• Published 12th Aug 2017
  • 3,128 Views, 27 Comments

Red and Gold - Rose Quill

Sunset returns home to face the consequences and finds things she didn't expect.

  • ...

Lunchtime, September 3

"Hello, Sunset," Fluttershy said as she stepped onto her porch, her wings tucked closely against her sides. "Are you feeling better today?"

"Hmm?" I blinked. "Yeah, I suppose so. I just had some frustrations that needed to be vented. Twilight and I had a good long talk the other day."

It was the truth. When I retuned to the castle, soaked for the rain, Twilight's first reaction was to rush forward and hug me. After a quick bath, we had sat down and she explained what had happened. Turns out I had walked in on the tail end of the conversation, but I missed Rainbow apologizing.

"Oh, good," she said, pulling the door behind her closed. "I'm glad. I'd hate it if you were fighting while you were here."

I looked at her out of the corner of my eye as we walked. She was different from the Fluttershy that I had come to know. She stood a little taller, spoke a little louder. But the smile was the same, as was the pleasant humming.

"So, do you have a preference on where to have lunch Sunset?" she asked as we entered the town proper.

"Not really," I said. "I've never been to Ponyville, actually. You can pick, if you want."

"Ok!" The yellow Pegasus started her humming again, smiling.

Her happiness was infectious, and soon I was smiling as I walked alongside her. She led us to a tall building with a pleasant looking paint job.

"Welcome to the Golden Leaf," a mare greeted us as we entered. "Oh, Fluttershy! It's been a while."

"Hi, Suzette!" the Pegasus said, walking up and hugging the other mare. "How is your dog doing?"

"Oh, much better," Suzette replied, smiling. "Thanks so much for treating that cut. Now then, just two today?"

She nodded, and we were led to a small booth near the kitchen. I glanced around at the decor, wondering what the fare was.

"So," I began hesitantly. "What's good here?"

"She didn't!" I giggled, setting down my fork.

Fluttershy nodded as she laughed too. "She did!" The mare said as she picked up another biscuit with her wingtip. "I don't think I've ever seen Rainbow so terrified. I almost felt bad for agreeing to be in on the prank."

"She learned her lesson though, I assume?"

"Oh, yes," Fluttershy wiped her mouth with a napkin. "She apologized for the pranks and agreed to reign them in a bit."

I chewed on the last bit of my pasta. "One thing, though," I mumbled around the bite before swallowing. "Did they taste good?"

"The cookies? Well enough, I suppose. I wouldn't want to eat them again, though."

I chuckled at that, then glanced at my lunch partner, about to say something else when memory ripped into my head.

"So pathetic! I mean, why would anyone want to be friends with you? It's no wonder the only people that put up with you are animals."

"Sunset? Are you ok?"

I snapped back to reality at the question, realizing tears were streaming down my face. I took my napkin and wiped them away and managing a small, sad smile.

"Yeah," I answered. "Just...bad memories. From before Twilight came after me."

"Does it have to do with why you've been avoiding me?" She asked softly, eyes locking with mine.


"Don't worry, I'm not upset, just confused. You said you were friends with all of our counterparts back there. But since you've come here, you've interacted with most of us a little at least in passing. So, why am I the one you seem to avoid?"

I looked down at the table, tracing small circles with a hoof. "You heard about what I did there, right?" I whispered. "How I bullied other students. I dated the most popular guy in the school to climb the social ladder, tore down competition with rumor and scandal, and forced your counterparts apart."

Fluttershy nodded. "But you changed," she whispered encouragingly.

I shook my head. "I'm a better pony now," I agreed. "But there was something I did for no other reason than cruelty. Every day, I would track and corner your counterpart and insult her, humiliate her, or otherwise ruin her day. She was my favorite target because I knew she wouldn't fight back. After the dance and they started to befriend me, I stayed away from her. Spending too much time with her would remind me of what I had done."

"And you feel guilty," she whispered. "I think I understand. But I'm not that Fluttershy. You didn't..."

"It doesn't matter," I interrupted, feeling tears welling up again. "You sound just like her, act the same. I keep thinking there should have been a way to apologize better. Something I could have done."

"I forgive you, Sunset," the mare said in that soft voice of hers.

I froze, shocked.

"Even though you never did anything to me, I forgive you," she smiled at me, pink mane sliding forward slightly. It gave her a more mature cast to her face, changing the shy filly-next-door look into something beautiful. "It's in the past, and there's no sense in living there. Everypony deserves a second chance to make up for mistakes, so cheer up!"

I smiled. "I thought Pinkie was the one that tried to cheer everyone up," I said, swiping at the tears.

"I filled in for her for a day," she admitted shyly. "It wasn't a good day. But the thing is, Sunset, you've been forgiven by everypony from what I understand, and even you managed to move past all that to save that world's Twilight. Why won't you move past this one piece?"

"I will, someday," I promised. "But thank you, Fluttershy."

She nodded and stood from the table. We paid our check and returned to her place. As she unlocked her door, she turned to me and smiled.

"I hope you had a wonderful time, Sunset," she breathed. "And I hope to see you around more now."

I grinned. "Well, I don't plan on moping in the castle anymore," I chuckled. "And I had a good time. Maybe we should do it again sometime."

The Pegasus smiled as she turned to face me.

"I'd like that," she whispered and leaned forward to hug me before turning and entering her cottage.

I stood there on the stoop for a few moments, dumbfounded.

As she had pressed in, I had gotten a strong whiff of her scent.

And she smelled like honeysuckle.