Hearts-and-Hooves Day was once again upon Equestria, and everypony was catching the bug. From the littlest foals to the grey-maned seniors, there was not a single soul in Ponyville that couldn't feel their hearts fluttering, their eyes watering, and their wishes longing for that special somepony to be near them. Schoolfoals handed each other decorated paper cards, complete with small candy hearts. Still others organized elaborate dinners, hoping to sate their lover's appetite with good food, fine wine, and a charming atmosphere. And then there were the ones who visited the less-than-reputable shops on the far side of Ponyville, but they are not a part of this story and thus shall never be spoken of again.
For one pony, however, Hearts-and-Hooves Day meant something more than romance. It meant business.
Like ever year, Bon-Bon's Confectionery had been overrun with customers from the minute she opened the doors. Stallions and mares alike clamored to the shop's counter, demanding the finest boxed chocolates bits could buy. After all, the alternative was to admit that they had forgotten about the holiday yet again, and thus find themselves shamed and ostracized. A few had even had custom padding installed in their doghouses just in case such a crisis occurred. And at the center of it all was Bon-Bon herself, barely able to fight back the rampaging hordes.
She would have fallen, too, had her trusty marefriend Lyra not been at her side. The Bearer of the Element of Loyalty was operating the other side of the counter, flipping up the prepackaged boxes to her boss/lover with both her hooves and her magic. Everything from fifty-piece hearts to thirty-piece sampler boxes were sold out within a matter of minutes, and without any of the stock items to slate their thirst, the customers turned to the other candies on display. By the time the first wave had ended, it was ten o'clock, there was barely a candy left on the shelves, and they were down to their backup boxed sets.
Sensing that her shift was at an end, Lyra clapped her hooves together and let out a relieved sigh. “Well, this went easier than last year. At least nopony came in foaming for a toffee case.”
Bon-Bon giggled at the reminder of Hearts-and-Hooves Days of old. “Now that was an interesting day! I never thought anypony could merge that many curse words into a single sentence!”
The two let out a shared laugh at the memory. Lyra chuckled especially hard, her eyes never once leaving Bon-Bon. Her marefriend...she was as beautiful as ever. A pony of such grace and beauty was a rarity, especially in the candy profession. Outside of music, Bon-Bon was the only true love in Lyra's life, and nothing would ever...
“So, what did you get me this year?”
Lyra's heart skipped a beat, then two, and just barely restarted before she went into cardiac arrest. “Th-This year...I...” Cold, primal fear overtook her very form as she struggled to remember. That necklace? No, that was our anniversary. Those records? Last year. What did I buy her this year? Where did I hide it this time? What can't I...
That was when she realized the horrible, horrible truth. The most terrible of things had finally come to pass. She had forgotten to get her anything.
“Well?” Bon-Bon asked again, her voice still syrupy even as her eyes narrowed with suspicion.
“I-It's a surprise,” said Lyra. “I-I hid it at our friend's place and...well, I need to go pick it up. Might take the rest of the day. Okay bye!”
And with that, Lyra leaped over the counter and galloped out the door. Bon-Bon watched her leave with a smile on her lips, both from how much she loved her mare and because she got to see her sweet, sweet flank in action. It was hard sometimes; Lyra's career was one she loved, but it only brought in money sporadically. That, and there was the whole thing about having to stop a crazed goddess from killing them all, putting herself in harms way time and again for her sake. She would be lying if she said it wasn't touching, but her friend could probably do well to survive. At least, long enough for her to give her...
Bon-Bon's eyes attempted to push their way through her skull, no doubt wishing to escape the rest of her frazzled brain. A few deep breaths managed to calm them down, but it wasn't enough to wash away her moment of realization. I-I didn't get her anything!
Once Lyra was certain Bon-Bon wasn't going to come galloping after her, she fell to her haunches and let out a few haggard breaths. The ponies around her paused every now and then to give her a cautionary look, but otherwise they trotted along to the beat of their own drum. Which was good, since Lyra's heartbeat was currently at the level seen in jungle adventures, just before the cannibals boil the explorers in a giant cauldron.
I can't believe I did that! I never missed a Hearts-and-Hooves Day before in my life! All the preparations, the packing, the Corona mess...
Lyra let out a single skyward scream, briefly attracting the attention of the other residents of Ponyville before they turned back to their loved ones. Obviously, everypony was paired off with everypony else, giving fine chocolate-dipped bouquets and expensive jewelry to prove their eternal love and admiration for each other. And ever since she had begun dating Bon-Bon, Lyra had been no different. She may not have had the greatest means, and sometimes had to put off eating and bathing to make sure her beloved had gotten what she deserved, but she always remembered her.
And now...now it was ending. She knew enough about relationships to understand what forgetting Hearts-and-Hooves Day meant. She could still find a gift, but that wasn't what was important. It was a sign that she and Bon-Bon were getting older. Anniversaries and special holidays were becoming less and less important. Before long, they would be reduced to an old couple like her dads, the romance and passion completely dead and buried beneath years of contentment and drudgery.
I-I can't let that happen. Lyra clenched her forehooves together, her eyes slanting just slightly as a raging fury burned deep in her heart. I am a musician, a dreamer, a master of the lyrical arts. I shall not allow our love to devolve into drudgery! I shall make certain that this is the best Hearts-and-Hooves Day ever! All I need to do is grab my bits, head to that Sparkler mare, and...
That was when she realized what was missing: her funds. Cold sweat dripped down the mare's forehead as she remembered how utterly broke she was. Even worse, the only bits she could possibly lay claim to were back at the Confectionary. T-There's no way I get back there without Bon-Bon noticing! She'll find me out for sure! I-I need another plan. Another...
In Lyra's blind panic, she turned her head just enough to catch sight of her flank. Her eyes widened as she took in her lyre-shaped Cutie Mark, a symbol of her special talent and instrument of choice. The same one she had used a thousand times to serenade her precious peppermint twist. And that was when the idea struck her...
Bon-Bon rapped her hooves nervously against the shop's wooden floor, rhythmically beating to the ticking of the nearby clock. With every passing minute, she was a little bit closer to Hearts-and-Hooves Day dinner, as well as her impending doom. Without Lyra to stand guard, she couldn't leave her shop, and if she didn't have a gift by the time she got back, she would never hear the end of it.
Oh...I suppose it...isn't a big deal, she thought as she shook her head. After all, I still love her and she loves me. She'll understand that I was too busy this year to...
Bon-Bon's consciousness came crashing right back to reality as Raindrops approached, eyebrow raised with worry. “Are you okay? You were zoning out there for a second.”
“I-It's nothing,” Bon-Bon replied. “So, are you doing anything special for Hearts-and-Hooves Day, Raindrops? Any...special someponies?”
She punctuated the last words with a twist of the head, a puckering of the lips, and a slight wink. All that accomplished was make Raindrops even more frustrated with the whole holiday than she already was. At least Snails was guaranteed to get something in class; she had to deal with yet another year of the world reminding her that she had nopony to call her own. The question just made her...
“No, I don't. I just came in here for some malt balls. You have any?”
Bon-Bon shook her head quickly, ducked behind the counter, and came back up with a single yellow box of chocolate-covered malt candies. She set it carefully on the counter before resuming their conversation. “So...do you have any ideas for a Hearts-and-Hooves Day gift?”
Raindrops cocked an eye at this, even as her wings dug into her coinpurse for some bits. “You mean like flowers and jewelry and all that? Can't say that I do. Romance has never really interested me that much, you know.” She let out a single chuckle, a tiny bead of sweat sliding down her cheek. “Heh, love. Such a silly thing, you know?”
Bon-Bon cocked her head a little, but otherwise said nothing in response. She just took the bits Raindrops offered, deposited them in the nearby register, and pushed the box of candies closer. The pegasus was all ready to bite into the box and leave when the shop owner spoke again. “You see, I...kind of forgot to get Lyra something this year. I'm gonna have to run out pretty late tonight to find something and...I was hoping you had some ideas...”
Every passing moment Bon-Bon spoke, Raindrops' eyes widened, her ears perked up, and the hair on her coat stood on end. By the time the mare was up to the word “some,” the weathermare was practically trotting in place in shock. If one didn't know better, they would have assumed that she had just heard that Corona was planning to vaporize the local puppy orphanage.
“But really, it's nothing,” Bon-Bon finished. “It's just a silly little holiday, anyway. I'm sure she'll be happy with anything I get.”
“NO SHE WON'T!”
Raindrops' sudden cry was so strong that Bon-Bon's mane was blown straight back, leaving it a disheveled mess of frayed hairs and her a ball of frazzled nerves. Her smile changed into a frightened gasp as a seeming transformation poured over over Raindrops. The mare took a few steps forward, her hooves shaking like they were in an earthquake. “Don't you understand how important Hearts-and-Hooves Day is to a pony? If you don't get her something from the heart, it means the romance in your love life has died!”
Bon-Bon's eyes narrowed. “Raindrops, our love life is none of your business.” She closed her eyes. “And besides, she's still got a tongue that...”
“I'm not talking about that.” Raindrops' tongue involuntarily slid out of her mouth and hung next to her cheek, no doubt trying to get some fresh air and escape from the pegasus' overly-imaginative brain. “I mean the passion, the drive, the very idea of love itself! THAT is what Hearts-and-Hooves Day is all about! And if you forget about it, if you call it a silly holiday, then...then the passion is gone! Before long you'll be like any old couple, simply wiling away the days reading the newspaper and complaining about the weather!”
Bon-Bon's first instinct was to lash out at the impetuous mare for even suggesting that she was old. But before she could mutter her first curse back, the rest of the declaration began to worm its way into the very core of her brain. S-She's right. This might be small, but...it can lead to even worse things down the line! If I don't find a way to fix this mess, o-our love might actually be over! I...I...
The mare's eyes widened. Her coat grew ever more pale. Her fetlocks shuddered and her barrel rumbled. She looked at Raindrops with an expression of horror and loss. “C-Could you help me, please?! I-I don't know what to do! I can't leave the shop unattended, a-and there's still boxes to pack a-and I can't ask you to...”
“Do you know what might work?” Raindrops tapped her chin. “Just throw her a very romantic dinner. Some candles, some wine, and her favorite food. Fill her up, get her a little tipsy, and then she'll feel appreciated. And when she gives you your gift, you'll just explain that this dinner was extra special because you couldn't get out to get her something. She'll be so happy that she'll understand completely!”
Bon-Bon's eyes began to water. “D-Do you think it'll work?”
Raindrops shrugged. “It worked when mom forgot about it a while ago. Eleven months later, I had a little brother. So I'm pretty sure it'll do the job.” The mare tapped herself on the chest and closed her eyes, her very form exuding more confidence than a thousand Rainbow Dashes. “Now, tell me what she wants and I'll help get it for you. I have the day off, anyway.”
“Oh, thank you thank you thank you!” Bon-Bon would have jumped over the counter and gave Raindrops a big hug if she hadn't fallen flat on her face the last time she tried that. Stupid fetlocks and stupid fetlock-blocking counters. “Well, Lyra is a big pasta eater, especially with some marinara sauce. But there's these yellow flowers she loves to use as a topping. Without them, it'll just be a regular dinner.”
“Okay, so we make a spaghetti dinner, top it with sauce, and put those flowers on.” Raindrops nodded along, her hoof tapping against the side of her skull as if working a telegraph. “But do you know what kind of flowers these are?”
Bon-Bon shook her head. “No. I never touch them and Lyra's the one who buys them. I'm sure Rose will know what we're looking for, though.” She reached under the counter and pulled out a bag of bits, which she then tossed to the waiting Raindrops. The mare caught them in her teeth with perfect accuracy. “And thank you so, so much for this. You may have saved our relationship!”
Raindrops tied the purse into her mane and nodded. “Always happy to help a friend,” she said before racing out to her destiny.”
Trixie leaned back in her chair, her eyes bulging just slightly to mask her intense discomfort. “Y-You want me to do what?”
“Help me with a little musical piece, that's all.” Lyra's voice wavered back and forth between matter-of-factly and a slight chuckle. “I play the strings, you provide a nice little light show, and Bon-Bon's love for me is lit once again.”
“I-I see,” Trixie muttered. She tapped at the sides of her skull, desperately attempting to shortcharge her brain. “A-And what about...you know, what happens after a performance like this?” She paused. “Anything that involves a tongue?”
Lyra whinnied and took a step back, her eyes as wide as saucer plates. “What?! N-No, of course not! I'm pretty capable of handling that on my own. But if the passion is dead, then there's no point in sex at all! It'll just be two ponies rubbing against each other's nether regions until they explode, nothing...”
That was when she noticed Trixie wasn't there anymore. It was about five second after that when she realized that her desk was shaking. Sighing, Lyra circled around to the other side, where Trixie was hiding for dear life. Her very coat seemed drained of all color, her eyes were as wide as a deer with a lantern waved in front of its face, and her teeth were chattering just slightly. “Okay, I said you don't have to get involved in anything else. Just help me through the performance, and everything will be fine.”
Trixie slowly refocused her gaze upon Lyra, her lips still curled for imminent sulking. “That's it? Really? Nothing else?” Lyra shook her head, and Trixie's nerves instantly began to relax. “Alright, I'll help. What kind of illusion do you want, exactly?”
The hours passed, and night finally began to fall. Business at the shop fell rapidly as ponies trotted off to pick up their dates and spouses before going to stand in line at their favorite restaurants. This gave Bon-Bon plenty of time to head back into the kitchen and begin preparing the food Raindrops had been so kind as to pick up. The hard spaghetti softened into limp noodles, the marinara sauce warmed nicely on the stove, and the flowers...
The flowers were indeed marvelous, with the brightest yellow petals she had ever seen. Granted, they were a bit lighter than she remembered Lyra ever getting, but beggars can't be choosers, especially when it came to matters of the heart. Regardless of what they were, they chopped up just fine, and before long the entire plate was filled with a mountain of pasta, a mudslide of sauce, and an orchard of petals. Just remember to eat around them, Bon-Bon. This is for her, not you.
Lyra looked into the window, making sure Bon-Bon's back was turned before proceeding. Sure enough, she had broken out the special dining table, the one they used for romantic dinners down on the shop floor. Granted, it wasn't the most private or sensual of places, but the window gave a much better view of the sunset than their living quarters or kitchen did. And besides, the shop was closing up early for such an occasion, so there was no chance of a customer barging in and interrupting their meal.
“Wow, she actually got the table up by herself?” Lyra cocked her head. “Seriously, that mare of mine is one tough cookie.”
Lyra slowly turned her head to the nearby bush; or rather, to the nearby bush that was currently housing the Great and Powerful Trixie. The mare had left her hat and cape back at her house for fear of them getting shredded in the brambles, but it was simply unavoidable. Magicking up an illusionary bush would have forced Trixie to concentrate on even more spells at once than planned, and for Lyra to reignite the fires in their hearts, she would need every last ounce of Trixie's concentration.
And besides, Cheerilee had plenty of iodine. Just in case.
“I'm going in,” Lyra said. “Remember, when I hold up the lyre and flare the tip of my horn, that's your cue to start. Just stick to the routine, and everything will be good. Ready?”
The bush rustled up and down in response, simulating what Lyra could only assume to be a head nod. She plastered on the most sincere smile she could and stepped through the doorway. “Honey, I'm home!”
Her response was a candy-coated blur, as her beloved marefriend dashed past with speeds that would make Rainbow Dash envious to place a massive plate on the table. By the time she came back into proper focus, Bon-Bon was already seated and the table was set. A pair of wine glasses were filled with a fine Chianti, no doubt dug out of the hoofful of bottles the pair kept for special occasions. And between the two was a mountain of spaghetti, topped with red sauce and flowers she could just barely make out against the light emitting from the nearby candle. All the other lights in the shop were extinguished, leaving only the moody ambiance of the burning wax and setting sun.
“Happy Hearts-and-Hooves Day, dear,” Bon-Bon said, her voice twinged with just the slightest hint of seduction.
Lyra's eyes began to glow just slightly as she took her own seat. “I-Is this...?”
“Your favorite, right?” said Bon-Bon.
“A-And you managed to cook all this today?” Lyra muttered, not out of disbelief so much as because her salivating mouth wasn't cooperating with her brain at the moment. “Bon-Bon, I...I don't know what to say...”
Bon-Bon smiled. Raindrops' plan was actually working. “It's a special occasion. Besides, I would do anything for the most special pony in the entire world.” She reached a hoof out and pushed the plate a bit closer to Lyra. “Now, how about you take the first bite, my sweetie?”
Trixie grumbled to herself as the scene unfolded. She couldn't make out everything from her vantage point, but she could still hear enough – and see enough – to understand where this conversation was going. And all she was not liking this. “I swear, if Lyra was lying about that...”
“Um...Trixie? What are you doing here?”
Trixie's eyes shot wide open at the sound of Raindrops' voice, as flat and unemotional as she could ever hope for. The mare was apparently at her side, ducking down under the window next to her precious bush. “Wh-What are you...?”
“Trixie, why are you in a bush? What's going on this time?”
“Um...this isn't Trixie. This is...Bush von Bushington! And I am...um...”
Trixie sighed in defeat. Unfortunately, lying about bushes was not something her education had prepared her for. “Okay, I'm here to help Lyra. Apparently she forgot to get Bon-Bon some gift or something and...”
Raindrops' jaw dropped. “Wait, she forgot, too?”
“...You mean Bon-Bon also forgot about this sick holiday?” Trixie mumbled something under her breath; it would have been mentioned here, but it's the kind of thing mothers would scrub their foals' mouths out for. “Wonderful.” The eyes at the front of the bush turned to Raindrops. “And what about you? Why are you here?”
“I helped Bon-Bon plan the dinner.” Raindrops gave a small grin. “We have everything planned in there, from the exact amount of light to when the bite into the planted noodle for the old-fashioned spaghetti kiss. By the time this is done, their passion shall be alighted once more and their relationship saved.”
Lyra sucked in the next mouthful of noodles, doing her very best to avoid staining her coat with an errant strand slapping her in the face. Bon-Bon, meanwhile, simply sipped on her wine and smiled. Lyra just seemed so happy, so enthused, so...so in the moment that she couldn't even bring herself to talk outside of a few token questions about her day. And in any case, it was almost time for the kiss. The prearranged noodle was just waiting for her to grab hold. All she had to do was wait for...
“Why aren't you eating, Bonnie? Is something wrong?'
“Oh, nothing,” Bon-Bon sighed. “I just wanted you to be happy. This is Hearts-and-Hooves Day, after all. We can't have any sad marefriends on a day like this.”
“But I can say the same for you,” Lyra said. “Come on, join in. There's plenty of...of...”
The mood came crashing down with the speed of a wrecking train. Lyra's cheeks puffed up like a squirrel, followed by a very uncomfortable-sounding swallow. Bon-Bon's smile vanished as concern took hold. “Wh-What's wrong, Lyra?”
“T-The flowers...” Lyra's eyes turned to the petals. “Y-You didn't...”
“I thought those were the ones you liked,” Bon-Bon said. She jumped to her hooves and walked up next to her mare. “Did I get the wrong ones?”
YES! YES YOU DID! I... “I-It's all right,” Lyra muttered as she climbed to her hooves. “I-I...well, there are two that look almost alike, but...one of them I'm...” Another painful swallow. “Allergic to.”
And in an instant, the entire scheme fell apart. Lyra gave a quick, “Excuse me,” and cantered off to the facilities to expel the unwelcome organisms, leaving Bon-Bon alone with a plate full of spaghetti and shattered dreams. If our love wasn't already burned out, then this probably dumped an entire water tower on it.
Raindrops gasped as she saw Lyra run to the back. “Wh-What happened?”
“Looks like something went wrong with the dinner,” Trixie muttered.
“B-But it was perfect!” Raindrops moaned. “The noodles, the sauce, the flowers! I thought everything was...Please tell me this wasn't the flowers. I-I...” She let out a tiny squeal. “This was perfect! Everything was set up exactly as it was supposed to be! The candles, the wine, the dinner! The kiss...they didn't even get to the kiss!”
Trixie let out a small laugh of triumph at her friend's cries. “Then it seems it is the Great and Powerful Trixie who shall save the day once again! Once Lyra gets back out, we're going to have ourselves quite the show.”
After about ten minutes, Lyra finally stumbled out of the bathroom. She seemed to be moving much better, although there was still a slight hint of queasiness on her breath. Floating at her side was her lyre, already perfectly tuned and ready for its grand performance. The minute she was within sight, Bon-Bon leaped over and gave her an affectionate nuzzle. “I am so, so sorry! I didn't know!”
“I-It's all right, honey,” Lyra said weakly. “Now come on, I have to give you your present.”
Bon-Bon's eyeballs attempted to break out of her face once again, forcing her to take in a big gulp of air to calm them back down. “Oh...right...the gifts...Um, look, I...”
“Come on, I know you're gonna love this one.” Lyra slowly shuffled past her marefriend and seated herself on her haunches, the lyre floating up to her forehooves. “This year, I've decided to forgo material pleasures and give you the most precious gift I can offer: my song. For that is my special talent, my life, and I want to share that with you now and forever.”
Bon-Bon smiled. She had heard this speech a thousand times before, especially back when they were first dating. Her beloved mare was a wizard with music, but her speech writing abilities sometimes left something to be desired. Still, a song would be nice after the hell she had put her Lyra through. “Then please, share yourself.”
Lyra's hooves tightened around the lyre as a tiny flare of magic sparked on the tip of her horn. Her hoof struck the first string, and suddenly the entire room around them began to darken, as if the light had simply been sucked out. Bon-Bon gasped for just a second, but soon changed her tune when she saw the rest of the spectacle.
Lyra's piece was a simple tune based on an old legend. In it, a pony had fallen in love with a princess, but could not muster the courage to confess his feelings. He convinced an old alchemist to brew up a special potion that would remove this fear, and during the next time he spoke to her, he drank the potion and immediately confessed everything he had ever felt about her. As it turns out, she loved him just as much as he loved her, and the two were married. It was not until after the wedding that the pony learned the truth: the potion was only a placebo. He had mustered the courage all his own.
Of course, this wasn't quite how all the versions went. A few mutterings hinted that the actual potion was much crueler, forcing the two to think only of each other until their kingdom fell into ruin. But that kind of story didn't sell tickets, so the cleaned-up version it was.
Either way, Lyra's hooves glided gracefully across the lyre's strings, plucking out an orchestrated melody to the story. And as she did so, Trixie's magic continued to work its charm. Lights danced and flickered in the dark void, not unlike the stars in the night sky, colliding with each other and forming all manner of constellations and symbols. She saw representations of the various characters, symbols of love and affection, and even a few reconstructed images of her and Lyra over the years. The music was beautiful, but the show? The show was exquisite.
Raindrops cocked her head just slightly. From her vantage point, she couldn't see a speck of difference in the proceedings. “So wait, you're...creating some kind of illusion?”
“Yes,” Trixie muttered under her breath. Her brow was wet with perspiration, her muscles struggling as her horn continued to glow like a lamp. “We can't see anything, but Bon-Bon can. I've never done something this heavy before, though, so...”
Fortunately, Raindrops managed to fight off the urge to hug Trixie. “This is amazing! You're going to do it, Trixie. You're going to reignite their love for each other.”
Trixie mumbled an affirmation to this...and then heard Raindrops' continuation. “And then, they can finally lock lips once again in the most furious of romantic passions. And then...then comes the true expression of their deepest feelings! No carnal lusts here, but just pure, raw emotion! The most sensual of...”
Lyra was exactly seven notes from the end when the explosion happened. The veil of illusion was ripped away, as was the shop's entire front window. Shards of glass and branches went flying through the building, fortunately missing everypony but still making quite the mess of things. The force of the blast also sent the leftover spaghetti into the air, staining the entire building with a mixture of pasta and red sauce.
Lyra stopped playing. Bon-Bon galloped to the window. Trixie and Raindrops simply stared back, the latter looking paler than a ghost.
"Um...hello," the showmare squeaked.
Trixie kicked at the bedroom ground nervously, her eyes darting about to avoid even catching the downtrodden couple. Raindrops held a similar expression, feeling worse than that time she had accidentally left a raincloud pouring over a hole in somepony's roof. Lyra and Bon-Bon, on the other hoof, simply looked at each other other in total shame. Nopony spoke for several minutes, leaving only the dull clicking of the nearby grandfather clock to break the silence.
Finally, Bon-Bon spoke. “So, you forgot?”
Lyra nodded. “Yes.”
“And Trixie? How did she fit into this?”
Lyra looked over at Trixie. The Representative, for her part, simply lowered her head and pushed her had as far over her eyes as she could. “I...I couldn't afford to get you anything really nice, so I...asked her to use her magic to make my performance more powerful.”
“I'm sorry,” Trixie muttered. “I thought I could make it through a romantic evening without becoming ill, but...I can't. Not even when you need me.”
“And it's my fault the dinner was ruined,” Raindrops said, a hint of resignation in her voice. “I wanted everything to fit the idea of romance and...I didn't know about your allergies or how you would...”
Bon-Bon shook her head. “No, it's my fault. I should have been honest from the beginning.”
Lyra cocked her head. “What do you mean?”
Bon-Bon sighed, turned about on her hooves so that she faced the far corner, and took a deep breath before continuing. “The shop was so busy the last couple days that I forgot all about your present. I...I didn't want you to be disappointed, so I asked Raindrops to help us with dinner and...well, I...guess you know what happened from there. I-I just wanted it to be like the ones we used to have, full of love and passion and...”
“I know what you mean.”
The candy pony's eyes popped open, tears still stinging at the ducts beneath as she spun back to face her lover. Lyra's own face was practically smothered in guilt and shame, like a filly caught with her hoof in a cookie jar. “I was so busy with Corona and helping you in the shop that I-I forgot, too! A-And I couldn't get the money for a gift without coming back here so I tried to...I tried to get Trixie to help me put on a show and...we saw how well that turned out.”
The two stared at each other tensely for several seconds after. Trixie and Raindrops watched from the peanut gallery with bated breaths, unsure of just how this relationship now stood. Bon-Bon took a step forward and...
Nuzzled her mare on her neck while giggling. “Y-You really care about me?”
Lyra looked taken aback at the question. “What do you mean? Of course I love you! You're the most wonderful pony I've ever met! My world...my everything would be empty if you weren't here.” She leaned in herself and took her partner in a hug. “Bon-Bon, you are the most special pony in the whole world. That's why I did all this. I wanted us to feel like we did when we were a little younger, with all that energy and pure passion. I thought we were just getting old and...going to just become boring.”
“I thought so, too,” Bon-Bon said. “But...perhaps that will happen someday. Perhaps we will become content and...have to let the passion die down. But that doesn't mean we won't love each other just as much as now. The way we express it might chance, but something like this...this will last forever.”
Lyra's smile grew as a few tears began to well in her eyes. “If I could pick anypony in the world to grow old with, it would be you.”
The two let out a small laugh, perfectly disguising the tears in their eyes. At the end of the day, they had both learned an important lesson about love and life. The fires in their heart still burned for each other, no matter what life happened to throw at them. And while they might make mistakes and forget holidays every now and then, as long as they felt like they did now, that wouldn't mean the end of everything. They had each other, and in the end, that was all that mattered.
Trixie and Raindrops looked at each other, a wry smile on both their faces. “We'll...clean up downstairs,” Trixie said. “I know a windowpony who owes me a few favors.”
“We'll give you two some space,” Raindrops added as they both exited the room. Lyra and Bon-Bon nodded a few times, but otherwise did nothing to break the embrace. This was the most perfect moment of the entire day, the one time everything had lined up just right, and they were not going to lose it for anything.
Whether or not one believed in destiny, the fact was that they were perfect for one another. And that would never, ever change.