• Published 23rd Sep 2018
  • 2,052 Views, 475 Comments

Playing House - Krickis

When Sunset learns about problems in Fluttershy's home life, she invites her friend to live with her instead. For Fluttershy, it’s a shelter from the storm she lives in fear of. For Sunset, it’s the hope to be part of a family for the first time.

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8 – Time and Changes

Chapter Eight

Time and Changes

“Why would you ever think that was acceptable!?”

Fluttershy shrunk back at Sunset’s tone. “I… I’m sorry, I just…”

Sunset advanced forward, backing her up to a wall. “You lied to me!”

“I didn’t mean to! I’m so sorry, I thought that… maybe I would never have to…”

“Never have to what?” Sunset folded her arms and didn’t wait for Fluttershy to answer. “Tell me the truth? You used me, Fluttershy.”

Fluttershy fell to her knees and wrapped her arms around Sunset’s legs. “I’m sorry! I’ll do anything, just please don’t –”

“Don’t touch me.” Sunset pulled back, causing Fluttershy to lose her balance and fall onto the floor. It was where she deserved to be.

Sunset stepped aside so the path to the front door was clear. “I’m not playing this sick little game with you. Get the hell out of my house.”

Fluttershy looked up to protest, but she couldn’t. Not when she knew Sunset was right. Fluttershy had earned this reaction for her deceit, and there was nothing else to do. She rose to her feet and walked slowly to the door.

She stopped when she reached it. She didn’t turn back, couldn’t bare to look into Sunset’s face, but she did want to say one final thing. “I… I love you, Sunset.”

She heard footsteps walking towards her, but it wasn’t Sunset’s voice that answered. It was a man’s voice, and one she had hoped to never hear again.

“Who could ever love you?” Stormy Skies asked, freezing her in place. His hand slid around her stomach and she felt sick. “You’re only good for one thing.”

Fluttershy’s breathing was rapid as she woke up. On instinct, she kept as still and quiet as possible. Nightmares were nothing new, and years of experience had taught her to never cry out.

She knew it had been a dream, but the feeling was still there. The way he touched her, and the way it made her skin crawl. She felt something moving along her stomach, and she couldn’t stop herself from pulling away.

Sunset pulled back her hand, but didn’t wake. Fluttershy sat up slowly and looked at Sunset, barely visible in the moonlight. She hadn’t meant to pull away from Sunset’s touch, and she felt guilty for it. But yet, she couldn’t bring herself to return any affection. Having Sunset there to hold her was usually what she wanted after a nightmare, but this time, she found that she’d rather not be touched.

Slowly, the other details from the dream sank in. The fight with Sunset hadn’t been real, of course, but she was sure it was just around the corner. Sunset probably wouldn’t really kick her out, no matter how much she deserved it. Sunset was too good for that. But when she found out Fluttershy had deceived her… Well, Fluttershy didn’t want to think about it.

But sitting in bed with Sunset meant she could think of nothing else, and the dark did not feel welcoming. Fluttershy had to get up, she had to clear her head.

It was difficult to leave without disturbing Sunset. Fluttershy slept on the inside of the bed, which meant she had to go over Sunset to leave it. Thankfully, Sunset was a fairly heavy sleeper, and she hardly stirred as Fluttershy cautiously climbed over her.

It was cold out of the blankets, but Fluttershy didn’t mind. The cold was bracing, and it made her feel slightly more awake. She left the room quietly, closing the door slowly and silently behind her. Once she was on the other side, she went into the bathroom.

Turning on a light further helped chase away the nightmare, but not the thoughts it had brought with it. She knew Stormy Skies was nothing more than the boogeyman hiding under her bed, even if the thought that he was still out there did still terrify her. But she knew he wouldn’t harm her here. She knew that Sunset would be there to keep her safe. She had faith in that.

She did not know how long Sunset would be willing to be there, however. Even if she reacted better than she had in the dream, it was best to be realistic. Sunset wasn’t going to stand by Fluttershy if her worries proved true.

And every day, that felt more and more likely. How much longer could she go on pretending that things were going to be okay? Fluttershy looked into the bathroom mirror and studied her body, looking for any sign of change. She saw nothing, but she knew it had been too long.

Her hand moved towards her stomach, but she shifted course and brought it to her face instead. The tears followed after. Silent, so she wouldn’t alert Sunset as she cried.

In an attempt to focus on something else, Fluttershy turned on the water and splashed it against her face. It was ice cold, but it forced the tears to stop. She considered taking a shower, but thought the water through the pipes might make too much noise and wake Sunset. Fluttershy could at least let her sleep peacefully.

There wasn’t anything to do in the bathroom, so she left it. She walked through the dark living room and into the kitchen, turning the light on and taking a look around. The only movement came from a wall-mounted clock, which also made the only sounds as it ticked the seconds away.

It wasn’t like she was looking for anything, exactly. She just didn’t know what else to do, so she looked for something to give her an idea. She thought about the wine in the fridge, but she couldn’t bring herself to do that. Not with the thoughts that were eating at her mind. No, she would need to find something more mild, just in case.

Her eyes fell on the coffee maker. The more time that passed from the nightmare, the more her body told her to return to bed. But she couldn’t. Sunset was in there, and Fluttershy didn’t deserve to be beside her.

Coffee would help, though. Fluttershy had never been a big coffee drinker, but nights like this called for it. She filled the coffee pot with water, added the grounds, and just hoped that it would be enough of a distraction.

‘There could be lots of reasons,’ Fluttershy told herself. ‘I can’t let myself get so caught up with these dreams…’

It was always worse on nights after they were… intimate. It had been a week since they’d started doing that kind of thing, and it was something Fluttershy was trying to get used to. She knew it was important. It always made Sunset happy, and there was so little Fluttershy could do for her despite owing her so much. And if Fluttershy did things like that, then maybe Sunset would be willing to stay with her after all.

Still, no matter how important it was, she wished it didn’t bring about the dreams. Perhaps that was also just something Fluttershy would have to get used to with time.

The coffee finished dripping into the pot, and Fluttershy was happy for the chance to busy herself by getting a mug. She filled it, then set the pot back on the warming plate. She took a seat at the kitchen table and blew on it softly.

If nothing else, the mug felt nice in her hands. It spread warmth through her fingers, which she appreciated. It did sort of remind her how cold she was otherwise, wearing only pajamas and away from the warmth of Sunset or the blanket they shared.

The house was always cold. Not unbearably so, and Fluttershy did understand. The warmer the house was, the higher the gas bill would be. Money was tight, especially with Fluttershy around, and they had warm clothes and blankets that wouldn’t hurt their budget.

And because the scarcity of money was also Fluttershy’s fault, she felt guilty about how much the cold bothered her. She would never say so, of course; the cold was preferable to being a bigger burden by turning the heat up. But it made the house feel less welcoming, and that reminded Fluttershy that it was not and probably could never be her home, no matter how much Sunset claimed otherwise.

Fluttershy took a sip of the coffee. It was far too hot, but she didn’t mind. The heat made it hard to think about other things, so she kept sipping.

One cup of coffee turned into two, which turned into three. She periodically got up and walked around, trying to generate just a little more heat in the cold house, and just did her best to try not to think about her dreams. Her best, as usual, was not enough.

‘It was just a dream. I’m okay.’ Fluttershy stepped up to the window and stared out, looking out at the snow-covered yard illuminated by street lights.

From there she stepped to the doorway and looked through the living room. The light from the kitchen distorted everything, but she could make out the bedroom door. She thought of Sunset on the other side, and how she would be there to comfort her if Fluttershy asked her to be.

‘I should tell her. But what if it wasn’t just a dream? What will she think of me?’

She shook her head and returned to the kitchen table. She sat down and stared at her coffee. The ticking of the clock marked the passage of time. Fluttershy could feel it moving ever forward, each day that came and went making her feel more and more certain.

‘Only a dream. It was only a dream. Even if it has been six weeks since…’

Fluttershy jerked her head up and shook it violently. There was no room for thoughts like that in her life, she couldn’t let there be room for thoughts like that. She grabbed the mug and drank quickly, the overly hot coffee burning her mouth. Still, she drained every drop from the mug and burned away every thought that wasn’t about the heat.

She set the empty mug down roughly, letting it fall over as she dropped her head to the table. “Why did I drink that so fast?” she grumbled to herself.

Although her head was spinning from the rush of heat the drink had brought, she stood and carried the mug to the sink. The water was cold as it came out, but she ignored that and washed the cup for the third time. She dried most of the moisture off with a towel and set it aside to air dry the rest of the way.

Moved by her tired feet more than anything, she found her way to the couch. She shivered as she lay down on it, but she still couldn’t bring herself back to the bed. Instead, she curled into a ball to try and force a little extra warmth.

Somehow, despite the cold and the caffeine, she dozed off. Her sleep was restless, and her thoughts never stopped, but at least it was short lived.

A hand shook her gently, and a voice spoke even gentler. “Fluttershy? What are you doing out here? The sun’s not even up yet.”

It no longer mattered if Fluttershy was ready to speak to Sunset, since she was kneeling beside the couch. She sat up and rubbed her eyes. “I couldn’t sleep.”

Sunset sat down on the couch beside her and pulled her into a hug. It was warm and reassuring. “Why didn’t you wake me up? Bad dreams again?”

As soon as Sunset’s arm was around her, Fluttershy’s worries began melting away. She no longer had any reservations about being close to Sunset, so she snuggled closer as she nodded. ‘Not about what you think though…’

“Everything will be okay, Shy,” Sunset said, and Fluttershy tried to believe her. “I’ll never let him near you again. I’ll never let anything bad happen to you. I promise.”

Fluttershy nodded. She had to tell her. “I… I’m…”

She couldn’t. The words were there, but the only thing that came out was tears.

“Shy, it’s okay. Look at me. Everything’s okay.”

Fluttershy listened to her, too tired to do otherwise. Sunset was smiling, and Fluttershy felt the warmth spread to herself as well. “Sunset, I…” She wiped her eyes and smiled back. “Thank you. I’ll be okay.”

Content that Fluttershy had stopped crying, Sunset turned her attention to a digital clock near the TV. “Well, we’ve got about an hour before you have to get ready for school. You want to try to get back to sleep, or just stay up?”

Fluttershy smiled sheepishly. “Oh, well, I had three cups of coffee so I don’t think I’ll get much sleep, actually.”

Sunset laughed and stood up. “Why’d you even take morning classes?”

She disappeared into her bedroom for a minute before coming out with a blanket. Once they were both covered, she turned on the TV and hit play, letting whatever was already in the DVD player start playing again. They snuggled up on the couch and watched quietly. Even without any more words of comfort, just being beside Sunset was comforting enough.

By the time the first light began coming through the windows, Sunset had fallen back asleep leaning on Fluttershy’s shoulder. She didn’t mind, though. It was everything she could ask for, and more than she could ever deserve.

It would all come crashing down soon, but Fluttershy resolved to enjoy it for however long it would last.

Fluttershy liked school. Most of her classes were interesting and her professors nice. It gave her a reason to think about other things and a sense of progress as she moved through her days, slowly getting closer to her veterinary degree. Even the homework was nice, since guitar practice could only fill so much time while Sunset was at work.

But for once, she couldn’t manage to focus on her professors. The day’s lecture went on while Fluttershy’s notes remained blank, all the thoughts in her head relating to how time pushed forward, each day bringing more certainty that it was all about to come to an end.

She couldn’t keep doing this. Along with the fact that the worst was becoming more and more likely, Fluttershy couldn’t keep living with the uncertainty. Enjoying the good times while they lasted was only acceptable while they were still happening. She either needed to be certain things could remain good, or she needed to figure out what else she could do.

That was scary, too. The thought of losing Sunset after she’d only just started to learn how good life could be terrified her, but even without that, trying to figure out a way on her own felt impossible.

She stuck it out until the end of class, checking the clock every few minutes in the vain hope that more time would have somehow passed than she had thought. It was always less. When she wanted time to stand still, days would pass her by and leave nothing but fear in their wake. When she wanted time to move faster, it would slow as if it were being dragged back by the weight of her anxiety.

But as slow as it may have been, the time still passed and her class came to an end. Fluttershy was among the first out the door, having long since put away her things. As she was walking down the hall, she pulled out her phone and dialed the only person she could think of who might be able to help set her mind at ease about one thing at least.

Mercifully, she answered. “What’s up, Shy?”

“Hi, Rainbow. Hope I didn’t wake you.”

“No, I got up a little bit ago. Getting an early start on clearing out the basement for band practice. I’m gonna get Lemon Zest this afternoon so we can set up her drum kit.”

“Oh! How are things going with her?”

“She’s great! Lightning Dust is coming by too, and the three of us are gonna have our first songwriting sessions today.”

Fluttershy smiled. Even with her own problems going on, she was incredibly excited for her friend. “That’s good to hear. I bet you three are going to sound great in no time.”

“Heck yeah we will! Want me to pick you up when I’m getting Lemon Zest? You could come hang out with us.”

“Uhm, maybe another time. I have… something else going on tonight. Sorry, Dashie.”

“Hey, no problem. That just means by the time you hear us, we’ll be that much better!”

Fluttershy giggled. “I’m sure you will.”

“So what’s up with you?”

Fluttershy looked around. She was sure no one would care about her conversation, but it still felt odd to talk about in public. “I, uhm, I actually had something… kind of strange to ask you.”

“Everything okay?”

“I… I think so.” Fluttershy took a deep breath. “If something happened, and I couldn’t stay with Sunset anymore, would I be able to stay with you?”

There was a painful silence before Rainbow answered. “Well… of course. But what’s going on? I thought things were going really good with Sunset.”

“They are,” Fluttershy answered quickly. The last thing she wanted was for Rainbow to think it was Sunset’s fault. “It’s just… it’s a lot to explain.”

“Is, uh…” Another hesitation. “Is this about money?”

Fluttershy frowned. It made sense that she thought that, and it was as good an answer as any, even if not entirely true. “It’s about a few things. But yes, money’s part of the problem. I… I know it’s been hard on her…”

“Yeah, she’s really taking one for the team there,” Rainbow said, then seemed to immediately regret it. “Er, I mean, I’m sure if she couldn’t do it she’d let us know, you know? I mean, I could always try to chip in something, and I bet Applejack and Pinkie would too.”

How did Fluttershy ever get so many wonderful friends? All she could do was smile. “Thanks, Dash. Right now, everything’s okay though. I’m just worried where things might go.”

“Yeah, I gotcha. But hey, things will work out. Sunset kinda kicks ass at that sort of thing, you know? She’s been doing this since we were all in high school. I’m sure she knows what she’s doing, and you got me no matter what.”

Fluttershy could only hope she would never need to make good on that promise. “Thank you so much.”

“No sweat!”

“I should get going. I have another class to get to. That was just… something on my mind.”

“Alright, talk to you later, Shy.”

“Bye, enjoy your practice.”

Fluttershy hung up, feeling just a bit better. She had just as many worries as before, but this was now one less problem on top of all the rest.

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Although she had no doubt it would be just as torturous as the last, she made her way to her next class.

As she had feared, the day was a long one. And while school had been bad, things only got worse afterwards. Even if she hadn’t been able to focus on the lessons at all, it still took some of her thoughts away. It was only when she was back home that she realized how big of a deal that had been.

It was made worse by the constant worry that it might be the last night she spent in the house. She had her backup plan with Rainbow, so she knew things would go on one way or another, but that was only one of several worries.

More than the fear of not knowing where to go, and much more than the fear of leaving the house, Fluttershy was afraid it would be the last night with Sunset.

As she often did when fears like this got to her, Fluttershy had spent most of the day in bed. She kept Sunfish Swimmer beside her, covered herself in their blanket, curled around Sunset’s pillow. It smelled like her, and that both comforted her and made her want to cry even more.

The evening had started pretty normal. Sunset came home, Fluttershy made dinner for them, and they ate it on the couch. They talked about Sunset’s day at work and Fluttershy’s day at school, and she tried to find it in her to enjoy the moment in the present while it lasted.

“You okay, Shy?” Sunset asked after a while. Only then did Fluttershy realize she had been staring off into space.

“I’m…” Fluttershy could only shake her head.

Sunset scooted closer to her, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. Would they ever sit like this again? “What’s going on?”

“I… I…” Fluttershy tried to look at Sunset, but gave up before she could make eye contact. She stared at the floor instead. “I didn’t mean to…”

“It’s okay.” Sunset’s tone was bright and encouraging. She had no idea what was coming. “I’m here, and everything’s gonna be alright.”

Fluttershy truly believed that. Everything would be alright, just so long as Sunset was there. Only… Sunset might not still be there once Fluttershy told her the truth. “I lied to you.”

“Uh, okay. About what?”

Fluttershy opened her mouth, but her chest constricted, keeping both her words and her breath locked inside its tight hold.

Sunset tried to gently guide her face up so they could look at one another, but Fluttershy just turned to look at the back of the couch instead. Sunset didn’t seem to mind and continued anyway. “Whatever it is, it’s okay. You can tell me.”

“I-it’s… it’s bad.” Fluttershy swallowed and her voice became thick as she tried to hold off tears. “It’s really bad.”

Sunset waited for a moment to see if Fluttershy would continue. When she didn’t, she placed a soft kiss on her cheek. The feeling of Sunset’s lips against her skin made Fluttershy’s eyes shut tightly as she inhaled a sharp breath. She didn’t deserve that.

“Would it help if I promise not be mad? Because I won’t be.”

“I lied… When you… when you asked about…” Fluttershy swallowed. “Stormy Skies.”

Sunset’s posture became more stiff. Did she already know what Fluttershy meant? “You mean… the day I met you at the animal shelter.”

Fluttershy gave a few shallow nods, knowing that Sunset had figured it out.

Sunset’s voice sounded shaky when she spoke. “I asked if he… Did he rape you?”

Tears started rolling down Fluttershy’s face. “I’m sorry,” was all she could say.

“No. No no no.” Sunset kept her arm around Fluttershy’s shoulder, using the other to hold her hand. “You have nothing to be sorry about.”

Fluttershy looked a little closer to Sunset’s direction. “I… but I…”

Sunset placed her forehead on Fluttershy’s. “I’m here to take care of you. I promise I’ll never let anything like that happen to you ever again.”

“You really… you still…?”

Sunset pulled her arm from around Fluttershy’s shoulders to dry her eyes. “Of course.”

It didn’t matter that Sunset had just dried her eyes, because Fluttershy cried even harder after hearing that. She wrapped her arms around Sunset and buried her face in her chest, crying while Sunset stroked her hair and spoke comfortingly.

Fluttershy wasn’t even sure what Sunset was saying, but the calmness of her voice helped soothe her. That Sunset would still want to be with someone like her, someone used in the worst way, was more than she could ever hope for.

And yet, she had to hope for more. If anything, finding out that Sunset was willing to stand by her even after that made her feel even more scared of what would happen next. She had to keep going, but how could she?

She couldn’t. Not now. Maybe not ever. But then… it was only a matter of time until she found out. Wasn’t it better to get it out in her own terms than to wait until it was no longer ignorable?

“Is there anything you want me to do?” Sunset asked. They were lying on the couch, which Fluttershy couldn’t even remember doing. Sunset was on her back and Fluttershy was curled around her, more so lying on her than on the couch.

Fluttershy shook her head. “No, you’ve done so much.”

“Only because you deserve it.”

Sunset smiled and brushed hair out of Fluttershy’s face, and Fluttershy allowed herself to be selfish. She pulled her head up from Sunset’s chest, bringing it to her face instead so she could kiss her lips. Even with Sunset’s reassurance, she was still kind of amazed when she kissed her back. It was soft and gentle, and it was the most wonderful feeling she could imagine.

And yet, it made her so hopelessly sad. “I… I don’t deserve anything like you…”

“Sure you do. You’re an amazing person, Shy. Nothing changes that.”

“But…” Fluttershy shut her eyes and her mouth twitched, unsure as she was which shape to make with it. “Th-there’s more.”

Sunset hardly responded, but Fluttershy could hear the fear she tried to mask in her voice. “What do you mean?”

“I, uhm…” Fluttershy kept her eyes shut tightly and returned her head to Sunset’s chest so she wouldn’t have to look at her. She could hear how fast her heart was beating. It was probably almost as fast as Fluttershy’s. “My period is late.”

“How late?” Sunset’s voice was losing the softness it had held, becoming thick.

“Two weeks.”

Sunset took a deep breath. “Okay. How regular is it normally?”

“It’s, uhm… usually pretty regular.”

“Right. So first thing, you can miss a period from stress. And you’ve had a hell of a lot of that this month, so let’s not jump to conclusions.”

Fluttershy nodded, trying not to cry. Still, her voice came out weak. “Okay.”

“It’s, you know, it’s probably that.” Sunset’s voice somehow managed to sound hopeful. Could that be all? Oh dear God, please let that be all.

“So I should just… wait?”

“No. We’re going to find out. Just… don’t panic, you know?”

Not panicking was easier said than done.

“Alright, I’m going to go get a pregnancy test. You wanna come with me or wait here?”

Fluttershy was taken by surprise. It made sense, of course. But somehow Fluttershy hadn’t expected Sunset would immediately jump to fixing things, despite all her past behavior indicating that’s exactly the type of thing she’d do.

Fluttershy sat up. “I… I don’t want to be alone anymore…”

Sunset followed suit. “Understandable. We’ll just run down to the drugstore real quick, grab a test, then be back here before we know it.” She stood up and grinned as she held out her arms. “You pee on a stick, we see that we’re worried about nothing, everything’s better!”

Even though she could tell that Sunset was trying to console herself as much as Fluttershy, it still helped. “Okay. Uhm, thank you, Sunny.”

Sunset walked into the bedroom and returned with their jackets and helmets. They bundled up and walked to the backdoor, but Sunset stopped before going outside. She lifted her helmet to expose her face, so Fluttershy did the same. “Hey, uh… It’s going to be okay. You know, either way, everything is going to be okay.”

Fluttershy felt like she might cry again if she spoke, so she just smiled and nodded. Sunset smiled as well, then put her helmet back on and opened the door.

The night was windy, and there was already some snow falling. It made Fluttershy second guess going out on the motorcycle, but Sunset trudged onwards. There was no way Fluttershy would make her go alone in this weather, so she followed behind willingly.

Fluttershy waited as Sunset pulled the motorcycle out of the shed, then climbed on behind her. Sunset started the engine and Fluttershy held on tight, for once sure that she wouldn’t mind the ride at all, if only because it would make it impossible to worry about anything else.

The weather wasn’t too bad for Sunset, who was an experienced rider. And as closely as Fluttershy clung to her, she hardly noticed the snow herself as they drove. Just as she thought, the roar of the engine and the wind that chilled her through her thick biker jacket distracted her from thinking about anything else.

And so it was both good and bad that the drugstore was practically down the road from the house. In nicer weather, it would be walking distance if need be. Even with the snow, the drive there only took ten minutes, and they made it without any problems.

Fluttershy dismounted and waited while Sunset locked up the bike. She looked around at the weather and realized how good it was that they were so close; even in that short time, it felt like the snow was already falling harder.

Whether because she had noticed the same thing or because she was nervous herself, Sunset led the way quickly into the store once the bike was secure. They stopped briefly at the entrance so they could remove their helmets, and Sunset flashed a comforting smile.

“I can grab it if you, you know, don’t want to be on that aisle.”

“Oh, uhm, I don’t mind.”

Sunset nodded and led the way. Despite her claim, Fluttershy couldn’t help but feel embarrassed as they approached the pregnancy tests. Even if she was determined to not make Sunset do it alone, she kept her eyes fixed on the ground the whole way.

If Sunset was embarrassed at all, she didn’t show it. She walked right up to the tests, grabbed a box, and started looking it over. After a minute she grabbed another and started comparing.

Fluttershy was thankful that Sunset never asked her opinion on which one to buy, instead choosing one based on reasons Fluttershy was unaware of and leading them back to the counter.

“Should we get anything else while we’re here?”

Fluttershy could hardly believe Sunset’s voice sounded so normal, until she answered and realized hers was the same. “I don’t think we need anything.”

Even if she was panicked, it was easy to hide it when people were around her. Was that how Sunset was feeling beneath the surface as well?

There was a sort of bizarre normality that extended beyond their voices. They casually stood in line and waited for other customers to make their own purchases. The cashier didn’t so much as comment on their purchase, still offering the same friendly service as he would with anything else. He and Sunset even talked about the weather, and how there was supposed to be a big storm coming in during the night.

Everything seemed so normal, it almost made Fluttershy feel normal about it too. They made their purchase, took their bag and receipt, then walked out the door.

They put their helmets back on and Sunset shoved the bag in her jacket pocket, which zipped up to keep its contents safe while driving. Although their time in the store was short, the snow was coming down harder and the wind was picking up even more.

Distraction or not, Fluttershy hoped the ride would be a short one. She was scared of what might happen at the house, but she knew the roads were becoming unsafe for the bike.

There was nothing to do but mount up once it was unlocked, though. Sunset started the engine, and they drove off.

Even the increased whether and the sound of the engine were no longer enough to keep Fluttershy distracted. Thoughts ran through her head about what would happen if the test came back positive. What would she do? What would Sunset do? Sunset had told her that it would be okay either way, but was she just saying that?

‘It won’t be like the dream,’ Fluttershy assured herself. No matter what, it wouldn’t be that bad. She was now sure of that much at least. No matter what else happened, as long as Sunset stayed by her side and helped her figure it out, she felt like maybe they could get through anything.

The trip back couldn’t have been much more than the same ten minutes that it had taken to get to the store, but it felt much longer. By the time they reached the house, Fluttershy’s emotions had become so conflicted that she felt like she might explode.

But all she did was dismount and wait for Sunset, as always. Sunset locked the bike safely in the shed, then they walked into the house.

Inside, Sunset left her helmet on the kitchen table. She pulled the bag out of her jacket pocket, then removed the jacket and left that on the table as well. For once, Fluttershy did the same, deciding she had more important things to worry about than leaving out their snow-covered jackets.

Sunset walked into the living room, but didn’t take a seat on the couch. She took the pregnancy test out of the bag and tore the box open. She handed the test to Fluttershy, who frowned as she took it, then folded open the instructions.

“Okay, so… looks like you just take that cap off, pee on the end there for seven to ten seconds, put the cap back on, then wait five minutes.”

Fluttershy looked down at the test. She was surprised to see it had a small screen that showed the results, unlike the ones she’d seen in movies that only showed it with a colored line.

“Here are the instructions, in case you need them. Seems pretty straightforward, though.”

Fluttershy looked up to see Sunset handing her the pamphlet she’d been reading. She nodded and took it, then took a deep breath.

“Just… remember, no matter what, it’s gonna be okay.”

Fluttershy bit her lip to keep from crying and nodded again. There was nothing left to do but to find out, so she walked past Sunset and into the bathroom.

With the door shut behind her, she looked at the instructions again, reading them for herself. The device was labelled as a digital pregnancy test, explaining the screen. Everything was exactly as Sunset had read, so she decided to stop stalling.

Of course, the five minutes of waiting proved to be the hardest part. Once she was done and had the cap back on, Fluttershy went back into the living room. Sunset was on the couch by then, so Fluttershy sat next to her.

Sunset saw her looking at the test and took it from her hand, placing it facedown on the table in front of them. “Five minutes, Shy. Don’t torture yourself with too much looking before then.”

It was impossible to imagine anything could be more difficult than it already was, but Fluttershy nodded anyway. Sunset took hold of Fluttershy’s shoulders and gently guided her so that she was leaning back on Sunset. Whether by intention or absent-mindedly, one of Sunset’s hands came to rest of Fluttershy’s stomach as she held her.

Time did not slow. It became a tar pit, consuming Fluttershy and refusing to move forward at all. She could hear every second pass by as the clock in the kitchen ticked painfully slowly, only audible due to the heavy silence that blanketed the house.

“Uhm…” Fluttershy started.

“What’s up?”

Fluttershy didn’t know. She just couldn’t take any more silence, and needed something to fill it. She looked around and found just the thing. “Will you play something on your guitar.”

Sunset gave a small laugh. “I think I can manage that.”

“Thank you.”

Fluttershy shifted so Sunset could stand up. She took her guitar from its stand, which was already plugged into the amp from Fluttershy’s daily practice. Sunset turned it up just a little bit louder than Fluttershy usually kept it. She strummed a few chords and asked, “Is there anything specific you want me to play?”

“No. Whatever you want is fine.”

“Okay, here goes.” Sunset took a deep breath then started strumming. Fluttershy recognized the song immediately, and even with everything else going on, she couldn’t help but smile right from the first few chords.

“Once upon a time, you came into my world and made the stars align.”

It had been a long time since they had sung that song with the Rainbooms, the first song they’d written while Sunset was in the band. It was easy to see why Sunset had chosen that song; while Rainbow had come up with the melody, Fluttershy had been the one to write the lyrics.

Fluttershy couldn’t help but join in towards the end, which she suspected was part of Sunset’s plan all along. “Together we stand, as the rain begins to fall. And holding our heads up high as the sun shines through it all.”

It was a memory of a happy time, when they were all together and life was fun. It was a reminder that Fluttershy wasn’t alone, and she herself had written this song to attest to that. It was a message that together, they could weather any storm. It was just what Fluttershy needed to hear.

“We shine like rainbows,” Sunset finished.

Fluttershy smiled. “That was perfect, Sunny. Thank you.”

“Yeah, of course.” Sunset took off her guitar and set it back on the stand, then returned to the couch. “So… ready to check that test?”

Fluttershy’s smile fell away at the reminder, but she realized the five minutes passed much quicker than she had thought they would.

She picked up the test, but didn’t turn it over yet. She took a deep breath and reminded herself out loud, “It’s going to be okay, no matter what.”

Sunset took hold of her other hand, and Fluttershy turned over the test.

The screen showed only one word. ‘Pregnant’.

Fluttershy drooped her head, unsure what to do or say. Sunset’s arms wrapped around her, and the two of them sat silently for a moment.

She was pregnant. That was the only thought that went through her head. She was pregnant.

“Alright,” Sunset said after a minute, with a tone that sounded like she was not ‘alright’ but was trying to be. “Well. It’s going to be okay. Everything will work out. And, you know, I’m here for you.”

“Even… with this?” Fluttershy asked, hardly believing it. “Even if I’m… pregnant?”

“Yeah, of course.” There was no sign of hesitation in Sunset’s voice, no sign that she held anything against Fluttershy. “For anything. No matter what.”

It was strange. Despite all the crying earlier in the day, suddenly Fluttershy didn’t feel like crying at all. Maybe she was finally out of tears. “Thank you. Thank you so much.”

Sunset smiled and nodded. “Don’t worry about anything. I’ll look into it and figure out everything we need to do. If you’re only two weeks late on your period, you aren’t very far into things at all, so there shouldn’t be any issues with getting an abortion.”

“With… with what?” Fluttershy pulled away from Sunset and gave her a surprised look.

Sunset looked equally surprised, and for once, seemed to be at a loss for words.

“I… I never said I want an abortion.”

Sunset shook her head. “How could you not, though? I mean, yeah, it sucks. No one wants to go through that. But you can’t possibly want to keep it?”

“I… I don’t know… I just…” Fluttershy turned away. In all the worries she’d had about being pregnant, none of them had involved an abortion.

“Fluttershy, look. There’s just… so many things wrong here! I mean, you obviously didn’t want this.”

“Of course I didn’t want this! I’ve been hoping and praying every day that this wouldn’t happen. But… it did.”

“Yeah, it did. But you shouldn’t have to live with something like this. Especially when, you know, you had this whole situation dropped on you.”

“You’re right, I shouldn’t have to.” Fluttershy’s hands moved to her stomach. The thought that there would soon be a child growing inside of her was terrifying. It wasn’t something she chose, and it wasn’t something she was prepared for. She knew that, but she still couldn’t bring herself to get rid of it. “And I don’t have to. I understand that, but I want to give this child a chance.”

“This is insane.” Sunset’s tone was hard, but not exactly angry. “I can’t afford to take care of a child. You know that, right? For fuck’s sake, neither of us know anything about raising a kid!”

“I…” Fluttershy closed her eyes and realized what was happening. Sunset was scared, and she had every reason to be. “I wouldn’t make you do that.”

They were both quiet for a moment. Sunset sighed. “So… you’ll do it?”

Fluttershy stood up. “I’ll call Rainbow and have her come get me. Then you won’t have to worry about this.”

“You’ll what!?” Sunset stood up as well. “No. Don’t be ridiculous.”

“I’m sorry!” Fluttershy turned her back to Sunset, she couldn’t face her. “I should have… should have told you from the start. Then we might have found out sooner, and you’d… you never would’ve…”

Fluttershy swallowed, the tears threatening to return. “You never would have wasted your time.”

“I didn’t waste my time!” Anger was starting to show through Sunset’s voice. “We just can’t do this! And neither can Rainbow, or anyone! This… child, it’s just not something you’re able to handle!”

“I’m sorry.”

Fluttershy walked to the bedroom, collapsing on the bed. She had only meant to go somewhere private to call Rainbow, but as soon as she was alone, she started crying. Not her usual quiet tears, but loud sobbing that she had to grab a pillow to muffle.

She only realized after that it was Sunset’s pillow, the same one she curled around when she was afraid of what would happen between the two of them. It had never been more fitting than that moment.

Outside the window, the winds were whipping the snow around wildly, and Fluttershy knew that she couldn’t ask Rainbow to drive on a night like this. It looked like she would have one more night in the house after all. She looked back to the door and saw what she knew she would, that Sunset hadn’t followed her in.

Fluttershy turned back to the pillow, and she cried.

Author's Note:

This is it. This is the big thing that I wouldn't have put in this story now, but I had already referenced in other stories as something that had happened. This whole pregnancy by rape thing felt like it would be fine when it was part of Sunset and Fluttershy's backstory, but actually writing it... I could do without :twilightblush: I tried to figure out how Shy could be pregnant some other way for this story, since it’s not the pregnancy itself I’m uncomfortable with, but nothing fit in with all the details I’d already established elsewhere.

So anyway, I'm progressing with this because it's already written into the series canon, and I'll be doing it as carefully and respectfully as possible. Honestly this chapter was probably the hardest for it, just because it was a matter of getting it out in the open and establishing that Shy wants to keep the child despite the circumstances.

On a related note, I don't want Fluttershy's decision to be read as an anti-abortion statement. I do write my ideals into my stories a lot, so I could see that being how people interpret this. But I chose to do this because I was a dumb and overly edgy storyteller, not to make a statement. If having Sunset offer the pro-choice argument doesn't make it clear, I'm not at all anti-abortion.

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