Justin found himself looking at the floor. He blinked and frowned, trying to clear his thoughts and figure out how he ended up there. After a moment it came to him. “Stupid sexy Rainbow,” he muttered as he pushed himself onto his hooves.
He looked around and saw that he was alone. He went to the door and saw the three mares leaving for somewhere. “Hey! Wait up!”
Twilight turned around and saw a stallion galloping towards them. “Oh! I didn’t think you’d wake up any time soon.”
“So you left me on the floor?” Justin asked, irritated.
“Hey, yer a big boy, ya woulda managed,” Applejack responded, giving him a playful jab.
“Yeah, I would have,” Justin replied. “I still don’t appreciate being left there.”
“Hey, uh, Justin?” He turned and saw Rainbow rubbing the back of her neck, an apologetic expression on her face. “Sorry.”
“I should hope so.”
“Hey, I didn’t think you’d faint!”
“How else was I meant to react? You went and -” The moment he started thinking about it his wings popped up. Rainbow and Applejack snickered behind their hooves while Justin groaned. “If this happens every time...” he muttered angrily as he pushed them back down.
“Why does that keep happening?” Twilight asked, head tilted quizzically.
The other three looked at each other. “Not the kind of thing I want to explain in public,” Justin said quietly.
“Yeah, it’s kinda... private,” Rainbow added.
“Ya really don’t know why that’s been happenin’?” Applejack asked, her own head titled in confusion. “Ah mean, really?”
“Should I?” Twilight asked, looking between her friends.
“Probably,” Justin said. “How old are you?”
“Twenty-one,” Twilight said quickly.
“Really? Twenty-one and you don’t know about - ?” Rainbow didn’t get any further thanks to the orange hoof seemingly materializing in her mouth.
“Ah’ll take her and explain things,” Applejack said, leading Twilight away. “You two have fun!”
Justin took a moment to fully comprehend what she had just said. Then he began to (under the surface) enter a full-blown panic. Nopony could tell though, as the only noticeable sign was that he was breathing faster.
“So, you want to learn to fly now?” Rainbow asked, oblivious to his mental state. What she didn’t know was that that question had calmed him immensely, simply because she hadn’t jumped at the other alternative.
“I suppose,” Justin said, looking at the sky and seeing that the sun was still high in the air. “How long was I out?” he asked shielding his eyes from the sun’s glare.
“About ten minutes,” Rainbow answered, glaring at the sky. “Somepony was meant to make sure we had cloud cover today.”
It took Justin a moment to realise that she was referring to her weather duties. “Oh. Right.” At that moment his stomach began to growl like a beast.
Rainbow laughed as he blushed. “That was loud!” she exclaimed. Then her stomach growled just as loud, making her blush and giving Justin a reason to chuckle. “Let’s get some lunch,” she said, trying to cover the awkwardness of the situation.
She led the way towards a small cafe and took a seat at an empty table, Justin sitting on his haunches across from her on the small stool provided. “What are you getting?” she asked.
“Uhh...” Justin stared blankly at the mare for a moment. “I don’t know.”
“Well I’m getting a daisy sandwich and hay fries,” Rainbow said, looking around for somepony to take her order.
“Hay fries?” Before he could ask, a creamed-coloured earth pony with a slicked back, glossy blue mane and a tiny pencil mustache came up to the table. Justin couldn’t help but wonder where one could obtain a bow tie like the one he was wearing.
“What will you to be having today?” he asked cordially.
“I’ll have the daisy sandwich and some hay fries,” Rainbow said.
“Very good. And you, sir?”
“Uhh...” Justin cleared his throat. “I’ll have what she’s having.”
As the waiter walked away, Rainbow scowled at Justin. “Not exactly subtle, are you?”
“Getting the same food as me? That’s the worst move in the book.”
Justin raised a hoof. “Hey, first off; I have no idea what’s good here. And secondly; do you read books?”
“Of course I read books!” Rainbow retorted angrily. She then frowned and reached across the table to slap the stupid smile off of Justin’s face. “That wasn’t very nice,” she said.
“Neither was what you did before,” he replied, being as vague as possible to save himself any embarrassment.
“Hey, any other stallion would have loved what I did to you.”
“I’m not like ‘other stallions’, Dash.” He sighed. “Up here,” he tapped the side of his head with a hoof, “I still feel human. Walking around on hooves is weird. So is not having hands.”
“Huh.” Rainbow wasn’t sure how to counter that. They sat in an uncomfortable silence for some time before she spoke again. “You still need to learn to fly.”
“I never said I didn’t.”
They fell into silence again, neither of them opening their mouths until their lunch arrived.
Justin stared at his sandwich and fries, not sure what to think. It looked perfectly appetizing, despite the clearly-visible flowers and the smell of a garden. He looked up and saw Rainbow eating her meal with gusto. Deciding to ‘do as the Romans do’, he leaned over and took a bite of the sandwich.
He was surprised. The flowers in the sandwich were sweet, but not overly so. Whatever else was in there complimented them well, making the sandwich hard to put down. He managed to do so long enough to grab a mouthful of the hay fries. They were crispy and, for a reason he couldn’t identify, delicious. He stopped eating and stared at his meal. Rainbow noticed this and looked at him.
“You okay?” she asked.
“How is this so good?” Justin kept staring at his lunch. “I mean, this is just flowers in between some bread and dried grass that’s been fried.” He dove into his plate and took another bite of hay fries. “So why does this taste like the best thing I’ve ever eaten?”
Rainbow watched as he tore into his meal with incredible ferocity. Shrugging, she returned to her lunch and finished it.
“Ready to fly?”
Rainbow had led Justin to the lake outside Ponyville. There wasn’t anypony else around who might see them, which meant Justin wouldn’t embarrass himself as badly.
“Yeah but...” Justin glanced at the lake uneasily. “Do we have to do this here?”
“Would you rather have a dirt lunch every time you mess up?” Rainbow asked, unamused.
Justin’s complaints stopped at that. “Point taken,” he replied.
Satisfied, Rainbow smiled and stood facing him. “Okay, first thing you need is to get those wings spread out.”
Justin stared at them. “How do I do that?”
Rainbow was dumbfounded by the question. “What do you mean, how do you do that? You just do it!”
“I’m sorry, I’m used to having four limbs, not six,” Justin replied coldly. “And I used to walk on two legs, not four.”
Rainbow groaned. “Just imagine they’re your arms or something, I don’t know.”
“Rainbow, my arms are now my legs,” he retorted. He couldn’t help but admit that there was some logic to what she had said, though. He knew that the structure of the wing was similar to that of an arm. Using that idea, he tried to move his arms while not moving his arms.
His wings opened, slowly at first before extending to reveal their full majesty.
Rainbow nodded, impressed. “Nice,” she said as Justin moved his wings about experimentally.
“This is cool,” he said.
“Well duh,” Rainbow replied with a laugh. “Now lets see you get airborne!” she exclaimed as she flapped her wings and jumped. Justin attempted to imitate the action but instead ended up face-first on the ground.
“Wow,” Rainbow said from her vantage point. “That was the fastest crash-landing ever. Of all time,” she commented.
Justin picked himself up and spat out a mouthful of dirt. “I thought you were meant to be helping me,” he said as he scraped at his tongue with a hoof.
“Maybe try flapping your wings?” she suggested, clearly not amused by his attitude.
Justin jumped again, this time consciously forcing himself to flap his wings. He managed to hover about five feet above the ground, but this simple act was enough to scare him. His wings locked and he fell the short distance back to the ground, landing in an unceremonious heap. “Ow.”
“Well, that was an improvement,” Rainbow said uneasily. “You still crashed, though.”
“Why thank you, Captain Obvious: Protector of Things We Already Know,” Justin muttered angrily through gritted teeth. He picked himself up and tried again, this time managing to override the fear reaction.
“How’s that?” he asked smugly.
“Not bad,” Rainbow said. “Now you’re at the same level as a five year old.”
“What?” Justin asked, distraught. “Really?”
“Nah, more like a ten year old,” she replied with a wave of a hoof. “Most ten year olds can actually move forwards, though.”
“Oh,” Justin replied, hanging limply in mid-air. “How do I do that?”
Rainbow then proceeded to explain to him the intricacies of flight, sticking with the basics until she was sure that he understood everything. When he attempted to put all that into practice, the end result was him landing face-first and swallowing a large clump of dirt. Rainbow simply face-hoofed and shook her head as he coughed so loudly it seemed his lungs were going to shoot out of his mouth.
“Oh wow, are you okay?” Twilight asked Justin as he walked in.
“Do I look okay to you?” he asked aggressively. His face was covered in dirt and one of his eyes was swollen shut from when he’d landed on a rock. There was grass in his mane and the feathers on his wings were messed up, some of them sticking out at odd angles. “Learning to fly hurts.”
“Oh man, I’m gonna have to go through that,” Spike moaned.
“No need to get angry,” Twilight said, a little taken aback. “I’ll get a bath running for you.”
“Thank you. And sorry, Twilight.” He sighed. “I just feel so angry right now.”
“Why?” Spike asked.
“Because, short stuff, I’m a pegasus. And a pegasus that can’t fly is like a dragon without scales,” Justin replied.
“Hey! Don’t call me short!”
“I’ll stop calling you that when you start growing,” Justin replied, prodding the dragon with his hoof. “Shorty,” he said playfully.
Spike retaliated by jumping on Justin’s back and grabbing his mane. He pulled hard, making the stallion rear up in surprise. “Hyar!” the dragon shouted.
“Get off me!” Justin shouted. “Get off!”
Twilight poked her head in from the bathroom and stared at the unfolding chaos in confusion. There was Justin, bucking around like a rodeo bull with Spike hanging onto his mane and having the time of his life. As she watched they slammed into one of the shelves, sending a dozen books to the floor, where they joined countless others. Suddenly they were both wrapped in a telekinetic glow as Twilight stopped them. “What the hay is going on?”
“He called me short!” Spike responded.
“Well he is!” Justin retaliated. “Look at him!”
Twilight’s shoulders slumped as she groaned. “You’re both going to help me clean this place up,” she said as she let them go. “Now,” she said forcefully enough to make them both cringe.