Just a few minutes more… I can afford it. It's been a long, stressful day, and tomorrow, I can sleep in. Just relax, Rarity. You've more than earned it.
A sigh escaped the beautiful mare's soft lips as she closed her eyes, reveling in the surrounding warmth that the bathwater brought. The floral scent rising from the errant rose petals in the water was calming, and when combined with the incredible smell of the burning vanilla incense placed carefully in a bowl at the edge of the tub, produced something just short of heavenly. Oh, how she had waited for this. Not a care in the world, nopony to maintain appearances for, and just the warm, comforting water embracing her pampered form on all sides.
Ah… this is the life. Another hard day's work, with all of my orders fulfilled up through Monday. Now, I can just relax, and… spend the weekend with Sweetie.
Rarity's sapphire eyes blinked open as she released another sigh, staring up at the patterned ceiling as she creased her brow in thought. Sweetie really has been coming around more often, lately. Not that I'm unhappy to see her, it's just... odd.
With a delicate magical tendril, the unicorn reached for her file before lifting a hoof out of the water and beginning to rub it smooth. Despite the weekly hooficures, she did still like to do a little maintenance of her own. Was it a crime to feel good by looking good? Rarity certainly didn't think so.
A slight hum of friction broke the quiet night as she continued to rub the edge of her hoof, and the scratchy sound derailed her train of thought. Rarity leaned forward to inspect the hoof before continuing, making sure that the edges were round and even. Unstyled and spray-free, her luxurious purple mane hung down into her face as she moved forward, and Rarity brought a hoof back to brush it out of the way. The amethyst strands hung down all around her, dipping into the water as she examined herself with an overly-critical eye.
I'm getting pruney. Time to make my graceful exit, I suppose.
Rarity set her file down on the edge of the tub before righting herself and climbing over the edge and onto the tile floor, dripping water onto the bath mat. The temptation to simply shake herself dry and paint the walls with bathwater swept over her, but she fought it back with a gentle smirk. Amusing though it would be, such a thing would certainly be unladylike. Even behind closed doors, Rarity had her limits.
The incense was snuffed out as the bathtub plug was pulled, a blue aura surrounding both only briefly. The fashionista then redirected her spell to her sopping mane, which she swept back over her shoulders before letting it fall, damp and natural. Finally, her white bathrobe with purple trim floated off the wall hook to stop feet before her, and the unicorn stepped inside before wrapping it tightly around herself and pausing to look in the mirror.
There she stood, not a spot of makeup upon her entire pony. Where blue eyeshadow normally rested, only her snow-white lids remained. No false lashes, no blush, no manespray, and no foundation. Rarity stood looking at herself for a long time, reflecting upon the words of her friend as the pink mare bounced through her thoughts. The unicorn allowed herself an amused smile as the scene played out- she was indeed always bouncing, wasn't she?
"Oh, c'mon! You'd look sooooooo hot without any makeup on! Just once? For me?"
Rarity set her plate down with a raised brow, abandoning the brownie she had been lightly nibbling at. "…Pinkie, I'm sorry, but it's just not going to happen. I have my reasons, but they aren't something I'd like to talk about. Now, can we please drop the subject?"
"Oooooooonly if you'll promise to think about it!" The bubbly mare tilted her head at an impossible angle, grinning wide as Rarity tucked a hoof beneath herself. "Seriously, Rarity. You'd look great!"
Knowing that this wasn't a battle worth fighting, Rarity sighed. "Yes, yes, I promise I'll consider." Before Pinkie even had a chance to call her out, she lazily brought her hoof through the motions. "Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye."
"Well, here I am, considering." Rarity blinked a bit, puffing her lower lip out as she titled her head. The mare continued trying out poses, mane up, mane down, in a bun, eyes half-lidded, biting the edge of one hoof, tousling her mane, and even lying upon the floor seductively. Suddenly feeling very silly, she stood back up and shook her head. "I'm sorry, Pinkie. I just… don't see it."
Rarity jumped and shrieked, taken completely by surprise as her heart beat at double speed. Upon looking up into the mirror, she found Pinkie Pie standing behind her, mane frizzed out and wearing blue pajamas with ducks patterned into the fabric. In her mouth was a teddy bear, slightly worn out and jostling lightly as the mare spoke around it.
"Pinkie!" the scandalized unicorn squealed. "What are you doing here? You can't just… you…"
"Too late! I did!" Pinkie gave a warm smile as she hopped up, bouncing in place. "I was so right. You look amazing, Rarity!"
The unicorn blushed furiously, bringing a hoof up to cover her face as she tried to sink down into the floor. "Darling, seriously. You need to leave. I'm not even slightly kidding at the moment, and you're making me very upset." Rarity raised her eyes once again to the mirror before turning away from both the reflective glass and the mare behind her. "Please go."
Pinkie looked heartbroken, and let her plush bear drop to the floor with a disappointed glance downward. "…is it really that big of a deal? I wanted to surprise you…"
"Yes, it is that big of a deal! I asked you specifically not to press the issue, and yet here you are!" Rarity turned, throwing her hoof out to the side in an exasperated gesture. "Don't you have any respect for boundaries? Would you be happy if somepony randomly… somehow barged their way into your home in the middle of your nighttime routine?"
"I don't see why I wouldn't be." Pinkie blinked innocently, but her mouth twitched into a frown as Rarity facehoofed. "I mean… I'm sorry that I upset you, and I guess I understand what you mean, but… I don't get it. You look gorgeous!"
"Stop!" Rarity yelled. "Just… stop. Please." The mare's chest rose and fell heavily as she bit her lip and huffed. With a quick, angry swirl of blue, she spun her mane into a messy bun and brought over a hair tie to secure it. "I don't want to hear any more of it. I look horrendous without makeup, and I'd appreciate it if you would kindly make your exit. Now."
"…okay," Pinkie answered quietly. A sudden sense of foreboding overcame her as she leaned down to pick up her bear, and as she lifted her head back up, Pinkie got her explanation for the feeling. As the earth pony looked in the mirror, she could see that Rarity was absolutely fuming. Her face was red, her mane pawed forward to cover her eyes as she shook a bit. The party pony was caught completely off guard, and quickly began to realize how big of a mistake she had made. Never before had she seen the fashionista so utterly furious to the point of shaking. Once again, Pinkie dropped her bear.
"…Rarity? Rarity, are you…"
"No! I'm not okay!" the statement was chased by a sob, and Pinkie's heart sunk down to her hooves. Rarity wasn't just shaking in anger- she was bawling. Pinkie was no stranger to invading ponies' comfort zones, but enough to make a friend cry? This was definitely new.
The carnation mare wasted no time in trotting over to her distraught friend, and did the only thing she could think of- wrapped her hooves around the back of Rarity's neck and gave a tight squeeze as she leaned her face in for a nuzzle. Rarity made a pained sort of noise, and whipped her head around to speak in a furious tone.
"No! It's too late for that! I've told you more than once to leave me alone, Pinkie! Now you're just being annoying!"
"Annoying?" Pinkie dropped her hug immediately, letting her hooves fall to the floor and echo upon the tile. "I'm… annoying you?"
"Yes!" Rarity turned completely around to face the other mare, her mane falling loose from the shoddy bun and hanging in looping strands as she continued to silently cry. "In fact, I cannot fathom a way in which you could possibly annoy me more!"
Pinkie froze, eyes wide. Normally, the words would have stung… but her mind flipped the insult and came up with an idea. A crazy idea.
Rarity blinked, and momentarily, her death glare was replaced by a blank look. "I… come again?"
"…I can think of a way I could be more annoying." Pinkie nodded, smiling wide.
Rarity sat down, her flank impacting the cold tile and causing a shiver to rise up through her spine. The unicorn was at a complete loss for words, and simply settled for silence as she tried to put her thoughts into speech. "I don't… how would that be even remotely helpf-"
"Chimicherry," Pinkie began with a smile, "Cherrychanga."
The puzzled unicorn closed her mouth, but her expression remained blank. What is she doing?
"Chimicherry. Cherrychanga." Pinkie took several steps toward her friend, still smiling. Rarity simply put a hoof up to her forehead, and sighed.
"Chimicherry. Cherrychanga. Chimicherry. Cherr-"
"Alright, you've made your point!" Rarity threw her hoof outward away from her face, and she was… smiling. "You're being much more annoying!" she said with a light laugh, followed by a sniffle. Pinkie laughed as well, and the sound became infectious. Rarity began giggling despite her tears, still angry but at least feeling able to laugh at the ridiculousness as Pinkie continued to advance on her. "I thought I told you to get out."
"You did," Pinkie replied simply. "But I'm only good a listener when I want to be, silly. Now…" Pinkie extended a hoof, placing it upon Rarity's shoulder. "Now, I do want to be. I'm sorry I upset you… I was just trying to make you feel better. It's kinda my thing, you know?"
Rarity gave a reluctant nod, and wiped her eyes along the sleeve of her bathrobe. Slowly, she took the tie out of her mane and set it back atop the counter before fluffing her hair out and letting it hang straight. "Yes, I know. I just wish you wouldn't have come barging in here, Darling. I'm… a little…" Rarity dropped her voice to a whisper, and looked away as she finished. "…insecure about my looks."
"…and Twilight calls me silly." Pinkie leaned in for another hug attempt, and this time, she wasn't rebuked. "Darling," she began in her best Rarity impression, "you look fabulous!"
Rarity pushed air out through her nose in a frustrated snort, before fixing Pinkie with her best glower. "I do not sound like that."
"Yes, you totally dooooo," Pinkie sang in reply. Rarity opened her mouth, but Pinkie shut her down by sticking a hoof over it before she could speak. "Now, let's get you to bed, Princess Fussypants. I'm really, really sorry, and I mean it. But… now that I'm already here, I wanna help. And I won't take no for an answer."
Pinkie dropped her hoof once again, and moved behind the unsure unicorn. Rarity yelped as Pinkie's head impacted her flank, pushing her forward and across the cold tile.
"Hm?" Pinkie picked her head up and stopped pushing before fixing her friend with a quizzical look.
"…my brush. Could you grab my brush first?"
Pinkie leaned up, placing her front hooves upon the counter and taking the brush in her mouth by the handle. Her eyes widened as she saw another object that she desired, and the mare swiped it with a hoof before walking over and pushing her forehead back into Rarity's flank, earning a squeal.
Rarity huffed and stood to walk, giving one last shiver as her posterior left the tile as she reached the edge of the bathroom. Her hooves contacted the plush carpet of her bedroom as she stepped across the threshold and hopped up onto her bed, only to see Pinkie's eyes widen with horror as the pink mare gasped aloud, dropping the brush and her other prize to the floor.
"What? What is it? Pinkie, are you alr-"
Rarity blinked and flopped onto her stomach atop the comforter before speaking in deadpan. "Mr. Ruffles. Do I even want to know?"
"He's cold!" Pinkie turned around and sped back into the bathroom, only to return seconds later with the forgotten teddy bear in her mouth. Rarity once again touched a hoof to her face and sighed, using her magic to bring her brush up from the floor, along with… a small container of dental floss.
"Floss, Pinkie? You needed to bring floss?"
"Yep!" Pinkie hopped up onto the bed after her friend, much to Rarity's alarm.
"…you're… serious, right now? You're not leaving?"
"Nuh-uh! I didn't bring the floss out for nothing, silly!" Pinkie set down her bear, and instead picked up the container before stringing out a generous portion and wrapping it around her hooves. "Now, you look at me, mare." Pinkie continued to spin the floss around her forelimbs, and Rarity watched, slightly entranced. "You really do look good. Like… real good. Stop being so bleh about it."
Rarity blinked and snapped out of her slight daze. She continued to watch Pinkie play with the dental string before telekinetically lifting her brush and pulling it through her long mane. "I am not 'bleh', Pinkie. I just… it's a lot of things."
"Wanna tell me about 'em?" Pinkie asked as she flopped onto her back, still playing with the minty string.
"…no, Pinkie. I don't."
"Oh." Pinkie slowly stopped playing, letting the string fall down onto her stomach as she craned her neck to look at her friend, who was silently brushing and staring at a wall. "Rarity?"
"…Darling?" the unicorn responded, eyes unmoving.
"…are you still mad at me?"
Rarity moved her brush over to the waiting vanity, suddenly disinterested in continuing. "…I'm getting over it. I'll admit, I'm still a little irritated, but… I'm not about to stay mad at such a close friend over something like that."
Pinkie nodded and took the string in her mouth before hopping off the bed and walking to deposit it next to Rarity's brush. The other mare watched with amusement as her bubbly friend jumped back onto the bed and circled before flopping over sideways. "Okay. So… do you wanna tell ghost stories? Or… sing songs?"
"…do you really think I'm… beautiful?" the mare asked in a hushed tone.
Pinkie leaned back up, curious at the change of topic. "Well yeah. I said so, didn't I?"
Rarity finally looked over and nodded, smiling only a little. The dried trails of tears were still evident on her face, but she had long since stopped caring about looking presentable. "Yes, I suppose you did. To answer your question, though… I want to go to sleep. It's been a long day, Pinkie." The unicorn slid her pillow out from under the blankets and situated it under herself, leaning her head into a hoof as she cast her eyes to the skylight inlaid in the ceiling. "Thank you, though."
"Huh? For what? I thought you were all mad that I showed up."
"Well yes, I was." Rarity breathed out, and the motion turned into a stifled yawn as she continued looking up at the stars. The mare curled herself a little tighter, wrapping her tail around her limbs for warmth as she rested her head against the pillow and closed her eyes. "But all the same… thank you for trying to comfort me. I still don't see it, but… I appreciate it."
"Oh," was all that Pinkie said before standing up and stretching. With a little unease, the earth pony leaned down to pick up her teddy before Rarity's voice again interrupted her.
"…you can stay, if… you would like."
A wide grin broke out on Pinkie's face, and she abandoned her bear to instead move over to Rarity. Slowly and carefully, the pink pony lowered herself down, snuggling into Rarity's side and resting her chin atop the unicorn's warm back. The alabaster mare opened one eye in surprise, and blushed a little at the other mare's proximity. "…hello."
"Hey there!" the party pony said back, giggling a little as Rarity's mane was tousled slightly by her words. The unicorn tucked her head back in, breathing a sigh as she resigned herself to the task of falling asleep. A comforting vibration ran up and down her spine as Pinkie once again began to speak, and Rarity's ears perked slightly to listen.
"…I mean it. You're one of the most gorgeous mares in Equestria."
Rarity kept her eyes closed, but opened her mouth to respond softly. "Thank you, Pinkie. To be honest, you are as well."
Pinkie raised her head up from Rarity's back, arching a brow in surprise at the words. Slowly, she settled back in as it became apparent that the conversation was over.
"Goodnight, Rarity. See you in the morning."
Pinkie moved herself in a little tighter, draping a hoof across the other mare's shoulder before the two fell into a long, comforting sleep.
Author's Note: So… Night has officially begun. For those not in the know, this is the companion piece to Morning, which follows the same idea, but with ponies waking up and starting their day instead of winding down and going to bed.
With that said, let it be known that Pinkie Pie was not supposed to be in this chapter, and she somehow worked her way in on her own. Having her reply to Rarity's statement to herself just seemed to fit, and so I ran with it, completely changing the original plan. Because of that, though, I can check Pinkie off of the list, and free up another chapter in my previous list of ten ponies for Night. The original list is as follows:
-Rarity & Sweetie Belle
-The Apple Family
-Spitfire & Soarin (Pie & Pegasi universe)
-Twilight & Spike
-The Great and Powerful Trixie
-? (? universe)
Obviously, Sweetie got axed from this story, and Pinkie's slot is now free. In her place I'm going to take a suggestion instead. I asked if anyone could guess what the final chapter is on Twitter, and DarkeonWarlord threw out the idea of 'Selena and Discord before the betrayal' from Scented Venom. That's not what the mystery chapter 10 is, but… the suggestion is brilliant, and something that I think a lot of you who kept up with SV would like. Therefore, Chapter 8 will now be that.
Night is likely going to have longer chapters than Morning did, with actual story arcs like this one, for the most part. It'll be slightly different in that regard, but hopefully also more interesting. Can anyone guess what chapter 10 is? Feel free to take a shot at it in a review or PM.
Pie & Pegasi chapter 5 is probably up next.
NEXT CHAPTER: THE APPLE FAMILY