• Published 28th Jun 2017
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Comparing Notes - Rose Quill

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Meanwhile, back at the Villa...

I sighed as I watched my daughters walk off into the jungle with a teenage boy. Was I sure this was a good idea?

Twilight swatted me on the arm. "They'll be fine," she said. "They're good young ladies. And I get a good feeling from Sunlight. He'll keep them out of trouble, I'm sure."

I smiled and nodded, looking around the villa we were staying in. While it maintained the same location and general design from the pony version we had honeymooned in and the one we had visited off and on over the years, it had changed since our last foray five years ago. In that time, one of the hurricanes that blew through had damaged some of the resorts buildings, villa included, despite the cove's normal protection for the island on which it sat. Oxygen Rush had mentioned some of the towns and portions of the resort not nestled in the horseshoe-shaped cove had fared much worse.

The villa had been rebuilt slightly larger with more modern conveniences; LED lighting that ran off solar panels, polarized smartglass in the windows so you could adjust the sunlight - and heat - that bled into the building. It could be controlled by several panels in each room and with motion sensors,x it would automatically disable any light in a room not occupied for more than five minutes. I was amazed at how fast the place started to feel comfortable despite its new look.

The door opened behind me to admit our alternate selves, glancing at the upgrades themselves.

"I really wouldn't be surprised if Oxy wired some of this herself," Sunset remarked with a lop-sided grin. "Practically would have been a vacation for her."

Twilight walked over to the living room sofa and put down her bag next to it. She fell upon the soft cushions with a calculated drop and sigh of rest. "At least the Hydro Star wasn't badly damaged. That thing is her baby, and I'd really feel bad for her if something happened to it."

Sunset yawned after dropping off her own bag and rummaging through the kitchen. “I guess we got to share for now...with ourselves...”

The other Sunset gave a sly look in return.

That ignited a horrible idea in the first redhead’s mind. “Soooo,” she trailed out while giving a wiggle of her brows, “you keep the wife-slaying bikini in the same spot I do? Second closet rack on the right?”

"Usually, yeah," I said, feeling my wife's combined embarrassment and muted arousal trickle across the bond. I hefted the rucksack that I had just picked back up. "It's in here at the moment though."

My twin laughed. "Of course, none of us have unpacked yet." She glanced at the villa's interior, a frown creasing her face.

"I dont remember that hallway," she murmured.

Her wife adjusted her glasses before shaking her head. "You zoned out during the trip over," she said. "Oxygen said they had expanded the villa when they repaired it. There's room enough for us, the kids, and Adagio if she decides to visit."

Twilight and I perked up at the mention of possibly seeing this reality's versionof the Siren. And hadn't they mentioned she was with Rainbow Dash?

This is going to be some vacation, I thought.

Think of what we can learn, though! Twilight returned, the hunger for knowledge burning in her eyes.

I shook my head as we went to claim one of the bedrooms

Sunset followed Twilight down the hall and into the spare bedroom for Rainbow and her wife. It was spacious and much like the primary bedrooms with the exception of facing a different edge of the villa and having more solid wall in place of glass. It was impressive nonetheless. When her wife looked to her, Sunset shrugged.

"Works for me," Sunset declared after spreading out on the soft queen mattress. The covers were as plush as she remembered the ones in the main bedroom.

"What about Lighty?" Twilight held a visage of concern. It was the particular kind she used whenever she had some concern over their son. Between the two of them, she tended to fuss over him more.

Sunset shrugged again before getting off the bed and heading for the door. "He can bunk with the girls."

Twilight's eye widened and then she huffed. "I'm being serious, Sunny!"

The redhead just giggled as she walked over to the primary bedroom, discarding her overshirt on the way. They had been in their swimsuits the whole time and Sunset was ready to use them. "What? It's not like anything is going to happen. And even if it did, we both know it'd be them and not him."

The glasses-wearing woman gave a disapproving glare but followed Sunset into the main bedroom.

The rucksacks hit the bed in one of the two master suites the villa now housed, the other being given over to our twins. The opulance had not decreased in the renovations. Rather, they may have been increased, silk sheets and satin pillowcases replaced the soft cotton bedclothes of yesteryear. I ran my hand over the ebony wood of the bedframe.

"How did we afford this place the first time?" I asked out loud.

"Wedding gift from Cadence, Luna, and Celestia," my wife replied, easing the door shut.

I turned to smile at my wife when I felt invisible hands shove me onto the bed and hold me there. Twilight took off her glasses and floated them to the side table without looking, a trick she had mastered in the last twenty -some odd years.

"I think we have a little bit of alone time," she said, slowly slipping her coverup off. "The kids will be gone for a few hours, and I can't help but feel our alternate selves may be a bit busy themselves."

I smiled and tilted my head to her, the arousal in the bond resonating and feeding off both of us. She leaned in, reaching back to untie her top...

A quick series of knocks broke us from our sensual trance.

"Hey, we're heading to the lagoon," my twin's voice carried through the wood. "Dont be too long!"

Twilight sighed and rested her head against mine. Our combined frustratuon simmered for a moment.

"Luna's Moon!" she swore softly. "It's like Rory coming home early all over again."

I leaned up and kissed her as she released her spectral grip. "Be paitient, Sunshine," I said. "It's not like this is the only time alone we'll have."

"Yeah, but being interrupted by the voice of the woman you're kissing af the moment is..." she frowned, searching for the proper word. "Disconcerting."

I nodded and brushed a stray lock of her hair to the side. She got up and went to grab her coverup and I plucked the strands of our bond, causing her to shiver before glaring at me.

"You're going to be doing that all afternoon, arent you?" She accused.

"Maybe," I drawled, hands held out as she wadded her coverup and threw it at me.

"What's the rush?" Twilight caught her breath as they reached the end of the trail that opened up to the sheltered lagoon. For the most part, it remained the same. However, Twilight could see a large stork take off from the far end of the lagoon and fly out towards the ocean just as she came around the rock and trees that had shielded her view.

Sunset ditched her sandals and dove into the deep spot she knew was safe. Her answer thus did not come until she resurfaced in the warm clear water. Her wet hair now drooped on her, losing part of the wave it had when not weighted down by liquid. "I originally planned on us being here alone for a while when Lighty went to the diving center as usual. But now we've probably only got a few minutes before the others get here. There's something I wanted to try too!"

Twilight wondered at her wife's enthusiasm even while she started to suspect what it was about. She found a more gentle entry to Sunset's spot besides the rock her wife had jumped from. In short order, she waded into the welcoming water and approached her spouse. "What's that?"

The redhead smirked and, with a single stroke, closed the remaining distance between them. She easily pulled her wife around to the rock that formed a wall on that side of the lagoon. There, she sandwhiched her while being conscious not to press her against any sharp rock that would ruin the mood. "Don't think I lost interest for a second. That bikini of yours has been driving me crazy since you put it on this morning."

"Well, it is one of your favorites," Twilight coolly explained. "And the exposure is always a nice feeling after being in those lab coats all-"

Twilight's rambling was silenced as it often was by the crush of Sunset's lips against her own. This was still their vacation and Sunset would be darned if she didn't use it. A couple of decades did nothing to cool her love for Twilight, so the sensation of this kiss and her wife's arms wrapping around her neck brought her to nirvana.

As we walked to the lagoon, I saw a stork winging it's way off to the east, spreading it's wings as it caught an updraft from the ocean.

"Wonder if we'll have time to do a little flying," I wondered out loud, squeezing my wife's hand. "We're only here for a week, and I want to spend time with the girls."

"We'll make time," Twilight said as we came into sight of the lagoon.

"That's odd," I said, bending down to stare at a pair of discarded sandals, then comparing them to the ones on my feet. "These look like mine..."

"Probably your counterpart's," my wife said, coming up besides me, glancing around. "I dont see them, maybe they're past the fall?"

I shrugged, chucking my own sandals off to the side. "Well, I'm for a swim," I said, glancing back at my love as mischief suddenly flooded the bond. "What're you..."

My wings manifested just in time for me to hit the water from my wife's shove. As I foundered to the surface, I spat water out and glared upward at my mutinous wife, who was giggling on the overhang.

Then I saw two pairs of eyes staring, and my face turned as red as my hair.

Apparently I had made a bigger splash than I realized.

The kiss, which was their second after a break for cool air, ended with a literal splash. Twilight gave an "eep" along with her flushed face when the other Sunset surfaced. She was blushing too.

"Uh..." Sunset hung her mouth open. She had honestly expected a little more time. Or perhaps she had instead lost track of time while making out with her spouse. That was, after all, a common occurrence. She regained her composure while refusing to let go of her wife. A snarky thought came to her mind as smooth as warm coconut oil. "Hey, Sunny," she addressed her other self. "Look familiar?"

"We'll be even after I catch my trecherous wife," Other Sunset growled before thrusting upwards in an attempt to fly out of the water. Unfortunately, the heavy weight of her soaked wings only allowed her to splash backwards again into the crystal water.

I surfaced again and dismissed my wings, raking soaked hair from my face.

"I'm going to get you for that, Sparkle," I called up, making sure to color the anger in the voice with laughter through the bond. "Just you wait!"

"What're you gonna do?" came the reply. "Make me help you preen your feathers again?"

My face turned redder and I sank a little lower in the water.

When did you get so snarky? I asked.

About twenty years ago.

I stood a little as I felt the redness fade and turned to the couple I had inadvertently interrupted.

"Sorry," I said, not quite looking at them. Not out of guilt, but the other Twilight was missing just a bit of coverage beyond an amber-toned hand.

"Um..."

“I’m sure it’s nothing you haven’t seen before,” Twilight looked up to the other Sunset while quickly recollecting herself. After all, the familiar face made it easy.

“Yeah,” Sunset agreed with her wife and then looked up and over to the other Twilight. “Might want to get over here quick, though. I think your wife is already missing her arm candy!”

Twilight couldn’t help blurting out a chuckle and gently punching her wife’s arm for the joke. She was still up against Sunset and, before turning about, she repositioned the straps on her top so it would not cause an immediate wardrobe malfunction during a swim.

In any case, there was indeed a difference of choice when it came to swimsuit selection. This other Sunset and Twilight did not wear the same opposing color schemes and generous angles.

I heard the rocks scrabbling along the gentle slope that led to tbe edge of the pool, and my wife slid around the corner and into the water to deny my revenge by yanking her in. She stuck her tongue out at me when she saw my glare.

She was wearing the same suit we had arrived in, front zipped with a racer back top to discretely hide her scar. The top and matching bottoms were ombre, going from dark indigo into a warm orange-red that was as close to my hair as she had been able to find. She liked the idea that our link had blended us both a little, a fact that had helped us keep our mentalities straight during the conjunction.

I had on a suit similar to the one I had worn on the cruise all those years ago, only now the halter top held all four cutie marks of our family embroidered along it's neck strap, same as the charm bracelet the girls had gotten me for Mothers Day this year. They had gotten Twilight earrings that had my sun dangling from studs that resembled her star. The suit was variegated orange, red, purple, blue, and pink, gradients slowly merging together.

I couldnt be mad, looking at her. She had loosened up in our time together and took her fun when it was available and safe. I knew she wouldn't have pushed if the drop was dangerous.

I just wish she'd let me take of my long overshirt first.

She swam over and kissed me.

"You know you loved it," she whispered, pulling me in again.

"So," Sunser remarked as Twilight finally swam away to a leisurely float in the direction of the closest waterfall. "We going to hit up those fireworks tonight? I figured we could watch them however we want since our schedule is open-"

"Our schedule has already been carefully planned," Twilight called back even as she drifted away. "We have exactly one hundred six minutes left until we have to be back at the villa for refreshments."

Sunset rolled her eyes and then grinned at the other pair. "Inside joke. I'm sure you know nothing about Twischeduling," she added a wink at the other Twilight as she said so.

Other Sunset shrugged it off while her wife turned sheepish. "Once upon a time, yeah," Other Sunset admitted. "We've both changed each other a lot over the years."

"Sure," Sunset turned her grin into a smirk as she began paddling backwards in the direction of her own wife. "Getting pregnant tends to do that. Also nightly activities. Lots of nightly activities."

"Also, we told the girls to be back by sundown for dinner," Twilight said. "Which is in about two hours, give or take a few minutes allowing for vantage points and such."

"Can still set a watch by her, though," I joked, earning a splash as we followed the mirrored couple.

"So," my wife said as we settled in. "What do the two of you do, if you don't mind us asking. I'm curious about how different the divergence affected us in adult life. I teach physics and chemistry at Canterlot University and Sunny...my Sunny, rather, is a novelist."

"I'm no Nickerson or A.K. Yearling," I said, leaning back to let some of the indirect stream from the fall trickle over my face for a moment. "But I enjoy myself, it gives me free time for when duty calls me through the mirror, and I got to spend a lot of time with the kids growing up."

"Yet somehow," Twilight said, a puzzled expression on her face. "Niether of them took after you outside of mischief."

That earned her an elbow.

"Sounds pretty relaxing," Sunset replied before dunking under the water for a moment. She liked the feeling, as it refreshed her. The lovely vew of her wife's bare legs underwater was only a side benefit. Upon resurfacing, she continued. "Advanced Systems Engineer Level Five. That's my official title. If you want to know what that means, I invent gadgets that haven't been made before and yet nobody cares about - boring things like weather pattern analyzers that can predict trends on other planets in the solar system. The International Planet and Space Agency is the organization I work in. We provide the tech for almost half the world's advanced weather stations as well as over two thirds of all space exploration instrument modules-"

"Oh dear," Twilight interrupted as she floated by in front of Sunset, drifting carefree on the surface of the water. "You got her started on the one thing that makes her ramble the most."

"Ugh!" Sunset scoffed and pushed her wife to unbalance her. "You are one person to talk, Ms. Geneteicist!"

The other Twilight took an increased interest and swam a little closer. "You're a geneticist?!"

Twilight recovered from her Sunset-induced topple underwater and rubbed the water from her glasses. "Long story short," she answered with her trademark vocal waver, "I got an early job as a lab assistant and wound up becoming the lead geneticist for the local government medical research institute. That was actually how I started to figure out the genetic splicing that gave us Lighty."

"Now I must see your notes before we leave," Twilight breathed. "Imagine what this could mean for people with genetic defects, or infertility that defies regular methods!" She trailed off, her thoughts turning dark and distant. She was remembering the failed attempts we had before turning to magic to conceive.

Moving quickly to forestall the imminent slide to sadness I knew was coming, I changed topics.

"Speaking of Lighty," I said. "Surely I wasn't the only one that noticed that Aurora couldn't take her eyes off the boy."

My twin nodded. "She wasn't subtle about it either," she said, moving a hand about in the water. "Though I doubt he noticed, honestly."

"Why's that?" my wife asked. She wasn't feeling defensive of our daughter, she was curious why a handsome boy wouldn't notice a pretty girl paying him attention, besides just being oblivious.

"I don't know how it happened," Sunset answered in turn, "but somehow he didn't catch my abundant romantic confidence."

Twilight facepalmed at her wife. "No, Sunny. He's just humble," she countered and then started backstroking gently to the next waterfall. "He doesn't assume everyone is interested in him that way."

Sunset, however, pursed her lips and pouted as she smacked the water in front of her. "I keep telling him to believe in himself and try something. I mean, he may have taken more after you, but he did get my unbelievably good looks!"

With the last words, Sunset tilted her chin up and raised her arms behind her to flip out her wet hair. It sent a sprinkle of water droplets around her that shimmered rainbow when they passed the occassional light ray beneath the heavy tree canopy leaning over their area of the lagoon. She puffed out her chest with the motion, as if she were striking a pose for a beauty commercial.

"Dramatic much?" I smirked at my twin before returning to the matter at hand. "Aurora has overplayed her hand in the past, romantically speaking. Too many bedtime stories from Rarity, I think."

"Which is why we sent Middy along," my wife chimed in. "Her presence alone will reign Rory in."

"Maybe even get her to open up herself," I added as an afterthought. "She's never exactly been open about her likes and dislikes. She went stag to her own prom, for Celestia's sake."

"So?" came the response from across the lagoon. "So did I. I hadn't started dating Miss Science here quite yet."

"You and I aren't Middy," I replied. "Remember that homesick feeling we had before the Friendship Games? That is, if you even had the Games on this side, rather. I get that same feeling from her sometimes, like she's waiting for something or someone. It's worrying sometimes."

"Maybe spending time with Lighty will help," my twin responded.

"Well," I hedged. "Twilight," I began, getting a stereo "yes" in reponse. We all giggled.

"Let me try that again," I chuckled. "Sunshine, given the variance of spatial dimensions and whatever other wibbly-wobbly stuff, how exactly would the kids be related?"

My wife fell into contemplative silence, as did her twin.

Sunset contemplated what her copy had said. She did indeed experience the Friendship Games in their universe, so she related a bit with that. She had felt an emptiness that she couldn't identify back then. Hindsight made it clear though. When the pony Twilight went back through the portal after the Battle of the Bands, a void had been left. A void of having someone she felt was an equal - someone who she not only respected but could connect to on a deeper level. Of course, that void would eventually be filled by the human Twilight.

Meanwhile, Twilight was pausing in her swim and slowly drifting back as her mind engaged her inner science once more. "Well, family relation is essentialy percentage shares of genetic material. However," she touched her glasses while being careful not to get the lenses soaked again, "if our multiverse spatial positioning is as sufficiently distant as indicated by our significant paths of divergence then I'd conclude - and I'd have to run a full genetic analysis to confirm - that our DNA has a level of variation-"

Sunset put a hand of her wife's bare shoulder after swimming up to her. "Honey," she said simply.

Twilight blushed with an apologetic giggle. "Second cousins at best," she concluded simply. "Fourth is unlikely but not impossible depending on the level that our special magic genes mutated in comparison-"

Anything more that the mature scientist has to say was cut off prematurely by a "woohoo" and a thunderous crash of water nearby them. Water poured over them in a thick spray from the fallout of the surprise cannonball. The figure responsible took a good moment to swim back up from the depth she had smartly dived into. When she surfaced, she did so with a half-leap and more gentle surface impact reminiscent of agile dolphins playing around just for fun.

The newcomer didn't take long to recognize an issue, however. She looked back and forth from one pair of swimsuit clad Shimmers to the other. "Hey," she finally complained after an awkward silence. "I thought you two agreed on no cloning!"

I smirked at the comment.

"Clones?" I said. "You've literally seen two different Twilights at the same time, rifts into other dimensions, and who knows what all else, and clones are seriously your first thought?" I turned to my counterpart. " Just what in the hay are we missing?"

Rainbow Dash blinked, but before she could respond, a voice growled down from above.

"You never listen, do you?"

The other Twilight waved cheerfully. "Hey, Adagio!" she greeted as the Siren made her way down to the lagoon.

She raised an eyebrow at the paired couples but didn't speak as she went over to Rainbow and pushed her mouth closed.

"The note said 'At lagoon, be back later', Dash," she continued gruffly. "Ever enter your mind they might have wanted alone time?"

"Never stopped her before," the other Sunset muttered, waving off my raised eyebrow.

Sunshine, however, was still puzzling over things. "Second at best," she said absently.

You ok? I asked, trying to get a feel for her mental state. All I could sense was memories of the girls, tinged with her maternal concern.

"Hello," I said. "Earth to Twilight Sparkle."

She shook out of her stupor and grinned absently.

"Sorry," she said. "Lost in thought again. Oh, hi, Dashie, when did you get here?"

Three facepalms and a groan echoed in the clearing.