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Closing Time · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
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A Horrible, Horribly Awkward, Uncomfortable and Itchy Love Story
“So, I've had a huge crush on a version of you from a parallel world, and I asked you here so I could, well, ask you out.”

Flash Sentry froze, a cup of coffee halfway to his lips. He felt an irrational urge to start sipping it just so he could do a proper spit-take.

“Oh. Well, that's nice. I mean, this is a very nice feeling for me! It's like, you know, when you go to the bathroom, you poop, and when you go to wipe and the toilet paper is still clean!”

He beamed happily at the middle distance.

Twilight Sparkle stopped breathing.

Maybe I should have phrased differently, thought Sentry.

“Not that that's a bad thing! And, like, it's actually a good-no, a great thing! I mean, if you were poop, you would be the best poop, the poop all other poops wish to be!”

That's better.

Hidden behind a partition, Rarity quietly sobbed for the death of all romance.

“Sniff...Pinkie, how can you look? This is horrible! It's a travesty! It's the winter line of five years ago all over again!”

“Yeah, but it's funny! Look, look, now he's comparing her to gas! Or farts...no, wait, he's saying that she's definitely not a fart at all, not even a little bit, he's definitely, 100 % sure of that. Wow, Twi is changing colors again. Want some popcorn?”

Rarity glared at her with a look of betrayal on her face.

Meanwhile, at another table, Pony Joe tried to get two of his other patrons to leave.

“Ladies, I literally don't care anymore if you're royalty, I want to go to bed! I haven't slept well in over a month, and this is my cafè, and so my word is law. Get. Out.”

Luna turned to face him, her regal demeanor and impeccable poise only slightly hampered by the ridiculous sun hat she wore to disguise herself.

“I say thee nay! The fair Twilight Sparkle hast for far too long been without a paramour, and we fain see her with groom.”

Celestia looked at her sister, eyebrow raised.

“I thought you had stopped speaking like that, Luna?”

“Nay! If Zapp of the Power Ponies can speak thusly, so can we!”

Celestia sighed.

“Look, what I meant to say, is that you're pretty, you come from a rich family, you have a ton of political capital and enough magical power to level a medium-sized mountain. Why wouldn't I be attracted to you?”

Twilight looked like a kid who'd just found out that Santa had choked to death on the cookies she'd left out the night before, and that from that point on Christmas was canceled.

“You...you mean you like me just for the things I can do for you?”

Danger Will Robinson, Danger! screamed a small and unexplained part of Sentry's brain.

“No no no no no that's not at all what I was saying, and...” he trailed off for a moment, thinking.

Then he straightened himself and started speaking more slowly and firmly.

“Actually, you know what? That is what I'm saying. I know very little about you, Princess. I don't know what you're like as a person or what your personality is like. And I don't care if it's shallow, but some of the things I do look for in a fillyfriend are, well, looks, money, and power.

“It's all well and good to say that true love should look beyond all that, but if I get discharged from the guard because of an injury, I want to be able to lean on my partner for support. Same thing if I get in trouble with the law, or a million other things.

“Besides which, all those things are still part of you, and it's silly to pretend they aren't part of you.”

Twilight hadn't been this upset since Discord had returned a book to her library (the state it was in is left as an exercise to the reader).

“But none of those are things that I did! Those are all things that were handed to me!”

“Well, the impression that my weird double from another world left on you was just handed to me too, but you don't see me complaining” smirked Flash.

An embarrassed silence descended between them.

“I'm sorry.”

“Don't be, it's fine. But now I'm curious; what was he like, anyway?”

Twilight looked into the middle distance with lovestruck eyes.

“Oh, he was an obligate omnivore taller than Celestia with a body like a cross between a troll and a minotaur.”

Oh sweet Celestia, she thinks I'm a bloodthirsty monster.

“Whyyyy?? Why aren't they doing anything riiiight? Love isn't supposed to be like this...” whined Rarity.

“Oh, silly filly, love can be like anything it wants. Like a banana! And hey! I'm thinking I can write a play about this: a bold fusion between the genres of romance and comedy. I shall call it...com-rom.”

Rarity looked askance at the beret and sunglasses that had suddenly appeared on her friend.

“Pinkie, that's absurd. Romance and comedy go horribly together. Also, basing something on the travails of poor Twilight would be a huge violation of her privacy!”

“Like if we were spying on her, you mean?”

“No, seriously, get out! This establishment is mine, the law that you wrote says that I can close it whenever I want, and I'm not going to stand for you trying to ruin my life again!”

Celestia immediately swiveled to face Pony Joe, her posture wary.

“What do you mean “again”? What happened to you that is directly related to us?”

Joe snorted.

“Well, on the eve of Princess Cadence's marriage, your darling sister decided it was a good idea to camp out in my cafè to whine her heart out about how everyone was going to hate her at the wedding, and that she shouldn't go and other fripperies like that.

“And of course, when the changelings invaded and got wind she was here, they all tried kidnap her, meaning it was completely destroyed by the time things got out of control. And of course after the fight, she immediately left without saying anything to anyone, meaning my insurance and the relief funds gave me zilch!

“I was forced to sell my donuts on a refreshment trolley on trains, like a CARNY! My old man, Cuppa Joe, would've been ashamed to see me!”

Joe huffed in anger, while Luna looked at him, stricken.

“We-I did not know of this. I...I will arrange for compensation monies as soon as possible. And...and if you are amenable, I'll use my powers as Princess of the Night to help with your slumber.”

“Wait, you can do WHAT?”

“Twilight, I'm sorry to say this, but I don't think I'm actually much like the guy you met in that other world.”

She stopped mid-sentence to look at him with wild eyes.

“W-what do you mean?”

Flash sighed.

“Twilight, look at my butt and tell me what you see.”

Twilight blushed.

“N-no, I didn't mean it like that! M-my CUTIE MARK! Yes, the cutie mark! Look at my cutie mark and tell me what you think it's for.”

She eyeballed it speculatively.

“Mmm...being very fast in defending others I suppose?”

“Not a bad guess, but it's actually something different. I guess you can say it's like...well...umm...it's hard to explain, but it's like I'm protected by the concept of lightning? Do you get me?”

Twilight's face plainly showed that she didn't.

“Ok, how did they explain it to me...Ah! Basically, anything that's cast on me becomes grounded and fizzles out. It's why the color changing enchantment on the Royal Guard armor don't work on me: usually they just turn white a patch of ground in the locker room the moment I wear them. I'm very nearly immune to magic.”

“Oh...I was wondering about that...”

“Anyway! What this means, is that my talent is pretty much in high demand in the guard. I've already done two tours of duty patrolling the Badlands, and I've seen a lot of the worst that Equestria has to offer. And I'm very young to have done all that!

“While the Flash Sentry you met sounds like, well, a kid in high school. Although now I want to learn how to play the guitar, it sounds like a bitchin' instrument.”

Twilight didn't see him smile, preoccupied as she was with staring at her room-temperature cup of tea.

“I see. I'll guess I'll show myself out.”

Flash's jaw dropped.

“What? Why?”

Twilight looked up.

“Well, it's what you've been trying to tell me all evening, isn't it? That we don't know each other at all and that it's pointless for us to date?”

“What? No! Why do you think couples start dating? It's exactly because this way they get to know each other! And hey, as long as you keep me and Other Flash separate in your head, we're not gonna have any problems.”

Hesitantly, Twilight slowly started to smile.

“Okay, and...I hope you weren't weirded out too much by me.” She said.

“Oh, I'm plenty weirded out, but don't worry about it, it's not a big deal. Anyway, why don't we start talking about the thing we're actually here to discuss before they kick us out for loitering?”

Twilight looked confused for a moment.

“What do you mean?”

“My new transfer as guard to a different Princess? I don't know why you're dealing with this, but you're going to tell me how to guard Princess Luna or Celestia better, right?”

Twilight bit her tongue.

“Aww, c'mon Rarity, you don't have to be a saddie-waddie about this! It's fine!”

Rarity kept being in a general state of distress.

“No! No it isn't! I'm a horrible friend, a horrible pony, and I should just crawl under a pile of drapes and moan!”

Pinkie Pie adopted a look of intense cogitation on her face. One could tell, because it was the same look she had when she confronted a soufflè.

“This isn't about Twilight's privacy, is it? You're actually feeling guilty because you're the one who told Twilight to act on her feelings, aren't you?”

Rarity was instantly gobsmacked.

“Darling, I don't know whatever do you mean, I-” Pinkie's hug cut her off before she could dig herself in any deeper.

“Silly Rarity, what happens next after that isn't your fault! You managed to make Twilight unblock her feelings thingy, and that's enough.”

Rarity sniffled.

“Do you think so?”

“I know so! Now come on, if it still bothers you we can go out. Besides, that white unicorn looks like he's getting pretty agitated.”

“So let me get this straight. You have an incredibly important, yet very controversial ability, and your best idea is to keep it a secret? Pardon my Prench, but are you flippin' insane?!”

Celestia immediately leapt up to her sister's defense.

“It was a necessary measure to ensure the general population would not mistrust my sister.”

“Yes, I get that, but the point is that it just wouldn't work! Princess, ponies dislike you not because you're the Princess the Night, but because you're an asocial loner who never shows her face in public! And aside from that, who cares if ponies would dislike? You're a Princess! You can do whatever you want! Except, maybe, follow the laws that you yourselves wrote since you're still not moving your rears out of here!

Both Princesses looked at Pony Joe's bloodshot eyes. They considered how far a pony would have to go before insulting the ruling bodies of his own country. They considered the fact he was ready to go on another self-righteous rant. They realized that they were actually in the wrong.

“You are right. Let us go, sister.”

Joe slumped.

“Oh thank Harmony.”

“I don't believe this.”

The day had started going badly for Twilight from the moment she'd stepped into the cafè, and it was only becoming worse.

“I'm a Royal Guard, a servant of Equestria, I've fought and bled for it...and that's how I'm repaid for it? By a Princess who decides to abuse her powers and screw with my career? Seriously? What do you have to say for yourself?”

Now, there's a famous saying, something about camels and broken backs, which is applicable in this situation. Except instead of straw it's a mixture of grief, humiliation, and embarrassment.

“I'M SORRY! IT'S JUST-it's just...I don't know how to do this, I've never known how to do this, and Cadence said it was fine and Rarity told me I had to and I didn't know how else to contact you and I've never ever asked anypony out and I'm still twentysix and a virgin and I'm sorry and I'm sorry and I'm sorry-”

Twilight kept mumbling and sobbing with her face in her hooves. Flash sighed and rubbed his forehead.

“Calm down. I admit it, I may have overreacted slightly, just...you do realize that what you did isn't a nice thing, right?”

Twilight mutely nodded.

“Just...promise you're going to reverse this transfer and let my career go the way it's supposed to go, right? Which reminds me, I also want you to contact your brother and tell him you were the one to ask me out. I don't want to get in trouble with him, even if he's not the Captain anymore is word still carries some weight.”

“Okay. I promise. Sorry” hiccuped Twilight.

“Good. Okay, I'll give you my address so you contact me for when we actually start dating.”

“You...you still want to go out with me? Why?”

Flash paused.

“I'm not a monster, Twilight. I can see how hard it was for you to do this, and even if you made a big error” Twilight cringed “and even though I have some misgivings, I'm willing to give you a chance. Okay?”

Twilight nodded.

“You look exhausted. Hug?”

“I'd like that.”

The two embraced for a while.

“Now let's get out of here, the owner's coming over and he's giving us the evil eye.”

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