chance to help her and Luna overcome and resolve their problems.

“Are you sure it’s okay to spend so much time talking to me?” Twilight asked. Since she finally decided to try and be a better friend to Amber, things had gone much better between them. Twilight even specifically chose a train Amber would be working on so she could tell her how the rest of the trip had gone, including her big talk with Cadance.

Amber chuckled. “You know, everypony says that.”

“It’s a reasonable question,” Twilight said, finishing off the tea Amber had brought her.

Amber shrugged. “Yeah, it’s fine. I’m pretty sure they keep me around just to talk to ponies anyway. Besides” – she leaned over and nudged Twilight – “I’m pretty sure nopony ever gets in trouble for taking tea with a princess.”

“Well, I did once.” Twilight grinned sheepishly while Amber gave her a skeptical look. “Although Princess Celestia accepted me as her personal student, at first she just oversaw my education at her school while I was still learning the basics of magic. I’d study with the other foals and then once a week she’d invite me to the castle for tea so we could talk about what I was learning. Well, the first time the teacher told me I was invited to the castle, I was so excited that I kind of forgot to tell my parents where I was going.”

Amber smiled and rolled her eyes. “Oh boy. They must have been so worried.”

“I tried to explain that I just didn’t want the princess to have to wait, but they didn’t quite think that was a good enough reason.” Twilight smiled at the memory, now that it was far enough in the past to be amusing. “And neither did Princess Celestia. I don’t know what my mom said to her, but for years every time I saw her she asked if my parents knew where I was.”

“Your mom actually gave Princess Celestia a lecture?” Amber grinned. “And she just went along with it?”

“Oh yes, it was pretty clear when I was growing up.” Twilight nodded matter-of-factly. “Princess Celestia fell just under Mom in authority.”

The train whistle signified their approach to Ponyville. Amber adjusted her hat. “Well, I guess I should probably do some actual work.” She winked.

“Alright.” Twilight nodded as Amber stood up. “Hey, wait a minute.” Twilight stood up as well and held out her foreleg for a hug, which Amber accepted.

“It was nice seeing you, Twilight,” Amber said. “Let me know when everything works out.”

Twilight rolled her eyes. “Don’t you mean how everything works out?”

Amber grinned. “No.” She waved and disappeared to prepare for the unloading of the train. Twilight sat back down and waited for the train to come to a stop. The ride home was nerve wracking, but it was much better then it could have been, thanks to Amber.

Twilight took a few deep breaths and went over the explanation she had planned. She had already practiced it with Amber, who was convinced Fluttershy would understand. Cadance had also been confident, but it didn’t make Twilight feel any better about actually facing the conversation.

The train jerked to a halt, and Twilight gathered her saddlebags. She opened the door to her cabin and filed out with everypony else. Along the way she saw Amber, but she was busy helping an elderly stallion get his bags, so Twilight left her alone.

Even though she’d left the Empire early in the morning, the train route was long and indirect. By the time she walked out into Ponyville, the sun was already setting. Walking through the town brought a mix of emotions. It was always nice to return home after being away. The familiar sights and, above all, the friendly greetings from everypony would always be welcome. Several ponies stopped to ask where she’d been and if her trip went well. Since nopony seemed to suspect anything was wrong, it was easy enough to pretend she’d been visiting the Crystal Empire on royal business.

On the other hoof, walking through town proved much harder than being carried by train. She had been growing increasingly nervous since leaving the Crystal Empire, but at least the train’s forward momentum was a guarantee whether she wanted to move or not. Now every step was a struggle, as it meant she was one step closer to confronting Fluttershy.

She didn’t bother going to the castle. She knew Fluttershy would probably want to avoid it, and there was no way she was going to talk to Sunset before she saw Fluttershy. Instead she went directly to the cottage. It was all too possible that Fluttershy would have decided to stay with Rainbow while Twilight was gone, but she hoped she could avoid that conversation until after talking to Fluttershy as well. She didn’t know what Rainbow would have to say to her, but she was positive it wouldn’t be anything nice.

Much to her relief, as she approached the cottage she could see lights on inside. She stopped for a moment to take a few deep breaths before walking to the door. She paused, realizing she wasn’t sure if she should knock or not. Eventually she decided it would be better to knock and look silly than walk in and look rude, but as she raised her hoof she stopped, noticing voices.

“…jumped from pegasus to pegasus, and reached the ice just in time to melt it!”

Twilight smiled, realizing Spike was telling the story of when he saved the day during the Equestria Games. She was delighted that Spike had decided to keep Fluttershy company, but wondered why he was telling that story when Fluttershy was there. ‘Poor Fluttershy must be humoring him. She should know by now that once he starts talking about stuff like that he never stops.’

Saving Fluttershy from hearing that same story again, Twilight knocked on the door. She wasn’t surprised to hear Spike announce, “I’ll get it!” followed by the sound of claws on wood as he scampered over.

Barely a second passed between the door opening and Spike throwing his arms around her. “Twilight!”

Twilight leaned into the embrace. “I missed you too, Spike.” She smiled as she looked up, but it was soon replaced with a look of puzzlement.

Fluttershy was sitting on her couch, with a mildly surprised expression. That much Twilight had expected. Hoped for, even. She couldn’t expect Fluttershy would be happy see her after everything that happened, and really had only been hoping she wouldn’t be too angry. What she hadn’t been prepared for was who was sitting next to Fluttershy. Sunset was waving and smiling awkwardly.

Suppressing her surprise, Twilight turned instead her fiancée. “Uhm… hi, Shy.”

“Hello, Twilight,” Fluttershy said. She didn’t sound angry, exactly, but she didn’t sound welcoming either. She had stopped calling her Twilight ages ago, opting for Twi or Twily, and using it now was as clear an indication as any that she wasn’t happy.

“So, uhm…” Sunset stood up and walked over to Twilight and Spike. She put a foreleg on Spike’s shoulder and nodded towards the door. “We’ll just, uh, leave you two alone then.”

Spike looked up at Twilight like he was going to protest, but eventually sighed and nodded. “Okay… But you’ll come back to the castle tonight, right Twilight?”

Twilight glanced to Fluttershy who gave no indication of how should expect to spend her night. Hoping she was making the right call, she turned back to Spike and smiled. “Yes, I’ll be back at the castle later tonight.”

“Alright,” Spike said. He seemed reassured by the promise. “I’ll get dinner started for all of us then.”

“I don’t know how long it’ll be,” Twilight said. “Better just make it for you two instead.”

Sunset looked between the two awkwardly. She seemed to be looking for something to say, but couldn’t find the words. Eventually she settled on, “It’s, uhm… Nice to have you back, Twi. Guess I’ll see you two later then. Bye, Fluttershy.”

Fluttershy smiled warmly at Sunset. “Bye, Sunset. And thank you for staying over, it was nice.”

“Bye, Fluttershy,” Spike said, waving. “See you in a bit.”

If Fluttershy didn’t plan on accompanying Twilight back to the castle, she kept it to herself. Twilight took it as a good sign, but it was also possible that Fluttershy just wasn’t sure herself either, and would leave it to Twilight to break the bad news. She waved happily as they walked outside, but once the door closed she frowned and turned away.

Twilight waited by the door at first, wanting to proceed as carefully as possible. But she could tell Fluttershy was going to wait for her to make the first move, so after a moment she walked closer. She wasn’t sure if she should sit on the couch next to Fluttershy, or keep her distance by sitting on the nearby chair. She decided to remain standing.

“I’m… I’m sorry. For everything.” Twilight waited for an answer from Fluttershy, but all she did was nod. “So you and Sunset are still getting along then? That’s good.” Immediately Twilight regretted starting with that. She really was happy they were getting along, but didn’t want to seem too happy, since she didn’t want Fluttershy to think she was caught up on Sunset.

“Yes.” Fluttershy finally turned to look at her. “We are.”

Twilight nodded. Better get into it. “So, talking to Cadance –”

“Do you know why we’re getting along?” Fluttershy asked. She stood up straight, which didn’t reach nearly to Twilight’s height but still made the alicorn incredibly nervous.

Twilight slouched down and bowed her head slightly. She smiled weakly. “Because you realized it was my fault so there was no reason to be mad at her?”

“No, I was furious with both of you.” Fluttershy stared at her, waiting for a better answer.

Twilight glanced around the room, hoping for some sort of clue to help her out. She found nothing. “Uhm… Because she made it up to you somehow?”

Fluttershy took a step forward. “No. She offered to do whatever she needed to make things right, but that’s not the reason either.”

There was something Twilight was supposed to realize, but she couldn’t see it. No matter how hard she tried to find another answer, she couldn’t possibly think of what might have happened over the past four days that would cause Fluttershy to forgive Sunset. “Because, uhm…” She swallowed and fought the urge to back away from Fluttershy. “I… I’m sorry, but I don’t know, Shy.”

“Because Sunset was here!” Fluttershy stomped a hoof angrily, causing Twilight to jump. “Because while you ran off without even telling me, Sunset and I actually talked about what happened! At first I was so angry with her that I didn’t even want to look at her, but then we talked about everything, and slowly things got better. Because that’s what you’re supposed to do when you have a problem with somepony, Twilight!”

Twilight’s mind reeled as she tried to figure out a way to diffuse the situation. “I just… I thought you’d want some time to yourself.”

Fluttershy threw her foreleg into the air. “You thought I wanted to be left alone!? You just assumed you knew what I’d want, without even asking me!?”

Unsure of what to say under Fluttershy’s glare, Twilight stammered half responses. “I, uhm…” She shook her head and gestured towards Fluttershy. “You were the one who said you wanted space though! When you left the castle!”

“I went to Rainbow’s for a night. One night, Twilight. And I told you I was going!” Fluttershy closed the distance between them, hovering slightly so Twilight had to look up at her. “Then I went back the next day, and Spike said you were out, so I told him I’d be here.”

Spike had told her that Fluttershy stopped by that day, before she left for the Crystal Empire, but she’d thought… “I thought that meant you still wanted time to yourself. How was I supposed to know?”

Fluttershy put a hoof to her head and shook it. When she looked back to Twilight she was scowling again. “By asking me! Twilight, I’m your marefriend, I’m going to be your wife soon. How can you not know that you need to talk to me before running halfway across Equestria!?”

“I’m sorry!” Twilight yelled, throwing her foreleg out to the side. “I bucked up, okay? And I don’t know what else to say, but I’m sorry!” She bowed her head and waited for Fluttershy to yell some more, but she didn’t. Everything was quiet for a moment as Twilight stared at the floor, avoiding looking at Fluttershy. She sighed. Yelling wasn’t a good way to apologize, and she knew it. “I really am sorry, Shy. I… that was really unfair to you.”

Although Twilight was still looking away from Fluttershy, she saw her hooves land on the floor in front of her. “I just wanted to work everything out,” Fluttershy said, much softer than Twilight had expected. “Everything’s been so confusing, and… you weren’t here to help me through it.”

When Twilight looked up she saw Fluttershy was also staring at the ground. “Shy…”

“I needed you, Twily.”

Twilight walked forward the few steps left between them and pulled Fluttershy close to her. “Shy, I’m sorry I left. And I’m sorry I didn’t ask you first. I promise you that I’ll never do anything like that again. I love you, Shy.”

“I love you too, Twily.” Fluttershy nuzzled against her. “But I’m still mad at you.”

Twilight smiled. “That’s okay. As long as you still want to work it out.”

Fluttershy pulled away from the hug and kissed Twilight on the cheek. “I do, but on one condition.”

“What’s that?” Twilight asked, sure she’d be okay with anything Fluttershy requested of her.

Fluttershy flew into the air and landed back on the couch. “Come cuddle with me.”

Twilight smiled, and walked over to the couch, where Fluttershy held out a foreleg and wing for her to snuggle under. “It’s good to be home,” Twilight said, as she made herself comfortable with the mare she loved.

“So how was the trip?” Fluttershy asked.

Twilight nodded, steeling herself for the conversation she’d been practicing in her head all day. “Well, when I talked to Cadance –”

Fluttershy leaned in and kissed her. Twilight was surprised, but her face quickly broke into a goofy grin. It had been far too long since she’d gotten a kiss from Fluttershy. “We can talk about that in a bit,” Fluttershy said. “I’d rather talk about something else, for now. I missed you, Twily. Even with Sunset and Spike around, the house felt empty without you. I just want to enjoy having you back right now.”

Oddly enough, Twilight was finding her worries were dispersing. She’d hoped to get the important stuff out of the way early, as having it loom over her head had kept her on edge for days. But wrapped up in Fluttershy while Fluttershy was wrapped up in her… It made everything else seem so much less important.

“Well, it was hardly a vacation,” Twilight said. “I can’t remember ever being that worried in my life. But it wasn’t all bad.”

“Hmm, seeing Shining and Cadance must have been nice.” Fluttershy leaned her head into Twilight’s shoulder.

“Yeah, it was. I also ran into Amber.”

“How did that go?” Fluttershy asked. Twilight could almost hear the smirk in her voice.

“Good.” Twilight smiled, happy to finally have a chance to share some good news. “Really good, actually. She helped me keep calm on the way there and back.”

“That’s nice. I guess it was lucky you ran into her both ways then.”

“Well, not exactly,” Twilight said. “I was lucky the first time. Then I actually arranged to be on the same train with her on the way back.”

“Really?” Fluttershy lifted her head up. “I thought you, well…”

Twilight chuckled. “You noticed it too? What, am I really that easy to read?”

Fluttershy giggled and snuggled back against her. “A little. But that’s okay.”

“I… apologized to Amber. I know I’ve been a lousy friend to her.” Twilight kissed Fluttershy’s head. “And I’m sorry to you, too. I know I can get… jealous. But I hope you know I always trusted you completely.”

Fluttershy nodded, which made Twilight giggle as Fluttershy’s mane brushed up against her neck. “It’s okay. And if you feel that way again, well, maybe that’ll be another thing we talk about next time?”

“That sounds fair,” Twilight said. “So, how were things around here?”

Although everypony seemed friendly with each other when Twilight first arrived at the cottage, the silence that followed made it easy to tell that the answer wouldn’t be quite so happy. “It was, uhm…” Fluttershy sighed. “The past couple days have been good. Sunset and Spike stayed here with me. Actually… Sunset slept here every night but the first one since you left.”

“Oh, really?” Twilight tried to imagine how that would have happened, but couldn’t. She wanted to ask, but wasn’t sure how to bring up Sunset after everything that happened.

“Uhm… It’s a long story,” Fluttershy said. “Maybe for now you could tell me how the talk with Cadance went?”

Although the sudden subject change worried her, Twilight wasn’t about to argue the point. She took a deep breath. Suddenly everything she planned to say seemed wrong. She had all kinds of facts and statistics that she’d planned on using, but it seemed like a poor explanation. Cadance had even offered to go back with Twilight and help her explain, but Twilight foalishly declined. She reasoned it would sound better coming from her in a private conversation, but that didn’t help if she couldn’t get the explanation out.

At least Fluttershy was patient. She took Twilight’s hoof in hers. “It’s okay, Twily. You can tell me whatever it is. You talked about Sunset, right? Did she help you figure out how you feel about her?”

“Yes.” Twilight’s mouth went dry. She knew she had to explain herself, but also knew how it would sound. “I don’t really love Sunset, but… I do have feelings for her.”

Fluttershy didn’t pull away from her, which had been Twilight’s biggest concern. “I see.”

“I… Fluttershy, I know that sounds really bad, but… I love you, just as much as I always have. I just…” Twilight couldn’t manage to say it.

“Also have feelings for Sunset,” Fluttershy gently finished for her.

Twilight felt her chest tighten. Saying it out loud earlier to Amber had been hard, but actually hearing Fluttershy confirm it? “I’m sorry, Shy, but I can’t help it. And believe me, I never wanted anything like this to come between us. I love you, and I swear I’ll never do anything to hurt you again. I should never have in the first place, and now I know better than to put myself in a situation like that.”

Fluttershy giggled, which immediately shut off Twilight’s brain. “Twily, it’s okay.” She kissed Twilight’s cheek. “I understand.”

“You, uhm… You do?” Twilight blinked.

“Yes,” Fluttershy said. “You know, we do have another friend who knows a lot about that sort of thing.”

At first Twilight couldn’t imagine whom Fluttershy might be talking about, but then she recalled what Amber had suggested on the way to the Crystal Empire. “You talked to Luna?”

Fluttershy smiled and nodded. “I told her what happened, and she helped me understand how you might feel, and what polyamory is.”

Twilight leaned her head against Fluttershy’s. “I’m glad she was able to help.”

“Did you know she’s been in polyamorous relationships before?” Fluttershy asked.

Twilight shook her head. She didn’t even know relationships like that were even a thing before talking with Cadance. “No, although I’m not really surprised, knowing Luna. She seems like she’d try anything, just to see how it goes.”

Fluttershy nudged Twilight with her nose. “Is that a bad thing?”

Twilight shrugged. “I guess not. And I can’t say I blame her, considering how long she’s been alive. Plenty of time to try whatever you want, I suppose.”

They sat quietly for a while. Fluttershy ran her hoof over Twilight’s, while Twilight just lay still, enjoying the feeling of being with Fluttershy. “You know,” Fluttershy said eventually, “I’ve kind of been thinking about it.”

“Thinking about what?” Twilight asked.

Fluttershy chuckled and nudged her again. “Really, Twi?”

At first Twilight just cocked her head to the side, but after a moment the realization struck and she stared dumbfounded. Even after she knew other ponies did that, she never really considered it as an option for her and Fluttershy. “You mean… Sunset?”

Fluttershy gave a coy smile. “Well, you know… We could try it out. Just to see how it goes.”

All Twilight could do was stare with her mouth hanging open. Realizing how ridiculous she must look she turned away. “I… I mean… Are you sure?”

Fluttershy rolled Twilight onto her side and shifted positions, so she was practically laying on Twilight. Twilight always loved how small her couch was. “I thought maybe we could invite her to come with us tomorrow,” Fluttershy said.

The date finally made Twilight’s mind catch up with the conversation. “Tomorrow? You want our anniversary to also be our first date with Sunset?”

“Well, it would be kind of fitting, wouldn’t it?” Fluttershy asked. “And uhm… I don’t really want to think about our anniversary as an end to us as a couple, just the two of us. I’d rather remember it as the beginning of a new part of our relationship.”

“That… makes sense,” Twilight said. She couldn’t believe it. She had to be dreaming; there was simply no way Fluttershy would want to do something like that. She frowned. “Why though? I don’t understand, you don’t feel the same way about her, do you?”

“No,” Fluttershy said. She rubbed her hoof along Twilight’s stomach. “But you know, when we first started dating, I didn’t really think of you that way either. I think… I was just tired of being alone at the time, and I decided to give you a chance.”

Twilight rolled onto her back and wrapped both her forelegs around Fluttershy, holding her close. Fluttershy responded by shimmying up so she was face to face with Twilight again. “It was the best decision I ever made.”

Fluttershy kissed her, much more passionately than before. When they pulled apart they smiled at each other wordlessly. Fluttershy kissed Twilight’s nose then laid her head on Twilight’s chest, Fluttershy’s ear pressed to her heart.

Twilight stroked her mane. “We still have to figure out how Sunset feels.”

Fluttershy giggled. “Something tells me she’ll be pretty open to the idea.”

It had been pretty obvious Sunset shared Twilight’s feelings, and she probably elaborated more on that with Fluttershy. Still, that was hardly an indication she even wanted to date Twilight, let alone both of them. “Why do you say that?”

“Because she told me that she loves me.”

“She… what?” Twilight’s head popped up.

Fluttershy turned to face her and smiled. “Twily, you’re not jealous, are you?”

“No, nothing like that,” Twilight answered quickly. “It’s just… I’m surprised. But that’s good, right?” Although Fluttershy was still smiling, Twilight felt guilty for being excited at the idea. “I mean, uhm… if that is good. If you, uh…” Twilight blushed and grabbed Fluttershy’s wing, using it to cover her face. “I’m… gonna stop talking. I’ll be under here, if you need me.”

Fluttershy laughed and pulled her wing away. “Yes, it’s good.”

Twilight kept blushing but smiled all the same. “Well, I guess all that’s left to do is talk to her, then.”

“Well…” Fluttershy sighed. “Before we do, there’s still a few things you should know.”

Fluttershy explained what had happened while Twilight was away. She explained that Morning Breeze was a fake name she made up when she started dating the human Fluttershy, and about the times Fluttershy had found her drunk. She explained about the conversations they’d had, while Twilight mostly listened and started to wonder if a relationship with her was really a good idea.

“You’re sure she’s an alcoholic?” Twilight asked when Fluttershy was finished. “Sounds like a really stressful week, maybe she just overdid it?”

Fluttershy shook her head. “Trust me, Twily. I know.”

“Of course,” Twilight said. “I don’t doubt you, it’s just… hard to believe. I mean, I never saw any signs or anything.”

“Me either.” Fluttershy frowned. “But the important thing is that we need to support her, whatever we end up deciding on.”

Did they really want to add another pony to their relationship that had such a huge problem? It would be challenging enough without having to worry about alcoholism complicating everything. Did they even want to date a third pony anyway? She could already imagine the things everypony would say.

“So what do you think?” Fluttershy asked.

Twilight sighed. “I don’t know.”

Fluttershy propped herself back up to a sitting position, pulling Twilight up as well. “Well, I think it’ll be okay. Sunset really wants to get better, and she did finally admit she has a problem. I think she can do it if we’re there to help.”

Twilight nodded and thought about it some more. If anypony had a reason to not want to be with an alcoholic it was Fluttershy, so it would probably be okay if she still thought it was a good idea.

“Hey, Shy? Are you suggesting this so Sunset has a reason to quit drinking?”

Fluttershy didn’t answer right away, instead staring absent-mindedly through a window. “A little. But there’s more to it than that. Even if that wasn’t part of it, I think I’d still want to give this a chance.”

“I just don’t want this to be something you regret,” Twilight said.

Fluttershy smiled. “Twily, I’m not suggesting anything serious. It’s just one date right now, I think we’ll be okay.”

Twilight nodded. “Yeah, I guess that’s true.” She smiled and nudged Fluttershy. “And you know, if you’re not happy with how things are going, we’ll end it. I want the two of us to be happy together more than anything.”

“Okay,” Fluttershy said. She leaned in and smiled mischievously. “But just imagine if things go well. The two of you working together, taking little breaks to snuggle. Or the three of us all cuddled up by the fire in the winter.”

“I, uhm, well, I’m…” Twilight had no idea how to respond and blushed furiously, which Fluttershy seemed to enjoy.

“You’re adorable, is what you are.” Fluttershy kissed her cheek and stood up. “Come on. Poor Spike’s been waiting for you to come back, and Sunset’s probably worried out of her mind.”

Twilight chuckled. “Well, she’s certainly in for a surprise.”

The walk to the castle was significantly better than the walk to the cottage. With her worries behind her and Fluttershy by her side, Twilight was able to fully appreciate being back in town. She wasn’t even worried about what Sunset would say, because either way Fluttershy had forgiven her.

It was well past dinner time when they arrived at the castle. “Think they waited for us?” Twilight asked.

“I hope not,” Fluttershy said, frowning. She shook her head. “You did say to go ahead without us.”

“Still, we better not keep them waiting anymore.” Twilight led the way into the castle. “Spike? Sunset?”

There was no answer, so they began searching. All the while, Twilight grumbled about the castle’s needlessly large size. After deciding they weren’t on the ground floor, they went upstairs, eventually finding them in the library. They were sitting at a table with a bunch of cards spread out in front of them, and didn’t seem to notice they had an audience.

“So then, I can play this one right?” Sunset asked. “And that’ll make this guy strong enough to kill your plant thing?”

“What? Are you sure you’ve never played this before?” Spike eyed Sunset skeptically as she shrugged.

Although she enjoyed seeing Sunset and Spike playing together, it was getting late and Twilight was ready to get things moving. “Having fun?” she asked.

At the sound of Twilight’s voice, Sunset went rigid. Spike, on the other hoof, just smiled and waved excitedly. “Yup! I’m teaching Sunset how to play Hocuspocus: The Get-Together.”

“Oh, do you like those kinds of games, Sunset?” Fluttershy asked.

“It’s not bad,” Sunset said tensely. She set her cards down and turned around, not noticing they were face up.

Twilight chuckled. “Of course, she’s a nerd.” She was hoping teasing Sunset would cause her to retort.

Sunset smiled weakly. “You’re one to talk, Crystal Gaze,” she said, referencing Twilight’s Oubliettes and Ogres character.

Twilight smiled at her success, and hoped it would help Sunset feel at ease. “Oh, I never said I wasn’t a nerd. In fact, I’m the princess of the nerds. Princess of Friendship is just the more marketable title.”

“She’s very proud of it,” Fluttershy said.

Spike laughed. “Yeah, she even has a hidden stash of fanf–”

“Spike!” Twilight teleported to the table and grabbed her brother in a tight hug. “Fluttershy and I have something we need to talk to Sunset about. So how about you run along for now, then maybe later you and I will do something together?”

“Fine.” Spike sighed, but got up nonetheless. He left the cards where they were and left them to talk.

The improvement Twilight had managed on Sunset’s nerves seemed short lived, as she again was looking nervously between Twilight and Fluttershy. “So, uh, how’d everything go?”

“Everything’s okay, Sunset,” Fluttershy said while Twilight levitated over a couple extra chairs. She arranged set them near Sunset’s so the three made a small circle, that way it wouldn’t look like they were ganging up to interrogate her.

Sunset took a deep breath. “Okay, let me start by saying I’m sorry. I understand if you two decided I shouldn’t live here anymore, all I want is for you two to work everything out. And I hope you both want to stay friends with me.”

Twilight and Fluttershy looked at each other and smiled. Fluttershy nodded for Twilight to explain their decision. “Sunset, we don’t want you to move out.”

“Really?” Sunset asked excitedly before Twilight could explain more. “Still, I’m going to do whatever I can to make it up to you.”

“Sunset? I kissed you.” Twilight watched the ground as she spoke. Even given the turn of events she was embarrassed to talk about what happened out loud. “You don’t have to make anything up to me.”

“To either of us,” Fluttershy added.

Sunset smiled at the two of them. “You two are the best. Still, I feel bad about it. It’s not like I wasn’t partly to blame, after all. I promise I’ll be on my best behavior from now on.”

“Well, actually…” Twilight took a deep breath. “We had an idea.”

“Great.” Sunset nodded. “Anything at all, just name it, and I’ll take care of it for you.”

“It’s nothing we want you to do,” Twilight explained. “We were wondering if you wanted to join us tomorrow?”

Sunset looked puzzled. “Sure, but isn’t tomorrow your anniversary?”

Twilight blushed. “Yes, well, what I meant was would you like to join us on a date.”

“I’m… not sure I follow,” Sunset said.

Fluttershy rested a hoof on Twilight’s shoulder. “Sunset,” she said, “if you want to, we’d like to try going on a date with all three of us. And maybe, if everypony’s happy with how things go, we could include you as part of our relationship.”

Fighting off her embarrassment, Twilight added, “It’s, uhm, a thing some ponies do… apparently.”

“Are you serious?” Sunset asked. She looked less confused, but only because she traded her confusion for shock.

“Yes,” Fluttershy said. “And before you ask, yes, we both agreed on this.”

“It was actually Fluttershy’s idea,” Twilight said, finally recomposing herself properly.

“But…” Sunset shook her head. “Why?”

Fluttershy chuckled. “You know, I just had to explain that to Twily. The simplest answer is we just want to try it. Twilight has feelings for both of us, and you do too. I’m not quite there yet, but I still want to give this a chance.”

On the upside, Fluttershy had the ability to cut through the awkward parts of the conversation and state things simply. On the downside, she was the only one that didn’t feel awkward about it. Both Sunset and Twilight looked around at separate parts of the library while trying to compose themselves. Sunset managed first. “Okay, so what about the wedding?”

Twilight arched an eyebrow. “Uh, we’re asking you on a date. Even if it goes well, nopony’s proposing.”

Sunset shook her head. “No, I mean you two. Are you two still getting married?”

Twilight turned to Fluttershy, realizing they hadn’t directly addressed it. Fluttershy had mentioned it once, but that had been during the argument, so it didn’t necessarily mean anything. “I don’t know… Do you still want to marry me, Shy? I mean, I still want to, but I understand if you don’t.”

Fluttershy smiled and shook her head. “I never said anything about calling off the wedding. Twily, I love you. Of course I still want to marry you.”

Twilight reached out a hoof for Fluttershy’s and smiled as she took it. She turned back to see Sunset smiling contently.

“Well, as long as the wedding’s still on, then I’ll give it a shot.” Sunset laughed. “I mean, of course I will. Seriously, this is the best thing I could have asked for.”

“Good.” Fluttershy nodded. “Now, Spike’s missed you very much, and he’s probably getting tired of hiding behind that bookcase.”

Twilight whipped her head in the direction Fluttershy was looking and, sure enough, saw the tip of a purple tail disappearing. “Spike!” Twilight levitated him over. For some reason he still tried to scurry away, even though he knew by now Twilight’s magic field wouldn’t be letting go of him. “Have you been listening the whole time?”

Giving up on escaping, Spike sighed. “Yeah…”

Twilight dispelled her magic and facehoofed. “What am I going to do with you?” When she opened her eyes he was staring regretfully at the floor. She sighed. “I should ground you, or give you a ton of extra chores, or, I don’t know, something! But luckily for you I missed you too. Come here, ya brat.”

Spike jumped into her open foreleg. “So, Spike,” Fluttershy said, “what do you think of this?”

Pulling away from Twilight, Spike looked from Fluttershy to Sunset. “I dunno. I guess it’s a little strange, but as long as everypony’s happy, I guess that’s all that matters. Right?”

“Right,” Twilight said. She turned to Fluttershy and smirked. “If you knew he was there then why didn’t you say anything sooner?”

Fluttershy grinned. “Well, by the time I realized he was there, it was already too late.” She turned to address Spike. “Now, Spike. You do know better than to listen in on somepony else’s conversations. Even though you’re not in trouble this time, I want you to promise you won’t do it again.”

Spike nodded. “I promise. Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye.”

Sunset burst out laughing. “I’m sorry, but what was that?”

“A Pinkie Pie swear,” Spike said.

“Pinkie.” Sunset shook her head. “I should have known that came from Pinkie.”

Fluttershy took a good look at Twilight and seemed to notice something in her face. “Spike, I know you were hoping to spend some time with Twilight, but I think Twilight and I are ready for bed. Maybe you can finish your game with Sunset and we’ll do something another time. All four of us.”

Until Fluttershy mentioned it, Twilight hadn’t even realized how tired she was. But once she did, she felt it hit her hard. “Sleep sounds good.”

“Go on, I’ll make sure Spike gets to bed on time,” Sunset said.

Spike folded his arms. “I can do that myself.”

For some reason Twilight didn’t understand, Fluttershy and Sunset exchanged skeptical expressions. “No, you can’t,” Sunset said.

Spike grumbled, and complained even louder when Fluttershy kissed him on the head. Twilight saw him smile out of the corner of her eye when he thought no one was looking, though.

“Good night, Twilight, Fluttershy,” Sunset said. She kept her distance and waved, causing Fluttershy to shake her head as she walked over to give Sunset a hug.

Twilight stood up and tried to lead the way out, but Fluttershy rolled her eyes and pushed her towards Sunset. Twilight and Sunset hesitated for a moment before hugging.

“Good night, Sunset.”

“Good night, Twi.” Sunset rubbed her neck. “I guess I better figure out what I’m gonna wear tomorrow.”

Twilight walked away with a goofy smile, and blushed when she saw Fluttershy. Even if they just hugged, Twilight still felt like the whole exchange was somehow inappropriate. Fluttershy didn’t seem to think so, as she just smiled warmly as she led the way out. Twilight looked back one last time to see Sunset looked ecstatic at how things had gone.

“So, still worried we’ll regret the decision?” Fluttershy asked once they were in the hall. She smiled knowingly, which caused Twilight to blush.

Unable to hold it in any longer Twilight finally let out a giddy laugh. “I’m so excited! I forgot how exciting the night before our first date was, and this time it’s even better because I don’t have to feel nervous about it, and –” She stopped suddenly and looked to Fluttershy. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make it sound like a date with Sunset is better than a date with you.”

“I know,” Fluttershy said. “It’s okay, Twilight. I’m happy you’re so happy, and I’m looking forward to it too.”

Twilight leaned against Fluttershy as they reached the bedroom. “You know, the reason tomorrow’s kind of better? Because I know you’ll be there beside me, so I don’t have anything to worry about.”

Fluttershy nudged Twilight. “That’s nice, Twily, but can we go to bed now? I’m really tired.”

“How’d you know I was so tired, anyway?” Twilight asked as they walked into the bedroom.

“Aside from just looking like you’re about to pass out? I don’t think any of us have slept well recently.”

“True,” Twilight said. She climbed into the bed and stretched out. “But I don’t think I’ll have that problem tonight.”

Fluttershy climbed into the bed next to her. “No, me either.”

“Goodnight, Shy.” Twilight propped herself and kissed Fluttershy.

Before Twilight could pull away Fluttershy wrapped a foreleg around her head, keeping her locked in the kiss. Twilight reached a hoof to stroke Fluttershy’s mane, but Fluttershy rolled over, keeping her hooves on Twilight’s shoulders and pinning her onto the bed.

Twilight laughed. “What happened to going to bed?”

Fluttershy smiled wickedly. “Soon.” She leaned down close enough that her breath made Twilight’s ear twitch. “But first, I still have one more night with you all to myself, and I’m going to make the most of it.”

~End Act II~

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