• Published 16th Feb 2020
  • 1,439 Views, 63 Comments

The Everton AU. - ssunsxt

Sunset Shimmer's life was simple. Her plan was to graduate high school, attend university, and become a world-famous scientist. What could possibly go wrong? [sex tag is for sexual references and jokes]

  • ...

Written in the stars.

Ah, Saturday. The best day of the week. For Sunset, it was a day that she allowed herself some time off. A day to rest her brain from study, to relax with some music, and to even enjoy a long, well-deserved lie-in in the morning. She’d spared no expense in creating the most comfortable sleeping arrangement for herself: her bed kitted out with a plethora of pillows, a weighted blanket, and even a fuzzy comforter Moondancer’s— her mom— had gifted her for Christmas the year before. She kept vanilla scented candles beside her bed atop her window frame, along with a dainty wind-chime that hung from her curtail rail; the same one she and Moondancer had made together in middle school.

Yes, it was cozy. It was relaxing. What a perfect way to spend a Saturday: curled up in bed, warmed by the faint rays of sun that snuck in past her parted curtains, listening to light chimes and taking in the smell of vanilla. Paradise.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Sunset hissed into her mirror, desperately trying to apply the mascara she’d borrowed from Moondancer with a shaky hand. “Oh come on,” her forehead wrinkled for a moment before she pulled the wand away, leaned in closer to inspect her eyes, and gave up with a huff. “Whatever. It doesn’t matter- this is so stupid.”

Sunset stood from her desk chair and used both hands to fan herself, repeating alchemical functions out-loud between deep, calming breaths. Really, she was being dramatic. There was no need for her to be putting this much effort into how she looked— she never had before! This was stupid, she repeated to herself, but widened her eyes to fight back the frustrated tears that threatened to ruin her makeup, anyway.

She’d always hated skirts. Especially ones that constricted her movement to any certain degree— like the one Moondancer had helped pick out for her to wear last night— like the one she was now begrudgingly wearing. Again… Why was she going through so much effort to look nice?

With a huff, she dropped herself down onto the edge of her bed to pull on the heeled, brown canvas boots she’d dug out from the back of her closet. She’d meant to throw them out honestly; she’d never even really worn them. Originally purchased for some student award night in Sophomore year, she was surprised they even still fit, albeit a bit snug; but they’d do for the day, she supposed. Sunset tied the laces and tucked her hair behind her ear as she rose to her feet, stepping back over to her desk once more to retrieve her knitted cardigan from the back of her chair.

She paused, puckering her cheek and eyeing up the small, orange capsule container that sat on her bookshelf. She clenched and unclenched her fists, teetered her weight from foot to foot, and plucked it from the shelf to pop two little, white pills into her mouth. She swallowed them down without water, grimacing as she felt them at the back of her throat.

It was nothing serious; just anxiety medication her doctor had prescribed to her after a series of panic attacks in high school. Really, it was nothing big. Just stress— everyone has stress. Everyone gets nervous and panicky. She wasn’t weird for it. It was just medicine.

She tucked her phone into her handbag— yet another gift that Moondancer had let her borrow for the day— and adjusted her hair in her mirror once more, before making her way to the living room and out the front door, not so much as giving her sister the satisfaction of teasing her before her date— her hang out with Starlight.

Sunset twisted her arm to glance at the watch on the inside of her wrist, nibbling on her lip a bit once she realised she was running late. Starlight had texted her the address of her dorm, and if she was wearing flats she could have made it there in no time, if she walked fast enough. She clicked her teeth and got to walking.

It was a nice day, at least. That had to count for something. And seeing as how it was still early morning, Sunset was grateful that the campus was pretty much free from any gathering, smothering crowds. Only herself, the birds, and the occasional jogger who rubbed Sunset’s lack of athleticism in her face.

The walk to Starlight’s dorm wasn’t that long, but it did give Sunset enough time to consider a few things. For one, just how big the University’s campus actually was, was a good start. Sure, Everton had always been her dream school in regards to the outstanding facilities and opportunities it granted in the scientific field, it’s reputation only preceded by some of the greatest scholarly successors in recent history. But she hadn’t ever stopped to consider the actual size of the place. It was grand, and admittedly, the architecture was gorgeous.

She hopped down off the sidewalk to take the cobblestone pathway that led toward the Campus Green. Even now, fellow students were taking advantage of the large stretch of grass. Sunset had to admit, she never really did see the appeal of playing frisbee. If she was being honest, she didn’t really think that was something people actually did. She’d seen it in countless promotional videos for the different academic facilities that had reached out to her once she’d made the honor roll, sure, but she didn’t think it was actually real. Like how in movies cheerleaders are always dressed in uniform! Or how at every party, teenagers are always drinking from red solo cups! What was with that? She shook her head with a small laugh.

Once she had found herself outside of Starlight’s dorm, Sunset fished her phone out from her bag and sent her a text, eyeing the front door for movement as she kept her position at the end of the pathway. She shifted her weight to lean on one leg and tapped her other foot. She squinted as she glanced up and down the street, the sun finally taking its position in the sky. What she noticed most was how quiet the roads were on the weekends. She’d gathered that most traffic to and from the University was due to the amount of faculty, or students that lived closer to the city and had to commute every day for classes; but even still, it was nice to hear the chirping of birds so early on a Saturday.

Sunset turned her attention back to the front door of the dorm once she’d heard the handle’s mechanism jostle. After a few more seconds, out stepped Starlight Glimmer, phone pressed to her ear and looking… less than thrilled to be part of whatever conversation was currently going on. Sunset stepped away from the path to allow Starlight to meet her on the sidewalk, and hung around for a moment as the other girl tried to finish off the phone call.

“Yes, yes. Okay. Right,” Starlight silently huffed, rolling her eyes deeply. Sunset only eyed her curiously. “Yes. I love you too. Okay. Talk to you later. Bye.”


“Ugh,” Starlight’s face twisted as she hung up, slipping her phone into the pocket of her denim jacket, “my dad. I told him not to call me because I had plans today, so he called me before he knew I was supposed to be meeting with you just to ‘check up on me’.” She mocked with forced enthusiasm. “Honestly,” Starlight scoffed and adjusted the backpack strap that was slung over one shoulder, “it only makes me wonder why he wasn’t this invested in what I was doing when I was back home.” Sunset frowned as Starlight combed a hand through her bangs with a heavy sigh. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to-...” Starlight cut herself off and bit her lip, “let’s just forget it. I want to have a good time today. Let’s go have fun.”

Neither of them moved for a short time, a thin layer of tension hanging in the air, although Sunset wouldn’t ever address it, if Starlight didn’t want her to. “Right,” the red-head spoke finally, “let’s get going. We’ve… probably missed our bus, but that’s fine. It just means we need to wait about a half hour till the next one. Is that okay?”

Starlight nodded with a grateful smile and rolled her shoulders. “Mhm, that’s fine. Lead the way.”

Sunset clenched her fingers against her palms and began leading the way to the bus stop just outside of campus. Starlight kept pace with her but stayed quiet. Sunset stole a few glances in the other girls direction to see how she was doing. Starlight idly looked around herself, as if looking at the place for the first time. Or maybe it was just her consistent sense of wonder that made her look so lost, but not quite unhappy to be so. She just had a gentle face, Sunset allowed herself to smile, but quickly set her lips into a hard line once she realised she’d been staring at the other girl's hand.

“So… I never thought I’d see you in boots. Did you really take the short joke yesterday that personal?”

There she was again; back to being as charming as ever. “Oh, shut up,” Sunset snorted.

It felt like no time at all had passed between them, when their bus finally came to pick them up. The journey had consisted of them teasing each other, pointing out landmarks or interesting looking buildings they passed. Places they vowed to visit before they graduated. Starlight had challenged her to make it their mission to visit every cafe in the area before the end of their senior year. Sunset had respectfully accepted.

They stepped off the bus and walked a little ways down the street before they came to a white-bricked bridge that stretched over a gleaming canal. “Sunset, check it out!” Starlight beamed and quickly made her way over to the edge to look down into the water. “I’ve never seen a swan before!”

Sunset sided her up and leaned over the side to get a better look at the family of swans that swam atop the rippling current. Starlight pulled out her phone to snap a picture, giggling to herself with glee. “They’re so cute. I’m having a great time already.”

The red-head smiled as she watched the other girl, happy enough just to stay like this.
But even so, they pressed on.

“So you like animals?” Sunset asked as they began crossing over the bridge.

Starlight's bright face never faltered as she looked up from her picture with a nod. “Oh, totally. I always wanted a dog growing up, but-” she cut herself off, biting her lip now and dropping her eyes. She laughed a nervous laugh, and Sunset frowned in understanding, tightening the muscles in her jaw.

“Mh. Same. We couldn’t have pets at the foster home,” Sunset attempted to lighten the mood. Even if only a little.

“That’s lame.”

“Tell me about it,” she chuckled, “they couldn’t keep a dog in a home that would just have kids coming and going all the time. It would’ve been too stressful for it. Separation anxiety and all that.”

“But it’s okay to have 20 kids running around each other then splitting them up? What about them?

“That’s different.”

Starlight raised a brow. “And how’d you figure that?”

“Humans can understand stuff like that. Dogs can’t.”

“Humans can understand why some people just up and leave their lives?”

Sunset swallowed and turned her face away once they’d finally crossed the bridge to look back at the swans again, splashing around together. “Did you know swans mate for life?”

Starlight stayed quiet and followed Sunset’s eyes back across the water before looking at the other girl again, frowning at the way Sunset gave a squeeze to the strap of her handbag.

“When they’re around 2, they choose a mate to spend the rest of their lives with. How sweet is that?”

Starlight took her bottom lip between her teeth and ducked her head guiltily as Sunset began walking again. She wrung her hands for a moment, changing to fiddle with her bracelet, before finally clasping her hands and peeking up at Sunset from behind her bangs. “Sorry. That was really insensitive.”

Sunset glanced back at her and gave a small, lopsided smile. She shrugged and looked ahead again. “It’s fine. You’re right, so. You should say it, I guess.” Starlight held onto her forearm and kept her eyes low.

Before long, they came to a large concrete plaza. Long, identical pools of water stretched along each side in vertical strips. In the centre of the space sat a grand sculpture of the milky way, with arching water jets spraying water into the pool at the bed of the statue. Sunset had seen pictures of the plaza at night and knew that, if they stick around long enough, they’d be able to see the way the sculpture twinkled at night- the pools each lighting up, shifting in different hues over time.

She glanced over at Starlight to gauge her reaction and was pleasantly met with the other girl’s mouth hanging agape, her wide eyes once again gleaming in wonder.

“You like it?”

“I-... wow. This place is gorgeous.”

Starlight was right, it was gorgeous. The mouth of the building itself was carved to hug the plaza on each side, like a large crescent moon. “C’mon,” The purple-haired girl smiled, taking Sunset’s hand to pull her over in front of the sculpture. “Let’s take a picture.”

Sunset barely had time to throw up a peace sign by the time she’d registered what the other girl had said, too preoccupied by the sudden feeling of Starlight’s hand in her own, and the sudden wave of heat that overtook her face thereafter. She swallowed sheepishly, straightening out her skirt and watching the other girl inspect their picture with a grin. Starlight giggled.

“W-what is it? Did I look weird?”

Starlight shook her head and glanced at Sunset for a moment before looking back down at her phone. She tapped the screen a few times and tucked the device into her pocket to hook arms with the red-head. “You looked cute.”

Sunset clutched the fabric of her cardigan as Starlight led her inside, pursing her lips into a firm line to stop herself from grinning like an idiot. She knew she probably looked like she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Or constipated. Maybe both? Probably both.

The planetarium was cool on the inside, figuratively and literally. In the foyer hung a large replica of a space rocket, with astronaut suits sitting on either side of a large span of glass which Sunset could only assume contained facts about space travel and how difficult it was.

Sunset led Starlight over to the reception desk to wait in the small line and stretched her neck to peer round at the exhibits, to see just how busy the place was. She knew it had good reviews from what she had seen online, but she didn’t expect the place to be so crowded. She was pleasantly surprised. Always good to see people taking an interest in science.

“Good morning girls,” the receptionist beamed once they’d strode over. “Two tickets?”

Sunset nodded and smiled. “Yes, please.”

“Paying separately?”

Starlight opened her mouth and slipped her arm from Sunset’s to pull her wallet from the inside of her jacket, only for the red-head to cut her off. “No, no. I’ll pay.”

Starlight looked to her with widened eyes, twitching her brows. “Are you sure?” She asked once Sunset handed over the money, grimacing at the price. “I can pay you back-”

Sunset offered her a reassuring smile and handed Starlight her wristband for the day. “Mhm, it’s fine. You can buy the coffee.”

The two then strolled into the exhibition space, taking in the appropriate space-themed decor: old, dusted helmets lining the wall against the far side of the room, murals of stars and galaxies painted in hues of golds and purple. There were statues of model rockets, the solar system that dangled overhead, all topped off with a narration of time and space that droned on over the sounds system. All in all, it was a planetarium, but it never failed to amaze Sunset just how far science had actually come in such a short amount of time.

They’d been to the moon, dammit! How amazing was that?

“Woah… check this out,” Starlight said with a sense of curiosity, garnering all of Sunset’s attention as the other girl wandered over to one of the glass cabinets against the wall. Inside was a small replica of a satellite, with an even smaller figma of a person. The information displayed next to the demonstration was an explanation of how radio and deep space signals were transmitted, and how large dish antennas were required to be in order to pick up such frequencies. “I knew they were big, but… woah. Imagine how awesome that would be to see in person. How exciting would that be?”

As they moved on to the next display, Sunset gave a nod and walked backwards to better face the other girl. “I think that’s probably my favorite part about learning about space. Realising just how tiny we actually are in the grand scheme of things.”

Starlight smirked. “Nothing you don’t know about already, short stuff,” she teased.

Sunset gave a pout and opened her mouth to snap back at her, but felt her face flush as she bumped into someone. She immediately stepped away and turned herself around to utter out an apology, clenching her teeth once she met the other girl’s eyes.

“Oh, sorry, I-” the bespectacled girl tensed, brows half-wrinkling for a moment as her mouth hung open slightly. “S… Sunset?”

“Uh- uhm-” Sunset darted her eyes from side to side, “y-yes?”

The smaller girl swallowed and straightened herself out, as if assessing the situation, eyes scanning over Starlight— lingering for a moment before she looked back to Sunset and forced a smile. “What’re you doing here?”

Sunset looked toward Starlight who stood at her side now. “I’m, uh. Here with a friend?” She quirked a brow, “Do I know you?”

The other girl paused and pursed her lips before exhaling through her nose with a shake of her head, dropping her eyes to the floor. Her shoulders relaxed and she raised her head to give a more genuine smile this time. “I guess not.” She offered her hand to shake, “I’m Twilight. Twilight Sparkle.”

The name seemed… Familiar. She couldn’t tell from where, or when, but somehow the name rang a bell. Sunset did her best to remember as she shook the other girl’s hand, but surrendered with a sigh. “Right, uh. Nice to meet you? I think?”

Just then, a green haired boy with a beanie wandered over and wrapped an arm around Twilight’s shoulder. “Oh, hey, Sunset! Loving the hair,” he winked and shot a finger gun. “When’d you get that done?”

“Uhm-” Sunset opened her mouth, but Twilight turned to the taller boy with a deep frown, with glaring eyes and furrowed brows that begged him to keep his mouth shut.

“Sorry for bothering you!” Twilight piped up, pressing her hands against the boy’s chest to push him as she began walking away, “we should get going, right Timber?” It was more a warning than a question.

“Oh, uhm,” he looked between the smaller girl pushing him and the red-head, then looked toward Starlight who just watched the entire situation with a curious brow. “Y-yeah! We don’t wanna be late for… the second trip to the moon?”

And as quickly as the awkward conversation had begun, it ended, with the other two teens quickly excusing themselves and dipping into the crowd of other space-lovers. Sunset and Starlight shared a look, just as confused as each other.

“That was… weird, right?”

“Uh,” Starlight blinked, “yeah.” For a moment she scanned the crowd for the other girl’s ponytail, squinting and giving up with a small exhale. She turned back to Sunset and nudged her with her shoulder, “But then again, you’re weird, so it’s normal for you.”

Sunset grumbled and rolled her eyes. “Whatever. C’mon, we’re not going to see anything if we’re just standing here.”

“Right,” Starlight nodded and hooked her arm with Sunset’s again as they made their way into the rest of the planetarium.

Once they’d made their way around the crescent area of the entrance to the curves peak, there was a set of double doors that fed into a darker hallway, fixed with dim lights to highlight paintings and models of planets. As they travelled deeper into the building, the further along the line of the solar system they arrived at. Sunset noted that Starlight seemed to be more interested in the moons of the solar system than she was the planets, and even found herself paying more attention to them the more the day went on.

“Did you know that astrobiologists have theorised for decades that liquid water is quintessential for the existence of life on other planets? Isn’t it also super interesting how studies have always found more habitable surfaces and subsurfaces on the moons of other planets, rather than the planets themselves?” Starlight bubbled, bouncing in place once they’d finally reached Neptune. “I always thought it was kinda narcissistic of humans to assume every life form needs to fit the same ‘survival criteria’ as Earth in order to survive.”

Sunset mulled, “I mean, yeah. It is kinda silly to assume, right?”

“Right!” Starlight beamed, “I mean, fish can live under water and we can’t. What’s to say that, with evolution, organisms couldn’t learn how to live in sub-arctic temperatures? Or not even need to breathe at all! Or-”

Sunset chuckled. “You sure seem more interested in space than you do chemistry.”

Starlight’s cheeks turned a rosy pink as she held onto her wrist behind her back with a small smile of her own. “Yeah,” she chuckled airily, “I guess you’re right.”

“Then why didn’t you study that instead?”

Starlight’s face softened as she drew her lips together into a line. She stepped up to one of the plexiglass covered sheets of information, more so to keep her eyes focused on than to actually read. Sunset watched her, her own mouth falling into a tense, crooked frown before she resolved to bite at her bottom lip instead.

“When I was little, I really wanted to be an astronaut,” Starlight’s eyes crinkled at the edges as she gave a small shrug. “I remember my mom and dad decorating my room with glow-in-the dark stars. My mom was… kind of a genius,” she spared a glance in Sunset’s direction before she focused back on the black text in front of her again. “She bought a hula hoop from the store and painted it to match my room, then bought netted wiring to turn it into a canopy that she had my dad attach to the ceiling above my bed. She was an artist, and so she painted different constellations on the ceiling, too— all fanning out from the canopy. They both attached little shooting stars and rockets to the netting. When I looked up, there was a glittery moon directly above me whenever I slept. My mom always said she thought the moon was pretty.”

Sunset nodded and dropped her head to clench her hands into fists. She looked back up at Starlight and swallowed, taking a moment to find her voice. “So-... your mom, she liked space?”

Starlight’s eyes twinkled, wetted with memories as she gave a lopsided smile. “Well, I don’t think she called me Starlight for the irony of it. At least I hope not,” she chuckled.

“How did she?...”

“She got sick. She passed away right after I started elementary school.” Starlight paced away from the exhibit to hook her arm with Sunset’s again, keeping her head low as she spoke. Sunset could tell she was shaking. That the act was more for the support than anything else. “I realised that being an astronaut wasn’t ever going to help anyone. So, I wanted to go into chemistry to become a doctor.”


She shook her head and offered a pained smile. “I want to help people like the doctors did for my mom. I know they tried their best. And yeah, I know I’ll never invent the cure or- or anything to bring her back, but-...” She clenched her jaw and swallowed against the tightness in her throat. “I just wanna help people. Chemistry is how I know I can do that— medicine. I’m hoping to specialise in medical science.”

Silence hung in the air between the cheers and laughter of children, excitedly tugging on their parents hands and hurriedly ushering them from exhibit to exhibit. Sunset’s mouth straightened into a tense line. She followed Starlight’s eyes as she watched families; parents and grandparents; friends and scholars. She swallowed the lump in her throat.

Honestly, Sunset dropped her eyes to her boots, it was like she’d been spared a pain she hadn’t been aware of, until that moment. Sure, there was a pain in the dreaming; but there was a mercy in the not knowing. She let out a sigh, deep and shaky. She opened her mouth to speak; to apologise for bringing it up; to apologise for being insensitive about… everything, but she squared her jaw once she felt her stomach lurch, remembering the way she’d chewed Starlight out for not paying attention in class.

Who was she to Starlight? Who was she to make a snap-judgement? To take one look at a spaced-out girl and think she had the authority to determine whether Starlight had the right to be there or not?

She felt a familiar heat rise to her cheeks and spread throughout her face, burning her skin like a raging flame. Her mouth felt dry; so painfully dry. She felt her hands trembling, and clutched the fabric of her cardigan with the one Starlight left free. Sunset’s eyes stung with liquid guilt, and with every breath she tried to take in she felt her throat constrict, until she felt light in the head.

“You hungry?” Came Starlight’s soothing tone, bringing Sunset back down to Earth. She turned to her with a bright smile, and Sunset felt her tension slowly melt away. “I could go for some lunch. Wanna head to the food court?”

Sunset raised her eyes and looked in the direction of where Starlight had motioned with her head, and only now took in the scent of burgers and fries that attacked her senses. She swallowed, trying to find her voice, and cleared her throat. “Yeah,” Sunset nodded, “I’m starving.”

Cruelty against animals was something Sunset was extremely passionate about: making sure they were kept in humane conditions, petitioning and even so much as organising campaigns against the testing of cosmetic products on animals. It was just something she cared about a lot, for as long as she could remember, and had decided to take up a vegetarian diet for just as long, too. Unfortunately for her, though, the planetarium’s… lavish menu did not contain a lot of vegetarian options, leaving her to dine on a small bag of baby carrots, some grapes, and a side portion of fries. She sighed and slurped at her lemonade dejectedly.

Starlight munched on her hot dog with a bright hum, wiping away the sauce that gathered at the corner of her mouth with the pad of her thumb and licking it clean. Sunset narrowed her eyes, face twisting a bit before she stared down at her own meal with another heavy sigh.

“I should’ve packed my own lunch.”

“Mh?” Starlight arched a brow and swallowed, puckering her cheek as she glanced down at Sunset’s pathetic meal. “That really does suck that they don’t have more options. You’d think with all the attention to detail they put into the place that they’d at least carry a salad, or something.”

Sunset frowned and plopped a baby carrot into her mouth.

Starlight dangled her feet from her stool, kicking them absentmindedly as she finished off her own food, and swiped a fry from Sunset’s plate. “So, where to next?”

“They have a lights show every hour and a half, but I think we missed the timing. We’ll need to wait for the next one if we really wanted to go, but I’m not sure if it’s like… You know, something you’d be interested in.”

“Aw, what? C’mon,” The other girl beamed and took a sip of her own drink, “I thought you’d have learned by now. I love space.”

Sunset pinched another carrot. “No, I mean- I’m not sure if it’s like, for grade schoolers or not.”

“Not a fan of overzealous explanations?”

“Not a fan of enclosed spaces filled with kids.” Sunset paused. “Or overzealous explanations.”

“Mh,” Starlight nodded. “Okay, you have a point there.” She pursed her lips and rested her cheek in her palm, taking another long slurp of her soda. She kicked her feet again. “Well, I’m fine with whatever you have planned. I always have fun when I’m with you.”

Sunset felt her cheeks warm and she dropped her eyes to drink her lemonade, hoping that the ice would help to cool her down. “Me, uhm. Me too.” Starlight beamed, and Sunset couldn’t tell if the other girl’s cheeks were dusted with pink, or if it was just the lighting. Probably just the lighting.

“It’s a good thing you’re a vegetarian, because I think we make a pretty good pear,” She flashed a toothy grin, nudging Sunset with a wink, “don’t you?”

Sunset rolled her eyes with a scoff. “Is that the best you’ve got? You’re not very good with jokes, are you?”

Starlight smirked as Sunset took another long slurp of her drink. “You’re right. I tried to think of a chemistry joke, but all the good ones… Argon.”

With that, Sunset snorted, and the liquid that filled her mouth went down the wrong pipe. Lemonade forced itself from her nose and she coughed, horrendously, pelting at her chest to dislodge the drink that cut off her air. Lemonade was everywhere, spraying all over the table and covering Starlight’s shirt in the process. Starlight’s face paled and she did her best to fight off another wide grin, even more desperate not to break out into howling laughter. Sunset Shimmer wanted to die.

She let go of her cup to reach for the napkins but knocked it over, spilling the rest of the contents with it. She felt her eyes fill with tears as Starlight swiftly stood out of the way. The taller girl doubled over in laughter. Sunset let out a pathetic whine.

“I-I’m so sorry-” Sunset coughed and wheezed, trying desperately to wipe up her mess. Starlight wiped a tear from her eye and blinked, all mirth slowly ebbing away as she began to stare at Sunset with concern.

“Sunset- you’re-” She reached for the napkins herself, but Sunset held them out of her reach.

“No! No, it’s fine! I’ll clean it up-” Her eyes darted around at the other customers who were all staring at her with mixed degrees of judgement, entertainment, and pity. Sunset’s lip quivered.

“No, Sunset, that’s not-”

“It’s okay!” She stood and scattered the paper towels all over the table, pausing for a moment only to use the entirety of her forearms against the blanket of napkins to mop up the mess.

“Sunset!” Starlight snapped, setting a hand on the other girl’s shoulder to get her to stop. “Your nose is bleeding.”

The planetarium gift shop had wonderful novelty t-shirts.

Sunset clutched the strap of her handbag tightly with both hands, wringing it, never lifting her eyes for the entirety of Starlight’s transaction with the cashier. She hadn’t spoken the entire time from the food court ‘til now, either. Starlight had ushered her aside with a click of her tongue and a shake of her head as she finished cleaning up her mess. After that, she’d fetched more napkins to help stop Sunset’s nose bleed, brought on by the sheer force of her completely ruining any chance she had to impress Starlight. Oh, sorry, by the force of her life ending. Oh, no, sorry, by how hard she’d managed to squirt lemonade out of her fucking nose.

Her white shirt had been stained with blood, Starlight’s cotton shirt had been ruined by her nose-hose. Sorry, her soda.

“Okay,” the other girl turned to Sunset with a smile after tucking her wallet back into her jacket. “All better?”

Sunset glanced up at her but dropped her eyes just as quickly. “Yeah.” Sunset swallowed thickly, “I-... I’m really sorry-”

Starlight chuckled and clasped her hands behind her back. “Don’t be! It’s fine. I’m just glad you’re okay. You had me worried.”

“That was just so gross I-”

“Shh,” Starlight pressed a finger to Sunset’s lips and then brought it back to press against her own. An indirect kiss. “It’s fine. Besides, we got these awesome new shirts,” she beamed and opened the lapels of her jacket to show off her new purchase. It was a simple pale blue t-shirt, but with bold obnoxious text that read ‘sa-TURN down for what’.

Sunset narrowed her eyes.

“Oh, what?” Starlight arched a brow and chuckled. “Like yours is any better?”

She hummed. “Comet me, bro, is a lot more subtle.”

“Oh, yes because you’re so subtle, Miss Shimmer.”

Sunset pouted and folded her arms.

Starlight moved and held Sunset’s wrists to unfold her arms before she took her hands and gave her a bright smile, ducking her head to force the other girl into meeting her eyes. “C’mon. You mentioned on the bus there was an observatory. Show me?”

Sunset felt the warmth creep up her face as Starlight’s fingers held onto her own, and she couldn’t fight off the smile that tugged at her lips any more. She surrendered with a quiet nod and let Starlight lead the way, pulling her along with a tight grip on her hand.

It was… weird. Sunset’s hands were always warm and clammy. She always hated the way they felt as she rubbed them off on her thighs or over her face once exhaustion set in during long study sessions. She’d been told before that her hands were rather chubby, and her fingers were like fat little stubs that each extended out from her palms. Granted, she had been twelve and she’d just won a game of kickball, so naturally the only thing for her opponent to do was to make her self conscious. Psyche her out. And it had worked, for a while.

She stared at the back of Starlight’s head for a moment, enamoured, as she led Sunset through the crowds of people. She dropped her eyes to look at their joined hands and smiled, giving Starlight’s a gentle squeeze. Starlight’s hands were larger than hers, if only a little bit. But, to Starlight, that was everything. Sunset didn’t mind losing if it meant getting to hold the other girl’s hand.

They were cold, and soft, and welcoming, and returned Sunset’s squeeze, with one a little more firm. Sunset smiled again.

They both came to a stop as Starlight pondered for a moment, looking at the overhead signs and squinting against them in the dim lighting. Sunset had taken over with directions from there, and they’d only gotten turned around twice before they both resigned to ask someone else for directions. Of course, they’d walked right past it four times. They both shared meek looks and rubbed the back of their necks in embarrassment.

Starlight dropped Sunset’s hand as they came through the double doors and into a much wider room. The ceiling was like a dome, covered in twinkling stars that shifted and changed, displaying the different constellations in the solar system and beyond.

“Wow…” Starlight whispered, stepping into the centre of the space and gazing around in sheer wonder. “This is…”

Sunset smiled. “It’s pretty cool, right?”

“Sunset,” Starlight finally pulled her eyes from the fake-sky to look at the other girl with a wide grin. “This place is freaking awesome.

Sunset’s eyes crinkled, squinting as her smile widened. She clasped her hands behind her back and wandered over to the side of the room to read the information about some of the constellations being displayed.


“Oh!” Starlight followed after her, “That’s the eagle. We’re actually in the season for that one. There’s too much light pollution in the city to see it without a telescope, probably, but I’m pretty sure the school has some nice grassy hills you could go stargazing on.” She paused and scratched her cheek, “Uh- if that’s something you’d want to do, I mean.”

Sunset contemplated for a moment and kept her eyes set on the wall. “Yeah. That sounds like fun. We could even ask Moondancer and Sunburst if they wanted to come.”

“Oh. Uhm,” Starlight seemingly deflated, “yeah. I-I guess we could.” She paused for a moment before pointing to another constellation. “T-this one’s also in season. It’s called Cygnus. It has some pretty cool lore to it, too.”

“And what’s that?”

Starlight brightened again. “Well, it’s supposed to represent the story of Orpheus, from Greek mythology.”

Sunset blanched and twitched her lips. “I must’ve missed that one.”

“It’s one of my favorites.”

“Tell it to me?” Sunset turned her head to meet Starlight’s eyes. The other girl swallowed with a small nod.

“Right, uhm. Right.” Her cheeks reddened in hue. “So, Orpheus was a musician and a poet and he played a lyre. He’d recently gotten married to the woman he was in love with, Eurydice, but on the night of their wedding, she got bitten by a snake and died from the venom.”

“Yikes…” Sunset clenched her teeth and looked back to the pictures on the wall.

“Right? Well, Orpheus was distraught and so he descended into hell to plead with the Gods of the underworld to bring her back to life. The story says that his eloquence and the love he expressed for his wife melted the hearts of all the denizens of the underworld, and they all fell silent.

The Gods agreed to return Eurydice’s mortality, but on one condition. Orpheus was to walk out of hell and not glance back to see his love until she was safely returned to the mortal world. If he failed to do that, then she would descend back into hell. They both began walking, and made it to the Earth’s rim. But, just before they managed to escape, Orpheus was overcome with anxiety and looked back. Eurydice whispered one last farewell before she died once more, finally. There was no disdain- no disappointment in him or his actions; because Eurydice now knew for certain that Orpheus loved her unconditionally.”

The space fell into a silence, the lights on the ceiling above them changing to a dark, purple hue. Sunset felt a sadness in the pit of her stomach and a frown settled on her features. She took a moment to process the story before she turned her attention back to Starlight, who stared past her, tracing her fingers over the murals with an expression she couldn’t quite read.

“That really… wow. I’ve never heard that story before.”

“That’s one of my favorites,” she smiled, and met Sunset’s eyes finally as she straightened out her frame. “I always thought it was so romantic. It’s sad, but-... you can appreciate it for what it is.”

Sunset glanced over Starlight’s shoulders to see that they were alone, and her stomach fluttered once she looked back toward the other girl, who was now staring at her intently. “Y-yeah. You’re really- er,” Sunset cleared her throat, “I mean- it’s really pretty.”

Starlight’s face softened and she lifted her hand to cup Sunset’s cheek, brushing the hair away from the other girl’s face with her thumb. She began leaning in. Sunset’s breath hitched in her throat.

“I think you’re really pretty, too.”

Author's Note:

oh ho ho? what's this? developments? :3c

Check out the art for this chapter here!

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