Long Distance

by RadiantBeam

Chapter 1: Long Distance

Twilight Sparkle knows they’re lucky.

She’s not stupid; if she was prone to bragging like a certain show pony she knows, she’d say she’s the smartest pony in Equestria. Okay, well, maybe not the smartest, but definitely one of the smartest ponies in Equestria. She’s allowed a little bit of pride.

She’s not stupid, and she completely recognizes how lucky they all are. If it had been anybody else poking around the magic that had made itself explosively known at and around Canterlot High, they could have ended up dealing with a whole host of reactions that sound like something out of one of Spike’s comic books. All of the girls are very sure of that; they’ve listed everything from armed forces to UFO hunters getting involved, and none of those things sound particularly good.

Instead all of the magic attracted one very human, very scientific Twilight Sparkle, and as cold and withdrawn as she was and as jarring as it was to see this world’s version of her, all she wanted to know was how the magic worked and why ponies were coming through the portal. She hadn’t brought any variety of weapons, and she sure as heck wasn’t hunting around for UFOs… whatever the heck those were.

(Though she had apparently nursed the theory that aliens were the root cause of the whole thing. Considering that she and Sunset come from a different world and they started it all, Twilight doesn’t think she’s entirely off base with that one.)

All human Twilight wants is some answers and the chance to pick her brain and Sunset’s, to try and understand how the magic works and how it was transferred to five completely normal human girls, pony counterparts on the other side of the portal notwithstanding. It’s jarring, but nowhere near as bad as it could have been, especially once she promised to keep this all quiet.

Apparently, she’d really wanted to be the first human to study magic.

Twilight knows they’re lucky, and she’s not stupid. She knows this is the best possible outcome they all could have possibly hoped for, and to try and change anything now would be beyond foolish.

To suggest it because of jealousy, of all things… well. She’s not some lovesick foal. She’s a mature and capable mare, responsible enough to bear the title of Princess of Friendship. She can handle a human version of herself hanging around with her friends on the other side of the portal.

She can handle a human version of herself leaning in a little too close when Sunset’s talking to her about Equestria or explaining a theory on unicorn magic. She can handle a human version of herself smiling sheepishly and playing with her hair when Sunset smiles and laughs, correcting her on something she got wrong or praising her for something she figured out on her own about Equestrian magic.

(She recognizes the signs of a crush when she sees it because it’s like looking in a mirror; she distinctly remembers demonstrating the same behavior, first around Flash and then around Sunset.)

She can handle a human version of herself being around and with Sunset every moment that she can’t be, because she’s in Equestria with her friends and her duties.

She can.

Twilight knows they’re lucky, and she’s not stupid.

But she is in love, and as logical as she tries to be—and as much as she knows Sunset would never, ever stray—she can’t handle a human version of herself being around her girlfriend all of the times she can’t be.

She really can’t. Telling herself she can isn’t going to change that.

Of course, Twilight knows it was never going to be easy.

She knows about long distance relationships; she may not have dated much (okay, fine, at all) when she was younger, but she knows the term. She’s seen it in practice with other ponies, and from what she saw she knew it was a difficult thing. Doable, of course, certainly doable. For every time she’s seen a long distance relationship fail, she’s seen just as many succeed.

The thing is, ‘long distance’ usually refers to being separated by towns, or by kingdoms.

‘Long distance’ doesn’t usually refer to being separated by worlds.

(“I realize this isn’t the brave thing to do, writing this when I know you’ll be asleep. You probably won’t even see it until you feel like checking the book, but that’s okay. I’m really not that brave. Even when we fought the sirens, I needed you reaching out to me to actually do something about it. So maybe confessing in the dead of night when I know you won’t be reading this is right. … Or maybe I just want to write this out and not see your immediate response. I’m not sure which.”)

So yes, on one hoof, she and Sunset are in a long distance relationship. There’s really no way around it, and it’s the best way to describe the situation without going into detail. The only ponies who know the full extent of the situation are her family and her friends; that’s to be expected.

Nopony else knows. That’s for the best; saying it’s a long distance relationship works well enough, for the interest to dim and for ponies to stop asking questions. Nopony is ready yet for the portal and the implications of a whole other world, and Sunset isn’t ready yet to come back to Equestria.

So this is the compromise.

On the other hoof, however, this is by far the weirdest long distance relationship Twilight has ever known about. And she did a fair bit of studying on long distance relationships before things progressed this far.

(“Anyway, I don’t really expect you to feel the same way about me. I mean, honestly, you probably don’t. I know you got over Flash, and the timing is… convenient, but if I don’t do it now I’ll never do it. You’ll never feel the same way, I think, but I can’t keep this to myself anymore. So please don’t feel any pressure. I just want you to be happy, Twilight, even if it isn’t with me.”)

But somehow, they make it work. Somehow they really make it work, and Twilight isn’t entirely sure how they do it.

She suspects magic may be partially involved. They are both unicorns. Or, well, Twilight used to be a unicorn. She’s an alicorn now, so that’s like… double the magic of a unicorn. And they were both students of Celestia.

So yeah. Magic may definitely be involved. And there is a form of magic derived from the power of love, so maybe it’s not as off-base as Twilight thinks.

The point is, it works. It really works. It was a huge chance and it could have gone horribly wrong, but they both took it anyway and it’s gone so wonderfully right that a small part of Twilight is starting to think she really can’t imagine her life—her future—without Sunset involved in it in some fashion. The long distance aspect makes things inconvenient and occasionally frustrating, but it’s been a small obstacle.

She’s pretty sure her mother has already written a book about it. Love that transcends worlds is the kind of thing ponies would read in a heartbeat.

So it’s a long distance relationship, and it’s a really weird one even for long distance relationships. But they got over that, they got around it, and it’s been great.

It’s been wonderful.

(“So… I love you. There, I said it. Or I wrote it. I mean, I didn’t actually say it, but I’ve wanted to tell you for a long time now, and now I have, so now it’s out there. Though it’s being written, not said… and I’m rambling. Totally rambling. Right.”)

And after researching long distance relationships, Twilight thinks, she was ready for any and all challenges that would be thrown in their way. But of course, as it so often goes, she got used to the strangeness of the situation to forget that theirs is the first long distance relationship to span worlds, particularly when the other world already has a human version of Twilight Sparkle.

Yeah. Twilight didn’t account for her.

Hindsight is a harsh mistress.

To be clear: it’s not like Twilight expects Sunset to break up with her. Oh sure, a tiny, tiny part of her is kind of afraid of that possibility now that she knows the human world has a version of her, but she doesn’t think it’ll actually happen.

Human Twilight Sparkle is just a challenge she didn’t account for when she was making her list, and it’s a little scary to think she can provide Sunset with the one thing her Equestrian counterpart knows she currently can’t: a steady presence in the human world, someone who can be around whenever her girlfriend wants.

The good thing is Twilight’s learned from the many, many times she kept something that bothered her to herself. And the whole thing that makes a long distance relationship work is communication; she needs to talk to Sunset about this.

The bad thing is Twilight’s a little—okay, very—afraid of the outcome of talking about it.

But she knows how much worse things could become if she doesn’t talk about it at all, so. It’s not like she has a number of options.

Besides, she’s due another visit to the human world. But before she goes through the portal, she picks up the book she and Sunset use as their main method of communication, flipping the pages to one very specific portion of the book.

It’s her favorite portion, if she’s honest, and it’s her little secret.

(“Now you know, so… it’s your choice now. Whatever you write back, know that no matter what you’ll always be my friend. And if you don’t write back at all, know I don’t blame you.”)

Twilight had written back, when she’d seen those words the next morning.

She still thinks it was one of the best decisions she ever made.

Of course, knowing she has to talk about it and actually getting herself to talk about it are two completely different things, but Twilight works up to it once she’s in the human world.


They’re saying goodbye to the girls and human Twilight Sparkle, and… yeah, okay, Twilight still isn’t used to seeing someone else look back at her with her face, her eyes, speaking with her voice. She doesn’t think she’s ever going to get used to it, but as she watches Pinkie loop arms with her human counterpart and drag her away, she knows that really isn’t her biggest problem right now.

She knows technically human Twilight isn’t her, but it’s just the whole idea.

And then for a moment thinking gets blissfully fuzzy as they turn and head back to Sunset’s apartment, and Sunset’s hand finds hers easily, fingers lacing together in a way that feels as natural as breathing. Twilight takes a moment to just enjoy it, leaning into her girlfriend and enjoying physical contact that is still far too rare for her preferences.

She knows she has to bring this up, but for the moment she wants to enjoy having Sunset all to herself. So she takes her moment, as they walk, before she takes a quiet breath and steels herself. She needs to stop putting this off.

“Something on your mind, princess?” Sunset asks before Twilight even says anything, and for a moment she gapes dumbly.

Well. So much for bringing it up herself.

“How do you always do that?” she groans, squeezing Sunset’s hand to show she’s not really upset or annoyed.

Sunset giggles, warm and gentle, and it makes Twilight smile. “You have this habit,” she explains, “of snuggling a lot before you bring up something you’re scared to talk about or something that’s bothering you.”

Twilight pokes Sunset’s shoulder. “Are you saying I don’t usually snuggle?”

“Oh, you snuggle all the time. It’s my biggest secret and I’m taking it to my grave.” Sunset grins. “But you snuggle way more when something’s on your mind. So what’s up?”

Twilight knows she planned to bring this up calmly and logically. She’s already made a list of every way this bothers her, and she’s practiced how she wants to say it; poor Spike has the patience of a saint, truly. She knows she planned out this whole conversation.

But Sunset’s smiling at her, and she’s absolutely beautiful and she’s Twilight’s and Twilight knows she loves her a lot, maybe enough to even want to marry her someday. So her calm, logical plan goes flying right out the window in favor of emotion.

She twirls a strand of hair nervously around the finger of her free hand. “You know she likes you,” she says. “Human me.”

Sunset shrugs. “Well, yeah. She’s not exactly subtle, and I saw you do it before we got together.” She pauses, hums. “It’s kind of a weird thing now that I know what it means, compared to before.”

Sunset knows, then. Sunset knows, and she… hasn’t done anything with it. A weight lifts ever so subtly off of Twilight’s shoulders at that.

“Does it bother you that she likes me?” her girlfriend asks, and Twilight misses her next step.

She stumbles and nearly falls flat on her face, but she’s more coordinated now with her human form and Sunset moves quickly beside her, releasing her hand to wrap a supporting arm around her waist as she staggers for her footing. Twilight’s fingers dig into her girlfriend’s shoulder as she steadies herself, and she sighs. “I think that’s a pretty obvious yes,” the Equestrian princess mutters, blushing faintly.

Sunset smiles. “You aren’t exactly subtle, no.”

No point in dancing around it now. “Yes, it bothers me,” Twilight says. “A… a little.”

Sunset waits.

“Okay, a lot,” Twilight confesses. “And it’s stupid, I know it is—we’re lucky she was the one who found out about the magic, and I know you don’t like her back that way. I mean, if you picked up on how she was acting and didn’t do anything, that’s a pretty big sign.”

“A pretty big one,” Sunset agrees, seeming willing to let her girlfriend talk this out of her system.

“It’s stupid,” Twilight mutters, and shakes her head. “But it still bothers me. I mean, she’s here. She’s not in Equestria, she’s not away from you all the time. She could see you whenever you want, instead of having to work around…” She gestures vaguely. “All of my duties and obligations back home.”

Sunset waits. Like Spike, she seems to have the patience of a saint.

Something in Twilight cracks, a bit, and she leans into Sunset again, taking advantage of the fact that her arm is still slung around the other girl’s shoulders. “She could be with you,” she says at last. “Really be with you.”

And there it is. She’s said it, and she honestly feels a little better for it. Waiting for Sunset’s response is nerve wracking, but the redhead is still holding her close and hasn’t even loosened her grip on her, so Twilight chooses to take that as a good sign.

Finally, Sunset sighs and nuzzles into Twilight, kissing her hair. “Well, you aren’t wrong,” she says. “She could be with me all the time, living in this world and all.”

Twilight nods, and doesn’t say anything.

Sunset shifts a bit, slides her hand up from Twilight’s hip so she can gently run her fingers through her girlfriend’s hair as she hugs her closer. “But you remember the Fall Formal? Right after you blasted me?” she asks, and her voice shakes a little bit.

Twilight nods again.

“Everything disappeared on me then, you know. All of that ambition that had carried me there was gone, and I found myself alone.” Sunset takes a deep breath, and when she speaks again, her voice cracks.

“You came and got me. And… I felt like I was home.”

It hangs in the air between them after that, unspoken. But Twilight hears the words anyway.

And that’s why I love you. Why I’ll never love her, even if she looks like you.

Twilight is quiet, then gently shifts her grip on Sunset’s shoulder, tugging gently on her jacket. She leans up at the same time to meet her girlfriend halfway, and Sunset’s sigh shudders between them as they kiss, warm and gentle and reassuring for both of them.

“Told you it was stupid,” she murmurs when they part.

Sunset laughs and smiles, bumping their foreheads together. “Really stupid,” she agrees.

It takes them awhile to start walking again, but that’s just fine in Twilight’s book.

This is a long distance relationship; she knows it was never going to be easy.

But it’s always, always been worth it.

Author's Notes:

I wrote most of this while I was sleep deprived and suffering from a pounding headache. Certainly made for an interesting way to write romance, I'll say that.

Sunset's last words to Twilight are based off of the lyrics from "My Past is Not Today". I had to rework them a bit to fit them in, but I'm glad I managed it.

Return to Story Description


Login with