Sewing the Red Thread of Fate
By The Lovely Penguin
Rarity paced around her workshop, deep in thought. Sure, there were dresses she was supposed to be making, but she couldn’t concentrate on any of them right now; they weren’t due anytime too soon anyway. It bugged the designer to leave so many projects unfinished, but there were more pressing matters to attend to at the moment. “Oh Fluttershy, how do I even go about asking you? You’d run away the instant you found out.” The white unicorn was actually glad that her friend wasn’t there to hear that; the situation was delicate, and Rarity wanted to break the news to the pegasus pony in just the right way. After that show Rarity had put on of dreaming about the perfect marriage with Celestia’s nephew –of course she had made the whole thing up: Luna most likely didn’t have any children- how could she go about admitting something like this?
It kind of hurt her pride thinking about it, but she had already resolved to live with the consequences. She was sure most of her friends would still stay by her, but…what about Fluttershy? Would she accept? Would she even stay her friend after a proposal like that? She knew the pegasus was awfully shy (as the name suggested, amusingly), but could Rarity help it if she liked her? And being the hopeless romantic that she was, she couldn’t stand seeing her friend every day without telling her what her true feelings were.
Fluttershy was just so attractive: her lovely yellow coat, her delicate pink hair, those shimmering turquoise eyes… Of course, Rarity liked the other mare for more than just her good looks: she was fair, graceful, kind –more than just a little, given she was the Embodiment of Kindness-, and she shared her affinity for dresses…she was quite ladylike, actually (when she wasn’t panicking at least). Every time Rarity saw the pegasus she felt a pang in her heart at the romance that could be, but most likely wouldn’t.
Not unless she took action. “Idea~!” the dressmaker sang out as inspiration struck. “I’ll make her a new gown! Something from the heart. Something ravishing, perhaps with…yes…ooh, yes!” She’d work out the exact details on how to admit her love to Fluttershy later; this dress would be a start, though. She quickly set to work gathering the needed supplies and assembling the garment, being careful to select fabrics with just the right color and texture to suit Fluttershy’s form. Rarity’s best materials weren’t spared as she worked late into the night to make sure everything was perfect.
* * *
“Hello, Rarity. You said you wanted to see me?” The yellow pegasus with flowing pink hair smiled as she greeted her friend, looking a bit inquisitive as well. She was rather soft-spoken and looked almost fragile, but Rarity liked that about her. She was delicate and graceful.
“Fluttershy! Welcome. Yes, please do come in.” Rarity led her guest inside and shut the door. She wished she had time to look more presentable, especially to Fluttershy, but truth be told the unicorn had just woken up. She tried not to seem tired. “Shall we head towards the fitting area? I’ve made a lovely new dress for you that I think you’ll find simply smashing!”
“A- a new dress? But didn’t you just make me one for the Grand Galloping Gala?” She seemed confused, maybe a bit nervous now, but she looked cute when she was that way.
“Ohoho, yes, but I don’t need an excuse to make more dresses for my friends! The idea simply came to me and I couldn’t just waste it. Now, try this on and tell me what you think. Don’t be shy! The sizes should be right since I just measured you not too long ago.” Having reached the fitting room Rarity magically levitated the dress she made and handed it to her friend. “I’ll be waiting~.”
After a minute or two Fluttershy timidly emerged in her new outfit. It was blue and green -to accentuate her lovely turquoise eyes- with a white hem adorned with aquamarines; the whole thing cut off a little below her cutie mark. You’ve really outdone yourself this time! Rarity thought to herself.
“Oh, Rarity, it’s beautiful!” Fluttershy gushed, her face beaming, “It matches my coat so well, and the stitching is excellent! Plus, the material is really, really comfortable.”
Fluttershy indeed looked quite fetching in the garment, if Rarity did say so herself. “Darling, I’m glad you like it so much.” She beamed.
“Like it? I love it!” In a fit of courage the yellow pegasus rushed over to Rarity and planted her lips firmly on the unicorn’s.
Rarity’s eyes widened in shock, but then she kissed back, blushing. This was indeed a pleasant surprise. Rarity could feel the other pony’s long and soft pink hair touching her face, her tongue playing over hers, probing into her mouth. Rarity responded with her own tongue, feeling a tingling sensation between her legs—
“I-I’m not sure about this, Rarity.”
Rarity snapped back to reality.
“I don’t know, this one kinda seems more revealing than some of your other designs.” Fluttershy eyed her new garment nervously, a frown forming.
“What? Nonsense! If you’ve got it, flaunt it, dearie!” Rarity quickly responded after her initial confusion, trying not to be nervous, herself. Fluttershy had to like it!
“I- I don’t think I’d be comfortable wearing something this short in public, though…”
“It’s not like you were wearing anything before.”
“Bu-but…this seems to emphasize my-”
“Besides, interrupted Rarity as she gazed at her friend idly,” I think you look absolutely beautiful in it!” Realizing what she just said, Rarity quickly added, “Imagine all the eyes you’ll turn.”
“I don’t really want that much attention…”
“Don’t be silly! Besides, if you really don’t like it, I’ll take it back, no trouble at all.”
“Well, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to try something new just for a little bit, but…I still don’t see why you made a second dress just for me. I mean, what about the others?”
How was Rarity going to explain this? Should she really just tell Fluttershy how she felt right there and then? She looked at her friend again: the dress did accentuate her legs and flank, showing them off nicely (it was closer to a skirt, really). Her flowing silky pink hair cutely framed her shy face. Those beautiful sea-green eyes shook slightly, looking at her. She felt she could get lost in them…
“Oh, uh…” She had to tell her. She couldn’t suffer in silence any longer. “Consider it a gift, then...I just couldn’t bear to see my favorite pegasus without something decent to wear for casual attire.”
“Favorite…pegasus?” Fluttershy looked at her quizzically now.
“Well…” Rarity’s heart was pounding loudly. It was now or never. If she did this, there was no going back. “Fluttershy, this isn’t easy for me to say, but…I like you.”
“Well, I like you too, Rarity…I like all of my friends. They’re nice.”
Rarity bit her lip. “No, I mean I think you’re cute.”
“Cute? As…as in…Wait, you l-like me…r-romantically?”
Rarity couldn’t do anything else but weakly smile and nod.
As the realization hit Fluttershy, the pegasus looked shocked, hurt, and confused. She just stood where she was for a minute, unsure of what to say and simply squeaking meekly. Tears formed in her eyes and she ran, barreling out of the studio.
“Fluttershy, come back!” Rarity started to chase after her friend but thought better of it before face-hoofing. “Oh, I knew I shouldn’t have told her yet!” she said with frustration and despair in her voice, “This is exactly what I was afraid would happen.” The unicorn fell back on her haunches and hung her head, tears starting to build up in her own eyes as the fantasy she had imagined came crashing down around her.
* * *
Rarity stumbled out of bed feeling terrible. She had spent the whole night doing little more than crying and imagining how she had made Fluttershy feel. Her mane was a mess, and her eyes were red and puffy. The tear stains plus the lack of sleep for the second day in a row certainly weren't doing anything for her complexion, either. How could it be noon already? Thank Celestia it was a Sunday. She groggily thought this to herself as she slowly went about her daily routine.
A little while later the unicorn pony looked much more presentable, albeit still a bit worn. Sure she was looking better, but she was certain she wouldn’t be making any dresses for a while. Rarity decided to collect yesterday’s mail and see where she’d go from there. “Bill…bill…junk mail…muffin…junk mail…What’s this?” Amongst all the plain white envelopes was one that stood out: it was pink, and didn’t have any addresses or postage: there was simply her name written in large, fancy, glittery letters.
Her initial suspicions were confirmed upon reading the first couple of lines of the letter. She had seen love letters before, and this one had all the signs. She read the whole thing:
Dear Rarity, ever since I first met you I knew there was something special about you. Your eye for detail, your natural talent for making dresses…I never realized it before, but there’s just something so attractive about it. I guess this isn’t something you’d be expecting from me, especially since we’re such close friends but…I like you, and more than just as a friend. I appreciate how generous you are to all of us, especially me. I cherish all the time we’ve spent together, and I’d like to spend more. I think you’re elegant and beautiful.
Rarity paused. It was from Fluttershy! She had run off when she was unsure of how to respond, but after she was able to collect her thoughts better, she could say how she actually felt! The unicorn quickly read on:
I’m sorry this all seems so abrupt, but I’ve been holding these feelings inside for so long, and I only now feel I can let them all out. Please don’t be judgmental. I know you’ve said you want to marry a dreamy stallion, but I’d like you to give us a chance. Even if things don’t work out…I hope we can at least stay friends. I just wanted to clear the air and let you know how I truly feel.
Love, Twilight Sparkle
* * *
Rarity let out a sigh. After the initial shock of finding out Twilight liked another mare –let alone her— had worn off it actually seemed kind of cute. It was not unlike the romantic dramas the dress designer liked to read: she had a forbidden love for someone, only to be the object of somepony else’s affections. Still, she admitted, it was a lot more fun to read about this sort of thing than it was to actually live it.
First and foremost, she needed to apologize to Fluttershy and make up for being so forward with her. How un-ladylike! It would be terrible to lose a friend over such a thing, even if she was hopelessly in love with her. As for Twilight…this was certainly interesting. She might actually like her, if she didn’t already have her eye on Fluttershy.
Her thoughts wandered back to the shy pegasus: her fair pink hair, her smooth yellow coat, her beautiful turquoise eyes…not to mention her sweet smile, her soft tender voice, and the adorable way she apologized to just about anyone she thought she offended.
Suddenly there was a knock at the front door. "Hm? Who's that, I wonder?" Rarity got up and opened the door, and was very surprised to see Fluttershy standing there in the dress she had made her. "Fluttershy, I-" the unicorn began.
"Now, not another word," responded Fluttershy, "I came here to apologize for the way I ran out on you yesterday. I should have at least said something, but it was all so sudden. I’m sorry, Rarity, but I really do like you, too," she looked at the ground, embarrassed, "I hope this helps..." She then firmly pressed her lips to Rarity's mouth and kissed deeply.
Rarity's face flushed at the thought. "If only..." she then shook her head and huffed in frustration, "Oh!” She wanted to stay friends with Fluttershy but couldn’t just ignore her feelings! She still felt very deeply for the pink-haired pegasus and wanted their friendship to be something deeper. She had to talk to somepony about this. With that the white unicorn actually got up and prepared herself for going out.
* * *
This was all wrong. Rarity? Rarity liked her? Yes, she was generous, and to be sure a good friend, but Fluttershy just couldn’t fathom a relationship with the white unicorn at this point. She was beautiful and had a knack for detail, Fluttershy admitted to herself, and sharing her interest in sewing, dresses, and beauty in general was a plus. Still, there was one major thing Rarity lacked that made a relationship with her impossible.
Fluttershy’s ideal mare (the pegasus was surprised Rarity even liked other mares, as she did) was strong, brave, tough…everything Fluttershy wasn’t. She wanted someone who could protect her. Why Rarity? Why couldn’t it be—
“Ow.” The pony looked up at what she had hit and rubbed her head. She had been so deep in thought she hadn’t noticed reaching her destination.
“Is somepony knocking?” Twilight Sparkle said as she opened her front door. “Oh, hey, Fluttershy! What brings you to the library on a Sunday morning?”
“Um, can I talk to you about something?” Fluttershy tried to mask her nervousness, but failed as usual.
“Is something wrong?” Twilight asked with concern in her voice. She let the yellow pegasus in and closed the door behind her, using her magic to clear a place at the table for her guest.
Fluttershy sat down and glanced around nervously before asking “Is Spike in here?”
“He’ll be back tomorrow, but if you really need him—”
“No!” the pegasus raised her voice, then quickly shrank back. “I’m sorry. This is…something private. I don’t want anypony else hearing about it.”
Twilight looked alarmed now. “It isn’t anything serious, is it?” She leaned in closer to her friend, concern on her face.
Fluttershy bit her lip and pulled away. “Well….What would you do if you suddenly found out one of your best friends liked you, you know…um…romantically?” she asked, lowering her voice with nearly each word until it ended up as little more than a squeak.
Twilight cocked her head and raised one of her eyebrows. “What would I do if one of my friends did what now? Fluttershy, you have got to speak up.”
“Um…let’s say one of our close friends—”
“You mean, as in the six of us?”
“…yeah…Let’s say one of our really close friends likes another of our really close friends…as in, like like.—”
The purple unicorn started shifting around, looking uncomfortable with the discussion. “Uh…Fluttershy, why are you asking something like this?”
The pink-haired pegasus just looked down, blushing. “Let’s just say I…happen to know that one of us likes…another of our friends…and I—”
Twilight cut her off, eyes narrowed. “This is about Rarity, isn’t it?”
Fluttershy looked up, surprised. How did she know? All she could do was nod.
“How…” Twilight said, tears forming in her eyes, “How could she?!”
“How could Rarity tell somepony else about this?” Twilight looked both hurt and angry, tears running down her face. “Did she send you?”
Fluttershy let out a little squeak, not really sure what to say, or even what was going on exactly.
“Rarity had no business getting a middle mare involved. If she didn’t like the letter I sent, she should have had the courtesy to keep this matter private and talk to me directly, or at least ignore the letter! Why’d she have to get you tangled up in this?”
Now Fluttershy was cowering on the ground, bewildered and frightened by her friend’s angry flare-up. “Twilight, what are you talking about? What letter?” She winced, bracing herself for another outburst.
“What do you mean, ‘What letter?’” Twilight said, her voice rising. “You know, the love letter I—” Suddenly a look of understanding appeared on the purple unicorn’s tear-streaked face. “Wait…this isn’t about the letter I wrote Rarity?”
“What letter did you give to Rarity?”
* * *
Rarity looked up to the large cloud above her and called out, “Oh Rainbow Dash! Are you home? I need to talk to you about something.”
“Rainbow Dash, wake up!”
A blue head with tousled rainbow-colored hair groggily poked over the edge of the cloud, hooves rubbing sleep out of the pegasus’ magenta eyes. “Ug, Rarity, you ruined a perfectly good nap! What the hay do you want at this late hour anyway?” she asked crankily.
“Ms. Dash, it’s mid-day,” the unicorn replied flatly.
“Okay, okay,” the pegasus answered as she fluttered down to her friend. “So, Rarity, what’s up?”
“Yes, well,” she responded with poise in her voice, “I have some…questions I need to ask you.” She did her best to swallow her pride as she said this, sporting an unconvincing grin: “I-I need your advice on something.”
“Wait, you’re coming to me for advice?” the rainbow-maned mare asked, her eyes widening, “Y’know, we don’t really hang out much; since when did you value my opinion on something?”
“Oh, I know we’ve never been that close, but we’re still friends, right? I needed to ask you something relating to romance-”
Before Rarity could continue Rainbow Dash burst into laughter, nearly falling over. The proud pegasus caught herself and started idly hovering in front of her friend, responding, “Okay, now I know you’re pulling my leg! You asking me about love? Good one, Rarity; I thought Pinky Pie was the only other prankster around here.”
“Rainbow Dash, I’m serious!” the unicorn huffed. She regained her composure and continued, “I…seem to have gotten myself mixed-up in something, and I need somepony to talk to about it.”
“Oh, really?” asked the blue pegasus as she crossed her forelegs, skepticism on her face, “What makes you so sure I could answer a love question? Wouldn’t Twilight or Fluttershy be better with something like that?”
“Oh, I highly doubt that,” the violet-maned unicorn responded with a nervous laugh. “Why don’t we go somewhere more private?”
Once inside her shop Rarity locked the door and made sure the sign read Closed. She turned some lights on and offered the rainbow pony a seat; her guest opted to hover around instead.
“Okay, now you’ve really got me curious what’s going on here,” Rainbow Dash stated, looking thoroughly puzzled, “So…you’ve got some kind of love problem, and can’t ask the egghead or Fluttershy because…?”
“Do you promise to not tell anypony else about this?” the unicorn asked nervously.
“Of course I won’t!” Dash crossed her forelegs again and smiled smugly.
“I mean it! You’ve got to...I don’t know, Pinkie Pie Promise, or something.”
“Ug, really?” Rainbow asked, rolling her eyes, “How does that even go, again?”
“Oh, I don’t remember either. Forget it. Okay, I have your word then?” Rarity looked at her friend expectantly.
“I already said I wouldn’t tell, didn’t I? I’d never betray a friend’s trust, alright?”
“I’m sorry, Dash, I’m just nervous about this. You see…”
* * *
“So,” said Twilight, “Let me get this straight—”
“Please don’t use that word,” interjected Fluttershy meekly.
The purple unicorn raised an eyebrow momentarily, then went back to what she was saying, “Okay, so…Rarity gave you a dress and proclaimed her love for you, and you ran away – not because you like stallions, but because you actually like a different mare. Right?”
Fluttershy silently nodded. She still wasn't sure what was up with the letter to Rarity Twilight had been referencing, but the purple unicorn had convinced her that it was nothing. Regardless, she was glad her friend appeared understanding in this matter.
Twilight continued, “And you want me to go tell Rarity this?”
“I’m sorry but this is something you’ve got to do yourself. She’s your friend, and you owe her more courtesy than that. The two of you will cross paths sooner or later anyway. Don’t let something like this ruin your friendship.”
“But…” began the timid pegasus, “I don’t know how I could say that to her face. Even if I did, I don’t know how I could talk to her again…it would be so awkward.” She blushed and looked at the floor. She knew what it was like to have a long-burning, unrequited love. She had read (and even on occasion written) plenty of romance novels; not to mention she had first-hoof experience with this issue. How could she continue going to the spa with Rarity, knowing how she’d feel every time they met?
“Fluttershy, you and Rarity are friends! Don’t let something like this tear you apart. Even if you two can’t get together romantically you can still hang out, right?”
“I can’t do it.”
“So you’re just going to ignore her? Act as if she didn’t do anything?”
“That’s not going to make the problem go away, you know,” Twilight responded flatly.
There was a pause.
“She is kind of cute,” The pegasus said with a squeak.
“Well,” replied Fluttershy, “Rarity isn’t all bad. I mean, we do have a lot in common, and…well…I guess she is kind of beautiful…” She blushed.
Twilight looked dismayed. “Wait, I didn’t say you had get romantically involved with her just because she likes you!" she said, nervousness in her voice, "Why don’t I find out if this other mare likes you, or if she would even consider dating another mare?”
“Don’t worry, I won’t tell her it’s you.” Twilight rolled her eyes.
“Well…” Fluttershy pondered this for a moment. “All right, I guess so.”
“Okay, so it’s settled.” A relieved-looking Twilight stood up. “Now, who is it?”
* * *
“Wait, Twilight likes you, and you like Fluttershy?” Rainbow Dash stared at her horned friend incredulously, “I never would’ve taken either of you two for lesbians— well, Twilight, maybe, but—”
“Why? Does a lesbian have to look a certain way?” Rarity narrowed her eyes, offended by the comment.
Dash seemed flustered, “No, it’s just…the way you talked up Princess Celestia’s nephew—”
“Yes, I know,” Rarity interrupted, shame filling her face at the thought of her phony story, “But can you help me sort this out? I’m afraid I simply made a mess of things with poor Fluttershy. I want to apologize to her and forget the whole thing, but…I can’t get her off my mind. Rainbow Dash, I’m still in love with her!”
“So, what’re you talking to me about it for? Shouldn’t you be telling her that?”
“But that’s the thing: I’m afraid if I tell her I’ll scare her off for good. I already said what happened when I tried confessing my feelings for her the first time. I don’t want to lose a good friend, but at the same time I just know I can’t go on keeping her at only that.” She sighed, “I feel like we were made for each other.”
“Didn’t you do your research first? Does she even like mares? Surely you were going off of something?”
“I…err…” Rarity stammered, “I thought I’d just tell her and things would sort of…work out.” Once she said it out loud the unicorn realized how foalish it was of her to simply assume the yellow pegasus would readily return her feelings, especially when she didn’t even know if Fluttershy liked other mares at all.
Rainbow face-hoofed. “Are you serious? No wonder she ran away: this is Fluttershy we’re talking about. Even if it was someone like Applejack, you’ve got to take things like this slowly.”
This comment made the violet-maned pony nearly fall over. Rainbow Dash just told her to take things slowly? She could hardly believe what she was hearing!
“Trust me on this one,” continued the pegasus pony, hanging her head, “I learned the hard way that if you charge into a relationship too fast without thinking, you’re only going to lose the girl.” She sighed, “If you still want to date her, you should definitely take things slowly: ask her if she even likes mares, you know? And let her know that you can always stay friends otherwise.”
Rarity mulled on this. What had she been thinking? Yes, she had so badly wanted to tell her friend how she felt, but these things took time, patience, and subtlety. She should have read more than enough love stories to know that. With that she stood up. “Thank you, Rainbow Dash, thank you very much. If you’ll excuse me, I need to go talk to somepony now; I think you can guess who.” She gave a weak smile and headed to the door.
Rainbow followed. “By the way, what made you so sure I’d know about this kinda stuff, anyway?”
“Well,” the unicorn gave a knowing smile as the two walked outside, “I’ve seen the way you’ve been looking at some of the other fillies around town. It’s not that hard to spot with a trained eye.” She shut and locked the door behind her friend.
The pegasus blushed at this, giving a nervous laugh, “Yeah, hehe…Well, I’m glad I could help you, I guess. I never knew we had so much in common.” With that she flapped her wings and propelled herself into the air, saying, “See ya later, Rarity! I got some napping to catch up on.”
“Rainbow,” the unicorn called out before her friend had gotten too far, causing her to stop and turn.
“Your advice…have you been following it? Have you tried starting over and going slowly with this friend?”
“I…” she closed her eyes, “I think it’s too late for that. It was a long time ago anyway.”
“Dash, if you still like her, maybe it’s worth a shot.”
“I’ll…I’ll think about it. Thanks.” The pegasus looked at her friend and smiled, the tiniest trace of tears in her eyes; with that she turned away and flew off.
The meeting over, Rarity quickly headed for Fluttershy’s cottage, resolve in her heart. “All right, Fluttershy,” she said to herself, “Let’s try this again.”
* * *
Twilight Sparkle cantered towards Sugarcube Corner, intent on her mission. “I can’t let Fluttershy down,” she said to nopony in particular. As she approached the place it was apparent it was closed: Twilight knew the Cakes took Sundays off, but Pinkie Pie should still have been there—
Gone for a teenie weenie, itsy-bitsy little bit; be back at 11! Read a hastily scrawled note taped up in the window.
It was far past the indicated time; where was the pink pony? Twilight sighed as her stomach growled. Darn, I was so hoping to get something to eat before I did this, too, the purple unicorn thought to herself. She so enjoyed the danishes that came from that bakery. Oh well. She was too nervous to eat much, anyway. If things would just work out as planned Fluttershy would get the girl she wanted, leaving Rarity for the other unicorn. She silently prayed to Celestia that Applejack would return Fluttershy’s feelings as she headed towards Sweet Apple Acres.
* * *
While Fluttershy waited for her friend to return with information about her secret crush she busied herself with some minor tasks that needed tending to. She idly swept her living room floor, her thoughts wandering.
She thought about Applejack: she was tough, strong, brave, protective…being around her the pegasus felt safe. Fluttershy admired the mare’s take-charge, no-nonsense attitude that got her through so many tight spots. Sure, Rainbow Dash was also brave and strong, but she was a little too wild and rambunctious for her. Besides, the yellow pegasus found the earth pony more physically attractive: her Southern drawl was so sweet, her cute white freckles accentuated her cheeks…Fluttershy also adored the apple farmer’s caring green eyes, her motherly smile…the way she roughly tied her blond hair back…
As she snapped back to reality the pegasus realized her wings had unfolded at some point, each feather standing fully erect; she blushed and quickly tucked them back in, hoping no one had seen the embarrassing display. Luckily for her she had been alone in the room, none of her abundant animal friends present at the moment. Angel Bunny certainly would have given her guff had he seen her.
Suddenly an image of Rarity flashed in her mind: the way she was looking at Fluttershy so expectantly when she said she loved her, hope and nervousness in her eyes. She thought of the dress that was currently lying crumpled and wrinkled at the foot of her bed. Guilt filled the pegasus. Why did she have to feel this way? She had already decided a long time ago that Rarity would remain a close friend and nothing more. After all of the painful waiting she had moved on. You want someone brave and strong anyway, Fluttershy, she thought to herself.
She could like somepony else, right? She could still stay friends with Rarity…but what about the awkwardness? Fluttershy wouldn’t be able to bear hanging out with her friend, knowing that deep down the other pony longed for something more.
This is why she had gone to Twilight: she wanted to sort out this tangled mess. She wasn’t sure if she agreed with the unicorn’s solution, though: she said that if Fluttershy and Applejack got together Rarity would have no choice but to drop the issue. But, Fluttershy thought, what would that change? Wouldn’t that just crush Rarity’s hopes and strain her friendship with Applejack?
She needed to sort all of this out; a good walk might be able to clear her thoughts. Fluttershy spat out her broom and gently set it down. Knowing her animal friends would watch her cottage while she was away she set out for a quiet stroll around town.
* * *
“Hello, Applejack? Are you home?” Twilight called out as she approached the farmhouse. She was met with no answer. The purple unicorn took a step towards her friend’s residence when she suddenly heard activity coming from the barn; she headed in that direction. “Applejack, are you in here?” She gently pulled the barn door open enough for her to enter. Allowing her eyes to adjust to the dim lighting she spotted the mare she sought off in a corner. “A.J.?”
“Oh, hey, Twilight,” the orange pony turned and greeted her friend with an overly sincere grin, “What brings ya here to Sweet Apple Acres?”
“Um…Applejack? What are you doing in a pile of hay?” Twilight looked at her friend skeptically: she actually looked kind of…nervous.
“Oh, uh…nuthin’ much, Twi…Ah was just, uh…takin’ care o’ some business here in the barn. Y’all can run along inside my house; Ah’ll be done in a moment.” The apple-themed pony carefully climbed out of the hay pile, nervously glancing back at it.
Twilight’s gaze flicked to the hay and then back to her friend. “Oh, is there any way I can help? It sounded like you were lifting something heavy.” Noticing something she added, “And where’s your hat?”
“Mah hat?” She looked around. “Shucks, it musta fallen off when Ah was, uh…movin’ the hay bales around. But it’s okay, Ah don’t need any help. You can wait inside, if you like.”
The unicorn cocked her head, “Is something wrong? You don’t seem yourself today.”
“Oh, uh…Ah’m fine, really. Is there sumthin ya’ll wanted to talk about?” She gave another awkward grin.
“Actually, yes,” Twilight took a deep breath. “You see, somepony has a crush on you, but…” she hesitated, “…she wants to know if you even like other mares.”
Applejack’s face flushed, then she narrowed her eyes, “Twilight, that’s a mighty big question to just come out and ask somepony.”
“I know, I know, but this pony…she kinda has pretty strong feelings for you.”
“Ah’m sorry, but…Ah’m just not interested.” The orange mare closed her eyes and looked away, her ears drooping.
No! She had to like Fluttershy! “Uh, are you sure? You…you don’t even know who it is yet,” Twilight responded, the tension in her voice apparent.
Applejack hung her head and said in a low voice, “Twi, ya can’t go makin’ assumptions ‘bout the way someone’s barn door swings; it’s too sensitive an issue. Please stop.” She blushed again and turned around, “Now, if you’ll excuse me, Ah’ve got some work to finish.”
The unicorn turned away. If Applejack didn’t go for Fluttershy, there was no reason why Rarity wouldn’t continue to pursue the pegasus. But if she didn’t even like other mares, which would be normal, what was she to do? She closed her eyes and fought back the urge to cry. “A-all right…thank you,” Twilight said with a strained voice as she started to depart.
“Aww, please don’t be a sad, sad, gloomy pants, Twilight!”
Twilight spun around. “Huh?”
A pink pony popped her head out from the same hay pile Applejack had been in, her curly pink hair partially covered by Applejack’s hat. She was frowning. “I’m so super sorry Applejack doesn’t like you. It’s not her fault! You see, I—”
“Pinkie Pie!” the unicorn called out in surprise, “What are you doing here?”
“Pinkie, Ah told you not ta say nothin’!” Applejack yelled at the energetic filly crossly.
Twilight looked at Applejack, who appeared angry and embarrassed, staring daggers at the other earth pony. Twilight narrowed her eyes, asking, “A.J., you knew Pinkie Pie was here?”
“Well…” the earth pony looked to the floor.
“Applejack, you’re the Element of Honesty! Why did you try to hide her? What were you two doing?”
“We were rolling in the hay, silly!” replied Pinkie enthusiastically.
“Er…” knowing Pinkie Pie, a comment like that could go either way, so Twilight decided to leave it at that.
“Pinkie, just leave the talkin’ to me,” Applejack said flatly before turning back to her unicorn friend. “We were…all right, Ah’ll be level with ya: me and Pinkie Pie are seein’ each other. That’s why Ah said Ah’m not interested in anypony else.”
Twilight was dumbstruck. She simply stood where she was, staring blankly at her two friends with her mouth agape.
“Ah know it may seem strange to ya, but we really do love each other,” assured Applejack, “Ah can’t really tell ya when it happened, but somethin’ just clicked with the two of us.”
When Twilight Sparkle at last regained the ability to say something she blurted out, “Wait, so you are…and Pinkie too?” At this point she was dumbfounded. How many of her friends were into other mares now? Fluttershy, Rarity, Rainbow Dash…apparently Applejack and Pinkie Pie…including herself, that was everyone in the group! How had they all managed to keep this from each other for so long?
At some point during Twilight’s introspection Pinkie Pie had exited the hay pile and starting bouncing around the barn, talking about Celestia-knows-what. “…so I went to ask the mayor, but then I found out no one wants to read about that, so—”
“Pinkie, Ah don’t think Twilight needs ta hear all that, whatever the hay it is,” Applejack interjected. Addressing Twilight she said, “Listen, Sugar Cube, don’t take it personal, but Ah don’t wanna date you; Ah only see you as a friend. Pinkie and Ah are happy together. Ah might not understand her all the time, but she keeps me laughin’ and seeing the brighter side of things. We get along okay. You’re still one a mah best friends, though.”
Pinkie Pie interjected, “Plus, we both totally love to bake stuff! Though I think she might be a teensy weensy bit better than I am.”
Twilight turned her attention back to Applejack. “What? Oh, I’m not the one that likes you! It’s—” she caught herself, “…somepony else. She didn’t want me to say who she was unless she had a chance with you.”
“Aww, that’s so sweet that Fluttershy likes you, Applejacky!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed, still bouncing around exuberantly.
“But…I didn’t say it was…never mind.” Twilight facehoofed. “But what am I going to tell her?”
“Ya just tell her I’m already with somepony. And Ah’d appreciate it if ya don’t go around tellin’ other ponies about me and Pinkie Pie. We’ve managed to keep things under wraps so far…well, for the most part, anyway. We’ll let folks know about us when we’re ready to.” Applejack smiled at the unicorn pony.
“Okay,” Twilight responded, trying not to seem upset, “I’ll see you later.” She quickly turned to go.
“Twi,” Applejack called out.
She turned back. “Yes?”
“Ah hope evr’ything’s okay.”
“Yeah, it’s…fine,” she fibbed, galloping off. “I gotta go.”
“You take care, Sugarcube.”
“So longy, Twilight! Please cheer up.”
Twilight Sparkle headed off with a heavy feeling in her heart. She thought to herself, But that didn’t solve anything.
* * *
“Darn, you, Rarity!”
The walk Fluttershy was taking wasn’t really helping to clarify anything. She still hadn’t reached a conclusion on what to do about Rarity or Applejack. If anything, it was only making things worse.
Wasn’t this what Fluttershy had been hoping for? Hadn’t she wanted to be with Rarity in the first place? When she first met the unicorn she had been so taken with her beauty and grace. She was so refined and gentle, not to mention immensely kind with her generosity. It was almost too much for the pegasus pony to bear. But no matter how many times Fluttershy tried, no matter how many ways she tried to say it, she just couldn’t bring herself to tell Rarity how she felt.
Why did she have to be so shy? It didn’t matter; she had waited so long that the feeling passed and she had simply given up. It was for the better, the pegasus supposed: she hadn’t wanted to jeopardize the friendship she already had with Rarity anyway.
But why did her best friend have to do this to her now? Fluttershy had gotten over her and moved on…but now the unicorn had to go and open old wounds. What was she to think now? She still wanted Applejack. But…what if the earth pony didn’t like her back? And if Rarity actually did have feelings for her now…
She thought of what had originally drawn her to Rarity again: her grace, her beauty, her fashion sense…But she wasn’t brave and strong, like Applejack was. Rarity wouldn’t be able to protect her in the same way. She wasn’t as connected to nature. Then again, Applejack wasn’t as graceful and refined as Rarity was…
“Oh, this isn’t helping!” Fluttershy screamed. She looked around. “I’m sorry,” she said meekly to a couple of birds who were quickly flying away. The yellow pegasus heaved a great sigh and headed back to her cottage.
“Maybe a nice hot bath will—Eep!” There was Rarity standing right in front of her house! She couldn’t face her right now. The timid pegasus nimbly jumped into a nearby bush, praying to Celestia that Rarity hadn’t noticed her.
* * *
Now what was Twilight Sparkle going to do? She had to step back and analyze the situation if she was going to make any sense of it. She had a crush on Rarity, who was apparently madly in love with Fluttershy, who liked Applejack, who was already in a relationship with Pinkie Pie.
Furthermore, Twilight had left Rarity a love letter (which she hoped she had gotten), while Rarity had made a dress for Fluttershy. Applejack did not share in Fluttershy’s feelings, which meant Rarity would have no reason to consider Twilight when the pegasus was still available. But…did Fluttershy even like Rarity back? Oh…Why didn’t any of her books on romance have any information on something this complicated?
She needed to talk with Fluttershy…who happened to be jumping into a bush? Twilight was just outside the pegasus’ house and could see her hiding for some reason. She rushed over, calling out, “Fluttershy, what are you doing?”
“Please don’t yell, Twilight,” was the muffled response from the bush, “I don’t want Rarity to know I’m here.”
The purple unicorn lowered her voice. “Rarity?” she looked over and saw the aforementioned pony standing in front of Fluttershy’s house. “What’s she doing here?”
“I don’t know…maybe she wants to talk to me?”
“Well, that much is obvious,” Twilight responded flatly. “I meant…never mind. So…why are you hiding from your best friend?”
“I-I don’t want to talk to her just yet.”
“Fluttershy, you have to! How long are you going to just leave her standing outside your door?”
“Um…until she leaves?”
“Uh…but what do I say to her? W-what about Applejack?”
“Oh!” Twilight’s ears drooped as she suddenly remembered the disappointing news she bore. She looked to the ground. “Well—” Before she could finish, however, she was cut off.
* * *
Rarity ambled up to Fluttershy’s house filled with hope. Well, she felt more than that: her stomach was knotting up something terrible. She had Fluttershies in her stomach. Butterflies. She meant butterflies. “Calm down; you can do this, Rarity,” she said to herself. She nervously reached up and knocked on the door to the cottage.
There was no response.
“Fluttershy? Dearie, are you in there?” the unicorn called out.
No one appeared to be home.
Rarity sighed, “I guess I’ll just wait here then until she gets back.”
As it turned out she didn’t have to wait too long before she heard voices. Looking over she saw her friend Twilight standing nearby and talking to someone out of sight.
Rarity approached, saying, “Twilight Sparkle, are you talking to a tree?”
Twilight looked up, looking first surprised, then nervous. “Oh, uh…hi, Rarity…” She looked to the ground and blushed, her ears pointing down. Rarity could understand why she was so tense, the poor thing: after leaving such a personal, heartfelt letter, she must have felt awfully shy about talking to her face-to-face.
“Listen, Twilight, about your letter…” how was she going to say this? She certainly wasn’t expecting to meet her here; she was prepared to talk to Fluttershy, not her. “I think it’s very touching that you like me, but…”
“You’re in love with Fluttershy,” she finished, no emotion in her voice.
Rarity was taken aback. “What? H-how did you know?”
“Well…she told me. She wanted somepony to talk to after you gave her a dress and told her how you loved her.”
“Oh, well…yes, I suppose I was a bit…forward in my approach. That’s actually why I came to talk to her. You haven’t happened to see her, have you?”
“Actually, I have,” she looked up, “But…she said she likes Applejack…not you.”
“Applejack?” What could the pegasus possibly see in her? She didn't have time to dwell on this thought, though.
“Yes, but…” Twilight looked like she wanted to say more, but couldn’t bring herself to do so.
Suddenly a familiar yellow pegasus poked her head out of the nearby bushes. “Um…excuse me.”
Both Rarity and Twilight turned their heads.
Fluttershy shrank back a moment before continuing: “I’ve been giving it a lot of thought, and I’ve decided I don’t need to know whether or not Applejack likes me. I’m sorry for making you waste your time, Twilight Sparkle, but…” she trailed off.
“But…?” Rarity and Twilight said at the same time as they leaned in close.
Fluttershy leaped out of the bush that she was hiding in, causing the other two ponies to jump back a bit. She faced the white unicorn. “Oh, I do love you, Rarity!”
“You do?” Rarity asked, her heart pounding. She had guessed Fluttershy was the one Twilight was talking to, given her love of hiding from things; however, she didn’t see this confession coming!
“You do?” Twilight looked mainly confused, but also showed a hint of disappointment.
The pegasus pony’s words poured out, almost running into each other: “Well…I’ve really been struggling. The truth is, I’ve actually liked you for some time, but I was too shy to ever tell you that. I had waited so long that eventually I sorta…gave up. But after the way you said you loved me…I’ve made up my mind.” The timid pony blushed and turned away slightly.
Rarity couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “Are-are you serious?” Her heart was hammering in her ears. She felt as if she’d faint…
“Why, do you not like me anymore? I’m sorry…” Fluttershy’s gaze dropped, her ears pointing down.
“Like you? Oh, Fluttershy, I love you!” with that Rarity rushed over and wrapped her forelegs around her best friend. She could scarcely believe this was real. She was in bliss…until she saw Twilight Sparkle. The younger unicorn looked both happy and sad at the same time. She was smiling, but it also looked like she was holding back tears.
Rarity stepped back. “Wait, Fluttershy…I think we all need to sit down and talk. I don’t know if Twilight has told you, but…she too is in love with me.”
Surprised, Fluttershy turned, mouth agape, to a blushing Twilight.
Rarity continued, “I simply couldn’t get into a relationship with anypony knowing that it would hurt one of my best frien—”
“Rarity, no…it’s fine,” Twilight said with a controlled voice, “I think you two belong together. I’m…happy for you.”
“But darling, I know how much you love me,” Rarity replied, “That letter you left was not insincere. What you told me was from the heart; take this from a pony who knows passion.”
“But…if you like Fluttershy, and she likes you…how could I split you two apart? I think…” Twilight spoke in a resigned tone, “If you two love each other, I…I won’t interfere. After all…we’re still friends.” She looked up and gave a weak smile.
“But Twilight, if Rarity means that much to you—” started Fluttershy.
“Fluttershy, if you really do love her…I want…I want you two to be together. ”
“I’m sorry I made you go all the way to Sweet Apple Acres for nothing.” Fluttershy hung her head shyly.
Twilight replied with a sigh, “It’s fine. Just…take good care of Rarity.” She silently added “…for me.” With that the purple unicorn walked back towards Ponyville, her head and tail low.
“Oh, I feel so bad for her,” said Fluttershy as she stared off in the direction Twilight Sparkle had gone.
“And I, too,” Rarity replied, following the other’s gaze, “Perhaps we can do something for her to cheer her up, like making her a dress?”
“I think that would be a lovely idea.” The yellow pegasus moved closer to her friend.
Rarity gently nuzzled back, feeling her warmth against her body. “But for now I think she wants to be alone.”
The two let that hang in the air for a moment as they stood together in the afternoon sun. Rarity indeed felt bad for the other unicorn, but she knew somewhere out there she’d find her true love.
* * *
The pair had moved to a quiet meadow nearby Fluttershy’s abode, enjoying each other’s company as the day crawled to a close. After a fashion Rarity turned to the other pony, exclaiming, “Oh, Fluttershy!” This was it! This was the perfect romance she had been longing for. She snuggled close to her companion. “So, all this time…we had been keeping our love a secret from each other?”
“I’m sorry,” Fluttershy said quietly.
“Don’t be sorry, dear. I kept it as much of a secret as you did. Oh, after that fashion model incident we should have learned not to do that!”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right. But still, how do you tell your best friend something like that?”
“Yes, I see what you mean. It doesn’t matter now, though, because we’re together at last.” The two sat down in the soft, sun-warmed grass.
Fluttershy’s rose-colored mane shone in the waning sunlight. She turned to Rarity and blushed. “Um…”
“What is it, dearie?” asked the unicorn.
“Well…It’s just that…I’ve never, um…kissed anypony before,” the pegasus practically whispered.
“What was that?”
“I’ve never kissed anyone before.”
“You haven’t what?”
“I’ve never kissed before!” admitted Fluttershy loudly, her face red.
“Oh, darling, you poor thing!” Rarity wasn’t surprised. After all, this was Fluttershy. “But you need not worry; I shall make sure your first kiss is as fabulous as you’ve always dreamt it to be. Now, close your eyes.”
“O-okay.” Fluttershy squeezed her eyes tightly shut.
“Not so hard.”
She relaxed, her eyes simply closed now.
“Next, pucker your lips…no, not like you’ve eaten a lemon…no…that’s better, but…no, that’s way too much…stop, that’s perfect!” Fluttershy looked so cute just sitting there with her lips slightly puffed out in an O shape. Rarity almost wished she could take a picture of the scene…She shook her head, returning to the present. “And finally…” she leaned in and puckered her own lips finely, pressing them against the other pony’s moist, delicate mouth.
Fluttershy squeaked in surprise but didn’t pull away; in fact, she pressed back gently.
Rarity felt her face flush with warmth as she kissed her friend tenderly. She dared not try to make it a French kiss: she was sure the timid pegasus wasn’t quite ready for anything so—
Suddenly she felt something warm and moist slide between her lips, probing into her mouth. Surprised, she looked up and saw Fluttershy’s eyes open, nervousness in them. Rarity stared back, gave a reassuring smile (as best she could, given her mouth was full), and pushed back with her own tongue, sliding it across Fluttershy’s.
The unicorn closed her eyes and savored the moment as her tongue intertwined with that of her friend, each one tasting the other…
Finally, the two pulled apart, looking at each other in the orange glow of the sunset. Fluttershy was the first to speak: “I—I’m sorry, I’ve just always wanted to try that…I hope you don’t mind…” She was blushing, but also smiling.
Rarity nuzzled close to the pegasus again, responding, “Why, of course I liked it. Do you know how long I had been waiting for that moment?”
“Probably as long as I have…”
“Well, I think it was worth the wait. That was something, wasn’t it?” She gently rose, offering a forehoof to the other pony. “I don’t know about you, but I feel I could use some freshening up. What do you say to a nice spa visit for just the two of us?”
Sewing the Red Thread of Fate
* * *
So I never had a chance in the first place, Twilight Sparkle thought to herself. It was evening, and she was by herself: Spike wouldn’t return until Monday. Without the little dragon with her, she felt more alone than ever. All of her research on romance and courtship had gotten her nowhere. At least…at least Rarity and Fluttershy were happy. She couldn’t press the issue with the other unicorn. She saw in her eyes how much Fluttershy meant to her; she wouldn’t separate those two if she could.
But where did that leave her? She had no one now. Twilight got up and cleared a space at her writing desk. She magically picked up a quill, inked it, and unfurled a blank scroll.
Dear Princess Celestia,
Today I learned a valuable lesson in friendship. I learned that sometimes friendship requires sacrifice and to put the needs of my friends before my own. If you truly love someone, you should think of what’s best for them, and be able to let them go.
Your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle.
She rolled up the scroll and set it down in front of her. The report seemed kind of short, but she couldn’t think of anything else to write at the moment anyway. The little pony sighed and laid her head on the table, letting her tears flow freely as she silently cried.
Suddenly there was a knock on the door. Twilight lifted her head and looked towards the source of the noise. “Who’s there?”
“A friend.” The response was muffled, so Twilight couldn’t tell who it was, but she could still hear it.
“Huh?” She got up and hastily dried her face before opening the door.
Standing before her was Rainbow Dash with a beautiful crimson flower in her mouth. She was smiling, looking hopeful.