Time and Time Again

by Albi

Chapter 1: Tuesdays Are Terrible

It’s a rare thing for me to wake up on a Tuesday morning feeling happy and hopeful and, well, excited about the day. Oh sure, people complain about Mondays all the time, but at least then you’re coming off of two days of rest and relaxation. And while Wednesday may be the hump day, at least you’re halfway through and only getting closer to the sweet, sweet end.

But as I woke from another vivid dream, my heart fluttered in anticipation. Minuette, today is the day you’re going to ask Sunset Shimmer out on a date!

This wasn’t a spur of the moment idea, either. I’d hemmed and hawed on about it for two weeks, never really reaching that turning point until now.

When I sleep, I see different possible futures. Some exciting, some terrifying, some I could predict even without my time-based abilities. One night I saw Sunset Shimmer and myself, holding hands on a beach, laughing and kissing and playing in the water. Super cliché, I know, but it was kinda cute. Sunset had made a complete one-eighty and was now one of the nicest girls in the school (a possibility I had also foreseen, but was still surprised it actually happened. I mean, a pony princess from another dimension? That’s just crazy!), but I had never thought of her before in a romantic light. But after that? Needless to say, I took a little more interest in her. Just checking out her features, you know?

Maybe my mind was still running off dream hormones—those are a thing, right?—but Sunset suddenly looked really… beautiful. Oh, who am I kidding, she looked hot.

Still, I’ve seen plenty of futures where I ended up with a lot of different people. Pinkie, Soarin, Bulk, even Lyra—glad I didn’t choose to pursue that one. She and Bon Bon are super cute together! But yeah, lots of potential futures, so why worry over this one? It was fun to entertain the thought, but like the others I decided not to just let it pass.

Then the second dream happened. I’m embarrassed to even think about the details. I couldn’t look at Sunset for nearly a week without my face getting hot… along with other places.

Admittedly, I became more intrigued. I began trying to talk to her more, get to know her beyond the passing observations and the little details I’d caught. Turns out, she’s not just a pretty face who can wail on a guitar, she’s also legitimately smart and funny.

Last night’s dream sealed the deal. Sunset and I were making dinner in a gorgeous house that looked like it belonged to a movie star. We talked and joked and fed each other forkfuls of food. It was simple but so romantic!

And that house! A huge modern kitchen with granite countertops, tall ceilings and vast windows, expensive satin rugs, even a swimming pool!

With my eyes full of determination and heart full of passion I lept out of bed, ready to take on the world. Sunset would be mine! And so would that house! But mostly Sunset!

It’s always good to start the day with a clear goal in mind.

I made it two steps from the bed when my foot caught a stray shoe. Caught off guard and my balance thrown, I managed to hop twice before gravity won and my face hit the floor. Not my best start, but I won’t be deterred. Picking myself back up, I carried on to the bathroom for the most important morning ritual: the brushing of the teeth!

Going through the motions, I finished before I knew it. Looking back from the mirror was my smiling reflection, pearly whites glistening in the light and bedhead tamed as I nodded in satisfaction. Now the real work began.

Bouncing back to my room, this time pointedly avoiding the shoe from before, I turned my attention towards getting dressed. What would be the perfect outfit to catch Sunset’s eye? Something simple, but not too simple. I had to look interested, but not desperate. I also had to look interesting, but not crazy. The sun shone brightly outside, leaving the rain from two days ago nothing but a fleeting memory. A dress would do, and I had the perfect one. Knee-length and sea-green, with knee-high socks with little hourglasses stitched into them. I considered them to be my lucky pair, and also my favorite!

Backpack in hand I headed downstairs and towards the kitchen for a Pop-tart. I could have gone for something larger, but time waits for no woman, and I had a date to make. I made it to the cabinet and was working my way through the wrapper when I noticed the note on the table.

We’re having pinto bean soup for dinner tonight. Make sure you turn off the stove before you head out. Love, Mom.

A minute later, with a toasted Pop-tart in hand and the stove turned off, I made my way towards school. With the sun shining and the wind warm, I had made a good choice in my attire.

The suburbs of Canterlot were as quiet as always, at least until I passed by Zipporwhill’s house and her dog started barking from the other side of the fence. The barking persisted even when I was three houses down. Super cute dog, but that bark could drive a person batty.

Canterlot High buzzed with the usual morning activity as I arrived. That is to say, bedraggled students and late sleepers slogging along in a unified reluctance to begin the day, with some of them asking one another for the answers to yesterday’s homework.

Now to just find my target; to strike fast, before my chance slipped away. Butterflies swirled in my stomach as I scanned the masses, looking for her iconic hair or leather jacket. To be fair, there was the possibility she didn’t even swing that way in this timeline. But I would cross that bridge when or if I reached it. Nothing would keep me from my future.

To my disappointment the entrance rotunda proved to be Sunset-free, making my butterflies dance all the harder. If I didn’t find her soon, I’d have to find a way to pull her out from her circle of friends who always seemed nearby, and that’s always awkward.

“You okay, Minuette?”

I looked to Lemon Hearts as she came to a stop at my side, watching me curiously. “Hey, Lemon! How’s it going?” I asked cheerfully.

“I’m fine, but what about you? You were mumbling to yourself a second ago.”

“Was I?” I kept smiling and shrugged. “Guess I was just lost in thought.” Taking a quick look around, I motioned for her to lean in. “I’m looking for Sunset so I can ask her out.”

Lemon frowned in confusion. “You like Sunset? Since when?”

“A few weeks ago. I told you, remember?”


Whoops. Must have reset somewhere along the way. Oh well. I waved it off. “Well, I’m going to ask her on a date, and we’re going to live happily ever after!”

Lemon gave me that smile she always gave when she thought I was being silly. A little lopsided with a playful roll of her eyes. Oh, Lemon, if only you could see the things I’ve seen. Good job on acing your history test by the way.

Before I could say anything else the bell rang, cutting my search for Sunset short. I would have to wait until lunch now, but I could be patient. Good things came to those who waited, and all that.

Ten minutes into my government class, and I found myself wishing I could move time forward as well. Unfortunately time marched on at its usual pace, but eventually I found myself at lunch.

Now I only had to find Sunset. I started with her usual table, where all her friends sat. Just as my luck would have it, they were all accounted for except Sunset. Well, at least I might find a lead.

As I should have expected, Pinkie saw me first. “Hi, Minuette! What’s up?”

“Hey, Pinkie. You haven’t seen Sunset, have you?”

“Hmm…” She tapped her chin with a breadstick, then shrugged. “Nope, I haven’t seen her yet. Twilight isn’t here either. Weird, huh?”

Across from Pinkie, Rarity giggled coyly. “Yes, very weird indeed…”

I didn’t like that giggle. That was the giggle of someone who knew something! Rarity knew something! I hated when Rarity knew something and wouldn’t share it! Doing my best to smile, I nodded stiffly. “Thanks anyway!”

Right, I had to hurry. Hurrying out of the lunchroom I set off down the halls, frantically searching for Sunset. I had a bad feeling about this. And how could I have forgotten about Twilight? The nerdy one, not the pony princess. After the Friendship Games debacle, she had become CHS’s newest ‘former magical villain, now a good student’ as Pinkie would say. And she did hang around Sunset a lot.

Maybe Sunset’s just showing her around the school… again. Something in my gut told me today might turn into a long day, and it wasn’t the butterflies.

I rounded a corner and almost cheered. Sunset stood alone by a water fountain, Twilight nowhere in sight. Today could still be mine! “Hey, Sunset!” I called out, smoothing my dress as I approached.

She smiled and waved, like an angel, her every movement flawless. Oh geez, I had it bad. “Hey, Minuette. How’s it going?”

“Oh you know, can’t complain.” Clasping my hands behind my back, I twisted back and forth, causing my dress to twirl around me.

My mating dance seemed to work, as Sunset looked me over approvingly and said, “Nice dress.”

“Thank you! I just kinda picked it out of the closet, you know.”

Sunset nodded, and silence fell between us as we stood there. After a moment she looked down the corridor, and I cringed internally. Quick, you’re losing her! Do something! “Do you wanna go out with me?” The words tumbled out a mangled mess, and my blood ran cold. Or, just take the direct approach. Stupid!

Sunset stared at me in surprise, then melted into a guilty smile, rubbing one arm as she shifted awkwardly. “Wow, Minuette, I had no idea you felt that way, and I’m flattered, really, but… well, Twilight kinda just asked me out two minutes ago.”

Noooooooooooooooo! “Oh. Well, that’s nice.”

“Real sorry, again.”

“No, it’s fine. She’s pretty and smart and…” Oh, who was I kidding, there was no salvaging this. Sorry, Twilight, but I want my millionaire house! And Sunset! I closed my eyes and focused until I could feel my inner self floating out of my body and into the stream known as time. “Redo.”

I opened my eyes and sat up in bed. “Okay, ask Sunset out before Twilight gets to her. Easy enough.” Perks of being me: not only can I see the future sometimes, but I can go back in time and make sure it happens. Or doesn’t happen depending on the situation. One downside is it resets the entire day. The other is that, just because I wound everything back, doesn’t mean it’ll play out exactly how it did the first time. Everyone has the chance to make different choices now. Usually they don’t, but there’s a chance.

I rolled out of bed, stretched like a cat, and promptly tripped over my shoe again. Only this time I twisted while trying to get my balance and heard something pop in my ankle, accompanied by a sharp pain. My face hit the carpet once again and I groaned. Nope, not starting like this. “Redo.”

My eyes snapped open, and I looked over the side of my bed and glared at the rogue shoe. I got up, stepped around it, and proceeded to the bathroom. It was a rare occasion when I had to reset the same day twice. But, out with the old, in with the new! This time, I would be victorious!

I put on the same dress since Sunset had seemed to enjoy it so much. Grabbed my Pop-tart downstairs, turned the stove off, and went out to school. A cooler breeze tickled my arms, but everything else seemed to be the same. Even Zipporwhill’s yapping dog. He pressed his face against the gate, barking and growling at me. I couldn’t help but stick my tongue out.

The gate popped open and unleashed the hound, who barreled right for me, never skipping a beat in his barking.

Now in my defense, there was murder in his eyes. Sure, he only came up halfway to my knee, and he looked super cute, but it turns out his bite is far worse than bark. I ran, only to be caught in a matter of seconds as he scored a good bite to the back of my ankle. I fell and skidded across the pavement, dropping my Pop-tart in the process. Seemingly content, the little hellhound wandered past me, grabbed my breakfast treat, and returned to his yard, tail wagging the entire way.

Not even bothering to move, I mumbled into the pavement, “Redo.”

Three times in one day. It seemed the universe had it out for me, but I refused to be defeated. To avoid the chances of the dog escaping again, I took an alternate route to school. Who knows, I might just run into Sunset on this path.

Tall trees kept watch over the path down Chestnut Street, providing me with a lot of early morning shade. Cars also preferred this road to get to the freeway. Leftover puddles from the brief shower two days ago dotted the streets. But the further down I walked, the more a niggling, paranoid voice in the back of my mind told me to be careful. Humoring it, I moved away from the side of the street.

As I neared the turn to CHS, a school bus came up behind me. A foot ahead of me was one of the larger puddles. Oh no you don’t! I jumped backward as the bus passed by, narrowly avoiding the wave of water that surged my way. “Ha! One point for Minuette!”

I took two steps forward and was immediately drenched by a passing SUV.

Hair wet, clothes soggy, Pop-tart ruined, I stood there and wondered why today of all days everything had to go wrong. I was just about to reset when an idea hit me. Would looking like a drowned rat net me sympathy points with Sunset? It couldn’t hurt to try.

I walked onto campus, and in a turn of luck, found Sunset strolling up to the front entrance. “Sunset, wait, hold the door!”

She turned and gasped in surprise at the sight of me. “Minuette, what happened?”

I let out the best dejected sigh I could muster and smiled weakly. It came all too easily. “A passing van hit a puddle right next to me. I didn’t have time to go back and change.”

“Aw, man, I’m so sorry. Here, take my jacket.” She slid out of her leather jacket and draped it over my shoulders. “Hey, you rock the look pretty well.”

“Really?” I smiled a little more, honestly feeling better. I couldn’t believe this was actually working.

She ushered me inside, keeping a hand on my back. “Anything I can do for you? I know what it’s like to have a bad morning.”

Yes, pity me! “Actually, I was wondering…” My nose itched, and I quickly ran my finger back and forth in front of it. “Sunset would you—ah… ah…” I held my breath, waiting for the itch to vanish. Sunset tilted her head but waited patiently for me to finish. I exhaled, the itch subsiding. “Would you like to—ahcoo!

Sunset took a step back, slowly dragging a hand down her face to wipe away what I hoped was just spit. “Bless you,” she muttered irritably, all sympathy gone.

I sighed and pressed my hands against my eyes. “Redo.”

There were only so many times this could go wrong. I had to win eventually. It was all about probability. The more I tried, the more chances I had to succeed. I got up, avoided the shoe, brushed my teeth, combed my hair, put on my dress, got my Pop-tart, turned off the stove, and headed outside.

Avoided the dog, dodged the puddle, and got to school feeling pretty good. Now came the hard part: finding Sunset before class started. Did I try my hand searching inside, or did I wait out here? I went inside, hoping to catch her by her locker. If it didn’t work out this time, I could always try again. I have that power! I could keep doing this until it works! Some might call it cheating… and they’re probably right.

Sunset stood at her open locker halfway down the hall. And at the other end stood Twilight Sparkle. I looked at Sunset, then locked eyes with Twilight. She stared for a moment, then her eyes widened with panic. I narrowed mine and started marching toward Sunset, fists clenched. Twilight broke into a run, and I followed suit. We raced toward our prize, anxiety and fear of loss on Twilight’s face, fierce, and perhaps even crazed, determination on mine.

Was I really going to steal away this beautiful, clever, and talented girl from Twilight, the poor, socially inept, shut-in trying to come out of her shell?

Leather couches and a plasma screen TV! A Jacuzzi bathtub!

Yes. Yes, I was.

We both slid to a stop on either side of Sunset. “Good morning, Sunset,” we said in synch.

She looked at both of us in turn, brow raised. “Uh, hi. What’s up?”

“You look great today, Sunny!”

“I love what you’ve done with your hair,” we said over each other. I glared at Twilight. She flinched, but to her credit, didn’t back down.

“Thank you?” She closed her locker and took a step back. “Okay, is there something going on?”

While Twilight paused to bite her knuckle, I took initiative. “Sunset, there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you.”

Twilight regained her composure and stepped closer to Sunset. “N-no! I mean, there’s something I want to ask you too!”

I stepped in front of her. “Yes, but I was here first, so I think I’ll ask first.”

Twilight stepped in front of me, a steely resolve solidifying in her eyes. “Yes, but I liked her first!”

“How do you know?”

“I just do!”

“Well you snooze, you lose! Sunset, will you—”

“Go on a date with me!”

Sunset pressed herself against the opposite lockers, boxed in by Twilight and myself. Sweat trickled down the side of her face and her cheeks took on an adorable red hue. “Wow, girls, I’m flattered. But, uuuh…” Her eyes darted around in search of an escape, but I wouldn’t be denied this time! “You see the thing is…”

Perhaps it was my overbearing smile, or Twilight trying to flutter her eyelashes behind her glasses, but Sunset dipped beneath us, practically throwing herself on the floor to escape. She took off down the hall and didn’t look back.

“Sunset!” Twilight called.

I just hung my shoulders and stared at the ceiling. “Redo.”

Plan: get there before Twilight. I jumped from my bed and did my daily routine in record time, forgoing my breakfast. I power walked to school, not moving too fast so I wasn’t sweaty when I got there. Planting myself in front of Sunset’s locker, I stood rooted to the spot until she arrived five minutes later.

“Hey, Minuette, what’s up?” She smiled, showing off an impressive set of teeth, though she had a bit of an underbite.

“Oh nothing,” I said flippantly, twirling my dress again.

She watched me for a second and smiled. “I like your dress.”

“Thank you!” This is it. My moment of triumph. “Sunset, I need to ask you something.”

“Sure, what’s up?” she asked, dialing her locker combination and slinging her backpack off her shoulders.

“Will you go on a date with me?”

Sunset froze, sliding her hand away from the dial. She looked wide-eyed at me, then a silly grin spread across her face. “Wow, umm, yeah, sure! I’d love to!”

“Yes!” I jumped into the air and kicked my heels together. “Ahem. I mean, great. Haute Cuisine at six?”

“Yeah, it’s a date,” she said, still smiling at my antics.

I carried that happy thought in my heart throughout the rest of the day. Nothing could bring me down off cloud nine. My friends giggled and teased me relentlessly at lunch, but I still couldn’t wipe the stupid grin from my face. Seeing Twilight a little put out dampened my spirits a touch, but I remembered seeing a future where she was with some country prettyboy. She’d be fine.

Yep, I felt like the queen of the world! I skipped down the steps of the school at the end of the day, eager to find something to wear for my date. The plume of smoke rising to the sky in the distance gave me pause, but I didn’t dwell on it until I realized it was coming from the same direction as home.

Did I leave the beans on?

“No… no, that’d be silly.” I started home at a slightly faster gait than usual. A fire truck raced down the road past me, turning onto my street. “No, no, no, no, no!” I broke into a run, what little confidence and peace of mind I had crumbling with each step. A caution tape blocked off the area forcing me to stop short and watch as the firefighters put out the flames pouring from my kitchen window.

You left the beans on.

I stared at the fire, a crooked smile on my face. “Burnt house, or date with Sunset?” I weighed the options in my hands, then screamed at the sky. “Fine, redo!”

Dress on, stove off, dog avoided, puddle dodged, standing at locker, Twilight nowhere around. Sunset arrived, fanning her mouth as she yawned. “Hey, Minuette.”

“Hi,” Sunset!” My voice cracked, but I smiled it off and moved my hips from side to side. “How’s it going?”

“All right I guess.” She opened her locker and shoved her bag inside, then gave me a pointed look. “Are you okay?”

I stopped my hip wiggling. “Don’t you like my dress?” This was the part where she was supposed to like my dress!

She gave it a quick appraisal. “It’s all right I guess.”

“All right? You guess?” My voice slowly rose to shrill levels. “You always liked my dress!”

Sunset took a measured step back, switching from placid to nervous. “I mean, you look nice in it. Wait, what do you mean ‘always’?”

I stomped toward her. “Every time I get this far, you at least tell me my dress looks nice! Now you change your mind? After I’ve done everything else perfectly? I’m going to go home and it’s not going to be on fire this time!”

She held her hands up. “Minuette, I have no idea what you’re talking about, but you’re starting to freak me out a little.”

“Of course I am! Because none of these can ever be perfect!” I threw my hands into the air. “See, now you think I’m crazy! You just couldn’t like the dress, could you?”

“The dress is fine!” Sunset said quickly.

“Oh no, you’re just trying to appease me now! But it’s too late! I’m pulling the plug on this one! Redo!”

I opened my eyes and glared at the ceiling. Why would the future tantalize me with such a beautiful possibility of me and Sunset being together if it wouldn’t let me have it? Maybe those hadn’t been possible futures. Maybe they had just been dreams.

Maybe it's just because it was Tuesday. I hate Tuesdays!

No! I have to try one more time! Probability dictates that I have to get this right at least once! I just need the perfect plan! I just need the perfect run of luck. I watched the sun slowly creep through the window and across the floor, dragging light into my room. A plan, a strategy that employed everything that I learned from every loop. All I had to do was bring it all together. I turned my head to the ceiling, watching my fan make slow rotations above me.

Screw it. I got up, brushed my teeth (because no matter how bad things were, I always brushed), threw a white shirt on, turned the beans off, and walked to school in a pair of slippers. I got to Sunset’s locker just as she opened the door and put her backpack away.

She paused and looked at me, face unreadable. “Uh, hey, Minuette. Are you—?”

I put a finger on her lips. “You. Me. Date. Tonight,” I said, all feeling gone from my voice. “Six o’clock. Haute Cuisine. Wear something nice.”

Sunset slowly nodded her head. “Um, sure, okay. Sounds like fun.”

I removed my hand and turned my back to her. Was that it? Was that all it had taken? Me giving up and coming to school in my pajamas? I raised my head to the heavens above. “Finally! Yes! I win! Was that too much to ask for? That only took, what, seven times to get right? Well, take that, universe! I got a date with Sunset Shimmer! Ha! No dog biting, no getting soaked, no house on fire, and no stupid dress! You lose, I win! Haha!”

“… You okay, Minuette?”

I dropped my head and looked at all the students in the hall staring at me, then raised my palm to my face and groaned. “I said all that aloud, didn’t I?”

“Yep,” Sunset said.

“I look crazy now, don’t I?”

“Just a little.”

“… So, six o’clock?”


Return to Story Description


Login with