15 years later
Dash had thought about this day for many years, but never once dreamed that she would be attending. Sure, she had fantasized about being the instigator of this event, and even come close to doing so once, but never in a million billion years did plan on attending voluntarily. She tugged at the black gown made for her at a significant discount by Rarity, who had become a major player in the fashion industry, after a relatively slow start in Ponyville.
The gown dropped gracefully to the floor, pooling into a sea of midnight at her feet. Despite its elegance, she still batted at it uncomfortably. No matter how fine or sophisticated it may be, or how much Rarity tried to make it feel familiar to Rainbow Dash, she would always be more comfortable in athletic gear. And yet, most of her discomfort came not from the clothes, but from attendance. She turned at the sound of hooves in the hallway.
“Mommy, do I have to go?”
“Yes, son. You have to go,” she said to her colt, Jet.
“But didn’t Dad say we don’t like Grandpa?” Curse that kid and his blunt inquisitiveness. Did he inherit that from her, or from his father? Probably a little of both.
“Well,” Dash started, delicately. She hadn’t told her children about her childhood, and didn’t plan on discussing it until they were older, if at all. “We weren’t as close as you, your sister, your father, and I are. Nevertheless, we still want to attend this for him.”
“But why?” Jet obviously did not want to be helpful. Dash rolled her eyes.
“Because I said so. No go check on your sister, see if she is ready to go yet.” Jet grumbled as he walked away, tugging at the suit jacket he wore. Realization suddenly dawned on Dash, and she sprinted towards the hallway to call out to Jet. “But don’t go into her room! And don’t yell! Knock—neither really hard nor super lightly—on the door, and talk peacefully!” Jet continued down to his sister Bolt’s room, slightly deflated as his mother had single-handedly negated his plans to irritate his sister.
Dash felt a hoof on her shoulder. She turned, seeing her husband, with empathy in his eyes for his multicolored wife. She snuggled into his embrace.
“Oh Soarin’,” she sighed. “I wish I knew how to react.”
- - - - -
5 days earlier…
Dash was getting up there in years (though she would fervently deny any such allogation), and even she and Soarin’ (who she had married 12 years, five months ago, three weeks ago) were the only two enduring members of the Wonderbolts; the others had all retired and moved on with their life. Despite being ‘Mama Dash’ to the team (as the younger members quickly nicknamed her), she was still the only pony on the team capable of Sonic Rainbooms, though she was training them, hoping to eventually get the entire Wonderbolt team—after she was gone—to be able to perform the Sonic Rainboom. Until that day though, she still got to do her favorite part of any show; the part she was doing right now.
That wind! Oh, it would never get old. Dash blinked back as her suit became instantly drenched as she ripped asunder a nearby cloud. She could feel the barrier beginning to build at her hooftips. Instantly throwing extra power to the wings, she rushed forward, noting the thickening barrier, gauging how fast she should push herself. She began pressing forward even faster, noting she was slightly behind schedule. The viewing stand approached rapidly, Dash pushing a final effort into her wings. The barrier broke and she surged forward. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw that she had detonated the Rainboom directly over the viewing grandstands: right on target.
Dash curved backwards and over the grandstands, appearing as a giant ‘C’ in the sky to any observer to the side of the main event. She twisted and tumbled, dropping straight downwards, righting herself at the last second to join the formation of tight flying, blue-clad pegasi. The dropped to the ground before the stands, striking a heroic pose. Talk about an awesome finale.
“Mares and Gentlestallions, the Wonderbolts!” The announcer’s voice rang out across multiple speakers. The crowd erupted into cheering and applause, music to the tired performers’ ears. The next few hours were something the entire group both loved and loathed: autographs. While most of their fans were great, there were always the creepy ones. Really creepy. For instance, one fan wrote a series of love poems to Dash, and insisted on performing every single one of them. He got through one and a half before security showed up. There was also that mare who attacked Dash with scissors to get a clip from her mane. Not to mention all the attention that Soarin’ got, plus the random encounters with stalkers and fans on the street.
All the members of the Wonderbolts were smiling and being all-around friendly, while simultaneously watching the lines and the crowd for the kooky ones.
“Thank you for coming!” Dash said smiling, handing back a signed picture to a happy fan, motioning the next up. “What can I do you for?” Oh, here was a creepy one. The young stallion before her licked his lips, leering at her.
“I, uh, can I get an autograph?” He said haltingly, handing her a picture. Dash looked at the picture. Oh gross. It was of the stallion. Naked. Didn’t ponies know she was married? She sighed, realizing she did get paid for this part, no matter how unpleasant it may be. She signed it, and was about to hand it back when she realized she’d have to make a minor correction to his behavior.
“Hey! Eyes up here!” Dash gestured with a hoof at her eyes. He gulped guiltily. “Have a nice day!” She said with a forced smile. She looked over, noticing Soarin’ giving the young man a steely glare. The stallion trotted off quicker than one would expect. “Thanks,” she muttered towards her husband.
“Anytime,” He replied earnestly. About to return to his line of fans, he paused, spotting someone in the crowd. “That mare hasn’t stopped staring at you in a long time,” he said, pointing at a specific earth pony mare in the crowd. Dash followed his gesture, noting the pony in question.
“Well, she hasn’t done anything yet. And staring isn’t uncommon, if it isn’t normal. Let’s just see how it plays out.” Dash kept an eye on her for the remainder of the day, but she barely moved. The longer the day wore on, the more uneasy she became. Eventually the park emptied except those the Wonderbolts, the staff, and this one mare. Finally, she approached Dash.
“Excuse me,” she said timidly.
“Yes, you’ve been staring at me all day. What do you want?” Dash snapped.
“It’s about your father,” she began.
“I haven’t seen him in 15 years, what makes you think I want to see him now? You can tell him to go kill himself,” Dash immediately recognized that this might have been a little harsh, but she didn’t really care. Then again, don’t kill the messenger…
“I can’t,” the mare said, choking back tears.
“He died a few days ago of a heart attack.” The pony hung her head in remorse. Dash leaned back into her chair, unsure how to respond.
“So? What do you want me to do?” The earth pony looked up in shock.
“I, uh, expected you to want to attend your father’s funeral.”
“Why do you even care?” Dash queried.
“I’m your mother –in—law, Joy.”
“He remarried? When?”
“Five years ago. Why does it matter, your father died!”
“Did he ever tell you about me or his previous family?”
“Just that you were estranged and your mother and sister died in a horrible accident.” Dash snorted rudely, casting her head to the side. Looking back, she realized the drastic negative impact she had on Joy.
“Fine, I’ll go to my father’s funeral.”
“I’m not trying to force you to go, I thought you’d want to go!” Joy sounded offended at Dash’s reply.
“No, it’s just that it’s obvious Dad didn’t tell you all about what happened, that’s all. If you want me to, I’ll even get on the podium and give him a eulogy.”
“It’s obvious to me that you didn’t get along because you’re a horrible pony. But you should give a eulogy to such a prestigious stallion.” As Joy turned to go she felt a hoof whip her shoulder around. Dash had jumped across the room, facing the earth pony mere inches away.
“My Dad and I had issues, but they weren’t my fault. Don’t you dare say that they were.”
“And how can you be sure of that?”
“Trust me. I’ve had to deal with it for years.”
“I’m sure you’re confused,” Joy said with a sweet, slightly condescending smile, “I know my husband, and he is not the kind of pony that would give you a problem that you would have to deal with for a long time.”
“Lady, part of my contract for joining the Wonderbolts initially stated that I had to go to a therapist.”
“Therapy for what? Excessive niceness?”
“Getting hit in the head with heavy objects. Repeatedly.” Joy was taken aback, mouth flapping but unable to form coherent words.
“Uh… Are you…”
“Take a deep breath and speak clearly.”
“He was abusive?” She whispered the last word fiercely, like she was discussing a topic that was taboo for generations.
“That’s putting it mildly.” Joy turned, walking slowly away. Stopping suddenly, she turned back to Dash.
“It’ll be in the Canterlot chapel. At 10:30 this Friday.” It was Dash’s turn to be surprised.
“Canterlot? Seems pretty high-class for him.”
“He is one of Canterlot’s foremost businessman.”
“Well, that’s a change for the better. I’m guessing everyone will be very high-class.” Joy nodded. “I guess I’ll have to talk to Rarity, see if she can make me a dress in the next few days for cheap,” she said absentmindedly, to nopony in particular.
“The… Rarity? The owner of the foremost fashion line in all Equestria?”
“Yeah, we go way back.” The two stood there in an awkward silence for a few moments.
“Well, I must go make more arrangements,” Joy said.
“And I should go talk to my husband about this entire ordeal. Nice meeting you, Joy.”
“Likewise, Mrs. Soarin’.”
“Please, call me Rainbow Dash.”
- - - - -
Dash and her family strode into the chapel, thirty minutes early. She had asked Twilight, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, and Rarity to come for moral support… if that was the right term. She just didn’t know how she was going to deal with the entire scenario. She pressed forward into the throng of saddened upperclass ponies. After walking aimlessly for a few minutes, she noticed one particularly well-groomed, white stallion approaching her.
“I say, aren’t you the world famous Rainbow Dash?”
“Uh, yeah I am. My husband Soarin’ is…” she paused, scanning the room for his signature blue mane. “Over there, watching the kids.” She gestured across the room, nearby a grove of fake potted plants. She didn’t think this guy would try flirting with her, as he was reeked of sophistication, but she had learned the hard way to cover her bases.
“I assure you, my intentions are not of that nature,” he said, seemingly not offended. “I was just curious as to what an athlete of your caliber is doing at this function.”
“Um, why shouldn’t I? Is it bad that I am?”
“It’s just I would have expected people to attend who had invested interest in the deceased. I am praying that this isn’t some crass publicity stunt for your flying team.”
“I’m going to let that slide, because my father and I have never been close. It doesn’t surprise me he didn’t tell any of his friends about me.”
“Did you see you were his daughter? I apologize, my actions were vulgar and inexcusable.”
“Meh, don’t worry about it.”
“Nevertheless, I do feel quite bad for my behavior. I’m sorry, I never properly introduced myself. Fancypants, at your service,” the stallion said with a polite bow.
“Oh! You’re the most important pony in Canterlot!”
“I wouldn’t go that far,” Fancypants said modestly.
“Oh, sorry. I don’t know much about the inner-workings of Canterlot. That’s just how Rarity described you.
“You know Rarity, the only mare with whom I entrust with my suits?”
“Oh yeah, we’ve been friends since Ponyville. Even if she is a fussbudget, she’s a great friend. She’s around here somewhere, too.” Dash said, glancing around.
“If you could all take your seats, we will begin shortly,” a voice said over the loudspeaker, cutting off Dash’s conversation. They exchanged the customary, courteous goodbyes, and then parted to find their separate seating. Dash found her family rapidly, Soarin’ pointed out which seat was hers. Just as Dash sat down, she had to stand up again as a Joy took to the podium.
“Before we lay him to rest, we have a few speakers who want to share their memories of this illustrious businessman. First off we have the world-famous athlete Rainbow Dash.” Dash rose, walking gingerly between the rows of ponies towards the podium. Before she could get to the aisle, Soarin’ caught hold of her shoulder, giving her a reassuring pat. She flashed a nervous grin back at him.
Taking the podium, she looked out at the rows and rows of eyes staring back at her. While used to performing in front of crowds, this was different. And uncomfortable. Dash cleared her throat.
“I know many of you were wondering what possible relation I have with him,” she started. Her suspicions were confirmed by the subtle nodding of heads. “An athlete always on the road, being important enough to be the first speaker at his funeral. Well, he never talked about me, and I didn’t talk about him. Ever. We never liked each other, and in general preferred to pretend that the other didn’t exist. Although I’m pretty sure some gossip magazines made the connection a few years ago, nobody listened and that’s how we preferred it. Nevertheless, Dad did teach me some things as a kid that I still use today.” She could almost feel them recoil in shock as she admitted her parentage.
“As you may have guessed by our stark separation, we didn’t always see eye to eye. Nonetheless, my childhood was tough, and he taught me the value of perseverance. Life sucks. And while did learn that from him, what he taught best was struggling through the suck and move on. Embrace the suck, recognize that it happens, and realize that it shaped you, for better or for worse.” Dash stepped down from the podium, trying to shake the feeling that she had just undermined her core values by praising the man who had caused all this pain in her life. She pushed the thought aside, going back to her seat wordlessly.
“Did Grandpa really teach you that?” her daughter Bolt asked.
“Yes, Boltie. In his own way.”
“If he taught you all that, why don’t you or Dad ever talk about him? Or Grandma?”
“Hush now, let’s listen to the next speaker,” Dash said, stroking her daughter’s mane. That was a topic she’d avoid for as long as possible.
- - - - -
Finally home after the long day, Dash began pulling her dress off her shoulders. The whole day was so weird. She felt like an island. The entire congregation was sad and teary, but Rainbow Dash stood there stoically. Neither sad nor happy, she was the only one who seemed unmoved by the whole ordeal.
“Here, let me help you out of that dress,” Soarin’ said, walking up on her from the side. Dash punched his shoulder, knowing exactly what he was thinking.
“Someday we’ll have to tell the children,” she said, turning towards them.
“Eventually, yes. When they’re older. We can’t keep dodging their inquiries about your mom forever.”
“You remember when I first started taking serious notice of you?”
“Yeah, it was right when I showed up for practice the first day.” Damn, he’d been caught. He thought he had been able to hide it then.
“Well, yeah. I meant when we started getting serious about starting a relationship.” Dash nodded.
“Yeah, I remember. I remember having to spend a lot of time with Applejack when we did that show in Ponyville, trying to get her to teach me how to make an apple pie.”
“Wait, you didn’t know how to cook one before?”
“Ha ha, no. I just remembered you really liked that one pie that AJ made at the Gala, and thought it would make you take more interest in me.”
“I… did not know that.”
“There’s a lot you don’t know.”
“Hey! You know, I was going to be romantic and emotional, the way you females appreciate,” he exaggerated the word ‘female’ like it was the strange, foreign concept. It actually was, but he didn’t want to admit that.
“Ok, ok,” Dash conceded. “What were you going to say?”
“Well, I was going to say that the thing that really attracted me to you, other than your figure of course, I mean yowza!” Dash slugged him.
“I thought you were going to be romantic.”
“You ruined the mood first. In all seriousness though, it was your spirit I fell in love with. You’re confident, and you always persevere through the trials and tribulations, and you’ve been the best thing in my life since you-mpfh!” Dash interrupted him with a kiss.
“Thanks,” She said, when they broke apart.
“For what I said?”
“For that, and for not being like my father. For being everything that he should have been.”
A/N: In case you were wondering, I did research the Jet’s name. The word ‘jet’ originated in the 1500s from the French word ‘jeter,’ which meant ‘to throw.’ Totally legitimate name, even without planes in Equestria.
Also, for the foreseeable future I’ll only have time to write oneshots, and very infrequently at that. So, if you are interested in continuing this story, let me know and I’ll happily turn over the story to you. It’s not that I don’t want this story to continue or think that there isn’t any more to be told (because there is), it’s just I don’t have enough time.