Just Want A Hug

by SilverStar7

Chapter 1: Just Want A Hug

As she walked, Sunset's thoughts raged. The regrets of her past exhausted her. The problems of her future terrified her. The uncertainty in the present kept her walking and walking. Thoughts always returning to one question.

After everything I did to them, are they really going to be my friends?

The girl's feet had carried her a long distance on her walk today. She hadn't known where they intended to take her at first, but as she meandered it became clear that Fluttershy's house was her destination.

Fluttershy had said that if she ever needed anything, Sunset should come see her.

And so Sunset now knocked on the girl's door. After a few moments, Fluttershy appeared, a genuine smile forming on her face upon seeing the unexpected visitor. "Oh, hi Sunset! How are you?"

"I'm fine, thanks." The smile on Sunset's face was far from genuine. It was a retail clerk smile. A salespony smile. It never touched her eyes.

And Fluttershy saw that. "Is everything okay?"

Biting her lower lip, Sunset gripped her left arm. Fluttershy had always been so nice. It was rude to waste her friend's time. Sunset needed to just go home.

"Sunset, do you want to come inside?"

Still the girl stood there. "I..." "Yes." Just say "Yes." Sunset had no real reason to stop by. She didn't need anything from Fluttershy. She should just let the girl be. "N-no, I--" Sunset's eyes closed. Her nose scrunched. Her head bent downward.

For the love of Celestia, at least apologize! Come on, Sunset. Be a good friend for once in your stupid, worthless life!

"Sunset!" The name was spoken with distress.

Sunset opened her eyes, expecting to see an irritated girl with hands on hips. Instead, Fluttershy's right hand was now in front of Sunset, opened just for her. And Fluttershy's eyes were not rolling, but instead were fixed on Sunset's face. Her mouth not a closed frown, but a slightly open one.

Not sure what to expect, Sunset raised her left hand and placed it in Fluttershy's waiting one. The hand closed gently and Sunset felt a light tug as she was guided through the threshold into Fluttershy's home.

The two girls made their way across a cozy living room. They came upon a green couch and sat down together without releasing hands. For a few minutes, the pair simply sat there. In the one moment when Sunset dared to look at Fluttershy, she saw in the girl's face a mix of an expectant smile and a look of true concern. The clear kindness brought Sunset shame.

She was being so patient and nice. As the seconds ticked past, Sunset felt more and more that she was wasting Fluttershy's time. It would be better for both of them if she just went home.

"I don't even have a reason to be here. I should go." Sunset pulled her weight forward to get out of her seat, only to feel a squeeze around her hand. She turned to look at Fluttershy, whose look had shifted to compassionate pleading.

"Then stay here for me. Is that a good enough reason? Can you stay and keep me company?"

"You didn't ask me to come over."

"Well, I'm asking you to stay now."

"Fluttershy, you don't have to..."

"No, I want to. I want to spend some time with you." As doubt knit Sunset's brow together further, Fluttershy's face softened further and she added, "Please."

The word and expression were enough to convince Sunset to lean back onto the couch.

"Now Sunset, we can sit here for as long as you need. I really don't mind. We don't even have to talk if you don't want to. But is there a particular reason you came to see me today?"

Air escaped Sunset's nose in a snort. "It's so stupid."

"I'm sure it's not," said Fluttershy. "You're a really smart girl. You wouldn't come over here if you didn't have a good reason."

So much of Sunset resisted this. Fragments of thought screamed at her conscious mind from every direction. Fluttershy is just being nice. Stop wasting her time. Just go back home where you belong.

"Would it... You can say, 'no.' I don't want to put any pressure on you. I mean, I know we aren't really close enough friends yet. But I just... It's stupid but..."

"What is it, Sunset?"

"Would it be okay if I hugged you?"

No sooner had the words left her mouth than Fluttershy let go of Sunset's hand and threw both arms around the girl. "Oh, Sunset. Of course it's okay!"

A soft mat of hair gently brushed against Sunset's right cheek and a warm arm wrapped around each shoulder. It felt fine. Sunset was certainly being hugged. But she was not hugging. Sunset needed to return the gesture. To reciprocate the kindness.

The problem was that never, in all her time as a human, had she ever hugged someone and meant it.

Sunset looked at her right hand, still resting in the air in front of her and, with several jerks and starts, she brought it to rest on Fluttershy's back. Her left arm was pinned by the embrace of the other girl, but the arms weren't really at the heart of a hug. She leaned her body into Fluttershy's.

And there it was.

Warmth. Light. Peace. Comfort. Joy. And love. She felt loved. And she felt like she was expressing love. The emotion flooded her mind and filled every part of her. Her senses exploded as she took in every part of the moment. The soft cotton of Fluttershy's dress on her fingers. The low rushing of her friend's breath. Sunset's eyes were only barely open as they pressed into a mass of pink hair.

The hug was everything that she needed at that moment and all she'd had to do was ask.

It was nice. It was not a waste of time. And Sunset felt like she was at home.

Author's Notes:

This was originally going to be the final scene of a much longer story about Sunset's initial experiences after EqG 1. After letting it sit on my computer for over 2 years, I decided to fill it out and publish it standalone (it was only about 700 words).

The goal then became to tell a story at the word minimum: 1000 words. I hope I was able to convey everything I needed to in that limited space.

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