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    Everything was perfect — this was Twilight’s all-consuming thought as she and Rarity exited the theatre room. For the first time in forever, Ponyville’s princess felt utterly and blissfully happy. Everything was going along so great, in fact, that she almost felt worried about how everything was going too perfectly. There had to be a catch. There always was.

    Of course, she was far too busy enjoying herself to dwell on what this ‘catch’ could be.

    When they entered the lobby of the theatre, the two mares were immediately ambushed by the over-excited manager of the theatre house, who proceeded to bombard them with questions: Had they found the play enjoyable? Was the private booth she got for them comfortable enough? Did everything go smoothly?

    “Everything was perfect, ma’am,” Twilight replied, slightly bowing her head. “Thank you for your help with the seating arrangements! I hope we didn’t inconvenience anypony.”

    “Oh, not at all, Princess Twilight! It’s my honor!” the manager exclaimed, bowing so low Twilight thought she was going to kiss the floor. “And don’t worry, please! The private booth wasn’t reserved in advance, so nopony was inconvenienced.”

    Twilight beamed at her. “Well, thank you again. We had a nice time.” She looked at Rarity and slyly asked, “Didn’t we, Rarity?”

    Rarity’s cheeks and ears turned a lovely shade of pink as she cleared her throat. “Yes, it was nice,” she agreed, smiling amiably. “Very nice indeed.”

    The manager seemed more than pleased by this, nodding effusively. “Well! I’ll let you two be on your way. I’m sure you must have a busy day ahead!” She bowed once more to Twilight, and after giving Rarity a curt nod, trotted off.

    The moment the manager was out of earshot, Twilight playfully poked Rarity’s side with one of her wings. “Very nice indeed, huh?”

    Rarity swatted Twilight’s wing away, raising her eyebrow. “It’s nothing to be proud of, Twilight. I can assure you that ‘making out’ isn’t at all considered proper theatre etiquette in any part of Equestria, and it’s actually quite disrespectful towards the performers,” she reprimanded. “At least it was only during the intermission.”

    Twilight winced. “Yeah, you’re right… Sorry,” she replied, bowing her head with shame and embarrassment. She then glanced up, a childish smile decorating her lips. “It was still ‘very nice’, though, right?”

    Rarity rolled her eyes and shook her head. “You really are something else, Twilight Sparkle,” she sighed, resuming her walk towards the building’s exit.

    “Is that a yes?” Twilight ventured, following Rarity and finding herself unable to wipe the delighted grin off her face.

    Rarity laughed. “Perhaps.” She stopped trotting and waited until Twilight caught up, leaning in and using her hoof to lift Twilight’s chin . “You’re just fortunate there’s something indescribably alluring of doing such scandalously intimate things at the risk of getting caught.” She then dropped her hoof and trotted away, looking back over her shoulder to blow Twilight a kiss.

    Twilight giggled and bit down on her lip, her cheeks almost in pain over how much she was smiling. She was so happy — Rarity made her so happy — that her heart felt as if about to beat right out of her chest. Once outside, the rays of sun shone down upon her, almost inspiring her into bursting out in song. Maybe she could modify the lyrics of an old tune? Afternoon in Manehattan shimmers?

    Wait a minute… Afternoon?!

    With horror, Twilight realized that Celestia had already started lowering her sun, meaning her time with Rarity was quickly drawing to a close. Their train back to Ponyville left at eleven o’clock, and it was already seven.

    Four hours. Two hundred and forty minutes. Fourteen thousand and four hundred seconds. That was all she had left with Rarity before it was over — finito, arriverderci, adieu, hasta la vista — and she wasn’t ready.
    She wasn’t ready at all.

    “Twilight?” Rarity asked, snapping the alicorn out of her troubled thoughts. She had stopped walking again and looked at Twilight with a raised eyebrow. “Are you listening to me?”

    “Oh, sorry, I got distracted by something.” With a shake of her mane, Twilight dispelled away her worries, deciding she wasn’t going to let anything stop her from enjoying her last hours with Rarity. “Sorry, what were you saying?”

    “I asked you what you wanted to do now,” she repeated. “The movie theatre is nearby so we could always go see a film. I’m not very hungry, but there’s also the option of going out for dinner.”

    Twilight mulled over the choices. She wasn’t all that hungry so dinner was out, and she wasn’t too keen on seeing a movie, either. The truth was that she wanted to keep talking with Rarity, and a movie theatre wasn’t really the place to do so. She looked at her surroundings, trying to think of something they could do. Thankfully, a sign pointing towards the nearby botanical garden gave her an idea. “How about we go for a walk? There’s a park nearby, isn’t there?”

    “My, what a romantically quaint idea,” Rarity exclaimed, nodding approvingly. “We’ll be like an old married couple strolling through the park, reminiscing about the days of our youth.”

    Twilight laughed at the idea. “I don’t think we really qualify for being an old couple when only one of us is actually, well, old,” she helpfully pointed out.

    “Hm, I suppose you’re right.” She narrowed her eyes and placed a hoof on her cheek. “I wonder… does this make you my sugar daddy? Or rather, sugar mommy?” She smiled teasingly at the other mare. “You are exponentially older than myself, after all, and you keep treating me to deluxes such as private seating in the theatre.”

    Twilight turned several shades of red. “Rarity!”

    Rarity chuckled, lowering her hoof. “Sorry, sweetheart. You’re simply too easy to tease.” Grinning, she trotted away again. “In any case, we ought to get going. The park is this way, I believe.”

    Twilight, still blushing heavily, caught up to Rarity. There was no way she was letting the unicorn get the last laugh. “Wouldn’t that make you a gold-digger, then?”

    Rarity, however, was quite unfazed by Twilight’s accusation. “Really? You think so?” she asked, smiling with amusement at the alicorn; a smile which Twilight recognized as the one Rarity reserved for whenever she was entertained over how wrong she thought Twilight was.

    “Well, that would mean I only want you for your bits, which we both know is not the case,” she continued. “However, I will say that if I was a gold-digger…” She stopped walking and looked at Twilight, a smirk on her face. “I’d revel in the fact that, just because I’d be dating you, every single gold-digging pony in Equestria would quite certainly loathe the ground I trot on.”

    Rarity started to move again, walking past a somehow even more flustered Twilight, and smugly added, “You know, I think they probably already do.”

    A warm breeze brushed against Twilight’s coat as she and Rarity made their way through the park. The sun had already set, replaced instead by the moon and a particularly beautiful star-filled night, the likes which Twilight hadn’t seen in some time. Maybe Rarity had dreamt about her the past night, and Luna had decided to make sure their last night together was one of beauty.

    Considering the late hour, it wasn’t surprising that the park was nearly empty save for a small number of couples that apparently had the same idea as Twilight. Some of them were lying down on the grass, lost in each other’s embrace; others were sitting on benches, lost in each other’s gaze; and finally there were those who quietly walked down the cement pathways dividing the grassy area, like Twilight and Rarity, lost in each other’s thoughts.

    Though no words were exchanged between them, they were both completely focused on each other’s presence, and it was this that Twilight liked. It was some type of greed, she reflected. She was greedy for Rarity’s attention — physically and mentally; conscious and subconscious — in the same way she knew Rarity was equally greedy for hers.

    As if having read her mind, Rarity leaned against Twilight and sighed the alicorn’s name; it was like a thought said out loud, serving no other purpose but to let Twilight know she was racing around in the unicorn’s mind. Twilight rested the side of her head against Rarity’s, feeling as if she could trot so close to Rarity for an endless amount of time.

    Her legs, however, were impervious to Rarity’s presence, and she realized perhaps she might need to give them a begrudging rest. She couldn’t complain too much, knowing it was a perfect night to lie down next to Rarity and stargaze. Maybe cuddle a bit, too. “Come on, let’s go sit down. My legs need a rest,” she said, trotting off the pathway and into the grassy area.

    Rarity looked around. “But there aren’t any unoccupied benches nearby,” she remarked. She then saw Twilight lie down on the grass and grimaced. “Darliiiing. On the grass? Really?”

    “Yup!” Twilight cheerfully replied, patting the grass next to her. “Really.”

    “But there might be something crawling in there,” Rarity complained, pointing with disdain at the grass and crinkling her nose.

    Twilight placed the back of her hoof on her forehead and gasped dramatically. “Oh my! Celestia forbid a teeny little ant dirties your coat!” she exclaimed, before deadpanning and rolling her eyes. “Fine, Rares, if you want to stand there all night while it starts getting cold. I’m not stopping you.”

    Rarity sighed dramatically. “Fine, fine!” she relented, trotting over and settling herself right next to Twilight. “I was planning on lying down after you’d insisted a bit more, but I see I’m not allowed any fun here, am I?”

    Once more, Twilight rolled her eyes, lips curled into an amused smile. “Gosh, you’re such a drama queen,” she said, shaking her head.

    A haughty laugh filled the air. “Ah yes, you would know a thing or two about being a drama queen, wouldn’t you, Miss Overthink-everything-and-panic-needlessly?”

    “Well, like they say, takes one drama queen to love another one, right?” Twilight cheekily shot back, closing her eyes and leaning against Rarity, relishing the feel of being so close to her. She was going to miss everything about her. She didn’t move or open her eyes again until Rarity spoke up all of a sudden.

    “Twilight?” she asked, her voice quiet and hesitant. Twilight opened her eyes and saw Rarity staring at the grass in front of her, brushing the blades of grass with her hoof. “Earlier, when you said your dates ‘use you to climb up the social ladder’… Did you really mean it?” She looked at Twilight. “Are they all really like that?”

    Twilight was taken aback by the question. Oh gosh, had she made Rarity worry? She hadn’t really expected the unicorn to take her comment to heart. It was just steam she had been letting off.

    “Don’t worry about it, Rarity,” she replied, closing her eyes again, hoping Rarity would drop the subject.

    “I can’t not worry about it,” Rarity confessed, clicking her tongue. “How would you feel if I told you that’s how ponies treated me?”

    Appalled, is what she’d feel. If the situation were reversed and she found out ponies were only interested in Rarity for such superficial reasons, she’d never let Rarity return to the future. “Not all of them are like that,” she admitted, guilt building up inside her. “I promise.”


    Not only had she made Rarity worry about her, but she had made her worry over a lie. It wasn’t true that all the ponies Twilight dated were solely interested in her status. Most of them had always shown far more interest in her as a pony, not as a princess. Though she’d never outright admit it to herself or Rarity, she knew the problem was her. Every single time she started feeling something beyond friendship towards somepony, she’d suddenly feel compelled to cut them off from her life before anything had the chance to unfold. Like if she was afraid of something happening.


    Afraid of what?

    Afraid that accepting another into her life would be an act of betrayal towards Rarity? Afraid of going through the heartbreak of becoming close to somepony again only to outlive them? Afraid that she might grow to love them more than she did Rarity?

    Perhaps she was afraid of all three.

    Rarity was quiet, watching Twilight carefully, and spoke up again. “Not all of them?” She used her hoof to brush the hair out of Twilight’s forehead. “Twilight… You didn’t close yourself off to others because we’re not there anymore, did you?”

    Twilight turned her face away. “Rarity, stop it. I didn’t come here for a Q&A on my social life,” she whined, growing more and uncomfortable. “Besides, you already know I’m not Pinkie Pie. I don’t have a zillion friends. Why is this important?”

    Rarity took back her hoof. “Because you’re unhappy, Twilight, and I’m trying to understand why that is.”

    Celestia, why couldn’t Rarity not read her like a book for once? “Rarity, I’m not unhappy,” she said, pressing her lips together and turning towards her.

    “But you are!” Rarity insisted, and Twilight could tell she was forcing the words out.

    The unicorn looked frustrated, ears pressed against her head. Oddly, the frustration didn’t seem to be directed at Twilight; it seemed to be directed at herself, as if she was to blame for Twilight’s so-called unhappiness.

    “The fact that you’re even here means you’re unhappy back home,” she continued, picking at the grass. “Let’s be honest, Twilight. If you were truly happy back in your time, you’d have never felt the need to come back to see me or the others.”

    Twilight didn’t know what to reply because Rarity was right. She was right, damn it, and Twilight hated that she was. She turned away again, tears of both anger and frustration clouding her eyes.

    She wasn’t miserable. She wasn’t. She wasn’t! She did have friends in the future, thank you very much. She was happy living in the castle, learning and teaching things all day, and she was happy with the few friends she had admitted into her life. As for her love life… Well, that didn’t matter.

    What mattered was that just because she had learned about the wonders of love and friendship, it didn’t mean they had suddenly become something easy to get. It didn’t matter that she had wings, or a crown, or a title. She was still a socially awkward bookworm inside, and neither her friendship with Rarity and the others, nor her royal position, had changed that.

    Even… even her friendship with her five best friends hadn’t been her doing, but the doing of the Elements of Harmony.

    “Twilight, I… I know this isn’t easy, but I’m not doing this to bother you,” Rarity apologized, reaching out to take Twilight’s hoof.

    Twilight stubbornly continued to look away, eyes stinging from the tears. Of course she wasn’t doing it out of ill-will. She knew perfectly well that Rarity was genuinely concerned, but it didn’t take away from the fact that it was a delicate subject for Twilight. A subject Rarity could do nothing to help her with, because they had no time anymore. It had run out on them a long, long time ago.

    Despite Twilight’s silence, Rarity ploughed on. “But I just can’t stand seeing you so unhappy especially when you deserve nothing less than absolute bliss.” She paused briefly. “I suppose I just wish you would let others make you happy, especially since I…”

    A second, longer pause. Though her gaze was directed elsewhere, Twilight’s attention was focused completely on what Rarity was saying. Especially since you…

    “Especially since I’m not going to be able to do so myself.” She squeezed Twilight’s hoof and swallowed. “I wish I could make you happy the rest of your life, but I can’t… I can’t.”

    A third and final pause.

    A whisper — one Twilight almost did not hear.

    “You don’t know how lucky you are to live so long.”

    Twilight finally turned around, looking incredulously at the unicorn. “Lucky I’m quasi-immortal?” she repeated, making sure she heard correctly. “Yeah, right. There’s nothing lucky about having to outlive everyone you love, Rarity. You’re the lucky one. You get to spend the rest of—”

    Rarity interrupted her. “I get to spend the rest of my life with you, but you don’t get to spend the rest of your life with me. I know, I know.” She got up and sat down in an upright position, looking into the distance. “But you’re looking at it the wrong way. You don’t understand that your lifespan means you will get from me that which I most desire but will never have from you.”



    There was nothing on Twilight’s end of the immortality deal that was better than anything Rarity was getting, and yet, a spark of curiosity ignited within Twilight, as well as… hope? A spark of hope that there really was something precious she had acquired all those centuries ago. Something to make up for losing the most precious thing she ever had — and which she’d lose again in a day.

    “And what’s that?”

    Rarity stood still for a few minutes, wearing an undecipherable expression. “You get my entire life, Twilight, while I will only get a fraction of yours.”

    Twilight sat up, feeling as if her chest had constricted around her heart. “I… I get your entire life?” she repeated slowly, weighing the meaning of the words.

    Rarity smiled thinly and nodded. “You won’t miss a single instant of my life — not one smile, not one kiss, not one breath — whereas I will miss centuries and centuries of yours.” She floated the travel guide from out of her bag and flipped through its pages as she spoke. “You will be chapters upon chapters in the book of my life, Twilight Sparkle. You will be my beginning, my middle and my end, but I? I shall merely be a few pages in the prologue of yours.”

    Twilight had never thought of it like that. All those times she had complained about the life-increasing side-effect of being an alicorn, she had never once considered the other side of the coin. There were things of her alicorn status that Twilight had been grateful for, and one of them was the fact that she had been able to be by Rarity’s side until the unicorn’s death.

    It had never occurred to her that maybe Rarity had wanted the same thing too.

    “I can’t even stand to think of all the things I’m going to miss of your life,” Rarity continued, looking intently at the travel guide, her hooves shaking. Tears formed in her eyes, rolled down her cheeks and fell on the pages. “I’m not going to be able to celebrate your accomplishments with you, or be there when you need somepony, or hold you when you want to be held, or tell you I love you every day…” She closed the book and brushed her hoof against the cover. “You’re my fairytale book… but I’m not going to be yours…”

    “R-Rarity…” Twilight choked out.

    Rarity looked at Twilight and her expression turned to one of guilt. “Oh, darling, look at you. I’m sorry. I’ve made you cry,” she whispered, lifting a hoof and wiping away the freshly fallen tears from Twilight’s cheeks. “I’ve made myself cry, too,” she noted, wiping off her own tears before bowing her head and softly concluding: “I suppose I just wanted us to grow old together.”

    Twilight prodded at the unicorn with her hoof. “Hey.” The moment Rarity turned to her, she stretched out her foreleg towards her.

    Rarity did not hesitate as she scooted herself over to Twilight, sitting in front of the lavender pony and letting herself be enveloped in a desperately needed hug. She didn’t return the hug, instead burying her face in the crook of Twilight’s neck.

    “I wanted to grow old with you too,” Twilight murmured, tightening the hug and resting her chin on the top of Rarity’s head. She then smiled a bit, rubbing circles on Rarity’s back. “Or maybe not. What with my ‘lacking personal hygiene’, I’m not sure I’ll be a pretty sight to behold when I’m old. Think of how many centuries worth of wrinkles I’ll have! No thanks!” She shivered, for added measure.

    Right after she finished speaking, like a single ray of sunshine in the middle of a dreary and cloudy day, she heard a muffled giggle emanate from the pony currently wrapped in forelegs.

    “If you want, though, we can just not sleep during the ride back to Ponyville, and I’ll fill you in with every single detail you’ve missed of my life. I’ll tell you so much about me, you’ll get sick of it and then you’ll be glad you’re not stuck with me for centuries. Sound good?” she suggested, earning in reply a nod and even more muffled giggles.

    “And then,” she continued, grinning, “when I go back, I’ll live another five hundred years and figure out a way to send you a full-report. Pinkie promise!”

    Rarity pulled back, eyes twinkling with tears but smiling nonetheless. “Instead of friendship reports to Celestia, it’ll be life reports to Rarity?” she asked, her puffy and reddened eyes lighting up.

    Twilight rested her forehead against Rarity’s. “Life reports to Rarity?” She broke the hug and pulled back, looking to her sides. “Take a note, Spike!” she exclaimed, imitating her younger self and trying very hard to stay serious despite Rarity’s giggling fit.

    “Dearest beloved Rarity, it’s been an entire week since the last report, and I’m sad to inform that life is still as boring as always without you. In other news, I’m ecstatic to tell you that I’ve finally perfected an aging-potion for temporarily turning ponies back into teenagers. Unfortunately, Princess Celestia thought it was lemonade, and is currently undergoing her teen punk phase. Also unfortunately, mohawks are definitely not her style.”

    “Goodness, that makes for a frightful mental image.” Rarity laughed. “You must send me a picture along with your reports.”

    Twilight laughed as well, snaking her arms around Rarity and putting her forehead back on the other mare’s. “Yours forever, Twilight Sparkle,” she finished, leaning in to kiss her.

    Rarity sighed with delight when the kiss ended, lifting her forelegs and returning the hug. They remained like that for an indefinite amount of time. They felt as if everything around them had come to a standstill, almost as if time had decided to be kind and allow them the illusion of the eternity they would never be able to share.

    “You know,” Rarity said, breaking the silence but never the hug, “this entire trip was supposed to be for your benefit, but it’s turning out to be more for mine. All you’ve done is take care of my anxieties.”

    Twilight shrugged. “I can’t say I’m surprised. You always make everything about yourse— Ow!” Rarity had smacked her hoof against the alicorn’s back, prompting her to say between chuckles, “I was just kidding! Geez!”

    Rarity made a move to reply but was cut short by the distant chiming of the park’s clock tower bells. Twilight listened, counting in her head the chimes. Ten times it rang, telling her that they only had one painfully short hour left.


    “I agree completely.”

    Sighing, Rarity made a move to break herself from Twilight’s embrace, but Twilight instead wrapped her forelegs more tightly around her. No, not yet, she thought. It was true that they hadn’t delved much into Twilight’s own issues, but that was because time with Rarity was the benefit she had sought and acquired from the trip. As it turned out, she wasn’t quite ready to give it up just yet.

    And maybe she’d never be ready.

    “Let’s not go,” she said. “Let’s just stay in Manehattan and never go back to Ponyville.”

    She wasn’t even sure why she had said that, and she didn’t even know if she was being serious or not when she said it. She had just thrown it out there — a suggestion, an experiment — and waited to see the results that would come out.

    There was silence as Rarity seemed to take in Twilight’s idea. “Where would we live, pray tell?” she asked, playing along — or perhaps seriously considering — Twilight’s outlandish proposal to run away together. To run, run, run and throw everything away as long as they’d be together. “Are you going to use your ‘royal privileges’ to get somepony to accommodate us?”

    “Maybe?” Twilight ventured. “Or we can just live in your office and share the couch. Buy a mini fridge, too.”

    “Dear me, that does sound delightful,” Rarity purred. “But what about keeping the balance of the time-space continuum?”

    Twilight furrowed her brow, deep in thought. True, having two Twilight Sparkle’s co-existing in the same time-frame could disturb the delicate and extremely dangerous fabric of space and time. But, looking down at the mare in her forelegs, she ultimately came up with the perfect solution: “Who cares?”

    Rarity’s eyes widened. “’Who cares’ about the balance of the time-space continuum? My, my, my!” she murmured, a devious smile on her face. She took back her forelegs from around Twilight’s waist and instead wrapped them around the alicorn’s neck. “I don’t know who you are or what on earth you’ve done with Twilight Sparkle, but I must say I like you very much.” To demonstrate this, she closed the distance between their lips.

    Twilight’s cheeks heated up at the kiss, feeling as if she could melt in Rarity’s embrace. Some part of her found it both fascinating and terrifying just how easily Rarity could still turn her into a love-sick filly, even despite all the time that had passed.

    And yet, Twilight was and would always be a slave to her neuroses and anxieties.

    When Rarity pulled away, Twilight cleared her throat. “We probably should get going, though. Manehattan Station must be a good forty minutes away, and we’re going to miss the train at this rate.”

    Ignoring Rarity’s plaintive objections, Twilight broke the hug and got up. When she turned to look at Rarity, she saw the pouting unicorn refused to stand up.

    “Come on, Rarity.” Twilight prodded her with her hoof. “We’re going to miss our train unless we leave soon.”

    Rarity sighed. “Yes, fine, I’m getting up. Please cease your poking,” she said, standing up and dusting herself off. She put back the travel guide inside her saddlebag and then looked towards the distance, towards where the train station tower could be seen.

    “The last train home,” she whispered.

    “Ready to go?” Twilight asked.

    “Frankly, no,” Rarity intoned, looking dejected and forlorn as she hoofed at the ground.

    Twilight half-smiled at her. “Good. That makes two of us.”

    The ride back to Ponyville had been perfect.

    It had been such a stark difference from how they’d acted on the train ride from Ponyville. Silent and distant back then, where even the small distance between their seats in the compartment had felt like a vast chasm; now, sitting next to each other, Rarity leaning on Twilight with the latter’s foreleg wrapped around her, the distance between them felt like it could never be small enough.

    From the second they’d entered the compartment, Twilight had been adamant in filling Rarity in on everything she’d missed of her life. From the silliest stories to the serious one to the sad ones, no story was irrelevant enough to be omitted. To her never-ending delight, her companion wasn’t shy about interrupting with questions or laughs or content sighs. Funny stories would result with Rarity burying her face on Twilight’s shoulder and giggling for minutes on end, sad stories would result in her somehow cuddling closer to Twilight, and normal stories would result with Rarity playing with their intertwined forelegs as Twilight talked.

    Every so often, Twilight would think to herself how much she’d miss Rarity’s voice, her warmth, her entire being, but she buried the thought by continuing with her tales. She buried it because thinking about it hurt too much.

    The two of them had talked, talked, talked until a veil of exhaustion covered and drifted them off into a peaceful sleep in each other’s forelegs.

    But then, they woke up.

    They woke up and Twilight put her cloak back on. She put it back on and the air between them changed, and it was like they were two strangers who happened to have taken the same train and whose homes happened to be in the same direction.

    As they headed back towards Carousel Boutique, Twilight found that the silence between them was anything but silent. It was suffocatingly loud. The lack of spoken words only made every other sound intensify: the sound of their hooves against the ground, the whispers of the wind, the shaking of their saddlebags, the distant humming of the train engines and the pounding of Twilight’s frantic heart.

    I can’t do this.

    She wasn’t ready to go. She didn’t want to go. How could she leave that world in which a breathing Rarity resided? How could she return to a world where Rarity’s body was buried in the depths of the hard ground, and where her soul had gone to a place Twilight could not follow? How could Twilight do that when it would turn her into a murderer?

    By stepping into the past, she had breathed life into Rarity, and now she would be drawing out that life by returning to the future. Rarity had died once by the unforgiving touch of the Grim Reaper, now she would die again at Twilight’s hooves. It seemed like Rarity would be getting her dramatic love story after all. She could practically hear what the mare would say: “Darling, if this entire trip is the same as killing me, then I daresay no murder victim has ever been more willing than I.”

    How was Rarity holding up, anyway? Twilight stole a peek at the unicorn. At first glance, she seemed lost in thought, staring at the winding road ahead. Further stolen glances, however, allowed her to notice that the unicorn was biting down on her lower lip and blinking constantly. Was… Was she blinking back tears?

    Twilight forced herself to look away, pain returning to her chest. She breathed in and out, in and out, in and out. If Rarity started crying, then she’d start crying, and it would just make everything that much harder.

    “Twilight?” Rarity asked, bringing Twilight back from her troubled thoughts. Rarity had come to a stop, eyes still fixed on the road back to her home. “How long do you have left before you have to go back?”

    Forever, Twilight thought. “A few hours,” she replied instead. “I don’t really have a set time to leave.”

    They still had one entire day left. They could just lock themselves in Carousel Boutique and nopony would see Twilight. Her last day with Rarity before it was over, and she planned on making it cou—

    “I think…” Rarity let out a long breath of air and turned to Twilight, smiling apologetically. “I think it would be for the best if you left right now.”

    No. Twilight felt her heart shrink. “L-leave? Now?”

    “I think it would be for the best, yes,” Rarity continued, her voice lowering to a whisper. She walked over to Twilight and put her hoof on her cheek. Rarity’s eyes were twinkling with unshed tears. “I just want to say goodbye while I can still send you off with a smile.”


    Twilight put her hoof on top of Rarity’s. She wanted to say something more, but a lump in her throat prevented her from doing so. She wasn’t even sure there were any words or ways to express what she felt.

    “Look at you. You came all this way just to see me,” Rarity breathed, gazing at Twilight with a wonder and adoration the likes of which the alicorn was sure she’d never see again. “I can’t think of what I’ve ever done to deserve you.”

    Twilight didn’t even have to think about it.

    “You made me happy.”

    That’s all Rarity had ever done to deserve Twilight’s unwavering affection. She had simply made her blissfully happy, nothing more or nothing less — that had been enough.

    Rarity took her hoof away from Twilight’s face, eyes taking on a more serious expression. “Others can make you happy too, you know?” she responded. “You will give them a chance, won’t you?”

    Twilight looked away. “It’s not that easy, Rarity…”

    “But you’ll try, won’t you?”

    She looked back at Rarity, ears dropping. “But what if—” she drifted off, her voice barely audible. “What if I don’t want to try? What if I don’t want to risk letting anypony else be more important than you… or the girls?”

    Rarity’s expression softened. “Twilight, darling, getting other best friends or another special somepony doesn’t mean that all of a sudden your other relationships aren’t important anymore. And even if you do end up loving somepony else more than you do me, why is that necessarily a bad thing?”

    The idea horrified Twilight. “But you said yesterday—”

    “I know what I said yesterday, Twilight,” Rarity interrupted forcefully, “but it doesn’t matter anymore.” Her ears were flat against her head and it looked as if it was taking her a tremendous amount of effort to keep speaking. “It doesn’t matter what I feel, Twilight, because all I really want is for you to be happy.

    “Maybe you won’t fall in love again, and that will be fine as long as you’re happy,” she continued. “And maybe you will fall in love again. Maybe you’ll love them more than you did me, but I won’t mind as long as you’re happy.” She smiled at Twilight. “After all, I’m getting a lifetime of your love, and that’s more than I could ever ask for.”

    “Rarity, stop making me feel better,” she complained, the faintest of smiles appearing on her lips. “How come you’re the only one who gets to be a drama queen?”

    “I am not being a drama queen!” Rarity whined in a very dramatic fashion, dissolving into a fit of giggles at Twilight’s skeptical expression.

    Twilight put her hoof on her forehead and shook her head. “Seriously, I don’t understand how I put up with your theatrics for so long.”

    Rarity let out a haughty laugh. “Because you’re crazy for me, obviously!” she exclaimed. “And I’m crazy for you, too,” she added with a whisper, leaning in to nuzzle the alicorn.

    After a minute or so, when Rarity pulled back, Twilight grinned at her. “You know, my love for you does have its limits,” she warned, though her wide smile ruined the effect of the warning. The kiss she stole afterwards did little to help. She would steal a thousand of them if she could.

    “Hah!” Rarity exclaimed, smirking against Twilight’s lips once the brief kiss came to an end. “Twilight Sparkle, I could turn evil, conquer Equestria and banish Celestia to Tartarus, and you’d still be in love with me.”

    Twilight pulled back, laughing. “Oh my gosh, Rarity, you are so full of yourself.” She leaned in again and rested her forehead against Rarity’s, closing her eyes and smiling. “You’re awful,” she whispered. “You’re awful, and I love you.”

    Rarity laughed as well, closing her eyes and sighing with contentment. “I love you, too,” she breathed. “It’s absolutely ridiculous how much I love you, Twilight Sparkle.”

    “Even more than you love yourself?” Twilight joked, opening one eye to look at Rarity.

    “Now, darling, it’s good to aim high, but let’s not reach for the stars here.”

    Even when Twilight felt like the whole world was crashing around her. Rarity was still able to make it seem like everything was okay; like they were just saying goodbye for a weekend apart, not for the rest of Twilight’s life. The alicorn moved in to hug Rarity, burying her face in the crook of the other’s neck. She breathed in the scent of perfume, knowing it was the very last time, and she felt tears wet her eyes.

    “Rarity, I…” she faltered, her chest hurting. “I’m going to miss you,” she weakly finished, her voice cracking. She had missed Rarity before the time-traveling escapade, and now she’d miss her a thousand times more. Even there, holding her in her forelegs, she’d already begun missing her.

    “Shh, love, don’t cry,” Rarity soothed, leaning her head against the top of Twilight’s. She brushed the lavender mare’s mane with one of her hooves as she spoke. “Oh, my darling. You won’t miss me much longer. Soon, you shall find wonderful friends who will make you happy, and I’ll become nothing more but the faded memory of a pony you loved once upon a time.”

    Twilight shook her head, tightening the hug. Faded memory? Never. Rarity’s smile, her eyes, her laugh, her scent, her voice, her everything. She would never fade away or become just a vague memory. Twilight would never allow it.

    They remained in that position for minutes, only aware of each others presence and listening to the sound of their synchronized breathing. If only they could stay like that forever, but they couldn’t. Twilight was the one who pulled away, taking a deep breath in preparation for what was to come.

    “Well then, Princess Twilight Sparkle. It has been an honor.” Rarity did a mock bow for her. “Until we meet again…”

    The alicorn stood up straight. One last goodbye. One last game of pretend. “Until we meet again, Rarity.”

    One last lie just like the day she left for Saddle Arabia, where she had left with the promise of seeing each other again and returned to a broken promise and broken heart. It took everything in her to will herself to look away from the white mare and head for the Everfree Forest. She trotted and trotted until she heard Rarity call to her, and she briefly considered not answering for fear she wouldn’t be able to leave if she did.

    But she turned around because it was an unbreakable, unbendable and unavoidable law of the universe that, when Rarity called, Twilight Sparkle would always answer.

    Rarity was smiling at her; it was a particularly un-lady like grin that the unicorn had unconsciously picked up from Twilight herself with the passing of the years. “I’ll be waiting for you,” she called, taking a few steps towards the other mare. “I don’t know where ponies go after they die, but wherever that may be, I’ll be waiting for you.”

    “Thanks, Rarity,” Twilight replied, her heart weighing heavily in her chest. She engraved the unicorn’s face in her mind, turned around and continued trotting, head held high.

    Thank you for everything.

    The walk to the Everfree Forest was a long one, but it wasn’t necessarily a terribly sad one. She had gotten her clean goodbye, and that was what she had always wanted, wasn’t it? Her heart kept beating painfully against her chest, but it would pass. She just had to focus on the brilliant smile Rarity had sent her off with.

    She noticed Fluttershy’s Cottage in the distance, the yellow pegasus tending to her critter friends near the entrance. Twilight hid herself amidst the forest trees and trotted towards her old friend, hoping to stay there for a bit until her nerves and heart calmed down. She closed her eyes and did several breathing exercises, Fluttershy’s singing proving to be a nice background music. In the end, she wasn’t sure how long she stood there breathing in and out, lost in thought.

    “Fluttershy! Sweetie!”

    Twilight felt her stomach drop. She opened her eyes and saw Rarity standing in the distance, waving at the pegasus. The white mare trotted over to Fluttershy, a radiant and carefree smile on her face. She looked so normal, so utterly unaffected by what had happened not even twenty minutes ago. How did she do it? How did she manage to so easily put a veil over what she really felt? How?

    “Oh! Rarity you’re back!” Fluttershy greeted, waving at the unicorn. Another normal day for her, no doubt. “How was your trip?”

    Rarity sat down next to a group of bunnies. “It was… revealing,” she replied, watching Angel Bunny scarf down an entire bowl of carrots. “What about you, darling? Did anything interesting happen while I was away?”

    Fluttershy looked up, thoughtfully. “Well, not really. Pinkie Pie had a party yesterday for the Cake twins, and Twilight came earlier today for breakfast.”

    “Oh? How is Twilight, by the way?” Rarity asked, her voice sounding strained.

    “Oh, she’s doing very well,” Fluttershy replied, serving Angel Bunny more carrots. “She finished getting everything ready for Princess Celestia’s visit tomorrow. She’s very nervous about it, though, so I offered we go to the spa later to help her relax.” She smiled to Rarity. “Now that you’re here, would you like to come with us?”

    “I wouldn’t miss it!” Rarity exclaimed. “I’ll ask Aloe to give her a deluxe treatment. Knowing my Twilight, a simple massage won’t suffice to rid her of stress.”

    “You should let her know that you’re back,” Fluttershy suggested, moving on to feed a pair of squirrels. “So, why was Manehattan revealing? Oh, and did you see Coco Pommel?”

    Twilight knew she should probably leave already, but her curiosity got the best of her. Whatever story Rarity told Fluttershy would certainly be the one she’d later tell past Twilight. She might as well stay a bit longer to listen to it.

    Rarity nodded. “Yes, I did! We had coffee at that one café on 60th street. You know, the one from the novel? After that, Tw— I ran into a good friend and then…” She drifted off, blinking several times. “A-And then…”

    “And then?” Fluttershy prompted, turning to look at the unicorn. “And who was the fri— Rarity?”

    To Twilight’s dismay, Rarity’s entire cheery disposition vanished completely. She trembled, her gaze downwards and a hoof covering her mouth.

    Oh, Rarity, no…

    “R-Rarity? What’s wrong? Are you crying?” an alarmed Fluttershy asked.

    The unicorn looked up, smiling unconvincingly. “What do you mean, darling? I’m not crying,” she replied, tears streaming down her cheeks.

    Fluttershy rushed over to her, taking her hooves. “Yes, you are! Did something happen in Manehattan? Or before?” she questioned frantically. “Twilight said she felt something was off with you on Friday? Oh no, did you two have a fall-out?! Is that why you left?”

    Rarity shook her head. “Oh h-heavens no, Manehattan was wonderful,” Rarity choked, shaking her head. “And T-twilight… I didn’t have a-a fall-out with her. She was… Twi… Twilight…”

    Twilight watched in horror as the unicorn completely lost her composure, her voice dissolving into shaky sobs muffled by her hooves over her face. Fluttershy acted immediately, embracing her and trying to calm her down.

    Oh Celestia, no…

    Twilight had never felt so painfully helpless before. She had caused this. It was because of her that Rarity was in such grief, unable to tell even Fluttershy why she was crying. She couldn’t even begin to imagine how hard it would be for Rarity when she’d see past Twilight again. Wishing she had never agreed to the trip in the first place, Twilight could only watch, transfixed, feeling every single carefully constructed wall inside her collapse with every sob Rarity let out.

    “Angel, please, bring Twilight!” Fluttershy yelped, holding Rarity tighter against her.

    Twilight searched for the rabbit and saw him hop off towards Ponyville. Soon her younger self would arrive and provide Rarity comfort against the pain her future self had caused. It was torture to stand there and just watch, fighting every urge inside her body that pleaded for her to rush over to Rarity.

    All of a sudden, perhaps because she had somehow sensed Twilight’s distressed stare, Rarity lifted her head from Fluttershy’s shoulder and idly looked into the forest, immediately spotting Twilight. The moment they locked-eyes, Rarity’s expression went from grief-stricken to completely blank, her mouth taking the shape of an O.


    Waiting a few seconds to make sure Fluttershy hadn’t heard, Twilight gingerly waved at Rarity, smiling sympathetically in an attempt to calm her down. Her vision started to cloud and when she rubbed her eyes with her hoof, she realized she had begun to cry, too.

    Wiping the tears away, she looked back at Rarity and forced out the most convincingly happy grin she could muster. “See you soon, Rarity,” she mouthed, starting to turn around towards the forest. It wouldn’t be long now before her other self arrived.

    But then, a voice called to her, and Twilight’s desperate hopes for a relatively happy departure vanished.


    At the sound of Rarity’s voice, Twilight turned around just in time to see the white mare push herself away from Fluttershy and turn towards the forest, tears brimming around her eyes.

    “R-Rarity? What’s wrong? Wait for what?” asked Fluttershy in a hurry.

    Twilight understood what Rarity intended on doing and quickly shook her head. “No, Rarity! No, no, no!” she begged, mouthing her words at the mare. Don’t do it, please, don’t.

    Desperate, pleading purple eyes looked into miserable, blue ones, engaging in an impromptu staring contest where no matter who was the first to blink, everypony lost. They stayed that way for what felt like an eternity until Rarity took one step towards Twilight, having seemingly thrown all rational thinking to the wind.

    Time stopped. Twilight waited, too paralyzed to continue shaking her head, and prayed to Celestia that Rarity would come to her senses.

    Time began its course again. Minutes ticked by, and Fluttershy started to look towards the forest. Now or never.

    It was time to blink.

    Rarity took another step forward.

    In a split second, Twilight reacted by turning around and running away, the sound of Rarity calling her name piercing her heart like a dagger.

    She ran, and ran, and ran.

    I’m sorry, Rarity.

    Ran because every instinct in her body fought against her to do the opposite.

    I love you.

    Ran because she could still hear Rarity sobbing in the distance.

    I’m so sorry.

    Ran because Rarity was alive and dead at the same time, and because everything was unfair, and everything hurt, and because she loved Rarity with every fiber of her being, and now it was over. It was over, over, over and no amount of time-travel would change the fact that she would always lose Rarity in the end.

    When she finally did stop running, she took out the scroll and notebook, read the spell and transported herself out of Ponyville, out of the past and out of Rarity’s life forever.

    Seconds later, just like the blink of an eye, she was back in the future Canterlot Archives. The moonlight filtered in through the windows, and Twilight sat there for minutes on end, panting heavily. After her breathing regulated, she quietly and almost mindlessly put the time scroll back in its place and got up to leave.

    She felt detached from her body as she trotted away. It was as if her brain had gone numb, and now her body moved all on its own like a piece of machinery. She understood that she was never going to see Rarity or her friends again but, at the same time, the realization hadn’t made an impact on her yet. As she walked out of the Archives, she had the impression that everything that had transpired had happened to somepony else, not her.

    She stepped out into the garden and shivered at the cold, night air. Glancing up, she noticed Celestia’s tower had gone dark. How long had she been gone?


    Twilight turned around and saw Spike hovering in the air. The dragon carefully landed on the garden, trying not to step on too many flowers. “Twilight! I know you said to wait at home, but you were taking so long,” he explained, his eyes scanning her for what she assumed were bad signs. “I’m glad you’re back!” he said with relief after finding nothing visibly wrong with her. If he could only see the emotional damage, perhaps he wouldn’t be so relieved.

    “Oh,” Twilight flatly replied. “Yes, I’m back.”

    After a minute of silence, he spoke up with hesitance. “…So?” he prompted. “How did it go? Did you see our friends?”

    “Yes,” Twilight replied almost mechanically.

    “That… that means Rarity, too, right?”

    “Yes…” Twilight repeated.

    Rarity too.

    “A-And?” he asked.

    And? And everything was suddenly real and Twilight Sparkle was not able to withstand it. Much in the same way Rarity had, the alicorn collapsed into sudden tears, clutching onto Spike when he rushed to scoop her in between his arms.

    She could hear him asking question after question: what happened, why was she crying, did something go wrong, why had she gone, why hadn’t she listened to him. She wanted to answer, but she couldn’t. She could only wail out his name over and over, a mantra representing what she still had left of a life that time had cruelly taken away from her.

    Twilight Sparkle cried her heart out for many reason that night: for Rarity, for the days they’d never have and for the days they did have, and for having been given the closure she had both sought and feared.

    Most of all, though, she cried because she finally understood. Years and years ago, when Angel Bunny had taken her to an inexplicably sobbing Rarity, the unicorn had asked her over and over to ‘please stay’. And it was only until that moment that Twilight realized who Rarity had been talking to.

    Had her mind been clearer, Twilight might have found comfort in the fact that one last bond remained between them: somewhere in the past, Rarity was crying for her. They were bonded by their mutual grief; a grief which existed outside the grasp of time and space, and left tears in the fabric of the eternity they could never have together.

    Theirs was a love that would persist by harming the very thing it had desired and been denied.

    A love that thrived by injuring eternity.

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    1. Birbana
      Feb 1, '23 at 8:31 am

      But she turned around because it was an unbreakable, unbendable and unavoidable law of the universe that, when Rarity called, Twilight Sparkle would always answer.

      There was no denying it, this was my breaking point

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