Disclaimer: I don't own My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. This is a fanfiction and has nothing to do with the show's creators or producers.
Evening dances were so quintessentially Hearts and Hooves Day that naturally Rarity had been beside herself when Mayor Mare had asked her to assist with Ponyville's very first Couples' Prance. Rarity wanted it to be more than just a night to remember, but a night of love, mystery and rekindled romances. Pairs of ponies taking to the floor entwined in passion for one another whisked away in a fairytale of some enchanted evening. For Ponyville, this was a chance for Rarity to give the gift of romance back to every couple; a chance to share in their delight.
Rarity sighed at the thought of, perhaps, a mare finding that oh-so-special somepony tonight. Maybe that mare was just somepony who had merely been there to help. Rarity was caught up in an adventure as if in a narrative; a love story.
Her imagination painted pictures of how that evening was going to play out.
The mare's eyes would lock with the stallion's and, from that moment forth, the two would be swept away by the mere presence of each other's gaze. He would slowly stride toward her as if unaware of any other pony in the room. Her heart would feel like it was flying, her hooves itching for their first dance. The two meet face to face in the center of the dance floor, the lights dim for a romantic ballet.
Rarity was just about ready to resign herself to her daydream when a crash came from across the city hall auditorium. Rarity turned about quickly to see the entire food table toppled. Luckily there hadn't been anything on it yet. Still, the disturbance of it all was enough to try any lady's patience.
As one would readily expect, Rarity hadn't been asked to plan this party alone. Pinkie Pie was the ultimate authority when it came to parties, and Rarity initially wasn't mad about that. In fact, she was more than willing to work with Pinkie on this project . . . but Pinkie had a bad habit of including her friends in Everything. Which, not to be misunderstood, wasn't a bad trait to have, but Rarity would have much preferred that just she and Pinkie tackle this event instead of having their less than party fluent companions constantly derailing the process.
"Opps," Applejack was pulling a large wagon of hay into the auditorium; not only uncouth but horribly misappropriated for this kind of party.
"Applejack?" Rarity wasn't trying to sound accusatory. "Why are you bringing that in here?"
"Well, Pinkie said she was still tryin' to find a few party activities. All romantic like of course, and I just happen to know nothin's quite as romantic as a hayride under the stars."
Rarity could feel her pulse increase for a moment, but a breath through pursed lips helped to calm that.
"Yes, that could be . . . nice; Outside! You can't have that thing in here, you're tipping over everything!"
"I'm not stupid, Rarity. I wasn't plannin' on giving' rides in here; just pickin' up the couples. I was thinkin' Big Mac could pull 'em out front for a while. . ."
"No, no, no! This is not that kind of event!"
It was then Pinkie must have overheard Rarity's complaints; she was beside them before Rarity had the time to note where she had come from.
"A hayride would be super duper fun!"
"And 'super duper' uncharacteristic of a party of this caliber," Rarity felt a tinge guilty from the looks her friends were giving her, but a hayride wouldn't do. "Please, trust me on this one, Pinkie Pie."
"Rarity does know more about romantic stuff." Pinkie grinned to the now annoyed Applejack.
"I wish y'all would tell us exactly what y'all want so I wouldn't of wasted my time bringin' this here."
Applejack thankfully took the accursed wagon out of the building. Rarity levitated the table back to its upright position; Pinkie taking the moment to retrieve a white tablecloth from a nearby box and draping it over the surface.
"I love this color scheme!" Pinkie bounced about leading Rarity to the center of the room to see it all. "White, silver and pink! Great choices, Rarity!"
"With a hint of red in the accents. Oh but Pinkie, I must admit I adore the little heart-shaped balloons you've added." Rarity scanned the room.
The whole auditorium had been cleared mostly for a dance floor, but the chairs and tables against the walls had been so elegantly arranged. Flowers, crystal vases, beautiful lace table coverings, polished dishes, candles! Lavish curtains hung with bright ribbons over every window dimming the room to a rather romantic light. And a large banner spanned over the door with . . . a large flaming heart?
"Pinkie, what is that?"
The pink mare moved her eyes in the direction of the banner before grinning widely.
"That's Dashie's idea!"
Rarity didn't have a chance to complain, for in that moment Princess Twilight entered the hall and levitated all the decorations off of every table; Spike carrying a large stack of rolled cloth napkins behind her.
"Twilight!" Rarity felt her heart pounding again. "What are you doing? Pinkie and I spent all morning-"
"I have given Pinkie all the wrong tableware," Twilight paced the room quickly, Rarity and Pinkie nearly at a jogging pace to keep up. "I had thought that maybe I had given her too many dessert forks, but it turns out there are dessert plates I missed. These are all wrong!"
"Oh darling, is that all?" Rarity trotted in front of the princess to slow her hurried pace. "Pinkie and I already noticed that. We figured you ran out of plates and have made due with a rather appealing arrangement of-"
"Don't worry about it, Rarity," Twilight began rearranging plates at an alarming rate. "I'll figure out something that works even better without having to use plates incorrectly."
Both Rarity and Pinkie dodged the 100 or so incoming plates of varying sizes and colors. Even Pinkie was growing concerned at the amazing amount of new dishes.
"Twilight, it's really okay." Pinkie grabbed onto one of the floating plates and was carried off with it to another table.
"No, really Twilight. Don't do this." Rarity frowned as her pleas fell on deaf ears. Twilight was in one of her obsessive moods again.
Rarity was forced to step back from the mad rearranging taking place. Rarity didn't know what to do and, when trying to get the attention of the other party planner in the room, found that Pinkie was either too high or zipping by too fast to hear what she had to say.
Rarity felt a blush overtake her face as her anger rose. Before her emotions fully overtook her, Rarity felt a small clawed hand touch her shoulder. She looked down to see Spike offering a consoling smile.
"Twilight's just trying to make it perfect for ya, she'll make it look nice, don't worry."
"Thank you, Spike. But . . . I really want this event to be better than just nice. It feels like no pony else really cares."
A familiar voice entered the auditorium and Rarity put her attention back at the door. Applejack was back and this time with the Cakes. Carrot Cake was toting a small wagon of cupcakes and cookies for the food table while Cupcake held the twins on her back. From where Rarity stood, the group didn't look very happy with each other. The apple farmer had brought her hayride cart back too! Perfect.
"Pinkie Pie!" Applejack's voice bellowed throughout the space startling the twins. Both young foals glanced around the space with wide eyes. Another loud noise might just cause them to-
"I thought you had asked the Apple's to carter this here event!"
And cry the twins did. Cupcake glared at Applejack. The embarrassed farmer dropped her eyes and backed away from the distraught family.
Glancing up, Rarity could see Pinkie was still struggling with Twilight, calling out to her every now and again to stop mixing up the color scheme. It would appear Rarity would have to take it upon herself to handle Pinkie's overbooking.
"Excuse me, Applejack?" Rarity put herself directly between the Cakes and the one Apple. "I thought I asked you to take that wagon home."
"And I was, but then I passed the Cakes here and saw 'em bringin' the food for the dance. Pinkie asked me to bring some just before the dance started."
It didn't sound very proper of Pinkie to have made this kind of mistake, her throwing parties as frequently as she did. Unless . . .
"Granny Smith's already got half that order done and we can't put apples back on trees, Rarity."
"Are you sure she asked you to bring the desserts? Pinkie mentioned having the sweets and main dish catered separately."
"Nah, I'm sure she would have made that clear . . . Mr. and Mrs. Cake are you sure of what Pinkie told y'all to bring?"
Rarity sighed heavily; there wasn't going to be a dinner, she could just feel it. There was no way Pinkie would have asked bakers to bring a main dish; what in Equestria was Applejack thinking. Rarity closed her eyes and took a deep breath. No need to get all swept up in pointless arguments, she would just explain to both caterers that a mistake had taken place. Once a calmer attitude was assured, Rarity turned to face the small and whiny group in front of her. Unfortunately, she wasn't given an opportunity to address them.
A large punch bowl flew by scooping Rarity away from the conversation she was trying to have. She let out a quick shriek as the bowl hosted her high above the floor. For a split second Rarity was at Pinkie's level.
"Pinkie, dear, the caterers are fighting over what they were supposed to bring."
"Twilight!" Pinkie held one hoof to Rarity to pause and placed another on her tail which seemed to develop the same twitch Rarity's left eye had. "This One's Chipped!" Pinkie gestured to the plate she was standing on hoping the alicorn saw. "Okay, what did you want, Rarity?" And just like that, Pinkie fell with the plate all the way down to Twilight's eye level.
Rarity took a seat in her bowl and looked down on the madness below just in time to watch Rainbow Dash swoop in with yet another poorly hoof-painted banner of flaming hearts. All red hearts of course because that perfectly oversaturated her color scheme. And, that hay wagon finally tipped over another table. Of course, it was the one Twilight had just finished arranging . . .
"Why don't we just burn city hall down," Rarity vented to herself. "Can't look any worse than this."
Suddenly a light tapping came from the window. Rarity looked up to see Fluttershy was . . . hovering upside-down outside of city hall's highest window? Although Rarity's magic wasn't strong enough to calm the commotion below, it could certainly open a window and right the baffled pegasus outside. . . well, it could at least open the window.
Rarity watched as Fluttershy grabbed onto the frame of the window and pulled herself into the building. The meek pegasus then proceeded to float all the way up to the ceiling where her hooves touched down on the surface.
Though they weren't too far from each other, it was quite a stretch for Rarity's neck to look up to the pegasus.
"Fluttershy, dear, would you mind coming down to me; this is a rather undignified position for us both."
Fluttershy looked down, or up . . . Fluttershy looked to Rarity before giving the unicorn a shy grin.
"I wish I could," Fluttershy started flapping her wings again to try and level with Rarity, only to land once more on the ceiling. "But this is Discord's Hearts and Hooves Day gift, I think. Maybe he's mixed up holidays again."
"Oh no," Rarity felt her heart fall into her hooves. "Don't tell me he's here?"
"He's . . ." Fluttershy hesitated for a moment as she surely was noting the discontent on the unicorn's face, either that or just becoming aware of how jumbled the space below was. "He's bringing the lovebirds and doves you asked for."
As if to make a dramatic entrance, the window erupted with what must have been several hundred white, silver and pink lovebirds all tied together pulling a large sardine can carrying the new headache of the hour himself, Discord. The doves, only two when she had asked for twelve, landed on Rarity's head dressed in small tuxes and top hats. If that wasn't annoying enough, the arrival of so many birds, only 24 of which were needed, startled Rainbow Dash upon her third arrival with another ludicrous flaming heart banner.
Of course, Discord, in his fit of blind laughter, wasn't paying attention to his driving and flew his monstrosity right into the tactless cloth Rainbow had been carrying. The lovebirds all came loose and flew off around the room, becoming fewer in number as they did so. The sardine can began to fall and, of course, was heading for the small stage area.
If Rarity were lucky, the crash would be exactly what would start the fire and the whole catastrophic effect would be complete.
However, instead of a crash, Rainbow had managed to spare her wings from getting wrapped up. She was now the one guiding the sardine sleigh around; Discord putting on a seat belt for good measure. It would have been too much to hope that Rainbow Dash would move the banner off her eyes, so Rarity didn't. The duo zipped around the room knocking the hay wagon over and spreading grass everywhere. The dessert wagon was assaulted as well, no doubt ruining all its contents. The twins were understandably startled, but that did little to justify the louder crying they insisted upon to which the birds only added with their inconsolable squawking. Before Rarity could assess the damage of anything further, she felt the bowl she had been floating in give out from underneath her.
With a cry, Rarity began falling to the floor.
"Rarity!" Fluttershy was the first to react to Rarity's shout, unfortunately, she was too disoriented to fly down properly to grab the unicorn. Rarity's outcry did catch Discord's attention, sadly not Twilight's, and Rarity found herself being saved by a large chocolate fountain.
A splash landed all over the floor as Rarity fell in the chocolate collecting at the base of the fountain.
Rarity pulled her head above the liquid mess and gasped. No amount of shaking was going to get all that staining chocolate out of her mane without a proper washing. Shuffling her disheveled figure to the edge of the silver fountain, Rarity sploshed out onto the floor to the waiting smiles of Pinkie Pie and Spike.
"A Chocolate fountain!?" So much excitement.
Rarity pulled back from the volume of her pink party planning partner.
"Why Didn't We Think Of That, Rarity!?" Pinkie was up and in the outpouring chocolate. "There are even strawberries in here!"
"Save some for me," Spike grinning and jumped up to pull himself into the dish only to have a magic aurora pull him away. "Hey!"
Pulling her young dragon away from an impending sugar rush, Twilight came toward Rarity.
"Rarity, are you okay?" At least princess Twilight had managed to pull herself away from her obsession when it mattered, though it would have been better before Twilight let her and the dishes fall.
"Oh, my mane," Rarity bit her lower lip to hold back the real feelings she was having. "This will take hours to wash out." And days to forget and a ruined evening to cry over. How had her best-laid plans turned into this? The whole auditorium was a mess.
Glancing around now Rarity could see all the broken dishes, destroyed tables and scattered decorations. Hearts and Hooves Day wasn't supposed to look like this, it wasn't supposed to feel like this. . . she wasn't supposed to feel like this.
But somehow she did every year.
"It's all ruined!" Rarity couldn't hold back a sob.
"Now let's not get all worked up over nothin'." Applejack came over to where everypony was gathering around the distraught candy coated mare completely unaware of how hurtful her words were.
This dance wasn't 'nothing!' This was Rarity's chance to make something romantic and worthwhile on her favorite holiday. A holiday she's never had a chance to really celebrate. How could her friends not see that? Why had they seemingly done everything in their power to essentially trample all her hopes for the evening!
"Nothing!? Nothing!?" Rarity didn't know how to explain herself, she just couldn't. She knew deep down this hadn't been a deliberate attempt on her romantic desires, but it bothered her all the same that her friends could not realize how special this night was to her. She'd wanted it perfect, kind of a way to deliver the magic to Ponyville that she had so longed for in her secret thoughts . . . well, mostly secret. Rarity expected them to know. Why else would she have been so excited about this project? She'd planned for weeks! It was all so overwhelming.
Rarity turned from the group and faced the large fountain again; hooves crossed nopony saw the real pain building behind her eyes.
A chocolate mound with eyes rose out of the candy.
"Do you want some?"
"Do you think," Rarity sighed. "Can you handle the rest of the set up alone, I think I need to, to, to freshen up."
"Yepper-eppers." Pinkie beamed taking the opportunity to lick off a majority of the liquid sweet from her face.
Rarity flinched at the new expression that took Pinkie's face. Without the chocolate Rarity's tears must have been perfectly visible. Pinkie looked sympathetic to Rarity's current plight, though it was clear she didn't know what it was. Rarity was hoping against hope Pinkie would just let the moment pass with little alarm, but of course, that was too much to expect.
"You don't look so good, Rarity. Well, you are covered in chocolate so you do look good but-"
Rarity felt the emotion of the moment hit her hard. She wasn't a stranger to letting her feelings show, but for some reason today wasn't one of those 'worst possible things' kind of outbursts. Rarity just wanted to be alone. She wanted to feel this disappointment without watching eyes and piteous remarks.
"Oh, it's not fair!"
Rarity bolted from the auditorium.
Her friends shared a concerned look, well most of her friends as Fluttershy was still standing on the ceiling.
"Oh no," Spike was about to follow after Rarity, but again was caught up by Twilight. "Poor Rarity. She might of gotten hurt."
"I don't think that's it, Spike." Twilight assured the young dragon.
"I wonder what's got her so upset?" Applejack seemed to be mulling over following too.
"I know, right!" Pinkie bounded out of the chocolate to splash next to the princess; Twilight raised a hoof to prevent any candy from getting on herself. "I can't believe she'd just leave after several painstaking hours laboring over this vastly complex arrangement of plans to put together what she described as, 'The Most Romantic Experience I'll Probably Have This Year.' Her words, no lie! So odd."
Everypony stood staring at Pinkie for a moment letting that information sink in before Discord ruined the silence with his laughter.
"This is why we're all friends!" He kept laughing. "Taking time to consider each other's feelings."
"Knock it off, Discord." Twilight warned in vain.
"I thought I'd have to bring the chaos today, but ladies, disaster, confusion, tears! Ha ha, you've outdone me."
"Zip it!" Rainbow Dash flew into the draconequus' face. "Or I'll outdo that grin right off your face."
"Please, both of you." Twilight finally got the group to calm. "I really think Rarity's feelings were hurt."
"You know what, princess," Discord used a magnifying glass to inspect Twilight face before being batted away. "You may be correct. Excellent deduction of the obvious."
"Y'all sayin' she was hoping to make this evenin' romantic for herself?" Applejack glanced around the room. "Guess we did kinda mess it up, huh? Ah shoot."
"It's not that bad," Rainbow followed Applejack's eyes. "Well, maybe it is. But we can fix it; no need to act like that."
"Fix It!" It was Discord's turn to be melodramatic with a claw gripping his chest and a paw on his forehead. "How could you even think about correcting a disaster this authentic. It's Beautiful!" The draconequus suddenly had a camera to capture the memory of the place.
"This will take all day to clean up," Twilight frowned. "Not to mention we have to set everything back up."
"What about Rarity?" Spike tapped Twilight's leg hoping to move their friend to the top of their priority list.
"In all honesty, Spike," Applejack acted as the voice of reason. "I think Rarity would be more put out if'n this here dance didn't go on without a hitch."
"But, but . . ."
"You're all acting like this is gonna take all day," Pinkie giggled and retrieved her party canon from the space behind her. "I already have it loaded with Rarity's color scheme!"
With two shots one of the tables that hadn't been tipped over was quickly decorated to a level on par with Rarity's standards. There were some soft objections from the ceiling about scaring the present birds, but it was a rather efficient decoration method.
"Great!" Twilight turned to face the rest of the room. "Okay girls," a grunt came from the group. "And boys, let's clean up these broken dishes, salvage any silverware and give it to Pinkie, remove any decorations not matching the plan, and then regroup to figure out the dessert situation."
"I might have a solution to that already." Applejack trotted over to the Cakes who were trying to collect their fallen sweets.
Rainbow Dash took quickly to removing the old banners. Fluttershy, though not completely able to hear the plan, managed to gather the frightened and confused group of lovebirds and doves in the rafters to remove them from the cleaning area. Applejack arranged for the Cakes to try and make a main dish for the dance seeing as her family had already baked a whole batch of backup desserts. Twilight used her magic to right all fallen tables and remove the hay wagon. Though this wasn't what he originally wanted to do, Spike did his best to sweep up broken plates with a broom he found in a storage closet.
As for Discord, he watched.
Applejack was the first to notice the Lord of Having-Enough-Power-To-Fix-The-Whole-Dance-With-A-Snap just standing about aimlessly.
"Why ain't ya helpin'?" She almost regretted asking already knowing he wouldn't give any good or acceptable answer.
"I value my sanity, thank you very much."
"Ah common," Applejack nudged the creature before her. "It'd mean a lot to Rarity."
Discord glared down to the mare beside him as if she had just insulted his family, assuming he had one. He snorted before turning his attention to the entrance.
"Fluttershy should have gotten here by now. I'm pretty sure I'm ready to leave."
"It's a party," Applejack sighed, still not sure why she was bothering to include Discord at all. "While ya wait, help us out. You should like somethin' fun and crazy like this."
"No, it's an organized event." Discord sounded like he had just eaten something ripe. "I can't stand parties and holidays for that very reason. You can't plan fun."
Applejack was thankful Pinkie hadn't overhead that statement, but she did find herself curious now as to how Discord could hate something as amusing as a party.
"Ya came to the Gala; that was planned."
"Not by me, my dear," Discord smiled briefly materializing a small button with the words 'Nothing Can Stop The Smooze' to pin to Appeljack's hat. "The Gala was the byproduct of Princess Bore and her minion, Unoriginal. I'm certain I helped remedy that, don't you think?"
Applejack raised an eyebrow before smirking. She sat back and pulled the button off her hat before continuing.
"Yeah, you had planned that to end different, didn't ya? Thought you could get somepony's attention with a little schemin'. Guess even Chaos himself could use a little organization in his party planning, huh?"
Discord rolled his eyes.
"Trust me, there is absolutely nothing chaotic about a holiday that is specifically created to organize one of the only things about chaos ponies like."
Applejack scrunched up her muzzle at the thought of liking chaos to any degree. There was nothing about it that was good as far as she was concerned. She understood it had a place in Equestria, but certainly not in relationships and not holidays.
"Hearts and Hooves day isn't about topsy-turvyness, Discord. It's about-"
"The unpredictably delightful feelings you all have for one another. Isn't love supposed to drive ponies to do crazy things?"
The farm pony looked up to the spirit to see him cutting red, folded paper with oversized scissors. He finished his worked and pulled the fold out; it was two ponies holding hooves. He continued pulling until he had a rather lengthy chain of them, one that was unceremoniously dropped on Applejack's head.
"You say you want all this planned, but you really don't. Still, you buy pre-written cards and overindulged chocolates. Not a single original expression in the whole day. You don't even bother to make it a surprise, no, it's the same day on the calendar every year! All you ponies get so caught up in your daily rituals that you lose that 'special spark,' then you try to make it into an easily replicated experience out of convenience. Love is rather chaotic and there is no way you ponies are doing it any justice with one overly simplistic holiday."
"Well," Applejack stumbled in thought for a moment. "That's not it at all."
"Is that your best comeback? Honestly, you had such a great crop of arguments a moment ago, but I guess the harvest was a failure."
Applejack was angry with his assault on the holiday, but at the same time . . . she looked around. What was wrong with doing the same thing each year? It was tradition and a good bonding experience. Applejack didn't have a chance to respond.
"If it wasn't for Fluttershy's horrible need for scheduled Tuesday teas instead of spontaneous ones, I wouldn't have even bothered coming out today! Nothing more mundane than a holiday."
There wasn't anything wrong with it, she was sure.
"I feel like somethin' should be said about how Fluttershy values your friendship with a schedule, but I'm sure you probably wouldn't listen and I ain't got time to argue with ya. Just get outta the way if you hate the holiday so much. I'd say the only predictable thing about today is that you don't care about it."
"Spare me you-"
"No, you spare me. Rarity needs us 'cause this is important to her and I think it should be important to everypony else too. Go do whatever you usually do if you don't wanna help, but don't just hang around waitin' to cause trouble." The apple farmer trotted off to join Spike in attempting to clear the dishes from the floor.
Rarity hated that this was the only thing that would comfort her: a large tub of vanilla ice-cream. Rarity had locked herself in her boutique for a long bath. Sadly she couldn't enjoy it and settled on a quick wash. Rarity put on her comfiest robe and threw herself across her favored fainting couch. She wanted to sob openly, but it hurt too much. Being alone on Hearts and Hooves Day again; it hurt too much.
"It's not fair," she moaned between mouthfuls of the dessert. "All I wanted was to give everypony a romantic evening; I wasn't even being selfish. Why does this holiday always make me feel so, so, so unwanted?"
Holding the ice-cream at foreleg's length, Rarity positioned her figure to face a mirror.
"Look at me, hiding away from the world." Rarity watched the streams run down her face staining her fur on their journey to her floor.
This wasn't about the Couples' Prance, this wasn't even about her friends not understanding her.
"The real reason I wanted to decorate the dance was so I wouldn't end up like this on yet another Hearts and Hooves Day; but yet, here I am."
Rarity shut her eyes to block the now rivers from her sight. It hurt too much. Being alone; she knew there was nothing wrong with it. There was no shame in being single. She was young, none of her friends were in relationships, time wasn't running out, her family wasn't pressuring her, she had a fun and successful career still in need of attention, nopony was questioning her current singleness . . .
Romance was something she wanted for herself. Rarity knew she was fabulous, creative, smart, beautiful, resourceful and blessed beyond belief. Rarity wanted to share that with another pony. Romantic fantasies aside, Rarity wanted nothing more than to look in another pony's eyes and know that all the feelings welling up in her were doing the same for them. She could make them feel wanted.
"Oh, why am I such a failure at love?" Rarity let a few short gasps slip her lips before she felt the pressure of a tissue pressed against her cheek.
The sudden but familiar voice shocked Rarity. She quickly looked up at the unexpected arrival in time to see him tuck his handkerchief in his invisible breast pocket.
"Love's not something you fail at; it's something you experience."
Rarity was now face to face with a dozen roses and a grinning draconequus.
(A/N) Okay, so this is a story I started writing. I'm not sure how 'romantic' it will end, but bear with me if you want, or not. I'm just writing whatever pops in my head and I'm not really editing this as I'm giving my full attention to other stories. This is to give me a break from all the writer's stress the other stories give me. Why Discord and Rarity? Easy: my favorite character and my sister's favorite in the show. It's a challenge and one that few others seem to be trying. Do I ship these two? Does that matter? I hope you liked this. All of this is so random honestly. Please R&R, check for an update in maybe two weeks. Happy Valentines' Day!