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Crossing Over · Friendship is Short Shorts Short Story ·
Organised by CoffeeMinion
Word limit 1000–5000
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Perfectly Imperfect
"'Perfectly imperfect,'" Twilight grumbled, and Rarity could hear the quotes she wrapped the phrase in. "Whose idea was that, anyway?"

Rarity looked over the top of her glasses at the new reigning monarch of all Equestria. Twilight stood quite straight and stately on the platform in the center of the lovely Canterlot Tower studio Rarity had laid claim to, but somehow she seemed to be huddling there, the silvery pieces of the gown for her final accession ball pinned in place around her—she'd already grown an eighth of a hoofspan, rendering Rarity's original designs completely obsolete.

Fortunately, Rarity found that she didn't mind running her tape measure repeatedly across Twilight's expanded self. She licked her lips. No, she couldn't say that she minded it at all.

"And yes," Twilight went on before Rarity could pull herself together enough to comment. "I know I'm the one who said it at the press conference after that stumble-hoofed crowning ceremony. But I didn't mean for Minuette to latch onto it and make it the theme for the whole week!"

"And yet?" Unable to stop a smirk, Rarity turned her attention once more to weaving together the blue and white filaments she needed to make the perfectly imperfect thread for the gown's hem. "No words could better summarize the era into which we're leading Equestria. In fact, considering how the pony in the street considers Celestia to have been a paragon of perfection, your blunt declaration that you're not has won you a great deal of popular acclaim. I'd say Minuette has earned her first year's salary as your secretary already, and we're only five days into your administration."

The sigh Twilight blew out ruffled Rarity's mane even though she was halfway across the room. "Fine. But if Discord doesn't stop selling those t-shirts with that goofy picture of me on them..."

Silence settled in, but it felt too prickly against Rarity's hide, as itchy as unwashed wool and not at all conducive to the creative process. Staying focused on her thread, she asked, "And?"

Twilight didn't say anything, and that alone was enough to make Rarity look back up. Twilight had gotten a good deal better about sharing her anxieties over the years—and this Council of Friendship looked likely to require a great deal more sharing if it were to function. But, well, the little imperfections often brought out the true beauty in a gem, did they not?

Rarity carefully set down her partially twined thread. "If you're either ashamed to discuss whatever else is bothering you or think it's not important enough to mention, let me assure you that—"

"It's Fluttershy." Twilight's downcast face took on a rosy hue. "I...I think she's got a crush on me."

"Really?" Rarity kept her own face blank of all but the slightest expression of interest, an impenetrable mental wall snapping up to seal off every memory of Fluttershy nearly dancing about the Boutique while singing her rhapsodic and rapturous declarations concerning Twilight's beauty and strength, her gentleness and her dedication, her down-to-earth nature and her soaring magical prowess. "What makes you think that?" Rarity asked, her every effort going toward keeping her voice steady.

Again, Twilight managed to slump without altering her posture at all. "I don't know. There's probably nothing there. I'm just...just—"

"Projecting?" Her feelings something of a jumble, Rarity wanted to both drop the subject and delve deeper into it. "You think she feels something more than friendship for you because..." And for all that Twilight was the most brilliant pony Rarity had ever met, she knew that this was a thought she couldn't count on Twilight to complete on her own. "You feel something more than friendship for her?"

"What?" This time, Twilight did move, her wings flaring, her hooves stomping her legs out into a wider stance, her head snapping over, the pieces of fabric flying from her like water from a shaking dog. "No! That's the whole problem!"

Leaping forward, Rarity swept her hornglow across the scattering fabric. "Of course, darling! Of course! No need to panic!" Sweat burst across her forehead, the pieces whisking in and out of her grip, the entire ensemble seconds away from becoming a complete shambles.

Twilight's eyes went wide. "Sorry!" Magenta light wavered from her horn, and Rarity almost gasped at the firm but caressing embrace that surrounded and steadied her spellcraft. "It's okay: I've got them. You can let go."

Her throat the teeniest bit dry, Rarity withdrew and tried not to shudder at the exquisite sensation of sliding her magic delicately over the massive, pulsing power of—

"Because Fluttershy's a friend!" Twilight was saying, the fabric pieces swirling back into exactly the same spots they'd been before. "Just like you and AJ and Dash and Pinkie and Spike and Starlight and...and everypony! But Fluttershy, she...before Celestia and Luna set the date for my accession, she was dropping by the castle a lot with really interesting research questions, then staying around and helping me find the answers. Which was great, actually: she's got a first-class mind and isn't the least bit afraid of getting her hooves dusty when it comes to digging out obscure sources. But..."

The magic in the room was tamping down to a more normal level, and Rarity found she could breathe again.

"She's been so—" Twilight let out a much milder sigh. "When Rockhoof would have his storytelling sessions, she would always sit beside me and cringe against me during the scary parts. At school, she was always stopping by my office around lunchtime so we'd end up going to the cafeteria together, and she would brush my side with her wing while we walked and touch my hooves when we sat and talked. Or just this week! We've had, what, eight accession balls so far? And Fluttershy's been right there beside me the whole time! She was even talking last night about maybe hiring somepony to fill in at her animal sanctuary so she could start overseeing the menagerie here three days a week! But Sweet Feather was her dream! Why would she ever consider giving that up?"

"Safety," Rarity said without thinking. Though of course she had been thinking about the question for quite some time, trying to understand why a pony as thoroughly uninterested in sex as Fluttershy swooned so heavily over Twilight, another pony who'd never shown more than a sweetly blushing concern with carnal matters.

Of course, she'd promised Fluttershy with all the appropriate Pinkie-related rituals not to breathe a word to anypony about the increasingly elaborate fantasies she'd been whispering to Rarity ever since that fateful evening when Twilight had first unfurled her wings. But, well, these were Rarity's own hypothetical musings on the subject, not the subject itself. "Consider," she began, Twilight staring at her like she'd grown her own pair of wings. "You're currently the most powerful being in the entire world, are you not?"

Twilight's ears fell. "I—"

"Now, now." Rarity held up a hoof. "No false modesty, no equivocating, no hemming, and no hawing." She flicked little strips of silver magic into the air above her, one for each of her points as she listed them. "You're the sole and absolute ruler of Equestria. You control the sun and the moon. You have links of friendship with every civilized race of creatures from one end of creation to the other. You could, with a few words and a few gestures, cause any effect you wished to occur. And most importantly?" She slashed the fifth strip across the previous four. "You would never do anything or allow anything to harm those over whom you exercise your power."

Wishing she could quell the distress seeping over Twilight's face but knowing she couldn't, Rarity softened and lowered her voice. "Or have I misstated the situation?"

"I—" Twilight's ears had folded, and her next words came out as the barest sort of a whisper. "I never asked for any of this..."

"Exactly." Stepping up, Rarity rested a hoof on Twilight's shoulder. "What's the cynical old adage? Nopony who wants power should ever be allowed to attain it? Fluttershy yearns for a protector and a guardian, one to whom she can entrust herself entirely and without reservation. She's drawn to you like...like—" Rarity scowled slightly, her mind searching for a colorful simile but finding only clichés. "Like ducks to water. Or moths to a flame. Or something along those lines."

The silence that stretched out this time felt just as itchy, but it seemed to have more shape to it, Twilight's mental processes churning almost visibly. Yet all she said was "Wow."

"Indeed." And for all that Rarity had been contemplating this problem for years, she'd always hoped that Twilight would end up being just as enamored of Fluttershy so she could design their wedding outfits and watch them live happily ever after. Now that so much had changed, however... "I'm not certain what we can do other than gently confront her with the truth and try to ease her heartbreak as well as we're able."

"Or?" Something firm and resolute had clicked into place behind Twilight's eyes. She turned her head, flared her horn, and spoke into the ball of yellow light that flashed into being. "Minuette?"

"Right here, Twilight," that perky voice replied.

"Rarity and I have a little bit of a friendship mission we need to take care of." The pieces of the gown drifted up in Twilight's magic and settled themselves on the nearest unoccupied dress form; Rarity snatched her pincushion and quickly began jabbing them through the fabric to hold the assemblage in place. "If anything comes up that's a Level 5 or higher situation, contact me through this spell. Okay?

"You got it, Boss." The giggle that followed got an eye roll from Twilight, and the yellow light flickered over to a light green.

Twilight shook her head. "I've asked her not to call me 'Boss.'"

Rarity nodded. "Which means she'll call you that for as long as she's able to speak."

"Yep." Twilight stepped down from the raised platform, but Rarity shivered with delight to see that she still had to look up to meet that deep purple gaze. "You free for a little trip?"

"Always, Your Highness." She gave her best courtly bow.

A grumble met her ears, then white light flooded her vision.

The swaying motion that gently rocked Rarity made her think of a vessel at sea. Unsurprising, she supposed, since she was sitting on a sofa in Discord's slightly undulating front room.

"—which is when you'll come popping in!" Twilight was saying, bouncing slightly next to Rarity. Their host sprawled in a hammock hanging from empty air on the other side of what apparently served as the coffee table here: a large slab of chocolate sheet cake supported on the backs of four tiny, snoozing elephants. "You'll take on the whole flock of harpies," Twilight continued, "and don't worry: I've been studying winged battle techniques, so they'll be enchanted in such a way to give you a good fight. But in the end, you'll defeat them, save me and Fluttershy both, and show her that you're a more powerful protector than I am! That's sure to take care of her crush on me!"

Discord took another bite from the rim of his tea cup—it was a mint tea, Rarity had been surprised to discover; she'd half expected it to be paprika or garlic or the like. He chewed the ceramic crunchily for a moment, then leaned sideways in his hammock, set his cup down on the cake table with a squish, and said, "I don't know how I managed to stay Lord of Chaos this long with you around for competition, Twilight."

Twilight's head pulled back. "But...I only put the chaotic parts in so you'd feel more comfortable! I wanted to make it more—"

Sighing loudly, he began spinning in the hammock, faster and faster till the whole thing became a blur and he shot out toward the ceiling. "Amateurs!" he announced, and with a snap of his lion claws, a straw hat mashed itself into place between his horns. "But now that you're forcing me into action, let me show you how this sort of chaos is properly done!"

Another snap set everything swirling across Rarity's vision, and when she blinked it clear, she blinked some more to find herself in Fluttershy's front room. Twilight was standing beside her, and Fluttershy was turning from the bookcase she'd been dusting, her eyes going wide and her jaw loosening to let the feather duster fall to the floor. "Oh! Umm, hello," she said after a shaky set of heartbearts.

"Fluttershy?" Discord's baritone asked from behind Rarity, but before she could turn, he stepped around Twilight's other side, a green and red striped vest wrapped tightly around his middle. "The events of the past several moons have taught me a great deal and given me more than a great deal to think about. And the answer I keep coming back to again and again, the only possible course of action that will truly lead me to become the person I want to be—and the person you want me to be—is the following."

Going down onto one knee, Discord pulled a small hinged box from the air, and Rarity's entire mane threatened to leap away from her neck. He couldn't possibly mean to—!

Everything everywhere stopped as far as Rarity could tell when Discord opened the box, and three pink-and-blue butterflies fluttered out holding what appeared to be a surprisingly tasteful fascinator, three pearls arching delicately up from the double row of its overlapping, coral blue curls. "Fluttershy, will you marry me?"

Twilight and Fluttershy gasped, but Rarity had already passed beyond that, her mind frantically trying to imagine a tuxedo that would be both stylish and undeniably discordian.

"Marry you?" Fluttershy was shifting her wide-eyed gaze back and forth between the fascinator and Discord's smiling face. "You...you mean it?"

"My dearest, sweetest, loveliest marvel." The box vanished, and Discord reached out to take Fluttershy's forehooves in his lion paw and eagle claw, the butterflies hovering above them. "I've never meant anything more in the thousands and thousands of years that I've existed. I say 'existed' because I didn't fully live till you showed me what the word means. And you showed me what 'friendship' means, and you showed me what 'love' means. And while I'm sure I'll continue to flail and fail, I'm hoping you'll never doubt one thing: that I love you and want to spend the rest of eternity with you."

"Yes!" Practically glowing, her wings vibrating behind her like a hummingbird's, Fluttershy sprang forward to wrap an embrace around Discord's midsection. "Oh, Discord! You've made me the happiest pony in Equestria!"

Discord swiveled his head, blew a bright orange bubble with the words "And that's chaos" flashing purple and green along the side, and puffed it to drift toward a gaping Twilight. He then bent down, touched a kiss between Fluttershy's ears, and when he straightened, the fascinator had tied her mane back into a curving ponytail.

Then Fluttershy was leaping across the room and grabbing Rarity so tightly, she thought she felt her ribs shift. "Oh, Rarity! It's a dream come true! I'm so glad you were here to see it!"

The pressure vanished as quickly as it had appeared, Rarity gasping at Fluttershy hugging Twilight. "Oh, and Twilight, you, too! Especially you!"

"Me?" Twilight sounded like she'd been kicked in the stomach rather than hugged. "But why? I...I thought...I was sure—"

"Because," Fluttershy said, stepping back, her cheeks almost the same color as her mane, "I've always had kind of a mare crush on you. You're just so smart and funny and always in control even when you're panicking. And if you hadn't come to Ponyville and tipped my whole life over sideways, I never would've become the pony I always dreamed of being, a pony who could want things, a pony who could go out and get the things she wanted." She looked back at Discord. "A pony who could dare love a mischievous spirit of disharmony."

Discord held up two lion claws. "I promise: we can start harmonizing as soon as I figure out whether I'm a mezzo-verismo or a barelytone."

With a giggle, Fluttershy flapped back into Discord's arms. "If you grew another head or two, you could harmonize with yourself."

Little fireworks popped from Discord's ears. "You see?" His arms stretched till they'd encircled the both of them several times. "She gets me! She really, truly gets me!"

Fluttershy squiggled up along Discord's frame till she was within range to poke her snout into his. "And now, you get me," she said.

And for all that Rarity wanted to stay and watch the unfolding cuteness, propriety dictated that she grab a still-gaping Twilight in a bubble of magic and start dragging her toward the cottage door.

From the head table, Rarity watched Fluttershy and Discord swaying together to some romantic tune that had doubtless been popular when her parents were young. To her ears, it would've sounded better with more violins and fewer kazoos, but, well, it wasn't her wedding. And the two of them just looked so blissful out there, foreheads touching and gazes locked...

With a sigh, Twilight dropped into the empty space to Rarity's left. "Well, at least we've got cider instead of applesauce." The flute in front of her rose in a cloud of magenta and waggled itself. "A toast to love and friendship?"

"Hear, hear." Rarity picked up her own cider glass, clinked it against Twilight's, and took a sip. "And this is quite the site for the reception." She nodded toward the dark blue draperies overhead. "We had ten balls the week of your accession, and I still don't believe I've ever set hoof in this room before tonight."

Twilight drained her glass. "According to Lemon Hearts, the palace has two dozen ballrooms, and even she wasn't sure the last time this one got used." She shook her head. "There's a lot of airing out that needs to be done around here."

"Indeed." Another sip bolstering her, Rarity turned in her most nonchalant manner to ask, "And how are you doing?"

"Me?" Twilight shrugged, and Rarity couldn't help but notice once again how magnificent Twilight looked in the crown, golden shoes, and peytral she'd worn while presiding over the ceremony. "I'm pretty sure Discord made up all those 'ancient draconequus marriage traditions' he insisted we observe, but the yodeling pumpkins really added something, all things considered."

Rarity waited, her eyes partway closed and not breaking contact with Twilight's.

For a moment, Twilight just blinked, but then she did that whole slumping-without-slumping thing she'd been doing lately. "I don't know," she said, her voice barely reaching Rarity's ears above the soft melody. "What was it Fluttershy said the afternoon that Discord proposed? That she'd always had a 'mare crush' on me? I had to look the phrase up in the Dictionary of Modern Philology, and I'm still not sure what it means! But..." Twilight shifted her head till she was looking out at the dance floor again, other couples moving now to join Fluttershy and Discord. "I really enjoyed being on the receiving end of it there for a while..."

"Ah." Rarity took another sip of the cider for good measure. "But you're now the Monarch of Equestria. I'll wager you're already the idol of millions, ponies and non-ponies alike."

The whicker that Twilight puffed out tickled Rarity's mane and made her shiver just a bit. "I can feel them all, actually," Twilight murmured, "the friendly thoughts creatures are sending my way from every part of the world. It fills me with the most incredible magic, but I..." She reached out, the tiniest sour scent of fear coming into her usual jasmine and rosewater aroma, and touched Rarity's hoof. "I wouldn't mind something a little more...personal, I guess..."

It took all Rarity's strength not to throw herself into Twilight's arms, and she was only partially successful in stifling the parts of her body and mind that were squealing their joy at having true royalty notice her at last. Carefully, she raised her other hoof and rested it atop Twilight's. "I will be happy to provide any and all solace I can, darling," she murmured.

She could feel Twilight's pulse racing through the hoof she was holding. "So if," Twilight said, her voice more than a little husky, "I were to, say, give orders that any time you were in town and wanted to see me, you were to be shown straight up to my chambers so we could...talk..." Twilight swallowed so hard, Rarity could hear it. "That'd be okay with you?"

Smiling then was easier than anything Rarity had done in a fortnight. "I've always enjoyed talking with you, Twilight, and I think I'll enjoy"—she put in exactly as much of a pause as Twilight had—"talking with you as well."

A fold of Twilight's magic wafted out and stroked the air an inch away from Rarity's cheek in a display of power and control that still quivered with the most exquisite sort of uncertainty. Her composure almost shattering, Rarity turned quickly to look for a topic of discussion—and found one swaying half-dreamily and half-drunkenly to the music beside Discord and Fluttershy. "For instance, we could talk about how Rainbow Dash and Applejack appear to be dancing together."

Twilight's perfectly imperfect magical caress froze, her eyes going wide and her body slewing around to stare at the dance floor.

"But then..." Rarity rested her eyes on the curl of Twilight Sparkle's neck. "Weddings do tend to bring out the romantic in one, do they not?"
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#1 · 1
· · >>Baal Bunny
Adorable. Like something I might have written. Which I didn't. It's not at all like the Brick Party chapter of my first story, where a wedding triggers the expression of romantic feelings between other characters. Or like my latest story, where I do ship RariTwiShy. Clearly, had I written this, Fluttershy would have ended up with Rarity and Twilight as a throuple. FlutterCord is so passé. It's not like the finale would renew my interest in this ship. Not at all. Nope.

Probably my top 1-2 fics so far. Y'all should vote for it.
#2 · 3
· · >>Baal Bunny
Monochromatic wants to know your location.

Right from my first read, I could tell that this was going to be one of my favorites from all the entries this round. The things that bothered me are really only prominent when my squinting got more intense in consecutive reads, but overall, I think the story did its job very well, flaws notwithstanding.

I love the dynamics between everyone here. Not only with our major players but also minor interactions like the one with Minuette as well. The dialogue is far and away the most natural that this round has to offer, aided by the little gestures that the characters were giving in between. Some of it may come across as nonessential to the larger narrative, but I think it's these kinds of interactions that really helps in making the whole story feel alive.

The story itself is earnest and straightforward. It doesn't beat around the bush, which is I think what plagues most romance stories that I find myself disappointed by. Might be because of the word limit but I've read a lot of equally-sappy romance with around the same word count that somehow couldn't get past the stage where their protagonist is still 'sorting out their feelings' for drama's sake so props on you for managing that right off the bat. The prose is balanced to a superbly-polished degree, comfortably weaving and interconnecting all of Rarity's thoughts with and alongside every line of action happening around her. Honestly, I think we're given just the right amount for this story to truly excel. It's a tease towards the end, and sure, the theme it started off with doesn't really come back in full circle, but I think that, in of itself, gives the story the perfectly imperfect charm to win me over.

I think if there's one thing that did stop my tracks a little, it's that Rarity—and this might extend to the others as well—does come across as a bit too lustful for my liking. I think there's definitely more ways she could view Twilight in that way beyond just her attraction to the physical, especially since that at this point in time, Rarity's probably well-acquainted enough to know what she likes about her dearest friend. She may not, of course, but I think the thoughts she had reserved about Fluttershy on the side seem to indicate otherwise.

Other than that, this story's great. Definitely primed to be published on FimFic, which is what I think is an ideal goal for an entry in a FiSS round, so mission accomplished with distinction.

Thanks for writing, and good luck!
#3 · 2
· · >>Baal Bunny
Pretty good, some room for improvement. Before I realized that discord and fluttershy were already in a relationship, discord saying this is how you make chaos while proposing seemed really mean. I also thought rarity was a bit presumptuous with how she was saying the reason behind fluttershys crush, really should just ask the mare. Also, I thought that rarity and twilight were in a relationship already so was a bit surprised when it turned out they weren't. Still pretty good.

Fair warning, ice been drinking as it's my bday get together so all of the above may be wrong.
#4 · 3

But there's a line at the end, author, about Rarity nearly squealing with joy "at having true royalty notice her at last." I'd suggest moving that idea right up to the front. It'll give the whole thing more emotional conflict if Rarity and Fluttershy have both been feeling more and more attracted to Twilight since she became a princess, but Rarity's been fighting it for Fluttershy's sake.

#5 · 1
· · >>Baal Bunny
Genre: Monochromatic

Thoughts: So... take my thoughts here with some grains of salt, because I’m far from the authority on most of the ship activity going on here. IMO the greatest shipping moment on offer was Discord’s proposal, which utterly stole the show for me in terms of things I’m into. But to me it was a humongous swerve to go from everyone thinking Fluttershy was into Twilight, to Fluttershy accepting a sudden marriage proposal from Discord. I mean, maybe Fluttershy and Discord have been spending more time out of everyone’s sight than anyone realized (and considering that he can bend reality to his whim... okay, that’s fair). But I just have a hard time buying such a deep misunderstanding as the foundation for the story concept here.

However, with that said, I feel like this is easily the strongest story in this competition from a purely technical perspective. I mean, this thing is clean as heck, it’s got strong narration, and it does a good job with its depictions & analysis of all the characters. It feels very MLP while also going places that MLP didn’t, which is one of the absolute hallmarks of fanfiction.

Tier: Strong
#6 · 5

Thanks for the comments, folks:

And congrats to our medalists!

As several folks noted, this was heavily inspired by the RariTwi Bomb that Monochromatic put together for the week of the show's finale. I've been working on the next draft of the story ever since submitting this one, and I hope to get it posted to FimFiction by the weekend so I can devote myself to finishing up my entry in FanOfMostEverything's Imposing Sovereigns II contest. So much going on!

#7 · 1
· · >>Baal Bunny
I am oblivious enough that I did not notice the hints of Rarity being into Twilight herself until a second read, but on the second read they were obvious and I shouldn't have missed them the first time. I especially liked the notion that Rarity finds touching Twilight's raw magical power with her own magic to be arousing.

The business with Discord proposing does seem to come out of nowhere, but on the other hand, canon fairly well establishes that Discord and Fluttershy could very easily be or become an item, and I don't see how it could be worked into the story that Fluttershy is into Discord when it's all about her being into Twilight. There's that one hint that Fluttershy is looking for a protector, and Twilight herself says that Discord's more powerful than she is; I don't know what more could be done.

Pretty good story overall. Well-paced, good structure. Aside from the one issue I have no idea how to correct and I am not even sure it needs correcting because canon, I think it's pretty darn good.
#8 ·


And yet, when I posted the revised version to FimFiction on Saturday, it gathered 2 "down thumbs" before it had gathered a single "up thumb." Ah, well... :)