"Very impressive, darling!"
Twilight Sparkle smiled at Rarity's approval. The two had been meeting once a week for the last month or so to exchange spells, and Rarity always seemed to be impressed with her spells, even when they weren't particularly astounding. Her approval this time was directed at a spell Twilight had come up with to make words appear on paper. It really wasn't much; just a simple color-changing spell, except much more focused. Still, Rarity seemed impressed.
"Thanks, Rarity," Twilight said. "It's really simple to do, you just have to..." She stopped as she noticed more words appearing on the paper. The purple unicorn looked up to see Rarity smiling as she mimicked the spell exactly. Twilight laughed. Rarity was quite the quick learner. Before Twilight could say another word, the white unicorn's eyes motioned back down to the paper. Twilight's eyes followed hers, and she watched in wonder as the words began to leap off of the paper and dance.
"That's amazing!" Twilight mused, watching the words sashay and pirouette across the paper. Rarity smiled at her. Twilight was so talented when it came to magic (it was her special talent, after all), and it was a thrill to see her react so positively to a silly little spell like that one. No matter what new spell she showed her friend in these meetings, she always gave her a glowing reaction, something which Rarity really appreciated.
"Ooh!" Twilight suddenly exclaimed. "I just remembered a spell that I really need to show you. You're gonna love this one!" Twilight was nearly dancing at the thought of Rarity's reaction to the spell she wanted to show her.
"Oh?" Rarity said, her interest piqued. "And what's that?" She hadn't seen Twilight this excited since her first slumber party.
"This is right up your alley, Rarity," Twilight said, almost overflowing with excitement. "It's a spell that makes your coat glitter and shine!"
"Darling, that sounds simply marvelous!" Rarity said, her expression echoing Twilight's. "Do show it to me, please!"
"One glittering pelt, coming up!" Twilight said happily. Her horn glowed a deep purple as she pointed it at her friend. She rehearsed the procedure in her head; first, she'd focus her energy slowly from the base of the horn to the tip. She'd envision the shining in her head, something she usually accomplished by thinking of the words "heart of gold." This part probably wasn't necessary, but it was the first shining thing she thought of the first time she pulled the spell off, and she could sometimes be a bit superstitious when making sure her spells worked the same way every time. Twilight focused hard on the idea of a heart of gold, and felt the energy slowly channel up her horn. Just as she had solidified the mental image, the door burst open.
"Twilight!" Spike called in. Twilight was startled as she saw Spike gasp at the sight of Rarity. She had forgotten to warn him that she would be here, a warning which was always necessary due to his tremendous crush on the white unicorn. Suddenly, she felt her horn expel the magic energy that had built up inside it. Before she could stop it, the magic shot out, striking Rarity square in the chest.
"RARITY!" Twilight shrieked as her friend was knocked backwards into the wall.
"Uh..." Spike stammered, "...I'll get back to you OK bye!!" The baby dragon bolted, the door slamming behind him, as Twilight tended to Rarity.
"Oh, Rarity, I'm so sorry!" Twilight said, helping the white unicorn to a standing position. "I had the spell all set, and then Spike came in and distracted me, and I lost control...I'm so sorry!"
Rarity said nothing. She blinked a few times, but was motionless otherwise. Twilight looked closely at her friend, trying to inspect for any signs of lasting damages. After a good inspection, she deduced that nothing was wrong with her. She seemed a bit dazed, but other than that, she appeared to be OK. However, she figured she should ask, just to make sure.
"Rarity, are you OK?" Twilight asked in a hushed tone. Rarity turned slowly to look at Twilight. As her eyes focused on the purple unicorn, her expression changed from one of stunned confusion to more of a contented, albeit foggy, calm. As she looked at Twilight, her features softened into a wide smile.
"Darling, I've never felt better," Rarity said dreamily. Twilight gave her a befuddled look.
"Erm...are you sure?" Twilight asked. "You hit that wall kinda hard, and I don't know what that spell did..."
"My dear, I'm more than just OK," Rarity answered, staring straight into Twilight's eyes. "How could I be anything but spectacular as long as you're around?"
"What do you..." Twilight started to say. Then she got a better look at the situation. The dreamy, dazed speech, the unbreaking eye contact, that last comment...
"....Oh no," Twilight said upon realizing what was going on. "Nononononono..." Rarity moved closer, putting a single hoof up to Twilight's mouth.
"No need to speak, my dear," Rarity said, shifting even closer. "Love is its own language; words are unnecessary." Twilight let out a squeak that would have made Fluttershy proud.
"Rarity, you don't know what you're saying," the purple unicorn said, backing away from her over-amorous friend. "That spell I cast must have been a love spell, and it's the magic talking..." Twilight soon felt the wall behind her, and realized she was cornered.
"I know exactly what I'm saying," Rarity said confidently. "I love you, Twilight Sparkle."
Before Twilight could react, she felt Rarity's lips press against hers. She tried her best to pull away, but she couldn't back up, and when she tried to move to either side, the white unicorn matched her every movement. She hoped for something to come along and interrupt, and was immensely grateful to hear the door swing open again.
"Twilight!" Spike shouted from the doorway. "Is Rarity..." He froze in place at the sight of the two mares kissing. Rarity, realizing that there was a new presence in the room, pulled away from a grateful Twilight.
"Oh my...hello Spike," Rarity said to the shocked baby dragon. She then turned back to Twilight, smiling and starting to blush. "...I do apologize, Sparkle Kitten. That was not very ladylike of me. Rest assured, I will wait for your permission next time." This time it was Twilight who was speechless. She touched a single hoof to her mouth, still unbelieving of what just happened. After a moment of awkward silence, she finally spoke.
"Rarity..." Twilight said flatly, "I think it might be best if you wait upstairs while I try to work out a counterspell for this."
"But Sparkle Kitten, I simply can't survive when I'm not around you!" Rarity moaned.
"Rarity, please!" Twilight said. She noticed that she might have said it a bit loud, as Rarity looked hurt. She sighed. "For me?" she followed up, appealing to the fabricated feeling of love that Rarity had for her. The white unicorn looked at her for a second, then managed a weak smile.
"Oh, you know I can't resist those eyes," Rarity admitted. "But please do hurry up, my love." With that, she trotted up the stairs, slid a still-paralyzed Spike out of the way, and made her exit.
"Hoo boy...what a mess..." Twilight sighed, as she floated numerous books on magic over to her. As she started to open the first one, she was distracted by a presence directly next to her.
"Twilight!" the baby dragon exclaimed. "I can't believe you! You KNEW I had a crush on Rarity!"
"Spike, stop it!" Twilight responded. "She's under the influence of a love spell, nothing more."
"You cast a love spell on her?!" Spike cried. "How could you?"
"I didn't MEAN to cast a love spell on her!" Twilight shouted. "I had a different spell in mind, when SOMEONE burst in and distracted me!"
"Oh yeah? And who was that?" Spike asked petulantly. A glare from Twilight spurred his memory, and he lowered his head in shame.
"So now I have to try and figure out where I was in the spell when you interrupted me," Twilight said, turning to her book. "And then I just have to reverse-engineer the spell and work out a counterspell, so I need you to go upstairs and keep Rarity occupied so I have no distractions. OK?" Spike kicked at the ground.
"Oh, great," Spike said. "I finally get to spend some alone time with Rarity, and here she is all head over hooves over you!"
"Upstairs, Spike!" Twilight said sternly. Spike began to head upstairs, then turned back just as he reached the door.
"If you can't figure out a counterspell, am I allowed to watch?" the dragon asked.
"SPIKE!" Twilight bellowed. Spike practically flew out the door, slamming it shut behind him.
It had been about an hour and a half, and Twilight was very disappointed with herself that she hadn't figured out a counterspell yet. She had finally pinpointed the moment where the spell had gone awry, but couldn't figure out exactly what had happened to alter the spell like she unintentionally had. Try as she might, she couldn't figure that last bit out, and that was integral to the reverse-engineering of the spell. She had to admit, though, that her mind wasn't totally into it. She didn't know why, but every time she tried to really concentrate on it, her mind shot back to her kiss with Rarity. She wasn't quite sure why this was the case, but regardless, it kept happening, and it really bugged her. Luckily, Spike seemed to be doing a good job of keeping Rarity occupied, because neither of them had come downstairs to distract her further.
"Twilight!" Spike shouted, as if on cue. Twilight rolled her eyes as the baby dragon bounded down the steps towards her.
"What is it, Spike?" she asked, trying not to sound too annoyed.
"Twilight, you have to let Rarity come down here," he said, looking upset. "I was doing a fine job of distracting her at first, but then we started talking about you, and she got more and more upset that she couldn't see you, and now she's crying and I can't stand seeing her cry! Please, let her come see you!"
"But Spike," Twilight started, "If I let her come down, she'll..."
"Twilight, listen to me!" Spike shouted, surprising Twilight with his sudden anger. "You cast this spell on Rarity, you put her in this situation, and it's YOUR responsibility to take care of her until you can fix it! Now, you let that poor crying pony down here right now!" Twilight was absolutely aghast at this outburst, but as much as she wanted to get angry at Spike for talking to her like that, she couldn't, because she knew that he was right. She sighed a heavy sigh.
"Alright, let her come down," Twilight said. Spike smiled, then turned around and motioned through the doorway. Twilight watched as Rarity slowly trotted down the stairs. Her reddened eyes and running makeup only increased Twilight's guilt.
"Thank you, Sparkle Kitten," Rarity said, nuzzling Twilight's neck while holding back tears. "I missed you so much..." Twilight smiled a little bit; something about that pet name that Rarity had come up with for her just made her smile. Still, she pulled away from Rarity before she could get too touchy-feely.
"I'm sorry for making you wait upstairs, Rarity," Twilight said, "But I need to figure out this counterspell, and if you're being all...THAT..." She emphasized this last word in reference to Rarity nuzzling her again. Rarity nodded solemnly.
"I understand, my love," the white unicorn said. "I'll try not to be a nuisance...but might I make one request?"
"What is it?" Twilight asked, trying not to be too short with her.
"Might I at least sit next to you?" Rarity asked. Twilight rolled her eyes and was about to say no, when she looked at her friend and noticed the desperation in her eyes.
"Well...alright," Twilight sighed. Rarity's frown instantly became a smile, and she situated herself right up against Twilight. Twilight nearly protested her close proximity, but remembered Spike's points and decided to let it be. The more she thought of it, the more she realized that it wasn't really so bad. It was a somewhat cold evening, and Rarity being so close did provide some warmth. After a few minutes, she barely paid the situation any mind, even when Rarity rested her head on her neck. In fact, Twilight was surprised with herself when she realized that she actually liked how that felt, so much so that she felt a little upset when Rarity raised her head off of her. Still, she continued to read through her spell books, her studies unfazed by Rarity's actions...until she heard a sniffle from her direction. The purple unicorn finally pulled herself away from her books for a moment and looked over at her friend. She could see the beginnings of tears welling up in her eyes once more.
"What's wrong now, Rarity?" Twilight asked. She was a bit bothered at being pulled away from her work, but her tone was a bit more concerned this time.
"I'm dreadfully sorry, Sparkle Kitten," Rarity said, taking a deep breath to keep the sobs back. "It's just...I wish you would pay me a bit more attention..." She prodded at Twilight with one hoof as she said this. Twilight rolled her eyes.
"Rarity, I'm very busy trying to figure out a counterspell..." Twilight said. When she saw that her words only made the white unicorn more miserable, she changed her tone. "What did you have in mind?" she asked, a little worried about what the answer might be. Rarity pondered this question for a moment.
"A kiss?" she asked.
"Rarity..." Twilight began, but she was interrupted.
"One kiss is all I ask," Rarity continued, "And then I promise that I will be on my best behavior for the duration of your research." Twilight tried to think of a reason to rebuke her, but she was excited by the thought of being able to finish her research in peace. Still, she wasn't quite sure about it.
"Please, Sparkle Kitten?" Rarity begged. That did it for Twilight. She couldn't explain it, but Rarity's use of that pet name just seemed to have some sort of soothing effect on her.
"ONE kiss," Twilight said. Rarity nodded, smiling widely. Twilight sighed, then shifted her position a bit, turning her head towards her eager friend, who did the same. She closed her eyes and leaned forward until she felt Rarity's lips against hers. The kiss lasted a bit longer than she'd expected, but she figured that if Rarity were to be placated by one kiss, it made sense that she'd want a fairly long one for her mind to dwell on. Her justification for this was so good that even she was convinced by it, so much so that when Rarity pulled away from the kiss, she found herself...almost disappointed.
"Thank you, Sparkle Kitten," Rarity said, a dreamy look in her eyes. "That was wonderful. I promise I shall no longer be a nuisance." The elegant unicorn settled herself down, resting her body up against Twilight's once more.
Twilight went back to her studies, but quickly found that she could not get a single thing done. The distraction that her thoughts of the first kiss had provided earlier were nothing compared to what was going on in her head now. Every single time she tried to look at her books, the thought of this latest kiss stopped her. The purple unicorn was incredibly confused by this. She knew she had only agreed to the kiss for Rarity's sake...but then why was SHE so hung up on it? Twilight looked over at Rarity to see if she was similarly distracted, but to no avail. Rarity simply rested, her head against Twilight's side, her eyes closed, a content smile spread across her face. A content...adorable smile. Twilight had never noticed how cute Rarity's smile was before now.
Twilight stopped herself. Was she really thinking like this? It was Rarity who was under the love spell, not her. And yet she couldn't take her gaze off of the white unicorn. Maybe the botched spell had a bit of a splash, and she was affected too? Twilight ran a quick magic scan over herself, searching for any residual effects, but she found none. Was she really having these feelings for Rarity?
Rarity's eyes fluttered open, and Twilight realized that she was still staring at her. Her mind raced, trying to think of an excuse.
"Uh...Rarity!" she stammered. "You said you wouldn't distract me anymore!" Rarity gave her a puzzled look.
"But I wasn't..." she began.
"Ugh, what is it going to take to make you stop distracting me like you were clearly doing just now?" Twilight continued. She never was a very convincing liar. "Would another kiss calm you down?" Twilight shocked herself with that one. Rarity looked at her as if she had just said the most perfect thing ever.
"Well, I don't understand how I was being distracting," Rarity said, "But if a kiss will remedy it, then I am ready for my punishment!" She giggled at the end of this sentence, something which Twilight found adorable. The two shared another kiss, this one even longer than the previous. Midway through the kiss, Twilight allowed herself to acknowledge it once and for all; she had fallen in love with Rarity.
It was getting late now. The two had relocated upstairs at Rarity's insistence, since she wished to go to sleep but did not want to be far from Twilight. While Twilight had acknowledged to herself that she had fallen in love with Rarity, she dared not speak a word of it to her. While her own feelings were genuine, Rarity's were created by a magic spell gone awry. Twilight had an obligation to find a counterspell and free her friend from the effects of the spell, even though it meant that she would have to concede her feelings for the elegant unicorn. Rarity always spoke of finding the right stallion; she simply wasn't the type to fool around with mares by her own accord. Twilight needed to figure out a counterspell for Rarity's sake, even if it wasn't particularly what she herself wanted. She had to embody the generosity that the white unicorn was chosen for.
Twilight gasped as she came to a sudden realization. She had found a passage in her latest book that described the exact spell she had unintentionally cast on Rarity. The lead-up matched what she had been doing in an attempt to make her coat glitter, the concentrated bolt that resulted was perfectly described...and listed directly under it was the counterspell! Twilight was overjoyed...and then crushed. While she wanted Rarity to be free from a spell she wanted no part of, she wasn't sure if she wanted to give up what they had just yet. Still, she knew that she had to do it, for the sake of her friend. Twilight approached Rarity's bed and gently nudged her awake.
"Rarity?" Twilight whispered. Rarity's eyes half-opened.
"What is it, Sparkle Kitten?" Rarity asked, a small smile crossing her face. Twilight's heart melted right then and there. Those seductive eyes, that darling smile, the adorable pet name...
"I just realized I didn't wish you a good night," Twilight said, completely abandoning her initial plan. "So...good night, Rarity. I promise you, I'll keep up the search for a counterspell tomorrow."
"I assure you I am in no rush for that, kitten," Rarity said, her tired face still managing to express a radiant joy. Twilight knew that those words were influenced by the spell rather than her real feelings, but she wished so much that they were real. She felt one of Rarity's hooves touch hers.
"Goodnight kiss?" Rarity asked. Twilight couldn't possibly say no to that face.
"Ugh...fine," Twilight said, pretending as hard as she could that it wasn't exactly what she wanted.
Twilight spent the next hour lying in her bed, unable to fall asleep. Try as she might, she found herself completely unable to get Rarity off of her mind. Part of it was coming to terms with her new-found feelings for her friend. She personally had no hangups about two mares finding love with each other, and she knew that none of her friends, not even Rarity, had problems with the idea of it either. Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie had been together for quite a while, and while Fluttershy and Applejack's relationship was still new, it was so intimate, an outsider would think that they had been together ever since they first met. Rarity was a different case. While it was clear that she was supportive of her friends' relationships, she never seemed like the type who would take well to another mare having feelings for her. Of course, it was completely possible that she was misjudging her; after all, none of them expected Fluttershy and Applejack to end up together.
The other part of her apprehension came from her own guilt at not having dispelled the love spell when she woke Rarity up earlier. She worried that she was being a bit too selfish in doing so. Spike (who had chosen to sleep elsewhere, still jealous over Rarity's affection for Twilight) had told her that it was her responsibility to take care of the ailing unicorn, and here she was, withholding the solution to her magical affliction for her own personal gain. The purple unicorn tried to justify it by thinking about how she was going to tell Rarity as soon as they woke up the next morning and how her still being under the spell caused no harm while the two of them were asleep, but she still found herself unable to shake the guilt. Twilight decided at that moment that she would get up, wake Rarity, cast the spell on her, and go back to bed guilt-free. She was about to get up, when she felt her mattress shift. Rarity's familiar scent filled her nostrils as the white unicorn crawled into her bed. She could hear Rarity's quiet giggle, and then felt her slide right up against her back.
"My apologies, Sparkle Kitten," she heard Rarity whisper, obviously to what she thought was a sleeping Twilight. "I couldn't stay away from you any longer." She felt Rarity's head resting on her neck, very carefully so as not to wake her. Twilight smiled. The counterspell could wait. Twilight loved the feeling of her friend pressing up against her, and decided that she would pretend to still be sleeping, and deal with it in the morning. She didn't have to pretend much longer, as she soon drifted into a happy slumber.
As Twilight's eyes slowly opened the next morning, she realized that she was once again alone in her bed. She looked up to notice that Rarity had relocated to the guest bed at some point. The white unicorn's eyes were focused on Twilight, unmoving.
"Good morning, Sparkle Kitten," Rarity chimed. "Has anyone ever told you how adorable you are when you're sleeping?" Twilight blushed. No one had ever told her that, and she appreciated it deeply. It hurt her that she could not express just how much that meant to her.
"Good morning, Rarity," Twilight answered. "Did you sleep well?"
"Oh, absolutely," Rarity told her. She then smiled a mischievous smile. "I never knew you were such a deep sleeper." Twilight was about to respond, but decided to keep her knowledge of Rarity's nighttime relocation a secret.
"What do you mean?" she asked. She knew she was a bad liar, but she hoped that it had worked.
"Oh, nothing," Rarity said. "Nothing at all." Twilight managed to hide her relief, but she knew that she couldn't keep up the charade much longer.
"Oh Rarity, you'll be happy to hear this!" Twilight said excitedly. "While I was sleeping, I had a dream, and I came up with the counterspell for my love spell yesterday! Isn't that great?" Twilight smiled, even though she didn't want this loveliness to end. Rarity, however, did not smile.
"But Sparkle Kitten..." Rarity said, tears coming to her eyes. "I don't want the counterspell...this is the happiest I've ever been..."
"You know that's just the spell talking," Twilight said, wishing it weren't true. "Now we have to get this counterspell over with. You and I both know we can't keep going on like this." Rarity lowered her head, a tear falling from her big blue eye. Twilight felt Spike's pain from the previous day; it crushed her to see Rarity cry. However, she had to stay strong for Rarity's sake.
"...I suppose you're right," Rarity said sadly. "I don't wish to be a burden upon you any longer." Twilight wanted so badly to console her, but she held her ground. The purple unicorn pointed her horn at her friend, and concentrated hard on casting the counterspell. The magical energy built up within her horn, until it erupted with a beam of purple energy. The energy struck Rarity in the chest, knocking her into a sitting position.
"Rarity, are you alright?" Twilight asked, running over to her. Rarity shook herself off and stood up, staring at her friend. Twilight saw the dazed look in her eyes, and became hopeful. Maybe being under the love spell had caused her, too, to discover some previously-latent feelings for Twilight, much as she had discovered for her?
"Oh, thank Celestia that's over!" Rarity exclaimed. Twilight's heart sank. She tried to smile for her friend's sake, but even then, her disappointment was fairly obvious
"Oh, darling, I didn't mean it like that!" Rarity quickly followed up. "I did very much enjoy spending time with you. Just...not the lovey-dovey stuff." Twilight managed a stronger smile, and nodded.
"Agreed," the purple unicorn said, even though she didn't.
"Well, I should really get back to my boutique now that everything's back to normal," Rarity said. "Thank you so much for...indulging me...in my time of need, Twilight. It was very generous of you to give of yourself like that." Rarity blushed a bit as she said this, obviously embarrassed at how she had acted, even though it wasn't by choice to act as such.
"Don't worry about it," Twilight answered. "Anything for a friend." The two shared a hug, and Rarity turned towards the door.
"Have a lovely day...Sparkle Kitten," Rarity said, giggling, as she left. Twilight felt goosebumps from hearing that name again. She felt a stab of disappointment upon realizing that it was likely the last time she would hear Rarity call her by that name. She knew that it would take all of her willpower to subdue the feelings she'd realized for the white unicorn, but figured it was for the best. Rarity's display of happiness at being released from the love spell made it quite clear that she did not feel the same way, and to pursue such a fruitless endeavor was pointless, and not worth risking their friendship over. Twilight managed a smile. At least she would always have the memories.
Rarity sighed as she made her way towards Carousel Boutique. She had come so close, and yet remained so far. She reflected on the past day's events with a mixture of joy and disappointment. She was so pleased with herself for figuring out the counter to Twilight's love spell on her own shortly after she'd first gone upstairs. She soon realized, though, that she had very much enjoyed the kiss that they'd shared. After being hung up on it for a good hour, she had decided to pretend to still be under the spell in order to get closer to Twilight. After all, if she still believed that Rarity was under the spell, there was no harm done. She had hoped that maybe the affection she showed the purple unicorn would make her yearn for her in the same way. At times, particularly when Twilight had initiated a kiss herself, she thought that maybe it had worked, but seeing Twilight's insistence on discovering and casting the counterspell, that clearly was not the case. Rarity decided not to let her friend know of her feelings, not wanting to ruffle any feathers. It hurt her that she had to keep it private, but at least she would always have her memories of the time spent with her Sparkle Kitten.
The day had been an interesting one for Rarity. Unfortunately for her, it wasn't interesting in a positive way. She overcooked her breakfast when she got home. She accidentally left her groceries at the store, and when she returned they were gone. She messed up a very important order for Lyra and had to hear a number of unkind words from Bonbon about it. She showed up late for Sweetie Belle's chorale concert and missed most of her solo. Every single thing that could have possibly gone wrong had done just so. The fashion-minded unicorn tried her hardest to convince herself that it was just an off day and nothing more, but as she lay restless in her bed that evening, she couldn't deny the fact that every mishap she had dealt with had a common link: Twilight Sparkle. Everything that she had messed up was due to her losing herself in thought over the object of her desires, and the only thing that upset her more than her screwups was the fact that she simply couldn't tell Twilight about her feelings. Twilight had made it glaringly obvious by her desperation to administer a counterspell that she had absolutely no interest in Rarity. The lovesick unicorn realized that she couldn't let this obsession get in the way of the rest of her life, and decided right then and there that she would forget about her feelings for Twilight.
Yet she couldn't. Two entire hours went by, and she still hadn't fallen asleep, because every time she was close to it Twilight would return to her mind and keep her awake. No matter how hard she tried to think of other things, she would inevitably turn back to kissing her, sleeping in the same bed as her, calling her Sparkle Kitten...that nickname stood out most of all to her. She wasn't sure of how she came up with it; she vividly remembered it escaping her lips without provocation. She loved it, though, wherever it came from. She so wanted Twilight to be with her right at that moment, to call her her little Sparkle Kitten and hold her close. Still, it would be a very difficult topic to bring up with her...she needed to talk to somepony else about it first.
Meanwhile, the day had been no kinder to Twilight. She found herself completely unable to do any studying, and she realized about an hour late that she had missed a lunch engagement with Cheerilee. Cheerliee wasn't too upset about it, but she still felt awful. Every single thing she tried to do that day ended up unfinished due to her lack of concentration on anything that wasn't Rarity. It hurt her so much to think about Rarity after it was made clear that she wasn't interested in Twilight like that...but she couldn't help it. Even sleep refused to come that evening. Every single thing in her room reminded her of the object of her desires. Her Gala dress hung near the closet...the guest bed where Rarity had briefly slept last night before bunking up with her...everything. At that moment, Twilight decided that she had to talk about this to somepony...but it couldn't be Rarity. She wasn't quite ready for the inevitable rejection. There was somepony she could talk to, though...but it would have to wait for tomorrow.
Rarity waited impatiently outside the spa for Fluttershy to arrive. She had shown up extra early, desperate to talk to her about her situation. If there was anypony that she could talk to about a sensitive issue like this, it was Fluttershy. She was always so kind and so willing to listen whenever she had a problem. Plus, talking to her about being interested in another mare clearly wouldn't be a problem. The unicorn smiled as she saw the yellow pegasus strolling up the road...then her eyes widened as she saw an orange pony trotting alongside her.
"Applejack?!" Rarity exclaimed. "You...at a spa?!" AJ blushed a bit.
"Well...Fluttershy really wanted me ta come..." the earth pony said. "But that don't mean this is gunna be a regular occurrence!" Fluttershy giggled and nuzzled her love's neck. Rarity beamed. She had only planned to talk to Fluttershy about this, but having Applejack around as well was even better. The two had their differences of opinions at times, but she was a wonderful friend, and her strict policy of complete honesty would come in handy in case there was a blunt truth that she needed to hear. Fluttershy wasn't exactly the type to tell it like it was if there were a chance of the recipient not liking what they heard. While she hoped that wasn't the case, it was still helpful for somepony who could handle such a situation to be around.
The three friends enjoyed a wonderful day at the spa. Even Applejack, never one for super-girly behavior, seemed to be enjoying the treatment, stating at one point that her overworked hind legs had never felt so relaxed. Through all the pleasure, though, Rarity's nerves prevented her from bringing up the conversation she'd wanted to have the entire time. Now, they were nearly done with their treatment, and she still hadn't talked to the others about it. It had to happen right now. Rarity summoned up all her courage, then spoke,
"Um...girls?" the elegant unicorn began. "I have something very important that I need to talk to you two about."
"What's that, sugarcube?" Applejack asked.
"Well..." Rarity said, trying to figure out the best way to approach the subject. She noticed Fluttershy holding Applejack's hoof, and found an opening. "...How did you two know that you two were meant to be with each other?" The two lovebirds looked at each other and smiled.
"T'weren't a specific moment, really," Applejack said. "Ah just...kinda knew. 'Twas prolly the day with the dragon that sparked it, but Ah reckon Ah even felt it a bit b'fore then." Fluttershy lovingly nuzzled her love, who closed her eyes and grinned. "Why do ya ask, Rarity?" Rarity took a deep breath.
"Well...I think I may have found...the one," she said, not knowing how else to put it.
"That's great!" Applejack said. "Who's the lucky stallion?" Rarity said nothing.
"...The lucky...mare?" the earth pony offered. Rarity nodded. Applejack was surprised by this; she, like Twilight, had figured that the white unicorn was more privy to being with stallions. However, stranger things had happened.
"So who is it?" AJ asked. Before she knew what had happened, Rarity was regaling her friends with the entire story of what had happened at Twilight's home. The spell mishap, the counterspell discovery, the nickname...everything. It took a while after the story had ended before Applejack was able to speak up.
"So...lemme get this straight," Applejack said. "Twilight accidentally cast a love spell on ya."
"Right," Rarity answered.
"An' ya figured out how ta counter the spell..." the earth pony continued.
"Correct," the unicorn agreed.
"...An' ya didn't tell her ya fixed things," AJ went on, a bit of anger starting to seep its way into her voice. "An' ya sat there an' cuddled an' kissed her without her permission, all'a which was allowed ta happen because she THOUGHT ya couldn't control yerself and it was her fault?" Applejack, the element of honesty, was clearly not pleased about this. Rarity backed off, tears starting to form in her eyes.
"I don't know what came over me, Applejack!" Rarity said desperately. "I just wanted to be with her, and I figured it wasn't causing any harm...oh, I'm a terrible friend, aren't I?" Rarity collapsed to the ground, her tears flowing freely. Fluttershy gave a stern look to Applejack, whose demeanor softened a bit. She trotted over and put a hoof on Rarity's shoulder.
"There, there," the earth pony said, comforting her. "Yer a great friend. Ya just had a lil' error in judgment is all." Rarity looked up at AJ, her eyes reddened with sorrow.
"Don'tcha go mussin' up yer nice facial now, sugarcube," AJ said, a little bit of a grin crossing her face. Rarity managed a tiny smile as well. "Now, Ah gotta ask; why were ya so sure that Twilight didn't feel the same way? Ya seemed ta dismiss that idea awful fast."
"It was obvious the entire time," Rarity said, her voice faltering a bit. "She was so insistent on finding a counterspell, it was clear that she didn't want to be with me like I with her." Applejack gave her a cock-eyed look.
"And ya didn't think that it was just cause she was trying ta help ya?" she asked incredulously. "Rarity, Ah ain't able ta do the fancy magic spells like Twilight can, but if'n Ah could an' Ah'd accidentally cast a spell on a friend that made her think different than she normally did, Ah'd sure as sugar wanna fix it too. That don't necessarily mean she don't like ya like that...all it means fer sure's that she don't wantcha ta be stuck thinkin' somethin' ya might not wanna think." Rarity blinked a few times. Now that she heard Applejack say it, it was so simple, she felt embarrassed that she didn't realize it earlier. Still, she wasn't completely out of the water yet.
"But that notwithstanding," the unicorn said, "There's still no guarantee that she DOES feel like I do. What if she doesn't react well to my confessions?" Applejack rolled her eyes, and was about to respond, when Fluttershy, who had been silent throughout the entire exchange, tapped her on the side. Applejack took the hint and backed down to let her love speak.
"Rarity," Fluttershy said, in a tone that was only slightly louder than usual. "Applejack and I love each other very much, but that love was allowed to blossom because I put myself out there and admitted it to her. I was very worried about how she would react, but if I let those worries get to me, I never would have told her, and I never would have found out that she felt the same way about me. It was a risk, that's for sure, but if I hadn't taken that risk, I would never have become the happiest pony in Equestria." Applejack, feeling a couple of tears of her own coming on, gave Fluttershy a kiss on the cheek. Rarity took this all in, and a look of understanding crossed her face.
"...I think you're both right," she said. "I know what I must do. Thank you two so very, very much!" With that, Rarity took off, running out of the spa at a speed that almost could have impressed Rainbow Dash. Applejack and Fluttershy sat together quietly, both smiling at their job well done. It was a moment before Fluttershy spoke.
"...So why don't you have a cute pet name like Sparkle Kitten for me?" Fluttershy asked, smiling mischievously. Applejack's eyes went wide, and she started sweating a bit.
"Uhh..." she stammered. "...Course I do...Shyshy? Flutterdoll? Uhhhh...." Fluttershy giggled and kissed her on the cheek.
"You're cute when you're nervous too," she said.
"Oh, come on, Spike," Twilight said, a bit angry but more hurt. "Don't be like that." Spike sat facing away from Twilight, arms crossed. She had finished telling him the story of everything that went on a few minutes ago, and he had been like this ever since.
"Spike, I'm not creating these feelings to spite you or anything," Twilight sighed. "I can't help that I feel like this...and besides, she probably doesn't feel the same way about me..." Twilight lowered her head upon saying that. She had said it to make Spike feel better, but had unintentionally made herself feel worse. The silence following this sentence finally got Spike to turn around and face the purple unicorn.
"Don't say that," the baby dragon said. "You never know, right? Maybe she does love you too...and I..." He sighed. "...I hope she does. Because if I can't be with her, I want her to be happy, and I know you'd make her happy." Twilight looked up and smiled.
"That's very noble of you, Spike," she said. "But I don't know..."
"Well, that's why we're going to talk to Princess Celestia," Spike said. "You might not listen to me, but you'll DEFINITELY listen to her." Twilight nodded. It was her idea to go talk to Celestia, but she felt more confident bringing Spike with her. Something about having him around tended to calm her down a bit.
"I sure hope she doesn't mind us showing up unexpected," Spike said, staring absent-mindedly over the side of the chariot.
"I'm sure it'll be alright," Twilight said, feeling a little more confident. "She always has time for her faithful student."
"I'm sorry, but Princess Celestia can't see you at the moment."
"What??" Twilight was crestfallen. She couldn't believe the words she'd just heard.
"I'm very sorry," said Pennington, Celestia's secretary. "She's very busy right now, but she should be ready in the next half hour."
"Well, that's not so bad, I guess," Twilight said, slumping down into a nearby couch. She really needed to talk to Celestia right at that moment, though. The entire situation was eating her up inside, and she needed to talk to someone about it.
Suddenly, Twilight's attention turned to the door they had entered through. She watched it open, and saw a deep blue alicorn step into the room, a satchel hanging from her side.
"Princess Luna!" Twilight exclaimed. She couldn't believe her eyes; it was the first time she'd seen Luna since the defeat of Nightmare Moon. She had no clue how to act in front of her or what kinds of treatment she wanted. Reverting to default behavior, she quickly slid off of her seat and bowed in front of the moon princess.
"Twilight Sparkle!" Luna exclaimed. "You of all ponies don't need to bow before me." Twilight pulled herself back into a standing position.
"So what brings you here, Miss Sparkle?" Luna asked, trotting over to her.
"Oh!" Twilight exclaimed, the surprise at seeing Luna being the only thing to nearly take her mind off of why she had travelled here. "Well, I had something I needed to talk to Princess Celestia about..."
"Is it anything I could help out with?" Luna asked. This really threw Twilight for a loop. She was comfortable talking about such a sensitive situation with Celestia since she knew her well, but Luna was another story. She wasn't quite sure how she felt about it. What kind of advice would Luna give her if she told her? Would she be as helpful as Celestia always was?
"I see..." Luna said, lowering her head. "I'll leave you alone then..." Twilight snapped out of it and realized that she had been silent too long.
"Wait!" Twilight called as Luna was about to leave. "I'd be happy to talk to you about it." Luna smiled as she turned back and joined Twilight and Spike on the couch. Before the purple unicorn even knew what was going on, she had spilled every single detail of her situation with Rarity to Luna.
"...And that's everything," Twilight finished. She looked at Luna, who seemed a bit taken aback. The purple unicorn worried for a moment that she had unloaded too much on Luna, and blushed a bit. Here was this mighty royal pony who she'd never spoken to for any length of time, and here she was acting like a foal in front of her.
"Twilight..." Luna finally said, "I must say that it disappoints me that you didn't administer the counterspell as soon as you discovered it." Twilight shrunk back, ashamed. She wanted nothing more at that moment than to disappear.
"Don't worry too much about it, my little pony," Luna added, a soothing tone to her voice. "Don't forget that everypony, Celestia and myself included, makes mistakes. Mistakes are what give us character and teach us how to better ourselves." Twilight managed a tiny smile again. She was impressed with Luna's ability to come out with something deep in a moment.
"Now, why didn't you tell Rarity about your feelings for her?" Luna asked.
"Well...she seemed so happy to be free from the spell once I'd countered it," Twilight said. "It was kind of obvious that she wanted no part of a relationship like that with me..." She sighed a long, heavy sigh, then nearly jumped when she felt Luna's hoof on her shoulder.
"Twilight," she said, "When I was released from my imprisonment in the moon and emerged as Nightmare Moon, I thought I was happy too. The idea of shrouding Equestria in eternal darkness thrilled me, and I thought I was at my happiest when I nearly saw that vision become a reality. However, I soon realized that I wasn't quite as happy as I thought, and it took the power of a certain purple unicorn and her friends to make me realize that perhaps I had something different to be happy about." She smiled warmly as she finished this last sentence. Twilight was feeling better, but she still had one more problem.
"I understand everything you're getting at, Princess Luna," Twilight said, "But there's still the problem or whether or not Rarity would be interested at all. I mean, I don't know if she'd be interested in any mare at all, let alone me."
"I'll be honest, Twilight; I don't know very much about love," Luna said. "But this does remind me of a story."
"Oh?" Twilight said, listening intently.
"Once, there was a young filly," Luna started, "Who was friends with a local colt. Eventually, that friendship evolved, and she found herself in love with the colt. However, her nerves kept her from admitting her feelings for him. No matter how well they got along, she just couldn't get herself to tell him what she thought of him, out of fear of rejection. One day, the filly was disappointed to find out that the colt had found a mate. The colt eventually moved out of town with his mate, and the filly never saw him again. Years later, that filly spoke with the colt's mother, and got a hold of his old journal. The filly was shocked to find page after page of the colt's confessions of his love for her. The final page of the journal was very short. It simply said, 'I wish she would give me a sign, for that would be all I need to dedicate my very life to her.' The filly realized that if she had just overcome her anxiety and told the colt how she felt, she could have been truly happy, but she had missed that opportunity. Do you understand, Twilight?"
Twilight said nothing. Her eyes, wide with enlightenment, said everything.
"I think she understands," Spike said, grinning. Twilight, in a sudden motion, gave Luna a big hug.
"Thank you so much, Princess Luna," Twilight said. "I think I know what I have to do now."
"Any time, my little pony," Luna said with a smile. "My sister isn't the only one with good advice to give."
Twilight pulled Spike onto her back and ran off, not even listening when Pennington asked her if she still wanted to wait for Celestia. Luna grinned.
"I've never heard that old mare's tale before," Pennington said to Luna.
"It's a good one," Luna said, sitting down for a moment. She reached into the satchel, producing a small photograph. She stared wistfully at the photograph. It had been so long ago, but she still remembered that colt just as clearly as if it were yesterday. So much time had passed...the hourglass cutie mark on her long-lost love's flank only served to accentuate that. She stared at his brown coat and darker brown mane, and a single tear escaped her eye. If only she could see him just one more time.
Rarity was nearly done putting on her makeup. She so wished that she could get it done faster, since it would allow her to see Twilight sooner. However, her nature would not allow that; every bit of her appearance had to be meticulously tended to. This was important even in a regular everyday situation, but for Twilight, she had to look even better than her best. She perused the various shades of eye shadow in her makeup cabinet, not sure of which to wear today. Suddenly, one shade caught her eye. A lovely purple she had never noticed before...it perfectly matched the color of Twilight's mane. As she was about to apply it,she got an idea. By the time she was done, her eyes were adorned with the previously-discovered purple, as well as a small streak of pink on each eye to match the highlight in the mane of the mare she loved. Finally, she was ready to go see Twilight. Rarity trotted excitedly to the door and opened it...to find Twilight standing outside. Rarity nearly fell over right then and there. She figured she'd have the walking time to fully get her mind ready, but that was out the window now. Meanwhile, Twilight looked about as surprised as Rarity. She certainly didn't expect her to answer the door before she even knocked.
"...Twilight!" Rarity exclaimed, a bit loudly.
"Rarity!" Twilight answered, around the same volume.
The two ponies stared at each other for a good 10 or so seconds, until they simultaneously broke the silence.
"I'm so sorry!" they both shouted. "For what?" they said in tandem. "You first!" Both unicorns waited for the other to speak, but neither did for about 10 more seconds. Twilight was the first to speak.
"Rarity, I actually discovered the counter to the love spell right before I woke you up that first time," Twilight admitted. "I woke you to cast it on you, but when you looked at me and called me by that name...I couldn't..." She looked back at Rarity to gauge her reaction, and saw her shocked expression. She quietly hoped that she hadn't blown things.
"Darling..." Rarity said. "I actually figured out a counterspell shortly after you had sent me upstairs! I should have told you right then and there, but I chose not to...because..." She stopped, tears starting to well up in her eyes. Twilight couldn't hold her emotions back either, and before either of them knew it, they were sharing a deep, impassioned kiss, one that put any of the ones they shared during their episode the other day to shame.
"I love you so much, Rarity," Twilight said, melting into the arms of her love. Rarity nuzzled her gently.
"And I love you, my little Sparkle Kitten."