• Published 15th Sep 2014
  • 12,683 Views, 476 Comments

To Romance A Magician - Mooncalf

Twilight is in love, but the mare of her dreams doesn't share her enthusiasm. Will she succeed with some help from her friends?

  • ...

Chapter 2: Friendship Conquers The Day

Rejection hurt. Why hadn't Rarity told her that rejection hurt? It hurt so much.

Twilight stumbled down the street, blind with tears. She didn't know where she was going, but she didn't care. Nor did she care if anypony saw her in this state. She didn't care about anything, save for the pony who had rejected her.

It wasn't as though she hadn't considered the possibility of Trixie turning her down. She had been very well aware of that. She just hadn't known how much it would hurt. Her rational mind had envisioned several such scenarios, and she had thought she could handle it. Accept it, go home, move on with life. But it hurt. That hadn't been an anticipated factor.

She had felt this way twice before; at the royal wedding, when her friends and loved ones had lost faith in her, and when Discord had broken her spirit. In both those cases, the despair had been short-lived as she had soon after realized what she had to do to save the day. But this time she didn't have a plan. This time she didn't have an enemy before her to defeat. This time there was nothing she could do.

"There, there," Fluttershy said. "It'll be alright." Twilight let herself be enveloped in a hug and cried on her friend's shoulder.


Why was Fluttershy here?

She pulled herself free and wiped her eyes to get a better look. This was Fluttershy, the real Fluttershy, pink mane and butterfly cutiemark and all-encompassing kindness and everything. And… standing behind her were the rest of her friends. Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Rarity and Spike. Why were her friends here?

"Do you want to talk about it?" Fluttershy said. The dam broke again, and Twilight fell weeping on her shoulder once more. Nevermind why; her friends were here. They were here for her.

It took several minutes for the tears to run out. Rarity offered her a hoofkerchief, which she blew her nose on. "Feeling better?" Rarity asked.

"She said no," Twilight mumbled, returning the delicate – and gooey – cloth to her friend. Rarity just made a face and discarded it in a trash can. "She rejected me."

"Yeah, we heard," Rainbow Dash said.

"Oh," Twilight said. "Wait, you were listening in? Why are you all here, anyway?"

"What, you think we'd let you run off to confess your love without backing you up?" Rainbow said with a hurt tone. "Seriously. We're friends, remember?"

Twilight blinked. "But… you knew?"

"You've been acting weird for weeks, Twilight," Spike said. He sounded annoyed. "Constantly daydreaming, asking weird questions, reading those cheesy romance novels. Wasn't hard to figure out you were up to something." He scowled at her. "And for your information? Trying to ditch me like that was majorly rude. Seriously, Twilight?"

She hugged him tightly. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I just thought, well, since it was Trixie…"

"Oh, do give us some credit, Twilight," Rarity said with a disapproving tone. "Like Rainbow says, we're friends, and we support your decisions. Besides, I could see how Trixie would tickle your fancy," she added with an impish grin. She gave Twilight a playful nuzzle. "She really does seem like a lot of fun, doesn't she?"

"Good gracious, Rarity," Applejack interjected, while Twilight blushed all over. "This is Trixie we're talkin' about here. She's a mite more than jus' 'fun'. She's trouble."

"Now, now," Rarity chided. "You can't seriously say you still carry a grudge after all this time, dear."

"Grudge, nah," Applejack retorted. "But she did jus' go an' break Twi's heart. Ah can't rightly forget that, can I?"

The mention of that brought Twilight another stab to the heart, and she started crying again, much to Spike's displeasure, as she was still hanging on to him.

"Oh, come on, Twilight, you silly filly," Pinkie Pie said cheerfully. "So what if she said no? Don't tell me you're going to give up on Hypie that easily!"

Twilight raised her tear-soaked face from Spike's tear-soaked shoulder. "Give up? But… what…"

"You waaant her, you neeeed her," Pinkie echoed meaningfully. "Like you're going to give up just because she said no once? Well, four times, technically, but never mind that. Did I give up on trying to make Cranky my friend just because he said no a few times?"

"Didn't you spend the whole day harassing him until you happened to reunite him with his long-lost love and he accepted you out of gratitude?" Spike asked.

"Mm-hmm. That was a good day," Pinkie said, sighing contentedly.

"Um, Twilight?" Fluttershy said. She offered her friend another hoofkerchief. "I think you just came on a little strong and upset her. I know I'd run away if somepony said something like that to me."

"Yeah, that's not saying much," Rainbow Dash muttered.

Twilight carefully wiped away the rest of her tears and cleaned up her face. "You mean I might still have a chance?"

"Of course you do, darling," Rarity said. "You just need a different approach, is all."

"And you'll help me?" Twilight asked. "I mean, it's Trixie…"

"Hey, if that's who you want, that's who you want," Rainbow said dismissively and rolled her eyes. "If we can put up with Discord, we can put up with Trixie. I mean, she wasn't so bad last time I saw her, back in Dimondia."

"Thanks, girls," Twilight said gratefully. "Uh, speaking of which, Discord's not with you, is he?"

"No, he said something about a brick migration," Fluttershy said. She looked pensive. "I didn't want to know."

"All right, fillies and gentledragon," Rarity said. "We have a boisterous showpony to win for Twilight, so let's not dawdle. We'll need a base of operations and some local intel." She smirked. "And I know just the pony to help us with that…"

"Coco, darling!" Rarity said happily.

"Miss Rarity?" Coco Pommel said, taken by clear surprise upon seeing the gathering outside her door. "What are you all doing here?"

"It's a bit of a long story," Rarity said. "May we come inside? I'm sorry to drop in so unexpectedly, but…"

"We brought cake!" Pinkie Pie said. She brandished a box with the Sugar Cube Corner name on it. "So we don't have to be totally intruding, you know?"

"Of course," Coco said, stepping aside to let them in. "Friends are always welcome."

It was fairly obvious that Coco's apartment also served as her workplace, with sewing equipment, bolts of cloth and outfits in various states of completion lying everywhere. It really reminded them all of a smaller and cozier version of the Carousel Boutique – made even smaller and cozier by the inclusion of six new ponies and one baby dragon.

"Please, sit wherever you like," Coco said. She pushed aside a pile of clothes and started for the kitchen. "I'll just put on some tea, and we can…"

Spike held up a claw. "Actually, why don't you let me handle that while you girls talk? I'm pretty good at it. Besides, I know how these girls like theirs."

"Lots and lots of sugar and cream please!" Pinkie said cheerfully. "And just a touch of tea!"

"So, you seem to be doing well for yourself," Rarity said, seating herself by the coffee table, along with Twilight and Coco. The others spread out around the room, while Spike vanished into the kitchen.

"Oh, yes!" Coco said excitedly. "That costuming job you arranged for me was great! I put all my effort into doing my best, and it paid off wonderfully!"

"Really?" Rarity said. "Ooh, tell me more!"

"The ponies in that stage production?" Coco said. "They loved what I did! So they told their friends about my work, word got around, and now I'm the most wanted costumer in Manehattan showbiz! Theaters, stage performers, they all come to me! They say I'm dependable." She beamed with pride.

"Plenty o' worse things to be called," Applejack said sagely. "Dependability and trustworthiness will always win ya respect."

"Quite so," Rarity said. "If you're a flake, ponies will lose faith in you and stop asking for your services, no matter how brilliant you'd ever be. I'm very proud of you, Coco dear."

"Thank you, it means a lot to hear," Coco said, blushing a little. Spike emerged from the kitchen, carrying a tea tray. He began to serve everypony while Pinkie cut the cake. "Anyway," Coco continued, "what brought you all here? I mean, it's nice to see you again, Miss Rarity, but—"

"You can just call me Rarity, Coco," Rarity admonished playfully. "Anyway, we came here on a bit of emergency, you could say. Our friend, Twilight, managed to catch the love bug."

"Oh my goodness," Coco said, turning to Twilight. "That's wonderful!"

Twilight blushed. "Rarity, you didn't have to just blurt it out like that…"

Rarity ignored Twilight's protest. "It would be even more wonderful if the target of her affections didn't get cold hooves and rejected her," she said with a disappointed tone. She sipped her tea. "Still, I'm confident that she could be convinced to change her mind."

"If you say so," Coco said, sounding a touch dubious. "I guess she's a local, since you're all here?"

"A unicorn magician named Trixie," Twilight supplied. "Have you heard of her?"

Coco nearly spat out her tea. "Trixie?" she coughed. "You're in love with the Great and Powerful Trixie?"

"You've… heard of her?" Twilight asked uncertainly.

"Of course," Coco said. "She's my friend."

"Friend?!" six ponies and a dragon said in shocked unison.

"Well… I say friend," Coco said diffidently. "She'd say acquaintance, but she can be a little standoffish. I did mention I've been working with show ponies, didn't I? She commissioned a few stage costumes and liked the results, we hit it off fairly well, so she's one of my regular customers. We see each other now and then."

"That's a coincidence," Spike said. "But it makes it tons easier, right? Coco's got inside information. Still, Trixie having friends? Weird."

"Hey!" Coco said, feeling insulted suddenly. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"You'll have to pardon him," Rarity said quickly. "I hate to say it, but… we've had some bad blood between us and Trixie."

"Bad blood?" Coco asked warily. She didn't sound as though she liked the implication.

"Nothing anypony will feel better about hearing again," Rarity said dismissively. "Mistakes were made on both sides and we all paid for it, but it's in the past." She frowned for a moment and ran a hoof along her mane as she remembered something unpleasant, but put it out of her mind. "Personally, I'm hoping that this could lead to a fresh new start."

"I don't really care either way," Rainbow Dash said from the corner, where she had curled up on a chair with an action novel. "I just want Twilight to be happy, you know?" There were nods of agreement from the other ponies in the room.

"Huh," Coco muttered. She turned to Twilight. "When you said she got cold hooves… what did you do?"

Twilight stared shame-faced into her cup. At length, she said, "I confessed my feelings to her."

Coco nodded. "Well, that's not so—"

"In public," Twilight continued, still not meeting the fashion pony's eyes. "Loudly. In her favorite restaurant."

There was a long pause.

"Oh my sweet Celestia," Coco said.

"I know, but I couldn't help it!" Twilight protested, staring at Coco with fire in her eyes. "She… she… she makes me feel like I've never felt before! It's crazy, it's irrational, it makes no sense, but I want her!" She slumped forward. "I… need her so much."

For several seconds, Coco could only stare at the spectacular sight before her. "But does she need you?" she asked under her breath. She rose suddenly.

"Coco, please…" Rarity began.

"I'm sorry, Rarity," Coco said. "I know I owe you a lot, all of you, but I need to see Trixie right now. I'll be back in a bit, so you're welcome to stay."

"Just don't tell her we're all here," Rarity said. "Like I said, bad blood. It'll just upset her."

"I won't," Coco said. "I just… we'll talk about this later, okay?" And with that, she was out the door.

Bad blood, Rarity had said. Coco Pommel couldn't really see how anypony would develop ill feelings towards Rarity of all ponies; the stylish unicorn was the epitome of grace, kindness and generosity, and her friends were cut from the same cloth, as far as she knew. Admittedly Coco may have had a few blind spots – she had worked faithfully for Suri Polomare for years before being made aware how deplorable the mare was – but these days she kept her eyes open, and she believed that she knew Rarity.

And she knew Trixie as well. Sure, the magician could be abrasive and cynical, but for most part she was refreshingly straightforward and upfront. If she liked something, she said so. If she didn't… she said so too, vocally and at length if necessary. She could be awfully defensive and tight about a few things, mainly her past – which started to make sense now, Coco realized – but she was as dependable as Coco herself tried to be. Trixie never pretended to be anything but Trixie; she loved to spin fanciful tales of adventure on the stage, but as far as Coco understood the show business, it was just an act. She could be quite vicious to ponies who treated her badly, but Coco had treated her with respect from the day they met, and Trixie had responded in kind. Compared to some of her clients, Trixie was childishly easy to deal with.

Coco was approaching her destination. Trixie liked to spend her afternoons in the park, practicing her acts – more so if she was upset, because the routine work was calming, she had said. And Coco suspected that Trixie would have been in need of calming down after something like what she had been through today. A little searching soon revealed her quarry, busy with a maneuver involving a long rope of colorful scarves tied together.

"Trixie!" she cried out, startling the pony in question and causing her to send the scarves flying all about. Trixie turned with an annoyed look, but it softened when she saw who had been speaking. Coco ran over.

"Coco Pommel," Trixie said cordially. "Fancy meeting you here in the park. What do you require from the Great and Powerful Trixie?"

Coco stifled a giggle. Some ponies got tired by Trixie's way of talking, but Coco thought it suited her. "Oh, nothing, really," she lied. "I was just out for a walk when I saw you. How are you doing, Trixie?"

"Trixie is perfectly fine," Trixie said. She stuffed the scarves into her hat, then waved her hoof over it, causing them to be consumed in a sudden burst of flame.

Distracting magics aside, Coco knew that Trixie was not fine, and not just because of what she had been told earlier. There was a slight redness to Trixie's eyes. A few mane strands were out of place. Several other details clear as daylight to the keen-eyed fashion pony. "Are you sure?" Coco asked. "Because you don't look perfectly fine. I can tell."

"I… Trixie just had a bad day, is all." The unicorn slumped down in the grass and stared off towards the city skyline.

"Want to talk about it?" Coco asked. Trixie just shook her head. Time to break out the secret weapon. "Maybe over a hay shake?" She held out her offering, which she had picked up on her way over.

It never failed. Trixie was inordinately fond of the drink for some reason, and never passed up an opportunity to indulge. She snatched it out of Coco's hooves and drank down thirstily, not even stopping to wonder why Coco would have the treat to begin with. Finally she let go of the cup. "Trixie… met a pony from her past."

"The past you don't like to talk about?" Coco asked.

Trixie nodded. "We used to be enemies. Or rivals. Or something. Trixie thinks that it was pretty one-sided on her behalf, actually. That pony… never really seemed to care for it. Infuriating. Regardless, Trixie buried that hatchet when she came to Manehattan."

"And you just ran into her today, just like that?" Coco asked.

"She sent a letter. Wanted to see me. Arranged a da— an appointment," Trixie elaborated. "We talk a little, discuss Trixie's bright career, things like that… and then…"

"And then what?" Coco asked.

"And then that crazy pony tells me she loves me!" Trixie exploded. "Right there in the Botanical Gardens restaurant where everypony can hear her!"

Coco feigned surprise; not too difficult, given that Trixie's outburst had genuinely startled her. "She confessed to you?"

"She practically proposed to me!" Trixie yelled. "Said she wanted me, needed me. I had to get out of there before she tried to do something indecent!"

"Wow," Coco said. "Was she pretty?"

"Pretty?" Trixie asked, perplexed. "What does that have to do with anything?"

"I don't know," Coco said. "Come on, Trixie. What's so bad about somepony falling for your beauty and charms? Is it because she's a mare? You said before you don't care about that sort of thing."

"It's… that's not the point," Trixie said, sinking back into the grass. "Trixie just never expected to hear it from her. From that pony."

"Is it because of that whole enemy rival thing?" Coco asked.

"Yes," Trixie said. "No. Maybe. Probably not. It just… it was so sudden."

"Mm-hm," Coco murmured. "Still, it's not like you to lose your head like that. If you had time to think about it carefully, what would you have said?"

Trixie was silent for a long while. Then she said, "Doesn't matter. I drove her away. She'll return to her life, and I'll return to mine. It's in the past, and… Trixie doesn't dwell on the past."

"You deserve happiness as much as anypony, Trixie," Coco said softly.

Trixie chuckled. "Thank you, Coco. But Trixie will be just fine. Happiness is something you work for, you know?"

"Yes, it is," Coco said thoughtfully. "Sorry, I need to get back to my studio. Inspiration calls."

"Okay," Trixie said with a forced smile. "Thanks for the hay shake, Coco. And don't worry, okay? I'll be fine."

"Yes, you will," Coco said. She nuzzled her friend. "I know you will."

The door flew open, and Coco Pommel walked in with brisk steps. "Princess Sparkle, you had better make Trixie a very happy pony."

"Uh, okay?" Twilight said. The group had found some board games to pass the time with, and Twilight had been engrossed in an elaborate strategy to claim a devastating victory in seven rounds, so she had been somewhat surprised by Coco's announcement. "I mean, yes, I was planning to. Yes."

"I take it you went to hear Trixie's side of the story?" Rarity asked. Coco nodded. "And?"

"I'm in," Coco said.

"Oh, we already started playing, but you could take over for me. I don't mind," Fluttershy said.

"Not that!" Pinkie said, knocking over the board in excitement, much to Rainbow Dash's frustration; she had been sure she had a definite win in seven rounds as long as Twilight didn't pull some egghead move. "She means the plan to seduce Hypie!"

"Please don't ever call it that again," Spike groused. "That's just… implying…" He shuddered.

"Was Trixie… upset with me?" Twilight asked Coco nervously.

"Well, yes," Coco replied. "A bit. Actually, she seemed more confused about it than anything."

"Confused?" Twilight asked. "I thought I made…" She blushed deep red. "I made my point very clear, actually."

"Yes, Twilight was not particularly subtle about her intentions," Rarity said dryly. Twilight shrank back a little. "How does Trixie usually react to romantic offers?"

"You know, I really don't know," Coco mused. "I mean, she does get hit on now and then, but I've never seen anypony try to make anything serious of it. Certainly not like this. She usually just dismisses them, anyway."

"Maybe that's why," Fluttershy mumbled.

Rarity raised her head. "I'm sorry, dear, what did you say?"

"Um, nothing…" Fluttershy mumbled. Unfortunately, this only meant that the others looked at her as well. She sighed in defeat. "Well… Trixie's been hurt before. Maybe she's just afraid that this will turn out bad and she'll get hurt again."

"Commitment anxiety, hmm?" Rarity mused. "Tricky but not insurmountable."

"Well then, Twilight's just have ta show the braggart she's sincere, don't she?" Applejack said. She nudged Twilight. "You are gonna treat her right, ain't ya? No lettin' her down, ya hear?" Twilight nodded silently.

"And now Applejack's being protective of Trixie, too," Spike said and chuckled. "This is turning out really weird."

Rarity gave him a pat. "Now now, we have to give her a chance. Besides, isn't this fun?"

"A party," Pinkie Pie said.

"Too confrontational," Rarity said. "We'll need to be careful here."

"A careful party?" Pinkie ventured.

It was getting late in the evening now, and the group had moved on to brainstorming for the right approach on what Pinkie had dubbed 'Operation: Wooing the Wizard'.

"Um, maybe we can save the party for later?" Fluttershy suggested. "Until she's comfortable with the whole thing? Baby steps?"

"Hmph!" Pinkie said in indignation. Clearly, the implication that a party wasn't the perfect solution to the problem touched a deep-seated nerve. "Hey, Twilight? What do you think we should do?"

Twilight fidgeted, and her eyes kept shifting around the room. "I don't know, really. I don't think I'm going to be much use with this."

Pinkie pouted. "Aw, but you're the smartest of us!"

"Thank you, Pinkie." Twilight smiled appreciatively. "But every time I try to think about it, well…" She blushed deep red, and her wings twitched. "I just want to hold her and kiss her…"

"Oh, you have got it so bad!" Rainbow Dash laughed. "Hey, there's an idea! Why not just have Twilight sneak into Trixie's wagon at night and let nature have its course? Trixie's got to figure out she's sincere after a good bit of smooching."

The others stared at her.

"That's prob'ly illegal, Dash," Applejack deadpanned. "Also, if Trixie's good at one thing, it's runnin' away. No way that'll go well at all."

"Well, what's your suggestion, then?" Rainbow retorted.

"Sumthin' practical," Applejack said confidently. "Sumthin' that says 'This is me, an' this is how much ya mean ta me', ya know?"

"Flowers and chocolate?" Fluttershy suggested.

"Ugh! Boring!" Rainbow said, making a disgusted face. "Trixie's a showoff! She probably wants something spectacular, like fireworks or something. Something that really knocks her socks off!"

"Does Trixie even wear socks?" Pinkie wondered. "Maybe we could give her some, and then knock them off."

"No fireworks!" Twilight protested. "I mean, that's, ah, her thing, and…"

"…showing her up at her own trick is not the right way to do it, I know," Rarity said. "I like the idea of flowers and chocolate, though. Very classic, very classy."

"It's a great way to make somepony feel special," Fluttershy said. "One colt gave me flowers once, and I felt as though I was walking on clouds for a week. Um, of course I actually was, since this was back in flight school, but… you know." She didn't bother to elaborate that she had also spent the rest of that day hiding under her bed.

"Yes!" Twilight exclaimed. "Fluttershy, that's perfect! Trixie loves to stand on her stage and have everypony look at her. She'll absolutely love something like this that makes her feel special, and she'll realize how important and special I think she is and understand that I'm sincere about it, and, and… what else is there? Flowers, chocolate… presents? Jewelry? Anything else?"

"Easy there, Bronco," Applejack said heartily. "Better not give you any more caffeine. Still, yer not as useless as ya said. Jus' needed the right proddin'."

"Yes, yes," Twilight said dismissively. "Serenading! I could learn to play an instrument, or sing outside her window! I… don't know any good songs."

"Fluttershy and I can help with that," Rarity said confidently. "How about poetry?"

"Yes! Brilliant!" "Twilight cried. "Poetry is easy! All you have to do is make the words rhyme, anyway. 'Roses are red, violets are blue, something something, I love you'..."

"Yeeeeah, let's call that a work in progress," Pinkie said diplomatically. "Now, maybe we should…"