• Published 20th Apr 2018
  • 2,456 Views, 80 Comments

Curriculum Vitae - Bookish Delight

Twilight Sparkle asks Starlight Glimmer to be the guidance counselor for the School of Friendship. Starlight, understandably, needs time to process this. And maybe a few strong drinks.

  • ...

3: Second Interview

"She thinks I have all that stuff we talked aboooooou-hou-hooouuuut!"

Starlight's wailing words echoed across Sunset's bedroom as the two of them sat on Sunset's bed. Starlight buried her head in her hands, sobbing, as Sunset patted her back.

"She seriously, without any second thoughts, thinks I'm cut out for this! This doesn't make any sense!" Starlight wiped her eyes, sniffling. "Is she making fun of me? Is that it? Is this all some kind of elaborate prank? Given everything I've been and done, I could almost respect that."

Sunset gave Starlight a tissue and wrapped her arm around her girlfriend's shoulder. "Come on, Starlight. You and I both know that Princess Twilight's idea of a 'prank' is to place a single book out of alphabetical order when organizing library shelves."

Starlight blew her nose, hiccupped, and nodded. "Except that usually backfires on her because leaving things that way for too long triggers her own neuroses, and she has to put it back. You're right," she said with a huge exhale. "Also, now that I think about it, she did use the Lecturing Face."

Sunset recoiled, and her eyebrows shot up. "Oh! Wow, okay, yeah, she's actually totes serious."

"But... none of that stuff is me!" Starlight said. "I can't do this job! What do I tell her? What do I say?"

Sunset sighed, sitting back on her palms. "Starlight, I want to help you, I really do. But I'm not sure I can."

"What? No, you totally can!"

"How?" Sunset asked.

"Duh!" Starlight threw up her hands. "You're this world's version of me!"

Sunset blinked. "What."

"Hear me out." Starlight took a deep breath, gestured to Sunset, and began reading off of her own mental index cards. "You know what it's like to have terrorized a whole bunch of ponies—well, people, purely out spite. You know what it's like to be really sad, really angry, for reasons that seem great to you at the time, but nobody else ever. You know what it's like for those reasons to make sense to no one but you, yet lash out anyway."

Starlight exhaled, looking at the floor. "You know what it's like to feel lost in life, and not know who you are, but still just want to do better, because someone believes in you—not to mention wanting to believe in yourself, even though you're not sure if you remember how to anymore. And you know what it's like to finally become the slightest bit sure of yourself, but only after weeks, months, of self-doubt and self-loathing." She looked over to Sunset, who was shifting back and forth, and rubbing her hands together. "Am I wrong?"

After a silence of several moments, Sunset sighed and shook her head. "No. But now I'm scared," she said in a low voice, looking at Starlight. "Because that is eerie."

Starlight nodded. "Uh huh. It freaked me out too once I looked at all the similarities." She looked into Sunset's eyes. "You've even magically mind-controlled people."

Sunset met Starlight's irises head on. The two of them stared at each other, seriously, studying one another... until, finally, Sunset fed Starlight a sly, slanted grin.

"I had a better reason," Sunset said.

Starlight burst out laughing. "Are you kidding? You were trying to take over the world! In what universe is that a good reason for anything?"

"Better than simply not being able to handle a baking session with Pinkie Pie!"

"Ohhhhhh, no you don't." Starlight shook her head. "We've been over this. You aren't able to handle baking sessions with Pinkie Pie, either."

"S-she uses whipped cream cannons!" Sunset sputtered. "Those things ruin outfits! Which, may I remind you, is something you don't have to worry about in Equestria, where clothes are optional!"

"I'm sorry, but I believe that means I win." Starlight raised her hands in the air. "Team Glimmer is triumphant! Woo-hoo! Take that, Shimmerists!" She flopped backwards onto the bed, cackling maniacally.

"Oh, please, at worst, this is a draw—" Sunset stopped. "Hang on a sec. 'Shimmerists'?"

"Oh!" Starlight propped herself up on her elbows. "Long story, I'll try to cliff. You remember that book I told you went viral across Equestria after Twilight released it? The one with all the friendship lessons in it, tales of her and her friends' adventures, all that stuff?"

Sunset nodded. "Yeah. Twilight said ponies went crazy over it." She chuckled. "Which I only partly saw coming."

"Well, that book actually goes up to, and through, your whole deal with the Sirens. Let's just say your story..." Starlight waved her wrist. "...inspired ponies."

"Oh," Sunset said. "Well, that's nice. Isn't it?"

A devilish grin crossed Starlight's face. "Oh, it always is. To a point."

Sunset's brow furrowed. "What's 'the point'? And—heaven help me—what's past it?"

"Let's just say that, as a former cult leader, I'm jealous of you." She flourished towards Sunset. "Because you, Sunset Shimmer, can officially do no wrong in the eyes of Equestrian readers, even though you and I walked very similar paths in life." She raised an eyebrow. "If you really want to know how deep the rabbit hole goes..."

Sunset's eyes widened. "I'm suddenly not sure I want to—"

"It did spark some fanzines," Starlight continued, her evil grin holding fast. She took a small magazine out of her vest pocket whose cover read Harmony Nights, and flipped through several pages. "Ah, here we go! "'Locker Room Confessions, Sunset Shimmer x Reader'..."

Sunset blanched outright. "They're writing fan fiction about me?" Sunset said, darting towards Starlight—but Starlight had already anticipated her girlfriend's reaction, and rolled out of the way.

"Oh, so you're familiar with the concept," Starlight said.

"Rarity got me into Power Ponies. But again, beside the point—"

"'Sunset pins you against the lockers, her palms slamming to either side of you, the alluring sneer on her face piercing the very depths of your heart,'" Starlight read from the parchment-bound magazine. "'She's just as dominant as you always heard she was towards helpless Canterlot High School students... as you always dreamed she would be towards you. Your legs quiver, and your body heats in waves as her angelic frame inches ever closer to you, and the leather of her coat brushes against your neck...'"

"I get the point, you can seriously stop now," Sunset said. She lunged across the bed, only for Starlight to dodge off of it. "Wait, actually, hang on," Sunset said, stopping in realization. "This stuff is released in Equestria?"

A giggling Starlight ran around, back to the other side of the bed. "Hey, turns out a lot of ponies are interested in what it's like to be a human. There's a market!" Shimmying down the ladder to the lower level of the loft, she continued to read from the floor below, in a mock-dramatic voice:

"'She stops to speak—and a soft, insecure voice unexpectedly betrays her confident position. I know you like bad girls, she says, pressing her chest to yours, and sliding her palm down your cheek. But what if I told you I wasn't like that anymore? That my past is not today? Would you... would you still like me?'"

"How are they directly quoting me from an entire universe away?" Sunset exclaimed, jumping from the top of the loft in one swift move, landing on the floor, and backing Starlight towards the couch, as the latter rushed to read as many lines as she could.

"'You nod, and Sunset instantly melts,'" Starlight said between guffaws. "'Thank you, she breathes, as she leans in for a kiss, the softest you've ever felt in your life, inconceivable from someone with a reputation for being so brusque'—gyah!"

Starlight's calves hit the couch, and she lost her balance, falling onto the cushions. The next thing she knew, the magazine was snatched from her hands, and Sunset was throwing it across the room. It impacted with a violent smack against Sunset's bedroom door before falling to the ground. Starlight barely heard it amidst her own laughing.

Sunset flopped onto the couch next to Starlight. "I take it back," she said, gasping for breath, her face buried her in hands. "I don't want to know anything, anymore, ever, and now I wish we hadn't destroyed the Memory Stone. Wow."

"Yeah, I feel your pain," Starlight said. "I thought I was safe, but Twilight put out a sequel to the book to help finance the school." She gestured to the fanzine, which lay frumpled near Sunset's door. "Most of the stories about me involve my cult leader life. Or mind control. Sometimes both."

"Sweet Celestia." Sunset shook her head as she stared at the ceiling. "Both of them."

"Page 56, last month's issue," Starlight said without missing a beat. "You want to make up with Princess Celestia, but you're scared, so Principal Celestia comes through the portal with you to back you up, but then when all three of you are alone in the same room—"

Sunset let out a cross between a whimper and a yell.

"Sorry, sorry." Starlight smiled and shrugged. "I just find it fascinating more than anything. Don't you like to know what goes on in peoples' heads? What possesses them to come up with this stuff?"

Sunset looked at Starlight and shook her head again. "Not really. I'm too busy trying to straighten out what goes on in my head."

"On that, I can totally relate. I mean, it's why I'm here." Starlight sidled next to Sunset, draping her arm over her girlfriend's shoulder, and pulling her close. "Look, sorry for destroying your innocence. But if it helps, you've gotten me to feel a little better. I came here crying, and now I'm laughing." She paused, then added, "Even if both of us are crying on the inside because self-insert romance fanfics about us are even a thing in the first place."

Sunset rolled her eyes and snickered. "Can't win 'em all, I guess."

"Yep. Hot Ex-Bad Girl Problems will always be our life." Both girls exchanged slanted smiles, relaxing against each other. "But yeah, this has been one crazy evening, which was not in my plans. I was supposed to be lying quietly in my room after a full, productive day, and then all this happens." Starlight sighed. "And it isn't even Twilight's fault. Well, not really. I mean, okay, maybe she needs to learn how to warn a girl before she pops big questions, but I know I made this bigger than it should be. Because, well..." Starlight shut her eyes. "I don't ever want to let her down. She's done so much for me."

"Neither of us want to, for the same reasons," Sunset said. "You could just respectfully decline. There's no shame in it. You've told Princess Twilight 'no' before."

"Yeah, but that was because everything in me was telling me to do it! You think that comes easy?"

"Oh, I'm deathly afraid to even think about ever doing that myself." Sunset chuckled and took a deep breath. "Wow, these parallels are getting crazy. But really, what it comes down to is: is this guidance counselor thing something you want to do, or not? Because if your heart isn't in it, then it'll show if you do attempt the position. And then it really will go badly."

"That makes sense." Starlight thought for a minute. "I... do want to help Twilight. And I also want to give back. Give back to the world that I already set some bad examples in. I just don't think I'm good enough of a pony to do that, yet. Let's just say my 'problem-solving' methods might not be the best thing for impressionable minds."

Sunset nodded. "Yeah. I've been there."

"And that's why I came to you. Because you've been through all this mess too. In a slightly different way, sure, but now you're an inspiration. A light of hope. I've saved the world, I suppose, but I'm sure not someone for others to look up to. I'm not a role model."

Starlight looked at the floor again, folding her hands.

"I'm still scared, Sunset," she whispered. "Of... of everything. Even if I am better equipped to handle life now than I was then, I'm scared of giving somepony, some filly, some colt, some young person who places their trust in me, bad advice, sending them down a bad path. Those are things I know I'm capable of doing because I've already done them. But if I ever did them again..." She shook her head. "I could never forgive myself."

Sunset held Starlight's hand. "I understand. I'm scared, too, for similar reasons. Unfortunately, it kind of never stops, and you never know just what new 'bad paths' you'll come across next. Remember, I just dealt with a girl who was so mad at my popularity at school, she tried to erase everyone's memories of me."

Starlight nodded. "Yeah. Stuff like that. You still have to introduce me to her, by the way."

"I'll set something up. But from everything I've heard about this new school, Princess Twilight's trying to stop friendship problems before they start." She looked to Starlight. "And, hey, who knows better about having problems with friendship, than someone who's had all of the problems with friendship?"

Starlight gasped as the full impact of Sunset's words hit her, but still afforded a smirk in Sunset's direction. "Well, you, but you're busy here."

Sunset smirked in kind. "Exactly."

"Still. Wow. Thanks, Sunset. I never thought about it that way. Teaching ponies how to not be me?" She giggled. "I think you're onto something here."

"There we go," Sunset said. "Glad I could help after all."

The glow and buzz of a book on the nightstand next to the couch interrupted the conversation. Sunset reached over and opened it. A new message from Princess Twilight Sparkle glowed inside it.

"Hi Sunset, is Starlight done yet? It's been a while, and I'm getting worried."

"Yeah," Starlight said. "Tell her I'm ready to come back."

"Will do." Sunset put pen to paper. After a short time, more glowing writing showed up. Sunset looked at it once the glow faded. "She wants to see both of us. Could be fun. I haven't been to Equestria in a little bit."

"Amazing how a little thing like finally making up with certain world leaders removes one's fear of casual travel," Starlight said.

Sunset bumped Starlight's shoulder. "Oh, hush." The two stood up, and Sunset gathered a few books and random knick-knacks into a saddlebag. "Starlight?" she said.

"Yes?" Starlight replied.

Sunset returned to the couch, clasped Starlight's hand with both of hers, and looked into her girlfriend's eyes.

"Now that I've got full context: that day you saved the mall, and possibly the city? You also helped me out. When I was really scared about what to do next in life while living here, with magic all around me? Even writing to Princess Twilight couldn't help—but you did."

Starlight gaped as she remembered her talk with Sunset on her first trip to the human world. There had been ice cream, there had been bonding, and there had been insight from her she hadn't believed she was capable of. But Starlight had to admit, until this moment, she'd filed it to the rear corners of her mind. "Wow. I'd totally forgotten about that."

"I'm not surprised. But I didn't. It's easy to forget whose hearts you touch. But no one whose heart you touch forgets it." Sunset picked up her saddlebag, and walked towards the door. "Let's go see what Twilight has to say, shall we?"