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    I.

    This is a story about soulmates. 

    …No, that’s not accurate, is it? No, this is a story about the concept of soulmates. 

    It is a story about destiny, traveling to far-off lands, meeting and knowing yourself, about silly dates and silly thoughts, and, like any good story, it starts with moi. 

    Or, more specifically, an alternate universe version of myself. Apparently, there’s more than one. 

    This is a disaster! A disaster, I tell you!”

    Though Rarity’s—the human me’sscream echoed throughout the school’s hallways, not a single person batted an eyelash. This was par for the course, especially so for Rainbow Dash, who, it seems, has to deal with my theatrics in every universe. 

    “Rares,” she said, leaning against a desk and crossing her arms. “You say that about everything.”

    “I mean it this time!” Rarity protested, stamping her foot on the floor before resuming her frantic pacing around the empty classroom. “How could Coco do this to me?! Getting sick the day of the Diva Mode?!”

    Rainbow blinked. “The what? Oh. That fashion thing we’re going to.”

    “Not just any fashion thing, Rainbow! The fashion thing of the year! Everybody who’s anybody in the industry is going to be there, and Coco calls in sick?! How could she do this to me?!”

    “Just close the shop, then,” Rainbow said, clearly having no idea whatsoever about what that entailed. Another thing she shared with her counterpart from my universe. 

    “Close the shop?!” Rarity gasped. “Darling, are you mad?! The day of the Diva Mode?!”

    “…Yeah? It’s not like you’re going to have clients. Aren’t people going to be at this Diva thing, anyway?”

    Rarity scoffed. “Obviously not. Only people with limited tickets—like us—will be there. The rest who couldn’t get tickets drown their woes by buying clothes. Clothes that I now have no one to sell!”

    “Why not get someone else, then?” Rainbow suggested. “Why not Pinkie? Selling clothes can’t be that different from selling cupcakes.”

    Rarity blinked at her. 

    “Rainbow, I love you dearly, but that is the most offensive thing you’ve said this week. And regardless! Even if they were the same thing, I can’t ask Pinkie! She already has a rendezvous with Twilight that day, and honestly the only other person besides Coco that I trust the shop with is myself.”

    Defeated, she fell back onto a chair and buried her face in her hands, resigning herself to her fate until Rainbow spoke up.

    “I mean… Why don’t you ask her, then?”

    Rarity looked up, frowning. “Ask who?”

    “Yourself. Literally.” At Rarity’s expression, she elaborated. “Like, the you from Twilight’s universe. Princess Twilight.”

    A long silence followed in which Rarity contemplated Rainbow before launching herself off the chair and running out into the hallway, her screams echoing throughout the school. 

    “SUNSET! I NEED YOU!”

    And now this is where I come in. 


    II. 

    “There is simply no other way, Twilight,” I read aloud, sitting on my throne and staring down at this hoofwriting that certainly seemed like my own. “You simply must convince Rarity to help me. You must. Please let me know as soon as you can so I can return the book to Sunset. Love, Rarity.”

    “Aren’t you excited?!” asked Spike when I finished, sitting opposite of me on his throne and stuffing some dreadfully greasy fried treats into his mouth. “You’re going to the human world! It’s a lot of fun!”

    “Spike, darling, dearest, how do I put this delicately? You turned into a dog.”

    “Yeah! Isn’t that awesome?!” 

    I smiled thinly. 

    “…’Awesome’. Yes. Turning into a dog. Absolutely.” 

    “Rarity.”

    I glanced away from Spike and to the alicorn sitting beside him, offering me a lopsided amused smile that matched her arched eyebrow. This was The Look, you see? The one reserved for when she thought I was silly. Which I wasn’t, by the way. 

    “What?” I asked and then spoke up again when she raised an eyebrow. “What! Darling, I’m sorry I’m not excited about potentially turning into a dog!”

    “You won’t,” she replied. “If you’d read my notes on the portal, you would know that.”

    “It was ninety pages long!” I put the letter down on the table-map-thing and levitated said ninety pages. “And I’ll have you know I did in fact read them.” At her stare, I amended my statement. “All right, all right! I skimmed them, but still!”

    “Rarity, I thought you wanted to help,” she pointed out.

    “I did! I do, but…” I petered out into a whine and levitated the book back to me. I’d been excited a few days ago, yes, but now that it was here, well… “I don’t even know why I’m so nervous.”

    “Spike,” Twilight said after a pause, turning to him. “Can you go see if Starlight is done getting everything ready?”

    “Sure thing! …After I go to the kitchen first,” he said, jumping off the throne and walking off with his bowl still full of food. Once he was gone, I turned to Twilight and found her smiling conspiratorially at me. 

    “…You didn’t really need him to go check, did you?” 

    “Nope. So, why do you really not want to go?”

    “Dearest, I just told you! I don’t know.”

    “Alright, alright.” She bit down on her lip, her ears pressing against her head as they did when she was deep in thought. “Okay. Think of it like this. This is to help the other you, right?”

    “Yes.”

    “Right! So, there’s no need to be nervous becauuuuse…” Her gentle smile twisted into a smirk. “Aren’t you all about loving yourself?”

    I blinked, unimpressed. “Twilight, I resent the implications of that.”

    She cocked her head to the side. “Am I wrong, though?” she asked, and when she giggled, I couldn’t help a smile. 

    “…No, you’re not, I suppose.”

    “You’ll see, it’ll be fun,” she promised me, as if her lab hadn’t nearly exploded the last time she swore to do something fun. “We just have to take care of her shop for the day! I’ll be there! It’ll be fine.”

    “I don’t knooooow, darling,” I said at length, in part because I was still nervous, but mostly because teasing her was my hobby. “It’s a tall order, and it’s not really my shop, and I don’t know what’s trendy in that universe, and what if their fashion sense is awful, and so many other excuses I could list like—”

    “Rarity.” She teleported herself in front of me and propped her forelegs upon the throne, trapping me in place. She then displayed how much time she’d been spending with me by tilting her head to the side and perfectly imitating my puppy-eyed look. “For me?”

    I snorted. “Da-a-a-rling, come now. Trying to use my own lines against me? I thought you were more creative than that.” 

    “I know.” She leaned in. “In all fairness, you can’t improve on perfection,” she said, which damn her, immediately had me giggling in delight. I might have almost waved my hoof and said “Twiiilight, stop iiiiiit~!” if she hadn’t started speaking up again. “So. Are you ready to go?” 

    “Yes,” I relented. “I suppose I am.”

    Honestly, it should have been fine. Twilight seemed to have everything prepared, and I couldn’t deny there was some thrill to meeting my other-self. And Twilight’s other-self. And maybe going on a double date together? 

    Unless they weren’t together yet, in which case… Twilight and I could be the perfect wingmares and set them up! Oh ho ho ho! 

    Before I could suggest the idea to her, Twilight rudely teleported to the other side of the room, peering out the door and into the hallway. “Starlight!” she bellowed. “We’re ready to go!”

    “What?!” Starlight called back. “Really?! She didn’t back out?! Wow!”

    “I know! I thought she would, too!” 

    “You know what?” I muttered. “I think I’ve changed my mind.”

    “I’ll get everything ready, then!” 

    “Thank you!” Victorious, Twilight turned to me with an almost manic grin. “See you in ten minutes at the mirror,” she instructed before disappearing in another teleportation flash. 

    One, two, three seconds went by before I slid down on my throne, levitated the book over and read my other self’s letter for the last time. 

    “Oh Rarity,” I said, “what have we gotten ourselves into?”


    III. 

    The Crystal Mirror stood before me, tall and imposing and surrounded by a plethora of scientific and magical contraptions I only vaguely understood. Twilight had explained once how the entire thing worked, back when she’d first made it, but if I may be honest, I can’t for the life of me remember a shred of it. It didn’t help that she spoke so fast one could barely keep up. 

    “Sooooo,” said Starlight, standing beside me as Twilight did sextuple checks on the machinery, “are you excited?”

    “Cautiously so.”

    “It’ll be fine, Rarity,” she reassured me. “Twilight wouldn’t make you do anything she didn’t consider safe.”

    “I wouldn’t,” agreed Twilight, even though she had. Many times. Many, many times. Last week, in fact, but I digress. She reached for a nearby book, looked it over and after a moment closed it and turned to us. “Okay, I think we’re good to go.”

    I furrowed my brow. “You think? Twilight, I do dearly love you, but I am not stepping into that thing as long as you simply think it’s ‘good to go’. Need I remind you what happened during one of the last times you tried to use this? The entire getting-stuck-in-a-space-loop-for-three-days affair?”

    She faltered. “Well. Yes. I did get stuck in a loop once, and technically it was a time loop that actually only felt like three days in Equestria, but was actually twenty days for me, ten of which I spent in a really interesting wasteland near—”

    “Uh, Twilight?” Starlight, bless her, interrupted, the only one to have noticed my horrified expression. “Maybe you can save that for after you’ve crossed?”

    “Please,” I added, stricken. 

    Twilight smiled, giving me A Look. “Rarity. Do you trust me?”

    I smiled. “Oh, darling, of course. Just, allow me one last thing, won’t you?” I drew myself up, standing tall and proud before turning to Starlight. “Starlight,” I said severely, “should this somehow take a turn for the worse, I am appointing you as the executor of my last will and testament, which goes as follows. Carousel Boutique, I leave to my beloved sist—” Raspberry magic cut my last will and testament short, enveloping me and turning me away from Starlight and towards the mirror. “Twilight!” 

    “Are you done?” Twilight asked, raising an eyebrow.

    “Am I being too much?” 

    “A little bit.” 

    “But you still love me?” 

    “Yes, I do.”

    I sighed theatrically and looked away. “Very well, then. I suppose I shall have to do the unthinkable and take this seriously if only so I may reap the glorious reward of making you happy.” 

    “I’ll go first, okay?” Twilight said, letting go of me and stepping up to the mirror. “So I can be there for you on the other side.” 

    I hesitated. “Shouldn’t we go in together?” I asked, to which Twilight only offered a coy smile. 

    “No. If we go in together, how am I going to catch you in my forelegs?” she teased, and my! I could hardly stop myself from giggling like a schoolfilly, my tail swishing behind me. 

    “Twi-light Spar-kle, are you actually being romantic?” I matched her grin with one of my own. “Darling, dearest, are you quite sure we aren’t already in an alternate universe?” When she rolled her eyes at me, I giggled. “Ah. Nevermind. You’re still you.” 

    “And you’re a silly pony.”

    “Am I? Dear me, it must be the influence of the company I keep!” I fluttered my eyelashes, tilting my head ever so slightly. “It would seem that perhaps you, my dear Princess, are the silly pony here.” 

    She stepped up to me, amused. “Oh? Is that a fact, Rarity?” 

    “It most certainly is, Twilight,” I replied, stepping forward as well, “and I gather you love facts, do you not?” I blew her a kiss. “Among other thi—” 

    “AH-HEM,” Starlight interrupted, not even bothering with actually clearing her throat and instead raising an eyebrow at us. “I want to say get a room, but in this case, maybe I should say get a universe instead?”

    Twilight coughed, cheeks bright red. “Right.”

    “After you, Twilight?” I asked, pointedly ignoring the grinning Starlight. 

    “After me,” she repeated with a firm nod, offering me one last smile before turning around, crossing into the other world, and disappearing into the mirror without a trace. 

    Unfortunately for me, she didn’t bother to explain the process so all I could do was imitate her and hope things went well. I stepped up to the mirror and admired my reflection for a moment—one last good look before I turned into a dog, probably—and then I inched my hoof towards the glass, gasping when it rippled and distorted like water as soon as I touched it. 

    “Well then,” I said decisively, steeling myself. “I shall be seeing you this evening, Starlight.” 

    “Okay! Have fun!” Starlight called from behind me. 

    I took another step towards the mirror, closed my eyes, took a breath and thought of what Twilight said.

    “Rarity. Do you trust me?” 

    And I did, for better or worse. 

    Hopefully better, but we know how these things go, do we not? 


    IV. 

    I’m trying to find the words to describe the sensation of traveling across universes, and well, to say it was unpleasant would be a vast understatement. It was like being compressed and then released, then twisted until feeling ill was no longer an apt description of one’s state of mind.

    After what felt like an eternity, I propelled forwards, stumbling with a panicked yelp and closing my eyes as I braced for impact. 

    Except, impact never came. 

    Instead, something caught me and when said something spoke up, I never imagined I’d be so immensely relieved to hear Twilight’s voice. 

    “Rarity?” she ventured, her initial concern melting into a soft laugh. Slowly, she guided me down to what felt like solid ground and then said, “Rarity, it’s okay to open your eyes. We did it.” 

    “Are you sure I don’t look like some sort of hideous beast?” I asked, eyes still closed tightly shut. 

    “I’m sure,” Twilight replied. “Just open your eyes and… err…” 

    “And? And?” 

    There was an apparent hesitation in Twilight’s voice.

    “And don’t scream, okay?” she said, to which I logically replied by screaming. 

    “Oh no! I do look like a hideous beast!” I screeched, clutching Twilight tightly with… with… with something that did not feel like hooves at all. 

    “No, Rari—” 

    You look like a hideous beast!” 

    No!”

    “And my hooves feel so odd, and— Twilight!” 

    “Rarity, just open your eyes! It’ll be fine!”

    Needless to say, things weren’t fine, and in fact, when I opened my eyes and stared at this bizarre creature that may or may not be my marefriend, it took all my energy not to yelp in horror. 

    “Twilight!” I whispered urgently, transfixed by both fascination and horror. Twilight’s alternate form in a photograph was one thing, but seeing it in the flesh was quite another. “You—! You look—!” My sentence petered out into a strangled whine and a haphazard gesture which only served to bring attention to my hooves… or lack thereof. 

    “And these—!” I whispered, opening and closing my ten new slender appendages. They all moved independently! And they had no fur! And—! “Look at my hooves!”

    Hands,” Twilight corrected, smiling brightly as she knelt before me and took one of my hands in hers. She then pointed to my backhooves, tucked inside a… honestly, a rather appealing pair of shoes, and said, “And those are feet.”

    “Darling, I do know what hands and feet are,” I replied, hotly. 

    Twilight laughed. “I’m just making sure!” She cleared her throat and looked around. “Anyway! Welcome to Canterlot High.”

    For the first time since I’d arrived, I finally took a good look at my surroundings and found the place didn’t actually look altogether different from Equestria. The monument we were sitting in front of reminded me of ones I’d seen in Canterlot, and even the building in the distance had strikingly similar architecture to ones I’d seen back home. 

    The only different thing were the creatures walking about, which I could think of no other way to describe them save for… furless… vaguely…monkey-looking… creatures of all shapes and colors. 

    “My stars!” I whispered, looking at two girls as they walked by. “It’s the…whatever their name was!”

    “Humans.”

    “The humans!” I furrowed my brow and wrinkled my nose. “They’re so—! So…”

    “Interesting?” Twilight ventured excitedly, and I bit my lip. 

    “…Well, admittedly, I was thinking of a rather stronger word, but yes, let’s go with that.” Another gaggle of teenagers walked by, and now that I’d acclimated to their species, my attention was drawn towards something entirely more vital. “They’re all wearing clothes! And cute outfits, too!” I looked myself and Twilight over, the two of us wearing rather fetching shirts and skirts. “Goodness, and so are we!” 

    “We are!” Twilight tapped her chin and hummed. “I’m still trying to understand exactly how the mirror magic works, but so far it seems like it doesn’t just change our physical body, but it also takes into account what we’ll need to blend into the new environment. Though, it’s not perfect. It is fall, and I don’t think short skirts and blouses are, uh, the best for this weather.”

    I nodded, fascinated. “I see! Is there some sort of event going on, then?”

    Twilight blinked. “An event?”

    “Yes? Why else would we all be wearing clothes?”

    Twilight stared at me a moment before an absolutely shameless smile appeared on her lips. 

    “What?” I asked, suspicious. 

    “Oh, nothing!” she said casually, shrugging her shoulders. “I guess I forgot to tell you that humans always wear clothes.”

    My eyes widened. “Always?”

    Twilight nodded. “Yes. In fact…” Her smile went from shameless to sinful. “It’s actually illegal to not wear clothes in public here.”

    “Illegal?!”

    Very illegal.”

    I leaned back on the monument, a hand on her chest. “Oh my…”

    “I bet you like this universe a lot more now, don’t you?”

    “If by that you mean considering moving my business to a universe that will actually appreciate it, then yes, I do,” I said, drawing a laugh out of her. I looked around, taking in the view of creatures who appreciated my craft, and then turned back to her. “Well! Now that we’re here, what shall we—” I cut myself off, thrown off by the, shall we say, intense stare Twilight was giving me. “…Is something wrong?”

    And so her intensity melted away into a shining warmth. 

    “No. I’m just excited you’re here,” she said sincerely, kneeling down and regaling me with a gorgeous smile. She then, unfortunately, leaned in for a kiss, but said kiss was quickly thwarted when I raised my hand to stop her. Thrown, her eyes flickered between my outstretched hand and me. “Uhm…?”

    “Ah, sorry, dear, I—” I stumbled over my words, hoping a reassuring smile would alleviate the impact of my next few words. “I think I still need just a little more time to, ah, appreciate your new charming appearance before you shower me with kisses.” 

    A delightful shade of red colored her cheeks. 

    “Right! Yes!” she blurted out, moving back and jumping up to a standing position. “Sorry.” 

    “Don’t be sorry, dear.” I winked. “I assure you it’s my loss.”

    Amused, she extended her hand down towards me. “Come on. We should get going.”

    I grabbed her hand, our fingers interlacing as she pulled me up. Her warning of taking my time fell on deaf ears, however, as I thrust myself up and was thus rewarded with a great wave of dizzying nausea. I tumbled forwards, gripping onto her for support and then groaning. 

    “I told you not to get up too fast!” she chastised, helping me sit back down and later frowning as I buried my face in my hands and continued to groan. “You need water.” She got back up and looked around. “I’ll be right back.”

    “What?” I asked with a start, looking up to her. “Wait, where are you going?”

    “To buy you a bottle of water.”

    Wait!” I gasped, grasping her leg with my hands. “You can’t just leave me here!”

    “I promise I won’t be long,” she tried to reassure me, leaning down and prying her leg from my hands. “Stay here and wait for me.”

    “But Twilight!” I whined as she took several steps back. I looked around at the humans and whispered loudly, “What if they try talking to me?!”

    “Then you talk back,” she replied, amused by my horror. She leaned down, grabbed my shoulder and squeezed it. “I won’t be long, okay?”

    That said, she turned around and rushed away, leaving me to fend for myself in this unfamiliar new world. 

    Having no other choice but to wait for her to come back, I sat next to the monument and awkwardly waved back at the many teenagers who waved at me, doubtless assuming I was the Rarity from their universe. If I may be honest with you, I’ll admit I felt a hint of pride at how popular I seemed to be! Which, mind you, wasn’t surprising at all since I was fabulous in any universe, but I digress. 

    “Hiya, Rarity!”

    I turned away from the girls I was looking at and noticed a strikingly familiar human was addressing me in an equally strikingly familiar voice. It was her brilliant pink mane—hair, sorry—that sealed the deal. 

    “My stars… Pinkie?” 

    “That’s me!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed. “And you’re Rarity!”

    I didn’t quite know what to say. In fact, I didn’t know if I ought to speak at all, but this was Pinkie—or some version of her, at least—and if she was the same as my own Pinkie back home, then… 

    “Darling,” I said, my ongoing nausea still very much present. “This isn’t a good time to talk. I’m feeling a little under the weather.”

    “Oh no!” Pinkie pressed the palm of her hands to her cheeks. “Is it because you went through the portal?!”

    “Yes, I belie—” I cut myself short. How did she know? Wasn’t that bad? A danger to the space-time-continuum or something of the sort? “…Pardon me? Portal? I’m sure I have no idea what you mean.

    “Yes, you do, silly! What?” She crossed her arms behind her back. “Did’ja think I couldn’t tell the difference between you and this universe’s Rarity? Besides, Princess Twilight told me you were coming today to help Rarity!”

    Oh! Well, if Twilight had approved… 

    “Ah, yes, I am.” I held up my hand and smiled. “Well, it’s lovely to meet you, then, Pinkie.”

    Pinkie giggled. “Meet me? We’ve already met, silly!” 

    I frowned. “I really don’t think we have.”

    “Yes, we did! We hung out at your house and you levitated me up and down! Remember?!”

    As it turned out, I did remember the very strange day a Pinkie Pie barged into my boutique and excitedly requested to be levitated up, down, sideways, and diagonally. At the time, I’d chalked it up to Pinkie being Pinkie.

    I supposed I hadn’t been wrong.

    Ah.

    “Rarity! Pinkie!” 

    Blissful relief washed over me at the voice of my favorite pony-turned-human, only for said relief to quickly evaporate when I realized the voice belonged to a young woman that was absolutely not Twilight Sparkle, Princess of Equestria, Element of Magic and Owner of my Heart. 

    Were those glasses? And they looked cute!

    “Twilight!” Pinkie exclaimed, waving to… Not Twilight? Human Twilight? That sounded so… speciesist? Oh, this would be a problem. Glasses, maybe? “Hi!”

    “Hello,” said Glasses, pushing up said glasses and blinking at me. “Uhm. Why are you sitting on the floor? Aren’t you supposed to be finishing an outfit for the sports team?”

    I didn’t quite know what to say to her. She really was nearly identical to Twilight, except for perhaps her tied-up hair which was a refreshing change of pace, the glasses, and the fact that… well… she was a teenager in high school. 

    Despite this, I’ll admit my heart was aflutter. In every universe and every age, my Twilight was charming. Was it strange that I couldn’t wait to see how adorable she and my human-self were together? 

    “I… Well…” 

    “Well?” Glasses asked.

    “Twilight, this is Rarity,” Pinkie explained, gesturing to me. 

    Glasses turned to me, raising her eyebrow in a very Twilight-sort-of-way and giggling. “Really? I couldn’t tell.” She turned to me, smiling playfully. “It’s nice to meet you, Rarity.”

    “Darling, the pleasure is entirely mine,” I replied, offering her my most charming grin, reserved only for her. Well, the other her, but you understand. 

    Weirdly enough, my charm hadn’t much of an effect on her. “I’ve also been looking for you, Pinkie,” she continued, turning to the girl. So we weren’t yet dating in this universe, then? Matchmakers it was! “Missus Beaker agreed to help me with an assignment so I might stay a little later after school.” 

    Pinkie reached out to grab Glasses’ hand and interlaced their fingers together, nodding as she did so. 

    I thought nothing of it. 

    “That’s fine with me! I don’t mind waiting.”

    “All right,” said Glasses. “I should go before I’m late to class.” She then turned to me, excited. “Do you know when Princess Twilight is bringing your other self? I’m really interested in meeting her.”

    I grinned. “Are you? In that case, as I said before…” I raised my hand for a hoofshake. Handshake. “A pleasure making your acquaintance.”

    Her eyes went wide. 

    Wait. You’re the other Rarity?! she said, just as a piercing ringing filled the air and all the teenagers around them rushed to the school. Glasses threw a painful look towards the school and then back to me. “No, no, no! I have so many questions! Wait, wait.” She took off her backpack and retrieved a pad of documents, handing it to me alongside a pen. “Here! I wrote down the questions I had. Can you please fill them out?!”

    I flipped the pages over, aghast. “But—! There’s over fifty questions here! Dear stars, you really are Twi—” I looked up only to find her already running away. “Wait! Glasses! I mean, Twilight, wait!” When she did not turn back, I looked down at the legal pad. “Well then.”

    “Isn’t she great?!” Pinkie asked, her grin wide. 

    “I’m sure she is, dear. It would seem Twilight is wonderful in every universe.”

    Pinkie nodded effusively. “Right! Aren’t we super lucky to be dating them?!”

    I…

    Well, I froze. 

    “Pardon me? ‘We’?”

    When she nodded, I was forced to ask the unthinkable. 

    “You… Wait. You’re dating Twilight?

    Pinkie giggled, crossing her arms behind her back. “Yep! My Twilight, at least. And I love her so much! She gives the best kisses, and best hugs, and best everything.”

    Oh. 

    She peered down at me. “Didn’t your Twilight tell you?”

    I swallowed the lump now present in my throat. “Ah… No! It would seem not!” I closed my eyes and pressed a hand against my forehead, suddenly unwell. Oh, oh, oh. Oh dear me. 

    “Rarity?” she asked, kneeling, concern awash on her face. “Are you okay?”

    “Yes, yes!” I quickly said, gesturing her away. Needing distance. “Just a tad dizzy, dear. Give me a minute, won’t you?”

    Twilight—the other Twilight—was dating Pinkie Pie. 

    I was… Frankly, I didn’t know how to feel. I’d never even considered that. It had never even occurred to me that Twilight could be dating someone other than me because I… Well, I assumed we would be together in every universe.

    “Rarity! Pinkie!”

    Just as before, the voice of a Twilight Sparkle rang out, and it was with some measure of relief that I looked up to find it was my Twilight, holding a bottle of water in her hand. She still had a look of concern, especially when she saw my less than enthused expression. 

    “Hi, Twilight!” Pinkie exclaimed, her brow knitted with concern. “Rarity isn’t feeling well!”

    “Hi, Pinkie. I know, thank you.” She hugged her friend quickly before turning her attention back to me, kneeling. “Hey,” she said, the softness of her voice and her smile practically melting my unease away. 

    I offered her a weak but still dashing smile. “Hi.”

    “How did it go talking with the humans?”

    “Oh, you know me. Dazzled them and all that.”

    She giggled, and I loved her. She then unscrewed the cap off the bottle and offered it to me. “Here. Drink this. It’ll help.” 

    I nodded and stared at the bottle. 

    Twilight stared at the bottle. Then at me. 

    I frowned. 

    “Rarity,” she said, giggling. “You don’t have magic here, silly. Remember?”

    Oh. Right. Yes. I cleared my throat, taking the bottle with my hand. Which still felt odd, by the way. “Thank you.”

    As I drank, Twilight stood up and turned to Pinkie. 

    “Wait. Shouldn’t you be in class?”

    Pinkie’s eyes widened. “…Oopsie! See you later, Twilight!” She hugged Twilight and then leaned down towards me. “May I hug you, too?” she asked in a comically loud whisper, only to squee in excitement when I nodded. She leaned in to wrap me in a warm hug. “See you later, Rarity!” 

    Once she’d run off, Twilight kneeled in front of me again. “Feeling better?”

    “Somewhat, yes.” I capped the bottle. “You just missed your other self.”

    “Oh! Did I? Hm. I was hoping I’d be here when you met one of the girls. I suppose I’ll see her later.” She took the bottle from my hand and opened it up. “What did you think of her?”

    “She seemed nice. She had glasses and a ponytail, and both looked rather fetching, I thought,” I said, watching as she drank. I licked my lips and then carefully said, “She’s also, ah, dating Pinkie Pie, apparently?”

    She didn’t choke at what I said, no, but she took a much longer sip of water than usual, her eyes set on mine. She handed me back the bottle when she finished. 

    “…They are. I was going to tell you before you met them, but, well. Anyway, they are!” She hesitated a moment. “Sorry I didn’t tell you before. I just… don’t care about romance. Unless it’s with you! But not about other ponies. People. Unless we’re talking scientifically, because it’s interesting to see how human courtship is different from pony courtship, but it’s weird when it’s… us. Not us. The other us. But still us. But—” She cleared her throat, embarrassed. “Anyway.” 

    I smiled. “Anyway,” I repeated, taking several ladylike gulps of water. 

    “Sorry.” She grimaced. “I don’t know. It was a little strange for me at first? But they seem happy, and that’s what matters. Though, since we’re on the subject, I…” She rubbed the back of her neck and then delicately said, “I should let you know that the other you is dating Rainbow Dash.”

    I spat my water out, the poor dear yelping and covering herself with her arms. 

    “I’m what?!”

    “Rarity!”

    Rainbow Dash?!”

    “Yes, Rarity,” she replied, for some reason laughing. “Rainbow Dash.”

    “But—! What? But—Rainbow? Really?” I didn’t even know what to say. Rainbow Dash? And Me? Dating? Clearly, we had to be a new couple. I couldn’t imagine dating Rainbow Dash for more than three months, at most. And that was stretching it. No offense to dear Rainbow, of course. “For how long have they been dating?”

    Twilight hummed. “I thiiink… almost two years?” 

    Two years?!

    Well. Well, well, well. I drank more water. All of it, I think. Two years! With Rainbow Dash. 

    Once I was done, I capped the bottle and carefully asked, “How come you never told me this before?” 

    “Like I said, it never came up. And I guess I never thought it was important.”

    “That the other me is dating Rainbow Dash?”

    “Is it that weird?” she asked, curious. “Your other self and Rainbow?”

    Though I noticed her attempt to change the topic, I indulged her if only because now I was interested in examining a potential relationship with Rainbow. 

    “I… Well… I don’t know. I’ve never considered Rainbow Dash that way, but I suppose I’ve always admired her tenacity and ambition. She also has a frightfully wonderful sense of humor.”

    Twilight nodded. “She’s confident, too.”

    “Mhm. That’s always attractive. I suppose I can see it working. It’s interesting to think about, I’ll admit.”

    “Isn’t it?” she asked, excited. “This universe has so many differences from ours! I could write an entire research report on how things work here and how they came to be in contrast to Equestria.”

     I bit down on my lip. “Oh, dear. I’m not going to be able to not think about this when I see Rainbow tomorrow for tea. Does she know?”

    Twilight smirked. “No, and don’t tell her, or else her ego will be through the roof of the castle.”

    “As if it isn’t already, darling,” I replied, and when she laughed, I felt better, and when I smiled, it was sincere. “So! Your human self is dating Pinkie, and my human self is dating Rainbow Dash. Imagine that.”

    “Yes,” Twilight said, and she leaned in to kiss my forehead. “And they’re both missing out because we’re dating each other.” That said, she stood up and offered me her hand. “Come on. I told Rarity we’d be meeting with her at around this time.” 


    V. 

    I’ve always considered myself excellent at adapting to new situations, but as it turned out, walking on two hooves—feet, rather—was difficult. Thankfully, Twilight was patient with me, indulging me when I asked if she could hold my hand until I felt less dizzy. She complied, thankfully not laughing as I waddled alongside like a foal only just learning to walk. 

    As we traversed the school hallways, I questioned her on this universe. For example, I asked why it seemed no pony was worried or concerned that there were two Rarities and Twilights walking around school. She answered that everyone there had probably seen stranger things by that point, which really led me to question the kind of education humans had. 

    “What about our appearances?” I asked next, trying to blend in with the humans around us. Unfortunately, by then, Twilight was no longer helping me hold my balance, which gave way to the detestable impulse to hang my hands in front of my chest like some sort of kangaroo. “Why are we teenagers? I am an adult, thank you very much! Is the portal implying something? I am very mature.” 

    Twilight snorted very rudely. “Mhm.”

    “I am!”

    “Okay, Miss-Refuse-To-Go-To-A-Gala-Because-Blueblood-Was-There.”

    “That was one time!”

    “Right. Though, on a more serious note, I’m not actually sure why. Time definitely passes differently in this dimension than it does in ours, and that’s not counting the fact that time is different within the space between dimensions. I’d like to run tests, but I don’t want to risk being stuck in another time loop again.”

    I looked around at the kids walking beside us, some of them throwing odd glances our way. “I can’t say I miss any of this,” I admitted. “Puberty was horrid. Just thinking about going through it again makes me want to drink. Oooooh! I’ve never tasted human alcohol! We should try some!” 

    “We can’t,” Twilight said, coming to a stop in front of a closed door. “We’re underage in this universe, remember? No one would sell it to us. I know because Rainbow Dash already asked me to try, and it didn’t work.”

    I was taken aback. “It didn’t work? Does that you mean you actually tried to get them alcohol illegally?” I gasped, lightly batting at her with my hand. “Twilight, you scoundrel!”

    “W-what?! I was just curious! I wasn’t going to actually buy it! Although…” She smiled coyly. “I did get this world’s Big Mac to buy some wine in anticipation for today and leave it at Rarity’s. I was thinking we could have a picnic at the park tonight after we finish at the shop.”

    I frowned. “But we look like teenagers. Won’t we get arrested if we’re seen drinking?”

    Twilight waved me off. “Already taken care of. I asked him to pour the wine into grape juice containers.”

    “Ooooooh! Illegal drinking in a new world! I admit that sounds exciting,” I said, giggling. “And a park date sounds lovely, darling.”

    “Good!” Her pleased smile quickly turned mischievous. “And speaking of lovely sounding things…” She cleared her throat and raised her hand, balling it into a fist. She smiled. “Get ready.”

    “Get ready?” I looked to the door and saw a sign that warned outsiders to ‘not interrupt under any circumstance whatsoever period.’ I frowned. “Get ready for what?”

    “For you.”

    Without giving me a chance to react, she knocked on the door three times, and I will admit it was more than surreal when I heard my very own voice bellow back. 

    “Stars above! I have a sign! Why does no one read the sign?!”

    Not even a moment later, the door swung open and who did I see but my spitting image, her hair a frazzled mess, and her burning glare hidden behind a familiar pair of red glasses. 

    What! What is it? I have three uniforms to fini—”

    Her sentence ended in a choke, shortly thereafter followed by a second of silence as she took me in, which itself was followed by her yelping and slamming the door shut in our faces. 

    “She’s just nervous,” Twilight apologized on her behalf. 

    “I mean, she is meeting me. Who wouldn’t be nervous, dearest?”

    Just as Twilight regaled me with a silly smile, I heard what distinctly sounded like Rainbow Dash. 

    “…Did you just shut the door in her face?” 

    “She looks just like me!” Rarity gasped. “Exactly like me! She was like my long-lost twin!” 

    “Rares, chill.”

    “Chill? Chill?! Have you even met me? Because, let me tell you, I just met myself! Do you understand how strange that is?! How bizarre?! What do I even say to her?!”

    “Look, calm down, okay! Let me go and see.”

    The door opened, and Rainbow Dash stepped out, closing the door behind her. 

    “Geez, sorry about tha…” Her voice faded off the moment she saw me, her hand still gripping the doorknob. “Oh, wow.” She scanned me over several times. “Holy cow.”

    I offered her a dashing smile. “Why, hello there.”

    Certainly, I did not expect what came next. 

    Having been roused by her stupor, she blinked at me twice before leaning against the frame of the door, crossing her arms, and then giving me a lazy, admittedly charming grin. “Hey there, hot stuff.

    Rainbow!” Twilight gasped, grabbing my hand protectively while I processed what had just happened. 

    “Oh, God. Sorry!” 

    “Sorry? Darling, dearest, whyever for? I am absolutely hot stuff.” I leaned in. “Do tell me more”

    I’ll admit I laughed when her reaction was to turn around, open the door and rush inside, slamming the door shut in our face. 

     “Ohhhhh, fridge.”

    “Did you just FLIRT with her?!”

    “No! Well, maybe? I don’t know! She’s hot, and you’re hot, and she said hello in the same way you do before our dates, and I don’t know what happened to me!”

    “You also kind of flirted back,” Twilight pointed out.

    “What? No, darling, I was being charming. Absolutely different things.”

    “And she flirted with me too, sorta!” Rainbow continued, which Twilight followed by giving me a pointed stare. 

    “No, she was being charming! Totally different things!” 

    “See?” I said with a giggle, my beloved looking torn between wanting to wag her finger at me in disapproval or join in my giggling. 

    The door opened a few moments later, and we were both greeted yet again by my human-self. She’d brushed her hair, her glasses were off, and though nerves were still plain on her face, she looked much more composed than she’d earlier seemed and sounded. 

    My own nerves arose once again. 

    “Hello,” she said at length, and it was very strange. She smiled politely. “I’m terribly sorry about that.”

    “No need to be, darling.”

    “I admit that’ll take some getting used to.” She moved to the side, gesturing us in. “Please do come in!”

    “After you, hot stuff,” Twilight said to me with a little bow, which succeeded in making not one, but two Rarities blush. A new universal record, no doubt.

    “Twilight, dear,” I heard Rarity whisper behind me, “please, never do that again. This is weird enough.”

    “Rainbow did it!”

    “Rainbow is Rainbow.”

    “Touché.”

    From what I could gather, Rarity had re-appropriated a classroom to use as a makeshift work studio. Before we’d even properly introduced ourselves, I was already moving on to the next step. 

    “May I look around?” I asked.

    “Of course, please, please! Be my guest!” Rarity said confidently, only for her hands to betray her when she rubbed her arm, half-hugging herself. It oddly reminded me of when Twilight wrapped herself in her wings before a big lecture. “Let me know if you have any questions.”

    While Twilight took the chance to catch up with the young teens, I busied myself with taking everything in. The types of fabrics she used, scattered all over the place in comfortingly familiar chaos. I took a minute to study the patterns spread on the tables, finding that human clothing was not that different from pony clothing in some respect. 

    What really caught my attention—beyond the clothes themselves, but we’ll get to them in a minute—were the sketches and designs pasted all over the walls. I… How do I put this? The designs and illustrations were fabulous, yes, and very creative, but that’s not what was striking about them. What was striking about them was that they looked like something I’d drawn but could not imagine myself drawing. Not because they were bad, or something I disliked, but because they felt… not me. 

    Does that make sense? 

    They were me, but not quite. 

    Rainbow walked up to me, her arms crossed behind her back. 

    “Rainbow,” I whispered when she arrived, “here to flirt with me again, I take it?”

    “What? No!” she whispered back, her initial defensiveness ebbing away when I gently laughed. She rubbed the back of her neck. “…Sorry about that, by the way.”

    “Nothing to be sorry about, dear.”

    “So, what’d ya’ think? Great, huh?” she asked next, looking to the drawing of a chapeau I was observing. A hint of pride soaked her words, which warmed my heart. And admittedly made me miss my own Rainbow Dash. “Fancy and stuff!”

    “It’s very good, yes,” I said in earnest. “I love her use of colors, and there’s a refreshing boldness in her designs. Very creative.” I gestured to a design of a yellow-suit with some sort of magical helmet… Or rather, electric, in this universe’s case. “Very experimental, too. Certainly different from how I do things. I’m much more, ah, classic?”

    “Oh, huh. I figured you’d kinda be the same as her.” She glanced briefly towards Rarity and Twilight—the former doing a poor job of hiding how anxious she was over our ongoing conversation—and then whispered, “Okay. Be real with me. Who’s the better designer?”

    “What? Between me and Rarity?” At her nod, I frowned. “Rainbow, dear. Neither is better. We’re simply different.”

    She shrugged. “Yeah, yeah, you’re right.” A pause. “…But if you had to pick, who would you—”

    “So! How are we doing?”

    I turned around to find my human-self besides me, a certain nervousness very present in her voice. 

    “Oh, we’re doing splendidly,” I said, politely, watching with the corner of my eye as Twilight joined my side. “Rainbow and I were just agreeing on how lovely and creative your designs are.”

    “Super creative,” Rainbow added proudly, taking Rarity’s hand. 

    Rarity offered her a smitten smile and then kissed her, which I’ll admit was incredibly strange. And also oddly cute? It also made me think of kissing Rainbow Dash myself which was very weird but not as off-putting as I expected it to be, which was concerning in ways I’d have to ponder about later. 

    Rarity then turned to me, grateful. “Oh, wonderful! I’m so glad you think so. I’ve only had my shop for a year or so, so I’m trying to stand out, as it were. Speaking of which!” She walked over to a desk, put on her glasses, and grabbed a piece of paper. “Why don’t we make sure we’re all set for tonight?”

    “Alright, then.”

    “Now,” she said, “Rainbow and I need to be at the event at—”

    “Four-thirty,” Twilight interrupted. 

    “Right, yes! A friend will be handling the shop until—”

    “Five-fifteen,” Twilight, again, interrupted, “which is when we’ll take over.”

    “My darling,” I chastised, “let her speak, for goodness’ sake.”

    A bright blush tinted her cheeks. “Sorry.”

    “Oh no, it’s perfectly alright! Don’t be sorry, Twilight,” Rarity quickly said. “I’m glad you know the schedule so well. Makes things faster.” She cleared her throat, and again, the nerves returned as she turned to me. “Now, this was all so short notice, I wasn’t able to get your work history from Twilight. She tells me you do commissions?”

    I faltered. “Yes, I suppose you could say that.”

    “Oh, splendid! Good, good. What about shops? Do you have any experience working at a shop?”

    I couldn’t help a laugh. “Well! I should hope so, considering I have my own line of fashion stores.”

    Rarity stared at me for a moment. 

    Then, she spoke in the softest voice I’d ever heard myself use: 

    “Your what?” 

    “…My own line of fashion stores, of course! My flagship store is in Ponyville, but I have two larger stores in Manehattan and Canterlot, and the grand opening of my Tall Tale shop is next week.”

    “There’s also the grand Princess gala,” Twilight helpfully added, and now it was her turn to sound proud. “She’s designing the dresses of all five princesses. Well, four princesses, and my niece.”

    “…You’re designing dresses for princesses?” Rarity asked carefully, her voice still a whisper. 

    Rainbow snorted. “What, like, horse prince—” She frowned at Rarity’s hand on her mouth. 

    “You design clothes for royals?” Rarity restated, pressing the paper against her chest. “For grand galas?” 

    “I do!” 

    I swear to you the following is true. This teenager looked at me, and then with great awe whispered: “I’m perfect.”

    I blinked. Not because she was wrong, which she wasn’t, but because that was a bit unexpected. “Pardon?”

    Immediately, her words caught up with her brain. “Oh, sorry, no, you’re perfect!” she blurted out, which made the poor dear even more embarrassed when I smiled dashingly at her. “Or, rather, I meant, this is perfect! Perfectly perfect! We’re all perfect!” she said, in an admittedly quite comical high-pitch. “Well, in any case!”

    “Anyway,” Twilight added, helpfully. 

    “Regardless,” I said, also very helpfully. 

    “Yep,” Rainbow said, presumably wanting to feel included. 

    In any case,” Rarity exclaimed, the three of us sharing an amused smile at the poor dear’s shame. “I think we’re all set, then! You two can explore the school or the city, if you’d like. Oh, and Twilight, I left your binders inside the first drawer of my workshop desk.” 

    “Oh, great. Thanks!”

    “Wait,” I interrupted, frowning. “That’s it? We’re done?”

    Rarity nodded. “There’s still more we could discuss, but I must confess I’m worried.”

    “Worried? Whatever about?”

    “Well.” She offered me an insolently charming grin. “I must confess, the more I learn about you, the more I try to devise a way to convince you to leave Equestria and live here as my mentor.” She took hold of my hand and turned to Twilight. “Twilight, I’m so sorry, I just learned the true meaning of loving yourself, which means you need to break up with her so she has a reason to stay here forever.”

    Twilight laughed, playfully extracting my hand from Rarity’s grip. “Mmm. I’ll think about it.”

    Twilight!” I gasped. 

    “Sweet!” Rainbow exclaimed. “I’ll have two girlfriends!”

    “Rainbow!” two Rarities gasped. 


    VI. 

    As it turned out, we still had some time before I was scheduled to open Rarity’s boutique, which gave me ample time to finish answering all those questions Glasses had thrown my way. 

    In fact, it was Glasses and Pinkie who we saw again just as we were leaving school, the two of them engaged in some kind of animated conversation. 

    “I can’t believe how much she looks like you,” I whispered to Twilight, the two of us watching them from afar.

    “I mean, she is literally me.”

    “I suppose.”

    We continued to watch, and… 

    And I couldn’t help but notice Glasses’ expression as Pinkie rambled on about something or other. It’s hard to describe. Or, rather, it’s easy to describe but hard for me to do so at the time. 

    As Pinkie spoke, Glasses… or, well, Twilight looked smitten beyond measure. Her right hand was pressed over her chest, her lips were turned into a silly smile, and her eyes shone with obvious deep affection. 

    Twilight Sparkle was in love with Pinkie Pie. 

    This was a fact. As true and real as the sky is blue, the grass is green, and the sun is yellow. 

    It was strange. It was. And it was, and I did not want to admit it yet, nor to even confront it, it was disconcerting. 

    As I said before, when I first landed in this universe, I’d assumed the human Twilight was dating the human me. It had never occurred to me that this wouldn’t be the case, because, as I said, I simply assumed Twilight Sparkle and I were destined to be together regardless of the circumstances and the universe. 

    We were soulmates, I thought. 

    “Rarity?”

    Snapped from my reveries, I looked around to find my Twilight peering at me with a slight frown of concern. 

    “Y-Yes?” 

    “Is everything okay?” 

    “Of course!” I exclaimed, pushing away my thoughts lest they turn more unpleasant than they already were. “I was just thinking, is all. Were you saying something?”

    “…No,” she replied, her frown remaining for a moment before it softened and she pointedly asked: “Anything you want to talk about?”

    “No,” I replied, glancing back towards the other couple. “It’s just interesting to see how, ah, things diverge from universe to universe.” I smiled innocently. “Apparently, your good taste in romantic partners is not a universal constant.”

    Twilight laughed, rolling her eyes. “Right.” She then took my hand and led me towards Glasses and Pinkie. “Come on.” 

    “Hey girls!” Pinkie greeted, waving enthusiastically our way. 

    “Ooooh! Is that my book?” Glasses asked, eyeing it. She cleared her throat, pushed up her glasses, and politely asked, “Did you manage to go through the questions?”

    “Yes,” I replied, amused. I handed the notebook over, which she swiped with excitement that bordered on being rude. “All of them.”

    Twilight grinned. “I made sure she didn’t skip any,” she informed, ever the teacher’s pet. Or, in this case, the oneself’s pet? 

    “Are you two headed to Rarity’s shop?” Pinkie asked. 

    Twilight shook her head. “No, we still have a bit more time. Are you two doing anything fun?”

    There was a momentary pause in which Glasses and Pinkie looked at each other mischievously. 

    “Well,” Glasses said, “Pinkie’s about to help me with a science experiment in the lab.”

    I didn’t even have to look at Twilight to know her eyes were sparkling. Personally, at the time, I didn’t quite feel like doing Science, but seeing as Twilight was already asking questions, I was quickly resigning myself to the fact that I likely wouldn’t have a choice. 

    Which I didn’t, quickly finding myself being dragged back into the school and towards the laboratories. 

    And then… And then…

    I…

    I wish I could tell you what happened next in detail. Really, I do. 

    But, even now, I struggle just to think about it—it was that… not bad, per se, but… that shocking

    How do I put this? Witnessing Pinkie and the human Twilight Sparkle interacting…

    It forced me to watch the painfully electric chemistry between a different-but-fundamentally-similar version of the love of my life and someone who was not me. I had to sit there, smiling thinly, as Pinkie Pie and Twilight exchanged loving remarks and jokes and jabs while becoming painfully aware of just how… in-the-know Pinkie was of all the science I was always painfully incompetent at understanding. 

    As I saw Pinkie almost gleefully volunteering herself to be her Twilight’s guinea pig, I was shamefully reminded of all the times I’d chided my Twilight for trying to rope me into her experiments. 

    As I heard Pinkie rattle off scientific terms as easily as if they were baking terms, all of which I’d heard before from my Twilight, I felt silly and stupid and uneducated and awful at the fact that I understood absolutely none of them—and, up until that point, had never even tried to be informed on them.

    And, finally, as the other Twilight thanked Pinkie for all her help with a loving kiss and smitten smile, all I could think about was how I couldn’t be bothered to read the portal notes Twilight had carefully and lovingly prepared for me. 

    One always wonders about the what-ifs of relationships. It’s inevitable. The momentary pondering of… are we meant to be? And my accursed nature as a hopeless romantic was to believe that Twilight and I were inevitable in every universe, because in every universe we were meant for each other. 

    And, let me tell you, for all the self-confidence one might have in the world—which in my case I thought was immense—there is nothing quite as shattering as not only being told that no, you are not in fact universally meant for each other, but being brutally slammed with a damning example of the idea that maybe, actually, you might be better off with someone else. 


    VII. 

    If Twilight knew something was wrong with me, she didn’t let it on.

    Our little Science Adventure ran a bit too long, which thankfully meant I could mask my anxiety as stress at being late to my obligations at the shop. 

    The shop itself was honestly rather familiar. Comforting in spite—or, more likely, because—of the odd sense of dejá-vu. 

    “What do you think?” Twilight asked, getting to work on organizing the shop for the day. 

    “I like it!” I replied, earnestly trying to stay on the lighter side of things. “It feels like the Boutique in some ways, and different in others.” I turned to Twilight. “You? Any thoughts?”

    Twilight shrugged. “It’s fine.” She grinned. “I do like your boutique better, though.”

    “Oh? Do you?” I fluttered my eyelashes, for a moment forgetting my worries. It was just her and me and nothing else. “Is it because you’ve filled every empty spot with books?”

    “Maybe…” She tilted her head, arching an eyebrow playfully. “And maybe one day you’ll actually read some of them and understand what I’m saying when I ramble instead of politely nodding at me.”

    And just like that, the moment was gone. I looked away from Twilight and towards the clothes I had to sell.

    “Mhm,” she said, and nothing more. 

    If before Twilight hadn’t noticed my sour mood, now she likely had. 

    “Rarity?” she asked, sounding worried. “Everything all right?”

    “Mmmmhm!” I replied, walking behind the counter and focusing on the buttons. “Just trying to focus, dear, sorry.”

    “…Okay,” she said in the tone of voice I knew meant she was unconvinced but not willing to press. Instead, she walked over to the counter and leaned on it. “So! What do you want me to do?”

    “Nothing,” I said, politely. Frankly, I felt like being alone for a bit. “Why don’t you relax?”

    “But I want to help!” Twilight exclaimed, her eager tone only succeeding in making me feel worse. Look at how happy she was to help me, and again I was plagued by the idea that I struggled so much to get into her interests. 

    Stars. 

    “It’s fine,” I insisted, curt. And then felt badly about it, looking up and smiling as honestly as I could. “Really. Rarity trusted me to do the job for a reason.” My voice faltered without meaning to. “It’s what I know, after all.” 

    Twilight paused. 

    And then conceded. 

    “All right,” she said softly, ever so forsakenly softly and gently. She reached out and squeezed my hand—because of course she would—and said, “Let me know if you need me, okay?”

    “I will.” I forced myself to regain my composure, shooing her off with a gesture. “Now, go! I’m sure she has some books around here. Or… Or whatever Rainbow Dash does to entertain herself.”

    Twilight playfully rolled her eyes. “Ooooh. Time to practice my soccer passes.”

    “Please don’t,” I replied, mustering the energy to match my beloved’s tone. “With your motor skills, you might break a window.”

    Hey!”


    VIII.

    To my other self’s future pleasure, the shop was as busy as she’d prepared me for. We sold out of virtually all the clothes she’d left for us by closing time, except for one or two pieces I anonymously purchased for myself. 

    Twilight kept to herself most of the time, only interrupting me to assist with a customer or ask what I’d like to eat. Nothing else beyond that, except for a few times I caught her looking at me with concern, or reading over the binders Rarity gave her earlier, whatever they were. 

    Stars! What if they’re science binders, and this world’s Rarity actually read them?! 

    What if I was the WORST of the Rarities?! Could I exile myself to another dimension? But, oh God, what if Twilight was dating, I don’t know, Zephyr Breeze? What if I was dating Zephyr Breeze? Or Blueblood?!

    I take it back—that Rarity was clearly the worst one of the Rarities. 

    And yet, funnily enough, that didn’t hurt as much as the idea of Twilight dating somepony else. 

    “Rarity!”

    Blinking, I awoke from my reverie to find Twilight standing next to the front door, her eyes set on me. 

    “Pardon?”

    Twilight frowned. “We can’t close up the shop if you’re standing there daydreaming,” she playfully chastised. 

    I shook my head, embarrassed. “Right, yes.” I stepped away from the counter, grabbing some of the leftover hangers. 

    I made my way to the backroom to put away the clothes, opening a cabinet only to feel my heart drop at the sight of a picture stuck on the door. 

    I reached over and brushed my fingers on it, my eyes burning holes into the four women on a double date. On the other Rarity laughing in Rainbow Dash’s arm, the two watching Pinkie and… Twilight wiping cake off each other’s faces.

    I didn’t even hear my Twilight walking in. 

    “Rarity.” Her tone betrayed her. “What’s wrong?”

    I closed the door. “Nothing.” I looked at her, and she gave me The Look. The damned, stupid Look that she gave me because she knew me inside and out. “Nothing. Really. Now, let’s finish up so we can leave and have our picnic.”

    I tried walking past her, but she took my hand in hers. 

    “Rarity.”

    I huffed, annoyed. “Twilight, I told you—”

    “It’s because of the dating, isn’t it?” Twilight asked. Not exactly annoyed or angry, but… resigned. Like she expected it. “Because Rarity is dating Rainbow, and Twilight is dating Pinkie.”

    No,” I lied, too ashamed to admit it even though I knew she knew. I gave her my most incredulous stare. “Please, Twilight, what am I? A silly teenager who believes in fairytales?” I pushed past her, forcing my way to the counter to arrange papers or something. “Obviously,” I continued forcefully, “I don’t believe we’d be together in every universe.” My voice softened. “That would be silly.”

    The longest pause in the world followed. 

    “Yes,” Twilight replied. Carefully. “It would.”

    I spun around, aghast. “Excuse me? What do you mean ‘it would’?!”

    She kept her cool, completely unfazed. She had the audacity to raise her eyebrow at me. “I thought you didn’t care about that?”

    The nerve of her! 

    “Of course I care!” I exclaimed, throwing my hands up in the air. “How can I not care?! What does this mean?! For us?! Did you see the chemistry between you and Pinkie?” 

    “I did, yes,” Twilight replied, calmly, and that galled me even more. 

    “And?” I pressed. 

    “And what?” Twilight asked. “They had chemistry. That’s why they’re dating. It would be bad if they were dating and didn’t have chemistry.”

    I stared at her. I was baffled. I didn’t even know how to react. 

    “I don’t understand. How could you not care?” I asked. “Doesn’t it bother you? How can it not bother you?!”

    Twilight fell silent, frowning as she did when she was carefully planning what to say next. Which she should have, considering everything she’d said thus far sounded very ill-conceived. 

    “So,” she said, “you want to date this world’s Twilight? I mean, pretending she was an adult, and not a teenager.”

    I frowned. “What? No.

    “No?” Twilight asked, and then smirked at me. She smirked at me! “But, Rarity, she is me.”

    I glared at her. “Stop that. You know very well that’s not true.”

    She crossed her arms. “Really? Explain.” At my expression, she added, “Humor me.”

    I crossed my own arms. “I shan’t. This is silly.”

    Twilight smiled. She had patience for me, I’ll give her that. “Okay! I will, then.” She stepped forward. “I don’t care who this universe’s Rarity dates. I don’t!” she emphasized my scowl, stepping forward again. “I don’t care either who any version of me is dating in every other universe.” 

    She then proceeded to walk in circles around me, like I was some sort of pony-person to be lectured at, which I was, but still. I could almost see the chalkboard she likely wished she had the magic to conjure up. 

    “There could be—and probably are, depending on the theory you ascribe to—millions of Rarity and Twilights out there in millions of universes, and as much as modern and classic literature has popularized the notion that ‘true love’ should be constant across them all, the fact of the matter is that I don’t care about any of them because—”

    She stopped and looked at me. 

    “None of them are you. None of those Rarities helped me defeat Nightmare Moon, none of these Rarities made me want to take the train to Canterlot with them every morning for months like you did, and none of those Rarities have been there for me like you have. You and I are versions of us that will never be replicated ever again. There will never be a Rarity that makes the choices you have, just like there will never be a Twilight that makes the choices I have, that made it so that I fell in love with you. So!” 

    She smiled, and I loved her, and she knew it, damn her. 

    “No, I don’t care who the other me and the other you are dating. I care about who you are dating, because you’re the Rarity I am in love with.”

    We looked at each other, her coy little tilt of her head softening me. “Even if I don’t really understand all your complex science books, or read your ninety-page portal notes?”

    Twilight laughed. “Rarity. I don’t care about that. I didn’t write those for you, I wrote those for me. And even if I cared, you would already know.” 

    And, finally, I laughed. Genuinely. “Oh, I suppose you’re right.”

    Twilight nodded. “I am. Like always.”

    “Yes, yes. You’re the smart one, and I’m the pretty one.” I paused. “Oh, but you’re also pretty.”

    “And you’re very smart,” Twilight replied, walking forward and wrapping her hands around my waist. “See! We swap places depending on the situation. I can’t talk to nobles, you can. You can’t talk to scientists, I can.”

    I giggled. “Yes, we’re like… What’s that thing Rainbow always says about her and Scootaloo?”

    Immediately, Twilight grimaced. “Don’t. Do not.”

    “Ah yes, one braincell.”

    “Eeeeeeeugh.”

    She rolled her eyes at my sneaky little smirk, before leaning in to kiss me. 

    “I love you,” she said when pulling away, only to be faced with… an Expression For Certain. She laughed apologetically. “Did that feel weird?”

    “Yes. Very. Let’s not do that again.” When she pulled away, I finally let out the breath I’d been holding, watching her walk over to finish cleaning up. “You handled that very well, by the way. The entire…” I gestured vaguely. “Only caring for me and not the other versions of me.”

    Not for the first time, Twilight stopped, and certainly not for the first time, she spun around to show me an absolutely insolent smug grin. 

    “Oh, Rarity. I was prepared.

    I frowned. “Prepared?”

    “Rarity. Rarity.” 

    She walked over to the desk where she’d dumped her binders, only to pick one up, spin it around, and show me the title written in large, bold letters: ARGUMENTS IN CASE RARITY THINKS THE WORLD IS OVER BECAUSE WE’RE NOT DATING. 

    Twilight Sparkle!” I gasped. 

    “What!” she asked, delighted by my indignation. “I know you.”

    “You’re unbelievable, Twilight!” I said. “Really! I’m offended. Aghast. Incredibly attracted, as well, but equally outraged.”

    “I’m sorry,” she said, faux-apologetically, and if we were normal, I swear she’d lower her ears to match. She stepped behind a table and pulled up a large jug of ‘grape juice’. “Would a park date and some illegal alcohol make it better?”

    I laughed. “It might.”

    I said at the start of this story that this was about soulmates. I’d like to say something about the matter. A conclusion, if you will. 

    As my Twilight Sparkle dragged me off to our date, her brilliant smile as blinding as the sun, I thought to myself that if she and I weren’t truly meant to be together in every universe, then I’d surely spend the rest of my life being grateful that, out of surely millions of variations of Twilight Sparkles out there, the only one that mattered had fallen in love with me. 


    FIN

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    1. horse wizard
      Oct 7, '23 at 3:04 pm

      my-loudest-yeah-boy-ever.mp3

      completely understandable why it took this much time, but i’m really glad to see this finished. i really enjoy stories about things that are quote-unquote fated to happen and dealing with things when they turn out otherwise, so seeing this come out and touch on those themes fully was really rewarding. loved the conversation between twilight and rarity at the end – emotional payoff aside, the reveal of twilight’s emergency binder absolutely got me.

      small typo note – there’s currently a tense change at the end of VII. it’s twilight and narrator-rarity talking, but for rarity’s last line of dialogue it switches to talking about her in third-person.

      tldr great story, worth the wait, yay

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