Here's to Hope

by 10000 B_C

First published

Rarity is attending a birthday party for her marefreind, Fluttershy, when her ex-Twilight- shows up.

It's Fluttershy's birthday, and Rarity- her new marefriend- is hosting it. She invited her closest friends, but only one shows. Coincidentally, it's the one she had most dearly wished would say no.

And Whatever Comes After

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Rarity pushed open the door to the dining hall, stepping aside to let in Fluttershy, who gave her the kindest of smiles in return for the simple gesture. She quickly followed the pegasus in, exchanging the slight chill of the street for the warmth and music of the hall.

She eyed the pegasus’s look of wonder at the lavish decorations in her honor, from yellow and pink balloons to a banner that decisively said ‘Happy Birthday Fluttershy!” in big, bouncy letters.

She stepped up and grabbed Fluttershy’s hoof in hers. She led her to the back table, where punch sat, begging to be served. Fluttershy was confused, yet compliant to the dragging.

Rarity swiveled her head, searching for any friends in the crowd. She had decidedly only invited her closest six, and almost all were preoccupied with the troubling life of a Wonderbolt, or a head baker, or even the head of a family. Only one had returned the invitation- the one she had most dearly wished hadn’t, as the conflict of emotions could prove to be... problematic.

She had specifically warned the others, her friends in Canterlot who knew of her relationship with Fluttershy, to keep it zipped on the subject. No need getting any details out when there needn’t be a problem. They had come, but only under that condition. But if she couldn’t trust Canterlot ponies, of all ponies, to be able to keep a secret- who could she trust?

As she finished her swivel, she found herself in the immediate safety of the corner and the mare she’d been with for some weeks now. She shortened the distance between them, snout to snout with her marefriend.

“How do you like the party, my dear?”

“Oh Rarity, it’s simply wonderful. I just wish some of our friends from Ponyville could’ve shown, too...” she said, the disappointment clear in her voice.

“I know, I know, but they are all ponies with busy lives. At least Twilight could make it, though I believe she’s running a bit late-”

“Is this when we tell her? Tell them?”

Fluttershy’s sudden interruption broke Rarity’s normal orderly demeanor.

“I... don’t think so, my dear. I don’t know if this is really the best time for it-”

“Well when will it be the best time, then? If we keep it so secret for so long, when it finally comes out we’ll have kept it so long our friends won’t trust us anymore!”

Fluttershy seemed to be very concerned about this.

“I know this seems wrong, but I... just wish we could have everypony here to tell them, that’s all.”

“You weren’t saying that two weeks ago when we all finally managed to get together for Rainbow’s acceptance.”

“Our relationship was still new then... I didn’t know how they would take it, or if we were really meant to be together. Of course, now I know- they won’t care if we’re fillyfoolers or not, and I really want us to be together. Forever. I love you, Fluttershy.”

Fluttershy’s cheeks heated the most delightful shade of crimson before she ducked in and kissed Rarity, a passionate kiss that Rarity wished could have gone on longer.

Unfortunately, the door broke open from the back of the room, and both ponies who were previously sharing an intimate moment broke off and looked up, shifty glances in place.

The mare standing in the doorway, shivering against the cold, rekindled old memories of Rarity’s. Nights by the lake, moonlit walks by the park, that single, wonderful kiss under the cherry tree-

No, she reminded herself. That was a different time. We were different ponies.

The memories still lurked, though, at the edge of her mind, their wispy echoes taunting her mental blockade.

She went to greet her guest with some speed, hoping Fluttershy could catch up to greet alongside her. Being alone, again, with Twilight...

She redoubled the redoubt, banishing the forbidden images to the very recesses of her mind. But only exile, she thought. She couldn’t destroy them, as she had with other, unkind memories. They still held value to her.

“Rarity! So good to see you!”

Twilight moved in for the embrace.

Rarity hesitated for a split second before returning the gesture, giving her friend a somewhat looser hug than usual.

“The same goes for you, my good friend! Have you seen Fluttershy yet?”

A silly question- Rarity had seen Twilight come into the party from the start, and knew Fluttershy wasn’t anywhere close to the doors.

“No, but I think I see her over there. C’mon!” she exclaimed, grabbing a hold of Rarity’s hoof and dragging her to Fluttershy’s location.

Rarity, now the subject of the dragging, was nowhere near as comfortable with it as with her. But she made it to Fluttershy with no problems, and the three enjoyed a small chat. Rarity’s paranoia aside, seeing her friend again was good for her. They hadn’t spoken since Rainbow’s induction, and even then only little- Rarity, in her new position with Fluttershy as her marefriend, was still uncomfortable with being so close to her previous one.

A pony from the back of the room, a stallion of considerable girth and a wonderful monocle, called over Twilight, recognizing her. She gave a shout of joy, calling the stallion not by the name Rarity knew him as- Reginald- but as Professor Argentbaum.

Rarity gave a small sigh of relief at being away from her ex again, but immediately felt guilty about it. This was her friend, and here she was, happy that Twilight was gone.

“Rarity, I think we should tell her.”

Oh, Rarity did not have time for this.

“Please, Fluttershy, you know that we used to be-”

“Together, I know. And I know that makes this awkward, but you have to say something now, or when we all do ‘get together’ like you hope, she’ll feel betrayed that we didn’t tell her now.”

She did make a convincing argument, sometimes.

“I don’t know, Fluttershy. I just... don’t know.”

“You have to. Please. For me.”

They locked eyes, Fluttershy’s pleading, Rarity’s uncertain.

“Ok, my dear. I will tell her.”

“Oh, thank you!” she shouted, grabbing Rarity in another hug, this time uncaring if their purple friend saw. Rarity returned the hug, somewhat less enthusiastically. She was the one who had to tell Twilight, after all.

She broke off from the embrace and trotted from one end of the party to the other, passing old friends and business associates, all here to celebrate another year of life, love, and plenty of alcohol. She struggled through two particularly tipsy mares who wanted to ‘make some deals’ in the bathroom stalls, and averted her eyes from the sight of another pair of kissing, drunk ponies, wishing them privacy.

She finally reached Twilight, who had just finished her conversation with her old professor. At that moment, slow music came on over the speakers.

“Care for a dance, Rarity?”

She proffered a hoof.

Rarity accepted it.

“Of course.”

They walked onto the dance floor, quickly catching the tempo of the song, the beat to which the other ponies swayed.
It was not a close dance, as some couples would do, but one for friends. Rarity was glad Twilight understood where their boundaries were.

In fact, she was enjoying it up until she remembered the news she would have to deliver.

“Twilight, I-”

“Rarity, I-”

Both ponies had tried to speak at the same time.

“Please, Twilight, you first.”

“Ok,” she said, giving a slight ahem. “I just think that, well, um, I think that I still like you.”

Rarity stalled in her dance as another couple bumped into them.

“And I was wondering if you felt the same.”

She regained her senses and started moving again, if only to avoid hitting more ponies.

“I, well, Twilight, I... I’m not sure.”

“Well, here’s to hope then.”


But any exclamation Rarity was going to make was cut off by Twilight’s lips against hers. Rarity’s mind was flooded with all those memories she had shunted and turned away- a candlelit dinner, nights in the library, all with this mare, this mare who could make her break with a single kiss.

And, to her shock, Rarity didn’t immediately break away.

She... liked it. She pushed against Twilight, deepening it, cementing it.

Somewhere, her rational mind shouted at her, told her she was wrong, was breaking Fluttershy’s trust... but it was overtaken by her eyes, upon viewing Twilight, beautiful as the day they were together; by her lips, feeling the warm embrace of her former love; and by her heart, which beat as fast as a schoolfilly’s on its first date.

Even when she broke the kiss, she still seemed to be almost in a dream. Twilight's eyes were matching hers, and their mouths curled up into little smiles. It was like before, only... better.

She felt she could stay in this comforting little bubble forever, just her, Twilight, and a million more kisses as light as the sun and as beautiful as the moon.

But her ears brought her back to reality, back to the party, back to the warmth which seemed so cold now.


She turned, her eyes flicking from Twilight's to Fluttershy's.

She was there, eyes wide, tears streaming down her face.

"No... no, Fl- Fluttershy, I-"

"I thought that was all in your past," she whimpered, her head bowing to the floor. "I thought you cared about me, now."

"Fluttershy, I really do... please, you must understand-"

“I’ve seen enough to understand!” to spat, head raising to showcase her red eyes. She charged past them, kicking the door down and vanishing into the night.

The party was silent, save for the music that still played through the speakers. The other ponies were in a state of collective shock, unsure of what to do, or even what had happened.

Rarity collapsed to the ground, eyes open and vacant of tears.

“What have I done?” she whispered, splayed out on the floor of the hall.

She shut her eyes.

“What have I done?”

Even If It Leads

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Rarity, huddled on the floor, refused to answer.

“Please, you have to tell me what just happened. Why was Fluttershy crying? Does she have something against fillyfoolers?”

That ridiculous statement alone made Rarity raise her head.

“Of course not. She’s my marefriend.”

Twilight’s mouth went into a slow ‘o’ shape as her eyebrows lowered in regret and guilt.

“Sweet Celestia, Rarity, I-”

“Please, Twilight... just save it,” Rarity interrupted, dismissing her hasty apologies. “I was a fool not to tell you sooner.”

“How long?”

Rarity turned to see Twilight’s eyes, which were close to spilling over with tears. She had still held onto that little hope, Rarity realized. All those months, she had still clung to it.

“Two months.”

Twilight dipped her head in sorrow, letting a tear or two fall. But she soon straightened up, determination setting her straight and putting a fierce steel in her eyes.

“I have to make things right with Fluttershy. I can’t derail what you have because of my selfishness.”

She was already gone by the time Rarity managed to stumble to her hooves. Around her, guests were quietly shuffling to the doors, sensing the party was over. Rarity when through what had happened, so quickly and suddenly. She could hardly process it all. She needed a night of sleep, and a good talk with Anna. That was the best she could do, she realized. Twilight was already out, searching for Fluttershy, and she doubted the cream colored mare would be returning to her apartment that night.

She even felt a terrible, nagging doubt she wouldn't return to her apartment again, after this disastrous night.


She had dismissed the idea at first, of course. Psychiatrists were for crazy ponies, and she was a perfectly sane pony. But her parents had urged her into it, saying they weren’t just for the pony with a fondness of knives; they could help any pony with their problems, and could always be trusted to keep absolute confidentiality. They were under oath, after all.

So she relented, and asked around her circle of associates, and even a few of her close customers, if there was a good psychiatrist to be found in Canterlot. The answer had been an immediate yes, which shocked the mare- one, because she had always assumed psychiatrists were for, again, crazy ponies. But it turned out, when a pony had a problem, no one could be more helpful than a determined psychiatrist. And two, because there seemed to be one in particular who many had positive experiences with- a certain Ms. Annabeth Whitetail. This pony had been a close friend of Rarity's through her early years of schooling, but they had separated after middle school. They had been through some escapades in which Rarity had acted decidedly... unladylike.

Rarity had already entrusted her with her ‘big secret’ of the day, her fondness with mares. When Anna had replied with the same, and said there were many others, Rarity was practically in tears. She had assumed, wrongfully, that her attraction was wrong, as had been the norm from the dusty old textbooks the teachers still used. Half the time, they skipped over those parts. Some made care, though, to drill those parts over and over again into the impressionable fillies, their roots cementing their ideals.

Even if her parents had never said anything, those few teachers who said anything at all about being gay were against it; the rest were ambiguous. Unfortunately for her younger self, she paid more attention to the few than the many. That fear was long since gone- her excuse to Fluttershy the previous evening had been a lie, albeit a necessary one. She simply had not wanted to tell Twilight at that point. She didn’t care that they knew she liked mares- she thought they already had an inkling, but one could never really pinpoint these things- she really had wanted to avoid a confrontation with Twilight. She almost couldn’t bear the thought of seeing her first real, adult crush become sad or bitter. She still loved her friends, and even if that love was more physical for one of them, seeing another hurt because of it... she wanted to avoid it, at all costs.

If that cost was Fluttershy, too, though...

She walked all the more briskly past the front desk, giving a curt nod to the pretty receptionist who manned the desk. She was a mare with a purpose- no time for formalities.

She gave two short knocks on the door with the simple insignia of her old school friend inscribed on its opaque window. A voice called faintly from within, and Rarity pushed open the door.

“Good morning, Anna.”

“Good morning to you to, Rarity,” she replied, placing her blank coffee mug on her wooden desk.

Rarity took a moment to apprise the other mare’s state- even in such times as these, she had a keen eye for those details that seemed off about those around her.

The mare’s dull white coat seemed combed this morning, and her black mane was pulled straight, giving her red glasses something to stand out against. Her brown eyes seemed to be doing a quick overview of her as well, looking- Rarity guessed- for obvious signs of instability. Her eyebrows went in a small, inquisitive curve.

“Something’s on your mind. Something that isn’t giving you much thought to deal with much else, I see.”

“You always were a quick thinker, Anna. Should I tell you, or are you going to tell me?”

“Well, I noticed you didn’t use magic to open the door as you usually do for our appointed visits. Since magic requires some concentration, I knew as soon as you opened the door something was troubling you, something that was so concerning you didn’t use something that should be almost second nature to you.”

“And?” Rarity asked, expecting more.

“Well, your mane’s bent out of shape.”

Rarity gave a quiet curse and reached for the mirror on Anna’s desk. Her hoof was stopped, however, by her friend’s.
“That isn’t important right now. What is important is what’s going on between you and Fluttershy.”

Rarity couldn’t say she was too surprised, but her eyebrows went up nonetheless.

“And you know it’s about her by...?”

“Well, it’s what you’ve talked to me about the past four visits, and I know you’re somewhat anxious about telling your friends- and former lover, Twilight.”

“You nailed it right on the head, Anna.”

“And your mane is unkempt.”

This time, Anna allowed Rarity to fix it with a spot of magic, which seemed to only pop into existence for as long as was necessary before dissipating quickly. Rarity was in no mood to spend the usual effort and care that went into maintaining a coiffure as fine as hers.

“How does that help you, exactly?” she asked, exasperated.

“Well, you always told me you wanted to look your best for Fluttershy. You not looking your best would indicate you were not planning on seeing Fluttershy today, which knocks over a long line of dominos to indicate there is something going on between you two. Her birthday was yesterday, am I correct?”

“Yes, Anna. Honestly, you could’ve been a detective with the mind of yours.”

“And you could have been my partner, with that eye for little details.”

“Oh, you’re too kind.”

“I tend not to say things I don’t really mean.”

Appraising their history together, Rarity found that to be rather true. Her friend hadn’t been one to be sarcastic- sardonic maybe, but not one to tell lies to curry favor or make a few laughs.

“Back to the subject proper though- what happened yesterday, at the party I’m assuming you hosted?” she inquired, leaning forward.

“Well, I invited the six of us, the Bearers, to her party. Only one could make it. I think you can take a guess at who it was?”


“Naturally. So, when she arrived I was told by Fluttershy it was time I told her the news of our relationship. I went over to her and she asked me to dance; of course, I said yes.”

“Of course.”

“And, while we were dancing, I was going to tell her. But she had something on her mind too. She admitted she still had feelings for me.”

“And you said?”

“That I wasn’t sure.”

“What happened next?”

“She kissed me.”

There was a pause in the natural flow of conversation they had been having. Anna seemed to contemplate this turn of events, a hoof to her chin.

“Well, that complicated things, didn’t it?”

“Yes, especially when I found myself... well, kissing back.”

Another pause, with more contemplation.

“And Fluttershy?”

“Discovered us. She... cried, when she saw. And then she ran, out the door. Twilight talked to me for a bit after that, then decided to go after her. I could hardly think at that point, and I decided to see you in the morning. Fluttershy didn’t show at the apartment, of course.”

It didn’t seem like Anna could contemplate any harder or her hoof would go through her chin, but she spent some time formulating the words that followed her intense period of thought.

“So you have a decision to make, then. You are obviously in love with Fluttershy. You care deeply about her, from what I’ve seen of you, and you do strive to be your best around her.”

“But Twilight seemed to bring something back up to the surface from within you. You still felt something for Twilight. Something still remained from you short-lived relationship in Ponyville before you moved.”

“Following that, your decision becomes a clear one- Fluttershy or Twilight.”

Rarity was afraid it would come to this. She gave a nervous gulp before moving with the only trick she still had under her sleeve.

“What about a polyamorous relationship?”

Anna pondered it, her eyes seemingly searching for answers in the ceiling tiles.

“Have you ever talked of such a thing with Fluttershy?”

Rarity gave a little wince.

“Well, yes. I asked her if she would ever be willing to let a third pony be loved, by the both of us. She already had her opinion, though- love is between two ponies. She was fairly firm on that point. Besides, I think she already knew who I could’ve been suggesting.”

“Even back then, you were still contemplating Twilight?”

Rarity gave an embarrassed little shrug.

“I suppose.”

Anna gave a quiet sigh. She looked a slight bit exasperated, which spoke volumes of the usually controlled psychiatrist her workplace knew her as.

“Unless you have some other option, you still have my original question to answer. Twilight or Fluttershy?”

“I’m sure you understand that it isn’t going to be so easy, Anna-”

“Oh, I think it is, Rarity. Let’s go over the facts, shall we?” she suggested, in a way that indicated it wasn’t really a question so much as a command.

“For one, your relationship with Twilight lasted a very short amount of time. Your relationship with Fluttershy, however, has lasted for 2 months now. You seem to be built for each other.”

“It only lasted so short because I was moving to Canterlot, and she couldn’t leave Ponyville.”

“Be that as it may, she may have been willing to sacrifice some things, some comforts, to be with you as a lover. But she didn’t, and you weren’t about to let a career go down the tubes.”

Rarity nodded, with some sullenness.

“Fluttershy moved to Canterlot six months ago for familial reasons, correct?”

“Yes, Anna.”

“She was willing to sacrifice something to be with her family when they needed her most?”

“Yes, she was, and it was a trait I thought most admirable when I heard she had moved into the city.”

“You had only been in town for a month at that point, correct?”

“Yes, and I had just purchased an apartment and room for the dress-making.”

“So, for a month, there was nothing on your mind but Twilight, there in Ponyville. Did she visit you?”

She was prepared to come to her friend’s defense, but she quickly found there was little to defend.

“I... no.”

“But Fluttershy came as soon as she got into town, didn’t she?”

“Yes, we had a little get together.”

“As you used to have when you still lived in Ponyville. And, as time went on, your relationship became bigger and stronger, and she came to rely upon you when her parents, the ones she had moved to Canterlot to support, passed away.”

Rarity let a tiny tear escape her eye at that point, remembering the funeral in which Fluttershy hadn’t let go of her for a second.

“Your relationship turned romantic after that, if I remember the sessions.”

“Yes, that was when she really came to depend upon me. She didn’t want to live in her parent’s old house, the one they... died in,” she choked out, letting more than a tear out at that point. Anna leaned over and patted her shoulder, her normally stoic face breaking into a caring one. “She asked if she could stay in my apartment for a while, until she could sell the old house. Being so close to her at that point, physically and emotionally... it was hard not to fall in love with her.”

At this, Rarity gave a smile, her first really happy one since they had started their conversation.

“So, she depended on you, and you came to depend on her too?”

“Yes. She was there the first time I lost a customer to another business, that time someone tried to break into the shop. Having another pony with me, I felt safer. To think, meek little Fluttershy could make me feel safer.”

“She’s a strong pony, the way you’ve described her to me.”

Rarity had to remember that Anna had never met the ponies she talked about in her sessions, which could be difficult when she had neglected to mention Fluttershy was a pegasus the first time she had seen Anna.

“Yes, yes she is. I’m not so sure how well these first months would have gone without her by my side.”

“And there is the crux of it all. The pony who was there for you, thick and thin, not just the good parts where you had physical contact, was Fluttershy. Twilight was a fling, seven months ago, who showed up yesterday still hoping you were single and interested.”

Rarity was stung by the harshly honest description of her friend, again rising to defend her.

“She’s been my friend for years, Anna. I don’t think of her as a useless ex, coming around to see if I was vulnerable. She was, and is, my friend.”

“I am sorry if I have offended, Rarity,” she conceded, “but the picture you’ve painted hasn’t been too kind to Twilight. She showed up to the birthday party of her friend Fluttershy, when her only real intention was seeing if she could get with you.”

Again, Rarity was frustrated. She thought Twilight had seemed every bit as scared as one should’ve been when facing a pony they hadn’t seen in a while. She didn’t seem like the predatory ex so many romance stories seemed focused around. She then recognized that while this was all well and good in her head, it did nothing for her defense against Anna.

“Anna, I think she was just there to see if I still cared enough to accept her, and love her, even if she couldn’t have gone to Canterlot with me. She was scared, when she asked me, and she was only hoping I still had something for her. She was unsure, but still willing to take that risk, if it could only mean getting my love in return.”

She felt a little hope coming back to her. She had managed to set Anna thinking again, and hoped she had defended her friend well enough to prevent her thinking of Twilight as some kind of dirtbag.

“Still, Rarity. Who do you think deserves your love? And whose love do you think you deserve?”

That question stalled Rarity. She thought both ponies had the right to her love. She wouldn't deny either of them, given the chance- she was the element of generosity, after all. But of whose love she deserved... the question made her doubt herself more than she would have liked.

When it came to Twilight, she thought the answer would’ve been a simple yes- Twilight had come out all this way, just to see if they could get back together. But the more she delved into their history, the more she saw how she had been in the wrong. She should’ve never started a relationship the week before she moved; she shouldn’t have given Twilight such an impossible decision to make, barely five days after they’d admitted mutual attraction. She could’ve made the effort to visit Ponyville, but she never did. She’d kept Twilight in the dark, making her doubt herself for months as Rarity sat in Canterlot, never thinking of her friend more than as what could have been. She’d denied her the truth, when she could've ended her indecision a month before, two months with a letter, instead of intentionally hiding what she had from her.

She’d been awful to her. She’d forced her to make the only decision left to a pony who finally opened up to another, only to have that other leave after five days, and never come back. And she didn’t deserve the pony who would go through all that and still find a way to love her.

How despicable.

She doubted she’d be worth Fluttershy’s love either, given her behavior the night before. She almost didn’t want to, but she forced herself to look deeper, examine their relationship as she had with Twilight’s.

She had been a friend to Fluttershy as soon as she had entered the city, talking to her about her life, the lives of her parents. She had been a pillar for Fluttershy to lean against with the death of her family, and had offered shelter away from the crypt Fluttershy had once called ‘home’. She hadn’t forced impossible decisions on her, or left her to wonder, restlessly wonder, if she liked her back. The nervous question had been met with a nervous, yet honest, answer.

Her moment of weakness seemed so trivial to Rarity, now. Twilight was pretty, she couldn’t deny that; however, her true attachment was to Fluttershy now, no matter what physical traits Twilight did or didn’t have. Her bout of clarity was astonishing and sudden. It cleared the fog that had settled in her head, opened her eyes. She loved Fluttershy, like she had said the night before.

“It’s Fluttershy.”

“As I expected.”

Anna had a smug look on her face for once, looking like she was taking a bit of pride in her assessment of Rarity’s personal life.

“You’re lucky you were right, or I would knock that smug grin off your face faster than you could blink.”

This, of course, only served to make Anna’s grin wider.