• Published 30th Dec 2016
  • 14,386 Views, 227 Comments

Homecoming - Rose Quill

Sunset Shimmer recieves devastating news from her previous world of Equestria. Twilight Sparkle of the human world accompanies her on her journey back home to help support her in her time of need.

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Chapter Fourteen - My Walls Fall First

"They're here! They're here!" Twilight fairly shrieked as she flew hurriedly to the foyer of the castle. I glanced at Sunshine and we followed suit.

The royal delegation was smaller than I thought it would be. Several guards had been in residence for several days now, before Sunshine and I had arrived from the mirror world. I thought there would be maybe another few to rotate out the current staff, but not the numbers that came.

There were only eight that preceded Cadence and Shining Armor into the library, but just as I noticed Cadence’s horn was lit up a small stroller was hovered into view. I saw Sunshine’s slack-jawed surprise at the sight as the Princess of Friendship almost ran up to the pair in excitement.

“Cadence, Shining! So glad you made the trip.” She glanced into the stroller. “Look how big she’s getting!” Twilight cooed at the giggling filly within.

I cleared my throat, reaching over and pushing Sunshine’s jaw shut.

“Oh! Right!” the princess turned to her brother and sister-in-law and whispered something to them.

Cadence looked surprised but turned to her guards. “Go see that Starlight and Sunburst are situated and that we are not disturbed.” Her royal presence was eerily similar to Celestia’s, though it was a little less intimidating. Once the guards had left and the doors pulled shut, she gazed over at us.

I stepped aside as she walked up to us and gazed at Sunshine. The unicorn next to me stared down at her hooves in uncertainty. Cadence tossed her mane back and smiled.

“Sunshine! Sunshine! Ladybugs Awake!” she singsonged as she crouched and covered her eyes. “Clap your hooves,”

Sunshine’s head popped up. “And do a little shake!” she said, a smile blossoming. The two mares giggled as I looked on in confusion.

Twilight trotted up, smiling. “See? No better way to set her at ease.”

Shining Armor shook his head with a smirk. “Only you would think that a greeting from foalhood would set somepony at ease meeting a Princess.”

“Oh, hush you two!” Cadence said, turning to me. “I’ve heard quite a bit about you, Sunset Shimmer.” She smiled at me warmly. Despite the change in her demeanor, I still bowed before her, seeing Sunshine do the same.

“No need for that, we’re in private.” The elder princess looked to the host, then at her mirror world counterpart. “I assume you have figured out how to separate which Twilight we’re speaking to at the moment?”

Twilight nodded. “She asked to be called Sunshine while here. It’s made it a lot easier.”

Cadence glanced over at Twilight, a sly grin spreading. "I see," she said softly as a blush spread across the lavender Alicorn's face. "You always did like it when she called you that when you were younger."

She gestured to the stallion behind her. "Formal introductions, of course," she grinned. "You obviously know who I am now. This is my husband, Shining Armor. In the stroller is our daughter, Princess Flurry Heart."

Sunshine's jaw dropped again as Shining pushed the stroller forward so we could see the small foal within, her face splitting into a grin.

"Aw," I said, smiling gently. "She's adorable."

Flurry Heart started gurgling and I felt a surge of magic in the room. Cadence glanced back at the stroller and her husband chuckled.

“Oh, no you don’t, little one,” he said, horn lighting up. “No magic rampages while we’re here.”

“Has she been trying to break from the Fledgling’s Forbearance spell?” Twilight asked.

“Not actively, but as she gets older it gets to be a bit harder to keep it renewed,” Cadence said. “On the bad days, we both have to renew it together.”

I frowned. “Why would you have a forbearance spell on a foal?”

Sunshine frowned. “What’s a forbearance spell?” she asked a split second behind my question.

Shining Armor brought the stroller closer to his side, reaching in and adjusting the blanket covering his child. “Two good questions with one answer,” he said. “Flurry Heart was born an Alicorn, so her magic power is already higher than normal,” he stated.

Cadence smiled in a way that I recognized from my memories of my mother, bringing tiny aches up for a moment. “She managed to not only destroy several books at the library in the Crystal Empire but shattered the Crystal Heart.” She leaned down and nuzzled the foals cheek. “The forbearance spell keeps her magic contained until she can be shown how to use it properly and responsibly. Maybe by her Auntie Twilight?”

Twilight’s eyes lit up at either the prospect of being a teacher or at the term Auntie, I wasn’t sure which. I was awestruck at the off-the-cuff way they talked about the destruction of a major magical artifact.

“Shattered the Heart?” I asked, my incredulity obvious in my voice. “How could a foal, even an Alicorn destroy an artifact of that much power?”

“Oh, we repaired it, so it wasn’t irreparable,” Twilight said. “But it was likely an amplification of her magic,”

“Creating a resonant harmonic within the crystalline matrix of this Crystal Heart?” Sunshine said. “That is theoretically possible, but for an infant to strike such a pitch with enough intensity is statistically improbable!”

"Well, we think that it was part the pitch and part her magic," Twilight said. "According to some theories, the concordant properties of emotionally powered magics are shown to have quite an impact on the power levels of the diverse spells."

Shining glanced at his wife. “That’s Twilight, all right. Big words and all.”

I laughed along with Shining and Cadence, much to the consternation of both Twilights.

“I don’t always use big words,” they both said in almost perfect unison.

The laughter was only renewed.

Later that night, I slid up next to Sunshine as she looked out over Ponyville as the moon glowed down softly. “Can’t sleep?”

She shook her head. “Thinking. Here, my brother is a father and I’m an aunt! I never thought about the possibility of that at all,” she turned to me, a strange look on her face, one of wonder and wistfulness. “I don’t really talk to him or Cadence since transferring to CHS. Could they have started dating, or have they been dating and I was just too wrapped up in trying to get into the independent study program to notice? Or missed that they're getting married? What if I'm already an aunt?”

I put a hoof on her shoulder and she calmed down. “I think they might have told you if they were getting married, Twi.” I matched the direction of her gaze briefly. “I know that you can get drawn into things sometimes, but the important things will make sure you take note. Even if we have to steal the book out of your hands.”

She gave a soft laugh. “I’m going to turn in early, I think,” she said, turning away from the balcony. “I don’t want to miss seeing a Wonderbolt show just because I’m sleepy.” She gave me a shy smile as she disappeared.

I sighed and turned to look out at the sky. "I don't get that mare," I said to myself as I watched the canvas before me.

"Why not?" a voice came from behind me.

I jumped in surprise, then turned and bowed as Cadence slid onto the balcony with me.

"Princess," I said. "I didn't know you were..."

"Hush," she said with laughter in her voice. "And stand up. I only like one pony bowing to me in private." Her face showed amusement at her private little joke. "What is it that you don't understand?"

"I don't know," I said. "I mean, she's not from here and yet she insisted on coming. One night I tried talking to her like I always do but somehow I hurt her feelings, but the next day she showed up at my mother's funeral like nothing had happened." I sighed. "This isn't like the Twilight I know. It's almost like she's trying too hard to be supportive."

"So what if she is?" Cadence asked as she moved to the rail herself. "We often overreact when those we love are concerned. You should have seen some of the mishaps Shiny had when courting me."

My mind broke. "Love?" I stammered stupidly.

"That is what I said, yes," Cadence said. "Twilight told me about what had transpired between her and her twin during her little magic training sessions. She apparently let it slip that she loves you, Sunset Shimmer."

My brain was still a little cracked around the edges. "But, me? I..." and down went functionality again.

"You seem to have quite a bit of trouble wrapping your mind around this," she said with concern. "Is it really so hard to understand? All the signs are there." She sat down. "Why is it difficult for you?"

I sat as well. "I...well..." I raked a hoof through my mane. "I don't have anything to offer her. And we're from two different worlds, two different species. It just wouldn't work."

"And you spend ninety-eight percent of your time in that world where you are the same species as she is, so your last two points are invalid," Cadence smirked. "So that means you're deflecting. Next excuse?"

I worked my jaw, trying to think of rational reasons as to why it couldn't work, but nothing came up. The Princess of Love lowered her head a little to whisper conspiratorially.

"Just between me and you," she said. "She's not sure of things herself. She's been trying not to let on while you're dealing with your mothers funeral. But as much as she wants to tell you, she's also afraid."

"Afraid?" Memories of that unusual flash of fear I had felt the other night rose to the surface.

"Afraid of how you'd react, of pushing too hard or too fast," Cadence said. "Or of you not feeling the same way, or at least, not to her."

I sat quietly, mind replaying the events of the last few months, from the time she and Timber had broken up to now.

"Twilight mentioned to me some sort of pendant," the Alicorn's voice broke into my thoughts. "Something that allowed you to see surface thoughts and feelings?"

I nodded. "But I haven't been wearing it."

"You sound unsure."

I scrunched up my face in thought. "The other night, I had a flash of fear," I said. "But it wasn't mine. I couldn't understand it at the time."

"Could it have been Sunshine's fear?" she asked softly.

"Looking back, it could have been," I admitted. "But how would I have been able to feel it? I can't sense anything without wearing the pendant."

"They say that those in love feel each other's pain, you know," Cadence smiled. "Just an old pony tail, but maybe with your circumstances, it might be true."

I sighed, trying to gather my thoughts. “There's a connection of some sort, I'll admit that. I thought it was just a resonance between us. That Twilight had gained access to magic by siphoning it from me and my friends by accident with a tracking device she had built. Then with my mother passing away, and the trip here, seeing family again and Celestia and all the ramifications of that to deal with, my thoughts and heart have been all over the place.”

“I understand,” Cadence said. “But now, in this moment, how do you feel about her?”

I looked inside, sorting through the memories and the emotions associated with them, especially with this new information added to the mix.

“I care about her,” I said. “But it's Twilight, and she’s still getting used to the whole idea of friends, not to mention having just come out of what was probably her first serious relationship. You probably know better than I do how your Twilight acted at that stage of her growth.”

“Our Twilight defeated Nightmare Moon and took control of the Elements of Harmony,” Cadence said softly. “She’s stronger than you think. And you’re deflecting. Again.”

“I know, it’s just confusing.” I turned and sat down facing away her. “I am so thankful she came along - I probably would have had things worse if she hadn't. I didn't realize how different the girls here are from the ones I'm friends with, and how little I can tell my sisters on top of that. And...and I enjoy the time we’re spending together. We both understand things that the rest of our friends can not possibly, nor would I wish for them to.”

“The magic transforming you both, I assume?”

I looked at her in surprise. She shrugged.

“I said I had heard about you, and I don’t just mean from Twilight’s first trip through the mirror, either.” She gave me a warm smile.

I nodded. “I’m just not sure if that's love or a deeper understanding, and if I'm going to be feeling Twilight’s emotions from time to time, that makes it harder to keep things clear.”

“That, at least, I have a theory on,” the Princess of Love said. "You said that she siphoned magic from you. There may have been a connection formed there, something linking you two together. It is possible that the only way you are picking up on emotions from your Twilight is when they mirror your own and resonate off each other. Otherwise, you’d be picking up on everypony’s emotions randomly.”

“I’m glad I’m not,” I said laughing without meaning to. “One trip inside Pinkie’s head was enough.”

Cadence laughed along with me. “Try something. The next time you’re alone with her, listen to your heart and let it guide you. Something I’ve noticed about you prodigies, sometimes your head gets in the way of your feelings.”

She rose and left me.

I thought about what she said. Twilight had siphoned my magic through the magic of the portal as well. Maybe it had a different effect on the drain? But more importantly, how did I feel about her, for pony sake?

After a lot of reflection, I stood and ducked into my room, draping my pendant over my neck and heading to Sunshine's room.

“Come in,” came the voice after I knocked. I pushed through and walked up to the unicorn that was wrapping her mane up in a braided bun for sleep. It wasn't exactly perfectly done, but for somepony that had only been using magic for a few days, that was pretty good.

“Sunset?” she said, but I swept up to her before she could say anything else and pushed my head into her shoulder.

“Hush,” I said, listening to her heartbeat.

And the magic triggered, sending a torrent of information into my brain. First and foremost I felt her brain trying to rationally figure out what was happening. Under that was the thought that her heart had just stopped. Then the wave crested, showing me her memories of me at the games, a nimbus of light surrounding me with my hand held out. Memories of the camp, sneaking glances my way. On her few dates with Timber, not really paying attention.

Under all of that was a feeling of what I could only define as a hesitant love that battled with a firmly set self-depreciation. I now understood why what I had meant as a joking remark at Rarity's expense had cut her so. She thought that she didn't measure up to this world's Twilight, mentally comparing herself as a meek bookworm to a regal princess, not realizing that in reality, Twilight was just as much a bookworm as she was.

As the magic faded, I became aware of her quickened breathing. And I understood something about myself, as well.

I did feel something for this mare, after all. It was just buried underneath concerns about Mom, and that she hadn't shown any signs that I could pick up on as far as interest went. I just got in my own way, it seemed.

I sighed, unhooking my pendant and letting it float to the side, just enjoying the feel of her heartbeat. “I just need to be honest.”

“I know you have trouble opening up, Sunny,” she said, a slight quiver in her voice. “You don’t have to force yourself…”

“I’m probably creating most of that trouble,” I said, interrupting her and standing up straight. “There's been a lot on my mind lately, and it kept me from looking closer at things. It's going to be a little while yet before I'm fully healed up, but I want you to know that I'm willing to try if you can be patient. I don’t want to miss out on something good just because I’m afraid it won't work out. I've got a few things that I still need to work on, personally speaking.”

I looked at her face, seeing a mixture of disbelief and hope in her eyes. I smiled.

"So, if you're willing to be patient with me," I whispered, suddenly shy. "I'm ready to try."

I had expected some words of encouragement, possibly a nuzzle or horn touch. What I got instead was a surge of emotions, swelling up inside as she stepped forward and hugged me tightly.

Indecision fought with determination, with fear and uncertainty providing cold undercurrents to the tidal wave of feelings, each of them indelibly my own along with a hint of Twilight’s own color.

Then she kissed me. It wasn't a hard kiss, filled with passion and love. It was meek, shy, and almost completely Twilight in every sense of the word.

The shock I felt was almost immediately swept away by a welling of bliss, relief, and excitement from Twilight, copying my own feelings now that I knew what they were. And under it all, from both my heart and hers, a powerful fire blazed into being, blasting down any walls I may have built over the years.

Especially those around my heart.