I thought things would be easier.
I expected them to be easier because everything was supposedly well in the world now. We were together, hand in hand, taking one step at a time.
But things are never so easy, are they?
They’re complicated, and difficult, and even more so when it felt like I’d been away from Twilight longer than I’d been with her. So, how do you go back to that?
What if it wasn’t the same?
We met several times immediately after our reunion. Every day, in fact. Every day as perfect as I could make it, devoted entirely to her.
Perfect, perfect, perfect.
The first Tuesday together we went to a café early and caught up on everything of each others’ lives we’d missed. I stayed with her long past midnight.
She was delighted!
On Wednesday, we went to a museum she’d been wanting to visit. I told her I had a dress to finish that day, so she scheduled it for the afternoon, making sure we’d be done by six so I could do my night job, as it were.
Again, I stayed with her long past midnight.
Again, she was delighted.
On Thursday, the same happened. Friday, and Sunday too, I spent with her, either at my boutique or at a park or at a café, from morning to late evening. When Sunday went the same, my darling was no longer quite so delighted.
I’d spent the entire week with her. This in itself wasn’t bad at all, but…
It seemed that I always had time for her. She’d ask me daily when would be a good time to meet, willing to work around the Sapphire clients she assumed I had, only to be met with: “Whenever works for you is fine with me, Twilight.”
“But what about your clients?” she’d ask next.
And every time I’d reply the same: “I’ll sort it out.”
Monday and Tuesday, she studied all day, so we didn’t see each other.
Eventually, our second Wednesday rolled around and at the end of the day we went to the park.
We sat together under a tree, the two of us bathed in the glow of the moonlight.
You know, dear friend, for the longest time, before our fight, Twilight thought Wednesday nights were my self-care nights—I’d always decline meeting with her, saying I had to take care of my well-being. In reality, Wednesday were the nights I diligently spent with two regular, very high-paying clients—booked from 6PM to 9AM the next day by a fancy couple we all know quite well.
And yet, for two Wednesdays in a row, Twilight noticed I’d spent the evenings with her, not once mentioning or excusing myself to go see the client I’d never once missed seeing since she’d known me.
Twilight pondered this and many other things that night, pretending to read a book under the light of a spell while I sat next to her, looking away into the distance and thinking my thoughts.
Not as subtly as she’d have liked, she kept glancing up at me, a question burning in her lips.
“Something on your mind, dear?” I asked her, having caught her staring twice in a row.
“Oh, er, no.”
I raised an eyebrow. “No?”
“Oh. Well. I mean, yes,” she said, off guard. “I, ah… I’m just surprised you haven’t left yet. You used to always be busy on Wednesdays?” An uncomfortable lump settled in her throat, but she forced herself to push past it. “Last week you were free on Wednesday, too. Didn’t you say you have a client you, uhm, spend the night with, usually?”
“Oh, I did. I do. It’s just…” I looked away, nonchalantly. “They’re rather busy right now.” I turned back to her and smiled, reaching out to put a hand on her leg. “Which means I get to spend time with you.”
When I looked away again, she knew I was putting the matter to rest, but her curiosity burned her. I hadn’t mentioned my job once in the past weeks. Not once. And it made her feel uncomfortable. Certainly, she didn’t really want to discuss it or know who’d touched me or whom I’d kissed, but it was my job, wasn’t it? It was my day-to-day, whether she liked it or not, and to just never speak about it wasn’t right.
“How’s your job?” she asked, and when I looked at her inquisitively, she quickly added, “I haven’t asked you about it today.”
“It’s been good,” I replied, airily. “I’ve been running out of the fabrics I need, so I’ll have to go to the market tomorrow. Maybe they’ll have restocked my favorite colors, too.”
I didn’t say much after that, which meant that Twilight had an out, if she wanted to take it. She hadn’t specified a job, so there would be no reason to fault her if she didn’t press.
But she did. Uncomfortable, uncomfortable, but damn if she did.
“And your job at the Sapphire? Is that going well?”
My reply was as instant as it was short.
“…Yes,” she repeated, raising her eyebrow. “Just that?”
“Yes, just that.” I looked at her, innocently. “There really isn’t much more to say, dear. It’s been going well.”
Were she bolder, she’d have offered a dry remark at my obvious attempts at brushing the matter aside, but she was not bold yet.
“I see,” she said instead, only slightly dropping the matter. “I guess… You’ve been free a lot more than I expected, so I thought that maybe it wasn’t going well.”
I smiled. “I’m fine, darling. Really. Business is just slow. Besides…” I leaned in. “Has it occurred to you that perhaps I just want to devote more time to kissing my girlfriend as opposed to kissing other people? Hmmm?”
To punctuate this, I went in for a kiss, which she did not protest, because why would she? Despite her reservations, she was still, shall we say, a useless lesbian and was thus a giggling, smitten mess when I pulled away.
“Alright,” she finally conceded, not because she didn’t care, but because she would much rather focus on me.
I sighed theatrically, and then scrunched my face with dissatisfaction.
“That kiss… I think there was something wrong with it.”
Poor thing, she was immediately self-conscious. “…There was?” she asked, doing a poor job of hiding how alarmed she was to hear that. Her kiss hadn’t been good?
“Yes,” I continued, tapping my finger against my chin. “Can’t quite tell what, though. I think…” I fluttered my eyelashes. “Maybe we need to try again, perhaps? That first kiss was just a test run! The next one will be perfect!”
She instantly relaxed. It was very adorable.
“Ooooh, I see. A test run.” She put her book down and levitated the notebook she’d been writing on earlier. “Hold on. I need to do some mathematical calculations.”
“To kiss me?!”
“Mhm. It has to be a perfect kiss, right?” she asked, unable to stifle a laugh when I groaned loudly. She turned to me, frowning. “Rarity. Don’t you want this to be perfect?”
“No, I want you to kiss me!”
She laughed, and I loved her.
Putting her notebook away, she finally moved closer, placed a hand on my waist and kissed me again.
It’s important for me to say that this wasn’t a particularly deep or profound kiss. It wasn’t a make-out, as it were. It was gentle, and loving, and tender, which is why I was very surprised when, after pulling away, she dispelled her light spell and unexpectedly pinned me to the grass, her legs straddling me.
“T-Twilight?” I blurted out, my cheeks bright red. I knew I had a reputation of being daring, but goodness, as much as I appreciated her forwardness, we were still in a public park.
I wanted to say more, but it was her expression that stopped me. That was not the expression of someone madly in love, desperate to devour their beloved, oh no. Her lovely eyes were wide as saucers, and her fingers dug into my skin, forcing me down.
I want to say she looked afraid, but it wasn’t really fear. It was more like… shock.
“Twilight? Twilight, what’s wro—Mmph?!”
I admit I was not thrilled when she pressed her dirty hand on my mouth.
“Rarity.” Her voice was deadly calm. “Don’t move. And don’t raise your voice.”
“Why?” I whispered with great alarm when she took her hand away. “What’s wrong?”
Oh my lord. Had Auntie Celestia found us? She was there, in the park, having seen us make out, hadn’t she? And now Twilight was on top of me, as if she’d intended on ravaging me, and—
“There’s…” Twilight paused, her voice trembling as much as her body. “There’s a wild dragon right behind you.”
I was startled at first, not quite sure if I believed her, until I remembered the very brave little dragon I’d met weeks earlier.
Could it be…?
Ignoring Twilight’s yelp as I—lovingly, really—pushed her off me, I scrambled onto my knees and gasped with delight at the sight of the familiar little purple dragon, the dear thing warily standing a few feet away.
“Rarity!” Twilight commanded, wrapping her arm around me and pulling me back, just as Rift Shield had. Her hands lit up with magic. “Don’t move!”
“Twilight, it’s fine,” I exclaimed, bad memories triggered by the situation. Was she going to attack him, too, as Rift had tried to do? Why was it that everyone consistently thought I couldn’t defend myself?! “I’m not scared, for God’s sake!”
Let me just say I admire Twilight tremendously. She’s so direct. I love that about her.
And then, she looked at me for a second, confused, then frowned and said:
“Not you, Rarity! I’m not worried for you. I don’t want you to scare it away!”
My god, you could hear the disbelief in her voice. It’s a miracle she didn’t roll her eyes at me. Not that I was much better, mind you. Half a minute ago I was offended that my girlfriend was worried about me, and now I was offended to find out she wasn’t.
“Meeee?!” I gasped, indignant. “Well! Well! Why am I the scary one?! Have you seen yourself with your magician cape?!”
“It’s not a magician cape,” she whispered in protest, her eyes still set on the dragon.
“It absolutely is! And a fitting magician name to go with it!” I scoffed. “Me! The scary one. Unbelievable.”
“Rarity! Stop. You’re being silly.”
Oh ho ho! Silly, mm?
“Is that so?” I whispered, pushing myself away from her. “Well, then.”
I would show her something that would leave her silly.
Ignoring her alarm, I carefully moved towards the dragon, extending my hand. It stepped back, arching its body like a threatened cat, its eyes narrowing to slits and its wings flared, ready to fly.
“Why, hello there,” I said to it.
“Rarity!” Twilight whispered urgently, frightened that any sudden movement would provoke the creature. “What are you doing?! Are you crazy?!”
“It’s all right,” I continued softly, inching ever forward. Its eyes were set on me. “It’s only me. Just me. You remember me, don’t you?”
My words worked their charm, it seemed, as its posture relaxed after a moment. As carefully as I had, it inched towards me until it was close enough that I could do the first thing that came to mind.
“Rarity, it’s not a cat!” Twilight reprimanded indignantly, watching as I shamelessly coo’d while scratching the dragon’s chin like it were Opalescence. “That thing can probably maul your hand!”
Not that I cared, baby-talking this fearsome creature, and not that said fearsome creature cared, immediately gracing me with purr-like noises.
“Oooh, who’s a big, strong, handsome dragon? You are! Yes, you are!”
“It’s not a dog, either!”
It certainly wasn’t, but that didn’t stop me from scooping it up in my arms and cradling it like a puppy. The dragon seemed to be annoyed at first, its embarrassed huffs subsiding once my intoxicating scratching of its tummy resumed.
To be honest, I’d forgotten about Twilight.
Not to be rude, mind you! I was just exceedingly pleased to have found my scaly friend unharmed.
On her part, poor Twilight was mute with shock. All her life she’d read dragons were vicious creatures, handled only by skilled trainers, and yet there I was, repeatedly telling the one in my arms that it was such a handsome devil, yes it was.
“How are you doing that?” Twilight blurted out.
“Mm?” I blinked at her. “Do what? Oh, you mean what I’ve done to make a powerful magical individual turn into a purring kitten in my arms?” I shrugged. “Why are you asking me, darling? You of all people should know the answer to that.”
She snorted. “I’ve never turned into a ‘purring kitten’ in your arms.”
I tilted my head to the side, petting the dragon like some sort of fairytale villain. “Oh, Twilight, sweetheart. That’s only because I haven’t bedded you yet, dear.”
I wouldn’t be surprised if half the city heard her flustered gasp of my name.
“Do you want to pet him?” I innocently asked my crimson lover once she’d recovered from wanting to die.
The dragon, still curled in my lap, didn’t look dangerous or vicious.
And she did find dragons fascinating.
“I…” She curled and uncurled her hand. “All right.”
She cleared her throat, sat up on her knees and inched forward, her hand raised towards it.
I suppose it should be noted that, in the dragon’s experience, my companions didn’t tend to be kind to it, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that it didn’t react kindly to Twilight’s gesture.
The moment it noticed her approaching, its entire demeanor changed. Its eyes turned to slits again and it immediately crawled off my lap and hid behind me, poking its head out enough to give Twilight a fiery growl.
“Hey! None of that!” I chastised, which affected him little, his eyes still set on Twilight as he pointed his spike tail towards her like a scorpion’s stinger. “Stop it!”
The dragon’s eyes shot towards me, softening ever so slightly, right up until Twilight inched forward again and his hostility all but doubled. He opened his mouth ever so slightly, nursing a small fireball within.
“Twilight,” I said, alarmed. “Twilight, maybe you shouldn’t—“
Her eyes still on him, she patted around for her bag and retrieved her spell book. Glancing back and forth between it and the dragon, she flipped it open to a page somewhere in the middle.
It was a little hard to see, but I could make out the spell’s name.
“Soul fire? What is that?”
She didn’t reply, too absorbed in reading the spell over. After a moment, she closed the book and redirected her full attention to the creature still hiding behind me.
“Rarity,” she said. “Don’t scream.”
It was instant. One second, I was about to ask why would I scream, and the next, I had to physically clamp a hand over my mouth to stop myself from yelping at the sight of her hand catching fire, completely enveloped in bright blue flames.
Before I could say much, her lips curved into a sinfully proud smile. She nodded towards the dragon.
I did as told, finding the little dragon’s anger had completely disappeared. Instead, it was entranced by Twilight’s burning hand, its pupil dilating and its tail wagging back and forth.
Another second passed, and now I yelped when the dragon crawled on top of my lap to get to Twilight, stopping right in front of her, its eyes still fixed on her hand.
“What… What’s that spell?” I asked, stunned.
“This is called Soul Fire. It’s a spell created hundreds of years ago by the sorcerer Iron Crossfade,” she explained, amused as she moved her hand around and the dragon’s head followed it back and forth. “He’s the first mage in recorded history to have bonded with a dragon. Dragons communicate among each other with fire, so he created a spell that summoned a fire fueled by pure magic.”
I blinked. “…Isn’t that just like the fire spells you’ve cast before?”
“No, this one is different.”
She sounded slightly offended. How dare I not know the difference between one fire spell and the next?!
“This one is like… It’s supposed to be a physical manifestation of the caster’s pure essence. Their soul, I guess, if you believe in souls. Something that dragons and other similar fire-based creatures can understand.”
“…Like a dragon-oriented version of the spell you taught me?”
She grinned. “Exactly. Now, watch.”
The dragon stepped back as she lowered her hand until it was right in front of it, the flames shining in its eyes. It cocked its head to the side, taking it in, and then moved forward and immersed its head in the flames, shivering slightly.
“What is it doing?” I whispered loudly. “Doesn’t that hurt it?”
“Fire doesn’t hurt dragons,” she answered nonchalantly, watching it intently. “And it’s assessing my soul.”
Assessing her soul! What a way to put it.
After about a minute, it pulled its head back, sneezing loudly.
“What does that mean?” I asked, immediately. I gasped. “Is it allergic to you?”
Twilight snorted. “No, it’s just sneezing. Why would it be allergic to me?”
“I don’t know!” I said, cheekily. “It could happen. See!” I exclaimed when the dragon coughed. “You’ve made it sick, now! Poor thi—Wait, what is it doing now?”
The dragon had opened its mouth, and we watched as it once again nursed a fireball in its mouth. It stepped back, raised its head and I moved back when it spewed out a small, constant stream of blue fire.
Twilight smiled, her own flame disappearing. “Interesting.”
“Interesting?” I asked, eyes flickering back and forth between Twilight and the flame. “Interesting why?”
She didn’t answer me. Instead, she lifted her hand.
“What are you doing?” She stared at the fire. “You’re not putting your hand in there, are you?”
“Relax. It’ll be fine.”
“What?! Twilight?! No! Absolutely not! Are you insane?!”
“In his fourth book on the subject of dragons, Master Iron Crossfade wrote extensively about the magical properties of dragon fire. In chapter thirteen, he explains that dragon fire cannot burn beings the dragon trusts.”
“And what if it doesn’t trust you?!”
“Then I can finally try that spell I read from a medical book that’s great for third degree burns and higher.”
She thrust her hand into the fire, ignoring my screeching. I covered my face with my hands, preparing myself for her own howls of pain, but when a minute passed and I didn’t hear my beloved screaming in agony, I peeked through the fingers.
How focused she look, how lovely and intense, observing her unburnt hand completely engulfed in the dragon’s fire. I think my jaw hit the ground.
“Huh,” she said, turning her hand around as if to make sure every part was… well, not well-cooked, but you know what I mean. She looked very relieved, too. “I’m really glad that worked.”
“You thought there was a chance it wouldn’t, and you did it anyway?!” I gasped. “What’s wrong with you?! Are you mad?!”
She was quiet. She was quiet for the longest of times.
And then she spoke.
“Do you think there’s a reason it shouldn’t trust me?” she asked, contemplative.
“I… No. I don’t see why it shouldn’t.”
“So you think I’m someone that can be trusted?”
I frowned, thrown by her strange line of questioning. “Of course! I would hope so, at least,” I said with a laugh that was not entirely unnervous.
Another long silence.
“Rarity,” she asked, retrieving her hand as the dragon stopped its fire. She looked straight at me. “Have you taken any work at the Sapphire Carousel recently?”
“What?” I stammered.
“Have you taken any work at the Sapphire Carousel recently?” she repeated.
“Twilight, where is this coming from?” I asked, defensive even though I presumably had no reason to be. “Why are you asking this?”
“Please answer my question.”
“I… Yes,” I replied, a lump caught in my throat, and when she stared at me—really stared, right through my soul—I repeated myself, forcefully. “Yes, Twilight. I have. Alright?”
I hoped my suddenly irate tone would be the end of that. I wanted it to be the end of that, and when Twilight looked down to the dragon, watching as it curled up in front of her, I thought it was the end of it.
But it wasn’t.
“Rarity,” she said, damning, her eyes lifting to mine, “I thought we were done with lying.”
My voice was as glacial as the tension. “Pardon me?”
“Rarity,” she repeated, and it was gentle. Not completely removed of severity, but this wasn’t a chastizing voice, it was an almost pleading one. “I thought we were done with the lying.”
“Oh?” I replied, stung, my mood very quickly soured. “Funny, Twilight. I thought we were done with putting me on trial.”
That shut her up quickly.
I looked away, trying to control my temper, while she stared at the dragon. What a silence weighed between us! If it wasn’t nighttime, I’d have put my sunglasses over my eyes so as to physically voice what would be ill-advised to say with words.
In truth, I could have ended our soirée then and there. I certainly felt angry and defensive enough to do so! To just get up, tell her I was done for the night, and leave her with her thinly veiled accusations.
But hadn’t that attitude been my downfall in the past?
“I’m not trying to put you on trial,” she said, quietly. Hurt. Guilty.
“It certainly feels like you are,” I retorted, and felt bad immediately after. Stars, I didn’t want to fight. We were having such a nice time, and now suddenly this happened, and stars above, I was so tired of fighting. I turned towards her, still angered but trying to move past that. “I have been doing things for the Sapphire! I was doing costumes yesterday, and I advised Sandy Shores on a client!”
“But you haven’t been doing any actual sex work, have you?”
I was caught.
“No. All right? No, I haven’t,” I replied. “Not that it matters! Why are you even asking about this? Last I knew, you didn’t like my profession, so I’m not entirely sure why you seem to be suddenly upset about this?”
The dragon stirred and whined softly, curling itself up again. Almost as if telling us to stop our arguing.
“Why haven’t you been doing it, Rarity? Is that it? Because I don’t like it?”
Again, I was caught. And I knew it. And she knew it too when I answered by not answering at all.
Her expression changed. Not disgust, but… disappointment, almost. Or that’s how I read it, at least.
“What, Twilight? What? What did you expect?” I asked, not snapping back, but as sincere as I could despite it all. “You broke up our friendship over this. You ended it! You don’t think I’m afraid?”
Another silence passed. My anger was gone, melted away into a vulnerability I hated expressing and showing. It made me feel weak. I hated feeling weak, but the truth was she made me weak.
It was terrifying.
“You’re right,” she said. “I don’t like your job.”
Her tone was gentle. It was almost disarmingly gentle, especially considering the words she’d said were exactly what I feared, and knew, and ate me up.
“It makes me really uncomfortable to think about. It makes me uncomfortable to even imagine it. But I can’t learn to accept it if you decide to not even let me try. I wouldn’t be starting lessons with Lady Luna if I didn’t want to try. I wouldn’t ask you every day how your work was if I wasn’t interested or wanted to know. I need you to trust me.”
My eyes travelled to the dragon, watching us both with curious eyes.
“What if… What if I get burnt again?”
She pondered that a moment.
And then she smiled.
“Did I tell you I have a spell I want to try that’s supposed to be great with third degree burns and higher?”
And I was incredibly upset because that made me actually giggle! Can you believe the audacity of her? It made me giggle, and I was even more disarmed and vulnerable, and she was so charming and silly, and—
“Stars, I hate you,” because I did, and even more so when her stupid, winning smile grew, and it made me feel loved and secure and like maybe we’d actually learned and grown past our penchants to misunderstand each other.
“Aw,” she said, turning to the dragon and scratching the top of its head, “look at her. Still lying. When will she learn?”
“I do!” I protested, still giggling. “I hate you! I loathe you, even!”
“Quick,” she said, grabbing the dragon and pointing its head towards me, “Let’s watch. Maybe her nose will grow.”
“Stop!” I whined, hiding my face under my hands. “You’re so silly! Why do I love you?”
“Ah-ha! So you don’t hate me!”
The groan I let out made her laugh, and it was a good thing I was covering my face lest she see the stupid smile plastered on my lips.
I looked up, and she was no longer laughing. She seemed intense again, but not in any sort of bad way. She loved me. It was clear, and it was this sentiment that soaked her words.
“Please promise me you won’t act on my behalf anymore. Not with your work.”
“I promise,” I said, sincerely, and then offered a dazzling grin. “In fact, I’ll tell you all about it from now on. Every part of the job. Every nook and cranny and kink.”
She laughed. “All right, well, I don’t need that much detail.”
“No! No, I must!” I declared theatrically. “Exposure therapy is the key, isn’t it? When I’m done with you, you’ll know exactly if you’re a dom or a sub or even a switch? And the ins and out of role-play—”
“And scene play, oh, and we certainly mustn’t forget breath—”
“Alright, alright!” Twilight exclaimed, the poor thing red in the face. “Stop! I get it!”
I opened my mouth, but she grabbed the dragon and brandished it at me like a weapon. It blinked curiously, but then smiled, apparently happy to be included.
“Stop, or I’ll make Spike burn you!”
“Spike?” I asked, surprised.
“Oh. Yes. That’s what I named it, because of all the spikes on its body.”
“What?! You named it? Why do you get to name it?!” I demanded, offended.
“Why not?” she asked. She turned the dragon around. “You like it, right, Spike?”
The little dragon wagged its tail and nodded. Or, rather, that’s what it seemed to do, but it didn’t!
“Spike is a terrible name! I had a much cuter name for it!”
Twilight raised her eyebrow. “Oh? Let’s hear it.”
“Puffy,” I replied, smugly, only for my smugness to disappear when not only did Twilight snort at me, but the dragon winced and puffed out smoke.
“I agree,” Twilight said to it.
“God, I hate you both.”
Twilight laughed, putting the dragon down and then getting up. “Come on,” she said, picking up our things with her magic. “It’s getting late, and I need to try and sleep early tonight.”
I joined her soon after, and once we were ready to depart, we bid the dragon goodbye.
“You be a good boy now, Puffy,” I said, patting the top of its head.
“Bye, Spike!” Twilight said, taking my hand and leading us away, ignoring my whines at her silly name.
“I hope it’ll be okay out here,” she continued. “Dragons aren’t really meant to—”
Her sentence became a yelp when the dragon landed on her shoulder, its claws digging into her clothes.
“H-Hey, what’re you—?”
“Twilight!” I gasped, delighted. “He wants to go with you!”
“What? No!” Twilight exclaimed, flustered. “Are you crazy?” She pried him off her shoulders and put him down. “I’m sorry, buddy, but you can’t—Hey!”
How adorably alarmed she looked, putting the dragon down several times only for it to insistently fly back to her shoulder.
I patted her arm sympathetically. “Darling, dearest, I fear you may not have a say in the matter.”
“Rarity! I can’t keep him! Are you insane?! I can’t just go back to the mansion with a dragon! What will Lady Celestia say?!”
“Who cares what she says!”
“Twiliiight! Really. You’d have this poor thing live alone in the forest?”
“I… I mean, no, but—”
“Don’t tell me you’ve never wanted a pet dragon?” I continued, and when she hesitated, I smiled victoriously. “Twiiiilight. Come now. You’re really going to leave poor Spikey-wikey alone without his friends?”
My poor dear looked so torn.
“I… God. All right, fine. I’ll see what Lady Celestia has to say,” she muttered, failing to hide her excited expression when the dragon joyfully shot out a celebrative flame.
“Now, shall we?” I asked, extending my hand.
“Fine,” she said, “we shall.”
She took my hand and so we walked off, two misfits now a family of three, bonded stronger together by burning trust, burning love, and a burning dragon called Spike.
Who should have been called Puffy, but I suppose that’s a complaint for some other time.