Four Of Swords: Recuperation

There are, of course, three r's that every foal in Ponyville is brought up to know. They are rest, relaxation, and Rarity, and woe betide any pony stupid enough to keep them apart. Rarity only rarely lets her hair down (metaphorically of course; having your hair down is the fashion, and if she could just get Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie to sit in the same place for more than five consecutive seconds, she'd teach them the error of their ways).

So Fluttershy knows it is an honour and a privilege to share in Rarity's winding down at the Spa, even if she doesn't quite know what's going through her head sometimes.

"Fluttershy, darling," Rarity asks as nonchalantly as physics will allow. "Who do you like?"

"I like bunnies," she replies breathlessly, as a pair of skilled hooves do something to her back that, that in any other place, would be physical assault.

"No, I mean romantically," Rarity clarifies, as a burly stallion walks into the room with two sliced cucumbers and a pot of mud.

After almost half a minute of embarrassed stuttering, Fluttershy squeaks and leaves it at that. By the time she's managed it, Rarity has already been transfigured into a horrifying mud-vegetable-pony hybrid by their attendant, who glowers over them.

"No talking," he says, with a thick Stalliongrad accent. "Time for rest."

Later, Rarity insists on going to the newly-refurbished hot springs, 'for a soft and velvety hide, don't you know.' Honestly, Fluttershy isn't so sure; it smells awfully of eggs, and the mist is so thick she can hardly see her hoof in front of her face. If she can't see her hoof, what about other scary things that might be lurking fifteen inches from the tip of her nose?

But eventually, she calms down, and starts to enjoy it; it's like having a soothing, hot bath, only with as much room as you could ever want. With the very tips of her mane drifting across the water, she finally relaxes a little.

Until, suddenly, Rarity.

"I only asked," the unicorn went on, somewhere beyond the veil of fog, "Because I was thinking of the current dynamics of our group."

Fluttershy takes a moment to wonder what in Equestria she's talking about, before remembering the conversation from earlier; she's been tenderised, trimmed, primped and creamed since then in the course of their spa visit.

"You see, I find that lately my work has been disturbed by certain ponies, and I was think-ing, that if I were to encourage those ponies to perhaps entertain one another a little more-"

Fluttershy feels a sense of dread that grows with every word and every implication, until it's just a black, roaring herald of doom screaming in her ear to get out, get out now, and she's so distracted by it that she forgets to listen to whatever insane plan Rarity is brewing until it's almost too late.

"-so, they'd be just perfect for one another, and I would get my orders done on time and we could spend more delightful afternoons at the spa together! Wouldn't that just the most fabulous thing?"

"U-um, I'm a little d-dizzy from the heat...who are we talking about, again?" Fluttershy asks, realising that she isn't lying. She's been in the water too long; her mane is spreading over the surface of the water like bright, pink seaweed, waving gently...

"Applejack and Rainbow Dash, dear. Whopony else would I be talking about?"

On the surface of the water, as if in the centre of a crystal ball, Fluttershy sees the waving image of a blue and orange tornado, pitching horseshoes and playing volleyball and doing rope tricks all along the streets of Ponyville, bringing destruction to whatever they touched. She shook it away, and began to wonder how quietly she could leave the spa, and if Rarity would be mad if she did.

"M-meep," she says, because it's as good as anything else she could've said.

"Of course, I just had to ask your opinion, since Rainbow Dash is your childhood friend, after all, and well, how do I put this, if you had designs on her, and there's no need to be embarrassed, we're all very forward thinking ponies here, but if you did, I wouldn't want to trample them just for the sake of a little rest," Rarity carries on, in the tone of voice that suggested she would trample any and all objections for the sake of a little rest.

Fluttershy makes a non-commital squeak, and remembers (quite vividly) Twilight Sparkle saying that everypony in Ponyville was at least a little bit insane. So, she doesn't tell Rarity that her idea is awful and would lead to such vast disturbances that Appleloosa would freeze over before she got any rest. She also does not tell Rarity that Pinkie Pie is currently crushing desperately on her pegasus friend, and given Pinkie's habit of appearing in places that the laws of physics objected to, repercussions could follow very swiftly in the form of itching powder, water balloons and five-o-clock wake up calls performed entirely on the bagpipes.

"I say, Fluttershy, darling, are you shaking? There are ripples on the water," Rarity asks, megalomania leaving her voice. True enough, she is.

After hauling her from the hot springs, a hoof on her forehead to check her temperature, Rarity smiles and tells her that she gets the message in regards to her little 'romantic intervention' idea. Fluttershy continues to shiver.

Everypony knows not to get between rest, relaxation and Rarity. After all, without afternoons in the spa with Fluttershy, Rarity would enact every disastrous 'intervention' that came into her head.

The next day, as usual, Fluttershy relaxes in her own fashion. By wrestling a bear.

A/N: Well, wrote this mainly to combat a lack of Rarity in my work. To be honest, she's the pony of the mane six that I have most problems with; I just don't find her interesting. Be that as it may, I'mma try and work with it.

Also: the four of swords is recuperation in my guide to tarot, but if you browse ye olde interwebs, you will find that it also has links to burials and funerals. As I'm not a big fan of darkfics, I picked the nicer meaning.