The Little DragonMonochromatic
I heard somewhere, sometimes, that no two people can fall in love without breaking someone’s heart.
I’ve debated how to tell this, dear friend. Surely you’ve noticed and know that I’ve very purposefully allowed this story to follow Twilight, not me or my beau. I figured you’d prefer that, considering how you scowl every time I mention Rift Shield’s name.
We may not like it, but relationships end. Some burn out, some go out with a bang, and some simply fade away, piece by piece, in such a way you don’t even notice because it had been dead for some time already.
Sometimes, it’s one person’s fault. Sometimes, both are at fault. And sometimes, no one is at fault.
You fall in love.
And there is not a single thing anyone can do to change that.
For better or worse.
Rift Shield woke up at six in the morning every day.
He would wake up, do exactly one and a half-hour of exercise, and then he would get ready and go to work. On the way to work, he would always stop by Mrs. Limeshadow’s shop and make sure to quickly help her stock up the higher shelves. That done, he would head to the museum, where he would spend all day patrolling and directing people who were lost. When work was done, late at night, he would end his day by either going home, going to see friends, or, if I was free, going to see me.
There it is again, dear friend. That scowl. But why? He sounds rather pleasant, doesn’t he? He is pleasant. A really quite charming man. You think so, even if you don’t want to admit it. I think so, too. I think it now, and I thought it then.
He was a perfectly ordinary charming young man.
We enjoyed taking walks together. I wish I could say I don’t remember where the paths we took were. Or when. But I do, for Rift Shield was a man who knew exactly what he wanted, how he wanted it, and when he wanted it.
Every other night, he took me to the same park, and we walked the same path, our hands intertwined as we spoke of the trivialities of life.
“Swimming is just… nice, you know?” he said, the two of us discussing some of our favorite activities. “You just float there. And it’s one of the few exercises that aren’t hell on your joints.”
“Yes! That’s the reason I love swimming. I have precisely zero tolerance for exercise after-pains.”
He laughed, pulling me in for a hug. “You wouldn’t have them as much if you exercised more.”
“Exercised more?!” I huffed indignantly while he planted a kiss on the top of my head. “What do you think sex is?! A walk in the park?!”
Sometimes, during these walks, I would wander off, especially the first few walks. I’d leave behind the cement path and walk on the grass, beckoning him to follow me.
“Rarity,” he’d say, rather seriously. “That’s against the park rules.”
“But what are rules meant for if not to be broken!” I’d shoot back. “What is grass meant for if not to be cartwheeled on!”
“Rarity,” he said, smiling slightly. When I pouted playfully, he extended his hand towards me. “Come on.”
With a great big sigh, I obeyed and went over to him, cartwheeling once for good measure.
Actually, that’s a lie.
I didn’t cartwheel on the grass. I thought about it, certainly, and I wanted to, but it wasn’t really fun if he wasn’t in on it.
Additionally, I can’t for the life of me do a cartwheel. Sweetie tried teaching me once, and the very next day, I was eager to show Twilight. She was very annoyed at me, because we were already late for something she wanted to do, and frowned as I stopped our walk to INSIST she see my cartwheel.
“All right,” she said, sighing and crossing her arms. “But just one.”
“One is all I need!” I exclaimed, immediately followed by my cartwheel, which was less a cartwheel and more me falling face-first on the grass.
“That didn’t go well,” I mumbled sourly, spitting out grass. “So much for that…”
“ …Fine. I’ll let you try again,” she said, slightly amused, and watched as she let me try again, and again, and again, and again.
As long as I needed.
Oh, pardon me. I got a bit distracted there, didn’t I?
In any case.
He was also very protective of me, the dear thing.
We once went to a restaurant in the Heart District called The Flaming Night. It was outrageously expensive, and our wallets would have both suffered for it, but he’d indulged me after we’d seen it in an advertisement about the place.
An experience like no other! it promised. Delicious food! Fantastic service! And for the love of God, whatever you do, order the dessert!
The place was delightful, as I expected at such a price. A very nice, modern-looking restaurant, with waiters walking around in perfectly tailored uniforms and perfectly tailored mustaches and haircuts. A live band was playing lovely music, too. Loud enough you could hear it, but not too loud it was hard to have a conversation.
It also helped that we were seated in an almost entirely private area of the restaurant.
“This song is great,” he said, tapping his foot to the rhythm. He flashed me a smile. “We should dance later. Show you the moves.”
“Oooooh.” I giggled. “The moves?”
“The only ones there are, baby! Going to sweep you off your feet. More than I already have, but…” He shrugged.
After our dinner, the waiter handed us the dessert menu, and we noticed every single item on the list was flambéed. I’ll admit I didn’t quite understand what was so special about any of them. Maybe they were simply just ridiculously delicious?
Rift didn’t order anything, but I ordered myself a crème brûlée.
A waiter came moments after I placed my order and put before me a plate of custard without any visible caramel on it. Frankly, it looked incredibly unimpressive and incredibly not flambéed.
“That’s it?” Rift asked, voicing our mutual thoughts.
“Oh, pardon me,” I said to the waiter. “I ordered the crème brûlée?”
The waiter smiled at me. “Don’t worry, madame. Our expert will be here shortly.” He glanced past me and visibly brightened. “Why, there he is now!”
Curiously, I turned around and gasped very loudly, not at the waiter walking towards us, but at the small purple winged lizard perched on his arm. The cutest little green spikes adorned its back, which I’m sure would have made it look ferocious if it wasn’t so small and cute.
“Is that a dragon?! I’ve never seen one in person before!”
Rift, on the other hand, wasn’t nearly as excited.
“Is that legal?” he asked. “That can’t be safe.”
“Hello!” I said to the dragon the moment the waiter stopped before us. It curiously peered back at me with the most dazzling green eyes I’d ever seen. “Aren’t you a handsome boy!” I looked up at his handler. “What’s his name?”
“Oh, he doesn’t have any so far. Doesn’t like any of the ones we’ve given him,” he explained. “He’s only been with us a week so far, so he hasn’t bonded with staff yet.”
“A week?” Rift asked, wary. “Is he properly trained?”
“But of course!” said the first waiter, top-loading my custard with brown sugar. He cleared his throat and stepped back. “If you will, Steel.”
The other waiter nodded and lowered his arm. Then, with delicate precision, the creature expelled blue flames from its mouth for about a minute or so, until it finally stopped, and I gasped again at the perfectly caramelized delicacy before me.
“Oh, that was wonderful!” I turned to the dragon. “Very impressive work!”
This seemed to have pleased it tremendously, and it puffed out its chest rather proudly. Then, to my delight, the waiters’ shock, and Rift’s horror, the dragon jumped down onto the table right in front of me, our glasses of water tumbling down and spilling everywhere.
“Rarity,” Rift exclaimed, his chair screeching as he stood up, immediately alert. “Move away!”
“It’s fine!” I replied immediately.
“Quick, Steel! Grab him,” the first waiter barked.
The second waiter quickly tried to do as much, but you can imagine their horror when what did the little dragon do but turn to them and spit out fire, forcing them to quickly step back. Not to attack them, mind you, but more to say, ‘hold on, will you?!”.
Rift was already by my side, about to quite literally punch the dragon away, stopping only when I grabbed his arm.
“Wait!” I demanded. “Let it be!”
To his credit, Rift stopped in his tracks, his hands balled into fists. Even the waiters froze, all four of us waiting for the dragon to act. Pleased at the pause, the little dragon turned back to me and, with great eagerness, pushed my spoon with the tip of its wing.
“I… I think… you… you want me to try it?”
When it nodded in reply, now waddling to the crème brûlée, my excitement tripled.
I recognize now the danger I could have been in, but I couldn’t help it. It was exciting! It was fascinating, and even more so when I recalled Twilight once telling me dragons were notoriously standoffish creatures.
“As standoffish as you?” I’d asked her, giggling.
“Probably.” She grinned. “That’s why I wish I had one as a companion.”
“What if it attacks you?” I asked her, severely.
“Honestly,” she replied after a pause, “that would be a really fascinating thing to go through. Painful as hell, but fascinating.”
Regardless, going back to the story, I was thrilled. Excited! And when I turned to look at Rift, expecting him to maybe now share my excitement, I instead found him looking feeling very much the opposite.
He was angry. Not really at me, but the situation.
“Rarity,” he said, pained. “This isn’t funny.”
I blinked back at him, and suddenly, I felt quite dumb. I felt stupid, silly to have allowed myself to get lost in my theatrics. I was reckless, wasn’t I?
Like I’d always been.
Recklessly stumbling through life, following my impulses rather than my common sense. Reckless now as I was when I was a child, recklessly entangling myself with Lady Celestia, and reckless now as I was the stupid day on that stupid bench when I stupidly—
Shame gripped me. Shame at myself, at my stupidity, at my entire being.
The words tumbled out.
“I’m sorry,” I said, and just as his expression softened, a harried yelp caught our attention. I turned around and watched with dismay as the poor creature was scooped up and aggressively shoved into a small, cramped cage.
“Stop!” I blurted out. “That isn’t necessary! It wasn’t hurting anyone!”
“Rarity,” Rift said, pained. “It’s dangerous. Please. That thing isn’t safe. Let them do their job. Please.”
And I did.
I don’t remember much of the rest of the dinner considering I was distraught over the poor thing. But I remember the waiter taking the dragon away. I remember someone from the staff promising us over and over again that the dragon would be reprimanded and insisting our meal was on the house.
I remember what Rift said while we were silently walking home, after I’d again apologized.
“I want to protect you,” he said. He stopped to look at me. “I love you.”
I made a choice.
“I know. I love you, too.”
I threw myself into the relationship after the dragon incident.
He wanted me to be his, and so I would be, and in turn, I wanted him to be mine. He was mine. And I wanted it because here was someone who loved me as I was, baggage and all, and that’s all I could ever ask for.
He was fine with my job, too! He was perfectly content, so secure in our relationship that my dalliances in the Sapphire barely affected him. Certainly, he never showed any interest, but… but he was okay with it.
This should have been fine. This was fine for a time.
Until one day, we went on a walk.
“I have a place I want to show you,” he said. “You’ll love it.”
Said place was a park. A very beautiful park in a very beautiful area. A park famously known for the lake inside it and the islet floating in the middle of this lake.
Lone Isle Park.
A park you and I know very well, don’t we, friend?
I hadn’t been to the park since the… the breakup, I suppose is what it was. I couldn’t bear it. It had hurt too much when it was fresh, and then it just became a habit to avoid it. Either out of fear of tainting my memories, or perhaps more likely, out of fear of confronting them.
Initially, when I first realized where we were headed, I debated asking to leave. But that wouldn’t be polite, I told myself. That wouldn’t be nice. He’s leaving his routine for you. He’s trying.
Maybe, if all went well, it would result in the park being associated with him rather than Her. Maybe, if I was lucky, and if I tried my best, this would be far more memorable than any second with Her ever was.
This was my mission.
We started the evening by walking around, and I made sure to be as loving as ever. I wrapped my arm around his and listened attentively as he spoke about the museums, and his friends, and other things. So focused was I on how handsome and interesting he was, I admit I wasn’t even really paying attention to what he was actually saying.
I did notice, however, when it got cold.
Quite, quite cold, a breeze sweeping down on us almost as if in disapproval of us being there.
“Goodness, that came out of nowhere,” I complained, cuddling up to him even more.
“Hold on.” He was already disentangling himself from my grasp, getting ready to take off his jacket. “Here, why don’t—”
An idea struck me.
“Wait. Wait, wait.” I stepped away from him, stretching my hands. “Let me take care of it. I know of a spell to conjure up a flame orb.”
He blinked at me, confused. “I thought you said you weren’t good with magic.”
“I’m good with this spell, though!” I exclaimed, which was a lie. I hadn’t practiced the spell in ages. I didn’t want to. But now I had a reason to. Now, my heart would be in it, and I would make this moment memorable.
I would make the art of magic mine, not Hers.
“…Okay.” I could tell he wasn’t all that keen on the idea, but he allowed me my moment. He smiled. “Let’s see it, then.”
I made a show out of clearing my throat and taking the proper mage stance, which was a thing I’d invented just then.
“All right! Observe!”
I cupped my hands together, and just as She’d taught me, I whispered the spell under my breath. One, two, three seconds passed, the two of us watching intently, and then…
“…Is it working?” he asked.
“Give it a minute!”
Which he did, and after a minute passed, and my hands were still empty, he continued taking off his jacket.
“Oookay, why don’t you—”
“I can do it!” I interrupted, suddenly rather aggravated by his lack of faith in me. I was trying to be impressive! I was… I was trying to prove something to myself! To him! To the world!
I stepped back, my hands still cupped together.
“I can do this.”
He laughed, his jacket completely taken off. “Man, you are stubborn. Look at you, you’re so cold you’re shaking!”
“I’m shaking with drive!” I proclaimed, which I wasn’t. I was shaking from the cold. And not so much drive, but the desperate need to make this work.
“Rarity,” he said in the tone of voice when a discussion was over. When he was done with my… my theatrics, as it were. He was giving up on me. It felt like he was.
And not for the first time, I thought of Her.
“Come on. You can do it. Concentrate.”
“I’m trying, Twilight.”
“Please,” he said, handing me the jacket. “Take it. I want to take care of you.”
I didn’t want to. But I did anyway, and when he helped me into the oversized jacket, I didn’t protest. I forced myself to move past it. I loved him. He was nice. He was taking care of me, just as he’d said.
I didn’t need to impress him.
We continued our walk after that, and I tried my best to regain my cheerful spirit. The night was still young! We could still have a magical, wonderful night, far better than anything I’d ever had before.
I told myself as much, and when we saw Lake Delorne in the distance, I believed as much.
“Oh, wow! There really is a whole lake in here!” he exclaimed, his delight admittedly infectious. He rushed up to the lake’s edge and rested his hands on the retaining wall. “Wow.”
“How lovely!” I sidled up against him, my arm intertwining with his. “Quite the romantic spot, don’t you think? Especially on a night like this.”
He hummed thoughtfully, looking around. “I wonder if there’s any way to get there. Oh!” He gestured to the boathouse in the distance, several small boats tied to its pier. “I bet that’s a boat rental. Seems to be closed, though. That’s too bad.”
“Awww, let’s not give up, darling! There must be a way we can get there.” I smiled impishly. “Swimming, perhaps?”
He laughed. “You’re kidding, right?”
“…Yes, but… I don’t know. I’m sure we can figure something out!” I insisted, driven again by this mad desire to prove something.
To forget. To have a reason to forget.
“Maybe we take one of the boats?” I suggested next. “We’ll return it.”
“Hah! In your dreams, honey. It’ll be a dark day when you make a criminal out of me.” He took my hand and tugged me away. “Come on. There’s other stuff we can do.”
“But… But, darling, I really want to go there. With you.”
“Come on,” he repeated, gently. “We can try some other day again. Let’s go see another part of the park!”
A silence settled between us. It must have been less than a second, but it felt like a lifetime to me.
Eventually, I spoke quietly.
“Is it okay if we stay here for a minute? I like the view.”
He softened, wrapping his arm around me. “Yeah. Of course.”
And thus we stood there, he and I and the stars in the sky, all together but all alone, silent and still and disconnected while the ghosts of my past danced on the lake.
I mentioned earlier that sometimes people fall in love and there isn’t a single thing one can do to change that.
The opposite is also true.
Sometimes, no matter how hard one tries, no matter how desperately someone wants it, you cannot force yourself to fall in love.
Just like Lone Isle Park, there was another place I distinctly went out of my way to avoid.
The Lock Bridge.
And just like the park, it was Rift who took me back, though this time not on purpose. Not to go there and lock our hearts away, nothing of the sort, no. We were just passing by on the way to a restaurant for a surprise date.
“Oh, hey! It’s the lock bridge,” he’d said, and I’d pretended to be surprised, as if I hadn’t known it was coming for minutes now, dreading every single damned step. “See all those locks? Couples put them there to ‘seal’ their love.”
“Do they?” I asked.
“Yes. And it’s a pain. My friend works for the city, and he says it’s a complete nuisance. Apparently, this is the second bridge they’ve had to restore because people put so many locks, it adds weight and can mess up the bridge’s integrity. It’s dumb.”
“It is,” I said, “isn’t it?”
We kept on walking, one foot in front of the other, until we reached the bridge. Rift had no qualms with admiring the rusting padlocks, but I couldn’t bring myself to do so. I couldn’t, even though every single fiber of my being wanted me to do so just so I could try and find ours.
But I was over Her, I told myself. I shouldn’t care. I shouldn’t want to see it. It was over.
And yet, as we passed the section where I remembered we’d put our lock, I couldn’t help myself. I had to look. I had to.
And I did.
And what a suffocating feeling indeed when I realized it was gone. It wasn’t there. I looked and looked, for a few seconds maybe, but my stars, I looked and it was gone. I couldn’t find it or see it.
Maybe we’d put it elsewhere. Maybe I was mistaken, maybe I’d misremembered. So many thoughts swirled in my head, and none of them mattered because we did not stop, and before I knew it, we were off the bridge.
It doesn’t matter, I hissed to myself. You don’t love her anymore. Who cares if it’s there or not? Who. Cares.
I mentioned we were on a surprise date, didn’t I?
As it turned out, Rift had been thinking of the little dragon, as well. He’d felt terrible, apparently, about the bad experience, and despite his reservations, he’d hoped to make it up to me.
I want to say I was happy to be there. I think I was. I really did like the place, and though the lock bridge consumed me, a good meal would distract me, I thought.
Unlike before, we weren’t seated in a private area. This time we were outside, surrounded by other patrons in the dozens of tables around us, all of them oohing and aahing at the different dragons being carried around.
Instinctively, I looked for the little creature I’d befriended. I hoped to see it, fearful that the altercation had resulted in it being ‘fired’ or worse, killed.
“I’m sure he’s fine,” Rift said, having noticed my gaze jumping from one creature to the next.
“But where is he?” I asked, upset. I turned to him. “Aren’t you worried?”
“For us, yes,” he replied, and at my scowl, he laughed. “He’s fine. I’m sure of it.”
It was then that I finally saw him.
There he was, on the other side of the room, perched on the arm of a waiter and carefully roasting a ham in front of his delighted audience.
“There he is!” I gasped, waving my hand at Rift. “Oh, thank God! He’s fine!”
No sooner had I finished speaking, the dragon’s flame choked out and he looked up, instantly alert, his tail perking up. He looked around, and even though we were a room-length apart, I swear I could hear him chirp happily at the sight of me.
Admittedly, I hadn’t expected him to fly over, and neither had his horrified handler, or the customers. They must have thought it was a show, some gasping and clapping when the dragon soared into the air and shot straight for our table, clumsily landing on it and again spilling our drinks.
“Hello!” I greeted it, completely unaware of Rift standing up. Unaware of the handler rushing towards us. “We meet again!”
The dragon chirped at me again, its tail wagging almost like that of a dog’s as he approached me and rubbed his head against my hand.
It was the happiest I’d felt in recent memory, honestly. I felt so loved by this creature I’d barely known. So seen and appreciated, and even more so as it stood back and puffed out its chest, chirping proudly.
And then I screamed when its happy chirping became an agonized shriek, his body twitching and collapsing as a result of the electro-shock the waiter had just given him.
“No, stop! You’re hurting it!” I shrieked, trying to get back until Rift held me back. “Stop!”
“Rarity, wait, you’ll get shocked, too!” he exclaimed, restraining me as I helplessly watched the waiter give the poor thing another painful shock.
“Stop! Stop, it’s already down!” I begged, tears filling my eyes. “It wasn’t trying to hurt me!”
It wasn’t trying to hurt anyone.
Not that any of my begging mattered anymore, regardless.
After that second shock, the poor creature fell limp on the table, its pitiful screeching devolving into whispered whines. Then, stammering a thousand apologies, its handler scooped it up in his arms and… and as the man did so, the creature…
Its eyes sought me. It looked for me until our gaze met, and a great, suffocating sadness overwhelmed because that dragon was me.
It was me.
A creature that people feared and who’d gotten horribly hurt trying to impress a pretty girl.
We hadn’t ever done anything wrong. Our only crime was being ourselves.
“Geez! Was that necessary?” Rift asked the waiter, angered. “You didn’t have to hurt it like that.”
“It’s a dragon, sir,” the waiter replied, seemingly sincere. “We can’t take risks.”
But that didn’t matter.
The damage was done, and as I watched the poor thing, I clasped my hand against my mouth, only barely muffling a sob.
The creature resonated with that.
Something about my guttural, cracked sob sparked something within it, and before the waiter could react, sheer will now moved the creature. Without regard for others but for itself, it spat out fire, forcing the frightened waiter to drop him to the floor.
He landed with a great big thud, but before anyone could react, he painfully stood up and then, for the final time, it flew into the air, across the room, and out the open front doors.
I ran after it.
I muscled my way out of Rift’s grip, and ignoring his and the waiters’ yells, I rushed across the room, ran out of the restaurant and into the streets, where I saw the dragon flying off.
“Wait!” I called out to it. “Wait! Come back!”
I must have chased after it for at least ten minutes or so, the entire time yelling at him like a madwoman. I begged for it to stop, but it never did. It never even so much as turned back, the poor thing flying unsteadily, still injured from the shocks.
I eventually lost sight of it, and thus I came to a heavy, huffing stop, my eyes still stinging with tears.
“Damn it, damn it, damn it,” I hissed between huffs and puffs, resting my hands on bent knees, my eyes squeezed shut.
I was so upset, dear friend! So, so upset.
Which was silly of me.
You see, the dragon had unknowingly led me straight to a parting gift.
My eyes flew open as my entire spinning world came to a sudden violent stop. I would have laughed. I would have laughed at the absolute cruelty of the world if only I wasn’t too busy being paralyzed by fear.
Thankfully, or perhaps, unfortunately, fear had never stopped me before.
Bracing myself, I stood up straight and who did I see standing before me but Twilight Sparkle herself.
There we stood, she and I, at the border of the Heart and the Lunar districts, looking at each other for the very first time since that fateful day at the mansion.
Certainly, Twilight looked less emotionally compromised than I did. She’d chosen to speak up to me! She’d gotten a minute or so to compose herself, standing at a safe distance away.
She looked so beautiful. She looked like she was dressed for any other ordinary day, but stars above, she looked so beautiful.
“Twilight.” Her name stumbled out of my lips. “Twilight!” I said again, trying to compose myself, to pretend as if nothing was wrong. “Well! What a small world.” I smiled politely. “How are you?”
She looked me over, concern flashing in her eyes. “…Are you all right?”
I shoved my palm against my chest. “Am I all right? But of course! Why wouldn’t I be? Don’t be silly,” I said, as nonchalantly as I could, which was not at all. “What about you? Are you all right? What are you doing out and about?”
“I… I had a meeting,” she said awkwardly. A meeting at the Sapphire Carousel with one Shimmer Glass.
“Oh. My! A meeting. Sounds serious!”
Somewhere, in the back of my mind, I told myself I should leave. Bid my goodbye, and take off before I regretted it. But I couldn’t. I was glued in place so long as she continued to want my attention.
“Something to do with Lady Celestia, I expect?” I continued.
“No,” she replied, pointedly avoiding my gaze. “Something else.”
“Oh,” I said, the part of me that still loved her–which is to say all of me—filled with concern. “Did it not go well?”
“I don’t know.” She cleared her throat. “It doesn’t matter.”
“Oh. All right, then.”
We awkwardly stood there for a moment, unsure of what to say.
“Well!” I said eventually. “I should probably go.”
“Me too,” she replied.
And then, gods damn her, she smiled. But not a gentle smile, or a polite smile, or anything of the sort. It was the gentle teasing smirk that always prefaced witty remarks she once loved to throw my way.
She smirked at me and said:
“Hey, maybe we’ll actually shake hands this time.”
It was stupid. It was an incredibly dumb remark. It was awkward in a uniquely Twilight way, clumsily making fun of two moments that were anything but funny.
And it made me laugh.
By God, I laughed at that, charmed to my core, because she was silly, and I’d missed it. She laughed too, which in turn made me laugh even more, and how silly we must have looked! Two women laughing over nothing in the middle of the street, one of them laughing so hard she had to cover her face with her hands.
Because she was crying, too.
I loved her.
I still loved her, every single laugh shocking my body like that waiter had shocked the dragon. I’d never stopped loving her, and it hurt. She was hurting me so much. Hurting me just by being herself, hurting me because my God, she could tell me tomorrow something as awful as, I don’t know, that she wished she’d never associated with a whore such as myself, and I would still love her anyway.
I couldn’t hide the tears when I uncovered my face.
“Rarity?” she asked, the immediate concern in her voice making me love her even more. “Rarity, what’s wrong?”
“N-Nothing!” I choked out, stepping back as she stepped forward. I raised my hands towards her, stopping her in her tracks. “I’m fine! I’m fine. Please.”
Though it visibly upset her, she respected my wish. Because of course she would! Of course she would, damn her. And damn her even more when her expression softened and my heart screamed to go to her.
“Rarity,” she said, my name sounding so delicate in her voice, so gentle and cared for. She was killing me. “Rarity, I—”
“Don’t,” I cut off, almost primally terrified about what she had to say.
I wanted out. I needed to get out precisely because I so desperately didn’t want to. But, now that adrenaline was fueling me, I had to before she said anything that could deal the killing blow.
“Please, I— Don’t,” I asked again, and she didn’t. “Please, I… Twilight, I… God. I need to say something. Please.” I covered my face in my hands, not wanting to look at her. But I had to. I had to if I wanted this to be over. So I did.
Stared straight into her eyes, still aching with just as much hurt as mine were.
“Twilight… I… Stars above, I respect you so much. To my dying day, you will be one of the most remarkable individuals I will ever meet. I don’t regret meeting you. I don’t. I thought I did! God, I wish I did, but if I were given the option to go back in time, I would meet you all over again.”
She opened her mouth to speak but stopped when I raised my hand, begging her to stop. Finally, her mouth closed, and just as before, she let me finish.
Finish it all.
“Twilight, I needed you to know that. I needed you to know because I…”
I loved her.
“I don’t ever want us to meet again.”
Let’s take a moment here. Some TLC, if you will, mostly because, dear friend, you seem annoyed! I know why.
Right now, you’re sitting there thinking, “My God! She loves you too! I hate this! I hate all of you! You idiots! I should just kill you! Kill you all out of frustration!”
Thankfully, I’m already dead. Also thankfully, this could have been worse. This could have gone like I’m sure you expected it to go, which was me going to the Sapphire, finding out Twilight was the secret client, and then screaming bloody murder.
It would have been very dramatic!
But just… bear with me, dear. It’s almost done. We are near the end now, I promise. So grant me, if you will, one last goodbye.
I don’t ever want us to meet again.
It was true. And more than that, the fact remained that even then, and I suppose this is a spoiler, Twilight Sparkle didn’t know how she felt about my profession. Even after that meeting with Shimmer, she still didn’t know.
What, were you expecting her to fall into my arms if I said I loved her, completely changed her ways?
Because that wouldn’t have happened. And even then, it still might not happen. Not everything ends in happy endings. And that terrified me.
Losing Twilight again would kill me. I knew this for a fact. I knew I didn’t want to be with her in any other way that wasn’t with her accepting me as I am, and that wasn’t something I could count on.
I knew this as surely as I know it now, and the risk of losing her all over was not worth the risk of maybe having her as I wanted.
So, in that moment, I didn’t want her at all.
Twilight didn’t reply initially. She just stared at me, and I expected her to be hurt, but she wasn’t. Why would she be? You and I know it so well. Twilight Sparkle would rather die than disrespect my wishes.
Perhaps this was the greatest tragedy of our situation. We loved each other too much to be selfish.
So then, what did she have to say in reply? Her expression hardened for a moment and then softened. A choice had been made.
“We won’t,” she said, sincerely. Kindly. “We won’t ever meet again. Okay?”
I loved her.
She smiled at me and extended her hand.
“One last try, then?”
I laughed and how warm her hand felt when it closed around mine.
“One last try.” I smiled at her genuinely. “Goodbye, Twilight.”
And that was that.
We shook hands, took a deep breath, and each went on our way. She went back to the mansion, and I…
Well, I went back to the restaurant.
Rift was still there waiting for me, and he was still there after I broke up with him.
There was no point continuing a charade that neither he nor I deserved. I just wanted to go home. I wanted to go home, and lie in bed, and cry.
Lady Luna was waiting for me when I arrived home sometime later.
I noticed a few choice people giving me covert glances, which I chalked up to the fact that it was quite obvious I’d cried earlier that day.
“Rarity,” said my Lady, immediately concerned. “What’s wrong?” Her eyes trailed behind me, searching. “Where is Rift? Were you not meeting him today?”
“We broke up,” I replied, my voice small.
“Ah… I’m sorry to hear that, Rarity. Is there anything to be done?”
“No, but I appreciate it, anyway.” I walked past her. “I’ll be in my room.”
“I’m afraid you can’t go to your room yet,” the Lady said, stopping me in my tracks. When I turned to look at her, she gestured towards the hallway. “We need to talk.”
Dread filled me up. Now what?
“Now? Auntie, I don’t know if you heard me when I said I just went through a breakup.”
“Rarity.” Again, she gestured to the hallway. “Now.”
“…What about? What happened? If this is about Celestia, I don’t want to know.”
“My sister has nothing to do with this.” With that, she strode off towards her office, taking a quick moment to call out to Aqua. “Aqua, have Shimmer Glass and Rainbow Dash wait outside my office.”
I reluctantly followed after her, confused and irritated. I just wanted to go to bed! What on Earth could be so important that it trumped letting me recover from whatever the hell had happened that day?
“I will be brief,” my Lady said, closing her office door behind me with magic. She gestured to a chair. “Sit.”
“I’m fine standing.”
“Sit. You don’t want to be standing for this.”
I paled slightly. “My God. What’s wrong with you? Did someone die?”
“Not at all.” She sat down on her chair. “I just know you very well. So sit.” She waited until I did so and then continued. “As you know, I abhor keeping secrets that do not need to be a secret. I value transparency, honesty, and frankness.”
I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. “I am aware, yes.”
“The client came today.”
I blinked. “The client? Oh! The high-profile one.” I felt inclined to pettily remark that this was the very same client I apparently wasn’t good enough for, but I refrained. “I see. And this has to do with me because…?”
She reached into her pockets and placed an object before me on the desk.
A familiar golden lipstick I’d long ago discarded and thought lost.
“I believe this belongs to you.”
My eyes flickered back and forth between her and the tube.
“Where did you get that?” I asked, pale. “I threw it away.”
“Yes. The client retrieved it and asked that it be returned to you.”
“No, you don’t understand. I threw that away in the mansion. Auntie Tia’s mansion. So, unless this client lives there—”
“She lives there?” I laughed skeptically. I felt insulted, honestly. “Are you serious? Do you expect me to believe Auntie Tia was the client?”
“It was not my sister,” she replied, and my, my, my, wasn’t that terrifying to hear. But not as terrifying as what she said next: “It was Twilight Sparkle.”
I stared at her. I must have heard wrong. I must have.
“Sorry. Come again? It was who?”
“Twilight Sparkle. Twilight Sparkle was the client,” I repeated, the very same I’d just seen earlier that day. Twi-light Spar-kle. Who I hated to love. “Twilight Sparkle, the student of Auntie Tia. That Twilight Sparkle.”
“Yes. She was the client who wanted a private session.”
“Is this a joke?” I asked next, gaping at her as she stood up from her desk. I was so taken aback, I couldn’t even be angry. “You expect me to believe Twilight Sparkle, who ended our friendship over my career, not only booked a session with a sex worker, but that you allowed it?”
Lady Luna didn’t reply. Instead, she opened the office door, revealing Rainbow Dash and Shimmer standing behind it, both looking rather ill-at-ease.
“Come in, please.”
“What are they doing here?” I asked, growing irritated. “Actually, no! This is wonderful. Perfect timing! Rainbow, darling, dearest, you’ll never guess what Auntie Luna just told me!”
“Rarity…” Rainbow said, uncomfortable to her core.
“She said that Twilight Sparkle was the high profile client who wanted a session! Isn’t that hilarious?” I said, laughing. Laughing and laughing, until I noticed Rainbow wasn’t backing me up. That scared me, I’ll give you that. “You’re not laughing,” I said. “Why aren’t you laughing?”
“Rares,” she replied, taking a step towards me. “Look, it sounds bad, but—”
The sound of my chair screeching against the floor as I stood up interrupted her.
“No. No, absolutely not. Absolutely goddamn not. No.” I turned to Auntie Luna, who’d returned to the other side of the desk. “Auntie?”
“Sit, Rarity,” she asked, firm but kind, and an anger like no other consumed me.
“You knew she was coming?! You knew?! You orchestrated this?!” I demanded, more furious at her than I think I’d ever been before.
“Sit?! You want me to sit?! You knew?! Why didn’t you tell me?!” I slammed my fists against the desk. “Why didn’t you pick me?”
“She specifically requested you not be picked,” she said, and I felt like I’d been shot. “In fact, if it were up to her, you would have never found out. I’m the one who decided to tell you.”
I mentioned earlier that being rejected by Twilight again would kill me. Well, it did. It killed me, then and there, not physically, not yet, but my god, I’d been shot.
I turned around to find Shimmer stepping towards me, kind as ever. “Rarity, I can explain.”
“Explain?” I breathed out, completely at a loss. “Explain what? There’s nothing to explain, Shimmer! Nothing at all! Sex work was never the problem, was it? It was me! I’ve always been the problem! I’m not even worth paying! I’m not even worth her money! I’m worthless, I am!”
I fell back on the chair, cupping my face in my hands, stricken.
“On the contrary, Rarity,” my Lady said, kindly, “you’re so invaluable to her, she did the one thing my sister has never done.” I looked up just as she opened her desk drawer. “Twilight lent me this before she left. I will be returning it tomorrow.”
She slid a notebook towards me across the table.
“What is this?” I hiccuped.
“The product of her session with Shimmer Glass. I suggest you look inside.”
Gingerly, I reached out to take the notebook and flipped it open to the first page. I was confused at first. These seemed like exam questions. Actually, they seemed like interview questions. But the more I read, the more I realized what it was.
Pages and pages of notes on my profession, every single one delicately written in Twilight’s handwriting. Questions upon question ranging from “describe your day to day” to “what are the worst things one could ask a sex worker” to one that made me laugh: “if theoretically speaking one could be given magic lessons, would that be beneficial to your profession? Here are five initial suggestions, with three subsections each”.
Droplets of tears splashed on the pages, mixing with the ink from this precious object that was so painfully Twilight Sparkle.
“I don’t understand why you’d choose this,” she’d asked me once.
And here she was, trying to understand.
Not for the first time, I felt like Twilight Sparkle had shot me. But, perhaps for the first time in a while, it wasn’t blood that I bled. It was love.
“What do you think?” Lady Luna eventually asked.
“I think… I think out of all the things that could have happened between Shimmer and Twilight, this is the worst. I think this is terrible, actually. I wish you hadn’t shown me this.” I looked at her and smiled pleasantly. “That’s what I think.”
She was not impressed.
“Do you want to know why I think that?”
Lady Luna cleared her throat. Bracing herself, probably.
“Tell me, please.”
“I think this because I ran into Twilight Sparkle earlier today.”
“Ah. I see I should have prepared myself a drink before I agreed to this.”
“Yes, you should have. Anyway, I met with her, because last I knew, she wanted nothing to do with me, a sex worker, and do you know what I told her? Ask me! Ask me what I told her, Auntie Luna. Ask me what I told the woman I’m in love with.”
“Don’t do it,” Rainbow said, pained. “Oooooh God. I don’t even like the chick, but even I really don’t want to know where this is going.”
“What did you tell her?” Lady Luna asked, regardless.
“I told her I never wanted to see her again. That’s what I told her.”
“Of course you would.”
“Of course I would!” I got up from my chair, snatched the lipstick, and rushed to the door. “Of course I would!”
“Where are you going?” Lady Luna called out.
“To find her! What else?”
“And then what?” She frowned. “Just because this girl had a single interview with a sex worker does not mean she accepts you now. Some people will never fully accept you.”
“But she tried. She’s trying,” I said despairingly. “I love her, Auntie Luna. And I think she loves me too. It might go horribly wrong, but haven’t we both earned a second chance?”
“What about Celestia?” Lady Luna asked next, every word loaded. “She won’t approve.”
I threw my hands up in the air.
“So what! So what. She will never approve! I’m done deluding myself hoping she will one day! I’m done! And if Twilight chooses to be with me as I am, and Auntie Tia disapproves, then that’s fine because her opinion shouldn’t matter in the first place. The only opinions I care about are those of the people who love me.
“So let her disapprove. See if I give a damn. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to do the first sensible thing I’ve done in a while and go have a civil conversation with Twilight Sparkle!”
My Lady regarded me for a moment until finally, she smiled.
She rose from her seat.
“Prepare my carriage, Rainbow Dash,” she commanded. “We’re going to pay my sister a visit.”
Aldkdjfjdjsll you absolute genius of a fucking rip-my-heart -out prodigy of a tragedy wordsmith brilliant asshole how dare you do this to me I can’t believe you’re such a phenomenal magnum opus of bawling my eyes out I’m dying you… you… author
I both hate and love this chapter. Hate it because the way they treat the dragon is just horrible and it’s painful to go through it, and love it because Lady Luna is just a boss who takes no prisoners.
There bit where Rarity faces Twilight is also heavy, but in the house ways. All in all, it’s a good chapter, but probably my least liked one, personally.
I’m surprised it took this long, but they’ve finally arrived. Tears.
Oh no oh no oh no this better not end they way I’m thinking it will end.
Also poor dragon (it’s Spike, isn’t it), he just wanted to be impressive to a pretty girl….. 🙁