• 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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23 – Home

Chapter Twenty-Three

Home

Everything was running smoothly. The decorations looked incredible, guests were arriving, the photographer was taking pictures of everyone, the musicians were in place, and the catering was flawless. Twilight had no reason for concern. Her perfect day was shaping up to be, well, perfect. Really, she just wanted to see everything in action. She wasn’t anxious about anything. Why would she be? Things were going great, and she would start getting ready herself just as soon as she finished triple checking everything. She was calm as could be.

“You seem a little –”

“Aah!” Twilight jumped back at the sound, wheeling around to see a very surprised Cadance, and a much less surprised Shining Armor.

“– anxious,” Cadance finished, wincing at the sight of Twilight so distraught.

After catching her breath, Twilight smiled and extended a foreleg. “Cadance! You made it!”

Cadance laughed and accepted Twilight’s hug. “Of course I made it, silly! I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

“It’s not every day your little sister gets married, you know,” Shining said with a wink. “Plus, as the wife of the best stallion, I’d have to say her presence was kind of a guarantee.”

Since Twilight had chosen Shining Armor to be her best stallion, he’d been in Ponyville for a week to help with wedding preparations and keep Twilight from driving herself mad with anxiety – mostly the latter. Unfortunately, that meant that Cadance was tied up taking care of things in the Crystal Empire by herself, and hadn’t managed to come until the day of the ceremony. Her safe arrival was one less worry on Twilight’s mind.

“How was the trip?” Twilight asked nervously. “I hope it wasn’t too much for the baby.”

“Everything’s fine,” Cadance said, gently rubbing the pronounced bump on her belly. “Although you wouldn’t know it by all the commotion she’s been causing.”

“She!?” Twilight smiled broadly. “You mean she’s going to be a little filly?”

“You wouldn’t believe how hard it was not to spill the beans,” Shining said as he took his place next to his wife.

Cadance giggled. “Yes, she’ll be our little girl.” Cadance’s eyes went wide, then she smiled. “A very rambunctious one, it seems.”

“She’s moving?” Twilight asked. “Can I feel?”

“Of course,” Cadance said. They made their way out to the reception hall’s garden, where they would be able to sit in relative peace. Cadance lounged across a bench, and Twilight gently placed a hoof to her stomach.

“I don’t feel anything.”

Cadance giggled. “She did only just start moving around.”

“There you are.” Sunset walked up to them and ticked off a box on a checklist she was carrying around. “I’ve been looking all over for you. We have a problem.”

“Oh, I knew it.” Twilight took her hoof off Cadance’s stomach and placed it on her temple. “Is it the catering?”

“No, that’s right on schedule.”

“Was there a problem with the photography equipment?”

“Nope, we’ll have hundreds of pictures to go through by the time this is over, trust me.”

“Was it…” Twilight sighed. She knew what – or rather, who – it was. “What’d Discord do?”

“Haven’t even seen him, although Fluttershy’s sure he’ll be here before the ceremony starts.”

“So what is it!?”

Sunset sighed deeply. “It’s worse than all that. We’re getting closer and closer to the ceremony, and one of the brides-to-be still isn’t getting into her dress!”

For a second Twilight started panicking before she realized what Sunset meant. Once she did, she glared at her marefriend. “Very funny. You had me really worried! I thought something serious was happening!”

“This is serious,” Sunset said. Neither her tone nor her face showed any sign that she was joking. “Twi, ponies from all over Equestria are here. And none of them came for the catering, or the photography, or Discord. There are two ponies here that are more important to the ceremony than anything else, and one of them is sitting out here in the garden!”

“I know!” Twilight shook her head. “But I just have to make sure everything’s perfect! There are so many ponies here, and any little thing could be a disaster!”

Sunset took a deep breath and pulled Twilight closer to her. “Calm down, everything will be fine.” She seemed to be talking to herself as much as Twilight. As Twilight rested her head on Sunset’s shoulder, Sunset stroked her mane. “I know you want this day to be perfect, and it will be. But you don’t need to worry about all that. Know why? ‘Cause you have me to worry about it. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m pretty much the best thing ever.”

Twilight laughed. “You have your moments.”

Sunset grinned. “Uh huh. A lot of them. I promise you, I won’t let anything go wrong today. But right now, I need you to start getting ready. Rarity’s in your dressing room ready to help with your gown, and she says Fluttershy’s already all set. So what do you say? Think you can trust me with things out here?”

Twilight smiled and nodded. “Yeah. Thanks, Sunset. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

“Yeah, you’d be a wreck.”

“One thing before I go.” Twilight grinned and pulled Sunset over towards Cadance. Shining Armor had his ear to her stomach and a focused look on his face as he listened intently for any sign of movement. “Cadance just told me her foal’s going to be a filly! She said she felt her moving earlier!”

Sunset seemed apprehensive about getting closer, and her confident expression completely melted away. “That’s… great.”

Twilight chuckled. “Relax, it’s not like anypony’s going to give you a crying baby to take care of. You’re still safe for a few more months.”

“Y-yeah…”

“It’s okay, Sunset,” Cadance said. “Would you like to try and feel the baby? So far Twilight and Shining haven’t had any luck.”

Sunset scratched at her neck. “Yeah, it’ll be another month at least before she really starts kicking, probably two. Right now it’s just quickenings, little movements that happen infrequently. They’re, uh, hard for others to feel.”

Twilight was surprised that Sunset already knew that, but Cadance just smiled. “That’s what the nurse said, although I don’t know if I’d call these ‘little’ movements.”

Sunset grinned, but only half-heartedly. “Just wait. They’re definitely little by comparison.”

“I suppose we are getting ahead of ourselves,” Cadance said.

Twilight kept looking at Sunset quizzically until she noticed. “What?”

“You seem to know a lot about babies.”

Sunset rolled her eyes. “I’ve never been pregnant, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

“No, of course not,” Twilight said, taken aback that Sunset would even think that she would assume something like that. She smiled as she realized what the real reason must be. “You looked into it because of Cadance, didn’t you? Sunset, that’s so thoughtful of you!”

Sunset blinked a few times before grinning. “Well, you know… it’s not a big deal or anything.”

“Oh yes,” Cadance said. “You put on the tough girl act, but we all know you’re a big softy deep down.”

Sunset sighed and shook her head. “What am I supposed to do? My reputation as the baddest bitch around keeps getting jeopardized by hanging around all these pretty pink and purple pony princesses.”

“You think that’s bad, try marrying one,” Shining said. “It’s hard being the tough guy when your wife packs you sandwiches shaped like hearts.”

“Hey, you love my sandwiches,” Cadance said.

“Besides, when were you ever known as the tough guy?” Twilight asked. “I certainly doubt it was before you dated Cadance, Mr. Captain of the LARP Club.”

“Hey, we took down some pretty impressive monsters in that club,” Shining defended.

“Uh huh. And the chess club?” Twilight asked.

“Don’t forget math club,” Cadance added.

Sunset laughed and nudged Twilight. “As much as I would love to hear you two reminisce about how big of a dork Shining was –”

“Is,” Cadance corrected, causing everyone but Shining to laugh.

“We’ll have plenty of time to embarrass your brother later,” Sunset continued. “For right now, I think it’s time for somepony to get ready for her big day.”

“Alright.” Twilight nodded and turned to Cadance and Shining. “Thanks again for coming, but Sunset’s right. We’ll talk more at the reception.”

“Of course,” Cadance said. “And try to relax. I think this wedding’s in very capable hooves.”

With one last hug, Twilight made her way towards her dressing room. She was a bit behind schedule, but barely so. They had accounted for wiggle room in the timetable anyway, and she’d far from used it all in her talk with Cadance. Fluttershy would be walking down the aisle right on time.

Or at least, she would as long as Twilight made it to her dressing room on time, and wasn’t interrupted by too many ponies. When she heard somepony calling her name, she was almost tempted to just keep going. After all, Sunset was always telling her she didn’t need to acknowledge every single pony who tried to speak with her, but she couldn’t bring herself to outright ignore ponies who wanted to talk.

At least their wedding was being watched over by the Celestial guard to prevent anyone not on the guest list from attending, so she knew whoever it was wouldn’t attempt to berate her for her relationship. However, when she turned and saw who it was, she realized she should have kept walking.

“Amber! So nice to see you!” Twilight smiled warmly at her friend. Not that she felt very friendly with her at the moment. She wanted to be over feeling insecure about Amber and Sunset, and had thought she was. After all, it had been months, and it no longer bothered her when Sunset brought Amber up. As it turned out, that only applied to Sunset; seeing Amber brought up all kinds of nasty feelings just below the surface.

“Hey, uh, I hope I’m still invited…” Amber said, not quite meeting Twilight’s eye.

“Of course you are!” Twilight said. “Why wouldn’t you be, we’re friends, right?” It had sounded like a rhetorical question in her head, but a genuine one when spoken aloud.

“Thanks,” Amber said, though she didn’t look too relieved. “I’ll stay out of your way, but, well, I was hoping you could help me with something.”

“Of course, anything,” Twilight said.

“Well, it’s my brother,” Amber explained. “I brought him with me, but they won’t let him in. I guess I shouldn’t have assumed being on the guest list would allow me to bring somepony else, but, well, I kinda did…”

Twilight nodded and began leading the way to the entrance. She was happy to have some way she could help Amber, so she could prove to herself that she wasn’t petty and spiteful. “Actually, we had originally planned to have it so guests could bring other guests, but with all the commotion caused by announcing Sunset, it seemed like we’d be better off keeping the event to ponies we know.”

Amber chuckled. “Well you certainly know a lot of ponies then. Guess I’m not surprised, Princess of Friendship and all that.”

“Yes, we definitely have gotten around quite a bit,” Twilight said. ‘You’ve gotten around quite a bit yourself, it seems.’

She felt sickened by the thought immediately, and hated herself for thinking it. She opted to fill in the silence to distract herself from her thoughts. “You look nice, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in a dress.”

“Ugh, don’t remind me,” Amber grumbled. She shook her head, showing off her mane, which had grown quite a bit since they’d last seen each other, reaching down a little past her shoulders. “And don’t even get me started on this mane. How do mares put up with this crap?”

Twilight tilted her head. “You didn’t have to wear a dress on our account.”

“Oh, I know,” Amber said. She glanced off to the side. “Actually, I was going to wear a tux, but the dress just kinda… completes the look, you know?”

“Completes the… oh!” Twilight perked her ears up and looked around, although she doubted anypony present would care about Amber’s secret. “So, uhm, you’re still pretending to be…?”

“Straight? Yeah. And, uhm, it’s actually kinda important to keep that image up around my brother.” Amber smiled hopefully.

“Your secret’s safe with me,” Twilight said. “Your parents don’t mind you taking him to a same-sex wedding, though?”

Amber shrugged. “You get a royal wedding invitation, you go to a royal wedding. Even they couldn’t argue with that one. It was on one condition though.”

“What’s that?”

“They said if I saw you I had to pass along a message.” Amber looked at her apologetically. She took a deep breath, then spoke in a monotone voice. “You should be ashamed of yourselves. It was bad enough when you started parading around your unnatural relationship, but you’ve taken it too far. Everypony knows that if you weren’t so close with Princess Celestia this would never be allowed to happen, and it’s only her nurturing spirit that prevents her from taking action. It’s clear that multiple princesses do this country no good, and we’ve been steadily declining in moral fortitude with each additional princess, starting with Cadance.” She sighed and stared at her hooves. “They also refuse to acknowledge Fluttershy as a princess and mentioned something about paying taxes.”

Twilight was used to all the accusations, and the notion that Celestia was the only one fit to lead was becoming increasingly popular. While it always stung to be reminded ponies felt that way, she pushed aside her negative feelings to marvel at the ridiculousness of the situation. “So let me get this straight. They expected you to give that speech and not get thrown out?”

“Uh, actually, I think they were totally hoping I’d get thrown out.” Amber bit her lip. “You know, give them something else to blame you for. So, uhm, please don’t.”

“Seriously? Of course I’m not going to throw you out!”

Amber chuckled. “Right. Sorry, I know you wouldn’t do something like that, I just thought… well, I’m probably not exactly your favorite pony right now, anyway.”

Even if that was true, Twilight didn’t want it to be. “Amber, wait a second.” They were almost to the gates, but Twilight stopped. She wasn’t going to talk about it around Amber’s brother, so it looked like she’d only get one chance. “I’m… not always the best at things that make me feel insecure. I panic over, well, pretty much everything. So I’m not going to say what happened between you and Sunset doesn’t upset me. But, well, it shouldn’t. I know that neither of you did anything wrong. This hasn’t been an issue in my relationship with Sunset, and I don’t want it to be one in my friendship with you. So if you’re willing to be patient with me learning to let go of my backwards notions of sex, I’m more than willing to put what happened between you two in the past.”

“I think that sounds like a plan.” Amber extended her hoof to bump Twilight’s, but Twilight ignored it in favor of going in for a hug.

“Now let’s go get your brother.” Twilight finished leading them to the gate.

There were numerous protesters lined up outside, and they all started yelling angrily when Twilight arrived. It seemed that they felt the fact they weren’t allowed entrance was some sort of abuse of power, as if a wedding held in a private reception hall was a public event that anypony could just walk into if they wanted.

They found Amber’s brother as quickly as they possibly could. She had left him with a guard, who couldn’t allow him entrance, but did offer to watch him while Amber found somepony who could. After thanking the guard for looking after him and verifying that he was indeed allowed entrance, they went back inside the gate, putting some distance between themselves and the angry ponies before stopping for introductions.

“I’m so sorry to make you deal with all that,” Amber said once they stopped.

“It’s fine,” Twilight said, trying to put the image out of her mind. She turned to smile at Amber’s brother, who was hiding behind her.

“Twilight, this is my little brother, Fox Glove. And Foxy, as if I need to tell you, this is Princess Twilight Sparkle.”

“Please, Twilight is fine.” Sometimes Twilight forgot how much taller she was than other ponies, especially kids. She bowed her head and slouched her shoulders in an attempt to make herself look somewhat smaller. “Hello, Fox Glove. It’s nice to meet you.”

If Twilight were to guess, she’d say Fox Glove was about eight or nine years old. He was a pegasus with a pale purple coat, which faded to white on his legs. He shared Amber’s spots, except his were black, which made them a bit harder to see than hers. His sage green mane was styled in a traditional colt’s cut and parted down the middle, which Twilight suspected had more to do with his parents than with his own tastes.

“Well, say hi,” Amber prompted, shooing him out from behind her.

“H-hi, Princess,” he mumbled to Twilight’s hooves.

“What, that’s it?” Amber asked. “We came all the way from Fillydelphia so you could meet the princesses. Come on, she won’t bite!”

He shyly looked up before looking back at her hooves. Twilight laughed. “It’s okay, maybe we can talk more after the ceremony. But right now I have to –”

“Way to go, Twilight!” Twilight turned towards the voice, only to find Pinkie already at her side, wrapping a foreleg around her shoulders. “Who needs a wedding dress, anyway? If you want to get married in the buff, more power to you!”

Twilight facehoofed. “I’m not… I was on my way to the dressing room!”

“Oh, we’re holding you up,” Amber said. “I’m sorry.”

Twilight turned to her and smiled. “No, it’s perfectly fine. Although I probably should be getting ready now.”

“Before you go, do you know where Luna is?” Amber asked. Twilight gave her a surprised expression while she messed with her mane. “I… well, I wanted to introduce Fox Glove to her.”

“She’s with Fluttershy,” Pinkie said. “I was just over there looking for Rainbow, but I’m still looking for her.”

“Last I saw, Rainbow was back by the concession stand,” Twilight said. “If you find her, make sure she’ll be ready when Fluttershy walks down the aisle.”

“Okie dokey lokey!” Pinkie hopped off towards the front door while Twilight walked around towards the back.

She motioned for Amber to follow her. “Come on, Fluttershy’s changing room is near mine. I’ll take you two there.”

“Thank you,” Amber said. She had to nudge Fox Glove to get him moving again.

Fox Glove seemed to be the opposite of his sister. While she was one of the most outgoing ponies Twilight had ever met, he was easily as shy as Fluttershy was on the day Twilight first moved to Ponyville. All along the way Amber tried to encourage him to talk more, but to no avail.

The two changing rooms weren’t exactly next to each other, like Twilight had made it sound. They were kept far enough apart that there wouldn’t be any problems with ponies who had chosen to wait until the ceremony to see their betrothed, as Twilight and Fluttershy had. Still, it wasn’t too far out of her way, and she knew how daunting this probably was for Amber. She wouldn’t stay long, just long enough to make sure the meeting did take place.

“Here it is,” Twilight said as she stepped up to the door. She knocked on it, then quickly announced herself so Fluttershy wouldn’t open it. “Fluttershy? It’s me.”

“Twily? Is everything okay?” Fluttershy asked.

“Yes, everything’s fine. I’m actually looking for Luna, is she with you?”

“I am,” Luna replied.

“Can you come out here for a second? You have a visitor.”

There was a moment’s silence before the door opened. Twilight kept her back to it so she wouldn’t accidentally catch a glimpse of Fluttershy in her dress, and only turned around once the door was closed.

Luna was staring down at Amber, who was looking away. Both seemed to be hoping the other would speak first. Eventually, it was Luna who broke the silence. “Amber. That dress makes you look… highly uncomfortable.”

Amber snorted. “Yeah, well… I am. This dress thing sucks.” She tucked her mane behind her ear and smiled. “So anyway, I was hoping maybe we could, you know, be friends again.”

“Again?” Luna tilted her head. “Were we ever not? Really now, Amber, you must inform me of these things. Imagine how I would look when I give you the birthday present I got for you if we weren’t friends.”

Although she knew she should leave, Twilight indulged herself for a few more moments. She was happy to see her friends’ reconciliation, and a little curious about how Luna would handle the shy Fox Glove.

When he wouldn’t move closer on his own, Amber pulled Fox Glove over towards Luna. “Luna, this is my brother Fox Glove.”

Luna smiled. “I suspected as much. Amber has told me much about you.”

Fox Glove gave Luna the same treatment as Twilight – mumbled greetings to her hooves. Despite being even bigger than Twilight, Luna did nothing to make herself appear smaller. Twilight had to wonder if she didn’t realize how she would look to a child, or if she just enjoyed maintaining her towering presence too much.

Amber grinned and walked over to Luna. “So Foxy, wanna know a secret?” He looked up at her expectantly. “Luna is super ticklish.”

Luna went wide-eyed and backed up into the closed door. “What? Amber, don’t you –”

Amber ran under her and started tickling Luna’s stomach, causing her to laugh loudly. Being trapped between Amber and the door left Luna with no place to go. “No! Stop! Twilight, help me!”

“What, and get caught in the crossfire?” Twilight teased. “I don’t think so.”

“Well, come on,” Amber said to her brother. “Help me get her!”

Fox Glove looked conflicted, but soon jumped into things to help his sister. Twilight chuckled to herself as she turned to walk back to her own dressing room.

With Luna gone, Fluttershy went back to staring uncertainly into her mirror. Not that she minded, of course. She had overheard what happened and was thrilled that Luna and Amber were talking again. But now Fluttershy sat alone, waiting.

She examined herself in the mirror. The dress Rarity had made was absolutely beautiful, easily one of her most stunning creations. It was an ivory dress, entwined with a light green vine embroidery. The vine had pink roses and slightly darker green leaves made of ribbon. The whole dress was dotted with brocade purple butterflies and aquamarines for raindrops. She had a veil draped along the back of her head, held on with a leaf design, and her mane was done in a partial updo with the ends left flowing over one shoulder in a wave.

And all Fluttershy could do was stare at it. It was beautiful. She even felt beautiful in it, which wasn’t something that happened to her very often. But it served as a poignant reminder: She was getting married. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to get married; she did. And more to the point, she wanted to get married to Twilight. But more was changing than that.

For most of her life, she had never felt comfortable being who she was. Even after moving to Ponyville, her past cast a shadow over her, and her insecurity about being attracted to mares made it difficult to step out of. But slowly, she learned to cope with it. She was just Fluttershy, after all. One pony, with just a sister for her family, and only a few friends. And she liked it that way. It wasn’t that she felt unimportant; without her, nopony would look after the animals. She played a role, and it was fulfilling, but she was just one pony in the grand scheme of Equestria, living her life as best she could. And if she failed? Well, then she failed, and hardly anypony would be the wiser. It was an oddly comforting thought to her for a long time.

Then she met Twilight. Initially, she was so proud of herself for following Rainbow into the woods that night. She’d helped do something incredible! She made a new friend in the process, and formed a stronger bond than ever with the friends she’d already had. But then she learned what it meant, and she regretted it. She didn’t want to be the bearer of the Element of Kindness, she just wanted to be Fluttershy.

Over time, she learned to cope with that as well. It wasn’t so bad. While many ponies called her the Element of Kindness, that was actually incorrect. She was its bearer, and that was all. Nopony needed her, they needed the Element. Even insofar as the Element was important – and it was, nopony could deny that – she was still one of six. A part of something greater, and fully capable of relying on others to take care of things. So again, she contented herself with being just Fluttershy, who also happened to have a tool that was sometimes needed.

She sighed. It was such a beautiful dress. A dress fit for a princess.

The door opened suddenly, shaking her from her thoughts. “Oh my gosh, Shy, I –” Rainbow took one look at Fluttershy and stopped in place. She calmly shut the door and walked over to sit next to her. “What’s wrong?”

Fluttershy tried smiling innocently. “What? Dashie, you were the one who ran in here.”

“Yeah, that can wait,” Rainbow said. “First you gotta tell me what’s bothering you.”

“Well, I…” she trailed off and turned back to her reflection. She might as well come clean to somepony, and that pony might as well be Rainbow. “I don’t really want to be a princess.”

Rainbow let out a low whistle. “Twilight is gonna be so heartbroken.”

“What? No!” Fluttershy turned back to Rainbow. “I do want to marry Twilight! I just… wish I didn’t have to become a princess to do it.”

Rainbow grinned. “Relax, I’m just teasing. And if you don’t want to be a princess, then don’t be.”

Fluttershy tilted her head. “I don’t really get to choose, Dash.”

“Sure you do.” Rainbow patted her on the head. “Nope, no crown. You’re not a princess yet, you know. So what happens if you go out there, marry Twilight, then skip the whole crowning ceremony? What, are they going to nullify your marriage or something?”

“Well… I don’t imagine anypony would be very happy with me.”

“Yeah, so what?” Rainbow shrugged, as if that was all there was to it. “They’ll get over it. And you know, none of us will care. Be honest, do you even think Twilight would care? If you explained right now that you just don’t want to be a princess, do you think she’d try and make you?”

“Well, no…” Maybe it really was that simple. She could imagine what all her friends would say. Even the ones who couldn’t understand wouldn’t really try to stop her. And Twilight had never tried to force her into doing anything she didn’t want to. But when she thought about it like that… she felt even worse. “I think… I think that what really scares me isn’t so much being a princess. Sunset and Luna already explained that I wouldn’t even have to do anything.”

“So then what’s the problem? Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.”

Fluttershy stared at her reflection. What was the problem? Why was it worse to not take the crown if she didn’t want it in the first place? “I don’t know.”

Rainbow stared at her in the mirror as well. “So… you don’t want to be a princess. But you don’t want to not be a princess? That doesn’t make any sense, Shy.”

“I know. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, I just… wish I knew how to help.”

Fluttershy smiled. “Actually, I feel better just having someone here. I’m sure I’ll figure it out, so why don’t you tell me what you were going to say when you came in?”

“Oh, that…” Rainbow scratched at her neck and glanced off to the side. “Well, I was talking to Pinkie, and she kinda –”

The room suddenly exploded in a downpour of dried rice. Fluttershy flinched, but soon realized none had actually landed on her, on account of an umbrella hovering over her head. Meanwhile, Rainbow was spitting out a mouthful of it, while trying desperately to brush it out of her mane.

“Three cheers for the lovely bride!” Discord yelled, transforming himself from the umbrella into his usual appearance.

“Uhm, the rice goes after the ceremony,” Fluttershy said, paying little mind to the fact that the room was now covered in it.

“And if you’re gonna do it like that, you probably shouldn’t do it at all,” Rainbow added.

“Ceremony?” Discord floated lazily to the ground, where a couch appeared underneath him. “I thought this was the bachelorette party. You don’t mean to tell me I wasn’t invited?”

“Oh, well, uhm…”

“Eh, you didn’t miss much,” Rainbow said with a shrug. “Pinkie and Rarity threw it, so you know, it was cool and all, but Sunset’s idea was way better.”

“Oh, I assure you, had I been there it would have been much more interesting,” Discord said almost menacingly while tapping his claws together.

“Of course I would have invited you,” Fluttershy said, “but I didn't think you’d want to spend the evening doing girl things.”

Discord folded his arms and turned away from her. “Really now, Fluttershy, it’s like you don’t even know me at all.” He snapped his fingers and suddenly he was wearing a dress, while a floating container of pink nail polish applied its contents to the talons on his foot. “I’d never turn down a chance to get pampered!”

Fluttershy couldn’t help but laugh at the sight. It was enough to make her wish she actually had invited him to her bachelorette party.

“Right, ‘cause you wouldn’t ever do anything to cause problems,” Rainbow said skeptically.

“But of course,” Discord said, a halo floating over his head. “Surely you don’t think I would have been on anything but my best behavior for my dear Fluttershy?”

Rainbow looked at him doubtfully and made a noncommittal grunting sound. Discord waved a claw at her and poofed away the dress and the halo. He left the pink nail polish on.

“Of course nopony thinks that,” Fluttershy said. “Isn’t that right, Rainbow?”

Rainbow rolled her eyes. “Yeah, yeah. As long as you’re on your best behavior tonight, that’s all that matters.”

“Of course.” Discord saluted. “Scout’s honor.”

“You’ve never been a scout in your life!” Rainbow retorted.

“You’d be surprised at the things I’ve been.”

“Discord,” Fluttershy said calmly. “You do know how important today is, right?”

“Yes, yes, I’m aware of your silly pony traditions,” Discord said dismissively. “At least with Sunset Shimmer around your marriage promises to not be quite as boring as most, even if you are getting married to the book pony.”

“What’s wrong with marrying Twilight?” Fluttershy asked.

“Oh nothing,” Discord said, “if you like spending all your time reading, organizing things, and listening to her drone on and on about magic.”

“I do like all those things,” Fluttershy said, smiling. “Well, I maybe I don’t like organizing things as much as she does, but I do like things being organized, so that’s okay. “

“Fluttershy, stop, you’re such a wild one,” Discord said flatly. “In any event, Twilight, I can understand. Marriage, on the other hand, is just a silly pony tradition.”

Rainbow smirked. “Aww, Discord doesn’t understand love.”

“Be nice,” Fluttershy chided.

“Yes, Dashie, you might hurt my poor widdle feelings.” Discord folded his ears and horns downward, and his eyes grew big and watery.

Rainbow rolled her eyes. “Please. Your ‘widdle feelings’ are fine.”

Discord dropped the act and folded his arms indignantly instead. “I’ll have you know that even if I prefer to not bother with silly pony emotions like love, I am perfectly capable of understanding them. It’s just marriage that makes no sense.”

Fluttershy smiled patiently. Even after so many years, Discord was still learning about pony emotions, and he really was getting better at understanding them. “Well, sometimes ponies just love each other so much that they want to spend their whole lives together.”

Discord rolled his eyes and regarded her skeptically. “And why should that require getting friends, family, and ponies you hardly know all together for such an overblown yet ultimately tedious ceremony? Not to mention that it isn’t any more binding than a simple agreement, since ponies have also long since accepted divorce – the only part of the whole thing that makes sense, really.”

Fluttershy tried to think about how she could convince him that marriage really was wonderful. She tried to think how she could possibly put the way she felt about Twilight and their marriage into words. Most ponies could understand easily enough; simply telling someone she was excited for her marriage conveyed her feelings perfectly. But how could she possibly explain things to Discord when he had no grounds for understanding the basic concepts involved?

She couldn’t. Whether because it was impossible, or simply because it was beyond her ability to explain, one way or another she knew that Discord would not grasp anything she had to say.

“You don’t have to understand why this is important to me. Just please, understand that it is important to me.”

Discord frowned while he held her gaze silently. Fluttershy was beginning to think he wasn’t going to reply at all when he finally said, “Fine. I’ll be on my best behavior, Cutie Mark Crusader’s honor.”

Rainbow threw her hooves into the air in frustration. “What? That’s not any better, you weren’t a Cutie Mark Crusader either!”

Discord grinned. “You’d be surprised at the things I’ve been.”

There was a knock on the door. “Fluttershy,” Luna’s voice called through it, “may I enter?”

“Of course,” Fluttershy replied.

The door opened and Luna walked in. She only showed mild interest at the rice covering the room, and smiled at Discord. “Greetings, Discord. You are well, I trust?”

“Why if it isn’t my soon-to-be second favorite princess,” Discord said warmly. “To what do we owe the honor of your presence?”

“I have come to tell Rainbow Dash it is time for her to get in place, and to take Fluttershy to hers. The ceremony is ready to begin.”

“Got it,” Rainbow said. She turned to Fluttershy. “Everything’s gonna go great out there.”

“Thanks, Dashie.”

With a nod and confident grin, Rainbow made her exit, heading for the main hall, where she would take her place as best mare by Fluttershy’s side while she and Twilight said their vows.

“And what would you have me do?” Discord asked lazily. “I suppose I could always catch up on a nap. Weddings are terribly boring, even if it is Fluttershy’s.”

“For the ceremony, I think watching shall be sufficient,” Luna answered. “Perhaps you could do something to liven up the reception? Nothing too extreme – some fireworks, maybe.”

“Fireworks?” Discord held up his paw, where miniature creatures of all sorts began dancing around. “My dear Luna, I could shift the fabric of reality itself to bring us something far more entertaining than some colorful lights in the sky.”

Luna seemed unconcerned by the potential threat. “Fireworks will be sufficient.”

“Bah!” Discord waved his paw, causing the creatures to vanish in a puff of smoke. “If you aren’t going to let me have any real fun, I may as well not bother at all. A lord of chaos shouldn’t even concern himself with the orders of a pony princess, after all.”

“It’s okay,” Fluttershy said. “I’ll be happy just knowing you’re watching. Thank you for coming today, it means a lot to me that you would come even though you don’t like weddings.”

“Hmph.” Discord regarded her haphazardly, before shrinking himself until, with a small popping sound, he was gone completely.

Luna turned to Fluttershy and smiled. “Are you ready, Fluttershy?”

Fluttershy took one last look in the mirror. She saw herself, but also Luna standing behind her. How silly she was to think she was ever alone. “Yes.” She stood up and followed Luna out the door.

There was a hall that led from her changing room to the front of the aisle, where Fluttershy would walk down to Twilight at the end. Initially, they had thought Twilight would be the one to walk down the aisle, since she had a father who could escort her down it. However, their wedding planner suggested several alternatives to the tradition, including having them both walk down, or changing the traditional family member role. After discussing it, they agreed that while the main focus of their wedding would be their marriage, there was another aspect to it. They decided to use the walk down the aisle as a way to present Fluttershy not just to Twilight, but to everypony as their newest princess.

That just left the decision of who would escort her to Twilight. They briefly considered Sunset, but had already decided she wouldn’t play a larger role for either of them, short of standing on Fluttershy’s side at the altar to keep things balanced. And really, putting it into the context of her role as Princess of Kindness left only one pony in Fluttershy’s mind.

“Luna? You’ll help me when I become a princess, right?” Fluttershy asked.

Luna smiled and nuzzled her gently, being careful not to mess up her appearance. “Yes, my friend. I will be there to help you once you are a princess, and shall continue to support you forever thereafter.”

The only thing stopping Fluttershy from hugging Luna was her wedding dress. “Thank you so much.”

“No,” Luna said, “thank you, Fluttershy.”

Fluttershy cocked her head to the side. “What for?”

“Wow!” Pumpkin Cake exclaimed before Luna could reply. “You’re so pretty!”

Judging by the alicorn’s smile, she had never intended to answer in the first place. Fluttershy didn’t let the lack of answer bother her; that was just part of being friends with Luna. She smiled at the filly in front of them and giggled. “Why thank you, Pumpkin. And you look very pretty in your dress, too.”

“And such a handsome token bearer,” Luna added, causing Pound Cake to swell with pride.

“What do we say, Poundy?” Carrot Cake prompted.

“Thank you, Pwincess Luna!” Pound Cake answered.

Pumpkin beamed at Fluttershy and Luna. Had their wedding been a few years earlier, the Cutie Mark Crusaders would have been the obvious choice for flower girls, and Spike for the token bearer. But they were a getting a little too old to reprise their role from Cadance and Shining Armor’s wedding – even Scootaloo and Spike, the youngest, would soon be turning thirteen – so they had to look elsewhere. At four years old, Pound and Pumpkin were a little on the young side to be token bearer and flower girl, respectively, but they had done very well at the wedding rehearsal.

“Do you both remember what to do?” Cup Cake asked.

“Yup!” Pound Cake said. “I go first and bwing the tokens to Pwince Shining.”

“And I walk in front of Fluttershy and Princess Luna and sprinkle the flowers on the ground,” Pumpkin said.

“Very good,” Cup Cake said, smiling proudly.

“I think they’ll do just fine,” Fluttershy said.

“We’ll be waiting at the side of the altar,” Carrot reminded them. “You two be good for Fluttershy and Princess Luna.” The Cake parents entered the room as discreetly as possible and closed the door behind them.

“Now?” Pound Cake asked.

“Not yet, little one,” Luna answered. “We must give your parents a moment to get to their places.”

“Okay.” Pound Cake nodded and waited patiently.

Ever the more energetic of the two, Pumpkin paced around. “Are you gonna get married someday, Princess?”

Luna chuckled. “Who’s to say? I have been married in the past, and maybe I will be again in the future.”

“I didn’t know you had a husband,” Pumpkin said.

“Or wife,” Pound Cake added.

“This was many years before you were born,” Luna said. “Even before your parents were born.”

“What?” Pumpkin stared open-mouthed at Luna. “But they’re adults!”

“You must be weally old,” Pound Cake said.

“Poundy, you’re not supposed to say that!” Pumpkin said.

Luna just laughed. “It is quite alright. Yes, my little ponies, I am very old. Not quite as old as my sister, but older than everypony else.”

“Even our gwandpa?” Pound Cake asked.

“Yes, even your grandpa,” Luna answered. “Why else would I be so large? I have had a long time to grow.”

“Is Twilight weally old, too?” Pound Cake asked.

Fluttershy giggled. “No, Twilight’s just a very big pony. I’m actually older than her.”

“Oh. I’m sorry you didn’t grow up big,” Pumpkin said. “Did you not like to eat your broccoli either?”

“Oh no,” Fluttershy said, even though she liked broccoli just fine and always had. “My mama always used to tell me to be a good filly and eat my broccoli to grow big and strong, but I didn’t believe her. So if you want to grow big like Twilight, you be good and listen when your parents tell you to eat something.”

“But broccoli is icky.” Pumpkin stuck her tongue out to show exactly what she thought of it.

“Perhaps Fluttershy could visit your house for dinner sometime,” Luna suggested. “Then the two of you could both eat your broccoli and grow big and strong together.”

“Yeah!” Pumpkin smiled and hopped around Fluttershy, before turning to Luna with a fierce expression. “But you and Twilight can’t come because you’re already too big!”

“Oh?” Luna tried to maintain a serious expression, but was unable to keep the hint of a smile from her face. “And what’s to stop me from eating broccoli on my own then?”

“Don’t!” Pumpkin pleaded. “You can eat, uhm…”

“Sandwiches,” Pound Cake finished for her.

“Yeah! Sandwiches!”

Luna gave up covering her smile. “This sounds agreeable. Very well, I shall eat sandwiches while Fluttershy visits for broccoli dinner.”

It was all Fluttershy could do to keep from laughing. Pound and Pumpkin were the perfect foals, as far as she was concerned, and she wanted one of her own just like them. She decided to bring it up with Twilight on their honeymoon.

“Now then, it’s time we made our entrance,” Luna said. “Is everypony ready?”

Pumpkin grabbed her flower basket and ran in front of Luna and Fluttershy. “I am!”

“Me too,” Pound Cake said, carefully picking up the pillow holding Twilight’s ring and Fluttershy’s pendant.

“And you, Fluttershy?” Luna asked.

With the moment upon her, Fluttershy found she couldn’t speak. Instead she just nodded, and Luna opened the door.

Before it was even all the way opened, the music started. The hall filled with the sound of the local orchestra playing a gentle song, intertwined with Fluttershy’s own bird chorus. Pound Cake entered first, proudly maintaining his posture as he walked down the aisle. His sister bounced along behind him, leaving a wake of flower petals.

Fluttershy and Luna entered next, side by side. Fluttershy’s eyes scanned the crowd, and she smiled at everypony. She was too overwhelmed to pick out individual ponies, but she knew most of their friends and family were there. She turned to see the ones who weren’t – their bridesmaids, who were waiting on the altar. She looked to the left side of the altar to see Rarity, already holding back tears as she watched them walk up. Sunset stood beside her, and Fluttershy couldn’t remember ever seeing her look so happy. Next in the line was Rainbow, who grinned and winked when she made eye contact. There was a gap where Fluttershy would stand, then Princess Celestia behind her podium, smiling welcomingly.

Rather than continue following the line, she turned instead to the far right. Pinkie looked like she was barely holding in her excitement, and Fluttershy was almost worried she’d start bouncing around at any moment. Next to her stood Applejack, who seemed to have the same concern, as she was moving her eyes between Fluttershy and Pinkie, while patting the latter on the back. Next to them, Cadance was comforting Shining Armor, who was also tearing up, and not holding it in quite as well as Rarity.

And finally, there beside her brother, stood Twilight. Fluttershy’s pace faltered half a heartbeat when she saw her fiancée, and everything else was made less important. Her dress was a matching ivory, and also had a gold collar with her cutie mark on the neckline. She had a layered skirt, the ends of each layer accented in gold, and a silk sash colored deep blue, with pink and purple blending into one another, which dangled along with her skirt in the back and was dotted with diamonds for stars. Her veil similarly draped along the back of her head, and had stars to clip it near her ears. Her mane was in a loose bun, with her bangs left out.

As soon as they saw one another, Fluttershy could tell they felt the same way – it didn’t matter who or how many ponies were watching them, they were together and always would be.

Time disappeared. The walk to Twilight was a slow one, but it didn’t matter. Walking or running, it was all the same, so long as every step took her one step closer to her bride. It was only Luna’s gentle guidance that kept her moving along the path in the correct direction and speed. She didn’t even notice when Pound and Pumpkin Cake ran off to their parents, their jobs completed.

Fluttershy stepped on the altar, and Luna took her place beside Rarity. Fluttershy took the last few steps on her own, past Rarity, Sunset, and Rainbow. Twilight took a step closer as well, so they were right in front of each other. Fluttershy would later reflect that it was a good thing she wasn’t supposed to do anything once she reached Twilight, because she would have forgotten it completely in favor of gazing into her soon-to-be wife’s eyes.

It was only Princess Celestia’s clear voice that reminded her there were other ponies with them. “Mares and gentlecolts, we gather here today to join in matrimony Princess Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy. Their journey to this point has not always been an easy one, but they have endured through the strength of their love for one another. In doing so, they have become a beacon of light for many all across Equestria, and beyond.”

Princess Celestia turned to Twilight. “Twilight Sparkle, it has always been a joy for me to watch you grow, and I know with Fluttershy’s help you will continue to do so. Do you take Fluttershy to be your lawfully wedded wife?”

“I do.”

She turned next to Fluttershy. “Fluttershy, it is not often I meet a pony quite so remarkable as you’ve proven yourself to be, and with Twilight’s help, I can only imagine the ways you might impress me in the future. Do you take Twilight Sparkle to be your lawfully wedded wife?”

“I do.”

Princess Celestia nodded to Twilight, who closed her eyes and smiled. She opened them to address Fluttershy directly.

“There was a time when I thought I would never have time for love. It wasn’t really so long ago, but it feels like a different life entirely, a life led by a different Twilight Sparkle. Since we’ve met, I’ve changed in so many ways, and my life has improved in just as many. Even when we were just friends, I knew I had somepony I could confide in, who would always be there to keep me together. Through the years we’ve only grown closer. I can’t imagine what my life might be like without you in it, and I know I’ll never have to. For so long as you’ll have me, I’ll always be by your side. I’ll be there to celebrate your achievements with you, and I promise to support you when you’re at your lowest. I’ll keep no secrets from you, and I’ll always listen to what you have to say. But more than anything else, I promise to always cherish you, because you mean everything to me. I love you, Fluttershy.”

Fluttershy blinked away her tears as best she could. Although she had been nervous about saying her own vows in front of so many others, she found it easier to speak than she could have hoped for. There were many ponies in the room, but there was only one who mattered.

“For most of my life, I wouldn’t have dreamed I would ever be married. I didn’t think I was worth it, that anypony could ever love me. Because of you, I can see that I was wrong, and not just because I know that you love me. You’ve also helped me learn how to love myself. Since we met, I feel stronger and more confident than ever before, and I’m proud of the pony you’ve helped me become. I know that I could never find a way to show you how much you mean to me, but I’ll never stop trying. I’ll always stay by your side, even when I’m afraid. When the world is too much to take, I’ll be with you to help share the burden. I’ll keep you together, like you’ve always done for me. I know our life will only grow from here, and I can’t wait to see what it becomes, knowing that you’ll always be by my side. I love you, Twilight.”

Princess Celestia looked over the teary-eyed lovers, before nodding to Shining Armor. He presented her with the pillow holding their tokens, and she levitated them in front of the lovers.

Twilight’s role was easy enough; she levitated the pendant off the pillow and fastened it to Fluttershy’s necklace. The silver became warm as the centerpiece was permanently affixed, but only for a moment.

Fluttershy smiled at it, before carefully taking the ring in her mouth. Twilight kneeled down, allowing Fluttershy to place it on the end of her horn, then use her hoof to slide it down into place. Twilight lifted her head, the elegant gold shining against the purple of her horn.

Celestia’s voice rang out through the hall. “It is my great pleasure to pronounce you blissfully joined in marriage, from now until the end of your days!”

Fluttershy was so wonderstruck that she almost missed her cue. Thankfully, Twilight didn’t, and she stepped forward to close the last of the distance between them. As Fluttershy kissed her wife and felt tears roll down her cheeks, she heard the sound of applause. It sounded so distant, however, and she allowed herself to forget it, placing her forelegs around Twilight’s neck for support and prolonging their kiss. When she finally opened her eyes she saw Twilight’s face was covered in tears as well.

Fluttershy turned to look around her and blushed as she realized exactly how many ponies there were watching them. She noticed the ponies in the crowd for the first time. Night Light had pulled Twilight Velvet closer to him, so she was half in her own chair and half in his, and it looked like they had just finished with their own kiss. Spike, meanwhile, was sitting next to them and looked slightly uncomfortable with the situation. She saw the Cakes standing off to the side, all smiling and clapping along with everypony else. She thought she saw somepony who looked like Amber, then noticed the catcalling and realized it was definitely Amber. She was sitting with a colt who Fluttershy could only guess was her brother. All over the crowd were ponies she recognized, and only with them all gathered in one place did she realize exactly how many lives were connected to theirs.

She looked over the altar. Shining Armor was openly sobbing, while Cadance just patted his back and shook her head, although she did so with some tears of her own. Applejack stamped on the ground and cheered, while Pinkie hopped in place enthusiastically. On her own side, Luna remained as poised as always, smiling peacefully, while next to her Rarity was making as big a show as Shining Armor. Rainbow Dash cheered loud enough to be heard distinctly from everypony else, and almost took to the air, but was stopped by Sunset casually resting a hoof on her wing.

Sunset herself was crying, though not as dramatically as Rarity or Shining. She wore a wider smile than Fluttershy had ever seen on her, and once she was content that Rainbow wouldn’t fly off, she placed her hoof to her lips and blew them a kiss.

Fluttershy giggled and turned back to Twilight. She closed her eyes and nuzzled against Twilight’s neck, before pulling herself up for another kiss.

Everypony wanted to know the same thing. What was it like watching her marefriends get married? Did she feel left out? Was there jealousy? Maybe some kind of pride? Was it just awkward?

Although all the guests supported them, or at least wouldn’t publicly show any sign to the contrary, most of them still didn’t really understand them. So rather than try to explain something so complicated, Sunset was hiding off in her own corner of the gardens. With everypony inside celebrating with the newlyweds, nopony would bother her while she sat outside with her thoughts. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to be with Twilight and Fluttershy – she couldn’t possibly want anything more – but she thought the day should be special for the two of them.

“There you are.” Twilight Velvet sat down next to Sunset. “Not a fan of weddings?”

“Oh, no, it was great,” Sunset said. Even after living together for over two months, she still felt a little out of place talking to Twilight’s parents. She knew that as the new addition to their relationship, it was her responsibility to show that her presence wasn’t causing any problems.

Twilight Velvet chuckled. “To tell the truth, I never really liked them. Don’t get me wrong, today and Shining’s wedding are two of the happiest days of my life, but weddings in general were never my idea of a good time.”

Sunset could understand. She’d never been to any other weddings, but she probably wouldn’t find them too enjoyable either. “What about your own wedding, if you don’t mind me asking?”

That was a nightmare.” Twilight Velvet grinned at the memory. “We hurried the whole thing along so nopony would find out I was already pregnant. I know I don’t need to tell you, but organizing a wedding is stressful right from the start, and condensing everything into a single month wasn’t helpful. Not to mention paranoia about somepony figuring things out, even though in hindsight everypony must have known by how much we were rushing things.”

“Is there a lot of stigma about unwed parents here?” Sunset asked.

“Not enough to go through that again. I wouldn’t recommend anypony get married because of a pregnancy.”

Sunset absent-mindedly reached a hoof up towards her neck, then corrected herself to adjust her mane instead.

Twilight Velvet seemed to misunderstand Sunset getting lost in her thoughts as something else. “Sorry, I’m sure you’d rather not talk about that.”

“Oh, it’s not that.” Sunset shook off her memories and replaced them with a friendly smile. “I was just thinking that I’m glad you did, at the risk of sounding selfish. Twilight changed my life, more than once now.”

“Trust me, I’m glad I did too,” Twilight Velvet said. “It was the best mistake of my life.”

Sunset laughed, and wondered if she hadn’t made some of her own mistakes how her life would have been different. “Yeah, I know what you mean.”

“So, I have to ask,” Twilight Velvet said, “what was it like watching both your marefriends get married?”

Sunset grinned. She knew the question was inevitable. “It was…” She still wasn’t sure how to explain it, but she might as well give it a try. It wasn’t like she’d be able to avoid talking about it with Twilight’s parents. “It was the single greatest experience of my life. There’s this feeling, it’s really hard to explain, but watching somepony you love be so in love with somepony else you love, and seeing them make each other so happy… I’ve felt that before, even before I was part of their relationship, but watching them get married? I never could have imagined how great it felt.”

Twilight Velvet nodded. “Compersion.”

“What?”

“It’s the opposite of romantic jealousy.” Sunset’s confusion must have still been apparent, because Twilight Velvet laughed. “Really now, Sunset, you can’t invite an author to live with you and then not have her learn all the terminology for your relationship.”

Sunset chuckled. “I’m surprised Twilight hasn’t picked that one up somewhere already. Guess she’s been a bit busy though.”

“Oh I’m sure once she gets the chance, she’ll be doing some pretty extensive research of her own.”

“Don’t think she didn’t already try,” Sunset said. “There’s just not a whole lot of information out there to study up on.”

“Not yet, anyway.” Twilight Velvet smiled. “I’ve been planning on talking to you girls about that once the wedding was taken care of. If you three are okay with it, I’d like to write a memoir about your relationship. I was thinking you and Twilight could compile some research to be published alongside it. You know, the social science and all that. I think it could help ponies understand polyamory better.”

“That’s… that’s a great idea!” Sunset grinned as she imagined it. They’d spent almost as much time answering letters and trying to explain things to ponies as they did planning the wedding. “I’m sure Twilight and Fluttershy will love it too. Thank you so much, ma’am.”

Twilight Velvet rolled her eyes. “Really now, Sunset, how many times have I asked you to call me Velvet?”

“Oh, right…” Sunset scratched at the back of her neck. Something about calling Twilight’s mom by her name still felt wrong to her.

“Fine, have it your way,” Twilight Velvet said with a sigh. “If you won’t call me Velvet, then I suppose Mom would be just as good. Better, really.”

“What? But, I, uhm…” Sunset blushed as she tried to figure out what to say. She couldn’t very well call Twilight Velvet ‘Mom’!

“Well, why not?” Twilight Velvet chuckled. “Fluttershy and Cadance do, and have since before they were married.”

“I, uh, I guess that makes sense.” Sunset continued looking around, not wanting to meet Twilight Velvet’s eyes.

“Oh, relax,” Twilight Velvet said, laughing. “You don’t have to call me Mom, although you can if you want to. Really, I’m just giving you a hard time, dear.”

Sunset nodded. While she wasn’t about to start calling her Mom, she resolved to get used to Velvet, at least.

“Sunset Shimmer!” Rainbow Dash called angrily from above them

Sunset didn’t even bother to look up. She just sighed and waited for Rainbow to swoop down beside them.

“This is all your fault!” Rainbow said once she was grounded.

“Most things are.” Sunset grinned and shrugged. “What did I do this time?”

Rainbow stopped glaring at Sunset to turn and smile at Twilight Velvet for a moment. “Sorry, Mrs. Velvet, but I need to discuss something with Sunset.”

Twilight Velvet gave them a puzzled look before standing “Oh, I’ll just, uh…” Rainbow was already dragging Sunset off, so she sat back down. “Never mind then.”

“What’s this all about?” Sunset asked once they were far enough from Twilight Velvet.

Rainbow held a glare for a moment before looking around, then turned back to Sunset pleadingly. “You have to help me!”

Sunset blinked a few times and shook her head. “I… what?”

“Before the ceremony I was talking to Pinkie and, uh… she kinda asked me on a date.”

“Okay…?” Sunset facehoofed. “Rainbow, she’s been hitting on you for months! You’re not honestly telling me you never noticed, are you?”

“I thought… she’s Pinkie Pie!” Rainbow said, as if that should be all the justification she needed. “She’s always doing weird stuff!”

Sunset sighed and turned to Rainbow. Seeing her so clueless made Sunset laugh a bit. “Geez, you’re worse than Twilight. Anyway, what do you want, for me to hold your hoof? Just tell her you don’t like mares.”

“Yeah…” Rainbow looked at something in the distance.

Following her line of sight, Sunset found she didn’t seem to be staring at anything. She turned back to find Rainbow still had a distant look. “You… don’t, right?”

Rainbow took a second to respond, and when she did she gave Sunset an annoyed look. “No! I don’t know! I… I don’t think so! I’ve only ever been into stallions and then you came along.”

Sunset’s face lit up. “Seriously? I mean, I know I’m pretty fucking great, but I didn’t know I could turn a pony gay! Oh man, what’s Fluttershy going to say?”

“Not like that!” Rainbow turned away from Sunset and sat on the ground, apparently not caring about dirtying her dress. “It was when you started dating Fluttershy and Twilight. Pinkie told us she liked mares, and okay, not that surprising. But then I guess Rarity also tried dating a mare once, which means it’s pretty much only me who hasn’t.”

From what Sunset had gathered from that conversation, ‘dating’ wasn’t exactly what Rarity had tried with a mare, but she chose to let that be. “Okay? What, feeling left out? I don’t think Applejack’s ever been with a mare either if it helps.”

“Not really!” Rainbow looked so confused that Sunset actually started to feel bad for her. She took a seat next to her, trying to be a bit more mindful of her own dress. “Pinkie asked me afterwards if I’d ever actually thought about dating a mare, and I guess I really haven’t. And Fluttershy said she never would have thought of dating you, but then when she did, she realized she could see it. So I guess I thought, I dunno, I should at least think about it.”

“And did you figure anything out?”

“No. Then out of nowhere Pinkie asked me about it today, and she’s all like, ‘Well maybe you need to try actually going on a date with a mare,’ so I just kinda shrugged it off like, ‘Sure whatever.’ Then she goes and asks me to go with her on a date to see this aerial race in Baltimare!”

“So what’d you say?” Sunset asked.

Rainbow shook her head. “I panicked and told her I’d talk to her about it after I checked on Fluttershy. Now I’ve been avoiding her ‘cause I have no idea what to do.”

Sunset thought about it for a moment. “Well… why not go for it? I mean, Pinkie’s pretty cool, if you go and feel awkward you can just tell her you’re not interested. She’s not going to take it personally if you don’t wind up liking mares, or even if you do but you don’t see her as more than a friend. And it sounds like she planned it out to be something you’ll enjoy either way. What’s the worst that could happen? You’ll get to watch a race with a friend?”

“I… guess that makes sense.”

“Of course it does. I said it.”

Rainbow chuckled and stood up. She grinned confidently. “Who knows, right? This might be a good thing after all. Maybe I’m not just into stallions, but also, you know… mares.” Her confidence fell away at the last word.

She looked unsure as she finished her thought, so Sunset patted her on the back. “Yeah. And besides, most stallions won’t let you in to them, but mares will!”

“Huh? What are – Oh my gosh!” Rainbow facehoofed, then gave Sunset a look that implied she wasn’t sure if she was offended or impressed with the joke. “I can’t believe you said that!”

Sunset just laughed and clapped Rainbow on the back. “Come on, let’s go find your lady love.”

“Why did I think talking to you was a good idea again?” Rainbow asked.

“Because you’re a mare of good tastes,” Sunset said, then leaned in closer. “And maybe by the end of this Pinkie will discover if you’re also a mare that tastes good!”

Rainbow seemed to decide that being offended was definitely winning out over being impressed. “I hate you so much.”

Sunset just laughed as she led them back towards the rest of the party. Apparently, Twilight Velvet had left, since they didn’t see her on the way back. Arriving at the reception hall, they found it predictably crowded. Still, it wasn’t too hard to find Pinkie – she was sitting with the brides, after all.

Sunset held back, causing Rainbow to look at her quizzically. “What’s wrong?”

“I, uhm…” Sunset looked over at Twilight and Fluttershy and felt her heart leap when she saw how happy they were together. They were sitting side by side, and Fluttershy had her forelegs around Twilight while they talked with Pinkie and a few other guests. “This is their day. You know, just for the two of them.”

Rainbow looked at her flatly. “Right. That makes perfect sense. Sure, they want to sit around talking to a bunch of ponies they only met a few times, but it would be just awful if their bucking marefriend was there!”

“Yeah, but –”

“Nope, shut it!” Rainbow started trying to push Sunset over, but the larger pony sat down definitely. “Really? Okay.” Rainbow gave up pushing and instead wrapped her forelegs around Sunset from behind.

“What are you doi– Rainbow Dash! Put me down! Right fucking now!” As Rainbow lifted Sunset into the air, she started flailing about with no concern for what or whom she hit.

“Stop squirming!” Rainbow ignored Sunset’s cries and flew them over the crowd. Sunset was forced to stop flailing and hold her dress in place as ponies began looking up at them.

Everypony stopped talking and just gaped confusedly at the scene as Rainbow dropped Sunset into a chair. Even with Fluttershy right next to them, the only thing preventing Sunset from swinging at Rainbow was the fact she was still flying overhead. It didn’t stop her from flinging cake, though.

“Sunset, what are you doing!?” Twilight yelled.

“Food fight!” Pinkie cheered.

Rainbow dodged out of the way with a cocky grin, which vanished as soon as a mare screamed. She landed and quietly took a seat next to Pinkie, who quickly set down the cake she was primed to throw.

A stallion and a mare with cake on her very expensive looking dress calmly walked over to the table, and suddenly nopony else wanted to be there. That included Sunset, although she didn’t dare make a move.

“Sorry about that,” Rainbow said. “It was my fault, we, uhm –”

“No, it was mine,” Sunset said, never removing eye contact from the two ponies. She leaned back and grinned. Her grave was already dug, might as well enjoy it. “So sorry about that, Mom, but I guess my aim isn’t what it used to be.”

“Mom!?” everypony exclaimed at once.

“As thrilled as I am that you find this amusing,” Golden Lace said, looking decidedly un-thrilled, “I do hope you realize this is a six-thousand-bit dress.”

Sunset resisted the urge to shrug, and just leaned forward instead. “Didn’t, do now. I’m going to guess it’s like dry clean never, so even though I know you’d never wear it again, I’ll reimburse you the cost.”

Brass Badge looked doubtful. “And would that be with your own money, or do you plan on making Princess Twilight pay for your recklessness?”

“Mine, of course,” Sunset answered. “On top of being Captain of the Twilit Guard, I also happen to be an inventor now, and the radio Twilight and I created is going to be entering production soon. Besides, seventeen years after I stopped living with you, and yet here I am, still holding onto your ideals of doing everything for myself.”

“I’m glad something stuck,” Brass Badge said, seemingly uninterested in any accomplishment of hers that couldn’t be traced back to them.

“Don’t worry, Dad, still got the family ego too. I’m pretty sure I’ll be keeping that one alive until my dying day.”

Twilight looked frantically between them. “Please, have a seat. We’d love to get the chance to get to know you both!”

Sunset smirked. “I guess ‘we’ includes me, because I’ve never had a real conversation with them in my entire life.”

“It’s apparent we wouldn’t be appreciated here,” Golden Lace said.

“Indeed,” Brass Badge agreed. He turned to Twilight and Fluttershy and bowed, but did nothing to stop looking like he was indifferent to everything and everyone. “Congratulations, Princess Twilight, Princess Fluttershy. We wish you the best in your marriage.”

Golden Lace almost managed a smile as she bowed. “Yes, and in your future as princesses as well. Equestria is all the better for having you two.”

“Thank you both,” Twilight said, smiling warmly. “We appreciate your support.”

With a small nod from Brass Badge, they took their leave. As soon as they were gone, Twilight’s smile faded and she turned to Sunset. “What the buck was that!?”

Sunset let her face fall to the table. “My ever-charming parents.”

“No, I realized that much,” Twilight said, frowning intently. “I mean, why were you so rude to them?”

Sunset arched an eyebrow. “Maybe you didn’t notice the part about never having a real conversation with them, but I’ve never had a real conversation with them.”

Twilight shook her head. “But they’re your parents! You can’t just say things like that to them!”

“Yeah, they’re my parents!” Sunset stood up. “About thirty-four years ago my dad knocked up my mom. Nopony quite seems sure why he did it, or why she carried me to term, but they did. Eleven months later, I was born. It was the high point in my relationship with them, because they probably just handed me off to a nurse right from day one. Then it was all maids and private tutors. So, sorry if my relationship with them doesn’t live up to what you’re used to, but not all of us get parents who give a damn about us!”

Sunset regretted every second of the whole fiasco. She regretted not just walking up to Twilight and Fluttershy, she regretted throwing the cake at Rainbow, she regretted her attitude towards her parents, she regretted raising her voice at Twilight, and she regretted it even as she ran out of the building. She heard somepony behind following behind her, so she teleported without seeing who it was. Knowing that it was probably Fluttershy made everything so much worse.

When she materialized, she was just outside of the door. She thought about heading for the garden, but figured Rainbow would think to look there. She knew she should turn around and apologize, that she was being petty and ruining her marefriends’ wedding day, but that thought just made her want to go back even less. In the end, she walked around to the back of the building, collapsed under a tree, and cried.

In her head she ran damage control. She could go back inside, apologize to Twilight and Fluttershy, maybe even apologize to her parents. Everypony would be happier for it, including herself. Instead, she just stayed right where she was.

After a few minutes, she felt a pony lie on top of her. She twisted around to see Fluttershy smiling sadly. “Fluttershy? What are you doing?”

“Twily said you can’t teleport if somepony’s holding onto you,” Fluttershy explained. As if to illustrate she wasn’t going anywhere, she wrapped her forelegs around Sunset.

“I, uh, I could. I’d just have to teleport both of us.”

“That’s okay,” Fluttershy said. “If you want to go somewhere else, I don’t mind. As long as I can come with you, that is.”

Sunset took a deep breath and tried to wipe her eyes, but couldn’t with Fluttershy on top of her. Instead, Fluttershy wiped away her tears for her. “You should go back. It’s your wedding day, don’t let me mess it up worse than I have.”

Fluttershy shook her head. “Don’t be silly. It may be Twilight and me who are married, but that doesn’t mean we want to ignore you.”

When Sunset didn’t reply, Fluttershy spoke again. “Uhm, Sunset? Have… you been avoiding us?”

Sunset’s eyes shot wide open. She twisted herself so she could look at Fluttershy better. “I… I wanted today to be all about you two.”

“Oh, I see.” Fluttershy smiled and nuzzled against Sunset’s chest. “Well, if it’s all about us, can I make a request?”

“Of course,” Sunset said quickly, eager for some way to try and fix things.

“We’d really like it if you joined us again.”

Sunset would have facehoofed if she could have. She didn’t know how she couldn’t see that one coming. “But… wouldn’t it be more special if it’s just you two?”

Fluttershy shook her head. “It would be more special if we got to share the happiest day of our lives with the pony we love.”

Sunset couldn’t help but smile a bit. “I’ll never get tired of hearing that.”

“No? Well then, in that case, I love you, Sunset.”

Sunset felt her smile grow into a full goofy grin, and she wrapped her forelegs around Fluttershy. “I love you too, Fluttershy.”

As they kissed, they heard another pony approach. “There you two are.”

Before either of them could turn to greet their lover, Twilight joined them on the ground, resting her head on Sunset’s shoulder and taking hold of Fluttershy.

“I’m sorry,” Sunset and Twilight said together, then laughed.

“I can’t expect you to have the same type of relationship with your parents as I do with mine,” Twilight said. “I don’t know exactly what your life growing up was like, but you do. I know somepony doesn’t deserve respect just for being a parent, and I should trust your judgement.”

“Yeah, they really do suck,” Sunset said, “but that doesn’t excuse my behavior. I can get along fine with ponies I don’t like if I need to, and I don’t even really dislike them. I’m just indifferent to them, really. But something about seeing them just… it doesn’t matter, what matters is that it’s your wedding day, and even if we were never going to sit down and have a nice family chat, I didn’t need to cause a huge scene when they didn’t even do anything to provoke it.”

“Well, on the bright side, it gave us a reason to get away from everypony,” Twilight said.

Sunset chuckled. “You were trying to get away from ponies?”

“Well, for a little while anyway,” Fluttershy said. “It’s nice seeing everyone, but it is a little overwhelming.”

“We’ll go back inside in a bit,” Twilight said. “But for right now? This is perfect.”

As if on cue, the sky lit up with fireworks. Sunset stared in amazement; they hadn’t planned for fireworks. Twilight looked just as confused, but Fluttershy didn’t. She just snuggled in closer and watched the show.

With a good deal of effort, Sunset managed to free a foreleg and wrap it around Twilight. “I’m gonna miss you two.”

“Our honeymoon’s only for two weeks,” Fluttershy said. “We’ll be back before you know it.”

“Not afraid I’ll burn the castle down?” Sunset asked.

“Well, maybe a little,” Twilight said. “But I think you’ll manage.”

Sunset chuckled. “I love you.”

Twilight smiled and kissed her. “I love you, too.”

“We both do,” Fluttershy added.

Sunset held her lovers close. “Hope there were some good pictures of the big kiss.”

“You do?” Twilight asked with a smirk. “You got to see it.”

“That’s why I want pictures! It was only the best thing ever!”

Fluttershy giggled. “You see us kiss all the time though.”

“Yeah, it’s another thing I’ll never get tired of.”

Fluttershy giggled. “Well then, in that case…” She pulled Twilight over so they were both half lying on Sunset and kissed her.

Sunset could only smile as she felt it again, the most wonderful feeling in the world. It felt like love, and trust, and peace. But above all, it felt like home.

Author's Note:

Thank you to everyone who joined me for this story :yay:

In particular, thanks go out to ArchAngelsWings, mouch30, elmago02, and Eddie Grammar for their help making this whole things readable. Now that you're void of a story to read, go check out some of theirs :scootangel:

Curious how Rainbow and Pinkie's date went? You can read about it in Up in the Air. Alternatively, there's a proper sequel now as well. Check out In Pieces, which picks up with Amber and Luna three years after Finding Home :pinkiehappy:

The series this story is part of now has a group. So if you're interested in what happens next (and I certainly hope you are) you can join the Who We Become group for tracking and what not :raritywink:

Want to read me ramble for a bit about the creative process of writing this story? I made a blog post just for that very thing on the story's first anniversary.

Also, I collected all the artwork for Finding Home in one place. Most of it was also linked at the end of various chapters, but still, convenience and all that.

As a fun little post-story thing, TwiShySet participate in Equestria's first ever radio broadcast interview. Check it out over here in another blog post :ajsmug:

I’ve got a Discord server, if anyone wants to come check that out :scootangel:

Feel like supporting what I do? Patreon patrons get early access to my content, or you can throw me a tip with Ko-Fi if that’s more your thing :raritywink:

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts (be as kind, cruel, in-depth, or brief as you wish to be)!

And years after this story finished, I finally decided on some end credits music for it, so here's that if you're into that sort of thing:

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Comments ( 109 )

FIRST!

It's always a bitter sweet moment when a good story ends. I'm looking forward to see what happened between Sunset and HumanShy. Also if Amber and Luna don't get together some where down the line I'll be angrier than a snake in a cowboy's boot.

Lates

7233970
Indeed, but at least it's not the end of the series, as there's much more to come :raritywink:
And I'll certainly keep your vote in mind when deciding what I'm writing next :scootangel:

angrier than a snake in a cowboy's boot

I'm stealing that

Couldn't help puting drama at the very end huh? :trixieshiftright: And I see you achieved to put some hints of Pinkie dash ^^. Great ending to a very interesting story. But now my saturday mornings are going to be so normal ^^'

7234203
You know, I really couldn't. I tried, but, well... I failed :twilightsheepish: Originally, I didn't know exactly what was going to happen when rainbow led Sunset inside, and everything from there was kinda winging it. So when Sunset threw the cake I'm just like "lol what if she hits her mom" so that's what happened.

That's... that's actually how like half of what I write happens :scootangel:

I was on the fence with Pinkiedash this whole time. I accidentally made myself ship them by all the hinting, though, so I couldn't resist.

And tell me about it... I don't know what to do with myself now that this is over :raritydespair:

Well, it's still not definitively confirmed, but one of my suspicions regarding what happened between Sunset and HumanShy feels a lot more likely after this last chapter. Curious to see if it turns out to be true. Anyway, sad as I am to see this story end I'm really looking forward to seeing what you do next. Not sure which idea I like the most. I'll probably look over the options on your blog and few more times before adding my two cents on what I'd like to see most, but right now I like all of the ideas you mentioned.

Thanks for all the time and effort you (and those who helped you) put into giving us such an enjoyable story. Just like the others you've written, it's been a damn fun ride and I'm sure I'll be ranting and rambling again once you put more of your work out.

7234321
Something tells me you have the right idea, or maybe I just want somebody to finally guess correctly at what happened. On that note, you're very cruel for telling me you have a guess and then not sharing :trixieshiftright:

In all seriousness though, I've thoroughly enjoyed the rants and debates, and look forward to seeing more of them :raritywink: And not even going to lie, I've been looking forward to hearing what you think about my future story ideas since I decided to make the blog, since I suspected you're more likely than most to have an opinion on the matter.

Yay, happy ending all around. Or at least everypony is talking to each other again in a happy manner. I'm going to miss this fic, you have a great handle on everyone's characters, so that they sound like the show but still unique for this fic (thanks to significant character development too). Not to mention I'm still awed by your writing pace, I'm going to miss regular updates, but I'll pass the time by rereading, I usually read too fast the first few times so catch more things on the second or third reading. Even with that I'm still not good at catching subtle hints, but guess it will all be revealed eventually.

Huh, didn't expect Sunset's parents to show up again. Well, guess they would be of sufficient influence to attend an event like this, but still. And while Sunset says she's just indifferent towards them... well, Sunset has mostly made up with Celestia, but yeah, she's still got serious issues about her birth parents. I almost wish Celestia could have said something after that incident to comfort Sunset, but I understand the focus was meant to be on the happy couple/trio. Twllight has always had a loving family (doting parents and her BBBFF, not to mention her "son" Spike), Sunset has probably only ever had Celestia until the rainbow laser hit her in the face, and even then it was officially still only teacher/student, which led to more issues for Sunset. And not like Celestia would interfere in a family matter, as long as no laws are broken (and Sunset is a grown mare by now).

Maybe next fic could try to help fix up all the messed-up parent-child relationships? Well, Sunset has nothing left she cares about at home, Amber still misses her brother. Though sometimes you just can't fix everything. Maybe even help clarify Twilight's relationship with Spike, like if Spike starts getting more independent eventually, as a sign of the magic imprinting wearing off.

By the way, I liked the Discord scene a lot, short though it was. I actually somewhat agree with his opinion- glad he didn't just dismiss their love, he just didn't see the point of a big official wedding. Well, its a good excuse for a party, so that's enough for Pinkie Pie of course. At least he's not insanely jealous either.

I know a wedding with Sunset is a long way off (if ever), but Fluttershy's worries over becoming a Princess (by marriage) would probably be nothing compared to Sunset's reaction, considering her fall from grace started with wanting princesshood (out of ambition and wanting to make Celestia proud probably). Thank you for the great story, looking forward to more in the series. I hope Sunset remains a major character, though probably not fair to have her POV all the time (I liked that it seemed like half the fic was her POV, but that's just cause she's my favorite pony/human). Wonder how much of the castle will be left standing by the time the honeymoon ends. Well, as long as Rainbow Dash doesn't give Sunset any ideas about throwing wild parties while the royal couple is away.

7234460
It seems I'm only a sadistic rabbit in the middle of stories, as they always wind up happy in the end :scootangel:

I'm going to miss updating this fic, and seeing you and everyone else here comments on it. Thanks for being one of the most consistent commenters here, and for always giving nice long comments. Even here on the last chapter, where most comments are directed at the fic in general rather than the chapter itself, you've left a nice long comment about the chapter, which I really appreciate :twilightsmile:

I don't think you can get married and just not invite your lovers parents, even if it's not the lover actually getting married :raritywink: Sunset and her parents are a long haul storyline, their relationship will be explored through several stories. Spike is similar; the different stories will often be years apart, and we'll see Spike grow into adulthood throughout the series. Amber and her parents may be next, depending on what I decide.

I've actually been intimidated by writing Discord this entire time, right from when I first started writing Inner Strength. I kinda knew he should be involved with a Fluttershy romance story, but kept him around in small references rather than appearances until I couldn't do that anymore (how could he not be at her wedding, after all?). In the end, he wasn't as much of a challenge as I thought he would be, but I've still been fairly uncertain if I did him any justice, so I'm glad you enjoyed him :yay:

Don't worry, definitely lots more Sunset to come :ajsmug: She's one of my three favorites (gee, I wonder who the other two are), and I couldn't keep the spotlight away from her too long if I tried :twilightsheepish: And I think the castle is safe from Rainbow-Sunset partying, if only because Twilight's parents live there too now :derpytongue2:

...traditional family member roll.

Pinkie Pie, no, what have you done!?

7235240
Pinkie Pie, yes :pinkiecrazy:
Although Pinkie actually isn't the wedding planner, that was a one off character that I didn't feel the need to name drop again :twilightsheepish:

7235254
No, no, not that. This:

family member roll

:raritydespair:

7235910
Ah :rainbowlaugh:
Hey, if baking family members into rolls is wrong, then... oh, who am I kidding, no one could possibly object to that. It's traditional, even says so right there.

Very nice story, you (and your team) were able to create 23 incredible chapters withought making me loose interest or make me feel like the story was running to long. Each chapter was a smooth read and each one had enough drama, comedy, romance and even suspense to make one want to constantly check their library to see when the next chapter would be up. Very nice job, keep up the good work and I hope to read more of your writing in the future, wether you decide to create a sequel for this story or choose to write something new entirely. :eeyup:

7236817
Thank you, I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it :twilightsmile:
Currently I'm leaving towards a sequel, but also have a few prequel ideas I may do instead. All of my stories (except one) take place in the same universe, and I certainly plan on making it a huge one :pinkiecrazy:

I'm going to miss updates for this as well. It's so much fun reading this universe's storyline.

7239145
And I'll certainly miss updating it :fluttershysad: But while Finding Home ends, the series will continue :yay:

Just as soon as I have enough time to relax for a bit :twilightsheepish:

Get ready for the sequel Lesbian Horse Drama 3 Return of the ultra-dimension girlfriend.

I'm eager to see what you do next!

7241880
That's the official title now

7242554
Thanks :pinkiehappy: Hopefully I'll be back at it before too long :scootangel:

7242654 Can you message me when you do? I get so many alerts that I never knwo when a new story comes out.

7243526
I'll certainly try. I have a pretty good memory for things concerning Fimfiction, so I'll probably remember :ajsmug:

A 7/10
I don't relay have much to say, and as far as the story goes it was good. Most of it i did not expect (Mostly the poly-ship) But hay you did do a good job and has earned a please in my favorites. (Not that that is surprising as it is TwiShy :twilightsmile:)
And as far as i care what you do next. As long as it is TwiShy i'll be happy :yay::heart::twilightsmile:
Now i need to get my Flank in gear and start writing a story my self, the idea is there lacking in motivation tho

7245330
I'm glad you enjoyed it, and that I was able to throw in some surprises :raritywink:
None of the stories I have planned focus on Twishy, I'm afraid. One takes place years before they meet, one will have a small appearance but be about Sunset and human Fluttershy, the other one will have TwiShySet in a couple chapters, but is about Luna and Amber. Once those three are done I'll probably go back TwiShySet for a story staring them :scootangel:

Holy Celestia this was a wonderful way to end this story :twilightsmile: Happy endings are the best, and I felt them feels by the end of the wedding

7245740
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it :twilightsmile:
And thanks for commenting so much along the way, having regular commenters is definitely what keeps me updating (almost) every week :yay:

7245856 No problem :pinkiehappy: I like being a part of the community, especially for stories like this

I love this story, and the others in the series, so much. Definitely looking forward to whatever you decide to write next.

Gotta admit I teared up a little at the end there. This is the first story I've come across that depicted a poly relationship. I found the examination of how and why the relationship works quite touching, Fluttershy's conversation with Celestia in particular really stuck with me.

This story's actually inspired me to incorporate a poly-ship in my own story, although the task is a bit intimidating both from a storytelling and planning perspective.

Anyway, thanks for the fun ride, looking forward to more. :twilightsmile:

7252288
I'm happy to hear you like my writing so much :yay:

There's some other stories on this site about polyamory. The polyamory group is a good place to look it you're interested in seeing some others. What I haven't seen is another story that looks at the relationship dynamics and social stigma as realistically as this one, though I hardly claim have read everything out there.

In my completely unbiased opinion, I totes think you should include a poly ship if you feel so inclined :raritywink: Whether you're addressing the topic as a serious social issue, out just shipping more than two characters together, I'd always love to see more polyamory going around :ajsmug: I'm not the best at coming up with ideas (lol there's a reason I'm sticking to one series) but of you ever want to bounce ideas around with some one, by means hit me up :twilightsmile:

7252546

Thanks! I appreciate the offer, I'll probably take you up on it at some point.

I was already planning to explore pony culture and morality in the story, so a look at the same issues in respect to a poly relationship is a no brainer.

Wow, I just realized it, Krickis, but you're thepony that was giving me so much support after I finished my story Dissonance. Well, I would like to soothe your concerns and let you know, Lizzybell and I are already outlining another story in the dissonance-verse. one that happens after the flashback but before Ponyville

EDIT: I really just wanted to thank you for the support back then.

7273049
lol yeah, that would be me :scootangel: Although really I just read a fic that looked interesting, decided it was indeed a good story, and said as much :raritywink:

I'll be looking forward to the future story :twilightsmile:

7286872 I meant that more than some of the other polyamory stories I've read involve Twilight and Fluttershy along with someone else (not Sunset).

Also, I kinda knew it since chapter 1 because I found this story in a folder called "Polyamory" in the Twishy group. I think.

7286874
Ah I see. I was aware of a few other Twishy poly stories, but didn't realize they were more common than other relationships. That's interesting.

Lol yeah, before writing this I scoured the internet looking for TwiShySet artwork or fanfics, and found exactly one picture, which was porn :facehoof:

Aww. :pinkiehappy: I was legitimately tearing up a little during the wedding. This was a great fic, and a wonderful ending to it.

Also, I'm a fan of PinkieDash, so I rather approve of that particular subplot. :raritywink:

7475303
I'm glad to hear it :twilightsmile: Weddings are a pain to write, but I think this one turned out decent, and I'm happy to hear it worked for you as well :scootangel:

7234352 I've got what I feel is a pretty solid theory on what happened with HumanShy as well, but I guess I'll just have to wait and see won't I? :pinkiehappy:

I read Inner Strength and Finding Home over the past two days and really love the universe. I intend to read the rest of what you've done here and look forward to any future offerings from you. :twilightsmile:

7476655
Why do people keep telling me they have a theory but then no one ever wants to share it with me? :raritydespair:

Two days? I'm impressed :rainbowderp: And of course I'm very happy to hear you liked them :yay:

7476656 What can I say, I get sucked into a story and I just kinda... have to know what happens next!

Perhaps I'll share in private, I didn't say anything here cause spoilers and such, you know how people are. :rainbowwild:

7476656
On the one hand, some authors are worried that if they use a fan theory, even if they actually were intending to write it that way, they'll be accused of nicking the idea (Terry Pratchett leaving alt.fan.terry-pratchett after a few guesses started getting too close comes to mind). And on the other hand, if I say "Hey, human Sunset should come back to Equestria and fall in love with the real Fluttershy," you can't very well say "That's exactly what I had planned."

7503550
I've read comments from content creators saying things like that, and I suppose I could see some authors on here feeling that way, but personally I'm unconcerned. I hint at things coming up all the time, which would make any argument that I stole ideas pretty shaky if any were to come up. Plus I wouldn't think I have enough of a reader base for problems like that, honestly :twilightsheepish:

I'm surprised the humane 6 weren't invited.

7713993
There are too many ponies there and they didn't want to cause concerns. For the moment, the humane six aren't leaving the castle when they visit.

Awesome story I loved every chapter I wish it was longer :yay: :twilightsmile: :heart:

7790365
Thank you, I'm glad to hear it :scootangel: That may have been all for this story, but it's part of a larger world if you haven't checked any of that out yet :raritywink:

This story has me conflicted. On the one hand, I really like how real (most) characters feel, and the organic development of characters and dynamics as the story goes on. I really bought into these relationships. :twilightsmile:

On the other hand, I feel I have to cry foul vis-a-vis Twilight's parents. While it's not undreasonable to have Twilight's parents disapprove of her lifestyle, their attitude and the degree to which they disapprove feels very out of character.

Part of it is simply that it doesn't feel like there was appropriate setup. I find it difficult to believe that parents who held such strong opinions on the subject wouldn't have made an effort to encourage those values in their children. And yet, they advocate attitudes like this:

"Twilight, how could you even think we’d have a problem with it? We always taught you to never judge other ponies, especially for something like whom they decide to love."

Part of it also comes down to Velvet's revelation. It helps to explain much of her hostility, but it's a character trait that is not even hinted at until it's out in the open, which comes across as a bit contrived. To me, it feels akin to if Inner Strength hadn't alluded to or foreshadowed what happened in Cloudsdale until the end of Chapter 15. :applejackunsure:

I still liked this story a lot, but I had trouble connecting with it after Chapter 16. It didn't quite feel as real as what came before.

7939075
I see where you're coming from, but I do stand by my decisions with them, with one exception (note that I don't stand by my decisions with everything I write, and I probably take more issues with this story than any other)

First, I think it's worth looking at the two of them individually. It's easy to take a couple as a whole, especially when they constantly appear together and their stance is basically the same. But the way they react is actually quite different here. Night Light disapproves, but he does so calmly and rationally. He would prefer if Twilight did not choose to live a polyamorous lifestyle, but he knows it's her decision. The issue he takes comes primarily with her raising Spike. He deems her lifestyle to no longer be conducive to raising a child, so he takes steps to attempt to fix the situation as best he can while prioritizing Spike's well-being over Twilight's (he is a child, after all). Based on your comment, this seems to be the reaction you think is realistic.

Twilight Velvet has internalized hatred for her own polyamorous thoughts. To her, this isn't a matter of a poor lifestyle, she utterly loathes the concept of polyamory itself. She is disgusted by polyamory because she's disgusted with her own thoughts and feelings. A lot of this hatred is misdirected at Sunset because she doesn't want to blame Twilight or Fluttershy. And of course, she also doesn't want Spike exposed to something she feels is fundamentally corrupt; the whole issue explodes out of hand rather quickly because it's essentially two fiercely protective mothers arguing over the same child.

Which brings us to Velvet as polyamorous. I'm honestly at a loss for how to realistically foreshadow Velvet's revelation, and this is coming from someone who has foreshadowed story point that I won't get to telling for years. It's not something she talks about. It's not something she acts upon. Short of getting into her head (quite impossible without making her a POV character), there's simply no way to reveal that information. More to the point, I wouldn't if I had thought of a way to do it anyway. The point was that she was hiding it her whole life, and hiding it well at that. I didn't want the reader to know because no one else in the story did. I am sorry to hear that the reveal didn't work on you, but it is as I intended it to be.

With not imprinting more of their ideals on their children, it's again worth noting that Night Light's reaction wasn't overly harsh, and Velvet never voiced anything to do with polyamory directly. However, it's also worth noting that despite largely being liberal, Twilight has a conservative view on sex (she looks down on Sunset's past sex-life) and is consistently jealous in both this story and Inner Strength. In fact, she doesn't even like talking about sex, which is generally a trait in people who grew up without ever talking about it. Her parents may not have actively taught her to oppose polyamory, but they did influence her beliefs.

As for their accepting nature not coming into play here, that one is based on my real life experiences. When I came out as bisexual, people were generally understanding. When I came out as polyamorous, I was suddenly a sex addict who was ruining their existing relationship. This is certainly not a wholly accurate adaptation of my life (I don't have any children and I don't watch over little siblings, so getting involved in a legal case like this would have been quite impossible), but the idea that people who were nothing but supportive of LGBTQ topics are then unaccepting of polyamory is not only realistic, it has been my reality.

I mentioned at the beginning that there was something I don't stand by concerning this topic. I wish this had been two stories. I should have made act three play out completely differently. Were I to do it now, they would have waited until after the wedding to tell Twilight's parents, which would have allowed the chance for more general poly issues, as well as allowed me to give an ending to Sunset's fight with alcoholism that I actually liked. A sequel could have covered things with Twilight's parents, and I'd have Spike (and possibly one or both of the parents) be POV characters. Not to better foreshadow Velvet's revelation, but to better follow up on it. I think it would have been more meaningful if we saw her coming to terms with it (and thus with Twilight) from a closer POV, not to mention there could have been more done with Night Light's thoughts (although at least he had the scene with Fluttershy). And in general, I feel like a closer view of them would have solidified the fact that they're really only trying to do what's best for their son. I was indirectly talked out of doing this by one of my pre-readers, who wound up having me convinced that the everyday drama that was so heavy in act two was too slow and uninteresting, and that I would be better off condensing the rest of the story. He didn't say any of this directly, I just interpreted his lackluster reactions that way. In hindsight, I realize the type of story I wanted to tell is simply not the type of story he likes to read, which is fine, of course. But at the time, I took his opinion a little too much to heart, and I do feel like act three kind of suffers for it.

Anyway, I'm glad that you liked the parts you liked. They're my favorite parts of this story as well, in fact. And I'm sorry to hear that the rest didn't work out for you. Hopefully I haven't thrown you off reading the other stories in this series, but if I have, then I'm at least happy you read this far :twilightsmile:

7939606 For Night Light, while I found his position realistic, it didn't strike me as very rational. If I remember correctly, the reasoning given seems to be that a polyamorous relationship is inherently unstable and prone to collapse, and that it is inherently overtly sexual in nature. And he doesn't seem to consider that he could be wrong until Velvet's feelings are thrown in his face. More, when Sunset brings up counterpoints to those objections, he disregards the argument by disparaging her instead. He's keeping calm and composed, but he comes across pretty close-minded. Realistic, maybe, but not very rational.

As far as Velvet goes, I just find it a bit contrived. This is a character trait that's functionally non-existent until this particular conflict comes up. It's a twist that comes out of nowhere, and whatever the reason for them they never sit right with me. :applejackunsure:

As far as their not accepting goes, I'm not saying it's unrealistic, just that we were given no indication that they might feel this way. Quite the opposite, in fact, especially since they've been taking an active, personal role in standing against this kind of thinking for years. It puts me a bit in the mind of this clip.

In the end, my overarching issue with this arc is simply that parts of this conflict aren't adequately foreshadowed. The impetus for the conflict, and the starts of its resolution, both come without any buildup. I know you had your reasons for doing so, but I feel the story loses something without it.

Just to be clear, this definitely hasn't put me off any of your work. In fact, while I found Inner Strength more consistent, this story may actually stand as my favored among the two, despite my issues with it. Every story of yours I've read has gotten a like from me, including this one.

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Realistic, maybe, but not very rational.

If there's a rational reason to oppose polyamory, I haven't heard it :ajsmug: Pretty much every argument against it boils down to 'It's just not what's done.'

In any event, I suppose all I can say is that I'm sorry to hear the set up bothered you. And I do understand why; it's not that there wasn't any setup, it was just set up to go differently. I made a point of reminding the readers that Twi's parents were very accepting a few chapters before, on their first date with Sunset. Basically, I wanted people to expect they would approve to mirror the how odd it is that pro-LGBTQ people can be closed-minded about polyamory. Perhaps I could have done it better, but I doubt I would do it differently.

I'll agree on the resolution, though. I do think that came a bit suddenly. I did even when I wrote it, to be honest, and don't really have any kind of good reason for why I did it anyway. I had another plan, realized it too would be unsatisfying, and went with the more sudden conclusion instead. I ought to have taken more time to get the conflict to move slower, but I was convinced that people weren't interested in that :applejackunsure:

And of course, I'm glad to hear that you're still interested in my writing :twilightsmile:

I recently discovered Looking Glass and really liked it, so I did the only reasonable thing and spend just about all my free time reading that, Inner Strenght and this story (I totally blame you for my lack of sleep the past few days).

I never really thought about Twishy as a ship before, even though Flutters is my favorite pony and Twilight is pretty high up on that list as well (probably because I just never encountered many stories shipping them).They work really well together though and Sunlight kinda my OTP, so adding Sunny made it even better. I'm really glad things worked out so well in the end, since I'm a sucker for happy endings.

There's a lot more wanted to say, but I'm not great at putting my feeling into words, that's actually the reason I don't comment on stories nearly as often as I should. Anyway, you've definitely earned some likes and favorites from me and I'll be reading the rest of the stories in this series as long as soon as I get some decent sleep.

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