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    XXII. Emergency Confession Protocol #8

    By the time Monday morning came, I’d yet to arrive at a decision. It was hard to decide in a week if one was willing to change their lives so drastically. I only properly told Fluttershy about it, the trip and the job offer and the moving, and she is so very intelligent, Fluttershy. She hides it, but she is, and you can imagine how I nearly choked on my tea when she asked if I was hesitating because of my feelings for you.

    “Oh dear! Was it truly that obvious?!” I exclaimed, aghast.

    I remember how she laughed. Nopony believes me, for nopony ever sees Fluttershy in such a relaxed state, but she is a merciless tease, I tell you! She told me we were both obvious about it if you knew how to look, and that gave me some small amount of comfort.

    She and I talked, and talked, and talked.

    And I could not make up my mind.



    For countless weeks, you had secretly made arrangements to spend time with me. All those seemingly insignificant trips, all those moments I hadn’t bothered to remember because they weren’t important. I’d been safely deluded into thinking you weren’t really there because you wanted to be, but because it was just another pony’s daily commute.

    At the dawn of the end, I wished I’d paid more attention. I wish I hadn’t fallen asleep on you when you read to me. I wished so very many things, wished I knew how special every moment had been, and it struck me that you’d never mentioned it before.

    You could have easily thrown all those trips right back at me when I lashed out, but you didn’t. You didn’t, you didn’t, you didn’t because you were far kinder and more generous than I could ever hope to be. Real generosity was the one where the altruist didn’t want or expect anything in return. Real generosity was you waking up three hours early and getting home four hours late so that I would never have to travel alone. Real generosity was you ensuring I accomplished my dreams at the cost of your heart.



    It was snowing that morning.

    The winter winds brushed my coat as I trotted towards the station, the first rays of morning light courageously trying to counter winter’s embrace and provide whatever warmth they could. My scarf felt tight around my neck and I watched the snow sink under my hooves with each step I took.

    Snowflakes fell all around me and reminded me of the thoughts in my head, so complex and intricate when studied from up close yet so simple when merely observed from afar. A snowflake for our train rides every morning and every night; another for the binder you’d made that helped achieve my dreams; and yet another especially beautiful snowflake for our little attic where the world existed entirely for you and I. Three snowflakes taken from a larger number that, when observed all at once, melted together into a white blanket of snow much like the blanket of affection you’d secretly covered me with.

    The frosty grass beneath my hooves became cold cement as I stepped inside the train station, the voices of early commuters making their way into my ears.

    Yet none lovelier than yours.

    “Rarity!”

    There you were, looking tres chic in baby-blue booties and scarf, and when I hurried to you, I was concerned to see you did not look your best. There were great bags under your eyes, and your mane was unkempt—the tell-all signs of somepony who stayed up reading books far too late into the night.

    You also forgot the coffee.

    “I forgot the coffee,” you said, or rather, yawned. Your ears folded down. “I had to stay up all night studying a law book for my meeting at nine.”

    Your meeting at nine! You little liar, I thought.

    “Oh? A meeting with the Princess?” I innocently asked, and you nodded in reply, another yawn escaping your lips. “I was planning on sleeping on the train, but…” You groaned. “That never really works out.”

    You were so cute. You were so tired. I knew you were never going to come clean about what you did, so I decided to do so for you.

    I also, as you know, had terrible timing.

    “Twilight, sweetheart,” I said, lifting my hoof and brushing it against your cheek. “It’s perfectly alright to go back home to sleep. As much as I adore your company, I’d rather you get your well-deserved rest. I promise I can handle another week or two of traveling alone by train.”

    You blinked. “What do you mean?” you asked, raising an eyebrow, looking genuinely confused.

    Ah, Twilight, I thought, resisting the urge to playfully roll my eyes. Feigning ignorance until the bitter end, are we?

    I smiled mischievously at you. “Twilight, you don’t have to pretend anymore. I’m afraid that Princess Celestia accidentally told me your little secret.” I moved my hoof away from your cheek and tapped your nose. “I was very surprised when she told me she’d only requested you come from twelve to five.”

    “She what?!” you exclaimed, cheeks turning several shades of delightful red in a fraction of a second. You looked absolutely mortified by the revelation! Burying your face in your hooves and groaning! I admit I was shamelessly delighted. After a moment, you took back your hooves and gulped down, cheeks still burning brightly. “R-Rarity, listen, I… I..”

    “Twilight Sparkle, calm down,” I said, giggling lightly, brushing away your bangs so I could admire your lovely face. “Why in Equestria are you acting as if though it’s something to be ashamed of? I personally think that you’ve been excessively nice for bothering to keep me company. And, let’s not forget your astounding patience when faced with me and my tirades at seven in the morning regarding the future of the fashion industry.”

    “But it was never a bother, Rarity,” you insisted, poor thing. “I’d gladly listen to your tirades at any time!”

    But I was adamant. And I also might have been enjoying you shamelessly declaring your devotion to me a bit tooooo much.

    “Nevertheless, Twilight, as fascinating as you might have found them, the point still stands that you were under no obligation to listen to them. I really can’t thank you enough for what you did and using valuable hours of your time on me, especially considering how nervous I was those first few days.”

    “But I didn’t do it just because you were nervous, Rarity. I mean, sure, the first week I thought it might be nice for you to have company, but I did it for… me… too.” Your exhaustion had faded away completely now, your eyes pressed firmly shut, and I took a breath. “Rarity, I…”

    Here it comes, I thought.

    “Yes, Twilight?”


    Twilight.

    You know, as I’ve been telling this story, I’ve tried to really and truly pinpoint the moment where it happened. The second where I can truly and honestly say that I truly fell in love with you—where the thin line between severe infatuation and true love was crossed.

    I expected a confession. I expected you to stammer your way through it, to blurt it out in broken sentences, I don’t know, I expected a very many things.

    I did not expect you to ask me to wait a minute, and as I watched you riffling inside your saddlebag, I did not expect you to nervously take out a block of about thirty white cue cards, the words “EMERGENCY CONFESSION PROTOCOL #8” branded in red on the back of each one.

    “I lov— like spending time with you, and we’ve been so busy lately that I thought we’d be able to spend more time together in Canterlot, which is why I was so happy the Princess asked me to take more lessons, but even there in Canterlot we’d both too busy!” You switched to the next cue card. “S-So I realized the train rides would be the only times we could really sit down and talk, and I thought you would like to have a friend but—”

    Switched it again.

    “But then the entire thing with Sharp Silk happened, and I just really didn’t want you to leave Ponyville, because I… becauseanywayitdoesn’tmatter BUT. Uhm. Wa-wait. This one isn’t from this set. You frowned, put a card away and then continued. “BUT I also want you to be happy because I know your career is important to you, and you’re so talented, and I don’t want you to leave, but I want you to work for Lace Ribbon, and I’m going to miss you so much, and I know this is weird because we’ve only been friends for seven months and seventeen days, and I don’t know if you even like mares, butIreallylikeyouandIhopethat’sfine.”

    You finished with a great big breath of air, staring at the floor below you.

    I, on the other hoof, simply stood there, mouth half-open, taking in what had just happened.

    I knew at that moment, Twilight Sparkle, that you were the single most hopeless pony I’d ever met, and I also knew that I was hopelessly and desperately in love.

    If I did not spend the rest of my life trying to make you happy, I would never be able to be happy myself.

    “Twilight?”

    You looked up at me, still as a marble statue, the card frozen in mid-air, and the blood draining from your face. You looked at me as though I were Celestia herself come down to hand judgment on an assignment.

    “Y-Yes?”

    I licked my lips.

    “Twilight, do you have a protocol prepared for what to do if I kiss you?”

    To my dying day, I will never forget the look on your face.

    “No,” you squeaked. “Only for me kissing you.”

    “Splendid,” I said. “Takes notes then, darling.”

    I did not allow myself to hesitate. I simply did what came naturally and move forward, silencing your adorable noise of surprise by pressing my lips against yours, my hoof finding its place on your chest. Goodness, it felt like an eternity before you did something. Yes, I know you were shocked, but I started to wonder if perhaps I’d acted too fast. It wasn’t really a kiss so much as our lips being pressed together?

    And, as fate would have it, just as you reacted and you leaned in, conceding into what we both wanted, the train’s whistle filled the air and, just as fast as it had started, I tore myself from you and rushed away, galloping past the conductor and into the train, the train door closing behind me moments later.

    Of course that was unnecessarily dramatic of me! What were you expecting?!

    I moved in a hurry to our cabin and once I was there, once I was completely alone, I collapsed on the seat in a fit of giggles. I thought I would never feel as giddy in my entire life, until I looked out the window and was proven terribly wrong.

    There you stood, in the exact same position as I’d left you. Ha! Now you were awake, weren’t you? Or, considering what had happened, were you questioning if you might still be dreaming? Regardless, I watched you through the window, my heart bursting in my chest when I saw you fall onto your hindlegs and cover your face with your forehooves.

    I couldn’t stop thinking about it during the rest of the trip.

    I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and how I couldn’t wait to see you later.

    The train ride went by faster than it ever had, in fact, and when I stepped out into Canterlot’s station, I took in a breath of air. An entire new world was waiting for us.

    As were four royal guards, looking around the station with narrowed eyes.

    “Lady Rarity!” one of them called, flagging me down when he caught sight of me.

    “Hello!” I greeted brightly. Perhaps they’d recognized me from the castle? “Is everything all right?”

    “Er, yes, Lady Rarity, but…” He looked past me with an unsettled expression, towards the crowd descending the train. “Is Lady Twilight with you?”

    I froze.

    “…Twilight?” I slowly asked.

    “Yes,” another guard said, looking more than concerned. “She has an appointment in an hour with Princess Luna and the Saddle Arabian monarchs. We were supposed to go with her to escort the King and Queen.”

    I smiled thinly. I think I wanted to die.

    “I see.”


    XXIII. A Dashing Arrival

    Where is she?!”

    Princess Luna’s furious voice boomed throughout the entire castle as I sat there listening to her incensed rant. She strode in circles around me, venting her fury towards you at me. I could have easily made up an excuse and left, but since I was somewh—yes, fine, completely responsible, I felt obligated to sit there and give the grumpy, exhausted alicorn somepony to yell at.

    “Princess, I’m sure something important came up,” I said.

    “It is ten in the morn! We should be asleep!” she shot back. “She is making the King and Queen wait! This is an offense worthy of treason!

    I could see it now. The kingdom ravaged by war and famine, misery and destruction, and all because of a single lethal kiss. It was horrific, but it would make a fantastic story to tell the war survivors.

    “Maybe she sent Princess Celestia a scr—”

    “My sister is attending to the Minos king and queen!”

    I debated telling her. Maybe if I told her, she would direct her wrath at me and not you, and yes, I might have to go into exile, banished forever due to an act of love and passion, but if one of us was going to be smited by Princess Luna, I’d rather it be me than you.

    I took a deep breath, trying to compose myself enough to shamefully confess until a distant yell distracted me.

    OPEN THE DOOR! THEY’RE GOING TO CRASH INTO IT!”

    We watched as a guard by the front door quickly did as instructed, and what a shock when Rainbow Dash crashed into the room, you clutched to her back as you both slammed against the floor and rolled halfway across the main hall, loudly crashing against a suit of armor.

    “I’M HERE!’ you gasped, standing up and stumbling around like a lady who indulged in one too many cocktails. “I made it! I made it!”

    “You’re welcome…” Rainbow groaned, still sprawled on the floor, trying to compose what was left of her bearing.

    TWILIGHT SPARKLE!” Princess Luna boomed, slamming her hoof against the floor. “You are nearly an hour late!”

    “I-I know, I’m sorry!” you stammered, terrified. “I was just—! I had—!” You looked around as you tried to come up with an excuse, and you failed miserably to do so when your eyes settled on me and your burst into a shamelessly giddy smile.

    TWILIGHT SPARKLE, IS THIS AMUSING TO YOU?!”

    “N-No, no! Please, no, it’s not, no no! I’m sorry!”

    I was staring at the wall. It was a delightful wall. White and white and delightful. I was considering taking up Interior Decorating, such was the beauty of that wall.

    “Very well. We will bring the King and Queen, and you will meet with us in five minutes in the throne room,” I heard Princess Luna say.

    “Y-Yes!”

    By the time the Princess had left, Rainbow was already beside me, rubbing her doubtless throbbing head.

    “Hey, Rares,” she said.

    “Rainbow,” I replied, looking her over and trying not to look at you as you approached us. “Quite the entrance.”

    “Yeah, I’ve done better,” she said. “Still wished somepony hadn’t missed her dumb train!”

    “I’m sorry, Rainbow. I really owe you one,” you said with a breath of relief.

    Rainbow snorted. “One? You owe me fifty, Egghead! I got you here in less than two hours!”

    “I know, I know,” you replied while I took in the lovely colors of Rainbow’s mane until you cleared your throat. “Hi, Rarity!”

    I turned to you, smiling thinly and finding myself confronted with a rather extraordinary grin.

    “Twilight. Good morning,” I said. “How are you?”

    “Me? Oh, I’m great. I’m really great, Rarity. Thank you for asking, you replied, leaning in with all the confidence you did not deserve. “How are you?”

    “I’m all right.”

    “Just all right?” you continued.

    My cheeks flushed, and I discovered that if I found you alluring before, this sudden burst of confidence in your attitude was, well… I liked it, and it embarrassed me how much.

    “Yes, just all right,” I replied coolly.

    “Are you su—”

    “Hey!” Rainbow snapped, smacking you on the shoulder. “I’m the one who smashed against a wall, and I ain’t seeing nopony asking me how I am!”

    You turned to her with that same damn grin. “Oh, Rainbow, I’m sorry! How are you?”

    Rainbow scoffed. “Awesome, duh. You should already know that.”

    “I should, and I’m sorry I didn’t,” you replied before turning back to me. “Rarity! Anything interesting happen today?”

    I smiled at you, tilting my head to the side. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed it’s been ten minutes already?”

    You blanched. “What?!” you gasped, rushing off into the depths of the castle.

    “Geez,” Rainbow said. “What’s her deal?”

    “Who knows, Rainbow darling,” I replied, walking off with a shameless grin of my own, “who knows.”


    XXIV. The First Train Home

    I did not see you again for the rest of the day.

    Rainbow Dash went home halfway through the day, which might have been partly at my insistence. She’d wanted to stay all day and take the train with us, and I knew that if you and I did not elaborate on our intimate encounte—

    What?

    No! Elaborate means talk, not making out! Goodness, I do have some control over my hormones! Yes, I do! And oh ho ho, you are one to talk, Miss Let’s-Make-Out-In-Our-Box-At-The-Theatre!

    Now, as I was saying, I knew that it was imperative you and I discussed our intimate encounter, mostly because yes, alright, I would not mind terribly if it repeated itself again. Your earlier display of confidence was proof enough that you had enjoyed it decently enough, as you should because we’re both magnificent kissers.

    Especially you.

    I think.

    You know, I need to make sure. Can you come closer?

    Hm.

    I might need to test it again. Come here.

    Hm.

    I think a thir—All right, all right! It was for science, I’ll have you know, but I suppose it’s your loss!

    I didn’t know whether to wait outside for you or not. In truth, I was still rather embarrassed by the events of earlier, and I… All right, yes! Your earlier display when we met again did do something to my hormones! It was… I’d once imagined what it would be like, to be the target of the almost arrogant confidence you show when you think you’re right, and I am a romantic at heart, Twilight. I will seduce, yes, but ultimately I want to be courted. I’m the one who wants to swoon in somepony’s forelegs.

    And, dear stars, did you court me.

    I sat by the train station, the two cups of tea beside me, watching with interest as a rather elderly lady yelled at her poor aide, until I heard your voice behind me, sending shivers down my spine.

    “Hi, Rarity,” you said, and I bit down on my lip.

    I did not turn back.

    “Twilight Sparkle,” I replied, levitating your tea above my head. “Fancy meeting you here.”

    It’s strange how everything felt different now. Our magic auras brushed when you took your cup, and though this had happened so many times before, it was… it was electric that time. It was like you purposefully lingered there, meshing them together, until I was the one to take my magic back before I got too hot.

    “Thank you,” you said, moving forwards and sitting beside me. Your tail brushed against mine, teasing and gentle, and I don’t know if I was more horrified at the fact that you were being so forward, that I liked it, or both.

    For weeks, I had the upper hoof. For weeks, I’d toyed with you, and in a single day, I was the one pressed against the wall while you read me with as much ease as you read a book on magic thermodynamics.

    Yet you did not advance beyond that.

    No nuzzles, no kisses, no nothing. You kept me at the edge, dangling me there, neither letting me go nor pulling me up. You—Dear lord, look at your grin; you’re enjoying this, aren’t you? Is your tail wagging, too?—I was baffled by how you had so quickly become an expert at seduction, at teasing me—it was driving me mad.

    We eventually moved inside the train, which I was grateful for as it gave me something to do besides sitting there wondering what you would do.

    I stepped into our cabin first, seating myself next to the window, taking several deep breaths. You strode in a moment later, closing the door behind you which was something you did every single time, but at that moment, my eyes did widen.

    I watched you as you made your way through the small space, sitting down directly in front of me, our eyes interlocking.

    Neither said a word.

    You simply sat there, smiling, and the anticipation was murdering me! I didn’t even know what to say!

    The train began to move, our bodies shaking slightly, and still you said nothing!

    I couldn’t take it anymore.

    “All right, do it!” I finally exclaimed, pressed against my seat, my heart thumping in my chest, and my mind racing. “Whatever it is you’re planning! Kiss me, talk, I don’t know, but do something before I go mad, Twilight!”

    And just as I finished my sentence, so did the train enter Canterlot Mountain’s tunnel and cut the light.

    I blinked in the absolute darkness, shocked for a moment until I held my breath when I heard you move and get up. It felt eternal, like a thousand years of waiting, the train rushing inside the tunnel while my entire world waited in the wings for you to take a step towards me.

    And another.

    And another.

    And I’d have waited for another, except the train moved suddenly, I heard a yelp and then a very loud thud.

    And, as I mentioned earlier, destiny is cruel, and that was the exact moment when the train left the tunnel, moonlight filtered into the room and I had to bite down a laugh at seeing you sprawled on the floor, muzzle pressed against the carpet.

    The most delightful silence followed.

    “Twilight, darling?” I asked, pressing my forehoof against my cheek. “What are you doing, if I might ask?”

    “Studying the composition of the carpet,” you replied matter-of-factly.

    “I see, I see!” I said. “Anything interesting to report?”

    “Yes. This carpet seems to be made from wool, which means this was probably one of the original rugs made for the Friendship Express, since most modern trains use synthetic fibers like nylon and polyester since they’re less expensive to get.”

    “Dearest, how fascinating!” I cleared my throat. “Would you like to try what you were doing before again?”

    “I want to teleport myself to the other side of Equestria, but I’m not that skilled at teleportation yet.”

    “But, my darling, if you’re halfway across the kingdom, how will I kiss you again?” I asked, and Twilight Sparkle, the little squeal of surprise you let out! I think I fell in love all over again. “Twilight, please sit up.”

    And the moment you did, your flustered eyes meeting mine, I leaned forward to kiss you, and now did you really kiss me back, pushing me back against my seat and I was nothing but willing.

    When we finally parted, our lips inches away, our faces flushed, I let out a soft laugh.

    “Did you like that?” I asked, and giggled when you nodded.

    “Rarity, I…” A shadow of pain marred your face. “We shouldn’t have done this.”

    “Whyever not?” I asked, still keeping you close and caressing your face with my hoof. “Frankly, I think we haven’t done it enough.”

    “Yo-Your job,” you stammered. “You have to stay here.”

    And, for the last time, I made a choice.

    “Well, then, my love,” I whispered, “we’ll simply have to pool our money together so we can afford to see each other every weekend, won’t we?”

    You opened your eyes, moving back. “Wh-what? You mean you…”

    “I don’t intend on losing either the job or you, so we shall simply have to find a way for this to work for a year or so,” I said, and what a smile you offered in return. I moved in closer, closing the distance between our lips, and whispered when we pulled apart. “Does that sound agreeable?”

    You giggled, tears in your eyes and moved in to nuzzle me.

    “That sounds more than agreeable. So much more.”


    Always Seeking,
    Each Moment Fleeting;
    This Is Where
    My Soul Will Rest.

    With You I’ve Fulfilled,
    Our Destined Meeting;
    My Tired Hand,
    Against Your Chest.

    This Is The Heart,
    That Keeps Mine Beating
    These Are The Eyes
    That Mine Know Best.

    ~ Lang Leav


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