• Published 15th Sep 2019
  • 570 Views, 31 Comments

Arrhythmia - Posh

When Flash Sentry got into Fillydelphia State, nobody was more surprised than him. He never counted on having a future. Now that it's in front of him, he can't wait to see what it looks like. If only he can figure out how to break the news to Sunset.

  • ...

Prunes, Corpses, and Urine

Flash wouldn't have rented this tuxedo if he'd known how uncomfortable he'd be. He's baking underneath all the layers, his gait feels stiff and awkward, and while he's pretty sure it's not possible for his jacket to have pit stains, he wouldn't bet money on it.

Then again, the CHS parking lot is probably better lit than the auditorium will be during the dance. If he can't see stains in the glow of the street lamps, they probably won't show up in a room where the best source of light is a disco ball.

Being wrong would suck, though. Because Muffins looks really good tonight in her yellow gown, and all he wants is to look good next to her.

Leaving Sunset tanked his social life. She didn't gossip about their break-up, so no one actively excluded him, but breaking up with the most popular girl in school still hurt his standing, and he withdrew from most circles where she or the Rainbooms were active, which was basically any club or extracurricular activity.

His bandmates were there for him, sure. But it was Muffins who spent every lunch of the past few months with him; Muffins who lost sleep, night after night, talking with him on the phone; Muffins who talked him into coming to prom (and even bought the tickets) when all he wanted was to binge Neighflix in his underwear.

She deserves better than a sweaty, disheveled mess tonight.

Muffins's steps are long and carefully measured, atypically awkward for a dancer, and her hands are linked tightly behind her back. There's a gap of a couple feet between them, a respectful distance that Flash is trying to maintain. She looks at Flash from her side, her lips twisting thoughtfully.

Flash looks back, and quickly averts his eyes before he can dwell too long on the way she looks tonight.

"You're stiffer than that starched collar, Flash," says Muffins.

"Well, they say the clothes make the man. If the collar's starched, the guy wearing it will be, too." Flash opens the door for her, and catches her fiddling with her corsage. "Plus, I gotta pee."

"I told you not to drink so much water in the car."

"C’mon, did you want to bring a dried-up prune-corpse to prom?"

Muffins sighs. "Flash. It's a beautiful night. You have a beautiful woman on your arm. Faced with all this beauty, what do you talk about? Prunes. Corpses. And urine."

"Well, you're not exactly 'on my arm,' now, are you?"

"Harrumph," says Muffins, her hands on her hips. Then she snorts and breaks into giggles.

Flash laughs with her as they walk through the school, toward the auditorium. The distance between them has shrunk; they're almost shoulder-to-shoulder. He's about to take a step away, to not creep her out, when Muffins grips his elbow and hugs it close.

Fresh sweat beads on Flash's forehead as he looks down at Muffins, who peers back at him through her bangs, smiling and blushing. "Shut up," she mumbles.

She doesn't release him until they reach the auditorium. He doesn't try to make her.

Cheerilee's seated alone at a table by the entrance. In front of her is a half-finished cup of punch and a metal box; a few paper stubs poke through its lid. She smiles blandly when Flash and Muffins approach.

Flash digs into his pocket for their tickets and presents them with a grin. "Hey, Miss C."

"Flash, Muffins." She accepts the tickets, nodding back, and drops them into the box. "You look lovely together."

Flash's cheeks burn. "We're just here as friends. Together, but not 'together-together.' You know?"

He looks at Muffins for approval. She rolls her eyes, her lazy eye somehow staying on him. Smooth, she mouths.

"I only meant," says Cheerilee, "that you two look nice tonight."

Flash frowns; something about her voice sounds... off. Softer, even a little slurred. "Something wrong, Miss C?"

She laughs, but the smile that lingers on her face never reaches her eyes. "I'm fine, my dear. Enjoy yourselves, okay?"

"You heard the lady." Muffins steps up to the auditorium doors and pushes them open, holding them with a dramatic flourish; thudding beats and aimless chatter drift through the entrance, inviting him inside.

Flash hesitates, takes a step back with a nervous chuckle. "I'll be right in, okay? I got a pit stop to make."

Worry knits across Muffins's face, deepening the longer he hesitates. Finally, she nods. "Don't keep me waiting."

Flash takes the scenic route to the bathroom, bidding a private farewell to the empty school. It hadn't struck him until tonight how close the end is; after prom, all that's left is graduation. He wonders if he'll ever grow as attached to FSU as he is to Canterlot High.

When he finally reaches the bathroom, he's dismayed to find he's not the only one there.

Timber Spruce leans on the wall between the boys' and girls' rooms, smartly dressed and swiping through his phone. He looks up at the sound of Flash's footsteps, and widens his eyes.

"Hi, Timber," Flash says, hiding his displeasure. Of everyone he would rather not run into tonight, Twilight's boyfriend was at least number three on the list.

"Hey, Flash." Timber sticks his hands in his pockets and looks down, tapping his toes nervously on the tiling. "How's it hanging?"

"Pretty good." Flash coughs into his hand. "Lost the hat, I see."

Timber touches his hair and chuckles. "Your vice principal said it went against the dress code."

"She's like that."

"Yeah." Timber laces his fingers through his hair and runs them to the back of his head, rubbing awkwardly. "So, uh... my girlfriend is best friends with your ex, and I think that means I'm supposed to fight you if I see you."


Timber promptly defuses any possible tension with a shrug. "We could say that I did."

Flash sighs, muscles relaxing with relief. "Who won?"

"Call it a draw." Timber offers Flash his hand, and they shake, once, firmly.

The door to the ladies' room opens, and Sunset and Twilight emerge. Whatever conversation they're having stops when they see the boys shaking hands.

Flash's eyes find Sunset's. He nods, awkwardly, at her. She responds with an uncomfortable smile.

Twilight speaks first. "What's going—"

"Aikido!" Timber blurts. "We were fighting, and Flash got me in a deathgrip. I couldn't take him."

Flash glances at Timber, then back to Sunset. "I'm just here to pee."

Twilight folds her arms, smirking.

Sunset coughs into her hand, hiding a smile. "Uh, why don't you take Timber back to the dance, Twilight? Get some ice on that hand. I'll be along in a second."

Twilight nods, pushing her glasses up her nose when they slide down her face. She takes Timber by the arm and pulls him away, her fingers mingling with his. "I told you, you don't have to fight Flash Sentry."

"And I should've listened to you. Ooh, Twilight, get my acetaminophen..."

Their mutual giggles of nerdy love fade as they vanish down the hallway.

Flash wipes his forehead with the back of his hand, sighing. "That's... never not gonna be creepy."

"He's twenty, Flash. And Twilight turned eighteen a week before Camp Everfree. It's never been as creepy as you think."

"Why doesn't he just say that?" Flash turns to her, confusion screwed on his face. "Why didn't you ever say that?"

"Maybe you're just fun to screw with," Sunset says with a playful grin. "You got a minute to talk?"

Flash nods, his gaze traveling along Sunset's dress. She's done up in a shimmering green gown like back at Camp Everfree, a matching shawl draped over her shoulders. A nostalgic pang rings out in his heart. "You look great."

"So do you. But then, you always cleaned up nicely." Sunset's gaze lands on Flash's boutonniere, a pale white flower in a yellow ribbon. "You're here with Muffins, right?"

Flash nods.

Sunset's grin recedes to a wan smile. "I'm glad you two ended up together."

Shaking his head, Flash stammers, "We're just here as friends. We're not... together."

"Flash, please," says Sunset. "I've seen you two around school lately. And it's always been pretty obvious."

Flash shuffles his feet awkwardly. "Is this what you wanted to talk about?"

"No. I'm sorry for bringing her up." Sunset looks at her feet, biting her knuckle. "I mean, it's kind of in the same vein, but... if it's too weird, then we don't have to talk."

"Things always were kinda weird with us."

"Yeah, but..." Sunset sucks her teeth and flaps her arms lightly against her sides. "I was hoping we'd get a chance to talk before you left. Clear the air. I don't want it to be awkward, but... I don't like how we left things."

"Me either." Flash's hands wring together. "You know I'm sorry."

"I do." Sunset plays with a strand of hair, tucking it behind her ear. "But I'm not mad at you anymore. You were right about us. There really wasn't any other way for things to go. We're different people; we want different things in life. We could've saved ourselves a lot of heartache if we'd both been honest about that from the start."

"Isn't that what I said?"

"Yeah, I'm plagiarizing. Don't tell Cheerilee."

Flash scoffs, and scuffs his foot against the floor. "Y'know... I meant that when I said it. But the more I think about it, the less I believe it."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, to me... it comes down to timing." Flash leans against the same spot where Timber had been. "I'll put it this way. Those first couple months after the Fall Formal, I didn't really know what to make of you. You spend three, four years with someone, then you break up with them, and suddenly they're a completely new person? It took me a while to figure you out again."

"You and me both." Sunset leans beside him against the wall. "And you were still hung up on Princess Twilight, too."

Flash nods. "You see where I'm going with this? If I'd gotten over Twilight, or given you a chance sooner—"

"By that logic, it's on me, too. I could've made a move on you. Tried to make things right with you sooner than I did." Sunset nudges his arm. "Or maybe if I'd been a good person in the first place, you wouldn't have had to dump me before the Fall Formal."

She falls silent, staring up at the humming fluorescent lights. Instinct tells Flash to take her hand; instead, he simply watches her.

Finally, Sunset continues. "Then again, if I was a good person when I came through the mirror, I never would have left Equestria in the first place. So, you were right. We were doomed no matter what."

Flash looks down at his feet. "You've been thinking about this a lot."

"So have you." Sunset pushes off the wall and dusts herself off, sighing. "But life's too short to indulge in hypotheticals, Flash. Things turned out the way that they did. Now, you have a chance at something else."

Flash touches his boutonniere, blushing. "I don't know about all that."

"That's for you and her to figure out. Whatever you do, though... don't let it become another what-if." She reaches out and cups his face, tracing his cheek with her thumb. Then she leaves, tugging her shawl around her shoulders.

Flash watches her until she's out of sight. Then, with a wince, he rushes into the restroom.

Flash, already baking in his tuxedo, finds no relief in the hot, stuffy auditorium. But seeing Muffins's face light up as he approaches her table makes the heat bearable.

"You took your time," she remarks, sipping from a half-full cup of punch. She slides another cup toward him as he takes a seat. "I was starting to wonder if you fell in."

"I did. Almost drowned." Flash sips the fruity mixture; it's tasty, but there's a hint of something in there that he can't put his finger on. Something strong, oddly sour. "Sorry about earlier, by the way. With Cheerilee. I know I could've handled that better."

"Probs." Muffins makes a face. "I can top it though. Snips and Snails were at the punch bowl when I got these drinks, and Snips asked if I'd 'Flashed you my Muff' yet."

Flash scans the room, his fists clenching. "You want me to kick their asses?"

"Kinda. You probably shouldn't."

"Well, the night is young." Flash swirls his drink around. "Funny how so many people keep getting the wrong idea about us tonight."

Muffins frowns. She chugs her punch, sets the cup down, and drums her fingers on the table. "Listen, Flash..."

Flash sips his drink and leans forward in his seat. "Yeah?"

"Would it..." Muffins takes a deep breath, her hands clenching and unclenching tensely. "Would it be so bad if, maybe... if they had the right idea, after all?"

Flash lets the question, and all its implications, wash over him. He reclines back in his chair, tilting his head to stare at the ceiling. A spotlight shines on a gently turning mirror ball, sending pinpricks of light, like stars, spinning through the room.

"...No." He looks at Muffins, at the hope and the dread mingling on her features. "You know I'm leaving soon, though. I don't know how often I'll come back. When I'll come back."

"I can wait," she says, a little too quickly.

"But you shouldn't have to. You don't deserve to..." Flash slumps forward, pressing his hand to his forehead. "God. Y'know, lately, all I can think about is my amazing sense of timing."

Nimble fingers cup his chin, tilt his head up, until he's level with Muffins. Her dress, caught in the starfield cast by the mirror ball, sparkles.

"You think too much," she says. "I know you're going away, Flash. You've got that big, bright future ahead of you; I know how much you want it. But all of that... just for one night, can't it wait?"

She sounds confident, but he can feel her hand shaking on his face. He takes it in his own, rises, and pulls her to his feet with him.

"I guess it can."

Muffins' face blanks with disbelief. Then she buries her face in Flash's chest and releases a long, shuddering sigh. Flash holds her, and marvels at just how right she feels in his arms.

He feels like he always should have known she would.

"I'm going to drag you onto the dance floor later," Muffins proclaims, craning her head back to look up at him. "I'm a professional, so don't make me look bad."

Flash laughs, and cups the back of her head with his hand. "Okay."

Then he pulls her close, and she rests her head on his breast. They sway against the beat of the music. Flash strokes her hair, and looks up.

He spots Sunset on the far side of the room, chatting with Twilight. By chance, she catches sight of him, smiling when she sees who he's holding.

Slowly, Sunset blows him a final kiss. Flash catches it, and pockets it, and rests his cheek on Muffins's head, closing his eyes.

Come what may tomorrow, he’s gonna enjoy tonight.

Author's Note:

"Happy ever after, please stay for a while
Make time refuse to fly"
Carla White

Special thanks to:

-Dubs Rewatcher, professional hugmuffin and highly skilled editor
-DannyJ, my partner in crime of three years, who constantly reminds me to add slutty wolbachia to all pertinent scenes
-Oroboro, for hosting and judging three years' worth of writing contests (take a nap, bro!)
-Anyone who enjoyed the tales of star-crossed woe between Sunset and her two Cheerilees enough to inspire a prequel
-All MSTies coast-to-coast

...And all my other readers, naturally.

Sunset Shimmer Will Return in "Rhyme Another Day"

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Comments ( 21 )

Huh, wasn't actually expecting this to be a prequel to Often Rhymes. That's neat.

Very cathartic talk between Flash and Sunset, and some really interesting insights on their relationship. I also didn't see how the ending with Derpy would play out and was pleasantly surprised with how well it fit into the whole down-to-earthness of the fic.

This is definitely the most grounded, solid entry I've seen so far, with the best exploration of the couple and how their relationship falls apart of all the entries. Definitely wishing you the best of the luck in the contest.

9834296 ...But it's in the story description...

Dear, not everyone reads the fine print. Some of us are too pretty to have to possess attention to detail.

Thank you for crushing my hopes slowly this time and giving them back... at least, to a few characters.

So far I just have a nice hat

Posh, why does everything you write make me physically ill?

9839006 Allergies, I suppose.

Aw, that ending landed much farther along the 'sweet' end of bittersweet than I thought it would. After the much more depressing end to Cheeriset, this was quite refreshing! Also on the note of that story, I liked the subtle call forward with Sweetie Belle disliking Flash. I also like how you incorporated the running joke of Derpy (or Muffins, if we're going by her unimaginative canon name) always consoling Flash in the movies, and you got them together in a way that felt natural. I guess this can only mean that we'll get a sequel where their relationship falls apart tragically in about a year from now, right?

And don't think I didn't notice you quoting the Metal Gear Solid 2 soundtrack at the end there, pal. Now I'm over here wondering if this is some secret code regarding the release of the new PGS chapter...


9840024 The punch has been spiked with vocal chord parasites that make lesbians confess their true feelings for one another.

Shh don't tell. :raritywink:

No, I'd actually say that Flash and Muffins are that rare couple that goes the distance after high school. I have no problem with confirming that they actually are going to be together for a long, long time.

(And thank you for catching the significance of sweetie's cameo. She actually had another scene later on that got cut for time, but... well, I'll talk about it when I inevitably get into discussing the story)

That was really good. It probably wasn't quite the post-Camp Everfree SunFlash content I've been looking for given how it went, but it was nice to see while it lasted and this new thing with Muffins looks nice too.

I was a little suspicious most of the way through that we were going to find out that Sunset was planning on just going back to Equestria eventually if nothing worked out for her on this side of the portal in a parallel to Flash not telling anyone about his secret. Hypocrisy for everyone, but apparently not.

9848826 That would dovetail poorly with the two stories this is a prequel to, but...

Well, hold that thought. :raritywink:

Author Interviewer

Yes! Good end. Good end. You don't need that harridan, Flash, when you've got a girl as good as Muffins by your side! >:V

Also, "Aikido!" just about killed me. XD Someone needs to show this to Bevin Brand, I think she'd love it.

Ooo, oooooooooooooooooooo, boy howdy you did an absolute solid on that feeling of ever encroaching dread; the subtle, inescapable feeling of a joyous moment slipping away and that there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Not to mention I adored your characterisation of Sunset not wanting to achieve because her whole life has been defined by being an achiever and the overwhelming pressure that puts on a person. Flash was super sympathetic too and even though he did the wrong thing he didn't do it for the wrong reasons.

A story of bitter melancholy, I loved it :D Nice work!!

I'm glad I read this. Aragon sent me, naturally.
After feeling kinda lost and listless for a while, and recently suffering a breakup, this was the right kind of thing to encourage some catharsis and introspection. In ways I can relate to both Sunset and Flash.
Also, this is the best written Derpy/Muffins I've read in a long time. Granted I'm not reading as much as I used to, and she was never my go to, but still!
Thanks for the amazing read! I may stick around a while.

when i relized that flash and sunset didnt end up together i started crying!

i wanted flash to forgot about everything and go after sunset and kisses her and telling her that his future is sunset !:raritycry:

but at all it was awesome

you want to write a flashimmer story?like that but flashimmer would be all of it no other ships.
would you?

10346943 Not really, no. I don’t have a lot of interest in Flash as a character, and I don’t really like pairing him with Sunset. This was a prequel to another story, actually, that pairs Sunset with a different character.

I wanted to write something that shows Flash and Sunset breaking it off, but remaining friends by the end. Both characters needed to grow up a bit before they found the people they were meant for.

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