Strangers Passing ByMonochromatic
I met him in the inner-city train station.
It wasn’t anywhere romantic. It wasn’t at a park under the stars, nor was it at my favorite restaurant in the Dragon District, and it certainly wasn’t on a bench.
It was eleven in the morning, I think. I’d just finished my monthly visit to the doctor and was on my way back, pushing my way into a crowded train. Admittedly, I was exhausted. I’d not slept well for weeks, and it was always around that time of the year that my illness reminded me of its quiet presence. It didn’t help either that the doctor had drawn blood.
I scanned the train, hoping and failing to find an empty seat. In the back of my mind, I knew Auntie Luna would have taken me to the doctor herself had I asked, but it was always difficult to bring that up. I hated feeling weak. I hated relying on others, and then more than ever, so fresh after having learned the consequences of misplacing my trust.
And whether I liked it or not, I missed her. Maybe she was my illness. I wanted so desperately to be cured of her. To be cleansed like she’d cleansed herself of me.
I made my way through the people, eventually settling somewhere in the middle of the train, clutching a nearby pole.
I looked down and then up as a young man my age immediately sat up, gesturing to his now-empty seat.
“Oh! Thank you,” I said, immensely relieved and grateful. And, admittedly, hoping he gave me his seat because I looked pretty and not because I looked like death, if you’ll pardon the expression.
Once I was sitting down, I glanced at the polite stranger and admittedly found him quite handsome. There was a roguish charm to him, his messy short blue hair nicely matching his stubble. He was smiling softly, and when I caught him glancing at me and then quickly looking away, a faint blush decorating his cheeks, I suspected I knew the reason behind his smile.
I will admit my night job had made me wary of men’s… desires? Is that the word I want? I’d been privy to many men’s most carnal thoughts, and it was hard to forget them when some pretty boy flashed me a smile.
But something about him was different. He seemed nice. Genuine.
“Do tell,” I said, and immediately he fixed his attention on me. I folded my hand on my lap, and leaned in, offering my most charming smile, “how is your day going?”
“Honestly? Really great, I’d say.”
“Oh?” I tilted my head to the side. “Care to share? I could use a reason to smile today.”
He looked around conspiratorially and then leaned down. “Get this. This really beautiful girl is sitting next to me on the train, and I didn’t want to strike up a conversation in case she’d think I’m a weirdo bothering her, but then she started talking to me!” He leaned back and grinned. “Great, huh?”
“My! She sounds lovely!” I fluttered my eyelashes. “Shame you just implied she’s weird.”
“Huh… I did, didn’t I? Well, let’s hope she still wants to talk to me, then! What would you do, if you were her?”
I leaned back, humming thoughtfully. “I suppose, if I were this beautiful woman you’re speaking of, I’d lean in and say—” I leaned in and offered him my hand. “Hello. My name is Rarity.”
He took my hand in his, and it was warm.
“Hello,” he replied, “I’m Rift.”
“Rift,” I repeated. A simple, uncomplicated name. Not flashy, not extravagant. Normal. Real. “So, do tell, Rift, what brings you to this train at…whatever time it is right now.”
“Commuting from work. You?”
“Commuting to work. What do you do?”
“Security!” he exclaimed. “At the museum in the Dragon District. The Natural History one?” At my nod, he continued. “Yeah, that’s where I work. Decent wage. Hoping to become head of security once the current guy retires. How about you?”
How about you.
The million bit question, wasn’t it? And I had learnt from my mistakes. I had learnt, I had learnt, I had learnt.
“I own a fashion boutique in the Lunar District,” I said, which was not a lie. I paused, and then made my choice, even as the nerves swallowed me whole. Even as I knew people surrounded us. Never again would I be ashamed. Never again. “And at nights I work at the Sapphire.”
He didn’t pause.
“The Sapphire? As in the Sapphire Carousel in the Lunar District?”
“Yes,” I replied. “I’m mostly there as a costume designer, but I take on clients here and there for the other side of the job. I also do shows occasionally.”
“Wow,” he said, taken aback. And I was afraid. And I thought of her. He rubbed his hand behind his neck. “So, you basically have three jobs?I’ll have to up my game to impress you, then!”
But not because he was funny and charming, which he was, but because I was relieved. I was so, so very relieved. I felt seen in the way I’d always wanted to be seen.
“Impress me? You’ll have to be quick about it, then.” I glanced to the window. “My stop is coming up.”
“Really? That’s my stop, too!”
I blinked. “Really?” I asked, to which he blushed.
“No. I was supposed to get off two stops ago.”
“Well… I still have some time. Perhaps I might feel inclined to wait with you for a train that will take you back to your stop?”
He grimaced. “Oh, you wouldn’t want to do that. I’ll start missing trains on purpose, we’ll be there for hours, and you’ll be late for work.”
I stood up and walked past him. “Only one way to find out, then.”
He was right behind me when I stepped onto the sidewalk, and he was still there with me an hour later, both of us immersed in conversation that will no longer matter in a minute.
You see, someone interrupted us.
We turned around to find a strikingly beautiful woman riding a magic-infused model of motorcycle I’d only seen once or twice in the city’s richer neighborhoods. She had a wondrous fashion sense, too. A sleek leather jacket, and matching pants that admittedly would have made my heart flutter more if Rift didn’t currently own my attention.
“Sorry to bother, but would you happen to know which way is the Sunswept District?”
Of course I knew where it was, and I sent her on her way, and this is where the conversation no longer matters for this woman matters much more. Much, much more, her motorcycle speeding off and leaving us behind as she got lost in the city’s streets.
Not even ten minutes later was she pulling up in front of the grand white mansion, her helmet coming off and letting loose her long, red hair.
She took the sight and then took a deep breath. I hope you remember what I said about Sunset Shimmer.
Twilight Sparkle was stubborn, but Sunset Shimmer was even more so.
With confident steps, she walked up the open gate, strode across the path and reached the door, knocking thrice. Moments later, a man opened the door and squinted at her.
“How did you get in here?”
Sunset arched an eyebrow. “The gate was open,” she said, and was surprised when he grunted loudly.
“For God’s sake, how many times do I have to tell that girl to close the damn gate?” he muttered, before turning his attention back to Sunset. “How can I help you?”
“Er.” She cleared her throat. “Is Twilight Sparkle here?”
“Twilight? Are you a friend of hers?”
“Yes!” Sunset replied, and how relieved she felt. “Yes, I am. I—”
“Wait here,” Flint interrupted, not even bothering to let Sunset introduce herself before shuffling inside the mansion.
Another few minutes passed, and what a smile decorated Sunset’s lips when the door opened again and Twilight stepped out, a book in hand.
“Sunset?” my… former beloved said, practically gasping the name.
Sunset grinned. “Hey, stranger.”
“Sunset! Oh my God.” She looked flabbergasted. Stunned. Not in a bad way, of course. In a Twilight way. Surely you know what I mean. “What—You—What?”
“I’m in town for a few days,” Sunset explained. “Your mom told me you were here, so I wanted to stop by and say hi. I hope that’s okay?”
“Okay? Of course, it’s okay!” Twilight exclaimed, and rushed forward to embrace her. A friend was there. A friend in this city where she practically had none anymore. Her best friend.
“Why, hello! Who’s this?”
The two women separated and turned to the Lady of the house, having come to see what all the fuss was about.
“Lady Celestia!” Twilight blurted out, flushed. “This is Sunset Shimmer. My best friend from back home. She’s staying in town for a few days.”
“Hello,” Sunset said, politely. “It’s great to meet you.”
“The pleasure is all mine, Sunset,” Celestia replied immediately, ever the gracious host. “How lovely of you to visit!”
“Where are you staying?” Twilight asked next.
Sunset shrugged. “At the nearest hotel with a vacancy?”
“At a hotel? Nonsense! No, no!” the Lady exclaimed. “No best friend of Twilight is staying at a hotel while we have an empty guest room in this house. You’re more than welcome to stay here.”
Sunset blinked, taken aback. “I… What? I’m sorry, that’s really kind of you, but—” Her eyes flitted towards Twilight—”I wouldn’t want to impose like that.”
And before even Lady Celestia could insist she wasn’t, Twilight spoke up.
“You’re not imposing, Sunset,” she said, at once. “Stay here.”
Sunset didn’t reply at first. She simply looked at Twilight, a moment that was eternal, until her expression softened, and she smiled.
“Okay,” she eventually said.
Oh you. I also love these little details.
You are so subtle, I love it.
All this can end in a few different ways and I’m afraid to guess which one. Sunset returning adds another whole variable.
…..OH DEAR THIS IS GONNA GET COMPLICATED AGAIN.
Also how dare you give me another one of my favorite ships Mono, when I know this is gonna end in sadness. 🙁