Dash hadn’t brought her children a gift, she didn’t need to. The look on their faces: just having their mother back was the best possible gift. She’d been gone for so long, she was just as happy to see them as well. Dash didn’t know what had happened between all of friends since she’d been gone but in this moment, it was as if none of it had.
Fluttershy stood beside Applejack. Twilight had Big Mac to her left and Spike to her right. Rarity was standing next to her stallion, Dash still didn’t know his name though. She hadn’t seen Scootaloo in years, but she and Sweetie Belle seemed to be a close as ever still. Hay, even Elusive being here didn’t bug her. Octavia seemed… well she didn’t really know her so she couldn’t really tell, but she was smiling at the beautiful moment.
Pinkie pulled the kids off of Dash’s legs and she continued over to the table. She placed the cake down and grabbed two paper plates. Taking a knife, she cut two, extra-large pieces, getting half of the word ‘kids’ on each. She gave them each a plate and just watched as they dug in. She wanted to just watch them for ever but she couldn’t. “Alright, who else wants a piece?” she called out.
Naturally Pinkie was first “Ooo, me!” and Dash served her up a special piece as well, giving her a piece with the word ‘birthday.’ She served up a piece to everypony else, but made sure to save herself a special piece as well. ‘Happy’. Finally she finished serving everypony except Gilda, who was still in the kitchen, content with her apple, Dash knew Gilda didn’t really like this pony food anyway.
Dash took her plate and sat down on the floor near her children and Pinkie soon joined her. As she sat there, just watching them eat, Pinkie sitting beside her, it felt like old times again. Everything disappeared around her expect Pinkie and the kids. She blinked and a tear fell from her eye but Dash didn’t even notice. It could’ve been a minute or an hour that she sat there but eventually it came to an end as they finished their food.
The moment didn’t end right away though, as Pinkie stood up and gather both Ace and Ven, moving them towards Dash. They wrapped their hooves around her and she returned the hug. She wished this could last forever but everything came snapping back to her when Pinkie joined in the hug as well. Things just weren’t the same as they had been and they never would be. “Pinkie…”
It was all she managed to say before Ace said “I missed you mummy….” Before burying her head back into her mother’s mane. It had always been her favourite place to sleep. She couldn’t say anything now… she didn’t know if she could say anything anyway. She still loved Pinkie and Pinkie loved her too. Just... not the same way.
“I missed you too, Dashie.” Pinkie said, still hugging her. Dash finally realized that she was crying but didn’t even bother trying to hide it. The moment was as beautiful to her as it was heart-breaking. It literally hurt in her chest.
She pulled away and stood up. Dash wiped her face of the tears, not that it made much difference as the tears where quickly replaced by more. “I should wash this up.” She said grabbing the plate the cake had been on, which was now only covered in crumbs and icing. Everypony was looking and she just wanted to get out of there. “I’m sure the others have some gifts for the kids too.” Dash added before she quickly went back into the kitchen.
Pinkie would’ve followed her but Fluttershy stopped her, putting her hoof onto Pinkie’s shoulder. “Um, Pinkie… I’d like to give them my present too. If that’s ok.” Flutttershy said, quite concerned Pinkie would still go after Dash. If that happened they were sure to fight. Even if only words she didn’t want Ace and Ven to see that, especially not today. Pinkie nodded, Fluttershy was satisfied she wouldn’t go after Dash. She turned to the crowd and said “So um, who would like to give their gift first?”
Rarity stepped forward. Everypony expected her to have made them a dress each or some sort of out-fit. She was quite happy at the small surprise everypony got when out of her saddle bag she instead pulled a pair of hoof made, highly detailed plushies of Princess Celestia and Luna. Detailed to the smallest thing, even the individual stars in Luna’s mane where accurate, she’d gotten Twilight’s help with that part. Each was almost as big as the little fillies themselves. And of course she’d made them out of the strongest fabric and thread she could find, these where Pinkie and Dash’s kids after all!
Besides wanting to have her beautiful works seen by all as the first gift, she also knew she was quite tipsy already and would likely be drunk soon if she kept up drinking like she had been. Not just today, but for a while now. She’d seemed to drink almost every day since Flash Dance had proposed to her and she knew it was because she was nervous about the whole situation. She’d gone from celibate for four years, to engaged in as many months. Still, it’s not as if she didn’t like getting drunk every day, the possibility she was becoming an alcoholic as well was what worried her though.
The kids instantly fought over who was going to play with the Luna plush, each grabbing one end and pulling. ‘I really hope that stitching holds…’ Rarity thought to herself.
Fluttershy broke them apart before she could find out however and settled the fight between them. “Ok, so who’s next?” Fluttershy asked, looking about to see who would present the next present. This however was Rarity’s chance to duck away into the kitchen. She wanted to see Rainbow Dash and now that attention was off of her she could do so without anypony noticing.
When she entered, Dash was just standing by the sink, staring into the running water, a gryphon was standing beside her looking quite concerned. Dash’s extended belly was pressed up against the cupboard below the running basin. Rarity walked over to Dash but Gilda put her claw up in front of Rarity, stoping her “I don’t think Dash wants ta talk to anyone right now.”
She thought that the gryphon was probably right. Until “It’s ok Gilda,” Dash said, turning around to see who her friend had spoken to. “Hey Rarity, been a while. I heard you got married.” Her tone neutral, despite her cheerfully-intended words.
“No, I’m not married yet, just engaged.” Dash could tell she had been drinking. She didn’t slur her words but they weren’t as elegant as normal. “So this is the infamous Gilda? How are you darling?”
“I’m good.” Gilda replied. “Rarity right?” she added, putting out a claw to shake. Rarity tried to put her hoof up to meet it but had to put it back down when she started to topple to the right a little. “Ha, can’t handle your drink?” Gilda said smirking.
“Yes, it seems I’m a bit more… TIPSY than I thought… but I assure you, I can indeed ‘handle my drink’ as you put it. Rainbow would you care to joi… oh nevermind. Sorry deary.” Rarity said, remembering Dash couldn’t drink.
“It’s cool Rarity.” Dash’s normal tone returned to her now. She’d either forced it or gotten over what had been eating her up. Most likely, however: the former. Before Rarity could respond Dash added “Get Gilda a drink for me would ya, she’d been dying for one since we left.”
“Oh no, it’s fine Dash…” Rarity stopped. She’d remember that one of the things Dash hated the most about being pregnant was that everypony treated her different. She’d feel guilty if her friend’s couldn’t live normally around her. Rarity silently sighed and said “on second thoughts… I’m sure Pinkie had some of her rum around here somewhere.”
“Now you’re talking!” Gilda said quite enthusiastically.
“Yeah, Pinkie has some in that cupboard over there.” Dash pointed to the glass covered shelf on the wall with a combination lock on it to keep the kids out. Not that they could keep Ace out of a locked case but luckily she’d never gotten into this one. None of the bottles in it looked uniform to the others and weren’t labelled. “But I gotta warn ya, Pinkie brews her own rum. It’s really strong. You know what rum’s made outta right?”
“Sugar? Of course…” Rarity walked over to it, seeing that the corks used to plug the bottles had various numbers of X’s on them, marking their strength. “Dash, do you know the combination?”
“Uh… yeah, it’s 1-3-3-7… my birthday…” Dash had said the last part under her breath. Pinkie had chosen that number because she said it was something she would never forget. Dash heard a click followed by Rarity opening the case. She was about to warn them about Pinkie’s labelling system, where 1X was the strongest and 5X was the weakest; but it didn’t matter, they grabbed a 3X bottle so it would’ve been the same even in the normal system.
Rarity uncorked the bottle and looked around before asking “Dash, do you know where the glasses are kept?” Rarity kept treating her like she lived here. Dash had for so long so she knew where everything was but it only helped to remind her that she didn’t any more.
“Um… yeah but. Hey Gilda, show her the trick you showed me. With the eggs.” Dash pointed towards the dozen eggs sitting on the counter. “I’m ganna go back out to the party, try not to get too drunk ok?”
“I ain’t making any promises Dash.” Gilda joked as Dash walked out of the kitchen. She turned and added “Alright Rarity, let me show you how to do a crack-shot.”
Everypony had finished giving their gifts to Ace and Ven. They’d like Rarity’s gift the most, both wanting Luna more than Celestia for some reason. Pinkie however loved Octavia’s gift: two violins. Pinkie could only play one song on them and had tried. It sounded… adequate. But Octavia had started to play alongside her and naturally put her sister to shame. It didn’t matter to Pinkie; she was determined now to teach Ace and Ven how to play them, though how long that would last was questionable.
Applejack had been trying to put it off for ages now but she had to do this. Fluttershy was right there talking with her. She had to bring it up, it was for Fluttershy’s best after all. She just didn’t want to. AJ had to though, thinking ‘I have to do this, if I don’t… neither me nor Fluttershy can move on with their lives. For Fluttershy’s life… with Pinkie.’
“Suger, there’s something ah’ve been meaning ta say for a while now.”
“Oh, um… you didn’t go in my shed did you?” Fluttershy returned.
“No, it’s not that. Ah just… ah know you and ah are done. Ah still love ya, ah really do, it’s just… we have to move on with our lives…”
“Applejack… I don’t…”
“Please sugercube, let me…” she sobbed, not quite crying but sure to start soon. “…finish. Ah want you to be happy. And ah want… a divorce.” Applejack finished, tears finally hitting her. But she didn’t turn away, she just stared into Fluttershy’s unblinking eyes… her beautiful blue eyes…
“Um… I don’t understand… how is this… for me?”
“Ah’m sorry suger. But if you wanna be with Pinkie, this is just how it has ta be.” AJ still had her eyes locked with Fluttershy’s. It hurt, but it had to be done. For Fluttershy!
“Applejack… I don’t lo…” Fluttershy was cut off.
“THAT'S IT!!!” came from across the room followed by a loud crash. The two finally broke eye contact, looking to see where the noise had come from. Flash Dance lay crashed against a now broken table, a red mark slowly washing onto the side of his face. Elusive was standing over him. Angrier than either of them had ever seen him. He had obviously struck Flash Dance. “Get up you miserable cur!” he yelled!
Flash Dance did so, if slowly, getting to his feet, looking mortified, yet there was something to that look. Neither AJ or Fluttershy knew what had happened and neither of them moved. Elusive stepped closer to Flash Dance but was stopped as Big Mac ran in between them. “Stop yur fightin’! There are kids ‘ere!” he said, blocking them from each other. Mostly Elusive from Flash Dance though.
“Yes, do try to be civil, Elusive. You wouldn’t want me to have to press charges against you?” Flash Dance said, clearly implying back to the conversation they’d had months ago.
“Actually I would!” Elusive proudly proclaimed. Now was the perfect time to expose Flash Dance’s plans to Rarity! “You and your pathetic excuse for brother, Cecilme Seed, have been doing this long enough! I want let take everything from Rarity like you took everything from my sister!”
Flash Dance looked around. Luckily for him everypony looked confused. They hadn’t understood what Elusive had meant yet. He had a few moments longer before his plan was blown. Rarity was loaded! That prissy little bitch had more money than five of Elusive’s sisters. He couldn’t blow this one! “You know you’re dooming yourself right?” he said low enough that the only pony besides Elusive could hear would be Big Mac, standing between them.
“I don’t care!” he spun around “Rarity!” he paused… “Oh no…” she wasn’t here. This wasn’t good. This was his big chance to expose the scammer to her but now…
“Please, Big Mac; could you… could you get him out of here?” Flash Dance asked, now sure he could play the victim in this. He could just say that Elusive was jealous and had assaulted him.
“Eeyup” Big Mac wasn’t sure what had happened and wasn’t sure about that ‘doom’ comment either. What he did know however was that Elusive was the one who had started this all. He turned to Elusive “Ah think it’s best you leave… peacefully.” He said, looking more serious than normal. Elusive just stared at him for a moment before taking a step back.
“But…” his best chance to expose Flash Dance was ruined. He hadn’t conveyed a clear point and from where he stood, if even the gentle Big Mac was against him, then surely everypony else was as well. And worst of all, Rarity had seen NONE of it. Maybe that was a good thing thought, she’d been drinking and wasn’t quite in the right mind set towards him even being there to begin with.
He turned around and walked towards the door, but stopped just short of it, taking one last look back at Flash Dance; who had a smirk on his now swollen face. At least he’d gotten a got shot in on the bastard. He wanted to say ‘This isn’t over’ but it would only make things look worse for him. He just turned back towards the door, his horn glowed for a few seconds and then he disappeared in a flash of white light.
“Wait!” Sweetie Belle yelled but Elusive was gone before he heard her. She would’ve said something sooner if she had known he was going to teleport away instead of just walking out. Sweetie belle had felt the tension between those two all day but never thought anything like this would happen. She’d never seen that side of Elusive but she had to admit there was something about Flash Dance that she didn’t like either. He seemed to care for Rarity… but nopony else.
“Way to blow out my ears, Belle” came Scootaloo, standing next to her, her hoof to her ear.
Everypony was looking at Sweetie Belle now; she had shown up to the party with Elusive after all. She didn’t even bother replying to Scootaloo, just turned to Flash Dance “What the hay is your problem?”
“Me? I’ve done nothing.”
“Don’t play dumb with me! You’ve been egging him on all day! I have half a mind to hit you myself!” Sweetie Belle wasn’t quite yelling but if she had been she still couldn’t have been able to convey anymore anger than she already was.
“Yes violenc:, the last resort of the stupid.” He mocked, refusing to take the defensive against this little brat he would soon have to call sister.
Sweetie Belle walked up to him, pressed her face against his, fully in his face; fronting him. Her words much lower than her last but still just as furious and hate-felt “I am much, MUCH smarter than you. I don’t want you to marry my sister. I don’t know what she sees in a prissy, weak, little colt like you…” her eyes squinted.
Flash Dance was actually starting to get scared. There was no way she could hurt him but she just exude malice at the moment. He had pulled his head further back from her as she spoke but he couldn’t move his neck any further. Oddly enough, ‘prissy, weak, little’ where exactly how he had thought about this filly in front of him and Rarity until just now. “Perhaps I should leave.”
“Yeah… perhaps you should…” Sweetie Belle said, finally pulling away from him. She turned and walked away, still scowling. She didn’t event watch the weasel leave. She had more important things to worry about. Why wasn’t Rarity here, where is she exactly?
Rarity finished off her last shot. The last three weren’t as strong as the first three but all up the six shots had hit her quite well. She had been drinking a lot of late, everyday almost, ever since Flash Dance had proposed to her. Not that she minded getting drunk, it made things seem… less horrifying and panicky! Though there was one thing that still scared her a little. She worried that she may be becoming an alcoholic but what scared her was that she didn’t really care.
She grabbed what was left of the half empty, or perhaps half full bottle and quickly took it down to a quarter as she glugged it down. ‘Very un-lady-like’ she thought, not that it mattered. She finished it off and though she hadn’t cared about manners while drinking it, she now refused to burp. Even though she was drunk she still had some standards after all.
The first bottle Gilda and Rarity had taken the initial three shots from had already been half empty so they’d had to grab a second. Rarity wanted something a bit stronger but Gilda, though mockingly, had promised Dash she wouldn’t get too drunk so they just grabbed a 1X bottle instead of a 5X. They both tasted the same, so full of sugar that its bitter-sour taste bordered on sweet.
She let out a gasp finishing the bottle off; even the weak stuff was strong. Her face felt hot, no doubt blushing from the drink, or perhaps the previous conversation with Gilda. Rarity hadn’t met her that some ten or more years ago and hadn’t understood the big fuss the others had made over her. Of course she had seen the two of them together and in all honestly, slightly to her shame, Rarity had assumed that they had been together.
Gilda looked a little buzzed now as well, but Rarity had already had a head start on her, having started drinking with just a small hair-of-the-diamond-dog this morning and since. It was good to be around somepony, or somegryphon rather, that wasn’t so hard pressed about drinking in the morning. Gilda had said she often got up at 5am and was already drinking before she got to work. Rarity rather liked this girl. Though due to the subject at hand she had to add, at least in her head ‘though, not like that…’
“Hey, Rarity” came Dash’s voice, sounding somewhat confused “I think you should come out the front. Elusive and... what’s-his-mane are having a fight.”
“Back already ha? Guess ya ears must be burning.” Gilda smirked.
“Oh, I’m sure I’m ganna love this… what did she tell ya, G.?” Dash said, slouching against the sink again, it was nice and cold against her hot stomach.
“Oh, just how apparently me and you were lovers and how you obviously had that hots for the orange mud-pony… 'Jappleack'?”
“Damn it Rarity, why the hay did you tell her that?!”
“Oh calm down. That was ancient history and it’s just all I really know about Gilda here. And it was ‘Applejack’ by the way.”
“Applejack then. But just relax Dash, it’s like, twelve years ago and we both know the truth. I’m not gay.” Gilda put an arm around Rarity’s shoulder, intentionally trying to make things a little awkward for her next line “You know, you smell nice Rarity…”
“Oh how droll…” Rarity said, pushing Gilda away, with a small laugh “but thank you…”
Dash knew her friend’s sense of humour and knew it was just a joke, but she was still upset and was going to say something until Sweetie Belle walked in, right in front of her. Ignoring, or not noticing Dash “Rarity.!” she said bluntly but forcefully. She was quite angry about something… right, Dash had come in here to tell Rarity about the fight. She’d forgtotten…
“Oh you’ve got to be rutting me…” Gilda said, all humour from before lost “What the hell is she doing here?”
Both Dash and Rarity looked at Gilda confused? How did she know Sweetie Belle? That was put aside however, when “I should ask you the same.” Came Scootaloo, walking in just behind Sweetie Belle.
“I’m here with a friend. How do you know Dash’s family?”
“I’ve known Dash for like a decade. She’s…”
“Awesome! Yeah, I know I am…” Dash watched as Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle jumped just slightly, neither of them had seen her she here, pressed up against the faucet as she had been “How do you know Gilda though?”
“Well we’ve… been dating for like five years…”
“Ok, two things.” Sweetie Belle said still looking serious, but slightly more light noted than before “1: called it, knew you were like that and 2: Elusi…”
“Sweetie Belle! You shouldn’t much assumptions like that!”
“Oh right, you can talk Miss ‘AppleDash’, because you’ve sure never done that.” Sweetie Belle replied as Gilda let out a snicker.
“WAIT!!!” Dash yelled “What the hay happened to ‘I’m not gay’ you said like a minute ago?!”
“I’m not, I’m bi” replied Gilda
“What?!” Dash was flabbergasted “That’s what gay ponies say when they want to cover up that they’re gay! I mean so am I but I still say I’m gay!” Dash was half yelling and half just in awe at the comment.
“Calm yourself Rainbow” Rarity said, walking over to Dash. She put a hoof onto her shoulder. Dash was facing away from her. “Does any of this really matter?”
“No. but…” Dash’s head shot back towards Rarity. “Yes of course it does! All of that stuff. It was your fault!”
“Does it really matter RD? I mean you’re gay so who cares? Or bi or whatever…” Gilda said, trying ot help Rarity.
“I am now but I wasn’t then… do you how many stallions I slept with after that happened?”
Rarity couldn’t help but laugh just a little. Then… Dash hit her. Not as hard as she had wanted to but it still would’ve hurt Rarity. Dash had pulled that muscle again and clutched her left shoulder going down along her chest as she groaned loudly.
“You…” Rarity was struck, physically and emotionally. “That was…” she stopped however, Dash was crying. Maybe it was from the pain, but she wasn’ normallyt the type to let pain make her cry.
“Do know how dirty I felt?" Dash whimpered. "I didn’t even know the names of the most of them! How long it haunted me that my friends thought that about me? I just wanted… I don’t know, I still don’t know… and it’s your fault! You started all of it! I didn’t want that, I didn’t want everything after, I didn’t want my kids and I don’t want this one!”
There it was… she’d said it out loud for the first time. She didn’t want this child.
“Please… just go away…” she said, turning around and walking up to the sink once more, sitting down beside it. Resting her head on the cool metal.
Rarity stood still for a moment. She’d never seen Dash so broken before… her head hurt so much. She just stumbled away, not sure if it was the right thing but it’s all she could do. In honesty she was scared Dash would hit her again and was angry at her for doing so. She was just out of the kitchen when she heard Sweetie Belle say her name.
“Rarity. I need to talk to you.”
“What is it?” all poise gone from her words. “What is so important now!?” Rarity demanded, louder than she’d though, not that she noticed.
“Yes, where is Flash Dance?!”
“Elusive and him got into a fight. Big Mac threw Elusive out and Flash Dance…”
“Uh! Why the hay was Elusive here in the first place?!”
“Because I invited him, duh!” called Pinkie, chipper as ever. Bouncing around the broken table, not that Rarity noticed it.
“Of course she did…” Rarity sighed “and what of Flash Dance?”
“I don’t want you to marry Flash Dance. He’s not a good pony.”
“Oh like you know anything about him? As if I would even care what you think about him anyway.”
“I’m serious Rarity!” Sweetie Belle said, trying to lower her voice so only Rarity could hear. Everypony was looking at the two of them now.
“Oh you’re serious are you? Well that make so much difference doesn’t it now? Tell me… where you serious when you let me hate Elusive for four years? Where you serious when knew he was innocent and yet you still told me he wasn’t? Where you SERIOUS when I spent four years heart-broken because I thought I had hurt you?! HMM?!?!?! Well where you?!”
Sweetie Belle didn’t respond, how could she? Luckily Twilight stepped forth and put a hoof on Rarity’s shoulder “Rarity, calm down… you’re drunk and making a scene.”
Looking right at Twilight she said “Oh, I’m drunk? Well forgive me for drunking little Miss 'Everything’s-Perfect-In-My-Life’! Excuse me for not being so Celestia darn cheery all the time! You have your darling hubby, Big Mac practically living with you. You even have your dear Spikey-Wikey back…” she turned from Twilight back to face Sweetie Belle.
“Speaking of which. Sweetie Belle! Do you want to know something? Less than a year ago my greatest fear was that some stallion would take advantage of you again. But no! Since then I’ve found out that you were never hurt at all, in fact you where the one who hurt Elusive with your FILTHY lies! For what? So you could protect you little emo friend who wouldn’t even know anything about it?”
“Don’t you say anything about Diamond Tiara! She wouldn’t… She…” Sweetie Belle noticed that everything her sister had said was true but… still that wasn’t an excuse! “Oh well, welcome back, the triumphant return of Bitch-ity!”
“Oh bitch-ity? If that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black! Last of all, why I wouldn’t care in the slightest what you think about my fiancé. When you did finally find yourself a gentlestallion I was horrified! But it was Spike… and I accepted him. And when I finally gave my blessing to him for you to both be together, after he told me that he LOVED YOU!!! What happens? He tells you that and you dump him! He loved you! And just broke his heart? No… you… Sweetie Bitch… yes that sound right, don’t you think? You care to comment Spike?”
Rarity broke away from her sister eyes, which where wide with shock. She surveyed the room looking for Spike. He was almost as stunned by this as Sweetie Belle was. “Um… actually… I would.” Spike said stepping forward past Twilight. She put a hoof out to stop him but he just brushed it aside. “I was... really hurt Sweeite Belle, I loved you, I still do. And… I… Sweetie Belle!”
She ran off. It was too much! Everything Rarity had said was true. She’d hurt Elusive, she’d hurt Spike and she’d hurt Rarity most of all. She didn’t even look at Spike before she left.
“Well Spike?” Came Rarity “What are you waiting for? Go after her!”
“GO!” She yelled at him, before adding in a tone unlike her last, angry, loud words. Now calm, happier…
“I still have two more relationships to fix…”