As Sugarcube Corner came into view, Rainbow Dash was no longer left with any doubt as to whether or not Pinkie Pie was hosting another party. So many pink and blue streamers and balloons had been placed outside the building that the walls were no longer visible. She rocketed into the jungle of party decorations, forcing her way through to the door. Dash yelped as her snout slammed into something hard. In her haste, she had run head first into the wall.
She began circling around the bakery, searching for an entrance. The balloons rubbed against her wings, pricking her feathers with occasional jolts of static electricity and making flying difficult. She couldn’t even tell which floor she was flying by, much less if she was anywhere near the front door. After several minutes of arduous trekking, all she found was a second story window.
Close enough, Dash thought to herself, knocking on the glass pane.
She turned around to look over the decorations once more. “What could that crazy fuzz ball be thinking?” she asked a pink balloon floating by her head. The balloon remained silent, bobbing slowly back and forth in the air. Apparently it didn’t have any idea either. Turning back around, Dash found herself face to face with a bouncing mass of pink and a pair of shining, blue eyes. Startled, she moved to jump backwards, but was caught in a vice-like grip. The wildly giggling pink blob pulled her in through the window and onto the floor.
“Dashie, you’re finally here!” Pinkie Pie cried, still wrapping her hooves around her friend in a tight hug.
Rainbow Dash allowed herself to be swallowed up in the embrace, burying her head in Pinkie’s soft, cushiony mane. She breathed deeply, her nostrils filling with the overpoweringly sugary scent of countless sweets. The pink menace ate so many confectioneries, sometimes it almost seemed like her body was actually transforming into a giant cup cake.
Dash felt Pinkie’s voice wash over her like a torrent of water as she rambled away. “I heard a sound at the window and I thought ‘Must be a tree’ but then I remembered that there are no trees by that window. So then I thought ‘Somepony must be throwing rocks’ but then I realized there’s no way anypony could have gotten a rock past all those balloons unless they had some sort of rock blasting cannon, but I definitely would have heard something like that and I definitely didn’t hear anything like that. So then I thought…”
Rainbow Dash stopped attempting to decipher what Pinkie was saying, instead opting to just enjoy the melodic quality of her voice. In the past, she had found Pinkie's constant talking and absurd rants annoying. Over time, she’d grown to tolerate them, and then had even become fond of them. The excited, high pitched voice was strangely calming. As long as Pinkie Pie was still nonsensically chattering on, everything must have been alright.
To Dash’s disappointment, Pinkie abruptly broke the hug to look her in the eyes. “So then I thought ‘Somepony must be knocking on the window’ and then I realized that the only type of pony who could be knocking on a window way up here is a pegasus pony, and then I realized that it must be my pegasus pony. So I ran all the way up here and now here you are!” she finished, pointing a hoof at Dash.
Her blue eyes widened, noticing the gift in the Dash's hooves. “Rainbow Dash, you got me a present!”
Dash frowned and reluctantly held out the gift. “It’s okay if you don’t like it, I can get you something else.” Here it was, the moment of truth. When she had gone searching through her house, Dash was certain she had found the ultimate present. But after the conversation at the library, she wasn’t so sure.
Pinkie excitedly ripped the box out of her hooves and threw it down onto the ground. She drew her hooves in, lowering her belly close to the floor. After several terrifying moments of wiggling her tail high in the air in preparation, she launched herself upon her helpless victim. Using her teeth, she viciously slashed the paper and ribbons apart. With the box now bare, Pinkie tore the lid off the top and peered eagerly into its depths. Rainbow Dash held her breath, waiting for the worst possible reaction.
“Is this a Wonderbolts poster?” she asked, pulling the gift out of the box.
Dash hung her head in defeat. “I’m sorry, I’ll make it up to you somehow.”
“What are you talking about?” Pinkie unrolled the poster to examine it. “I love it!”
Dash looked up in surprise. “You really like it?”
Pinkie bounced in place. “I really, really, really like it!”
Unable to contain her relief, Dash spread her wings and jumped into the air. She had known all along it was a great present. There had never been a doubt in her mind. What did those dorks at the library know about presents anyway? Obviously nothing.
Suddenly, Pinkie stopped bouncing. “Oh no, I didn’t get you anything.”
Rainbow Dash threw the idea off with a wave of her hoof. “Don’t sweat it. There’s no way you could have gotten anything as good as mine.”
Pinkie’s smile returned. “You’re right.” She began bouncing again. “Besides I’m throwing this great party!”
“Yeah, about that…” Dash considered how to approach the subject. She’d never seen anything good come from stepping between Pinkie Pie and a party. “Could we maybe skip the party?” she asked hopefully. “I was thinking we could spend today together. You know, just you and me.”
Pinkie gasped melodramatically. “Of course not! You can’t skip your own party.”
“My party?” Dash asked, lowering herself to the ground.
Pinkie Pie began heaving hoof loads of streamers out of a nearby box. “You silly, it’s a party for you and me.”
“Why are we having a party?”
Pinkie Pie tapped the tip of Dash’s snout with a playful hoof. “Jee whiz, you really are being silly today.” She began waving her hooves in circles above her head. “Hello! It’s our anniversary today. We’ve been together for a whole month!” With that, she turned back around to hang more streamers as if the matter had been settled.
Dash raised a questioning hoof. “But, what does that have to do with a party?”
Pinkie shot her a look like she’d just turned into a dancing circus panda. “Well duh, how else do you celebrate an anniversary?”
“But, then why did you invite all of our friends?” Dash asked, still not understanding the situation.
Pinkie gave her another bewildered stare. “Holy guacamole Dashie, you’re being, like, quadruple silly right now. It’s our coming out party, you silly, silly, silly, silly,” she said cheerfully, punctuating each ‘silly’ with another tap on the pegasus’s snout.
Rainbow Dash froze, letting her marefriend’s word sink in. Finally realizing exactly what the party was going to entail, she felt a surge of panic rush through her body. “No!” she yelled, flying in front of Pinkie, “Have you lost your mind?”
“What?” Pinkie asked, dropping her streamers.
Dash felt her wings tremble from the sudden rush of adrenaline. “Do you have any idea what they’ll do to us?”
Pinkie paused momentarily before adopting an exaggerated country accent, “Well, Applejack will be like, Darn tootin’ ya’ll—“
“They’ll kick us out of the group!” Dash yelled, cutting off her impersonations.
Pinkie snickered at her good-humoredly. “Dashie, I really don’t—“
“I’ve seen it happen before!” Her wings were flapping energetically, sending the dropped streamers flying in all directions.
“I’ve had enough silliness,” Pinkie declared, stamping a hoof on the ground. “Parties are serious business. Besides, the Cakes were so excited about this party that they closed Sugarcube Corner all day to let me prepare.”
Dash’s stomach felt like it was performing somersaults for a live audience. “The Cakes know?!”
“Well duh, you sleep over like every night,” Pinkie responded, rolling her eyes.
The walls began to close down on Rainbow Dash and the floor was spinning in circles beneath her. “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh…” The Cakes knew. Mrs. Cake was a notorious gossiper. If she knew, everypony knew.
Dash’s hooves began to grow numb. Am I getting enough air? she thought in alarm. She gasped quickly, attempting to bring in more oxygen, but the growing numbness remained.
“I’m not getting enough air!” she cried, breathing more and more quickly. The quicker she breathed the number she felt. A tingling sensation was slowly traveling up her legs. Her vision blurred as she felt herself begin to fall backwards.
Suddenly, she was surrounded on all sides by something warm and soft. It encapsulated her body and held her firmly in place. Dash slowed her breath, allowing feeling to return to her legs. She heard a frightened voice emanate from somewhere near her ear, “Dashie! Please don’t be dead! You can’t be dead, there’s a party today!”
Dash opened her eyes and found herself surrounded by a sea of pink fur.
“Oh, you’re not dead!” Pinkie’s eyes were nearly bulging out of her skull. “Are you okay? Do you need something? Do you need a cupcake? I’ll go get you a cupcake!” the panicking pony yelled, dropping Dash back onto the floor and galloping out of the room.
Dash pushed herself up off of the ground, steadying herself on her hooves. So not cool…
“What are you doing?!” Pinkie charged into the room and knocked Dash back onto her side. “Lay back down or you’re gonna hurt yourself!”
“You’re the one who’s gonna hurt—“ Dash was abruptly cut off as a cupcake was shoved into her mouth.
“Hurry up and eat it!” Pinkie cried, forcing the entire cupcake into Dash’s muzzle. “Cupcakes always make ponies feel better!”
Dash swallowed, not even having any time to chew. The cupcake traveled down her throat slowly and painfully, barely making it to the bottom.
“Are you feeling better?,” Pinkie asked worriedly. “Do you want another one?”
“No!” Dash held up her hooves in defense of another cupcake assault. “I’m fine.”
“You’re not fine. You just passed out!”
“I did not,” Dash declared. “I just… uh… wanted to take quick nap is all.”
Pinkie eyed her suspiciously for several seconds before adopting her signature grin. “Oh, you should have just said so.”
Dash stared at her marefriend in disbelief. Wow, she’s really gullible…
“If you really want me to, I’ll tell everypony the party is for something else. There are always plenty of reasons to party!” Pinkie said amiably.
“Thanks Pinks,” Dash replied, standing back up. “I can help you set up now, if you want.”
“That’d be super!” Pinkie chirped. “But...”
“But what?” Dash asked, beginning to pick up the streamers lying about the room.
When she finally answered, Pinkie’s voice was much quieter than Dash was used to. “Why don’t you want anypony to know about us?
Dash dropped the pile of streamers she’d been collecting. “It’s just... I just...” Pinkie would never understand, she was too naive. Dash took a deep breath and began again, “I’m just not ready.”
“But it’s been a whole month, and you said I could tell our friends eventually.”
Dash sighed deeply. “Can we talk about this after the party? I promise we’ll work something out then, okay?”
“Well...” Pinkie didn’t look happy about the arrangement. “Okay.”
“Good,” Dash said with a smile. “Now help me pick up these streamers.”
Upon entering the loft above Sugarcube Corner, Twilight observed that its interior was just as manically decorated as its exterior. Multicolored streamers lined every wall and so many balloons had traveled up to the ceiling some part of her mind worried that they might pick up the building and carry it away.
“Hiya Twilight!” Applejack waved her over.
Walking towards her friend, Twilight noticed that she had been the last to arrive; Pinkie Pie was happily chatting with Fluttershy and Rarity, while Rainbow Dash was rummaging around the snack table. Upbeat music was wafting through air, seemingly from nowhere.
“Hey Applejack,” Twilight greeted, “Pinkie really went all out with the streamers this time, huh?”
“Aren’t they great?” Rainbow Dash asked, appearing beside her with a plate full of donuts. “I helped put them up myself.”
“Well, they certainly are…” Twilight wondered how polite it would be to say ‘atrocious’. The decorations were truly hideous. They had been scattered across the walls and floors without any thought to aesthetics or design.
“Colorful,” Applejack suggested with a wink.
“Uh… yeah, colorful,” Twilight agreed.
“You bet they are,” Dash proudly exclaimed, downing another donut. She held out the plate towards Twilight. “So did Fluttershy talk to you about uh... you know…”
Twilight’s mouth watered as she levitated a blueberry glazed donut off the plate. “About what?”
“You know.” Dash shuffled her hooves. “About what happened at the library this morning.”
The unicorn’s mind went blank as she bit into the fluffy confectionery, briefly losing herself in its sweet taste before realizing what her friend was referring to. “Oh, yeah, she did. It’s no problem. We all get a little out of control sometimes.” Actually, Twilight prided herself on rarely, if ever, losing her self control, but it seemed like the right thing to say.
“So, we’re cool then?’ Dash asked, peaking at her out of the corner of her eye.
“Yeah, of course,” Twilight answered, chewing the last of her donut.
Applejack looked between the two of them conspicuously. “What happened?”
“Oh, nothing important.” Twilight eyed the remaining donuts on Dash’s plate eagerly, a saccharine aftertaste lingering on her tongue “So, what’s this party for anyhow?”
Applejack burst into a fit of laughter. “Why don’t you ask Miss Interior Decorator over here,” she said between laughs, pointing to Rainbow Dash.
“Oh grow up,” Dash replied irritably, crossing her hooves.
Twilight regarded her friends curiously. “Why, what’s so funny?”
“Does it matter?” Dash interjected, clearly annoyed.
“Well, yeah. It’s hard to celebrate at a party when I don’t know what I’m celebrating.”
“Go ask Pinkie Pie then,” Applejack said, still laughing as she pointed to where the host was standing, scooping an alligator out of a punch bowl. “Ah’m sure she’ll be happy to tell you all about it.”
Well, alright then, Twilight thought to herself as she crossed the room. Whatever it was, if her friends were being this secretive, it must have been something eccentric. Though, considering it was a Pinkie Pie party, that was no surprise.
“Hey Pinkie, thanks for inviting me tonight.”
Pinkie dropped the alligator back in the bowl with a plop before turning around. “Hey, no problem, Twilight. Want some punch?”
Twilight eyed the alligator infested bowl warily. “No thanks, it looks... uh… really tasty though.”
“Where’s Spike? I sent him an invitation too,” Pinkie asked, scanning the room.
“He’s already asleep,” Twilight replied. “It was a busy day at the library.” In spite of her assistant’s skepticism, she had successfully managed to sort every single book that had been returned that morning.
“So, I was just wondering,“ she continued, “what exactly is this party celebrating?”
Pinkie looked at her as if she’d just asked what color the sky was, “Duh,” she responded, waving a hoof around to indicate the multicolored streamers, “isn’t it obvious?”
Twilight examined the room again, searching for the answer to her question. But whatever Pinkie Pie was seeing in the mess of decorations was lost on her. However, she did notice that the other four ponies were all watching in anticipation of her reaction. “No, it isn’t,” she said, giving up.
Pinkie threw her hooves into the air. “We’re having a party for Rainbow Dash!”
“Why?” Twilight asked. She noticed Rarity and Fluttershy holding their hooves to their mouths, stifling giggles. As far as she could remember Dash hadn’t done anything particularly worthy of celebration recently.
Pinkie rolled her eyes. “She’s the cutesiest, cutie, cute pony in all of Ponyville!”
Twilight deadpanned. “What?”
“Oh wait, you’re right!” Pinkie cried, realizing her mistake. “She’s the cutesiest, cutie, cute pony in all of Equestria!”
Twilight spent several moments processing Pinkie’s answer before replying. “So, we’re having a party to celebrate how cute Rainbow Dash is?” She heard Applejack burst out into another fit of laughter, followed by a groan from Dash.
“Yepperdoodles!” Pinkie confirmed, nodding her head rapidly.
Twilight turned to look at the pegasus in question, appraising her as she would a new telescope. “She is pretty cute, I guess,” she concluded, shrugging. There was no denying it, her friend was rather attractive.
“She does have a fine figure,” Rarity chimed.
Fluttershy giggled again. “Oh yes, I agree.”
Rainbow Dash blushed a deep crimson, apparently unsure how to respond to the sudden onslaught of compliments. “Eh… thanks…”
Rarity began trotting towards her excitedly. “You simply must allow me to design you an outfit from my new autumn line. They’ll suit your coat perfectly.”
Dash raised her hooves in protest. “Oh no, I don’t—“
“I won’t take no for an answer.” Rarity looked over Dash’s mane and tail carefully. “Fluttershy, could you come over here?” she called. “I need your opinion on this. Do you think a chemise or a basque would be more appropriate?”
“I don’t know, let me get a closer look,” Fluttershy responded, gliding towards them.
Twilight couldn’t help but smile at her friend’s antics. It was then that she noticed a familiar Wonderbolts poster hanging on a nearby wall. “Is this Rainbow Dash’s?” she asked, examining it closely.
“Uh huh,” Pinkie answered. “She gave it to me this morning. It’s even signed!”
“So you actually liked it then?” Twilight was surprised, she had thought for certain it was the wrong gift for Pinkie Pie. “I didn’t know you were such a big fan of the Wonderbolts.”
“Well actually…” She looked towards Dash, who still had her hooves full fending off the possibility of a dress fitting, before continuing in a lower voice, “I don’t care about the Wonderbolts or the poster so much, but I know she really liked it, and it was extra sweet of her to give it to me.”
“Pinkie,” Twilight exclaimed, taken aback by her friend’s sensitivity. Pinkie usually seemed almost completely oblivious to her surroundings. “That’s so thou—“
Abruptly, Pinkie violently gasped. “You have to Pinkie promise you won’t tell Dashie!”
“Of course I won’t,” Twilight affirmed, feeling somewhat insulted. She already knew the importance of keeping a friend’s trust.
“Pinkie promise!” Pinkie barked. Twilight sighed as she acted out the childish gestures. She had never understood Pinkie’s obsession with her ‘Pinkie promises’.
“Good,” Pinkie said happily, gazing towards where Rainbow Dash was standing. Twilight noticed that her usual goofy grin had been replaced by one much softer than she was used to seeing on the ordinarily giddy pony’s face. There was something odd about the look in her eyes too. Twilight looked between the two of them, remembering the conversation she’d had with her friends at the library that morning. Any time was a good time to do a little research.
“Hey, I was just talking to Fluttershy and Rarity about something I’d read earlier today and was curious as to what your opinion was. Do you mind if I ask you a question?”
Pinkie’s expression became somber as she gave a mock salute. “Ask away, Ma’am.”
“Do you find yourself more attracted to stallions or mares?” Hearing a commotion, Twilight turned just in time to see Rainbow Dash spit up an entire mouthful of punch directly into Rarity’s face.
Pinkie Pie placed a hoof to her jaw, and continued thoughtfully rubbing her chin through a blood curdling scream from Rarity. “I’ve never really thought about it, I guess mares,” she concluded, dropping her hoof.
Twilight’s eyes lit up in surprise. How did I miss that? She had known Pinkie Pie for over two years and considered herself to be a very observant pony.
“Have you ever… been with a mare?” she asked curiously. She noticed Fluttershy and Applejack still attempting to console the drenched unicorn in the corner without success, unaware of the startling revelation Pinkie had just disclosed.
Suddenly, Rainbow Dash appeared at her side, as if from nowhere. She grabbed Pinkie by the shoulders. “Can I talk to you for a sec?” she asked, her eyes narrowed.
“Yeah, if you give me one sec,” Pinkie said, turning to Twilight. “Just one,” she answered.
“Really?” Twilight asked. This conversation was getting more interesting by the minute.
Dash was now forcefully pulling Pinkie Pie away. “I really need to talk to you.”
“Yup,” Pinkie chirped, “just Rainbow Dash here.”
The room quieted as Dash collapsed back on her haunches like she’d been bucked in the chest. Even Rarity, punch dripping from her meticulously styled mane, had fallen silent. The only sound was the music wafting through the background. Twilight’s face froze as her brain worked furiously to decipher what her friend had just announced.
Pinkie Pie turned to where Dash was sitting dazed on the floor. “I can give you all the secs you need now, Dashie!” She began laughing far louder than such a bad joke deserved, falling onto her back and kicking her legs in the air. She was, apparently, oblivious to the stunned silence of her friends.
Rainbow Dash, her face still blank, muttered an incoherent reply.
Applejack was the first to react. “What’d she just say?”
Fluttershy covered her mouth with her hooves. “Oh my.”
Finally coming back to her senses, Dash erupted. “Pinkie Pie, what the hay is wrong with you?!” she yelled, leaping into the air and hovering above the pony lying on the floor.
Pinkie stopped laughing. “You never said I couldn’t tell them that,” she said innocently.
“Are you kidding me!?” Dash shouted, near hysterics. “I definitely specifically told you not to tell them that at least a thousand times!”
“Y-you two are in a r-relationship?” Rarity stammered in a bewildered voice.
Pinkie jumped to her hooves. “Yup, we’re in love,” she declared.
“No, we’re not, you moron!” Dash said, stamping a hoof.
Pinkie looked hurt. “Dashie, I know you’re upset right now, but you do—“
“I do not!” the infuriated pegasus screamed, pushing Pinkie away from her. “I’m not a disgusting fillyfooler! Not like you!” she yelled, sending Pinkie sprawling across the floor.
Applejack ran between the two. “Rainbow Dash, you need to calm yerself, right now!”
“This is none of your business,” Dash sneered, easily jumping over the farm pony and landing next to Pinkie.
“Why can’t you ever keep your mouth shut? I told you so many times not to say anything, but still, you just won’t shut up!”
Pinkie’s eyes began to water. “I thought you’d be happy,” she said softly.
“Happy?!” Dash cried incredulously. “Why would I be—“
She was cut off as Applejack yanked her backwards by the tail.
“That’s enough!” Applejack declared, dragging Dash across the floor. “Go calm down. Now,” she commanded, pointing to the far wall. Rainbow Dash begrudgingly complied, hovering away.
Twilight’s mind finally caught up to the present. Applejack and Fluttershy were slowly helping Pinkie back to her hooves, while Rarity was still standing in the same spot where she had been drenched in punch, staring dully at the floor.
“So…” she began, looking where Rainbow Dash was stalking along the wall, “you slept with Pinkie Pie?”
Dash’s nostrils flared. “I am not a fillyfooler!” she yelled, tearing open a window and bolting into the night.
Twilight heard Rarity’s voice behind her, sounding very faint. “What just happened?”
“I’m not, I’m not, I’m not, I’m not!” Rainbow Dash yelled to no one. She flew over the darkened houses and vacant streets of Ponyville, not altogether certain which direction she was going. Against the horizon to her side, she recognized the dark outline of her cloud home. Angling herself towards it, she soared across the dim sky.
How could Pinks act so stupid? she asked herself. Images of her marefriend’s tear stricken face flashed in her mind. Of all ponies, she’d made Pinkie Pie cry. Infinitely happy, giggly, bouncing, smiling Pinkie Pie was crying and it was all her fault.
Not that it matters anymore, she thought, remembering Applejack’s angry reaction to Pinkie’s announcement. It had already begun. In a single night, she’d managed to ruin everything; all the friends she’d made, whatever it was she’d had with Pinkie Pie, her whole life in Ponyville. She felt a stinging sensation in her eyes and something wet slip down her face.
Must’ve run through a rain cloud without noticing, she lied to herself.