A lot of people imagine that a good date is something very formal and proper. Like a mechanical clock in the form of romantic courtship. You ask just the right questions, get just the right answers, maybe make the same, awkward attempts to initiate physical contact. And, if you both did everything right, the date ends well, there’s another one after it, and maybe there’s a kiss at the end of the night.
And for some people, that’s true. There is no, ‘right’ way for a date to go, what works for one couple might be boring for another, or terrifying for a third. There is no universal language of love, no matter what the songwriters and poets may say. Human-or pony-emotion is fickle and weird, and there are more edge cases than typical ones. But there is at least one good indicator of when a date is going well: when someone is laughing.
Twilight was having a good date.
“-so the ambassador from Griffonstone is just standing there, looking all proper, right?” Sunset Shimmer said, trying to contain her laughter. “He clearly got up at, like, six AM to make sure all his feathers were nicely groomed and his coat was all brushed. He’s got the cane and the top hat and everything, he looks like he came out of that board game Rainbow Dash keeps trying to get us to play. He’s even got the monocle, if you can believe that. And Twilight-I mean, Equestria’s Twilight, not you-she’s got this big, awkward grin on her face, as she’s trying to show him around the castle and bring him to any room EXCEPT the throne room, where he’s supposed to meet Princess Celestia. I mean, we must have shown him every room in the castle, like, twice. Twilight-Princess Twilight-is rattling off EVERY historical fact she can think of to draw the tour out as long as possible. She’s talking about the history of the paintings, the statues, I even threw in a few made up tidbits just to keep it going. And the ambassador’s trying to be very patient, he really is, but eventually he gets completely fed up, and just storms into the throne room himself.”
Twilight was in hysterics, trying very hard to control her laughter and failing, badly, just barely managing not to draw too many stares from the surrounding tables. She put her hand to her mouth to stifle her laughter and just barely managed to get out, “A-and then what happened?”
“Well, as you can imagine, the throne room is still WRECKED. There’s Smooze slime all over the floor, Starlight Glimmer’s STILL trying to magic it away, which, to the surprise of absolutely no one, isn’t working. She just doesn’t know when to quit...Princess Celestia and Princess Luna are trying to sweep it all, which as you can imagine isn’t making much of a dent. Rainbow Dash is arguing with Applejack as they’re trying to get the goo off the walls. And then they all see that the ambassador is in the room, and everyone just stops.”
“Oh no,” Twilight said, her hands clenched in anticipation.
“So, at this point, I’m thinking, ‘That’s it, we’re done.’ I’m already planning my escape in my head, gallop to the portal, jump through, hide out here for three-to-six months and hope everything just blows over. Then, Celesia immediately composes herself, trots on over to her throne, plops right down in the goo and LAUNCHES into this whole prepared speech, telling him how honored she is to have him there, how happy she is that Griffonstone is opening up their borders and considering a trade agreement with Equestria. All the while, the rest of us are just standing there, frozen, looking from her, to the ambassador, back to her. Halfway through the speech, Luna takes the throne next to her, both of them pretending that there’s absolutely nothing wrong, even though the room’s completely covered in green slime. Princess Twilight flies over and sits down next to them, all proper and regal, and, yes, sits right down in the goo.”
“And what did the ambassador do?” Twilight asked, still laughing.
“He listens for a little bit, looks to me, to Rainbow Dash, to Applejack, to Starlight. He’s trying to figure out if this is really happening. And we’re trying to keep as straight a face as possible, because if we crack, then the whole thing is over. And, finally, the ambassador just walks over to the table, very regally brushes aside a few globs of slime from the chair, sits down, and starts talking about how happy HE is to be there, what a beautiful city we have, all that stuff. There’s this whole, very formal back and forth of complimenting and flattering between Celestia and him, both of them trying very hard to ignore the fact that they’re currently sitting in a completely wrecked throne room.”
“Oh my-” Twilight said, finally getting her laughter under control, then thought for a second, got a sceptical look on her face and said, “Wait...you're not making this all up, are you?”
“Hand to Celestia,” Sunset Shimmer said, raising a hand. “It’s all true. And the ambassador turned out to be a really nice guy, too. Kind of formal at first and prone to some preening and posturing, but once we’d gotten through all the ceremonies he was actually pretty cool. He and Rainbow Dash ended up racing, like, ten times, and he and Pinkie Pie became pen pals.”
“Of course they did,” Twilight said, sighing happily.
A waitress walked by the table and whispered to another, more senior girl, “Can we do a cheeseburger? Someone from that group of five is asking.”
“We’ve got black bean burgers, are they okay with that?”
Sunset raised an eyebrow. “Who comes to a vegetarian restaurant and tries to order a cheeseburger?”
At a larger table across the room, five girls sat, wearing identical grey trench coats, fedoras, and sunglasses. Each of them held up a menu, blocking their faces and peaking up over the top to watch the date in progress. “You know, Sunny Flare,” Sugarcoat said, “I think these outfits make us more conspicuous than if we were just in our school uniforms.”
“We’re undercover, dearie,” Sunny Flare said, flipping her hand in a regal, dismissive gesture. “There’s a proper procedure for this sort of thing. Including what we wear.”
“So far she seems to be doing alright,” Lemon Zest said, throwing aside her glasses. “She’s laughing at Sunset’s jokes, she doesn’t seem too nervous all things considered.”
“Sunset’s showing off for her,” Sugarcoat said, alternating between watching the date and scanning her menu. “She keeps telling stories about Equestria because she knows Twilight’s interested in magic. That seems like a good sign. Is there anything here that isn’t incredibly spicy?”
“They look sooooo cute,” Sour Sweet said and clasped her hands together in an admiring gesture. Then she gritted her teeth and added, “If this goes on much longer I’m gonna puke.”
“Okay,” Indigo Zap said, shoving her hands against the table and standing up. “I’m going to gather some intel. Cover me, girls.”
“-and it turns out when you bring your dog home one day and suddenly he’s talking, your parents have a few questions,” Twilight said, smiling sheepishly.
“Oh my gosh…” Sunset said, placing her face in her hand and laughing. “Was Spike okay?”
“Oh yeah, he did great,” Twilight said. “Shining Armor loves him. All of Crystal Prep thinks he’s amazing...even if I shouldn’t technically have him there.”
“He’s a real charmer, no matter what world he’s in...but, trust me on this, unless you want to end up sharing custody, don’t leave him with Rarity for too long.” Sunset flipped open the menu and looked down to examine it. “Do you want to get an order of malai kofta? I hear it’s great here.” A waiter approached the table and opened their notepad and tapped their pen against the paper.
“Hello, I’ll be serving you this evening. Can I take your drink order, or a complete list of all romantic partners you’ve had?”
“Huh?” Twilight said, and looked up to see that the ‘waiter’ would be more accurately called a ‘waitress’, and was, in fact, someone very familiar. “INDIGO!” Twilight yelled in surprise, then, noticing that Sunset Shimmer had not looked up, added “-is my favourite color! Just thought you should know that, excuse me just a second.” With a speed Twilight did not know she was capable of she stood up and pushed Indigo Zap away from the table. “What are you doing here?” she hissed, then looked Indigo up and down, noticing her waiter uniform. “And why are you wearing a waiter’s uniform?”
“I’m undercover,” Indigo Zap said, then tapped a passing waitress on the shoulder and whispered, “Table four needs more naan.”
“No, I mean, why are you wearing a WAITER’S uniform? I haven’t seen a single male employee on the serving staff, where did you get a man’s uniform? Wouldn’t it have been easier to get one for a waitress?”
“This one fits me better,” Indigo Zap said, twirling around to show it off. Twilight had to admit to herself, it actually looked pretty good on her.
“Okay...but not the point,” Twilight said. “You don’t work at this restaurant. Why are you here?”
“We’re just looking out for you,” Indigo Zap said. Twilight’s eyes widened.
“...did you say, ‘we’?”
“Uh…” Indigo Zap said, “...no?” Twilight turned to the table where the Shadowbolts were sitting and saw them immediately and in unison raise their menus to block their faces.
“Well, I guess I know who tried to order the cheeseburger,” Twilight said with a sigh.
“Hey, I actually like the vegetarian food here, alright?”
“Just...just leave,” Twilight said. “I know you’re trying to help me, but I’m alright. Sunset and I are having a nice time. Go home.”
“We can’t,” Indigo Zap said, “we already ordered. Unless you’re saying we should ditch the bill?”
Twilight groaned. “Fine. Go back to your table, eat your dinner, then GO HOME.” To emphasize the point Twilight pivoted around and walked back to her table.
Indigo Zap slumped down into a chair at the end of the table and sighed. “Well, that didn’t work the way I’d hoped.”
“It was a rather bold attempt, but spying requires a certain level of subtlety.”
“Sorry about that!” Twilight said as she hurriedly sat back down. “I had to go, uh...fix...my...hair?”
“It’s okay,” Sunset said before Twilight could slap herself in the face for that lame excuse. “Where’d the waiter go?”
“Uh, she-er-he had to run...back to the...kitchen? I guess?”
“Huh,” Sunset said. Twilight bit her lip, expecting Sunset to call her out on the rather clear lie, but Sunset Shimmer just shrugged. “I needed a few minutes to decide anyways.” She looked back down to her menu. “This tea list may be longer than the actual menu.”
“I’ve heard that the-” Twilight started, then paused as she caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of her eye. A boom mic was being steadily lowered down to the table. Across the room were Sugarcoat and Sour Sweet, carefully handling the piece of sound equipment and each wearing a pair of headphones. “Ahhh! I mean, I hear the Darjeeling is pretty good, excuse me just a second…” Twilight got up and ran over to Sugarcoat and Sour Sweet. “What are you two doing?!”
“Spying on your date,” Sugarcoat said. “Sound familiar?”
“I-uh...okay, fair point,” Twilight said with an awkward, apologetic grin. “But come on? A boom mic?”
“We need to be able to review the conversation later,” Sour Sweet said. “To see how the date went.”
“To see how the…? The date’s GOING well, it’d be BETTER if my friends weren’t constantly intruding on it!” Twilight said, pushing the mic away from her table. “Just...just go, sit down. No microphones, no impersonating the staff, nothing! I’ve got this.”
Twilight turned to go back to her table, but stopped as she caught a glimpse of blue hair at another booth. “What the-” she said, then walked over. “Shining Armor,” she said, then noticed the pink-haired woman sitting across from him, a bouquet of flowers placed between them. “And Dean Cadence? What are you two doing here?”
“Uh…” Shining Armor said, his eyes frantically darting around the room as he slowly placed the glass he was holding back on the table. “Well...you see…Twili, Cadence and I are-”
“Did you two come here to spy on my date too?” Twilight demanded. Shining Armor looked from his sister, to Cadence. To the roses, to Cadence. To the rather romantic candles that were set on the table, back to his sister, the rather expensive meal that he was sharing with Cadence, then back to Twilight again.
“Uh...yes...yes, that is why we are here.” Shining Armor said. The sound of five hands simultaneously hitting their own faces echoed throughout the restaurant.
“Well, while I appreciate your concern, you don’t need to be here,” Twilight said. “Sunset Shimmer and I are having a nice time. She’s a nice girl, who’s not going to hurt me or anything, so there’s no need to go all ‘big brother’ protector and try to intimidate her or anything, okay?”
“...understood,” Shining Armor said. “Go back to your date, have fun. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Twilight sighed, thankful that someone, at least, respected her decisions. “Thanks, Shining. I’ll see you at school, Dean Cadence!” Twilight waved and backed away back to her table. When she had turned away, Lemon Zest emerged from behind a decorative tree and walked over to Shining Armor and Dean Cadence.
“You didn’t know she was here tonight, did you?”
“Nope,” Shining Armor said.
“You two are on a date?”
“Trying to be,” Cadence said.
“Aren’t you going to do something? It’s your little sister’s first date, shouldn’t you be making sure she’s alright?”
Shining Armor leaned back in the booth and gave a confident little smile. “I trust Twilight’s judgement. If she says Sunset Shimmer is a nice girl, then she’s a nice girl. She can take care of herself.”
Lemon Zest rolled her eyes and stuck out her tongue, disgusted. “He loves and respects his little sister, blech...that’s no fun. I’m going back to stalking them.”
Lemon Zest left, and Cadence gave Shining Armor a knowing smile. “You know you’re going to have to tell Twilight eventually, right?”
Shining sighed. “I know, I know...it’s just, you’re the dean at her school, and you and her as so close already...I just don’t want to make things...complicated for her, you know?” Cadence nodded.
“I do. But she’ll need to know about us soon, or else things will just get more complicated.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll tell her,” Shining Armor said, smiling and waving his hands openly to signify his sincerity. “I just need to find the right time.”
Cadence nodded and picked up her drink. “Just don’t put it off for too long. I really don’t want her to have to find out on our wedding day or something.”
Shining Armor laughed. “Give me a little credit here, there’s no way I’d put it off THAT long.”
Twilight approached the table, only to find it was empty. “Huh…” she said, wondering where Sunset Shimmer had gone. Had she gotten annoyed at Twilight abruptly leaving the table and left? Or had another one of the Shadowbolts confronted her and scared her off? The thought of either possibility made Twilight gulp with anxiety.
“Sorry!” Sunset Shimmer said as she jogged back to her chair. “Sorry, had to use the bathroom.”
“Oh-oh, it’s fine!” Twilight said, sitting down herself. “I hope it...went...well…” Twilight smacked herself in the face as she heard the words coming out of her mouth. Sunset tried to contain a giggle. “Can we pretend I didn’t say that?”
“S-sure,” Sunset said, still chuckling. “Nervous?”
“...is it that obvious?” Twilight asked.
“A little,” Sunset said. “For whatever it’s worth, I’m nervous too.”
“Really?” Twilight said, her eyes widening. “But...but you’re, like, a magic unicorn from another universe! You’ve saved the world, like twice, that’s got to be way scarier than a date.”
Sunset gave a vulnerable little smile. “It’s...still kind of intimidating to be here. I don’t know if you know, but the only romantic experience I’ve ever had is with Flash Sentry, and I wasn’t ever really interested in him. So...this is new for me.” Sunset laughed a little. “To be honest? That story about the ambassador from Griffonstone? I...was sort of rehearsing how I was going to tell it to you all last night. I...really wanted to impress you.”
Fireworks went off inside Twilight’s brain, and a grin spread across her face. “Well, it worked. I’m impressed.”
“Seriously gonna puke over here,” Sour Sweet said as she slumped over onto the table she and the other Shadowbolts were sitting at.
“Well, do it quietly,” Indigo Zap said as she bit down into her burger. “Mmmm...black bean burger…”
Sugarcoat fiddled with the controls on the radio that was sitting on the table, picking up the conversation between Twilight and Sunset Shimmer. “The boom mic, I get. Do I even want to know why you have tiny microphones like this?”
“A lot of concerts don’t want you recording anything,” Lemon Zest said. “You have to get really creative to get a live recording sometimes. We were just lucky they both got up at the same time, so Sour Sweet could hide the mic under their table.”
“Can we at least ditch the costumes, now?” Indigo Zap said, tugging at the collar of her trenchcoat. “It’s not like we’re fooling anyone.”
“Indigo, dearie, it doesn’t matter if our cover has been blown. There is a certain way we must conduct ourselves when-”
“I know it’s just Shadow Spade cosplay,” Indigo Zap said. Sunny Flare’s eyes went wide.
“How do you know about that?!” she hissed, and Indigo Zap gave a mischievous smile.
“I have my sources,” Indigo Zap said.
“Ooops,” Twilight’s voice came in over the radio. The Shadowbolts saw her throw her fork onto the floor, bouncing it beneath the table. “Dropped my fork. Let me just get that.” Twilight bent over under the table. There was a pause and then, in a surprisingly loud whisper, her voice boomed through the speakers, “Stop spying on me!” There was a loud ‘crunch’ and the microphone went dead.
“Guess I’m not getting that back…” Lemon Zest said, sighing.
“I’ve got to say, you went all out,” Sunset Shimmer said, taking in the large, open concert venue. The stage was in the center of the park. There was no formal seating, instead the guests had brought blankets and portable chairs, and set up little bases wherever they could find a free spot with a clear view of the stage.
“I kinda, sorta, had help deciding on a concert,” Twilight admitted. “Lemon Zest said this band was good, and I listened to a few of their songs.” Sunset examined one of the posters that was hanging up on a nearby tree.
“Countess Coloratura,” she read. “I think I heard that name somewhere back in Equestria…”
“Of course you did,” Twilight said, rolling her eyes in amusement.
“But seriously,” Sunset said as Twilight laid out a quilt for them to sit on, “this was really too much. I only made you promise to buy me dinner.”
Twilight raised an eyebrow coyly. “Oh? Well then, maybe you could do something else to pay me back for the concert tickets?”
Sunset grinned mischievously and placed an arm over Twilight’s shoulder. “Oh? What did you have in mind?”
“Well…” Twilight said, visibly excited, “The next time you go back to Equestria, would you be able to get the Rainbow Dash from over there to wear some tracking equipment? I’d like to study the flight magic Pegasus seem to have, and she’s probably the best example of it that’s available.”
Sunset Shimmer slumped over. “Seriously?” Twilight nodded, not picking up on the flirtation. “Wow, I actually lost out to scientific curiosity.”
“Nevermind, SciTwi.” Sunset patted Twilight on the head and took a seat on the quilt. “I’ll write your pony-princess counterpart and see if Rainbow Dash will help you out.”
“Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!” Twilight squealed, hugging Sunset Shimmer enthusiastically. As she held Sunset against her, she noticed a group of figures in the distance, dressed in trenchcoats and fedoras, watching them. One of the girls was snapping pictures with a camera that had a long, telescoping lense. “Oh, I can’t believe this…” Twilight said.
“Huh?” Sunset asked.
“Nothing!” Twilight said, immediately backing up. “Hey, I’ve got an idea! Why don’t I get us some popcorn! Good? Good. Be right back!”
Twilight bolted up the hill to where the group was gathered. “Okay,” Twilight said, “you girls REALLY need to stop this. I know you’re trying to help, but all this attention is just making me more nervous. This is, what, the third time I’ve had to leave her because of you? If she hasn’t figured out that you’re following us by now, she’s going to pretty soon, and how much do you think she’s going to want a date a girl whose friends won’t give them just a liiiiitle privacy? I appreciate your concern, but please, please: Go. Home.”
There was a heavy silence that hung in the air for a moment. “Uh...Twilight…” a raspy voice said, “What did you mean by, ‘third time’?”
“Forgive me, darling,” another, more refined voice spoke up, “but I felt confident that you hadn’t even noticed us until now?”
Twilight blinked in confusion. “Rainbow Dash? Rarity?” She looked around at the group. They were dressed in the same outfits as the Shadowbolts, same trenchcoats and hats that looked right out of a noir film, but these were her friends from CHS. “Wait...what are YOU guys doing here?”
“Twilight!” Sunset said, running up the hill after her. “I am SO SORRY about this...I guess there wasn’t much of a chance that you wouldn’t notice these girls following us this whole time.”
“Huh?” Twilight asked, still shocked.
“I mean, you must have noticed my lame excuse for leaving the table during dinner.”
***A little while earlier
“Well, that didn’t work the way I’d hoped,” Indigo Zap said with a sigh, slumping down into a chair at the end of the table.
“It was a rather bold attempt, but spying requires a certain level of subtlety.” Indigo looked over at the source of the unexpected voice.
“Rarity?” Indigo Zap said. She looked further down the table to see the rest of Twilight’s friends from CHS sitting there, all dressed in nearly identical trenchcoats and hats to the ones Sunnny Flare had pushed on the Shadowbolts. “Whoops, wrong table...what are you guys doing here?”
“Same as you, ah’d expect,” Applejack said. “Spyin’ on their date.”
“I still can’t believe they won’t make me a cheeseburger here,” Rainbow Dash said, crossing her arms and sulking. “EVERYPLACE serves cheeseburgers.”
“Um...well...it is a vegetarian restaurant, so…” Flutteryshy said quietly.
“Wait, why are you spying on their date?” Indigo Zap asked. Applejack raised an eyebrow.
“Kinda an odd question, considerin’ that’s what you’re here for.”
“Twilight’s an incredibly shy girl that the rest of the Shadowbolts and I pressured into releasing Equestrian magic that transformed her into a winged demon thing.” Indigo Zap looked down at the floor, shame creeping into her voice at the memory. “We owe it to her to make sure that she’s okay. What’s your excuse?”
“Well…” Rarity said, closing her menu and putting her elbows on the table to cradle her chin between her interlaced fingers. “This is Sunset Shimmer’s first date since Flash Sentry.”
“And turning into a winged demon girl that tried to turn our school into a bunch of mind controlled zombies to take over another world!” Pinkie Pie added, throwing her arms in the air in excitement.
“Yes...that,” Rarity said. “She’s come a long way since then. It was very hard for her to build up her confidence again after all that horrid business. And this is her first, real date where she had any real romantic interest.”
“We’re afraid-I mean, Rarity seems to think that if this doesn’t go well, Sunset could...go back to how she was before,” Rainbow Dash said.
“What? You mean, like a bully?” Indigo Zap said. Rarity shook head vigorously.
“Heavens no, darling. Nothing like that. But she could lose her confidence again. You weren’t there after the Fall Formal. It was...heartbreaking to watch.”
“Just terrible,” Fluttershy agreed.
“So, we decided...how bad could it be to keep an eye on things?” Rarity said.
“I guess that’s fair,” Indigo Zap said. She stood up. “Okay, I gotta get back to my table.” Indigo Zap started to walk away, then stopped, held up her index finger and turned back. “Question: what’s up with the ‘black and white detective film’ getups? Both you guys and Sunny Flare have them.”
Rainbow Dash shoved her thumb over to point at Rarity. “Her idea.”
“Of course it was.”
“This is from a new line I designed for Carousel Boutique. It’s based on ‘The Adventures of Shadow Spade’ novels. I was simply dying for a chance to give it a try, and I think it’s rather fetching, don’t you agree?”
“And, let me guess,” Indigo Zap said. “Sunny Flare’s a fan of the book series, too?”
“Oh, yes, quite so,” Rarity said. “When she heard I had a new line of outfits based off of them she rushed right over to buy our complete collection.”
“Really…” Indigo Zap said, grinning mischievously and rubbing her palms together. “Oh, I’ve got you now, Sunny Flare…”
Indigo Zap walked away, and almost as soon as she was back at her table Sunset Shimmer ran over to her friends.
“You guys need to get out of here,” Sunset Shimmer said.
“Shh!” Pinkie Pie whispered, tipping her hat forward slightly. “She can’t see us if we wear these costumes just right!”
“It’s a miracle if Twilight hasn’t noticed you already,” Sunset Shimmer said, turning to Rainbow Dash. “I mean, ordering a cheeseburger in a vegetarian restaurant? Who else would do that?”
“Hey, I’m sure a lot of people are thinking it! I’m just the one who had the guts to bring it up!”
“And don’t think I didn’t see you guys holding up that long-distance microphone,” Sunset Shimmer said, reaching under the table and pulling out a dish-shaped listening unit and a pair of headphones. “And you’re wearing those ridiculous outfits!”
“Ridiculous!” Rarity said in a huff. “Well, I never!”
“I really want this girl to like me,” Sunset Shimmer said, a pleading tone in her voice. “And she’s, well...kind of shy. I don’t want to scare her away because my friends are putting too much pressure on her, okay?”
“We’re just tryin’ to help you, Sugarcube,” Applejack said. Sunset Shimmer sighed.
“Yeah, I get that. But I can handle this on my own.” Sunset turned around and saw that Twilight was back at the table. “Oh my god, she’s back,” Sunset said, and ran back to her table.
“Sorry! Sorry, had to use the bathroom.”
***Back at the concert
“So...these five have been following us this whole time?” Twilight asked. Sunset nodded. “That’s...sort of sweet of your friends to be so concerned about you.” Sunset Shimmer blushed.
“Th-thanks…” she said. Then, a realization hit her. “Wait, Rarity, did you say that Indigo Zap was at your table before I talked to you guys? What was she doing here?”
“Uh…” Twilight said, scratching the back of her head, looking for an appropriate excuse. “Well, you see, she-”
“Spying on you guys,” Indigo Zap said, her head popping up from behind the bushes.
“Gah!” Twilight said. The rest of the Shadowbolts emerged from their hiding spot in the surrounding shrubbery as well.
“Is the whole concept of, ‘subtlety’ lost on you?” Sunny Flare asked, clearly put out.
“Hi Sugarcoat!” Pinkie Pie yelled, waving and jumping over to give her a hug. Sugarcoat hesitated at first, reluctant to show physical affection in a public place, but returned the hug with a smile.
“So, wait,” Sunset shimmer said, looking over to a very sheepish Twilight. “The Shadowbolts were following us around all night too?”
“Yes,” Sugarcoat said, prompting a glare from Twilight.
“The Shadowbolts were spying on us, the girls from CHS were spying on us, my brother and Dean Cadence were spying on us. Was there anyone at that restaurant who WASN’T there to stalk us?” Twilight asked.
“I don’t think Shining Armor and Dean Cadence were-” Sunset started, but stopped as Applejack cut in.
“We’re sorry if we messed up your date,” Applejack said. “We really didn’t mean to.”
“Yeah,” Indigo Zap said. “It’s just…”
“You’re important to us,” Fluttershy said. “Both of you.”
“And we…” Sour Sweet said, then forced the rest through gritted teeth, “Want...you two...to be happy…”
Sunset and Twilight exchanged a small smile. “I guess it wasn’t so bad…” Twilight admitted.
“Your friends are crazy,” Sunset said, before giving Applejack a small hug. “Well...all of our friends are.”
“You know,” Twilight said, looking down the hill at the stage. “This isn’t actually that bad of a place to watch the concert.”
“We could set up here,” Sunset said. She turned to the ten other girls who had forced their way into her date. “And if you guys wanted to stick around...you know, if you actually have tickets and didn’t sneak in.”
“Of course we have tickets,” Applejack said with a huff. “Rara’s an old friend’ve mine. She got us tickets for the whole group.”
“See, this would be a perfect place for me to record the concert,” Lemon Zest said, shooting Twilight an annoyed look, “If a certain SOMEONE hadn’t broken my recorder.”
“Uh...yeah...sorry about that,” Twilight said.
As the group settled down, Twilight and Sunset Shimmer laid out their quilt and sat down next to one another. “Sorry it’s not exactly private,” Sunset Shimmer said. Twilight shook her head.
“It’s okay. It’s still romantic,” Twilight said. “And besides...it’s nice having our friends here.”
“Rainbow Dash! Indigo Zap!” Rarity yelled. “Stop using the picnic basket as a football this instant!”
“Even if they are crazy,” Twilight said, smiling.
“I had a good time tonight,” Sunset Shimmer said as she walked Twilight up the driveway.
“Me too,” Twilight said, trying her very best not to skip with happiness.
“Do you think Shining Armor’s waiting up for you?” Sunset Shimmer asked.
“I don’t think so,” Twilight answered. “He’s probably gone home by now. I’m sure he trusts me, and he likes you.”
Sunset Shimmer raised an eyebrow coyly. “Are you going to tell him that you let me drive you on my motorcycle?”
Twilight froze, considered, then shook her head. “Nope,” she said. Sunset laughed.
“Well, this is it,” Sunset said as they came to a stop outside Twilight’s front door.
“I guess I’ll see you-” Twilight started, but was interrupted by a chorus of barely hushed whispers from the bushes behind her.
“Kiss her, kiss her, kiss her,” the Shadowbolts chanted in a volume much too loud for Sunset Shimmer not to hear. Twilight blushed.
“You guys…” she whined. Sunset laughed.
“I guess your friends haven’t stopped-” Sunset began, but another set of voices cut her off as well.
“Kiss her, kiss her, kiss her,” the group from Canterlot High School chanted in return from the bushes behind her. Sunset Shimmer blushed and scratched behind her head.
“Uh...I guess…” she said. “I-I mean we don’t have t-” Mustering all her courage, Twilight leaned in and gave Sunset Shimmer a quick peck on the lips. There was a chorus of cheering, and an explosion as Pinkie Pie’s party cannon went off.
“Okayseeyoulaterbye!” Twilight blurted out, then ran inside. Sunset stood still for a moment, her cheeks red as she tried to process the last few seconds.
“Uh...yeah...later…right...” she said, her brain still running on a delay. Applejack walked up to her and draped a friendly arm over Sunset Shimmer’s shoulder.
“Oh man...you’ve got it bad.” Sunset Shimmer nodded.