((Prompt: Playing the fool))
Rarity was a mess. Her mane was in shambles, her wonderful dress was smeared with cake. Long lines of mascara chased her tears across the bags under her eyes and down her puffy cheeks.
She was beautiful.
She made a face as she blew her nose into a kerchief. “I just... I don't know what I'm supposed to do,” she lamented.
Pinkie Pie took the kerchief for her, which earned her a grateful smile. It was late, and Celestia had graciously offered to let the six of them stay at the castle for the night. All the chaos of the Gala had finally died down, and sounds of soft snoring came from the rooms across the hall where Applejack, Twilight, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy were sleeping. They would all catch the earliest train back to Ponyville in the morning, but for now, sleep was nowhere to be found in Pinkie and Rarity's room.
“I mean,” the distressed unicorn continued, rubbing absently at her swollen cheeks, “I was prepared for the possibility that he might reject me. I didn't relish the thought, but it had at least occurred to me. But I never even considered the idea that he would be so... so absolutely intolerable!”
Pinkie Pie's mouth went crooked as Rarity broke into a fresh round of tears. She never liked to see ponies cry, but especially not Rarity. She couldn't stand to see Rarity unhappy.
“It just makes me wonder...” sniffed Rarity. “What if I'm the problem? What that oaf is really the best I can hope for?” She choked on a sob. “What if I'm not truly destined to find somepony to make me happy?”
Pinkie winced imperceptibly. 'I could make you happy,' leapt to the tip of her tongue, but she swallowed the words. A pony might interpret those words in a different sort of context, and Pinkie wasn't entirely certain that context was fully off-base.
Now was not the time to bring that sort of thing up. Now was the time to bury those feelings and just be there for a friend.
Pinkie Pie took a pillow off of the bed and set it carefully on the floor. She returned and grabbed another, stacking it atop the first. Rarity blinked in curiosity as blankets, pillows, and a few chairs slowly came together to form a small fort.
“Pinkie?” Rarity asked, tilting her head in puzzlement. “What are you doing, darling?”
Pinkie put the last cushion in place. “There,” she said, puffing her chest out proudly. She lifted the blanket that marked the entrance to the structure. “Welcome to Fort Rarity. No princes allowed.” She punctuated herself with a quick nod.
Rarity looked at the makeshift fort. A soft giggle built in her throat. “It looks very secure,” she said, straightening one of the walls with her magic.
“You can sleep soundly, m'lady,” said Pinkie, giving her a silly salute. The soggy kerchief, still in her hooves, slapped against her face. “Private Pie is on watch!” It was a bit more sophisticated than dumping a bag of flour on her head, but it had the same effect.
Rarity yawned. “Thank you, darling.” She gave her a brief hug and stepped inside. Before long, the gentle sounds of sleep rose from the fort.
A fleeting thought passed through Pinkie's head to curl up inside and join her. But she shook it off and resumed her watchful guard. Rarity did not need a pony to curl up next to and snuggle with. Rarity needed a fool to help her laugh and smile again.
And if there was anything Pinkie was good at, it was being a fool.