A/N:This chapter is a little shorter than most others. But I think you'll like it the best... ;)
The sky had already begun to darken over Ponyville, as a bank of dark storm clouds had drifted in during the past hour.
And still, Twilight Sparkle searched.
She was prowling every single corner, every single cranny, and every single extremely annoyed stand owner. But as of yet, there was no sign of the rainbow maned pony.
I have to admit, she is remarkably well at hiding... she thought. Hey, there's Rarity-oh come on, she's doing that 'look away calmly' thing. I don't have time for this, I have to find Dash! What if she's lost?
Her own thoughts driving her more and more worried, the purple mare's pace quickened as she set out for a certain cottage near the outskirts of the Everfree Forest.
Arriving in minutes, Twilight knocked on the door as hard as she could. "Fluttershy!" she shouted. "Are you there? I need your help, and quick!"
No response came from inside the small hut, and the unicorn knocked again, before pacing impatiently. "Come on, come ON!" she cried. "Please!"
It became apparent, soon, that the yellow pegasus was not at home. Sighing, the purple mare fell to the ground. Oh, it's hopeless...I've searched everywhere...Pinkie's busy...I'm tired...and Fluttershy's not home...and I just...don't know why she did it. Can it get any worse?
As if in reply, a growl of thunder came from the skies above, as the rain began to pour down almost perfectly in synchronization with the first tear that leaked from Twilight's eye.
...I really have to quit asking that.
As the rain poured on, soaking into the unicorn's mane, Twilight rested her head upon her hooves, throat tightening.
What went wrong? she thought. I mean, all I've done is try to help...but I guess some ponies don't like that...
Suddenly, her head lifted up. But maybe she was right? A pony's personal life isn't something you should intrude into, whether you love them or not. I guess...I already did that a little too much...
"We're going to find you a new job!"
"Woah, woah, woah. You can't just find a job, y'know."
"I guess I'll have to make the right choice then, huh?"
"Whatever choice you make is the right choice..."
She trusted me. She trusted me, but not in the way that I thought she was.
She trusted me to let her make her own decision, and to let her run her own life.
And I failed. I was selfish. I was only thinking of myself. I had no clue that she felt this way...
I messed up. And there's only one thing I wish I could say to her...
"I'm sorry..." whispered the unicorn. "I'm sorry, OK?"
Taking a deep breath, Twilight Sparkle stood up, and yelled out, voice cracking with emotion:
"I'm sorry, Dash, OK? I don't care if you can't hear me, I just want to apologize! I'm sorry! Please...come back!"
Spent, the purple unicorn collapsed back onto the soft, muddy ground, not even bothering to wince at the mud that splattered onto her coat. Her hooves went over her head, trying to offer minimal shelter against the torrent of rain. Her cries were drowned out by the low booming of thunder.
The sound of squelching came from a distance, nearly inaudible, growing in volume until it reached a position next to her, and stopped. The rain stopped hitting her relentlessly, but it still poured all the same outside. I'm...not getting hit anymore?
"That's all I wanted to hear, Twilight. You passed."
Sniffing, the unicorn lifted her head, seeking out the voice. Her neck brushed against what felt to be a sodden mane, and she craned her neck to look up, and try to see what was there.
"R-Rainbow!" she cried.
Sure enough, it was Rainbow Dash. She was standing over the unicorn, sheltering her with her own body. Though her mane and tail hung down with the weight of thousands of water droplets, a gentle smile still lit up her face.
"Wh-what did I pass?" asked Twilight. "Where were you?!"
"Well, Twi'..." muttered the earth pony. "I gotta' tell you something...as a filly, I don't know why, but everypony seemed to like me. I never realized that they were just joking. They lead me on, and when we got to that moment...they laughed, and called it a joke."
"So, what are you-"
Dash sighed, shaking her head. "I've had my heart broken too many times. This may sound stupid, but...I thought you would leave me if I wasn't the same pony that you always knew. I was scared, I was frightened to death. So I had to be sure."
The low grumble of rolling thunder echoed through the air, before Rainbow continued.
"I'm sorry, Twilight. But I had to be sure that you loved me, no matter what I said. Because most often, when I said things like that to those prissy little stuck up girls, they made fun of me, called me names, and left. But you..."
Rainbow Dash smiled slightly again, her cheeks turning a gentle shade of rose. "...you, Twilight. You passed, you tried to stay with me, you looked for me despite all of that, and that's true love. Not the type that those shallow fillies wrote off as 'love'. I'm glad what I thought was true."
Twilight couldn't decide whether to smile, or to frown because she'd been deceived. "So...you're not leaving?"
At this, the cyan earth pony let out a burst of laughter. "After what you just showed me? Your willingness to return the loyalty that I give you myself? Hay no, Twi'! I'm staying right here!"
"But...those..horrible things you said...?" asked the purple mare, trailing off as she didn't know how to finish the question.
"Twilight, again, I'm sorry." repeated Dash. "In fact, those things are true. You...kind of do think those things a lot. Knowledge and all." She leaned down to plant a quick kiss on the scholar's forehead. "But that's what I like about you so much. It's not what I 'hate', if there's anything that I do hate. You're that bookworm, that one who needs to be sheltered. And..." she gestured to the sky. "...I'm more than glad to be that shelter."
A smile broke out on Twilight's face, and she, too, blushed. But then it faded as she asked another question.
"But...what you said about not being able to fly...how you didn't even want to live...what about that?"
The ex-pegasus sighed. "That...was actually telling the truth. It's just absolutely horrible as of lately...I miss being able to zip like lightning from place to place, and to stun everypony with epic tricks."
"So..." tried Twilight. "The only reason you're still hanging on-"
"-is because of you, Twi'." finished the pegasus. "Of course, Pinkie, Fluttershy, Rarity, and even the memory of Applejack are things that make me like life. Along with flying. But you're the one who tipped me over."
"I...guess I can live with that," said the unicorn.
"C'mon," said Dash. "Let's get home before I catch a cold or something...I've been out here for like, two hours."
As the earth pony stepped away from the unicorn, allowing her to get up, she became quickly enveloped by a large, tight hug. Twilight gripped the rainbow maned pony tight, leaning into her neck as a foal would to its mother.
"Don't you ever do that again," she whispered, eyes shut tight. "I don't know how I'd deal with it."
Rainbow smiled, gently draping a leg around Celestia's student.
"You won't have to, Twilight. Not any more."
“I knew we should’ve gotten back so-ah...ah...Achoo!”
Twilight Sparkle smiled, if only a little bemusedly. “I suppose that’s nature’s way of telling you not to play little love games with me, Dash.”
The cyan pony rolled her eyes, leaning further back into her bed, shivering. “Whatever. Just get me that soup already.”
As the unicorn walked out of the bedroom, she bumped into Spike, who snorted. “Twilight.” he said tersely.
“Spike?” asked the purple mare. “Are you all right?”
The dragon grumbled. “I just still can’t believe you, Twilight. Thanks to you, I’ll never be able to talk to Rarity again.”
Twilight sighed. “Spike, would you please let that go? It’s been a few weeks, at estimate. It isn’t exactly my fault, and I’ll get around to trying to patch things up soon! Just give me a chance.”
Spike sighed. “All right. I’m just saying...smooth move, Twi’.” Without another word, the young dragon sulked off, grumbling something about “lost love...except for her”.
That was really odd of Spike... thought the unicorn, as she carefully picked up a waiting saucer of deep red liquid with a quick violet glow. I guess he’ll get over it soon. The poor guy just needs a little time...
Trotting back into the bedroom, Twilight was greeted by a shivering earth pony, who shook even more tremulously than she had been just seconds ago. Her rose colored eyes seemed distant, as her eyes were only half-lidded, and staring straight ahead. The cyan pony's breathing seemed shallow, and rapid, as if each breath were a painful effort.
"Rainbow...?" said the unicorn. "Are you all right? Just seconds ago, you were..."
Still trembling, Rainbow spoke up. "No, no, I'm...f-fine..."
Creasing her brow in worry, Twilight walked closer to Dash. "You don't look like it..." she muttered. Was she just holding it together for my sake? Carefully, the unicorn lay a forehoof across the stricken pony's forehead, checking for any temperature abnormalities. Please, don't let it be the Fever again...we just tried to prevent that not long ago...
Her hoof, however, encountered a very, very hot forehead, instead of a normal one. She knew from this that it wasn't the Fever, but rather a fever. "You're burning up..." she muttered.
"Yeah," croaked the cyan pony. "Tell me another one..."
Shaking her head slightly, the unicorn gently tapped Dash on the shoulder. "Sit up please," she said. "Just a little. You know that you have to feed a fever, and starve a cold. Because this is no measly cold."
Groaning, Rainbow hauled herself up enough so that she wasn't laying at a perfectly horizontal angle anymore. The pillows were now beneath her lower back, and while it helped to keep her upright, it looked to Twilight like it hurt a bit.
Putting the thought of pillows aside, Twilight began gently spoon-feeding the shivering Dash. At first, the earth pony refused outright, sealing her lips tight, and turning away. After a few attempts, however, her resolve seemed to weaken, upon which she simply gave in, and allowed the unicorn to spoon the dark, tomato flavored liquid into her mouth.
By the time it was all said and done, Rainbow Dash had collapsed back onto the pillows, groaning in what seemed to be pain. "Hang on," said Twilight. "I'll see if I can get a cool cloth or something. Would that help?"
The rainbow maned earth pony nodded, shrinking back further under the dark purple sheets. She wouldn't have to wait long, though. In just a few mere seconds, Twilight Sparkle returned with a damp cloth, and gently positioned it across Rainbow's forehead. The cyan mare sighed, shuddering slightly. "Much...better..." she mumbled.
"If there's anything else you need, just-"
The unicorn's sentence was interrupted when Dash cut her off. "I'm tired," she said, wriggling further back into the sheets.
"Well then...what can I do about that?" asked the unicorn. "Just go to-"
"Tell me a story...or something," continued Rainbow. "It'll give me something else...to focus on."
Twilight smiled slightly at the thought of it. “All right,” she agreed. “I’ll tell you a story.”
The purple mare climbed onto the foot of the bed, took a breath, and began with the ever cliched ‘Once upon a time...’
“Once upon a time”, she began. “There lived a pegasus by the name of Clear Skies, in the village of Ponytown. She loved to fly, and she did it all the time! After all, her job was to clear the skies, and that was how she got her name.”
Rainbow Dash smiled. “I like it already,” she whispered, as though she were a small foal struck by wonder.
The unicorn laughed a little, before continuing. “One day, right around Hearth’s Warming Eve, Clear Skies was flying above Ponytown, when suddenly she noticed something! Her best friend, Literature Pony, was in trouble! It looked like a bunch of sparrows had gotten angry, and were starting to attack all the frightened ponies!
So Clear Skies swooped down, and grabbed Literature Pony as quickly as she could. She knew she had to get out of there, before the mean old birds hurt her friend!”
I wonder if she’s going to notice the relation any time soon...
“Unfortunately, while she was being the hero, one of the birds scratched her eyes, and it hurt a lot! She couldn’t see a thing, but she managed to get her friend out of there. They got to the hospital as soon as they could.
All of her other friends were there, too. Even Prancing Fuschia, Farmertree, Animal Tender, and Fashina! They were all so worried about her, and she knew that. But when she got out there, she felt Literature Pony give her a hug so hard, that she could hardly breathe.
She knew then that her friends were so glad that she was OK, and she was happy, too. But she was a little nervous, because she had something to tell her best friend. But she didn’t know if she could.
Literature Pony offered her somewhere to stay while her eyes got better, and she accepted the offer. It took a while to get home, because it was so hard to see without her vision. But they eventually made it.
Over the next two weeks, Literature Pony took care of Clear Skies. Clear Skies kept wanting to tell her friend what she felt, but she just couldn’t work up the courage. She even talked it over with her best friend’s assistant, Stalacite.
Eventually, the day came when the bandages came off her eyes, and she could see! It was wonderful! The first thing she saw was her special friend, Literature Pony.
She decided that she’d had enough running, so right then and there, she kissed Literature Pony, and told her that she loved her. Clear Skies felt so nervous, and thought that now her friend would hate her forever. But then Literature Pony said that she loved her too!”
The unicorn smiled. “And do you know what happened next?”
Blankly, Rainbow shook her head.
“They lived happily ever after,” finished Twilight Sparkle.
Dash smiled. “Nice story,” she said, yawning. “I think I can go to sleep now.”
“That’s good then,” said Twilight. “Good night.”
As the unicorn reached the hallway, and began gently closing the door, the earth pony called out. “Wait.”
The cyan mare smiled. “I love you, Literature Pony.”
The purple unicorn smiled back.
“I love you too, Clear Skies.”
A/N-You guys earned it. If you stuck through it, you deserve this severe dosage of d’awww. I hope it’s ‘k if I stopped writing sad for this chapter...it should be more than OK, right? :)
Also, if there's any artists, please PM me. I'd like to make a cover for this story.