• 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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2 – Forever

Chapter Two

Forever

“What about this one?”

“Looks good.”

Twilight examined the dress she was levitating. It did look nice, but she didn’t really think it was perfect. “I don’t know. Don’t you think it’s a little… flashy?”

Sunset let her head fall into her hooves. She was lying on Twilight’s bed while the alicorn went through her closet and looked like she regretted ever agreeing to help. “Twi, you said the last one wasn’t flashy enough.”

“No, I said it was too plain.” Twilight ignored Sunset’s irritation and went back to moving clothes around. She tried to find some new way that she could still use them to look her best for a mare that had already seen her in every one of them time and again. “I’m starting to reconsider this one.”

“That looks nice.”

“Sunset, I haven’t even shown it to you yet!”

Sunset groaned and lifted her head. “Are you like this before every date? No wonder Spike’s hiding.”

“Not every date, but tonight is special,” Twilight said. Tonight was very important, although she couldn’t say why.

“She’s going to love whatever you wear,” Sunset said. “You might have noticed she’s kinda already crazy about you. Seriously, how long have you two been together?”

“It’ll be two years in a couple of moons.”

Sunset threw her hooves up dramatically. “Then why the hell are you still worried about what to wear on a date? What, are you afraid Fluttershy’ll break up with you if you don’t look perfect?”

Twilight’s ears folded back and she cast her eyes towards the ground. “No, I just… Sunset, please. This is important to me.”

Sunset sighed and got off the bed, and for a second Twilight thought she was going to leave the room. Instead she walked to the closet. “Go wait on the bed.”

“But I –”

“Sit your ass on the bed. You wanted my help, you got it.”

Twilight skeptically agreed, mostly out of curiosity to see what Sunset was going to do. After a minute, Sunset walked out levitating a deep purple halter dress. “Put this on.”

“Are you sure? I think it might be a bit much.” It was certainly more seductive than what Twilight normally preferred. In fact, although Rarity had designed it especially for her, Twilight had never worn it out.

“Humor me.” Sunset turned away to give Twilight some privacy while she dressed. Twilight rolled her eyes and wondered how much longer Sunset would keep up the human ideal of clothing.

“Okay, it’s on. But I’m really not sure about this one.” Twilight examined her reflection. She didn’t look like herself.

“That’s because we’re not done yet, go sit on that stool.” Sunset pointed to Twilight’s small vanity table.

Twilight suppressed a laugh. “Sunset, are you sure you know what you’re doing?”

Sunset flipped her mane over her shoulder. “Come on Twi, do you really think my mane is just naturally this flawless?”

“I guess I haven’t really thought about it. I don’t usually style mine.” Twilight couldn’t help but feel apprehensive as Sunset stepped closer, especially when she ignored the hair supplies in favor of looking through Twilight’s makeup.

“I’ve noticed.” Apparently satisfied with what she saw in Twilight’s makeup, Sunset levitated a hairbrush over to them. “Now, hold still.”

‘What did I get myself into…’

Sunset kept Twilight facing away from the mirror, leaving her imagination to run wild with thoughts of what the unicorn might be doing to her. To her horror, Sunset really was hell-bent on doing everything, including makeup. She would trust Sunset with her life, but not this date. But she only had herself to blame, since she had been the one who decided that since Fluttershy was already having Rarity help her get ready it would be better if she just figured something out on her own, that way she could keep her appearance a surprise. As Sunset pinned part of her mane in place, she couldn’t help but wonder if this was some sort of plan to make sure she’d never ask Sunset to help her get ready for another date.

“Done.” Sunset finally allowed Twilight to turn around.

She had to do a double take at her reflection. She thought she didn’t look like herself in the dress, but now she could honestly believe she was looking at a different lavender alicorn. Sunset stood next to her looking smug. “Sunset, this is…”

“Amazing?”

“I just… where’d you learn to do this?”

“Humans value appearance a lot more than ponies do. When I was trying to get to the top, I needed to look the part. It was a little different applying makeup with fur, but it mostly works the same.”

Twilight turned away from the mirror to properly give Sunset an incredulous look. “Tell me you don’t mean I was the first pony you ever put makeup on.”

“Does it matter? Look at the results and tell me you don’t look fucking fantastic.” Sunset grinned and batted her eyelashes. “Besides, my unobservant friend, you’re the second pony. I was the first.”

Twilight turned back to the mirror. “While this is certainly amazing, I’m not sure… I mean, it’s not really… me.” Twilight usually tried for elegant, not sultry.

“Twilight, you look beautiful. Trust me, the second Fluttershy sees you in that dress she won’t be able to think about anything but getting you out of it.”

Twilight blushed furiously. “I, uh… don’t think that’s quite the effect I’m going for.”

Sunset sighed. “Look, Twi. What do you have to lose? On one hoof, she could love it. On the other, she thinks it’s ridiculous and you can share a laugh about not letting me anywhere near your makeup again. It’s a win-win situation.”

“I’m not going to laugh at it! You did a really good job, and I do like it.” Twilight caught sight of Sunset’s grin. “And you just baited me into saying that.”

“Twilight, here, stop looking in the mirror and look at this.” Sunset levitated a picture off the wall and brought it over to Twilight. It was Twilight, Fluttershy, and all of Twilight’s family gathered around from their first Hearth’s Warming together. Twilight had turned to kiss Fluttershy’s cheek right as the camera snapped the picture. She had expected once the picture developed that Fluttershy would look surprised, maybe even that she would be blushing. Instead, she looked happier in that picture than she did in any other that Twilight had seen, smiling so big her eyes were scrunched up.

“I promise you, no matter how you show up, she’s just going to be happy because she’s with you. She really loves you, Twi. And if you really want tonight to be special? Then have a little fun, break out of your comfort zone! As long as you roll with it and don’t focus so much on every little detail being perfect, you can turn any situation into a good one.”

Twilight smiled contentedly. Maybe Sunset had a point. There wasn’t actually any reason it had to be tonight anyway; if things went badly she could just wait until next time. “Thank you, Sunset. You’re right. There’s no reason I can’t try something new once in awhile.” She took another look in the mirror while Sunset replaced the picture. There was no denying that even if it wasn’t in the way she wanted, Twilight did look good. ‘Maybe I could get Sunset to do Fluttershy’s outfit sometime…’

“Thinking naughty things already?” Sunset asked, breaking Twilight away from her thoughts. She realized she had been blushing even before Sunset said anything.

“No,” Twilight lied. “Anyway, Fluttershy will probably be back anytime now, so let’s wait downstairs.” She didn’t wait for an answer before leaving, leading the way to the foyer while Sunset snickered behind her.

“So why do you two even still have separate houses?” Sunset asked while they waited. “Since I’ve been here, she’s stayed every night in the castle.”

“We never actually stay at separate houses anymore, although occasionally we do sleep at her house. At first keeping the cottage seemed to make sense with it being closer to her work, but lately we’ve been staying at the castle more and more. The castle is too important to ever actually give up, so I’m sure we’ll move everything over here eventually. But I could never ask her to give up her home, especially since we basically live together already, like you said.”

“It just seems like more trouble than it’s worth, having to maintain two houses when you barely stay in one of them,” Sunset said, then shook her head. “I’m probably just thinking about it like a human though. Besides, it’s not like you’ve really got to worry too much about paying for both places.”

“Yeah…” They never talked about it, but Twilight knew Sunset had been poor back in the human world. It always made Twilight feel guilty for how much she had, especially since she always had to rely on her human friends to pay for things over there. Bits didn’t exactly go very far outside of Equestria.

“So are you planning on coming back here tonight?” Sunset asked. The change in her tone was noticeable as she backpedaled to less awkward conversation.

“Probably. The restaurant is closer to the castle after all.”

“Great! Make sure you do.”

Twilight cocked her head to the side. “Why?”

Sunset grinned. “You’ll see. Just tell her you have to come back here because you have something planned.”

“But I don’t have anything planned,” Twilight said, trying to figure out what Sunset was talking about.

“Yes you do, it’s just a plan you wisely delegated to me. Of course, as far as she needs to know, you did everything. It’s also a surprise for you though, so don’t bother asking.”

“Sunset, you can’t expect me to take credit for something you did, especially without even telling me what it is!”

“Oh trust me, you’ll want to take credit for this one.” Sunset thought for a moment before continuing. “Tell you what. If Fluttershy doesn’t love the dress, then go back to her cottage. But if she does, and she will, then trust me and bring her back here.”

“It’s not that I don’t trust you, I just really don’t feel comfortable taking credit for something you did,” Twilight said.

The door opened and Fluttershy stepped in, then stopped in place when she noticed Twilight. “Twily, you look gorgeous.”

Sunset grinned. “So will I be seeing you later tonight?”

Twilight looked at Fluttershy and wished she knew what thoughts were making her blush like that. “Yes, we’ll definitely be back here tonight.”

The short exchange snapped Fluttershy out of her stupor. “Oh, hello, Sunset. Is that one of the dresses Rarity made you?”

“Yeah, what do you think?” Sunset turned to the side to show off her new dress. In the past three days Sunset had worn a different outfit every day. Twilight was beginning to wonder how many dresses Rarity had made for her, but didn’t want to ask since she knew Sunset already felt guilty for accepting them. She had been against Rarity’s offer to work for free, but also wasn’t happy with Twilight stepping in to pay for everything.

“You look nice,” Fluttershy said.

“Thanks, you too,” Sunset said.

Twilight immediately felt guilty for not complimenting her marefriend, who was wearing an elegant flowing black dress. She walked over and kissed her. “Absolutely beautiful.”

Fluttershy smiled and nuzzled against her. “Are you ready to go?”

“Yes.” Twilight looked around and realized she had left her purse upstairs. “Er, give me one second.”

Not wanting to ruin her mane by running, Twilight walked briskly up the stairs. Once she reached her room, she looked around frantically but didn’t see it. It took several hectic minutes before she found it on the bed, buried in several outfits she had considered. She sighed with relief and made her way back downstairs, where Sunset and Fluttershy were talking.

“That’s a great idea, but what if she wants me to stay in Canterlot?” Sunset said.

“Who wants you to stay in Canterlot?” Twilight asked.

“Oh, Fluttershy was saying I should ask Celestia for a job as a magic researcher,” Sunset said. “But I really don’t think living in Canterlot would be a good move for me, not to mention I’d just rather stay in Ponyville…”

Fluttershy looked confused. “Why would you have to move to Canterlot? Twilight studied magic in Ponyville.”

“I was assigned to study the magic of friendship in Ponyville,” Twilight said. “Anypony can apply for a grant if they have a field in mind to study, and can provide a convincing report that it could benefit Equestria. But general researchers usually live in Canterlot where they can work directly with the princesses and have access to the Royal Canterlot Archives.”

“What if I apply for a grant to study the portal?” Sunset asked. “I mean, she couldn’t possibly say I don’t have enough knowledge on it, and it would give me an excuse to stay here.” She looked up suddenly. “I mean, if you’re okay with that, of course!”

Twilight smiled and looked to Fluttershy, who nodded. “Of course we are,” Twilight said. “But is studying the portal really what you want to do?”

“Well… no, not really.” Sunset sighed, then turned away with a distant look in her eyes. “I mean, I would like to know more about it, but I’d really like to do some research on human technology and how it can interact with magic. I kind of studied the reverse at CHS, trying to study magic with technology, and the results were certainly interesting. But it’s a completely new field of study, so Celestia would probably want to oversee it herself.”

“Well then, I see the problem,” Twilight said sarcastically. Sunset gave her a confused look and she smiled and rolled her eyes. “If only you knew another pony with the authority to oversee a project like that. Say, a princess who can hire her own magic researchers.”

Sunset stared with her mouth hanging open and shook her head. “But… I can’t accept that! I mean, being able to support myself is exactly why I’m trying to find a job, this is just another way for me to take advantage of you.”

Twilight frowned. “You know Sunset, I am a princess. I’m responsible for doing anything I can to help Equestria, which is something your research definitely has the potential to do. Putting aside the fact that we’re friends, you’re still Princess Celestia’s former protégé, I’ve personally seen that you have an extensive knowledge of theoretical magic, and you have an unprecedented knowledge of human technology. You are indisputably the best mare for the job.”

Fluttershy giggled. “You know, Twilight doesn’t want to say it, but I think she also wants you to accept so she can help you with the research.”

Twilight didn’t bother to disagree. “Not to mention that as an expert in magic myself, and the only other pony with even a limited understanding of human technology, I highly doubt Princess Celestia will have a problem with the arrangement. Really Sunset, give me one good reason why I shouldn’t hire you.”

“I just…” Sunset seemed to run out of excuses. “I’ll think about it.”

Twilight nodded. “Okay, we’ll talk about it later. Right now we have a dinner reservation.”

“Oh, that’s right,” Sunset said. “Sorry, I’m holding you up.”

“It’s fine, we’re not in a hurry,” Fluttershy said. “We’ll see you later, Sunset.”

“Yeah, have fun!” Sunset waved as they left the castle.

Along the way Fluttershy asked about the technology from the human world, but Twilight had a difficult time explaining. Although she kind of tried to talk up her understanding of human technology to Sunset, in truth she really only had a tentative grasp on it. Even if they couldn’t find a way to combine it with magic, bringing some of that technology to Equestria could provide amazing benefits on its own. Thankfully, the restaurant wasn’t far from the castle, so she didn’t have to struggle for too long.

The restaurant, Le Petit Cheval, was a recent addition to Ponyville. It had a reputation as the finest restaurant around, but that was almost awarded to it by default since there were hardly any fine dining establishments in the relatively small town.

As soon as they approached, they were greeted by a stallion in an exquisite tuxedo. He smiled broadly at the celebrity couple but maintained his professional composure. “Princess Twilight, Lady Fluttershy. It is an honor to have you dine with us tonight.” He held the door open for them and Twilight wondered if they greeted all their guests at the door. Twilight had made reservations months in advance, so they certainly had time to pull out all the stops.

“Thank you, sir,” Twilight said, inclining her head in a small bow. As they entered they were greeted by the regular receptionist who showed them to their table, where their waiter brought them their menus.

Once he left to give them some time to look over the menu, Fluttershy giggled. “We’ve never been somewhere they needed three ponies just to get us seated.”

Twilight was a little disappointed that Fluttershy didn’t seem too impressed, and was going to explain that they probably just wanted to create a welcome environment to let every patron know how important they were, but remembered Sunset’s advice. ‘Just roll with it.’ Instead she grinned and said, “Yeah, I know what you mean. I’m pretty sure we could have managed the door by ourselves, at least.” Fluttershy laughed and Twilight felt a bit less nervous. “Even dinner with Princess Celestia isn’t this fancy.”

Fluttershy flipped through her menu. “That’s kind of funny. Imagine what these ponies would think of an actual royal dinner.”

Twilight chuckled. “What, you think they might not appreciate Luna starting a food fight?”

“I think Amber actually started it.” Fluttershy smiled wryly. “You seemed to enjoy yourself though.”

“Well you know, I do enjoy the simple things in life. Like getting frosting in the Princess of the Night’s nose,” Twilight said proudly. Originally she had tried to stay out of the catastrophe, but Luna forced her hoof by getting pudding on Fluttershy’s dress. Somehow they had divided into teams with Celestia, Luna, and Amber banding together against Twilight, Fluttershy, and a surprisingly large number of both the Celestial and Lunar Guards.

Remembering the unexpected dinner fondly, the couple looked through their menus for a few minutes. “Uhm, Twily? I don’t know what any of this stuff is.”

Twilight sighed. “Neither do I.” She set down her menu and looked up, laughing as she saw Fluttershy mocking a horrified expression. “Well, I mean I do know what everything is, but it doesn’t help much. Like this dish, it says it has truffles and celeriac. Truffles are a fungus, kind of like mushrooms, and celeriac is a type of celery. But I’ve never actually had either of them, so I have no idea what it tastes like.

“Uhm, should we just ask the waiter?”

“Probably.”

Once they were no longer looking through their menus, it didn’t take long for their waiter to notice and return. “Have you decided what you would like?”

“Actually, we’re having a little trouble deciding,” Twilight said. “We were hoping you could make a recommendation.”

The waiter smiled and nodded. “Of course. I personally recommend Les Fruitis Tropicaux, as it is perfectly in season with the recent change to warmer weather. If you would prefer something a bit richer, then Le Chocolat Épicé is also an excellent choice.”

“Tropical fruit sounds lovely,” Fluttershy said.

“And I think I’ll try Le Chocolat,” Twilight said, doing her best to pronounce the foreign name.

“Very good. And might I recommend a white wine to go with the meal?”

Fluttershy glanced to Twilight. “We won’t be drinking alcohol tonight.” While Fluttershy didn’t drink at all, Twilight normally drank wine when they went out to eat, but the last thing she needed was to nervously drink too much and wind up intoxicated.

“We do also offer non-alcoholic wine if you would prefer, although I’m afraid the selection is far more limited.”

Twilight looked to Fluttershy. “What do you say, Shy?”

“Uhm, there’s really no alcohol?” Fluttershy asked.

“I guarantee it,” the waiter said. “It is a genuine wine, fermented and aged in the traditional way before the alcohol is separated. It maintains its flavor, but is as mild as juice.”

“I… I guess that would be okay,” Fluttershy said. “But uhm, why don’t you get regular wine, Twi?”

Twilight smiled. ‘Because then I’ll just blurt out the surprise.’ “To be honest, I’m actually a little curious now. I’d like to try the non-alcoholic wine as well.”

“Very well, I will be right back with your beverages.” The waiter nodded and took their menus.

Once he was out of earshot Fluttershy leaned closer. “I still don’t know what our food is.”

Twilight chuckled. “I don’t either, but this place has some amazing reviews so I’m not too worried. Besides, it’s tropical fruit and chocolate. It can’t be that bad.”

The waiter soon returned with two wine glasses, which he filled with a bottle chilled in ice. “If you need anything at all, please do not hesitate to call me.” He bowed his head again and made his exit.

Fluttershy eyed her glass suspiciously, sniffing it before turning to Twilight. “Are you sure it’s okay? It, uhm… really smells like wine.”

“It’s supposed to, Shy.” Twilight took a sip of hers while Fluttershy waited patiently. “Yeah, I’m pretty sure. But give me one second and I’ll find out.” She bowed her head and concentrated, casting a spell to no effect. “Yup, definitely no alcohol.”

“What would have happened if it was alcoholic?”

“It would have combusted, probably causing the glass to explode and possibly getting us kicked out,” Twilight said, taking another sip. It wasn’t bad, but she certainly didn’t believe it maintained its flavor like the waiter promised.

“You’re joking, right?” Fluttershy asked, although her expression made it clear she knew better.

“Well, it would have been their fault for lying.” Twilight shrugged.

Fluttershy sighed but she was smiling. “Oh Twily, what am I going to do with you?” She finally seemed content to trust her drink and took a sip. She scrunched up her nose. “Is this what wine usually tastes like?”

“Actually, this isn’t as strong as regular wine,” Twilight said, amused by Fluttershy’s expression.

“Really? I’m… actually kind of glad. This is, uhm, it’s a little much.” She took another drink and set her glass down off to the side where she could easily forget it.

“Do you want to have the waiter switch it for something else? I’m sure we could get cider or juice or something.”

“No, it’s fine. Maybe it’ll be better with the food?”

“Maybe,” Twilight said, but she doubted it. While they waited for their food they talked about the restaurant. Everything about the place was immaculate. And from the crystal chandeliers to the gold accents, everything about the place felt wrong for Ponyville. Ever since Twilight’s castle appeared, high-class ponies had been moving to the small town, likely hoping that being close in proximity to the newest princess would give them a chance to also become close friends with her. Unfortunately, if ponies kept moving to Ponyville, it would inevitably become a cultural hub. Twilight worried about her quiet town and felt guilty, knowing that if it became a second Canterlot, it would only be because of her.

The waiter returned with two platters, which he set in front of them. Twilight and Fluttershy exchanged surprised looks for a moment before politely smiling. “Will you be needing anything else? More wine, or some bread perhaps?”

“No, thank you. I think we can manage from here.” Twilight said.

“If you want for anything, please don’t hesitate to ask.” After another bow, the waiter left them to what looked like some sort of appetizer for their real meals.

“Well, it looks, uhm…” Fluttershy stared at her mostly empty plate. In the middle was a small pile of fruit, most of which looked both exotic and unappetizing. There was some sort of red wrap with a white pudding-like substance inside it in the middle of the fruit. “Is… is this it?”

Twilight’s own plate had even less. There was a small pile of what looked kind of like granola with a dollop of white ice cream on top. Off to the side was some sort of brown strand which she assumed was the chocolate.

Wanting to keep making the best of the situation, Twilight grinned. “You know, most of these ponies probably never leave their office. They need these small portions to keep their figures.”

“Twily, that’s not nice,” Fluttershy said, but she smiled all the same.

“Well, we might as well try it. It might be enough to hold us over until we get a real dinner.” Although she had only been trying to keep Fluttershy from caring about the so far unimpressive restaurant, she had also managed to raise her own spirits. Her good mood lasted all the way until she actually took a bite of her ice cream. “…This is spicy.”

“What?”

“The… the ice cream is spicy.” Twilight looked at her food as if it had betrayed her. Which it had.

Fluttershy tentatively took a bite from one of her fruits at random, avoiding the wrap in the middle. “Well, mine is okay.”

Twilight moved on to the chocolate. Taking a bite was difficult as it was one long stand. The first thing she noticed was its oddly soft consistency, as if it was partially melted already. The second was the flavor.

Fluttershy giggled. “I, uh, take it that wasn’t any better?”

“It’s spicy too.”

“But it’s chocolate.” Fluttershy leaned in and took a small bite and her face scrunched up as soon as she did. “Oh.”

Fluttershy offered some of her fruit, which Twilight accepted. Fluttershy’s description proved accurate; it was okay. Not great, but okay. It certainly wasn’t spicy at least.

Twilight sighed and looked back at her plate. “Uhm, maybe you could request a different meal?” Fluttershy suggested.

“Maybe if I try the ice cream with this stuff.” She took another bite, this time scooping up some of the crumbles underneath. It was improved marginally. Or maybe she was just expecting it the second time around.

As she took a third bite Fluttershy laughed. “Twily, stop. You obviously don’t like it.”

“Well I don’t want to be rude,” Twilight said. She was actually glad the servings were so small. Two more bites and she’d be home free.

“Well, uhm, every time you take a bite?” Fluttershy leaned in and smiled. “You kind of look disgusted.”

Twilight glanced around and saw nopony was watching, thankfully. She turned back to Fluttershy, who was frowning while prodding the wrap. “Do you want to just get out of here?”

“Uhm… Yes, please…”

It was all too often that the couple found themselves in situations they’d rather not be in, usually because of overly zealous reporters. They had long since come up with an escape plan that had yet to fail. After double checking to make sure nopony was watching, Twilight levitated a scroll out of her purse and then made a big flash while she let it fall to the table, alerting everypony nearby. She unrolled it, pretended to read, then gasped.

“Fluttershy, we have to go. There’s an emergency at the castle.” She looked around and spotted the waiter. “I’m sorry, but something’s come up and we need to leave. How much do I owe you?”

The waiter sat dumbfounded for a moment, clearly not used to ponies leaving early, or maybe he was specifically instructed to make sure the royal couple had no problems with their dinner. He shook his head and composed himself. “Your Highness did not even finish her meal. Please, there is no charge.”

“Nonsense, I can’t leave without paying,” Twilight insisted.

Before the waiter could object Fluttershy cut him off. “Twilight, we need to go.”

Twilight nodded and grabbed her purse. “Right. I’ll, uhm, I’ll come back after everything’s taken care of. But I definitely will be back to pay for this.

The two mares made a quick escape, taking to the air as soon as they were out of the restaurant just in case anypony was watching. They landed a few blocks away.

“I’m sorry that didn’t go so great…” Twilight sighed.

“It’s fine, Twily. Actually, it was kind of fun. In a ‘we’re never doing that again’ kind of way.” Fluttershy nuzzled her. “So, do you want to go back to the castle or the cottage?”

“Uhm, well, I kind of have something planned back at the castle,” Twilight said, feeling guilty for the lie. “But there’s somewhere else I want to go first.”

Fluttershy grinned. “I know what you want.”

Twilight blinked. “You do?” How could Fluttershy know? Twilight hadn’t told a single pony what she had planned.

“You want to go get some ice cream to make up for that lousy dinner,” Fluttershy said, smiling innocently.

Twilight laughed and nudged her. “And I take it you also want ice cream?”

Fluttershy gasped. “Twily, that’s a great idea!” Fluttershy began to lead the way with no hesitation.

“Hey, Shy, can we go to the one by your cottage? It’s closer to the other place I wanted to go.”

Fluttershy turned around. “Sure thing!” They walked side by side along the familiar path to the ice cream shop. “So where else are we going?”

“It’s a surprise,” Twilight said.

“Okay. Uhm, so what’s at the castle?” Fluttershy asked.

“Oh… that’s a surprise too.” Twilight grinned sheepishly. She could only hope that would be a good one.

Fluttershy leaned against her. “Twily, what’s going on? Our anniversary is two moons away. Why is this night so special?”

Twilight kissed her cheek while they walked. “Because you’re special, and I want to do something to show you how much I love you.”

“I love you too. You don’t need to do all this to show me that. Two surprises, going to such a fancy restaurant, this.” Fluttershy gestured to Twilight’s outfit.

“It’s too much, isn’t it? I knew it was too much.” Twilight frowned. “I’m sorry, but Sunset insisted and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, besides I couldn’t figure out what to wear, and I thought –”

Fluttershy stopped her rambling with a kiss. “No, it’s not too much. You look… well, to be honest I almost wanted to cancel our dinner plans, and keep you all to myself tonight.”

Both mares giggled. After a moment they started walking again. Fluttershy’s comment made Twilight wish Sunset’s plan was just to clean their room for her. But if it had been that simple she would have just said so, not to mention she wouldn’t even need to insist they return to the castle at all. Considering the mess she left their room in, they would have to do some mood ruining cleaning to do when they got back.

When they entered the shop the pony behind the counter popped her head up from behind a book. “Princess, Fluttershy, how’s it going?” she said, smiling.

“Hello, Cherry Topped,” Twilight said as they took a seat at the counter. “We just got back from Le Petit Cheval.”

“No kidding? Well, you’re certainly dressed for it.” Cherry Topped said. “How was it?”

Twilight and Fluttershy exchanged looks and laughed. “Well, it was… interesting.” Fluttershy said.

“That bad, huh?” Cherry Topped asked. “I guess your being here is for more than to fill me in on the details. Well, I’m sure I can get you something better than that stuffy nonsense they’ve got over there. What’ll it be?”

Twilight chuckled. “Whatever the exact opposite of ginger is.”

“Ginger… ice cream?” Cherry Topped asked, seeming to wonder if she had heard correctly. “Well, I definitely guarantee that anything I’ve got will be better than that. How about orange sorbet?”

“That sounds good,” Twilight said.

“Hmm… I think I’d like a hot fudge sundae, if you don’t mind,” Fluttershy said.

“You’ve got it.” Cherry Topped disappeared behind the counter and came back up with three desserts, including a Rocky Road for herself. “You caught me just in time. I was about to close up for the night.”

Since there was no one else in the shop Cherry Topped walked around the counter to eat with them. They all laughed as Twilight and Fluttershy recounted their experience with fine dining.

Once everypony was done, Twilight paid for all three desserts. “Thank you, but you really don’t have to pay for mine,” Cherry Topped protested.

“It’s no problem. In fact…” Twilight left a few extra bits on the counter. “I don’t even want to imagine what they’re going to charge for the food at Le Petit Cheval, and it didn’t even taste good!”

“Thank you, Princess. I’d tell you not to be a stranger, but I know I’ll see my best customers before too long.” Cherry Topped winked. They waved goodbye and stepped outside as she turned the sign in the door from ‘open’ to ‘closed’.

“So where to?” Fluttershy asked.

“Follow me,” Twilight said. She began walking in the direction of Fluttershy’s cottage.

As they left Ponyville behind Fluttershy looked confused. “I thought you wanted to go back to the castle tonight?”

“I do. We’re not going to the cottage.” Twilight smiled reassuringly. “Just trust me on this, Shy.”

Fluttershy nuzzled her. “I trust you with everything.”

Twilight smiled at Fluttershy’s words and affection, but she couldn’t make her heart stop racing. She didn’t even try to make conversation as they walked, she was too busy focusing on not hyperventilating.

“I think I know where we’re going,” Fluttershy said as they passed her house. Twilight just nodded. Fluttershy walked closer to her, so their bodies pressed together as they walked.

After what felt like an eternity they reached a field of wildflowers. It was where Twilight had first told Fluttershy that she liked mares, and in fact had feelings for her. It was somewhere that was only for the couple, near and dear to both of them.

“Well, this is where I thought we were going, but to be honest, I kind of expected something to be here.” Fluttershy smiled as she waited for Twilight to explain.

“Fluttershy, I…” Twilight tried, but her mouth dried up as she spoke. Her heart was beating so hard and so fast she could barely focus over the feeling as it beat against her tightening chest.

Fluttershy nuzzled her. “Silly, you can’t tell me yet. We’re not all the way there.” Fluttershy pointed to the tree they had sat under when Twilight first confessed her feelings.

“Oh, yeah.” Twilight followed Fluttershy to the tree, where the pegasus sat down and patted the ground next to her.

Twilight sat down, doing her best to not mess up her dress. She opened her mouth to try again, but Fluttershy cut her off. “The stars look nice tonight.”

“Yeah,” Twilight agreed, looking up.

“Remember our first date, when we sat under the stars like this?” Fluttershy put her hoof on Twilight’s.

“Of course I do. I’ll never forget it. I was so nervous, I kept worrying about when the right time to do anything was. I think I passed up a few chances at our first kiss just because I wasn’t sure if it was okay to kiss you. I couldn’t believe it when you did it first.” Twilight smiled at the memory and realized there was something she never did figure out about that night. “Why did you kiss me first?”

Fluttershy leaned in and kissed her before answering. “I’ll tell you, but I don’t know if it’s the answer you want. I love you so much now, but back then I only thought of you as a friend. I wanted things to work between us, but I didn’t know if it was really what was right for me. I thought that if I kissed you, I’d just know what I wanted. Like in a story where the characters kiss and realize that they’ve been in love all along. But I was just as confused.” She scooted closer and leaned against Twilight. “It took a lot longer than it does in the stories, and I don’t even know when I knew I was really in love. But you were always so perfect, I couldn’t help falling for you. And now… you’re everything to me. I just have to look at you and feel like I’m home, no matter where I am.”

Twilight smiled. “I know what you mean. I… Fluttershy, I’ve been thinking and I…” She’d written a whole speech for this moment. Several, actually. She’d planned to pick whichever one felt right when the time came, but couldn’t remember a single word from any of them. Fluttershy looked confused but kept smiling, as if trying to puzzle out what Twilight was trying to say. She opened her purse and levitated a small box out of it. Pulling off the lid, she presented Fluttershy with a necklace of emerald and silver. “Fluttershy, you’re the only pony I ever want to be with, the only pony I could ever love. Will you marry me?”

Fluttershy stared, her eyes flicking between Twilight and the necklace. Suddenly she broke into a smile and flung herself at Twilight. “Yes! Yes yes yes yes!”

Twilight lost her balance and the two rolled over, laughing. When they stopped Fluttershy kissed Twilight and giggled. “Twily, I’m… I’m just…” She shook her head and tears rolled down her cheeks. “I love you so much!”

“I love you too, Shy,” Twilight said, tears running down her face as well.

“Will you put my necklace on me? I can’t stop shaking.” Fluttershy giggled.

“Yeah, I…” Twilight looked around. “I, uh… I dropped it.”

Fluttershy laughed and threw her forelegs around Twilight. “I have the clumsiest fiancée ever.”

Twilight couldn’t help but start giggling, and soon Fluttershy joined in. ‘Fiancée!’ Twilight felt weightless. “It can’t be too far.” She illuminated the area with an orb of light and with a little bit of searching they found it. Fluttershy could barely sit still long enough for Twilight to get it on, and as soon as it was in place she wrapped herself around Twilight again.

“How do I look?” she asked as if she was somewhere Twilight could actually get a good look at her.

“Beautiful,” Twilight said. Rolling around had ruffled her dress, probably stained it, her makeup was smudged from the tears, and Twilight was pretty sure there was grass in her mane. “Absolutely beautiful. You’re the most gorgeous mare in the world, and I love you. I love you so much.”

“I love you too,” Fluttershy said. “Forever.”

Twilight held her tightly, never wanting to let go. “Forever.”

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