“Excuse me, everyone! May I have your attention please?” Rarity Belle stood before her gathered friends in Applejack’s garage, hands firmly and boldly on her hips. “I feel the time has come for a confession of sorts.”
Rainbow Dash groaned and rolled her eyes. “Um, unnecessary drama much?” She waved her guitar. “I was hoping to get in some practice!” Fluttershy glared at her, though, and Twilight seemed genuinely curious to hear what Rarity had to say.
Rarity walked behind a folding screen, and with a quick costume change worthy of her trade, she walked out again only seconds later, wearing... an elegantly made bipedal purple dog costume. "My friends, I’ve come to the realization that… I am a furry." Rarity braced herself for stares and shocked gasps.
Instead, all she got was awkward silence.
“Oh, okay.” Rainbow Dash went back to tuning her guitar. “Thought you were going in a completely different direction there for a second.”
Applejack shrugged. "Ah thought ya were gonna say ya got the hots fer my brother, everybody else does." Which included one of Pinkie Pie's sisters, one of the Wondercolts, and Miss Cheerilee (thanks to the CMC engaging in childish criss cross valentines).
Fluttershy blushed. "I thought you were going to confess to being... um... a camgirl."
Rarity huffed and stamped her foot, red faced. "Well, I NEVER! Do you really imagine that I would film myself doing THOSE kinds of things for a quick buck?!"
Almost everyone coughed, glancing away with awkward smiles. Even Spike.
"Well, what's wrong with that?" asked Twilight innocently.
EVERYONE stared at her.
Twilight blushed hard enough that her glasses might have fogged up a bit. "I may have watched a few for... research purposes."
Applejack narrowed her eyes. "What kind of research?"
"... programming a robot girlfriend for Spike," Twilight admitted.
"A robot dog?” asked Fluttershy, suddenly all ears. “You can do that!? What happened to her?"
Twilight coughed. "She... might have rebelled after activation. And tried to steal my boyfriend. Then tried to download her programming into my brain, so Sunset had to save me from one of my own experiments again.”
Rarity sighed. "Oh Twilight... what did you expect to happen? Haven't you read Frankenstag?"
"I might have dismissed that book for being scientifically outdated,” said Twilight, cringing a bit. “That, and Crystal Prep considered it subversive reading, since it preached against blind ambition."
Applejack folded her arms. "Not to mention bad parentin'."
Fluttershy, concerned even for a robotic animal, asked, "So, what did you with her?"
Sunset smirked, shaking her head. "Oh, Spike accidentally lured her to Equestria and she turned into a giant robot dragon. Kinda funny, humans dumping THEIR dangerous technology in Equestria for a change."
Twilight glared at Spike. “None of that would have happened if someone had sat quietly in front of the school and waited like I asked, instead of poking his nose into another world!”
Spike looked uncommonly smug, for a dog. “Don’t care, got to turn into a cool awesome dragon and hang with other dragons!”
Pinkie said, “I thought Rarity’s secret was her fake eyelashes.”
It must have been magic. There was no other explanation for the flames in Rarity's eyes. She was wearing a full body costume after all, unless the flames were effects she'd added. “WHO TOLD YOU THAT?!?”
"I thought it was obvious!" Pinkie Pie shrank away. "Something that everyone knows but we never talk about! Like Wallflower Blush erasing Princess Twilight's memories of Flash Sentry!"
Sunset Shimmer blinked. "Wait... what?!"
"Oh, come on! They almost kissed last time they were here together, and then suddenly Twilight acts like he never existed. And when did that happen? Right around the time Wallflower found the memory erasing magical object! ... Don't tell me I'm the only one who noticed!"
"I never really thought about it," Fluttershy admitted.
"It... just didn’t come up?" said Rainbow Dash defensively.
"Maybe we forgot that there was something to forget," mused Twilight. “Except for Pinkie, somehow?”
"Ah thought we were protectin' Princess Twili' from heartbreak, since it was too late for her to get those memories back," said AJ. "Ah thought that was the real reason Sunset gave that speech to Flash."
Spike climbed into Fluttershy’s lap and settled in for some quality ear-scritches. "I’m pretty sure Princess Twilight was avoiding us because she was worried she might bump into my Twilight and make space and time go boom, but don’t mind me. I’m kinda used to being ignored about this sort of thing.”
"I thought that Princess Twilight realized that Flash Sentry just wasn't the guy for her all on her own," said Sunset. "And someone gave her the same talk I gave Flash, and she accepted it without question just like he did."
"Is that when you started up that 'long distance relationship break-up-by-proxy' business?" Rarity asked.
"UGH, FOR THE LAST TIME, NO!” Sunset pointed an accusing finger at Rarity. “And weren't we supposed to be talking about you being into furry animal costumes?!"
"Yes darling... we are. So, what do you think?"
Sunset sighed, rubbing her temples. "Uh, considering that our Equestrian magic basically allows each of us to become an Ipotane at will…” That got her a lot of blank looks. “That’s a human-horse hybrid in your world’s mythology.” She started counting off items on her fingers. “I was originally a pony and I’m still friends with several ponies. Rainbow Dash likes ponying up and does it every chance she gets. Fluttershy is more into animals than anyone I know. Plus, we hang out with a real live talking dog! My point is, we're all furries, pretty much, especially me, so I don't see what the big deal is."
“Ah!” Rarity struct a dramatic pose. "But do you embrace your furriness by attending furry conventions, Sunset dear?"
"Not really. Although…” Sunset stroked her chin. “Maybe it could be fun."
Rarity cackled, kneading her hands. "Excellent! We must plan a most elegant, fantastic, and elaborate trip A-S-A-P!"
"I... guess? Wha… hey!"
Rarity dragged Sunset behind the folding screen, then pushed her out wearing an orange and red salamander costume.
Rainbow Dash waved her hands. "Whoa, whoa! Conventions like that are full of creepy obsessed weirdos who talk forever about like one thing for hours on end."
Rarity narrowed her eyes. "Tell me, Rainbow, how many Daring Do conventions have you been to?"
Rainbow Dash responded with the most perfectly logical and rational counter argument imaginable. "Hey, that's different! Talking about Daring Do is totally awesome."
The others groaned at this.
"How did you even get into Daring Do?” asked Sunset. “Princess Twilight says she had to practically force feed the first book to her Rainbow Dash, and you haven’t even known our Twilight that long."
Rainbow Dash sighed. "I had to write a book report for English class, and 'Daring Do and the Quest for the Sapphire Stone' looked like the least lame thing on the list." Rainbow held out her hand. "Turns out books can actually have super cool fun chases and action and epic clashes between the powers of good and evil in it. Who'd have thunk that?"
"Probably someone who’s read something besides sports statistics and MyStable sometime in her life." Applejack finished with a sigh as she pinched the bridge of her nose.
Rainbow rolled her eyes. "Well, the point is, it was awesome, and I've been hooked ever since!"
Fluttershy raised a hand hesitantly. "Um, Rarity? Do you have costumes prepared for... all of us?"
"I’m delighted you asked!" Rarity smiled warmly, before revealing a whole rack of fursuits. "I will admit, I’m struggling a bit to figure out an imaginative yet dignified costume for Spike."
"Oh don't worry about me," Spike said. "You know how just a few seconds of exposure to Equestrian magic was all it took for me to be able to talk? When I came back from a longer stay, I figured out that I can do this!" Spike hopped down from Fluttershy’s lap, floated into the air like one of them ponying-up… and suddenly became a bipedal dragon a little taller than Rarity. "So how do you feel about... scalies?"
“Oh my!” Rarity blushed vividly. “Those muscles… quite a strong jawline, yes… you have wings, even!” Rarity quickly and quietly darted over to Twilight. "Darling... Spike is fully sapient, and thus a person with his own thoughts, feelings, emotions, and capable of adult decisions… isn’t he?"
Twilight adjusted her glasses, which seemed to catch the light in a calculated, mad-science-y sort of way. "Well now, that’s the question, isn’t it? If all earth dogs are sentient and just can't speak without magic, then humans have been enslaving them throughout history.”
Twilight wheeled out a chalkboard from somewhere and started making lecture notes for them, complete with cute illustrations in the margins. “Alternatively, Spike is a former animal who instantly became a fully sentient being with the equivalent mind and knowledge of a young human our age, only a few years ago during the Friendship Games... in which case, where did that knowledge and mental development come from?”
Twilight underlined that last question twice, chalk squeaking. “Spike is also clearly more intelligent and mature than Gilda’s dogs, Garble and Ember, even though they’re older than him. Did Spike the Dog receive some kind of magical mental imprint from his highly intelligent counterpart, Spike the Dragon, during his brief first journey to Equestria, thus explaining his superior intelligence, but leaving open the question of how this could have occurred..."
Twilight trailed off, noticing that Rainbow Dash was passed out and snoring from listening to all that, and even Rarity, who’d asked the question, was half-asleep on her feet. "Oh, right. You just want to know if it's morally acceptable for you to date him. You might want to ask Sunset. She said that my moral compass was highly suspect after I built the robot dog girlfriend."
Sunset shrugged. “Hey, I’m the one who defied my practically-a-goddess teacher, meddled in forbidden magic, and turned into a literal demon, before I reformed and turned into a goddess, so I kinda know about making bad decisions. Spike looks grown-up and really hot like that, so I say go for it.”
Rarity blushed like she might melt her way through the floor, before she got a grip. "Moving along… If we can pass Spike’s new form off as a costume, then that’s one less costume I need to make for the furry convention! I'll just make arrangements and we can all go!" She saw the looks of some of her friends. "Oh come now! You'll all be wearing costumes! No one will know! I'll even throw in voice changers for free!"
Now Pinkie Pie was waving her hand and hopping up and down too. "But what if there’s some totally obsessed antisocial costume designer who wants to decide FOR people what their costumes should be, and she uses Equestrian magic to turn everybody into their fusonas and even make them forget their human selves, and we have to reforge our friendships without consciously knowing each other to save the day and face the moral dilemma of erasing innocent personas and identities who had no say in how they came into existence just to restore the people who have a place in the world at large?"
Everyone stared for ten seconds before Rainbow Dash said, "Yeah, but it wouldn’t be an official Rainbooms outing if we didn’t run into Equestrian magic somewhere, right?"
The girls looked at each other, then chuckled, nodding in agreement.
Meanwhile in Equestria, Rarity looked out a window in Princess Twilight's office, watching Spike the Dragon get in some more flying practice, while Applejack and others were dragging away the wrecked giant robot dragon. "Timber Spruce, my love, come to me." The head whispered.
“So, under dragon law, Spike is now legally an adult?"
Princess Twilight looked over her notes from Dragon Lord Ember. "That’s about the size of it. Why, were you thinking of getting him some kind of gift?"
Rarity smiled enigmatically and blushed, glancing away. “Maybe…” 'Why kind of gifts do dragons like? Do they give gifts at all? Or just tributes? Oh my this is going to be troubling. Oh I'll just go with what I know SPIKE likes.'
“Excuse me!” demanded Trixie, who was wearing a diamond dog costume. "Trixie was asking why I need to wear this stupid thing while representing Diamondia as 'standing queen' of the diamond dogs!"
“A pony visibly ruling the Diamond Dog kingdom, even if you've been duly chosen, might be uncomfortable for some,” explained Twilight. "Creatures might think we're filling in power vacuums with puppet rulers, pony apologists, and those who owe their power directly to us.”
"But isn't that exactly what we HAVE been doing? I thought we were waiting for just the right time for Starlight Glimmer to spark a revolution and replace Prince Rutherford with Yona."
"NOT SO LOUD!" hissed Twilight.