noun | con·stel·la·tion | \kän(t)-stə-ˈlā-shən\
1. A group of stars forming a recognizable pattern that is traditionally named after its apparent form or identified with a mythological figure.
Everyone else had gone up to their hotel rooms by the time Rarity had finished the drawing. They’d come outside, engaged the couple in conversation, and then excused themselves with the warning for the two women not to stay up for too long.
It was entrancing to see Rarity sketch, to witness her deliberate yet minutely calculated strokes as they traced across the paper to create an image. It didn’t help, either, to again notice and remember all the little details and quirks that made Rarity who she was. The little hum of satisfaction after a castle tower was complete; the gentle breath when she paused to admire her work; the soft harrumph of dissatisfaction when a curved line didn’t work out at the first try; the annoyed whining when it didn’t work out on the tenth try, mingled in with Twilight’s teasing giggling.
“Voila!” Rarity exclaimed, putting the pencil down and admiring her handiwork. She glanced up at the castle, then at her drawing, and nodded in satisfaction before leaning against Twilight, who was more than willing to indulge. “I’d ask what you think, but I already know you love it.”
Twilight rolled her eyes, but she did not deny what was ultimately the truth. A tentative arm slid over Rarity’s coat and around her waist, coaxing the woman to sit closer still, followed by Twilight rhythmically tapping the fingers of her free hand on the table. A flicker of magic emerged from her fingertips, crackles of the only physicality she’d had for a thousand years, and so was the drawing held in magic.
And yet, instead of levitating it over to admire, Twilight tapped her fingers on the table again, and when the magic vanished, she instead leaned in and took the paper in her hand.
To hold Rarity close and to physically grab the drawing were actions Twilight did consciously. She meant not to show a display of possessiveness—she would never allow herself that—but it was a conscious effort to feel again, to use the sense that she’d been deprived of for years untold.
She placed the drawing on the table in front of her and gently traced the thin carbon lines with her finger. The east tower, where she’d study in the winter; the south tower, where Celestia’s study could be found; and every other line that depicted a place from a life long gone.
She placed her fingertip at the bottom of the drawing and followed the outline of the castle.
“Are you nervous about tomorrow? About meeting Cadance?” Rarity softly asked, and her own finger found its place on the opposite side of the drawing. Much like Twilight, she traced the outline of the castle and it wasn’t until their fingers touched that Twilight spoke.
“Yes,” she confessed because to not do so would betray what she was constantly asking Rarity for—honesty. She should set the example, shouldn’t she, and it was easy when confessing to someone she trusted so wholly. “A little.”
Rarity laughed softly. “That’s what I thought.”
They stayed silent, Rarity resting against Twilight, and the world for a moment seemed at peace. The thought that such was the life that potentially awaited her was a heady one for Twilight. Rarity’s recent strange behaviours and off-and-on bouts of insecurities, they all seemed distant now, unproblematic, something that wasn’t as significant as Twilight previously thought. Maybe they would later, but in that moment, it was just them two and all the peace in the world.
And the cold, too.
Rarity shivered in Twilight’s embrace, and then she sighed. “I suppose we ought to head in,” she said. “Early morning tomorrow if we want to be at the castle in time. Spike should be halfway there by now, I expect.”
She disentangled herself from Twilight’s embrace by swinging her legs on the other side of the bench and standing up. Once she’d patted the dust away from her coat, she turned towards Twilight in a curiously playful fashion, like a ballerina twirling to her admiring crowd.
From her bench, Twilight took a moment to admire the young woman. Though her coat hid her shirt, tight-fitting je… jeans? Was that the name for them? Tight-fitting jeans shielded her legs from the cold. An odd thought, but she remembered when Rarity wore dresses of all colors and sizes, how she modeled them for Twilight, from long elegant ones to those shamefully short ones that both scandalized and delighted the Princess.
She remembered those dresses, and a pain in her chest arose at the fact that she’d not seen Rarity wear a single dress since their reunion after Discord’s Curse was broken, no clothing that could potentially reveal the… the marks the timberwolves had left on her.
“Are you planning on standing up, or would you like to keep admiring me for another minute?” Rarity teased, covering her mouth to laugh at Twilight’s blush.
“I wasn’t looking up at you,” Twilight quickly lied. “I was looking at the stars.”
Rarity looked up at the night sky, filled with stars and constellations, and Twilight wondered if she’d really fallen for her excuse. “Truly now? Well, It is a rather lovely night, isn’t it? All those sparkling stars…” she said before looking back down at Twilight with a cheeky grin. “I certainly can’t fault you for admiring the brightest one.”
Twilight’s flustered lack of response was enough for her, and she giggled with delight, returning her gaze to the stars. “Princess Luna taught me the names of the stars and constellations, you know? ”
“Really?” Twilight asked. “You can’t learn the Starswirl Decimal System, but you can learn the names of more than a hundred stars?”
“Some of them,” Rarity replied, looking back down towards Twilight and stepping back as the woman swung her legs around the bench. Once she had, Rarity offered her hand. “Would you like help, Your Highness?”
Twilight smiled back and lifted her hand, her fingers interlacing with Rarity’s and what an electrifying sensation it was. She’d been corporeal for only a few days, but every touch still sent shivers down her spine. Rarity gently pulled her arm and Twilight stood up, standing a little taller than the former.
With a gesture, Rarity levitated her pencil and the drawing over to them, the drawing rolling itself up before following the pencil and nestling itself inside her bag. Satisfied, she stepped forward, leading the way to the hotel.
Though it was a short and silent walk, Twilight was not bothered by the fact. She was focused almost completely on their interwoven hands, and how foreign and wonderful and simple it was. Her eyes flitted toward Rarity, and she wondered if she was thinking about it too. She probably wasn’t, was she?
Journey’s Repose was quiet when they stepped in, empty save for the woman reading a book behind the counter and the few tourists sitting by the lounge, talking in hushed voices. At the sight of the dozen or so keys hanging on the wall behind the employee, Twilight realized she didn’t actually know where she was supposed to be sleeping and, more importantly, with whom.
Her girlfriend too, it seemed, had come to the same realization, and Twilight’s hand felt the warmth vanish when Rarity let go of it.
“Twilight, I… Regarding our rooming…”
Twilight swallowed, finding little encouragement in Rarity’s hesitation to continue. She didn’t want to outright say she wanted to share a room, but she would have thought the fact that they did back in Carousel Boutique would have set the precedence.
“Yes…?” she prompted.
Rarity lifted her hand and grasped her necklace, clearly choosing her following words carefully.
“I took the liberty of booking a single room for the both of us,” she said, and her cheeks tinted red. “A single room with a single queen-sized bed, I should say, and I… Well, I wanted to make sure that’s alright with you. I can have it changed to separate beds if you’d prefer.”
There was a moment in which Twilight both exhaled the breath she’d been holding and then stared at Rarity as though she’d blurted out nonsense—which she had.
“Rarity,” Twilight said, playfully raising an eyebrow, “why would I prefer that?”
Rarity’s flush grew, and the woman crossed her arms. “Well—! I don’t know! I thought it was polite to ask, at the very least! Do forgive me for being considerate, Twilight!”
Twilight grinned. “Alright. I forgive you,” she said.
“My, how truly magnanimous of you. A paragon of benevolence, you are.”
“That’s high praise coming from an expert in the field,” Twilight replied, and what a winning sensation it was when Rarity’s unimpressed frown melted into a smitten, delighted smile.
Feeling emboldened, Twilight leaned in for a brief kiss which was eagerly reciprocated. When she pulled away, they finally made their way towards the stairs, and only a few steps in did she feel Rarity take her hand. She glanced to her side, biting down an endeared laugh at the sight of a very accomplished-looking Rarity.
As Rarity had said, their decently sized room held a single bed, large enough for both of them to sleep in comfortably without having to be cuddled together—unless they wanted to, which Twilight very much did, but that was beside the point. There was a separate bathroom too, and a small sofa over which Rarity had scattered her belongings.
Twilight herself didn’t actually, well, own many clothes, and those that she had were, as Rarity had put it, ‘fashionable only in an Ancient History museum, sweetheart’. As such, she’d been tearfully forced to put away her long dress and wear a tee-shirt and those jeans-garments instead.
“I have something for you,” Rarity said, striding past Twilight and towards her suitcase. “Something you might like a tad more than the night-gown that scandalized you so much.”
“It didn’t cover my legs at all!” Twilight protested. “It’s not decent!”
“And yet I can’t remember a single complaint from you when I wore it at sleepovers in the library,” Rarity noted without missing a beat. She took the clothes out of the bag and turned around to grin at the flushed woman. “My, what a telling silence indeed, Princess Twilight! At least I’m bold enough to freely confess I cherished every second of you wearing that gown.”
“Rarity!” Twilight gasped, barely catching the bundle of clothes thrown her way. She pressed them against her chest, as if that somehow protected her from Rarity’s forwardness.
Rarity giggled innocently, crossing her arms behind her back and tilting her head. “But, darling, I thought you wanted me to be more open with my thoughts!”
“Not these thoughts!”
“Oh? So, to be clear then, you’d rather I not tell you when I find myself attracted to your current look?” she asked.
“No, that’s not what I sa—! I mean—! Yes, I want—! But—!” She petered out at Rarity’s relentless giggling, which she quickly silenced with a flick of her wrist and a pillow being launched at her girlfriend.
“Oh, fine, fine, you absolute bore,” Rarity relented, taking the pillow that smacked her in the face and throwing it back on the bed. She turned around and rummaged in her bag for a bit before finally retrieving one more bundle of clothes and striding off, past Twilight and into the bathroom. “Let me know if they fit when you’re done changing.”
Rarity disappeared inside the bathroom, giving Twilight the privacy to sit on the edge of the bed and look at what revealed themselves to be sleeping clothes. Both trousers and shirt were made of flannel, tinted in different hues of purple. She turned the shirt around in her hands, and smiled at the sight of her very own Mage Mark decorating its sides.
“Well?!” Rarity called out. “Does it fit?”
“Just a minute!” Twilight called back, finally undressing herself and then putting on the sleepwear.
Though it was hardly a surprise considering Rarity’s vocation, the clothes were a near-perfect match. Not too tight, not too loose, warm enough to fight the cold, and definitely not as bulky and restrictive as the corset she’d been wearing for, well, ever.
“Twilight? Twilight, goodness, why are you taking so long?” Rarity asked again. There was a pause, followed by a giggle. “Darling, do I need to explain to you how to take a bra off again?”
“N-no!” Twilight quickly replied, mostly because she wanted to keep her new bra on, and definitely not because trying to take the damn thing off was so difficult. “I’m all done, now!”
Twilight sat down on the bed again, just in time for the bathroom door to open and Rarity step out, fluttering her eyelashes as she displayed the very same, very immodest nightgown they’d been talking about.
“A dreadful shame, but I seem to have only packed this nightgown!” Rarity said, brushing her hair back theatrically and sighing. “I do hope you can look past my impropriety, Twilight.”
Twilight didn’t immediately reply, mostly due to the fact her mind was far too busy taking in a sight that, much like breathing, she’d been deprived of for far too long. The cyan form-fitting gown hugged every curve on the woman’s body, leaving very little to the imagination. It went down and down, from her neck to her chest to her hips and then stopped a little after her thighs began, prominently displaying Rarity’s shapely legs.
And the scars, which Twilight had never actually properly seen until that very moment.
She didn’t know much about the timberwolf attack. In truth, she’d never wanted to know, because knowing the doctor said it was a miracle her leg hadn’t been chewed off already said more than she wanted to know or imagine.
Rarity’s left leg was mostly unscathed, but her right leg, however… Numerous teeth and scratch marks of all sizes and shapes marred her skin, still unhealed despite the passing of the years. Normal, ordinary scars would have faded already, but those scars…? Chaos magic never healed and never faded.
She couldn’t help but stare, analyze as she did everything else in her life, and it was through this very same analytical gaze that she saw patterns in the scars. It was an odd thought to be sure, but the more she stared, the more she felt some of them actually looked just like…
Her thought stopped and died, however, when her inquisitive gaze found its way to the three biggest offenders for Rarity’s sudden sense of modesty: three long and disfiguring claw marks, the result of the timberwolf’s attempt to get a good grip on his victim.
How large were they, Twilight wondered, noticing them disappear under the gown. Did they stop shortly after, or did they go up to Rarity’s waist and beyond?
What would it take for Twilight to heal them?
“I-in any case,” Rarity said suddenly, her previous confidence noticeably faded, and Twilight realized she’d probably been staring with an expression that did not denote pleasure. “Why do—”
“I wasn’t staring at the scars!” Twilight quickly said, wanting to reassure and restore Rarity’s confidence, yet failing spectacularly to do so when Rarity pointed out:
“Darling, if you hadn’t been staring, you wouldn’t have felt the need to defend yourself.”
“I… I didn’t mean to,” Twilight insisted, and felt slight relief when Rarity smiled lovingly.
“I know, sweetheart.” She stepped forward and gestured her finger in a circular motion. “Come now! Let’s have a look at your new outfit! No, Twilight, model it! Spin!” she insisted when Twilight simply stood up and, well, stood there.
Twilight humored her, spinning in place in a very awkward attempt to model the dress, Rarity’s approving nods staving off or increasing her embarrassment, she couldn’t quite tell.
“I already know you love it,” Rarity said when Twilight stopped, stepping forward and adjusting the hem of the shirt, “but just because I am so terribly vain, I’ll ask regardless. Do you like it? It’s getting colder, so I thought flannel might be a better choice of fabric.”
Twilight nodded, taking Rarity’s hands in hers. “I like it a lot,” she said, and once again feeling bold, teasingly added, “At least one of us is decently-dressed.”
There was a moment’s pause, in which she grinned at the other woman, who seemed torn between rolling her eyes or…
Or tilting her head with a curious expression.
“Oh?” Rarity said, letting go of Twilight’s hands so she could step forward and snake her arms around her neck. “Only one of us?”
Twilight giggled, snaking her own arms around Rarity’s waist, feeling a chill run down her spine at how close they were and how desperately she never wanted to let go.
“Yes,” she said, “only one of us.”
“Well then,” Rarity murmured, leaning in, so close one more inch would join their lips together, “we shall see whether that remains true for much longer, darling.”
Though Twilight’s oratory skills were rather ridiculously exceptional, they did on occasion fail her tremendously, as was the case then and there when Rarity’s statement elicited in her vivid mental images that did little else than draw a sharp breath of air and tighten her grip around Rarity’s hips.
Which Rarity noticed, of course.
“Now, dearest, don’t get too excited now,” she whispered, weaving her hand though Twilight’s hair, “I still have to finish packing.”
And, with that and a malicious giggle, she pushed herself away from the stunned Twilight, who could only stand there for a moment, lost in her imaginings, until her brain caught up.
“I’m not excited for anything!” she protested, only succeeding in doubling Rarity’s laughter.
“If you say so, Twilight,” she said in sing-song, moving towards her luggage and starting to organize its contents. After a moment, she spoke up again. “Rather than standing there admiring me, might I suggest you go to the bed and get ready?”
“Get ready?” Twilight asked in a gasp, her cheeks burning bright, covering her chest with her arms.
Rarity stopped her organizing and looked over her shoulder, eyebrows raised. “To sleep, Twilight. We have to wake up early,” she pointed out.
Twilight’s arms lowered. “Oh. Right. Sleep.”
She was not disappointed. She wasn’t.
Rarity turned back to her luggage, loudly murmuring, “Not excited for anything, she says. Reading books is dreadfully boring, she’ll say next.”
Knowing better than to continue a discussion she was swiftly being defeated at, Twilight did as instructed and climbed up on the bed, lying on her back and letting out a content breath. She watched Rarity pack for a moment before scanning the rest of the room, her inquisitive gaze landing on a book on the opposite nightstand.
She tapped her fingers on the covers and the book floated up into the air, levitating into her hands. It was a romance novel, she noticed, if the title was anything to go by. She opened it to the bookmarked page and read, trying to ascertain what she could from the information available.
“What’s this book about, Rarity?”
Rarity hummed, quickly glancing at her girlfriend and squinting at the book. “Thaaaat’s… Oh! Colors of Our Souls! It’s a rather interesting romance book,” she said, returning to her luggage and zipping it close. “It’s set in a universe where people only see in black and white until they meet their soulmate. It’s not an entirely novel concept, but the author works in a very interesting twist.”
Twilight blinked once, twice, thrice, closing the book and then hugging it to her chest.
“Soulmates? What do you mean?”
“What do I mean by soulmates?” Without explaining, Rarity finally made her way to the other side of the bed and lied down on her side next to Twilight. She bent her elbow on the bed, held up her head with the palm of her hand, and continued, “You know, destined to meet or to have an unbreakable bond and the like.” She winked down at Twilight. “Sounds rather familiar, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah,” Twilight replied without second thought, her eyes set on Rarity’s, only realizing she’d done so when Rarity’s smile broadened. Embarrassed, she looked up towards the ceiling, hoping to find a new subject of conversation but coming up terribly short—a fact which was not aided when Rarity lifted her free hand and brushed her fingers on Twilight’s stomach, leaving circular patterns on the shirt.
“It-It’s an interesting concept,” she said, trying hard not to focus on Rarity’s touch and shooting off instead on a ramble about the possible science behind such a universe, and yet…
And yet, the more she rambled on, the more her thoughts tried to pull her back to Rarity’s statement, to the idea that perhaps destiny had brought them together. What a strange concept, a universe where color only existed upon meeting your soulmate, and yet Twilight found she could oddly relate.
Hadn’t Rarity brought color to her life the moment she stepped into the library? Turned a horribly gray endless panorama into a vibrant, joyful one?
Twilight fell silent, drifting off in the middle of a sentence, her eyes fixed on the ceiling but her every other sense fixed on Rarity. The delicate fingers still traced designs on her stomach, from circles to lines to all sorts of shapes without form or reason, and it was as unbearably distracting and addicting as any other time they touched.
And, with a shameful blush, she found herself annoyed at the flannel barrier between them.
And, when Twilight turned to look at her, Rarity simply smiled in return and all Twilight could think about was the desire to kiss her.
Twilight continued to look at her, to be so aware of Rarity’s hand, of her fingers, of her lips and of how she could kiss her for hours and not have enough.
So, she said as much, the words tumbling out from her heart and not her mind.
“I want to kiss you,” she stated, and panic flooded her when Rarity’s smile faded, when her fingers froze on her stomach mid-circle.
And yet, before she could blurt out a hasty explanation, Rarity’s smile returned, her fingers resumed their affectionate trail, and the seamstress raised an eyebrow.
“Darling,” she said, “may I ask what’s stopping you?”
“I… I don’t know.”
Well, actually, she did know, but it was difficult to ask. There was the whole problem with Rarity needing time to ‘figure things out’, and out of their total four kisses since being able to kiss, only one of them had been initiated by Twilight herself, while the others had been initiated by Rarity. Statistically, this meant that Rarity would have already kissed her if she really wanted a kiss and—
“You don’t know?” Rarity asked after a moment, and Twilight finally voiced her doubt.
“Do you want to kiss me?” she asked, and Rarity did not miss a beat.
“I find it rather hard to stop myself from doing so constantly,” she replied as casually as one spoke of the weather, as nonchalantly as she used her fingers to smooth out the wrinkles on Twilight’s shirt.
And again, she simply stared with her soft smile, inviting eyes, gentle affections, and doing nothing else but waiting. There was a moment’s pause, but when Twilight took the book and set it beside her, Rarity bit down on her lip, cheeks turning a shade of pink entirely more ladylike than the red splotches decorating Twilight’s face.
Twilight finally moved in, turning onto her side and mirroring Rarity’s own pose, supporting herself with one arm while the other found its place atop Rarity’s hip. Hesitation again filled Twilight, finding that while all their other kisses thus far were spontaneous and improvised, this one…
“Well, Your Highness?” Rarity murmured, her free hand now finding its own spot on Twilight’s chest, the necklace brushing against her hand. “Do you still not know?”
“Rarity? Is something wrong?”
“Wh-Whatever do you mean?”
“Is it me? Is it because I’m back?”
“No! No, no, no! Twilight, dearest, never, absolutely not! Don’t even think that!”
“Then what’s wrong?”
“I… I don’t know.”
The painful memory was like a jolt, like a dagger through her chest, leaving her out of breath, forcing her to close her eyes, and she was ultimately unable to do as her heart wished. The memory that she’d hurt Rarity resurfaced, as did the fact that she still didn’t know or fully understand the magnitude of her actions. It ached in her chest, and much like memories tended to do, it brought with it many more.
Namely, her recent staring of Rarity’s legs and the plethora of scars upon it.
The guilt, that awful guilt that plagued her as long as she could remember, threatened to destroy what little progress she’d made in fighting back. The hand that had been holding her necklace moved, however, and now found itself stroking her cheek.
“Twilight, sweetheart, it’s all rig—”
“No,” Twilight cut off, taking Rarity’s hand in her own and putting it on the bed before sitting up and crossing her legs on the bed, balling her fists and staring at them. “No, it’s not.”
It was frustrating, actually. It was frustrating, and aggravating, and painful that everything had been going so well, and everything was fine, and then her… stupid guilt.
“Twilight,” Rarity repeated, her voice still soft, still caring, still gentle and it made Twilight even more aggravated that she couldn’t reciprocate a single kiss. She sat up straight and reached over, putting her hand on Twilight’s thigh. “Twilight, really, it’s fi—”
“I didn’t mean to stare at your scars,” she cut off helplessly, turning to look at her girlfriend. “I promise.”
“Sweetheart… Sweetest, darling, I know,” Rarity replied, moving closer and brushing back Twilight’s bangs. She glanced down at her naked leg, and a pained smile forced its way on her lips. “I can’t blame you. One can’t help but stare at ugly things.”
Indignation shot through Twilight, but not on her behalf but Rarity’s.
“They’re not ugly,” she protested, angered that Rarity would even use that word for anything relating to herself. “I wasn’t staring because of that, I was staring because some of them were arranged just like Monoceros.”
Rarity fixed her an owlish stare. “…Pardon?”
“Monoceros,” Twilight repeated.
“The… the constellation? The unicorn one?”
“Yes, the constellation. I—Wait.” She looked around, trying to find something to help her cause. “Do you have one of those modern quills?”
“Modern quills? Wha—? Oh! You mean a pen? Well, I…” Rarity similarly looked around, pointing to the desk on the other side of the room. “I don’t have a pen out, but I have some markers on the desk I was using earlier for a dress design…?”
Twilight craned her neck, locating the ‘markers’ and raising her hand, watching as they floated up and towards her. Once she had them in her grip—a black and a red one—she turned back to Rarity and, ignoring the woman’s surprised protest, grabbed her outstretched legs and placed them over her crossed ones.
“Twilight, what are y—Twilight Sparkle!” Rarity all but shrieked when Twilight nonchalantly moved the already short nightgown nearly all the way up her girlfriend’s leg, giving her a full view of every single scar. “Twilight! What are you doing!? And you call me indecent?!”
The Princess, however, couldn’t be bothered to care for propriety in that moment, trying to prove that she was actually staring because of patterns, not because it was ugly. She played with the black marker in her hand, diagramming the scars’s patterns in her mind. She reached over with her left hand, nearly touching a scar before stopping and turning to Rarity.
“Can I…?” she asked. “Or do they still hurt?”
“N-no, they don’t hurt,” Rarity said, her irritation fading away and giving in to the curiosity at Twilight’s actions. “You can touch them, though I don’t know why you would want to, or what this has to do with constellations.”
Twilight lowered her fingers, tracing the outline of one of the smaller teeth marks. She could hear and see Rarity scowl with disapproval, but truthfully, she didn’t find herself in any way repulsed by the scars. Everyone had scars, didn’t they?
She traced her fingers over them, like tracing a path on a map, until she finally spotted what she wanted: six smaller scars below Rarity’s knee. No sooner had she done so, the marker lost its cap, and Twilight deftly joined the scars together with seven long lines.
“There!” she exclaimed, putting the cap back on the marker. “See?”
Rarity leaned forwards, eyes growing wide. “Goodness, you’re right! It does look like it!” She leaned back, arching an eyebrow at Twilight. “Impressive recovery.”
“I’m not lying!” Twilight replied, offended that Rarity thought she would be. “I would never lie about this… I just…” She petered out, the frustration again clawing its way up. “I really wanted to kiss you, but… Ugh.”
“We have all the time in the world for that,” Rarity soothed, yet Twilight felt anything but soothed. Not that Rarity seemed to notice, for she continued to speak. “Regardless, I’m still impressed you managed to make out a constellation from these…things. Do you see any other?”
Twilight looked down at the scars and again tenderly brushed her fingertips across the dips and bumps scattered all over,the rough bruises colliding with silky smooth skin. She could feel Rarity watching her, the earlier disdain having left and replaced with… curiosity, maybe? Comfort now that she’d been shown beyond the shadow of a doubt that Twilight was fascinated by all of her? Twilight hoped so, at least.
She furrowed her brow, biting down on her lip and…
“Here.” The marker again lost its cap, and Twilight joined six scars into the shape of a kite, which she proudly announced as, “An Ursa Minor!”
Rarity leaned in again, tracing her finger over the ink, the ghost of a smile on her lips.
“Shall I try?” she asked.
Twilight was more than happy to oblige, handing her the marker and watching with vested interest as Rarity, perhaps for the first time in a long time, observed and not loathed her battle marks. As she did so, Twilight returned her hand to Rarity’s lower thigh, brushing her fingers without rhyme or reason, smiling when Rarity chastised her for purposefully covering the scars she’d been looking at.
Finally, she lowered the marker, joining together five scars of varying shapes into a mildly deformed star.
“It’s not perfect,” she said, leaning back and capping off the marker as she admired her handiwork, “but there it is.”
Twilight frowned at the design, trying and failing miserably to recognize which constellation it was supposed to be.
“Is this a modern constellation?”
Rarity nodded with severity. “Yes, it’s a somewhat modern one, but it is also one of the most important ones. It’s supposed to resemble the mage mark of someone.” She paused for a fraction of a second before clearing her throat and announcing it as: “Princess Twilight Sparkle,” she said and grinned, “The Princess in the Library.”
Twilight found it exceptionally difficult not to burst out in smitten laughter, trying very hard to remain composed as she nodded her head. “Oh? I think I actually have heard about that one, but my books say it’s not nearly as important as…”
She drifted off, taking the marker from Rarity’s hand and getting back to work. It took her nearly a minute, but she finally saw what she needed and joined four scars into the shape of a slightly crooked diamond.
“Rarity the Diamond, known for her great historic adventures,” she announced, her heart swelling with warmth at Rarity’s unrestrained delight, a fantastic grin decorating her lips.
“Her great historic adventures,” she purred. “How fascinating.”
“Have you heard of them?”
Rarity brushed a hand through her hair. “I thiiiiink I might have? It certainly does ring some bells here and there,” she mused, looking up at the ceiling in thought. “In fact…” She looked back down, gesturing for the marker and licking her lips when Twilight handed it over. She examined her leg, awkwardly trying to turn it over, before finally using a long scar and three others to form an S-shaped symbol.
Twilight narrowed her eyes, trying to make out its inspiration, and feeling her stomach drop when it reminded her of Discord. Wanting to believe Rarity wouldn’t try and represent him there, she turned to her girlfriend with a hopeful gaze.
“A snake…?” she ventured.
Rarity shook her head. “Close, but not quite,” she said, taking the red marker and drawing around the black lines, allowing Twilight to watch as the shape of a vaguely familiar dragon appeared.
Rarity nodded excitedly, capping off the marker. “Spike, the waiting dragon.”
Twilight took the black marker next, mentally reviewing her life with Rarity, and leaned in to draw on the soft parchment, joining scars into forming a horizontal eight-figure. She then switched to the red marker, adding in the details of an owl’s face.
“The Guiding Owl,” she named it, as Rarity took the black marker and let out an awkward laugh as she tried to somehow comfortably draw on the side of her upper thigh.
Twilight blinked at a near perfect rectangle with a single marker-made dot in the middle. “…The lost books?” she asked.
Rarity affected a mischievous smile. “No,” she corrected, fluttering her eyelashes. “The Painful Bookcase.”
“Rarity!” Twilight protested, shamed. Was she ever going to actually live that down?! “It’s been three years! Get over it!” She looked away. “You know what? Maybe we should go to bed.”
Rarity’s horrified gasp was soon followed by shameless giggles. “Twiliiiiight, darling, don’t be like that! I was only teasing,” she pleaded, pawing at Twilight’s necklace. “Darling, dearest, sweetheart, I shall sleep miserably if you’re upset with me! However shall I find comfort in the starry night if the brightest star has shunned me from its light?”
Twilight turned to her. “I thought you were the brightest star.”
“Lucky for you I’ve generously decided to share the spotlight, then,” Rarity replied.
Twilight laughed, taking the marker from Rarity’s hand and looking down at the canvas before her. Very little space remained, nearly all the scars having been used for their very own designs.
“We’re missing one,” she said.
“We are, aren’t we?”
Twilight scanned the leg, finally finding her mark and drawing two parallel lines over the remaining scars, one shorter than the other.
The last constellation.
Without Twilight having to explain or name or say anything, Rarity took the red marker and drew the outline of the two necklaces that stood as physical and magical testament that some bonds burned as brightly as the stars themselves.
Silence settled itself in the room, the two lovers admiring their handiwork. Twilight arms found repose on Rarity’s uninjured leg, her fingers gently brushing up and down Rarity’s thigh, memorizing every single aspect of it, from how soft it was, to how warm, to wondering whether the rest of Rarity would feel that way when and if she was ever allowed to find out.
A sharp intake of breath from Rarity caught her attention, and she was concerned to find tears bordering her girlfriend’s eyes.
“Ra-Rarity?” Twilight asked with alarm, squeezing on Rarity’s leg. “Rarity, what’s wrong?”
Rarity shook her head. “Nothing, nothing!” she quickly said, wiping her tears away with her hand before hiding her eyes away with that very same hand. “I don’t know why I’m crying. It’s simply just… This… The scars, and then your constellations and…”
“And what?” Twilight pressed, unsure of whether to come close or give her space.
“And I missed you so much,” Rarity finally said, her voice cracking, her fiber of her being clearly trying to keep it together. “I missed this, and you, and your silly ideas, and I missed you so much, Twilight, it wa—”
“Rarity?” Twilight softly cut off.
Rarity froze at the sound of Twilight’s voice. She did not reply for what seemed like an eternity, simply sat there waiting for Twilight to speak, until it must have been too much and she took her hand away, revealing her tear-stricken face.
There wasn’t any hesitation in her actions, nothing to worry about and everything to gain as Twilight leaned in to kiss her. The markers and stars and constellations and tears were forgotten as the kiss deepened, both women for the first time finally giving in to the need that had built up during three years of being physically apart.
“Tw-Twilight,” Rarity whispered in a ragged, flustered breath when they broke apart, one hand tugging at Twilight’s shirt while the other grasped her necklace. “I… Would you want…”
“Yes,” Twilight said breathlessly, because a thousand years deprived of tact had made Rarity’s physical affection an addiction she was willing and desperate to lose herself in. Twilight reached out to her girlfriend’s necklace, mirroring the other woman. “And you want to—?”
“Yes, yes, please,” Rarity interrupted, her eyes still closed, her face an entirely unladylike shade of red. “Please, before I lose my nerve.”
Twilight let out a shaky laugh, Rarity’s nervousness somehow relaxing her, helping her take the reigns. It was fascinating to think about it and to see it. This woman, who’d made a dragon lord do her bidding, who’d confronted the Spirit of Chaos, who’d done so much in exchange for so little, and here she was, wracked by nerves and fear?
The brightest star, unaware of how brightly she shone.
“Lose your nerve?” she teased, gently freeing her legs from under Rarity’s before moving closer, pressing her forehead against Rarity’s, her heart hammering in her chest. “There’s nothing to be nervous about.”
“Oh, yes there is,” Rarity replied. “There is entirely too much to be nervous about.”
“But why?” Twilight asked, leaning in, her lips inches away as she again pressed her hand atop Rarity’s necklace. “It’s just me.”
“It’s just me,” Rarity repeated, putting her hand on Twilight’s. “‘It’s just me’, whispered my world entire.”
Twilight joined their lips again, guiding herself on top of the other woman, the sensation of Rarity’s fingers burying into her hair as indescribable as she’d imagined it for so long. As indescribable and electric as when Rarity’s hand slipped under the shirt, tugging at the bra’s hook, pleading for one last permission that Twilight gave the moment her fingers glowed with magic and the bedroom lights dimmed.
A yawn filled the air, loud and long, followed by an annoyed groan.
“It’s six in the morning,” Rainbow Dash complained, standing in the middle of the hotel’s lobby, the cup of coffee in her hand clearly failing to do its job if her sour mood and bags under her eyes were any indication. “How the heck are you so awake?”
Twilight blinked once, twice, thrice at her, the only of the three currently reunited women besides Applejack to look and feel vividly awake.
Twilight faltered. “Uh, well…”
Fluttershy giggled. “That’s because Princess Twilight and Rarity actually went to bed early instead of staying up reading Daring Do, didn’t you, Princess?”
Again, Twilight hesitated with her reply, mostly because though they technically had gone to bed early. Actually falling asleep was another story altogether. In truth, considering she was running on about two hours of sleep, she should be feeling much like Rainbow looked, but the adrenaline and endorphins that shot through her every time she remembered her and Rarity’s activities was proving to be a great energy boost.
“I bet it’s your magic,” Rainbow accused, narrowing her eyes. “Some waking-up spell. It’s not fair.”
“Why are you complainin’?” Applejack asked, crossing her arms. “You have magic too.”
Rainbow Dash snorted. “Oh, come on, wing magic isn’t the same as what Twilight has,” she said, stomping her foot on the floor and summoning two cyan magic-based wings behind her back. “These things won’t magically wake me up.”
Applejack rolled her eyes. “Sweet sugar apples, an’ you used to be the Captain of the Wonderbolts?” She looked around and gestured towards a little girl playing jump rope near her mother. “Why don’t you ask her to lend you her rope an’ see if that wakes you up?”
“Exercise is a good source of energy, actually,” Twilight chimed in. “You’ll feel better after it.”
“You know what’ll make me feel better? Rarity getting here instead of taking her sweet time getting ready,” she said. “We’re going to miss the train up the mountain at this rate, unless we leave without her!”
“Hold your horses, Dash, we ain’t leavin’ nobody behind,” Applejack said, looking past the group and towards the hotel stairs. She waved at someone, before calling out, “Well, aren’t you lookin’ pretty as an apple!”
Twilight turned around, unwilling to hide her unrestrained grin at the sight of Rarity in a simple but beautiful short blue dress, walking towards them with a smile that matched Twilight’s as she rolled her suitcase behind her. Her legs had been washed away of nearly all traces of ink, save for two very special lines that stood out amongst the scars.
Twilight stepped forward, extending her hand and feeling a warmth spread through her chest when Rarity increased her pace, taking Twilight’s hand in hers as she joined the others.
“Good morning,” she greeted brightly. She directed Rainbow a cheeky smile. “I’m only fashionably late, I hope?”
“Putting the word fashionably in front of every bad thing you do doesn’t make it better, Rares,” Rainbow pointed out.
“Twilight thinks it does,” she replied, then turning to her girlfriend and fluttering her eyelashes. “Do you not?”
“No, I don’t,” she replied, laughing at Rarity’s dramatic whine and resisting the urge to pull Rarity closer towards her.
“Well, Fluttershy does! Don’t you, darling?” she asked, again gasping in betrayal when Fluttershy elected to remain silent. “Betrayed! By my best friend, and my lover alike!” She leaned into Twilight, placing the back of her free hand on her forehead and their intertwined hands over her chest. “Whatever has the world come to?”
Her reply, however, did not come from any of her friends, but from a small curious voice.
Twilight looked down, finding the little girl from before hovering nearby, her jump-rope in hand as she looked to Rarity and then down to her leg with a face of fascinated disgust.
“Why’s your leg have so many scratches?”
For a fraction of a second, Rarity’s grip on Twilight’s hand tightened, and Twilight instinctively wrapped her free hand around the woman’s waist in a show of support. She opened her mouth to speak, to try and salvage whatever situation might have been brought about, but—
“They’re not scratches,” Rarity said. “They’re stars and comets.”
“Stars and comets?” the little girl and Rainbow said.
“Yes,” Rarity replied without a hint of hesitation and winning smile. “You can even make out constellations with them!”
“Constellations?” The girl cocked her head to the side, drawing a laugh out of the women when she elaborated with, “Like the star-thingies?”
“Exactly like the star-thingies. Twilight showed me yesterday,” Rarity said, detaching herself from Twilight and kneeling to the girl’s eye level. She reached into her suitcase’s outside pocket and took out a blue marker before turning back to the child. “Here, would you like me to show you?”
The girl nodded, watching alongside Applejack and Rainbow Dash as Rarity drew on her own leg, excitedly explaining the different designs they’d come up with the night before.
“Thank you, Princess Twilight,” Fluttershy said, looking at Rarity with a warm smile.
“It’s no problem. I just showed her what she’s still teaching me.”
Fluttershy blinked. “What do you mean? What is she still teaching you?”
Twilight fell silent, grasping her necklace for a moment before speaking up.
“That scars don’t heal if you hide them.”