“Hey, Rainbow Dash!”
I was in the bedroom of my sky-house, reading the latest Daring Do novel. I looked up from it at the sound of the bubbly voice calling my name. I marked my place, got up, and stuck my head outside to see Pinkie Pie standing on the ground below, smiling stupidly. I sighed heavily. Knowing Pinkie Pie, this was something completely frivolous, and I had an adventurer to read about. “Yeah, Pinkie?” I asked, only thinly veiling the annoyance in my voice.
“Can you come down here? I have to tell you something.”
“Can’t you just tell me from there?”
“But it’s super-duper, extra-special important!”
I groaned. “If it’s that important, just tell me.”
Pinkie huffed. “Fine. I just wanted to tell you that I’m having a party tonight and you’re invited.”
“Okay, thanks, Pinkie. See ya there!”
Pinkie Pie bounced away gleefully. I rubbed my temple with a hoof. That crazy mare was one of my best friends, but dear Celestia, could she get tiresome!
That being said, I was looking forward to the party. Pinkie’s parties were always good, and even if I didn’t dance or play games, I usually at least got some free cupcakes out of the deal. I figured it could be worse.
I went back to my book and re-immersed myself in Daring’s most recent quest. Daring Do was the most awesome pony I knew. It only made me sad that she was just a fictional character.
A few hours later, I turned the last page of the novel, experiencing that bittersweet mixture of satisfaction and sadness that came with the end of a great story. I looked at the clock and decided that I may as well head to Sugarcube Corner for the party.
I flew out over Ponyville and landed in front of the bakery. I could hear the steady beat of Pinkie Pie’s dance music coming through the wall, so I guessed that the party had already started. I put on my coolest face and strutted through the door.
“Hey, everypony! Dashie’s here!” Pinkie Pie ran over and gripped me in an almost unbearably tight hug, followed by the rest of our friends, all muttering greetings to me.
“Pinkie,” I choked out, “I need air!”
“Oh!” Pinkie Pie giggled at her own mistake. “Whoopsie!”
“So,” I remarked, once I had regained my oxygen supply, “what’s this party for, anyway?”
“It’s for Scootaloo,” Pinkie explained. “She finally got her cutie mark.”
I looked around and sure enough, there she was. Scootaloo, who had grown into quite the young mare since her crusading days, now had something on her flank. She was across the room, however, so I couldn’t quite make out what it was.
“Alrighty, then, Dashie, I’m gonna go talk to everypony else. See ya later!” Pinkie Pie disappeared onto the dance floor.
I hung back near the edge of the room, trying my best to ooze charisma and cool. I observed the dance floor and saw Spike and Rarity dancing together. I smiled to myself. Rarity had always rejected him when he was growing up, but as he matured, and she saw he wasn’t going to let it go, she let him go out on a date with her. Sure, it had started out as pity, but now they genuinely loved each other. I even heard from Twilight that he was starting to spend more nights at the boutique than the library. To think, the little twerp that had arrived in Ponyville just a few years ago was now in a relationship with my friend. Oh well, he deserved it.
After a while, I decided it was high time I get some punch and a cupcake. I made my way over to the snack table and snatched up a chocolate one, along with a cold glass of punch. Just as I finished my snack, the guest of honor appeared at my side.
“Hi, Rainbow Dash!” she said eagerly.
“Hey, Scoots! Heard ya got your cutie mark.”
“Yeah! Wanna see?” She shoved her flank in my face, revealing a small black-and-white checkered flag upon it.
“Pretty cool. What kind of special talent earns you a cutie mark like that, anyway?”
“Well, my special talent is riding my scooter. I still can’t fly very well, so I was ridin’ my scooter around town, going fast, when all of a sudden this baby appeared.”
“Not bad, kid.”
Scootaloo cringed slightly at the word “kid”. “I’m not really a kid, anymore, Rainbow Dash. I know I’m not as old as you are, but I’m practically an adult,” she said, looking hurt.
I mentally slapped myself for doing that. “I know you’re not. You got your cutie mark now, you’re all grown up!”
The smile returned to her face. Her purple eyes locked with mine for an instant, and then looked away again. I couldn’t help but notice that she still seemed slightly uncomfortable. “Rainbow Dash, would it be okay if we talked alone?”
“Sure k-” I stopped myself. “Scoot.” I called to the host of the party. “Hey, Pinkie!”
At a speed that would have been physically impossible for any other pony, Pinkie Pie rushed over. “Yes, Rainbow?”
“Is it okay if me and Scootaloo go up to your room to talk for a few minutes?”
“Sure,” she responded. “Just watch out for Gummy, okay? He’s napping.”
“Will do, Pinkie.”
Scootaloo and I trotted up the stairs to a cotton-candy pink door with three balloons painted on it that exactly matched Pinkie’s cutie mark. I opened it and we stepped inside, closing it behind us. Just as Pinkie Pie had said, her alligator, who was borderline comatose even when he was awake, was asleep in the corner.
We walked over and sat on Pinkie’s bed, which for some reason sprayed confetti as soon as weight was placed on it. “What’d you wanna talk about, Scoot?”
Scootaloo took a deep breath. “I wanted to talk about us, Rainbow Dash. Me and you.”
“What about us?” I inquired, something in my mind telling me that I wasn’t going to like where this was going.
“Well,” Scootaloo began hesitantly, “you know I’m your biggest fan, right?”
“Yeah,” I said. It was pretty obvious.
“I think I like you more than just the way a fan likes their idol.”
I really wasn’t liking where this was going. “Then what way do you like me?”
Scootaloo looked at her hooves, avoiding my face. “I... wanna be your marefriend.”
Butterflies rose in my stomach. I sat there speechless. It wasn’t as if I was against filly-fooling. In fact, I had almost been caught eyeing Twilight’s flank more than once, but this was Scootaloo. This was the pony I’d known since she really was a filly, the pony I’d seen grow up.
Before I could think of an answer, she grabbed my face and kissed my lips. No! This was wrong! I pulled out of her grasp and looked at her. She was blushing furiously, her orange cheeks taking on the color of a sunset. “Scootaloo... I... I...”
“You said it yourself: I’m all grown up, Rainbow Dash,” she declared. “Grown-ups know what they want, and I want you.”
Furious with myself for having no answer to this statement, I searched for a way out. Then I saw it: the window. Yes, that would do very nicely.
I raced over to it, threw it open and flew out. As the night air whipped my face, I looked back to see a hurt, confused Scootaloo gazing after me. I needed to go home and think.
I barely slept at all that night. The kiss replayed over and over in my mind. I tossed and turned, trying to get the image of her hurt face out of my head, but I couldn’t. What bothered me most was that I actually kind of liked it. One part of me wanted it to happen again, but another, louder part of me kept telling me that it was wrong.
I watched the sun rise and wondered what Scootaloo was doing. I wondered if I’d made her cry, and if she’d ever talk to me again. Regardless of how this situation turned out, I still wanted to be her friend. I’d known her too long to just completely abandon her, and being the Element of Loyalty, I wouldn’t do that anyway.
It was just that she was so much younger than me. I’d never heard of anypony dating someone that much younger than them. Well, anypony except...
My eyes went wide. That was it! If anypony would know what to do, it was Rarity. There was pretty big age difference between her and Spike, and she was making it work somehow. As much as I couldn’t stand her glittery girliness, she was just the pony I needed to see at the moment.
I looked at the clock and saw that it was almost time for Carousel Boutique to open. If I hurried, I could make it before she was swamped with customers. I took off out of my bedroom window to seek some advice.
When I arrived, I found that the door was locked. I looked through the window and saw Rarity busily stitching away on a dress, while Spike helped her by using his scales as a pincushion. I knocked loudly.
They both got up and came to the door. I waved at them through the windowpane and they gladly opened up.
“Good morning, Rainbow Dash,” Rarity said. “It’s quite unusual to see you up this early.”
“Yeah,” Spike added. “Something wrong?”
“Well, I was just wondering if I could come inside and talk to you guys about something. I kinda have this problem and you two seem like the perfect ones to help me with it,” I reasoned.
“Oh, of course, dear,” Rarity gushed. “Come inside and we can talk all about it.”
She led me into the boutique and sat me down on her ornate sofa. “Would you like anything to drink, darling? Tea, perhaps?”
“No, thanks,” I answered. “I’d rather just get this over as quick as possible.”
“Okay, then,” she said. She and Spike pulled up chairs across from the couch where I was sitting. “What seems to be the trouble? I know we missed you at the party last night.”
“Yeah, that’s kinda what I needed to talk to you about. Me and Scootaloo talked last night, and... well, she sorta kissed me. I didn’t know what to do, so I flew out the window.”
Rarity’s face got a look of sudden understanding. “So that’s why she was crying when she came back downstairs.”
I groaned at my own stupidity. “Was she really upset?”
“Yeah,” Spike chimed in.
“She did look quite heartbroken, dear. You really should learn consideration for other ponies’ feelings.”
“Other ponies’ feelings?!” I asked, outraged. “She was the one that sprung all this on me!”
“Easy, Rainbow. I was simply stating that you didn’t have to run away. You could have let her down easily.”
“I just... I don’t know... panicked. I still don’t know what to do about this.”
“Well, dear, what you really have to ask yourself is if you like her back,” Rarity elaborated.
I thought for a moment. Did I? How could I? “I... I guess I kinda do, but wouldn’t it be weird for somepony like me to date somepony as young as she is?”
Rarity smiled knowingly. “Rainbow, you forget that there is quite an age gap between Spike and myself. As long as there are no... well... legal issues, shall we say, it really makes no difference how old somepony-- or some-dragon, as ‘twere-- is. What matters is how you feel.”
I pondered. Could it really be that simple? Scootaloo had admired me for as long as I could remember, and if there was one thing I liked, it was being admired. “Well, yeah, I do like her.”
“Then go to her, Rainbow. She deserves a chance, at the very least. If you never give her a shot, then you’ll never know.”
“I can vouch for that,” Spike commented as he gave his beloved unicorn a kiss on the cheek.
Rarity blushed slightly and giggled at his show of affection. “Yes he can. Be honest, Rainbow Dash, with both yourself and Scootaloo, and you will find the answer to your problem.”
I contemplated her words for a moment longer before standing up to leave and thanking her for her help.
“No problem,” she responded.
I had to find Scootaloo now. I decided to start at the most obvious place, her house.
She still lived in an earth pony-type house in Ponyville. I flew over there, landed by the front door and knocked.
I waited for a reply, but none came. I knocked again.
Still no answer.
Frustrated and growing impatient, I flew up to the upstairs window and peeked inside. If I were a sappier pony, what I saw would have made me cry.
Scootaloo was face-down on her bed. Her pillow and sheet had dark tear stains on them. Her purple mane was messed up beyond all recognition. Around her, several empty cider bottles littered the floor. She looked pathetic, and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her.
I tapped on the glass with my hoof. “Scoot!” I yelled.
She turned her face toward me and I saw the streaks from where she had been crying. She walked over a bit unsteadily and opened the window. “What do you want?” she demanded, her voice with a cold, angry edge.
“Can I come in and talk, please?”
“Suit yourself,” she said, stepping aside so I could fly in.
I swooped inside and sat down on the floor. Scootaloo collapsed back onto her bed, facing me this time. “Well?” she said expectantly.
“Scoot,” I began. “I’m sorry. I just didn’t know what to do. You sprang that on me all at once.”
“Why don’t you leave, then?” she shouted indignantly. “You already made your feelings for me quite clear!”
“You didn’t let me finish,” I continued calmly. “I do like you. I would like to go out on a date with you.”
Scootaloo’s face brightened a little. “Why didn’t you just say that last night?”
“I just had to sort things out in my head. You kissed me and I felt all these weird feelings.”
“You didn’t think I felt weird?” she ranted. “I mean, when I was a little filly I thought of you as my big sister. It took me all this time to realize that my feelings went deeper than that. The first time I realized I had a crush on you was the first time I realized that I was a filly-fooler.”
“Tell ya what: I know this great restaurant in Canterlot that would be perfect for our date, and afterwords we can go see a Wonderbolts show!”
Scootaloo’s small smile split into a full-on grin that would have made even Pinkie Pie jealous. “Sounds great!”