Trust nopony, not even your human selfMonochromatic
There are things in life one is prepared for.
An expensive dress commission falling through? Aggravating, but manageable.
An unexpected weekend sleepover featuring Sweetie Belle and her rowdiest friends? Nothing she couldn’t take in stride.
Carousel Boutique being set on fire? Really unfortunate, but one could rise above it with the right attitude.
Your best friend, whom you meet nearly every day and tell all your secrets too, announcing she’s in a committed relationship with an alternate universe version of yourself who, quite frankly, looks like some kind of furless tall monkey creature?
That, admittedly, Rarity was not prepared for.
Clink. Clink. Clink.
She watched, mesmerized, as the spoon hit the side of the cup, mixing the lumps of sugar into the semi-transparent raspberry tea. It really was mesmerizing, wasn’t it? Or was distracting the word she needed.
She looked up and met her tea time companions eyes. There she sat, Princess Twilight Sparkle, carefully looking at her from the other side of the table.
“She confessed?” Rarity clarified. “The other me.”
Twilight blinked and a warm smile spread across her lips as she leaned back, her ears twitching slightly. “Yes, she did!” she exclaimed with reserved delight. “With how I’ve been going over there so much to help Sunset with her studies, Rarity and I have been spending more time together and…” She donned a shameful but endearing attempt at Rarity’s accent, “… she ‘felt a thrilling new connection, as it were’. She asked me out for coffee after a project and that was it.”
Rarity couldn’t help but think that was quite an uninspired confession, but she held her tongue.
Rarity looked back down to her tea and stirred it twice. “I… Well…” She allowed herself an awkward but nonetheless sincere smile and looked at Twilight again. “I imagine it must have taken you by surprise!“
Twilight laughed, sipping her tea. “It did a little, yeah, but…also not? I wanted to try it out.”
“Well, I can hardly blame you!” Rarity continued in a lighter air. “Any version of me is a catch!” She raised an eyebrow and grinned. “As are you, my dear. I’m happy for the both of you.”
“Thank you!” Twilight exclaimed, ears perking up again.
But if Rarity knew Twilight, which she liked to think she did very well, it was very obvious that something about Twilight’s disposition was, shall we say, manufactured. Her ear was twitching a little too many times per second, and she was acting far too calm for somepony who’d just announced she was dating another version of her best friend.
Rarity hummed, resting her chin on her palm. “But we’re not here just to announce our relationship with my other self, are we now?”
Twilight winced. “Is it that obvious?”
“It is if you know how to look,” Rarity replied.
Twilight sighed, her shoulders slumping. “Well…” She chewed down on her lip. “Hrm.”
Rarity fluttered her eyelashes. “Yes, Princess?”
“Are… Are you sure you’re okay with this, though?” she asked, her tone betraying… something. Something, something, something that Rarity couldn’t exactly figure out.
“Daaaarling, really,” Rarity chastised, raising an eyebrow. “Aren’t we a little too old to be asking for permission?”
“But—! I—! Yes, but—! I mean, isn’t it… I don’t know… Strange?”
Rarity cleared her throat. “…Well, yes, I’ll admit it is… bizarre, but! But as I said…” She reached over the table and put her hoof over Twilight’s. “I’m happy for you, Twilight. You’re my best friend, and—” She winked.” I’d trust no one with your heart but me.”
Though she meant it as a cute joke, Twilight did not react in kind. The alicorn looked at her, her eyes now betraying that same something that Rarity couldn’t quite figure out.
But, before she could attempt to, Twilight spoke up.
“Thank you, Rarity,” she said, sincerely. “I feel the same way.”
“As you should!” Rarity said, leaning back and grinning slyly. “Besides, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with settling for second-best, dear.”
“‘Nothing wrong with settling for second-best’?! Pfffffft!” Rainbow’s laughter filled the room, loud and obtrusive and demanding to be heard over the sound of Rarity’s sewing machine. “And you say I’m the one with the over-inflated ego!”
“You are,” Rarity called out, glaring at the red fabric through her glasses. “Oh, why is this not…?” She looked up and scowled at Rainbow, who looked quite comfortable sprawled all over her chaise longue. “And for the last time, will you take your hooves off my couch?! They’re absolutely filthy!”
“Nothing wrong with second-best,” Rainbow repeated, completely ignoring Rarity and crossing her forelegs behind her neck. She chuckled. “So, like, should Twilight ditch the human-you and go after you-you, or what?”
An unladylike snort left Rarity’s mouth.
“Goodness, no,” she said, amused by the idea. “Can you even imagine it? It would never work out.”
“What? You and Twi?” Rainbow asked, suddenly intrigued. “Why not?”
Rarity turned off the sewing machine and blinked. “Well. It’s Twilight.”
Rainbow furrowed her brow. “Yeah, and? I mean, isn’t she like preeetty much your type? The entire princess charming deal and whatever?”
Rarity harrumphed, levitating a needle and pointing it towards Rainbow.
“Really! Do you think me so shallow still that I only care about status? I’ve learnt my lessons on love, Rainbow, and neither prince nor princess charming feature anywhere near them.”
“Okay, but then if you don’t like Twilight, what does your other self even see in her?”
Rarity scoffed. “Many things, I’m sure!” she said at once, eager to defend Twilight as a wonderful prospect for anypony, which she absolutely was. “She’s frightfully clever, has an admirable passion for expanding her worldviews and educating herself, is exceedingly adept at many things and she’s very attractive to boot.” She turned back to her dress and flipped it over. “True, she has a few flaws here and there, but even those stem from her positive virtues. The only downside, if it even is that, is that she still lacks the…” She circled her hoof. “…finesse required for somepony of her social standing, but it’s nothing I’m not already working on improving with her.” She took a pause, went over her mental checklist of the many things that made Twilight a fantastic catch, and added, “Oh, and she’s a wonderfully witty conversationalist, which is something I unfortunately can’t say of nearly anyone in this town except for maybe Fluttershy.”
“Gee, thanks, Rares.”
“Darling, let’s be honest here.”
“… Yeah, okay, whatever, I’m still offended, but anyway!” Rainbow cleared her throat. “So,” she continued, “like I said, Twilight’s pretty much your type.”
“Yes, she’s exactly the other’s me type.”
“The other you.”
“Yes,” Rarity said, and at Rainbow’s stare, she frowned. “What?” She raised her glasses and perched them atop her horn. “Pardon me, Rainbow Dash, but what exactly are you implying here?
Rainbow sat up and threw her hooves in the air. “Look, I’m just saying that if Twilight’s so great and all, why is she dating the other Rarity and not you?”
Rarity blinked, taken aback. “I… Well! It wasn’t Twilight that asked her, it was the other me!”
“Yeah, but Twilight still said yes to her even though she knows you, and I’m just saying that if she’s so great and she went for the other you, then maybe you’re second best.”
“I’ve decided Rainbow Dash and I are no longer on speaking terms until further notice,” Rarity curtly informed Pinkie as she squinted at the clouds that were failing to make the park look as gray and miserable as she certainly didn’t feel.
“Awh. Does that mean she isn’t coming to dinner with the others tonight?”
“What? Absolutely not! I still have to go over the adjustments for her uniform with her, especially if she needs them done by tomorrow.”
“But you just said—” Pinkie cut herself off. “Ooooooh, you’re doing the thing!”
Rarity looked away from the clouds and to her friend. “What thing?”
“Where you say things you don’t really mean, and I have to pretend that you mean it and pretend that I’m agreeing with you and nod really seriously.”
Rarity stamped her hoof on the ground. “But I do mean it!”
Pinkie nodded very seriously. “And I agree with you!”
“Can you even believe it?! Why would she say that?!” With a great harrumph, Rarity turned away and glared at a couple walking by. “I’m second best?! In what world am I second best?!”
“In this one?”
Pinkie groaned. “Rarity, you’re being silly, and not the good silly, silly!”
“I’m not silly! If Twilight Sparkle wants to date a lesser version of me, then that is entirely her right.” Two seconds went by. “Honestly, what does she have that I don’t? Really? Tell me!”
“Rarity,” Pinkie whined, “this game isn’t fun, anymore. Do you want to date Twilight?”
“Then why does it matter?”
“It doesn’t!” Rarity said, taking her sunglasses from her bag and putting them on. “Does it look like it matters? It doesn’t matter to me, and in fact, it matters so little that I’m delighted Twilight wants to have her join us for dinner. I think it’s a great idea. Fantastic, even.”
“Oh, there they are!” Pinkie exclaimed, waving towards the other end of the park where Rarity was absolutely damn delighted to see Twilight and herself walking towards them, the former giggling as she helped the latter with adjusting to having four hooves.
“Hello, everypony!” Twilight greeted brightly.
Rarity, the lesser one, smiled a smile that Rarity, the better one, admitted was charming. It really was hard to be upset at oneself when oneself is so perfect.
“Why, hello, everyone!” Rarity, the acceptable one, said, fluttering her eyelashes. “Pinkie.” She offered a nod and then turned to Rarity, the wonderful one, giggling. “Rarity.”
“Well, well, hello, darlings!” Rarity, the fabul… Oh, that was getting to be a mouthful. Rarity said to Her and Twilight. “How has your little tour of Ponyville been so far?”
“Are you having fun?!” Pinkie asked.
“Oh, goodness, yes!” She said. “We just finished visiting Applejack’s farm, and Twilight’s taking me to…” She turned to Twilight and pressed a hoof on her shoulder. “Oh, my darling, I don’t think you told me where we’re going next?”
“I didn’t!” Twilight said, offering an adorable smile full of mischief which wasn’t adorable. “I was thinking maybe we could go back to the castle and you could give me feedback on the thesis I’m writing?”
“The thesis?” She asked.
“Wait, you mean the one about magic thermodynamics?” Rarity asked, referring to the one she’d been helping Twilight with for weeks now, meeting up with her four times a week to review.
“Yes, that one! I don’t want to bother you anymore with it, Rarity, and since Rarity is with me now, I thought she could help me with it instead.”
“Ah,” said Rarity, more stung than she cared to admit. Which was a lot. To spend nearly every afternoon at the castle with Twilight had become a staple of her life, and to have it taken away from her, well…
Well, that wasn’t pleasant at all.
“Well, we should get going, then,” said the other Rarity. “I’ve got many pages to read, it seems.”
Twilight nodded. “Right! Though, one last thing…” She looked inside her saddlebag and searched for something. “I have something for you, Rarity.”
“Oh?” said the Rarities.
Twilight looked up. “What? Oh!” She smiled at the other Rarity. “Oh, sorry, not you, Rarity. I meant the other Rarity.”
Rarity only barely concealed her offense.
“This is going to get confusing tonight, isn’t it?” Twilight continued. She looked back and forth between the two Rarities and stamped her hoof on the ground. “All right, I know!” She pointed to Her and said, “You’ll be Rarity One, and—” She gestured to Rarity. “You’ll be Rarity Two.”
“I’m Rarity Two?” Rarity asked, passing her scoff off as a laugh. “Well! I don’t mean to sound petty, but this is my universe.”
Twilight frowned. “Rari—”
“No, no, she’s absolutely right!” said Rarity Two, cutting Twilight off. She turned to Rarity One and smiled concedingly. “This is absolutely your universe, and you have known Twilight for longer. You be Rarity One, and I…” She turned to Twilight, lifting her chin and then saying with an absolutely sultry tone, “and I’ll be yours.”
“She’s a hussy, I tell you! A hussy!”
“Rarity!” gasped Fluttershy from her couch, covering Angel Bunnies ears. “That’s not nice!”
Stamping around Fluttershy’s cottage, Rarity came to a stop. “You’re right. Mares shouldn’t be judged by other mares for proudly displaying their confidence in certain, shall we say, mature areas.”
Fluttershy nodded, pleased.
“But she’s a hussy! A hussy, I tell you!”
“Rarity, stop that! No, she isn’t!”
Rarity resumed her pacing, her mind reeling. “Fine! Fine, she isn’t a hussy, and admittedly I had a very interesting discussion with her on design, but—! But she’s from an alternate universe! And she’s a—whatever her species is called!”
“Okay, fine!” Rarity yelled, whipping around to face Fluttershy. “Maybe I am jealous! Maybe I am only now realizing that spending every day with Twilight was probably signs of something else, but now it’s too late and she’s with her and I’m worried!”
She resumed her pacing.
“I miss her! Ever since she started dating her, I’ve barely seen Twilight! Before, if I wasn’t at the castle with me, she’d be at the boutique with me! Honestly, it’s like we practically made excuses to see each oth—”
She fell silent.
Fluttershy cleared her throat.
Fluttershy glared at Angel Bunny for rolling his eyes.
And so the ranting resumed, intensified triplefold.
“Then why didn’t she tell me?! What does this other Rarity have that made her the better candidate?! Is she even good enough for Twilight?! What if she hurts her?!”
“Who knows at what stage of life this girl is?! There’s some maturity you can only gain through being near death multiple times, not to mention the fact that we don’t even know if she’ll ever truly appreciate Twilight as she deserves! Will she understand her struggles?! Be able to support her when she’s carving grooves into the floor from pacing so much?! See her grow from a poor darling who can’t tell social etiquette apart from her hoof, to a beautiful princess who… who’s only moderately improved at social etiquette, but still!”
“What if she’s awful to Twilight?! I’m not awful, but I certainly know how to be awful, but what if she actually is awful?! And what if their relationship sours and simply looking at me will be painful, just a terrible reminder of her torrid affair with a former lover, the ghost of fractured dream that once was, and the pain is too much to bear! What will I do?! What will I do when Twilight Sparkle inevitably looks me in the eyes, reddened by tears that no longer come, and tells me we can no longer see each other?!”
She stopped abruptly and whispered to the wind, her only friend in this dark and dreary world:
“Rarity, please,” Fluttershy scolded. “That can’t be your solution to everything.”
Desolate, destroyed, ruptured to her very core, Rarity tumbled around and fell onto a nearby couch, her hoof pressed over her weeping heart, a bucket of ice cream now floating nearby. If she was to be dramatic, then she would need to go all out.
“How could I have let myself lose Twilight to her?” she asked the heavens.
“She asked her out,” Fluttershy pointed out, gentle but firm.
“She did. She won. She got there first,” Rarity admitted, stung in her heart and her pride. “She got to her first, and she did it in the most uninspired way possible.”
Fluttershy blinked. “What do you mean?”
“She asked her out for coffee, apparently,” she sniffled, finally having willed tears into existence. “Can you imagine?! To stand before a beautiful princess such as Twilight, who deserves nothing more than fanfare and praise, to know how meaningful this is to somepony as anxiety-ridden as her, and to disregard all of this and ‘ask her out for coffee’ as if consulting the weather?! I could never, in any universe, even imagine myself confessing to Twilight in such a dreadfully ordina—”
She choked on her words.
She would never.
“Rarity?” a tired Twilight Sparkle asked, looking at the mare standing on the other side of the door. “It’s almost midnight. Is everything all right?”
“Yes, Twilight, I am aware it’s midnight, and no, everything is not all right,” she said plainly, and as she saw Twilight’s expression twist with concern, she smiled and added, “But don’t you worry, darling, I’m aiming to set that right.”
“Is Rarity here, by the way?” she asked, looking over her shoulders. “It’s fine if she’s not, but I do think it’ll, shall we say, speed up the entire thing if she is.”
“Yes, she is,” Twilight replied, now understandably wary as her eyes narrowed slightly. “Rarity, is every—” She fell silent when Rarity raised her hoof.
In otherwise circumstances, Rarity would have done things differently, but she was forced to adapt to the situation by foregoing her usual theatrics, her usual flair, and instead getting straight to the point.
“Twilight, I’m in love with you.”
Twilight stared at her, the weary eyes suddenly very, very alert .
“I’m in lov—”
“No, I heard that.”
“Oh, splendid! Well, there you go, darling, I’m in love with you.”
Twilight continued to stare. “I… You… Really?” she asked, an almost timid wonder to her tone.
“Yes, really,” Rarity said. ”I understand if you’re shocked, as I must confess that I myself wasn’t aware I loved you until you started dating the other me, which is quite frankly a concerning level of self-competition unlike this universe has ever seen—literally so!—but regardless, here I am to tell you that I’m in love with you, as well as to apologize.”
“Apologize?” Twilight asked, and immediately apprehension colored her face. “For being in love with me?”
“Oh, goodness, no, darling! Never! I want to apologize for what I’m about to do, insist that I take no pleasure in it, and that this will never happen again, and I’m sorry it’s happening even once.”
“What? Rarity, what are you ta—”
Twilight stared at Rarity, eyes wide either by shock or pain or probably both.
“Rarity?!” she gasped.
“That, Twilight Sparkle, was for the hell you’ve put me through.”
Twilight gawked at her for a moment until comprehension dawned.
Without pausing to let Twilight explain, Rarity strode past her, into the castle foyer and when she saw her other self standing by, a cup of tea levitating besides her, she had only one thing to say.
“You bitch,” she said and then smiled brilliantly. “Well played.”
Rarity blinked twice and then curled her lips into an absolutely sinful—if slightly relieved—smile.
“Why, thank you! I’ve had a quite a lot of practice getting peop—er, ponies—together, and jealousy always works when someone is in denial about one’s feelings—” She turned to Twilight and raised an eyebrow,” —like I told you fifty times she was.”
Twilight turned scarlet. “I’m sorry! I thought she—Oh, nevermind.” She closed the door and cleared her throat. “Well. That all happened.” She rubbed her cheek and winced. “Never doing that— Wait! How come she doesn’t get slapped? Or killed? Or… You know what? This is better than what I thought would happen, so nevermind.”
“Well, I thought it was fantastic,” said Rarity to the other Rarity. “Well played, indeed.”
“I do hope this means we can be friends,” the other Rarity asked.
“Darling, dearest, Rarity, I’d be devastated if we weren’t.”
“If I may ask,” the other Rarity said, “what, shall we say, tipped you over the edge?”
Rarity felt herself blush. Now she regretted her earlier… remarks on her alternate self.
“The name you gave yourself. The entire, ‘And I’ll be yours’ affair,” she said. “That. That’s what tipped me over the edge.”
“Really?!” Twilight exclaimed, very pleased. “I came up with that.”
“Darling, really?!” Rarity gasped. “My, my, my. I admit I almost slapped my dear other self for that.”
“Great!” Twilight said. “Wait. No. Not great. Anyway.” She cleared her throat again. “I’m glad this is over, even if I still think that asking her out for coffee would have been fine.”
“Oh, absolutely,” said Rarity. “Yes, it’s a little… ordinaire, but I would have mulled it over and realized my feelings eventually.”
“She was nearly there, regardless,” added the other Rarity.
“What?!” Twilight exclaimed. “Then why did we do all of this?! Why didn’t you just let me ask her out for lunch?!”
The two Rarities replied in unison.
“Darling,” they said, “where’s the drama in that?”