Rainbow Dash awoke slowly, her body wanting to relax back down for more sleep but her mind rapidly attempting to get herself in gear. Opening her eyes, feeling the weight of their lids against her drowsiness, she cast a quick glance around her room. The curtains to the left were drawn, but the sunlight shone through them and doused the room in a faint glow. Her eyes settling on the wall, she looked at the clock before feeling a familiar panic steal through her body.
Wait...8:45? Horseapples! I'm late for work!
Bolting upright, she tossed aside her blankets, leaving her bed unmade. Rummaging around her unkempt room for a hairbrush, she rushed to her mirror and tore it through her mane, muttering furiously with the feel of the brush tackling the tangles in her hair and mentally kicking herself for sleeping in...again. Staring at herself, her ruffled mane, the large bags under her eyes, and her exhausted expression, she decided she either needed to learn organisation or get a very, very loud alarm clock.
Whizzing out of her home and slamming the door behind her, keys and lunch-bag in a saddle on her back, she flew up to the weather factory in a blur. Dashing behind a pillar, she waited for a huddle of ponies just inside the doorway to clear.
Maybe if I creep in, I won't get ca-
"Uh...heh...hi there, Silver. Uh...Nice day, isn't it? Yeah...heh...good day for...flying...um..." she trailed off hopelessly as her boss, a silver and emerald stallion Pegasus named Silver Flash, stood sternly in front of her.
"Nice to see you up so early yet again. What's your excuse?"
"Save it. Listen, you need to buck your ideas up if you want to get along here, right? This is the third time you've been late in a month and I'm not having it anymore."
"I'm sorry! I j-just..."
"I need somepony to help Decimal Point draw out the weather plans and calculations for next week. Seeing as you're obviously not up to field work today, you can do that. You'll be in the second-floor office."
"But I always do field work!"
"Just go, Rainbow."
Feeling like a scolded schoolfilly, Dash made her way to the office, face burning. Swinging open the door, she was greeted by Cloudsdale's mathematician, Decimal Point, with a curious look.
"Oh, hi there, Rainbow Dash. Not like you to be in the office."
"It's not like I wanna be here, Dessie."
"Oh, right. You slept in?"
"How do you know that?"
"I've known you long enough to work that out."
Dash gave an inaudible grunt as her reply, sulking over to a desk and flopping down in a chair. Her mind drifted over to her friends.
It's not fair. All the others are spending today doing what they want. I mean, there's Applejack harvesting apples and stuff, like she always does, and she loves that. Then there's Fluttershy and her animal hospital, and Rarity with her boutique...Pinkie Pie'll be running Sugarcube Corner today while Mr and Mrs Cake are in Fillydelphia, and Twilight Sparkle's in her library sorting books and doing spells while I'm stuck here, all day, doing math. Not cool.
Rainbow Dash's thoughts were broken as Decimal Point trotted over, smiling. Rainbow immediately resented his happiness and glared at him.
"Now, Rainbow, I need you to draw three charts," he started, handing her a pencil, ruler, graph paper and calculator. "One will be to show the rainfall of Wednesday and Thursday of next week as we have some light showers planned with an average rainfall of about 5.2mm. The other two will be a map of the dry period afterward, spanning from Friday to Tuesday. Can you do that?" Dash nodded slowly, flicking the pencil across the desk. She hated math. She could do it - rather well, in fact - but she found it such a continuous bore that she preferred to have nothing to do with it whatsoever.
The morning ticked by slowly. Rainbow Dash felt confined and utterly bored; her mind craving for inspiration and her body craving for speed and flight. She just couldn't understand how quiet, introverted pegasi such as Decimal managed to stay in an office all day. It's a complete waste of the wings they have, she thought. I wonder if ponies that can't fly ever get jealous...Perhaps not. I mean, they can get around it... if they really want to fly they can use hot air balloons, like Pinkie, or a flying spell or something. Heh, I remember that flying spell Rarity had at the Young Flier's competition. She could've been severely hurt if it wasn't for me! That was the day I did the Sonic Rainboom and got to fly with the Wonderbolts! That really was the best day ever.
Once again, Dash was interrupted by Decimal Point.
"Hey, Rainbow Dash, wanna come eat lunch outside?"
"Uh, sure, Dessie."
Grabbing her lunch out of her saddle-bag, she trotted outside and perched herself on a cloud. Decimal quickly found her, landing next to her and grinning.
"It's good to see you around again, Rainbow Dash. We haven't crossed paths for a while, as you're in Ponyville so much."
"Well...Ponyville is where my girls are, and ever since the whole Nightmare Moon thing we've all grown so much closer. But Cloudsdale is always gonna be my home, you know that."
Decimal took a bite out of a daisy sandwich and swallowed. "Yup. Wow...Element of Loyalty, eh? It must be pretty great to know you lot saved our flanks from a huge disaster!" he chuckled.
Dash thought for a moment before answering. "I suppose...I don't really think about it that way. For us, it's always been that moment when we realised we were destined to be best buddies, not heroes." she rolled her eyes at her own remark. "Ugh, I sound so sappy. Friendship is awesome...but sappy."
Decimal nodded, before smirking. "Not as sappy as romance."
Dash snorted and nudged her companion playfully. "And you know everything about romance, do you, smartie-flank?"
"Enough to know it's sappy. And everywhere. I mean, look around, Rainbow!"
Dash looked, her eyes falling on various Pegasus couples on clouds, around the factory, in the sky. I wonder what all that love stuff actually feels like, she found herself thinking. An awkward blush found its way to her cheeks and she suddenly focused her attention on her lunch, not daring to make eye contact with Decimal. "Uh, well, I'm not interested in that stuff." she said quickly, and, satisfied her blush had gone, she lifted her head and took a slice of cake out of her lunch bag, inspecting it before taking a bite.
"Mm, that looks good." commented Decimal. "Where'd you get it from?"
"Oh, it's just left over from Rarity's birthday party last week." mumbled Dash through mouthfuls of cake. "Pinkie Pie baked it by herself - and everypony knows that if it's baked by Pinkie, it's gonna be the best." She grinned, before tearing a small portion of the slice off the end and holding it out in her hoof. "You want some?"
"Oh, sure, thanks, Rainbow Dash." said Decimal, taking it and nibbling gently. "Listen, I had better get back to work. I've got a lot to do today - will you be all right on your own for a bit?"
"Yeah, I'll be fine. Later, Dessie."
"See you, Rainbow Dash."
Rainbow Dash sat alone for a few minutes. Looking around the factory, she noticed two young mares flying up that she recognised immediately. One of them, named Aurora, was dark blue in colour, her tail and mane pink. The other, Star, had a dark pink coat and wings and a blaze-striped yellow and orange mane and tail. Rainbow Dash had known them both since flight school, and although she didn't consider them her "friends" as such, they had been classmates for years and had secured a strong acquaintance.
"Hey! It's like, Rainbow Dash!"
"O-M-G! And when was the last time we saw you, stranger?"
Dash rolled her eyes. Combined, the two of them were girlier than Rarity. Still, they were hot on gossip, and if this was a chance to show off, she was ready to take it hooves-down.
"Hey guys," she said lazily, reclining on her cloud and smirking to herself. "I've been around, you two haven't been looking hard enough. Maybe I'm just too fast..."
Star and Aurora floated down onto the cloud, exchanging looks and giggling.
"Totally. You're just the fastest in Equestria, Dashgirl!" said Star.
"Yeah, I mean, you like, totally stormed the Young Flier's competition. Like, Sonic Rainboom, O-M-G!" Aurora exclaimed. Another girlish giggle came from the two and Dash, liking the attention, continued to blow her own horn.
"Hay yeah! I could do one anytime. I mean, I won't right now, just 'cause I'm at work, but I could. It's a permanent feature, that one." she chuckled, flapping her wings.
"So... now that you're famous and all that, you must have a coltfriend, right?" Star winked, her eyes flashing.
That caught Dash by surprise. "Uh...not right now. But...uh...I've had some...offers. I mean," she grinned, her confidence returning, "the colts can't keep their hooves off me! I'm just holdin' out for that one special pony, you know?"
"Ooh," Aurora looked at Dash with admiration, "playing, like, hard to get, are we? Good tactic, keep the boys guessing!"
"Mmhm. Look, girls, it's been awesome to chat, but I've gotta get back to work. Have to earn money somehow before I'm a Wonderbolt!"
"Sure, Dashgirl. See you around!"
"Yeah! Like, later!"
Phew, I thought I'd never get outta there, Dash thought as she flew back to the second-floor office. I'm just glad I didn't have to tell them that I've never really had a coltfriend...I don't even know if I want a coltfriend. I'm happy how I am. Trotting to her desk, she sat down and picked up her pencil, continuing her work where she had left it. Sometimes, she thought, the expectations of others are pretty hard to handle. I wish everypony would stop bugging me to perform tricks everywhere when all I wanna do is hang out with my friends...If being a Wonderbolt is like this, I don't know what I'll do. Does Soarin ever get stopped in the middle of a town market and asked to do a Super Speed Strut? Does Spitfire have her old classmates asking her about colts all the time?
Dash battled with her feelings. She felt stressed out and confused; life in Cloudsdale had become hectic now everypony was dying to know the mare that saved the Wonderbolts' lives. It was fun to boast and tell stories of her adventures, but she'd much rather be having the adventures with the others than exaggerating the tale of how Fluttershy tamed a dragon and saved Equestria from eternal pollution, or how Applejack saved everypony in Ponyville by single-hoofedly diverting a huge stampede of furious cows. Talking was getting boring. And so is this math...Dash yawned, looking at the clock; it was 2 in the afternoon. Out on field duty, she would normally be done by about now, but her work laid unfinished and there was no telling how much longer she'd be in here.
I wonder what the girls are up to right now. Twilight's probably writing a letter to the Princess or studying quantum physics or something...Rarity'll be washing her mane...Pinkie's probably about to pull a prank on Spike, although it won't be half as good without me there. Applejack might be...oh, yeah, she'll be helping Applebloom with her homework right about now....Heard Fluttershy got a new pet ferret the other day so she's probably feeding him. And what would I be doing if I wasn't stuck here? Napping. This is why I hate offices.
The door burst open and in trotted Silver Flash, a grin on his face as he saw Rainbow Dash slumped on her desk. Walking over, he gave his employee a smirk.
"You seem to have been working harder than I expected," he said, casting a look at her work. "You'd be an excellent weather calculator if I was to put you in here permanently."
Rainbow Dash almost fell out of her chair. "What?! You can't do that. I've suffered enough!" Dash readied herself for further objection, but Silver Flash held up a hoof to silence her. "Let me finish. I said if I was to put you in here. Consequently, I'm not going to, as you're such a diligent and committed field worker. Today was just to teach you a much-needed lesson, and I trust that you've learnt it?"
"Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes."
"Good. You are therefore dismissed. Decimal Point will handle the work you didn't quite finish."
Decimal's voice chirped from a corner, "I'm on it!"
Dash's mouth hung open. Muttering hurried thanks to her employer and her colleague, she flew out of the office block and into the fresh afternoon sky. Punching the air with a hoof, she giggled and spun rapidly in loops, ignoring the curious stares she was receiving.
The stars glistened outside Rainbow Dash's window as she looked out at a silently sleeping Cloudsdale. Her day had been busier than she thought. Who knew I could spend most of a day...thinking? It's almost as if I have too much to think about...thank Princess Celestia I've got a day off tomorrow. I'm think I'm gonna need it.
Climbing into her cloud-crafted bed and slipping the covers over herself, she yawned loudly before snuggling down and looking at the three photographs on her bedside table. One was of the Wonderbolts, and she traced her hoof along it, whispering a goodnight to each of them. She'd never tell anypony she did this, though - it was lame, but somehow she always felt like she needed to. The second picture was of her and the other five after their fashion show for Rarity, all dressed up in their Gala dresses and looking prouder than ever. "Goodnight Twilight, and Rarity, and Fluttershy, and Pinkie, and..." she stopped, looking closely at the third and final picture. Twilight had taken it, just after the Running of the Leaves the previous fall. Dash and Applejack were galloping, side-by-side, beaming, as the leaves swirled and cast shadows around them. Rainbow Dash couldn't put her hoof on why, but she favoured this picture most of all. "And...sweet dreams to you, cowpony Applejack," she finished, grinning. Settling her head on her pillow, she let the soft warmth of her bed envelope her into sleep, where the dreams of her thoughts and feelings finally caught her.
The morning was fresh. Ponyville was full of the sights and smells of a perfect summer's day; birds flitted in and out of trees, calling to one another in intricate, musical languages; dew dappled the grasses in the fields and around the town, making them sparkle and shimmer in the slowly lifting light; ponies wandered around the town square, chatting, playing, greeting - just being idly blissful in the rising daytime. It was perfect, and the breeze softened the air and sent a cool rush through Rainbow Dash's wings as she flew overhead. She glided down through the winding streets, before landing in the square directly in front of the Ponyville Spa. Rarity's always going on about how this place helps her relax... She thought. Maybe I should check it out.
Wandering in, she took about five steps before she was stopped by a blue pony with a white cap. "Excuse me, miss. May I request that you wipe your horseshoes before entering? Spa rules, you see." she said in a thick accent that Dash couldn't quite identify. She nodded nonetheless, taking a few steps back to the doormat and running her hooves across it.
"Thank you, miss. Would you like to see the spa menu?" the blue spa-pony smiled.
Menu? thought Dash. I thought those things were just for restaurants...
"Uh, sure, thanks."
"No problem, miss." The spa-pony trotted off into what looked like a small reception-room, before returning with a pink and blue coloured leaflet marked "Ponyville Spa Menu".
"Now," she said, "what is it you will be wanting, miss...uhm..."
"Miss Rainbow Dash?"
Dash glanced down at the menu and was suddenly confused by the array of spa treatments, none of which she knew the results of. Closing her eyes and wavering one hoof above the leaflet, she decided to take a lottery, jabbing her hoof down and choosing whatever it landed on.
"Ah, Relaxing Lavender and Tea-Tree Oil Bath. A fine choice, Miss Rainbow Dash." Opening her eyes, Dash grinned at her success.
"Yeah. That sounds perfect for me."
A few moments later, Dash was taken into a large room she quickly remembered. It was the same place her and the others had cured their curses from the Poison Joke; a large, circular room with a pool of water in the centre. Steam rose from the bath, and the spa-pony led Dash in and pointed.
"Here you are, miss. You may stay as long as you want, but we have another customer in soon so you may have to share. Towels are in the corner and if you want any assistance, please let me know. I'll be in the reception area."
As the spa-pony made her way out, Dash trotted over to the bath, dipping one hoof in gingerly. The aroma rising in streams of vapour was irresistible, and Dash breathed in slowly. Stepping into the pool, she extended her wings in the water as the wet warmth immediately enclosed her. This really was a good choice...she thought. Letting out a small sigh and wading her hooves gently through the water, Rainbow Dash settled and leaned back, closing her eyes, her thoughts once again taking over.
I have to show Applejack this bath sometime. She probably needs to relax more than me. How can anypony just work all day, every day and not bother about relaxing? Talk about work-aholic...
Dash suddenly heard a soft creaking coming from the corner of the room, and she opened one eye to see another pony walking in slowly. She was a Pegasus, light yellow in colour with a pink mane and tail, and she had a timid look on her face and a towel wrapped around her neck. It was Fluttershy.
"Oh, um, hello Rainbow Dash...I was um...here to...never mind," she stalled, turning around again. "I'll go home - I can see you're busy."
"My gosh, Fluttershy! Get over here, I don't bite!"
"No problem, silly filly."
Rainbow Dash grinned; Fluttershy was incredibly weak and slow on the uptake, but since the day she had managed to get that dragon out of Equestria, Dash had learned her lesson about patience. Though she wasn't exactly gentle with her encouragement, Fluttershy had somehow become just the tiniest bit accustomed to it. The yellow Pegasus walked slowly over, and pulling her towel from her neck and onto a towel-rack, she slipped into the pool of gleaming water next to her friend.
"So, Fluttershy," began Rainbow Dash, lazily flitting her eyes around the room. "What's up?"
"Oh...nothing much. I finally managed to cure Frederick of that nasty head-cold he's had since last week." Frederick was one of the many mice that lived in and around Fluttershy's home. "That's pretty cool," Dash chuckled. Fluttershy smiled sweetly, slipping further into the water.
"Oh, it is. And I wrote it all in my diary so I can keep check."
"You keep a diary?"
"Oh of course! Don't you?"
"Uh...no. I've never really thought about having a diary. When I was a filly Gilda warned me against it, telling me it was for babies and dweebs..." (Fluttershy promptly shivered at the thought of Gilda, and Dash's expression grew sour.) "...but we soon found out who the real dweeb was with her, right?" Fluttershy nodded, going a little quieter, before she piped up again.
"You really should try and keep a diary."
"What for?" Dash asked incredulously.
"Well, it really helps me to record everything that happens and have a memory of every day, good or bad. It also helps me to sort through my thoughts and feelings, and sometimes, I can see how past problems have been resolved and use those as examples to help me in the future...if you see what I mean."
"So...you'd recommend keeping a diary if you have a lot of different thoughts and don't know what to do with them?"
"Almost certainly, yes."
Dash thought for a moment. That doesn't seem like too much of a bad idea...
"Do the others keep diaries, too?"
"I know Rarity does...and Twilight Sparkle. Pinkie Pie definitely mentioned it once or twice, and I did see Applejack noting something down in a book of hers labelled "Applejack's Diary", so..."
"...I'm the only one who doesn't keep a diary, in other words?" Dash finished impatiently.
Fluttershy hesitated. "Uhm...yes."
Dash laughed. "Okay...well, thanks for the info, Fluttershy. I think I have some investigating to do right now. Catch you later!"
Okay, so...I need proof if I'm gonna tag along to this diary stuff...I'll try Rarity first.
Stepping into Carousel Boutique, Rarity greeted her with a smile whilst also sewing sequins onto a shirt, her horn alight with magic.
"Why, hello there, darling! So lovely of you to pop in...how can I help you?"
"I was wondering if you keep a diary."
"A diary? Why, of course! Don't you?"
"No. But I was sorta thinking of it...what do you write in yours?"
"Only the best gossip I can find! Of course, I include details about my own life, but if a friend of mine is pairing up with a long-time crush or a favourite band is releasing a new album, my diary is the first to know!"
"So...you use your diary to secretly grass up on other ponies?"
"'Grass up'? Oh, on the contrary, Rainbow Dash! I could be documenting great moments in history by writing down the worst that gets through this town. It could save somepony's life someday!" Rarity exclaimed, gesturing wildly with her hooves.
"Oh, I'm sure it could, Rarity." Dash muttered, dead-pan.
Rarity, however, failed to hear her, too engrossed in her sewing to listen properly now she had finished her extravagant explanation. "Oh," she sighed delicately, twisting her head to one side and peering closely at the fabric. "Blue...blue...I'm not sure about the blue...Oh, but it fits with the stitching style so nicely! And the customer ordered originality, too... Rainbow Dash?"
"Do you like the blue?"
"It's fine. It could be cooler, but-"
"Oh, don't start me on that again! Fine, I'll keep the blue."
It was then Dash's turn to ask the questions.
"I hear Flu-...somepony say that having a diary helps you to sort through your feelings. Is that true?"
"Why yes. It's a good method of stress relief to write something down that's troubling you if you don't feel you can tell anypony. Why, is there something bothering you?"
"No, I just-"
"Are you hiding a secret crush?"
"A secret crush?! Rarity, are you kidding me?"
"No! It happens to everypony, darling."
"Ugh, yeah, whatever. Well, I've gotta go. I have...somepony to see."
"All right - I'll see you later, Rainbow Dash!"
So Rarity is a gossip in her diary. That really helps... thought Dash rather sarcastically whilst she trotted through Ponyville. She decided to visit Twilight next, swinging through the library door and waving at the lilac unicorn who was, unsurprisingly, nose-deep in a book. Realising she had company besides Spike who was clearing a shelf of dust, she looked up and smiled politely.
"Hi there, Rainbow Dash!" she said, and lifting up the book with magic, she slotted it back into one of the bookcases around the room. "Have you come to borrow a book?"
"No, actually. I was wondering something..."
"Do you keep a diary?"
"Of course I do! Don't y-"
"Oh...okay. Why do you ask?"
"Long story...Twi, what do you write in your diary?"
"Just my letters to Princess Celestia along with some study notes."
"But isn't that what you'd write in a schoolbook or something?"
"I'm not sure, everypony writes different things in their diaries. And after all, it is a good way of keeping track of my studies."
"I guess you're right. But...do you ever write anything personal in your diary?"
"I suppose so, but I don't have many personal things to write about."
"What about if you have a problem?"
"I come to you girls first, and then I write to the Princess if it's still bothering me."
Dash smiled. "I guess that would work. Well, thank you."
Walking out of the library, Dash thought carefully. What would I write in a diary, anyway?
Continuing her travels through the town, Dash came to a stop in front of Sugarcube Corner and took a deep breath. Pinkie Pie. Well, this should be interesting.
"Dashieeee!" yelled the pink earth-pony as Rainbow Dash wandered into the sweet store. "Hi! How are you? Come for some candy? Or how about cakes? Or ice-cream?" she babbled happily, whizzing around the shop.
"Actually, Pinkie, I just came to ask you something." Pinkie Pie stopped and grinned.
"Uh...do you keep a diary?"
A pink blur shot upstairs then back down again in less than five seconds before Pinkie Pie revealed a shining pink notebook and shoved it in Dash's hooves. The Pegasus stared at it blankly.
"There! Look? It's Pinkie-tastic, don't you think? Do you like the cupcake on the top?" Sure enough, a large picture of a cupcake was stuck on the cover of the book. Dash nodded rather slowly, trying to look amused.
"You wanna look inside? Do you? Huh? Huh? Huh?"
Opening the book, Dash saw an array of colourful drawings and photographs, each with annotations and big captions in swirled hoofwriting and completely covered in stickers and little hearts. Pinkie Pie carefully explained every one, taking her time to excitedly point out where each event took place, even though Dash knew this already. The Pegasus smiled through Pinkie's bubbly enthusiasm, her heart growing warm with memories.
"Wow, it just goes to show how much fun we all have together," Dash said once Pinkie Pie had finished. The pink pony nodded heartily.
"I'd say we have the funnest, bestest, awesomest, ponytastic-est friends ever!"
"I think I agree with you there!" laughed Dash, hugging her friend. "Thanks a lot, Pinkie Pie."
"No problem, Dashie!"
Only one pony left to visit - Applejack.
Taking a turn up the hill and flying around to Sweet Apple Acres, Dash realised it was getting darker. The sun was taking a gradual descent down the sky, lighting up the orchard with a glow of orange and yellow. Floating to the farmhouse, she noticed light coming from one of the upstairs windows, and settling herself in a tree next to it, she peered in. It was Applejack, reading a story to her younger sister Applebloom, who was snuggled up in bed.
"...so the tortoise was able to walk slowly past the hare, past the fields and the trees, and past the finishing line. When the hare awoke and realised how long he'd been sleeping, he ran and ran to the finish - but it was too late. The tortoise had already won, and the hare was amazed.
"But you're so slow!" he exclaimed.
"Slower than you, yes. But while you were cocky and proud and thought you could beat me even with a nap in between, I was honest and kept going, and because I didn't give up, I won."
And to that day, all the animals remembered not to give up, and that slow and steady really does win the race."
A smaller voice, clearly Applebloom's, could then be heard.
"That reminds me of the time you an' Rainbow Dash were in the Runnin' of the Leaves last fall!"
Applejack chuckled, a sound that reminded Dash of music. "Ah guess it was like that. An' we sure did learn our lesson that fall."
"You could never fall out with Rainbow Dash over somethin' like that, right?"
"Too right, lil' sister. Ah don't think Ah could fall out with Rainbow over anythin'."
Dash blushed, and her heart was warmed once again.
"She must be your very best friend," Applebloom giggled.
There was a wistful tone to Applejack's voice. "She is, Applebloom. She is." Snapping out of it, and regaining her 'big-sister' composure, she continued. "Right, little apple, time for bed."
"No buts. Yer havin' Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo over tomorrow and Ah don't want you to be tired."
"Goodnight, Applebloom. Ah love you."
Rainbow Dash smiled at the sincerity and love in Applejack's voice.
"Ah love you too, big sister."
Seeing the light turned off, Dash decided to go home. She didn't want to disturb Applejack as the household went to bed.
"Rainbow? Is that you?"
She turned around. Applejack was out in the yard, and had spotted her in the sky. She floated down to her friend's side and grinned.
"The one and only!"
"Whatcha here for, then?"
"Uh...I...wanted to...ask you something." Dash stammered awkwardly, scraping the dust beneath her with a hoof. Applejack looked so pretty in the moonlight that she had lost track altogether.
"Sure thing, Dash! Wanna come inside? Ah think Ah have a glass of apple juice with your name on it." Applejack winked. Dash's heart fluttered and she blushed.
"O..okay, Applejack. Thanks."
The Apple family's kitchen was the first room to come across when entering the farmhouse from the back door (which the two ponies did as not to awake Granny Smith, whose bedroom was downstairs), and it was a warm, welcoming sight, even at night with the blinds closed. Small ornaments dotted the windowsills and tables, neatly arranged, with a tea-cosy on the kettle and a cookie jar on one of the counters. The whole room smelt of apple and cinnamon, and as Dash breathed in, she suddenly felt starved. I could seriously live in this house. I'd never go hungry!
But in what circumstances would she ever get to live at Sweet Apple Acres?
"So," said Applejack warmly, inviting Dash to sit at a small table with two chairs in the corner and setting a glass of apple juice in front of her. "what was it you wanted t'ask me, anyway?"
"Do you have a diary?"
Dash noted that Applejack's reaction was different from the others. "Yes, Ah do. Always seemed a bit, y'now, girly at first, but it's mighty helpful."
"What do you put in it?"
"Do you wanna see for yerself?"
Dash nodded, then blushed when Applejack got up from the table and beckoned, "It's in my bedroom if you wanna follow me."
Wow, she's letting me in her bedroom? I don't think anypony else would do that unless they were hosting a slumber party or something. AJ must really trust me.
Applejack's bedroom was beautiful - in Dash's opinion at least. It was red, but not to an overpowering level, with thick, long curtains, a neat carpet and a checkered red and white duvet on the small bed. It was so tidy, too; not a bit like what Dash had expected knowing Applejack's messy, informal demeanor. Everything was in place, and it put Dash to shame remembering her own house in Cloudsdale.
"Hmm, now if Ah can just find it..." Applejack trotted around, opening various drawers and looking on shelves until she came across an orange notepad titled, (as Fluttershy had said): "Applejack's Diary". Dash looked at the cover and the farmpony chuckled.
"Mighty obvious, Ah know. But it's got this," she said, producing a key that slotted into a padlock sealing the book by its covers. "Completely sibling-proof." she laughed, a content smile on her face. "Now, let me show you exactly what Ah wrote on one of my favourite entries."
Applejack flicked through the book, and Dash was shocked when she saw a copy of Twilight's picture - that of them both at the Running of the Leaves, stuck in on the page. It was Applejack's copy of the picture Rainbow Dash had by her bed.
"That's me!" she exclaimed in astonishment.
"Sure is, sugar! Us, me an' you. Read the entry."
Dash read it, realising how utterly flattering Applejack had been about her. "You...consider me as your best friend?"
"Of course! Ah mean, all of you girls are my best friends, but me an' you have that little bit more. It's like we're soul-sisters."
"Soul-sisters," Dash whispered, the two words fitting perfectly in her mouth as she said them. "Thanks, AJ." she said quietly, smiling at her best friend, leaning forward to hug her.
Applejack giggled and hugged back tight. "Ah never thought y'all were one fer hugs. An' thank you too, soul-sister."
As Dash flew home, the night wind blowing around her like dust, she couldn't help but think of one thing.
We're soul sisters, Applejack.
She had made her mind up about the diary.
7pm - Sweet Apple Acres
Okay, so, here goes. My life, written down right here. In a diary.
And why does everypony always start with "Dear diary", anyway? It's not like it's anything dear to me. It's just a notepad. I don't see why we now have to address inanimate objects.
I don't even think this is a good time to start writing in my diary, but I can't do anything else right now and I'm scared if I stop I'll think of everything that's happened and start crying again.
(Yes, I have been crying. A lot. Lame.)
I guess I should probably write down what happened to "keep a record" like Fluttershy said.
...I hope she's forgiven me, at least.
It started yesterday, at work. I was out on field duty, trying to work out how to spread a storm from Ponyville to Trottingham without it bordering Fillydelphia, and I was doing quite well on my own. I guess the math thing with Dessie sort of helped.
I was doing that for a while, making it as precise as I could, when Aurora and Star came over.
"Like, what's up?"
(I really, seriously don't see the point in putting 'like' before every other word.)
I said, "Hey, not much. Just doing my duties as always." and I grinned too, to emphasise my awesomeness. Because, you know, I just radiate awesome.
"O-M-G, totally cool!" said Star.
"Yeah, you are so, like, dedicated!" said Aurora.
"Yeah," I chuckled. "I guess I am!"
And then came the moment of disaster, followed by a very bad decision.
"So dedicated that you could do a Sonic Rainboom?" (moment of disaster, right there.)
"Right...here?" I asked.
"Like, right here, right now!"
"Oh, I'm not sure girls." I said. "Something bad could happen."
Then Aurora and Star started twizzling their manes with their hooves and looking at me with sorrowful eyes, which was really irritating. To shut them up, I said:
"Well, I guess one tiny Rainboom won't hurt..." (Big mistake, fillies and gentlecolts. Take notes here: there is no such thing as a 'tiny' Sonic Rainboom.)
So, I flew up really high, above even the highest floating clouds, and whizzed down. The familiar exhilaration and thrill coursed through me, and I whooped, flying so fast, gaining speed. The force built up around me, the pressure rising, and I braced myself.
Then there was pain. Searing, shocking, dreadful pain, striking my wings down and making me physically scream. I careered into my storm, pushing it out of control with the air around and it whooshed straight downwards - towards Ponyville.
Nothing else mattered then but that runaway storm. I flew so hard that the stab-like pains in my wings were numbed by cold, rushing air and exertion. The clouds whirled around me, as if they were taunting me for my actions and trying to pull me out of the air. The rain was like pin-pricks to my eyes, and I blinked in the lowered light, my heart pounding, my body screaming at me to stop. I couldn't see, I couldn't breathe, and all at once, I lost complete control. The thunder bellowed out, laughing at me.
I could see the storm; rain, lashing, thundering down on innocent ponies, little fillies and colts having to gallop to find shelter, tents and small, portable structures being knocked unmercifully down. I watched it as it flew; a strong, powerful force, an abnormality of weather, destroying in its path. My mind raced. I didn't know what to do, and I couldn't come to terms with what I had done. My eyes searched frantically around, and I flew full-speed towards it again, where it was headed in the Everfree Forest. That's when I saw Fluttershy.
Fluttershy was there, Angel tucked under a wing, confused and afraid by the onset of harsh weather. She was completely frozen, stuck in the Forest, shivering from the cold wetness of the rain soaking her through and Angel clearly in open distress. I left the storm, letting it fly overhead. I was saving Fluttershy first.
Zooming down, the rain plastering my hair to my face, I blinked and rushed over.
"Fluttershy!" I hollered through the wind and thunder.
"R...Rainbow D-dash!" she stammered, and I could see her getting weaker and weaker, wetter and wetter.
"Follow me! We've gotta find shelter!" I yelled, but she didn't move. She sniffled and I could see her eyes were glazed over with fear. Acting on impulse, I grabbed her, picking her up off the ground and gently tossing her onto my back. She gasped, but I made no effort to slow down.
I galloped faster than I ever had before, the wind and rain lashing around me. I couldn't think straight anymore, I just had to find shelter.
Then, suddenly, I spotted a cave to the left. Anything could have been living in there, but it was a chance I would have to take. Diving in, I slowed down, putting Fluttershy gently down and gasping for air. It was pitch black.
"Fluttershy, are you okay?" I said, nudging her. She didn't move.
"Fluttershy...?" I shook her.
"Flutter, wake up." I shook again. I was getting desperate now.
"Wake up, Fluttershy!" It was no use. She wasn't responsive at all. Unconscious...
Fear crept through my veins.
Turning her on her back, I fumbled quickly to her neck, my hooves shaking. I hurriedly checked her pulse. I breathed out, slowly. Alive.
Angel had fallen asleep on top of Fluttershy, his chest rising and falling with each small breath. I roused him, worried, then relaxed when he woke up and promptly bit me in frustration before going back to sleep. I sat down and thought.
What do you do, though? What do you do, when there's a storm you created wreaking havoc outside, and you're stuck in a cave in the Everfree Forest with your unconscious best friend and her sleeping pet rabbit? We had shelter, but there was no light. There was no food, and no water. It was cold and damp, however, so I couldn't light a fire. My wings were excruciatingly painful.
I decided to try and rest, lying down as close as I could to Fluttershy and wrapping my hooves around her to keep her warm. I just hoped she'd be okay.
Please be okay, Fluttershy. Please.
I was asleep for a few hours from what I could tell, but not peacefully. I kept waking up to check on Fluttershy, and I was too damp and too scared to be comfortable.
I opened my eyes, and the storm had miraculously stopped. It was lighter outside now, and sunlight peered in from the entrance of the cave. Something else was in the entrance of the cave, too. A pony, by the looks of it, with supplies in saddle-bags on her back, and a hat perched firmly on her head. Her golden hair glistened with rain, and at that point, I knew.
"Applejack!" I cried, without thinking, cantering over. She opened her arms and held me tight, and I suddenly felt so warm and safe that I didn't want to let go. After a few long seconds, she pulled away and gazed at me.
"Ah'm so glad Ah found you, Rainbow. Thank Celestia you're safe. And Fluttershy? Is she with you?"
"She's in the cave. She's unconscious, but breathing."
Applejack rushed over to Fluttershy, and checked her pulse as I had. "She's okay, and she'll be fine, she's just in a deep sleep," she said, pulling a blanket out of her left saddlebag, "but she'll need food, water, warmth an' rest. An' so will you."
I helped her put the blanket around Flutter, before watching her sit down, and pull out two apples. "Here, have this," she said gently, handing me one. I wasn't hungry, but I chewed at it anyway.
"So...how did you know about us?"
"Y'all know what we're like. As soon as somepony goes missin', we send out a search party," she chuckled. "we looked all around Ponyville, and some Pegasi folks looked through Cloudsdale, too, but Ah went in the Forest on my own."
"Most of 'em were too frightened, an' Ah told the rest that Ah'd be okay."
"But isn't it safer to go in numbers?"
"Ah don't know, Rainbow. Anythin' goes in this Forest, an' Ah didn't want anypony else gettin' hurt."
We sat in silence for a bit, eating slowly, before Applejack looked at me carefully.
"Are you okay, Dash? You look a bit paler than normal."
Out of absolutely nowhere, the waterworks came on and I burst into tears. Applejack leaned over and hugged me again, and I sobbed into her coat.
"It...it's my w-wings..." I mumbled forlornly, not making an effort to stop the flow of my crying.
"Do they hurt?" Applejack asked sincerely.
"All right, sugarcube, we'll get that checked out back in Ponyville," she said, still holding me even though I must have looked pathetic.
"It...it...the storm...it was all m-my fault..." Fresh tears ran down my cheeks. I did this to Fluttershy.
I nodded, but Applejack didn't loosen her grip at all. Instead, she straightened up.
"We'll hear the story when we get back, an' then Ah'll make a judgement of whose fault it was." She stood up, breaking the hug. "An' Ah guess we should be gettin' back while it's still light."
I nodded again. "Should I carry Flutter?"
"No way, Dash! Not with yer wings in that state. It'll hurt!"
"I carried her through the Forest before you came..."
Take notes again here. Applejack is stubborn as all hay and you can't argue with her once she's made a decision.
"No, Rainbow. Ah'll take her," she said firmly.
I helped Applejack hoist Fluttershy onto her back, and we started off back through the forest, heading for Ponyville.
When we arrived, we were swamped with ponies, all of them dizzy from the storm and concerned for us. Nurse Redheart rushed over, taking over from Applejack by gently lifting Fluttershy off her back and carrying her to the hospital. On the way there, I caught a glimpse of Silver Flash in the crowd. I looked at him, and he smiled at me sympathetically. He doesn't know what I've done yet. He'll find out soon.
I had to have my wings checked over at the hospital.
"Wow, Rainbow Dash, you've been overworking yourself recently. You've got whiplash and bruising to your wing muscles, as if you've been flying at high speeds. You're lucky you haven't broken them," explained the nurse. I felt my face burn at the thought of my failure.
"Will I still be able to fly?" I asked. If I couldn't fly, I couldn't get home, or go to work, or anything.
"Yes. Not for the next day or so, but yes, you will."
"But how will I-"
"You'll be stayin' with me, Dash," Applejack interjected quietly from the corner of the room, smiling. I curiously felt a lot better after she had said that.
The nurse grinned, and looked between us for a while, before getting some bandages out and wrapping them around my wings. "Just take it easy for a bit, okay? No Sonic Rainbooms for a while!" she laughed pleasantly. I chuckled politely.
"And what about Fluttershy?"
"She's suffering from shock and exhaustion, but she's woken up now. She'll be staying overnight but no longer, and she'll be right as rain in no time. You want to see her?"
I nodded eagerly. "Yes, please, nurse."
Nurse Redheart nodded back. "All right, but be quick. There isn't much visiting time left."
Fluttershy was sitting up on a bed in one of the wards, looking tired but happy. She smiled when she saw Applejack and I approaching.
"Oh, hello, you two."
"Howdy Fluttershy!" giggled Applejack, leaning over to nuzzle Flutter gently. I did the same after her, forcing a smile through my guilt.
"Hey there. Are you feeling better?"
"Oh, yes. I'm so glad you both took such good care of me and Angel bunny." Angel sat in her lap, lazily nibbling a carrot. "And how about you?"
"I...I've been better. But I'll recover, I'm sure! Look...Fluttershy..."
I had to say it. It was killing me inside, keeping the truth from her.
"The storm. It was my fault. I was pulling a stunt for a laugh at work, and when my wings started hurting I flew in the wrong direction and it spun out of control. It's my fault I've got these," I said, gesturing to my bandages, "and it's my fault you're in here. I'm so, so sorry, Fluttershy. I've been a complete foal."
Fluttershy just gazed at me, her expression unidentifiable. I could feel Applejack's eyes burning into me, too.
"What?" she said finally in disbelief. "...you, Rainbow Dash?"
I opened my mouth, but nothing happened. I tried to word it out in my head, but I couldn't. I felt so guilty and horrible that all I wanted was for the ground to open and swallow me, right there.
I heard a bell, and turned towards the front of the ward where a nurse stood.
"Okay, everypony," he called. "Visiting time's over."
Saying nothing, I turned away from my friends and walked quickly from the ward. I could still see Applejack and Fluttershy behind me, watching, staring.
Tears splashed onto the floor in front of me, and I hung my head.
And now I'm sitting here, in my spare room. Applejack hardly spoke to me all evening, and she didn't talk to anypony during dinner. It's hurting me so much. She's never been this quiet, even during our worst feuds. Big MacIntosh gave me this notepad to write in. He said I deserved it after being so brave, but I'm not brave at all.
I'm stupid stupid stupid.
1:15am - My room at Sweet Apple Acres
Can't sleep. I've tried lying on my front, my back and either side but nothing's working. I feel like I've been drinking too much coffee, which can't be true because I hate coffee. My tragic situation is not helped by the fact I have a mouse in my room. I think it's invited all its mousey pals over for a party or something with the noise it's making.
Some animals have no respect.
Also, I'm still upset that Applejack refuses to talk to me whatsoever. If it was her in major massive trouble like I am, I'd at least have the decency to strike up some type of conversation. I wouldn't even mind it if she yelled at me - at least then I'd know she still recognises my existence.
5 minutes later
That mouse is beginning to get on my nerves. It's still not done with its rodent rave extravaganza. Where's Fluttershy when you need her?
...Oh Celestia. She's in hospital.
Going downstairs for a drink. All this remorse is making me thirsty.
It's interesting what miracles can take place on a farm at one thirty in the morning.
I got to the kitchen, and who was sitting at the table? Applejack.
She looked pale and weak, and her eyes were strangely bloodshot. She looked up from her own drink and stared right at me. It was so awkward that I looked away, before edging over to the counter to fill a glass full of water. Having done so, I walked over slowly and sat opposite her.
"Hi," we both said, simultaneously.
"Look, I-" we both said.
"You first." we both said.
I decided, to avoid about a year of dithering, to go first. "I'm sorry."
"Fer what?" said Applejack.
"You know what." I said. "For what I did. I messed up. And I'm sorry."
She stood up, slowly, and walked to the counter.
"You know, Dash...what you did was stupid." My pride took a blow at hearing her say that. "Really stupid. An' you could've got somepony..." We paused, and I guessed she was thinking of Fluttershy too. "...got somepony really badly hurt. Y'all got away with yer whims this time, but you might not be so lucky again. But..."
"But?" I repeated hopefully.
"But...Ah think you've learned yer lesson. Am Ah right?"
I nodded. She sat back down on the table and took a deep breath.
I smiled, and she smiled back. I looked at her for ages before we suddenly heard this 'buuuurrrrr' coming from the corner. Tank was snoring, fast asleep on his back with his shell rocking slowly. He really is the cutest, most ridiculous pet ever.
Applejack giggled slightly, and I smirked, looking over at her.
"So... why haven't you been talking to me?"
"To be honest? Ah've been a little sick. Had a fever since this afternoon. Must've got it off Applebloom, she's been off school a couple days this week." she rubbed her head with a hoof before taking another sip of her drink.
"Is that why you're up now?"
"Yeah. Ah know Ah should try t'get back to sleep - it's best to sleep sickness off - but Ah just felt so darn ill that I couldn't lie down fer five minutes."
I leaned over and felt her forehead. She flinched. She was pretty warm.
"Do you have any medicine?"
"Only Granny's, an' Ah can't take that. It's hard to look after ourselves nowadays. Ah just thought...'cause Ah never really get ill..."
I had an idea, and rushing upstairs, I rummaged through my things before coming back down with a paracetamol.
"Oh, Dash, Ah'm not sure Ah should be takin' your medicine. Ah have no idea what the doctor prescribes you..."
"It's only paracetamol. It'll help. The nurse gave me some for my wings, but I'm fine. There, take it." I handed it over, and she stared at it, before putting it in her mouth and swallowing it with some water.
"It might take a while to kick in," I said. "but you'll be fine, soul-sister." She smiled at the last part of my sentence, and I smiled back before I suddenly felt woozy. "Whoa... I guess I should get back to bed."
Putting my glass back on the counter, Applejack waved at me. "Thanks fer the medicine."
"Thanks for forgiving me!" I said back gratefully.
Two minutes later
Sickness! A fever! That's all it was?
And Tank snores?
I'm just glad everything's okay with AJ now. Perhaps I can finally get to sleep. Even the mouse has shut up.
6:14am - Sweet Apple Acres
Oh Celestia - how early does this family get up??? I could hear everyone moving around like an hour ago. How can anypony get up at 5am and stay sane? No wonder Applejack's sick.
Went down to breakfast and found Applejack over the oven cooking what looked like pancakes, and Applebloom and Granny Smith at the table. Everything seemed normal.
"Mornin' there, Miss Dash." said Granny Smith cheerfully, and Applebloom gave an excited wave.
"Thank you so much fer the paracetamol, Rainbow. Worked wonders. Ah hardly feel a thing now, jus' a bit achey." AJ called over.
Shucks, that was quick. These farm types must have phenomenal recovery rates. "So...I'm guessing you want me outta here pretty quick. You must have a lot to do..."
"Well, if you don't mind, Ah was hopin' you'd join me to help Fluttershy outta hospital today."
My heart dropped. I had almost forgotten about the storm fiasco.
"Uh..I...yeah, that'd be...sure..."
9:34am - Ponyville General Hospital
Horseapples, I feel sick. I've been such a jerk! What if Fluttershy doesn't forgive me?
She's just about the gentlest pony in the entire world. She's also my oldest friend.
I walked slowly through the hospital, my heart thumping. Applejack kept throwing me reassuring glances, but nothing really helped. It wasn't her guilt, after all. We reached Fluttershy's ward and saw that she was up, moving around her bed and packing her things. AJ rushed over to greet her and I stalled at the doorway, shifting my hooves awkwardly. Applejack beckoned me over and Fluttershy waved meekly. She looked exhausted.
When I got to the bed, Fluttershy gave me a timid hug. Pangs of guilt whipped through me and I winced, looking around slowly.
"How was your night?" she asked.
"Oh…fine. Thank you. And yourself?"
"Okay, thank you. The staff nurses are very nice." She smiled, and Applejack nudged me.
"Look, Fluttershy…" I took a seat on a chair by the bed, and she sat down on the chair next to me. "About the storm… It was my fault, and I'm not going to deny that. I was fooling around, and I never expected it to take such a turn for the worst… It was stupid, and I was very lucky nopony got seriously hurt. I'm sorry."
Fluttershy looked from Applejack to me, before giving a squeak. "Well…I-I…I…d-didn't…I'm sorry too." She finished.
"Uhm…being in the wrong place at the wrong time, I suppose…"
"Wait, Flutter…so you're not mad?"
"I could never be mad at you, Rainbow Dash."
"Even though I hurt you?"
"No. I'm not hurt, see? Me and Angel are all right now."
"B-but…it was my fault!"
"There must have been a logical explanation to it."
There's almost no point in trying to make Fluttershy hate you. It won't work.
"So...we're okay now?"
"Were we ever not okay?" Fluttershy replied anxiously. I hugged her quickly.
"You're such a scaredy-pony. And I was so worried you'd be upset!"
"True friends should never get angry over small mistakes. We're all allowed to make them."
We spent the rest of the morning transporting her things from the hospital to her house. That was two obstacles over, at least; I still had to face my boss. I'd have to tell him it was me.
The sad thing is, Twilight always did tell me my boastfulness would get the better of me someday. For some reason, she always seems to be right about these things.
1:12pm - Work
Silver gave me the day off today, but I won't hang around to tell him. It'll only get worse otherwise.
Oh boy, I've come over all honest.
1:32pm - Work (still)
I went straight to Silver's office, not stopping to talk to anyone. When I got to the door, I tapped on it quickly, three times.
I opened the door and Silver turned around in his chair to face me. "Oh, hi there, Rainbow Dash. How can I help you?"
"It's about yesterday. The storm."
"Oh, never mind that! Come here, take a seat." He smiled, and I edged over, placing myself gently in one of the cushioned chairs. "Freak storms like that can't be helped. They just happen sometimes."
"It wasn't a freak storm, Silver." I said quietly.
"How can you be sure? It obviously just went out of control while you were working on it."
"It was my fault." I confessed, and his expression changed. He frowned, and stared at me intently.
"And just how was it your fault?"
I took a deep breath, and my heart thumped hard in my chest. "I...I was trying to do a Sonic Rainboom to show off to some...somepony... and it sorta... it went wrong. And the storm spun out of control."
Silver brought his front hooves up to his face and rubbed his chin a couple times. I flicked my tail nervously and he glanced at me once. He kept his face down when he next spoke.
"You know, Rainbow...your antics disappoint me." I blushed fiercely with shame, lowering my own head. He continued slowly. "You know better, and you are capable of better. I know that. If it really was your fault - and I believe you - I really hope you've learned from it."
I nodded. "I'm really sorry."
"Are you? You know, I have a mind to fire you right now. You could have had somepony killed."
I sat up, lifting my head. "What? But...but you can't! How else would I get any money?"
"You'd find a way."
"I can't...you're not...I..." I stuttered hopelessly, my heart pounding, my head reeling.
"I'm not going to fire you."
"Phew, thank yo-"
"I haven't finished. I am, however, going to deduct your pay by five bits a day."
I sat a while in silence, before nodding again. "That's a fair punishment."
"Mmm." Silver said. I made for the door quietly, before he called back. "Rainbow Dash?"
I winced. "Yes?"
"Thank you for your honesty. It takes guts to confess something like that."
I smiled weakly before trotting out.
Down the corridor of the office, things took a turn for the weird. I bumped into Decimal Point coming back from the second floor, and he went bright red when he saw me.
"Oh, uh, hi, Rainbow Dash..."
"Hi, Dessie. What's up?"
He glanced around. "Oh, uh, nothing, much...really. I was just..."
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah...I just...wanted to ask you something."
He swallowed. "I was wondering if you wanted...if you were free on Saturday...if you wanted to go out."
I almost fell over. Decimal Point was asking me out.
"Oh!" I gasped, blushing. "Right...uh, I suppose...yeah, that'd be...uh, cool."
"That's good. I'll meet you in Cloudsdale town centre at 6pm, okay?"
2:02pm - Home
Oh Celestia and all her subjects - Decimal Point asked me out!
And I said yes!
And I'm going out with him on Saturday!
Horseapples. This is officially weird.
I just realised I've never been out with anypony before. What do you do on a date, anyway? And do I even like Dessie that way?
I guess he is pretty handsome. Most all the girls at work have tried flirting with him at one point or another. (Without success, might I add.) I just don't get how I've never made a move on him and yet he chooses me!
I thought he thought I was a fillyfooler, anyway...everypony else does.
Had a sandwich to take my mind off it. It didn't really work.
Oh, the doorbell.
Five minutes later
It's my mother!!
"Hey, Dashie! How've you been keeping, hon? Good, good, awesome - ooh, I like what you've done with the place..."
"Mom, what are you doing here?"
"Well, your father's out of town for a bit doing...something. You know how I hate empty houses. They just scream boredom... Anyhow, I figured you'd have a spare room, so..."
"Lemme get this straight - Dad's out so you're inviting yourself round to my house?" I asked incredulously.
Mom thought a bit. Oh, she could be so annoying. "Yup."
She saw my expression. "Oh, c'mon, Dash. Give your old mare a hand. You know how you love spending time with me - also known as Firefly the Supermom!"
"You're such a saddo sometimes."
"Oh, but you love me. And you'll let me stay, won't you?"
Ten minutes later
I have placed Mom in my spare room. Oh, the things I do for my (incredibly pathetic) parents.
So, this is my life right now: I have dreadful wing cramp, I'm five bits a day down on money, a guy I never thought about regularly has asked me out, and my mother is making herself comfortable when she could have quite easily stayed in her house.
What do I do???
11:49am - Home
I've finally decided to ask somepony about my date and what to do. Somepony clever, somepony pretty, somepony very, very experienced in the colt department...
I'm sure she'll have some interesting advice. The downside of this is that the whole of Ponyville will know about it before day's end.
Maybe that's a good thing. Then nopony will think I'm a fillyfooler anymore.
12:04pm - Carousel Boutique
I got to Rarity's place and found she was stitching up some kind of massive hat. I fail to understand why hats have to be so high.
She let the hat go, leaving it limp on the table. "Hello, darling! Is everything all right?"
"Oh, yeah, thanks. I just wanted your advice on something."
"Fire away, dear. I have as much time as you need."
I explained about Decimal, and about how he had asked me out so suddenly, and how I had no idea on how to act or what to wear for tonight. She gave me a shocked look.
"And...you only just started preparing today?" she asked. I nodded slowly. "But...why? You need to be just perfect for these things! That means getting ready before he's even thought about dating you."
Is that even possible?
"But you can still help me, right?"
"Oh, of course. It will be a little rushed, however."
"That's fine. I'd prefer to be rushed around than stuck in the same place for hours on end."
3:10pm - Carousel Boutique, after having been stuck in the same place for hours on end
Rarity is calling this rushed. I can't believe her sometimes.
On the bright side, I've learned this:
- Wear something simple but attractive and complimentary to your coat colour, plus about a ton of make-up (ugh.)
- Let him make all the "first moves", and take a step back with administrations (which basically means let him pay for everything and don't jump in for a spontaneous kiss).
- Make your conversation light but entertaining so as not to become nervous about talking to him.
- Act in a ladylike manner and show him you are capable of being reserved and polite.
- If he invites you into his house afterwards, you've done something right (I didn't bother asking what she meant by this one...)
So, I think I'm ready. I'm not too nervous.
For some reason, Rarity kept mentioning about kissing. I've never kissed anypony before.
...Do I have to kiss Decimal Point? Is that standard for dates?
I tried on my new outfit, too, which was a dark blue dress with navy horseshoes and my hair plaited back. I look quite nice in it, I think.
"How do you feel?" Rarity asked.
"Uh, good." She gave me a blank stare.
"Aren't you nervous?"
"Not really..." I shook my head. "Am I supposed to feel anything?"
"Well, if you like him enough, yes. You'll feel like you have butterflies in your stomach, and you'll want to be around him all the time. That's what happens when you fall in love."
"And if none of that happens?"
"Then he's not meant for you, darling."
I don't feel like that yet. Maybe I will later... it's just I've never thought about Decimal Point in a romantic way. I almost wish we were just friends like before. It'd be a lot less complicated that way.
4:19pm - Home
I thought, by coming home to get ready, I would be met with a quiet, Firefly-free atmosphere.
I found her in the kitchen singing out loud to Michael Buckson.
I said to her (loudly, over the music) "Hey, can you take your insanity someplace else???"
And she said, "Give over, Dash. You know how you love a bit of Thriller!"
Am I the only one with a completely mad mother?
5:45pm - My room
Actually, I do feel a bit nervous. I hope I don't make a foal of myself.
I've got my outfit on. I didn't put that much make-up on, just some lipgloss. I refuse to tart myself up like Rarity occasionally...always does.
What if he stands me up?
I'd better get going. I'm about to stand him up.
6pm - Cloudsdale Town Centre
When I got to the square, Decimal had already arrived. He had a white shirt on with a small tie and a black ribbon in his tail, and he gave a polite nod when he saw me.
"You look great, Rainbow." he smiled.
"Thanks, so do you." I replied.
No butterflies yet. Or an urge to be near him. Maybe love took a while to kick in, I figured - just like those energy saver lamps I had at home. They took forever to come on.
"So, do you want to follow me?" prompted Decimal. "I have a place reserved at the Breezy Street Diner for us." I nodded and followed after him. Although Breezy Street wasn't Canterlot, it was pretty refined - Rarity was right about colts always wanting to spoil you.
When we got to the restaurant, we were shown to our table by a waiter (who had a massive hat on - possibly one of Rarity's) and left to make our decisions.
About our food. Not about the hat.
Dessie started up a conversation, asking me how I was, and how I was getting on at work (I didn't mention the storm), and how much of a nice night it was. I responded casually, returning his questions and keeping everything as relaxed as I could, as Rarity had said to, but for some reason, he seemed on edge the whole time. It was if he was hiding something from me, as he kept stalling with his words and fiddling; pulling his hooves through his mane, fastening his tie so tight I was worried he'd strangle himself, looking around warily and so on. I got the picture that he really didn't want to be here.
Eventually, when Massive Hat Guy returned with our food (I'd ordered a parsley and hay bagel; Dessie a daisy salad), he went quiet while he ate. I shuffled my hooves awkwardly under the table. Still no butterflies.
I looked around the diner at all the other couples. They were all sitting opposite to each other, holding hooves and gazing into one another's eyes adoringly. Were we supposed to do that? I tried, haphazardly tilting my head a little and batting my eyelashes at Dessie for effect. Even though I am the pinnacle of charm and je ne sais quoi, it somehow didn't feel right. And it obviously didn't look right, either, as Dessie went a little red before asking me why I was looking at him like that. So much for knowing how to date.
Searching my mind for something to say, my brain eventually came up with the worst possible question.
"Uh... so... have you ever been out... you know...with anypony before?"
This launched Decimal into Stutter City. "Uhm... w-well....there w-was this one f-filly...in...s-school...but we never really....I-I mean... i-it never really..."
"I get you, Dessie." I said finally, slumping back in my seat a little. This failure of a date was exhausting!
"R-right..." he finished. And it was, quite literally the finish. We spent the rest of the evening in near-silence, every so often one of us opening our mouths to speak but then giving up. I was now certain that dates weren't supposed to be this way. I hadn't felt a thing for him.
At around 8pm, we left the restaurant. Decimal flew home with me, not stopping at his place to invite me in. We hung by the doorway a while, exchanging nervous glances.
"Thank you," I said finally, "for tonight. It was...good."
"No problem." he replied. No 'thank you too', no 'I really like you', no 'we should do this again sometime'.
And then it happened. He kissed me, pressing his lips to mine for a fleeting moment. He pulled away and I felt absolutely nothing. The kiss was empty, no emotions involved whatsoever. I headed for my door, getting out my keys. "Yeah, thanks." I said hurriedly.
He gave me a nod. "See you round." he muttered, before flying off into the night. I shivered on the doorstep, cold, confused and alone.
8:23pm - Home
When I got in, Mom turned around from her ironing and looked at me. "How was it?"
I said nothing, grabbed Tank off the kitchen table and went upstairs.
I don't get it!
Love is soooo confusing. Why did nothing happen?
Does this mean he's not meant for me? And am I actually, you know, his marefriend? Or fillyfriend? Or girlfriend?
Five minutes later
I looked at myself in the mirror and sighed. Here I was, probably the unluckiest in love in the whole of Cloudsdale, with only my insane mother and a tortoise for company.
Does everypony fail this bad on their first dates?
Two minutes later
On the bright side, I have a day off tomorrow.
Went to say goodnight to Mom. I felt a bit bad for leaving her hanging like that.
She gave me a hug and said, "If you ever need somepony to talk to, I'm here, hon. I've been through it all."
…You know, she's usually so mad that seeing her act like a normal mother is almost frightening.
10:12pm - In bed
I wonder if I can spend tomorrow with Applejack? I bet she has more luck with colts than me.
10:21am - Sweet Apple Acres
Met up with AJ. We're currently planning how to convince Big MacIntosh to let her have the day off too.
I said, "Well, you did save my life the other day."
She went a bit red. "A-ah didn't really save yer life... more do you a favour."
"And that's good enough for you to spend time with me, right?"
"Hmm... well, Ah could give him a puppy-dog face an' say about how Ah'm an orphan and need lots of time with my friends to cope."
"AJ, he's your brother. Doesn't that make him an orphan too?"
Ten minutes later - in front of Big Mac with puppy-dog eyes on full volume
"Okay, AJ. Go ahead, present yer case."
I feel like we're being judged. We are. Is this what she has to do every time she wants a day off?
Applejack cleared her throat. "Uh, well...Ah haven't seen Rainbow in ages."
Big Mac looked at her. "You spent almost all last week with her."
"But that was last week!"
I stepped in. "Yeah, last week. She gets Rainbow withdrawal if she doesn't see me soon enough."
"Yeah, an'...an'... you haven't got that much work, right?"
"No, AJ. Jus' the whole darn orchard!"
We exchanged glances.
"B-but... big brother... Ah'm... Ah'm an orphan! Oh, darnit! Ah mean... Okay, Ah can't do pressure."
I laughed, and Big MacIntosh chuckled. "AJ, you can have today off. Jus' be in work twice as early tomorrow."
"Ah will! Oh, thank you brother!" Applejack hugged her brother tight, and I smiled.
"Eeyup. Now you two run along now before Ah change my mind."
10:49am - Ponyville
I led Applejack through the town, knowing exactly where I wanted to take her.
"Hey, Dash, where are we goin' again?"
"You'll see!" I stopped her in front of the Ponyville Spa, and she whinnied in protest, almost rearing up and galloping off.
"Ah'm not goin' in there!"
"You'll like it! It's just like going swimming. Look!"
We went in, and were greeted by Aloe and Lotus. "So surprised to see you both in here, Miss Applejack and Miss Rainbow Dash. It's unusual for you tomcolts!"
I laughed. "Well, could we have what I had the other time? The lavender and...whatever it was? It's for relaxation!"
"Of course, Miss!"
Five minutes later - The bath thingywhatsit
I never thought I'd see the day where I shared a bath with Applejack.
…Not in a fillyfooler way.
We got in and swam around a bit (and splashed around a lot), and AJ actually agreed that the bath was awesomely relaxing. We swam up to the edge and leaned against it so we could chat. I took the time to explain about my failure of a date, and she listened carefully before voicing her opinion.
"Hmm... so, you said he kissed you?"
I nodded. "How long?"
"About two seconds. Two point five if you're being...mathematical."
Applejack laughed. "Right. An' you didn't feel excited or nervous or anythin' like that?"
I shook my head.
"Well, sorry to sink yer ship, sugarcube, but Ah think yer on a train to nowhere with this guy."
"I figured so. Why am I so unlucky?"
Applejack smiled. "Yer not! It happens. An' you wouldn't be happy with him."
"Thanks. I guess I feel a bit better. I should probably break it with him." She nodded, before looking around nervously.
"Dash, Ah have somethin' to tell you..." she said.
My heart did a strange leap. Not literally, or it would have been visible. "Sure, fire away."
"You've gotta promise to not tell anypony."
"Cross my heart, hope to fly, sti- wait, you haven't murdered somepony, have you?"
"Good. Stick a cupcake in my eye. There, Pinkie Pie swore."
Applejack gave a grateful grin. "Well... it's not set in stone. Ah don't know whether anythin's real fer me yet, but it's lookin' pretty true. You see..."
The silence tore a path between us, between a few seconds that felt like an eternity.
"...A-ah think Ah'm a fillyfooler."
8:04pm - Home
I am quite literally the bestest friend ever, I think. On the contrary to anything you were thinking (not that you can think, being a notepad), I had a great day with Applejack. Let me explain.
So, AJ confessed. I looked over at her, and noticed tears had welled up in her eyes. I leaned over and hugged her, and when I pulled away she looked surprised.
She said, "But....d-does this mean...you don't..."
"Mind? No. Of course I don't mind. It's part of who you are."
"Wow. Uh...really? Ah thought Ah was settin' off a bomb by tellin' you that, so t'speak..."
I locked eyes with her. "Nothing you tell me will ever, ever change what I think about you."
Applejack smiled, and more tears ran down her nose. I splashed her in the face gently to get rid of them, and she giggled. "Rainbow, you're the bestest friend ever."
I folded my front legs and looked forward. "I know."
She gave me another hug, and gently whispered to me. "Love you."
We spent the whole day together, doing races and competitions and climbing trees and discovering all over town, just like we used to when we were fillies. Nothing could break us apart now. Somehow, I feel a lot closer to her than before, no matter what she told me.
She even said she loved me.
Not that that means anything in particular. Just that I am, quite literally, the bestest friend ever.
Five minutes later
Mad Mother of the Year has gone to dinner with "some old pals". Otherwise known as the rest of the Cloudsdale Insanity Association.
Got some chips and lemonade to celebrate my success. I even gave a chip to Tank, who looked at it before shoving it in his shell. I think he's saving it for later.
Nothing can spoil my mood!
One minute later
Apart from the fact that it's Monday tomorrow. Why???
And I'm going to have to face Decimal. I have a feeling it'll be... awkward.
7:13am - In bed
Mom came in to "wake me up". This apparently involves banging a pan by my head and practically hollering, "Rise and shine, Dash! It's a beautiful day! Come out and say hello."
If she doesn't stop, the only thing I will be coming out to say is, "Shut up."
7:20am - Still in bed
Uggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I hate Mondays.
7:25am - Still in bed
Right, I've decided. I'm getting up. Three, two, one...
9:24am - Work
I'm surprised I made it here at all.
I was put to work on the small showers due in the west of Ponyville at lunchtime with a few other pegasi, so I had no chance to see Decimal throughout the morning. I'm not sure whether that's good or not.
Over lunch, I bumped into Dessie through the office. He told me to follow him, and took me round to the old weather observatory to "have a word". Oh no.
I sat down on one of the rickety old benches and looked straight at him. "What did you want, Decimal?"
He fiddled with his food, picking his sandwich out of his lunch bag then putting it back in again about a hundred times. I tapped my hoof on the ground.
"Uhm... I wanted to... I just... Dash, we can't go out anymore."
What?! Hurrah, I've been dumped after two days.
"Why not?" I asked, trying not to gawp at him too much.
He sighed, and picked up his sandwich again. "It's... there's one reason why I tried all of this in the first place. You see, I was around the office and I heard these ponies talking pretty loudly down the corridor. They were talking about you. They were...calling you names. Calling you a fillyfooler, mostly. I know a lot of ponies do this anyway, but... it's what they were saying about you supposedly being a lesbian. They were cracking up because they kept mentioning that Apple girl who lives on the orchard in Ponyville...you know, the one with the Stetson and blonde hair?"
I gulped. "Applejack." I said, dreading what was coming next.
"Yeah, Applejack," he replied. "They were saying some dreadful things about you both. I won't even repeat it all for fear of hurting you even more... I think they thought you were... that you and Applejack were..."
"...sleeping together, I know." I sighed, rolling my eyes.
Decimal flickered his ears and blushed. "Well, not necessarily, I mean-"
"They were, I can tell. It's all bullies like that think about." My eyes stung, and I brushed my fringe so it covered them. I didn't care about the bullies having a go at me - it was the fact that they picked on Applejack that made my blood boil.
I continued nevertheless. "So... you decided to go out with me because...?"
"Because," he sighed, "I didn't want you getting hurt. I thought if you were seen out with a colt, they would all shut up about it and forget you. Move on to somepony else. As I friend, I thought it was the right thing to do to help you out. After Saturday... I realised it wasn't working. I'm really sorry, Dash... I just wanted you to be happy."
I looked at him. "You mean, y-you were...using me?"
"No!" he protested immediately. "I was protecting you."
Really? Just... really? "And you think protecting means betraying my feelings? Actually making it seem like for once somepony had an interest in me while all it was based on is lies?"
"That's n-not true." His voice quivered, like he felt he was losing. I wanted him to lose.
"Oh yeah? So you actually wanted to be with me?"
"Ye-...n-... I thought that...maybe if we dated for a bit, I would."
"Oh, great. So this was a psychological experiment as well as a farce?"
Decimal hung his head. For a split second, I just wished he'd lift it again so I could have slapped him hard. He held his head in his hooves, and I stood up.
"Forget it. You obviously think I'm too dumb to deserve any real feelings."
4:44pm - My room, in my bed of pain
Stormed home. Stormed upstairs, ignoring my mother. Stormed into my room and flung myself on my bed. Cried and cried and cried.
I hate my life. What did I do to deserve this? Why does everything have to go wrong for me? And if the Princesses are all-knowing and can do anything, why haven't they seen me in this state of desperadoes and given me a helping hoof?
I've never been so unhappy. Even Tank's retreated into his shell. He feels my pain.
What gets me is how they were picking on Applejack. How do they even know about her?
Ten minutes later
Just checked my calendar. I completely forgot about our Pony Pet Playdate tomorrow. I might not even go - Tank can go without. I am in mourning of my life as I knew it, and as a consequence, we all have to suffer.
Got back into bed and decided to try and sleep.
Ohhhhhhhh I am crying so much...
Mom came upstairs and gently knocked on my door. "Dash?"
Shutupshutupshutup. "Leave me alone."
Typical of her, she opened the door anyway and let herself in.
"Smile, though your heart is aching..."
Ohhh. She's singing that song she always used to sing whenever I was upset as a filly. Hearing her voice is making me think about foalhood, when things were easy and the only time anypony made me cry was when they stole my crayons.
"Smile, even though it's breaking..."
She came and sat on the bed and slowly started stroking my mane.
"When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by... if you smile, through your pain and sorrow..."
I stopped sobbing.
"Smile, and maybe tomorrow..."
I lifted my head from the pillow to look at her.
"You'll see the sun come shining through, for you..." She finished the last two notes, before pulling me into a cuddle. I held her tight and she grinned. "Hey there."
Before I could stop myself, I was explaining everything. The date, the bullying, why Decimal went out with me, about Applejack. She didn't give her opinion to any of it, just let me talk her ears off with everything on my mind. When I had finished, she kept hold of me.
"There's something I never told you about my past, Rainbow."
I choked out a laugh. "Do I even want to know?"
She chuckled. "Hey, don't be like that! Besides, I thought you liked stories?"
I shrugged, "Perhaps."
She smiled at me meaningfully. "You'll learn something from this one, sweetheart." and then, she began.
"It all started when I was about your age. I was the typical Cloudsdale hotshot, like you - I was a fast flyer and I had a fast attitude that everypony loved. I lived in the middle of the town with my parents and your uncle Sunset, but he was the only one I ever really got on with. My mother, as you may remember, was always a small, bossy mare who never really took an interest in anything other than housework and keeping everything clean. My father was brash and tough, and he always had something to moan about. The subject of his rants was almost always me - to him, I was the perfect example of a teenage tearaway who was bound to end up in jail before I reached marehood. My parents never listened to me. They were too wrapped up in their own lives to notice their daughter.
My brother was equally ignored by our mother, but our father loved him. He was a smart kid, Sunrise, my little brother, and he was the sort who'd end up doing my homework as well as his, even though he was three years younger than me. Dad would buy him everything he wanted, raise his allowance whenever he lowered mine, play with him, take him on trips, everything. I was just the first-born. I was most probably a mistake - they never wanted me.
Our house was small - we were pretty poor and Dad's job as a freelance builder hardly ever got us any money. I had a paper round for about a year around the town, but I was always bullied for the way I wore my mane and how I acted. Like you, I was always seen as a tom-colt and, more frequently, a complete lesbian. I stopped my paper round when my bag got torn into and everything stolen out of it, including my pay. My father never thought to replace it, so I stopped working. The money went down and soon after that, my father made me move in with my brother so they would rent my room out. It never bothered me, staying with Sunset. He was the best listener and friend I'd ever had.
So, naturally, I tried to find ways of letting go. I'd never be in the house; I'd often stay with friends overnight just to get away. I messed around, broke the rules, went to all the worst parties and hung out with all the worst crowds. I was always one step ahead of everypony else, mixing in with just the right ponies to get a real reputation. When I left school with a bunch of bad grades, I started hanging around Ponyville, doing odd jobs for pay. I was useful to the earth ponies; I could get up high and clean windows, or help fix a roof, or maintain cloud coverages. I found my way in Ponyville; I wasn't teased there like I was in Cloudsdale. Earth ponies were different to pegasi - more rustic and traditional, and every job was done in a team, and it was done well.
Surprisingly, I first met my bestest friend on your bestest friend's farm - Sweet Apple Acres. I'd been told to collect some apples and take them to Sugarcube Corner - then called the Ponyville Sweet Stop before Mr and Mrs Cake took over - in preparation for the town's summer fair. I was greeted at the door of the farmhouse by a young mare, about my age, with a baby colt in her arms. She was extraordinary, with a shining white pelt and her beautiful long pink hair tied in two bunches just in front of her ears. Her cutie mark - four hearts in a diagonal shape - suggested to me that she wasn't a part of this family.
"Hey there!" she said cheerfully as she opened the door. The baby colt gurgled. He was pretty big for a foal, I can tell you that. The girl took one of his hooves and waved it at me, and he giggled. "Say hello, MacIntosh! Hehe. Welcome to Sweet Apple Acres, hon! How can I help you?"
I cleared my throat and looked straight at her. "My name is Firefly. I'm the Pegasus sent here to collect some apples for the Sweet Stop."
The other mare grinned. "Oh, yes! We've been expecting you. Unfortunately you won't get very far with me - I'm Sundance, and I'm only the foalsitter for MacIntosh here while his parents work. You need to go and talk to the boss here, Greensmith, just out in the orchard. She'll help you out.""
I gasped. "Greensmith? Is that..."
Mom laughed. "You might know her as Granny Smith, yeah. As Big MacIntosh was only a tot, that name hadn't really set in right then."
"Greensmith was quite a lot younger then. Her hair was blonde, instead of grey, and she wore a hat almost identical to Applejack's now, just white. She was out in the orchard, as Sundance had said, bucking the apples out of the trees with visible years of experience. She smiled as I approached.
"Well, howdy there, sugarcube. Y'all must be the girl set to pick up some apples for the Summer Fair, am Ah right?"
"Yes." I grinned. "Can you give me some?" The older mare laughed.
"Of course! You didn't come here to go away empty-hooved!"
Sundance, who had followed me out, helped load up for baskets and balance them on my back.
"So, do you work for the Sweet Stop?" she asked.
"No, not really. I'm an odd-job mare, y'know. Just roaming the town for something to get some money in."
Sundance suddenly peered curiously at my flank, and I went red. "But your cutiemark is lightning! Aren't you a flyer?"
I sighed. "It's hard to say. I can fly pretty well, but I'm not really happy in the sky. Not like I'm happy in Ponyville doing all of this, anyway."
Greensmith chipped in. "Well, yer more'n welcome t'work with us. We don' earn all that much ourselves, but we're always willin' to help out.""
I interrupted again, grinning. "You got a job at Sweet Apple Acres?"
"Well, sort of. I helped Sundance look after MacIntosh mostly, but I visited a lot - mostly just to see her. We grew closer by the day, and I told her everything. We were joined at the hip, inseparable, and after too long, I realised something - that I was in love with her. She was in love with me, too - we confessed in private and stole away our first kiss; and everything after that we stole, too. Privacy was incredibly important.
Why? Because in those days, fillyfoolers weren't just shunned; they were full-on hated, and I mean that. Falling in love with Sundance was incredibly dangerous - if anypony found out, we'd both lose our jobs and my parents would almost certainly kick me out on the street and not turn a hair otherwise. It was a frightening but thrilling game - every kiss, every touch, every meeting - it was all done in seclusion. In a way, it was fun. It was fun to pick the worst possible places to hide, to run into the Everfree Forest and see how long we could stay in there together without chickening out. Our longest? About an hour!
Our relationship was messed up and short lived. I'm not sure how - that part of my memory is a bit blurred - but somehow, my father found out. I was locked inside the house and continually yelled at, and I didn't see Sundance for months. She kept trying to write to me, but my parents burned all the letters with my name on, whether they were from her or not. I had never been so upset. I seriously considered jumping out of my window and not opening my wings on numerous occasions."
Knowing something like this about Firefly opened my eyes. I looked right at her, and she was still. There were no tears in her eyes; just the visibly painful memory of a lost battle. She didn't falter in her retelling, and it was then that I admired my supposedly insane mother more than ever. I wouldn't have been able to cope.
"Things just went from bad to worse. Sundance's parents found out about us too. They were as livid as my parents were. Our last meeting was the worst day of my life.
We met in our hiding place in the Everfree Forest. She said she had something to say to me. When I arrived, she was already there, tears streaming down her face. I galloped over and leaned in to kiss her, but she pushed me back.
"I c-can't, Firefly."
"Huh?" Tears threatened to fall from my own eyes. I had to fight to stay strong.
"Oh, Firefly... Firefly... F-firefly..." Sundance repeated my name, loudly at first, but getting weaker and weaker. She sat down. "I'm leaving."
My heart shattered, right then. "W-what?"
"My parents... they're taking me to the other side of Equestria..."
I stood tall, splaying my wings and stamping my hoof down. "No."
"You can't stop it. My parents say it's for my own good."
"Sundance, you're not a quitter." Sundance sighed, but I carried on. "We could run away."
"Where would we go?"
"Would that even matter? I just want to get away from here."
"We'd get found out, it wouldn't work. We'd get into even more trouble." Tears began to run down my face at the thought of our hopelessness. We were doomed, and I'd have to face it. Sundance stood up, coming over to nuzzle my cheeks and kiss me gently, making me cry even harder.
"All w-we have to d-do..." she sobbed, "is g-get on with l-life. It'll be h-hard at first, but if you promise to never forget me, we'll b-be all right..."
That heartbreak was something I'd never felt before, and I choked on my own words, holding on to her tighter than I ever had before. "I'll n-never forget you... ever..."
It was settled, and on the day of her departure, I was momentarily allowed to say goodbye. "Mail me your new address. I'll write to you." I whispered.
"Every week. Hide the letters, though." she whispered back.
I nodded, and we shared a final kiss, ignoring the onlookers. I never saw her again. We lost contact after about two years, and I haven't heard from her since. I haven't forgotten her, though. I couldn't ever do that."
"You're the best."
Mom laughed again, wiping a single tear from her eye. I leaned up and kissed her cheek. She returned it, hugging me tight. "And you're the best, little Rainbow Dash. If everything had worked out with me and Sundance, I wouldn't have you. Or your dad!"
I smiled. "How did you meet Dad?"
"Considering you asked, I met your dad a month after Sundance left. He came into Ponyville for the Hearth Warming Festival that year. I didn't really pay attention to his arrival, being too upset to notice much right around then. I only paid any attention to him when I went to a concert of his. He was shy back then, and I couldn't help thinking about how adorable he looked up there, shuffling his hooves and flicking his mane back every two minutes! But his music was something else; it whirled me away to a place where my past wasn't even considered; where all my pains were taken away and all I could hear was the serene, mesmerising tracks flowing through my ears. Yeah, it was good. We bumped into each other after his New Year's concert in Cloudsdale, and we got chatting for ages. Before we knew it, we had fallen in love. We got married in less than a year and on our wedding night, he took me up to the birdwatching hut by Rose Lake."
"Well, you know. You were on the way soon after that!"
I rolled my eyes. "Oh, gross!"
"I was conceived in a birdwatching hut?!"
You'll have no idea what I just found out, thanks to Mom.
(And no, I don't mean the Sundance fiasco and/or the conceived-in-a-birdwatching-hut thing.)
She got us some snacks and we continued talking.
She said, "What I meant by all this is that it's not always easy having to adjust to heartbreak. You go through a lot of changes in life, and unfortunately, love is just one of these changes."
So I said, "How do you know if you're in love?"
"It's simple. Think of a name."
"Just listen!" She laughed. "Think of the name of a pony you can always rely on. A pony who's stuck by you through everything, good and bad. A pony that makes your heart race whenever you see them and sets all your senses on fire. A pony that you know would sacrifice anything for you, and you'd sacrifice anything for them in return. A pony who isn't necessarily beautiful on the outside, but sure as hay is on the inside. Stuff like that. You got one?"
I thought. I could always rely on somepony. This somepony had stuck by me through it all, and when I thought about it, she - yes, she - did make me lose my cool completely when I was around her. She would do anything for me, and I'd lay my life down for her. And...
Oh Celestia, she was beautiful. The most beautiful mare I'd ever seen.
"Yes," I said finally, "I have a name."
"Really?" Mom asked, before grinning. "You're in love with them."
"B-but that means...I-I'm... in...love...w-with..."
"Applejack?" Mom guessed. Oh noooooooo - I felt my wings pop up behind me. How brilliant.
I glared at her. "How did you... I mean... I..."
"Oh, sweetheart. What else would you expect? She's the one pony you come in and talk about every single day. You've always got some story about your adventures together to share with me."
"So...you don't mind?"
"I've had enough experience to learn to accept how ponies are."
8:43pm - Looking out my window at the stars
My dad has this thing about astronomy. He says looking at the universe can be soothing. I've picked out the brightest star in the sky. It's shining right over Sweet Apple Acres.
I've decided to...decide on a plan on how to...get Applejack. If you see what I mean. Tomorrow, because me and Tank have a playdate to go to!
Let's put it this way - I'm a fillyfooler, and she's a fillyfooler. I want to be with her, and she really likes me, so... this should be easy as pie. Apple pie.
...Or will it?
7:54am - Breakfast
Managed to get up this morning. According to Mom, I was talking in my sleep. Oh nooo.
She said, "I came in your room at around midnight to see if you were still breathing."
What is the point??
She saw my confused expression. "I used to do it when you were a foal. My little baby girl." And then she ruffled my mane. I said, "Has someone put something in your pancakes?"
She ignored me. "I kissed your cheek and told you I loved you, and you said, 'I love you too, Mommy', but in your sleep. It was the cutest thing I've ever heard."
I said what??
I called her 'Mommy'. What is wrong with me?! I said, "Don't you ever repeat this or I will have to kill you."
She laughed and said, "No worries, I won't tell anyone. Only Applejack."
I am going to have to kill her.
5:05pm - My room, getting ready for the playdate
Nearly ready. Why am I so nervous?
I'll be with everypony else. I just have to not make a complete and utter foal of myself.
Okay, calmy calm calm. Borrowed some of Mom's spray stuff, it's supposed to help reduce stress. At least it smells nice.
Five minutes later
Maybe I should put some make-up on.
One minute later
No. I don't want to look like a tart. I'm going to the park, not the Palace.
It looks hot outside. Should I put my shades on?
Shades are on. Right. I look okay. I hope so, anyway - I've brushed my mane through so much it's gone all fuzzy with static.
When I got downstairs and put Tank's flying hat and goggles on, Mom took one look at me and said, "Why are you wearing your shades? And...have you borrowed my perfume?"
"It's hot outside!" I protested.
She slowly began to laugh. "This is for Applejack, isn't it?"
I blushed. "No! I-I mean.. yes. Well, m-maybe."
She laughed again. Oh, she's so annoying. "You're perfect how you are, honey. If you want my advice, don't try too hard." She handed me a bag of cookies and some lemonade. "For your picnic. Don't forget some lettuce for Tank. See you later."
5:29pm - The park
AJ was the first here. Winona ran up and began licking me (and Tank. I don't think the poor guy was quite ready for full-on tongue with a dog.)
Applejack came up and hugged me, and my heart went weird and fluttery all over again.
"Hi," I breathed when she pulled away.
"Howdy there." she giggled, tipping her hat. Stay still, wings, please. Calm. "How are you doin'?"
"Pretty good, I guess. My..." I decided not to beat around the bush. "My coltfriend broke it with me yesterday."
Applejack quickly hugged me again. I struggled to keep my wings down this time. "Oh, Rainbow! Ah'm so sorry. Ah had no idea that you were..."
"Straight?" I laughed.
"No! Ah was gonna say Ah had no idea that he'd be the one t'break it with you is all, you silly filly."
I could feel my ears burning.
"Oh." I said quietly. So much for not making a foal of myself!
Applejack smiled sympathetically. "Listen, sugarcube. Any stallion that dumps you ain't worth none of your time, an' Ah mean that."
"Thanks, AJ. That means a lot."
Everypony's here. Tank's being really awkward and hanging around Winona loads, which means I'm stuck with Applejack. Which isn't that bad, I guess.
Is it wrong for a tortoise to fetch a stick quicker than a dog?
And for said tortoise to lick said dog?
And for said dog to lick said tortoise?
At one point Applejack came over with a very serious expression on her face. "Rainbow Dash?"
"Ah have something t'confess..."
Ohmygosh. "G-go ahead."
"Ah'm not sure whether you've noticed it too...but..."
"There's love in this park tonight, Dash."
Ohhhhmyyyyyygoooosshhhhhh. My voice went into full-squeak mode. "There is?!" I croaked.
"Yeah... Ah know it's a bit weird, bein' so...different... t'normal romances...but..."
My heart thumped wildly. Until I looked down and saw who she was talking about.
Not me and her, no. Tank and Winona. Winona had this big silly grin on her face as she rested her head on Tank's shell. Ugh!!!!
"Bu...but... Tank's like... a hundred years older than Winona!" I exclaimed.
"Well, love is blind." admitted Applejack, before bursting out in laughter. I chuckled politely while my heart slowly recovered.
"Yeah, heh... seems like your canine is crushing on my crustacean!"
"Dash, tortoises are reptiles, not crustaceans. But... good joke!"
6:13pm - Middle of the park, having our picnic
Forgot how good Pinkie Pie's punch was. Why do they call it punch, anyway? It's not like there's some random pony hiding in your bottle waiting to come out at any moment and smack you in the face.
…I hope there isn't, anyway.
Twilight finished her cupcake and grinned. "Shall we play a game, guys? A sitting down game?"
Rarity wiped her mouth with a napkin daintily. "What like? Nothing dirty, I hope?"
Pinkie Pie's hoof shot up. "How about 21 Truths?"
AJ and I snickered. "Yeah, we could have fun with that..."
Fluttershy stayed quiet, and I nudged her. "You'd like that, right, Flutters?"
"Uhm..." Fluttershy hid her face with a napkin. "I-I don't r-really... know how to...play that..."
Pinkie bounded over and Fluttershy almost had a heart attack. "It's simple! We take turns to count, and you can say up to three numbers in a row, and the pony who ends up having to say the number twenty-one has to tell us something we ask!"
"I'll start!" Pinkie yelled. "One, two, three."
Twilight took over. "Four, five."
"Six." I said.
Applejack thought for a moment. "Seven, eight, nine."
Fluttershy was next. "Uhm...ten? I think... or something."
Then it was Rarity's turn. "Eleven, twelve, thirteen."
"Sixteen, seventeen, eighteen."
"Nineteen, twenty." I smirked.
Applejack rolled her eyes. "Consarnit...twenty-one." Getting up and walking behind a tree so she couldn't hear, we decided what to ask her.
"How about we ask her what her favourite book is?" suggested Twilight.
"Boooo-ring!" giggled Pinkie.
Rarity nodded. "We need something that will... throw her off a bit. A real piece of gossip."
"How about we ask her if she's ever lied?" I suggested. Twilight nodded in agreement.
Then, Rarity gasped. "Oh, girls! I have the best idea!"
"What?" we all asked, leaning in closer.
"Let's ask her if she has a crush!"
Fluttershy blinked. "Uhm...isn't...that, erm... a little... uh... personal?"
I stayed quiet, my ears burning. Twilight giggled. "Nah. Applejack can handle anything. I'm sure she'll have a good answer!"
"So...spill!" Pinkie Pie laughed. I'd never seen Applejack blush so much. We'd asked her, and she'd gone bright red. I still didn't talk.
Rarity lifted her nose triumphantly. "That's girl code for yes."
"What?!" Applejack and I chorused. I looked at her before blushing myself and hanging my head.
AJ finally cleared her throat. "Yes. Ah do have a crush."
My chest tightened, like l'd had the air knocked out of me.
Rarity clapped her hooves. "I knew it! So, what's he like?"
Applejack blushed deeper and looked at me. Her crush wasn't a stallion, and I could tell that I was the only other one who knew that. She continued nonetheless.
"Well... my crush... is v-very good-lookin'. C-compared to others..." she stuttered.
Rarity smiled slyly. Ohhh, I should have strangled her with her own eyelashes for how much she was humiliating AJ. They were long enough. "Yes?" she implored. "And?"
"An'...an'... they're somepony Ah think y'all know...an'...they're... nice." she finished, in clear defeat over her nerves.
"Hey, girls..." I looked around, before wrapping a wing over Applejack's shoulders. My eyes felt a bit wet. I hoped to Celestia the waterworks weren't about to start up. "M-maybe we should stop this game..."
Applejack nervously stretched an arm around me, and Twilight looked at me, concerned. "Are you okay, Rainbow Dash?"
I tensed up, my brain working furiously to think up an excuse. "Uh...yeah...I just remembered...I left... the oven on. Gotta go!"
And Tank and I dashed off (excuse the pun) to turn the oven off. The oven that wasn't on in the first place.
Oh, no, maybe it was. The oven of love. I've well and truly burnt my hooves in the oven of love, fillies and gentlecolts.
6:55pm - Home, my bed of pain (again)
For once, Mom's not home.
I wish she was.
Applejack has a crush on somepony. Some girl I apparently "know". What if it's Carrot Top?
What does Carrot Top have that I don't?
Besides about a million carrots.
Two minutes later
Or Berry Punch? She hasn't got much that I haven't, besides a cellar full of fruit juice.
One minute later
Oh Celestia - what if it's another member of our gang? Fluttershy? Or Pinkie Pie?
Twilight? Or Rarity?
Shut up, brain. Shut up.
"Hello, Heartbreak Hotel. How can I help you?"
A stallion spoke back. "Uh...Dash? Is that you? It's Decimal Point."
I almost slammed the receiver down.
"Decimal...? Yeah, it's me. What do you want?"
"Uhm... I wanted to... uh... apologise."
"Apologise?" I repeated.
Dessie breathed heavily down the phone. "Uh, yeah. What I put you through was really unfair. I shouldn't have...behaved how I did. I was stupid. Really stupid. I was just trying to look out for you."
I paused, not saying anything. Decimal spoke up. "Look, if you never want to see me again, I'll completely understand. You're an awesome filly, Rainbow..."
I breathed in slowly. "Hey, thanks. You're pretty awesome too. I know you were looking after me, and... I'm sorry too. I acted really... harsh. You were doing me a favour."
I grinned. "Yours too. Hey, are we cool now?"
He laughed. "When were we ever not cool?"
"Ha! Well, I was always cool. You, however..." I smirked.
"You're lucky we're on the phone or I would have shoved you into the nearest cloud!"
Feeling a bit better. I'm glad I haven't lost Decimal, at least.
That still doesn't sort out the Applejack problem, though...
One minute later
Just checked my calendar again - it's Mother's Day tomorrow. Luckily I didn't forget. I got Mom a blue sweater with "Firefly" embroidered on in pink. It took Rarity forever and cost me fifteen bits, even with a discount for being one of her best friends. Managed to wrap it, too, even though Tank kept stealing all the tape and trying to eat it.
Oh, horseapples, I just thought about AJ. She won't be able to celebrate Mother's Day with the rest of us since her parents passed away... And to think they have to go through that every year, on Mother's Day and Father's Day? Well, I know my mother is quite possibly clinically insane, but I don't think I could live without her somehow. Or my dad (considerably less insane, but still mad for marrying Mom.)
Mom came home (finally.)
I said, "Where in the hay have you been?"
And she said, "Stargazing."
Half an hour later - In bed
Looking at my picture of Applejack and me in the leaves. She really is very, very pretty.
I hope tomorrow is okay for her, I really do.
I gave her a little kiss before I snuggled down. (the picture her, not the real her. I can only dream of giving her a real kiss.)
Wednesday - Mother's Day
4:19pm - Home
Raced back from work to give Mom her present. She was sitting alone in the living room, so I went up to her and gave her a hug. "Happy Mother's Day."
She hugged me back, before opening the present. She gasped. "Oh, it's lovely, honey!" she exclaimed, pulling it on and grinning. "I look awesome, right?"
"Wrong!" I laughed, "But you do look pretty. And it suits you, thank goodness!"
Mom ruffled my mane. "Any news on the Applejack front?"
I sighed. "She has a crush."
"A crush?" Mom repeated, her smile fading. "On who?"
"I don't know, that's the whole point." It was at that moment that I noticed three boxes by the door. Trotting over, I opened them to reveal a bunch of string, glitter tubes and floating lanterns.
"What in the hay, Mom?"
She looked over, and smiled again. "Those are for the Apples. C'mon, we'd better get going or we'll be late."
"Late for what?" I asked incredulously.
"Put your saddle on and follow me," she ordered, tightening her own girth before placing two of the boxes in her saddle. "and you'll find out. You can have the glitter."
Fifteen minutes later - Peering in the front window of Sweet Apple Acres
Mom has taken me on a wild goose chase to the Apples' farm, and now we are spying on them.
I whispered, "Are you sure we should be doing...whatever we're doing here?"
"Positive." she whispered back. "Look inside. What do you notice?"
Peering in, I noticed something strange about the usually happy country family. They were gathered around the hearth, Granny Smith rocking slowly in her chair, and they just seemed to be sitting there. Applejack had taken her hat off, and she held in tightly in one hoof by her chest. One thing was prominent, though - they looked sad. Really sad.
When I observed this to Mom, she nodded. "The Apples seem to be spending today mourning the mother they lost, not cherishing a living mare like everypony else is." A lump rose in my throat as I peered in closer and noticed a solitary tear running down Applejack's freckled cheek.
"What can we do about it?" I whispered, an urgency in my voice.
"Well, that's what we're here for."
She got up and trotted around to the door. Before I could stop her, she rang the doorbell.
"What are you doing?!" I hissed. "Shouldn't we leave them be?"
Mom looked at me. "And leave them to hide away in their sorrow and drown in their tears? I'm not that kind of pony, Dash."
Applejack answered the door, having put her hat back loosely on her head. My heart ached at the sight of her in such a pitiful state.
"Oh, Applejack..." was all I could murmur, and she waved forlornly before gently hugging me. I held onto her tight, and she sniffed.
Mom smiled warmly as we broke the hug. "Hey, Applejack, is it? I'm Firefly, Dash's mom."
"Hi." Applejack said, smiling a little and shaking her hoof.
"Look, this might seem a little intrusive, but me and Dash are here to... help you out a bit. If that's all okay with you guys..."
Surprisingly, Applejack nodded. "Y'all wanna come inside? We're not exactly ourselves today due to obvious reasons, but Ah'm sure my family will be as welcomin' as ever."
Walking in, we stood in the doorway of the living room and waited for the rest of the family to acknowledge us. Big MacIntosh smiled as best he could, and Applebloom got up before trotting back over to Applejack and hiding behind her sister. Applejack looked at her.
"Say hello, Applebloom." The small filly came out slowly, before squeaking a small, "howdy". Big MacIntosh came to shake Mom's hoof as Applejack did, and Granny Smith eased herself out of her chair and over to us.
"Well, if it ain't Firefly..." she said carefully, smiling at my mother. I made the connection immediately; Granny Smith must have remembered her from when she worked on the farm with Sundance.
My mother smiled and shook her hoof. "Hey there, Greensmith. It's...been a while."
"It has," the old pony returned her smile, as if the very sight of an old friend was enough to lift her spirits just a little. "Ah doubt Big MacIntosh remembers you." Big MacIntosh lifted his head a little, studied Firefly before muttering, "Eeynope." and grinning sheepishly.
"Hey, look. I had an idea for you guys tonight, if you're up for it." Mom said quietly.
The Apples exchanged glances, before nodding. "Sure," Applejack said. "What is it?"
"You'll see," Mom chuckled, trotting outside, "even Dash doesn't know!"
My mother is amazing, and I mean it. You'd never have guessed what she did with us.
Once we were outside, she looked straight at us. "MacIntosh, I want you to get some small coloured light bulbs if you have any, and as many objects that remind you of your parents as you can. Applebloom," she hoisted the box off my back and gave it to the young filly, "I want you to take these glitter pens and draw lots of pretty pictures of your mommy and daddy. No worries if you can't remember what they look like, I'm sure you have photographs that your brother will lend you!" she turned to Granny Smith. "Greensmith, I need you and Applejack to find a tree that means something to you."
I looked at her curiously. "What can I do?"
"You, my girl," she smiled, getting out some of the flat, papery lanterns and setting them on the ground in front of me, "can write messages to AJ's parents from each relative onto the lantern in permanent ink. Now, is everypony ready?"
The others nodded together, looking utterly confused, but happier nonetheless. As Applejack passed through the orchard with Granny Smith, she hung back to whisper in my ear, sending shivers down my spine and a curious warmth to my heart. "Whatever your mom's doing, Rainbow... thank you both."
After a while, the objects were collected and the pictures were drawn, and AJ had found the perfect tree, a large apple tree right on top of the hill, proudly looking down over the rest of the orchard. We congregated on the hill, and I asked each pony for something to write on the lanterns.
"Tell mah momma an' papa that Ah love them." Applebloom grinned, her glittery pictures gently drying in the evening air by her hooves. "An' that Ah can almost buck now! An' that when Ah'm older, Ah wanna run the farm like Applejack an' Big MacIntosh."
"Tell Mom an' Dad that Ah'm fulfillin' their wishes fer the farm," Big MacIntosh told me slowly. "We might not be makin' all that much right now, but we never lost that Apple pride here at the Acres, an' we never will."
"Tell Bramley an' Blossom that Ah'm mighty proud of everythin' they did fer us." Granny Smith told me, a checkered scarf wrapped neatly around her neck even though it was summer. "An' tell 'em Ah'm even more proud of their kids!" she chuckled.
Applejack was last. "Tell my momma an' papa that Ah hope they foun' peace where they are now, an' that Ah love them an' miss them real bad." I smiled warmly, and she winked back. "An' tell them Ah have the bestest friends in the world."
After we had finished with the lanterns, Mom told me to put them back in the box.
"So what do we do with the tree, Miss Firefly?" asked Applebloom. "An' the pictures?"
"Watch." Mom grinned, before taking some string out of the box and tying it to one of Applebloom's pictures. She gently flew up to one of the top branches of the tree, and tied the picture on. "You see," she yelled from the tree, "if we tie all these objects to the tree, it will create a physical memory of your parents! And we can tie the light bulbs on, too, to brighten it up. A memory tree!"
Realisation shone on our faces as we looked up. "A memory tree..." Applejack whispered, looking at me. I locked eyes with her, and we just gazed at each other for ages before we blushed and turned away. Applebloom jumped up and down before racing over and hugging me unexpectedly. "Oh, thank you thank you thank you, Rainbow Dash!" I hugged her back, and Applejack smiled.
"No problem... but this wasn't me. Give Firefly a hug. It was her idea!" I giggled. Mom flew down, and Big MacIntosh got some string out and started tying an old hat once belonging to his father onto one of the lower branches. I picked Applebloom up with one of her pictures and flew her high above ground and helped her to tie it, while she squealed and waved at Applejack, who was tying some of the coloured light bulbs at the lower end of the tree. Soon, it was fully decorated, and the lights gently flickered, highlighting the memories that each picture and object contained. We went around the tree while Granny Smith explained where they all came from, where each photograph was taken. One locket, belonging to Applejack's mother, hung at the bottom of the tree. When I opened it slowly, it contained a picture of a sweet-looking orange foal.
"Guess who!" giggled Applejack, coming up behind me. "Ah was eight months old then. A lot smaller!"
Once we were done with the tree, we sat back in the light as the sun set, and Mom got a matchbox out. We caught the fuel of the lanterns on fire, and they billowed with the growing air inside. The Apples each let theirs go, and afterwards, we snuggled up together by the tree and watched them gently float into the air.
"Best Mother's Day ever, huh?" I asked Applejack.
"Mmhmm, sure is. Thank you, Rainbow." she said, wrapping a hoof around me. I blushed and returned it. "An' thank you, Firefly!" she called to Mom, who laughed and waved.
Yeah. Best evening ever.
11:21am - Home
Day off work. Been lounging around mostly while Mom hollers at me to get off my flank and do something.
I told her I need to recuperate from my hectic and confusing love life, but she just snorted. "I never got time to recuperate. You deal with it."
That's nice, isn't it??
I told her, "You don't know what it's like to fall in love with your best friend!"
She just said, "Yes, I do." before slamming the Ponyville Times on the coffee table and saying, "Game set and match to me!"
Five minutes later
Flicking through the newspaper. Oh, somepony's grown a metre-long cucumber. How lovely.
One minute later
I'm actually bored of lounging. I've only been lounging for about an hour and a half - I woke up at ten. Went into the kitchen to amuse my darling mother.
I said, "Hello, darling mother."
She just turned around from her cooking and said, "What do you want?"
"Nothing. I just came to talk to you. You know, like a normal pony."
And she said, "Well, be careful hon. I'm cooking, I don't want you having an accident with the oven or something."
I was about to point out that a) I'm (almost) a fully-grown mare and way too old to "have an accident with the oven or something", and b) it was my house, so I could go where I liked. However, she had quite a large knife in her hoof so I decided not to bother.
Okay, so I've listened to my CD collection right through, I've eaten lunch, I've read some trashy gossip magazine (how in the hay does Rarity like those things??!) and I've sat around a bit. Not much left to do, and there's no point in going to see any of my friends. Fluttershy's helping Pinkie run Sugarcube Corner, so I'm staying well away from there. Twilight's studying and would probably go insane (again) if I interrupted her... Rarity's at some fashion convention somewhere and AJ's working. And if you try to interrupt AJ when she's applebucking, you end up getting bucked yourself. That comes from experience.
Mom came in and sat next to me. "Hey, Dash?"
She smiled at me. "You and Applejack are getting on really well."
I went a bit red. "Uh... yeah. I guess."
She laughed a bit. "Hey, 'cause you were so super on Mother's Day, I decided to get you a little present." She pulled out two tickets, and it was only when I saw the writing on them that I realised that they were for tomorrow night, for K-Colt Live, the most popular music concert in Equestria. I looked at them for ages before squealing. "Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh!"
"Thought you'd like them."
I stared at her. "They're actually for me?"
She laughed again. "No, they're for me." she said, giving me a nudge. "Of course they're for you, dumbo!" She gave them to me, and I held them up to the light to check that they weren't forged or anything. It still wasn't sinking in.
"How did you get these?" I asked.
Mom tapped her nose. "I have contacts."
I thought for a moment. "Dad's going, isn't he?"
"Uhm...yeah. Yeah, he is."
Ten minutes later
Mom left me to decide who to take with me. Surprisingly, she didn't want to go herself.
"Nah," she said, "you treat somepony special."
Somepony special? Hmmmm......
I won't take Fluttershy... she'd find it way too loud and whatever. Or Rarity; she'd spent about a year getting ready only to refuse at last minute on the grounds that "your taste in music is far too uncouth" or something stupid. Twilight? Uhm... no. I love her and all, but there might be dancing involved. Forget two left hooves, poor Twi has four left hooves!
Pinkie Pie? Maybe. She likes most of the same music that I do, and she's pretty rad at dancing. But...
To be honest there's one pony I've been aching to take out. She's awesome at dancing, she appreciates good music, and... she'd look gorgeous under strobe lighting. Horseapples, she looks good under any kind of lighting.
Three minutes later
"Mom, I'm taking Applejack with me to the concert, if that's okay."
"More than okay. You'll have an amazing time. Look on the tickets, you missed a bit!"
Missed what? I looked down, squinting at the print. Wait...
"VIP?! We've got VIP tickets??" I yelled, running over to hug her.
"Uh huh. Thought you might want to meet..."
"Well, there's your dad, and then there's..."
Thirty seconds later
We're actually going to meet DJ PON-3 and Octavia!!!!!!! Not to mention ALL the other stage acts (well, most of them.) Dad's gonna show us around as we're both Elements of Harmony - and guess what else? Mom told Dad to expect me to bring Applejack.
I said to her, "Am I that predictable?"
And she said, "Yup."
I don't think my life could get any better. The Vinyl Scratch is the best radio show in history!
AJ had better be free - this is gonna be so, so AWESOME!!!
6:12pm - Sweet Apple Acres
I took a deep breath and knocked on the door. Applejack answered, and grinned at me.
"Howdy, Rainbow! What brings y'all here this evenin'?"
Something about the way she looked made it almost impossible to talk. "Uh... I... uhm..." I clenched the tickets tight in my hoof. "Applejack...I...uhm..."
"Are you alright, sugarcube?"
She called me 'sugarcube'.
Shut up, brain. She calls everypony 'sugarcube'.
I laughed. "Hehehe, yeah. I'm...fine. Yeah."
"You wanna come inside with me?"
Oh, boy. You have no idea what I wanna do with you, Applejack. Shut up, Dash!!!
Five minutes later - Sweet Apple Acres living room
We sat down on the couch, and AJ got us some juice. "You hungry?"
"No, I'm fine." I smiled, internally begging the butterflies in my stomach to quit it.
"So..." she grinned back, taking a slurp of her juice, "what can Ah do you for?"
I still kept the tickets in my hoof, hiding them behind my back just a little. "I have... a present for you."
Applejack gasped. "Really? Oh, Dash, you don't ha-" I suddenly pressed her ticket in her open hoof and she went silent. For a moment, she gazed at it, before looking at me, then back to the ticket. "Oh, Rainbow... K-Colt Live? Oh, Ah could kiss you."
She looked at me and laughed. "Don't worry, Ah won't. Hey, thank you, Rainbow. An'...you're comin' too?"
"Yeah. VIP, all-inclusive, get to see my dad... et cetera et cetera..."
Her face brightened (oddly.) "Is your dad... Notedash?"
I went red. "Heh...yeah."
Applejack grinned. "Thought it was! Ah absolutely love his music. You must be so proud of him!"
Ha. "Dad's music is pretty great, I admit...but he gets so embarrassing sometimes!"
AJ snorted and smirked. "Oh yeah? Like how?"
"Oh, I dunno..." I thought, before a memory sprung to my mind that made me cringe. "That time he kissed my mom at the end of a concert a couple years back."
"Well, that ain't too bad, is it? Ah think it's quite romantic."
"AJ, they were making out. With tongue."
10:34pm - Home, in bed
Result! AJ's free tomorrow night.
Do I call it a "date" as such? Or is it just a concert? Or is it just a date-type-friend-outing-thing?
One minute later
Should I make an effort outfit-wise? Or should I just be casual? You know, glow sticks and shades?
Two minutes later
If I do dress up, what on Earth am I gonna wear? No point asking Rarity: she only does townpony type outfits.
One minute later
I am going to improvise and ad-lib within an inch of my life. I need to be spontaneous and fresh to keep my reputation...cool. Right.
With all this growing party fever, I don't think I'll ever get to sleep tonight....
Saturday - PARTY TIME!!
11am - Home
Rifling through my wardrobe at lightning speed!!!!
And why did I decide to dress with improvisosity? I mean, improviseness! I mean.. oh, I don't know!
There's only eight and a half hours until the concert... how in Ponyville am I gonna be ready in time? Ohmygoshhhhhhhh........
Wait a second... I'm Rainbow Dash. And I'm having a girly fit over what I'm gonna wear??
No way. That's not how I work. I'm gonna wear what I wanna wear, and I'm gonna look cool wearing it.
Ready! Shades, glow sticks, and my denim jacket with my hair loose. Perfect!
Make-up. How do I put make-up on, anyway? Never done it myself before. Oh well, can't hurt that much.
One minute later
OWWW!!! OWW PONYFEATHERS OW owwwwww horseapples. Ow.
Mascara brush in the eye. It does hurt that much!
Two minutes later
Right, done. At AJ's for 5:30, an hour and a half train to the venue, then thirty minutes to beat the queues. I'm sooooo excited.
Went down to see Mom. She smiled at my outfit (for once.)
"You look lovely! I like your shades."
I blushed. "Thanks. I'm a bit nervous, though."
She offered me a seat next to her on the sofa and I perched down gingerly, as if the slightest move could wreck my appearance. "No need to be." she said. "You'll have a great time, and so will Applejack. Just act normal."
"Mom, I can't act normal! I have you for a mother."
She gave me a little poke before laughing. "Well, yeah, I admit, I'm not the most normal of parents. But who wants normality when they can have Firefly the Supermom, eh?"
I facehoofed, but grinned nonetheless. "You think I should just be myself?"
"Yes. And that's the best you can be." she said. "If Applejack doesn't want you, she's stupid. You're an incredibly special little mare, my girl."
"Thanks, Mommy." I said, hugging her, and she gave me a curious look.
"What...did you just...did you just call me 'Mommy'?"
I laughed. "Yup. You know that one time you were going on about connecting with your 'inner foal' to find peace? I think I'm doing that. Or I'm inheriting your insanity, could be either."
Mom smiled and hugged me back. "Who's awesome?" she said, starting up this old phrase-exchanging game we had when I was little.
"I dunno, Mom... who is?"
"You are, Rainbow Dash!" we both laughed, and memories flooded my mind. Memories of all the things we'd done together, all the talks we'd had, all the vacations, the trips, the endless, endless flights through the endless, empty sky. Everything.
"You're awesome." we chorused to each other.
5:28pm - Outside Sweet Apple Acres
Waiting for AJ to come out. I've been told by Big MacIntosh to wait just a second.
"Y'all look mighty fine, Rainbow Dash, if you don' min' me complimentin' you like that. Ah think AJ would gimme an earful if Ah said that in front'a her."
I blushed, trailing my hoof in the ground a bit. "Thanks, MacIntosh, that's real sweet. Why wouldn't she...?" I asked tentatively.
"She might get it int'a her head that Ah like you. She wouldn't like that because she's the one that likes you, not me. No offence." He stayed still purposely after saying that, implying that it wasn't just a slip of the tongue. I blushed even more, my wings trembling under my jacket. I couldn't believe it.
"W...wha...did...she..." I stuttered, my heart beating hard.
"Eeyup." I opened my mouth to beg him to tell me more; urge him to spend time going over every little detail of this rumour, no matter where he'd got it from. But somehow, I stayed silent, my vocal chords unexpectedly out of order. Big MacIntosh chuckled pleasantly. "Well, Ah done given y'all somethin' t'chew on, there... Here she comes down the stairs jus' now. Hey, keep it shush, Ah don' wan' her knowin' anythin' Ah told ya. Right?"
I nodded vigorously, and watched as he moved out of the way and let Applejack step through the doorway and out into the moonlit yard.
She looked breathtaking. Absolutely, amazingly perfect in every single way that it is possible to be. Her hair shimmered in the light like gold, winding down and around her neck in a neat plait. Her face was lit up by her pleasant, meaningful smile, and I could see that she too had attempted to put on some make-up, even if it was incredibly uncharacteristic of her. She wasn't wearing anything too fancy, just two apple-shaped hair-slides keeping her forelock out of her face, and a red jacket to match her similar coat colour. I smiled back at her, not being able to do much else.
"All set, sugarcube?" she giggled, trotting over. Her tail flickered against mine, and I shivered. She looked at me curiously. "Hey, are ya cold? Ah got a coat if you wanna borrow it..."
"Nah, I'll be fine." I replied, as casually as I could. "Shall we get going?"
6:21pm - The train
Jamming with AJ to Dad's newest album. It really is awesome music, even if I say so myself.
Being like this, just rocking out to music together... it's so... normal. My heart's beating normally, I'm not doing anything stupid, I'm not fiddling with my outfit... It's so much better this way. It feels... right.
7:10pm - K-Colt Live
Queues! Who'd have thought?
I said to AJ, "We've been stuck here forever!"
She laughed, "Ten minutes, Dash."
"But we're nowhere near the front!" Which was true, actually. AJ nodded, and we looked around, before I saw a familiar blue stallion trot down the queue line.
"Dad! Save us, please!"
He rolled his eyes. "Dash, VIP. You have VIP tickets: you don't need to queue."
Oh, yeah! I laughed and hugged him, and Applejack went all formal and polite (I could have sworn she curtsied at one point.)
"You must be Applejack?" said Dad.
"Yes, Mr. Note, sir... Ah'm Applejack..." she said quietly. To our surprise, Dad knelt for a second to kiss Applejack's hoof. She gasped, and went a little red, before grinning. Dad chuckled. "Now, shall we get going inside before we miss the music?"
"That sounds like a great idea." said AJ.
"Are you girls ready, then?" Dad laughed.
"Hay yeah!" we chorused.
Waiting for the concert to begin. The arena is packed out; we're pretty near the front, and if I turn around, I can just see a sea of glow sticks. Hyped!!
Ten minutes later
The concert began and the music was on, loud. I suddenly forgot everything that had been bugging me for the past two weeks and danced my best. I noticed almost immediately that Applejack was a really good dancer; even though she never listened to pop or rock music (I supposed), she moved better than any filly on the floor. I saw a few colts trot past and abruptly stop to gaze at her with their mouths gaping open, but I gave them a dagger-glance and they shuffled off almost as quickly as they had appeared. Hah.
Best act so far? Either the DJ herself or the Cloudsdale Revolutionists (stupid name for a rock band.) AJ loved Guitarstrings. He sings so fast!
One thing I noticed about DJ P0N-3 and Octavia: they actually are like how they act on the show. Always disagreeing, with Octavia occasionally getting humiliated while the DJ teases her, but they're pretty affectionate. They keep flirting (well, Vinyl keeps flirting.) and stuff. They must be dating... I wonder what being fillyfoolers is like for them?
Could me and AJ ever be like that?
I was right when I said that she'd look good under strobe lighting. I'm dancing with the best-looking mare in the club, and she only wants to dance with me! It's like a dream come true. Tonight is a dream come true.
Filly Antebellum, AJ's favourite country band, is on stage. They're actually really awesome.
They're playing "Own The Night", and Applejack is singing along properly (as opposed to screaming, like everypony else.)
Two minutes later
The lead singer of F.A. shouted out. "Okay, let's have a slow one! Ah want y'all t'find yourselves a partner, 'cause we're gonna waltz!"
Applejack whispered, "Betcha anythin' the next song is "Can't Take My Eyes Off You". You wanna dance with me?"
I nodded, surprising myself. We just gently wrapped our hooves around each other and prepared ourselves, unlike most of the girls in the crowd, who were hastily looking for single stallions to dance with.
A slow country beat kicked in and we started dancing, looking at each other and giggling. I was blushing really hard, but luckily the lighting meant that nopony could see (I hope.)
Applejack started humming the tune with the leading mare singing on stage as we gently twirled, and I could feel my heart beat quickening. The lyrics were romantic and heartfelt.
Suddenly, we locked gazes. I looked closely into Applejack's perfect emerald eyes, and the world seemed to fall away. The music was quieter, all the other ponies were insignificant. It was just us, dancing. I moved my forehooves further around her midsection, and we leaned in. My heart rate quickened even more. We got closer, and closer, and closer...
"Oh, Rainbow... Ah could kiss you..."
Claps interrupted us, nose-to-nose. We broke apart and saw a sea of ponies around us, stomping their hooves and yelling.
"Whoa, that was epic!"
"Are you two trained in dancing or summin'?"
"Sick! I could never do that."
"You looked so romantic..."
We looked at each other, before bursting out in laughter.
"Thanks, guys. We're just having a good time." I said, wrapping a wing around AJ, who looked redder than I felt. I saw that the lights had gone up for the interval, so I quickly saluted the crowd of new fans and ushered her to the stage.
9:04pm - Green room
We met Dad in the "green room", (more stupid names; it's not even green, for Pete's sake!) which is essentially where musicians go before performing and during the interval and stuff. We waited for about two minutes before the acts began arriving.
"Hey, Note! 'Sup!"
It was the Cloudsdale Revolutionists!! I had to clamp my hoof over my mouth to stop myself from squealing.
"Not much, guys! Great set out there. Talk about glow sticks!"
They laughed and bro-hoofed, and AJ and I stood there, dazed. Dad laughed and pointed to us, "This is my daughter, Rainbow Dash, and her guest, Applejack. You may know them as-"
Strummer, the guitarist of the band, cut him off. "Elements of... of... wait, I got this!... Uh... Loyalty! That's you, Rainbow Dash, isn't it? And Applejack is..."
High-Hat, the drummer, finished his band mate's sentence. "Honesty? That's right."
They laughed, and we shook hooves. I was still reeling a little bit from everything that had happened in the past hour. Just then, a few more ponies trotted in from the stage door, and Applejack almost fell over. Filly Antebellum!
"Whoa, Ah need a drink after that one!" the pianist chuckled.
The female singer nodded, and swayed over to the water machine. "Howdy y'all! Notedash, you're up next, right?"
Dad nodded. "Nice set, Summerbreeze. Hey, you guys had the whole arena hooked on your last song!"
Summerbreeze laughed. "Sure did! One couple got all the attention out there... Real professionals!"
Mezzo, the pianist, nudged her. "Hey, Ah don't know if you've noticed, but... They're right there!" He pointed to us, and Summerbreeze blushed. "Oh! Girls, Ah'm so sorry! Ah never-"
"It's fine," laughed Applejack, "we enjoyed dancin'."
The guitarist and male lead, Chord Medley, winked at Applejack. "We gotta cowgirl in the crowd! Where ya from, sweet pea?"
"Just outta Ponyville." she replied, tipping her hat and giving her tail a flick.
We got chatting to the two bands, each sharing stories of how they met and began their musical careers, when we were interrupted once more by some familiar voices.
"Make way, make way, here comes the cool!"
Another mare piped up. "Shut up, Vinyl. Just shut up."
It was the DJ and Octavia! Vinyl strolled in, greeting everypony with a hug, including us. Octavia shook our hooves politely.
"You guys are two of those element whatsits, aren't you?"
"Elements of Harmony." corrected Octavia.
We nodded, and Vinyl's face lit up. "You should come on the show! Bring the others along, we'd have a proper party!"
Octavia hid her face with a hoof. "No. We're not humiliating and ridiculing these two. They were part of the group that saved Equestria from eternal damnation twice, remember?"
"Humiliate and ridicule? Of course I wouldn't!" She winked at us, and we burst out laughing before Octavia dragged her away.
9:21pm - Dad's dressing room
After chatting with the musicians, we went to spend the last five minutes or so with Dad in his dressing room. It was big, with a proper wardrobe and mirrors, and they even had lights around them. Applejack stood at the doorway in awe, while I casually trotted in and fetched some Cola from the mini-fridge.
"So, how's Mom?" Dad asked, inspecting his mane.
"Mad. Utterly, utterly mad." I replied, rolling my eyes.
"Good to hear she's acting normally." Dad chuckled.
Applejack, hearing our conversation, walked over. "She made a memory tree with us." she said quietly.
"A what?" Dad asked, and we explained about the pictures and the photographs and the lights and the lanterns. When we had finished, he smiled at us warmly. "That's my Firefly." he said wistfully. "Seemingly crazy on the outside, but she really has got a heart of gold."
Applejack nodded. "Nopony's ever done somethin' like that for us before. It was an amazin' evenin', an' we owe her a lot. Granny told her that she's always welcome at our farm!"
Dad grinned. "Nice to see the Earth ponies still love her. They always have."
I smiled. "So, you're up next. You ready?"
"Hay yeah!" he laughed.
"Dad? One more thing."
"Please don't drag me on stage."
Dad just came on! He totally rocks.
I've never danced so much in my life. I have the coolest parents!
One minute later
Oh. My. Gosh. Did I just say that I have the best parents?? Help! The strobe lights must be making me delirious!
Two minutes later
Dad said, "Before my next song, I'd just like to dedicate this one to my girls, Firefly and Rainbow Dash. I love you both so, so much."
And then he sang "Angels". I'm smiling all over (not that smiling all over is even possible.)
11:38pm - Back in Ponyville, Sweet Apple Acres
Applejack and I stumbled back to her farm from the train station like complete drunks. It was cold, and the stars twinkled above us, and I was freezing and exhausted, but happy. I lent against my companion, using her weight for support. We got to her door, and before she went in, she gazed at me.
"Rainbow, Ah don't think Ah've ever had so much fun in my life. That was... incredible."
"Thank you so much for coming along." I smiled. "It wouldn't have been the same without you there. And... you really are an amazing dancer."
Applejack went a little bit red and giggled. "Oh, sugar, no way. You're better than me by a landslide. Or a mudslide, take your pick!" she laughed, relieving last year's heated competition.
I laughed along. "Yeah. Hey, thanks, though."
"Thank you too! We should do this again sometime."
"We should. Goodnight!"
"Nigh- Oh, Dash, wait!"
I had started trotting away, but she called me back, so I turned around.
And then it happened.
She kissed me, twice; a long one on the cheek, then, after pulling away to look into my eyes, a peck on the lips.
I reeled, and grinned at her. She grinned back.
"Whoa..." we both breathed.
"Am I drunk?" I said, stepping back and almost falling over.
"You are now..." Applejack smirked, equally dazed. "Don't breathe a word of this to anypony, or Ah may have t'kill you."
I nodded. "Goodnight Applejack."
Midnight - In bed
Best. Night. Ever.
It's official; I'm in love with Applejack, and she's in love with me, too. I know it.
When we were dancing, it was... amazing. I know she loves me. She kissed me twice!
(Side note: I'm not actually drunk. Love drunk, maybe, but not drunk drunk.)
I need to sleep on this. There's only one thing left to do, and that's to let the cat out of the bag.
Not that I have a cat in a bag. Just saying.
I have to tell her. I have to confess. I have to get this thing started somehow... anyhow...
To be concluded...
8:13am - Home
Mom's going home today. She won't be here when I get back from work. I really am going to miss her.
We hugged for ages and ages before I had to leave for work.
"You've dealt with all this stuff pretty well. You hung in there better than I would have, trust me." she told me. I laughed.
"Thanks. I never thought I'd say this, but... you've been a great help."
She grinned. "That's what I'm here for, sweetheart. And hey, you can phone me anytime. I'll be right there."
I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. Oh, not again!!!
"Oh, Dash, don't cry... You couldn't wait to see the back of me three weeks ago!" She giggled, and I just cried harder. She held me tight, and I buried my face in her mane.
"I don't want to live alone anymore, Mom..." I mumbled.
"But you have the power to change that! You need to follow your heart, and it'll take you on the right track. I have a feeling you won't be alone for long."
We shared one last long hug before I made for the door.
"Follow your heart, Dash!" She called from the doorway as I flew out.
11:24am - Work
Passed Dessie whilst working on tonight's sunset coverage. He looked over at me, before gesturing towards Galaxy, a young mare who works in the office. I gave him a perplexed look, before he looked down, and I followed his sight to his hooves. He was clutching a bunch of tulips in them, her favourite flowers. I winked at him, and he floated up to her, before gently giving her the flowers. Her face lit up, and she blushed, leaning forward to nuzzle his nose. He returned the affection, grinning.
I guess Twilight was right when she once told us that there's love out there for everypony. Why is she always right about this stuff??
Ten minutes later
Somepony slipped me a note:
Meet me in my office as soon as you can.
Oh nooooooooo. The last thing I need is the boss on my back!!
Five minutes later
On the way to Silver's office, I found myself shaking a little bit. I knocked on the door quietly, and heard a familiar voice within.
I entered, and he looked serious. Oh no. "Rainbow Dash... Take a seat."
I sat down carefully. "Yes, boss?"
"I need to talk to you about something important, so listen carefully."
I nodded, and he continued. "A youngster a few years below you has shown excellent potential in his line of work. Subsequently, I have decided to promote him to Co-Operative Weather Field Operator for Ponyville, which is your position."
My gut dropped. Some rookie was taking my place! I stayed silent, in disbelief.
"Because of this, I need to make a decision to either promote or demote you, too."
I'm getting demoted. I must be getting demoted.
"This, Rainbow, is a difficult decision for me to make. Your attitude towards work has been mixed over the past few weeks, and certain performances have left much to be desired."
I stayed still, holding my breath. "However, you have always been a hard worker, and you redeemed yourself particularly well after that little... incident... you had a couple of weeks ago."
I breathed out slowly.
"For that reason, amongst others, you have proven to me that you are worthy of having me step up your game a little. From tomorrow onwards, you will have the title of Chief Weather Engineering Director for Ponyville and the surrounding area."
Naturally, I handled the situation with sophistication that is second to none.
"OHMYGOSHOHMYGOSHOHMYGOSHOHMYGOSH!!! You actually mean that?? I'm getting promoted?!"
Silver looked at me, before breaking out in a grin and low chuckle. "Yes, Rainbow. I suppose you are getting promoted."
Best day ever! Well, almost. I'm still lost in the maze of luuurve.
"Dash?" It was Decimal!
"Dessie! Hey, guess what? I'm getting promoted! Oh my gosh!"
Decimal grinned. "Well done, pal! I know you can get through anything if you put your mind to it. Hey, I just popped down to Sweet Apple Acres to chat to Big MacIntosh about how the weather is going over that side of town, and Applejack asked me to give this to you."
He gave me a note, neatly folded, with "Rainbow" neatly written on the top. I have well and truly entered Note Central with the amount of messages I've received today.
"Open it!" he laughed, before waving and trotting off.
Two minutes later
My hooves are shaking. What if it's a break-up note? I mean, like, she doesn't want to be friends with me anymore?
Or what if it's the opposite? What if it's a confession of love? Oh, no, it won't be. My life isn't that good.
One minute later
The note read:
"Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today."
Meet me by our Memory Tree on the orchard at 7:30pm tonight. Let me know if you can't make it.
What in the hay is that supposed to mean??
Oh well! She wants to meet me tonight!!
4:10pm - Home
When I got in, I yelled "Mom! I'm home!" from the front door.
I'd completely forgotten she wasn't here.
I knew I wouldn't find her, but I still looked around every room in the house for her, just hoping that she might still appear out of nowhere. I even went into the spare room and had a little cry. I never knew I could miss her so much...
Applejack must go through hell without her mom.
Eating dinner. Alone.
I really hope Mom was right about the whole "you won't be alone for long" thing. I think I'm just about being sick of being almost completely on my own all the time. Almost, of course, because of Tank. He's still here. I give him a cuddle every so often when I feel upset. I think he understands why. He sort of cuddles back, putting his little arms over my hooves and such. It's really cute.
I've decided to confess my feelings. It's the only way.
Yawn. This luuuurve stuff is making me so tired...
7:28pm - Sweet Apple Acres
When I got to the orchard, I waited under the tree a little bit, before seeing Applejack arrive.
She trotted across the yard before reaching the tree, and she hugged me tight when she saw me. I hugged her back, and my heart immediately warmed.
She looked me in the eyes for a second, before smiling. "So, you wanna watch the sunset together? It's a real nice view up here, Ah think."
I nodded, and we settled down by the tree, gazing at the horizon where the sun dipped carefully in and out of the clouds. We sat in silence for a few moments, and I looked over at Applejack. The lowering light cascaded down over her coat, and her mane glowed softly.
"Applejack..." I said, my voice quivering.
"Yes, sugar?" she asked quietly.
"I have something... I need to... I mean, I need... uh.."
She suddenly leant over me, and put her hoof to my lips. "Shh, there, Rainbow. Ah know."
She... she.. knew?!
She removed her hoof, and I blushed. "B-but... I never even..."
"Neither did Ah."
She sighed slowly. "We've both been feelin' somethin' fer a while now, haven't we?"
"Well, I have. I mean-oh, horseapples! You were asking for that!"
AJ chuckled lightly. "Ah have too, sugar."
We stared at each other, and time slowed down. Everything seemed to stop; the breeze, the sunset, the gentle rustling of the leaves...
And by instinct, we kissed.
A powerful surge of blissful butterflies floated up my stomach, and my head whirled. I had never, ever felt something quite so strange, yet so amazing, and every fibre of my being drew me closer to Applejack. We desperately wrapped hooves around each other, and Applejack pushed me down to the floor, deepening the kiss. She was in complete control... but I didn't care. I wanted to stay like that forever; all my dreams coming true in that one moment as I lay in the arms of the mare I loved the most...
Wow. I never knew I was capable of writing something so sappy. Oh well!
Applejack eventually broke the kiss, and we caught our breath in harmonic silence. I gazed into her brilliant emerald eyes, and my heart skipped another few beats.
Finally, the words that had caught me back for weeks escaped my lips.
"I love you."
Applejack's eyes moistened, and she stroked a hoof down my cheek. "Oh, Rainbow, Ah love you too..."
Something then popped into my mind.
"Your... your crush! What about..."
"Are y'all completely dumb, sweetie?"
I narrowed my eyes. "Excuse me?"
She laughed, and my confusion melted away. "Oh, Dash..." she smiled, leaning in for another kiss, "You were my crush. Ah had my eyes on you the whole time."
I kissed her again, quickly. "Really?"
"Really, my sugarcube. Really."