• Published 3rd Sep 2012
  • 6,069 Views, 270 Comments

Three's A Crowd - Sir0Chicken

Fluttershy and Twilight have grown close, but will the Fluttershy stand a chance against Applejack?

  • ...

Idle Gossip

Fashion is an industry based almost entirely on appearances, and Rarity knew that to get anywhere in such a field, one must look as fabulous as the outfits one creates. That was why she made a point of going to the spa once a week with Fluttershy. It was her way of recharging herself so she could get through another week managing the Carousel Boutique. It also didn't hurt that—given how much of a shut-in Fluttershy was—Rarity could tell her friend all the week's juiciest gossip without the slightest fear that the pegasus had heard any of it before.

At least that was the typical routine. That's how things typically worked.

This week, however, Fluttershy missed their spa appointment. She had to cancel—she told Rarity that she was too busy caring for her animals. Rarity offered to change the time, but Fluttershy declined. It was just a busy week over all, she said, and hopefully they would be able to go next week. The pegasus hardly seemed sure about that, though.

Without Fluttershy to join her, Rarity found a strange apathy come over her. Sure, the spa was an important part of her weekly routine, but without somepony else to enjoy it with, what was the point? All that gossip she took such great pains to learn from her clients would go to waste if she couldn't share it. As far as Rarity was concerned, Fluttershy's sudden unavailability was the. Worst. Possible. Thing!

So Rarity decided not to go to the spa on that day. She went back to work—back to the daily grind. Her last visit to the spa had been twelve days ago, and it showed.

There was no way around it. She knew it, and she was sure everypony else knew it too. She looked positively horrid!

Twilight, for whatever reason, was oblivious to this undeniable truth when she knocked on Rarity's door. Even when Rarity answered, her pores clogged and her mane not just one but two steps away from perfection, Twilight failed to see anything other than the same Rarity she'd always known. Smiling, she waved at the fashionista and said, "Hi, Rarity."

"Why hello, Twilight," Rarity replied expansively. "So nice to see you. What brings you here?"

"Um, well, actually," Twilight began, "I was wondering if you had a moment to talk."

Rarity's ears perked up. "Talk, you say?" she asked, turning and taking a step toward Twilight.

"Yes," Twilight answered, arching a brow as Rarity moved closer. "Is something wrong?"

"Wrong? No, no, nothing's wrong, Twilight," Rarity smiled and wrapped a foreleg around Twilight's shoulders. "How much time did you want to talk for?"

"I… just want to talk," Twilight backed away, glancing at the still open door as she started to sweat.

"What?" Rarity dropped her foreleg, tilting her head until she realized what Twilight had been implying. "Oh no, Twilight! I'm—You know I'm straight, right?"

"Really?" Twilight stopped her slow retreat and stopped avoiding Rarity's gaze. "I mean, I guess that's normal, but it's not like we've ever talked about it."

Rarity responded with another smile. "Too true, too true." Levitating a small saddle bag from a nearby rack, she began to walk toward the door, saying, "We really should catch up about all that. Say, I've got a spa appointment in a few minutes. Care to join me?"

The unicorn stopped in the middle of the doorway, blocking Twilight's exit and jingling her saddlebag. "It'll be my treat!"

"Sounds good," Twilight answered with a shrug. Lowering her head, she added, "Could we talk about that thing I mentioned earlier?"

"Oh yes, of course!" Rarity furrowed her brow and pursed her lips for a moment. "I'm sorry, but did you actually say what it was?"

"No, but—ah, might as well! Um, just promise you won't freak out."

Rarity laughed airily. "Twilight, dear, why would I ever freak out? I'll support you, no matter what you did or what happened."

"Okay." Twilight took a deep breath and blurted, "Fluttershy's in love with me! And, uh—" She stopped when she noticed Rarity's blank stare.

For a long moment, neither pony spoke and Rarity remained motionless aside from a few surprised blinks. She opened her mouth to speak, then closed it, unable to find the words.

Twilight offered a toothy grin, but it soon died in the face of Rarity's silence. "I'll give you a moment to take that in, Rarity, but that's not it."

"Oh please, Twilight, no need to pace ourselves. I can handle it. It's just, ah—" She glanced at Twilight and asked, "How about we get going to the spa? You can explain all this on the way there."

Sighing as she weighed the option, Twilight finally nodded. "Just remember, it's a lot to take in, and this is all just as surprising to me as it is to you."

"I would certainly hope so."

Throughout Twilight's stay in Ponyville, she could only remember coming to the Lotus Day Spa two or three times. It wasn't that she didn't like the place—Lotus and Aloe were wonderful ponies, and they knew their craft well—but she couldn't justify spending a day "relaxing" when she could spend it studying or working on some project or another. She needed more reason than an idle whim to bring her to the spa, and this visit was no exception.

Even so, Twilight had to admit that she was glad to be there. Lotus was positively magical as a masseuse—nevermind that she was an earth pony! That didn't mean she could ignore her reason for being there, though, so she turned her head to face Rarity and asked, "Have you thought about it, Rarity?"

Moaning in pleasure as Aloe massaged her back, Rarity, answered, "What? Oh! Of course, Twilight, but I—that is, have you spoken with Applejack since last night?"

"No." Twilight deflated a little and shook her head. "I was going to this morning, but Rainbow Dash convinced me not to."

"Rainbow Dash? I don't quite see the connection, darling."

Twilight started to respond, but her answer was cut off for a moment as Lotus worked out a particularly bothersome knot in her back. "Oh, Celestia, that's amazing!" As the feeling passed, she blushed and turned her attention back to Rarity. "Sorry about that. What were you saying?"

"You mentioned Rainbow Dash," Rarity reiterated, figuring that Twilight wouldn't need any further prompting.

"Oh yes, that's right. I was going to Sweet Apple Acres when Rainbow came flying away from there and said hello." Twilight frowned a bit, but the expression was hard to maintain as Lotus continued to massage away. "As a matter of fact, I'm not sure why she was there."

"I'm sure she had a perfectly good reason to visit Applejack," Rarity assured her, though she furrowed her brow in thought as she did so.

"I know," Twilight sighed. "I mean, I know it in my head, but for some reason I just can't force myself to believe it. Like—I don't know. Do you know what I mean, Rarity?"

A broad grin spread across Rarity's face as she looked Twilight directly in the eyes. "I think I have an idea," she said in a sickly sweet tone.

"You do?" Twilight arched an eyebrow. "Because I don't know why you're looking at me like that if you—"

"Ladies," Rarity interrupted, looking up at Lotus and Aloe. "How much longer will these heavenly massages last?"

"We're actually just finishing up, Miss Rarity," Lotus answered with a smile. "That is, unless you want to extend them."

"Oh no, Lotus. Thank you. I'd actually like if Twilight and I could use the sauna for a bit—in private, if you please."

Lotus opened her mouth slightly and nodded slowly. "Very well, Miss Rarity. Right away."

With their customer's request in mind, the Blossom sisters finished their massages and brought Twilight and Rarity to the sauna. In short order, they had the room virtually filled with steam, and the two unicorns entered.

"Thank you, darlings," Rarity called as the Blossoms closed the sauna door, leaving their customers alone at last. Once the door fully closed, Rarity turned to Twilight and asked, "Do you want to know what I think?"

"Yes," Twilight answered, her exasperation clearly showing. "I've been waiting since you first mentioned it! Why was all this so important anyway?" She waved her hooves to indicate the sauna.

"Do you want your life to be the talk of the town?" Rarity shot back. "I love Lotus and Aloe—they're wonderful ponies—but they're terrible gossips." She giggled a bit. "I guess that's part of why I like them so much." Regaining her serious demeanor, she finished, "I will not make one of my friends' lives subject to their natures, though."

"Might be a bit late for that," Twilight remarked wryly, but Rarity ignored the comment and pressed on.

"Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, I was just about to say that I think you're jealous." Rarity practically sang the words, and Twilight's eyes widened as she heard them.

"What?!" Twilight took a step back and fell onto the sauna bench. "I don't even—what?!"

"There's nothing wrong with it, dear," Rarity cooed, sitting down next to her friend. "I'm just saying it sounds like you have a little crush on Applejack." She frowned and shrugged as a thought came over her. "That's not exactly the best thing if you say Fluttershy has eyes for you, but I know a crush when I see one."

Twilight wanted to protest, to deny Rarity's every word, but she found herself unable to. Bowing her head, she admitted, "Maybe. I really did enjoy being with Applejack yesterday, and she's a wonderful pony in so many ways. She's driven, hardworking, talented, and she'll never let anypony down." A blush stained her cheeks red as she added, "Also, we get along really well. I just feel comfortable when I'm around her—I don't know any better way to say it."

"Say no more, Twilight. I know exactly what you mean." Rarity felt her grin return despite her best efforts to conceal it. "I think that's adorable."

Rarity's smile drew no less than an outright scowl from Twilight. "But what about Fluttershy? I'm not even talking about Applejack! Fluttershy's the one who's in love with me."

"Au contraire," Rarity chided, clucking her tongue disapprovingly. "I hear you saying an awful lot about Applejack right now. The heart wants what the heart wants, after all. Fighting it won't do any good."

"I just worked with Applejack for one day," Twilight almost growled. "It was one day! I helped Fluttershy for weeks—maybe even months." She seemed to shrink as she hunched her shoulders and lowered her eyes. "I don't know what I want—that's the problem."

Rarity patted Twilight's back sympathetically. "Very well, darling. Fluttershy and Applejack aren't going anywhere. You don't have to rush into any big decisions."

"Why didn't I just go talk to Applejack today?" Twilight asked nopony in particular, ignoring Rarity's words. "And what was Rainbow Dash even doing out there?"

"We've been over this, Twilight—"

"I know, Rarity," Twilight snapped. She glared at Rarity for a moment, but she soon remembered herself and slumped her shoulders. "I know. It's just, Rainbow's never been an early riser—you know what I mean? If she was out at Applejack's so early in the morning…" She trailed off, leaving the question she wanted to ask unspoken, but she couldn't let it go for long. "Do you think something's going on between the two of them?"

Rarity giggled before realizing that Twilight was being serious. "You mean as a couple?" she asked her friend. "Oh no, Twilight. Definitely not. Not a snowball's chance in Tartarus."

"Is there something I don't know about?" Twilight thought she knew the answer already, but she was more interested in the explanation anyway.

"Really?" Rarity grabbed Twilight's hoof, her voice carrying the sort of urgency Twilight would have expected if she'd said Ponyville had exploded. "You don't know?"

With a frown, Twilight nodded.

"Oh, darling! How didn't you hear? I mean, granted you miss plenty of the goings-on in Ponyville, but they're two of our closest friends. You don't have the slightest idea what I'm talking about?"

"No, Rarity," Twilight snapped. "Why don't you just tell me what in Celestia's name you're talking about?"

Rarity's eyes shone as she nodded and took a step back. "Very well. I will do my best. Just remember, I wasn't there all the time, but as far as I can tell, all of this is true." Twilight stood to move closer to Rarity, but the latter held up a hoof to stop her. "I recommend you take a seat, darling." A broad grin overtook her face as she declared, "This is a long story, and this time, it's my turn to tell it!"