Dark and gray, Rainbow found it hard to navigate her way to Cloudsdale through the thick cloud covering. She flew quickly, causing small water droplets to sting her face and eventually force her up into the sun. She burst up through the thick grey clouds revealing a fluffy blanket coating everything as far as the eye could see. Up above, everything was dyed white from the constant barrage of light.
Finally able to see where she was going, Dash pointed herself towards Cloudsdale and pushed onwards. The heat from the sun on her back relaxed her. Everything that had happened recently, it had moved so fast. Not two weeks had gone by since she had managed to ask the mare of her dreams out to lunch. Alright, maybe she ended up asking me, but who really cares! she thought to herself. However, she knew differently. Even being the bravest pegasus in Equestria wouldn't have made a difference. Rainbow would never have actually been able to ask Twilight out. Her pride, her emotions, would have made sure of that.
Everything since then had been a blur. Twilight prying at her to open up, some of their friends finding out the relationship, she had managed to weather it all. But the race, the one thing that Dash had been looking forward to, was the last straw. The crowd and their accusing eyes were permanently etched into her mind. New tears began to well in her eyes, but she quickly blinked them away. She needed to get away from that, to stop dwelling on it.
She pushed the memories as far away as possible for now. A white pillar grew off in the distance, and she knew that she would soon reach her destination. Her old home.
She landed on the edge of the city, her hooves making no sound as she touched down on the fluffy clouds. It was getting late, the flight taking longer than expected with her mind bogged down.
As the sun dipped lower she walked quickly through the city, keeping her head lowered. She didn't want anypony to see her now. However, while passing an archway out of the city, she froze. The setting sun behind the clouds cast an orange glow, one that lit up everything around her. Twilight would love this view... she thought before shaking her head. If she was so mad at this unicorn, then why couldn't she take her mind off her? Despite the memories, she sat and watched the sun sink. Dusk quickly turned to night and the stars soon were out and twinkling above her head.
She wouldn't have moved if it wasn't for a cold breeze that blew against her and brought the pegasus back to reality. Damn, I gotta get home! she thought. Fluffing her feathers, she set out again. She walked even quicker than before, passing many homes and sections of town before arriving before the cloud gates of a separate community. The sign out front read 'Whispering Wind', a neighborhood known all across Equestria. She flew over the fence and trotted up the street. Large and elaborate cloud houses lined the road, much nicer than anything she had back in Ponyville. Eventually, she came to a stop in front of of one of the buildings. Putting her hoof up, she knocked on the soft door, which was opened quickly.
A brown pegasus, dressed in a suit and tie, answered the door. “I am sorry to inform you, miss, but the Dash's are asleep. Please return tomorrow.”
He was about to shut the door before Rainbow spoke up. “Wedgy, it's me.”
The pegasus gazed at the mare, standing in the dark on the doorstep of her parent's house. “Rainbow? Rainbow Dash? Is that you?” A simple nod was all he needed. “Oh dear me, where are my manners? Come in right away! Your parents would love to see you!”
Rainbow was quickly ushered inside, and the butler ran off up a set of stairs. From the hall, she could hear him waking her parents. “Mr. Dash, Mrs. Skies, you have a visitor.”
“Uh, who is it now, Wedgeworth?” A deep voice called out, reaching the hall much more clearly.
“Your daughter, sir.” was all the butler responded with.
There was the quick flapping of wings and two pegasi appeared at the top of the stairs. “Rainbow! My girl!” her father's voice boomed, filling the space. He jumped down and glided over to embrace his child. “It's been so long! Why don't you visit?!”
“Well, I'm here now, aren't I Dad?” she replied, her voice cheery but still a little shaky.
Her father backed up to get a better look at her. He was a muscular stallion, dark orange fur surrounding his fire-red mane. “What seems to be the matter? Is something wrong?”
Before Rainbow could reply, a light blue mare glided down after her father. Her blonde mane was disheveled, messy from sleep. “Oh Rainbow, come give me a hug. Would you forget your own mother?” Dash rushed over, laying her head on her mom's shoulder.
“Dear child, what's wrong?” her father asked again.
Wiping a few tears from her eyes, she looked at her dad. Ace Dash, one of the most powerful ponies in Cloudsdale. The owner of the cloud factory. Her father. She sniffled before saying anything. “Nothing that can't wait until morning. Would you mind if I slept here for a while?”
“Your room is always ready for you,” the blue mare replied. She was Sunny Skies, Rainbow's mother.
“Thanks so much,” Rainbow managed to say before yawning. “I've had a long day, and could really use some shut-eye.”
She followed her father upstairs, her mother right behind her. Opening the door to her room, she saw everything just as she had left it. The Wonderbolts posters on the wall, the trophies she had won from many flying competitions on her dresser. None of that mattered right now. She lay down on her bed, falling asleep before her head even hit the fluffy pillow.
The next morning, Dash woke up to the sounds of the city. Being isolated in her cloud house in Ponyville, most of the noise didn't reach her. Now, it was different. Everything was at her level. She stretched and casually rolled out of bed, landing on her hooves while rubbing her eyes. She had forgotten most of her painful memories for the time being, and she managed to make it down to breakfast without too much trouble. Some of the halls were confusing, after all.
Both of her parents were downstairs when Rainbow walked in the room, her dad with a cup of coffee and the paper in hoof while her mom was having some pancakes. “Good morning!” Sunny called as she entered.
Still rubbing the sleep from her eyes, she waved slightly half-heartedly and managed to mumble something that resembled a return of the greeting before flopping down by the table. Wedgeworth, noticing the new addition to the room, wandered out of the kitchen and towards the cyan mare. “Anything for you, Ms. Dash?” he asked.
“Wedgy, didn't I tell you last time to just call me Rainbow?” she asked. He nodded in agreement. “Alright then, just some pancakes please.”
“Very well.” he said before trotting back into the kitchen.
“Well, why have you decided to pay us such a visit?” Ace asked, looking up from the paper that covered the table. “Something so rare doesn't just happen.”
“What, can't I come see you guys without a reason?” Rainbow asked defensively.
“Oh, you can, dear,” her mother replied. “It's just the fact that you haven't been here in two years, and last night you suddenly appeared on our doorstep in quite a distressed manner.”
“Right...” Dash said nervously. “...that can wait for a bit. And even though I haven't visited, I have written to you every month!”
“Yes, but you didn't even come see us after the ‘Best Young-Flier Competition’, which I hear you won.” her father retorted.
“I've been busy!” Rainbow exclaimed, silencing everypony. She sighed, knowing she was stressed out. The repressed memories were returning. “I'm sorry, there have just been some issues in Ponyville that I needed to get away from...” Her sentence was interrupted by the arrival of her pancakes, which she attacked with gusto.
Her father just laughed and looked back down to the newspaper. “Some things never change...”
Breakfast was soon finished and Ace headed off to work. That left Sunny and Rainbow with nothing much to do. After some idle chat, the two decided to head over to the Cloudsdale market. Although Wedgeworth was their butler, he wasn't a slave and they didn't expect him to do everything. The mares needed some groceries and could easily manage to get them.
They walked through the stalls, perusing what everypony was selling or displaying. After picking up a few vegetables from a gray mare, Sunny tried to revive the topic from breakfast once again. “Sooo, what's on your mind sweetheart? You seem... distant.”
Rainbow sighed, defeated. She knew she could trust her mother, but it was hard to talk about her situation to anypony right now. “It's just I've been having some, ugh, dating issues.”
At the mention of any mate for her daughter, Sunny's ears perked up. “Rainbow, you know that you can talk to me about it. Who's the stallion? What's the problem?”
Dash chuckled nervously. “That's kind of the issue, mom. It isn't some stallion, it's... a mare.” She looked away, eyes screwed shut to brace herself from any harsh reaction she would receive.
“Well, is she nice?” Sunny replied, seemingly unphased. The response surprised her daughter, who stood there with her mouth hanging open. “What? Did I say something bad?”
Rainbow shook her head to get her bearings. “Uh... not at all, actually. You kinda took that better than I expected...”
“Oh, did you expect me to take it negatively?” she mocked. “Rainbow, you're my daughter. Whatever makes you happy will make me happy. I'll always be proud of you.” She placed a hoof on Dash's shoulder. “Now, what kind of problems are you having?”
Rainbow was able to calm down knowing her mother supported her. Telling her wasn't THAT hard, maybe I do need to be a little more honest... she thought before continuing with what she was going to say. “Well, we did the Running of the Leaves in Ponyville a couple of days ago. Twilight, by the way her name is Twilight Sparkle, and I won and were receiving our medals when she kissed me in front of the whole town!” Some anger had begun to creep back into her voice.
“What's so bad about that, dear? Don't you care for her?” The pair was walking again, mostly ignoring any of the nearby stalls.
“I do, but I don't really want everypony knowing about me being, well, a fillyfooler. She's been trying to get me to tell everypony, but she just went ahead and let the whole thing out at the race!” Dash stamped her hoof for emphasis.
The two pegasi reached a rainbow pool and settled down by the edge. “Did you ever stop to think about it from her end?” Sunny asked. “How do you think she would feel every time you denied being with her? I'm sure she cares for you and just wants what's best for you both.”
You know she's right... Rainbow thought before pushing the idea out of her head. Twilight had been wrong, not her. “She still went against what I had asked of her! What about my opinion?!” Her voice was slowly raising with her anger.
“There's only so much one pony can take at a time, they need to let it out.” Sunny said. “If you made it onto the Wonderbolts, would you be able to keep from telling anypony about it?”
Dash hung her head and shook it slightly. “No...”
“I'm sure Twilight must feel the same way! She has found somepony she cares about and somepony she loves, but that pony is stopping her from sharing her happiness with others.”
Tears slowly began to run down Rainbow's face as the truth stung her. “I... I’ve never even told her that I love her...” She said before beginning to cry. Sunny sat, comforting her daughter as the busy life of Cloudsdale moved around them. Eventually, the sobs began to dissipate.
“Don't worry, you can still set everything right. We can go talk to your father tonight and sometime soon, when you feel up to it, we could head back to your house and see this Twilight Sparkle.” Sunny lifted Rainbow's head to look into her eyes. “Anyways, if she's going to be my daughter-in-law, I should probably meet her.”
Dash laughed slightly and dried her tears on a small piece of cloud. “You're right, you're right. I just need to calm down and get my head. It all happened so recently, I just need to take it all in.” She stood, more confident than before. “What do you say we take the long way home?”
“That sounds lovely,” Sunny said, smiling.
It was mid afternoon when the two returned home, the sun dipping lower and casting shadows over the soft clouds. Trotting up the path to the house, Dash could hear voices inside. One seemed panicked, while another two were trying to calm it down. Not thinking anything of it, she opened the door and froze. There were three ponies with her father, all lacking wings. They seemed to be comforting a purple unicorn in the middle.
Noticing their entrance, Ace looked up. There was a grim look on his face. “Rainbow, there seems to be some ponies here to see you... I think we need to talk.”