• Published 1st Sep 2017
  • 2,392 Views, 56 Comments

...But It Often Rhymes - Posh



For four years, Sunset Shimmer has carried a torch for Miss Cheerilee, and for four years, she's struggled to look at her without thinking of the one who got away.

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Coda: World Enough and Time

The book bag's strap digs painfully into Cheerilee's shoulder, chafing her skin through her blouse as she walks. She's carrying thirty-six essays, prepared by students with a tendency to overwrite everything, none of whom did her the courtesy of printing on both sides of the page.

She hefts the bag and grunts from the effort – it's as if they want her to develop back problems.

It's Friday evening, and the school is all but deserted. None of the students have lingered as late as Cheerilee, who's bogged down by the never-ending duties of grading and prep work. Only a few other faculty, and custodial staff, remain. The parking lot, too, is mostly empty: one or two cars are scattered here and there, besides Cheerilee's own beloved sedan, which sits alone at the back of the lot.

She's surprised – not unpleasantly so – to find that it's gained a hood ornament. Sunset Shimmer's seated on the front of the car, slender legs dangling past its front bumper. Behind her, the sun dips lower in the sky, and her body casts a long, murky shadow.

Cheerilee pauses, a few paces away from her car. She squints at the setting sun, then levels a knowing look at her girlfriend posing in front of it. "You're too much sometimes."

Sunset Shimmer folds her legs at the knee, rests her elbows on her thigh, and plants her chin in her upturned palms, a smug look on her face.

Cheerilee shakes her head, though she can't stop grinning like a lovesick schoolgirl. "I don't see your bike in the parking lot. Did you walk?"

"Gotta stave off that freshman fifteen somehow. Not that I burned too many calories on my way here." Sunset reaches behind herself, and produces a brown paper bag. "Probably won't make much of a difference after this."

"You brought me lunch?" Cheerilee's grin widens. "It's not burritos, is it?"

"Cheers, we've been over this. Burritos are depression food; sandwiches are for days where we enjoy life. Also, it's sundown. This is dinner."

Cheerilee breaks into giddy laughter. "I have papers to grade, you know!" she manages to gasp out.

"Yeah, and I have papers to write. I don't mind procrastinating if you don't. Call it chronic senioritis." Sunset gives the bag a shake, rustling its contents. "C'mon. It's salami and mozzareee-llaaa..."

Cheerilee catches herself licking her chops.

There's just no saying "no" to her, is there?

She stops to drop her bag into the backseat, and joins Sunset on the car hood, settling down and kissing her cheek. "You're a terrible influence. You know that, right?"

"Maybe. Or maybe senioritis is contagious."

"Ought to get yourself tested."

Sunset makes a sour face. "Too much work. I got papers to write after this, y'know."

Cheerilee snickers, and leans in again for another kiss – on the lips this time, deeper and sweeter. They part with a wet smack, a smile passing between the two lovers.

"You already ate your sandwich," Cheerilee says softly. "I can still taste the chipotle mayo."

Sunset pouts. "I was hungry."

Cheerilee snorts, accepting her own sandwich when Sunset offers it. She unwraps it, and raises it to her mouth. Sunset is talking about her day, about her classes, about how easy it is to excel in a community college environment, about the funny meme Rainbow Dash sent her while they were sitting in chem... the trivia, and minutiae, of her life.

She's saying something gossippy, in a faux-scandalized tone, about Timber spending the night in Twilight's dorm, when Cheerilee stops listening. Not because it's uninteresting – okay, it is, but Sunset could make even the phonebook worth listening to.

But because Vice Principal Luna is standing at the high school building's exit, looking at Cheerilee through the glass doors, fixing her with a cold, knife-like stare. Her disapproval, her disgust, is clear, even from across the parking lot.

Icewater crashes through Cheerilee. Her smile fades – her appetite is gone.

A warm hand grips her shoulder. "Hey. What's the matter?"

Cheerilee blinks and looks at Sunset, into her warm, concerned gaze. "Nothing. Nothing, I'm just..."

She glances back at the door. Luna's gone.

"...I'm just not all that hungry right now, I suppose."

"Are you sure?" Sunset's brow furrows. "You were ready to go to town on that thing a second ago. Did I get the wrong bread? Is there too much dijon? Not enough dijon? Can you tell how much dijon there is just by looking at it?"

"It's perfect. I promise." Cheerilee nods emphatically.

Sunset takes a deep breath. "Is it... 'cuz I came to see you at school?"

Cheerilee starts to answer, but Sunset interrupts.

"I know, I know. It's only a big deal if I make it one." Sunset hugs herself, rubbing her arms through her jacket. "Still feels weird, though. Intrusive. And... I don't like making things hard for you."

Cheerilee's voice catches for an instant. "If you're worried about making things hard for me, then why show up at all?"

Sunset looks shockingly uncertain, with her slumped shoulders and her teeth gnawing her lower lip – not at all the confident woman she's been, for all the time that Cheerilee's known her.

"'Cuz we don't see each other as much as we did over the summer. That's normal, I know, but going from 'every day' to 'a few times a week' to 'every weekend' is like... tapering off your meds too fast. It's hard to adjust, even after a couple months." Sunset runs a hand through her red-gold tresses, tossing them over her shoulder. "And I know we're supposed to have dinner tomorrow, but that wasn't coming fast enough... so I thought I'd get a head-start on things."

A bit of that forgotten smile creeps back onto Cheerilee's face. "You broke your cardinal rule just because you missed me?"

"Well... yeah." Sunset's own confident smirk returns. "That, and I'm pretty sure you'd starve to death if I didn't feed you. I know how you get when you're on the job, Cheers."

They share a laugh – but when it's over, there's still some uncertainty in Sunset's eyes.

Cheerilee's quick to assuage it. "I'm happy you came to see me. It's..."

Her hand finds Sunset's thigh, giving it a squeeze.

"It's the best thing to happen all day."

Relief seems to pour through Sunset; she straightens, smiles more broadly. "So what's up then? You can tell me." More earnestly, she adds, "You can tell me anything."

And Cheerilee wants to. At that moment, there's nothing in the world she wants more than to bare her soul to this woman she's fallen inescapably in love with. Because Sunset's not the only one of them guilty of carrying a secret – just the only one of them with the courage to let hers out.

Sunset doesn't know that Luna was livid at her relationship with Cheerilee, that Luna demanded Cheerilee's resignation. That it was only by Celestia's intervention that Cheerilee kept her job, and only with the understanding that Sunset was closer to Cheerilee's age than she was with any of her peers – and, even then, only after Cheerilee swore that nothing happened when Sunset Shimmer was her pupil.

And even that was purely a matter of perspective, when one considered the prom.

There's more, too – so much more. Sunset might still think, on some level, that their relationship is just a dream, built on her memories of a lost love from behind the mirror, but that's not the truth of the matter at all. The truth is, Sunset is an angel. Literally, from what Cheerilee has seen. And Cheerilee knows she has done nothing to deserve the love of an angel.

So, one day, Sunset will simply realize that she's outgrown Cheerilee. She'll spread those fiery, seraphic wings, and soar away, in search of someone worthy.

Sunset doesn't know that she is going to leave Cheerilee.

And Sunset doesn't know that Cheerilee has accepted this inevitability.

In that moment, Cheerilee almost tells her.

Instead, she smiles adoringly.

"I promise, I'll eat it later. I'm not about to let your hard work go to waste."

And that's enough for Sunset.

She holds the bag open for Cheerilee to drop the sandwich inside, and moves the bag behind herself. Cheerilee gathers her legs onto the hood of the car, and cuddles against Sunset.

"I'm gonna hold you to that, you know," Sunset says. She plants a kiss on Cheerilee's head. "I'm gonna follow you home and watch you eat every single bite of that thing."

Cheerilee lifts her head long enough to pull Sunset into a slow, deep kiss. Her hand strokes Sunset's cheek; her thumb flicks a curl of hair out of Sunset's eyes.

"We can go in a few minutes," Cheerilee whispers, after they part. "Just give me a little more time like this."

Then she settles her head against Sunset's shoulder, smiling, and shuts her eyes.

Author's Note:

Edited/preread by Dubs Rewatcher

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Comments ( 26 )

T_T why'd it have to go and be bittersweet? My feels are confused, i just want a cheerylee, not a fearylee </3 *hugs the overworked teacher*

I need more of this ship now.

That moment when you realize how old Sunset actually is compared to Twilight. :rainbowderp:

Welp, this puts it over the word limit for the contest. I'm afraid you're going to have to send me that money back, and I'll just take the commission too and claim it's my own. :rainbowkiss:

Cute, bittersweet, and somehow all I want is more. It's a nice epilogue to an already fantastic story.

Came for cute fluffyness, got my heart ripped out with the ending. Good story though.

Sunset doesn't know that she is going to leave Cheerilee.

And Sunset doesn't know that Cheerilee has accepted this inevitability.

That's painful. Maybe it's true, but for Cheerilee to have accepted it? It's too late now. Self-fulfilling prophecy.

Ever wondered how to take a generally happy ending and retroactively fill it with bitterness? Do this.

I know that sounds like a complaint, but it's really not. Way to make us feel feelings ya jerk!

Edit: I will say, maybe this is just the hopeless optimist in me talking, but I do like how the "inevitable breakup" is still kinda ambiguous, and could just as easily be interpreted Cheerilee's own unfounded fears.

8662130 I'm kinda the worst.

:trollestia:

8662451
You can just say it... unless you think there's a meta-eldritch out here again. I don't see any imminent threat; you might lol.

Also, are you sure it was Moonie and not AB?

8662451
You're being too hard on yourself.

What do you mean "kinda"? :trollestia:

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

...Is the implication that this is the Equestrian Cheerilee? c.c I'm really not sure what this final chapter was going for.

It's a fact of life that all things end. You've addressed that in a way that, nevertheless, leaves us and the characters with hope for the present.

Read the sequel (which works great on it's own by the way), came back for this, definitely adds context.

This is freaking wonderful story. This last chapter really ties it off beautifully, makes the whole thing feel much more real. It’s nice to see everything isn’t all ‘sunshine and rainbows’, even if I think some people in the comments are making is out to be a lot darker than I am. I think Cheerilee’s characteristic lack of self confidence is mostly to blame for that heavier interpretation. The things she sees as inevitable are merely transitory doubts that will fade with time and Sunset’s reassurances.
Luna is probably just jealous anyway; she likely felt a kinship with Sunset’s dark past but held herself back out of feelings of obligation.

Haven’t read the sequel yet, but I’m of the opinion that a story should never be judged with regards to them anyway. I don’t view sequels as being canon to their predecessors, only the predecessor is canon to the sequel. I know this isn’t the popular view, but I’m not trying to push it on anyone, so whichever.

I love how bittersweet that ending feels. Part of me is optimistic, I'm a little sappy under the hard cynic shell of apathy, but with Sunset's history and Cheerilee's self esteem this doesn't feel lasting. It's nnot an age gap thing or an experience thing, it just feels like one of those fireworks loves. Amazing and wonderful but if your not careful someone will be burned. I'm probably going to read the sequel part of me just wants to leave it off and end the story here.

I don't mind this ship. It is unique and I have not seen it before now.

This story made me believe in romance.

9517745 you probably shouldn't read the sequel

(thank you though. :heart:)

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Also these two are very sweet. pls no hurt.

10090550 The picture is no longer on derpibooru.

So, that's good to know. Thank you.

Woof, now that's a bitter ending, pulled the rug out from under us with all that sweetness didn't ya! So why do I love it so much :D Grade A work, the more of your stuff I read, the more I love it all~

10123834 These reviews are giving me life right now.:twilightblush:

10123867
I'm rapidly working through all your stuff, it's good writing!
Be proud dude :)

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