• Published 9th Mar 2022
  • 415 Views, 29 Comments

Satin Morning - daOtterGuy

Rarity, an overworked historical seamstress at a time travel agency, meets wackadoodle slang slinging Flash Sentry

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The Renaissance; a truly fabulous time to be a designer. A revival of fashion trends from the drab and dark colours of the conservative dark ages to the modern bright colours and elegant curves of the new era.

Layers upon layers of expertly sewn bodices, gowns, and petticoats of silk, velvet, and brocade. Patterns of rigid geometry and elegant flourishes of abstract shapes highlighting the natural curves of a pony’s form. An acknowledgement of the body’s inherent beauty. The noblesse oblige of those in higher stations of society.

Whereas on the other end of the fashion spectrum were the loose and free trousers, coats, and gowns of cheap woven linen and flax plant. Bright colouring, but more grounded in earthy tones of yellow, brown, and orange — wholly unlike the positively flamboyant upper class. Breathable clothing that allowed one to work without restriction, exemplary of the freedom of the peasantry’s station.

Oh, how delightful it must have been to live in a period of time with such powerful language in fashion. Every ribbon on display revealing a facet of the wearer’s very being.

Nobility. The epitome of restraint and grace. Tight cloth like chains to remind themselves and others of the duty they were to uphold. The locks of responsibility and power.

Peasantry. Dressed down to free flowing fabric that signified their lower station and the freedom within it. A lack of restraint, of bindings both visible and hidden.

One reserved in their dignity, the other loud in their carefree lives.

Two sides that couldn’t be more different.

I continue to struggle with this balance even now.

Rarity, the ambitious, the diva, the driven. A mare of many words, many thoughts, and many many ideas. The one everyone wishes to speak to, the one everyone wants to know.

Curio, the mysterious, the dignified, the quiet. A stallion of few words that states his opinion in the way he moves; confidently. Self assured, unyielding, a strength bespoken only in how he strides through a room, impossible to ignore.

And the one not a single pony cares to know.

It is a pity, I think, that no one cares to know of him, and lonely, I don’t like to think, that I shall forever have to accept that one would only ever be interested in me as a mare.

Only a mare.

Rarity, free to roam and do as she pleases. Never held back. She is known. She is loved. She is a rarity.

Curio, though, is restrained, stuck by virtue of being the side of the coin no one wants to look at. He is bound. He is something to be wary of. He is only for those with curiosity, viewers of curios.

One a peasant with unending freedom, the other bound by nobility-like obligations set forth by others.

It is to my unending frustration that I must suck it up at those times I feel less of a mare and more of a stud. That I must suffer such an indginity as to wear a dress when I want nothing more than to strut about in a suit. It is utterly degrading to be forced to wear what doesn’t feel right.

A hundred insults, a hundred agonies, a hundred scorns at the disaster that is Curio Belle. Is it so wrong of me to accept the strange twist of fate that changed my body and showed a side of me that I long for? Is it wrong to be comfortable with my circumstances?

Is it wrong to continue to indulge even if others claim it to be an unhealthy delusion?

We act differently due to perception, we wear different clothes due to how we choose to present ourselves, we move in such a way so as to reflect how we feel at a given moment.

But we are still one in the same.

I just wish someone would see that.

Truly, I was in the dark ages of my life. Long overdue for a spark of passion to ignite my soul and bring myself into a new era of fabulosity. A renaissance of my own making.

Vibrant colours. Bold patterns. A revitalization of my misery into something closer to true joy. A way forward that allowed me the benefit of at least living without the judgement of others’ scornful gazes.

Maybe even find someone who can accept me.


Find someone who can keep up with me.

Rarity or Curio, it matters not, for I settle only for the best! Is it overly dramatic to have hope in the future? Is it an exercise in futility and hopelessness to hold out for someone to love?

Never. Because for a proper renaissance to begin, I must find another willing to light the spark with me. For what is a movement without others to help bring it into being?

Besides, to not be so enamored by the notion of love is to be a disservice to the era I so choose to associate with.

For ponies do describe the renaissance as the romantic era.

The Bureau of Time Travelers — or BOTTs as it was more casually called — was a child organization of the SMILE division formed by Her Majesty Princess Luna some several years after her sabbatical from the moon.

Sabbatical is also the correct term to describe Luna’s departure. To tell the truth of the matter that a member of royalty was sent to the time out corner for attempting a coup — or temper tantrum if your sense of self preservation had become truly lost — against the only other member of the reigning diarchy is, as many would agree, a social faux pas.

And Rarity committed enough faux pas by mere existence.

Rarity giggled at the word as she lay splayed out on her chaise lounge chair. Exhaustion had taken its toll after several consecutive fourteen hour shifts, and she was uninspired to leave what had been her makeshift bed for that period of time.

Bolts of patterned fabric from different eras in time were strewn over both the chair and herself. Her mane had been messily pinned into a purple bun and acted as a makeshift pin cushion. Useful as her magic had gone on strike about two days ago due to overwork and she wished she could do the same.

But alas, sleeping on her own bed at home was the last thing on her mind. She shifted herself onto her back causing several rolls of fabric to unfurl and extend across messy floors as she mused about her place of employment.

The Bureau was an organization formed due to a leak of Starswirl’s time traveling spell. At the time, many had thought it would be inconsequential. A minor annoyance with how soon the original had been procured and resealed into its proper place.

Then Starlight Glimmer happened.

Starlight bucking Glimmer. A mare of considerable magical prowess and intellectual mind that had broken the spell into its basic components and did the worst possible thing: make it accessible.

When interrogated by Botts head Twilight Sparkle on why, Starlight had replied that it was to “give time back to the people”.

Whatever that meant.

Now every pony with even a modicum of magic could cast the spell and travel through time. Even pegasi and earth ponies because of course she had to be thorough.

Thus, an agency had been created to travel through time and correct changes to the timeline by taking down ponies who thought themselves capable of “bettering everything”. Agents were sent through time and lived glamorous — Rarity had seen what the average agent is paid so luxurious might have been more apt — lives of being time police.

Rarity was not one of those ponies.

No, she was their seamstress.

When one looks back through time, one often forgets that things change. Language, mannerisms, traditions, and, of course, clothing.

The Agency had learned this the hard way when they sent poor Blueblood as his modern self back some hundred years and was treated to the wonderful experience of being nearly burned alive at the stake for public nudity.

Celestia and Luna themselves had forgotten how… sensitive ponies had been about public indecency and had then needed to find a solution.

That is where Rarity became relevant.

A graduate of the Manehattan School of Fashion with a minor in Historical Fashion — she had justified this as thinking that one could never know when a revival may occur. Top of her class, and having zero luck in finding an internship.

She was the perfect candidate for the Bureau’s new Time Fashion division.

Acceptance was immediate as Rarity believed she was being recognized for her incredible fabulosity, but soon realized she had instead been recognized as a desperate grad student that could be easily duped into a job that no one with any sense would want.

Rarity tittered crazily from her position on the chair as she thought of the endless days of sewing historically accurate ball gowns, coats, pants, and shirts for the frankly frustrating taste of the other agents.

Everyone always wanted to be a noble, or a captain, or some other ridiculous dream old time position that always required several days of painstakingly detailed work to create.

The core problem wasn’t about making a single piece of clothing, it was about making a single piece of clothing that could feasibly be made at the time.

In the pursuit of accuracy, long forgotten techniques of fashion were resurrected by one underpaid, overworked — but always fabulous, darling, that was never in question — unicorn.

A few days of use quickly resolved the question of why those techniques were unused and forgotten. They were a massive pain. Time had been kind and given modern designers many tools to make the task of creating clothes easier, but those in the past had no such luxury.

Therefore Rarity had no such luxury.

What she wouldn’t give for a batch of agents that were content with being a peasant. She had plenty of basic outfits strewn on racks and placed haphazardly in storage bins, but of course those outfits didn’t have tassels, or buttons, or brocade.

She wondered sometimes if it would truly be such a horrible thing for even a single agent to forgo the ridiculous add ons and lower themselves to the station of average.

Rarity huffed in annoyance as she forced herself into a sitting position. With an amount of surprising grace for a pony that had barely any sleep that week, she stepped onto the wood floors of her workshop and surveyed the room.

Clothes and every manner of material that made them up were strewn about the room, excluding any pins as those were currently in Rarity’s mane. Buttons and ribbons were scattered across a raised platform. Gowns, pantaloons, and shirts lay limp over ornate wooden dividers instead of the empty racks not more than a single hoof’s length away. A wince resulted from a casual glance at the fabric shelves that were clearly out of order.

A short trot brought her to her workstation to reveal that she had forgotten to turn off her sewing machine from the night before, a mercy she had been afforded by the recent string of more modern time trips.

Pressing her hoof against the switch on the side of the machine brought a sigh of relief as the quiet whirring dissipated along with her headache.

Trotting to her desk in a separate adjoining room, she heaved a weary sigh at the stacks of documents piled upon her desk and cabinets. All of them were inventory sheets, and reports that would be required to be filled. Between this and reorganizing her work room, Rarity was looking at hours of monotonous labour.

She attempted to light up her horn and was met with a sharp bout of pain. She was clearly still far too exhausted to use magic.

Between the lack of energy, the tireless work of the last week and a half, and the impending work required, Rarity was more than done with everything.

But thankfully, she could feel a familiar poke tapping away at her mind.

Rarity hummed a jaunty tune as she idly trotted about the room. She was alone, and she was expecting no visitors that day. No one that could give her the look if she wished to settle into her other self.

Besides that, she was always more willing to clean as Curio than as herself.

With an easy smile gracing her lips, she trotted into her workroom and grabbed a few choice pieces of clothing. An angular, one piece dark purple tuxedo with a matching diamond patterned bow tie, a pair of angular glasses, and a simple ribbon to tie everything together.

It came naturally to her as she donned on the tux and tie. Her gait lost its natural sway and more readily strutted forward with purpose, a certain swagger. The glasses perched on her nose served to narrow her features. Tying her mane into a tight ponytail bereft of its prior pins removed the last of the curves she was able to hide.

With that, she had become he.

And he was feeling fantastic.

The immediate release of tension from seeing himself in a mirror was freeing. To be able to look at his own reflection and feel like a stallion was like the first breeze that blew through a newly cleaned home. Refreshing.

He was attached to his feminine side, but time had recently been unkind in allowing privacy and the ability to indulge in a side others found distasteful.

Such a foalish notion because whether he was a mare or a stallion, Curio looked amazing.

Curio began to tackle the task at hoof. What was a chore as Rarity was a delight as himself. He cut through the battlefield of disorganization with gusto taking time to inspect every material, all the while finding new inspiration flowing through his mind.

A simple square patterned fabric became a disco era inspired suit. Bolts of silk were set aside for new dresses to be made for an inevitable future visit to Ancient Somnambula.

Designs freely developed within Curio’s mind, more subdued and subtle then what he would come up as Rarity, but all the more interesting as himself. It was freeing, being able to simply live and set about his task without anyone to bother him.

Just simply—

“Hey, how’s it hangin’?”

Curio whipped his head towards the source of the voice. Before him was a large orange pegasus with a dark blue mane slicked back by some kind of product wearing a faux leather jacket. “You, uh, Rarity?” he asked with a tint of confusion colouring his voice.

“No,” Curio replied as he felt himself tense up for the inevitable fallout. “I’m Curio.”

“Rad, rad, uh, do you know where I can find her then?”

“You already have, she’s just taking some time for herself,” Curio answered curtly as he set up continuing his cleaning.

The stallion scratched the side of his face with a wing. “Sorry, uh, Curio, I’m a bit of a space cadet, so could you maybe—”

“I’m an anomaly,” Curio spat the words out vehemently, “I’m both Rarity and Curio.”

“Isn’t Rarity a mare?” the stallions asked as he tilted his head to one side.

“Yes, she is, and I’m a stallion, we simply switch at times,” Curio stated as he hung several rumpled dresses onto racks.

“Far out.” The stallion nodded his head a few times at the statement. “So, if you have some time, think you could help a dumb dora out?”

Curio paused in his work as he stared at the stallion. “You aren’t bothered?”

“Should I be?”

“No, I’m just surprised as most tend to not take it well to learn of my… lifestyle choices.”

“Jeepers creepers, those guys are way too wally wally, bloody and dolly if they’re bothering you over that. I mean if they’re going to flip their lid over anything it should be for something that’s actually bunk.”

Curio stared blankly in confusion as he attempted to parse the stallion’s statement. “I… sorry what was all of that.”

Red coloured the stallion’s cheek as a sheepish look crossed his face. “Oh, shoot. I’m doing it again, aren’t I? I meant ponies shouldn’t meddle in your life just because you’re different.” He kicked the air with a hoof. “I have a habit of mixing slang since I tend to be on missions a lot and in certain time periods.”

“Oh! No, it’s perfectly alright, just… try to give me the light version until I can accustom myself to it? Just to…” Curio waved a hoof as he searched for the word, “keep it square?”

The stallion snorted. “You want to use funky fresh, clutch, or copacetic depending on which time period you prefer.”

“I’ve always been partial to the nostalgic era.”

He gave Curio a dazzling smile. “Then you say rad.”

“Ah, wonderful, er, rad.”

“Right, just like that.” The stallion chuckled lightly. It was a warm, brassy sound that set something a flutter in Curio’s chest. “Flash Sentry by the way,” the stallion said as he held out a hoof.

“A pleasure.” Curio shook the offered hoof. “Now, you came here for a request?”

Flash blinked. “I did?” he smiled as remembrance alighted his eyes. “Oh, I did! Geeze, I can have a real fat head sometimes.” He pulled out a slip of paper from his jacket pocket with a wing. “I just got assigned some knuckleheaded schnooks to head off in the ragtime era and need some new slicks for the jump.” He chuckled nervously as he scratched the side of his head with a wing. “I usually go by the proper channels through the main office, but they just kept passing the buck when I tried to get it filed.”

“Leave it to the office clerks to be as unhelpful as possible.” Curio took the piece of paper and glanced over the listed contents. “This is.. Surprisingly reasonable. All standard fare and nothing overly extravagant for the decade.”

“Yeah, I prefer the low fashions since they really jive with my look more. Especially, since I usually end up lurking ‘round dives. Looking like you’re flush with caps is a good way to get fitted for a wooden kimono in those days.”

Furrowing his brow, Curio asked, “Wooden Kimono?”

“A Coffin,” Flash replied sheepishly, “sorry, I—”

“No, Flash, it’s fine. No need to apologize. I’ll just sometimes need to ask for a modern translation occasionally if we continue speaking.” Curio giggled, a tinkling of bells. “Besides, I like how you talk. Your words are such a feast for the ears with how rich in culture it is.”

The fur around Flash’s neck fluffed up as he stood straighter, his face flushed, his ears perked high. His eyes were as wide as the smile that accompanied it. “Oh, thank you! I don’t think anyone has ever vibed how I talk.”

“Well, then they clearly have poor tastes. Now,” Curio scanned the list of clothing once more and made a few quick calculations in his head, “with my current backlog complete, I believe I can have these ready by the end of the week.”

“Pog, totally gnarly. Thought it would take a full moon and a day to finish those.” Flash shrunk in place as his ears pinned down and his previously perky demeanor dissipated. “So, guess I should scurry off then, huh?”

“What do you mean?” Curio asked.

“You got the brainchild ready, so you only need to hit the grindstone and come out with the dough, right? You don’t really need me here to do that.”

“No,” Curio replied with a tinge of remorse, “I do not.”

Flash nodded. “It was fun chinning with you, I’ll hop on back later this week.” He frowned for a moment before returning to his prior cheerful chin. “Catch you on the flipside, Curio.”

With a mock salute, Flash trotted towards the door. Curio looked after him feeling a pang of regret. It had been nice talking with another pony that didn’t look at him with disdain. Especially one that Curio found to enjoy the company of.

But it was a single pleasant conversation. Past experience dictated that follow ups would simply be an exercise in frustration. An inevitable result of disappointment.

“Actually, Flash,” Curio proclaimed.

Stopping in place, Flash whipped his head back to look at Curio. His eyes were filled with what Curio dared describe as hope. “Yeah?” he asked.

“Would you be willing to come back here tomorrow?”

Curio didn’t know what he was saying.

“Definitely!” Flash answered eagerly, his tail wagging lightly behind him.

“Then I expect you back here at eight o’ clock sharp. We have a long day of fittings to be done.”

“Tubular! So, it’s—” Flash hesitated for a moment “—an appointment?”

Curio bit back the correction that came unbidden to his mind, “yes. Yes, it is.”

“Aiight, then. I’ll catch you in the morning.”

“See you then.”

Flash then left, a bounce in his step.

Once Curio was alone again, he continued his clean up. As he did so he came upon a rather bold patterned cloth of gold triangles. It was loud, striking, and incredibly difficult to pull off in any capacity.

He could put it away, then hope that one day maybe he would find a use for it or…

It could be used for something now. Something… new.

With a smile on his lips, he placed the bolt of fabric alongside his sewing machine for a later use. He was in the mood for some risks and what better way to do so then to direct himself towards something fabulous.

Or, perhaps, tubular.