“We’re arriving in Manehatten shortly,” announced the train conductor. An orange, blue-maned Pegasus stallion was startled from his nap. Flash Sentry looked out the window as the train approached the station. A smile came to his face as he saw his home city in the background. It was good to finally be home.
The train came to a stop and passengers got off. Flash took to the skies so as not to get swallowed by the crowds. Looking around the station, he thought he caught somepony waving to him out of the corner of his eye. He looked to his left and saw a blue Earth Pony mare with a purple mane and a flaming horseshoe Cutie Mark waving at him. He landed in front of her and was immediately caught in a vice-like hug.
“Ack!” Flash felt like his spine was being crushed. “Hey, Mom.” Flash’s mom, Trail Blaze, was grinning ear to ear.
“Oooh, my baby’s finally home!” she said. “I’ve missed you sooo much!” Suddenly, her expression turned to one of irritation as she let go of her son and punched his shoulder. “How come you hardly ever write?”
“Ow,” said Flash. He rubbed his now sore shoulder. “Mom, you know how busy the guard can be. I don’t always have the time. I’m lucky I was able to get time off to visit you.” Trail’s expression softened as a small smile crept its way onto her face.”
“Oooh, I know,” she said. “It’s just, I get worried you know?”
“I know, Mom.” Flash wrapped a hoof around her shoulder and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “But I’m here now so let’s make the most of it.”
“You’re absolutely right! Come on, let’s go home. I’ll make you my famous macaroni and cheese.” Flash licked his lips as he and Trail began the walk home.
Flash soon found himself in the kitchen of his mother’s apartment. He was sitting at the table with a large bowl of homemade mac and cheese.
“So, I said ‘We’ve got to stop bumping into each other like this,’” Flash said. He had spent the last few minutes telling his mother about his time in the Crystal Empire. Trail Blaze started laughing.
“That sounds like something your father would say,” she said. “What did she do?”
“She and her friends just walked off. I think I saw her blush.”
“My son, Guard of the Chrystal Empire and Woo-er of Princesses.” Trail giggled at the blush that appeared on Flash’s face.
“I don’t think anything is going to come of it,” he said. “So how have things been here? I hate knowing that you’re here all alone.” Trail smiled.
“I’m not alone.” She looked over at the mantle above the fire place where a picture of her, a younger Flash, and a gray Pegasus stallion was. “Your dad’s always here in spirit.” Flash looked at the picture. He wasn’t sure if he shared his mother’s beliefs but he was glad that she was happy. “Besides, Highwind and Shooting Star live just a few apartments down. Oh, speaking of them, we’re having dinner with them later.”
“Really?” Flash asked. He felt his stomach tighten. “Is, um, Lightning Dust going to be there? I mean is she even in town?” He started shoveling macaroni into his mouth.
“Why?” she asked. An evil grin appeared on her face at the mention of her friends’ daughter. “Hoping to rekindle an old flame?” Flash nearly choked on his food. He downed it with a gulp of water.
“What?! *cough, cough* No!” He took another sip of water before speaking. “I’m just curious that’s all.” Trail gave him a deadpan stare.
“Mhm, sure.” Flash started to blush again. “You know, to my knowledge, she’s still single.”
“Don’t start, Mom.”
“Why did you bring it up then?” Trail asked. Flash opened his mouth to speak but couldn’t find the right words. He shot her an annoyed glare.
“I hate it when you do that.” Trail smirked.
“You know, I think she is in town actually,” she said. “I’m sure she’ll be glad to see you again.”
“I’d like that too.”
“Maybe you’ll even pop the question.”
“MOM!” Trail Blaze laughed hysterically as Flash just sank as low in his chair as he could.
*Knock, knock, knock*
“Lightning, honey, could you get the door?” asked a feminine voice from the kitchen. Lightning grunted as she got up from her recliner.
“Sure, Mom.” She blew a strand of mane out of her face as she walked to the door. As she opened it, she noticed Trail Blaze as well as another pony.
“Hey, Trail. Hey. . .Flash?” she asked. Flash just grinned and waved nervously at her. For a split second, Lightning lost her cool as she got a tight feeling in her chest. She quickly coughed disposing of it. “Uh, come on in.”
“Thank you, Lightning,” said Trail. She walked into the apartment followed by her son.
“Feel free to take a seat,” Lightning said. She pointed at a large couch. Trail and Flash took a seat while Lightning went into the kitchen. “I need to check on something in the kitchen really quick.”
“Take your time,” Trail said. Lightning nearly ran into the kitchen where her mother, Shooting Star was stirring something in a pot on the stove. Star was a black Pegasus with a silver mane and tail and shooting star Cutie Mark. “Mom!” Star looked over her shoulder.
“What is it? Is Trail Blaze here?”
“Yes,” Lightning answered making sure to keep her voice low, “and she brought Flash Sentry.”
“Oh, I knew he was coming,” Star said.
“And you didn’t think to tell me this because?”
“Why? Is it awkward?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Lightning said. Her voice was laced with sarcasm. “Would you find suddenly meeting an ex-boyfriend you didn’t technically break up with after three years a little awkward?”
“Oh, Lightning, stop it.” Star stopped stirring and turned to face her daughter. “You and Flash are full grown adult ponies. You should be able to talk without acting like nervous teenagers. Honestly.” Lightning gave an irritated huff.
“Well, a warning would have been nice.” Star sighed.
“You’re right. I’m sorry. But you two don’t have to make a big fuss over this.”
“I guess not.” Star smiled and went back to tending to dinner. Her ears perked as she heard the living room door being opend. “Oh, I think your father’s home.” Lightning’s eyes went wide with terror. She flew back into the living room where Flash was being confronted by a green Pegasus with a yellow mane and Cutie Mark of a leaf in the breeze.
“Um, hello, Mr. Highwind,” Flash said. Lightning could almost feel how nervous the younger stallion was.
“Flash.” Highwind’s voice was hard and cold. “Nice to see you again I suppose.”
“Oh, Celestia, kill me now,” Lightning said under her breath. She took a deep breath and exhaled before approaching her father and Flash. “Hey, Dad. Have a good day at work?” Highwind smiled as his daughter approached and nuzzled him.
“Yes, it was a good day,” he said. He looked at Flash again and went back to his cold stare. “Didn’t know Flash was back.”
“Yeah, he is,” Lightning said. “It’s really cool that he’s visiting, right?” She gave her dad a warning glare. Highwind just raised a brow for a moment before sighing.
“Highwind, why don’t you tell me how the weather management has been going?” Trail Blaze asked. Highwind’s expression softened a little as he took a seat next to his friend. Lighting walked up to Flash and leaned in close to his ear.
“You’re welcome,” she whispered. Flash smiled.
“Thanks,” he said. Lightning nodded and went back to her chair. Flash found himself staring at her. She had grown into a very beautiful mare.
“Something catch your eye?” asked Highwind. The question sounded more like a warning. Flash quickly turned his attention away from Lightning and to her father.
“N-No, Sir! Just. . .admiring the wallpaper.” Awkward silence overtook the room.
“Dinner’s ready,” shouted Star from the kitchen.
“Oh, thank Celestia,” whispered Flash.
Dinner seemed to be going well. Flash was telling everyone more about his time as a guard. Highwind even seemed interested in what Flash was saying. Currently, Flash was telling the tale about his first encounter with an opossum. Lightning found it amusing.
“Hahahaha! So, you let a little rodent scare you?” she asked.
“I didn’t know they played dead,” Flash said.
“Everyone knows that. My five-year-old cousin knows that.”
“Lightning, be nice,” Star said. Lightning rolled her eyes.
“I’m just teasing, Mom.”
“It’s okay,” Flash said. “The other guards found it amusing too.”
“So, Lightning?” Trail asked. “I heard you spent time at the Wondebolt Academy. How was that?” Lightning gulped nervously.
“We would actually like to know that too,” Highwind said.
“It. . .was an interesting experience,” Lighting said. Flash raised a brow. He looked around the table. No one else seemed satisfied with Lightning’s answer either.
“Care to elaborate,” Highwind asked. “You go off to the academy then we don’t hear from you for months.” Lightning tried to avoid her dad’s gaze. “Lightning, what are you not telling us.” All eyes were on Lightning as they waited for a real answer. Then, without warning, Lightning ran out of the kitchen. “Lightning!”
“I’ll get her,” Flash said. Lightning was quick to fly out an open window with Flash on her tail. “Lightning Dust, wait!”
“Go away, Flash!” Lightning shouted. She started flying faster and began weaving around the buildings.
“I just want to help!” Flash was finding it difficult to keep up with her. Lightning was always the faster flyer. Being forced to maneuver around the buildings wasn’t helping anything.
“I don’t need it! Just leave me alone!” She started flying to the outskirts of the city. Flash took a guess to where she might be going and ceased his chase. If his hunch was right, he could catch up with her later. Perhaps she needed time to herself.
Lightning sat under a tree on a hill overlooking the city. This was always her go to spot to be alone when she was stressed. However, she knew she wasn’t going to be alone for long.
“I know you’re here, Flash,” she said. Flash slowly descended from above and landed in front of her.
“You going to let me talk?” he asked.
“I might as well. You’ll just catch me eventually. You always were persistent.” Flash smiled and took a seat next to her.
“Growing up with you didn’t leave me much of a choice. Someone has to make sure you don’t get yourself in trouble.”
“I wish you were at the academy with me then. Maybe I’d still me enrolled.”
“You heard me right. I got kicked out.”
“Dust, I’m. . .I’m sorry. What happened?”
“I got careless. I started a tornado that I couldn’t control and almost got some ponies killed.”
“Yeah.” It was quiet for a moment. “I’m jealous of you, you know.”
“You got to go and fulfill your dream,” Lightning said. “You weren’t stupid and ruined it for yourself.”
“You aren’t stupid,” Flash said. “Reckless maybe but not stupid. You made a mistake but if I know you, you’ll keep going, right?”
“I don’t know, Flash. I doubt the Wonderbolts will let me back into the academy. I wouldn’t”
“True, it’ll probably be hard. But since when have you ever backed down from a challenge.” Lightning smiled.
“Do you always know what to say?” she asked. Flash chuckled.
“Hardly. I just get lucky.” Lightning started to giggle and Flash found himself admiring her beauty again. Lightning caught his gaze and smirked.
“It isn’t polite to stare you know.” Flash’s face went red.
“I’m not staring! I’m, uh. . .”
“Haha! Oh, you’ve always been so easy to mess with.”
“Oh, whatever!” Dust continued to laugh at Flash’s expense for a moment. Then her expression turned sad.
“Do you remember the last time we saw each other?” she asked. Flash nodded. It wasn’t exactly a day he could forget.
“It was the week before I left to train for the Royal Guard. We went and caught that Wonderbolt movie. We didn’t really say a whole lot to each other.” Flash recalled how he and Dust just sat quietly in the theater not even exchanging glances. Both new that’d be the last time they would see each other.
“I remember how mad I was,” Lightning said. “I didn’t want you to leave but I didn’t think I could convince you to stay. I really didn’t want to try either. Who was I to keep you from your dreams?”
“You were the most amazing and talented mare I knew,” Flash answered. “If you ask me you still are. I should have said something. Maybe we could have made it work.”
“I don’t know. We were young and stupid back then. We’d probably screw it up.”
“Well what about now?” Flash asked.
“If I recall correctly, we never actually broke it off. We just stopped talking to each other. I think we’ve both grown up some since then and. . .I really have missed you Dusty.” Lightning smiled at Flash’s old pet name for her.
“I’ve missed you too,” she said. “And I’d like to try and pick up where we left off.” Flash smiled as Lightning pulled him into a soft kiss. After a few moments, Lightning pulled away. “Missed that too.” Flash chuckled.
“I’ll have to make up for lost time.”
“Easy there, tiger. You don’t want my dad breathing down your neck more than he already will be. He never was fond of how we ended it.” Flash gulped nervously. “Don’t worry. I’ve got your back.”
“Speaking of you family. Are you ready to go back and tell them about what happened?” Flash asked.
“I don’t know. They aren’t going to be happy about it.”
“Probably not. But I think they’ll understand. I’ll be there with you when you tell them.” Lightning smiled and rested her head on his shoulder.
“Thanks, Flash, but is it okay if just stay here for a little bit longer? Just the two of us?” Flash smiled and nodded.
“As you wish, Dusty.” The couple remained in a peaceful silence looking up at the stars in the sky. Who knew what the future might bring, but at least they had each other again.