• Published 18th May 2015
  • 8,061 Views, 682 Comments

Inner Strength - Krickis

When Twilight overhears a private conversation, she has to come to terms with how she feels about herself, love, and a certain somepony. All while weighing her public image against her personal desires.

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3 - Wishful Thinking

Chapter Three

Wishful Thinking

The Carousel Boutique displayed a ‘Sorry, we’re closed’ sign, which Fluttershy ignored. She was meeting Rarity for their weekly spa day, and after how stressful the past couple days had been, she was looking forward to it more than usual.

“Fluttershy darling, is that you?” Rarity called from her inspiration room. Even though she knew the unicorn called everypony ‘dear’ and ‘darling’ she always loved to hear Rarity say it to her. Whenever she imagined what being with her would be like she always called her ‘Rarity darling.’

“Yes, it’s me,” Fluttershy said, walking into the back room. “Are you ready to go?”

“Yes, I suppose so,” Rarity said, although she remained staring at a ponyquin. It had several swaths of fabric draped over it, with many more lying near it on the ground. “I was just trying to decide the color scheme for this order I’m working on, but nothing seems quite right.”

“Oh, uhm, I don’t mind waiting if you wanted to work on that first,” Fluttershy said. “Or we could skip this week if you’re too busy.”

Rarity turned to her and smiled radiantly. Something about that smile always made Fluttershy feel so welcome, as if Rarity wanted nothing more than to spend time with her. “Nonsense, I wouldn’t dream of cancelling. Besides, I think some time away from the problem might be just what I need to get a fresh perspective.”

As she always did when she was with Rarity, Fluttershy melted. She didn’t show it, though; she was well-practiced at keeping things to herself.

They made their way outside and walked towards the spa, Rarity keeping pace beside Fluttershy. That was just another thing Fluttershy loved about her – usually she would lag behind her friends, but Rarity would stay beside her.

“So tell me darling, is anything new happening with you?”

Fluttershy smiled. ‘More so than I’d like.’ But she couldn’t tell Rarity about any of that, of course. “No, everything’s been peaceful. How have you been?”

“Oh, I wish I could say the same. Work has left me simply exhausted lately. I’ve been trying to get a headstart on my new fall line, but Hoity Toity just placed a huge order which naturally he needs straight away. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. It is, of course, excellent for business.”

“Uhm, you know, I’m always happy to lend you a hoof,” Fluttershy said. “If, uhm, you wanted.” Happy was an understatement. She’d love nothing more than to have an excuse to spend more time with Rarity, and helping her create something so beautiful was even better. She could imagine hours spent together, creating the perfect dress. Maybe when it was finished Rarity would even ask her to model it. She’d be shy about it, but for Rarity, she’d do it. They’d work until the sun came up before either of them noticed and she’d be so tired she’d just sleep over…

“Thank you for the offer darling, but I think I shall manage.” Rarity said.

Fluttershy smiled despite the poor turn of events. ‘Probably better this way. If I spend too much time with her I might slip up.’

They mostly talked about Rarity’s work on the way to the spa. Fluttershy didn’t keep up with fashion trends, but she had always loved the crafting part of dressmaking, so she enjoyed talking about it.

When they arrived, Rarity ordered their usual treatment, so they began with a sauna. They kept talking as they wrapped themselves in towels and settled in to relax in the steam.

It wasn’t that what Rarity was talking about was boring; she was explaining what she was working on and Hoity Toity’s expectations for it. Fluttershy wanted to listen to her friend and be ready with any suggestions or support she could offer, she really did.

It was just that as Rarity was talking, one strand of hair had fallen out of her towel, and it was proving very distracting. Something about the single strand of the usually flawless mane flowing down the side of the mare’s face kept catching Fluttershy’s eye. ‘She even sweats pretty.’

“What do you think darling?” Rarity asked.

Fluttershy hadn’t heard what she was supposed to be answering but Rarity was smiling expectantly. “Uhm… sorry, what was that last part?”

“The accents. What color do you think they should be?” If Rarity noticed something was amiss, she didn’t say so.

“Oh, uhm…” Fluttershy couldn’t remember what color the rest of the gown was. She tried to think, surely she had heard it, but she couldn’t focus. She was lost looking into those blue eyes, with that one curl on the side of her face. “Purple?”

“Hmm, really?” Rarity asked. Fluttershy instinctively tried to hide in her mane, which unlike Rarity’s, had just clumped in a mess on her face. “Well, I suppose it would be quite bold, to say the least.”

Fluttershy let out a small sigh of contentment. Her answer had apparently sufficed, because Rarity was talking about something else. After a moment, though, she stopped.

“Are you alright?” Rarity asked, looking at Fluttershy with concern.

“I’m fine, why do you ask?” Fluttershy smiled, but inside she panicked. Had Rarity picked up on something? She’d noticed Fluttershy staring… Why did she have to be so lecherous?

“Perhaps it would be best to cut the sauna short today. You’re looking a little flushed, and I’d hate for you to overdo it.”

“Uhm…” Fluttershy glanced at the strand of mane again. “I think that’s probably a good idea. If you don’t mind, that is.”

“Of course not, dear.” Rarity stood up. She must have been really concerned, because she offered Fluttershy a hoof in getting up. Although she didn’t need it, she took it anyway. Feeling Rarity’s hoof wrapped around hers caused her to blush even more, which only made Rarity look even more concerned.

‘What’s wrong with me? Why am I acting like this all of a sudden?’ Fluttershy wondered. She’d been in love with Rarity for ages, and had long since gotten used to hiding these feelings. Why was it suddenly so difficult?

“Done already? Did you want to move on to your facials?” Aloe asked.

“In a moment, dear,” Rarity said. “But first, could I trouble you for a glass of water? I’m afraid we may have overdone it in the sauna today.”

With a nod, Aloe was off, while Rarity escorted Fluttershy to a seat.

“Thank you, Rarity, but I’m fine, really,” Fluttershy said.

“Well then, just take it easy for my peace of mind,” Rarity insisted.

Aloe returned with the water, which Fluttershy drank slowly. There was no way she could explain what was really going on in her mind, so she decided to just play along. “Thank you. I think I’m feeling better now.”

Facials went by without incident. While Rarity would always be beautiful, having a thick layer of green paste cover that beauty certainly made it easier to ignore. Besides, Rarity had cucumbers covering her eyes, which blocked out any stolen glances.

She left them on afterwards, which was convenient during the massage as Fluttershy kept smiling at Rarity's adorable attempts to maintain her ladylike composure while moaning in pleasure from Lotus Blossom’s skilled hooves. Still, it wasn’t so bad, because Fluttershy’s own massage was enough of a distraction.

The mud baths, however, were a different story.

Rarity’s face had been cleaned off, returning her dazzling looks. Even if she did have cucumbers covering her eyes and was submerged up to her neck in mud, Fluttershy couldn’t help but use Rarity’s blindness to her advantage as she constantly admired the unicorn.

‘Stop it, what would she think if she knew I was staring at her?’ Fluttershy reminded herself as she sank a little further into the mud. ‘She’s not like that. Not like me.’

Fluttershy made a point of not looking at the unicorn during their hooficure, since Rarity was able to see her. She just hoped that nothing happened to make her blush again.

“Wouldn’t you agree?” Rarity asked.

“Oh, uhm, yes,” Fluttershy said, grinning even though she had no idea what she was agreeing to.

Rarity furrowed her brow. “Fluttershy dear, are you still not feeling well? You seem a little under the weather today.”

“No, I’m fine,” Fluttershy said, then immediately regretted it. Rarity was offering the perfect explanation for her behavior and she was denying it.

“Is there something on your mind then?” Rarity asked.

‘If you only knew.’ “No, I just, uhm…”

“I certainly hope it’s nothing I did that’s troubling you?”

Fluttershy shook her head. She wasn’t going to let Rarity blame herself for something that was her own fault. “I guess I am feeling a little under the weather.” Although she felt guilty for lying, she knew it was really the safest thing to do.

“I thought as much. And you even tried to suggest cancelling today, didn’t you? I feel just awful for dragging you here when you’re clearly not up to it.”

“No, I wanted to come. I wanted, uhm…” ‘...to be with you,’ she finished in her head. “I wanted to spend the day relaxing.”

“While I can certainly understand that, I think we’d best get you home,” Rarity said.

As much as Fluttershy didn’t want the day to end early, she followed Rarity to the front. And of course the generous mare had to insist on paying for both of them since Fluttershy was feeling ill, which made her feel even worse.

Stepping outside, Fluttershy had to lift a hoof to block the sun from her eyes. While she adjusted to the natural light, she was surprised to find Rarity pressed against her.

“Can you walk on your own or would you like me to help support you?” Rarity asked.

“Uhm, I’m fine,” Fluttershy said. She couldn’t take advantage of her friend’s hospitality like that. But she also couldn’t deny how much she enjoyed Rarity’s body pressed against hers… “Although, I do feel a little dizzy.” She cast her eyes down as she said it, ashamed for her lie. She was horrible. Rarity was concerned for her well-being, and she was manipulating that.

“You poor thing,” Rarity said. “Here, just lean on me and I’ll take you home.” They walked slowly towards Fluttershy’s cottage.

‘I can’t do this to her. I need to tell her, then she can decide if she wants to be my friend or not. Oh, who am I kidding? I let myself get spoiled by Dash and Twilight yesterday. That’s why I can’t stop thinking about her today. But it’s different, they would never put up with me if I was in love with either of them. Rarity wouldn’t want to be my friend if she knew the truth.’

Fluttershy had never felt so torn. She hated herself for allowing Rarity to be so close to her, but she couldn’t do anything to distance herself from the other mare. She didn’t want to do anything. She never wanted this walk to end.

She kept her pace slow, pretending it was because she felt uneasy, but really she just wanted to put off when they’d inevitably had to separate.

Eventually they did reach Fluttershy’s house, and all too soon. Rarity opened the door with her magic and led Fluttershy inside. “Well, here we are, darling. Would you like me to help you to your bed?”

“No, here is fine,” Fluttershy said. Rarity helped her to the couch, and as she stepped away, Fluttershy made up her mind that having Rarity close enough to feel her breathing was worth a guilty conscience any day.

“Are you hungry?” Rarity asked. “Perhaps I could make you something.”

Fluttershy shook her head. “I’m fine, Rarity. You’ve done so much already.”

“Nonsense. You really need to keep your strength up, dear.” Rarity shook her head. “At least let me get you something to drink.”

Before Fluttershy could say anything Rarity was already in the kitchen. ‘Why is she so nice? It’s bad enough she’s the most beautiful mare I’ve ever seen. Being so nice on top of that is just not fair. Maybe… maybe she’s always so nice because… No, I can’t think about her like that, she would never be interested in mares, she’s better than that. She’s so perfect and I’m just a… just a…”

“Fluttershy, you’re crying.” Fluttershy looked up to see Rarity set a glass of water on the table and take a seat next to her. She tried to pull away from the snow-white hoof, but Rarity pulled her close anyway. “Whatever is the matter, dear?”

Fluttershy sniffed and wiped her eyes. “Why are you always so nice to me?”

Rarity frowned. “Because you’re my friend, of course.”

Fluttershy shook her head. “I’m… I…” She tried to look into Rarity’s eyes but found she couldn’t, so instead she buried her face in her hooves. “I love you.”

“Come again, darling? It almost sounded like you said –”

“I love you.” Fluttershy cringed as she repeated herself, then sat straight up. Her vision was blurry but she could still see the surprise on Rarity’s face. “I… I’ve been in love with you for years. I’m so sorry, I just… I…”

She shut her eyes tightly, not wanting to see the look of disgust on Rarity’s face. First Rarity would yell at her for hiding it for so long, then she might slap her for the walk home, then she’d be running out the door, leaving Fluttershy alone with her tears.

Instead of doing any of that Rarity pulled her back into the hug.

“Oh, Fluttershy, I had no idea.” She let go of the pegasus but held onto her hooves. “And I’m flattered, really, but I just, well…”

“You don’t feel the same way.” Fluttershy cast her eyes down.

“It’s nothing personal, darling. Any mare should consider herself lucky to have somepony half as wonderful as you are! But it’s just, well, I’m not attracted to mares.”

“Oh. Right, of course. I… I mean, I knew but… Well, I just wanted you to know.” Fluttershy said. She smiled, but inside, she just wanted to curl up into a ball and disappear. She had ruined everything.

Rarity chuckled. “So then can I presume you weren’t ill at all today?”

Fluttershy blushed. Rarity didn’t sound angry yet, but once she realized how much Fluttershy had taken advantage of her good will… “I’m sorry.”

“Please, there’s no need to apologize,” Rarity said. “But I am still worried about you, and if you won’t let me cook for you, then at least let me buy you dinner.”

“But I’m… why would you want to go to dinner with me?” Fluttershy asked.

“Well I certainly hope you still want to be friends,” Rarity said.

“Of course!” Fluttershy answered abruptly, causing Rarity to giggle and Fluttershy to blush. “Uhm, I mean, if you’re not, uhm, too uncomfortable around me…”

Rarity gave her a stern look. “Fluttershy. You are one of the best friends I’ve ever had. I’ll never allow anything to tarnish our friendship, and I never want to hear anything about me feeling uncomfortable around you. It is simply not the case.” Fluttershy nodded and Rarity smiled again. “Good. Then we’re going out to dinner. And don’t give me that look, my mind is already made up.”

Fluttershy couldn’t bring herself to protest, so she followed Rarity back into town. Oddly enough, even though Rarity now knew a secret she’d thought she’d never share, Fluttershy felt like everything was back to normal. Sure she’d never feel the same way back, but what did it matter?

First Rainbow, then Twilight and Spike, and now Rarity. One by one, her friends were finding out about her and nopony was treating her any different than before. She really did have the best friends anypony could ask for.

Rarity was such a great friend. All throughout dinner she smiled and laughed, and she was even just as affectionate as always. Not once did she let slip how disgusted she was.

But of course, she was disgusted. How could she not be? Fluttershy had assumed somepony like Rarity, somepony so good, could have feelings for another mare. Could even have feelings for her. What did she think, that they could ever be happy together? She didn’t deserve to be happy.

Fluttershy was in bed. She had spent hours crying into her pillow. Angel had done his best to comfort her, but at some point the little bunny had fallen asleep, leaving her to stare at the ceiling.

She bucked up. Everything would be different now. No matter how much Rarity hid it, she would always think of Fluttershy differently. She could already imagine it. ‘Oh, Fluttershy. I think we should cancel our spa trip this week. Or rather, I don’t think we should plan on going together at all anymore. I just hardly think it’s appropriate, given the circumstances. You understand, I’m sure?’

She got up and walked to the closet. She opened the door and stared at all the outfits Rarity had made her over the years. Fluttershy still had every one. From the simple white sundress Rarity had made her the first time they met – which she had grown out of years ago – to the dangerous mission outfit she had made when Trixie had taken over Ponyville – even though it was practically torn to shreds.

Rarity had put her heart into every one of them, and now Fluttershy wondered if she’d ever make another outfit for her again. She sighed and sat on the floor, surrounded by the reminders of the friendship she’d ruined.

Author's Note:

Fluttershy's daydream about helping Rarity around her shop is a nod towards elmago02's Love Me... I Mean, If You're Okay With Me.

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