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Twilight Sparkle laid curled up in her bed, eyes wet, nose runny, and feeling horrible. The door to her room was locked, and Spike had been told not to disturb her. Twilight Sparkle was in for a good long cry.
Eventually, the sobs wracking her body stopped long enough for her to catch her breath. I should've seen it coming, she told herself again and again. Why would Rainbow Dash ever be interested in me, let alone write me love letters? The sobs returned in full force.
Twilight cursed herself for falling for the letters so easily. She should've known nopony saw her that way. She wasn't beautiful like Rarity or Fluttershy, or strong like Applejack or Rainbow Dash. She wasn't even funny like Pinkie Pie. She was just an egghead, good for magic and books, nothing else.
Twilight curled up in a ball, trying to hold herself together. She ignored the concerned calls of Spike, and slowly shut out the world, piece by piece.
Rainbow Dash had screwed up big time. This was worse than when she'd done a Sonic Rainboom over Ponyville and broken nearly all the glass in the town. This was worse than when she'd pranked the Princess. This was worse than when she'd been rude and insensitive. The look on Twilight's face was imprinted in Dash's mind and it broke her heart.
Dash looked down at the letter Twilight had dropped and looked over it again.
I've found myself quite flattered by the letters I've received. I can't help but wonder about the wonderful pony who must've sent them. Would you like to talk over some coffee and a slice of pineapple upsidedown cake?
Dash felt hot tears rolling down her face again. She didn't bother to wipe them away, just letting them fall down off the cloud where she laid. "Nice work Dash," she spat. "You did everything perfectly, just like always." She let out a bitter, harsh laugh. "The prank went off without a hitch. Twilight fell for you, and what did ya do? You broke her heart." The tears flowed faster. "T-that was w-what you were aiming for, r-right?" She struggled to keep from breaking into full blown sobs. "W-well, mission accomplished."
She buried her face in the cloud, muffling her sobs. She beat her hoofs against the cloud, trying to get out her anger, but all she felt was emptiness. After a long time, the tears stopped, and she sat up. Her eyes were bloodshot and she stared blankly at the sky. The sun was beginning to sink low in the sky.
Rainbow gave a tired flap of her wings and lifted into the air, making her way slowly back to her home. The inside was a wreck, but Dash paid it no heed. She moved sluggishly through the halls and into her bedroom. She collapsed onto her bed. She was tired but restless, sleep not finding her. She could still see the betrayal on Twilight's face.
Rainbow Dash was furious at herself. How had she let that happen to Twilight? If Dash felt so bad, how would Twilight be feeling. You made her feel that way, Dash berated herself. It's your fault in the first place she's hurting. If you hadn't been so stupid, none of this would've happened.
Dash sat up, wiping the tears from her eyes. It's my fault Twilight's hurting, I need to make this right. I need to show Twilight that it was more than just a prank. That I really did feel something for her. Her mind made up, Dash took to the sky and quickly made her way to the Ponyville library.
Deciding to take the safe route, she landed by the front door and knocked. A muffled voice responded and Dash heard the sounds of footsteps making their way to the door. A moment later Spike greeted her.
"Rainbow Dash! I'm glad you're here," Spike panted, relief clear on his face. "Something really upset Twilight, she's in her room and she won't come out." Spike wrung his hands, shaking as he spoke. "She won't talk to me, but maybe she'll talk to you. "
"Sure thing Spike. You stay down here though. I think this is something that Twilight and I need to talk about alone." With that she made her way up the stairs. The tension in the air was palpable. Dash's stomach churned with guilt.
Finally she got to the door and knocked. She heard a muffled reply but no movement. She knocked again. "Spike, I just need some time a-alone." Twilight mumbled.
"Twilight?" Dash said quietly. The other side of the door fell silent. "Twilight, will you please let me in to talk to you?" Still no sounds came from her room. "Twilight, I know how you feel. You're hurt, you feel like you've been betrayed, but let me exp-" Dash was cut off by the door opening swiftly. Dash was yanked inside unceremoniously.
Twilight sat on her bed and glowered at Dash. If looks could kill, Dash would be a goner. She opened her mouth to speak before Twilight cut her off. "Let you explain?" she asked. "Let you explain!? What are you going to explain? How you pranked me? How you manipulated my emotions through letters. How you lied in every one of them, just to make me feel a certain way? Is that what you're going to explain?!" Tears began to make there way down her cheeks as she spoke, making her voice crack.
The room fell quiet once again, Dash trying to figure out how to respond to Twilight. Finally, she managed, "Yes." Twilight stared at Dash, dumbfounded by the simple reply. Seeing her moment, Dash continued. "Yeah, it all started out as a prank. I was angry over the whole Mare-Do-Well thing. I came up with a little prank I thought would be harmless." Twilight's eyebrow rose at this, but Dash continued. "I thought maybe I'd distract you from your books for a bit while you tried to figure out who was sending you the letters. I never guessed you'd get feelings for me."
"So that makes it alright?" Twilight couldn't hold herself back as she spat, "Because you didn't know what would happen?" Dash sighed and shook her head.
"No, you're right. That doesn't make it okay. Nothing can make that okay. I hurt you. It was cruel, mean, and something you didn't deserve." Twilight was quiet, thinking on Rainbow's words. "I explained why I pranked you, and I explained why I manipulated you, now let me explain why I said what I said in the letters."
The two mares looked each other in the eyes as Dash went on. "Every word I wrote in those letters was the truth. There was not a single lie among them." Confusion was apparent on Twilight's face but Dash continued before she could ask any questions. "When I was first writing the letters, I looked for things I could say about you. I looked for compliments and sweet things, everything you'd expect. It was something I hadn't really done before, but the more I wrote, the easier it became. Eventually, it became what you got in the letters. I didn't lie about any bit of that. I thought over what makes you incredible as a friend and as a pony, and I came to see a mare who anypony would be lucky to date.
"I fell for you while I wrote the letters, and I didn't even know. I only truly knew this morning. The letter I was going to give you was a letter arranging a time and place to meet. I wanted something real, not a prank, and I still do want it. You're incredible Twilight, and I am truly sorry for hurting you." Twilight was quiet as Dash spoke, taking in all her words. She sat in silence as she thought. Butterflies fluttered in Dash's stomach as she waited to see what Twilight would say.
The unicorn got up off her bed and moved over to where Dash stood. She stood in front of her friend for a moment, just looking into her eyes. Twilight slapped Dash, catching her off guard. A red welt quickly rising on her cheek. Twilight watched as Dash's eyes went through a gamut of emotion; shock, sadness, anger, and finally, acceptance.
With a sigh, Dash began to turn and said, "Well, I hope we can at least still be friends." She made her way to the door before it swung shut in front of her. Dash regarded the door as if it were a book in another language.
"That slap," Twilight said, walking over to Dash. "Was for the prank." In an instant she closed the space between them and pecked Dash on the lips. "That was for the letters," she finished, pulling Rainbow into her embrace. Warmth spread through both of them, healing up their wounded hearts.
"Do you see that star there?"
"The one next to the Big Dipper?"
"Yeah, that one! That is the first star in Starswirl's Belt. That star and then the two make it up."
"Is it that one there, or that one there?
"It's that one there. You can tell because it's also pa- Ohhh wow! Did you see that shooting star?"
"Wasn't that a comet?"
"No, they're two entirely different things!"
"Huh. Never knew."
"It's beautiful out here."
"It really is. I'm glad I can share this with you."
"Do you know when I really first fell for you? It was a couple of nights before we got together. I remember I was writing you a letter, and I was stuck. I couldn't find the right phrasing or something. I decided some fresh air would be good for me, and I went for a fly. Everypony in town was asleep, except for you. You were out stargazing. I'd never really cared for it myself, but I looked up and tried to see what you saw. It was beautiful. I couldn't understand why I hadn't spent the time to care about it before. And then I looked back down at you, and there was something even more beautiful. And everything I felt about you changed. I finally understood beauty that night."
"You are beauty."
Under the light of the moon, the two lovers kissed.