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    Rainbow didn’t know Rarity was dropping in for a surprise visit. 

    “It’s just, like, so much,” she’d said to Fluttershy, the two standing outside the cottage, the sounds of the wind and animals masking Rarity’s steps. “I’m exhausted.”

    Rarity stopped, frozen by the remark. Her name hadn’t been said, but she knew nevertheless. She knew in the core of her heart this was about her. 

    “She needs time,” Fluttershy replied, and though she sounded gentle, her tone… her tone was tired. Patient, and not the good kind of patient. This was the kind you take on when you have no other choice but to weather the storm. “She’s getting better.”

    “I know,” Rainbow said, sounding frustrated. “It’s just… It’s hard! Like, literally, yesterday I was trying to distract her with this Daring Do story where Daring finds this cool magic thingy that lets her talk with others from far away, and she lost it, Fluttershy. Like just started crying like someone had died. It sucked! It sucks to see her like this!”

    The dead leaves cracked as Rarity stepped back, her eyes watering with every word and even more so when Fluttershy sighed and said, “I know.”

    Ten minutes later, the door of Carousel Boutique slamming shut, Rarity stood in her empty lobby, holding back everything. Holding back the stupid tears and sadness that apparently everypony was sick of. 

    Including her.

    Especially her! 

    They’re exhausted? she thought, her stomping up the stairs echoing throughout the house. I’m exhausted! Do they think I want this? Does she think I love living my life like this? 

    Well, she wouldn’t, she told herself. She was done crying. She was stronger than that. 

    Her horn alighted with magic, and a record floated up from her collection and placed itself on the small gramophone she’d bought years back. She didn’t even bother to look at what she’d picked, wanting to just put something on and not. Cry. Again.

    She sat down on her bed and started to do some cross-stitching, bobbing her head along to the music she was definitely loving. She even felt better by the time it was ending, the music and lyrics fading out as another song faded in.

    And then the singer crooned about the many things they’d do now that they were free of the one they used to love, and then the tears came back, drowning her. And infuriating her.

    Because she said she wouldn’t cry. She had said she was done. But yet there she was, crying like Twilight had locked herself only yesterday.

    But she was tired of it. So she made a promise. 

    One song. 

    From that day forward, she would let herself cry once a day when needed, but only and exactly for the length of one song. 

    And so it happened, the unicorn allowing her weeping to become the backing track of the song. She cried her heart out, without shame or guilt, but the second the song ended, the moment it faded out completely, she stopped.

    She stopped her crying as if it had all been an act, wiped her face as she got off the bed, and then chose to move on with her day—which she did, gathering her things and making her way back towards Fluttershy’s cottage, a proud spring in her step. 

    Just one song.

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    1. Undome Tinwe (Melesse Lindenya)
      May 14, '23 at 1:54 am

      Hell of a story. Incredibly well written and carries across the themes and emotions really, really well. My heart aches for Rarity so much here.

    2. A Deer
      Apr 26, '23 at 6:09 pm

      Those reminders of what happened are hard. It’s like PTSD where certain things bring back the memories or feelings. And healing isn’t usually a straight forward thing we can just do in steps like building a shelf. But Rarity seems to be finding her way here a bit with the one song idea. This chapter is another good one. The prose sets the mood very well and brought me in.

    3. SigmasonicX
      Apr 25, '23 at 10:35 am

      Another good chapter. This feels like an appropriately Rarity way to deal with her grief.