Fluttershy gently trotted along through Ponyville, on her way to Carousal Boutique, her saddle bags full of her animal care supplies. While she normally wasn’t one to be preoccupied by things…except when dragons…and draconequi…and her own shadow…and well…any of her many phobias were involved, she couldn’t get her mind off her meeting with Applejack earlier that day. All this time they’ve known each other, and she’d never known Applejack had lost her parents at a young age, or that Winona had been their last gift to her. It stuck in her mind as strange that, either as a friend or animal care taker, she’d never heard these things at all. “Still…I suppose she had no reason to tell me…I’m just happy having somepony listen helped her,” the timid Pegasus whispered to herself. She was normally one to just let sleeping dogs lie, but her curiosity had been peaked. Even the most timid ponies had a desire to learn about things.
She arrived at the door to the Boutique, seeing the door was open and heading in. Rarity, as per usual, was busy working on her dresses of all types. Fluttershy was always so amazed by Rarity’s design work, in part due to her own ‘freaky knowledge of sewing’. While the others had little knowledge of actual sewing, Fluttershy did, and appreciated it more when she saw it done well. “Um…hello Rarity, I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were busy, I can come back later…” said Fluttershy, getting ready to leave.
“No, no, it’s quite alright, Fluttershy,” said Rarity, turning with a smile. “These dresses are already done, just putting some final touches on them,” the dressmaker explained. “Though I must say, it surprised me that you wanted to examine Opal here instead of your house as usual, is something wrong, darling?”
“Oh, I’m sorry for the inconvenience, Rarity, I really am, but Winona was sprayed by a skunk earlier and Applejack brought her to me for a bath, so my house is still airing out.”
Rarity gave a gag. “…I understand. Well no harm done, darling. I don‘t mind letting you give my little Opal her check up here,” she said, giving her friend a smile.
Fluttershy gave a small smile, glad there was no trouble. “Alright…where is she?”
“Opal, come here please, Fluttershy is here!” Rarity called, using the same voice she always did with Opal, acting like she was speaking to a child. Fluttershy knew Opal didn’t particularly like it, but it was often difficult to convince Rarity of something.
The white feline yawned, coming into the room and stretching. Opal walked over and rubbed against Fluttershy’s legs, purring. “Hello there, Opal, your fur is looking lovely today,” she said, politely. Opal and Rarity’s relationship was…strange. Fluttershy could tell they genuinely DID care about one another, it’s just Opal was temperamental and Rarity could be a little…overly dramatic.
Fluttershy watched Opal’s eyes and noticed her look at Rarity’s designs. Despite all the problems between them, Rarity’s designs did seem to be something Opal had at least some interest in. Fluttershy thought Opal was kind of like Rainbow Dash, she acted kind of rough on the outside, but had a good heart underneath it all. Another place that showed was at the Pony Pet Playdates. While at first, Opal had been aggressive to the other animals (in fact, the others were outright terrified of her at first), now she seemed to somewhat enjoy it. It was one of the only places her and Rarity seemed to be at peace with each other openly.
Fluttershy gently put Opal on a table and looked her over. While Fluttershy did give Opal baths, Rarity was still her primary caretaker, and an animal’s coat told a lot about how well they were cared for. Opal’s was absolutely gorgeous and well maintained, it was clear she was being fed properly. Despite looking fat, Opal actually wasn’t overweight, most of it was fur. Rarity clearly made sure to feed her just the right amount, which didn’t surprise Fluttershy too much, Rarity was always so meticulous.
“She’s a beautiful cat, Rarity,” said Fluttershy, petting Opal’s head and listening to the feline purr.
“Thank you, Fluttershy, I do my best to take care of my little Opal,” the fashionista replied, smiling to Opal. “I know she’s given me a fair share of scratches, but I still love her to pieces.”
Fluttershy nodded, checking the Persian over. She thought back to her discussion with Applejack and once more the Pegasus’ curiosity got the better of her. “Um…Rarity?”
“Yes, darling?” the unicorn asked, looking up from Opal to meet Fluttershy’s eyes.
“Um…if you don’t mind, I mean you really don’t have too but…” the shy pony replied. “…How exactly did you get Opal?”
Opal and Rarity both blinked and looked at Fluttershy, making the Pegasus a little uncomfortable. “Pardon, dear?”
“Um…I just wanted to know how you got Opal,” said Fluttershy, practically hiding behind her mane. “It’s just…I help with everypony’s pets and we’re all friends and I don’t know how you got Opal…I’m just curious…I’m sorry if you don’t want to tell me, I shouldn’t have asked, I’ll just continue examining Op-”
“Oh, no, it’s quite fine dear,” said Rarity, giving her timid friend a smile. “I don’t mind telling you at all.”
Rarity cleared her throat as she began the story.
A young Rarity, not even having her Cutie Mark yet, set with her parents in a rather rundown looking house, her mother putting a plate of burnt oatmeal in front of her, having somehow also managed to burn the juice, much to Rarity’s disgust.
“It may come as a surprise to you, Fluttershy, but I do not come from old money, we were actually very poor when I was growing up in a suburb outside of Manehatten. Father had hoped to be picked up for a professional sports team out of college, but he ended up hitting a number of setbacks. Mother tried her best to support us, but they didn’t have much money after buying what house they could afford…”
Rarity set on the curb, holding a book on speaking with a more refined air. A rather large unicorn colt came over and pulled it from her grasp with a light blue telekinesis. “Hey! Give that back!”
The colt held her back with a hoof on her forehead. “Aww, isn’t that cute? Poor little Rarity wants her book back. How did you get it? I didn’t know your family had enough money to buy anything,” he mocked. “Find it in the trash? Nah, I bet you just stole it,” he continued, then pushed her down, causing her to cry out in pain when she hit the back of her head off the curb as he laughed and walked off, throwing the book in her face as she held her head and began to cry.
“I was picked on quite often by the neighborhood foals for it, while most foals are perfectly nice, some foals are cruel…Especially when they’re bigger than you and find something that hurts you…Oh, I’m sorry Fluttershy, I forgot you know that all too well.
“The colts who bullied me and were my age were the easiest to deal with. I wasn’t that old or wealthy, but not to brag, I have always been a pretty filly.”
A couple colts her own age were playing keep away with her backpack. Rarity got a cunning look and walked up to one of them with a flirtatious look in her eyes. “My, what a strong colt you are, do you really need to pick on a little girl to make yourself feel big?” Sure enough, the colt blushed and began to talk with her until she finally convinced him to hand back the bag with a flit of the eyelashes.
“However, some bullies were much bigger than myself, and my looks couldn’t defuse the situation. And of course, there were girls who picked on me as well. And despite it being uncouth, there were colts perfectly willing to hit a little filly as well…So my father had a solution.”
The same older colt from before took her book again, holding her at hoofs length once more. However, when he pushed her, she grabbed his leg and put her hind legs in his gut, flipping him over her and into a bush, the book landing next to her. She then took a martial arts type pose towards his flunkies, causing them to run away.
“You may have noticed, darling, but my father had me take martial arts from a friend of his,” said Rarity, looking to Fluttershy. “I do believe he lives in Ponyville now, he’s hard to miss, great big muscles, tiny wings?”
“So that’s how you knew how to fight so well when we fought the Changelings,” said Fluttershy, surprised. Sure, Fluttershy knew she herself had done alright…but she’d mainly just blended in to trick the Changelings…and frequently tripped them while cowering. Those things had not been very smart…
“I know, it surprises ponies when they find out a lady like me knows how to fight, but when you grow up around larger foals that want to hurt you any chance they get, you need to know how to defend yourself. I never used that or my charms to play ponies, only for my own protection…mostly, but I certainly didn‘t become a bully, I wasn‘t about to do to others what was done to me.”
Fluttershy didn’t know if she agreed or not. Truth be told, she hated the very idea of fighting, even if she’d seen with her own eyes that it was needed sometimes. “…Um…please, continue.”
“Oh, right, sorry for rambling, darling.”
Rarity came running home to a hug from her parents, who both looked at her new Cutie Mark with pride.
“Our fortunes began to turn up when I earned my Cutie Mark.”
Rarity sold gems to people in her neighborhood, as well as worked on modifying dresses for ponies for a fee.
“It is how I began being a fashionista, and the money I earned, along with mother getting a promotion at work, finally got us enough money to afford fixing up the house, with just enough money left over for my cuteceañera. I couldn’t have been happier!…But fate had other things in store.”
Rarity trotted along next to her parents along a road in the rain, her mother keeping an umbrella over the three of them with her magic. Rarity had her head high, elated. As they trotted along, Rarity’s eyes caught sight of a cardboard box on the side of the sidewalk. The little filly stopped and peaked over, a tiny white, Persian kitten sitting shivering in the box, giving a miserable little meow. On the side said ‘free to good homes’ and Rarity frowned. “Oh, you poor baby, all alone in the rain…” she said, looking down at the little thing with sympathy. “I know how it feels to not have much…” she said, then looked to her parents, who were waiting for her.
She looked back at the kitten, then her parents. “Mother, father, could I please get this little kitten? Look at the poor thing…”
Her parents looked at the kitten sadly, then to each other, then to the filly. “Sorry hon. We just don’t have the money for a cat right now, especially with your cuteceañera coming up…” her father said sadly.
Rarity frowned. “But…”
“Sorry, Rarity, no buts, we might be able to afford to keep one if we keep things up, but we don’t have the bits to get her vaccinated and see the vet right now, and that‘s the first thing that‘d need done,” said her mother, giving a frown.
Rarity frowned, then headed forwards with her parents…And looked back at the box. She looked deep in thought before finally looking back to her parents determined. “Wait…I think I have an idea…”
“I wanted things, and I truly did. I still do…You come to want things when you had very little or nothing…And a cuteceañera was something any foal in their right mind wanted…”
Rarity picked the little kitten up and put her on her back, giving the little feline a kiss on the forehead smiling, making it purr. Her parents checked the kitten over as she did so.
“But that kitten needed a home more than I needed a party…someone to care for it…to care for her, as it turned out…”
“It’s ok, you’re coming home with me…Opalescence…”
Fluttershy gasped in surprise at this revelation as she realized exactly what Rarity was saying. “You…”
Rarity nodded simply. “Yes…I realized that night that, as unfortunate as I was, someone will always be worse off than me…It honestly feels good to help somepony who is less fortunate than myself…even if that somepony is a little kitten left alone in a cardboard box in the rain,” she said, lowering her muzzle to Opal, who, a bit begrudgingly, actually rubbed against her purring.
Fluttershy gave a small smile. Rarity was the Element of Generosity for a reason. “That was very kind of you Rarity…Did you ever have a cuteceañera?”
Rarity shook her head, a little sadly. “No…I’ve never had one, even once my father got the hoofball career he‘d been trying for and hit big, it just never came up again…But everypony has a cuteceañera, Opal didn’t have a home…”
Opal gave a small smile up at Rarity, who smiled back.
“…Well, Opal checks out perfectly, you really have taken excellent care of her,” said Fluttershy, smiling and brushing Opal a couple times.
“I’m very glad about that Fluttershy…Say, if you have time, would you like to have our spa visit today?” asked Rarity, giving her friend a smile.
Fluttershy gave it thought. “…Not today, Rarity, I’ve got to go see Pinkie about Gummy,” she said, giving an apologetic look and trying to look smaller. “Sorry…”
“Oh, it’s fine, we can go later. Thanks for checking out Opal for me.”
“You’re quite welcome Rarity, thanks for the story,” said Fluttershy, heading out the door. She’d never known Rarity was poor as a filly, or that she’d never experienced a cuteceañera in her entire life. Even she had had one herself, and her childhood had been…a little unorthodox. And to think, Rarity’s discovery of how good it felt to give something to someone who needed it came from the pet she still doted on constantly. It was just like Applejack and Winona, the story of the pet was as much about the owner as it was the pet. And it looked like Opal had been reminded of how much Rarity meant to her…
“Come, Opal, maybe we should try out that darling sweater momma bought you,” said Rarity in her ‘kiddy’ voice, prompting Opal to hiss and scratch at her.
Fluttershy gave a sigh as she headed out. Some things never changed.