Rarity narrowed her eyes as she gave the threaded needle its last tug, effectively finishing the final stitch on her latest creation.
"Voila!" she sang, giving a satisfactory toss of her lavender mane.
Her magical light blue aura enveloped a nearby pair of scissors, and Rarity brought it in for the last required snip. She placed the scissors on the counter and levitated the dress aloft, giving herself a good view of the finished product.
"Yes!" She giggled gleefully. "That'll do quite nicely."
Rarity trotted happily to her bedroom door, opening it to reveal a rather grumpy-looking white cat curled up on Rarity's bed, licking its paw.
"Oh, Opalescence!" Rarity called to her pet. "Look at the gown I just finished! Isn't it simply darling?"
The cat continued to lick itself, completely unperturbed.
Rarity chuckled contentedly. "Yes, I thought so too."
Suddenly, there was heard the whimsical tinkling of the boutique's bell at the front door, letting Rarity know that a pony had just entered the shop.
"Owp! Duty calls!"
Rarity put the new gown in the top drawer of her bureau and closed it securely. She wouldn't want a certain feline doing it harm before she had a chance to wear it tomorrow afternoon. Rarity walked outside the room and closed the door behind her before turning to greet her guest. Her eyes scanned the room until she spotted a familiar yellow pegasus looking at an elegant, cerulean gown.
"Fluttershy!" Rarity trotted over. "How nice to see you! To what do I owe the pleasure?"
"Oh, um... Hello, Rarity," Fluttershy said, peeking out meekly from behind her light pink mane.
"Are you looking for a new dress?" Rarity asked, her eyes sparkling with enthusiasm. "The cerulean is an excellent choice. It'll really bring out your eyes! Would you care to try it on?"
"N-No, Rarity. I mean... the dress is lovely, but... that's not why I'm here." Fluttershy averted her eyes.
"Oh?" Rarity raised an eyebrow inquisitively.
"It's about tomorrow afternoon."
"Our tea? Oh, yes! I wouldn't miss if for the world, darling! You can count on my being there!"
"No, Rarity. I meant..." Fluttershy sighed, still turned away slightly. "Rarity, I came here to tell you that I have to cancel our tea. I'm so sorry."
"Cancelled?!" Rarity gasped in surprise. "But, my dear Fluttershy! Y-You were so looking forward to it. And I just—Well, why so suddenly...?"
The pegasus sniffled, tears beginning to stream down her face.
"Oh, Fluttershy. Please don't cry!" Rarity levitated a tissue, bringing it over to her friend. "I don't mind, really! I was just concerned. We can have tea another time. But, darling... whatever is the matter?"
Her friend accepted the tissue, blowing her nose into it. "Oh, Rarity," she said weakly. "It's... Angel Bunny!"
Suddenly, Fluttershy began sobbing terribly. Rarity, quite concerned and inwardly panicked by the outburst, did her best to keep her head and quickly passed her friend a few more tissues. Angel Bunny was Fluttershy's beloved pet, an adorable, but terribly spoiled white rabbit.
"Has that pet of yours been taxing you with unreasonable demands again?" Rarity questioned, a tinge of anger resurfacing upon remembering some of the past difficulties that creature had caused her now distraught friend.
Fluttershy shook her head desperately, doing her best to subside her cries to reply. "N-No, Rarity! He-He's sick!"
"Oh." Rarity was taken aback by that, and now felt more than a little embarrassed. "Well, Fluttershy... I'm so sorry. What seems to be wrong with the poor little thing?"
"I—I don't know! He just lies there and doesn't move! And he's so weak! I've tried to feed him everything I could possibly think of—all of his favorites. But he still wont budge! Even the vet has no idea what's wrong with him! I'd take him to Twilight, but she's out of town! I only left him to tell you I'm going to be too busy caring for him to have tea with you tomorrow."
"Mhmm." Rarity was more than a little suspicious. It would be just like Angel Bunny to fake an illness for the sake of attention, but Rarity attempted to brush off the idea with a shake of her head. She didn't wish to jump to false conclusions as she just had a moment ago... But still, if he was faking... "Fluttershy, do you mind if I join you on your way back? I'd like to visit your furry friend. Perhaps there's something I can do to help."
"Oh, Rarity!" Fluttershy smiled through her sniffles, visibly brightened. "It would be wonderful if you could! I've tried everything, even some of the cures Zecora gave me."
"Not to worry, Fluttershy," Rarity said, determination to assist welling up within her. "Let's go see the patient, shall we?"
Back at Fluttershy's cottage Rarity pondered the sight before her. The little bunny was sprawled out on his back, staring listlessly up at the ceiling. It was obvious to the fashionista that Angel's concerned caretaker had done all she could to make him comfortable. He lay on a soft satin pillow with a comfy woolly blanket right by him, as he appeared to have kicked it to the side. He also had a heaping bowl of fresh carrots and other assorted vegetables just within arm's reach - all completely untouched by the looks of it.
"Come on, Angel," Fluttershy said softly, proffering a choice carrot in his direction. "Look at this juicy carrot I have for you. Mmmm, it sure looks yummy! Wouldn't you like to take a bite or two?"
The rabbit slowly turned his head to look up in Fluttershy's direction with a sickly, disinterested expression. He glanced down at the carrot and scrunched his little nose up in distaste at it before sluggishly turning his body away from it altogether. The pegasus looked disappointed, but she had also come to expect this by now.
"Oh my, Fluttershy," Rarity said, a hoof to her own chest as she took in the pitiful sight. "It's just as you described. I've never seen him look so... forlorn."
Fluttershy slowly nodded, fighting to keep her filled eyes from spilling over.
"What did the vet say, exactly?" Rarity asked, and suddenly remembering Fluttershy's talent for communicating with animals she added, "And what has Angel told you about how he's feeling for that matter?"
The pegasus sniffled. "Angel hasn't said a word to me since his illness. The vet said she couldn't find anything wrong with him apart from the fact that he obviously doesn't feel well." Fluttershy knelt down beside her patient's bedside and began to gently stroke his little head. "I've tried everything I could think of."
Rarity placed a hoof under her chin, thinking hard. "Has he had any recent changes in diet?"
"No. That was one of the first questions the vet asked me. He's been getting all the vitamins and minerals a healthy bunny needs, and he's much too young to be having any of the issues that come with more advanced age."
"Hmm. Perhaps you could tell me about when you first noticed something was wrong?"
"Well... I was checking to make sure the bird feeders had plenty of seeds, and I had just finished when Angel came back from playing in the nearby meadow - he loves to frolic amongst the flowers and snack on the fresh grass there... sometimes he even meets new friends to play with. At first, I thought he was just tired... but the next day I found him just like this," Fluttershy said, gesturing to her lethargic pet.
"Is there anything there that could do him any harm?" Rarity questioned further. "An unusual plant or a companion from who he might've caught the illness?"
"I care for all the animals nearby when I can, and none of them seemed to be sick over the last few months. I know all the plants in the meadow are safe, but if he wandered into Everfree Forest...!" her voice trailed off. The whole situation was just so upsetting.
Rarity ran over the facts, murmuring aloud. "It's unlikely it's a reaction to a plant or because of a sick friend or a..." Suddenly Rarity's eyes widened and she gasped in realization.
"What is it, Rarity? Did you think of something?" Fluttershy asked, her voice hopeful.
"See for yourself, darling," replied Rarity, pointing a hoof in Angel Bunny's direction.
Fluttershy turned to look to the cushion where he had lain. Angel had stood up on his hind legs and was looking out the window by him which faced the meadow. His caretaker gasped.
"There among the clover, do you see it?!" Rarity instructed, her voice alive with excitement at the new discovery she had made.
Fluttershy scanned the scene and her eyes fell on a distant, furry creature - tan with black markings around its eyes and on the tips of its ears. She recognized it as Sweet Blossom, a female bunny she had newly noticed among the others that would visit the meadow. Fluttershy looked to her pet, and abruptly realized that Angel's attention was fixed on the aforementioned rabbit sitting peacefully in the grass. Angel Bunny sighed as deeply as ever a bunny could sigh, resting his little head on his paws as he leaned against the window sill, completely enamored with what he was seeing.
Rarity giggled delightedly. "Fluttershy, it appears that we have found the dreaded source of his 'illness'." She chuckled to herself. "It looks like Angel Bunny... is in love!"
"Is this true, Angel?" Fluttershy asked. "Are you in love with Sweet Blossom?"
The little rabbit looked to the pony, then averted his gaze, a slight blush appearing on his cheeks.
"Well, why didn't you come to me?" she asked, more than a little confused after all the worrying she'd been through.
Angel Bunny slid a foot timidly around in a circle for a moment or two before approaching Fluttershy and whispering some indistinct bunny noises into her ear.
Fluttershy smiled and emitted a small laugh. "You were embarrassed?"
Angel Bunny nodded, then chattered something more.
"What did he say?" Rarity asked curiously.
"Angel Bunny was afraid to talk to her," Fluttershy explained. "But he couldn't stop thinking about her. That's why he was so sluggish. He felt sad that he didn't know what to say to her so she'd like him back."
The pegasus gave her little bunny a compassionate look, and Angel turned his head to face the window once again and sighed.
"Well," Rarity began, beginning to pace. "I suppose that clears up the mystery. Now on to solve the problem."
"What do you mean, Rarity?"
"Fluttershy, Angel Bunny was so unhappy you thought he was physically ill! There's only one thing to do... We must get him to woo Sweet Blossom!"
Angel shook his head violently, waving his little paws in protest.
"Oh, Angel," Fluttershy spoke in a comforting tone. "Please let us help you. Rarity knows more about this sort of thing than anypony, and I don't like to see you so sad." She gave him a reassuring smile.
Angel Bunny shook his head again and crossed his arms indignantly.
"Well, would you rather just mope around for weeks and wait for another bunny to take her away from you?" Fluttershy asked him pointedly.
Angel Bunny's expression turned desperate and he really shook his head.
"Then you'll let us help you?" Fluttershy asked.
Angel Bunny hesitated a moment... then smiled and nodded.
"Oh!" Fluttershy clapped her forehooves together. "You wont regret it, Angel!" she exclaimed, scooping up her pet in an embrace as she shot a foot into the air and began singing a song that she and Rarity both inexplicably knew the words to.
♪ I see the problem, Angel ♪
♪ No, you're not sure what to do ♪
♪ Let's look from another angle ♪
♪ If you let us we'll help you ♪
♪ You wish to win Sweet Blossom's heart ♪
♪ And to show her you'll be true ♪
♪ But if you want to stand apart ♪
♪ Then there is much to do ♪
♪ With your fur well-brushed your coat will shine ♪
♪ And this tie brings out your eyes ♪
♪ Just be charming, pleasant, kind... ♪
♪ Good hearts can't be disguised ♪
♪ Fine dress is really all the rage ♪
♪ But manners make the hare ♪
♪ Don't slurp your tea ♪
♪ Do sit up straight! ♪
♪ To impress your lady fair ♪
♪ Handsome, courteous ♪
♪ Gentle, considerate ♪
♪ Thoughtful and caring ♪
♪ Giving and sharing ♪
♪ To show her that you care! ♪
♪ A poem you've written from the heart ♪
♪ A very special picnic in the park ♪
♪ A stroll through the countryside, arm in arm! ♪
♪ To show her that you care! ♪
♪ To show her that yooouuuuu caaaare! ♪
Out at the edge of the meadow the trio were hidden by some tall grass that obscured them from Sweet Blossom's sight. They all three peeked their faces out covertly, still unnoticed by her.
"There she is!" Rarity whispered.
Angel Bunny gulped.
"Are you sure he's ready?" Fluttershy asked concernedly. "I mean... uh... it wouldn't hurt to practice a little more... would it?"
"Don't be ridiculous, Fluttershy! You'd be surprised what can be accomplished within the duration of a song! We must seize the moment! Now... on my signal!..... Go!"
The two ponies ducked their heads back into the tall grass and Angel lingered nervously only a few moments too many before a certain white pony shoved him forwards, propelling him out into the open meadow.
"Did you see the way Angel jumped?" Fluttershy whispered, not having noticed what Rarity had just done. "Our lessons must have him simply brimming with confidence!"
Angel Bunny stood at the edge of the meadow, his teeth chattering and his whole body trembling with nervousness. He was seriously considering jumping right back into the tall grass when... it happened. Sweet Blossom turned and was suddenly looking. Right. At. Him.
The lady bunny, curious at the arrival of another of her kind, began hopping leisurely in his direction.
"You're doing great, Angel!" Fluttershy encouraged from her hiding spot.
Angel Bunny swallowed hard and adjusted his tie with his free paw, the other holding something behind his back. Sweet Blossom was now getting quite close. She stopped an approximate two feet away from him and cocked her head, considering him with a neutral expression. Abruptly, Angel Bunny winced tightly and thrust his hidden paw forward, offering her the previously concealed bouquet of Forget-Me-Nots he had picked for her earlier that day.
Sweet Blossom's eyes widened slightly in surprise. She put her paws to her chest as if to say '...For me?'
Angel nodded, his expression very businesslike.
Sweet Blossom hopped closer, so close that Angel thought his heart would beat right out of his chest. The lady rabbit took the bouquet into her paws and breathed in deeply through her nose, smelling the flowerets. She smiled, apparently pleased with the gift. Rarity could barely contain her girlish squeals.
Upon seeing that the flowers had gone over well, Angel suddenly recalled the rest of his training and smiled, offering Sweet Blossom an arm. The lady bunny eyed it for a moment... Then accepted. And the two walked off towards the heart of the meadow together to go play.
Fluttershy sniffled. "That's my Angel!" she said proudly.