“And… there. Perfect.”
Sunset stepped backwards, straightened her suit coat and admired herself in the mirror. “Wow, Rarity, this actually looks pretty good on me.”
“Oh, isn’t it just lovely?” Rarity said, squealing. “I know suits aren’t really my thing, but this image just sort of popped into my head and I knew I had to give it a shot because it would be perfect and just look at you! So unbelievably dapper.”
“You do know your fashion,” Sunset said with a grin. She twisted about, checking her reflection in the various mirrors stuffed into Rarity’s cramped workshop, then strutted around a bit to see how it moved. “And I guess I don’t, so I’m probably way off, but isn’t this more of a masculine cut?”
Rarity’s exuberance faltered briefly, and she tried to play it off with a giggle that was perhaps a little too forced. “I, well, maybe a little more than would be standard for a girl with your measurements. Like I said, I had a design, and wanted to try it.”
“If you say so.” Sunset frowned, tapping her foot, then snapped her fingers as a thought came to her. She grabbed a nearby ribbon from Rarity’s desk, then reached up behind herself and gathered her hair into a ponytail. Once it was secure, she turned to Rarity, spread her legs a little, put on her best roguish grin, and said in her deepest voice, “Hey Rares, you think I could pass for a dude like this?”
She expected a laugh.
Instead, Rarity turned beet red, her eyes wide and darting back and forth. “You? Pass for a man? I’m not so sure that—I mean, uh, I’m sure you could pull something like that off if you wanted to. In fact, it could be a lot of fun!”
Sunset blinked, raising an eyebrow. “Rarity? I’m just kidding.” Rarity was certainly prone to dramatics, but something like this was… “Is there some ulterior motive here I’m missing?”
Rarity made a complicated sound that was halfway between a scoff and a coughing fit. “Ulterior motive. Feh. Sunset, you make me sound so devious! We’re all friends here, we do each other favors from time to time. Generosity and all that. You can keep the suit by the way, you wear it so well after all.”
“Uh-huh. I bet.” Sunset crossed her arms over her chest. “I mean, me trying on clothes for you isn’t anything new, but I should’ve known something was fishy when you kept asking whether or not I was doing anything this weekend. Look, like you said, we’re both friends, right? You can just get to the point, you don’t have to be all coy about it.”
“Coy? I’m not being coy, darling, I’m merely…” Rarity trailed off, then let out a long sigh. She flopped down into a nearby chair and buried her face in her hands. “I’m sorry, Sunset. You’re right, there is something I would really like you to do for me. I’m just afraid you’ll think it’s weird, is all.”
Sunset grinned, and sat down in a chair of her own. “Come on, Rarity, you know me better than that. I’m a horse wizard from another dimension. Do you really think anything you ask me will be outside of my comfort zone?”
“You say that,” Rarity mumbled, shaking her head, “but magic adventures and social functions aren’t exactly the same thing. Usually. Oh goodness, please don’t bring any magic into this.”
“You should probably tell me what ‘this’ is first.”
“Right, right.” Rarity leaned back and drummed her fingers against the armrest. “Well, my cousin Lime Grass is getting married, and she’s only two years older than me. We always had a bit of a rivalry growing up. The wedding is this weekend.”
Sunset nodded and let Rarity continue.
“Well, back when I accepted the wedding invitation, I knew that I did not want to show up to the party unaccompanied, so I checked the plus-one box. And now that it’s so close, I need to find someone to go with me.”
Sunset blinked, then chuckled. “Is that it? Come on, Rarity. You’re the hottest girl in school. You don’t need my help to find some schmuck to go with you to a wedding. Just crook your finger and half the boys in school will line up for a chance to hang on your arm for an evening.”
Rarity stuck her nose into the air. “Hmph. As if you could find even an ounce of class and sophistication between all the boys in Canterlot High. No, I don’t want to go with some high school neanderthal. I am a lady! I need someone with style, grace, natural charisma: someone who can make all the other bridesmaids swoon.”
“And that’s why,” Rarity mumbled, shrinking back on herself and twiddling her fingers together. “I was kind of hoping you could be my boyfriend.”
Sunset stared blankly. “What?”
“Just for pretend, of course!” Rarity stammered, blushing furiously. “All you have to do is play a part, like acting in a play!”
“That’s…” Sunset slumped in her chair, rubbing at her eyes. “Come on, Rarity, that’s ridiculous. There’s no way something like that would work.”
Rarity shook her head. “No, I’m sure it would. You’re very charming, and an excellent liar. I’m sure you could absolutely nail it.”
“Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence,” Sunset growled under her breath.
“Oh hush. We both know it’s true. While it has caused people a lot of grief in the past, the art of deception can still prove quite valuable, and in this situation it wouldn’t be malicious. Nobody will be hurt.”
Sunset took a deep breath and blew her bangs out of her eyes. “Alright, I suppose I can give you that. But still. I may not exactly be an expert on human sexual dimorphism, but I’m pretty sure it’ll take more than a suit and a ponytail for me to pass convincingly.”
Rarity’s leaned forward. “Now that’s not a problem. A little bit of makeup to draw out your cheekbones and to give the illusion of stubble. And we can bind your breasts—oh, don’t give me that look. It’s a bit uncomfortable, sure, but certainly bearable for one night. And the deep voice you did earlier was perfect. With some practice, I’m sure nobody will ever know.”
Sunset bit her lip and leaned back in the chair, crossing her arms over her chest. “Say I do help you. If you want me to pretend to be your charming and sophisticated date, then why do I have to do it as a boy? Isn’t Sunset Shimmer, Queen of Canterlot High just as shiny of a trophy to show off to all your distant relatives?”
Rarity looked away, tugging at her hair. “Because I’m straight, I suppose. I want to walk in there like a princess, with a handsome prince on my arm…”
Sunset sighed. “Is that sort of storybook image really so important to you that you’ll jump through this many hoops to get it?”
Rarity opened her mouth to respond, but then closed it. There was a distant sort of longing in her eyes, but she lowered her head, and mumbled, “Yes.”
Sunset let out a long groan. “Ugh, fine. I’ll do it. But you owe me, okay?”
Rarity leapt out of her chair, throwing her arms around Sunset. “Oh, thank you thank you thank you! You have no idea how much this means to me! I’ll do anything to make it up to you later, Sunset, I promise. Oh, this night is going to be perfect! We’re going to have so much fun. I know you're apprehensive, but I’m sure you’ll fit right in. There’s so much prep to do. We’ll have to pick out a good name, and there’s a few other things I want to go over before the big event…”
Sunset stared into the mirror of the hotel bathroom, and the face that stared back was not her own.
Of course, that was an everyday occurrence for a pony living as a transformed human. Still, between Rarity’s cosmetics, outfit choice, and hair styling, Sunset could hardly recognize herself.
“You sure this is going to hold up through a night of dancing and partying at the reception?” Sunset asked, idly brushing her fingers across her chin, the makeup giving an illusion of stubble.
“Of course it will, darling,” Rarity said. She sat on the bed, applying her own lipstick in a hand mirror. “I used to do costuming for the drama club, makeup included. If it can stand up to the stage, it’ll be good enough for a reception.”
“This would be so much easier back home,” Sunset muttered as she came out of the bathroom and sat down next to Rarity. “Illusion magic is basically cheating for this kind of thing.”
“I’m sure it is. Do you have your character down?”
“I am Dusk Shine,” Sunset said, affecting the best accent she could. “A charming and brilliant exchange student from overseas. I am exotic and mysterious, and I swept you off your feet. Not to mention, if anyone notices anything weird, their first thought will be ‘foreigner,’ and not ‘crossdresser.’”
“Perfect,” Rarity said, cheeks coloring slightly. “Well, I suppose that’s just about everything. Are you ready?”
“Ready as I’ll ever be.” Sunset stood up and stretched. The motion immediately filled her with regret, as tight as her chest was bound.
She’d never actually been to a human wedding before. And back in Equestria, the only ones she’d attended were official functions as Celestia’s student. Considering it took a six-hour drive just to get down here, she hoped it would be worth it. “I’m surprised the rest of your family isn’t coming to this.”
Rarity shrugged. “This part of the family isn’t exactly super tight-knit. Mom and Dad are busy, and Sweetie Belle wanted to hang out with her friends this weekend. Makes things easier for me, anyway. Zip me up?”
Sunset ran the zipper up Rarity’s slender back. The dress was gorgeous, of course, and Rarity had brought out her A-game in every sense of the term.
“Shall we?” Sunset asked, holding out her arm and slipping back into the accent. “Your evening of enchantment awaits.”
Rarity giggled, slipped her heels on, and wrapped her arms around Sunset’s, leaning into her. “Perhaps not too enchanting. This isn’t my wedding, after all. I want to show off, yes, but I’m not so cruel as to try and steal the show.”
Sunset grinned. “As you wish.”
“Goodness, darling, you look absolutely radiant! It’s so good to see you.”
“Rarity!” said Lime Grass. She gave an exaggerated wave, then waddled over, hiking up her dress to take careful steps on high heels. “How long has it been? We really need to hang out more!”
Sunset watched as Rarity embraced the bride-to-be, the girls exchanging a flurry of empty platitudes and compliments.
Lime glanced over Rarity’s shoulder at Sunset. “And who’s this handsome devil?”
Rarity’s eyes lit up, and a coy smile played across her face as she linked arms with Sunset. “This is my boyfriend, Dusk Shine. Dusk, this is my cousin, Lime Grass. The one I told you about?”
Sunset held down a sigh and put on her game face. She strode forward, took Lime’s hand in her own, and planted a soft kiss on the back of it. “It is a pleasure to meet you. My dearest Rarity has told me much about you, though she neglected to tell me just how beautiful you were.”
Lime let out a high-pitched giggle. “Rarity, just where did you get a guy like this?”
“Exchange student,” Rarity said, patting Sunset on the shoulder.
“Hey, that’s my fiancé you’re flirting with,” a deep voice growled from behind her.
Sunset turned to see a great big lunk of a man looming over her. He had the build of a linebacker, and thick forearms crossed over his chest. He cracked his neck audibly.
“Oh, give it a rest,” Lime Grass said, rolling her eyes. “Rarity, I guess you’ve never met him, but this is my fiancé, Grounder.”
Sunset recognized the intimidation tactic for what it was, but it wasn’t just women she knew how to charm. She grabbed his hand, shaking it vigorously. “Ah, yes, it is so nice to meet you. I apologize; where I am from, that is just how we say hello. I assure you, I did not mean anything untoward. I believe the custom here calls for me to buy you a drink later, yes?”
It took a few moments for Grounder to parse what she had said, but when it finally clicked, his face softened and he relaxed. “Yeah, sure thing, man. Sorry, just a little tense, you know?”
“They say every wedding needs at least one fight, but I am hoping that it won’t involve me,” Sunset said, chuckling.
The couple shared a laugh, but it was soon interrupted by a distraught looking woman, likely the bride’s mother. They spoke in hushed tones, something about the musicians, then the woman ran off.
“Sorry Rar,” Lime Grass said, rubbing at the back of her head. “I’d love to catch up with you some more, but I am getting married in like twenty minutes. See you at the reception?”
“Of course, darling. I wouldn’t want to get in your way.”
Once they were gone, Sunset leaned in close. “How was that?”
Rarity giggled, then intertwined her fingers with Sunset’s. “I knew you had it in you, darling, but to see you pull it off so naturally… you’re a dashing rogue at heart, Sunset Shimmer.”
Sunset grinned, then walked hand in hand with her ‘girlfriend,’ and let the two of them be seated by the ushers.
“So how many of these people do you actually know?” Sunset asked as she looked over the crowd.
“Almost none, really,” Rarity said. She pulled out a hand mirror and flipped it open, checking her makeup. “Lime Grass and her family lived out near us when I was a little girl, but she moved away when I was twelve. That was right about when MyStable became a thing, so it wasn’t too hard for us to stay in touch, but it’s never been the same.”
Rarity closed the mirror a bit forcefully and grunted, crossing her arms over her chest. “We always played dress up and did each other's makeup, and we promised that when we got married, we’d be each other’s bridesmaids. But look”—Rarity gestured to a gaggle of girls wearing matching dresses—“I don’t even know any of them. She never asked. All I got was an invitation in the mail.”
Sunset shrugged. “People grow apart, I guess. Honestly, if you were getting married now, would you still make her a bridesmaid?”
“Well…” Rarity let out a sigh. “No, you’re probably right. After all, the bridal party would be pretty full with all of you girls. Oooh, can’t you just picture how magical something like that would be? I’d definitely use a different color scheme than this. Green and yellow? Ick. Maybe something white and gold. It’s hard to go wrong with such a classic accent, right?”
“Shouldn’t your future husband get a say in the color scheme? ” Sunset asked as she leaned her head back, staring up at the vaulted ceiling.
Rarity’s cheeks colored. “Of course. I mean, well, obviously I don’t have anyone, so for now I’m just fantasizing. Though I suppose we are pretending to be a couple right now, and white and gold would match us rather well.”
Sunset raised an eyebrow, but whatever inquiry she began to voice was cut off as the music began to play and the ceremony started in earnest.
“So, there I was. Thirteen years old, no more than a child, and this man was big as a bull. He loomed over me, blocking out the sun, and cracked his knuckles. I knew right then and there that there was no more time for words. He wanted my blood.”
Four bridesmaids sat around Sunset in a semi-circle, hands clasped in front of their chests.
“I stared into his eyes. His hot breath stunk up the room. Adrenaline coursed through my veins, and I knew the second one of us moved, things were going to get ugly.”
“What happened?” one of the girls whispered, resting her fingers on Sunset’s arm. Sunset couldn’t remember her name. She’d already been introduced to so many people that they were all just a blur now.
“I moved first. I grabbed my drink, threw it in his eyes, and ran away as fast as I could! And that, ladies, is why I am alive to talk with you all here today.”
The ladies giggled to themselves, and Sunset grinned. The best lies were the ones nourished from a seed of truth. It wasn’t a man, but a minotaur. And she hadn’t blinded him with a drink, and instead just zapped the brute with her horn. The gist of it was mostly true.
Though she had left out the part where she had actually been the antagonizer.
“Wow, Dusk. You must have been so scared. I can’t ever imagine going through something like that.”
Sunset shrugged. “Fear is a man’s best friend. Many try to deny it, to pretend it does not exist. Full of pride and foolish machismo. But fear will keep you alive, and it can drive you forward. Of course, you cannot let it control you either.”
“Wow,” another girl mumbled, and the rest let out dreamy sighs.
“There you are!” Rarity called out, approaching from a nearby table. “Goodness, I leave for the ladies’ room for just five minutes and you’ve already attracted a crowd.” She moved in close, running her fingers through Sunset’s hair and resting her hand on her shoulder. “Sorry girls, but I’m afraid this one’s taken.”
“Aww come on! I want to hear another story.”
Sunset put on an apologetic grin. “I’m sorry, but it is true. I have been many places, and seen many things, but Rarity is my light in the darkness. Compared to her, everything else is a dull grey.” Sunset brushed her lips against Rarity’s knuckles, staring up into her eyes.
While Sunset had nailed the cheesy line perfectly, Rarity reacted with far less grace. “I, that is, well…” She paused, her eyes wide and cheeks red, then swallowed, taking a deep breath. “Come on, dear. I think they’re about to start dancing soon.”
“As you wish.” Sunset took Rarity’s hand in her own and stood up, then bowed her head to the girls. “It has been a pleasure.”
Once they were away from the crowd and alone in a corner somewhere, Sunset let her mask drop, and giggled. “Holy crap, this is amazing! I completely forgot how fun lying could be!”
Rarity pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes. “Mmmhm. Just what was that back there?”
Sunset blinked. “What? You wanted Dashing Rogue. I’m not gonna half-ass it.”
“That’s not…” Rarity clenched her fist, then sighed. “That was… certainly quite dashing, but did you have to flirt so blatantly with all of them?”
“Well, yeah, kind of,” Sunset said with a shrug. “It seems in character. Does it matter? It’s not like we’re actually dating.”
Rarity wilted slightly, then shook her head. “Well, if I’m in character too, then I have a right to be pretend-jealous.”
Sunset raised an eyebrow.
“Alright folks, it’s time for our first dance! Let’s give it up for the newlyweds!” a loud voice barked over the speaker system.
The faux-couple stepped further towards the sidelines, getting out of everyone’s way as Lime Grass and Grounder made their way onto the dance floor and started awkwardly rocking back and forth to a slow song.
“I think the floor will open up after this song,” Rarity whispered. “Do you know how to dance?”
Sunset grinned. “Do you?”
Rarity turned her nose into the air. “I took ballet as a child, and ballroom dance classes during my sophomore year.”
“I learned when I was dating Flash. I know the basic waltzes, but what I’m really good at is triple step swing.”
“Yep. Hope you can keep up.”
Soon enough, the first dance ended, and everyone applauded and cheered for the newlyweds. Then the DJ called everyone else to try their hand, and the music switched to something faster, with a nice beat.
Sunset walked with Rarity onto the dance floor, their bodies already swaying in time with the music. She started with something simple: their feet moving together with the basic steps, finding their rhythm as they each figured out how the other moved.
As the song started to pick up the pace, Sunset led a basic turn, and Rarity spun, her dress flaring up as she executed a masterful flourish.
Sunset grinned. She could feel the eyes on them as their feet weaved across the dance floor. She dipped Rarity low, then pulled her back up, and stepped away, turning their backs to each other to dance on their own, only to find themselves face to face just a few moments later.
“I can’t believe you can do all this in heels,” Sunset whispered, pulling Rarity close for another turn.
Rarity’s face flushed and her eyes sparkled with delight as she ducked under Sunset’s arm. “Practice, darling. I’m surprised you know how to lead so well.”
“You think I was going to let Flash push me around?”
Just as Sunset’s body began to burn from the strain of exercising so many out-of-practice muscles, the song ended, and another slow song came on.
Rarity let out a sigh of relief, pressed herself close against Sunset’s chest, and the pair of them settled into a gentle back and forth as they gasped for breath.
“I can’t remember the last time I danced like that,” Rarity breathed, looking up into Sunset’s eyes.
Sunset chuckled. “I’m not sure I’ve ever danced like that, holy crap. I guess I’ve just never had a partner who could really push my limits before.”
“Is that so?” Rarity asked, a coy smile playing at her lips. “We definitely have to practice together sometime. Also, keep your voice down, or use your accent, people are close.”
Sunset glanced at the other couples on the dance floor and shrugged. “Sorry. But yeah, that sounds great. We could invite the other girls, give them some lessons. We’d need a spot, though. Maybe we can convince Principal Celestia to let us use the gymnasium.”
Rarity pursed her lips together. “Well, that’s not exactly what I had in mind. I don’t want to teach the basics, I want to practice the advanced stuff. With you.”
“Fair enough. We’ll see.” Sunset pulled out of the embrace and took a step back. “I’m gonna go grab some water, then once the next song comes on we’ll start round two, alright?”
Sunset leaned on the balcony of the reception hall, enjoying the cool breeze blowing off of the lake. She took a drag on her cigarette, the sparks falling off onto the rocks below.
Human weddings really were quite lively. The empty glass next to her and the light buzz in her system certainly attested to that. A lavish, expensive party meant to celebrate what would hopefully be an eternal union.
They were all strangers to Sunset. She wouldn’t remember the people. But the feeling this place left with her, the audacity of her masquerade, the rhythm of the dance, it all blended together into what could ultimately be referred to as ‘an enjoyable evening.’
She’d never really given it much thought, but she supposed she’d like to have a wedding like this someday.
Or maybe she could keep crashing other people’s parties in disguise.
The door swung open behind her. “I didn’t know you smoked,” Rarity said.
Sunset winced, ground the cigarette out on the balcony railing, and flicked it into a nearby ashtray. “That’s because I normally do a very good job of keeping it hidden.”
Rarity joined her next to the balcony, resting her elbows on the railing. “Maybe you didn’t grow up on decades of anti-smoking campaigns, but it’s not very good for you.”
“Yeah yeah, I know. I don’t bother very often. Maybe once a month. Don’t tell the girls, okay? I just happened to bum one off one of the bridesmaids.”
“Flirting again?” Rarity asked, raising an eyebrow.
“What can I say? Dusk Shine is a real lady-killer.”
Rarity muttered something under her breath, then shook her head. “I suppose it’s my fault for abandoning you. Sorry. I actually got a chance to sit down with Lime and talk to her, though.”
Sunset smiled. “Don’t worry about me. I needed some fresh air anyway.”
Rarity fanned herself with her fingers. “Don’t I know it. Still, we had a lot of catching up to do, and it was nice to actually get to know Grounder a little. He’s a bit dense, but he seems like someone who will treat her right. And I get the impression that they really love each other.”
“Glad to hear it. From what I understand the odds for that aren’t great in your world, especially when they’re still so young.”
Rarity lowered her eyes. “I want to believe in the magic of love, and not be pessimistic about it.”
“I just…” Rarity sighed, and twiddled her fingers together. “I want this. I want it to be me in there. I’ve dreamt of getting married, my own wedding, ever since I was in kindergarten. But it’s not me, and with my track record, I’m starting to wonder if it ever will be.”
“You’re still in high school, of course—” Sunset stopped, frowning. “Wait, your track record? But you—”
“Have never been on a second date,” Rarity muttered, turning away from Sunset. “Sure, boys ask me out all the time. And some of them I even say yes to. But they’re always so… it just never feels right.”
“Oh.” Sunset put a hand on her shoulder. “Sorry. Applejack told me about your misadventure with Trenderhoof, but I didn’t realize things were that bad.”
Rarity snorted a bitter laugh. “The less I remember about that debacle the better. I don’t know. Maybe it’s me. Maybe my standards are too high, but I’ve never felt that spark, never felt a real connection. At least, not until…”
Rarity shuddered, taking in a deep breath, then she turned around, meeting Sunset’s eyes. “Sunset, none of this is real, right? We’re just pretending, aren’t we?”
Sunset leaned back against the balcony, staring up at the stars. “You’re the one who asked me to pretend to be your boyfriend, and here I am, playing the part.”
“Well, you’re doing a wonderful job,” Rarity mumbled. “Maybe too wonderful. Sunset, if you were really Dusk Shine, I think I could fall in love with you.”
The splashing waves of the lake punctuated the silence as Sunset closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She could see where Rarity's train of thought was going, and knew she had to say something, but the right words refused to come to her.
“You’re not, I know that,” Rarity said, stepping closer and placing her hand over Sunset’s heart. “But just for tonight, please, let me take this fantasy a little further.”
Rarity leaned in close, her breath hot against Sunset’s lips.
Sunset raised her hand in between them and gently pushed her away. “Come on, Rarity, what are you doing? This isn’t what you want. We both know that.”
“I…” Rarity closed her eyes, then turned away. “You’re right, I’m sorry, I don’t know what came over me.” She sniffed, rubbing at her eyes. “It’s getting late. We should probably head back to the hotel. I’ll go get my coat.”
Sunset let out a long sigh, rubbing at her temples as she watched Rarity go.
Sunset scrubbed at her face with makeup remover, happy that she could finally relax and be herself again.
It was late, and her body ached with exhaustion, but sleep wasn’t too far away now. Sunset finished washing up, then made her way out of the bathroom into the hotel room. Rarity sat on the bed, already in her pajamas and running a brush through her hair.
They had figured that they would be cheap, so they only booked a single instead of a double. They shared beds all the time at sleepovers, but with the awkwardness earlier and the tense drive back to the hotel, well…
“I can sleep on the floor if you want,” Sunset said, unable to suppress a yawn as she began to root through her luggage.
Rarity took a deep breath, then shook her head. “No, we can share, it’s fine. Look, Sunset, I’m sorry that things got weird earlier. Weddings always wreak havoc on my emotions.”
“It’s fine, Rar. I just hope you had fun, regardless. That was a tough act to keep up all night. I dunno if I could pull it off again.”
Rarity giggled. “I already said it was wonderful. You really do know how to treat a lady, Sunset.”
Sunset shrugged, then flopped onto the bed, resting her hands behind her head. “Look, Rarity, you’re a wonderful girl, and any guy worth his salt would be lucky to have you. Hell, I’d date you myself if you were into ladies.”
Rarity’s hand froze mid-stroke, and she set the hair brush aside on the end table. “Really?” she asked, her voice barely a whisper.
“Hell yeah. You’re smart, talented, sexy, a great conversationalist, an excellent dancer, and probably most importantly, a good friend,” Sunset said as she ticked the items off on her fingers. “But if you’re straight, you’re straight, so I can’t help you there. Sorry.”
“Straight. Right. Of course.” Rarity clasped her hands together and twiddled her thumbs. “After all, I’ve always wanted a prince to sweep me off my feet, not a princess.”
Sunset sat up, leaning against the headboard, and shrugged. “Twilight’s the princess, not me. I guess I can see the appeal, but the Equestrian concept of a princess is way different than yours.”
“Mmm. A lot more magic, as I understand it.” Rarity chuckled, but it sounded forced. She looked away, then took a deep breath. “Sunset… what if I’m wrong? What if I don’t know myself as well as I thought I did? I feel so confused.”
Sunset turned to place a hand on Rarity’s shoulder. “Look, if there are some things about yourself you think you need to reconsider, that’s perfectly okay. Sexuality can be surprisingly fluid, and it doesn’t always have to be one or the other.”
Rarity bit her lip. “Maybe you’re right. Maybe I’m actually a lesbian, or at the very least, bisexual. There’s certainly nothing strange about it in this day and age. But… it feels like I’d somehow be letting myself down. Not me me, but the little twelve-year-old Rarity who spent hours talking with her cousin about the type of boy she was going to marry.”
“I know what it’s like to have your dreams crumble out from underneath you,” Sunset muttered. “I gave up on the dreams of the filly Sunset. Mostly because they were power hungry and egotistical and selfish. Not that your own experiences are quite so troubled, but we all have a overly simplistic view of the world when we’re young. You shouldn’t hold yourself to your past standards. Find what makes you happy, here and now.”
“But that’s the problem. I don’t know what that is. I can’t make heads or tails about what I’m feeling right now.”
Sunset shrugged. “You might just be projecting my performance of Dusk Shine on to me.”
Rarity shook her head. “Quite frankly, Dusk was a cartoonish buffoon, a parody of every romance novel I’ve ever read. I think I’m far more impressed by the actress who was able to play him so convincingly, improvising everything on the fly. By your skills on the dance floor. And you’ve always been such an amazing friend to me, Sunset. Even agreeing to accompany me in the first place… none of the other girls would have done it. It could only have ever been you.”
Sunset blushed and rubbed at the back of her head. “Well, when you say it like that... Look, this isn’t a question that needs to be answered right now. Let’s sleep on it. It’s been a long day, we’re both tired, and we can approach this fresh in the morning.”
Rarity took a deep breath, and nodded. “You’re right.” She flicked off the bedside lamp, then buried herself in the covers. “Thanks for doing all of this, Sunset. I mean it.”
“No problem. Thanks for inviting me. I had a ton of fun.”
Sunset woke up to an empty hotel room.
She got up, yawned, stretched, then wandered her way over to the window. She let the morning sun warm her face as she stared down at the busy street below, in a town six hours away from home whose name she couldn’t even remember.
The door opened and Rarity came in, bearing a tray full of complimentary hotel bagels and orange juice.
“Good morning, darling,” Rarity said as she set the tray on the table. “Hungry?”
“Starving,” Sunset said with a grin. She made her way over and grabbed one of the bagels, immediately scarfing it down.
Rarity giggled and nibbled at her own food.
Once they both finished eating, Rarity gave an unladylike belch, then blushed. “Look, Sunset, about last night…”
Sunset swallowed her last bite and washed it down with her drink. “Yeah?”
Rarity took a deep breath, and clenched her fists. “Right. We’re both here, right now, just two girls. We’re in our pajamas, our hair is a wreck, we’ve got no makeup on. We’re tired and sore and exhausted and still need to shower and you’ve got a little cream cheese on your cheek there.”
“Your point?” Sunset asked as she rubbed at her cheek.
“My point is,” Rarity said, “that we’re both at our worst here. Nothing to hide, nothing to prove, no need to pretend. You’re Sunset Shimmer, and I’m Rarity. I’m not just thinking of Dusk Shine. But if you try kissing me, I want to see how I feel about it.”
Sunset grinned, and started to say, “As you w—” but stopped, thought about it, then shook her head. “No.”
The light left Rarity’s eyes, and she lowered her head. “Oh. Sorry, I just thought it would be a good way to—”
Sunset cut her off with a raised hand. “I’m not going to sweep you off your feet, Rarity, as either a prince or a princess. You kiss me instead.”
Rarity blinked, then blushed furiously. “I already tried that last night, you know.”
“No more pretending, remember? Just me.”
“Of course.” Rarity stepped closer, placing her hand on Sunset’s chest. “You really are a lovely woman, you know that, Sunset?”
Sunset’s eyes never left Rarity’s as she slowly closed the inches between them, their lips pressing together ever so softly.
When Rarity pulled away she shivered. “I may have to reconsider some things about myself after all.”
Sunset grinned and pushed Rarity against the wall, earning her a startled yelp, then kissed Rarity again, this time much deeper, filling it with passion and desire.
“Okay,” Rarity gasped when Sunset finally let her up for air. “Things have been reconsidered.”