• Published 11th Mar 2015
  • 8,718 Views, 202 Comments

Mate in Five Moves - Karrakaz



Friends who play together, stay together. That was the philosophy Rarity had in mind when she suggested she and Pinkie play a game of chess every week. Unfortunately for Rarity, however, she finds out that Pinkie is playing more than just one game.

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Castling

It was nearly an hour later when Rarity finally made her way up the path to Fluttershy’s cottage. Putting an end to her time with Pinkie without making it seem as though she was brushing her off had taken longer than she would have liked, and she needed to talk to somepony about her current dilemma.

She knocked on the door insistently. “Fluttershy? Darling, are you in there?”

The door opened a few moments later, revealing that Fluttershy was indeed at home, even though Angel was the one handling the door. The pegasus was busy fussing over an owl that had one of its wings in a sling and waddled about the room, hooting non-stop.

“No, no, no! Stripey, you’re not supposed to try and fly off with a hurt wing. You’ll make everything worse!” Fluttershy admonished the creature loudly. Or at least, loudly for Fluttershy’s doing.

The owl didn’t seem to care, and while it was amusing—and perhaps somewhat endearing—to watch her friend chase after an owl, Rarity had more pressing issues that needed to be resolved. She lit up her horn and held the owl in place.

Fluttershy almost tripped over the suddenly stationary creature and quickly gathered it up in a viselike hug. The creature hooted frantically, but Fluttershy shushed it. “There, there. Don’t worry, you just need a few days of rest. I’m sure your boyfriend can wait that long.”

It felt as though the whole world was out to remind of her of her problems. Not that there was anything she could do about it, but would a little subtlety have been too much to ask? She cleared her throat to try and get Fluttershy’s attention, but the pegasus seemed too absorbed in her task, and while the temptation to simply fling herself forwards was there, Rarity liked to think that she had a little more control than that.

Her patience was rewarded a few minutes later, when Fluttershy finally got the owl to stay put and then tensed when she turned around and found a pony in her doorway. Rarity thought it was quite the improvement; the first few times it had happened, she’d had to search the entire cottage for a trace of a pink tail.

“Good afternoon, darling,” she began. “Terribly sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”

Fluttershy offered her a thin, shaky smile. “T-that’s okay.” She turned around and began sweeping up some of the mess her mad chase had created. “How did things go? Did you find out what was bothering Pinkie?”

“Did you know?” Rarity asked in turn, ignoring the questions directed at her.

“Know what?” Fluttershy asked, barely paying attention while she got out a broom and swept several feathers of varying coloration and size into a corner.

Rarity sighed. “Nothing, darling.” Jumping to conclusions never helps anypony. Just because Twilight knew about it doesn’t mean that Fluttershy does. “Just wondering aloud if it could have been any worse of a disaster.”

That earned her Fluttershy’s attention. The pegasus put aside her cleaning implement and sat down on the couch next to her. “What happened? Is everything alright?”

Rarity fought to keep a frown from her face. It was a battle that she had lost before it had even really begun. “No,” she replied sourly. “I daresay that everything is not alright.”

Fluttershy waited expectantly, but when no more information was given, she instead ushered Rarity to the couch. “Come here. Sit down. I’ll make us some tea, and then... then you can tell me all about it... Okay?”

Rarity smiled gratefully. “That sounds lovely, darling. Thank you.”

One of the wonderful things about having a best friend was that they knew what you liked, and would provide it without any additional questions needing to be asked. It also meant that you could confide in them with just about anything, and right now, Rarity craved that more than she craved tea. Fluttershy was most assuredly her best friend; even if she had known about Pinkie in advance, there would have been a good reason for her to remain silent. Something like a Pinkie Promise, for example, Rarity thought sourly, then chided herself for thinking it. Promises were important, even if they were inconvenient at times.

She promised herself that she wouldn’t hold it against Fluttershy if a promise had indeed been involved. Now that she knew how Pinkie felt, such promises should be rendered moot regardless.

Fluttershy returned swiftly, carrying a tray that held not only two steaming hot mugs of tea, but a plate filled with scones as well. Rarity gratefully bit into one and let the sugar soothe the worst of her worries.

“Feeling better?” Fluttershy asked as she added a few sugarcubes to her own tea.

Rarity wanted to shake her head, but eventually nodded. “A little,” she admitted. Sweet, decadent things always helped her mood, even if they did not help her waistline one bit. Still, the problem loomed over her and she decided that it was best to just come out with it. “It was horrid, Fluttershy,” she said, taking another scone and relieving it of its existence just as quickly as the first. “The restaurant, the food… all of it.”

“I’m sure it can’t have been that bad,” Fluttershy replied, gently rebuking her friend. “Pinkie’s been very good about spontaneous musical numbers lately, and I can’t even remember the last time she made me cry.”

“That’s not what I mean. Pinkie was fine, but I was right! Something is bothering Pinkie!”

“Oh?” Fluttershy asked, looking slightly more worried. “Did you find out what it was?”

Rarity nodded. “Yes I did.” She lunged forward and latched herself onto Fluttershy, drawing a squeak from her friend as she squeezed. “She’s in love with me,” Rarity continued, the emotionless tone of her voice belying the look on her face, clinging to Fluttershy as though she was drowning. “Whatever am I going to do, Fluttershy? It is the worst. Possible. Thing!”

Fluttershy didn’t answer for a time, finally electing to pry Rarity loose so she could look her in the eye. “Why is that so bad? Ponies have had crushes on you before. We talked about those. Spike has had a crush on you since forever. You’ve never been this worried about it before.”

“That’s different,” Rarity groused. “Spike is too young to understand what true love really means, and those other ponies weren’t close friends. They were just little boys that thought I was attractive. You had quite a few that were fawning over you as well, as you’ll recall.”

Fluttershy stared at her disapprovingly, “Do you think about Pinkie that way?”.

Another deep suffering sigh escaped Rarity and she looked down at the floor. “Of course not. She’s my friend and I want what’s best for her, but...”

“But what?”

“I don’t know what to do!” she said, looking up at Fluttershy pleadingly. “This is so much worse than any of my own crushes were! Don’t you see? I don’t feel the same way, but if I reject her, she’ll be heartbroken. And sad, and… and... I don’t want to hurt her...”

“Well, I’m glad to hear you don’t think less of her for having a crush on you,” Fluttershy said, smiling. “Now, of course it will be sad for her, but you cannot lie about your feelings. Just approach her about it very gently, and tell her that you don’t feel the same.”

Rarity nodded, quickly. “I suppose that’s best. I just hate the idea of turning her down. It feels so... heartless. I really do value her as a friend, I just... I don’t know if it could even work out between us. We have so few things in common—”

“That’s not true. Both of you love to make ponies happy, and both of you like to make things look pretty.” Fluttershy giggled softly. “Even if she does it with rooms instead of ponies.”

“She likes taking baths as much as I do,” Rarity continued with a small smile. “She loves her sisters... probably even more than I do Sweetie Belle, and she likes reading romance novels.”

“She does?”

“Yes! I couldn’t believe my ears when she first told me.”

“Well,” Fluttershy said with a smile, “doesn’t that mean that you have more in common than you were giving yourself credit for?”

“I suppose... But in all seriousness, what am I to do?”

Fluttershy handed her her mug and picked up her own. “What do you want to do? She hasn’t told you about it herself, has she?”

“Well, no... but...”

“Well, if she hasn’t told you, you don’t actually have to tell her no. Maybe just... let her have her crush? Would that be so bad?”

“Yes!” Rarity replied immediately before taking a big gulp of her scalding tea. She then proceeded to cough for a minute straight, the tea burning her tongue. “A crush can be... all-consuming,” she said, after cooling down a little. “I should know; I’ve had my fair share and none of them worked out well.”

“Rarity, we said we wouldn’t talk about the love shrines again—”

“Exactly!” Rarity yelled. “What if somewhere in Sugarcube Corner, Pinkie has one for me?!” She shivered at the thought. Put into perspective, the practice seemed more than a little creepy.

“Well, that would be very sweet, and only a little bit crazy, just like when you made one.”

Rarity nodded. “And if I don’t do anything, she’ll still get hurt eventually.” She emptied her mug as quickly as she dared and got up. “Thank you for your help, darling.”

“What are you going to tell her?”

Rarity pressed her lips into a thin line. “I am going to tell her the truth.” And with that she waved goodbye and headed back towards the boutique. There was a lot of preparation to do, and she still had to contend with her work orders; no matter how much she would have wished otherwise, life did not put itself on hold simply because she had a problem of a romantic nature.


For an aspiring fashionista and socialité, every week was a flurry of activity in the form of dress design, work orders, and the occasional schmoozing of potential customers. This week, however, was even more hectic than usual. Rarity mostly succeeded in her attempt to juggle work, her social life, and the preparations for the next time Pinkie came over, but it left her feeling exhausted more often than not.

Such was her exhaustion that the first notice she got that Pinkie was coming over was the wonderfully soft feeling of a comforter being draped over her shoulders. She didn’t remember falling asleep at her design table, but the familiar pain in her back affirmed that she had indeed.

It took a moment for her sleep-addled mind to register that duvets did not appear out of nowhere, and when she realised that, she groggily she lifted her head to scan the room for the potential source. She just barely caught a glimpse of two pink hind legs disappearing around the corner followed by a poofy tail.

“Pinkie!” she croaked, voice still heavy with sleep.

The tail too disappeared, but was swiftly replaced with the smiling face of Pinkie Pie. “Hiya, Rarity. I thought you were all sleep-deepy, so I was just going to go. Glad you’re awake!”

Rarity shook her head, clearing the cobwebs of sleep from her system, and blinked against the sunlight that hadn’t been there when she’d last had her eyes open. “Forgive me, darling. I shouldn't have been asleep in the first place.” She leaned back and stretched, grimacing when her back popped. Pinkie was still standing in the doorway, which wouldn't do at all. “Please, sit down. Sit down. Can I get you anything? A warm cup of chocolate milk, and specially made sweets, perhaps?”

From the way Pinkie’s smile grew, Rarity knew that she had made the right decision. It had been difficult baking in a kitchen that lacked the specialised tools found in Sugarcube Corner, especially with her little sister around to complicate matters further, but she had pulled it off somehow.

Upon seeing the counter when she stepped into the kitchen, she remembered shreds of the previous evening; worries stacked on top of worries with a dash of desperation here and there. Was everything going to be okay? Would she and Pinkie still be friends after she said what she had to say? What if, what if, what if... she thought with a frown, before shaking her head again, dispelling the gloomy thoughts. Enough, Rarity. Just grab what you need and get this over with.

The chocolate fudge brownies need only be extracted from the foil she had wrapped them in to keep them fresh, but reheating the chocolate milk would take some time. When Rarity stepped back into the living room, Pinkie had long since finished setting up the chessboard, and was making silly faces while tapping two of the pieces together. She stopped when she noticed Rarity, but couldn’t hide the blush that shone through on her cheeks.

“Here you are, darling,” Rarity said, ignoring both the display and the blush. She set down the treats in front of Pinkie and took her own seat, debating whether or not she could afford to beat around the bush a little. The look of Pinkie enjoying herself made the decision for her. Taking away the happiness of a pony that looked so wonderfully blissful would be a crime. Besides, she had several hours, there was no need to rush the inevitable.

Several hours passed quickly, while they talked about their respective weeks and played chess. Soon enough, ‘several hours’ had been reduced to ‘just half of one’ and Rarity was quickly coming to realise that she was avoiding the issue. It had been on her mind every few minutes, but she had pushed it away each time, telling herself that there was still more than enough time left. Now... now there wasn’t any time left at all.

“Pinkie,” Rarity said earnestly after their fourth game of chess ended. “We need to talk.”

Pinkie giggled while she put the pieces back to their starting positions. “We’ve been talking for hours, silly.” Her giggling stopped when she looked up and saw Rarity’s expression. She stopped moving the pieces and clamped her ears to her skull as though she knew what was coming next.

“Pinkie, I feel as if you’ve been a little... distracted during our games lately. I’m ashamed to admit I mistook this as me simply getting better at chess.”

“You have been!” Pinkie said, her eyes lighting up as her smile got even larger. “Like, super-better!”

Rarity rolled her eyes. “Darling, don’t make fun, I’m being serious. The fact is I think your distraction might be because of your feelings for me having changed.”

“Changed? Nuh-uh, we’re still the bestest of friends, Rarity.”

“No, darling.” Rarity sighed. “I meant to say that I know how you feel about me—”

“Well sure! You’re my friend! Everyone knows how I feel about my friends!” Pinkie interrupted her, smiling almost manically.

Rarity shook her head slowly, regretfully, and lit up her horn. “Pinkamena Diane Pie, I know that you have a crush on me, and trying to prevent me from saying that isn’t going to change the fact that I know. You understand that, right?”

Pinkie nodded sadly, her mouth zippered shut by magic. “I Uo ooOo.”

Rarity let out another sigh and released her magic. The conversation was turning out as bad as she had feared.

Pinkie’s hair deflated along with the rest of her and she rested her head on the chessboard, knocking aside several of the pieces while her hair obscured her features. “You weren’t supposed to know,” she whispered in a small voice.

“I know, darling,” Rarity said soothingly. Her hoof hovered over Pinkie’s head while she wondered if stroking Pinkie’s hair would help, or if it would only make matters worse. “But—”

The choice was taken from her when Pinkie looked up, eyes wet with unshed tears. “It won’t be a problem!” Pinkie whispered, smiling through her tears. “We’ll just pretend that it’s still a secret! I’ll try my super duper hardest and you’ll never see anything that makes you suspicious ever again! You wouldn’t even have to do anything!” Her eyes shimmered, and combined with a pouting lower lip, assaulted Rarity’s defenses. “Please, don’t say no?”

Rarity swallowed with some difficulty. She understood Pinkie, perhaps better than she would like. But she couldn’t just let it go. She did not want to let one of her best friends subsist in a delusion; have her cling to false hope that one day Rarity might return her feelings. It had to end right here.

“I’m sorry, darling,” she said with a bleeding heart when Pinkie Pie cringed. “But...” She rolled her tongue around in her mouth, trying to taste the right words for what she was about to say. Pinkie kept shaking her head slowly, trying to deny whatever Rarity was about to tell her. “I can’t... say that I wouldn’t ever be interested in you romantically. I just... I need some time to think.”

What? Rarity’s head spun. Had she really just done the exact thing she had sworn to herself she wouldn’t do? Judging by Pinkie’s equally confused expression, she had. Or perhaps she should look at it from the other side; she hadn’t been able to tell her friend ‘no’.

“Really?” Pinkie swallowed heavily, wiped away the tears with a hoof, and smiled at her. “O-okay! You can take as long as you need and I’ll wait for you.” She hopped off of her chair and rattled off a familiar series of motions. “Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye.”

“One more thing, Pinkie,” Rarity said quickly. “No matter what I decide, you are a wonderful friend, do you hear? I just don’t want you to hide this anymore. I’m... very flattered, actually. So no more tears, all right?”

“Okie dokie.” Pinkie replied, her hair still limp and lifeless.

That won’t do.

Rarity crossed the distance between then, enveloping Pinkie in a completely platonic hug. “No more of that, darling. Everything is going to be fine.”

Pinkie’s mane re-inflated like a balloon, another property of hers that raised more questions than it answered. “We should go on a date!” she chirped, dancing around the room like a ballerina filled with giddiness—and, like her mane, possibly with helium.

The only response Rarity had for her friend’s shift in demeanour was a stern look, which at the very least managed to bring Pinkie back down to earth; if not dim her exuberance significantly.

“Or... not.” It came out with a sigh, but even after she’d said it Pinkie was still smiling. Hope, was apparently all she needed.

“Dating is definitely a little too far, Pinkie. But I think we should go have some fun—” At Pinkie’s loud squee, Rarity was quick to add: “As friends, for the moment. Friends can have fun without it being romantic. Understand?” We might even be lucky enough to find somepony else you like while we’re out...