On Neutral Ground

by RadiantBeam

Chapter 1: On Neutral Ground

It had started, as all things seemed to, with Rainbow Dash opening her mouth without thinking. Honestly, at this point, the girl really should have known better.

“I’m really sorry,” the rainbow-haired athlete groaned over Rarity’s phone as the fashionista walked down the sidewalk. “I don’t even know what I said, but I didn’t mean for Sunset to like… leave, like that. It was super lame of me to wreck the nice date you two were having.”

“Darling, I would appreciate that apology more if you hadn’t planned to crash our date in the first place, you know.”

There was a long moment of silence on the other end of her phone, before Rainbow cleared her throat. “It was Pinkie’s idea,” she said with what Rarity imagined was a completely straight face.

Dark blue eyes rolled towards the sky, and Rarity bit back the sigh. “I’m sure it was, Rainbow,” she muttered. “And once again, I do appreciate the apology. I’m going to meet with Sunset right now.”

“Oh! Is she, um, okay?”

“She texted me a little while ago, said she wants to meet. Apparently there’s something she wants to talk to me about.” Rarity paused. “Rainbow Dash?”

She could practically hear Rainbow cringe from the use of her full name. “Y-Yeah?”

“If for whatever reason your actions have led to a break-up, I shall never forgive you.”

Rarity clicked the end call button before her friend could respond, swiping away Rainbow’s attempt to call her back and tapping on her text message button, skimming the message her girlfriend had sent her as she walked. At least the meeting place wasn’t too far away; in the park, and at the very least, from her tone, the former Equestrian didn’t seem to still be as flustered as she’d been when she’d bolted from Mr. and Mrs. Cake’s shop.

It really had been such a nice date, too, and Rarity grieved the fact that she wouldn’t get to know how it would have ended if not for their friends—namely Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash, dragging along a frantically apologizing Fluttershy and an utterly confused Twilight Sparkle the whole way—crashing it. Even then, she could have forgiven it, but then Rainbow had gone and opened her mouth…

“Hey, Sunset! You and Rares have been datin’ awhile, right? Got any plans to ah, y’know, heat things up between the sheets? Something… sexy after this, maybe?”

That had put a rather abrupt end to the entire thing, as Sunset had frozen up after the joke—sure, it was crude, but Rainbow was still relatively well-meaning—and then had promptly excused herself and fled from the shake shop as if her life depended on it. It had been minutes before Rarity had gotten the text from her girlfriend asking to meet in the park.

Rarity could only assume that Sunset had used those few minutes to compose herself and calm down. Clearly, what Rainbow had said had gotten her worked up, though the purple-haired girl couldn’t imagine why. It was true that they had been dating for awhile now—a few months, give or take a few days for the end of this month—but sex was…

Rarity wouldn’t lie to herself. She had thought about it, and she knew it was something she wanted to do, but it hadn’t happened yet. She and Sunset hadn’t even talked about progressing their relationship that far yet. She’d been trying to think of a good way to bring it up but, well, it seemed her friend had gone and done the job for it.

The aftermath of all this would decide if Rarity ultimately thanked Rainbow, or tried to strangle her the next time they saw each other.

As Rarity made her way into the park, though, Rainbow Dash eventually became the last thing on her mind. All things considered, it was a beautiful day—warm, sunny, with just a hint of a breeze to keep things from becoming too chilly. When the weather was like this, Sunset preferred to be outside as much as possible, and as Rarity’s eyes scanned the park she saw today was no different.

At some point after her bolt from the shake shop, Sunset had settled down on a gentle hill in the park, probably to catch her breath and compose herself before she’d sent out her text. She was now sprawled out on her back, one arm tucked under her head and the other draped across her stomach, eyes closed as she basked in the sun, fingers playing gently with strands of grass.

Rarity couldn’t help the smile even if she tried, and she didn’t bother fighting it as she made her way up the hill. She could have taken a picture to preserve the moment, but Sunset just seemed so peaceful that disturbing her in that way felt wrong. As quietly as possible, the pale-skinned girl folded her legs and settled down next to her girlfriend, hesitating before her fingers found their way into soft, warm strands of mixed gold and red.

She never could resist.

A small shiver ran through Sunset at Rarity’s touch, and her lips curved in a sleepy little smile even as her eyes stayed closed. The redhead shifted her arm, lifting it from her stomach and reaching back to find her girlfriend’s hand, lacing their fingers together. “Hey.”

Rarity chuckled, leaning down to press a light kiss to Sunset’s forehead. “Hello, darling. Would you prefer I come back later? You texted saying you wanted to talk, but you look ready to nap in the sun.”

“To be fair, the sun feels really good.” Sunset stretched and released Rarity’s hand to sit up, rolling her shoulders and shaking loose strands of grass out of her hair. “But no, I’m awake. Thanks for coming by so quick.”

Rarity had scooted to Sunset’s side as the former unicorn moved, eyes drifting over her form the entire time as she waited for her girlfriend to settle down. “No need to thank me, Sunset. I’m just glad you seem to be doing better.” She hesitated, took Sunset’s hand again, and squeezed. “I was worried after the way you left.”

The tension was so subtle that most people wouldn’t have noticed it; one second Sunset had been relatively relaxed and at ease, even with the fact that she and Rarity needed to have a talk about what had happened. The next second her shoulders had locked up slightly, her back straightening, and even as she held on to Rarity’s hand and shifted to face her completely, there was an unease in her cyan gaze that hadn’t been present before she’d been stirred from her almost slumber.

It made Rarity feel bad, bringing the topic up when she saw how much it seemed to be bothering Sunset. But it was something they needed to talk about, and the redhead had started the conversation with her text.

The hard part now, it seemed, would be getting her to actually talk about it.

“Rainbow was apologizing nonstop on my way over here,” she started, if only to break the ice and ease them both into the topic. “I assume she called you as well.”

Sunset snorted. “She probably tried, but I missed it. After I texted you I set my phone to silent so I could have some peace and quiet.”

“Smart of you, really. But she was sorry, though to her credit we were both approaching the topic anyway.”

“… Would have just been nice to approach it at our own pace,” Sunset admitted sheepishly, rubbing the back of her neck.

“Well, since now we must and we’re going to be completely, totally honest with each other…” Rarity scooted closer to her girlfriend, leaning in and whispering against her ear, “I must confess I’ve always found you hideous, love. I don’t think we’ll ever have sex because of it.”

Sunset choked on the air she was inhaling, collapsing into a helpless fit of giggles. “R-Really?” she managed between fits of laughter. “I-I’m so glad you said it first, then. I’ve been agonizing for weeks about having to tell you how disgusting I think you are.”

The laughter and the joke seemed to have relaxed Sunset again, and as she calmed down from her giggles Rarity leaned forward, pressing their foreheads together as the other girl caught her breath. They were both quiet for a moment, simply basking in the feeling, before Sunset sighed and opened her eyes, now fully composed.

The nervousness had faded from her eyes, though.

“Feeling better?” Rarity asked, her voice soft and just between them.

“A lot, yeah.” Sunset sighed again, and smiled. “You’re a treasure, Rarity.”

“I do tend to have my moments.” Rarity pulled away, pushing her hair out of her eyes. “I’m just glad you’ve calmed down, Sunset. I never like seeing you tense.”

“Sorry, I’m just… trying to think of how to talk about this.” Sunset rolled her shoulders. “I thought we’d have more time before the topic of sex came up, and by then I’d have the words.”

Rarity simply nodded in understanding, and waited.

Finally, though, Sunset seemed to have found a way to steer the topic in the direction she wanted it to go, playing with her hands as she began to speak. “I did a lot of research when I came over to the human world, to understand how things worked and what was expected in order to be considered normal. Human relationships aren’t so different from pony relationships, really, and my own personal goals aside at the time, a part of me did genuinely like Flash. Maybe not when we started dating but, you know, I got there.”

“And you knew sex would come up eventually,” Rarity murmured, guessing where Sunset was going next with her train of thought and wordlessly pleased when her girlfriend nodded in agreement.

“Which it did. Come up, I mean. And Flash was really a great guy about it, he didn’t pressure me or anything, and I was…” Sunset trailed off for a moment, fishing for the right word, before she shrugged helplessly. “I was curious, I guess is the best word. I’d never even thought about sex while I was in Equestria, and here was the perfect opportunity to… experiment and figure out what everypony—sorry, everyone—liked so much about it.”

“That’s not quite the wording most people would use to describe their thoughts on sex, dear,” Rarity quietly pointed out. “It doesn’t sound like it was something you wanted to do.”

“He didn’t pressure me,” Sunset repeated firmly, and Rarity sensed the door was closed and locked on that particular subject. “And I know the wording of it is… weird.”

“It sounds to me like you don’t particularly care for sex.”

It had just been an observation on Rarity’s part, a guess based off of Sunset’s wording and body language up until this point in the conversation. She hadn’t expected to hit the nail right on the head by saying it outright, but she saw the way her girlfriend’s shoulders tensed up all over again before sagging, and realized her little harmless guess hadn’t been so harmless after all.

Rarity reached out to Sunset’s hands, gently prying them apart and taking one in her own, lacing their fingers together and squeezing encouragingly. “You don’t, do you,” she said, and it wasn’t a question.

Shoulders still sagged, Sunset nodded. “I don’t hate it,” she rushed to clarify. “But I don’t… really like it, either. I did research after Flash, and I think the proper term for it is sex neutral on the asexuality spectrum. I… did a lot of research.”

Rarity chuckled, despite herself. “I can see that, love.”

“It was just a lot to learn. When I left Equestria, gender and sexuality studies were still pretty simple.” Sunset shifted, holding on to Rarity’s hand as she got comfortable. “You were a mare, or you were a stallion, and you either liked mares, liked stallions, or both. Asexuality wasn’t even a common term, and I was so focused on being Celestia’s student and had the type of personality I did that nobody was willing to even consider dating me—assuming I wanted to date, which I didn’t.”

“And then you came over into the human world and needed to date to progress your agenda,” Rarity urged, giggling again when Sunset’s nose wrinkled at the description of her former self.

“Yes, I did, but it sounds even worse coming from you than it would from me.”

Rarity brought Sunset’s fingers to her lips in an apologetic kiss, humming when the girl’s face turned red enough to match her hair. “I’m just being honest and trying to make you comfortable, Sunset. Truly. What you told me… it’s a lot, and I appreciate your honesty. I know it can’t have been easy for you.”

Sunset finally smiled, and it was sheepish. “I’ve been trying to figure out how to word it ever since we started dating. I knew sex was going to come up eventually, and this time I actually knew myself and what I liked, and I just… wanted you to know what you were getting into with me.”

Rarity’s eyebrow went straight up. “Getting into?”

Sunset winced, having worked out a little too late that she may not have used the best words for that sentence. “I just mean, um… I’m not going to claim to know what you like or anything, but I’ve seen the way you read those romance novels and magazines about sex and relationships, and I know you and Suri got pretty serious before things went badly.”

This time, it was Rarity’s turn to wince. “I don’t even think I want to know how you found out about that,” she muttered.


“No need to apologize, dear, it’s all water under the bridge at this point and I’m just thankful she’s at Crystal Prep… wait, you’re changing the subject.”

Sunset held up both hands, either in defense or as a gesture of peace Rarity wasn’t sure. “Not on purpose!”

Rarity gently nudged her girlfriend. “You knew the moment you brought up Suri it would derail my train of thought. I, however, am not so easily shaken from a trail when it involves someone I care about! Now please, Sunset, elaborate on what you meant by getting into.”

“… I kind of just did?” Sunset tried, lowering her hands and relaxing once she realized Rarity wasn’t really angry. “I mean yeah, I got sidetracked by mentioning Suri—sorry again, by the way—but the point I’m trying to make is, you know you like sex and you know you want sex. I don’t like sex, I don’t hate sex, but I know on my own I don’t want to do it.”

“And?” Rarity asked.

“And… and that’s it, I guess,” Sunset finished, looking like she wasn’t entirely sure if this conversation had gone the way she had wanted it to. All the same, she seemed resigned to however her girlfriend reacted now that she had said her piece. “I don’t know if this changes anything, I just wanted to let you know.”

“Well, thank you for letting me know.” Judging that it was safe, Rarity leaned in and gave Sunset a kiss; light and gentle, and she kept it chaste out of respect for the topic they had been discussing before she pulled away and smiled, warm and brilliant. “It doesn’t change anything, though.”

“It doesn’t?” Sunset didn’t even try to hide the relief that bled into her tone, following after Rarity for another kiss if only to reassure herself that everything in their relationship was good and stable again after that immensely personal talk.

“It doesn’t,” Rarity repeated, and her voice was gentle, but firm as she took both of Sunset’s hands in hers. “You may not recall this, Sunset, since I know you were just dazzled by my beauty when I asked you out months ago…”

Sunset snorted with laughter, squeezing Rarity’s hands and scooting closer to lean into her and cuddle.

“… But I asked you out because I liked you. I’m still with you to this very day because I like you.” Rarity shifted so that Sunset could get more comfortable, even if she grieved the fact that she had to let go of the redhead’s hands. She compromised by rubbing her back, nuzzling into her hair. “I certainly do enjoy sex and it would be a very pleasant bonus, but I’m already perfectly happy with you as things are. So please believe me when I say this changes nothing between us.”

Sunset didn’t reply with words, but she settled even more against Rarity, her breathing warm and soft against her neck, and that was a reply all on its own. The two of them sat nestled together in silence for a long time, simply enjoying the moment and the feeling that had settled over both of them.

“I guess Rainbow Dash is going to be disappointed,” Sunset said, finally.

Rarity paused, then leaned down so her lips were right against Sunset’s ear. “We should tell her we broke up.”

Sunset choked when she inhaled and collapsed into laughter, holding on to her girlfriend to try and steady herself. “Evil,” she gasped out, shaking with mirth. “You’re completely evil, Rarity.”

Perhaps she was, Rarity mused, but it was a worthwhile title to carry if it made Sunset laugh like this.

“Well,” she sniffed, “if you’re against that, do you have any other suggestions for how we can spend the rest of today? We still have some time before I’m expected back home.”

Sunset giggled. “We could finish our date. We never did manage to do that.”

“… Mm, I must admit, love, that sounds much better than what I had in mind.”

Sunset laughed again, then finally pulled away and got to her feet. She took a moment to brush off the grass before she turned and offered Rarity her hand. “Shall we, then?”

Rarity smiled and took her girlfriend’s offered hand, and when Sunset pulled her up she took advantage of the momentum to wrap her arms around her neck and squeeze her. “We shall.”

Author's Notes:

The original idea for this was based off of a prompt I saw on Tumblr a ways back. I don't remember the exact wording, but the general idea was "Person A is asexual and Person B isn't and they still have a loving and happy relationship." I was going to make this a Sunlight piece, but that fell apart once I realized I also happen to headcanon Sunset as asexual along with Twilight.

So have some RariShimmer instead, even if it doesn't quite match the original prompt.

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